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ARTICLE 2 APPLICATION OF ITS PROVISIONS mean clandestinely to sell opium

once.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library


EN BANC In our opinion, the act defined in section 15 is distinct from that
G.R. No. L-5889 July 12, 1911 penalized in section 5; the act referred to in the latter is any act
THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. LOOK of sale, while that concerned in the former relates to the
CHAW ( alias LUK CHIU),Defendant-Appellant. business of selling, in an habitual, professional manner, as one
Thos. D. Aitken for appellant. of an undertaking or occupation, without license.
Attorney-General Villamor for appellee. SEC. 5. ( a) It shall be unlawful to sell, transfer, give, or deliver
ARELLANO, C.J. :chanrobles virtual law library opium to any person except to a duly licensed and practicing
physician, pharmacist, or second-class pharmacist, or a duly
This case is a separate part of Case No. 5887 and bears No. 5889 licensed dispensator of opium, or duly registered confirmed
on the general docket of this court, and No. 377 on the docket user of opium in a licensed opium dispensary for consumption
of the Court of First Instance of therein only, and in accordance with the provisions of this Act:
Cebu.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library . . .chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
The complaint in this case states: ( b) Any person violating the provisions of the preceding
That, on or about the 18th of August, 1909, within the subsection shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one
boundaries of the municipality of Cebu of this province and thousand pesos, or by imprisonment for a period not exceeding
judicial district, the said Look Chaw ( alias Luk Chiu) did, one year, or both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion
without having obtained authorization from the Collector of of the court: . . .
Internal Revenue and without being authorized in any manner The crime concerned in this case, according to this section 5, is
and traffic in the same. compromised within the language of the complaint which
C.J. Milliron, an internal-revenue agent, testified that Vicente charges the act of selling opium without the authorization of the
Base took to the governor of Cebu a can of opium containing Collector of Internal
200 grammes of the said drug, in order to show him that the Revenue.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
accused had sold opium to Base, and the governor called the library
witness in order that he might take part in this case. After the The other ground of the appeal is that the confession of the
accused was arrested, he confessed before the witness and the accused were taken into account for the purpose of his
provincial fiscal that he had sold to Vicente Base thirty cans of conviction. The trial court pronounced its sentence after
opium on the 15th of August, 1909, but that he had received the considering that "sufficient proof has been furnished by the
price thereof, and that the money which was found in a box of evidence,' and the evidence did not consist solely in the
his on board the British steamship Erroll, P1,500 in amount, confession that the accused, on the day and at the place
was obtained in Manila and was seized by the captain of the mentioned in the complaint, contracted with Vicente Base for
vessel. According to the accused, he had purchased in the sale of the opium, the subject matter of the present
Hongkong 137 cans of opium for the purpose of introducing it prosecution; and as this finding does not appear to be erroneous
as contraband into Mexico, the destination of the vessel, but that nor contrary to the conclusions reached from the evidence, it is
as the latter changed its route touching first at Manila, the opium accepted by this court in order that thereby the judgment
arrived at Cebu.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual appealed from may be dully affirmed, as we do affirm the
law library same.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Vicente Base testified that he had negotiated with the accused This disposes of the appeal; but, in the opinion of this court, the
with respect to the sale of the three sacks of opium which were defense of double jeopardy alleged by the accused in first
seized while in the latter's possession an were the subject matter instance, with exception to the order disallowing it, can not but
of the previous cause; that these three sacks were not taken be taken into consideration, although in this instance, on appeal,
ashore, because the accused would not permit this to be done that defense was not reproduced with the allegation that its
without previous delivery of the whole price of P1,000, of disallowance was an error committed by the lower court in its
which witness had only paid P533; that he therefore only took judgment. This point appears to involve a question of
one can from one of the said jurisdiction.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
sacks.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library library
The Court of First Instance of Cebu sentenced the accused to Before separating the two causes, as related at the beginning of
one year's imprisonment and the payment of a fine of P2,000, this decision, there was but one single complaint and there
with additional subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, would have been only one trial for the possession of opium and
not to exceed one-third of the principal penalty, and to the for the sale of opium. But the defendant's counsel set up a
payment of the costs of the trial. It was ordered in the judgment demurrer, arguing that the complaint was defective inasmuch as
that the exhibits connected with the case should be confiscated, it charged two distinct crimes, for according to the defense, it
and that, in case of an appeal, and even after the sentence had was alleged to be one crime to possess opium and another
been served, the defendant should not be released from custody, different crime to sell opium; and the court deferred to this
but delivered to the customs authorities for the purpose of the pretension and ordered the filing of two complaints, one for the
enforcement of the existing immigration possession of opium and another for the sale of opium; that for
laws.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library the possession of opium was the one first tried by the lower
The defendant appealed and has alleged before this court that court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
he can not punished in accordance with section 15 of Act No. In answering the second complaint for the sale of opium, the
1761, under which the complaint was defendant alleged that he had already been in jeopardy.
drawn.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law The defendant was convicted yesterday," said his attorney, "for
library the violation of law committed, of possessing opium, and has
This said section 15 reads thus: already been sentenced by this court to five year's imprisonment
( a) No person shall import, cook, or prepare opium, or engage and in addition to pay a fine of ten thousand pesos. According
in the business of purchasing or selling opium or of dealing or to the principles of penal law, when a crime has been committed
trafficking therein, unless he shall first have secured from the which is necessary in order to commit another, the delinquent,
Collector of Internal Revenue a license to transact such business of course, can not be punished for the two crimes, but must
and shall have paid the license tax prescribed by this Act. . . . suffer for the crime for which the greater penalty was provided.
To make an isolated sale, says the appellant, is not to engage in The court rejected this allegation: first, because the prosecution
the business of selling. To negotiate the sale of opium does not of two crimes instead of one was brought about by the defense
itself; and second, because, in the opinion of the trial judge, if

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the defendant had first been convicted for selling opium, he Thus it is that we find the institution of this cause, and its
certainly would have been in jeopardy in the cause prosecuted separation from the previous one, to be founded on law and
for possessing opium, for the reason that really one can not sell juridical principles, and the judgment appealed from, to be in
opium without possessing it, while, if the terms are inverted, the accordance with right and equity, except with regard to the
same result does not follow, because one may posses opium amount of the penalty, which we reduce, in harmony with the
without selling it, and consequently in the present cause the provisions of section 5 aforementioned, to six months'
allegation of double jeopardy is an imprisonment and a fine of P1,000 Philippine
admissible.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law currency.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
library library
True it is, we assert, that it is one crime to possess opium, Therefore, with the understanding that the imprisonment and
punished by section 31 of the Act, and another, to sell opium, the fine imposed shall be, respectively, six months and P1,000
penalized by section 5 of the same Act before Philippine Currency, we affirm, as to all the rest, the judgment
cited.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library appealed from, with the costs of this instance against the
And it is also true that when one single act constitutes two or appellant. So ordered.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
more crimes, or when one of them is a necessary means for the virtual law library
commission of the other, only the penalty corresponding to the Torres, Mapa, and Johnson, JJ., concur.
more serious crime shall be imposed, in its maximum degree, Carson, J., concurs in the result.
and thus, he who smokes opium in a pipe, by one single act lays
himself liable to three penalties of the law, one of them, merely EN BANC
for the fact of possessing opium, another, for the mere G.R. No. L-13005 October 10, 1917
possession of a pipe in which opium is smoked, and the other, THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. AH
for the act of smoking opium; but the penalties corresponding SING, Defendant-Appellant.
to these three crimes ought not to be imposed upon the Antonio Sanz for appellant.
defendant in this case, and only the penalty for the most serious Acting Attorney-General Paredes for appellee.
of these crimes.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual MALCOLM, J.:
law library This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance
But the illegal possession of 137 cans of opium and the illegal of Cebu finding the defendant guilty of a violation of section 4
sale of 30 cans of opium, which are two acts confessed by the of Act No. 2381 (the Opium Law), and sentencing him to two
accused, are not one act which constitutes two crimes, nor a years imprisonment, to pay a fine of P300 or to suffer subsidiary
crime which is a necessary means for the commission of imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the
another. They are two isolated acts, punishable, each of them, costs.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
in themselves. Only in the event where all the amount of the The following facts are fully proven: The defendant is a subject
opium possessed and seized be in its totality the same as that of China employed as a fireman on the steamship Shun Chang.
which was possessed with the sole purpose of being delivered The Shun Chang is a foreign steamer which arrived at the port
as the matter or subject of a sale previously agree upon, could of Cebu on April 25, 1917, after a voyage direct from the port
it be said, in the opinion of this court, that the possession of the of Saigon. The defendant bought eight cans of opium in Saigon,
opium was a necessary means to effect the delivery by reason brought them on board the steamshipShun Chang, and had them
of the sale, and that the sale agreed upon was the sole reason for in his possession during the trip from Saigon to Cebu. When the
the possession of the opium seized. The possession of the steamer anchored in the port of Cebu on April 25, 1917, the
quantity contained in the pipe can not be considered as a authorities on making a search found the eight cans of opium
different crime from that of smoking opium in a pipe, nor the above mentioned hidden in the ashes below the boiler of the
possession of the pipe, as a crime different from that of smoking steamer's engine. The defendant confessed that he was the
opium in a pipe. But if the person surprised in smoking opium owner of this opium, and that he had purchased it in Saigon. He
in a pipe was also surprised in the possession of the thirty cans did not confess, however, as to his purpose in buying the opium.
sold by the accused, it could not properly be inferred that the He did not say that it was his intention to import the prohibited
possession of these thirty cans, which in itself is a crime, was a drug into the Philippine Islands. No other evidence direct or
necessary means for the commission of the other crime of indirect, to show that the intention of the accused was to import
smoking opium in a pipe, and that the person in whose illegally this opium into the Philippine Islands, was
possession the thirty cans were seized, possessed the same introduced.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
solely and exclusively for the purpose of smoking opium in a library
pipe. It might very well have been that he had acquired the drug Has the crime of illegal importation of opium into the
for the purpose of inhaling, injecting, chewing, swallowing, or Philippine Islands been proven? chanrobles virtual law library
other uses, and that only by chance did it occur to him to try to Two decisions of this Court are cited in the judgment of the trial
smoke it in a pipe, on the very occasion when he was surprised, court, but with the intimation that there exists inconsistently
this being the evident fact of the commission of the crime which between the doctrines laid down in the two cases. However,
can not, in its essence, include the existence of thirty cans, not neither decision is directly a precedent on the facts before
then contained in the pipe, each can certainly being susceptible us.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
of other various uses, every one of which might by its nature In the case of United States vs. Look Chaw ([1910], 18 Phil.,
constitute a different 573), in the opinion handed down by the Chief Justice, it is
crime.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library found -
We consider this doctrine equally applicable to crimes which That, although the mere possession of a thing of prohibited use
are evils by their very nature, as well as to those which are in these Islands,aboard a foreign vessel in transit, in any of their
merely malum quia prohibitum; because it not only aims at a ports, does not, as a general rule, constitute a crime triable by
more or less strict application of a penal precept which, the courts of this country, on account of such vessel being
undoubtedly, in the practice of this court, usually tends toward considered as an extension of its own nationality, the same rule
the lesser severity and, occasionally, the greatest benignity does no apply when the article, whose use is prohibited within
when the second class, or conventional crimes, are concerned, the Philippine Islands, in the present case a can of opium,
but also because that doctrine is the logical result of the process is landed from the vessel upon Philippine soil, thus committing
of the intelligence in the derivation of consequences from the an open violation of the laws of the land, with respect to which,
principles constitute of the nature of as it is a violation of the penal law in force at the place of the
things.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law commission of the crime, only the court established in the said
library

Page 2 of 51
place itself has competent jurisdiction, in the absence of an Arellano, C.J., Johnson, Carson, Araullo and Street, JJ.,
agreement under an international treaty. concur.
A marked difference between the facts in the Look Chaw case
and the facts in the present instance is readily observable. In the EN BANC
Look Chaw case, the charge case the illegal possession and sale G.R. No. L-18924 October 19, 1922
of opium - in the present case the charge as illegal importation THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-
of opium; in the Look Chaw case the foreign vessel was in appellant,
transit - in the present case the foreign vessel was not in transit; vs.
in the Look Chaw case the opium was landed from the vessel WONG CHENG (alias WONG CHUN), defendant-appellee.
upon Philippine soil - in the present case of United Attorney-General Villa-Real for appellant.
States vs. Jose ([1916], 34 Phil., 840), the main point, and the Eduardo Gutierrez Repide for appellee.
one on which resolution turned, was that in a prosecution based ROMUALDEZ, J.:
on the illegal importation of opium or other prohibited drug, the In this appeal the Attorney-General urges the revocation of the
Government must prove, or offer evidence sufficient to raise a order of the Court of First Instance of Manila, sustaining the
presumption, that the vessel from which the drug is discharged demurrer presented by the defendant to the information that
came into Philippine waters from a foreign country with the initiated this case and in which the appellee is accused of having
drug on board. In the Jose case, the defendants were acquitted illegally smoked opium, aboard the merchant
because it was not proved that the opium was imported from a vessel Changsa of English nationality while said vessel was
foreign country; in the present case there is no question but what anchored in Manila Bay two and a half miles from the shores of
the opium came from Saigon to Cebu. However, in the opinion the city.
in the Jose case, we find the following which may be obiter The demurrer alleged lack of jurisdiction on the part of the
dicta, but which at least is interesting as showing the view of lower court, which so held and dismissed the case.
the writer of the opinion: The question that presents itself for our consideration is whether
The importation was complete, to say the least, when the ship such ruling is erroneous or not; and it will or will not be
carrying it anchored in Subic Bay. It was not necessary that the erroneous according as said court has or has no jurisdiction over
opium discharged or that it be taken from the ship. It was said offense.
sufficient that the opium was brought into the waters of the The point at issue is whether the courts of the Philippines have
Philippine Islands on a boat destined for a Philippine port and jurisdiction over crime, like the one herein involved, committed
which subsequently anchored in a port of the Philippine Islands aboard merchant vessels anchored in our jurisdiction
with intent to discharge its cargo. waters. 1awph!l.net
Resolving whatever doubt was exist as to the authority of the There are two fundamental rules on this particular matter in
views just quoted, we return to an examination of the applicable connection with International Law; to wit, the French rule,
provisions of the law. It is to be noted that section 4 of Act No. according to which crimes committed aboard a foreign
2381 begins, "Any person who shall unlawfully import or bring merchant vessels should not be prosecuted in the courts of the
any prohibited drug into the Philippine Islands." "Import" and country within whose territorial jurisdiction they were
"bring" are synonymous terms. The Federal Courts of the committed, unless their commission affects the peace and
United States have held that the mere act of going into a port, security of the territory; and the English rule, based on the
without breaking bulk, is prima facie evidence of importation. territorial principle and followed in the United States, according
(The Mary [U. S.], 16 Fed. Cas., 932, 933.) And again, the to which, crimes perpetrated under such circumstances are in
importation is not the making entry of goods at the custom general triable in the courts of the country within territory they
house, but merely the bringing them into port; and the were committed. Of this two rules, it is the last one that obtains
importation is complete before entry of the Custom House. (U. in this jurisdiction, because at present the theories and
S. vs. Lyman [U. S.], 26, Fed. Cas., 1024, 1028; Perots vs. U. jurisprudence prevailing in the United States on this matter are
S., 19 Fed. Cas., 258.) As applied to the Opium Law, we authority in the Philippines which is now a territory of the
expressly hold that any person unlawfully imports or brings any United States.
prohibited drug into the Philippine Islands, when the prohibited In the cases of The Schooner Exchange vs. M'Faddon and
drug is found under this person's control on a vessel which has Others (7 Cranch [U. S.], 116), Chief Justice Marshall said:
come direct from a foreign country and is within the . . . When merchant vessels enter for the purposes of trade, it
jurisdictional limits of the Philippine Islands. In such case, a would be obviously inconvenient and dangerous to society, and
person is guilty of illegal importation of the drug unless would subject the laws to continual infraction, and the
contrary circumstances exist or the defense proves otherwise. government to degradation, if such individuals or merchants did
Applied to the facts herein, it would be absurb to think that the not owe temporary and local allegiance, and were not amenable
accused was merely carrying opium back and forth between to the jurisdiction of the country. . . .
Saigon and Cebu for the mere pleasure of so doing. It would In United States vs. Bull (15 Phil., 7), this court held:
likewise be impossible to conceive that the accused needed so . . . No court of the Philippine Islands had jurisdiction over an
large an amount of opium for his personal use. No better offense or crime committed on the high seas or within the
explanation being possible, the logical deduction is that the territorial waters of any other country, but when she came
defendant intended this opium to be brought into the Philippine within three miles of a line drawn from the headlands, which
Islands. We accordingly find that there was illegal importation embrace the entrance to Manila Bay, she was within territorial
of opium from a foreign country into the Philippine Islands. To waters, and a new set of principles became applicable.
anticipate any possible misunderstanding, let it be said that (Wheaton, International Law [Dana ed.], p. 255, note 105;
these statements do not relate to foreign vessels in transit, a Bonfils, Le Droit Int., secs. 490 et seq.; Latour, La Mer Ter., ch.
situation not present.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles 1.) The ship and her crew were then subject to the jurisdiction
virtual law library of the territorial sovereign subject to such limitations as have
The defendant and appellant, having been proved guilty beyond been conceded by that sovereignty through the proper political
a reasonable doubt as charged and the sentence of the trial court agency. . . .
being within the limits provided by law, it results that the It is true that in certain cases the comity of nations is observed,
judgment must be affirmed with the costs of this instance as in Mali and Wildenhus vs. Keeper of the Common Jail (120
against the appellant. So U.., 1), wherein it was said that:
ordered.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law . . . The principle which governs the whole matter is this:
library Disorder which disturb only the peace of the ship or those on
board are to be dealt with exclusively by the sovereignty of the
Page 3 of 51
home of the ship, but those which disturb the public peace may Araullo, C.J., Street, Malcolm, Avancea, Villamor, Ostrand
be suppressed, and, if need be, the offenders punished by the and Johns, JJ., concur.
proper authorities of the local jurisdiction. It may not be easy at
all times to determine which of the two jurisdictions a particular ARTICLE 3. FELONIES
act of disorder belongs. Much will undoubtedly depend on the A. FELONIES VS. OFFENSE VS. CRIME VS.
attending circumstances of the particular case, but all must MISDEAMOR
concede that felonious homicide is a subject for the local B. KINDS OF FELONIES
jurisdiction, and that if the proper authorities are proceeding 1.) INTENTIONAL FELONIES (DOLO)
with the case in the regular way the consul has no right to
interfere to prevent it.
Hence in United States vs. Look Chaw (18 Phil., 573), this court G.R. No. L-68969 January 22, 1988
held that: PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
Although the mere possession of an article of prohibited use in vs.
the Philippine Islands, aboard a foreign vessel in transit in any USMAN HASSAN y AYUN, respondent.
local port, does not, as a general rule, constitute a crime triable
by the courts of the Islands, such vessels being considered as an SARMIENTO, J.:
extension of its own nationality, the same rule does not apply This is a pauper's appeal of the decision 1 of the Regional Trial
when the article, the use of which is prohibited in the Islands, is Court of Zamboanga City, Ninth Judicial Region Branch XIII,
landed from the vessels upon Philippine soil; in such a case an dated January 25, 1984, which "finds the accused USMAN
open violation of the laws of the land is committed with respect HASSAN y AYUN guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principal
to which, as it is a violation of the penal law in force at the place of the Crime of MURDER, and there being neither aggravating
of the commission of the crime, no court other than that nor mitigating circumstance attending the commission of the
established in the said place has jurisdiction of the offense, in crime, and pursuant to Paragraph No. 1 of Article 64 of the
the absence of an agreement under an international treaty. Revised Penal Code, hereby imposes upon the said accused the
As to whether the United States has ever consented by treaty or penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA and all its accessory
otherwise to renouncing such jurisdiction or a part thereof, we penalties; to indemnify the heirs of the deceased victim Ramon
find nothing to this effect so far as England is concerned, to Pichel, Jr. y Uro the amount of P12,000.00 and to pay the
which nation the ship where the crime in question was costs." 2
committed belongs. Besides, in his work "Treaties, Usman Hassan was accused of murder for stabbing to death
Conventions, etc.," volume 1, page 625, Malloy says the Ramon Pichel, Jr. y Uro, 24, single, and a resident of
following: Zamboanga City. 3 At the time of his death on July 23,1981, the
There shall be between the territories of the United States of deceased was employed as manager of the sand and gravel
America, and all the territories of His Britanic Majesty in business of his father. On the other hand, Hassan was an
Europe, a reciprocal liberty of commerce. The inhabitants of the illiterate, 15-year-old pushcart cargador. 4
two countries, respectively, shall have liberty freely and The quality of justice and the majesty of the law shine ever
securely to come with their ships and cargoes to all such places, brightest when they are applied with more jealousy to the poor,
ports and rivers, in the territories aforesaid, to which other the marginalized, and the disadvantaged. Usman Hassan, the
foreigners are permitted to come, to enter into the same, and to herein accused-appellant, belongs to this class. At the time of
remain and reside in any parts of the said territories, the alleged commission of the crime, he was poor,
respectively; also to hire and occupy houses and warehouses for marginalized, and disadvantaged. He was a flotsam in a sea of
the purposes of their commerce; and, generally, the merchants violence, following the odyssey of his widowed mother from
and traders of each nation respectively shall enjoy the most one poverty-stricken area to another in order to escape the
complete protection and security for their commerce, but ravages of internicine war and rebellion in Zamboanga del Sur.
subject always to the laws and statutes of the two countries, In the 15 years of Hassan's existence, he and his family had to
respectively. (Art. 1, Commerce and Navigation Convention.) evacuate to other places for fear of their lives, six times. His
We have seen that the mere possession of opium aboard a existence in this world has not even been officially recorded;
foreign vessel in transit was held by this court not triable by or his birth has not been registered in the Registry of Births
courts, because it being the primary object of our Opium Law because the Samal tribe, to which he belongs, does not see the
to protect the inhabitants of the Philippines against the importance of registering births and deaths.
disastrous effects entailed by the use of this drug, its mere Usman was convicted on the bases of the testimony of a lone
possession in such a ship, without being used in our territory, eyewitness for the prosecution and the sloppiness of the
does not being about in the said territory those effects that our investigation conducted by the police investigator, Police
statute contemplates avoiding. Hence such a mere possession is Corporal Rogelio Carpio of the Homicide and Arson Section of
not considered a disturbance of the public order. the Zamboanga City Police Station, who also testified for the
But to smoke opium within our territorial limits, even though prosecution.
aboard a foreign merchant ship, is certainly a breach of the We rule that Usman Hassan's guilt was not proved beyond
public order here established, because it causes such drug to reasonable doubt and that Usman Hassan must, therefore, be set
produce its pernicious effects within our territory. It seriously free.
contravenes the purpose that our Legislature has in mind in The lone eyewitness for the prosecution is Jose Samson, 24
enacting the aforesaid repressive statute. Moreover, as the years old when he testified, married, and a resident of
Attorney-General aptly observes: Zamboanga City. On the day of the killing, he was employed at
. . . The idea of a person smoking opium securely on board a the sand and gravel business of the father of the deceased but
foreign vessel at anchor in the port of Manila in open defiance was jobless at the time of his examination-in-chief on February
of the local authorities, who are impotent to lay hands on him, 3, 1982.
is simply subversive of public order. It requires no unusual He testified that he was with Ramon Pichel, Jr. at about 7:00
stretch of the imagination to conceive that a foreign ship may o'clock in the evening of July 23, 1981; that he was a backrider
come into the port of Manila and allow or solicit Chinese in the motorcycle of Ramon when they went to buy mangoes at
residents to smoke opium on board. Fruit Paradise near the Barter Trade Zone in Zamboanga City
The order appealed from is revoked and the cause ordered that while he was selecting mangoes, he saw a person stab
remanded to the court of origin for further proceedings in Ramon who was seated at his red Honda motorcycle which was
accordance with law, without special findings as to costs. So parked about two or three meters from the fruit stand where he
ordered. Samson) was selecting mangoes; that he saw the assailant stab
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Ramon "only once" and that after the stabbing, the assailant ran and rushed him to Zamboanga General Hospital, on board a
towards the PNB Building. When asked at the cross- Tricycle. That may companion (Ramon) did not whispered (sic)
examination if he knew the assailant, Samson said, "I know him any words to me for he was in serious condition and few
by face but I do not know his name." 5 minutes later, he expired.
This sole eyewitness recounted the stabbing thus: "While Q-15. Was tills unidentified person was with companion when
Ramoncito Pichel, Jr. was holding the motorcycle with both of he attack (sic) Ramon Pitcher Jr.?
his hands, the assailant come from behind, held his left hand A-15. He was alone Sir.
and stabbed him from behind on his chest while the victim was Q-16. Can you really Identified (sic) this person who attacked
sitting on the motorcycle." He claimed that he was able to see and stabbed your companion, Ramon Pitcher, Jr., that evening
the assailant because it was very bright there that Ramon was in question?
facing the light of a petromax lamp, and that all these happened A-16. Yes, Sir,
in front of the fruit stand a distance of about 6 to 7 meters Q-17. Do you still remember that confrontation we made at the
from the side of the road. Office of La Merced Funeral Homes, wherein you were
Samson described the assailant as wearing a white, short- confronted with one Usman Hassan, whom this Officer brought
sleeved t-shirt and maong pants, but "he did not see if the along?
aggressor was wearing shoes," that the assailant stabbed Ramon A-17. Yes, Sir.
with a knife but "he did not exactly see what kind of knife it Q-18. Was he the very person, who attacked and stabbed your
was, and he did not see how long the knife was He said he companion, Ramon Pitcher, Jr.?
brought the wounded Ramon to the Zamboanga City General A-18. Yes, Sir, he was the very person who attacked and
Hospital in a tricycle. stabbed my companion, Ramon Pitcher, Jr., that evening in
On cross-examination, Samson testified: question.
xxx xxx xxx Q-19. Why?
Q When you rushed Ramon Pichel, Jr. to the hospital you came A-19. Because his face and other physical appearance were
to know that he was already dead, is that correct? fully noted by me and this I cannot forget for the rest of my life.
A Yes, sir, I learned that he was already dead. Q-20. Before this incident, was there any altercation that had
Q In the hospital, were you investigated by the police? ensued while in the process of buying some mangoes in that
A They just asked the description of that person as to his attire area?
and his appearance. A-20. None Sir.
Q And it was while in the hospital that you told them the Q-21. Were you able to note what kind of knife used by said
description of the one who stabbed Ramon Pichel, Jr.? Usman Hassan in stabbing your companion, Ramon Pitcher Jr.?
A Yes, Sir. A-21: None Sir,
Q And the body of Ramon Pichel, Jr., was brought to the Q-22. Well, I have nothing more to ask of you, do you have
Funeraria La Merced? anything more to say, add or alter in this statement?
A Yes, sir, A-22. No more Sir.
Q Can you recall what time was that? Q-23. Are you willing to give a supplemental statement if
A I do not know what time was that. needed in the future?
Q And it was all La Merced Funeraria that the police brought to A-23. Yes, Sir. 9
you the accused? (Emphasis supplied)
A... xxx xxx xxx
Q For Identification? The version of the sole eyewitness appearing in his
A Yes, sir. statement 10 is substantially the same as that embodied in the
Q And he was alone when you Identified him? "Case Report," Exhibit it "C", by Police Corporal Carpio, also
A Yes he was alone. admitted a s Exhibit "2." This exhibit for the prosecution
Q Aside from working with the Pichel family in their sand and confirms the sworn statement of witness Samson that an
gravel business, do you have any blood relationship with them? unidentified person, whom he recognized only by face,
A Yes. sir. 6 appeared and without any provocation, the latter embraced the
(Emphasis supplied) victim and stabbed the same allegedly with a knife." The rest of
xxx xxx xxx the Case Report: is also significant in that it confirms the
What comes as a surprise is that Samson's statement 7 which confrontation between the accused and Jose Samson in the
was taken only on July 25, 1981, two days after the stabbing, funeral parlor arranged by the police Investigator and
and sworn to only on July 27, 1981, also two days after it was prosecution witness, Corporal Carpio.
taken, or four days after the killing, was never presented or xxx xxx xxx
mentioned by the prosecution at all. The information was From this end, a follow-up was made within the premises of the
practically forced out of Police Corporal Rogelio P. Carpio, a Old Barter Trade, wherein the person of USMAN HASSAN Y
witness for the People, during his cross-examination. 8 The AYUN, of Paso Bolong, this City, was arrested in connection
sworn statement contained the following questions and with the above stated incident. That this Officer and
answers: companions arrested this person Usman due to his physical
xxx xxx xxx appearance, which was fully described by victim's companion.
Q-14. What and please narrate it to me briefly in your own Jose Samson. During his arrest, a knife, measuring to more or
words, the incident you are referring? less seven (7) inches in blade was confiscated in his possession.
A-14. While I was busy selecting some mangoes, I saw The person of Usman Hassan was brought along at the La
unidentified person whom I can recognize by face if seen again Merced Funeral Homes for a confrontation with victims
embraced my companion Ramon Pitcher Jr. while the latter was companion, Jose Samson and in this confrontation, Jose
aboard his motorcycle parked within the area. That this person Samson positively Identified said Usman Hassan as the very
without much ado, and armed with a knife suddenly stabbed person who stabbed the victim.
him (Ramon). That by coincidence to this incident, our eye met Usman Hassan, on the other hand, denied the charges levelled
each other and immediately thereafter, he fled the area toward against hub and admitted ownership of said knife; claiming
the Philippine National Bank (PNB). That this unidentified among other things that he used said knife for slicing
person was sporting a semi-long hair, dressed in White Polo- mangoes. 11
Shirt (Short sleeve), maong pants height to more or less 5'5, xxx xxx xxx
Dark Complexion. That as this unidentified person fled the area We hold that the evidence for the prosecution in its entirety does
I immediately came to aid my companion, Ramon Pitcher, Jr., not satisfy the quantum of proof beyond reasonable doubt

Page 5 of 51
required by the Constitution, the law, and applicable generated confidence where there was none, activated visual
jurisprudence to convict an accused person. The said evidence imagination, and, all told, subserted his reliability as
denies us the moral certainty which would allow us to eyewitness. This unusual, coarse, and highly singular method
pronounce, without uneasiness of conscience. Usman Hassan y of Identification, which revolts against the accepted principles
Ayun guilty of the killing of the deceased Ramon Pichel, Jr. y of scientific crime detection, alienates the esteem of every just
Uro, and condemn him to life imprisonment and in effect man, and commands neither our respect nor acceptance." 20
turning him into a flotsam again in a sea of convicted felons in Moreover, the confrontation arranged by the police investigator
which he would be a very young stranger. between the self-proclaimed eyewitness and the accused did
In evaluating the worth of the testimony of the lone eyewitness violence to the right of the latter to counsel in all stages of the
for the prosecution against the denial and alibi of the accused, investigation into the commission of a crime especially at its
value judgment must not be separated from the constitutionally most crucial stage the Identification of the accused.
guaranteed presumption of innocence. As it turned out, the method of Identification became just a
When the evidence for the prosecution and the evidence for the confrontation. At that critical and decisive moment, the scales
accused are weighed, the scales must be tipped in favor of the of justice tipped unevenly against the young, poor, and
latter. This is because of the constitutional presumtion of disadvantaged accused. The police procedure adopted in this
innocence the accused enjoys as a counter-foil to the awesome case in which only the accused was presented to witness
authority of the State that is prosecuting him. Samson, in the funeral parlor, and in the presence of the
The element of doubt, if reasonable in this case, must operate grieving relatives of the victim, is as tainted as an uncounselled
against the inference of guilt the prosecution would draw from confession and thus falls within the same ambit of the
its evidence. That evidence, as it happens, consists only of the constitutionally entrenched protection. For this infringement
uncorroborated statement of the two policemen which, as alone, the accused-appellant should be acquitted.
previously observed, is flawed and therefore suspect. 12 Moreover, aside from this slipshod Identification procedure, the
The testimony of Jose Samson, the lone eyewitness, is weak and rest of the investigation of the crime and the preparation of the
unconvincing. And so with the evidence sought to be evidence for prosecution were done haphazardly, perfunctorily,
introduced by Police Corporal Carpio. We discover, for and superficially. Samson was not investigated thoroughly and
example, that the expert testimony of the medico-legal officer immediately after the incident. As previously mentioned, his
of the National Bureau of Investigation, Dr. Valentin Bernalez, statement was taken by the investigator only two days after the
presented by the prosecution, contradicted, on material points, murder of Ramon Pichel, Jr. and sworn only two days after it
the testimony of the one eyewitness, Jose Samson. While had been taken. Similarly, there is nothing in the record to show
Samson averred on the witness stand that he saw the assailant that the fruit vendorfrom whom Samson and the deceased
stab the deceased "from behind on his chest" 13 only once, the were buying mangoes that fateful evening and who certainly
NBI medico-legal officer Identified two stab wounds, one at the must have witnessed the fatal stabbingwas investigated, or
front portion of the chest at the level and third rib, (sic) and why he was not investigated. Nor is any explanation given as to
another stab wound located at the left arm posterior why the companion 21 of the accused at the time Corporal
aspect." 14 The same medical expert also concluded from the Carpio arrested him (accused) 'sitting on a pushcart " 22 at about
nature and location of the chest wound, which was the cause of 8:00 P.M. (around 7:00 P.M., according to Usman) of that same
death, that the same was inflicted on the victim while the evening near the scene of the crime, was not also investigated
alleged accused was in front of him." 15 when he could have been a material witness of the killing or of
The investigation of this case by the Homicide/Arson Section the innocence of the accused. In addition, the knife and its
of the Zamboanga Southern Police Sector, 16 at Zamboanga scabbard, 23 Confiscated by Carpio from Usman (tucked on the
City, particularly by Police Corporal Rogelio P. Carpio, leaves right side of his waist") at the time of his arrest, were not even
much to be desired. For one, we are not satisfied with the subjected to any testing at all to determine the presence of
procedure adopted by the police investigators in the human blood which could be typed and compared with the
Identification of the accused as the assailant. We have no doubt blood type of the deceased. A crime laboratory test had
that Usman Hassan was "presented" alone 17 to Jose Samson by Carpio or the prosecuting fiscal, or even the trial judge, insisted
the police investigator and prosecution witness, Police Corporal on it would have revealed whether or not the knife in
Carpio, and his police companions, at the office of the La question (confiscated from the accused by Carpio one hour after
Merced Funeral Homes in Zamboanga City. As correctly the alleged commission of the crime) had indeed been the
termed by the very evidence 18 of the prosecution, the procedure weapon used to kill Ramon. The police investigator instead
adopted by the police investigators was a confrontation" nonchalantly dismissed this sin of omission by saying that the
between Jose Samson, Jr. and Usman. Earlier, on direct knife could have been cleaned or the bloodstain could have been
examination, Corporal Carpio testified that Usman was alone taken away. 24 This presumption of the deadly weapon's having
when he was brought to Samson for confrontation in the funeral been "cleaned" of bloodstains is tantamount to pronouncing the
parlor. However, on cross-examination, Carpio made a accused of being guilty.
turnabout by saying that the accused was Identified by Samson Our doubt about the guilt of the accused is further deepened by
in a "police line-up;" this tergiversation we dare say, was an a resolution, 25 in a separate case, 26 of Assistant City Fiscal of
afterthought, more the result of an over or careless cross- Zamboanga City and deputized Tanod bayan Prosecutor Pablo
examination, augmented by the leading questions 19 of the trial Murillo, which clearly reveals that on July 24, 1981, a day after
judge rather than a fastidiousness if not sincerity, on the part of the killing of Ramon Pichel, Jr., a similar stabbing took place at
the police investigator, to honestly correct erroneous statements Plaza Pershing near the place of the earlier incident, with the
in his examination-in-chief. The fact remains that both Samson suspect in that frustrated homicide case being a certain Benhar
and the accused testified clearly and unequivocably that Usman Isa, 'a notorious and a deadly police character" in Zamboanga
was alone when presented to Samson by Carpio. There was no City, with a long record of arrests. In that resolution, Fiscal
such police line-up as the police investigator, to honestly Murillo said the same Benhar Isa was tagged as 'also a suspect
correct erreoneous statements in his examination-in-chief. The in the stabbing of Ramon Pichel, Jr. to death and the stabbing
fact remains that both Samson and the accused testified clearly of Pastor Henry Villagracia at the Fruit Paradise, this City." The
and unequivocably that Usman was alone when presented to said resolution further states that "with regards to this incident
Samson by Carpio. There was no such police investigator or witnesses ever testified for fear of possible reprisals." 27
claimed on second thought. The trial of Usman Hassan began on October 27, 1981. Benhar
The manner by which Jose Samson, Jr. was made to confront Isa himself was killed by a policeman on August 28, 1981,
and Identify the accused alone at the funeral parlor, without while he (Isa) "was apparently under the influence of liquor
being placed in the police line-up, was "pointedly suggsestive, armed with a knife (was) molesting and extorting money from

Page 6 of 51
innocent civilians' and "making trouble." 28 The records of the there is doubt as to the Identity of the culprit 36 as when 'the
case at bar do not show any attempt on the part of Corporal Identification is extremely tenuous," 37 as in this case.
Carpio, or any other police officer, to investigate or question We can not end this travail without adverting to the cavalier
Benhar Isa in connection with the killing of Pichel, Jr. Was it manner in which the trial court disregarded the claimed young
fear of the notorious police character that made the police age of Usman Hassan.
officers disregard the possible connection between the slaying The defense claims that the accused Usman Hassan is a minor,
of Ramon and that of the person (Harun Acan y Arang of the basing such claim on the testimony of Lahunay Hassan, the
Ministry of National Defense) 29 who was allegedly stabbed by mother of said accused, who declared that her son Usman
Benhar Isa a day after the killing of Ramon Jr.? And yet Hassan, who is one of her four (4) children, was born in the year
questioning Isa might have provided that vital link to the 1967. She testified that she was just told by a person coming
resolution of Usman's guilt or innocence. But why should the from their place about the year of the birth of her son Usman.
police officers investigate Isa when Usman Hassan was already However on cross-examination, Lahunay Hassan cannot even
in custody and could be an available fall guy? Usman Hassan, remember the date or year of birth of her other children. The
instead, became a victim of a grave injustice. Indeed, Usman failure of Lahunay Hassan to remember the date or year of birth
Hassan is too poor to wage a legal fight to prove his innocence. of her children is of course understandable, considering that she
And he is so marginalized as to claim and deserve an honest-to- is unschooled and she belongs to a tribe that does not register
goodness, thorough, and fair police investigation with all angles births, deaths or marriages, however, it is strange that she only
and leads pursued to their logical, if not scientific, conclusions. took pains to find out the year of birth of her son Usman. For
Sadly circumstanced as he is, the authority of the State was too this reason, the Court granted a motion of the defense on
awesome for him to counteract. September 13, 1982, to have the herein accused examined by a
The appealed decision made much ado of the admission by competent dentist to determine his age. However, the findings
Usman "that he was arrested at the former barter trade, which is of the dentist of Zamboanga General Hospital which is marked
a place just across the place of the stabbing at the Fruit as Exhibit "5" shows the following: "age cannot be determined
Paradise." 30 The trial judge found it "therefore strange that on accurately under present mouth conditions. Approximately, he
the very evening of the stabbing incident he was still at the can be from 14 to 21 years of age." This simply means that the
barter trade area by 8:00 o'clock in the evening when he usually herein accused could either be 14 years of age or 21 years of
comes to the city proper at about 6:00 o'clock in the morning age, or any age in between those aforestated years. From the
and goes home at past 5:00 o'clock and sometimes 6:00 o'clock observation of this court, the accused Usman Hassan was about
in the afternoon." 31 Usman's explanation that, at around 18 years of age at the time he committed this crime and this
7:00 o'clock P.M., he was waiting for transportation to take him observation is based on his personal appearance, his size and
home was found by the trial court as 'flimsy and weak since facial features and other personal characteristics, hence he can
he did not explain why he had to go home late that not be classified as a youthful offender under Article. 189 of
evening." 32 But the whole trouble is nobody asked him. The Presendential Decree No. 603, as ammended by Presedential
trial judge did not propound any single question to the accused, Decree No. 1179. In the case of U.S. vs. Mallari, 29 Phil. 13
and only three to his mother on innocuous matters, by way of and People vs. Reyes and Panganiban, CA 48 O.G. 1022, cited
clarification, if only to put on record what the mother and son in the Edition, Page 680, it was ruled by the Supreme Court that
could articulate with clarity. Taking into account their poverty "In cases where the age of the culprit is at issue as a basis for
and illiteracy, the mother and son needed as much, if not more, claiming an exempting mitigating circumstance, it is incumbent
help, than the trial judge extended to the prosecution witnesses upon the accused to establish that circumstance ad any other
during their examination by asking them clarificatory and elements of defense. 38
mostly leading questions. In that sense and to that extent, the Considering that the age of the accused could exempt him from
accused was disadvantaged. punishment or cause the suspension of his sentence under
A fact that looms large, though mutely to testify on the Articles 12 and 80, respectively of the Revised Penal Code, if
innocence of the accused but the importance of which was found guilty, more meticulousness and care should have been
brushed away by the trial judge was the presence of the accused demanded of medical or scientific sources, and less reliance on
near the scene (about 100 to 150 meters away) soon after the the observation of the judge as had happened in this case. The
stabbing (he testified at around 7:00 P.M. although Police preliminary findings of the dentist that the accused could be
Corporal Carpio stated it was 8:00 P.M.) where he was found anywhere between fourteen to twenty one years, despite the
sitting on his pushcart with a companion. If he were the difficulty of arriving at an accurate determination due to
assailant, he would have fled. But the trial court instead Hassan's mouth condition, would have placed the trial judge on
indulged in conjecture, foisting the probability that the accused notice that there is the probability that the accused might be
'was lulled by a false sense of security in returning to the place exempted from criminal liability due to his young age. All the
(of the stabbing), when no police officers immediately foregoing indicates that the accused had not been granted the
responded and appeared at the scene of the crime," adding 'there concern and compassion with which the poor, marginalized,
are numerous cases in the past where criminals return to the and disadvantaged so critically deserve. It is when judicial and
scene of their crimes, for reasons only psychologist can police processes and procedures are thoughtlessly and
explain." 33 It must have escaped the trial court's attention that haphazardly observed that cries of the law and justice being
Usman has no criminal record, and, therefore, he could not be denied the poor are heard. In any event, all this would not be of
generally classed with criminals. In the second place, the trial any moment now, considering the acquittal of the accused
court's rationalization ignores the biblical truism recognized by herein ordered.
human nature and endorsed with approval by this Court that WHEREFORE, the decision is hereby REVERSED, and the
"(T)he wicked flee when no man pursueth but the righteous are accused Usman Hassan y Ayun is ACQUITTED of the crime
as bold as a lion." 34 charged. His release from confinement is hereby Ordered,
And now as a penultimate observation, we could not help but unless he is held for another legal cause. With costs de oficio.
note the total absence of motive ascribed to Usman for stabbing SO ORDERED.
Ramon, a complete stranger to him. While, as a general rule,
motive is not essential in order to arrive at a conviction, G.R. No. L-66884 May 28, 1988
because, after all, motive is a state of mind, 35 procedurally, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
however, for purposes of complying with the requirement that vs.
a judgment of guilty must stem from proof beyond reasonable VICENTE TEMBLOR alias "RONALD," defendant-
doubt, the lack of motive on the part of the accused plays a appellant.
pivotal role towards his acquittal. This is especially true where The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Page 7 of 51
Wilfred D. Asis for defendant-appellant. by a 40-watt flourescent lamp and by an incandescent lamp
outside. Her testimony was corroborated by another
GRIO-AQUINO, J.: prosecution witness a tricycle driver, Claudio Sabanal
The accused-appellant Vicente Temblor alias "Ronald" was who was a long-time acquaintance of the accused and who
charged with the crime of murder in Criminal Case No. 1809 of knew him as "Ronald." He saw the accused in the store of
the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of Cagampang at about 7:30 o'clock in the evening of December
Agusan del Norte and Butuan City for shooting to death Julius 30, 1980. He heard the gunshots coming from inside the store,
Cagampang. The information alleged: and saw the people scampering away.
That on or about the evening of December 30, 1980 at Talo-ao, Dr. Alfredo Salonga who issued the post-mortem examination
Buenavista, Agusan del Norte, Philippines and within the report certified that the victim sustained three (3) gunshot
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused wounds.
conspiring, and confederating with one another with Anecito Rebutting the accused's alibi, the prosecution presented a
Ellevera who is at large, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully Certification of the Nasipit Lumber Company's Personnel
and feloniously, with treachery and with intent to kill, attack, Officer, Jose F. Tinga (Exh. D), and the NALCO Daily Time
assault and shoot with firearms one Julius Cagampang, hitting Record of Silverio Perol (Exh. D), showing that Perol was not
the latter on the vital parts of the body thereby inflicting mortal at home drinking with the accused and his father, but was at
wounds, causing the direct and instantaneous death of the said work on December 30, 1980 from 10:50 o'clock in the evening
Julius Cagampang. up to 7:00 o'clock in the morning of December 31, 1980. The
CONTRARY TO LAW: Article 248 of the Revised Penal accused did not bother to overcome this piece of rebuttal
Code. evidence.
Upon arraignment on June 8, 1982, he entered a plea of not In this appeal, the appellant alleges that the court a quo erred:
guilty. After trial, he was convicted and sentenced to suffer the 1. in finding that he was positively identified by the prosecution
penalty of reclusion perpetua, with the accessory penalties witness as the killer of the deceased Julius Cagampang; and
thereof under Articles 41 and 42 of the Revised Penal Code, and 2. in rejecting his defense of allbi.
to indemnify the heirs of the victim in the amount of P12,000 The appeal deserves no merit. Was the accused positively
without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. He Identified as the killer of Cagampang? The settled rule is that
appealed. the trial court's assessment of the credibility of witnesses while
The evidence of the prosecution showed that at about 7:30 in testifying is generally binding on the appellate court because of
the evening of December 30, 1980, while Cagampang, his wife its superior advantage in observing their conduct and demeanor
and their two children, were conversing in the store adjacent to and its findings, when supported by convincingly credible
their house in Barangay Talo-ao, Buenavista, Province of evidence as in the case at bar, shall not be disturbed on appeal
Agusan del Norte, the accused Vicente Temblor alias Ronald, (People vs. Dava, 149 SCRA, 582).<re||an1w>
arrived and asked to buy a half-pack of Hope cigarettes. While The minor inconsistencies in the testimony of the eyewitness
Cagampang was opening a pack of cigarettes, there was a Victorina Vda. de Cagampang did not diminish her credibility,
sudden burst of gunfire and Cagampang instantly fell on the especially because she had positively Identified the accused as
floor, wounded and bleeding on the head. His wife Victorina, her husband's assailant, and her testimony is corroborated by
upon seeing that her husband had been shot, shouted her the other witnesses. Her testimony is credible, probable and
husband's name "Jul" Two persons, one of whom she later entirely in accord with human experience.
Identified as the accused, barged into the interior of the store Appellant's self-serving and uncorroborated alibi cannot prevail
through the main door and demanded that she brings out her over the positive Identification made by the prosecution
husband's firearm. "Igawas mo ang iyang armas!" ("You let out witnesses who had no base motives to falsely accuse him of the
his firearm!") they shouted. The accused fired two more shots crime. Furthermore, the rule is that in order for an alibi to be
at the fallen victim. Terrified, Victorina hurried to get the acceptable as a defense, it is not enough that the appellant was
"maleta" (suitcase) where her husband's firearm was hidden. somewhere else when the crime was committed; it must be
She gave the suitcase to the accused who, after inspecting its demonstrated beyond doubt that it was physically impossible
contents, took her husband's .38 caliber revolver, and fled. for him to be at the scene of the crime. Here it was admitted that
In 1981, some months after the incident, Victorina was Perol's house in barrio Camagong, Nasipit is accessible to
summoned to the Buenavista police station by the Station barrio Talo-ao in Buenavista by jeep or tricycle via a well-paved
Commander Milan, where she saw and Identified the accused road in a matter of 15 to 20 minutes. The testimony of the
as the man who killed her husband. witnesses who had positively Identified him could not be
The accused's defense was an alibi. He alleged that from 4:00 overcome by the defendant's alibi. (People vs. Mercado, 97
o'clock in the afternoon of December 30, 1980, he and his father SCRA 232; People vs. Venancio Ramilo, 146 SCRA 258.)
had been in the house of Silverio Perol in Barangay Camagong, Appellant's alleged lack of motive for killing Cagampang was
Nasipit, Agusan del Norte, where they spent the night drinking rejected by the trial court which opined that the defendant's
over a slaughtered dog as "pulutan," until 8:00 o'clock in the knowledge that Cagampang possessed a firearm was motive
morning of the following day, December 31, 1980. enough to kill him as killings perpetrated by members of the
The accused and his companion, admittedly members of the New People's Army for the sole purpose of acquiring more arms
dreaded NPA (New People's Army) were not apprehended and ammunition for their group are prevalent not only in
earlier because they hid in the mountains of Malapong with Agusan del Norte but elsewhere in the country. It is known as
other members- followers of the New People's Army. Temblor the NPA's "agaw armas" campaign. Moreover, proof of motive
surrendered to Mayor Dick Carmona of Nasipit during the mass is not essential when the culprit has been positively Identified
surrender of dissidents in August, 1981. He was arrested by the (People vs. Tan, Jr., 145 SCRA 615).
Buenavista Police at the Buenavista public market on The records further show that the accused and his companion
November 26, 1981 and detained at the Buenavista municipal fled after killing Cagampang and taking his firearm. They hid
jail. in the mountains of Agusan del Norte. Their flight was an
The accused capitalized the fact that the victim's widow, implied admission of guilt (People vs. Dante Astor, 149 SCRA
Victorina, did not know him by name. That circumstance 325; People vs. Realon, 99 SCRA 422).
allegedly renders the Identification of the accused, as the WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is affirmed in all
perpetrator of her husband's killing, insufficient. However, respects, except as to the civil indemnity payable to the heirs of
during the trial, the accused was positively identified by the the Julius Cagampang which is increased to P30,000.00.
widow who recognized him because she was less than a meter SO ORDERED.
away from him inside the store which was well lighted inside Narvasa, Cruz, Gancayco and Medialdea, JJ., concur.

Page 8 of 51
crime. He was then fetching water.[20] Earlier, at about 5:30
EN BANC p.m., he and Flores met but they did not greet each other. There
[G.R. No. 135919. May 9, 2003] was no altercation between them. Hence, he could not
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. DANNY understand why De Leon and Tablate testified against him.
DELOS SANTOS Y FERNANDEZ, appellant. Sonny Bautista testified that on that particular date and time, he
DECISION and appellant were in their aunties house in San Jose del Monte,
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: Bulacan.[21] They watched television up to 8:30 p.m. and then
For automatic review is the Decision[1] dated October 2, 1998 went home. At about 10:00 p.m., appellant was
of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 21, Malolos, Bulacan, in arrested. Bautista did not inform the policemen that they were
Criminal Case No. 3551798, finding appellant Danny delos watching television in their aunties house at the time the crime
Santos guilty of the crime of murder and sentencing him to took place. Neither did he accompany appellant to the police
suffer the penalty of death. station.[22]
In the Information[2] dated February 23, 1998, appellant was On October 2, 1998, the trial court rendered a Decision, the
charged with murder, thus: dispositive portion of which reads:
That on or about the 6th day of November 1997, in the All premises considered, this Court resolves and so holds that
Municipality of San Jose, Del Monte, Province of Bulacan, the prosecution has been able to establish the criminal
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, culpability of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.
the above-named accused, armed with a kitchen knife, with Accordingly, Danny delos Santos is hereby found guilty of the
intent to kill one Rod Flores y Juanitas, with evident crime of Murder with the qualifying circumstance of treachery.
premeditation, treachery and taking advantage of superior In the imposition of the penalty, the Court hereby takes into
strength, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and account the brutality in the manner by which the life of the
feloniously attack, assault and stab with the said kitchen knife victim was taken, and if only to serve as deterrent to others who
said Rod Flores y Juanitas, hitting him on the different parts of might be similarly obsessed, it is believed that the higher of the
his body, thereby inflicting upon him mortal wounds which two penalties provided should be meted to the accused herein.
directly caused his death. Absent any circumstance that would mitigate the severity of his
Upon arraignment, appellant pleaded not guilty.[3] Thereafter, criminal act and pursuant to Articles 248 of the Revised Penal
trial on the merits ensued. The prosecution presented Marcelino Code, as amended by Section 6, Republic Act no. 7659, the
de Leon, Marvin Tablate, Dr. Benito Caballero and Romeo accused Danny delos Santos y Fernandez is hereby sentenced
Flores as its witnesses. Appellant and Sonny Bautista took the to suffer the penalty of Death by lethal injection.
witness stand for the defense. Further, the accused is condemned to indemnify the heirs of the
Marcelino De Leon testified that at around 8:00 p.m. of deceased the amount of P50,000.00 for the victims
November 6, 1997, he saw Rod Flores drinking gin with death. Moreover, accused delos Santos is ordered to pay the
Narciso Salvador, Marvin Tablate and Jayvee Rainier at the said heirs of the deceased Rod Flores the following sums of
latters house in Sarmiento Homes, San Jose del Monte, money:
Bulacan.[4] As he was about to fetch water from a nearby faucet, 1. P264,000.00 for loss of earning capacity;
he approached them and borrowed Flores cart.[5] While waiting 2. P55,070.00 for actual and compensatory damages;
for the cart, he stood across Flores who was then seated and 3. P50,000.00 for moral damages;
conversing with the group.[6] Suddenly, appellant emerged from 4. P50,000.00 for exemplary damages.
the back of Flores and stabbed him with a knife, [7] making an With costs against the accused.
upward and downward thrust.[8] Flores ran after he was stabbed SO ORDERED.
twice.[9] Appellant pursued him and stabbed him many In his Appellants brief, appellant ascribes to the trial court the
times.[10] As a result, Flores intestines bulged out of his following errors:
stomach.[11] Appellant ceased stabbing Flores only after he saw I
him dead. Thereafter, he turned his ire against Jayvee Rainier THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING
and chased him. Fearful for his life, witness De Leon hid FULL FAITH AND CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONY
himself and later on reported the incident to the police. [12] OF THE ALLEGED EYEWITNESSES, AND IN NOT
Marvin Tablate corroborated De Leons testimony. On cross- ACQUITTING ACCUSED-APPELANT ON GROUND OF
examination, Tablate testified that he tried to help Flores by REASONABLE DOUBT.
separating him from the appellant who ran away.[13] He also II
testified that the latter joined his group at about 11:00 a.m. and THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN ORDERING
kept on coming back and forth. ACCUSED-APPELLANT TO INDEMNIFY THE HEIRS
Dr. Caballero declared on the witness stand that Flores suffered OF VICTIM THE AMOUNT OF P50,000.00 FOR
twenty-one (21) stab wounds in the frontal, posterior and lateral VICTIMS DEATH; P264,000.00 FOR LOSS OF
side of his body, eleven (11) of which were fatal. Dr. Caballero EARNING CAPACITY; P55,070.00 FOR ACTUAL AND
said it was possible that appellant was behind Flores COMPENSATORY DAMAGES; P50,000.00 FOR
considering the stab wounds inflicted at his back.[14] According MORAL DAMAGES; AND P50,000.00 FOR
to the doctor, Flores died because of massive external/internal EXEMPLARY DAMAGES.[23]
hemorrhages due to multiple stab wounds in the thorax and Appellant contends that there are some inconsistencies between
abdomen penetrating both lungs, heart, stomach, liver, spleen the testimonies of De Leon and Tablate, the prosecution
and intestines.[15] witnesses. Also, there is no evidence that he has a motive to kill
Romeo Flores testified that his son Rod Flores was then Flores. In fact, there was no previous heated argument or
working at Vitarich, Marilao, Bulacan, earning P600.00 every altercation between them. That the prosecution witnesses
15th day of the month;[16] that he spent P100,000.00 for his sons executed their sworn statements only after two months from the
burial and wake; that he has receipts in the amount commission of the crime raises doubt as to their
of P19,110.00 spent for the funeral services and the cost of the credibility. Finally, the evidence for the prosecution failed to
cemetery lot[17] and a list of other expenses in the amount meet the exacting test of moral certainty, hence, the trial court
of P35,960.00;[18] and that his family has been grieving for the should not have ordered him to indemnify the heirs of Flores.
loss of a loved one. The Solicitor General, in the Appellees brief, counters
Appellant had a different version of the events. He denied the that: (a) the inconsistencies pointed out by appellant are minor
accusation and declared that on November 6, 1997 at 8:00 p.m., and do not vitiate the fact that he was the one who killed
he was in his aunties house in Muson, San Jose del Monte, Flores; (b) appellants defenses of alibi and denial are worthless
Bulacan,[19] forty (40) meters away from the scene of the since he was positively identified by the prosecution

Page 9 of 51
witnesses; (c) he failed to proffer any explanation why the xxxxxx
prosecution witnesses implicated him; (d) the crime was Atty. De la Cruz:
aggravated by cruelty because he butchered Flores until his Q Was Rod Flores able to ran away?
intestines bulged out of his stomach; and (e) the heirs of Flores A Yes, sir.
are entitled to indemnification as it has been shown beyond Q Where were you when Rod Flores was running away?
reasonable doubt that appellant killed him. A We were left behind, sir. I was not able to move anymore.
The first assigned error involves a determination of the Q And was the accused able to reach Flores?
credibility of the prosecution witnesses. Settled is the rule that A Yes, sir.
when it comes to credibility of witnesses, appellate courts Q What did the accused do?
generally do not overturn the findings of trial courts. The latter A Again, he started stabbing at the back, sir.
are in a best position to ascertain and measure the sincerity and Q So the stabbing was inflicted at the back of the victim?
spontaneity of witnesses through their actual observation of the A Not all, sir, because he turned him face up and stabbed
witnesses manner of testifying, demeanor and behavior in him again, sir.[28]
court.[24] Tablates direct testimony reads:
We see no reason to deviate from this rule. Fiscal Vicente:
Appellant maintains that there are inconsistencies in the xxxxxx
testimonies of De Leon and Tablate. While De Leon testified Q How did Danny delos Santos stab Rod Flores?
that appellant did not join Flores group, however, Tablate A Patalikod, sir.
declared that he was drinking gin with them at about 11:00 Q What do you mean?
a.m. De Leon testified that no one assisted Flores when he was A Danny delos Santos stabbed Rod Flores at the back, sir.
being attacked by appellant. However, Tablate stated that he Q When you said Danny delos Santos stabbed Rod Flores at
attempted to separate Flores from appellant after the former had the back, are you saying that Danny delos Santos was at the
sustained two stab wounds. back of Rod Flores at the time?
The first alleged inconsistency is understandable. Unlike A Yes, sir.
Tablate who was with the group in a drinking spree, De Leon Q How many times did the accused stab Rod Flores?
approached Flores only when he borrowed the cart from the A I saw him stabbed the victim twice, sir. (Witness
latter at about 8:00 p.m. He stayed with Flores group only for demonstrated in downward position as if he was holding
about thirty minutes,[25] or up to 8:30 p.m. Thus, he could not something).
have observed that appellant joined the group earlier, or at about Q What was he holding?
11:00 a.m. A A knife, sir.
The second alleged inconsistency is a minor one that does not xxxxxx
enfeeble the prosecutions theory that appellant killed Court:
Flores. Evident from De Leons testimony is the fact that he was xxxxxx
so shocked in witnessing the gruesome killing of his Q Are you sure that when Rod Flores fell to the ground, he
companion. With such a state of mind, it would be too much to was not able to rise nor was he able to run away?
demand from him a full recollection of the details surrounding A He was able to run but then he was drunk and the accused
the event. Many times we have ruled that inconsistencies in the was able to catch and stab him again, sir.
testimony of witnesses when referring only to minor details and xxxxxx
collateral matters do not affect the substance of their Q Are you positive to the identity of Danny delos Santos that
declaration, their veracity, or the weight of their he was the one who stabbed Rod Flores?
testimony.[26] They only serve to strengthen rather than weaken A Yes, sir.[29]
the credibility of witnesses for they erase the suspicion of a Appellant argues that since the prosecution witnesses testified
rehearsed testimony.[27] What we find important in the case at that there was no altercation between him and Flores, it follows
bar is that the two prosecution witnesses were one in saying that that no motive to kill can be attributed to him. This is an
it was appellant who stabbed Flores with a knife. We quote the inconsequential argument. Proof of motive is not
clear and straightforward account of the incident by De Leon indispensable for a conviction, particularly where the
and Tablate. During cross-examination, De Leon testified as accused is positively identified by an eyewitness and his
follows: participation is adequately established.[30] In People vs.
Atty. De la Cruz: Galano,[31] we ruled that in the crime of murder, motive is not
Q You did not see the accused because it was dark in that an element of the offense, it becomes material only when the
place, is it not? evidence is circumstantial or inconclusive and there is some
A No, sir, he suddenly appeared from the back of Rod doubt on whether the accused had committed it. In the case
Flores and started stabbing Rod that is why we were before us, no such doubt exits as De Leon and Tablate positively
surprised. identified appellant.
Court: In a last-ditch attempt to cast doubt on the testimonies of the
Q How did the accused thrust the weapon to the victim? prosecution witnesses, appellant questions why their statements
A (Witness demonstrating by making upward, downward were taken only on January 29, 1998 when the incident
thrust at the back of the victim) happened on November 6, 1997. The two-month delay is hardly
Atty. De la Cruz an indicium of a concocted story. It is but natural for witnesses
Q Where was Rod Flores hit, if you know? to avoid being involved in a criminal proceeding particularly
A At the back, sir. when the crime committed is of such gravity as to show the
Q How many times? cruelty of the perpetrator. Born of human experience, the fear
A At first, twice, sir. of retaliation can have a paralyzing effect to the
Court: witnesses.[32] Thus, in People vs. Dacibar,[33] we held that the
Q That was the time when Rod Flores ran away after having initial reluctance of witnesses to volunteer information about a
been stabbed twice. criminal case is of common knowledge and has been judicially
A Yes, Your Honor. declared as insufficient to affect credibility, especially when a
xxxxxx valid reason exists for such hesitance.
Court: Anent the second error, appellant contends that the trial court
Q How did the accused thrust for the second time the erred in indemnifying the heirs of Flores since his guilt was not
weapon at the back of the victim. proved beyond reasonable doubt. Suffice it to state at this point
A Both at the back, sir. that the evidence for the prosecution produces moral certainty

Page 10 of 51
that appellant is guilty of the crime charged, hence, should be amount is deducted the necessary and incidental expenses,
answerable for all its consequences. estimated at 50%, leaving a balance of P7,200.00. His net
As earlier mentioned, appellants defenses are mere alibi and income would then be multiplied by his life expectancy, using
denial. He testified that at the time the crime took place, he was the following formula: 2/3 x 80 25 (age of the victim at time of
in his aunties house in Muson, San Jose del Monte, death). Considering that he was 25 years old when he died, his
Bulacan. When probed by the trial court, he categorically stated life expectancy would be 37. Multiplying the net balance of his
that the house is only 40 meters away from the scene of the annual income by his life expectancy, the loss of his earning
crime and may be traveled in about three or five minutes.[34] For is P266,400.00, thus:
the defense of alibi to prosper, it must be convincing enough to In computing the life expectancy and loss of earning capacity
preclude any doubt on the physical impossibility of the presence of a person the following formula is used:
of the accused at the locus criminis at the time of the Life expectancy
incident.[35] Certainly, the required impossibility does not exist 2/3 x (80-the age of the victim at the time of death)
here. 2/3 x (80-25)
Weighing the evidence of the prosecution vis--vis that of the 2/3 x 55
defense, the scale of justice must tilt in favor of the = 36.66 or 37
former. Time and again, we ruled that positive identification, Loss of earning capacity
where categorical and consistent and without any showing of net annual income x life expectancy
ill-motive on the part of the eyewitnesses testifying on the P7,200 x 37
matter, prevails over alibi and denial which, if not substantiated = P266,400.00 [49]
by clear and convincing proof, are negative and self-serving WHEREFORE, the Decision dated October 2, 1998 of the
evidence undeserving of weight in law.[36] With marked Regional Trial Court, Branch 21, Malolos, Bulacan, in Criminal
relevance is the fact that appellant did not present any evidence Case No. 3551798, finding appellant Danny delos Santos y
to show that the prosecution witnesses, in testifying against Fernandez guilty of the crime of murder
him, have improper motive. is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in the sense that he is
The prosecution was able to establish that appellants attack on sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay
Flores was from behind without any slightest provocation on the heirs of the late Rod Flores y Juanitas the amounts
his part[37] and that it was sudden and unexpected. This is a clear of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P25,0000.00 as temperate
case of treachery. Where the victim was totally unprepared for damages, P50,000.00 as moral damages, P25,000.00 as
the unexpected attack from behind with no weapon to resist it, exemplary damages, and P266,400.00 for loss of earning
the stabbing could only be described as treacherous. [38] There capacity.
being treachery, appellants conviction for murder is in order. Costs de oficio.
However, in the imposition of penalty, we cannot appreciate the SO ORDERED.
aggravating circumstance of cruelty considered by the trial Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Panganiban,
court. Pursuant to the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Carpio, Austria-Martinez,
Procedure, every Information must state not only the qualifying Corona, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr., and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
but also the aggravating circumstances.[39] This rule may be
given retroactive effect in the light of the well-established rule SECOND DIVISION
that statutes regulating the procedure of the courts will be [G.R. NO. 183566 : May 8, 2009]
construed as applicable to actions pending and undetermined at PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-
the time of their passage.[40] The aggravating circumstance of Appellee, v. BONIFACIO BADRIAGO,** Accused-
cruelty, not having been alleged in the Information, may not be Appellant.
appreciated to enhance the liability of appellant. DECISION
Under Article 248[41] of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for VELASCO, JR., J.:
the consummated crime of murder is reclusion perpetua to On automatic review is the Decision dated April 22, 2008 of the
death. In this case, the lesser of the two indivisible penalties Court of Appeals (CA) in CA G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00129, which
shall be imposed, there being neither mitigating nor aggravating found accused-appellant Bonifacio Badriago guilty of
circumstances attending the crime.[42] Frustrated Homicide in Criminal Case No. 4255 and Murder in
In keeping with the current jurisprudence, the heirs of Flores Criminal Case No. 4276.
are entitled to the amount of P50,000.00 by way of civil The Facts
indemnity ex delicto.[43] As regards the actual damages, it Accused-appellant was charged before the Regional Trial Court
appears that out of the P55,070.00 awarded by the trial court, (RTC) under the following Informations:
only P19,170.00[44] was actually supported by receipts. The Criminal Case No. 4255
other amounts were based solely on a list prepared by Romeo That on or about the 13th day of September 2002 in the
Flores. To be entitled to actual damages, it is necessary to prove Municipality of Carigara, [P]rovince of Leyte, Philippines and
the actual amount of loss with a reasonable degree of certainty, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-
premised upon competent proof and on the best evidence named accused, with deliberate intent and with intent to kill, did
obtainable to the injured party.[45] In the case at bar, the then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack,
prosecution failed to present receipts for the other expenses assault and hack one ADRIAN QUINTO, with the use of a long
incurred.Thus, in light of the recent case of People vs. sharp bolo (sundang) which the accused had provided himself
Abrazaldo,[46] we grant the award of P25,000.00 as temperate for the purpose, thereby inflicting upon the latter the following
damages inasmuch as the proven actual damages is less wounds, to wit:
than P25,000.00. The moral damages awarded in the amount SURGERY NOTES:
of P50,000.00 is affirmed, there being proofs that because of (+) hacked wounds transverse approximately 16 cms.
Flores death, his heirs suffered wounded feelings, mental Linear (L) lumbar area level of L-L5
anguish, anxiety and similar injury.[47] However, we reduce (+) hacked wound (L) forearm.
to P25,000.00 only the trial courts award of P50,000.00 as ORTHO NOTES:
exemplary damages.[48] A) Near amputation M/3rd (L) forearm 2 to hack wound.
The amount of indemnity for loss of earning capacity is based DIAGNOSIS:
on the income at the time of death and the probable life Hack wound 15 cms. oblique level of L2 posterior
expectancy of the victim. In the case at bar, the trial court found lumbar area, transecting underlying muscle.
that Flores annual gross income is P14,400.00 computed at the Fracture both radius and ulna.
rate of P1,200.00 a month for twelve (12) months. From this OPERATION: September 14, 2002.
Page 11 of 51
Wound Debridement and Repair have died had he not been brought to the hospital. When cross-
ORIF (Pinning) examined, he stated that there was a possibility that Adrian
Which wounds required a period of from thirty (30) days to could still crawl or walk despite the infliction of the wound on
ninety (90) days to heal and incapacitated said offended party the lumbar area. He also testified that it was possible that Adrian
from performing his habitual work for the same period of time; was first hit on the forearm as he was facing accused-appellant
thus the accused performed all the acts of execution which and that he could have been hit on the lumbar area while he was
[would] have produced the crime of Homicide as a consequence running.3
thereof, but nevertheless did not produce it by reason or causes Dr. Profetana told the court that her post-mortem examination
independent of the will of the accused, that is the timely and of Oliver showed that eight of the 11 wounds inflicted on him
able medical assistance rendered to the said Adrian Quinto were fatal. She identified hypovolemic shock as Oliver's cause
which prevented his death. of death. Furthermore, she stated that it was impossible for the
CONTRARY TO LAW. victim to have survived the wounds as these severed the blood
Criminal Case No. 4276 vessels and caused hemorrhage.4
That on or about the 13th day of September, 2002, in the Victoriano, father of the victims, testified that his family
Municipality of Carigara, Province of Leyte, Philippines and incurred PhP 20,000 in expenses for the stainless bar placed on
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above- Adrian's injured arm. According to his estimate, they spent
named accused, with deliberate intent, with treachery and about PhP 50,000 for Adrian's two-month hospitalization but
evident premeditation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully they were not able to keep the receipts. For the death of his other
and feloniously attack, assault and stab one OLIVER QUINTO son, Oliver, they spent PhP 9,000 for the coffin and about PhP
with the use of a long sharp bolo (sundang) which the accused 10,000 for the wake. He likewise testified that if his family's
had provided himself for the purpose, thereby inflicting upon losses could be quantified they would claim the amount of PhP
the latter the following wounds, to wit: 100,000.5
1. [Stab] wound 4 cm. x 1.5 cm. x 16 cm. (L) ant. chest at the In his defense, accused-appellant stated under oath that on the
level of 5th ICS along the (L) ICL; morning of September 13, 2002, he was on his pedicab looking
2. [Stab] wound 6.5 x 3 cm. x 22 cm. (L) ant. chest at the level for passengers. While he was on his way to the bus terminal in
of 6th ICS along (L) anterior AAL; Carigara, Leyte, he was accosted by Adrian and Oliver, who
3. [Stab] wound 3.5 cm. x 1.5 x 2 cm., (L) arm proximal 3rd carried stones with them. Adrian called out to him, "Now
lateral aspect; Boning, let us fight." He tried to speed away but the two chased
4. Amputating wound (L) 3rd, 4th and 5th finger; him, with Adrian driving his pedicab and Oliver standing on the
5. [Stab] wound 5 cm. x 3.5 cm. x 6 cm. umbilical area with cargo compartment. They bumped accused-appellant's pedicab,
intestinal and omental prolapsed; causing him to swerve to the middle of the road.6 When
6. Hacking wound 9 cm. x 2 cm. (L) occipital area with skull accused-appellant looked back, Adrian got out of his pedicab
fracture; and approached him with a knife about 10 inches long. Seeing
7. [Stab] wound 3 cm. x 1 cm. x 15 cm. (L) posterior back at Adrian was about to stab him, he grabbed a bolo from his
the level of T 12, 3 cm. away from vertebral line; pedicab's passenger seat and used it to strike at Adrian, injuring
8. [Stab] wound 2 cm. x 1 cm. x 9 cm. (L) posterior back 8 cm. his left hand. Adrian's knife fell and when he bent to pick it up,
away from vertebral line; accused-appellant again hacked at him with his bolo. Adrian
9. Hacking wound 11 cm. x 2 cm. x 9 cm. (L) posterior iliac then managed to run away from accused-appellant and head
with fracture of hip bone; towards Barangay Guindapunan. Accused-appellant,
10. [Stab] wound 3 cm. x 2 cm. x 3 cm. (L) buttocks; meanwhile, ran towards the municipal building to inform the
11. [Stab] wound 5.5 cm. x 1.5 cm. x 2.5 cm. lumbar area along police that he had injured someone. He denied killing Oliver as
the vertebral line. while he was fighting with Adrian he did not even see
which wounds caused the death of said Oliver Quinto. Oliver.7 rbl r l l lbrr
CONTRARY TO LAW.1 When cross-examined accused-appellant admitted that he did
Upon arraignment, accused-appellant pleaded not guilty to both not suffer any injury following the confrontation with Adrian.
charges. The parties later agreed to try the case jointly. During He claimed not to know what happened to Oliver.
trial, the prosecution presented the following witnesses: Dr. Ma. The other defense witness, Rodolfo, testified that he knew
Bella Profetana, Adrian Quinto, Dr. Frederic Joseph Asanza, accused-appellant as a pedicab driver. On the day of the
and Victoriano Quinto. The defense witnesses consisted of incident he saw two pedicabs engaged in a chase. He noticed
accused-appellant and Rodolfo Gabon. that accused-appellant was in one pedicab and he was being
The prosecution's presentation of evidence is summarized as chased by the pedicab driven by Adrian. The bumper of
follows: Adrian testified that on the morning of September 13, accused-appellant's pedicab was bumped by Adrian's pedicab.
2002, he was asked by his mother to bring a letter to one Berting From a distance of about four arms' length, he saw the two go
Bello at Barangay Guindapunan, Leyte. He drove a tricycle to down from their respective pedicabs. Adrian said "let's have a
deliver the letter along with his younger brother, Oliver. After fight" while drawing a short bolo from his waist. Adrian tried
finishing the errand they headed back to the town plaza where to stab accused-appellant but was unable to hit him. He then
their mother was waiting for them. Before they could reach their saw accused-appellant draw his own bolo from his waist and hit
destination, however, they were approached by accused- the left arm of Adrian. Adrian's bolo fell to the ground and when
appellant at Sitio Mombon in Carigara. Accused-appellant then he was about to pick it up he was again hit by accused-appellant.
suddenly hacked him with a sundang or long bolo on his lumbar On cross-examination, Rodolfo stated that he had not seen if
area.2 Accused-appellant aimed a second time but Adrian was Adrian had a passenger on board his pedicab, and that the
able to somehow shield himself. His lower left arm suffered a incident occurred along a national road with many houses and
hack wound as a result. Struck with panic, he jumped off the shrubbery.8
tricycle but could not run away. He was able to push Oliver off On July 29, 2004, the RTC rendered its judgment. Accused-
the tricycle so he could run away and call for help. He could no appellant was found guilty of the crimes charged. The fallo of
longer testify on what happened thereafter as he lost the Decision is as follows:
consciousness and only woke up while confined at Carigara WHEREFORE, premises considered, with the aggravating
District Hospital. His mother later informed him that Oliver was circumstance of treachery, the Court [finds] accused
also attacked and did not survive. BONIFACIO BARDIAGO, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt
Dr. Asanza's testimony showed that Adrian suffered from two of the crime of FRUSTRATED MURDER instead of Frustrated
wounds that could have been fatal: the hack wound on the Homicide in Criminal Case No. 4255, and [sentences him] to
lumbar area and on his left arm. He explained that Adrian could suffer an indeterminate penalty of SIX (6) YEARS and ONE

Page 12 of 51
(1) DAY OF Prision Mayor as Minimum to TWELVE (12) SO ORDERED.12
YEARS and one (1) DAY of Reclusion Temporal as Maximum, The Issues
and to pay Adrian Quinto actual damages in the amount of On September 1, 2008, this Court notified the parties that they
Twenty Thousand (P20,000.00) Pesos and exemplary damages may file supplemental briefs if they so desired. The parties
in the amount of Ten Thousand (P10,000.00) pesos. manifested that they were dispensing with such filing. Accused-
Likewise, pursuant to Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code as appellant, thus, re-pleads his arguments first made before the
amended and further amended by R.A. No. 7659 (The Death CA. His appeal being partially granted, the only remaining
Penalty Law) the Court found accused BONIFACIO issues to be resolved are the following:
BARDIAGO, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime I
of MURDER charged under the information in Criminal Case THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN CONVICTING THE
No. 4276, and sentenced to suffer the maximum penalty of ACCUSED-APPELLANT OF THE CRIME OF
DEATH, and pay the heirs of Oliver Quinto civil indemnity in FRUSTRATED HOMICIDE AND MURDER DESPITE THE
the amount of Seventy Five Thousand (P75,000.00) and FACT THAT HIS GUILT WAS NOT PROVEN BEYOND
exemplary damages in the amount of Twenty Five Thousand REASONABLE DOUBT
(P25,000.00) Pesos; and [to] pay the cost. II
SO ORDERED.9 THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT
On September 14, 2004, the records of the case were transferred APPRECIATING THE MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES
to this Court on automatic review as the death penalty was OF VOLUNTARY SURRENDER, INCOMPLETE SELF-
involved. But conformably with People v. Mateo, 10 the case DEFENSE, AND LACK OF INTENTION TO COMMIT SO
was transferred to the CA via a Resolution dated February 15, GRAVE A WRONG
2005. Our Ruling
Accused-appellant, in his Brief filed before the CA, claimed We affirm accused-appellant's conviction.
that the trial court erred in convicting him of frustrated murder Frustrated Homicide
as what was read to him at his arraignment was a charge for To successfully prosecute the crime of homicide, the following
frustrated homicide, and the trial court likewise erred in elements must be proved beyond reasonable doubt: (1) that a
convicting him of frustrated murder and murder as his guilt was person was killed; (2) that the accused killed that person
not proved beyond reasonable doubt. He also challenged the without any justifying circumstance; (3) that the accused had
conviction on the ground that the mitigating circumstances of the intention to kill, which is presumed; and (4) that the killing
voluntary surrender, incomplete self-defense, and lack of was not attended by any of the qualifying circumstances of
intention to commit so grave a wrong were not appreciated by murder, or by that of parricide or infanticide. 13 Moreover, the
the trial court. offender is said to have performed all the acts of execution if
The CA sustained accused-appellant's first contention. It ruled the wound inflicted on the victim is mortal and could cause the
that his conviction for frustrated murder was a gross violation death of the victim without medical intervention or
of his constitutional right to be informed of the nature and the attendance.14
cause of accusation against him. Accused-appellant's other On the other hand, the essential elements of a frustrated felony
arguments, however, were not given merit. The CA noted the are as follows: (1) The offender performs all the acts of
undisputed fact that it was accused-appellant, claiming self- execution; (2) all the acts performed would produce the felony
defense, who inflicted the wounds sustained by Adrian and as a consequence; (3) but the felony is not produced; and (4) by
Oliver. The circumstantial evidence presented showed accused- reason of causes independent of the will of the perpetrator. 15
appellant's culpability. Moreover, according to the CA, his From the evidence presented to the trial court, it is very much
choice of weapon and the areas he hacked on the victim's bodies clear that accused-appellant was able to perform all the acts that
revealed a clear intention to kill. The CA said he was able to would necessarily result in Adrian's death. His intention to kill
injure the brothers with no injury caused to himself. can be presumed from the lethal hacking blows Adrian
Lastly, the appellate court rejected the mitigating circumstances received. His attack on Adrian with a bolo was not justified. His
proffered by accused-appellant. It ruled that there was no claim of self-defense was not given credence by both the trial
voluntary surrender as accused-appellant himself testified that and appellate courts. Neither are there any of the qualifying
he had merely reported the injury and did not surrender. As to circumstances of murder, parricide, and infanticide. The
the self-defense theory, the CA stated that accused-appellant circumstances, thus, make out a case for frustrated homicide as
failed to establish the victims' unlawful aggression, a requisite accused-appellant performed all the acts necessary to kill
in such a mitigating circumstance. Adrian; Adrian only survived due to timely medical
In view of Republic Act No. 9346 or An Act Prohibiting the intervention as testified to by his examining physician.
Imposition of Death,11 the CA reduced accused-appellant's Murder Qualified by Treachery
penalty to reclusion perpetua with respect to the murder charge It is also argued by the defense that the attendant qualifying
in Criminal Case No. 4276. circumstance of treachery was not proved by clear and
The decretal portion of the CA Decision reads: convincing evidence. Accused-appellant reasons that Adrian
WHEREFORE, all the foregoing taken into account, the instant was still able to put up a defense by parrying the blow made by
appeal is partially granted. accused-appellant and was even able to jump off from the
Accordingly, in Criminal Cases No. 4255 accused-appellant is pedicab he was driving. He, thus, maintains that the trial court
found guilty only of FRUSTRATED HOMICIDE and is hereby erroneously characterized the incident as a sudden attack.
penalized to suffer an indeterminate sentence of 2 years, 4 The essence of treachery is a deliberate and sudden attack,
months and 1 day of prision correccional as minimum to 8 years offering an unarmed and unsuspecting victim no chance to
and 1 day of prison mayor as maximum and to pay Adrian resist or to escape.16 There is treachery even if the attack is
Quinto the sum of twenty five thousand pesos (P25,000.00) by frontal if it is sudden and unexpected, with the victims having
way of temperate damages. no opportunity to repel it or defend themselves, for what is
In criminal case no. 4276 accused-appellant is found guilty of decisive in treachery is that the execution of the attack made it
MURDER and is hereby sentenced to Reclusion Perpetua and impossible for the victims to defend themselves or to
to pay the amount of fifty thousand pesos (Php50,000.00) as retaliate.17 The records show that Adrian was suddenly attacked
civil indemnity; twenty five thousand pesos (P25,000.00) by with a bolo, and the most he could do at that moment was to
way of temperate damages, fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) shield himself somehow from the blow with his arm. Another
as moral damages and twenty-five thousand pesos (P25,000.00) blow to Adrian's back showed the vulnerability of his position
as exemplary damages. as he had his back turned to accused-appellant and was not able
With costs. to flee from attack. Treachery may also be appreciated even if

Page 13 of 51
the victims were warned of the danger to their lives where they 1. Any one who acts in defense of his person or rights, provided
were defenseless and unable to flee at the time of the infliction that the following circumstances concur:
of the coup de grace.18 First. Unlawful aggression.
Sufficiency of the Prosecution's Evidence Second. Reasonable necessity of the means employed to
Accused-appellant speculates that if the incident happened in prevent or repel it.
broad daylight and near a bus terminal, there should have been Third. Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person
independent eyewitnesses identifying accused-appellant as defending himself.
Oliver's killer. Much is made of the fact that not even Adrian In incomplete self-defense, the indispensable requisite is
was able to identify accused-appellant as Oliver's assailant. unlawful aggression.25 What is missing is either reasonable
The failure by the prosecution to present the weapon allegedly necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it or lack
used in the attack is, in accused-appellant's mind, yet another of sufficient provocation on the part of the persons defending
obstacle to the State's obligation to prove guilt beyond themselves. In the instant case, accused-appellant's self-serving
reasonable doubt. claim of self-defense coupled with the fact that he did not
We hold that the circumstantial evidence available was enough sustain any injuries from his supposed attacker, Adrian, fails to
to convict accused-appellant. Circumstantial evidence may be support any claim of unlawful aggression, the crucial requisite
competent to establish guilt as long as it is sufficient to establish to his defense. As the appellate court noted, there was no clear,
beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused, and not someone credible, and convincing evidence that Adrian was the one who
else, was responsible for the killing.19Circumstantial evidence instigated the fight and that accused-appellant was merely
is sufficient for conviction as long as there is (1) more than one fending off an attack. Unlawful aggression by the victim must
circumstance; (2) the facts from which the inferences are be clearly shown.26
derived are proved; and (3) the combination of all the Lack of Intention to Commit So Grave a Wrong
circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond Under Article 13(3) of the Code, the circumstance that the
reasonable doubt.20 offender had no intention to commit so grave a wrong as that
We go back to accused-appellant's own admission that he committed mitigates criminal liability. This mitigating
indeed injured Adrian, causing him near-fatal injuries. From circumstance addresses itself to the intention of the offender at
this admission the rest of the evidence, albeit circumstantial, the particular moment when the offender executes or commits
made out a clear case for Oliver's murder. First, the victims the criminal act.27 Looking at the victims' wounds, however, we
were together in Adrian's pedicab when the attack took place; cannot count the circumstance in accused-appellant's favor.
second, accused-appellant hacked Adrian with a bolo; third, Adrian suffered a hacking wound on his left forearm that caused
Adrian's injuries were caused by a bolo; fourth, Adrian tried to near amputation, and another one on his lumbar area. These
push Oliver to safety before he lost unconsciousness; fifth, wounds would have been fatal were it not for timely medical
Oliver's wounds were found to have been caused by a weapon assistance. Oliver, on the other hand, bore the brunt of the attack
that made similar hacking wounds as the one made by accused- with eleven (11) different stab wounds, including one on the
appellant when he assaulted Adrian; and sixth, Oliver died on skull and on the chest. The number, location, and nature of these
the same day Adrian sustained stab wounds. Although there is stab wounds belie accused-appellant's claim of lack of intention
no direct evidence of Oliver's actual wounding, the to commit so grave a wrong against his
circumstantial evidence presented sufficiently established that victim.28 rbl r l l lbrr
it was accused-appellant who perpetrated the twin attacks on Conclusion
the brothers. We agree with the findings by the trial and appellate courts on
Accused-appellant, thus, cannot argue that the prosecution's the particulars of the case. Findings of facts of the trial court, as
evidence was insufficient to convict him. Furthermore, we have affirmed by the appellate court, are conclusive absent any
long ago held that the presentation of the murder weapon is not evidence that both courts ignored, misconstrued, or
even essential for a conviction.21 misinterpreted cogent facts and circumstances of substance
Voluntary Surrender which, if considered, would warrant a modification or reversal
For the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender to be of the outcome of the case.29 Since the aforementioned
appreciated, the surrender must be spontaneous and in a manner exceptions are not present, accused-appellant's conviction is
that shows that the accused made an unconditional surrender to warranted.
the authorities, either based on recognition of guilt or from the Finally, we affirm the sentence imposed on accused-appellant
desire to save the authorities from the trouble and expenses that in both criminal cases. In accordance with jurisprudence, 30 we,
would be involved in the accused's search and however, additionally award moral damages of PhP 50,000 to
capture.22 Moreover, it is imperative that the accused was not Adrian. His physical, psychological, and moral sufferings from
actually arrested, the surrender is before a person in authority the wounds inflicted on him serve as the basis for the award and
or an agent of a person in authority, and the surrender was this does not require proof or pleading as ground for this
voluntary.23 award.31 rbl r l l lbrr
None of these requisites are present in accused-appellant's case. WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED. The CA Decision in
In fact, jurisprudence holds that merely reporting the incident CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00129 which found accused-appellant
cannot be considered voluntary surrender within contemplation guilty of Frustrated Homicide in Criminal Case No. 4255 and
of the law.24 By accused-appellant's own admission, he only Murder in Criminal Case No. 4276 is AFFIRMED with
went to the authorities to inform them that Adrian was injured. the MODIFICATION that he is likewise ordered to pay
What is more, accused-appellant claims he had nothing to do Adrian the amount of PhP 50,000 as moral damages.
with the murder of Oliver. Even if we were to consider SO ORDERED.
voluntary surrender as mitigating, this would only apply to the
injury inflicted on Adrian. Accused-appellant denies culpability MISTAKE OF FACT (IGNORANTIA FACTI EXCUSAT)
in Oliver's death and this negates any acknowledgement of
guilt. G.R. No. L-5272 March 19, 1910
Incomplete Self-Defense THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,
We likewise find implausible accused-appellant's assertion that vs.
he employed self-defense. The records show that the requisites AH CHONG, defendant-appellant.
of a successful claim of self-defense were not met. As found in Gibb & Gale, for appellant.
the Revised Penal Code, these are: Attorney-General Villamor, for appellee.
Art. 11. Justifying circumstances. The following do not incur CARSON, J.:
any criminal liability:

Page 14 of 51
The evidence as to many of the essential and vital facts in this their room at No. 28, Pascual going on to his room at No. 27. A
case is limited to the testimony of the accused himself, because few moments after the party separated, Celestino and Mariano
from the very nature of these facts and from the circumstances heard cries for assistance and upon returning to No. 27 found
surrounding the incident upon which these proceedings rest, no Pascual sitting on the back steps fatally wounded in the
other evidence as to these facts was available either to the stomach, whereupon one of them ran back to No. 28 and called
prosecution or to the defense. We think, however, that, giving Liuetenants Jacobs and Healy, who immediately went to the aid
the accused the benefit of the doubt as to the weight of the of the wounded man.
evidence touching those details of the incident as to which there The defendant then and there admitted that he had stabbed his
can be said to be any doubt, the following statement of the roommate, but said that he did it under the impression that
material facts disclose by the record may be taken to be Pascual was "a ladron" because he forced open the door of their
substantially correct: sleeping room, despite defendant's warnings.
The defendant, Ah Chong, was employed as a cook at "Officers' No reasonable explanation of the remarkable conduct on the
quarters, No. 27," Fort Mc Kinley, Rizal Province, and at the part of Pascuals suggests itself, unless it be that the boy in a
same place Pascual Gualberto, deceased, was employed as a spirit of mischief was playing a trick on his Chinese roommate,
house boy or muchacho. "Officers' quarters No. 27" as a and sought to frightened him by forcing his way into the room,
detached house situates some 40 meters from the nearest refusing to give his name or say who he was, in order to make
building, and in August, 19087, was occupied solely as an Ah Chong believe that he was being attacked by a robber.
officers' mess or club. No one slept in the house except the two Defendant was placed under arrest forthwith, and Pascual was
servants, who jointly occupied a small room toward the rear of conveyed to the military hospital, where he died from the
the building, the door of which opened upon a narrow porch effects of the wound on the following day.
running along the side of the building, by which communication The defendant was charged with the crime of assassination,
was had with the other part of the house. This porch was tried, and found guilty by the trial court of simple homicide,
covered by a heavy growth of vines for its entire length and with extenuating circumstances, and sentenced to six years and
height. The door of the room was not furnished with a one day presidio mayor, the minimum penalty prescribed by
permanent bolt or lock, and occupants, as a measure of security, law.
had attached a small hook or catch on the inside of the door, and At the trial in the court below the defendant admitted that he
were in the habit of reinforcing this somewhat insecure means killed his roommate, Pascual Gualberto, but insisted that he
of fastening the door by placing against it a chair. In the room struck the fatal blow without any intent to do a wrongful act, in
there was but one small window, which, like the door, opened the exercise of his lawful right of self-defense.
on the porch. Aside from the door and window, there were no Article 8 of the Penal Code provides that
other openings of any kind in the room. The following are not delinquent and are therefore exempt from
On the night of August 14, 1908, at about 10 o'clock, the criminal liability:
defendant, who had received for the night, was suddenly xxx xxx xxx
awakened by some trying to force open the door of the room. 4 He who acts in defense of his person or rights, provided there
He sat up in bed and called out twice, "Who is there?" He heard are the following attendant circumstances:
no answer and was convinced by the noise at the door that it (1) Illegal aggression.
was being pushed open by someone bent upon forcing his way (2) Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or
into the room. Due to the heavy growth of vines along the front repel it.
of the porch, the room was very dark, and the defendant, fearing (3) Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person
that the intruder was a robber or a thief, leaped to his feet and defending himself.
called out. "If you enter the room, I will kill you." At that Under these provisions we think that there can be no doubt that
moment he was struck just above the knee by the edge of the defendant would be entitle to complete exception from criminal
chair which had been placed against the door. In the darkness liability for the death of the victim of his fatal blow, if the
and confusion the defendant thought that the blow had been intruder who forced open the door of his room had been in fact
inflicted by the person who had forced the door open, whom he a dangerous thief or "ladron," as the defendant believed him to
supposed to be a burglar, though in the light of after events, it be. No one, under such circumstances, would doubt the right of
is probable that the chair was merely thrown back into the room the defendant to resist and repel such an intrusion, and the thief
by the sudden opening of the door against which it rested. having forced open the door notwithstanding defendant's thrice-
Seizing a common kitchen knife which he kept under his pillow, repeated warning to desist, and his threat that he would kill the
the defendant struck out wildly at the intruder who, it afterwards intruder if he persisted in his attempt, it will not be questioned
turned out, was his roommate, Pascual. Pascual ran out upon that in the darkness of the night, in a small room, with no means
the porch and fell down on the steps in a desperately wounded of escape, with the thief advancing upon him despite his
condition, followed by the defendant, who immediately warnings defendant would have been wholly justified in using
recognized him in the moonlight. Seeing that Pascual was any available weapon to defend himself from such an assault,
wounded, he called to his employers who slept in the next and in striking promptly, without waiting for the thief to
house, No. 28, and ran back to his room to secure bandages to discover his whereabouts and deliver the first blow.
bind up Pascual's wounds. But the evidence clearly discloses that the intruder was not a
There had been several robberies in Fort McKinley not long thief or a "ladron." That neither the defendant nor his property
prior to the date of the incident just described, one of which took nor any of the property under his charge was in real danger at
place in a house in which the defendant was employed as cook; the time when he struck the fatal blow. That there was no such
and as defendant alleges, it was because of these repeated "unlawful aggression" on the part of a thief or "ladron" as
robberies he kept a knife under his pillow for his personal defendant believed he was repelling and resisting, and that there
protection. was no real "necessity" for the use of the knife to defend his
The deceased and the accused, who roomed together and who person or his property or the property under his charge.
appear to have on friendly and amicable terms prior to the fatal The question then squarely presents it self, whether in this
incident, had an understanding that when either returned at jurisdiction one can be held criminally responsible who, by
night, he should knock at the door and acquiant his companion reason of a mistake as to the facts, does an act for which he
with his identity. Pascual had left the house early in the evening would be exempt from criminal liability if the facts were as he
and gone for a walk with his friends, Celestino Quiambao and supposed them to be, but which would constitute the crime of
Mariano Ibaez, servants employed at officers' quarters No. 28, homicide or assassination if the actor had known the true state
the nearest house to the mess hall. The three returned from their of the facts at the time when he committed the act. To this
walk at about 10 o'clock, and Celestino and Mariano stopped at question we think there can be but one answer, and we hold that

Page 15 of 51
under such circumstances there is no criminal liability, provided committed be different from that which he had intended to
always that the alleged ignorance or mistake or fact was not due commit.
to negligence or bad faith. The celebrated Spanish jurist Pacheco, discussing the meaning
In broader terms, ignorance or mistake of fact, if such ignorance of the word "voluntary" as used in this article, say that a
or mistake of fact is sufficient to negative a particular intent voluntary act is a free, intelligent, and intentional act, and
which under the law is a necessary ingredient of the offense roundly asserts that without intention (intention to do wrong or
charged (e.g., in larcerny, animus furendi; in murder, malice; in criminal intention) there can be no crime; and that the word
crimes intent) "cancels the presumption of intent," and works "voluntary" implies and includes the words "con malicia,"
an acquittal; except in those cases where the circumstances which were expressly set out in the definition of the word
demand a conviction under the penal provisions touching "crime" in the code of 1822, but omitted from the code of 1870,
criminal negligence; and in cases where, under the provisions because, as Pacheco insists, their use in the former code was
of article 1 of the Penal Code one voluntarily committing a redundant, being implied and included in the word "voluntary."
crime or misdeamor incurs criminal liability for any wrongful (Pacheco, Codigo Penal, vol. 1, p. 74.)
act committed by him, even though it be different from that Viada, while insisting that the absence of intention to commit
which he intended to commit. (Wharton's Criminal Law, sec. the crime can only be said to exempt from criminal
87 and cases cited; McClain's Crim. Law, sec. 133 and cases responsibility when the act which was actually intended to be
cited; Pettit vs. S., 28 Tex. Ap., 240; Commonwealth vs. Power, done was in itself a lawful one, and in the absence of negligence
7 Met., 596; Yates vs. People, 32 N.Y., 509; Isham vs. State, 38 or imprudence, nevertheless admits and recognizes in his
Ala., 213; Commonwealth vs. Rogers, 7 Met., 500.) discussion of the provisions of this article of the code that in
The general proposition thus stated hardly admits of discussion, general without intention there can be no crime. (Viada, vol. 1,
and the only question worthy of consideration is whether malice p. 16.) And, as we have shown above, the exceptions insisted
or criminal intent is an essential element or ingredient of the upon by Viada are more apparent than real.
crimes of homicide and assassination as defined and penalized Silvela, in discussing the doctrine herein laid down, says:
in the Penal Code. It has been said that since the definitions In fact, it is sufficient to remember the first article, which
there given of these as well as most other crimes and offense declared that where there is no intention there is no crime . . . in
therein defined, do not specifically and expressly declare that order to affirm, without fear of mistake, that under our code
the acts constituting the crime or offense must be committed there can be no crime if there is no act, an act which must fall
with malice or with criminal intent in order that the actor may within the sphere of ethics if there is no moral injury. (Vol. 2,
be held criminally liable, the commission of the acts set out in the Criminal Law, folio 169.)
the various definitions subjects the actor to the penalties And to the same effect are various decisions of the supreme
described therein, unless it appears that he is exempted from court of Spain, as, for example in its sentence of May 31, 1882,
liability under one or other of the express provisions of article in which it made use of the following language:
8 of the code, which treats of exemption. But while it is true that It is necessary that this act, in order to constitute a crime,
contrary to the general rule of legislative enactment in the involve all the malice which is supposed from the operation of
United States, the definitions of crimes and offenses as set out the will and an intent to cause the injury which may be the
in the Penal Code rarely contain provisions expressly declaring object of the crime.
that malice or criminal intent is an essential ingredient of the And again in its sentence of March 16, 1892, wherein it held
crime, nevertheless, the general provisions of article 1 of the that "considering that, whatever may be the civil effects of the
code clearly indicate that malice, or criminal intent in some inscription of his three sons, made by the appellant in the civil
form, is an essential requisite of all crimes and offense therein registry and in the parochial church, there can be no crime
defined, in the absence of express provisions modifying the because of the lack of the necessary element or criminal
general rule, such as are those touching liability resulting from intention, which characterizes every action or ommission
acts negligently or imprudently committed, and acts done by punished by law; nor is he guilty of criminal negligence."
one voluntarily committing a crime or misdemeanor, where the And to the same effect in its sentence of December 30, 1896, it
act committed is different from that which he intended to made use of the following language:
commit. And it is to be observed that even these exceptions are . . . Considering that the moral element of the crime, that is,
more apparent than real, for "There is little distinction, except intent or malice or their absence in the commission of an act
in degree, between a will to do a wrongful thing and defined and punished by law as criminal, is not a necessary
indifference whether it is done or not. Therefore carelessness is question of fact submitted to the exclusive judgment and
criminal, and within limits supplies the place of the affirmative decision of the trial court.
criminal intent" (Bishop's New Criminal Law, vol. 1, s. 313); That the author of the Penal Code deemed criminal intent or
and, again, "There is so little difference between a disposition malice to be an essential element of the various crimes and
to do a great harm and a disposition to do harm that one of them misdemeanors therein defined becomes clear also from an
may very well be looked upon as the measure of the other. examination of the provisions of article 568, which are as
Since, therefore, the guilt of a crime consists in the disposition follows:
to do harm, which the criminal shows by committing it, and He who shall execute through reckless negligence an act that, if
since this disposition is greater or less in proportion to the harm done with malice, would constitute a grave crime, shall be
which is done by the crime, the consequence is that the guilt of punished with the penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum
the crime follows the same proportion; it is greater or less degree, to prision correccional in its minimum degrees if it
according as the crime in its own nature does greater or less shall constitute a less grave crime.
harm" (Ruth. Ints. C. 18, p. 11); or, as it has been otherwise He who in violation of the regulations shall commit a crime
stated, the thing done, having proceeded from a corrupt mid, is through simple imprudence or negligence shall incur the
to be viewed the same whether the corruption was of one penalty of arresto mayor in its medium and maximum degrees.
particular form or another. In the application of these penalties the courts shall proceed
Article 1 of the Penal Code is as follows: according to their discretion, without being subject to the rules
Crimes or misdemeanors are voluntary acts and ommissions prescribed in article 81.
punished by law. The provisions of this article shall not be applicable if the
Acts and omissions punished by law are always presumed to be penalty prescribed for the crime is equal to or less than those
voluntarily unless the contrary shall appear. contained in the first paragraph thereof, in which case the courts
An person voluntarily committing a crime or misdemeanor shall apply the next one thereto in the degree which they may
shall incur criminal liability, even though the wrongful act consider proper.

Page 16 of 51
The word "malice" in this article is manifestly substantially punishment for what he did from an upright mind, destitute of
equivalent to the words "criminal intent," and the direct every form of evil. And whenever a person is made to suffer a
inference from its provisions is that the commission of the acts punishment which the community deems not his due, so far
contemplated therein, in the absence of malice (criminal intent), from its placing an evil mark upon him, it elevates him to the
negligence, and imprudence, does not impose any criminal seat of the martyr. Even infancy itself spontaneously pleads the
liability on the actor. want of bad intent in justification of what has the appearance of
The word "voluntary" as used in article 1 of the Penal Code wrong, with the utmost confidence that the plea, if its truth is
would seem to approximate in meaning the word "willful" as credited, will be accepted as good. Now these facts are only the
used in English and American statute to designate a form of voice of nature uttering one of her immutable truths. It is, then,
criminal intent. It has been said that while the word "willful" the doctrine of the law, superior to all other doctrines, because
sometimes means little more than intentionally or designedly, first in nature from which the law itself proceeds, that no man
yet it is more frequently understood to extent a little further and is to be punished as a criminal unless his intent is wrong.
approximate the idea of the milder kind of legal malice; that is, (Bishop's New Criminal Law, vol. 1, secs. 286 to 290.)
it signifies an evil intent without justifiable excuse. In one case Compelled by necessity, "the great master of all things," an
it was said to mean, as employed in a statute in contemplation, apparent departure from this doctrine of abstract justice result
"wantonly" or "causelessly;" in another, "without reasonable from the adoption of the arbitrary rule that Ignorantia juris non
grounds to believe the thing lawful." And Shaw, C. J., once said excusat ("Ignorance of the law excuses no man"), without
that ordinarily in a statute it means "not merely `voluntarily' but which justice could not be administered in our tribunals; and
with a bad purpose; in other words, corruptly." In English and compelled also by the same doctrine of necessity, the courts
the American statutes defining crimes "malice," "malicious," have recognized the power of the legislature to forbid, in a
"maliciously," and "malice aforethought" are words indicating limited class of cases, the doing of certain acts, and to make
intent, more purely technical than "willful" or willfully," but their commission criminal without regard to the intent of the
"the difference between them is not great;" the word "malice" doer. Without discussing these exceptional cases at length, it is
not often being understood to require general malevolence sufficient here to say that the courts have always held that
toward a particular individual, and signifying rather the intent unless the intention of the lawmaker to make the commission
from our legal justification. (Bishop's New Criminal Law, vol. of certain acts criminal without regard to the intent of the doer
1, secs. 428 and 429, and cases cited.) is clear and beyond question the statute will not be so construed
But even in the absence of express words in a statute, setting (cases cited in Cyc., vol. 12, p. 158, notes 76 and 77); and the
out a condition in the definition of a crime that it be committed rule that ignorance of the law excuses no man has been said not
"voluntarily," willfully," "maliciously" "with malice to be a real departure from the law's fundamental principle that
aforethought," or in one of the various modes generally crime exists only where the mind is at fault, because "the evil
construed to imply a criminal intent, we think that reasoning purpose need not be to break the law, and if suffices if it is
from general principles it will always be found that with the rare simply to do the thing which the law in fact forbids." (Bishop's
exceptions hereinafter mentioned, to constitute a crime evil New Criminal Law, sec. 300, and cases cited.)
intent must combine with an act. Mr. Bishop, who supports his But, however this may be, there is no technical rule, and no
position with numerous citations from the decided cases, thus pressing necessity therefore, requiring mistake in fact to be
forcely present this doctrine: dealt with otherwise that in strict accord with the principles of
In no one thing does criminal jurisprudence differ more from abstract justice. On the contrary, the maxim here is Ignorantia
civil than in the rule as to the intent. In controversies between facti excusat ("Ignorance or mistake in point of fact is, in all
private parties the quo animo with which a thing was done is cases of supposed offense, a sufficient excuse"). (Brown's Leg.
sometimes important, not always; but crime proceeds only from Max., 2d ed., 190.)
a criminal mind. So that Since evil intent is in general an inseparable element in every
There can be no crime, large or small, without an evil mind. In crime, any such mistake of fact as shows the act committed to
other words, punishment is the sentence of wickedness, without have proceeded from no sort of evil in the mind necessarily
which it can not be. And neither in philosophical speculation relieves the actor from criminal liability provided always there
nor in religious or mortal sentiment would any people in any is no fault or negligence on his part; and as laid down by Baron
age allow that a man should be deemed guilty unless his mind Parke, "The guilt of the accused must depend on the
was so. It is therefore a principle of our legal system, as circumstances as they appear to him." (Reg. vs. Thurborn, 1
probably it is of every other, that the essence of an offense is Den. C., 387; P. vs. Anderson, 44 Cal.., 65; P. vs. Lamb, 54
the wrongful intent, without which it can not exists. We find Barb., 342; Yates vs. P., 32 N. Y., 509; Patterson vs. P., 46
this doctrine confirmed by Barb., 625; Reg. vs. Cohen, 8 Cox C. C., 41; P. vs. Miles, 55
Legal maxims. The ancient wisdom of the law, equally with Cal., 207, 209; Nalley vs. S., 28 Tex. Ap., 387.) That is to say,
the modern, is distinct on this subject. It consequently has the question as to whether he honestly, in good faith, and
supplied to us such maxims as Actus non facit reum nisi mens without fault or negligence fell into the mistake is to be
sit rea, "the act itself does not make man guilty unless his determined by the circumstances as they appeared to him at the
intention were so;" Actus me incito factus non est meus actus, time when the mistake was made, and the effect which the
"an act done by me against my will is not my act;" and others surrounding circumstances might reasonably be expected to
of the like sort. In this, as just said, criminal jurisprudence have on his mind, in forming the intent, criminal or other wise,
differs from civil. So also upon which he acted.
Moral science and moral sentiment teach the same thing. "By If, in language not uncommon in the cases, one has reasonable
reference to the intention, we inculpate or exculpate others or cause to believe the existence of facts which will justify a
ourselves without any respect to the happiness or misery killing or, in terms more nicely in accord with the principles
actually produced. Let the result of an action be what it may, on which the rule is founded, if without fault or carelessness he
we hold a man guilty simply on the ground of intention; or, on does believe them he is legally guiltless of the homicide;
the dame ground, we hold him innocent." The calm judgment though he mistook the facts, and so the life of an innocent
of mankind keeps this doctrine among its jewels. In times of person is unfortunately extinguished. In other words, and with
excitement, when vengeance takes the place of justice, every reference to the right of self-defense and the not quite
guard around the innocent is cast down. But with the return of harmonious authorities, it is the doctrine of reason and
reason comes the public voice that where the mind is pure, he sufficiently sustained in adjudication, that notwithstanding
who differs in act from his neighbors does not offend. And some decisions apparently adverse, whenever a man undertakes
In the spontaneous judgment which springs from the nature self-defense, he is justified in acting on the facts as they appear
given by God to man, no one deems another to deserve to him. If, without fault or carelessness, he is misled concerning

Page 17 of 51
them, and defends himself correctly according to what he thus always sustained pleasant relations with his father-in-law,
supposes the facts to be the law will not punish him though they whom he visited during his sickness, demonstrating great grief
are in truth otherwise, and he was really no occassion for the over the occurrence. Shall he be considered free from criminal
extreme measures. (Bishop's New Criminal Law, sec. 305, and responsibility, as having acted in self-defense, with all the
large array of cases there cited.) circumstances related in paragraph 4, article 8, of the Penal
The common illustration in the American and English Code? The criminal branch of the Audiencia of Valladolid
textbooks of the application of this rule is the case where a man, found that he was an illegal aggressor, without sufficient
masked and disguised as a footpad, at night and on a lonely provocation, and that there did not exists rational necessity for
road, "holds up" his friends in a spirit of mischief, and with the employment of the force used, and in accordance with
leveled pistol demands his money or his life, but is killed by his articles 419 and 87 of the Penal Code condemned him to twenty
friend under the mistaken belief that the attack is a real one, that months of imprisonment, with accessory penalty and costs.
the pistol leveled at his head is loaded, and that his life and Upon appeal by the accused, he was acquitted by the supreme
property are in imminent danger at the hands of the aggressor. court, under the following sentence: "Considering, from the
No one will doubt that if the facts were such as the slayer facts found by the sentence to have been proven, that the
believed them to be he would be innocent of the commission of accused was surprised from behind, at night, in his house beside
any crime and wholly exempt from criminal liability, although his wife who was nursing her child, was attacked, struck, and
if he knew the real state of the facts when he took the life of his beaten, without being able to distinguish with which they might
friend he would undoubtedly be guilty of the crime of homicide have executed their criminal intent, because of the there was no
or assassination. Under such circumstances, proof of his other than fire light in the room, and considering that in such a
innocent mistake of the facts overcomes the presumption of situation and when the acts executed demonstrated that they
malice or criminal intent, and (since malice or criminal intent is might endanger his existence, and possibly that of his wife and
a necessary ingredient of the "act punished by law" in cases of child, more especially because his assailant was unknown, he
homicide or assassination) overcomes at the same time the should have defended himself, and in doing so with the same
presumption established in article 1 of the code, that the "act stick with which he was attacked, he did not exceed the limits
punished by law" was committed "voluntarily." of self-defense, nor did he use means which were not rationally
Parson, C.J., in the Massachusetts court, once said: necessary, particularly because the instrument with which he
If the party killing had reasonable grounds for believing that the killed was the one which he took from his assailant, and was
person slain had a felonious design against him, and under that capable of producing death, and in the darkness of the house
supposition killed him, although it should afterwards appear and the consteration which naturally resulted from such strong
that there was no such design, it will not be murder, but it will aggression, it was not given him to known or distinguish
be either manslaughter or excusable homicide, according to the whether there was one or more assailants, nor the arms which
degree of caution used and the probable grounds of such belief. they might bear, not that which they might accomplish, and
(Charge to the grand jury in Selfridge's case, Whart, Hom., 417, considering that the lower court did not find from the accepted
418, Lloyd's report of the case, p.7.) facts that there existed rational necessity for the means
In this case, Parker, J., charging the petit jury, enforced the employed, and that it did not apply paragraph 4 of article 8 of
doctrine as follows: the Penal Code, it erred, etc." (Sentence of supreme court of
A, in the peaceable pursuit of his affairs, sees B rushing rapidly Spain, February 28, 1876.) (Viada, Vol. I, p. 266.) .
toward him, with an outstretched arms and a pistol in his hand, QUESTION XIX. A person returning, at night, to his house,
and using violent menaces against his life as he advances. which was situated in a retired part of the city, upon arriving at
Having approached near enough in the same attitude, A, who a point where there was no light, heard the voice of a man, at a
has a club in his hand, strikes B over the head before or at the distance of some 8 paces, saying: "Face down, hand over you
instant the pistol is discharged; and of the wound B dies. It turns money!" because of which, and almost at the same money, he
out the pistol was loaded with powder only, and that the real fired two shots from his pistol, distinguishing immediately the
design of B was only to terrify A. Will any reasonable man say voice of one of his friends (who had before simulated a different
that A is more criminal that he would have been if there had voice) saying, "Oh! they have killed me," and hastening to his
been a bullet in the pistol? Those who hold such doctrine must assistance, finding the body lying upon the ground, he cried,
require that a man so attacked must, before he strikes the "Miguel, Miguel, speak, for God's sake, or I am ruined,"
assailant, stop and ascertain how the pistol is loaded a realizing that he had been the victim of a joke, and not receiving
doctrine which would entirely take away the essential right of a reply, and observing that his friend was a corpse, he retired
self-defense. And when it is considered that the jury who try the from the place. Shall he be declared exempt in toto from
cause, and not the party killing, are to judge of the reasonable responsibility as the author of this homicide, as having acted in
grounds of his apprehension, no danger can be supposed to flow just self-defense under the circumstances defined in paragraph
from this principle. (Lloyd's Rep., p. 160.) 4, article 8, Penal Code? The criminal branch of
To the same effect are various decisions of the supreme court the Audiencia of Malaga did not so find, but only found in favor
of Spain, cited by Viada, a few of which are here set out in full of the accused two of the requisites of said article, but not that
because the facts are somewhat analogous to those in the case of the reasonableness of the means employed to repel the attack,
at bar. and, therefore, condemned the accused to eight years and one
QUESTION III. When it is shown that the accused was sitting day of prison mayor, etc. The supreme court acquitted the
at his hearth, at night, in company only of his wife, without accused on his appeal from this sentence, holding that the
other light than reflected from the fire, and that the man with accused was acting under a justifiable and excusable mistake of
his back to the door was attending to the fire, there suddenly fact as to the identity of the person calling to him, and that under
entered a person whom he did not see or know, who struck him the circumstances, the darkness and remoteness, etc., the means
one or two blows, producing a contusion on the shoulder, employed were rational and the shooting justifiable. (Sentence
because of which he turned, seized the person and took from his supreme court, March 17, 1885.) (Viada, Vol. I, p. 136.)
the stick with which he had undoubtedly been struck, and gave QUESTION VI. The owner of a mill, situated in a remote spot,
the unknown person a blow, knocking him to the floor, and is awakened, at night, by a large stone thrown against his
afterwards striking him another blow on the head, leaving the window at this, he puts his head out of the window and
unknown lying on the floor, and left the house. It turned out the inquires what is wanted, and is answered "the delivery of all of
unknown person was his father-in-law, to whom he rendered his money, otherwise his house would be burned" because
assistance as soon as he learned his identity, and who died in of which, and observing in an alley adjacent to the mill four
about six days in consequence of cerebral congestion resulting individuals, one of whom addressed him with blasphemy, he
from the blow. The accused, who confessed the facts, had fired his pistol at one the men, who, on the next morning was

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found dead on the same spot. Shall this man be declared exempt Antonio Z. Oanis in his own behalf.
from criminal responsibility as having acted in just self-defense Maximo L. Valenzuela for appellant Galanta.
with all of the requisites of law? The criminal branch of the Acting Solicitor-General Ibaez and Assistant Attorney Torres
requisites of law? The criminal branch of the Audiencia of for appellee.
Zaragoza finds that there existed in favor of the accused a MORAN, J.:
majority of the requisites to exempt him from criminal Charged with the crime of murder of one Serapio Tecson, the
responsibility, but not that of reasonable necessity for the accused Antonio Z. Oanis and Alberto Galanta, chief of police
means, employed, and condemned the accused to twelve of Cabanatuan and corporal of the Philippine Constabulary,
months of prision correctional for the homicide committed. respectively, were, after due trial, found guilty by the lower
Upon appeal, the supreme court acquitted the condemned, court of homicide through reckless imprudence and were
finding that the accused, in firing at the malefactors, who attack sentenced each to an indeterminate penalty of from one year
his mill at night in a remote spot by threatening robbery and and six months to two years and two months of prison
incendiarism, was acting in just self-defense of his person, correccional and to indemnify jointly and severally the heirs of
property, and family. (Sentence of May 23, 1877). (I Viada, p. the deceased in the amount of P1,000. Defendants appealed
128.) separately from this judgment.
A careful examination of the facts as disclosed in the case at bar In the afternoon of December 24, 1938. Captain Godofredo
convinces us that the defendant Chinaman struck the fatal blow Monsod, Constabulary Provincial Inspector at Cabanatuan,
alleged in the information in the firm belief that the intruder Nueva Ecija, received from Major Guido a telegram of the
who forced open the door of his sleeping room was a thief, from following tenor: "Information received escaped convict
whose assault he was in imminent peril, both of his life and of Anselmo Balagtas with bailarina and Irene in Cabanatuan get
his property and of the property committed to his charge; that him dead or alive." Captain Monsod accordingly called for his
in view of all the circumstances, as they must have presented first sergeant and asked that he be given four men. Defendant
themselves to the defendant at the time, he acted in good faith, corporal Alberto Galanta, and privates Nicomedes Oralo,
without malice, or criminal intent, in the belief that he was Venancio Serna and D. Fernandez, upon order of their sergeant,
doing no more than exercising his legitimate right of self- reported at the office of the Provincial Inspector where they
defense; that had the facts been as he believed them to be he were shown a copy of the above-quoted telegram and a
would have been wholly exempt from criminal liability on newspaper clipping containing a picture of Balagtas. They were
account of his act; and that he can not be said to have been guilty instructed to arrest Balagtas and, if overpowered, to follow the
of negligence or recklessness or even carelessness in falling into instruction contained in the telegram. The same instruction was
his mistake as to the facts, or in the means adopted by him to given to the chief of police Oanis who was likewise called by
defend himself from the imminent danger which he believe the Provincial Inspector. When the chief of police was asked
threatened his person and his property and the property under whether he knew one Irene, a bailarina, he answered that he
his charge. knew one of loose morals of the same name. Upon request of
The judgment of conviction and the sentence imposed by the the Provincial Inspector, the chief of police tried to locate some
trial court should be reversed, and the defendant acquitted of of his men to guide the constabulary soldiers in ascertaining
the crime with which he is charged and his bail bond Balagtas' whereabouts, and failing to see anyone of them he
exonerated, with the costs of both instance de oficio. So volunteered to go with the party. The Provincial Inspector
ordered. divided the party into two groups with defendants Oanis and
Johnson Moreland and Elliott, JJ., concur. Galanta, and private Fernandez taking the route to Rizal street
Arellano, C.J., and Mapa, J., dissent. leading to the house where Irene was supposedly living. When
this group arrived at Irene's house, Oanis approached one
Brigida Mallare, who was then stripping banana stalks, and
Separate Opinions asked her where Irene's room was. Brigida indicated the place
TORRES, J., dissenting: and upon further inquiry also said that Irene was sleeping with
The writer, with due respect to the opinion of the majority of her paramour. Brigida trembling, immediately returned to her
the court, believes that, according to the merits of the case, the own room which was very near that occupied by Irene and her
crime of homicide by reckless negligence, defined and punishes paramour. Defendants Oanis and Galanta then went to the room
in article 568 of the Penal Code, was committed, inasmuch as of Irene, and an seeing a man sleeping with his back towards
the victim was wilfully (voluntariomente) killed, and while the the door where they were, simultaneously or successively fired
act was done without malice or criminal intent it was, however, at him with their .32 and .45 caliber revolvers. Awakened by
executed with real negligence, for the acts committed by the the gunshots, Irene saw her paramour already wounded, and
deceased could not warrant the aggression by the defendant looking at the door where the shots came, she saw the
under the erroneous belief on the part of the accused that the defendants still firing at him. Shocked by the entire scene. Irene
person who assaulted him was a malefactor; the defendant fainted; it turned out later that the person shot and killed was
therefore incurred responsibility in attacking with a knife the not the notorious criminal Anselmo Balagtas but a peaceful and
person who was accustomed to enter said room, without any innocent citizen named Serapio Tecson, Irene's paramour. The
justifiable motive. Provincial Inspector, informed of the killing, repaired to the
By reason of the nature of the crime committed, in the opinion scene and when he asked as to who killed the deceased. Galanta,
of the undersigned the accused should be sentenced to the referring to himself and to Oanis, answered: "We two, sir." The
penalty of one year and one month of prision correctional, to corpse was thereafter brought to the provincial hospital and
suffer the accessory penalties provided in article 61, and to pay upon autopsy by Dr. Ricardo de Castro, multiple gunshot
an indemnify of P1,000 to the heirs of the deceased, with the wounds inflicted by a .32 and a .45 caliber revolvers were found
costs of both instances, thereby reversing the judgment on Tecson's body which caused his death.
appealed from. These are the facts as found by the trial court and fully
supported by the evidence, particularly by the testimony of
EN BANC Irene Requinea. Appellants gave, however, a different version
G.R. No. L-47722 July 27, 1943 of the tragedy. According to Appellant Galanta, when he and
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, chief of police Oanis arrived at the house, the latter asked
vs. Brigida where Irene's room was. Brigida indicated the place,
ANTONIO Z. OANIS and ALBERTO and upon further inquiry as to the whereabouts of Anselmo
GALANTA, defendants-appellants. Balagtas, she said that he too was sleeping in the same room.
Oanis went to the room thus indicated and upon opening the

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curtain covering the door, he said: "If you are Balagtas, stand his bed and called out again., "If you enter the room I will kill
up." Tecson, the supposed Balagtas, and Irene woke up and as you." But at that precise moment, he was struck by a chair
the former was about to sit up in bed. Oanis fired at him. which had been placed against the door and believing that he
Wounded, Tecson leaned towards the door, and Oanis receded was then being attacked, he seized a kitchen knife and struck
and shouted: "That is Balagtas." Galanta then fired at Tecson. and fatally wounded the intruder who turned out to be his room-
On the other hand, Oanis testified that after he had opened the mate. A common illustration of innocent mistake of fact is the
curtain covering the door and after having said, "if you are case of a man who was marked as a footpad at night and in a
Balagtas stand up." Galanta at once fired at Tecson, the lonely road held up a friend in a spirit of mischief, and with
supposed Balagtas, while the latter was still lying on bed, and leveled, pistol demanded his money or life. He was killed by his
continued firing until he had exhausted his bullets: that it was friend under the mistaken belief that the attack was real, that the
only thereafter that he, Oanis, entered the door and upon seeing pistol leveled at his head was loaded and that his life and
the supposed Balagtas, who was then apparently watching and property were in imminent danger at the hands of the aggressor.
picking up something from the floor, he fired at him. In these instances, there is an innocent mistake of fact
The trial court refused to believe the appellants. Their committed without any fault or carelessness because the
testimonies are certainly incredible not only because they are accused, having no time or opportunity to make a further
vitiated by a natural urge to exculpate themselves of the crime, inquiry, and being pressed by circumstances to act immediately,
but also because they are materially contradictory. Oasis had no alternative but to take the facts as they then appeared to
averred that be fired at Tecson when the latter was apparently him, and such facts justified his act of killing. In the instant
watching somebody in an attitudes of picking up something case, appellants, unlike the accused in the instances cited, found
from the floor; on the other hand, Galanta testified that Oasis no circumstances whatsoever which would press them to
shot Tecson while the latter was about to sit up in bed immediate action. The person in the room being then asleep,
immediately after he was awakened by a noise. Galanta testified appellants had ample time and opportunity to ascertain his
that he fired at Tecson, the supposed Balagtas, when the latter identity without hazard to themselves, and could even effect a
was rushing at him. But Oanis assured that when Galanta shot bloodless arrest if any reasonable effort to that end had been
Tecson, the latter was still lying on bed. It is apparent from these made, as the victim was unarmed, according to Irene Requinea.
contradictions that when each of the appellants tries to This, indeed, is the only legitimate course of action for
exculpate himself of the crime charged, he is at once belied by appellants to follow even if the victim was really Balagtas, as
the other; but their mutual incriminating averments dovetail they were instructed not to kill Balagtas at sight but to arrest
with and corroborate substantially, the testimony of Irene him, and to get him dead or alive only if resistance or aggression
Requinea. It should be recalled that, according to Requinea, is offered by him.
Tecson was still sleeping in bed when he was shot to death by Although an officer in making a lawful arrest is justified in
appellants. And this, to a certain extent, is confirmed by both using such force as is reasonably necessary to secure and detain
appellants themselves in their mutual recriminations. the offender, overcome his resistance, prevent his escape,
According, to Galanta, Oanis shot Tecson when the latter was recapture him if he escapes, and protect himself from bodily
still in bed about to sit up just after he was awakened by a noise. harm (People vs. Delima, 46 Phil, 738), yet he is never justified
And Oanis assured that when Galanta shot Tecson, the latter in using unnecessary force or in treating him with wanton
was still lying in bed. Thus corroborated, and considering that violence, or in resorting to dangerous means when the arrest
the trial court had the opportunity to observe her demeanor on could be effected otherwise (6 C.J.S., par. 13, p. 612). The
the stand, we believe and so hold that no error was committed doctrine is restated in the new Rules of Court thus: "No
in accepting her testimony and in rejecting the exculpatory unnecessary or unreasonable force shall be used in making an
pretensions of the two appellants. Furthermore, a careful arrest, and the person arrested shall not be subject to any greater
examination of Irene's testimony will show not only that her restraint than is necessary for his detention." (Rule 109, sec. 2,
version of the tragedy is not concocted but that it contains all par. 2). And a peace officer cannot claim exemption from
indicia of veracity. In her cross-examination, even misleading criminal liability if he uses unnecessary force or violence in
questions had been put which were unsuccessful, the witness making an arrest (5 C.J., p. 753; U.S. vs. Mendoza, 2 Phil.,
having stuck to the truth in every detail of the occurrence. Under 109). It may be true that Anselmo Balagtas was a notorious
these circumstances, we do not feel ourselves justified in criminal, a life-termer, a fugitive from justice and a menace to
disturbing the findings of fact made by the trial court. the peace of the community, but these facts alone constitute no
The true fact, therefore, of the case is that, while Tecson was justification for killing him when in effecting his arrest, he
sleeping in his room with his back towards the door, Oanis and offers no resistance or in fact no resistance can be offered, as
Galanta, on sight, fired at him simultaneously or successively, when he is asleep. This, in effect, is the principle laid down,
believing him to be Anselmo Balagtas but without having made although upon different facts, in U.S. vs. Donoso (3 Phil., 234,
previously any reasonable inquiry as to his identity. And the 242).
question is whether or not they may, upon such fact, be held It is, however, suggested that a notorious criminal "must be
responsible for the death thus caused to Tecson. It is contended taken by storm" without regard to his right to life which he has
that, as appellants acted in innocent mistake of fact in the honest by such notoriety already forfeited. We may approve of this
performance of their official duties, both of them believing that standard of official conduct where the criminal offers resistance
Tecson was Balagtas, they incur no criminal liability. or does something which places his captors in danger of
Sustaining this theory in part, the lower court held and so imminent attack. Otherwise we cannot see how, as in the
declared them guilty of the crime of homicide through reckless present case, the mere fact of notoriety can make the life of a
imprudence. We are of the opinion, however, that, under the criminal a mere trifle in the hands of the officers of the law.
circumstances of the case, the crime committed by appellants is Notoriety rightly supplies a basis for redoubled official
murder through specially mitigated by circumstances to be alertness and vigilance; it never can justify precipitate action at
mentioned below. the cost of human life. Where, as here, the precipitate action of
In support of the theory of non-liability by reasons of honest the appellants has cost an innocent life and there exist no
mistake of fact, appellants rely on the case of U.S. v. Ah Chong, circumstances whatsoever to warrant action of such character
15 Phil., 488. The maxim is ignorantia facti excusat, but this in the mind of a reasonably prudent man, condemnation not
applies only when the mistake is committed without fault or condonation should be the rule; otherwise we should offer a
carelessness. In the Ah Chong case, defendant therein after premium to crime in the shelter of official actuation.
having gone to bed was awakened by someone trying to open The crime committed by appellants is not merely criminal
the door. He called out twice, "who is there," but received no negligence, the killing being intentional and not accidental. In
answer. Fearing that the intruder was a robber, he leaped from criminal negligence, the injury caused to another should be

Page 20 of 51
unintentional, it being simply the incident of another act stalks in the yard, and inquired for the room of Irene. After
performed without malice. (People vs. Sara, 55 Phil., 939). In Mallari had pointed out the room, she was asked by Oanis to
the words of Viada, "para que se celifique un hecho de tell where Irene's paramour, Balagtas, was, whereupon Mallari
imprudencia es preciso que no haya mediado en el malicia ni answered that he was sleeping with Irene. Upon reaching the
intencion alguna de daar; existiendo esa intencion, debera room indicated, Oanis and Galanta, after the former had shouted
calificarse el hecho del delito que ha producido, por mas que no "Stand up, if you are Balagtas," started shooting the man who
haya sido la intencion del agente el causar un mal de tanta was found by them lying down beside a woman. The man was
gravedad como el que se produjo." (Tomo 7, Viada Codigo thereby killed, but Balagtas was still alive, for it turned out that
Penal Comentado, 5.a ed. pag. 7). And, as once held by this the person shot by Oanis and Galanta was one Serapio Tecson.
Court, a deliberate intent to do an unlawful act is essentially Consequently, Oanis and Galanta were charged with having
inconsistent with the idea of reckless imprudence committed murder. The Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija,
(People vs. Nanquil, 43 Phil., 232; People vs. Bindor, 56 Phil., however, convicted them only of homicide through reckless
16), and where such unlawful act is wilfully done, a mistake in imprudence and sentenced them each to suffer the
the identity of the intended victim cannot be considered as indeterminate penalty of from 1 year and 6 months to 2 years
reckless imprudence (People vs. Gona, 54 Phil., 605) to support and 2 months of prision correctional, to jointly and severally
a plea of mitigated liability. indemnify the heirs of Serapio Tecson in the amount of P1,000,
As the deceased was killed while asleep, the crime committed and to pay the costs. Oanis and Galanta have appealed.
is murder with the qualifying circumstance of alevosia. There In accomplishing the acts with which the appellants were
is, however, a mitigating circumstance of weight consisting in charged, they undoubtedly followed the order issued by the
the incomplete justifying circumstance defined in article 11, Constabulary authorities in Manila requiring the Provincial
No. 5, of the Revised Penal Code. According to such legal Inspector in Cabanatuan to get Balagtas dead or alive, in the
provision, a person incurs no criminal liability when he acts in honest belief that Serapio Tecson was Anselmo Balagtas. As
the fulfillment of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or the latter became a fugitive criminal, with revolvers in his
office. There are two requisites in order that the circumstance possession and a record that made him extremely dangerous and
may be taken as a justifying one: (a) that the offender acted in a public terror, the Constabulary authorities were justified in
the performance of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right; ordering his arrest, whether dead or alive. In view of said order
and (b) that the injury or offense committed be the necessary and the danger faced by the appellants in carrying it out, they
consequence of the due performance of such duty or the lawful cannot be said to have acted feloniously in shooting the person
exercise of such right or office. In the instance case, only the honestly believed by them to be the wanted man. Conscious of
first requisite is present appellants have acted in the the fact that Balagtas would rather kill than be captured, the
performance of a duty. The second requisite is wanting for the appellants did not want to take chances and should not be
crime by them committed is not the necessary consequence of penalized for such prudence. On the contrary, they should be
a due performance of their duty. Their duty was to arrest commended for their bravery and courage bordering on
Balagtas or to get him dead or alive if resistance is offered by recklessness because, without knowing or ascertaining whether
him and they are overpowered. But through impatience or over- the wanted man was in fact asleep in his room, they proceeded
anxiety or in their desire to take no chances, they have exceeded thereto without hesitation and thereby exposed their lives to
in the fulfillment of such duty by killing the person whom they danger.
believed to be Balagtas without any resistance from him and The Solicitor-General, however, contends that the appellants
without making any previous inquiry as to his identity. were authorized to use their revolvers only after being
According to article 69 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty overpowered by Balagtas. In the first place, the alleged
lower by one or two degrees than that prescribed by law shall, instruction by the Provincial Inspector to that effect, was in
in such case, be imposed. violation of the express order given by the Constabulary
For all the foregoing, the judgment is modified and appellants authorities in Manila and which was shown to the appellants. In
are hereby declared guilty of murder with the mitigating the second place, it would indeed be suicidal for the appellants
circumstance above mentioned, and accordingly sentenced to or, for that matter, any agent of the authority to have waited
an indeterminate penalty of from five (5) years of prision until they have been overpowered before trying to put our such
correctional to fifteen (15) years of reclusion temporal, with a character as Balagtas. In the third place, it is immaterial
the accessories of the law, and to pay the heirs of the deceased whether or not the instruction given by the Provincial Inspector
Serapio Tecson jointly and severally an indemnity of P2,000, was legitimate and proper, because the facts exist that the
with costs. appellants acted in conformity with the express order of
Yulo, C.J., Bocobo, Generoso and Lopez Vito, A., concur. superior Constabulary authorities, the legality or propriety of
which is not herein questioned.
The theory of the prosecution has acquired some plausibility,
Separate Opinions though quite psychological or sentimental, in view only of the
PARAS, J., dissenting: fact that it was not Balagtas who was actually killed, but an
Anselmo Balagtas, a life termer and notorious criminal, "innocent man . . . while he was deeply asleep." Anybody's
managed to escape and flee form Manila to the provinces. heart will be profoundly grieved by the trade, but in time will
Receiving information to the effect that he was staying with one be consoled by the realization that the life of Serapio Tecson
Irene in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, the office of the was not vainly sacrificed, for the incident will always serve as
Constabulary in Manila ordered the Provincial Inspector in a loud warning to any one desiring to follow in the footsteps of
Cabanatuan by telegram dispatched on December 25, 1938, to Anselmo Balagtas that in due time the duly constituted
get Balagtas "dead or alive". Among those assigned to the task authorities will, upon proper order, enforce the summary
of carrying out the said order, were Antonio Z. Oanis, chief of forfeiture of his life.
police of Cabanatuan, and Alberto Galanta, a Constabulary In my opinion, therefore, the appellants are not criminally liable
corporal, to whom the telegram received by the Provincial if the person killed by them was in fact Anselmo Balagtas for
Inspector and a newspaper picture of Balagtas were shown. the reason that they did so in the fulfillment of their duty and in
Oanis, Galanta and a Constabulary private, after being told by obedience to an order issued by a superior for some lawful
the Provincial Inspector to gather information about Balagtas, purpose (Revised Penal Code, art. 11, pars. 5 and 6). They also
"to arrest him and, if overpowered, to follow the instructions cannot be held criminally liable even if the person killed by
contained in the telegram," proceeded to the place where the them was not Anselmo Balagtas, but Serapio Tecson, because
house of Irene was located. Upon arriving thereat, Oanis they did so under an honest mistake of fact not due to
approached Brigida Mallari, who was then gathering banana negligence or bad faith. (U.S. vs. Ah Chong, 15 Phil., 488).

Page 21 of 51
It is true that, under article 4 of the Revised Penal Code, Reason and precedent both coincide in that once convicted
criminal liability is incurred by any person committing a felony or acquitted of a specific act of reckless imprudence, the
although the wrongful act done be different from that which he accused may not be prosecuted again for that same act. For the
intended; but said article is clearly inapplicable since the killing essence of the quasi offense of criminal negligence under article
of the person who was believed to be Balagtas was, as already 365 of the Revised Penal Code lies in the execution of an
stated, not wrongful or felonious. imprudent or negligent act that, if intentionally done, would be
The case of U.S. vs. Mendieta (34 Phil., 242), cited by the punishable as a felony. The law penalizes thus the negligent or
Solicitor-General, is not in point, inasmuch as the defendant careless act, not the result thereof. The gravity of the
therein, who intended to injure Hilario Lauigan with whom he consequence is only taken into account to determine the
had a quarrel, but killed another by mistake, would not be penalty, it does not qualify the substance of the offense. And,
exempted from criminal liability if he actually injured or killed as the careless act is single, whether the injurious result should
Hilario Lauigan, there being a malicious design on his part. The affect one person or several persons, the offense (criminal
other case involved by the prosecution is U.S. vs. Donoso (3 negligence) remains one and the same, and can not be split into
Phil., 234). This is also not in point, as it appears that the different crimes and prosecutions. This has been the constant
defendants therein killed one Pedro Almasan after he had ruling of the Spanish Supreme Court, and is also that of this
already surrendered and allowed himself to be bound and that Court in its most recent decisions on the matter.
the said defendants did not have lawful instructions from Thus, in People vs. Silva, L-15974, January 30, 1962,
superior authorities to capture Almasan dead or alive. where as the result of the same vehicular accident one man died,
The appealed judgment should therefore be reversed and the two persons were seriously injured while another three suffered
appellants, Antonio Z. Oanis and Alberto Galanta, acquitted, only slight physical injuries, we ruled that the acquittal on a
with costs de oficio. charge of slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence,
was a bar to another prosecution for homicide through reckless
2.) CULPABLE FELONIES imprudence. In People vs. Diaz, L-6518, March 30, 1954, the
ruling was that the dismissal by the Municipal Court of a charge
of reckless driving barred a second information of damage to
G.R. No. L-25366 March 29, 1968 property through reckless imprudence based on the same
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, negligent act of the accused. In People vs, Belga, 100 Phil. 996,
vs. dismissal of an information for physical injuries through
JOSE BUAN, accused-appellant. needless imprudence as a result of a collision between two
Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. automobiles was declared, to block two other prosecutions, one
Felipe C. Magat and Amado D. Dyoco for accused-appellant. for damage to property through reckless imprudence and
REYES, J.B.L., Actg. C.J.: another for multiple physical injuries arising from the same
Direct appeal by the accused from an order of the Court collision. The same doctrine was reasserted in Yap vs. Lutero,
of First Instance of Bulacan, in its Criminal Case No. 5243 (for et al., L-12669, April 30, 1959. In none of the cases cited did
serious physical injuries and damage to property through the Supreme Court regard as material that the various offenses
reckless imprudence), overruling a motion to quash on the charged for the same occurrence were triable in Courts of
ground of double jeopardy. differing category, or that the complainants were not the
Stripped to essentials, the case arose in this wise: individuals.
The accused was driving a passenger bus of the La As for the Spanish jurisprudence, Cuello Calon, in
Mallorca Company on July 23, 1962, along the MacArthur his Derecho Penal (12th Ed.), Vol. I, p. 439, has this to
Highway in the municipality of Guiguinto, Bulacan. Allegedly say:1wph1.t
because of his negligence and recklessness, the vehicle Aun cuando de un solo hecho imprudente se originen
driven by him struck and collided with the passenger jeep of males diversos, como el hecho culposo es uno solo, existe un
Sergio Lumidao, damaging said jeep and causing it to turn solo delito de imprudencia. Esta es jurisprudencia constante del
turtle, and injuring its passengers. Six of the latter suffered Tribunal Supremo. De acuerdo con esta doctrinael
slight physical injuries requiring medical attendance for 5 to 9 automovilista imprudente que atropella y causa lesiones a dos
days: three other riders came out with serious bodily injuries personas y ademas daos, no respondera de dos delitos de
that needed medical attention for 30 to 45 days; while the jeep lesiones y uno de daos por imprudencia, sino de un solo delito
was damaged to the extent of P1,395.00. culposo.
A charge was filed against the accused-appellant, one for The said author cites in support of the text the following
slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence, in the decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain (footnotes 2 and 3).
Justice of the Peace Court of Guiguinto, for which he was tried 8 octubre 1887, 18 octubre 1927.
and acquitted on December 16, 1963. Prior to this acquittal, Si con el hecho imprudente se causa la muerte de una
however, the Provincial Fiscal of Bulacan filed in the Court of persona y ademas se ocasionan daos, existe un solo hecho
First Instance the information in the case now before us, for punible, pues uno solo fue el acto, aun cuando deben apreciarse
serious physical injuries, and damage to property through dos enorden a la responsabilidad civil, 14 diciembre 1931 si a
reckless imprudence. Admittedly, both charges referred to the consecuencia de un solo acto imprudente se produjeron tres
same highway collision. delitos, dos de homicidio y uno de daos, como todos son
When the accused was arraigned in the Court of First consecuencia de un solo acto culposo, no cabe penarlos por
Instance, his counsel moved to quash the charges on the ground separado, 2 abril 1932.
that he had already been acquitted of the same offense by the The Solicitor General stresses in his brief that the charge
Justice of the Peace Court. The prosecution opposed the motion for slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence could
and the Court denied the motion quash. Unable to secure not be joined with the accusation for serious physical injuries
reconsideration, the accused appealed to this Court. through reckless imprudence, because Article 48 of the Revised
Sole issue before us, therefore, is whether the second case Penal Code allows only the complexing of grave or less grave
placed the appellant twice in jeopardy for the same offense, and felonies. This same argument was considered and rejected by
is barred by the previous acquittal. this Court in the case of People vs. Diaz, supra:
We agree with the appellant that the Court below erred in ... The prosecution's contention might be true. But neither
not dismissing the information for "serious physical injuries and was the prosecution obliged to first prosecute the accused for
damage to property through reckless imprudence," in view of slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence before
the appellant's previous acquittal by the Justice of the Peace pressing the more serious charge of homicide with serious
Court of Guiguinto, Bulacan, for the same imprudence. physical injuries through reckless imprudence. Having first

Page 22 of 51
prosecuted the defendant for the lesser offense in the Justice of administratively, for an erroneous decision rendered by him in
the Peace Court of Meycauayan, Bulacan, which acquitted the good faith.
defendant, the prosecuting attorney is not now in a position to The case in which the respondent rendered a decision of
press in this case the more serious charge of homicide with acquittal involved a tourist, Lo Chi Fai, who was caught by a
serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence which Customs guard at the Manila International Airport while
arose out of the same alleged reckless imprudence of which the attempting to smuggle foreign currency and foreign exchange
defendant has been previously cleared by the inferior court. instruments out of the country. Lo Chi Fai, was apprehended by
In view of the foregoing, we must perforce rule that the a customs guard and two PAFSECOM officers on July 9, 1986,
exoneration of this appellant, Jose Buan, by the Justice of the while on board Flight PR 300 of the Philippine Air Lines bound
Peace (now Municipal) Court of Guiguinto, Bulacan, of the for Hongkong. At the time of his apprehension, he was found
charge of slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence, carrying with him foreign currency and foreign exchange
prevents his being prosecuted for serious physical injuries instruments (380 pieces) amounting to US$ 355,349.57, in
through reckless imprudence in the Court of First Instance of various currency denominations, to wit: Japanese Yen, Swiss
the province, where both charges are derived from the Franc, Australian Dollar, Singapore Dollar, HFL Guilder,
consequences of one and the same vehicular accident, because French Franc, U.S. Dollar, English Pound, Malaysian Dollar,
the second accusation places the appellant in second jeopardy Deutsche Mark, Canadian Dollar and Hongkong Dollar,
for the same offense. without any authority as provided by law. At the time the
WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is reversed, and accused was apprehended, he was able to exhibit two currency
the Court of First Instance of Bulacan is directed to quash and declarations which he was supposed to have accomplished upon
dismiss the charge in its Criminal Case No. 5243. No costs. So his arrival in Manila in previous trips, namely, CB Currency
ordered. Declaration No. 05048, dated May 4, 1986 for US$39,600.00
Dizon, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez, Angeles and Japanese Yen 4,000,000.00, and CB Currency Declaration
and Fernando, JJ., concur. No. 06346, dated June 29, 1986 for Japanese Yen 6,600,000.00.
Castro, J., took no part. An information was filed against Lo Chi Fai, with the RTC of
Pasay City for violation of Sec. 6, Central Bank Circular No.
C. CRIMES DEFINED AND PENALIZED BY SPECIAL 960, as follows:
LAWS That on or about the 9th day of July, 1986, in the City of Pasay,
MALA IN SE VS MALA PROHIBITA Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, Mr. LO CHI FAI,
Adm. Case No. 3086 February 23, 1988 did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attempt
ALEXANDER PADILLA, complainant, to take out of the Philippines through the Manila International
vs. Airport the following foreign currencies in cash and in checks:
THE HON. BALTAZAR R. DIZON, Presiding
Japanese YenJudge of the Y 32,800,000.00
Regional Trial Court of Pasay City Branch 113, respondent.
RESOLUTION Swiss Franc SW. FR 6,9000.00

PER CURIAM: Australian Dollar A$ 17,425.00


This is an administrative complaint, dated August 6, 1987, filed
by the then Commissioner of Customs, Singapore Dollar Padilla,
Alexander S$ 9,945.00
against respondent Baltazar R. Dizon, RTC Judge, Branch 115,
Pasay City, for rendering a manifestly Deutsche
erroneousMarck
decision due, DM 18,595.00
at the very least, to gross incompetence and gross ignorance of
Canadian
the law, in Criminal Case No. 86- 10126-P, Dollar"People of
entitled CS 13,330.00
the Philippines vs. Lo Chi Fai", acquitting said accused of the
Hongkong
offense charged, i.e., smuggling of foreign Dollar
currency out of the HK$ 15,630.00
country.
HFL Guilder
Required by the Court to answer the complaint, the respondent HFL 430.00
judge filed an Answer, dated October 6, 1987, reciting his
French Franc F/6,860.00
"commendable record as a fearless prosecutor" since his
appointment as Assistant City Fiscal of Manila on December 4,
US Dollar US$ 73,950.00
1962, until his appointment eventually as RTC Judge on
February 18, 1983; that at in the reorganization of the judiciary
English Pound 5,318.00
after the February 26, 1986 revolution, he was reappointed to
his present position; that his length ofMalaysian
service as Dollar
prosecutor and M$. 14,760.00
judge is "tangible proof that would negate the allegations of the
petitioner" (should be complainant), (inwhereas the latter did not
checks)
last long in the service for reasons only known to him; that the
decision involved in the complaint was promulgated
Australian Dollar by A$ 7,750.00
respondent on September 29, 1986, but the complaint against
him was filed only on August 6, 1987, a clear
British Poundindication of 700.00
malice and ill-will of the complainant to subject respondent to
US Dollar
harassment, humiliation and vindictiveness; that his decision, US$ 17,630.00
of which he submits a copy (Annex A) as part of his Answer, is
based on "fundamental principles andCanadian Dollar of rights
the foundation C$ 990.00
and justice" and that if there are mistakes or errors in the without authority from the Central Bank.
questioned decision, they are committed in good faith. Contrary to Law.
Accordingly, respondent prays for the dismissal of the petition The case, which was docketed as Criminal Case No. 86-10126-
(should be complaint). P, was subsequently raffled to Branch 113, presided by herein
The issue before the Court is whether or not the respondent respondent Judge Baltazar A. Dizon.
judge is guilty of gross incompetence or gross ignorance of the Section 6 of Circular No. 960 of the Central Bank provides as
law in rendering the decision in question. A judge can not be follows:
held to account or answer, criminally, civilly or
Page 23 of 51
Sec. 6. Export, import of foreign exchange; exceptions. No when he was about to depart from the Philippines did not by
person shall take out or transmit or attempt to take out or that act alone make him liable for Violation of Section 6.
transmit foreign exchange in any form, out of the Philippines What is imperative is the purpose for which the act of bringing
directly, through other persons, through the mails or through foreign currencies out of the country was done the very
international carriers except when specifically authorized by the intention. It is that which qualifies the act as criminal or not.
Central Bank or allowed under existing international There must be that clear intention to violate and benefit from
agreements or Central Bank regulations. the act done. Intent is a mental state, the existence of which is
Tourists and non-resident visitors may take out or send out from shown by overt acts of a person.
the Philippine foreign exchange in amounts not exceeding such The respondent proceeded to analyze the evidence which,
amounts of foreign exchange brought in by them. For purposes according to him, tended to show that the accused had no wilfull
of establishing the amount of foreign exchange brought in or intention to violate the law. According to the respondent in his
out of the Philippines, tourists and non-resident temporary decision:
visitors bringing with them more than US$3,000.00 or its ... this Court is persuaded to accept the explanation of the
equivalent in other foreign currencies shall declare their foreign defense that the currencies confiscated and/or seized from the
exchange in the form prescribed by the Central Bank at points accused belong to him and his business associates abovenamed.
of entries upon arrival in the Philippines. And from the unwavering and unequivocal testimonies of Mr.
The penal sanction is provided by Section 1, P.D. No. 1883, Templo and all of currencies in question came from abroad and
which reads as follows: not from the local source which is what is being prohibited by
Section 1. Blackmarketing of Foreign Exchange . That any the government. Yes, simply reading the provisions of said
person who shall engage in the trading or purchase and sale of circular will, readily show that the currency declaration is
foreign currency in violation of existing laws or rules and required for the purpose of establishing the amount of currency
regulations of the Central Bank shall be guilty of the crime of being brought by tourist or temporary non-resident visitors into
blackmarketing of foreign exchange and shall suffer the penalty the country. The currency declarations, therefore, is already
of reclusion temporal, (minimum of 12 years and I day and (sic) intended to serve as a guideline for the Customs authorities
maximum of 20 years) and a fine of no less than fifty thousand to determine the amounts actually brought in by them to
(P50,000.00) Pesos. correspond to the amounts that could be allowed to be taken out.
At the trial, the accused tried to establish that he was a Indeed, this Court is amazed and really has its misgivings in the
businessman from Kowloon, Hongkong, engaged in the manner currency declarations were made as testified to by the
garment business, in which he had invested 4 to 5 million Central Bank employees. Why the Bureau of Customs
Hongkong Dollars; that he had come to the Philippines 9 to 1 0 representative never took part in all these declarations testified
times, although the only dates he could remember were April 2, to by no less than five (5) Central Bank employees? Seemingly,
1986, May 4, 1986, June 28,1986, and July 8, 1986; that the these employees are the favorites of these travellers. It is the
reason for his coming to the Philippines was to invest in hope of this Court that the authorities must do something to
business in the Philippines and also to play in the casino; that remedy the evident flaw in the system for effective
he had a group of business associates who decided to invest in implementation of the questioned Central Bank Circular No.
business with him, namely: Wakita Noboyuki, Kobayashi 960.
Nabuo, Lee Shiang Pin, Lee Chin and Cze Kai Kwan, who had But even with a doubtful mind this Court would not be able to
their own businesses in Japan and Hongkong; that when he pin criminal responsibility on the accused. This is due to its
came to the Philippines on April 2,1986, he brought steadfast adherence and devotion to the rule of law-a factor in
US$50,000.00 and 8,500,000.00 Japanese Yen which he tried restoring the almost lost faith and erosion of confidence of the
to declare but the Central Bank representative refused to accept people in the administration of justice. Courts of Justice are
his declaration, until he could get a confirmation as to the source guided only by the rule of evidence.
of the money, for which reason he contacted his bank in The respondent-judge has shown gross incompetence or gross
Hongkong and a telex was sent to him on April 3,1986 (Exh. ignorance of the law in holding that to convict the accused for
4). He also brought in with him US$39,000.00 and violation of Central Bank Circular No. 960, the prosecution
4,000,000.00 Japanese Yen when he arrived on May 4,1986 must establish that the accused had the criminal intent to violate
which he declared (Exh. 1). Again, he declared 8,600,000.00 the law. The respondent ought to know that proof of malice or
Japanese Yen when he arrived on June 28, 1986 (Exh. 2). He deliberate intent (mens rea) is not essential in offenses punished
also testified that his business associates, as per their agreement by special laws, which are mala prohibita. In requiring proof of
to invest in some business with him in the Philippines, started malice, the respondent has by his gross ignorance allowed the
putting their money for this purpose in a common fund, hence, accused to go scot free. The accused at the time of his
every time anyone of them came to the Philippines, they would apprehension at the Manila International Airport had in his
declare the money they were bringing in, and all declarations possession the amount of US$355,349.57 in assorted foreign
were handed to and kept by him; these currency declarations currencies and foreign exchange instruments (380 pieces),
were presented at the trial as exhibits for the defense. When without any specific authority from the Central Bank as
asked by the court why he did not present all of these required by law. At the time of his apprehension, he was able to
declarations when he was apprehended at the airport, his answer exhibit only two foreign currency declarations in his
was that he was not asked to present the declaration papers of possession. These were old declarations made by him on the
his associates, and besides, he does not understand English and occasion of his previous trips to the Philippines.
he was not told to do so. He also testified on cross-examination Although lack of malice or wilfull intent is not a valid defense
that the reason he was going back to Hongkong bringing with in a case for violation of Central Bank Circular No. 960, the
him all the money intended to be invested in the Philippines was respondent nonetheless chose to exonerate the accused based
because of the fear of his group that the "revolution" taking on his defense that the foreign currency he was bringing out of
place in Manila might become widespread. It was because of the country at the time he was apprehended by the customs
this fear that he was urged by his associates to come to Manila authorities were brought into the Philippines by him and his
on July 8, 1986 to bring the money out of the Philippines. alleged business associates on several previous occasions when
The respondent judge, in his decision acquitting the accused, they came to the Philippines, supposedly to be used for the
stated: purpose of investing in some unspecified or undetermined
The factual issue for this Court to determine is whether or not business ventures; that this money was kept in the Philippines
the accused wilfully violated Section 6 of Circular No. 960. The and he precisely came to the Philippines to take the money out
fact that the accused had in his possession the foreign currencies as he and his alleged business associates were afraid that the
"attempted revolution" which occurred on July 6,1986 might

Page 24 of 51
spread. Such fantastic tale, although totally irrelevant to the caught attempting to bring out foreign exchange in excess of
matter of the criminal liability of the accused under the said amount without specific authority from the Central Bank.
information, was swallowed by the respondent-judge "hook, Accordingly, the Court finds the respondent Regional Trial
line and sinker." It did not matter to the respondent that the Court Judge, Baltazar R. Dizon, guilty of gross incompetence,
foreign currency and foreign currency instruments found in the gross ignorance of the law and grave and serious misconduct
possession of the accused when he was apprehended at the affecting his integrity and efficiency, and consistent with the
airport-380 pieces in all-and the amounts of such foreign responsibility of this Court for the just and proper
exchange did not correspond to the foreign currency administration of justice and for the attainment of the objective
declarations presented by the accused at the trial. It did not of maintaining the people's faith in the judiciary (People vs.
matter to the respondent that the accused by his own story Valenzuela, 135 SCRA 712), it is hereby ordered that the
admitted, in effect, that he was a carrier" of foreign currency for Respondent Judge be DISMISSED from the service. All leave
other people. The respondent closed his eyes to the fact that the and retirement benefits and privileges to which he may be
very substantial amounts of foreign exchange found in the entitled are hereby forfeited with prejudice to his being
possession of the accused at the time of his apprehension reinstated in any branch of government service, including
consisted of personal checks of other people, as well as cash in government-owned and/or controlled agencies or corporations.
various currency denominations (12 kinds of currency in all), This resolution is immediately executory.
which clearly belied the claim of the accused that they were part SO ORDERED.
of the funds which he and his supposed associates had brought Teehankee, C.J., Yap, Fernan, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez,
in and kept in the Philippines for the purpose of investing in Jr., Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Bidin, Sarmiento
some business ventures. The respondent ignored the fact that Cortes, and Grio-Aquino, JJ., concur.
most of the CB Currency declarations presented by the defense Padilla, Narvasa, JJ., took no part.
at the trial were declarations belonging to other people which
could not be utilized by the accused to justify his having the EN BANC
foreign exchange in his possession. Although contrary to [G.R. No. 148560. November 19, 2001]
ordinary human experience and behavior, the respondent judge JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, petitioner,
chose to give credence to the fantastic tale of the accused that vs. SANDIGANBAYAN (Third Division) and PEOPLE OF
he and his alleged business associates had brought in from time THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
to time and accumulated and kept in the Philippines foreign DECISION
exchange (of very substantial amounts in cash and checks in BELLOSILLO, J.:
various foreign currency denominations) for the purpose of JOHN STUART MILL, in his essay On Liberty, unleashes the
investing in business even before they knew and had come to full fury of his pen in defense of the rights of the individual from
an agreement as to the specific business venture in which they the vast powers of the State and the inroads of societal
were going to invest. These and other circumstances which pressure. But even as he draws a sacrosanct line demarcating
make the story concocted by the accused so palpably the limits on individuality beyond which the State cannot tread
unbelievable as to render the findings of the respondent judge - asserting that "individual spontaneity" must be allowed to
obviously contrived to favor the acquittal of the accused, flourish with very little regard to social interference - he
thereby clearly negating his claim that he rendered the decision veritably acknowledges that the exercise of rights and liberties
"in good faith." His actuations in this case amount to grave is imbued with a civic obligation, which society is justified in
misconduct prejudicial to the interest of sound and fair enforcing at all cost, against those who would endeavor to
administration of justice. withhold fulfillment. Thus he says -
He not only acquitted the accused Lo Chi Fai, but directed in The sole end for which mankind is warranted, individually or
his decision the release to the accused of at least the amount of collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of
US$3,000.00, allowed, according to respondent, under Central their number, is self-protection. The only purpose for which
Bank Circular No. 960. This, in spite of the fact that forfeiture power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a
proceedings had already been instituted by the Bureau of civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to
Customs over the currency listed in the information, which others.
according to the respondent should be respected since the Parallel to individual liberty is the natural and illimitable right
Bureau of Customs "has the exclusive jurisdiction in the matter of the State to self-preservation. With the end of maintaining
of seizure and forfeiture of the property involved in the alleged the integrity and cohesiveness of the body politic, it behooves
infringements of the aforesaid Central Bank Circular." In the State to formulate a system of laws that would compel
invoking the provisions of CB Circular No. 960 to justify the obeisance to its collective wisdom and inflict punishment for
release of US$ 3,000.00 to the accused, the respondent judge non-observance.
again displayed gross incompetence and gross ignorance of the The movement from Mill's individual liberalism to
law. There is nothing in the said CB Circular which could be unsystematic collectivism wrought changes in the social order,
taken as authority for the trial court to release the said amount carrying with it a new formulation of fundamental rights and
of U.S. Currency to the accused. According to the above-cited duties more attuned to the imperatives of contemporary socio-
CB Circular, tourists may take out or send out from the political ideologies. In the process, the web of rights and State
Philippines foreign exchange in amounts not exceeding such impositions became tangled and obscured, enmeshed in threads
amounts of foreign exchange brought in by them; for the of multiple shades and colors, the skein irregular and
purpose of establishing such amount, tourists or non-resident broken. Antagonism, often outright collision, between the law
temporary visitors bringing with them more than US$3,000.00 as the expression of the will of the State, and the zealous
or its equivalent in other foreign currencies must declare their attempts by its members to preserve their individuality and
foreign exchange at points of entries upon arrival in the dignity, inevitably followed. It is when individual rights are
Philippines. In other words, CB Circular No. 960 merely pitted against State authority that judicial conscience is put to
provides that for the purpose of establishing the amount of its severest test.
foreign currency brought in or out of the Philippines, a tourist Petitioner Joseph Ejercito Estrada, the highest-ranking official
upon arrival is required to declare any foreign exchange he is to be prosecuted under RA 7080 (An Act Defining and
bringing in at the time of his arrival, if the same exceeds the Penalizing the Crime of Plunder),[1] as amended by RA
amount of US$3,000.00 or its equivalent in other foreign 7659,[2]wishes to impress upon us that the assailed law is so
currencies. There is nothing in said circular that would justify defectively fashioned that it crosses that thin but distinct line
returning to him the amount of at least US$3,000.00, if he is which divides the valid from the constitutionally infirm. He
therefore makes a stringent call for this Court to subject the
Page 25 of 51
Plunder Law to the crucible of constitutionality mainly because, by RA 7659; (b) Crim. Cases Nos. 26559 to 26562, inclusive,
according to him, (a) it suffers from the vice of vagueness; (b) for violation of Secs. 3, par. (a), 3, par. (a), 3, par. (e) and 3, par.
it dispenses with the "reasonable doubt" standard in criminal (e), of RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices
prosecutions; and, (c) it abolishes the element of mens rea in Act), respectively; (c) Crim. Case No. 26563, for violation of
crimes already punishable under The Revised Penal Code, all Sec. 7, par. (d), of RA 6713 (The Code of Conduct and Ethical
of which are purportedly clear violations of the fundamental Standards for Public Officials and Employees); (d) Crim. Case
rights of the accused to due process and to be informed of the No. 26564, for Perjury (Art. 183 of The Revised Penal Code);
nature and cause of the accusation against him. and, (e) Crim. Case No. 26565, for Illegal Use Of An Alias (CA
Specifically, the provisions of the Plunder Law claimed by No. 142, as amended by RA 6085).
petitioner to have transgressed constitutional boundaries are On 11 April 2001 petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion for the
Secs. 1, par. (d), 2 and 4 which are reproduced hereunder: remand of the case to the Ombudsman for preliminary
Section 1. x x x x (d) "Ill-gotten wealth" means any asset, investigation with respect to specification "d" of the charges in
property, business, enterprise or material possession of any the Information in Crim. Case No. 26558; and, for
person within the purview of Section Two (2) hereof, acquired reconsideration/reinvestigation of the offenses under
by him directly or indirectly through dummies, nominees, specifications "a," "b," and "c" to give the accused an
agents, subordinates and/or business associates by any opportunity to file counter-affidavits and other documents
combination or series of the following means or similar necessary to prove lack of probable cause. Noticeably, the
schemes: grounds raised were only lack of preliminary investigation,
(1) Through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or reconsideration/reinvestigation of offenses, and opportunity to
malversation of public funds or raids on the public treasury; prove lack of probable cause. The purported ambiguity of the
(2) By receiving, directly or indirectly, any commission, gift, charges and the vagueness of the law under which they are
share, percentage, kickbacks or any other form of pecuniary charged were never raised in that Omnibus Motion thus
benefit from any person and/or entity in connection with any indicating the explicitness and comprehensibility of the Plunder
government contract or project or by reason of the office or Law.
position of the public office concerned; On 25 April 2001 the Sandiganbayan, Third Division, issued a
(3) By the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of Resolution in Crim. Case No. 26558 finding that "a probable
assets belonging to the National Government or any of its cause for the offense of PLUNDER exists to justify the issuance
subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities, or government of warrants for the arrest of the accused." On 25 June 2001
owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries; petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied by the
(4) By obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirectly Sandiganbayan.
any shares of stock, equity or any other form of interest or On 14 June 2001 petitioner moved to quash the Information in
participation including the promise of future employment in any Crim. Case No. 26558 on the ground that the facts
business enterprise or undertaking; alleged therein did not constitute an indictable offense since the
(5) By establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial law on which it was based was unconstitutional for vagueness,
monopolies or other combinations and/or implementation of and that the Amended Information for Plunder charged more
decrees and orders intended to benefit particular persons or than one (1) offense. On 21 June 2001 the Government filed
special interests; or its Opposition to the Motion to Quash, and five (5) days later or
(6) By taking advantage of official position, authority, on 26 June 2001 petitioner submitted his Reply to the
relationship, connection or influence to unjustly enrich himself Opposition. On 9 July 2001 the Sandiganbayan denied
or themselves at the expense and to the damage and prejudice petitioner's Motion to Quash.
of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines. As concisely delineated by this Court during the oral arguments
Section 2. Definition of the Crime of Plunder, Penalties. - Any on 18 September 2001, the issues for resolution in the instant
public officer who, by himself or in connivance with members petition for certiorari are: (a) The Plunder Law is
of his family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business unconstitutional for being vague; (b) The Plunder Law requires
associates, subordinates or other persons, amasses, less evidence for proving the predicate crimes of plunder and
accumulates or acquires ill-gotten wealth through therefore violates the rights of the accused to due process; and,
a combination or series of overt or criminal acts as described (c) Whether Plunder as defined in RA 7080 is a malum
in Section 1 (d) hereof, in the aggregate amount or total value prohibitum, and if so, whether it is within the power of
of at least fifty million pesos (P50,000,000.00) shall be guilty of Congress to so classify it.
the crime of plunder and shall be punished by reclusion Preliminarily, the whole gamut of legal concepts pertaining to
perpetua to death.Any person who participated with the said the validity of legislation is predicated on the basic principle
public officer in the commission of an offense contributing to that a legislative measure is presumed to be in harmony with
the crime of plunder shall likewise be punished for such the Constitution.[3] Courts invariably train their sights on this
offense. In the imposition of penalties, the degree of fundamental rule whenever a legislative act is under a
participation and the attendance of mitigating and extenuating constitutional attack, for it is the postulate of constitutional
circumstances as provided by the Revised Penal Code shall be adjudication.This strong predilection for constitutionality takes
considered by the court. The court shall declare any and all ill- its bearings on the idea that it is forbidden for one branch of the
gotten wealth and their interests and other incomes and assets government to encroach upon the duties and powers of
including the properties and shares of stocks derived from the another. Thus it has been said that the presumption is based on
deposit or investment thereof forfeited in favor of the State the deference the judicial branch accords to its coordinate
(underscoring supplied). branch - the legislature.
Section 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the If there is any reasonable basis upon which the legislation may
crime of plunder, it shall not be necessary to prove each and firmly rest, the courts must assume that the legislature is ever
every criminal act done by the accused in furtherance of the conscious of the borders and edges of its plenary powers, and
scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill- has passed the law with full knowledge of the facts and for the
gotten wealth, it being sufficient to establish beyond purpose of promoting what is right and advancing the welfare
reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the majority. Hence in determining whether the acts of the
of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy (underscoring legislature are in tune with the fundamental law, courts should
supplied). proceed with judicial restraint and act with caution and
On 4 April 2001 the Office of the Ombudsman filed before the forbearance. Every intendment of the law must be adjudged by
Sandiganbayan eight (8) separate Informations, docketed as: (a) the courts in favor of its constitutionality, invalidity being a
Crim. Case No. 26558, for violation of RA 7080, as amended measure of last resort. In construing therefore the provisions of

Page 26 of 51
a statute, courts must first ascertain whether an interpretation is various elements of the offense which petitioner is alleged to
fairly possible to sidestep the question of constitutionality. have committed:
In La Union Credit Cooperative, Inc. v. Yaranon[4] we held that "The undersigned Ombudsman, Prosecutor and OIC-Director,
as long as there is some basis for the decision of the court, the EPIB, Office of the Ombudsman, hereby accuses
constitutionality of the challenged law will not be touched and former PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE
the case will be decided on other available grounds. Yet the PHILIPPINES, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, a.k.a. 'ASIONG
force of the presumption is not sufficient to catapult a SALONGA' and a.k.a. 'JOSE VELARDE,' together with Jose
fundamentally deficient law into the safe environs of 'Jinggoy' Estrada, Charlie 'Atong' Ang, Edward Serapio,
constitutionality. Of course, where the law clearly and palpably Yolanda T. Ricaforte, Alma Alfaro, JOHN DOE a.k.a.
transgresses the hallowed domain of the organic law, it must be Eleuterio Tan OR Eleuterio Ramos Tan or Mr. Uy, Jane Doe
struck down on sight lest the positive commands of the a.k.a. Delia Rajas, and John DOES & Jane Does, of the crime
fundamental law be unduly eroded. of Plunder, defined and penalized under R.A. No. 7080, as
Verily, the onerous task of rebutting the presumption weighs amended by Sec. 12 of R.A. No. 7659, committed as follows:
heavily on the party challenging the validity of the statute. He That during the period from June, 1998 to January 2001, in the
must demonstrate beyond any tinge of doubt that there is indeed Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
an infringement of the accused Joseph Ejercito Estrada, THEN A PRESIDENT OF
constitution, for absent such a showing, there can be no finding THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, by
of unconstitutionality. A doubt, even if well-founded, will himself AND/OR in CONNIVANCE/CONSPIRACY with
hardly suffice. As tersely put by Justice Malcolm, "To doubt is his co-accused, WHO ARE MEMBERS OF HIS FAMILY,
to sustain."[5] And petitioner has miserably failed in the instant RELATIVES BY AFFINITY OR CONSANGUINITY,
case to discharge his burden and overcome the presumption of BUSINESS ASSOCIATES, SUBORDINATES AND/OR
constitutionality of the Plunder Law. OTHER PERSONS, BY TAKING UNDUE ADVANTAGE
As it is written, the Plunder Law contains ascertainable OF HIS OFFICIAL POSITION, AUTHORITY,
standards and well-defined parameters which would enable the RELATIONSHIP, CONNECTION, OR INFLUENCE, did
accused to determine the nature of his violation. Section 2 is then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally amass,
sufficiently explicit in its description of the acts, conduct and accumulate and acquire BY HIMSELF,
conditions required or forbidden, and prescribes the elements of DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, ill-gotten wealth in the
the crime with reasonable certainty and particularity. Thus - aggregate amount or TOTAL VALUE of FOUR BILLION
1. That the offender is a public officer who acts by himself or in NINETY SEVEN MILLION EIGHT HUNDRED FOUR
connivance with members of his family, relatives by affinity or THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY THREE
consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other PESOS AND SEVENTEEN
persons; CENTAVOS (P4,097,804,173.17), more or less, THEREBY
2. That he amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth UNJUSTLY ENRICHING HIMSELF OR THEMSELVES
through a combination or series of the following overt or AT THE EXPENSE AND TO THE DAMAGE OF THE
criminal acts: (a) through misappropriation, FILIPINO PEOPLE AND THE REPUBLIC OF THE
conversion, misuse, ormalversation of public funds or raids on PHILIPPINES, through ANY OR
the public treasury; (b) by receiving, directly or indirectly, any A combination OR A series of overt OR criminal acts, OR
commission, gift, share, percentage, kickback or any other form SIMILAR SCHEMES OR MEANS, described as follows:
of pecuniary benefits from any person and/or entity in (a) by receiving OR collecting, directly or indirectly,
connection with any government contract or project or by on SEVERAL INSTANCES, MONEY IN THE
reason of the office or position of the public officer; (c) by the AGGREGATE AMOUNT OF FIVE HUNDRED FORTY-
illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets FIVE MILLION PESOS (P545,000,000.00), MORE OR
belonging to the National Government or any of its LESS, FROM ILLEGAL GAMBLING IN THE FORM OF
subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities of Government GIFT, SHARE, PERCENTAGE, KICKBACK OR ANY
owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries; (d) by FORM OF PECUNIARY BENEFIT, BY HIMSELF
obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirectly any AND/OR in connection with co-accused CHARLIE
shares of stock, equity or any other form of interest or 'ATONG' ANG, Jose 'Jinggoy' Estrada, Yolanda T. Ricaforte,
participation including the promise of future employment in any Edward Serapio, AND JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, in
business enterprise or undertaking; (e) by establishing consideration OF TOLERATION OR PROTECTION OF
agricultural, industrial or commercial monopolies or other ILLEGAL GAMBLING;
combinations and/or implementation of decrees and orders (b) by DIVERTING, RECEIVING, misappropriating,
intended to benefit particular persons or special interests; or converting OR misusing DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY,
(f) by taking advantage of official position, authority, for HIS OR THEIR PERSONAL gain and benefit, public
relationship, connection or influence to unjustly enrich himself funds in the amount of ONE HUNDRED THIRTY MILLION
or themselves at the expense and to the damage and prejudice PESOS (P130,000,000.00), more or less, representing a portion
of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines; and, of the TWO HUNDRED MILLION PESOS
3. That the aggregate amount or total value of the ill-gotten (P200,000,000.00) tobacco excise tax share allocated for the
wealth amassed, accumulated or acquired is at province of Ilocos Sur under R.A. No. 7171, by himself
least P50,000,000.00. and/or in connivance with co-accused Charlie 'Atong' Ang,
As long as the law affords some comprehensible guide or rule Alma Alfaro, JOHN DOE a.k.a.Eleuterio Ramos Tan or Mr.
that would inform those who are subject to it what conduct Uy, Jane Doe a.k.a. Delia Rajas, AND OTHER JOHN DOES
would render them liable to its penalties, its validity will be & JANE DOES; (italic supplied).
sustained. It must sufficiently guide the judge in its application; (c) by directing, ordering and compelling, FOR HIS
the counsel, in defending one charged with its violation; and PERSONAL GAIN AND BENEFIT, the Government
more importantly, the accused, in identifying the realm of the Service Insurance System (GSIS) TO PURCHASE
proscribed conduct. Indeed, it can be understood with little 351,878,000 SHARES OF STOCKS, MORE OR LESS, and
difficulty that what the assailed statute punishes is the act of a the Social Security System (SSS), 329,855,000 SHARES OF
public officer in amassing or accumulating ill-gotten wealth of STOCK, MORE OR LESS, OF THE BELLE
at least P50,000,000.00 through a series or combination of acts CORPORATION IN THE AMOUNT OF MORE OR LESS
enumerated in Sec. 1, par. (d), of the Plunder Law. ONE BILLION ONE HUNDRED TWO MILLION NINE
In fact, the amended Information itself closely tracks the HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED
language of the law, indicating with reasonable certainty the SEVEN PESOS AND FIFTY CENTAVOS

Page 27 of 51
(P1,102,965,607.50) AND MORE OR LESS SEVEN Combination - the result or product of combining; the act or
HUNDRED FORTY FOUR MILLION SIX HUNDRED process of combining. To combine is to bring into such close
TWELVE THOUSAND AND FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY relationship as to obscure individual characters.
PESOS (P744,612,450.00), RESPECTIVELY, OR A Series - a number of things or events of the same class coming
TOTAL OF MORE OR LESS ONE BILLION EIGHT one after another in spatial and temporal succession.
HUNDRED FORTY SEVEN MILLION FIVE HUNDRED That Congress intended the
SEVENTY EIGHT THOUSAND FIFTY SEVEN PESOS words "combination" and "series" to be understood in their
AND FIFTY CENTAVOS (P1,847,578,057.50); AND BY popular meanings is pristinely evident from the legislative
COLLECTING OR RECEIVING, DIRECTLY OR deliberations on the bill which eventually became RA 7080 or
INDIRECTLY, BY HIMSELF AND/OR IN the Plunder Law:
CONNIVANCE WITH JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, DELIBERATIONS OF THE BICAMERAL COMMITTEE
COMMISSIONS OR PERCENTAGES BY REASON OF ON JUSTICE, 7 May 1991
SAID PURCHASES OF SHARES OF STOCK IN THE REP. ISIDRO: I am just intrigued again by our definition of
AMOUNT OF ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY NINE plunder. We say THROUGH A COMBINATION OR SERIES
MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS OF OVERT OR CRIMINAL ACTS AS MENTIONED IN
(P189,700,000.00) MORE OR LESS, FROM THE BELLE SECTION ONE HEREOF. Now when we say combination, we
CORPORATION WHICH BECAME PART OF THE actually mean to say, if there are two or more means, we mean
DEPOSIT IN THE EQUITABLE-PCI BANK UNDER to say that number one and two or number one and something
THE ACCOUNT NAME'JOSE VELARDE;' else are included, how about a series of the same act? For
(d) by unjustly enriching himself FROM COMMISSIONS, example, through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, will
GIFTS, SHARES, PERCENTAGES, KICKBACKS, OR these be included also?
ANY FORM OF PECUNIARY BENEFITS, IN REP. GARCIA: Yeah, because we say a series.
CONNIVANCE WITH JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, in REP. ISIDRO: Series.
the amount of MORE OR LESS THREE BILLION TWO REP. GARCIA: Yeah, we include series.
HUNDRED THIRTY THREE MILLION ONE HUNDRED REP. ISIDRO: But we say we begin with a combination.
FOUR THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY THREE REP. GARCIA: Yes.
PESOS AND SEVENTEEN CENTAVOS REP. ISIDRO: When we say combination, it seems that -
(P3,233,104,173.17) AND DEPOSITING THE SAME REP. GARCIA: Two.
UNDER HIS ACCOUNT NAME 'JOSE VELARDE' AT REP. ISIDRO: Not only two but we seem to mean that two of
THE EQUITABLE-PCI BANK." the enumerated means not twice of one enumeration.
We discern nothing in the foregoing that is vague or ambiguous REP. GARCIA: No, no, not twice.
- as there is obviously none - that will confuse petitioner in his REP. ISIDRO: Not twice?
defense. Although subject to proof, these factual assertions REP. GARCIA: Yes. Combination is not twice - but
clearly show that the elements of the crime are easily combination, two acts.
understood and provide adequate contrast between the innocent REP. ISIDRO: So in other words, thats it. When we say
and the prohibited acts. Upon such unequivocal assertions, combination, we mean, two different acts. It cannot be a
petitioner is completely informed of the accusations against him repetition of the same act.
as to enable him to prepare for an intelligent defense. REP. GARCIA: That be referred to series, yeah.
Petitioner, however, bewails the failure of the law to provide REP. ISIDRO: No, no. Supposing one act is repeated, so there
for the statutory definition of the are two.
terms "combination" and "series" in the key phrase "a REP. GARCIA: A series.
combination or series of overt or criminal acts" found in Sec. 1, REP. ISIDRO: Thats not series. Its a combination. Because
par. (d), and Sec. 2, and the word "pattern" in Sec. when we say combination or series, we seem to say that two or
4. These omissions, according to petitioner, render the Plunder more, di ba?
Law unconstitutional for being impermissibly vague and REP. GARCIA: Yes, this distinguishes it really from ordinary
overbroad and deny him the right to be informed of the nature crimes. That is why, I said, that is a very good suggestion
and cause of the accusation against him, hence, violative of his because if it is only one act, it may fall under ordinary crime
fundamental right to due process. but we have here a combination or series of overt or criminal
The rationalization seems to us to be pure sophistry. A statute acts. So x x x x
is not rendered uncertain and void merely because general terms REP. GARCIA: Series. One after the other eh di....
are used therein, or because of the employment of terms without SEN. TANADA: So that would fall under the term series?
defining them;[6] much less do we have to define every word we REP. GARCIA: Series, oo.
use. Besides, there is no positive constitutional or statutory REP. ISIDRO: Now, if it is a combination, ano, two
command requiring the legislature to define each and every misappropriations....
word in an enactment. Congress is not restricted in the form of REP. GARCIA: Its not... Two misappropriations will not be
expression of its will, and its inability to so define the words combination. Series.
employed in a statute will not necessarily result in the REP. ISIDRO: So, it is not a combination?
vagueness or ambiguity of the law so long as the legislative will REP. GARCIA: Yes.
is clear, or at least, can be gathered from the whole act, which REP. ISIDRO: When you say combination, two different?
is distinctly expressed in the Plunder Law. REP. GARCIA: Yes.
Moreover, it is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics SEN. TANADA: Two different.
that words of a statute will be interpreted in their natural, plain REP. ISIDRO: Two different acts.
and ordinary acceptation and signification,[7] unless it is evident REP. GARCIA: For example, ha...
that the legislature intended a technical or special legal meaning REP. ISIDRO: Now a series, meaning, repetition...
to those words.[8] The intention of the lawmakers - who are, DELIBERATIONS ON SENATE BILL NO. 733, 6 June 1989
ordinarily, untrained philologists and lexicographers - to SENATOR MACEDA: In line with our interpellations that
use statutory phraseology in such a manner is always sometimes one or maybe even two acts may already result in
presumed. Thus, Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary contains such a big amount, on line 25, would the Sponsor consider
the following commonly accepted definition of the words deleting the words a series of overt or, to read, therefore: or
"combination" and "series:" conspiracy COMMITTED by criminal acts such as. Remove the
idea of necessitating a series. Anyway, the criminal acts are in
the plural.

Page 28 of 51
SENATOR TANADA: That would mean a combination of two the doctrine cannot be invoked where the assailed statute is
or more of the acts mentioned in this. clear and free from ambiguity, as in this case.
THE PRESIDENT: Probably two or more would be.... The test in determining whether a criminal statute is void for
SENATOR MACEDA: Yes, because a series implies several or uncertainty is whether the language conveys a sufficiently
many; two or more. definite warning as to the proscribed conduct when measured
SENATOR TANADA: Accepted, Mr. President x x x x by common understanding and practice.[12] It must be stressed,
THE PRESIDENT: If there is only one, then he has to be however, that the "vagueness" doctrine merely requires a
prosecuted under the particular crime. But when we say acts of reasonable degree of certainty for the statute to be upheld - not
plunder there should be, at least, two or more. absolute precision or mathematical exactitude, as petitioner
SENATOR ROMULO: In other words, that is already covered seems to suggest. Flexibility, rather than meticulous specificity,
by existing laws, Mr. President. is permissible as long as the metes and bounds of the statute are
Thus when the Plunder Law speaks of "combination," it is clearly delineated. An act will not be held invalid merely
referring to at least two (2) acts falling under different because it might have been more explicit in its wordings or
categories of enumeration provided in Sec. 1, par. (d), e.g., raids detailed in its provisions, especially where, because of the
on the public treasury in Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (1), and nature of the act, it would be impossible to provide all the
fraudulent conveyance of assets belonging to the National details in advance as in all other statutes.
Government under Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (3). Moreover, we agree with, hence we adopt, the observations of
On the other hand, to constitute a series" there must be two (2) Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza during the deliberations of the
or more overt or criminal acts falling under the same category Court that the allegations that the Plunder Law is vague and
of enumeration found in Sec. 1, par. (d), say, misappropriation, overbroad do not justify a facial review of its validity -
malversation and raids on the public treasury, all of which fall The void-for-vagueness doctrine states that "a statute which
under Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (1). Verily, had the legislature either forbids or requires the doing of an act in terms so vague
intended a technical or distinctive meaning for "combination" that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its
and "series," it would have taken greater pains in specifically meaning and differ as to its application, violates the first
providing for it in the law. essential of due process of law."[13] The overbreadth doctrine,
As for "pattern," we agree with the observations of the on the other hand, decrees that "a governmental purpose may
Sandiganbayan[9] that this term is sufficiently defined in Sec. 4, not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly
in relation to Sec. 1, par. (d), and Sec. 2 - and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms." [14]
x x x x under Sec. 1 (d) of the law, a 'pattern' consists of at least A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and
a combination or series of overt or criminal acts enumerated in to one which is overbroad because of possible "chilling effect"
subsections (1) to (6) of Sec. 1 (d). Secondly, pursuant to Sec. 2 upon protected speech. The theory is that "[w]hen statutes
of the law, the pattern of overt or criminal acts is directed regulate or proscribe speech and no readily apparent
towards a common purpose or goal which is to enable construction suggests itself as a vehicle for rehabilitating the
the public officer to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten statutes in a single prosecution, the transcendent value to all
wealth.And thirdly, there must either be an 'overall unlawful society of constitutionally protected expression is deemed to
scheme' or 'conspiracy' to achieve said common goal. As justify allowing attacks on overly broad statutes with no
commonly understood, the term 'overall unlawful scheme' requirement that the person making the attack demonstrate that
indicates a 'general plan of action or method' which the his own conduct could not be regulated by a statute drawn with
principal accused and public officer and others conniving with narrow specificity."[15] The possible harm to society in
him follow to achieve the aforesaid common goal. In the permitting some unprotected speech to go unpunished is
alternative, if there is no such overall scheme or where the outweighed by the possibility that the protected speech of others
schemes or methods used by multiple accused vary, the overt or may be deterred and perceived grievances left to fester because
criminal acts must form part of a conspiracy to attain a common of possible inhibitory effects of overly broad statutes.
goal. This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes
Hence, it cannot plausibly be contended that the law does not have general in terrorem effect resulting from their very
give a fair warning and sufficient notice of what it seeks to existence, and, if facial challenge is allowed for this reason
penalize. Under the circumstances, petitioner's reliance on the alone, the State may well be prevented from enacting laws
"void-for-vagueness" doctrine is manifestly misplaced. The against socially harmful conduct. In the area of criminal law,
doctrine has been formulated in various ways, but is most the law cannot take chances as in the area of free speech.
commonly stated to the effect that a statute establishing a The overbreadth and vagueness doctrines then have special
criminal offense must define the offense with sufficient application only to free speech cases. They are inapt for testing
definiteness that persons of ordinary intelligence can the validity of penal statutes. As the U.S. Supreme Court put it,
understand what conduct is prohibited by the statute. It can only in an opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist, "we have not
be invoked against that specie of legislation that is utterly vague recognized an 'overbreadth' doctrine outside the limited context
on its face, i.e., that which cannot be clarified either by a saving of the First Amendment."[16] In Broadrick v. Oklahoma,[17] the
clause or by construction. Court ruled that "claims of facial overbreadth have been
A statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks entertained in cases involving statutes which, by their terms,
comprehensible standards that men of common intelligence seek to regulate only spoken words" and, again, that
must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ in its "overbreadth claims, if entertained at all, have been curtailed
application. In suchinstance, the statute is repugnant to the when invoked against ordinary criminal laws that are sought to
Constitution in two (2) respects - it violates due process for be applied to protected conduct." For this reason, it has been
failure to accord persons, especially the parties targeted by it, held that "a facial challenge to a legislative act is the most
fair notice of what conduct to avoid; and, it leaves law enforcers difficult challenge to mount successfully, since the challenger
unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes must establish that no set of circumstances exists under which
an arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle. [10] But the the Act would be valid."[18] As for the vagueness doctrine, it is
doctrine does not apply as against legislations that are merely said that a litigant may challenge a statute on its face only if it
couched in imprecise language but which nonetheless specify is vague in all its possible applications. "A plaintiff who
a standard though defectively phrased; or to those that are engages in some conduct that is clearly proscribed cannot
apparently ambiguous yet fairly applicable to certain types of complain of the vagueness of the law as applied to the conduct
activities. The first may be "saved" by proper construction, of others."[19]
while no challenge may be mounted as against the second In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and
whenever directed against such activities.[11] With more reason, vagueness are analytical tools developed for testing "on their

Page 29 of 51
faces" statutes in free speech cases or, as they are called in charged them with three (3) distinct offenses, to wit: (a) giving
American law, First Amendment cases. They cannot be made of "unwarranted" benefits through manifest partiality; (b)
to do service when what is involved is a criminal statute. With giving of "unwarranted" benefits through evident bad faith; and,
respect to such statute, the established rule is that "one to whom (c) giving of "unwarranted" benefits through gross inexcusable
application of a statute is constitutional will not be heard to negligence while in the discharge of their official function and
attack the statute on the ground that impliedly it might also be that their right to be informed of the nature and cause of the
taken as applying to other persons or other situations in which accusation against them was violated because they were left to
its application might be unconstitutional."[20] As has been guess which of the three (3) offenses, if not all, they were being
pointed out, "vagueness challenges in the First Amendment charged and prosecuted.
context, like overbreadth challenges typically produce facial In dismissing the petition, this Court held that Sec. 3, par. (e),
invalidation, while statutes found vague as a matter of due of The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act does not suffer
process typically are invalidated [only] 'as applied' to a from the constitutional defect of vagueness. The phrases
particular defendant."[21] Consequently, there is no basis for "manifest partiality," "evident bad faith," and "gross and
petitioner's claim that this Court review the Anti-Plunder Law inexcusable negligence" merely describe the different modes by
on its face and in its entirety. which the offense penalized in Sec. 3, par. (e), of the statute
Indeed, "on its face" invalidation of statutes results in striking may be committed, and the use of all these phrases in the same
them down entirely on the ground that they might be applied to Information does not mean that the indictment charges three (3)
parties not before the Court whose activities are constitutionally distinct offenses.
protected.[22] It constitutes a departure from the case and The word 'unwarranted' is not uncertain. It seems lacking
controversy requirement of the Constitution and permits adequate or official support; unjustified; unauthorized
decisions to be made without concrete factual settings and in (Webster, Third International Dictionary, p. 2514); or without
sterile abstract contexts.[23] But, as the U.S. Supreme Court justification or adequate reason (Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc.
pointed out in Younger v. Harris[24] v. US Dept. of Justice, C.D. Pa., 405 F. Supp. 8, 12, cited in
[T]he task of analyzing a proposed statute, pinpointing its Words and Phrases, Permanent Edition, Vol. 43-A 1978,
deficiencies, and requiring correction of these deficiencies Cumulative Annual Pocket Part, p. 19).
before the statute is put into effect, is rarely if ever an The assailed provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices
appropriate task for the judiciary. The combination of the Act consider a corrupt practice and make unlawful the act of the
relative remoteness of the controversy, the impact on the public officer in:
legislative process of the relief sought, and above all the x x x or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits,
speculative and amorphous nature of the required line-by-line advantage or preference in the discharge of his official,
analysis of detailed statutes, . . . ordinarily results in a kind of administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality,
case that is wholly unsatisfactory for deciding constitutional evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence, x x
questions, whichever way they might be decided. x (Section 3 [e], Rep. Act 3019, as amended).
For these reasons, "on its face" invalidation of statutes has been It is not at all difficult to comprehend that what the aforequoted
described as "manifestly strong medicine," to be penal provisions penalize is the act of a public officer, in the
employed "sparingly and only as a last resort," [25] and is discharge of his official, administrative or judicial functions, in
generally disfavored.[26] In determining the constitutionality of giving any private party benefits, advantage or preference
a statute, therefore, its provisions which are alleged to have which is unjustified, unauthorized or without justification or
been violated in a case must be examined in the light of the adequate reason, through manifest partiality, evident bad faith
conduct with which the defendant is charged.[27] or gross inexcusable negligence.
In light of the foregoing disquisition, it is evident that the In other words, this Court found that there was nothing vague
purported ambiguity of the Plunder Law, so tenaciously or ambiguous in the use of the term "unwarranted" in Sec. 3,
claimed and argued at length by petitioner, is more imagined par. (e), of The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which
than real. Ambiguity, where none exists, cannot be created by was understood in its primary and general
dissecting parts and words in the statute to furnish support to acceptation. Consequently, in that case, petitioners' objection
critics who cavil at the want of scientific precision in the thereto was held inadequate to declare the section
law. Every provision of the law should be construed in relation unconstitutional.
and with reference to every other part. To be sure, it will take On the second issue, petitioner advances the highly stretched
more than nitpicking to overturn the well-entrenched theory that Sec. 4 of the Plunder Law circumvents the
presumption of constitutionality and validity of the Plunder immutable obligation of the prosecution to prove beyond
Law. A fortiori, petitioner cannot feign ignorance of what the reasonable doubt the predicate acts constituting the crime of
Plunder Law is all about. Being one of the Senators who voted plunder when it requires only proof of a pattern of overt or
for its passage, petitioner must be aware that the law was criminal acts showing unlawful scheme or conspiracy -
extensively deliberated upon by the Senate and its appropriate SEC. 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the
committees by reason of which he even registered his crime of plunder, it shall not be necessary to prove each and
affirmative vote with full knowledge of its legal implications every criminal act done by the accused in furtherance of the
and sound constitutional anchorage. scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-
The parallel case of Gallego v. Sandiganbayan[28] must be gotten wealth, it being sufficient to establish beyond reasonable
mentioned if only to illustrate and emphasize the point that doubt a pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the
courts are loathed to declare a statute void for uncertainty unless overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy.
the law itself is so imperfect and deficient in its details, and is The running fault in this reasoning is obvious even to the
susceptible of no reasonable construction that will support and simplistic mind. In a criminal prosecution for plunder, as in all
give it effect. In that case, other crimes, the accused always has in his favor the
petitioners Gallego and Agoncillochallenged presumption of innocence which is guaranteed by the Bill of
the constitutionality of Sec. 3, par. (e), of The Anti-Graft and Rights, and unless the State succeeds in demonstrating by proof
Corrupt Practices Act for being vague. Petitioners posited, beyond reasonable doubt that culpability lies, the accused is
among others, that the term "unwarranted" is highly imprecise entitled to an acquittal.[29] The use of the "reasonable
and elastic with no common law meaning or settled definition doubt" standard is indispensable to command the respect and
by prior judicial or administrative precedents; that, for its confidence of the community in the application of criminal
vagueness, Sec. 3, par. (e), violates due process in that it does law. It is critical that the moral force of criminal law be not
not give fair warning or sufficient notice of what it seeks to diluted by a standard of proof that leaves people in doubt
penalize. Petitioners further argued that the Information whether innocent men are being condemned. It is also

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important in our free society that every individual going about wealth. To illustrate, supposing that the accused is charged in
his ordinary affairs has confidence that his government cannot an Information for plunder with having committed fifty (50)
adjudge him guilty of a criminal offense without convincing a raids on the public
proper factfinder of his guilt with utmost treasury. Theprosecution need not prove all these fifty (50)
certainty. This "reasonable doubt" standard has acquired such raids, it being sufficient to prove by pattern at least two (2) of
exalted stature in the realm of constitutional law as it gives life the raids beyond reasonable doubt provided only that they
to the Due Process Clause which protects the accused against amounted to at least P50,000,000.00.[31]
conviction except upon proof beyond reasonable doubt of every A reading of Sec. 2 in conjunction with Sec. 4, brings us to the
fact necessary to constitute the crime with which he is logical conclusion that "pattern of overt or criminal acts
charged.[30] The following exchanges between Rep. Rodolfo indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy"
Albano and Rep. Pablo Garcia on this score during the inheres in the very acts of accumulating, acquiring or amassing
deliberations in the floor of the House of Representatives are hidden wealth. Stated otherwise, such pattern arises where the
elucidating - prosecution is able to prove beyond reasonable doubt the
DELIBERATIONS OF THE HOUSE OF predicate acts as defined in Sec. 1, par. (d). Pattern is merely a
REPRESENTATIVES ON RA 7080, 9 October 1990 by-product of the proof of the predicate acts. This conclusion is
MR. ALBANO: Now, Mr. Speaker, it is also elementary in our consistent with reason and common sense. There would be no
criminal law that what is alleged in the information must be other explanation for a combination or series of
proven beyond reasonable doubt. If we will prove only one act overt or criminal acts to stash P50,000,000.00 or more, than "a
and find him guilty of the other acts enumerated in the scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill gotten
information, does that not work against the right of the accused wealth." The prosecution is therefore not required to make a
especially so if the amount committed, say, by falsification is deliberate and conscious effort to prove pattern as it necessarily
less than P100 million, but the totality of the crime committed follows with the establishment of a series or combination of the
is P100 million since there is malversation, bribery, predicate acts.
falsification of public document, coercion, theft? Relative to petitioner's contentions on the purported defect of
MR. GARCIA: Mr. Speaker, not everything alleged in the Sec. 4 is his submission that "pattern" is "a very important
information needs to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. What element of the crime of plunder;" and that Sec. 4 is "two
is required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt is every pronged, (as) it contains a rule of evidence and a substantive
element of the crime charged. For example, Mr. Speaker, there element of the crime," such that without it the accused cannot
is an enumeration of the things taken by the robber in the be convicted of plunder -
information three pairs of pants, pieces of jewelry. These need JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: In other words, cannot an accused be
not be proved beyond reasonable doubt, but these will not convicted under the Plunder Law without applying Section 4 on
prevent the conviction of a crime for which he was charged just the Rule of Evidence if there is proof beyond reasonable doubt
because, say, instead of 3 pairs of diamond earrings the of the commission of the acts complained of?
prosecution proved two. Now, what is required to be proved ATTY. AGABIN: In that case he can be convicted of individual
beyond reasonable doubt is the element of the offense. crimes enumerated in the Revised Penal Code, but not plunder.
MR. ALBANO: I am aware of that, Mr. Speaker, but JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: In other words, if all the elements of
considering that in the crime of plunder the totality of the the crime are proved beyond reasonable doubt without
amount is very important, I feel that such a series of overt applying Section 4, can you not have a conviction under the
criminal acts has to be taken singly. For instance, in the act of Plunder Law?
bribery, he was able to accumulate only P50,000 and in the ATTY. AGABIN: Not a conviction for plunder, your Honor.
crime of extortion, he was only able to accumulate P1 JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: Can you not disregard the
million. Now, when we add the totality of the other acts as application of Sec. 4 in convicting an accused charged for
required under this bill through the interpretation on the rule violation of the Plunder Law?
of evidence, it is just one single act, so how can we now convict ATTY. AGABIN: Well, your Honor, in the first place Section 4
him? lays down a substantive element of the law x x x x
MR. GARCIA: With due respect, Mr. Speaker, for purposes of JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: What I said is - do we have to avail of
proving an essential element of the crime, there is a need to Section 4 when there is proof beyond reasonable doubt on the
prove that element beyond reasonable doubt. For example, one acts charged constituting plunder?
essential element of the crime is that the amount involved ATTY. AGABIN: Yes, your Honor, because Section 4 is two
is P100 million. Now, in a series of defalcations and other acts pronged, it contains a rule of evidence and it contains a
of corruption in the enumeration the total amount would substantive element of the crime of plunder. So, there is no way
be P110 or P120 million, but there are certain acts that could by which we can avoid Section 4.
not be proved, so, we will sum up the amounts involved in those JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: But there is proof beyond reasonable
transactions which were proved. Now, if the amount involved doubt insofar as the predicate crimes charged are concerned
in these transactions, proved beyond reasonable doubt, is P100 that you do not have to go that far by applying Section 4?
million, then there is a crime of plunder (underscoring ATTY. AGABIN: Your Honor, our thinking is that Section 4
supplied). contains a very important element of the crime of plunder and
It is thus plain from the foregoing that the legislature did not in that cannot be avoided by the prosecution.[32]
any manner refashion the standard quantum of proof in the We do not subscribe to petitioner's stand. Primarily, all the
crime of plunder. The burden still remains with the prosecution essential elements of plunder can be culled and understood from
to prove beyond any iota of doubt every fact or element its definition in Sec. 2, in relation to Sec. 1, par. (d), and
necessary to constitute the crime. "pattern" is not one of them. Moreover, the epigraph and
The thesis that Sec. 4 does away with proof of each and every opening clause of Sec. 4 is clear and unequivocal:
component of the crime suffers from a dismal misconception of SEC. 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the
the import of that provision. What the prosecution needs to crime of plunder x x x x
prove beyond reasonable doubt is only a number of acts It purports to do no more than prescribe a rule of procedure for
sufficient to form a combination or series which would the prosecution of a criminal case for plunder. Being a purely
constitute a pattern and involving an amount of at procedural measure, Sec. 4 does not define or establish any
least P50,000,000.00.There is no need to prove each and every substantive right in favor of the accused but only operates in
other act alleged in the Information to have been committed by furtherance of a remedy. It is only a means to an end, an aid to
the accused in furtherance of the overall unlawful scheme or substantive law. Indubitably, even without invoking Sec. 4, a
conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten conviction for plunder may be had, for what is crucial for the

Page 31 of 51
prosecution is to present sufficient evidence to engender that there is no canon against using common sense in construing
moral certitude exacted by the fundamental law to prove the laws as saying what they obviously mean." [35]
guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, even Finally, any doubt as to whether the crime of plunder is a malum
granting for the sake of argument that Sec. 4 is flawed in se must be deemed to have been resolved in the affirmative
and vitiated for the reasons advanced by petitioner, it may by the decision of Congress in 1993 to include it among the
simply be severed from the rest of the provisions without heinous crimes punishable by reclusion perpetua to
necessarily resulting in the demise of the law; after all, the death. Other heinous crimes are punished with death as a
existing rules on evidence can supplant Sec. 4 more than straight penalty in R.A. No. 7659. Referring to these groups of
enough. Besides, Sec. 7 of RA 7080 provides for a separability heinous crimes, this Court held in People v. Echegaray:[36]
clause - The evil of a crime may take various forms. There are crimes
Sec. 7. Separability of Provisions. - If any provisions of this Act that are, by their very nature, despicable, either because life was
or the application thereof to any person or circumstance callously taken or the victim is treated like an animal and utterly
is held invalid, the remaining provisions of this Act and the dehumanized as to completely disrupt the normal course of his
application of such provisions to other persons or circumstances or her growth as a human being . . . . Seen in this light, the
shall not be affected thereby. capital crimes of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for
Implicit in the foregoing section is that to avoid the whole act ransom resulting in the death of the victim or the victim is
from being declared invalid as a result of the nullity of some of raped, tortured, or subjected to dehumanizing acts; destructive
its provisions, assuming that to be the case although it is not arson resulting in death; and drug offenses involving minors or
really so, all the provisions thereof should accordingly be resulting in the death of the victim in the case of other crimes;
treated independently of each other, especially if by doing so, as well as murder, rape,
the objectives of the statute can best be achieved. parricide, infanticide, kidnapping and serious illegal detention,
As regards the third issue, again we agree with Justice Mendoza where the victim is detained for more than three days or serious
that plunder is a malum in se which requires proof of criminal physical injuries were inflicted on the victim or threats to kill
intent. Thus, he says, in his Concurring Opinion - him were made or the victim is a minor, robbery with homicide,
x x x Precisely because the constitutive crimes are mala in rape or intentional mutilation, destructive arson, and carnapping
se the element of mens rea must be proven in a prosecution for where the owner, driver or occupant of the carnapped vehicle is
plunder. It is noteworthy that the amended information alleges killed or raped, which are penalized by reclusion perpetua to
that the crime of plunder was committed "willfully, unlawfully death, are clearly heinous by their very nature.
and criminally." It thus alleges guilty knowledge on the part of There are crimes, however, in which the abomination lies in the
petitioner. significance and implications of the subject criminal acts in the
In support of his contention that the statute eliminates the scheme of the larger socio-political and economic context in
requirement of mens rea and that is the reason he claims the which the state finds itself to be struggling to develop and
statute is void, petitioner cites the following remarks of Senator provide for its poor and underprivileged masses. Reeling from
Taada made during the deliberation on S.B. No. 733: decades of corrupt tyrannical rule that bankrupted the
SENATOR TAADA . . . And the evidence that will be required government and impoverished the population, the Philippine
to convict him would not be evidence for each and every Government must muster the political will to dismantle the
individual criminal act but only evidence sufficient to establish culture of corruption, dishonesty, greed and syndicated
the conspiracy or scheme to commit this crime of plunder. [33] criminality that so deeply entrenched itself in the structures of
However, Senator Taada was discussing 4 as shown by the society and the psyche of the populace. [With the government]
succeeding portion of the transcript quoted by petitioner: terribly lacking the money to provide even the most basic
SENATOR ROMULO: And, Mr. President, the Gentleman services to its people, any form of misappropriation or
feels that it is contained in Section 4, Rule of Evidence, which, misapplication of government funds translates to an actual
in the Gentleman's view, would provide for a speedier and faster threat to the very existence of government, and in turn, the very
process of attending to this kind of cases? survival of the people it governs over. Viewed in this context,
SENATOR TAADA: Yes, Mr. President . . .[34] no less heinous are the effects and repercussions of crimes like
Senator Taada was only saying that where the charge is qualified bribery, destructive arson resulting in death, and drug
conspiracy to commit plunder, the prosecution need not prove offenses involving government officials, employees or officers,
each and every criminal act done to further the scheme or that their perpetrators must not be allowed to cause further
conspiracy, it being enough if it proves beyond reasonable destruction and damage to society.
doubt a pattern of overt or ciminal acts indicative of the overall The legislative declaration in R.A. No. 7659 that plunder is a
unlawful scheme or conspiracy. As far as the acts constituting heinous offense implies that it is a malum in se. For when the
the pattern are concerned, however, the elements of the crime acts punished are inherently immoral or inherently wrong, they
must be proved and the requisite mens rea must be shown. are mala in se[37] and it does not matter that such acts are
Indeed, 2 provides that - punished in a special law, especially since in the case of plunder
Any person who participated with the said public officer in the the predicate crimes are mainly mala in se. Indeed, it would be
commission of an offense contributing to the crime of plunder absurd to treat prosecutions for plunder as though they are mere
shall likewise be punished for such offense. In the imposition prosecutions for violations of the Bouncing Check Law (B.P.
of penalties, the degree of participation and the attendance of Blg. 22) or of an ordinance against jaywalking, without regard
mitigating and extenuating circumstances, as provided by the to the inherent wrongness of the acts.
Revised Penal Code, shall be considered by the court. To clinch, petitioner likewise assails the validity of RA 7659,
The application of mitigating and extenuating circumstances in the amendatory law of RA 7080, on constitutional
the Revised Penal Code to prosecutions under the Anti-Plunder grounds. Suffice it to say however that it is now too late in the
Law indicates quite clearly that mens rea is an element of day for him to resurrect this long dead issue, the same having
plunder since the degree of responsibility of the offender is been eternally consigned by People v. Echegaray[38] to the
determined by his criminal intent. It is true that 2 refers to "any archives of jurisprudential history. The declaration of this Court
person who participates with the said public officer in the therein that RA 7659 is constitutionally valid stands as a
commission of an offense contributing to the crime of declaration of the State, and becomes, by necessary effect,
plunder." There is no reason to believe, however, that it does assimilated in the Constitution now as an integral part of it.
not apply as well to the public officer as principal in the Our nation has been racked by scandals of corruption and
crime. As Justice Holmes said: "We agree to all the generalities obscene profligacy of officials in high places which
about not supplying criminal laws with what they omit, but have shaken its very foundation. The anatomy of graft and
corruption has become more elaborate in the corridors of time

Page 32 of 51
as unscrupulous people relentlessly contrive more and more On February 7, 2006, upon motion, the RTC admitted the
ingenious ways to bilk the coffers of the government. Drastic Amended Information5 which reads:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
and radical measures are imperative to fight the increasingly ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
sophisticated, extraordinarily methodical and That on or about 2:30 in the early morning of January 14, 2006,
economically catastrophic looting of the national at Villa Novaliches, Brgy. Pansol, Calamba City, Province of
treasury. Such is the Plunder Law, especially designed to Laguna and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the
disentangle those ghastly tissues of grand-scale corruption above-name accused, during a planned initiation rite and being
which, if left unchecked, will spread like a malignant tumor and then officers and members of Alpha Phi Omega fraternity and
ultimately consume the moral and institutional fiber of our present thereat, in conspiracy with more or less twenty other
nation. The Plunder Law, indeed, is a living testament to the members and officers, whose identity is not yet known, did then
will of the legislature to ultimately eradicate this scourge and and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously assault and use
thus secure society against the avarice and other venalities in personal violence upon one MARLON VILLANUEVA y
public office. MEJILLA, a neophyte thereof and as condition for his
These are times that try men's souls. In the checkered history of admission to the fraternity, thereby subjecting him to physical
this nation, few issues of national importance can equal the harm, resulting to his death, to the damage and prejudice of the
amount of interest and passion generated by petitioner's heirs of the victim.
ignominious fall from the highest office, and his eventual
prosecution and trial under a virginal statute. This continuing CONTRARY TO LAW.
saga has driven a wedge of dissension among our people that On February 7, 2006, Dungo filed a motion to quash for lack of
may linger for a long time. Only by responding to the clarion probable cause,6 but it was denied by the trial court because the
call for patriotism, to rise above factionalism and prejudices, ground cited therein was not provided by law and
shall we emerge triumphant in the midst of ferment. jurisprudence. When arraigned, the petitioners pleaded not
PREMISES CONSIDERED, this Court holds that RA 7080 guilty to the crime charged.7 Thereafter, trial ensued.
otherwise known as the Plunder Law, as amended by RA 7659,
is CONSTITUTIONAL. Consequently, the petition to declare Version of the Prosecution
the law unconstitutional is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED. The prosecution presented twenty (20) witnesses to prove the
crime charged. Their testimonies are summarized as
SECOND DIVISION follows:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
G.R. No. 209464, July 01, 2015
DANDY L. DUNGO AND GREGORIO A. SIBAL, At around 3:20 o'clock in the morning of January 14, 2006, the
JR., Petitioners, v. PEOPLE OF THE victim Marlon Villanueva (Villanueva) was brought to the
PHILIPPINES, Respondent. emergency room of Dr. Jose P. Rizal District Hospital (JP Rizal
DECISION Hospital). Dr. Ramon Masilungan (Dr. Masilungan), who was
MENDOZA, J.: then the attending physician at the emergency room, observed
The fraternal contract should not be signed in blood, celebrated that Villanueva was motionless, not breathing and had no
with pain, marred by injuries, and perpetrated through heartbeat. Dr. Masilungan tried to revive Villanueva for about
suffering. That is the essence of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8049 15 to 30 minutes. Villanueva, however, did not respond to the
or the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995. resuscitation and was pronounced dead. Dr. Masilungan noticed
a big contusion hematoma on the left side of the victim's face
This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to reverse and and several injuries on his arms and legs. He further attested
set aside the April 26, 2013 Decision1and the October 8, 2013 that Villanueva's face was cyanotic, meaning that blood was no
Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. longer running through his body due to lack of oxygen; and
No. 05046, which affirmed the February 23, 2011 Decision 3 of when he pulled down Villanueva's pants, he saw large
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 36, Calamba City (RTC). The cpntusions on both legs, which extended from the upper portion
RTC found petitioners Dandy L. Dungo (Dungo) and Gregorio of the thighs, down to the couplexial portion, or back of the
A. Sibal, Jr. (Sibal), guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the knees.
crime of violation of Section 4 of R.A. No. 8049, and sentenced
them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Dr. Masilungan disclosed that two (2) men brought Villanueva
The Facts to the hospital. The two told him that they found Villanueva
lying motionless on the ground at a store in Brgy. Pansol,
On February 1, 2006, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Calamba City, and brought him to the hospital. When he asked
Calamba, Laguna, filed the Information4against the petitioners them where they came from, one of them answered that they
before the RTC, the accusatory portion of which came from Los Baos, Laguna, en route to San Pablo City. He
reads:LawlibraryofCRAlaw questioned them on how they found Villanueva, when the latter
ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary was in Brgy. Pansol, Calamba City. One of the men just said
That on or about 2:30 in the early morning of January 14, 2006, that they were headed somewhere else.
at Villa Novaliches, Brgy. Pansol, Calamba City, Province of
Laguna and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the Dr. Masilungan reduced his findings in a medico-legal
above-named accused, during an initiation rite and being then report.8 Due to the nature, extent and location of the injuries, he
members of Alpha Phi Omega fraternity and present thereat, in opined that Villanueva was a victim of hazing. He was familiar
conspiracy with more or less twenty other members and with hazing injuries because he had undergone hazing himself
officers, whose identity is not yet known, did then and there when he was a student and also because of his experience in
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously assault and use personal treating victims of hazing incidents.
violence upon one MARLON VILLANUEVA y MEJILLA, a
neophyte thereof and as condition for his admission to the Dr. Roy Camarillo (Dr. Camarillo), Medico-Legal Officer of
fraternity, thereby subjecting him to physical harm, resulting to the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory (PNP-CL) in
his death, to the damage and prejudice of the heirs of the victim. Region IV, Camp Vicente Lim, Canlubang, Calamba City,
testified that he performed an autopsy on the body of
CONTRARY TO LAW. Villanueva on January 14, 2006 and placed down his findings
in an autopsy report.9 Upon examination of the body, he found
various external injuries in the head, trunk and extremities.

Page 33 of 51
There were thirty-three (33) external injuries, with various bite marks all over his body. PO2 Ignacio and his policemen
severity and nature. He concluded that the cause of death was companions then brought Dungo and Sibal to the police station.
subdural hemorrhage due to head injury contusion-hematoma. He asked them about what happened, but they invoked their
Based on multiple injuries and contusions on the body, and his right to remain silent. The policemen then proceeded to Brgy.
previous examinations of hazing injuries, Dr. Camarillo opined Pansol at around 9:00 o'clock in the morning. After finding
that these injuries were hazing-related. During the autopsy, he Villa Novaliches Resort, they knocked on the door and the
retrieved two (2) matchsticks from the cadaver with the caretaker, Maricel Capillan (Capillan), opened it.
marking of Alpha Phi Omega (APO) Fratemity.10redarclaw
The police asked Capillan if there were University of the
Susan Ignacio (Ignacio) was the owner of the sari-sari store Philippines Los Baos (UP Los Baos) students who rented the
located at Purok 5, Pansol, Calamba City, in front of Villa resort on the evening of January 13, 2006. Capillan said yes and
Novaliches Resort, which was barely ten steps away. On added that about twenty (20) persons arrived onboard a jeepney
January 13, 2006, at around 8:30 to 9:00 o'clock in the evening, and told her that they would be renting the resort from 9:30
she was tending her store when she saw a jeepney with more o'clock in the evening up to 7:00 o'clock the following mornmg.
than twenty (20) persons arrive at the resort. Ignacio identified
Dungo as the person seated beside the driver of the Gay Czarina Sunga (Sunga) was a food technology student at
jeepney.11 She estimated the ages of these persons in the group UP Los Baos during the academic year of 2005-2006 and a
to be between 20 to 30 years old. They were in civilian clothes, member of the Symbiosis UPLB Biological Society. Around
while the other men wore white long-sleeved shirts. Before 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon of January 13, 2006, she was at
entering the resort, the men and women shook hands and their organization's tambayan in the UPLB Biological Sciences
embraced each other. Three (3) persons, riding on a single Building, when she noticed three (3) men seated two meters
motorcycle, also arrived at the resort. away from her. She identified the two of the three men as Sibal
and Dungo.14 They were wearing black shirts with the logo of
Ignacio saw about fifteen (15) persons gather on top of the APO. Later at 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon, two more men
terrace of the resort who looked like they were praying, and then arrived and, with their heads bowed, approached the three men.
the lights of the resort were turned off. Later that evening, at One of thm was Villanueva, who was carrying a 5-gallon water
least three (3) of these persons went to her store to buy some container. Dungo then stood up and asked Villanueva why the
items. During her testimony, she was shown photographs and latter did not report to him when he was just at their tambayan.
she identified Christopher Braseros and Sibal as two of those Dungo then punched Villanueva twice, but the latter just kept
who went to her store.12 It was only on the morning of January quiet with his head bowed. Fifteen minutes later, all the men
14, 2006 that she learned from the policemen visiting the resort left.
that the deceased person was Villanueva.
Joey Atienza (Atienza) had been a good friend of Villanueva
Donato Magat (Magat), a tricycle driver plying the route of since 2004. They were roommates at the UP Los Baos Men's
Pansol, Calamba City, testified that at around 3:00 o'clock in Dormitory and housemates at the DPS Apartment in Umali
the morning of January 14, 2006, he was waiting for passengers Subdivision, Los Baos, Laguna. According to Atienza, on
at the comer of Villa Novaliches Resort. A man approached him January 9, 2006, Villanueva introduced him to Daryl Decena
and told him that someone inside the resort needed a ride. Magat (Decena) as his APO - Theta Chapter batchmate, who was also
went to the resort and asked the two (2) men at the gate who to undergo final initiation rites on January 13, 2006.
needed a ride. Afterwards, he saw three (3) men in their 20's
carrying another man, who looked very weak, like a vegetable, Severino Cuevas, Director of the Students Affairs at UP Los
towards his tricycle. Magat touched the body of the man being Baos, testified that Dungo and Sibal were both members of the
carried and sensed it was cold. APO Fraternity, and that there was no record of any request for
initiation or hazing activity filed by the said fraternity.
Magat asked the men what happened to their companion. They
replied that he had too much to drink. Then they instructed McArthur Padua of the Office of the Registrar, UP Los Baos,
Magat to go to the nearest hospital. He drove the tricycle to JP testified that Villanueva was a B.S. Agricultural Economics
Rizal Hospital. Upon their arrival, two of his passengers student at the UP Los Baos,15 as evidenced by his official
brought their unconscious companion inside the emergency transcript of record.16redarclaw
room, while their other companion paid the tricycle fare. Magat
then left to go home. Several days after, he learned that the Atty. Eleno Peralta and Dina S. Carlos, officers of the Student
person brought to the hospital had died. Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) of the UP Los Baos, testified that
an administrative disciplinary case was filed on March 31, 2006
Abelardo Natividad (Natividad) and Seferino Espina y Jabay against the APO Fraternity regarding the death of Villanueva.
(Espina) were the security guards on duty at JP Rizal Hospital, They confirmed that Capilla of Villa Novaliches Resort and
from 11:00 o'clock in the evening of January 13, 2006 until 7:00 Irene Tan (Tan) of APO Sorority Theta Chapter appeared as
o'clock in the morning of January 14, 2006. In the early morning witnesses for the complainant.17redarclaw
of January 14, 2006, two men, who signed on the
logbook13 under the names Brandon Gonzales and Jerico Paril, Roman Miguel De Jesus, UP - Office of the Legal Aid (UP-
brought the lifeless body of a person. Pursuant to the standard OLA) supervising student, testified that he met Tan of the APO
operating procedure of the hospital, the security guards did not Sorority sometime between July and August 2006 in UP
allow the two men to leave the hospital because they called the Diliman to convince her to testify in the criminal case. Tan,
police station so that an investigation could be conducted. Two however, refused because she feared for her safety. She said that
policemen arrived later at the hospital. During his testimony, after testifying in the SDT hearing, her place in Imus, Cavite
Natividad identified Sibal and Dungo as the two persons who was padlocked and vandalized.
brought Villanueva to the hospital.
Evelyn Villanueva, mother of victim Villanueva, testified that,
PO2 Alaindelon Ignacio (PO2 Ignacio) testified that on January as a result of the death of her son, her family incurred actual
14, 2006 at around 3:30 o'clock in the early morning, Natividad damages consisting of medical, burial and funeral expenses in
called up the PNP Calamba City Station to report that a lifeless the aggregate amount of P140,000.00 which were evidenced by
body of a man was brought to JP Rizal Hospital. When PO2 receipts.18 Her husband also incurred travel expenses in the
Ignacio arrived, he saw Villanueva's corpse with contusions and amount of P7,000.00 in returning to the Philippines to attend

Page 34 of 51
his son's wake and burial, as supported by a plane ticket. 19 She Gilbert Gopez (Gopez) testified that he was the Grand
further attested that she experienced mental anguish, sleepless Chancellor of the APO- Theta Chapter for years 2005-2006. At
nights, substantial weight loss, and strained family relationship around 7:00 o'clock in the evening of January 13, 2006, he was
as a result of her son's death. at the tambayan of their fraternity in UP Los Baos because
their neophytes would be initiated that night. Around 8:30
Version of the Defense o'clock in the evening, they met their fraternity brothers in
Bagong Kalsada, Los Baos. He noticed that their neophyte,
The defense presented seven (7) witnesses to prove the Villanueva, was with Castillo and that there was a bruise on the
innocence of the petitioners. Their testimonies are summarized left side of his face. Then they boarded a jeepney and proceeded
as follow:LawlibraryofCRAlaw to Villa Novaliches Resort in Pansol, Calamba City. There,
Gopez instructed Sibal to take Villanueva to the second floor of
Richard Cornelio (Cornelio), an APO Fraternity member, the resort. He confronted Castillo as to what happened to
testified that on January 13, 2006, around 4:00 to 4:30 o'clock Villanueva. Around 11:00 or 11:30 o'clock in the evening,
in the afternoon, he met Dungo at the UP Los Baos Graduate Gopez decided to cancel the final rites. He told Sibal to stay at
School. Dungo asked him if he would attend the initiation the resort and accompany Villanueva and Castillo. Together
ceremony, and Cornelio answered in the negative because he with the other neophytes, Gopez left the resort and went back
had other things to do. At 10:00 o'clock in the evening of the to UP Los Baos.
same day, Cornelio again met Dungo and his girlfriend while
eating a hamburger at the Burger Machine along; Raymundo Sibal testified that he was a DOST Scholar at the UP Los Baos
Street, Umali Subdivision, Los Baos, Laguna (Raymundo from 2002 to 2006, taking up B.S. Agricultural Chemistry. He
Street). He asked Dungo if he would attend the initiation was a Brother Actuary of the APO - Theta Chapter, and was in
ceremony. Dungo replied that he would not because he and his charge of fraternity activities, such as tree planting, free medical
girlfriend had something to do. and dental missions, and blood donations. On January 13, 2006,
at around 6:00 o'clock in the evening, he was at the
Ana Danife Rivera (Rivera), the girlfriend of Dungo, testified fraternity's tambayan for the final initiation rites of their
that on January 13, 2006 at around 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon, neophytes. After preparing the food for the initiation rites,
Dungo came and visited her at her boarding house on Sibal, together with some neophytes, went to Bagong Kalsada,
Raymundo Street. Around 4:00 o'clock of the same afternoon, Los Baos, where he saw fellow fraternity brother Castillo with
they went to the UP Los Baos Graduate School and saw their neophyte Villanueva, who had a bruised face. Thereafter,
Cornelio. Afterwards, they went back to her boarding house and they boarded a jeepney and proceeded to Villa Novaliches
stayed there from 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon to 7:00 o'clock Resort in Pansol, Calamba City. Once inside the resort, he
in the evening. Then, they went to Lacxo Restaurant for dinner accompanied Villanueva upstairs for the latter to take a rest. A
and left at around 10:00 o'clock in the evening. On their way few minutes later, he went down and confronted Castillo about
back to her boarding house, they encountered Cornelio again at the bruises on Villanueva's face. He was angry and irritated with
the Burger Machine. Dungo then stayed and slept at her Castillo. He then stayed outside the resort until Gopez and the
boarding house. Around 2:00 o'clock in the early morning of other neophytes came out and told him that the final initiation
January 14, 2006, they were roused from their sleep by a phone rite was cancelled, and that they were returning to UP Los
call from Sibal, asking Dungo to go to a resort in Pansol, Baos. Sibal wanted to go with them but he was ordered to stay
Calamba City. Dungo then left the boarding house. with Villanueva and Castillo.

Dungo testified that around 1:00 o'clock in the early afternoon After the group of Gopez left, Sibal checked on the condition
of January 13, 2006, he arrived at the boarding house of his of Villanueva, who was sleeping on the second floor of the
girlfriend, Rivera, on Raymundo Street. At around 4:00 o'clock resort. Then he went outside for one hour, or until 1:00 o'clock
in the afternoon, they went to the UP Los Baos Graduate in the early morning of January 14, 2006. Sibal entered the
School and inquired about the requirements for a master's resort again and saw Villanueva, who looked unconscious,
degree. They walked back to the boarding house and met seated in one of the benches on the ground floor. Sibal inquired
Cornelio. They talked about their fraternity's final initiation about Villanueva's condition but he was ignored by Castillo. He
ceremony for that night in Pansol, Calamba City. Dungo and then called Dungo for help. After Dungo arrived at the resort,
Rivera then reached the latter's boarding house around 5:00 they hailed a tricycle and brought Villanueva to JP Rizal
o'clock in the afternoon. At around 7:00 o'clock in the evening, Hospital. There, he gave a false name to the security guard as
they went out for dinner at the Lacxo Restaurant, near Crossing he heard that Dungo had done the same.
Junction, Los Baos. They ate and stayed at the restaurant for
at least one and a half hours. Then they walked back to the The RTC Ruling
boarding house of Rivera and, along the way, they met Cornelio
again at the Burger Machine along Raymundo Street. Cornelio On February 23, 2011, the RTC found Dungo and Sibal guilty
asked Dungo if he would attend their fraternity's final initiation of the crime of violating Section 4 of the Anti-Hazing Law and
ceremony, to which he replied in the negative. Dungo and sentenced them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The
Rivera reached the boarding house around 9:00 o'clock in the trial court stated that the prosecution established the presence
evening and they slept there. of Dungo and Sibal (1) at the UP Los Baos Campus on January
13, 2006 around 3:0.0 o'clock in the afternoon, by the testimony
Around 2:00 o'clock in the early morning of January 14, 2006, of Sunga and (2) at the Villa Novaliches Resort around 9:00
Dungo was roused from his sleep because Sibal was calling him o'clock in the evening of the same day by the testimony of
on his cellphone. Sibal asked for his help, requesting him to go Ignacio. With the extensive testimonies of Dr. Masilungan and
to Villa Novaliches Resort in Pansol, Calamba City. Upon Dr. Camarillo, the prosecution also proved that Villanueva died
Dungo's arrival at the resort, Sibal led him inside. There, he saw from hazing injuries.
Rudolfo Castillo (Castillo), a fellow APO fraternity brother,
and Villanueva, who was unconscious. Dungo told them that According to the RTC, the evidence of the prosecution
they should bring Villanueva to the hospital. They all agreed, undeniably proved that Villanueva, a UP Los Baos student,
and Castillo called a tricycle that brought them to JP Rizal was a neophyte of the APO - Theta Chapter Fraternity; that
Hospital. He identified himself before the security guard as Dungo and Sibal were members of the said fraternity; that on
Jerico Paril because he was scared to tell his real name. the evening of January 13, 2006, Dungo and Sibal, together
with the other fraternity members, officers and alumni, brought

Page 35 of 51
and transported Villanueva and two other neophytes to Villa Resort for the final initiation rites.
Novaliches Resort at Barangay Pansol, Calamba City, for the
final initiation rites; that the initiation rites were conducted The dispositive portion of the decision
inside the resort, performed under the cover of darkness and reads:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
secrecy; that due to the injuries sustained by Villanueva, the ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
fraternity members and the other two neophytes haphazardly WHEREFORE, premises considered, the February 23, 2011
left the resort; and that Dungo and Sibal boarded a tricycle and Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 36 of Calamba
brought the lifeless body of Villanueva to JP Rizal Hospital, City in CRIM. Case No. 13958-2006-C, finding accused-
where Villanueva was pronounced dead. appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Violation of R.A.
8049 is hereby AFFIRMED in TOTO.
The RTC explained that even if there was no evidence that
Dungo and Sibal participated to bodily assault and harm the SO ORDERED.21
victim, it was irrefutable that they brought Villanueva to the Dungo and Sibal moved for reconsideration but their motion
resort for their final initiation rites. Clearly, they did not merely was denied by the CA in the assailed October 8, 2013
induce Villanueva to attend the final initiation rites, but they Resolution.
also brought him to Villa Novaliches Resort.
Hence, this petition.
The RTC held that the defense of denial and alibi were self- ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
serving negative assertions. The defense of denial and alibi of SOLE ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
Dungo, which was corroborated by the testimony of his
girlfriend Rivera and his co-fraternity brother, could not be THE JUDGMENTS OF THE RTC AND THE CA A
given credence. The witnesses presented by the defense were QUO CONSTITUTE A VIOLATION OF THE
partial and could not be considered as disinterested parties. The CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF THE ACCUSED TO BE
defense of denial of Sibal likewise failed. The corroborative INFORMED OF THE NATURE AND CAUSE OF
testimonies of his fraternity brothers were suspect because they ACCUSATION AGAINST THEM BECAUSE THE
had so much at stake in the outcome of the criminal action. OFFENSE PROVED AS FOUND AND PRONOUNCED
THEREBY IS DIFFERENT FROM THAT CHARGED IN
The decretal portion of the decision THE INFORMATION, NOR DOES ONE INCLUDE OR
reads:LawlibraryofCRAlaw NECESSARILY INCLUDE THE OTHER.22
ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary Petitioners Dungo and Sibal argue that the amended
WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused Dandy Dungo and information charged them as they "did then and there willfully,
Gregorio Sibal GUILTY of violating Section 4 of the Anti- unlawfully and feloniously assault and use personal violence
Hazing Law and sentenced them to suffer the penalty upon one Marlon Villanueva y Mejilla."23 Yet, both the RTC
of RECLUSION PERPETUA and order them to jointly and and the CA found them guilty of violating R.A. No. 8049
severally pay the family/heirs of Deceased Marlon Villanueva because they "[i]nduced the victim to be present" 24 during the
the following sums of money:LawlibraryofCRAlaw initiation rites. The crime of hazing by inducement does not
ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary necessarily include the criminal charge of hazing by actual
1. P141,324.00 for and as actual damages; participation. Thus, they cannot be convicted of a crime not
stated or necessarily included in the information. By reason of
2. P200,000.00 for and as moral damages; the foregoing, the petitioners contend that their constitutional
right to be informed of the nature and cause of accusation
3. P100,000.00 for and as exemplary damages; and against them has been violated.

4. P50,000.00 for the death of Marlon Villanueva. In its Comment,25 filed on May 23, 2014, the Office of the
SO ORDERED.20 Solicitor General (OSG) asserted that Dungo and Sibal were
Aggrieved, the petitioners filed a notice of appeal. In their brief, charged in the amended information with the proper offense and
they contended that the prosecution failed to establish their guilt convicted for such. The phrases "planned initiation" and "in
beyond reasonable doubt for violating R.A. No. 8049. They also conspiracy with more or less twenty members and officers" in
assailed the constitutionality of Section 4 of the said law, which the amended information sufficiently cover "knowingly
stated that mere presence in the hazing was prima cooperated in carrying out the hazing by inducing the victim to
facie evidence of participation therein, because it allegedly be present thereat." The planned initiation rite would not have
violated the constitutional presumption of innocence of the been accomplished were it not for the acts of the petitioners in
accused. inducing the victim to be present thereat and it was obviously
conducted in conspiracy with the others.26redarclaw
The CA Ruling
In their Reply27 filed on September 10, 2014, Dungo and Sibal
The CA ruled that the appeal of Dungo and Sibal was bereft of insisted that there was a variance between the offense charged
merit. It stated that, in finding them guilty of violating R.A. No. of "actually participated in the infliction of physical harm," and
8049, the RTC properly relied on circumstantial evidence the offense "knowingly cooperated in carrying out the hazing
adduced by the prosecution. The CA painstakingly discussed by inducing the victim to be present thereat." 28 The prosecution,
the unbroken chain of circumstantial evidence to convict Dungo moreover, failed to establish conspiracy because no act or
and Sibal as principals in the crime of hazing. circumstance was proved pointing to a joint purpose and design
between and among the petitioners and the other twenty
It further found that the defense of denial and alibi of Dungo accused.
and Sibal failed to cast doubt on the positive identification made The Court's Ruling
by the prosecution witnesses; and that denial, being inherently
weak, could not prevail over the positive identification of the The petition lacks merit.
accused as the perpetrators of the crime.
Procedural Matter
The CA also stated that Dungo and Sibal were not only
convicted based on their presence in the venue of the hazing, An appeal is a proceeding undertaken to have a decision
but also in their act of bringing the victim to Villa Novaliches reconsidered by bringing it to a higher court authority. 29 The

Page 36 of 51
right to appeal is neither a natural right nor is it a component of of hazing were transported by the Americans to the Philippines
due process. It is a mere statutory privilege, and may be in the late 19th century.39 Thus, a study of the laws and
exercised only in the manner and in accordance with the jurisprudence of the United States (US) on hazing can enlighten
provisions oflaw.30redarclaw the current predicament of violent initiations in fraternities,
sororities and other organizations.
Section 13(c), Rule 124 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure, as amended by A.M. No. 00-5-03, dated October 15, United States Laws and Jurisprudence on Hazing
2004, governs the procedure on the appeal from the CA to the
Court when the penalty imposed is either reclusion perpetua or There are different definitions of hazing, depending on the laws
life imprisonment.31 According to the said provisiOn, "[i]n of the states.40 In the case of People v. Lenti,41 the defendant
cases where the Court of Appeals imposes reclusion perpetua, therein challenged the constitutionality of the state law
life imprisonment or a lesser penalty, it shall render and enter defining hazing on the ground of vagueness. The court rejected
judgment imposing such penalty. The judgment may be such contention and held that it would have been an impossible
appealed to the Supreme Court by notice of appeal filed with task if the legislature had attempted to define hazing
the Court of Appeals." specifically because fraternal organizations and associations
never suffered for ideas in contriving new forms of hazing.
Hence, an accused, upon whom the penalty of reclusion Presently, the acceptable definition of hazing is the practice of
perpetua or life imprisonment had been imposed by the CA, can physically or emotionally abusing newcomers to an
simply file a notice of appeal to allow him to pursue an appeal organization as a means of initiation.42redarclaw
as a matter of right before the Court. An appeal in a criminal
case opens the entire case for review on any question including Hazing can be classified into various categories including, but
one not raised by the parties.32 Section 13(c), Rule 124 not limited to, acts of violence, acts of humiliation, sexual-
recognizes the constitutionally conferred jurisdiction of the related acts, and alcohol-related acts.43 The physical form of
Court in all criminal cases in which the penalty imposed hazing may include beating, branding, paddling, excessive
is reclusion perpetua or higher.33redarclaw exercise, drinking, and using drugs. Sexual hazing have
included simulated sex acts, sodomy and forced
An accused, nevertheless, is not precluded in resorting to an kissing.44 Moreover, hazing does not only result in physical
appeal by certiorari to the Court via Rule 45 under the Rules of injuries and hospitalization, but also lead to emotional damage
Court. An appeal to this Court by petition for review and traumatic stress.45redarclaw
on certiorari shall raise only questions of law. 34 Moreover,
such review is not a matter of right, but of sound judicial Based on statistics and alarming frequency of hazing, states
discretion, and will be granted only when there are special and have attempted to combat hazing through the passage of state
important reasons.35redarclaw laws that prohibit such acts.46 Forty-four states, with the
exception of Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, New Mexico, South
In other words, when the CA imposed a penalty of reclusion Dakota, and Wyoming, have passed antihazing laws.47The
perpetua or life imprisonment, an accused may: (1) file a notice severity of these laws can range from minor penalties to a prison
of appeal under Section 13(c), Rule 124 to avail of an appeal as sentence for up to six years.48In the states of Illinois, Idaho,
a matter of right before the Court and open the entire case for Missouri, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, hazing that result in
review on any question; or (2) file a petition for review death or "great bodily harm" is categorized as a
on certiorari under Rule 45 to resort to an appeal as a matter of felony.49redarclaw
discretion and raise only questions of law.
In Florida, the Chad Meredith Act,50 a law named after a student
In this case, the CA affirmed the RTC decision imposing the who died in a hazing incident, was enacted on July 1, 2005. It
penalty of reclusion perpetua upon the petitioners. The latter provides that a person commits a third degree felony when he
opted to appeal the CA decision via a petition or she intentionally or recklessly commits any act of hazing and
for certiorari under Rule 45. Consequently, they could only the hazing results in serious bodily injury or death. If a person
raise questions of law. Oddly, the petitioners began to assail the only creates substantial risk of physical injury or death, then
existence of conspiracy in their reply,36 which is a question of hazing is categorized as a first degree misdemeanor. A similar
fact that would require an examination of the evidence provision can be observed in the Penal Law ofNew
presented. In the interest of justice, however, and due to the York.51redarclaw
novelty of the issue presented, the Court deems it proper to open
the whole case for review.37redarclaw Interestingly, some states included notable features in their anti-
hazing statute to increase its effectiveness. In Alabama,
Substantive Matter Arkansas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, South Carolina and
Texas, the law imposes a duty on school personnel to report
In our contemporary society, hazing has been a nightmare of hazing.52 In fact, in Alabama, no person is allowed to
parents who send their children to college or university. News knowingly permit, encourage, aid, or assist any person in
of deaths and horrible beatings primarily among college committing the offense of hazing, or willfully acquiesces in its
students due to hazing injuries continue to haunt us. Horrid commission.53redarclaw
images of eggplant-like buttocks and thighs and pounded arms
and shoulders ofyoung men are depicted as a fervent warning Also, some states enacted statutes that have been interpreted to
to those who dare undergo the hazing rites. The meaningless mean that persons are guilty of hazing even if they have the
death of these promising students, and the agony, cries and consent of the victim.54 In New Jersey, consent is not a defense
ordeal of their families, resonate through the very core of our to a hazing charge, and its law permits the prosecution of
beings. But no matter how modem and sophisticated our society offenders under other applicable criminal statutes.55 By
becomes, these barbaric acts of initiation of fraternities, including these various provisions in their anti-hazing statutes,
sororities and other organizations continue to thrive, even these states have removed the subjective inquiry of consent
within the elite grounds of the academe. from consideration, thus, presumably allowing courts to
effectively and properly adjudicate hazing cases.56redarclaw
The history and phenomenon of hazing had been thoroughly
discussed in the recent case of Villareal v. People.38 It is In the US, hazing victims can either file a criminal action, based
believed that the fraternity system and its accompanying culture on anti-hazing statutes, or a civil suit, arising from tort law and

Page 37 of 51
constitutional law, against the members of the local fraternity, acts mala prohibita, the only inquiry is, has the law been
the national fraternity and even against the university or college violated? When an act is illegal, the intent of the offender is
concerned.57 Hazing, which threatens to needlessly harm immaterial.64 When the doing of an act is prohibited by law, it
students, must be attacked from whatever legal means are is considered injurious to public welfare, and the doing of the
possible.58redarclaw prohibited act is the crime itself.65redarclaw

In State v. Brown,59 a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha at A common misconception is that all mala in se crimes are
Kent State University was indicted for complicity to hazing. found in the Revised Penal Code (RPC), while all mala
The group physically disciplined their pledges by forcing them prohibita crimes are provided by special penal laws. In reality,
to stand on their heads, beating them with paddles, and however, there may be mala in se crimes under special laws,
'smacking and striking initiates in the face and head. The Ohio such as plunder under R.A. No. 7080, as amended.66redarclaw
court held that evidence presented therein was more than
sufficient to sustain a conviction. Similarly, there may be mala prohibita crimes defined in the
RPC, such as technical malversation.67redarclaw
Excessive intake of alcohol in the fraternity initiations can be
considered as hazing. In Oja v. Grand Chapter of Theta Chi The better approach to distinguish between mala in se and mala
Fraternity Inc.,60 a 17-year old college freshman died as a result prohibita crimes is the determination of the inherent immorality
of aspirating his own vomit after consuming excessive amounts or vileness of the penalized act. If the punishable act or
of alcohol in a fraternity initiation ritual. The defendants in the omission is immoral in itself, then it is a crime mala in se; on
said case contended that they only furnished the alcohol drinks the contrary, if it is not immoral in itself, but there is a statute
to the victim. The court denied the defense because such acts of prohibiting its commission by reasons of public policy, then it
the fraternity effectively contributed to the death of the victim is mala prohibita. In the final analysis, whether or not a crime
as part of their hazing. involves moral turpitude is ultimately a question of fact and
frequently depends on all the circumstances surrounding the
Even in high school, hazing could exist. In Nice v. Centennial violation of the statute.68redarclaw
Area School District,61 a tenth-grade wrestler at William Tennet
High School was subjected to various forms of hazing, The crime of hazing under R.A. No. 8049 is malum prohibitum.
including a ritual where the victim was forcibly held down, The Senate deliberations would show that the lawmakers
while a teammate sat on his face with his buttocks exposed. The intended the antihazing statute to be malum prohibitum, as
parents of the student sued the school because it failed to follows:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
prevent the incident despite its knowledge of the hazing rites. ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
The court approved the settlement ofthe parties in the amount SENATOR GUINGONA: Most of these acts, if not all, are
of US$151,000.00. already punished under the Revised Penal Code.

More recently, the case of Yost v. Wabash College62 involved SENATOR LINA. That is correct, Mr. President.
the hazing of an 18-year old freshman, who suffered physical
and mental injuries in the initiation rites conducted by the Phi SENATOR GUINGONA. If hazing is done at present and it
Kappa Psi fraternity. As a pledge, the victim was thrown into a results in death, the charge would be murder or homicide.
creek and was placed in a chokehold, until he lost
consciousness. The court upheld that action against the local SENATOR LINA. That is correct, Mr. President.
fraternity because, even if the student consented, the fraternity
had the duty to ensure the safety of its activities. SENATOR GUINGONA. If it does not result in death, it may
be frustrated homicide or serious physical injuries.
The US anti-hazing laws and jurisprudence show that victims
of hazing can properly attain redress before the court. By SENATOR LINA. That is correct, Mr. President.
crafting laws and prosecuting offenders, the state can address
the pistinct dilemma of hazing. SENATOR GUINGONA. Or, if the person who commits
sexual abuse does so it can be penalized under rape or acts of
Anti-Hazing Law in the Philippines lasciviousness.

R.A. No. 8049, or the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995, has been SENATOR LINA. That is correct, Mr. President.
enacted to regulate hazing and other forms of initiation rites in
fraternities, sororities, and other organizations. It was in SENATOR GUINGONA. So, what is the rationale for making
response to the rising incidents of death of hazing victims, a new offense under this definition of the crime of hazing?
particularly the death of Leonardo "Lenny" Villa.63 Despite its
passage, reports of deaths resulting from hazing continue to SENATOR LINA. To discourage persons or group of persons
emerge. Recent victims were Guillo Servando of the College of either composing a sorority, fraternity or any association from
St. Benilde, Marc Andre Marcos and Marvin Reglos of the San making this requirement of initiation that has already resulted
Beda College - Manila, and Cris Anthony Mendez of the in these specific acts or results, Mr. President.
University of the Philippines - Diliman. With the continuity of
these senseless tragedies, one question implores for an answer: That is the main rationale. We want to send a strong signal
is R.A. No. 8049 a sufficient deterrent against hazing? across the land that no group or association can require the act
of physical initiation before a person can become a member
To answer the question, the Court must dissect the provisions without being held criminally liable.
of the law and scrutinize its effect, implication and application. xxx xxx xxx

Criminal law has long divided crimes into acts wrong in SENATOR GUINGONA. Yes, but what would be the rationale
themselves called acts mala in se; and acts which would ot be for that imposition? Because the distinguished Sponsor has said
wrong but for the fact that positive law forbids them, called that he is not punishing a mere organization, he is not seeking
acts mala prohibita. This distinction is important with reference the punishment of an initiation into a club or organization, he is
to the intent with which a wrongful act is done. The rule on the seeking the punishment of certain acts that resulted in death,
subject is that in acts mala in se, the intent governs; but in etcetera as a result of hazing which are already covered crimes.

Page 38 of 51
If that occurs, under this law, there is no necessity to prove
The penalty is increased in one, because we would like to that the masters. intended to kill or the masters intended to
discourage hazing, abusive hazing, but it may be a legitimate maim. What is important is the result of the act of
defense for invoking two or more charges or offenses, because hazing. Otherwise, the masters or those who inflict the physical
these very same acts are already punishable under the Revised pain can easily escape responsibility and say, "We did not have
Penal Code. the intention to kill. This is part of our initiation rites. This is
normal. We do not have any intention to kill or maim."
That is my difficulty, Mr. President.
This is the lusot, Mr. President. They might as well have been
SENATOR LINA. x x x charged therefore with the ordinary crime of homicide,
mutilation, etcetera, where the prosecution will have a difficulty
Another point, Mr. President, is this, and this is a very telling proving the elements if they are separate offenses.
difference: When a person or group of persons resort to xxx xxx xxx
hazing as a requirement for gaining entry into an
organization, the intent to commit a wrong is not visible or SENATOR LINA. x x x
is not present, Mr. President. Whereas, in these specific
crimes, Mr. President, let us say there is death or there is I am very happy that the distinguished Minority Leader brought
homicide, mutilation, if one files a case, then the intention to out the idea of intent or whether it is mala in se or mala
commit a wrong has to be proven. But if the crime of hazing prohibita. There can be a radical amendment if that is the point
is the basis, what is important is the result from the act of that he wants to go to.
hazing.
If we agree on the concept, then, maybe, we can just make
To me, that is the basic difference and that is what will prevent this a special law on hazing. We will not include this
or deter the sororities or fraternities; that they should really shun anymore under the Revised Penal Code. That is a possibility.
this activity called "hazing." Because, initially, these I will not foreclose that suggestion, Mr. President.69redarclaw
fraternities or sororities do not even consider having a neophyte [Emphases Supplied]
killed or maimed or that acts of lasciviousness are even Having in mind the potential conflict between the proposed law
committed initially, Mr. President. and the core principle of mala in se adhered to under the RPC,
the Congress did not simply enact an amendment thereto.
So, what we want to discourage is the so-called initial innocent Instead, it created a special law on hazing, founded upon the
act. That is why there is need to institute this kind of hazing. principle of mala prohibita.70 In Vedaa v. Valencia,71 the
Ganiyan po ang nangyari. Ang fraternity o ang sorority ay Court noted that in our nation's very recent history, the people
magre-recruit. Wala talaga silang intensiyong makamatay. had spoken, through the Congress, to deem conduct constitutive
Hindi ko na babanggitin at buhay pa iyong kaso. Pero dito sa of hazing, an act previously considered harmless by custom, as
anim o pito na namatay nitong nakaraang taon, walang criminal.72 The act of hazing itself is not inherently immoral,
intensiyong patayin talaga iyong neophyte. So, kung but the law deems the same to be against public policy and must
maghihintay pa tayo, na saka lamang natin isasakdal ng murder be prohibited. Accordingly, the existence of criminal intent is
kung namatay na, ay after the fact ho iyon. Pero, kung sasabihin immaterial in the crime of hazing. Also, the defense of good
natin sa mga kabataan na: "Huwag ninyong gagawin iyong faith cannot be raised in its prosecution.73redarclaw
hazing. Iyan ay kasalanan at kung mamatay diyan, mataas ang
penalty sa inyo." Section 1 of R.A. No. 8049 defines hazing as an initiation rite
xxx xxx xxx or practice as a prerequisite for admission into membership in a
fraternity, sorority or organization by placing the recruit,
SENATOR GUINGONA. I join the lofty motives, Mr. neophyte or applicant in some embarrassing or humiliating
President, of the distinguished Sponsor. But I am again situations such as forcing him to do menial, silly, foolish and
disturbed by his statement that the prosecution does not have to other similar tasks or activities or otherwise subjecting him to
prove the intent that resulted in the death, that resulted in the physical or psychological suffering or injury. From the said
serious physical injuries, that resulted in the acts of definition, the elements of the crime of hazing can be
lasciviousness or deranged mind. We do not have to prove the determined:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
willful intent of the accused in proving or establishing the ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
crime of hazing. This seems, to me, a novel situation where we 1. That there is an initiation rite or practice as a
create the special crime without having to go into the intent, prerequisite for admission into membership in a
which is one of the basic elements of anycnme. fraternity, sorority or
organization;chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
If there is no intent, there is no crime. If the intent were merely 2. That there must be a recruit, neophyte or applicant of
to initiate, then there is no offense. And even the distinguished the fraternity, sorority or organization; and
Sponsor admits that the organization, the intent to initiate, the 3. That the recruit, neophyte or applicant is placed in
intent to have a new society or a new club is, per se, not some embarrassing or humiliating situations such as
punishable at all. What are punishable are the acts that lead to forcing him to do menial, silly, foolish and other
the result. But if these results are not going to be proven by similar tasks or activities or otherwise subjecting him
intent, but just because there was hazing, I am afraid that it will to physical or psychological suffering or injury.
disturb the basic concepts of the Revised Penal Code, Mr. From the said definition of hazing, it is apparent that there must
President. be an initiation rite or practice performed by the fraternities,
sororities or organization. The law, however, did not limit the
SENATOR LINA. Mr. President, the act of hazing, precisely, definition of these groups to those formed within academic
is being criminalized because in the context of what is colleges and universities.74 In fact, the second paragraph of
happening in the sororities and fraternities, when they conduct Section 1 provides that the term "organization" shall include
hazing, no one will admit that their intention is to maim or to any club or the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),
kill. So, we are already criminalizing the fact of inflicting Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Military
physical pain. Mr. President, it is a criminal act and we want it Academy (PMA), or officer and cadet corp of the Citizen's
stopped, deterred, discouraged. Military Training and Citizen's Army Training. Even the
president, manager, director or other responsible officer of a

Page 39 of 51
corporation engaged in hazing as a requirement for employment physical harm. At best, the only psychological injury
are covered by the law.75redarclaw recognized would be causing insanity to the victim. Conversely,
even if the victim only sustained physical injuries which did not
R.A. No. 8049 qualifies that the physical, mental and incapacitate him, there is still a prescribed penalty.80redarclaw
psychological testing and training procedure and practices to
determine and enhance the physical, mental and psychological The second class of principals would be the officers, former
fitness of prospective regular members of the AFP and the PNP, officers, or alumni of the organization, group, fraternity or
as approved by the Secretary of National Defense and the sorority who actually planned the hazing.81 Although these
National Police Commission, duly recommended by the Chief planners were not present when the acts constituting hazing
of Staff of the AFP and the Director General of the PNP, shall were committed, they shall still be liable as principals. The
not be considered as hazing. provision took in consideration the non-resident members of the
organization, such as their former officers or alumni.
And not all forms of initiation rites are prohibited by the law.
Section 2 thereof provides that initiation rites of fraternities, The third class of principals would be officers or members of
sororities or organizations shall be allowed provided that the an organization group, fraternity or sorority who knowingly
following requisites are met:LawlibraryofCRAlaw cooperated in carrying out the hazing by inducing the victim to
ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary be present thereat.82 These officers or members are penalized,
1. That the fraternity, sorority or organization has a prior not because of their direct participation in the infliction of harm,
written notice to the school authorities or head of but due to their indispensable cooperation in the crime by
organization;chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary inducing the victim to attend the hazing.
2. The said written notice must be secured at least seven
(7) days before the conduct of such The next class of principals would be the fraternity or sorority's
initiation;chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary adviser who was present when the acts constituting hazing were
3. That the written notice shall committed, and failed to take action to prevent them from
indicate:LawlibraryofCRAlaw occurring.83The liability of the adviser arises, not only from his
a. The period of the initiation activities, which mere presence in the hazing, but also his failure to prevent the
shall not exceed three (3) same.
days;chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
b. The names of those to be subjected to such The last class of principals would be the parents of the officers
activities; and or members of the fraternity, group, or organization. 84 The
c. An undertaking that no physical violence hazing must be held in the home of one of the officers or
be employed by anybody during such members. The parents must have actual knowledge of the
initiation rites. hazing conducted in their homes and failed to take any action
Section 3 of R.A. No. 8049 imposes an obligation to the head to avoid the same from occurring.
of the school or organization or their representatives that they
must assign at least two (2) representatives, as the case may be, The law also provides for accomplices in the crime of hazing.
to be present during these valid initiations. The duty of such The school authorities, including faculty members, who
representative is to see to it that no physical harm of any kind consented to the hazing or who have actual knowledge thereof,
shall be inflicted upon a recruit, neophyte or applicant. but failed to take any action to prevent the same from occurring
shall be punished as accomplices.85redarclaw
Noticeably, the law does not provide a penalty or sanction to
fraternities, sororities or organizations that fail to comply with Likewise, the owner of the place where the hazing was
the notice requirements of Section 2. Also, the school and conducted can also be an accomplice to the crime.86 The owner
organization administrators do not have a clear liability for non- of the place shall be liable when he has actual knowledge of the
compliance with Section 3. hazing conducted therein and he failed to take any steps to stop
the same.
Any person who commits the crime of hazing shall be liable in
accordance with Section 4 of the law, which provides different Recognizing the malum prohibitum characteristic of hazing, the
classes of persons who are held liable as principals and law provides that any person charged with the said crime shall
accomplices. not be entitled to the mitigating circumstance that there was no
intention to commit so grave a wrong.87 Also, the framers of the
The first class of principals would be the actual participants in law intended that the consent of the victim shall not be a defense
the hazing. If the person subjected to hazing or other forms of in hazing. During the discussion of whether sodomy shall be
initiation rites suffers any physical injury or dies as a result included as a punishable act under the law, the issue of consent
thereof, the officers and members of the fraternity, sorority or was tackled:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
organization who actually participated in the infliction of ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
physical harm shall be liable as principals. Interestingly, the SENATOR LINA x x x
presence of any person during the hazing is prima
facie evidence of actual participation, unless he prevented the But sodomy in this case is connected with hazing, Mr.
commission of the acts punishable herein.76redarclaw President. Such that the act may even be entered into with
consent. It is not only sodomy. The infliction of pain may be
The prescribed penalty on the principals depends on the extent done with the consent of the neophyte. If the law is passed, that
of injury inflicted to the victim.77 The penalties appear to be does not make the act of hazing not punishable because the
similar to that of homicide, serious physical injuries, less neophyte accepted the infliction of pain upon himself.
serious physical injuries, and slight physical injuries under the
RPC,78 with the penalties for hazing increased one degree If the victim suffers from serious physical injuries, but the
higher. Also, the law provides several circumstances which initiator said, "Well, he allowed it upon himself. He consented
would aggravate the imposable penalty.79redarclaw to it." So, if we allow that reasoning that sodomy was done with
the consent of the victim, then we would not have passed any
Curiously, although hazing has been defined as consisting of law at lflll. There will be no significance if we pass this bill,
those activities involving physical or psychological suffering or because it will always be a defense that the victim allowed the
injury, the penalties for hazing only covered the infliction of infliction of pain1 or suffering. He accepted it as part of the

Page 40 of 51
initiation rites. Section 9. Cause of the accusation. The acts or omissions
complained of as constituting the offense and the qualifying and
But precisely, Mr. President that is one thing that we would aggravating circumstances must be stated in ordinary and
want to prohibit. That the defense of consent will not apply concise language and not necessarily in the language used in the
because the very act of inflicting physical pain or statute but in terms sufficient to enable a person of common
psychological suffering is, by itself, a punishable act. The understanding to know what offense is being charged as well as
result of the act of hazing, like death: or physical injuries its qualifying and aggravating circumstances and for the court
merely aggravates the act with higher penalties. But the to pronounce judgment.
defense of consent is not going to nullify the criminal nature It is evident that the Information need not use the exact
of the act. language of the statute in alleging the acts or omissions
complained of as constituting the offense. The test is whether it
So, if we accept the amendment that sodomy can only aggravate enables a person of common understanding to know the charge
the offense if it is committedr without consent of the victim, against him, and the court to render judgment
then the whole foundation of this proposed law will collapse. properly.92redarclaw

SENATOR BIAZON. Thank you, Mr. President. SENATOR The Court agrees with the OSG that the "planned initiation rite"
LINA. Thank you very much. as stated in the information included the act of inducing
Villanueva to attend it. In ordinary parlance, a planned event
THE PRESIDENT. Is there any objection to the committee can be understood to have different phases. Likewise, the
amendment? (Silence.) The Chair hears none; the same is hazing activity had different stages and the perpetrators had
approved.88redarclaw different roles therein, not solely inflicting physical injury to the
[Emphasis supplied] neophyte. One of the roles of the petitioners in the hazing
Further, the law acknowledges that the offended party in the activity was to induce Villanueva to be present. Dungo and
crime of hazing can seek different courses of action. It provides Sibal not only induced Villanueva to be present at the resort,
that the responsible officials of the school or of the police, but they actually brought him there. They fulfilled their roles in
military or citizen's army training organization, may impose the the planned hazing rite which eventually led to the death of
appropriate administrative sanctions on the person or the Villanueva. The hazing would not have been accomplished
persons charged under this provision even before their were it not for the acts of the petitioners that induced the victim
conviction.89 Necessarily, the offended party can file either to be present.
administrative, civil, or criminal actions against the
offenders.90redarclaw Secrecy and silence are common characterizations of the
dynamics of hazing.93 To require the prosecutor to indicate
The study of the provisions of R.A. No. 8049 shows that, on every step of the planned initiation rite in the information at the
paper, it is complete and robust in penalizing the crime of inception of the criminal case, when details of the clandestine
hazing. It was made malum prohibitum to discount criminal hazing are almost nil, would be an arduous task, if not
intent and disallow the defense of good faith. It took into downright impossible. The law does not require the impossible
consideration the different participants and contributors in the (lex non cognit ad impossibilia).
hazing activities. While not all acts cited in the law are
penalized, the penalties imposed therein involve various and The proper approach would be to require the prosecution to
serious terms of imprisonment to discourage would be state every element of the crime of hazing, the offenders, and
offenders. Indeed, the law against hazing is ideal and profound. the accompanying circumstances in the planned initiation
As to whether the law can be effectively implemented, the activity, which has been satisfied in the present case.
Court begs to continue on the merits of the case. Accordingly, the amended information sufficiently informed
the petitioners that they were being criminally charged for their
The Information properly charged the offense proved roles in the planned initiation rite.

The petitioners claim that the amended information avers a Conspiracy of the offenders was duly proven
criminal charge of hazing by actual participation, but the only
offense proved during the trial was hazing by inducement. Their The petitioners assail that the prosecution failed to establish the
contention must faiL The Amended Information fact of conspiracy.
reads:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary The Court disagrees.
That on or about 2:30 in the early morning of January 14, 2006,
at Villa Novaliches, Brgy. Pansol, Calamba City, Province of A conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an
Laguna and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide
above-named accused, during a planned initiation rite and to commit it. To determine conspiracy, there must be a common
being then officers and members of Alpha Phi Omega fraternity design to commit a felony.94 The overt act or acts of the accused
and present thereat, in conspiracy with more or less tvventy may consist of active participation in the actual commission of
other members and officers, whose identity is not yet known, the crime itself or may consist of moral assistance to his co-
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously assault conspirators by moving them to execute or implement the
and use personal violence upon one MARLON VILLANUEVA criminal plan.95redarclaw
y MEJILLA, a neophyte thereof and as condition for his
admission to the fraternity, thereby subjecting him to physical In conspiracy, it need not be shown that the parties actually
harm, resulting to his death, to the damage and prejudice of the came together and agreed in express terms to enter into and
heirs of the victim. pursue a common design. The assent of the minds may be and,
from the secrecy of the crime, usually inferred from proof of
CONTRARY TO LAW.91 facts and circumstances which, taken together, indicate that
On the manner of how the Information should be worded, they are parts of some complete whole.96 Responsibility of a
Section 9, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court, is conspirator is not confined to the accomplishment of a
enlightening:LawlibraryofCRAlaw particular purpose of conspiracy but extends to collateral acts
ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary and offenses incident to and growing out of the purpose
intended.97redarclaw

Page 41 of 51
the fraternity; (2) induce the victim to attend the hazing; and (3)
The lawmakers deliberated on whether the prosecution was actually participate in the infliction of physical injuries.
still obliged to prove the conspiracy between the offenders
under R.A. 8049, to wit:LawlibraryofCRAlaw In this case, there was prima facie evidence of the petitioners'
ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary participation in the hazing because of their presence in the
SENATOR GUINGONA. Mr. President, assuming there was a venue. As correctly held by the RTC, the presence of Dungo
group that initiated and a person died. The charge is murder. and Sibal during the hazing at Villa Novaliches Resort was
My question is: Under this bill if it becomes a law, would the established by the testimony of Ignacio. She testified that she
prosecution have to prove conspiracy or not anymore? saw Sibal emerge from the resort and approach her store, to
wit:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
SENATOR LINA. Mr. President, if the person is present during ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
hazing x x x MR. DIMACULANGAN

SENATOR GUINGONA. The persons are present. First, would Q: And how many persons from this group did you see again?
the prosecution have to prove conspiracy? Second, would the
prosecution have to prove intent to kill or not? WITNESS

SENATOR LINA. No more. As to the second question, Mr. A: Three (3), sir.
President, if that occurs, there is no need to prove intent to kill.
Q: Where did they come from, did they come out from the
SENATOR GUINGONA. But the charge is murder. resort? Where did this 3 people or this group of people
coming from?
SENATOR LINA. That is why I said that it should not be
murder. It should be hazing, Mr. President.98 A: Inside the resort, sir.
The Court does not categorically agree that, under R.A. No.
8049, the prosecution need not prove conspiracy. Jurisprudence Q: And around what time was this?
dictates that conspiracy must be established, not by conjectures,
but by positive and conclusive evidence. Conspiracy transcends A: Around 9:00, sir.
mere companionship and mere presence at the scene of the
crime does not in itself amount to conspiracy. Even knowledge, Q: And what did they do if any if they came out of the resort?
acquiescence in or agreement to cooperate, is not enough to
constitute one as a party to a conspiracy, absent any active A: They went to my store, sir.
participation in the commission of the crime with a view to the
furtherance of the common design and purpose. 99redarclaw xxxx

R.A. No. 8049, nevertheless, presents a novel provision that Q: Did you have any other visitors to your store that night?
introduces a disputable presumption of actual participation; and
which modifies the concept of conspiracy. Section 4, paragraph xxxx
6 thereof provides that the presence of any person during the
hazing is prima facie evidence of participation as principal, A: "Meron po".
unless he prevented the commission of the punishable acts. This
provision is unique because a disputable presumption arises Q: Who were these visitors?
from the mere presence of the offender during the hazing, which
can be rebutted by proving that the accused took steps to A: I don't know their names but I recognize their faces, sir.
prevent the commission of the hazing.
Q: If I show you pictures of these people, will you be able to
The petitioners attempted to attack the constitutionality of identify them before this Court.
Section 4 of R.A. No. 8049 before the CA, but did not succeed.
"[A] finding of prima facie evidence x x x does not shatter the A: Yes, sir.
presumptive innocence the accused enjoys because,
before prima facie evidence arises, certain facts have still to be xxxx
proved; the trial court cannot depend alone on such evidence,
because precisely, it is merely prima facie. It must still satisfy Q: Mrs. Ignacio, I am showing you this picture of persons
that the accused is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the marked as Exhibit "L" in the Pre-Trial, can you please look
offense charged. Neither can it rely on the weak defense the over this document carefully and see if any of the persons
latter may adduce."100redarclaw whom you said visited your store is here?

Penal laws which feature prima facie evidence by disputable xxxx


presumptions against the offenders are not new, and can be
observed in the following: (1) the possession of drug A: "Siya rin po."
paraphernalia gives rise to prima facie evidence of the use of
dangerous drug;101 (2) the dishonor of the check for insufficient COURT:
funds is. prima facie evidence of knowledge of such
insufficiency of funds or credit;102 and (3) the possession of any Make it of record that the witness pinpointed to the first
good which has been the subject of robbery or thievery shall picture appearing on the left picture on the first row.
be prima facie evidence of fencing.103redarclaw
xxxx
Verily, the disputable presumption under R.A. No. 8049 can be
related to the conspiracy in the crime of hazing. The common ATTY. PAMAOS:
design of offenders is to haze the victim. Some of the overt acts
that could be committed by the offenders would be to (1) plan For the record, your Honor, we manifest that the picture and
the hazing activity as a requirement of the victim's initiation to the name pointed by the witness has been previously marked

Page 42 of 51
as Exhibit "L-3" and previously admitted by the defense as The guilt of the petitioners was proven beyond reasonable
referring to Gregorio Sibal, Jr., accused in this case... 104 doubt
Ignacio, also positively identified Dungo as among the guests
of Villa Novaliches Resort on the night of the hazing, to Aside from inducing Villanueva to attend the initiation rites and
wit:LawlibraryofCRAlaw their presence during the hazing, the petitionersguilt was proven
ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary beyond reasonable doubt by the sequence of circumstantial
COURT evidence presented by the prosecution. Their involvement in the
hazing of Villanueva is not merely based on prima
Q: x x x Now, when you say other people you could identify facie evidence but was also established by circumstantial
who are not in the pictures then how would you know that evidence.
these people are indeed those people you could identify?
In considering a criminal case, it is critical to start with the law's
WITNESS own starting perspective on the status of the accused - in all
criminal prosecutions, he is presumed innocent of the charge
A: "lyon pong...di ba po nagkuwento ako na dumating sila tapos laid unless the contrary is proven beyond reasonable
nag shake hands at saka iyong nagyakapan po..." doubt.107 In criminal law, proof beyond reasonable doubt does
not mean such degree of proof that produces absolute certainty.
Q: And what will be the significance of the alleged embrace and Only moral certainty is required or that degree of proof which
shake hands for you to say that you could identify those produces conviction in an unprejudiced mind.108redarclaw
people?
While it is established that nothing less than proof beyond
A: "Hindi po: Noong dumating po sila nasa isang jeep, meron reasonable doubt is required for a conviction, this exacting
pong lalaki doon sa may tabi ng driver bumaba siya tapos po standard does not preclude resort to circumstantial evidence
noong bumaba siya tapas iyong mga kasamahan nya sa likod when direct evidence is not available. Direct evidence is not a
nagbaba-an din, iyon po nagbati-an po sila." condition sine qua non to prove the guilt of an accused beyond
reasonable doubt. For in the absence of direct evidence, the
Q: And from these greeting, how could you identify these prosecution may resort to adducing circumstantial evidence to
people? discharge its burden. Crimes are usually committed in secret
and under conditions where concealment is highly probable. If
A: "Ngayon ko lang po napag masdan ang taong iyon, hindi ko direct evidence is insisted on under all circumstances, the
po alam na akusado po sa kabila iyon." prosecution of vicious felons who commit heinous crimes in
secret or secluded places will be hard, if not impossible, to
Q: And who was that person? prove.109redarclaw

A: "Siya po, iyon po." Needless to state, the crime of hazi,ng is shrouded in secrecy.
Fraternities and sororities, especially the Greek organizations,
Q: Who are you pointing to? are secretive in nature and their members are reluctant to give
any information regarding initiation rites.110 The silence is only
A: "lyon pong naka-dilaw na..." (Witness pointing to Dandy broken after someone has been injured so severely that medical
Dungo) attention is required. It is only at this point that the secret is
revealed and the activities become public.111 Bearing in mind
Q: So, are you telling the Court that this person you positively the concealment of hazing, it is only logical and proper for the
saw seated beside the driver came out and subsequently prosecution to resort to the presentation of circumstantial
embraced and shook hands with the other people from the evidence to prove it.
jeepney, is that your testimony?
The rules on evidence and precedents to sustain the conviction
A: Yes, your Honor.105 of an accused through circumstantial evidence require the
The testimony of Ignacio was direct and straightforward. Her existence of the following requisites: (1) there are more than
testimony was given great weight because she was a one circumstance; (2) the inference must be based on proven
disinterested and credible witness. The prosecution indubitably facts; and (3) the combination of all circumstances produces a
established the presence of Dungo and Sibal during the hazing. conviction beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of the
Such gave rise to the prima facie evidence of their actual accused.112 To justify a conviction upon circumstantial
participation in the hazing of Villanueva. They were given an evidence, the combination of circumstances must be such as to
opportunity to rebut and overcome the prima facie evidence of leave no reasonable doubt in the mind as to the criminal liability
the prosecution by proving that they prevented the commission of the accused. Jurisprudence requires that the circumstances
of the hazing, yet they failed to do so. must be established to form an unbroken chain of events leading
to one fair reasonable conclusion pointing to the accused, to the
Because of the uncontroverted prima facie evidence against the exclusion of all others, as the author of the crime. 113redarclaw
petitioners, it was shown that they performed an overt act in the
furtherance of the criminal design of hazing. Not only did they The CA meticulously wrote in detail the unbroken chain of
induce the victim to attend the hazing activity, the petitioners circumstantial evidence which established the petitioners' gult
also actually participated in it based on the prima in the death of Villanueva as follows:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
facie evidence. These acts are sufficient to establish their roles ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
in the conspiracy of hazing. 1. Marlon Villanueva is a neophyte of Alpha Phi Omega,
as testified by his roommate Joey Atienza.
Hence, generally, mere presence at the scene of the crime does 2. At around 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon of January 13,
not in itself amount to conspiracy.106Exceptionally, under R.A. 2006, Sunga was staying at their tambayan, talking to
No. 8049, the participation of the offenders in the criminal her organization mates. Three men were seated two
conspiracy can be proven by the prima facie evidence due to meters way from her. She identified two of the men as
their presence during the hazing, unless they prevented the appellants Sibal and Dungo, while she did not know
commission of the acts therein. the third man. The three men were wearing black shirts
with the seal of the Alpha Phi Omega.

Page 43 of 51
3. Later at 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon, two more men was their standard operating procedure when a dead
coming from the entomology wing arrived and body was brought to the hospital.
approached the three men. Among the men who just 12. Dr. Ramon Masilungan, who was then the attending
arrived was the victim, Marlon Villanueva. One of the physician at the emergency room, observed that
men wearing black APO shirts handed over to the two Marlon was motionless, had no heartbeat and already
fraternity neophytes some money and told the men cyanotic.
"Mamalengke na kayo." He later took back the money 13. Dr. Masilungan tried to revive Marlon for about 15 to
and said, "Huwag na, kami na lang." 20 minutes. However, the latter did not respond to
4. One of the men wearing a black APO shirt, who was resuscitation and was pronounced dead. Dr.
later identified as appellant Dungo, stood up and asked Masilungan noticed a big contusion hematoma on the
Marlon if the latter already reported to him, and asked left side of the victim's face and several injuries on his
him why he did not report to him when he was just at arms and legs. He further attested that Marlon's face
the tambayan. Dungo then continuously punched the was already cyanotic.
victim on his arm. This went on for five minutes. 14. When Dr. Masilungan pulled down Marlon's pants, he
Marlon just kept quiet with his head bowed down. saw a large contusion on both legs which extended
Fifteen minutes later, the men left going towards the from the upper portion of his thigh down to the
Entomology wing. couplexial portion or the back of the knee.
5. The deceased Marlon Villanueva was last seen alive 15. Due to the nature, extent and location of Marlon's
by Joey Atienza at 7:00 in the evening of 13 January injuries, Dr. Masilungan opined that he was a victim
2006, from whom he borrowed the shoes he wore at of hazing. Dr. Masilungan is familiar with hazing
the initiation right [sic]. Marlon told Joey that it was injuries, having undergone hazing when he was a
his "finals" night. student and also because of his experience treating
6. On January 13, 2006 at around 8:30 to 9:00 o'clock in victims of hazing incidents.
the evening, Susan Ignacio saw more than twenty (20) 16. Dr. Roy Camarillo, Medico-Legal Officer of the PNP
persons arrive at the Villa Novaliches Resort onboard Crime Laboratory in Region IV, Camp Vicente Lim,
a jeepney. She estimated the ages of these persons to Canlubang, Calamba City, testified that he performed
be between 20 to 30 years old. Three (3) persons an autopsy on the cadaver of the victim on January 14,
rirling a single motorcycle likewise arrived at the 2006; that the victim's cause of death was blunt head
resort. trauma. From 1999 to 2006, he was able to conduct
7. Ignacio saw about fifteen (15) persons gather on top of post-mortem examination of the two (2) persons
the terrace at the resort who looked like they were whose deaths were attributed to hazing. These two (2)
praying. Later that evening, at least three (3) of these persons sustained multiple contusions and injuries on
persons went to her store to buy some items. She did different parts of their body, particularly on the
not know their names but could identity [sic] their buttocks, on both upper and lower extremities. Both
faces. After she was shown colored photographs, she persons died of brain hemorrhage. Correlating these
pointed to the man later identified as Herald two cases to the injuries found on the victim's body,
Christopher Braseros. She also pointed out the man Dr. Camarillo attested that the victim, Marlon
later identified as Gregorio Sibal, Jr. Villanueva, sustained similar injuries to those two (2)
8. Donato Magat, a tricycle driver plying the route of persons. Based on the presence of multiple injuries and
Pansol, Calamba City, testified that around 3:00 contusions on his body, he opined that these injuries
o'clock in the morning of January 14, 2006, he was were hazing-related.114
waiting for passengers at the corner of Villa Petitioners Dungo and Sibal, on the other hand, presented the
Novaliches Resort when a man approached him and defense of denial and alibi. These defenses, however, must fail.
told him that someone inside the resort needed a ride. Time and time again, this Court has ruled that denial and alibi
Magat then went to the resort and asked the two (2) are the weakest of all defenses, because they are easy to concoct
men standing by the gate who will be riding his and fabricate.115 As properly held by the RTC, these defenses
tricycle. cannot prevail over the positive and unequivocal identification
9. The four (4) men boarded his tricycle but Magat of the petitioners by prosecution witnesses Sunga and Ignacio.
noticed that when he touched the body of the man who The testimonies of the defense witnesses also lacked credibility
was being carried, it felt cold. The said man looked and reliability. The corroboration of defense witness Rivera was
very weak like a vegetable. suspect because she was the girlfriend of Dungo, and it was only
10. Seferino Espina y Jabay testified that he worked as a logical and emotional that she would stand by the man she loved
security guard at the J.P. Rizal Hospital and was and cared for. The testimonies of their fellow fraternity
assigned at the emergency room. At around 3:00 brothers, likewise, do not hold much weight because they had
o'clock in the early morning of January 14, 2006, he so much at stake in the outcome of the case. Stated differently,
was with another security guard, Abelardo Natividad the petitioners did not present credible and disinterested
and hospital helper Danilo Glindo a.k.a. Gringo, when witnesses to substantiate their defenses of denial and alibi.
a tricycle arrived at the emergency room containing
four (4) passengers, excluding the driver. He was an After a careful review of the records, the Court agrees with the
arm's length away from said tricycle. He identified two CA and the RTC that the circumstantial evidence presented by
of the passengers thereof as appellants Dungo and the prosecution was overwhelming enough to establish the guilt
Sibal. Espina said he and Glindo helped the passengers of the petitioners beyond a reasonable doubt. The unbroken
unload a body inside the tricycle and brought it to the chain of events laid down by the CA leaves us no other
emergency room. conclusion other than the petitioners' participation in the
11. Afterwards, Espina asked the two men for hazing. They took part in the hazing and, together with their
identification cards. The latter replied that they did not fellow fraternity officers and members, inflicted physical
bring with them any I.D. or wallet. Instead of giving injuries to Villanueva as a requirement of his initiation to the
their true names, the appellants listed down their fraternity. The physical injuries eventually took a toll on the
names in the hospital logbook as Brandon Gonzales y body of the victim, which led to his death. Another young life
Lanzon and Jericho Paril y Rivera. Espina then told the lost.
two men not to leave, not telling them that they
secretly called the police to report the incident which With the fact of hazing, the identity of the petitioners, and their

Page 44 of 51
participation therein duly proven, the moral certainty that
produces conviction in an unprejudiced mind has been satisfied.
Final Note

Hazing has been a phenomenon that has beleaguered the


country's educational institutions and communities. News of
young men beaten to death as part of fraternities' violent
initiation rites supposedly to seal fraternal bond has sent
disturbing waves to lawmakers. Hence, R.A. No. 8049 was
signed into to law on June 7, 1995. Doubts on the effectiveness
of the law were raised. The Court, however, scrutinized its
provisions and it is convinced that the law is rigorous in
penalizing the crime of hazing.

Hopefully, the present case will serve as a guide to the bench


and the bar on the application of R.A. No. 8049. Through
careful case-build up and proper presentation of evidence
before the court, it is not impossible for the exalted
constitutional presumption of innocence of the accused to be
overcome and his guilt for the crime of hazing be proven
beyond reasonable doubt. The prosecution must bear in mind
the secretive nature of hazing, and carefully weave its chain of
circumstantial evidence. Likewise, the defense must present a
genuine defense and substantiate the same through credible and
reliable witnesses. The counsels of both parties must also
consider hazing as a malum prohibitum crime and the law's
distinctive provisions.

While the Court finds R.A. No. 8049 adequate to deter and
prosecute hazing, the law is far from perfect. In Villareal v.
People,116 the Court suggested that the fact of intoxication and
the presence of non-resident or alumni fraternity members
during hazing should be considered as aggravating
circumstances that would increase the applicable penalties.
Equally, based on the discussion earlier, this Court suggests
some further amendments to the law. First, there should be a
penalty or liability for noncompliance with Section 2, or the
written notice requirement, and with Section 3, or the
representation requirement. Second, the penalties under Section
4 should also consider the psychological harm done to the
victim of hazing. With these additional inputs on R.A. No.
8049, the movement against hazing can be invigorated.

R.A. No. 8049 is a democratic response to the uproar against


hazing. It demonstrates that there must, and should, be another
way of fostering brotherhood, other than through the culture of
violence and suffering. The senseless deaths of these young
men shall never be forgotten, for justice is the spark that lights
the candles of their graves.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The April 26, 2013


Decision and the October 8, 2013 Resolution of the Court of
Appeals in CAG.R. CR-H.C. No. 05046 are
hereby AFFIRMED in toto.

Let copies of this Decision be furnished to the Secretary of the


Department of Justice as guidance for the proper
implementation and prosecution of violators of R.A. No. 8049;
and to the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of
Representatives for possible consideration of the amendment of
the Anti-Hazing Law to include the penalty for non compliance
with its Section 2 and 3, and the penalty for the psychological
harms to the surviving victims of hazing.

SO ORDERED.cralawlawlibrary

Page 45 of 51
G.R. No. 165483 September 12, 2006 That on or about January 16, 1998, in the evening at Poblacion,
RUJJERIC Z. PALAGANAS,1 petitioner, Manaoag, Pangasinan and within the jurisdiction of this
vs. Honorable Court, the above-named accused armed with an
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent. unlicensed firearm, with intent to kill, treachery and evident
DECISION premeditation, conspiring together, did then and there willfully,
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: unlawfully and feloniously shoot MELTON FERRER alias
For what is a man, what has he got? "TONY FERRER", inflicting upon him mortal gunshot wounds
If not himself, then he has naught. in the head and right thigh which caused the instantaneous
To say the things he truly feels; death of said Melton "Tony" Ferrer, to the damage and
And not the words of one who kneels. prejudice of his heirs.
The record shows I took the blows - CONTRARY to Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as
And did it my way! amended by R.A. 7659.
The song evokes the bitterest passions. This is not the first time CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-9634
the song "My Way"2 has triggered violent behavior resulting in That on or about January 16, 1998 which is within the election
people coming to blows. In the case at bar, the few lines of the period at Poblacion, Manaoag, Pangasinan, and within the
song depicted what came to pass when the victims and the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused
aggressors tried to outdo each other in their rendition of the did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously bear
song. and carry one (1) caliber .38 without first securing the necessary
In this Petition for Review on Certiorari3 under Rule 45 of the permit/license to do the same.
Revised Rules of Court, petitioner Rujjeric Z. Palaganas prays CONTRARY to COMELEC RES. 2958 in relation with SEC.
for the reversal of the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA- 261 of the OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE, as
G.R. CR No. 22689 dated 30 September 2004,4 affirming with amended.9 (Underscoring supplied.)
modification the Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), When arraigned on separate dates,10 petitioner and Ferdinand
Branch 46, of Urdaneta, Pangasinan, in Criminal Cases No. U- entered separate pleas of "Not Guilty." Upon motion of
9608, U-9609, and U-9610 and U-9634, dated 28 October Ferdinand,11 the four cases were consolidated and were
1998,5 finding petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the assigned to Branch 46 of the RTC in Urdaneta, Pangasinan. 12
crime of Homicide under Article 249 of the Revised Penal The factual antecedents as viewed by the prosecution, are
Code, and two (2) counts of Frustrated Homicide under Article summarized in the Comment dated 18 April 2005 of the Office
249 in relation to Articles 6 and 50 of the same Code. of the Solicitor General,13 to wit:
On 21 April 1998, petitioner and his older brother, Ferdinand On January 16, 1998, around 8:00 in the evening, brothers
Z. Palaganas (Ferdinand), were charged under four (4) separate Servillano, [Melton] and Michael, all surnamed Ferrer were
Informations6 for two (2) counts of Frustrated Murder, one (1) having a drinking spree in their house because [Melton], who
count of Murder, and one (1) count for Violation of COMELEC was already living in San Fernando, La Union, visited his three
Resolution No. 29587 relative to Article 22, Section 261, of the brothers and mother at their house in Sitio Baloking, Poblacion,
Omnibus Election Code,8allegedly committed as follows: Manaoag, Pangasinan. At 9:45 in the evening, the three brothers
CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-9608 decided to proceed to Tidbits Videoke bar located at the corner
That on or about January 16, 1998, in the evening at Poblacion, of Malvar and Rizal Streets, Poblacion, Manaoag to continue
Manaoag, Pangasinan and within the jurisdiction of this their drinking spree and to sing. Inside the karaoke bar, they
Honorable Court, the above-named accused armed with an were having a good time, singing and drinking beer.
unlicensed firearm, with intent to kill, treachery and evident Thereafter, at 10:30 in the evening, Jaime Palaganas arrived
premeditation, conspiring together, did then and there willfully, together with Ferdinand Palaganas and Virgilio Bautista. At
unlawfully and feloniously shoot SERVILLANO FERRER, JR. that time, only the Ferrer brothers were the customers in the bar.
y Juanatas, inflicting upon him "gunshot wound penetrating The two groups occupied separate tables. Later, when Jaime
perforating abdomen, urinary bladder, rectum bullet sacral Palaganas was singing, [Melton] Ferrer sang along with him as
region," the accused having thus performed all the acts of he was familiar with the song [My Way]. Jaime however,
execution which would have produced the crime of Murder as resented this and went near the table of the Ferrer brothers and
a consequence, but which nevertheless, did not produce it by said in Pangasinan dialect "As if you are tough guys." Jaime
reason of the causes independent of the will of the accused and further said "You are already insulting me in that way." Then,
that is due to the timely medical assistance rendered to said Jaime struck Servillano Ferrer with the microphone, hitting the
Servillano J. Ferrer, Jr. which prevented his death, to his back of his head. A rumble ensued between the Ferrer brothers
damage and prejudice. on the one hand, and the Palaganases, on the other hand.
CONTRARY to Art. 248 in relation with Arts. 6 and 50, all of Virgilio Bautista did not join the fray as he left the place. During
the Revised Penal Code, as amended. the rumble, Ferdinand went out of the bar. He was however
CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-9609 pursued by Michael. When Servillano saw Michael, he also
That on or about January 16, 1998, in the evening at Poblacion, went out and told the latter not to follow Ferdinand. Servillano
Manaoag, Pangasinan and within the jurisdiction of this and Michael then went back inside the bar and continued their
Honorable Court, the above-named accused armed with an fight with Jaime.
unlicensed firearm, with intent to kill, treachery and evident Meantime, Edith Palaganas, sister of Jaime and the owner of the
premeditation, conspiring together, did then and there willfully, bar, arrived and pacified them. Servillano noticed that his
unlawfully and feloniously shoot MICHAEL FERRER alias wristwatch was missing. Unable to locate the watch inside the
"Boying Ferrer", inflicting upon him gunshot wound on the bar, the Ferrer brothers went outside. They saw Ferdinand about
right shoulder, the accused having thus performed all the acts eight (8) meters away standing at Rizal Street. Ferdinand was
of execution which would have produced the crime of murder pointing at them and said to his companion, later identified as
as a consequence, but which nevertheless, did not produce it by petitioner [Rujjeric] Palaganas, "Oraratan paltog mo lara",
reason of the causes independent of the will of the accused and meaning "They are the ones, shoot them." Petitioner then shot
that is due to the medical assistance rendered to said Michael them hitting Servillano first at the left side of the abdomen,
"Boying" Ferrer which prevented his death, to his damage and causing him to fall on the ground, and followed by [Melton]
prejudice. who also fell to the ground. When Servillano noticed that
CONTRARY to Art. 248 in relation with Arts. 6 and 50, all of [Melton] was no longer moving, he told Michael "Bato, bato."
the Revised Penal Code, as amended. Michael picked up some stones and threw them at petitioner and
CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-9610 Ferdinand. The latter then left the place. Afterwards, the police
officers came and the Ferrer brothers were brought to the

Page 46 of 51
Manaoag Hospital and later to Villaflor Hospital in Dagupan. addition, it ratiocinated that there was no evident premeditation
Servillano later discovered that [Melton] was fatally hit in the as there was no sufficient period of time that lapsed from the
head while Michael was hit in the right shoulder. point where Ferdinand called the petitioner for help up to the
On the other hand, the defense, in its Appellant's Brief dated 3 point of the shooting of the Ferrer brothers. 20 Petitioner was
December 1999,14 asserted the following set of facts: sleeping at his house at the time he heard Ferdinand calling him
On January 16, 1998, at around 11:00 in the evening, after a for help. Immediately, petitioner, still clad in pajama and
drinking session at their house, the brothers Melton (Tony), sleeveless shirt, went out of his room to meet Ferdinand.
Servillano (Junior) and Michael (Boying), all surnamed Ferrer, Thereafter, both petitioner and Ferdinand went to the videoke
occupied a table inside the Tidbits Caf and Videoke Bar and bar where they met the Ferrer brothers and, shortly afterwards,
started drinking and singing. About thirty minutes later, Jaime the shooting ensued. In other words, according to the trial court,
Palaganas along with his nephew Ferdinand (Apo) and friend the sequence of the events are so fast that it is improbable for
Virgilio Bautista arrived at the bar and occupied a table near the petitioner to have ample time and opportunity to then plan
that of the Ferrers'. and organize the shooting.
After the Ferrers' turn in singing, the microphone was handed Corollarily, it also stated that petitioner cannot successfully
over to Jaime Palaganas, who then started to sing. On his third invoke self-defense since there was no actual or imminent
song [My Way], Jaime was joined in his singing by Tony danger to his life at the time he and Ferdinand saw the Ferrer
Ferrer, who sang loudly and in an obviously mocking manner. brothers outside the videoke bar.21 It noted that when petitioner
This infuriated Jaime, who then accosted Tony, saying, "You and Ferdinand saw the Ferrer brothers outside the videoke bar,
are already insulting us." The statement resulted in a free for all the latter were not carrying any weapon. Petitioner then was
fight between the Ferrers', on one hand, and the Palaganases on free to run or take cover when the Ferrer brothers started pelting
the other. Jaime was mauled and Ferdinand, was hit on the face them with stones. Petitioner, however, opted to shoot the Ferrer
and was chased outside of the bar by Junior and Boying Ferrer. brothers. It also stated that the use by petitioner of a gun was
Ferdinand then ran towards the house of the appellant Rujjeric not a reasonable means to prevent the attack of the Ferrer
Palaganas, his brother, and sought the help of the latter. brothers since the latter were only equipped with stones, and
Rujjeric, stirred from his sleep by his brother's shouts, went out that the gun was deadlier compared to stones. Moreover, it also
of his house and, noticing that the van of his uncle was in front found that petitioner used an unlicensed firearm in shooting the
of the Tidbits Videoke Bar, proceeded to that place. Before Ferrer brothers.22
reaching the bar, however, he was suddenly stoned by the Ferrer As regards the Violation of COMELEC Resolution No. 2958,
brothers and was hit on different parts of his body, so he turned in relation to Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code, the
around and struggled to run towards his house. He then met his trial court acquitted the petitioner of the offense as his use and
brother, Ferdinand, going towards the bar, so he tugged him and possession of a gun was not for the purpose of disrupting
urged him to run towards the opposite direction as the Ferrer election activities.23 In conclusion, the trial court held:
brothers continued pelting them with large stones. Rujjeric then WHEREFORE, JUDGMENT is hereby rendered as follows:
noticed that Ferdinand was carrying a gun, and, on instinct, 1. Under CRIM. CASE NO. U-9610, [Rujjeric] PALAGANAS
grabbed the gun from the latter, faced the Ferrer brothers and is hereby CONVICTED beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
fired one shot in the air to force the brothers to retreat. Much to of HOMICIDE (Not Murder) with the use of an unlicensed
his surprise, however, the Ferrer brothers continued throwing firearm. The penalty imposable is in its maximum period which
stones and when (sic) the appellant was again hit several times. is 20 years. The Court sentences [Rujjeric] Palaganas to suffer
Unable to bear the pain, he closed his eyes and pulled the the penalty of Reclusion Temporal in its maximum period or 20
trigger. years of imprisonment; and to pay the heirs of [MELTON]
On 28 October 1998, the trial court rendered its Decision Ferrer the sum of P7,791.50 as actual medical expenses of
finding petitioner guilty only of the crime of Homicide and two [MELTON] Ferrer; P500,000.00 as moral damages
(2) counts of Frustrated Homicide.15 He was, however, representing unearned income of [MELTON]; P50,000.00 for
acquitted of the charge of Violation of COMELEC Resolution the death of [MELTON]; P50,000.00 for exemplary damages
No. 2958 in relation to Section 261 of the Omnibus Election and P100,000.00 for burial and funeral expenses.
Code.16 On the other hand, Ferdinand was acquitted of all the Ferdinand Palaganas is hereby ACQUITTED for failure of the
charges against him.17 prosecution to prove conspiracy and likewise, for failure to
In holding that petitioner is liable for the crimes of Homicide prove the guilt of Ferdinand Palaganas beyond reasonable
and Frustrated Homicide but not for Murder and Frustrated doubt.
Murder, the trial court explained that there was no conspiracy 2. Under CRIM. CASE NO. U-9608, [Rujjeric] PALAGANAS
between petitioner and Ferdinand in killing Melton and is hereby CONVICTED beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
wounding Servillano and Michael.18 According to the trial of FRUSTRATED HOMICIDE (Not Frustrated Murder), with
court, the mere fact that Ferdinand "pointed" to where the Ferrer the use of an unlicensed firearm, the Court sentences him to
brothers were and uttered to petitioner "Araratan, paltog mo suffer the penalty of Prision Mayor in its maximum period or
lara!" (They are the ones, shoot them!), does not in itself 12 years of imprisonment and to pay Servillano Ferrer the sum
connote common design or unity of purpose to kill. It also took of P163,569.90 for his medical expenses and P50,000.00 for
note of the fact that petitioner was never a participant in the exemplary damages;
rumble inside the Tidbits Cafe Videoke Bar (videoke bar) on Ferdinand Palaganas is ACQUITTED for failure of the
the night of 16 January 1998. He was merely called by prosecution to prove conspiracy and likewise, for failure to
Ferdinand to rescue their uncle, Jaime, who was being assaulted prove the guilt of Ferdinand Palaganas beyond reasonable
by the Ferrer brothers. It further stated that the shooting was doubt.
instantaneous and without any prior plan or agreement with 3. Under CRIM. CASE NO. U-9609, [Rujjeric] PALAGANAS
Ferdinand to execute the same. It found that petitioner is solely is hereby CONVICTED beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
liable for killing Melton and for wounding Servillano and of FRUSTRATED HOMICIDE (Not Frustrated Murder), with
Michael, and that Ferdinand is not criminally responsible for the use of an unlicensed firearm, the Court sentences him to
the act of petitioner. suffer the penalty of Prision Mayor in its maximum period or
Further, it declared that there was no treachery that will qualify 12 years of imprisonment; and to pay Michael Ferrer the sum
the crimes as murder and frustrated murder since the Ferrer of P2,259.35 for his medical expenses and P50,000.00 for
brothers were given the chance to defend themselves during the exemplary damages;
shooting incident by stoning the petitioner and Ferdinand. 19 It Ferdinand Palaganas is ACQUITTED for failure of the
reasoned that the sudden and unexpected attack, without the prosecution to prove conspiracy and likewise, for failure to
slightest provocation on the part of the victims, was absent. In

Page 47 of 51
prove the guilt of Ferdinand Palaganas beyond reasonable sign "Tidbits Caf and Videoke Bar"; that the height from
doubt. which the slug was taken was about seven feet from the ground;
Ordering accused [Rujjeric] Palaganas to pay Mrs. Elena that if it was true that petitioner and Ferdinand were waiting for
Ferrer, the mother of the Ferrer brothers, the amount the Ferrer brothers outside the videoke bar in order to shoot
of P100,000.00 as attorney's fees in CRIM. CASES NOS. U- them, then the trajectory of the bullets would have been either
9608, U-9609, U-9610. straight or downward and not upward considering that the
4. Under CRIM. CASE NO. U-9634, for failure of the petitioner and the Ferrer brothers were about the same height
prosecution to prove the guilt of [Rujjeric] Palaganas beyond (5'6"-5'8"); that the slug found on the wall was, in fact, the
reasonable doubt of the crime of Violation of COMELEC "warning shot" fired by the petitioner; and, that if this exhibit
Resolution No. 2958 in relation with Section 261 of the was properly appreciated by the trial court, petitioner would be
Omnibus Election Code, the Court ACQUITS [RUJJERIC] acquitted of all the charges.29
PALAGANAS.24 Moreover, petitioner contended that the warning shot proved
Aggrieved, the petitioner appealed the foregoing Decision of that that the Ferrer brothers were the unlawful aggressors since
the RTC dated 28 October 1998, before the Court of Appeals. there would have been no occasion for the petitioner to fire a
In its Decision dated 30 September 2004, the Court of Appeals warning shot if the Ferrer brothers did not stone him; that the
affirmed with modifications the assailed RTC Decision. In testimony of Michael in the trial court proved that it was the
modifying the Decision of the trial court, the appellate court Ferrer brothers who provoked petitioner to shoot them; and that
held that the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender the Ferrer brothers pelted them with stones even after the
under Article 13, No. 7, of the Revised Penal Code should be "warning shot."30
appreciated in favor of petitioner since the latter, accompanied Petitioner's contention must fail.
by his counsel, voluntarily appeared before the trial court, even Article 11, paragraph (1), of the Revised Penal Code provides
prior to its issuance of a warrant of arrest against him. 25 It also for the elements and/or requisites in order that a plea of self-
stated that the Indeterminate Sentence Law should be applied defense may be validly considered in absolving a person from
in imposing the penalty upon the petitioner. 26 The dispositive criminal liability, viz:
portion of the Court of Appeals' Decision reads: ART. 11. Justifying circumstances. The following do not
WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction is hereby incur any criminal liability:
AFFIRMED, subject to the MODIFICATION that the penalty 1. Anyone who acts in defense of his person or rights, provided
to be imposed for the crimes which the appellant committed are that the following circumstances concur;
as follows: First. Unlawful aggression;
(1) For Homicide (under Criminal Case No. U-9610), the Second. Reasonable necessity of the means employed to
appellant is ordered to suffer imprisonment of ten (10) years prevent or repel it;
of prision mayor as minimum to seventeen (17) years and four Third. Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person
(4) months of reclusion temporal as maximum. Appellant is defending himself. x x x.
also ordered to pay the heirs of Melton Ferrer civil indemnity As an element of self-defense, unlawful aggression refers to an
in the amount of P50,000.00, moral damages in the amount assault or attack, or a threat thereof in an imminent and
of P50,000.00 without need of proof and actual damages in the immediate manner, which places the defendant's life in actual
amount of P43,556.00. peril.31 It is an act positively strong showing the wrongful intent
(2) For Frustrated Homicide (under Criminal Case No. U- of the aggressor and not merely a threatening or intimidating
9609), the appellant is hereby ordered to suffer imprisonment attitude.32 It is also described as a sudden and unprovoked
of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correcional as attack of immediate and imminent kind to the life, safety or
minimum to ten (10) years of prision mayor as maximum. rights of the person attacked.33
Appellant is also ordered to pay Michael Ferrer actual damages There is an unlawful aggression on the part of the victim when
in the amount of P2,259.35 and moral damages in the amount he puts in actual or imminent peril the life, limb, or right of the
of P30,000.00. person invoking self-defense. There must be actual physical
(3) For Frustrated Homicide (under Criminal Case No. U- force or actual use of weapon.34 In order to constitute unlawful
9608), the appellant is hereby penalized with imprisonment of aggression, the person attacked must be confronted by a real
four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correcional as threat on his life and limb; and the peril sought to be avoided is
minimum to ten (10) years of prision mayor as maximum. imminent and actual, not merely imaginary.35
Appellant is also ordered to pay Servillano Ferrer actual In the case at bar, it is clear that there was no unlawful
damages in the amount of P163,569.90 and moral damages in aggression on the part of the Ferrer brothers that justified the
the amount of P30,000.00.27 act of petitioner in shooting them. There were no actual or
On 16 November 2004, petitioner lodged the instant Petition for imminent danger to the lives of petitioner and Ferdinand when
Review before this Court on the basis of the following they proceeded and arrived at the videoke bar and saw thereat
arguments: the Ferrer brothers. It appears that the Ferrer brothers then were
I. merely standing outside the videoke bar and were not carrying
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN any weapon when the petitioner arrived with his brother
AFFIRMING THE JUDGMENT OF CONVICTION OF THE Ferdinand and started firing his gun.36
TRIAL COURT. Assuming, arguendo, that the Ferrer brothers had provoked the
II. petitioner to shoot them by pelting the latter with stones, the
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT shooting of the Ferrer brothers is still unjustified. When the
ACQUITTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT ON THE Ferrer brothers started throwing stones, petitioner was not in a
GROUND OF LAWFUL SELF-DEFENSE.28 state of actual or imminent danger considering the wide
Anent the first issue, petitioner argued that all the elements of a distance (4-5 meters) of the latter from the location of the
valid self-defense are present in the instant case and, thus, his former.37 Petitioner was not cornered nor trapped in a specific
acquittal on all the charges is proper; that when he fired his gun area such that he had no way out, nor was his back against the
on that fateful night, he was then a victim of an unlawful wall. He was still capable of avoiding the stones by running
aggression perpetrated by the Ferrer brothers; that he, in fact, away or by taking cover. He could have also called or proceeded
sustained an injury in his left leg and left shoulder caused by the to the proper authorities for help. Indeed, petitioner had several
stones thrown by the Ferrer brothers; that the appellate court options in avoiding dangers to his life other than confronting
failed to consider a material evidence described as "Exhibit O"; the Ferrer brothers with a gun.
that "Exhibit O" should have been given due weight since it The fact that petitioner sustained injuries in his left leg and left
shows that there was slug embedded on the sawali wall near the shoulder, allegedly caused by the stones thrown by the Ferrer

Page 48 of 51
brothers, does not signify that he was a victim of unlawful As we have already found, there was no unlawful aggression on
aggression or that he acted in self-defense.38 There is no the part of the Ferrer brothers which justified the act of
evidence to show that his wounds were so serious and severe. petitioner in shooting them. We also ruled that even if the Ferrer
The superficiality of the injuries sustained by the petitioner is brothers provoked the petitioner to shoot them, the latter's use
no indication that his life and limb were in actual peril. 39 of a gun was not a reasonable means of repelling the act of the
Petitioner's assertion that, despite the fact that he fired a Ferrer brothers in throwing stones. It must also be emphasized
warning shot, the Ferrer brothers continued to pelt him with at this point that both the trial court and the appellate court
stones,40 will not matter exonerate him from criminal liability. found that petitioner failed to established by clear and
Firing a warning shot was not the last and only option he had in convincing evidence his plea of self-defense. In this regard, it
order to avoid the stones thrown by the Ferrer brothers. As is settled that when the trial court's findings have been affirmed
stated earlier, he could have run away, or taken cover, or by the appellate court, said findings are generally conclusive
proceeded to the proper authorities for help. Petitioner, and binding upon this Court.54 In the present case, we find no
however, opted to shoot the Ferrer brothers. compelling reason to deviate from their findings. Verily,
It is significant to note that the shooting resulted in the death of petitioner failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that
Melton, and wounding of Servillano and Michael. With regard he is entitled to an acquittal on the ground of lawful self-
to Melton, a bullet hit his right thigh, and another bullet hit his defense.
head which caused his instant death.41As regards Servillano, a On another point, while we agree with the trial court and the
bullet penetrated two of his vital organs, namely, the large Court of Appeals that petitioner is guilty of the crime of
intestine and urinary bladder.42 He underwent two (2) surgeries Homicide for the death of Melton in Criminal Case No. U-9610,
in order to survive and fully recover.43 Michael, on the other and Frustrated Homicide for the serious injuries sustained by
hand, sustained a gunshot wound on the right shoulder.44 It must Servillano in Criminal Case No. U-9608, we do not, however,
also be noted that the Ferrer brothers were shot near the videoke concur in their ruling that petitioner is guilty of the crime of
bar, which contradict petitioner's claim he was chased by the Frustrated Homicide as regards to Michael in Criminal Case
Ferrer brothers. Given the foregoing circumstances, it is No. U-9609. We hold that petitioner therein is guilty only of the
difficult to believe that the Ferrer brothers were the unlawful crime of Attempted Homicide.
aggressors. As correctly observed by the prosecution, if the Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code states and defines the stages
petitioner shot the Ferrer brothers just to defend himself, it of a felony in the following manner:
defies reason why he had to shoot the victims at the vital ART. 6. Consummated, frustrated, and attempted felonies.
portions of their body, which even led to the death of Melton Consummated felonies, as well as those which are frustrated
who was shot at his head.45 It is an oft-repeated rule that the and attempted, are punishable.
nature and number of wounds inflicted by the accused are A felony is consummated when all the elements necessary for
constantly and unremittingly considered important indicia to the for its execution and accomplishment are present; and it
disprove a plea of self-defense.46 is frustrated when the offender performs all the acts of
Let it not be forgotten that unlawful aggression is a primordial execution which would produce the felony as a consequence but
element in self-defense.47 It is an essential and indispensable which, nevertheless, do not produce it by reason or causes
requisite, for without unlawful aggression on the part of the independent of the will of the perpetrator.
victim, there can be, in a jural sense, no complete or incomplete There is an attempt when the offender commences the
self-defense.48 Without unlawful aggression, self-defense will commission of a felony directly by overt acts, and does not
not have a leg to stand on and this justifying circumstance perform all the acts of execution which should produce the
cannot and will not be appreciated, even if the other elements felony by reason of some cause or accident other than his own
are present.49 To our mind, unlawful aggression, as an element spontaneous desistance (italics supplied).
of self-defense, is wanting in the instant case. Based on the foregoing provision, the distinctions between
The second element of self-defense requires that the means frustrated and attempted felony are summarized as follows:
employed by the person defending himself must be reasonably 1.) In frustrated felony, the offender has performed all the acts
necessary to prevent or repel the unlawful aggression of the of execution which should produce the felony as a consequence;
victim. The reasonableness of the means employed may take whereas in attempted felony, the offender merely commences
into account the weapons, the physical condition of the parties the commission of a felony directly by overt acts and does not
and other circumstances showing that there is a rational perform all the acts of execution.
equivalence between the means of attack and the defense. 50 In 2.) In frustrated felony, the reason for the non-accomplishment
the case at bar, the petitioner's act of shooting the Ferrer of the crime is some cause independent of the will of the
brothers was not a reasonable and necessary means of repelling perpetrator; on the other hand, in attempted felony, the reason
the aggression allegedly initiated by the Ferrer brothers. As for the non-fulfillment of the crime is a cause or accident other
aptly stated by the trial court, petitioner's gun was far deadlier than the offender's own spontaneous desistance.
compared to the stones thrown by the Ferrer brothers.51 In addition to these distinctions, we have ruled in several cases
Moreover, we stated earlier that when the Ferrer brothers that when the accused intended to kill his victim, as manifested
allegedly threw stones at the petitioner, the latter had other less by his use of a deadly weapon in his assault, and his victim
harmful options than to shoot the Ferrer brothers. Such act sustained fatal or mortal wound/s but did not die because of
failed to pass the test of reasonableness of the means employed timely medical assistance, the crime committed is frustrated
in preventing or repelling an unlawful aggression. murder or frustrated homicide depending on whether or not any
With regard to the second issue, petitioner asserts that the Court of the qualifying circumstances under Article 249 of the
of Appeals erred in not acquitting him on the ground of lawful Revised Penal Code are present.55 However, if the wound/s
self-defense. sustained by the victim in such a case were not fatal or mortal,
Petitioner's argument is bereft of merit. then the crime committed is only attempted murder or
In resolving criminal cases where the accused invokes self- attempted homicide.56 If there was no intent to kill on the part
defense to escape criminal liability, this Court consistently held of the accused and the wound/s sustained by the victim were
that where an accused admits killing the victim but invokes self- not fatal, the crime committed may be serious, less serious or
defense, it is incumbent upon the accused to prove by clear and slight physical injury.57
convincing evidence that he acted in self-defense.52 As the Based on the medical certificate of Michael, as well as the
burden of evidence is shifted on the accused to prove all the testimony of the physician who diagnosed and treated Michael,
elements of self-defense, he must rely on the strength of his own the latter was admitted and treated at the Dagupan Doctors-
evidence and not on the weakness of the prosecution.53 Villaflor Memorial Hospital for a single gunshot wound in his
right shoulder caused by the shooting of petitioner.58 It was also

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stated in his medical certificate that he was discharged on the As was previously established, a special aggravating
same day he was admitted and that the treatment duration for circumstance cannot be offset by an ordinary mitigating
such wound would be for six to eight days only.59 Given these circumstance. Voluntary surrender of petitioner in this case is
set of undisputed facts, it is clear that the gunshot wound merely an ordinary mitigating circumstance. Thus, it cannot
sustained by Michael in his right shoulder was not fatal or offset the special aggravating circumstance of use of unlicensed
mortal since the treatment period for his wound was short and firearm. In accordance with Article 64, paragraph 3 of the
he was discharged from the hospital on the same day he was Revised Penal Code, the penalty imposable on petitioner should
admitted therein. Therefore, petitioner is liable only for the be in its maximum period.69
crime of attempted homicide as regards Michael in Criminal As regards the civil liability of petitioner, we deem it necessary
Case No. U-9609. to modify the award of damages given by both courts.
With regard to the appreciation of the aggravating circumstance In Criminal Case No. U-9610 for Homicide, we agree with both
of use of an unlicensed firearm, we agree with the trial court courts that the proper amount of civil indemnity is P50,000.00,
and the appellate court that the same must be applied against and that the proper amount for moral damages is P50,000.00
petitioner in the instant case since the same was alleged in the pursuant to prevailing jurisprudence.70However, based on the
informations filed against him before the RTC and proven receipts for hospital, medicine, funeral and burial expenses on
during the trial. However, such must be considered as a special record, and upon computation of the same, the proper amount
aggravating circumstance, and not a generic aggravating of actual damages should be P42,374.18, instead
circumstance. of P43,556.00. Actual damages for loss of earning capacity
Generic aggravating circumstances are those that generally cannot be awarded in this case since there was no documentary
apply to all crimes such as those mentioned in Article 14, evidence to substantiate the same.71 Although there may be
paragraphs No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 14, 18, 19 and 20, of the exceptions to this rule,72 none is availing in the present case.
Revised Penal Code. It has the effect of increasing the penalty Nevertheless, since loss was actually established in this case,
for the crime to its maximum period, but it cannot increase the temperate damages in the amount of P25,000.00 may be
same to the next higher degree. It must always be alleged and awarded to the heirs of Melton Ferrer. Under Article 2224 of
charged in the information, and must be proven during the trial the New Civil Code, temperate or moderate damages may be
in order to be appreciated.60 Moreover, it can be offset by an recovered when the court finds that some pecuniary loss was
ordinary mitigating circumstance. suffered but its amount cannot be proved with certainty.
On the other hand, special aggravating circumstances are those Moreover, exemplary damages should be awarded in this case
which arise under special conditions to increase the penalty for since the presence of special aggravating circumstance of use
the offense to its maximum period, but the same cannot increase of unlicensed firearm was already established.73 Based on
the penalty to the next higher degree. Examples are quasi- prevailing jurisprudence, the award of exemplary damages for
recidivism under Article 160 and complex crimes under Article homicide is P25,000.00.74
48 of the Revised Penal Code. It does not change the character In Criminal Cases No. U-9608 and U-9609, we agree with both
of the offense charged.61 It must always be alleged and charged courts as to the award of actual damages and its corresponding
in the information, and must be proven during the trial in order amount since the same is supported by documentary proof
to be appreciated.62 Moreover, it cannot be offset by an ordinary therein. The award of moral damages is also consistent with
mitigating circumstance. prevailing jurisprudence. However, exemplary damages should
It is clear from the foregoing that the meaning and effect of be awarded in this case since the presence of special
generic and special aggravating circumstances are exactly the aggravating circumstance of use of unlicensed firearm was
same except that in case of generic aggravating, the same CAN already established. Based on prevailing jurisprudence, the
be offset by an ordinary mitigating circumstance whereas in the award of exemplary damages for both the attempted and
case of special aggravating circumstance, it CANNOT be offset frustrated homicide shall be P25,000.00 for each.
by an ordinary mitigating circumstance. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the Court
Aside from the aggravating circumstances abovementioned, of Appeals dated 30 September 2004 is
there is also an aggravating circumstance provided for under hereby AFFIRMED with the following MODIFICATIONS:
Presidential Decree No. 1866,63 as amended by Republic Act (1) In Criminal Case No. U-9609, the petitioner is found guilty
No. 8294,64 which is a special law. Its pertinent provision states: of the crime of attempted homicide. The penalty imposable on
If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an the petitioner is prision correccional under Article 51 of the
unlicensed firearm, such use of an unlicensed firearm shall be Revised Penal Code.75 There being a special aggravating
considered as an aggravating circumstance. circumstance of the use of an unlicensed firearm and applying
In interpreting the same provision, the trial court reasoned that the Indeterminate Sentence of Law, the penalty now becomes
such provision is "silent as to whether it is generic or four (4) years and two (2) months of arresto mayor as minimum
qualifying."65 Thus, it ruled that "when the law is silent, the period to six (6) years of prision correccional as maximum
same must be interpreted in favor of the accused." 66 Since a period. As regards the civil liability of petitioner, the latter is
generic aggravating circumstance is more favorable to hereby ordered to pay Michael Ferrer exemplary damages in the
petitioner compared to a qualifying aggravating circumstance, amount of P25,000.00 in addition to the actual damages and
as the latter changes the nature of the crime and increase the moral damages awarded by the Court of Appeals.
penalty thereof by degrees, the trial court proceeded to declare (2) In Criminal Case No. U-9608, the penalty imposable on the
that the use of an unlicensed firearm by the petitioner is to be petitioner for the frustrated homicide is prision mayor under
considered only as a generic aggravating circumstance.67 This Article 50 of the Revised Penal Code.76 There being a special
interpretation is erroneous since we already held in several aggravating circumstance of the use of an unlicensed firearm
cases that with the passage of Republic Act. No. 8294 on 6 June and applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the penalty now
1997, the use of an unlicensed firearm in murder or homicide is becomes six (6) years of prision correccional as minimum
now considered as a SPECIAL aggravating circumstance and period to twelve (12) years of prision mayor as maximum
not a generic aggravating circumstance.68 Republic Act No. period. As regards the civil liability of petitioner, the latter is
8294 applies to the instant case since it took effect before the hereby ordered to pay Servillano Ferrer exemplary damages in
commission of the crimes in 21 April 1998. Therefore, the use the amount of P25,000.00 in addition to the actual damages and
of an unlicensed firearm by the petitioner in the instant case moral damages awarded by the Court of Appeals.
should be designated and appreciated as a SPECIAL (3) In Criminal Case No. U-9610, the penalty imposable on
aggravating circumstance and not merely a generic aggravating petitioner for the homicide is reclusion temporal under Article
circumstance. 249 of the Revised Penal Code.77 There being a special
aggravating circumstance of the use of an unlicensed firearm

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and applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the penalty now
is twelve (12) years of prision mayor as minimum period to
twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal as maximum period.
As regards the civil liability of petitioner, the latter is hereby
ordered to pay Melton Ferrer exemplary damages in the amount
of P25,000.00 in addition to the actual damages and moral
damages awarded by the Court of Appeals. The actual damages
likewise awarded by the Court of Appeals is hereby reduced
to P42,374.18.
SO ORDERED.

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