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Republic of the Philippines August 18, 1995

SUPREME COURT
Manila ATTY. JOSE J. PIERAZ
Counsel for Benjamin A. Monroy
FIRST DIVISION #8 Quirino St., Life Homes Subdivision
Rosario , Pasig City, Metro Manila
G.R. NO. 142509 March 24, 2006
Subject: Anent your letter dated August 18, 1995
JOSE ALEMANIA BUATIS, JR., Petitioner, addressed to one Mrs. Teresita Quingco
vs.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and ATTY. JOSE J. PIERAZ, Respondents. Atty. Pieraz:

DECISION This has reference to your lousy but inutile threatening letter dated August 18,
1995, addressed to our client; using carabao English.
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
May we remind you that any attempt on your part to continue harassing the
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari filed by Jose Alemania Buatis, Jr. person of Mrs. Teresita Quingco of No. 1582 Mngo St., Bgy. Manggahan, Pasig
(petitioner) seeking to set aside the Decision1 dated January 18, 2000 of the City, Metro Manila---undersigned much to his regrets shall be
Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR. No. 20988 which affirmed the decision of constrained/compelled to file the necessary complaint for disbarment against
the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 167 of Pasig City, convicting him of the you.
crime of libel. Also assailed is the appellate courts Resolution2 dated March 13,
2000 denying petitioners Motion for Reconsideration. You may proceed then with your stupidity and suffer the full consequence of the
law. Needless for you to cite specific provisions of the Revised Penal Code, as the
The facts of the case, as summarized by the appellate court, are as follows: same is irrelevant to the present case. As a matter of fact, the same shall be used
by no other than the person of Mrs. Quingco in filing administrative charge
On August 18, 1995, the wife of private-complainant Atty. Jose J. Pieraz (Atty. against you and all persons behind these nefarious activities.
Pieraz), retrieved a letter from their mailbox addressed to her husband. The
letter was open, not contained in an envelope, and Atty. Pieraz wife put it on her Finally, it is a welcome opportunity for the undersigned to face you squarely in
husbands desk. On that same day, Atty. Pieraz came upon the letter and made any courts of justice, so as we can prove "who is who" once and for all.
out its content. It reads:
Trusting that you are properly inform (sic) regarding these matters, I remain.
DON HERMOGENES RODRIGUEZ Y REYES ESTATE
Office of the Asst. Court Administrator Yours in Satan name;
No. 1063 Kamias St., Bgy. Manggahan, Pasig City,
Metro Manila (Signed)
JOSE ALEMANIA BUATIS, JR. filed before the Pasig City Prosecutors Office, however, Buatis, Jr. could not deny
Atty-in- Fact of the present its contents, among which was his admission that indeed, he had sent subject
Court Administrator of the entire letter of August 18 and the letter dated August 24, 1995 to Atty. Pieraz.3
Intestate Estate of Don Hermogenes
After trial on the merits, the RTC rendered its Decision dated April 30,
Rodriguez Y. Reyes. 19974 finding petitioner guilty of the crime of libel, the dispositive portion of
which reads:
Copy furnished:
All concerned. WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding the accused Jose Alemania
Buatis, Jr. GUILTY of the crime of LIBEL defined in Art. 353 and penalized under
Not personally knowing who the sender was, Atty. Pieraz, nevertheless, Art. 355 of the Revised Penal Code and is hereby sentenced to an indeterminate
responded and sent a communication by registered mail to said Buatis, Jr., penalty of imprisonment of Four (4) Months and One (1) Day, as minimum, to
accused-appellant. In reply, Buatis, Jr. dispatched a second letter dated August Two (2) Years, Eleven (11) Months and Ten (10) Days, as maximum; to
24, 1995 to Atty. Pieraz. indemnify the offended party in the amount of P20,000.00, by way of
compensatory damages; the amount of P10,000.00, as and for moral damages,
Reacting to the insulting words used by Buatis, Jr., particularly: "Satan, senile, and another amount of P10,000.00, for exemplary damages; to suffer all
stupid, [E]nglish carabao," Atty. Pieraz filed a complaint for libel against accessory penalties provided for by law; and, to pay the costs. 5
accused-appellant. Subject letter and its contents came to the knowledge not
only of his wife but of his children as well and they all chided him telling him: The trial court ruled that: calling a lawyer "inutil", stupid and capable of using
"Ginagawa ka lang gago dito." only carabao English, is intended not only for the consumption of respondent
but similarly for others as a copy of the libelous letter was furnished all
Aside from the monetary expenses he incurred as a result of the filing of the concerned; the letter was prejudicial to the good name of respondent and an
instant case, Atty Pieraz frail health was likewise affected and aggravated by the affront to his standing as a lawyer, who, at the time the letter was addressed to
letter of accused-appellant. him, was representing a client in whose favor he sent a demand letter to the
person represented by petitioner; the letter is libelous per se since a defect or
The defense forwarded by accused-appellant Buatis, Jr. was denial. According to vice imputed is plainly understood as set against the entire message sought to
him, it was at the behest of the president of the organization "Nagkakaisang be conveyed; petitioner failed to reverse the presumption of malice from the
Samahan Ng Mga Taga Manggahan" or NASATAMA, and of a member, Teresita defamatory imputation contained in the letter; the letter could have been
Quingco, that he had dictated to one of his secretaries, a comment to the letter of couched in a civil and respectful manner, as the intention of petitioner was only
private-complainant in the second week of August 1995. to advice respondent that demand was not proper and legal but instead
petitioner was seething with hate and contempt and even influenced by satanic
Initially during his testimony, Buatis, Jr. could not recall whether he had signed intention.
that letter-comment or if it was even addressed to Atty. Pieraz. Neither could he
remember if he had made and sent another letter, this time dated August 24, The RTC also found that since the letter was made known or brought to the
1995, to Atty. Pieraz. Confronted in court with the counter-affidavit which he attention and notice of other persons other than the offended party, there was
publication; and that the element of identity was also established since the letter AS COUNSEL, DEFENDING A MEMBER OF AN ASSOCIATION UNDER
was intended for respondent. It rejected petitioners stance that the libelous THREAT OF EJECTMENT FROM HER DWELLING PLACE?
letter resulted from mistake or negligence since petitioner boldly admitted that
he had to reply to respondents letter to Mrs. Quingco, it being his duty to do as B. WHETHER OR NOT THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING
the latter is a member of petitioners association. THE ALLEGED LIBELOUS LETTER AS ONE OF THOSE FALLING UNDER
THE PURVIEW OF PRIVILEGE (sic) COMMUNICATION?
The RTC found respondent entitled to recover compensatory damages as the
immediate tendency of the defamatory imputation was to impair respondents C. WHETHER OR NOT THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING
reputation although no actual pecuniary loss has in fact resulted. It also awarded THAT: THE PETITIONER CAN NOT BE MADE TO ACCEPT FULL
moral damages as well as exemplary damages since the publication of the RESPONSIBILITY THAT WHAT HE DID IS A CRIME?6
libelous letter was made with special ill will, bad faith or in a reckless disregard
for the rights of respondent. The Office of the Solicitor General filed its Comment in behalf of the People and
respondent filed his own Comment praying for the affirmance of the CA
Subsequently, petitioner appealed the RTCs decision to the CA which, in a decision. As required by us, the parties submitted their respective memoranda.
Decision dated January 18, 2000, affirmed in its entirety the decision of the trial
court. The principal issue for resolution is whether or not petitioner is guilty of the
crime of libel.
The CA found that the words used in the letter are uncalled for and defamatory
in character as they impeached the good reputation of respondent as a lawyer In his Memorandum, petitioner claims that: the CA failed to apply the ruling
and that it is malicious. It rejected petitioners claim that the letter is a privileged in People v. Velasco7 that "if the act/matter charged as libelous is only an
communication which would exculpate him from liability since he failed to come incident in [an] act which has another objective, the crime is not libel;" when he
up with a valid explanation as to why he had to resort to name calling and made his reply to respondents letter to Mrs. Quingco making a demand for her
downgrading a lawyer to the extent of ridiculing him when he could have to vacate the premises, his objective was to inform respondent that Mrs.
discharged his so called "duty" in a more toned down fashion. It found also that Quingco is one of the recognized tenants of the Rodriguez estate which is
there was publication of the letter, thus, it cannot be classified as privileged. claiming ownership over the area of Brgy. Manggahan, Pasig City, and petitioner
is the attorney-in-fact of the administrator of the Rodriquez estate;
The CA denied petitioners motion for reconsideration in a Resolution dated communication in whatever language, either verbal or written of a lawyer under
March 13, 2000. obligation to defend a clients cause is but a privileged communication; the
instant case is a qualified privileged communication which is lost only by proof
Hence the instant petition for review on certiorari filed by petitioner, raising the of malice, however, respondent failed to present actual proof of malice; the
following issues: existence of malice in fact may be shown by extrinsic evidence that petitioner
bore a grudge against the offended party, or there was ill will or ill feeling
A. CAN THERE BE MALICE IN FACT, AS ONE OF THE ELEMENTS OF between them which existed at the time of the publication of the defamatory
LIBEL, ATTRIBUTED TO A RESPONDING URBAN POOR LEADER ACTING imputation which were not at all indicated by respondent in his complaint;
contrary to the findings of the CA, there was justifiable motive in sending such a
letter which was to defend the vested interest of the estate and to abate any The victim of the libelous letter was identifiable as the subject letter-reply was
move of respondent to eject Mrs. Quingco. addressed to respondent himself.

Petitioner further argues that if the words used in the libelous letter-reply We shall then resolve the issues raised by petitioner as to whether the
would be fully scrutinized, there is justification for the use of those words, to imputation is defamatory and malicious.
wit: "lousy but inutile threatening letterusing carabao English" was due to the
fact that the demand letter was indeed a threatening letter as it does not serve In determining whether a statement is defamatory, the words used are to be
its purpose as respondents client has no legal right over the property and construed in their entirety and should be taken in their plain, natural and
respondent did not file the ejectment suit; that respondent is just making a ordinary meaning as they would naturally be understood by persons reading
mockery out of Mrs. Quingco, thus he is stupid; that the words "Yours in Satan them, unless it appears that they were used and understood in another sense.11
name" is only a complementary greeting used in an ordinary communication
letter, which is reflected to the sender but not to the person being For the purpose of determining the meaning of any publication alleged to be
communicated and which is just the reverse of saying "Yours in Christ". libelous, we laid down the rule in Jimenez v. Reyes,12 to wit:

We deny the petition. In Tawney vs. Simonson, Whitcomb & Hurley Co. (109 Minn., 341), the court had
the following to say on this point: "In determining whether the specified matter
Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code defines libel as a public and malicious is libelous per se, two rules of construction are conspicuously applicable: (1)
imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, That construction must be adopted which will give to the matter such a meaning
omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, as is natural and obvious in the plain and ordinary sense in which the public
discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory would naturally understand what was uttered. (2) The published matter alleged
of one who is dead. to be libelous must be construed as a whole."

For an imputation to be libelous, the following requisites must concur: (a) it In applying these rules to the language of an alleged libel, the court will
must be defamatory; (b) it must be malicious; (c) it must be given publicity; and disregard any subtle or ingenious explanation offered by the publisher on being
(d) the victim must be identifiable.8 called to account. The whole question being the effect the publication had upon
the minds of the readers, and they not having been assisted by the offered
The last two elements have been duly established by the prosecution. There is explanation in reading the article, it comes too late to have the effect of
publication in this case. In libel, publication means making the defamatory removing the sting, if any there be, from the words used in the publication.13
matter, after it is written, known to someone other than the person against
whom it has been written.9 Petitioners subject letter-reply itself states that the Gauging from the abovementioned tests, the words used in the letter dated
same was copy furnished to all concerned. Also, petitioner had dictated the August 18, 1995 sent by petitioner to respondent is defamatory. In using words
letter to his secretary. It is enough that the author of the libel complained of has such as "lousy", "inutile", "carabao English", "stupidity", and "satan", the letter,
communicated it to a third person.10 Furthermore, the letter, when found in the as it was written, casts aspersion on the character, integrity and reputation of
mailbox, was open, not contained in an envelope thus, open to public. respondent as a lawyer which exposed him to ridicule. No evidence aliunde need
be adduced to prove it. As the CA said, these very words of petitioner have
caused respondent to public ridicule as even his own family have told him: delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by public
"Ginagawa ka lang gago dito."14 officers in the exercise of their functions.

Any of the imputations covered by Article 353 is defamatory; and, under the Clearly, the presumption of malice is done away with when the defamatory
general rule laid down in Article 354, every defamatory imputation is presumed imputation is a qualified privileged communication.
to be malicious, even if it be true, if no good intention and justifiable motive for
making it is shown. Thus, when the imputation is defamatory, the prosecution In order to prove that a statement falls within the purview of a qualified
need not prove malice on the part of petitioner (malice in fact), for the law privileged communication under Article 354, No. 1, as claimed by petitioner, the
already presumes that petitioners imputation is malicious (malice in law).15 A following requisites must concur: (1) the person who made the communication
reading of petitioners subject letter-reply showed that he malevolently had a legal, moral, or social duty to make the communication, or at least, had an
castigated respondent for writing such a demand letter to Mrs. Quingco. There interest to protect, which interest may either be his own or of the one to whom
was nothing in the said letter which showed petitioners good intention and it is made; (2) the communication is addressed to an officer or a board, or
justifiable motive for writing the same in order to overcome the legal inference superior, having some interest or duty in the matter, and who has the power to
of malice. furnish the protection sought; and (3) the statements in the communication are
made in good faith and without malice.16
Petitioner, however, insists that his letter was a private communication made in
the performance of his moral and social duty as the attorney-in-fact of the While it would appear that the letter was written by petitioner out of his social
administrator of the Rodriguez estate where Mrs. Quingco is a recognized tenant duty to a member of the association which he heads, and was written to
and to whom respondent had written the demand letter to vacate, thus in the respondent as a reply to the latters demand letter sent to a member, however, a
nature of a privileged communication and not libelous. reading of the subject letter-reply addressed to respondent does not show any
explanation concerning the status of Mrs. Quingco and why she is entitled to the
We are not persuaded. premises as against the claim of respondents client. The letter merely contained
insulting words, i.e, "lousy" and "inutile letter using carabao English",
Article 354 of the Revised Penal Code provides: "stupidity", and "satan", which are totally irrelevant to his defense of Mrs.
Quingcos right over the premises. The words as written had only the effect of
Art. 354. Requirement for publicity. Every defamatory imputation is presumed maligning respondents integrity as a lawyer, a lawyer who had served as legal
to be malicious, even if it be true, if no good intention and justifiable motive for officer in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for so many
making it is shown, except in the following cases: years until his retirement and afterwards as consultant of the same agency and
also a notary public. The letter was crafted in an injurious way than what is
1. A private communication made by any person to another in the necessary in answering a demand letter which exposed respondent to public
performance of any legal, moral, or social duty; and ridicule thus negating good faith and showing malicious intent on petitioners
part.
2. A fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments or
remarks, of any judicial, legislative, or other official proceedings which Moreover, the law requires that for a defamatory imputation made out of a legal,
are not of confidential nature, or of any statement, report, or speech moral or social duty to be privileged, such statement must be communicated
only to the person or persons who have some interest or duty in the matter In Vaca v. Court of Appeals,23 where petitioners therein were convicted of B.P. 22
alleged, and who have the power to furnish the protection sought by the author which provides for alternative penalties of fine or imprisonment or both fine
of the statement.17 A written letter containing libelous matter cannot be and imprisonment, we deleted the prison sentence imposed upon petitioners
classified as privileged when it is published and circulated among the public.18 In and instead ordered them only to pay a fine equivalent to double the amount of
this case, petitioner admitted that he dictated the letter to one of her secretaries the check. We held:
who typed the same and made a print out of the computer.19 While petitioner
addressed the reply-letter to respondent, the same letter showed that it was Petitioners are first-time offenders. They are Filipino entrepreneurs who
copy furnished to all concerned. His lack of selectivity is indicative of malice and presumably contribute to the national economy. Apparently, they brought this
is anathema to his claim of privileged communication.20 Such publication had appeal, believing in all good faith, although mistakenly, that they had not
already created upon the minds of the readers a circumstance which brought committed a violation of B.P. Blg. 22. Otherwise, they could simply have
discredit and shame to respondents reputation. accepted the judgment of the trial court and applied for probation to evade
prison term. It would best serve the ends of criminal justice if in fixing the
Since the letter is not a privileged communication, malice is presumed under penalty within the range of discretion allowed by 1, par. 1, the same philosophy
Article 354 of the Revised Penal Code. The presumption was not successfully underlying the Indeterminate Sentence Law is observed, namely, that of
rebutted by petitioner as discussed above. redeeming valuable human material and preventing unnecessary deprivation of
personal liberty and economic usefulness with due regard to the protection of
Thus, we find that the CA did not commit any error in affirming the findings of the social order.24
the trial court that petitioner is guilty of the crime of libel.
In the subsequent case of Lim v. People,25 we did the same and deleted the
An appeal in a criminal case throws the entire case for review and it becomes penalty of imprisonment and merely imposed a fine for violation of B.P. 22,
our duty to correct any error, as may be found in the appealed judgment, concluding that such would best serve the ends of criminal justice.
whether assigned as an error or not.21 We find that the award of P20,000.00 as
compensatory damages should be deleted for lack of factual basis. To be entitled Adopting these cases, we issued Administrative Circular No. 12-2000. On
to actual and compensatory damages, there must be competent proof February 14, 2001, we issued Administrative Circular 13-2001 which modified
constituting evidence of the actual amount thereof.22 Respondent had not Administrative Circular No. 12-2000 by stressing that the clear tenor of
presented evidence in support thereof. Administrative Circular No. 12-2000 is not to remove imprisonment as an
alternative penalty, but to lay down a rule of preference in the application of the
Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code penalizes libel by means of writings or penalties provided for in B.P. 22.
similar means with prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods or a
fine ranging from 200 to 6,000 pesos, or both, in addition to the civil action While Vaca case is for violation of B.P. 22, we find the reasons behind the
which may be brought by the offended party. imposition of fine instead of imprisonment applicable to petitioners case of
libel. We note that this is petitioners first offense of this nature. He never knew
The courts are given the discretion to choose whether to impose a single penalty respondent prior to the demand letter sent by the latter to Mrs. Quingco who
or conjunctive penalties; that is, whether to impose a penalty of fine, or a penalty then sought his assistance thereto. He appealed from the decision of the RTC and
of imprisonment only, or a penalty of both fine and imprisonment. the CA in his belief that he was merely exercising a civil or moral duty in writing
the letter to private complainant. In fact, petitioner could have applied for HON. MARIA ROWENA MODESTO-SAN PEDRO, Judge of the Metropolitan
probation to evade prison term but he did not do so believing that he did not Trial Court, Branch 71, Pasig City, and EVANGELINE PONCE, Respondents.
commit a crime thus, he appealed his case. We believe that the State is
concerned not only in the imperative necessity of protecting the social DECISION
organization against the criminal acts of destructive individuals but also in
redeeming the individual for economic usefulness and other social CARPIO, J.:
ends.26 Consequently, we delete the prison sentence imposed on petitioner and
instead impose a fine of six thousand pesos. The Case

This is not the first time that we removed the penalty of imprisonment and The petition seeks the review1 of the Orders2 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig
imposed a fine instead in the crime of libel. In Sazon v. Court of City affirming sub-silencio a lower courts ruling finding inapplicable the Double
Appeals,27 petitioner was convicted of libel and was meted a penalty of Jeopardy Clause to bar a second prosecution for Reckless Imprudence Resulting
imprisonment and fine; and upon a petition filed with us, we affirmed the in Homicide and Damage to Property. This, despite the accuseds previous
findings of libel but changed the penalty imposed to a mere fine. conviction for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Slight Physical Injuries arising
from the same incident grounding the second prosecution.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED with
the MODIFICATIONS that, in lieu of imprisonment, the penalty to be imposed The Facts
upon the petitioner shall be a fine of Six Thousand (P6,000.00) Pesos with
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. The award of compensatory Following a vehicular collision in August 2004, petitioner Jason Ivler
damages is DELETED. (petitioner) was charged before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Pasig City,
Branch 71 (MeTC), with two separate offenses: (1) Reckless Imprudence
SO ORDERED. Resulting in Slight Physical Injuries (Criminal Case No. 82367) for injuries
sustained by respondent Evangeline L. Ponce (respondent Ponce); and (2)
MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide and Damage to Property (Criminal
Associate Justice Case No. 82366) for the death of respondent Ponces husband Nestor C. Ponce
and damage to the spouses Ponces vehicle. Petitioner posted bail for his
WE CONCUR: temporary release in both cases.

On 7 September 2004, petitioner pleaded guilty to the charge in Criminal Case


No. 82367 and was meted out the penalty of public censure. Invoking this
G.R. No. 172716 November 17, 2010 conviction, petitioner moved to quash the Information in Criminal Case No.
82366 for placing him in jeopardy of second punishment for the same offense of
JASON IVLER y AGUILAR, Petitioner, reckless imprudence.
vs.
The MeTC refused quashal, finding no identity of offenses in the two cases.3
After unsuccessfully seeking reconsideration, petitioner elevated the matter to Petitioner laments the RTCs failure to reach the merits of his petition in S.C.A.
the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 157 (RTC), in a petition for 2803. Invoking jurisprudence, petitioner argues that his constitutional right not
certiorari (S.C.A. No. 2803). Meanwhile, petitioner sought from the MeTC the to be placed twice in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense bars his
suspension of proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366, including the prosecution in Criminal Case No. 82366, having been previously convicted in
arraignment on 17 May 2005, invoking S.C.A. No. 2803 as a prejudicial question. Criminal Case No. 82367 for the same offense of reckless imprudence charged in
Without acting on petitioners motion, the MeTC proceeded with the Criminal Case No. 82366. Petitioner submits that the multiple consequences of
arraignment and, because of petitioners absence, cancelled his bail and ordered such crime are material only to determine his penalty.
his arrest.4 Seven days later, the MeTC issued a resolution denying petitioners
motion to suspend proceedings and postponing his arraignment until after his Respondent Ponce finds no reason for the Court to disturb the RTCs decision
arrest.5 Petitioner sought reconsideration but as of the filing of this petition, the forfeiting petitioners standing to maintain his petition in S.C.A. 2803. On the
motion remained unresolved. merits, respondent Ponce calls the Courts attention to jurisprudence holding
that light offenses (e.g. slight physical injuries) cannot be complexed under
Relying on the arrest order against petitioner, respondent Ponce sought in the Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code with grave or less grave felonies (e.g.
RTC the dismissal of S.C.A. No. 2803 for petitioners loss of standing to maintain homicide). Hence, the prosecution was obliged to separate the charge in
the suit. Petitioner contested the motion. Criminal Case No. 82366 for the slight physical injuries from Criminal Case No.
82367 for the homicide and damage to property.
The Ruling of the Trial Court
In the Resolution of 6 June 2007, we granted the Office of the Solicitor Generals
In an Order dated 2 February 2006, the RTC dismissed S.C.A. No. 2803, narrowly motion not to file a comment to the petition as the public respondent judge is
grounding its ruling on petitioners forfeiture of standing to maintain S.C.A. No. merely a nominal party and private respondent is represented by counsel.
2803 arising from the MeTCs order to arrest petitioner for his non-appearance
at the arraignment in Criminal Case No. 82366. Thus, without reaching the The Issues
merits of S.C.A. No. 2803, the RTC effectively affirmed the MeTC. Petitioner
sought reconsideration but this proved unavailing.6 Two questions are presented for resolution: (1) whether petitioner forfeited his
standing to seek relief in S.C.A. 2803 when the MeTC ordered his arrest
Hence, this petition. following his non-appearance at the arraignment in Criminal Case No. 82366;
and (2) if in the negative, whether petitioners constitutional right under the
Petitioner denies absconding. He explains that his petition in S.C.A. No. 2803 Double Jeopardy Clause bars further proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366.
constrained him to forego participation in the proceedings in Criminal Case No.
82366. Petitioner distinguishes his case from the line of jurisprudence The Ruling of the Court
sanctioning dismissal of appeals for absconding appellants because his appeal
before the RTC was a special civil action seeking a pre-trial relief, not a post-trial We hold that (1) petitioners non-appearance at the arraignment in Criminal
appeal of a judgment of conviction.7 Case No. 82366 did not divest him of personality to maintain the petition in
S.C.A. 2803; and (2) the protection afforded by the Constitution shielding
petitioner from prosecutions placing him in jeopardy of second punishment for the defendant retains his standing and, should he fail to surrender, will be tried
the same offense bars further proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366. in absentia and could be convicted or acquitted. Indeed, the 30-day period
granted to the bondsman to produce the accused underscores the fact that mere
Petitioners Non-appearance at the Arraignment in non-appearance does not ipso facto convert the accuseds status to that of a
Criminal Case No. 82366 did not Divest him of Standing fugitive without standing.
to Maintain the Petition in S.C.A. 2803
Further, the RTCs observation that petitioner provided "no explanation why he
Dismissals of appeals grounded on the appellants escape from custody or failed to attend the scheduled proceeding"12 at the MeTC is belied by the
violation of the terms of his bail bond are governed by the second paragraph of records. Days before the arraignment, petitioner sought the suspension of the
Section 8, Rule 124,8 in relation to Section 1, Rule 125, of the Revised Rules on MeTCs proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366 in light of his petition with the
Criminal Procedure authorizing this Court or the Court of Appeals to "also, upon RTC in S.C.A. No. 2803. Following the MeTCs refusal to defer arraignment (the
motion of the appellee or motu proprio, dismiss the appeal if the appellant order for which was released days after the MeTC ordered petitioners arrest),
escapes from prison or confinement, jumps bail or flees to a foreign country petitioner sought reconsideration. His motion remained unresolved as of the
during the pendency of the appeal." The "appeal" contemplated in Section 8 of filing of this petition.
Rule 124 is a suit to review judgments of convictions.
Petitioners Conviction in Criminal Case No. 82367
The RTCs dismissal of petitioners special civil action for certiorari to review a Bars his Prosecution in Criminal Case No. 82366
pre-arraignment ancillary question on the applicability of the Due Process
Clause to bar proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366 finds no basis under The accuseds negative constitutional right not to be "twice put in jeopardy of
procedural rules and jurisprudence. The RTCs reliance on People v. punishment for the same offense"13protects him from, among others, post-
Esparas9 undercuts the cogency of its ruling because Esparas stands for a conviction prosecution for the same offense, with the prior verdict rendered by
proposition contrary to the RTCs ruling. There, the Court granted review to an a court of competent jurisdiction upon a valid information.14 It is not disputed
appeal by an accused who was sentenced to death for importing prohibited that petitioners conviction in Criminal Case No. 82367 was rendered by a court
drugs even though she jumped bail pending trial and was thus tried and of competent jurisdiction upon a valid charge. Thus, the case turns on the
convicted in absentia. The Court in Esparas treated the mandatory review of question whether Criminal Case No. 82366 and Criminal Case No. 82367 involve
death sentences under Republic Act No. 7659 as an exception to Section 8 of the "same offense." Petitioner adopts the affirmative view, submitting that the
Rule 124.10 two cases concern the same offense of reckless imprudence. The MeTC ruled
otherwise, finding that Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Slight Physical Injuries
The mischief in the RTCs treatment of petitioners non-appearance at his is an entirely separate offense from Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide
arraignment in Criminal Case No. 82366 as proof of his loss of standing becomes and Damage to Property "as the [latter] requires proof of an additional fact
more evident when one considers the Rules of Courts treatment of a defendant which the other does not."15
who absents himself from post-arraignment hearings. Under Section 21, Rule
11411 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, the defendants absence We find for petitioner.
merely renders his bondsman potentially liable on its bond (subject to
cancellation should the bondsman fail to produce the accused within 30 days);
Reckless Imprudence is a Single Crime, The provisions contained in this article shall not be applicable:
its Consequences on Persons and
Property are Material Only to Determine 1. When the penalty provided for the offense is equal to or lower than
the Penalty those provided in the first two paragraphs of this article, in which case
the court shall impose the penalty next lower in degree than that which
The two charges against petitioner, arising from the same facts, were prosecuted should be imposed in the period which they may deem proper to apply.
under the same provision of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, namely,
Article 365 defining and penalizing quasi-offenses. The text of the provision 2. When, by imprudence or negligence and with violation of the
reads: Automobile Law, to death of a person shall be caused, in which case the
defendant shall be punished by prision correccional in its medium and
Imprudence and negligence. Any person who, by reckless imprudence, shall maximum periods.
commit any act which, had it been intentional, would constitute a grave felony,
shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision Reckless imprudence consists in voluntary, but without malice, doing or failing
correccional in its medium period; if it would have constituted a less grave to do an act from which material damage results by reason of inexcusable lack of
felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods shall precaution on the part of the person performing or failing to perform such act,
be imposed; if it would have constituted a light felony, the penalty of arresto taking into consideration his employment or occupation, degree of intelligence,
menor in its maximum period shall be imposed. physical condition and other circumstances regarding persons, time and place.

Any person who, by simple imprudence or negligence, shall commit an act which Simple imprudence consists in the lack of precaution displayed in those cases in
would otherwise constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto which the damage impending to be caused is not immediate nor the danger
mayor in its medium and maximum periods; if it would have constituted a less clearly manifest.
serious felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum period shall be
imposed. The penalty next higher in degree to those provided for in this article shall be
imposed upon the offender who fails to lend on the spot to the injured parties
When the execution of the act covered by this article shall have only resulted in such help as may be in this hand to give.
damage to the property of another, the offender shall be punished by a fine
ranging from an amount equal to the value of said damages to three times such Structurally, these nine paragraphs are collapsible into four sub-groupings
value, but which shall in no case be less than twenty-five pesos. relating to (1) the penalties attached to the quasi-offenses of "imprudence" and
"negligence" (paragraphs 1-2); (2) a modified penalty scheme for either or both
A fine not exceeding two hundred pesos and censure shall be imposed upon any quasi-offenses (paragraphs 3-4, 6 and 9); (3) a generic rule for trial courts in
person who, by simple imprudence or negligence, shall cause some wrong imposing penalties (paragraph 5); and (4) the definition of "reckless
which, if done maliciously, would have constituted a light felony. imprudence" and "simple imprudence" (paragraphs 7-8). Conceptually, quasi-
offenses penalize "the mental attitude or condition behind the act, the
In the imposition of these penalties, the court shall exercise their sound dangerous recklessness, lack of care or foresight, the imprudencia
discretion, without regard to the rules prescribed in Article sixty-four. punible,"16 unlike willful offenses which punish the intentional criminal act.
These structural and conceptual features of quasi-offenses set them apart from correccional [medium], if the willful act would constitute a grave felony,
the mass of intentional crimes under the first 13 Titles of Book II of the Revised notwithstanding that the penalty for the latter could range all the way from
Penal Code, as amended. prision mayor to death, according to the case. It can be seen that the actual
penalty for criminal negligence bears no relation to the individual willful crime,
Indeed, the notion that quasi-offenses, whether reckless or simple, are distinct but is set in relation to a whole class, or series, of crimes.18 (Emphasis supplied)
species of crime, separately defined and penalized under the framework of our
penal laws, is nothing new. As early as the middle of the last century, we already This explains why the technically correct way to allege quasi-crimes is to state
sought to bring clarity to this field by rejecting in Quizon v. Justice of the Peace that their commission results in damage, either to person or property.19
of Pampanga the proposition that "reckless imprudence is not a crime in itself
but simply a way of committing it x x x"17 on three points of analysis: (1) the Accordingly, we found the Justice of the Peace in Quizon without jurisdiction to
object of punishment in quasi-crimes (as opposed to intentional crimes); (2) the hear a case for "Damage to Property through Reckless Imprudence," its
legislative intent to treat quasi-crimes as distinct offenses (as opposed to jurisdiction being limited to trying charges for Malicious Mischief, an intentional
subsuming them under the mitigating circumstance of minimal intent) and; (3) crime conceptually incompatible with the element of imprudence obtaining in
the different penalty structures for quasi-crimes and intentional crimes: quasi-crimes.

The proposition (inferred from Art. 3 of the Revised Penal Code) that "reckless Quizon, rooted in Spanish law20 (the normative ancestry of our present day
imprudence" is not a crime in itself but simply a way of committing it and penal code) and since repeatedly reiterated,21 stands on solid conceptual
merely determines a lower degree of criminal liability is too broad to deserve foundation. The contrary doctrinal pronouncement in People v. Faller22that
unqualified assent. There are crimes that by their structure cannot be "[r]eckless impudence is not a crime in itself x x x [but] simply a way of
committed through imprudence: murder, treason, robbery, malicious mischief, committing it x x x,"23 has long been abandoned when the Court en banc
etc. In truth, criminal negligence in our Revised Penal Code is treated as a mere promulgated Quizon in 1955 nearly two decades after the Court decided Faller
quasi offense, and dealt with separately from willful offenses. It is not a mere in 1939. Quizon rejected Fallers conceptualization of quasi-crimes by holding
question of classification or terminology. In intentional crimes, the act itself is that quasi-crimes under Article 365 are distinct species of crimes and not
punished; in negligence or imprudence, what is principally penalized is the merely methods of committing crimes. Faller found expression in post-Quizon
mental attitude or condition behind the act, the dangerous recklessness, lack of jurisprudence24 only by dint of lingering doctrinal confusion arising from an
care or foresight, the imprudencia punible. x x x x indiscriminate fusion of criminal law rules defining Article 365 crimes and the
complexing of intentional crimes under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code
Were criminal negligence but a modality in the commission of felonies, which, as will be shown shortly, rests on erroneous conception of quasi-crimes.
operating only to reduce the penalty therefor, then it would be absorbed in the Indeed, the Quizonian conception of quasi-crimes undergirded a related branch
mitigating circumstances of Art. 13, specially the lack of intent to commit so of jurisprudence applying the Double Jeopardy Clause to quasi-offenses, barring
grave a wrong as the one actually committed. Furthermore, the theory would second prosecutions for a quasi-offense alleging one resulting act after a prior
require that the corresponding penalty should be fixed in proportion to the conviction or acquittal of a quasi-offense alleging another resulting act but
penalty prescribed for each crime when committed willfully. For each penalty arising from the same reckless act or omission upon which the second
for the willful offense, there would then be a corresponding penalty for the prosecution was based.
negligent variety. But instead, our Revised Penal Code (Art. 365) fixes the
penalty for reckless imprudence at arresto mayor maximum, to prision
Prior Conviction or Acquittal of imprudence," with both charges grounded on the same act, the Court
Reckless Imprudence Bars explained:34
Subsequent Prosecution for the Same
Quasi-Offense Reason and precedent both coincide in that once convicted or acquitted of a
specific act of reckless imprudence, the accused may not be prosecuted again for
The doctrine that reckless imprudence under Article 365 is a single quasi- that same act. For the essence of the quasi offense of criminal negligence under
offense by itself and not merely a means to commit other crimes such that article 365 of the Revised Penal Code lies in the execution of an imprudent or
conviction or acquittal of such quasi-offense bars subsequent prosecution for negligent act that, if intentionally done, would be punishable as a felony. The law
the same quasi-offense, regardless of its various resulting acts, undergirded this penalizes thus the negligent or careless act, not the result thereof. The gravity of
Courts unbroken chain of jurisprudence on double jeopardy as applied to the consequence is only taken into account to determine the penalty, it does not
Article 365 starting with People v. Diaz,25 decided in 1954. There, a full Court, qualify the substance of the offense. And, as the careless act is single, whether
speaking through Mr. Justice Montemayor, ordered the dismissal of a case for the injurious result should affect one person or several persons, the offense
"damage to property thru reckless imprudence" because a prior case against the (criminal negligence) remains one and the same, and can not be split into
same accused for "reckless driving," arising from the same act upon which the different crimes and prosecutions.35 x x x (Emphasis supplied)
first prosecution was based, had been dismissed earlier. Since then, whenever
the same legal question was brought before the Court, that is, whether prior Evidently, the Diaz line of jurisprudence on double jeopardy merely extended to
conviction or acquittal of reckless imprudence bars subsequent prosecution for its logical conclusion the reasoning of Quizon.
the same quasi-offense, regardless of the consequences alleged for both charges,
the Court unfailingly and consistently answered in the affirmative in People v. There is in our jurisprudence only one ruling going against this unbroken line of
Belga26 (promulgated in 1957 by the Court en banc, per Reyes, J.), Yap v. authority. Preceding Diaz by more than a decade, El Pueblo de Filipinas v.
Lutero27 (promulgated in 1959, unreported, per Concepcion, J.), People v. Estipona,36 decided by the pre-war colonial Court in November 1940, allowed
Narvas28 (promulgated in 1960 by the Court en banc, per Bengzon J.), People v. the subsequent prosecution of an accused for reckless imprudence resulting in
Silva29 (promulgated in 1962 by the Court en banc, per Paredes, J.), People v. damage to property despite his previous conviction for multiple physical
Macabuhay30 (promulgated in 1966 by the Court en banc, per Makalintal, J.), injuries arising from the same reckless operation of a motor vehicle upon which
People v. Buan31 (promulgated in 1968 by the Court en banc, per Reyes, J.B.L., the second prosecution was based. Estiponas inconsistency with the post-war
acting C. J.), Buerano v. Court of Appeals32 (promulgated in 1982 by the Court en Diaz chain of jurisprudence suffices to impliedly overrule it. At any rate, all
banc, per Relova, J.), and People v. City Court of Manila33 (promulgated in 1983 doubts on this matter were laid to rest in 1982 in Buerano.37 There, we reviewed
by the First Division, per Relova, J.). These cases uniformly barred the second the Court of Appeals conviction of an accused for "damage to property for
prosecutions as constitutionally impermissible under the Double Jeopardy reckless imprudence" despite his prior conviction for "slight and less serious
Clause. physical injuries thru reckless imprudence," arising from the same act upon
which the second charge was based. The Court of Appeals had relied on
The reason for this consistent stance of extending the constitutional protection Estipona. We reversed on the strength of Buan:38
under the Double Jeopardy Clause to quasi-offenses was best articulated by Mr.
Justice J.B.L. Reyes in Buan, where, in barring a subsequent prosecution for Th[e] view of the Court of Appeals was inspired by the ruling of this Court in the
"serious physical injuries and damage to property thru reckless imprudence" pre-war case of People vs. Estipona decided on November 14, 1940. However, in
because of the accuseds prior acquittal of "slight physical injuries thru reckless
the case of People vs. Buan, 22 SCRA 1383 (March 29, 1968), this Court, 05123-CR finding petitioner guilty of damage to property through reckless
speaking thru Justice J. B. L. Reyes, held that imprudence should be set aside, without costs." He stressed that "if double
jeopardy exists where the reckless act resulted into homicide and physical
Reason and precedent both coincide in that once convicted or acquitted of a injuries. then the same consequence must perforce follow where the same
specific act of reckless imprudence, the accused may not be prosecuted again for reckless act caused merely damage to property-not death-and physical injuries.
that same act. For the essence of the quasi offense of criminal negligence under Verily, the value of a human life lost as a result of a vehicular collision cannot be
Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code lies in the execution of an imprudent or equated with any amount of damages caused to a motors vehicle arising from
negligent act that, if intentionally done, would be punishable as a felony. The law the same mishap."40 (Emphasis supplied)
penalizes thus the negligent or careless act, not the result thereof. The gravity of
the consequence is only taken into account to determine the penalty, it does not Hence, we find merit in petitioners submission that the lower courts erred in
qualify the substance of the offense. And, as the careless act is single, whether refusing to extend in his favor the mantle of protection afforded by the Double
the injurious result should affect one person or several persons, the offense Jeopardy Clause. A more fitting jurisprudence could not be tailored to
(criminal negligence) remains one and the same, and can not be split into petitioners case than People v. Silva, 41 a Diaz progeny. There, the accused, who
different crimes and prosecutions. was also involved in a vehicular collision, was charged in two separate
Informations with "Slight Physical Injuries thru Reckless Imprudence" and
xxxx "Homicide with Serious Physical Injuries thru Reckless Imprudence." Following
his acquittal of the former, the accused sought the quashal of the latter, invoking
. . . the exoneration of this appellant, Jose Buan, by the Justice of the Peace (now the Double Jeopardy Clause. The trial court initially denied relief, but, on
Municipal) Court of Guiguinto, Bulacan, of the charge of slight physical injuries reconsideration, found merit in the accuseds claim and dismissed the second
through reckless imprudence, prevents his being prosecuted for serious physical case. In affirming the trial court, we quoted with approval its analysis of the
injuries through reckless imprudence in the Court of First Instance of the issue following Diaz and its progeny People v. Belga:42
province, where both charges are derived from the consequences of one and the
same vehicular accident, because the second accusation places the appellant in On June 26, 1959, the lower court reconsidered its Order of May 2, 1959 and
second jeopardy for the same offense.39 (Emphasis supplied) dismissed the case, holding:

Thus, for all intents and purposes, Buerano had effectively overruled Estipona. [T]he Court believes that the case falls squarely within the doctrine of double
jeopardy enunciated in People v. Belga, x x x In the case cited, Ciriaco Belga and
It is noteworthy that the Solicitor General in Buerano, in a reversal of his earlier Jose Belga were charged in the Justice of the Peace Court of Malilipot, Albay, with
stance in Silva, joined causes with the accused, a fact which did not escape the the crime of physical injuries through reckless imprudence arising from a
Courts attention: collision between the two automobiles driven by them (Crim. Case No. 88).
Without the aforesaid complaint having been dismissed or otherwise disposed
Then Solicitor General, now Justice Felix V. Makasiar, in his MANIFESTATION of, two other criminal complaints were filed in the same justice of the peace
dated December 12, 1969 (page 82 of the Rollo) admits that the Court of court, in connection with the same collision one for damage to property through
Appeals erred in not sustaining petitioners plea of double jeopardy and submits reckless imprudence (Crim. Case No. 95) signed by the owner of one of the
that "its affirmatory decision dated January 28, 1969, in Criminal Case No. vehicles involved in the collision, and another for multiple physical injuries
through reckless imprudence (Crim. Case No. 96) signed by the passengers
injured in the accident. Both of these two complaints were filed against Jose The next question to determine is the relation between the first offense of
Belga only. After trial, both defendants were acquitted of the charge against violation of the Motor Vehicle Law prosecuted before the Pasay City Municipal
them in Crim. Case No. 88. Following his acquittal, Jose Belga moved to quash Court and the offense of damage to property thru reckless imprudence charged
the complaint for multiple physical injuries through reckless imprudence filed in the Rizal Court of First Instance. One of the tests of double jeopardy is
against him by the injured passengers, contending that the case was just a whether or not the second offense charged necessarily includes or is necessarily
duplication of the one filed by the Chief of Police wherein he had just been included in the offense charged in the former complaint or information (Rule
acquitted. The motion to quash was denied and after trial Jose Belga was 113, Sec. 9). Another test is whether the evidence which proves one would prove
convicted, whereupon he appealed to the Court of First Instance of Albay. In the the other that is to say whether the facts alleged in the first charge if proven,
meantime, the case for damage to property through reckless imprudence filed would have been sufficient to support the second charge and vice versa; or
by one of the owners of the vehicles involved in the collision had been remanded whether one crime is an ingredient of the other. x x x
to the Court of First Instance of Albay after Jose Belga had waived the second
stage of the preliminary investigation. After such remand, the Provincial Fiscal xxxx
filed in the Court of First Instance two informations against Jose Belga, one for
physical injuries through reckless imprudence, and another for damage to The foregoing language of the Supreme Court also disposes of the contention of
property through reckless imprudence. Both cases were dismissed by the Court the prosecuting attorney that the charge for slight physical injuries through
of First Instance, upon motion of the defendant Jose Belga who alleged double reckless imprudence could not have been joined with the charge for homicide
jeopardy in a motion to quash. On appeal by the Prov. Fiscal, the order of with serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence in this case, in view
dismissal was affirmed by the Supreme Court in the following language: . of the provisions of Art. 48 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. The
prosecutions contention might be true. But neither was the prosecution obliged
The question for determination is whether the acquittal of Jose Belga in the case to first prosecute the accused for slight physical injuries through reckless
filed by the chief of police constitutes a bar to his subsequent prosecution for imprudence before pressing the more serious charge of homicide with serious
multiple physical injuries and damage to property through reckless imprudence. physical injuries through reckless imprudence. Having first prosecuted the
defendant for the lesser offense in the Justice of the Peace Court of Meycauayan,
In the case of Peo[ple] v. F. Diaz, G. R. No. L-6518, prom. March 30, 1954, the Bulacan, which acquitted the defendant, the prosecuting attorney is not now in a
accused was charged in the municipal court of Pasay City with reckless driving position to press in this case the more serious charge of homicide with serious
under sec. 52 of the Revised Motor Vehicle Law, for having driven an automobile physical injuries through reckless imprudence which arose out of the same
in a fast and reckless manner ... thereby causing an accident. After the accused alleged reckless imprudence of which the defendant have been previously
had pleaded not guilty the case was dismissed in that court for failure of the cleared by the inferior court.43
Government to prosecute. But some time thereafter the city attorney filed an
information in the Court of First Instance of Rizal, charging the same accused Significantly, the Solicitor General had urged us in Silva to reexamine Belga (and
with damage to property thru reckless imprudence. The amount of the damage hence, Diaz) "for the purpose of delimiting or clarifying its application."44 We
was alleged to be P249.50. Pleading double jeopardy, the accused filed a motion, declined the invitation, thus:
and on appeal by the Government we affirmed the ruling. Among other things
we there said through Mr. Justice Montemayor The State in its appeal claims that the lower court erred in dismissing the case,
on the ground of double jeopardy, upon the basis of the acquittal of the accused
in the JP court for Slight Physical Injuries, thru Reckless Imprudence. In the Ordinarily, these two provisions will operate smoothly. Article 48 works to
same breath said State, thru the Solicitor General, admits that the facts of the combine in a single prosecution multiple intentional crimes falling under Titles
case at bar, fall squarely on the ruling of the Belga case x x x, upon which the 1-13, Book II of the Revised Penal Code, when proper; Article 365 governs the
order of dismissal of the lower court was anchored. The Solicitor General, prosecution of imprudent acts and their consequences. However, the
however, urges a re-examination of said ruling, upon certain considerations for complexities of human interaction can produce a hybrid quasi-offense not falling
the purpose of delimiting or clarifying its application. We find, nevertheless, that under either models that of a single criminal negligence resulting in multiple
further elucidation or disquisition on the ruling in the Belga case, the facts of non-crime damages to persons and property with varying penalties
which are analogous or similar to those in the present case, will yield no corresponding to light, less grave or grave offenses. The ensuing prosecutorial
practical advantage to the government. On one hand, there is nothing which dilemma is obvious: how should such a quasi-crime be prosecuted? Should
would warrant a delimitation or clarification of the applicability of the Belga Article 48s framework apply to "complex" the single quasi-offense with its
case. It was clear. On the other, this Court has reiterated the views expressed in multiple (non-criminal) consequences (excluding those amounting to light
the Belga case, in the identical case of Yap v. Hon. Lutero, etc., L-12669, April 30, offenses which will be tried separately)? Or should the prosecution proceed
1959.45 (Emphasis supplied) under a single charge, collectively alleging all the consequences of the single
quasi-crime, to be penalized separately following the scheme of penalties under
Article 48 Does not Apply to Acts Penalized Article 365?
Under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code
Jurisprudence adopts both approaches. Thus, one line of rulings (none of which
The confusion bedeviling the question posed in this petition, to which the MeTC involved the issue of double jeopardy) applied Article 48 by "complexing" one
succumbed, stems from persistent but awkward attempts to harmonize quasi-crime with its multiple consequences48 unless one consequence amounts
conceptually incompatible substantive and procedural rules in criminal law, to a light felony, in which case charges were split by grouping, on the one hand,
namely, Article 365 defining and penalizing quasi-offenses and Article 48 on resulting acts amounting to grave or less grave felonies and filing the charge
complexing of crimes, both under the Revised Penal Code. Article 48 is a with the second level courts and, on the other hand, resulting acts amounting to
procedural device allowing single prosecution of multiple felonies falling under light felonies and filing the charge with the first level courts.49 Expectedly, this is
either of two categories: (1) when a single act constitutes two or more grave or the approach the MeTC impliedly sanctioned (and respondent Ponce invokes),
less grave felonies (thus excluding from its operation light felonies46); and (2) even though under Republic Act No. 7691,50 the MeTC has now exclusive
when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other. The legislature original jurisdiction to impose the most serious penalty under Article 365 which
crafted this procedural tool to benefit the accused who, in lieu of serving is prision correccional in its medium period.
multiple penalties, will only serve the maximum of the penalty for the most
serious crime. Under this approach, the issue of double jeopardy will not arise if the
"complexing" of acts penalized under Article 365 involves only resulting acts
In contrast, Article 365 is a substantive rule penalizing not an act defined as a penalized as grave or less grave felonies because there will be a single
felony but "the mental attitude x x x behind the act, the dangerous recklessness, prosecution of all the resulting acts. The issue of double jeopardy arises if one of
lack of care or foresight x x x,"47 a single mental attitude regardless of the the resulting acts is penalized as a light offense and the other acts are penalized
resulting consequences. Thus, Article 365 was crafted as one quasi-crime as grave or less grave offenses, in which case Article 48 is not deemed to apply
resulting in one or more consequences. and the act penalized as a light offense is tried separately from the resulting acts
penalized as grave or less grave offenses.
The second jurisprudential path nixes Article 48 and sanctions a single under Article 365, articulated in Quizon and applied to double jeopardy
prosecution of all the effects of the quasi-crime collectively alleged in one adjudication in the Diaz line of cases.1avvphi1
charge, regardless of their number or severity,51 penalizing each consequence
separately. Thus, in Angeles v. Jose,52 we interpreted paragraph three of Article A becoming regard of this Courts place in our scheme of government denying it
365, in relation to a charge alleging "reckless imprudence resulting in damage to the power to make laws constrains us to keep inviolate the conceptual
property and less serious physical injuries," as follows: distinction between quasi-crimes and intentional felonies under our penal code.
Article 48 is incongruent to the notion of quasi-crimes under Article 365. It is
[T]he third paragraph of said article, x x x reads as follows: conceptually impossible for a quasi-offense to stand for (1) a
single act constituting two or more grave or less grave felonies; or (2)
When the execution of the act covered by this article shall have only resulted in an offense which is a necessary means for committing another. This is why, way
damage to the property of another, the offender shall be punished by a fine back in 1968 in Buan, we rejected the Solicitor Generals argument that double
ranging from an amount equal to the value of said damage to three times such jeopardy does not bar a second prosecution for slight physical injuries through
value, but which shall in no case be less than 25 pesos. reckless imprudence allegedly because the charge for that offense could not be
joined with the other charge for serious physical injuries through reckless
The above-quoted provision simply means that if there is only damage to imprudence following Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code:
property the amount fixed therein shall be imposed, but if there are also
physical injuries there should be an additional penalty for the latter. The The Solicitor General stresses in his brief that the charge for slight physical
information cannot be split into two; one for the physical injuries, and another injuries through reckless imprudence could not be joined with the accusation
for the damage to property, x x x.53(Emphasis supplied) for serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence, because Article 48 of
the Revised Penal Code allows only the complexing of grave or less grave
By "additional penalty," the Court meant, logically, the penalty scheme under felonies. This same argument was considered and rejected by this Court in the
Article 365. case of People vs. [Silva] x x x:

Evidently, these approaches, while parallel, are irreconcilable. Coherence in this [T]he prosecutions contention might be true. But neither was the prosecution
field demands choosing one framework over the other. Either (1) we allow the obliged to first prosecute the accused for slight physical injuries through
"complexing" of a single quasi-crime by breaking its resulting acts into separate reckless imprudence before pressing the more serious charge of homicide with
offenses (except for light felonies), thus re-conceptualize a quasi-crime, abandon serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence. Having first prosecuted
its present framing under Article 365, discard its conception under the Quizon the defendant for the lesser offense in the Justice of the Peace Court of
and Diaz lines of cases, and treat the multiple consequences of a quasi-crime as Meycauayan, Bulacan, which acquitted the defendant, the prosecuting attorney
separate intentional felonies defined under Titles 1-13, Book II under the penal is not now in a position to press in this case the more serious charge of homicide
code; or (2) we forbid the application of Article 48 in the prosecution and with serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence which arose out of
sentencing of quasi-crimes, require single prosecution of all the resulting acts the same alleged reckless imprudence of which the defendant has been
regardless of their number and severity, separately penalize each as provided in previously cleared by the inferior court.
Article 365, and thus maintain the distinct concept of quasi-crimes as crafted
[W]e must perforce rule that the exoneration of this appellant x x x by the Justice WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. We REVERSE the Orders dated 2
of the Peace x x x of the charge of slight physical injuries through reckless February 2006 and 2 May 2006 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch
imprudence, prevents his being prosecuted for serious physical injuries through 157. We DISMISS the Information in Criminal Case No. 82366 against petitioner
reckless imprudence in the Court of First Instance of the province, where both Jason Ivler y Aguilar pending with the Metropolitan Trial Court of Pasig City,
charges are derived from the consequences of one and the same vehicular Branch 71 on the ground of double jeopardy.
accident, because the second accusation places the appellant in second jeopardy
for the same offense.54 (Emphasis supplied) Let a copy of this ruling be served on the President of the Senate and the
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Indeed, this is a constitutionally compelled choice. By prohibiting the splitting of
charges under Article 365, irrespective of the number and severity of the SO ORDERED.
resulting acts, rampant occasions of constitutionally impermissible second
prosecutions are avoided, not to mention that scarce state resources are ANTONIO T. CARPIO
conserved and diverted to proper use. Associate Justice

Hence, we hold that prosecutions under Article 365 should proceed from a WE CONCUR:
single charge regardless of the number or severity of the consequences. In
imposing penalties, the judge will do no more than apply the penalties under
Article 365 for each consequence alleged and proven. In short, there shall be no
splitting of charges under Article 365, and only one information shall be filed in
the same first level court.55

Our ruling today secures for the accused facing an Article 365 charge a stronger
and simpler protection of their constitutional right under the Double Jeopardy
Clause. True, they are thereby denied the beneficent effect of the favorable
sentencing formula under Article 48, but any disadvantage thus caused is more
than compensated by the certainty of non-prosecution for quasi-crime effects
qualifying as "light offenses" (or, as here, for the more serious consequence
prosecuted belatedly). If it is so minded, Congress can re-craft Article 365 by
extending to quasi-crimes the sentencing formula of Article 48 so that only the
most severe penalty shall be imposed under a single prosecution of all resulting
acts, whether penalized as grave, less grave or light offenses. This will still keep
intact the distinct concept of quasi-offenses. Meanwhile, the lenient schedule of
penalties under Article 365, befitting crimes occupying a lower rung of
culpability, should cushion the effect of this ruling.