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NON-IMPAIRMENT CLAUSE emergency (Worthen Co. vs. Thomas, 292 U. S., 426-435, 78 L. ed., 1344, 1347; Worthen vs.

Kavanaugh, 295 U. S., 56; Louisville Joint Stock Land Bank vs. Radford, 295 U. S., 555, 79 L. ed., 1593).
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; REPUBLIC ACT No. 342 AND EXECUTIVE ORDERS Nos. 25 AND 32 ARE
EN BANC UNCONSTITUTIONAL. — The continued operation and enforcement ofRepublic Act No. 342 at the
present time is unreasonable and oppressive, and should not be prolonged a minute longer, and,
therefore, the same is declared null and void and without effect. And what is said here with respect
[G.R. No. L-3708. May 18, 1953.] to said Act holds true as regards Executive Orders Nos. 25 and 32, perhaps with greater force and
reason as to the latter, considering that said Orders contain no limitation whatsoever in point of time
as regards the suspension of the enforcement and effectivity of monetary obligations. And there is
ROYAL L. RUTTER, plaintiff-appellant, vs. PLACIDO J. ESTEBAN, defendant-appellee.
need to make this pronouncement in view of the revival clause embodied in said Act if and when it is
declared unconstitutional or invalid.

Susano A. Velasquez for appellant.

Teodoro R. Dominguez for appellee.


DECISION

SYNOPSIS
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J p:
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; OBLIGATIONS AND CONTRACTS; MORATORIUM; LIMITATIONS
UPON THE POLICE POWER OF THE STATE. — "Although conceding that the obligations of the mortgage On August 20, 1941, Royal L. Rutter sold to Placido J. Esteban two parcels of land situated
contract were impaired, the court decided that what it thus described as an impairment was, in the City of Manila for the sum of P9,600 of which P4,800 were paid outright, and the balance of
notwithstanding the contract clause of the Federal Constitution, within the police power of the State P4,800 was made payable as follows: P2,400 on or before August 7, 1942, and P2,400 on or before
as that power was called into exercise by the public economic emergency which the legislature had August 27, 1943, with interest at the rate of 7 per cent per annum.
found to exist." (Home Building & Loan Association vs. Bleisdell, 290 U. S., 398.) But the ruling in the
To secure the payment of said balance of P4,800, a first mortgage over the same parcels
Bleisdell case has its limitations which should not be overlooked in the determination of the extent to
of land has been constituted in favor of the plaintiff. The deed of sale having been registered, a new
be given to the legislation which attempts to encroach upon the enforcement of a monetary
title was issued in favor of Placido J. Esteban with the mortgage duly annotated on the back thereof.
obligation; if these bounds are transgressed, there is no room for the exercise of the power, for the
constitutional inhibition against the impairment of contracts would assert itself. Here are instances by Placido J. Esteban failed to pay the two installments as agreed upon, as well as the interest
which these bounds may be transgressed: (1) The impairment should only refer to the remedy and that had accrued thereon, and so on August 2, 1949, Royal L. Rutterinstituted this action in the Court
not to a substantive right (Worthen Co. vs. Kavanaugh, 79 L. ed., 1298, 1301-1303; Bronson vs. Kinsie, of First Instance of Manila to recover the balance due, the interest due thereon, and the attorney's
1 How., 311, 317, 46 Har. Law Review, p. 1070); (2) The protective power of the state, the police fees stipulated in the contract. The complaint also contains a prayer for the sale of the properties
power, may only be invoked and justified by an emergency, temporary in nature, and can only be mortgaged in accordance with law.
exercised upon reasonable conditions in order that it may not infringe the constitutional provision
Placido J. Esteban admitted the averments of the complaint, but set up as a defense the
against impairment of contracts (First Trust Co. of Lincoln vs. Smith, 27 N. W., pp. 762, 769); (3) "A
moratorium clause embodied in Republic Act No. 342. He claims that this is a prewar obligation
different situation is presented when extensions are so piled up as to make the remedy a shadow . .
contracted on August 20, 1941; that he is a war sufferer, having filed his claim with the Philippine War
." (Worthen vs. Kavanaugh, 295 U. S., 56, 62); (4) The decision in the Bleisdell case is predicated on
Damage Commission for the losses he had suffered as a consequence of the last war; and that under
the ground that the laws altering existing contracts will constitute an impairment of the contract
section 2 of said Republic Act No. 342, payment of his obligation cannot be enforced until after the
clause of the Constitution only if they are unreasonable in the light of the circumstances occasioning
lapse of eight years from the settlement of his claim by the Philippine War Damage Commission, and
their enactment (47 Harvard Law Review, p. 660).
this period has not yet expired.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; WHEN EXTENSIONS OF PERIOD OF MORATORIUM BECOME
After a motion for summary judgment has been presented by the defendant, and the
UNREASONABLE. — The obligations covered by Republic Act No. 342 and Executive Orders Nos. 25
requisite evidence submitted covering the relevant facts, the court rendered judgment dismissing the
and 32 had been pending since 1945 and would continue to be unenforceable during the eight-year
complaint holding that the obligation which plaintiff seeks to enforce is not yet demandable under the
period granted to prewar debtors to afford them an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves, which in
moratorium law. Plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration wherein he raised for the first time the
plain language means that the creditors would have to observe a vigil of at least twelve years before
constitutionality of the moratorium law, but the motion was denied. Hence this appeal.
they could effect a liquidation of their investment dating as far back as 1941. This period seems
unreasonable, if not oppressive. While the purpose of Congress is plausible, and should be The only question to be determined hinges on the validity of Republic Act No. 342 which
commended, the relief accorded works injustice to creditors who are practically left at the mercy of was approved by Congress on July 26, 1948. It is claimed that this act if declared applicable to the
the debtors. Their hope to effect collection becomes extremely remote, more so if the credits are present case is unconstitutional being violative of the constitutional provision forbidding the
unsecured. And the injustice is more patent when, under the law, the debtor is not even required to impairment of the obligation of contracts (Article III, section 1, Constitution of the Philippines).
pay interest during the operation of the relief. There are at least three cases where the Supreme Court
Section 2 of Republic Act No. 342 provides that all debts and other monetary obligations
of the United States declared the moratorium laws violative of the contract clause of the Constitution
contracted before December 8, 1941, any provision in the contract creating the same or in any
because the period granted to debtors as a relief was found unwarranted by the contemplated
subsequent agreement affecting such obligation to the contrary notwithstanding, shall not be due and xxx xxx xxx
demandable for a period of eight (8) years from and after settlement of the war damage claim of the
"The economic interests of the State may justify the exercise of its
debtor by the Philippine War Damage Commission; and section 3 of said Act provides that should the
continuing and dominant protective power notwithstanding interference with
provision of section 2 be declared void and unenforceable, then as regards the obligation affected
contracts. . . . "
thereby, the provisions of Executive Order No. 25 dated November 18, 1944, as amended by Executive
Order No. 32, dated March 10, 1945, relative to debt moratorium, shall continue to be in force and xxx xxx xxx
effect, any contract affecting the same to the contrary notwithstanding, until subsequently repealed
"Similarly, where the protective power of the State is exercised in a
or amended by a legislative enactment. It thus clearly appears in said Act that the nullification of its
manner otherwise appropriate in the regulation of a business it is no objection
provisions will have the effect of reviving the previous moratorium orders issued by the President of
that the performance of existing contracts may be frustrated by the prohibition of
the Philippines.
injurious practices. . . . "
Statutes declaring a moratorium on the enforcement of monetary obligations are not of
" . . . The question is not whether the legislative action affects contracts
recent enactment. These moratorium laws are not new. "For some 1,400 years western civilization
incidentally, or directly or indirectly, but whether the legislation is addressed to a
has made use of extraordinary devices for saving the credit structure, devices generally known as
legitimate end and the measures taken are reasonable and appropriate to that
moratoria. The moratorium is a postponement of fulfillment of obligations decreed by the state
end. . . . "
through the medium of the courts or the legislature. Its essence is the application of the sovereign
power" (58 C. J. S., p. 1208, footnote 87). In the United States, many state legislatures have adopted xxx xxx xxx
moratorium laws "during times of financial distress, especially when incident to, or caused by, a war"
"Undoubtedly, whatever is reserved of state power must be consistent
(41 C. J., p. 213). Thus, such laws "were passed by many state legislatures at the time of the civil war
with the fair intent of the constitutional limitation of that power. The reserved
suspending the rights of creditors for a definite and reasonable time, . . . whether they suspend the
power cannot be construed so as to destroy the limitation, nor is the limitation to
right of action or make dilatory the remedy" (12 C. J., p. 1078). These laws were declared
be construed to destroy the reserved power in its essential aspects. They must be
constitutional. However, some courts have also declared that "such statutes are void as to contracts
construed in harmony with each other. This principle precludes a construction
made before their passage where the suspension of remedies prescribed is indefinite or unreasonable
which would permit the State to adopt as its policy the repudiation of debts or the
in duration" (12 C. J., 1078). The true test, therefore, of the constitutionality of a moratorium statute
destruction of contracts or the denial of means to enforce them. But it does not
lies in the determination of the period of suspension of the remedy. It is required that such suspension
follow that conditions may not arise in which a temporary restraint of
be definite and reasonable, otherwise it would be violative of the constitution.
enforcement may be consistent with the spirit and purpose of the constitutional
One of the arguments advanced against the validity of the moratorium law is the fact that provision and thus be found to be within the range of the reserved power of the
it impairs the obligation of contracts which is prohibited by the Constitution. This argument, however, State to protect the vital interests of the community. It cannot be maintained that
does not now hold water. While this may be conceded, it is however justified as a valid exercise by the the constitutional prohibition should be so construed as to prevent limited and
State of its police power. The leading case on the matter is Home Building and Loan temporary interpositions with respect to the enforcement of contracts if made
Association vs. Bleisdell, 290 U. S., 398, decided by the Supreme Court of the United States on January necessary by a great public calamity such as fire, flood, or earthquake. See
8, 1934. Here appellant contested the validity of charter 339 of the laws of Minnesota of 1933, American Land Co. vs. Zeiss, 219 U. S. 47, 55 L. ed. 82, 31 S. Ct. 200. The
approved April 13, 1933, called the Minnesota Mortgage Moratorium Law, as being repugnant to the reservation of state power appropriate to such extraordinary conditions may be
contract clause of the Federal Constitution. The statute was sustained by the Supreme Court of deemed to be as much a part of all contracts, as is the reservation of state power
Minnesota as an emergency measure. "Although conceding that the obligations of the mortgage to protect the public interest in the other situation to which we have referred. And
contract were impaired, the court decided that what it thus described as an impairment was, if state power exists to give temporary relief from the enforcement of contracts in
notwithstanding the contract clause of the Federal Constitution, within the police power of the State the presence of disasters due to physical causes such as fire, flood or earthquake,
as that power was called into exercise by the public economic emergency which the legislature had that power cannot be said to be nonexistent when the urgent public need
found to exist". This theory was upheld by the Supreme Court. Speaking through Chief Justice Hughes, demanding such relief is produced by other and economic causes" (78 L. ed. 426,
the court made the following pronouncements: 428-429.)
This decision elicited several comments. One came from the Harvard Law Review. It said:
"Forsaking its well-trodden path of more than a century, the court sustained the first of the new
"Not only is the constitutional provision qualified by the measure of
mortgage moratory laws to meet its scrutiny, and in so doing announced an elastic concept of the
control which the State retains over remedial processes, but the State also
contract clause which, if not newly formulated, at least received such unequivocal expression that it
continues to possess authority to safeguard the vital interest of its people. It does
bids fair to revolutionize a tradition of constitutional interpretation. . . . The court rested its decision
not matter that legislation appropriate to that end 'has the result of modifying or
on the ground that laws altering existing contracts constitute an impairment within the meaning of
abrogating contracts already in effect.' . . . Not only are existing laws read into
the contract clause only if they are unreasonable in the light of the circumstances occasioning their
contracts in order to fix obligations as between the parties, but the reservation of
enactment. Application of this 'rule of reason' was justified on the theory that all contracts are made
essential attributes of sovereign power is also read into contracts as a postulate
subject to an implied reservation of the protective power of the state, and that therefore statutes
of the legal order. The policy of protecting contracts against impairment
which validly exercise this reserved power, rather than impairing the obligations of an existing
presupposes the maintenance of a government by virtue of which contractual
contract, are comprehended within them" (47 Harvard Law Review, pp. 660, 661-662).
relations are worth while, a government which retains adequate authority to
secure the peace and good order of society. This principle of harmonizing the But the ruling in the Blaisdell case has its limitations which should not be overlooked in the
constitutional prohibition with the necessary residuum of state power has had determination of the extent to be given to the legislation which attempts to encroach upon the
progressive recognition in the decisions of this court." enforcement of a monetary obligation. It must be noted that the application of the reserved power of
the State to protect the integrity of the government and the security of the people should be limited to particular circumstances or relations, of all monies paid or payable to any resident of the state
to its proper bounds and must be addressed to a legitimate purpose. If these bounds are transgressed, under any life, sick, accident or disability insurance policy, from liability for the payment of the debts
there is no room for the exercise of the power, for the constitutional inhibition against the impairment of the recipient", and an attempt was made to apply the statute to debts owing before its approval.
of contracts would assert itself. We can site instances by which these bounds may be transgressed. The court held that "such an exemption, applied in the case of debts owing before the exemption was
One of them is that the impairment should only refer to the remedy and not to a substantive right. created by the legislature, constitutes an unwarranted interference with the obligation of contracts in
The State may postpone the enforcement of the obligation but cannot destroy it by making the violation of the constitutional provision", and cannot be sustained even as emergency legislation,
remedy futile (W. B. Worthen Co. vs. Kavanaugh, 79 L. ed. 1298, 1301-1303). Another limitation refers because it contains no limitation as to time, amount, circumstances or need (supra, 292 U. S., pp. 426-
to the propriety of the remedy. The rule requires that the alteration or change that the new legislation 432).
desires to write into an existing contract must not be burdened with restrictions and conditions that
would make the remedy hardly pursuing (Bronson vs. Kinziel, I How, 311, 317; 46 Har. Law Review, p.
1070). In other words, the Blaisdell case postulates that the protective power of the State, the police The other case is W. B. Worthen vs. Kavanaugh (supra). Here certain Municipal
power, may only be invoked and justified by an emergency, temporary in nature, and can only be Improvement Districts organized under the laws of Arkansas were empowered to issue bonds and to
exercised upon reasonable conditions in order that it may not infringe the constitutional provision mortgage benefit assessments as security therefor. One of these districts acted upon the powers thus
against impairment of contracts (First Trust Co. of Lincoln vs. Smith, 277 N. W., pp. 762, 769). As conferred. Some of the bonds were in default for nonpayment of principal and interest. So an action
Justice Cardozo aptly said, "A different situation is presented when extensions are so piled up as to was brought by the bond-holders to foreclose the assessments upon the lots of delinquent owners.
make the remedy a shadow . . . The changes of remedy now challenged as invalid are to be viewed in These bonds and mortgages were executed under the statutes then in force. Later the legislature of
combination, with the cumulative significance that each imparts to all. So viewed they are seen to be Arkansas passed three acts making changes in the remedies available under the former statutes, which
an oppressive and unnecessary destruction of nearly all the incidents that give attractiveness and changes were attacked as an unconstitutional impairment of contracts. The court sustained this view
value to collateral security (W. B. Worthen vs. Kavanaugh, 295 U. S. 56, 62). In fine, the decision in the holding that the "changes in the remedies available for the enforcement of a mortgage may not, even
Blaisdell case is predicated on the ground that the laws altering existing contracts will constitute an when the public welfare is invoked as an excuse, be pressed so far as to cut down the security of a
impairment of the contract clause of the Constitution only if they are unreasonable in the light of the mortgage without moderation or reason or in a spirit of oppression. . . . A State is free to regulate the
circumstances occasioning their enactment (47 Harvard Law Review, p. 660). procedure in its courts even with reference to contracts already made, and moderate extensions of
the time for pleading or for trial will ordinarily fall within the power so reserved; but a different
The question now to be determined is, is the period of eight (8) years which Republic Act
situation is presented when extensions are so piled up as to make the remedy a shadow."
No. 342 grants to debtors of a monetary obligation contracted before the last global war and who is
a war sufferer with a claim duly approved by the Philippine War Damage Commission reasonable The third case is Louisville Joint Stock Land Bank vs. Radford, 295 U. S. 555, 79 L. ed. 1593.
under the present circumstances? This case presented for decision the question whether subsection (s) added to section 75 of the
Bankruptcy Act by the Frazier-Lemke Act, June 28, 1934, chap. 869, 48 Stat. at L. 1289 U. S. C. title 11,
It should be noted that Republic Act No. 342 only extends relief to debtors of prewar
sec. 203, is consistent with the Federal Constitution. The court said that it is unconstitutional if applied
obligations who suffered from the ravages of the last war and who filed a claim for their losses with
to farm mortgages already existing, holding that "property rights of holders of farm mortgages are
the Philippine War Damage Commission. It is therein provided that said obligation shall not be due
unconstitutionally taken, in violation of the Fifth Amendment, by a statute (Bankruptcy Act, sec. 75
and demandable for a period of eight (8) years from and after settlement of the claim filed by the
(s); Frazier-Lemke Act of June 28, 1934, chap. 869, 48 Stat. at L. 1289) applicable only to debts existing
debtor with said Commission. The purpose of the law is to afford to prewar debtors an opportunity to
at the time of its enactment, which provides that a farmer whose farm is mortgaged, and who has
rehabilitate themselves by giving them a reasonable time within which to pay their prewar debts so
failed to obtain the consents necessary to a composition under the Bankruptcy Act, may, upon being
as to prevent them from being victimized by their creditors. While it is admitted in said law that since
adjudged a bankrupt, if the mortgagee assents, purchase the mortgaged property at its then appraised
liberation conditions have gradually returned to normal, this is not so with regard to those who have
value by agreeing to make deferred payments of stated percentages of the appraised value over a
suffered the ravages of war and so it was therein declared as a policy that as to them the debt
period of six years, with interest at 1 per cent per annum, or, if the mortgagee refuses his assent to
moratorium should be continued in force (section 1).
such purchase, may obtain a stay of all proceedings for a period of five years, during which he shall
But we should not lose sight of the fact that these obligations had been pending since 1945 retain possession of all or any part of his property, under the control of the court, provided he pays a
as a result of the issuance of Executive Orders Nos. 25 and 32 and at present their enforcement is still reasonable rental therefor, and that at the end of five years he may pay into court the appraised price
inhibited because of the enactment of Republic Act No. 342 and would continue to be unenforceable thereof, or, if a lien holder shall request a reappraisal by the court, the reappraised price, whereupon
during the eight-year period granted to prewar debtors to afford them an opportunity to rehabilitate the court shall, by an order, turn over full possession and title of the property to the debtor, and he
themselves, which in plain language means that the creditors would have to observe a vigil of at least may apply for his discharge."
twelve (12) years before they could effect a liquidation of their investment dating as far back as 1941.
In addition, we may cite leading state court decisions which practically involved the same
This period seems to us unreasonable, if not oppressive. While the purpose of Congress is plausible,
ruling and which reflect the tendency of the courts towards legislation involving modification of
and should be commended, the relief accorded works injustice to creditors who are practically left at
mortgage or monetary contracts which contains provisions that are deemed unreasonable or
the mercy of the debtors. Their hope to effect collection becomes extremely remote, more so if the
oppressive. Some of those which may be deemed representative follows:
credits are unsecured. And the injustice is more patent when, under the law, the debtor is not even
required to pay interest during the operation of the relief, unlike similar statutes in the United States 1. Pouquette vs. O'Brien, 100 Pac. 2nd series, 979 (1940). The Supreme Court of Arizona
(Home Building and Loan Association vs. Blaisdell, supra). held unconstitutional a 1937 statute authorizing courts to extend for a period of not longer than two
years all actions or foreclosures of real estate mortgages, and a 1939 statute authorizing the courts to
There are at least three cases where the Supreme Court of the United States declared the
extend foreclosure proceedings not later than March 4, 1941.
moratorium laws violative of the contract clause of the Constitution because the period granted to
debtors as a relief was found unwarranted by the contemplated emergency. One of them is W. B. 2. First Trust Joint Stock Land Bank of Chicago vs. Adolph Arp et al., 283 N.W. 441, 120
Worthen Co. vs. Thomas, 292 U. S., 426-435; 78 L. ed., 1344, 1347. Here the Legislature of Arkansas A.L.R. 932 (1939). The Supreme Court of Iowa declared unconstitutional the Moratorium Acts enacted
passed an act providing for an exemption, "without limitation as to amount or restriction with respect
in 1933,1935 and 1937, providing for extension of the 1933 Moratorium Act covering a period of six "We have strengthened, . . . our internal and external finances. Six
years. years ago, we were a country prostrate from the destruction of war. . . . Today, we
can say that our people not only have returned to their prewar activities, but . .
3. First Trust Co. of Lincoln vs. Smith et al., 277 N.W. 762 (1938). The Supreme Court of
. have progressed and prospered far beyond what they ever dreamed of before the
Nebraska declared unconstitutional the Nebraska Moratorium Law as reenacted, extending the
war.
benefit of the remedy to a period of six years, as being repugnant to the contract clause of the
Constitution. . . . Three years ago the national income stood at four billion pesos;
today it is over seven billion pesos. . . . The government income has been steadily
4. Milkint vs. McNeely, Clerk of court, et al., 169 S.E. 790 (1933). The Supreme Court of
rising from 60 million pesos in 1946 to approximately 600 million pesos today, also
Appeals of West Virginia declared unconstitutional certain acts of legislature enacted in 1932,
a progress in six years.
extending the period of redemption three years beyond the one-year period then allowed by statute,
being an impairment of contract as to sales made prior to enactment thereof. xxx xxx xxx
5. Haynes vs. Treadway, 65 Pac. 892 (1901). The Supreme Court of California declared . . . The ravages of war are fast disappearing, and instead, what
unconstitutional a statute which extends the right of redemption from six months to twelve months beautiful vistas unfold themselves before our eyes at this moment in our
being a substantial impairment of the obligation contracts if applied to a mortgage already executed. immediate surroundings. Compare this beautiful view with that of the past and all
that we have accomplished in scarcely six years of struggle, sacrifice,
6. Swinburne vs. Mills, 50 Pac. 489 (1897). The Supreme Court of Washington declared a
determination, and bold decision. (Applause.) We have brought this nation out of
statute unconstitutional in so far as it provides that, on a decree for foreclosure of a mortgage
the paralysis of destruction into economic normalcy and financial stability. . . .
executed before the act was passed, the debtor shall be entitled to have the order of sale stayed for
one year, as being an impairment of the obligation of contract. . . . Our external finances have greatly improved, and . . . our pesos is
one of the most stable currencies in the world today. (Applause.) I repeat, our
These cases apply with added force in this jurisdiction considering the conditions now
pesos is one of the most stable currencies in the world today.
prevailing in our country.
All these find grateful reflection in a better-sheltered, better- clothed,
We do not need to go far to appreciate this situation. We can see it and feel it as we gaze around to
better-fed, and healthier population that has grown from 18 million to 20 million
observe the wave of reconstruction and rehabilitation that has swept the country since liberation
in a half dozen years, in a school enrollment that has doubled since the outbreak
thanks to the aid of America and the innate progressive spirit of our people. This aid and this spirit
of the last war from less than 2 million to over 4 million young students in the
have worked wonders in so short a time that it can now be safely stated that in the main the financial
public schools, and in democratic processes that are gaining in vigor and
condition of our country and our people, individually and collectively, has practically returned to
permanence with each passing year" (Address of his Excellency Elpidio Quirino,
normal notwithstanding occasional reverses caused by local dissidence and the sporadic disturbance
President of the Philippines, on the occasion of the celebration of the sixth
of peace and order in our midst. Business, industry and agriculture have picked up and developed at
anniversary of the independence of the Philippines, July 4, 1952, Luneta, Manila,
such stride that we can say that we are now well on the road to recovery and progress. This is so not
48 Off. Gaz., pp. 3287-3289).
only as far as our observation and knowledge are capable to take note and comprehend but also
because of the official pronouncements made by our Chief Executive in public addresses and in several In the face of the foregoing observations, and consistent with what we believe to be as the
messages he submitted to Congress on the general state of the nation. To bear this out, it would only course dictated by justice, fairness and righteousness, we feel that the only way open to us under
suffice for us to state some of those public statements which we deem to be most expressive and the present circumstances is to declare that the continued operation and enforcement of Republic
representative of the general situation. We quote: Act No. 342 at the present time is unreasonable and oppressive, and should not be prolonged a minute
longer, and, therefore, the same should be declared null and void and without effect. And what we
"We have balanced our national budget. We shall again have at the end
say here with respect to said Act also holds true as regards Executive Orders Nos. 25 and 32, perhaps
of the current fiscal year a sizeable surplus. . . .
with greater force and reason as to the latter, considering that said Orders contain no limitation
We have greatly improved the economic and financial conditions of the whatsoever in point of time as regards the suspension of the enforcement and effectivity of monetary
country. Through the Rehabilitation Finance Corporation, loans amounting to obligations. And there is need to make this pronouncement in view of the revival clause embodied in
P90,480,136 have been granted for the reconstruction and rehabilitation said Act if and when it is declared unconstitutional or invalid,
purposes. . . .
We have set up the Central Bank to expand our credit, stabilize our
Wherefore, the decision appealed from will be reversed, without pronouncement as to
currency and provide a new source of financing for the agricultural and industrial
costs.
development of the nation.
Judgment is hereby rendered ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of P4,800
xxx xxx xxx
with interest thereon at the rate of 7 per cent per annum from August 27, 1942, until its full payment,
. . . The commitment thus far made is not only a favorable sign ushering plus 12 per cent as attorney's fees. Failure to pay this judgment as stated, the properties mortgaged
in finally the implementation of our plans of economic development, but a will be sold at public auction and the proceeds applied to its payment in accordance with law. So
significantly successful test of the solvency of our foreign credit, for it was ordered.
accepted only after a thorough examination of our resources and development
||| (Rutter v. Esteban, G.R. No. L-3708, [May 18, 1953], 93 PHIL 68-83)
plans by a board of economists of international authority" (Pres. Quirino's "State-
of-the- Nation" Message to the Joint Session of Congress on Jan. 24, 1949, 45 Off.
Gaz., Jan., 1949).
EN BANC Eventually, defendant-appellee acquired Lots Nos. 5 and 6, with TCT Nos. 101613 and 106092 issued in its
name, respectively, and the building restrictions were also annotated therein. 4 Defendant-appellee bought
Lot No. 5 directly from Emma Chavez, "free from all liens and encumbrances as stated in Annex 'D'," 5 while
[G.R. No. L-24670. December 14, 1979.] Lot No. 6 was acquired from Republic Flour Mills through a "Deed of Exchange," Annex "E". 6 TCT No.
101719 in the name of Republic Flour Mills likewise contained the same restrictions, although defendant-
appellee claims that Republic Flour Mills purchased the said Lot No. 6 "in good faith, free from all liens and
ORTIGAS & CO., LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, plaintiff- encumbrances," as stated in the Deed of Sale, Annex "F" 7 between it and Emma Chavez. Cdpr
appellant, vs. FEATI BANK AND TRUST CO., defendant-appellee.
Plaintiff-appellant claims that the restrictions annotated on TCT Nos. 101509, 101511, 101719, 101613, and
106092 were imposed as part of its general building scheme designed for the beautification and
Ramirez & Ortigas for appellant. development of the Highway Hills Subdivision which forms part of the big landed estate of plaintiff-appellant
where commercial and industrial sites are also designated or established. 8
Tañada, Teehankee & Carreon for appellee.
Defendant-appellee, upon the other hand, maintains that the area along the western part of Epifanio de los
Santos Avenue (EDSA) from Shaw Boulevard to Pasig River, has been declared a commercial and industrial
zone, per Resolution No. 27, dated February 4, 1960 of the Municipal Council of Mandaluyong, Rizal. 9 It
alleges that plaintiff-appellant "completely sold and transferred to third persons all lots in said subdivision
DECISION
facing Epifanio de los Santos Avenue" 10 and the subject lots thereunder were acquired by it "only on July
23, 1962 or more than two (2) years after the area . . . had been declared a commercial and industrial zone
. . ." 11

SANTOS, J p: On or about May 5, 1963, defendant-appellee began laying the foundation and commenced the
construction of a building on Lots Nos. 5 and 6, to be devoted to banking purposes, but which defendant-
An appeal interposed on June 23, 1965 by plaintiff-appellant, Ortigas & Co., Limited Partnership, from the appellee claims could also be devoted to, and used exclusively for, residential purposes. The following day,
decision of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch VI, at Pasig, Hon. Andres Reyes presiding, which plaintiff-appellant demanded in writing that defendant-appellee stop the construction of the commercial
dismissed its complaint in Civil Case No. 7706, entitled, "Ortigas & Company, Limited Partnership, building on the said lots. The latter refused to comply with the demand, contending that the building was
plaintiff, v. Feati Bank andTrust Company, defendant," for lack of merit. being constructed in accordance with the zoning regulations, defendant-appellee having filed building and
planning permit applications with the Municipality of Mandaluyong, and it had accordingly obtained
The following facts — a reproduction of the lower court's findings, which, in turn, are based on a stipulation building and planning permits to proceed with the construction. 12
of facts entered into by the parties — are not disputed. Plaintiff (formerly known as "Ortigas, Madrigal y
Cia") is a limited partnership and defendant Feati Bank and Trust Co., is a corporation duly organized and On the basis of the foregoing facts, Civil Case No. 7706, supra, was submitted in the lower court for decision.
existing in accordance with the laws of the Philippines. Plaintiff is engaged in real estate business, The complaint sought, among other things, the issuance of "a writ of preliminary injunction . . . restraining
developing and selling lots to the public, particularly the Highway Hills Subdivision along Epifanio de los and enjoining defendant, its agents, assigns, and those acting on its or their behalf from continuing or
Santos Avenue, Mandaluyong, Rizal. 1 completing the construction of a commercial bank building in the premises . . . involved, with the view to
commanding the defendant to observe and comply with the building restrictions annotated in the
On March 4, 1952, plaintiff, as vendor, and Augusto Padilla y Angeles and Natividad Angeles, as vendees, defendant's transfer certificate of title." cdphil
entered into separate agreements of sale on installments over two parcels of land, known as Lots Nos. 5
and 6, Block 31, of the Highway Hills Subdivision, situated at Mandaluyong, Rizal. On July 19, 1962, the said In deciding the said case, the trial court considered, as the fundamental issue, whether or not the resolution
vendees transferred their rights and interests over the aforesaid lots in favor of one Emma Chavez. Upon of the Municipal Council of Mandaluyong declaring Lots Nos. 5 and 6, among others, as part of the
completion of payment of the purchase price, the plaintiff executed the corresponding deeds of sale in commercial and industrial zone of the municipality, prevailed over the building restrictions imposed by
favor of Emma Chavez. Both the agreements (of sale on installment) and the deeds of sale contained the plaintiff-appellant on the lots in question. 13 The records do not show that a writ of preliminary injunction
stipulations or restrictions that: was issued. cdphil

"1. The parcel of land subject of this deed of sale shall be used by the Buyer The trial court upheld the defendant-appellee and dismissed the complaint, holding that the subject
exclusively for residential purposes, and she shall not be entitled to take or remove restrictions were subordinate to Municipal Resolution No. 27,supra. It predicated its conclusion on the
soil, stones or gravel from it or any other lots belonging to the Seller. exercise of police power of the said municipality, and stressed that private interest should "bow down to
general interest and welfare." In short, it upheld the classification by the Municipal Council of the area along
2. All buildings and other improvements (except the fence) which may be Epifanio de los Santos Avenue as a commercial and industrial zone, and held that the same rendered
constructed at any time in said lot must be, (a) of strong materials and properly "ineffective and unenforceable" the restrictions in question as against defendant-appellee. 14 The trial
painted, (b) provided with modern sanitary installations connected either to the court decision further emphasized that it "assumes said resolution to be valid, considering that there is no
public sewer or to an approved septic tank, and (c) shall not be at a distance of issue raised by either of the parties as to whether the same is null and void." 15
less than two (2) meters from its boundary lines." 2
On March 2, 1965, plaintiff-appellant filed a motion for reconsideration of the above decision, 16 which
The above restrictions were later annotated in TCT Nos. 101509 and 101511 of the Register of Deeds of motion was opposed by defendant-appellee on March 17, 1965.17 It averred, among others, in the motion
Rizal, covering the said lots and issued in the name of Emma Chavez. 3 for reconsideration that defendant-appellee "was duty bound to comply with the conditions of the contract
of sale in its favor, which conditions were duly annotated in the Transfer Certificates of Title issued in her
(Emma Chavez) favor." It also invited the trial court's attention to its claim that " . . . the Municipal Council not an ordinance, it certainly is a regulatory measure within the intendment or ambit of the word
had (no) power to nullify the contractual obligations assumed by the defendant corporation." 18 "regulation" under the provision. As a matter of fact the same section declares that the power exists "(A)ny
provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding . . ."
The trial court denied the motion for reconsideration in its order of March 26, 1965. 19
An examination of Section 12 of the same law 34 which prescribes the rules for its interpretation likewise
On April 2, 1965 plaintiff-appellant filed its notice of appeal from the decision dismissing the complaint and reveals that the implied power of a municipality should be "liberally construed in its favor" and that "(A)ny
from the order of March 26, 1965 denying the motion for reconsideration, its record on appeal, and a cash fair and reasonable doubt as to the existence of the power should be interpreted in favor of the local
appeal bond. 20 On April 14, the appeal was given due course 21 and the records of the case were elevated government and it shall be presumed to exist." The same section further mandates that the general welfare
directly to this Court, since only questions of law are raised. 22 clause be liberally interpreted in case of doubt, so as to give more power to local governments in promoting
the economic conditions, social welfare and material progress of the people in the community. The only
Plaintiff-appellant alleges in its brief that the trial court erred —
exceptions under Section 12 are existing vested rights arising out of a contract between "a province, city or
I. When it sustained the view that Resolution No. 27, series of 1960 of the municipality on one hand and a third party on the other," in which case the original terms and provisions of
Municipal Council of Mandaluyong, Rizal declaring Lots Nos. 5 and 6, among the contract should govern. The exceptions, clearly, do not apply in the case at bar.
others, as part of the commercial and industrial zone, is valid because it did so in
2. With regard to the contention that said resolution cannot nullify the contractual obligations assumed by
the exercise of its police power; and
the defendant-appellee — referring to the restrictions incorporated in the deeds of sale and later in the
II. When it failed to consider whether or not the Municipal Council had the power corresponding Transfer Certificates of Title issued to defendant-appellee — it should be stressed, that while
to nullify the contractual obligations assumed by defendant-appellee and when it non-impairment of contracts is constitutionally guaranteed, the rule is not absolute, since it has to be
did not make a finding that the building was erected along the property line, when reconciled with the legitimate exercise of police power, i.e., "the power to prescribe regulations to promote
it should have been erected two meters away from said property line. 23 the health, morals, peace, education, good order or safety and general welfare of the people." 35 Invariably
described as "the most essential, insistent, and illimitable of powers" 36 and "in a sense, the greatest and
The defendant-appellee submitted its counter-assignment of errors. In this connection, We already had most powerful attribute of government," 37 the exercise of the power may be judicially inquired into and
occasion to hold in Relativo v. Castro 24 that "(I)t is not incumbent on the appellee, who occupies a purely corrected only if it is capricious, whimsical, unjust or unreasonable, there having been a denial of due
defensive position, and is seeking no affirmative relief, to make assignments of error." process or a violation of any other applicable constitutional guarantee. 38 As this Court held through Justice
Jose P. Bengzon in Philippine Long Distance Company vs. City of Davao, et al. 39 police power "is elastic and
The only issues to be resolved, therefore, are: (1) whether Resolution No. 27 s-1960 is a valid exercise of must be responsive to various social conditions; it is not confined within narrow circumscriptions of
police power; and (2) whether the said Resolution can nullify or supersede the contractual obligations precedents resting on past conditions; it must follow the legal progress of a democratic way of life." We
assumed by defendant-appellee. were even more emphatic in Vda. de Genuino vs. The Court of Agrarian Relations, et al., 40 when We
declared: "We do not see why public welfare when clashing with the individual right to property should not
1. The contention that the trial court erred in sustaining the validity of Resolution No. 27 as an exercise of be made to prevail through the state's exercise of its police power."
police power is without merit. In the first place, the validity of the said resolution was never questioned
before it. The rule is that the question of law or of fact which may be included in the appellant's assignment Resolution No. 27, s-1960 declaring the western part of Highway 54, now E. de los Santos Avenue (EDSA,
of errors must be those which have been raised in the court below, and are within the issues framed by the for short) from Shaw Boulevard to the Pasig River as an industrial and commercial zone, was obviously
parties. 25 The object of requiring the parties to present all questions and issues to the lower court before passed by the Municipal Council of Mandaluyong, Rizal in the exercise of police power to safeguard or
they can be presented to the appellate court is to enable the lower court to pass thereon, so that the promote the health, safety, peace, good order and general welfare of the people in the locality. Judicial
appellate court upon appeal may determine whether or not such ruling was erroneous. The requirement is notice may be taken of the conditions prevailing in the area, especially where Lots Nos. 5 and 6 are located.
in furtherance of justice in that the other party may not be taken by surprise. 26 The rule against the practice The lots themselves not only front the highway; industrial and commercial complexes have flourished about
of blowing "hot and cold" by assuming one position in the trial court and another on appeal will, in the the place. EDSA, a main traffic artery which runs through several cities and municipalities in the Metro
words of Elliot, prevent deception. 27 For it is well-settled that issues or defenses not raised 28 or properly Manila area, supports an endless stream of traffic and the resulting activity, noise and pollution are hardly
litigated 29 or pleaded 30 in the Court below cannot be raised or entertained on appeal. conducive to the health, safety or welfare of the residents in its route. Having been expressly granted the
power to adopt zoning and subdivision ordinances or regulations, the municipality of Mandaluyong, through
its Municipal Council, was reasonably, if not perfectly, justified under the circumstances, in passing the
In this particular case, the validity of the resolution was admitted, at least impliedly, in the stipulation of subject resolution. prcd
facts below, when plaintiff-appellant did not dispute the same. The only controversy then as stated by the The scope of police power keeps expanding as civilization advances, stressed this Court, speaking thru
trial court was ".. whether or not the resolution of the Municipal Council of Mandaluyong . . . which declared Justice Laurel in the leading case of Calalang v. Williams, et al. 41Thus —
Lots Nos. 4 and 5 among others, as a part of the commercial and industrial zone of the municipality, prevails
over the restrictions constituting as encumbrances on the lots in question."31 Having admitted the validity "As was said in the case of Dobbins v. Los Angeles (195 US 223, 238 49 L. ed. 169),
of the subject resolution below, even if impliedly, plaintiff-appellant cannot now change its position on 'the right to exercise the police power is a continuing one, and a business lawful
appeal. LibLex today may in the future, because of changed situation the growth of population
or other causes, become a menace to the public health and welfare, and be
But, assuming arguendo that it is not yet too late in the day for plaintiff-appellant to raise the issue of the required to yield to the public good.' And in People v. Pomar (46 Phil. 440), it was
invalidity of the municipal resolution in question, We are of the opinion that its posture is unsustainable. observed that 'advancing civilization is bringing within the scope of police power
Section 3 of R.A. No. 2264, otherwise known as the Local Autonomy Act, 32 empowers a Municipal Council of the state today things which were not thought of as being with in such power
"to adopt zoning and subdivision ordinances or regulations" 33 for the municipality. Clearly, the law does yesterday. The development of civilization, the rapidly increasing population, the
not restrict the exercise of the power through an ordinance. Therefore, granting that Resolution No. 27 is growth of public opinion, with an increasing desire on the part of the masses and
of the government to look after and care for the interests of the individuals of the and comfort, to use Lots Nos. 5 and 6 for strictly residential purposes, defendants-appellees should be
state, have brought within the police power many questions for regulation which permitted, on the strength of the resolution promulgated under the police power of the municipality, to
formerly were not so considered.'" 42 (Emphasis, supplied.). use the same for commercial purposes. In Burgess v. Magarian, et al. it was held that "restrictive covenants
running with the land are binding on all subsequent purchasers . . ." However, Section 23 of the zoning
Thus, the state, in order to promote the general welfare, may interfere with personal liberty, with ordinance involved therein contained a proviso expressly declaring that the ordinance was not intended "to
property, and with business and occupations. Persons may be subjected to all kinds of restraints and interfere with or abrogate or annul any easements, covenants or other agreement between parties." 58 In
burdens, in order to secure the general comfort health and prosperity of the state 43 and to this the case at bar, no such proviso is found in the subject resolution. LexLib
fundamental aim of our Government, the rights of the individual are subordinated. 44
The need for reconciling the non-impairment clause of the Constitution and the valid exercise of police
power may also be gleaned from Helvering v. Davis 45 wherein Mr. Justice Cardozo, speaking for the Court, It is, therefore, clear that even if the subject building restrictions were assumed by the defendant-appellee
resolved the conflict "between one welfare and another, between particular and general," thus — as vendee of Lots Nos. 5 and 6, in the corresponding deeds of sale, and later, in Transfer Certificates of Title
Nos. 101613 and 106092, the contractual obligations so assumed cannot prevail over Resolution No. 27, of
"Nor is the concept of the general welfare static. Needs that were narrow or
the Municipality of Mandaluyong, which has validly exercised its police power through the said resolution.
parochial a century ago may be interwoven in our day with the well-being of the
Accordingly, the building restrictions, which declare Lots Nos. 5 and 6 as residential, cannot be enforced.
nation. What is critical or urgent changes with the times." 46
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision appealed from, dismissing the complaint, is hereby AFFIRMED.
The motives behind the passage of the questioned resolution being reasonable, and it being a "legitimate
Without pronouncement as to costs.
response to a felt public need," 47 not whimsical or oppressive, the non-impairment of contracts clause of
the Constitution will not bar the municipality's proper exercise of the power. Now Chief Justice Fernando SO ORDERED.
puts it aptly when he declared: "Police power legislation then is not likely to succumb to the challenge that
thereby contractual rights are rendered nugatory." 48 ||| (Ortigas & Co., Ltd. Partnership v. Feati Bank and Trust Co., G.R. No. L-24670, [December 14, 1979], 183
PHIL 176-198)
Furthermore, We restated in Philippine American Life Ins. Co. v. Auditor General 49 that laws and
reservation of essential attributes of sovereign power are read into contracts agreed upon by the parties.
Thus —

"Not only are existing laws read into contracts in order to fix obligations as
between the parties, but the reservation of essential attributes of sovereign power
is also read into contracts as a postulate of the legal order. The policy of protecting
contracts against impairments presupposes the maintenance of a government by
virtue of which contractual relations are worthwhile — a government which
retains adequate authority to secure the peace and good order of society."

Again, We held in Liberation Steamship Co., Inc. v. Court of Industrial Relations, 50 through Justice J.B.L.
Reyes, that ". . . the law forms part of, and is read into, every contract, unless clearly excluded therefrom in
those cases where such exclusion is allowed." The decision in Maritime Company of the Philippines v.
Reparations Commission, 51 written for the Court by Justice Fernando, now Chief Justice, restates the rule.

One last observation. Appellant has placed unqualified reliance on American jurisprudence and
authorities 52 to bolster its theory that the municipal resolution in question cannot nullify or supersede the
agreement of the parties embodied in the sales contract, as that, it claims, would impair the obligation of
contracts in violation of the Constitution. Such reliance is misplaced.

In the first place, the views set forth in American decisions and authorities are not per se controlling in the
Philippines, the laws of which must necessarily be construed in accordance with the intention of its own
lawmakers and such intent may be deduced from the language of each law and the context of other local
legislation related thereto. 53 and Burgess, et al. v. Magarian, et al., 55 two of the cases cited by plaintiff-
appellant, lend support to the conclusion reached by the trial court, i.e. that the municipal resolution
supersedes/supervenes over the contractual undertaking between the parties. Dolan v. Brown, states that
"Equity will not, as a rule, enforce a restriction upon the use of property by injunction where the property
has so changed in character and environment as to make it unfit or unprofitable for use should the restriction
be enforced, but will, in such a case, leave the complainant to whatever remedy he may have at
law." 56 (Emphasis supplied.) Hence, the remedy of injunction in Dolan vs. Brown was denied on the specific
holding that "A grantor may lawfully insert in his deed conditions or restrictions which are not against public
policy and do not materially impair the beneficial enjoyment of the estate." 57 Applying the principle just
stated to the present controversy, We can say that since it is now unprofitable, nay a hazard to the health
EN BANC [G.R. Nos. 725765-67. December 18, 1986.]

[G.R. No. L-63419. December 18, 1986.] LUIS M. HOJAS, petitioner, vs. HON. JUDGE SENEN PENARANDA, Presiding Judge,
Regional Trial Court of Cagayan de Oro City, Branch XX, HONORABLE JUDGE
ALFREDO LAGAMON, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court of Cagayan de Oro City,
FLORENTINA A. LOZANO, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE ANTONIO M. MARTINEZ, Branch XXII, HONORABLE CITY FISCAL NOLI T. CATHI, City Fiscal of Cagayan de Oro
in his capacity as Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial City, respondents.
Region, Branch XX, Manila, and the HONORABLE JOSE B. FLAMINIANO, in his
capacity as City Fiscal of Manila,respondents.
[G.R. No. 75789. December 18, 1986.]

[G.R. Nos. L-66839-42. December 18, 1986.]


THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. HON. DAVID G. NITAFAN, Presiding
Judge, Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial Region, Branch 52, Manila and
LUZVIMINDA F. LOBATON, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE GLICERIO L. CRUZ, in his THELMA SARMIENTO, respondents.
capacity as Presiding Executive Judge, Branch V, Region IV, Regional Trial Court,
sitting at Lemery, Batangas, THE PROVINCIAL FISCAL OF BATANGAS, and MARIA
LUISA TORDECILLA, respondents.
R.R. Nogales Law Office for petitioner in G.R. No. 63419, G.R. Nos. 74524-25, G.R. Nos. 75812-13, G.R. Nos.
75765-67 and counsel for respondent in G.R. No. 75789.

[G.R. No. 71654. December 18, 1986.] Pio S. Canta for petitioner in G.R. Nos. 66839-42.

Hermogenes Datuin, Jr. for petitioner in G.R. No. 71654.


ANTONIO DATUIN and SUSAN DATUIN, petitioners, vs. HONORABLE JUDGE ERNANI
C. PANO, Regional Trial Court, Quezon City, Branch LXXXVIII, HONORABLE CITY Abinoja, Tabalingcos, Villalon & Associates for petitioner in G.R. Nos. 75122-49.
FISCAL OF QUEZON CITY, respondents. The Solicitor General for respondent in G.R. No. 63419, G.R. Nos. 66839-42, G.R. No. 71654, G.R. Nos.
74524-25, G.R. Nos. 75122-49, G.R. Nos. 75812-13, G.R. Nos. 75765-67 and counsel for petitioner in G.R.
No. 75789.
[G.R. Nos. 74524-25. December 18, 1986.]

SYLLABUS
OSCAR VIOLAGO, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE JUDGE ERNANI C. PAÑO, Regional
Trial Court, Quezon City, Branch LXXXVIII, HONORABLE CITY FISCAL OF QUEZON
CITY, respondents. 1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; B.P. 22 (BOUNCING CHECK LAW); COVERS ALL KINDS OF CHECKS. — The
language of BP 22 is broad enough to cover all kinds of checks, whether present dated or postdated, or
whether issued in payment of pre-existing obligations or given in mutual or simultaneous exchange for
[G.R. Nos. 75122-49. December 18, 1986.] something of value.

2. CRIMINAL LAW; BOUNCING CHECKS LAW (B.P. 22); ESSENTIAL ELEMENT OF KNOWLEDGE; PRIMA
ELINOR ABAD, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE NICOLAS A. GEROCHI, JR., in his FACIE PRESUMED BY REFUSAL OF DRAWEE TO PAY UPON PRESENTMENT. — An essential element of the
capacity as Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial Region, offense is "knowledge" on the part of the maker or drawer of the check of the insufficiency of his funds in
Branch 139, Makati and FEDERICO L. MELOCOTTON, JR., in his capacity as Trial Fiscal or credit with the bank to cover the check upon its presentment. Since this involves a state of mind difficult
Regional Trial Court, Branch 139, Makati,respondents. to establish, the statute itself creates a prima facie presumption of such knowledge where payment of the
check "is refused by the drawee because of insufficient funds in or credit with such bank when presented
within ninety (90) days from the date of the check.
[G.R. Nos. 75812-13. December 18, 1986.] 3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; SHALL NOT ARISE WHEN PAYMENT IS MADE WITHIN FIVE (5) DAYS FROM RECEIPT OF
DISHONOR. — To mitigate the harshness of the law in its application, the statute provides that such
presumption shall not arise if within five (5) banking days from receipt of the notice of dishonor, the maker
AMABLE R. AGUILUZ VII and SYLVIA V. AGUILUZ,
or drawer makes arrangements for payment of the check by the bank or pays the holder the amount of the
spouses, petitioners, vs. HONORABLE PRESIDING JUDGE OF BRANCH 154, now
check.
vacant but temporarily presided by HONORABLE ASAALI S. ISNANI, Branch 153,
Court of First Instance of Pasig, Metro Manila, respondent. 4. ID.; ID.; DISHONOR OF CHECK BY DRAWEE BANK; PRIMA FACIE PROOF OF MAKING OR ISSUANCE OF
CHECK AND DUE PRESENTMENT THEREOF. — Another provision of the statute, also in the nature of a rule
of evidence, provides that the introduction in evidence of the unpaid and dishonored check with the drawee policy, the making and issuance of a worthless check is deemed a public nuisance to be abated by the
bank's refusal to pay "stamped or written thereon or attached thereto, giving the reason therefore, shall imposition of penal sanctions. The effect of the issuance of a worthless checks transcends the private
constitute prima facie proof of "the making or issuance of said check, and the due presentment to the interests of the parties directly involved in the transaction and touches the interests of the community at
drawee for payment and the dishonor thereof . . . for the reason written, stamped or attached by the drawer large. The mischief it creates is not only a wrong to the payee or holder, but also an injury to the public. In
on such dishonored check." The presumptions being merely prima facie, it is open to the accused of course sum, we find the enactment of B.P. 22 a valid exercise of the police power and is not repugnant to the
to present proof to the contrary to overcome the said presumptions. constitutional inhibition against imprisonment for debt.

5. ID.; ID.; DISTINGUISHED FROM ARTICLE 315, REVISED PENAL CODE.— Article 315 of the Revised Penal
Code defining the crime of estafa reads as follows: "Article 315. Swindling (estafa). - Any person who shall
defraud another by any of the means mentioned herein below shall be punished by . . . 2. By means of any 10. ID.; B.P. 22; FREEDOM OF CONTRACT NOT IMPAIRED CHECKS NOT CATEGORIZED AS CONTRACTS. — We
of the following false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission find not valid ground to sustain the contention that B.P. 22 impairs freedom of contract. The freedom of
of the fraud: (a) By using fictitious name, or falsely pretending to possess power, influence, qualifications, contract which is constitutionally protected is freedom to enter into "lawful" contracts. Contracts which
property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions, or by means of other similar deceits; . . . (d) By contravene public policy are not lawful. We must bear in mind that checks can not be categorized as mere
postdating a check, or issuing a check in payment of an obligation the offender knowing that at the time he contracts. It is a commercial instrument which, in this modern day and age, has become a convenient
had no funds in the bank, or the funds deposited by him were not sufficient to cover the amount of the substitute for money; it form part of the banking system and therefore not entirely free from the regulatory
check without informing the payee of such circumstances." The scope of paragraph 2 (d), however, was power of the state.
deemed to exclude checks issued in payment of pre-existing obligations. The rationale of this interpretation
11. ID.; BILL OF RIGHTS; EQUAL PROTECTION OF LAW DOES NOT PRECLUDE CLASSIFICATION OF
is that in estafa, the deceit causing the defraudation must be prior to or simultaneous with the commission
INDIVIDUALS; CASE AT BAR. — Neither do we find substance in the claim that the statute in question denies
of the fraud. In issuing a check as payment for a pre-existing debt, the drawer does not derive any material
equal protection of the laws or is discriminatory, since it penalizes the drawer of the check, but not the
benefit in return or as consideration for its issuance. On the part of the payee, he had already parted with
payee. It is contended that the payee is just as responsible for the crime as the drawer of the check, since
his money or property before the check is issued to him, hence, he is not defrauded by means of any "prior"
without the indispensable participation of the payee by his acceptance of the check there would be no
or "simultaneous" deceit perpetrated on him, by the drawer of the check.
crime. This argument is tantamount to saying that, to give equal protection, the law should punish both the
6. ID.; ARTICLE 315, REVISED PENAL CODE AS AMENDED BY R.A. 4885; PAYMENT OF PRE-EXISTING swindler and the swindled. The petitioners' posture ignores the well-accepted meaning of the clause "equal
OBLIGATIONS NOT COVERED. — Article 315, as amended byRepublic Act 4885, does not cover checks issued protection of the laws". The clause does not preclude classification of individuals, who may be accorded
in payment of pre-existing obligations, again relying on the concept underlying the crime of estafa through different treatment under the law as long as the classification is not unreasonable or arbitrary.
false pretense or deceit - which is, that the deceit or false pretense must be prior to or simultaneous with
the commission of the fraud.

7. ID.; BATASANG PAMBANSA 22 (BOUNCING CHECK LAW;) THRUST OF LAW; PUNISHES ACT OF MAKING DECISION
OR ISSUING WORTHLESS CHECK AS AN OFFENSE AGAINST PUBLIC ORDER. — The gravamen of the offense
punished by B.P. 22 is the act of making and issuing a worthless check or a check that is dishonored upon
its presentation for payment. It is not the non-payment of an obligation which the law punishes. The law is
not intended or designed to coerce a debtor to pay his debt. The thrust of the law is to prohibit, under pain
YAP, J p:
of sanctions, the making of worthless checks and putting them is circulation. Because of its deleterious
effects on the public interest, the practice is proscribed by the law. The law punishes the act not as an
offense against property, but an offense against public order. The constitutionality of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 (BP 22 for short), popularly known as the Bouncing Check
Law, which was approved on April 3, 1979, is the sole issue presented by these petitions for decision. The
8. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BATASANG PAMBANSA; MAY PRESCRIBE CRIMINAL PUNISHMENT FOR ACTS question is definitely one of first impression in our jurisdiction.
INIMICAL TO PUBLIC WELFARE; MALUM PROHIBITUM. — It may be constitutionally impermissible for the
legislature to penalize a person for non-payment of a debt excontractu. But certainly it is within the These petitions arose from cases involving prosecution of offenses under the statute. The defendants in
prerogative of the lawmaking body to proscribe certain acts deemed pernicious and inimical to public those cases moved seasonably to quash the informations on the ground that the acts charged did not
welfare. Acts mala in se are not the only facts which the law can punish. An act may not be considered by constitute an offense, the statute being unconstitutional. The motions were denied by the respondent trial
society as inherently wrong, hence not malum in se, but because of the harm that it inflicts on the courts, except in one case, which is the subject of G.R. No. 75789, wherein the trial court declared the law
community, it can be outlawed and criminally punished as malum prohibitum. The state can do this in the unconstitutional and dismissed the case. The parties adversely affected have come to us for relief.
exercise of its police power.
As a threshold issue the former Solicitor General, in his comment on the petitions, maintained the posture
9. ID.; ID.; POLICE POWER; BATASANG PAMBANSA 22; VALID EXERCISE THEREOF; NOT REPUGNANT TO that it was premature for the accused to elevate to this Court the orders denying their motions to quash,
CONSTITUTIONAL INHIBITION AGAINST IMPRISONMENT FOR DEBT. — The police power of the state has these orders being interlocutory. While this is correct as a general rule, we have in justifiable cases
been described as "the most essential, insistent and illimitable of powers" which enables it to prohibit all intervened to review the lower court's denial of a motion to quash. 1 In view of the importance of the issue
things hurtful to the comfort, safety and welfare of society. It is power not emanating from or conferred by involved here, there is no doubt in our mind that the instant petitions should be entertained and the
the constitution, but inherent in the state, plenary, "suitably vague and far from precisely defined, rooted constitutional challenge to BP 22 resolved promptly, one way or the other, in order to put to rest the doubts
in the conception that man in organizing the state and imposing upon the government limitations to and uncertainty that exist in legal and judicial circles and the general public which have unnecessarily caused
safeguard constitutional rights did not intend thereby to enable individual citizens or group of citizens to a delay in the disposition of cases involving the enforcement of the statute.
obstruct unreason able the enactment of such salutary measures to ensure communal peace, safety, good
order and welfare." The enactment of B.P. 22 is a declaration by the legislature that, as a matter of public
For the purpose of resolving the constitutional issue presented here, we do not find it necessary to delve In 1926, an amendment was introduced by the Philippine Legislature, which added a new clause (paragraph
into the specifics of the informations involved in the cases which are the subject of the petitions before us. 10) to Article 335 of the old Penal Code, this time referring in explicit terms to the issuance of worthless
2 The language of BP 22 is broad enough to cover all kinds of checks, whether present dated or postdated, checks. The amendment penalized any person who: 1) issues a check in payment of a debt or for other
or whether issued in payment of pre-existing obligations or given in mutual or simultaneous exchange for valuable consideration, knowing at the time of its issuance that he does not have sufficient funds in the
something of value. bank to cover its amount, or 2) maliciously signs the check differently from his authentic signature as
registered at the bank in order that the latter would refuse to honor it; or 3) issues a postdated check and,
I at the date set for its payment, does not have sufficient deposit to cover the same. 8
BP 22 punishes a person "who makes or draws and issues any check on account or for value, knowing at the
In 1932, as already adverted to, the old Penal Code was superseded by the Revised Penal Code.9 The above
time of issue that he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of
provisions, in amended form, were incorporated in Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code defining the crime
said check in full upon presentment, which check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for
of estafa. The revised text of the provision read as follows:
insufficiency of funds or credit or would have been dishonored for the same reason had not the drawer,
without any valid reason, ordered the bank to stop payment." The penalty prescribed for the offense is "Art. 315. Swindling (estafa). — Any person who shall defraud another by any of
imprisonment of not less than 30 days nor more than one year or a fine or not less than the amount of the the means mentioned hereinbelow shall be punished by:
check nor more than double said amount, but in no case to exceed P200,000.00, or both such fine and
imprisonment at the discretion of the court. 3 xxx xxx xxx

The statute likewise imposes the same penalty on "any person who, having sufficient funds in or credit with 2. By means of any of the following false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed
the drawee bank when he makes or draws and issues a check, shall fail to keep sufficient funds or to prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud:
maintain a credit to cover the full amount of the check if presented within a period of ninety (90) days from
the date appearing thereon, for which reason it is dishonored by the drawee bank. 4 (a) By using fictitious name, or falsely pretending to
possess power, influence, qualifications, property, credit,
An essential element of the offense is "knowledge" on the part of the maker or drawer of the check of the agency, business or imaginary transactions, or by means of other
insufficiency of his funds in or credit with the bank to cover the check upon its presentment. Since this similar deceits;
involves a state of mind difficult to establish, the statute itself creates a prima facie presumption of such
xxx xxx xxx
knowledge where payment of the check "is refused by the drawee because of insufficient funds in or credit
with such bank when presented within ninety (90) days from the date of the check. 5 To mitigate the (d) By postdating a check, or issuing a check in
harshness of the law in its application, the statute provides that such presumption shall not arise if within payment of an obligation the offender knowing that at the time
five (5) banking days from receipt of the notice of dishonor, the maker or drawer makes arrangements for he had no funds in the bank, or the funds deposited by him were
payment of the check by the bank or pays the holder the amount of the check. not sufficient to cover the amount of the check without
informing the payee of such circumstances."
Another provision of the statute, also in the nature of a rule of evidence, provides that the introduction in
evidence of the unpaid and dishonored check with the drawee bank's refusal to pay "stamped or written The scope of paragraph 2 (d), however, was deemed to exclude checks issued in payment of pre-existing
thereon or attached thereto, giving the reason therefor," shall constitute prima facie proof of "the making obligations. 10 The rationale of this interpretation is that in estafa, the deceit causing the defraudation must
or issuance of said check, and the due presentment to the drawee for payment and the dishonor thereof . be prior to or simultaneous with the commission of the fraud. In issuing a check as payment for a pre-
. . for the reason written, stamped or attached by the drawee on such dishonored check." 6 existing debt, the drawer does not derive any material benefit in return or as consideration for its issuance.
On the part of the payee, he had already parted with his money or property before the check is issued to
The presumptions being merely prima facie, it is open to the accused of course to present proof to the him, hence, he is not defrauded by means of any "prior" or "simultaneous" deceit perpetrated on him by
contrary to overcome the said presumptions. the drawer of the check.
II
BP 22 is aimed at putting a stop to or curbing the practice of issuing checks that are worthless, i.e. checks
With the intention of remedying the situation and solving the problem of how to bring checks issued in
that end up being rejected or dishonored for payment. The practice, as discussed later, is proscribed by the
payment of pre-existing debts within the ambit of Art. 315, an amendment was introduced by the Congress
state because of the injury it causes to the public interests.
of the Philippines in 1967, 11 which was enacted into law as Republic Act No. 4885, revising the aforesaid
Before the enactment of BP 22, provisions already existed in our statute books which penalize the issuance proviso to read as follows:
of bouncing or rubber checks. Criminal law has dealth with the problem within the context of crimes against
"(d) By postdating a check, or issuing a check in payment of an obligation when
property punished as "estafa" or crimes involving fraud and deceit. The focus of these penal provisions is
the offender had no funds in the bank, or his funds deposited therein were not
on the damage caused to the property rights of the victim.
sufficient to cover the amount of the check. The failure of the drawer of the check
The Penal Code of Spain, which was in force in the Philippines from 1887 until it was replaced by the Revised to deposit the amount necessary to cover his check within three (3) days from
Penal Code in 1932, contained provisions penalizing, among others, the act of defrauding another through receipt of notice from the bank and/or the payee or holder that said check has
false pretenses. Art. 335 punished a person who defrauded another "by falsely pretending to possess any been dishonored for lack or insufficiency of funds shall be prima facie evidence of
power, influence, qualification, property, credit, agency or business, or by means of similar deceit." deceit constituting false pretense or fraudulent act."
Although no explicit mention was made therein regarding checks, this provision was deemed to cover within
However, the adoption of the amendment did not alter the situation materially. A divided Court held
its ambit the issuance of worthless or bogus checks in exchange for money. 7
in People vs. Sabio, Jr. 12 that Article 315, as amended by Republic Act 4885, does not cover checks issued
in payment of pre-existing obligations, again relying on the concept underlying the crime of estafa through such a barbarous practice, provisions forbidding imprisonment for debt came to be generally enshrined in
false pretenses or deceit — which is, that the deceit or false pretense must be prior to or simultaneous with the constitutions of various states of the Union. 17
the commission of the fraud.
This humanitarian provision was transported to our shores by the Americans at the turn of the century and
Since statistically it had been shown that the greater bulk of dishonored checks consisted of those issued in embodied in our organic laws. 18 Later, our fundamental law outlawed not only imprisonment for debt, but
payment of pre-existing debts, 13 the amended provision evidently failed to cope with the real problem and also the infamous practice, native to our shore, of throwing people in jail for non-payment of the cedula or
to deal effectively with the evil that it was intended to eliminate or minimize. poll tax. 19

With the foregoing factual and legal antecedents as a backdrop, the then Interim Batasan confronted the The reach and scope of this constitutional safeguard have been the subject of judicial definition, both by
problem squarely. It opted to take a bold step and decided to enact a law dealing with the problem of our Supreme Court 20 and by American state courts. 21 Mr. Justice Malcolm, speaking for the Supreme
bouncing or worthless checks, without attaching the law's umbilical cord to the existing penal provisions on Court in Ganaway vs. Quillen, 22 stated: "The 'debt' intended to be covered by the constitutional guaranty
estafa. BP 22addresses the problem directly and frontally and makes the act of issuing a worthless has a well-defined meaning. Organic provisions relieving from imprisonment for debt, were intended to
check malum prohibitum. 14 prevent commitment of debtors to prison for liabilities arising from actions ex contractu. The inhibition was
never meant to include damages arising in actions ex delicto, for the reason that damages recoverable
The question now arises: Is BP 22 a valid law? therein do not arise from any contract entered into between the parties but are imposed upon the
defendant for the wrong he has done and are considered as punishment, nor to fines and penalties imposed
Previous efforts to deal with the problem of bouncing checks within the ambit of the law on estafa did not
by the courts in criminal proceedings as punishments for crime."
evoke any constitutional challenge. In contrast, BP 22 was challenged promptly.
The law involved in Ganaway was not a criminal statute but the Code of Procedure in Civil Actions (1909)
Those who question the constitutionality of BP 22 insist that: (1) it offends the constitutional provision
which authorized the arrest of the defendant in a civil case on grounds akin to those which justify the
forbidding imprisonment for debt; (2) it impairs freedom of contract; (3) it contravenes the equal protection
issuance of a writ of attachment under our present Rules of Court, such as imminent departure of the
clause; (4) it unduly delegates legislative and executive powers; and (5) its enactment is flawed in that during
defendant from the Philippines with intent to defraud his creditors, or concealment, removal or disposition
its passage the Interim Batasan violated the constitutional provision prohibiting amendments to a bill on
of properties in fraud of creditors, etc. The Court, in that case, declared the detention of the defendant
Third Reading.
unlawful, being violative of the constitutional inhibition against imprisonment for debt, and ordered his
The constitutional challenge to BP 22 posed by petitioners deserves a searching and thorough scrutiny and release. The Court, however, refrained from declaring the statutory provision in question unconstitutional.
the most deliberate consideration by the Court, involving as it does the exercise of what has been described
Closer to the case at bar is People v. Vera Reyes, 23 wherein a statutory provision which made illegal and
as "the highest and most delicate function which belongs to the judicial department of the government."
punishable the refusal of an employer to pay, when he can do so, the salaries of his employees or laborers
15
on the fifteenth or last day of every month or on Saturday every week, was challenged for being violative
As we enter upon the task of passing on the validity of an act of a co-equal and coordinate branch of the of the constitutional prohibition against imprisonment for debt. The constitutionality of the law in question
government, we need not be reminded of the time-honored principle, deeply ingrained in our was upheld by the Court, it being within the authority of the legislature to enact such a law in the exercise
jurisprudence, that a statute is presumed to be valid. Every presumption must be indulged in favor of its of the police power. It was held that "one of the purposes of the law is to suppress possible abuses on the
constitutionality. This is not to say that we approach our task with diffidence or timidity. Where it is clear part of the employers who hire laborers or employees without paying them the salaries agreed upon for
that the legislature has overstepped the limits of its authority under the constitution, we should not hesitate their services, thus causing them financial difficulties." The law was viewed not as a measure to coerce
to wield the axe and let it fall heavily, as fall it must, on the offending statute. payment of an obligation, although obviously such could be its effect, but to banish a practice considered
harmful to public welfare.
III
IV
Among the constitutional objections raised against BP 22, the most serious is the alleged conflict between
the statute and the constitutional provision forbidding imprisonment for debt. It is contended that the Has BP 22 transgressed the constitutional inhibition against imprisonment for debt? To answer the
statute runs counter to the inhibition in the Bill of Rights which states, "No person shall be imprisoned for question, it is necessary to examine what the statute prohibits and punishes as an offense. Is it the failure
debt or non-payment of a poll tax." 16 Petitioners insist that, since the offense under BP 22 is consummated of the maker of the check to pay a debt? Or is it the making and issuance of a worthless check in payment
only upon the dishonor or non-payment of the check when it is presented to the drawee bank, the statute of a debt? What is the gravamen of the offense? This question lies at the heart of the issue before us.
is really a "bad debt law" rather than a "bad check law." What it punishes is the non-payment of the check,
The gravamen of the offense punished by BP 22 is the act of making and issuing a worthless check or a check
not the act of issuing it. The statute, it is claimed, is nothing more than a veiled device to coerce payment
that is dishonored upon its presentation for payment. It is not the non-payment of an obligation which the
of a debt under the threat of penal sanction.
law punishes. The law is not intended or designed to coerce a debtor to pay his debt. The thrust of the law
First of all, it is essential to grasp the essence and scope of the constitutional inhibition invoked by is to prohibit, under pain of penal sanctions, the making of worthless checks and putting them in circulation.
petitioners. Viewed in its historical context, the constitutional prohibition against imprisonment for debt is Because of its deleterious effects on the public interest, the practice is proscribed by the law. The law
a safeguard that evolved gradually during the early part of the nineteenth century in the various states of punishes the act not as an offense against property, but an offense against public order.
the American Union as a result of the people's revulsion at the cruel and inhumane practice, sanctioned by
Admittedly, the distinction may seem at first blush to appear elusive and difficult to conceptualize. But
common law, which permitted creditors to cause the incarceration of debtors who could not pay their
precisely in the failure to perceive the vital distinction lies the error of those who challenge the validity of BP
debts. At common law, money judgments arising from actions for the recovery of a debt or for damages
22.
from breach of a contract could be enforced against the person or body of the debtor by writ of capias ad
satisfaciendum. By means of this writ, a debtor could be seized and imprisoned at the instance of the It may be constitutionally impermissible for the legislature to penalize a person for non-payment of a
creditor until he makes the satisfaction awarded. As a consequence of the popular ground swell against debt ex contractu. But certainly it is within the prerogative of the lawmaking body to proscribe certain acts
deemed pernicious and inimical to public welfare. Acts mala in se are not the only acts which the law can for whom the constitutional inhibition against `imprisonment for debt, except in
punish. An act may not be considered by society as inherently wrong, hence, not malum in se, but because cases of fraud' was intended as a shield and not a sword."
of the harm that it inflicts on the community, it can be outlawed and criminally punished as malum
prohibitum. The state can do this in the exercise of its police power. In sum, we find the enactment of BP 22 a valid exercise of the police power and is not repugnant to the
constitutional inhibition against imprisonment for debt.

This Court is not unaware of the conflicting jurisprudence obtaining in the various states of the United States
The police power of the state has been described as "the most essential, insistent and illimitable of powers" on the constitutionality of the "worthless check" acts. 31 It is needless to warn that foreign jurisprudence
which enables it to prohibit all things hurtful to the comfort, safety and welfare of society. 24 It is a power must be taken with abundant caution. A caveat to be observed is that substantial differences exist between
not emanating from or conferred by the constitution, but inherent in the state, plenary, suitably vague and our statute and the worthless check acts of those states where the jurisprudence have evolved. One thing
far from precisely defined, rooted in the conception that man in organizing the state and imposing upon to remember is that BP 22 was not lifted bodily from any existing statute. Furthermore, we have to consider
the government limitations to safeguard constitutional rights did not intend thereby to enable individual that judicial decisions must be read in the context of the facts and the law involved and, in a broader sense,
citizens or group of citizens to obstruct unreasonably the enactment of such salutary measures to ensure of the social, economic and political environment — in short, the milieu — under which they were made.
communal peace, safety, good order and welfare." 25 We recognize the wisdom of the old saying that what is sauce for the goose may not be sauce for the gander.

The enactment of BP 22 is a declaration by the legislature that, as a matter of public policy, the making and As stated elsewhere, police power is a dynamic force that enables the state to meet the exigencies of
issuance of a worthless check is deemed a public nuisance to be abated by the imposition of penal sanctions. changing times. There are occasions when the police power of the state may even override a constitutional
guaranty. For example, there have been cases wherein we held that the constitutional provision on non-
It is not for us to question the wisdom or impolicy of the statute. It is sufficient that a reasonable nexus impairment of contracts must yield to the police power of the state. 32 Whether the police power may
exists between means and end. Considering the factual and legal antecedents that led to the adoption of override the constitutional inhibition against imprisonment for debt is an issue we do not have to address.
the statute, it is not difficult to understand the public concern which prompted its enactment. It had been This bridge has not been reached, so there is no occasion to cross it.
reported that the approximate value of bouncing checks per day was close to 200 million pesos, and
thereafter when overdrafts were banned by the Central Bank, it averaged between 50 million to 80 million We hold that BP 22 does not conflict with the constitutional inhibition against imprisonment for debt.
pesos a day. 26
V
By definition, a check is a bill of exchange drawn on a bank and payable on demand. 27 It is a written order
We need not detain ourselves lengthily in the examination of the other constitutional objections raised by
on a bank, purporting to be drawn against a deposit of funds for the payment of all events, of a sum of
petitioners, some of which are rather flimsy.
money to a certain person therein named or to his order or to cash, and payable on demand. 28 Unlike a
promissory note, a check is not a mere undertaking to pay an amount of money. It is an order addressed to We find no valid ground to sustain the contention that BP 22 impairs freedom of contract. The freedom of
a bank and partakes of a representation that the drawer has funds on deposit against which the check is contract which is constitutionally protected is freedom to enter into "lawful" contracts. Contracts which
drawn, sufficient to ensure payment upon its presentation to the bank. There is therefore an element of contravene public policy are not lawful. 33 Besides, we must bear in mind that checks can not be categorized
certainty or assurance that the instrument will be paid upon presentation. For this reason, checks have as mere contracts. It is a commercial instrument which, in this modern day and age, has become a
become widely accepted as a medium of payment in trade and commerce. Although not legal tender, convenient substitute for money; it forms part of the banking system and therefore not entirely free from
checks have come to be perceived as convenient substitutes for currency in commercial and financial the regulatory power of the state.
transactions. The basis or foundation of such perception is confidence. If such confidence is shaken, the
usefulness of checks as currency substitutes would be greatly diminished or may become nil. Any practice Neither do we find substance in the claim that the statute in question denies equal protection of the laws
therefore tending to destroy that confidence should be deterred, for the proliferation of worthless checks or is discriminatory, since it penalizes the drawer of the check, but not the payee. It is contended that the
can only create havoc in trade circles and the banking community. payee is just as responsible for the crime as the drawer of the check, since without the indispensable
participation of the payee by his acceptance of the check there would be no crime. This argument is
Recent statistics of the Central Bank show that one-third of the entire money supply of the country, roughly tantamount to saying that, to give equal protection, the law should punish both the swindler and the
totalling P32.3 billion, consists of peso demand deposits; the remaining two-thirds consists of currency in swindled. The petitioners' posture ignores the well-accepted meaning of the clause "equal protection of the
circulation. 29 These demand deposits in the banks constitute the funds against which, among others, laws." The clause does not preclude classification of individuals, who may be accorded different treatment
commercial papers like checks, are drawn. The magnitude of the amount involved amply justifies the under the law as long as the classification is not unreasonable or arbitrary. 34
legitimate concern of the state in preserving the integrity of the banking system. Flooding the system with
worthless checks is like pouring garbage into the bloodstream of the nation's economy. It is also suggested that BP 22 constitutes undue or improper delegation of legislative powers, on the theory
that the offense is not completed by the sole act of the maker or drawer but is made to depend on the will
The effects of the issuance of a worthless check transcends the private interests of the parties directly of the payee. If the payee does not present the check to the bank for payment but instead keeps it, there
involved in the transaction and touches the interests of the community at large. The mischief it creates is would be no crime. The logic of the argument stretches to absurdity the meaning of "delegation of
not only a wrong to the payee or holder, but also an injury to the public. The harmful practice of putting legislative power." What cannot be delegated is the power to legislate, or the power to make laws, 35 which
valueless commercial papers in circulation, multiplied a thousandfold, can very well pollute the channels of means, as applied to the present case, the power to define the offense sought to be punished and to
trade and commerce, injure the banking system and eventually hurt the welfare of society and the public prescribe the penalty. By no stretch of logic or imagination can it be said that the power to define the crime
interest. As aptly stated — 30 and prescribe the penalty therefor has been in any manner delegated to the payee. Neither is there any
provision in the statute that can be construed, no matter how remotely, as undue delegation of executive
"The 'check flasher' does a great deal more than contract a debt; he shakes the
power. The suggestion that the statute unlawfully delegates its enforcement to the offended party is
pillars of business; and to my mind, it is a mistaken charity of judgment to place
farfetched.
him in the same category with the honest man who is unable to pay his debts, and
Lastly, the objection has been raised that Section 9 (2) of Article VII of the 1973 Constitution was violated FIRST DIVISION
by the legislative body when it enacted BP 22 into law. This constitutional provision prohibits the
introduction of amendments to a bill during the Third Reading. It is claimed that during its Third Reading,
the bill which eventually became BP 22 was amended in that the text of the second paragraph of Section 1 [G.R. No. L-56450. July 25, 1983.]
of the bill as adopted on Second Reading was altered or changed in the printed text of the bill submitted for
approval on Third Reading.
RODOLFO T. GANZON and GREGORIO L. LIRA, in his capacity as Ex-Oficio Provincial Sheriff of
A careful review of the record of the proceedings of the Interim Batasan on this matter shows that, indeed, Iloilo, petitioners, vs. THE HONORABLE SANCHO Y.INSERTO, Presiding Judge, Branch I of the
there was some confusion among Batasan Members on what was the exact text of the paragraph in Court of First Instance of Iloilo, RANDOLPH C. TAJANLANGIT and ESTEBAN C.
question which the body approved on Second Reading. 36 Part of the confusion was due apparently to the TAJANLANGIT, respondents.
fact that during the deliberations on Second Reading (the amendment period), amendments were proposed
orally and approved by the body or accepted by the sponsor, hence, some members might not have gotten
the complete text of the provisions of the bill as amended and approved on Second Reading. However, it is Salvador A. Cabaluna, Jr. and Jose W. Diokno for petitioners.
clear from the records that the text of the second paragraph of Section 1 of BP 22 is the text which was
actually approved by the body on Second Reading on February 7, 1979, as reflected in the approved Minutes Hannibal de los Reyes for private respondent.
for that day. In any event, before the bill was submitted for final approval on Third Reading, the Interim
Batasan created a Special Committee to investigate the matter, and the Committee in its report, which was
approved by the entire body on March 22, 1979, stated that "the clause in question was . . . an authorized
SYLLABUS
amendment of the bill and the printed copy thereof reflects accurately the provision in question as
approved on Second Reading. 37 We therefore, find no merit in the petitioners' claim that in the enactment
of BP 22 the provisions of Section 9 (2) of Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution were violated. 1. CIVIL LAW; CONTRACTS MORTGAGE; AN ACCESSORY CONTRACT; CONSIDERATION IS THE SAME AS THAT
OF THE PRINCIPAL CONTRACT. — A mortgage is but an accessory contract. The consideration of the
mortgage is the same consideration of the principal contract without which it cannot exist as an
WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered granting the petition in G.R. No. 75789 and setting aside the order of independent contract" (Banco de Oro vs. Bayuga, 93 SCRA 443, citing China Banking Corporation vs.
the respondent Judge dated August 19, 1986. The petitions in G.R. Nos. 63419, 66839-42, 71654, 74524- Lichauco, 46 Phil. 460).
25, 75122-49, 75812-13 and 75765-67 are hereby dismissed and the temporary restraining order issued in
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; MORTGAGE LIEN IS A RIGHT IN REM; CANNOT BE SUBSTITUTED BY A SURETY BOND;
G.R. Nos. 74524-25 is lifted. With costs against private petitioners.
RATIONALE; CASE AT BAR. — The real estate mortgage constituted on Lot No. 1901-E-61.B-1F of the
SO ORDERED. subdivision plan Psd-27482, located in the district of Molo, Iloilo City, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title
No. T-50324 can not be substituted by a surety bond as ordered by the trial court. The mortgage lien in
||| (Lozano v. Martinez, G.R. No. L-63419, L-66839-42, 71654, 74524-25, 75122-49, 75812-13, 725765-67, favor of petitioner Rodolfo Ganzon is inseparable from the mortgaged property. It is a right in rem, a lien
75789, [December 18, 1986], 230 PHIL 406-428) on the property. To substitute the mortgage with a surety bond would convent such lien from a right in
rem, to a right in personam. This conversion can not be ordered for it would abridge the rights of the
mortgagee under the mortgage contract.

3. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; NON-IMPAIRMENT OF CONTRACTS CLAUSE; COURT ORDERS


ALLOWING SUBSTITUTION OF MORTGAGE WITH SURETY BOND VIOLATIVE THEREOF; CASE AT BAR. — The
questioned court orders violate the non-impairment of contracts clause guaranteed under the Constitution.
Substitution of the mortgage with a surely bond to secure the payment of the P40.000.00 note would in
effect change the terms and conditions of the mortgage contract. Even before trial on the very issues
affecting the contract, the respondent court has directed a deviation from its terms, diminished its efficiency
and dispensed with a primary condition.

DECISION

GUTIERREZ, JR., J p:

May the respondent court order that a mortgage on real property be substituted by a surety bond and
direct the Register of Deeds to cancel the mortgage lien annotated on the Torrens Title since the surety
bond already secures the obligation earlier secured by the cancelled mortgage?
The petitioner comes to us stating that the lower court acted with grave abuse of discretion and in excess "The vendor warrants to the vendee peaceful possession of the above-mentioned
of its jurisdiction in so ruling. LLpr parcel of land and that the said vendor shall see to it that all occupants thereof at
the execution of this deed shall vacate the premises within a period of one
On August 28, 1979, petitioner Rodolfo Ganzon initiated proceedings to extra-judicially foreclose a real hundred twenty (120) days computed from the date of the execution of this
estate mortgage executed by the private respondents in his favor. The Deed of Real Estate Mortgage document."
executed on March 19, 1979 (Annex "A", Petition) between Randolph Tajanlangit and Esteban Tajanlangit
as mortgagors on one hand and Rodolfo Ganzon as mortgagee on the other hand was to secure the (4) The aforestated guaranty was violated by defendant Ganzon since the occupants of the said lot up
payment by the Tajanlangits of a promissory note amounting to P40,000.00 in favor ofGanzon, to wit: to the present are still within the premises of the lot; and (5) The extra-judicial foreclosure is illegal
since defendant Ganzon committed a breach in his warranty and the deed of real estate mortgage
xxx xxx xxx does not contain any stipulation authorizing mortgagee Ganzon to extrajudicially foreclose the
mortgaged property.
"That whereas, the MORTGAGORS are justly indebted to the MORTGAGEE in the
amount of FORTY THOUSAND (P40,000.00) PESOS. Philippine Currency, as On March 28, 1980 the petitioners filed their answer to the amended complaint. They admitted the veracity
evidenced by their promissory note for the said sum, in the words and figures as of the deed of absolute sale covering said Lot No. 1900 but denied that the real estate mortgage covering
follows: Lot No. 1901 subject of the extra-judicial foreclosure proceedings was executed by Esteban Tajanlangit and
Randolph Tajanlangit in favor of Rodolfo Ganzon to secure the payment of the balance of the purchase price
P40,000.00 Iloilo City of Lot No. 1900. They maintained that the real estate mortgage was an entirely different transaction
between the Tajanlangits and Ganzon from the sale of Lot No. 1900 embodied in the absolute deed of sale
March 19, 1979
of realty, They further maintained that the extra-judicial foreclosure proceedings would be in accordance
"For value received, we promise to pay RODOLFO T. GANZON, or order, at his with the terms and conditions of the said mortgage.
residence in Molo, Iloilo City, the sum of FORTY THOUSAND (P40,000.00) PESOS,
After the issues had been joined but before actual trial, the private respondents filed a "Motion For Release
Philippine Currency, in two (2) installments as follows: P20,000.00 on or before 25
Of Real Estate And For The Clerk Of Court To Accept Bond Or Cash In Lieu Thereof," to which the petitioners
May 1979; and P20,000.00 on or before 25 August 1979. This note shall not draw
interposed an Opposition.
interest. (Annex "A", Rollo, p. 15)
In an order dated November 20, 1980, the respondent court granted the respondents' motion. The order
The mortgage covered a parcel of residential land, Lot No. 1901-E-61-B-1-F of the subdivision plan
states:
Psd-274802, located in the District of Molo, Iloilo City covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-
50324. "This is Motion for Release of Real Estate Mortgage and for the Clerk of Court to
Thereafter, petitioner Gregorio Lira, in his capacity as ex-oficio provincial sheriff of Iloilo served personal Accept Bond or Cash in Lieu Thereof.
notice of the foreclosure proceedings on the private respondents. Lira also caused the publication in a
"It appears that defendant sold to Esteban Tajanlangit, Jr. Lot No. 1900 of the
newspaper of general circulation in the City and Province of Iloilo of a Notice of Extra Judicial Sale of
Cadastral Survey of Iloilo under Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-39579. The
Mortgaged Property, setting the sale at public auction of the mortgaged property at 10:00 a.m. on
document of sale provides that the vendee who is the defendant herein, promised
September 28, 1979, at his office at the Provincial Capitol, Iloilo City.
to exclude from the premises the occupants. To secure the unpaid balance of
On September 27, 1979, a day before the scheduled public auction, the private respondents filed a civil P40,000.00, plaintiffs executed a real estate mortgage on their Lot No. 1901-4-61-
action for specific performance, damages, and prohibition with preliminary injunction against the B-1-1 of the subdivision plan Psd-274802. Because defendant failed to clear the
petitioners with the respondent court. The action, docketed as CFI Case No. 13053, sought to declare the occupants of Lot No. 1900, as provided for in the contract of sale, plaintiffs
extrajudicial foreclosure proceedings and all proceedings taken in connection therewith null and void. The withheld payment of the P40,000.00. To clear the title of Lot No. 1901-E-61-B-1-1
private respondents asked for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to enjoin the petitioners from plaintiffs are willing to submit a bond in the sum of P80,000.00 which is double
proceeding with the foreclosure and public auction sale. Acting on the urgent ex-parte motion of private the consideration of the mortgage.
respondents, the trial court issued an order enjoining the provincial sheriff from proceeding with the
"WHEREFORE, in the interest of justice, considering that plaintiffs are willing and
scheduled auction sale on September 28, 1979. LLjur
able to pay the P40,000.00 and considering further that defendant has not yet
On October 31, 1979, the private respondents filed an amended complaint. For purposes of the instant cleared the premises he sold to plaintiffs of tenants, the Register of Deeds of Iloilo
petition, the pertinent allegations in the amended complaint are the following: (1) On August 25, 1978, City is ordered to cancel the mortgage lien on Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-
defendant, now petitioner Rodolfo Ganzon executed a deed of absolute sale of a parcel of land in favor of 50324, upon showing by the plaintiffs that they have put up the surety bond in the
plaintiff, now respondent Esteban Tajanlangit. The parcel of land, subject of the sale is described as Lot No. sum of P80,000.00." (Annex "F", Rollo, p. 58).
1900 of the Cadastral Survey of Iloilo located at Molo, Iloilo City covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No.
On January 28, 1981, the respondents after receipt of the aforesaid order, put up a surety bond in the
T-39579 with an area of 24,442 square meters, more or less; (2) The deed of real estate mortgage which is
amount of P80,000.00 with the Summa Insurance Corporation as surety (Annex "G") for the approval of the
the subject of the extrajudicial proceedings initiated by defendant Rodolfo Ganzon executed by plaintiffs
respondent court. LLpr
Esteban Tajanlangit and Randolph Tajanlangit in his favor was for the purpose of securing the payment of
P40,000.00 which formed part of the purchase price of Lot No. 1900; (3) Incorporated in the aforesaid deed
of absolute sale was a proviso to the effect that vendor-defendant Rodolfo Ganzon guaranteed to have the
occupants of the lot to vacate the premises within 120 days after the execution thereof, to wit: On February 14, 1981, the petitioners filed an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration Of The Order Dated
November 20, 1980, And Opposition To The Approval of Surety Bond.
xxx xxx xxx
The respondent court in its order dated February 24, 1981, denied the aforesaid motion. The order states: ". . . By Article 2126 of the Civil Code, (Formerly Article 1876 of the Civil Code of
Spain of 1889). a `mortgage directly and immediately subjects the property upon
Finding the motion filed by plaintiff through counsel for approval of surety bond which it is imposed, whoever the possessor may be, to the fulfillment of the
well taken and considering that the opposition filed by defendants does not obligation for whose security it was constituted.' Sale or transfer cannot affect or
question the validity of the surety bond itself but is anchored upon grounds that release the mortgage. A purchaser is necessarily bound to acknowledge and
had already been passed upon by this Court in the order dated November 20, respect the encumbrance to which is subject the purchased thing and which is at
1980, the surety bond in the amount of P80,000.00 issued by Summa Insurance the disposal of the creditor `in order that he, under the terms of the contract, may
Corporation is hereby approved. recover the amount of his credit therefrom' (Bischoff vs. Pomar, 12 Phil. 690, 700)
For, a recorded real estate is a right in rem, a lieu on the property whoever its
"The defendant Rodolfo T. Ganzon, through Atty. Salvador Cabaluna, Jr., is hereby
owner may be. (Altavas, The Law of Mortgages in the Philippine Islands, 1924 ed.,
ordered to surrender to the plaintiffs, through Atty. Hannibal de los Reyes the
p. 2) Because the personality of the owner is disregarded; the mortgage subsists
owner's copy of TCT No. 50324, so that the mortgage annotated therein in favor
notwithstanding changes of ownership; the last transferee is just as much of a
of defendant Rodolfo T. Ganzon could be duly cancelled." (Annex "I", Rollo, p. 65).
debtor as the first one; and this, independent of whether the transferee knows or
Hence, the instant petition. not the person of the mortgagee. (Id., at p. 15) So it is, that a mortgage lien
is inseparable from the property mortgaged. All subsequent purchasers thereof
On March 18, 1981, we issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the respondents from enforcing the must respect the mortgage, whether the transfer to them be with or without the
orders dated November 20, 1980 and February 24, 1981 of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo, Branch I at consent of the mortgagee. For, the mortgage, until discharge, follows the
Iloilo City. property. (Peña, Registration of land Titles and Deeds, 1961 ed., p. 225; emphasis
supplied. See also V. Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, 1962 ed., p. 477)"
On July 8, 1981, we gave due course to the petition and required the parties to submit their respective
memoranda. Applying the principles underlying the nature of a mortgage, the real estate mortgage constituted on Lot
No. 1901-E-61-B-IF of the subdivision plan Psd-27482, located in the District of Molo, Iloilo City covered by
As stated earlier, the issue raised before us is whether or not the trial court may order the cancellation of a Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-50324 can not be substituted by a surety bond as ordered by the trial
mortgage lien annotated in a Torrens Certificate of Title to secure the payment of a promissory note and court. The mortgage lien in favor of petitioner Rodolfo Ganzon is inseparable from the mortgaged property.
substitute such mortgage lien with a surety bond approved by the same court to secure the payment of the It is a right in rem, a lien on the property. To substitute the mortgage with a surety bond would convert such
promissory note. lien from a right in rem, to a right in personam. This conversion can not be ordered for it would abridge the
rights of the mortgagee under the mortgage contract.
In issuing its November 20, 1980 order, the trial court before trial on the merits of the case assumed that
the real estate mortgage subject of the extra-judicial foreclosure proceedings was indeed a security for the Moreover, the questioned orders violate the non-impairment of contracts clause guaranteed under the
payment of a P40,000.00 promissory note which answered for the balance of the purchase price of the sale Constitution. Substitution of the mortgage with a surety bond to secure the payment of the P40,000.00
between Ganzon as vendor and Esteban Tajanlangit was vendee of Lot No. 1900. With this assumption, the note would in effect change the terms and conditions of the mortgage contract. Even before trial on the
trial court concluded that Rodolfo Ganzon violated his warranty that he would clear the parcel of land of its very issues affecting the contract, the respondent court has directed a deviation from its terms, diminished
occupants within 120 days after the execution of the deed of absolute sale of realty. On this premise and its efficiency, and dispensed with a primary condition. cdrep
upon motion of the private respondents, the court ordered the Register of Deeds to cancel the mortgage
lien annotated in the Transfer Certificate of Title covering the mortgaged parcel of land and to substitute WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The Orders dated November 20, 1980 and February
therein a surety bond approved by the trial court. 24, 1981 of the trial court are SET ASIDE. Our March 18, 1981 Temporary Restraining Order is made
PERMANENT. No costs.
It must be noted that petitioner Rodolfo Ganzon vehemently denied the allegation that the P40,000.00,
consideration of the promissory note which resulted in the execution of the real estate mortgage to secure SO ORDERED.
its payment was a balance of the purchase price of Lot No. 1900. As earlier stated, Ganzon maintained in
his Answer that the real estate mortgage arose from a different transaction. At the pre-trial, what the parties ||| (Ganzon v. Inserto, G.R. No. L-56450, [July 25, 1983], 208 PHIL 630-638)
admitted were the existence and due execution of the documents, including the absolute deed of sale of
realty and the subject real estate mortgage. In connection with the documents, the issues per the pre-trial
order were ". . . whether or not the documents express the true intention of the parties, and whether or
not they complied with the provisions of the document. (Rollo, p. 78) Hence, at that stage of the case, the
trial court's order dated November 20, 1980 had no factual basis. cdphil

Even on the assumption that the factual bases of the trial court's questioned orders were justified by
evidence in the records the same would still not be proper.

A mortgage is but an accessory contract. "The consideration of the mortgage is the same consideration of
the principal contract without which it cannot exist as an independent contract." (Banco de Oro v. Bayuga,
93 SCRA 443, citing China Banking Corporation v. Lichauco, 46 Phil. 460). On the effects of a mortgage we
ruled inPhilippine National Bank v. Mallorca (21 SCRA 694):

xxx xxx xxx


FREE ACCESS TO THE COURTS We shall be privileged if you find time to visit our orphanage — the Home of Love
— and the Spiritual Retreat Center in Antipolo City.

To answer the query of Mr. Prioreschi, the Courts cannot grant to foundations like the
EN BANC Good Shepherd Foundation, Inc. the same exemption from payment oflegal fees granted to indigent
litigants even if the foundations are working for indigent and underprivileged people.
[A.M. No. 09-6-9-SC. August 19, 2009.] The basis for the exemption from legal and filing fees is the free access clause,
embodied in Sec. 11, Art. III of the 1987 Constitution, thus:

RE: QUERY OF MR. ROGER C. PRIORESCHI RE EXEMPTION FROM LEGAL AND FILING Sec. 11. Free access to the courts and quasi judicial bodies and adequate legal
FEES OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD FOUNDATION, INC. assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty.

The importance of the right to free access to the courts and quasi judicial bodies and to
adequate legal assistance cannot be denied. A move to remove the provision on free access from
the Constitution on the ground that it was already covered by the equal protection clause was
RESOLUTION
defeated by the desire to give constitutional stature to such specific protection of the poor. 1
In implementation of the right of free access under the Constitution, the Supreme Court
promulgated rules, specifically, Sec. 21, Rule 3, Rules of Court, 2 and Sec. 19, Rule
BERSAMIN, J p: 141, Rules of Court, 3 which respectively state thus:
Sec. 21. Indigent party. — A party may be authorized to litigate his action, claim or
In his letter dated May 22, 2009 addressed to the Chief Justice, Mr. Roger C. Prioreschi, defense as an indigent if the court, upon an ex parte application and hearing, is
administrator of the Good Shepherd Foundation, Inc., wrote: satisfied that the party is one who has no money or property sufficient and
available for food, shelter and basic necessities for himself and his family.
The Good Shepherd Foundation, Inc. is very grateful for your 1rst. n Indorsement
to pay a nominal fee of Php5,000.00 and the balance upon the collection Such authority shall include an exemption from payment of docket and other
action of 10 million pesos, thus giving us access to the Justice System previously lawful fees, and of transcripts of stenographic notes which the court may order to
denied by an up-front excessive court fee. be furnished him. The amount of the docket and other lawful fees which the
indigent was exempted from paying shall be a lien on any judgment
The Hon. Court Administrator Jose Perez pointed out to the need of complying
rendered in the case favorable to the indigent, unless the court otherwise
with OCA Circular No. 42-2005 and Rule 141 that reserves this "privilege" to
provides.
indigent persons. While judges are appointed to interpret the law, this type of law
seems to be extremely detailed with requirements that do not leave much room Any adverse party may contest the grant of such authority at any time before
for interpretations. judgment is rendered by the trial court. If the court should determine after hearing
that the party declared as an indigent is in fact a person with sufficient income or
In addition, this law deals mainly with "individual indigent" and it does not include
property, the proper docket and other lawful fees shall be assessed and collected
Foundations or Associations that work with and for the most Indigent persons. As
by the clerk of court. If payment is not made within the time fixed by the court,
seen in our Article of Incorporation, since 1985 the Good Shepherd Foundation,
execution shall issue for the payment thereof, without prejudice to such other
Inc. reached-out to the poorest among the poor, to the newly born and
sanctions as the court may impose. (22a) ASTcEa
abandoned babies, to children who never saw the smile of their mother, to old
people who cannot afford a few pesos to pay for "common prescriptions", to Sec. 19. Indigent litigants exempt from payment of legal fees. — Indigent litigants
broken families who returned to a normal life. In other words, we have been (a) whose gross income and that of their immediate family do not exceed an
working hard for the very Filipino people, that the Government and the society amount double the monthly minimum wage of an employee and (b) who do not
cannot reach to, or have rejected or abandoned them. own real property with a fair market value as stated in the current tax
declaration ofmore than three hundred thousand (P300,000.00) pesos shall be
Can the Courts grant to our Foundation who works for indigent and
exempt from payment of legal fees.
underprivileged people, the same option granted to indigent people?
The legal fees shall be a lien on any judgment rendered in the case favorable to
The two Executive Judges, that we have approached, fear
the indigent litigant unless the court otherwise provides.
accusations of favoritism or other kind of attack if they approve something which
is not clearly and specifically stated in the law or approved by your To be entitled to the exemption herein provided, the litigant shall execute an
HONOR. cDTaSH affidavit that he and his immediate family do not earn a gross income
abovementioned, and they do not own any real property with the fair value
Can your Honor help us once more?
aforementioned, supported by an affidavit of a disinterested person attesting to
Grateful for your understanding, God bless you and your undertakings. the truth of the litigant's affidavit. The current tax declaration, if any, shall be
attached to the litigant's affidavit.
Any falsity in the affidavit of litigant or disinterested person shall be sufficient CUSTODIAL INVESTIGATION
cause to dismiss the complaint or action or to strike out the pleading of that party,
without prejudice to whatever criminal liability may have been incurred.
FIRST DIVISION
The clear intent and precise language of the aforequoted
provisions of the Rules of Court indicate that only a natural party litigant may be regarded as an
indigent litigant. The Good Shepherd Foundation, Inc., being a corporation invested by the State with
[G.R. No. 176229. October 19, 2011.]
a juridical personality separate and distinct from that of its members, 4 is a juridical person. Among
others, it has the power to acquire and possess property of all kinds as well as incur obligations and
bring civil or criminal actions, in conformity with the laws and regulations of their organization. 5 As a HO WAI PANG, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
juridical person, therefore, it cannot be accorded the exemption from legal and filing fees granted to
indigent litigants.
That the Good Shepherd Foundation, Inc. is working for indigent and underprivileged
people is of no moment. Clearly, the Constitution has explicitly premised the free access clause on a DECISION
person's poverty, a condition that only a natural person can suffer.
There are other reasons that warrant the rejection of the request for
exemption in favor of a juridical person. For one, extending the exemption to a juridical person on the
DEL CASTILLO, J p:
ground that it works for indigent and underprivileged people may be prone to abuse (even with the
imposition of rigid documentation requirements), particularly by corporations and entities bent on
circumventing the rule on payment of the fees. Also, the scrutiny of compliance with the Infraction of the rights of an accused during custodial investigation or the so-called
documentation requirements may prove too time-consuming and wasteful for the courts. DEacIT Miranda Rights render inadmissible only the extrajudicial confession or admission made during such
investigation. 1 "The admissibility of other evidence, provided they are relevant to the issue and is not
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Good Shepherd Foundation, Inc. cannot be extended the otherwise excluded by law or rules, is not affected even if obtained or taken in the course of custodial
exemption from legal and filing fees despite its working for indigent and underprivileged people. investigation." 2
SO ORDERED. Petitioner Ho Wai Pang (petitioner) in this present recourse assails the June 16, 2006
Decision 3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 01459 affirming the April 6, 1995
||| (Re: Prioreschi , A.M. No. 09-6-9-SC (Resolution), [August 19, 2009], 613 PHIL 26-31)
Decision 4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 118 of Pasay City in Criminal Case No. 91-1592,
finding him and his co-accused, namely, Law Ka Wang, Chan Chit Yue, 5 Wu Hing Sum, Tin San
Mao 6 and Kin San Ho 7 guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violation of Section 15, Article
III 8 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6425 otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972. Also
assailed is the January 16, 2007 CA Resolution 9 denying the motion for reconsideration thereto.
Factual Antecedents
On September 6, 1991, at around 11:30 in the evening, United Arab Emirates Airlines Flight
No. 068 from Hongkong arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Among the passengers were 13 Hongkong nationals who came to the Philippines as tourists.
At the arrival area, the group leader Wong Kwok Wah (Sonny Wong) presented a Baggage Declaration
Form to Customs Examiner Gilda L. Cinco (Cinco), who was then manning Lane 8 of the Express Lane.
Cinco examined the baggages of each of the 13 passengers as their turn came up. From the first
traveling bag, she saw few personal belongings such as used clothing, shoes and chocolate boxes
which she pressed. When the second bag was examined, she noticed chocolate boxes which were
almost of the same size as those in thefirst bag. Becoming suspicious, she took out
four of the chocolate boxes and opened one of them. Instead of chocolates, what she saw inside was
white crystalline substance contained in a white transparent plastic. Cinco thus immediately
called the attention of her immediate superiors Duty Collector Alalo and Customs Appraiser Nora
Sancho who advised her to call the Narcotics Command (NARCOM) and the police. Thereupon, she
guided the tourists to the Intensive Counting Unit (ICU) while bringing with her the four chocolate
boxes earlier discovered. STcHEI
At the ICU, Cinco called the tourists one after the other using the passenger manifest and
further examined their bags. The bag of Law Ka Wang was first found to contain three chocolate
boxes. Next was petitioner's bag which contains nothing except for personal effects. Cinco, however,
recalled that two of the chocolate boxes earlier discovered at the express lane belong to him. Wu Hing
Sum's bag followed and same yielded three chocolate boxes while the baggages of Ho Kin San, Chan
Chit Yue and Tin San Mao each contained two or three similar chocolate boxes. All in all, 18 chocolate 7659 WITH IMMEDIATE DEPORTATION AFTER
boxes were recovered from the baggages of the six accused. SERVICE OF SENTENCE. The penalty of death cannot be imposed
since the offense was committed prior to the effectivity of R.A. No. 7659. HEacDA
NARCOM Agent Neowillie de Castro corroborated the relevant testimony of Cinco
pertaining to the presence of the chocolate boxes. According to him, he conducted a test Let an alias warrant of arrest be issued against accused WONG KOK WAH @
on the white crystalline substance contained in said chocolate boxes at the NAIA using the Mandelline SONNY WONG, CHAN TAK PIU, HO WAI LING AND INOCENCIA CHENG.
Re-Agent Test. 10 The result of his examination 11 of the white crystalline substance yielded positive
for methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. Thereafter, the chocolate boxes were bundled SO ORDERED. 19
together with tape, placed inside a plastic bag and brought to the Inbond Section.
From this judgment, all the accused appealed to this Court where the case records were
The following day, September 7, 1991, the 13 tourists were brought to the National forwarded to per Order of the RTC dated May 10, 1995. 20 Later, all theaccused except for petitioner,
Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for further questioning. The confiscated stuff were turned over filed on separate dates their respective withdrawal of appeal. 21 This Court, after being satisfied
to the Forensic Chemist who weighed and examined them. Findings show that its total weight is that the withdrawing appellants were fully aware of the consequences of their action,
31.1126 kilograms and that the representative samples were positive for methamphetamine granted the withdrawal of their respective appeals through a Resolution dated June 18, 1997. 22 Per
hydrochloride. 12 Out of the 13 tourists, the NBI found evidence for violation of R.A. No. 6425 only as Entry ofJudgment, 23 said Resolution became final and executory on July 7, 1997. Consequently,
against petitioner and his five co-accused. petitioner was the only one left to pursue his appeal.
Accordingly, six separate Informations all dated September 19, 1991 were filed against Petitioner filed his Brief 24 on April 6, 1998
petitioner and his co-accused. These Informations were docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 91-1591 to while the brief 25 for the respondent People of the Philippines was filed on August 27, 1998
97. Subsequently, however, petitioner filed a Motion for Reinvestigation 13 which the trial court through the Office of theSolicitor General (OSG). Per Resolution 26 dated August 30, 2004, this Court
granted. The reinvestigation conducted gave way to a finding of conspiracy among the accused and referred the appeal to the CA for proper disposition and determination pursuant to this Court's ruling
this resulted to the filing of a single Amended Information 14 under Criminal Case No. 91-1592 and in People v. Mateo. 27
to thewithdrawal of the other Informations. 15 The Amended Information reads:
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
That on or about September 6, 1991 in Pasay City, Philippines and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, On June 16, 2006, the CA denied the appeal and affirmed the Decision of the RTC. While
conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, did, then and there, conceding that petitioner's constitutional right to counsel during thecustodial investigation was
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously carry and transport into the country without indeed violated, it nevertheless went on to hold that there were other evidence sufficient to warrant
lawful authority, 31.112 kilograms, more or his conviction. The CA also rebuked petitioner's claim that he was deprived of his constitutional and
less, of METHAMPHETAMINE HYDROCHLORIDE, also popularly known as statutory right to confront the witnesses against him. The CA gave credence
"SHABU", a regulated drug. to the testimonies of theprosecution witnesses and quoted with favor the trial court's ratiocination
regarding the existence of conspiracy among the accused.
CONTRARY TO LAW. 16
Undeterred, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration 28 which the CA denied in its Resolution 29 dated
After pleading not guilty to the crime charged, 17 all the accused testified almost January 16, 2007.
identically, invoking denial as their defense. They claimed that they have no knowledge
Hence, this petition for review on certiorari anchored on the following grounds:
about the transportation of illegal substance (shabu) taken from their traveling bags which were
provided by the travel agency. DAaIEc I
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
WHILE ACKNOWLEDGING THAT PETITIONER WAS DEPRIVED OF HIS
On April 6, 1995, the RTC rendered a Decision 18 finding all the accused guilty of violating CONSTITUTIONAL AND STATUTORY RIGHTS UNDER CUSTODIAL INVESTIGATION
Section 15, Article III of R.A. No. 6425, as amended, the decretal portion of which reads: BOTH BY THECUSTOMS OFFICIALS AND BY THE NBI
INVESTIGATORS, THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT EXCLUDING
WHEREFORE, all the foregoing considered, the Court finds the accused LAW KA EVIDENCE TAKEN DURING THE CUSTODIAL INVESTIGATION. CSHDTE
WANG, CHAN CHIT YUE, HO WAI PANG, WU HING SUM, TIN SUN MAO, AND KIN
SAN HO(HO KIN SAN) GUILTY of Conspiracy in violating Section 15, Article II
III, Republic Act No. 6425, as amended for having conspired to transport
into the Philippines 31.112 kilograms of methamp[h]etamine hydrochloride, THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT CONSIDERING THAT
locally known as Shabu, and they are hereby sentenced to PETITIONER WAS DEPRIVED OF HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO
suffer the PENALTY OF IMPRISONMENT OF SIX (6) [sic]RECLUSION CONFRONT THE WITNESSES AGAINST HIM.
PERPETUA AND TO PAY EACH (SIC) THE AMOUNT OF THIRTY (30) THOUSAND
III
PESOS (P30,000.00) each as FINE, the penalty of reclusion perpetua is being
imposed pursuant to Republic Act No. 7659 considering its applicability THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING
to the accused though retroactively for having a less stricter penalty than THAT THE PROSECUTION'S EVIDENCE FAILED TO ESTABLISH THE EXISTENCE OF A
that of life imprisonment provided in Republic Act No. CONSPIRACY.
6425. The fine of P30,000.00 for each accused is imposed pursuant to R.A. No.
6425 it being more favorable to the accused [than] that provided in R.A. No. IV
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING on the basis of any confession or admission. Moreover, the testimony of Cinco was found to be direct,
THAT THE PROSECUTION FAILED TO PRESENT PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE positive and credible by the trial court, hence it need not be corroborated. Cinco witnessed the entire
DOUBT AS TO OVERTURNTHE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE ACCORDED TO incident thus providing direct evidence as eyewitness to the very act of the commission of the crime.
PETITIONER BY THE CONSTITUTION. 30 As theCourt held in People v. Dela Cruz, 35 "[n]o rule exists which requires a testimony to be
corroborated to be adjudged credible. . . . Thus, it is not at all uncommon to reach a conclusion of guilt
OUR RULING on the basis of the testimony of a single witness despite the lack of corroboration, where such
testimony is found positive and credible bythe trial court. In such a case, the lone testimony is
sufficient to produce a conviction."
The petition lacks merit.
Indeed, a ruling in one case cannot simply be bodily lifted and applied to another case
Section 12, Article III of the Constitution when there are stark differences between the two cases. Cases must be decided based on their own
prohibits as evidence only confessions unique facts and applicable law and jurisprudence.
and admissions of the accused as against Petitioner was not denied of his right to
himself. confrontation.
Anent the error first assigned, petitioner takes issue on the fact that he was not assisted Turning now to the second assigned error, petitioner invokes the pertinent
by a competent and independent lawyer during the custodial investigation. He claimed that he was
provision of Section 14 (2) of Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution providing for the right to
not duly informed of his rights to remain silent and to have competent counsel of his choice. Hence, confrontation, viz.: SaHcAC
petitioner faults the CA in not excluding evidence taken during such investigation.
Section 14.. . .
While there is no dispute that petitioner was subjected to all the rituals of a custodial
questioning by the customs authorities and the NBI in violation of his constitutional right under (2) In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent
Section 12 31 of Article III of the Constitution, we must not, however, lose sight of the fact that what until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and
said constitutional provision prohibits as evidence are only confessions and admissions of the accused counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to
as against himself. Thus, in Aquino v. Paiste, 32 the Court categorically ruled that have a speedy, impartial, and public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and
"the infractions ofthe so-called Miranda rights render inadmissible 'only the extrajudicial confession to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses
or admission made during custodial investigation.' The admissibility of other evidence, provided they and the production of evidence in his behalf. However, after arraignment, trial
are relevant to the issue and [are] not otherwise excluded by law or rules, [are] not affected even if may proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided that he has
obtained or taken in the course ofcustodial investigation." CDEaAI been duly notified and his failure to appear is unjustifiable.
In the case at bench, petitioner did not make any confession or admission during his Petitioner asserts that he was deprived of his right to know and understand what the witnesses
custodial investigation. The prosecution did not present any extrajudicial confession extracted from testified to. According to him, only a full understanding of what thewitnesses would testify to would
him as evidence of his guilt. Moreover, no statement was taken from petitioner during his detention enable an accused to comprehend the evidence being offered against him and to refute it by cross-
and subsequently used in evidence against him. Verily, in determining the guilt of the petitioner and examination or by his own countervailing evidence.
his co-accused, the trial court based its Decision on the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses and
on the existence of the confiscated shabu. As the Court held in People v. Buluran, 33 "[a]ny In refutation, the OSG countered that petitioner was given the opportunity to confront his
allegation of violation of rights during custodial investigation is relevant and material only to cases in accusers and/or the witnesses of the prosecution when his counsel cross-examined them. It is
which an extrajudicial admission or confession extracted from the accused becomes the basis of their petitioner's call to hire an interpreter to understand the proceedings before him and if he could not
conviction." Hence, petitioner's claim that the trial court erred in not excluding evidence taken do so, he should have manifested it before the court. At any rate, the OSG contends that petitioner
during the custodial investigation deserves scant consideration. was nevertheless able to cross-examine the prosecution witnesses and that such examination suffices
as compliance with petitioner's right to confront the witnesses against him.
Petitioner cannot take refuge in this Court's ruling in People v. Wong Chuen Ming 34 to
exculpate himself from the crime charged. Though there are semblance We agree with the OSG.
in the facts, the case of Ming is not exactly on all fours with the present case. The disparity is clear
As borne out by the records, petitioner did not register any objection
from the evidence adduced upon which the trial courts in each case relied on in rendering their
to the presentation of the prosecution's evidence particularly on the testimony of Cinco
respective decisions. Apparently in Ming, the trial court, in convicting the accused, relied heavily
despite the absence of an interpreter. Moreover, it has not been shown that the lack of an interpreter
on the signatures which they affixed on the boxes of Alpen Cereals and on the plastic bags. The Court
greatly prejudiced him. Still and all, the important thing is that petitioner, through counsel, was able
construed the accused's act of affixing their signatures thereon as a tacit admission of the crime
to fully cross-examine Cinco and the other witnesses and test their credibility. The right to
charged. And, since the accused were not informed of their Miranda rights when they affixed their
confrontation is essentially a guarantee that a defendant may cross-
signatures, the admission was declared inadmissible evidence for having been obtained in
examine the witnesses of the prosecution. In People v. Libo-on, 36 the Court held:
violation of their constitutional rights. In ruling against the accused, the trial court also gave credence
to the sole testimony of the customs examiner whom it presumed to have performed his duties in The right to confrontation is one of the fundamental rights guaranteed
regular manner. However, in reversing the judgment of conviction, the Court noted that said by the Constitution to the person facing criminal prosecution who should know, in
examiner's testimony was not corroborated by other prosecution witnesses. fairness, who his accusers are and must be given a chance to cross-examine them
on their charges. The chief purpose of the right of confrontation is to
On the other hand, petitioner's conviction in the present case was on the strength of his
secure the opportunity for cross-examination, so that if the opportunity for cross-
having been caught in flagrante delicto transporting shabu into thecountry and not
examination has been secured, the function and test of confrontation has also Petitioner's contentions fail to persuade.
been accomplished, theconfrontation being merely the dramatic preliminary to
cross-examination. True, when principal prosecution witness Cinco first testified on June 3, 1992, she declared
that she did not see any chocolate boxes but only personal effects in petitioner's bag. 42 Nonetheless,
Under the circumstances obtaining, petitioner's constitutional right to she clarified in her succeeding testimony that she recalls taking the two chocolate boxes from
confront the witnesses against him was not impaired. HTCESI petitioner's bag when they were still atthe counter. This sufficiently explained why Cinco did not find
any chocolate boxes from petitioner's bag when they were at the ICU. 43 To us, this slight clash in
Conspiracy among the accused was duly Cinco's statements neither dilute her credibility nor the veracity of her testimony.
established.
The trial court's words on this matter when it resolved petitioner's Demurrer to Evidence
Respecting the third assigned error, we uphold the trial court's finding of conspiracy which in its Order 44 of February 16, 1993 is quite enlightening. Thus —
was quoted by the appellate court in its assailed Decision, and which we once again herein reproduce
with approval: In claiming that the evidences [sic] presented by the prosecution is insufficient to
command conviction, the Demurrer went on to say that the testimony of Hilda
On the allegation of conspiracy, the Court finds [no] direct evidence to conclude Cinco is either conjectural or hearsay and definitely missed its mark in
conspiracy. However, just like in other cases where conspiracy is not usually incriminating accused, Ho Wai Pang, because she even testified that she found
established by direct evidence but by circumstantial evidence, the Court finds that nothing inside thehand-carried luggage of Ho Wai Pang (pp. 48-49, TSN, June 3,
there are enough circumstantial evidence which if taken together sufficiently 1992). But that was when investigation was going on at the Intensive Counting
prove conspiracy. First, it cannot be denied that the accused somehow have Unit (ICU). However, thesame Hilda Cinco later on testified that from the express
known each other prior to their [departure] in Hong Kong for Manila. Although lane in going to the ICU, after the discovery of shabu, she was already carrying
Law Ka Wang denied having known any of the accused prior to the incident in with her four (4) chocolate boxes, two of [which] taken from the bag of Tin Sun
NAIA, accused Ho Wai Pang identified him as the one who assisted him Mau and the other two retrieved from the luggage of herein
in the supposed tour in thePhilippines to the extent of directly dealing movant, Ho Wai Pang. Categorically, Cinco admitted it was the reason that
with the travel agency and [that] Law Ka Wang was the one who at the ICU, Ho Wai Pang's bag was already empty (pp. 53-54, TSN, June 3, 1992),
received the personal things of Ho Wai Pang allegedly to be place[d] in a bag but she nonetheless recognized the bag and could recall the owner thereof,
provided for by the travel agency. Accused Wu Hing Sum has been known to pointing to Ho Wai Pang. Such testimony is not hearsay evidence. They are facts
accused Ho Kin San for about two to three years as they used to work as cooks in from the personal perception of the witness and out of her personal knowledge.
a restaurant in Hong Kong. Accused Ho Wai Ling, who is still at large, is know[n] to Neither is it conjectural. 45 IcaHCS
accused Chan Chit Yue, Wu Hing Sum and Ho Kin San. These relationships in a way
can lead to the presumption that they have the capability to enter into a Jurisprudence teaches that in assessing the credibility of a witness, his testimony must be
conspiracy. Second, all the illegal substances confiscated from the six accused considered in its entirety instead of in truncated parts. The technique in deciphering a testimony is
were contained in chocolate boxes of similar sizes and almost the same weight all not to consider only its isolated parts and anchor a conclusion on the basis of said parts. "In
contained in their luggages. The Court agrees with the finding of the trial ascertaining the facts established by a witness, everything stated by him on direct, cross and redirect
prosecutor that under the given circumstances, the offense charged [c]ould have examinations must be calibrated and considered." 46 Also, where there is nothing in the records
been perpetrated only through an elaborate and methodically planned conspiracy which would show a motive or reason on the part of the witnesses to falsely implicate the accused,
with all the accused assiduously cooperating and mutually helping each other in identification should be given full weight. Here, petitioner presented no evidence or anything to
order to ensure its success. 37 indicate that the principal witness for the prosecution, Cinco, was moved by any improper motive,
hence her testimony is entitled to full faith and credit.
We find no cogent reason to reverse such findings.
Verily, the evidence adduced against petitioner is so overwhelming that this Court is
"Conspiracy is [the] common design to commit a felony." 38 "[C]onspiracy which convinced that his guilt has been established beyond reasonable doubt. Nothing else can speak so
determines criminal culpability need not entail a close personal association or at least an acquaintance eloquently of his culpability than the unassailable fact that he was caught red-handed in the very
between or among the participants to a crime." 39 "It need not be shown that the parties actually act of transporting, along with his co-accused, shabu into the country. In stark contrast, the evidence
came together and agreed in express terms to enter into and pursue a common for the defense consists mainly of denials.
design." 40 "The assent of the minds may be and, from the secrecy of the crime, usually inferred from
proof of facts and circumstances which, taken together, indicate that they are parts of some complete Petitioner tried to show that he was not aware of the shabu inside his luggage considering
whole" as we ruled in People v. Mateo, Jr. 41 Here, it can be deduced from petitioner and his co- that his bag was provided by the travel agency. However, it bears stressing that the act of transporting
accused's collective conduct, viewed in its totality, that there was a common design, concerted action a prohibited drug is a malum prohibitum because it is punished as an offense under a special law. As
and concurrence of sentiments in bringing about the crime committed. such, the mere commission of the act is what constitutes the offense punished and same suffices to
validly charge and convict an individual caught committing the act so punished regardless of criminal
Petitioner's guilt was proved beyond intent. Moreover, beyond his bare denials, petitioner has not presented any plausible proof to
reasonable doubt. successfully rebut the evidence for theprosecution. "It is basic that affirmative testimony of persons
who are eyewitnesses of the events or facts asserted easily overrides negative testimony." 47
Finally, petitioner asserts that the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable
doubt. He makes capital on the contention that no chocolate boxes were found in his traveling bag All told, we are convinced that the courts below committed no error in adjudging
when it was examined at the ICU. He claimed that it was his co-accused Sonny Wong who took charge petitioner guilty of transporting methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabuinto the country in
in ascribing upon him thepossession of the two chocolate boxes. EcHAaS violation of Section 15, Article III of R.A. No. 6425, as amended.
Penalty EN BANC
As to the penalties imposed by the trial court and as affirmed by the appellate court, we
find the same in accord with law and jurisprudence. It should be recalled that [G.R. No. L-56291. June 27, 1988.]
at the time of the commission of the crime on September 6, 1991, Section 15 of R.A. No. 6425 was
already amended by Presidential Decree No. 1683. 48The decree provided that for violation of said
Section 15, the penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from P20,000.00 to CRISTOPHER GAMBOA, petitioner, vs. HON. ALFREDO CRUZ, JUDGE of the Court of
P30,000.00 shall be imposed. Subsequently, however, R.A. No. 7659 49 further introduced new First Instance of Manila, Br. XXIX, respondent.
amendments to Section 15, Article III and Section 20, Article IV of R.A. No. 6425, as amended.
Under the new amendments, the penalty prescribed in Section 15 was changed from "life
imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from P20,000.00 to P30,000.00" to "reclusion perpetua to
Rene V. Sarmiento for petitioner.
death and a fine ranging from P500,000.00 to P10 million". On the other hand, Section 17 of R.A. No.
7659 amended Section 20, Article IV of R.A. No. 6425 in that the new penalty provided
by the amendatory law shall be applied depending on the quantity of the dangerous drugs
involved. AEDISC
DECISION
The trial court, in this case, imposed on petitioner the penalty of reclusion
perpetua under R.A. No. 7659 rather than life imprisonment ratiocinating that R.A. No. 7659 could be
given retroactive application, it being more favorable to the petitioner in view of its having a less
stricter punishment. PADILLA, J p:
We agree. In People v. Doroja, 50 we held:
Petition for certiorari and prohibition, with prayer for a temporary restraining order, to annul and set aside
In People v. Martin Simon (G.R. No. 93028, 29 July 1994) this Court ruled (a) the order dated 23 October 1980 of the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch XXIX, in Criminal Case No.
that the amendatory law, being more lenient and favorable to the accused 47622, entitled "People of the Philippines, Plaintiff vs. Cristopher Gamboa y Gonzales, Accused," and to
than the original provisions of the Dangerous Drugs Act, should be accorded restrain the respondent court from proceeding with the trial of the aforementioned case.
retroactive application, . . . .
Petitioner alleges that:
And, since "reclusion perpetua is a lighter penalty than life imprisonment, and
considering the rule that criminal statutes with a favorable effect to the accused, have, as to him, a On 19 July 1979, at about 7:00 o'clock in the morning, he was arrested for vagrancy, without a warrant of
retroactive effect", 51 the penalty imposed by the trial court upon petitioner is proper. arrest, by Patrolman Arturo Palencia. Thereafter, petitioner was brought to Precinct 2, Manila, where he
Consequently, the Court sustains the penalty ofimprisonment, which is reclusion perpetua, as well was booked for vagrancy and then detained therein together with several others.
as the amount of fine imposed by the trial court upon petitioner, the same being more favorable to
him. The following day, 20 July 1979, during the lineup of five (5) detainees, including petitioner, complainant
Erlinda B. Bernal pointed to petitioner and said, "that one is a companion." After the identification, the other
WHEREFORE premises considered, the petition is DENIED and the assailed June 16, 2006 detainees were brought back to their cell but petitioner was ordered to stay on. While the complainant was
Decision and January 16, 2007 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 01459 being interrogated by the police investigator, petitioner was told to sit down in front of her.
are AFFIRMED.
On 23 July 1979, an information for robbery was filed against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
On 22 August 1979, petitioner was arraigned. Thereafter, hearings were held. On 2 April 1980, the
||| (Ho Wai Pang v. People, G.R. No. 176229, [October 19, 2011], 675 PHIL 692-712)
prosecution formally offered its evidence and then rested its case.

On 14 July 1980, petitioner, by counsel, instead of presenting his defense, manifested in open court that he
was filing a Motion to Acquit or Demurrer to Evidence. On 13 August 1980, petitioner filed said Motion
predicated on the ground that the conduct of the line-up, without notice to, and in the absence of, his
counsel violated his constitutional rights to counsel and to due process.

On 23 October 1980, the respondent court issued the following order (assailed in the petition at bar)
denying the Motion to Acquit:

"For resolution is a motion to acquit the accused based on the grounds that the
constitutional rights of the said accused, to counsel and to due process, have been
violated. After considering the allegations and arguments in support of the said
motion in relation to the evidence presented, the Court finds the said motion to
be without merit and, therefore, denies the same.
"The hearing of this case for the purpose of presenting the evidence for the point or stage, the person being interrogated must be assisted by counsel to avoid the pernicious practice
accused is hereby set on November 28, 1980, at 8:30 o'clock in the morning." of extorting false or coerced admissions or confessions from the lips of the person undergoing interrogation,
for the commission of an offense.
Hence, the instant petition.
Any person under investigation must, among other things, be assisted by counsel. The above-cited
On 3 March 1981, the Court issued a temporary restraining order "effective as of this date and continuing provisions of the Constitution are clear. They leave no room for equivocation. Accordingly, in several cases,
until otherwise ordered by the court". 1 this Court has consistently held that no custodial investigation shall be conducted unless it be in the
presence of counsel, engaged by the person arrested, or by any person in his behalf, or appointed by the
Petitioner contends that the respondent judge acted in excess of jurisdiction and with grave abuse of
court upon petition either of the detainee himself or by anyone in his behalf, and that, while the right may
discretion, in issuing the assailed order. He insists that said order, in denying his Motion To Acquit, is null
be waived, the waiver shall not be valid unless made in writing and in the presence of counsel. 5
and void for being violative of his rights to counsel and to due process. 2
As aptly observed, however, by the Solicitor General, the police line-up (at least, in this case) was not part
We find no merit in the contentions of petitioner.
of the custodial inquest, hence, petitioner was not yet entitled, at such stage, to counsel. The Solicitor
To begin with, the instant petition is one for certiorari, alleging grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack General states: LLphil
of jurisdiction, committed by the respondent judge in issuing the questioned order dated 23 October 1980.
"When petitioner was identified by the complainant at the police line-up, he had
It is basic, however, that for certiorari to lie, there must be a capricious, arbitrary and whimsical exercise of not been held yet to answer for a criminal offense. The police line-up is not a part
power, the very antithesis of judicial prerogative in accordance with centuries of both civil law and common of the custodial inquest, hence, he was not yet entitled to counsel. Thus, it was
law traditions. 3 To warrant the issuance of the extraordinary writ of certiorari, the alleged lack of held that when the process had not yet shifted from the investigatory to the
jurisdiction, excess thereof, or abuse of discretion must be so gross or grave, as when power is exercised in accusatory as when police investigation does not elicit a confession the accused
an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion, prejudice or personal hostility, or the abuse must be may not yet avail of the services of his lawyer (Escobedo v. Illinois of the United
so patent as to amount to an evasion of positive duty, or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by States Federal Supreme Court, 378 US 478, 1964). Since petitioner in the course
law, or to act at all, in contemplation of law. 4 This is not the situation in the case at bar. The respondent of his identification in the police line-up had not yet been held to answer for a
court considered petitioner's arguments as well as the prosecution's evidence against him, and required criminal offense, he was, therefore, not deprived of his right to be assisted by
him to present his evidence. counsel because the accusatory process had not yet set in. The police could not
have violated petitioner's right to counsel and due process as the confrontation
The rights to counsel and to due process of law are indeed two (2) of the fundamental rights guaranteed between the State and him had not begun. In fact, when he was identified in the
by the Constitution, whether it be the 1973 or 1987 Constitution. In a democratic society, like ours, every police line-up by complainant he did not give any statement to the police. He was,
person is entitled to the full enjoyment of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. therefore, not interrogated at all as he was not facing a criminal charge. Far from
what he professes, the police did not, at that stage, exact a confession to be used
On the right to counsel, Sec. 20, Art. IV of the Bill of Rights of the 1973 Constitution, reads: against him. For it was not he but the complainant who was being investigated at
that time. He "was ordered to sit down in front of the complainant while the latter
"No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. Any person under was being investigated" (par. 3.03, Petition). Petitioner's right to counsel had not
investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to remain silent accrued." 6
and to counsel, and to be informed of such right. No force, violence, threat,
intimidation, or any other means which vitiates the free will shall be used against Even under the constitutional guarantees obtaining in the United States, petitioner would have no cause
him. Any confession obtained in violation of this section shall be inadmissible in for claiming a violation of his rights to counsel and due process. In Kirby vs. Illinois, 7 the facts of the case
evidence." and the votes of the Justices therein are summarized as follows:
The same guarantee, although worded in a different manner, is included in the 1987 Constitution. Section "After arresting the petitioner and a companion and bringing them to a police
12 (1, 2 & 3), Article III thereof provides: station, police officers learned that certain items found in their possession had
been stolen in a recent robbery. The robbery victim was brought to the police
"Sec. 12 (1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall station and immediately identified the petitioner and his companion as the
have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent robbers. No attorney was present when the identification was made, and neither
and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the petitioner nor his companion had asked for legal assistance or had been
the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be advised of any right to the presence of counsel. Several weeks later, the petitioner
waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel. and his companion were indicted for the robbery. At trial in an Illinois state court,
(2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which the robbery victim testified that he had seen the petitioner and his companion at
vitiate the free will shall be used against him. Secret detention places, solitary, the police station, and he pointed them out in the courtroom and identified them
incommumicado, or other similar forms of detention are prohibited. as the robbers. The petitioner and his companion were convicted, and the Illinois
Appellate Court, First District, affirmed the petitioner's conviction, holding that the
(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or the preceding constitutional rule requiring the exclusion of evidence derived from out of-court
section shall be inadmissible in evidence against him." identification procedures conducted in the absence of counsel did not apply to
preindictment identifications (121 III App 2d 323, 257 NEE 2d 589).
The right to counsel attaches upon the start of an investigation, i.e. when the investigating officer starts to
ask questions to elicit information and/or confessions or admissions from the respondent/accused. At such
"On certiorari, the United States Supreme Court, although not agreeing on an Given the clear constitutional intent in the 1973 and 1987 Constitutions, to extend to those under police
opinion, affirmed. In an opinion by STEWART, J., announcing the judgment of the investigation the right to counsel, this occasion may be better than any to remind police investigators that,
court and expressing the view of four members of the court, it was held that the while the Court finds no real need to afford a suspect the services of counsel during a police line-up, the
constitutional right to counsel did not attach until judicial criminal proceedings moment there is a move or even an urge of said investigators to elicit admissions or confessions or even
were initiated, and that the exclusionary rule relating to out-of-court plain information which may appear innocent or innocuous at the time, from said suspect, he should then
identifications in the absence of counsel did not apply to identification testimony and there be assisted by counsel, unless he waives the right, but the waiver shall be made in writing and in
based upon a police station show-up which took place before the accused had the presence of counsel.
been indicted or otherwise formally charged with any criminal offense.
On the right to due process, the Court finds that petitioner was not, in any way, deprived of this substantive
"BURGER, Ch. J., concurring, joined in the plurality opinion and expressed his and constitutional right, as he was duly represented by a member of the Bar. He was accorded all the
agreement that the right to counsel did not attach until criminal charges were opportunities to be heard and to present evidence to substantiate his defense; only that he chose not to,
formally made against an accused. and instead opted to file a Motion to Acquit after the prosecution had rested its case. What due process
abhors is the absolute lack of opportunity to be heard. 11 The case at bar is far from this situation.
"POWELL, J., concurred in the result on the ground that the exclusionary rule
should not be extended. In any event, certiorari and prohibition are not the proper remedies against an order denying a Motion To
Acquit. Section 1, Rule 117 of the Rules of Court provides that, upon arraignment, the defendant shall
"BRENNAN, J., joined by DOUGHLAS and MARSHALL, JJ., dissented on the grounds immediately either move to quash the complaint or information or plead thereto, or do both and that, if
that although Supreme Court decisions establishing the exclusionary rule the defendant moves to quash, without pleading, and the motion is withdrawn or overruled, he should
happened to involve postindictment identifications, the rationale behind the rule immediately plead, which means that trial must proceed. If, after trial on the merits, judgment is rendered
was equally applicable to the present case. adversely to the movant (in the motion to quash), he can appeal the judgment and raise the same defenses
or objections (earlier raised in his motion to quash) which would then be subject to review by the appellate
"WHITE, J., dissented on the grounds that Supreme Court decisions establishing
court.
the exclusionary rule governed the present case." 8
An order denying a Motion to Acquit (like an order denying a motion to quash) is interlocutory and not a
Mr. Justice Steward, expressing his view and that of three other members 9 of the Court, said:
final order. It is, therefore, not appealable. Neither can it be the subject of a petition for certiorari. Such
"In a line of constitutional cases in this Court stemming back to the Court's order of denial may only be reviewed, in the ordinary course of law, by an appeal from the judgment, after
landmark opinion in Powell v. Alabama, 287 US 45, 77 L Ed 158, 53 S Ct 55, 84 ALR trial. As stated inCollins vs. Wolfe, 12 and reiterated in Mill vs. Yatco, 13 the accused, after the denial of his
527, it has been firmly established that a person's Sixth and Fourteenth motion to quash, should have proceeded with the trial of the case in the court below, and if final judgment
Amendment right to counsel attaches only at or after the time that adversary is rendered against him, he could then appeal, and, upon such appeal, present the questions which he
judicial proceedings have been initiated against him. See Powell v. Alabama, supra; sought to be decided by the appellate court in a petition for certiorari.
Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 US 458, 82 L Ed 1461, 58 S Ct 1019, 146 ALR 357;
In Acharon vs. Purisima, 14 the procedure was well defined, thus:
Hamilton v. Alabama, 368 US 52, 7 L Ed 2d 114, 82 S Ct 157; Gideon v. Wainwright,
372 US 335, 9 L Ed 2d 799, 83 S Ct 792, 92 ALR 2d 733; White v. Maryland, 373 US "Moreover, when the motion to quash filed by Acharon to nullify the criminal
59, 10 L Ed 2d 193, 83 S Ct 1050; Massiahv. United States, 377 US 201, 12 L Ed cases filed against him was denied by the Municipal Court of General Santos his
246, 84 S Ct 1199; United States v. Wade, 388 US 218, 18 L Ed 1149, 87 S Ct 1926; remedy was not to file a petition for certiorari but to go to trial without prejudice
Gilbert v. California, 388 US 263, 18 L Ed 2d 1178, 87 S Ct 1951; Coleman v. on his part to reiterate the special defenses he had invoked in his motion and, if,
Alabama, 399 US 1, 26 L Ed 2d 387, 90 S Ct. 1999. after trial on the merits, an adverse decision is rendered, to appeal therefrom in
the manner authorized by law. This is the procedure that he should have followed
This is not to say that a defendant in a criminal case has a constitutional right to
as authorized by law and precedents. Instead, he took the usual step of filing a
counsel only at the trial itself. The Powell case makes clear that the right attaches
writ of certiorari before the Court of First Instance which in our opinion is
at the time of arraignment and the Court has recently held that it exists also at the
unwarranted it being contrary to the usual course of law." 15
time of a preliminary hearing. Coleman v. Alabama, supra. But the point is that,
while members of the court have differed as to existence of the right to counsel Conformably with the above rulings, whether or not petitioner was, afforded his rights to counsel and to
in the contexts of some of the above cases, all of those cases have involved points due process is a question which he could raise, as a defense or objection, upon the trial on the merits, and,
of time at or after the initiation of adversary judicial criminal proceedings — if that defense or objection should fail, he could still raise the same on appeal.
whether by way of formal charge, preliminary hearing, indictment, information,
or arraignment." (Emphasis supplied). 10 On the other hand, if a defendant does not move to quash the complaint or information before he pleads,
he shall be taken to have waived all objections which are grounds for a motion to quash, except where the
As may be observed, the 1973 and 1987 Philippine Constitutions go farther and beyond the guarantee of complaint or information does not charge an offense, or the court is without jurisdiction of the same. 16
the right to counsel under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. For while, under
the latter, the right to counsel "attaches only at or after the time that adversary judicial proceedings have Here, petitioner filed a Motion To Acquit only after the prosecution had presented its evidence and rested
been initiated against him (the accused)," under the 1973 and 1987 Philippine Constitutions, the right to its case. Since the exceptions, above-stated, are not applicable, petitioner is deemed to have waived
counsel attaches at the start of investigation against a respondent and, therefore, even before adversary objections which are grounds for a motion to quash.
judicial proceedings against the accused have begun. LibLex
Besides, the grounds relied upon by petitioner in his Motion to Acquit are not among the grounds provided FIRST DIVISION
in Sec. 2, Rule 117 of the Rules of Court for quashing a complaint or information. Consequently, the lower
court did not err in denying petitioner's Motion to Acquit.
[G.R. Nos. 91011-12. November 24, 1994.]
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. The temporary restraining order issued on 3 March 1981 is LIFTED.
The instant case is remanded to the respondent court for further proceedings to afford the petitioner-
accused the opportunity to present evidence on his behalf. This decision is immediately executory. With PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. EDUARDO MACAM y LONTOC,
costs against the petitioner. EUGENIO CAWILAN, JR. y BELEN, ANTONIO CEDRO y SANTOS, ERNESTO ROQUE y
MARIANO AND DANILO ROQUE y MARIANO, accused. DANILO ROQUE and
SO ORDERED. ERNESTO ROQUE, accused-appellants.
||| (Gamboa v. Cruz, G.R. No. L-56291, [June 27, 1988], 245 PHIL 598-618)

SYLLABUS

1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED; RIGHT TO COUNSEL; ATTACHES UPON
THE START OF AN INVESTIGATION. — In Gamboa v. Cruz, 162 SCRA 642 (1988), we held that the right to
counsel attaches upon the start of an investigation, i.e., when the investigating officer starts to ask questions
to elicit information, confessions or admissions from the accused (See also People v. Dimaano, 209 SCRA
819 [1992]).

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; RATIONALE IN EXTENDING RIGHT BEFORE TRIAL. — Historically, the counsel guarantee
was intended to assure the assistance of counsel at the trial, inasmuch as the accused was "confronted with
both the intricacies of the law and the advocacy of the public prosecutor." However, as a result of the
changes in patterns of police investigation, today's accused confronts both expert adversaries and the
judicial system well before his trial begins (U.S. v. Ash, 413 U.S. 300, 37 L Ed 2d 619, 93 Ct 2568 [1973]). It
is therefore appropriate to extend the counsel guarantee to critical stages of prosecution even before the
trial. The law enforcement machinery at present involves critical confrontations of the accused by the
prosecution at pre-trial proceedings "where the result might well settle the accused's fate and reduce the
trial itself to a mere formality." A police line-up is considered a "critical" stage of the proceedings (U.S. v.
Wade, 388 U.S. 218, 18 L Ed 2d 1149, 87 S Ct 1926 [1967]).

3. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; ADMISSIBILITY; IDENTIFICATION OF UNCOUNSELED ACCUSED,


INADMISSIBLE. — After the start of the custodial investigation, any identification of an uncounseled accused
made in a police line-up is inadmissible. This is particularly true in the case at bench where the police officers
first talked to the victims before the confrontation was held. The circumstances were such as to impart
improper suggestions on the minds of the victims that may lead to a mistaken identification. Appellants
were handcuffed and had contusions on their faces.

4. ID.; ID.; ID.; FAILURE TO OBJECT TO THE IN-COURT IDENTIFICATION, ADMISSIBLE; REASON. — However,
the prosecution did not present evidence regarding appellants' identification at the police line-up. Hence,
the exclusionary sanctions against the admission in evidence of custodial identification of an uncounseled
accused can not be applied. On the other hand, appellants did not object to the in-court identification made
by the prosecution witnesses. The prosecution witnesses, who made the identification of appellants at the
police line-up at the hospital, again identified appellants in open court. Appellants did not object to the in-
court identification as being tainted by the illegal line-up. In the absence of such objection, the prosecution
need not show that said identifications were of independent origin (Gilber v. California, 388 U.S. 263, 18 L
Ed 2d 1178, 87 S Ct 1951 [1967]).

5. ID.; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; ARREST; UNLAWFUL ARREST; CURED WHERE ACCUSED VOLUNTARILY
SUBMITTED TO THE JURISDICTION OF THE TRIAL COURT. — The arrest of appellants was made without the
benefit of a warrant of arrest. However, appellants are estopped from questioning the legality of their
arrest. This issue is being raised for the first time by appellants before this Court. They have not moved for
the quashing of the information before the trial court on this ground. Thus, any irregularity attendant to
their arrest was cured when they voluntarily submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the trial court by
entering a plea of not guilty and by participating in the trial (People v. Rabang, 187 SCRA 682 [1990]).
6. CRIMINAL LAW; CONSPIRACY; NEED NOT BE PROVEN BY DIRECT EVIDENCE. — Appellants further contend I
that their guilt has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt, conspiracy not having been established by
In Criminal Case No. Q-53781, appellants, together with Eduardo Macam, Antonio Cedro
positive and conclusive evidence. The presence of conspiracy between appellants and the other accused
and Eugenio Cawilan, Jr., were accused of Robbery with Homicide as defined and penalized
can be shown through their conduct before, during and after the commission of the crime (People v.
under Article 294(1) of the Revised Penal Code, committed as follows:
Dagoma, 209 SCRA 819 [1992]).
"That on or about the 18th day of August, 1987, in Quezon City,
7. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; CREDIBILITY; DENIAL; CANNOT OVERCOME POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION. — Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
Appellant Danilo Roque's denial of his participation in the commission of the crime is not sufficient to accused; conspiring together, confederating with and mutually helping one
overcome the testimony of the prosecution witnesses, who positively identified the former as one of the another, with intent to gain, and by means of intimidation and/or violence upon
persons who entered the Macam's residence, robbed and stabbed the occupants therein. person, armed with a firearm and bladed weapons, did, then and there, willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously rob one BENITO MACAM y SY in the manner as follows:
8. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; NO PRESUMPTION OF GUILT AGAINST AN ACCUSED WHO OPTS NOT TO TAKE
on the date and in the place aforementioned, the said accused, pursuant to their
THE WITNESS STAND. — Appellant Ernesto Roque did not even testify in his defense at the trial. The
conspiracy, entered the residence of said offended party located at No. 43-A Fema
Constitution does not create any presumption of guilt against an accused who opts not to take the witness
Road, Brgy. Bahay Toro, this City, and thereafter divested the said offended party
stand (Griffin v. California, 380 U.S. 609, 14 L. Ed 2d 106, 85 S Ct 1229 [1965]). That is his right.
of the following properties:
9. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; FINDINGS OF FACT OF THE TRIAL COURT, GENERALLY UPHELD ON APPEAL. One (1) model .59 cal. 9mm (toygun).
— However, appellant Ernesto Roque cannot rely on the testimony of Danilo Roque because said testimony
failed to rebut and impeach the evidence of the prosecution against both appellants (Cf. Desmond v. U.S. One (1) Walter P 38 cal. 9mm (toygun).
345 F. 2d 225 [CA 1st 1965]). We agree with the finding of the trial court that appellant Ernesto Roque, while
remaining outside the house of Macam, stood as a look-out, which makes him a direct co-conspirator in the One (1) airgun rifle with leather attache case.
crime (U.S. v. Santos, 4 Phil. 189 [1905]).
One (1) master CO2 refiller.
10. CRIMINAL LAW; ROBBERY WITH HOMICIDE; NOT TWO SEPARATE CRIMES; CASE AT BAR. — Appellants
One (1) Sony TV antennae.
contend that the crimes committed were robbery and homicide, and not the complex crime of robbery with
homicide. We do not agree. The rule is whenever homicide has been committed as a consequence or on Three (3) betamax tapes.
occasion of the robbery, all those who took part as principals in the robbery will also be held guilty as
principals of the special crime of robbery with homicide although they did not actually take part in the One (1) Kenyo betamax rewinder.
homicide, unless it clearly appears that they endeavored to prevent the homicide (People v. Veloso, 112
SCRA 173 [1982]; People v. Bautista, 49 Phil. 389 [1926]; U.S. v. Macalalad, 9 Phil. 1 [1970]). One (1) Samsonite attache case.

11. CIVIL LAW; DAMAGES; LIABILITY FOR INDEMNITY FOR DEATH IS SOLIDARY; CASE AT BAR. — Lastly, the One (1) set of four pieces of trays.
award of civil damages made by the trial court is not in accordance with law and jurisprudence. In its
judgment, the trial court disposed in pertinent part as follows: "In Crim. Case Q-53781, the court finds One (1) Airmail typewriter.
accused DANILO ROQUE and ERNESTO ROQUE guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Robbery with One (1) Sony betamax.
Homicide, . . . and hereby sentences each of them to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA and each
to indemnify the heirs of the deceased the sum of P30,000.00, . . . ". The trial court overlooked the rule in One (1) Sony TV Trinitron.
Article 110 of the Revised Penal Code that the principals shall be "severally (in solidum)" liable among
themselves (People v. Hasiron, 214 SCRA 586 [1992]). WHEREFORE, the decision is AFFIRMED with the One (1) chessboard.
MODIFICATIONS: (1) that the civil damages awarded in favor of the heirs of Leticia Macam are increased to
P50,000.00; and (2) that the word "each" before "to indemnify the heirs" in the dispositive portion of the One (1) Toyota Crown car bearing plate No. CAS-997.
decision is deleted.
Assorted jewelry.

Cash money (still undetermined).

DECISION One (1) .22 Walter.

valued in the total amount of P454,000.00, more or less, Philippine Currency, and
by reason of the crime of Robbery, said accused, with intent to kill, did, then and
there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and employ personal
QUIASON, J p: violence upon the person of one Leticia Macam y Tui, thereby inflicting upon her
serious and mortal injuries which were direct and immediate cause (sic) of her
This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 104, Quezon City in untimely death, and on the occasion of said offense, one Benito Macam y Sy,
Criminal Case No. Q-53781, finding Danilo Roque and Ernesto Roque guilty beyond reasonable doubt Salvacion Enrera y Escota, and Nilo Alcantara y Bautista, all sustained physical
of the crime of Robbery with Homicide and sentencing each of them to suffer the penalty of reclusion injuries which have required medical attendance for a period of more than thirty
perpetua. (30) days and which have incapacitated all of them from performing their
customary labor for the said period of time, to the damage and prejudice of the comfort room and that Danilo Roque told Antonio Cedro that "pare doon mo na
heirs of the late LETICIA MACAM y TUI and to the damage and prejudice of the upakan yan." Nilo then testified that he was brought back to a room upstairs
said offended parties in such amount as may be awarded under the provisions of where he suddenly heard a very loud scream from Leticia Macam, after which, he
the Civil Code (Rollo, pp. 3-4). was suddenly stabbed by Antonio Cedro.
Salvacion Enrera testified that she was brought to another room by
Antonio Cedro where she saw Benito Macam and Nilo Alcantara bloodied from
Together with Criminal Case No. Q-53781, Criminal Case No. Q-53783 was filed against
stab wounds and that she heard a loud scream from Mrs. Leticia Macam prior to
Eugenio Cawilan, Sr. for violation of Presidential Decree No. 1612, otherwise known as the Anti-
her being stabbed by Danilo Roque (Rollo, pp. 36-37).
Fencing Law (Rollo, p. 31).
III
Upon being arraigned, all the accused in Criminal Cases Nos. Q-53781 and Q-53783
pleaded "not guilty" to the crimes charged. The version of the defense, as summarized by the trial court, is as follows:
After the prosecution had presented its evidence on July 4, 1989, accused "In exculpation, the defense in Criminal Case Q-53781 presented its
Eduardo Macam, Antonio Cedro and Eugenio Cawilan, Jr., assisted by their respective counsels, sole witness accused Danilo Roque, who testified that in the morning of August
changed their plea from "not guilty" to "guilty" (Rollo, p. 23). Consequently, a separate judgment was 18, 1987, while he was driving his tricycle, he was stopped by three persons who,
rendered sentencing each of them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and ordering each of he came to know only during the trial of this case, were Eduardo Macam, Eugenio
them to pay P30,000.00 to the heirs of Leticia Macam without subsidiary imprisonment in case of Cawilan, Jr. and Antonio Cedro. According to Danilo Roque, the said persons
insolvency, but with all the accessory penalties provided for by law, and to pay the costs (Rollo, p. 24). stopped him and asked that he bring them to Fema Road for which they were
willing to pay P50.00 and that he agreed to bring them to Fema Road after
The trial proceeded with respect to Eugenio Cawilan, Sr. and appellants. Of the latter, only
Eduardo Macam gave him a calling card. Danilo Roque testified that they stopped
Danilo Roque testified.
at the residence of BenitoMacam where Eduardo Macam alighted from his
On September 26, 1989, the trial court rendered its judgment finding appellants guilty tricycle and entered the compound, and that after a while, he, together with
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Robbery with Homicide in Criminal Case No. Q-53781 and Antonio Cedro and Eugenio Cawilan, Jr., was called by the maid of
acquitting Eugenio Cawilan, Sr. of violation of the Anti-Fencing Law in Criminal Case No. Q-53783 Benito Macam to go in the house and eat. After eating, Danilo stated that he
(Rollo, pp. 43-44). washed the dishes and swept the floor, when suddenly, Eugenio Cawilan, Jr. pulled
out a gun and announced a hold-up and told Danilo to keep silent and just follow
II
what was asked of him to do. After the said persons tied the occupants of the
The trial court accepted the prosecution's version as correct and made the following house of Benito Macam, they told Danilo to help them gather some of the things
findings of fact: therein, which order, Danilo obeyed for fear of his life. Danilo Roque then testified
that after placing the things in a car parked inside the house, Eduardo Macam said,
"The prosecution evidence, stripped of non-essentials, shows that on
"Kailangan patayin ang mga taong yan dahil kilala ako ng mga yan," and that upon
August 18, 1987, Eduardo Macam, Antonio Cedro, Eugenio Cawilan, Jr., Danilo
hearing this, he went out of the house and went home using his tricycle. He
Roque and Ernesto Roque went to the house of Benito Macam located at 43 Fema
likewise testified that his brother, Ernesto Roque, was not at the said location.
Road, Quezon City, and that upon arrival at said place, Eduardo Macam, a nephew
Danilo testified that his brother Ernesto had just arrived from the province on
of BenitoMacam, entered the house and talked to Benito Macam. Benito then
August 19, 1987 and that he asked Ernesto to go with him to the factory of Zesto
offered lunch to Eduardo, who told him that he had companions waiting outside.
Juice and that while they were at the said factory, where he was told by
Benito then told his maid, Salvacion Enrera, to call the said companions of Eduardo
Eduardo Macam to get his payment, he and his brother Ernesto were suddenly
and ask them to enter the house and have their lunch. Salvacion went outside and
apprehended by the security guards. He and Ernesto were then brought to the
called the persons waiting in a tricycle who, she positively identified, were Antonio
Quezon City Headquarters where Danilo alleged (sic) they (Ernesto Roque,
Cedro, Eugenio Cawilan, Jr., Danilo Roque and Ernesto Roque. Salvacion Enrera
Eduardo Macam, Eugenio Cawilan, Jr., and Antonio Cedro) were forced to admit
testified that only Antonio Cedro, Eugenio Cawilan, Jr. and Danilo Roque entered
certain acts" (Rollo, pp. 34-35).
the house and that Ernesto Roque remained in the tricycle. After Antonio Cedro,
Eugenio Cawilan, Jr. and Danilo Roque had taken their lunch, The issues raised by appellants can be summarized into whether or not (a) their arrest was
Eduardo Macam suddenly grabbed the clutch bag of Benito Macam and pulled valid; and (b) their guilt have been proved beyond reasonable doubt.
out Benito's gun and after they announced a hold-up, they started ransacking the
Appellants contend that their arrest without a warrant and their uncounseled
place and looking for valuables. After tying up the members of Benito Macam's
identification by the prosecution witnesses during the police line-up at the hospital are violative of
household, namely, Leticia Macam, Nilo Alcantara, Salvacion Enrera, and the
their constitutional rights under Section 12, Article 3 of the Constitution (Rollo, p. 119).
children of Benito Macam, the same persons brought them to a room upstairs.
After a while, Leticia Macam, Nilo Alcantara, Salvacion Enrera, and Appellants gave the following version of the circumstances surrounding their arrests:
Benito Macam were taken out of the room and brought to another room where
". . . , Accused-Appellant Danilo Roque stated that between 4:00
Leticia Macam was killed and Benito Macam, Nilo Alcantara, and Salvacion Enrera
o'clock (sic) and 5:00 o'clock (sic) in the afternoon of August 19, 1987, he and his
were stabbed. The prosecution presented as Exhibit "C" a list of the items taken
brother, Accused-Appellant Ernesto Roque, went to the factory of Accused
by the said persons with a total value of P536,700.00.
Eduardo Macam's father in Kaloocan City to collect the fare of P50.00 from
Nilo Alcantara testified that while he was being brought downstairs by Accused Eduardo Macam; they were suddenly approached by the security guards
Antonio Cedro, he saw Leticia Macam being held by Danilo Roque inside the of the factory and brought inside the factory where they were mauled by the
security guards and factory workers and told they were involved in a robbery- The arrest of appellants was made without the benefit of a warrant of arrest. However,
killing; thereafter, Patrolman Lamsin and his policemen-companions brought appellants are estopped from questioning the legality of their arrest. This issue is being raised for the
them to the headquarters of the Quezon City Police Department for investigation first time by appellants before this Court. They have not moved for the quashing of the information
and detention; the other Accused, Eduardo Macam, Antonio Cedro and Eugenio before the trial court on this ground. Thus, any irregularity attendant to their arrest was cured when
Cawilan, Jr., were in the jail of the Station Investigation Division, the Accused they voluntarily submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the trial court by entering a plea of not
including Accused-Appellants Danilo Roque and Ernesto Roque were forced to guilty and by participating in the trial (People v. Rabang, 187 SCRA 682 [1990]).
admit to the robbery killing, but Accused-Appellants Danilo Roque and Ernesto
Appellants further contend that their guilt has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt,
Roque refused to admit they had anything to do with it; then all the Accused were
conspiracy not having been established by positive and conclusive evidence (Rollo, p. 131).
brought to the Quezon City General Hospital before each of the surviving victims
of the crime charged in handcuffs and made to line up in handcuffs together with The presence of conspiracy between appellants and the other accused can be shown
some policemen in civilian clothes for identification by the surviving victims who through their conduct before, during and after the commission of the crime (People v. Dagoma, 209
the policemen spoke to before all of the Accused were pointed to as the suspects SCRA 819 [1992]).
in the crime charged (TSN, July 12, 1989, pp. 15-18; Rollo, pp. 145-148) (Rollo, pp.
It is undeniable that appellant Danilo Roque was the tricycle driver, who brought the
121-122).
accused Eduardo Macam, Antonio Cedro and Eugenio Cawilan, Jr. to the house of Benito Macam. He
It appears that the security guards at the factory of the father of accused contends that he did not know the said accused. Yet, why did he agree to bring them to
Eduardo Macam detained appellants. They were later brought to the Quezon City Police Headquarters the Macam residence when the route going to that place is out of his regular route? Why did he agree
for investigation. Since they refused to admit their participation in the commission of the crime, to bring them to that place without being paid the P50.00 as agreed but was merely given a calling
appellants were then brought to the Quezon City General Hospital and were made to line-up together card?
with several policemen in civilian clothes. Salvacion Enrera, Benito Macam and Nilo Alcantara, who
Upon arriving at the residence of Benito Macam, appellant Danilo Roque, together with his
were confined at the hospital for injuries sustained during the robbery, were asked to pinpoint the
co-accused, went inside the house to eat. He even admitted that after eating, he washed the dishes,
perpetrators. At that time, appellants were handcuffed and bore contusions on their faces caused by
swept the floor and sat on the sofa in the sala instead of going out of the house. This conduct is not in
the blows inflicted on them by the police investigators (TSN, July 12, 1989, pp. 15-18).
keeping with his being merely the tricycle driver hired by the accused to transport them to their
In Gamboa v. Cruz, 162 SCRA 642 (1988), we held that the right to counsel attaches upon destination.
the start of an investigation, i.e., when the investigating officer starts to ask questions to elicit
Appellant Danilo Roque was the one who gathered the articles stolen from the house of
information, confessions or admissions from the accused (See also People v. Dimaano, 209 SCRA 819
the victim and who placed them inside the tricycle. While he claimed that he was merely intimidated
[1992]).
by the accused to do so, his subsequent conduct belied this claim. According to him, he escaped after
Historically, the counsel guarantee was intended to assure the assistance of counsel at the hearing accused EduardoMacam tell his co-accused to kill all the possible witnesses who may be asked
trial, inasmuch as the accused was "confronted with both the intricacies of the law and the advocacy to identify them. Yet he continued to ply his route as if nothing unusual happened. How he was able
of the public prosecutor." However, as a result of the changes in patterns of police investigation, to escape unnoticed by his co-accused is a puzzle by itself. Likewise, he did not mention the incident
today's accused confronts both expert adversaries and the judicial system well before his trial begins to anyone, not even to his brother, appellant Ernesto Roque, whom he saw the following day. He did
(U.S. v. Ash, 413 U.S. 300, 37 L Ed 2d 619, 93 S Ct 2568 [1973]). It is therefore appropriate to extend not report the incident to the police. In People v. Logronio, 214 SCRA 519 (1992), we noted: "For
the counsel guarantee to critical stages of prosecution even before the trial. The law enforcement criminals to make an innocent third party a passive and unnecessary witness to their crime of robbing
machinery at present involves critical confrontations of the accused by the prosecution at pre-trial and killing, and then to let such witness go free and unharmed, is obviously contrary to ordinary
proceedings "where the result might well settle the accused's fate and reduce the trial itself to a mere human experience."
formality." A police line-up is considered a "critical" stage of the proceedings (U.S. v. Wade, 388 U.S.
Appellant Danilo Roque's denial of his participation in the commission of the crime is not
218, 18 L Ed 2d 1149, 87 S Ct 1926 [1967]).
sufficient to overcome the testimony of the prosecution witnesses, who positively identified the
former as one of the persons who entered the Macam's residence, robbed and stabbed the occupants
therein.
After the start of the custodial investigation, any identification of an uncounseled accused
made in a police line-up is inadmissible. This is particularly true in the case at bench where the police Salvacion Enrera testified that she was stabbed by appellant Danilo Roque. Nilo Alcantara,
officers first talked to the victims before the confrontation was held. The circumstances were such as likewise, positively identified appellant Danilo Roque as one of those who brought Leticia Macam to
to impart improper suggestions on the minds of the victims that may lead to a mistaken identification. the comfort room, where she was found dead.
Appellants were handcuffed and had contusions on their faces.
Appellant Ernesto Roque did not even testify in his defense at the trial. The Constitution
However, the prosecution did not present evidence regarding appellant's identification at does not create any presumption of guilt against an accused who opts not to take the witness stand
the police line-up. Hence, the exclusionary sanctions against the admission in evidence of custodial (Griffin v. California, 380 U.S. 609, 14 L. Ed 2d 106, 85 S Ct 1229 [1965]). That is his right. However,
identification of an uncounseled accused can not be applied. On the other hand, appellants did not appellant Ernesto Roque cannot rely on the testimony of Danilo Roque because said testimony failed
object to the in-court identification made by the prosecution witnesses. The prosecution witnesses, to rebut and impeach the evidence of the prosecution against both appellants (Cf. Desmond v. U.S.
who made the identification of appellants at the police line-up at the hospital, again identified 345 F. 2d 225 [CA 1st 1965]). We agree with the finding of the trial court that appellant Ernesto Roque,
appellants in open court. Appellants did not object to the in-court identification as being tainted by while remaining outside the house of Macam, stood as a look-out, which makes him a direct co-
the illegal line-up. In the absence of such objection, the prosecution need not show that said conspirator in the crime (U.S. v. Santos, 4 Phil. 189 [1905]).
identifications were of independent origin (Gilbert v. California, 388 U.S. 263, 18 L Ed 2d 1178, 87 S Ct
Appellants contend that the crimes committed were robbery and homicide, and not the
1951 [1967]).
complex crime of robbery with homicide (Rollo, p. 143). We do not agree. The rule is whenever
homicide has been committed as a consequence or on occasion of the robbery, all those who took FIRST DIVISION
part as principals in the robbery will also be held guilty as principals of the special crime of robbery
with homicide although they did not actually take part in the homicide, unless it clearly appears that
they endeavored to prevent the homicide (People v. Veloso, 112 SCRA 173 [1982]; People v. Bautista, [G.R. No. 85215. July 7, 1989.]
49 Phil. 389 [1926]; U.S. v. Macalalad, 9 Phil. 1 [1907]).
Lastly, the award of civil damages made by the trial court is not in accordance with law and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. HON. JUDGE RUBEN AYSON,
jurisprudence. In its judgment, the trial court disposed in pertinent part as follows: "In Crim. Case Q- Presiding over Branch 6, Regional Trial Court, First Judicial Region, Baguio City, and
53781, the court finds accused DANILO ROQUE and ERNESTO ROQUE guilty beyond reasonable doubt FELIPE RAMOS, respondents.
of the crime of Robbery with Homicide, . . . and hereby sentences each of them to suffer the penalty
of RECLUSION PERPETUA and each to indemnify the heirs of the deceased the sum of P30,000.00, ."
(Rollo, pp. 43-44; underscoring supplied). The trial court overlooked the rule in Article 110 of the
Nelson Lidua for private respondent.
Revised Penal Code that the principals shall be "severally (in solidum)" liable among themselves
(People v. Hasiron, 214 SCRA 586 [1992]).
WHEREFORE, the decision is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATIONS: (1) that the civil SYLLABUS
damages awarded in favor of the heirs of Leticia Macam are increased to P50,000.00; and (2) that the
word "each" before "to indemnify the heirs" in the dispositive portion of the decision is deleted.
SO ORDERED. 1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED; RIGHT AGAINST SELF-
INCRIMINATION; RIGHT CONSTRUED. — The right against self-incrimination, mentioned in Section 20,
||| (People v. Roque, G.R. Nos. 91011-12, [November 24, 1994]) Article IV of the 1973 Constitution, is accorded to every person who gives evidence, whether voluntarily or
under compulsion ofsubpoena, in any civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding. The right is NOT to "be
compelled to be a witness against himself." It prescribes an "option of refusal to answer incriminating
questions and not a prohibition of inquiry." It simply secures to a witness, whether he be a party or not, the
right to refuse to answer anyparticular incriminatory question, i.e., one the answer to which has a tendency
to incriminate him for some crime.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; TIME TO ASSERT RIGHT. — The right can be claimed only when the specific question,
incriminatory in character, is actually put to the witness. It cannot be claimed at any other time. It does not
give a witness the right to disregard a subpoena, to decline to appear before the court at the time
appointed, or to refuse to testify altogether. The witness receiving a subpoena must obey it, appear as
required, take the stand, be sworn and answer questions. It is only when aparticular question is addressed
to him, the answer to which may incriminate him for some offense, that he may refuse to answer on the
strength of the constitutional guaranty.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT A SELF-EXECUTING RIGHT. — The right against self-incrimination is not self-executing
or automatically operational. It must be claimed. If not claimed by or in behalf of the witness, the protection
does not come into play. It follows that the right may be waived, expressly, or impliedly, as by a failure to
claim it at the appropriate time.

4. ID.; ID.; ID.; OTHER RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED. — The accused in a criminal case in court has other rights
in the matter of giving testimony or refusing to do so. An accused "occupies a different tier of protection
from an ordinary witness." Under the Rules of Court, in all criminal prosecutions the defendant is entitled
among others — 1) to be exempt from being a witness against himself, and 2) to testify as witness in his
own behalf; but if he offers himself as a witness he may be cross-examined as any other witness; however,
his neglect or refusal to be a witness shall not in any manner prejudice or be used against him.

5. ID.; ID.; ID.; RIGHT TO BE EXEMPT FROM BEING A WITNESS AGAINST HIMSELF, CONSTRUED. — The right
of the defendant in a criminal case "to be exempt from being a witness against himself" signifies that he
cannot be compelled to testify or produce evidence in the criminal case in which he is the accused, or one
of the accused. He cannot be compelled to do so even by subpoena or other process or order of the Court.
He cannot be required to be a witness either for the prosecution, or for a co-accused, or even for himself.
In other words — unlike an ordinary witness (or a party in a civil action) who may be compelled to testify
by subpoena, having only the right to refuse to answer a particular incriminatory question at the time it is
put to him — the defendant in a criminal action can refuse to testify altogether. He can refuse to take the
witness stand, be sworn, answer any question. And, as the law categorically states, "his neglect or refusal TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
to be a witness shall not in any manner prejudice or be used against him."
THE UNDERSIGNED WOULD LIKE TO STATE THAT HE IS WILLING TO
6. ID.; ID.; ID.; RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED BEFORE AND AFTER THE CASE IS FILED IN THE COURT. — A person SETTLE IRREGULARITIES ALLEGEDLY CHARGED VS. HIM IN THE AMT. OF
suspected of having committed a crime and subsequently charged with its commission in court, has the P76,000 (APPROX.) SUBJECT TO CONDITIONS AS MAY BE IMPOSED BY PAL
following rights in that matter of his testifying or producing evidence, to wit: 1) BEFORE THE CASE IS FILED ON OR BEFORE 1700/9 FEB 86.
IN COURT (or with the public prosecutor, for preliminary investigation), but after having been taken into (s) Felipe Ramos
custody or otherwise deprived of his liberty in some significant way, and on being interrogated by the police:
the continuing right to remain silent and to counsel, and to be informed thereof, not to be subjected to (Printed) F. Ramos"
force, violence, threat, intimidation or any other means which vitiates the free will; and to have evidence
obtained in violation of these rights rejected; and 2) AFTER THE CASE IS FILED IN COURT — a) to refuse to At the investigation of February 9, 1986, conducted by the PAL Branch Manager in Baguio City, Edgardo R.
be a witness; b) not to have any prejudice whatsoever result to him by such refusal; c) to testify to his own Cruz, in the presence of Station Agent Antonio Ocampo, Ticket Freight Clerk Rodolfo Quitasol, and PALEA
behalf, subject to cross-examination by the persecution; d) WHILE TESTIFYING, to refuse to answer a specific Shop Steward Cristeta Domingo, Felipe Ramos was informed "of the finding of the Audit Team." Thereafter,
question which tends to incriminate him for some time other than that for which he is prosecuted. his answers in response to questions by Cruz, were taken down in writing. Ramos' answers were to the
effect inter alia that he had not indeed made disclosure of the tickets mentioned in the Audit Team's
7. ID.; ID.; ID.; RIGHTS DURING CUSTODIAL INVESTIGATION DOES NOT ENCOMPASS STATEMENTS MADE findings, that the proceeds had been "misused" by him, that although he had planned on paying back the
DURING AN ADMINISTRATIVE INQUIRY; CASE AT BAR. — Felipe Ramos was not in any sense under custodial money, he had been prevented from doing so, "perhaps (by) shame," that he was still willing to settle his
interrogation, as the term should be properly understood, prior to and during the administrative inquiry obligation, and proferred a "compromise . . . to pay on staggered basis, (and) the amount would be known
into the discovered irregularities in ticket sales in which he appeared to have had a hand. The constitutional in the next investigation;" that he desired the next investigation to be at the same place, "Baguio CTO," and
rights of a person under custodial interrogation under Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution did not that he should be represented therein by "Shop stewardees ITR Nieves Blanco;" and that he was willing to
therefore come into play, were of no relevance to the inquiry. It is also clear, too, that Ramos had voluntarily sign his statement (as he in fact afterwards did). 4 How the investigation turned out is not dealt with the
answered questions posed to him on the first day of the administrative investigation, February 9, 1986 and parties at all; but it would seem that no compromise agreement was reached much less consummated.
agreed that the proceedings should be recorded, the record having thereafter been marked during the trial
of the criminal action subsequently filed against him as Exhibit A, just as it is obvious that the note (later About two (2) months later, an information was filed against Felipe Ramos charging him with the crime
marked as Exhibit K) that he sent to his superiors on February 8, 1986, the day before the investigation, of estafa allegedly committed in Baguio City during the period from March 12, 1986 to January 29, 1987. In
offering to compromise his liability in the alleged irregularities, was a free and even spontaneous act on his that place and during that time, according to the indictment, 5 he (Ramos) —
part. They may not be excluded on the ground that the so-called "Miranda rights" had not been accorded
". . . with unfaithfulness and/or abuse of confidence, did then and there willfully .
to Ramos.
. . defraud the Philippine Airlines, Inc., Baguio Branch, . . . in the following manner,
to wit: said accused . . . having been entrusted with and received in trust fare
tickets of passengers for one-way-trip and round-trip in the total amount of
P76,700.65, with the express obligation to remit all the proceeds of the sale,
DECISION account for it and/or to return those unsold, . . . once in possession thereof and
instead of complying with his obligation, with intent to defraud, did then and there
. . . misappropriate, misapply and convert the value of the tickets in the sum of
P76,700.65 and in spite of repeated demands, . . . failed and refused to make good
NARVASA, J p: his obligation, to the damage and prejudice of the offended party . . ."

What has given rise to the controversy at bar is the equation by the respondent Judge of the right of an
individual not to "be compelled to be a witness against himself"accorded by Section 20, Article III of the On arraignment on this charge, Felipe Ramos entered a plea of "Not Guilty," and trial thereafter ensued.
Constitution, with the right of any person "under investigation for the commission of an offense . . . to remain The prosecution of the case was undertaken by lawyers of PAL under the direction and supervision of the
silent and to counsel, and to be informed of such right," granted by the same provision. The relevant facts Fiscal.
are not disputed.
At the close of the people's case, the private prosecutors made a written offer of evidence dated June 21,
Private respondent Felipe Ramos was a ticket freight clerk of the Philippine Airlines (PAL), assigned at its 1988, 6 which included "the (above mentioned) statement of accused Felipe J. Ramos taken on February 9,
Baguio City station. It having allegedly come to light that he was involved in irregularities in the sales of 1986 at PAL Baguio City Ticket Office," which had been marked as Exhibit A, as well as his "handwritten
plane tickets, 1 the PAL management notified him of an investigation to be conducted into the matter of admission . . . given on February 8, 1986," also above referred to, which had been marked as Exhibit K.
February 9, 1986. That investigation was scheduled in accordance with PAL's Code of Conduct and
Discipline, and the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed by it with the Philippine Airlines Employees' The defendant's attorneys filed "Objections/Comments to Plaintiffs Evidence." 7 Particularly as regards the
Association (PALEA) to which Ramos pertained. 2 peoples' Exhibit A, the objection was that "said document, which appears to be a confession, was taken
without the accused being represented by a lawyer." Exhibit K was objected to "for the same reasons
On the day before the investigation, February 8, 1986, Ramos gave to his superiors a handwritten interposed under Exhibits 'A' and 'J.' "
note 3 reading as follows:
By Order dated August 9, 1988, 8 the respondent judge admitted all the exhibits "as part of the testimony
"2-8-86 of the witnesses who testified in connection therewith and for whatever they are worth," except Exhibits A
and K, which it rejected. His Honor declared Exhibit A "inadmissible in evidence, it appearing that it is the
statement of accused Felipe Ramos taken on February 9, 1986 at PAL Baguio City Ticket Office, in an 2) the rights of a person in custodial interrogation, i.e., the rights of every suspect "under investigation for
investigation conducted by the Branch Manager . . . since it does not appear that the accused was reminded the commission of an offense."
of this constitutional rights to remain silent and to have counsel, and that when he waived the same and
gave his statement, it was with the assistance actually of a counsel." He also declared inadmissible "Exhibit Parenthetically, the 1987 Constitution indicates much more clearly the individuality and disparateness of
K, the handwritten admission made by accused Felipe J. Ramos, given on February 8, 1986 . . . for the same these rights. It has placed the rights in separate sections. The right against self-incrimination, "No person
reason stated in the exclusion of Exhibit 'A' since it does not appear that the accused was assisted by counsel shall be compelled to be a witness against himself," is now embodied in Section 17, Article III of the 1987
when he made said admission." Constitution. The rights of a person in custodial interrogation, which have been made more explicit, are
now contained in Section 12 of the same Article III. 13
The private prosecutors filed a motion for reconsideration. 9 It was denied, by Order dated September 14,
1988. 10 In justification of said Order, respondent Judgeinvoked this Court's rulings in Morales, Jr. v. Juan Right Against Self-Incrimination
Ponce Enrile, et al., 121 SCRA 538, Peo. v. Galit, 135 SCRA 467, Peo. v. Sison, 142 SCRA 219, and Peo. v. The first right, against self-incrimination, mentioned in Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution, is
Decierdo, 149 SCRA 496, among others, to the effect that "in custodial investigations the right to counsel accorded to every person who gives evidence, whether voluntarily or under compulsion of subpoena, in any
may be waived but the waiver shall not be valid unless made with the assistance of counsel," and the explicit civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding. 14 The right is NOT to "be compelled to be a witness against
precept in the present Constitution that the rights in custodial investigation "cannot be waived except in himself."
writing and in the presence of counsel." He pointed out that the investigation of Felipe Ramos at the PAL
Baguio Station was one "for the offense of allegedly misappropriating the proceeds of the tickets issued to The precept set out in that first sentence has a settled meaning. 15 It prescribes an "option of refusal to
him' and therefore clearly fell "within the coverage of the constitutional provisions;" and the fact that Ramos answer incriminating questions and not a prohibition of inquiry."16 It simply secures to a witness, whether
was not detained at the time, or the investigation was administrative in character could not operate to he be a party or not, the right to refuse to answer any particular incriminatory question, i.e., one the answer
except the case "from the ambit of the constitutional provision cited." to which has a tendency to incriminate him for some crime. However, the right can be claimed only when
the specific question, incriminatory in character, is actually put to the witness. It cannot be claimed at any
These Orders, of August 9, 1988 and September 14, 1988 are now assailed in the petition for certiorari and other time. It does not give a witness the right to disregard a subpoena, to decline to appear before the
prohibition at bar, filed in this Court by the private prosecutors in the name of the People of the Philippines. court at the time appointed, or to refuse to testify altogether. The witness receiving a subpoena must obey
By Resolution dated October 26, 1988, the Court required Judge Ayson and Felipe Ramos to comment on it, appear as required, take the stand, be sworn and answer questions. It is only when aparticular question
the petition, and directed issuance of a "TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER . . . ENJOINING the respondents is addressed to him, the answer to which may incriminate him for some offense, that he may refuse to
from proceeding further with the trial and/or hearing of Criminal Case No. 3488-R (People . . . vs. Felipe answer on the strength of the constitutional guaranty.
Ramos), including the issuance of any order, decision or judgment in the aforesaid case or on any matter in
relation to the same case, now pending before the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City, Br. 6, First Judicial That first sentence of Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution does not impose on the judge, or other
Region." The Court also subsequently required the Solicitor General to comment on the petition. The officer presiding over a trial, hearing or investigation, any affirmative obligation to advise a witness of his
comments of Judge Ayson, Felipe Ramos, and the Solicitor General have all been filed. The Solicitor General right against self-incrimination. It is a right that a witness knows or should know, in accordance with the
has made common cause with the petitioner and prays "that the petition be given due course and thereafter well known axiom that every one is presumed to know the law, that ignorance of the law excuses no one.
judgment be rendered setting aside respondent Judge's Orders . . . and ordering him to admit Exhibits 'A' Furthermore, in the very nature of things, neither the judge nor the witness can be expected to know in
and 'K' of the prosecution." The Solicitor General has thereby removed whatever impropriety might have advance the character or effect of a question to be put to the latter. 17
attended the institution of the instant action in the name of the People of the Philippines by lawyers de
parte of the offended party in the criminal action in question. The right against self-incrimination is not self-executing or automatically operational. It must be claimed. If
not claimed by or in behalf of the witness, the protection does not come into play. It follows that the right
The Court deems that there has been full ventilation of the issue — of whether or not it was grave abuse of may be waived, expressly, or impliedly, as by a failure to claim it at the appropriate time. 18
discretion for respondent Judge to have excluded thePeople's Exhibits A and K. It will now proceed to
resolve it. Rights in Custodial Interrogation
Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution also treats of a second right, or better said, group of rights.
At the core of the controversy is Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution, 11 to which
These rights apply to persons "under investigation for the commission of an offense," i.e., "suspects" under
respondent Judge has given a construction that is disputed by the People. The section reads as follows:
investigation by police authorities; and this is what makes these rights different from that embodied in the
SEC. 20. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. Any person first sentence, that against self-incrimination which, as aforestated, indiscriminately applies to any person
under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to remain testifying in any proceeding, civil, criminal, or administrative.
silent and to counsel, and to be informed of such right. No force, violence, threat,
This provision granting explicit rights to persons under investigation for an offense was not in the 1935
intimidation, or any other means which vitiates the free will shall be used against
Constitution. It is avowedly derived from the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona, 19 a
him. Any confession obtained in violation of this section shall be inadmissible in
decision described as an "earthquake in the world of law enforcement." 20
evidence.
Section 20 states that whenever any person is "under investigation for the commission of an offense" —
It should at once be apparent that there are two (2) rights, or sets of rights, dealth with in the section,
namely: 1) he shall have the right to remain silent and to counsel, and to be informed of
each right, 21
1) the right against self-incrimination — i.e., the right of a person not to be compelled to be a witness against
himself — set out in the first sentence, which is a verbatim reproduction of Section 18, Article III of the 1935 2) nor force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiates the
Constitution, and is similar to that accorded by the Fifth Amendment of the American Constitution, 12 and free will shall be used against him; 22 and
It is pertinent at this point to inquire whether the rights just discussed, i.e., (1) that against self-incrimination
and (2) those during custodial interrogation apply to persons under preliminary investigation or
3) any confession obtained in violation of . . . (these rights shall be inadmissible in already charged in court for a crime.
evidence. 23
It seems quite evident that a defendant on trial or under preliminary investigation is not under custodial
In Miranda, Chief Justice Warren summarized the procedural safeguards laid down for a person in police interrogation. His interrogation by the police, if any there had been would already have been ended at the
custody, "in-custody interrogation" being regarded as the commencement of an adversary proceeding time of the filing of the criminal case in court (or the public prosecutors' office). Hence, with respect to a
against the suspect. 24 defendant in a criminal case already pending in court (or the public prosecutor's office), there is no occasion
to speak of his right while under "custodial interrogation" laid down by the second and subsequent
He must be warned prior to any questioning that he has the right to remain silent,
sentences of Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution, for the obvious reason that he is no longer
that anything he says can be used against him in a court of law, that he has the
under "custodial interrogation."
right to the presence of an attorney, and that if he cannot afford an attorney one
will be appointed for him prior to any questioning if he so desires. Opportunity to But unquestionably, the accused in court (or undergoing preliminary investigation before the public
exercise those rights must be afforded to him throughout the interrogation. After prosecutor), in common with all other persons, possesses the right against self-incrimination set out in the
such warnings have been given, such opportunity afforded him, the individual may first sentence of Section 20 Article IV of the 1973 Constitution, i.e., the right to refuse to answer a specific
knowingly and intelligently waive these rights and agree to answer or make a incriminatory question at the time that it is put to him. 30
statement. But unless and until such warnings and waivers are demonstrated by
the prosecution at the trial, no evidence obtained as a result of interrogation can Additionally, the accused in a criminal case in court has other rights in the matter of giving testimony or
be used against him. refusing to do so. An accused "occupies a different tier of protection from an ordinary witness." Under the
Rules of Court, in all criminal prosecutions the defendant is entitled among others —
The objective is to prohibit "incommunicado interrogation of individuals in a police-dominated
atmosphere, resulting in self-incriminating statement without full warnings of constitutional 1) to be exempt from being a witness against himself, 31 and
rights." 25
2) to testify as witness in his own behalf; but if he offers himself as a witness he may be cross-examined as
The rights above specified, to repeat, exist only in "custodial interrogations," or "in-custody interrogation of any other witness; however, his neglect or refusal to be a witness shall not in any manner prejudice or be
accused persons." 26 And, as this Court has already stated, by custodial interrogation is meant "questioning used against him. 32
initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of
his freedom of action in any significant way." 27 The situation contemplated has also been more precisely The right of the defendant in a criminal case "to be exempt from being a witness against himself" signifies
described by this Court. 28 that he cannot be compelled to testify or produce evidence in the criminal case in which he is the accused,
or one of the accused. He cannot be compelled to do so even by subpoena or other process or order of the
. . . After a person is arrested and his custodial investigation begins a Court. He cannot be required to be a witness either for the prosecution, or for a co-accused, or even for
confrontation arises which at best may be termed unequal. The detainee himself. 33 In other words — unlike an ordinary witness (or a party in a civil action) who may be compelled
is brought to an army camp or police headquarters and there questioned to testify by subpoena, having only the right to refuse to answer a particular incriminatory question at the
and "cross-examined" not only by one but as many investigators as may time it is put to him — the defendant in a criminal action can refuse to testify altogether. He can refuse to
be necessary to break down his morale. He finds himself in strange and take the witness stand, be sworn, answer any question. 34 And, as the law categorically states, "his neglect
unfamiliar surroundings, and every person he meets he considers hostile or refusal to be a witness shall not in any manner prejudice or be used against him." 35
to him. The investigators are well-trained and seasoned in their work.
They employ all the methods and means that experience and study have If he should wish to testify in his own behalf, however, he may do so. This is his right. But if he does testify,
taught them to extract the truth, or what may pass for it, out of the then he "may be cross-examined as any other witness." He may be cross-examined as to any matters stated
detainee. Most detainees are unlettered and are not aware of their in his direct examination, or connected therewith. 36 He may not on cross-examination refuse to answer
constitutional rights. And even if they were, the intimidating and coercive any question on the ground that the answer that he will give, or the evidence he will produce, would have
presence of the officers of the law in such an atmosphere overwhelms a tendency to incriminate him for the crime with which he is charged.
them into silence. Section 20 of the Bill of Rights seeks to remedy this
imbalance." It must however be made clear that if the defendant in a criminal action be asked a question which might
incriminate him, not for the crime with which he is charged, but for some other crime, distinct from that of
Not every statement made to the police by a person involved in some crime is within the scope of the which he is accused, he may decline to answer that specific question, on the strength of the right against
constitutional protection. If not made "under custodial interrogation," or "under investigation for the self-incrimination granted by the first sentence of Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution (now
commission of an offense," the statement is not protected. Thus, in one case, 29 where a person went to a Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution). Thus, assuming that in a prosecution for murder, the accused should
police precinct and before any sort of investigation could be initiated, declared that he was giving himself testify in his behalf, he may not on cross-examination refuse to answer any question on the ground that he
up for the killing of an old woman because she was threatening to kill him bybarang, or witchcraft, this might be implicated in that crime of murder; but he may decline to answer any particular question which
Court ruled that such a statement was admissible, compliance with the constitutional procedure on might implicate him for a different and distinct offense, say, estafa.
custodial interrogation not being exigible under the circumstances.
In fine, a person suspected of having committed a crime and subsequently charged with its commission in
Rights of Defendant in Criminal Case court, has the following rights in that matter of his testifying or producing evidence, to wit:
As Regards Giving of Testimony 1) BEFORE THE CASE IS FILED IN COURT (or with the public prosecutor, for preliminary investigation), but
after having been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his liberty in some significant way, and on
being interrogated by the police: the continuing right to remain silent and to counsel, and to be informed may be admitted and duly considered by the investigating officer or committee, in negation or mitigation
thereof, not to be subjected to force, violence, threat, intimidation or any other means which vitiates the of his liability.
free will; and to have evidence obtained in violation of these rights rejected; and
Of course the possibility cannot be discounted that in certain instances the judge's expressed
2) AFTER THE CASE IS FILED IN COURT — 37 apprehensions may be realized, that violence or intimidation, undue pressure or influence be brought to
bear on an employee under investigation — or for that matter, on a person being interrogated by another
a) to refuse to be a witness; whom he has supposedly offended. In such an event, any admission or confession wrung from the person
b) not to have any prejudice whatsoever result to him by such refusal; under interrogation would be inadmissible in evidence, on proof of the vice or defect vitiating consent, not
because of a violation of Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution, but simply on the general,
c) to testify to his own behalf, subject to cross-examination by the prosecution; incontestable proposition that involuntary or coerced statements may not in justice be received against the
d) WHILE TESTIFYING, to refuse to answer a specific question which tends to incriminate makers thereof, and really should not be accorded any evidentiary value at all.
him for some time other than that for which he is prosecuted.
WHEREFORE, the writ of certiorari is granted annulling and setting aside the Orders of the
It should by now be abundantly apparent that respondent Judge has misapprehended the nature and respondent Judge in Criminal Case No. 3488-R, dated August 9, 1988 and September 14, 1988, and he is
import of the disparate rights set forth in Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution. He has taken them hereby ordered to admit in evidence Exhibits "A" and "K" of the prosecution in said Criminal Case No. 3488-
as applying to the same juridical situation, equating one with the other. In so doing, he has grossly erred. R, and thereafter proceed with the trial and adjudgment thereof. The temporary restraining order of
To be sure, His Honor sought to substantiate his thesis by arguments he took to be cogent and logical. The October 26, 1988 having become functus oficio, is now declared of no further force and effect.
thesis was however so far divorced from the actual and correct state of the constitutional and legal
principles involved as to make application of said thesis to the case before him tantamount to totally ||| (People v. Ayson, G.R. No. 85215, [July 7, 1989], 256 PHIL 671-690)
unfounded, whimsical or capricious exercise of power. His Orders were thus rendered with grave abuse of
discretion. They should be as they are hereby, annulled and set aside.

It is clear from the undisputed facts of this case that Felipe Ramos was not in any sense under custodial
interrogation, as the term should be properly understood, prior to and during the administrative inquiry
into the discovered irregularities in ticket sales in which he appeared to have had a hand. The constitutional
rights of a person under custodial interrogation under Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution did not
therefore come into play, were of no relevance to the inquiry. It is also clear, too, that Ramos had voluntarily
answered questions posed to him on the first day of the administrative investigation, February 9, 1986 and
agreed that the proceedings should be recorded, the record having thereafter been marked during the trial
of the criminal action subsequently filed against him as Exhibit A, just as it is obvious that the note (later
marked as Exhibit K) that he sent to his superiors on February 8, 1986, the day before the investigation,
offering to compromise his liability in the alleged irregularities, was a free and even spontaneous act on his
part. They may not be excluded on the ground that the so-called "Miranda rights" had not been accorded
to Ramos.

His Honor adverts to what he perceives to be the "greater danger . . (of) the violation of the right of any
person against self-incrimination when the investigation is conducted by the complaining parties,
complaining companies, or complaining employers because being interested parties, unlike the police
agencies who have no propriety or pecuniary interest to protect, they may in their overeagerness or
zealousness bear heavily on their hapless suspects, whether employees or not, to give statements under an
atmosphere of moral coercion, undue ascendancy, and undue influence." It suffices to draw attention to
the specific and peremptory requirement of the law that disciplinary sanctions may not be imposed on any
employee by his employer until and unless the employee has been accorded due process, by which is meant
that the latter must be informed of the offenses ascribed to him and afforded adequate time and
opportunity to explain his side. The requirement entails the making of statements, oral or written, by the
employee under such administrative investigation in his defense, with opportunity to solicit the assistance
of counsel, or his colleagues and friends. The employee may, of course, refuse to submit any statement at
the investigation, that is his privilege. But if he should opt to do so, in his defense to the accusation against
him, it would be absurd to reject his statements, whether at the administrative investigation, or at a
subsequent criminal action brought against him, because he had not been accorded, prior to his making
and presenting them, his "Miranda rights" (to silence and to counsel and to be informed thereof, etc.)
which, to repeat, are relevant only in custodial investigations. Indeed, it is self-evident that the employee's
statements, whether called "position paper," "answer," etc., are submitted by him precisely so that they
SECOND DIVISION enter the house of KOJI SATO, by detaching the four (4) pieces of window jalousies
and destroying the aluminum screens of the servant's quarters and entered
through the same, an opening not intended for entrance or egress, and once
[G.R. Nos. 74123-24. September 26, 1988.] inside, took, robbed and carried away the following articles, to wit:

Cash amount and/or cash money P 180.00


THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. RONILO PINLAC Y
LIBAO, accused-appellant. Alba (Seiko) wrist watch 300.00

Gold necklace with pendant

SYLLABUS of undetermined value,

to the damage and prejudice of the owner KOJI SATO, in the aforesaid total
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; RIGHT OF THE ACCUSED; RIGHT TO BE INFORMED; amount of P480.00 and a necklace of undetermined value."
CONTEMPLATES THE TRANSMISSION OF MEANINGFUL INFORMATION. — When the Constitution requires
a person under investigation "to be informed" of his right to remain silent and to counsel, it must be Re: Criminal Case No. 10477
presumed to contemplate the transmission of a meaningful information rather than just the ceremonial
"That on or about the 8th day of April, 1984, in the Municipality of Makati, Metro
and perfunctory recitation of an abstract constitutional principle.
Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; MERE REPETITION OF CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION, NOT SUFFICIENT. — As a rule, named accused, RONILO PINLAC y LIBAO, with intent to gain and by means of
therefore, it would not be sufficient for a police officer just to repeat to the person under investigation the force and violence upon things, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully and
provisions of the Constitution. He is not only duty-bound to tell the person the rights to which the latter is feloniously enter the house of SAEKI OSAMU, by slashing the screen wall of his
entitled; he must also explain their effects in practical terms, (See People vs. Ramos, 122 SCRA house and entered through the same, an opening not intended for entrance or
312; People vs. Caguioa, 95 SCRA 2). In other words, the right of a person under interrogation "to be egress, and once inside, took, robbed and carried away a Hitachi Cassette tape
informed" implies a correlative obligation on the part of the police investigator to explain, and contemplates recorder of undetermined value, belonging to the said SAEKI OSAMU, to the
an effective communication that results in understanding what is conveyed. Short of this, there is a denial damage and prejudice of the owner thereof, in the amount of undetermined
of the right, as it cannot truly be said that the person has been "informed" of his rights. (Peoplevs. Nicandro, value.
141 SCRA 289).
"That on the occasion of the said Robbery, the above named accused,
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS, ENTITLES ACCUSED TO RONILO PINLAC y LIBAO in order to insure the commission of the said Robbery,
ACQUITTAL. — Going to the instant case, We find that the evidence for the prosecution failed to prove with deliberate intent to kill and without justifiable cause, did, then and there
compliance with these constitutional rights. Furthermore, the accused was not assisted by counsel and his willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab one SAEKI OSAMU,
alleged waiver was made without the assistance of counsel. The record of the case is also replete with several times with a kitchen knife he was then provided with, thereby causing
evidence which was not satisfactorily rebutted by the prosecution, that the accused was maltreated and several mortal wounds on the person of the said SAEKI OSAMU, which directly
tortured for seven (7) solid hours before he signed the prepared extra-judicial confession. All considered, caused his death.
We hold that the guilt of the accused (petitioner) has not been established beyond reasonable doubt.
After said accused entered a plea of not guilty, the cases proceeded to trial. On March 18, 1986, the trial
court rendered its now assailed decision finding the accused guilty as charged with the dispositive portion
thereof reading as follows:

DECISION "WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court hereby renders judgment:

1. In Criminal Case No. 10476 — finding accused, Ronilo Pinlac y Libao, guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of robbery, and sentencing him to suffer
imprisonment of SIX (6) YEARS of prision correccional, as minimum, to EIGHT (8)
PARAS, J p:
YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of prision mayor, as maximum, and to pay the offended
party, Koji Sato, in the amount of Five Hundred Pesos (P500.00), Philippine
The Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch CXLV (145) Makati, Metro Manila dated March 18, 1986 Currency, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the
rendered jointly in its Criminal Case No. 10476 and Criminal Case No. 10477, is before Us on automatic costs. He is credited in the service of his sentence with the full time during which
review. Therein, accused Ronilo Pinlac y Libao was charged in two (2) separate information, as follows: he has undergone preventive imprisonment.
Re: Criminal Case No. 10476 2. In Criminal Case No. 10477 — finding accused, Ronilo Pinlac y Libao, guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of robbery with homicide, and sentencing
"That on or about the 8th day of April, 1984, in the Municipality of Makati, Metro
him to the supreme penalty of DEATH, and to pay the heirs of the victim, Saeki
Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above
Osamu, the sum of Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00), Philippine Currency, and
named accused RONILO PINLAC y LIBAO, with intent to gain and by means of force
to pay the costs."
and violence upon things, did, then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
The facts of the case as summarized by the trial court in its decision are — revealed that she saw Pinlac enter the house of Sato at seven o'clock in the
evening, although she did not see him leave thereafter; and that Jandayan has
"Long before April 1984, two Japanese nationals were neighbors in San Lorenzo knowledge of the address of Marcelino. Her two statements were introduced in
Village, Makati, Metro Manila. evidence as Exhibits "Z" and "AA". Subsequently, the policemen went to
Marcelino's residence in Taguig, Metro Manila and, findingPinlac thereat, invited
Mr. Koji Sato, 27 years old, married and a mechanical engineer by profession
him to the police station. Detective Samson (who also took the witness stand)
rented a house at No. 32 Arguilla Street in the said plush subdivision. He was living
opined that the killer made his entry by removing the panels of jalousies at the
alone in said house, although he had a housemaid by the name of Irene Jandayan,
rear of the house and that fingerprints were lifted from the victim's house.
who started working for him in 1981, and a cook by the name of Delia Marcelino.
Policemen Mallari submitted his final report Exhibit "X", regarding this incident.
The latter was employed for almost a year; she went on maternity leave three days
before the end of February 1984, since she was due to deliver a child with her
husband, Pinlac, who had frequently visited her in Sato's place.
Upon returning to her room at seven o'clock in the morning of April 9, 1984,
A low concrete fence separated the house rented by Sato from that rented by Mr. Jandayan saw that almost one-half of the jalousies were detached and that her
Saeki Osamu, 35 years old, whose house is No. 34 in the same street. The latter, room was dirty. In the afternoon of the same day (4:35 P.M.) she gave her sworn
whose wife, Hiroko Saeki, was in the same address but who returned to Japan statement marked Exhibit "B". She told the investigator that in the morning of April
sometime after his untimely demise, was a staff member of the Japan 6 she was called by Pinlac thru the telephone to inform that she had a letter from
International Cooperation Agency in the Philippines. his wife. That she had to go to the guardhouse to get the letter from him since he
was not allowed to enter the subdivision; that at eight o'clock in the afternoon of
April 7, 1984, fell on a Saturday. The following day was Jandayan's day-off.
the same day Pinlac again called her to inquire about her reply; that she again
According to arrangement she was allowed to begin her day-off in the evening of
went to the guardhouse to deliver to Pinlac her reply letter to Marcelino and the
Saturday.
sum of Fifty Pesos which she owed her.
At around five o'clock in the afternoon of April 7th Sato went out of his house. At
At around 8:30 o'clock in the evening of April 9th, Sgt. Flores extracted the extra-
around 6:45 following, Jandayan also left the house in order to go home to
judicial confession of Pinlac (Exhibit "F", "F-1" and "F-2")." (pp. 65-67, Rollo)
Novaliches, Quezon City. But before leaving the house Jandayan saw to it that the
windows and doors were securely closed and locked. It was only in the morning of The foregoing findings of fact are vigorously denied by the accused. His version of the incident is that —
the following Monday that Jandayan returned to her employer's residence.
"From 9:00 P.M., on April 7, 1984 up to 11:00 P.M., the accused has never left the
Returning home at around 11:30 in the evening of the same day, Sato noticed that premises of his house; this fact was corroborated by defense witness Barcelino
the front door was already unlocked. Upon returning to his room upstairs he Heramis who noticed accused's presence in the premises as he and his children
discovered that his Walkman transistor which was placed beside his bed was were then practicing their musical instrument that evening.
already missing. He searched for it upstairs, downstairs and around the house. It
was only after entering Jandayan's room that he found his transistor together with At about 2:00 P.M., April 9, 1986, three (3) Policemen, came to his house in Taguig
his two wrist watches (he was then wearing one), cigarette lighter and eyeglass and arrested the accused for robbing Mr. Sato and for killing Mr. Osamu, without
case. Another watch, an Alba Seiko, which he bought in Japan for 7,000 yen (the any Warrant of Arrest shown to him despite his demand. Before he was brought
approximate equivalent of P300.00), a gold necklace which had sentimental value first to the houses of Mr. Sato and Mr. Osamu, walked him around and showed
because given to him as a gift, and cash money amounting to P180.00, were all him the destroyed window; and thereafter brought him inside the house. In short,
missing. They were never recovered. he was ordered to reenact according to what the police theorized how the crime
was committed. It was at this moment that the prints of the sole of accused's
Sato thereafter went to the Makati Police Station to report the robbery. He shoes were all over the premises of Osamu and Sato's houses.
requested some policemen to repair to his residence to investigate. It was when
the police investigators had already reached his residence that he learned about During the investigation at the Police Headquarters in Makati, Metro Manila, he
the death of Osamu. was tortured and forced to admit the crimes charged; and as a result of that
unbearable physical torture, his lips and mouth suffered cuts and cracks to bleed
On April 8, 1984, police detective Renato Mallari, together with detectives Evelio furiously; and that blood dripped into his clothings down to his shoes, thus
Bactad, Alex Samson, Isagani Viclar and police sergeant Vicente Flores, acting upon explains why there are blood stains in his shoes. Before and during the arrest, the
a report, went to the Makati Medical Center where Osamu was rushed to. police officers have never mentioned about the stain of blood in accused's shoes
Learning that Osamu died upon arrival in the hospital, they proceeded to No. 34 which they could have easily detected during the arrest. They got his shoes only
Arguilla Street. Thereat Viclar took photographs from different angles of the scene after it were stained with blood oozing from accused's lips and mouth as a result
of the crime. The death weapon, the kitchen knife marked Exhibit "Q" was of the injuries he sustained from the torturers.
recovered from the living room of the house. This was later turned over to the PC
crime laboratory for chemical examination. Blood was scattered in the living room. It was on that evening of April 9, 1986 at about 9:00 o'clock, when accused could
The telephone cord in the living room was cut off. Going around the house the no longer bear the torture starting from 2:00 P.M. for seven (7) solid hours when
investigators saw the slashed screen wall near the back door. Several footprints he ultimately succumbed to the wishes of his torturers and finally signed a
were found in the backyard; these correspond to the impressions of the soles prepared confession which he was not even allowed to read, nor explained to him.
of Pinlac's shoes (Exhibit R). Osamu's maid, Evelyn Salomea, was investigated. She The police investigators did not even wait in the following morning for the accused
to sign the same considering that said confession was subscribed only on the showing, the admission or confession made by a person under investigation
following day April 10, 1986 by a certain Assistant Fiscal."(pp. 53-54, Rollo) cannot be admitted in evidence.

In assailing his conviction, the accused (now petitioner) contends that the trial court erred in admitting in Thus, in People vs. Ramos, supra, the Court ruled that the verbal admission of the
evidence his extra-judicial confession, which was allegedly obtained thru force, torture, violence and accused during custodial investigation was inadmissible, although he had been
intimidation, without having been apprised of his constitutional rights and without the assistance of apprised of his constitutional rights to silence and to counsel, for the reason that
counsel. the prosecution failed to show that those rights were explained to him, such that
it could not be said that "the appraisal was sufficiently manifested and intelligently
Numerous factors combine to make the appeal meritorious. The prosecution evidence leaves much to be understood" by the accused." (People vs. Nicandro supra)
desired. No direct evidence or testimony of any eyewitness was presented identifying the accused as the
perpetrator of the crime charged. The only evidence furnished by the police authorities were merely Going to the instant case, We find that the evidence for the prosecution failed to prove compliance with
circumstantial evidence regarding the fingerprints of the accused found in the window stabs of the maid's these constitutional rights. Furthermore, the accused was not assisted by counsel and his alleged waiver
quarters and in the kitchen cabinet in the house of Mr. Sato. But this was satisfactorily explained by the was made without the assistance of counsel. The record of the case is also replete with evidence which was
accused to the effect that aside from being a frequent visitor in the house of Mr. Sato where his wife works not satisfactorily rebutted by the prosecution, that the accused was maltreated and tortured for seven (7)
as a cook wherein at those times he could have unknowingly left his fingerprints, but most especially during solid hours before he signed the prepared extra-judicial confession.
the time when he was arrested and ordered to reenact. In the process he held some of these window slabs,
walls, furniture, etc., in accordance with the order of the arresting officer. The only evidence presented by On June 23, 1987, the Solicitor General filed a Manifestation and Motion in lieu of brief, praying that the
the prosecution which could have been fatal, is the extra-judicial confession of the accused, which is now judgment of conviction be reversed and the accused be acquitted of the crime charged.
being assailed as violative of the Constitution.
All considered, We hold that the guilt of the accused (petitioner) has not been established beyond
In the case of People vs. Galit, G.R. No. L-51770, promulgated on March 20, 1985, which cited the case reasonable doubt.
of Morales vs. Ponce Enrile, 121 SCRA 538, this Court reiterated the correct procedure for peace officers to
WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the petitioner is hereby ACQUITTED.
follow when making arrest and in conducting a custodial investigation. Therein, We said —
SO ORDERED.
"7. At the time a person is arrested, it shall be the duty of the arresting officer to
inform him of the reason for the arrest and he must be shown the warrant of ||| (People v. Pinlac y Libao, G.R. Nos. 74123-24, [September 26, 1988], 248 PHIL 114-123)
arrest, . . . He shall be informed of his constitutional rights to remain silent and to
counsel and that any statement he might make could be used against him. The
person arrested shall have the right to communicate with his lawyer, a relative, or
anyone he chooses by the most expedient means — by telephone if possible — or
by letter or messenger. It shall be the responsibility of the arresting officer to see
to it that this is accomplished. No custodial investigation shall be conducted unless SECOND DIVISION
it be in the presence of counsel engaged by the person arrested, by any person on
his behalf, or appointed by the court upon petition either of the detainee himself
[G.R. No. 101808. July 3, 1992.]
or by anyone in his behalf. The right to counsel may be waived but the waiver shall
not be valid unless made with the assistance of counsel. Any statement obtained
in violation of the procedure herein laid down, whether exculpatory or inculpatory PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. RAMON BOLANOS, accused-
in whole or in part shall be inadmissible in evidence." (pp. 19-20, 139 SCRA). appellant.
When the Constitution requires a person under investigation "to be informed" of his right to remain silent
and to counsel, it must be presumed to contemplate the transmission of a meaningful information rather
than just the ceremonial and perfunctory recitation of an abstract constitutional principle. As a rule, The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
therefore, it would not be sufficient for a police officer just to repeat to the person under investigation the
provisions of the Constitution. He is not only duty-bound to tell the person the rights to which the latter is Public Attorney's Office for accused-appellant.
entitled; he must also explain their effects in practical terms, (See People vs. Ramos, 122 SCRA
312; People vs. Caguioa, 95 SCRA 2). In other words, the right of a person under interrogation "to be
informed" implies a correlative obligation on the part of the police investigator to explain, and contemplates SYLLABUS
an effective communication that results in understanding what is conveyed. Short of this, there is a denial
of the right, as it cannot truly be said that the person has been "informed" of his rights. (People vs. Nicandro,
141 SCRA 289). 1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; RIGHT OF PERSON UNDER CUSTODIAL INVESTIGATION; RULE. —
Being already under custodial investigation while on board the police patrol jeep on the way to the Police
"The Fiscal has the duty to adduce evidence that there was compliance with the Station where formal investigation may have been conducted, appellant should have been informed of his
duties of an interrogating officer — As it is the obligation of the investigating Constitutional rights under Article III, Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution which explicitly provides: "(1) Any
officer to inform a person under investigation of his right to remain silent and to person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to remain silent and to have
counsel, so it is the duty of the prosecution to affirmatively establish compliance competent and independent preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the service of counsel,
by the investigating officer with his said obligation. Absent such affirmative he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.
"(2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiate the free will shall be abusive; this statement of the accused was considered admissible in evidence
used against him. Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are against him by the Court because it was given freely and before the investigation.
prohibited. "(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be
inadmissible in evidence against him. "(4) The law shall provide for penal and civil sanctions for violation of "The foregoing circumstances clearly lead to a fair and reasonable conclusion that
this section as well as compensation and rehabilitation of victims of torture or similar practices and their the accused Ramon Bolanos is guilty of having killed the victim Oscar Pagdalian."
families." (Judgment, p. 6)

A Manifestation (in lieu of Appellee's Brief), was filed by the Solicitor General's Office, dated April 2, 1992,
with the position that the lower court erred in admitting in evidence the extra-judicial confession of
appellant while on board the police patrol jeep. Said office even postulated that: "(A)ssuming that it was
DECISION given, it was done in violation of appellant's Constitutional right to be informed, to remain silent and to have
a counsel of his choice, while already under police custody." (Manifestation, p. 4)

Being already under custodial investigation while on board the police patrol jeep on the way to the Police
PARAS, J p: Station where formal investigation may have been conducted, appellant should have been informed of his
Constitutional rights under Article III, Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution which explicitly provides:
This is a review of the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 14, under Criminal "(1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the
Case No. 1831-M-90, for "Murder", wherein the accused-appellant, Ramon Bolanos was convicted, as right to remain silent and to have competent and independent preferably of his
follows: own choice. If the person cannot afford the service of counsel, he must be provided
with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of
"WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable
counsel. cdphil
doubt of the Crime of Murder and the Court hereby imposed upon the accused
Ramon Bolanos the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua (life imprisonment) and to pay "(2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which
the heirs of the victim P50,000.00. With Costs. vitiate the free will shall be used against him. Secret detention places, solitary,
incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are prohibited.
"SO ORDERED." (Judgment, p. 6)
"(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or the preceding
The antecedent facts and circumstances, follow:
section shall be inadmissible in evidence against him.
The evidence for the prosecution consisted of the testimonies of Patrolmen Marcelo J. Fidelino and
"(4) The law shall provide for penal and civil sanctions for violation of this section
Francisco Dayao of the Integrated National Police (INP), Balagtas, Bulacan, Calixto Guinsaya, and Dr. Benito
as well as compensation and rehabilitation of victims of torture or similar practices
Caballero, Medico-Legal Officer of Bocaue, Bulacan and documentary exhibits. The testimonial evidence
and their families." (Emphasis supplied)
were after the fat narration of events based on the report regarding the death of the victim, Oscar Pagdalian
which was communicated to the Police Station where the two (2) policemen who responded to the incident Considering the clear requirements of the Constitution with respect to the manner by which confession can
are assigned and subsequently became witnesses for the prosecution. (Appellant's Brief, p. 2) be admissible in evidence, and the glaring fact that the alleged confession obtained while on board the
police vehicle was the only reason for the conviction, besides appellant's conviction was not proved beyond
Patrolmen Rolando Alcantara and Francisco Dayao testified that they proceeded to the scene of the crime
reasonable doubt, this Court has no recourse but to reverse the subject judgment under review.
of Marble Supply, Balagtas, Bulacan and upon arrival they saw the deceased Oscar Pagdalian lying on an
improvised bed full of blood with stab wounds. They then inquired about the circumstances of the incident WHEREFORE, finding that the Constitutional rights of the accused-appellant have been violated, the
and were informed that the deceased was with two (2) companions, on the previous night, one of whom appellant is ACQUITTED, with costs de oficio.
was the accused who had a drinking spree with the deceased and another companion (Claudio Magtibay)
till the wee hours of the following morning, June 23, 1990. (Ibid., p. 3) prLL SO ORDERED.

The corroborating testimony of Patrolmen Francisco Dayao, further indicated that when they apprehended ||| (People v. Bolanos, G.R. No. 101808, [July 3, 1992])
the accused-appellant, they found the firearm of the deceased on the chair where the accused was allegedly
seated; that they boarded Ramon Bolanos and Claudio Magtibay on the police vehicle and brought them to
the police station. In the vehicle where the suspect was riding, "Ramon Bolanos accordingly admitted that
he killed the deceased Oscar Pagdalian because he was abusive." (Ibid., p. 4)

During the trial, it was clearly established that the alleged oral admission of the appellant was given without
the assistance of counsel as it was made while on board the police vehicle on their way to the police station.
The specific portion of the decision of the court a quo reads as follows:

". . . the police boarded the two, the accused Ramon Bolanos and Claudio
Magtibay in their jeep and proceeded to the police station of Balagtas, Bulacan to
be investigated, on the way the accused told the police, after he was asked by the
police if he killed the victim, that he killed the victim because the victim was
EN BANC and voluntarily telling the truth. Hence, we hold that appellant's confession to the mayor was correctly
admitted by the trial court.

[G.R. No. 116437. March 3, 1997.] 4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT APPLICABLE TO CONFESSIONS MADE BY THE ACCUSED IN RESPONSE TO QUESTIONS
BY NEWS REPORTERS; CASE AT BAR. — Appellant's confessions to the media were likewise properly
admitted. The confessions were made in response to questions by news reporters, not by the police or any
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. PABLITO ANDAN y other investigating officer. We have held that statements spontaneously made by a suspect to news
HERNANDEZ @ BOBBY, accused-appellant. reporters on a televised interview are deemed voluntary and are admissible in evidence. Clearly, appellant's
confessions to the news reporters were given free from any undue influence from the police authorities.
The news reporters acted as news reporters when they interviewed appellant. They were not acting under
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. the direction and control of the police. They were there to check appellant's confession to the mayor. They
did not force appellant to grant them an interview and reenact the commission of the crime. In fact, they
Miguel P. Pineda for accused-appellant. asked his permission before interviewing him. They interviewed him on separate days not once did
appellant protest his innocence. Instead, he repeatedly confessed his guilt to them. He even supplied all the
details in the commission of the crime, and consented to its reenactment. All his confessions to the news
reporters were witnessed by his family and other relatives. There was no coercive atmosphere in the
SYLLABUS
interview of appellant by the news reporters.

5. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; RATIONALE. — We rule that appellant's verbal confessions to the newsmen are not
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; RIGHT OF THE ACCUSED UNDER CUSTODIAL INVESTIGATION;
covered by Section 12 (1) and (3) of Article III of theConstitution. The Bill of Rights does not concern itself
RATIONALE FOR THE EXCLUSIONARY RULE THEREON. — Any person under investigation for the commission
with the relation between a private individual and another individual. It governs the relationship between
of an offense shall have the right (1) to remain silent; (2) to have competent and independent counsel
the individual and the State. The prohibitions therein are primarily addressed to the State and its agents.
preferably of his own choice; and (3) to be informed of such rights. These rights cannot be waived except in
They confirm that certain rights of the individual exist without need of any governmental grant, rights that
writing and in the presence of counsel. Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this provision
may not be taken away by government, rights that government has the duty to protect. Governmental
is inadmissible in evidence against him. The exclusionary rule is premised on the presumption that the
power is not unlimited and the Bill of Rights lays down these limitations to protect the individual against
defendant is thrust into an unfamiliar atmosphere and runs through menacing police interrogation
aggression and unwarranted interference by any department of government and its agencies.
procedures where the potentiality for compulsion, physical and psychological, is forcefully apparent. The
incommunicado character of custodial interrogation or investigation also obscure a later judicial 6. CRIMINAL LAW; RAPE; ABSENCE OF SPERMATOZOA DOES NOT NEGATE THE COMMISSION THEREOF. —
determination of what really transpired. We have also ruled in the past that the absence of spermatozoa in the vagina does not negate the
commission of rape nor does the lack of complete penetration or rupture of the hymen. What is essential
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; BEGINS WHEN THE INVESTIGATION STARTS TO FOCUS ON A PARTICULAR PERSON AS A
is that there be penetration of the female organ no matter how slight.
SUSPECT. — It should be stressed that the rights under Section 12 are accorded to "[a]ny person under
investigation for the commission of an offense." An investigation begins when it is no longer a general
inquiry into an unsolved crime but starts to focus on a particular person as a suspect, i.e., when the police
investigator starts interrogating or exacting a confession from the suspect in connection with an alleged
offense. As intended by the 1971 Constitutional Convention, this covers "investigation conducted by police DECISION
authorities which will include investigations conducted by the municipal police, the PC and the NBI and such
other police agencies in our government."

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; EXCLUSIONARY RULE; NOT APPLICABLE TO THE SPONTANEOUS STATEMENT MADE BY THE PER CURIAM p :
ACCUSED WHICH WERE NOT ELICITED THROUGH QUESTIONING BY THE AUTHORITIES; CASE AT BAR. —
Under the circumstances in this case, it cannot be successfully claimed that appellant's confession before
Accused-appellant Pablito Andan y Hernandez alias "Bobby" was accused of the crime of rape with homicide
the mayor is inadmissible. It is true that a municipal mayor has "operational supervision and control" over
committed as follows:
the local police and may arguably be deemed a law enforcement officer for purposes of applying Section 12
(1) and (3) of Article III of the Constitution. However, appellant's confession to the mayor was not made in "That on or about the 19th day of February 1994, in the municipality of Baliuag,
response to any interrogation by the latter. In fact, the mayor did not question appellant at all. No police province of Bulacan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
authority ordered appellant to talk to the mayor. It was appellant himself who spontaneously, freely and Court, the above-named accused, with lewd design, by means of violence and
voluntarily sought the mayor for a private meeting. The mayor did not know that appellant was going to intimidation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal
confess his guilt to him. When appellant talked with the mayor as a confidant and not as a law enforcement knowledge of oneMarianne Guevarra y Reyes against her will and without her
officer, his uncounseled confession to him did not violate his constitutional rights. Thus, it has been held consent; and the above-named accused in order to suppress evidence against him
that the constitutional procedures on custodial investigation do not apply to a spontaneous statement, not and delay (sic) the identity of the victim, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully
elicited through questioning by the authorities, but given in an ordinary manner whereby appellant orally and feloniously, with intent to kill the said Marianne Guevarra y Reyes, attack,
admitted having committed the crime. What the Constitution bars is the compulsory disclosure of assault and hit said victim with concrete hollow blocks in her face and in different
incriminating facts or confessions. The rights under Section 12 are guaranteed to preclude the slightest use parts of her body, thereby inflicting upon her mortal wounds which directly caused
of coercion by the state as would lead the accused to admit something false, not to prevent him from freely her death.
Contrary to Law." 1 3.2 temple, lateral to the outer edge of eyebrow, right.

The prosecution established that on February 19, 1994 at about 4:00 P.M., in Concepcion Subdivision,
3.3 upper and lower jaws, right.
Baliuag, Bulacan, Marianne Guevarra, twenty years of age and a second-year student at the Fatima School
of Nursing, left her home for her school dormitory in Valenzuela, Metro Manila. She was to prepare for her 4. Lacerated wounds:
final examinations on February 21, 1994. Marianne wore a striped blouse and faded denim pants and
brought with her two bags containing her school uniforms, some personal effects and more than P2,000.00
4.1 eyebrow, lateral border, right, 1/2 inch.
in cash.

Marianne was walking along the subdivision when appellant invited her inside his house. He used the
pretext that the blood pressure of his wife's grandmother should be taken. Marianne agreed to take her
blood pressure as the old woman was her distant relative. She did not know that nobody was inside the 4.2 face, from right cheek below the zygoma to midline
house. Appellant then punched her in the abdomen, brought her to the kitchen and raped her. His lust lower jaw, 4 inches.
sated, appellant dragged the unconscious girl to an old toilet at the back of the house and left her there
until dark. Night came and appellant pulled Marianne, who was still unconscious, to their backyard. The 5. Fractures:
yard had a pigpen bordered on one side by a six-foot high concrete fence. On the other side was a vacant
lot. Appellant stood on a bench beside the pigpen and then lifted and draped the girl's body over the fence 5.1 maxillary bone, right.
to transfer it to the vacant lot. When the girl moved, he hit her head with a piece of concrete block. He
heard her moan and hit her again on the face. After silence reigned, he pulled her body to the other side of 5.2 mandible, multiple, complete, right, with avulsion of 1st
the fence, dragged it towards a shallow portion of the lot and abandoned it. 2 and 2nd incisors.
At 11:00 A.M. of the following day, February 20, 1994, the body of Marianne was discovered. She was naked 6. Cerebral contusions, inferior surface, temporal and frontal lobes, right.
from the chest down with her brassiere and T-shirt pulled toward her neck. Nearby was found a panty with
a sanitary napkin. 7. External genitalia
The autopsy conducted by Dr. Alberto Bondoc revealed that Marianne died of "traumatic injuries" sustained
7.1 minimal blood present.
as follows:

"1. Abrasions: 7.2 no signs of recent physical injuries noted on both labia,
introitus and exposed vaginal wall.
1.1 chest and abdomen, multiple, superficial, linear, generally
oblique from right to left. 8. Laboratory examination of smear samples from the vaginal cavity showed
negative for spermatozoa (Bulacan Provincial Hospital, February 22, 1994, by Dr.
2. Abrasions/contusions: Wilfredo S. de Vera).

CAUSE OF DEATH: Cardiorespiratory Arrest due to Cerebral Contusions due to


2.1 temple, right. Traumatic Injuries, Face." 3

2.2 cheek, right. Marianne's gruesome death drew public attention and prompted Mayor Cornelio Trinidad of Baliuag to
form a crack team of police officers to look for the criminal. Searching the place where Marianne's body
2.3 upper and lower jaws, right. was found, the policemen recovered a broken piece of concrete block stained with what appeared to be
blood. They also found a pair of denim pants and a pair of shoes which were identified as Marianne's. 4
2.4 breast, upper inner quadrant, right. Appellant's nearby house was also searched by the police who found bloodstains on the wall of the pigpen
in the backyard. They interviewed the occupants of the house and learned from Romano Calma, the
2.5 breast, upper outer quadrant, left. stepbrother of appellant's wife, that accused-appellant also lived there but that he, his wife and son left
without a word. Calma surrendered to the police several articles consisting of pornographic pictures, a pair
2.6 abdomen, just above the umbilicus, rectangular, of wet short pants with some reddish brown stain, a towel also with the stain, and a wet T-shirt. The clothes
approximate 3 inches in width, from right MCL were found in the laundry hamper inside the house and allegedly belonged to appellant. 5
to left AAL.
The police tried to locate appellant and learned that his parents live in Barangay Tangos, Baliuag, Bulacan.
On February 24 at 11:00 P.M., a police team led by Mayor Trinidad traced appellant in his parents' house.
2.7. elbow joint, posterior, bilateral. They took him aboard the patrol jeep and brought him to the police headquarters where he was
interrogated. Initially, appellant denied any knowledge of Marianne's death. However, when the police
3. Hematoma:
confronted him with the concrete block, the victim's clothes and the bloodstains found in the pigpen,
appellant relented and said that his neighbors, Gilbert Larin and Reynaldo Dizon, killed Marianne and that
3.1 upper and lower eyelids, bilateral. he was merely a lookout. He also said that he knew where Larin and Dizon hid the two bags of
Marianne. 6 Immediately, the police took appellant to his house. Larin and Dizon, who were rounded up crimes and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of DEATH; to indemnify the
earlier, were likewise brought there by the police. Appellant went to an old toilet at the back of the house, family of Marianne Guevarra the amount of P50,000.00 for the death of Marianne
leaned over a flower pot and retrieved from a canal under the pot, two bags which were later identified as Guevarra and P71,000.00 as actual burial and incidental expenses and
belonging to Marianne. Thereafter, photographs were taken of appellant and the two other suspects P100,000.00 as moral damages. After automatic review of this case and the
holding the bags. 7 decision becomes final and executory, the sentence be carried out.

Appellant and the two suspects were brought back to the police headquarters. The following day, February SO ORDERED." 18
25, a physical examination was conducted on the suspects by the Municipal Health Officer, Dr. Orpha
Patawaran. 8 Appellant was found to sustain: This case is before us on automatic review in accordance with Section 22 of Republic Act No. 7659 amending
Article 47 of the Revised Penal Code.
"HEENT: with multiple scratches on the neck Rt side. Chest and back: with
abrasions (scratches at the back). Extremities: freshly-healed wound along index Appellant contends that:
finger 1.5 cm. in size Lt." 9
"I THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING AND USING AS BASIS OF JUDGMENT
By this time, people and media representatives were already gathered at the police headquarters awaiting OF CONVICTION THE TESTIMONIES OF THE POLICE INVESTIGATORS, REPORTERS
the results of the investigation. Mayor Trinidad arrived and proceeded to the investigation room. Upon AND THE MAYOR ON THE ALLEGED ADMISSION OF THE ACCUSED DURING THE
seeing the mayor, appellant approached him and whispered a request that they talk privately. The mayor CUSTODIAL INVESTIGATION, THE ACCUSED NOT BEING ASSISTED BY COUNSEL IN
led appellant to the office of the Chief of Police and there, appellant broke down and said "Mayor, patawarin VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION;
mo ako! I will tell you the truth. I am the one who killed Marianne." The mayor opened the door of the room
II THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THERE WAS RAPE WHEN THERE IS
to let the public and media representatives witness the confession. The mayor first asked for a lawyer to
NO EVIDENCE OF ANY KIND TO SUPPORT IT;
assist appellant but since no lawyer was available he ordered the proceedings photographed and
videotaped. 10 In the presence of the mayor, the police, representatives of the media and appellant's own III THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN MAKING A FINDING OF CONVICTION WHEN THE
wife and son, appellant confessed his guilt. He disclosed how he killed Marianne and volunteered to show EVIDENCE IN ITS TOTALITY SHOWS THAT THE PROSECUTION FAILED TO PROVE
them the place where he hid her bags. He asked for forgiveness from Larin and Dizon whom he falsely BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED." 19
implicated saying he did it because of ill-feelings against them. 11 He also said that the devil entered his
mind because of the pornographic magazines and tabloid he read almost everyday. 12 After his confession, The trial court based its decision convicting appellant on the testimonies of the three policemen of the
appellant hugged his wife and son and asked the mayor to help him. 13 His confession was captured on investigating team, the mayor of Baliuag and four news reporters to whom appellant gave his extrajudicial
videotape and covered by the media nationwide. 14 oral confessions. It was also based on photographs and video footages of appellant's confessions and
reenactments of the commission of the crime.
Appellant was detained at the police headquarters. The next two days, February 26 and 27, more
newspaper, radio and television reporters came. Appellant was again interviewed and he affirmed his Accused-appellant assails the admission of the testimonies of the policemen, the mayor and the news
confession to the mayor and reenacted the crime. 15 reporters because they were made during custodial investigation without the assistance of counsel. Section
12, paragraphs (1) and (3) of Article III of the Constitution provides:
On arraignment, however, appellant entered a plea of "not guilty." He testified that in the afternoon of
February 19, 1994 he was at his parent's house in Barangay Tangos attending the birthday party of his "SEC. 12. (1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall
nephew. He, his wife and son went home after 5:00 P.M. His wife cooked dinner while he watched their have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent
one-year old son. They all slept at 8:00 P.M. and woke up the next day at 6:00 in the morning. His wife went and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford
to Manila to collect some debts while he and his son went to his parents' house where he helped his father the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be
cement the floor of the house. His wife joined them in the afternoon and they stayed there until February waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.
24, 1994 when he was picked up by the police. 16
(2) . . .
Appellant was brought by the police to a hotel at Bagong Nayon, Baliuag. In one of the rooms, the policemen
covered his face with a bedsheet and kicked him repeatedly. They coerced him to confess that he raped (3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 hereof
and killed Marianne. When he refused, they pushed his head into a toilet bowl and injected something into shall be inadmissible in evidence against him.
his buttocks. Weakened, appellant confessed to the crime. Thereafter, appellant was taken to his house
where he saw two of his neighbors, Larin and Dizon. He was ordered by the police to go to the old toilet at (4) . . ."
the back of the house and get two bags from under the flower pot. Fearing for his life, appellant did as he Plainly, any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right (1) to remain
was told. 17 cdt silent; (2) to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice; and (3) to be informed
In a decision dated August 4, 1994, the trial court convicted appellant and sentenced him to death pursuant of such rights. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel. 20 Any
to Republic Act No. 7659. The trial court also ordered appellant to pay the victim's heirs P50,000.00 as death confession or admission obtained in violation of this provision is inadmissible in evidence against
indemnity, P71,000.00 as actual burial expenses and P100,000.00 as moral damages, thus: him. 21 The exclusionary rule is premised on the presumption that the defendant is thrust into an unfamiliar
atmosphere and runs through menacing police interrogation procedures where the potentiality for
"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, Pablito Andan y Hernandez alias "Bobby" compulsion, physical and psychological, is forcefully apparent. 22 The incommunicado character of
is found guilty by proof beyond a scintilla of doubt of the crime charged in the custodial interrogation or investigation also obscures a later judicial determination of what really
Information (Rape with Homicide) and penalized in accordance with R.A. No. 7659 transpired. 23
(Death Penalty Law) Sec. 11, Par. 8, classifying this offense as one of the heinous
A We proceeded to the place together with the accused so that we would know
where the two (2) bags were hidden, sir.
It should be stressed that the rights under Section 12 are accorded to "[a]ny person under investigation for
the commission of an offense." An investigation begins when it is no longer a general inquiry into an Q And did you see actually those two (2) bags before the accused pointed to the
unsolved crime but starts to focus on a particular person as a suspect, i.e., when the police investigator place where the bags were located?
starts interrogating or exacting a confession from the suspect in connection with an alleged offense. 24 As
intended by the 1971 Constitutional Convention, this covers "investigation conducted by police authorities A After he removed the broken pots with which he covered the canal, he really
which will include investigations conducted by the municipal police, the PC and the NBI and such other showed where the bags were hidden underneath the canal, sir." 28
police agencies in our government." 25
The victim's bags were the fruits of appellant's uncounselled confession to the police. They are tainted
When the police arrested appellant, they were no longer engaged in a general inquiry about the death of evidence, hence also inadmissible. 29
Marianne. Indeed, appellant was already a prime suspect even before the police found him at his parents'
The police detained appellant after his initial confession. The following day, Mayor Trinidad visited the
house. This is clear from the testimony of SPO4 Danilo S. Bugay, the police chief investigator of the
appellant. Appellant approached the mayor and requested for a private talk. They went inside a room and
crime, viz:
appellant confessed that he alone committed the crime. He pleaded for forgiveness. Mayor Trinidad
"COURT How did you come about in concluding that it was accused who did this testified, viz:
act?
"Mayor Trinidad: . . . During the investigation when there were already
WITNESS First, the place where Marianne was last found is at the backyard of the many people from the media, Andan whispered something to me and
house of the accused. Second, there were blood stains at the pigpen, requested that he be able to talk to me alone, so what I did was that, I
and third, when we asked Romano Calma who were his other brought him inside the office of the chief of police.
companions in the house, he said that, it was Pablito Andan who
Private Prosecutor Principe: And so what happened inside the office of the Chief of
cannot be found at that time and whose whereabouts were unknown,
Police, mayor?
sir.
A While inside the office of the headquarters he told me "Mayor patawarin mo
Q So you had a possible suspect?
ako! I will tell you the truth. I am the one who killed Marianne." So when
A Yes, sir. he was telling this to me, I told him to wait a while, then I opened the
door to allow the media to hear what he was going to say and I asked
Q You went looking for Pablito Andan? him again whether he was the one who did it, he admitted it, sir. This
was even covered by a television camera." 30
A Yes, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q And then, what else did you do?
Q During that time that Pablito Andan whispered to you that he will tell you
A We tried to find out where we can find him and from information we learned something and then you responded by bringing him inside the office of
that his parents live in Barangay Tangos in Baliuag. We went there, the Chief of Police and you stated that he admitted that he killed
found him there and investigated him and in fact during the Marianne . . .
investigation he admitted that he was the culprit." 26
Court: He said to you the following words . . .
Appellant was already under custodial investigation when he confessed to the police. It is admitted that the
police failed to inform appellant of his constitutional rights when he was investigated and Atty. Principe: He said to you the following words "Mayor, patawarin mo ako! Ako
interrogated. 27 His confession is therefore inadmissible in evidence. So too were the two bags recovered ang pumatay kay Marianne," was that the only admission that he told
from appellant's house. SPO2 Cesar Canoza, a member of the investigating team testified: you?
"Atty. Valmores: You told the court that you were able to recover these bags A The admission was made twice. The first one was, when we were alone and the
marked as Exhs. B and B-1 because accused pointed to them, where second one was before the media people, sir.
did he point these bags?
Q What else did he tell you when you were inside the room of the Chief of Police?
A At the police station, sir, he told us that he hid the two (2) bags beneath the
canal of the toilet. A These were the only things that he told me, sir. I stopped him from making
further admissions because I wanted the media people to hear what
Q In other words, you were given information where these two (2) bags were he was going to say, sir." 31
located?
Under these circumstances, it cannot be successfully claimed that appellant's confession before the mayor
A Yes, sir. is inadmissible. It is true that a municipal mayor has "operational supervision and control" over the local
police 32 and may arguably be deemed a law enforcement officer for purposes of applying Section 12 (1)
Q And upon being informed where the two (2) bags could be located what did you and (3) of Article III of the Constitution. However, appellant's confession to the mayor was not made in
do? response to any interrogation by the latter. 33 In fact, the mayor did not question appellant at all. No police
authority ordered appellant to talk to the mayor. It was appellant himself who spontaneously, freely and Q Before you started that interview, did you inform or ask permission from the
voluntarily sought the mayor for a private meeting. The mayor did not know that appellant was going to accused Pablito Andan that you were going to interview him?
confess his guilt to him. When appellant talked with the mayor as a confidant and not as a law enforcement
officer, his uncounselled confession to him did not violate his constitutional rights. 34 Thus, it has been held A Yes, sir.
that the constitutional procedures on custodial investigation do not apply to a spontaneous statement, not
xxx xxx xxx
elicited through questioning by the authorities, but given in an ordinary manner whereby appellant orally
admitted having committed the crime. 35 What the Constitution bars is the compulsory disclosure of Q You mentioned that after interviewing the accused at the office of the Baliuag
incriminating facts or confessions. The rights under Section 12 are guaranteed to preclude the slightest use PNP, you also went to the scene of the crime?
of coercion by the state as would lead the accused to admit something false, not to prevent him from freely
and voluntarily telling the truth. 36 Hence we hold that appellant's confession to the mayor was correctly A Yes, sir.
admitted by the trial court.
Q Who accompanied you?
Appellant's confessions to the media were likewise properly admitted. The confessions were made in
response to questions by news reporters, not by the police or any other investigating officer. We have held A I was accompanied by some Baliuag policemen including Mayor Trinidad and
that statements spontaneously made by a suspect to news reporters on a televised interview are deemed some of the relatives of the accused.
voluntary and are admissible in evidence. 37

The records show that Alex Marcelino, a television reporter for "Eye to Eye" on Channel 7, interviewed
appellant on February 27, 1994. The interview was recorded on video and showed that appellant made his Q At this time, did you see the wife of the accused, Pablito Andan?
confession willingly, openly and publicly in the presence of his wife, child and other relatives. 38 Orlan A Yes, sir, I saw her at the place where the body of Guevarra was recovered.
Mauricio, a reporter for "Tell the People" on Channel 9 also interviewed appellant on February 25, 1994. He
testified that: Q How many relatives of accused Pablito Andan were present, more or less?
"Atty. Principe: You mentioned awhile ago that you were able to reach the place A There were many, sir, because there were many wailing, weeping and crying at
where the body of Marianne was found, where did you start your that time when he was already taken in the patrol jeep of the Baliuag
interview, in what particular place? police, sir.
Mr. Mauricio: Actually, I started my news gathering and interview inside the police Q Now, Mr. Mauricio, upon reaching the scene of the crime in Concepcion,
station of Baliuag and I identified myself to the accused as I have Baliuag, Bulacan, what transpired?
mentioned earlier, sir. At first, I asked him whether he was the one who
raped and killed the victim and I also learned from him that the victim A I started my work as a reporter by trying to dig deeper on how the crime was
was his cousin. committed by the accused, so we started inside the pigpen of that old
house where I tried to accompany the accused and asked him to narrate
Q And what was the response of Pablito Andan? to me and show me how he carried out the rape and killing of Marianne
Guevarra, sir.
A His response was he is a cousin of the victim and that he was responsible for
raping and killing the victim, sir. And then I asked him whether his Q Did he voluntarily comply?
admission was voluntary or that there was a threat, intimidation or
violence that was committed on his person because I knew that there A Yes, sir, in fact, I have it on my videotape.
were five other suspects in this case and he said that he was admitting
it voluntarily to the policemen. I asked him whether he was under the Q It is clear, Mr. Mauricio, that from the start of your interview at the PNP Baliuag
influence of drugs but he said no, and "nakainom lang," sir. up to the scene of the crime, all the stages were videotaped by you?

Q You mentioned earlier that the uncle of the accused was present, was the uncle A Yes, sir. 39
beside him at the time that you asked the question?
Journalist Berteni Causing of "People's Journal Tonite" likewise covered the proceedings for three successive
A The uncle was there including the barangay captain whose name I cannot recall days. 40 His testimony is as follows:
anymore. A barangay captain of the place, I don't know if it is the place
"Atty. Principe: You mentioned that you had your own inquiries?
of the crime scene or in the place where Marianne Guevarra resides
but . . . All throughout the scene inside the office of the Station A We asked first permission from the mayor to interrupt their own investigation
Commander, there was no air of any force or any threatening nature of so that we can have a direct interview with the suspect.
investigation that was being done on the suspect, that is why, I was
able to talk to him freely and in a voluntary manner he admitted to me Q Were there people?
that he was the one who raped and killed, so we went to the next stage
of accompanying me to the scene of the crime where the reenactment A The people present before the crowd that included the mayor, the deputy chief
and everything that transpired during the killing of Marianne Guevarra. of police, several of the policemen, the group of Inday Badiday and
several other persons. I asked the suspect after the mayor presented
the suspect to us and after the suspect admitted that he was the one A As I observed it, it was only slightly, your Honor.
who killed Marianne. I reiterated the question to the suspect. Are you
aware that this offense which is murder with . . . rape with murder is a xxx xxx xxx." 41
capital offense? And you could be sentenced to death of this? And he
Another journalist, Rey Domingo, of "Bandera" interviewed appellant on February 26, 1994. 42 He also
said, Yes. So do you really admit that you were the one who did it and
testified that:
he repeated it, I mean, say the affirmative answer.
"Atty. Principe: Now, Mr. Witness, did the accused Pablito Andan give you the
Q And that was in the presence of the crowd that you mentioned a while ago?
permission that you asked from him?
A Yes, yes, sir. And if I remember it right, as I took my camera to take some pictures
A Yes, sir.
of the suspect, the mayor, the policemen and several others, I heard the
group of Inday Badiday asking the same questions from the suspect and Q And when he allowed you to interview him, who were present?
the suspect answered the same.
A The first person that I saw there was Mayor Trinidad, policemen from Baliuag,
Q Also in the presence of so many people that you mentioned? the chief investigator, SPO4 Bugay, and since Katipunan, the chief of
police was suspended, it was the deputy who was there, sir.
A The same group of people who were there, sir.
Q Were they the only persons who were present when you interviewed the
Q You mentioned that the answer was just the same as the accused answered you
accused?
affirmatively, what was the answer, please be definite?
A There were many people there, sir. The place was crowded with people. There
Court: Use the vernacular.
were people from the PNP and people from Baliuag, sir.
A I asked him the question, after asking him the question, "Ikaw ba talaga and
Q How about the other representatives from the media?
gumawa ng pagpatay at pag-rape sa kay Marianne?" Ang sagot nya,
"Oo." "Alam mo ba itong kasalanang ito, kamatayan ang hatol, A Roy Reyes, Orlan Mauricio arrived but he arrived late and there
inaamin mo pa ba na ikaw ang gumawa sa pagpatay at pag-rape kay were people from the radio and from TV Channel 9.
Marianne?" Sagot pa rin siya ng "Oo."
Q How about Channel 7?
xxx xxx xxx
A They came late. I was the one who got the scoop first, sir.
Q Did you ask him, why did you kill Marianne?
Q You stated that the accused allowed you to interview him, was his wife also
A I asked him, your Honor and the reason he told me was because a devil gripped present?
his mind and because of that according to him, your Honor, were the
pornographic magazines, pornographic tabloids which he, according to A Yes, sir, and even the son was there but I am not very sure if she was really the
him, reads almost everyday before the crime. wife but they were hugging each other and she was crying and from
the questions that I asked from the people there they told me that she
Atty. Principe: At the time of your interview, Mr. Reporter, will you tell the court is the wife, sir.
and the public what was the physical condition of accused
Pablito Andan? Q How about the other members of the family of the accused, were they around?

A As I observed him that time there was no sign on his body that he was really A I do not know the others, sir, but there were many people there, sir.
down physically and I think he was in good condition.
Q Now, according to you, you made a news item about the interview. May we
Court: So he was not happy about the incident? know what question did you ask and the answer.

A He even admitted it, your Honor. A My first question was, is he Pablito Andan and his answer was "Yes."

Court: He was happy? Q What was the next question?

A He admitted it. He was not happy after doing it. A I asked him how he did the crime and he said that, he saw the victim aboard a
tricycle. He called her up. She entered the house and he boxed her on
Court: Was he crying? the stomach.
A As I observed, your Honor, the tears were only apparent but there was no tear Q What was the next question that you asked him?
that fell on his face.
A He also said that he raped her and he said that the reason why he killed the victim
Court: Was he feeling remorseful? was because he was afraid that the incident might be discovered, sir.
Q Now, after the interview, are we correct to say that you made a news item on "Witness: When I exposed the hymen, I found lacerations in this 3 o'clock and 6
that? o'clock position corresponding to the walls of the clock. . . .

A Yes, sir, based on what he told me. That's what I did. Court: Include the descriptive word, fresh.

Q Were there other questions propounded by you? Witness: I put it in writing that this is fresh because within the edges of the
lacerations, I found blood clot, that is why I put it into writing
A Yes, sir. as fresh.
Q "Ano iyon?" Atty. Valmonte: Now, Doctor, you told the Court that what you did on the cadaver
was merely a re-autopsy, that means, doctor the body was
A He said that he threw the cadaver to the other side of the fence, sir.
autopsied first before you did your re-autopsy?
Q Did he mention how he threw the cadaver of Marianne to the other side of the
fence?
A Yes, sir.
A I cannot remember the others, sir.
Q Could it not be, doctor, that these injuries you found in the vagina could have
Q But can you produce the news item based on that interview?
been sustained on account of the dilation of the previous autopsy?
A I have a xerox copy here, sir.
A Well, we presumed that if the first doctor conducted the autopsy on the victim
xxx xxx xxx." 43 which was already dead, no amount of injury or no amount of lacerated
wounds could produce blood because there is no more circulation, the
Clearly, appellant's confessions to the news reporters were given free from any undue influence from the circulation had already stopped. So, I presumed that when the doctor
police authorities. The news reporters acted as news reporters when they interviewed appellant. 44 They examined the victim with the use of forceps or retractor, vaginal
were not acting under the direction and control of the police. They were there to check appellant's retractor, then I assumed that the victim was already dead. So it is
confession to the mayor. They did not force appellant to grant them an interview and reenact the impossible that the lacerated wounds on the hymen were caused by
commission of the crime. 45 In fact, they asked his permission before interviewing him. They interviewed those instruments because the victim was already dead and usually in
him on separate days not once did appellant protest his innocence. Instead, he repeatedly confessed his a dead person we do not produce any bleeding.
guilt to them. He even supplied all the details in the commission of the crime, and consented to its
reenactment. All his confessions to the news reporters were witnessed by his family and other relatives. Q What you would like to tell the Court is this: that the lacerations with clotted
There was no coercive atmosphere in the interview of appellant by the news reporters. blood at 6 and 3 o'clock positions corresponding to the walls of the
clock could have been inflicted or could have been sustained while the
We rule that appellant's verbal confessions to the newsmen are not covered by Section 12 (1) and (3) of victim was alive?
Article III of the Constitution. The Bill of Rights does not concern itself with the relation between a private
individual and another individual. 46 It governs the relationship between the individual and the State. The A Yes, sir.
prohibitions therein are primarily addressed to the State and its agents. They confirm that certain rights of
Q This clotted blood, according to you, found at the edges of the lacerated
the individual exist without need of any governmental grant, rights that may not be taken away by
wounds, now will you kindly go over the sketch you have just drawn
government, rights that government has the duty to protect. 47 Governmental power is not unlimited and
and indicate the edges of the lacerated wounds where you found the
the Bill of Rights lays down these limitations to protect the individual against aggression and unwarranted
clotted blood?
interference by any department of government and its agencies. 48 cdt
A This is the lacerated wound at 3 o'clock and this is the lacerated wound at 6
In his second assigned error, appellant questions the sufficiency of the medical evidence against him. Dr.
o'clock. I found the blood clot at this stage. The clotted blood are found
Alberto Bondoc, a Medical Specialist with the Provincial Health Office, conducted the first autopsy and
on the edges of the lacerated wounds, sir.
found no spermatozoa and no recent physical injuries in the hymen. 49 Allegedly, the minimal blood found
in her vagina could have been caused by her menstruation. 50 Q What could have caused those lacerations?
We are unpersuaded. A second autopsy was conducted on March 1, 1994 by Dr. Dominic L. Aguda, a A Well, it could have been caused by an object that is forcibly inserted into that
medico-legal officer of the National Bureau of Investigation. His findings affirmed the absence of small opening of the hymen causing lacerations on the edges of the
spermatozoa but revealed that the victim's hymen had lacerations, thus: hymen, sir.
"Hymen — contracted, tall, thin with fresh lacerations with clotted blood at 6 and Q If the victim had sexual intercourse, could she sustain those lacerations?
3 o'clock positions corresponding to the walls of the clock." 51
A It is possible, sir. 53
Dr. Aguda testified that the lacerations were fresh and that they may have been caused by an object forcibly
inserted into the vagina when the victim was still alive, indicating the possibility of penetration. 52 His We have also ruled in the past that the absence of spermatozoa in the vagina does not negate the
testimony is as follows: commission rape 54 nor does the lack of complete penetration or rupture of the hymen. 55 What is
essential is that there be penetration of the female organ no matter how slight. 56 Dr. Aguda testified that
the fact of penetration is proved by the lacerations found in the victim's vagina. The lacerations were fresh EN BANC
and could not have been caused by any injury in the first autopsy.

Dr. Aguda's finding and the allegation that the victim was raped by appellant are supported by other [G.R. No. 97214. July 18, 1994.]
evidence, real and testimonial, obtained from an investigation of the witnesses and the crime scene, viz:

(1) The victim, Marianne, was last seen walking along the subdivision road near appellant's house; 57 ERNESTO NAVALLO, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN (SECOND
DIVISION) and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
(2) At that time, appellant's wife and her step brother and grandmother were not in their house; 58

(3) A bloodstained concrete block was found over the fence of appellant's house, a meter away from the
wall. Bloodstains were also found on the grass nearby and at the pigpen at the back of appellant's house; 59 SYLLABUS

(4) The victim sustained bruises and scars indicating that her body had been dragged over a flat rough
surface. 60 This supports the thesis that she was thrown over the fence and dragged to where her body was 1. REMEDIAL LAW; SANDIGANBAYAN; ARRAIGNMENT OF ACCUSED AT THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT DOES
found; NOT DEPRIVE THE SANDIGANBAYAN OF ITS JURISDICTION TO TRY THE CASE; CASE AT BAR. — Presidential
Decree No. 1606 is explicit and clear. Sections 4 and 8 of the law provide that a case falling under the
(5) Appellant's bloodstained clothes and towel were found in the laundry hamper in his house; jurisdiction of theSandiganbayan shall be transferred to it so long as the accused has not as yet been
properly arraigned elsewhere on the date of effectivity of the law, i.e., on 10 December 1978. The accused
(6) The reddish brown stains in the towel and T-shirt of appellant were found positive for the presence of
is charged with having violated paragraph 4, Article 217, of the Revised Penal Code, an offense which falls
blood type "B," the probable blood type of the victim. 61Marianne's exact blood type was not determined
under Title VII of the Revised Penal Code and, without question, triable by the Sandiganbayan. Navallo's
but her parents had type "A" and type "AB." 62 The victim's pants had bloodstains which were found to be
arraignment before the Regional Trial Court on 18 July 1985 is several years after Presidential Decree No.
type "O," appellant's blood type; 63
1606, consigning that jurisdiction to the Sandiganbayan, had become effective.
(7) Appellant had scratch marks and bruises in his body which he failed to explain; 64
2. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; DOUBLE JEOPARDY; REQUISITES. — Double jeopardy requires
(8) For no reason, appellant and his wife left their residence after the incident and were later found at his the existence of the following requisites: (1) The previous complaint or information or other formal charge
parents' house in Barangay Tangos, Baliuag, Bulacan; 65 is sufficient in form and substance to sustain a conviction: (2) The court has jurisdiction to try the case; (3)
The accused has been arraigned and has pleaded to the charge; and (4) The accused is convicted or
In fine, appellant's extrajudicial confessions together with the other circumstantial evidence justify the acquitted or the case is dismissed without his express consent. When all the above elements are present, a
conviction of appellant. second prosecution for (a) the same offense, or (b) an attempt to commit the said offense, or (c) a
frustration of the said offense, or (d) any offense which necessarily includes, or is necessarily included in,
Appellant's defense of alibi cannot overcome the prosecution evidence. His alibi cannot even stand the test the first offense charged, can rightly be barred.
of physical improbability at the time of the commission of the crime. Barangay Tangos is only a few
kilometers away from Concepcion Subdivision and can be traversed in less than half an hour. 66 3. ID.; ID.;. ID.; CASE AT BAR. — In the case at bench, the RTC was devoid of jurisdiction when it conducted
an arraignment of the accused which by then had already been conferred on the Sandiganbayan. Moreover,
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 15, Malolos, Bulacan in Criminal Case neither did the case there terminate with conviction or acquittal nor was it dismissed.
No. 1109-M-94 is affirmed and accused-appellant PablitoAndan y Hernandez is found guilty of the special
complex crime of rape with homicide under Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7659 amending Article 335 of 4. ID.; ID.; RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED DURING CUSTODIAL INVESTIGATION; RIGHT NOT AVAILABLE WHERE
the Revised Penal Code and is sentenced to the penalty of death, with two (2) members of the Court, ONE IS UNDER NORMAL AUDIT EXAMINATION. — Accused-petitioner claims to have been deprived of his
however, voting to impose reclusion perpetua. Accused-appellant is also ordered to indemnify the heirs of constitutional rights under Section 12, Article III, of the 1987 Constitution. Well-settled is the rule that such
the victim, Marianne Guevarra, the sum of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity for her death and P71,000.00 as rights are invocable only when the accused is under "custodial investigation," or is "in custody investigation,"
actual damages. which we have since defined as any "questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has
been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way." A person
In accordance with Section 25 of Republic Act No. 7659 amending Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, under a normal audit examination is not under custodial investigation. An audit examiner himself can hardly
upon finality of this decision, let the records of this case be forthwith forwarded to the Office of the be deemed to be the law enforcement officer contemplated in the above rule. In any case, the allegation
President for possible exercise of the pardoning power. of his having been "pressured" to sign the Examination Report prepared by Dulguime appears to be belied
by his own testimony.
SO ORDERED.
5. CRIMINAL LAW; MALVERSATION; PRESUMED WHERE PUBLIC OFFICER FAILED TO ACCOUNT PUBLIC
||| (People v. Andan y Hernandez, G.R. No. 116437, [March 3, 1997], 336 PHIL 91-117)
FUNDS OR PROPERTY WHICH HE IS CHARGED WITH. — Accused-petitioner challenges the sufficiency of
evidence against him. Suffice it to say that the law he contravened itself creates a presumption of evidence.
Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code states that "(t)he failure of a public officer to have dully forthcoming
any public funds or property with which he is chargeable, upon demand by any duly authorized officer, shall
be prima facie evidence that he has put such missing funds or property to personal use." An accountable
officer, therefore, may be convicted of malversation even in the absence of direct proof of misappropriation
as long as there is evidence of shortage in his accounts which he is unable to explain.
6. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; FINDINGS OF FACTS OF THE TRIAL COURT, GENERALLY UPHELD ON APPEAL. having been later found to be defective, on 30 August 1989, a new bond was approved and transmitted to
— Findings of facts made by a trial court are accorded the highest degree of respect by an appellate tribunal the Sandiganbayan. prcd
and, absent a clear disregard of the evidence before it that can otherwise affect the results of the case,
those findings should not be ignored. We see nothing on record in this case that can justify a deviation from Navallo filed a motion to quash, contending (1) that the Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction over the offense
the rule. and the person of the accused and (2) that since the accused had already been arraigned by the RTC, the
attempt to prosecute him before the Sandiganbayan would constitute double jeopardy. On 15 September
1989, theSandiganbayan issued a resolution denying Navallo's motion. On 20 October 1989, Navallo was
arraigned; he pleaded, "not guilty," to the charge. Trial ensued.
DECISION Evidence for the Prosecution:
On 27 January 1978, the Provincial Auditor of Surigao del Norte, Antonio Espino, made a preliminary audit
examination of cash and other accounts of Ernesto Navallo(then Collecting and Disbursing Officer of
Numancia National Vocational School). Espino found Navallo to be short of P16,483.62. The auditor,
VITUG, J p:
however, was then merely able to prepare a cash count sheet since he still had to proceed to other
municipalities. Before departing, Espino sealed the vault of Navallo.
On 11 May 1978, an information charging petitioner with having violated Article 217, paragraph 4, of the
Revised Penal Code, was filed with the then Court of First Instance ("CFI") of Surigao del Norte (docketed On 30 January 1978, Leopoldo a. Dulguime was directed by Espino to complete the preliminary examination
Criminal Case No. 299). It read: and to conduct a final audit. Dulguime broke the seal, opened the vault, and made a new cash count.
Dulguime next examined the cashbook of Navallo. Dulguime did not examine the official receipts reflected
"That on or before January 27, 1978 in the municipality of del Carmen, Province in the cashbook, said receipts having been previously turned over to the Office of the Provincial Auditor.
of Surigao del Norte and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused After the audit, he had the cashbook likewise deposited with the same office. The audit covered the period
who is the Collecting and Disbursing Officer of the Numancia National Vocational from July 1976 to January 1978 on the basis of postings and record of collections certified to by Navallo.
School, which school is also located at del Carmen, Surigao del Norte and while a Dulguime made a Report of Examination and wrote Navallo a letter demanding the restitution of the missing
Collecting and Disbursing Officer of the aforestated school therefore was holding amount. The latter neither complied nor offered any explanation for the shortage. The official receipts and
in trust moneys and/or properties of the government of the Republic of the cashbook, together with some other records, were subsequently lost or damaged on account of a typhoon
Philippines and holding in trust public funds with all freedom, intelligence, criminal that visited the province.
intent and intent of gain, did then and there voluntarily, unlawfully, feloniously
and without lawful authority appropriate and misappropriate to his own private Evidence for the Defense:
benefit, public funds he was holding in trust for the Government of the Philippines
The accused, Navallo, testified that in 1970, he was a Clerk I in the Numancia National Vocational School. In
in the total sum of SIXTEEN THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTY THREE PESOS and
1976, he was appointed Collecting and Disbursing Officer of the school. His duties included the collection
SIXTY-TWO CENTAVOS (P16,483.62), Philippine Currency, which total sum accused
of tuition fees, preparation of vouchers for salaries of teachers and employees, and remittance of
failed to account during an audit and failed as well to restitute despite demands
collections exceeding P500.00 to the National Treasury. Even while he had not yet received his appointment
by the office of the Provincial Auditor, to the damage and prejudice of the
papers, he, together with, and upon the instructions of, Cesar Macasemo (the Principal and Navallo's
Government equal to the amount misappropriated.
predecessor as Collecting and Disbursing Officer of the school), was himself already doing entries in the
"Act contrary to par. 4 of Article 217, of the Revised Penal Code with a penalty cashbook. Navallo and Macasemo thus both used the vault. Navallo said that he stated the job of a
of Reclusion Temporal, minimum and medium periods and in addition to penalty disbursement officer in June 1977, and began to discharge in full the duties of his new position (Collection
of perpetual special disqualification and fine as provided in the same Article." 1 and Disbursement Officer) only in 1978. There was no formal turn over of accountability from Macasemo
to Navallo.
A warrant of arrest was issue, followed by two alias warrants of arrest, but accused-petitioner
Ernesto Navallo still then could not be found.

Meanwhile, on 10 December 1978, Presidential Decree No. 1606 took effect creating Gainsaying the prosecution's evidence, Navallo continued that the charge against him was motivated by a
the Sandiganbayan and conferring on it original and exclusive jurisdiction over crimes committed by public personal grudge on the part of Espino. On 25 January 1978, he said, he was summoned to appear at the
officers embraced in Title VII of the Revised Penal Code. Numancia National Vocational School where he saw Espino and Macasemo. The safe used by him and by
Macasemo was already open when he arrived, and the cash which was taken out from the safe was placed
On 15 November 1984, Navallo was finally arrested. He was, however, later released on provisional liberty on top of a table. He did not see the actual counting of the money and no actual audit of his accountability
upon the approval of his property bail bond. When arraigned by the Regional Trial Court ("RTC") on 18 July was made by Espino. Navallo signed the cash count only because he was pressured by Macasemo who
1985, he pleaded not guilty. On 22 May 1986, upon motion of the prosecution, the RTC transferred the case assured him that he (Macasemo) would settle everything. The collections in 1976, reflected in the
and transmitted its records to the Sandiganbayan. On 27 January 1989, Special Prosecutor Luz L. Quinones- Statement of Accountability, were not his, he declared, but those of Macasemo who had unliquidated cash
Marcos opined that since Navallo had already been arraigned before the case was transferred to advances. prLL
the Sandiganbayan, the RTC should continue taking cognizance of the case. The matter was referred to the
Office of the Ombudsman which held otherwise. The information was docketed (Criminal Case No. 13696) Navallo admitted having received the demand letter but he did not reply because he was already in Manila
with the Sandiganbayan. A new order for Navallo's arrest was issued by theSandiganbayan. The warrant was looking for another employment. He was in Manila when the case was filed against him. He did not exert
returned with a certification by the RTC Clerk of Court that the accused had posted a bail bond. The bond, any effort to have Macasemo appear in the preliminary investigation, relying instead of Macasemo's
assurance that he would settle the matter. He, however, verbally informed the investigating fiscal that the "(c) Other crimes or offenses committed by public offices or employees, including
shortage represented the unliquidated cash advance of Macasemo. those employed in government-owned or controlled corporations, in relation to
their office."
The Appealed Decision:
"xxx xxx xxx
On 08 November 1990, after evaluation the evidence, the Sandiganbayan reached a decision, and it
rendered judgment, thus: "SECTION 8. Transfer of cases. — As of the date of the effectivity of this decree,
any case cognizable by the Sandiganbayan within its exclusive jurisdiction where
"WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused ERNESTO NAVALLO y GALON GUILTY
none of the accused has been arraigned shall be transferred to
beyond reasonable doubt as principal of the crime of malversation of public funds
the Sandiganbayan."
defined and penalized under Article 217, paragraph 4, of the Revised Penal Code.
The law is explicit and clear. A case falling under the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan shall be transferred
"Accordingly and there being no modifying circumstances nor reason negating the
to it so long as the accused has not as yet been properly arraigned elsewhere on the date of effectivity of
application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended, the Court imposes
the law, i.e., on 10 December 1978. The accused is charged with having violated paragraph 4, Article 217,
upon the accused the indeterminate sentence ranging from TEN (10) YEARS and
of the Revised Penal Code —
ONE (1) DAY of prision mayor as minimum to SIXTEEN (160 YEARS, FIVE (5)
MONTHS and ELEVEN (11) DAYS of reclusion temporal as maximum; the penalty "ARTICLE 217. Malversation of public funds or property. — Presumption of
of perpetual special disqualification, and a fine in the amount of SIXTEEN Malversation. — Any public officer who, by reason of the duties of his office, is
THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTY THREE PESOS AND SIXTY-TWO CENTAVOS accountable for public funds or property, shall appropriate the same, or shall take
(P16,483.62), Philippine Currency. or misappropriate or shall consent, or through abandonment or negligence, shall
permit any other person to take such public funds or property, wholly or partially,
"The Court further orders the accused to restitute the amount malversed to the
or shall otherwise be guilty of the misappropriation or malversation of such funds
Government.
or property, shall suffer:
"SO ORDERED." 2
"xxx xxx xxx
Accused-petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied by the Sandiganbayan in its resolution of 05
"4. The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum periods, if the
February 1991.
amount involved is more than twelve thousand pesos but is less than twenty-two
Hence, the instant petition. thousand pesos. If the amount exceeds the latter, the penalty shall be reclusion
temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua."
Four issues are raised in this appeal —
an offense which falls under Title VII of the Revised Penal Code and, without question, triable by
1. Whether or not the Sandiganbayan acquired jurisdiction to try and decide the offense filed against the Sandiganbayan. Navallo's arraignment before the RTC on 18 July 1985 is several years
petitioner in spite of the fact that long before the law creating the Sandiganbayan took effect, an after Presidential Decree No. 1606, consigning that jurisdiction to the Sandiganbayan, had become
Information had already been filed with the then Court of First Instance of Surigao del Norte. effective.

2. Whether or not double jeopardy set in when petitioner was arraigned by the Regional Trial Court on July Accused-petitioner, invoking Section 7, Rule 117, of the Revised Rules of Court, pleads double jeopardy. We
18, 1985. cannot agree. Double jeopardy requires the existence of the following requisites:

3. Whether or not petitioner was under custodial investigation when he signed the certification prepared (1) The previous complaint or information or other formal charge is sufficient in
by State Auditing Examiner Leopoldo Dulguime. form and substance to sustain a conviction;

4. Whether or not the guilt of petitioner has been established by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt (2) The court has jurisdiction to try the case;
as to warrant his conviction for the offense imputed against him. Cdpr
(3) The accused has been arraigned and has pleaded to the charge; and
We see no merit in the petition.
(4) The accused is convicted or acquitted or the case is dismissed without his
On 10 December 1978, Presidential Decree No. 1606 took effect providing, among other things, thusly: express consent.

"SECTION 4. Jurisdiction. — The Sandiganbayan shall have jurisdiction over: When all the above elements are present, a second prosecution for (a) the same offense, or (b) an
attempt to commit the said offense, or (c) a frustration of the said offense, or (d) any offense which
"(a) Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as necessarily includes, or is necessarily included in, the first offense charged, can rightly be barred.
the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and Republic Act No. 1379;
In the case at bench, the RTC was devoid of jurisdiction when it conducted an arraignment of the accused
"(b) Crimes committed by public officers and employees, including those which by then had already been conferred on theSandiganbayan. Moreover, neither did the case there
employed in government-owned or controlled corporations, embraced in Title VII terminate with conviction or acquittal nor was it dismissed.
of the Revised Penal Code, whether simple or complexed with other crimes; and
Accused-petitioner claims to have been deprived of his constitutional rights under Section 12, Article III, of
the 1987 Constitution. 3 Well-settled is the rule that such rights are invocable only when the accused is
under "custodial investigation," or is "in custody investigation," 4 which we have since defined as any
"questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise
deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way." 5 A person under a normal audit examination is "As to the collections made in 1976 which Navallo denied having made, the
not under custodial investigation. An audit examiner himself can hardly be deemed to be the law evidence of the prosecution shows that he assumed the office of Collecting and
enforcement officer contemplated in the above rule. In any case, the allegation of his having been Disbursing Officer in July 1976 and the cashbook which was examined during the
"pressured" to sign the Examination Report prepared by Dulguime appears to be belied by his own audit contained entries from July 1976 to January 1978, which he certified
testimony. To quote: to. Navallo confirmed that indeed he was appointed Collecting and Disbursing
Officer in 1976.
"Q. How were you pressured?
"Finally, the pretense that the missing amount was the unliquidated cash advance
"A. Mr. Macasemo told me to sign the report because he will be the one to settle of Macasemo and that Navallo did not collect tuition fees in 1976 was advanced
everything. for the first time during the trial, that is, 12 long solid years after the audit on
January 30, 1978. Nothing was said about it at the time of the audit and
"xxx xxx xxx immediately thereafter."
"Q. Why did you allow yourself to be pressured when you will be the one Findings of fact made by a trial court are accorded the highest degree of respect by an appellate
ultimately to suffer? tribunal and, absent a clear disregard of the evidence before it that can otherwise affect the results
of the case, those findings should not be ignored. We see nothing on record in this case that can justify
"A. Because he told me that everything will be all right and that he will be the one
a deviation from the rule. Cdpr
to talk with the auditor.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED and the decision of respondent Sandiganbayan is AFFIRMED in toto.
"Q. Did he tell you exactly what you will do with the auditor to be relieved of
responsibility? SO ORDERED.

"A. No, your honor. ||| (Navallo v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 97214, [July 18, 1994])

"Q. Why did you not ask him?

"A. I was ashamed to ask him, your Honor, because he was my superior." 6

Navallo may have been persuaded, but certainly not pressured, to sign the auditor's report.
Furthermore, Navallo again contradicted himself when, in his very petition to this Court, he stated:

"Bearing in mind the high respect of the accused with his superior officer and
taking favors that his superior officer has extended him in recommending him the
position he held even if he was not an accountant, he readily agreed to sign the
auditor's report even if he was not given the opportunity to explain the alleged
shortage." 7

Finally, accused-petitioner challenges the sufficiency of evidence against him. Suffice it to say that the law
he contravened itself creates a presumption of evidence. Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code states that
"(t)he failure of a public officer to have dully forthcoming any public funds or property with which he is
chargeable, upon demand by any duly authorized officer, shall be prima facie evidence that he has put such
missing funds or property to personal use." An accountable officer, therefore, may be convicted of
malversation even in the absence of direct proof of misappropriation as long as there is evidence of shortage
in his accounts which he is unable to explain. 8 Not least insignificant is the evaluation of the evidence of
the Sandiganbayan itself which has found thusly:

"The claim that the amount of the shortage represented the unliquidated cash
advance of Macasemo does not inspire belief. No details whatsoever were given
by the accused on the matter such as, for instance, when and for what purpose
was the alleged cash advance granted, what step or steps were taken
by Navallo or Macasemo to liquidate it. In fact, Navallo admitted that he did not
even ask Macasemo as to how he (Navallo) could be relieved of his responsibility
for the missing amount when he was promised by Macasemo that everything
would be all right. When Navallo was already in Manila, he did not also even write
Macasemo about the shortage.
SECOND DIVISION WHEREFORE, let the records of this case be registered in the docket. No warrant
of arrest is issued for the apprehension of the accused for the reason that he is
already under police custody before the filing of the complaint. For the provisional
[G.R. No. 74517. February 23, 1988.] liberty of the accused, bail is hereby fixed in the amount of Thirty Thousand Pesos
(P30,000.00)." (p. 4, Original Record)

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. BENNY DY, accused-appellant. The Accused posted the required bail on 13 June 1984, which was approved by Judge Tonelon the same
day. On 12 July 1984 the records of the case were forwarded to the Office of the Provincial Fiscal, Kalibo,
Aklan, "for further proceedings" (Order, p. 10, Original Record)

On 27 July 1984 the Provincial Fiscal filed the Information before the Regional Trial Court of Kalibo, Aklan,
DECISION
charging the Accused with Murder. The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 2001 in that Court.

After trial, the lower Court rendered judgment* on 9 December 1985 with the following decretal portion:

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J p: "WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding the accused BENNY DY y LIM
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of MURDER and sentencing him to
At around midnight of 7 May 1984, death cast its shadow over Boracay Island, an internationally known suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA and to indemnify the heirs, for the
tourist spot famous for its powdery white sand beach. The Island is accessible by land from Kalibo, Aklan, death of the victim, in the sum of P30,000.00; actual damages of P33,243.10;
moral damages of P30,000.00; exemplary damages of P30,000.00; and to pay the
after a one-and-a-half hour trip. It can also be reached in twenty (20) minutes by pumpboat from Barangay
costs."
Caticlan, the loading point for tourists going to the Island. Caticlan has a small airfield which can service
small planes. Felled by a gunshot wound on the neck, which caused his death approximately, six (6) hours Hence, this appeal. The last Brief before this Court was filed on 26 February 1987 and the case was
later, was Christian Langel y Philippe a Swiss tourist who was vacationing on the Island together with his deliberated upon on 25 January 1988.
sister and some friends.
Testifying for the prosecution in the Court below, one Wilson TUMAOB, a resident in the area, and a
The following day, 8 May 1984, the following police report was entered as Entry No. 3904 in the police fisherman by occupation, gave his account of the incident as follows:
blotter of the Malay Police Sub-station, Malay, Aklan:
"At around 12:00 midnight while inside the bar, he saw the accused
"That on or about 0700H 8 May 1984, Pat. Padilla RR reported (to) this sub-station Benny Dy shoot a white person, (meaning a European) who was hit on the right
with the living body of one Benny Dy, with caliber .38 Danao made, as suspect to side of the neck (Tsn. Nov. 12, 1984, pp. 78, 80). He recognized the accused as the
the shooting incident at Sitio Angol, Manoc-Manoc, Malay, Aklan, which cause(d) one who shot the white person because of the light coming from the petromax
the untimely death of one Christian Langel Philippe, tourist, 24 years old and a lamp which was in front of him and he was just one-and-one-half meters from the
Swiss nationale. Pat. Salibio rushed to the hospital at Caticlan to obtain ante- accused and about the same distance from the victim (Tsn. Nov. 12, 1984, p. 81).
mortem but the victim died at about 0600H in the morning. Suspect When he saw the accused shoot the victim, he did not hear any conversation
Benny Dy voluntarily surrendered to the sub-station commander with his caliber between them (Tsn. Nov. 14, 1984, pp. 81, 82). At that precise time, there were
38 with serial number 33169 Smith and Wesson (US), [Exhibit 'G']." many people of different nationalities coming in and out of the bar. He did not
Acting on the report, Chief of Police Tambong, also on 8 May 1984, prepared a Complaint (Exhibits "H" and know anyone of them except the accused Benny Dy (Tsn. Nov. 14, 1984, p. 108).
Neither did he know the helpers in the bar, nor see anyone of these customers to
"H-1") charging the Accused, Benny Dy, the owner of "Benny's Bar," situated on the Island, with the crime
of "Murder With the Use of Unlicensed Firearms" (ibid., p. 2, Original Record). The Complaint was subscribed be residents of, or friends of his from, barrio Balusbos, Malay, where he resides.
and sworn to before Judge Jaime R. Tonel of the 5th Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Buruanga, Aklan, on 17 "In the courtroom during the trial, the witness Wilson Tumaob demonstrated how
May 1984 (Exhibit "H-2") and docketed as Criminal Case No. 1776 of that Court on the same day (Exhibit the accused shot the victim.
"H-3", Order, p. 4, Original Record).
Q. When you said you saw Benny Dy shoot the victim, can you
The witnesses listed in that Complaint, namely, Bernadette Langel of Chatelaine Geneve, Switzerland, who demonstrate to the Court how he did it?
is the victim's sister, and Ian Mulvey, of Essex, England, executed separate Sworn Statements giving their
respective versions of the incident (Exhibits "H-4" and "H-7"). They did not take the stand, however, "for A. (As demonstrated, the victim and the accused were sitting and facing
fear of reprisal" so that said Statements were correctly considered by the Trial Court as hearsay. then immediately the accused stood up and shot the victim.
(Tsn. Nov. 14, 1984, pp. 117, 118).
On 17 May 1984, Judge Tonel issued the following:
Wilson Tumaob testified that the accused was about one meter from the
"ORDER victim when the accused shot the latter. The table where he was sitting
"Having conducted the preliminary examination of this case, this Court finds was parallel to the table where the victim was sitting. He was looking at
probable cause that the crime as charged has been committed and that the the accused and victim when he saw the accused shoot the victim, and
accused may be responsible thereof. the chair occupied by him and the chair occupied by the victim were at
the same side. (Tsn. Nov. 14, 1984, pp. 119-120). After shooting the
victim, the accused remained at the place where the accused was A I called one of the policemen to accompany me.
standing. (Tsn. Nov. 14, 1984. p. 118).
Q What is the name of the policeman who accompanied you?
"The victim was carried by the victim's companions to the shore and they loaded
him on a pumpboat which was anchored about fifty meters from the bar. Wilson A Pat. Manuel Casimiro.
Tumaob helped in carrying the victim to the pumpboat to be brought to the
hospital in Caticlan (Tsn. Nov. 12, 1984, pp. 82, 83). After the incident the eye- Q Were you able to get the gun from the house of Benny Dy together with your
witness (Wilson Tumaob) went home and slept at around 1:30 in the morning of companion Pat. Manuel Casimiro?
May 8, 1984. (pp. 4-5, Annex '1', Appellant's Brief)."
A Benny Dy voluntarily gave the gun to us.
Additional prosecution evidence is to the effect that in the early morning after the incident, the Accused
Q So do we understand from you that it was Benny Dy also together with your
confessed orally to Pat. Rodolfo Padilla, the operator of the radio station on the Island, and voluntarily
companion Manuel Casimiro who gave or surrendered the gun to you?
surrendered the gun he had used in shooting the victim. Pat. Padilla's testimony reads in part:
"ATTY. MARIN:
"ATTY. RESURRECCION:
Benny Dy voluntarily gave the gun to him and Pat. Casimiro.
Q Sometime on May 8, 1984, can you tell the Honorable Court if you have met the
accused Benny Dy? "COURT TO THE WITNESS:
A At home after coming from the radio station, Benny Dy came to me and inquired Q Where did Benny Dy give to you and Pat. Manuel Casimiro the gun that is
if the Office of the Chief of Police was opened? surrendered to you?
Q And what did you answer him when the accused asked you that? A In their house.
A I answered him that the Office of the Chief of Police is opened for twenty four "COURT:
hours.
Proceed.
Q Did you ask Benny Dy why he asked you if the Office of the Chief of Police was
opened? "ATTY. RESURRECCION:

A I inquired him why, then he answers me that he had shot a tourist." (p. 6, t.s.n., Q Who were the persons present in the house of Benny Dy when the gun was
October 17, 1984). given to you by him?

xxx xxx xxx A His houseboy called 'Tan-tan'.


"ATTY. RESURRECCION: Q Was this Tan-tan already adult or teen-ager?
Q When Benny Dy answered you that he shot a tourist, what did you do? A Teen-ager.
A I inquired him further if the tourist was dead but he answered me that the victim Q What time of May 8, 1984, did Benny Dy give to you and Pat. Manuel Casimiro
was brought to the hospital. the gun he gave to you?
Q What did you do as police officer when Benny Dy told you that he shot a tourist? A About 6:00 in the morning." (pp. 7-9, id.).
A He asked me to accompany him to the Office of the Chief of Police and I further xxx xxx xxx
asked him the gun he used in shooting the victim and he answered that
it was still in his house. Q When Benny Dy told you that he shot a tourist in his establishment, known as
Benny's Bar, what else did he tell you?
Q When Benny Dy told you that the gun he used in shooting the tourist was in his
house, what did you do? A He told me that after shooting the victim he requested somebody to rush the
victim to the hospital.
A I advised him to get that gun and give it to me to be deposited in the Office of
the Chief of Police. Q Did you ask him why he shot the victim?

Q Were you able to get that gun from the house of Benny Dy? A I did not.

A Yes, sir. Q You stated that the accused Benny Dy surrendered to you a gun together with
Pat. Manuel Casimiro, if that gun is shown to you, will you be able to
Q Were you alone when you went to the house of Benny Dy to get that gun? identify the same?
Consequently, loose talks rapidly spread that somebody was shot by Benny ('may
nabaril si Benny').
A Yes, sir.
"Appellant Benny Dy who carried the victim to the shore to be brought to the
Q I am showing to you a gun in a container revolver caliber .38 and one (1) bullet hospital to save the latter, and who facilitated the surrender to Pat. Rodolfo Padilla
exhibit against Benny Dy, which we request that this container be a gun which his helper found the following morning while cleaning the bar,
marked as Exhibit 'A' for the prosecution, Your Honor. eventually found himself the suspect in shooting of Langel." (pp. 1-3, Appellant's
Brief)
"COURT:
All defense witnesses were one in testifying that the culprit was someone else other than the Accused. Thus,
Mark it.
Rodrigo Lumogdang, a carpenter allegedly hired by a friend of the Accused to repair the kitchen of the bar,
"ATTY. RESURRECCION: testified that around 11:30 P.M. of 7 May 1984, he saw a person go inside Benny's Bar but could not
recognize him because the petromax lamp in the bar was not so bright as it was covered by colored red
Q Is this the same gun you are referring to which was surrendered by Benny Dy? paper. In less than two minutes after said person entered, a shot exploded from the inside of the bar.
Thereafter he saw the man who had just entered rush outside holding a gun tucked to his waist (t.s.n., June
A Yes, sir, this is the one. (Witness identifying the gun.)" (pp. 11-12, id.). 25, 1985, pp. 7-8). He then ran a few meters away and when he came back he saw the Accused asking
"Tantan" what had happened to which the latter replied that a white person had been shot. In particular,
The sequence of events presented by the prosecution then discloses that. Lumogdang stated that he did not see the Accused at 6:30 P.M., when he took a stroll in the beach nor
"Together with Pat. Manuel Casimiro, Pat. Padilla accompanied when he came back at around 11:30 P.M. Much less did he see TUMAOB inside the bar.
Benny Dy to the police headquarters at the Poblacion of Malay. At the Another defense witness, Rogelio Lakandula, testified that he went to Benny's Bar at around 10:00 P.M. of
police headquarters, Pat. Padilla gave the gun surrendered by 7 May 1984. While drinking beer thereat he saw a white person, who was three meters away from him,
Benny Dy to Chief of Police Ariston Tambong who in turn handed it over shot by a person he did not recognize but he saw him come from the door and enter Benny's Bar alone.
to police supply officer Pat. Romulo Sijano for safekeeping (pp. 13-24, 27, Before and after the shooting incident, he did not see either the Accused or TUMAOB inside the bar.
id)." (pp. 7-9, Appellee's Brief).
The defense version, on the other hand, professes the innocence of the Accused, denies his presence inside Wolfer Tumaob, Jr., a nephew of the principal prosecution witness, TUMAOB, testified that on 7 May 1984
the bar during the shooting, and attributes the offense to an unrecognized person. Thus: at 11:00 P.M., TUMAOB, Jover Casidsid, Welmer Taunan, Wolfer Tumaob, Sr., and he, went out fishing at
midsea staying thereat up to 6:00 A.M. of 8 May 1984 and that they did not pass Boracay Island at all on 7
"On May 7, 1984, Benny Dy was inside his bar. However, he remained therein for May 1984 but went home on 8 May 1984.
a few hours as he had a headache. He left his bar at around 9:30 or 10:00 o'clock
in the evening, and went to bed in a room at the annex building behind the bar. The accused stoutly denied having made any oral confession alleging that he went to Pat. Padilla not to
He left his friend, Francisco Ureta known as 'Tan-tan' and his new helper, Romy, report the incident but to state that a boy helper in the bar had found a gun on the sand floor while cleaning
to attend and take charge of the bar. and that Pat. Padilla picked up the gun from the bar at his (Accused's) request (t.s.n., September 2, 1985,
pp. 33-36). The Accused argues that even if he did make such a confession, the same would be inadmissible
"In that evening of May 7, 1984, there were several customers inside the bar. in evidence.
Some people were dancing. At about midnight, a person entered Benny's Bar and
in lees than two (2) minutes, an explosion was heard inside the bar. The explosion The Trial Court found the testimonies of defense witnesses enmeshed in contradictions on material points,
caused the customers to scream; they rushed out of the bar including the person rejected the disclaimers they had made, accorded more credence to the prosecution version, and as
who entered immediately before the explosion. previously stated, rendered a judgment of conviction.

"The loud explosion coupled with the screaming and rushing of customers, In this appeal, the accused raises the following.
awakened Benny Dy. He was prompted to immediately come out of his room and Assignments of Error.
directly proceeded to the bar. Inside the bar, Benny saw a man lying on the sand
floor with blood on his shirt. I
"Instinctively, Benny Dy carried this man to the beach, and woke up Charlie the The trial Court erred in holding that the Smith & Wesson revolver cal. .38
owner of a pump boat which could take the wounded man to the hospital. While with Serial No. 33169 was the gun which caused the death of Christian
the wounded man was being loaded in a pumpboat, several persons arrived Langel.
including Australian Nurses to render assistance. The wounded man was finally
brought to Aklan Baptist Hospital at Caticlan, Malay, Aklan for treatment. II
Unfortunately, the patient, whose real name is Christian Langel, died.
The trial Court erred in finding that Wilson Tumaob testified in court
"The shooting in Benny's Bar 'may nabaril sa Benny's Bar', immediately, spread like ahead of Dr. Caturan, so the former's testimony on the relative position
forest wild fire in the small Island of Boracay and rapidly transferred from one ear of the accused and victim could not have been influenced or tailored to
to another and in the course thereof, it became distorted from 'may nabaril sa conform to Dr. Caturan's findings on the trajectory of the bullet slug
Benny's Bar' to 'may nabaril sa Benny' and finally 'may nabaril si Benny'. found in the victim's body.
III a tourist;" b) Appellant's voluntary surrender to the Chief of Police; and c) his surrender of his Smith &
Wesson revolver, cal. .38, also to the Chief of Police.
The trial Court erred in holding that Wilson Tumaob had no unfair motive
to fabricate a story different from what he actually witnessed, and in It may be that Chief of Police Ariston T. Tambong, who had presumably made such entry, died on 15 August
giving weight to his testimony. 1984 before the start of the trial of this case below and was not in a position to identify the same before
the Court. His successor (Lt. Audie Arroyo), however, was presented as a prosecution witness and identified
IV said entry (t.s.n., October 17, 1984, pp. 29-33).
The trial Court erred in holding that accused shot Langel. The revolver, marked as Exhibit "F," in turn, was identified by Pat. Padilla as the firearm surrendered by the
Accused. When Pat. Padilla stated that he saw the fatal gun, its serial number and name for the first time
V
(t.s.n., October 17, 1984, pp. 17-19) he was clearly referring to particulars which he did not concern himself
The trial Court erred in holding that the conflicting testimonies of Pat. with at the time of surrender.
Padilla and Casimiro relate to minor matters which do not affect their
Appellant's assertion that the gun he had surrendered was merely found by a boy helper while cleaning the
credibility.
bar deserves no credence for, if it were so, it would have been absurd for him to have placed himself under
VI police custody in the early morning after the incident.

The trial Court erred in holding that appellant made the oral confession, (2) The sworn Complaint for "Murder with Use of Unlicensed Firearm" signed by the Chief of Police (Exhibit
and in admitting the same as well as the entries in the police blotter. "H"), dated 8 May 1984, also attests to Appellant's oral confession. Said officer could not have prepared the
Complaint with such promptitude sans investigation at "0700H" the morning after the incident were it not
VII for Appellant's outright admission. That Complaint forms part of the record of the proceedings before the
Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Buruanga, Aklan, and is prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated
The trial Court erred in holding that compliance with the constitutional (Section 38, Rule 130, Rules of Court). That said Complaint was sworn to before the Municipal Circuit Trial
procedure on custodial interrogation is not applicable in the instant case. Court Judge and filed before this Court only on 17 May 1984 will not detract from the fact that the Chief of
Police had taken official action promptly the very morning of Appellant's surrender by charging him with
VIII "Murder with the Use of Unlicensed Firearm" after having heard his admission.
The trial Court erred in holding that the uncorroborated testimony of
Wilson Tumaob is sufficient to sustain appellant's conviction.
(3) The fact of Appellant's surrender is further borne out by the Order of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court
IX Judge, Judge Tonel, dated 17 May 1984, categorically reciting that "no warrant of arrest is issued for the
The trial Court erred in holding that the evidence adduced by the apprehension of the accused for the reason that he is already under police custody before the filing of the
prosecution is overwhelming and satisfied the test of proof beyond complaint." It would have been at variance with ordinary human behavior for Appellant to have voluntarily
reasonable doubt in convicting appellant. placed himself under police custody absent any culpability for any offense.

X Contrary to the defense contention, the oral confession made by the accused to Pat. Padilla that "he had
shot a tourist" and that the gun he had used in shooting the victim was in his bar which he wanted
The trial Court erred in holding that appellant's defense of alibi is weak. surrendered to the Chief of Police (t.s.n., October 17, 1984, pp. 6-9), is competent evidence against him.
The declaration of an accused acknowledging his guilt of the offense charged may be given in evidence
XI against him (Sec. 29, Rule 130, Rules of Court). It may in a sense be also regarded as part of the res
gestae. The rule is that, any person, otherwise competent as a witness, who heard the confession, is
The trial Court erred in convicting accused-appellant. competent to testify as to the substance of what he heard if he heard and understood all of it. An oral
confession need not be repeated verbatim, but in such a case it must be given in substance (23 C.J.S. 196,
XII
cited inPeople vs. Tawat, G.R. No. 62871, May 25, 1985, 129 SCRA 431).
The trial Court erred in denying accused-appellant's motion for new trial.
What was told by the Accused to Pat. Padilla was a spontaneous statement not elicited through questioning,
The basic issue is actually one of credibility, the crucial question being whether the Accused had orally but given in an ordinary manner. No written confession was sought to be presented in evidence as a result
admitted his authorship of the crime and surrendered the gun he had used in shooting the victim, as the of formal custodial investigation. (People vs. Taylaran, G.R. No. 49149, October 31, 1981, 108 SCRA 373).
prosecution claims, or, whether he had no involvement whatsoever, the gun surrendered having been The Trial Court, therefore, cannot be held to have erred in holding that compliance with the constitutional
found by a boy helper inside the bar while cleaning the place the morning after the incident, as the defense procedure on custodial interrogation is not applicable in the instant case, as the defense alleges in its Error
would have us believe. VII.

The case history and the documentary evidence attest strongly to Appellant's oral confession and voluntary With the indubitable official and documentary evidence on record, the identity of the Accused as the
surrender. Thus, (1) Entry No. 3904 in the police blotter of the Malay Police Substation, dated 8 May victim's assailant is indisputable. The denials by the defense immediately lose their credibility and the errors
1984, supra, confirms three significant details: a) Pat. Padilla's testimony that he had accompanied the it has assigned are rendered without any merit whatsoever.
Accused to police headquarters in the early morning of 8 May 1984 after the latter admitted having "shot
Thus, contrary to Error I, the gun which Appellant surrendered to Pat. Padilla and the Chief of Police, coupled period to reclusion temporal in its medium period, or, from ten (10) years and one (1) day to seventeen (17)
with his voluntary surrender, cannot but be the weapon which caused the death of the victim. That is no years and four (4) months.
inference; it is clear and direct evidence. To further require a ballistic examination and a paraffin test would
have been a superfluous exercise. WHEREFORE, the test of proof beyond reasonable doubt having been met, the judgment appealed from is
hereby AFFIRMED but with the penalty MODIFIED to an indeterminate sentence of ten (10) years and one
The issue raised in Error II as to who testified ahead, TUMAOB or the examining physician, Dr. Othello (1) day of prision mayor, as minimum, to seventeen (17) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of reclusion
Caturan, also becomes irrelevant, TUMAOB's testimony being corroborated by the documentary evidence temporal,as maximum. Costs against the accused-appellant Benny Dy.
heretofore mentioned. Besides, even without TUMAOB's testimony the documentary evidence on record
more than suffices to overcome the disclaimers by Appellant and on which his assigned Errors VIII & IX are SO ORDERED.
predicated.
||| (People v. Dy, G.R. No. 74517, [February 23, 1988], 241 PHIL 904-919)
TUMAOB's motive in testifying the way he did, further assailed in Error III, is immaterial considering the
corroboration his testimony received from Appellant's proven actuations after the incident. Efforts by the
defense to discredit him as a "professional witness," who allegedly asked for a consideration from Appellant
of P500.00 to swing the testimony in Appellant's favor, but which the latter rejected, with the insinuation
that he could have been paid by Swiss authorities to testify the way he did in Court, is unavailing since
conviction is not based on his testimony alone.

Whatever inconsistencies there may have been in the testimonies of Patrolmen Padilla and Casimiro,
posited in Error V, are sufficiently overcome by the documentary evidence of record.

As to the testimonial evidence presented by the defense, which the Trial Court rejected, we find no
reversible error in the meticulous assessment it had made thereof, ably pointing out the material
contradictions in the testimonies and consequently their lack of credibility.

The entries in the police blotter were properly admitted by the Trial Court, contrary to the allegation in
Error VI forming, as they do, part of official records.

The defense of alibi must likewise be rejected in the face of overwhelming evidence against the Accused.
The Trial Court cannot be faulted, therefore, for denying Appellant's bid for acquittal contrary to the
allegations in Errors IV, X and XI.

Lastly, neither was any error committed by the Trial Court in denying the defense Motion for New Trial
(Error XII) based on the affidavit of recantation of witness TUMAOB that he was not at Benny's Bar when
the victim was shot. Even assuming that it can be considered as newly discovered evidence it is insufficient
to overturn the judgment already rendered, for, it bears emphasizing that conviction is not based on
TUMAOB's testimony alone. Moreover,

"Affidavits of retraction executed by witnesses who had previously testified in


court will not be countenanced for the purpose of securing a new trial. — It would
be a dangerous rule for courts to reject testimonies solemnly taken before courts
of justice simply because the witnesses who had given them later on change their
mind for one reason or another, for such a rule would make solemn trials a
mockery and place the investigation of truth at the mercy of unscrupulous
witnesses. Affidavits of retraction can be easily secured from poor and ignorant
witnesses usually for a monetary consideration. Recanted testimony is
exceedingly unreliable. So courts are wary or reluctant to allow a new trial based
on retracted testimony." (People vs. Saliling, et al, L-27974, February 27, 1976, 69
SCRA 427, cited in Ibabao vs. People, L-36957, September 28, 1984, 132 SCRA
216).

The penalty of reclusion perpetua imposed by the Trial Court, however, will have to be modified. With the
abolition of the death penalty in the 1987 Constitution, the penalty for Murder is now reclusion temporal in
its maximum period to reclusion perpetua. With the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender to
which the Accused should be entitled, the penalty is imposable in its minimum period or from seventeen
(17) years, four (4) months and one (1) day to eighteen (18) years and eight (8) months. For the application
of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the range of the penalty next lower is prision mayor in its maximum
EN BANC the personality profile of the appellant which can serve as a trustworthy index of his capacity to give a free
and informed plea of guilt. The age, socio-economic status, and educational background of the appellant
were not plumbed by the trial court. The questions were framed in English yet there is no inkling that
[G.R. No. 117487. December 12, 1995.] appellant has a nodding acquaintance of English. It will be noted too that the trial court did not bother to
explain to the appellant the essential elements of the crime of rape with homicide. A cursory examination
of the questions of the trial court to establish the voluntariness of appellant's plea of guilt will show their
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ARNEL ALICANDO Y utter insufficiency. The trial court simply inquired if appellant had physical marks of maltreatment. It did
BRIONES, accused-appellant. not ask the appellant when he was arrested, who arrested him, how and where he was interrogated,
whether he was medically examined before and after his interrogation, etc. It limited its efforts trying to
discover late body marks of maltreatment as if involuntariness is caused by physical abuse alone.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. Regretfully, it even turned a blind eye on the following damning entry on the June 13, 1994 Record of Events
of the Iloilo PNP (Exh. "M") showing that after his arrest, the appellant was mobbed by inmates while in jail
Jose B. Tiongco for accused-appellant. and had suffered hematoma. Likewise, the trial court's effort to determine whether appellant had full
comprehension of the consequences of his plea is fatally flawed. It warned the appellant he would get the
mandatory death penalty without explaining the meaning of "mandatory." It did not inform the appellant
SYLLABUS of the indemnity he has to pay for the death of the victim It cautioned appellant there ". . . will be some
effects on your civil rights" without telling the appellant what those "effects" are and what "civil rights" of
his are involved Appellant's plea of guilt is void and the trial court erred in using it to sentence him to death.
1. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; ARRAIGNMENT AND PLEA; REQUIREMENT THAT THE We stress that under the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure, a conviction in capital offenses cannot rest
COMPLAINT OR INFORMATION MUST BE READ IN THE LANGUAGE OR DIALECT KNOWN TO THE ACCUSED; alone on a plea of guilt. Section 3 of Rule 116 requires that after a free and intelligent plea of guilt, the trial
NOT COMPLIED WITH IN CASE AT BAR. — The arraignment of the appellant is null and void. The trial judge court must require the prosecution to prove the guilt of the appellant and the precise degree of his
failed to follow Section (1)(a) of Rule 116 on arraignment. The reading of the complaint or information to culpability beyond reasonable doubt. This rule modifies jurisprudence that a plea of guilt even in capital
the appellant in the language or dialect known to him is a new requirement imposed by the 1985 Rules on offenses is sufficient to sustain a conviction charged in the information without need of further proof. The
Criminal Procedure. It implements the constitutional right of an appellant ". . . to be informed of the nature change is salutary for it enhances one of the goals of the criminal process which is to minimize erroneous
and cause of the accusation against him." The new rule also responds to the reality that the Philippines is a conviction. We share the stance that "it is a fundamental value determination of our system that it is far
country divided by dialects and Pilipino as a national language is still in the process of evolution. Judicial worse to convict an innocent person than let a guilty man go free." ADHcTE
notice can be taken of the fact that many Filipinos have limited understanding either of the Pilipino or
English language, our official languages for purposes of communication and instruction. The importance of 3. ID.; EVIDENCE; ADMISSIBILITY; VERBAL CONFESSION MADE DURING THE CUSTODIAL INTERROGATION
reading the complaint or information to the appellant in the language or dialect known to him cannot thus WITHOUT THE BENEFIT OF COUNSEL AND THE PHYSICAL EVIDENCE DERIVED THEREFROM, INADMISSIBLE.
be understated. In the case at bar, the records do not reveal that the Information against the appellant was — Some prosecution evidence, offered independently of the plea of guilt of the appellant,
read in the language or dialect known to him. The Information against the appellant is written in the English were inadmissible, yet, were considered by the trial court in convicting the appellant. The trial court gave
language. It is unbeknown whether the appellant knows the English language. Neither is it known what full faith and credit to the physical evidence presented by the prosecution. To quote its Decision, viz: ". . .
dialect is understood by the appellant. Nor is there any showing that the Information as couched in English Further, there are physical evidence to prove Khazie was raped. These consists of a pillow with bloodstains
was translated to the appellant in his own dialect before his plea of guilt. One need not draw a picture to in its center and the T-shirt of the accused colored white with bloodstains on its bottom. These physical
show that the arraignment of the appellant is a nullity. It violated Section 1(a) of Rule 116, the rule evidence are evidence of the highest order. They strongly corroborate the testimony of Luisa Rebada that
implementing the constitutional right of the appellant to be informed of the nature and cause of the the victim was raped." These are inadmissible evidence for they were gathered by PO3 Danilo Tan of the
accusation against him. It also denied appellant his constitutional right to due process of law. It is urged that Iloilo City PNP as a result of custodial interrogation whereappellant verbally confessed to the crime without
we must presume that the arraignment of the appellant was regularly conducted. When life is at stake, we the benefit of counsel. It is now familiar learning that the Constitution has stigmatized
cannot lean on this rebuttable presumption. We cannot assume. We must be sure. as inadmissible evidenceuncounselled confession or admission. In the case at bar, PO3 Tan did not even have
the simple sense to reduce the all important confession of the appellant in writing. Neither did he present
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; PLEA OF GUILTY TO CAPITAL OFFENSE; NULL AND VOID WHERE THE SEARCHING INQUIRY any writing showing that appellant waived his right to silence and to have competent and independent
CONDUCTED BY THE COURT IS PROCEDURALLY INADEQUATE. — The plea of guilt made by the appellant is counsel. Despite the blatant violation of appellant's constitutional right, the trial court allowed his
likewise null and void. The trial court violated Section 3 of Rule 116 when it accepted the plea of guilt of the uncounselled confession to flow into the records and illicitly used it in sentencing him to death. It is not only
appellant. Said section provides: "Sec. 3. Plea of guilty to capital offense; reception of evidence. — When the uncounselled confession that is condemned as inadmissible, but also evidence derived therefrom.
the accused pleads guilty to a capital offense, the court shallconduct a searching inquiry into the The pillow and the T-shirt with the alleged bloodstains were evidence derived from the uncounselled
voluntariness and full comprehension of the consequences of his plea and require the prosecution to prove confession illegally extracted by the police from the appellant. We have not only constitutionalized
his guilt and the precise degree of culpability. The accused may also present evidence in his behalf." The the Miranda warnings in our jurisdiction. We have also adopted the libertarian exclusionary rule known as
records reveal how the trial judge inadequately discharged this duty of conducting a "searching inquiry." the " fruit of the poisonous tree," a phrase minted by Mr. Justice Felix Frankfurter in the celebrated case
Section 3 of Rule 116 which the trial court violated is not a new rule for it merely incorporated the decision of Nardone v. United States. According to this rule, once the primary source (the "tree") is shown to have
of this Court in People vs. Apduhan, Jr., (24 SCRA 798 [1968]) and reiterated in an unbroken line of cases. been unlawfully obtained, any secondary or derivative evidence (the "fruit") derived from it is also
The bottom line of the rule is that the plea of guilt must be based on a free and informed judgment. Thus, inadmissible Stated otherwise, illegally seized evidence is obtained as a direct result of the illegal act,
the searching inquiry of the trial court must be focused on: (1) the voluntariness of the plea, and (2) the full whereas the " fruit of the poisonous tree" is the indirect result of the same illegal act. The " fruit of the
comprehension of the consequences of the plea. The questions of the trial court failed to show the poisonous tree" is at least once removed from the illegally seized evidence, but it is equally inadmissible.
voluntariness of the plea of guilt of the appellant nor did the questions demonstrate appellant's full The rule is based on the principle that evidence illegally obtained by the State should not be used to gain
comprehension of the consequences of his plea. The records do not reveal any information about other evidence because the originally illegally obtained evidence taints all evidence subsequently obtained.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; BURDEN OF PROOF TO SHOW THAT ACCUSED VALIDLY WAIVED HIS RIGHT TO REMAIN rule as to how a judge may conduct searching inquiry, as to the number and character of questions he may
SILENT AND TO COUNSEL RESTS WITH THE PROSECUTION; CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE REQUIRED. put to the accused, or as to the earnestness with which he may conduct it, since each case must be
— The burden to prove that an accused waived his right to remain silent and the right to counsel before measured according to its individual merit, taking into consideration the age, educational attainment, and
making a confession under custodial interrogation rests with the prosecution. It is also the burden of the social status of the accused confessing guilt, among other things, the singular barometer is that the judge
prosecution to show that the evidence derived from confession is not tainted as "fruit of the poisonous must in all cases, fully convince himself that: (1) the accused, in pleading guilty, is doing so voluntarily, and
tree." The burden has to be discharged by clear and convincing evidence. Indeed, par. 1 of Section 12 of (2) he, in so doing, is truly guilty, and that there exists a rational basis for a finding of guilt, based on his
Article III of the Constitutionprovides only one mode of waiver — the waiver must be in writing and in the testimony. This Court leaves to judges, considering their training, ample discretion, but expects them at the
presence of counsel. In the case at bar, the records show that the prosecution utterly failed to discharge same time, that they will be true to their calling and be worthy ministers of the law. The purpose of a
this burden. It matters not that in the course of the hearing, the appellant failed to make a timely objection searching inquiry is to satisfy the judge that the defendant's plea was entered into voluntarily and that the
to the introduction of these constitutionally proscribed evidence. The lack of objection did not satisfy the defendant understood the consequences of his plea. There is no hard and fast rule, as theDayot case states,
heavy burden of proof that rested on the prosecution. as to the number and character of the questions propounded. Judges are not required to go into obsessive
detail about the psychological, educational and sociological background of the accused if from a reasonable
inquiry conducted through a reasonable number of questions he is fully convinced a searching inquiry has
been met. There is a world of difference between a fastidious attention to detail which furthers the end of
5. ID.; COURTS; COMMITMENT TO THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. — Our commitment to the criminal
justice and an attention to detail and minutiae bordering on obsessiveness which ultimately obstructs
justice system is not only to convict and punish violators of our laws. We are equally committed to the ideal
justice and defeats the purpose of the law. caIDSH
that the process of detection, apprehension, conviction and incarceration of criminals should be
accomplished with fairness, and without impinging on the dignity of the individual. In a death penalty case, 3. ID.; ID.; ID.; PLEA OF GUILTY IN CASE AT BAR; NOT IMPROVIDENT. — In the case before us, when the
the Court cannot rush to judgment even when a lowlife is involved for an erroneous conviction will leave a appellant pleaded guilty in open court on June 28, 1994, appellant was clearly assisted by counsel. The court
lasting stain in our escutcheon of justice. ACSaHc took pains to repeatedly remind him of the grave consequences of a plea of guilty, which appellant said he
understood. On every such occasion, he had every opportunity, through his counsel, to ask the court for
KAPUNAN, J., dissenting opinion:
clarification. The trial court, on its own, in fact went out of its way to repeatedly inform the defendant of
1. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; ARRAIGNMENT AND PLEA; PROCEDURE COMPLIED WITH IN the nature of his plea and the implications of the plea he was making. On July 11, 1994, before the
CASE AT BAR. — A thorough review of the record reveals that there was full compliance with existing rules presentation of evidence for the prosecution, he was once again asked by the court if he was sure of his
on arraignment and plea. It is plainly obvious from an examination of the appropriate rules and the record plea. At this time, appellant had more than sufficient time or about thirteen days to reflect on all the possible
of the case that: 1) there is absolutely nothing on the record which would warrant a finding the information consequences of his plea. If indeed it was not voluntarily made during his arraignment, he had enough time
was not read in the language or dialect known to the appellant; 2) the rule on arraignment and plea does and opportunity with the assistance of his lawyer to recant or at least express reservations about the same.
not absolutely require that the same be indicated in the record of every criminal case; 3) Rule 116, Section However, in spite of several warnings given by the trial court on different occasions, appellant stood pat
1 contains nothing requiring trial courts to indicate in the record the fact that the information was read in with his judicial admission. Significantly, the records fail to indicate that appellant questioned his plea of
the language or dialect known to the defendant, even if the same was in fact actually complied with by the guilty at any stage of the trial. He had the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses for the prosecution.
lower court. When an accused is arraigned in connection with a criminal charge, it is the duty of the court He did not put up any defense nor denied the inculpatory testimonies, documents and real evidence
to inform him of its nature and cause so that he may be able to comprehend the charges against him as presented against him (in fact, it was appellant himself who directed the police investigators to the location
well as the circumstances attendant thereto. When the charge is of a serious nature, it becomes the of the various physical evidence, e.g., green slippers. earrings). Appellant's silence as to the accusations
imperative duty of the lawyer present not only to assist the accused during the reading of the information made against him in open court from the time of his arraignment and during his entire trial therefore
but also to explain to him the gravity and consequence of his plea. Trial judges are enjoined to refrain from assumes a great deal of significance in the context of the majority's insistence that herein appellant's plea
accepting with alacrity the accused's plea of guilty. While justice demands speedy administration, judges of guilty was improvident and therefore void. In the face of the seriousness of the accusations against him,
are duty-bound to be extra solicitous in seeing to it that when an accused pleads guilty, he fully understands his reticence was eloquent. As the Court held in People vs. Pillones: Silence is assent as well as consent, and
the meaning of his plea and the import of an inevitable conviction. Consequently, three things need to be may, where a direct and specific accusation of crime is made, be regarded under some circumstances as a
accomplished after the accused in a criminal case enters a plea of guilty to a capital offense: (1) the court quasi-confession. An innocent person will at once naturally and emphatically repel an accusation of crime,
should conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness and full comprehension of the consequences of as a matter of self-preservation and self-defense, and as a precaution against prejudicing himself. A person's
the accused's plea; (2) the lower court should require the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused and silence, therefore, particularly when it is persistent, will justify an inference that he is not innocent.
the precise degree of his culpability; and (3) the court should inquire whether or not the accused wishes to (Underhill's Criminal Evidence, 4th Ed., p. 401.) The absence of an extrajudicial confession does not detract
present evidence on his behalf and should allow him to do so if he so desires. A judge who fails to observe from the efficacy or validity of appellant's plea of guilty, it does not affect the requirement compelling the
this requirement commits a grave abuse of discretion. These requirements have been complied with in this prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused and the precise degree of his culpability. Nowhere in the rule
case. does it state that an extrajudicial confession is a prerequisite for a conviction based on a plea of guilty. While
the constitutional infirmities that attended the custodial investigation of the appellant were serious and
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; PLEA OF GUILTY TO CAPITAL OFFENSE; MANNER OF CONDUCTING THE SEARCHING INQUIRY should not be glossed over, his conviction was based mainly on his plea of guilt made in open court and not
INTO THE VOLUNTARINESS AND FULL COMPREHENSION OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE PLEA; LEFT TO on the extrajudicial confession, which formed but a small aspect of the prosecution's case. An extrajudicial
THE DISCRETION OF THE TRIAL JUDGE. — There is no hard and fast rule requiring judges to conduct their confession only serves to confirm or substantiate a plea of guilty entered in open court. As between an
searching inquiry in the detailed manner suggested by the majority opinion, although judges should ideally extrajudicial confession and a judicial admission, the latter significantly is given evidentiary weight. Even
strive to conduct as detailed an inquiry as would be reasonable under the circumstances. In People v. assuming the extrajudicial confession in this case could not be given evidentiary weight because of mistakes
Dayot (187 SCRA 637 [1990]) we held that: A searching inquiry . . . compels the judge to content himself committed by authorities in conducting their custodial investigation and in their gathering evidence, his
reasonably that the accused has not been coerced or placed under a state of duress — and that his guilty plea of guilty on arraignment, his repeated admissions to the same in spite of repeated warnings of the trial
plea has not therefore been given improvidently — other by actual threats of physical harm from malevolent judge of the consequences of his plea and the presence of ample corroborating testimony from a credible
quarters or simply because of his, the judge's, intimidating robes. . . . While there can be no hard and fast eyewitness to the crime establish appellant's guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The essence of the plea of
guilty in a trial is that the accused admits his guilt freely, voluntarily and with full knowledge of the opportunity for the defendant in a criminal case to reap an undeserved and socially undesirable bonanza.
consequences and meaning of his act, and with a clear understanding of the precise nature of the crime Certainly it could not be argued that with nothing in their hands, the police would not have gone back to
charged in the complaint or information. A plea of guilty, when formally entered on arraignment is sufficient the site for a better inspection. AEcTaS
to sustain a conviction charged in the information without need of further proof. This, notwithstanding, (in
line with the pronouncement of the Court in several cases) the trial court received evidence to determine 6. ID.; ID.; WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY; EVIDENCE PRESENTED BY THE PROSECUTION SUFFICIENT TO SUSTAIN
if the appellant erred in admitting his guilt. Independent of such plea, there was more than sufficient CONVICTION IN CASE AT BAR. — Assuming arguendothe validity of the defense's arguments over the pieces
evidence adduced to prove that appellant indeed committed the acts charged. of evidence recovered by the police in the case at bench above-mentioned, a thorough review of the
evidence utilized by the trial court leads us to the conclusion that the defendant's conviction would have
been sustained, in any case, without the pieces of evidence objected to. Lest we mistake the trees for the
forest, a shifting of the pieces of evidence, and a separation therefrom of the physical evidence objected to
4. ID.; EVIDENCE; DISPUTABLE PRESUMPTIONS; PRESUMPTION OF REGULARITY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF would nevertheless still leave the prosecution with enough legal evidence to convict the accused with moral
OFFICIAL DUTIES; APPLICABLE IN CASE AT BAR. — The records in an overwhelming number of criminal cases certainty. These include: 1. The defendant's own repeated admissions, in the presence of counsel and in
brought before us contain informations written in the English language without any indication, whatsoever, open court that he committed the acts charged; 2. The essentially uncontradicted testimony of the
that the same was translated from a language or dialect known to the defendant. And yet, even in Metro prosecution's eyewitness, Luisa Rebada. It is well-settled in this jurisdiction that the testimony of a lone
Manila alone, one observes that the bulk of proceedings in our trial courts, including the process of witness, free from signs of impropriety or falsehood, is sufficient to convict an accused even if
arraignment, is conducted in the vernacular. On the record of these cases normally printed in English, courts uncorroborated. In this case, Rebada's testimony was positive and straightforward. I see no reason why the
hardly bother to point out those sections of the trial conducted in the vernacular and translated into English. same should not be given the credence and the weight that it deserves, without our ignoring established
Because of this widespread practice, which the section on arraignment in the Rules of Court does not principles in the law on evidence. Such factual findings of the trial court on the issue of credibility of a
proscribe — the presumption of regularity ought to apply. Otherwise, we should compel ourselves to review witness are accorded great weight and respect on appeal, as it should have been in the instant case, because
the criminal cases decided by this Court since the imposition of the 1985 Revised Rules on Criminal the trial court had the every available opportunity to observe the demeanor of the lone witness during the
Procedure and see whether there was any indication that the arraignment of these criminal cases were, the trial. Her belated reporting of the incident the next morning, to which the defense urged the lower court to
records therein then ought to show, conducted in a language known to the defendants. The absurdity of this accord great weight, is hardly out of the ordinary. Individual reactions are motivated by varied and varying
argument by the defense then becomes apparent, because it would be fairly obvious to all of us that most environmental factors. There is no standard norm of human behavioral response when one is confronted
of these proceedings were actually conducted in the vernacular, but the fact was never put on record. In with a strange, startling or frightful experience. Fear and self-preservation are strong motivating factors. It
fact, Section 1(b) of Rule 116 even states that while the arraignment and plea be made of record failure to is common for people to choose not to get involved when a crime is committed, otherwise there should
enter (the same) of record shall not affect the validity of the proceedings. Even the rule on placing the only be a few unsolved crimes. Rebada, in this case, was obviously terrified with what she saw. Self-
arraignment and plea on record is not absolute, and I cannot see how we can be too strict about indicating preservation and fear of possible reprisals from the appellant would have initially overwhelmed any desire
on record whether proceedings were made in the vernacular in cases where in fact the proceedings were on her part to reveal what she had seen during the incident. She tried her best to remain as calm and casual
so conducted. The argument that the information was not read in the language or dialect known to as possible, and pretend that she did not see anything the instant she saw Alicando, when she asked
appellant merely grasps on straws and ought to be dismissed for being so inconsequential as to be bereft appellant what time Khazi Mae got down from his house following the incident. Given these factors, it would
of merit. Moreover, it is a matter of common practice that in every court, especially in the provinces, an have been too much to expect Rebada in her mixed state of dread, fear, revulsion and instinctive self-
interpreter is always at hand to translate to the parties all questions propounded to them in the language preservation to harness superhuman reserves of courage to stop appellant when she saw him in that
or dialect known to them. It is also common practice that the transcript of stenographic notes submitted to compromising position. Man's actions and reactions cannot be stereotyped. Some individuals flee from an
the court only reflect the court proceedings conducted in the English language. While again, the records do adverse stimulus, others confront it. Upon seeing the dead girl's distraught parents, and overcoming her
not categorically indicate that the information was read in the language or dialect known to the defendant fear with some prodding from her husband, Luisa Rebada was finally driven by conscience to reveal what
or that the questions asked were mandated in the vernacular or dialect understood by him it is presumed, she knew the following morning. The minor inconsistencies in Rebada's testimony are understandable
as we have actually done in many cases before this, that such duty was regularly performed in the absence under these circumstances. However, it should be stressed here that the trial court's conclusions were
of any evidence to the contrary. In the face of this common practice, the burden now lies on the defense to founded principally on the direct, positive and categorical assertions made by Rebada as
prove the contrary. Under the principle of equal application of laws, we cannot have varying degrees of regards material events in the crime. It is worthy to stress, moreover, that Rebada never wavered in her
fastidiousness in the enforcement of procedural rules based on the gravity of the penalty. oral testimony even on intense cross-examination from the defense. In her affidavit, she declared that she
saw Khazi Mae at appellant's house, that appellant closed the window; and after hearing the child's cry and
5. ID.; ID.; ADMISSIBILITY; PHYSICAL EVIDENCE OBJECTED TO FALLS UNDER ONE OF THE EXCEPTIONS TO
squeal, peeped into the opening and saw appellant on top of the victim. These were the very same
THE EXCLUSIONARY RULE. — I submit, that under the peculiar circumstances of this case, the evidence
declarations she made when she took the witness stand. While she may have wavered on a minor detail (as
objected to would have been inevitably discovered anyway. In a long line of cases, courts have recognized
to whether it was the right or the left hand of the appellant which was used in choking the victim) these
that evidence derived from information obtained illegally is not absolutely inadmissible under the fruit of
should not be sufficient to debunk her credibility. She had no reason to falsely testify against the appellant
the poisonous tree doctrine where it is shown that such evidence would have been inevitably gained even
and there were no possible motives alleged for her to do so. She is not in any way related to the Penecillas,
without the unlawful act. The case of U.S. vs. Seohnlein, for instance, held the view that a confession by the
and there was no evidence adduced to show that she harbored any ill-feelings towards the appellant. In a
accused in a bank robbery case was not fruit of the poisonous tree for the reason that the information which
sense, her credibility is even enhanced by the absence of any improper motive. Together with the direct
led to his confession, though the product of an illegal search would have been discovered in the absence of
testimony of the eyewitness, Rebada, there is, I repeat, sufficient evidence corroborating and unmistakably
such illegality. The Court in Lockridge vs. Superior Court was of the opinion that where a witness is
pointing to the appellant as the author of the crime. Khazi Mae was last seen in the company of the
discovered as a result of illegal police conduct, his testimony is admissible is he would have been discovered
appellant. Rebada testified that she saw appellant naked on top of Khazi Mae. Recovered from the latter's
in the normal course of a normally conducted investigation. These and other recognized limitations to the
house were Khazi Mae's green slippers, pair of gold earrings, her dress, bloodied buri mat and pillow. The
fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine do not have the effect of diluting the effect of our exclusionary rules.
fact of shoddy police work in the recovery of these pieces of evidence does not escape us. But whether or
Rather, they serve the purpose of the rule well by maintaining a reasonable balance between the need to
not these pieces should have been admissible is on hindsight hardly relevant in the face of ample legally
deny evidence come by through the exploitation of an illegality on one hand and the need to minimize
admissible evidence justifying the trial court's guilty verdict.
by then and there pinning down one KHAZIE MAE PENECILLA, a minor, four years
of age, choking her with his right hand, succeeded in having carnal knowledge with
7. CRIMINAL LAW; RAPE WITH HOMICIDE; ESTABLISHED IN CASE AT BAR. — Rape is committed whenever her and as a result thereof she suffered asphyxia by strangulation, fractured
there is penetration, no matter how slight into the genital organ of the victim. The vaginal and anal findings cervical vertebra and lacerations of the vaginal and rectal openings causing
of Dr. Tito Doromal revealed that the lacerated wound from the fourchette up to the dome of the rectum profuse hemorrhages and other injuries which are necessarily fatal and which
was caused by a forcible entry of an object. In view of settled jurisprudence to the effect that rape is were the direct cause of her death.
committed by the mere touching of the male genital organ on the vagina, it hardly is relevant whether or
not semen or sperm are present or absent. Absence of emission does not negate rape. Rebada's testimony CONTRARY TO LAW."
that she saw appellant naked on top of the victim when she peeped through an opening between the floor
and the door of appellant's house and the autopsy report revealing the laceration of the vagina eloquently On June 29, 1994, appellant was arraigned with the assistance of Atty. Rogelio Antiquiera
testify to the crime committed and its authorship in the case at bench. As correctly observed by the Solicitor of the PAO, Department of Justice. Appellant pleaded guilty.
General, the corpus delicti was there for all to see. The trial court, therefore, did not err in dispensing with After appellant's plea of guilt, the trial court ordered the prosecution to present its
the results of the NBI laboratory examination of Khazi Mae's underwear to determine the presence of male evidence. It also set the case for reception of evidence for the appellant, if he so desired. 2
semen, a fact of little relevance after the rape was established by definitive legal evidence. Finally,
notwithstanding the fact that the proximate cause of death was asphyxiation by strangulation, it cannot be The prosecution evidence shows that in the afternoon of June 12, 1994, Romeo Penecilla,
denied that Khazi Mae was raped and killed on the same occasion. As we observed in People v. Yu, (1 SCRA father of the four year old victim Khazie Mae, was drinking liquor with Ramil Rodriguez and Remus
199 [1961]) unity of thought and action in the criminal purpose of the accused cannot be altered by the Gaddi in his (Penecilla's) house at Barangay Rizal, Zone 1, Pulo Bala, Iloilo. Appellant joined them but
circumstances that both the crime of rape and the crime of murder resulted. The accused had to choke and every now and then would take leave and return. Appellant was living in his uncle's house some five
strangle the girl at the same time that he was satisfying his lust on her. Based on all of the foregoing, it is (5) arm's length from Penecilla's house. At about 4:30 p.m., Penecilla's group stopped drinking and
clear and inescapable that appellant committed the heinous crime of Rape with Homicide under Sec. 11 of left.
RA. 7659. Luisa Rebada also lives in the Penecilla neighborhood, about one and a half (1-1/2) arm's
length from the house of appellant. At about 5:30 p.m. of that day, she saw the victim at the window
8. ID.; PENALTIES; IMPOSITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY FOR SPECIFIC OFFENSES UNDER REPUBLIC ACT
of appellant's house. She offered to buy her "yemas" but appellant closed the window. Soon she heard
7659; MANDATORY. — I reiterate my position in People vs. Veneracion, that the reimposition of the death
the victim crying. She approached appellant's house and peeped through an opening between its floor
penalty for specific offenses under Republic Act 7659 has left our courts with no choice but to impose the
and door. The sight shocked her — appellant was naked, on top of the victim, his left hand choking
penalty for crimes clearly enumerated in the said law. If a court, after leaving no stone unturned, finds it
her neck. She retreated to her house in fright.
necessary to impose the penalty, I believe that it does not do so as an infallible God exercising a divine right
to give or take away human life, but as a fallible human institution recognizing the importance of according She gathered her children together and informed her compadre, Ricardo Lagrana, then in
majesty to laws so indispensable to maintaining social order. In the instant case; after a thorough and her house, about what she saw. Lagrana was also overcome with fear and hastily left.
searching review of the evidence and an evaluation of the procedural and constitutional objections adduced
Romeo Penecilla returned to his house at 8 o'clock in the evening. He did not find Khazie
either in support of an acquittal or of imposing a less severe penalty it should be fairly obvious to us that
Mae. He and his wife searched for her until 1 o'clock in the morning. Their effort was fruitless. Rebada
the trial court committed no error in finding the accused guilty as charged. Recognizing our fallible nature,
was aware that the Penecillas were looking for their daughter but did not tell them what she knew.
the quantum of evidence necessary to convict has never been absolute proof beyond any doubt but merely
Instead, Rebada called out appellant from her window and asked him the time Khazie Mae left his
proof beyond reasonable doubt. The death penalty in the instant case was clearly imposed in conformity
house. Appellant replied he was drunk and did not know.
with the mandate of law and Constitution. SADECI
As the sun started to rise, another neighbor, Leopoldo Santiago went down from his house
to answer the call of nature. He discovered the lifeless body of Khazie Mae under his house. Her
parents were informed and so was the police. At 9:00 a.m., Rebada suffered a change of heart. She
DECISION informed Romeo Penecilla and his wife Julie Ann, that appellant committed the crime. Forthwith,
appellant was arrested and interrogated by PO3 Danilo Tan. He verbally confessed his guilt without
the assistance of counsel. On the basis of his uncounseled verbal confession and follow up
interrogations, the police came to know and recovered from appellant's house, Khazie Mae's green
slippers, a pair of gold earrings, a buri mat, a stained pillow and a stained T-shirt all of which were
PUNO, J p:
presented as evidence for the prosecution.

The case at bar involves the imposition of the death penalty. With all our frailties, we are The body of Khazie Mae was autopsied by Dr. Tito Doromal, a medico-legal officer. His
asked to play the role of an infallible God by exercising the divine right to give or take away life. We autopsy report reveals the following injuries sustained by the victim:
cannot err in the exercise of our judgment for our error will be irrevocable. Worse, our error can result "HEAD & NECK/THORACO-ABDOMINAL REGIONS:
in the worst of crimes — murder by the judiciary.
1) Contusion, purple in color, 11 x 11.3 cm., in dia., from left and right anterior
The records reveal that appellant Arnel Alicando was charged with the crime of rape with homicide 1 in an neck, down to the medial portion of the left and right infraclavicular area.
Information which reads:
2) Contusion, bluish purple, 5.5 x 6.3 cm., in dia., antero-lateral left chest wall.
"That on or about the 12th day of June 1994 in the City of Iloilo, Philippines and
within the jurisdiction of this Court, said accused, did then and there willfully, 3) Contusion, bluish in color, 3 in nos., 1, 0.5 & 1.1 cm., in dia., right antero-inferior
unlawfully and feloniously and by means of force, violence and intimidation to wit: chest wall.
4) Contusion, purple in color, 4 x 3.2 cm., in dia., left sub-costal arch.

5) Contusion, purple in color, 4.5 x 5 cm., in dia., supero-lateral, left iliac crest . Cost against the accused.

ON OPENING THE SKULL 7 THORACO-ABDOMINAL CAVITIES: SO ORDERED. "


a) Fractured, 2nd cervical vertebra. The case is before us on automatic review considering the death penalty imposed by the
trial court. A new counsel, Atty. Joel Tiongco, took the cudgel for appellant. In his Brief, appellant
b) Fractured, crecoid cartilage.
assails the decision of the trial court as a travesty of justice.
c) Both lungs, expanded with multiple petechial hemorrhages. We find that the Decision of the trial court sentencing the appellant to death is shot full of
errors, both substantive and procedural. The conviction is based on an amalgam of inadmissible and
d) Other internal organs, congested.
incredible evidence and supported by scoliotic logic.
EXTREMITIES: First. The arraignment of the appellant is null and void. The trial judge failed to
1) Confluent abrasion, 3 x 2.6 cm., in dia., posterior aspect, lower 3rd, left forearm. follow section (1) (a) of Rule 116 on arraignment. Said section provides:
xxx xxx xxx
2) Old wound, 2 x 1.5 cm. in dia., posterior middle 3rd, left forearm.
Section 1. Arraignment and plea; how made. —
3) Old wound, 1.5 x 1 cm., in dia., antero-lateral aspect, middle 3rd, right forearm.
(a) The accused must be arraigned before the court where the complaint or
VAGINAL FINDINGS/ANAL FINDINGS:
information has been filed or assigned for trial. The arraignment must be made in
a) Lacerated wound, from the fourchette up to the dome of the rectum. open court by the judge or clerk by furnishing the accused a copy of the complaint
or information with the list of witnesses, reading the same in the language or
b) Hematoma, from the fourchette up to the rectum. dialect known to him and asking him whether he pleads guilty or not guilty. The
prosecutor may, however, call at the trial witnesses other than those named in
c) Lacerated wound, lateral wall of the vagina up to the level of the promontory the complaint or information."
of the sacrum with a length of 8 centimeters.
The reading of the complaint or information to the appellant in the language or dialect known to him
d) A cylinder with a diameter of 2 cms., easily passes the vaginal and anal is a new requirement imposed by the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure. It implements the
openings. constitutional right of an appellant ". . . to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation
CAUSE OF DEATH: against him." 3 The new rule also responds to the reality that the Philippines is a country divided by
dialects and Pilipino as a national language is still in the process of evolution. 4 Judicial notice can be
A) ASPHYXIA BY STRANGULATION. taken of the fact that many Filipinos have limited understanding either of the Pilipino or English
language, our official languages for purposes of communication and instruction. 5 The importance of
B) FRACTURED, 2nd CERVICAL VERTEBRA.. reading the complaint or information to the appellant in the language or dialect known to him cannot
thus be understated.
C) HEMORRHAGE, 2nd DEGREE TO LACERATED VAGINAL & RECTAL OPENINGS."
In the case at bar, the records do not reveal that the Information against the appellant was
Appellant adopted the autopsy report of Dr. Doromal as his documentary evidence to read in the language or dialect known to him. The Information against the appellant is written in the
prove that the proximate cause of Khazie Mae's death was asphyxia by strangulation. English language. It is unbeknown whether the appellant knows the English language. Neither is it
On July 20, 1994, the trial court found appellant guilty and sentenced him to death, viz: known what dialect is understood by the appellant. Nor is there any showing that the Information
couched in English was translated to the appellant in his own dialect before his plea of guilt. The scanty
"WHEREFORE, the court hereby finds the accused, Arnel Alicando, GUILTY beyond transcript during his arraignment, reads: 6
reasonable doubt for (sic) the Crime of Rape with Homicide penalized under
Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by paragraphs 6 and 7 (No. 4) xxx xxx xxx
Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7659. Arnel Alicando is hereby sentenced to suffer
Prosecutor Edwin Fama — Appearing as public prosecutor
a (sic) penalty of death and to indemnify the heirs of the offended party, Khazie
Mae D. Penecilla, the sum of P50,000.00. Atty. Rogelio Antiquiera — For the accused, Your Honor. Ready for arraignment
and pre-trial.)
The death sentence shall be executed by putting the person under sentence to
death by electrocution (electric chair). As soon as facilities are provided by the Interpreter — (Reading the information to the accused for arraignment and pre-
Bureau of Prisons, the method of carrying out his sentence shall be changed by trial.)
gas poisoning (sic).
Note: (After reading the information to the accused, accused pleads guilty)"
Here ends Khazie Mae's quest for justice. Her tormentor must suffer for the
grievous offense he had committed. He deserves no mercy. One need not draw a picture to show that the arraignment of the appellant is a nullity. It violated
section l(a) of Rule 116, the rule implementing the constitutional right of the appellant to be informed
of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. It also denied appellant his constitutional right (Accused raised his prison uniform or shirt and showed to the court his body from
to due process of law. 7 It is urged that we must presume that the arraignment of the appellant was waist up.)
regularly conducted. When life is at stake, we cannot lean on this rebuttable presumption. We cannot
assume. We must be sure. Accused

Second. The plea of guilt made by the appellant is likewise null and void. The trial court No, Your Honor.
violated section 3 of Rule 116 when it accepted the plea of guilt of the appellant. Said section provides:
Court
"Sec. 3. Plea of guilty to capital offense; reception of evidence. — When the
accused pleads guilty to a capital offense, the court shall conduct a searching You were not maltreated in the jail?
inquiryinto the voluntariness and full comprehension of the consequences of his
plea and require the prosecution to prove his guilt and the precise degree of Accused
culpability. The accused may also present evidence in his behalf."
No, Your Honor.
The records reveal how the trial judge inadequately discharged this duty of conducting a "searching
Court
inquiry." In the hearing of June 28, 1994, the transcripts reveal the following: 8
xxx xxx xxx Please let us see whether you have bruises so that you will be examined by a
physician to the order of the court?
Note
Accused
(After reading the information to the accused, accused pleads guilty.)
No, Your Honor.
Court
Court
Question (sic) of the court to the accused.
If you will plead guilty, that plea of guilty has no use because there will be a
Q Considering that this is a crime and under the amended law is a heinous crime, mandatory death penalty, do you still insist on your plea of guilty?
because of your plea of guilty without the consent or even against the
discretion of the court, the court will give you a mandatory death Accused
penalty because of the crime charged, do you understand?
Yes, Your Honor.
Accused
Court
Yes, Your Honor.
If you plead guilty to the crime charged there will be some effects on your civil
Q Did you enter a plea of guilty on your own voluntary will or without any force or rights but not until the decision will be affirmed by the Supreme Court.
intimidation from any one or whatever?
Accused
Accused
Yes, Your Honor.
None, Your Honor.
Note
Q Are you sure?
(See Order dated June 28, 1994 attached to the records of this case.)"
Accused
In the next hearing on July 11, 1994, the following verbal exchange transpired, viz: 9
Yes, Your Honor. xxx xxx xxx
Q Or maybe because you were manhandled or maltreated by anyone and that will Fiscal Fama:
just be the consideration for you to plead guilty?
Appearing as the public prosecutor, ready, Your Honor.
Accused
Our first witness is Dr. Tito Doromal, Your Honor.
No, Your Honor.
Court:
Court
For the accused, Your Honor.
Were you not manhandled, please let us see your body?
Atty. Antiquiera:
Note
Before the court will proceed with the reception of evidence by the prosecution 2:50 PM - PO2 Salvador Pastoloro, Jr., PNP assigned at 327th PNP MFC, informed
Arnel Alicando, please come here. (at this juncture, Arnel Alicando, this office thru SPO1 W. Garcera alleging that at about 9:00 AM this date when the
come near to the court) suspect ARNEL ALICANDO Y BRIONES, 24 yrs. old, residence of Rizal, Palapala Zone
I, CP, been arrested and mobbed by the irate residents of Zone I, Rizal, Palapala,
The court is warning you again that this is reception of evidence by the GP, in connection of the Rape with Homicide case wherein the victim KHAZIE MAE
prosecution after you plead guilty to the crime charged at, do you PENECILLA Y DRILON, 4 yrs. old, residence of same place who was discovered dead
understand? under the house thereat. Suspect when turned over to this office and put on lock
up cell was also mobbed by the angry inmates thus causing upon him hematoma
A Yes.
contusion on different parts of his body."
Q Do you still affirm and confirm to your plea of guilty of rape with homicide?
Likewise, the trial court's effort to determine whether appellant had full comprehension
A Yes, Your Honor. of the consequences of his plea is fatally flawed. It warned the appellant he would get the mandatory
death penalty without explaining the meaning of "mandatory". It did not inform the appellant of the
Q Do you still insist that your plea of guilty is voluntary without force, intimidation indemnity he has to pay for the death of the victim. It cautioned appellant there ". . . will be some
or whatsoever? effects on your civil rights" without telling the appellant what those "effects" are and what "civil rights"
of his are involved.
A Yes.

Q The court is warning you that after reception of evidence, the imposable penalty
Appellant's plea of guilt is void and the trial court erred in using it to sentence him to death.
is mandatory death?
We stress that under the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure, a conviction in capital offenses cannot
A Yes, Your Honor. rest alone on a plea of guilt. Section 3 of Rule 116 requires that after a free and intelligent plea of guilt,
the trial court must require the prosecution to prove the guilt of the appellant and the precise degree
Q Despite of that, you still insist on your plea of guilty? of his culpability beyond reasonable doubt. This rule modifies prior jurisprudence that a plea of guilt
even in capital offenses is sufficient to sustain a conviction charged in the information without need
A Yes, Your Honor. of further proof. The change is salutary for it enhances one of the goals of the criminal process which
is to minimize erroneous conviction. We share the stance that "it is a fundamental value determination
Court of our system that it is far worse to convict an innocent person than let a guilty man go free." 12
Okey, proceed." Third. Some prosecution evidence, offered independently of the plea of guilt of the
appellant, were inadmissible, yet, were considered by the trial court convicting the appellant.
Section 3 of Rule 116 which the trial court violated is not a new rule for it merely
incorporated the decision of this Court in People vs. Apduhan, Jr., 10 and reiterated in an unbroken Thus, the trial court gave full faith and credit to the physical evidence presented by the
line of cases. 11 The bottom line of the rule is that the plea of guilt must be based on a free and prosecution. To quote its Decision, 13 viz:
informed judgment. Thus, the searching inquiry of the trial court must be focused on: (1) the "xxx xxx xxx
voluntariness of the plea, and (2) the full comprehension of the consequences of the plea. The
questions of the trial court failed to show the voluntariness of the plea of guilt of the appellant nor Further, there are physical evidence to prove Khazie was raped. These consists of
did the questions demonstrate appellant's full comprehension of the consequences of his plea. The a pillow with bloodstains in its center 14 and the T-shirt 15 of the accused colored
records do not reveal any information about the personality profile of the appellant which can serve white with bloodstains on its bottom. These physical evidence are evidence of the
as a trustworthy index of his capacity to give a free and informed plea of guilt. The age, socio-economic highest order. They strongly corroborate the testimony of Luisa Rebada that the
status, and educational background of the appellant were not plumbed by the trial court. The victim was raped."
questions were framed in English yet there is no inkling that appellant has a nodding acquaintance of
English. It will be noted too that the trial court did not bother to explain to the appellant the essential These are inadmissible evidence for they were gathered by PO3 Danilo Tan of the Iloilo City PNP as a
elements of the crime of rape with homicide. result of custodial interrogation where appellant verballyconfessed to the crime without the benefit of
counsel. PO3 Tan admitted under cross-examination, viz: 16
A cursory examination of the questions of the trial court to establish the voluntariness of
appellant's plea of guilt will show their utter insufficiency. The trial court simply inquired if appellant xxx xxx xxx
had physical marks of maltreatment. It did not ask the appellant when he was arrested, who arrested
him, how and where he was interrogated, whether he was medically examined before and after his CROSS-EXAMINATION BY ATTY. ANTIOUIERA:
interrogation, etc. It limited its efforts trying to discover late body marks of maltreatment as if
Q Mr. Witness, when for the first time did you see Arnel Alicando?
involuntariness is caused by physical abuse alone. Regretfully, it even turned a blind eye on the
following damning entry on the June 13, 1994 Record of Events of the Iloilo PNP (Exh. "M") showing A June 13, 1994, when I arrested him.
that after his arrest, the appellant was mobbed by inmates while in jail and had suffered hematoma,
viz: Q Previous to that you have never seen him?
"c- 0262-94 A Yes, sir.
INFORMATION Q When for the first time did you start investigating Arnel Alicando?
A After I finished investigating the body of the victim, Khazie Mae Penecilla. I did not ask him that question. How will he answer?

Q And that was also after you were informed that Arnel Alicando was a suspect in Court:
the raping of Khazie Mae Penecilla?
Sustained.
A Yes, sir.
Atty. Antiquiera:
Atty. Antiquiera:
Q When did you inform, the date when you informed Alicando of his
Q And who was that person who informed you of the suspect? constitutional rights?

A Luisa Rebada. A On June 13.

Q Mrs. Rebada who is the witness in this case? Q On what hour did you inform him?

A Yes, sir. A After the witness identified him.

Q And you started investigating Arnel Alicando in the morning of June 13, 1994? Q What constitutional rights inform Alicando of?

A Yes, sir. A The right to remain silent and right to get his lawyer and I have interpreted in
Visayan language.
Q How long did you interrogate Arnel Alicando in the morning of June 13, 1994?
Q And during your investigation for almost two (2) days the accused was never
A I cannot remember the length of time I investigated him. represented by counsel, is that correct?
Q Did it take you the whole morning of June 13, 1994 in interrogating and A Yes, sir.
investigating Arnel Alicando?
Atty. Antiquiera:
A Yes, sir.
Q Are you aware of the law that enjoins a public officer to inform the person of his
Q And the investigation you conducted continued in the afternoon of the same constitutional rights?
date?
A Yes, sir.
A Yes, sir.
That is all, Your Honor."
Q The following day, June 14, 1994, you still investigated and interrogated
Arnel Alicando. It is now familiar learning that the Constitution has stigmatized as inadmissible evidence uncounselled
confession or admission. Section 12 paragraphs (1) and (3) of Article III of the Constitution provides:
A Yes, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q And when did you stop, finally, investigating and interrogating Arnel Alicando?
Sec. 12. (1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall
A After I finished recovering all the exhibits in relation to this case. have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent
and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford
Q What date did you stop your investigation? the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be
waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.
A June 14, 1994, when I finished recovering the white T-shirt and pair of earring.
xxx xxx xxx
Atty. Antiquiera:
(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or the preceding
Q You testified in this case, Mr. Witness you never informed the court that you
section shall be inadmissible against him."
apprised the accused of his constitutional rights, is that correct?
In the case at bar, PO3 Tan did not even have the simple sense to reduce the all important
A I apprised him.
confession of the appellant in writing. Neither did he present any writing showing that appellant
Q My question is, during your testimony before this court under the direct waived his right to silence and to have competent and independent counsel. Despite the blatant
examination of the prosecution you never informed the court that you violation of appellant's constitutional right, the trial court allowed his uncounselled confession to flow
apprised the accused of his constitutional rights? into the records and illicitly used it in sentencing him to death.
It is not only the uncounselled confession that is condemned as inadmissible, but also
Pros. Fama:
evidence derived therefrom. The pillow and the T-shirt with the alleged bloodstains were evidence
derived from the uncounselled confession illegally extracted by the police from the appellant. Again, Pros. Fama:
the testimony of PO3 Tan makes this all clear, viz: 17
Q You mean to say inside that room the victim was raped by the accused?
xxx xxx xxx
A Yes, sir.
Q Did the accused Arnel Alicando accompany you to the place of the incident?
Q Can you point that pillow which you said you recovered inside he room of
A Yes, sir. Imelda Alicando?
Q When you arrived at the place of the incident what did you do? A Yes, sir.
A He pointed to the fish basin. Q And the mat?
Q Can you identify this fish basin which you said pointed to you by Arnel Alicando? A (Witness taking out from the fish basin the mat and pillow.)
A Yes, sir. Q Did you find something on the pillow?
Q Please point? A The pillow have bloodstain in the middle.
A (Witness pointing to the fish basin already marked as Exhibit "H".) This was already marked as Exhibit "J", Your Honor and the mat as Exhibit "I".
Q Did you ask the accused what he did with this fish basin? Q Aside from this what did you recover from the place of incident?
A I asked the accused what he did with the fish basin and he answered that he A On June 14, 1994, at about 10:00 o'clock in the morning the accused
used the fish basin to cover Khazie Mae Penecilla when she was already Arnel Alicando further informed me that he kept the gold earring of
dead. the victim and her clothes inside the room of the house of
Imelda Alicando.
Pros. Fama:
Q Where?
Q You mean to say to conceal the crime ?
A I saw the clothes of Khazie Mae Penecilla inside the room where the rape took
A Yes, sir.
place hanged on the clothes line. And I found the pair of earring at the
Q What else aside from this fish basin, what else did you recover? bamboo post of the fence.

A At around 7 o'clock in the evening he further pointed to us the old mat and Court:
the pillow wherein he laid the victim Khazie Mae Penecilla.
Q Where is that bamboo post of the fence situated?
Q You mean to say that you returned back to the scene of the incident that time?
A Around the fence of Imelda Alicando situated at the from gate on the right side
A It was already night time and it was only Kagawad Rodolfo Ignacio, my .
companion, who went to the place of the incident.
Pros. Fama:
Q You mean to say you were verbally instructed by the accused?
Q You mean to say you returned back on June 14, you recovered the items
A Yes, sir. accompanied by the accused?

Q In what particular place did you recover those things ? A No more, I only followed his direction.

A Inside the room where he raped child. Q He made verbal direction to you?

Q Whose house is that ? A Yes, sir.

A The house of Imelda Alicando. Q Can you please show us the white t-shirt?

Q The wife of Romeo Alicando? A (Witness taking out a white t-shirt from the fish basin.)

A Yes, sir. Q Please examine that white t-shirt?

Q In what particular place is that situated ? A The t-shirt have a bloodstain."

A Inside the room where the accused was sleeping at Rizal-Palapala.


We have not only constitutionalized the Miranda warnings in our jurisdiction. We have In Binabay vs. People, et al., 24 a ponencia of Mr. Chief Justice R. Concepcion, this Court held that no
also adopted the libertarian exclusionary rule known as the "fruit of the poisonous tree," a phrase valid judgment can be rendered upon an invalid arraignment. Since in the case at bar, the arraignment
minted by Mr. Justice Felix Frankfurter in the celebrated case of Nardone v. United of the appellant is void, his judgment of conviction is also void. In fairness to the appellant, and in
States. 18 According to this rule, once the primary source(the "tree") is shown to have been unlawfully justice to the victim, the case has to be remanded to the trial court for further proceedings. There is
obtained, any secondary or derivative evidence (the "fruit") derived from it is also no philosophy of punishment that allows the State to kill without any semblance of fairness and
inadmissible. 19 Stated otherwise, illegally seized evidence is obtained as a direct result of the illegal justice.
act, whereas the "fruit of the poisonous tree" is the indirect result of the same illegal act. The "fruit of
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Decision in Criminal Case No. 43663, convicting accused
the poisonous tree" is at least once removed from the illegally seized evidence, but it is equally
Arnel Alicando of the crime of Rape with Homicide and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of death
inadmissible. The rule is based on the principle that evidence illegally obtained by the State should not
is annulled and set aside and the case is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings. No costs.
be used to gain other evidence because the originally illegally obtained evidence taints all evidence
subsequently obtained.20 We applied this exclusionary rule in the recent case of People vs. SO ORDERED.
Salanga, et al., 21 a ponencia of Mr. Justice Regalado. Salanga was the appellant in the rape and killing
||| (People v. Alicando y Briones, G.R. No. 117487, [December 12, 1995], 321 PHIL 656-724)
of a 15-year old barrio lass. He was, however, illegally arrested. Soldiers took him into custody. They
gave him a body search which yielded a lady's underwear. The underwear was later identified as that
of the victim. We acquitted Salanga. Among other reasons, we ruled that "the underwear allegedly
taken from the appellant is inadmissible in evidence, being a so-called " fruit of the poisonous tree." 22

But even assuming arguendo that the pillow and the t-shirt were admissible evidence, still,
the trial court erred in holding that they "strongly corroborated the testimony of Luisa Rebada that
the victim was raped." For one, there was no basis for the trial court to conclude that the stains on
the pillow and t-shirt were human bloodstains. The pillow and the t-shirt were not examined by any
expert. To hold that they were human bloodstains is guesswork. For another, there was no testimony
that the stains were caused by either the appellant or the victim. In addition, there was no testimony
that the t-shirt was the one worn by the appellant when he allegedly committed the crime. It must
also be noted that it is not unnatural for appellant to have bloodstains on his shirt. He is a butcher by
occupation. Romeo Penecilla himself, the father of the victim, testified he knows the appellant
"because he used to accompany me during butchering of animals." 23
The burden to prove that an accused waived his right to remain silent and the right to
counsel before making a confession under custodial interrogation rests with the prosecution. It is also
the burden of the prosecution to show that the evidence derived from confession is not tainted as
"fruit of the poisonous tree." The burden has to be discharged by clear and convincing
evidence. Indeed, par. 1 of Section 12 of Article III of the Constitution provides only one mode of
waiver — the waiver must be in writing and in the presence of counsel. In the case at bar, the records
show that the prosecution utterly failed to discharge this burden. It- matters not that in the course of
the hearing, the appellant failed to make a timely objection to the introduction of these
constitutionally proscribed evidence. The lack of objection did not satisfy the heavy burden of proof
that rested on the prosecution.
There is no and there ought not to be any disagreement on basic principles. The Court
should be concerned with the heinousness of the crime at bar and its despicable perpetration against
a 4-year old girl, an impersonation of innocence itself. The Court should also be concerned with the
multiplication of malevolence in our midst for there is no right to be evil and there are no ifs and buts
about the imposition of the death penalty as long as it remains unchallenged as part of the laws of our
land. These concerns are permanent, norms hewn in stone, and they transcend the transitoriness of
time.
Be that as it may, our commitment to the criminal justice system is not only to convict and
punish violators of our laws. We are equally committed to the ideal that the process of detection,
apprehension, conviction and incarceration of criminals should be accomplished with fairness, and
without impinging on the dignity of the individual. In a death penalty case, the Court cannot rush to
judgment even when a lowlife is involved for an erroneous conviction will leave a lasting stain in our
escutcheon of justice.
In sum, the Court cannot send the appellant to die in the electric chair on the basis of the
procedural irregularities committed by, and the inadmissible evidence considered by the trial court.