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University of San Carlos

School of Law and Governance

Remedial Law Review

Digests of Selected 2014-2015 Cases


in Remedial Law
With selected cases penned by Justice Leonardo-de Castro, 2015 Bar Chair

Submitted to
Justice Gabriel T. Ingles
Remedial Law Review Professor

Researched and compiled by:


USC Law Batch 2015
March 7, 2015

SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS

WRIT OF KALIKASAN

SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIETY OFFICERS V. LIM,


G.R. NOS. 187836 & 187916, NOVEMBER 25, 2014

Facts:

 The consolidated cases involve the validity of Ordinance No. 8187 enacted by the
Sangguniang Panlungsod of Manila on 14 May 2009.
 Ordinance No. 8187 amended Ordinance No. 8119 which is otherwise known as ‘THE
MANILA COMPREHENSIVE LAND USE PLAN AND ZONING ORDINANCE OF 2006’.
 Ordinance No. 8187 created a MEDIUM INDUSTRIAL ZONE (1-2) AND HEAVY INDUSTRIAL
ZONE (1-3) and provided for its enforcement. The creation of a medium industrial zone
(1-2) and heavy industrial zone (1-3) effectively lifted the prohibition against owners and
operators of businesses, including herein intervenors Chevron Philippines, Inc.
(Chevron), Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (Shell), and Petron Corporation
(Petron), collectively referred to as the oil companies, from operating in the designated
commercial zone – an industrial zone prior to the enactment of Ordinance No. 8027
1
and Ordinance No. 81192.
 The aforementioned intervenors claim that their rights with respect to the oil depots in
Pandacan would be directly affected by the outcome of these cases.
 These petitions are a sequel to the case of Social Justice Society v. Mayor Atienza, Jr.
(hereinafter referred to as G.R. No. 156052), where the Court found: (1) that the
ordinance subject thereof – Ordinance No. 8027 – was enacted “to safeguard the rights
to life, security and safety of the inhabitants of Manila; (2) that it had passed the tests of
a valid ordinance; and (3) that it is not superseded by Ordinance No. 8119. Declaring
that it is constitutional and valid, the Court accordingly ordered its immediate
enforcement with a specific directive on the relocation and transfer of the Pandacan oil
terminals.

1
Ordinance No. 8027 entitled “AN ORDINANCE RECLASSIFYING THE LAND USE OF THAT PORTION OF LAND
BOUNDED BY THE PASIG RIVER IN THE NORTH, PNR RAILROAD TRACK IN THE EAST, BEATA ST. IN THE SOUTH,
PALUMPONG ST. IN THESOUTHWEST AND ESTERO DE PANDACAN IN THE WEST, PNR RAILROAD IN
THE NORTHWEST AREA, ESTERO DE PANDACAN IN THE NORTHEAST, PASIG RIVER IN THE SOUTHEAST AND DR. M. L.
CARREON IN THE SOUTHWEST, THE AREA OF PUNTA, STA. ANA BOUNDED BY THE PASIG RIVER, MARCELINO
OBRERO ST., MAYO 28 ST. AND THE F. MANALO STREET FROM INDUSTRIAL II TO COMMERCIAL I.”
2
Ordinance No. 8119 entitled “AN ORDINANCE ADOPTING THE MANILA COMPREHENSIVE LAND USE PLAN AND
ZONING REGULATIONS OF 2006 AND PROVIDING FOR THE ADMINISTRATION, ENFORCEMENT AND AMENDMENT
THERETO.”
 Herein petitioners now seek the nullification of Ordinance No. 8187, which contains
provisions contrary to those embodied in Ordinance No. 8027. Allegations of violation of
the right to health and the right to a healthful and balanced environment are also
included.
 After the war, the oil depots were reconstructed. Pandacan changed as Manila rebuilt
itself. The three major oil companies resumed the operation of their depots. But the
district was no longer a sparsely populated industrial zone; it had evolved into a bustling,
hodgepodge community. Today, Pandacan has become a densely populated area
inhabited by about 84,000 people, majority of whom are urban poor who call it home.
Aside from numerous industrial installations, there are also small businesses, churches,
restaurants, schools, daycare centers and residences situated there. Malacañang Palace,
the official residence of the President of the Philippines and the seat of governmental
power, is just two kilometers away. There is a private school near the Petron depot.
Along the walls of the Shell facility are shanties of informal settlers. More than 15,000
students are enrolled in elementary and high schools situated near these facilities. A
university with a student population of about 25,000 is located directly across the depot
on the banks of the Pasig River.
 On 20 November 2001, during the incumbency of former Mayor Jose L. Atienza, Jr.
(Mayor Atienza) – now one of the petitioners in G.R. No. 187916 – the Sangguniang
Panlungsod enacted Ordinance No. 8027 reclassifying the use of the land in Pandacan,
Sta. Ana, and its adjoining areas from Industrial II to Commercial I. The owners and
operators of the businesses thus affected by the reclassification were given six months
from the date of effectivity of the Ordinance within which to stop the operation of their
businesses.
 During the pendency of G.R. No. 156052, and before the expiration of the validity of
Resolution No. 13, the oil companies filed the following actions before the Regional Trial
Court of Manila: (1) an action for the annulment of Ordinance No. 8027 with
application for writs of preliminary prohibitory injunction and preliminary mandatory
injunction – by Chevron; (2) a petition for prohibition and mandamus also for the
annulment of the Ordinance with application for writs of preliminary prohibitory
injunction and preliminary mandatory injunction – by Shell; and (3) a petition assailing
the validity of the Ordinance with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary
injunction and/or temporary restraining order (TRO) – by Petron.
 Writs of preliminary prohibitory injunction and preliminary mandatory injunction were
issued in favor of Chevron and Shell on 19 May 2003. Petron, on the other hand,
obtained a status quo order on 4 August 2004.
 On 7 March 2007, the Court granted the petition for mandamus, and directed then
respondent Mayor Atienza to immediately enforce Ordinance No. 8027. The mayor has
the mandatory legal duty to enforce Ordinance No. 8027 and order the removal of the
Pandacan terminals. Ordinance No. 8027 was enacted right after the Philippines, along
with the rest of the world, witnessed the horror of the September 11, 2001 attack on the
Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The objective of the ordinance
is to protect the residents of Manila from the catastrophic devastation that will surely
occur in case of a terrorist attack on the Pandacan Terminals. No reason exists why such
a protective measure should be delayed.
 The oil companies and the Republic of the Philippines, represented by the DOE, filed
their motions for leave to intervene and for reconsideration of the 7 March 2007
Decision. During the oral arguments, the parties submitted to the power of the Court to
rule on the constitutionality and validity of the assailed Ordinance.
 On 14 May 2009, during the incumbency of former Mayor Alfredo S. Lim (Mayor Lim),
who succeeded Mayor Atienza, the Sangguniang Panlungsod enacted Ordinance No.
8187. The new Ordinance repealed, amended, rescinded or otherwise modified
Ordinance No. 8027, Section 23 of Ordinance No. 8119, and all other Ordinances or
provisions inconsistent therewith thereby allowing, once again, the operation of
“Pollutive/Non-Hazardous and Pollutive/Hazardous manufacturing and processing
establishments” and “Highly Pollutive/Non-Hazardous[,] Pollutive/Hazardous[,] Highly
Pollutive/Extremely Hazardous[,] Non-Pollutive/Extremely Hazardous; and
Pollutive/Extremely Hazardous; and Pollutive/Extremely Hazardous manufacturing and
processing establishments” within the newly created Medium Industrial Zone (1-2) and
Heavy Industrial Zone (1-3) in the Pandacan area.
 The petition for Prohibition, Mandamus and Certiorari with Prayer for Temporary
Restraining Order and/or Injunction against the enforcement of Ordinance No. 8187 of
former Secretary of Department of Environment and Natural Resources and then Mayor
Atienza, together with other residents and taxpayers of the City of Manila, also alleges
violation of the right to health of the people and the right to a healthful and balanced
ecology under Sections 15 and 16 of the Constitution.
 In his Memorandum, former Mayor Lim, through the City Legal Officer, attacks the
petitioners’ lack of legal standing to sue. He likewise points out that the petitioners
failed to observe the principle of hierarchy of courts. On the other hand, the oil
companies sought the outright dismissal of the petitions based on alleged procedural
infirmities, among others, incomplete requisites of judicial review, violation of the
principle of hierarchy of courts, improper remedy, submission of a defective verification
and certification against forum shopping, and forum shopping.

Issue:

 Whether or not the enactment of the assailed Ordinance allowing the continued stay of
the oil companies in the depots is, indeed, invalid and unconstitutional.

Ruling:

 Ordinance No. 8187 is invalid and unconstitutional with respect to the continued stay
of the Pandacan Oil Terminals and should be stricken down without delay!
 We first rule on the procedural issues raised by the respondents and the oil companies.
At the outset, let it be emphasized that the Court, in G.R. No. 156052, has already
pronounced that the matter of whether or not the oil depots should remain in the
Pandacan area is of transcendental importance to the residents of Manila. We may,
thus, brush aside procedural infirmities, if any, as we had in the past, and take
cognizance of the cases.
 Rule 65 specifically requires that the remedy may be availed of only when “there is no
appeal, or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.” Shell
argues that the petitioners should have sought recourse before the first and second level
courts under the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases, which govern “the
enforcement or violations of environmental and other related laws, rules and
regulations.” Petron additionally submits that the most adequate remedy available to
petitioners is to have the assailed ordinance repealed by theSangguniang Panlungsod. In
the alternative, a local referendum may be had. It would appear, however, that the
remedies identified by the intervenors prove to be inadequate to resolve the present
controversies in their entirety owing to the intricacies of the circumstances herein
prevailing.
 The Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases are limited in scope. While, indeed,
there are allegations of violations of environmental laws in the petitions, these only
serve as collateral attacks that would support the other position of the petitioners – the
protection of the right to life, security and safety.
 From another perspective, Shell finds fault with the petitioners’ direct recourse to this
Court when the Supreme Court exercises only appellate jurisdiction over cases involving
the constitutionality or validity of an ordinance. To further support its position, it said
that although the instant petition is styled as a petition for certiorari, in essence, it
seeks the declaration by this Court of the unconstitutionality or illegality of the
questioned ordinance and executive order. It, thus, partakes of the nature of a petition
for declaratory relief over which this Court has only appellate, not original,
jurisdiction.
 Assuming that a petition for declaratory relief is the proper remedy, and that the
petitions should have been filed with the Regional Trial Court, we have, time and
again, resolved to treat such a petition as one for prohibition, provided that the case
has far-reaching implications and transcendental issues that need to be resolved, as in
these present petitions.
 On a related issue, we initially found convincing the argument that the petitions should
have been filed with the Regional Trial Court, it having concurrent jurisdiction with this
Court over a special civil action for prohibition, and original jurisdiction over petitions for
declaratory relief. However, as we have repeatedly said, the petitions at bar are of
transcendental importance warranting a relaxation of the doctrine of hierarchy of
courts. This is in accordance with the well-entrenched principle that rules of procedure
are not inflexible tools designed to hinder or delay, but to facilitate and promote the
administration of justice. Their strict and rigid application, which would result in
technicalities that tend to frustrate, rather than promote substantial justice, must always
be eschewed.
 Petitioners have a legal right to seek the enforcement of Ordinance No. 8027 because
the subject of the petition concerns a public right, and they, as residents of Manila,
have a direct interest in the implementation of the ordinances of the city. We have ruled
in previous cases that when a mandamus proceeding concerns a public right and its
object is to compel a public duty, the people who are interested in the execution of the
laws are regarded as the real parties in interest and they need not show any specific
interest. Besides, as residents of Manila, petitioners have a direct interest in the
enforcement of the city’s ordinances.
 Thus, when the proceeding involves the assertion of a public right, the mere fact that
the petitioner is a citizen satisfies the requirement of personal interest. The
preservation of the life, security and safety of the people is indisputably a right of
utmost importance to the public. Certainly, the petitioners, as residents of Manila,
have the required personal interest to seek relief from this Court to protect such right.
 When this Court exercises its constitutional power of judicial review, however, we have,
by tradition, viewed the writs of certiorari and prohibition as proper remedial
vehicles to test the constitutionality of statutes, and indeed, of acts of other branches
of government.
 On the issue of Forum Shopping, Shell contends that the petitioners in G.R. No. 187836
violated the rule against forum shopping allegedly because all the elements thereof are
present in relation to G.R. No. 156052. We are not persuaded. It bears to stress that the
present petitions were initially filed, not to secure a judgment adverse to the first
decision, but, precisely, to enforce the earlier ruling to relocate the oil depots from the
Pandacan area. The filing of the instant petitions is not barred by res judicata.
 Now on the substantial issues, the very nature of the depots where millions of liters of
highly flammable and highly volatile products, regardless of whether or not the
composition may cause explosions, has no place in a densely populated area. Surely, any
untoward incident in the oil depots, be it related to terrorism of whatever origin or
otherwise, would definitely cause not only destruction to properties within and among
the neighboring communities but certainly mass deaths and injuries.
 The ordinance was intended to safeguard the rights to life, security and safety of all the
inhabitants of Manila and not just of a particular class. It therefore became necessary to
remove these terminals to dissipate the threat. Both law and jurisprudence support the
constitutionality and validity of Ordinance No. 8027. Without a doubt, there are no
impediments to its enforcement and implementation. Any delay is unfair to the
inhabitants of the City of Manila and its leaders who have categorically expressed their
desire for the relocation of the terminals.

ARIGO V. SWIFT,
G.R. NO. 206510, SEPTEMBER 16, 2014

Facts :
The USS Guardian is an Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship of the US Navy. In
December 2012, the US Embassy in the Philippines requested diplomatic clearance for the said
vessel “ to enter and exit the territorial waters of the Philippines and to arrive at the port of
Subic Bay for the purpose of routine ship replenishment, maintenance, and crew liberty”. On
January 6, 2013, the ship left Sasebo, Japan for Subic Bay, arriving on January 13, 2013 after a
brief stop for fuel in Okinawa, Japan.

On January 15, 2013, the USS Guardian departed Subic Bay for its next port of call in
Makassar, Indonesia. On January 17, 2013 at 2:20 a.m. while transiting the Sulu Sea, the ship
ran aground on the northwest side of South Shoal of the Tubbataha Reefs, about 80 miles east-
southeast of Palawan. No one was injured in the incident, and there have been no
reports of leaking fuel or oil.

In a petition for the privilege of writ of Kalikasan, petitioners claim that the grounding,
salvaging and post-salvaging operations of the USS Guardian cause and continue to cause
environmental damage of such magnitude as to the affect the provinces of Palawan, Antique,
Aklan, Guimaras, Iloilo, Negors Occidental, Negros Oriental, Zamboanga del Norte, Basilan,
Sulu , and Tawi-Tawi, which events violate their constitutional rights to a balanced and healthful
ecology. They also seek a directive from this Court for the institution of civil, administrative and
criminal suits for acts committed in violation of environmental laws and regulations in
connection with the grounding incident.

Specifically, petitioners cite the following violations committed by US respondents under


R.A. No. 10067: unauthorized entry (Section 19); non-payment of conservation fees (Section
21 ); obstruction of law enforcement officer (Section 30); damages to the reef (Section 20); and
destroying and disturbing resources (Section 26[g]). Furthermore, petitioners assail certain
provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) which they want this Court to nullify for being
unconstitutional.

Petitioners argue that there is a waiver of immunity from suit found in the VFA. Likewise,
they invoke federal statutes in the US under which agencies of the US have statutorily waived
their immunity to any action. Even under the common law tort claims, petitioners asseverate
that the US respondents are liable for negligence, trespass and nuisance.

Held:

The VFA is an agreement which defines the treatment of United States troops and
personnel visiting the Philippines to promote "common security interests" between the US and
the Philippines in the region. It provides for the guidelines to govern such visits of military
personnel, and further defines the rights of the United States and the Philippine government in
the matter of criminal jurisdiction, movement of vessel and aircraft, importation and
exportation of equipment, materials and supplies. The invocation of US federal tort laws and
even common law is thus improper considering that it is the VF A which governs disputes
involving US military ships and crew navigating Philippine waters in pursuance of the objectives
of the agreement.

As it is, the waiver of State immunity under the VFA pertains only to criminal jurisdiction
and not to special civil actions such as the present petition for issuance of a writ of Kalikasan. In
fact, it can be inferred from Section 17, Rule 7 of the Rules that a criminal case against a person
charged with a violation of an environmental law is to be filed separately:

In any case, it is our considered view that a ruling on the application or non-application
of criminal jurisdiction provisions of the VFA to US personnel who may be found responsible for
the grounding of the USS Guardian, would be premature and beyond the province of a petition
for a writ of Kalikasan. We also find it unnecessary at this point to determine whether such
waiver of State immunity is indeed absolute. In the same vein, we cannot grant damages which
have resulted from the violation of environmental laws. The Rules allows the recovery of
damages, including the collection of administrative fines under R.A. No. 10067, in a separate
civil suit or that deemed instituted with the criminal action charging the same violation of an
environmental law.

On the other hand, we cannot grant the additional reliefs prayed for in the petition to
order a review of the VFA and to nullify certain immunity provisions thereof.

As held in BAYAN (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan) v. Exec. Sec. Zamora, 41 the VFA was
duly concurred in by the Philippine Senate and has been recognized as a treaty by the United
States as attested and certified by the duly authorized representative of the United States
government. The VFA being a valid and binding agreement, the parties are required as a matter
of international law to abide by its terms and provisions. The present petition under the Rules is
not the proper remedy to assail the constitutionality of its provisions. WHEREFORE, the petition
for the issuance of the privilege of the Writ of Kalikasan is hereby DENIED.

WRIT OF AMPARO

CARAM V. SEGUI,
G.R. NO. 193652, AUGUST 05, 2014

FACTS:

A petition for Certiorari via Rule 45 and Sec. 19 of writ of Amparo was filed in SC in order to set
aside the decision of the RTC. The RTC had dismissed petitioner’s petition for the issuance ofa
writ of amparo which petitioner filed in order for her to regain parental authority and custody
of Julian Yusay Caram (Baby Julian), her biological child, from the respondent officers of the
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Caram bore a child out of wedlock and convinced her boyfriend that the child was aborted. She
intended to have the child adopted. When she delivered the child, the expenses were borne by
the Sun and Moon Home for Children who will process the adoption. The child then underwent
the adoption and matching process and was matched with the Medina Spouses.

Caram’s boyfriend died without knowing of the child but she divulged the info to the bf’s family.
When they learned about it they promised to help Caram gain back the custody of the child.
She then wrote to the DSWD stating she changed her mind about the adoption and wanted to
bring back her family together. DSWD Assistant Secretary told Caram that should she should
bring the matter to the regular court.

Thus, Caram filed a petition for issuance of writ of amparo in the RTC seeking custody of the
child against the Legal Division of the DSWD and Assistant Secretary. Christina argued that by
making these misrepresentations, the respondents had acted beyond the scope of their legal
authority thereby causing the enforced disappearance of the said child and depriving her of her
custodial rights and parental authority over him.

ISSUE:

Whether or not a Writ of Amparo is a proper remedy?

RULING:

NO, WRIT OF AMPARO IS IMPROPER. Petition should be denied.

Court explicitly declared that as it stands, the writ of amparo is confined only to cases of
extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, or to threats thereof. As to what constitutes
"enforced disappearance," the Court in Navia v. Pardico33 enumerated the elements
constituting "enforced disappearances" as the term is statutorily defined in Section 3(g) of R.A.
No. 985134 to wit:

(a) that there be an arrest, detention, abduction or any form of deprivation of liberty;

(b) that it be carried out by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, the
State ora political organization;

(c) that it be followed by the State or political organization’s refusal to acknowledge or


give information on the fate or whereabouts of the person subject of the amparo
petition; and,

(d) that the intention for such refusal is to remove subject person from the protection of
the law for a prolonged period of time.

In this case, Christina alleged that the respondent DSWD officers caused her "enforced
separation" from Baby Julian and that their action amounted to an "enforced disappearance"
within the context of the Amparo rule. Contrary to her position, however, the respondent DSWD
officers never concealed Baby Julian's whereabouts. The DSWD officers presented Baby Julian
before the RTC during the hearing held in the afternoon of August 5, 2010.36 There is therefore,
no "enforced disappearance" as used in the context of the Amparo rule as the third and fourth
elements are missing.

To reiterate, the privilege of the writ of amparo is a remedy available to victims of extra-judicial
killings and enforced disappearances or threats of a similar nature, regardless of whether the
perpetrator of the unlawful act or omission is a public official or employee or a private
individual. It is envisioned basically to protect and guarantee the right to life, liberty and
security of persons, free from fears and threats that vitiate the quality of life.

BURGOS V. ESPERON, JR.,


G.R. NOS. 178497, 183711, 183712, 183713 (RESOLUTION),
FEBRUARY 04, 2014

Facts:

This case, a resolution to its prior decision, centers on a petition for a writ of amparo concerning
the forced disappearance of Jonas joseph Burgos from a restaurant, Hapag Kainan Restaurant,
at Ever Gotesco Mall, Commonwealth Ave., Quezon City.

Petitioners allege that the persons responsible for the forced disappearance of Mr. Burgos were
government personnel, specifically from the AFP as identified by eyewitness accounts.

The writ of amparo was sought by the petitioner due to the failure of the PNP-CIDG, AFP’s
Provost Marshal, and even the initial CHR investigation wherein there were significant lapses in
the handling of the investigation.

On the part of respondents, the abduction of Burgos was said to be a military operation whose
objective was to capture persons involved with the CPP-NPA, of which Burgos was said to be a
member of the NPA, as an intelligence officer.

Petitioner, in this instance, prayed for the issuance of a new writ of amparo, considering that the
initial findings of the CHR had lapses and were unsatisfactory.

Despite the prayer of a 2nd writ of amparo, the CHR continued with its investigation into the
forced disappearance of Mr. Burgos, as ordered by the court with the additional order to
conduct its investigation with extraordinary diligence.

Issue:

WON the issuance of the 2nd writ of amparo was proper


Held:

Ex Parte Motion Ex Abundanti Cautela of petitioner DENIED

The Supreme Court held that the issuance of another writ of amparo is unnecessary and
redundant since the purpose of a writ of amparo, as it said, is to determine whether there has
been an enforced disappearance, as well as to determine who are responsible and accountable,
and to provide remedies for it. A writ of amparo, is also meant to expedite the investigation of
enforced disappearances, and not to complicate it.

The Supreme Court decided the Ex Parte Motion in this wise, to wit:

“B. On the Urgent Ex Parte Motion Ex Abundanti Cautela

After reviewing the newly discovered evidence submitted by the petitioner and
considering all the developments of the case, including the March 18, 2013 CA
decision that confirmed the validity of the issuance of the Writ of Amparo in the
present case, we resolve to deny the petitioner's Urgent Ex Parte Motion Ex
Abundanti Cautela.

We note and conclude, based on the developments highlighted above, that the
beneficial purpose of the Writ of Amparo has been served in the present case. As
we held in Razon, Jr. v. Tagitis , 23 the writ merely embodies the Court's directives
to police agencies to undertake specified courses of action to address the
enforced disappearance of an individual. The Writ of Amparo serves both a
preventive and a curative role. It is curative as it facilitates the subsequent
punishment of perpetrators through the investigation and remedial action that it
directs. 24 The focus is on procedural curative remedies rather than on the
tracking of a specific criminal or the resolution of administrative liabilities. The
unique nature of Amparo proceedings has led us to define terms or concepts
specific to what the proceedings seek to achieve. In Razon Jr. v. Tagitis , 25 we
defined what the terms "responsibility" and "accountability" signify in an Amparo
case. We said:

Responsibility refers to the extent the actors have been established


by substantial evidence to have participated in whatever way, by
action or omission, in an enforced disappearance, as a measure of
the remedies this Court shall craft, among them, the directive to file
the appropriate criminal and civil cases against the responsible
parties in the proper courts. Accountability, on the other hand,
refers to the measure of remedies that should be addressed to those
who exhibited involvement in the enforced disappearance without
bringing the level of their complicity to the level of responsibility
defined above; or who are imputed with knowledge relating to the
enforced disappearance and who carry the burden of disclosure; or
those who carry, but have failed to discharge, the burden of
extraordinary diligence in the investigation of the enforced
disappearance. 26 SHCaDA

In the present case, while Jonas remains missing, the series of calculated directives
issued by the Court outlined above and the extraordinary diligence the CHR
demonstrated in its investigations resulted in the criminal prosecution of Lt.
Baliaga. We take judicial notice of the fact that the Regional Trial Court, Quezon
City, Branch 216, has already found probable cause for arbitrary detention against
Lt. Baliaga and has ordered his arrest in connection with Jonas' disappearance. 27

xxx xxx xxx

Based on the above considerations, in particular, the final ruling of the CA that
confirmed the validity of the issuance of the Writ of Amparo and its determination
of the entities responsible for the enforced disappearance of Jonas, we resolve to
deny the petitioner's prayer to issue the writ of Amparo anew and to refer the case
to the CA based on the newly discovered evidence. We so conclude as the
petitioner's request for the reissuance of the writ and for the rehearing of the case
by the CA would be redundant and superfluous in light of: (1) the ongoing
investigation being conducted by the DOJ through the NBI; (2) the CHR
investigation directed by the Court in this Resolution; and (3) the continuing
investigation directed by the CA in its March 18, 2013 decision.

We emphasize that while the Rule on the Writ of Amparo accords the Court a wide
latitude in crafting remedies to address an enforced disappearance, it cannot
(without violating the nature of the writ of Amparo as a summary remedy that
provides rapid judicial relief) grant remedies that would complicate and prolong
rather than expedite the investigations already ongoing. Note that the CA has
already determined with finality that Jonas was a victim of enforced
disappearance.

We clarify that by denying the petitioner's motion, we do not thereby rule on the
admissibility or the merits of the newly discovered evidence submitted by the
petitioner. We likew ise do not foreclose any investigation by the proper
investigative and prosecutory agencies of the other entities whose identities and
participation in the enforced disappearance of Jonas may be disclosed in future
investigations and proceedings. Considering that the present case has already
reached the prosecution stage, the petitioner's motion should have been filed with
the proper investigative and prosecutory agencies of the government.

To expedite proceedings, we refer the petitioner's motion, this Resolution and its
covered cases to the DOJ for investigation, for the purpose of filing the appropriate
criminal charges in the proper courts against the proper parties, if warranted,
based on the gathered evidence. For this purpose, we direct the petitioner to
furnish the DOJ and the NBI copies of her Urgent Ex Parte Motion Ex Abundanti
Cautela, together with the sealed attachments to the Motion, within five (5) days
from receipt of this Resolution.

As mentioned, we take judicial notice of the ongoing investigation by the DOJ,


through the NBI, of the disappearance of Jonas. This DOJ investigation is without
prejudice to the Office of the Ombudsman's exercise of its primary jurisdiction
over the investigation of the criminal aspect of this case should the case be
determined to be cognizable by the Sandiganbayan. 29

xxx xxx xxx

As a final note, we emphasize that our ROLE in a writ of Amparo proceeding is


merely to determine whether an enforced disappearance has taken place; to
determine who is responsible or accountable; and to define and impose the
appropriate remedies to address the disappearance.

As shown above, the beneficial purpose of the Writ of Amparo has been served in
the present case with the CA's final determination of the persons responsible and
accountable for the enforced disappearance of Jonas and the commencement of
criminal action against Lt. Baliaga. At this stage, criminal, investigation and
prosecution proceedings are already beyond the reach of the Writ of Amparo
proceeding now before us.

Based on the above developments, we now hold that the full extent of the
remedies envisioned by the Rule on the Writ of Amparo has been served and
exhausted.”

WRIT OF HABEAS DATA

VIVARES V. ST. THERESA'S COLLEGE,


G.R. NO. 202666, SEPTEMBER 29, 2014
FACTS:

This is the case about the minor then-graduating students of St. Theresa’s College, Cebu City,
whose pictures were posted on Facebook -- depicting them, among others, to be drinking hard
liquor, smoking cigarettes, and walking on the streets practically clad in just brassieres.

Mylene Escudero, a high school computer teacher, learned that some graduating seniors posted
pictures of them scantily-dressed and depicting bad behavior. She asked some of her students,
who pointed out to her the names of the seniors in the pictures. What is more, Escudero’s
students claimed that there were times when access to or the availability of the identified
students’ photos was not confined to the girls’ Facebook friends, but were, in fact, viewable by
any Facebook user.

Upon discovery, Escudero reported the matter and, through one of her student’s Facebook
page, showed the photos to Kristine Rose Tigol (Tigol), STC’s Discipline-in-Charge, for
appropriate action. Thereafter, following an investigation, STC found the identified students to
have deported themselves in a manner proscribed by the school’s Student Handbook, to wit:

1. Possession of alcoholic drinks outside the school campus;


2. Engaging in immoral, indecent, obscene or lewd acts;
3. Smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages in public places;
4. Apparel that exposes the underwear;
5. Clothing that advocates unhealthy behaviour; depicts obscenity; contains sexually suggestive
messages, language or symbols; and
6. Posing and uploading pictures on the Internet that entail ample body exposure.

The girls were sent to Sister Purisima’s office, the highschool principal. They were berated, and
told that as punishment, they were not allowed to join the graduation rites on 30 March 2012.

A week before graduation, or on March 23, 2012, Angela’s mother, Dr. Armenia M. Tan (Tan),
filed a Petition for Injunction and Damages before the RTC of Cebu City against STC, praying that
defendants therein be enjoined from implementing the sanction that precluded Angela from
joining the commencement exercises. On March 25, 2012, petitioner Rhonda Ave Vivares
(Vivares), the mother of Julia, joined the fray as an intervenor.

On March 28, 2012, defendants in Civil Case No. CEB-38594 filed their memorandum,
containing printed copies of the photographs in issue as annexes. That same day, the RTC issued
a temporary restraining order (TRO) allowing the students to attend the graduation ceremony,
to which STC filed a motion for reconsideration.

Despite the issuance of the TRO, STC, nevertheless, barred the sanctioned students from
participating in the graduation rites, arguing that, on the date of the commencement exercises,
its adverted motion for reconsideration on the issuance of the TRO remained unresolved.
Thereafter, petitioners filed before the RTC a Petition for the Issuance of a Writ of Habeas Data,
docketed as SP. Proc. No. 19251-CEB8 on the basis of the following considerations:

6. The photos of their children in their undergarments (e.g., bra) were taken for posterity before
they changed into their swimsuits on the occasion of a birthday beach party;
7. The privacy setting of their children’s Facebook accounts was set at “Friends Only.” They, thus,
have a reasonable expectation of privacy which must be respected.
8. Respondents, being involved in the field of education, knew or ought to have known of laws
that safeguard the right to privacy. Corollarily, respondents knew or ought to have
known that the girls, whose privacy has been invaded, are the victims in this case, and
not the offenders. Worse, after viewing the photos, the minors were called “immoral”
and were punished outright;
9. The photos accessed belong to the girls and, thus, cannot be used and reproduced without
their consent. Escudero, however, violated their rights by saving digital copies of the
photos and by subsequently showing them to STC’s officials. Thus, the Facebook
accounts of petitioners’ children were intruded upon;
10. The intrusion into the Facebook accounts, as well as the copying of information, data,
and digital images happened at STC’s Computer Laboratory; and
11. All the data and digital images that were extracted were boldly broadcasted by
respondents through their memorandum submitted to the RTC in connection with Civil
Case No. CEB-38594.

To petitioners, the interplay of the foregoing constitutes an invasion of their children’s privacy
and, thus, prayed that: (a) a writ of habeas data be issued; (b) respondents be ordered to
surrender and deposit with the court all soft and printed copies of the subject data before or at
the preliminary hearing; and (c) after trial, judgment be rendered declaring all information,
data, and digital images accessed, saved or stored, reproduced, spread and used, to have been
illegally obtained in violation of the children’s right to privacy.

Finding the petition sufficient in form and substance, the RTC, through an Order dated July 5,
2012, issued the writ of habeas data. Through the same Order, herein respondents were
directed to file their verified written return, together with the supporting affidavits, within five
(5) working days from service of the writ.

In time, respondents complied with the RTC’s directive and filed their verified written return,
laying down the following grounds for the denial of the petition, viz: (a) petitioners are not the
proper parties to file the petition; (b) petitioners are engaging in forum shopping; (c) the instant
case is not one where a writ of habeas data may issue; and (d) there can be no violation of their
right to privacy as there is no reasonable expectation of privacy on Facebook.

Ultimately, though, the RTC dismissed the petition for the writ of habeas data.

ISSUE:
The main issue to be threshed out in this case is whether or not a writ of habeas data should be
issued given the factual milieu. Crucial in resolving the controversy, however, is the pivotal point
of whether or not there was indeed an actual or threatened violation of the right to privacy in
the life, liberty, or security of the minors involved in this case.

RULING:

The Supreme Court denied the issuance of the writ.

Procedural issues concerning the


availability of the Writ of Habeas Data

In developing the writ of habeas data, the Court aimed to protect an individual’s right to
informational privacy, among others. A comparative law scholar has, in fact, defined habeas
data as “a procedure designed to safeguard individual freedom from abuse in the information
age.”13 The writ, however, will not issue on the basis merely of an alleged unauthorized access
to information about a person. Availment of the writ requires the existence of a nexus between
the right to privacy on the one hand, and the right to life, liberty or security on the other. 14 Thus,
the existence of a person’s right to informational privacy and a showing, at least by substantial
evidence, of an actual or threatened violation of the right to privacy in life, liberty or security of
the victim are indispensable before the privilege of the writ may be extended. 15cralawlawlibrary

Without an actionable entitlement in the first place to the right to informational privacy, a
habeas data petition will not prosper. Viewed from the perspective of the case at bar, this
requisite begs this question: given the nature of an online social network (OSN)––(1) that it
facilitates and promotes real-time interaction among millions, if not billions, of users, sans the
spatial barriers,16 bridging the gap created by physical space; and (2) that any information
uploaded in OSNs leaves an indelible trace in the provider’s databases, which are outside the
control of the end-users––is there a right to informational privacy in OSN activities of its
users? Before addressing this point, We must first resolve the procedural issues in this case.

The writ of habeas data is not only confined to


cases of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances

Contrary to respondents’ submission, the Writ of Habeas Data was not enacted solely for the
purpose of complementing the Writ of Amparo in cases of extralegal killings and enforced
disappearances.

Section 2 of the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Sec. 2. Who May File. – Any aggrieved party may file a petition for the writ of habeas data.
However, in cases of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances, the petition may be filed
by:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

(a) Any member of the immediate family of the aggrieved party, namely: the spouse, children
and parents; or
(b) Any ascendant, descendant or collateral relative of the aggrieved party within the fourth
civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, in default of those mentioned in the preceding
paragraph. (emphasis supplied)

Had the framers of the Rule intended to narrow the operation of the writ only to cases of
extralegal killings or enforced disappearances, the above underscored portion of Section 2,
reflecting a variance of habeas data situations, would not have been made.

Habeas data, to stress, was designed “to safeguard individual freedom from abuse in the
information age.”17 As such, it is erroneous to limit its applicability to extralegal killings and
enforced disappearances only. In fact, the annotations to the Rule prepared by the Committee
on the Revision of the Rules of Court, after explaining that the Writ of Habeas Data
complements the Writ of Amparo, pointed out that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

The writ of habeas data, however, can be availed of as an independent remedy to enforce
one’s right to privacy, more specifically the right to informational privacy.

The remedies against the violation of such right can include the updating, rectification,
suppression or destruction of the database or information or files in possession or in control of
respondents.18 (emphasis Ours)

Clearly then, the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Data may also be availed of in cases outside of
extralegal killings and enforced disappearances.

Meaning of “engaged” in the gathering,


collecting or storing of data or information

Respondents’ contention that the habeas data writ may not issue against STC, it not being an
entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information regarding the
person, family, home and correspondence of the aggrieved party, while valid to a point, is,
nonetheless, erroneous.

To be sure, nothing in the Rule would suggest that the habeas data protection shall be available
only against abuses of a person or entity engaged in the business of gathering, storing, and
collecting of data. As provided under Section 1 of the Rule:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Section 1. Habeas Data. – The writ of habeas data is a remedy available to any person whose
right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an unlawful act or omission
of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering,
collecting or storing of data or information regarding the person, family, home and
correspondence of the aggrieved party. (emphasis Ours)

To “engage” in something is different from undertaking a business endeavour. To “engage”


means “to do or take part in something.” 19 It does not necessarily mean that the activity must
be done in pursuit of a business. What matters is that the person or entity must be gathering,
collecting or storing said data or information about the aggrieved party or his or her family.
Whether such undertaking carries the element of regularity, as when one pursues a business,
and is in the nature of a personal endeavour, for any other reason or even for no reason at all, is
immaterial and such will not prevent the writ from getting to said person or entity.

To agree with respondents’ above argument, would mean unduly limiting the reach of the writ
to a very small group, i.e., private persons and entities whose business is data gathering and
storage, and in the process decreasing the effectiveness of the writ as an instrument designed
to protect a right which is easily violated in view of rapid advancements in the information and
communications technology––a right which a great majority of the users of technology
themselves are not capable of protecting.

Having resolved the procedural aspect of the case, We now proceed to the core of the
controversy.

The right to informational privacy on Facebook

The Right to Informational Privacy


The concept of privacy has, through time, greatly evolved, with technological advancements
having an influential part therein. This evolution was briefly recounted in former Chief Justice
Reynato S. Puno’s speech, The Common Right to Privacy,20 where he explained the three strands
of the right to privacy, viz: (1) locational or situational privacy; 21 (2) informational privacy; and
(3) decisional privacy.22 Of the three, what is relevant to the case at bar is the right to
informational privacy––usually defined as the right of individuals to control information about
themselves.23cralawlawlibrary

With the availability of numerous avenues for information gathering and data sharing
nowadays, not to mention each system’s inherent vulnerability to attacks and intrusions, there
is more reason that every individual’s right to control said flow of information should be
protected and that each individual should have at least a reasonable expectation of privacy in
cyberspace. Several commentators regarding privacy and social networking sites, however, all
agree that given the millions of OSN users, “[i]n this [Social Networking] environment, privacy is
no longer grounded in reasonable expectations, but rather in some theoretical protocol better
known as wishful thinking.”24cralawlawlibrary

It is due to this notion that the Court saw the pressing need to provide for judicial remedies that
would allow a summary hearing of the unlawful use of data or information and to remedy
possible violations of the right to privacy. 25 In the same vein, the South African High Court, in its
Decision in the landmark case, H v. W,26 promulgated on January 30, 2013, recognized that
“[t]he law has to take into account the changing realities not only technologically but also
socially or else it will lose credibility in the eyes of the people. x x x It is imperative that the
courts respond appropriately to changing times, acting cautiously and with wisdom.” Consistent
with this, the Court, by developing what may be viewed as the Philippine model of the writ of
habeas data, in effect, recognized that, generally speaking, having an expectation of
informational privacy is not necessarily incompatible with engaging in cyberspace activities,
including those that occur in OSNs.

The question now though is up to what extent is the right to privacy protected in OSNs? Bear in
mind that informational privacy involves personal information. At the same time, the very
purpose of OSNs is socializing––sharing a myriad of information, 27 some of which would have
otherwise remained personal.

Facebook’s Privacy Tools: a response to


the clamor for privacy in OSN activities

Facebook connections are established through the process of “friending” another user. By
sending a “friend request,” the user invites another to connect their accounts so that they can
view any and all “Public” and “Friends Only” posts of the other. Once the request is accepted,
the link is established and both users are permitted to view the other user’s “Public” or “Friends
Only” posts, among others. “Friending,” therefore, allows the user to form or maintain one-to-
one relationships with other users, whereby the user gives his or her “Facebook friend” access
to his or her profile and shares certain information to the latter. 29cralawlawlibrary

To address concerns about privacy, 30 but without defeating its purpose, Facebook was armed
with different privacy tools designed to regulate the accessibility of a user’s profile 31 as well as
information uploaded by the user. In H v. W,32 the South Gauteng High Court recognized this
ability of the users to “customize their privacy settings,” but did so with this caveat: “Facebook
states in its policies that, although it makes every effort to protect a user’s information, these
privacy settings are not fool-proof.”33cralawlawlibrary

STC did not violate petitioners’ daughters’ right to privacy

Without these privacy settings, respondents’ contention that there is no reasonable expectation
of privacy in Facebook would, in context, be correct. However, such is not the case. It is through
the availability of said privacy tools that many OSN users are said to have a subjective
expectation that only those to whom they grant access to their profile will view the
information they post or upload thereto.35cralawlawlibrary

This, however, does not mean that any Facebook user automatically has a protected expectation
of privacy in all of his or her Facebook activities.

Before one can have an expectation of privacy in his or her OSN activity, it is first necessary that
said user, in this case the children of petitioners, manifest the intention to keep certain posts
private, through the employment of measures to prevent access thereto or to limit its
visibility.36 And this intention can materialize in cyberspace through the utilization of the OSN’s
privacy tools. In other words, utilization of these privacy tools is the manifestation, in cyber
world, of the user’s invocation of his or her right to informational privacy.37cralawlawlibrary

Petitioners, in support of their thesis about their children’s privacy right being violated, insist
that Escudero intruded upon their children’s Facebook accounts, downloaded copies of the
pictures and showed said photos to Tigol. To them, this was a breach of the minors’ privacy
since their Facebook accounts, allegedly, were under “very private” or “Only Friends” setting
safeguarded with a password.39 Ultimately, they posit that their children’s disclosure was only
limited since their profiles were not open to public viewing. Therefore, according to them,
people who are not their Facebook friends, including respondents, are barred from accessing
said post without their knowledge and consent. As petitioner’s children testified, it was Angela
who uploaded the subject photos which were only viewable by the five of them,40 although
who these five are do not appear on the records.

Escudero, on the other hand, stated in her affidavit 41 that “my students showed me some
pictures of girls clad in brassieres. This student [sic] of mine informed me that these are senior
high school [students] of STC, who are their friends in [F]acebook. x x x They then said [that]
there are still many other photos posted on the Facebook accounts of these girls. At the
computer lab, these students then logged into their Facebook account [sic], and accessed from
there the various photographs x x x. They even told me that there had been times when these
photos were ‘public’ i.e., not confined to their friends in Facebook.”

In this regard, We cannot give much weight to the minors’ testimonies for one key reason:
failure to question the students’ act of showing the photos to Tigol disproves their allegation
that the photos were viewable only by the five of them. Without any evidence to corroborate
their statement that the images were visible only to the five of them, and without their
challenging Escudero’s claim that the other students were able to view the photos, their
statements are, at best, self-serving, thus deserving scant consideration. 42cralawlawlibrary

It is well to note that not one of petitioners disputed Escudero’s sworn account that her
students, who are the minors’ Facebook “friends,” showed her the photos using their own
Facebook accounts. This only goes to show that no special means to be able to view the
allegedly private posts were ever resorted to by Escudero’s students, 43 and that it is reasonable
to assume, therefore, that the photos were, in reality, viewable either by (1) their Facebook
friends, or (2) by the public at large.

Considering that the default setting for Facebook posts is “Public,” it can be surmised that the
photographs in question were viewable to everyone on Facebook, absent any proof that
petitioners’ children positively limited the disclosure of the photograph. If such were the case,
they cannot invoke the protection attached to the right to informational privacy. The ensuing
pronouncement in US v. Gines-Perez44 is most instructive:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
[A] person who places a photograph on the Internet precisely intends to forsake and renounce
all privacy rights to such imagery, particularly under circumstances such as here, where the
Defendant did not employ protective measures or devices that would have controlled access to
the Web page or the photograph itself.45chanrobleslaw

Also, United States v. Maxwell46 held that “[t]he more open the method of transmission is, the
less privacy one can reasonably expect. Messages sent to the public at large in the chat room or
e-mail that is forwarded from correspondent to correspondent loses any semblance of privacy.”

That the photos are viewable by “friends only” does not necessarily bolster the petitioners’
contention. In this regard, the cyber community is agreed that the digital images under this
setting still remain to be outside the confines of the zones of privacy in view of the
following:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

(1) Facebook “allows the world to be more open and connected by giving its users the tools to
interact and share in any conceivable way;”47
(2) A good number of Facebook users “befriend” other users who are total strangers; 48
(3) The sheer number of “Friends” one user has, usually by the hundreds; and
(4) A user’s Facebook friend can “share” 49 the former’s post, or “tag” 50 others who are not
Facebook friends with the former, despite its being visible only to his or her own Facebook
friends.

It is well to emphasize at this point that setting a post’s or profile detail’s privacy to “Friends” is
no assurance that it can no longer be viewed by another user who is not Facebook friends with
the source of the content. The user’s own Facebook friend can share said content or tag his or
her own Facebook friend thereto, regardless of whether the user tagged by the latter is
Facebook friends or not with the former. Also, when the post is shared or when a person is
tagged, the respective Facebook friends of the person who shared the post or who was tagged
can view the post, the privacy setting of which was set at “Friends.”

In sum, there can be no quibbling that the images in question, or to be more precise, the photos
of minor students scantily clad, are personal in nature, likely to affect, if indiscriminately
circulated, the reputation of the minors enrolled in a conservative institution. However, the
records are bereft of any evidence, other than bare assertions that they utilized Facebook’s
privacy settings to make the photos visible only to them or to a select few. Without proof that
they placed the photographs subject of this case within the ambit of their protected zone of
privacy, they cannot now insist that they have an expectation of privacy with respect to the
photographs in question.

Had it been proved that the access to the pictures posted were limited to the original uploader,
through the “Me Only” privacy setting, or that the user’s contact list has been screened to limit
access to a select few, through the “Custom” setting, the result may have been different, for in
such instances, the intention to limit access to the particular post, instead of being broadcasted
to the public at large or all the user’s friends en masse, becomes more manifest and palpable.

PETITION DENIED.

WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

TUJAN-MILITANTE V. CADA-DEAPERA,
G.R. NO. 210636, JULY 28, 2014

Facts:

On March 24, 2011, respondent Raquel M. Cada-Deapera filed before the RTC-Caloocan a
verified petition for writ of habeas corpus, docketed as Special Civil Action Case No. C-4344. In
the said petition, respondent demanded the immediate issuance of the special writ, directing
petitioner Ma. Hazelina Tujan-Militante to produce before the court respondent's biological
daughter, minor Criselda M. Cada (Criselda), and to return to her the custody over the child.
Additionally, respondent indicated that petitioner has three (3) known addresses where she can
be served with summons and other court processes,

Meanwhile, on March 31, 2011, petitioner filed a Petition for Guardianship over the person of
Criselda before the RTC, Branch 89 in Quezon City (RTC-Quezon City). Respondent filed a Motion
to Dismiss the petition for guardianship on the ground of litis pendentia, among others.
Thereafter, or on June 3, 2011, respondent filed a criminal case for kidnapping before the Office
of the City Prosecutor – Quezon City against petitioner and her counsel.

Then, on August 4, 2011, Raquel moved for the ex parte issuance of an alias writ of habeas
corpus before the RTC-Caloocan, which was granted by the trial court on August 8, 2011. On
even date, the court directed the Sheriff to serve the alias writ upon petitioner at the Office of
the Assistant City Prosecutor of Quezon City on August 10, 2011.6 In compliance, the Sheriff
served petitioner the August 8, 2011 Order as well as the Alias Writ during the preliminary
investigation of the kidnapping case.7

Issue:

Whether or not the RTC Caloocan has jurisdiction over the habeascorpus petition filed by
respondent and, assuming arguendo it does, whether or not it validly acquired jurisdiction over
petitioner and the person of Criselda. Likewise pivotal is the enforce ability of the writ issued by
RTC-Caloocan in Quezon City where petitioner was served a copy there.

Held:
We find for respondent.

In the case at bar, what respondent filed was a petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas
corpus under Section 20 of A.M. No. 03-04-04-SC and Rule 102 of the Rules of Court.20 As
provided:

Section 20. Petition for writ of habeas corpus.- A verified petition for a writ of habeas corpus
involving custody of minors shall be filed with the Family Court. The writ shall be enforceable
within its judicial region to which the Family Court belongs.

However, the petition may be filed with the regular court in the absence of the presiding judge
of the Family Court, provided, however, that the regular court shall refer the case tothe Family
Court as soon as its presiding judge returns to duty.

The petition may also be filed with the appropriate regular courts in places where there are no
Family Courts.

The writ issued by the Family Court or the regular court shall be enforceable in the judicial
region where they belong.

The petition may likewise be filed with the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, or with any of its
members and, if so granted,the writ shall be enforceable anywhere in the Philippines. The writ
may be made returnable to a Family Court or to any regular court within the region where the
petitioner resides or where the minor may be found for hearing and decision on the merits.

Upon return of the writ, the court shall decide the issue on custody of minors. The appellate
court, or the member thereof, issuing the writ shall be furnished a copy of the decision.
(emphasis added)

Considering that the writ is made enforceable within a judicial region, petitions for the issuance
of the writ of habeas corpus, whether they be filed under Rule 102 of the Rules of Court or
pursuant to Section 20 of A.M. No. 03-04-04-SC, may therefore be filed with any of the proper
RTCs within the judicial region where enforcement thereof is sought.

In view of the afore-quoted provision it is indubitable that the filing of a petition for the
issuance of a writ of habeas corpus before a family court in any of the cities enumerated is
proper as long as the writ is sought to be enforced within the National Capital Judicial Region, as
here.

In the case at bar, respondent filed the petition before the family court of Caloocan City. Since
Caloocan City and Quezon City both belong to the same judicial region, the writ issued by the
RTC-Caloocan can still be implemented in Quezon City. Whether petitioner resides in the former
or the latter is immaterial in view of the above rule.
Lastly, as regards petitioner’s assertion that the summons was improperly served, suffice it to
state that service of summons, to begin with, is not required in a habeas corpus petition, be it
under Rule 102 of the Rules of Court or A.M. No. 03-04-04-SC. As held in Saulo v. Cruz, a writ of
habeas corpus plays a role somewhat comparable to a summons, in ordinary civil actions, in
that, by service of said writ, the court acquires jurisdiction over the person of the respondent.

SETTLEMENT OF ESTATE

SILVERIO, SR. V. SILVERIO, JR.,


G.R. NOS. 208828-29, AUGUST 13, 2014

Facts:
The late Beatriz S. Silverio died without leaving a will on October 7, 1987. She was
survived by her legal heirs, namely: Ricardo C. Silverio, Sr. (husband), Edmundo S. Silverio (son),
Edgardo S. Silverio (son), Ricardo S. Silverio, Jr. (son), Nelia S.Silverio-Dee (daughter), and Ligaya
S. Silverio (daughter). Subsequently, an intestate proceeding for the settlement of her estate
was filed by SILVERIO, SR.
In the course of the proceedings, the parties filed different petitions and appeal
challenging several orders of the intestate court that went all the way up to the Supreme Court.
The intestate court in its Omnibus Order, ordered among others, the sale of certain
properties belonging to the estate. By virtue of the aforesaid Order, SILVERIO, JR. on 16 October
2007 executed a Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of CITRINE HOLDINGS, Inc. ("CITRINE") over the
Intsia property. CITRINE became the registered owner thereof. A Deed of Absolute Sale was
likewise executed in favor of Monica P. Ocampo over the Cambridge property. The latter
subsequently sold said property to ZEE2 Resources, Inc. (ZEE2) and a TCT was subsequently
issued under its name.
This case involves an active exchange of pleadings to remove and appoint a new
administrator ensued between SILVERIO SR. and SILVERIO JR. There was a flip-flopping
appointment of administrator is summarized. Eventually, the Court of Appeals (Seventh
Division) issued a decision reinstating SILVERIO SR. as administrator and declaring the Writ of
Preliminary Injunction permanent in regard to the appointment of administrator.
SILVERIO SR. then filed an Urgent Application for the Issuance of TRO/Preliminary
Prohibitory Injunction praying among others, that a TRO be issued restraining and/or preventing
SILVERIO, JR., MONICA OCAMPO, CITRINE HOLDINGS, INC. and their successors-in-interest from
committing any act that would affect the titles to the three properties. The TRO was granted by
the Intestate Court.
SILVERIO Sr. filed a Supplement to the Urgent Omnibus Motion. On 18 August 2011, the
intestate court rendered the now assailed Order declaring the Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of
Monica P. Ocampo as VOID and thus the subsequent TCTs issued as NULL AND VOID.
Respondent Ricardo S. Silverio, Jr. ("Silverio, Jr.") then filed a Petition for Certiorari before
the CA questioning the above issuances of the intestate court.
Issues:
WON the intestate court erred in annulling the sales of the Intsia and Cambridge properties.

Held:

At the outset, we emphasize that the probate court having jurisdiction over properties under
administration has the authority not only to approve any disposition or conveyance, but also to
annul an unauthorized sale by the prospective heirs or administrator. In the early case of Godoy
vs. Orellano, we laid down the rule that the sale of the property of the estate by an
administrator without the order of the probate court is void and passes no title to the
purchaser.
There is hardly any doubt that the probate court can declare null and void the
disposition of the property under administration, made by private respondent, the same having
been effected without authority from said court. It is the probate court that has the power to
authorize and/or approve the sale (Section 4 and 7, Rule 89), hence, a fortiori, it is said court
that can declare it null and void for as long as the proceedings had not been closed or
terminated. To uphold petitioner’s contention that the probate court cannot annul the
unauthorized sale, would render meaningless the power pertaining to the said court. (Bonga vs.
Soler, 2 SCRA 755). Our jurisprudence is therefore clear that (1) any disposition of estate
property by an administrator or prospective heir pending final adjudication requires court
approval and (2) any unauthorized disposition of estate property can be annulled by the
probate court, there being no need for a separate action to annul the unauthorized
disposition.

In this case, the sale of the subject properties was executed by respondent Silverio, Jr.
with prior approval of the intestate court under its Omnibus Order dated October 31, 2006.
Subsequently, however, the sale was annulled by the said court on motion by petitioner.
In reversing the intestate court’s order annulling the sale of the subject properties, the
CA noted that said ruling is anchored on the fact that the deeds of sale were executed at the
time when the TRO and writ of preliminary injunction issued was still in effect. It then
concluded that the eventual decision in the latter case making the writ of preliminary injunction
permanent only with respect to the appointment of petitioner as administrator and not to the
grant of authority to sell mooted the issue of whether the sale was executed at the time when
the TRO and writ of preliminary injunction were in effect.

From all the foregoing, We declare that it was grave abuse of discretion on the part of
the intestate court when it ordered the sale of the Cambridge Property and Intsia Property as
NULL and VOID citing as justification the decision of the Court of Appeals, Seventh Division in CA
G.R. SP No. 97196. To reiterate, the injunction order which was made permanent by the Court
of Appeals (Seventh Division) was declared to be limited only to the portion of the Omnibus
Order that upheld the grant of letters of administration by SILVERIO, JR. and the removal of
SILVERIO, SR. as administrator and nothing else.
Anent the preliminary injunction issued by the intestate court, we find that it was issued
with grave abuse of discretion as it was directed against acts which were already [fait] accompli.
The records show that when the preliminary injunction was issued, new titles over the disputed
properties were already issued to CITRINE HOLDINGS, INC. and ZEE2 RESOURCES INC.
The CA therefore did not err in reversing the August 18, 2011 Order of the intestate
court annulling the sale of the subject properties grounded solely on the injunction issued in
CA-G.R. SP No. 97196. Respondents Ocampo, Citrine and ZEE2 should not be prejudiced by the
flip-flopping appointment of Administrator by the intestate court, having relied in good faith
that the sale was authorized and with prior approval of the intestate court under its Omnibus
Order dated October 31, 2006 which remained valid and subsisting insofar as it allowed the
aforesaid sale.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.

EVIDENCE

IN RE ONG, A.M. NO. SB-14-21-J, SEPTEMBER 23, 2014

FACTS

This administrative complaint was filed by the Court En Banc after investigation into certain
allegations that surfaced during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Hearing indicated prima
facie violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct by an Associate Justice of the Sandiganbayan.
Based on the testimonies of Luy, Sula and Rufo, the Investigating Justice formulated the charges
against the respondent, as follows:
1. Respondent acted as contact of Napoles in connection with the Kevlar case while it
was pending in the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division wherein he is the Chairman;
2. Respondent, being Napoles' contact in the Sandiganbayan, fixed the Kevlar case
resulting in her acquittal;
3. Respondent received an undetermined amount of money from Napoles prior to the
promulgation of the decision in the Kevlar case thus, she was sure ("kampante")of her
acquittal;
4. Respondent visited Napoles in her office where she handed to him eleven (ll) checks,
each amounting to P282,000.00 or a total ofP3,102,000.00, as advanced interest for
his P25.5 million BDO check she deposited in her personal account; and
5. Respondent attended Napoles' parties and was photographed with Senator Estrada
and Napoles.

ISSUE
WON Respondent is guilty of gross misconduct, partiality and corruption or bribery during the
pendency of the Kevlar case, and impropriety on account of his dealing and socializing with
Napoles after her acquittal in the said case.

RULING
ON BRIBERY

An accusation of bribery is easy to concoct and difficult to disprove. The complainant must
present a panoply of evidence in support of such an accusation. Inasmuch as what is imputed
against the respondent judge connotes a grave misconduct, the quantum of proof required
should be more than substantial. Concededly, the evidence in this case is insufficient to sustain
the bribery and corruption charges against the respondent. Both Luy and Sula have not
witnessed respondent actually receiving money from Napoles in exchange for her acquittal in
the Kevlar case. Napoles had confided to Luy her alleged bribe to respondent.

ON MISCONDUCT

Misconduct is a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, a forbidden act, a
dereliction of duty, unlawful behavior, willful in character, improper or wrong behavior; while
·"gross" has been defined as "out of all measure beyond allowance; flagrant; shameful; such
conduct as is not to be excused."
We cannot overemphasize that in administrative proceedings, only substantial evidence, i.e.,
that amount of relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion, is required.
Notwithstanding the absence of direct evidence of any corrupt act by the respondent, we find
credible evidence of his association with Napoles after the promulgation of the decision in the
Kevlar case. The totality of the circumstances of such association strongly indicates respondent's
corrupt inclinations that only heightened the public's perception of anomaly in the decision-
making process. By his act of going to respondent at her office on two occasions, respondent
exposed himself to the suspicion that he was partial to Napoles. That respondent was not the
ponente of the decision which was rendered by a collegial body did not forestall such suspicion
of partiality, as evident from the public disgust generated by the publication of a photograph of
respondent together with Napoles and Senator Jinggoy Estrada.

ON IMPROPRIETY

Respondent's act of voluntarily meeting with Napoles at her office on two occasions was grossly
improper and violated Section 1, Canon 4 (Propriety) of the New Code of Judicial Conduct,
which took effect on June 1, 2004.
SECTION 1. Judges shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of their
activities.
A judge must not only be impartial but must also appear to be impartial and that fraternizing
with litigants tarnishes this appearance. Public confidence in the Judiciary is eroded by
irresponsible or improper conduct of judges. A judge must avoid all impropriety and the
appearance thereof. Being the subject of constant public scrutiny, a judge should freely and
willingly accept restrictions on conduct that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary
citizen.
Judges must, at all times, be beyond reproach and should avoid even the mere suggestion of
partiality and impropriety. Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct states that "[p ]ropriety
and the appearance of propriety are essential to the performance of all the activities of a
judge."

In this light, it does not matter that the case is no longer pending when improper acts were
committed by the judge. Because magistrates are under constant public scrutiny, the
termination of a case will not deter public criticisms for acts which may cast suspicion on its
disposition or resolution. As what transpired in this case, respondent's association with Napoles
has unfortunately dragged the Judiciary into the "Pork Barrel" controversy which initially
involved only legislative and executive officials. Worse, Napoles' much-flaunted "contact" in the
judiciary is no less than a Justice of the Sandiganbayan, our special court tasked with hearing
graft cases.

ON DISHONESTY

Regrettably, the conduct of respondent gave cause for the public in general to doubt the
honesty and fairness of his participation in the Kevlar case and the integrity of our courts of
justice. In his letter to the Chief Justice where he vehemently denied having attended parties or
social events hosted by Napoles, he failed to mention that he had in fact visited Napoles at her
office. Far from being a plain omission, we find that respondent deliberately did not disclose his
social calls to Napoles.
The Court finds that respondent, in not being truthful on crucial matters even before the
administrative complaint was filed against him motu proprio, is guilty of Dishonesty, a violation
of Canon 3 (Integrity) of the New Code of Judicial Conduct. Dishonesty is a "disposition to lie,
cheat, deceive, or defraud; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity; lack of honesty, probity or
integrity in principle; lack of fairness and straightforwardness; disposition to defraud, deceive or
betray." Dishonesty, being a grave offense, carries the extreme penalty of dismissal from the
service with forfeiture of retirement benefits except accrued leave credits, and with perpetual
disqualification from reemployment in government service. Indeed, dishonesty is a malevolent
act that has no place in the Judiciary.

WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondent Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Gregory S. Ong
GUILTY of GROSS MISCONDUCT, DISHONESTY and IMPROPRIETY, all in violations of the New
Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, for which he is hereby DISMISSED from the
service, with forfeiture of all retirement benefits, except accrued leave credits, if any, and with
prejudice to reemployment in any branch, agency or instrumentality of the government
including government-owned or -controlled corporations.

DIMAGUILA V. SPOUSES MONTEIRO,


G.R. NO. 201011, JANUARY 27, 2014

Facts:

On July 5, 1993, the respondent spouses, Jose and Sonia Monteiro (Spouses Monteiro) filed
their Complaint for Partition and Damages before the RTC, against the petitioners, Theresita,
Juan, Asuncion, Patrocinia, Ricardo, and Gloria Dimaguila (The Dimaguilas). The complaint
alleged that all the parties were co-owners and prayed for the partition of a residential house
and lot located at Gat. Tayaw St., Liliw, Laguna, with an area of 489 square meters, and covered
by Tax Declaration No. 1453. Spouses Monteiro anchored their claim on a deed of sale executed
in their favor by the heirs of Pedro Dimaguila (Pedro).

In their Answer, the Dimaguilas countered that there was no co-ownership to speak. They
alleged that the subject property, then owned by Maria Ignacio Buenaseda, had long been
partitioned equally between her two sons, Perfecto and Vitaliano Dimaguila, through a Deed of
Extrajudicial Partition, with its southern-half portion assigned to Perfecto and the northern-half
portion to Vitaliano. They claimed that they were the heirs of Vitaliano and that Spouses
Monteiro had nothing to do with the property as they were not heirs of either Perfecto or
Vitaliano.

On January 2, 2001, Spouses Monteiro filed their Motion for Leave to Amend and/or Admit
Amended Complaint. The RTC granted their motion. The amended complaint abandoned the
original claim for partition and instead sought the recovery of possession of a portion of the
subject property occupied by the Dimaguila, specifically, the portion sold to the couple by the
heirs of Pedro.

In amending their complaint, Spouses Montiero adopted the Dimaguilas' admission in their
original answer that the subject propetiy had already been partitioned between Perfecto and
Vitaliano, through a Deed of Extrajudicial Partition, dated October 5, 1945, and that during their
lifetime, the brothers agreed that Perfecto would become the owner of the southern-half
portion and Vitaliano of the northern-half portion, which division was observed and respected
by them as well as their heirs and successors-in-interest.

Spouses Monteiro further averred that Perfecto was survived by Esperanza, Leandro and Pedro,
who had divided the southern-half portion equally amongst themselves, with their respective
1 /3 shares measuring 81.13 square meters each; that Pedro's share pertains to the 1 /3 of the
southern-half immediately adjacent to the northern-half adjudicated to the Dimaguilas as heirs
of Vitaliano; that on September 29, 1992, Pedro's share was sold by his heirs to them through a
Bilihan ng Lahat Naming Karapatan (Bilihan) with the acquiescence of the heirs of Esperanza
and Leandro appearing in an Affidavit of Conformity and Waiver; and that when they attempted
to take possession of the share of Pedro, they discovered that the subject portion was being
occupied by the Dimaguilas.

In their Answer to the amended complaint, the Dimaguilas admitted that the subject property
was inherited by, and divided equally between Perfecto and Vitaliano, but denied the admission
in their original answer that it had been actually divided into southern and northern portions.
Instead, they argued that the Extrajudicial Partition mentioned only the division of the subject
property "into two and share and share alike." In effect, they argued the existence of a co-
owenrship, contrary to their original position.

Issues:

1. Whether there was a partition of the subject property.

2. Whether the 1/3 portion of the southern-half of the subject property was sold to the
respondent spouses.

Ruling:

1. There was partition of the subject property.

Spouses Monteiro, as plaintiffs in the original case, had the burden of proof to establish their
case by a preponderance of evidence, which is the weight, credit, and value of the aggregate
evidence on either side, synonymous with the term "greater weight of the evidence."

To prove their claim of partition, the respondent spouses presented the following:

(1) the Deed of Extrajudicial Partition, dated October 5, 1945, executed by and between the
brothers Perfecto and Vitaliano;

(2) the cadastral map of Liliw Cadm-484, dated August 6, 1976, showing that the subject
property had been divided into southern and northern portions, registered as Lot Nos. 876
and 877; and

(3) the Municipal Assessor's recordsshowing that the said lots were respectively claimed by
Buenaventura and Perfecto.

It is undisputed that the Deed of Extrajudicial Partition stated that Perfecto and Vitaliano
agreed "to divide between them into two and share and share alike" the subject property,
including the house situated thereon. It appears, however, that the property was actually
partitioned into definite portions, namely, southern and northern halves, as reflected in the
cadastral map of Liliw, which were respectively claimed by an heir of Vitaliano and Perfecto
himself. It, thus, appears that the subject property had already been partitioned into
definite portions more than 20 years prior to the original complaint for partition filed in
1993, and that such division had been observed by the brothers' heirs.

Section 4 of Rule 129 of the Rules of Court provides that an admission made by a party in
the course of the proceedings in the same case does not require proof, and may be
contradicted only by showing that it was made through palpable mistake.

The petitioners argue that such admission was the palpable mistake of their former counsel
in his rush to file the answer, a copy of which was not provided to them. This contention is
unacceptable. It is a purely self-serving claim unsupported by any iota of evidence. Bare
allegations, unsubstantiated by evidence, are not equivalent to proof. Furthermore, the Court
notes that this position was adopted by the petitioners only almost eight (8) years after their
original answer was filed, in response to the amended complaint of the respondent spouses.
In their original answer to the complaint for partition, their claim that there was already a
partition into northern-half and southern-half portions, was the very essence of their
defense. It was precisely this admission which moved the respondent spouses to amend their
complaint. The petitioners cannot now insist that the very foundation of their original
defense was a palpable mistake.

Article 1431 of the Civil Code provides that through estoppel, an admission is rendered
conclusive upon the person making it, and cannot be denied or disproved as against the
person relying thereon. The respondent spouses had clearly relied on the petitioners'
admission and so amended their original complaint for partition to one for recovery of
possession of a portion of the subject property. Thus, the petitioners are now estopped from
denying or attempting to prove that there was no partition of the property.

Considering that an admission does not require proof, the admission of the petitioners would
actually be sufficient to prove the partition even without the documents presented by the
respondent spouses. If anything, the additional evidence they presented only served to
corroborate the petitioners' admission.

Alleged Violation of the Rule on Hearsay and Best Evidence Rule

The petitioners argue that they timely objected to the cadastral map and the list of claimants
presented by the respondent spouses, on the ground that they violated the rule on hearsay
and the best evidence rule.

Anent the best evidence rule, Section 3(d) of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court provides that
when the subject of inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible
other than the original document itself, except when the original is a public record in the
custody of a public officer or is recorded in a public office. Section 7 of the same Rule
provides that when the original of a document is in the custody of a public officer or is
recorded in a public office, its contents may be proved by a certified copy issued by the
public officer in custody thereof. Section 24 of Rule 132 provides that the record of public
documents may be evidenced by a copy attested by the officer having the legal custody or
the record.

Certified true copies of the cadastral map of Liliw and the corresponding list of claimants of
the area covered by the map were presented by two public officers. The first was Crisostomo
Arves, Clerk III of the Municipal Assessor's Office, a repository of such documents. The
second was Dominga Tolentino, a DENR employee, who, as a record officer, certifies and
safekeeps records of surveyed land involving cadastral maps. The cadastral maps and the list
of claimants, as certified true copies of original public records, fall under the exception to
the best evidence rule.

As to the hearsay rule, Section 44 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court similarly provides that
entries in official records are an exception to the rule. The rule provides that entries in
official records made in the performance of the duty of a public officer of the Philippines, or
by a person in the performance of a duty specially enjoined by law, are prima facie evidence
of the facts therein stated. The necessity of this rule consists in the inconvenience and
difficulty of requiring the official's attendance as a witness to testify to the innumerable
transactions in the course of his duty. The document's trustworthiness consists in the
presumption of regularity of performance of official duty.

Cadastral maps are the output of cadastral surveys. The DENR is the department tasked to
execute, supervise and manage the conduct of cadastral surveys. It is, therefore, clear that
the cadastral map and the corresponding list of claimants qualify as entries in official records
as they were prepared by the DENR, as mandated by law. As such, they are exceptions to the
hearsay rule and are prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein.

Even granting that the petitioners had not admitted the partition, they presented no
evidence to contradict the evidence of the respondent spouses. Thus, even without the
admission of the petitioners, the respondent spouses proved by a preponderance of
evidence that there had indeed been a partition of the subject property.

2. The 1/3 of the southern-half was sold to Spouses Monteiro.

To prove that 1/3 of the southern-half portion of the subject property was sold to them,
Spouses Monteiro presented a deed of sale entitled Bilihan ng Lahat Naming Karapatan,
dated September 29, 1992, wherein Pedro's share was sold by his heirs to them, with the
acquiescence of the heirs of Esperanza and Leandro in an Affidavit of Conformity and
Waiver.

The petitioners argue that the Bilihan should not have been admitted into evidence because
it lacked the documentary stamp tax required by Section 201 of the NIRC.

On August 29, 1994, the petitioners filed a motion for the production and/or inspection of
documents, praying that Spouses Monteiro be ordered to produce the deed of sale, which
they cited as the source of their rights as co-owners. On November 20, 1995, Spouses
Monteiro submitted their compliance, furnishing the RTC and the petitioners with a copy of
the Bilihan. On January 3, 1996, the petitioners filed a notice of consignation, manifesting
that they had attempted to exercise their right of redemption as co-owners of the 1/3
portion of the southern half of the property under Article 1623 of the Civil Code by sending
and tendering payment of redemption to Spouses Monteiro, which was, however, returned.

By filing the notice of consignation and tendering their payment for the redemption of the
1/3 portion of the southern-half of the property, the petitioners, in effect, admitted the
existence, due execution and validity of the Bilihan. Consequently, they are now estopped
from questioning its admissiblity in evidence for relying on such for their right of
redemption. Additionally, the Court notes that the copy of the Bilihan does in fact bear a
documentary stamp tax. It could only mean that the documentary stamp tax on the sale was
properly paid. The Bilihan was, therefore, properly admitted into evidence and considered
by the RTC.

With Spouses Monteiro having sufficiently proved their claim over the subject I /3 portion of
the southern-half of the property through the Bilihan, the lower courts did not err in
awarding possession, rentals, attorney's fees, and litigation expenses to them.

The Court, however, finds that the award of rentals should be reckoned from January 2,
2001, the date the Spouses Monteiro filed their Amended Complaint seeking recovery of the
subject portion. Interest at the rate of 6% per annum shall also be imposed on the total
amount of rent due from finality of this Decision until fully paid.

PEOPLE V. ESTIBAL Y CALUNGSAG,


G.R. NO. 208749, NOVEMBER 26, 2014

Facts:

This is a rape case on automatic review to the Supreme Court committed by the accused
Calungsag against her 13 year old daughter, AAA. According to the information, the accused
raped his daughter on February 5, 2009. Apparently, BBB, the wife of the accused and mother of
AAA, together with the latter, complained to Police Officer 3 Fretzie S. Cobardo (PO3 Cobardo),
the officer assigned at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Women and Children Protection
Center of Taguig City. It was she who investigated the above incident and took down the sworn
statement of AAA late in the evening of February 5, 2009. Members of the Barangay Security
Force Michael Estudillo (Estudillo) and Ronillo Perlas (Perlas) arrested the accused. She testified
in the trial court. AAA did not, on account her not appearing despite several subpoenas issued
by the court; BBB and AAA manifested their desistance, saying that AAA had already forgiven
her father.
The trial court convicted the accused, ruling that the testimony of PO3 Cobardo was part of res
gestae.

On appeal to the CA, the accused-appellant maintained that due to the absence of AAA's
testimony, the prosecution failed to establish the circumstances proving beyond reasonable
doubt that he raped his daughter; that the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses PO3
Cobardo and others, not being themselves victims or witnesses to the "startling occurrence" of
rape, cannot create the hearsay exception of res gestae [literally, "things done’.

The CA nonetheless convicted the accused on the basis of res gestae.

ISSUE:

Without the res gestae exception, the evidence of the prosecution would consist mainly of
hearsay statements by PO3 Cobardo, BSF Estudillo and BSF Perlas all reiterating what AAA
allegedly told them. The same question, whether res gestae as an exception to the hearsay rule
must be appreciated from the factual circumstances of the case, is now before this Court in this
automatic review.

Ruling:

ACCUSED IS ACQUITTED

In essence, the res gestae exception to the hearsay rule provides that the declarations must
have been "voluntarily and spontaneously made so nearly contemporaneous as to be in the
presence of the transaction which they illustrate and explain, and were made under such
circumstances as necessarily to exclude the idea of design or deliberation."

AAA's statements to the barangay tanod and the police do not qualify as part of res gestae in
view of the missing element of spontaneity and the lapse of an appreciable time between the
rape and the declarations which afforded her sufficient opportunity for reflection.

In People v. Manhuyod, Jr., 51 the Court stressed that in appreciating res gestae the element of
spontaneity is critical. Although it was acknowledged that there is no hard and fast rule to
establish it, the Court cited a number of factors to consider, already mentioned in Dianos. The
review of the facts below constrains this Court to take a view opposite that of the RTC and the
CA.

There is no doubt, however, that there was nothing spontaneous, unreflected or instinctive
about the declarations which AAA made to the barangay tanodand later that night to the
police. Her statements were in fact a re-telling of what she had already confessed to her mother
earlier that afternoon; this time however, her story to thetanods and the police was in clear,
conscious pursuit of a newly formed resolve, exhorted by her mother, to see her father finally
exposed and put behind bars. AAA made her declarations to the authorities precisely because
she was seeking their help to punish the accused-appellant. There was then nothing
spontaneous about her so-called res gestae narrations, even as it is remarkable to note that
while AAA was giving her said statements to the police, her father was already being held in
detention, and the investigation was conducted exactly to determine if there was a basis to hold
him for trial for rape.

Res gestae speaks of a quick continuum of related happenings, starting with the occurrence of a
startling event which triggered it and including any spontaneous declaration made by a witness,
participant or spectator relative to the said occurrence. The cases this Court has cited invariably
reiterate that the statement must be an unreflected reaction of the declarant, undesigned and
free of deliberation. In other words, the declarant is spontaneously moved merely to express his
instinctive reaction concerning the startling occurrence, and not to pursue a purpose or design
already formed in his mind. In People v. Sanchez, 53 the Court belabored to explain that startling
events "speak for themselves, giving out their fullest meaning through the unprompted
language of the participants:" 54 DCcAIS

Res gestae means the "things done." It "refers to those exclamations and statements made by
either the participants, victims, or spectators to a crime immediately before, during, or
immediately after the commission of the crime, when the circumstances are such that the
statements were made as a spontaneous reaction or utterance inspired by the excitement of
the occasion and there was no opportunity for the declarant to deliberate and to fabricate a
false statement." A spontaneous exclamation is defined as "a statement or exclamation made
immediately after some exciting occasion by a participant or spectator and asserting the
circumstances of that occasion as it is observed by him. The admissibility of such exclamation is
based on our experience that, under certain external circumstances of physical or mental shock,
a stress of nervous excitement may be produced in a spectator which stills the reflective
faculties and removes their control, so that the utterance which then occurs is a spontaneous
and sincere response to the actual sensations and perceptions already produced by the external
shock. Since this utterance is made under the immediate and uncontrolled domination of the
senses, rather than reason and reflection, and during the brief period when consideration of
self-interest could not have been fully brought to bear,' the utterance may be taken as
expressing the real belief of the speaker as to the facts just observed by him." In a manner of
speaking, the spontaneity of the declaration is such that the declaration itself may be regarded
as the event speaking through the declarant rather than the declarant speaking for himself. Or,
stated differently, ". . . the events speak for themselves, giving out their fullest meaning through
the unprompted language of the participants. The spontaneous character of the language is
assumed to preclude the probability of its premeditation or fabrication. Its utterance on the
spur of the moment is regarded, with a good deal of reason, as a guarantee of its
truth. 55 (Citations omitted)

The RTC and the CA held that the inculpatory statements of AAA to the barangay tanod and the
police are part of the res gestae occurrence of the rape. This is error. It is obvious that AAA had
by then undergone a serious deliberation, prodded by her mother, whose own outrage as the
betrayed wife and grieving mother so emboldened AAA that she finally resolved to emerge from
her fear of her father. Here then lies the crux of the matter: AAA had clearly ceased to act
unthinkingly under the immediate influence of her shocking rape by her father, and was now led
by another powerful compulsion, a new-found resolve to punish her father. aIAcCH

Hearsay evidence is accorded no probative value for the reason that the original declarant
was not placed under oath or affirmation, nor subjected to cross-examination by the defense,
except in a few instances as where the statement is considered part of the res gestae.

This Court has a situation where the incriminatory statements allegedly made by AAA were
conveyed to the trial court not by AAA herself but by PO3 Cobardo, BSF Estudillo and BSF Perlas.
In particular, PO3 Cobardo made a summation of what she claims was AAA's narration of her
ordeal, along with her own observations of her demeanor during the investigation. But unless
the prosecution succeeded in invoking res gestae, their testimonies must be dismissed as
hearsay, since AAA's statements were not subjected to cross-examination consistent with the
constitutional right of the accused-appellant to confront the evidence against him.

When inculpatory facts are susceptible of two or more interpretations, one of which is
consistent with the innocence of the accused, the evidence does not fulfill or hurdle the test
of moral certainty required for conviction.

It is well-settled, to the point of being elementary, that when inculpatory facts are susceptible to
two or more interpretations, one of which is consistent with the innocence of the accused, the
evidence does not fulfill or hurdle the test of moral certainty required for conviction . 61 A
forced application of the res gestae exception below results if the Court says that AAA's
incriminatory statements were spontaneous and thus part of a startling occurrence. It produces
an outright denial of the right of the accused-appellant to be presumed innocent unless proven
guilty, not to mention that he was also denied his right to confront the complainant.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

PESTILOS V. GENEROSO,
G.R. NO. 182601, NOVEMBER 10, 2014

Facts:

on February 20, 2005, at around 3:15am, an altercation ensued between the petitioners and
Atty. Moreno Generoso(Atty. Generoso) at , Barangay Holy Spirit, Quezon City where the
petitioners and Atty. Generoso reside.

Atty. Generoso called the Central Police District, Station 6 (Batasan Hills Police Station) to
report the incident. 4 Acting on this report, Desk Officer SPO1 Primitivo Monsalve (SPO1
Monsalve) dispatched SPO2 Dominador Javier (SPO2 Javier) to go to the scene of the crime and
to render assistance. 5 SPO2 Javier, together with augmentation personnel from the Airforce,
A2C Alano Sayson and Airman Ruel Galvez, arrived at the scene of the crime less than one hour
after the alleged altercation6 and they saw Atty. Generoso badly beaten. 7

Atty. Generoso then pointed to the petitioners as those who mauled him. This prompted the
police officers to "invite" the petitioners to go to Batasan Hills Police Station for investigation. 8

The petitioners went with the police officers to Batasan Hills Police Station. 9 At the inquest
proceeding, the City Prosecutor of Quezon City found that the petitioners stabbed Atty.
Generoso with a bladed weapon. Atty. Generoso fortunately survived the attack.

In an Information, the petitioners were indicted for attempted murder allegedly

later, the petitioners moved for Regular Preliminary Investigation 12 on the ground that they
had not been lawfully arrested. They alleged that no valid warrantless arrest took place since
the police officers had no personal knowledge that they were the perpetrators of the crime.
They also claimed that they were just "invited" to the police station. Thus, the inquest
proceeding was improper, and a regular procedure for preliminary investigation should have
been performed pursuant to Rule 112 of the Rules of Court. 13

subsequently, the RTC issued its order denying the petitioners' Urgent Motion for Regular
Preliminary Investigation. The court likewise denied the petitioners' MR.

The petitioners challenged the lower court's ruling before the CA via R65. They attributed
GAD, amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, on the RTC for the denial of their motion for
preliminary investigation. 16

the CA, however, issued its decision dismissing the petition for lack of merit(affirming the RTC
decision). 17 The CA ruled that the word "invited" in the Affidavit of Arrest executed by SPO2
Javier carried the meaning of a command. The arresting officer clearly meant to arrest the
petitioners to answer for the mauling of Atty. Generoso. The CA also recognized that the arrest
was pursuant to a valid warrantless arrest so that an inquest proceeding was called for as a
consequence.

Petitioners filed an MR on the CA decision but the latter still denied the same 18 hence, the
present petition.
The Issues
I.
WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITIONERS WERE VALIDLY ARRESTED WITHOUT A
WARRANT.
II.
WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITIONERS WERE LAWFULLY ARRESTED WHEN
THEY WERE MERELY INVITED TO THE POLICE PRECINCT.
III.
WHETHER OR NOT THE ORDER DENYING THE MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY
INVESTIGATION IS VOID FOR FAILURE TO STATE THE FACTS AND THE LAW
UPON WHICH IT WAS BASED. SaHIEA

HELD:
PETITION IS WITHOUT MERIT.

The criminal proceedings against the petitioners should now proceed.


Anent the first issue:

. Presently, the requirements of a warrantless arrest are now summarized in Rule 113, Section 5
which states that:
Section 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. — A peace officer or a
private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is
actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
(b) When an offense has just been committed, and he has probable
cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or
circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it;
and
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from
a penal establishment or place where he is serving final
judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or
has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to
another.
In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) above, the person arrested
without a warrant shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or
jail and shall be proceeded against in accordance with section 7 of Rule 112.
A warrantless arrest under the circumstances contemplated under Section 5 (a) above has been
denominated as one "in flagrante delicto," while that under Section 5 (b) has been described as
a "hot pursuit" arrest. 44
For purposes of this case, we shall focus on Section 5 (b) — the provision applicable in the
present case. This provision has undergone changes through the years not just in its
phraseology but also in its interpretation in our jurisprudence.

Section 5(b) has underwent a lot of changes. (1940 rules, 1964, 1985, and now the present
rules)

D. The Present Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure


Section 5 (b), Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure was further amended with the
incorporation of the word "probable cause" as the basis of the arresting officer's determination
on whether the person to be arrested has committed the crime.
Hence, as presently worded, Section 5 (b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
provides that:
When an offense has just been committed, and he has probable cause to
believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the
person to be arrested has committed it.
From the current phraseology of the rules on warrantless arrest, it appears that for purposes of
Section 5 (b), the following are the notable changes: first, the contemplated offense was
qualified by the word "just," connoting immediacy; and second, the warrantless arrest of a
person sought to be arrested should be based on probable cause to be determined by the
arresting officer based on his personal knowledge of facts and circumstances that the person
to be arrested has committed it.
It is clear that the present rules have "objectified" the previously subjective determination of
the arresting officer as to the (1) commission of the crime; and (2) whether the person sought
to be arrested committed the crime. According to Feria, these changes were adopted to
minimize arrests based on mere suspicion or hearsay. 51
As presently worded, the elements under Section 5 (b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure are:
first, an offense has just been committed; and
second, the arresting officer has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of
facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it.

i) First Element of Section 5 (b), Rule 113 of the Revised


Rules of Criminal Procedure: Probable cause
The existence of "probable cause" is now the "objectifier" or the determinant on how the
arresting officer shall proceed on the facts and circumstances, within his personal knowledge,
for purposes of determining whether the person to be arrested has committed the crime.

PROBABLE CAUSE IN OUR JURISDICTION:


In our jurisdiction, the Court has likewise defined probable cause in the context of Section 5 (b),
Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.
In Abelita III v. Doria, et al., 59 the Court held that personal knowledge of facts must be based
on probable cause, which means an actual belief or reasonable grounds of suspicion. The
grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in the absence of actual belief of the arresting
officers, the suspicion that the person to be arrested is probably guilty of committing the
offense is based on actual facts, i.e., supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in
themselves to create the probable cause of guilt of the person to be arrested. A reasonable
suspicion, therefore, must be founded on probable cause, coupled with good faith on the part
of the peace officers making the arrest.

i.b) Probable cause under Section 5 (b), Rule 113 of the


Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, distinguished
from probable cause in preliminary investigations
and the judicial proceeding for the issuance of a
warrant of arrest
prosecutor’s finding of probable cause in preliminary investigation:

The purpose of a preliminary investigation is to determine whether a crime has been


committed and whether there is probable cause to believe that the accused is guilty of the
crime and should be held for trial. 60
Probable cause is the existence of facts and circumstances as would excite the belief in
a reasonable mind, acting on the facts within the knowledge of the prosecutor, that the
person charged was guilty of the crime for which he was prosecuted.
In this particular proceeding, the finding of the existence of probable cause as to the guilt of the
respondent was based on the submitted documents of the complainant, the respondent and
his witnesses. 62
Judge’s findings of probable cause for issuance of arrest warrant
On the other hand, probable cause in judicial proceedings for the issuance of a warrant of
arrest is defined as the existence of such facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonably
discreet and prudent person to believe that an offense has been committed by the person
sought to be arrested.
Hence, before issuing a warrant of arrest, the judge must be satisfied that based on the
evidence submitted, there is sufficient proof that a crime has been committed and that the
person to be arrested is probably guilty thereof. At this stage of the criminal proceeding, the
judge is not yet tasked to review in detail the evidence submitted during the preliminary
investigation. It is sufficient that he personally evaluates the evidence in determining probable
cause 63 to issue a warrant of arrest. EHTCAa

Arresting officer’s determination of probable cause:


In contrast, the arresting officer's determination of probable cause under Section 5 (b), Rule
113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure is based on his personal knowledge of facts or
circumstances that the person sought to be arrested has committed the crime. These facts or
circumstances pertain to actual facts or raw evidence, i.e., supported by circumstances
sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable cause of guilt of the person to be
arrested. A reasonable suspicion therefore must be founded on probable cause, coupled with
good faith on the part of the peace officers making the arrest.

 Thus, under the present rules and jurisprudence, the arresting officer should base his
determination of probable cause on his personal knowledge of facts and circumstances that the
person sought to be arrested has committed the crime; the public prosecutor and the judge
must base their determination on the evidence submitted by the parties.

In other words, the arresting officer operates on the basis of more limited facts, evidence or
available information that he must personally gather within a limited time frame.

Hence, in Santos, 66 the Court acknowledged the inherent limitations of determining


probable cause in warrantless arrests due to the urgency of its determination in these
instances. The Court held that one should not expect too much of an ordinary policeman. He is
not presumed to exercise the subtle reasoning of a judicial officer. Oftentimes, he has no
opportunity to make proper investigation but must act in haste on his own belief to prevent
the escape of the criminal. 67

ii) Second and Third Elements of Section 5 (b), Rule 113:


The crime has just been committed/personal
knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person
to be arrested has committed it

 Based on these discussions, it appears that the Court's appreciation of the elements
that "the offense has just been committed" and "personal knowledge of facts and circumstances
that the person to be arrested committed it" depended on the particular circumstances of the
case.

the determination of probable cause and the gathering of facts or circumstances should be
made immediately after the commission of the crime in order to comply with the element
of immediacy.
In other words, the clincher in the element of "personal knowledge of facts or circumstances" is
the required element of immediacy within which these facts or circumstances should be
gathered. This required time element acts as a safeguard to ensure that the police officers have
gathered the facts or perceived the circumstances within a very limited time frame. This
guarantees that the police officers would have no time to base their probable cause finding on
facts or circumstances obtained after an exhaustive investigation.

Under Section 5 (b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure and our jurisprudence
on the matter, we hold that the following must be present for a valid warrantless arrest: 1) the
crime should have been just committed; and 2) the arresting officer's exercise of discretion is
limited by the standard of probable cause to be determined from the facts and circumstances
within his personal knowledge. The requirement of the existence of probable
cause objectifies the reasonableness of the warrantless arrest for purposes of compliance with
the Constitutional mandate against unreasonable arrests.
Hence, for purposes of resolving the issue on the validity of the warrantless arrest of the
present petitioners, the question to be resolved is whether the requirements for a valid
warrantless arrest under Section 5 (b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure were
complied with, namely: 1) has the crime just been committed when they were arrested? 2) did
the arresting officer have personal knowledge of facts and circumstances that the petitioners
committed the crime? and 3) based on these facts and circumstances that the arresting officer
possessed at the time of the petitioners' arrest, would a reasonably discreet and prudent
person believe that the attempted murder of Atty. Generoso was committed by the
petitioners?

We rule in the affirmative.


III. Application of Section 5 (b), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules
of Criminal Procedure in the present case: there was a
valid warrantless arrest

To summarize, the arresting officers went to the scene of the crime upon the complaint of
Atty. Generoso of his alleged mauling; the police officers responded to the scene of the
crime less than one (1) hour after the alleged mauling; the alleged crime transpired in a
community where Atty. Generoso and the petitioners reside; Atty. Generoso positively identified
the petitioners as those responsible for his mauling and, notably, the petitioners 85 and Atty.
Generoso 86 lived almost in the same neighborhood; more importantly, when the petitioners
were confronted by the arresting officers, they did not deny their participation in the incident
with Atty. Generoso, although they narrated a different version of what transpired. 87
With these facts and circumstances that the police officers gathered and which they have
personally observed less than one hour from the time that they have arrived at the scene of the
crime until the time of the arrest of the petitioners, we deem it reasonable to conclude that the
police officers had personal knowledge of facts or circumstances justifying the petitioners'
warrantless arrests. These circumstances were well within the police officers' observation,
perception and evaluation at the time of the arrest. These circumstances qualify as the police
officers' personal observation, which are within their personal knowledge, prompting them to
make the warrantless arrests.

IV. The term "invited" in the Affidavit of Arrest is construed to mean as an authoritative
command
After the resolution of the validity of the warrantless arrest, the discussion of the petitioners'
second issue is largely academic. Arrest is defined as the taking of a person into custody in order
that he may be bound to answer for the commission of an offense. An arrest is made by an
actual restraint of the person to be arrested, or by his submission to the custody of the person
making the arrest. 91 Thus, application of actual force, manual touching of the body, physical
restraint or a formal declaration of arrest is not required. It is enough that there be an intention
on the part of one of the parties to arrest the other and the intent of the other to submit, under
the belief and impression that submission is necessary. 92 aEAIDH
Notwithstanding the term "invited" in the Affidavit of Arrest, 93 SPO2 Javier could not but have
the intention of arresting the petitioners following Atty. Generoso's account. SPO2 Javier did not
need to apply violent physical restraint when a simple directive to the petitioners to follow him
to the police station would produce a similar effect. In other words, the application of actual
force would only be an alternative if the petitioners had exhibited resistance.
To be sure, after a crime had just been committed and the attending policemen have acquired
personal knowledge of the incidents of the crime, including the alleged perpetrators, the arrest
of the petitioners as the perpetrators pointed to by the victim, was not a mere random act but
was in connection with a particular offense. Furthermore, SPO2 Javier had informed the
petitioners, at the time of their arrest, of the charges against them before taking them to
Batasan Hills Police Station for investigation.

PETITION DENIED.

PEOPLE V. FELICIANO,
G.R. NO. 196735, MAY 05, 2014

Facts:

It is undisputed that on December 8, 1994, at around 12:30 to 1:00 in the afternoon, seven (7)
members of the Sigma Rho fraternity were eating lunch at the Beach House Canteen, near the
Main Library of the University of the Philippines, Diliman, when they were attacked by several
masked men carrying baseball bats and lead pipes. Some of them sustained injuries that
required hospitalization. One of them, Dennis Venturina, died from his injuries.

An information for murder, docketed as Criminal Case No. Q95-6113 3, was filed against several
members of the Scintilla Juris fraternity, namely, Danilo Feliciano, Jr., Julius Victor L. Medalla,
Warren L. Zingapan, Robert Michael Beltran Alvir, Christopher L. Soliva, Reynaldo G. Ablanida,
Carlo Jolette Fajardo, George Morano, Raymund E. Narag, Gilbert Merle Magpantay, Benedict
Guerrero, and Rodolfo Penalosa, Jr. with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 219.
The information reads:

That on or about the 8th day of December 1994, in Quezon City, Philippines, the above-named
accused, wearing masks and/or other forms of disguise, conspiring, confederating with other
persons whose true names, identities and whereabouts have not as yet been ascertained, and
mutually helping one another, with intent to kill, qualified with treachery, and with evident
premeditation, taking advantage of superior strength, armed with baseball bats, lead pipes, and
cutters, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and employ
personal violence upon the person of DENNIS F. VENTURINA, by then and there hitting him on
the head and clubbing him on different parts of his body thereby inflicting upon him serious and
mortal injuries which were the direct and immediate cause of his death, to the damage and
prejudice of the heirs of said DENNIS F. VENTURINA. (Emphasis supplied)

Separate informations were also filed against them for the attempted murder of Sigma Rho
fraternity members Cesar Mangrobang, Jr., Cristobal Gaston, Jr., and Leandro Lachica, and the
frustrated murder of Sigma Rho fraternity members Mervin Natalicio and Amel Fortes. Only 11
of the accused stood trial since one of the accused, Benedict Guerrero, remained at large.
On February 28, 2002, the trial court rendered its decision with the finding that Robert Michael
Alvir, Danilo Feliciano, Jr., Christopher Soliva, Julius Victor Medalla, and Warren Zingapan were
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder and attempted murder and were sentenced to,
among other penalties, the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The trial court, however, acquitted
Reynaldo Ablanida, Carlo Jolette Fajardo, Gilbert Magpantay, George Morano, and Raymund
Narag. The case against Benedict Guerrero was ordered archived by the court until his
apprehension.

Because one of the penalties meted out was reclusion perpetua, the case was brought to this
court on automatic appeal. However, due to the amendment of the Rules on Appeal,105 the
case was remanded to the Court of Appeals.

On December 26, 2010, the Court of Appeals, in a Special First Division of Five, affirmed the
decision of the Regional Trial Court.

Argument:

It is the argument of appellants that the information filed against them violates their
constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against them. They
argue that the prosecution should not have included the phrase "wearing masks and/or other
forms of disguise" in the information since they were presenting testimonial evidence that not
all the accused were wearing masks or that their masks fell off.

Held:

A complaint or information is sufficient if it states the name of the accused; the designation of
the offense given by the statute; the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the
offense; the name of the offended pary; the approximate date of the commission of the
offense; and the place where the offense was committed.

The test of sufficiency of Information is whether it enables a person of common understanding


to know the charge against him, and the court to render judgment properly. x x x The purpose is
to allow the accused to fully prepare for his defense, precluding surprises during the trial.

Contrary to the arguments of the appellants, the inclusion of the phrase "wearing masks and/or
other forms of disguise" in the information does not violate their constitutional rights.

It should be remembered that every aggravating circumstance being alleged must be stated in
the information. Failure to state an aggravating circumstance, even if duly proven at trial, will
not be appreciated as such. It was, therefore, incumbent on the prosecution to state the
aggravating circumstance of "wearing masks and/or other forms of disguise" in the information
in order for all the evidence, introduced to that effect, to be admissible by the trial court.
In criminal cases, disguise is an aggravating circumstance because, like nighttime, it allows the
accused to remain anonymous and unidentifiable as he carries out his crimes.

The introduction of the prosecution of testimonial evidence that tends to prove that the
accused were masked but the masks fell off does not prevent them from including disguise as
an aggravating circumstance. What is important in alleging disguise as an aggravating
circumstance is that there was a concealment of identity by the accused. The inclusion of
disguise in the information was, therefore, enough to sufficiently apprise the accused that in the
commission of the offense they were being charged with, they tried to conceal their identity.

The introduction of evidence which shows that some of the accused were not wearing masks is
also not violative of their right to be informed of their offenses.

The information charges conspiracy among the accused. Conspiracy presupposes that "the act
of one is the act of all." This would mean all the accused had been one in their plan to conceal
their identity even if there was evidence later on to prove that some of them might not have
done so.

In any case, the accused were being charged with the crime of murder, frustrated murder, and
attempted murder. All that is needed for the information to be sufficient is that the elements of
the crime have been alleged and that there are sufficient details as to the time, place, and
persons involved in the offense.

Argument:

That the accused were not sufficiently identified by the witnesses for the prosecution.

Held:

The trial court correctly held that "considering the swiftness of the incident," there would be
slight inconsistencies in their statements. In People v. Adriano Cabrillas, it was previously
observed that:

It is perfectly natural for different witnesses testifying on the occurrence of a crime to give
varying details as there may be some details which one witness may notice while the other may
not observe or remember. In fact, jurisprudence even warns against a perfect dovetailing of
narration by different witnesses as it could mean that their testimonies were prefabricated and
rehearsed.

It would be in line with human experience that a victim or an eyewitness of a crime would
endeavor to find ways to identify the assailant so that in the event that he or she survives, the
criminal could be apprehended. It has also been previously held that:
It is the most natural reaction for victims of criminal violence to strive to see the looks and faces
of their assailants and observe the manner in which the crime was committed. Most often the
face of the assailant and body movements thereof, creates a lasting impression which cannot be
easily erased from their memory.

In the commotion, it was more than likely that the masked assailants could have lost their
masks. It had been testified by the victims that some of the assailants were wearing masks of
either a piece of cloth or a handkerchief and that Alvir, Zingapan, Soliva, and Feliciano had
masks on at first but their masks fell off and hung around their necks.

While the attack was swift and sudden, the victims would have had the presence of mind to
take a look at their assailants if they were identifiable. Their positive identification, in the
absence of evidence to the contrary, must be upheld to be credible.

Argument:

According to the testimony of U.P. Police Officer Salvador, when he arrived at the scene, he
interviewed the bystanders who all told him that they could not recognize the attackers since
they were all masked. This, it is argued, could be evidence that could be given as part of the res
gestae.

Held:

As a general rule, "[a] witness can testify only to the facts he knows of his personal knowledge;
that is, which are derived from his own perception, x x x." All other kinds of testimony are
hearsay and are inadmissible as evidence. The Rules of Court, however, provide several
exceptions to the general rule, and one of which is when the evidence is part of res gestae, thus:

Section 42. Part of res gestae. - Statements made by a person while a starting occurrence is
taking place or immediately prior or subsequent thereto with respect to the circumstances
thereof, may be given in evidence as part of res gestae. So, also, statements accompanying an
equivocal act material to the issue, and giving it a legal significance, may be received as part of
the res gestae.

In People v. Rodrigo Salafranca, this court has previously discussed the admissibility of
testimony taken as part of res gestae, stating that:

A declaration or an utterance is deemed as part of the res gestae and thus admissible in
evidence as an exception to the hearsay rule when the following requisites concur, to wit: (a)
the principal act, the res gestae, is a startling occurrence; (b) the statements are made before
the declarant had time to contrive or devise; and (c) the statements must concern the
occurrence in question and its immediately attending circumstances.
xxxx

The rule on res gestae encompasses the exclamations and statements made by either the
participants, victims, or spectators to a crime immediately before, during, or immediately after
the commission of the crime when the circumstances are such that the statements were made
as a spontaneous reaction or utterance inspired by the excitement of the occasion and there
was no opportunity for the declarant to deliberate and to fabricate a false statement. The test of
admissibility of evidence as a part of the res gestae is, therefore, whether the act, declaration,
or exclamation is so intimately interwoven or connected with the principal fact or event that it
characterizes as to be regarded as a part of the transaction itself, and also whether it clearly
negatives any premeditation or purpose to manufacture testimony.

There is no doubt that a sudden attack on a group peacefully eating lunch on a school campus is
a startling occurrence. Considering that the statements of the bystanders were made
immediately after the startling occurrence, they are, in fact, admissible as evidence given in res
gestae.

In People v. Albarido, however, this court has stated that "in accord to ordinary human
experience:"

x x x persons who witness an event perceive the same from their respective points of reference.
Therefore, almost always, they have different accounts of how it happened. Certainly, we
cannot expect the testimony of witnesses to a crime to be consistent in all aspects because
different persons have different impressions and recollections of the same incident. x x x

The statements made by the bystanders, although admissible, have little persuasive value since
the bystanders could have seen the events transpiring at different vantage points and at
different points in time. Even Frisco Capilo, one of the bystanders at the time of the attack,
testified that the attackers had their masks on at first, but later on, some remained masked and
some were unmasked.

When the bystanders' testimonies are weighed against those of the victims who witnessed the
entirety of the incident from beginning to end at close range, the former become merely
corroborative of the fact that an attack occurred. Their account of the incident, therefore, must
be given considerably less weight than that of the victims.

Argument:

It is argued that the fact that the victims stayed silent about the incident to the U.P. Police or the
Quezon City Police but instead executed affidavits with the National Bureau of Investigation four
(4) days after the incident gives doubt as to the credibility of their testimonies.

U.P. Police Officer Romeo Cabrera testified that on their way to the U.P. Infirmary, he
interviewed the victims who all told him they could not recognize the attackers because they
were all wearing masks. Meanwhile, Dr. Mislang testified to the effect that when she asked
Natalicio who attacked them, Natalicio answered that he did not know because they were
masked.

Held:

Their act of not disclosing the correct information to the U.P. Police or to Dr. Mislang does not
make the police officer or the doctor's testimonies more credible than that of the victims. It
should not be forgotten that the victims actually witnessed the entire incident, while Officer
Salvador, Officer Cabrera, and Dr. Mislang were merely relaying secondhand information.

The fact that they went to the National Bureau of Investigation four (4) days after the incident
also does not affect their credibility since most of them had been hospitalized from their injuries
and needed to recover first.

Since a fraternity moves as one unit, it would be understandable that they decided to wait until
all of them were well enough to go to the National Bureau of Investigation headquarters in
order to give their statements.

CIVIL PROCEDURE

MURPHY VS. DY,


G.R. NO. 187557, NOVEMBER 12, 2014

FACTS:

Murphy is one of the heirs of decedent Alcoran, a co-owner of the subject property. Murphy
averred that a sale and donation of the portions of the subject property were consummated by
her co-heirs without her knowledge; that she was neither informed by her co-heirs of the said
sale nor was given the chance to exercise her pre-emptive right; that the sale and the donation
of the subject property were executed without a deed of partition and her co-owners merely
arrogated into themselves their respective portions without her consent.
Petitioner prayed that she be allowed to exercise her right of redemption over the portions of
the subject property conveyed to third persons and that the subject property be partitioned and
raffled among the heirs.
The complaint was dismissed motu proprio for lack of jurisdiction. The RTC ruled that petitioner
failed to allege the value of the subject property and to attach the tax declaration evidencing
the assessed value of the lot.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the petitioner’s action fall within the jurisdiction of the RTC.
RULING:

The petition is without merit.

Jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case is conferred by law and is determined by the
material averments in the complaint and the character of the relief sought. If it is primarily for
the recovery of a sum of money, the claim is considered capable of pecuniary estimation, and
whether jurisdiction is in the municipal courts or in the courts of first instance would depend on
the amount of the claim. However, where the basic issue is something other than the right to
recover a sum of money, where the money claim is purely incidental to, or a consequence of,
the principal relief sought, this Court has considered such actions as cases where the subject of
the litigation may not be estimated in terms of money and are cognizable exclusively by the
Regional Trial Courts.
In the present case, the main purpose of the petitioner in filing the complaint was to redeem
the subject property which was conveyed by her co-heirs without her knowledge. Her cause of
action was based on her right as a co-owner of the subject property based on Article 1623 of
the Civil Code.
Without a quibble, petitioner’s complaint was one which was not beyond pecuniary estimation.
An exercise of the right of redemption of a co-owner involves a title to real property or any
interest therein. Accordingly, the complaint should have alleged the assessed value of the real
property subject of the complaint or the interest thereon to determine which court had
jurisdiction over the action.

HEIRS OF BASBAS V. BASBAS,


G.R. NO. 188773, SEPTEMBER 10, 2014

Facts:

Severo Basbas was married to Ana Rivera. Severo . . . died on July 14, 1911. They had a child
named Valentin (Basbas). During Severo's lifetime, he acquired a parcel of land in Santa Rosa,
Laguna otherwise known as Lot No. 39 of the Santa Rosa Detached Estate. Lot No. 39 is adjacent
to Lot No. 40 of the Santa Rosa Detached Estate which lot was acquired, by purchase, by
Valentin Basbas.

Sometime in 1995, [herein petitioners Heirs of Valentin Basbas] discovered that [respondents]
Crispiniano and Ricardo Basbas were able to secure for themselves Transfer Certificate of Title
No. T-294295 over Lot No. 39 of the Santa Rosa Detached Estate. Sometime in 1987,
[respondents], through Crispiniano Basbas, filed a Petition for Reconstitution of Title before the
Regional Trial Court, Biñan, Laguna, docketed as LRC Case No. B-758, covering Lot No. 39 of the
Santa Rosa Detached Estate.

Subsequently thereafter, or on June 1, 1989, an Order was issued by the RTC granting the
aforesaid petition. On the basis of said Order, the title covering Lot No. 39 was ordered
reconstituted in the name of the heirs of Severo Basbas and Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT-
1684 (N.A.) was issued. On November 13, 1993, [therein] defendants Crispiniano Basbas y
Talampas and [respondent] Ricardo Basbas y Talampas executed an Extra-Judicial Settlement of
Estate of deceased Severo Basbas . . . stating among others that the only heirs of Severo Basbas
are Felomino Basbas and Melencio Casubha. On the basis of said Extra-Judicial Settlement . . .,
the Registry of Deeds of Calamba, Laguna cancelled Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT-1684 and
in lieu thereof Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-294295 was issued in the names of [therein]
defendants Crispiniano Basbas and [respondent] Ricardo Basbas

Issue:
WON there is a need to settle the issue on heirship in a special proceeding.

Ruling:
NO.

The Court finds no need for a separate proceeding for a declaration of the heirs of Severo in
order to resolve petitioners' Action for Annulment of Title and Reconveyance of the subject
property.

In ruling in favor of petitioners, Heirs of Valentin, the trial courts found that petitioners fully
established their filiation with the decedent Severo, the original titleholder of Lot No. 39 and
from whom all parties trace their claim of ownership over the subject property. Oppositely, the
trial courts found wanting, lacking documentary evidence, the different claims of heirship of
Crispiniano and herein respondent Ricardo, through Severo's purported other son or nephew,
Nicolas. The MTC, affirmed in toto by the RTC, declared, thus:
[Petitioners] have fully established their true filiation with the late Severo Basbas from
whom the subject property came from. Through their own evidence,
testimonial and documentary, it was established that Severo Basbas was
married to Ana Rivera. They had one (1) child named Valentin Basbas . . . .
Valentin Basbas had no other brother nor sister. He (Valentin) was
married to Irene Beato. Valentin bore four (4) children, namely: (1) Pedro
Basbas; (2) Lucas Basbas; (3) Feliz Basbas, Sr.; and (4) Remigia
Basbas. . . . .
xxx xxx xxx
As shown, [petitioners] are now the great grandchildren of the late Severo Basbas
who died in Santa Rosa, Laguna on July 5, 1911.
The defendants [including herein respondent Ricardo] on the other hand claim that they are
also the legal heirs of the late Severo Basbas. Such a claim, however, was not supported by any
document.

As correctly pointed out by [petitioners] that assuming, for the sake of argument, that Nicolas
Basbas, predecessor of these defendants [including herein respondent Ricardo], was the son of
Severo Basbas, then Nicolas Basbas must have been an illegitimate child of Severo Basbas, in
which case his filiation should be first established before he can claim to be an heir. But this
cannot be done anymore, simply because an action for recognition should have been made or
brought during the lifetime of the presumed parents.

[T]he defendants [including herein respondent Ricardo] are not the legal heirs of the
late Severo Basbas. They (defendants) [including herein respondent
Ricardo] claimed that they derived their title and ownership over Lot No.
39 in representation of Felomino Basbas, an alleged son of the late Severo
Basbas; that Severo Basbas gave Lot No. 39 to Nicolas Basbas; and that
Lot No. 40 was also given by Severo Basbas to Valentin Basbas. Such a
claim has no basis at all. The [petitioners] evidence, specifically the Friar
Lands Certificate . . . and the Certification from the DENR . . . show that
Valentin Basbas acquired Lot No. 40 of the Santa Rosa Detached Estate by
purchase from the government way back on April 1, 1913, contrary to the
allegations of the defendants [including herein respondent Ricardo] that
the same was given by Severo Basbas to Valentin Basbas as the latter's
share in the inheritance. 10
Crispiniano and respondent Ricardo miserably fail to establish the status of their ascendant and
purported predecessor-in-interest, Nicolas. In fact, the testimony of respondent Ricardo tells
about the status of Valentin, not about Nicolas' status, as a compulsory heir of Severo.

In all, Valentin's long-possessed status as a legitimate child and thus, heir of Severo, need no
longer be the subject of a special proceeding for declaration of heirship as envisioned by the
Court of Appeals. There is no need to re-declare his status as an heir of Severo.

And, contraposed to the fact that Valentin's status as a legitimate child of Severo is already
established, Nicolas' status as a purported heir of Severo can no longer be established, Nicolas'
right thereto expiring upon his death.

Glaringly, there is no pretension from respondent's end that Nicolas was born of a valid
marriage, only that he is Severo's son. Nonetheless, even if respondents were minded to
establish the status of Nicolas, whether he is a legitimate or an illegitimate child of Severo,
such can no longer be done.

Thus, we find no need for a separate proceeding for a declaration of the heirs of Severo in order
to resolve petitioners' Action for Annulment of Title and Reconveyance of the subject property.

HEIRS OF SOTTO V. PALICTE,


G.R. NO. 159691, FEBRUARY 17, 2014

FACTS:

This case determines whether or not the petitioners' counsel, Atty. Makilito B. Mahinay,
committed forum shopping.

The present case originated when the fifth suit reached the Supreme Court dividing the several
heirs of the late Don Filemon Y. Sotto (Filemon) respecting four real properties that had
belonged to Filemon’s estate (Estate of Sotto).

Filemon had four children, namely: Marcelo Sotto (Marcelo), Pascuala Sotto-Pahang (Pascuala),
Miguel Barcelona (Miguel), and Matilde. Marcelo was the administrator of the Estate of Sotto.
Marcelo and Miguel were the predecessors-in-interest of petitioners.

The first case (Matilde S. Palicte v. Hon. Jose O. Ramolete, et al., No. L-55076, September 21,
1987, 154 SCRA 132) held that herein respondent Matilde S. Palicte (Matilde), one of four
declared heirs of Filemon, had validly redeemed the four properties pursuant to the assailed
deed of redemption, and was entitled to have the title over the four properties transferred to
her name, subject to the right of the three other declared heirs to join her in the redemption of
the four properties within a period of six months.

The second was the civil case filed by Pascuala against Matilde (Civil Case No. CEB-19338) to
annul the former’s waiver of rights, and to restore her as a co-redemptioner of Matilde with
respect to the four properties (G.R. No. 131722, February 4, 1998).

The third was an incident in Civil Case No. R-10027 (that is, the suit brought by the heirs of
Carmen Rallos against the Estate of Sotto) wherein the heirs of Miguel belatedly filed in
November 1998 a motion for reconsideration praying that the order issued on October 5, 1989
be set aside, and that they be still included as Matilde’s co-redemptioners. Heirs of Miguel came
to the Court on certiorari (G.R. No. 154585), but the Court dismissed their petition for being
filed out of time and for lack of merit on September 23, 2002.

The fourth was The Estate of Don Filemon Y. Sotto, represented by its duly designated
Administrator, Sixto Sotto Pahang, Jr. v. Matilde S. Palicte, et al. (G.R. No. 158642, September 22,
2008, 566 SCRA 142), whereby the Court expressly affirmed the ruling rendered by the probate
court in Cebu City in Special Proceedings No. 2706-R entitled Intestate Estate of the Deceased
Don Filemon Sotto denying the administrator’s motion to require Matilde to turn over the four
real properties to the Estate of Sotto.

The fifth is this case. It seems that the disposition by the Court of the previous cases did not yet
satisfy herein petitioners despite their being the successors-in-interest of two of the declared
heirs of Filemon who had been parties in the previous cases either directly or in privity. They
now pray that the Court undo the decision promulgated on November 29, 2002, whereby the
Court of Appeals (CA) declared their action for the partition of the four properties as already
barred by the judgments previously rendered, and the resolution promulgated on August 5,
2003 denying their motion for reconsideration.

In the fifth case, the Court ruled: “what we have seen here is a clear demonstration of
unmitigated forum shopping on the part of petitioners and their counsel.” It demanded from
petitioners’ counsel, Atty. Makilito B. Mahinay, an explanation of his role in this pernicious
attempt to relitigate the already settled issue regarding Matilde’s exclusive right in the four
properties.

On July 22, 2013, Atty. Mahinay submitted a so-called Compliance (With Humble Motion for
Reconsideration) containing his explanations, praying that he not be sanctioned for violating the
rule against forum shopping.

Issue:

Whether or not Atty. Mahinay committed forum-shopping.

Ruling:

The Court considers Atty. Mahinay’s explanations unsatisfactory.

Atty. Mahinay claims that he could not be deemed guilty of forum shopping because the
previous cases did not involve the issues raised in Civil Case No. CEB-24293; hence, res judicata
would not apply. He maintains that Civil Case No. CEB-24293 was based on the agreement
between Palicte and Marcelo Sotto (as the then Administrator of the Estate) to the effect that
Palicte would redeem the properties under her name using the funds of the Estate, and she
would thereafter share the same properties equally with the Estate.
To establish the agreement between Palicte and Marcelo Sotto, Atty. Mahinay cites Palicte’s
filing of a motion to dismiss in Civil Case No. CEB-24293 on the ground, among others, of the
complaint failing to state a cause of action whereby Palicte hypothetically admitted the
complaint’s averment of the agreement.

Atty. Mahinay’s reliance on Palicte’s hypothetical admission of her agreement with Marcelo
Sotto to buttress his explanation here is unjustified. The filing of the motion to dismiss assailing
the sufficiency of the complaint does not hypothetically admit allegations of which the court will
take judicial notice of to be not true, nor does the rule of hypothetical admission apply to legally
impossible facts, or to facts inadmissible in evidence, or to facts that appear to be unfounded by
record or document included in the pleadings.7

For the ground to be effective, the insufficiency of the complaint must appear on the face of the
complaint, and nowhere else. To stress, the admission of the veracity of the facts alleged in the
complaint, being only hypothetical, does not extend beyond the resolution of the motion to
dismiss, because a defending party may effectively traverse the factual averments of the
complaint or other initiatory pleading only through the authorized responsive pleadings like the
answer. Given the foregoing, the complaint was properly dismissed because of res judicata.
There is no question that the ultimate objective of each of the actions was the return of the
properties to the Estate in order that such properties would be partitioned among the heirs. In
the other cases, the petitioners failed to attain the objective because Palicte’s right in the
properties had been declared exclusive.

Secondly, Atty. Mahinay asserts good faith in the filing Civil Case No. CEB-24293.1He points out
that an associate lawyer in his law office prepared and filed the complaint without his law firm
being yet familiar with the incidents in the intestate proceedings involving the Estate, or with
those of the previous three cases mentioned in the decision of June 13, 2013.

A lawyer shall not handle any legal matter without adequate preparation. 13 He is expected to
make a thorough study and an independent assessment of the case he is about to commence.
As such, his claim of good faith was utterly baseless and unfounded.

Even assuming that Atty. Mahinay did not himself prepare the complaint, it remains that he
subsequently personally handled the case. In so doing, he had sufficient time to still become
fully acquainted with the previous cases and their incidents, and thereby learn in the due course
of his professional service to the petitioners that the complaint in Civil Case No. CEB-24293 was
nothing but a replication of the other cases.

Thirdly, Atty. Mahinay states that his filing of the Motion To Refer Or Consolidate The Instant
Case With The Proceedings In The Intestate Estate Of Filemon Sotto Before RTC Branch XVI In SP
Proc. No. 2706-R15 disproved deliberate forum shopping on his part.

The Court disagrees. The dismissal of the complaint in Civil Case No. CEB-24293 on November
15, 199916prompted Atty. Mahinay to file a motion for reconsideration on December 3,
1999.17 But he did not await the resolution of the motion for reconsideration, and instead filed
the Motion To Refer Or Consolidate The Instant Case With The Proceedings In The Intestate
Estate Of Filemon Sotto Before RTC Branch XVI In SP Proc. No. 2706-R on May 9, 2000 obviously
to pre-empt the trial court’s denial of the motion. 18 His actuations did not manifest good faith
on his part. Instead, they indicated an obsession to transfer the case to another court to enable
his clients to have another chance to obtain a favorable resolution, and still constituted
deliberate forum shopping.

And, lastly, Atty. Mahinay argues that his disclosure of the pendency of Civil Case No. CEB-24293
proved that forum shopping was not in his mind at all.

The insistence cannot command belief. The disclosure alone of the pendency of a similar case
does not negate actual forum shopping. Had Atty. Mahinay been sincere, the least he could
have done was to cause the dismissal of the action that replicated those already ruled against
his clients. The records show otherwise.

The acts of a party or his counsel clearly constituting willful and deliberate forum shopping shall
be ground for the summary dismissal of the case with prejudice, and shall constitute direct
contempt, as well as be a cause for administrative sanctions against the lawyer. 20

Forum shopping can be committed in either of three ways, namely: (1) filing multiple cases
based on the same cause of action and with the same prayer, the previous case not having been
resolved yet (litis pendentia); (2) filing multiple cases based on the same cause of action and the
same prayer, the previous case having been finally resolved (res judicata); or (3) filing multiple
cases based on the same cause of action but with different prayers (splitting of causes of action,
where the ground for dismissal is also either litis pendentia or res judicata). If the forum
shopping is not willful and deliberate, the subsequent cases shall be dismissed without
prejudice on one of the two grounds mentioned above. But if the forum shopping is willful and
deliberate, both (or all, if there are more than two) actions shall be dismissed with prejudice. 21

In view of the foregoing, Atty. Mahinay was guilty of forum shopping. Willful and
deliberate forum shopping by any party and his counsel through the filing of multiple
petitions or complaints to ensure favorable action shall constitute direct contempt of
court.

TZE SUN WONG V. KENNY WONG,


G.R. NO. 180364, DECEMBER 03, 2014

Facts:

Petitioner is a Chinese citizen who immigrated to the Philippines in 1975 and


subsequently acquired a permanent resident status in 1982. As the records would show, he
studied, married, and continued to reside in the country, and even owned a company called
Happy Sun Travel and Tours.

On September 12, 2000, respondent Kenny Wong (respondent), owner and proprietor of
San Andres Construction Supply, filed a Complaint-Affidavit 5 against petitioner before the
Bureau of Immigration (BOI), alleging that the latter had misrepresented, in his driver’s license
application, that he was a Filipino citizen. Thus, taking cue from the foregoing acts, respondent
prayed that petitioner be investigated by the BOI for violation of immigration laws. 6

In his Counter-Affidavit7 dated September 28, 2000, petitioner denied respondent’s


claim of misrepresentation, stating that when he applied for a driver’s license, it was another
person who filled up the application form for him. 8

Finding probable cause, the Special Prosecutor filed with the BOI the applicable deportation
charges9against petitioner, 3

In a Judgment14 dated October 2, 2002, the BOI Board of Commissioners ordered the
deportation of petitioner on the grounds of: (a) illegal use of alias, i.e., Joseph Wong, which was
the name appearing in his driver’s license application; and (b) misrepresenting himself as a
Filipino citizen in the same application, in violation of Section 37 (a) (7) and (9) 15 of
Commonwealth Act No. 613,1

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration 20 which was eventually denied by the BOI in a
Resolution21dated December 4, 2002. As such, petitioner filed an appeal before the Secretary of
Justice.

In a Resolution22 dated March 22, 2004, Acting Secretary of Justice Ma. Merceditas N. Gutierrez
affirmed the ruling of the BOI.24

Petitioner moved for reconsideration 25. Secretary of Justice Raul M. Gonzalez rendered a
Resolution27 dated September 9, 2005, rejecting petitioner’s argument on the basis of Section 8
of the Immigration Act .29

Dissatisfied, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari30 before the CA.

In a Decision31 dated May 15, 2007, the CA denied 32 the certiorari petition. Preliminarily, it found
that petitioner chose the wrong remedy considering that the decisions of the BOI Board of
Commissioners are directly appealable to the CA under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court.. 35

Petitioner sought reconsideration36 but was denied in a Resolution37 dated October 23, 2007,
hence, this petition.
ISSUE:

The sole issue for the Court’s resolution is whether or not the CA correctly denied petitioner’s
petition forcertiorari.

The Court’s Ruling

The petition is without merit.

The Court first discusses the propriety of petitioner’s recourse before the CA.

Section 1, Rule 43 of the Rules of Court clearly states that decisions of any quasi-judicial agency
in the exercise of its quasi-judicial functions (except to judgments or final orders issued under
the Labor Code of the Philippines) shall be appealed to the CA under this rule.

RULE 43

Appeals From the Court of Tax Appeals and Quasi-Judicial Agencies to the Court of
Appeals

Section 1. Scope. — This Rule shall apply to appeals from judgments or final orders of the
Court of Tax Appeals and from awards, judgments, final orders or resolutions of or
authorized by any quasi-judicial agency in the exercise of its quasi-judicial
functions. Among these agencies are the Civil Service Commission, Central Board of
Assessment Appeals, Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of the President, Land
Registration Authority, Social Security Commission, Civil Aeronautics Board, Bureau of
Patents, Trademarks and Technology Transfer, National Electrification Administration,
Energy Regulatory Board, National Telecommunications Commission, Department of
Agrarian Reform under Republic Act No. 6657, Government Service Insurance System,
Employees Compensation Commission, Agricultural Inventions Board, Insurance
Commission, Philippine Atomic Energy Commission, Board of Investments, Construction
Industry Arbitration Commission, and voluntary arbitrators authorized by law. (Emphasis
supplied)

The statutory basis of the CA’s appellate jurisdiction over decisions rendered by quasi-
judicial agencies (except those falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme
Court in accordance with the Constitution, the Labor Code of the Philippines under
Presidential Decree No. 442) in the abovementioned respect is Section 9 (3) of Batas
Pambansa Bilang 129,38 as amended:39

Notably, in Cayao-Lasam v. Spouses Ramolete,40 it was clarified that the enumeration of the
quasi-judicial agencies under Section 1, Rule 43 is not exclusive:
The Rule expressly provides that it should be applied to appeals from
awards, judgments, final orders or resolutions of any quasi-judicial
agency in the exercise of its quasi-judicial functions. The phrase “among
these agencies” confirms that the enumeration made in the Rule is not
exclusive to the agencies therein listed. 41Thus, although unmentioned in
the enumeration, the Court, in the case of Dwikarna v. Hon.
Domingo42(Dwikarna), held that the decisions rendered by the BOI Board
of Commissioners may be appealable to the CA via Rule 43 in the event
that a motion for reconsideration therefrom is denied:

If petitioner is dissatisfied with the decision of the Board of


Commissioners of the Bureau of Immigration, he can move for its
reconsideration. If his motion is denied, then he can elevate his case by
way of a petition for review before the Court of Appeals, pursuant to
Section 1, Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.43 (Emphasis
supplied) It bears elucidation that the availability of a Rule 43 appeal to
the CA from the BOI Board of Commissioners as ruled
in Dwikarna presupposes the presence of any of the exceptions to the
doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies, 44 considering that the
Secretary of Justice may still review the decisions of the aforesaid body.
In Caoile v. Vivo45 (Caoile), it was held:

[S]ince the Commissioners of Immigration are under the Department of


Justice46 and, in this case, they followed the Secretary’s Order setting
aside the individual actions of the former Commissioners, the aggrieved
parties should have exhausted their administrative remedies by appealing
to the Secretary before seeking judicial intervention. 47

Citing Caoile, the Court, in the more recent case of Kiani v. The Bureau of
Immigration and Deportation,48 expounded on the procedure:

Under Section 8, Chapter 3, Title I, Book III of Executive Order No. 292,
the power to deport aliens is vested on the President of the Philippines,
subject to the requirements of due process. The Immigration
Commissioner is vested with authority to deport aliens under Section 37
of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, as amended. 49 Thus, a party
aggrieved by a Deportation Order issued by the [Board of Commissioner
(BOC)] is proscribed from assailing said Order in the RTC even via a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Conformably with [the] ruling of the
Court in [Commissioner] Domingo v. Scheer(see 466 Phil. 235, 264-
284 2004), such party may file a motion for the reconsideration thereof
before the BOC. The Court ruled therein that “there is no law or rule
which provides that a Summary Deportation Order issued by the BOC in
the exercise of its authority becomes final after one year from its
issuance, or that the aggrieved party is barred from filing a motion for a
reconsideration of any order or decision of the BOC.” The Court, likewise,
declared that in deportation proceedings, the Rules of Court may be
applied in a suppletory manner and that the aggrieved party may file a
motion for reconsideration of a decision or final order under Rule 37 of
said Rules.

In case such motion for reconsideration is denied by the BOC, the


aggrieved party may appeal to the Secretary of Justice and, if the latter
denies the appeal, to the Office of the President of the Philippines
[(OP)]. The party may also choose to file a petition for certiorari with
the CA under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, on the ground that the
Secretary of Justice acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to
excess or lack of jurisdiction in dismissing the appeal, the remedy of
appeal not being adequate and speedy remedy. In case the Secretary of
Justice dismisses the appeal, the aggrieved party may resort to filing a
petition for review under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court, as amended.50

Thus, to recap, from the denial of the BOI Board of Commissioners’


motion for reconsideration, the aggrieved party has three (3) options: (a)
he may file an appeal directly to the CA via Rule 43 provided that he
shows that any of the exceptions to the exhaustion doctrine attend; (b)
absent any of the exceptions, he may exhaust the available administrative
remedies within the executive machinery, namely, an appeal to the
Secretary of Justice and then to the OP, and thereafter, appeal the OP’s
decisions via Rule 43;51 or (c) he may directly resort to certiorari before
the CA strictly on jurisdictional grounds, provided that he explains why
any of the aforementioned remedies cannot be taken as “adequate and
speedy.” Anent the last of these options, the Court, in Rigor v. CA,52 had
this to say:

For a writ of certiorari to issue, a petitioner must not only prove that the
tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has
acted without or in excess of jurisdiction. He must also show that he has
no plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law
against what he perceives to be a legitimate grievance. A recourse
affording prompt relief from the injurious effects of the judgment or acts
of a lower court or tribunal is considered “plain, speedy and adequate”
remedy.53
Case law explains that “[a] remedy is plain, speedy and adequate if it will
promptly relieve the petitioner from the injurious effects of the judgment,
order, or resolution of the lower court or agency.” 54 In this relation, it has
been recognized that the extraordinary remedy of certiorari may be
deemed proper “when it is necessary to prevent irreparable damages and
injury to a party, x x x where an appeal would be slow, inadequate, and
insufficient, x x x and x x x in case of urgency.”55

In this case, petitioner instituted an administrative appeal before the Secretary of Justice and
thereafter sought direct recourse to the CA via certiorari, thereby leap-frogging other available
remedies, the first being a subsequent administrative appeal to the OP and, eventually, an
appeal of the OP decision to the CA via Rule 43. While these remedies remained available to
him, the Court deems that they would not afford him speedy and adequate relief in view of the
plain imminence of his deportation, by virtue of the issuance of a warrant of deportation. 56 The
urgency of such circumstance therefore justified his direct resort to certiorari.

JUSTICE LEONARDO – DE CASTRO JURISPRUDENCE ON REMEDIAL LAW

OCA V. CUSTODIO,
G.R. NO. 174996, DECEMBER 03, 2014

FACTS:

Respondent Laurita Custodio was removed by the Board of Trustees of St. Francis School from
being a member of the Board of Trustees and as a member of the Corporation pursuant to
Sections 28 and 91 of the Corporation Code. Subsequently, respondent was issued a
Memorandum signed by petitioner Bro. Bernard Oca, in his capacity as Chairman of the Board
of Trustees, wherein she was informed of her immediate removal as Curriculum Administrator
of St. Francis School on the grounds of willful breach of trust and loss of confidence and for
failure to explain the charges against her despite notice from the Board of Trustees.

In reaction to her removal, respondent filed with the trial court a Complaint with Prayer for the
Issuance of a Preliminary Injunction against petitioners assailing the legality of the membership
of the Board of Trustees of St. Francis School.

Subsequently, the trial court granted private respondent's motion. Accordingly, a status quo
order is hereby issued wherein the plaintiff is hereby allowed to continue discharging her
functions as school director and curriculum administrator as well as those who are presently
and actually discharging functions as school officer to continue performing their duties until the
application for the issuance of a temporary restraining order is resolved.

Petitioners filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 with
application for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary
injunction to nullify the order for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting
to lack or in excess of jurisdiction. Court of Appeals dismissed the petition.

Before the Supreme Court, petitioners point out that the Court of Appeals erroneously gave its
imprimatur to the trial court’s issuance of the assailed Status Quo Order without first requiring
and accepting from respondent the requisite bond that is required under the Interim Rules of
Procedure for Intra-Corporate Controversies.

On the other hand, respondent claims that a valid ground for the issuance of the assailed Status
Quo Order did exist and that the alleged failure of the trial court to require the posting of a
bond prior to the issuance of a status quo order was mooted by the assailed Order which
required respondent and Reynante to file a bond in the amount of P300,000.00 each.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the trial court gravely abused its discretion in disregarding the provisions of the
Interim Rules of Procedure for Intra-corporate controversies pertaining to the issuance of a
Status Quo Order.

RULING:

Yes. The Status Quo Order was issued with grave abuse of discretion.

A status quo order is merely intended to maintain the last, actual, peaceable and uncontested
state of things which preceded the controversy. It further states that, unlike a temporary
restraining order or a preliminary injunction, a status quo order is more in the nature of a cease
and desist order, since it neither directs the doing or undoing of acts as in the case of
prohibitory or mandatory injunctive relief.

Pertinently, the manner of the issuance of a status quo order in an intra-corporate suit such as
the case at bar is governed by Section 1, Rule 10 of the Interim Rules of Procedure for Intra-
Corporate Controversies which reads:

SECTION 1. Provisional remedies. - A party may apply for any of the provisional remedies
provided in the Rules of Court as may be available for the purposes. However, no temporary
restraining order or status quo order shall be issued save in exceptional cases and only after
hearing the parties and the posting of a bond.
In the present case, the trial court’s Status Quo Order conflicted with the rules and
jurisprudence in the following manner:

First, the directive to reinstate respondent to her former position as school director and
curriculum administrator is a command directing the undoing of an act already consummated
which is the exclusive province of prohibitory or mandatory injunctive relief and not of a status
quo order which is limited only to maintaining the last, actual, peaceable and uncontested state
of things which immediately preceded the controversy. It must be remembered that
respondent was already removed as trustee, member of the corporation and curriculum
administrator by the Board of Trustees of St. Francis School of General Trias, Cavite, Inc. months
prior to her filing of the present case in the trial court.

Second, the trial court’s omission of not requiring respondent to file a bond before the issuance
of the Status Quo Order is in contravention with the express instruction of the Interim Rules of
Procedure for Intra-Corporate Controversies. Even the subsequent order to post a bond did not
cure this defect because a careful reading of the nature and purpose of the bond would reveal
that it was meant by the trial court as security solely for the teachers’ retirement fund, the
possession of which was given by the trial court to respondent and Reynante. It was never
intended and can never be considered as the requisite security, in compliance with the express
directive of procedural law, for the assailed Status Quo Order.

Third, it is settled in jurisprudence that an application for a status quo order which in fact seeks
injunctive relief must comply with Section 4, Rule 58 of the Rules of Court: i.e., the application
must be verified aside from the posting of the requisite bond. In the present case, the
Manifestation and Motion, through which respondent applied for injunctive relief or in the
alternative a status quo order, was merely signed by her counsel and was unverified.

In conclusion, we find that the issuance of the Status Quo Order was unwarranted for non-
compliance with the rules. Therefore, the said status quo order must be set aside.

AIR TRANSPORTATION OFFICE V. COURT OF APPEALS,


G.R. NO. 173616, JUNE 25, 2014

Facts:

May 2001, ATO filed a complaint for unlawful detainer against Miaque in MTCC of Iloilo City,
Branch 3. ATO sought the following, among others:

(1) That Miaque be ordered to permanently vacate and peacefully return to the ATO possession
of:
(a) the 800-square meter Refreshment Parlor fronting the New Terminal Building-Iloilo Airport;
(b) the 310-square meter Restaurant/Gift Shop inside the Iloilo Airport Terminal; and
(c) all areas occupied or otherwise utilized by Miaque incident to his operation of the Porterage
Service within the Iloilo Airport; and

(2) That Miaque be ordered to immediately pay the ATO the amount of not less than
P1,296,103.10, representing unpaid space rental and concessionaire privilege fees as of October
15, 2000 plus interest and additional rental and fees which may be proven during the trial.

MTCC ruled that Miaque was unlawfully detaining the premises and ordered him to vacate and
pay the rental and concessionaire privilege fees accrued. RTC affirmed MTCC Decision in its
entirety. Miaque questioned the RTC Decision in the CA by filing a petition for review, docketed
as CA-G.R. SP No. 79439. Incident to CA-G.R. SP No. 79439, CA issued a TRO. After the lapse of
TRO, ATO filed an urgent motion for the execution of RTC Decision. Miaque opposed. RTC
granted ATO’s motion. Thereafter, the RTC issued a Writ of Execution dated August 16, 2004.

However, the CA issued a Resolution ordering the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction
and enjoining the ATO and all persons acting in its behalf from enforcing the respective
Decisions of the MTCC and the RTC while CA-G.R. SP No. 79439 is pending. Thus, after the
dismissal of Miaque's petition for review in CA-G.R. SP No. 79439, the ATO filed another urgent
motion for execution of the RTC Decision. Miaque again opposed the ATO's urgent motion for
execution, while the ATO filed a supplemental urgent motion for execution stating that Miaque's
appeal in the CA had been dismissed.

RTC granted the ATO's urgent motion for execution and issued a Writ of Execution dated June 2
2005. A notice to vacate was given to Miaque. Miaque filed an MR with prayer to set aside the
write of execution and notice to vacate. At the same time he filed a motion in CA-G.R. SP No.
79439 praying that the CA order the RTC judge and the concerned sheriffs to desist from
implementing the writ of execution.

After CA denied the MR of Miaque in the dismissal of CA-G.R. SP No. 79439, the ATO filed with
the RTC a motion for the revival of the writs of execution dated August 16, 2004 and June 2,
2005. Miaque opposed. RTC granted the ATO's motion and revived the writs of execution dated
August 16, 2004 and June 2, 2005. Miaque filed a motion for reconsideration but the RTC
denied it.

On March 28, 2006, Miaque filed a petition for certiorari (with prayer for issuance of TRO
and/or writ of preliminary injunction) in the CA, docketed as CA-G.R. CEB-SP No. 01603. He
prayed, among others, that the implementation of the writs of execution be enjoined. It is here
where the CA issued the Resolutions being challenged in this case, namely, the Resolution dated
March 29, 2006 issuing a TRO effective for 60 days, and Resolution dated May 30, 2006 issuing a
writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the implementation of the writs of execution dated
August 16, 2004 and June 2, 2005.
Issue:

Whether or not the CA committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction in issuing the Resolution dated May 30, 2006 which granted petitioner's application
for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction in CA-G.R. CEB-SP No. 01603.

Ruling:

As culled from Section 21, Rule 70, Section 4, Rule 39 and Section 8 (b), Rule 42 of the Rules of
Court and Section 21 of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure, the following significant
characteristics of the RTC judgment in an ejectment case appealed to it:
(1) The judgment of the RTC against the defendant-appellant is immediately
executory, without prejudice to a further appeal that may be taken
therefrom; and
(2) Such judgment of the RTC is not stayed by an appeal taken therefrom,
unless otherwise ordered by the RTC or, in the appellate court's
discretion, suspended or modified.

The first characteristic — the judgment of the RTC is immediately executory — is emphasized by
the fact that no resolutory condition has been imposed that will prevent or stay the execution of
the RTC's judgment. The amendatory procedure introduced by the present Section 21 of Rule
70, the judgment of the RTC shall be immediately executory and can accordingly be enforced
forthwith. It shall not be stayed by the mere continuing deposit of monthly rentals by the
dispossessor during the pendency of the case in the Court of Appeals or this Court, although
such execution of the judgment shall be without prejudice to that appeal taking its due course.

Teresa T. Gonzales La'O & Co., Inc. v. Sheriff Hatab: Unlike Rule 70 of the 1964 Revised Rules of
Court where the defendant, after perfecting his appeal, could prevent the immediate execution
of the judgment by taking an appeal and making a periodic deposit of monthly rentals during
the pendency of the appeal thereby preventing the plaintiff from taking possession of the
premises in the meantime, the present wording of Section 21, Rule 70 explicitly provides that
the judgment of the regional trial court in ejectment cases appealed to it shall be immediately
executory and can be enforced despite the perfection of an appeal to a higher court.

RTC's duty to issue a writ of execution under Section 21 of Rule 70 is ministerial and may be
compelled by mandamus. Section 21 of Rule 70 presupposes that the defendant in a forcible
entry or unlawful detainer case is unsatisfied with the RTC's judgment and appeals to a higher
court. It authorizes the RTC to immediately issue a writ of execution without prejudice to the
appeal taking its due course. The rationale of immediate execution of judgment in an ejectment
case is to avoid injustice to a lawful possessor. Nevertheless, it should be stressed that the
appellate court may stay the writ of execution should circumstances so require.

The second characteristic — the judgment of the RTC is not stayed by an appeal taken
therefrom — reinforces the first. The judgment of the RTC in an ejectment case is enforceable
upon its rendition and, upon motion, immediately executory notwithstanding an appeal taken
therefrom.

The execution of the RTC's judgment is not discretionary execution under Section 2, Rule 39 of
the Rules of Court. Discretionary execution is authorized while the trial court, which rendered
the judgment sought to be executed, still has jurisdiction over the case as the period to appeal
has not yet lapsed and is in possession of either the original record or the record on appeal, as
the case may be, at the time of the filing of the motion for execution. It is part of the trial
court's residual powers, or those powers which it retains after losing jurisdiction over the case
as a result of the perfection of the appeal. As a rule, the judgment of the RTC, rendered in the
exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, being sought to be executed in a discretionary execution is
stayed by the appeal to the Court of Appeals pursuant to Section 8 (b), Rule 42 of the Rules of
Court. On the other hand, execution of the RTC's judgment under Section 21, Rule 70 is not
discretionary execution but a ministerial duty of the RTC. It is not governed by Section 2, Rule
39 of the Rules of Court but by Section 4, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court on judgments not stayed
by appeal. In this connection, it is not covered by the general rule, that the judgment of the RTC
is stayed by appeal to the CA under Section 8 (b), Rule 42 of the Rules of Court, but constitutes
an exception to the said rule. In connection with the second characteristic of the RTC judgment
in an ejectment case appealed to it, the consequence of the above distinctions between
discretionary execution and the execution of the RTC's judgment in an ejectment case on appeal
to the CA is that the former may be availed of in the RTC only before the CA gives due course
to the appeal while the latter may be availed of in the RTC at any stage of the appeal to the
CA. But then again, in the latter case, the CA may stay the writ of execution issued by the RTC
should circumstances so require.

To reiterate, despite the immediately executory nature of the judgment of the RTC in ejectment
cases, which judgment is not stayed by an appeal taken therefrom, the Court of Appeals may
issue a writ of preliminary injunction that will restrain or enjoin the execution of the RTC's
judgment. In the exercise of such authority, the Court of Appeals should constantly be aware
that the grant of a preliminary injunction in a case rests on the sound discretion of the court
with the caveat that it should be made with great caution.

In this case, the decisions of the MTCC, RTC and of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 79439
unanimously recognized the right of the ATO to possession of the property and the
corresponding obligation of Miaque to immediately vacate the subject premises. This means
that the MTCC, the RTC, and the CA all ruled thatMiaque does not have any right to continue in
possession of the said premises. Unfortunately, CA did not state the source or basis of Miaque's
"clear legal right to hold on to the [said] premises." This is fatal.

In granting or dismissing an application for a writ of preliminary injunction, the court must state
in its order the findings and conclusions based on the evidence and the law. This is to enable
the appellate court to determine whether the trial court committed grave abuse of its discretion
amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in resolving, one way or the other, the plea for
injunctive relief. In the absence of proof of a legal right and the injury sustained by one who
seeks an injunctive writ, an order for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction will be
nullified. Thus, where the right of one who seeks an injunctive writ is doubtful or disputed, a
preliminary injunction is not proper. The possibility of irreparable damage without proof of an
actual existing right is not a ground for a preliminary injunction.

The sole basis of the CA in issuing its Resolution dated May 30, 2006 is its view that the RTC "has
no jurisdiction to order the issuance of [the] writ of execution" because, when it gave due
course to the petition for review in CA-G.R. SP No. 79439, the RTC was already divested of
jurisdiction over the case pursuant to the third paragraph of Section 8 (a), Rule 42 of the Rules
of Court. The Court of Appeals is mistaken. It disregards both (1) the immediately executory
nature of the judgment of the RTC in ejectment cases, and (2) the rule that such judgment of
the RTC is not stayed by an appeal taken therefrom. It ignores the nature of the RTC's function
to issue a writ of execution of its judgment in an ejectment case as ministerial and not
discretionary.

RTC was validly exercising its jurisdiction pursuant to Section 21, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court
when it issued the writs of execution dated August 16, 2004 and June 2, 2005. The said writs of
execution need not even be revived because they continue in effect during the period within
which the judgment may be enforced by motion, that is within five years from entry of
judgment, pursuant to Section 14, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court in relation to Section 6 of the
same Rule.

Thus, the Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion when it issued the Resolution
dated May 30, 2006 in CA-G.R. CEB-SP No. 01603.

DUYON V. COURT OF APPEALS


G.R. NO. 172218, NOVEMBER 26, 2014

FACTS:

Certificate of Land Transfer(CLT) No. 0-005224 over 6,358 square meters parcel of land, Duyon
had been tilling since 1957 was issued to him on August 27, 1979. However, the same parcel of
land was also covered by TCT E.P. No. 44097 under Emancipation patent issued to respondent
Bunag-Cabacungan on June 6, 1989. When Duyon discovered the double registration, he filed a
complaint with the ombudsman for misconduct or abuse of authority (administrative aspect),
and violation of R.A 3019 and Falsification of Public documents (criminal aspect) against Bunag-
Cabacungan, who was an employee of the Municipal Agriculture Office of Nueva Ecija under the
Department of Agriculture, and her husband, Eutiquio Cabacungan (Cabacungan), who then
worked at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for allegedly taking advantage of their
official positions to cause the issuance of the TCT in favor of Bunag-Cabacungan. Ombudsman
found spouses guilty of simple misconduct and recommended the filing of criminal case, and
suspended the spouses for 6 months. Upon motion for reconsideration filed by Cabacungan
spouses, ombudsman dismissed the complaint agaisnt her husband, and reduced the
suspension to 3 months but still affirming the filing of criminal case agaisnt Bunag-Cabacungan.
Cabacungan filed with the CA under Rule 43 for the reversal of the decision but only for the
admistrative aspect, while Duyon filed a Certiorari under Rule 65 assailing the order and motion
to consolidate the case. CA denied the petition of Duyon stating that his remedy was improper
because it should have been Rule 43 which provides for appeal of orders of ombudsman
regarding administrative matter, and not Rule 65. Rule 43 only allows 15 days to appeal to
decision, and since Duyon filed his petition 60 days from receipt of the assailed order, thus the
decision of the Office of the Ombudsman (as to the administrative aspect of the case) was
already final at the time this petition was filed. For the criminal aspect, it has no jurisdiction
over it. However, when CA resolved the Petition of Cabacungan which was limited only to
administrative aspect, it dismissed the complaint of Duyon agaisnt Bunag-Cabacungan for
violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019 stating that no probable cause exists to
warrant the filing of charges against Bunag-Cabacungan.

ISSUE:

Whether or not CA was correct when it reviewed the criminal aspect of the petition.

HELD:

NO. The Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over orders, directives and decisions of the Office of
the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases only. It cannot, therefore, review the
orders, directives or decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in criminal or non-administrative
cases.

In Kuizon v. Hon. Desierto this Court clarified:

The appellate court correctly ruled that its jurisdiction extends only to decisions of the Office of
the Ombudsman in administrative cases. In the Fabian case, we ruled that appeals from
decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases should be taken
to the Court of Appeals under Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.

In light of the foregoing, it is apparent that in the case before us, the Court of Appeals went
beyond its jurisdiction by touching on the criminal aspect of the Decision and Joint Order of the
OMB for Luzon in OMB-L-A-03-0111-A and OMB-L-C-03-0125-A. As such, the Court of Appeals'
ruling on the criminal aspect of the aforementioned cases is void.

CHING V. SUBIC BAY GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB, INC.,


G.R. NO. 174353, SEPTEMBER 10, 2014

FACTS:
On February 26, 2003, petitioners Nestor Ching and Andrew Wellington filed a Complaint with
the RTC of Olongapo City on behalf of the members of Subic Bay Golf and Country Club, Inc.
(SBGCCI) against the said country club and its Board of Directors and officers. Petitioners allege
that they were sold shares at $22,000 per share, and at that time the AOI stated that although
shareholders were not entitled to dividends, but entitled them pro rata share of the assets of
the Club upon dissolution and liquidation. Subsequently however, the AOI was amended to
state that the shareholders shall not have proprietary rights or interests over the properties of
the club. The petitioners interpreted this as fraud of the stockholders. They filed for Injunction,
prayed for TRO and damages. The RTC dismissed the complaint, holding it to be a derivative
suit, but failed to comply with the condition precedents to file such suit. The CA affirmed.

ISSUE:
Whether the case was indeed a derivative suit.

RULING:

At the outset, it should be noted that the Complaint in question appears to have been filed only
by the two petitioners, namely Nestor Ching and Andrew Wellington, who each own one stock
in the respondent corporation SBGCCI. While the caption of the Complaint also names the
“Subic Bay Golfers and Shareholders Inc. for and in behalf of all its members,” petitioners did
not attach any authorization from said alleged corporation or its members to file the Complaint.
Thus, the Complaint is deemed filed only by petitioners and not by SBGSI.

The reliefs sought in the Complaint, namely that of enjoining defendants from acting as officers
and Board of Directors of the corporation, the appointment of a receiver, and the prayer for
damages in the amount of the decrease in the value of the shares of stock, clearly show that the
Complaint was filed to curb the alleged mismanagement of SBGCCI. The causes of action
pleaded by petitioners do not accrue to a single shareholder or a class of shareholders but to
the corporation itself.

However, as minority stockholders, petitioners do not have any statutory right to override the
business judgments of SBGCCI’s officers and Board of Directors on the ground of the latter’s
alleged lack of qualification to manage a golf course. Contrary to the arguments of petitioners,
Presidential Decree No. 902-A, which is entitled REORGANIZATION OF THE SECURITIES AND
EXCHANGE COMMISSION WITH ADDITIONAL POWERS AND PLACING THE SAID AGENCY UNDER
THE ADMINISTRATIVE SUPERVISION OF THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, does not grant minority
stockholders a cause of action against waste and diversion by the Board of Directors, but merely
identifies the jurisdiction of the SEC over actions already authorized by law or jurisprudence. It
is settled that a stockholder’s right to institute a derivative suit is not based on any express
provision of the Corporation Code, or even the Securities Regulation Code, but is impliedly
recognized when the said laws make corporate directors or officers liable for damages suffered
by the corporation and its stockholders for violation of their fiduciary duties.
At this point, we should take note that while there were allegations in the Complaint of fraud in
their subscription agreements, such as the misrepresentation of the Articles of Incorporation,
petitioners do not pray for the rescission of their subscription or seek to avail of their appraisal
rights. Instead, they ask that defendants be enjoined from managing the corporation and to pay
damages for their mismanagement. Petitioners’ only possible cause of action as minority
stockholders against the actions of the Board of Directors is the common law right to file a
derivative suit. The legal standing of minority stockholders to bring derivative suits is not a
statutory right, there being no provision in the Corporation Code or related statutes authorizing
the same, but is instead a product of jurisprudence based on equity. However, a derivative suit
cannot prosper without first complying with the legal requisites for its institution.
Section 1, Rule 8 of the Interim Rules of Procedure Governing Intra-Corporate Controversies
imposes the following requirements for derivative suits:

1) He was a stockholder or member at the time the acts or transactions subject of the
action occurred and at the time the action was filed;
2) He exerted all reasonable efforts, and alleges the same with particularity in the
complaint, to exhaust all remedies available under the articles of incorporation, by-laws,
laws or rules governing the corporation or partnership to obtain the relief he desires;
3) No appraisal rights are available for the act or acts complained of; and
4) The suit is not a nuisance or harassment suit.

The RTC dismissed the Complaint for failure to comply with the second and fourth requisites
above.

Upon a careful examination of the Complaint, this Court finds that the same should not have
been dismissed on the ground that it is a nuisance or harassment suit. Although the
shareholdings of petitioners are indeed only two out of the 409 alleged outstanding shares or
0.24%, the Court has held that it is enough that a member or a minority of stockholders file a
derivative suit for and in behalf of a corporation.
With regard, however, to the second requisite, we find that petitioners failed to state with
particularity in the Complaint that they had exerted all reasonable efforts to exhaust all
remedies available under the articles of incorporation, by-laws, and laws or rules governing the
corporation to obtain the relief they desire. The Complaint contained no allegation whatsoever
of any effort to avail of intra-corporate remedies. Indeed, even if petitioners thought it was
futile to exhaust intra-corporate remedies, they should have stated the same in the Complaint
and specified the reasons for such opinion. Failure to do so allows the RTC to dismiss the
Complaint, even motu proprio, in accordance with the Interim Rules. The requirement of this
allegation in the Complaint is not a useless formality which may be disregarded at will. We ruled
in Yu v. Yukayguan:

The wordings of Section 1, Rule 8 of the Interim Rules of Procedure Governing Intra-
Corporate Controversies are simple and do not leave room for statutory construction.
The second paragraph thereof requires that the stockholder filing a derivative suit
should have exerted all reasonable efforts to exhaust all remedies available under the
articles of incorporation, by-laws, laws or rules governing the corporation or partnership
to obtain the relief he desires; and to allege such fact with particularity in the complaint.
The obvious intent behind the rule is to make the derivative suit the final recourse of the
stockholder, after all other remedies to obtain the relief sought had failed.

WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review is hereby DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. CV No. 81441 which affirmed the Order of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Olongapo
City dismissing the Complaint filed thereon by herein petitioners is AFFIRMED.

AGDEPPA V. HONORABLE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN,


G.R. NO. 146376, APRIL 23, 2014

Facts:

Junia, then Group Manager for the Project Technical Services Group of the National Housing
Authority (NHA), filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against several NHA officials,
together with Agdeppa and Ricardo Castillo (Castillo), resident auditors of the Commission on
Audit (COA) at the NHA.

Junia alleged that Supra Construction (SupraCon), the contractor for the NHA project
denominated as Phase IX, Packages 7 and 7-A was overpaid in the total amount of
P2,044,488.71. The overpayment was allegedly facilitated through the dubious and confusing
audit reports prepared by Agdeppa and endorsed by Castillo, to the detriment, damage, and
prejudice of the Government.

The case involves lengthy exchange of accusations between Agdeppa, et al., on one hand, and
Junia, et al., on the other hand, regarding the NHA Project, which had given rise to a number of
administrative and criminal cases that are still pending before several administrative agencies
and trial courts.

At the outset, the Court strictly limited its review to OMB-MIL-CRIM-00-0470. To recall, OMB-
MIL-CRIM-00-0470 involves Agdeppa’s complaint against Jarlos-Martin, Laurezo, and Junia
before the Office of the Ombudsman for corrupt practices under Section 3(a), (e), (f), and (j) of
Republic Act No. 3019, allegedly committed by the latter three in the course of the preliminary
investigation in OMB-0-99-1015. The Office of the Ombudsman, in the Resolution dated July 31,
2000 and Order dated September 28, 2000, dismissed Agdeppa’s charges for lack of basis in fact
and in law.

Issue:
Whether or not the Office of the Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion when it
rendered a resolution dismissing the criminal complaint for violation of Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act against its own investigators and the private respondent.

Held:

The petition is lack of merit. No grave abuse of discretion can be imputed to the Office of the
Ombudsman.

The Court adheres to a policy


of non-interference with the
investigatory and prosecutorial
powers of the Office of the
Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman is empowered to determine whether there exists reasonable ground to


believe that a crime has been committed and that the accused is probably guilty thereof and,
thereafter, to file the corresponding information with the appropriate courts. Settled is the rule
that the Supreme Court will not ordinarily interfere with the Ombudsman’s exercise of his
investigatory and prosecutory powers without good and compelling reasons to indicate
otherwise. Said exercise of powers is based upon his constitutional mandate and the courts will
not interfere in its exercise. The rule is based not only upon respect for the investigatory and
prosecutory powers granted by the Constitution to the Office of the Ombudsman, but upon
practicality as well. Otherwise, innumerable petitions seeking dismissal of investigatory
proceedings conducted by the Ombudsman will grievously hamper the functions of the office
and the courts, in much the same way that courts will be swamped if they had to review the
exercise of discretion on the part of public prosecutors each time they decided to file an
information or dismiss a complaint by a private complainant

The Ombudsman’s determination of probable cause may only be assailed through certiorari
proceedings before this Court on the ground that such determination is tainted with grave
abuse of discretion defined as such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is
equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. For there to be a finding of grave abuse of discretion, it must
be shown that the discretionary power was exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by
reason of passion or personal hostility, and the abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross
as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined
or to act in contemplation of law.

Petitioner failed to clearly demonstrate


grave abuse of discretion by the Office
of the Ombudsman that would have
justified the issuance of a writ of
certiorari by the Court.

It falls upon Agdeppa, as petitioner for the writ of certiorari, to discharge the burden of proving
grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Office of the Ombudsman, in accordance with the
definition and standards set by law and jurisprudence.

The term “grave abuse of discretion” has a specific meaning. An act of a court or tribunal can
only be considered as with grave abuse of discretion when such act is done in a “capricious or
whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.” The abuse of discretion
must be so patent and gross as to amount to an “evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal
to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law, as where the power is
exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and hostility.” Furthermore,
the use of a petition for certiorari is restricted only to “truly extraordinary cases wherein the act
of the lower court or quasi-judicial body is wholly void.” From the foregoing definition, it is clear
that the special civil action of certiorari under Rule 65 can only strike an act down for having
been done with grave abuse of discretion if the petitioner could manifestly show that such act
was patent and gross.

Not every error in the proceedings, or every erroneous conclusion of law or fact, constitutes
grave abuse of discretion. While the prosecutor, or in this case, the investigating officers of the
Office of the Ombudsman, may err or even abuse the discretion lodged in them by law, such
error or abuse alone does not render their act amenable to correction and annulment by the
extraordinary remedy of certiorari. The requirement for judicial intrusion is still for the
petitioner to demonstrate clearly that the Office of the Ombudsman committed grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Unless such a clear demonstration is
made, the intervention is disallowed in deference to the doctrine of non-interference.

Throughout his Petition, Agdeppa presents a grand conspiracy between the Office of the
Ombudsman and Junia, with the Office of the Ombudsman deliberately acting upon and
deciding OMB-MIL-CRIM-00-0470 (as well as OMB-0-99-1015) contrary to Agdeppa’s interest
and favorable to Junia’s. Agdeppa sees every act or decision of the Office of the Ombudsman
adverse to his interest tainted with capriciousness and arbitrariness. However, other than his
own allegations, suspicions, and surmises, Agdeppa did not submit independent or
corroborating evidence in support of the purported conspiracy. The basic rule is that mere
allegation is not evidence and is not equivalent to proof. Charges based on mere suspicion and
speculation likewise cannot be given credence. When the complainant relies on mere
conjectures and suppositions, and fails to substantiate his allegations, the complaint must be
dismissed for lack of merit.

Taking away Agdeppa’s conspiracy theory, the grounds for his Petition no longer have a leg to
stand on.
PEOPLE V. CONSTANTINO, JR. Y BINAYUG,
G.R. NO. 199689, MARCH 12, 2014

FACTS:

Police Superintendent (P/Supt.) Mariano Rodriguez (Rodriquez), the Chief of Police of


Tuguegarao City, received a report from a confidential informant (CI) that a certain Jojit was
selling illegal drugs in the said city. P/Supt. Rodriguez immediately formed a buy-bust group
composed of Senior Police Officer (SPO) 2 Noel Taguiam (Taguiam), SPO2 Alexander Tamang
(Tamang), SPO1 Arthur Blaquera (Blaquera), Police Officer (PO) 3 Edwin Hernandez (Hernandez),
and PO3 Rolando Domingo (Domingo). PO3 Domingo was designated as the poseur-buyer.

In the evening of the same day, the team proceeded to Reynovilla St., Caritan Centro,
Tuguegarao City. After waiting for about 45 minutes, Constantino arrived on board a tricycle.
PO3 Domingo recognized Constantino as the Jojit described by the CI. PO3 Domingo
approached Constantino and asked him if he was Jojit. When Constantino replied in the
affirmative, PO3 Domingo next asked, "Mayroon ka bang stuff?" ("Do you have stuff?") In
response, Constantino inquired of PO3 Domingo how much he wanted to buy. PO3 Domingo
said he wanted to buy P1,000.00 worth of shabu, simultaneously handing over the buy-bust
money to Constantino, who, in turn, handed two plastic sachets to PO3 Domingo. Thereupon,
PO3 Domingo turned his cap backwards, the pre-arranged signal for the consummated sale.
Upon seeing the signal, the other members of the buy-bust team approached the scene at once
and arrested Constantino, from whom SPO2 Taguiam recovered the buy-bust money.

Thereafter, Constantino was brought to the police station where the recovered drugs and
money were turned over to the investigator, SPO2 Tamang. The recovered drugs were then
marked with the initials "A-1" and "A-2." The incident was recorded in the police blotter with an
inventory of the recovered drugs and money.

Constantino alleged that there were inconsistencies in the testimonies of the prosecution
witnesses, particularly, on the marking of the two plastic sachets containing shabu allegedly
confiscated from him. Different people claim to have made the marking "NBT" on the two
plastic sachets and gave various explanations as to what the initials "NBT" stand for. In short,
Constantino argues that the prosecution failed to establish a crucial link in the chain of custody
of the shabu in this case.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the prosecution was able to establish chain of custody.

RULING:
In a prosecution for the sale of a dangerous drug, the following elements must be proven: (1)
the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of
the thing sold and the payment therefor. Simply put, "[in] prosecutions for illegal sale of shabu,
what is material is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the
presentation in court of the corpus delicti as evidence." And in the prosecution of these
offenses, the primary consideration is to ensure that the identity and integrity of the seized
drugs and other related articles have been preserved from the time they were confiscated from
the accused until their presentation as evidence in court.

Section 1 (b) of Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 1, series of 2002, defines "chain of
custody" as follows:

Chain of Custody means the duly recorded authorized movements and custody
of seized drugs or controlled chemicals or plant sources of dangerous drugs or
laboratory equipment of each stage, from the time of seizure/confiscation to
receipt in the forensic laboratory to safekeeping to presentation in court for
destruction. Such record of movements and custody of seized item shall include
the identity and signature of the person who held temporary custody of the
seized item, the date and time when such transfer of custody were made in the
course of safekeeping and use in court as evidence, and the final disposition.

The following links must be established in the chain of custody in a buy-bust situation: first, the
seizure and marking, if practicable, of the illegal drug recovered from the accused by the
apprehending officer; second, the turn over of the illegal drug seized by the apprehending
officer to the investigating officer; third, the turn over by the investigating officer of the illegal
drug to the forensic chemist for laboratory examination; and fourth, the turn over and
submission of the marked illegal drugs seized from the forensic chemist to the court.

After a careful scrutiny of the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, the Court finds glaring
inconsistencies affecting the integrity of the shabu purportedly confiscated from Constantino.
The inconsistent testimonies of PO3 Domingo, PO3 Hernandez, and P/SInsp. Tulauan as to who,
when, and where the two plastic sachets of shabu were marked lead the Court to question
whether the two plastic sachets of shabu identified in court were the very same ones
confiscated from Constantino. The doubtful markings already broke the chain of custody of the
seized shabu at a very early stage.

Herein, the prosecution is completely silent as to why PO3 Domingo, the poseur-buyer, despite
having immediate custody of the two plastic sachets of shabu purchased from Constantino,
failed to immediately mark the seized drugs before turning over the custody of the same to
another police officer. This lapse in procedure opened the door for confusion and doubt as to
the identity of the drugs actually seized from Constantino during the buy-bust and the ones
presented before the trial court, especially considering that three different people, during the
interval, supposedly received and marked the same. To clarify the matter, the prosecution could
have presented as witness either SPO2 Tamang or SPO2 Taguiam to directly validate the
marking in court, but unfortunately, the prosecution chose to dispense with the testimonies of
both officers. This omission diminished the importance of the markings as the reference point
for the subsequent handling of the evidence. As a consequence, an objective person could now
justifiably suspect the shabu ultimately presented as evidence in court to be planted or
contaminated.

The failure of the prosecution to establish the evidence's chain of custody is fatal to its case as
the Court can no longer consider or even safely assume that the integrity and evidentiary value
of the confiscated dangerous drug were properly preserved

Constantino is acquitted of the crime charged.

PEOPLE V. CALANTIAO Y DIMALANTA,


G.R. NO. 203984, JUNE 18, 2014

Facts:

Calantiao was charged with illegal possession of a dangerous drug, marijuana.

The facts of the case started with a traffic dispute between a truck and a taxi, which turned
into a shooting incident. The police officers on duty then were PO1 NELSON MARIANO and
PO3 EDUARDO RAMIREZ. PO1 Mariano testified that they immediately responded to said
complaint by proceeding to 5th Avenue corner 8th Street, Caloocan City where they found the
white taxi. While approaching said vehicle, two armed men alighted therefrom, fired their
guns towards them (police officers) and ran away. PO1 Mariano and PO3 Ramirez chased
them but they were subdued. PO1 Mariano recovered from Calantiao a black bag containing
two (2) bricks of dried marijuana fruiting tops and a magazine of super 38 stainless with
ammos, while PO3 Ramirez recovered from Calantiao’s companion [a] .38 revolver.

The suspects and the confiscated items were then turned over to SPO3 PABLO TEMENA, police
investigator at Bagong Barrio Police Station for investigation. Thereat, PO1 Mariano marked
the bricks of marijuana contained in a black bag with his initials, "NM". Thereafter, said
specimen were forwarded to the PNP Crime Laboratory for chemical analysis. The result of the
examination conducted by P/SINSP. JESSSE DELA ROSA revealed that the same was positive for
marijuana, a dangerous drug.

The foregoing testimony of PO1 MARIANO was corroborated by PO3 RAMIREZ who testified
that he personally saw those bricks of marijuana confiscated from the accused. He confirmed
that he was with PO1 Mariano when they apprehended said accused and his companion and
testified that while PO1 Mariano recovered from the accused a black bag containing
marijuana, on his part, he confiscated from accused’s companion a .38 revolver.
ISSUES:

I. WON the marijuana is inadmissible because its discovery disputedly violated the Plain View
doctrine.

Ruling:

There was a valid search and seizure of Marijuana. The Plain View Doctrine is not applicable in
this case. Instead, what applies is searches and seizure incident to a lawful arrest.

The Plain View Doctrine is actually the exception to the inadmissibility of evidence obtained in
a warrantless search incident to a lawful arrest outside the suspect’s person and premises
under his immediate control. This is so because "[o]bjects in the ‘plain view’ of an officer who
has the right to be in the position to have that view are subject to seizure and may be
presented as evidence."16 "The doctrine is usually applied where a police officer is not
searching for evidence against the accused, but nonetheless inadvertently comes across an
incriminating object x x x. [It] serves to supplement the prior justification – whether it be a
warrant for another object, hot pursuit, search incident to lawful arrest, or some other
legitimate reason for being present unconnected with a search directed against the accused –
and permits the warrantless seizure."17

The Plain View Doctrine thus finds no applicability in Calantiao’s situation because the police
officers purposely searched him upon his arrest. The police officers did not inadvertently
come across the black bag, which was in Calantiao’s possession; they deliberately opened it,
as part of the search incident to Calantiao’s lawful arrest.
This Court finds no merit in Calantiao’s arguments.

On the other hand, searches and seizure incident to a lawful arrest are governed by Section
13, Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, to wit:

Section 13.Search incident to lawful arrest.– A person lawfully arrested may be searched for
dangerous weapons or anything which may have been used or constitute proof in the
commission of an offense without a search warrant.

The purpose of allowing a warrantless search and seizure incident to a lawful arrest is "to
protect the arresting officer from being harmed by the person arrested, who might be armed
with a concealed weapon, and to prevent the latter from destroying evidence within
reach."13 It is therefore a reasonable exercise of the State’s police power to protect (1) law
enforcers from the injury that may be inflicted on them by a person they have lawfully
arrested; and (2) evidence from being destroyed by the arrestee. It seeks to ensure the safety
of the arresting officers and the integrity of the evidence under the control and within the
reach of the arrestee.
In People v. Valeroso,14 this Court had the occasion to reiterate the permissible reach of a
valid warrantless search and seizure incident to a lawful arrest, viz:

When an arrest is made, it is reasonable for the arresting officer to search the person arrested
in order to remove any weapon that the latter might use in order to resist arrest or effect his
escape. Otherwise, the officer’s safety might well be endangered, and the arrest itself
frustrated. In addition, it is entirely reasonable for the arresting officer to search for and seize
any evidence on the arrestee’s person in order to prevent its concealment or destruction.

Moreover, in lawful arrests, it becomes both the duty and the right of the apprehending
officers to conduct a warrantless search not only on the person of the suspect, but also in the
permissible area within the latter’s reach. Otherwise stated, a valid arrest allows the seizure of
evidence or dangerous weapons either on the person of the one arrested or within the area of
his immediate control. The phrase "within the area of his immediate control" means the area
from within which he might gain possession of a weapon or destructible evidence. A gun on a
table or in a drawer in front of one who is arrested can be as dangerous to the arresting
officer as one concealed in the clothing of the person arrested. (Citations omitted.)

In Valeroso, however, the Court held that the evidence searched and seized from him could
not be used against him because they were discovered in a room, different from where he was
being detained, and was in a locked cabinet. Thus, the area searched could not be considered
as one within his immediate control that he could take any weapon or destroy any evidence
against him.15

In the case at bar, the marijuana was found in a black bag in Calantiao’s possession and within
his immediate control. He could have easily taken any weapon from the bag or dumped it to
destroy the evidence inside it. As the black bag containing the marijuana was in Calantiao’s
possession, it was within the permissible area that the apprehending officers could validly
conduct a warrantless search.

II. WON there was non-compliance with the rules on chain of custody when the item was
marked at the police station; WON this non-compliance would affect the admissibility of the
marijuana as evidence.

Ruling:

The prosecution was able to establish the chain of custody of the seized marijuana from the
time the police officers confiscated it, to the time it was turned over to the investigating
officer, up to the time it was brought to the forensic chemist for laboratory examination. This
Court has no reason to overrule the RTC and the Court of Appeals, which both found the chain
of custody of the seized drugs to have not been broken so as to render the marijuana seized
from Calantiao inadmissible in evidence.
Furthermore, unless it can be shown that there was bad faith, ill will, or tampering of the
evidence, the presumption that the integrity of the evidence has been preserved will remain.
The burden of showing the foregoing to overcome the presumption that the police officers
handled the seized drugs with regularity, and that they properly discharged their duties is on
Calantiao. Unfortunately, Calantiao failed to discharge such burden. Calantiao failed to show
clear and convincing evidence that the apprehending officers were stirred by illicit motive or
failed to properly perform their duties, their testimonies deserve full faith and credit.

Inventory and Chain of


Custody of Evidence

The pertinent provisions of Republic Act No. 9165 provide as follows:

Section 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized, and/or Surrendered Dangerous
Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals,
Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. – The PDEA shall take charge and
have custody of all dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors
and essential chemicals, as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment
so confiscated, seized and/or surrendered, for proper disposition in the following manner:

(1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately
after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence
of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or
his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of
Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the
inventory and be given a copy thereof[.]

Its Implementing Rules and Regulations state:

SECTION 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized and/or Surrendered Dangerous
Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals,
Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. — The PDEA shall take charge and
have custody of all dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors
and essential chemicals, as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment
so confiscated, seized and/or surrendered, for proper disposition in the following manner:

(a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall,
immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in
the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or
seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the
Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the
copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof; Provided, that the physical inventory and
photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served; or at the
nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team, whichever is
practicable, in case of warrantless seizures; Provided, further, that non-compliance with these
requirements under justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of
the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall not render
void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items[.] (Emphasis supplied.)

This Court has held that the failure to strictly comply with Section 21, Article II of Republic Act
No. 9165, such as immediately marking seized drugs, will not automatically impair the
integrity of chain of custody because what is of utmost importance is the preservation of the
integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items, as these would be utilized in the
determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused.19

Section 21 and its IRR do not even mention "marking." What they require are (1) physical
inventory, and (2) taking of photographs. As this Court held in People v. Ocfemia20:

What Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165 and its implementing rule do not expressly specify is the
matter of "marking" of the seized items in warrantless seizures to ensure that the evidence
seized upon apprehension is the same evidence subjected to inventory and photography
when these activities are undertaken at the police station rather than at the place of arrest.
Consistency with the "chain of custody" rule requires that the "marking" of the seized items –
to truly ensure that they are the same items that enter the chain and are eventually the ones
offered in evidence – should be done (1) in the presence of the apprehended violator (2)
immediately upon confiscation.

PEOPLE V. MORATE Y TARNATE,


G.R. NO. 201156, JANUARY 29, 2014

Facts:

Morate was charged of possession and selling of illegal drugs, it was alleged that he was in
possession of marijuana leaves contained in a heat–sealed transparent plastic sachet and sold
to a poseur–buyer the marijuana leaves. Morate asked PO1 Manamtam and “Edwin” to go
with him to a nearby basketball area where the accused–appellant produced four transparent
plastic sachets containing dried leaves and handed three sachets to PO1 Manamtam. The police
officer asked the accused–appellant to place the sachets inside the former’s backpack.

Upon receiving PO1 Manamtam’s message, PO1 Bayaban and PO3 Eva rushed in to arrest the
accused–appellant. The accused–appellant noticed the approaching police officers and
dropped the sachet that he was holding. PO3 Eva saw what the accused–appellant did and
picked up the sachet from the ground. Thereafter, he proceeded to bodily search the accused–
appellant to look for the marked money but did not find it. The accused–appellant was
arrested. The accused–appellant and PO1 Manamtam were then brought to the police station.
Upon arrival at the police station, the items confiscated during the buy–bust were counted,
marked and inventoried. The marking and inventory of the seized items were witnessed by
Barangay Kagawad and, a local newsman, both of whom signed the Certification of Inventory.
The seized items were all transferred to PO3 Eva as the evidence custodian.

PO3 Eva thereafter prepared a Receipt of Seized Evidence/Property before handing the seized
items to PO1 Reynaldo Borromeo who signed the receipt upon taking hold of the items. PO1
Borromeo proceeded to the PNP Crime Laboratory in Legazpi City bringing with him the seized
items and a Request for Laboratory Examination.

The seized items were received by the PNP Crime Laboratory in Legazpi City where PSInsp.
Josephine Macura Clemen, a forensic chemist, examined them. PSInsp. Clemen subsequently
presented the seized drugs to the trial court as the prosecution’s evidence in the course of her
testimony.

For his part, accused–appellant’s defense was denial. According to him, after finishing his work
at around he went out of the premises of the Tabaco Pier to go home. He was suddenly
accosted by SPO3 Eva and Edwin Morate.

Issue:

WON the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt on account of the
prosecution’s non–compliance with the chain of custody requirement under Section 21(1) of
Republic Act No. 9165 and its implementing rules and regulations. NO

Ruling:

Initially, it must be emphasized that accused–appellant’s defense of alleged non–compliance


with Section 21 of Republic Act No. 9165 was raised belatedly and for the first time on appeal.
Failure to raise the issue of non–observance of the chain of custody requirement during trial is
fatal to the case of the accused–appellant. As explained in People v. Sta. Maria25 : The law
excuses non–compliance under justifiable grounds. However, whatever justifiable grounds may
excuse the police officers involved in the buy–bust operation in this case from complying with
Section 21 will remain unknown, because appellant did not question during trial the
safekeeping of the items seized from him. Indeed, the police officers’ alleged violations of
Sections 21 and 86 of Republic Act No. 9165 were not raised before the trial court but were
instead raised for the first time on appeal. In no instance did appellant least intimate at the trial
court that there were lapses in the safekeeping of seized items that affected their integrity and
evidentiary value. Objection to evidence cannot be raised for the first time on appeal; when a
party desires the court to reject the evidence offered, he must so state in the form of
objection. Without such objection he cannot raise the question for the first time on appeal.
In this case, the accused–appellant never questioned the chain of custody during trial.
Specifically, the records show that the accused–appellant never assailed the propriety and
regularity of the process of marking and inventory of the seized items during the prosecution’s
presentation of evidence on that matter during the testimony of PO1 Manamtam. Also, when
the prosecution formally offered the Certification of Inventory as evidence for the purpose of
proving “the immediate and accurate inventory, marking and packing of the purchased and the
seized marijuana to maintain and preserve [their] identities and integrity” and the four sachets
of marijuana as evidence for the purpose of proving “the identities and integrity of the
purchased and the seized marijuana as those were immediately inventoried, marked and
documented/recorded,” the accused–appellant’s comment was simply “Denied as to the
purposes for which they are being offered for being self[–]serving pieces of evidence” and said
nothing about non–compliance with the chain of custody requirement.

More importantly, the accused–appellant’s counsel himself has dropped the bomb that
demolished the accused–appellant’s defense. He admitted the identity and integrity of the
specimens.

These two circumstances –– (1) the omission of the accused–appellant to raise the issue of
non–compliance with the chain of custody requirement on time, and (2) the admission of the
accused–appellant as to the identity and integrity of the seized items that the PNP Tabaco City
submitted to the Crime Laboratory, subjected to examination by the forensic chemist and
presented in court as evidence –– are sufficient to defeat the claims of the accused–appellant.
Nevertheless, even the consideration of the compliance with the chain of custody requirement
calls for the denial of the accused–appellant’s appeal.

The chain of custody is basically the duly recorded authorized stages of transfer of custody of
seized dangerous drugs, from their seizure or confiscation to receipt in the forensic laboratory
for examination to safekeeping to presentation in court for destruction. The function of the
chain of custody requirement is to ensure that the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized
items are preserved, so much so that unnecessary doubts as to the identity of the evidence are
removed. Thus, the chain of custody requirement has a two–fold purpose: (1) the preservation
of the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items, and (2) the removal of unnecessary
doubts as to the identity of the evidence.

The law recognizes that, while the presentation of a perfect unbroken chain is ideal, the realities
and variables of actual police operation usually makes an unbroken chain impossible. With this
implied judicial recognition of the difficulty of complete compliance with the chain of custody
requirement, substantial compliance is sufficient as long as the integrity and evidentiary value
of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending police officers.

In this case, the Court of Appeals correctly ruled that the chain of custody requirement has
been substantially complied with. The police officers duly recorded the various authorized
stages of transfer of custody of the dangerous drugs confiscated from the accused–appellant

As to the failure to photograph the inventory of the seized items, such omission on the
part of the police officers is not fatal to the case against the accused–appellant. The
failure of the prosecution to show that the police officers conducted the required
physical inventory and photograph of the evidence confiscated is not fatal and does not
automatically render the arrest of the accused illegal or the items seized from him
inadmissible. As has been said earlier, the prosecution has sufficiently shown that the
identity and evidentiary integrity of the seized items were properly preserved, and that
is not materially affected by the prosecution’s failure to take a photograph of the seized
items.

METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY V. LEY CONSTRUCTION


AND DEVELOPMENT CORP.,
G.R. NO. 185590, DECEMBER 03, 2014

Facts:

This petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeks the reversal of
the Court of Appeals’ Decision dismissing the appeal of petitioner Metropolitan Bank and Trust
Company assailing the dismissal of its complaint by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City,
Branch 56, and the Resolution denying the Bank’s motion for reconsideration.

This is an action for recovery of a sum of money and damages with a prayer for the issuance of
writ of preliminary attachment filed by the plaintiff Philippine Banking Corporation against the
defendants, namely: Ley Construction and Development Corporation (hereafter “LCDC”) and
Spouses Manuel and Janet C. Ley (hereafter “[defendant]-spouses”). The controversy stemmed
from a Letter of Credit issued by plaintiff in favor of a supplier-beneficiary covering the
importation by defendant of cement from Iraq. Thereafter, the supplier-beneficiary negotiated
the Letter of Credit to the negotiating bank which in turn sent a reimbursement claim to a bank
in New York with a certification that all the terms and conditions of the credit were complied
with. The bank in New York then debited plaintiff’s account for the negotiation of the Letter of
Credit. The plaintiff then received the shipping documents pertaining to the Latter of Credit
which in turn delivered it to the defendant. Upon receipt of the aforesaid documents,
defendants executed a trust receipt. However, the cement that was to be imported through the
opening of the subject Letter of Credit never arrived in the Philippines.

The prompt payment of the obligation of the defendant LCDC was guaranteed by defendant-
spouses under the Continuing Surety Agreement executed by the latter in favor of the
defendant. The obligation covered by the subject Letter of Credit has long been overdue and
unpaid, notwithstanding repeated demands for payment thereof. Plaintiff, therefore, instituted
the instant complaint for recovery of a sum of money.
In support of its cause of action against defendant, plaintiff presented the testimony of Mr.
Fenelito Cabrera, Head of the Foreign Department of plaintiff’s Head Office. There being no
other witness to be presented by the plaintiff, the plaintiff filed its formal offer of exhibits to
which defendant filed its comments/objections to formal offer of evidence.

Defendant filed a motion to dismiss by way of demurrer to evidence on the ground that
plaintiff’s witness Mr. Fenelito Cabrera was incompetent to testify with respect to the
transaction between the plaintiff and the defendant and that the plaintiff’s documentary
exhibits were not properly identified and authenticated. The trial court decided in favor of
defendants as well as the Court of Appeals which both ruled that the witness of the plaintiff was
incompetent. The Bank insists that it has been able to establish its cause of action not only
through preponderance of evidence but even by the admissions of LCDC and the spouses Ley. It
maintains that its cause of action is not predicated on the improper negotiation of the letter of
credit but on the breach of the terms and conditions of the trust receipt.

Issue: Whether or not plaintiff correctly availed of Rule 45.

Ruling:

No.

The Bank’s petition suffers from a fatal infirmity. In particular, it contravenes the elementary
rule of appellate procedure that an appeal to this Court by petition for review on certiorari
under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court “shall raise only questions of law.” The rule is based on the
nature of this Court’s appellate function – this Court is not a trier of facts – and on the
evidentiary weight given to the findings of fact of the trial court which have been affirmed on
appeal by the Court of Appeals – they are conclusive on this Court. While there are recognized
exceptions to the rule, this Court sees no reason to apply the exception and not the rule in this
case.

The conceptual distinction between a question of law and a question of fact is well-settled in
case law:

There is a “question of law” when the doubt or difference arises as to what the law is on a
certain state of facts, and which does not call for an examination of the probative value of the
evidence presented by the parties-litigants. On the other hand, there is a “question of fact”
when the doubt or controversy arises as to the truth or falsity of the alleged facts.

The issue of whether or not the Bank was able to establish its cause of action by preponderant
evidence is essentially a question of fact. Stated in another way, the issue which the Bank raises
in this petition is whether the evidence it presented during the trial was preponderant enough
to hold LCDC and the spouses Ley liable.
The required burden of proof, or that amount of evidence necessary and sufficient to establish
one’s claim or defense, in civil cases is preponderance of evidence. Preponderance of evidence
is defined as follows:

Preponderance of evidence is the weight, credit, and value of the aggregate evidence on either
side and is usually considered to be synonymous with the term “greater weight of evidence” or
“greater weight of the credible evidence.” Preponderance of evidence is a phrase which, in the
last analysis, means probability to truth. It is evidence which is more convincing to the court as
worthier of belief than that which is offered in opposition thereto.

As preponderance of evidence refers to the probability to truth of the matters intended to be


proven as facts, it concerns a determination of the truth or falsity of the alleged facts based on
the evidence presented. Thus, a review of the respective findings of the trial and the appellate
courts as to the preponderance of a party’s evidence requires that the reviewing court address
a question of fact.

Moreover, a demurrer to evidence is a motion to dismiss on the ground of insufficiency of


evidence. Evidence is the means, sanctioned by the Rules of Court, of ascertaining in a judicial
proceeding the truth respecting a matter of fact. As such, the question of sufficiency or
insufficiency of evidence, the basic issue presented by the Bank, pertains to the question of
whether the factual matters alleged by the Bank are true. Plainly, it is a question of fact and, as
such, not proper subject of a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court. It was incumbent upon the Bank to demonstrate that this case fell under any of the
exceptions to this rule but it failed to do so.

The Bank attempts to avoid the “only questions of law” rule for appeals filed under Rule 45 by
invoking the misapprehension of facts exception. According to the Bank, the trial and the
appellate courts misapprehended the facts with respect to the determination of the basis of the
Bank’s cause of action. In particular, the Bank contends that both the trial and the appellate
courts erred in the consideration of the proper actionable document upon which the Bank
based its cause of action. The Bank asserts that its cause of action is not grounded on the Letter
of Credit but on the Trust Receipt.

The Bank’s reference to the Trust Receipt as its “primary actionable document” is mistaken and
misleading. The nature of the cause of action is determined by the facts alleged in the
complaint. A party’s cause of action is not what the party says it is, nor is it what the designation
of the complaint states, but what the allegations in the body define and describe. In this case,
the Bank’s allegations as to the basis of its cause of action against LCDC and the spouses Ley,
however, belie the Bank’s claim. The Bank’s cause of action was hinged on the Letter of Credit is
unmistakable. Taken as a whole, the Bank’s allegations make a cause of action based on the
Letter of Credit.
PEOPLE V. PAREJA Y CRUZ,
G.R. NO. 202122, JANUARY 15, 2014

FACTS:

Pareja was charged with two counts of rape and one count of attempted rape.

AAA was thirteen (13) years of age when the alleged acts of lasciviousness and sexual abuse
took place on three (3) different dates, particularly in December 2003, February 2004, and
March 27, 2004.

First incident happened when AAA’s mother was away. While AAA was asleep, Pareja placed
himself on top of her, sucked her breasts and inserted his penis in her anus. Despite the
experience, AAA never told anyone.

It did not happen once. In the second incident, Pareja once again placed himself on top of her,
sucked her breasts and caressed and inserted a finger in her vagina.

The last incident happened with AAA’s mother catching Pareja lift AAA’s skirt while she was
asleep. Outraged, the mother brought AAA to the barangay officials to report the incident.

Pareja denied raping AAA but admitted that he knew her as she is the daughter of his live-in
partner and that they all stay in the same house.

He alleged that there was no way the sexual abuses could have happened, as the house was too
small that AAA had to sleep with her sibling. Also that the house was located in a thickly
populated vicinity. He could not have consummated the sexual abuses as this would wake the
siblings up.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the trial court was correct in relying on the testimony of AAA to warrant
conviction.

RULING:

The recognized rule in this jurisdiction is that the "assessment of the credibility of witnesses is a
domain best left to the trial court judge because of his unique opportunity to observe their
deportment and demeanor on the witness stand; a vantage point denied appellate courts-and
when his findings have been affirmed by the Court of Appeals, these are generally binding and
conclusive upon this Court." While there are recognized exceptions to the rule, this Court has
found no substantial reason to overturn the identical conclusions of the trial and appellate
courts on the matter of AAA's credibility.

Since human memory is fickle and prone to the stresses of emotions, accuracy in a testimonial
account has never been used as a standard in testing the credibility of a witness. The
inconsistencies mentioned by Pareja are trivial and non-consequential matters that merely
caused AAA confusion when she was being questioned. The inconsistency regarding the year of
the December incident is not even a matter pertaining to AAA's ordeal. The date and time of the
commission of the crime of rape becomes important only when it creates serious doubt as to
the commission of the rape itself or the sufficiency of the evidence for purposes of conviction.
In other words, the "date of the commission of the rape becomes relevant only when the
accuracy and truthfulness of the complainant's narration practically hinge on the date of the
commission of the crime." Moreover, the date of the commission of the rape is not an essential
element of the crime.

In People v. Ignacio, we took judicial notice of the interesting fact that among poor couples with
big families living in small quarters, copulation does not seem to be a problem despite the
presence of other persons around them. Considering the cramped space and meager room for
privacy, couples perhaps have gotten used to quick and less disturbing modes of sexual
congresses which elude the attention of family members; otherwise, under the circumstances, it
would be almost impossible to copulate with them around even when asleep. It is also not
impossible nor incredible for the family members to be in deep slumber and not be awakened
while the sexual assault is being committed. One may also suppose that growing children sleep
more soundly than grown-ups and are not easily awakened by adult exertions and suspirations
in the night. There is no merit in appellant's contention that there can be no rape in a room
where other people are present. There is no rule that rape can be committed only in seclusion.
We have repeatedly declared that "lust is no respecter of time and place," and rape can be
committed in even the unlikeliest of places.

AAA's conduct, i.e., acting like nothing happened, after being sexually abused by Pareja is also
not enough to discredit her. Victims of a crime as heinous as rape, cannot be expected to act
within reason or in accordance with society's expectations. It is unreasonable to demand a
standard rational reaction to an irrational experience, especially from a young victim. One
cannot be expected to act as usual in an unfamiliar situation as it is impossible to predict the
workings of a human mind placed under emotional stress. Moreover, it is wrong to say that
there is a standard reaction or behavior among victims of the crime of rape since each of them
had to cope with different circumstances.

Likewise, AAA's delay in reporting the incidents to her mother or the proper authorities is
insignificant and does not affect the veracity of her charges. It should be remembered that
Pareja threatened to kill her if she told anyone of the incidents.

Pareja avers that the Medico-Legal Report indicating that there is evidence of blunt force or
penetrating trauma upon examination of AAA's hymen, "cannot be given any significance, as it
failed to indicate how and when the said signs of physical trauma were inflicted." Furthermore,
Pareja said, the findings that AAA's hymen sustained trauma cannot be utilized as evidence
against him as the alleged sexual abuse that occurred in December, was not by penetration of
the vagina.

This Court has time and again held that an accused can be convicted of rape on the basis of the
sole testimony of the victim. In People v. Colorado, we said:

[A] medical certificate is not necessary to prove the commission of rape, as


even a medical examination of the victim is not indispensable in a
prosecution for rape. Expert testimony is merely corroborative in character
and not essential to conviction. . . . .

PEOPLE V. VASQUEZ Y SANDIGAN,


G.R. NO. 200304, JANUARY 15, 2014

Facts:

1. The case is a consolidation of two criminal cases – one for sale of illegal drugs (shabu)
and another for possession, both filed against Donald Vasquez (Vasquez), a Laboratory
Aide II of the National Bureau of Investigation.
2. The prosecution maintains that Vasquez was arrested on 3 April 1998 in his house,
without warrant following a successful buy-bust operation. According to the
prosecution, the arresting officers were informed on 1 April 1998 of Vasquez’ illegal
activities concerning shabu taken from NBI laboratory. Thereafter, a meeting was set up
with one police officer posing as a potential buyer. Hence, on 3 April 1998, the poseur-
buyer and Vasquez met and a sale of illegal drugs was perfected. This led to the arrest of
Vasquez.
3. Vasquez however belies the allegations of the prosecution and reasoned that the police
operatives who arrested him planted the subject shabu. Vasquez further maintains that
he was authorized to possess shabu because of his line of work (Laboratory Aide II of
NBI). According to him, his line of work usually requires him to bring to court shabu and
present it as evidence. As a way of defense, Vasquez also questioned the validity of his
arrest as it was without a warrant even though the police, according to him, had ample
opportunity to secure one. Hence, any item seized following this alleged illegal arrest is
admissible in evidence, according to Vasquez.

Issues:

1. The validity of Vasquez’ arrest.


2. Admissibility of the confiscated shabu.
3. Vasquez’ authority to possess shabu.

Ruling: Conviction is affirmed. Vasquez is guilty.

I. Search incidental to lawful arrest

1. At the outset, the Court rules that the appellant can no longer assail the validity of his
arrest. We reiterated in People v. Tampis that "[a]ny objection, defect or irregularity
attending an arrest must be made before the accused enters his plea on arraignment.
Having failed to move for the quashing of the information against them before their
arraignment, appellants are now estopped from questioning the legality of their arrest.
Any irregularity was cured upon their voluntary submission to the trial court’s
jurisdiction."53 Be that as it may, the fact of the matter is that the appellant was caught
in flagrante delicto of selling illegal drugs to an undercover police officer in a buy-bust
operation. His arrest, thus, falls within the ambit of Section 5(a), Rule 11354 of the
Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure when an arrest made without warrant is deemed
lawful. Having established the validity of the warrantless arrest in this case, the Court
holds that the warrantless seizure of the illegal drugs from the appellant is likewise valid.
We held in People v. Cabugatan that:

This interdiction against warrantless searches and seizures, however, is


not absolute and such warrantless searches and seizures have long been
deemed permissible by jurisprudence in instances of (1) search of moving
vehicles, (2) seizure in plain view, (3) customs searches, (4) waiver or
consented searches, (5) stop and frisk situations (Terry search), and
search incidental to a lawful arrest. The last includes a valid warrantless
arrest, for, while as a rule, an arrest is considered legitimate [if] effected
with a valid warrant of arrest, the Rules of Court recognize permissible
warrantless arrest, to wit: (1) arrest in flagrante delicto, (2) arrest effected
in hot pursuit, and (3) arrest of escaped prisoners.

Thus, the appellant cannot seek exculpation by invoking belatedly the invalidity of his
arrest and the subsequent search upon his person.

II. Ruling on the substantial aspect: Sale and possession of illegal drugs

1. To secure a conviction for the crime of illegal sale of regulated or prohibited drugs, the
following elements should be satisfactorily proven: (1) the identity of the buyer and
seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the
payment therefor.56 As held in People v. Chua Tan Lee,57 in a prosecution of illegal sale
of drugs, "what is material is proof that the accused peddled illicit drugs, coupled with
the presentation in court of the corpus delicti." On the other hand, the elements of
illegal possession of drugs are: (1) the accused is in possession of an item or object
which is identified to be a prohibited drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law;
and (3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the said drug.

That the original documents and the testimonies of the signatories thereof were not at
all presented in court did nothing to help the appellant’s case. To the mind of the Court,
the evidence offered by the appellant failed to persuade amid the positive and
categorical testimonies of the arresting officers that the appellant was caught red-
handed selling and possessing a considerable amount of prohibited drugs on the night of
the buy-bust operation.

It is apropos to reiterate here that where there is no showing that the trial court
overlooked or misinterpreted some material facts or that it gravely abused its discretion,
the Court will not disturb the trial court’s assessment of the facts and the credibility of
the witnesses since the RTC was in a better position to assess and weigh the evidence
presented during trial. Settled too is the rule that the factual findings of the appellate
court sustaining those of the trial court are binding on this Court, unless there is a clear
showing that such findings are tainted with arbitrariness, capriciousness or palpable
error.62

On the basis of the foregoing, the Court is convinced that the prosecution was able to
establish the guilt of the appellant of the crimes charged.

METROBANK V. CHIOK,
G.R. NOS. 172652, 175302 & 175394, NOVEMBER 06, 2014

FACTS.

Respondent Wilfred N. Chiok (Chiok) had been engaged in dollar trading for several years. He
usually buys dollars from Gonzalo B. Nuguid (Nuguid) at the exchange rate prevailing on the
date of the sale. Chiok pays Nuguid either in cash or manager’s check, to be picked up by the
latter or deposited in the latter’s bank account. Nuguid delivers the dollars either on the same
day or on a later date as may be agreed upon between them, up to a week later. Chiok and
Nuguid had been dealing in this manner for about six to eight years, with their transactions
running into millions of pesos. For this purpose, Chiok maintained accounts with
petitioners Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company (Metrobank) and Global Business Bank, Inc.
(Global Bank), the latter being then referred to as the Asian Banking Corporation (Asian Bank).
Chiok likewise entered into a Bills Purchase Line Agreement (BPLA) with Asian Bank. Under the
BPLA, checks drawn in favor of, or negotiated to, Chiok may be purchased by Asian Bank. Upon
such purchase, Chiok receives a discounted cash equivalent of the amount of the check earlier
than the normal clearing period.
On July 5, 1995, pursuant to the BPLA, Asian Bank “bills purchased” Security Bank & Trust
Company (SBTC) Manager’s Check (MC) No. 037364 in the amount of P25,500,000.00 issued in
the name of Chiok, and credited the same amount to the latter’s Savings Account No. 2-007-03-
00201-3.
On the same date, Asian Bank issued MC No. 025935 in the amount of P7,550,000.00 and MC
No. 025939 in the amount of P10,905,350.00 to Gonzalo Bernardo, who is the same person as
Gonzalo B. Nuguid. The two Asian Bank manager’s checks, with a total value of P18,455,350.00
were issued pursuant to Chiok’s instruction and was debited from his account. Likewise upon
Chiok’s application, Metrobank issued Cashier’s Check (CC) No. 003380 in the amount of
P7,613,000.00 in the name of Gonzalo Bernardo. The same was debited from Chiok’s Savings
Account no. 154-42504955.
Chiok then deposited the three checks (Asian Bank MC Nos. 025935 and 025939, and
Metrobank CC No. 003380), with an aggregate value of P26,068,350.00 in Nuguid’s account with
Far East Bank & Trust Company (FEBTC), the predecessor-in-interest of petitioner Bank of the
Philippine Islands (BPI). Nuguid was supposed to deliver US$1,022,288.50, 4 the dollar equivalent
of the three checks as agreed upon, in the afternoon of the same day. Nuguid, however, failed
to do so, prompting Chiok to request that payment on the three checks be stopped. Chiok was
allegedly advised to secure a court order within the 24-hour clearing period.
On July 6, 1995, the RTC issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) directing the spouses
Nuguid to refrain from presenting the said checks for payment and the depositary banks from
honoring the same until further orders from the court. 6

Asian Bank refused to honor MC Nos. 025935 and 025939 in deference to the TRO. Metrobank
claimed that when it received the TRO on July 6, 1995, it refused to honor CC No. 003380 and
stopped payment thereon. However, in a letter also dated July 6, 1995, Ms. Jocelyn T. Paz of
FEBTC, Cubao-Araneta Branch informed Metrobank that the TRO was issued a day after the
check was presented for payment. Thus, according to Paz, the transaction was already
consummated and FEBTC had already validly accepted the same. In another letter, FEBTC
informed Metrobank that “the restraining order indicates the name of the payee of the check as
GONZALO NUGUID, but the check is in fact payable to GONZALO BERNARDO. We believe there
is a defect in the restraining order and as such should not bind your bank.” 7 Alice Rivera of
Metrobank replied to said letters, reiterating Metrobank’s position to comply with the TRO lest
it be cited for contempt by the trial court. However, as would later be alleged in Metrobank’s
Answer before the trial court, Metrobank eventually acknowledged the check when it became
clear that nothing more can be done to retrieve the proceeds of the check. Metrobank
furthermore claimed that since it is the issuer of CC No. 003380, the check is its primary
obligation and should not be affected by any prior transaction between the purchaser (Chiok)
and the payee (Nuguid).
In the meantime, FEBTC, as the collecting bank, filed a complaint against Asian Bank before the
Philippine Clearing House Corporation (PCHC) Arbitration Committee for the collection of the
value of Asian Bank MC No. 025935 and 025939, which FEBTC had allegedly allowed Nuguid to
withdraw on July 5, 1995, the same day the checks were deposited.
On July 25, 1995, the RTC issued an Order directing the issuance of a writ of preliminary
prohibitory injunction.
Before the RTC, Asian Bank pointed out that SBTC returned and issued a Stop Payment Order on
SBTC MC No. 037364 (payable to Chiok in the amount of P25,500,000.00) on the basis of an
Affidavit of Loss & Undertaking executed by a certain Helen Tan. Under said Affidavit of Loss &
Undertaking, Tan claims that she purchased SBTC MC No. 037364 from SBTC, but the manager’s
check got lost on that day. Asian Bank argued that Chiok would therefore be liable for the
dishonor of the manager’s check under the terms of the BPLA, which provides for recourse
against the seller (Chiok) of the check when it is dishonored by the drawee (SBTC) for any
reason, whether valid or not.

On October 18, 1995, FEBTC filed a Complaint-in-Intervention, it claimed that it allowed the
immediate withdrawal of the proceeds of Asian Bank MC Nos. 025935 and 025939 on the
ground that, as manager’s checks, they were the direct obligations of Asian Bank and were
accepted in advance by Asian Bank by the mere issuance thereof. FEBTC presented the checks
for payment on July 5, 1995 through the PCHC. Asian Bank, as admitted in its Answer before the
RTC, received the same on that day. Consequently, Asian Bank was deemed to have confirmed
and booked payment of the subject checks in favor of FEBTC or, at the latest, during the first
banking hour of July 6, 1995, when payment should have been made. FEBTC claimed that Asian
Bank exhibited bad faith when, in anticipation of the TRO, it opted to float the checks until it
received the TRO at 12:00 noon of July 6, 1995 to justify the nonpayment thereof.

In their own Answer, the spouses Nuguid claimed that Gonzalo Nuguid had delivered much
more dollars than what was required for the three checks at the time of payment. By way of
special affirmative defense, the spouses Nuguid also claims that since the subject checks had
already been paid to him, Chiok is no longer entitled to an injunction (to hold the payment of
the subject checks), and Civil Case No. Q-95-24299 has already become moot.

ISSUE:
WON Chiok is entitled to the writ of injunction.

RULING.

Neither could Chiok be validly granted a writ of injunction against Metrobank and Global Bank
to enjoin said banks from honoring the subject manager’s and cashier’s checks. It is elementary
that “(a)n injunction should never issue when an action for damages would adequately
compensate the injuries caused. The very foundation of the jurisdiction to issue the writ of
injunction rests in the fact that the damages caused are irreparable and that damages would
not adequately compensate.”45Chiok could have and should have proceeded directly against
Nuguid to claim damages for breach of contract and to have the very account where he
deposited the subject checks garnished under Section 7(d) 46 and Section 8,47 Rule 57 of the
Rules of Court. Instead, Chiok filed an action to enjoin Metrobank and Global Bank from
complying with their primary obligation under checks in which they are liable as both drawer
and drawee.

It is undisputed that Chiok personally deposited the subject manager’s and cashier’s checks to
Nuguid’s account. If the intention of Chiok was for Nuguid to be allowed to withdraw the
proceeds of the checks after clearing, he could have easily deposited personal checks, instead of
going through the trouble of purchasing manager’s and cashier’s checks. Chiok therefore knew,
and actually intended, that Nuguid will be allowed to immediately withdraw the proceeds of the
subject checks. The deposit of the checks which were practically as good as cash was willingly
and voluntarily made by Chiok, without any assurance that Nuguid will comply with his end of
the bargain on the same day. The explanation for such apparently reckless action was admitted
by Chiok in the Amended Complaint itself:

That plaintiff [Chiok] due to the number of years (five to seven years) of business transactions
with defendant [Nuguid] has reposed utmost trust and confidence on the latter that their
transactions as of June 1995 reaches millions of pesos. x x x.48(Emphases supplied.)

As between two innocent persons, one of whom must suffer the consequences of a breach of
trust, the one who made it possible by his act of confidence must bear the loss. 49 Evidently, it
was the utmost trust and confidence reposed by Chiok to Nuguid that caused this entire
debacle, dragging three banks into the controversy, and having their resources threatened
because of an alleged default in a contract they were not privy to.

Let it be emphasized that in resolving the matter before Us, We do not detract from well-settled
concepts and principles in commercial law regarding the nature, causes and effects of a
manager’s check and cashier’s check. Such checks are primary obligations of the issuing bank
and accepted in advance by the mere issuance thereof. They are a bank’s order to pay drawn
upon itself, committing in effect its total resources, integrity, and honor. By their peculiar
character and general use in the commercial world, they are regarded substantially as good as
the money they represent. However, in view of the peculiar circumstances of the case at
bench, We are constrained to set aside the foregoing concepts and principles in favor of the
exercise of the right to rescind a contract upon the failure of consideration
thereof.50 (Emphases ours, citations omitted.)

In deviating from general banking principles and disposing the case on the basis of equity, the
courts a quo should have at least ensured that their dispositions were indeed equitable. This
Court observes that equity was not served in the dispositions below wherein Nuguid, the very
person found to have violated his contract by not delivering his dollar obligation, was absolved
from his liability, leaving the banks who are not parties to the contract to suffer the losses of
millions of pesos.

In the case at bar, the manager’s and cashier’s checks were personally deposited by Chiok in the
account of Nuguid. The only knowledge that can be attributed to the drawee banks is whatever
was relayed by Chiok himself when he asked for a Stop Payment Order. Chiok testified on this
matter, to wit:

Q: Now, Mr. witness, since according to you the defendant failed to deliver [this] amount
of P1,023,288.23 what action have you undertaken to protect your interest Mr.
witness?
A: I immediately call my lawyer, Atty. Espiritu to seek his legal advise in this matter.
Q: Prior to that matter that you sought the advise of your lawyer, Atty. Espiritu insofar as
the issuing bank is concerned, namely, Asian Bank, what did you do in order to protect
your interest?
A: I immediately call the bank asking them if what is the procedure for stop payment and
the bank told me that you have to secure a court order as soon as possible before the
clearing of these checks.52 (Emphasis supplied.)

Asian Bank, which is now Global Bank, obeyed the TRO and denied the clearing of the
manager’s checks. As such, Global Bank may not be held liable on account of the knowledge of
whatever else Chiok told them when he asked for the procedure to secure a Stop Payment
Order. On the other hand, there was no mention that Metrobank was ever notified of the
alleged failure of consideration. Only Asian Bank was notified of such fact. Furthermore, the
mere allegation of breach on the part of the payee of his personal contract with the purchaser
should not be considered a sufficient cause to immediately nullify such checks, thereby eroding
their integrity and honor as being as good as cash.

In view of all the foregoing, we resolve that Chiok’s complaint should be denied insofar as it
prayed for the withdrawal of the proceeds of the subject manager’s and cashier’s checks.
Accordingly, the writ of preliminary prohibitory injunction enjoining Metrobank and Global Bank
from honoring the subject manager’s and cashier’s checks should be lifted.

Since we have ruled that Chiok cannot claim the amounts of the checks from Metrobank and
Global Bank, the issue concerning the setting off of Global Bank’s judgment debt to Chiok with
the outstanding obligations of Chiok is hereby mooted.

RISOS-VIDAL V. COMELEC,
G.R. NO. 206666, JANUARY 21, 2015

FACTS:

On September 12, 2007, the Sandiganbayan convicted former President Estrada, for the crime
of plunder. Accordingly, the accused Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada is hereby
sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua and the accessory penalties of civil
interdiction during the period of sentence and perpetual absolute disqualification. On October
25, 2007, however, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (former President Arroyo)
extended executive clemency, by way of pardon, to former President Estrada.

On October 2, 2012, former President Estrada filed a Certificate of Candidacy for a local elective
post, that of the Mayor of the City of Manila. Risos-Vidal, the petitioner in this case, filed a
Petition for Disqualification against former President Estrada before the COMELEC. Risos-Vidal
anchored her petition on the theory that “[Former President Estrada] is Disqualified to Run for
Public Office because of his Conviction for Plunder by the Sandiganbayan sentencing Him to
Suffer the Penalty of Reclusion Perpetua with Perpetual Absolute Disqualification.” The
COMELEC, dismissed the petition for disqualification declaring categorically that [former
President Estrada’s] right to seek public office has been effectively restored by the pardon
vested upon him by former President Gloria M. Arroyo. Risos-Vidal invoked the Court’s
jurisdiction by filing the present petition.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
of jurisdiction in ruling that former President Estrada is qualified to vote and be voted for in
public office as a result of the pardon granted to him by former President Arroyo.

HELD:

The petition for certiorari lacks merit. Former President Estrada was granted an absolute pardon
that fully restored all his civil and political rights, which naturally includes the right to seek
public elective office, the focal point of this controversy. The wording of the pardon extended to
former President Estrada is complete, unambiguous, and unqualified.

Risos-Vidal theorizes that former President Estrada is disqualified from running for Mayor of
Manila in the May 13, 2013 Elections, and remains disqualified to hold any local elective post
despite the presidential pardon extended to him in 2007 by former President Arroyo for the
reason that it (pardon) did not expressly provide for the remission of the penalty of perpetual
absolute disqualification, particularly the restoration of his (former President Estrada) right to
vote and be voted upon for public office. She invokes Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal
Code as the foundations of her theory.

The proper interpretation of Articles


36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code.

All that the said provisions impart is that the pardon of the principal penalty does not carry with
it the remission of the accessory penalties unless the President expressly includes said
accessory penalties in the pardon. It still recognizes the Presidential prerogative to grant
executive clemency and, specifically, to decide to pardon the principal penalty while excluding
its accessory penalties or to pardon both.

A close scrutiny of the text of the pardon extended to former President Estrada shows that both
the principal penalty of reclusion perpetua and its accessory penalties are included in the
pardon. The first sentence refers to the executive clemency extended to former President
Estrada who was convicted by the Sandiganbayan of plunder and imposed a penalty of reclusion
perpetua. The latter is the principal penalty pardoned which relieved him of imprisonment. The
sentence that followed, which states that “(h)e is hereby restored to his civil and political
rights,” expressly remitted the accessory penalties that attached to the principal penalty of
reclusion perpetua. Hence, even if we apply Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code, it is
indubitable from the text of the pardon that the accessory penalties of civil interdiction and
perpetual absolute disqualification were expressly remitted together with the principal penalty
of reclusion perpetua. The pardon granted to former President Estrada admits no other
interpretation other than to mean that, upon acceptance of the pardon granted to him, he
regained his FULL civil and political rights – including the right to seek elective office.

The third preambular clause of the


pardon did not operate to make the
pardon conditional.

Contrary to Risos-Vidal’s declaration, the third preambular clause of the pardon, i.e.,
“[w]hereas, Joseph Ejercito Estrada has publicly committed to no longer seek any elective
position or office,” neither makes the pardon conditional, nor militate against the conclusion
that former President Estrada’s rights to suffrage and to seek public elective office have been
restored. This is especially true as the pardon itself does not explicitly impose a condition or
limitation, considering the unqualified use of the term “civil and political rights” as being
restored.

Jurisprudence educates that a preamble is not an essential part of an act as it is an introductory


or preparatory clause that explains the reasons for the enactment, usually introduced by the
word “whereas.” Whereas clauses do not form part of a statute because, strictly speaking, they
are not part of the operative language of the statute. In this case, the whereas clause at issue is
not an integral part of the decree of the pardon, and therefore, does not by itself alone operate
to make the pardon conditional or to make its effectivity contingent upon the fulfilment of the
aforementioned commitment nor to limit the scope of the pardon.

Absent any contrary evidence, former President Arroyo’s silence on former President Estrada’s
decision to run for President in the May 2010 elections against, among others, the candidate of
the political party of former President Arroyo, after the latter’s receipt and acceptance of the
pardon speaks volume of her intention to restore him to his rights to suffrage and to hold public
office. However, the statement “[h]e is hereby restored to his civil and political rights,” to the
mind of the Court, is crystal clear – the pardon granted to former President Estrada was
absolute, meaning, it was not only unconditional, it was unrestricted in scope, complete and
plenary in character, as the term “political rights” adverted to has a settled meaning in law and
jurisprudence.

The COMELEC did not commit


grave abuse of discretion amounting
to lack or excess of jurisdiction in
issuing the assailed Resolutions.

In light of the foregoing, contrary to the assertions of Risos-Vidal, the COMELEC did not commit
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed
Resolutions.

The Court has consistently held that a petition for certiorari against actions of the COMELEC is
confined only to instances of grave abuse of discretion amounting to patent and substantial
denial of due process, because the COMELEC is presumed to be most competent in matters
falling within its domain.

As settled in jurisprudence, grave abuse of discretion is the arbitrary exercise of power due to
passion, prejudice or personal hostility; or the whimsical, arbitrary, or capricious exercise of
power that amounts to an evasion or refusal to perform a positive duty enjoined by law or to
act at all in contemplation of law. For an act to be condemned as having been done with grave
abuse of discretion, such an abuse must be patent and gross.

The arguments forwarded by Risos-Vidal fail to adequately demonstrate any factual or legal
bases to prove that the assailed COMELEC Resolutions were issued in a “whimsical, arbitrary or
capricious exercise of power that amounts to an evasion or refusal to perform a positive duty
enjoined by law” or were so “patent and gross” as to constitute grave abuse of discretion.

FORT BONIFACIO DEVELOPMENT CORP. V. COMMR.,


G.R. NO. 175707, NOVEMBER 19, 2014

FACTS:

Petitioner FBDC (petitioner) is a domestic corporation duly registered and existing under
Philippine laws. Its issued and outstanding capital stock is owned in part by the Bases
Conversion Development Authority, a wholly-owned government corporation created by
Republic Act No. 7227 for the purpose of “accelerating the conversion of military reservations
into alternative productive uses and raising funds through the sale of portions of said military
reservations in order to promote the economic and social development of the country in
general.”12 The remaining fifty-five per cent (55%) is owned by Bonifacio Land Corporation, a
consortium of private domestic corporations.13

Respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue is the head of the Bureau of Internal Revenue
(BIR).
It was established before the CTA that petitioner is engaged in the development and sale of real
property. It is the owner of, and is developing and selling, parcels of land within a “newtown”
development area known as the Fort Bonifacio Global City (the Global City), located within the
former military camp known as Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, Metro Manila.15

In May 1996, petitioner commenced developing the Global City, and since October 1996, had
been selling lots to interested buyers.18 At the time of acquisition, value-added tax (VAT) was
not yet imposed on the sale of real properties. Republic Act No. 7716 (the Expanded Value-
Added Tax [E-VAT] Law),19 which took effect on January 1, 1996, restructured the VAT system by
further amending pertinent provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC). Section
100 of the old NIRCwas so amended by including “real properties” in the definition of the term
“goods or properties,” thereby subjecting the sale of “real properties” to VAT.

While prior to Republic Act No. 7716, real estate transactions were not subject to VAT, they
became subject to VAT upon the effectivity of said law. Thus, the sale of the parcels of land by
petitioner became subject to a 10% VAT, and this was later increased to 12%, pursuant to
Republic Act No. 9337.20 Petitioner afterwards became a VAT-registered taxpayer.

The petition in G.R. No. 180035 “seeks to correct the unauthorized limitation of the term ‘real
properties’ to ‘improvements thereon’ by Revenue Regulations 7-95 and the error of the Court
of Tax Appeals and Court of Appeals in sustaining the aforesaid Regulations.”42 This theory of
petitioner is the same for all three cases now before us.

THEORY OF PETITIONER

Petitioner claims that “the 10% value-added tax is based on the gross selling price or gross value
in money of the ‘goods’ sold, bartered or exchanged.”53 Petitioner likewise claims that by
definition, the term “goods” was limited to “movable, tangible objects which is appropriable or
transferable” and that said term did not originally include “real property.”

Republic Act No. 7716 (E-VAT Law, January 1, 1996) expanded the coverage of the original VAT
Law (Executive Order No. 273), specifically Section 100 of the old NIRC. According to petitioner,
while under Executive Order No. 273, the term “goods” did not include real properties, Republic
Act No. 7716, in amending Section 100, explicitly included in the term “goods” “real properties
held primarily for sale to customers or held for lease in the ordinary course of trade or
business.” Consequently, the sale, barter, or exchange of real properties was made subject to a
VAT equivalent to 10% (later increased to 12%, pursuant to Republic Act No. 9337) of the gross
selling price of real properties.

“Goods or properties” refer to all tangible and intangible objects which are capable of pecuniary
estimation and shall include:
1. Real properties held primarily for sale to customers or held for lease in the ordinary course of
trade or business.

THIS COURT’S RULING

As previously stated, the issues here have already been passed upon and resolved by this Court
En Banc twice, in decisions that have reached finality, and we are bound by the doctrine of stare
decisis to apply those decisions to these consolidated cases, for they involve the same facts,
issues, and even parties.

Thus, we find for the petitioner.

DISCUSSION

The Court’s pronouncements in the decided cases regarding these issues are discussed below.
The doctrine of stare decisis et non quieta movere, which means “to abide by, or adhere to,
decided cases,”112 compels us to apply the rulings by the Court to these consolidated cases
before us. Under the doctrine of stare decisis, “when this Court has once laid down a principle
of law as applicable to a certain state of facts, it will adhere to that principle, and apply it to all
future cases, where facts are substantially the same; regardless of whether the parties and
property are the same.”113 This is to provide stability in judicial decisions, as held by the Court
in a previous case:

Stand by the decisions and disturb not what is settled. Stare decisis simply means that for the
sake of certainty, a conclusion reached in one case should be applied to those that follow if the
facts are substantially the same, even though the parties may be different. It proceeds from the
first principle of justice that, absent any powerful countervailing considerations, like cases ought
to be decided alike.114

More importantly, we cannot depart from the legal precedents as laid down by the Court En
Banc. It is provided in the Constitution that “no doctrine or principle of law laid down by the
court in a decision rendered en banc or in division may be modified or reversed except by the
court sitting en banc.”115

What is left for this Court to do is to reiterate the rulings in the aforesaid legal precedents and
apply them to these consolidated cases.
As regards the main issue, the Court conclusively held that petitioner is entitled to the 8%
transitional input tax on its beginning inventory of land, which is granted in Section 105 (now
Section 111[A]) of the NIRC, and granted the refund of the amounts petitioner had paid as
output VAT for the different tax periods in question.116

Rep. Act No. 7716 clarifies that it is the real properties “held primarily for sale to customers or
held for lease in the ordinary course of trade or business” that are subject to the VAT, and not
when the real estate transactions are engaged in by persons who do not sell or lease properties
in the ordinary course of trade or business. It is clear that those regularly engaged in the real
estate business are accorded the same treatment as the merchants of other goods or properties
available in the market. In the same way that a milliner considers hats as his goods and a
rancher considers cattle as his goods, a real estate dealer holds real property, whether or not it
contains improvements, as his goods.

Solidbank Corp. v. Goyu & Sons, Inc.,


G.R. No. 142983, November 26, 2014

FACTS:

Respondent Goyu & Sons, Inc. (GOYU), with individual respondents Go Song Hiap, Betty Chiu
Suk Ying, Ng Ching Kwok, and Yeung Shuk Hing as guarantors (INDIVIDUAL GUARANTORS),
incurred various obligations to SOLIDBANK in connection with the financing of GOYU’s business
as exporter of solid doors. As additional security, GOYU obtained several fire insurance policies
issued by respondent Malayan Insurance Company, Inc. (MICO). GOYU endorsed two of these
policies in favor of SOLIDBANK to answer for all the obligations incurred by GOYU to
SOLIDBANK.

On April 27, 1992, fire gutted one of the buildings of GOYU. GOYU filed a claim for indemnity
with MICO, which was, however, denied by the latter on the ground that the insurance policies
were the subject of writs of attachment issued by various courts or otherwise claimed by other
creditors of GOYU. Respondent-Intervenor Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), one
of GOYU’s creditors, also filed with MICO a claim for the proceeds of GOYU’s insurance policies,
including fire insurance policy numbers F-114-07402 and F-114-07525. RCBC claims that the
insurance policies in question were purchased by GOYU pursuant to the terms and conditions of
the mortgage executed by GOYU to ensure the payment of its obligations with RCBC. MICO
likewise denied RCBC’s claims on the same ground.

On April 6, 1993, GOYU filed against MICO, RCBC, and two RCBC officers a complaint for specific
performance and damages in the RTC of Manila. The complaint was docketed as Civil Case No.
93-65442 and raffled to Branch 3 of said court. The complaint prayed, among other things, that
MICO be ordered to pay GOYU the total amount of P74,040,518.50 representing ten insurance
policies it secured from MICO including fire insurance policy numbers F-114-07402 and F-114-
07525.

In the meantime, SOLIDBANK filed an action for collection of sum of money with prayer for a
writ of preliminary attachment, also with the RTC of Manila, which was docketed as Civil Case
No. 92-62749, and raffled to Branch 14 of said court, against GOYU, the INDIVIDUAL
GUARANTORS with their spouses, and MICO.

In Civil Case No. 93-65442, Branch 3 of the RTC of Manila issued an interlocutory order
requiring the proceeds of GOYU’s ten insurance policies (including fire insurance policy numbers
F-114-07402 and F-114-07525) to be deposited with the said court, less P14,938,080.23 (which
were the subject of writs of attachment from various courts in connection with claims from
GOYU’s other creditors, namely Urban Bank, Alfredo Sebastian, and Philippine Trust Company).
Pursuant thereto, MICO deposited the amount of P50,505,594.60.

The case eventually reached the SC on petitions by RCBC and MICO, which were docketed as
G.R. Nos. 128833, 128834 and 128866. On April 20, 1998, this Court rendered its Decision in
the consolidated cases, reversing the Decision of the Court of Appeals by ordering, among other
things, the Clerk of Court to release the amount of P50,505,594.60 including the interests
earned to RCBC instead of GOYU.

On the other hand, in Civil Case No. 92-62749 , RCBC filed a Motion for Intervention, claiming
that the two insurance policies in question were purchased by GOYU pursuant to the terms and
conditions of the mortgage executed by GOYU to ensure the payment of its obligations with
RCBC. The RTC denied the motion on the ground that RCBC’s rights may be fully protected in a
separate proceeding, in particular, Civil Case No. 93-65442.

The RTC rendered its Decision in favor of SOLIDBANK. It ruled that the endorsements in the two
insurance policies made SOLIDBANK the beneficiary in the said policies.SOLIDBANK then filed a
Motion for Execution against all defendants except MICO. Thereafter, the RTC ordered that “a
writ of execution issue for the enforcement of the Decision with respect to all the defendants
except Malayan.” On the same day, a writ of execution was issued by Sheriff Conrado Bejar of
the RTC of Manila. On February 5, 1996, said sheriff served a Notice of Garnishment to the
Clerk of Court of the RTC of Manila requesting the delivery of the amount of P23,070,730.83 to
said sheriff to be applied to the partial satisfaction of the Writ of Execution issued in Civil Case
No. 92-62749. SOLIDBANK withdrew the amount of P22,493,682.58 as evidenced by the
Disbursement Voucher issued therefor.

ISSUES:

1. Whether or not the intervention of RCBC is proper.


2. Whether or not the implementation of the writ of execution and notice of garnishment
in Civil Case No. 92-62749 by SOLIDBANK’s withdrawal from the amount deposited
pursuant to a court order in Civil Case No. 93-65442 is proper.

RULING:

I.

YES.

RCBC’s right to intervene in CA-G.R. CV No. 51894 (the appeal of Civil Case No. 92-62749) stems
from its right as a party, and now a judgment creditor, in Civil Case No. 93-65442, the case
where the funds executed on was in custodia legis. Accordingly, neither this Court, nor the
lower court (in SOLIDBANK’s proposed remanding of the case), should receive new evidence on
the conflicting rights of SOLIDBANK and RCBC with respect to the insurance proceeds.

II.

NO.

When the proceeds of fire insurance policy numbers F-114-07402 and F-114-07525 were placed
under custodia legis of Branch 3 of the RTC of Manila in Civil Case No. 93-65442 they were
placed under the sole control of such court beyond the interference of all other co-ordinate
courts. We have held that property attached or garnished by a court falls into the custodia
legis of that court for the purposes of that civil case only. Any relief against such attachment
and the execution and issuance of a writ of possession that ensued subsequently could be
disposed of only in that case.

The garnishment of property operates as an attachment and fastens upon the property a lien
by which the property is brought under the jurisdiction of the court issuing the writ. It is
brought into custodia legis, under the sole control of such court. A court which has control of
such property, exercises exclusive jurisdiction over the same, retains all incidents relative to
the conduct of such property. No court, except one having supervisory control or superior
jurisdiction in the premises, has a right to interfere with and change that possession.

In the case at bar, therefore, the order to deposit the proceeds of fire insurance policy numbers
F-114-07402 and F-114-07525 brought the amount garnished into the custodia legis of the
court issuing said order, that is, the RTC of Manila, Branch 3, beyond the interference of all
other co-ordinate courts, such as the RTC of Manila, Branch 14.

The act of the sheriff in Civil Case No. 92-62749 in the case at bar in levying on the deposited
insurance proceeds was a patent nullity.
SOLIDBANK has no right to withdraw from the amount in custodia legis in Civil Case No.
93-65442, not because SOLIDBANK is bound by the judgment therein (which it is not),
but precisely because it is not a party in said case. The property garnished is under the
sole control of the court in Civil Case No. 93-65442 for the purposes of that civil case
only. This is true as long as the property remains in custodia legis in Civil Case No. 93-
65442, regardless of even whether this Court has rendered a Decision in the appeal of
said case.

HEIRS OF MIGUEL V. HEIRS OF MIGUEL,


G.R. NO. 158916, MARCH 19, 2014

Facts:

The petitioners are the surviving children of Cornelio Miguel, while the respondents are the
widow and the children of the petitioners’ own brother, Angel Miguel. Cornelio Miguel was the
registered owner under Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. S–14 of a 93,844 sq.m. parcel of
land situated at Barrio Calero, Puerto Princesa City in Palawan. He had the property subdivided
into ten smaller lots which were designated as Lots A to J of Psd–146880. Cornelio sold nine of
the lots to his children, with Lot G going to his son Angel, predecessor–in–interest of the
respondents in this case. The spouses Cornelio and Nieves were the registered owners of
another property in Calero, Puerto Princesa City with an area of 172,485 sq.m. It was
designated as Lot 2 of Psd–146879 and covered by OCT No. G–211. The land was subsequently
subdivided into nineteen smaller lots.

In a deed of donation dated December 28, 1973, the spouses Cornelio and Nieves donated two
lots to Angel. Angel accepted the donation in the same instrument.

Spl. Proc. No. 444 - On March 25, 1977, Angel filed a petition for the issuance of a new owner’s
duplicate of OCT No. S–14 to replace his father Cornelio’s copy which was allegedly eaten and
destroyed by white ants. After hearing, the trial court granted Angel’s petition.

Civil Case No. 1185 - Subsequently, however, on December 12, 1977, Cornelio filed a complaint
for the annulment of the deed of donation on the alleged ground that one of the properties
subject of the donation, Lot 2–J of Psd–146879, was given the technical description of Lot J of
Psd–146880. On Angel’s motion, it was dismissed in an Order dated January 31, 1986 for lack of
cause of action. In particular, the trial court found that, while the complaint was supposedly
denominated as for the annulment of the donation, the allegations of the complaint were really
for reformation of instrument because it essentially sought the correction or amendment of the
deed of donation to conform to the alleged true intention of the donors to donate Lot 2–J of
Psd–146879 and not Lot J of Psd–146880. However, the complaint failed to allege that the
donation was conditional and the deed of donation attached as an annex of the complaint
showed that no condition was imposed for the donation.

Spl. Civil Action No. 1950 - Angel subsequently applied for the issuance of a certificate of title in
his name over Lot J of Psd–146880 but the Registrar of Deeds of Puerto Princesa City denied it.
Thus, Angel filed a petition for mandamus to compel the Registrar of Deeds to issue a certificate
of title in his favor. After hearing the parties, the trial court issued an Order granting the
petition. In arriving at its Order, the trial court took note of the finality of the Order dated
January 31, 1986 in Civil Case No. 1185. The trial court also ruled that what was donated was
Lot J of Psd–146880 and the mention of “Lot 2–J of Psd–146880” was merely a typographical
error.

Civil Case No. 2735 - On July 7, 1994, petitioners filed a complaint for declaration of nullity of
Angel’s TCT No. 11349. Petitioners claimed that, as the true intention of their parents Cornelio
and Nieves as donors was to donate Lot 2–J of Psd. 146879 and not Lot J of Psd. 146880, the
deed of donation was rendered void by the typographical error relating to the description of the
property. The respondents moved for the dismissal of the complaint. They asserted that the
petitioners’ cause of action is already barred by prior judgment.

Issue:

WON there is res judicata

Ruling: Yes. Under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, res judicata embraces two concepts: (1) bar by
prior judgment as enunciated in Section 47(b) of the said Rule and (2) conclusiveness of
judgment as explained in Section 47(c) of the same Rule. Should identity of parties, subject
matter, and causes of action be shown in the two cases, then res judicata in its aspect as a “bar
by prior judgment” would apply. If as between the two cases, only identity of parties can be
shown, but not identical causes of action, then res judicata as “conclusiveness of judgment”
applies.

For res judicata in the concept of conclusiveness of judgment to apply, identity of cause of
action is not required but merely identity of issues. Identity of issues means that the right, fact,
or matter in issue has previously been either “directly adjudicated or necessarily involved in the
determination of an action” by a competent court.

The primary issue in Civil Case No. 1185 is whether the true intention of the spouses
Cornelio and Nieves as donors was to donate to Angel the property described in the
deed of donation, that is, Lot J of Psd. 146880. The issue in Civil Case No. 1185 is
therefore the identity of one of the properties donated by the spouses Cornelio and
Nieves for which Cornelio and the petitioners sought reformation of the deed of
donation. As stated above, the order of dismissal of the complaint in Civil Case No. 1185
necessarily implied that, as the deed of donation is not subject to reformation, the
identity of the property subject of the donation is the property corresponding to the
technical description, Lot J of Psd. 146880. On the other hand, the subject matter of Civil
Case No. 2735 is the recovery of Lot J of Psd. 146880 on the petitioners’ claim that a
clerical error prevented the deed of donation from conforming to the true intention of
the spouses Cornelio and Nieves as to the identity of the property they intended to
donate to Angel. This boils down to the issue of the true identity of the property, which
has been, as earlier stated, necessarily adjudicated in Civil Case No. 1185. Thus, the
judgment in Civil Case No. 1185 on the issue of the identity of the land donated by
Cornelio and Nieves to Angel is conclusive in Civil Case No. 2735, there being a similarity
of parties in the said cases.