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On 26 November 2001, the undersigned filed a

GAITE (G.R. No. 165276. November 25, 2009) Petition for Review before the Office of President. The petition
was dismissed and the motion for reconsideration was denied
FACTS: Petitioner [Judge Adoracion G. Angeles] was the foster before said forum anchored on Memorandum Circular No. 58
mother of her fourteen (14) year-old grandniece Maria Mercedes which bars an appeal or a petition for review of
Vistan who, in April 1990 was entrusted to the care of the former decisions/orders/resolutions of the Secretary of Justice except
by the girl's grandmother and petitioner's sister Leonila Angeles those involving offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua or
Vda. de Vistan when the child was orphaned at the tender age death.
of four. Petitioner's love for the child extended to her siblings,
particularly her half-brother respondent Michael Vistan, a former
drug-addict, and the latter's family who were regular ISSUE: Was the dismissal of the action filed by petitioner
beneficiaries of the undersigned's generosity. In the evening of correct?
11 April 1999, Michael Vistan had a falling out with petitioner for
his failure to do a very important errand for which he was
severely reprimanded over the phone. He was told that from
then on, no assistance of any kind would be extended to him HELD: No. Petitioner's arguments have no leg to stand on. They
and that he was no longer welcome at petitioner's residence. are mere suppositions without any basis in law. Petitioner
Feeling thwarted, he, in conspiracy with his co-horts retaliated argues in the main that Memorandum Circular No. 58 is an
on 12 April 1999 by inducing his half-sister, Maria Mercedes, to invalid regulation, because it diminishes the power of control of
leave petitioner's custody. the President and bestows upon the Secretary of Justice, a
subordinate officer, almost unfettered power. This argument is
In the evening of that day, 12 April 1999, petitioner, absurd. The President's act of delegating authority to the
accompanied by her friend Ines Francisco, sought Michael Secretary of Justice by virtue of said Memorandum Circular is
Vistan in his residence in Sta. Cruz, Guiguinto, Bulacan to well within the purview of the doctrine of qualified political
confront him about the whereabouts of his half-sister. He agency, long been established in our jurisdiction. The President
disclosed that he brought the girl to the residence of her
himself set the limits of his power to review
maternal relatives in Sta. Monica, Hagonoy, Bulacan. Petitioner
then reported the matter and requested for the assistance of the decisions/orders/resolutions of the Secretary of Justice in order
303rd Criminal Investigation and Detective Group Field Office in to expedite the disposition of cases. Petitioner's argument that
Malolos, Bulacan to locate the girl. Consequently, PO3 Paquito the Memorandum Circular unduly expands the power of the
M. Guillermo and Ruben Fred Ramirez accompanied petitioner Secretary of Justice to the extent of rendering even the Chief
and her friend to Hagonoy, Bulacan where they coordinated with Executive helpless to rectify whatever errors or abuses the
police officers from the said place. The group failed to find the former may commit in the exercise of his discretion is purely
girl. Instead, they were given the run-around as the spouses speculative to say the least.
Ruben and Lourdes Tolentino and spouses Gabriel and Olympia
Nazareno misled them with the false information that Maria Petitioner argues that the evasion of arrest constitutes a
Mercedes was already brought by their brother Carmelito violation of Section 1 (e) of PD No. 1829, the same is quoted
Guevarra and the latter's wife Camilia to Casiguran, Quezon hereunder as follows: (e) Delaying the prosecution of criminal
Province. On 13 April 1999, petitioner filed a complaint for case by obstructing the service of processes or court orders or
Kidnapping under Article 271 of the Revised Penal Code disturbing proceedings in the fiscals' offices in Tanodbayan, or
(Inducing a Minor to Abandon His Home) against Michael in the courts. Specifically, petitioner contends that respondent's
Vistan, the Tolentino spouses, the Nazareno spouses and act of going underground obstructed the service of a court
Guevarra spouses, all maternal relatives of Maria Mercedes
process, particularly the warrant of arrest. This Court does not
agree. There is no jurisprudence that would support the stance
In the early morning of 16 April 1999, Michael Vistan brought taken by petitioner. Notwithstanding petitioner's vehement
Maria Mercedes to the DSWD after he felt himself cornered by objection in the manner the CA had disposed of the said issue,
the police dragnet laid for him. Prompted by his overwhelming this Court agrees with the same. The CA ruled that the position
desire to retaliate against petitioner and get himself off the hook taken by petitioner was contrary to the spirit of the law on
from the kidnapping charge, Michael Vistan had deliberately, "obstruction of justice," As correctly observed by the CA, the
maliciously, selfishly and insensitively caused undue physical, facts of the case, as portrayed by petitioner, do not warrant the
emotional and psychological sufferings to Maria Mercedes filing of a separate information for violation of Section 1 (e) of
Vistan, all of which were greatly prejudicial to her well-being and PD No. 1829. This Court agrees with the CA that based on the
development. Thus, on 1 December 1999, petitioner filed a evidence presented by petitioner, the failure on the part of the
complaint against Michael Vistan before the Office of the arresting officer/s to arrest the person of the accused makes the
Provincial Prosecutor in Malolos, Bulacan for five counts of latter a fugitive from justice and is not equivalent to a
Violation of Section 10 (a), Article VI of RA 7610, otherwise
commission of another offense of obstruction of justice.
known as the Child Abuse Act, and for four counts of Violation
of Sec. 1 (e) of PD 1829. In a Resolution dated March 3, 2000, Petitioner conveniently forgets that it is a basic rule of statutory
Investigating Prosecutor Benjamin R. Caraig recommended construction that penal statutes are to be liberally construed in
upheld (sic) the charge of Violation of RA 7160 but
favor of the accused. Courts must not bring cases within the
recommended that only one Information be filed against Michael
Vistan. The charge of Violation of PD 1829 was dismissed. provision of a law which are not clearly embraced by it. No act
However, Provincial Prosecutor Amando C. Vicente denied the can be pronounced criminal which is not clearly made so by
recommendation of the Investigating Prosecutor that Michael statute; so, too, no person who is not clearly within the terms of
Vistan be indicted for Violation RA 7610. He also approved the a statute can be brought within them. Any reasonable doubt
recommendation for the dismissal of the charge for Violation of must be resolved in favor of the accused.
JACKSON PADIERNOS y QUEJADA, JACKIE ROXAS y 705 is mala prohibita, their intent, motive, or knowledge need not
GERMAN and ROLANDO MESINA y JAVATE vs. PEOPLE be shown. Nevertheless, their defense of denial must fail in view
OF THE PHILIPPINES (G.R. No. 181111. August 17, 2015) of the evidence on record and their own admissions that they
were aware of the truck's involvement in an illegal activity at the
FACTS: The petitioners were charged as accessories to the time that they drove it towards Nueva Ecija.
crime of illegal possession of lumber, in violation of Presidential
Decree (P.D.) No. 705 or the Forestry Reform Code of the
Philippines. According to the Information, the petitioners took
away the truck that carried the lumber to prevent its use as ISSUE: Can petitioners be considered accessories because the
evidence and to avoid its confiscation and forfeiture. DENROs and the police authorities had already discovered the
crime and had, in fact, control over the truck when the petitioners
The presented evidence of the prosecution shows that on drove it towards Nueva Ecija?
November 15, 2002, the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources Officer (DENRO) Felimon Balico (Balico)
approached a truck loaded with lumber, which was parked at a
HELD: Insofar as the petitioners are concerned, the facts
national highway in Dingalan, Aurora (Dingalan). The truck bore
alleged in the Information and the crime proved in the present
the name "JEROME" with Plate No. TFZ-747. Balico requested
case do not make the petitioners liable as accessories for
from the truck driver, Frederico, and the truck helper, Mostera,
violation of P.D. 705. They are, however, liable for violation of
the lumber's supporting documents but they failed to produce
Section 1 (b) of P.D. 1829.
any. Balico reported the matter to SPO4 Ramil Gamboa
(Gamboa) and SPO4 Romulo Derit. Thereafter, he proceeded The controlling charge against the petitioners is not the
to the DENR office to report the incident. The DENRO group allegation that they were accessories to the crime, which is
decided to transfer the truck and the lumber to the police station merely the public prosecutor's conclusion of law or the technical
at Poblacion. They transferred the lumber first from November name of an accused's criminal participation under Article 19 of
15 to November 16, 2002, and left the truck at the national the RPC, but the factual charges against them. In short, their
highway in Dingalan, guarded by the DENROs and some police alleged acts control in defining the crime for which they should
officers. Santiago, who claimed ownership of the truck, 7 agreed stand trial. These material factual allegations pertain to their act
with the DENROs and the police officers to bring the truck to the of conspiring with each other to take and carry away the subject
police station. Santiago gave the truck key to Mesina who truck so that it could not be used as evidence and to avoid its
volunteered to drive the truck; while Padiernos asked Balico confiscation and forfeiture in favor of the government as tool or
where the seized lumbers were. Since the truck was then parked instrument of the crime. Notably, the petitioners had been
opposite the direction to the police station, Balico thought that sufficiently apprised of these factual allegations, against which
Mesina would maneuver the truck so that they could proceed to they should defend themselves. In the present case, the crime
the police station. To their surprise, Mesina increased the truck's punishable under P.D. 705 — the illegal possession of lumber
speed and headed towards the direction of Nueva Ecija, leaving — had already been discovered at the time the petitioners took
behind their two policemen escorts. the truck. This discovery led to the confiscation of the truck and
the loaded lumber on November 15, 2002. The petitioners took
Mesina testified that on November 16, 2002, he was watching
the truck on November 16, 2002, after its confiscation. In these
television with his wife and children when his former employer,
lights, the petitioners are not liable as accessories to the crime
Santiago, arrived and asked him to bring the latter's truck to
charged in the Information as the legal definition of the technical
Cabanatuan City. He refused Santiago's request because he
term "accessories" does not coincide with the factual allegations
knew that the truck had been engaged in illegal activities.
in the Information that serves as the actual criminal charge
Santiago insisted and assured him that he would take care of
against the petitioners.
everything and that there was really no problem with the truck.
Mesina finally agreed and rode in Santiago's car. On reaching P.D. 1829 addresses the necessity of penalizing acts which
the place where the truck was parked, they all alighted from the obstruct or frustrate or tend to obstruct or frustrate the
car and walked towards the back of the truck; Padiernos crossed successful apprehension and prosecution of criminal offenders.
the street. Mesina saw Santiago talk to DENRO Tumagan and The factual allegations in the Information, as duly proved during
several other persons for about 25 to 30 minutes. The petitioners trial, show that the petitioners' acts actually constituted a
unanimously testified that they did not hear people shouting or violation of Section 1 (b) above. First, the Information duly
tapping on the truck to stop them. They also did not notice any alleges all the essential elements of the crime of obstruction of
motorcycle following them as the truck's side mirrors were justice under Section 1 (b). The factual allegations in the
broken. They did not reach Cabanatuan City because the Information clearly charge the accused of taking and carrying
Philippine Army flagged them down. away the truck so that it could not be used as evidence and to
avoid its confiscation and forfeiture in favor of the government
The RTC convicted petitioners Padiernos, Mesina and Roxas as
as a tool or instrument of the crime. Second, the petitioners
accessories to the crime of violation of P.D. 705. The RTC ruled
deliberately took the truck or "suppressed" this particular
that the petitioners had a common design to take away the truck
evidence. The term "suppress" means to subdue or end by
that earlier had been used in violating P.D. No. 705 or the
force. Specifically, the petitioners intentionally suppressed the
Forestry Reform Code. The CA affirmed the RTC's decision and
truck as evidence, with the intent to impair its availability and
adopted its factual findings, but modified the penalty imposed on
prevent its use as evidence in the criminal investigation or
the petitioners. The CA considered the subject truck as an
proceeding for violation of P.D. 705.
"instrument" in the commission of the offense, within the
meaning of Article 19, paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code
(RPC). The CA added that since the petitioners' violation of P.D.
ROGER POSADAS, ROSARIO TORRES-YU, and MARICHU were not being arrested in flagrante delicto. There is no probable
LAMBINO , vs . THE HON. OMBUDSMAN (G.R. No. 131492. cause to charge Posadas, Torres-Yu, Lambino, Bentain and
September 29, 2000) Atty. Villamor of violating Section 1(c) of P.D. 1829. Probable
cause is defined as "sufficient ground to engender a well
FACTS: Dennis Venturina, a member of Sigma Rho at the founded belief that a crime cognizable by the court has been
University of the Philippines, was killed in a rumble between his committed and that the respondents are probably guilty thereof
fraternity and another fraternity on December 8, 1994. In a letter and should be held for trial" (Section 1, Rule 12, Rules of Court).
dated December 11, 1994, petitioner Roger Posadas, then The absence of an arrest warrant, the absence of knowledge or
Chancellor of U.P. Diliman in Quezon City, asked the Director of reasonable ground on the part of the accused to believe that the
the National Bureau of Investigation for assistance in students had committed a crime, the absence of any law
determining the persons responsible for the crime. In response punishing refusal to attend an investigation at the NBI, all show
to the request, respondent Orlando V. Dizon, Chief of the that there is no sufficient ground to charge the accused with
Special Operations Group of the NBI, and his men went to U.P. Obstruction of Justice. On the contrary, the circumstances show
on December 12 and, on the basis of the supposed positive that the accused, in safeguarding the rights of students, were
identification of two alleged eyewitnesses, Leandro Lachica and acting within the bounds of law. Petitioners had a right to prevent
Cesar Mangrobang, Jr., attempted to arrest Francis Carlo the arrest of Taparan and Narag at the time because their
Taparan and Raymundo Narag, officers/members of the Scintilla attempted arrest was illegal. Indeed, they could not have
Juris Fraternity, as suspects in the killing of Venturina. interfered with the prosecution of the guilty parties because in
Petitioners Posadas, Marichu Lambino, and Rosario Torres-Yu, fact petitioner Posadas had asked the NBI for assistance in
also of U.P., and a certain Atty. Villamor, counsel for the investigating the death of Venturina. On the other hand, just
suspects, objected on the ground that the NBI did not have because petitioners had asked for assistance from the NBI did
warrants of arrest with them. Dizon then filed a complaint in the not authorize respondent Dizon and his men to disregard
Office of the Special Prosecutor, charging petitioners Posadas, constitutional requirements.
Torres-Yu, Lambino, Col. Eduardo Bentain, Chief of the Security
Force of the U.P. Police, and Atty. Villamor with violation of P.D.
1829, which makes it unlawful for anyone to obstruct the
apprehension and prosecution of criminal offenders.

Later, on motion of petitioners, the Special Prosecutor's Office

recommended the dismissal of the case. But the
recommendation was disapproved. In a memorandum, dated
September 8, 1997, the Office of the Ombudsman directed the
Special Prosecutor to proceed with the prosecution of petitioners
in the Sandiganbayan.

ISSUE: Whether there was probable cause for prosecuting

petitioners for violation of P.D. No. 1829

HELD: No. There can be no arrest without a warrant as provided

for under Rule 113 Sec. 5 of the ROC, however there are
exceptions. The present case does not fall within the exceptions
as the arresting officers in this case did not witness the crime
being committed. Neither are the students fugitives from justice
nor prisoners who had escaped from confinement. Indeed, at the
time Dennis Venturina was killed, these agents were nowhere
near the scene of the crime. When respondent Dizon and his
men attempted to arrest Taparan and Narag, the latter were not
committing a crime nor were they doing anything that would
create the suspicion that they were doing anything illegal. On the
contrary, Taparan and Narag, under the supervision of the U.P.
police, were taking part in a peace talk called to put an end to
the violence on the campus.

The question is not whether petitioners had reasonable grounds

to believe that the suspects were guilty. The question is whether
the suspects could be arrested even in the absence of a warrant
issued by a court, considering that, as already explained, the
attempted arrest did not fall under any of the cases provided in
Rule 113, §5. Regardless of their suspicion, petitioners could not
very well have authorized the arrest without warrant of the
students or even effected the arrest themselves. Only courts
could decide the question of probable cause since the students