Sie sind auf Seite 1von 84

532 Phil.

414 She consistently declared that she does not love her father and wants him to be
punished for what he did to her.[3]
Dr. Miriam Sta. Romana Guialani of the Philippine National Police (PNP) General
[ G.R. NO. 170236, August 31, 2006 ] Hospital Health Services testified that she received a letter request from the PNP
Crime Laboratory to conduct an examination on Rowena. While she was about to
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, APPELLEE, VS. ROBERTO QUIACHON Y proceed with the forensic interview, she noticed that Rowena was deaf and mute,
 hence, could not verbally communicate her ordeal. Dr. Guialani proceeded to

 conduct a physical examination and, based thereon, she submitted her medico-legal
DECISION report.

CALLEJO, SR., J.: Dr. Guialani, as indicated in her report, found that Rowena had a "contusion
hematoma" on her left cheek, which was compatible with her claim that she was
Appellant Roberto Quiachon was charged with the crime of qualified rape committed slapped by her father. Rowena also had an "ecchymosis" or "kissmark" at the
as follows: antero-lateral border of her left breast as well as ano-genital injuries suggestive of
chronic penetrating trauma.
On or about May 12, 2001, in Pasig City, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the accused, by means of force and intimidation, did then and there willfully, Dr. Guialani explained that although the external genitalia did not show any sign of
unlawfully, and feloniously have sexual intercourse with one Rowena Quiachon y sexual abuse, when it was opened up, the following were discovered: "markedly
Reyes, his daughter, 8 years old, a deaf-mute minor, against her will and consent. hyperemic urethra and peri-hymenal area with fossa navicularis and markedly
hyperemic perineum, markedly hyperemic urethra layer up to the peri-hymenal
Contrary to law.[1] margin up to the posterior hymenal notch with attenuation." Further, the labia was
"very red all throughout, with hymenal notch with attenuation, a pale navicular fossa
The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 120929-H. At his arraignment, and a very red perineum."[4] All these, according to Dr. Guialani, were compatible
appellant, duly assisted by counsel, entered a plea of not guilty. Trial ensued. with the recent chronic penetrating trauma and recent injury which could have
happened a day before the examination. She pointed out that the hymenal
The prosecution presented the following witnesses: Rowel Quiachon, 11-year old attenuation sustained by Rowena was almost in the 6 o'clock notch.[5]
son of appellant; Rowena Quiachon, the victim and appellant's daughter; Dr. Miriam
Sta. Romana Guialani; and SPO2 Noel Y. Venus. For its part, the defense presented the lone testimony of appellant
Roberto Quiachon.
Rowel testified that he is appellant's son. He averred, however, that he no longer
wanted to use his father's surname describing him as "masama" for raping his He testified that, on May 13, 2001, he was invited to the barangay hall by
(Rowel's) sister Rowena. Rowel recounted that he used to sleep in the same their barangay chairman. He did not know then the reason for the invitation. At the
bedroom occupied by his father, sister and youngest sibling. Rowel slept beside his barangay hall, he was surprised to see the two sisters of his deceased live-in partner
youngest sibling while their father, appellant, and Rowena slept together in one bed. and his two children. He was shocked to learn that his daughter Rowena had
accused him of raping her. Thereafter, he was taken to the Karangalan Police
On the night of May 12, 2001, Rowel saw his father on top of his sister Rowena and Station. He suffered hypertension and was brought to the hospital. When he
they were covered by a blanket or "kumot." His father's buttocks were moving up recovered, he was taken to the Pasig City Police Station and, thereafter, to jail.
and down, and Rowel could hear Rowena crying. He could not do anything,
however, because he was afraid of their father. Rowel remained in the room but the Appellant claimed that Rowena is not deaf but only has a minor speech handicap.
following morning, he, forthwith, told his mother's sister Carmelita Mateo, whom he He denied raping Rowena and alleged that Virginia Moraleda and Carmelita Mateo,
called Ate Lita, about what he had witnessed. Together, Carmelita and Rowel went both sisters of his deceased common-law wife, held a grudge against him because
to the police to report what had transpired. During the police investigation, Rowel he abandoned his family and was not able to support them. His common-law wife
executed a sworn statement in Tagalog and signed it using the surname Mateo.[2] died of cancer and her relatives were allegedly all interested in his house and other
properties. The said house was being leased and they were the ones getting the
Rowena, through sign language, testified that her father had sexual intercourse with rental income. Further, the nephew of his deceased partner was sending financial
her and even touched her breasts against her will. She was only eight years old at support of US$100 a month for his child.
the time. She cried when she was asked if she was hurt by what appellant did to her.

1 of 167 2 of 167
According to appellant, even before the death of his common-law wife, his son was motivated by a strong desire to seek justice for the wrong committed against
Rowel was already hostile to him because he was closer to his daughters. He her."[13]
disclaimed any knowledge of any reason why his children, Rowel and Rowena,
accused him of a very serious offense.[6] In sum, the CA found that the trial court correctly found appellant guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of qualified rape and in imposing the supreme penalty
After consideration of the respective evidence of the prosecution and defense, the of death upon him. In the Pre-Trial Order dated September 10, 2001, the
Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 159, rendered its Decision[7] dated prosecution and the defense agreed on the following stipulation of facts:
September 9, 2003, finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
qualified rape defined and penalized under Articles 266-A and B[8] of the Revised 1. The minority of the victim who is eight (8) years old;
Penal Code. The decretal portion of the decision reads:
2. That the accused is the father of the victim; and
WHEREFORE, finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
rape, he is hereby sentenced to suffer the maximum penalty of DEATH, including its 3. The victim is a deaf-mute.[14]
accessory penalties, and to indemnify the offended party in the amount of
P75,000.00 as compensatory damages, PI00,000.00 as moral damages, and According to the CA, the qualifying circumstances of the victim's minority and her
P50,000.00 as exemplary damages. relationship to the offender were alleged in the Information and were duly proved
during trial. These circumstances, i.e., minority of the victim and her relationship to
SO ORDERED.[9] appellant, are special qualifying circumstances in the crime of rape that warrant the
imposition of the supreme penalty of death.
The case was automatically elevated to this Court by reason of the death penalty
imposed on appellant. However, pursuant to our ruling in People v. Mateo,[10] the The CA, however, modified the trial court's decision with respect to the damages
case was transferred and referred to the Court of Appeals (CA). awarded to conform to prevailing jurisprudence. The decretal portion of the CA
decision reads:
Upon review, the CA rendered its Decision[11] dated August 25, 2005, affirming with
modification the decision of the trial court. In affirming appellant's conviction, the CA WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision dated September 9, 2003 of the Regional Trial
held that there was no justification to make a finding contrary to that of the trial court Court of Pasig City, Branch 159, in Criminal Case No. 120929-H finding the
with respect to the credibility of the witnesses. The CA particularly pointed out that accused-appellant Roberto Quiachon y Bayona guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
the trial court, after having "meticulously observed" the prosecution witness Rowel qualified rape and imposing upon him the DEATH penalty is AFFIRMED, with the
and complainant Rowena, had declared that "their narration palpably bears the MODIFICATION that the accused-appellant is also ordered to pay the victim,
earmarks of truth and is in accord with the material points involved. When the Rowena Quiachon, the amount of P75,000 as civil indemnity; P75,000 as moral
testimony of a rape victim is simple and straightforward, unshaken by rigid cross- damages; and P25,000 as exemplary damages.
examination, and unflawed by an inconsistency or contradiction as in the present
case, the same must be given full faith and credit."[12] In accordance with A.M. No. 00-5-03-SC which took effect on October 15, 2004,
amending Section 13, Rule 124 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, let the
Moreover, the CA ruled that the testimonies of Rowel and Rowena recounting the entire records of this case be elevated to the Supreme Court for review.
bestial act perpetrated by appellant on the latter were corroborated by physical
evidence as presented by Dr. Guialani in her medico-legal report. Costs de oficio.

On the other hand, the CA noted that appellant could only proffer a bare denial. On SO ORDERED.[15]
this matter, it applied the salutary rule that denial is not looked upon with favor by the
court as it is capable of easy fabrication. Consequently, the CA held that appellant's In this Court's Resolution dated December 13, 2005, the parties were required to
bare denial could not overcome the categorical testimonies of the prosecution submit their respective supplemental briefs. The Office of the Solicitor General
witnesses, including Rowena, the victim herself. manifested that it would no longer be filing a supplemental brief. Similarly, appellant,
through the Public Attorney's Office, manifested that he would no longer file a
The CA believed that Rowena could not possibly invent a charge so grave as rape supplemental brief.
against her father because "it is very unlikely for any young woman in her right mind
to fabricate a story of defloration against her own father, undergo a medical After a careful review of the records of the case, the Court affirms the conviction of
examination of her private parts, and subject herself to the trauma and scandal of appellant.
public trial, put to shame not only herself but her whole family as well unless she
3 of 167 4 of 167
In reviewing rape cases, this Court has always been guided by three (3) well- URETHA Markedly hyperemic urethra meatus and
entrenched principles: (1) an accusation for rape can be made with facility and while AND periurethral area
the accusation is difficult to prove, it is even more difficult for the person accused, ERIURETHRAL AREA
PERIHYMENAL Markedly hyperemic perihymenal area, and pale
though innocent, to disprove; (2) considering that in the nature of things, only two
AREA fossa navicularis
persons are usually involved in the crime of rape, the testimony of the complainant
should be scrutinized with great caution; and (3) the evidence for the prosecution
must stand or fall on its own merits and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the
HYMEN Tanner 2
weakness of the evidence for the defense.[16] Accordingly, the primordial
Annular hymen; hymenal notch noted at 5 o
consideration in a determination concerning the crime of rape is the credibility of
'clock with attenuation of the hymenal rim from
complainant's testimony.[17]
5 o 'clock to 7 o 'clock; very hyperemic hymen
PERINEUM Hyperemic perineum
Likewise, it is well settled that when it comes to the issue of credibility of witnesses,
DISCHARGE Whitish, foul-smelling discharge, minimal in
the trial court is in a better position than the appellate court to properly evaluate
amount noted
testimonial evidence having the full opportunity to observe directly the witnesses'
deportment and manner of testifying.[18]
ANAL EXAMINATION No evident sign of injury at the time of
In this case, as correctly found by the CA, there is nothing on the record that would examination;
impel this Court to deviate from the well-entrenched rule that appellate courts will
generally not disturb the factual findings of the trial court unless these were reached REMARKS
arbitrarily or when the trial court misunderstood or misapplied some facts of
substance and value which, if considered, might affect the result of the case.[19] FORENSIC EVIDENCE None
LABORATORY Requested a) Urinalysis
In convicting the appellant, the trial court gave full faith and credence to the
EXAMINATION b) Gram Stain of Vaginal smear
testimonies of Rowel and Rowena. The trial court observed that Rowel and Rowena
"never wavered in their assertion that accused sexually abused Rowena. Their
narration palpably bears the earmarks of truth and is in accord with the material IMPRESSIONS
points involved."[20] Further, the trial court accorded great evidentiary weight to
No verbal disclosure of sexual abuse (pt is a deaf-mute)

Rowena's testimony. It justifiably did so as it characterized her testimony to be

"simple, straightforward, unshaken by a rigid cross-examination, and unflawed by
For referral to NCMH for evaluation of developmental stage and competence to appear in
inconsistency or contradiction."[21]

Significantly, Rowel and Rowena's respective testimonies were corroborated by Dr.
Presence of contusion hematoma on the Left Cheek (slapmark) and ecchymosis on the antero-
Guialani's medico-legal report:[22]
lateral border of the left breast show clear evidence of Physical Abuse.

PERTINENT PHYSICAL FINDINGS/ Contusion hematoma about 3x4 cm noted at the
Ano-genital findings suggestive of chronic penetrating trauma.
PHYSICAL INJURIES left mandibular area of the left cheek compatible
with the disclosed slapping of the cheek by her
father; 2x2 cm ecchymosis (kissmark) noted at
Dr. Guialani explained during her testimony that the foregoing findings were
the antero-lateral border of the left breast
consistent with Rowena's claim of sexual abuse. Specifically, her internal genitalia
showed signs of sexual abuse such as: "markedly hyperemic urethra and peri-
ANO-GENITAL EXAMINATION hymenal area with fossa navicularis, markedly hyperemic perineum, markedly
hyperemic urethra layer up to the peri-hymenal margin up to the posterior hymenal
EXTERNAL GENITALIA Tanner 2 notch with attenuation." Further, Rowena's labia was "very red all throughout, with
Pubic hair - none hymenal notch with attenuation, a pale navicular fossa and a very red
Labia majora - no evident sign of injury at the perineum."[23] All these, according to Dr. Guialani, were compatible with the recent
time of examination chronic penetrating trauma and recent injury which could have happened a day
Labia minora - no evident sign of injury at the before the examination. She pointed out that the hymenal attenuation sustained by
time of examination Rowena was almost in the 6 o'clock notch.[24] Dr. Guialani, likewise, confirmed that
Rowena was deaf and mute.
5 of 167 6 of 167
Viewed against the damning evidence of the prosecution, appellant's simple denial Even if the penalty of death is not to be imposed on the appellant because of the
of the charge against him must necessarily fail. The defense of denial is inherently prohibition in R.A. No. 9346, the civil indemnity of P75,000.00 is still proper because,
weak. A mere denial, just like alibi, constitutes a self-serving negative evidence following the ratiocination in People v. Victor,[30] the said award is not dependent on
which cannot be accorded greater evidentiary weight than the declaration of credible the actual imposition of the death penalty but on the fact that qualifying
witnesses who testify on affirmative matters.[25] circumstances warranting the imposition of the death penalty attended the
commission of the offense. The Court declared that the award of P75,000.00 shows
All told, the trial court and the CA correctly found appellant guilty of raping his "not only a reaction to the apathetic societal perception of the penal law and the
daughter Rowena pursuant to Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code. The special financial fluctuations over time but also the expression of the displeasure of the court
qualifying circumstances of the victim's minority and her relationship to appellant, of the incidence of heinous crimes against chastity."
which were properly alleged in the Information and their existence duly admitted by
the defense on stipulation of facts during pre-trial,[26] warrant the imposition of the Notwithstanding the abolition of the death penalty under R.A. No. 9364, the Court
supreme penalty of death on appellant. has resolved, as it hereby resolves, to maintain the award of P75,000.00 for rape
committed or effectively qualified by any of the circumstances under which the death
However, in view of the enactment of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9346[27] on June 24, penalty would have been imposed prior to R.A. No. 9346.
2006 prohibiting the imposition of the death penalty, the penalty to be meted on
appellant is reclusion perpetua in accordance with Section 2 thereof which reads: IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Decision dated August 25, 2005 of the
Court of Appeals finding appellant Roberto Quiachon guilty beyond reasonable
SECTION 2. In lieu of the death penalty, the following shall be imposed: doubt of the crime of qualified rape is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that the
penalty of death meted on the appellant is reduced to reclusion perpetua pursuant to
(a) the penalty of reclusion perpetua, when the law violated makes use of the Republic Act No. 9346.
nomenclature of the penalties of the Revised Penal Code; or
(b) the penalty of life imprisonment, when the law violated does not make use of the
nomenclature of the penalties of the Revised Penal Code. Panganiban, C.J., Puno, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio,
Austria-Martinez, Carpio-Morales, Azcuna, Tinga, Chico-Nazario,
The aforequoted provision of R.A. No. 9346 is applicable in this case pursuant to the Garcia, and Velasco, Jr., JJ., concur.
principle in criminal law, favorabilia sunt amplianda adiosa restrigenda. Penal laws
which are favorable to accused are given retroactive effect. This principle is Corona. J., on leave.
embodied under Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code, which provides as follows:
[1] Information dated May 21, 2001, records, p. 1.
Retroactive effect of penal laws. - Penal laws shall have a retroactive effect insofar
as they favor the persons guilty of a felony, who is not a habitual criminal, as this [2] TSN, September 10, 2001, pp. 10-31.
term is defined in Rule 5 of Article 62 of this Code, although at the time of the
publication of such laws, a final sentence has been pronounced and the convict is [3] TSN, September 17, 2001, pp. 3-5.
serving the same.[28]
[4] TSN, November 12, 2001, pp. 4-14.
However, appellant is not eligible for parole because Section 3 of R.A. No. 9346
[5] Id.
provides that "persons convicted of offenses punished with reclusion perpetua, or
whose sentences will be reduced to reclusion perpetua by reason of the law, shall
[6] TSN, May 20, 2003, pp. 2-10.
not be eligible for parole."
[7] Penned by Judge Rodolfo R. Bonifacio; rollo, pp. 12-25.
With respect to the award of damages, the appellate court, following prevailing
jurisprudence,[29] correctly awarded the following amounts: P75,000.00 as civil
indemnity which is awarded if the crime is qualified by circumstances warranting the The said provision was introduced by Republic Act No. 8353 entitled The Anti-

imposition of the death penalty; P75,000.00 as moral damages because the victim is Rape Law of 1997 which classified rape as a crime against persons. It effectively
assumed to have suffered moral injuries, hence, entitling her to an award of moral repealed Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code.
damages even without proof thereof, and; P25,000.00 as exemplary damages in
light of the presence of the qualifying circumstances of minority and relationship. Article 266-B pertinently reads:

7 of 167 8 of 167
Art. 266-B. Penalties. - Entitled An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines.

Section 1 thereof reads:

SECTION 1. The imposition of the penalty of death is hereby prohibited. Accordingly,
The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of Republic Act No. 8177, otherwise known as the Act Designating Death by Lethal
the following aggravating/qualifying circumstances: Injection is hereby repealed. Republic Act No. 7659, otherwise known as the Death
Penalty Law, and all other laws, executive orders and decrees, insofar as they
1) When the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent, impose the death penalty are hereby repealed or amended accordingly.
ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third
civil degree, or the common law spouse of the parent of the victim. [28]People v. Zervoulakos, G.R. No. 103975, February 23, 1995, 241 SCRA 625,
citing U.S. v. Soliman, 36 Phil. 5(1917).
[29] See, for example, People v. Barcena, G.R. No. 168737, February 26, 2006, p. 15.
[9] Rollo, p. 25.
[30] G.R. No. 127903, July 9, 1998, 292 SCRA 186, 201.
[10] G.R. Nos. 147678-87, July 7, 2004, 433 SCRA 640.

Penned by Associate Justice Amelita Q. Tolentino, with Associate Justices


Roberto A. Barrios and Vicente S.E. Veloso, concurring; rollo, pp. 118-134.
[12] Rollo, p. 127.
[13] Id. at 131, citing People v. Obquia, 430 Phil. 65 (2002).
[14] Id. at 132.
[15] Id. at 133.
[16] People v. Del Mundo, Sr., G.R. No. 132065, April 3, 2001, 356 SCRA 45, 50.
[17] People v. Turco, Jr., 392 Phil. 498, 507 (2000).
[18] People v. Adajio, 397 Phil. 354, 359-360 (2000).
[19] People v. Baygar, 376 Phil. 466, 473 (1999).
[20] Rollo,p. 127.
[21] RTC Decision, p. 10; records, p. 130.
[22] Exhibit "D," id. at 76.
[23] TSN, November 12, 2001, pp. 4-14.
[24] Supra notes 4 and 5.
[25] People v. Geraban, G.R. No. 137048, May 24, 2001, 358 SCRA 213, 223-224.
[26] Rollo, p. 14.

9 of 167 10 of 167
that Mr. de Guzman was disqualified for appointment under Republic Act No. 4864,
the Police Act of 1966, which provides:

"'SEC. 9. General Qualifications of Appointment.– No person shall be appointed to a

205 Phil. 373 local police agency unless he possesses the following qualifications:

... ... ...

FIRST DIVISION "(5) He must have no criminal record.' (SEC. 9[5], Police Act of 1966)"

[ G.R. No. L-31683, January 31, 1983 ] The above finding was based solely on the petitioner’s own answer to question No.
15 in the information sheet:
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSIONER, HON. NORBERTO AMORANTO, AS MAYOR "15. Have you been accused, indicted, or tried for the violation of any law, ordinance,
 or regulation, before any court or tribunal?"

DECISION The answer given by the petitioner was:

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: "Yes. Jaywalking – paid fine P5.50; Municipal O.d. (Mla.) Sect. 1187 (cochero) paid
fine of P5.00."
All persons appointed to positions covered by the civil service law are required by
regulation to accomplish an information sheet on the prescribed form. The On September 7, 1967, the petitioner filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus
information sheet provides in summary outline the personal data, eligibilities, with preliminary mandatory injunction with the Court of First Instance of Rizal,
education, experiences, and other qualifications of the appointee. Included in the Branch V at Quezon City.
information sheet is a query on any criminal records of the applicant, which in later
versions of the prescribed form asks if he has ever been arrested, indicted, or On May 29, 1969, the lower court rendered a decision dismissing the petition.
convicted of any crime or accused in any administrative proceeding. According to the court, the requirement of "no criminal record" means
without any criminal record and makes no distinction whether an act violates a state
The issue in this petition for review is whether or not a person otherwise qualified but law or only a municipal or city ordinance.
who admits having violated a city ordinance on jaywalking and another ordinance
requiring a cocheroto occupy only the seat intended for a cochero in a calesa is The issue posed in this petition is presented by Mr. de Guzman, thus:
disqualified for appointment to the Quezon City Police Force.
"Whether or not violations and/or convictions of municipal ordinances, one, for
Petitioner Ernesto M. de Guzman was appointed patrolman in the Quezon City 'Jaywalking' and the other, Manila Municipal Ordinance No. 1187, prohibiting the
Police Department by Mayor Norberto S. Amoranto on August 16, 1965. He was a cochero from 'occupying any part of the vehicle except the seat reserved for him',
civil service eligible having taken and passed the civil service patrolman's constitute 'CRIMINAL RECORD' to disqualify the petitioner under the Police Act of
examination given on November 24, 1962. He had also passed the usual character 1966 (Rep. Act No. 4864) from appointment to the Quezon City Police Force."
investigation conducted before appointment. As a newly appointed patrolman, the
petitioner went through and successfully completed the police training course. We are constrained to grant the petition.

On March 21, 1966, the petitioner's appointment was forwarded to the The former Civil Service Act, Republic Act No. 2260, as amended, stated in its
Commissioner of Civil Service. On August 18, 1966, or a year after the appointment Section 23 that opportunity for government employment shall be open to all qualified
and with no action on the appointment papers being taken by the respondent citizens and positive efforts shall be exerted to attract the best qualified to enter the
commissioner, the respondents city treasurer and city auditor stopped the payment service. The same policy is reiterated in the Civil Service Decree, Presidential
of the petitioner's salaries. Decree No. 807, at Section 19, which superseded Republic Act No. 2260.

On May 12, 1967, the respondent commissioner returned the petitioner's The requirements for applicants to a policeman's position may be quite stringent but
appointment papers, without action thereon, to the respondent mayor on the ground the basic policy of attracting the best qualified is not served by automatically
excluding any person who in an absent minded mood or while hurrying to an urgent
11 of 167 12 of 167
appointment may unwittingly have crossed a street or stepped down from the curb in certain degree of evil doing, immoral conduct, corruption, malice, or want of
violation of a jaywalking ordinance. The same thing is true of a person who may principles reasonably related to the requirements of the public office.
have worked his way through college as a cochero and, who, pitying his horse
struggling up an incline or a bridge, leaves his seat to stand aft and forward to Automatic and perpetual disqualification of a person who in one unguarded moment
balance the calesa load or who, alone on his way home, sits in the seat intended for threw a cigarrette butt on the street, spat in public, deposited house garbage in a
passengers only to be fined for violating an obscure municipal ordinance. market receptacle for garbage, exceeded the speed limit for vehicles, blew his car
horn near a school or hospital, or, as in this case, jaywalked, and who has paid the
The petitioner cites decisions of American courts in support of his arguments: fine imposed by ordinance as commensurate deterrence for the act, would be
unreasonable, if not oppressive.
"'By weight of authority, the violation of a municipal ordinance, enacted by a city
under legislative authority, as in the case of ordinances prohibiting and punishing Respondent Subido should have gone deeper into the nature of the petitioner's acts
gaming and the keeping of gaming houses, etc., is not a crime, in the proper sense instead of taking every "Yes" answer in Question 15 of the information sheet as an
of the term, for such ordinances are not public laws, and the punishment for their automatic disqualification. Under Rule VI of the Civil Service Rules and Regulations,
violation is imposed by the state.' (Withers v. State, 36 Ala. 252; City of Greely v. the respondent commissioner had 180 days from receipt of the appointment papers
Hamman, 12 Cole. 94, 20 Pac. 1; Williams v. Augusta, 4 Ga. 509) as cited on p. 7, to act on them. Inaction means the appointment is approved as properly made. The
Francisco's Revised Penal Code, Book One, 3rd Edition." papers were returned more than a year by the commissioner after he received them.
The appointment, not having any defect of record except the matter in issue in this
... ... ... case, must be deemed complete and properly made after the 180 days period. The
termination of the petitioner's services was, therefore, an illegal and invalid removal.
"'The common-law definition of a 'crime' as given by Blackstone, is 'an act committed The petitioner should be reinstated, assuming he meets the physical and other
or omitted in violation of a public law,' . . . giving the accused the right to be heard in requirements of the Integrated National Police under the new legislation and
all 'criminal prosecutions' relates exclusively to prosecution for violation of public procedures governing police forces. In addition to being paid any salaries for
laws of the state, and a city ordinance is not a public law of the state, but a local law services actually rendered but not paid, the petitioner, following the formula in cases
of the particular corporation, made for its internal practice and good government. of illegal dismissals is entitled to five years backpay (Cristobal v. Melchor, 78 SCRA
(Castillo [should be Costelo] v. Feagin, 50 South 134, 135, 162 Ala. 191)" 175, 187).

There are other federal decisions which state that prosecutions to enforce penalties WHEREFORE, the decision of the court a quo is set aside. The Integrated National
for violations of municipal ordinances are not criminal prosecutions and the offenses Police and the respondent officials are directed to reinstate the petitioner to the
against these ordinances are not criminal cases. (City of Mobile v. McCown Oil Co., Quezon City Police Force provided he meets the age, physical, and other
148 So. 402, 405; City of Mankato v. Arnold, 30 N. W. 305, 306; Village of qualifications and eligibilities for patrolman under present legislation and rules. The
Litchville v. Hanson, 124 N. W. 1119, 1120). city government of Quezon City and the incumbent Mayor, Treasurer, and Auditor of
the city are ordered to pay the petitioner any unpaid salaries and allowances for
We do not go so far as to sustain the arguments that only violations of statutes services actually rendered and five years backpay from the date his services were
enacted by the national legislature can give rise to "crimes" or "a criminal record" as actually terminated.
these terms are used in our law on local governments or the law of public officers.
However, we take cognizance of the distinction in the law of municipal corporations SO ORDERED.
which distinguishes between acts not essentially criminal relating to municipal
regulations for the promotion of peace, good order, health, safety, and comfort of Teehankee (Chairman), Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Vasquez and Relova, JJ., concur.
residents and acts intrinsically punishable as public offenses. (See cases cited in
Dillon, A Treatise On The Law of Municipal Corporations, Vol. II, 5th Edition,
Sections 745, 746, and 749.) A penalty imposed for the breach of a municipal
regulation is not necessarily an exercise of the sovereign authority, to define crimes
and provide for their punishment, delegated to a local government. In many cases,
the penalty is merely intended not to render the ordinance inoperative or useless.

The phrase "criminal record" governing qualifications for appointments could not
have been intended by the legislature to automatically cover every violation of a
municipal or city ordinance carrying a sanction of a nominal fine to enforce it. A
violation of a municipal ordinance to qualify as a "crime" must involve at least a
13 of 167 14 of 167
The accused having been brought before the court, the prosecuting attorney being
present on behalf of the Government, counsel for the defendants presented a
demurrer, alleging that the Court of First Instance was without jurisdiction to try the
crime charged, inasmuch as it appeared from the information that the crime was
committed on the high seas, and not in the city of Manila, or within the territory
comprising the Bay of Manila, or upon the seas within the 3-mile limit to which the
jurisdiction of the court extends, and asked, upon these grounds, that the case be

This contention was opposed by the prosecuting attorney, who alleged that the court
has original jurisdiction in all criminal cases in which the penalty exceeds six month's
imprisonment, or a fine of over $100; that, in accordance with the orders of the
Military Governor and the Civil Commission admiralty jurisdiction over all crimes
committed on board vessels flying the flag of the United States has been vested in
the Courts of First Instance of the city of Manila. Among other laws and orders he
cited the order of August 14, 1898, and Acts Nos. 76 and 186 of the United States
Civil Commission. He argued that the President of the United States had
unquestionable authority to authorize the commanding general and the Civil
Commission to establish a judicial system with authority to take cognizance of
maritime and admiralty causes, citing a decision of the Supreme Court of the United
States in support of this doctrine, which was applicable to this Archipelago, which is
now analogous to the status of some of the States of the Union during the Mexican
war and the war of secession.

The judge, however, by an order of the 14th of September, 1901, held that the court
was without jurisdiction to try the accused for the theft alleged to have been
committed on the high seas, sustained the demurrer, and ordered the discharge of
the defendants, with the costs to the Government. Against this order the prosecuting
attorney appealed, and the case was brought before this court.
1 Phil. 614
This case deals with a theft committed on board a transport while navigating the high
[ G.R. No. 496, December 31, 1902 ] seas. Act No. 136 of the organic law, as well as Act No, 186 passed by the Civil
Commission, and which repealed the former law, Act No. 76, do not expressly confer
THE UNITED STATES., COMPLAINANT AND APPELLANT, VS. jurisdiction or authority upon this court to take cognizance of all crimes committed on
 board vessels on the high seas. While the provisions of the law are clear and precise

 with respect to civil admiralty or maritime cases, this is not true with respect to
DECISION criminal cases. If any doubt could arise concerning the true meaning of the law
applicable to the case, Act No. 400 effectively dissipates such doubts.
This law, which is an addition to Act No. 136, by which the courts of justice of the
The two defendants have been accused of the theft of sixteen bottles of champagne Philippine Islands were organized, in article 1 adds to article 56, consisting of seven
of the value of $20, on the 12th August, 1901, while on board the transport Lawton, paragraphs, another paragraph numbered 8, which reads as follows: "Of all crimes
then navigating the high seas, which said bottles of champagne formed part of the and offenses committed on the high seas or beyond the jurisdiction of any country,
cargo of the said vessel and were the property of Julian Lindsay, and which were or within any of the navigable waters of the Philippine Archipelago, on board a ship
taken lucri causa, and with the intent to appropriate the same, without violence or or water craft of any kind registered or licensed in the Philippine Islands in
intimidation, and without the consent of the owner, against the statute in the case accordance with the laws thereof." The purpose of this law was to define the
made and provided. jurisdiction of the Courts of First Instance in criminal cases for crimes committed on
board vessels registered or licensed in the Philippine Islands. The transport Lawton

15 of 167 16 of 167
not being a vessel of this class, our courts are without jurisdiction to take cognizance the house except the two servants, who jointly occupied a small room toward the
of a crime committed on board the same. rear of the building, the door of which opened upon a narrow porch running along
the side of the building, by which communication was had with the other part of the
Upon these grounds we consider that the order appealed should be affirmed, with house. This porch was covered by a heavy growth of vines for its entire length and
the costs de oficio. So ordered. height. The door of the room was not furnished with a permanent bolt or lock, and
the occupants, as a measure of security, had attached a small hook or catch on
Arellano, C. J., Cooper, Smith, Willard, Mapa, and Ladd, JJ., concur. the inside of the door, and were in the habit of reinforcing this somewhat insecure
means of fastening the door by placing against it a chair. In the room there was
but one small window, which, like the door, opened on the porch. Aside from the
door and window, there were no other openings of any kind in the room.

On the night of August 14, 1908, at about 10 o'clock, the defendant, who had retired
for the night, was suddenly awakened by someone trying to force open the door of
the room. He sat up in bed and called out twice, "Who is there?" He heard no
answer and was convinced by the noise at the door that it was being pushed open
by someone bent upon forcing his way into the room. Due to the heavy growth of
vines along the front of the porch, the room was very dark, and the defendant,
fearing that the intruder was a robber or a thief, leaped to his feet and called out. "If
you enter the room, I will kill you." At that moment he was struck just above the
knee by the edge of the chair which had been placed against the door. In the
darkness and confusion the defendant thought that the blow had been inflicted by
the person who had forced the door open, whom he supposed to be a burglar,
though in the light of after events, it is probable that the chair was merely thrown
15 Phil. 488 back into the room by the sudden opening of the door against which it rested.
Seizing a common kitchen knife which he kept under his pillow, the defendant struck
[ G.R. No. 5272, March 19, 1910 ] out wildly at the intruder who, it afterwards turned out, was his roommate,
Pascual. Pascual ran" out upon the porch and fell down on the steps in a
THE UNITED STATES, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLEE, VS. AH CHONG, desperately wounded condition, followed by the defendant, who immediately
 recognized him in the moonlight. Seeing that Pascual was wounded, he called to his

 employers who slept in the next house, No. 28, and ran back to his room to secure
DECISION bandages to bind up Pascual's wounds.

CARSON, J.: There had been several robberies in Fort McKinley not long prior to the date of the
incident just described, one of which took place in a house in which the defendant
The evidence as to many of the essential and vital facts in this case is limited to the was employed as cook; and as defendant alleges, it was because of these repeated
testimony of the accused himself, because from the very nature of these facts and robberies he kept a knife under his pillow for his personal protection.
from the circumstances surrounding the incident upon which these proceedings
rest, no other evidence as to these facts was available either to the prosecution or The deceased and the accused, who roomed together and who appear to have
to the defense. We think, however, that, giving the accused the benefit of the doubt been on friendly and amicable terms prior to the fatal incident, had an understanding
as to the weight of the evidence touching those details of the incident as to which that when either returned at night, he should knock at the door and acquaint his
there can be said to be any doubt, the following statement of the material facts companion with his identity. Pascual had left the house early in the evening and
disclosed by the record may be taken to be substantially correct: gone for a walk with his friends, Celestino Quiambao and Mariano Ibanez, servants
employed at officers' quarters No. 28, the nearest house to the mess hall. The three
The defendant, Ah Chong, was employed as a cook at "Officers' quarters, No. 27," returned from their walk at about 10 o'clock, and Celestino and Mariano stopped at
Fort McKinley, Rizal Province, and at the same place Pascual Gualberto, their room at No. 28, Pascual going on to his room at No. 27. A few moments after
deceased, was employed as a house boy or muchacho. "Officers' quarters No. 27" the party separated, Celestino and Mariano heard cries for assistance and upon
is a detached house situated some 40 meters from the nearest building, and in returning to No. 27 found Pascual sitting on the back steps fatally wounded in the
August, 1908, was occupied solely as an officers' mess or club. No one slept in

17 of 167 18 of 167
stomach, whereupon one of them ran back to No. 28 and called Lieutenants Jacobs But the evidence clearly discloses that the intruder was not a thief or a "ladron."
and Healy, who immediately went to the aid of the wounded man. That neither the defendant nor his property nor any of the property under his charge
was in real danger at the time when he struck the fatal blow. That there was no
The defendant then and there admitted that he had stabbed his roommate, but such "unlawful aggression" on the part of a thief or "ladron" as defendant believed
said that he did it under the impression that Pascual was "a ladron" because he he was repelling and resisting, and that there was no real "necessity" for the use of
forced open the door of their sleeping room, despite defendant's warnings. the knife to defend his person or his property or the property under his charge.

No reasonable explanation of the remarkable conduct on the part of Pascual The question then squarely presents itself, whether in this jurisdiction one can be
suggests itself, unless it be that the boy in a spirit of mischief was playing a trick held criminally responsible who, by reason of a mistake as to the facts, does an act
on his Chinese roommate, and sought to frighten him by forcing his way into the for which he would be exempt from criminal liability if the facts were as he supposed
room, refusing to give his name or say who he was, in order to them to be, but which would constitute the crime of homicide or assassination if the
make Ah Chong believe that he was being attacked by a robber. actor had known the true state of the facts at the time when he committed the act. To
this question we think there can be but one answer, and we hold that under such
Defendant was placed under arrest forthwith, and Pascual was conveyed to the circumstances there is no criminal liability, provided always that the alleged
military hospital, where he died from the effects of the wound on the following day. ignorance or mistake of fact was not due to negligence or bad faith.

The defendant was charged with the crime of assassination, tried, and found guilty In broader terms, ignorance or mistake of fact, if such ignorance or mistake of fact is
by the trial court of simple homicide, with extenuating circumstances, and sentenced sufficient to negative a particular intent which under the law is a necessary
to six years and one day presidio mayor, the minimum penalty prescribed by law. ingredient of the offense charged (e. g., in larceny, animus furendi; in murder,
malice; in crimes and misdemeanors generally some degree of criminal intent)
At the trial in the court below the defendant admitted that he killed his roommate, "cancels the presumption of intent," and works an acquittal; except in those cases
Pascual Gualberto, but insisted that he struck the fatal blow without any intent to do where the circumstances demand a conviction under the penal provisions
a wrongful act, in the exercise of his lawful right of self-defense. touching criminal negligence; and in cases where, under the provisions of article 1 of
the Penal Code one voluntarily committing a crime or misdemeanor incurs criminal
Article 8 of the Penal Code provides that - liability for any wrongful act committed by him, even though it be different from that
which he intended to commit. (Wharton's Criminal Law, sec. 87 and cases cited;
"The following are not delinquent and are therefore exempt from criminal liability: McClain's Crim. Law, sec. 133 and cases cited; Pettit vs. S., 28 Tex. Ap., 240;
Commonwealth vs. Power, 7 Met., 596; Yates vs. People, 32 N. Y., 509; Isham vs.
"4. He who acts in defense of his person or rights, provided there are the following State, 38 Ala., 213; Commonwealth vs. Rogers, 7 Met., 500.)
attendant circumstances:
The general proposition thus stated hardly admits of discussion, and the only
"(1) Illegal aggression. question worthy of consideration is whether malice or criminal intent is an essential
element or ingredient of the crimes of homicide and assassination as defined and
"(2) Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it.
penalized in the Penal Code. It has been said that since the definitions there
given of these as well as most other crimes and offenses therein defined, do not
"(3) Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself."
specifically and expressly declare that the acts constituting the crime or offense
Under these provisions we think that there can be no doubt that defendant would be must be committed with malice or with criminal intent in order that the actor may be
entitled to complete exemption from criminal liability for the death of the victim of his held criminally liable, the commission of the acts set out in the various definitions
fatal blow, if the intruder who forced open the door of his room had been in fact a subjects the actor to the penalties described therein, unless it appears that he is
dangerous thief or "ladron," as the defendant believed him to be. No one, under exempted from liability under one or other of the express provisions of article 8 of
such circumstances, would doubt the right of the defendant to resist and repel such the code, which treats of exemptions. But while it is true that contrary to the
an intrusion, and the thief having forced open the door notwithstanding defendant's general rule of legislative enactment in the United States, the definitions of crimes
thrice-repeated warning to desist, and his threat that he would kill the intruder if he and offenses as set out in the Penal Code rarely contain provisions expressly
persisted in his attempt, it will not be questioned that in the darkness of the night, declaring that malice or criminal intent is an essential ingredient of the crime,
in a small room, with no means of escape, with the thief advancing upon him despite nevertheless, the general provisions of article 1 of the code clearly indicate that
his warnings, defendant would have been wholly justified in using any available malice, or criminal intent in some form, is an essential requisite of all crimes and
weapon to defend himself from such an assault, and in striking promptly, without offenses therein defined, in the absence of express provisions modifying the
waiting for the thief to discover his whereabouts and deliver the first blow. general rule, such as are those touching liability resulting from acts negligently or

19 of 167 20 of 167
imprudently committed, and acts done by one voluntarily committing a crime or "In fact, it is sufficient to remember the first article, which declares that where
misdemeanor, where the act committed is different from that which he intended there is no intention there is no crime * * * in order to affirm, without fear of
to commit. And it is to be observed that even these exceptions are more apparent mistake, that under our code there can be no crime if there is no act, an act which
than real, for "There is little distinction, except in degree, between a will to do a must fall within the sphere of ethics if there is no moral injury." (Vol. 2, The Criminal
wrongful thing and indifference whether it is done or not. Therefore carelessness is Law, folio 169.)
criminal, and within limits supplies the place of the affirmative criminal intent"
(Bishop's New Criminal Law, vol. 1, s. 313) ; and, again, "There is so little And to the same effect are various decisions of the supreme court of Spain, as, for
difference between a disposition to do a great harm and a disposition to do harm example in its sentence of May 31, 1882, in which it made use of the following
that one of them may very well be looked upon as the measure of the other. Since, language:
therefore, the guilt of a crime consists in the disposition to do harm, which the
criminal shows by committing it, and since this disposition is greater or less in "It is necessary that this act, in order to constitute a crime, involve all the malice
proportion to the harm which is done by the crime, the consequence is that the guilt which is supposed from the operation of the will and an intent to cause the
of the crime follows the same proportion; it is greater or less according as the injury which may be the object of the crime."
crime in its own nature does greater or less harm" (Ruth. Ints. C. 18, p. 11); or, as
it has been otherwise stated, the thing done, having proceeded from a corrupt mind, And again in its sentence of March 16, 1892, wherein it held that "considering that,
is to be viewed the same whether the corruption was of one particular form or whatever may be the civil effects of the inscription of his three sons, made by the
another. appellant in the civil registry and in the parochial church, there can be no crime
because of the lack of the necessary element or criminal intention, which
Article 1 of the Penal Code is as follows: characterizes every action or omission punished by law; nor is he guilty of criminal
"Crimes or misdemeanors are voluntary acts and omissions punished by law.
And to the same effect in its sentence of December 30, 1896, it made use of the
"Acts and omissions punished by law are always presumed to be voluntary unless following language:
the contrary shall appear.
" * * * Considering that the moral element of the crime, that is, intent or malice or
"Any person voluntarily committing a crime or misdemeanor shall incur criminal their absence in the commission of an act denned and punished by law as criminal,
liability, even though the wrongful act committed be different from that which he had is not a necessary question of fact submitted to the exclusive judgment and decision
intended to commit." of the trial court."

The celebrated Spanish jurist Pacheco, discussing the meaning of the word That the author of the Penal Code deemed criminal intent or malice to be an
"voluntary" as used in this article, says that a voluntary act is a free, intelligent, and essential element of the various crimes and misdemeanors therein defined
intentional act, and roundly asserts that without intention (intention to do wrong or becomes clear also from an examination of the provisions of article 568, which are
criminal intention) there can be no crime; and that the word "voluntary" implies and as follows:
includes the words "con malicia," which were expressly set out in the definition of the
word "crime" in the code of 1822, but omitted from the code of 1870, because, as "He who shall execute through reckless negligence an act that, if done with malice,
Pacheco insists, their use in the former code was redundant, being implied and would constitute a grave crime, shall be punished with the penalty of arresto
included in the word "voluntary." (Pacheco, Codigo Penal, vol. 1, p. 74.) mayor in its maximum degree, to prision correccional in its minimum degree, and
with arresto mayor in its minimum and medium degrees if it shall constitute a less
Viada, while insisting that the absence of intention to commit the crime can only be grave crime.
said to exempt from criminal responsibility when the act which was actually intended
to be done was in itself a lawful one, and in the absence of negligence or "He who in violation of the regulations shall commit a crime through simple
imprudence, nevertheless admits and recognizes in his discussion of the imprudence or negligence shall incur the penalty of arresto mayor in its medium
provisions of this article of the code that in general without intention there can be no and maximum degrees.
crime. (Viada, vol. 1, p. 16.) And, as we have shown above, the exceptions
insisted upon by Viada are more apparent than real. "In the application of these penalties the courts shall proceed according to their
discretion, without being subject to the rules prescribed in article 81.
Silvela, in discussing the doctrine herein laid down, says:
"The provisions of this article shall not be applicable if the penalty prescribed for the
crime is equal to or less than those contained in the first paragraph thereof, in
21 of 167 22 of 167
which case the courts shall apply the next one thereto in the degree which they may reumnisi mens sit rea, 'the act itself does not make a man guilty unless his intention
consider proper." were so;' Actus me invito factus non est meus actus, 'an act done by me against my
will is not my act;' and others of the like sort. In this, as just said, criminal
The word "malice" in this article is manifestly substantially equivalent to the words jurisprudence differs from civil. So also -
"criminal intent," and the direct inference from its provisions is that the commission
of the acts contemplated therein, in the absence of malice (criminal intent), "Moral science and moral sentiment teach the same thing. 'By reference to the
negligence, and imprudence, does not impose any criminal liability on the actor. intention, we inculpate or exculpate others or ourselves without any respect to the
happiness or misery actually produced. Let the result of an action be what it may,
The word "voluntary" as used in article 1 of the Penal Code would seem to we hold a man guilty simply on the ground of intention; or, on the same ground, we
approximate in meaning the word "willful" as used in English and American statutes hold him innocent.' The calm judgment of mankind keeps this doctrine among its
to designate a form of criminal intent. It has been said that while the word "willful" jewels. In times of excitement, when vengeance takes the place of justice, every
sometimes means little more than intentionally or designedly, yet it is more guard around the innocent is cast down. But with the return of reason comes the
frequently understood to extend a little further and approximate the idea of the public voice that where the mind is pure, he who differs in act from his neighbors
milder kind of legal malice; that is, it signifies an evil intent without justifiable does not offend. And -
excuse. In one case it was said to mean,, as employed in a statute in
contemplation, "wantonly" or "causelessly;" in another, "without reasonable grounds "In the spontaneous judgment which springs from the nature given by God to
to believe the thing lawful." And Shaw, C. J., once said that ordinarily in a man, no one deems another to deserve punishment for what he did from an upright
statute it means "not merely 'voluntarily' but with a bad purpose; in other words, mind, destitute of every form of evil. And whenever a person is made to suffer a
corruptly." In English and the American statutes defining crimes "malice," punishment which the community deems hot his due, so far from its placing an evil
"malicious," "maliciously," and "malice aforethought" are words indicating intent, mark upon him, it elevates him to the seat of the martyr. Even infancy itself
more purely technical than "willful" or "willfully," but "the difference between them is spontaneously pleads the want of bad intent in justification of what has the
not great;" the word "malice" not often being understood to require general appearance of wrong, with the utmost confidence that the plea, if its truth is
malevolence toward a particular individual, and signifying rather the intent from credited, will be accepted as good. Now these facts are only the voice of nature
which flows any unlawful and injurious act committed without legal justification. uttering one of her immutable truths. It is, then, the doctrine of the law, superior to
(Bishop's New Criminal Law, vol. 1, sees. 428 and 429, and cases cited.) all other doctrines, because first in nature from which the law itself proceeds, that no
man is to be punished as a criminal unless his intent is wrong." (Bishop's New
But even in the absence of express words in a statute, setting out a condition in Criminal Law, vol. 1, sees. 286 to 290.)
the definition of a crime that it be committed "voluntarily," "willfully," "maliciously,"
"with malice aforethought," or in one of the various modes generally construed to Compelled by necessity, "the great master of all things," an apparent departure from
imply a criminal intent, we think that reasoning from general principles it will always this doctrine of abstract justice results from the adoption of the arbitrary rule
be found that, with the rare exceptions hereinafter mentioned, to constitute a crime that Ignorantia juris non excusat ("Ignorance of the law excuses no man"), without
evil intent must combine with an act. Mr. Bishop, who supports his position with which justice could not be administered in our tribunals; and compelled also by the
numerous citations from the decided cases, thus forcefully presents this doctrine: same doctrine of necessity, the courts have recognized the power of the legislature
to forbid, in a limited class of cases, the doing of certain acts, and to make their
"In no one thing does criminal jurisprudence differ more from civil than in the rule as commission criminal without regard to the intent of the doer. Without discussing
to the intent. In controversies between private parties the quo animo with which a these exceptional cases at length, it is sufficient here to say that the courts have
thing was done is sometimes important, not always; but crime proceeds only from a always held that unless the intention of the lawmaker to make the commission of
criminal mind. So that - certain acts criminal without regard to the intent of the doer is clear and beyond
question the statute will not be so construed (cases cited in Cyc, vol. 12, p. 158,
"There can be no crime, large or small, without an evil mind. In other words, notes 76 and 77) ; and the rule that ignorance of the law excuses no man has been
punishment is the sequence of wickedness, without which it can not be. And said not to be a real departure from the law's fundamental principle that crime
neither in philosophical speculation nor in religious or moral sentiment would any exists only where the mind is at fault, because "the evil purpose need not be to
people in any age allow that a man should be deemed guilty unless his mind was break the law, and it suffices if it is simply to do the thing which the law in fact
so. It is therefore a principle of our legal system, as probably it is of every other, forbids." (Bishop's New Criminal Law, sec. 300, and cases cited.)
that the essence of an offense is the wrongful intent, without which it can not exist.
We find this doctrine confirmed by - But, however this may be, there is no technical rule, and no pressing necessity
therefor, requiring mistake in fact to be dealt with otherwise than in strict accord
"Legal maxims. - The ancient wisdom of the law, equally with the modern, is distinct with the principles of abstract justice. On the contrary, the maxim here is Ignorantia
on this subject. It consequently has supplied to us such maxims as Actus non facit
23 of 167 24 of 167
facti excusat ("Ignorance or mistake in point of fact is, in all cases of supposed Parsons, C. J., in the Massachusetts court, once said: "If the party killing had
offense, a sufficient excuse"). (Brown's Leg. Max., 2d ed., 190.) reasonable grounds for believing that the person slain had a felonious design
against him, and under that supposition killed him, although it should afterwards
Since evil intent is in general an inseparable element in every crime, any such appear that there was no such design, it will not be murder, but it will be either
mistake of fact as shows the act committed to have proceeded from no sort of evil manslaughter or excusable homicide, according to the degree of caution used and
in the mind necessarily relieves the actor from criminal liability, provided always the probable grounds of such belief." (Charge to the grand jury in Self ridge's
there is no fault or negligence on his part; and as laid down by Baron Parke, "The case, Whart. Horn., 417, 418, Lloyd's report of the case, p. 7.)
guilt of the accused must depend on the circumstances as they appear to him."
(Reg. vs. Thurborn, 1 Den. C. C, 387; P. vs. Anderson, 44 Cal., 65; P. vs. Lamb, 54 In this case, Parker, J., charging the petit jury, enforced the doctrine as follows:
Barb., 342; Yates vs. P., 32 N. Y., 509; Patterson vs. P., 46 Barb., 625;.
Reg. vs. Cohen, 8 Cox C. C, 41; P. vs. Miles, 55 Cal., 207, 209; Nalley vs. S., 28 "A, in the peaceable pursuit of his affairs, sees B rushing rapidly toward him, with an
Tex. Ap., 387.) That is to say, the question as to whether he honestly, in good outstretched arm and a pistol in his hand, and using violent menaces against his
faith, and without fault or negligence fell into the mistake is to be determined by the life as he advances. Having approached near enough in the same attitude, A, who
circumstances as they appeared to him at the time when the mistake was made, has a club in his hand, strikes B over the head before or at the instant the pistol is
and the effect which the surrounding circumstances might reasonably be expected discharge; and of the wound B dies. It turns out the pistol was loaded with powder
to have on his mind, in forming the intent, criminal or otherwise, upon which he only, and that the real design of B was only to terrify A. Will any reasonable man say
acted. that A is more criminal than he would have been if there had been a bullet in the
pistol? Those who hold such doctrine must require that a man so attacked must,
"If, in language not uncommon in the cases, one has reasonable cause to before he strikes the assailant, stop and ascertain how the pistol is loaded - a
believe the existence of facts which will justify a killing - or, in terms more, nicely in doctrine which would entirely take away the essential right of self- defense. And
accord with the principles on which the rule is founded, if without fault or when it is considered that the jury who try the cause, and not the party killing,.are to
carelessness he does believe them - he is legally guiltless of the homicide; though judge of the reasonable grounds of his apprehension, no danger can be supposed
he mistook the facts, and so the life of an innocent person is unfortunately to flow from this principle." (Lloyd's Rep., p. 160.)
extinguished. In other words, and with reference to the right of self-defense and the
not quite harmonious authorities, it is the doctrine of reason, and sufficiently To the same effect are various decisions of the supreme court of Spain, cited by
sustained in adjudication, that notwithstanding some decisions apparently adverse, Viada, a few of which are here set out in full because the facts are somewhat
whenever a man undertakes self-defense, he is justified in acting on the facts as analogous to those in the case at bar.
they appear to him. If, without fault or carelessness, he is misled concerning them,
and defends himself correctly according to what he thus supposes the facts to be, "Question III. When it is shown that the accused was sitting at his hearth, at night,
the law will not punish him though they are in truth otherwise, and he has really no in company only of his wife, without other light than that reflected from the fire, and
occasion for the extreme measure." (Bishop's New Criminal Law, sec. 305, and that the man with his back to the door was attending to the fire, there suddenly
large array of cases there cited.) entered a person whom he did not see or know, who struck him one or two blows,
producing a contusion on the shoulder, because of which he turned, seized the
The common illustration in the American and English textbooks of the application person and took from him the stick with which he had undoubtedly been struck, and
of this rule is the case where a man, masked and disguised as a footpad, at night gave the unknown person a blow, knocking him to the floor, and afterwards striking
and on a lonely road, "holds up" his friend in a spirit of mischief, and with leveled him another blow on the head, leaving the unknown lying on the floor, and left the
pistol demands his money or his life, but is killed by his friend under the mistaken house. It turned out the unknown person was his father-in-law, to whom he
belief that the attack is a real one, that the pistol leveled at his head is loaded, and rendered assistance as soon as he learned his identity, and who died in about six
that his life and property are in imminent danger at the hands of the aggressor. No days in consequence of cerebral congestion resulting from there blow. The
one will doubt that if the facts were such as the slayer believed them to be he would accused, who confessed the facts, had always sustained pleasant relations with
be innocent of the commission of any crime and wholly exempt from criminal liability, his father-in-law, whom he visited during his sickness, demonstrating great grief
although if he knew the real state of the facts when he took the life of his friend he over the occurrence. Shall he be considered free from criminal responsibility, as
would undoubtedly be guilty of the crime of homicide or assassination. Under such having acted in self-defense, with all the circumstances related in paragraph 4,
circumstances, proof of his innocent mistake of the facts overcomes the presumption article 8, of the Penal Code? The criminal branch of the Audiencia of Valladolid
of malice or criminal intent, and (since malice or criminal intent is a necessary found that he was an illegal aggressor, without sufficient provocation, and that
ingredient of the "act punished by law" in cases of homicide or assassination) there did not exist rational necessity for the employment of the force used, and in
overcomes at the same time the presumption established in article 1 of the code, accordance with articles 419 and 87 of the Penal Code condemned him to twenty
that the "act punished by law" was committed "voluntarily." months of imprisonment, with accessory penalty and costs. Upon appeal by the
accused, he was acquitted by the supreme court, under the following sentence:
25 of 167 26 of 167
'Considering, from the facts found by the sentence to have been proven, that the blasphemy, he fired his pistol at one of the men, who, on the next morning was
accused was surprised from behind, at night, in his house beside his wife, who was found dead on the same spot. Shall this man be declared exempt from criminal
nursing her child, was attacked, struck, and beaten, without being able to responsibility as having acted in just self-defense with all of the requisities of law?
distinguish the person or persons attacking, nor the instruments with which they The criminal branch of the Audiencia of Zaragoza finds that there existed in favor of
might have executed their criminal intent, because of the fact that the attack was the accused a majority of the requisites to exempt him from criminal responsibility,
made from behind and because there was no other than fire light in the room, and but not that of reasonable necessity for the means, employed, and condemned the
considering that in such a situation and when the acts executed demonstrated that accused to twelve months of prision correccional for the homicide committed.
they might endanger his existence, and possibly that of his wife and child, more Upon appeal, the supreme court acquitted the condemned, finding that the
especially because his assailant was unknown, he should have defended himself, accused, in firing at the malefactors, who attacked his mill at night in a remote spot
and in doing so with the same stick with which he was attacked, he did not exceed by threatening robbery and incendiarism, was acting in just self-defense of his
the limits of self-defense, nor did he use means which were not rationally person, property, and family. (Sentence of May 23, 1877)." (I Viada, p. 128.)
necessary, particularly because the instrument with which he killed was the one
which he took from his assailant, and was capable of producing death, and in the A careful examination of the facts as disclosed in the case at bar convinces us that
darkness of the house and the consternation which naturally resulted from such the defendant Chinaman struck the fatal blow alleged in the information in the firm
strong aggression, it was not given him to know or distinguish whether there was belief that the intruder who forced open the door of his sleeping room was a thief,
one or more assailants, nor the arms which they might bear, nor that which they from whose assault he was in imminent peril, both of his life and of his property and
might accomplish, and considering that the lower court did not find from the of the property committed to his charge; that in view of all the circumstances, as
accepted facts that there existed rational necessity for the means employed, and they must have presented themselves to the defendant at the time, he acted in
that it did not apply paragraph 4 of article 8 of the Penal Code, it erred, etc.' good faith, without malice, or criminal intent, in the belief that he was doing no more
(Sentence of supreme court of Spain, February 28, 1876.)" (Viada, Vol. I, p. 266.) than exercising his legitimate right of self-defense; that had the facts been as he
believed them to be he would have been wholly exempt from criminal liability on
"Question XIX. A person returning, at night, to his house, which was situated in account of his act; and that he can not be said to have been guilty of negligence or
a retired part of the city, upon arriving at a point where there was no light, heard recklessness or even carelessness in falling into his mistake as to the facts, or in
the voice of a man, at a distance of some 8 paces, saying: 'Face down, hand over the means adopted by him to defend himself from the imminent danger which he
your money!' because of which, and almost at the same moment, he fired two believed threatened his person and his property and the property under his charge.
shots from his pistol, distinguishing immediately the voice of one of his friends (who
had before simulated a different voice) saying, 'Oh! they have killed me,' and The judgment of conviction and the sentence imposed by the trial court should be
hastening to his assistance, finding the body lying upon the ground, he cried, reversed, and the defendant acquitted of the crime with which he is charged and his
'Miguel, Miguel, speak, for God's sake, or I am ruined,' realizing that he had been the bail bond exonerated, with the costs of both instances de oficio. So ordered.
victim of a joke, and not receiving a reply, and observing that his friend was a
corpse, he retired from the place. Shall he be declared exempt in toto from Johnson, Moreland, and Elliott, JJ., concur.
responsibility as the author of this homicide, as having acted in just self-defense
under the circumstances defined in paragraph 4, article 8, Penal Code ? The Arellano, C. J., and Mapa,J., dissent.
criminal branch of the Audiencia of Malaga did not so find, but only found in favor of
the accused two of the requisites of said article, but not that of the reasonableness
of the means employed to repel the attack, and, therefore, condemned the accused
to eight years and one day of prision mayor, etc. The supreme court acquitted the
accused on his appeal from this sentence, holding that the accused was acting
under a justifiable and excusable mistake of fact as to the identity of the person
calling to him, and that under the circumstances, the darkness and remoteness,
etc., the means employed were rational and the shooting justifiable. (Sentence
supreme court, March 17, 1885.)" (Viada, Vol. I, p. 136.)

"Question VI. The owner of a mill, situated in a remote spot, is awakened, at night,
by a large stone thrown against his window - at this, he puts his head out of the
window and inquires what is wanted, and is answered 'the delivery of all of his
money, otherwise his house would be burned' - because of which, and observing in
an alley adjacent to the mill four individuals, one of whom addressed him with 49 Phil. 75
27 of 167 28 of 167
[ G. R. No 24978, March 27, 1926 ] penetrated the base of the neck at the right, imbedding Itself in the left side under
the skin.
 The status of the accused on the night in question was that of an agent of the law, to

 whom notice had been given of the presence of suspicious looking persons who
DECISION might be the Moro prisoners who had escaped from the Penal Colony of San
Ramon. The appearance of a man, unknown to him, dressed in clothes similar in
STREET, J.: color to the prisoners' uniform, who was calling the owner of the house, and the
silence of Paciencia Delgado, who did not at the time recognize the man,
This appeal has been taken by the defendant Fernando de Fernando from the undoubtedly caused the accused to suspect that the unknown man was one of the
judgment of the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga, in which he was held guilty of three persons that the owner of the house said were prowling around the place. The
the crime of murder and sentenced to suffer the penalty of twenty years cadena suspicion became a reality in his mind when he saw that the man continued
temporal, to indemnify the heirs of the deceased Buenaventura Paulino in the ascending the stairs with a bolo in his hand, not heeding his question as to who he
sum of P1,000 and to pay the costs, by virtue of a complaint filed by the fiscal was. In the midst of these circumstances and believing undoubtedly that he was a
charging him with the said crime. wrongdoer he tried to perform his duty and first fired into the air and then at the
alleged intruder. But it happened that what to him appeared to be a wrongdoer was
As a basis for his appeal the accused,assigns the following errors as committed by the nephew of the owner of the house who was carrying three bolos tied together. At
the trial court: (1) In holding that the acts committed by the accused constituted that psychological moment when the forces of fear and the sense of duty were at
the crime of murder; (2) in not holding that the accused was exempt from criminal odds, the accused was not able to take full account of the true situation and the
liability and in not acquitting him. bundle of bolos seemed to him to be only one bolo in the hands of a suspicious
character who intended to enter the house. There is, however, a circumstance that
At the trial the following facts were proven beyond a reasonable doubt: Before the should have made him suspect that the man was not only a friend but also a
day of the crime several Moro prisoners had escaped from the Penal Colony of San relative of the owner of the house from the fact that he called "Nong Miong," which
Ramon, Zamboanga. The residents of the barrio of Municahan of the municipality indicated that the owner of the house might be an older relative of the one calling,
of Zamboanga were alarmed by the presence of three suspicious looking persons or an intimate friend; and in not asking Paciencia Delgado who it was that was
who were prowling around the place. The accused Fernando de Fernando who, at calling her father with such familiarity, he did hot use the ordinary precaution that
that time, was a municipal policeman, when passing in front of the house of one he should have used before taking such fatal action.
Remigio Delgado, was called by the latter's daughter Paciencia Delgado, who
stated that her father wished to see him. When the policeman came up the house Taking into consideration the state of mind of the accused at the time, and the
Remigio Delgado informed him that three unknown and suspicious looking persons, meaning that he gave to the attitude of the unknown person, in shooting the latter he
dressed in blue, were prowling around his house. The accused remained in the felt that he was performing his duty by defending the owners of the house against an
said house talking with Paciencia Delgado, both being seated on a bench near the unexpected attack, and such act cannot constitute the crime of murder, but only that
window. While they were thus talking, at about 7 o'clock at night, there appeared in of simple homicide. He cannot be held guilty, however, as principal, with malicious
the dark, at about 4 meters from the stairs, a person dressed in dark clothes, intent, because he thought at the time that he was justified in acting as he did, and
calling "Nong Miong." At the time neither the accused nor Paciencia Delgado knew he is guilty only because he failed to exercise the ordinary diligence which, under
who was thus calling. The accused inquired what he wanted but instead of the circumstances, he should have by investigating whether or not the unknown man
answering he continued advancing with bolo in hand. Upon seeing was really what he thought him to be. In firing the shot, without first exercising
this Fernando de Fernando took out his revolver and fired a shot in the air. As he reasonable diligence, he acted with reckless negligence.
saw that the unknown continued to ascend the staircase he fired at him. The
unknown disappeared and ran to the house of a neighbor Leon Torres where, after The crime committed by the accused, therefore, is homicide through reckless
placing upon a table the bolos that he carried, he fell on the floor and expired. negligence defined and punished in article 568, in relation with article 404, of the
Remigio Delgado, who was in the kitchen and had recognized the voice of the Penal Code, the penalty prescribed by law being arresto mayor in its maximum
unknown, on hearing the shots ran into the parlor, took hold of the arm of the degree to prision correccional in its minimum degree.
defendant and asked him why he had fired at Buenaventura
Paulino. Fernando de Fernando only said "Let me go, that is a cross eyed In view of the foregoing and reversing the appealed judgment, the accused is held
person" and immediately repaired to the house of the teniente of the barrio, guilty of the crime of homicide through reckless negligence, and he is sentenced
Santiago Torres, from where he telephoned to the chief of police advising him of to suffer one year of prision correccional, to pay the amount of P500 to the heirs of
what had happened. When the body was examined it was found that a bullet had the deceased as an indemnity, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency,

29 of 167 30 of 167
the costs and with credit of one-half of the preventive imprisonment already Previous to the crime, the deceased for a couple of weeks had been living with
suffered. So ordered. appellant, but her parents had persuaded her to come home and were demanding
that appellant pay a dowry of P30 before the date of the celebration of the marriage
Avanceña, C. J., Street, Malcolm, Villamor, Ostrand, Johns, and Romualdez, could be fixed.
JJ., concur.
That evening there had been a barrio procession, and after the procession, they
were gathered in one of the houses, where an impromptu dance took place. The
deceased and appellant were talking in the yard of the house where the dance was
taking place, and she informed him that she could not return to him and that she was
going with her parents to Catanduanes. Appellant dragged the deceased towards
the street and stabbed her in the chest with a fanknife. Deceased ran to the house of
the barrio lieutenant, a short distance away, falling dead at the foot of the staircase,
although the wound was only a slight one, it not having penetrated the thoracic
cavity, having hit a bone.

Immediately Andres Tapil, Tomas and Rufino, relatives of the deceased, attempted
to seize the appellant, but with the aid of his knife, he escaped and ran from the
scene of the affray.

Appellant as witness in his own behalf claimed that he was attacked by the three
relatives of the deceased, and if deceased was wounded by him, it was in the midst
of that affray and purely accidental on his part.

Not only is this testimony directly contrary to the witnesses for the prosecution but is
greatly weakened by appellant's own statement given to the chief of police the day
after the crime. The story as told by appellant was not believed by the trial court, and
on the whole does not ring with sincerity and truth.

Appellant contends that he cannot be convicted of homicide as the wound actually

inflicted was a superficial wound of no intrinsic magnitude. As above stated,
deceased ran screaming to the nearby house where she dropped dead. The sanitary
inspector who examined the body the next day, found no other wound and certified
that deceased had died from shock as a result of the wound and so testified at the
61 Phil. 341 trial.

[ G.R. No. 42117, March 29, 1935 ] The death having occurred in an outlying barrio, there was no proper autopsy. So far
as is known, deceased was in normal health, but appellant contends that it is
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLEE, VS. incumbent upon the State to prove that the deceased did not die of poisoning or
 some other cause.

DECISION In this jurisdiction it is well settled that such is not the law. A person is responsible for
the consequences of his criminal act and even if the deceased had been shown to
HULL, J.: be suffering from a diseased heart (which was not shown), appellant's assault being
the proximate cause of the death, he would be responsible, (U. S. vs. Luciano, 2
Appellant was convicted in the Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur of the crime Phil., 96; U. S. vs. Lugo and Lugo, 8 Phil., 80; U. S. vs. Brobst, 14 Phil., 310; U. S.
of homicide committed on the person of Fausta Tavera on the evening of April 30, vs. Rodriguez, 23 Phil., 22.)
31 of 167 32 of 167
The trial court appreciated the mitigating circumstances that the offender had no [ G.R. No. 94953, September 05, 1994 ]
intention to commit so grave a wrong as that committed and that sufficient
provocation or threat on the part of the offended party immediately preceded the act. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. ARMANDO DE

We have repeatedly held that when a person stabs another with a lethal weapon 

such as a fan knife upon a part of the body, for example, the head, chest, or DECISION
stomach, death could reasonably be anticipated, and the accused, must be
presumed to have intended the natural consequences of his wrongful act. The QUIASON, J.:
means employed contradict the claim that appellant had lack of intention to commit
the crime of homicide. This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 28, Manila in
Criminal Case No. 94953, finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
The trial court considered provocation as a mitigating circumstance based on the violating Section 4 of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended by B.P. Blg. 179.
testimony of appellant that he had been attacked,' overlooking the fact that the law
requires that the provocation come from the offended party. Certainly the deceased I
did not attack appellant, and her refusal to renew her illicit relationship with him can
hardly be construed as legal provocation. The Information charged appellant as follows:

On a careful review of the evidence we are convinced that appellant is guilty beyond "That on or about January 9, 1987, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said
a reasonable doubt of the crime of homicide without either aggravating or mitigating accused, not being authorized by law to sell, deliver, give away to another or
circumstances and therefore sentence him under Act No. 4103 to from eight years distribute any prohibited drug, did then and there willfully and unlawfully sell or offer
of prision mayor to fourteen years, eight months, and one day of reclusion for sale two (2) foils of flowering tops of marijuana and one (1) plastic bag of
temporal and to indemnify the heirs of the offended party in the sum of P1,000. As flowering tops of marijuana, which are prohibited drugs" (Rollo, p. 6).
thus modified the judgment appealed from is affirmed. Costs against appellant. So
ordered. Upon arraignment, appellant, assisted by his counsel de parte, pleaded not guilty to
the information (Records p. 5).
Avanceña, C.J., Malcolm, Vickers, Imperial, Butte, Goddard, and Diaz, JJ., concur.
On December 15, 1986, Capt. Restituto Cablayan of the National Criminal
ABAD SANTOS, J., Investigation Service (NCIS) of the Western Police District (WPD), instructed Sgt.
Enrique David to conduct a surveillance operation in the vicinity of Garrido and
Upon the evidence of record I am of the opinion that the appellant should be Zamora Streets at Sta. Ana, Manila, after receiving reports of rampant drug-pushing
acquitted. in that area (TSN, December 14, 1987, p. 21).

I am inclined to believe the testimony of the appellant to the effect that he was In compliance thereof, a team led by Sgt. Enrique David, conducted a surveillance
attacked by the three men who were with the deceased at the time, and that as a operation on December 15 and 17, and confirmed the reported drug-pushing
result of the fight that ensued, the deceased was accidentally wounded. Moreover, activities in that area by the group of appellant and a certain Ricky alias
the physician who examined the deceased testified that the wound he found on her "Pilay" (TSN, December 2, 1987, pp. 5-6). No arrest was made because the team
body was merely a "scratch". The nature of the wound was such that, under ordinary was instructed by their superior to conduct a surveillance operation only (TSN,
circumstances, would not have resulted in death. I do not believe that the appellant January 11, 1988, p. 28).
had intended to commit homicide.
On January 8, 1987, Malaya (Exh. "F") and People's Tonight (Exh. "K"), reported that
Judgment modified. there were rampant, drug-pushing activities in the vicinity of Garrido and Zamora
Streets in Sta. Ana, Manila, prompting Gen. Alfredo Lim, then WPD Superintendent,
to reprimand the NCIS office (TSN, December 2, 1987, p. 2).

G.R. No. 94953 On January 9, because of the reprimand given by Gen. Lim, Capt. Cablayan
instructed Sgt. David to plan a buy-bust operation and to form a six-man team with
33 of 167 34 of 167
Pfc. Martin Orolfo, Jr. as the poseur-buyer (TSN, December 2, 1987, p. 6, January peso bill (Exh. "F") and that the first time he saw the blue plastic bag containing
11, 1988, p. 6). prohibited drugs was when he was at the police station (TSN, June 14, 1988, pp.
At around 4:45 P.M. of the same day, the team, together with their confidential
informant, went to Garrido Street. Upon arriving thereat, they strategically positioned To corroborate his story, appellant presented his younger brother, Gerry de Lara.
themselves. Pfc. Orolfo, Jr. and the confidential informant proceeded to the house of
appellant located at No. 2267 Garrido Street, where they saw him standing outside. On October 2, 1989, the trial court rendered its decision, disposing as follows:
The confidential informant introduced Pfc. Orolfo, Jr. to appellant as an interested
buyer of marijuana. Appellant asked Pfc. Orolfo, Jr. "Ilan ang bibilhin ninyo?" (How "WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding the accused guilty beyond
much will you buy?). Pfc. Orolfo, Jr. replied: "Two foils" handing at the same time the reasonable doubt of violation of Sec. 4, Art. II of R.A. 6425 as amended as charged
marked twenty-peso bill (Exh. "E") to appellant. The latter, after placing the money in in the Information; and this Court hereby sentences the accused to suffer a penalty
the right pocket of his pants, went inside his house (TSN, January 11, 1988, pp. 7-9). of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P20,000.00" (Rollo, p. 24).
Minutes later, appellant came back and handed two foils (Exhs. "D-1-a" and "D-1-b")
wrapped in onion paper (TSN, January 11, 1988, p. 8). It was after he handed the Hence, this appeal.
two foils to Pfc. Orolfo, Jr., that he sensed the presence of the police operatives. He
then tried to retrieve the two foils but Pfc. Orolfo, Jr. prevented him from doing so. III
During the scuffle, one foil was torn. Appellant then ran inside his house with Pfc.
Orolfo, Jr. in pursuit. The latter was able to subdue appellant. Sgt. David confronted In his appeal, appelIant questions the legality of his arrest and the seizure of
appellant, who admitted that he kept prohibited drugs in his house. Appellant prohibited drugs found inside his house. Furthermore, he claims that he was not
showed the arresting officers a blue plastic bag with white lining containing assisted by counsel during his custodial interrogation (Rollo, pp. 55-57).
prohibited drugs. A receipt of the articles seized (Exh. "F") was made by Pfc. Orolfo,
Jr. (TSN, January 11, 1988, pp. 12-15). As to the legality of appellant’s arrest, we find that the police operatives acted within
the bounds of law.
Thereafter, the team, together with appellant, proceeded to the WPD headquarters
for investigation. Thereat, Sgt. David ordered Pfc. Orolfo, Jr. to commence the Section 5, Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure dealing with
investigation of appellant (TSN, January 11, 1988, pp. 19-21). warrantless arrests provides:

During the investigation, appellant was apprised of his constitutional rights to remain "Arrest without warrant; when lawful. -- A peace officer or a private person may,
silent and to have the assistance of counsel. When appellant was asked to give a without a warrant, arrest a person;
written statement, he refused to do so pending arrival of his lawyer (TSN, January
a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually
11, 1988, p. 23).
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
The prohibited drugs seized from appellant were brought to the NBI for chemical
b) When an offense has in fact just been committed and he has personal
analysis. A report and certification of Ms. Aida Pascual, Forensic Chemist of the NBI
knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it;
(Exhs. "C" and "D"), show the drugs to be positive for marijuana.
xxx xxx xxx"
Appellant denied having sold marijuana to anyone and claimed that the arresting
officers merely planted the marijuana on his person. He testified that on January 9,
In the case at bench, appellant was caught red-handed in delivering two tin foils of
1987, he arrived home from work as a security guard of the Vergara Brothers
marijuana to Pat. Orolfo, Jr., the poseur-buyer. Applying the aforementioned
Agency at around 3:00 P.M. After changing his clothes, he went out to fetch his son,
provision of law, appellant's arrest was lawfully effected without need of a warrant of
who was left in the care of a neighbor. Upon returning to his house with his son, he
arrest. "Having caught the appellant in flagrante as a result of the buy-bust
was arrested by the police. The police proceeded to search his house, without any
operation, the policemen were not only authorized but were also under obligation to
search warrant shown to him. After the search, he and his wife were brought to the
apprehend the drug pusher even without a warrant of arrest" (People v. Kalubiran,
WPD headquarters. He claimed that inspite of his protestation that he would like to
196 SCRA 644 [1991]; People v. De Los Santos, 200 SCRA 431 [1991]).
wait for his lawyer before giving any statement, the police continued their
interrogation. Appellant, however, asseverates that his arrest was precipitated only by newspaper
publications about the rampant sale of drugs along Garrido and Zamora Streets, Sta.
Appellant denied that the twenty-peso bill was given to him by the poseur-buyer. He
Ana, Manila (Rollo, p. 53). If appellant implies that the police merely stage-managed
claimed that he was merely forced to sign his name on the photocopy of the twenty-
35 of 167 36 of 167
his arrest in order to show that they were not remiss in their duties, then appellant is The seizure of the plastic bag containing prohibited drugs was the result of
wrong. A surveillance on the illegal activities of the appellant was already conducted appellant's arrest inside his house. A contemporaneous search may be conducted
by the police as early as December 15 and 17, 1986. The newspaper reports upon the person of the arrestee and the immediate vicinity where the arrest was
concerning the illegal drug activities came out only on January 8 and 14, 1987, long made (People v. Castiller, 188 SCRA 376 [1990]).
after the police knew of the said illegal activities. Appellant's eventual arrest on
January 9, 1987 was the result of the surveillance conducted and the buy-bust We find to be meritorious appellant's claim that he was not assisted by counsel
operation. during the custodial investigation, specifically when he was forced to sign the
photocopy of the marked twenty-peso bill (Exh. "E"), Receipt of Property Seized
The evidence shows that appellant ran inside his house upon sensing the presence (Exh. "F"), and the Booking and Information Sheet (Exh. "H").
of the police operatives. The testimony of Pat. Orolfo, Jr., the poseur-buyer, is as
follows: The said documents are inadmissible in evidence for the reason that there was no
showing that appellant was then assisted by counsel nor his waiver thereto put into
"FISCAL: writing (Constitution, Art. III, Sec. 3[2]).

Q: After placing the P20 bill in his right pocket, what did he do? Be that as it may, the rejection of said evidence would not affect the conviction of
appellant in view of the abundance of other evidence establishing his guilt. The
A: He went to his house and minutes later, he came back, sir. ruling in People v. Mauyao, 207 SCRA 732 (1992) is apropos:

Q: When he came back what happened? "It bears emphasis, however, that the accused appellant's conformity to the
questioned documents has not been a factor at all in his conviction. For even if these
A: He handed to me two tin foils containing suspected marijuana leaves wrapped documents were disregarded, still the accused-appellant's guilt has been adequately
in onion paper. established by other evidence of record. The trial court's verdict was based on the
evidence of the prosecution not on his signatures on the questioned documents.
Q: And what happened next when he returned with those items? Accused-appellant's denial simply can not prevail over the detailed and unshaken
testimonies of the apprehending officers who caught him red-handed selling
A: After he handed to me two foils, he sensed the presence of the operatives and marijuana and who have not shown to have any ulterior motive to testify falsely
he tried to retrieve the two foils, sir, and I prevented him and during the scuffle one against accused-appellant."
piece of foil was broken, he tried to run inside the house, so I subdued him
immediately and apprehended him while he was inside the house. IV

Q: After he was subdued by your group, what happened? The trial court sentenced appellant to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to
pay a fine of P20,000.00 pursuant to Section 4, Article II of the Dangerous Drugs Act
A: Sgt. David confronted him regarding this case and he voluntarily admitted that of 1972, as amended by B.P. Blg. 179. However, said law was further amended by
he was still keeping prohibited drugs inside his house? R.A. No. 7659.
Q: What did the group do after he voluntarily admitted that he was keeping Under Section 17 of R.A. No. 7659, the penalty to be imposed for selling,
prohibited drugs inside his house? administering, delivering or distributing less than 750 grams of marijuana, shall
range from "prision correccional to reclusion perpetua depending upon the quantity."
A: He pointed inside his house (sic) one plastic bag colored blue with white lining
containing prohibited drug" (TSN, January 11, 1988, pp. 12-14). Under Section 4 of R.A. No. 7659, the penalty for selling, dispensing, delivering,
transporting or distributing marijuana in excess of 750 grams or more shall be
The policemen's entry into the house of appellant without a search warrant was in "reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from Five Hundred Thousand Pesos
hot-pursuit of a person caught committing an offense in flagrante. The arrest that to Ten Million Pesos."
followed the hot-pursuit was valid (1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, Rule 113,
Section 5[a]). We noticed that the penalty of reclusion perpetua was imposed by R.A. No. 7659 as
the maximum penalty when the quantity of the marijuana involved in the offense is
We also find as valid the seizure of the plastic bag of prohibited drugs found inside less than 750 grams and at the same time as the minimum penalty when the
appellant's house. quantity of marijuana involved is 750 grams or more. It is the duty of the Court to
harmonize conflicting provisions to give effect to the whole law (Rufino Lopez and
37 of 167 38 of 167
Sons v. Court of Appeals, 100 Phil. 850 [1957]). Furthermore, one of this Court's THE UNITED STATES, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLEE, VS. LOOK CHAW (ALIAS
primordial responsibilities is to give a statute its sensible construction. This is to LUK CHIU), DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.

effectuate the intention of the legislature so as to avoid an absurd conclusion with 

regard to its meaning (Lamb v. Phipps, 22 Phil. 456 [1912]). Therefore, when the DECISION
quantity involved is less than 750 grams, Section 17 of R.A. No. 7659 should be
read correctly to provide a penalty ranging from prision correccional to reclusion ARELLANO, C.J.:
temporal only.
The first complaint filed against the defendant, in the Court of First Instance of
The provision of Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code, which states that "penal laws Cebu, stated that he "carried, kept, possessed and had in his possession and
shall have a retroactive effect insofar as they favor the person guilty of a felony," control, 96 kilogrammes of opium," and that "he had been surprised in the act of
finds meaning in this case. Appellant is entitled to benefit from the reduction of the selling 1,000 pesos worth of prepared opium." The defense presented a demurrer
penalty introduced by R.A. No. 7659. based on two grounds, the second of which was that more than one crime was
charged in the complaint. The demurrer was sustained, as the court found that the
In order to determine the penalty to be imposed on appellant, we first divide the complaint contained two charges, one, for the unlawful possession of opium, and
amount of 750 grams into three to correspond to the three applicable penalties, the other, for the unlawful sale of opium, and, in consequence of that ruling, it
namely, prisioncorreccional, prision mayor and reclusion temporal. ordered that the fiscal should separate one charge from the other and file a
complaint for each violation; this, the fiscal did, and this cause concerns only the
If the marijuana involved is from 500 to 749 grams, the penalty to be imposed unlawful possession of opium. It is registered as No. 375, in the Court of First
is reclusion temporal. If the marijuana involved is from 250 to 499 grams, the penalty Instance of Cebu, and as No. 5887 on the general docket of this court.
to be imposed is prision mayor and if the weight of the marijuana involved is below
250 grams, the penalty to be imposed is prision correccional. The facts of the case are contained in the following finding of the trial court:

Since there is no evidence as to the weight of the two foils and one plastic bag of "The evidence, it says, shows that between 11 and 12 o'clock a. m. on the 18th
flowering tops of marijuana seized from appellant, we resolve the doubt in favor of of the present month (stated as August 19, 1909), several persons, among them
appellant and conclude that the quantity involved was: (i) below 750 grams; and (ii) Messrs. Jacks and Milliron, chief of the department of the port of Cebu and internal
not less than 250 but not more than 499 grams. revuene agent of Cebu, respectively, went aboard the steamship Erroll to inspect
and search its cargo, and found, first in a cabin near the saloon, one sack (Exhibit A)
Hence, the maximum penalty that can be imposed on appellant is prision mayor. and afterwards in the hold, another sack (Exhibit B). The sack referred to as
Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law to appellant, who was convicted under a Exhibit A contained 49 cans of opium, and the other, Exhibit B, the larger sack, also
special law (People v. Macantando, 109 SCRA 35 [1981]), and as such law was contained several cans of the same substance. The hold, in which the sack
interpreted in People v. Simon, G.R. No. 93028, July 29, 1994, the minimum penalty mentioned in Exhibit B was found, was under the defendant's control, who,
that can be imposed on appellant should be within the range of prision correccional. moreover, freely and of his own will and accord admitted that this sack, as well as
the other referred to in Exhibit B and found in the cabin, belonged to him. The
WHEREFORE, the Decision appealed from is AFFIRMED with the modification that said defendant also stated, freely and voluntarily, that he had bought these sacks of
appellant shall suffer an indeterminate penalty of FOUR (4) years and TWO (2) days opium in Hongkong with the intention of selling them as contraband in Mexico or
of prisioncorreccional, as minimum, to EIGHT (8) years and ONE (1) day Vera Cruz, and that, as his hold had already been searched several times for
of prision mayor, as maximum. opium, he ordered two other Chinamen to keep the sack. Exhibit A."

SO ORDERED. It is to be taken into account that the two sacks of opium, designated as Exhibits A
and B, properly constitute the corpus delicti. Moreover, another lot of four cans of
Davide, Jr., Bellosillo, and Kapunan, JJ., concur. opium, marked, as Exhibit C, was the subject matter of investigation at the trial, and
with respect to which the chief of the department of the port of Cebu testified that
Cruz, (Chairman), J., on leave. they were found in the part of the ship where the firemen habitually sleep, and that
they were delivered to the first officer of the ship to be returned to the said firemen
after the vessel should have left the Philippines, because the firemen and crew of
foreign vessels, pursuant to the instructions he had from the Manila custom-house,
18 Phil. 573 were permitted to retain certain amounts of opium, always provided it should not be
taken ashore.
[ G.R. No. 5887, December 16, 1910 ]
39 of 167 40 of 167
And, finally, another can of opium, marked "Exhibit D," is also corpus delicti and The defense moved for a dismissal of the case, on the grounds that the court had
important as evidence in this cause. With regard to this the internal revenue agent no jurisdiction to try the same and the facts concerned therein did not constitute a
testified as follows: crime. The fiscal, at the conclusion of his argument, asked that the maximum penalty
of the law be imposed upon the defendant, in view of the considerable amount of
"Fiscal. What is it? opium seized. The court ruled that it did not lack jurisdiction, inasmuch as the
crime had been committed within its district, on the wharf of Cebu,
"Witness. It is a can of opium which was bought from the defendant by a secret
service agent and taken to the office of the governor to prove that the accused had The court sentenced the defendant to five years' imprisonment, to pay a fine of
opium in his possession to sell." P10,000, with additional subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, though not
to exceed one third of the principal penalty, and to the payment of the costs. It
On motion by the defense, the court ruled that this answer might be stricken out further ordered the confiscation, in favor of the Insular Government, of the exhibits
"because it refers to a sale." But, with respect to this answer, the chief of the presented in the case, and that, in the event of an appeal being taken or a bond
department of customs had already given this testimony, to wit: given, or when the sentence should have been served, the defendant be not
released from custody, but turned over to the customs authorities for the purpose of
"Fiscal. Who asked you to search the vessel the fulfillment of the existing laws on immigration.
"Witness. The internal-revenue agent came to my office and said that a party From this judgment, the defendant appealed to this court. The appeal having been
brought him a sample of opium and that the same party knew that there was more heard, together with the allegations made therein by the parties, it is found: That,
opium on board the steamer, and the agent asked that the vessel be searched." although the mere possession of a thing of prohibited use in these Islands, aboard a
foreign vessel in transit, in any of their ports, does not, as a general rule, constitute a
The defense moved that this testimony be rejected, on the ground of its being crime triable by the courts of this country, on account of such vessel being
hearsay evidence, and the court only ordered that the part thereof "that there was considered as an extension of its own nationality, the same rule does not apply
more opium on board the vessel" be stricken out. when the article, whose use is prohibited within the Philippine Islands, in the present
case a can of opium, is landed from the vessel upon Philippine soil, thus committing
The defense, to abbreviate proceedings, admitted that the receptacles mentioned as an open violation of the laws of the land, with respect to which, as it is a violation of
Exhibits A, B, and C, contained opium and were found on board the steamship the penal law in force at the place of the commission of the crime, only the court
Erroll, a vessel of English nationality, and that it was true that the defendant stated established in the said place itself has competent jurisdiction, in the absence of an
that these sacks of opium were his and that he had them in his possession. agreement under an international treaty.
According to the testimony of the internal-revenue agent, the defendant stated to
him, in the presence of the provincial fiscal, of a Chinese interpreter (who
afterwards was not needed, because the defendant spoke English), the warden of It is also found: That, even admitting that the quantity of the drug seized, the subject
the jail, and four guards, that the opium seized in the vessel had been bought by matter of the present case, was considerable, it does not appear that, on such
him in Hongkong, at three pesos for each round can and five pesos for each one of account, the two penalties fixed by the law on the subject, should be imposed in the
the others, for the purpose of selling it, as contraband, in Mexico and Puerto de Vera maximum degree.
Cruz; that on the 15th the vessel arrived at Cebu, and on the same day he sold
opium; that he had tried to sell opium for P16 a can; that he had a contract to sell Therefore, reducing the imprisonment and the fine imposed to six months and
an amount of the value of about P500; that the opium found in the room of the P1,000, respectively, we affirm in all other respects the judgment appealed from,
other two Chinamen prosecuted in another cause, was his, and that he had left it in with the costs of this instance against the appellant. So ordered.
their stateroom to avoid its being found in his room, which had already been
searched many times; and that, according to the defendant, the contents of the Torres, Mapa, Johnson, Carson, Moreland, and Trent, JJ., concur.
large sack was 80 cans of opium, and of the small one, 49, and the total number,

It was established that the steamship Erroll was of English nationality, that it came 19 Phil. 343
from Hongkong, and that it was bound for Mexico, via the call ports of Manila and
Cebu. [ G. R. No. 5889, July 12, 1911 ]

41 of 167 42 of 167
THE UNITED STATES, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLEE, VS. LOOK CHAW (ALIAS The defendant appealed and has alleged before this court that he can not be
 punished in accordance with section 15 of Act No. 1761, under which the complaint

 was drawn. This said section 15 reads thus:
" (a) No person shall import, cook, or prepare opium, or engage in the business of
ARELLANO, C.J.: purchasing or selling opium or of dealing or trafficking therein, unless he shall first
have secured from the Collector of Internal Revenue a license to transact such
This case is a separate part of Case No. 5887 and bears No. 5889 on the general business and shall have paid the license tax prescribed by this Act. * * *"
docket of this court, and No. 377 on the docket of the Court of First Instance of
Cebu. To make an isolated sale, says the appellant, is not to engage in the business of
selling. To negotiate the sale of opium does not mean clandestinely to sell opium
The complaint in this case states: once.

"That, on or about the 18th of August, 1909, within the boundaries of the municipality In our opinion, the act defined in section 15 is distinct from that penalized in section
of Cebu of this province and judicial district, the said Look Chaw (alias Luk Chiu) did, 5; the act referred to in the latter is any act of sale, while that concerned in the
without having obtained authorization from the Collector of Internal Revenue and former relates to the business of selling, in an habitual, professional manner, as one
without being authorized in any manner by law, engage in the business of selling of an undertaking or occupation, without license.
opium, and trade and traffic in the same."
"SEC. 5. (a) It shall be unlawful to sell, transfer, give, or deliver opium to any person
C. J. Milliron, an internal-revenue agent, testified that Vicente Base took to the except to a duly licensed and practicing physician, pharmacist, or second-class
governor of Cebu a can of opium containing 200 grammes of the said drug, in order pharmacist, or a duly licensed dispensator of opium, or duly registered confirmed
to show him that the accused had sold opium to Base, and the governor called the user of opium in a licensed opium dispensary for consumption therein only, and in
witness in order that he might take part in this case. After the accused was arrested, accordance with the provisions of this Act: * * *
he confessed before the witness and the provincial fiscal that he had sold to Vicente
Base thirty cans of opium on the 15th of August, 1909, but that he had not received
the price thereof, and that the money which was found in a box of his on board the
British steamship Erroll, Pl,500 in amount, was obtained in Manila and was seized " (b) Any person violating the provisions of the preceding subsection shall be
by the captain of the vessel. According to the accused, he had purchased in punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand pesos, or by imprisonment for a
Hongkong 137 cans of opium for the purpose of introducing it as contraband into period not exceeding one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the
Mexico, the destination of the vessel, but that as the latter changed its route discretion of the court: * * *"
touching first at Manila, the opium arrived at Cebu.
The crime concerned in this case, according to this section 5, is comprised within the
Vicente Base testified that he had negotiated with the accused with respect to the language of the complaint which charges the act of selling opium without the
sale of the three sacks of opium which were seized while in the latter's possession authorization of the Collector of Internal Revenue.
and were the subject matter of the previous cause; that these three sacks were not
taken ashore, because the accused would not permit this to be done without The other ground of the appeal is that the confessions of the accused were taken
previous delivery of the whole price of P1,000, of which witness had only paid P533; into account for the purpose of his conviction. The trial court pronounced its
that he therefore only took one can from one of the said sacks. sentence after considering that "sufficient proof has been furnished by the evidence/'
and the evidence did not consist solely in the confession that the accused, on the
The Court of First Instance of Cebu sentenced the accused to one year's day and at the place mentioned in the complaint, contracted with Vicente Base for
imprisonment and the payment of a fine of P2,000, with additional subsidiary the sale of the opium, the subject matter of the present prosecution; and as this
imprisonment in case of insolvency, not to exceed one-third of the principal penalty, finding does not appear to be erroneous nor contrary to the conclusions reached
and to the payment of the costs of the trial. It was ordered in the judgment that the from the evidence, it is accepted by this court in order that thereby the judgment
exhibits connected with the case should be confiscated, and that, in case of an appealed from may be duly affirmed, as we do affirm the same.
appeal, and even after the sentence had been served, the defendant should not be
released from custody, but delivered to the customs authorities for the purpose of This disposes of the appeal; but, in the opinion of this court, the defense of double
the enforcement of the existing immigration laws. jeopardy alleged by the accused in first instance, with exception to the order
disallowing it, can not but be taken into consideration, although in the instance, on
the appeal, that defense was not reproduced with the allegation that its disallowance
43 of 167 44 of 167
was an error committed by the lower court in its judgment. This point appears to constitutes two crimes, nor a crime which is a necessary means for the commission
involve a question of jurisdiction. of another. They are two isolated acts, punishable, each of them, in themselves.
Only in the event where all the amount of the opium possessed and seized be in its
Before separating the two causes, as related at the beginning of this decision, there totality the same as that which was possessed with the sole purpose of being
was but one single complaint and there would have been only one trial for the delivered as the matter or subject of a sale previously agreed upon, could it be said,
possession of opium and for the sale of opium. But the defendant's counsel Bet up a in the opinion of this court, that the possession of the opium was a necessary means
demurrer, arguing that the complaint was defective inasmuch as it charged two to effect the delivery by reason of the sale, and that the sale agreed upon was the
distinct crimes, for according to the defense, it was alleged to be one crime to sole reason for the possession of the opium seized. The possession of the quantity
possess opium and another different crime to sell opium; and the court deferred to contained in the pipe can not be considered as a different crime from that of smoking
this pretension and ordered the filing of two complaints, one for the possession of opium in a pipe, nor the possession of the pipe, as a crime different from that of
opium and another for the sale of opium; that for the possession of opium was the smoking opium in a pipe. But if the person surprised in smoking opium in a pipe was
one first tried by the lower court. also surprised in the possession of the thirty cans sold by the accused, it could not
properly be inferred that the possession of these thirty cans, which in itself is a
In answering the second complaint for the sale of opium, the defendant alleged that crime, was a necessary means for the commission of the other crime of smoking
he had already been in jeopardy. opium in a pipe, and that the person in whose possession the thirty cans were
seized, possessed the same solely and exclusively for the purpose of smoking
"The defendant was convicted yesterday," said his attorney, "for the violation of law opium in a pipe. It might very well have been that he had acquired the drug for the
committed, of possessing opium, and has already been sentenced by this court to purpose of inhaling, injecting, chewing, swallowing, or other uses, and that only by
five years' imprisonment and in addition to pay a fine of ten thousand pesos. chance did it occur to him to try to smoke it in a pipe, on the very occasion when he
According to the principles of penal law, when a crime has been committed which is was surprised, this being the evident fact of the commission of the crime which can
necessary in order to commit another, the delinquent, of course, can not be not, in its essence, include the existence of thirty cans, not then contained in the
punished for the two crimes, but must suffer for the crime for which the greater pipe, each can certainly being susceptible of other various uses, every one of which
penalty was provided." might by its nature constitute a different crime.
The court rejected this allegation: first, because the prosecution of two crimes We consider this doctrine equally applicable to crimes which are evils by their very
instead of one was brought about by the defense itself; and second, because, in the nature, as well as to those which are merely malum quia prohibitum; because it not
opinion of the trial judge, if the defendant had first been convicted for selling opium, only aims at a more or less strict application of a penal precept which, undoubtedly,
he certainly would have been in jeopardy in the cause prosecuted for possessing in the practice of this court, usually tends toward the lesser severity and,
opium, for the reason that really one can not sell opium without possessing it, while, occasionally, the greatest benignity when the second class, or conventional crimes,
if the terms are inverted, the same result does not follow, because one may possess are concerned, but also because that doctrine is the logical result of the process of
opium without selling it, and consequently in the present cause the allegation of the intelligence in the derivation of consequences from the principles constitutive of
double jeopardy is inadmissible. the nature of things.
True it is, we assert, that it is one crime to possess opium, punished by section 31 of Thus it is that we find the institution of this cause, and its separation from the
the Act, and another, to sell opium, penalized by section 5 of the same Act before previous one, to be founded on law and juridical principles, and the judgment
cited. appealed from, to be in accordance with right and equity, except with regard to the
amount of the penalty, which we reduce, in harmony with the provisions of section 5
And it is also true that when one single act constitutes two or more crimes, or when aforementioned, to six months' imprisonment and a fine of P1,000 Philippine
one of them is a necessary means for the commission of the other, only the penalty currency.
corresponding to the more serious crime shall be imposed, in its maximum degree,
and thus, he who smokes opium in a pipe, by one single act lays himself liable to Therefore, with the understanding that the imprisonment and the fine imposed shall
three penalties of the law, one of them, merely for the fact of possessing opium, be, respectively, six months and P1,000 Philippine currency, we affirm, as to all the
another, for the mere possession of a pipe in which opium is smoked, and the other, rest, the judgment appealed from, with the costs of this instance against the
for the act of smoking opium; but the penalties corresponding to these three crimes appellant. So ordered.
ought not to be imposed upon the defendant in this case, and only the penalty for
the most serious of these crimes. Torres, Mapa, and Johnson, JJ., concur.

But the illegal possession of 137 cans of opium and the illegal sale of 30 cans of Carson, J., concurs in the result.
opium, which are the two acts confessed by the accused, are not one act which
45 of 167 46 of 167



This motion, in an Order dated 4 April 1986, was denied with respect to the first and
Presented before Us is a special civil action for certiorari against the Honorable third grounds relied upon. However, the resolution of the second ground was
Judge Ignacio Almodovar of the City Court of Legaspi, Branch I, Legaspi City, raising deferred until evidence shall have been presented during trial.
beautiful questions of law which We are tasked to resolve. Considering the issues
and arguments raised by petitioner, We impleaded the People of the Philippines as On 26 July 1986, this present petition for certiorari was filed, raising two (2) issues,
party respondents herein in a resolution dated 17 September 1986 (p. 41, Rollo). to wit:

The relevant facts gathered from the records are as follows: I

Petitioner John Philip Guevarra, then 11 years old, was playing with his best friend WHETHER AN ELEVEN (11) YEAR OLD BOY COULD BE CHARGED WITH THE
Teodoro Almine, Jr. and three other children in their backyard in the morning of 29 CRIME OF HOMICIDE THRU RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE, AND
October 1984. They were target-shooting a bottle cap (tansan) placed around
fifteen (15) to twenty (20) meters away with an air rifle borrowed from a neighbor. In II
the course of their game, Teodoro was hit by a pellet on his left collar bone which
After conducting a preliminary investigation, the examining Fiscal exculpated LUPON. (Petition, p. 3, Rollo)
petitioner due to his age and because the unfortunate occurrence appeared to be an
accident. The victim's parents appealed to the Ministry of Justice, which ordered the Going through the written arguments of the parties, the surfacing of a corollary
Fiscal to file a case against petitioner for Homicide through Reckless Imprudence. controversy with respect to the first issue raised is evident, that is, whether the term
The information dated 9 October 1985 was consequently filed, which narrated in "discernment", as used in Article 12(3) of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) is
part: synonymous with "intent." It is the position of the petitioner that "discernment"
connotes "intent" (p. 96, Rollo), invoking the unreported case of People vs.
"... the above-named accused, who is over 9 years but below 15 years of age and Nieto, G.R. No. L-11965, 30 April 1958. In that case We held that the allegation of
acting with discernment, did then and there, without taking the necessary pre- “with intent to kill ..." amply meets the requirement that discernment should be
cautions to prevent and/or avoid accident or injuries to persons, willfully, unlawfully alleged when the accused is a minor between 9 and 15 years old. Petitioner
and feloniously operate and cause to be fired, in a reckless and imprudent manner, completes his syllogism in saying that:
an air rifle with .22 caliber bore with rifling, oxygen and bolt operated thereby hitting
as a result of said carelessness and imprudence one TEODORICO PABLO ALMINE "If discernment is the equivalent of 'with intent', then the allegation in the information
at the left side of the body with its pellet, causing injuries which directly caused his that the accused acted with discernment and willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously,
untimely death;..." (p. 8, Rollo) operate or cause to be fired in a reckless and imprudent manner an air rifle .22
caliber’ is an inherent contradiction tantamount to failure of the information to allege
On 25 October 1985, petitioner moved to quash the said information on the following a cause of action or constitute a legal excuse or exception." (Memorandum for Peti-
grounds: tioner, p. 97, Rollo)

I If petitioner's argument is correct, then no minor between the ages of 9 and 15 may
be convicted of a quasi-offense under Article 265 of the RPC.
47 of 167 48 of 167
On the contrary, the Solicitor General insists that discernment and intent are two "intelligence" as an element of dolo actually embraces the concept of discernment
different concepts. We agree with the Solicitor General's view; the two terms should as used in Article 12 of the RPC and as defined in the aforecited case of People vs.
not be confused. Doquena, supra. It could not therefore be argued that discernment is equivalent or
connotes "intent" for they refer to two different concepts. Intelligence, which
The word "intent" has been defined as includes discernment, is a distinct element of dolo as a means of committing an
"(a) design; a determination to do a certain thing; an aim; the purpose of the mind,
including such knowledge as is essential to such intent;…; the design resolve, or In evaluating felonies committed by means of culpa, three (3) elements are
determination with which a person acts." (46 CJS Intent p. 1103.) indispensable, namely, intelligence, freedom of action, and negligence. Obviously,
intent is wanting in such felonies. However, intelligence remains as an essential
It is this intent which comprises the third element of dolo as a means of committing a element, hence, it is necessary that a minor above nine but below fifteen years of
felony, freedom and intelligence being the other two. On the other hand, We have age be possessed with intelligence in committing a negligent act which results in a
defined the term "discernment," as used in Article 12(3) of the RPC, in the old case quasi-offense. For him to be criminally liable, he must discern the rightness or
of People vs. Doquena, 68 Phil. 580(1939), in this wise: wrongness of the effects of his negligent act. Indeed, a minor over nine years of age
but below fifteen may be held liable for a quasi-offense under Article 365 of the
"The discernment that constitutes an exception to the exemption from criminal RPC. A reading of the said Article would reveal such fact as it starts off with the
liability of a minor under fifteen years of age but over nine, who commits an act phrase "Any person..." without any distinction or exception made. Ubi lex non
prohibited by law, is his mental capacity to understand the difference between right distinquit nec nos distinguere debemos.
and wrong...” (underscoring Ours) p. 583
In his last attempt to justify his position equating the words "intent" and
From the foregoing, it is clear that the terms "intent" and "discernment" convey two "discernment" used under the law, he cites the case of People vs. Nieto, supra.
distinct thoughts. While both are products of the mental processes within a person, However, petitioner failed to present the qualifying sentence preceding the ruling he
the former refers to the desired effect of one's act while the latter relates to the moral now invokes, which reads:
significance that person ascribes to the said act. Hence a person may not intend to
shoot another but may be aware of the consequences of his negligent act which may "That requirement should be deemed amply met with the allegation in the
cause injury to the same person in negligently handling an air rifle. It is not correct, information that she ... 'with the intent to kill, did then and there wilfully, criminally
therefore, to argue, as petitioner does, that since a minor above nine years of age and feloniously push one Lolita Padilla..., into a deep place of the Penaranda River
but below fifteen acted with discernment, then he intended such act to be done. He and as a consequence thereof Lolita Padilla got drowned and died right then and
may negligently shoot his friend, thus did not intend to shoot him, and at the same there.' This allegation clearly conveys the idea that she knew what would be the
time recognize the undesirable result of his negligence. consequence of her unlawful act of pushing her victim into deep water and that she
knew it to be wrong. (Underscoring Ours)
In further outlining the distinction between the words "intent" and "discernment," it is
worthy to note the basic reason behind the enactment of the exempting From the above, it is clear that We did not mean to equate the words "intent" and
circumstances embodied in Article 12 of the RPC; the complete absence of "discernment." What We meant was that the combined effect of the words used in
intelligence, freedom of action, or intent, or on the absence of negligence on the part the information is to express a knowledge, on the part of the accused Nieto, of the
of the accused.[1] In expounding on intelligence as the second element of dolus, wrongness or rightness of her act. Hence, petitioner may not validly contend that
Albert[2] has stated: since the information now in question alleged "discernment," it in effect alleged
"intent." The former may never embrace the idea of the latter; the former expresses
"The second element of dolus is intelligence; without this power, necessary to the thought of passivity while the latter signifies activity.
determine the morality of human acts to distinguish a licit from an illicit act, no crime
can exist, and because… the infant[3] (has) no intelligence, the law exempts (him) Coming now to the second issue of jurisdiction, it is contended by the petitioner that
from criminal liability." (emphasis Ours). the case against him should have first been brought before the Lupong Tagapayapa
pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1508, Section 2(3). He submits that,
It is for this reason, therefore, why minors nine years of age and below are not considering his entitlement to a two-degree privileged mitigating circumstance due to
capable of performing a criminal act. On the other hand, minors above nine years of his minority, P.D. 1508 applies to his case because the penalty imposable is reduced
age but below fifteen are not absolutely exempt. However, they are presumed to be to not higher than arresto menor from an original arresto mayor maximum to prision
without criminal capacity, but which presumption may be rebutted if it could be correccional medium as prescribed in Article 365 of the RPC. This is not correct.
proven that they were "capable of appreciating the nature and criminality of the act, The jurisdiction of a court over a criminal case is determined by the penalty
that is, that (they) acted with discernment."[4] The preceding discussion shows that imposable under the law for the offense and not the penalty ultimately imposed
49 of 167 50 of 167
(People vs. Caldito, 72 Phil. 263; People vs. Purisima, 69 SCRA 341; Dioquino vs.
Cruz and People vs. Savellano, 116 SCRA 451). The same principle applies in
construing Section 2(3) of P.D. 1508, which states: 380 Phil. 673

"xxx xxx xxx FIRST DIVISION

(3) Offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding 30 days, or a fine exceeding [ G.R. No. 125865, January 28, 2000 ]
P200.00; x x x " (underscoring supplied)
Expounding on the above provision, a member of the committee that drafted P.D. PHILIPPINES, RESPONDENT.

1508 has said: 

"The law says 'punishable,' not 'punished.' One should therefore consider the
penalty provided for by law or ordinance as distinguished from the penalty actually YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
imposed in particular cases after considering the attendant circumstances affecting
criminal liability."[5] Petitioner is an economist working with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Sometime in 1994, for allegedly uttering defamatory words against fellow ADB
The foregoing finds support in our jurisprudence as above cited. We therefore rule worker Joyce Cabal, he was charged before the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of
that, in construing Section 2(3) of P.D. 1508, the penalty which the law defining the Mandaluyong City with two counts of grave oral defamation docketed as Criminal
offense attaches to the latter should be considered. Hence, any circumstance which Cases Nos. 53170 and 53171. Petitioner was arrested by virtue of a warrant issued
may affect criminal liability must not be considered. by the MeTC. After fixing petitioner’s bail at P2,400.00 per criminal charge, the
MeTC released him to the custody of the Security Officer of ADB. The next day, the
The petitioner, in his arguments, asserts that since P.D. 1508 has not been complied MeTC judge received an "office of protocol" from the Department of Foreign Affairs
with, the trial court has no jurisdiction over the case. This erroneous perception has (DFA) stating that petitioner is covered by immunity from legal process under
been corrected long before. As intimated in the case of Royales vs. IAC, 127 SCRA Section 45 of the Agreement between the ADB and the Philippine Government
470, and categorically stated in Ebol vs. Amin, 135 SCRA 438, P.D. 1508 is not regarding the Headquarters of the ADB (hereinafter Agreement) in the country.
jurisdictional. Based on the said protocol communication that petitioner is immune from suit, the
MeTC judge without notice to the prosecution dismissed the two criminal cases. The
WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, this petition is hereby DISMISSED for latter filed a motion for reconsideration which was opposed by the DFA. When its
lack of merit and the Temporary Restraining Order effective 17 September 1986 is motion was denied, the prosecution filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus with
LIFTED. Let this case be REMANDED to the lower court for trial on the merits. No the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City which set aside the MeTC rulings and
costs. ordered the latter court to enforce the warrant of arrest it earlier issued. After the
motion for reconsideration was denied, petitioner elevated the case to this Court via
SO ORDERED. a petition for review arguing that he is covered by immunity under the Agreement
and that no preliminary investigation was held before the criminal cases were filed in
Melencio-Herrera, (Chairman), Padilla, Sarmiento, and Regalado, JJ., concur. court.
[1] Reyes, The Revised Penal Code, Book I, 12th Ed., 1981, p. 213.

Albert, the Revised Penal Code, Manila: University Publishing Co., Inc., c1946, p.
The petition is not impressed with merit.
First, courts cannot blindly adhere and take on its face the communication from the
[3] Ibid., referring to article 12, Number 2. See footnote, p. 22. DFA that petitioner is covered by any immunity. The DFA’s determination that a
certain person is covered by immunity is only preliminary which has no binding effect
[4] Ibid., p. 82 in courts. In receiving ex-parte the DFA’s advice and in motu proprio dismissing the
two criminal cases without notice to the prosecution, the latter’s right to due process
Pe, Cecilio and Tadiar, Alfredo, "Katarungang Pambarangay: Dynamics of
was violated. It should be noted that due process is a right of the accused as much
Compulsory Conciliation." Manila: UST Press, 1979 p. 65-66. as it is of the prosecution. The needed inquiry in what capacity petitioner was acting
at the time of the alleged utterances requires for its resolution evidentiary basis that
51 of 167 52 of 167
has yet to be presented at the proper time.[1] At any rate, it has been ruled that the [1] See United States v. Guinto, 182 SCRA 644 (1990)
mere invocation of the immunity clause does not ipso facto result in the dropping of
the charges.[2] [2] Chavez v. Sandiganbayan, 193 SCRA 282 (1991)

Second, under Section 45 of the Agreement which provides: [3] M.H. Wylie v. Rarang, 209 SCRA 357, 368 (1992)

"Officers and staff of the Bank including for the purpose of this Article experts and Shauf v. CA, 191 SCRA 713 (1990); Animos v. Phil. Veterans Affairs Office, 174

consultants performing missions for the Bank shall enjoy the following privileges and SCRA 214 (1989); Dumlao v. CA, 114 SCRA 247 (1982)
[5] Section 31, 1 (c); See also Minucher v. CA, 214 SCRA 242 (1992)
a.) immunity from legal process with respect to acts performed by them in
their official capacity except when the Bank waives the immunity."
[6] See Del Rosario, Jr. v. Bartolome, 270 SCRA 645 (1997)

the immunity mentioned therein is not absolute, but subject to the exception that the
[7] People v. Abejuela, 38 SCRA 324 (1971)
act was done in "official capacity." It is therefore necessary to determine if
petitioner’s case falls within the ambit of Section 45(a). Thus, the prosecution should
[8] Section 1, Rule 112, Rules of Criminal Procedure.
have been given the chance to rebut the DFA protocol and it must be accorded the
opportunity to present its controverting evidence, should it so desire.
[9] People v. Gomez, 117 SCRA 72 (1982); People v. Casiano, 1 SCRA 478 (1961)

Third, slandering a person could not possibly be covered by the immunity agreement
because our laws do not allow the commission of a crime, such as defamation, in
146 Phil. 429
the name of official duty.[3] The imputation of theft is ultra vires and cannot be part of
official functions. It is well-settled principle of law that a public official may be liable in
[ G.R. No. L-32485, October 22, 1970 ]
his personal private capacity for whatever damage he may have caused by his act
done with malice or in bad faith or beyond the scope of his authority or jurisdiction. IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR THE DECLARATION OF
[4] It appears that even the government’s chief legal counsel, the Solicitor General,
does not support the stand taken by petitioner and that of the DFA. KAY VILLEGAS KAMI, INC., PETITIONER. 

Fourth, under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, a diplomatic agent,
assuming petitioner is such, enjoys immunity from criminal jurisdiction of the
receiving state except in the case of an action relating to any professional or MAKASIAR, J.:
commercial activity exercised by the diplomatic agent in the receiving state outside
his official functions.[5] As already mentioned above, the commission of a crime is not This petition for declaratory relief was filed by Kay Villegas Kami, Inc., claiming
part of official duty. to be a duly recognized and existing non-stock and non-profit corporation created
under the laws of the land, and praying for a determination of the validity of Sec. 8 of
Finally, on the contention that there was no preliminary investigation conducted, R.A. No. 6132 and a declaration of petitioner's rights and duties thereunder. In
suffice it to say that preliminary investigation is not a matter of right in cases paragraph 7 of its petition, petitioner avers that it has printed materials designed to
cognizable by the MeTC such as the one at bar.[6] Being purely a statutory right, propagate its ideology and program of government, which materials include Annex
preliminary investigation may be invoked only when specifically granted by law. B; and that in paragraph 11 of said petition, petitioner intends to pursue its purposes
[7] The rule on criminal procedure is clear that no preliminary investigation is required
by supporting delegates to the Constitutional Convention who will propagate its
in cases falling within the jurisdiction of the MeTC.[8] Besides, the absence of ideology.
preliminary investigation does not affect the court’s jurisdiction nor does it impair the
validity of the information or otherwise render it defective.[9] Petitioner, in paragraph 7 of its petition, actually impugns, because it quoted,
only the first paragraph of Sec. 8(a) on the ground that it violates the due process
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. clause, right of association, and freedom of expression and that it is an ex post facto

Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Puno, Kapunan, and Pardo, JJ., concur.
53 of 167 54 of 167
The first three grounds were overruled by this Court when it held that the WHEREFORE, the prayer of the petition is hereby denied and paragraph 1 of
questioned provision is a valid limitation on the due process, freedom of expression, Sec. 8(a) of R.A. No. 6132 is not unconstitutional. Without costs.
freedom of association, freedom of assembly and equal protection clauses; for the
same is designed to prevent the clear and present danger of the twin substantive Reyes, J.B.L., Acting C.J., Dizon, Makalintal, and Ruiz Castro, JJ., concur.
evils, namely, the prostitution of electoral process and denial of the equal protection
of the laws. Moreover, under the balancing-of-interests test, the cleansing of the Concepcion, C.J., on official leave.
electoral process, the guarantee of equal chances for all candidates, and the
independence of the delegates who must be "beholden to no one but to God, Fernando, J., concurs and dissents in accordance with his separate opinion
country and conscience", are interests that should be accorded primacy.[1] in Imbong v. Comelec, L-32432 and Gonzalez v. Comelec, L-32443.

The petitioner should therefore be accordingly guided by the pronouncements Villamor, J., concurs in the sense that the law is declared not ex post facto law. He
in the cases of Imbong and Gonzales.[2] dissents as to the rest.

The claim of petitioner that the challenged provision constitutes an ex post facto Barredo, J., reiterates his views in Gonzales and Imbong insofar as they are relevant
law is likewise untenable. to the issues in this case. He dissents even as he agrees that Rep. Act 6132 is not
ex post facto.
An ex post facto law is one which:
Teehankee, J., dissents in a separate opinion.
(1) makes criminal an act done before the passage of the law and which was
innocent when done, and punishes such an act; Zaldivar, J., reserves his vote.

(2) aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was, when committed; [1] Imbong vs. Comelec, L-32432 and Gonzales vs. Comelec, L-32443, September
11, 1970.
(3) changes the punishment and inflicts a greater punishment than the law annexed
to the crime when committed; [2] Ibid.

(4) alters the legal rules of evidence, and authorizes conviction upon less or [3] Calder vs. Bull, 3 Dall. 386, Mekin vs. Wolfe, 2 Phil. 74.
different testimony than the law required at the time of the commission of the
[4] Fernandez vs. Oasan, L-9141, Sept. 25, 1956, 99 Phil. 934, 937.

(5) assuming to regulate civil rights and remedies only, in effect imposes penalty or DISSENTING OPINION
deprivation of a right for something which when done was lawful; and
(6) deprives a person accused of a crime of some lawful protection to which he has
become entitled, such as the protection of a former conviction or acquittal, or a The Court's decision reaffirms its split-vote ruling last September 11, 1970
proclamation of amnesty.[3] in Imbong vs. Ferrer and Gonzales vs. Comelec[1] upholding the constitutionality of
the first paragraph of section 8(a) of Republic Act 6132. Inasmuch as I was unable
From the aforesaid definition as well as classification of ex post facto laws, the to participate in the said cases,[2] I have expressed my contrary view in my separate
constitutional inhibition refers only to criminal laws which are given retroactive effect. dissenting opinion in Badoy, Jr. vs. Ferrer[3] that the challenged provision, together
[4] with the Act's other restrictions and strictures enumerated therein, "oppressively and
unreasonably strait-jacket the candidates as well as the electorate and gravely
While it is true that Sec. 18 penalizes a violation of any provision of R.A. No. violate the constitutional guaranties of freedom of expression, freedom of the press
6132 including Sec. 8(a) thereof, the penalty is imposed only for acts committed and freedom of association, and deny due process and the equal protection of the
after the approval of the law and not those perpetrated prior thereto. There is laws."
nothing in the law that remotely insinuates that Sec. 8(a) and 18, or any other
provision thereof, shall apply to acts carried out prior to its approval. On the I therefore dissent from the Court's decision at bar for the same reasons and
contrary, Sec. 23 directs that the entire law shall be effective upon its approval. It considerations stated in my separate dissenting opinion in the case of Badoy.
was approved on August 24, 1970.

55 of 167 56 of 167
I only wish to add a few words on the statements in the main opinion in Imbong- THE UNITED STATES, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLEE, VS. AH SING, DEFENDANT
Gonzales that "(W)hile it may be true that a party's support of a candidate is not AND APPELLANT. 

wrong per se, it is equally true that Congress in the exercise of its broad law-making 

authority can declare certain acts as mala prohibita when justified by the exigencies DECISION
of the times. One such act is the party or organization support proscribed in Sec.
8(a), which ban is a valid limitation on the freedom of association as well as MALCOLM, J.:
expression, for the reasons aforestated. Senator Tolentino emphasized that 'equality
of chances may be better attained by banning all organization support.'" This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Cebu finding the
defendant guilty of a violation of section 4 of Act No. 2381 (the Opium Law), and
I trust that said statements were not intended, and should not be construed, as sentencing him to two years imprisonment, to pay a fine of P300 or to suffer
endorsing the contention of Senator Tolentino, the Act's sponsor, that "(T)he subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs.
protection of the Constitution cannot be invoked for the right of association when the
purpose is a malum prohibitum because such purpose would be 'contrary to law'" The following facts are fully proven: The defendant is a subject of China employed
and "(O)nce the ban (on party and organization support) is approved into law, the as a fireman on the steamship Shun Chang. The Shun Chang is a foreign steamer
freedom of association cannot be invoked against it" - - since the Constitution which arrived at the port of Cebu on April 25,1917, after a voyage direct from the
decrees only that ''(T)he right to form associations or societies for purposes not port of Saigon. The defendant bought eight cans of opium in Saigon, brought them
contrary to law shall not be abridged."[4] on board the steamship Shun Chang, and had them in his possession during the trip
from Saigon to Cebu. When the steamer anchored in the port of Cebu on April 25,
Such a concept of malum prohibitum vis-a-vis the Constitutional guarantee of 1917, the authorities on making a search found the eight cans of opium above
freedom of association which has its root in the Malolos Constitution would render mentioned hidden in the ashes below the boiler of the steamer's engine. The
sterile and meaningless the Constitutional safeguard, should Congress be defendant confessed that he was the owner of this opium, and that he had
conceded, in the exercise of its broad law-making authority, the power to strike down purchased it in Saigon. He did not confess, however, as to his purpose in buying the
at any time associations and societies by the simple expedient of declaring their opium. He did not say that it was his intention to import the prohibited drug into the
purposes or certain activities, not wrong per se, as "contrary to law" Philippine Islands. No other evidence direct or indirect, to show that the intention of
or mala prohibita. I believe that such a concept begs the question. Obviously, the the accused was to import illegally this opium into the Philippine Islands, was
word "law" in the qualifying clause "for purposes not contrary to law" does not mean introduced.
that an enactment of the legislature forecloses the question with finality and sounds
the death-knell. Laws that would regulate the purposes for which associations and Has the crime of illegal importation of opium into the Philippine Islands been proven?
societies may be formed or would declare their purposes mala prohibita must pass
the usual constitutional test of reasonableness and furthermore, must not abridge Two decisions of this Court are cited in the judgment of the trial court, but with the
freedom of speech and press.[5] intimation that there exists inconsistency between the doctrines laid down in the two
cases. However, neither decision is directly a precedent on the facts before us.
[1] Nos. L-32432 and L-32443, jointly decided.
In the case of United States vs. Look Chaw ([1910], 18 Phil., 573), in the opinion
[2] The writer hereof was then on official leave. handed down by the Chief Justice, it is found—

[3] Nos. L-32456 and L-32551, October 17, 1970. "That, although the mere possession of a thing of prohibited use in these
Islands, aboard a foreign vessel in transit, in any of their ports, does not, as a
[4] Sponsorship speech of Senator Arturo Tolentino of July 20, 1970, notes in general rule, constitute a crime triable by the courts of this country, on account of
parentheses furnished; emphasis copied; cit, Art. III, Sec. 1(6), Philippine such vessel being considered as an extension of its own nationality, the same rule
Constitution. does not apply when the article, whose use is prohibited within the Philippine
Islands, in the present case a can of opium, is landed from the vessel upon
[5] See 2 Tañada and Carreon, Political Law of the Philippine, 209. Philippine soil, thus committing an open violation of the laws of the land, with respect
to which, as it is a violation of the penal law in force at the place of the commission
of the crime, only the court established in the said place itself has competent
jurisdiction, in the absence of an agreement under an international treaty."
36 Phil. 978
A marked difference between the facts in the Look Chaw case and the facts in the
[ G.R. No. 13005, October 10, 1917 ] present instance is readily observable. In the Look Chaw case, the charge was the
57 of 167 58 of 167
illegal possession and sale of opium—in the present case the charge is illegal The defendant and appellant, having been proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt
importation of opium; in the Look Chaw case the foreign vessel was in transit—in the as charged and the sentence of the trial court being within the limits provided by law,
present case the foreign vessel was not in transit; in the Look Chaw case the opium it results that the judgment must be affirmed with the costs of this instance against
was landed from the vessel upon Philippine soil—in the present case the opium was the appellant. So ordered.
not landed by the defendant. In the case of United States vs.Jose ([1916], 34 Phil.,
840), the main point, and the one on which resolution turned, was that in a Arellano, C. J., Johnson, Carson, Araullo, and Street, JJ., concur.
prosecution based on the illegal importation of opium or other prohibited drug, the
Government must prove, or offer evidence sufficient to raise a presumption, that the Judgment affirmed.
vessel from which the drug is discharged came into Philippine waters from a foreign
country with the drug on board. In the Jose case, the defendants were acquitted
because it was not proved that the opium was imported from a foreign country; in the
present case there is no question but what the opium came from Saigon to Cebu. 18 Phil. 504
However, in the opinion in the Jose case, we find the following which may be obiter
dicta, but which at least is interesting as showing the view of the writer of the [ G.R. No. 6486, March 02, 1911 ]
"The importation was complete, to say the least, when the ship carrying it anchored DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.

in Subic Bay. It was not necessary that the opium be discharged or that it be taken 

from the ship. It was sufficient that the opium was brought into the waters of the DECISION
Philippine Islands on a boat destined for a Philippine port and which subsequently
anchored in a port of the Philippine Islands with intent to discharge its cargo." MORELAND, J.:

Resolving whatever doubt may exist as to the authority of the views just quoted, we This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of the Province of
return to an examination of the applicable provisions of the law. It is to be noted that Cagayan, Hon. Charles A. Low presiding, convicting the defendant of the crime of
section 4 of Act No. 2381 begins, "Any person who shall unlawfully import or bring malversation of public funds and sentencing him to two months' imprisonment, to
any prohibited drug into the Philippine Islands." "Import" and "bring" are synonymous perpetual disqualification to hold public office or public employment of any kind,
terms. The Federal Courts of the United States have held that the mere act of going and to the payment of the costs.
into a port, without breaking bulk, is prima facie evidence of importation. (The Mary
It appears from the proofs of the prosecution that the accused as justice of the
[U. S.], 16 Fed. Cas., 932, 933.) And again, the importation is not the making entry of
peace of Baggao, Province of Cagayan, on the 2d day of October, 1909, had
goods at the custom house, but merely the bringing them into port; and the
before him sixteen separate civil cases commenced by Juan Canillas against sixteen
importation is complete before entry of the Custom House. (U. S. vs.Lyman [U. S.],
distinct individuals, each one for damages resulting from a breach of contract; that
26 Fed. Cas., 1024, 1028; Perots vs. U. S., 19 Fed. Cas., 258.) As applied to the
said cases were all decided by the appellant in favor of the plaintiff; that each one of
Opium Law, we expressly hold that any person unlawfully imports or brings any
the defendants in said cases appealed from the decision of the justice of the
prohibited drug into the Philippine Islands, when the prohibited drug is found under
peace and deposited P16 as required by law, at the same time giving a bond of
this person's control on a vessel which has come direct from a foreign country and is
P50, each one of which was approved by the court; that on the 12th day of said
within the jurisdictional limits of the Philippine Islands. In such case, a person is
month the plaintiff in said cases presented a writing to the appellant as said justice
guilty of illegal importation of the drug unless contrary circumstances exist or the
of the peace, alleging that the sureties on the said bonds were insolvent and later
defense proves otherwise. Applied to the facts herein, it would be absurd to think
demonstrated this to the satisfaction of the appellant; that thereupon the latter
that the accused was merely carrying opium back and forth between Saigon and
ordered the cancellation of the said bonds and, in the same order, required each of
Cebu for the mere pleasure of so doing. It would likewise be impossible to conceive
the appellants to file another bond within fifteen days; that, inasmuch as none of the
that the accused needed so large an amount of opium for his personal use. No
appellants in said causes presented new bonds within the time fixed, the plaintiff in
better explanation being possible, the logical deduction is that the defendant
said causes applied to the appellant, as said court, for an order declaring final the
intended this opium to be brought into the Philippine Islands. We accordingly find
judgment entered in each of the said sixteen cases and commanding the execution
that there was illegal importation of opium from a foreign country into the Philippine
of the same, at the same time asking that the sums deposited by the defendants in
Islands. To anticipate any possible misunderstanding, let it be said that these
said actions be attached (so called in the record) and delivered to him in satisfaction
statements do not relate to foreign vessels in transit, a situation not present.
of said judgments; that the accused acceded to the petition of the plaintiff, ordered
said sums attached and delivered same to the plaintiff, at the same time requiring of

59 of 167 60 of 167
the plaintiff a bond of T50 for each attachment, conditioned that he would respond feloniously. His act had back of it the purpose to do justice to litigants and not to
for the damages which should result from such attachment. embezzle property. He acted that honest debts might be paid to those to whom they
were legally and justly due, and not to enrich himself or another by criminal
After this attachment (so called) the attorney for the defendants in the said sixteen misappropriation. It was an error committed by a court, not an act done by a
cases presented a complaint against the appellant to the Court of First Instance, by criminal-minded man. It was a mistake, not a crime.
virtue of which said court ordered that the plaintiff, Juan Canillas, deliver to the clerk
of the Court of First Instance the sums deposited by the defendants in said actions. It is true that a presumption of criminal intention may arise from proof of the
Canillas obeyed the order of the court and made the delivery as required. commission of a criminal act; and the general rule is that, if it is proved that the
accused committed the criminal act charged, it will be presumed that the act was
Upon these facts the Acting Attorney-General recommends the acquittal of the done with criminal intention, and that it is for the accused to rebut this
accused. We are in entire accord with that recommendation. The case made presumption. But it must be borne in mind that the act from which such
against the appellant lacks many of the essential elements required by law to be presumption springs must be a criminal act. In the case before us the act was not
present in the crime of malversation of public funds. The accused did not convert criminal. It may have been an error; it may have been wrong and illegal in the
the money to his own use or to the use of any other person; neither did he sense that it would have been declared erroneous and set aside on appeal or other
feloniously permit anybody else to convert it. Everything he did was done in good proceeding in the superior court. It may well be that his conduct was arbitrary to a
faith under the belief that he was acting judicially and correctly. The fact that he high degree, to such a degree in fact as properly to subject him to reprimand or even
ordered the sums, deposited in his hands by the defendants - appellants in the suspension or removal from office. But, from the facts of record, it was not
sixteen actions referred to, attached for the benefit of the plaintiff in those actions, criminal. As a necessary result no presumption of criminal intention arises from the
after the appeals had been dismissed and the judgments in his court had become act.
final, and that he delivered the said sums to the plaintiff in satisfaction of the
judgment which he held iny those cases, can not be considered an appropriation or Neither can the presumption of a criminal intention arise from the act complained
a taking of said sums within the meaning of Act No. 1740. He believed that, as of, even though it be admitted that the crime, if any, is that of malversation of public
presiding officer of the court of justice of the peace, he had a perfect right under the funds as defined, and penalized in Act No. 1740. It is true that that Act provides
law to cancel the bonds when it was clearly shown to him that the sureties thereon that "In all prosecutions for violations of the preceding section, the absence of any of
were insolvent, to require the filing of new undertakings, giving the parties ample the public funds or property of which any person described in said section has
time within which to do so, to dismiss the appeals in case said undertakings were charge, and any failure or inability of such person to produce all the funds and
not filed, and to declare the judgment final. He believed that after said appeals property properly in his charge on the demand of any officer authorized to examine
had been dismissed and said judgment had become final, the sums deposited or inspect such person, office, treasury, or depositary shall be deemed to be prima
were subject to be applied in payment of the judgments in the actions in which said facie evidence that such missing funds or property have been put to personal
sums had been deposited and that he was acting judicially and legally in making uses or used for personal ends by such person within the meaning of the preceding
such applications. section." Nevertheless, that presumption is a rebuttable one and constitutes only a
prima facie case against the person accused. If he present evidence showing that,
To constitute a crime, the act must, except in certain crimes made such by statute, in fact, he has not put said funds or property to personal uses, then that
be accompanied by a criminal intent, or by such negligence or indifference to duty presumption is at an end and the prima facie case destroyed. In the case at bar it
or to consequences, as, in law, is equivalent to criminal intent. The maxim is, actus was unnecessary for the accused to offer any such evidence, for the reason that
non facit reum, nisi nisi rea - a crime is not committed if the mind of the person the people's own pleading alleged, and its own proofs presented, along with the
performing the act complained of be innocent. criminal charge, facts which showed, of themselves, that said money had not been
put to personal uses or used for personal ends. In other words, the prosecution
In the case at bar the appellant was engaged in exercising the functions of a court of demonstrated, both by the allegations in its information filed against the accused
justice of the peace. He had jurisdiction of the actions before him. He had a and by its proofs on the trial, that the absence of the funds in question was not due
right and it was his duty to require the payment by each appellant of P16, as well as to the personal use thereof by the accused, thus affirmatively and completely
the giving of a proper undertaking with solvent sureties. While, in dismissing the negativing the presumption which, under the act quoted, arises from the absence of
appeals and delivering the ?256 to the plaintiff in said cases, he may have exceeded the funds. The presumption was never born. It never existed. The facts which
his authority as such court and passed beyond the limits of his jurisdiction and were presented for the purpose of creating such presumption were accompanied by
power, a question we do not now discuss or decide, it was, so far as appears from other facts which absolutely prevented its creation.
the record, at most a pure mistake of judgment, an error of the mind operating upon
a state of facts. Giving the act complained of the signification most detrimental to On the other hand, if it be admitted that the crime, if. any, is that of estafa, as
the appellant, it, nevertheless, was simply the result of the erroneous exercise of defined in paragraph 5 of article 535 of the Penal Code, then the presumption just
the judicial function, and not an intention to deprive any person of his property
61 of 167 62 of 167
referred to does not arise. Mere absence of the funds is not sufficient proof of The defendant filed a petition for certiorari in this Court against the Court of Appeals.
conversion. Neither is the mere failure of the accused to turn over the funds at any Only questions of law are raised which may be reduced to the issue whether or not
given time sufficient to make even a prima facie case. (U. S. vs. Morales, 15 Phil. the acts of the accused, as found by the Court of Appeals, constitute theft.
Rep:, 238; U. S. vs. Dominguez, 2 Phil. Hep., 580.) Conversion must be affirmatively
proved, either by direct evidence or by the production of facts from which The Court of Appeals, in a carefully prepared opinion, held as follows:
conversion necessarily follows. (U. S. vs. Morales, supra.)
"Taking into account the respective contentions of the parties and the evidence
The judgment of conviction is reversed and the defendant ordered discharged from produced in support thereof, We are of the opinion despite Emilia Saenz' letter
custody forthwith. (Exhibit E) where she writes to Benedicto that Federico Soriano was only in charge
of collecting the rents and of transmitting them to her, that appellant was their
Arellano, C. J., Mapa and Trent, JJ., concur. representative and duly appointed substitute administrator in her stead. It seems
also clear that, because of the disturbance caused by the war, the Eagle Cinema
CONCURRING Co., Inc., was indebted to the Saenz for rents due on account of the lease; and that
appellant in the exercise of the powers conferred upon him (Exhibit 16) could have
CARSON, J., sued said debtor to foreclose the mortgage executed by the Eagle Cinema Co., Inc.,
in favor of his principals, if he could not have come to a better understanding with
I am strongly inclined to doubt the bona fides of the defendant in the transactions Teodoro S. Benedicto. It is no longer disputed that the properties of the Eagle
herein set out, but in the absence of proof beyond a reasonable doubt upon this Cinema Co., Inc., in the building were lost, and that the lantern slide projector
point I concur in the judgment of acquittal of the crime charged in the information. (Exhibit C) and the "Cyclix" motor generator (Exhibit D) have been found in the
house and in the possession of the appellant after having repeatedly denied any
knowledge of the equipment and accessories of the Cine and disclaimed any
responsibility for their loss. Considering these facts that have been fully established
88 Phil. 368 in the case, and particularly the manner and circumstances under which said
projector and generator were taken from the building of the Eagle-Theater, can
[ G. R. No. L-3008, March 19, 1951 ] appellant be held liable for the crime of theft of such properties?
FEDERICO SORIANO, PETITIONER, VS. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, "Counsel for appellant contends that the latter is entitled to an acquittal, because in
 the case at bar

DECISION "1. All the elements of theft are not present;
JUGO, J.: "2. There was no criminal intent (on the part of the appellant) ;
Federico Soriano was charged on August 22, 1945, with the crime of theft of one "3. The action of the appellant is susceptible of two interpretations, both consistent
electric motor marked "Cyclix," with Western Electric Company cable, and one with his innocence or guilt. Therefore, he should be acquitted; and
lantern slide projector, with their corresponding accessories, for the operation of
motion pictures, valued at P6,000, belonging to the Eagle Cinema Co., Inc., "4. The guilt of the appellant has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt.
represented by its President-Manager, Teodoro S. Benedict©.
"The crime of theft of which appellant stands charged and convicted, is covered by
After trial he was convicted by the Court of First Instance of Iloilo and sentenced to the 1st paragraph of Article 308 of the Kevised Penal Code, which read as follows:
suffer an indeterminate penalty of from six (6) months of arresto mayor to two (2)
years, eleven (11) months and eleven (11) days of prision correctional, with the 'Art. 308. Who are liable for theft.—Theft is committed by any person who, with
accessory penalties of the law, and to pay the costs. He appealed to the Court of intent of gain but without violence against or intimidation of persons nor force upon
Appeals, which modified the above judgement and sentenced him to three (3) things, shall take personal property of another without the latter's consent.',
months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to one (1) year, eight (8) months and twenty-
one (21) days of prision correctional, as maximum, with the accessory penalties of and we agree with counsel for appellant that in order to justify a conviction for theft
the law, and to pay the costs, ordering that the lantern slide projector (Exhibit C) and the following elements must concur, namely: (a) that a chattel or personal property
the "Cyclix" motor generator (Exhibit D) be returned to the owner, the Eagle Cinema must have been taken or abstracted; (b) that there be intent of gain when the taking
Co., Inc. away of the article took place; (c) that the property stolen be owned by another;
63 of 167 64 of 167
and (d) that in the taking, neither violence or intimidation against persons or force "'Is the shepherd, who takes away and converts to his own use several head of
upon things be employed. cattle under his care, guilty of the crime of estafa within case No. 5 of article 548, or
of theft, defined and punished in article 533, No. 2, of the Spanish Penal Code'—
"With regard to the 'taking,' appellant contends that he did not execute this element The Supreme Court has decided that it was this latter and more serious crime that
of theft because being an attorney-in-fact of the heirs of Saenz, he acted for his was committed: 'Considering that the crime of theft is committed when one, with
principals, and for all intents and purposes of the power conferred upon him, he was intent of gain, and without using violence or intimidation against persons, or force
the principal himself and, naturally, he could not steal something belonging to him upon things, takes away personal property of another without the owner's consent;
under the principle that 'Rei nostrae furtum facera rum possumtis'. The power of and in the present case Manuel Diaz Castilla undoubtedly committed the crime
attorney (Exhibit 16) clearly empowered the appellant 'to ask, demand, sue for, defined, for, with intent of gain, he took away two bucks and a female goat, against
recover, collect and receipt for any and all sums of money * * * and other things of the will of his master, the owner of said animals, which were under his care as
value of whatsoever nature or kind,' and gave him 'full power to do anything requisite shepherd; Considering that, in holding that the crime committed was that of theft and
and necessary to be done in the premises as fully as I (Emilia Saenz) could if not of estafa, as claimed by the appellant, ignorant of the true elements which
personally present, hereby ratifying and confirming all that my said attorney and constitute the latter crime, the lower court did not commit any error of law, nor violate
substitute attorney shall lawfully do or cause to be done by virtue hereof.' But any legal provision, as contended by defendant's counsel in support of this
appellant fails to take two important factors into consideration, to writ: firstly, that appeal.' (Decision rendered on June 23, 1886, published in the Gazette of
when he took, as he finally admitted to have taken, the lantern slide projector and September 16, p. 189.)
the 'Cyclix' motor generator from the Eagle-Theater, he did not really act in behalf
and representation of his principals, for otherwise he would not have repeatedly "And this is so, because as stated in the case of United States vs. Nieves de Vera,
denied having taken said properties and insinuated that they had been taken by the (43 Phil. 1000):
Japanese; and secondly, that even his principals could not have taken and
appropriated said properties for themselves without previous and proper action in 'When the delivery of a chattel or cattle has not the effect of transferring the juridical
court, because no mortgage creditor can foreclose the property mortgage to him possession thereof, or title thereto, it is presumed that the possession of, and title to,
without judicial proceedings. Thus, the doctrines laid down by the Supreme Court in the thing so delivered remains in the owner; and the net of disposing thereof with
the case of United States vs. Reyes, (Phil., 441); People vs. Soriano, (50 Phil., 203) intent of gain and without the consent of the owner constitutes the crime of theft'
Manila Mercantile Co. vs. Flores (50 Phil., 759) and Levy Hermanos,
Inc., vs. Ramirez (60 Phil., 978), on which appellant builds up his contention, are of "As to the element of 'intent of gain,' We further declare that whenever a cattle or
no bearing on the case at bar. other personal property value is abstracted without the consent of the owner, and the
evidence on record does not show any other reason for the abstraction, it is to be
"Discussing further this element of 'taking,' it can be added that the projector (Exhibit presumed and logically inferred that such act was motivated by an intent of
C) and the generator (Exhibit D) were in the premises of the Eagle Theater, and that gain." (Decision, pp. 7-12.)
sometime in September, 1944, when the Japanese Ishii ceased to operate the Cine,
appellant received the keys of the building where said equipment was stored. So, The petitioner shields himself behind the power-of-attorney, Exhibit 16, granted to
the question that remains to be determined in connection with this point is whether him by Emilia Saenz, the owner of the building which was rented by the Eagle
appellant, having received those properties, could, for the purposes of the crime of Cinema Co., Inc., the essential part of which reads as follows:
theft, take things already in his possession. It is to be remembered that the
apparatus, accessories and equipment of the Cine belonged to the Eagle Cinema "To ask, take, sue for, recover, collect and receive any and all sums of money, debts,
Co., Inc., though they were mortgaged to appellant's principals; that the mortgage dues, accounts, interests, demands, and other things of value of whatsoever nature
was never foreclosed, and that neither Teodoro S. Benedicto, as President, General or kind as may be or hereafter be due, owing, payable or belonging to the
Manager and majority stockholder of said corporation, nor any other duly authorized community entrusted to me (Emilia Saenz) in the City of Iloilo and to have, use, and
person in his stead, had ever entrusted said properties to him for the execution of take any and all lawful ways and means for the recovery thereof by suit, attachment
the mortgage, or for any other purpose. And even conceding for the sake of or otherwise, and to compromise, settle and agree for (Decision, 5-6.)
argument that with the return of the keys and the delivery of the building to appellant,
he would have received the physical possession of the machinery therein located, It is clear that said power of attorney did not authorize the petitioner to take away the
yet, the acquisition of such possesion did not carry with it the power to exercise any projector and the generator, hiding them in his house and denying to the owner and
act of dominion over said chattels. Among the leading cases that can be cited to the police authorities that he had them in his possession, which was an illegal act,
illustrate this phase of the problem, we quote the following from Question No. XXXI not covered by his power-of-attorney. He was authorized only to ask, take, sue for,
of Viada (vol. 3, page 433, 4th ed.) ; recover, collect, etc., sums of money, debts, dues, accounts and other things which
were or might thereafter be due, etc., to his principal Emilia Saenz. This authority
referred mainly to the collection of the rents of the building rented by the Eagle
65 of 167 66 of 167
Cinema Co., Inc. The projector and the generator were not due or owing to Emilia the keys of the building where said equipment was stored) and removed to and kept
Saenz. It is not to be supposed that Saenz herself would have denied the in petitioner's house, is consistent with the theory that the petitioner, to protect the
possession of those articles. If it was the purpose of the petitioner only to protect interest of his principals, in good faith believed that he had the right to do so under
those instruments from looting, there is no reason why he should have concealed his powers and by virtue of the mortgage covering said equipment, especially
them from the owner and denied having them. because the petitioner was empowered not only to recover, collect or receive money,
debts or dues, but also to take or recover "other things of value of whatsoever nature
Even though the equipment, including those articles, were mortgaged to Saenz to or kind" that may be due from the lessee. That the petitioner was wrong in his belief,
guarantee the payment of the rents due on the building, yet there had been no or had been so over-zealous in the matter as to have even denied that the articles in
foreclosure and neither she nor the petitioner had the authority to take away and question were in his possession, made him at most civilly liable but does not go to
conceal those articles from the owner or the police authorities. The Eagle Cinema show that he acted with intent of personal profit. The intent of gain cannot be
Co., Inc., had the right to possess said articles. inferred from the bare acts of the petitioner, in view of the peculiar circumstances of
the case that supply plausible reasons for said acts. Had he sold or tried to dispose
With regard to the element of taking or asportation, there is no doubt that it existed, of the articles, intent of gain would have been established.
notwithstanding that the petitioner had been entrusted with the keys of the building
where they were kept. This point has been settled by Viada, numerous decisions of
the Supreme Court of Spain and of the Philippines, some of which authorities are
cited above. 155 Phil. 116

As to the element of intent, it is clear that when the petitioner carried away and SECOND DIVISION
concealed from the owner and the police authorities the above-mentioned articles,
he acted with intent of gain. Intent is a mental state, the existence of which is shown [ G.R. NO. L-30801, March 27, 1974 ]
by the overt acts of a person, which in the present case unmistakably point to that

In view of the foregoing, the petition for the writ of certiorari is denied, with costs 

against the petitioner. So ordered. DECISION

Moran, C. J., Feria, Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, Tuason, Montemayor and Reyes, AQUINO, J.:
JJ., concur.
This is an appeal of defendant Domingo Ural from the decision of Judge Vicente G.
DISSENTING Ericta of the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga del Sur, convicting him of murder,
sentencing him to reclusion perpetua, and ordering him to indemnify the heirs of
PARAS, J., Felix Napola in the sum of twelve thousand pesos and to pay the costs (Criminal
Case No. 3280).
I dissent.
The judgment of conviction was based on the testimony of Brigido Alberio, a twenty-
Under the facts of this case, as found by the Court of Appeals, the petitioner cannot six year old former detention prisoner in Buug, Zamboanga del Sur. He had been
rightly be convicted of the crime of theft, because he had not acted with intent of accused of murder and then set at liberty on June 9, 1966 after posting bail. He
gain. The Eagle Cinema Co., Inc. was indebted to the Saenz heirs (represented by went to Barrio Camongo, Dumalinao where his father resided. On July 31, 1966, he
Emilia Saenz) for rents of a building leased by the company. The apparatus, intended to go to his residence at Barrio Upper Lamari, Buug but night overtook him
accessories and equipment of the Eagle Cinema Co., Inc, contained in the leased in the town. He decided to sleep in the Buug municipal building where there would
building, were mortgaged to Saenz to secure the payment of said rents. The be more security.
petitioner was the representative and duly appointed substitute administrator of the
premises, in place of Emilia Saenz. Indeed, the petitioner could have sued the Eagle Upon arrival in the municipal building at around eight o'clock, he witnessed an
Cinema Co., Inc., and foreclosed its mortgage. extraordinary occurrence. He saw Policeman Ural (with whom he was already
acquainted) inside the jail. Uralwas boxing the detention prisoner, Felix Napola. As
The fact that the lantern slide projector and the "Cyclix" motor generator forming part a consequence of the fistic blows, Napola collapsed on the floor. Ural, the
of the equipment of the Eagle Co., Inc., were taken by the petitioner (after the tormentor, stepped on his prostrate body.
Japanese Ishii, who had ceased to operate the business, delivered to the petitioner
67 of 167 68 of 167
Ural went out of the cell. After a short interval, he returned with a bottle. He poured Teofilo Matugas, a policeman, declared that he was relieved as guard by Ural at
its contents on Napola's recumbent body. Then, he ignited it with a match and left eight-thirty in the evening of July 31st. Matugas denied that Alberio was in the
the cell. Napola screamed in agony. He shouted for help. Nobody came to succor municipal building at eight o'clock.
The trial court held that Ural's denials cannot prevail over the positive testimony of
Much perturbed by the barbarity which he had just seen, Alberio left the municipal Alberio. It observed that Ural's alleged act of removing Napola's burning shirt was at
building. Before his departure, Ural cautioned him: "You better keep quiet of what I most an indication that he was "belatedly alarmed by the consequence of his evil
have done" (sic). Alberio did not sleep anymore that night. From the municipal act" but would not mean that he was not the incendiary.
building, he went to the crossing, where the cargo trucks passed. He hitchhiked in a
truck hauling iron ore and went home. Appellant Ural (he was thirty-four years old in March, 1969), in assailing the
credibility of Alberio, pointed out that he was not listed as a prosecution witness and
Doctor Luzonia R. Bakil, the municipal health officer, certified that the thirty-year old that he was convicted of murder.
victim, whom she treated twice, sustained second-degree burns on the arms, neck,
left side of the face and one-half of the body including the back (Exh. A). She Those circumstances would not preclude Alberio from being a credible witness. It
testified that his dermis and epidermis were burned. If the burns were not properly should be noted that the accused was a policeman. Ordinarily, a crime should be
treated, death would ensue from toxemia and tetanus infection. "Without any investigated by the police. In this case, there was no police investigation. The crime
medical intervention", the burns would "cause death", she said. She explained that, was investigated by a special counsel of the fiscal's office. That might explain why it
because there was water in the burnt area, secondary infection would set in, or there was not immediately discovered that Alberio was an eyewitness of the atrocity
would be complications. perpetrated by Ural.

Napola died on August 25, 1966. The sanitary inspector issued a certificate of death The testimonies of Felicisima Escareal, Ogoc's common-law wife, and Policeman
indicating "burn" as the cause of death (Exh B). Matugas are compatible with the prosecution's theory that Ural burned Napola's
shirt. Ultimately, the factual issue is: who should be given credence, Alberio
The trial court fittingly deplored the half-hearted manner in which the prosecution or Ural? As already stated, the trial court which had the advantage of seeing their
(represented by Fiscal Roque and the private prosecutor, Delfin Agbu) handled the demeanor and behavior on the witness stand, chose to believe Alberio. This Court,
case. It bewailed the prosecution's failure to present as witnesses Juanito de la after a searching scrutiny of the whole record, does not find any justification for
Serna and Ernesto Ogoc, the detention prisoners who saw the burning of Napola. disbelieving Alberio.
They had executed a joint affidavit which was one of the bases of the information for
murder.[1 This case is covered by article 4 of the Revised Penal Code which provides that
"criminal liability shall be incurred by any person committing a felony (delito)
It noted that Rufina Paler, the victim's widow, who was present in court, was a vital although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended". The
witness who should have been presented as a witness to prove the victim's dying presumption is "that a person intends the ordinary consequences of his voluntary
declaration or his statements which were part of the res gestae.[2] act" (Sec. 5[c], Rule 131, Rules of Court).

In this appeal appellant's three assignment of error may be condensed into the issue The rationale of the rule in article 4 is found in the doctrine that "el que es causa de
of credibility or the sufficiency of the prosecution's evidence to prove his guilt beyond la causa es causa del mal causado" (he who is the cause of the cause is the cause
reasonable doubt. of the evil caused). "Conforme a dicha doctrina no alteran la relacion de causalidad
las condiciones preexistentes (como las condiciones patologicas del lesionado, la
His story is that at around nine o'clock in the evening of July 31, 1966 he was in the predisposicion del ofendido, la constitucion fisica del herido, etc.); ni las condiciones
municipal jail on guard duty. He heard a scream for help from Napola. He entered concomitantes (la falta de medicos para asistir al herido); ni las condiciones
the cell and found Napola's shirt in flames. With the assistance of Ernesto Ogoc and sobrevenidas (como el tetanos, la pulmonia, o la gangrena sobrevenidos a
Anecio Siton, Ural removed Napola's shirt. Ural did not summon a doctor because, consequencia de la herida)" (1 Cuello Calon, Codigo Penal, 12th Ed., 1968, p.
according to Napola, the burns were not serious. Besides, he (Ural) was alone in 335-336).
the municipal building.
The similar rule in American jurisprudence is that "if the act of the accused was the
Felicisima Escareal, Ogoc's common-law wife, whom the trial court branded "as a cause of the cause of death, no more is required" (40 C. J. S. 854). So, where
complete liar", testified that she heard Napola's scream for help. She saw that during a quarrel, the accused struck the victim with a lighted lamp, which brake and
Napola's shirt was burning but she did not know how it happened to be burned. She fell to the floor, causing the oil to ignite and set fire to the rug, and, in the course of
said that Ural and Siton removed the shirt of Napola and put out the fire. the scuffle, which ensued on the floor, the victim's clothes caught fire, resulting in
69 of 167 70 of 167
burns from which he died, there was a sufficient causal relation between the death Fernando, J., concurs with the qualification set forth in the observation of Justice
and the acts of the accused to warrant a conviction of homicide. (Williams vs. U. S., Barredo.
20 Fed. 2nd 269, 40 C. J. S. 854, note 90).
Antonio, J., took no part.
There is a rule that "an individual who unlawfully inflicts wounds upon another
person, which result in the death of the latter, is guilty of the crime of homicide, and [1]

the fact that the injured person did not receive proper medical attendance does not
affect the criminal responsibility" (U. S. vs. Escalona, 12 Phil. 54). In the Escalona "Republic of the Philippines ....)
case, the victim was wounded on the wrist. It would not have caused death had it
been properly treated. The victim died sixty days after the infliction of the wound. It Province of Zamboanga del Sur .)
was held that lack of medical care could not be attributed to the wounded man. The
person who inflicted the wound was responsible for the result thereof. Municipality of Pagadian

The crime committed by appellant Ural was murder by means of fire (incendio) (Par. JOINT-AFFIDAVIT
3, Art. 248, Revised Penal Code; People vs. Masin, 64 Phil. 757; U. S. vs. Burns, 41
Phil. 418, 432, 440).[3] WE, ERNESTO OGOC, married, and JUANITO DE LA CERNA, single, both of legal
age, farmers, residents of Lakewood, Lapuyan, Zamboanga del Sur and at Buug,
The trial court correctly held that the accused took advantage of his public position Zamboanga del Sur, respectively, after having been duly sworn to in accordance
(Par. 1, Art. 14, Revised Penal Code). He could not have maltreated Napola if he with law hereby depose and say:
was not a policeman on guard duty. Because of his position, he had access to the
cell where Napola was confined. The prisoner was under his custody. "The That both of us were confined inside the municipal jail of Buug, Zamboanga del Sur
policeman, who taking advantage of his public position maltreats a private citizen, on July 31, 1966 for offenses allegedly committed by us and on same date our
merits no judicial leniency. The methods sanctioned by medieval practice are surely companions inside the said jail were Anisio Siton and Felix Napola, the latter being
not appropriate for an enlightened democratic civilization. While the law protects the confined for being drunk;
police officer in the proper discharge of his duties, it must at the same time just as
effectively protect the individual from the abuse of the police." (U. S. vs. Pabalan, 37 That at about 8:00 o'clock in the evening, more or less on July 31, 1966, our
Phil. 352). policeman guard by the name of Domingo Ural entered the jail and called for Felix
Napola. He called for him and told him that Felix Napola is aggressive. When Felix
But the trial court failed to appreciate the mitigating circumstance "that the offender Napola went near Domingo Ural, the latter boxed him at his lower chin and he fell to
had no intention to commit so grave a wrong as that committed" (Par. 3, Art. 13, the cement floor of the jail. He kicked him also at the same spot after Felix Napola
Revised Penal Code). It is manifest from the proven facts that appellant Ural had no fell to the floor. Because Felix Napola cannot stand anymore, Domingo Ural got a
intent to kill Napola. His design was only to maltreat him may be because in his bottle and poured the contents of said bottle to the dress of Felix Napola.
drunken condition he was making a nuisance of himself inside the detention cell. Domingo Ural lighted a match and burned the spot where the substance in the bottle
When Ural realized the fearful consequences of his felonious act, he allowed Napola was poured in the dress of Felix Napola. The dress of Felix Napola got burned and
to secure medical treatment at the municipal dispensary. Felix Napola got burned. He was forced to stand up and asked mercy from
Domingo Ural. Instead Domingo Ural locked the jail and went out and
Lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong offsets the generic aggravating Domingo Ural threatened us not to talk about the burning of Felix Napola to anybody
circumstance of abuse of his official position. The trial court properly imposed the or else he will burn us also.
penalty of reclusion perpetua which is the medium period of the penalty for murder
(Art. 64[4] and 248, Revised Penal Code). When Felix Napola was already suffering much from the burns he
sustained, Ural became frightened and he and Inesio Siton helped put out the fire.
Finding no error in the trial court's judgment, the same is affirmed with costs against
the appellant. Affiants further sayeth none.

SO ORDERED. (SGD.) Ernesto Ogoc (SGD.) Juanito de la Cerna

Zaldivar, (Chairman), and Fernandez, JJ., concur.
(Affiant) (Affiant)
Barredo, J., concurs in a Separate Opinion.
71 of 167 72 of 167
SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this 19th day of September, 1966 hereat el incendio, elemento integrante del delito de asesinato, * * *." (Sentencia de 29 de
Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur. Noviembre de 1887, II Hidalgo, Codigo Penal, 175).


Special Counsel"
Except for the unnecessary reference to the supposed statement of the deceased to
[2] Mrs. Napola (Mapola) testified at the preliminary investigation conducted by his wife and the joint affidavit of Ogoc and De la Serna, all of which were not
Basilio T. Roque, a special counsel, that she learned from a neighbor that her properly presented in evidence, hence it is preferable not to mention them in order to
husband suffered burns in the municipal jail in the evening of July 31, 1966. Her avoid any suspicion that our judgment has been influenced by factors other than
husband told her that Policeman Ural had burned him. Ural allowed her to bring evidence duly presented in court, I concur.
Napola to the dispensary where he was treated. Because of the injuries on his
mouth and his swollen gums, he could not eat and move his head. He was confined
in jail due to drunkenness. He was burned from the waist up to the neck and on the
back and right arm. She reported the case to the mayor. That functionary said that 445 Phil. 250
he would not take any hand in the case. Mrs. Napola was cross-examined by Ural's

At the same preliminary investigation the witnesses, Ernesto Ogoc and Juanito de la [ G.R. No. 142396, February 11, 2003 ]
Serna, testified and were cross-examined by Ural's counsel. The accused
presented evidence at the preliminary investigation.

[3]"Un sujeto, despues de cohabitar con una prostituta, encendio un mixto que aplico 

a uno de los latones de petroleo que habia proximos a la cama en que yacieron, DECISION
inflamandose el contenido de aquel y cayendo el liquido sobre la prostituta, que
fallecio a consequencia de las quemaduras.
Sometime in May 1986, an Information for violation of Section 4 of Republic Act No.
El Tribunal Supremo declara:
6425, otherwise also known as the “Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972,” was filed against
Que segun el articulo 418 del Codigo penal, es reo de asesinato el que por medio petitioner Khosrow Minucher and one Abbas Torabian with the Regional Trial Court,
de incendio mata a persona que no le este ligada por alguno de los vinculos Branch 151, of Pasig City. The criminal charge followed a “buy-bust operation”
familiares senalados en el art. 417, entendiendose empleado el incendio en este conducted by the Philippine police narcotic agents in the house of Minucher, an
concepto juridico cuando se mata o intenta matar por medio de fuego aplicado Iranian national, where a quantity of heroin, a prohibited drug, was said to have been
directa o inmediamente sobre la persona objeto de la accion criminal, siempre que seized. The narcotic agents were accompanied by private respondent Arthur Scalzo
lo sea con riesgo de propagacion a cosas distintas, en cualquiera de las condiciones who would, in due time, become one of the principal witnesses for the prosecution.
previstas en el capitulo 7, o, titulo 13 del libro 2.o del Codigo penal; cuyo medio de On 08 January 1988, Presiding Judge Eutropio Migrino rendered a decision
ejecucion de aquel delito, principal el la intencion del culpable estima la ley con el acquitting the two accused.
grave caracter que atribuye tambien a la inundacion y al empleo del veneno, no solo
On 03 August 1988, Minucher filed Civil Case No. 88-45691 before the Regional
por los peligros que implica, sino igualmente por la notoria malicia, semejante a la
Trial Court (RTC), Branch 19, of Manila for damages on account of what he claimed
alevosia, que revela la accion que para su exito no se detiene ante el respeto de
to have been trumped-up charges of drug trafficking made by Arthur Scalzo. The
otros derechos que pone en inminente riesgo o quebranta y lesiona a impulso de
Manila RTC detailed what it had found to be the facts and circumstances
decidida resolution.
surrounding the case.
Que todas estas consideraciones aparecen manifiestas en el acto ejecutado por el
"The testimony of the plaintiff disclosed that he is an Iranian national. He came to the
procesado, puesto que voluntariamente empleo el petroleo inflamado para lesionar
Philippines to study in the University of the Philippines in 1974. In 1976, under the
a la interfecta, poniendo el fuego, que por su natural poder se propago al local en
regime of the Shah of Iran, he was appointed Labor Attaché for the Iranian
que se cometio el delito, al servicio de su proposito punible; constituyendo por esto
Embassies in Tokyo, Japan and Manila, Philippines. When the Shah of Iran was
73 of 167 74 of 167
deposed by Ayatollah Khomeini, plaintiff became a refugee of the United Nations that he can introduce him to his cousin waiting in a cab. Without much ado, and
and continued to stay in the Philippines. He headed the Iranian National Resistance without putting on his shirt as he was only in his pajama pants, he followed the
Movement in the Philippines. defendant where he saw a parked cab opposite the street. To his complete surprise,
an American jumped out of the cab with a drawn high-powered gun. He was in the
“He came to know the defendant on May 13, 1986, when the latter was brought to company of about 30 to 40 Filipino soldiers with 6 Americans, all armed. He was
his house and introduced to him by a certain Jose Iñigo, an informer of the handcuffed and after about 20 minutes in the street, he was brought inside the
Intelligence Unit of the military. Jose Iñigo, on the other hand, was met by plaintiff at house by the defendant. He was made to sit down while in handcuffs while the
the office of Atty. Crisanto Saruca, a lawyer for several Iranians whom plaintiff defendant was inside his bedroom. The defendant came out of the bedroom and out
assisted as head of the anti-Khomeini movement in the Philippines. from defendant's attaché case, he took something and placed it on the table in front
of the plaintiff. They also took plaintiff's wife who was at that time at the boutique
”During his first meeting with the defendant on May 13, 1986, upon the introduction near his house and likewise arrested Torabian, who was playing chess with him in
of Jose Iñigo, the defendant expressed his interest in buying caviar. As a matter of the bedroom and both were handcuffed together. Plaintiff was not told why he was
fact, he bought two kilos of caviar from plaintiff and paid P10,000.00 for it. Selling being handcuffed and why the privacy of his house, especially his bedroom was
caviar, aside from that of Persian carpets, pistachio nuts and other Iranian products invaded by defendant. He was not allowed to use the telephone. In fact, his
was his business after the Khomeini government cut his pension of over $3,000.00 telephone was unplugged. He asked for any warrant, but the defendant told him to
per month. During their introduction in that meeting, the defendant gave the plaintiff `shut up.’ He was nevertheless told that he would be able to call for his lawyer who
his calling card, which showed that he is working at the US Embassy in the can defend him.
Philippines, as a special agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Department
of Justice, of the United States, and gave his address as US Embassy, Manila. At “The plaintiff took note of the fact that when the defendant invited him to come out to
the back of the card appears a telephone number in defendant’s own handwriting, meet his cousin, his safe was opened where he kept the $24,000.00 the defendant
the number of which he can also be contacted. paid for the carpets and another $8,000.00 which he also placed in the safe together
with a bracelet worth $15,000.00 and a pair of earrings worth $10,000.00. He also
“It was also during this first meeting that plaintiff expressed his desire to obtain a US discovered missing upon his release his 8 pieces hand-made Persian carpets,
Visa for his wife and the wife of a countryman named Abbas Torabian. The valued at $65,000.00, a painting he bought for P30,000.00 together with his TV and
defendant told him that he [could] help plaintiff for a fee of $2,000.00 per visa. Their betamax sets. He claimed that when he was handcuffed, the defendant took his
conversation, however, was more concentrated on politics, carpets and caviar. keys from his wallet. There was, therefore, nothing left in his house.
Thereafter, the defendant promised to see plaintiff again.
“That his arrest as a heroin trafficker x x x had been well publicized throughout the
“On May 19, 1986, the defendant called the plaintiff and invited the latter for dinner world, in various newspapers, particularly in Australia, America, Central Asia and in
at Mario's Restaurant at Makati. He wanted to buy 200 grams of caviar. Plaintiff the Philippines. He was identified in the papers as an international drug trafficker. x x
brought the merchandize but for the reason that the defendant was not yet there, he x
requested the restaurant people to x x x place the same in the refrigerator.
Defendant, however, came and plaintiff gave him the caviar for which he was paid. In fact, the arrest of defendant and Torabian was likewise on television, not only in
Then their conversation was again focused on politics and business. the Philippines, but also in America and in Germany. His friends in said places
informed him that they saw him on TV with said news.
“On May 26, 1986, defendant visited plaintiff again at the latter's residence for 18
years at Kapitolyo, Pasig. The defendant wanted to buy a pair of carpets which “After the arrest made on plaintiff and Torabian, they were brought to Camp Crame
plaintiff valued at $27,900.00. After some haggling, they agreed at $24,000.00. For handcuffed together, where they were detained for three days without food and
the reason that defendant did not yet have the money, they agreed that defendant water."[1]
would come back the next day. The following day, at 1:00 p.m., he came back with
his $24,000.00, which he gave to the plaintiff, and the latter, in turn, gave him the During the trial, the law firm of Luna, Sison and Manas, filed a special appearance
pair of carpets. for Scalzo and moved for extension of time to file an answer pending a supposed
advice from the United States Department of State and Department of Justice on the
“At about 3:00 in the afternoon of May 27, 1986, the defendant came back again to defenses to be raised. The trial court granted the motion. On 27 October 1988,
plaintiff's house and directly proceeded to the latter's bedroom, where the latter and Scalzo filed another special appearance to quash the summons on the ground that
his countryman, Abbas Torabian, were playing chess. Plaintiff opened his safe in the he, not being a resident of the Philippines and the action being one in personam,
bedroom and obtained $2,000.00 from it, gave it to the defendant for the latter's fee was beyond the processes of the court. The motion was denied by the court, in its
in obtaining a visa for plaintiff's wife. The defendant told him that he would be leaving order of 13 December 1988, holding that the filing by Scalzo of a motion for
the Philippines very soon and requested him to come out of the house for a while so extension of time to file an answer to the complaint was a voluntary appearance
75 of 167 76 of 167
equivalent to service of summons which could likewise be construed a waiver of the 242), appealing the judgment of the Court of Appeals. In a decision, dated 24
requirement of formal notice. Scalzo filed a motion for reconsideration of the court September 1992, penned by Justice (now Chief Justice) Hilario Davide, Jr., this
order, contending that a motion for an extension of time to file an answer was not a Court reversed the decision of the appellate court and remanded the case to the
voluntary appearance equivalent to service of summons since it did not seek an lower court for trial. The remand was ordered on the theses (a) that the Court of
affirmative relief. Scalzo argued that in cases involving the United States Appeals erred in granting the motion to dismiss of Scalzo for lack of jurisdiction over
government, as well as its agencies and officials, a motion for extension was his person without even considering the issue of the authenticity of Diplomatic Note
peculiarly unavoidable due to the need (1) for both the Department of State and the No. 414 and (b) that the complaint contained sufficient allegations to the effect that
Department of Justice to agree on the defenses to be raised and (2) to refer the Scalzo committed the imputed acts in his personal capacity and outside the scope of
case to a Philippine lawyer who would be expected to first review the case. The his official duties and, absent any evidence to the contrary, the issue on Scalzo’s
court a quo denied the motion for reconsideration in its order of 15 October 1989. diplomatic immunity could not be taken up.

Scalzo filed a petition for review with the Court of Appeals, there docketed CA-G.R. The Manila RTC thus continued with its hearings on the case. On 17 November
No. 17023, assailing the denial. In a decision, dated 06 October 1989, the appellate 1995, the trial court reached a decision; it adjudged:
court denied the petition and affirmed the ruling of the trial court. Scalzo then
elevated the incident in a petition for review on certiorari, docketed G.R. No. 91173, “WHEREFORE, and in view of all the foregoing considerations, judgment is hereby
to this Court. The petition, however, was denied for its failure to comply with SC rendered for the plaintiff, who successfully established his claim by sufficient
Circular No. 1-88; in any event, the Court added, Scalzo had failed to show that the evidence, against the defendant in the manner following:
appellate court was in error in its questioned judgment.
"`Adjudging defendant liable to plaintiff in actual and compensatory damages of
Meanwhile, at the court a quo, an order, dated 09 February 1990, was issued (a) P520,000.00; moral damages in the sum of P10 million; exemplary damages in the
declaring Scalzo in default for his failure to file a responsive pleading (answer) and sum of P100,000.00; attorney's fees in the sum of P200,000.00 plus costs.
(b) setting the case for the reception of evidence. On 12 March 1990, Scalzo filed a
motion to set aside the order of default and to admit his answer to the complaint. `The Clerk of the Regional Trial Court, Manila, is ordered to take note of the lien of
Granting the motion, the trial court set the case for pre-trial. In his answer, Scalzo the Court on this judgment to answer for the unpaid docket fees considering that the
denied the material allegations of the complaint and raised the affirmative defenses plaintiff in this case instituted this action as a pauper litigant.’"[2]
(a) of Minucher’s failure to state a cause of action in his complaint and (b) that
Scalzo had acted in the discharge of his official duties as being merely an agent of While the trial court gave credence to the claim of Scalzo and the evidence
the Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States Department of Justice. presented by him that he was a diplomatic agent entitled to immunity as such, it
Scalzo interposed a counterclaim of P100,000.00 to answer for attorneys' fees and ruled that he, nevertheless, should be held accountable for the acts complained of
expenses of litigation. committed outside his official duties. On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the
decision of the trial court and sustained the defense of Scalzo that he was
Then, on 14 June 1990, after almost two years since the institution of the civil case, sufficiently clothed with diplomatic immunity during his term of duty and thereby
Scalzo filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that, being a special immune from the criminal and civil jurisdiction of the “Receiving State” pursuant to
agent of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, he was entitled to the terms of the Vienna Convention.
diplomatic immunity. He attached to his motion Diplomatic Note No. 414 of the
United States Embassy, dated 29 May 1990, addressed to the Department of Hence, this recourse by Minucher. The instant petition for review raises a two-fold
Foreign Affairs of the Philippines and a Certification, dated 11 June 1990, of Vice issue: (1) whether or not the doctrine of conclusiveness of judgment, following the
Consul Donna Woodward, certifying that the note is a true and faithful copy of its decision rendered by this Court in G.R. No. 97765, should have precluded the Court
original. In an order of 25 June 1990, the trial court denied the motion to dismiss. of Appeals from resolving the appeal to it in an entirely different manner, and (2)
whether or not Arthur Scalzo is indeed entitled to diplomatic immunity.
On 27 July 1990, Scalzo filed a petition for certiorari with injunction with this Court,
docketed G.R. No. 94257 and entitled "Arthur W. Scalzo, Jr., vs. Hon. Wenceslao The doctrine of conclusiveness of judgment, or its kindred rule of res judicata, would
Polo, et al.," asking that the complaint in Civil Case No. 88-45691 be ordered require 1) the finality of the prior judgment, 2) a valid jurisdiction over the subject
dismissed. The case was referred to the Court of Appeals, there docketed CA-G.R. matter and the parties on the part of the court that renders it, 3) a judgment on the
SP No. 22505, per this Court’s resolution of 07 August 1990. On 31 October 1990, merits, and 4) an identity of the parties, subject matter and causes of action.[3] Even
the Court of Appeals promulgated its decision sustaining the diplomatic immunity of while one of the issues submitted in G.R. No. 97765 - "whether or not public
Scalzo and ordering the dismissal of the complaint against him. Minucher filed a respondent Court of Appeals erred in ruling that private respondent Scalzo is a
petition for review with this Court, docketed G.R. No. 97765 and entitled diplomat immune from civil suit conformably with the Vienna Convention on
"Khosrow Minucher vs. the Honorable Court of Appeals, et. al.” (cited in 214 SCRA Diplomatic Relations" - is also a pivotal question raised in the instant petition, the
77 of 167 78 of 167
ruling in G.R. No. 97765, however, has not resolved that point with finality. Indeed, case pursuant to the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations;
the Court there has made this observation - and (3) that the United States Embassy repeatedly urged the Department of Foreign
Affairs to take appropriate action to inform the trial court of Scalzo’s diplomatic
"It may be mentioned in this regard that private respondent himself, in his Pre-trial immunity. The other documentary exhibits were presented to indicate that: (1) the
Brief filed on 13 June 1990, unequivocally states that he would present documentary Philippine government itself, through its Executive Department, recognizing and
evidence consisting of DEA records on his investigation and surveillance of plaintiff respecting the diplomatic status of Scalzo, formally advised the “Judicial
and on his position and duties as DEA special agent in Manila. Having thus reserved Department” of his diplomatic status and his entitlement to all diplomatic privileges
his right to present evidence in support of his position, which is the basis for the and immunities under the Vienna Convention; and (2) the Department of Foreign
alleged diplomatic immunity, the barren self-serving claim in the belated motion to Affairs itself authenticated Diplomatic Note No. 414. Scalzo additionally presented
dismiss cannot be relied upon for a reasonable, intelligent and fair resolution of the Exhibits "9" to "13" consisting of his reports of investigation on the surveillance and
issue of diplomatic immunity."[4] subsequent arrest of Minucher, the certification of the Drug Enforcement
Administration of the United States Department of Justice that Scalzo was a special
Scalzo contends that the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, to which the agent assigned to the Philippines at all times relevant to the complaint, and the
Philippines is a signatory, grants him absolute immunity from suit, describing his special power of attorney executed by him in favor of his previous counsel[6] to show
functions as an agent of the United States Drugs Enforcement Agency as (a) that the United States Embassy, affirmed by its Vice Consul, acknowledged
“conducting surveillance operations on suspected drug dealers in the Philippines Scalzo to be a member of the diplomatic staff of the United States diplomatic
believed to be the source of prohibited drugs being shipped to the U.S., (and) having mission from his arrival in the Philippines on 14 October 1985 until his departure on
ascertained the target, (he then) would inform the Philippine narcotic agents (to) 10 August 1988, (b) that, on May 1986, with the cooperation of the Philippine law
make the actual arrest." Scalzo has submitted to the trial court a number of enforcement officials and in the exercise of his functions as member of the mission,
documents - he investigated Minucher for alleged trafficking in a prohibited drug, and (c) that the
Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs itself recognized that Scalzo during his tour
1. Exh. '2' - Diplomatic Note No. 414 dated 29 May 1990; of duty in the Philippines (14 October 1985 up to 10 August 1988) was listed as
being an Assistant Attaché of the United States diplomatic mission and accredited
2. Exh. '1' - Certification of Vice Consul Donna K. Woodward dated 11 June with diplomatic status by the Government of the Philippines. In his Exhibit 12, Scalzo
1990; described the functions of the overseas office of the United States Drugs
Enforcement Agency, i.e., (1) to provide criminal investigative expertise and
3. Exh. '5' - Diplomatic Note No. 757 dated 25 October 1991; assistance to foreign law enforcement agencies on narcotic and drug control
programs upon the request of the host country, 2) to establish and maintain liaison
4. Exh. '6' - Diplomatic Note No. 791 dated 17 November 1992; and with the host country and counterpart foreign law enforcement officials, and 3) to
conduct complex criminal investigations involving international criminal conspiracies
5. Exh. '7' - Diplomatic Note No. 833 dated 21 October 1988.
which affect the interests of the United States.
6. Exh. '3' - 1st Indorsement of the Hon. Jorge R. Coquia, Legal Adviser,
The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations was a codification of centuries-old
Department of Foreign Affairs, dated 27 June 1990 forwarding Embassy Note
customary law and, by the time of its ratification on 18 April 1961, its rules of law had
No. 414 to the Clerk of Court of RTC Manila, Branch 19 (the trial court);
long become stable. Among the city states of ancient Greece, among the peoples of
the Mediterranean before the establishment of the Roman Empire, and among the
7. Exh. '4' - Diplomatic Note No. 414, appended to the 1st Indorsement (Exh. '3');
states of India, the person of the herald in time of war and the person of the
diplomatic envoy in time of peace were universally held sacrosanct.[7] By the end of
8. Exh. '8' - Letter dated 18 November 1992 from the Office of the Protocol, the 16th century, when the earliest treatises on diplomatic law were published, the
Department of Foreign Affairs, through Asst. Sec. Emmanuel Fernandez, inviolability of ambassadors was firmly established as a rule of customary
addressed to the Chief Justice of this Court.[5] international law.[8] Traditionally, the exercise of diplomatic intercourse among states
was undertaken by the head of state himself, as being the preeminent embodiment
The documents, according to Scalzo, would show that: (1) the United States of the state he represented, and the foreign secretary, the official usually entrusted
Embassy accordingly advised the Executive Department of the Philippine with the external affairs of the state. Where a state would wish to have a more
Government that Scalzo was a member of the diplomatic staff of the United States prominent diplomatic presence in the receiving state, it would then send to the latter
diplomatic mission from his arrival in the Philippines on 14 October 1985 until his a diplomatic mission. Conformably with the Vienna Convention, the functions of the
departure on 10 August 1988; (2) that the United States Government was firm from diplomatic mission involve, by and large, the representation of the interests of the
the very beginning in asserting the diplomatic immunity of Scalzo with respect to the sending state and promoting friendly relations with the receiving state.[9]

79 of 167 80 of 167
The Convention lists the classes of heads of diplomatic missions to include (a) respondent is clothed with diplomatic immunity, thereby divesting the trial court of
ambassadors or nuncios accredited to the heads of state,[10] (b) envoys,[11] ministers jurisdiction over his person.
or internunciosaccredited to the heads of states; and (c) charges d'
affairs[12] accredited to the ministers of foreign affairs.[13] Comprising the "staff of the “x x x xxx xxx
(diplomatic) mission" are the diplomatic staff, the administrative staff and the
technical and service staff. Only the heads of missions, as well as members of the “And now, to the core issue - the alleged diplomatic immunity of the private
diplomatic staff, excluding the members of the administrative, technical and service respondent. Setting aside for the moment the issue of authenticity raised by the
staff of the mission, are accorded diplomatic rank. Even while the Vienna petitioner and the doubts that surround such claim, in view of the fact that it took
Convention on Diplomatic Relations provides for immunity to the members of private respondent one (1) year, eight (8) months and seventeen (17) days from the
diplomatic missions, it does so, nevertheless, with an understanding that the same time his counsel filed on 12 September 1988 a Special Appearance and Motion
be restrictively applied. Only "diplomatic agents," under the terms of the Convention, asking for a first extension of time to file the Answer because the Departments of
are vested with blanket diplomatic immunity from civil and criminal suits. The State and Justice of the United States of America were studying the case for the
Convention defines "diplomatic agents" as the heads of missions or members of the purpose of determining his defenses, before he could secure the Diplomatic Note
diplomatic staff, thus impliedly withholding the same privileges from all others. It from the US Embassy in Manila, and even granting for the sake of argument that
might bear stressing that even consuls, who represent their respective states in such note is authentic, the complaint for damages filed by petitioner cannot be
concerns of commerce and navigation and perform certain administrative and peremptorily dismissed.
notarial duties, such as the issuance of passports and visas, authentication of
documents, and administration of oaths, do not ordinarily enjoy the traditional “x x x xxx xxx
diplomatic immunities and privileges accorded diplomats, mainly for the reason that
they are not charged with the duty of representing their states in political "There is of course the claim of private respondent that the acts imputed to him were
matters. Indeed, the main yardstick in ascertaining whether a person is a done in his official capacity. Nothing supports this self-serving claim other than the
diplomat entitled to immunity is the determination of whether or not he so-called Diplomatic Note. x x x. The public respondent then should have sustained
performs duties of diplomatic nature. the trial court's denial of the motion to dismiss. Verily, it should have been the most
proper and appropriate recourse. It should not have been overwhelmed by the self-
Scalzo asserted, particularly in his Exhibits “9” to “13,” that he was an Assistant serving Diplomatic Note whose belated issuance is even suspect and whose
Attaché of the United States diplomatic mission and was accredited as such by the authenticity has not yet been proved. The undue haste with which respondent Court
Philippine Government. An attaché belongs to a category of officers in the diplomatic yielded to the private respondent's claim is arbitrary."
establishment who may be in charge of its cultural, press, administrative or financial
affairs. There could also be a class of attaches belonging to certain ministries or A significant document would appear to be Exhibit No. 08, dated 08 November 1992,
departments of the government, other than the foreign ministry or department, who issued by the Office of Protocol of the Department of Foreign Affairs and signed by
are detailed by their respective ministries or departments with the embassies such Emmanuel C. Fernandez, Assistant Secretary, certifying that "the records of the
as the military, naval, air, commercial, agricultural, labor, science, and customs Department (would) show that Mr. Arthur W. Scalzo, Jr., during his term of office in
attaches, or the like. Attaches assist a chief of mission in his duties and are the Philippines (from 14 October 1985 up to 10 August 1988) was listed as an
administratively under him, but their main function is to observe, analyze and Assistant Attaché of the United States diplomatic mission and was, therefore,
interpret trends and developments in their respective fields in the host country and accredited diplomatic status by the Government of the Philippines." No certified true
submit reports to their own ministries or departments in the home government. copy of such "records," the supposed bases for the belated issuance, was presented
[14] These officials are not generally regarded as members of the diplomatic mission, in evidence.
nor are they normally designated as having diplomatic rank.
Concededly, vesting a person with diplomatic immunity is a prerogative of the
In an attempt to prove his diplomatic status, Scalzo presented Diplomatic Notes Nos. executive branch of the government. In World Health Organization vs. Aquino,[15] the
414, 757 and 791, all issued post litem motam, respectively, on 29 May 1990, 25 Court has recognized that, in such matters, the hands of the courts are virtually tied.
October 1991 and 17 November 1992. The presentation did nothing much to Amidst apprehensions of indiscriminate and incautious grant of immunity, designed
alleviate the Court's initial reservations in G.R. No. 97765, viz: to gain exemption from the jurisdiction of courts, it should behoove the Philippine
government, specifically its Department of Foreign Affairs, to be most circumspect,
"While the trial court denied the motion to dismiss, the public respondent gravely that should particularly be no less than compelling, in its post litem
abused its discretion in dismissing Civil Case No. 88-45691 on the basis of an motam issuances. It might be recalled that the privilege is not an immunity from the
erroneous assumption that simply because of the diplomatic note, the private observance of the law of the territorial sovereign or from ensuing legal liability; it is,
rather, an immunity from the exercise of territorial jurisdiction.[16] The government of
the United States itself, which Scalzo claims to be acting for, has formulated its
81 of 167 82 of 167
standards for recognition of a diplomatic agent. The State Department policy is to be directly impleaded for acts imputable to their principal, which has not given its
only concede diplomatic status to a person who possesses an acknowledged consent to be sued. x x x As they have acted on behalf of the government, and
diplomatic title and “performs duties of diplomatic nature.”[17] Supplementary within the scope of their authority, it is that government, and not the petitioners
criteria for accreditation are the possession of a valid diplomatic passport or, from personally, [who were] responsible for their acts."[25]
States which do not issue such passports, a diplomatic note formally representing
the intention to assign the person to diplomatic duties, the holding of a non- This immunity principle, however, has its limitations. Thus, Shauf vs. Court of
immigrant visa, being over twenty-one years of age, and performing diplomatic Appeals[26] elaborates:
functions on an essentially full-time basis.[18] Diplomatic missions are requested to
provide the most accurate and descriptive job title to that which currently applies to “It is a different matter where the public official is made to account in his capacity as
the duties performed. The Office of the Protocol would then assign each individual to such for acts contrary to law and injurious to the rights of the plaintiff. As was clearly
the appropriate functional category.[19] set forth by Justice Zaldivar in Director of the Bureau of Telecommunications, et al.,
vs. Aligaen, et al. (33 SCRA 368): `Inasmuch as the State authorizes only legal acts
But while the diplomatic immunity of Scalzo might thus remain contentious, it was by its officers, unauthorized acts of government officials or officers are not acts of the
sufficiently established that, indeed, he worked for the United States Drug State, and an action against the officials or officers by one whose rights have been
Enforcement Agency and was tasked to conduct surveillance of suspected drug invaded or violated by such acts, for the protection of his rights, is not a suit against
activities within the country on the dates pertinent to this case. If it should be the State within the rule of immunity of the State from suit. In the same tenor, it has
ascertained that Arthur Scalzo was acting well within his assigned functions when he been said that an action at law or suit in equity against a State officer or the director
committed the acts alleged in the complaint, the present controversy could then be of a State department on the ground that, while claiming to act for the State, he
resolved under the related doctrine of State Immunity from Suit. violates or invades the personal and property rights of the plaintiff, under an
unconstitutional act or under an assumption of authority which he does not have, is
The precept that a State cannot be sued in the courts of a foreign state is a not a suit against the State within the constitutional provision that the State may not
long-standing rule of customary international law then closely identified with the be sued without its consent. The rationale for this ruling is that the doctrine of state
personal immunity of a foreign sovereign from suit[20] and, with the emergence of immunity cannot be used as an instrument for perpetrating an injustice.
democratic states, made to attach not just to the person of the head of state, or his
representative, but also distinctly to the state itself in its sovereign capacity.[21] If the “x x x xxx xxx
acts giving rise to a suit are those of a foreign government done by its foreign agent,
although not necessarily a diplomatic personage, but acting in his official capacity, “(T)he doctrine of immunity from suit will not apply and may not be invoked where
the complaint could be barred by the immunity of the foreign sovereign from suit the public official is being sued in his private and personal capacity as an ordinary
without its consent. Suing a representative of a state is believed to be, in effect, citizen. The cloak of protection afforded the officers and agents of the government is
suing the state itself. The proscription is not accorded for the benefit of an individual removed the moment they are sued in their individual capacity. This situation usually
but for the State, in whose service he is, under the maxim - par in parem, non habet arises where the public official acts without authority or in excess of the powers
imperium - that all states are sovereign equals and cannot assert jurisdiction over vested in him. It is a well-settled principle of law that a public official may be liable in
one another.[22] The implication, in broad terms, is that if the judgment against an his personal private capacity for whatever damage he may have caused by his act
official would require the state itself to perform an affirmative act to satisfy the award, done with malice and in bad faith or beyond the scope of his authority and
such as the appropriation of the amount needed to pay the damages decreed jurisdiction.”[27]
against him, the suit must be regarded as being against the state itself, although it
has not been formally impleaded.[23] A foreign agent, operating within a territory, can be cloaked with immunity from suit
but only as long as it can be established that he is acting within the directives of the
In United States of America vs. Guinto,[24] involving officers of the United States Air sending state. The consent of the host state is an indispensable requirement of
Force and special officers of the Air Force Office of Special Investigators charged basic courtesy between the two sovereigns. Guinto and Shauf both involve officers
with the duty of preventing the distribution, possession and use of prohibited drugs, and personnel of the United States, stationed within Philippine territory, under the
this Court has ruled - RP-US Military Bases Agreement. While evidence is wanting to show any similar
agreement between the governments of the Philippines and of the United States (for
"While the doctrine (of state immunity) appears to prohibit only suits against the the latter to send its agents and to conduct surveillance and related activities of
state without its consent, it is also applicable to complaints filed against officials of suspected drug dealers in the Philippines), the consent or imprimatur of the
the state for acts allegedly performed by them in the discharge of their duties. x x x. Philippine government to the activities of the United States Drug Enforcement
It cannot for a moment be imagined that they were acting in their private or unofficial Agency, however, can be gleaned from the facts heretofore elsewhere mentioned.
capacity when they apprehended and later testified against the complainant. It The official exchanges of communication between agencies of the government of
follows that for discharging their duties as agents of the United States, they cannot the two countries, certifications from officials of both the Philippine Department of
83 of 167 84 of 167
Foreign Affairs and the United States Embassy, as well as the participation of (c) negotiating with the Government of the receiving State;
members of the Philippine Narcotics Command in the “buy-bust operation” (d) ascertaining by all lawful means conditions and developments in the
conducted at the residence of Minucher at the behest of Scalzo, may be inadequate receiving State, and reporting thereon to the Government of the
to support the "diplomatic status" of the latter but they give enough indication that sending State;
the Philippine government has given its imprimatur, if not consent, to the activities (e) promoting friendly relations between the sending State and the
within Philippine territory of agent Scalzo of the United States Drug Enforcement receiving State, and developing their economic, cultural and scientific
Agency. The job description of Scalzo has tasked him to conduct surveillance on relations.
suspected drug suppliers and, after having ascertained the target, to inform local law
enforcers who would then be expected to make the arrest. In conducting Ambassadors are diplomatic agents of the first class, who deal, as a rule with the
surveillance activities on Minucher, later acting as the poseur-buyer during the buy- Minister of Foreign Affairs or the Secretary of State, as the case may be.
bust operation, and then becoming a principal witness in the criminal case (Melquiades J. Gamboa, "Elements of Diplomatic and Consular Practice, A
against Minucher, Scalzo hardly can be said to have acted beyond the scope of his Glossary," Central Lawbook Publishing, Co., 1966, p. 19.)
official function or duties.
[11]Envoys are diplomatic agents of the second class. This is the title of the head of
All told, this Court is constrained to rule that respondent Arthur Scalzo, an agent of legation as distinguished from an embassy, the head of which is called Ambassador
the United States Drug Enforcement Agency allowed by the Philippine government Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. Like the Ambassador, the envoy is also accredited
to conduct activities in the country to help contain the problem on the drug traffic, is to the Head of State. (Gamboa, p. 190.)
entitled to the defense of state immunity from suit.
Charges d' Affairs are either en titre or ad interim. Charges d' Affairs en titre are
WHEREFORE, on the foregoing premises, the petition is DENIED. No costs. appointed on a permanent basis and belong to the fourth class of diplomatic envoys,
the other three being ambassadors, ministers plenipotentiary and envoys
extraordinary, and ministers resident. He is the head of the legation in his own right
and is not accredited to the head of State but to the foreign office. According to
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Ynares-Santiago, Carpio, and Azcuna, JJ., concur
Radloric, charges d' affairs are sometimes used to described a person who has been
[1] Rollo, pp. 39-42. placed in custody of the archives and other property of a mission in a country with
which formal diplomatic relations are not maintained. Charges d' affairs ad interim, in
[2] Rollo. p. 51. contrast are usually those second in command of the diplomatic mission – minister,
counselor or first secretary, who are only temporarily in charge of the mission during
[3] Linzag vs. CA, 291 SCRA 304. the absence of the head of the mission. He is not accredited either to the Head of
State or the Foreign Office. (Gamboa, Ibid., pp. 51-52.)
[4] Minucher vs. Court of Appeals, 214 SCRA 242.
The classification of diplomatic representatives was considered significant before

[5] For documentary Exhibits Nos. 1-8, see Rollo, pp. 143-155. because direct communication with the head of state depended on the rank of the
diplomat and, moreover, only powerful states were regarded as entitled to send
[6] For Documentary Exhibits Nos. 9-13, See Rollo, pp. 156-168. envoys of the highest rank. At present however, diplomatic matters are usually
discussed not with the head of state but with the foreign secretary regardless of the
[7]Eileen Denza, "Diplomatic Law, A Commentary on the Vienna Convention on diplomat's rank. Moreover, it has become the practice now for even the smallest and
Diplomatic Relations," 2nd Edition, Claredon Press, Oxford, 1998, at 210. the weakest states to send diplomatic representatives of the highest rank, even to
the major powers. (Cruz, International Law, 1985 Edition, p. 145.)
[8] Ibid.
[14] Gamboa, supra., pp. 32-33.
Article 3 of the Vienna Convention enumerates the functions of the diplomatic

mission as [15] 48 SCRA 242.

(a) representing the sending State in the receiving State; J.L. Brierly, "The Law of Nations," Oxford University Press, 6th Edition, 1963, p.

(b) protecting in the receiving State the interests of the sending State and
of its nationals, within the limits permitted by international law; [17] Denza, supra., at 16.

85 of 167 86 of 167

[19] Ibid., at 55. 

Charles G. Fenwick, "International Law," Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., New York,

1948, p. 307-308. NARVASA, J.:

[21]The international law on sovereign immunity of states from suit in the courts of In connection with an agreement to salvage and refloat a sunken vessel -- and in
another state has evolved from national court decisions with good deal of variance in payment of his share of the expenses of the salvage operations therein stipulated --
perspectives. Even though national cases have been the major source of petitioner Albino Co delivered to the salvaging firm on September 1, 1983 a check
pronouncements on sovereign immunity, it should be noted that these constitute drawn against the Associated Citizens' Bank, postdated November 30, 1983, in the
evidence of customary international law now widely recognized. In the latter half of sum of P361,528.00.[1] The check was deposited on January 3, 1984. It was
the 20th century, a great deal of consensus on what is covered by sovereign dishonored two days later, the tersely-stated reason given by the bank being:
immunity appears to be emerging, i.e., that state immunity covers only acts which "CLOSED ACCOUNT."
deal with the government functions of a state, and excludes, any of its commercial
activities, or activities not related to "sovereign acts." The consensus involves a A criminal complaint for violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22[2] was filed by the
more defined differentiation between public acts (juri imperii) and private acts (jure salvage company against Albino Co with the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City. The
gestionis). (Gary L. Maris, “International Law, An Introduction,” University Press of case eventuated in Co's conviction of the crime charged, and his being sentenced to
America, 1984, p. 119; D.W. Grieg, "International Law," London Butterworths, 1970, suffer a term of imprisonment of sixty (60) days and to indemnify the salvage
p. 221.) company in the sum of P361,528.00.

The United States for example, does not claim immunity for its publicly owned or Co appealed to the Court of Appeals. There he sought exoneration upon the theory
operated merchant vessels. The Italian courts have rejected claims of immunity from that it was reversible error for the Regional Trial Court to have relied, as basis for its
the US Shipping Board, although a state body, as it could not be identified with the verdict of conviction, on the ruling rendered on September 21, 1987 by this Court
American government on the ground that undertaking maritime navigation and in Que v. People, 154 SCRA 160 (1987)[3] -- i.e., that a check issued merely to
business as a commercial enterprise do not constitute a sovereign act. (D.W. Grieg, guarantee the performance of an obligation is nevertheless covered by B.P. Blg. 22.
“International Law,” London Butterworths, 1970, p. 221.) This was because at the time of the issuance of the check on September 1,
1983, some four (4) years prior to the promulgation of the judgment in Que v.
See Schooner Exchange vs. McFaddon, 7 Cranch 116 (1812), cited in Charles G.
[22] People on September 21, 1987, the delivery of a "rubber" or "bouncing" check as
Fenwick, "International Law," New York, 3rd Edition (1948), p. 307. guarantee for an obligation was not considered a punishable offense, an official
pronouncement made in a Circular of the Ministry of Justice. That Circular (No. 4),
United States of America, et al. vs. Guinto, etc., et al., G.R. No. 76607, 26
dated December 15, 1981, pertinently provided as follows:
February 1990.
"2.3.4. Where issuance of bouncing check is neither estafa nor violation of B.P. Blg.
[24] 182 SCRA 644. 22.
[25] At pp. 653-659. Where the check is issued as part of an arrangement to guarantee or secure the
payment of an obligation, whether pre-existing or not, the drawer is not criminally
[26] 191 SCRA 713 liable for either estafa or violation of B.P. Blg. 22 (Res. No. 438, s. 1981, Virginia
Montano vs. Josefino Galvez, June 19, 1981; Res. No. 707, s. 1989; Alice Quizon
[27] At pp. 727-728. vs. Lydia Calingo, October 23, 1981, Res. No. 769, s. 1981, Alfredo Guido vs.
Miguel A. Mateo, et al., November 17, 1981; Res. No. 589, s. 1981, Zenaida Lazaro
vs. Maria Aquino, August 7, 1981)."
G.R. No. 100776 This administrative circular was subsequently reversed by another issued on August
8, 1984 (Ministry Circular No. 12) -- almost one (1) year after Albino Co had
SECOND DIVISION delivered the "bouncing" check to the complainant on September 1, 1983. Said
Circular No. 12, after observing inter alia that Circular No. 4 of December 15, 1981
[ G.R. No. 100776, October 28, 1993 ]
appeared to have been based on "a misapplication of the deliberation in the
87 of 167 88 of 167
Batasang Pambansa, ** ** (or) the explanatory note on the original bill, i.e., that the to P.D. No. 27 decreeing the emancipation of tenants from the bondage of the soil,
intention was not to penalize the issuance of a check to secure or guarantee the and P.D. No. 316 prohibiting ejectment of tenants from rice and corn farmholdings,
payment of an obligation," decreed as follows:[4] pending the promulgation of rules and regulations implementing P.D. No. 27; Nilo v.
Court of Appeals, 128 SCRA 519, adjudging that RA 6389 which removed "personal
"Henceforth, conforming with the rule that an administrative agency having cultivation" as a ground for the ejectment of a tenant cannot be given retroactive
interpreting authority may reverse its administration interpretation of a statute, but effect in the absence of a statutory statement for retroactivity; Tac-An v. CA, 129
that its new interpretation applies only prospectively (Waterbury Savings Bank vs. SCRA 319, ruling that the repeal of the old Administrative Code by RA 4252 could
Danaher, 128 Conn., 476; 20 a2d 455 (1941), in all cases involving violation of Batas not be accorded retroactive effect; Ballardo v. Borromeo, 161 SCRA 500, holding
Pambansa Blg. 22 where the check in question is issued after this date, the claim that RA 6389 should have only prospective application; (see also Bonifacio v.
that the check is issued as a guarantee or part of an arrangement to secure an Dizon, 177 SCRA 294 and Balatbat v. CA, 205 SCRA 419).
obligation or to facilitate collection will no longer be considered as a valid defense."
The prospectivity principle has also been made to apply to administrative rulings and
Co's theory was rejected by the Court of Appeals which affirmed his conviction. circulars, to wit: ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation v. CTA, Oct. 12, 1981, 108
Citing Senarillos v. Hermosisima, 101 Phil. 561, the Appellate Court opined that SCRA 142, holding that a circular or ruling of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue
the Que doctrine did not amount to the passage of new law but was merely a may not be given retroactive effect adversely to a taxpayer; Sanchez v. COMELEC,
construction or interpretation of a pre-existing one, i.e., BP 22, enacted on April 3, 193 SCRA 317, ruling that Resolution No. 90-0590 of the Commission on Elections,
1979. which directed the holding of recall proceedings, had no retroactive
application; Romualdez v. CSC, 197 SCRA 168, where it was ruled that CSC
From this adverse judgment of the Court of Appeals, Albino Co appealed to this Memorandum Circular No. 29, s. 1989 cannot be given retrospective effect so as to
Court on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. By Resolution dated entitle to permanent appointment an employee whose temporary appointment had
September 9, 1991, the Court dismissed his appeal. Co moved for reconsideration expired before the Circular was issued.
under date of October 2, 1991. The Court required comment thereon by the Office of
the Solicitor General. The latter complied and, in its comment dated December 13, The principle of prospectivity has also been applied to judicial decisions which,
1991, extensively argued against the merits of Albino Co's theory on appeal, which "although in themselves not laws, are nevertheless evidence of what the laws mean,
was substantially that proffered by him in the Court of Appeals. To this comment, ** (this being) the reason why under Article 8 of the New Civil Code, ‘Judicial
Albino Co filed a reply dated February 14, 1992. After deliberating on the parties' decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of the
arguments and contentions, the Court resolved, in the interests of justice, to legal system * *.’"
reinstate Albino Co's appeal and adjudicate the same on its merits.
So did this Court hold, for example, in Peo. v. Jabinal, 55 SCRA 607, 611:
"Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a
part of the legal system of the Philippines," according to Article 8 of the Civil Code. "It will be noted that when appellant was appointed Secret Agent by the Provincial
"Laws shall have no retroactive effect, unless the contrary is provided," declares Government in 1962, and Confidential Agent by the Provincial commander in 1964,
Article 4 of the same Code, a declaration that is echoed by Article 22 of the Revised the prevailing doctrine on the matter was that laid down by Us in People v.
Penal Code: "Penal laws shall have a retroactive effect insofar as they favor the Macarandang (1959) and People v. Lucero (1958).[6] Our decision in People v.
person guilty of a felony, who is not a habitual criminal **."[5] Mapa,[7] reversing the aforesaid doctrine, came only in 1967. The sole question in
this appeal is: should appellant be acquitted on the basis of Our rulings
The principle of prospectivity of statutes, original or amendatory, has been applied in in Macarandang and Lucero, or should his conviction stand in view of the complete
many cases These include: Buyco v. PNB, 961) 2 SCRA 682 (June 30, 1961), reversal of the Macarandang and Lucero doctrine in Mapa?***
holding that Republic Act No. 1576 which divested the Philippine National Bank of
authority to accept back pay certificates in payment of loans, does not apply to an Decisions of this Court, although in themselves not laws, are nevertheless evidence
offer of payment made before effectivity of the act; Largado v. Masaganda, at al., 5 of what the laws mean, and this is the reason why under Article 8 of the New Civil
SCRA 522 (June 30, 1962), ruling that RA 2613, as amended by RA 3090 on June, Code, 'Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall
1961, granting to inferior courts jurisdiction over guardianship cases, could not be form a part of the legal system * *.' The interpretation upon a law by this Court
given retroactive effect, in the absence of a saving clause; Larga v. Ranada, Jr., 64 constitutes, in a way, a part of the law as of the date that law was originally passed,
SCRA 18, to the effect that Sections. 9 and 10 of Executive Order No. 90, amending since this Court's construction merely establishes the contemporaneous legislative
Section 4 of PD 1752, could have no retroactive application; Peo. v. Que Po Lay, 94 intent that the law thus construed intends to effectuate. The settled rule supported by
Phil. 640, holding that a person cannot be convicted of violating Circular No. 20 of numerous authorities is a restatement of the legal maxim 'legis interpretatio legis vim
the Central, when the alleged violation occurred before publication of the Circular in obtinet' -- the interpretation placed upon the written law by a competent court has
the Official Gazette; Baltazar v. C.A., 104 SCRA 619, denying retroactive application the force of law. The doctrine laid down in Lucero and Macarandang was part of the
89 of 167 90 of 167
jurisprudence, hence, of the law, of the land, at the time appellant was found in unsettling effect ** (the) decision might have on acts done in reliance on the validity
possession of the firearm in question and when he was arraigned by the trial court. It of those presidential decrees ** " -- the Court said:
is true that the doctrine was overruled in the Mapa case in 1967, but when a doctrine
of this Court is overruled and a different view is adopted, the new doctrine should be " * *. The answer is all too familiar. In similar situations in the past this Court had
applied prospectively, and should not apply to parties who had relied on the old taken the pragmatic and realistic course set forth in Chicot County Drainage District
doctrine and acted on the faith thereof. This is especially true in the construction and vs Baxter Bank (308 U.S. 371, 374) to wit:
application of criminal laws, where it is necessary that the punishability of an act be
reasonably foreseen for the guidance of society." ‘The courts below have proceeded on the theory that the Act of Congress, having
been found to be unconstitutional, was not a law; that it was inoperative, conferring
So, too, did the Court rule in Spouses Gauvain and Bernardita Benzonan v. Court of no rights and imposing no duties, and hence affording no basis for the challenged
Appeals, et al. (G.R. No. 97973) and Development Bank of the Philippines v. Court decree. Norton v. Shelby County, 118 US 425, 442; Chicago, I. & L. Ry. Co. v.
of Appeals, et al.(G.R. No 97998), Jan. 27, 1992, 205 SCRA 515, 527-528:[8] Hackett, 228 U.S. 559, 566. It is quite clear, however, that such broad statements as
to the effect of a determination of unconstitutionality must be taken with
“We sustain the petitioners' position. It is undisputed that the subject lot was qualifications. The actual existence of a statute, prior to such a determination, is an
mortgaged to DBP on February 24, 1970. It was acquired by DBP as the highest operative fact and may have consequences which cannot justly be ignored. The past
bidder at a foreclosure sale on June 18, 1977, and then sold to the petitioners on cannot always be erased by a new judicial declaration. The effect of the subsequent
September 29, 1979. ruling as to invalidity may have to be considered in various aspects---with respect to
particular conduct, private and official. Questions of rights claimed to have become
At that time, the prevailing jurisprudence interepreting section 119 of R.A. 141 as vested, of status, of prior determinations deemed to have finality and acted upon
amended was that enunciated in Monge and Tupas cited above. The petitioners accordingly, of public policy in the light of the nature both of the statute and of its
Benzonan and respondent Pe and the DBP are bound by these decisions for previous application, demand examination. These questions are among the most
pursuant to Article 8 of the Civil Code 'judicial decisions applying or interpreting the difficult of those which have engaged the attention of courts, state and federal, and it
laws or the Constitution shall form a part of the legal system of the Philippines.’ But is manifest from numerous decisions that an all-inclusive statement of a principle of
while our decisions form part of the law of the land, they are also subject to Article 4 absolute retroactive invalidity cannot be justified."
of the Civil Code which provides that ‘laws shall have no retroactive effect unless the
contrary is provided.' This is expressed in the familiar legal maxim lex prospicit, non Much earlier, in De Agbayani v. PNB, 38 SCRA 429 -- concerning the effects of the
respicit, the law looks forward not backward. The rationale against retroactivity is invalidation of "Republic Act No. 342, the moratorium legislation, which continued
easy to perceive. The retroactive application of a law usually divests rights that have Executive Order No. 32, issued by the then President Osmeña, suspending the
already become vested or impairs the obligations of contract and hence, is enforcement of payment of all debts and other monetary obligations payable by war
unconstitutional (Francisco v. Certeza, 3 SCRA 565 [1061]). sufferers," and which had been "explicitly held in Rutter v. Esteban (93 Phil. 68
[1953][10] ** (to be) in 1953 ‘unreasonable, and oppressive, and should not be
The same consideration underlies our rulings giving only prospective effect to prolonged a minute longer ** " -- the Court made substantially the same
decisions enunciating new doctrines. Thus, we emphasized in People v. Jabinal. 55 observations, to wit:[11]
SCRA 607 [1974] ’ ** when a doctrine of this Court is overruled and a different view
is adopted, the new doctrine should be applied prospectively and should not apply to " **. The decision now on appeal reflects the orthodox view that an unconstitutional
parties who had relied on the old doctrine and acted on the faith thereof." act, for that matter an executive order or a municipal ordinance likewise suffering
from that infirmity, cannot be the source of any legal rights or duties. Nor can it justify
A compelling rationalization of the prospectivity principle of judicial decisions is well any official act taken under it. Its repugnancy to the fundamental law once judicially
set forth in the oft-cited case of Chicot County Drainage Dist. v. Baxter States declared results in its being to all intents and purposes a mere scrap of paper. * * *. It
Bank, 308 US 371, 374 [1940]. The Chicot doctrine advocates the imperative is understandable why it should be so, the Constitution being supreme and
necessity to take account of the actual existence of a statute prior to its nullification, paramount. Any legislative or executive act contrary to its terms cannot survive.
as an operative fact negating acceptance of "a principle of absolute retroactive
invalidity." Such a view has support in logic and possesses the merit of simplicity. It may not
however be sufficiently realistic. It does not admit of doubt that prior to the
Thus, in this Court's decision in Tañada v Tuvera,[9] promulgated on April 24, 1985 -- declaration of nullity such challenged legislative or executive act must have been in
which declared "that presidential issuances of general application, which have not force and had to be complied with. This is so as until after the judiciary, in an
been published, shall have no force and effect," and as regards which declaration appropriate case, declares its invalidity, it is entitled to obedience and respect.
some members of the Court appeared "quite apprehensive about the possible Parties may have acted under it and may have changed their positions. What could
be more fitting than that in a subsequent litigation regard be had to what has been
91 of 167 92 of 167
done while such legislative or executive act was in operation and presumed to be not erase the reality of their consequences which occurred long before our decision
valid in all respects. It is now accepted as a doctrine that prior to its being nullified, in Olaguer was promulgated and which now prevent us from carrying Olaguer to the
its existence as a fact must be reckoned with. This is merely to reflect awareness limit of its logic. Thus did this Court rule in Municipality of Malabang v Benito, 27
that precisely because the judiciary is the governmental organ which has the final SCRA 533, where the question arose as to whether the nullity of creation of a
say on whether or not a legislative or executive measure is valid, a period of time municipality by executive order wiped out all the acts of the local government
may have elapsed before it can exercise the power of judicial review that may lead abolished."[13]
to a declaration of nullity. It would be to deprive the law of its quality of fairness and
justice then, if there be no recognition of what had transpired prior to such It would seem, then, that the weight of authority is decidedly in favor of the
adjudcation. proposition that the Court's decision of September 21, 1987 in Que v. People, 154
SCRA 160 (1987)[14] -- i.e., that a check issued merely to guarantee the performance
In the language of an American Supreme Court decision: ‘The actual existence of a of an obligation is nevertheless covered by B.P. Blg. 22 -- should not be given
statute, prior to such a determination [of unconstitutionality], is an operative fact and retrospective effect to the prejudice of the petitioner and other persons similarly
may have consequences which cannot justly be ignored. The past cannot always be situated, who relied on the official opinion of the Minister of Justice that such a check
erased by a new judicial declaration. The effect of the subsequent ruling as to did not fall within the scope of B.P. Blg. 22..
invalidity may have to be considered in various aspects, -- with respect to particular
relations, individual and corporate, and particular conduct, private and Inveighing against this proposition, the Solicitor General invokes U.S. v. Go
official’ (Chicot County Drainage Dist. v. Baxter States Bank, 308 US 371, 374 Chico, 14 Phil. 128, applying the familiar doctrine that in crimes mala prohibita, the
[1940]). This language has been quoted with approval in a resolution in Araneta v. intent or motive of the offender is inconsequential, the only relevant inquiry being,
Hill (93 Phil. 1002 [1953]) and the decision in Manila Motor Co., Inc. v. Flores (99 "has the law been violated?" The facts in Go Chico are substantially different from
Phil. 738 [1956]). An even more recent instance is the opinion of Justice Zaldivar those in the case at bar. In the former, there was no official issuance by the
speaking for the Court in Fernandez v. Cuerva and Co. (L-21114, Nov. 28, 1967, 21 Secretary of Justice or other Government officer construing the special law violated;
SCRA 1095)." [15] and it was there observed, among others, that "the defense ** (of) an honest

misconstruction of the law under legal advice" [16] could not be appreciated as a valid
Again, treating of the effect that should be given to its decision in Olaguer v Military defense. In the present case, on the other hand, the defense is that reliance was
Commission No 34,[12] -- declaring invalid criminal proceedings conducted during the placed, not on the opinion of a private lawyer but upon an official pronouncement of
martial law regime against civilians, which had resulted in the conviction and no less than the attorney of the Government, the Secretary of Justice, whose
incarceration of numerous persons -- this Court, in Tan vs. Barrios, 190 SCRA 686, opinions, though not law, are entitled to great weight and on which reliance may be
at p. 700, ruled as follows: placed by private individuals as reflective of the correct interpretation of a
constitutional or statutory provision; this, particularly in the case of penal statutes, by
"In the interest of justice and consistency, we hold that Olaguer should, in principle, the very nature and scope of the authority that resides in his office as regards
be applied prospectively only to future cases and cases still ongoing or not yet final prosecutions for their violation.[17] Senarillos vs. Hermosisima, supra, relied upon by
when that decision was promulgated. Hence, there should be no retroactive the respondent Court of Appeals is crucially different in that in said case, as in U.S.
nullification of final judgments, whether of conviction or acquittal, rendered by v. Go Chico, supra, no administrative interpretation antedated the contrary
military courts against civilians before the promulgation of the Olaguer decision. construction placed by the Court on the law invoked.
Such final sentences should not be disturbed by the State. Only in particular cases
where the convicted person or the State shows that there was serious denial of This is after all a criminal action all doubts in which, pursuant to familiar, fundamental
constitutional rights of the accused, should the nullity of the sentence be declared doctrine, must be resolved in favor of the accused. Everything considered, the Court
and a retrial be ordered based on the violation of the constitutional rights of the sees no compelling reason why the doctrine of mala prohibita should override the
accused, and not on the Olaguer doctrine. If a retrial is no longer possible, the principle of prospectivity, and its clear implications as hereinabove set out and
accused should be released since the judgment against him is null on account of the discussed, negativing criminal liability.
violation of his constitutional rights and denial of due process.
WHEREFORE, the assailed decisions of the Court of Appeals and of the Regional
***** Trial Court are reversed and set aside, and the criminal prosecution against the
accused-petitioner is DISMISSED, with costs de officio.
The trial of thousands of civilians for common crimes before the military tribunals
and commissions during the ten-year period of martial rule (1971-1981) which were SO ORDERED.
created under general orders issued by President Marcos in the exercise of his
legislative powers is an operative fact that may not just be ignored. The belated Padilla, Regalado, Nocon, and Puno, JJ., concur.
declaration in 1987 of the unconstitutionality and invalidity of those proceedings did
93 of 167 94 of 167
As found by the Court of Appeals, the agreement was between Co, representing
[1] (1990); Drilon v. Court of Appeals, 202 SCRA 378 (1991); Union of Filipro
Mayflower Shipping Corporation, and Geronimo B. Bella, representing Tans-Pacific Employees v. Vivar, Jr., 205 SCRA 200 (1992); Peralta v. Civil Service Commission,
Towage, Inc. The expenses for refloating were apportioned chiefly between FGU 212 SCRA 425
Insurance and Development Bank of the Philippines, which respectively contributed
P2,329,022.00 and P1,579,000.00. SEE rollo, pp. 9, 20-21. [12] 150 SCRA 144 (1987)

[2] Otherwise known as the "Bouncing Checks Law" SEE also Cruz v. Enrile, 160 SCRA 700 [1988] and Res. of February 26, 1991;

and Drilon v Court of Appeals, 202 SCRA 378 [1991])

[3]The ruling is contained in an extended resolution on a motion for reconsideration,
promulgated by the Special Former Second Division of the Court on September 21, [14] SEE footenote 3, supra
1987, written for the division by Paras, J., with whom concurred Fernan, Gutierrez,
Jr., Padilla, Bidin and Cortes, JJ. In that resolution, the Court gave its "stamp of Act No. 1696 of the Phiippine Commission punishing any person who shall

approval" on the decision of the Court of Appeals holding inter alia that "It is now expose, or cause or permit to be exposed, to public view ** any flag, banner,
settled that Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 applies even in cases where dishonored emblem, or device used during the late insurrection in the Philippine Islands to
checks are issued merely in the form of a deposit or a guarantee." designate or identify those in armed rebellion against the United States, * *

[4] Italics supplied [16] 14 Phil. 128, 133-134

[5]Exceptions to the rule of prospectivity are collated, e.g., in the textbook of retired [17] Estrella vs. Orendain, 37 SCRA 640; Noblejas vs. Salas, 67 SCRA 47
Justice Edgardo A. Paras (Civil Code of the Philippines Annotated, 1984 ed.,Vol. 1,
pp. 22-23) viz.: 1) laws remedial in nature; 2) penal law favorable to accused, if latter
not habitual delinquent; 3) laws of emergency nature under police power : e.g.,
tenancy relations (Vda. de Ongsiako v. Gamboa, 470.G. 4259,Valencia et al. v. 15 Phil. 7
Surtida et al., MAY 31, 1961); 4) curative laws; 5) substantive right declared for first
time unless vested rights impaired (Unson v. del Rosario, Jan. 29,1953; Belen v. [ G. R. No. 5270, January 15, 1910 ]
Belen, 49 O.G. 997; Peo. v. Alejaga, 49 OG 2833)
[6] 106 Phil. 713 and 103 Phil. 500, respectively, both involving prosecutions for DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.

illegal possession of firearms, and both holding that appointment by the Provincial 

Governor or Provincial Commander of a person as a "secret agent" or "confidential DECISION
agent" "sufficiently placed him in the category of a 'peace officer' ** who under
section 879 of the Revised Administrative Code is exempted from the requirements ELLIOTT, J.:
relating to the issuance of license to possess firearm."
The appellant was convicted in the Court of First Instance of a violation of section 1
[7] SEE Ilagan v. People, Jan. 29, 1974 55 SCRA 361 of Act No. 55, as amended by section 1 of Act No. 275, and from the judgment
entered thereon appealed to this court, where under proper assignments of error he
[8]The title of the cited Monge case is Monge, et al. v. Angeles, et al., and is reported contends: (1) that the complaint does not state facts sufficient to confer jurisdiction
in 101 Phil., 563 [1957], while that of the cited Tupas case is Tupas v. Damasco, et upon the court; (2) that under the evidence the trial court was without jurisdiction to
al., reported in 132 SCRA 593 [1984] hear and determine the case; (3) that Act No. 55 as amended is in violation of
certain provisions of the Constitution of the United States, and void as applied to the
[9] 136 SCRA 27, 40-41 facts of this case; and (4) that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction.

And several other rulings set forth in a corresponding footnote in the text of the
[10] The information alleges:
"That on and for many months prior to the 2d day of December, 1908, the said H.
SEE also Olaguer v. Military Commission No. 34, 150 SCRA 144 (1987) (citing
[11] N. Bull was then and there master of a steam sailing vessel known as the
Municipality of Malabang v. Benito, 27 SCRA 533 where the question arose as to steamship Standard, which vessel was then and there engaged in carrying and
whether the judicial nullification of an executive order creating a municipality wiped transporting cattle, carabaos, and other animals from a foreign port, to wit, the port
out all the acts of the local government abolished); Tan v. Barrios, 190 SCRA 686 of Ampieng, Formosa, to the port and city of Manila, Philippine Islands; that the
95 of 167 96 of 167
said accused H. N. Bull, while master of said vessel, as aforesaid, on or about the failure, be liable to pay a penalty of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than
2d day of December, 1908, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and wrongfully five hundred dollars, United States money, for each offense. Prosecutions under
carry, transport, and bring into the port and city of Manila, aboard said vessel, from this Act may be instituted in any Court of First Instance or any provost court
the port of Ampieng, Formosa, six hundred and seventy-seven (677) head of cattle organized in the province or port in which such animals are disembarked."
and carabaos, without providing suitable means for securing said animals while in
transit, so as to avoid cruelty and unnecessary suffering to the said animals, in this, 1. It is contended that the information is insufficient because it does not state
to wit, that the said H. N. Bull, master, as aforesaid, did then and there fail to that the court was sitting at a port where the cattle were disembarked, or that
provide stalls for said animals so in transit and suitable means for tying and the offense was committed on board a vessel registered and licensed under
securing said animals in a proper manner, and did then and there cause some of the laws of the Philippine Islands.
said animals to be tied by means of rings passed through their noses, and allow
and permit others to be transported loose in the hold and on the deck of said vessel Act No. 55 confers jurisdiction over the offense created thereby on Courts of First
without being tied or secured in stalls, and all without bedding; that by reason of the Instance or any provost court organized in the province or port in which such
aforesaid neglect and failure of the accused to provide suitable means for securing animals are disembarked, and there is nothing inconsistent therewith in Act No. 136,
said animals while so in transit, the noses of some of said animals were cruelly torn, which provides generally for the organization of the courts of the Philippine
and many of said animals were tossed about upon the decks and hold of said Islands. Act No. 400 merely extends the general jurisdiction of the courts over
vessel, and cruelly wounded, bruised, and killed. certain offenses committed on the high seas, or beyond the jurisdiction of any
country, or within any of the waters of the Philippine Islands on board a ship or
"All contrary to the provisions of Acts No. 55 and No. 275 of the Philippine water craft of any kind registered or licensed in the Philippine Islands, in accordance
Commission." with the laws thereof. (U. S. vs. Fowler, 1 Phil. Rep., 614.) This jurisdiction may
be exercised by the Court of First Instance in any province into which such ship or
Section 1 of Act No. 55, which went into effect January 1,1901, provides that - water craft upon which the offense or crime was committed shall come after the
commission thereof. Had this offense been committed upon a ship carrying a
"The owners or masters of steam, sailing, or other vessels, carrying or transporting Philippine registry, there could have been no doubt of the jurisdiction of the court,
cattle, sheep, swine, or other animals, from one port in the Philippine Islands to because it is expressly conferred, and the Act is in accordance with well recognized
another, or from any foreign port to any port within the Philippine Islands, shall and established public law. But the Standard was a Norwegian vessel, and it is
carry with them, upon the vessels carrying such animals, sufficient forage and fresh conceded that it was not registered or licensed in the Philippine Islands under the
water to provide for the suitable sustenance of such animals during the ordinary laws thereof. We have then the question whether the court had jurisdiction over an
period occupied by the vessel in passage from the port of shipment to the port of offense of this character, committed on board a foreign ship by the master thereof,
debarkation, and shall cause such animals to be provided with, adequate forage when the neglect and omission which constitutes the offense continued during the
and fresh water at least once in every twenty-four hours from the time that the time the ship was within the territorial waters of the United States. No court of the
animals are embarked to the time of their final debarkation." Philippine Islands had jurisdiction over &n offense or crime committed on the high
seas or within the territorial waters of any other country, but when she came within 3
By Act No. 275, enacted October 23, 1901, Act No. 55 was amended by adding to miles of a line drawn from the headlands which embrace the entrance to Manila
section 1 thereof the following: Bay, she was within territorial waters, and a new set of principles became applicable.
(Wheaton, Int. Law (Dana ed.), p. 255, note 105; Bonfils, Le Droit Int., sec. 490 et
"The owners or masters of steam, sailing, or other vessels, carrying or transporting seq.; Latour, La Mer Ter., ch. 1.) The ship and her crew were then subject to the
cattle, sheep, swine, or other animals from one port in the Philippine Islands to jurisdiction of the territorial sovereign subject to such limitations as have been
another, or from any foreign port to any port within the Philippine Islands, shall conceded by that sovereignty through the proper political agency. This offense was
provide suitable means for securing such animals while in transit so as to avoid committed within territorial waters. From the line which determines these waters the
all,cruelty and unnecessary suffering to the animals, and suitable and proper Standard must have traveled at least 25 miles before she came to anchor. During
facilities for loading and unloading cattle or other animals upon or from vessels that part of her voyage the violation of the statute continued, and as far as the
upon which they are transported, without cruelty or unnecessary suffering. It is jurisdiction of the court is concerned, it is immaterial that the same conditions may
hereby made unlawful to load or unload cattle upon or from vessels by swinging have existed while the vessel was on the high seas. The offense, assuming that it
them over the side by means of ropes or chains attached to the horns." originated at the port of departure in Formosa, was a continuing one, and every
element necessary to constitute it existed during the voyage across the territorial
Section 3 of Act No. 55 provides that - waters. The completed forbidden act was done within American waters, and the
court therefore had jurisdiction over the subject-matter of the offense and the
"Any owner or master of a vessel, or custodian of such animals, who knowingly and person of the offender.
willfully fails to comply with the provisions of section one, shall, for every such
97 of 167 98 of 167
The offense then was thus committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the court, "It is admitted by the most thoroughgoing asserters of the territoriality of merchant
but the objection to the jurisdiction raises the further question whether that vessels that so soon as the latter enter the ports of a foreign state they become
jurisdiction is restricted by the fact of the nationality of the ship. Every state has subject to the local jurisdiction on all points in which the interests of the country are
complete control and jurisdiction over its territorial waters. According to strict legal touched." (Hall, Int. Law, p. 263.)
right, even public vessels may not enter the ports of a friendly power without
permission, but it is now conceded that in the absence of a prohibition such ports are The United States has adhered consistently to the view that when a merchant
considered as open to the public ships of all friendly powers. The exemption of vessel enters a foreign port it is subject to the jurisdiction of the local authorities,
such vessels from local jurisdiction while within such waters was not established unless the local sovereignty has by act of acquiescence or through treaty
until within comparatively recent times. In 1794, Attorney-General Bradford, and in arrangements consented to waive a portion of such jurisdiction. (15 Op. Attys.
1796 Attorney-General Lee, rendered opinions to the effect that "the laws of nations Gen., U. S., 178; 2 Moore, Int. Law Dig., sec. 204; article by Dean Gregory, Mich,
invest the commander of a foreign ship of war with no exemption from the Law Review, Vol. II, No. 5.) Chief Justice Marshall, in the case of
jurisdiction of the country into which he comes." (1, Op. U. S. Attys. Gen., 46, The Exchange, said that -
87.) This theory was also supported by Lord Stowell in an opinion given by him to
the British Government as late as 1820. In the leading case of The "When merchant vessels enter for the purposes of trade, it would be obviously
Schooner Exchange vs. McFadden (7 Cranch (U. S.), 116, 144), Chief Justice inconvenient and dangerous to society and would subject the laws to continual
Marshall said that the implied license under which such vessels enter a friendly port infraction and the government to degradation if such individual merchants did not
may reasonably be construed as "containing exemption from jurisdiction of the owe temporary and local allegiance, and were not amenable to the jurisdiction of
sovereign within whose territory she claims the rights of hospitality." The principle the country."
was accepted by the Geneva Arbitration Tribunal, which announced that "the
privilege of exterritoriality accorded to vessels of war has been admitted in the law The Supreme Court of the United States has recently said that the merchant
of nations; not as an absolute right, but solely as a proceeding founded on the vessels of one country visiting the ports of another for the purpose of trade, subject
principle of courtesy and mutual deference between nations." (2 Moore, Int. Law themselves to the laws which govern the ports they visit, so long as they remain;
Dig., sees. 252 and 254; Hall, Int. Law, sec. 55; Taylor, Int. Law, sec. 256; Ortolan, and this as well in war as in peace, unless otherwise provided by treaty. (U.
Dip. de la Mer, 2. C. X.) S. vs. Diekelman, 92 U. S., 520-525.)

Such vessels are therefore permitted during times of peace to come and go Certain limitations upon the jurisdiction of the local courts are imposed by article
freely. Local officials exercise but little control over their actions, and offenses 13 of the treaty of commerce and navigation between Sweden and Norway and the
committed by their crews are justiciable by their own officers acting under the laws to United States, of July 4, 1827, which concedes to the consuls, vice-consuls, or
which they primarily owe allegiance. This limitation upon the general principle of consular agents of each country "the right to sit as judges and arbitrators in such
territorial sovereignty is based entirely upon comity and convenience, and finds its differences as may arise between the captains and crews of the vessels belonging
justification in the fact that experience shows that such vessels are generally to the nation whose interests are committed to their charge, without the
careful to respect local laws and regulations which are essential to the health, order, interference of the local authorities, unless the conduct of the crews or of the
and well-being of the port. But comity and convenience does not require the captains should disturb the order or tranquillity of the country." (Comp. of Treaties
extension of the same degree of exemption to merchant vessels. There are two in Force, 1904, p. 754.) This exception applies to controversies between the
well-defined theories as to the extent of the immunities ordinarily granted to them. members of the ship's company, and particularly to disputes regarding wages. (2
According to the French theory and practice, matters happening on board a Moore, Int. Law Dig., sec. 206, p. 318; Tellefsen vs. Fee, 168 Mass., 188.) The
merchant ship which do not concern the tranquillity of the port or persons foreign order and tranquillity of the country are affected by many events which do not
to the crew, are justiciable only by the courts of the country to which the vessel amount to a riot or general public disturbance. Thus an assault by one member of
belongs. The French courts therefore claim exclusive jurisdiction over crimes the crew upon another, committed upon the ship, of which the public may have no
committed on board French merchant vessels in foreign ports by one member of the knowledge whatever, is not by this treaty withdrawn from the cognizance of the local
crew against another. (See Bonfils, Le Droit Int. (quat. ed.), sees. 624-628; authorities.
Martens, Le Droit Int., tome 2, pp. 338, 339; Ortolan, Dip. de la Mer, tit. 1, p.
292; Masse, Droit Int., tome 2, p. 63.) Such jurisdiction has never been admitted In 1876 the mates of the Swedish bark Frederike and Carolina engaged in a
or claimed by Great Britain as a right, although she has frequently conceded it by "quarrel" on board the vessel in the port of Galveston, Texas. They were
treaties. (Halleck, Int. Law (Baker's ed.), vol. 1, 231; British Territorial Waters Act, prosecuted before a justice of the peace, but the United States district attorney was
1878.) Writers who consider exterritoriality as a fact instead of a theory have instructed by the Government to take the necessary steps to have the proceedings
sought to restrict local jurisdiction, but Hall, who is doubtless the leading English dismissed, and the aid of the governor of Texas was invoked with the view to "guard
authority, says that - against a repetition of similar proceedings." (Mr. Fish, Secretary of State, to Mr.
Grip, Swedish and Norwegian charge, May 16, 1876; Moore, Int. Law Dig.) It does
99 of 167 100 of 167
not appear that this "quarrel" was of such a nature as to amount to a breach of the Philippine Islands deprived of jurisdiction over the offense charged in the information
criminal laws of Texas, but when in 1879 the mate of the Norwegian bark Livingston in this case.
was prosecuted in the courts of Philadelphia County for an assault and battery
committed on board the ship while lying in the port of Philadelphia, it was held that It is further contended that the complaint is defective because it does not allege
there was nothing in the treaty which deprived the local courts of jurisdiction. that the animals were disembarked at the port of Manila, an allegation which it is
(Commonwealth vs. Luckness, 14 Phila. (Pa.), 363.) Representations were claimed is essential to the jurisdiction of the court sitting at that port. To hold with the
made through diplomatic channels to the State Department, and on July 30, 1880, appellant upon this issue would be to construe the language of the complaint very
Mr. Evarts, Secretary of State, wrote to Count Lewenhaupt, the Swedish and strictly against the Government. The disembarkation of the animals is not necessary
Norwegian minister, as follows: in order to constitute the completed offense, and a reasonable construction of the
language of the statute confers jurisdiction upon the court sitting at the port into
"I have the honor to state that I have given the matter careful consideration in which the animals are brought. They are then within the territorial jurisdiction of the
connection with the views and suggestion of your note and the provisions of the court, and the mere fact of their disembarkation is immaterial so far as jurisdiction
thirteenth article of the treaty of 1827 between the United States and Sweden and is concerned. This might be different if the disembarkation of the animals
Norway. The stipulations contained in the last clause of that article * * * are constituted a constitutional element in the offense, but it does not.
those under which it is contended by you that jurisdiction is conferred on the
consular officers, not only in regard to such differences of a civil nature growing out It is also contended that the information is insufficient because it fails to allege that
of the contract of engagement of the seamen, but also as to disposing of the defendant knowingly and willfully failed to provide suitable means for securing
controversies resulting from personal violence involving offenses for which the said animals while in transit, so as to avoid cruelty and unnecesary suffering. The
party may be held amenable under the local criminal law. allegation of the complaint that the act was committed willfully includes the
allegation that it was committed knowingly. As said in Woodhouse vs. Rio Grande
"This Government does not view the article in question as susceptible of such broad R. R. Company (67 Texas, 416), "the word 'willfully' carries the idea, when used in
interpretation. The jurisdiction conferred upon the consuls is conceived to be limited connection with an act forbidden by law, that the act must be done knowingly or
to their right to sit as judges or abitrators in such differences as may arise intentionally; that, with knowledge, the will consented to, designed, and directed the
between captains and crews of the vessels, where such differences do not involve act." So in Wong: vs. City of Astoria (13 Oregon, 538), it was said: "The first one is
on the part of the 'captain or crew a disturbance of the order or tranquillity of the that the complaint did not show, in the words of the ordinance, that the appellant
country. When, however, a complaint is made to a local magistrate, either by the 'knowingly' did the act complained of. This point, I think, was fully answered by the
captain or one or more of the erew of the vessel, involving the disturbance of the respondent's counsel - that the words 'willfully' and 'knowingly' conveyed the same
order or tranquillity of the country, it is competent for such magistrate to take meaning. To 'willfully' do an act implies that it was done by design - done for a set
cognizance of the matter in furtherance of the local laws, and under such purpose; and I think that it would necessarily follow that it was 'knowingly' done." To
circumstances in the United States it becomes a public duty which the judge or the same effect is Johnson vs. The People (94 I11., 505), which seems to be on
magistrate is not at liberty voluntarily to forego. In all such cases it must necessarily all fours with the present case.
be left to the local judicial authorities whether the procedure shall take place in
the United States or in Sweden to determine if in fact there has been such The evidence shows not only that the defendant's acts were knowingly done, but his
disturbance of the local order and tranquillity, and if the complaint is supported by defense rests upon the assertion that "according to his experience, the system of
such proof as results in the conviction of the party accused, to visit upon the carrying cattle loose upon the decks and in the hold is preferable and more secure
offenders such punishment as may be defined against the offense by the to the life and comfort of the animals." It was conclusively proven that what was
municipal law of the place." (Moore, Int. Law Dig., vol. 2, p. 315.) done was done knowingly arid intentionally.

The treaty does not therefore deprive the, local courts of jurisdiction over offenses In charging an offense under section 6 of General Orders, No. 58, paragraph 3, it
committed on board a merchant vessel by one member of the crew against another is only necessary to state the act or omission complained of as constituting a crime
which amount to a disturbance of the order or tranquillity of the country, and a fair or public offense in ordinary and concise language, without repetition. It need not
and reasonable construction of the language requires us to hold that any violation necessarily be in the words of the statute, but it must be in such form as to enable a
of criminal laws disturbs the order or tranquillity of the country. The offense with person of common understanding to know what is intended and the court to
which the appellant is charged had nothing to do with any difference between the pronounce judgment according to right. A complaint which complies with this
captain and the crew. It was a violation by the master of the criminal law of the requirement is good. (U. S. vs. Sarabia, 4 Phil. Rep., 566.)
country into whose port he came. We thus find that neither by reason of the
nationality of the vessel, the place of the commission of the offense, or the The Act, which is in the English language, imposes upon the master of a vessel the
prohibitions of any treaty or general principle of public law, are the courts of the duty to "provide suitable means for securing such animals while in transit, so as to
avoid all cruelty and unnecessary suffering to the animals." The allegation of the
101 of 167 102 of 167
complaint as it reads in English is that the defendant willfully, unlawfully, and procedure. Congress has provided such governments for territories which were
wrongfully carried the cattle "without providing suitable means for securing said within the Union, and for newly acquired territory not yet incorporated therein. It has
animals while in transit, so as to avoid cruelty and unnecessary suffering to the said been customary to organize a government with the ordinary separation of powers
animals in this * * * that by reason of the aforesaid neglect and failure of the into executive, legislative, and judicial, and to prescribe in an organic act certain
accused to provide suitable means for securing said animals while so in transit, the general conditions in accordance with which the local government should act. The
noses of some of said animals were cruelly torn, and many of said animals were organic act thus became the constitution of the government of the territory which had
tossed about upon the decks and hold of said vessel, and cruelly wounded, bruised, not been formally incorporated into the Union, and the validity of legislation enacted
and killed." by the local legislature was determined by its conformity with the requirements of
such organic act. (National Bank vs. Yankton, 11 Otto (U. S.), 129.) To the
The appellant contends that the language of the Spanish text of the information legislative body of the local government Congress has delegated that portion of
does not charge him with failure to provide "sufficient" and "adequate" means. The legislative power which in its wisdom it deemed necessary for the government of
words used are "medios suficientes" and "medios adecuados." In view of the fact the territory, reserving, however, the right to annul the action of the local legislature
that the original complaint was prepared in English, and that the word "suitable" is and itself legislate directly for the territory. This power has been exercised during
translatable by the words "adecuado" "suficiente," and "conveniente," according to the entire period of the history of the United States. The right of Congress to
the context and circumstances, we determine this point against the appellant, delegate such legislative power can no longer be seriously questioned.
particularly in view of the fact that the objection was not made in the court below, (Dorr vs. U. S., 195 U. S., 138; U. S. vs. Heinszen, 206 U. S., 370, 385.)
and that the evidence clearly shows a failure to provide "suitable means for the
protection of the animals." The Constitution of the United States does not by its own force operate within such
territory, although the liberality of Congress in legislating the Constitution into
2. The appellant's argument against the constitutionality of Act No. 55 and the contiguous territory tended to create an impression upon the minds of many people
amendment thereto seems to rest upon a fundamentally erroneous conception that it went there by its own force. (Downes vs. Bidwell, 182 U. S., 289.) In
of the constitutional law of these Islands. The statute penalizes acts and legislating with reference to this territory, the power of Congress is limited only by
omissions incidental to the transportation of live stock between foreign ports those prohibitions of the Constitution which go to the very root of its power to act at
and ports of the Philippine Islands, and had a similar statute regulating all, irrespective of time or place. In all other respects it is plenary. (De
commerce with its ports been enacted by the legislature of one of the States Lima vs. Bidwell, 182 U. S., 1; Downes vs. Bidwell, 182 U. S., 244;
of the Union, it would doubtless have been in violation of Article I, section 3, Hawaii vs. Mankichi, 190 U. S., 197; Dorr vs. U. S., 195 U. S., 138;
of the Constitution of the United States. (Stubbs vs. People (Colo.), 11 L. R. Rassmussen vs. U. S., 197 U. S., 516.)
A., N. S., 1071.)
This power has been exercised by Congress throughout the whole history of the
But the Philippine Islands is not a State, and its relation to the United States is United States, and legislation founded on the theory was enacted long prior to the
controlled by constitutional principles different from those which apply to States of acquisition of the present Insular possessions. Section 1891 of the Revised
the Union. The importance of the question thus presented requires a statement of Statutes of 1878 provides that "The Constitution and all laws of the United States
the principles which govern those relations, and consideration of the nature and which are not locally inapplicable shall have the same force and effect within all
extent of the legislative power of the Philippine Commission and the Legislature of the organized territories, and in every Territory hereafter organized, as elsewhere
the Philippines. After much discussion and considerable diversity of opinion certain within the United States," When Congress organized a civil government for the
applicable constitutional doctrines are established. Philippines, it expressly provided that this section of the Revised Statutes should
not apply to the Philippine Islands. (Sec. 1, Act of 1902.)
The Constitution confers upon the United States the express power to make war and
treaties, and it has the power possessed by all nations to acquire territory by In providing for the government of the territory which was acquired by the United
conquest or treaty. Territory thus acquired belongs to the United States, and to States as a result of the war with Spain, the executive and legislative authorities
guard against the possibility of the power of Congress to provide for its government have consistently proceeded in conformity with the principles above stated. The
being questioned, the framers of the Constitution provided in express terms that city of Manila was surrendered to the United States on August 13, 1898, and the
Congress should have the power "to dispose of and make all needful rules and military commander was directed to hold the city, bay, and harbor, pending the
regulations respecting territory and other property belonging to the United States." conclusion of a peace which should determine the control, disposition, and
(Art. IV, sec. 3, par. 3,) Upon the acquisition of territory by the United States, and government of the Islands. The duty then devolved upon the American authorities
until it is formally incorporated into the Union, the duty of providing a government to preserve peace and protect persons and property within the occupied territory.
therefor devolves upon Congress. It may govern the territory by its direct acts, or it Provision therefor was made by proper orders, and on August 26 General Merritt
may create a local government, and delegate thereto the ordinary powers required assumed the duties of military governor. The treaty of peace was signed December
for local government. (Binns vs. U. S., 194 U. S., 486.) This has been the usual
103 of 167 104 of 167
10, 1898. On the 22d of December, 1898, the President announced that the restrictions upon legislative power were found in the declarations that "no person
destruction of the Spanish fleet and the surrender of the city had practically shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; that private
effected the conquest of the Philippine Islands and the suspension of the Spanish property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation; that in all
sovereignty therein, and that by the treaty of peace the future control, disposition, criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial,
and government of the Islands had been ceded to the United States. During the to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to be confronted with the
period of strict military occupation, before the treaty of peace was ratified, and the witnesses against him, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his
interim thereafter, until Congress acted (Santiago vs. Nogueras, 214 U. S., 260), the favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense; that excessive bail shall
territory was governed under the military authority of the President as commander in not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment
chief. Long before Congress took any action, the President organized a civil inflicted; that no person shall be put twice in jeopardy for the same offense or be
government, which, however, had its legal justification, like the purely military compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; that the right to be
government which it gradually superseded, in the war power. The military power of secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated; that
the President embraced legislative, executive, and judicial functions, all of which he neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist except as a punishment for
might exercise personally, or through such military or civil agents as he chose to crime; that no bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed; that no law shall
select. As stated by Secretary Root in his report for 1901 - be passed abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or of the rights of the
people to peaceably assemble and petition the Government for a redress of
"The military power in exercise in a territory under military occupation includes grievances; that no law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion or
executive, legislative, and judicial authority. It not infrequently happens that in a prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and that the free exercise and enjoyment of
single order of a military commander can be found the exercise of all three of these religious profession and worship without discrimination or preference shall forever be
different powers - the exercise of the legislative powers by provisions prescribing a allowed."
rule of action; of judicial power by determinations of right; and of executive power
by the enforcement of the rules prescribed and the rights determined." To prevent any question as to the legality of these proceedings being raised, the
Spooner amendment to the Army Appropriation Bill passed March 2, 1901,
President McKinley desired to transform military into civil government as rapidly as provided that "all military, civil, and judicial powers necessary to govern the
conditions would permit. After full investigation, the organization of civil Philippine Islands * * * shall until otherwise provided by Congress be vested in
government was initiated by the appointment of a commission to which civil such person and persons, and shall be exercised in such manner, as the President
authority was to be gradually transferred. On September 1, 1900, the authority to of the United States shall direct, for the establishment of civil government, and for
exercise, subject to the approval of the President, "that part of the military power of maintaining and protecting the inhabitants of said Islands in the free enjoyment of
the President in the Philippine Islands which is legislative in its character" was their liberty, property, and religion." Thereafter, on July 4, 1901, the office of Civil
transferred from the military government to the Commission, to be exercised under Governor was created, and the executive authority, which had been exercised
such rules and regulations as should be prescribed by the Secretary of War, until previously by the military governor, was transferred to that official. The
such time as complete civil government should be established, or Congress government thus created by virtue of the authority of the President as Commander in
otherwise provided. The legislative power thus conferred upon the Commission was Chief of the Army and Navy continued to administer the affairs of the Islands under
declared to include "the making of rules and orders having the effect of law for the the direction of the President until by the Act of July 1, 1902, Congress assumed
raising of revenue by taxes, customs duties, and imposts; the appropriation and control of the situation by the enactment of a law which, in connection with the
expenditure of public funds of the Islands; the establishment of an educational instructions of April 7, 1900, constitutes the organic law of the Philippine Islands.
system throughout the Islands; the establishment of a system to secure an efficient
civil service; the organization and establishment of courts; the organization and The Act of July 1, 1902, made no substantial changes in the form of government
establishment of municipal and departmental governments, and all other matters which the President had erected. Congress adopted the system which was in
of a civil nature which the military governor is now competent to provide by rules or operation, and approved the action of the President in organizing the government.
orders of a legislative character." This grant of legislative power to the Commission Substantially all the limitations which had been imposed on the legislative power by
was to be exercised in conformity with certain declared general principles, and the President's instructions were included in the law, Congress thus extending to the
subject to certain specific restrictions for the protection of individual rights. The Islands by legislative act not the Constitution, but all its provisions for the protection
Commission were to bear in mind that the government to be instituted was "not for of the rights and privileges of individuals which were appropriate under the
our satisfaction or for the expression of our theoretical views, but for the happiness, conditions. The action of the President in creating the Commission with designated
peace, and prosperity of the people of the Philippine Islands, and the measures powers of government, in creating the office of the Governor-General and Vice-
adopted should be made to conform to their customs, their habits, and even their Governor-General, and through the Commission establishing certain executive
prejudices, to the fullest extent consistent with the accomplishment of the departments, was expressly approved and ratified. Subsequently the action of
indispensable requisites of just and effective government." The specific the President in imposing a tariff before and after the ratification of the treaty of

105 of 167 106 of 167

peace was also ratified and approved by Congress. (Act of March 8, 1902; Act of national and state constitutions. The executive must execute such laws as are
July 1, 1902; U. S. vs. Heinszen, 206 U. S., 370; Lincoln vs. U. S., 197 U. S., constitutionally enacted. The judiciary, as in all governments operating under
419,) Until otherwise provided by law the Islands were to continue to be governed written constitutions, must determine the validity of legislative enactments, as well
"as thereby and herein provided." In the future the enacting clause of all statutes as the legality of all private and official acts. In performing these functions it acts
should read "By authority of the United States" instead of "By the authority of the with the same independence as the Federal and State judiciaries in the United
President." In the course of time the legislative authority of the Commission in all States. Under no other constitutional theory could there be that government of laws
parts of the Islands not inhabited by Moros or non-Christian tribes was to be and not of men which is essential for the protection of rights under a free and
transferred to a legislature consisting of two houses - the Philippine Commission and orderly government.
the Philippine Assembly. The government of the Islands was thus assumed by
Congress under its power to govern newly acquired territory not incorporated into Such being the constitutional theory of the Government of the Philippine Islands, it
the United States. is apparent that the courts must consider the question of the validity of an act of the
Philippine Commission or the Philippine Legislature, as a State court considers an
This Government of the Philippine Islands is not a State or a Territory, although its act of the State legislature. The Federal Government exercises such powers only
form and organization somewhat resembles that of both. It stands outside of the as are expressly or impliedly granted to it by the Constitution of the United States,
constitutional relation which unites the States and Territories into the Union. The while the States exercise all powers which have not been granted to the central
authority for its creation and maintenance is derived from the Constitution of the government. The former operates under grants, the latter subject to restrictions.
United States, which, however, operates on the President and Congress, and not The validity of an Act of Congress depends upon whether the Constitution of the
directly on the Philippine Government. It is the creation of the United States, acting United States contains a grant of express or implied authority to enact it. An act of a
through the President and Congress, both deriving power from the same source, State legislature is valid unless the Federal or State constitution expressly or
but from different parts thereof. For its powers and the limitations thereon the impliedly prohibits its enaction. An Act of the legislative authority of the Philippine
Government of the Philippines looked to the orders of the President before Government which has not been expressly disapproved by Congress is valid
Congress acted and the Acts of Congress after it assumed control. Its organic laws unless its subject-matter has been covered by congressional legislation, or its
are derived from the formally and legally expressed will of the President and enactment forbidden by some provision of the organic laws.
Congress, instead of the popular sovereign constituency which lies back of
American constitutions. The power to legislate upon any subject relating to the The legislative power of the Government of the Philippines is granted in general
Philippines is primarily in Congress, and when it exercises such power its act is terms subject to specific limitations. The general grant is not alone of power to
from the viewpoint of the Philippines the legal equivalent of an amendment of a legislate on certain subjects, but to exercise the legislative power subject to the
constitution in the United States. restrictions stated. It is true that specific authority is conferred upon the Philippine
Government relative to certain subjects of legislation, and that Congress has itself
Within the limits of its authority the Government of the Philippines is a complete legislated upon certain other subjects. These, however, should be viewed simply
governmental organism with executive, legislative, and judicial departments as enactments on matters wherein Congress was fully informed and ready to act,
exercising the functions commonly assigned to such departments. The separation and not as implying any restriction upon the local legislative authority in other
of powers is as complete as in most governments. In neither Federal nor State matters. (See Opinion of Atty. Gen. of U. S., April 16, 1908.)
governments is this separation such as is implied in the abstract statement of the
doctrine. For instance, in the Federal Government the Senate exercises executive The fact that Congress reserved the power to annul specific acts of legislation by
powers, and the President to some extent controls legislation through the veto the Government of the Philippines tends strongly to confirm the view that for
power. In a State the governor is not a member of the legislative body, but the veto purposes of construction the Government of the Philippines should be regarded as
power enables him to exercise much control over legislation. The Governor- one of general instead of enumerated legislative powers. The situation was
General, the head of the executive department in the Philippine Government, is a unusual. The new government was to operate far from the source of its authority. To
member of the Philippine Commission, but as executive he has no veto power. The relieve Congress from the necessity of legislating with reference to details, it was
President and Congress framed, the government on the model with which thought better to grant general legislative power to the new government, subject to
Americans are familiar, and which has proven best adapted for the advancement of broad and easily understood prohibitions, and reserve to Congress the power to
the public interests and the protection of individual rights and privileges. annul its acts if they met with disapproval. It was therefore provided "that all laws
passed by the Government of the Philippine Islands shall be reported to Congress,
In instituting this form of government the intention must have been to adopt the which hereby reserves the power and authority to annul the same." (Act of
general constitutional doctrines which are inherent in the system. Hence, under it Congress, July 1, 1902, sec. 86.) This provision does not suspend the acts of the
the Legislature must enact laws subject to the limitations of the organic laws, as Legislature of the Philippines until approved by Congress, or when approved,
Congress must act under the national Constitution, and the States under the expressly or by acquiescence, make them the laws of Congress. They are valid

107 of 167 108 of 167

acts of the Government of the Philippine Islands until annulled. (Miners Bank vs.
Iowa, 12 How. (U. S.), 1.)
"That on the 2d day of December, 1908, the defendant, as such master and captain
In order to determine the validity of Act No. 55 we must then ascertain whether the as aforesaid, brought into the city of Manila, aboard said ship, a large number of
Legislature has been expressly or by implication forbidden to enact it. Section 3, cattle, which ship was anchored, under the directions of the said defendant, behind
Article IV, of the Constitution of the United States operates only upon the States of the breakwaters in front of the city of Manila, in Manila Bay, and within the
the Union. It has no application to the Government of the Philippine Islands. The jurisdiction of this court; and that fifteen of said cattle then and there had broken
power to regulate foreign commerce is vested in Congress, and by virtue of its legs and three others of said cattle were dead, haying broken legs; and also that
power to govern the territory belonging to the United States, it may regulate foreign said cattle were transported and carried upon said ship as aforesaid by the
commerce with such territory. It may do this directly, or indirectly through a defendant, upon the deck and in the hold of said ship, without suitable precaution
legislative body created by it, to which its power in this respect is delegated. and care for the transportation of said animals, and to avoid danger and risk to
Congress has by direct legislation determined the duties which shall be paid upon their lives and security; and further that said cattle were so transported aboard said
goods imported into the Philippines, and it has expressly authorized the ship by the defendant and brought into the said bay, and into the city of Manila,
Government of the Philippines to provide for the needs of commerce by improving without any provision being made whatever upon said decks of said ship and in the
harbors and navigable waters. A few other specific provisions relating to foreign hold thereof to maintain said cattle in a suitable condition and position for such
commerce may be found in the Acts of Congress, but its general regulation is left to transportation.
the Government of the Philippines, subject to the reserved power of Congress to
annul such legislation as does not meet with its approval. The express limitations "That a suitable and practicable manner in which to transport cattle aboard
upon the power of the Commission and Legislature to legislate do not affect the steamships coming into Manila Bay and unloading in the city of Manila is by way of
authority with respect to the regulation of commerce with foreign countries. Act No. individual stalls for such cattle, providing partitions between the cattle and supports
55 was enacted before Congress took over the control of the Islands, and this act at the front, sides, and rear thereof, and crosscleats upon the floor on which they
was amended by Act No. 275 after the Spooner amendment of March 2, 1901, was stand and are transported, so that in case of storms, which are common in this
passed. The military government, and the civil government instituted by the community at sea, such cattle may be able to stand without slipping and pitching and
President, had the power, whether it be called legislative or administrative, to falling, individually or collectively, and to avoid the production of panics and hazard
regulate commerce between foreign nations and the ports of the territory. to the animals on account of transportation in the manner in which said animals or
(Cross vs, Harrison, 16 How. (U. S.), 164, 190; Hamilton vs. Dillin, 21 Wall. (U. S.), cattle were transported in this case. Captain Summerville of the steamship Taming, a
73, 87.) This Act has remained in force since its enactment without annulment or very intelligent and experienced seaman, has testified, as a witness in behalf of the
other action by Congress, and must be presumed to have met with its approval. We Government, and stated positively that since the introduction in the ships with
are therefore satisfied that the Commission had, and the Legislature now has, full which he is acquainted of the stall system for the transportation of animals and cattle
constitutional power to enact laws for the regulation of commerce between foreign he has suffered no loss whatever during the last year. The defendant has testified,
countries and the ports of the Philippine Islands, and that Act No. 55, as amended by as a witness in his own behalf, that according to his experience the system of
Act No. 275, is valid. carrying cattle loose upon the decks and in the hold is preferable and more secure
to the life and comfort of the animals, but this theory of the case is not
3. Whether a certain method of handling cattle is suitable within the meaning of maintainable, either by the proofs or common reason. It can not be urged with
the Act can not be left to the judgment of the master of the ship. It is a logic that, for instance, three hundred cattle without supports for the feet and
question which must be determined by the court from the evidence. On without stalls or any other protection for them individually can be safely and suitably
December 2, 1908, the defendant Bull brought into and disembarked in the carried in times of storm upon the decks and in the holds of ships; such a theory is
port and city of Manila certain cattle, which came from the port of Ampieng, against the law of nature. One animal falling or pitching, if he is untied or
Formosa, without providing suitable means for securing said animals while in unprotected, might produce a serious panic and the wounding of half the animals
transit, so as to avoid cruelty and unnecessary suffering to said animals, upon the ship if transported in the manner found in this case."
contrary to the provisions of section 1 of Act No. 55, as amended by section 1
of Act No. 275. The trial court found the following facts, all of which are fully The defendant was found guilty, and sentenced to pay a fine of two hundred and
sustained by the evidence: fifty pesos, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the
costs. The sentence and judgment is affirmed. So ordered.
"That the defendant, H. N. Bull, as captain and master of the Norwegian steamer
known as the Standard, for a period of six months or thereabouts prior to the 2d day Arellano, C. J., Torres, Johnson, Carson, and Moreland, JJ., concur.
of December, 1908, was engaged in the transportation of cattle and carabaos from
Chinese and Japanese ports to and into the city of Manila, Philippine Islands.

109 of 167 110 of 167

156 Phil. 260 starting at 7:10 o'clock in the morning till about 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon with
vacant periods in-between (Exhibit D) while accused-appellant, Loreto Renegado,
EN BANC was a clerk in the same institution whose duties included the following:

[ G.R. NO. L-27031, May 31, 1974 ] "1. To type correspondence, memorandum, circulars of the Head of the school.

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLEE, VS. LORETO 2. To help type test questions of teachers for every periodical test.

 3. To help type reports of the schools.
4. To help type handout of the teachers.
5. To file and account records of the school.
On September 4, 1966, Mamerto de Lira, a teacher of the "Tiburcio Tancinco
Memorial Vocational School," died at the Calbayog City General Hospital from a 6. To mail some reports, prepared form like Form 137 and mail it, etc." (Exhibit F)
stab wound inflicted upon him a few days before, more particularly, on August 29,
within the premises of the school by Loreto Renegedo, an employee of the same A periodical test was scheduled on September 2, 1966, and the teachers were
institution. As a result, the City Fiscal of Calbayog City filed with the local Court of instructed to submit their questions for approval and cutting of the stencil for
First Instance an Information against Loreto Renegedo for "Murder with assault upon mimeographing purposes by August 25 and 26.[1]
a person in authority," which, as amended, reads:
At about 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon of Friday, August 26, 1966, appellant
"That on or about the 29th day of August, 1966, at about 9:30 A.M., in Calbayog City, Renegado was in the school canteen and other persons present at the time were
Philippines, and within the premises of the Tiburcio Tancinco Vocational School and teachers Natividad Boco, Mrs. Alviola, and Mrs. Benita Tan, and some students. On
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court; the above-named accused armed with that occasion Lira entered the canteen and seeing Renegado he requested the latter
a sharp-pointed double bladed weapon, with decided intent to kill, with assault upon to type the stencil of his test questions for the examination set for September 2.
a person in authority; the deceased being at the time a public school teacher of the Renegado answered that he had much work in the principal's office and that typing
Tiburcio Vocational School and therefore a person in authority; and at the time was test questions was not among his duties. Lira reminded Renegado of the
in the lawful performance of his duties as such or on the occasion of such instructions of the principal that he could be asked by the teachers to type their test
performance and, with treachery and evident premeditation, did then and there questions especially if the teacher concerned had no knowledge of typing, and Lira
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab with his weapon Mamerto finished his remark stating: "you can finish your work if you only will sit down and
de Lira, who, as a result thereof, sustained stab wound on his abdomen which work." At this remark, Renegado became angry and as he stepped out of the
caused his death." (p. 11, original record) canteen he boxed with his fist a cabinet which belonged to Mrs. Alviola. Seeing the
hostile attitude of Renegado, Lira followed the latter outside of the canteen and
The Hon. Jesus N. Borromeo who conducted the trial of the case found the accused asked Renegado if he was challenging him. Renegado did not answer but quickly
guilty as charged and pursuant to Articles 148 and 248 of the Revised Penal Code in left the place.[2]
relation to Article 48 thereof, sentenced him to "suffer the supreme penalty
of death; to indemnify the heirs of the deceased Mamerto de Lira in the amount of
P6,000.00; and to pay the costs." (p. 94„ ibid) The case is now before Us on
automatic review. On his way out of the school premises, later that afternoon, Renegado passed by
the guardhouse where he met security guard. Primitivo Velasco, and Renegado told
the latter: "Friend, I will be sad if I could not kill somebody," and having learned
about the altercation between Renegado and Lira, Velasco placed his arm around
We find the following facts duly established by the evidence of the prosecution: the shoulder of Renegado and pacified him with these words: "Loreto, do not do
that because that is a little trouble, you might be able to kill someone and you will be
The Tiburcio Tancinco Memorial Vocational School is run by the national government separated from your family."[3] Also on that afternoon before leaving the school,
in the City of Calbayog, and for the school year 1966-67 its principal was Mr. Renegado met Basilio Ramirez, another employee, to whom he recounted his
Bartolome B. Calbes, and in his absence, Mr. Felix U. Tingzon was authorized to act altercation with Lira and ended up saying: "I am going to kill him." Basilio Ramirez,
as officer-incharge (Exhibit E). The deceased Mamerto de Lira was a classroom however, advised Renegado: "Padi, do not take that to the extent because to kill a
teacher of mathematics in said school with daily classes from Monday to Friday, person is not good, think of your family, you have many children."[4]
111 of 167 112 of 167
In the evening of that Friday, August 26, there was a dance at the school premises At about 4:30 o'clock in the afternoon of Friday, August 26, he was in the school
and on that occasion Renegado was seen cycling around the school several times, canteen for a snack and on that occasion Lira arrived and approached him with a
[5] and Renegado inquired from security guard, Nicomedes Leonor, if Lira was at the bunch of papers and told him to type the stencil of his test questions; he answered
dance. Leonor informed Renegado that the teacher was not around and at the that he could not do the work because he was busy in the principal's office; Lira got
same time advised Renegado thus: "Choy, do not attend to that small trouble and mad and pointing his finger at him said: "The question with you is that the work that
we have families. Have patience because we have families."[6] Another teacher, you can do in a day you finish it in so many days, because you stroll only in the
Arturo Querubin, likewise saw Renegado that evening acting in a suspicious manner office and keep on sleeping."; scared by the aggressive mood of Lira, he went out of
and sensing the state of mind of Renegado because of the incident which happened the canteen, but Lira followed him and, overtaking him near the door, boxed him on
earlier in the afternoon, Querubin approached Renegado, advised him to "calm his his stomach; he told Lira he was not fighting back however, Lira angrily shook his
temper," and told him "remember, you have plenty of children, please be calm."[7] fingers at him and said: "don't show yourself to me, I will kill you with maltreatment";
he proceeded to the office of the principal and informed the latter about the incident
Came Monday morning, August 29, and at around 9:00 o'clock, Erlinda Rojo, a but the principal advised him not to mind Mr. Lira and to go ahead with his work;
bookkeeper in the school, met accused Renegado in the office of the principal. later, in the afternoon, he went home; the following morning, Saturday, he was in his
Renegado inquired from Erlinda about his salary loan, and during their conversation, house repairing the "pantao" or wash stand and on that occasion spouses Lourdes
the school janitor called the attention of the two to some boys quarelling near the and Feling Renegado came to the house and they talked about the incident between
school's shop building and Renegado remarked: "stab him"; to those words Erlinda him and Lira; Lourdes Renegado suggested the filing of a complaint against Lira but
replied: "That is the case with you. Your intention is to stab. If that is your attitude, he replied he was not taking the matter seriously and, at any rate, he was resigning
there will be nobody left on earth, they will all die," to which Renegado countered: from his job; on Monday, August 29, at about 7:30 o'clock in the morning he went to
"So that the bad persons will be taken away and eliminated," and after that his work in the school as usual; upon reaching the school, he proceeded to the room
exchange of remarks Renegado left the room.[8] of Miss Rojo to get some papers on which he was working, and then he returned to
his room; at about 9:30, he went to the canteen for a snack and on the way, he was
That same morning, past 9:00 o'clock, which was his vacant period, Lira went to the ''singing, whistling, and tossing a coin in his hand"; before reaching the canteen, he
school canteen, sealed himself at the counter, and ordered a bottle of "pepsi cola" saw Lira and Manuel Cordove conversing and when the two parted, Lira went to his
from the girls who were then serving, namely, Venecia Icayan and Lolita Francisco. room; upon reaching the canteen, he went to the counter (see Exhibits 3 and 3-A),
At about 9:30 while Lira was drinking his "pepsi cola", Renegado entered the and while he was there standing, Lira arrived, stood beside him, elbowed him, and
canteen and seeing Lira with his back towards him, he immediately and without said in a loud voice: "Ano ka?"; he turned around to face Lira and the latter banged
warning stabbed Lira with a knife hitting the latter on the right lumbar region. The on the counter the folders he (Lira) was carrying; Lira then placed his right hand
wounded Lira turned around holding his abdomen and raised a chair toward off his inside his pocket, pulled with the other hand a chair and pushed it at him; he became
assailant who was poised to stab him for the second time. Renegado tried to reach confused and remembered that on Friday afternoon Lira threatened to kill him if he
Lira but he was blocked by Mrs. Tan who shouted "Stop it, Loreto, don't anymore." (Lira) would meet him again; after a while he saw Mrs. Tan standing before him and
Because of the intervention of Mrs. Tan and the screaming of the girls inside the heard her say: "Loreto, don't do that"; upon hearing those words, "he regained his
canteen, Renegado desisted from continuing with his attack and left the canteen. senses" and only then did he realize that he had wounded Lira; he became panicky,
[9] During that incident, Felix Tingzon was also in the canteen having a snack with a
left the canteen, proceeded home, and informed his wife that he had wounded a
guest and although he did not actually see the very act of stabbing, he saw however person; he then called for a tricycle, looked for a policeman, and surrendered to the
that when Renegado entered the canteen Lira was beside the counter and had his latter.[11]
back towards appellant Renegado.9a
To corroborate his testimony that in the morning of the stabbing incident he was
Lira was brought to the Calbayog City General Hospital and was attended by Dr. ahead of Lira in the school canteen, appellant called to the witness stand Manuel
Erlinda Ortiz who performed an operation on him. Dr. Ortiz found that the weapon of Cordove who declared that on Monday morning after he and Lira had conversed and
the assailant entered through the right lumbar region of the victim and penetrated parted, Lira proceeded to his (Lira's) office while he went to his own room and on the
the right lower lobe of the liver. Notwithstanding the medical attention given to Lira, way he passed by Renegado who was then standing by the door of the canteen and
the latter died on September 4, 1966, from "hepatic insufficiency" caused by the stab greeted him; after a short while he heard shouts from the canteen and he learned
wound which perforated the right lower lobe of the liver resulting in internal that Renegado had stabbed Lira.[12] Another witness, Lourdes Renegado, testified on
hemorrhage.[10] the conversation between her and her brother-in-law, the herein appellant, on
Saturday morning, and she tried to impress the court that appellant Renegado had
Appellant Renegado asks Us not to believe the above-given narration of the dismissed from his mind his altercation with Lira and as a matter of fact on the
witnesses for the prosecution and submits instead his own version of the incident as following day, Sunday, she met Renegado who had just come from church and was
follows: on his way to attend a cockfight.[13] Appellant's wife, Elena de Guia, also took the

113 of 167 114 of 167

witness stand and declared inter alia that when her husband returned home on By his testimony appellant wants to convey that for one brief moment he was
Friday afternoon and narrated to her the occurrence at the canteen she suggested unaware or unconscious of what he was doing, that he "regained his senses" when
that a complaint be filed against Lira but her husband said: "never mind"; in the he heard the voice of Mrs. Tan telling him: "Loreto, don't do that," and only then did
evening of that same day, Friday, her husband invited her to go with him to the he realize that he had wounded Lira. That, to Us, is incredible. For it is most
school dance, however, she excused herself because of the children; on Monday unusual for appellant's mind which was in a perfect normal state on Monday
morning, August 29, her husband reported for work at the school as usual and morning, August 29, to suddenly turn blank at that particular moment when he
before leaving the house he told her that he was returning about 9:00 o'clock for his stabbed Lira. Appellant himself testified that he was acting very sanely that Monday
"merienda"; her husband returned later in the morning only to tell her that he had morning, as shown by the fact that he went to the canteen in a jovial mood "singing,
stabbed someone; upon hearing the news she cried out: "Oh my God what have whistling, and tossing a coin in his hand"; he saw the persons inside the canteen
you done to us?", and he replied: "I would not have done that had he not bullied me, namely Venecia lcayan, Lolita Francisco, Benita Tan, Felipe Tingzon and a guest of
he purposely did it to me, that is why I was hurt"; after that, her husband left the the latter (all of whom, except the last one, testified for the prosecution); he noticed
house to surrender to the police.[14] the arrival of Lira who banged his folders on the table, elbowed him, and said in a
loud voice: "ano ka"; he saw Lira put his right hand inside his pocket and with the
On the basis of the testimony of appellant, his counsel-de-oficio, Atty. Roberto C. other hand push a chair towards him; he became "confused" because he
Alip, in his well-written brief pleads for an acquittal with the argument that remembered that Lira threatened to kill him if he would see him again; at this point
accused should be exempt from criminal liability "because at the precise time that he "lost his senses" and regained it when he heard the voice of Mrs. Tan saying:
the prosecution claims de Lira was stabbed, accused lost his senses and he simply "Loreto, don't do that", and he then found out that he had wounded Lira. If appellant
did not know what he was doing."[15] To bolster his argument on the mental condition was able to recall all those incidents, We cannot understand why his memory stood
of appellant, defense counsel directs. Our attention to that portion of the evidence still at that very crucial moment when he stabbed Lira to return at the snap of a
showing that sometime in June of 1950 Renegado was "clubbed" on the forehead by finger as it were, after he accomplished the act of stabbing his victim. His is not a
Antonio Redema and was treated by Dr. J.P. Rosales for head injuries (Exh. 4-A), diseased mind, for there is no evidence whatsoever, expert or otherwise, to show
and as a result of that incident Redema was charged with and convicted of that he is suffering from insanity or from any other mental sickness which impaired
"frustrated murder" in the Court of First Instance of Samar on July 21, 1950;[16] that his memory or his will. The evidence shows and the trial court did find that appellant
the head injury of appellant produced "ill-effects" because since that particular is a perfectly normal being, and that being the case, the presumption is that his
occurrence appellant would have fits of violent temper such as maltreating his wife normal state of mind on that Monday morning continued and remained throughout
and children for no reason at all, and for which he would ask forgiveness from his the entire incident.
wife because "he lost his head."[17]
The testimony of appellant's wife, Elena, that her husband at times manifests
For purposes of disposing of appellant's defense it becomes necessary to restate unusual behaviour exempli gratia: lashing at his children if the latter refuses to play
certain basic principles in criminal law, viz: that a person is criminally liable for a with him, tearing off the mosquito net if not properly tied, "executing a judo" on her
felony committed by him;[18] that a felonious or criminal act (delito doloso) is person, boxing her, and so on and so forth, is not the evidence needed to prove a
presumed to have been done with deliberate intent, that is, with freedom, state of insanity. At most such testimony shows that appellant Renegado is a man of
intelligence, and malice[19] because the moral and legal presumption is that freedom violent temper who can be easily provoked to violence for no valid reason at all.
and intelligence constitute the normal condition of a person in the absence of Thus in People vs. Cruz, this Court held that breaking glasses and smashing dishes
evidence to the contrary;[20] that one of the causes which will overthrow this are simply demonstrations of an explosive temper and do not constitute clear and
presumption of voluntariness and intelligence is insanity in which event the actor is satisfactory proof of insanity; they are indications of the passionate nature of the
exempt from criminal liability as provided for in Article 12, paragraph 1, of the accused, his tendency to violent fits when angry, and inasmuch as the accused was
Revised Penal Code. not deprived of the consciousness of his acts but was simply obfuscated by the
refusal of his wife to live with him, his conviction for parricide was proper.[23]
In the eyes of the law, insanity exists when there is a complete deprivation of
intelligence in committing the act, that is, the accused is deprived of reason, he acts Very relevant to the case now before Us is U.S. vs. Ramon Hontiveros Carmona, 18
without the least discernment because there is a complete absence of the power to Phil. 62, where the appellant was accused of serious physical injuries committed on
discern, or that there is a total deprivation of freedom of the will; mere abnormality of his wife, mother-in-law, and sisters-in-law. The accused Hontiveros pleaded insanity
the mental faculties will not exclude imputability.[21] The onus probandi rests upon as a defense, and claimed that immediately before the incident he had intermittent
him who invokes insanity as an exempting circumstance and he must prove it by fever at intervals of a few hours during which he lost consciousness and after he
clear and positive evidence.[22] regained consciousness he found himself outside of the house and heard voices
commanding him to surrender his weapon, and he came to know that he had
Applying the foregoing basic principles to the herein appellant, his defense perforce
must fail.
115 of 167 116 of 167
wounded his wife, his mother-in-law and sisters-in-law. The Court sustained the
conviction of the accused holding:
As a last issue, appellant claims that the court a quo erred in holding the appellant
"In the absence of proof that the defendant had lost his reason or became demented guilty of "murder with assault upon a person in authority."[26]
a few moments prior to or during the perpetration of the crime, it is presumed that he
was in a normal condition of mind. It is improper to conclude that he acted The zeal of appellant's counsel-de-oficio in pursuing all possible lines of defense so
unconsciously in order to relieve him from responsibility on the ground of exceptional as to secure the acquittal of his client or at least to minimize his liability is truly
mental condition, unless his insanity and absence of will are proven . . . Acts laudable. However, predicated on the credible and impartial testimonies of the
penalized by law are always considered to be voluntary, unless the contrary be prosecution witnesses the judgment of the trial court finding the accused guilty as
shown, and by this rule of law Ramon Hontiveros, by inflicting upon the offended charged is to be sustained for the following reasons:
parties the respective wounds, is considered to have been in a normal, healthy,
mental condition, and no weight can be given to the defendant's allegation of First, the killing of Mamerto de Lira is qualified by evident premeditation. The
insanity and lack of reason, which would constitute an exceptional condition; nor, for circumstance of evident premeditation is present because on that very Friday
lack of evidence, can his state of mind be deemed to have been abnormal." (p. 65; afternoon immediately after the incident at the canteen appellant Renegado, giving
italics ours) vent to his anger, told his co-employee, Ramirez, and the security guard, Velasco,
that he was going to kill Lira. That state of mind of appellant was evident once more
The next point raised by the defense is that the testimonial evidence of the when he went to the school dance that same Friday evening and was seen cycling
prosecution comes from "biased, partial, and highly questionable sources," and is around the school premises several times, and he asked another security guard,
not to be believed.23a Nicomedes Leonor, if Lira was at the dance. On the following day, Saturday,
appellant met Mrs. Benita Tan to whom he confided that had he seen Lira the night
Appellant claims that it is highly improbable for a person who intends to kill someone before he would surely have killed him. And on Monday morning, knowing the time
to reveal his plan to others such as what the prosecution witnesses Velasco and of Lira for a snack (tsn, Nov. 17, 1966, p. 307), appellant armed himself with a knife
Ramirez testified that Renegado told them on Friday afternoon that he was going to or some bladed weapon which by his own admission on cross-examination was his
kill Lira. It may be true that ordinarily one would keep to one's self such a hideous and which he used for "cutting bond paper" (tsn. ibid, p. 299), proceeded to the
plot, but the workings of the human mind are at times mysteriously canteen at around 9:30 o'clock, and seeing the teacher Lira with his back towards
incomprehensible, and to a man like the herein appellant who is pictured by his own him, without much ado, stabbed Lira from behind hitting the victim on
evidence to be one of violent disposition, it was natural for him to blurt out his the right lumbar region. Appellant's attempt to show that he does not remember how
outraged feelings and his evil design to his two co-employees in the school because the weapon reached the canteen is of course futile, preposterous as it is.
the incident with Lira was still fresh in his mind at the time. (tsn. ibid, pp. 299-300) There is no doubt that the act of appellant in bringing with
him his knife to the canteen on Monday morning was the culmination of his plan to
Appellant also contends that the prosecution witnesses are biased and partial. We avenge himself on Lira for the remark made by the latter on Friday afternoon.
find that contention unjustified. The mere fact that the witnesses of the People were Evident premeditation exists when sufficient time had elapsed for the actor to reflect
employees, students and teachers in the school is no reason to consider their and allow his conscience to overcome his resolution to kill but he persisted in his
declarations biased in the absence of satisfactory proof that any one of them had plan and carried it into effect.[27] Here, appellant Renegado had more or less sixty-
personal motives of his own either to favor the deceased or prejudice the herein four hours from the Friday incident up to 9:30 o'clock of Monday morning within
appellant. In assessing the credibility of the prosecution witnesses, the trial judge which to ponder over his plan and listen to the advice of his co-employees and of his
found no sufficient evidence proving hostility towards the herein appellant or any own conscience, and such length of time was more than sufficient for him to reflect
notable relationship of friendship with the deceased, and We see no valid reason for on his intended revenge.
discrediting His Honor's findings in this regard. Time and again this Tribunal has
stated that the findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses are not to be Second, treachery attended the killing of Lira because the latter, who was unarmed,
disturbed for the trial judge is in a better position to appreciate the same, having was stabbed from behind, was totally unaware of the coming attack, and was not in
seen and heard the witnesses themselves and observed their behaviour and manner a position to defend himself against it. There is treachery where the victim who was
of testifying during the trial, unless there is a showing that the trial court had not armed was never in a position to defend himself or offer resistance, nor to
overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some fact or circumstance of weight and present risk or danger to the accused when assaulted.[28]
substance that would have affected the result of the case; in the case at bar, there is
no such showing.[24] The rule is so, because as rightly said, the opportunity to
observe the demeanor and appearance of witnesses in many instances is the very
touchstone of credibility.[25] Third, the killing of Lira is complexed with assault upon a person in authority. A
teacher either of a public or of a duly recognized private school is a person in
117 of 167 118 of 167
authority under Art. 152 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by Commonwealth lack of ten votes for purposes of imposing the death sentence, the penalty next
Act No. 578.[29] lower in degree, reclusion perpetua, is to be imposed.

The defense claims, however, that while it is true that Mamerto de Lira was at the PREMISES CONSIDERED, We affirm the conviction of appellant Loreto Renegado
time of his death a teacher of the Tiburcio Memorial Vocational School run by the for murder with assault on a person in authority and We sentence him to
national government, he was not stabbed while in the performance of his duties nor suffer reclusion perpetua and to indemnify the heirs of the deceased Mamerto de
on the occasion of such performance. According to the defense counsel, the motive Lira in the sum of twelve thousand (P12,000.00) pesos[32] and to pay the costs.
of the assault is important to determine whether or not the assault falls under Art. Decision modified.
148 of the Revised Penal Code;[30] in the instant case it is clear that the underlying
motive for the assault was not that Renegado was asked to type the test questions Makalintal, C.J., Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando, Teehankee, Makasiar, Antonio,
of the teacher Lira but that the latter made insulting and slanderous remarks to the Esguerra, Fernandez, and Aquino, JJ., concur.
herein appellant. This contention of the defense is incorrect. The assault or at tack
an Lira was committed on the occasion of the performance of the duties of the latter Barredo, J., took no part.
as a teacher because as narrated in the early part of this Decision, Lira was
scheduled to give a periodical test on September 2, 1966, and was required to [1] Exhibits G & G-1; T.s.n. Tingzon, October 8, 1966, pp. 168-172.
submit his test questions for approval and mimeographing by August 25 and 26; Lira
asked appellant Renegado to prepare the stencil of his questions inasmuch as he
[2] T.s.n. Boco, Sept. 28, 1966, pp. 3-8; T.s.n. Tan, Sept. 30, 1966, pp. 99-101.
was not versed with typing; appellant was duty bound to type said stencil under the
memorandum-circular enumerating his duties as a clerk of the school; appellant
[3] T.s.n. Velasco, Sept. 29, 1966, pp. 34-35.
refused the request of Lira under pretext that he had much work in the principal's
office and furthermore that typing test questions for teachers was not among his
[4] T.s.n. Ramirez, ibid. p. 58.
duties;Lira reminded Renegado that the principal gave necessary instructions for [5] T.s.n. Boco, ibid. p. 8.
that purpose and ended up with the remark: "you can finish your work if you only will
sit down and work"; Lira's remark was neither insulting nor slanderous but more of a [6] T.s.n. Leonor, ibid. pp. 69-71.
reminder to Renegado that if he would sit down and work he could finish all the work
that had to be done; as a teacher of the school, Lira had the authority to call the [7] T.s.n. Querubin, ibid. p. 75.
attention of an employee of the institution to comply with his duties and to be
conscientious and efficient in his work; it was Renegado's violent character, as [8] T.s.n. Rojo, ibid. pp. 82-85.
shown by his own evidence, which led him to react angrily to the remark of Lira and
conceive of a plan to attack the latter. Under these enumerated facts, We conclude T.s.n. Tan, Sept. 30, 1966, pp. 102-107; T.s.n. Francisco, Oct. 1, 1966, pp.
that the impelling motive for the attack on Mamerto de Lira was the performance by 137-143; T.s.n. Icayan, ibid. pp. 151-153.
the latter of his duties as a teacher.
9a T.s.n. Tingzon, Oct. 8, 1966, p. 175.
In Justo vs. Court of Appeals, wherein the offended party was a district supervisor of
the Bureau of Public Schools, the Court held that the phraseology "on occasion of [10] Exhibit C; T.s.n. Dr. Ortiz October 7, 1966, pp. 156-159.
such performance" used in Art. 148 of the Revised Penal Code signifies "because"
or "by reason" of the past performance of official duty, even if at the very time of the
assault no official duty was being discharged, inasmuch as the evident purpose of
the law is to allow public officials and their agents to discharge their official duties [11] T.s.n. Renegado, pp. 265-275.
without being haunted by the fear of being assaulted or injured by reason thereof.[31]
[12] T.s.n. Cordove, October 14, 1966, pp. 212-215.
Inasmuch as the crime committed is murder with assault upon a person in authority
and the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender is offset by the aggravating [13] T.s.n. Lourdes Renegado, ibid, pp. 224-227.
circumstance of treachery, the penalty of DEATH imposed by the trial court is
pursuant to Article 48 in relation to Articles 148 and 248 of the Revised Penal Code. [14] T.s.n. Elena Renegado, October 28, 1966, pp. 244-246.
The court a quo, however, in its decision recommends to the President of the
Republic the commutation of the death penalty to reclusion perpetua and the [15] AppelIant’s brief, p. 21, p. 98 rollo.
Solicitor General* concurs with such recommendation. On the part of the Court, for
[16] T.s.n. Renegado, Nov. 16, 1966, p. 276; see Exh. 4.
119 of 167 120 of 167
[17] T.s.n. Lourdes Renegado, supra, p. 228-229. [30]"Art. 148. Direct assaults. — Any person or persons who without a public
uprising, shall employ force or intimidation for the attainment of any of the purposes
[18] Art. 4, Revised Penal Code. enumerated in defining the crimes of rebellion and sedition, or shall attack, employ
force, or seriously intimidate or resist any person in authority or any of his agents,
[19] Art. 3, ibid. Guevara's Commentaries Revised Penal Code 5th Ed. pp. 5-6. while engaged in the performance of official duties, or on occasion of such
performance, shall suffer the penalty of prision correccional in its medium and
[20] People vs. Sia Teb Ban, 54 Phil. 52. maximum periods and a fine not exceeding 1,000 pesos, when the assault is
committed with a weapon or when the offender is a public officer or employee, or
People vs. Formigones, 37 Phil. 658, 661, citing from Judge Guillermo B.
when the offender lays hands upon a person in authority. If none of these
Guevara's Commentaries on the Revised Penal Code, 4th Edition, pp. 42-43, circumstances be present, the penalty of prision correccional in its minimum period
Decision of Supreme Court of Spain, November 21, 1891, 47 Jur. Crim. 413 & and a fine not exceeding 500 pesos shall be imposed."
Decision of Supreme Court of Spain, April 20, 1911, 86 Jur. Crim. 94, 97; see also
People vs. Cruz, 109 Phil. 288, 292. [31] 99 Phil. 453.
People vs. Bascos, 44 Phil. 204; People vs. Formigones, supra; People vs. Cruz,
[22] [32] People vs. Pantoja, L-18793, Oct. 11, 1968, 25 SCRA 468.
supra; People vs. Balondo, L-27401, October 31, 1969, 30 SCRA 155.
* Mr. Justice Antonio P. Barredo was then the Solicitor General.
[23] Supra, p. 293.

23a Pp. 10-15, appellants brief, pp. 87-92, rollo.

51 Phil. 967
See People vs. Lumaya, L-19142, March 31, 1965, 13 SCRA 502, 506;

People vs. Sampang, et al., L-15843, March 31, 1966, 16 SCRA 531; People vs. [ G. R. No. 25459, August 10, 1926 ]
Orzame, et al., L-17773, May 19, 1966, 17 SCRA 161; People vs. Ablaza, L-27352,
October 31, 1969, 30 SCRA 173; People vs. Espejo, et al., L-27708, December 19, THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLEE, VS.

Connor vs. Connor, 77 A. 2d 697, cited in Francisco's Volume VII, Part II, on
Evidence Revised Rules of Court, p. 546, 1973 Ed.
[26] Appellant's brief, pp. 15-21, pp. 92-98 rollo.
People vs. Ompad et al., L-23513, January 31, 1969, 26 SCRA 750; Guevara's

Commentaries on the Revised Penal Code, Fifth Ed., pp. 56-57. The Court of First Instance of Oriental Negros impojed upon Ramon Mabug-at the
penalty of twelve years and one day cadena temporal, with the accessories of the
[28] People vs. Vicente, et al. L-26241, May 21, 1969, 28 SCRA 247. law, to indemnify the offended party in the sum of P700 and to pay the costs, for the
crime of frustrated murder.
"Art 152. Persons in authority and agents of persons in authority — Who shall be

deemed as such. — The appellant appealed from this judgment, making two assignments of error as
committed by the trial court, to wit:
xxx xxx xxx
1. In holding that the crime committed is frustrated murder, and
"In applying the provisions of Articles one hundred forty-eight and one hundred fifty-
one of this Code, teachers, professors and persons charged with the supervision of 2. In not giving any credit to the evidence presented by the defense, finding the
public or duly recognized private schools, colleges and universities, shall be deemed defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
persons in authority." (As amended by Com. Act 578, which took effect June 8,
1940) The evidence of the prosecution shows that the accused and Juana Buralo were
sweethearts. Juana had been jealous of the accused on account of the latter having
frequently visited the house of one Carmen. Their relations were such that the
121 of 167 122 of 167
accused invited Juana to take a walk on the afternoon of August 9, 1925, Juana The fact that a person received the shot which was in-tended for another, does not
refused him, later sending him a note of excuse. On the third day, or the night of alter his criminal liability. (Art. 1, par. 3, Penal Code.)
August 11th, the accused went to the threshold of Cirilo Banyan's house where
Juana Buralo had gone to take part in some devotion. There the accused, revolver in The circumstances qualifying the murder alleged in the complaint are evident
hand, requested Francisco Abellon to ask Juana to come downstairs and as Abellon premeditation and treachery. Even when there is sufficient proof of premeditation
refused to do so, the accused said: "If you do not want to go upstairs, I will get (which we do not believe has been sufficiently established), yet, it cannot be
Juana and if anyone tries to defend her I will kill him." considered as a qualifying circumstance in the present case, because the person
whom the accused intended to kill was not Perfecta Buralo, who was hit by the
The accused waited until Juana and her niece Perfecta Buralo came downstairs, bullet, but her aunt Juana Buralo. Had evident premeditation been proven, and there
when they went in the direction of their house. The accused, who was seen by the being no other qualifying circumstance of frustrated murder present in this case, the
two girls, followed them without saying a word. It is only a short distance from the acts should be held to be frustrated homicide and punished with the maximum
house where the devotion took place to that of the offended party, the houses being degree of the penalty prescribed by law. (Question 2, p. 28, 1890 ed., Viada's Penal
adjacent. As the two girls were going upstairs, the accused, while standing at the Code.) But, the 'fact is that treachery was proven and must be taken into
foot of the stairway, fired a shot from his revolver which wounded Perfecta Buralo, consideration in this case, because the accused fired at Perfecta Buralo, employing
the bullet passing through a part of her neck, having entered the posterior region means which tended to insure the execution of the crime without running any risk
thereof and coming out through the left eye, which was completely destroyed. Due to himself from anyone who might attempt to defend the said offended party. The
proper medical attention, Perfecta Buralo did not die and is one of the witnesses treachery which, according to the evidence, would have attended the crime had the
who testified at the trial of this case. bullet hit Juana Buralo was present in this case because the offended party Perfecta
Buralo and Juana were going upstairs with their backs towards the accused when he
The defense, without abandoning its allegation that the accused is not responsible fired his revolver. The Supreme Court of Spain, in a decision of May 7, 1885 (Viada,
for the crime, contends that the crime proven is not frustrated murder but the do., pp. 29, 30), in holding a crime to be murder and not homicide, stated the
discharge of a firearm, with injuries, it not having been proven that it was the following:
accused's intention to kill.
"Considering that, according to the concept of treachery as it is explained in article
10 of the Civil Code dealing with said circumstance, it is evident that in firing the gun
which Alejandro Sola was carrying which caused the death of Nazario Inigo, he
The relations existing between the accused and Juana Buralo, his disappointment at employed means which tended to insure the commission of the crime without any
her not accepting his invitation to take a walk, the fact that the accused, revolver in risk to himself arising from any defense that might be made by the offended party, for
hand, went to look for Juana Buralo at the house where the devotion was being held, neither the wounded party Bartolome Lobejano, at whom the shot was aimed in
later following her to her house, and especially having aimed at her person—the order to kill him so that he might not testify as to the assault committed upon him
head—are facts which, in our opinion, permit of no other conclusion than that, in shortly before, as held by the trial court, was not in a position to defend himself in
firing the shot, it was the accused's intention to kill. any way, nor could Nazario Inigo become aware of any attack so unjustified, rapid
and unforeseen; considering, further, that the purely accidental circumstance that as
In the decision of this court in the case of United States vs. Montenegro (15 Phil., 1), a result of the shot a person other than the one intended was killed, does not modify,
it was held: in the instant case, the elements constituting the crime of murder qualified by the
treachery with which Alejandro Sola acted, whether with respect to the wounded
"We do not doubt that there may be cases wherein the discharge of a firearm at Bartolome Lobejano or to the deceased Nazario Inigo, for which reason the rules of
another is not in itself sufficient to sustain a finding of the intention to kill, and there article 65 are not applicable herein, the culprit not having, in fact, committed a crime
are many cases in the books wherein the attendant circumstances conclusively different from that which he intended, taking into consideration the substantial and
establish that on discharging a firearm at another the actor was not in fact animated intrinsical meaning thereof, etc."
by the intent to kill. But, in seeking to ascertain the intention with which a specific act
is committed, it is always proper and necessary to look not merely to the act itself Although the case just cited refers to the crime of consummated murder, the doctrine
but to all the attendant circumstances so far as they are developed by the evidence; sustained therein is applicable to the case at bar so far as the concurrence of
and where, as in the case at bar, a revolver is twice discharged point-blank at the treachery as a qualifying circumstance is concerned.
body of another, and the shots directed at the most vital parts of the body, it needs
but little additional evidence to establish the intent to kill beyond a reasonable The crime now before us is frustrated murder, the accused having intended to kill
doubt." and performed all the acts of execution which would have produced the crime of
murder but which, nevertheless, did not produce it by reason of causes independent
of his Will. (Art. 3, Penal Code.)
123 of 167 124 of 167
We find no merit in the first assignment of error. In regard to the second, it appears Lol-lo and Saraw Lol-lo and Saraw later returned to their home in South Ubian, Tawi-
beyond a reasonable doubt that the facts enumerated above constitute the crime of Tawi, Sulu, Philippine Islands. There they were arrested and were charged in the
frustrated murder. With the exception of the qualifying circumstance of treachery, we Court of First Instance of Sulu with the crime of piracy. A demurrer was interposed by
find no other aggravating circumstance. The judgment appealed from being in counsel de officio for the Moros, based on the grounds that the offense charged was
accordance with the law and the facts proven, the same is hereby affirmed in all its not within the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance, nor of any court of the
parts, with the costs against the appellant. So ordered. Philippine Islands, and that the facts did not constitute a public offense, under the
laws in force in the Philippine Islands. After the demurrer was overruled by the trial
Avanceña, C. J., Street, Villamor, Ostrand, Johns, and Villa-Real, JJ., concur. judge, a trial was had, and a judgment was rendered finding the two defendants
guilty and sentencing each of them to life imprisonment (cadena perpetua), to return
together with Kinawalang and Maulanis, defendants in another case, to the offended
parties, the thirty-nine sacks of coprax which had been robbed, or to indemnify them
in the amount of 924 rupees, and to pay a one-half part of the costs.

A very learned and exhaustive brief has been filed in this court by the attorney de
officio. By a process of elimination, however, certain questions can be quickly
43 Phil. 19 disposed of.
[ G. R. No. 17958, February 27, 1922 ] The proven facts are not disputed. All of the elements of the crime of piracy are
present. Piracy is robbery or forcible depredation on the high seas, without lawful
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLEE, VS. authority and done animo furandi, and in the spirit and intention of universal hostility.

 It cannot be contended with any degree of force as was done in the lower court and
DECISION as is again done in this court, that the Court of First Instance was without jurisdiction
of the case. Pirates are in law hostes humani generis. Piracy is a crime not against
MALCOLM, J.: any particular state but against all mankind. It may be punished in the competent
tribunal of any country where the offender may be found or into which he may be
The days when pirates roamed the seas, when picturesque buccaneers like Captain carried. The jurisdiction of piracy unlike all other crimes has no territorial limits. As it
A very and Captain Kidd and Bartholomew Roberts gripped the imagination, when is against all so may it be punished by all. Nor does it matter that the crime was
grotesque brutes like Blackbeard flourished, seem far away in the pages of history committed within the jurisdictional 3-mile limit of a foreign state, "for those limits,
and romance. Nevertheless, the record before us tells a tale of twentieth century though neutral to war, are not neutral to crimes." ( U. S. vs. Furlong [1820], 5 Wheat,
piracy in the south seas, but stripped of all touches of chivalry or of generosity, so as 184.)
to present a horrible case of rapine and near murder.
The most serious question which is squarely presented to this court for decision for
On or about June 30, 1920, two boats left Matuta, a Dutch possession, for Peta, the first time is whether or not the provisions of the Penal Code dealing with the
another Dutch possession. In one of the boats was one individual, a Dutch subject, crime of piracy are still in force. Articles 153 to 156 of the Penal Code read as
and in the other boat eleven men, women, and children, likewise subjects of Holland. follows:
After a number of days of navigation, at about 7 o'clock in the evening, the second
boat arrived between the Islands of Buang and Bukid in the Dutch East Indies. There "ART. 153. The crime of piracy committed against Spaniards, or the subjects of
the boat was surrounded by six vintas manned by twenty-four Moros all armed. The another nation not at war with Spain, shall be punished with a penalty ranging
Moros first asked for food, but once on the Dutch boat, took for themselves all of the from cadena temporal to cadena perpetua.
cargo, attacked some of the men, and brutally violated two of the women by
methods too horrible to be described. All of the persons on the Dutch boat, with the "If the crime be committed against nonbelligerent subjects of another nation at war
exception of the two young women, were again placed on it and holes were made in with Spain, it shall be punished with the penalty of presidio mayor.
it, with the idea that it would submerge/although as a matter of fact, these people,
after eleven days of hardship and privation, were succored. Taking the two women "ART. 154. Those who commit the crimes referred to in the first paragraph of the
with them, and repeatedly violating them, the Moros finally arrived at Maruro, a next preceding article shall suffer the penalty of cadena perpetua or death, and
Dutch possession. Two of the Moro marauders were Lol-lo, who also raped one of those who commit the crimes referred to in the second paragraph of the same
the women, and Saraw, At Maruro the two women were able to escape. article, from cadena temporal to cadena perpetua:

125 of 167 126 of 167

"1. Whenever they have seized some vessel by boarding or firing upon the same. It cannot admit of doubt that the articles of the Spanish Penal Code dealing with
piracy were meant to include the Philippine Islands. Article 156 of the Penal Code in
"2. Whenever the crime is accompanied by murder, homicide, or by any of the relation to article 1 of the Constitution of the Spanish Monarchy, would also make the
physical injuries specified in articles four hundred and fourteen and four hundred and provisions of the Code applicable not only to Spaniards but to Filipinos.
fifteen and in paragraphs one and two of article four hundred and sixteen.
The opinion of Grotius was that piracy by the law of nations is the same thing as
"3. Whenever it is accompanied by any of the offenses against chastity specified in piracy by the civil law, and he has never been disputed. The specific provisions of
Chapter II, Title IX, of this book. the Penal Code are similar in tenor to statutory provisions elsewhere and to the
concepts of the public law. This must necessarily be so, considering that the Penal
"4. Whenever the pirates have abandoned any persons without means of saving Code finds its inspiration in this respect in the Novelas, the Partidas, and
themselves. the Novisima Recopilacion.

"5. In every case, the captain or skipper of the pirates. The Constitution of the United States declares that the Congress shall have the
power to define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and
"ART. 155. With respect to the provisions of this title, as well as all others of this offenses against the law of nations. ( U. S. Const. Art. I, sec. 8, ,cl. 10.) The
code, when Spain is mentioned it shall be understood as including any part of the Congress;, in putting on the statute books the necessary ancillary legislation,
national territory. provided that whoever, on the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by
the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or found in the United States, shall
"ART. 156. For the purpose of applying the provisions of this code, every person, be imprisoned for life. (U. S. Crim. Code, sec. 290; penalty formerly death: U. S.
who, according to the Constitution of the Monarchy, has the status of a Spaniard Rev. Stat., sec. 5368.) The framers of the Constitution and the members of
shall be considered as such." Congress were content to let a definition of piracy rest on its universal conception
under the law of nations.
The general rules of public law recognized and acted on by the United States
relating to the effect of a transfer of territory from another State to the United States It is evident that the provisions of the Penal Code now in force in the Philippines
are well- known. The political law of the former sovereignty is necessarily changed. relating to piracy are not inconsistent with the corresponding provisions in force in
The municipal law in so far as it is consistent with the Constitution, the laws of the the United States.
United States, or the characteristics and institutions of the government, remains in
force. As a corollary to the main rules, laws subsisting at the time of transfer, By the Treaty of Paris, Spain ceded the Philippine Islands to the United States. A
designed to secure good order and peace in the community, which are strictly of a logical construction of articles of the Penal Code, like the articles dealing with the
municipal character, continue until by direct action of the new government they are crime of piracy, would be that wherever " Spain" is mentioned, it should be
altered or repealed. (Chicago, Rock Island, etc., R. Co. vs. McGlinn [1885], 114 U. substituted by the words " United States" and wherever "Spaniards" are mentioned,
S., 542.) the word should be substituted by the expression "citizens of the United States and
citizens of the Philippine Islands." Somewhat similar reasoning led this court in the
These principles, of the public law were given specific application to the Philippines case of United States vs. Smith ([1919], 39 Phil., 533) to give to the word "authority"
by the Instructions of President McKinley of May 19, 1898, to General Wesley as found in the Penal Code a limited meaning, which would no longer comprehend
Merritt, the Commanding General of the Army of Occupation in the Philippines, when all religious, military, and civil officers, but only public officers in the Government of
he said: the Philippine Islands.
"Though the powers of the military occupant are absolute and supreme, and Under the construction above indicated, article 153 of the Penal Code would read as
immediately operate upon the political Condition of the inhabitants, the municipal follows:
laws of the conquered territory, such as affect private rights of person and
property, and provide for the punishment of crime, are considered as continuing in "The crime of piracy committed against citizens of the United States and citizens of
force, so far as they are compatible with the new order of things, until they are the Philippine Islands, or the subjects of another nation not at war with the United
suspended or superseded by the occupying belligerent; and in practice they are not States, shall be punished with a penalty ranging from cadena temporal to cadena
usually abrogated, but are allowed to remain in force, and to be administered by the perpetua.
ordinary tribunals, substantially as they were before the occupation. This enlightened
practice is, so far as possible, to be adhered to on the present occasion." (Official "If the crime be committed against nonbelligerent subjects of another nation at war
Gazette, Preliminary Number, Jan. 1, 1903, p. 1. See also General Merritt's with the United States, it shall be punished with the penalty of presidio mayor."
Proclamation of August 14, 1898.)
127 of 167 128 of 167
We hold those provisions of the Penal Code dealing with the crime of piracy, notably 

articles 153 and 154, to be still in force in the Philippines. DECISION

The crime falls under the first paragraph of article 153 of the Penal Code in relation ROMUALDEZ, J.:
to article 154. There are present at least two of the circumstances named in the last
cited article as authorizing either cadena perpetua or death. The crime of piracy was In this appeal the Attorney-General urges the revocation of the order of the Court of
accompanied by (1) an offense against chastity and (2) the abandonment of persons First Instance of Manila, sustaining the demurrer presented by the defendant to the
without apparent means of saving themselves. It is, therefore, only necessary for us information that initiated this case and in which the appellee is accused of having
to determine as to whether the penalty of cadena perpetua or death should be illegally smoked opium aboard the merchant vessel Changsa of English nationality
imposed. In this connection, the trial court, finding present the one aggravating while said vessel was anchored in Manila Bay two and a half miles from the shores
circumstance of nocturnity, and compensating the same by the one mitigating of the city.
circumstance of lack of instruction provided by article 11, as amended, of the Penal
Code, sentenced the accused to life imprisonment. At least three aggravating The demurrer alleged lack of jurisdiction on the part of the lower court, which so held
circumstances, that the wrong done in the commission of the crime was deliberately and dismissed the case.
augmented by causing other wrongs not necessary for its commission, that
advantage was taken of superior strength, and that means were employed which The question that presents itself for our consideration is whether such ruling is
added ignominy to the natural effects of the act, must also be taken into erroneous or not; and it will or will not be erroneous according as said court has or
consideration in fixing the penalty. Considering, therefore, the number and has no jurisdiction over said offense.
importance of the qualifying and aggravating circumstances here present, which
cannot be offset by the sole mitigating circumstance of lack of instruction, and the The point at issue is whether the courts of the Philippines have jurisdiction over a
horrible nature of the crime committed, it becomes our duty to impose capital crime, like the one herein involved, committed aboard merchant vessels anchored in
punishment. our jurisdictional waters.

The vote upon the sentence is unanimous with regard to the propriety of the There are two fundamental rules on this particular matter in connection with
imposition of the death penalty upon the defendant and appellant Lol-lo (the accused International Law; to wit, the French rule, according to which crimes committed
who raped one of the women), but is not unanimous with regard to the defendant aboard a foreign merchant vessel should not be prosecuted in the courts of the
and appellant Saraw, since one member of the court, Mr. Justice Romualdez, country within whose territorial jurisdiction they were committed, unless their
registers his nonconformity. In accordance with the provisions of Act No. 2726, it commission affects the peace and security of the territory; and the English rule,
results, therefore, that the judgment of the trial court as to the defendant and based on the territorial principle and followed in the United States, according to
appellant Saraw is affirmed, and is reversed as to the defendant and appellant Lol- which, crimes perpetrated under such circumstances are in general triable in the
lo, who is found guilty of the crime of piracy and is sentenced therefor to be hung courts of the country within whose territory they were committed. Of this two rules, it
until dead, at such time and place as shall be fixed by the judge of first instance of is the last one that obtains in this jurisdiction, because at present the theories and
the Twenty-sixth Judicial District. The two appellants together with Kinawalang and jurisprudence prevailing in the United States on this matter are authority in the
Maulanis, defendants in another case, shall indemnify jointly and severally the Philippines which is now a territory of the United States.
offended parties in the equivalent of 924 rupees, and shall pay a one-half part of the
costs of both instances. So ordered. In the case of The Schooner Exchange vs. M'Faddon and Others (7 Cranch [U. S.],
U6), Chief Justice Marshall said:
Araullo, C. J., Johnson, Avanceña, Villamor, Ostrand, Johns, and Romualdez,
JJ., concur. "* * * When merchant vessels enter for the purposes of trade, it would be obviously
inconvenient and dangerous to society, and would subject the laws to continual
infraction, and the government to degradation, if such individuals or merchants did
not owe temporary and local allegiance, and were not amenable to the jurisdiction of
46 Phil. 729 the country. * * * "

[ G.R. No. 18924, October 19, 1922 ] In United States vs. Bull (15 Phil., 7), this court held:

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLANT, VS. " * * * No court of the Philippine Islands had jurisdiction over an offense or crime
 committed on the high seas or within the territorial waters of any other country, but
when she came within three miles of a line drawn from the headlands which
129 of 167 130 of 167
embrace the entrance to Manila Bay, she was within territorial waters, and a new set laws and statutes of the two countries, respectively." (Art. 1, Commerce and
of principles became applicable. (Wheaton, International Law [Dana ed.], p.. 255, Navigation Convention.)
note 105; Bonfils, Le Droit Int., sees. 490 et seq.; Latour, La Mer Ter., ch. 1.) The
ship and her crew were then subject to the jurisdiction of the territorial sovereign We have seen that the mere possession of opium aboard a foreign vessel in transit
subject to such limitations as have been conceded by that sovereignty through the was held by this court not triable by our courts, because it being the primary object
proper political agency.* * *" of our Opium Law to protect the inhabitants of the Philippines against the disastrous
effects entailed by the use of this drug, its mere possession in such a ship, without
It is true that in certain cases the comity of nations is observed, as in Mali and being used in our territory, does not bring about in the said territory those effects that
Wildenhus vs. Keeper of the Common Jail (120 U. S., 1), wherein it was said that: our statute contemplates avoiding. Hence such a mere possession is not considered
a disturbance of the public order.
" * * * The principle which governs the whole matter is this: Disorders which disturb
only the peace of the ship or those on board are to be dealt with exclusively by the But to smoke opium within our territorial limits, even though aboard a foreign
sovereignty of the home of the ship, but those which disturb the public peace may be merchant ship, is certainly a breach of the public order here established, because it
suppressed, and, if need be, the offenders punished by the proper authorities of the causes such drug to produce its pernicious effects within our territory. .It seriously
local jurisdiction. It may not be easy at all times to determine to which of the two contravenes the purpose that our Legislature has in mind in enacting the aforesaid
jurisdictions a particular act of disorder belongs. Much will undoubtedly depend on repressive statute. Moreover, as the Attorney-General aptly observes:
the attending circumstances of the particular case, but all must concede that
felonious homicide is a subject for the local jurisdiction, and that if the proper " * * * The idea of a person smoking opium securely on board a foreign vessel at
authorities are proceeding with the case in the regular way the consul has no right to anchor in the port of Manila in open defiance of the local authorities, who are
interfere to prevent it." impotent to lay hands on him, is simply subversive of public order. It requires no
unusual stretch of the imagination to conceive that a foreign ship may come into the
Hence in United States vs. Look Chaw (18 Phil., 573), this court held that: port of Manila and allow or solicit Chinese residents to smoke opium on board."

"Although the mere possession of an article of prohibited use in the Philippine The order appealed from is revoked and the cause ordered remanded to the court of
Islands, aboard a foreign vessel in transit, in any local port, does not, as a general origin for further proceedings in accordance with law, without special finding as to
rule, constitute a crime triable by the courts of the Islands, such vessel being costs. So ordered.
considered as an extension of its own nationality, the same rule does not apply when
the article, the use of which is prohibited in the Islands, is landed from the vessel Araullo, C. J., Street, Malcolm, Avancena, Villamor, Ostrand, and Johns, JJ., concur.
upon Philippine soil; in such a case an open violation of the laws of the land is
committed with respect to which, as it is a violation of the penal law in force at the Order reversed and case remanded for further proceedings.
place of the commission of the crime, no court other than that established in the said
place has jurisdiction of the offense, in the absence of an agreement under an
international treaty."
349 Phil. 366
As to whether the United States has ever consented by treaty or otherwise to
renouncing such jurisdiction or a part thereof, we find nothing to this effect so far as THIRD DIVISION
England is concerned, to which nation the ship where the crime in question was
committed belongs. Besides, in his work "Treaties, Conventions, etc.," volume 1, [ G.R. No. 120921, January 29, 1998 ]
page 625, Malloy says the following:
"There shall be between the territories of the United States of America, and all the BALLESTEROS, CESAR GALO AND ALVIN BULUSAN, ACCUSED-
territories of His Britanic Majesty in Europe, a reciprocal liberty of commerce. The APPELLANTS. 

inhabitants of the two countries, respectively, shall have liberty freely and securely to 

come with their ships and cargoes to all such places, ports and rivers, in the DECISION
territories aforesaid, to which other foreigners are permitted to come, to enter into
the same, and to remain and reside in any parts of the said territories, respectively; ROMERO, J.:
also to hire and occupy houses and warehouses for the purposes of their commerce;
This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Bangui, Ilocos
and, generally, the merchants and traders of each nation respectively shall enjoy the
Norte, Branch 19, finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder,
most complete protection and security for their commerce, but subject always to the
131 of 167 132 of 167
qualified by treachery, as charged under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as The group had barely left when, within fifty meters from the dance hall, their owner
amended, to wit: jeep was fired upon from the rear. Vidal Agliam was able to jump out from the
eastern side of the “topdown” jeep and landed just beside it. He scurried to the side
“WHEREFORE, the Court finds the three accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of of the road and hid in the ricefield. His younger brother Jerry also managed to jump
murder, qualified by treachery, as charged, defined and penalized under Article 248 out, but was shot in the stomach and died.[2] Carmelo Agliam, Robert Cacal and
of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and applying Article 248 of the Revised Ronnel Tolentino sustained injuries in the right foot, back of the right thigh, and legs
Penal Code hereby sentences them to reclusion perpetua, with all the accessory and thighs, respectively.[3] The stunned Eduardo Tolentino was not even able to
penalties provided by law, and further sentencing them to pay jointly and solidarily - move from his seat and was hit with a bullet which punctured his right kidney.[4] He
did not survive. The precipitate attack upon the jeep left two people dead and four
1. The heirs of Jerry Agliam compensatory damages in the amount of FIFTY others injured.
THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00), moral damages in the amount
of TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS(P20,000.00), and actual damages in the
PESOS (P35,755.00), with interest;
 Based upon the affidavits of Carmelo and Vidal Agliam, warrants for the arrest of

 Ballesteros, Galo and Bulusan were issued. Charged with the crime of double
murder with multiple frustrated murder, an information was filed as follows:

2. The heirs of the late Eduardo Tolentino, Sr., compensatory damages in the “That on or about (sic) May 28, 1991, in the Municipality of Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte,
amount of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00), moral damages in the Philippines and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the abovenamed
amount of TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (P20,000.00), and actual damages accused, nighttime purposely sought, with evident premeditation and treachery,
in the total amount of SIXTY-ONE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED EIGHTY- confederating and mutually helping one another, did then and there, with intent to
FIVE PESOS (P61,785.00), with interest; kill, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack and shot Eduardo Tolentino Sr., Jerry
Agliam, Vidal Agliam, Carmelo Agliam, Robert Cacal and Ronnel Tolentino, with the
3. Carmelo Agliam, actual damages in the amount of TWO THOUSAND AND use of firearms which caused the death of Eduardo Tolentino Sr. and Jerry Agliam
THREE PESOS AND FORTY CENTAVOS (P2,003.40), and moral damages and thereby inflicting gunshot wounds to Vidal Agliam, Carmelo Agliam, Robert
in the amount of TEN THOUSAND PESOS (P10,000.00), with interest; Cacal and Ronnel Tolentino having performed all the acts which would have
produced the crime of Murder, but which did not by reason of causes independent of
4. Vidal Agliam Jr., Robert Cacal and Ronnel Tolentino, moral damages in the the will of the defendant, namely the able and timely medical assistance given to
amount of FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P5,000.00) each, with interest. said Vidal Agliam, Carmelo Agliam, Robert Cacal and Ronnel Tolentino which
prevented their death.”
5. The costs.

 All pleaded not guilty. Paraffin tests conducted on Galo and Ballesteros produced
The accused shall be credited in the service of their sentence the full time positive results. Bulusan was not tested for nitrates.
during which they had undergone preventive imprisonment, if they agreed
voluntarily in writing to abide by the same disciplinary rules imposed upon In his testimony, Galo claimed that he did not even talk to Bulusan or any of his
convicted prisoners, otherwise, they shall be credited in the service thereof companions at the basketball court, as alleged by the complainants. Having been
with only four-fifths of the time during which they had undergone preventive found with gunpowder residue in his hands, Galo attempted to exculpate himself
imprisonment.”[1] from the results by confessing that he had been a cigarette smoker for the past ten
years and had, in fact, just consumed eight cigarette sticks prior to the test. He
In the warm summer evening of May 28, 1991, Carmelo Agliam, his half-brother further asserted that paraffin tests are not infallible, and that his hand may have
Eduardo Tolentino, Ronnel Tolentino, Vidal Agliam, his brother Jerry Agliam, Robert been contaminated by a nitrogenous compound, the source of which is urine. Lastly,
Cacal, Raymundo Bangi and Marcial Barid converged at a carinderia owned by he said that he was not even present at the crime scene when the firing incident took
Ronnel Tolentino at Ganayao, Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte. They proceeded to the place; hence, he could not have been one of those who strafed the jeep.[5]
barangay hall at Carusipan to attend a dance. The group did not tarry for long at the
dance because they sensed some hostility from Cesar Galo and his companions For his part, Ballesteros interposed the defense of alibi, narrating to the court that,
who were giving them dagger looks. In order to avoid trouble, especially during the on May 28, 1991, at around 7:00 o’clock in the evening, he went to a nearby store to
festivity, they decided to head for home instead of reacting to the perceived purchase some cigarettes. He returned home within thirty minutes and cleaned his
provocation of Galo and his companions. garlic bulbs before retiring at 9:00 o’clock. The next morning, he busied himself with
some chores, which included fertilizing his pepper plants with sulfate. He handled
133 of 167 134 of 167
the fertilizers without gloves. To counter the finding of traces of nitrates on his left without a real motive but just for the sake of committing it.[13] Along the same line, a
hand, Ballesteros maintained that he uses his left hand in lighting cigarettes, as it man who commits a crime with an apparent motive may produce different results, for
was very painful for him to use his right hand. He likewise informed the trial court which he is punished. As held in a line of cases, the rule is well-settled that the
that he had no motive to kill the victims.[6] prosecution need not prove motive on the part of the accused when the latter has
been positively identified as the author of the crime.[14] Lack or absence of motive for
committing the crime does not preclude conviction thereof where there were reliable
witnesses who fully and satisfactorily identified the accused as the perpetrator of the
Bulusan echoed the defense of alibi of Galo and Ballesteros, stating that he saw felony.[15]
only Galo on the evening of the dance but did not talk to him. He denied joining the
two later that night because after the dance, he went straight to the house of Michael Accused-appellants’ attempt to offer wild excuses regarding the source of the
Viloria, where he spent the night until he went to work at 7:00 o’clock in the morning gunpowder traces found on their hands is futile. Experts confirm the possibility that
of the following day.[7] cigarettes, fertilizers and urine may leave traces of nitrates, but these are minimal
and, unlike those found in gunpowder, may be washed off with tap water.
The trial court found the three accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder,
qualified by treachery, as charged, defined and penalized under Article 248 of the The hackneyed defense of alibi interposed by accused-appellants must likewise fail.
Revised Penal Code. As consistently enunciated by this Court, the established doctrine is that, for the
defense of alibi to prosper, the accused must prove, not only that he was at some
The accused now come to the High Court on appeal, praying that the decision of the other place at the time of the commission of the crime, but also that it was physically
trial court be reversed and that a new one be entered acquitting them of the charges. impossible for him to be at the locus delicti or within its immediate vicinity.[16] This
accused-appellants failed to satisfactorily prove. On the night of May 28, 1991, Galo
The principal question to be resolved has to do with the merits of the decision of the and Bulusan attended the dance at the barangay hall. After the dance, they went
lower court. Was it correct in finding accused-appellants guilty beyond reasonable their separate ways but remained within the barangay. Galo lingered in the
doubt? We answer in the affirmative. premises. Bulusan slept over at the house of Michael Viloria, which was within
walking distance from the dance hall.
Accused-appellants insist that the trial court erred in finding that Carmelo and Vidal
Agliam recognized them as the assailants. This claim is unmeritorious. In their The defense of alibi must be established by positive, clear and satisfactory evidence,
testimonies, Carmelo and Vidal Agliam both described the area to be well illumined the reason being that it is easily manufactured and usually so unreliable that it can
by the moon. The shooting took place on a small road in the mountainous terrains of rarely be given credence.[17] This is especially true in case of positive identification of
Ilocos Norte, where the air is free from darkening elements and turbidity. It being a the culprit by reliable witnesses,[18] which renders their alibis worthless.[19] Positive
summer evening, there could not have been any fog to becloud the atmosphere and identification prevails over denials and alibis.[20]
hamper the vision of the victims, which would have prevented them from clearly
seeing their assailants. They pinpointed the location of the malefactors to be Accused-appellants are under the common misconception that proof beyond
approximately three meters from where they stood.[8] Considering the luminescence reasonable doubt requires total freedom from any quantum of doubt. This is not so.
of the moon and the proximity between them, the victims could distinctly identify their Under Section 2, Rule 133 of the Rules of Court,
assailants. It must be noted that Carmelo was acquainted with Galo and his brother,
a butcher, since he used to deal with them in his business of buying and selling “(p)roof beyond reasonable doubt does not mean such a degree of proof as,
cattle.[9] Bulusan was a classmate of Vidal at Cadaratan School. Generally, people in excluding possibility of error, produces absolute certainty. Moral certainty only is
rural communities know each other both by face and name.[10] Bulusan and Agliam required, or that degree of proof which produces conviction in an unprejudiced
were, not only townmates, but former classmates as well. The constant interaction mind.”
between them through the years would necessarily lead to familiarity with each other
such that, at the very least, one would have been able to recognize the other easily. Absolute certainty of guilt is not demanded by law to convict a person of a criminal
charge. The doubt to the benefit of which an accused is entitled in a criminal trial is
That accused-appellants had no motive in perpetrating the offense is irrelevant. A a reasonable doubt,not a whimsical or fanciful doubt based on imagined but wholly
distinction is herein timely made between motive and intent. Motive is the moving improbable possibilities and unsupported by evidence.[21] Reasonable doubt is that
power which impels one to action for a definite result. Intent, on the other hand, is engendered by an investigation of the whole proof and inability, after such
the purpose to use a particular means to effect such result.[11] Motive alone is not investigation, to let the mind rest easy upon the certainty of guilt.[22] A precise
proof of a crime.[12] In order to tip the scales in its favor, intent and not motive must example would be the uncorroborated alibi of accused in the case at bar where
be established by the prosecution. Motive is hardly ever an essential element of a accused-appellants individually interposed the wavering defense of alibi. Galo failed
crime. A man driven by extreme moral perversion may be led to commit a crime, to elucidate on his whereabouts after the dance, whereas Bulusan claimed to have
135 of 167 136 of 167
slept in the house of one Michael Viloria. Ballesteros attested that he was not at the moral damages, the amount of psychological pain, damage and injury caused to the
dance hall at all. None of them, however, attempted to corroborate their alibi through heirs of the victims, although inestimable,[34] may be determined by the trial court in
the testimony of witnesses. In fact, they never attempted to present as witnesses its discretion. Hence, we see no reason to disturb its findings as to this matter.
those who could have testified to having seen them elsewhere on the night in
question. Had they done so, the presentation of corroborative testimony would have WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision appealed from is hereby
reenforced their defense of alibi. As held in People vs. Ligotan,[23] an alibi must be AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION. No pronouncement as to costs.
supported by credible corroboration from disinterested witnesses, and where such
defense is not corroborated, it is fatal to the accused. SO ORDERED.

The Court correctly ruled in finding that the offense was qualified by treachery. Narvasa C.J., (Chairman), Melo, Francisco, and Panganiban, JJ., concur.
Under Paragraph 16, Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code, “(t)here is treachery
when the offender commits any of the crimes against the person employing means, [1] Rollo, pp. 273-274.
methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and specially to insure
its execution without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended
[2] Ibid., pp. 255-256.
party might make.” The requisites of treachery are twofold: (1) (t)hat at the time of
the attack, the victim was not in a position to defend himself; and (2) that the
[3] Ibid., p. 253.
offender consciously adopted the particular means, method or form of attack
employed by him.[24] As regards the second requisite, the accused must make some
[4] TSN, March 10, 1992, p. 2.
preparation to kill his victim in such a manner as to insure the execution of the crime [5] TSN, March 8, 1994, p. 236.
or to make it impossible or hard for the person attacked to defend himself or
retaliate.[25] There must be evidence that such form of attack was purposely [6] TSN, July 12, 1993, pp. 179-181.
adopted by the accused.[26] Here, it is obvious that the accused-appellants had
sufficient opportunity to reflect on their heinous plan. The facts show that the attack [7] TSN, November 9, 1993, pp. 195-197.
was well-planned and not merely a result of the impulsiveness of the offenders.
Manifestations of their evil designs were already apparent as early as the time of the [8] TSN, July, 13, 1992, p. 65.
dance. They were well-armed and approached the homebound victims, totally
unaware of their presence, from behind. There was no opportunity for the latter to [9] TSN, March 10, 1992, p. 11.
defend themselves, the attack being so sudden that Eduardo Tolentino was shot
right where he sat. [10] People vs. Rosario, 246 SCRA 658 (1995).
The trial court was also correct in the award of damages to the heirs of the victims. [11] Reyes, Revised Penal Code,Twelfth Edition (1981), p. 60.
Damages may be defined as the pecuniary compensation, recompense, or
satisfaction for an injury sustained, or as otherwise expressed, the pecuniary [12] People vs. Maongco, 230 SCRA 562 (1994).
consequences which the law imposes for the breach of some duty or the violation of
some right.[27] Actual or compensatory damages are those awarded in satisfaction of, [13] Reyes, supra., p. 60.
or in recompense for, loss or injury sustained,[28] whereas moral damages may be
invoked when the complainant has experienced mental anguish, serious anxiety, [14] People vs, Canceran, 229 SCRA 581 (1994).
physical suffering, moral shock and so forth, and had furthermore shown that these
were the proximate result of the offender’s wrongful act or omission.[29] In granting [15] People vs. Gamiao, 240 SCRA 254 (1995).
actual or compensatory damages, the party making a claim for such must present
the best evidence available, viz., receipts, vouchers, and the like,[30] as corroborated People vs. De Roxas, 241 SCRA 695 (1995); People vs. Castaneda, 252 SCRA

by his testimony.[31] Here, the claim for actual damages by the heirs of the victims is 247 (1996).
not controverted, the same having been fully substantiated by receipts accumulated
by them and presented to the court.[32] Therefore, the award of actual damages is [17] Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court (1980), p. 158.
proper. However, the order granting compensatory damages to the heirs of Jerry
Agliam and Eduardo Tolentino Sr. must be amended. Consistent with the policy of People vs. Alonzo, L-32163, October 19, 1976; People vs. Roxas, L-32912,

this Court, the amount of fifty thousand pesos (P 50,000.00) is given to the heirs of October 29, 1976; People vs. Daquipil, 240 SCRA 314.
the victims by way of indemnity, and not as compensatory damages.[33] As regards
[19] People vs. Mendoza, 254 SCRA 61 (1996).
137 of 167 138 of 167
[20] People vs. Abrenica, 252 SCRA 54 (1996). indeterminate penalty of from one year and six months to two years and two months
of prision correccional and to indemnify jointly and severally the heirs of the
Moran, supra., p. 136, citing US vs. Brobst, 14 Phil 310, People vs. Mahlom,
[21] deceased in the amount of Pl,000. Defendants appealed separately from this
Moro Saan and Moro. Muntasal,_L-5198, April 7, 1953. judgment.
[22] Ibid., citing US vs. Lazada, 18 Phil 90. In the afternoon of December 24, 1938, Captain Godofredo Monsod, Constabulary
Provincial Inspector at Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, received from Major Guido a
[23] 262 SCRA 602 (1996). telegram of the following tenor: "Information received escaped convict Anselmo
Balagtas with bailarina name Irene in Cabanatuan get him dead or alive." Captain
[24] Reyes. The Revised Penal Code, p. 409-410. Monsod accordingly called for his first sergeant and asked that he be given four
men. Defendant corporal Alberto Galanta, and privates Nicomedes Oralo, Venancio
Ibid., p. 405, citing People vs. Tumaob, 83 Phil 742, People vs. Saez, 1 SCRA
Serna and D. Fernandez, upon order of their sergeant, reported at the office of the
937. Provincial Inspector where they were shown a copy of the above-quoted telegram
and a newspaper clipping containing a picture of Balagtas. They were instructed to
[26] Ibid. arrest Balagtas and if overpowered, to follow the instruction contained in the
telegram. The same instruction was given to the chief of police Oanis who was
[27] Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines (1992), Volume V, p. 632. likewise called by the Provincial Inspector. When the chief of police was asked
whether he knew one Irene, a bailarina, he answered that he knew one of loose
[28] Ibid., p. 633.
morals of the same name. Upon request of the Provincial Inspector, the chief of
police tried to locate some of his men to guide the constabulary soldiers in
[29] Ibid., citing Ventanilla vs. Impil and Lina, 53 O.G. 8170.
ascertaining Balagtas' whereabouts, and failing to see anyone of them he voluntered
TSN, July 8, 1992, pp. 55-56; July 14, 1992, pp. 94-96; September 8, 1992, pp.
[30] to go with the party. The Provincial Inspector divided the party into two groups
2-5; November 10, 1992, p. 143. with defendants Oanis and Galanta, and private Fernandez taking the route to Rizal
street leading to the house where Irene was supposedly living. When this group
[31] Baliwag Transit Inc. vs. CA, 256 SCRA 746 (1996). arrived at Irene's house, Oanis approached one Brigida Mallare, who was then
stripping banana stalks, and asked her where Irene's room was. Brigida indicated
[32] Ibid. the place and upon further inquiry also said that Irene was sleeping with her
paramour, Brigida trembling, immediately returned to her own room which was very
[33] People vs. Dones, 254 SCRA 696 (1996). near that occupied by Irene and her paramour. Defendants Oanis and Galanta then
went to the room of Irene, and on seeing a man sleeping with his back towards the
[34] Valenzuela vs. Court of Appeals, 253 SCRA 303 (1996). door where they were, simultaneously or successively fired at him with their .32 and
.45 caliber revolvers. Awakened by the gunshots, Irene saw her paramour already
wounded, and looking at the door where the shots came, she saw the defendants
still firing at him. Shocked by the entire scene, Irene fainted; it turned out later that
74 Phil. 257 the person shot and killed was not the notorious criminal Anselmo Balagtas but a
peaceful and innocent citizen named Serapio Tecson, Irene's paramour. The
[ G.R. No. 47722, July 27, 1943 ] Provincial Inspector, informed of the killing, repaired to the scene and when he
asked as to who killed the deceased, Galanta, referring to himself and to Oanis,
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLEE, VS. ANTONIO answered: "We two, sir." The corpse was thereafter brought to the provincial
 hospital and upon autopsy by Dr. Ricardo de Castro, multiple gunshot wounds

 inflicted by a .32 and a .45 caliber revolvers were found on Tecson's body which
DECISION caused his death.

MORAN, J.: These are the facts as found by the trial court and fully supported by the evidence,
particularly by the testimony of Irene Requinea. Appellants gave, however, a
Charged with the crime of murder of one Serapio Tecson, the accused Antonio Z. different version of the tragedy. According to Appellant Galanta, when he and chief
Oanis and Alberto Galanta, chief of police of Cabanatuan and corporal of the of police Oanis arrived at the house, the latter asked Brigida where Irene's room
Philippine Constabulary, respectively, were, after due trial, found guilty by the lower was. Brigida indicated the place, and upon further inquiry as to the whereabouts of
court of homicide through reckless imprudence and were sentenced each to an
139 of 167 140 of 167
Anselmo Balagtas, she said that he too was sleeping in the same room. Oanis went fact in the honest performance of their official duties, both of them believing that
to the room thus indicated and upon opening the curtain covering the door, he Tecson was Balagtas, they incur no criminal liability. Sustaining this theory in part,
said: "If you are Balagtas, stand up." Tecson, the supposed Balagtas, and Irene the lower court hold and so declared them guilty of the crime of homicide through
woke up and as the former was about to sit up in bed, Oanis fired at him. Wounded, reckless imprudence. We are of the opinion, however, that, under the
Tecson leaned towards the door, and Oanis receded and shouted: "That is circumstances of the case, the crime committed by appellants is murder though
Balagtas." Galanta then fired at Tecson. specially mitigated by circumstances to be mentioned below.

On the other hand, Oanis testified that, after he had opened the curtain covering the In support of the theory of non-liability by reason of honest mistake of fact,
door and after having said, "if you are Balagtas stand up," Galanta at once fired at appellants rely on the case of U. S. v. Ah Chong, 15 Phil., 488. The maxim
Tecson, the supposed Balagtas, while the latter was still lying on bed, and continued is ignorantta facti excrisat but this applies only when the mistake is committed
firing until he had exhausted his bullets; that it was only thereafter that he, Oanis, without fault or carelessness. In the Ah Chong case, defendant therein after having
entered the door and upon seeing the supposed Balagtas, who was then apparently gone to bed was awakened by someone trying to open the door. He called out
watching and picking up something from the floor, he fired at him. twice, "who is there," but received no answer. Fearing that the intruder was a
robber, he leaped from his bed and called out again, "if you enter the room I will kill
The trial court refused to believe the appellants. Their testimonies are certainly you." But at that precise moment, he was struck by a chair which had been placed
incredible not only because they are vitiated by a natural urge to exculpate against the door and believing that he was then being attacked, he seized a kitchen
themselves of the crime, but also because they are materially contradictory. Oanis knife and struck and fatally wounded the intruder who turned out to be his room-
averred that he fired at Tecson when the latter was apparently watching somebody mate. A common illustration of innocent mistake of fact is the case of a man who
in an attitude of picking up something from the floor; on the other hand, Galanta was masked as a footpad at night and in a lonely road held up a friend in a spirit of
testified that Oanis shot Tecson while the latter was about to sit up in bed mischief, and with leveled pistol demanded his money or life. He was killed by his
immediately after he was awakened by a noise. Galanta testified that he fired at friend under the mistaken belief that the attack was real, that the pistol leveled at his
Tecson, the supposed Balagtas, when the latter was rushing at him, But Oanis head was loaded and that his life and property were in imminent danger at the
assured that when Galanta shot Tecson, the latter was still lying on bed. It is hands of the aggressor. In these instances, there is an innocent mistake of fact
apparent from these contradictions that when each of the appellants tries to committed without any fault or carelessness because the accused, having no time
exculpate himself of the crime charged, he is at once belied by the other; but their or opportunity to make a further inquiry, and being pressed by circumstances to act
mutual incriminating averments dovetail with and corroborate substantially, the immediately, had no alternative but to take the facts as they then appeared to him,
testimony of Irene Requinea. It should be recalled that, according to Requinea, and such facts justified his act of killing. In the instant case, appellants, unlike the
Tecson was still sleeping in bed when he was shot to death by appellants. And this, accused in the instances cited, found no circumstances whatsoever which would
to a certain extent, is confirmed by both appellants themselves in their mutual press them to immediate action. The person in the room being then asleep,
recriminations. According, to Galanta, Oanis shot Tecson when the latter was still in appellants had ample time and opportunity to ascertain his identity without hazard
bed about to sit up just after he was awakened by a noise. And Oanis assured that to themselves, and could even effect a bloodless arrest if any reasonable effort to
when Galanja shot Tecson, the latter was still lying in bed. Thus corroborated, and that end had been made, as the victim was unarmed, according to Irene Requinea.
considering that the trial court had the opportunity to observe her demeanor on the This, indeed is the only legitimate course of action for appellants to follow even if
stand, we believe and so hold that no error was committed in accepting her the victim was reall Balagtas, as they were instructed not to kill Balagtas at sight but
testimony and in rejecting the exculpatory pretensions of the two appellants. to arrest him and to get him dead or alive only if resistance or aggression is offered
Furthermore, a careful examination of Irene's testimony will show not only that her by him.
version of the tragedy is not concocted but that it contains all indicia of veracity. In
her cross-examination, even misleading questions had been put which were Although an officer in making a lawful arrest is justified in using such force as is
unsuccessful, the witness having stuck to the truth in every detail of the occurrence. reasonably necessary to secure and detain the offender, overcome his resistance,
Under these circumstances, we do not feel ourselves justified in disturbing the prevent his escape, recapture him if he escapes, and protect himself from bodily
findings of fact made by the trial court. harm (People vs. Delima, 46 Phil., 738), yet he is never justified in using
unnecessary force or in treating him with wanton violence, or in resorting to
The true fact, therefore, of the case is that, while Tecson was sleeping in his room dangerous means when the arrest could be effected otherwise (6 C. J. S., par. 13,
with his back towards the door, Oanis and Galanta, on sight, fired at him p. 612). The doctrine is restated in the new Rules of Court thus: "No unnecessary
simultaneously or successively, believing him to be Anselmo Balagtas but without or unreasonable force shall be used in making an arrest, and the person arrested
having made previously any reasonable inquiry as to his identity. And the question shall not be subject to any greater restraint than is necessary for his detention."
is whether or not they may, upon such fact, be held responsible for the death thus (Rule 109, sec. 2, par. 2). And a peace officer cannot claim exemption from
caused to Tecson. It is contended that, as appellants acted in innocent mistake of criminal liability if he uses unnecessary force or violence in making an arrest. (5C.

141 of 167 142 of 167

J., p. 753; U. S. vs. Mendoza, 2 Phil., 109). It may be true that Anselmo Balagtas performance of their duty. Their duty was to arrest Balagtas, or to get him dead or
was a notorious criminal, a lifetermer, a fugitive from justice and a menace to the alive if resistance is offered by him and they are overpowered. But through
peace of the community, but these facts alone constitute no justification for killing impatience or over-anxiety or in their desire to take no chances, they have exceeded
him when, in effecting his arrest, he offers no resistance, or in fact no resistance can in the fulfilment of such duty by killing the person whom they believed to be Balagtas
be offered, as when he is asleep. This, in effect, is the principle laid down, although without any resistance from him and without making any previous inquiry as to his
upon different facts, in U. S. vs. Donoso (3 Phil., 234, 242). identity. According to article 69 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty lower by one
or two degrees than that prescribed by law shall, in such case, be imposed.

For all the foregoing, the judgment is modified and appellants are hereby declared
It is, however, suggested that a notorious criminal "must be taken by storm" without guilty of murder with the mitigating circumstance above mentioned, and accordingly
regard to his right to life which he has by such notoriety already forfeited. We may sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of from five (5) years of prision
approve of this standard of official conduct where the criminal offers resistance or correccional to fifteen (15) years of reclusion temporal, with the accessories of the
does something which places his captors in danger of imminent attack. Otherwise law, and to pay the Heirs of the deceased Serapio Tecson jointly and severally an
we cannot see how, as in the present case, the mere fact of notoriety can make the indemnity of P2,000, with costs.
life of a criminal a mere trifle in the hands of the officers of the law. Notoriety rightly
supplies a basis for redoubled official alertness and vigilance; it never can justify Yulo, C. J., Bocobo, Generoso and Lopez Vito, A., concur.
precipitate action at the cost of human life. Where, as here, the precipitate action of
the appellants has cost an innocent life and there exist no circumstances DISSENTING
whatsoever to warrant action of such character in the mind of a reasonably prudent
man, condemnation—not condonation—should be the rule; otherwise we would PARAS, J.,
offer, a premium to crime in the shelter of official actuation.
Anselmo Balagtas, a life termer and notorious criminal, managed to escape and
The crime committed by appellants, is not merely criminal negligence, the killing Reflee from Manila to the provinces. Receiving information to the effect that he
being intentional and not accidental. In criminal negligence, the injury caused to was staying with one Irene in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, the office of the
another should be unintentional, it being simply the incident of another act Constabulary in Manila ordered the Provincial Inspector in Cabanatuan by telegram
performed without malice. (People vs. Sara, 55 Phil, 939). In the words of Viada, dispatched on December 24, 1338, to get Balagtas "dead or alive". Among those
"para que se califique un hecho de imprudencia es preciso que no haya mediado en assigned to the task of carrying out the said order, were Antonio Z. Oanis, chief of
el malicia ni intencion alguna de dañar; existiendo esa intention, debera calificarse police of Cabanatuan, and Alberto Galanta, a Constabulary corporal, to whom the
el hecho del delito que ha producido, por mas que no haya sido la intencion del telegram received by the Provincial Inspector and a newspaper picture of Balagtas
agente el causar un mal de tanta gravedad como el que se produjo." (Tomo 7, were shown. Oanis, Galanta and a Constabulary private, after being told by the
Viada Codigo Penal Comentado, 5.a ed. pag. 7). And, as once held by this Court, a Provincial Inspector to gather information about Balagtas, "to arrest him and, if
deliberate intent to do an unlawful act is essentially, inconsistent with the idea of overpowered, to follow the instructions contained in the telegram," proceeded to the
reckless imprudence (People vs. Nanquil, 43 Phil., 232; People vs. Bindor, 56 Phil., place where the house of Irene was located. Upon arriving thereat, Oanis
16), and where such unlawful act is wilfully done, a mistake in the identity of the approached Brigida Mallari, who was then gathering banana stalks in the yard, and
intended victim cannot be considered as reckless imprudence(People vs. Gona, 54 inquired for the room of Irene. After Mallari had pointed out the room, she was
Phil., 605) to support a plea of mitigated liability. asked by Oanis to tell where Irene's paramour, Balagtas, was, whereupon Mallari
answered that he was sleeping with Irene. Upon reaching the room indicated,
As the deceased was killed while asleep, the crime committed is murder with the Oanis and Galanta, after the former had shouted "Stand up, if you are Balagtas,"
qualifying circumstance of alevosia. There is, however, a mitigating circumstance of started shooting the man who was found by them lying down beside a woman. The
weight consisting in the incomplete justifying circumstance defined in article 11, No. man was thereby killed, but Balagtas was still alive, for it turned out that the person
5, of the Revised Penal Code. According lo such legal provision, a person incurs no shot by Oanis and Galanta was one Serapio Tecson.
criminal liability when he acts in the fulfilment of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a
right or office. There are two requisites in order that the circumstance may be taken Consequently, Oanis and Galanta were charged with having committed murder.
as a justifying one: (a) that the offender acted in the performance of a duty or in the The Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija, however, convicted them only of
lawful exercise of a right; and (b) that the injury or offense committed be the homicide through reckless imprudence and sentenced them each to suffer the
necessary consequence of the due performance of such duty or the lawful exercise indeterminate penalty of from 1 year and 6 months to 2 years and 2 months
of such right or office. In the instant case, only the first requisite is present— of prision correctional, to jointly and severally in demnify the heirs of Serapio Tecson
appellants have acted in the performance of a duty. The second requisite is wanting in the amount of P1,000, and to pay the costs. Oanis and Galanta have appealed.
for the crime by them committed is not the necessary consequence of a due
143 of 167 144 of 167
In accomplishing the acts with which the appellants were charged, they undoubtedly person who was believed to be Balagtas was, as already stated, not wrongful or
followed the order issued by the Constabulary authorities in Manila requiring the felonious.
Provincial Inspector in Cabanatuan to get Balagtas dead or alive, in the honest belief
that Serapio Tecson was Anselmo Balagtas. As the latter became a fugitive criminal, The case of U. S. vs. Mendieta (34 Phil., 242), cited by the Solicitor-General, is not
with revolvers in his possession and a record that made him extremely dangerous in point, inasmuch as the defendant therein, who intended to injure Huario Lauigan
and a public terror, the Constabulary authorities were justified in ordering his arrest, with whom he had a quarrel, but killed another by mistake, would not be exempted
whether dead or alive. In view of said order and the danger faced by the appellants from criminal liability if he actually injured or killed Hilario Lauigan, there being a
in carrying it out, they cannot be said to have acted feloniously in shooting the malicious design on his part. The other case invoked by the prosecution is
person honestly believed by them to be the wanted man. Conscious of the fact that U.S. vs. Donoso (3 Phil., 234) This is also not in point, as it appears that defendants
Balagtas would rather kill than be captured, the appellants did not want to take therein killed one Pedro Almasan after he had already surrendered and allowed
chances and should not be penalized for such prudence. On the contrary, they himself to be bound and that the said defendants did not have lawful instructions
should be commended for their bravery and courage bordering on recklessness from superior authorities to capture Almasan dead or alive.
because, without knowing or ascertaining whether the wanted man was in fact
asleep in his room, they proceeded thereto without hesitation and thereby exposed The appealed judgment should therefore be reversed and the appellants, Antonio Z.
their lives to danger. Oanis and Alberto Galanta, acquitted, with costs de oficio.

The Solicitor-General, however, contends that the appellants were authorized to use DISSENTING
their revolvers only after being overpowered by Balagtas. In the first place, the
alleged instruction by the Provincial Inspector to that effect, was in violation of the HONTIVEROS, J.,
express order given by the Constabulary authorities in Manila and which was shown
to the appellants. In the second place, it would indeed be suicidal for the appellants According to the opinion of the majority, it is proper to follow the rule that a notorious
or, for that matter, any agent of the authority to have waited until they have been criminal "must be taken by storm without regard to his life which he has, by his
overpowered before trying to put out such a character as Balagtas. In the third conduct, already forfeited," whenever said criminal offers resistance or does
place, it is immaterial whether or not the instruction given by the Provincial Inspector something which places his captors in danger of imminent attack. Precisely, the
was legitimate and proper, because the facts exist that the appellants acted in situation which confronted the accused-appellants Antonio Z. Oanis and Alberto
conformity with the express order of superior Constabulary authorities, the legality or Galanta in the afternoon of December 24, 1938, was very similar to this. It must be
propriety of which is not herein questioned. remembered that both officers received instructions to get Balagtas "dead or alive",
and according to the attitude of not only the said appellants but also of Capt.
The theory of the prosecution has acquired some plausibility, though quite Monsod, constabulary provincial inspector of Nueva Ecija, it may be assumed that
psychological or sentimental, in view only of the fact that it was not Balagtas who said instructions gave more emphasis to the first part; namely, to take him dead. It
was actually killed, but an "innocent man* * * while he was deeply asleep." appears in the record that after the shooting, and having been informed of the case,
Anybody's heart will be profoundly grieved by the tragedy, but in time will be Capt. Monsod stated that Oanis and Galanta might be decorated for what they had
consoled by the realization that the life of Serapio Tecson, was not vainly sacrificed done. That was when all parties concerned honestly believed that the dead person
for the incident will always serve as a loud warning to any one desiring to follow in was Balagtas himself, a dangerous criminal who had escaped from his guards and
the footsteps of Anselmo Balagtas that in due time the duly constituted authorities was supposedly armed with a .45 caliber pistol. Brigida Mallari, the person whom
will, upon proper order, enforce the summary forfeiture of his life. the appellants met upon arriving at the house of Irene Requinea, supposed mistress
of Balagtas, informed them that saidB alagtas was Upstairs. Appellants found there
In my opinion, therefore, the appellants are not criminally liable if the person killed by asleep a man closely resembling the wanted criminal. Oanis said: "If you are
them was in fact Anselmo Balagtas for the reason that they did so in the fulfillment Balagtas stand up." But the supposed criminal showed his intention to attack the
of their duty and in obedience to an order issued by a superior for some lawful appellants, a conduct easily explained by the fact that he should have felt offended
purpose (Revised Penal Code, art. 11, pars. 5 and 6). They also cannot be held by the intrusion of persons in the room where he was peacefully lying down with his
criminally liable even if the person killed by them was not Anselmo Balagtas, but mistress. In such predicament, it was nothmg but human on the part of the
Serapio Tecson, because they did so under an honest mistake of fact not due to appellants to employ force and to make use of their weapons in order to repel the
negligence or bad faith, (U. S. vs. Ah Chong, 15 Phil., 488). imminent attack by a person who, according to the belief, was Balagtas. It was
unfortunate however that an innocent man was actually killed. But taking into
It is true that, under article 4 of the Revised Penal Code, criminal liability is incurred consideration the fact? of the case, it is, according to my humble opinion, proper to
by any person committing a felony although the wrongful act done be different from apply herein the doctrine laid down in the case of U. S. vs. Ah Chong (15 Phil.,
that which he intended; but said article is clearly inapplicable since the killing of the 488). In the instant case we have, as in the case supra, an innocent mistake of fact
committed without any fault or carelessness on the part of the accused, who, having
145 of 167 146 of 167
no time to make a further inquiry, had no alternative but to take the facts as they inculpabilidad, Es, por lo tanto, imposible que acontezca lo que el texto que va al
appeared to them and act immediately. frente de estas lineas requiere, para que se imponga al autor del hecho la penalidad
excepcional que establece; esto es, que fallen algunosrequisitos de los que la ley
The decision of the majority, in recognition of the special circumstances of this case exige para eximir de responsabilidad, y que concurran el mayor numero de ellos,
which favored the accused-appellants, arrives at the conclusion that an incomplete toda vez que, en los casos referidos, la ley no exigo multiples condiciones."
justifying circumstance may be invoked, and therefore, according to Artide 69 of the
Revised Penal Code, the imposable penalty should be one which is lower by one or It must be taken into account the fact according to Article 69 a penalty lower by one
two degrees than that prescribed by law. This incomplete justifying circumstance is or two degrees than that prescribed by law shall be imposed if the deed is not wholly
that defined in Article 11, No. 5, of the Revised Penal Code, in favor of "a person excusable by reason of the lack of some of the conditions required by the law to
who acts in the fulfillment of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or office." I justify the same or exempt from criminal liability. The word "conditions" should not
believe that the application of this circumstance is not proper. Article 69 of the be confused with the word "requisites". In dealing with justifying circumstance No. 5,
Revised Penal Code provides as follows: Judge Guevara states: "There are two requisites in order that this circumstance
may be taken into account: (a) That the offender acted in the performance of his
"ART. 69. Penaity to be imposed when the crime committed is not wholly excusable. duty or in the lawful exercise of a right; and (b) That the injury or offense committed
—A penalty lower by one or two degrees than that prescribed by law shall be be the necessary consequence of the performance of a duty or the lawful exercise of
imposed if the deed is not wholly excusable by reason of the lack of some of the a right or office." It is evident that these two requisites concur in the present case if
conditions required to justify the same or to exempt from criminal liability in the we consider the intimate connection between the order given to the appellant by
several cases mentioned in articles 11 and 12, provided that the majority of such Capt. Monsod, the showing to them of the telegram from Manila to get Balagtas
conditions be present. The courts shall impose the penalty in the period which may who was with a bailarina named Irene, the conduct of said appellants in questioning
be deemed proper, in view of the number and nature of the conditions of exemption Brigida Mallari and giving a warning to the supposed criminal when both found him
present or lacking." with Irene, and the statement made by Capt. Monsod after the shooting.

This privision has been copied almost verbatim from Article 84 of the old Penal Code If appellant Oanis is entitled to a reversal of the decision of the court below, there
of the Philippines, and which was also taken from Article 87 of the Spanish Penal are more reasons in favor of the acquittal of appellant Galanta. According to the
Code of 1870. evidence no bullet from the gun fired by this accused ever hit Serapio Tecson.
Galanta was armed in the afternoon of December 24, 1938, with a .45 caliber
Judge Guillermo Guevara, one of the members of the Committee created by revolver (Exhibit L) He so testified and was corroborated by the unchallenged
Administrative Order No. 94 of the Department of Justice for the drafting of the testimony of his superior officer Sgt Valeriano Serafica. According to this witness
Revised Penal Code, in commenting on Article 69, said that the justifying since Galanta was made a corporal of the Constabulary he was given, as part of his
circumstances and circumstances exempting from liability which are the subject equipment, revolver Exhibit L with a serial No. 37121. This gun had been constantly
matter of this article are the following: self-defense, defense of relatives, defense of used by Galanta, and, according to Sgt. Pedro Marasigan, who accompanied said
strangers, state of necessity and injury caused by mere accident. Accordingly, accused when he took it from his trunk in the barracks on the night of December 24,
justifying circumstance No. 5 of Article 11 dealing with the fulfillment of a duty or the 1938, upon order of Captain Monsod, it was the same revolver which was given to
lawful exercise of a right,1 calling or office, cannot be placed within its scope. the witness with five .45 caliber bullets and one emty shell. Fourteen unused bullets
were also taken from Galanta by Sergeant Serafica, thus completing his regular
The eminent treatiser of criminal law Mr. Groizard, in his commentary of Article 87 of equipment of twenty bullets which he had on the morning of December 24, 1938,
the Spanish Penal Code of 1870 which is the source of Article 69 of our Code, when Sergeant Serafica made the usual inspection of the firearms in the possession
says: of the non-commissioned officers and privates of the constabulary post at
Cabanatuan. Galanta stated that he had fired only one shot and missed. This
"Ni tratandose de la imbecilidad, ni de la locura, ni de la menor edad, ni del que testimony is corroborated by that of a ballistic expert who testified that bullets
obra violentado por una fuerza irresistible o impulsado por miedo insuperable de un exhibits F and O,— the first being extracted from the head of the deceased, causing
mal igual o mayor, o en cumplimientode un deber, o en el ejercicio legitimo de un wound No. 3 of autopsy report Exhibit C and the second found at the place of the
derecho, oficio o cargo, o en virtud de obediencia debida, ni del que incurre en shooting,—had not been fired from revolver Exhibit L nor from any other revolver of
alguna omision hallandose impedido por causa legitima o insuperable, puede tener the constabulary station in Cabanatuan. It was impossible for the accused Galanta
aphcacion al articulo que comentamos. Y la razon es obvia. En ninguna de estas to have substituted his revolver because when Exhibit L was taken from him nobody
exenciones hay pluralidad de requisitos. La irresponsabilidad depende de una sola in the barracks doubted that the deceased was none other than Balagtas. Moreover,
condicion. Hay o no perturbation de la razon el autor del hecho es o no menor de Exhibit L was not out of order and therefore there was no reason why Galanta
nueve años; existe o no violencia material o moral irresistible, etc., etc.; tal es lo que should carry along another gun, according to the natural course of things.
respectivamente hay que examinar y resolver para declarar la culpabilidad o
147 of 167 148 of 167
On the other hand, aside from wound No. 3 as above stated, no other wound may “That on or about October 17, 1992 in Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Philippines and
be said to have been caused by a .45 caliber revolver bullet. Doctor Castro's record within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring
gives the conclusion that wound No. 2 must have been caused by a .45 caliber together and mutually helping one another, without any justifiable cause, with
bullet, but inasmuch as the diameter of the wound's entrance was pnly 8 mm., the treachery and evident premeditation and with abuse of superior strenght (sic) and
caliber should be .32 and not .45, because according to the medico-legal expert who with deliberate intent to kill, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
testified in this case, a bullet of a .45 caliber will produce a wound entrance with attack, assault and stab repeatedly with a pointed weapon on the different parts of
either 11 mm. or 12 mm. diameter. All other wounds found by the surgeon who the body one ANDRE MAR MASANGKAY y ABLOLA, thereby inflicting upon the
performed the autopsy appeared to have been caused by bullets of a lesser caliber. latter serious physical injuries which directly caused his death.”
In consequence, it can be stated that no bullet fired by Galanta did ever hit or kill
Serapio Tecson and therefore there is no reason why he should be declared crim During arraignment, Appellants Ortega and Garcia, assisted by counsel de oficio,
inally responsible for said death. [4] pleaded not guilty to the charge.[5] Accused “John Doe” was then at large.[6] After

trial in due course, the court a quo promulgated the questioned Decision. The
dispositive portion reads:[7]

342 Phil. 124 “WHEREFORE, finding accused Benjamin Ortega, Jr. y Conje and Manuel Garcia y
Rivera [g]uilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged, the Court hereby
THIRD DIVISION sentenced (sic) them to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA and to pay
the costs of suit.
[ G.R. No. 116736, July 24, 1997 ]
Accused are hereby ordered to pay the offended party the sum of P35,000.00 for
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. funeral expenses of deceased Andre Mar Masangkay and death indemnity of
 The Notice of Appeal, dated March 9, 1994, was thus filed by Atty. Evaristo P.

 Velicaria[8] who took over from the Public Attorney’s Office as counsel for the
DECISION accused.


A person who commits a felony is liable for the direct, natural and logical Evidence for the Prosecution
consequences of his wrongful act even where the resulting crime is more serious
than that intended. Hence, an accused who originally intended to conceal and to The trial court summarized the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses as follows:[9]
bury what he thought was the lifeless body of the victim can be held liable as a
principal, not simply as an accessory, where it is proven that the said victim was “Diosdado Quitlong substantially testified that on October 15, 1992 at about 5:30 in
actually alive but subsequently died as a direct result of such concealment and the afternoon, he, the victim Andre Mar Masangkay, Ariel Caranto, Romeo Ortega,
burial. Nonetheless, in the present case, Appellant Garcia can not be held liable as a Roberto San Andres were having a drinking spree in the compound near the house
principal because the prosecution failed to allege such death through drowning in of Benjamin Ortega, Jr. at Daangbakal, Dalandanan, Valenzuela, Metro Manila. That
the Information. Neither may said appellant be held liable as an accessory due to his while they were drinking, accused Benjamin Ortega, Jr. and Manuel Garcia who
relationship with the principal killer, Appellant Ortega, who is his brother-in-law. were [already] drunk arrived and joined them. That victim Andre Mar Masangkay
answered the call of nature and went to the back portion of the house. That accused
Statement of the Case Benjamin Ortega, Jr. followed him and later they [referring to the participants in the
drinking session] heard the victim Andre Mar shouted, ‘Don’t, help me!’ (Huwag,
This case springs from the joint appeal interposed by Appellants Benjamin Ortega, tulungan ninyo ako!) That he and Ariel Caranto ran towards the back portion of the
Jr. and Manuel Garcia from the Decision,[1] dated February 9, 1994 written by Judge house and [they] saw accused Benjamin Ortega, Jr., on top of Andre Mar
Adriano R. Osorio,[2]finding them guilty of murder. Masangkay who was lying down in a canal with his face up and stabbing the latter
with a long bladed weapon. That Ariel Caranto ran and fetched Benjamin Ortega,
Appellants were charged by State Prosecutor Bernardo S. Razon in an Sr., the father of accused Benjamin, Jr. That he [Quitlong] went to Romeo Ortega in
Information[3] dated October 19, 1992, as follows: the place where they were having the drinking session [for the latter] to pacify his
brother Benjamin, Jr. That Romeo Ortega went to the place of the stabbing and
149 of 167 150 of 167
together with Benjamin Ortega, Jr. and Manuel Garcia lifted Andre Mar Masangkay Param accompanied them to the place. That he asked the police officers to verify if
from the canal and brought Andre Mar to the well and dropped the latter inside the there is a body of person inside the well. That the well was covered with stones and
well. That Romeo Ortega, Benjamin Ortega, Jr. and Manuel Garcia then dropped he asked the police officers to seek the help of theneighbors (sic) to remove the
stones measuring 11 to 12 inches high, 2 feet in length and 11 to 12 inches in weight stones inside the well. That after the stones were removed, the body of the victim
to the body of Andre Mar Masangkay inside the well. That Romeo Ortega warned was found inside the well. That the lifeless body was pulled out from the well. That
him [Quitlong] not to tell anybody of what he saw. That he answered in the the body has several stab wounds. That he came to know the victim as Andre Mar
affirmative and he was allowed to go home. That his house is about 200 meters from Masangkay. That two men were arrested by the police officers.
Romeo Ortega’s house. That upon reaching home, his conscience bothered him and
he told his mother what he witnessed. That he went to the residence of Col. On cross-examination, he said that he saw the body when taken out of the well with
Leonardo Orig and reported the matter. That Col. Orig accompanied him to the several stab wounds. That Diosdado Quitlong told him that he was drinking with the
Valenzuela Police Station and some police officers went with them to the crime victim and the assailants at the time of the incident. That Benjamin Ortega, Jr.
scene. That accused Benjamin Ortega, Jr. and Manuel Garcia were apprehended stabbed the victim while the latter was answering the call of nature.
and were brought to the police station.
NBI Medico Legal Officer Dr. Ludivico J. Lagat substantially testified that he
On cross-examination, he said that he did not talk to the lawyer before he was conducted [an] autopsy on the cadaver of Andre Mar Masangkay on October 16,
presented as witness in this case. That he narrated the incident to his mother on the 1992 at the Valenzuela Memorial Homes located at Macarthur Highway. That he
night he witnessed the killing on October 15, 1992. That on October 15, 1992 at 5:30 prepared the autopsy report and the sketch of human head and body indicating the
in the afternoon when he arrived, victim Andre Mar Masangkay, Romeo Ortega, location of the stab wounds. That the cause of death is multiple stab wounds,
Serafin and one Boyet were already having [a] drinking spree and he joined them. contributory, [a]sphyxia by submersion in water. That there were 13 stab wounds, 8
That accused Benjamin Ortega, Jr. and Manuel Garcia were not yet in the place. of which were on the frontal part of the body, 2 at the back and there were contused
That the stabbing happened between 12:00 midnight and 12:30 a.m. That they abrasions around the neck and on the left arm. There was stab wound at the left
drank gin with finger foods such as pork and shell fish. That he met the victim Andre side of the neck. That the contused abrasion could be produced by cord or wire or
Mar Masangkay only on that occasion. That accused Benjamin Ortega, Jr. and rope. That there is (an) incised wound on the left forearm. That the stab wounds
Manuel Garcia joined them at about 11:00 p.m. That there was no altercation which were backward downward of the body involved the lungs. That the victim was
between Benjamin Ortega, Jr. and Manuel Garcia in one hand and Andre Mar in front of the assailant. That the stab wound on the upper left shoulder was caused
Masangkay, during the drinking session. That at about 12:30 a.m. Andre Mar when the assailant was in front of the victim. That the assailant was in front of the
Masangkay answered the call of nature and went to the back portion of the house. victim when the stab wound near the upper left armpit was inflicted as well as the
That he cannot see Andre Mar Masangkay from the place they were having the stab wound on the left chest wall. That the stab wound on the back left side of the
drinking session. That he did not see what happened to Andre Mar Masangkay. That body and the stab wound on the back right portion of the body may be produced
he only heard Masangkay asking for help. That accused Manuel Garcia was still in when the assailant was at the back of the victim. That the assailant was in front of
the drinking session when he heard Masangkay was asking for help. That the victim when the stab wound[s] on the left elbow and left arm were inflicted. That
Benjamin Ortega, Jr. and Manuel Garcia are his friends and neighbors. That when the large airway is filled with muddy particles indicating that the victim was alive
he heard Andre Mar Masangkay was asking for help, he and Ariel Caranto ran to the when the victim inhaled the muddy particles. The heart is filled with multiple
back portion of the house and saw Benjamin Ortega, Jr. on top of Andre Mar hemorrhage, loss of blood or decreased of blood. The lungs is filled with water or
Masangkay and stabbing the latter. That Andre Mar Masangkay was lying down with muddy particles. The brain is pale due to loss of blood. The stomach is one half filled
his back in the canal and Benjamin Ortega, Jr. on top stabbing the former. That he with muddy particles which could [have been] taken in when submerged in water.
did not see any injuries on Benjamin Ortega, Jr. That he called Romeo Ortega to
pacify his brother Benjamin, Jr. That he did not do anything to separate On cross-examination, he said that he found 13 stab wounds on the body of the
Benjamin Ortega, Jr. and Masangkay. That he knows that Andre Mar Masangkay victim. That he cannot tell if the assailant or the victim were standing. That it is
was courting Raquel Ortega. That Raquel Ortega asked permission from Andre Mar possible that the stab wounds was (sic) inflicted when both [referring to participants]
Masangkay when she left between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. That there was no trouble were standing or the victim was lying down and the assailant was on top. That he
that occurred during the drinking session. cannot tell the number of the assailants.”

PNP Superintendent Leonardo Orig substantially testified that Diosdado Quitlong is Evidence for the Appellants
his neighbor for about 9 years. That on October 16, 1992 at 5:00 in the morning, he
was summoned by Diosdado Quitlong and reported to him the stabbing incident that Appellant Manuel Garcia testified that in the early morning of October 15, 1992, he
occurred at Daangbakal near the subdivision he is living. That he relayed the and his wife, Maritess Garcia, brought their feverish daughter, Marjorie, to the Polo
information to the Valenzuela Police Station and a police team under police officer Emergency Hospital. He left the hospital at seven o’ clock in the morning, went
home, changed his clothes and went to work.[10] After office hours, he and
151 of 167 152 of 167
Benjamin Ortega, Jr. passed by the canteen at their place of work. After drinking a clear indication of the community of design to finish/kill victim Andre Mar
beer, they left at eight o’ clock in the evening and headed home. En route, they Masangkay. Wounded and unarmed victim Andre Mar Masangkay was in no position
chanced on Diosdado Quitlong alias Mac-mac and Andre Mar Masangkay, who to flee and/or defend himself against the three malefactors. Conspiracy and the
invited them to join their own drinking spree. Thereupon, Appellant Garcia’s wife taking advantage of superior strength were in attendance. The crime committed by
came and asked him to go home because their daughter was still sick. To alleviate the accused is Murder.
his daughter’s illness, he fetched his mother-in-law who performed a ritual called
“tawas.” After the ritual, he remained at home and attended to his sick daughter. He Concert of action at the moment of consummating the crime and the form and
then fell asleep but was awakened by police officers at six o’ clock in the morning of manner in which assistance is rendered to the person inflicting the fatal wound may
the following day. determine complicity where it would not otherwise be evidence (People vs. Yu, 80
SCRA 382 (1977)).
Maritess Garcia substantially corroborated the testimony of her husband. She
however added two other participants in the drinking session aside from Diosdado Every person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable. Accused (m)ust
Quitlong alias Mac-mac and Andre Mar Masangkay, namely, a Mang Serafin and reimburse the heirs of victim Andre Mar Masangkay the amount of P35,000.00 for
Boyet Santos.[11] the funeral expenses of the deceased.”

Benjamin Ortega, Jr. likewise substantially corroborated the testimony of Appellant The Issues
Manuel Garcia.[12] According to him, between eleven and twelve o’ clock in the
evening, Masangkay left the drinking session. Thirty (30) minutes after Masangkay In their ten-page brief, appellants fault the trial court with the following: [18]
left, he also left the drinking place to urinate.[13] He went behind the house where he
saw Masangkay peeping through the room of his sister Raquel. He ignored “I. The trial court erred in holding that there is conspiracy on the basis of the
Masangkay and continued urinating.[14] After he was through, Masangkay prosecution’s evidence that at the time both accused and one Romeo Ortega lifted
approached him and asked where his sister was. He answered that he did not know. the body of Andrew Masangkay from where he succumbed due to stab wounds and
Without warning, Masangkay allegedly boxed him in the mouth, an attack that brought and drop said body of Andrew Masangkay to the well to commit murder;
induced bleeding and caused him to fall on his back. When he was about to stand
up, Masangkay drew a knife and stabbed him, hitting him on the left arm, thereby
immobilizing him. Masangkay then gripped his neck with his left arm and threatened
to kill him. Unable to move, Ortegashouted for help. Quitlong came and, to avoid II. The trial court erred in finding and holding that Andrew Masangkay was still
being stabbed, grabbed Masangkay’s right hand which was holding the knife. alive at the time his body was dropped in the well;
Quitlong was able to wrest the knife from Masangkay and, with it, he stabbed
Masangkay ten (10) times successively, in the left chest and in the middle of the III. The trial court erred in convicting Manuel Garcia and in not acquitting the
stomach. When the stabbing started, Ortega moved to the left side of Masangkay to latter of the crime charged; and
avoid being hit.[15] Quitlong chased Masangkay who ran towards the direction of the
IV. The trial court erred in not finding that if at all Benjamin Ortega Jr. is guilty only
well. Thereafter, Ortega went home and treated his injured left armpit and lips. Then,
of homicide alone.”
he slept.
On the basis of the records and the arguments raised by the appellants and the
When he woke up at six o’ clock the following morning, he saw police officers in front
People, we believe that the question to be resolved could be simplified thus: What
of his house. Taking him with them, the lawmen proceeded to the well. From the
are the criminal liabilities, if any, of Appellants Ortega and Garcia?
railroad tracks where he was asked to sit, he saw the police officers lift the body of a
dead person from the well. He came to know the identity of the dead person only
The Court’s Ruling
after the body was taken to the police headquarters.[16]
We find the appeal partly meritorious. Appellant Ortega is guilty only of homicide.
The Trial Court’s Discussion
Appellant Garcia deserves acquittal.
The trial court explained its basis for appellants’ conviction as follows:[17]
First Issue: Liability of Appellant Ortega
“The Court is convinced that the concerted acts of accused Benjamin Ortega, Jr.,
The witnesses for the prosecution and defense presented conflicting narrations. The
Manuel Garcia, Jr. and one Romeo Ortega in lifting, carrying and dumping the victim
prosecution witnesses described the commission of the crime and positively
Andre Mar Masangkay who was still alive and breathing inside the deep well filled
identified appellants as the perpetrators. The witnesses for the defense, on the other
with water, head first and threw big stones/rocks inside the well to cover the victim is
153 of 167 154 of 167
hand, attempted to prove denial and alibi. As to which of the two contending versions We disagree with the trial court’s finding. Abuse of superior strength requires
speaks the truth primarily rests on a critical evaluation of the credibility of the deliberate intent on the part of the accused to take advantage of such superiority. It
witnesses and their stories. In this regard, the trial court held:[19] must be shown that the accused purposely used excessive force that was manifestly
out of proportion to the means available to the victim’s defense.[24] In this light, it is
“The Court has listened intently to the narration of the accused and their witnesses necessary to evaluate not only the physical condition and weapon of the
and the prosecution witnesses and has keenly observed their behavior and protagonists but also the various incidents of the event.[25]
demeanor on the witness stand and is convinced that the story of the prosecution is
the more believable version. Prosecution eyewitness Diosdado Quitlong appeared In his testimony, Witness Dominador Quitlong mentioned nothing about
and sounded credible and his credibility is reinforced by the fact that he has no Appellant Ortega’s availment of force excessively out of proportion to the means of
reason to testify falsely against the accused. It was Diosdado Quitlong who reported defense available to the victim to defend himself. Quitlong described the assault
the stabbing incident to the police authorities. If Quitlong stabbed and killed the made by Appellant Ortega as follows:[26]
victim Masangkay, he will keep away from the police authorities and will go in hiding.
x x x” “ATTY. ALTUNA:

Because the trial court had the opportunity to observe the witnesses’ demeanor and
deportment on the stand as they rendered their testimonies, its evaluation of the
credibility of witnesses is entitled to the highest respect. Therefore, unless the trial Q Will you please tell me the place and date wherein you have a drinking spree
judge plainly overlooked certain facts of substance and value which, if considered, with Andrew Masangkay and where you witnessed a stabbing incident?
might affect the result of the case, his assessment of credibility must be respected.
[20] A It was on October 15, 1992, sir, at about 5:30 in the afternoon we were drinking
in the house of Mr. Benjamin Ortega, Sr., because the house of Benjamin Ortega Sr.
and the house of his son Benjamin Ortega, Jr. are near each other.

In the instant case, we have meticulously scoured the records and found no reason xxx xxx xxx
to reverse the trial court’s assessment of the credibility of the witnesses and their
testimonies[21] insofar as Appellant Ortega is concerned. The narration of Eyewitness Q Mr. Witness, who were the companions of said persons, Benjamin Ortega, Jr.,
Diosdado Quitlong appears to be spontaneous and consistent. It is straightforward, Manuel Garcia, you (sic) in drinking in said place?
detailed, vivid and logical. Thus, it clearly deserves full credence.
A The other companions in the drinking session were Ariel Caranto y Ducay,
On the other hand, in asserting alibi and denial, the defense bordered on the Roberto San Andres and Romeo Ortega.
unbelievable. Appellant Ortega claimed that after he was able to free himself from
Masangkay’s grip, he went home, treated his injuries and slept.[22] This is not the Q What about this victim, Andrew Masangkay, where was he at that time?
ordinary reaction of a person assaulted. If Ortega’s version of the assault was true,
he should have immediately reported the matter to the police authorities, if only out A Also the victim, Andrew Masangkay, he was also there.
of gratitude to Quitlong who came to his rescue. Likewise, it is difficult to believe that
a man would just sleep after someone was stabbed in his own backyard. Further, we Q You said that the two accused, Manuel Garcia and Benjamin Ortega, Jr. arrived
deem it incredible that Diosdado Quitlong would stab Masangkay ten (10) times drunk and joined the group?
successively, completely ignoring Benjamin Ortega, Jr. who was grappling with
A Yes, sir.
Masangkay. Also inconsistent with human experience is his narration that
Masangkay persisted in choking him instead of defending himself from the alleged
Q What happened next?
successive stabbing of Quitlong.[23] The natural tendency of a person under attack is
to defend himself and not to persist in choking a defenseless third person. A While we were there together and we were drinking ... (interrupted by Atty.
Murder or Homicide?
Q Who is that ‘we’?
Although treachery, evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength were
alleged in the information, the trial court found the presence only of abuse of A Referring to Benjamin Ortega, Jr., Manuel Garcia, Ariel Caranto, Romeo Ortega,
superior strength. Roberto San Andres, myself and Andrew Masangkay. Andrew Masangkay answer to

155 of 167 156 of 167

a call of nature and went to the back portion of the house, and Benjamin Ortega, Jr. circumstances can be interpreted as abuse of superior strength. Hence, Ortega is
followed him where he was. liable only for homicide, not murder.

Q What happened next? Second Issue: Liability of Appellant Manuel Garcia

A And afterwards we heard a shout and the shout said ‘Huwag, tulungan n’yo Appellants argue that the finding of conspiracy by the trial court “is based on mere
ako’. assumption and conjecture x x x.”[28] Allegedly, the medico-legal finding that the large
airway was “filled with muddy particles indicating that the victim was alive when the
Q From whom did you hear this utterance? victim inhaled the muddy particles” did not necessarily mean that such muddy
particles entered the body of the victim while he was still alive. The Sinumpaang
A The shout came from Andrew Masangkay. Salaysay of Quitlong stated, “Nilubayan lang nang saksak nang mapatay na si
Andrew ni Benjamin Ortega, Jr.” Thus, the prosecution evidence shows Masangkay
was already “dead” when he was lifted and dumped into the well. Hence, Garcia
could be held liable only as an accessory.[29]
Q After Benjamin Ortega, Jr. followed Andrew Masangkay to answer a call of
nature and after you heard ‘huwag, tulungan n’yo ako’ coming from the mouth of the We do not agree with the above contention. Article 4, par. 1, of the Revised Penal
late Andrew Masangkay, what happened next? Code states that criminal liability shall be incurred by “any person committing a
felony (delito) although the wrongful act done be different from that which he
A Ariel Caranto and I ran towards the back portion of the house. intended.” The essential requisites for the application of this provision are that (a) the
intended act is felonious; (b) the resulting act is likewise a felony; and (c) the
Q And what did you see? unintended albeit graver wrong was primarily caused by the actor’s wrongful acts. In
assisting Appellant Ortega, Jr. carry the body of Masangkay to the well, Appellant
A And I saw that Benjamin Ortega, Jr. was on top of Andrew Masangkay and he Garcia was committing a felony. The offense was that of concealing the body of the
was stabbing Andrew Masangkay. crime to prevent its discovery, i.e. that of being an accessory in the crime of
homicide.[30]Although Appellant Garcia may have been unaware that the victim was
Q Will you please demonstrate to the Honorable Court how the stabbing was
still alive when he assisted Ortega in throwing the body into the well, he is still liable
done telling us the particular position of the late Andrew Masangkay and how
for the direct and natural consequence of his felonious act, even if the resulting
Benjamin Ortega, Jr proceeded with the stabbing against the late victim, Andrew
offense is worse than that intended.
True, Appellant Garcia merely assisted in concealing the body of the victim. But the
autopsy conducted by the NBI medico-legal officer showed that the victim at that
time was still alive, and that he died subsequently of drowning.[31] That drowning was
(At this juncture, the witness demonstrating.)
the immediate cause of death was medically demonstrated by the muddy particles
Andrew Masangkay was lying down on a canal with his face up, then found in the victim’s airway, lungs and stomach.[32] This is evident from the expert
Benjamin Ortega, Jr. was ‘nakakabayo’ and with his right hand with closed fist testimony given by the medico-legal officer, quoted below:[33]
holding the weapon, he was thrusting this weapon on the body of the victim, he was
making downward and upward motion thrust.
“Q Will you please explain this in simple language the last portion of Exhibit N,
ATTY. ALTUNA: (To the witness)
beginning with ‘tracheo-bronchial tree’, that is sentence immediately after paragraph
Q How many times did Benjamin Ortega, Jr. stabbed Andrew Masangkay? 10, 2.5 cms. Will you please explain this?

A I cannot count the number of times.” A The trancheo-bronchial tree is filled with muddy particles.

It should be noted that Victim Masangkay was a six-footer, whereas Q I ask you a question on this. Could the victim have possibly get this particular
Appellant Ortega, Jr. was only five feet and five inches tall.[27] There was no material?
testimony as to how the attack was initiated. The accused and the victim were
A No, sir.
already grappling when Quitlong arrived. Nothing in the foregoing testimony and

157 of 167 158 of 167

Q What do you mean by no?

A A person should be alive so that the muddy particles could be inhaled. Q And the last one, under the particular point ‘hemothorax’?

A It indicates at the right side. There are around 1,400 cc of blood that accumulate
at the thoraxic cavity and this was admixed with granular materials?
Q So, in short, you are telling or saying to us that if there is no inhaling or the
taking or receiving of muddy particles at that time, the person is still alive? Q And what cause the admixing with granular materials on said particular portion
of the body?
A Yes, sir.
A Could be muddy particles.
Q Second point?
Q Due to the taking of maddy (sic) materials as affected by asphyxia? Am I
A The heart is pale with some multiple petechial hemorrhages at the anterior correct?
A It’s due to stab wounds those muddy particles which set-in thru the stab
Q And this may [be] due to stab wounds or asphyxia? wounds.

A These are the effects or due to asphyxia or decreased amount of blood going to Q So, because of the opening of the stab wounds, the muddy particles now came
the heart. in, in that particular portion of the body and caused admixing of granular materials?

Q This asphyxia are you referring to is the drowning? A Yes, sir.

A Yes, sir. Q Continuing with your report, particularly, the last two portions, will you please
explain the same?
Q Next point is the lungs?
A The hemoperitoneum there are 900 cc of blood that accumulated inside the
A The lungs is also filled with multiple petechial hemorrhages. abdomen.

Q What could have caused this injury of the lungs? Q And what could have cause the same?

A This is due to asphyxia or the loss of blood. A [T]he stab wound of the abdomen.

Q Are you saying that the lungs have been filled with water or muddy particles? Q The last one, stomach 1/2 filled with muddy particles. Please explain the same?

A Yes, sir. A The victim could have taken these when he was submerged in water.

Q And, precisely, you are now testifying that due to stab wounds or asphyxia, the Q What is the take in?
lungs have been damaged per your Report?
A Muddy particles.
A Yes, sir.
Q And he was still alive at that time?
Q Continuing this brain and other visceral organs, pale. What is this?
A Yes, sir.” (Underscoring supplied)
A The paleness of the brain and other visceral organs is due to loss of blood.

Q And, of course, loss of blood could be attributed to the stab wound which is
number 13?

A Yes, sir.
159 of 167 160 of 167
A Filipino authority on forensic medicine opines that any of the following medical be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a
findings may show that drowning is the cause of death:[34] speedy, impartial, and public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have
compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of
“1. The presence of materials or foreign bodies in the hands of the victim. The evidence in his behalf. However, after arraignment, trial may proceed
clenching of the hands is a manifestation of cadaveric spasm in the effort of the notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided that he has been duly notified
victim to save himself from drowning. and his failure to appear is unjustifiable.” (Underscoring supplied)

2. Increase in volume (emphysema aquosum) and edema of the lungs (edema In People vs. Pailano,[37] this Court ruled that there can be no conviction for rape on
aquosum). a woman “deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious” where the information
charged the accused of sexual assault “by using force or intimidation,” thus:
3. Presence of water and fluid in the stomach contents corresponding to the
medium where the body was recovered. “The criminal complaint in this case alleged the commission of the crime through the
first method although the prosecution sought to establish at the trial that the
4. Presence of froth, foam or foreign bodies in the air passage found in the complainant was a mental retardate. Its purpose in doing so is not clear. But
medium where the victim was found. whatever it was, it has not succeeded.

5. Presence of water in the middle ear.” If the prosecution was seeking to convict the accused-appellant on the ground that
he violated Anita while she was deprived of reason or unconscious, such conviction
The third and fourth findings were present in the case of Victim Masangkay. It was could not have been possible under the criminal complaint as worded. This
proven that his airpassage, or specifically his tracheo-bronchial tree, was filled with described the offense as having been committed by ‘Antonio Pailano, being then
muddy particles which were residues at the bottom of the well. Even his stomach provided with a scythe, by means of violence and intimidation, (who) did, then and
was half-filled with such muddy particles. The unrebutted testimony of the medico- there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of the complainant,
legal officer that all these muddy particles were ingested when the victim was still Anita Ibañez, 15 years of age, against her will.’ No mention was made of the second
alive proved that the victim died of drowning inside the well. circumstance.

The drowning was the direct, natural and logical consequence of the felony that Conviction of the accused-appellant on the finding that he had raped Anita while she
Appellant Garcia had intended to commit; it exemplifies praeter intentionem covered was unconscious or otherwise deprived of reason -- and not through force and
by Article 4, par. 1, of the Revised Penal Code. Under this paragraph, a person may intimidation, which was the method alleged -- would have violated his right to be
be convicted of homicide although he had no original intent to kill.[35] informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.[Article IV, Sec. 19,
Constitution of 1973; now Article III, Sec. 14(2)] This right is safeguarded by the
In spite of the evidence showing that Appellant Garcia could be held liable as Constitution to every accused so he can prepare an adequate defense against the
principal in the crime of homicide, there are, however, two legal obstacles barring his charge against him. Convicting him of a ground not alleged while he is concentrating
conviction, even as an accessory – as prayed for by appellants’ counsel himself. his defense against the ground alleged would plainly be unfair and underhanded.
This right was, of course, available to the herein accused-appellant.
First. The Information accused Appellant Garcia (and Appellant Ortega) of
“attack[ing], assault[ing], and stab[bing] repeatedly with a pointed weapon on the In People vs. Ramirez, [fn: 69 SCRA 144] we held that a person charged with rape
different parts of the body one ANDRE MAR MASANGKAY y ABLOLA” The could not be found guilty of qualified seduction, which had not been alleged in the
prosecution’s evidence itself shows that Garcia had nothing to do with the stabbing criminal complaint against him. In the case of People vs. Montes, [fn: 122 SCRA
which was solely perpetrated by Appellant Ortega. His responsibility relates only to 409] the Court did not permit the conviction for homicide of a person held
the attempted concealment of the crime and the resulting drowning of Victim responsible for the suicide of the woman he was supposed to have raped, as the
Masangkay. The hornbook doctrine in our jurisdiction is that an accused cannot be crime he was accused of -- and acquitted -- was not homicide but rape. More to the
convicted of an offense, unless it is clearly charged in the complaint or information. point is Tubb v. People of the Philippines, [fn: 101 Phil. 114] where the accused was
Constitutionally, he has a right to be informed of the nature and cause of the charged with the misappropriation of funds held by him in trust with the obligation to
accusation against him. To convict him of an offense other than that charged in the return the same under Article 315, paragraph 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code, but
complaint or information would be a violation of this constitutional right.[36] Section was convicted of swindling by means of false pretenses, under paragraph 2(b) of the
14, par. 2, of the 1987 Constitution explicitly guarantees the following: said Article, which was not alleged in the information. The Court said such conviction
would violate the Bill of Rights.”
“(2) In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the
contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel, to
161 of 167 162 of 167
By parity of reasoning, Appellant Garcia cannot be convicted of homicide through victim.[41] However, in line with current jurisprudence,[42] Appellant Ortega shall also
drowning in an information that charges murder by means of stabbing. indemnify the heirs of the deceased in the sum of P50,000.00. Indemnity requires no
proof other than the fact of death and appellant’s responsibility therefor.[43]
Second. Although the prosecution was able to prove that Appellant Garcia assisted
in “concealing x x x the body of the crime, x x x in order to prevent its discovery,” he The penalty for homicide is reclusion temporal under Article 249 of the Revised
can neither be convicted as an accessory after the fact defined under Article 19, par. Penal Code, which is imposable in its medium period, absent any aggravating or
2, of the Revised Penal Code. The records show that Appellant Garcia is a brother- mitigating circumstance, as in the case of Appellant Ortega. Because he is entitled to
in-law of Appellant Ortega,[38] the latter’s sister, Maritess, being his wife.[39] Such the benefits of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum term shall be one
relationship exempts Appellant Garcia from criminal liability as provided by Article 20 degree lower, that is, prision mayor.
of the Revised Penal Code:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the joint appeal is PARTLY GRANTED.
“ART. 20. Accessories who are exempt from criminal liability. -- The penalties Appellant Benjamin Ortega, Jr. is found GUILTY of homicide and sentenced to ten
prescribed for accessories shall not be imposed upon those who are such with (10) years of prision mayor medium, as minimum, to fourteen (14) years, eight (8)
respect to their spouses, ascendants, descendants, legitimate, natural, and adopted months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal medium, as maximum.
brothers and sisters, or relatives by affinity within the same degrees with the single Appellant Ortega, Jr. is also ORDERED to pay the heirs of the victim P50,000.00 as
exception of accessories falling within the provisions of paragraph 1 of the next indemnity and P31,790.00 as actual damages. Appellant Manuel Garcia
preceding article.” is ACQUITTED. His immediate release from confinement is ORDERED unless he is
detained for some other valid cause.
On the other hand, “the next preceding article” provides:
“ART. 19. Accessories. – Accessories are those who, having knowledge of the
commission of the crime, and without having participated therein, either as principals Narvasa C.J., (Chairman), Davide, Jr., Melo, and Francisco, JJ., concur.
or accomplices, take part subsequent to its commission in any of the following
manners: [1] Original Records, pp. 183-198; rollo, pp. 29-44.

1. By profiting themselves or assisting the offender to profit by the effects of the [2] Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Branch 171.
[3] Original Records, p. 1; rollo, p. 8.
2. By concealing or destroying the body of the crime, or the effects or instruments
thereof, in order to prevent its discovery. [4] Atty. Ricardo Perez of the Public Attorney’s Office.
[5] Original Records, p. 25.

3. By harboring, concealing, or assisting in the escape of the principal of the crime, After promulgation of judgment, John Doe was identified as Romeo Ortega and

provided the accessory acts with abuse of his public functions or whenever the the latest trial court’s Order in this case was for the state prosecutor to conduct a
author of the crime is guilty of treason, parricide, murder, or an attempt to take the preliminary investigation to determine his liability. (Original Records, pp. 207-210).
life of the Chief Executive, or is known to be habitually guilty of some other crime.”
[7] Original Records, p. 198; rollo, p. 44; Decision, p. 16.
Appellant Garcia, being a covered relative by affinity of the principal accused,
Benjamin Ortega, Jr., is legally entitled to the aforequoted exempting provision of the [8] Original Records, p. 205.
Revised Penal Code. This Court is thus mandated by law to acquit him.
[9] Ibid., pp. 185-187.
Penalty and Damages
[10] TSN, June 14, 1993, pp. 12-45.
The award of actual damages should be reduced to P31,790.00 from P35,000.00.
The former amount was proven both by documentary evidence and by the testimony
[11] Ibid., pp. 11-20.
of Melba Lozano, a sister of the victim.[40] Of the expenses alleged to have been
incurred, the Court can give credence only to those that are supported by receipts
[12] TSN, August 16, 1993, pp. 7-19.
and appear to have been genuinely incurred in connection with the death of the
163 of 167 164 of 167
[13] Ibid., pp. 21-22. 2. By concealing or destroying the body of the crime, or the effects or instruments
thereof, in order to prevent its discovery.
[14] Ibid., pp. 23-25.
3. By harboring, concealing, or assisting in the escape of the principal of the crime,
[15] Ibid., pp. 26-35. provided the accessory acts with abuse of his public functions or whenever the
author of the crime is guilty of treason, parricide, murder or attempt to take the life of
[16] TSN, September 22, 1993, pp. 3-22. the Chief Executive, or is known to be habitually guilty of some other crime.
[17] Original Records, pp. 197-198; rollo, pp. 43-44; Decision, pp. 15-16. Under this Article, it is required that: (1) the accessory should have knowledge of the
crime, (2) he did not take part in its commission as principal or accomplice, and (3)
[18] Rollo, p. 63; original text in upper case. subsequent to its commission, he took part in any of the three ways enumerated
[19] Original Records, pp. 196-197; rollo, pp. 42-43; Decision, pp. 14-15.
[31]The exact words used by the medico-legal officer were: “The multiple stab
[20] People vs. De Guzman, 188 SCRA 405, 410-411, August 7, 1990. wounds sustained by the victim and asphyxia by submersion in water.” (TSN, April
16, 1993, p. 8).
People vs. Gabris, 258 SCRA 663, 671, July 11, 1996 citing the cases of People

vs. Vallena, 244 SCRA 685, 691, June 1, 1995; People vs. Jaca, 229 SCRA 332,
January 18, 1994; People vs. Tismo, 204 SCRA 535, 552, December 4, 1991; and
People vs. Uycoque, 246 SCRA 769, 779, July 31, 1995. [32] TSN, April 16, 1993, pp. 20-24.
[22] TSN, September 22, 1993, pp. 6-14. [33] TSN, April 16, 1993, pp. 20-24.
[23] Ibid., pp. 4-6. [34] Pedro Solis, Legal Medicine, 1987, p. 448.
[24] People vs. Casingal, 243 SCRA 37, 46, March 29, 1995. Aquino, The Revised Penal Code, 1987 edition, Volume 1, p. 70 citing Pico vs.

U.S., 57L.Ed.812, 40 Phil. 117, 15 Phil. 549.

People vs. Escoto, 244 SCRA 87, 97-98, May 11, 1995 citing the cases of People

vs. Martinez, 96 SCRA 714, March 31, 1980 and People vs. Cabiling, 74 SCRA 285, People vs. Guevarra, 179 SCRA 740, 751, December 4, 1989 citing the cases of
December 17, 1976. Matilde, Jr. vs. Jabson, 68 SCRA 456, 461, December 29, 1975 and U.S. vs.
Ocampo, 23 Phil. 396.
[26] TSN, February 12, 1993, pp. 11-15.
[37] 169 SCRA 649, 653-654, January 31, 1989.
[27] TSN, October 27, 1993, p. 12.
[38] TSN, June 14, 1993, p. 39; TSN, August 16, 1993, p. 9.
[28] Rollo, p. 64.
[39] TSN, October 13, 1993, p. 16.
[29] Ibid., pp. 65-66.
[40]The following receipts were offered as evidence: (1) receipt of the Diocese of
Paragraph no. 2 of Article 19 of the Revised Penal Code provides for
Lucena for funeral and electricity charges (350.00); (2) receipt for transportation
accessories’ manners of participation: expense for the transfer of remains of Andre Mar Masangkay (3,500.00); (3) receipt
of Funeral Helen for home and coach services (5,000.00); (4) receipt of the Diocese
ARTICLE 19. Accessories. -- Accessories are those who, having knowledge of the of San Pedro Bautista Parish for mortuary rental (350.00); (5) receipt of the Most
commission of the crime, and without having participated therein, either as principals Holy Redeemer Parish for use of mortuary (2,590.00); and (6) receipt of La
or accomplices, take part subsequent to its commission in any of the following Funeraria Paz for their services (20,000.00).
People vs. Cayabyab, G.R. No. 123073, June 19, 1997 citing the cases of People
1. By profiting themselves or assisting the offender to profit by the effects of the vs. Rosario, 246 SCRA 658, 671, July 18, 1995 and People vs. Degoma, 209 SCRA
crime. 266, 274, May 22, 1992.
165 of 167 166 of 167
People vs. Quinao, et al., G.R. No. 108454, March 13, 1997; People vs. Azugue,

G.R. No. 110098, February 26, 1997; People vs. Ombrog, G.R. No. 104666,
February 12, 1997.
[43] People vs. Cayabyab, supra.

167 of 167