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University of Santo Tomas

Faculty of Civil Law

POLITICAL
LAW REVIEW
Volume 2-A
Atty. Enrique V. Dela Cruz, Jr.

4C (2018-2019)
TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. Bill of Rights ................................................................................................................................ 1


1. Fundamental Powers of the State and the Bill of Rights ................................................................... 1
2. Due Process .......................................................................................................................................................... 24
3. Equal Protection ................................................................................................................................................. 33
4. Arrests, Searches and Seizures .................................................................................................................... 48
5. Privacy of Communications and Correspondence and Writ of Habeas Data .......................... 100
6. Freedom of Expression ................................................................................................................................. 115
a. Void for Vagueness Doctrine ............................................................................................................. 154
b. Overbreadth Doctrine (Facial Challenge) ..................................................................................... 159
7. Freedom of Religion........................................................................................................................................ 162
8. Liberty of Abode and Freedom of Movement ....................................................................................... 175
9. Right to Information ...................................................................................................................................... 184
10. Right of Association ........................................................................................................................................ 188
a. Fraternity Hazing Cases ................................................................................................................. 193
11. Eminent Domain ............................................................................................................................................ 200
12. Rights of Suspects ........................................................................................................................................... 223
13. Rights of the Accused..................................................................................................................................... 235
14. Writs of Habeas Corpus, Amparo, Habeas Data and Kalikasan ................................................. 264
15. Self-Incrimination Clause ............................................................................................................................ 285
16. Right to Bail ..................................................................................................................................................... 299
17. Double Jeopardy .............................................................................................................................................. 313
18. Ex Post Facto Laws, Cruel and Inhumane Punishment and Bills of Attainder .................... 324

B. Citizenship ................................................................................................................................ 332


POLITICAL LAW REVIEW – 4C (2018-2019)
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Bill of Rights

Fundamental Powers of the State and the Bill of Rights

Alava, Quino

CARLOS BALACUIT, et. al. v. CFI OF AGUSAN DEL NORTE


G.R. No. L-38429, 30 June 1988

The police power legislation must be firmly grounded on public interest and welfare, and a
reasonable relation must exist between purposes and means.

FACTS

The Municipal Board of City of Butuan passed Ordinance No 640 on 21 April 1969,
“penalizing any person , group of persons , entity or engeged in the business of selling admission
tickets to any movie… to require children between 7-12 years of age to pay full payment for ticket
should only be charged one half.” Petitioners, Carlos Balacuit, et. al. as managers of affected
theatersfiled a complaint before the Court of First Instance of Agusan del Norte and Butuan City
that the subject ordinance be declared unconstitutional and, therefore, void and unenforceable.
Petitioners maintain that Ordinance No. 640 violates the due process clause of the Constitution for
being oppressive, unfair, unjust, confiscatory, and an undue restraint of trade, and violative of the
right of persons to enter into contracts, considering that the theater owners are bound under a
contract with the film owners for just admission prices for general admission, balcony and lodge. The
court adjudged in favour of the respondents. Hence, this Petition for Review.

ISSUE

Whether or not Ordinance 640 – prohibiting selling of theatre admission tickets to children
7-12 y/o at full price is unconstitutional?

HELD

Yes. Ordinance 640 is declared unconstitutional. For the assailed ordinance to be held
constitutional it must pass the test of police power. To invoke the exercise the police power, it must
be for the interest of the public without interfering with private rights and adoptive means must be
reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose and not unduly oppressive upon
individuals.

While it is true that a business may be regulated, it is equally true that such regulation must
be within the bounds of reason, that is, the regulatory ordinance must be reasonable, and its
provisions cannot be oppressive amounting to an arbitrary interference with the business or calling
subject of regulation. The right of the owner to fix a price at which his property shall be sold or used
is an inherent attribute of the property itself and, as such, within the protection of the due process
clause. Hence, the proprietors of a theater have a right to manage their property in their own way, to
fix what prices of admission they think most for their own advantage, and that any person who did
not approve could stay away.

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Alforque, Jimmie Jan

CITY OF MANILA v. LAGUIO, Jr.


G.R. No. 118127, 12 April 2005, TINGA, J.

The police power granted to local governmentunits mustalways be exercised with


utmostobservance ofthe rights ofthe people to due process and equalprotection ofthe law

FACTS

Private respondent Malate Tourist Development Corporation (MTDC) is a corporation


engaged in the business of operating hotels, motels, hostels and lodging houses. Herein petitioners,
City of Manila, Hon. Alfredo S. Lim (Lim), Hon. Joselito L. Atienza, and the members of the City
Council of Manila (City Council) enacted an ordinance prohibiting anyone person or entity in the
Ermita-Malate area to engage in any business providing certain forms of amusement,
entertainment, services and facilities where women are used as tools in entertainment and which
tend to disturb the community, annoy the inhabitants, and adversely affect the social and moral
welfare of the community.

MTDC filed a Petition and prayed that the Ordinance be declared invalid and
unconstitutional as it is ultra vires and that it is void for being repugnant to the general law. It
reiterates that the questioned Ordinance is not a valid exercise of police power; that it is violative of
due process, confiscatory and amounts to an arbitrary interference with its lawful business; that it is
violative of the equal protection clause; and that it confers on petitioner City Mayor or any officer
unregulated discretion in the execution of the Ordinance absent rules to guide and control his
actions.

ISSUE

Whether or not the Ordinance No. 7783 is constitutional

HELD

No. The Ordinance contravenesthe Constitution. The police power of the City Council,
however broad and far-reaching, is subordinate to the constitutional limitations thereon; and is
subject to the limitation that its exercise must be reasonable and for the public good. In the case at
bar, the enactment of the Ordinance was an invalid exercise of delegated power as it is
unconstitutional and repugnant to general laws.

The Ordinance is unreasonable and oppressive as it substantially divests the respondent of


the beneficial use of its property. The Ordinance forbids the running of the enumerated businesses in
the Ermita-Malate area and instructs its owners/operators to wind up business operations or to
transfer outside the area or convert said businesses into allowed businesses. An ordinance which
permanently restricts the use of property that it can not be used for any reasonable purpose goes
beyond regulation and must be recognized as a taking of the property without just compensation. It
is intrusive and violative of the private property rights of individuals.

The Ordinance also violates Equal Protection Clause. The standard "where women are used
as tools for entertainment" is also discriminatory as prostitution one of the hinted ills the
Ordinance aims to banish is not a profession exclusive to women. This discrimination based on
gender violates equal protection as it is not substantially related to important government objectives.

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All considered, the Ordinance invades fundamental personal and property rights and impairs
personal privileges. It is constitutionally infirm. The Ordinance contravenes statutes; it is
discriminatory and unreasonable in its operation; it is not sufficiently detailed and explicit that
abuses may attend the enforcement of its sanctions. And not to be forgotten, the City Council under
the Code had no power to enact the Ordinance and is therefore ultra vires, null and void.

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Angeles, George, II.

WHITE LIGHT CORPORATION TITANIUM CORPORATION AND STA. MESA TOURIST &
DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION v. CITY OF MANILA, REPRESENTED BY MAYOR
ALFREDO S. LIM
G.R. No. 12284620, January 2009

Individual rights may be adversely affected only to the extent that may fairly be required by
the legitimate demands of public interest or public welfare. The State is a leviathan that mustbe
restrained from needlessly intruding into the lives of its citizens.

FACTS

On December 3, 1992, City Mayor Alfredo S. Lim (Mayor Lim) signed into law the Manila
City Ordinance No. 7774 entitled, "An Ordinance Prohibiting Short-Time Admission, Short-Time
Admission Rates, and Wash-Up Rate Schemes in Hotels, Motels, Inns, Lodging Houses, Pension
Houses, and Similar Establishments in the City of Manila”. The Ordinance prohibits two specific and
distinct business practices, namely wash rate admissions and renting out a room more than twice a
day.

On December 15, 1992, the Malate Tourist and Development Corporation (MTDC) filed a
complaint for declaratory relief with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction and/or temporary
restraining order (TRO) with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila. It also prayed that the
Ordinance, insofar as it includes motels and inns as among its prohibited establishments, be
declared invalid and unconstitutional. On December 21, 1992, petitioners White Light Corporation
(WLC), Titanium Corporation (TC) and Sta. Mesa Tourist and Development Corporation (STDC) also
filed a motion to intervene and to admit attached complaint-in-intervention on the ground that the
Ordinance directly affects their business interests as operators of drive-in-hotels and motels in
Manila. The RTC rendered a decision declaring the Ordinance null and void and made permanent
the preliminary injunction issued.

Before the Court of Appeals, the City asserted that the Ordinance is a valid exercise of police
power pursuant to Section 458 (4)(iv) of the Local Government Code. The Ordinance, it is argued, is
also a valid exercise of the power of the City under Article III, Section 18(kk) of the Revised Manila
Charter. On the other hand, petitioners argued that the Ordinance is unconstitutional and void since
it violates the right to privacy and the freedom of movement; it is an invalid exercise of police power;
and it is an unreasonable and oppressive interference in their business.The Court of Appeals
reversed the decision of the RTC and affirmed the constitutionality of the Ordinance.

ISSUE

Whether or not the Ordinance is an invalid exercise of police power.

HELD

NO. The rights at stake herein fall within the same fundamental rights to liberty which we
upheld in City of Manila v. Hon. Laguio, Jr. We expounded on that most primordial of rights, thus:
Liberty as guaranteed by the Constitution was defined by Justice Malcolm to include "the right to
exist and the right to be free from arbitrary restraint or servitude. The term cannot be dwarfed into
mere freedom from physical restraint of the person of the citizen, but is deemed to embrace the right
of man to enjoy the facilities with which he has been endowed by his Creator, subject only to such
restraint as are necessary for the common welfare." In accordance with this case, the rights of the

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citizen to be free to use his faculties in all lawful ways; to live and work where he will; to earn his
livelihood by any lawful calling; and to pursue any avocation are all deemed embraced in the concept
of liberty.

We cannot discount other legitimate activities which the Ordinance would proscribe or
impair. There are very legitimate uses for a wash rate or renting the room out for more than twice a
day. Entire families are known to choose pass the time in a motel or hotel whilst the power is
momentarily out in their homes. In transit passengers who wish to wash up and rest between trips
have a legitimate purpose for abbreviated stays in motels or hotels. Indeed any person or groups of
persons in need of comfortable private spaces for a span of a few hours with purposes other than
having sex or using illegal drugs can legitimately look to staying in a motel or hotel as a convenient
alternative.

That the Ordinance prevents the lawful uses of a wash rate depriving patrons of a product
and the petitioners of lucrative business ties in with another constitutional requisite for the
legitimacy of the Ordinance as a police power measure. It must appear that the interests of the
public generally, as distinguished from those of a particular class, require an interference with
privaterights and the means must be reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose
and not unduly oppressive of private rights. It must also be evident that no other alternative for the
accomplishment of the purpose less intrusive of private rights can work. More importantly, a
reasonable relation must exist between the purposes of the measure and the means employed for its
accomplishment, for even under the guise of protecting the public interest, personal rights and those
pertaining to privateproperty will not be permitted to be arbitrarily invaded.Lacking a concurrence
of these requisites, the police measure shall be struck down as an arbitrary intrusion into private
rights. As held in Morfe v. Mutuc, the exercise of police power is subject to judicial review when life,
liberty or property is affected.

This Ordinance is a blunt and heavy instrument. The Ordinance makes no distinction
between places frequented by patrons engaged in illicit activities and patrons engaged in legitimate
actions. Thus it prevents legitimate use of places where illicit activities are rare or even unheard of.
A plain reading of section 3 of the Ordinance shows it makes no classification of places of lodging,
thus deems them all susceptibleto illicit patronage and subject them without exception to
theunjustified prohibition.

The behavior which the Ordinance seeks to curtail is in fact already prohibited and could in
fact be diminished simply by applying existing laws. Less intrusive measures such as curbing the
proliferation of prostitutes and drug dealers through active police work would be more effective in
easing the situation. So would the strict enforcement of existing laws and regulations penalizing
prostitution and drug use. These measures would have minimal intrusion on the businesses of the
petitioners and other legitimate merchants. Further, it is apparent that the Ordinance can easily be
circumvented by merely paying the whole day rate without any hindrance to those engaged in illicit
activities. Moreover, drug dealers and prostitutes can in fact collect "wash rates" from their clientele
by charging their customers a portion of the rent for motel rooms and even apartments.

We reiterate that individual rights may be adversely affected only to the extent that may
fairly be required by the legitimate demands of public interest or public welfare. The State is a
leviathan that must be restrained from needlessly intruding into the lives of its citizens. However
well -intentioned the Ordinance may be, it is in effect an arbitrary and whimsical intrusion into the
rights of the establishments as well as their patrons. The Ordinance needlessly restrains the
operation of the businesses of the petitioners as well as restricting the rights of their patrons without
sufficient justification. The Ordinance rashly equates wash rates and renting out a room more than
twice a day with immorality without accommodating innocuous intentions.

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Balingasa, Mary Angeline

CARLOS SUPERDRUG CORP., et. al. v. DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND


DEVELOPMENT (DSWD), et. al.
G.R. No. 166494, 29 June 2007

When the conditions so demand as determined by the legislature, property rights must bow to
the primacy of police power because property rights, though sheltered by due process, must yield to
general welfare.

FACTS

Petitioners, as domestic corporations and proprietors operating drugstores in the Philippines,


assailed the constitutionality of Section 4(a) of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act which grants a 20%
discount in the purchase of medicines for the exclusive use of the senior citizens. They argued that
the law is confiscatory because it infringes Article III, Section 9 of the Constitution which provides
that private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation. They maintained
that the reduction in their total revenues resulting from the grant of discount is a forced subsidy
corresponding to the taking of the private property for public use or benefit, for which they should be
entitled to a just compensation, but the law failed to provide a scheme whereby they will be justly
compensated.

ISSUE

Whether the State, in promoting the health and welfare of a special group of citizens, can
impose upon private establishments the burden of partly subsidizing a government program.

HELD

YES. The law is a legitimate exercise of police power which has general welfare for its object.
For this reason, when the conditions so demand as determined by the legislature, property rights
must bow to the primacy of police power because property rights, though sheltered by due process,
must yield to general welfare. While the Constitution protects property rights, the State, in the
exercise of police power, can intervene in the operations of a business which may result in an
impairment of property rights in the process. Moreover, in the absence of evidence demonstrating
the alleged confiscatory effect of the provision in question, there is no basis for its nullification in
view of the presumption of validity which every law has in its favor. Thus, it is incorrect for
petitioners to insist that the grant of the senior citizen discount is unduly oppressive to their
business, because they have not been able to show properly whether or not the tax deduction scheme
really works greatly to their disadvantage. Moreover, the right to property has a social dimension.
While Article XIII of the Constitution provides the precept for the protection of property, various
laws and jurisprudence, particularly on agrarian reform and the regulation of contracts and public
utilities, continuously serve as a reminder that the right to property can be relinquished upon the
command of the State for the promotion of public good.

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Balonkita, Christa

FERNANDO v. ST. SCOLASTICA’S COLLEGE


GR No. 161107, 12 March 2013

For an ordinance to be valid, it must not only be within the corporate powers of the local
government unit to enact and pass according to the procedure prescribed by law, it must also conform
to the following substantive requirements: (1) must not contravene the Constitution or any statute (2)
must not be unfair or oppressive; (3) must not be partial or discriminatory; (4) must not prohibit but
may regulate trade; (5) must be general and consistent with public policy; and (6) must not be
unreasonable.

FACTS

St. Scholastica’s College (SSC) is the owner of four (4) parcels of land measuring a total of
56,306.80 square meters, located in Marikina Height. Located within the property are SSA-
Marikina, the residence of the sisters of the Benedictine Order, the formation house of the novices,
and the retirement house for the elderly sisters. The property is enclosed by a tall concrete perimeter
fence built some thirty (30) years ago. Abutting the fence along the West Drive are the buildings,
facilities and other improvements.

Petitioners are the officials of the City Government of Marikina. On September 30, 1993, the
SangguiniangPanglungsond ng Marikina City enacted Ordinance No. 192, entitled “Regulating the
Construction of Fences and Walls in the Municipality of Marikina”.Ordinance No. 192, as amended,
is reproduced hereunder, as follows:

Section 3. The standard height of fences or walls allowed under this ordinance are as
follows:
(1) Fences on the front yard shall be no more than one (1) meter in height. Fences
in excess of one (1) meter shall be of an open fence type, at least eighty percent
(80%) see-thru

Section 5. In no case shall walls and fences be built within the five (5) meter parking
area allowance located between the front monument line and the building line of
commercial and industrial establishments and educational and religious institutions

Pursuant to the ordinance, on April 2, 2000, the City Government of Marikina sent a letter to
SSC ordering them to demolish and replace the fence of their Marikina property to make it 80% see
thru, and, at the same time, move it back about 6 meters to provide parking space for vehicles. On
April 26, 2000, SSC requested for an extension of time to comply with the directive. In response,
petitioners’ through the City Mayor of Marikina, insisted on the enforcement of the ordinance.

SSC thereafter filed a peitition for prohibition with an application for a writ of preliminary
injunction and temporary restraining order before the RTC.

SSC argued that petitioners were acting in excess of jurisdiction in enforcing the ordinance
asserting that it contravenes Sec. 1, Art. III of the Constitution – that demolishing their fence and
constructing it 6 meters back would result to loss of a substantial amount of land as well as the
destruction several facilities within the property resulting in the permanent loss of their beneficial
use. SSC thus asserted that the implementation of the ordinance would be tantamount to an
appropriation of property without due process and that the petitioners could only do the same
through the exercise of eminent domain. They also pointed out that the goal of the provisions in the

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ordinance to deter lawless elements and criminality did not exist as the solid concrete walls of the
school had served sufficient protection for many years.

Petitioners countered that the ordinance was a valid exercise of police power for the
protection of public safety, health, morals, or the promotion of public convenience and general
prosperity.

RTC Ruling: RTC issued a writ of preliminary injunction, enjoining the petitioners from
implementing the demolition of the fence. RTC ruled that the 80% see-thu fence requirement could
run counter to SSC’s right to privacy, considering that the property also served as a residence of the
Benedictine sisters. Moreover, it ruled that the purpose of beautification could not be used to justify
the exercise of police power.

CA Ruling: CA affirmed the decision of the RTC. It ruled that the assailed ordinance could not be
upheld as valid as it clearly invaded the personal and property rights of SSC and for being
unreasonable and undue restraint of trade.

ISSUE

Whether or not the implementation of the Ordinance is a valid exercise of police power by the
City Government of Marikina

HELD

NO. Citing the case of White Light Corporation vs. City of Manila: for an ordinance to be
valid, it must conform to the following substantive requirements:
(1) It must not contravene the constitution or any statute; (2) must not be unfair or oppressive;
(3) must not be partial or discriminatory; (4) must not prohibit but may regulate trade; (5)
must be general and consistent with public police; and (6) must not be unreasonable.

Also, the Court held that to successfully invoke the exercise of police power as the rationale
for the enactment of an ordinance and to free it from the imputation of constitutional infirmity, two
tests must be applied: the rational relationship test and the strict scrutiny test.

Using the rational basis examination, laws or ordinances are upheld if they rationally
further a legitimate governmental interest. Under intermediate review, governmental interest is
extensively examined and the availability of less restrictive measures is considered. Applying strict
scrutiny, the focus is on the presence of compelling, rather than substantial, governmental interest
and on the absence of less restrictive means for achieving that interest.

Even without going to a discussion of the strict scrutiny test, Ordinance No. 192, series of
1994 must be struck down for not being reasonably necessary to accomplish the City’s purpose. More
importantly, it is oppressive of private rights.

The Court further held that under the rational relationship test, an ordinance must pass the
following requisites as discussed in Social Justice Society vs. Atienza Jr:

1. The interests of the public generally, as distinguished from those of a particular class,
require its exercise; and
2. The means employed are reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose, and
not unduly oppressive upon individuals.

In short, there must be a concurrence of a LAWFUL SUBJECT and LAWFUL METHOD.

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Lack in in a concurrence of the two requisites, the police power measure shall be STRUCK
DOWN as arbitrary intrusion into private rights and a violation of the due process clause.

As to the beautification purpose of the assailed ordinance, as previously discussed, the State
may not, under the guise of police power, infringe on private rights solely for the sake of the
aesthetic appearance of the community. Similarly, the Court cannot perceive how a see-thru fence
will foster "neighborliness" between members of a community.

In conclusion, considering the invalidity of Sections 3.1 and 5, it is clear that the petitioners
were acting in excess of their jurisdiction in enforcing Ordinance No. 192 against the respondents.
The CA was correct in affirming the decision of the RTC in issuing the writ of prohibition. The
petitioners must permanently desist from enforcing Sections 3.1 and 5 of the assailed ordinance on
the respondents' property in Marikina City.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The October 2, 2002 Decision of the Regional Trial Court in
SCA Case No. 2000-381-MK is AFFIRMED but MODIFIED to read as follows:

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The writ of prohibition is hereby issued


commanding the respondents to permanently desist from enforcing or implementing Sections
3.1 and 5 of Ordinance No. 192, Series of 1994, as amended, on the petitioners' property in
question located in Marikina Heights, Marikina, Metro Manila.

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Cabitac, Fernando, III

CRISOSTOMO AQUINO v. MUNICIPALITY OF MALAY, AKLAN


G.R. No. 211356, 29 September 2014

In the exercise of police power and the general welfare clause, property rights of individuals
may be subjected to restraints and burdens in order to fulfil the objectives of the government.
Otherwise stated, the government may enact legislation that may interfere with personal
liberty, property, lawful businesses and occupations to promote the general welfare.

FACTS

Boracay Island West Cove Management Philippines, Inc. (Boracay West Cove) applied for a
zoning compliance with the municipal government of Malay, Aklan. While the company was already
operating a resort in the area, the application sought the issuance of a building permit covering the
construction of a three-storey hotel which is covered by a Forest Land Use Agreement for Tourism
Purposes (FLAgT) issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in
favor of Boracay West Cove.

The Municipal Zoning Administrator denied petitioner’s application on the ground that the
proposed construction site was within the "no build zone" demarcated in Municipal Ordinance 2000-
131 (Ordinance).

A Cease and Desist Order was issued by the municipal government, enjoining the expansion
of the resort, and on June 7, 2011, the Office of the Mayor of Malay, Aklan issued the assailed EO 10,
ordering the closure and demolition of Boracay West Cove’s hotel.

Alleging that the order was issued and executed with grave abuse of discretion, petitioner
filed a Petition for Certiorari with prayer for injunctive relief with the CA. He argued that judicial
proceedings should first be conducted before the respondent mayor could order the demolition of the
company’s establishment; that Boracay West Cove was granted a FLAgT by the DENR, which
bestowed the company the right to construct permanent improvements on the area in question.

In rebuttal, respondents contended that the FLAgT does not excuse the company from
complying with the Ordinance and Presidential Decree No. 1096 (PD 1096), otherwise known as the
National Building Code of the Philippines. Respondents also argued that the demolition needed no
court order because the municipal mayor has the express power under the Local Government Code
(LGC) to order the removal of illegally constructed buildings.

ISSUE

Whether the judicial proceedings should first be conducted before the LGU can order the
closure and demolition of the property in question.

HELD

Generally, LGUs have no power to declare a particular thing as a nuisance unless such a
thing is a nuisance per se.

We agree with petitioner’s contention that, under Section 447(a)(3)(i) of R.A. No. 7160,
otherwise known as the Local Government Code, the SangguniangPanglungsod is empowered to
enact ordinances declaring, preventing or abating noise and other forms of nuisance. It bears
stressing, however, that the Sangguniang Bayan cannot declare a particular thing as a nuisance per

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se and order its condemnation. It does not have the power to find, as a fact, that a particular thing is
a nuisance when such thing is not a nuisance per se; nor can it authorize the extrajudicial
condemnation and destruction of that as a nuisance which in its nature, situation or use is not such.
Those things must be determined and resolved in the ordinary courts of law.If a thing, be in fact, a
nuisance due to the manner of its operation, that question cannot be determined by a mere
resolution of the Sangguniang Bayan.

Despite the hotel’s classification as a nuisance per accidens, however, We still find in this
case that the LGU may nevertheless properly order the hotel’s demolition. This is because, in the
exercise of police power and the general welfare clause, property rights of individuals may be
subjected to restraints and burdens in order to fulfil the objectives of the government.

Otherwise stated, the government may enact legislation that may interfere with personal
liberty, property, lawfulbusinesses and occupations to promote the general welfare.

One such piece of legislation is the LGC, which authorizes city and municipal governments,
acting through their local chief executives, to issue demolition orders. Under existing laws, the office
of the mayor is given powers not only relative to its function asthe executive official of the town; it
has also been endowed with authorityto hear issues involving property rights of individuals and to
come out with an effective order or resolution thereon. Pertinent herein is Sec. 444 (b)(3)(vi) of the
LGC, which empowered the mayor to order the closure and removal of illegally constructed
establishments for failing tosecure the necessary permits.

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Castillo, Jephthah

JOSE J. FERRER, JR., v. CITY MAYOR HERBERT BAUTISTA, CITY COUNCIL OF


QUEZON CITY, CITY TREASURER OF QUEZON CITY, AND CITY ASSESSOR OF
QUEZON CITY

The SHT charged by the QC Government is a tax which is within its power to impose. Cities
are allowed to exercise such other powers and discharge such other functions and responsibilities as
are necessary, appropriate, or incidental to efficient and effective provision of the basic services and
facilities which include, among others, programs and projects for low-cost housing and other mass
dwellings.

FACTS

Petitioner, a QC property owner, assails the constitutionality of two QC ordinances, namely


Ordinance No. SP-2095, S-2011 or the Socialized Housing Tax of Quezon City and Ordinance No. SP-
2235, S-2013 on garbage collection fees.

Section 3 of SP-2095 provides:

SECTION 3. IMPOSITION. A special assessment equivalent to one-half percent (0.5%) on


the assessed value of land in excess of One Hundred Thousand Pesos (Php100,000.00) shall
be collected by the City Treasurer which shall accrue to the Socialized Housing Programs of
the Quezon City Government. The special assessment shall accrue to the General Fund
under a special account to be established for the purpose (i.e., programs and projects for low-
cost housing and other mass dwellings).

On the other hand, Ordinance No. SP-2235, S-2013 on garbage collection places the rates
of the imposable fee dependent on the land or floor area and whether the payee is an occupant of a
lot, condominium, social housing project or apartment.

ISSUES

1. WON SP-2095, S-2011 on the Socialized Housing Tax (SHT) is valid.


a. WON the SHT is a tax which is within the QC government to impose.
b. WON the SHT violates the rule on equality.
c. WON the SHT is confiscatory or oppressive.
2. WON SP-2235, S-2013 on Garbage Fee is valid.
a. WON the Ordinance on Garbage Fee violates the rule on double taxation.
b. WON it violates the rule on equality.

HELD

1. SP-2095, S-2011 on the Socialized Housing Tax (SHT) is VALID.

a. Yes.

The SHT charged by the QC Government is a tax which is within its power to
impose. Cities are allowed to exercise such other powers and discharge such other functions
and responsibilities as are necessary, appropriate, or incidental to efficient and effective
provision of the basic services and facilities which include, among others, programs and
projects for low-cost housing and other mass dwellings. The collections made accrue to its
socialized housing programs and projects. The tax is not a pure exercise of taxing

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power or merely to raise revenue; it is levied with a regulatory purpose. The levy is
primarily in the exercise of the police power for the general welfare of the entire city. It is
greatly imbued with public interest. Removing slum areas in Quezon City is not only
beneficial to the underprivileged and homeless constituents but advantageous to the real
property owners as well. The situation will improve the value of the their property
investments, fully enjoying the same in view of an orderly, secure, and safe community, and
will enhance the quality of life of the poor, making them law-abiding constituents and better
consumers of business products.

b. No.

The SHT does NOT violate the rule on equality. For the purpose of undertaking a
comprehensive and continuing urban development and housing program, the disparities
between a real property owner and an informal settler as two distinct classes are too obvious
and need not be discussed at length. The differentiation conforms to the practical dictates of
justice and equity and is not discriminatory within the meaning of the Constitution. Notably,
the public purpose of a tax may legally exist even if the motive which impelled the legislature
to impose the tax was to favor one over another.It is inherent in the power to tax that a State
is free to select the subjects of taxation.Inequities which result from a singling out of one
particular class for taxation or exemption infringe no constitutional limitation.

c. No.
The SHT is NOT confiscatory nor oppressive. The reasonableness of Ordinance No.
SP-2095 cannot be disputed. It is not confiscatory or oppressive since the tax being imposed
therein is below what the UDHA actually allows. While the law authorizes LGUs to collect
SHT on lands with an assessed value of more than P50,000.00, the questioned ordinance only
covers lands with an assessed value exceeding P100,000.00. Even better, on certain
conditions, the ordinance grants a tax credit equivalent to the total amount of the special
assessment paid beginning in the sixth (6th) year of its effectivity. Far from being obnoxious,
the provisions of the subject ordinance are fair and just.

2. SP-2235, S-2013 on Garbage Fee is INVALID. Although it does not violate the rule on double
taxation, it nonetheless violates the rule on equality.

a. SP-2235 does NOT violate the rule on double taxation.

The fee imposed for garbage collections under Ordinance No. SP-2235 is a charge fixed for
the regulation of an activity. In Progressive Development Corporation v. Quezon City, the
Court declared that “if the generating of revenue is the primary purpose and regulation is
merely incidental, the imposition is a tax; but if regulation is the primary purpose, the fact
that incidentally revenue is also obtained does not make the imposition a tax.” In a U.S. case,
the garbage fee was considered as a "service charge" rather than a tax as it was actually a fee
for a service given by the city which had previously been provided at no cost to its citizens.

Hence, not being a tax, the contention that the garbage fee under Ordinance No. SP-2235
violates the rule on double taxation must necessarily fail.

b. Yes. SP-2235 violates the rule on equality. For the purpose of garbage collection, there is, in
fact, no substantial distinction between an occupant of a lot, on one hand, and an occupant of
a unit in a condominium, socialized housing project or apartment, on the other hand. Most
likely, garbage output produced by these types of occupants is uniform and does not vary to a
large degree; thus, a similar schedule of fee is both just and equitable.

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The rates being charged by the ordinance are unjust and inequitable: a resident of a 200 sq.
m. unit in a condominium or socialized housing project has to pay twice the amount than a
resident of a lot similar in size; unlike unit occupants, all occupants of a lot with an area of
200 sq. m. and less have to pay a fixed rate of Php100.00; and the same amount of garbage
fee is imposed regardless of whether the resident is from a condominium or from a socialized
housing project.

Indeed, the classifications under Ordinance No. S-2235 are not germane to its declared
purpose of “promoting shared responsibility with the residents to attack their common
mindless attitude in over-consuming the present resources and in generating waste.”Instead
of simplistically categorizing the payee into land or floor occupant of a lot or unit of a
condominium, socialized housing project or apartment, respondent City Council should have
considered factors that could truly measure the amount of wastes generated and the
appropriate fee for its collection. Factors include, among others, household age and size,
accessibility to waste collection, population density of the barangay or district, capacity to
pay, and actual occupancy of the property.

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Dator, Peter Paul

PHILIPPINE HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS INC. v. CIR


GR No. 167330, 18 September 18, 2009 (Corona, J.)

One test that they have applied is whether the assumption of risk and indemnification of loss
(which are elements of an insurance business) are the principal object and purpose of the organization
or whether they are merely incidental to its business. If these are the principal objectives, the business
is that of insurance. But if they are merely incidental and service is the principal purpose, then the
business is not insurance.

FACTS

Petitioner herein is a Healthcare Provider wherein customers are pre-paying for the medical
services that they may need in the future. The CIR assessed on the petitioner that they have both
VAT and DST. CTA adjudged that only VAT is imposable. On appeal from CIR, the CA ruled that
both is imposable. Thus action to the SC has been brought by the petitioner. The SC initially
affirmed the CA ruling. Due to this, a Motion for Reconsideration has been filed by the petitioner.

ISSUE

Whether or not DCT is an imposable tax upon petitioner

HELD

NO – In ruling favorably for the petitioner, the court first settled the issue whether or not
the petitioner is an insurance company because if so, then it will be liable to pay the DST deficit.
Ruling that the petitioner is not an insurance company, it ruled that the main difference between an
HMO and an Insurance Company is that HMOs undertake to provide or arrange for the provision of
medical services through participating physicians while insurance companies simply undertake to
indemnify the insured for medical expenses incurred up to a pre-agreed limit. Clearly, what the
petitioner herein offers medical services per se which their customers pre-paid for as compared to an
insurance company wherein it would just indemnify the expenses paid by the customer after the
medical service.

Furthermore, a healthcare agreement which is what the petitioner offers is not covered
under the NIRC because the main purpose of the Agreement is to provide service rather than to
indemnify.

Now, looking at the history, it can be seen that there were many times where the legislative,
through the amendments on the once-called Internal Revenue Law of 1904, could have explicitly
stated that Healthcare Agreements shall be covered under DST but they did not.

Thirdly, legitimate enterprises enjoy the constitutional protection not to be taxed out of
existence. Incurring losses because of a tax imposition may be an acceptable consequence but killing
the business of an entity is another matter and should not be allowed. It is counter-productive and
ultimately subversive of the nation's thrust towards a better economy which will ultimately benefit
the majority of our people. It could be seen that the DST to be paid is P 376 Million, where the
petitioner’s net worth is only P 259 Million.

Finally, petitioner showed that they availed of the Tax Amnesty under RA 9840 which in
effect extinguished their tax liabilities. They proved it in court.

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WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsideration is GRANTED. The August 16, 2004 decision of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 70479 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The 1996 and 1997
deficiency DST assessment against petitioner is hereby CANCELLED and SET ASIDE. Respondent
is ordered to desist from collecting the said tax.

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Onia, Steven Ralph

NPC v. CITY OF CABANATUAN (120)


G.R. NO. 17732

A healthy balance should be maintained such that laws are interpreted in a way that these
burdens do not amount to a confiscatory outcome. Taxes are not and should not be construed to drive
businesses into insolvency. To a certain extent, a reasonable surcharge will provide incentive to pay;
an unreasonable one delays payment and engages government in unnecessary litigation and expense.

FACTS

The City of Cabanatuan (the City) assessed the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) a
franchise tax amounting to 808,606.41, representing 75% of 1% of its gross receipts for 1992.
NAPOCOR refused to pay, arguing that it is exempt from paying the franchise tax. Consequently, on
November 9, 1993, the City filed a complaint before the Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan City,
demanding NAPOCOR to pay the assessed tax due plus 25% surcharge and interest of 2% per month
of the unpaid tax, and costs of suit.

The trial court declared that the City could not impose a franchise tax on NAPOCOR and
accordingly dismissed the complaint for lack of merit. NAPOCOR assailed the trial court’s order
dated October 25, 2004 through a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals.

ISSUE

Whether or not the respondent’s computation of surcharge is unconscionable and oppressive.

HELD

Yes, Taxes and its surcharges and penalties cannot be construed in such a way as to become
oppressive and confiscatory. Taxes are implied burdens that ensure that individuals and businesses
prosper in a conducive environment assured by good and effective government. A healthy balance
should be maintained such that laws are interpreted in a way that these burdens do not amount to a
confiscatory outcome. Taxes are not and should not be construed to drive businesses into insolvency.
To a certain extent, a reasonable surcharge will provide incentive to pay; an unreasonable one delays
payment and engages government in unnecessary litigation and expense.

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Del Prado, Darren Joseph

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ANDRE MARTI


G.R. No. 81561, 18 January 1991

The constitutional proscription against unlawful searches and seizures therefore applies as a
restraint directed only against the government and its agencies tasked with the enforcement of the law
and not against private individuals.

FACTS

On August 14, 1987, the appellant and his common-law wife, Shirley Reyes went to Manila
Packaging and Export Forwarders to send packages to Zurich, Switzerland. It was received by Anita
Reyes and ask if she could inspect the packages. Shirley refused and eventually convinced Anita to
seal the package making it ready for shipment. Before being sent out for delivery, Job Reyes,
husband of Anita and proprietor of the courier company, conducted an inspection of the package as
part of standard operating procedures. Upon opening the package, he noticed a suspicious odor
which made him took sample of the substance he found inside. He reported this to the NBI and
invited agents to his office to inspect the package. In the presence of the NBI agents, Job Reyes
opened the suspicious package and found dried-marijuana leaves inside. A case was filed against
Andre Marti in violation of R.A. 6425 and was found guilty by the court a quo. Andre filed an appeal
in the Supreme Court claiming that his constitutional right of privacy was violated and that the
evidence acquired from his package was inadmissible as evidence against him.

ISSUE

Can the Constitutional Right of Privacy be enforced against private individuals?

HELD

The Supreme Court held based on the speech of Commissioner Bernas that the Bill of
Rights governs the relationship between the individual and the state.

The constitutional proscription against unlawful searches and seizures therefore applies as
a restraint directed only against the government and its agencies tasked with the enforcement of the
law. It is not meant to be invoked against acts of private individuals. It will be recalled that Mr Job
Reyes was the one who opened the box in the presence of the NBI agents in his place of business. The
mere presence of the NBI agents did not convert the reasonable search effected by Mr. Reyes into a
warrantless search and siezure proscribed by the constitution. Merely to observe and look at that
which is in plain sight is not a search.

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Diaz, Jose Rodolfo

SOUTHERN LUZON DRUG CORPORATION v. THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL


WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT, THE NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR THE WELFARE OF
DISABLED PERSONS, THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE, and THE BUREAU OF
INTERNAL REVENUE
G.R. No. 199669, 25 APRIL 2017

In the exercise of police power, “property rights of private individuals are subjected to
restraints and burdens in order to secure the general comfort, health, and prosperity of the
State.” Even then, the State’s claim of police power cannot be arbitrary or unreasonable. After all, the
overriding purpose of the exercise of the power is to promote general welfare, public health and safety,
among others. It is a measure, which by sheer necessity, the State exercises, even to the point of
interfering with personal liberties or property rights in order to advance common good.

FACTS

The petitioner is a domestic corporation engaged in the business of drugstore operation in


the Philippines while the respondents are government' agencies, office and bureau tasked to
monitor compliance with R.A. Nos. 9257 and 9442, promulgate implementing rules and regulations
for their effective implementation, as well as prosecute and revoke licenses of erring establishments.

The case at bar is a Petition for Review on Certiorari assailing the Decision of the Court of
Appeals which dismissed the petition for prohibition filed by Southern Luzon Drug Corporation
(petitioner) against the Department of Social Welfare and Development , the National Council for
the Welfare of Disabled Persons (now National Council on Disability Affairs or NCDA), the
Department of Finance and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (collectively, the respondents), which
sought to prohibit the implementation of Section 4(a) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9257, otherwise
known as the "Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003" and Section 32 of R.A. No. 9442, which amends
the "Magna Carta for Disabled Persons," particularly the granting of 20% discount on the purchase
of medicines by senior citizens and persons with disability (PWD), respectively, and treating them as
tax deduction. which dismissed the petition for prohibition filed by Southern Luzon Drug
Corporation (petitioner) against the Department of Social Welfare and Development , the National
Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons (now National Council on Disability Affairs or NCDA),
the Department of Finance and the Bureau of: Internal Revenue (collectively, the respondents),
which sought to prohibit the implementation of Section 4(a) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9257,
otherwise known as the "Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003" and Section 32 of R.A. No. 9442,
which amends the "Magna Carta for Disabled Persons," particularly the granting of 20% discount on
the purchase of medicines by senior citizens and persons with disability (PWD),: respectively, and
treating them as tax deduction due to the reason that claiming it affects the profitability of their
business.

ISSUES

1. Whether or not the Petition for Prohibition may be filed to question the constitutionality of a law;
2. Whether or not the case constitute stare decisis
3. Whether or not the 20% Sales Discount for Senior Citizens PWDs does not violate the petitioner’s
right to equal protection of the law
4. Whether or not the definitions of Disabilities and PWDs are vague and violates the petitioners
right to due process of law

HELD

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1. Yes. Prohibition may be filed to question the constitutionality of a law. Generally, the
office of prohibition is to prevent the unlawful and oppressive exercise of authority and is directed
against proceedings that are done without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of
discretion, there being no appeal or other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course
of law. It is the remedy to prevent inferior courts, corporations, boards, or persons from usurping or
exercising a jurisdiction or power with which they have not been vested by the law.

This is, however, not the lone office of an action for prohibition. In Diaz, et al. v. The
Secretary of Finance, et al., prohibition was also recognized as a proper remedy to prohibit or nullify
acts of executive officials that amount to usurpation of legislative authority. And, in a number of
jurisprudence, prohibition was allowed as a proper action to assail the constitutionality of a law or
prohibit its implementation.

2. No. The Court agrees that the ruling in Carlos Superdrug does not constitute stare decisis
to the instant case, not because of the petitioner's submission of financial statements which were
wanting in the first case, but because it had the good sense of including questions that had not been
raised or deliberated in the former case of Carlos Superdrug, i.e., validity of the 20% discount
granted to PWDs, the supposed vagueness of the provisions of R.A. No. 9442 and violation of the
equal protection clause.

3. Yes. The subject laws do not violate the equal protection clause. The equal protection
clause is not infringed by legislation which applies only to those persons falling within a specified
class. If the groupings are characterized by substantial distinctions that make real differences, one
class may be treated and regulated differently from another." For a classification to be valid, (1) it
must be based upon substantial distinctions, (2) it must be germane to the purposes of the law, (3) it
must not be limited to existing conditions only, and (4) it must apply equally to all members of the
same class.

4. No. The definitions of "disabilities" and "PWDs" are clear and unequivocal. Section 4(a) of
R.A. No. 7277, the precursor of R.A. No. 94421 defines "disabled persons" as follows:

(a) Disabled persons are those suffering from restriction or different abilities, as a result of a
mental, physical or sensory impairment, to perform an activity in the manner or within the range
considered normal for a human being[.]

On the other hand, the term "PWDs" is defined in Section 5.1 of the IRR of R.A. No. 9442 as
follows:

5. Persons with Disability are those individuals defined under Section 4 of [R.A. No.] 7277
[or] An Act Providing for the Rehabilitation, Self-Development and Self-Reliance of Persons with
Disability as amended and their integration into the Mainstream of Society and for Other Purposes.
This is defined as a person suffering from restriction or different abilities, as a result of a mental,
physical or sensory impairment, to perform an activity in a manner or within the range considered
normal for human being. Disability shall mean (1) a physical 1or mental impairment that
substantially limits one or more psychological, physiological or anatomical function of an individual
or activities of such individual; (2) a record of such an impairment; or (3) being regarded as having
such an impairment.

In view of the foregoing disquisition, Section 4(a) of Republic Act No. 9257 and Section 32 of
Republic Act No. 9442 are hereby declared CONSTITUTIONAL.

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Evangelista, Kevin

SAMAHAN NG MGA PROGRESIBONG KABATAAN (SPARK) v. QUEZON CITY

FACTS

This petition for certiorari and prohibition assails the constitutionality of the curfew
ordinances issued by the local governments of Quezon City, Manila, and Navotas. The petition prays
that a temporary restraining order (TRO) be issued ordering respondents Herbert Bautista, Joseph
Estrada, and John Rey Tiangco, as Mayors of their respective local governments, to prohibit, refrain,
and desist from implementing and enforcing these issuances, pending resolution of this case, and
eventually, declare the City of Manila's ordinance as ultra vires for being contrary to Republic Act
No. (RA) 9344,or the "Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act," as amended, and all curfew ordinances as
unconstitutional for violating the constitutional right of minors to travel, as well as the right of
parents to rear their children.

Petitioners posit that the Curfew Ordinances encourage arbitrary and discriminatory
enforcement as there are no clear provisions or detailed standards on how law enforcers should
apprehend and properly determine the age of the alleged curfew violators.They further argue that
the law enforcer's apprehension depends only on his physical assessment, and, thus, subjective and
based only on the law enforcer's visual assessment of the alleged curfew violator.

ISSUE

Whether or not the Curfew Ordinances are unconstitutional for being violative of the right of
minors to travel as well as the right of parents to rear their children.

HELD

1. Right of parents to rear their children

Section 12, Article II of the 1987 Constitution articulates the State's policy relative to the rights of
parents in the rearing of their children:

Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and
strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally
protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural
and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency
and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.

As may be gleaned from this provision, the rearing of children for civic efficiency and the
development of their moral character are characterized not only as parental rights, but also as
parental duties. This means that parents are not only given the privilege of exercising their
authority over their children; they are equally obliged to exercise this authority conscientiously. The
duty aspect of this provision is a reflection of the State's independent interest to ensure that the
youth would eventually grow into free, independent, and well-developed citizens of this nation. For
indeed, it is during childhood that minors are prepared for additional obligations to society. "The
duty to prepare the child for these [obligations] must be read to include the inculcation of moral
standards, religious beliefs, and elements of good citizenship. “This affirmative process of teaching,
guiding, and inspiring by precept and example is essential to the growth of young people into
mature, socially responsible citizens.”

While parents have the primary role in child-rearing, it should be stressed that "when

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actions concerning the child have a relation to the public welfare or the well-being of the child, the
State may act to promote these legitimate interests. Thus, in cases in which harm to 
the physical
or mental health of the child or to public safety, peace, order, or welfare is demonstrated, these
legitimate state interests may override the parents' qualified right to control the upbringing of their
children.

As parens patriae, the State has the inherent right and duty to aid parents in the moral
development of their children,and, thus, assumes a supporting role for parents to fulfill their
parental obligations. In Bellotti, it was held that "legal restriction on minors, especially those
supportive of the parental role, may be important to the child's chances for the full growth and
maturity that make eventual participation in a free society meaningful and rewarding. Under the
Constitution, the State can properly conclude that parents and others, teachers for example, who
have the primary responsibility for children's well-being are entitled to the support of the laws
designed to aid discharge of that responsibility.

The Curfew Ordinances are but examples of legal restrictions designed to aid parents in
their role of promoting their children's well-being. These ordinances further compelling State
interests (particularly, the promotion of juvenile safety and the prevention of juvenile crime), which
necessarily entail limitations on the primary right of parents to rear their children. Minors, because
of their peculiar vulnerability and lack of experience, are not only more exposed to potential physical
harm by criminal elements that operate during the night; their moral well-being is likewise
imperiled as minor children are prone to making detrimental decisions during this time.

In all actuality, the only aspect of parenting that the Curfew Ordinances affects is the
parents' prerogative to allow minors to remain in public places without parental accompaniment
during the curfew hours. In this respect, the ordinances neither dictate an over-all plan of discipline
for the parents to apply to their minors nor force parents to abdicate their authority to influence or
control their minors' activities.As such, the Curfew Ordinances only amount to a minimal, albeit
reasonable, infringement upon a parent's right to bring up his or her child.

In fine, the Curfew Ordinances should not be declared unconstitutional for violating the
parents' right to rear their children.

2. Minor’s Right to travel

The right to travel is recognized and guaranteed as a fundamental right under Section 6, Article III
of the 1987 Constitution, to wit:
Section 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed
by law shall not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the
right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national security, public safety, or
public health, as may be provided by law.

Jurisprudence provides that this right refers to the right to move freely from the Philippines to
other countries or within the Philippines.It is a right embraced within the general concept of
liberty.Liberty - a birthright and the right of citizens to be free to use their faculties in lawful ways
and to live and work where of every person - includes the power of locomotion they desire or where
they can best pursue the ends of life.

The right to travel is essential as it enables individuals to access and exercise their other rights,
such as the rights to education, free expression, assembly, association, and religion.

Nevertheless, grave and overriding considerations of public interest justify restrictions even if
made against fundamental rights. Specifically on the freedom to move from one place to another,

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jurisprudence provides that this right is not absolute. As the 1987 Constitution itself reads, the State
may impose limitations on the exercise of this right, provided that they: (1) serve the interest of
national security, public safety, or public health; and (2) are provided by law.

The restrictions set by the Curfew Ordinances that apply solely to minors are likewise
constitutionally permissible. In this relation, this Court recognizes that minors do possess and enjoy
constitutional rights, but the exercise of these rights is not co-extensive as those of adults. They are
always subject to the authority or custody of another, such as their parent/s and/or guardian/s, and
the State. As parens patriae, the State regulates and ,to a certain extent, restricts the minors'
exercise of their rights, such asin their affairs concerning the right to vote, the right to execute
contracts,and the right to engage in gainful employment.With respectto the right to travel, minors
are required by law to obtain a clearance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development
before they can travel to a foreign country by themselves or with a person other than their parents.
These limitationsdemonstrate that the State has broader authority over the minors' activities than
over similar actions of adults, and overall, reflect the State’s general interest in the well-being of
minors. Thus, the State may impose limitations on the minors' exercise of rights even though these
limitations do not generally apply to adults.

CONCLUSION

In sum, while the Court finds that all three Curfew Ordinances have passed the first prong
of the strict scrutiny test - that is, that the State has sufficiently shown a compelling interest to
promote juvenile safety and prevent juvenile crime in the concerned localities, only the Quezon City
Ordinance has passed the second prong of the strict scrutiny test, as it is the only issuance out of the
three which provides for the least restrictive means to achieve this interest. In particular, the
Quezon City Ordinance provides for adequate exceptions that enable minors to freely exercise their
fundamental rights during the prescribed curfew hours, and therefore, narrowly drawn to achieve
the State's purpose. Section 4 (a) of the said ordinance, i.e., "[t]hose accompanied by their parents or
guardian", has also been construed to include parental permission as a constructive form of
accompaniment and hence, an allowable exception to the curfew measure; the manner of
enforcement, however, is left to the discretion of the local government unit.

In fine, the Manila and Navotas Ordinances are declared unconstitutional and thus, null and
void, while the Quezon City Ordinance is declared as constitutional and thus, valid in accordance
with this Decision.

For another, the Court has determined that the Manila Ordinance's penal provisions
imposing reprimand and fines/imprisonment on minors conflict with Section 57-A of RA 9344, as
amended. Hence, following the rule that ordinances should always conform with the law, these
provisions must be struck down as invalid.

WHEREFORE, the petition is PARTLY GRANTED. The Court hereby declares Ordinance No. 8046,
issued by the local government of the City of Manila, and PambayangOrdinansaBlg. No. 99-02, as
amended by PambayangOrdinansaBig. 2002-13 issued by the local government of Navotas City,
UNCONSTITUTIONAL and, thus, NULL and VOID; while Ordinance No. SP-2301, Series of 2014,
issued by the local government of the Quezon City is declared CONSTITUTIONAL and, thus, VALID
in accordance with this Decision.

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Due Process

Guevarra, Jhaypee

SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE ENGAGEMENT NETWORK, INC., v. ANTI-TERRORISM


COUNCIL, et al.
G.R. No. 178552 October 5, 2010, EN BANC (Corona, C.J)

Justice Mendoza accurately phrased the subtitle in his concurring opinion that the vagueness
and overbreadth doctrines, as grounds for a facial challenge, are not applicable to penal laws. A
litigant cannot thus successfully mount a facial challenge against a criminal statute on either
vagueness or overbreadth grounds.This rationale is inapplicable to plain penal statutes that generally
bear an in terrorem effect in deterring socially harmful conduct. In fact, the legislature may even
forbid and penalize acts formerly considered innocent and lawful, so long as it refrains from
diminishing or dissuading the exercise of constitutionally protected rights.

FACTS

Petitioners assail for being intrinsically vague and impermissibly broad the definition of the
crime of terrorism under RA 9372 (the Human Security Act of 2007) in that terms like “widespread
and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace” and “coerce the government to give in to an
unlawful demand” are nebulous, leaving law enforcement agencies with no standard to measure the
prohibited acts.

ISSUE

Can the Human Security Act of 2007 be facially challenged on the grounds of vagueness and
overbreadh doctrines?

HELD

No.A facial invalidation of a statute is allowed only in free speech cases, wherein certain
rules of constitutional litigation are rightly excepted.

In Estrada vs. Sandiganbayan it was held that:

A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one which is


overbroad because of possible”chilling effect” upon protected speech. The possible
harm to society in permitting some unprotected speech to go unpunished is
outweighed by the possibility that the protected speech of others may be deterred and
perceived grievances left to fester because of possible inhibitory effects of overly
broad statutes.

This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes have general in
terrorem effect resulting from their very existence, and, if facial challenge is allowed for this reason
alone, the State may well be prevented from enacting laws against socially harmful conduct. In the
area of criminal law, the law cannot take chances as in the area of free speech.

Furthermore, the court further explained that the overbreadth and vagueness doctrines then
have special application only to free speech cases. They are inapt for testing the validity of penal
statutes.They do not also operate on the same plane - A statute or act suffers from the defect of
vagueness when it lacks comprehensible standards that men of common intelligence must
necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application. It is repugnant to the Constitution

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in two respects: (1) it violates due process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties
targeted by it, fair notice of the conduct to avoid; and (2) it leaves law enforcers unbridled discretion
in carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle. The
overbreadth doctrine, meanwhile, decrees that a governmental purpose to control or prevent
activities constitutionally subject to state regulations may not be achieved by means which sweep
unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms.

As distinguished from the vagueness doctrine, the overbreadth doctrine assumes that
individuals will understand what a statute prohibits and will accordingly refrain from that behavior,
even though some of it is protected.

Lastly, distinguished from an as-applied challenge which considers only extant facts
affecting real litigants, a facial invalidation is an examination of the entire law, pinpointing its flaws
and defects, not only on the basis of its actual operation to the parties, but also on the assumption or
prediction that its very existence may cause others not before the court to refrain from
constitutionally protected speech or activities.

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Ibanez, Abigail

SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE ENGAGEMENT NETWORK v. ANTI-TERRORISM COUNCIL


G.R. No. 178552, 5 October 2010

Void for Vagueness is repugnant to the Constitution in two respects: (1) it violates due process
for failure to accord persons, especially the parties targeted by it, fair notice of the conduct to avoid;
and (2) it leaves law enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an
arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle. The overbreadth doctrine, meanwhile, decrees that a
governmental purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject to state regulations may
not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected
freedoms.

FACTS

Following the effectivity of RA 9372Human Security Act of 2007 on July 15, 2007, petitioner
Southern Hemisphere Engagement Network, Inc., a non-government organization, and Atty.
Soliman Santos, Jr., a concerned citizen, taxpayer and lawyer, filed a petition for certiorari and
prohibition. Petitioners assail for being intrinsically vague and impermissibly broad the definition of
the crime of terrorism under RA 9372 in that terms like widespread and extraordinary fear and
panic among the populace and coerce the government to give in to an unlawful demand are nebulous,
leaving law enforcement agencies with no standard to measure the prohibited acts.

ISSUE

Whether or not RA9372 is constitutional?

HELD

Constitutional. The vagueness and overbreadth doctrines, as grounds for a facial challenge,
are not applicable to penal laws. A litigant cannot thus successfully mount a facial challenge against
a criminal statute on either vagueness or overbreadth grounds.The allowance of a facial challenge in
free speech cases is justified by the aim to avert the chilling effect on protected speech, the exercise
of which should not at all times be abridged.[62] As reflected earlier, this rationale is inapplicable to
plain penal statutes that generally bear an in terrorem effect in deterring socially harmful
conduct.Under no case may ordinary penal statutes be subjected to a facial challenge. The rationale
is obvious. If a facial challenge to a penal statute is permitted, the prosecution of crimes may be
hampered. No prosecution would be possible. The application of the overbreadth doctrine is limited
to a facial kind of challenge and, owing to the given rationale of a facial challenge, applicable only to
free speech cases.

Petition Dismissed.

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Landayan, Mary Mercedita

SKIPPERS UNITED PACIFIC, INC. v. DOZA


G.R. No. 175558, 8 February 2012

For a worker’s dismissal to be considered valid, it must comply with both procedural and
substantive due process. The legality of the manner of dismissal constitutes procedural due process,
while the legality of the act of dismissal constitutes substantive due process; Termination by the
employee of the employment contract requires a written notice of resignation. In the absence thereof, it
is safe to presume that the employer terminated the seafarers.

FACTS

Skippers United Pacific, Inc. deployed, in behalf of Skippers Maritime Services, Inc., Ltd , De
Gracia, Lata, and Aprosta to work on board the vessel MV Wisdom Star.

De Gracia, et al. claimed that Skippers failed to remit their respective allotments for almost
five months, compelling them to air their grievances with the Romanian Seafarers Free Union. The
ITF Inspector of the Romanian Seafarers Union sent the Captain of Cosmos Shipping a fax letter,
relaying the complaints of his crew, namely: home allotment delay, unpaid salaries (only advances),
late provisions, lack of laundry services (only one washing machine), and lack of maintenance of the
vessel (perforated and unrepaired deck). To date, however, Skippers only failed to remit the home
allotment for the month of December 1998. In January 1999, De Gracia, et al. were unceremoniously
discharged from MV Wisdom Stars and immediately repatriated. Upon arrival in the Philippines, De
Gracia, et al. filed a complaint for illegal dismissal with the Labor Arbiter and prayed for payment of
their home allotment for the month of December 1998, salaries for the unexpired portion of their
contracts, moral damages, exemplary damages, and attorney’s fees.

Skippers, on the other hand, claims that on 3 December 1998, De Gracia, smelling strongly of
alcohol, went to the cabin of the Master of MV Wisdom Stars, and was rude, shouting noisily to the
master.This incident was evidenced by the Captain’s Report sent via telex to Skippers on said date.
Skippers also claims that on 22 January 1999, four Filipino seafarers, namely Aprosta, De Gracia,
Lata and Doza, arrived in the master’s cabin and demanded immediate repatriation because they
were not satisfied with the ship. De Gracia, et al. threatened that they may become crazy any
moment and demanded for all outstanding payments due to them. This is evidenced by a telex of
Cosmoship MV Wisdom to Skippers, which however bears conflicting dates.

The LA dismissed De Gracia, et al.’s complaint for illegal dismissal because the seafarers
voluntarily pre-terminated their employment contracts by demanding for immediate repatriation
due to dissatisfaction with the ship and held that such voluntary pre-termination of employment
contract is akin to resignation. The LA also dismissed De Gracia et al.’s claim for home allotment
because they were not able to prove their entitlement to the same. Lastly, Skippers’ claim for
reimbursement of repatriation expenses was likewise denied.

The NLRC affirmed the Labor Arbiter’s decision.

The CA granted De Gracia, et al.’s petition and reversed the decisions of the Labor Arbiter
and NLRC. It declared that the telex message was "a self-serving document that does not satisfy the
requirement of substantial evidence, or that amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind
might accept as adequate to justify the conclusion that petitioners indeed voluntarily demanded
their immediate repatriation."For this reason, the repatriation of De Gracia, et al. prior to the
expiration of their contracts showed they were illegally dismissed from employment.Attorney’s fees
was granted.

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ISSUE

Whether or not the CA seriously erred in not giving due credence to the master’s telex
message showing that the respondents voluntarily requested to be repatriated.


HELD

No. For a worker’s dismissal to be considered valid, it must comply with both procedural and
substantive due process. The legality of the manner of dismissal constitutes procedural due process,
while the legality of the act of dismissal constitutes substantive due process.

Procedural due process in dismissal cases consists of the twin requirements of notice and
hearing. The employer must furnish the employee with two written notices before the termination of
employment can be effected: (1) the first notice apprises the employee of the particular acts or
omissions for which his dismissal is sought; and (2) the second notice informs the employee of the
employer’s decision to dismiss him. Before the issuance of the second notice, the requirement of a
hearing must be complied with by giving the worker an opportunity to be heard. It is not necessary
that an actual hearing be conducted.

Substantive due process, on the other hand, requires that dismissal by the employer be made
under a just or authorized cause under Articles 282 to 284 of the Labor Code.

In this case, there was no written notice furnished to De Gracia, et al. regarding the cause of
their dismissal. Cosmoship furnished a written notice (telex) to Skippers, the local manning agency,
claiming that De Gracia, et al. were repatriated because the latter voluntarily pre-terminated their
contracts. This telex was given credibility and weight by the Labor Arbiter and NLRC in deciding
that there was pre-termination of the employment contract "akin to resignation" and no illegal
dismissal. However, as correctly ruled by the CA, the telex message is "a biased and self-serving
document that does not satisfy the requirement of substantial evidence." If, indeed, De Gracia, et al.
voluntarily pre-terminated their contracts, then De Gracia, et al. should have submitted their
written resignations.

Article 285 of the Labor Code recognizes termination by the employee of the employment
contract by "serving written notice on the employer at least one (1) month in advance." Given that
provision, the law contemplates the requirement of a written notice of resignation. In the absence of
a written resignation, it is safe to presume that the employer terminated the seafarers. In addition,
the telex message relied upon by the Labor Arbiter and NLRC bore conflicting dates, giving doubt to
the veracity and authenticity of the document. For these reasons, the dismissal of De Gracia, et al.
was illegal.

WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM the Decision of the CA with MODIFICATION as to the award.

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Lelay, Lord Bien

OMBUDSMAN v. NICASIO A. CONTI


G.R. No. 221296, 22 February 2017

The essence of due process, as applied to administrative proceedings, is an opportunity to


explain one's side, or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of.
Thus, a violation of that right occurs when a court or tribunal rules against a party without giving
the person the opportunity to be heard.

FACTS

This Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court filed by the Office
of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) seeks to review and set aside the May 19, 2015 Decision and the
October 28, 2015 Resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA), in CA-G.R. SP No. 126698, entitled Nicasio
A. Conti v. Office of the Ombudsman. The CA issuances reversed the August 26, 2011 Decision and
the May 25, 2012 Order of the Ombudsman, finding respondent Nicasio A. Conti (Conti) guilty of
Dishonesty, Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service.

This case stemmed from the filing of a complaint by the Field Investigation Office (FIO) of
the Ombudsman against Chairman Camilo L. Sabio and Commissioners Narciso S. Nario, Teresito
L. Javier, Ricardo M. Abcede, and Conti of the Presidential Commission on Good Government
(PCGG), for Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the
Service. On August 26, 2011, the Ombudsman found all five (5) PCGG Commissioners
administratively liable for Dishonesty, Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of
the Service.

On April 2, 2012, Conti moved for reconsideration of the Ombudsman decision. Claiming that
he was denied due process, he sought the reversal of the findings of the Ombudsman. He averred
that he only learned of the filing of the cases before the Sandiganbayan for the first time through
news reports; that he searched online and found a report on the website of ABSCBN; that he was
shocked and surprised by the filing of the cases because he was never informed and he never
received any subpoena from the Ombudsman; that on February 16, 2012, he secured a photocopy of
the records of the criminal cases from the Sandiganbayan where it appeared that his copy of the
decision was sent to "30 Bituan St., North Araneta Avenue, Quezon City" on February 1, 2012 as
shown in the registry receipt; that the said address used to be his address and he had since moved to
#1 F. Sevilla St., Sevilla Townhomes, Barangay Pedro Cruz, San Juan City, in 2006; that he could
not have received any notice even if it was sent to the PCGG office because he was already separated
from the service as of August 2008; and lastly, that he never received any notice, subpoena or order
from the Ombudsman during the conduct of the administrative and criminal investigation.

On May 25, 2012, the Ombudsman denied Conti's motion for reconsideration. Aggrieved,
Conti filed a petition for review before the CA. In its May 19, 2015 Decision, the CA granted Conti's
petition.

ISSUE

Whether respondent Conti was denied due process.

HELD

Yes. Conti was deprived of his Constitutional Right to Due Process. Section 1, Article III of
the 1987 Constitution guarantees that “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property

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without due process of law nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the law.”
Procedural due process is that which hears before it condemns, which proceeds upon inquiry and
renders judgment only after trial. It contemplates notice and opportunity to be heard before
judgment is rendered affecting one's person or property.

In administrative proceedings, due process is satisfied when a person is notified of the charge
against him and given an opportunity to explain or defend oneself. In such proceedings, the filing of
charges and giving reasonable opportunity for the person so charged to answer the accusations
against him constitute the minimum requirements of due process. The essence of due process,
therefore, as applied to administrative proceedings, is an opportunity to explain one's side, or an
opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. Thus, a violation of that
right occurs when a court or tribunal rules against a party without giving the person the opportunity
to be heard.

In this case, Conti was never given an opportunity to air his side. He was not furnished with
a copy of the Ombudsman order requiring him to file a counter-affidavit. This was admitted by the
Ombudsman as the records bore that the notices were sent to the PCGG when he was no longer a
Commissioner and to Conti's previous address in Araneta Avenue, Quezon City, which were
returned unserved with a notation that the addressee moved and left with no forwarding address.
This suffices as proof that Conti was not properly apprised of the cases against him.

The case is remanded to the Ombudsman for appropriate action.

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Lintao, Jude

ESTRADA v. OMBUDSMAN et al.


GR NO. 212140-41, 21 January 2015

There is no law or rule which requires the Ombudsman to furnish a respondent with copies of
the counter-affidavits of his co-respondents.

FACTS

Sometime in November and December 2013, the Ombudsman served on Sen. Estrada two (2)
criminalcomplaints for plunder, among others. Eighteen (18) of Sen. Estrada’s co-respondents in the
two complaintsfiled their counter-affidavits between 9 December 2013 and 14 March 2014.On 20
March 2014, Sen. Estrada filed his “Request to be Furnished with Copies of Counter-Affidavits of
theOther Respondents, Affidavits of New Witnesses and Other Filings” (the “Request”). Sen.
Estrada’s request was made “pursuant to the right of a respondent ‘to examine the evidence
submitted by the complainant which hemay not have been furnished’ (Section 3[b], Rule 112 of the
Rules of Court) and to ‘have access to the evidenceon record’ (Section 4[c], Rule II of the Rules of
Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman).”The Ombudsman denied Sen. Estrada’s Request, which
is not the subject of the present certiorari case.

ISSUE

Whether or not petitioner Estrada was denied due process of law?

HELD

NO. The denial did not violate Sen. Estrada’s constitutional right to due process. First, There
is no law or rule which requires the Ombudsman to furnish a respondent with copies of the counter-
affidavits of his co-respondents. The SC cited in its decision Sections 3 and 4, Rule 112 of the Revised
Rules of Criminal Procedure, as well as Rule II of Administrative Order No. 7, Rules of Procedure of
the Office of the Ombudsman, for ready reference. Sen. Estrada claims that the denial of his Request
for the counter-affidavits of his co-respondents violates his constitutional right to due process. Sen.
Estrada, however, fails to specify a law or rule which states that it is a compulsory requirement of
due process in a preliminary investigation that the Ombudsman furnish a respondent with the
counter-affidavits of his co-respondents. Neither Section 3(b), Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure nor Section 4(c), Rule II of the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the
Ombudsman supports Sen. Estrada’s claim. What the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the
Ombudsman require is for the Ombudsman to furnish the respondent with a copy of the complaint
and the supporting affidavits and documents at the time the order to submit the counter-affidavit is
issued to the respondent. This is clear from Section 4(b),Rule II of the Rules of Procedure of the
Office of the Ombudsman when it states, "[a]fter such affidavits [of the complainant and his
witnesses] have been secured, the investigating officer shall issue an order, attaching thereto a copy
of the affidavits and other supporting documents, directing the respondent to submit, within ten(10)
days from receipt thereof, his counter-affidavits x xx." At this point, there is still no counter-affidavit
submitted by any respondent. Clearly, what Section 4(b) refers to are affidavits of the complainant
and his witnesses, not the affidavits of the co-respondents. Obviously, the counter-affidavits of the co-
respondents are not part of the supporting affidavits of the complainant. No grave abuse of discretion
can thus be attributed to the Ombudsman for the issuance of the 27 March 2014 Order which denied
Sen. Estrada’s Request. Second, it should be underscored that the conduct of a preliminary
investigation is only for the determination of probable cause, and “probable cause merely implies
probability of guilt and should be determined in a summary manner. A preliminary investigation is
not a part of the trial and it is only in a trial where an accused can demand the full exercise of his

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rights, such as the right to confront and cross-examine his accusers to establish his innocence.” Thus,
the rights of a respondent in a preliminary investigation are limited to those granted by procedural
law. A preliminary investigation is defined as an inquiry or proceeding for the purpose of
determining whether there is sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime
cognizable by the Regional Trial Court has been committed and that the respondent is probably
guilty thereof, and should be held for trial. The quantum of evidence now required in preliminary
investigation is such evidence sufficient to “engender a well-founded belief” as to the fact of the
commission of a crime and the respondent’s probable guilt thereof. A preliminary investigation is not
the occasion for the full and exhaustive display of the parties’ evidence; it is for the presentation of
such evidence only as may engender a well-grounded belief that an offense has been committed and
that the accused is probably guilty thereof. We are in accord with the state prosecutor’s findings in
the case at bar that there exists prima facie evidence of petitioner’s involvement in the commission of
the crime, it being sufficiently supported by the evidence presented and the facts obtaining therein.
Third, the technical rules on evidence are not binding on the fiscal who has jurisdiction and control
over the conduct of a preliminary investigation. If by its very nature a preliminary investigation
could be waived by the accused, we find no compelling justification for a strict application of the
evidentiary rules.

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Equal Protection

Lopez, Sherlyn

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. CAYAT


G.R. No. L-45987, 5 May 1939

It is an established principle of constitutional law that the guaranty of the equal protection of
the laws is not equal protection of the laws is not violated by a legislation based on reasonable
classification. And the classification, to be reasonable, (1) must rest on substantial distinctions; (2)
must be germane to the purposes of the law; (3) must not be limited to existing conditions only; and (4)
must apply equally to all members of the same class.

FACTS

The Accused, Cayat, is a Native of Baguio, Benguet, Mountain Province. On 25 th of January


1937, Cayat was in possession of one bottle of A-1-1 gin which is an intoxicating liquor. He was
prosecuted for violation of Act. No. 1639, section 2 and section 3 which state:

SEC. 2. It shall be unlawful for any native of the Philippine Islands who is a member of a
non-Christian tribe within the meaning of the Act Numbered Thirteen hundred and ninety-
seven, to buy, receive, have in his possession, or drink any ardent spirits, ale, beer, wine, or
intoxicating liquors of any kind, other than the so-called native wines and liquors which the
members of such tribes have been accustomed themselves to make prior to the passage of
this Act, except as provided in section one hereof; and it shall be the duty of any police officer
or other duly authorized agent of the Insular or any provincial, municipal or township
government to seize and forthwith destroy any such liquors found unlawfully in the
possession of any member of a non-Christian tribe.

SEC. 3. Any person violating the provisions of section one or section two of this Act shall,
upon conviction thereof, be punishable for each offense by a fine of not exceeding two
hundred pesos or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, in the discretion of
the court.

The Act prohibits any native of Philippine Islands who is a member of Non-Christian Tribe
from drinking liquor other than the native wines and liquors. The Trial Court found him guilty of the
crime charged and sentenced him to pay a fine of fifty pesos (P50) or supper subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency. The accused challenges the constitutionality of the Act on the
following grounds: (1) That it is discriminatory; and (2) That it is violative of the due process clause
of the Constitution.

ISSUE

Whether or not the said Act violates the equal protection clause.

HELD

Act 1639 satisfies these requirements.

The classification rests on real and substantial, not merely imaginary or whimsical,
distinctions. It is not based upon "accident of birth or parentage," as counsel to the appellant asserts,
but upon the degree of civilization and culture. "The term 'non-Christian tribes' refers, not to
religious belief, but, in a way, to the geographical area, and, more directly, to natives of the

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Philippine Islands of a low grade of civilization, usually living in tribal relationship apart from
settled communities." This distinction is unquestionably reasonable, for the Act was intended to
meet the peculiar conditions existing in the non-Christian tribes. The exceptional cases of certain
members thereof who at present have reached a position of cultural equality with their Christian
brothers, cannot affect the reasonableness of the classification thus established.

That it is germane to the purposes of law cannot be doubted. The prohibition "to buy, receive,
have in his possession, or drink any ardent spirits, ale, beer, wine, or intoxicating liquors of any
kind, other than the so-called native wines and liquors which the members of such tribes have been
accustomed themselves to make prior to the passage of this Act.," is unquestionably designed to
insure peace and order in and among the non-Christian tribes. It has been the sad experience
of the past, as the observations of the lower court disclose, that the free use of highly intoxicating
liquors by the non-Christian tribes have often resulted in lawlessness and crimes, thereby
hampering the efforts of the government to raise their standard of life and civilization.

The law is not limited in its application to conditions existing at the time of its enactment. It
is intended to apply for all times as long as those conditions exist. The Act was not predicated, as
counsel for appellant asserts, upon the assumption that the non-Christians are "impermeable to any
civilizing influence." On the contrary, the Legislature understood that the civilization of a people is a
slow process and that hand in hand with it must go measures of protection and security.

Finally, that the Act applies equally to all members of the class is evident from a perusal
thereof. That it may be unfair in its operation against a certain number non-Christians by reason of
their degree of culture, is not an argument against the equality of its application.

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Magtira, John Michael

ICHONG v. HERNANDEZ and SARMIENTO


G.R. No.L-7995, 31 May 1957

The equal protection of law does not demand absolute equality among residents; it merely requires
that all persons shall be treated alike, under like circumstances and conditions both as to privileges
conferred and liabilities enforced

FACTS

One of the main provisions of RA 1180 pertains to a prohibition against persons, not citizens
of the Philippines, and against associations, partnerships, or corporations the capital of which are
not wholly owned by citizens of the Philippines, from engaging directly or indirectly in the retail
trade.

Petitioner, alien resident, attacks the constitutionality of the Act, contending that it denies to
alien residents the equal protection of the laws. The Solicitor-General and the Fiscal of the City of
Manila answered that it is authorized in the Constitution in the interest of national economic
survival.

ISSUE

WON RA 1180 is unconstitutional for violating the constitutional right of equal protection of
laws.

HELD

No, it is constitutional.

The equal protection of the law clause is against undue favor and individual or class
privilege, as well as hostile discrimination or the oppression of inequality.It does not demand
absolute equality among residents; it merely requires that all persons shall be treated alike, under
like circumstances and conditions both as to privileges conferred and liabilities enforced.

In this case, the mere fact of alienage is the root and cause of the distinction between the
alien and the national as a trader.An alien is naturally lacking in that spirit of loyalty and
enthusiasm for this country where hetemporarily stays and makes his living, or of that spirit
ofregard, sympathy and consideration for his Filipinocustomers as would prevent him from taking
advantage of their weakness and exploiting them.

These differences arecertainly a valid reason for the State to prefer the national over the
alien in the retail trade

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Mangahas, Bethany

ARMANDO G. YRASUEGUIv. PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC.


G.R. No. 168081, 17 October 2008

Put differently, the Bill of Rights is not meant to be invoked against acts of private
individuals.Indeed, the United States Supreme Court, in interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment,
which is the source of our equal protection guarantee, is consistent in saying that the equal protection
erects no shield against private conduct, however discriminatory or wrongful. Private actions, no
matter how egregious, cannot violate the equal protection guarantee.

FACTS

The proper weight for a man of his height and body structure is from 147 to 166 pounds, the
ideal weight being 166 pounds, as mandated by the Cabin and Crew Administration Manual of PAL.

In 1984, the weight problem of the petitioner started, which prompted PAL to send him to an
extended vacation until November 1985. He was allowed to return to work once he lost all the excess
weight. But the problem recurred. He again went on leave without pay from October 17, 1988 to
February 1989.

Despite the lapse of a ninety-day period given him to reach his ideal weight, petitioner
remained overweight. On January 3, 1990, he was informed of the PAL decision for him to remain
grounded until such time that he satisfactorily complies with the weight standards. Again, he was
directed to report every two weeks for weight checks, which he failed to comply with.

On April 17, 1990, petitioner was formally warned that a repeated refusal to report for
weight check would be dealt with accordingly. He was given another set of weight check dates, which
he did not report to. On November 13, 1992, PAL finally served petitioner a Notice of Administrative
Charge for violation of company standards on weight requirements. Petitioner insists that he is
being discriminated as those similarly situated were not treated the same.

On June 15, 1993, petitioner was formally informed by PAL that due to his inability to attain
his ideal weight, “and considering the utmost leniency” extended to him “which spanned a period
covering a total of almost five (5) years,” his services were considered terminated “effective
immediately.”

ISSUE

Whether or not he was validly dismissed.

HELD

YES. A reading of the weight standards of PAL would lead to no other conclusion than that
they constitute a continuing qualification of an employee in order to keep the job. The dismissal of
the employee would thus fall under Article 282(e) of the Labor Code.

To make his claim more believable, petitioner invokes the equal protection clause guaranty
of the Constitution. However, in the absence of governmental interference, the liberties guaranteed
by the Constitution cannot be invoked. Put differently, the Bill of Rights is not meant to be invoked
against acts of private individuals. Indeed, the United States Supreme Court, in interpreting the
Fourteenth Amendment, which is the source of our equal protection guarantee, is consistent in

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saying that the equal protection erects no shield against private conduct, however discriminatory or
wrongful. Private actions, no matter how egregious, cannot violate the equal protection guarantee

Since the burden of evidence lies with the party who asserts an affirmative allegation,
petitioner has to prove his allegation with particularity. There is nothing on the records which could
support the finding of discriminatory treatment. Petitioner cannot establish discrimination by
simply naming the supposed cabin attendants who are allegedly similarly situated with him.
Substantial proof must be shown as to how and why they are similarly situated and the differential
treatment petitioner got from PAL despite the similarity of his situation with other employees.

Indeed, except for pointing out the names of the supposed overweight cabin attendants,
petitioner miserably failed to indicate their respective ideal weights; weights over their ideal
weights; the periods they were allowed to fly despite their being overweight; the particular flights
assigned to them; the discriminating treatment they got from PAL; and other relevant data that
could have adequately established a case of discriminatory treatment by PAL. In the words of the
CA, PAL really had no substantial case of discrimination to meet.

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Manuel, Kenneth Glenn

LOUIS “BAROK” C. BIRAOGOvs.THE PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION OF 2010


G.R. No. 192935, 7 December 2010, EN BANC (Mendoza, J.)

There must be equality among equals as determined according to a valid classification. Equal
protection clause permits classification. Such classification, however, to be valid must pass the test of
reasonableness. The test has four requisites: (1) The classification rests on substantial distinctions; (2)
It is germane to the purpose of the law; (3) It is not limited to existing conditions only; and (4) It
applies equally to all members of the same class.

FACTS

Pres. Aquino signed E. O. No. 1 establishing Philippine Truth Commission of 2010 (PTC)
dated July 30, 2010.

PTC is a mere ad hoc body formed under the Office of the President with the primary task to
investigate reports of graft and corruption committed by third-level public officers and employees,
their co-principals, accomplices and accessories during the previous administration, and to submit its
finding and recommendations to the President, Congress and the Ombudsman. PTC has all the
powers of an investigative body. But it is not a quasi-judicial body as it cannot adjudicate, arbitrate,
resolve, settle, or render awards in disputes between contending parties. All it can do is gather,
collect and assess evidence of graft and corruption and make recommendations. It may have
subpoena powers but it has no power to cite people in contempt, much less order their arrest.
Although it is a fact-finding body, it cannot determine from such facts if probable cause exists as to
warrant the filing of an information in our courts of law.

Petitioners asked the Court to declare it unconstitutional and to enjoin the PTC from performing its
functions. They argued that:

(a) E.O. No. 1 violates separation of powers as it arrogates the power of the Congress to
create a public office and appropriate funds for its operation.

(b) The provision of Book III, Chapter 10, Section 31 of the Administrative Code of 1987
cannot legitimize E.O. No. 1 because the delegated authority of the President to structurally
reorganize the Office of the President to achieve economy, simplicity and efficiency does not
include the power to create an entirely new public office which was hitherto inexistent like
the “Truth Commission.”

(c) E.O. No. 1 illegally amended the Constitution and statutes when it vested the “Truth
Commission” with quasi-judicial powers duplicating, if not superseding, those of the Office of
the Ombudsman created under the 1987 Constitution and the DOJ created under the
Administrative Code of 1987.

(d) E.O. No. 1 violates the equal protection clause as it selectively targets for investigation
and prosecution officials and personnel of the previous administration as if corruption is
their peculiar species even as it excludes those of the other administrations, past and
present, who may be indictable.

Respondents, through OSG, questioned the legal standing of petitioners and argued that:

1] E.O. No. 1 does not arrogate the powers of Congress because the President’s executive
power and power of control necessarily include the inherent power to conduct investigations

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to ensure that laws are faithfully executed and that, in any event, the Constitution, Revised
Administrative Code of 1987, PD No. 141616 (as amended), R.A. No. 9970 and settled
jurisprudence, authorize the President to create or form such bodies.

2] E.O. No. 1 does not usurp the power of Congress to appropriate funds because there is no
appropriation but a mere allocation of funds already appropriated by Congress.

3] The Truth Commission does not duplicate or supersede the functions of the Ombudsman
and the DOJ, because it is a fact-finding body and not a quasi-judicial body and its functions
do not duplicate, supplant or erode the latter’s jurisdiction.

4] The Truth Commission does not violate the equal protection clause because it was validly
created for laudable purposes.

ISSUES

1. WON the petitioners have legal standing to file the petitions and question E. O. No. 1;
2. WON E. O. No. 1 violates the principle of separation of powers by usurping the powers of Congress
to create and to appropriate funds for public offices, agencies and commissions;
3. WON E. O. No. 1 supplants the powers of the Ombudsman and the DOJ;
4. WON E. O. No. 1 violates the equal protection clause.

HELD

The power of judicial review is subject to limitations, to wit: (1) there must be an actual case
or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power; (2) the person challenging the act must have
the standing to question the validity of the subject act or issuance; otherwise stated, he must have a
personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury
as a result of its enforcement; (3) the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest
opportunity; and (4) the issue of constitutionality must be the very lismota of the case.

1. The petition primarily invokes usurpation of the power of the Congress as a body to which they
belong as members. To the extent the powers of Congress are impaired, so is the power of each
member thereof, since his office confers a right to participate in the exercise of the powers of that
institution.

Legislators have a legal standing to see to it that the prerogative, powers and privileges
vested by the Constitution in their office remain inviolate. Thus, they are allowed to question the
validity of any official action which, to their mind, infringes on their prerogatives as legislators.

With regard toBiraogo, he has not shown that he sustained, or is in danger of sustaining, any
personal and direct injury attributable to the implementation of E. O. No. 1.

Locus standi is “a right of appearance in a court of justice on a given question.” In private


suits, standing is governed by the “real-parties-in interest” rule. It provides that “every action must
be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party in interest.” Real-party-in interest is “the
party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit or the party entitled to the
avails of the suit.”

Difficulty of determining locus standi arises in public suits. Here, the plaintiff who asserts a
“public right” in assailing an allegedly illegal official action, does so as a representative of the
general public. He has to show that he is entitled to seek judicial protection. He has to make out a

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sufficient interest in the vindication of the public order and the securing of relief as a “citizen” or
“taxpayer.

The person who impugns the validity of a statute must have “a personal and substantial
interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain direct injury as a result.” The Court,
however, finds reason in Biraogo’s assertion that the petition covers matters of transcendental
importance to justify the exercise of jurisdiction by the Court. There are constitutional issues in the
petition which deserve the attention of this Court in view of their seriousness, novelty and weight as
precedents

The Executive is given much leeway in ensuring that our laws are faithfully executed. The
powers of the President are not limited to those specific powers under the Constitution. One of the
recognized powers of the President granted pursuant to this constitutionally-mandated duty is the
power to create ad hoc committees. This flows from the obvious need to ascertain facts and determine
if laws have been faithfully executed. The purpose of allowing ad hoc investigating bodies to exist is
to allow an inquiry into matters which the President is entitled to know so that he can be properly
advised and guided in the performance of his duties relative to the execution and enforcement of the
laws of the land.

2. There will be no appropriation but only an allotment or allocations of existing funds already
appropriated. There is no usurpation on the part of the Executive of the power of Congress to
appropriate funds. There is no need to specify the amount to be earmarked for the operation of the
commission because, whatever funds the Congress has provided for the Office of the President will
be the very source of the funds for the commission. The amount that would be allocated to the PTC
shall be subject to existing auditing rules and regulations so there is no impropriety in the funding.

3. PTC will not supplant the Ombudsman or the DOJ or erode their respective powers. If at all, the
investigative function of the commission will complement those of the two offices. The function of
determining probable cause for the filing of the appropriate complaints before the courts remains to
be with the DOJ and the Ombudsman. PTC’s power to investigate is limited to obtaining facts so
that it can advise and guide the President in the performance of his duties relative to the execution
and enforcement of the laws of the land.

4. Court finds difficulty in upholding the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 1 in view of its
apparent transgression of the equal protection clause enshrined in Section 1, Article III (Bill of
Rights) of the 1987 Constitution.

Equal protection requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated
alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed. It requires public bodies and
institutions to treat similarly situated individuals in a similar manner. The purpose of the equal
protection clause is to secure every person within a state’s jurisdiction against intentional and
arbitrary discrimination, whether occasioned by the express terms of a statue or by its improper
execution through the state’s duly constituted authorities.

There must be equality among equals as determined according to a valid classification. Equal
protection clause permits classification. Such classification, however, to be valid must pass the test of
reasonableness. The test has four requisites: (1) The classification rests on substantial distinctions;
(2) It is germane to the purpose of the law; (3) It is not limited to existing conditions only; and (4) It
applies equally to all members of the same class.

The classification will be regarded as invalid if all the members of the class are not similarly
treated, both as to rights conferred and obligations imposed.

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Executive Order No. 1 should be struck down as violative of the equal protection clause. The
clear mandate of truth commission is to investigate and find out the truth concerning the reported
cases of graft and corruption during the previous administration only. The intent to single out the
previous administration is plain, patent and manifest.

Arroyo administration is but just a member of a class, that is, a class of past administrations.
It is not a class of its own. Not to include past administrations similarly situated constitutes
arbitrariness which the equal protection clause cannot sanction. Such discriminating differentiation
clearly reverberates to label the commission as a vehicle for vindictiveness and selective retribution.
Superficial differences do not make for a valid classification.

The PTC must not exclude the other past administrations. The PTC must, at least, have the
authority to investigate all past administrations.

The Constitution is the fundamental and paramount law of the nation to which all other
laws must conform and in accordance with which all private rights determined and all public
authority administered. Laws that do not conform to the Constitution should be stricken down for
being unconstitutional.

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Marasigan, Mariella

JESUS GARCIA v. THE HONORABLE RAY ALAN DRILON, et. al.


G.R. No. 179267, 25 June 2003

The mere fact that the legislative classification may result in actual inequality is not violative
of the right to equal protection, for every classification of persons or things for regulation by law
produces inequality in some degree, but the law is not thereby rendered invalid.

FACTS

After 9 years of spirited advocacy by women’s group, Congress enacted R.A. 9262 also known
as “Violence Against Women and Children” (VAWC). The law is a landmark legislation that defines
and criminalizes acts of violence against women and their children perpetrated by women’s intimate
partners or any person who has sexual or dating relationship, or with whom the woman has a
common child.

This case stemmed from the case that the wife of Jesus Garcia (Jesus) filed before the
Regional Trial Court of Bacolod, where Rosalie Jaype-Garcia (Rosalie) filed for herself and in behalf
of her minor children, a verified petition for the issuance of Temporary Restraining Order (TPO)
against Jesus, claiming that she is a victim of emotional, psychological, and economic violence as a
result of marital infidelity of Jesus.

Jesus is now before the Supreme Court assailing the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 as being
violative of the equal protection and due process clauses, and undue delegation of judicial power to
barangay officials.

Jesus further asserted that R.A. 9262 is intended to prevent and criminalize spousal and
child abuse, which could be very well committed by either the husband or the wife, gender alone is
not enough basis to deprive the husband/father of the remedies under the law.

ISSUE

Whether or not R.A. 9262 is unconstitutional since it violates the equal protection clause that
the Constitution protects.

HELD

NO. Equal protection simply requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be
treated alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed. The oft-repeated disquisition
in the early case of Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union is instructive:

The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in the application
of the laws upon all citizens of the state. It is not, therefore, a requirement, in order to avoid the
constitutional prohibition against inequality, that every man, woman and child should be affected
alike by a statute. Equality of operation of statutes does not mean indiscriminate operation on
persons merely as such, but on persons according to the circumstances surrounding them. It
guarantees equality, not identity of rights. The Constitution does not require that things which are
different in fact be treated in law as though they were the same. The equal protection clause does not
forbid discrimination as to things that are different. It does not prohibit legislation which is limited
either in the object to which it is directed or by the territory within which it is to operate.

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The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification.
Classification in law, as in the other departments of knowledge or practice, is the grouping of things
in speculation or practice because they agree with one another in certain particulars. A law is not
invalid because of simple inequality. The very idea of classification is that of inequality, so that it
goes without saying that the mere fact of inequality in no manner determines the matter of
constitutionality. All that is required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable, which means
that the classification should be based on substantial distinctions which make for real differences;
that it must be germane to the purpose of the law; that it must not be limited to existing conditions
only; and that it must apply equally to each member of the class. This Court has held that the
standard is satisfied if the classification or distinction is based on a reasonable foundation or rational
basis and is not palpably arbitrary.

Measured against the foregoing jurisprudential yardstick, we find that R.A. 9262 is based on
a valid classification as shall hereinafter be discussed and, as such, did not violate the equal
protection clause by favoring women over men as victims of violence and abuse to whom the State
extends its protection.

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Marcelino, Kristen

ANTONIO M. SERRANO v. GALLANT MARITIME SERVICES, INC. and MARLOW


NAVIGATION CO., INC.
G.R. No. 167614, 24 March 2009

The assailed provision is unduly oppressive, unreasonable, and repugnant to the Constitution.
It undermines the mandate of the Constitution to protect the rights of overseas workers and to promote
their welfare. Section 3, Article XIII, of the Constitution states that the State shall (1) afford full
protection to overseas labor, (2) promote full employment and equality of employment opportunities
for all, and (3) guarantee the rights of all workers to security of tenure, humane conditions of work,
and a living wage.

The subject clause does not state or imply any definitive governmental purpose; and it is for
that precise reason that the clause violates not just petitioner’s right to equal protection, but also her
right to substantive due process under Section 1, Article III of the Constitution.

FACTS

For Antonio Serrano (petitioner), a Filipino seafarer, the last clause in the 5th paragraph of
Section 10, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8042, to wit:

“Sec.10.Money Claims.—x xx In case of termination of overseas employment without just,


valid or authorized cause as defined by law or contract, the workers shall be entitled to the
full reimbursement of his placement fee with interest of twelve percent (12%) per annum,
plus his salaries for the unexpired portion of his employment contract or for three (3)
months for every year of the unexpired term, whichever is less.”

violates the OFWs’ constitutional rights in that it impairs the terms of their contract,
deprives them of equal protection and denies them due process.

Antonio M. Serrano (petitioner) was hired by Gallant Maritime Services, Inc. and Marlow
Navigation Co., Ltd. (respondents) under a Philippine Overseas Employment Administration
(POEA)- approved Contract of Employment. On the date of his departure, petitioner was constrained
to accept a downgraded employment contract for the position of Second Officer with a monthly salary
of US$1,000.00, upon the assurance and representation of respondents that he would be made Chief
Officer by the end of April 1998. Respondents did not deliver on their promise to make petitioner
Chief Officer.Hence, petitioner refused to stay on as Second Officer and was repatriated to the
Philippines on May 26, 1998.

Petitioner’s employment contract was for a period of 12 months or from March 19, 1998 up to
March 19, 1999, but at the time of his repatriation on May 26, 1998, he had served only two months
and seven days of his contract, leaving an unexpired portion of nine months and twenty-three days.

Petitioner Serrano filed with the Labor Arbiter (LA) a Complaintagainst respondents for
constructive dismissal and for payment of his money claims in the total amount of US$26,442.73.The
LA rendered a Decision declaring the dismissal of petitioner illegal and awarding him monetary
benefits.

In awarding petitioner a lump-sum salary of US$8,770.00, the LA based his computation on


the salary period of three months only—rather than the entire unexpired portion of nine months and
23 days of petitioner’s employment contract— applying the subject clause. However, the LA applied
the salary rate of US$2,590.00, consisting of petitioner’s “[b]asic salary, US$1,400.00/month +

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US$700.00/month, fixed overtime pay, + US$490.00/month, vacation leave pay = US$2,590.00/


compensation per month.”

Petitioner and Respondents appealed to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).
The NLRC corrected the LA’s computation of the lump- sum salary awarded to petitioner by
reducing the applicable salary rate from US$2,590.00 to US$1,400.00.

Petitioner filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration, but this time he questioned the
constitutionality of the subject clause.The NLRC denied the motion.
Petitioner filed a Petition for Certiorariwith the CA, reiterating the constitutional challenge against
the subject clause. After initially dismissing the petition on a technicality, the CA eventually gave
due course to it. The CA affirmed the NLRC ruling on the reduction of the applicable salary rate;
however, the CA skirted the constitutional issue raised by petitioner.

ISSUE

Whether or not the said clause is unconstitutional.

HELD

Yes.Upon cursory reading, the subject clause appears facially neutral, for it applies to all
OFWs. However, a closer examination reveals that the subject clause has a discriminatory intent
against, and an invidious impact on, OFWs at two levels:

“First, OFWs with employment contracts of less than one year vis-à-vis OFWs with employment
contracts of one year or more;
Second, among OFWs with employment contracts of more than one year; and
Third, OFWs vis-à-vis local workers with fixed-period employment;”

The Court concludes that the subject clause contains a suspect classification in that, in the
computation of the monetary benefits of fixed-term employees who are illegally discharged, it
imposes a 3-month cap on the claim of OFWs with an unexpired portion of one year or more in their
contracts, but none on the claims of other OFWs or local workers with fixed-term employment. The
subject clause singles out one classification of OFWs and burdens it with a peculiar disadvantage.

There being a suspect classification involving a vulnerable sector protected by the


Constitution, the Court now subjects the classification to a strict judicial scrutiny, and determines
whether it serves a compelling state interest through the least restrictive means.

What constitutes compelling state interest is measured by the scale of rights and powers
arrayed in the Constitution and calibrated by history.It is akin to the paramount interest of the
statefor which some individual liberties must give way, such as the public interest in safeguarding
health or maintaining medical standards,or in maintaining access to information on matters of
public concern.The Court finds no discernible state interest, let alone a compelling one, that is
sought to be protected or advanced by the adoption of the subject clause.

In fine, the Government has failed to discharge its burden of proving the existence of a
compelling state interest that would justify the perpetuation of the discrimination against OFWs
under the subject clause.

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Mendoza, Roland Joseph

SAMEER OVERSEAS PLACEMENT AGENCY, INC., v. JOY C. CABILES


G.R. NO. 170139, 5 August 2014

Workers are entitled to substantive and procedural due process before termination. They may
not be removed from employment without a valid or just cause as determined by law and without
going through the proper procedure.

FACTS

Petitioner, Sameer Overseas Placement Agency, Inc., is a recruitment and placement agency.
Responding to an ad it published, respondent, Joy C. Cabiles, submitted her application for a quality
control job in Taiwan.

Joy’s application was accepted.7 Joy was later asked to sign a one-year employment contract
for a monthly salary of NT$15,360.00. She alleged that Sameer Overseas Agency required her to pay
a placement fee of P70,000.00 when she signed the employment contract.

Joy was deployed to work for Taiwan Wacoal, Co., Ltd. (Wacoal) on June 26, 1997. She
alleged that in her employment contract, she agreed to work as quality control for one year. In
Taiwan, she was asked to work as a cutter. Sameer Overseas Placement Agency claims that on July
14, 1997, a certain Mr.Huwang from Wacoal informed Joy, without prior notice, that she was
terminated and that “she should immediately report to their office to get her salary and passport.”
She was asked to “prepare for immediate repatriation.”

Joy claims that she was told that from June 26 to July 14, 1997, she only earned a total of
NT$9,000.15 According to her, Wacoal deducted NT$3,000 to cover her plane ticket to Manila. On
October 15, 1997, Joy filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Commission against
petitioner and Wacoal. She claimed that she was illegally dismissed.

Sameer Overseas Placement Agency alleged that respondent’s termination was due to her
inefficiency, negligence in her duties, and her “failure to comply with the work requirements [of] her
foreign [employer].

ISSUE

Whether herein private respondent was illegally dismissed.

HELD

Sameer Overseas Placement Agency’s petition is without merit. We find for respondent.

Sameer Overseas Placement Agency failed to show thatthere was just cause for causing Joy’s
dismissal. The employer, Wacoal, also failed to accord her due process of law.

Indeed, employers have the prerogative to impose productivity and quality standards at
work. They may also impose reasonable rules to ensure that the employees comply with these
standards. Failure to comply may be a just cause for their dismissal. This prerogative, however,
should not be abused. It is “tempered with the employee’s right to security of tenure.” Workers are
entitled to substantive and procedural due process before termination. They may not be removed
from employment without a valid or just cause as determined by law and without going through the
proper procedure. Security of tenure for labor is guaranteed by our Constitution. Employees are not

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stripped of their security of tenure when they move to work in a different jurisdiction. With respect
to the rights of overseas Filipino workers, we follow the principle of lex loci contractus.

By our laws, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) mayonly be terminated for a just or
authorized cause and after compliance with procedural due process requirements. Article 282 of the
Labor Code enumerates the just causes of termination by the employer.

The burden of proving that there is just cause for termination is on the employer. “The
employer must affirmatively show rationally adequate evidence that the dismissal was for a
justifiable cause.”

To show that dismissal resulting from inefficiency in work is valid, it must be shown that: 1)
the employer has set standards of conduct and workmanship against which the employee will be
judged; 2) the standards of conduct and workmanship must have been communicated to the
employee; and 3) the communication was made at a reasonable time prior to the employee’s
performance assessment.

Respondent’s dismissal less than one year from hiring and her repatriation on the same day
show not only failure on the part of petitioner to comply with the requirement of the existence of just
cause for termination. They patently show thatthe employers did not comply with the due process
requirement. A valid dismissal requires both a valid cause and adherence to the valid procedure of
dismissal. The employer is required to give the charged employee at least two written notices before
termination.

Petitioner failed to comply with the twin notices and hearing requirements. Respondent
started working on June 26, 1997. She was told that she was terminated on July 14, 1997 effective
on the same day and barely a month from her first workday. She was also repatriated on the same
day that she was informed of her termination. The abruptness of the termination negated any
finding that she was properly notified and given the opportunity to be heard. Her constitutional right
to due process of law was violated.

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Arrests, Searches and Seizures

Navarro, Jessica

NARCISO ALVAREZ v. THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF TAYABAS and THE ANTI-
USURY BOARD
G.R. No. L-45358, 29 January 1937

Search and Seizure – That a detailed description of the person and place to be searched and
the articles to be seized is necessary, but whereby, by the nature of the articles to be seized, their
description must be rather general, but is not required that a technical description be given, as this
would mean that no warrant could issue.

FACTS

The chief of the secret service of the Anti-Usury Board, of the Department of Justice,
presented to Judge Eduardo Gutierrez David then presiding over the Court of First Instance of
Tayabas, an affidavit alleging that according to reliable information, the petitioner kept in his house
in Infanta, Tayabas, books, documents, receipts, lists, chits and other papers used by him in
connection with his activities as a money-lender charging usurious rates of interest in violation of
the law. In his oath at the end of the affidavit, the chief of the secret service stated that his answers
to the questions were correct to the best of his knowledge and belief. He did not swear to the truth of
his statements upon his own knowledge of the facts but upon the information received by him from a
reliable person. Upon the affidavit in question the Judge, on said date, issued the warrant which is
the subject matter of the petition, ordering the search of the petitioner's house at any time of the day
or night, the seizure of the books and documents and the immediate delivery thereof to him to be
disposed of in accordance with the law.

With said warrant, several agents of the Anti-Usury Board entered the petitioner's store and
residence at seven o'clock on the night of June 4, 1936, and seized and took possession of the
following articles: internal revenue licenses for the years 1933 to 1936, one ledger, two journals, two
cashbooks, nine order books, four notebooks, four checks stubs, two memorandums, three bankbooks,
two contracts, four stubs, forty-eight stubs of purchases of copra, two inventories, two bundles of bills
of lading, one bundle of credit receipts, one bundle of stubs of purchases of copra, two packages of
correspondence, one receipt book belonging to Luis Fernandez, fourteen bundles of invoices and other
papers many documents and loan contracts with security and promissory notes, 504 chits,
promissory notes and stubs of used checks of the Hongkong& Shanghai Banking Corporation. The
search for and a seizure of said articles were made with the opposition of the petitioner who stated
his protest below the inventories on the ground that the agents seized even the originals of the
documents.

As the articles had not been brought immediately to the judge who issued the search
warrant, the petitioner, through his attorney, filed a motion on June 8, 1936, praying that the agent
Emilio L. Siongco, or any other agent, be ordered immediately to deposit all the seized articles in the
office of the clerk of court and that said agent be declared guilty of contempt for having disobeyed the
order of the court. On said date the court issued an order directing Emilio L. Siongco to deposit all
the articles seized within twenty-four hours from the receipt of notice thereof and giving him a
period of five (5) days within which to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt of
court.

On the 25th of said month the court issued an order requiring agent Emilio L. Siongco
forthwith to file the search warrant and the affidavit in the court, together with the proceedings
taken by him, and to present an inventory duly verified by oath of all the articles seized. On July 2d

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of said year, the attorney for the petitioner filed another petition alleging that the search warrant
issue was illegal and that it had not yet been returned to date together with the proceedings taken in
connection therewith, and praying that said warrant be cancelled, that an order be issued directing
the return of all the articles seized to the petitioner, that the agent who seized them be declared
guilty of contempt of court, and that charges be filed against him for abuse of authority.

ISSUES

1) Whether or not search warrant issued by the court is illegal;


2) Whether or not search warrant cannot be issued unless it be supported by affidavits made by the
applicant and the witnesses to be presented necessity by him;
3) Whether or not the pieces of evidence, through the search warrant, was obtained illegally

HELD

1) Section 1, paragraph 3, of Article III of the Constitution, relative to the bill of rights, provides that
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against
unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon
probable cause, to be determined by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place top be
searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Section 97 of General Orders, No. 58 provides that
"A search warrant shall not issue except for probable cause and upon application supported by oath
particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or thing to be seized."

It appears that the affidavit, which served as the exclusive basis of the search warrant, is
insufficient and fatally defective by reason of the manner in which the oath was made, and therefore,
it is hereby held that the search warrant in question and the subsequent seizure of the books,
documents and other papers are illegal and do not in any way warrant the deprivation to which the
petitioner was subjected.

2) It is contended that the search warrant cannot be issued unless it be supported by affidavits made
by the applicant and the witnesses to be presented necessity by him. Section 1, paragraph 3, of
Article III of the Constitution provides that no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, to be
determined by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the
witnesses he may produce. Section 98 of General Orders, No. 58 provides that the judge or justice
must, before issuing the warrant, examine under oath the complainant and any witnesses he may
produce and take their depositions in writing. It is the practice in this jurisdiction to attach the
affidavit of at least the applicant or complainant to the application. It is admitted that the judge who
issued the search warrant in this case, relied exclusively upon the affidavit made by agent Mariano
G. Almeda and that he did not require nor take the deposition of any other witness. Neither the
Constitution nor General Orders. No. 58 provides that it is of imperative necessity to take the
deposition of the witnesses to be presented by the applicant or complainant in addition to the
affidavit of the latter. The purpose of both in requiring the presentation of depositions is nothing
more than to satisfy the committing magistrate of the existence of probable cause. Therefore, if the
affidavit of the applicant or complainant is sufficient, the judge may dispense with that of other
witnesses. Inasmuch as the affidavit of the agent in this case was insufficient because his knowledge
of the facts was not personal but merely hearsay, it is the duty of the judge to require the affidavit of
one or more witnesses for the purpose of determining the existence of probable cause to warrant the
issuance of the search warrant. When the affidavit of the applicant of the complaint contains
sufficient facts within his personal and direct knowledge, it is sufficient if the judge is satisfied that
there exist probable cause; when the applicant's knowledge of the facts is mere hearsay, the affidavit
of one or more witnesses having a personal knowledge of the fact is necessary. We conclude,

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therefore, that the warrant issued is likewise illegal because it was based only on the affidavit of the
agent who had no personal knowledge of the facts.

3) The seizure of books and documents by means of a search warrant, for the purpose of using them
as evidence in a criminal case against the person in whose possession they were found, is
unconstitutional because it makes the warrant unreasonable, and it is equivalent to a violation of
the constitutional provision prohibiting the compulsion of an accused to testify against himself.
Therefore, it appearing that at least nineteen of the documents in question were seized for the
purpose of using them as evidence against the petitioner in the criminal proceeding or proceedings
for violation against him, we hold that the search warrant issued is illegal and that the documents
should be returned to him.

Summarizing the foregoing conclusions, we hold:

1. That the provisions of the Constitution and General Orders, No. 58, relative to search and
seizure, should be given a liberal construction in favor of the individual in order to maintain the
constitutional guaranties whole and in their full force;2. That since the provisions in question are
drastic in their form and fundamentally restrict the enjoyment of the ownership, possession and use
of the personal property of the individual, they should be strictly construed;3. That the search and
seizure made are illegal for the following reasons: (a) Because the warrant was based solely upon the
affidavit of the petitioner who had no personal knowledge of the facts of probable cause, and (b)
because the warrant was issued for the sole purpose of seizing evidence which would later be used in
the criminal proceedings that might be instituted against the petitioner, for violation of the Anti-
Usury Law;4. That as the warrant had been issued unreasonably, and as it does not appear
positively in the affidavit that the articles were in the possession of the petitioner and in the place
indicated, neither could the search and seizure be made at night;5. That although it is not
mandatory to present affidavits of witnesses to corroborate the applicant or a complainant in cases
where the latter has personal knowledge of the facts, when the applicant's or complainant's
knowledge of the facts is merely hearsay, it is the duty of the judge to require affidavits of other
witnesses so that he may determine whether probable cause exists;6. That a detailed description of
the person and place to be searched and the articles to be seized is necessary, but whereby, by the
nature of the articles to be seized, their description must be rather general, but is not required that a
technical description be given, as this would mean that no warrant could issue

For the foregoing considerations, the search warrant and the seizure of June 3, 1936, and the
orders of the respondent court authorizing the relation of the books and documents, are declared
illegal and are set aside, and it is ordered that the judge presiding over the Court of First Instance of
Tayabas direct the immediate return to the petitioner of the nineteen (19) documents designated on
pages 1 to 4 of the inventory by Nos. 5, 10, 16, 23, 25,26, 27, 30, 31, 34, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43
and 45, without special pronouncement as to costs. So ordered.

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Pagalilauan, Gerome

BURGOS V. CHIEF of Staff


G.R. No. L-64261, 26 December 1984

No search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined by the
judge, or such other responsible officer as may be authorized by law, after examination under oath or
affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the
place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

FACTS

Petitioners question the issuance of the two search warrants on the premises of
“Metropolitan Mail” and “We Forum” newspapers and the seizure of office and printing machines,
equipment, paraphernalia, motor vehicles and other articles used in the printing, publication and
distribution of the said newspapers, as well as numerous papers, documents, books and other written
literature alleged to have been used in subversive activities.

It is contended by petitioners that the documents necessitating the issuance of the subject
warrants could not have provided sufficient basis for the finding of a probable cause upon which a
warrant may validly issue in accordance with Section 3, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution which
provides:

“SEC. 3. no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be
determined by the judge, or such other responsible officer as may be authorized by law, after
examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may
produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be
seized.”

ISSUE

Whether the warrants were validly issued

HELD

No.

Probable cause for a search is defined as such facts and circumstances which would lead a
reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the
objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched. And when the
search warrant applied for is directed against a newspaper publisher or editor in connection with the
publication of subversive materials, as in the case at bar, the application and/or its supporting
affidavits must contain a specification, stating with particularity the alleged subversive material he
has published or is intending to publish. Mere generalization will not suffice. Thus, the broad
statement in Col. Abadilla’s application that petitioner “is in possession or has in his control printing
equipment and other paraphernalia, news publications and other documents which were used and
are all continuously being used as a means of committing the offense of subversion punishable under
Presidential Decree 885” is a mere conclusion of law and does not satisfy the requirements of
probable cause. Bereft of such particulars as would justify the existence of probable cause, said
allegation cannot serve as basis for the issuance of a search warrant and it was a grave error for
respondent judge to have done so.

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Equally insufficient as basis for the determination of probable cause is the statement
contained in the joint affidavit of Alejandro M. Gutierrez and Pedro U. Tango, “that the evidence
gathered and collated by our unit clearly shows that the premises above-mentioned and the articles
and things above-described were used and are continuously being used for subversive activities in
conspiracy with, and to promote the objective of, illegal organizations such as the Light-a-Fire
Movement, Movement for Free Philippines, and April 6 Movement.”

In mandating that “no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined by
the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may
produce; the Constitution requires no less than personal knowledge by the complainant or his
witnesses of the facts upon which the issuance of a search warrant may be justified.

In Alvarez vs. Court of First Instance, this Court ruled that “the oath required must refer to
the truth of the facts within the personal knowledge of the petitioner or his witnesses, because the
purpose thereof is to convince the committing magistrate, not the individual making the affidavit
and seeking the issuance of the warrant, of the existence of probable cause.” As couched, the quoted
averment in said joint affidavit filed before respondent judge hardly meets the test of sufficiency
established by this Court in Alvarez case.

Another factor which makes the search warrants under consideration constitutionally
objectionable is that they are in the nature of general warrants.

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Pagtalunan, Maylen C.

HORTENCIA SALAZAR v. HON. TOMAS D. ACHACOSO


G.R. No. 81510, 14 March 1990

It is only a judge who may issue warrants of search and arrest. The Secretary of Labor, not
being a judge, may no longer issue search or arrest warrants. Hence, the authorities must go through
the judicial process. Article 38, paragraph (c), of the Labor Code is unconstitutional and of no force
and effect.

FACTS

On October 21, 1987, Rosalie Tesoro, charged petitioner Hortencia Salazar of ILLEGAL
RECRUITMENT before the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA for brevity).
The public respondent ordered the petitioner to appear before the POEA. Having ascertained that
the petitioner had no license to operate a recruitment agency, public respondent Administrator
Tomas D. Achacoso issued his challenged CLOSURE AND SEIZURE ORDER. A team was tasked to
implement Closure and Seizure Order.

The group assisted by Mandaluyong policemen and mediamen proceeded to the residence of
the petitioner and it was found that petitioner was operating Hannalie Dance Studio. Before
entering the place, the team served said Closure and Seizure order on a certain Mrs. Flora Salazar
who voluntarily allowed them entry into the premises. Mrs. Flora Salazar informed the team that
Hannalie Dance Studio was accredited with Moreman Development (Phil.). However, when required
to show credentials, she was unable to produce any. Inside the studio, the team chanced upon twelve
talent performers — practicing a dance number and saw about twenty more waiting outside. The
team confiscated assorted costumes which were duly receipted for by Mrs. Asuncion Maguelan and
witnessed by Mrs. Flora Salazar.

The petitioner filed with POEA a letter requesting that the personal properties seized at her
residence last be immediately returned on the ground that said seizure was contrary to law and
against the will of the owner.

On February 2, 1988, the petitioner filed this suit for prohibition but since the acts are
already failed accompli, the Court considered the petition one fore certiorari in view of grave public
interest.
.
ISSUE

Whether the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (or the Secretary of Labor)
may validly issue warrants of search and seizure (or arrest) under Article 38 of the Labor Code?

HELD

No.

It is only a judge who may issue warrants of search and arrest.

Under the new Constitution, which states:


. . . no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to
be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of

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the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the
place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

While several decrees issued under the regime of President Marcos gave the Minister of
Labor and Employment or his duly authorized representatives the power to cause the arrest and
detention of non-licensee or non-holder of authority after investigation with the avowed purpose of
giving more teeth to the campaign against illegal recruitment, the same decrees, it is well to note,
now stand as the dying vestiges of authoritarian rule in its twilight moments.

The Secretary of Labor, not being a judge, may no longer issue search or arrest warrants.
Hence, the authorities must go through the judicial process. To that extent, the court declared
Article 38, paragraph (c), of the Labor Code, unconstitutional and of no force and effect.

The Solicitor General's reliance on the case of Moranois not well-taken. Vivo involved a
deportation case, governed by Section 69 of the defunct Revised Administrative Code and by Section
37 of the Immigration Law. The court have ruled that in deportation cases, an arrest (of an
undesirable alien) ordered by the President or his duly authorized representatives, in order to carry
out a final decision of deportation is valid.

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Perianes, Laurisse Marie

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v.ROBERTO SALANGUIT y KO


G.R. No. 133254-55, 19April 2001, SECOND DIVISION (Mendoza, J.)

Although the warrant was defective in certain respects, it does not follow that it was invalid
as a whole for the invalid portions of a search warrant are severable.

The validity of the search warrant is not affected by its failure to specify a particular provision
violated under a special law, like R.A. No. 6425, which offenses are so related to be subsumed within
the categories of offenses which are closely related or which belong to the same class or species.

A description of the place to be searched is sufficient if the officer with the warrant can, with
reasonable effort, ascertain and identify the place intended to be searched.

The plain view doctrine may not be used to extend a general exploratory search from one object
to another until something incriminating at last emerges. Once the valid portion of the warrant has
been executed, the plain view doctrine can no longer provide any basis for admitting the other items
subsequently found.

FACTS

Accused-appellant Roberto Salanguit (Salanguit) was charged for two (2) violations of
Republic Act No. 6425 or the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972: first, for possession and/or use of
methamphetamine hydrochloride, otherwise known as shabu; and second, for having in his
possession and under his control and custody marijuana.

Senior Inspector Rodolfo Aguilar (Aguilar) of the Narcotics Command, Camp Crame, Quezon
City applied for a warrant before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) to search the residence of
Salanguit. He presented SPO1 Edmund Badua (Badua), who testified as a poseur-buyer, who was
able to purchase shabu from accused-appellant. Accordingly, the sale took place in the latter’s room,
and the shabu was taken from a cabinet inside Salanguit’s room. The application was granted, and a
search warrant was later issued.

Thereafter, the Aguilar’s team proceeded to the residence of Salanguit in Novaliches, Quezon
City to serve the warrant. However, nobody opened the door of the house when they knocked despite
hearing people inside. As a result, they forced the door open and entered the house. After showing
the search warrant to the occupants of the house, they started searching the house. They found 12
small heat-sealed transparent plastic bags containing a white crystalline substance, a paper clip box
also containing a white crystalline substance, and two bricks of dried leaves which appeared to be
marijuana wrapped in newsprint. Salanguit refused to sign the receipt of the items seized.

During arraignment, Salanguit pleaded not guilty. He testified that he was unable to view
the search warrant when it was presented before him as the paper allegedly to be the search warrant
was merely waved in front of him without giving him the opportunity to read it. He also alleged that
the policemen ordered him to stay in one place of the house while they conducted a search, forcibly
opening cabinets and taking his bag containing money, a licensed firearm, jewelry and canned goods.
The same was corroborated by his mother-in –law.

The trial court rendered its decisions finding Salanguit guilty of the two (2) charges against
him. Hence, this appeal.

ISSUES

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(1) Whether or not Salanguit’s contention that the search warrant issued is void because no evidence
was presented showing the existence of drug paraphernalia and the same should not have been
ordered to be seized by the trial court is meritorious.
(2) Whether or not Salanguit’s contention that the warrant which was issued for more than one
specific offense is void.
(3) Whether or not Salanguit’s contention that the search warrant is void for its failure to indicate
the place to be searched with sufficient particularity.
(4) Whether or not Salanguit’s contention that undue and unnecessary force was employed by the
searching party in effecting the raid is proper.

HELD

(1) NO. SPO1 Badua, the intelligence officer who acted as a poseur-buyer, did not testify in the
proceedings for the issuance of a search warrant on anything about drug paraphernalia. However,
the fact that there was no probable cause to support the application for the seizure of drug
paraphernalia does not warrant the conclusion that the search warrant is void. If at all, therefore,
the search warrant is void only insofar as it authorized the seizure of drug paraphernalia, but it is
valid as to the seizure of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu as to which evidence was
presented showing probable cause as to its existence.

For the invalid portions of the warrant are severable from the authorization
relating to the those particularly named therein. It would be a drastic remedy if a warrant,
which was issued on probable cause and particularly describing the items to be seized on the basis
thereof, is to be invalidated in toto because the judge erred in authorizing a search for other items
not supported by evidence.

(2) YES. In People v. Dichoso, the search warrant was also issued for violation of R.A. No. 6425,
without specifying what provisions of the law were violated, and it authorized the search and seizure
of dried marijuana leaves and methamphetamine hydrochloride. Accordingly, it was still valid as the
Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 is a special law that deals specifically with dangerous drugs which are
subsumed into prohibited and regulated rugs and defines and penalizes categories of offenses which
are closely related or which belong to the same class or species. One (1) search warrant may thus be
validly issued for the violation of the said law.

(3) NO. The rule is that a description of the place to be searched is sufficient if the officer with the
warrant can, with reasonable effort, ascertain and identify the place intended to be searched.

In sum, the Court held that with respect to the seizure of shabu from accused-appellant’s
residence, the search warrant was properly issued, such warrant being founded on probable cause
personally determined by the judge under oath or affirmation of the deposing witness and
particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be seized. The warrant only
authorized the seizure of shabu, but not marijuana, the seizure of the latter was unjustified on the
ground that the drug was seized not within the plain view of the searching party.

Under the plain view doctrine, unlawful objects within the plain view of an officer who has
the right to be in the position to have that view are subject to seizure and may be presented in
evidence. For this doctrine to apply, there must be: (a) prior justification; (b) inadvertent discovery of
the evidence; and (c) immediate apparent illegality of the evidence before the police.

The first requisite is lacking. Because the location of the shabu was indicated in the warrant
and thus, known to the police operatives, it is reasonable to assume that the police found the packets

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of shabu first. Once the valid potion of the search warrant has been executed, the plain view doctrine
can no longer provide any basis for admitting the other items subsequently found.

In this case, the police failed to alleged the time when the marijuana was found, i.e., whether
prior to, or contemporaneous with, the shabu subject of the warrant, or whether it was discovered on
accused appellant’s person or in an area within his immediate control. Its recovery, therefore,
presumably during the search conducted after the shabu had been recovered from the cabinet as
attested to by SPO1 Badua in his deposition, was invalid.

The second requisite is likewise lacking. The marijuana bricks were wrapped in newsprint.
There was no apparent illegality to justify their seizure. The incriminating nature of the contents of
the newsprint was not immediately apparent from the plain view of said object. It cannot be claimed
that the newsprint clearly betrayed its contents, whether by its distinctive configuration, its
transparency, or otherwise, that its contents were obvious to an observer. Additionally, no
presumption of regularity may be invoked by an officer in aid of the process when he undertakes to
justify an encroachment of rights secured by the Constitution. For failure of the prosecution to prove
that the seizure of the marijuana without a warrant was conducted in accordance with the plain
view doctrine, the Court held that the marijuana was inadmissible in evidence against accused-
appellant. However, the confiscation of the drug must be upheld.

(4) NO. Accused-appellant’s claim that the policemen had clambered up the roof of his house to gain
entry and had broken doors and windows in the process is unsupported by reliable and competent
proof. In contract, Aguilar claimed that they had to use some force in order to gain entry cannot be
doubted. The occupants of the house refused to open the door several times. Furthermore, the agents
saw the suspicious movements of the people inside the house. These circumstances justified the
searching party’s forcible entry into the house, founded as it is on the apprehension that the
execution of their mission would be frustrated until they do so.

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Pura, Valentin, V

PEOPLE v. COURT OF APPEALS


G.R. No. 126379, 26 June 261998

The place to be searched, as set out in the warrant, cannot be amplified or modified by the
officers’ own personal knowledge of the premises, or the evidence they adduced in support of their
application for the warrant. Such a change is proscribed by the Constitution which requires inter alia
the search warrant to particularly describe the place to be searched as well as the persons or things to
be seized.

FACTS

In December 1995, Quezon City PNP applied for a search warrant before the QC RTC
against Azfar Hussain who had allegedly in his possession firearms and explosives at Abigail
Variety Store, Apt. 1207 Area F, Bagong Buhay Avenue, SapangPalay, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.
A warrant was issued the next day by J Bacalla not at AVS but at AVS, Apt. 1 Area F, Bagong
Buhay Avenue, SapangPalay, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan – Apt 1 is immediately adjacent to AVS.
The PNP then proceeded to search the said apartment where they seized money, some clothings, 4
Pakistani nationals including Hussain and some explosives. The Pakistanis petitioned before J
Casanova that the search warrant is invalid for there is a discrepancy in the place described and
place indicated in the warrant. AVS is not in any way the same as Apt 1 for Apt 1 is totally separate.
J Casanova quashed the search warrant and ordered the return of the things seized and at the same
time ordered the seized things to be inadmissible as evidence. Prosecutor Chiong moved that the
decision be reversed. The CA affirmed the decision of J Casanova. Chiong averred that the policemen
who did the search has acted on their knowledge. The PNP actually knew that the Pakistanis are
indeed residing in Apt 1 and not in the AVS.

ISSUE

Whether or not there was a valid search warrant issued.

HELD

NO. The SC affirmed the decision of the CA. The place to be searched, as set out in the
warrant, cannot be amplified or modified by the officers’ own personal knowledge of the premises, or
the evidence they adduced in support of their application for the warrant. Such a change is
proscribed by the Constitution which requires inter alia the search warrant to particularly describe
the place to be searched as well as the persons or things to be seized. It would concede to police
officers the power of choosing the place to be searched, even if it not be that delineated in the
warrant. It would open wide the door to abuse of the search process, and grant to officers executing a
search warrant that discretion which the Constitution has precisely removed from them. The
particularization of the description of the place to be searched may properly be done only by the
Judge, and only in the warrant itself; it cannot be left to the discretion of the police officers
conducting the search.

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Ramo, Keif Khari M.

AAA v. HON. ANTONIO A. CARBONELL, in his capacity as Presiding Judge, Branch 27,
Regional Trial Court, San Fernando City, La Union and ENGR. JAIME O. ARZADON
G.R. No. 171465, 8 June 2007

Searches and Seizures; Warrants of Arrest

Section 2, Article III of the Constitution does not mandatorily require the judge to personally
examine thecomplainant and her witnesses—instead, he may opt to personally evaluate the report and
supportingdocuments submitted by the prosecutor or he may disregard the prosecutor’s report and
require thesubmission of supporting affidavits of witnesses.

Preliminary Investigation

There is a distinction between the preliminary inquiry which determines probable cause for
the issuance of a warrant of arrest and the preliminary investigation proper which ascertains whether
the offender should be held for trial or be released—the former is made by the judge while the latter is
the function of the investigating prosecutor. The determination of probable cause forpurposes of
issuing the warrant of arrest is made by the judge.The preliminary investigation proper—whether or
not there isreasonable ground to believe that the accused is guilty of the offense charged—is the
function of the investigating prosecutor.

While there are cases where the circumstances may call for the judge’s personal examination
of the complainant and his witnesses, it must be emphasized that such personal examination is not
mandatory and indispensable in the determination of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of
arrest—the necessity arises only when there is an utter failure of the evidence to show the existence of
probable cause.Indeed, what the law requires as personal determination on the part ofthe judge is that
he should not rely solely on the report of theinvestigating prosecutor. the judge should consider not
only thereport of the investigating prosecutor but also the affidavit andthe documentary evidence of
the parties, the counter-affidavit ofthe accused and his witnesses, as well as the transcript
ofstenographic notes taken during the preliminary investigation, ifany, submitted to the court by the
investigating prosecutor uponthe filing of the Information. If the report, taken together with
thesupporting evidence, is sufficient to sustain a finding of probablecause, it is not compulsory that a
personal examination of the complainant and his witnesses beconducted.

FACTS

Petitioner worked as a secretary at the Arzadon Automotive and Car Service Center from
February 28, 2001 to August 16, 2001. On May 27, 2001 at about 6:30 p.m., Arzadon asked her to
deliver a book to an office located at another building but when she returned to their office, the lights
had been turned off and the gate was closed. Nevertheless, she went inside to get her handbag.

On her way out, she saw Arzadon standing beside a parked van holding a pipe. He told her to
go near him and upon reaching his side, he threatened her with the pipe and forced her to lie on the
pavement. He removed her pants and underwear, and inserted his penis into her vagina. She wept
and cried out for help but to no avail because there was nobody else in the premises.

Petitioner did not report the incident because Arzadon threatened to kill her and her family.
But when she discovered that she was pregnant as a consequence of the rape, she narrated the
incident to her parents. On July 24, 2002, petitioner filed a complaint for rape against Arzadon.

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The Assistant City Prosecutor issued a Resolution finding probable cause and recommending
the filing of an information for rape. Arzadon moved for reconsideration and during the clarificatory
hearing, petitioner testified before the investigating prosecutor. However, she failed to attend the
next hearing hence, the case was provisionally dismissed. Later, in March 2003, petitioner filed
another Affidavit-Complaint with a comprehensive account of the alleged rape incident. The case
was assigned to 2nd Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Georgina Hidalgo. During the preliminary
investigation, petitioner appeared for clarificatory questioning. On June 11, 2003, the investigating
prosecutor issued a Resolution finding that a prima facie case of rape exists and recommending the
filing of the information.

Arzadon moved for reconsideration and requested that a panel of prosecutors be constituted
to review the case. Thus, a panel of prosecutors was created and after the clarificatory questioning,
the panel issued a Resolution finding probable cause and denying Arzadon’s motion for
reconsideration.

An Information for rape was filed before the Regional Trial Court in La Union. Thereafter,
Arzadon filed a "Motion to Hold in Abeyance All Court Proceedings Including the Issuance of a
Warrant of Arrest and to Determine Probable Cause for the Purpose of Issuing a Warrant of Arrest."
Respondent Judge Antonio A. Carbonell granted the motion and directed petitioner and her
witnesses to take the witness stand for determination of probable cause.

Arzadon also appealed the Resolution of the panel of prosecutors finding probable cause
before the Department of Justice.On July 9, 2004, then Acting Secretary of Justice Merceditas
Gutierrez found no probable cause and directed the withdrawal of the Information in the Criminal
Case. Upon motion for reconsideration by petitioner, however, Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzales
reversed the July 9, 2004 Resolution and issued another Resolution finding that probable cause
exists. Thus, a new Information for rape was filed against Arzadon.

Consequently, Arzadon filed an "Urgent Motion for Judicial Determination of Probable


Cause for the Purpose of Issuing a Warrant of Arrest." 13 In an Order dated August 11, 2005,
respondent Judge Carbonell granted the motion and directed petitioner and her witnesses to take
the witness stand.

AAA failed to appear for the 4 consecutive orders to take the witness stand in order to satisfy
the judge for theexistence of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest. Because of this,
the casewas dismissed for lack ofprobable cause.

ISSUE/S:

Whether respondent Judge Carbonell acted with grave abuse of discretion in dismissing
Criminal Case No. 6983 for lack of probable cause.

Petitioner contends that the judge is not required to personally examine the complainant and
her witnesses in satisfying himself of the existence of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of
arrest. She argues that respondent Judge Carbonell should have taken into consideration the
documentary evidence as well as the transcript of stenographic notes which sufficiently established
the existence of probable cause.

Respondent Judge Carbonell argues in his Comment that the finding of probable cause by
the investigating prosecutor is not binding or obligatory, and that he was justified in requiring
petitioner and her witnesses to take the witness stand in order to determine probable cause.

HELD

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The petition has merit.

Respondent Judge Carbonell dismissed Criminal Case No. 6983 for lack of probable cause on
the ground that petitioner and her witnesses failed to comply with his orders to take the witness
stand.He claims that under Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, no warrant of arrest shall
issue except upon probable cause "to be determined personally by the judge after examination under
oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce."

However, in Soliven v. Makasiar, the Court explained that this constitutional provision does
not mandatorily require the judge to personally examine the complainant and her witnesses.
Instead, he may opt to personally evaluate the report and supporting documents submitted by the
prosecutor or he may disregard the prosecutor’s report and require the submission of supporting
affidavits of witnesses.

What the Constitution underscores is the exclusive and personal responsibility of the issuing
judge to satisfy himself of the existence of probable cause. In satisfying himself of the existence of
probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest, the judge is not required to personally
examine the complainant and his witnesses. Following established doctrine and procedure, he shall:
(1) personally evaluate the report and the supporting documents submitted by the fiscal regarding
the existence of probable cause and, on the basis thereof, issue a warrant of arrest; or (2) if on the
basis thereof he finds no probable cause, he may disregard the fiscal’s report and require the
submission of supporting affidavits of witnesses to aid him in arriving at a conclusion as to the
existence of probable cause.

Before issuing warrants of arrest, judges merely determine the probability, not the certainty,
of guilt of an accused. In doing so, judges do not conduct a de novo hearing to determine the existence
of probable cause. They just personally review the initial determination of the prosecutor finding a
probable cause to see if it is supported by substantial evidence.

There is a distinction between the preliminary inquiry which determines probable cause for
the issuance of a warrant of arrest and the preliminary investigation proper which ascertains
whether the offender should be held for trial or be released. The determination of probable cause for
purposes of issuing the warrant of arrest is made by the judge. The preliminary investigation proper
– whether or not there is reasonable ground to believe that the accused is guilty of the offense
charged – is the function of the investigating prosecutor. True, there are cases where the
circumstances may call for the judge’s personal examination of the complainant and his witnesses.
But it must be emphasized that such personal examination is not mandatory and indispensable in
the determination of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest. The necessity arises only
when there is an utter failure of the evidence to show the existence of probable cause. Otherwise, the
judge may rely on the report of the investigating prosecutor, provided that he likewise evaluates the
documentary evidence in support thereof.

Indeed, what the law requires as personal determination on the part of the judge is that he
should not rely solely on the report of the investigating prosecutor. The judge should consider not
only the report of the investigating prosecutor but also the affidavit and the documentary evidence of
the parties, the counter-affidavit of the accused and his witnesses, as well as the transcript of
stenographic notes taken during the preliminary investigation, if any, submitted to the court by the
investigating prosecutor upon the filing of the Information. If the report, taken together with the
supporting evidence, is sufficient to sustain a finding of probable cause, it is not compulsory that a
personal examination of the complainant and his witnesses be conducted.

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In this case, respondent Judge Carbonell dismissed Criminal Case No. 6983 without taking
into consideration the June 11, 2003 Resolution of 2nd Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Georgina
Hidalgo, the October 13, 2003 Resolution of the panel of prosecutors, and the July 1, 2005 Resolution
of the Department of Justice, all of which sustain a finding of probable cause against Arzadon.
Moreover, he failed to evaluate the evidence in support thereof. Respondent judge’s finding of lack of
probable cause was premised only on the complainant’s and her witnesses’ absence during the
hearing scheduled by the respondent judge for the judicial determination of probable cause.

Petitioner narrated in detail the alleged rape incident both in her SinumpaangSalaysayand
Complaint-Affidavi. She attended several clarificatory hearings that were conducted in the instant
case. The transcript of stenographic notes of the hearing heldshows that she positively identified
Arzadon as her assailant, and the specific time and place of the incident. She also claimed that she
bore a child as a result of the rape and, in support of her contentions, presented the child and her
birth certificate as evidence. In contrast, Arzadon merely relied on the defense of alibi which is the
weakest of all defenses.

The Court finds that there is sufficient evidence to establish probable cause. The gravamen
of rape is the carnal knowledge by the accused of the private complainant under any of the
circumstances provided in Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended.

Respondent Judge Carbonell gravely abused his discretion in dismissing Criminal Case No.
6983 for lack of probable cause on the ground that petitioner and her witnesses failed to take the
witness stand.Considering there is ample evidence and sufficient basis on record to support a finding
of probable cause, it was unnecessary for him to take the further step of examining the petitioner
and her witnesses. Moreover, he erred in holding that petitioner’s absences in the scheduled
hearings were indicative of a lack of interest in prosecuting the case. In fact, the records show that
she has relentlessly pursued the same.

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Revadillo, Clarence

PEOPLE v. LAGMAN
G.R. Nos. L-45892 and 45893

FACTS

Appellants TranquilinoLagman and Primitivo de Sosa are charged with a violationof section 60 of
Commonwealth Act No. 1, known as the National Defense Law. Itis alleged that these two
appellants, being Filipinos and having reached the ageof twenty years in 1936, willfully and
unlawfully refused to register in the military service between the 1st and 7th of April of said year,
even though they had been required to do so. The two appellants were duly notified to appear before
the Acceptance Board in order to register for military service but still did not register up to the date
of the filing of the information.Appellants argue that they did not register because de Sosa is
fatherless and has a mother and a brother eight years old to support, and Lagman also has a father
to support, has no military learnings, and does not wish to kill or be killed.

The Court of First Instance sentenced them both to one month and one day of imprisonment, with
the costs.

ISSUE

Whether or not the National Defense Law (Sec 60, Commonwealth Act No. 1) was
constitutionalby virtue of Section 2, Article II of the Constitution which states that: SEC. 2. The
defense of the state is a prime duty of government, and in the fulfillment of this duty all citizens may
be required by law to render personal military or civil service.

HELD

YES.

Decision of CFI affirmed. The National Defense Law, in so far as it establishes compulsory
military service, does not go against this constitutional provision but is, on the contrary, in faithful
compliance therewith. The duty of the Government to defend the State cannot be performed except
through an army. To leave the organization of an army to the will of the citizens would be to make
thisduty of the Government excusable should there be no sufficient men who volunteer to enlist
therein.

In US cases, it was stated that the right of the Government to require compulsory military
service is a consequence of its duty to defend the State; and, that aperson may be compelled by force
to take his place in the ranks of the army of hiscountry, and risk the chance of being shot down in its
defense.What justifies compulsory military service is the defense of the State, whetheractual or
whether in preparation to make it more effective, in case of need. Thecircumstances of the appellants
do not excuse them from their duty to present themselves before the Acceptance Board because they
can obtain the proper pecuniary allowance to attend to these family responsibilities (secs. 65 and 69
of Commonwealth Act No. 1).

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Rosario, Patricia Mae

MARTINEZ v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES


G.R. No. 198694, 13 February 2013 (Perlas-Bernabe, J.)

A valid warrantless arrest which justifies a subsequent search is one that is carried out under
the parameters of Section 5(a), Rule 113 of the Rules of Court which requires that the apprehending
officer must have been spurred by probable cause to arrest a person caught in flagrante delicto.

FACTS

Petitioner Ramon Martinez y Goco/Ramon Gocoy Martinez (Ramon) was charged of the crime
of possession of dangerous drugs punished under Section 11(3), Article II of Republic Act No. 9165,
otherwise known as the “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.”The prosecution alleged that
Ramon was apprehended by the police who were conducting a foot patrol at the evening of December
29, 2007, for purportedly violating Section 844 of the Revised Ordinance of the City of Manila
(Manila City Ordinance) which punishes breaches of the peace after he allegedly shouted “Putang
inamo! Limangdaannabaito?” Ramon was asked to empty his pockets and the police were able to
recover from him a small transparent plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance
suspected to be shabu. The contents of the sachet tested positive for
methylamphetaminehydrochloride (or shabu).

The RTC convicted Ramon of the crime of possession of dangerous drugs as charged, finding
all its elements to have been established through the testimonies of the prosecution’s disinterested
witnesses. In this relation, it also upheld the legality of Ramon’s warrantless arrest, observing that
Ramon was disturbing the peace in violation of the Manila City Ordinance during the time of his
apprehension.

The CA denied Ramon’s appeal and thereby affirmed his conviction. It upheld the factual
findings of the RTC which found that the elements of the crime of possession of dangerous drugs
were extant. Likewise, the CA sustained the validity of the body search made on Ramon as an
incident of a lawful warrantless arrest for breach of the peace which he committed in the presence of
the police officers, notwithstanding its (the case for breach of the peace) subsequent dismissal for
failure to prosecute.

ISSUE

Whether or not the CA erred in affirming the Decision of the RTC convicting Ramon of the
crime of possession of dangerous drugs.

HELD

YES.

A valid warrantless arrest which justifies a subsequent search is one that is carried out
under the parameters of Section 5(a), Rule 113 of the Rules of Court which requires that the
apprehending officer must have been spurred by probable cause to arrest a person caught in
flagrante delicto. To be sure, the term probable cause has been understood to mean a reasonable
ground of suspicionsupported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a
cautious man’s belief that the person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is charged.
Specifically, with respect to arrests, it is such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably
discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed by the person sought to be

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arrested. In this light, the determination of the existence or absence of probable cause necessitates a
re-examination of the factual incidents.

Upon perusal of the testimony of the apprehending officers, the presence of probable cause is
negated when the police officers conducted their warrantless arrest of Ramon.To elucidate, it cannot
be said that the act of shouting in a thickly populated place, with many people conversing with each
other on the street, would constitute any of the actspunishable under Section 844 of the Manila City
Ordinance. Ramon was not making or assisting in any riot, affray, disorder, disturbance, or breach of
the peace; he was not assaulting, beating or using personal violence upon another; and, the words he
allegedly shouted―“Putang inamo! Limangdaannabaito?”―are not slanderous, threatening or
abusive, and thus, could not have tended to disturb the peace or excite a riot considering that at the
time of the incident, Balingkit Street was still teeming with people and alive with activity. Further,
it bears stressing that no one present at the place of arrest ever complained that Ramon’s shouting
disturbed the public. On the contrary, a disinterested member of the community (a certain
Rosemarie Escobal) even testified that Ramon was merely standing in front of the store of a certain
MangRomy when a man in civilian clothes, later identified as PO2 Soque, approached Ramon,
immediately handcuffed and took him away.

In its totality, the Court observes that these facts and circumstances could not have
engendered a well-foundedbelief that any breach of the peace had been committed byRamon at the
time that his warrantless arrest was effected. All told, no probable cause existed to justify Ramon’s
warrantless arrest.

Consequently, as it cannot be said that Ramon wasvalidly arrested, the warrantless search
that resulted from it was also illegal. Thus, the subject shabu purportedly seized from Ramon is
inadmissible in evidence for being the proverbial fruit of the poisonous tree. In this regard,
considering that the confiscated shabu is the very corpus delicti of the crime charged, Ramon’s
acquittal should therefore come as a matter of course.

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San Gil, Kamille Bernadeth

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. NAZARENO VILLAREAL


GR No. 201363, 18 March 2013

A previous arrest or existing criminal record, even for the same offense, will not suffice to
satisfy the exacting requirements provided under Section 5, Rule 113 in order to justify a lawful
warrantless arrest. "Personal knowledge" of the arresting officer that a crime had in fact just been
committed is required.

FACTS

While PO3 Renato de Leon (PO3 de Leon) was driving his motorcycle on his way home, he
saw appellant from a distance holding and scrutinizing in his hand a plastic sachet of shabu. Thus,
PO3 de Leon, a member of the Station Anti-Illegal Drugs-Special Operation Unit (SAID-SOU) in
Caloocan City, alighted from his motorcycle and approached the appellant whom he recognized as
someone he had previously arrested for illegal drug possession.

Upon seeing PO3 de Leon, appellant tried to escape but was quickly apprehended with the
help of a tricycle driver. Despite appellant's attempts to resist arrest, PO3 de Leon was able to board
appellant onto his motorcycle and confiscate the plastic sachet of shabu in his possession.
Consequently, appellant was charged with violation of Section 11, Article II of RA 9165 for illegal
possession of dangerous drugs.

The RTC convicted appellant of the crime of illegal possession of dangerous drugs. The CA
sustained appellant's conviction, finding "a clear case of in flagrante delicto warrantless arrest" as
provided under Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. The CA held that
appellant "exhibited an overt act or strange conduct that would reasonably arouse suspicion,"
aggravated by the existence of his past criminal citations and his attempt to flee when PO3 de Leon
approached him.

ISSUE

Whether the CA erred in affirming in toto the RTC's Decision convicting appellant of the
offense charged.

HELD

YES. Absent any other circumstance upon which to anchor a lawful arrest, no other overt act
could be properly attributed to appellant as to rouse suspicion in the mind of PO3 de Leon that he
(appellant) had just committed, was committing, or was about to commit a crime, for the acts per se
of walking along the street and examining something in one's hands cannot in any way be considered
criminal acts. In fact, even if appellant had been exhibiting unusual or strange acts or at the very
least appeared suspicious, the same would not have been sufficient in order for PO3 de Leon to effect
a lawful warrantless arrest under paragraph (a) of Section 5, Rule 113.

A previous arrest or existing criminal record, even for the same offense, will not suffice to
satisfy the exacting requirements provided under Section 5, Rule 113 in order to justify a lawful
warrantless arrest. "Personal knowledge" of the arresting officer that a crime had in fact just been
committed is required. To interpret "personal knowledge" as referring to a person's reputation or
past criminal citations would create a dangerous precedent and unnecessarily stretch the authority
and power of police officers to effect warrantless arrests based solely on knowledge of a person's
previous criminal infractions, rendering nugatory the rigorous requisites laid out under Section 5.

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It was therefore error on the part of the CA to rule on the validity of appellant's arrest based
on "personal knowledge of facts regarding appellant's person and past criminal record," as this is
unquestionably not what "personal knowledge" under the law contemplates, which must be strictly
construed.

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Solis, Patrick David

SALES v. PEOPLE
G.R. No. 191023, 6 February 2013

The Supreme Court finds no irregularity in the search conducted on petitioner who was asked
to empty the contents of his pockets upon the frisker’s reasonable belief that what he felt in his hand
while frisking petitioner’s short pants was a prohibited or illegal substance. Such search was made
pursuant to routine airport security procedure, which is allowed under Section 9 of R.A. No. 6235.

FACTS

Petitioner was charged with violation of Section 11, Article II of R.A. No, 9165
(Comprehensive Drugs Act of 2002) for unlawfully having in his possession, custody, and control 0.23
gram of dried Marijuana when he was apprehended by the police office officers during the routine
frisk at the pre-departure area of the airport. Contending otherwise, he pleaded not guilty during the
arraignment.

The RTC found him guilty of the crime charged. On appeal, the CA ruled that the body
search conducted on petitioner is a valid warrantless search made pursuant to a routine airport
security procedure allowed by law. It found no merit in petitioners theory of frame-up and extortion.
On the issue of the integrity and probative value of the evidence used to convict petitioner, the CA
held that there is no hiatus or confusion that the marijuana that was marked at the airport, then
subjected to qualitative examination on the same day and eventually introduced as evidence against
petitioner, is the same prohibited drug that was found in his custody and possession when he was
apprehended at the pre-departure area of the airport in the morning of May 24, 2003.

The CA also explained that while the marijuana leaves referred to by Soriano in his
testimony was otherwise called by the public prosecutor and the Forensic Chemical Officer as dried
marijuana fruiting tops in both the criminal information and the Laboratory Report, these do not
refer to different items. Both marijuana leaves with fruiting tops were rolled in two papers which
were actually found and seized from petitioners possession in the course of a routine security search
and frisking.
Hence, this petition for certiorari.

ISSUE

Whether or not the prosecution has satisfactorily established that the items seized from the
accused were the very same items taken to the court?

HELD

The petition has no merit.

In a prosecution for illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the following facts must be proven
with moral certainty: (1) that the accused is in possession of the object identified as prohibited or
regulated drug; (2) that such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) that the accused freely and
consciously possessed the said drug.

In this case, the prosecution has satisfactorily established that airport security officers found
in the person of petitioner the marijuana fruiting tops contained in rolled paper sticks during the
final security check at the airports pre-departure area. Petitioner at first refused to show the

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contents of his short pants pocket to Soriano who became suspicious when his hand felt the slightly
bulging item while frisking petitioner.

XXX

We find no irregularity in the search conducted on petitioner who was asked to empty the
contents of his pockets upon the frisker’s reasonable belief that what he felt in his hand while
frisking petitioner’s short pants was a prohibited or illegal substance.

The search conducted by the police officers was made pursuant to routine airport security
procedure, which is allowed under Section 9 of R.A. No. 6235.
The search of the contents of petitioners short pants pockets being a valid search pursuant to routine
airport security procedure, the illegal substance (marijuana) seized from him was therefore
admissible in evidence.

The rule on chain of custody under R.A. No. 9165 and its implementing rules and regulations
(IRR) expressly demands the identification of the persons who handle the confiscated items for the
purpose of duly monitoring the authorized movements of the illegal drugs and/or drug paraphernalia
from the time they are seized from the accused until the time they are presented in court. What is of
utmost importance is the preservation of the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items, as
the same would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused.

As long as the chain of custody remains unbroken, the guilt of the accused will not be
affected. After a thorough review of the records, we hold that the prosecution in this case has
established by facts proved at the trial that the chain of custody requirement was not broken.

During her direct-examination, PO1 Trota-Bartolome narrated clearly and consistently how
she obtained initial custody of the seized dangerous drug while on duty at the airports pre-departure
area.

In the light of the testimonial, documentary and object evidence on record, the prosecution
has proved with moral certainty that the two pieces of rolled papers containing dried marijuana
fruiting tops presented in court were the same items seized from petitioner during the routine frisk
at the airport in the morning of May 24, 2003. Therefore, it is sufficient to convict the petitioner.

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Tandoc, John Karol

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. VICTOR DE JESUS y GARCIA


G.R. No. 198794, 6 February 2013

FACTS

On March 28, 2003, a report reached the office of the [Bulacan PDEG] about the alleged drug selling
activities of one alias Vic, herein appellant Victor De Jesus y Garcia, along Mabini St., Barangay
Poblacion, Baliuag, Bulacan.

A buy bust operation was instructed by the PDEG chief with the assistance of a confidential agent,
known as alias "Erap". PO2 Carlito Bernardo was designated as the poseur buyer with SPO2
Violago, PO1 Jacinto, and PO1 Quizon as back up. The former was given two (2) pieces of marked
one hundred peso bills of which he placed his initials CB on the center of the seal of the Bangko
Sentral ng Pilipinas of each bill.

Around 1:00 p.m., PO2 Carlito Bernardo and the confidential agent proceeded to the house of [De
Jesus] in the guise of buying sachets of shabu. Upon arrival thereat, the confidential agent
introduced PO2 Carlito Bernardo to [De Jesus]. [De Jesus] then asked about the money. PO2 Carlito
Bernardo handed the money to [De Jesus] consisting of two (2) pieces of marked one hundred peso
bills. [De Jesus], in turn, received the money and took out a white colored cylindrical plastic film
case. From the film case, [De Jesus] took out a medium sized transparent plastic sachet and gave it
to PO2 Carlito Bernardo. After receiving the sachet, the latter held [De Jesus] and introduced
himself as a police officer. PO2 Carlito Bernardo recovered the film case from the right hand of [De
Jesus]. The film case contained two (2) medium sized and six (6) small sized transparent plastic
sachets. The marked money was recovered from the pocket of [De Jesus]. After asking [De Jesus] to
bring out the contents of his pocket, a sachet of marijuana was likewise recovered. [De Jesus] was
then informed of his constitutional rights.
While still at the scene of the incident, PO2 Carlito Bernardo marked the medium sized transparent
plastic sachet handed by [De Jesus] to him as A-BB and CB. The other sachets found inside the film
case [were] marked and initialed as follows: two (2) medium sized sachets were marked as B-₱1-CB
and B-₱8-CB[,] while the six (6) small sachets were marked B₱2-CB to B₱7-CB. The sachet of
marijuana recovered from [De Jesus’] pocket was marked as C-₱9-CB. No physical inventory of the
shabu was conducted.
[De Jesus] was immediately taken to the police station for proper investigation. The incident was
logged and the evidence were turned over to the station’s investigator, PO2 Tomas Nachor. PO2
Tomas Nachor, in turn prepared the request for the laboratory examination of the recovered
specimen and personally submitted the same to the crime laboratory office, which were later found
positive for shabu and marijuana.
On November 4, 2008, the RTC convicted De Jesus
On appeal,16 the Court of Appeals, in its March 24, 2011 Decision, affirmed the RTC
The Court of Appeals ruled that the prosecution was able to establish the chain of custody and
preserve the integrity and identity of the confiscated drugs.
De Jesus, smong others, now questions the discrepancy on the date of the buy-bust operation made
by the prosecution’s lone witness, PO2 Bernardo. In his May 19, 2005 testimony, PO2 Bernardo
declared that the buy-bust operation was conducted on March 29, 2003, which was two days earlier
than the March 31, 2003 date he stated in his joint affidavit and the date in the Informations filed
against De Jesus.

ISSUE

Whether or not the chain of custody doctrine successfully established.

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HELD

YES

Illegal Sale of Dangerous Drugs

In a prosecution for the sale of a dangerous drug, the following elements must be proven: (1) the
identity of the buyer and the seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the
thing sold and the payment therefor.

To reiterate, the prosecution must establish the actual occurrence of the transaction between
the buyer and seller of the dangerous drug, simultaneous with the presentation of the very same
dangerous drug in court as evidence. This burden, the prosecution was able to successfully discharge.

Section 21 of Republic Act No. 9165 outlines the procedure on the chain of custody of
confiscated, seized, or surrendered dangerous drugs

(1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall,
immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the
presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or
his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of
Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the
inventory and be given a copy thereof;
(2) Within twenty-four (24) hours upon confiscation/seizure of dangerous drugs, plant
sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, as well as
instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment, the same shall be submitted to the
PDEA Forensic Laboratory for a qualitative and quantitative examination;
(3) A certification of the forensic laboratory examination results, which shall be done under
oath by the forensic laboratory examiner, shall be issued within twenty-four (24) hours after the
receipt of the subject item/s: Provided, That when the volume of the dangerous drugs, plant
sources of dangerous drugs, and controlled precursors and essential chemicals does not allow the
completion of testing within the time frame, a partial laboratory examination report shall be
provisionally issued stating therein the quantities of dangerous drugs still to be examined by
the forensic laboratory: Provided, however, That a final certification shall be issued on the
completed forensic laboratory examination on the same within the next twenty-four (24) hours;
(4) After the filing of the criminal case, the Court shall, within seventy-two (72) hours,
conduct an ocular inspection of the confiscated, seized and/or surrendered dangerous drugs,
plant sources of dangerous drugs, and controlled precursors and essential chemicals, including
the instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment, and through the PDEA shall
within twenty-four (24) hours thereafter proceed with the destruction or burning of the same, in
the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or
seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the DOJ, civil
society groups and any elected public official. The Board shall draw up the guidelines on the
manner of proper disposition and destruction of such item/s which shall be borne by the
offender: Provided, That those item/s of lawful commerce, as determined by the Board, shall be
donated, used or recycled for legitimate purposes: Provided, further, That a representative
sample, duly weighed and recorded is retained;
(5) The Board shall then issue a sworn certification as to the fact of destruction or burning
of the subject item/s which, together with the representative sample/s in the custody of the
PDEA, shall be submitted to the court having jurisdiction over the case. In all instances, the
representative sample/s shall be kept to a minimum quantity as determined by the Board;

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(6) The alleged offender or his/her representative or counsel shall be allowed to personally
observe all of the above proceedings and his/her presence shall not constitute an admission of
guilt. In case the said offender or accused refuses or fails to appoint a representative after due
notice in writing to the accused or his/her counsel within seventy-two (72) hours before the
actual burning or destruction of the evidence in question, the Secretary of Justice shall appoint
a member of the public attorney’s office to represent the former;
(7) After the promulgation and judgment in the criminal case wherein the representative
sample/s was presented as evidence in court, the trial prosecutor shall inform the Board of the
final termination of the case and, in turn, shall request the court for leave to turn over the said
representative sample/s to the PDEA for proper disposition and destruction within twenty-four
(24) hours from receipt of the same; and
(8) Transitory Provision: a) Within twenty-four (24) hours from the effectivity of this Act,
dangerous drugs defined herein which are presently in possession of law enforcement agencies
shall, with leave of court, be burned or destroyed, in the presence of representatives of the
Court, DOJ, Department of Health (DOH) and the accused and/or his/her counsel, and, b)
Pending the organization of the PDEA, the custody, disposition, and burning or destruction of
seized/surrendered dangerous drugs provided under this Section shall be implemented by the
DOH.

Its Implementing Rules and Regulations state:

SEC. 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized and/or Surrendered Dangerous
Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals,
Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. — The PDEA shall take charge and
have custody of all dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and
essential chemicals, as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so
confiscated, seized and/or surrendered, for proper disposition in the following manner:
(a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall,
immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the
presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or
his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of
Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the
inventory and be given a copy thereof: Provided, that the physical inventory and photograph
shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served; or at the nearest police
station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team, whichever is practicable, in case
of warrantless seizures; Provided, further, that non-compliance with these requirements
under justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the
seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall not
render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items;

XXXXXX

The arresting officers’ failure to conduct a physical inventory and to photograph the items seized
from De Jesus will not render his arrest illegal or the items confiscated from him inadmissible in
evidence as they were able to nonetheless preserve the integrity and the evidentiary value of the said
items. This is what is of utmost importance as the seized items are what would be used in the
determination of De Jesus’ guilt or innocence.

Verily, the prosecution was able to demonstrate that the integrity and the evidentiary value of
the evidence had been preserved. PO2 Bernardo’s testimony as to how they learned of De Jesus’ drug
dealing activities up to the time they arrested him and confiscated the items subject of this case was
clear and positive. He was also categorical in his statements on how he marked the seized items and
to whom he turned them over. His mistake as to the exact date of the buy-bust operation will not

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render his testimony incredible. It must be remembered that aside from the fact that these police
officers handle numerous cases everyday, the first hearing held for this case was years after the date
of De Jesus’ arrest. Besides, it is settled that the exact date of the commission of the crime need not
be proved unless it is an essential element of the crime. 29 What is significant is that the links in the
chain of custody were all accounted for by the prosecution, from the time the items were confiscated
from De Jesus, up to the time they were presented in court during trial as proof of the corpus delicti.

In any case, unless De Jesus can show that there was bad faith, ill will, or tampering with the
evidence, the presumption that the integrity of the evidence has been preserved, and that the police
officers discharged their duties properly and with regularity, will remain.

Illegal Possession of Dangerous Drugs

In prosecuting cases for illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the prosecution must establish
the following elements:
(1) the accused is in possession of an item or object, which is identified to be a prohibited or
regulated drug;
(2) such possession is not authorized by law; and
(3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the drug.

The above elements were all duly established by the prosecution. After De Jesus was validly
arrested for the illegal sale of drugs, he was searched and frisked, pursuant to Section 13, Rule 126
of the Rules of Court, to wit:

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

Upon such search, De Jesus was found to be in possession of eight heat-sealed sachets of shabu,
an item identified to be a prohibited or regulated drug. De Jesus failed to show that he had authority
to possess them. Moreover, mere possession of a prohibited drug constitutes prima facie evidence of
knowledge or animus possidendi sufficient to convict an accused in the absence of satisfactory
explanation.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court hereby AFFIRMS the March 24, 2011 Decision of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 03671.

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Urbano, Mary Yasmine

LAUD v. PEOPLE
G.R. No. 199032, 19 November 2014

A search warrant application involving a "special criminal case" excludes it from the
compelling reason requirement under Section 2, Rule 126.

FACTS

The PNP, through Police Senior Superintendent Roberto B. Fajardo, applied with Manila-
RTC for a warrant to search three (3) caves located inside the Laud Compound in Purok 3, Barangay
Ma-a, Davao City, where the alleged remains of the victims summarily executed by the so-called
"Davao Death Squad" may be found.In support of the application, a certain Avasola was presented to
the RTC and there testified that he personally witnessed the killing of six (6) personsand was, in
fact, part of the group that buried the victims.

Judge Peralta, acting as Vice Executive Judge of the Manila-RTC, found probable cause for
the issuance of a search warrant and thus issued such which was later enforced by the elements
ofthe PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.The search of the Laud Compound caves
yielded positive results for the presence of human remains.

Petitioner, retired SPO4 Laud, filed an Urgent Motion to Quash and to Suppress Illegally
Seized Evidencepremised on the following grounds:
(a) Judge Peralta had no authority to act on the application for a search warrant since he had been
automatically divested of his position asVice Executive Judge when several administrative penalties
were imposed against him by the Court;
(b) the Manila-RTC had no jurisdiction to issue Search Warrant No. 09-14407 which was to be
enforced in Davao City;

RTC granted the motion of Laud. Respondent People filed a motion for reconsideration which
was denied. Respondent filed a petition for certiorari before the CA which was granted. It held that
the requirements for the issuance of a search warrant were satisfied, pointing out that an
application therefor involving a heinous crime, such as Murder, is an exception to the compelling
reasons requirement under Section 2, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court. Petitioner filed a motion for
reconsideration which was denied.

ISSUE

Whether the Manila-RTC had jurisdiction to issue the said warrant despite non-compliance
with the compelling reasons requirement under Section 2, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court

HELD:

YES.

Section 12, Chapter V of A.M. No. 03-8-02-SC states the requirements for the issuance of
search warrants in special criminal cases by the RTCs of Manila and Quezon City. These special
criminal cases pertain to those "involving heinous crimes, illegal gambling, illegal possession of
firearms and ammunitions, as well as violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002,
the Intellectual Property Code, the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001, the Tariff and Customs
Code, as amended, and other relevant laws that may hereafter be enacted by Congress, and included
herein by the Supreme Court." Search warrant applications for such cases may be filed by "the

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National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Anti-Crime
Task Force (ACTAF)," and "personally endorsed by the heads of such agencies." As in ordinary
search warrant applications, they "shall particularly describe therein the places to be searched
and/or the property or things to be seized as prescribed in the Rules of Court." "The Executive Judges
[of these RTCs] and, whenever they are on official leave of absence or are not physically present in
the station, the Vice-Executive Judges" are authorized to act on such applications and "shall issue
the warrants, if justified, which may be served in places outside the territorial jurisdiction of the said
courts."

The Court observes that all the above-stated requirements were complied with in this case.

As the records would show, the search warrant application was filed before the Manila-RTC
by the PNP and was endorsed by its head, PNP Chief Jesus AmeVersosa,particularly describing the
place to be searched and the things to be seized (as will be elaborated later on) in connection with the
heinous crime of Murder.[45] Finding probable cause therefor, Judge Peralta, in his capacity as
2nd Vice-Executive Judge, issued Search Warrant No. 09-14407 which, as the rules state, may be
served in places outside the territorial jurisdiction of the said RTC.

Notably, the fact that a search warrant application involves a "special criminal case"
excludes it from the compelling reason requirement under Section 2, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court
which provides:

SEC. 2. Court where application for search warrant shall be filed. An application for
search warrant shall be filed with the following:

a) Any court within whose territorial jurisdiction a crime was committed.

b) For compelling reasons stated in the application, any court within the
judicial region where the crime was committed if the place of the
commission of the crime is known, or any court within the judicial region
where the warrant shall be enforced.

However, if the criminal action has already been filed, the application shall only be
made in the court where the criminal action is pending. (Emphasis supplied)

As explicitly mentioned in Section 12, Chapter V of A.M. No. 03-8-02-SC, the rule on
search warrant applications before the Manila and Quezon City RTCs for the above-
mentioned special criminal cases "shall be an exception to Section 2 of Rule 126 of the Rules
of Court." Perceptibly, the fact that a search warrant is being applied for in connection with a
special criminal case as above-classified already presumes the existence of a compelling
reason; hence, any statement to this effect would be superfluous and therefore should be
dispensed with. By all indications, Section 12, Chapter V of A.M. No. 03-8-02-SC allows the
Manila and Quezon City RTCs to issue warrants to be served in places outside their
territorial jurisdiction for as long as the parameters under the said section have been
complied with, as in this case. Thus, on these grounds, the Court finds nothing defective in
the preliminary issuance of Search Warrant No. 09-14407. Perforce, the RTC-Manila should
not have overturned it.

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Vicencio, Carmel Louise

VALMONTE v. DE VILLA
G.R. No. 83988, 24 May 1990

Checkpoints are not illegal per se. Under exceptional circumstances, as where the survival of
organized government is on the balance, or where the lives and safety of the people are in grave peril,
checkpoints may be allowed and installed by the government. Implicit in this proposition is, that
when the situation clears and such grave perils are removed, checkpoints will have absolutely no
reason to remain.

FACTS

On 20 January 1987, the National Capital Region District Command was activated pursuant
to Letter of Instruction 02/87 of the Philippine General Headquarters, AFP, with the mission of
conducting security operations within its area of responsibility and peripheral areas, for the purpose
of establishing an effective territorial defense, maintaining peace and order, and providing an
atmosphere conducive to the social, economic and political development of the National Capital
Region. As part of its duty to maintain peace and order, the NCRDC installed checkpoints in various
parts of Valenzuela, Metro Manila.

Petitioners aver that, because of the installation of said checkpoints, the residents of
Valenzuela are worried of being harassed and of their safety being placed at the arbitrary, capricious
and whimsical disposition of the military manning the checkpoints, considering that their cars and
vehicles are being subjected to regular searches and check-ups, especially at night or at dawn,
without the benefit of a search warrant and/or court order. Their alleged fear for their safety
increased when, at dawn of 9 July 1988, Benjamin Parpon, a supply officer of the Municipality of
Valenzuela, Bulacan, was gunned down allegedly in cold blood by the members of the NCRDC
manning the checkpoint along McArthur Highway at Malinta, Valenzuela, for ignoring and/or
refusing to submit himself to the checkpoint and for continuing to speed off inspite of warning shots
fired in the air. Petitioner Valmonte also claims that, on several occasions, he had gone thru these
checkpoints where he was stopped and his car subjected to search/check-up without a court order or
search warrant.

Petitioners further contend that the said checkpoints give the respondents a blanket
authority to make searches and/or seizures without search warrant or court order in violation of the
Constitution; and, instances have occurred where a citizen, while not killed, had been harassed.

ISSUE

Whether or not the declaration of checkpoints in Valenzuela, Metro Manila, or elsewhere is


unconsitutional

HELD

No. Checkpoints are not illegal per se. Thus, under exceptional circumstances, as where the
survival of organized government is on the balance, or where the lives and safety of the people are in
grave peril, checkpoints may be allowed and installed by the government. Implicit in this proposition
is, that when the situation clears and such grave perils are removed, checkpoints will have
absolutely no reason to remain.

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Recent and on-going events have pointed to the continuing validity and need for checkpoints
manned by either military or police forces. The sixth attempted coup d’état (stronger than all
previous ones) was staged only last 1 December 1989. Another attempt at a coup d’etat is taken
almost for granted. The NPA, through its sparrow units, has not relented but instead accelerated its
liquidation of armed forces and police personnel. Murders, sex crimes, hold-ups and drug abuse have
become daily occurrences. Unlicensed firearms and ammunition have become favorite objects of
trade. Smuggling is at an all-time high. Whether or not effective as expected, checkpoints have been
regarded by the authorities as a security measure designed to entrap criminal and insurgents and to
constitute a dragnet for all types of articles in illegal trade.

Admittedly, the routine checkpoint stop does intrude, to a certain extent, on motorist’s right
to “free passage without interruption”, but it cannot be denied that, as a rule, it involves only a brief
detention of travellers during which the vehicle’s occupants are required to answer a brief question
or two. For as long as the vehicle is neither searched nor its occupants subjected to a body search,
and the inspection of the vehicle is limited to a visual search, said routine checks cannot be regarded
as violative of an individual’s right against unreasonable search.

The checkpoints are nonetheless attacked by the movants as a warrantless search and
seizure and, therefore, violative of the Constitution. As already stated, vehicles are generally allowed
to pass these checkpoints after a routine inspection and a few questions. If vehicles are stopped and
extensively searched, it is because of some probable cause which justifies a reasonable belief of the
men at the checkpoints that either the motorist is a law-offender or the contents of the vehicle are or
have been instruments of some offense. Besides these warrantless searches and seizures at the
checkpoints are quite similar to searches and seizures accompanying warrantless arrests during the
commission of a crime, or immediately thereafter.

Lastly, the Court’s decision on checkpoints does not, in any way, validate nor condone abuses
committed by the military manning the checkpoints. The Court’s decision was concerned with power,
i.e. whether the government employing the military has the power to install said checkpoints. Once
that power is acknowledged, the Court’s inquiry ceases. True, power implies the possibility of its
abuse. But whether is abuse in a particular situation is a different “ball game” to be resolved in the
constitutional arena.

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Alava, Quino

SR. INSP. JERRY C. VALEROSO v. COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE


PHILIPPINES
G.R. No. 164815, 3 September 2009

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

FACTS

On July 10, 1996, a duly issued warrant of arrest to the petitioner in a case of kidnapping for
ransom was released. Jerry C. Valeroso was found and arrested and was bodily searched and after
which a firearm with live ammunition was found tucked in his waist. The subject firearm was later
confirmed and revealed to have not been issued to the petitioner but to another person.

The defense on the other hand claimed that Valeroso was arrested and searched (without a
search warrant) in the boarding house of his children. They pointed their guns on him and tied him
and pulled him out of the room as the raiding team went back inside, searched and ransacked the
room. Later, an operative came out of the room exclaiming that he has found a gun inside. The
firearm according to the petitioner was issued to Jerry Valeroso by virtue of a Memorandum Receipt.

Valeroso was then charged with violation of Presidential Decree No. 1866 for illegally
possessing a revolver bearing serial number 52315 without securing the necessary license/permit.

ISSUE

Whether the warrantless search and seizure of the firearm and ammunition has merit and
valid. (No.)

HELD

Valeroso’s appeal for acquittal focuses on his constitutional right against unreasonable
search and seizure alleged to have been violated by the arresting police officers; and if so, would
render the confiscated firearm and ammunition inadmissible in evidence against him.

The right against unreasonable searches and seizures is secured by Section 2, Article III of
the Constitution which states:
SEC. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any
purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall
issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after
examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he
may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the
persons or things to be seized.

In the exceptional instances where a warrant is not necessary to effect a valid search or
seizure, what constitutes a reasonable or unreasonable search or seizure is purely a judicial
question, determinable from the uniqueness of the circumstances involved, including the purpose of
the search or seizure, the presence or absence of probable cause, the manner in which the search and
seizure was made, the place or thing searched, and the character of the articles procured.

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The warrantless search could not be justified as an incident to a lawful arrest. Searches and
seizures incident to lawful arrests are governed by Section 13, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court, which
reads:

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

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

In the present case, Valeroso was arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest allegedly for
kidnapping with ransom. At that time, Valeroso was sleeping inside the boarding house of his
children. He was awakened by the arresting officers who were heavily armed. They pulled him out of
the room, placed him beside the faucet outside the room, tied his hands, and then put him under the
care of Disuanco. The other police officers remained inside the room and ransacked the locked
cabinet where they found the subject firearm and ammunition. With such discovery, Valeroso was
charged with illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.

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Alforque, Jimmie Jan

SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIETY v. DANGEROUS DRUGS BOARD


G.R. No. 157870, 3 November 2008 (Velasco, Jr., J.)

A random drug testing of students in secondary and tertiary schools is not only acceptable but
may even be necessary if the safety and interest of the student population, doubtless a legitimate
concern of the government, are to be promoted and protected.

FACTS

The constitutionality of Section 36 of Republic Act No. (RA) 9165, otherwise known as the
Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, insofar as it requires mandatory drug testing of
students of secondary and tertiary schools, officers and employees of public and private offices is put
in issue.

Petitioner Social Justice Society (SJS)seeks to prohibit the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB)
and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) from enforcing paragraphs (c), (d), (f), and (g)
of Sec. 36 of RA 9165 on the ground that they are constitutionally infirm. A person's constitutional
right against unreasonable searches is breached by said provisions.

ISSUE

Whether or not paragraphs (c), (d), (f), and (g) of Sec. 36, RA 9165 violate the right against
unreasonable searches and seizure.

HELD

NO. The Court is of the view and so holds that the provisions of RA 9165 are constitutional.
Indeed, it is within the prerogative of educational institutions to require, as a condition for
admission, compliance with reasonable school rules and regulations and policies. To be sure, the
right to enroll is not absolute; it is subject to fair, reasonable, and equitable requirements.

A random drug testing of students in secondary and tertiary schools is not only acceptable
but may even be necessary if the safety and interest of the student population, doubtless a legitimate
concern of the government, areto be promoted and protected. The Court can take judicial notice of
the proliferation of prohibited drugs in the country that threatens the well-being of the people,
particularly the youth and schoolchildren who usually end up as victims. Needless to stress, the
random testing scheme provided under the law argues against the idea that the testing aims to
incriminate unsuspecting individual students.

The mandatory but random drug test prescribed by Sec. 36 of RA 9165 for officers and
employees of public and private offices is justifiable, albeit not exactly for the same reason. The
Court notes in this regard that petitioner SJS has failed to show how the mandatory, random, and
suspicionless drug testing under Sec .36 of RA 9165 violates the right to privacy and constitutes
unlawful and/or unconsented search under Art.III, Secs.1 and 2 of the Constitution.
If RA 9165 passes the norm of reasonableness for private employees, the more reason that it
should pass the test for civil servants, who, by constitutional command, are required to be
accountable at all times to the people and to serve them with utmost responsibility and efficiency.
Taking into account the foregoing factors, we hold that the challenged drug test requirement is
reasonable and, ergo, constitutional.

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Angeles, George, II

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JESUS MIRANTES


G.R. No. 9270, 21 May 1992

It is a violation of the constitutional rights of [the accused] to remain silent and to counsel
whereby he was made to admit the commission of the offense without being informed of his rights.
Such a confession obtained in violation of the Constitution is inadmissible in evidence.

FACTS

Jesus Mirantes (appellant) and a certain Guarberto Balolong were charged with having
conspired and confederated in wilfully and feloniously selling, transporting and delivering two (2)
sticks of marijuana cigarettes in Iligan City on September 13, 1988. The prosecution witnesses
testified that appellant had long been the subject of their surveillance prior to his arrest on
September 13, 1988. On the same day, at around 9:00 o'clock in the evening, the Narcotics Command
(NARCOM) agents, headed by Pat. Edgardo Englatiera conducted a buy-bust operation in Purok I,
Saray, Iligan City. Among the members of the buy-bust team were Guarberto Balolong and Celso
Engkig, the poseur-buyer. Engkig was given a five-peso bill which was first photocopied and
subscribed before the assistant provincial fiscal.

The members of the team proceeded to the place where appellant could be found and
positioned themselves ten (10) meters away from where the transaction was to take place. Engkig
approached appellant who also came near him and asked Engkig if he wanted to smoke marijuana.
Engkig agreed and he gave appellant the fivepeso bill as payment for two (2) sticks of marijuana
leaves. Upon the consummation of the alleged transaction, the NARCOM agents approached the two
and arrested both of them. The agents then seized the marijuana sticks and the five-peso bill for
which they issued a seizure receipt which was later on signed by appellant upon orders of the
NARCOM agents. The marijuana sticks were submitted to and examined by the crime laboratory
and were found positive of marijuana, a prohibited drug.

Appellant, on the other hand, testified that on September 13, 1988,at around 9:00 o'clock in
the evening, he was at Saray, Iligan City, trying to catch bats with a certain Nonong Labitad. While
there, a group of NARCOM agents, only one of whom he recognized as Pat. Englatiera, arrived and
told him to go with them to the NARCOM office for investigation. Appellant resented the proposition
but the NARCOM agents prevailed. After the investigation, the NARCOM agents took out something
from a drawer. They showed it to appellant and asked him if he owns the same. When appellant
denied ownership thereof, the NARCOM agents told him that it was owned by Balolong, his co-
accused in this case. He was also made to sign a receipt and some documents without the assistance
of a counsel.

After trial, appellant was found guilty as charged by the court a quo which rendered the
assailed judgment. He now comes to thisCourt for the reversal of said verdict, contending that the
trial court erred in appreciating the seizure receipt of property signed by him without the assistance
of counsel during custodial investigation.

ISSUE

Whether or not the trial court erred in convicting the accused by appreciating the seizure
receipt of property, among others.

HELD

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Yes. We agree with appellant on the matter of the inadmissibility of the seizure receipt
allegedly signed by him. This Court has ruled in a similar situation that, obviously, therein
appellant was a victim of a clever ruse to make him sign the alleged receipts which in effect are
extrajudicial confessions of the commission of the offense. Indeed, it is unusual for appellant to sign
receipts for items allegedly taken from him; on the contrary, the police officers who confiscated the
same should have signed them. Undoubtedly, this is a violation of the constitutional rights of herein
appellant to remain silent and to counsel whereby he was made to admit the commission of the
offense without being informed of his rights. Such a confession obtained in violation of the
Constitution is inadmissible in evidence. Accordingly, the seizure receipt in question cannot be made
the basis of appellant's conviction.
The oft-cited presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions cannot by itself affect
the constitutional presumption of innocence enjoyed by an accused, particularly when the
prosecution's evidence is weak. The evidence of the prosecution must be strong enough to pierce the
shield of this presumptive innocence and to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable
doubt. And where the evidence of the prosecution is insufficient to overcome this presumption,
necessarily, the judgment of conviction of the court a quo must be set aside. The onus probandi on
the prosecution is not discharged by casting doubts upon the innocence of an accused, but by
eliminating all reasonable doubts as to his guilt.

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Balingasa, Mary Angeline

DELA CRUZ v. PEOPLE


G.R. No. 200748, 730 SCRA 655, 23 July 2014

The Court cannot condone drug testing of all arrested persons regardless of the crime or
offense for which the arrest is being made.

FACTS

Petitioner Jaime Dela Cruz was apprehended by the officers of the NBI-Central Visayas
Regional Office in an entrapment operations pursuant to a complaint against him for extortion of
P40,000.00 from Corazon Absin in exchange for the release of the latter’s live-in partner. Petitioner
was required to submit his urine for drug testing, to which he objected. This yielded a positive result
for the presence of the dangerous drugs as indicated in the confirmatory test. For this reason, he was
charged with violation of Section 15, Article II of R.A. No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous
Drugs Act of 2002. Dela Cruz argued that the examination was not assisted by counsel, in clear
violation of his right. The RTC found him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of said violation. It
reasoned that a suspect cannot invoke his right to counsel when he is required to extract urine
because, while he is already in custody, he is not compelled to make a statement or testimony
against himself. The CA affirmed the ruling of the RTC. Aggrieved, he appealed, arguing that based
on prevailing jurisprudence, the drug testing conducted violates his right to privacy.

ISSUE

Whether the drug test conducted is legal.

HELD

NO. The drug test conducted upon petitioner is not grounded upon any existing law or
jurisprudence. Petitioner was charged with use of dangerous drugs in violation of the law. Under
Section 15, RA 9165, however, the drug test referred to for “persons apprehended or arrested” must
be read in context and understood in consonance with RA 9165. It covers only those persons
“apprehended or arrested” for unlawful acts listed under Article II of the said law. To make the
provision applicable to all persons arrested or apprehended for any crime not listed under Article II
of RA 9165 is tantamount to unduly expanding its meaning. The accused-appellant here was
arrested in the alleged act of extortion. Furthermore, to overextend the application of the said
provision is tantamount to a mandatory drug testing of all persons apprehended or arrested for any
crime and would run counter to the pronouncement in Social Justice Society v. Dangerous Drugs
Board and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency where the mandatory drug testing on the accused
was held to be violative of a person’s right to privacy guaranteed under Section 2, Article III of the
Constitution.

The constitutional right of the accused against self-incrimination proscribes the use of
physical or moral compulsion to extort communications from the accused and not the inclusion of his
body in evidence when it may be material. Purely mechanical acts are not included in the prohibition
as the accused does not thereby speak his guilt, hence the assistance and guiding hand of counsel is
not required. In the instant case, the Court fails to see how a urine sample could be material to the
charge of extortion. Moreover, he resisted having his urine sample taken, and his urine sample was
the only available evidence that was used as basis for his conviction for the use of illegal drugs.

The drug test was a violation of the petitioner’s right to privacy and right against self-
incrimination. The pertinent provisions in Article III of the Constitution are clear:

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Section 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose
shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon
probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or
affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly
describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Section 17. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.

In the face of these constitutional guarantees, the Court cannot condone drug testing of all
arrested persons regardless of the crime or offense for which the arrest is being made.

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Balonkita, Christa

BRICCIO RICKY A. POLLO v. CONSTANTINO-DAVID


GR No. 181881, 18 October 2011

The existence of privacy right involved a two-fold requirement: First, that a person has
exhibited an actual expectation of privacy (subjective); and second, that the expectation to be one that
society is prepared to recognize as reasonable (objective).

FACTS

Petitioner is a former Supervising Personnel Specialist of the CSC Regional Office and also
the Officer-in-Charge of the Public Assistance and Liason Division (PALD) under the Mamamayan
Muna Hindi Mamaya Na program of the CSC.

On January 3, 2007, an anonymous letter-complaint was received by the respondent Civil


Service Commission (CSC) Chairperson alleging that the “chief of the Mamamayan muna hindi
mamaya na division” of Civil Service Commission Regional Office No. IV (CSC-ROIV) has been
lawyering for public officials with pending cases in the CSC. Chairperson David immediately formed
a team with background in information technology and issued a memorandum directing them “to
back up all the files in the computers found in the [CSC-ROIV] Mamamayan Muna (PALD) and
Legal divisions.”

The team proceeded at once to the CSC-ROIV office and backed up all files in the hard disk
of computers at the Public Assistance and Liaison Division (PALD) and the Legal Services Division.
This was witnessed by several employees. At around 10:00 p.m. of the same day, the investigating
team finished their task. The next day, all the computers in the PALD were sealed and
secured. The diskettes containing the back-up files sourced from the hard disk of PALD and LSD
computers were then turned over to Chairperson David. It was found that most of the files in the 17
diskettes containing files copied from the computer assigned to and being used by the petitioner,
numbering about 40 to 42 documents, were draft pleadings or letters in connection with
administrative cases in the CSC and other tribunals. Chairperson David thus issued a Show-Cause
Order requiring the petitioner to submit his explanation or counter-affidavit within five days from
notice.

Petitioner filed his Comment, denying that he is the person referred to in the anonymous
letter-complaint. He asserted that he had protested the unlawful taking of his computer done while
he was on leave, citing the letter dated January 8, 2007 in which he informed Director Castillo of
CSC-ROIV that the files in his computer were his personal files and those of his sister, relatives,
friends and some associates and that he is not authorizing their sealing, copying, duplicating and
printing as these would violate his constitutional right to privacy and protection against self-
incrimination and warrantless search and seizure. He pointed out that though government property,
the temporary use and ownership of the computer issued under a Memorandum of Receipt is ceded
to the employee who may exercise all attributes of ownership, including its use for personal
purposes. In view of the illegal search, the files/documents copied from his computer without his
consent [are] thus inadmissible as evidence, being “fruits of a poisonous tree.”

The CSC found prima facie case against the petitioner and charged him
with Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the
Service and Violation of R.A. No. 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public
Officials and Employees). Petitioner then filed an Omnibus Motion (For Reconsideration, to Dismiss
and/or to Defer) assailing the formal charge as without basis having proceeded from an illegal

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search, which is beyond the authority of the CSC Chairman, such power pertaining solely to the
court. The CSC denied this omnibus motion.

On March 14, 2007, petitioner filed an Urgent Petition before the Court of Appeals (CA)
assailing both the January 11, 2007 Show-Cause Order and February 26, 2007 Resolution as having
been issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or total absence of jurisdiction.
On July 24, 2007, the CSC issued a Resolution finding petitioner GUILTY of Dishonesty, Grave
Misconduct, Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service and Violation of
Republic Act 6713. He is meted the penalty of DISMISSAL FROM THE SERVICE with all its
accessory penalties. This Resolution was also brought to the CA by herein petitioner.

By a Decision dated October 11, 2007, the CA dismissed the petitioner’s petition for certiorari
after finding no grave abuse of discretion committed by respondents CSC officials. His motion for
reconsideration having been denied by the CA, petitioner brought this appeal before the Supreme
Court.

ISSUE

Whether or not the search conducted on Petitioner’s office computer and the copying of
personal files without his knowledge and consent is lawful

HELD

No. Citing the case of Katz vs. United States, the Court emphasized that the existence of
privacy right involved a two-fold requirement:

1. That a persons has exhibited an actual expectation of privacy (subjective); and


2. That the expectation to be one that society is prepared to recognize as reasonable (objective).

As regards the first requirement, in this case, the petitioner had no reasonable expectation of
privacy in his office and computer files.

Petitioner failed to prove that he had an actual (subjective) expectation of privacy either in
his office or government-issued computer which contained his personal files. Petitioner did not
allege that he had a separate enclosed office which he did not share with anyone, or that his office
was always locked and not open to other employees or visitors. Neither did he allege that he used
passwords or adopted any means to prevent other employees from accessing his computer files. On
the contrary, he submits that being in the public assistance office of the CSC-ROIV, he normally
would have visitors in his office like friends, associates and even unknown people, whom he even
allowed to use his computer which to him seemed a trivial request. He described his office as “full of
people, his friends, unknown people” and that in the past 22 years he had been discharging his
functions at the PALD, he is “personally assisting incoming clients, receiving documents, drafting
cases on appeals, in charge of accomplishment report, Mamamayan Muna Program, Public Sector
Unionism, Correction of name, accreditation of service, and hardly had any time for himself alone,
that in fact he stays in the office as a paying customer.” Under this scenario, it can hardly be
deduced that petitioner had such expectation of privacy that society would recognize as reasonable.

Moreover, even assuming arguendo, in the absence of allegation or proof of the


aforementioned factual circumstances, that petitioner had at least a subjective expectation of privacy
in his computer as he claims, such is negated by the presence of policy regulating the use of office
computers [CSC Office Memorandum No. 10, S. 2002 “Computer Use Policy (CUP)”], as in Simons.
The CSC in this case had implemented a policy that put its employees on notice that they have no
expectation of privacy in anything they create, store, send or receive on the office computers, and

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that the CSC may monitor the use of the computer resources using both automated or human means.
This implies that on-the-spot inspections may be done to ensure that the computer resources were
used only for such legitimate business purposes.

As to the second requirement, the search authorized by the respondent which


involved the copying of the contents of the hard drive on petitioner’s computer was
reasonable in inception and scope.

The search of petitioner’s computer files was conducted in connection with investigation
of work-related misconduct prompted by an anonymous letter-complaint addressed to
Chairperson David regarding anomalies in the CSC-ROIV where the head of the Mamamayan Muna
Hindi Mamaya Na division is supposedly “lawyering” for individuals with pending cases in the
CSC. A search by a government employer of an employee’s office is justified at inception when
there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that it will turn up evidence that the employee is guilty
of work-related misconduct.

Under the facts obtaining, the search conducted on petitioner’s computer was justified at its
inception and scope.

Thus, petitioner’s claim of violation of his constitutional right to privacy must


necessarily fail. His other argument invoking the privacy of communication and
correspondence under Section 3(1), Article III of the 1987 Constitution is also untenable
considering the recognition accorded to certain legitimate intrusions into the privacy of
employees in the government workplace under the aforecited authorities.

WHEREFORE, petition DENIED

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Cabitac, Fernando, III

JESSE LUCAS v. JESUS LUCAS


G.R. No. 190710, 6 June 2011

Although a paternity action is civil, not criminal, the constitutional prohibition against
unreasonable searches and seizures is still applicable, and a proper showing of sufficient justification
under the particular factual circumstances of the case must be made before a court may order a
compulsory blood test. Notwithstanding these, it should be stressed that the issuance of a DNA testing
order remains discretionary upon the court.

FACTS

Petitioner, Jesse U. Lucas, filed a Petition to Establish Illegitimate Filiation (with Motion for
the Submission of Parties to DNA Testing) before the Regional Trial Court (RTC). His mother, Elsie
Uy (Elsie) got acquainted with respondent, Jesus S. Lucas, and an intimate relationship developed
between the two. Elsie eventually got pregnant and, on March 11, 1969, she gave birth to petitioner,
Jesse U. Lucas. The name of petitioners father was not stated in petitioners certificate of live birth.
However, Elsie later on told petitioner that his father is respondent.

Petitioner filed with the RTC a Very Urgent Motion to Try and Hear the Case. Hence, on
September 3, 2007, the RTC, finding the petition to be sufficient in form and substance, issued the
Order setting the case for hearing and urging anyone who has any objection to the petition to file his
opposition.

After learning of the September 3, 2007 Order, respondent filed a motion for reconsideration.
Respondent averred that the petition was not in due form and substance because petitioner could not
have personally known the matters that were alleged therein. He argued that DNA testing cannot be
had on the basis of a mere allegation pointing to respondent as petitioners father. Moreover,
jurisprudence is still unsettled on the acceptability of DNA evidence.

On July 30, 2008, the RTC, acting on respondents motion for reconsideration, issued an
Order dismissing the case. The court remarked that, based on the case of Herrera v. Alba. Petitioner
seasonably filed a motion for reconsideration to the Order which the RTC resolved in his favor. RTC
held that the ruling on the grounds relied upon by petitioner for filing the petition is premature
considering that a full-blown trial has not yet taken place. Aggrieved, respondent filed a petition
for certiorari with the CA which decided the petition for certiorari in favor of respondent.

ISSUE

Whether DNA testing can only be ordered after the petitioner establishes prima facie proof of
filiation.

HELD

Petition is meritorious

The statement in Herrera v. Alba that there are four significant procedural aspects in a
traditional paternity case which parties have to face has been widely misunderstood and misapplied
in this case. A party is confronted by these so-called procedural aspects during trial, when the
parties have presented their respective evidence. They are matters of evidence that cannot be
determined at this initial stage of the proceedings, when only the petition to establish filiation has
been filed. The CAs observation that petitioner failed to establish a prima facie case, the first

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procedural aspect in a paternity case, is therefore misplaced. A prima facie case is built by a partys
evidence and not by mere allegations in the initiatory pleading.

In some states, to warrant the issuance of the DNA testing order, there must be a show cause
hearing wherein the applicant must first present sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case
or a reasonable possibility of paternity or good cause for the holding of the test. In these states, a
court order for blood testing is considered a search, which, under their Constitutions (as in ours),
must be preceded by a finding of probable cause in order to be valid. Hence, the requirement of
a prima facie case, or reasonable possibility, was imposed in civil actions as a counterpart of a
finding of probable cause. The Supreme Court of Louisiana eloquently explained

Although a paternity action is civil, not criminal, the constitutional prohibition


against unreasonable searches and seizures is still applicable, and a proper showing
of sufficient justification under the particular factual circumstances of the case must
be made before a court may order a compulsory blood test. Courts in various
jurisdictions have differed regarding the kind of procedures which are required, but
those jurisdictions have almost universally found that a preliminary showing must
be made before a court can constitutionally order compulsory blood testing in
paternity cases. We agree, and find that, as a preliminary matter, before the court
may issue an order for compulsory blood testing, the moving party must show that
there is a reasonable possibility of paternity. As explained hereafter, in cases in
which paternity is contested and a party to the action refuses to voluntarily undergo
a blood test, a show cause hearing must be held in which the court can determine
whether there is sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case which warrants
issuance of a court order for blood testing.

The same condition precedent should be applied in our jurisdiction to protect the putative
father from mere harassment suits. Thus, during the hearing on the motion for DNA testing, the
petitioner must present prima facie evidence or establish a reasonable possibility of paternity.

Notwithstanding these, it should be stressed that the issuance of a DNA testing order
remains discretionary upon the court. The court may, for example, consider whether there is
absolute necessity for the DNA testing. If there is already preponderance of evidence to establish
paternity and the DNA test result would only be corroborative, the court may, in its discretion,
disallow a DNA testing.

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Castillo, Jephthah

LUZ v. PHILIPPINES

Under R.A. 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, the general procedure for
dealing with a traffic violation is not the arrest of the offender, but the confiscation of the drivers
license of the latter.

FACTS

PO3 Emmanuel L. Alteza testified that he saw the accused driving a motorcycle without a
helmet and so he flagged him down. He invited the accused to come inside their sub-station since the
place where he flagged down the accused is almost in front of the sub-station to where he is assigned
as a traffic enforcer. The accused violated a municipal ordinance which requires all motorcycle
drivers to wear helmet while driving said motor vehicle. While the officers were issuing a citation
ticket for violation of municipal ordinance, PO3 Alteza noticed that the accused was uneasy and kept
on reaching something from his jacket. He was alerted and told the accused to take out the contents
of his jacket’s pocket as the latter may have a weapon inside it.

The accused obliged, slowly put out the contents of his jacket’s pocket which included two
plastic sachets of suspected shabu. The RTC convicted petitioner of illegal possession of dangerous
drugs as the substances are positive of methampethamine hydrochloride. Upon appeal, the CA
affirmed the RTCs Decision. Upon a petition for reiew on certiorari, petitioner claims that there was
no lawful search and seizure, because there was no lawful arrest. He claims that the finding that
there was a lawful arrest was erroneous, since he was not even issued a citation ticket or charged
with violation of the city ordinance. Even assuming there was a valid arrest, he claims that he had
never consented to the search conducted upon him.

ISSUE

Whether or not the arrest, searches and seizure were invalid.

HELD

Yes.

There was no valid arrest. When he was flagged down for committing a traffic violation, he
was not, ipso facto and solely for this reason, arrested. There being no valid arrest, the warrantless
search that resulted from it was likewise illegal.

Under R.A. 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, the general procedure for
dealing with a traffic violation is not the arrest of the offender, but the confiscation of the drivers
license of the latter.

At the time that he was waiting for PO3 Alteza to write his citation ticket, petitioner could
not be said to have been under arrest. rior to the issuance of the ticket, the period during which
petitioner was at the police station may be characterized merely as waiting time. The subject items
seized during the illegal arrest are inadmissible. The drugs are the very corpus delicti of the crime of
illegal possession of dangerous drugs. Thus, their inadmissibility precludes conviction and calls for
the acquittal of the accused.

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Dator, Peter Paul

VILLAMOR v. PEOPLE
GR No. 200396, 22 March 2017 (Del Castillo, J.)

A mere tip from an unnamed informant does not vest police officers with the authority to
barge into private homes without first securing a valid warrant of arrest or search warrant.

FACTS

Villamor was charged with violation of Section 3(c) of RA 9287 for collecting and soliciting
bets for an illegal numbers game locally known as "lotteng" and possessing a list of various numbers,
a calculator, a cellphone, and cash.

Another Information was filed in the same court charging Bonaobra with violation of the
same law.

On June 17, 2005, at around 8:30a.m., Villamor went to Bonaobra's house to pay a debt he
owed to the latter's wife, Jonah. At that time, Bonaobra was having coffee with his father Floren...
t... cio inside their house. Villamor gave Bonaobra P2,000.00 which the latter placed on top of the
table. Bonaobra then went outside the house to answer his cellphone. When Bonaobra was at the
door, a man later identified as PD Peñaflor kicked the fence of Bonaobra's house, grabbed Bonaobra's
right arm, and said, "Caught in the act ka!" Florencio went outside and asked PD Peñaflor if he had
a search warrant. Two more men entered the house and took the money from the table. Petitioners
were then made to board the service vehicle and brought in for investigation at the police
headquarters.

The RTC rendered its Judgment finding petitioners guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
committing illegal numbers game locally known as ''lotteng”, respectively as a collector or agent; and
as a coordinator, controller, or supervisor. The RTC gave credence to the testimonies of the arresting
officers and held that petitioners were caught in flagrante delicto committing an illegal numbers
game locally known as "lotteng,"

ISSUES

Whether the petitioners' conviction for violation of RA 9287 as collector or agent under
Section 3(c) for Villamor, and as coordinator, controller, or supervisor under Section 3(d) for
Bonaobra, should be upheld.

HELD

No. The petitioners-accused should be acquitted.

The Court finds that the right of the petitioners against unreasonable searches and seizures
was violated by the arresting officers when they barged into Bonaobra's compound without a valid
warrant of arrest or a search warrant. While there are exceptions to the rule requiring a warrant for
a valid search and seizure, none applies in the case at bar. Consequently, the evidence obtained by
the police officers is inadmissible against the petitioners, the same having been obtained in violation
of the said right.

Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution requires a judicial warrant based on the
existence of probable cause before a search and an arrest may be effected by law enforcement agents.
Without the said warrant, a search or seizure becomes unreasonable within the context of the

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Constitution and any evidence obtained on the occasion of such unreasonable search and seizure
shall be inadmissible in evidence for any purpose in any proceeding.

In warrantless arrests made pursuant to Section 5(a), Rule 113, two elements must concur,
namely "(a) the person to be arrested must execute an overt act indicating that he has just
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit a crime; and (b) such overt act is done
in the presence or within the view of the arresting officer.

After a judicious review of the records of the case, the Court finds that there was no valid
warrantless arrest on petitioners. It was not properly established petitioners had just committed, or
were actually committing, or attempting to commit a crime and that said act or acts were done in the
presence of the arresting officers. Based on the testimonies of PO1 Saraspi and PD Peñaflor, they
were positioned some 15 to 20 meters away from petitioners.

Considering that 15 to 20 meters is a significant distance between the police officers and the
petitioners, the Court finds it doubtful that the police officers were able to determine that a criminal
activity was ongoing to allow them to validly effect an in flagrante delicto warrantless arrest and a
search incidental to a warrantless arrest thereafter. The police officers even admitted that the
compound was surrounded by a bamboo fence 5'7" to 5'9" in height, which made it harder to see what
was happening inside the compound. It appears that the police officers acted based solely on the
information received from PD Peñaflor's informant and not on personal knowledge that a crime had
just been committed, was actually being committed, or was about to be committed in their presence.
The Court finds it doubtful that the police officers witnessed any overt act before entering the
private home of Bonaobra immediately preceding the arrest.

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Del Mundo, Angelo Raphael

JAYLORD DIMAL v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES


G.R. No. 216922, 18 April 2018

Notwithstanding the inadmissibility in evidence of the items listed above, the Court sustains
the validity of Search Warrant No. 10-11 and the admissibility of the items seized which were
particularly described in the warrant. This is in line with the principles under American
jurisprudence: (1) that the seizure of goods not described in the warrant does not render the whole
seizure illegal, and the seizure is illegal only as to those things which was unlawful to seize; and (2)
the fact that the officers, after making a legal search and seizure under the warrant, illegally made a
search and seizure of other property not within the warrant does not invalidate the first search and
seizure.

FACTS

At around 6:00 p.m. of September 6, 2010, Lucio Pua, Rosemarie Pua and Gemma Eugenio
were scheduled to visit the compound of petitioner Jaylord A. Dimal in Echague, Isabela, to
negotiate for the sale of palay. At around 7:30 p.m., Lucio's nephew, Edison Pua, went to Dimal's
compound, asking for information as to the whereabouts of Lucio, Rosemarie and Gemma. Dimal
informed Edison that they had left an hour ago. Unable to locate his relatives, Edison went to the
police station in Alicia, Isabela, to report that they were missing, then proceeded to seek assistance
from the police station in Echague.

On September 24, 2010, petitioner Allan Castillo was accosted by the Echague Police, and
allegedly tortured to implicate Dimal in the killing of Lucio, Rosemarie and Gemma. On September
25, 2010, a certain Eduardo Sapipi was arrested due to the supposed statement made by Castillo.
Sapipi purportedly made an uncounseled confession that Dimal shot the three victims, and ordered
him, Castillo and one Michael Miranda to cover up the crime by throwing the bodies in a river.

On September 26, 2010, Dimal was arrested by the Echague Police. On September 27, 2010,
the Echague Police filed with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Ilagan, Isabela, a criminal
complaint for Kidnapping for Ransom and Multiple Murder against Dimal, Castillo, Sapipi,
Miranda, Marvin Guiao and Robert Baccay.

On October 8, 2010, Police Inspector (P/lnsp.) Roy Michael S. Malixi, a commissioned officer
of the Philippine National Police assigned with the Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response in
Camp Crame Quezon City, filed an Application for the Issuance of a Search Warrant4 before the R
TC Ilagan, Isabela, Branch 1 7, in connection with the kidnapping and multiple murder of Lucio,
Rosemarie and Gemma.

P/Insp. Malixi stressed that he has personally verified and ascertained the veracity of the
information and found the same to be true and correct, as narrated and sworn to by Ernesto Villador,
a long-time employee of Dimal, Edison Uy Pua, the nephew of the victims Lucio and Rosemarie Pua,
and Shaira Mae Eugenio, daughter of the victim Gemma Eugenio. P/Insp. Malixi claimed that the
application was founded on his personal knowledge and that of his witnesses, acquired after
conducting surveillance and investigation.

In the Return on the Search Warrant, P/Insp. Gary Halay-ay Macadangdang, Deputy Chief
of Police, Echague Police Station, Echague, Isabela," manifested that (1) Search Warrant No. 10-11
was served at the premises of Dimal at Barangay Ipil, Echague, Isabela, on October 9, 2010 at about
9:00 a.m., and (2) the search was conducted in an orderly manner and in the presence of

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owner/custodian Carlos Dimal, Barangay Captain Florencio Miguel, Barangay Kagawads Rodolfo
Vergara and Mariano Seriban, and BOMBO Radyo reporter Romy Santos.

On February 20, 2012, petitioners Dimal and Castillo, together with Michael Miranda, filed
an Omnibus Motion8 to quash Search Warrant No. 10-11 and to declare the seized items as
inadmissible in evidence. They argued that the search warrant is invalid because it was issued in
connection with, not just one single offense, but two crimes, i.e., kidnapping and multiple murder.
They also contended that except for witness Ernesto Villador, applicant P/Insp. Malixi and witnesses
Edison and Shaira Mae have no personal knowledge surrounding the two crimes committed; hence,
their statements did not provide basis for a finding of probable cause, much less for the issuance of a
search warrant. With respect to Villador, petitioners assert that his sworn statement is incredible
because he is just an ordinary laborer, who is unfamiliar with the English language, and there is no
showing that the contents of his statement were fully explained to him by the Judge· who issued the
search warrant. Petitioners further posit that the search warrant was invalidly implemented
because the raiding team failed to comply with Section 8, Rule 127 of the Rules of Court on the
requisite presence of two witnesses during a search of premises, and with Section 10, Rule 126 on the
issuance of a receipt of seized properties. Finally, petitioners sought that the items seized which are
not covered by the search warrant, should be declared inadmissible in evidence and be ordered
returned to the accused.

In an Order dated September 28, 2012, the RTC of Quezon City denied the Motion to Quash
Search Warrant No. 10-11 for lack of merit. Petitioners moved for reconsideration, but were also
subsequently denied, prompting them to file a petition for certiorari before the CA. CA affirmed the
decision of the RTC and dismissed the petition and ruled on the validity of the search warrant.
Petitioners moved for reconsideration, but it was denied. Hence this petition for review on certiorari.

ISSUES

1.) Whether or not the Search Warrant is void and its quashal is imperative?
2.) Whether or not the items seized are inadmissible in evidence?

HELD

1. No. The Search Warrant was validly issued.


At the outset, there is no merit to petitioners' contention that the search warrant was applied for
in connection with two unrelated offenses, i.e., kidnapping and murder, in violation of Section 4,
Rule 126 of the Rules of Court which requires that such warrant must be issued in relation to one
offense.

Suffice it to state that where a person kidnapped is killed or dies as a consequence of the
detention, there is only one special complex crime for which the last paragraph of Article 267 of the
Revised Penal Code provides the maximum penalty that shall be imposed, i.e., death.

There is no dispute that Search Warrant No. 10-11 was applied for and issued in connection with
the crime of kidnapping with murder. Asked by Judge Ong during the hearing as to what particular
offense was committed, search warrant applicant P/Insp. Malixi testified that Dimal "allegedly
committed the crime of kidnapping and multiple murder of Lucio and Rosemarie Pua and one
Gemma Eugenio on September 6, 2010." It is not amiss to add that a search warrant that covers
several counts of a certain specific offense does not violate the one-specific-offense rule.

Neither can petitioners validly claim that the examining judge failed to ask searching questions,
and to consider that the testimonies of the applicant and his witnesses were based entirely on

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hearsay, as they have no personal knowledge of the circumstances relating to the supposed
disappearance or murder of the 3 victims.

Corollary, the Court said in Oebanda v. People, that in an application for search warrant, the
mandate of the judge is for him to conduct a full and searching examination of the complainant and
the witnesses he may produce. "The searching questions propounded to the applicant and the
witnesses must depend on a large extent upon the discretion of the judge. Although there is no hard-
and-fast rule as to how a judge may conduct his examination, it is axiomatic that the said
examination must be probing and exhaustive and not merely routinary, general, peripheral or
perfunctory. He must make his own inquiry on the intent and factual and legal justifications for a
search warrant. The questions should not merely be repetitious of the averments stated in the
affidavits/deposition of the applicant and the witnesses." Having in mind the foregoing principles,
the Court agrees with the RTC and the CA in both ruling that Judge Ong found probable cause to
issue a search warrant after a searching and probing personal examination of applicant P/Insp.
Malixi and his witnesses, Edison, Shaira Mae and Villador. Their testimonies jointly and collectively
show a reasonable ground to believe that the 3 victims went to Dimal's compound to sell palay, but
were probably killed by Dimal, and that they may have left personal belongings within its premises.

While it may be noted that applicant P/Insp. Malixi and his witnesses Shaira Mae and Edison
have no personal knowledge how the crimes of kidnapping and multiple murder were committed,
their testimonies corroborated that of Villador, who petitioners admitted to have known about the
incidents surrounding the commission of such crimes.

Significantly, Judge Ong's inquiry underscored that Villador has a reasonable ground to believe
that a crime has been committed at the Felix Gumpal Compound on September 6, 2010. In reply to
the queries of Judge Ong, Villador revealed that (1) when Dimal called him inside the house to
receive his payment as classifier of palay, he saw them [Lucio, Rosemarie and Gemma] talking to
each other; and (2) later in the day, Dimal called him to ask for help, but he backed out upon seeing
that Dimal was holding a black 0.9 mm pistol amidst people lying bloody on the ground.

As to petitioners' claim that the judge did not ask anymore searching questions after statements
were made by Villador, the Court finds that searching and probing questions were indeed
propounded by Judge Ong, and that there is no more necessity to ask Villador to describe the
position and state of the lifeless bodies, and the specific place in the compound where the bodies were
lying. Villador could not have been expected to take a closer look into the bloody bodies on the
ground because Dimal was then holding a pistol, and told him to leave if he cannot help. Petitioners
would do well to bear in mind that, absent a showing to the contrary, it is presumed that a judicial
function has been regularly performed The judge has the prerogative to give his own judgment on
the application of the search warrant by his own evaluation of the evidence presented before him.
The Court cannot substitute its own judgment to that of the judge, unless the latter disregarded
facts before him/her or ignored the clear dictates of reason.

Petitioners submit that the search warrant is also void for failing to identify with particularity
the place to be searched and the items to be seized.

Contrary to petitioners' submission, the search warrant issued by Judge Ong identified with
particularity the place to be searched, namely; (1) the house of Jaylord Dimal and (2) the palay
warehouse in the premises of the Felix Gumpal Compound at Ipil Junction, Echague, Isabela
A description of a place to be searched is sufficient if the officer with the warrant can ascertain
and identify with reasonable effort the place intended, and distinguish it from other places in the
community. A designation that points out the place to be searched to the exclusion of all others, and
on inquiry unerringly leads the peace officers to it, satisfies the constitutional requirement of
definiteness. To the Court's view, the abovequoted search warrant sufficiently describes the place to

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be searched with manifest intention that the search be confined strictly to the place described. At
any rate, petitioners cannot be heard to decry irregularity in the conduct of the search of the
premises of the Felix Gumpal Compound because, as aptly ruled by the RTC, a Certification of
Orderly Search was issued by the barangay officials, and the presumption of regularity in the
performance of public duty was not sufficiently contradicted by petitioners.

Moreover, the objection as to the particularity of the place to be searched was belatedly raised in
petitioners' motion for reconsideration of the Order denying their Omnibus Motion to quash. In
Abuan v. People, it was held that "the motion to quash the search warrant which the accused may
file shall be governed by the omnibus motion rule, provided, however, that objections not available,
existent or known during the proceedings for the quashal of the warrant may be raised in the
hearing of the motion to suppress." Accordingly, the trial court could only take cognizance of an issue
that was not raised in a motion to quash if (1) said issue was not available or existent when they
filed the motion to quash the search warrant; or (2) the issue was one involving jurisdiction over the
subject matter. Because petitioners' objection as to the particularity of the place to be searched was
available when they filed their omnibus motion to quash, and there being no jurisdictional issue
raised, their objection is deemed waived.

In fine, the CA committed no reversible error in upholding the denial of the Omnibus Motion to
quash because all the Constitutional and procedural requisites for the issuance of a search warrant
are still present, namely: (1) probable cause; (2) such probable cause must be determined personally
by the judge; (3) the judge must examine, in writing and under oath or affirmation, the complainant
and the witnesses he or she may produce; (4) the applicant and the witnesses testify on the facts
personally known to them; and (5) the warrant specifically describes the place to be searched and the
things to be seized.

2. With regards to the items seized, not all are admissible in evidence.

A search warrant may be said to particularly describe the things to be seized (1) when the
description therein is as specific as the circumstances will ordinarily allow; or (2) when the
description expresses a conclusion of fact - not of law by which the warrant officer may be guided in
making the search and seizure; (3) and when the things to be described are limited to those which
bear direct relation to the offenses for which the warrant is being issued. The purpose for this
requirement is to limit the articles to be seized only to those particularly described in the search
warrant in order to leave the officers of the law with no discretion regarding what items they shall
seize, to the end that no unreasonable searches and seizures will be committed.

In Search Warrant No. 10-11, only two things were particularly described and sought to be
seized in connection with the special complex crime of kidnapping with murder, namely: (1) blood-
stained clothes of Gemma Eugenio consisting of a faded pink long sleeves jacket and a black tshirt,
and (2) a 0.9mm caliber pistol. Having no direct relation to the said crime, the 1,600 sacks of palay
that were supposedly sold by the victims to Dimal and found in his warehouse, cannot be a proper
subject of a search warrant because they do not fall under the personal properties stated under
Section 3 of Rule 126, to wit: (a) subject of the offense; (b) stolen or embezzled and other proceeds or
fruits of the offense; or (c) those used or intended to be used as the means of committing an offense,
can be the proper subject of a search warrant.

Despite the fact that the issuance of Search Warrant No. 10-11 is valid, petitioners are correct
that most items listed in the Return on the Search Warrant are inadmissible in evidence. Since only
2 items were particularly described on the face of the search warrant, namely: (1) the blood-stained
clothes of Gemma Eugenio consisting of faded pink long sleeves jacket and black t-shirt; and (2) the
0.9 mm caliber pistol, the Court declares that only two articles under the Return on the Search

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Warrant are admissible in evidence as they could be the blood-stained clothes of Gemma subject of
the warrant.

Considering that only Gemma's clothes were described in Search Warrant No. 10-11 as specific
as the circumstances will allow, the Court is constrained to hold as inadequately described the blood-
stained clothes of Lucio and Rosemarie. Without the aid of the applicant's witnesses who are familiar
with the victims' personal belongings, any other warrant officer, like P/Insp. Macadangdang who
served the search warrant, will surely be unable to identify the blood-stained clothes of Lucio and
Rosemarie by sheer reliance on the face of such warrant.

The Court could have rendered a favorable ruling if the application for search warrant and
supporting affidavits were incorporated by reference in Search Warrant No. 10-11, so as to enable
the warrant officer to identify the specific clothes sought to be searched. This is because under
American jurisprudence, an otherwise overbroad warrant will comply with the particularity
requirement when the affidavit filed in support of the warrant is physically attached to it, and the
warrant expressly refers to the affidavit and incorporates it with suitable words of reference.
Conversely, a warrant which lacks any description of the items to be seized is defective and is not
cured by a description in the warrant application which is not referenced in the warrant and not
provided to the subject of the search.

With respect to the items under Return on the Search Warrant indicated as "articles
recovered/seized in plain view during the conduct of the search," it is well settled that objects falling
in plain view of an officer who has a right to be in a position to have that view are subject to seizure
even without a search warrant and may be introduced in evidence.

For the "plain view doctrine" to apply, it is required that the following requisites are present: (a)
the law enforcement officer in search of the evidence has a prior justification for an intrusion or is in
a position from which he can view a particular area; (b) the discovery of evidence in plain view is
inadvertent; and (c) it is immediately apparent to the officer that the item he observes may be
evidence of a crime, contraband or otherwise subject to seizure.

The first requisite of the "plain view doctrine" is present in this case because the seizing officer,
P/Insp. Macadangdang, has a prior justification for an intrusion into the premises of the Felix
Gumpal Compound, for he had to conduct the search pursuant to a valid warrant. However, the
second and third requisites are absent, as there is nothing in the records to prove that the other
items not particularly described in the search warrant were open to eye and hand, and that their
discovery was unintentional.

In fact, out of the 2 items particularly described in the search warrant, only the 2 black t-shirts
with suspected blood stain possibly belonging to Gemma were retrieved, but the 9mm caliber pistol
was not found. It is also not clear in this case at what instance were the items supposedly seized in
plain view were confiscated in relation to the seizure of Gemma's bloodstained clothes - whether
prior to, contemporaneous with or subsequent to such seizure. Bearing in mind that once the valid
portion of the search warrant has been executed, the "plain view doctrine" can no longer provide any
basis for admitting the other items subsequently found, the Court rules that the recovery of the
items seized in plain view, which could have been made after the seizure of Gemma's clothes, are
invalid.

It bears emphasis that the "immediately apparent" test does not require an unduly high degree
of certainty as to the incriminating character of the evidence, but only that the seizure be
presumptively reasonable, assuming that there is a probable cause to associate the property with a
criminal activity. In view thereof, the 10 pieces of spent shell of calibre 0.22 ammo cannot be
admitted in evidence because they can hardly be used in a 9mm ·caliber pistol specified in the search

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warrant, and possession of such spent shells are not illegal per se. Likewise, the following items
supposedly seized under plain view cannot be admitted because possession thereof is not inherently
unlawful: (a) 3 tom cloths; (b) black bag pack; (c) a piece of goldplated earing; ( d) a suspected human
hair; (e) a piece of embroidered cloth; (f) 3 burned tire wires; (g) empty plastic of muriatic acid; and
(h) white t-shirt.

Notwithstanding the inadmissibility in evidence of the items listed above, the Court sustains the
validity of Search Warrant No. 10-11 and the admissibility of the items seized which were
particularly described in the warrant. This is in line with the principles under American
jurisprudence: (1) that the seizure of goods not described in the warrant does not render the whole
seizure illegal, and the seizure is illegal only as to those things which was unlawful to seize; and (2)
the fact that the officers, after making a legal search and seizure under the warrant, illegally made a
search and seizure of other property not within the warrant does not invalidate the first search and
seizure. To be sure, a search warrant is not a sweeping authority empowering a raiding party to
undertake a fishing expedition to confiscate any and all kinds of evidence or articles relating to a
crime. Objects taken which were not specified in the search warrant should be restored to the person
from whom they were unlawfully seized..

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for review on certiorari is PARTLY


GRANTED.

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Privacy of Communications and Correspondence and Writ of Habeas Data

Del Prado, Darren Joseph

SALCEDO-ORTANEZ v. CA
G.R. No. 110662, 4 August 1994

It shall be unlawful for any person, not being authorized by all the parties to any private
communication or spoken word, to tap any wire or cable, or by using any other device or arrangement,
to secretly overhear, intercept, or record such communication or spoken word by using a device
commonly known as a dictaphone or dictagraph or detectaphone or walkie-talkie or tape-recorder.

FACTS

Private respondent Rafael Ortanez filed with the Quezon City RTC a complaint for
annulment of marriage with damages against petitioner Teresita Salcedo-Ortanez, on grounds of
lack of marriage license and/or psychological incapacity of the petitioner.Among the exhibits offered
by private respondent were three (3) cassette tapes of alleged telephone conversations between
petitioner and unidentified persons.

Teresita submitted her Objection/Comment to Rafael’s oral offer of evidence. However, the
trial court admitted all of private respondent’s offered evidence and later on denied her motion for
reconsideration, prompting petitioner to file a petition for certiorari with the CA to assail the
admission in evidence of the aforementioned cassette tapes.These tape recordings were made and
obtained when private respondent allowed his friends from the military to wire tap his home
telephone.

CA denied the petition because (1) Tape recordings are not inadmissible per se. They and
any other variant thereof can be admitted in evidence for certain purposes, depending on how they
are presented and offered and on how the trial judge utilizes them in the interest of truth and
fairness and the even handed administration of justice; and (2) A petition for certiorari is notoriously
inappropriate to rectify a supposed error in admitting evidence adduced during trial. The ruling on
admissibility is interlocutory; neither does it impinge on jurisdiction. If it is erroneous, the ruling
should be questioned in the appeal from the judgment on the merits and not through the special civil
action of certiorari. The error, assuming gratuitously that it exists, cannot be anymore than an error
of law, properly correctible by appeal and not by certiorari.Petitioner then filed the present petition
for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.

ISSUES

1. W/N the recordings of the telephone conversations are admissible in evidence.


2. W/N the remedy of certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court was properly availed of
by the petitioner in the Court of Appeals.

HELD

1. No. Rep. Act No. 4200 entitled “An Act to Prohibit and Penalize Wire Tapping and Other Related
Violations of the Privacy of Communication, and for other purposes” expressly makes such tape
recordings inadmissible in evidence thus:

Sec. 1. It shall be unlawful for any person, not being authorized by all the parties to any
private communication or spoken word, to tap any wire or cable, or by using any other

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device or arrangement, to secretly overhear, intercept, or record such communication or


spoken word by using a device commonly known as a dictaphone or dictagraph or
detectaphone or walkie-talkie or tape-recorder, or however otherwise described. . . .

Sec. 4. Any communication or spoken word, or the existence, contents, substance, purport,
or meaning of the same or any part thereof, or any information therein contained, obtained
or secured by any person in violation of the preceding sections of this Act shall not be
admissible in evidence in any judicial, quasi-judicial, legislative or administrative hearing
or investigation.

Absent a clear showing that both parties to the telephone conversations allowed the
recording of the same, the inadmissibility of the subject tapes is mandatory under Rep. Act No. 4200.

2. Yes and no. The extraordinary writ of certiorari is generally not available to challenge an
interlocutory order of a trial court. The proper remedy in such cases is an ordinary appeal from an
adverse judgment, incorporating in said appeal the grounds for assailing the interlocutory order.

However, where the assailed interlocutory order is patently erroneous and the remedy of
appeal would not afford adequate and expeditious relief, the Court may allow certiorari as a mode of
redress.

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Diaz, Jose Rodolfo

CECILIA ZULUETA v. COURT OF APPEALS and ALFREDO MARTIN


G.R. No. 107383, 20 February 1996

The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable, except upon lawful
order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise as prescribed by law. Any
evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section, shall inadmissible for any purpose in
any proceeding.

FACTS

Petitioner Cecilia Zulueta is the wife of private respondent Alfredo Martin. On March 26,
1982, petitioner entered the clinic of her husband, a doctor of medicine, and in the presence of her
mother, a driver and private respondents secretary, forcibly opened the drawers and cabinet in her
husband’s clinic and took 157 documents consisting of private correspondence between Dr. Martin
and his alleged paramours, greetings cards, cancelled checks, diaries, Dr. Martins passport, and
photographs. The documents and papers were seized for use in evidence in a case for legal separation
and for disqualification from the practice of medicine which petitioner had filed against her husband.

Dr. Martin brought this action below for recovery of the documents and papers and for
damages against petitioner. The case was filed with the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch X,
which, after trial, rendered judgment for private respondent, Dr. Alfredo Martin, declaring him the
capital/exclusive owner of the properties described in paragraph 3 of plaintiffs Complaint or those
further described in the Motion to Return and Suppress and ordering Cecilia Zulueta and any person
acting in her behalf to immediately return the properties to Dr. Martin and to pay him P5,000.00, as
nominal damages; P5,000.00, as moral damages and attorneys fees; and to pay the costs of the suit.
The writ of preliminary injunction earlier issued was made final and petitioner Cecilia Zulueta and
her attorneys and representatives were enjoined from using or submitting/admitting as evidence the
documents and papers in question. On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the
Regional Trial Court. Hence, this petition.

ISSUE

Whether or not the papers and other materials obtained from forcible entrusion and from
unlawful means are admissible as evidence in court regarding marital separation and
disqualification from medical practice.

HELD

No, the documents and papers in question are inadmissible in evidence. The constitutional
injuction declaring "the privacy of communication and correspondence to be inviolable" is no less
applicable simply because it is the wife who is the party against whom the constitutional provision is
to be enforced. The only exception to the prohibition in the constitution is if there is a "lawful order
from the court or which public safety or order require otherwise, as prescribed by law." Any violation
of this provision renders the evidence obtained inadmissible "for any purpose in any proceeding."

The intimacies between husband and wife do not justify anyone of them in breaking the
drawers and cabinets of the other and in ransacking them for any telltale evidence of marital
infidelity. A person, by contracting marriage, does not shed her/his integrity or her/his right to
privacy as an individual and the constitutional protection is ever available to him or to her.

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The law insures absolute freedom of communication between the spouses by making it
privileged. Neither husband nor wife may testify for or against the other without the consent of the
affected spouse while the marriage subsists. Neither may be examined without the consent of the
other as to any communication received in confidence by one from the other during the marriage,
save for specified exceptions. But one thing is freedom of communication; quite another is a
compulsion for each one to share what one knows with the other. And this has nothing to do with the
duty of fidelity that each owes to the other.

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Evangelista, Kevin

ALEJANO v. CABUAY

FACTS

Early morning of July 27, 2003, 321 armed soldiers, led by the now detained junior officers,
entered and took control of the Oakwood Premier Luxury Apartments (Oakwood), an upscale
apartment complex, located in Makati City. The soldiers disarmed the security officers of Oakwood
and planted explosive devices in its immediate surroundings. The junior officers publicly renounced
their support for the administration and called for the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal-
Arroyo and several cabinet members.

Around 7:00 p.m. of the same date, the soldiers voluntarily surrendered to the authorities
after several negotiations with government. The soldiers then returned to their barracks.

Gen. Abaya, as the Chief of Staff of the AFP, issued a directive to all the Major Service
Commanders to turn over custody of ten junior officers to the ISAFP Detention Center. The transfer
took place while military and civilian authorities were investigating the soldiers involvement in the
Oakwood incident.

On 1 August 2003, government prosecutors filed an Information for coup detatwith the
Regional Trial Court, against the soldiers involved in the Oakwood incident.

Gen. Abaya issued a directive to all Major Service Commanders to take into custody the
military personnel under their command who took part in the Oakwood incident except the detained
junior officers who were to remain under the custody of ISAFP.

Petitioners filed a petition for habeas corpus with the Supreme Court.Thus, the Court issued
a Writ of Habeas Corpus directing respondents to make a return of the writ and to appear and
produce the persons of the detainees before the Court of Appeals on the scheduled date for hearing.

Pursuant to the directives of the Court, respondents submitted their Return of the Writ and
Answer to the petition and produced the detainees before the Court of Appeals during the scheduled
hearing.

The Court of Appeals, however, dismissed the petition.

ISSUES

1. Whether or not the dismissal of the Petition for the Issuance of the Writ of Habeas Corpus is
proper
2. Whether or not the constitutional right to privacy of communications and correspondence
ofTrillanesand Maestrecampowas violated

HELD

1. In a habeas corpus petition, the order to present an individual before the court is a
preliminary step in the hearing of the petition.The respondent must produce the person and explain
the cause of his detention. However, this order is not a ruling on the propriety of the remedy or on
the substantive matters covered by the remedy. Thus, the Courts order to the Court of Appeals to
conduct a factual hearing was not an affirmation of the propriety of the remedy of habeas corpus.

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For obvious reasons, the duty to hear the petition for habeas corpus necessarily includes the
determination of the propriety of the remedy. If a court finds the alleged cause of the detention
unlawful, then it should issue the writ and release the detainees. In the present case, after hearing
the case, the Court of Appeals found that habeas corpus is inapplicable. After actively participating
in the hearing before the Court of Appeals, petitioners are estopped from claiming that the appellate
court had no jurisdiction to inquire into the merits of their petition.

The Court of Appeals correctly ruled that the remedy of habeas corpus is not the proper
remedy to address the detainees complaint against the regulations and conditions in the ISAFP
Detention Center. The remedy of habeas corpus has one objective: to inquire into the cause of
detention of a person.The purpose of the writ is to determine whether a person is being illegally
deprived of his liberty.If the inquiry reveals that the detention is illegal, the court orders the release
of the person. If, however, the detention is proven lawful, then the habeas corpus proceedings
terminate. The use of habeas corpus is thus very limited. It is not a writ of error. Neither can it
substitute for an appeal.

Nonetheless, case law has expanded the writs application to circumstances where there is
deprivation of a persons constitutional rights. The writ is available where a person continues to be
unlawfully denied of one or more of his constitutional freedoms, where there is denial of due process,
where the restraints are not merely involuntary but are also unnecessary, and where a deprivation
of freedom originally valid has later become arbitrary.

However, a mere allegation of a violation of ones constitutional right is not sufficient. The courts
will extend the scope of the writ only if any of the following circumstances is present: (a) there is a
deprivation of a constitutional right resulting in the unlawful restraint of a person; (b) the court had
no jurisdiction to impose the sentence; or (c) an excessive penalty is imposed and such sentence is
void as to the excess.Whatever situation the petitioner invokes, the threshold remains high. The
violation of constitutional right must be sufficient to void the entire proceedings.

2. We do not agree with the Court of Appeals that the opening and reading of the detainees
letters in the present case violated the detainees right to privacy of communication. The letters were
not in a sealed envelope. The inspection of the folded letters is a valid measure as it serves the same
purpose as the opening of sealed letters for the inspection of contraband.

The letters alleged to have been read by the ISAFP authorities were not confidential letters
between the detainees and their lawyers. The petitioner who received the letters from detainees
Trillanes and Maestrecampo was merely acting as the detainees personal courier and not as their
counsel when he received the letters for mailing. In the present case, since the letters were not
confidential communication between the detainees and their lawyers, the officials of the
ISAFP Detention Center could read the letters. If the letters are marked confidential
communication between the detainees and their lawyers, the detention officials should not read the
letters but only open the envelopes for inspection in the presence of the detainees.

That a law is required before an executive officer could intrude on a citizens privacy rightsis
a guarantee that is available only to the public at large but not to persons who are detained or
imprisoned. The right to privacy of those detained is subject to Section 4 of RA 7438, as well as to the
limitations inherent in lawful detention or imprisonment. By the very fact of their detention, pre-
trial detainees and convicted prisoners have a diminished expectation of privacy rights.

WHEREFORE, we DISMISS the petition.

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Guevarra, Jhaypee D.

KILUSANG MAYO UNO v. DIRECTOR GENERAL et al.


GR no. 167798, 19 April 2006 (Carpio, J.)

The right to privacy does not bar the adoption of reasonable ID systems by government
entities.In the present case, EO 420 does not establish a national ID system but makes the existing
sectoral card systems of government entities like GSIS, SSS, Philhealth and LTO less costly, more
efficient, reliable and user-friendly to the public. Hence, EO 420 is a proper subject of executive
issuance under the Presidents constitutional power of control over government entities in the
Executive department, as well as under the Presidents constitutional duty to ensure that laws are
faithfully executed.

FACTS

This case seeks to nullify Executive Order No. 420 (EO 420) on the ground that it is
unconstitutional. Accordingly, President Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo issued Executive Order 420
requiring all government agencies and government-owned corporations to streamline and harmonize
their Identification Systems. The purposes of the uniform ID data collection and ID format are to
reduce costs, achieve efficiency and reliability and ensure compatibility and provide convenience to
the people served by government entities.

Petitioners alleged that EO 420 is unconstitutional because it constitutes usurpation of


legislative functions by the executive branch of the government. Furthermore, they allege that EO
420 infringes on the citizens right to privacy.

ISSUES

1. Whether EO 420 is a usurpation of legislative power by the President.


2. Whether EO 420 infringes on the citizens right to privacy.

HELD

1. NO. Certainly, under this constitutional power of control the President can direct all government
entities, in the exercise of their functions under existing laws, to adopt a uniform ID data collection
and ID format to achieve savings, efficiency, reliability, compatibility, and convenience to the public.
The Presidents constitutional power of control is self-executing and does not need any implementing
legislation.

The Constitution also mandates the President to ensure that the laws are faithfully
executed. There are several laws mandating government entities to reduce costs, increase efficiency,
and in general, improve public services. The adoption of a uniform ID data collection and format
under EO 420 is designed to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and in general, improve public services.
Thus, in issuing EO 420, the President is simply performing the constitutional duty to ensure that
the laws are faithfully executed.Clearly, EO 420 is well within the constitutional power of the
President to promulgate. The President has not usurped legislative power in issuing EO 420. EO 420
is an exercise of Executive power the Presidents constitutional power of control over the Executive
department. EO 420 is also compliance by the President of the constitutional duty to ensure that the
laws are faithfully executed.

2. NO. On its face, EO 420 shows no constitutional infirmity because it even narrowly limits the data
that can be collected, recorded and shown compared to the existing ID systems of government

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entities. EO 420 further provides strict safeguards to protect the confidentiality of the data collected,
in contrast to the prior ID systems which are bereft of strict administrative safeguards.

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Ibanez, Abigail

KILUSANG MAYO UNO v. DIRECTOR GENERAL


G.R. No. 167798, 19 April 2006

The right to privacy does not bar the adoption of reasonable ID systems by government
entities.

FACTS

Under EO 420, the President directs all government agencies and government-owned and
controlled corporations to adopt a uniform data collection and format for their existing identification
(ID) systems. Petitioners allege that EO 420 is unconstitutional because it constitutes usurpation of
legislative functions by the executive branch of the government. Furthermore, they allege that EO
420 infringes on the citizens right to privacy.

ISSUE

Whether or not EO 420 infringes on the citizens right to privacy.

Held

EO 420 does not infringe a citizen’s right to privacy.All these years, the GSIS, SSS, LTO,
Philhealth and other government entities have been issuing ID cards in the performance of their
governmental functions. There have been no complaints from citizens that the ID cards of these
government entities violate their right to privacy.The data collected and stored for the unified ID
system under EO 420 will be limited to only 14 specific data, and the ID card itself will show only
eight specific data. The data collection, recording and ID card system under EO 420 will even require
less data collected, stored and revealed than under the disparate systems prior to EO 420.The right
to privacy does not bar the adoption of reasonable ID systems by government entities.the personal
data collected and recorded under EO 420 are treated as strictly confidential under Section 6(d) of
EO 420. These data are not only strictly confidential but also personal matters. Section 7, Article III
of the 1987 Constitution grants the right of the people to information on matters of public concern.
Personal matters are exempt or outside the coverage of the people’s right to information on matters
of public concern. The data treated as strictly confidential under EO 420 being private matters and
not matters of public concern, these data cannot be released to the public or the press.

Petition dismissed.

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Landayan, Mary Mercedita

VIVARES v. ST. THERESA'S COLLEGE


G.R. No. 202666, 29 September 2014

Availment of the writ of habeas data requires (1) the existence of a person’s right to
informational privacy and (2) a showing, at least by substantial evidence, of an actual or threatened
violation of the right to privacy in life, liberty or security of the victim.

Before one can have an expectation of privacy in his or her OSN activity, it is first necessary
that said user manifest the intention to keep certain posts private, through the employment of
measures to prevent access thereto or to limit its visibility.

FACTS

Angela Tan uploaded on her Facebook profile digital pictures of her and her classmates
including Nenita Julia V. Daluz (Julia) and Julienne Vida Suzara (Julienne), both minors and
graduating high school students at St. Theresa's College (STC), Cebu City while clad only in their
undergarments as they were changing into their swimsuits for a beach party they were about to
attend.

At STC, MyleneRheza T. Escudero (Escudero), a computer teacher at STC’s high school


department, learned of said post from her students and using STC’s computers, Escudero’s students
logged in to their respective personal Facebook accounts and showed her photos which include: (a)
Julia and Julienne drinking hard liquor and smoking cigarettes inside a bar; and (b) Julia and
Julienne along the streets of Cebu wearing articles of clothing that show virtually the entirety of
their black brassieres. Escudero’s students claimed that there were times when the availability of
the identified students’ photos was not confined to the girls’ Facebook friends, but were viewable by
any Facebook user.

Following an investigation, STC found the identified students to have deported themselves in
a manner proscribed by the school’s Student Handbook. Their parents were informed that, as part of
their penalty, they are barred from joining the commencement exercises.

A week before graduation, Angela’s mother, Dr. Tan filed a Petition for Injunction and
Damages before the RTC of Cebu City against STC, et al. praying that defendants therein be
enjoined from implementing the sanction that precluded Angela from joining the commencement
exercises. Petitioner Rhonda Ave Vivares (Vivares), the mother of Julia, joined as an intervenor.
Defendants filed their memorandum, containing printed copies of the photographs in issue as
annexes. That same day, the RTC issued a TRO allowing the students to attend the graduation
ceremony, to which STC filed an MR. Despite the issuance of the TRO,STC, nevertheless, barred the
sanctioned students from participating in the graduation rites, arguing that their MR remained
unresolved.

Thereafter, petitioners filed before the RTC a Petition for the Issuance of a Writ of Habeas
Dataon the basis of the following considerations, among others:

2. The privacy setting of their children’s Facebook accounts was set at "Friends Only." They,
thus, have a reasonable expectation of privacywhich must be respected.
3. Respondents knew or ought to have known that the girls, whose privacy has been invaded,
are the victims in this case, and not the offenders;
4. The photos accessed belong to the girls and, thus, cannot be used and reproduced without
their consent. Escudero, however, violated their rights by saving digital copies of the photos

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and by subsequently showing them to STC’s officials. Thus, the Facebook accounts of
petitioners’ children were intruded upon;
6. All the data and digital images that were extracted were boldly broadcasted by
respondents through their memorandum submitted to the RTC.

The RTC dismissed the petition for habeas data on the following grounds: (1) petitioners
failedto prove the existence of an actual or threatened violation of the minors’ right to privacy; (2) the
photos, having been uploaded on Facebook without restrictions as to who may view them, lost their
privacy in some way; and (3) the STC gathered the photographs through legal means and for a legal
purpose, that is, the implementation of the school’s policies and rules on discipline.

Hence this petition for review on certiorariunder Rule 45 pursuant to Section 19 of the Rule
on Habeas Data.

ISSUES

(1) Whether or not there is a right to informational privacy in OSN activities of its users
(2) Whether or not a writ of habeas datashould be issued/ Whether or not there was an actual or
threatened violation of the right to privacy in the life, liberty, or security of the minors
involved in this case;

HELD

(1) YES. The Right to Informational Privacy is usually defined as the right of individuals to control
information about themselves. A Facebook user can regulate the visibility and accessibility of digital
images(photos), posted on his or her personal bulletin or "wall," except for the user’s profile picture
and ID, by selecting his or her desired privacy setting:Public, Friends of Friends, Custom, and Only
Me.

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

(2) NO. The writ of habeas datais a remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in life,
liberty or security is violated or threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or
employee, or of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data
or information regarding the person, family, home and correspondence of the aggrieved party. It is
an independent and summary remedy designed to protect the image, privacy, honor, information,
and freedom of information of an individual, and to provide a forum to enforce one’s right to the
truth and to informational privacy. It seeks to protect a person’s right to control information
regarding oneself, particularly in instances in which such information is being collected through
unlawful means in order to achieve unlawful ends.

The writ of habeas data is not only confined to cases of extralegal killings and enforced
disappearances. Moreover, nothing in the Rule would suggest that the habeas data protection shall
be available only against abuses of a person or entity engaged in the business of gathering, storing,
and collecting of data. To "engage" means "to do or take part in something." It does not necessarily
mean that the activity must be done in pursuit of a business. What matters is that the person or
entity must be gathering, collecting or storing said data or information about the aggrieved party or
his or her family.

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The writ, however, will not issue on the basis merely of an alleged unauthorized access to
information about a person.Availment of the writ requires (1) the existence of a person’s right to
informational privacy and (2) a showing, at least by substantial evidence, of an actual or threatened
violation of the right to privacy in life, liberty or security of the victim.

STC did not violate petitioners’ daughters’ right to privacy. The records are bereft of
any evidence, other than bare assertions that they utilized Facebook’s privacy settings to make the
photos visible only to them or to a select few. Without proof that they placed the photographs subject
of this case within the ambit of their protected zone of privacy, they cannot now insist that they have
an expectation of privacy with respect to the photographs in question.

Considering that the default setting for Facebook posts is"Public," it can be surmised that
the photographs in question were viewable to everyone on Facebook, absent any proof that
petitioners’ children positively limited the disclosure of the photograph. If suchwere the case, they
cannot invoke the protection attached to the right to informational privacy.

As applied, even assuming that the photos in issue are visible only to the sanctioned
students’ Facebook friends, respondent STC can hardly be taken to task for the perceived privacy
invasion since it was the minors’ Facebook friends who showed the pictures to Tigol. Respondents
were mere recipients of what were posted. They did not resort to any unlawful means of gathering
the information as it was voluntarily given to them by persons who had legitimate access to the said
posts. Clearly, the fault, if any, lies with the friends of the minors. However, neither the minors nor
their parents imputed any violation of privacy against the students who showed the images to
Escudero.Furthermore, petitioners failed to prove their contention that respondents reproduced and
broadcasted the photographs.

Petition is DENIED. The Decision of the RTC is AFFIRMED.

US v. Gines-Perez is: A person who places a photograph on the Internet precisely intends
to forsake and renounce all privacy rights to such imagery, particularly under circumstances such as
here, where the Defendant did not employ protective measures or devices that would have controlled
access to the Web page or the photograph itself.

United States v. Maxwell: The more open the method of transmission is, the less privacy
one can reasonably expect. Messages sent to the public at large inthe chat room or e-mail that is
forwarded from correspondent to correspondent loses any semblance of privacy.

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Lelay, Lord Bien G.

LEE v. ILAGAN
G.R. No. 203254, 8 October 2014

Alleging and eventually proving the nexus between one’s privacy right to the cogent rights to
life, liberty or security are crucial in habeas data cases, so much so that a failure on either account
certainly renders a habeas data petition dismissible.

FACTS

Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the Decision dated August 30,
2012 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 224 (RTC) in SP No. 12-71527, which
extended the privilege of the writ of habeas data in favor of respondent Police Superintendent Neri
A. Ilagan (Ilagan).

Ilagan alleged that he and petitioner Dr. Joy Margate Lee (Lee) were former common law
partners. Sometime in July 2011, he visited Lee at the latter's condominium, rested for a while and
thereafter, proceeded to his office. Upon arrival, Ilagan noticed that his digital camera was missing.
On August 23, 2011, Lee confronted Ilagan at the latter's office regarding a purported sex video
(subject video) she discovered from the aforesaid camera involving Ilagan and another woman.
Ilagan denied the video and demanded Lee to return the camera, but to no avail. During the
confrontation, Ilagan allegedly slammed Lee’s head against a wall inside his office and walked away.

Subsequently, Lee utilized the said video as evidence in filing various complaints against
Ilagan, namely: (a) a criminal complaint for violation of Republic Act No. 9262, otherwise known as
the "Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004," before the Office of the City
Prosecutor of Makati; and (b) an administrative complaint for grave misconduct before the National
Police Commission (NAPOLCOM).

Ilagan claimed that Lee’s acts of reproducing the subject video and threatening to distribute
the same to the upper echelons of the NAPOLCOM and uploading it to the internet violated not only
his right to life, liberty, security, and privacy but also that of the other woman, and thus, the
issuance of a writ of habeas data in his favor is warranted.

In a Decision dated August 30, 2012, the RTC granted the privilege of the writ of habeas
data in Ilagan’s favor, and accordingly, ordered the implementing officer to turn-over copies of the
subject video to him, and enjoined Lee from further reproducing the same.

ISSUE

Whether the RTC correctly extended the privilege of the writ of habeas data in favor of
Ilagan.

HELD

No. As defined in Section 1 of the Habeas Data Rule, the writ of habeas data now stands as
"a remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or
threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual
or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information regarding the person,
family, home, and correspondence of the aggrieved party." Thus, in order to support a petition for the
issuance of such writ, Section 6 of the Habeas Data Rule essentially requires that the petition

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sufficiently alleges, among others, "the manner the right to privacy is violated or threatened and how
it affects the right to life, liberty or security of the aggrieved party."

In this case, the Court finds that Ilagan was not able to sufficiently allege that his right to
privacy in life, liberty or security was or would be violated through the supposed reproduction and
threatened dissemination of the subject sex video. While Ilagan purports a privacy interest in the
suppression of this, he failed to explain the connection between such interest and any violation of his
right to life, liberty or security. Indeed, courts cannot speculate or contrive versions of possible
transgressions. As the rules and existing jurisprudence on the matter evoke, alleging and eventually
proving the nexus between one’s privacy right to the cogent rights to life, liberty or security are
crucial in habeas data cases, so much so that a failure on either account certainly renders a habeas
data petition dismissible, as in this case.

In fact, even discounting the insufficiency of the allegations, the petition would equally be
dismissible due to the inadequacy of the evidence presented. As the records show, all that Ilagan
submitted in support of his petition was his self-serving testimony which hardly meets the
substantial evidence requirement as prescribed by the Habeas Data Rule.

Hence, due to the insufficiency of the allegations as well as the glaring absence of substantial
evidence, the Court finds it proper to reverse the RTC Decision and dismiss the habeas data petition.

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Freedom of Expression

Lintao, Jude

CHAVEZ v. GONZALES
GR NO. 168338, 15 February 2008

When expression may be subject to prior restraint, apply in this jurisdiction to only four
categories of expression, namely: pornography, false or misleading advertisement, advocacy of
imminent lawless action, and danger to national security. All other expression is not subject to prior
restraint.

FACTS

Sometime before 6 June 2005, the radio station DZMM aired the Garci Tapes where the
parties to the conversation discussed "rigging" the results of the 2004 elections to favor President
Arroyo. On 6 June 2005, Presidential spokesperson Ignacio Bunye (Bunye) held a press conference in
Malacañang Palace, where he played before the presidential press corps two compact disc recordings
of conversations between a woman and a man. Bunye identified the woman in both recordings as
President Arroyo but claimed that the contents of the second compact disc had been "spliced" to
make it appear that President Arroyo was talking to Garcillano. On 11 June 2005, the NTC issued a
press release warning radio and television stations that airing the Garci Tapes is a "cause for the
suspension, revocation and/or cancellation of the licenses or authorizations" issued to them. On 14
June 2005, NTC officers met with officers of the broadcasters group, Kapisanan ng mga Broadcasters
saPilipinas (KBP), to dispel fears of censorship. The NTC and KBP issued a joint press statement
expressing commitment to press freedom

ISSUE

Whether or not the NTC warning embodied in the press release of 11 June 2005 constitutes
an impermissible prior restraint on freedom of expression?

HELD

When expression may be subject to prior restraint, apply in this jurisdiction to only four
categories of expression, namely: pornography, false or misleading advertisement, advocacy of
imminent lawless action, and danger to national security. All other expression is not subject to prior
restraint. Expression not subject to prior restraint is protected expression or high-value expression.
Any content-based prior restraint on protected expression is unconstitutional without exception. A
protected expression means what it says – it is absolutely protected from censorship Prior restraint
on expression is content-based if the restraint is aimed at the message or idea of the expression.
Courts will subject to strict scrutiny content-based restraint. If the prior restraint is not aimed at the
message or idea of the expression, it is content-neutral even if it burdens expression The NTC action
restraining the airing of the Garci Tapes is a content-based prior restraint because it is directed at
the message of the Garci Tapes. The NTC’s claim that the Garci Tapes might contain "false
information and/or willful misrepresentation," and thus should not be publicly aired, is an admission
that the restraint is content-based. The public airing of the Garci Tapes is a protected expression
because it does not fall under any of the four existing categories of unprotected expression recognized
in this jurisdiction. The airing of the Garci Tapes is essentially a political expression because it
exposes that a presidential candidate had allegedly improper conversations with a COMELEC
Commissioner right after the close of voting in the last presidential elections. The content of the
Garci Tapes affects gravely the sanctity of the ballot. Public discussion on the sanctity of the ballot is
indisputably a protected expression that cannot be subject to prior restraint. Public discussion on the

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credibility of the electoral process is one of the highest political expressions of any electorate, and
thus deserves the utmost protection. If ever there is a hierarchy of protected expressions, political
expression would occupy the highest rank. The rule, which recognizes no exception, is that there can
be no content-based prior restraint on protected expression. On this ground alone, the NTC press
release is unconstitutional. Of course, if the courts determine that the subject matter of a
wiretapping, illegal or not, endangers the security of the State, the public airing of the tape becomes
unprotected expression that may be subject to prior restraint. However, there is no claim here by
respondents that the subject matter of the Garci Tapes involves national security and publicly airing
the tapes would endanger the security of the State. The alleged violation of the Anti-Wiretapping
Law is not in itself a ground to impose a prior restraint on the airing of the Garci Tapes because the
Constitution expressly prohibits the enactment of any law, and that includes anti-wiretapping laws,
curtailing freedom of expression. The only exceptions to this rule are the four recognized categories
of unprotected expression. However, the content of the Garci Tapes does not fall under any of these
categories of unprotected expression.

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Lopez, Sherlyn

ELISEO F. SORIANO v. MTRCB, et al.


G.R. No. 165636, 29 April 2009

The freedom of expression, as with the other freedoms encased in the Bill of Rights is not
absolute. It may be regulated to some extent to serve important public interests, some forms of speech
not being protected. As has been held, the limits of the freedom of expression are reached when the
expression touches upon matters of essentially private concern. In the oft-quoted expression of Justice
Holmes, the constitutional guarantee obviously was not intended to give immunity for every possible
use of language.

FACTS

On August 10, 2004, at around 10:00 p.m., petitioner, as host of the program Ang Dating
Daan, aired on UNTV 37, made use of some cuss words against the members of the Iglesia ni Cristo.
He uttered Lehitimong anak ng demonyo; sinungaling; Gago ka talaga Michael, masahol ka pa sa
putang babae o di ba. Yung putang babae ang gumagana lang doon yung ibaba, [dito] kay Michael
ang gumagana ang itaas, o di ba! O, masahol pa sa putang babae yan. Sabi ng lola ko masahol pa sa
putang babae yan. Sobra ang kasinungalingan ng mga demonyong ito.

Two days after, before the MTRCB, separate but almost identical affidavit-complaints were
lodged by Jessie L. Galapon and seven other private respondents, all members of the Iglesia ni
Cristo (INC), against petitioner in connection with the above broadcast. Respondent Michael M.
Sandoval, who felt directly alluded to in petitioners remark, was then a minister of INC and a
regular host of the TV program Ang Tamang Daan.

In an Administrative Case No. 01-04, the MTRCB issued a decision finding respondent
Soriano liable for his utterances and thereby imposing on him a penalty of three (3) months
suspension from his program, Ang Dating Daan.

ISSUE

Whether the suspension of Soriano’s program for 3 months violates religious freedom, his
freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Sec. 4, Art. III of the Constitution.

HELD

No.

The Court finds that petitioners statement can be treated as obscene, at least with respect to
the average child. A cursory examination of the utterances complained of and the circumstances of
the case reveal that to an average adult, the utterances Gagokatalaga x xx, masaholka pa
saputangbabae x xx. Yung putangbabaeanggumaganalangdoonyungibaba, [dito] kay Michael
anggumaganaangitaas, o di ba! may not constitute obscene but merely indecent utterances. They
can be viewed as figures of speech or merely a play on words. In the context they were used, they
may not appeal to the prurient interests of an adult. The problem with the challenged statements is
that they were uttered in a TV program that is rated G or for general viewership, and in a time slot
that would likely reach even the eyes and ears of children.

While adults may have understood that the terms thus used were not to be taken literally,
children could hardly be expected to have the same discernment. Without parental guidance, the
unbridled use of such language as that of petitioner in a television broadcast could corrupt

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impressionable young minds. The term putangbabae means a female prostitute, a term wholly
inappropriate for children, who could look it up in a dictionary and just get the literal meaning,
missing the context within which it was used. Petitioner further used the
terms, anggumaganalangdoonyungibaba, making reference to the female sexual organ and how a
female prostitute uses it in her trade, then stating that Sandoval was worse than that by using his
mouth in a similar manner. Children could be motivated by curiosity and ask the meaning of what
petitioner said, also without placing the phrase in context. They may be inquisitive as to why
Sandoval is different from a female prostitute and the reasons for the dissimilarity. And upon
learning the meanings of the words used, young minds, without the guidance of an adult, may, from
their end, view this kind of indecent speech as obscene, if they take these words literally and use
them in their own speech or form their own ideas on the matter. In this particular case, where
children had the opportunity to hear petitioners words, when speaking of the average
person in the test for obscenity, we are speaking of the average child, not the average
adult. The average child may not have the adults grasp of figures of speech, and may lack
the understanding that language may be colorful, and words may convey more than the
literal meaning. Undeniably the subject speech is very suggestive of a female sexual organ and its
function as such. In this sense, we find petitioners utterances obscene and not entitled to protection
under the umbrella of freedom of speech.

Even if we concede that petitioners remarks are not obscene but merely indecent speech, still
the Court rules that petitioner cannot avail himself of the constitutional protection of free speech.
Said statements were made in a medium easily accessible to children. With respect to the young
minds, said utterances are to be treated as unprotected speech.

With the view we take of the case, the suspension MTRCB imposed under the premises was,
in one perspective, permissible restriction. We make this disposition against the backdrop of the
following interplaying factors: First, the indecent speech was made via television, a pervasive
medium that, to borrow from Gonzales v. KalawKatigbak, easily reaches every home where there is a
set [and where] [c]hildren will likely be among the avid viewers of the programs therein
shown; second, the broadcast was aired at the time of the day when there was a reasonable risk that
children might be in the audience; and third, petitioner uttered his speech on a G or for general
patronage rated program. Where a language is categorized as indecent, as in petitioner utterances
on a general-patronage rated TV program, it may be readily proscribed as unprotected speech.

The three (3) months suspension in this case is not a prior restraint on the right of petitioner
to continue with the broadcast of Ang Dating Daan as a permit was already issued to him by
MTRCB for such broadcast. Rather, the suspension is in the form of permissible administrative
sanction or subsequent punishment for the offensive and obscene remarks he uttered on the evening
of August 10, 2004 in his television program, Ang Dating Daan. It is a sanction that the MTRCB
may validly impose under its charter without running afoul of the free speech clause. And the
imposition is separate and distinct from the criminal action the Board may take pursuant to Sec. 3(i)
of PD 1986 and the remedies that may be availed of by the aggrieved private party under the
provisions on libel or tort, if applicable. As FCC teaches, the imposition of sanctions on broadcasters
who indulge in profane or indecent broadcasting does not constitute forbidden censorship. Lest it be
overlooked, the sanction imposed is not per se for petitioners exercise of his freedom of speech via
television, but for the indecent contents of his utterances in a G rated TV program.

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Magtira, John Michael

DISINI, JR. v. SECRETARY OF JUSTICE


G.R. No. 203335, 11 February 2014

When a penal statute encroaches upon the freedom of speech, a facial challenge grounded on
the void-for-vagueness doctrine is acceptable. The inapplicability of the doctrine must be carefully
delineated.

FACTS

The Cybercrime Prevention Act(RA 10125) was enacted to regulate access to and use of the
cyberspace. Petitioners claim that the means adopted by the cybercrime law for regulating
undesirable cyberspace activities violate certain of their constitutional rights. They cited, among
others the law’s provision on (i) Section 4(c)(3) on Unsolicited Commercial Communications,(ii)
Section 4(c)(4) on Libel; and, (iii) Section 5 on Aiding or Abetting and Attempt in the Commission of
Cybercrimes are unconstitutional.

Petitioners contend that Section 4(c)(4) should be stricken down as unconstitutional for it
carries with them the requirement of "presumed malice" even when the latest jurisprudence already
replaces it with the higher standard of "actual malice" as a basis for conviction. Also,the
constitutionality of Section 5 as it suffers from overbreadth, creating a chilling and deterrent effect
on protected expression.

As to Section 4(c)(3), the Solicitor General points out that unsolicited commercial
communications or spams are a nuisance that wastes the storage and network capacities of internet
service providers, reduces the efficiency of commerce and technology, and interferes with the owner’s
peaceful enjoyment of his property. Transmitting spams amounts to trespass to one’s privacy since
the person sending out spams enters the recipient’s.

As to Section 5, the Solicitor General contends, however, that the current body of
jurisprudence and laws on aiding and abetting sufficiently protects the freedom of expression of
"netizens," the multitude that avail themselves of the services of the internet. He points out that
existing laws and jurisprudence sufficiently delineate the meaning of "aiding or abetting" a crime as
to protect the innocent.

ISSUES

Whether or not the following provisions of the law, among others, are unconstitutional:
1.) Section 4(c)(3) on Unsolicited Commercial Communications
2.) Section 4(c)(4) on Libel; and,
3.) Section 5 on Aiding or Abetting and Attempt in the Commission of Cybercrimes.

HELD

1.) Section 4(c)(3) is unconstitutional.

The government presents no basis for holding that unsolicited electronic ads reduce the
"efficiency of computers." Secondly, people, before the arrival of the age of computers, have already
been receiving such unsolicited ads by mail. These have never been outlawed as nuisance since
people might have interest in such ads. What matters is that the recipient has the option of not
opening or reading these mail ads. That is true with spams. Their recipients always have the option
to delete or not to read them.

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To prohibit the transmission of unsolicited ads would deny a person the right to read his
emails, even unsolicited commercial ads addressed to him. Commercial speech is a separate category
of speech which is not accorded the same level of protection as that given to other constitutionally
guaranteed forms of expression but is nonetheless entitled to protection. The State cannot rob him of
this right without violating the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression. Unsolicited
advertisements are legitimate forms of expression.

2.) Section 4(c)(4) is constitutional.

The Court agrees with the Solicitor General that libel is not a constitutionally protected
speech and that the government has an obligation to protect private individuals from defamation.
Indeed, cyberlibel is actually not a new crime since Article 353, in relation to Article 355 of the penal
code, already punishes it. In effect, Section 4(c)(4) above merely affirms that online defamation
constitutes "similar means" for committing libel.

3.) Section 5 is unconstitutional.

Aiding or abetting has of course well-defined meaning and application in existing laws. But,
when it comes to certain cybercrimes, the waters are muddier and the line of sight is somewhat
blurred. The idea of "aiding or abetting" wrongdoings online threatens the heretofore popular and
unchallenged dogmas ofcyberspace use.

Libel in the cyberspace can of course stain a person’s image with just one click of the mouse.
Scurrilous statements can spread and travel fast across the globe like bad news. Moreover, cyberlibel
often goes hand in hand with cyberbullying that oppresses the victim, his relatives, and friends.

Still, a governmental purpose, which seeks to regulate the use of this cyberspace
communication technology to protect a person’s reputation and peace of mind, cannot adopt means
that will unnecessarily and broadly sweep, invading the area of protected freedoms.If such means
are adopted, self-inhibition borne of fear of what sinister predicaments await internet users will
suppress otherwise robust discussion of public issues. Democracy will be threatened and with it, all
liberties. Penal laws should provide reasonably clear guidelines for law enforcement officials and
triers of facts to prevent arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement. The terms "aiding or abetting"
constitute broad sweep that generates chilling effect on those who express themselves through
cyberspace posts, comments, and other messages. Hence, Section 5 of the cybercrime law that
punishes "aiding or abetting" libel on the cyberspace is a nullity.

When a penal statute encroaches upon the freedom of speech, a facial challenge grounded on
the void-for-vagueness doctrine is acceptable. The inapplicability of the doctrine must be carefully
delineated.

In an "as applied" challenge, the petitioner who claims a violation of his constitutional right
can raise any constitutional ground – absence of due process, lack of fair notice, lack of ascertainable
standards, overbreadth, or vagueness. Here, one can challenge the constitutionality of a statute only
if he asserts a violation of his own rights. It prohibits one from assailing the constitutionality of the
statute based solely on the violation of the rights of third persons not before the court. This rule is
also known as the prohibition against third-party standing.

But this rule admits of exceptions. A petitioner may for instance mount a "facial" challenge
to the constitutionality of a statute even if he claims no violation of his own rights under the assailed
statute where it involves free speech on grounds of overbreadth or vagueness of the statute.The
rationale for this exception is to counter the "chilling effect" on protected speech that comes from

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statutes violating free speech. A person who does not know whether his speech constitutes a crime
under an overbroad or vague law may simply restrain himself from speaking in order to avoid being
charged of a crime. The overbroad orvague law thus chills him into silence.

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DISINI, JR. v. SECRETARY OF JUSTICE


G.R. No. 203335, 11 February 2014

As long as the expression or speech falls within the protected sphere, it is the solemn duty of
courts to ensure that the rights of the people are protected.

FACTS

A number of petitioners seek reconsideration of the Court’s February 18, 2014 Decision that
declared invalid and unconstitutional certain provisions of Republic Act 10125 and upheld the
validity of the others. The respondents, represented by the Office of the Solicitor General, also seek
reconsideration of portions of that decision.

HELD

After going over their motions, however, the Court sees no substantial arguments from either
side to warrant the reversal.

The majority of the movants believe that the Court’s decision upholding the constitutionality
of Section 4(c)(4), which penalizes online libel, effectively tramples upon the right to free expression.
But libel is not a protected speech.

The constitutional guarantee against prior restraint and subsequent punishment, the
jurisprudential requirement of “actual malice,” and the legal protection afforded by “privilege
communications” all ensure that protected speech remains to be protected and guarded. As long as
the expression orspeech falls within the protected sphere, it is the solemn duty of courts to ensure
that the rights of the people are protected.

The movants argue that Section 4(c)(4) is both vague and overbroad. But, again, online libel
is not a new crime. It is essentially the old crime of libel found in the 1930 Revised Penal Code and
transposed to operate in the cyberspace. Consequently, the mass of jurisprudence that secures the
freedom of expression from its reach applies to online libel.

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Mangahas, Bethany

EMILIO M. R. OSMENA and PABLO P. GARCIA v. THE


COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
G.R. No. 132231, 31 March 1998

The state can be both an enemy and a friend of speech; that it can do terrible things to
undermine democracy but some wonderful things to enhance it as well.

FACTS

Former President of the Philippines and Governor of Cebu, Emilio Osmea and Pablo Garcia,
respectively, filed a petition for prohibition, seeking a re-examination of the validity of 11(b) of R.A.
No. 6646, the Electoral Reforms Law of 1987, which prohibits mass media from selling or giving free
of charge print space or air time for campaign or other political purposes, except to the Commission
on Elections. They contended that when the Court upheld in NPC v. COMELEC, validity of 11(b) of
R.A. No. 6646 against claims that it abridged freedom of speech and of the press, the said law
exhibited undesirable effects because the ban on political advertising has not only failed to level the
playing field, but actually worked to the grave disadvantage of the poor candidates by depriving
them of a medium which they can afford to pay for while their more affluent rivals can always resort
to other means of reaching voters like airplanes, boats, rallies, parades, and handbills.

ISSUE

Whether or not 11(b) of R.A. No. 6646, the Electoral Reforms Law of 1987 is unconstitutional
as it poses restraint on the exercise of freedom of speech.

HELD

NO. xxx The main purpose of 11(b) is regulatory. Any restriction on speech is only incidental,
and it is no more than is necessary to achieve its purpose of promoting equality of opportunity in the
use of mass media for political advertising. The restriction on speech, as pointed out in NPC, is
limited both as to time and as to scope. xxx

Xxx There is no total ban on political ads, much less restriction on the content of the speech.
Given the fact that print space and air time can be controlled or dominated by rich candidates to the
disadvantage of poor candidates, there is a substantial or legitimate governmental interest justifying
exercise of the regulatory power of the COMELEC under Art. IX-C, 4 of the Constitution, which
provides that the commission may, during the election period, supervise or regulate the enjoyment or
utilization of all franchises or permits for the operation of transportation and other public utilities,
media of communication or information, all grants, special privileges, or concessions granted by the
Government or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including any government-
owned or controlled corporation or its subsidiary. Such supervision or regulation shall aim to ensure
equal opportunity, time, and space, and the right to reply, including reasonable, equal rates therefor,
for public information campaigns and forums among candidates in connection with the objective of
holding free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.

The provisions in question involve no suppression of political ads. They only prohibit the sale
or donation of print space and air time to candidates but require the COMELEC instead to procure
space and time in the mass media for allocation, free of charge, to the candidates. In effect, during
the election period, the COMELEC takes over the advertising page of newspapers or the commercial
time of radio and TV stations and allocates these to the candidates.

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Manuel, Kenneth Glenn

SOCIAL WEATHER STATIONS, INCORPORATED and KAMAHALAN PUBLISHING


CORPORATION, doing business as MANILA STANDARD v. COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS
G.R. No. 147571, May 5, 2001, EN BANC (Mendoza, J.)

Government regulation is sufficiently justified [1] if it is within the constitutional power of the
Government; [2] if it furthers an important or substantial governmental interest; [3] if the
governmental interest is unrelated to the suppression of free expression; and [4] if the incidental
restriction on freedoms of speech, expression and press is no greater than is essential to the
furtherance of that interest.

FACTS

Social Weather Stations, Inc. (SWS), is a private non-stock, non-profit social research
institution conducting surveys in various fields, including economics, politics, demography, and
social development, and thereafter processing, analyzing, and publicly reporting the results thereof.
On the other hand, Kamahalan Publishing Corporation publishes the Manila Standard, a newspaper
of general circulation, which features news- worthy items of information including election surveys
Petitioners brought this action for prohibition to enjoin the Commission on Elections from enforcing
§5.4 of RA. No.9006 (Fair Election Act), which provides: Surveys affecting national candidates shall
not be published fifteen (15) days before an election and surveys affecting local candidates shall not
be published seven (7) days be- fore an election. Petitioner SWS states that it wishes to conduct an
election survey throughout the period of the elections both at the national and local levels and
release to the media the results of such survey as well as publish them directly. Petitioner
Kamahalan Publishing Corporation, on the other hand, states that it intends to publish election
survey results up to the last day of the elections on May 14,2001

ISSUE

WON §5.4 of R.A. No. 9006 constitutes an unconstitutional abridgment of freedom of speech,
expression, and the press.

HELD

The United States Supreme Court, through Chief Justice Warren, held in United States v. O
'Brien: [A] Government regulation is sufficiently justified [1] if it is within the constitutional power
of the Government; [2] if it furthers an important or substantial governmental interest; [3] if the
governmental interest is unrelated to the suppression of free expression; and [4] if the incidental
restriction on alleged First Amendment freedoms [of speech, expression and press] is no greater than
is essential to the furtherance of that interest. This is so far the most influential test for
distinguishing content-based from content neutral regulations and is said to have "become canonical
in the review of such laws." is noteworthy that the O 'Brien test has been applied by this Court in at
least two cases First. Sec. 5.4 fails to meet criterion [3] of the O 'Brien test because the causal
connection of expression to the asserted governmental interest makes such interest "not related to
the suppression of free expression." By prohibiting the publication of election survey results because
of the possibility that such publication might undermine the integrity of the election, §5.4 actually
suppresses a whole class of expression, while allowing the expression of opinion concerning the same
subject matter by newspaper columnists, radio and TV commentators, armchair theorists, and other
opinion takers Even if the governmental interest sought to be promoted is unrelated to the
suppression of speech and the resulting restriction of free expression is only incidental, §5.4
nonetheless fails to meet criterion [4] of the O'Brien test, namely, that the restriction be not greater

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than is necessary to further the governmental interest. As already stated, §5.4 aims at the
prevention of last-minute pressure on voters, the creation of bandwagon effect, "junking" of weak or
"losing" candidates, and resort to the form of election cheating called "dagdag-bawas." Praiseworthy
as these aims of the regulation might be, they cannot be attained at the sacrifice of the fundamental
right of expression, when such aim can be more narrowly pursued by punishing unlawful acts, rather
than speechbecause of apprehension that such speech creates the danger of such evils To summarize
then, we hold that §5.4 is invalid because (1) it imposes a prior restraint on the freedom of
expression, (2) it is a direct and total suppression of a category of expression even though such
suppression is only for a limited period, and (3) the governmental interest sought to be promoted can
be achieved by means other than suppression of freedom of expression.

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Marasigan, Mariella

GMA NETWORK, INC. v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (COMELEC)


G.R. No. 205357, 2 September 2014

Political speech is one of the most important expressions protected by the Fundamental Law.
“Freedom of speech, of expression, and of the press are at the core of civil liberties and have to be
protected at all costs for the sake of democracy.” The “aggregate-based” airtime limits is unreasonable
and arbitrary as it unduly restricts and constrains the ability of candidates and political parties to
reach out and communicate with the people.

FACTS

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) promulgated Resolution No. 9615 relative to the
conduct of the 2013 national and local elections dealing with political advertisements. COMELEC’s
resolution limited them broadcast and radio advertisements of candidates and political parties for
national election positions to an aggregate total of 120 minutes and 180 minutes, respectively.

Petitioners, consisted of different television and radio broadcasting networks questioned the
constitutionality of the resolution, banking on the theory that it is a restrictive regulation on
allowable broadcast violates freedom of the press, impairs the people’s right to suffrage as well as
their right to information relative to the exercise of their right to choose who to elect during the 2003
elections.

Moreover, the petitioners asked the Court for the proper interpretation of the limitation on
the number of minutes that candidates may use for television and radio advertisements, as provided
in Section 6 of R.A. No. 9006, otherwise known as the Fair Election Act.

Meanwhile, COMELEC maintained that the per candidate rule or total aggregate airtime
limit is in accordance with R.A. No. 9006 as this would truly give life to the constitutional objective
to equalize access to media during elections. It sees this as a more effective way of levelling the
playing field between candidates/political parties with enormous resources and those without much.
Moreover, the COMELEC's issuance of the assailed Resolution is pursuant to Section 4, Article IX
(C) of the Constitution which vests on the COMELEC the power to supervise and regulate, during
election periods, transportation and other public utilities, as well as mass media

ISSUES

1. Whether or not Section 9(a) of Comelec Resolution No. 9615 on airtime limit violate the
constitutional guaranty of freedom of expression, of speech and of the press.
2. Whether or not Resolution No. 9165 impose unreasonable burden on the broadcast industry?

HELD

1. Yes, Section 9(a) of COMELEC Resolution No. 9615, with its adoption of the “aggregate-based”
airtime limits unreasonably restricts the guaranteed freedom of speech and of the press.

Political speech is one of the most important expressions protected by the Fundamental Law.
“Freedom of speech, of expression, and of the press are at the core of civil liberties and have to be
protected at all costs for the sake of democracy.”

GMA came up with its analysis of the practical effects of such a regulation: Given the
reduction of a candidate’s airtime minutes in the New Rules, petitioner GMA estimates that a

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national candidate will only have 120 minutes to utilize for his political advertisements in television
during the whole campaign period of 88 days, or will only have 81.81 seconds per day TV exposure
allotment. If he chooses to place his political advertisements in the 3 major TV networks in equal
allocation, hewill only have 27.27 seconds of airtime per network per day. This barely translatesto 1
advertisement spot on a 30-second spot basis in television.

The Court agrees. The assailed rule on “aggregate-based” airtime limits is unreasonable and
arbitrary as it unduly restricts and constrains the ability of candidates and political parties to reach
out and communicate with the people.

Here, the adverted reason for imposing the “aggregate-based” airtime limits – leveling the
playing field – does not constitute a compelling state interest which would justify such a substantial
restriction on the freedom of candidates and political parties to communicate their ideas,
philosophies, platforms and programs of government.

2. No, Resolution No. 9615 does not impose an unreasonable burden on the broadcast industry

The Court cannot agree with the contentions of GMA. The apprehensions of COMELEC
appear more to be the result of a misappreciation of the real import of the regulation rather than a
real and present threat to its broadcast activities. The Court is more in agreement with COMELEC
when it explained that the legal duty of monitoring lies with the COMELEC. Broadcast stations are
merely required to submit certain documents to aid the COMELEC in ensuring that candidates are
not sold airtime in excess of the allowed limits. There is absolutely no duty on the broadcast stations
to do monitoring, much less monitoring in real time. GMA grossly exaggerates when it claims that
the non-existent duty would require them to hire and train an astounding additional 39,055
personnel working on eight-hour shifts all over the country.

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Marcelino, Kristen

THE DIOCESE OF BACOLOD, represented by the MOST Rev. Bishop Vicente M. Navarra
and THE BISHOP HIMSELF IN HIS PERSONAL CAPACITY v. COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS et al.
G.R. No. 205728, 21 January 2015

There is no compelling and substantial state interest endangered by the posting of the
tarpaulin as to justify curtailment of the right of freedom of expression. There is no reason for the state
to minimize the right of non-candidate petitioners to post the tarpaulin in their private property. The
size of the tarpaulin does not affect anyone else’s constitutional rights.

In this case, the size regulation is not unrelated to the suppression of speech. Limiting the
maximum size of the tarpaulin would render ineffective petitioners’ message and violate their right to
exercise freedom of expression.

FACTS

On February 21, 2013, petitioners posted two (2) tarpaulins within a private compound
housing the San Sebastian Cathedral of Bacolod. Each tarpaulin was approximately six feet (6') by
ten feet (10') in size. They were posted on the front walls of the cathedral within public view. The
first tarpaulin contains the message "IBASURA RH Law" referring to the Reproductive Health Law
of 2012 or Republic Act No. 10354. This tarpaulin contains the heading "Conscience Vote" and lists
candidates as either "(Anti-RH) Team Buhay" with a check mark, or "(Pro-RH) Team Patay" with an
"X" mark. The electoral candidates were classified according to their vote on the adoption of Republic
Act No. 10354, otherwise known as the RH Law.

During oral arguments, respondents conceded that the tarpaulin was neither sponsored nor
paid for by any candidate. Petitioners also conceded that the tarpaulin contains names ofcandidates
for the 2013 elections, but not of politicians who helped in the passage of the RH Law but were not
candidates for that election.

Respodent Atty. Mavil V. Majarucon, in her capacity as Election Officer of Bacolod City,
issued a Notice to Remove Campaign Materialsaddressed to petitioner Most Rev. Bishop Vicente M.
Navarra. The election officer ordered the tarpaulin’s removal within three (3) days from receipt for
being oversized. COMELEC Resolution No. 9615 provides for the size requirement of two feet (2’) by
three feet (3’).

Few days later, COMELEC Law Department issued a letterordering the immediate removal
of the tarpaulin; otherwise, it will be constrained to file an election offense against petitioners.

Petitioners contend that the assailed notice and letter for the removal of the tarpaulin violate
their fundamental right to freedom of expression. On the other hand, respondents contend that the
tarpaulin is an election propaganda subject to their regulation pursuant to their mandate under
Article IX-C, Section 4 of the Constitution. Thus, the assailed notice and letter ordering its removal
for being oversized are valid and constitutional.

COMELEC contends that the order for removal of the tarpaulin is a content-neutral
regulation. The order was made simply because petitioners failed to comply with the maximum size
limitation for lawful election propaganda. On the other hand, petitioners argue that the present size
regulation is content-based as it applies only to political speech and not to other forms of speech such
as commercial speech.

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ISSUES

1. Whether or not the subject tarpaulins are election propaganda.


2. Whether or not content-based or content-neural regulation should be applied

HELD

The act of the COMELEC in issuing the assailed notice and letter dated is declared
unconstitutional.

Fundamental to the consideration of this issue is Article III, Section 4 of the Constitution:

Section 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of


the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the
government for redress of grievances.

As to the first issue, while the tarpaulin may influence the success or failure of the named
candidates and political parties, this does not necessarily mean it is election propaganda. The
tarpaulin was not paid for or posted "in return for consideration" by any candidate, political party, or
party-list group.

The message of petitioners in thiscase will certainly not be what candidates and political
parties will carry in their election posters or media ads. The message of petitioner, taken as a whole,
is an advocacy of a social issue that it deeply believes. Through rhetorical devices, it communicates
the desire of Diocese that the positions of those who run for a political position on this social issue be
determinative of how the public will vote. It primarily advocates a stand on a social issue; only
secondarily — even almost incidentally — will cause the election or non-election of a candidate.

As to the second issue, size limitations during elections hit ata core part of expression. The
content of the tarpaulin is not easily divorced from the size of its medium.

Content-based regulation bears a heavy presumption of invalidity, and this court has used
the clear and present danger rule as measure.Thus, in Chavez v. Gonzales, “A content-based
regulation, however, bears a heavy presumption of invalidity and is measured against the clear and
present danger rule. The latter will pass constitutional muster only if justified by a compelling
reason, and the restrictions imposedare neither overbroad nor vague.”Under this rule, “the evil
consequences sought to be prevented must be substantive, ‘extremely serious and the degree of
imminence extremely high.’”“Only when the challenged act has overcome the clear and present
danger rule will it pass constitutional muster, with the government having the burden of overcoming
the presumed unconstitutionality.”

Even with the clear and present danger test, respondents failed to justify the regulation.
There is no compelling and substantial state interest endangered by the posting of the tarpaulinas to
justify curtailment of the right of freedom of expression. There is no reason for the state to minimize
the right of non-candidate petitioners to post the tarpaulin in their private property. The size of the
tarpaulin does not affect anyone else’s constitutional rights.

Content-based restraint or censorship refers to restrictions "based on the subject matter of


the utterance or speech.”In contrast, content-neutral regulation includes controls merely on the
incidents of the speech such as time, place, or manner of the speech.

We reiterate that the regulation involved at bar is content-based. The tarpaulin content is
not easily divorced from the size of its medium.

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If we apply the test for content-neutral regulation, the questioned acts of COMELEC will not
pass the three requirements for evaluating such restraints on freedom of speech."When the speech
restraints take the form of a content-neutral regulation, only a substantial governmental interest is
required for its validity,"and it is subject only to the intermediate approach.

This intermediate approach is based on the test that we have prescribed in several cases.A
content-neutral government regulation is sufficiently justified:

[1] if it is within the constitutional power of the Government; [2] if it furthers an


important or substantial governmental interest; [3] if the governmental interest is
unrelated to the suppression of free expression; and [4] if the incident restriction on
alleged [freedom of speech & expression] is no greater than is essential to the
furtherance of that interest.

On the first requisite, it is not within the constitutional powers of the COMELEC to regulate
the tarpaulin. As discussed earlier, this is protected speech by petitioners who are non-candidates.
On the second requirement, not only must the governmental interest be important or substantial, it
must also be compelling as to justify the restrictions made.

The third requisite is likewise lacking. We look not only at the legislative intent or motive in
imposing the restriction, but more so at the effects of such restriction, if implemented. The
restriction must not be narrowly tailored to achieve the purpose. It must be demonstrable. It must
allow alternative avenues for the actor to make speech.

In this case, the size regulation is not unrelated to the suppression of speech. Limiting the
maximum sizeof the tarpaulin would render ineffective petitioners’ message and violate their right to
exercise freedom of expression.
The COMELEC’s act of requiring the removal of the tarpaulin has the effect of dissuading
expressions with political consequences. These should be encouraged, more so when exercised to
make more meaningful the equally important right to suffrage.

The restriction in the present case does not pass even the lower test of intermediate scrutiny
for content-neutral regulations.

The action of the COMELEC in thiscase is a strong deterrent to further speech by the
electorate. Given the stature of petitioners and their message, there are indicators that this will
cause a "chilling effect" on robust discussion during elections.

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Mendoza, Roland Joseph

1-UNITED TRANSPORT KOALISYON (1-UTAK) v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS


G.R. NO. 206020, 14 April 2015

It is now deeply embedded in our jurisprudence that freedom of speech and of the press enjoys
a preferred status in our hierarchy of rights. The rationale is that the preservation of other rights
depends on how well we protect our freedom of speech and of the press.

FACTS

On February 12, 2001, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9006, otherwise known as the “Fair Elections
Act,” was passed. Section 9 thereof provides:

Sec. 9. Posting of Campaign Materials.—The COMELEC may authorize political


parties and party-list groups to erect common poster areas for their candidates in not
more than ten (10) public places such as plazas, markets, barangay centers and the
like, wherein candidates can post, display or exhibit election propaganda: Provided,
That the size of the poster areas shall not exceed twelve (12) by sixteen (16) feet or its
equivalent.

Independent candidates with no political parties may likewise be authorized to erect common
poster areas in not more than ten (10) public places, the size of which shall not exceed four (4) by six
(6) feet or its equivalent.

SEC. 7. Prohibited Forms of Election Propaganda.—During the campaign period, it is


unlawful: x xxx

(f) To post, display or exhibit any election campaign or propaganda material outside of
authorized common poster areas, in public places, or in private properties without the consent of the
owner thereof.
(g) Public places referred to in the previous subsection (f) include any of the following: x xxx

5. Public utility vehicles such as buses, jeepneys, trains,taxi cabs, ferries, pedicabs
and tricycles, whether motorized or not;
6. Within the premises of public transport terminals, such as bus terminals, airports,
seaports, docks, piers, train stations, and the like.

In its letter dated January 30, 2013, the petitioner through its president, Melencio F. Vargas,
sought clarification from the COMELEC as regards the application of Resolution No. 9615,
particularly Section 7(g) items (5) and (6), in relation to Section 7(f), vis-à-vis privately-owned public
utility vehicles (PUVs) and transport terminals. The petitioner explained that the prohibition stated
in the aforementioned provisions impedes the right to free speech of the private owners of PUVs and
transport terminals. The petitioner then requested the COMELEC to reconsider the implementation
of the assailed provisions and allow private owners of PUVs and transport terminals to post election
campaign materials on their vehicles and transport terminals.

On February 5, 2013, the COMELEC En Banc issued Minute Resolution No. 13-0214, which
denied the petitioner’s request to reconsider the implementation of said resolution.

ISSUE

Whether the resolution is valid.

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HELD

The petition is meritorious.

Like any other administrative regulations, Resolution No. 9615, or any part thereof, must
not run counter to the Constitution. It is basic that if a law or an administrative rule violates any
norm of the Constitution, that issuance is null and void and has no effect. The Constitution is the
basic law to which all laws must conform; no act shall be valid if it conflicts with the Constitution. In
this regard, an administrative regulation, even if it purports to advance a legitimate governmental
interest, may not be permitted to run roughshod over the cherished rights of the people enshrined in
the Constitution.

Section 7(g) items (5) and (6), in relation to Section 7(f), of Resolution No. 9615 unduly
infringe on the fundamental right of the people to freedom of speech. Central to the prohibition is the
freedom of individuals, i.e., the owners of PUVs and private transport terminals, to express their
preference, through the posting of election campaign material in their property, and convince others
to agree with them.

Pursuant to the assailed provisions of Resolution No. 9615, posting an election campaign
material during an election period in PUVs and transport terminals carries with it the penalty of
revocation of the public utility franchise and shall make the owner thereof liable for an election
offense. The prohibition constitutes a clear prior restraint on the right to free expression of the
owners of PUVs and transport terminals. As a result of the prohibition, owners of PUVs and
transport terminals are forcefully and effectively inhibited from expressing their preferences under
the pain of indictment for an election offense and the revocation of their franchise or permit to
operate.

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Navarro, Jessica

SOCIAL WEATHER STATIONS, INC. AND PULSE ASIA, INC. v. COMMISSION ON


ELECTIONS
G.R. No. 208062, 7 April 2015

Right to political speech, that which "refers to speech 'both intended and received as a
contribution to public deliberation about some issue,' 'foster[ing] informed and civic-minded
deliberation."

FACTS

Commission on Elections' (COMELEC) Resolution No. 9674 directed Social Weather


Stations, Inc. (SWS) and Pulse Asia, Inc. (Pulse Asia), as well as "other survey firms of similar
circumstance” to submit to COMELEC the names of all commissioners and payors of all surveys
published from February 12, 2013 to April 23, 2013, including those of their "subscribers.”

SWS and Pulse Asia are social research and public polling firms. Among their activities is
the conduct of pre-election surveys. As recounted by SWS and Pulse Asia, on February 15 to
February 17, 2013, SWS conducted a pre-election survey on voters' preferences for senatorial
candidates. Thereafter, it published its findings. The following question was asked in the
survey:Kung angeleksyon ay gaganapinngayon, sinoangpinakamalamangninyongibobotobilangmga
SENADOR ng PILIPINAS? Naritoanglistahan ng mgakandidato. Paki-shade o
itimanpoangnaaangkopna oval katabi ng pangalan hg mgataongpinakamalamangninyongiboboto.
Maaaripokayongpumili ng hangganglabindalawang (12) kandidato.
(LIST OF CANDIDATES OMITTED)

On March 20, 2013, Representative Tobias M. Tiangco (Tiangco), Secretary-General of the


United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), wrote Atty. Esmeralda Ladra, Director of COMELEC's Law
Department. In his letter,Tiangco asked COMELEC to "compel [SWS] to either comply with the
directive in the Fair Election Act and COMELEC Resolution No. 9[6]1[5] and give the names or
identities of the subscribers who paid for the [pre-election survey conducted from February 15 to
February 17, 2013], or be liable for the violation thereof, an act constitutive of an election offense."

Tiangco recounted that on February 28, 2013, he wrote to SWS requesting, among others,
that he "be furnished the identity of persons who paid for the [pre-election survey conducted from
February 15 to February 17, 2013] as well as those who subscribed to it." Sometime in March 2013,
SWS supposedly replied to Tiangco, "furnishing [him] with some particulars about the survey but
[without] disclosing] the identity of the persons who commissioned or subscribed to the survey."
Acting on Tiangco's letter and on the COMELEC Law Department's recommendation, the
COMELEC En Bane issued the Order14 dated April 10, 2013 setting the matter for hearing on April
16, 2013. The same Order directed SWS to submit its Comment within three (3) days of receipt.15
On April 12, 2013, Pulse Asia received a letter from COMELEC "requesting its representative to
attend the COMELEC hearing on 16 April 2013."

On April 23, 2013, COMELEC issued the assailed Resolution No. 9674. The entire
dispositive portion of this Resolution reads:WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commis[s]ion
RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to DIRECT the SWS, Pulse Asia and other survey firms of
similar circumstance to submit within three (3) days from receipt of this Resolution the names of all
commissioners and payors of surveys published from February 12, 2013 to the date of the
promulgation of this Resolution for copying and verification by the Commission. The submission shall
include the names of all "subscribers" of those published surveys. Such information/data shall be for
the exclusive and confidential use of the Commission; RESOLVED FURTHER, that all surveys

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published subsequent to the promulgation of this Resolution must be accompanied by all the
information required in Republic Act no. 9006, including the names of commissioners, payors and
subscribers.

In the letter dated April 30, 2013, SWS and Pulse Asia informed COMELEC Chairman
Brillantes that they had not received a copy of Resolution No. 9674. They also articulated their view
that Resolution No. 9674 was tainted with irregularities, having been issued ultra vires (i.e., in
excess of what the Fair Election Act allows) and in violation of the non-impairment of contracts
clause of the Constitution. They also expressed their intention to bring the matter before this court
on account of these supposed irregularities. Thus, they requested that COMELEC defer or hold in
abeyance Resolution No. 9674's enforcement.

On May 8, 2013, the COMELEC Law Department issued a Notice26 to SWS (and also to
Pulse Asia) directing it to furnish COMELEC with a list of the names of all "commissioners,
subscribers, and payors of surveys published from February 12, 2013 until April 23, 2013." SWS was
warned that failure to comply with the Notice shall constitute an election offense punishable under
the Omnibus Election Code. On July 1, 2013, COMELEC issued a Subpoena notifying SWS and
Pulse Asia that a Complaint "for violation of Section 264[,] par. 1 and 2 of the Omnibus Election
Code30 in relation to R.A. 9006"31 was filed against them. (This was docketed as E.O. Case No. 13-
222). They were also directed to appear and to submit their counter-affidavits and other supporting
documents at the hearing set on August 6, 2013.

SWS and Pulse Asia maintained that before receiving the Subpoena, they were never
informed that a criminal case had been filed against them. They added that they were never
furnished copies of the relevant criminal Complaint. On July 26, 2013, petitioners Social Weather
Stations, Inc. and Pulse Asia, Inc. filed the present Petition. They assail Resolution No. 9674 as
having been issued ultra vires. They are of the position that Resolution No. 9674, in requiring the
submission of information on subscribers, is in excess of what the Fair Election Act requires.
Likewise, they, assert that Resolution No. 9674 transgresses the Fair Election Act in making itself
executory immediately after publication. Moreover, they claim that it violates the non-impairment of
contracts clause of the Constitution, and was enforced in violation of their right to due process (as
they were charged with its violation despite not having been properly served with copies of the
complaint filed against them). Petitioners pray for the issuance of a temporary restraining order
and/or writ of preliminary injunction in the interim.

In this court's February 18, 2014 Resolution, the present Petition was given due course, and
the parties were directed to file their memoranda. Petitioners complied on May 16, 201445 and
COMELEC on June 25, 2014.

ISSUE

Whether the rights of petitioners to free speech will be curtailed by the requirement to
submit the names of their subscribers;

HELD

Views vary on the precise extent to which surveys or "polls" shape voter preferences, if at
all.Election surveys have been critiqued for amplifying the notion of an election as a "horse race" and
for reducing elections to the lowest common denominator of percentage points or a candidate's
erstwhile share in the vote market rather than focusing on issues, principles, programs, and
platforms.

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Several possible, albeit conflicting, effects of surveys on voter behavior have been
postulated:First, there is the bandwagon effect where "electors rally to support the candidate leading
in the polls." This "assumes that knowledge of a popular 'tide' will likely change voting intentions in
[favor] of the frontrunner, that many electors feel more comfortable supporting a popular choice or
that people accept the perceived collective wisdom of others as being enough reason for supporting a
candidate."; Second, there is the underdog effect where "electors rally to support the candidate trailing
in the polls." This shift can be motivated by sympathy for the perceived underdog.; Third, there is the
motivating effect where "individuals who had not intended to vote are persuaded to do so," having
been alerted to the fact of an election's imminence.; Fourth, there is also the demotivating effect where
"voters abstain from voting out of certainty that their candidate or party will win[.]"Fifth, there are
reports of a behavior known as strategic voting where "voting is influenced by the chances of
winning[.]";Lastly, there is also the theory of a free-will effect where "voters cast their ballots to prove
the polls wrong[.]"

Election surveys published during election periods create the "politics of expectations."
Voters act in accordance with what is perceived to be an existing or emerging state of affairs with
respect to how candidates are faring.

Of the six (6) effects, the bandwagon effect has a particular resonance and has been of
concern. Surveys, or opinion polls, "by directly influencing individual-level support . . . , can be self-
fulfilling prophecies and produce opinion cascades."83 "[A] poll's prediction may come to pass not
only because it measures public opinion but also because it may influence public opinion."

The bandwagon effect is of particular concern because of the observed human tendency to
conform. Three (3) mechanisms through which survey results may induce conformity have been
posited:(1) normative social influence, or people's desire to adopt the majority position in order to feel
liked and accepted or believe they are on the winning team;(2) informational social influence, or
people learning from the 'wisdom of crowds' via social proof because they 'believe that others'
interpretation of an ambiguous situation is more accurate . . . and will help [them] choose an
appropriate course of action'; and(3) people resolving cognitive dissonance by switching to the side
they infer is going to win based on the poll.

Likewise, it has been argued that the bandwagon effect is but the obverse of the so-called
false-consensus effect or false-consensus bias:The bandwagon effect, a form of conformity, is the
mirror image of the false consensus effect, where people misperceive that their own behaviors and
attitudes are more popular than they actually are. In the political domain, one mechanism
underlying the false consensus effect is wishful thinking - people gaining utility from thinking their
candidate is ahead or their opinions are popular. The bandwagon effect induced by election surveys
assumes even greater significance in considering the health of a democracy.

Integral to our appreciation of democracy is the recognition that democracy is fundamentally


deliberative. It is rooted in the exchange and dialogue of ideas. Accordingly, free expression, not least
of all from the minority and from those who do not conform, i.e., those who dissent and criticize, is
indispensable:Proponents of the political theory on "deliberative democracy" submit that
"substantial, open, [and] ethical dialogue is a critical, and indeed defining, feature of a good polity."
This theory may be considered broad, but it definitely "includes [a] collective decision making with
the participation of all who will be affected by the decision." It anchors on the principle that the
cornerstone of every democracy is that sovereignty resides in the people. To ensure order in running
the state's affairs, sovereign powers were delegated and individuals would be elected or nominated in
key government positions to represent the people. On this note, the theory on deliberative democracy
may evolve to the right of the people to make government accountable. Necessarily, this includes the
right of the people to criticize acts made pursuant to governmental functions.Speech that promotes

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dialogue on public affairs, or airs out grievances and political discontent, should thus be protected
and encouraged.

In this jurisdiction, this court held that "[t]he interest of society and the maintenance of good
government demand a full discussion of public affairs." This court has, thus, adopted the principle
that "debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide open . . . [including even]
unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials."However, "conformity pressures can
suppress minority opinion." The bandwagon effect conjures images of an impregnable majority,
thereby tending to push farther toward the peripheries those who are already marginalized. Worse,
the bandwagon effect foments the illusion of a homogenous monolith denying the very existence of
those in the minority. This undermines the "normative conceptions of democracy"substituting the
democratic dialogue with acquiescence to perceived or projected orthodoxy.

Surveys, far from being a passive "snapshot of many viewpoints held by a segment of the
population at a given time," can warp existing public opinion and can mould public opinion. They are
constitutive. Published election surveys offer valuable insight into public opinion not just because
they represent it but more so because they also tend to make it.Appreciating this tendency to both
entrench and marginalize is of acute relevance in the context of Philippine political reality. This is
the same reality that our policymakers, primarily the framers of the Constitution, have seen fit to
address.

To reiterate, the inclusion of published election surveys in a statute that regulates election
propaganda and other means through which candidates may shape voter preferences is itself telling
of the recognition that published election surveys, too, may influence voter preferences. This
inclusion is similarly telling of a recognition that, left unregulated, election surveys can undermine
the purposes of ensuring "fair" elections. These recognitions are embedded in the Fair Election Act;
they are not judicial constructs. In adjudicating with these' as bases, this court is merely adhering to
the legislative imperative.

It is necessary that the Fair Election Act be appreciated for what it is: a mechanism for
ensuring equality. The Fair Election Act is a means to effect the "necessary condition" to a genuine
democratic dialogue, to realizing a deliberative democracy. The concept of this "necessary condition"
was previously considered by this court in Diocese of Bacolod v. COMELEC:In his seminal work,
Repressive Tolerance, philosopher and social theorist Herbert Marcuse recognized how
institutionalized inequality exists as a background limitation, rendering freedoms exercised within
such limitation as merely "protecting] the already established machinery of discrimination." In his
view, any improvement "in the normal course of events" within an unequal society, without
subversion, only strengthens existing interests of those in power and control.

What is involved here is petitioners' freedom of speech and of expression, that is, to publish
their findings. More specifically, what is involved here is their right to political speech, that which
"refers to speech 'both intended and received as a contribution to public deliberation about some
issue,' 'foster[ing] informed and civic-minded deliberation."

The nature of the speech involved, as well as the Fair Election Act's purpose of ensuring
political equality, calls into operation the equality-based approach to weighing liberty to express vis-
a-vis equality of opportunities. As explained in Diocese of Bacolod:In an equality-based approach,
"politically disadvantaged speech prevails over regulation[,] but regulation promoting political
equality prevails over speech." This view allows the government leeway to redistribute or equalize
'speaking power,' such as protecting, even implicitly subsidizing, unpopular or dissenting voices often
systematically subdued within society's ideological ladder. This view acknowledges that there are
dominant political actors who, through authority, power, resources, identity, or status, have

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capabilities that may drown out the messages of others. This is especially true in a developing or
emerging economy that is part of the majoritarian world like ours.

The scope of the guarantee of free expression takes into consideration the constitutional
respect for human potentiality and the effect of speech. It valorizes the ability of human beings to
express and their necessity to relate. On the other hand, a complete guarantee must also take into
consideration the effects it will have in a deliberative democracy. Skewed distribution of resources as
well as the cultural hegemony of the majority may have the effect of drowning out the speech and the
messages of those in the minority. In a sense, social inequality does have its effect on the exercise
and effect of the guarantee of free speech. Those who have more will have better access to media that
reaches a wider audience than those who have less. Those who espouse the more popular ideas will
have better reception than the subversive and the dissenters of society. To be really heard and
understood, the marginalized view normally undergoes its own degree of struggle.

The traditional view has been to tolerate the viewpoint of the speaker and the content of his
or her expression. This view, thus, restricts laws or regulation that allows public officials to make
judgments of the value of such viewpoint or message content. This should still be the principal
approach.However, the requirements of the Constitution regarding equality in opportunity must
provide limits to some expression during electoral campaigns. The required judicial temperament in
appraising speech in the context of electoral campaigns which is principally designed to endorse a
candidate, both by candidates and / or political parties, on the one hand, and private citizens, on the
other, has thus been articulated:Thus clearly, regulation of speech in the context of electoral
campaigns made by candidates or the members of their political parties or their political parties may
be regulated as to time, place, and manner. This is the effect of our rulings in Osmeña v. COMELEC
and National Press Club v. COMELEC.

Regulation of speech in the context of electoral campaigns made by persons who are not
candidates or who do not speak as members of a political party which are, taken as a whole,
principally advocacies of a social issue that the public must consider during elections is
unconstitutional. Such regulation is inconsistent with the guarantee of according the fullest possible
range of opinions coming from the electorate including those that can catalyze candid, uninhibited,
and robust debate in the criteria for the choice of a candidate.This does not mean that there cannot
be a specie of speech by a private citizen which will not amount to an election paraphernalia to be
validly regulated by law.

Regulation of election paraphernalia will still be constitutionally valid if it reaches into


speech of persons who are not candidates or who do not speak as members of a political party if they
are not candidates, only if what is regulated is declarative speech that, taken as a whole, has for its
principal object the endorsement of a candidate only. The regulation (a) should be provided by law,
(b) reasonable, (c) narrowly tailored to meet the objective of enhancing the opportunity of all
candidates to be heard and considering the primacy of the guarantee of free expression, and (d)
demonstrably the least restrictive means to achieve that object. The regulation must only be with
respect to the time, place, and manner of the rendition of the message. In no situation may the speech
be prohibited or censored on the basis of its content. For this purpose, it will not matter whether the
speech is made with or on private property.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED in that COMELEC Resolution


No. 9674 is upheld, and respondent Commission on Elections is ENJOINED from prosecuting
petitioners Social Weather Stations, Inc. and Pulse Asia, Inc. for their supposed violation of
COMELEC Resolution No. 9674 in respect of their non-submission of the names of all
commissioners and payors, including subscribers, of surveys published during the campaign period
for the 2013 elections.
SO ORDERED.

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Pagalilauan, Gerome

SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE ENGAGEMENT NETWORK, INC., on behalf of the South-


South Network (SSN) for Non-State Armed Group Engagement, and ATTY. SOLIMAN M.
SANTOS, JR. v. ANTI-TERRORISM COUNCIL
G.R. No. 178552, 5 October 2010

A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one which is overbroad
because of possible "chilling effect" upon protected speech.

FACTS

Petitioner’s filed six petitions for certiorari challenging the constitutionality of Republic Act
No. 9372 (RA 9372), "An Act to Secure the State and Protect our People from Terrorism," otherwise
known as the Human Security Act of 2007,signed into law on March 6, 2007.

They contended that RA 9372 is vague and broad, in that terms like “widespread
and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace” and “coerce the government to give in to an
unlawful demand” are nebulous, leaving law enforcement agencies with no standard to measure tA
facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one which is overbroad because of
possible "chilling effect" upon protected speech. e prohibited acts.

Respondents, through the OSG, counter that the doctrines of void-for-vagueness and
overbreadth find no application in the present case since these doctrines apply only to free speech
cases; and that RA 9372 regulates conduct, not speech.

ISSUE

Whether the doctrine of void-for-vagueness and overbreath is applicable in this case.

HELD

No.

A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one which is overbroad
because of possible "chilling effect" upon protected speech. The theory is that when statutes regulate
or proscribe speech and no readily apparent construction suggests itself as a vehicle for
rehabilitating the statutes in a single prosecution, the transcendent value to all society of
constitutionally protected expression is deemed to justify allowing attacks on overly broad statutes
with no requirement that the person making the attack demonstrate that his own conduct could not
be regulated by a statute drawn with narrow specificity The possible harm to society in permitting
some unprotected speech to go unpunished is outweighed by the possibility that the protected speech
of others may be deterred and perceived grievances left to fester because of possible inhibitory effects
of overly broad statutes.

This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes have general in
terrorem effect resulting from their very existence, and, if facial challenge is allowed for this reason
alone, the State may well be prevented from enacting laws against socially harmful conduct. In the
area of criminal law, the law cannot take chances as in the area of free speech.

The overbreadth and vagueness doctrines then have special application only to free speech
cases. They are inapt for testing the validity of penal statutes.

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Justice Mendoza accurately phrased the subtitle in his concurring opinion that the
vagueness and overbreadth doctrines, as grounds for a facial challenge, are not applicable to penal
laws. A litigant cannot thus successfully mount a facial challenge against a criminal statute on
either vagueness or overbreadth grounds.

The allowance of a facial challenge in free speech cases is justified by the aim to avert the
"chilling effect" on protected speech, the exercise of which should not at all times be abridged. As
reflected earlier, this rationale is inapplicable to plain penal statutes that generally bear an "in
terrorem effect" in deterring socially harmful conduct. In fact, the legislature may even forbid and
penalize acts formerly considered innocent and lawful, so long as it refrains from diminishing or
dissuading the exercise of constitutionally protected rights.

The Court reiterated that there are "critical limitations by which a criminal statute may be
challenged" and "underscored that an ‘on-its-face’ invalidation of penal statutes may not be allowed."
The rule established in our jurisdiction is, only statutes on free speech, religious freedom, and other
fundamental rights may be facially challenged. Under no case may ordinary penal statutes be
subjected to a facial challenge. The rationale is obvious. If a facial challenge to a penal statute is
permitted, the prosecution of crimes may be hampered. No prosecution would be possible. A strong
criticism against employing a facial challenge in the case of penal statutes, if the same is allowed,
would effectively go against the grain of the doctrinal requirement of an existing and concrete
controversy before judicial power may be appropriately exercised. A facial challenge against a penal
statute is, at best, amorphous and speculative. It would, essentially, force the court to consider third
parties who are not before it. As I have said in my opposition to the allowance of a facial challenge to
attack penal statutes, such a test will impair the State’s ability to deal with crime. If warranted,
there would be nothing that can hinder an accused from defeating the State’s power to prosecute on
a mere showing that, as applied to third parties, the penal statute is vague or overbroad,
notwithstanding that the law is clear as applied to him.

Since a penal statute may only be assailed for being vague as applied to petitioners, a limited
vagueness analysis of the definition of "terrorism" in RA 9372 is legally impermissible absent
an actual or imminent chargeagainst them.

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Pagtalunan, Maylen

PHARMACEUTICAL AND HEALTH CARE ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES v.


HEALTH SECRETARY FRANCISCO T. DUQUE III
G.R. No. 173034, 9 October 2007

Correct information as to infant feeding and nutrition is infused with public interest and
welfare.

FACTS

Executive Order No. 51 (Milk Code) was issued by President Corazon Aquino on October 28,
1986 by virtue of the legislative powers. One of the preambular clauses of the Milk Code states that
the law seeks to give effect to Article 11 of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk
Substitutes (ICMBS), a code adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 1981. From 1982 to
2006, the WHA adopted several Resolutions to the effect that breastfeeding should be supported,
promoted and protected, hence, it should be ensured that nutrition and health claims are not
permitted for breastmilk substitutes.

In 1990, the Philippines ratified the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Article 24 of said instrument provides that State Parties should take appropriate measures to
diminish infant and child mortality, and ensure that all segments of society, specially parents and
children, are informed of the advantages of breastfeeding.

On May 15, 2006, the DOH issued the assailed RIRR. Petitioners claim that the RIRR is
inconsistent with the Milk Code.

ISSUE

Whether RIRR imposes an absolute ban on such activities for breastmilk substitutes
intended for infants from 0-24 months old or beyond, and forbids the use of health and nutritional
claims.

HELD

ICMBS which was adopted by the WHA in 1981 had been transformed into domestic law
through local legislation, the Milk Code.

The Milk Code is almost a verbatim reproduction of the ICMBS, but it is well to emphasize
at this point that the Code did not adopt the provision in the ICMBS absolutely prohibiting
advertising or other forms of promotion to the general public of products within the scope of the
ICMBS. Instead, the Milk Code expressly provides that advertising, promotion, or other
marketing materials may be allowed if such materials are duly authorized and approved
by the Inter-Agency Committee (IAC).

Section 2, Article II of the 1987 Constitution, embodies the incorporation method. Custom
or customary international law means "a general and consistent practice of states followed by them
from a sense of legal obligation. Customary international law is deemed incorporated into our
domestic system.

WHA Resolution adopting the ICMBS and subsequent WHA Resolutions urging member
states to implement the ICMBS are merely recommendatory and legally non-binding. Thus, unlike
what has been done with the ICMBS whereby the legislature enacted most of the

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provisions into law which is the Milk Code, the subsequent WHA Resolutions,specifically
providing for exclusive breastfeeding from 0-6 months, continued breastfeeding up to 24
months, and absolutely prohibiting advertisements and promotions of breastmilk
substitutes, have not been adopted as a domestic law.

It is crucial to ascertain whether the absolute prohibition on advertising and other forms of
promotion of breastmilk substitutes provided in some WHA Resolutions has been adopted as part of
the national health policy.

Respondents submitted that the national policy on infant and young child feeding is
embodied in A.O. No. 2005-0014, dated May 23, 2005. The Administrative Order declared the
following policy guidelines: (1) ideal breastfeeding practices, such as early initiation of breastfeeding,
exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, extended breastfeeding up to two years and beyond;
(2) appropriate complementary feeding, which is to start at age six months; (3) micronutrient
supplementation; (4) universal salt iodization; (5) the exercise of other feeding options; and (6)
feeding in exceptionally difficult circumstances. Indeed, the primacy of breastfeeding for children is
emphasized as a national health policy. However, nowhere in A.O. No. 2005-0014 is it declared
that as part of such health policy, the advertisement or promotion of breastmilk
substitutes should be absolutely prohibited.

The DOH is authorized to control the purpose of the information and to whom such
information may be disseminated under Sections 6 through 9 of the Milk Code to ensure that the
information that would reach pregnant women, mothers of infants, and health professionals and
workers in the health care system is restricted to scientific and factual matters and shall not imply
or create a belief that bottlefeeding is equivalent or superior to breastfeeding.

It bears emphasis, however, that the DOH's power under the Milk Code
to control information regarding breastmilk vis-a-vis breastmilk substitutes is not absolute as the
power to control does not encompass the power to absolutely prohibit the advertising, marketing,
and promotion of breastmilk substitutes.

Relevant sections in the RIRR contain some labeling requirements, specifically: a) that there
be a statement that there is no substitute to breastmilk; and b) that there be a statement that
powdered infant formula may contain pathogenic microorganisms and must be prepared and used
appropriately. Section 16of the RIRR prohibits all health and nutrition claims for products within
the scope of the Milk Code, such as claims of increased emotional and intellectual abilities of the
infant and young child.

These provisions of the Milk Code expressly forbid information that would imply or create a
belief that there is any milk product equivalent to breastmilk or which is humanized or maternalized
as such information would be inconsistent with the superiority of breastfeeding.

Thus, Section 26(c) of the RIRR which requires containers and labels to state that the
product offered is not a substitute for breastmilk, is a reasonable means of enforcing Section 8(b) of
the Milk Code and deterring circumvention of the protection and promotion of breastfeeding as
embodied inthe Milk Code.

The label of a product contains information about said product intended for the buyers
thereof. The buyers of breastmilk substitutes are mothers of infants, and Section 26 of the RIRR
merely adds a fair warning about the likelihood of pathogenic microorganisms being present in
infant formula and other related products when these are prepared and used inappropriately.

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Section 12 of the RIRR reiterated the requirement of the Milk Code that prior approval by
IAC of all advertising, marketing and promotional materials prior to dissemination is necessary.The
DOH has the significant responsibility to translate into operational terms the standards
of the Milk Code, by which the IAC shall screen advertising, promotional, or other
marketing materials.

Such standards bind the IAC in formulating its rules and regulations on advertising,
promotion, and marketing. Through that single provision, the DOH exercises control over the
information content of advertising, promotional and marketing materials on breastmilk vis-a-
vis breastmilk substitutes, supplements and other related products. It also sets a viable standard
against which the IAC may screen such materials before they are made public.

In this case, correct information as to infant feeding and nutrition is infused with public
interest and welfare.

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Perianes, Laurisse Marie

BAYAN, KARAPATAN, KILUSANG MAGBUBUKID NG PILIPINAS (KMP) et al. v.


EDUARDO ERMITA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary, et al.
G.R. Nos. 169838, 169848 & 169881, 25April 2006, EN BANC (Azcuna, J.)

The right to peaceably assemble and petition for redress of grievances is, together with
freedom of speech, of expression, and of the press, a right that enjoys primacy in the realm of
constitutional protection. While these rights constitute the very basis of a functional democratic polity,
without which all the other rights would be meaningless and unprotected, it is likewise a settled
principle that the exercise of those rights is not absolute for it may be so regulated that it shall not be
injurious to the equal enjoyment of others having equal rights, nor injurious to the rights of the
community or society.

FACTS

The first petitioners, Bayan, Karapatan, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Bayan), et al.
alleged that they are citizens and taxpayers of the Philippines and that their rights as organizations
and individuals were violated when the rally they participated sometime in 2005 was violently
dispersed by policemen implementing Batas Pambansa (B.P.) No. 880 or the Public Assembly Act of
1985. While the second group, which consisted of 26 individual petitioners, Jess del Prado (del
Prado), et al. alleged that they were twice injured, arrested and detained when a peaceful mass
action they held in the same year was pre-empted and violently dispersed by the police. Lastly, the
third group, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) et al., alleged that they conducted a peaceful mass actions
and that their rights as organizations and those of their individual citizens, specifically, the right to
peaceful assembly, are affected by BP. No. 880 and the policy of Calibrated Pre-emptive Response
(CPR) being followed to implement it.

On the other hand, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita (Ermita) in his statement alleged
that in view of intelligence reports pointing to credible plans of anti-government group to inflame the
political situation, sow disorder and incite people against the duly constituted authorities, they have
instructed the Philippine National Police (PNP) as well as the local governments units to strictly
enforce a “no permit, no rally” policy, disperse groups that run afoul to this standard and arrest all
persons violating the laws of the land as well as ordinances on the proper conduct of mass actions
and demonstrations. . In relation thereto, the rule of calibrated pre-emptive response is now in force,
in lieu of maximum tolerance.

Petitioners Bayan, et al. contend that BP. No. 880 is clearly a violation of the Constitution
and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other human rights treaties of
which the Philippines is a signatory. They argued that the law requires a permit before one can
stage a public assembly regardless of the presence or absence of a clear and present danger. It also
curtails the choice of venue and is thus repugnant to the freedom of expression clause as the time
and place of a public assembly form part of the message for which the expression is sought.
Furthermore, it is not content-neutral as it does not apply to mass actions in support of the
government. The words “lawful cause,” “opinion,” “protesting or influencing” suggest the exposition
of some cause not espoused by the government. Also, the phrase “maximum tolerance” shows that
the law applies to assemblies against the government because they are being tolerated. As a content-
based legislation, it cannot pass the strict scrutiny test.

Petitioners del Prado, et al., in turn argue that BP. No. 880 is unconstitutional as it is a
curtailment of the right to peacefully assemble and petition for redress of grievances because it puts
a condition for the valid exercise of the right. It also characterizes public assemblies without a
permit as illegal and penalizes them and allows their dispersal. Thus, its provisions are not mere

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regulations but are actually prohibitions. Furthermore, the law delegates powers to the Mayor
without providing clear standards. The two standards stated in the laws (clear and present danger,
and imminent and grave danger) are inconsistent. Regarding the CPR policy, it is void for being an
ultra vires act that alters the standard of maximum tolerance set forth in BP No. 880 aside from
being void for being vague and for lack of publication.

Finally, petitioners KMU, et al. argue that the Constitution sets not limits on the right to
assembly and therefore BP No. 880 cannot put the prior requirement of securing a permit. And even
assuming that the legislature can set limits to this right, the limits provided are unreasonable: first,
allowing the mayor to deny the permit on clear and convincing evidence of a clear and present
danger is too comprehensive; and second, the five-day requirement to apply for a permit is too long
as certain events require instant public assembly, otherwise interest on the issue would possibly
wane. As to the CPR policy, they argue that it is pre-emptive, that the government takes action even
before the rallyists can perform their act, and that no law, ordinance or executive order supports the
policy. Furthermore, it contravenes the maximum tolerance policy of BP. No. 880 and violates the
Constitution as it causes a chilling effect on the exercise by the people of the right to peaceably
assemble.

Respondents on the other hand argued that petitioners have no standing because they have
not presented evidence that they had been injured, arrested or detained because of the CPR and that
those arrested stand to be charged with violating BP. No. 880. Additionally, BP. No. 880 nor CPR is
void on its face. As it complied with the three-pronged test for such measure, that it is content-
neutral – statement of the public assembly’s time, place and manner of conduct, narrowly tailored to
serve a significant government interest, and that it leaves open alternative channels for
communication of the information.

Respondent Mayor Joselito Atienza (Atiena) argued that the said petition should be
dismissed on the ground that Republic Act No. 7160 gives the Mayor power to deny a permit
independently of BP. No. 880 and that his denials of permits were under the clear and present
danger rule as there was a clamour to stop rallies that disrupt the economy and to protect the lives of
other people. Additionally, previous decisions by the Supreme Court also affirmed the
constitutionality of requiring a permit; that the permit is for the use of a public place and not for the
exercise of rights and that BP. No. 880 is not a content-based regulation because it covers all rallies.

ISSUES

Whether or not Batas Pambansa No. 880 or the Public Assembly Act of 1985 and the policy of
Calibrated Pre-emptive Response (CPR) is constitutional.

HELD

NO. In Primicias v. Fugoso, it was held that the right to freedom of speech and to peacefully
assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances, are fundamental personal rights of
the people recognized and guaranteed by the constitutions of democratic countries. But it is a settled
principle growing out of the nature of well-ordered civil societies that the exercise of those rights is
not absolute for it may be so regulated that it shall not be injurious to the equal enjoyment of others
having equal rights, nor injurious to the rights of the community of society. The power to regulate
the exercise of such and other constitutional rights is termed the sovereign “police power,” which is
the power to prescribe the regulations to promote the health, morals, peace, education, good order or
safety and general welfare of the people.

BP. No. 880 is not an absolute ban of public assemblies but a restriction that simply
regulates the time, place and manner of the assemblies. A fair and impartial reading of the law thus

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readily shows that it refers to all kinds of public assemblies that would use public places. The
reference to “lawful cause” does not make it content-based because assemblies really have to be for
lawful causes, otherwise they would not be “peaceable” and entitled to protection. Neither are the
words “opinion,” “protesting” and “influencing” in the definition of public assembly content based,
since they can refer to any subject. The words “petitioning the government for redress of grievances”
come from the wording of the Constitution, so it use cannot be avoided. Finally, maximum tolerance
is for the protection and benefit of all rallyists and is independent of the content of the expression in
the rally.

Furthermore, the permit can only be denied on the ground of clear and present danger to
public order, public safety, public convenience, public morals or public health. This is a recognized
exception to the exercise of the right under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Contrary to petitioners’ claim, the law is very clear and is nowhere vague in its provisions.
“Public” does not have to be defined. Its ordinary meaning is well-known. Also, not every expression
of opinion is a public assembly. The law refers to “rally, demonstration, march, parade, procession or
any other form of mass or concerted action held in a public place.” So it does not cover any and all
kinds of gatherings. Neither is the law overbroad. It regulates the exercise of the right to peaceful
assembly and petition only to the extent needed to avoid a clear and present danger of the
substantive evils Congress has the right to prevent. There is, likewise, no prior restraint since the
content of the speech is not relevant to regulation. As to the delegation of powers to the mayor, the
law provides a precise and sufficient standard – the clear and present danger test.

The policy of “calibrated pre-emptive response” is in consonance with the legal definition of
“maximum tolerance” under Section 3(c) of BP Blg. 880, which is the “highest degree of restraint that
the military, police and other peacekeeping authorities shall observe during a public assembly or in
the dispersal of the same.” Unfortunately, however, the phrase “maximum tolerance” has acquired a
different meaning over the years. Many have taken it to mean inaction on the part of law enforcers
even in the face of mayhem and serious threats to public order. More so, other felt that they need not
bother secure a permit when holding rallies thinking this would be “tolerated.” Clearly, the popular
connotation of “maximum tolerance” has departed from its real essence under BP. Blg. 880.

At any rate, the Court rules that in view of the maximum tolerance mandated by BP. No.
880, CPR serves no valid purpose if it means the same thing as maximum tolerance and is illegal if it
means something else. Accordingly, what is to be followed is and should be that mandated by the law
itself, namely, maximum tolerance.

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Pura, Valentin, V

INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ATIENZA


G.R. No. 175241, 24 February 2010

In KMP v Ermita, the Court reiterated that the “freedom of assembly” is not to be limited,
much less denied, except on a showing, as is the case with freedom of expression, of a clear and
present danger of a substantive evil that the state has a right to prevent.

FACTS

The IBP, through its then National President Cadiz, filed with the Office of the City Mayor
of Manila a letter application for a permit to rally at the foot of Mendiola Bridge on June 22, 2006
from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. to be participated in by IBP officers and members, law students and
multi-sectoral organizations.

The Office of the Manila Mayor issued a permit dated June 16, 2006 allowing the IBP to
stage a rally on given date but indicated therein Plaza Miranda as the venue, instead
of Mendiola Bridge, which permit the IBP received on June 19, 2006.

Aggrieved, petitioners filed on June 21, 2006 before the Court of Appeals a petition for
certiorari. The petition having been unresolved within 24 hours from its filing, petitioners filed
before this Court on June 22, 2006 a petition for certiorari. The Court denied the petition for being
moot and academic, denied the relief that the petition be heard on the merits in view of the
pendency of the case in the CA, and denied the motion for reconsideration.

The rally pushed through on June 22, 2006 at Mendiola Bridge, after Cadiz discussed with
P/Supt. Arturo Paglinawan whose contingent from the MPD earlier barred petitioners from
proceeding thereto. The MPD thereupon instituted a criminal action against Cadiz for violating the
Public Assembly Act in staging a rally at a venue not indicated in the permit.

The appellate court ruled and found no grave abuse of discretion on the part of respondent
because the Public Assembly Act does not categorically require respondent to specify in writing the
imminent and grave danger of a substantive evil which warrants the denial or modification of the
permit and merely mandates that the action taken shall be in writing and shall be served on
respondent within 24 hours. The appellate court went on to hold that respondent is authorized to
regulate the exercise of the freedom of expression and of public assembly which are not absolute,
and that the challenged permit is consistent with Plaza Mirandas designation as a freedom park
where protest rallies are allowed without permit.

ISSUE

Whether or not the appellate court erred in holding that the modification of the venue in
IBPs rally permit does not constitute grave abuse of discretion?

HELD

Yes, the appellate court erred in holding that the modification of the venue in IBPs rally
permit does not constitute grave abuse of discretion.

The respondent failed to indicate how he had arrived at modifying the terms of the permit
against the standard of a clear and present danger test which is an indispensable condition to such
modification.

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In KMP v Ermita, the Court reiterated that the “freedom of assembly” is not to be limited,
much less denied, except on a showing, as is the case with freedom of expression, of a clear and
present danger of a substantive evil that the state has a right to prevent. The sole justification for a
limitation on the exercise of this right so fundamental to the maintenance of democratic institutions,
is the danger, of a character both grave and imminent, of a serious evil to public safety, public
morals, public health, or any other legitimate public interest.

In Reyes v. Bagatsing, the Court elucidated that the public official concerned shall appraise
whether there may be valid objections to the grant of the permit or to its grant but at another public
place. It is an indispensable condition to such refusal or modification that the clear and present
danger test be the standard for the decision reached. Also, the applicants must be heard on the
matter.

The Supreme Court held that in modifying the permit outright, respondent Mayor gravely
abused his discretion when he did not immediately inform the IBP who should have been heard first
on the matter of his perceived imminent and grave danger of a substantive evil that may warrant
the changing of the venue. The opportunity to be heard precedes the action on the permit, since the
applicant may directly go to court after an unfavorable action on the permit. Respondent mayor
failed to indicate how he had arrived at modifying the terms of the permit against the standard of a
clear and present danger test which is an indispensable condition to such modification. Nothing in
the issued permit adverts to an imminent and grave danger of a substantive evil, which “blank”
denial or modification would, when granted imprimatur as the appellate court would have it, render
illusory any judicial scrutiny thereof.

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Ramo, Keif Khari M.

RE: LETTER OF THE UP LAW FACULTY ENTITLED “RESTORING INTEGRITY: A


STATEMENT BY THE FACULTY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES COLLEGE
OF LAW ON THE ALLEGATIONS OF
PLAGIARISM AND MISREPRESENTATION IN THE SUPREME COURT”
A.M. 10-10-4-SC, 8 March 2011

Freedom of Expression

The right to criticize thecourts and judicial officers must be balanced against the equally
primordialconcern that the independence of the Judiciary beprotected from due influence or
interference. In cases where the critics are notonly citizens but members of the Bar, jurisprudence
hasrepeatedly affirmed the authority of this Court to disciplinelawyers whose statements regarding
the courts and fellowlawyers, whether judicial or extrajudicial, have exceeded the limits of fair
comment and common decency.

Freedom of expression is notan absolute—there are other societal values that press
forrecognition, and one such societal value that presses forrecognition in the case at bar is the threat
to judicialindependenceand the orderly administration of justice that immoderate, recklessand unfair
attacks on judicial decisions and institutions pose.The accusatory and vilifying nature of certain
portions of theStatement exceeded the limits of fair comment and cannot bedeemed as protected free
speech.

The constitutional right to freedom of expression of members of the Bar may be


circumscribedby theirethical duties as lawyers to give due respect to the courtsand to uphold the
public’s faith in the legal profession and thejustice system; To the mind of the Court, the reason that
freedom ofexpression may be so delimited in the case of lawyers applies withgreater force to the
academic freedom of lawprofessors.

FACTS

On April 28, 2010, the ponencia of Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo (Justice Del
Castillo) in Vinuya, et al. v. Executive Secretary (G.R. No. 162230) was promulgated.On May 31,
2010, the counsel for Vinuya, et al. (the "Malaya Lolas"), filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the
Vinuya decision, on the ground that the Court’s decision was not in accord with our Constitutional
policies and settled jurisprudence.

On July 19, 2010, counsel for the Malaya Lolas, Attys. H. Harry L. Roque, Jr. (Atty. Roque)
and Romel Regalado Bagares (Atty. Bagares), filed a Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration,
where they posited for the first time their charge of plagiarism as one of the grounds for
reconsideration of the Vinuya decision. Among other arguments, Attys. Roque and Bagares asserted
that the Judgment rendered was plagiarized from at least three sources, the contents of which were
made to appear to support judgment’s arguments for dismissing their petition when in truth, the
sources even make a case for the petition’s claims. They also claimed not only of extensive plagiarism
but also twisting the true intents of the plagiarized sources by the ponencia to suit the arguments of
the assailed Judgment for denying the Petition.

On July 22, 2010, Atty. Roque’s column, entitled "Plagiarized and Twisted," appeared in the
Manila Standard Today. In the said column, Atty. Roque claimed that Prof. Evan Criddle, one of the
authors purportedly not properly acknowledged in the Vinuya decision, confirmed that his work, co-
authored with Prof. Evan Fox-Decent, had been plagiarized.

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On even date, July 22, 2010, Justice Del Castillo wrote to his colleagues on the Court in reply
to the charge of plagiarism contained in the Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration.

In another letter, Dr. Mark Ellis wrote to the Courtwith a concern that his work might have
been plagiarized and appreciated in a different context so much so that it does not reflect the true
position of the author as published in his work.

Subsequently, the Court formed the Committee on Ethics and Ethical Standards (the Ethics
Committee) to which the letter of Justice Del Castillo was referred for proper evaluation.

On August 9, 2010, a statement dated July 27, 2010, entitled "Restoring Integrity: A
Statement by the Faculty of the University of the Philippines College of Law on the Allegations of
Plagiarism and Misrepresentation in the Supreme Court" (the Statement), was posted in
Newsbreak’s website and on Atty. Roque’s blog. A report regarding the statement also appeared on
various on-line news sites, such as the GMA News TV and the Sun Star sites, on the same date. The
statement was likewise posted at the University of the Philippines College of Law’s bulletin board
allegedly on August 10, 2010 and at said college’s website.

On August 11, 2010, Dean Leonen submitted a copy of the Statement of the University of the
Philippines College of Law Faculty (UP Law faculty) to the Court, through Chief Justice Renato C.
Corona (Chief Justice Corona).

In a Resolution dated October 19, 2010, the Court en banc made the following observations
regarding the UP Law Faculty Statement:

“Notably, while the statement was meant to reflect the educators’ opinion on the allegations
of plagiarism against Justice Del Castillo, they treated such allegation not only as an
established fact, but a truth. In particular, they expressed dissatisfaction over Justice Del
Castillo’s explanation on how he cited the primary sources of the quoted portions and yet
arrived at a contrary conclusion to those of the authors of the articles supposedly plagiarized.
Beyond this, however, the statement bore certain remarks which raise concern for the
Court. The opening sentence alone is a grim preamble to the institutional attack that lay
ahead. It reads:
An extraordinary act of injustice has again been committed against the brave Filipinas who
had suffered abuse during a time of war.
The first paragraph concludes with a reference to the decision in Vinuya v. Executive
Secretary as a reprehensible act of dishonesty and misrepresentation by the Highest Court of
the land. x xx.
The insult to the members of the Court was aggravated by imputations of deliberately
delaying the resolution of the said case, its dismissal on the basis of "polluted sources," the
Court’s alleged indifference to the cause of petitioners [in the Vinuya case], as well as
the supposed alarming lack of concern of the members of the Court for even the most basic
values of decency and respect.
While most agree that the right to criticize the judiciary is critical to maintaining a free and
democratic society, there is also a general consensus that healthy criticism only goes so far.
Many types of criticism leveled at the judiciary cross the line to become harmful and
irresponsible attacks. These potentially devastating attacks and unjust criticism can
threaten the independence of the judiciary. The court must "insist on being permitted to
proceed to the disposition of its business in an orderly manner, free from outside interference
obstructive of its functions and tending to embarrass the administration of justice."

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Thus, the Court directed the signatories thereon to show cause, why they should not be
disciplined as members of the Bar for violation of Canons 1,11 and 13 and Rules 1.02 and 11.05 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility.

On November 19, 2010, within the extension for filing granted by the Court,respondents filed
several pleadings.

Thirty-five (35) of the respondent UP Law professors (Excluding Prof. Owen Lynch and Prof.
Raul Vasquez)) filed on November 19, 2010 a common compliance which was signed by their
respective counsels (the Common Compliance). In the “Preface” of said Common Compliance,
respondents stressed that “[they] issued the RestoringIntegrity Statement in the discharge of the
‘solemn duties and trust reposed upon them as teachers in the profession of law,’ and as members of
the Bar to speak out on a matter of public concern and one that is of vital interest to them.”They
likewise alleged that “they acted with the purest ofintentions” and pointed out that “none of them
wasinvolved either as party or counsel” in the Vinuya case.

By way of explanation the respondents emphasized the following points:


a. Noble intentions
b. The "correctness" of respondents’ position that Justice Del Castillo committed plagiarism and
should be held accountable in accordance with the standards of academic writing
c. Respondents’ belief that they are being "singled out" by the Court when others have likewise
spoken on the "plagiarism issue"
d. Freedom of expression
e. Academic freedom

ISSUE

Whether lawyers who are also law professors can invoke academic freedom as a defense in an
administrative proceeding for intemperate statements tending to pressurethe Court or influence the
outcome of a case or degrade the courts.

HELD

Academic freedom cannot be successfully invoked by respondents in this case. The implicit
ruling in the jurisprudenceis that the constitutional right to freedom of expression of members of the
Bar may be circumscribed by their ethical duties as lawyers to give due respect to the courts and to
uphold the public’s faith in the legal profession and the justice system.

It would do well for the Court to remind respondents that, in view of the broad definition in
Cayetano v. Monsod, lawyers when they teach law are considered engaged in the practice of law.
Unlike professors in other disciplines and more than lawyers who do not teach law, respondents are
bound by their oath to uphold the ethical standards of the legal profession. Thus, their actions as law
professors must be measured against the same canons of professional responsibility applicable to
acts of members of the Bar as the fact of their being law professors is inextricably entwined with the
fact that they are lawyers.

The Court said that it is not the expression of respondents’ staunch belief that Justice Del
Castillo has committed a misconduct that the majority of this Court has found so unbecoming in the
Show Cause Resolution. No matter how firm a lawyer’s conviction in the righteousness of his cause
there is simply no excuse for denigrating the courts and engaging in public behavior that tends to
put the courts and the legal profession into disrepute. This doctrine, which we have repeatedly
upheld in such cases as Salcedo, In re Almacen and Saberong, should be applied in this case with
more reason, as the respondents, not parties to the Vinuya case, denounced the Court and urged it to

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change its decision therein, in a public statement using contumacious language, which with temerity
they subsequently submitted to the Court for "proper disposition."

It further said that the accusatory and vilifying nature of certain portions of the Statement
exceeded the limits of fair comment and cannot be deemed as protected free speech. From the
language of theconstitution, it would appear that the right is not susceptible of any limitation. No
law may be passed abridging the freedom of speech and of the press. The realities of life in a complex
society preclude however a literal interpretation. Freedom of expression is not an absolute. It would
be too much to insist that at all times and under all circumstances it should remain unfettered and
unrestrained. There are other societal values that press for recognition. One such societal value that
presses for recognition in the case at bar is the threat to judicial independence and the orderly
administration of justice that immoderate, reckless and unfair attacks on judicial decisions and
institutions pose.

In Gonzales vs COMELEC, it was held thatfreedom of speech and of expression, like all
constitutional freedoms, is not absolute and that freedom of expression needs on occasion to be
adjusted to and accommodated with the requirements of equally important public interest. One of
these fundamental public interests is the maintenance of the integrity and orderly functioning of the
administration of justice. There is no antinomy between free expression and the integrity of the
system of administering justice. For the protection and maintenance of freedom of expression itself
can be secured only within the context of a functioning and orderly system of dispensing justice,
within the context, in other words, of viable independent institutions for delivery of justice which are
accepted by the general community.

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Revadillo, Clarence

DAVAO CITY WATER DISTRICT v. ARANJUEZ, et al.


G.R. No. 194192, 16 June 2015

It is correct to conclude that those who enter government service are subjected to a different
degree of limitation on their freedom to speak their mind; however, it is not tantamount to the
relinquishment of their constitutional right of expression otherwise enjoyed by citizens just by reason
of their employment. Unarguably, a citizen who accepts public employment “must accept certain
limitations on his or her freedom.” But there are some rights and freedoms so fundamental to liberty
that they cannot be bargained away in a contract for public employment. It is the Court’s
responsibility to ensure that citizens are not deprived of these fundamental rights by virtue of working
for the government.

FACTS

Davao City Water District (DCWD) is a government-owned and controlled corporation


represented by its General Manager Gamboa. The private respondents are officers and members of
NagkahiusangMamumuosa Davao City Water District.

On 16 May 2007, private respondents staged pickets in front of the DCWD Office during
their lunch breaks to air their grievances about the non-payment of their Collective Negotiation
Agreement (CNA) incentives and their opposition to DCWD’s privatization and proposed P100M
Loan. On 31 October 2007, GM Gamboa issued an Office Memorandum which expressly stated that
the participants are free to wear any sports attire during the anniversary celebration of DCWD. On 8
November 2007, private respondents sported t-shirts with inscriptions “CNA Incentive Ihatag Na,
Dir. Braganza Pahawa Na!” at Victoria Plaza and continued to wear the same inside the DCWD
office during office hours. Also, some of them attached similar inscriptions and posters of employees’
grievances to a post in the motor pool area, an area not among the officially designated places for
posting for grievances.

When required by GM Gamboa to explain the reasons for the attire, private respondents
countered that the Memorandum only required them to wear any sports attire and that the
inscriptions were but manifestations of their constitutional rights of free speech and freedom of
expression.

ISSUE

Whether or not there was a valid exercise of the constitutional right of free speech and
freedom of expression of the private respondents

HELD

Affirmative.

It is clear that the collective activity of joining the fun run in t-shirts with inscriptions on
CNA incentives was not to effect work stoppage or disrupt the service. As pointed out by the
respondents, they followed the advice of GM Gamboa “to be there” at the fun run. They joined, did
not discrupt the fun run and were in sports attire that they were allowed, nay required, to wear.
Else, government employees would be deprived of their constitutional right to freedom of expression.
It is correct to conclude that those who enter government service are subjected to a different degree
of limitation on their freedom to speak their mind; however, it is not tantamount to the
relinquishment of their constitutional right of expression otherwise enjoyed by citizens just by

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reason of their employment. Unarguably, a citizen who accepts public employment “must accept
certain limitations on his or her freedom.” But there are some rights and freedoms so fundamental to
liberty that they cannot be bargained away in a contract for public employment. It is the Court’s
responsibility to ensure that citizens are not deprived of these fundamental rights by virtue of
working for the government.

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Void for Vagueness Doctrine

Rosario, Patricia Mae

SPS. ROMUALDEZ v. COMELEC


G.R. No. 167011, 30 April 2008 (Chico-Nazario, J.)

A person cannot be said to have been denied due process on the claim that the election offenses
charged against him by another person are entirely different from those for he stands to be accused of
before the court, as charged by the COMELEC, where the Informations directed to be filed by the
COMELEC were based on the same set of facts as originally alleged in the Complaint-Affidavit.

FACTS

Garay and Apostol filed a complaint against Sps. Romualdez for violation of the OEC and RA
8189 or Voter’s Registration Act of 1996 for making false information as to their residence in their
applications as new voters in Burauen, Leyte.

The Complaint-Affidavit contained a prayer that a preliminary investigation be conducted


by the COMELEC, and if the evidence so warrants, the corresponding Information against
petitioners be filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) for the prosecution of the same.

Sps. Romualdez contended that they intend to reside in Burauen, Leyte since 1989. On
May 2000, they took actual residence in Burauen by leasing for 5 years the house of Renomeron. The
Complaint-Affidavit contained a prayer that a preliminary investigation be conducted by the
COMELEC, and if the evidence so warrants, the corresponding Information against petitioners be
filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) for the prosecution of the same.

ISSUE

Whether there was a violation of the party’s right to due process.

HELD

No.

First, the Complaint-Affidavit filed by private respondent with the COMELEC is couched in
a language which embraces the allegations necessary to support the charge for violation of Section
10(g) and (j), in relation to Section 45(j) of Republic Act No. 8189.

Petitioners cannot be said to have been denied due process on the claim that the election
offenses charged against them by private respondent are entirely different from those for which they
stand to be accused of before the RTC, as charged by the COMELEC. In the first place, there appears
to be no incongruity between the charges as contained in the Complaint-Affidavit and the
Informations filed before the RTC, notwithstanding the denomination by private respondent of the
alleged violations to be covered by Section 261(y)(2) and Section 261(y)(5) of the Omnibus Election
Code and Section 12 of Republic Act No. 8189. Evidently, the Informations directed to be filed by the
COMELEC against petitioners, and which were, in fact, filed with the RTC, were based on the same
set of facts as originally alleged in the private respondent’s Complaint-Affidavit.

In the case of Lacson v. Executive Secretary (301 SCRA 298), we underscored the elementary
rule that the jurisdiction of a court is determined by the allegations in the Complaint or Information,
and not by the evidence presented by the parties at the trial. Indeed, in Lacson, we articulated that

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the real nature of the criminal charge is determined not from the caption or preamble of the
Information nor from the specification of the provision of law alleged to have been violated, they
being conclusions of law, but by the actual recital of facts in the Complaint or Information.

Petitioners’ reliance on Lacson, however, does not support their claim of lack of due process
because, as we have said, the charges contained in private respondent’s Complaint-Affidavit and the
charges as directed by the COMELEC to be filed are based on the same set of facts. In fact, the
nature of the criminal charges in private respondent’s Complaint-Affidavit and that of the charges
contained in the Informations filed with the RTC, pursuant to the COMELEC Resolution En Banc
are the same, such that, petitioners cannot claim that they were not able to refute or submit
documentary evidence against the charges that the COMELEC filed with the RTC. Petitioners were
afforded due process because they were granted the opportunity to refute the allegations in private
respondent’s Complaint-Affidavit. On 2 April 2001, in opposition to the Complaint-Affidavit,
petitioners filed a Joint Counter-Affidavit with Motion to Dismiss with the Law Department of the
COMELEC. They similarly filed a Memorandum before the said body. Finding that due process was
not dispensed with under the circumstances in the case at bar, we agree with the stance of the Office
of the Solicitor General that petitioners were reasonably apprised of the nature and description of
the charges against them. It likewise bears stressing that preliminary investigations were conducted
whereby petitioners were informed of the complaint and of the evidence submitted against them.
They were given the opportunity to adduce controverting evidence for their defense. In all these
stages, petitioners actively participated.

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San Gil, Kamille Bernadeth

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. CAROL M. DELA PIEDRA


GR No. 121777, 24 January 2001

A criminal statute that "fails to give a person of ordinary intelligence fair notice that his
contemplated conduct is forbidden by the statute," or is so indefinite that "it encourages arbitrary and
erratic arrests and convictions," is void for vagueness.

FACTS

Erlie Ramos, Attorney II of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA), received a
telephone call from an unidentified woman inquiring about the legitimacy of the recruitment
conducted by a certain Mrs. Carol Figueroa. Ramos, whose duties include the surveillance of
suspected illegal recruiters, immediately contacted a friend, a certain Mayeth Bellotindos, so they
could both go to No. 26-D, Tetuan Highway, Sta. Cruz, Zamboanga City, where the recruitment was
reportedly being undertaken. Bellotindos entered the house and pretended to be an applicant.
Fifteen (15) minutes later, Bellotindos came out with a bio-data form in hand.

Ramos conferred with a certain Capt. Mendoza of the Criminal Investigation Service (CIS) to
organize the arrest of the alleged illegal recruiter. In the course of their investigation, the CIS
discovered that Carol Figueroa had many aliases, among them, Carol Llena and Carol dela Piedra.
The accused was not able to present any authority to recruit when asked by the investigators. A
check by Ramos with the POEA revealed that the accused was not licensed or authorized to conduct
recruitment. Thus, Carol dela Piedra was charged before RTC of illegal recruitment.

ISSUE

Whether Article 13 (b) of the Labor Code defining "recruitment and placement" is void for
vagueness and, thus, violates the due process clause.

HELD

NO. Due process requires that the terms of a penal statute must be sufficiently explicit to
inform those who are subject to it what conduct on their part will render them liable to its penalties.
A criminal statute that "fails to give a person of ordinary intelligence fair notice that his
contemplated conduct is forbidden by the statute," or is so indefinite that "it encourages arbitrary
and erratic arrests and convictions," is void for vagueness. The constitutional vice in a vague or
indefinite statute is the injustice to the accused in placing him on trial for an offense, the nature of
which he is given no fair warning.

The Supreme Court reiterated these principles in People vs. Nazario:

As a rule, a statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible


standards that men "of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning
and differ as to its application." It is repugnant to the Constitution in two respects:
(1) it violates... due process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties
targeted by it, fair notice of the conduct to avoid; and (2) it leaves law enforcers
unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and become an arbitrary flexing of
the Government muscle.

The act must be utterly vague on its face, that is to say, it cannot be clarified by either a saving
clause or by construction.

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Section 13 (b), therefore, is not a "perfectly vague act" whose obscurity is evident on its face.
If at all, the proviso therein is merely couched in imprecise language that was salvaged by proper
construction. It is not void for vagueness.

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Solis, Patrick David

ESTRADA v. SANDIGANBAYAN
G.R. No. 148560, 19 November 2001

A statute is not rendered uncertain and void merely because general terms are used therein, or
because of the employment of terms without defining them; much less do we have to define every word
we use.

FACTS

Petitioner Joseph Ejercito Estrada was President of the Philippines until January 20, 2001
when he was forced to vacate the presidency by people power and then Vice President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo succeeded him in office.

Former President Joseph Estrada was prosecuted under RA 7080 (Plunder Law), as
amended by RA 7659. He challenges the law as unconstitutional for (a) it suffers from the vice of
vagueness; (b) it violates the right of due process of the accused as it dispenses with the "reasonable
doubt" standard in criminal prosecutions; and, (c) by defining Plunder as 'malum prohibitum', it
abolishes the element of mens rea in crimes already punishable under The Revised Penal Code.

Estrada also points to the failure of the law to provide for the statutory definition of the
terms "combination" and "series" in the key phrase "a combination or series of overt or criminal acts"
found in Sec. 1, par. (d), and Sec. 2, and the word pattern" in Sec. 4. These omissions supposedly
render the Plunder Law unconstitutional for being impermissibly vague and overbroad.

ISSUE

Whether RA 7080 is vague and ambiguous, for “wanting in its essential terms,” and for
failing to “define what degree of participation means as [it] relates to the person or persons charged
with having participated with a public officer in the commission of plunder.

HELD

“Void for Vagueness” Not Applicable.

Petitioner, however, bewails the failure of the law to provide for the statutory definition of
the terms “combination” and “series” in the key phrase “a combination or series of overt or criminal
acts” foundinSec.1, par.(d),andSec.2,and the word “pattern” in Sec. 4. These omissions, according to
petitioner, render the Plunder Law unconstitutional for being impermissibly vague and overbroad
and deny him the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, hence,
violative of his fundamental right to due process. The rationalization seems to us to be pure
sophistry. A statute is not rendered uncertain and void merely because general terms are used
therein, or because of the employment of terms without defining them; much less do we have to
define every word we use. Besides, there is no positive constitutional or statutory command
requiring the legislature to define each and every word in an enactment. Congress is not restricted in
the form of expression of its will, and its inability to so define the words employed in a statute will
not necessarily result in the vagueness or ambiguity of the law so long as the legislative will is clear,
or at least, can be gathered from the whole act, which is distinctly expressed in the Plunder Law.

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Ovebreadth Doctrine (Facial Challenge)

Tandoc, John Karol

SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE ENGAGEMENT NETWORK, INC. v. ANTI-TERRORISM


COUNCIL
G.R. No. 178552, 5 October 2010

FACTS

Before the Court are six petitions challenging the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 9372 (RA
9372), An Act to Secure the State and Protect our People from Terrorism, otherwise known as
the Human Security Act of 2007

Petitioners assail for being intrinsically vague and impermissibly broad the definition of the
crime of terrorism under RA 9372 in that terms like widespread and extraordinary fear and panic
among the populace and coerce the government to give in to an unlawful demand are nebulous,
leaving law enforcement agencies with no standard to measure the prohibited acts.

ISSUE

Whether or not a facial challenge of a criminal statute is allowed.

HELD

NO

A facial invalidation of a statute is allowed only in free speech cases, wherein certain
rules of constitutional litigation are rightly excepted

For a jurisprudentially guided understanding of these doctrines, it is imperative to outline the


schools of thought on whether the void-for-vagueness and overbreadth doctrines are equally
applicable grounds to assail a penal statute.

To be sure, the doctrine of vagueness and the doctrine of overbreadth do not operate on the same
plane.

A statute or act suffers from the defect of vagueness when it lacks comprehensible standards
that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its
application. It is repugnant to the Constitution in two respects: (1) it violates due process for failure
to accord persons, especially the parties targeted by it, fair notice of the conduct to avoid; and (2) it
leaves law enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary
flexing of the Government muscle. The overbreadth doctrine, meanwhile, decrees that a
governmental purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject to state regulations
may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of
protected freedoms.[

As distinguished from the vagueness doctrine, the overbreadth doctrine assumes that
individuals will understand what a statute prohibits and will accordingly refrain from that behavior,
even though some of it is protected.

A facial challenge is likewise different from an as-applied challenge.

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Distinguished from an as-applied challenge which considers only extant facts


affecting real litigants, a facial invalidation is an examination of the entire law, pinpointing its
flaws and defects, not only on the basis of its actual operation to the parties, but also on the
assumption or prediction that its very existence may cause others not before the court to refrain from
constitutionally protected speech or activities.

Justice Mendoza accurately phrased the subtitle in his concurring opinion in the estrada case
that the vagueness and overbreadth doctrines, as grounds for a facial challenge, are not applicable
to penal laws. A litigant cannot thus successfully mount a facial challenge against a
criminal statute on either vagueness or overbreadth grounds.

The allowance of a facial challenge in free speech cases is justified by the aim to avert
the chilling effect on protected speech, the exercise of which should not at all times be
abridged.

This rationale is inapplicable to plain penal statutes that generally bear an in


terrorem effect in deterring socially harmful conduct. In fact, the legislature may even
forbid and penalize acts formerly considered innocent and lawful, so long as it refrains
from diminishing or dissuading the exercise of constitutionally protected rights.

The Court reiterated that there are critical limitations by which a criminal statute may be
challenged and underscored that an on-its-face invalidation of penal statutes x x x may not be
allowed.

[T]he rule established in our jurisdiction is, only statutes on free speech, religious freedom,
and other fundamental rights may be facially challenged. Under no case may ordinary penal
statutes be subjected to a facial challenge. The rationale is obvious. If a facial challenge to
a penal statute is permitted, the prosecution of crimes may be hampered. No prosecution would
be possible. A strong criticism against employing a facial challenge in the case of penal statutes,
if the same is allowed, would effectively go against the grain of the doctrinal requirement of an
existing and concrete controversy before judicial power may be appropriately exercised. A facial
challenge against a penal statute is, at best, amorphous and speculative. It would, essentially,
force the court to consider third parties who are not before it. As I have said in my opposition to
the allowance of a facial challenge to attack penal statutes, such a test will impair the States
ability to deal with crime. If warranted, there would be nothing that can hinder an accused from
defeating the States power to prosecute on a mere showing that, as applied to third parties, the
penal statute is vague or overbroad, notwithstanding that the law is clear as applied to him.

Since a penal statute may only be assailed for being vague as applied to petitioners,
a limited vagueness analysis of the definition of terrorism in RA 9372 is legally
impermissible absent an actual or imminent charge against them

While in the Estrada case the court did not apply the overbreadth doctrine, it did not preclude
the operation of the vagueness test on the Anti-Plunder Law as applied to the therein petitioner,
finding, however, that there was no basis to review the law on its face and in its entirety. [72] It
stressed that statutes found vague as a matter of due process typically are invalidated only 'as
applied' to a particular defendant.

American jurisprudence instructs that vagueness challenges that do not involve the First
Amendment must be examined in light of the specific facts of the case at hand and not with regard to
the statute's facial validity.

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In this jurisdiction, the void-for-vagueness doctrine asserted under the due process clause has
been utilized in examining the constitutionality of criminal statutes. In at least three cases,[76] the
Court brought the doctrine into play in analyzing an ordinance penalizing the non-payment of
municipal tax on fishponds, the crime of illegal recruitment punishable under Article 132(b) of the
Labor Code, and the vagrancy provision under Article 202 (2) of the Revised Penal Code. Notably,
the petitioners in these three cases, similar to those in the two Romualdez and Estrada cases, were
actually charged with the therein assailed penal statute, unlike in the present case.

IN FINE, Estrada and the other cited authorities engaged in a vagueness analysis of the therein
subject penal statute as applied to the therein petitioners inasmuch as they were actually
charged with the pertinent crimes challenged on vagueness grounds. The Court in said cases,
however, found no basis to review the assailed penal statute on its face and in its entirety.

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Freedom of Religion

Urbano, Mary Yasmine

IGLESIA NI CRISTO v. COURT OF APPEALS


G.R. No. 119673, 26 July 1996

The exercise of religious freedom can be regulated by the State when it will bring about the
clear and present danger of some substantive evil which the State is duty bound to prevent.

FACTS

Petitioner has a television program entitled "Ang Iglesia ni Cristo". The program presents
and propagates petitioner's religious beliefs, doctrines and practices often times in comparative
studies with other religions.Petitioner submitted to respondent Board of Review for Moving Pictures
and Television (BRMPT) four pre-taped episodes. The Board classified the series as "X" or not for
public viewing on the ground that they "offend and constitute an attack against other religions which
is expressly prohibited by law."

Petitioner filed a civil case against the respondent Board, with the RTC Quezon City.
Petitioner alleged that the respondent Board acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of
discretion in requiring petitioner to submit the VTR tapes of its TV program and in x-rating them. In
their Answer, respondent Board invoked its power under PD No. 1986 in relation to Article 201 of
the Revised Penal Code.

The RTC ordered respondent BRMPT to grant petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo the necessary
permit for all the series of "Ang Iglesia ni Cristo" program. Petitioner, however, is directed to refrain
from offending and attacking other existing religions in showing "Ang Iglesia ni Cristo" program.

Petitioner moved for reconsideration praying: (a) for the deletion of the latter part of the
dispositive portion of the Decision, and (b) for the Board to be perpetually enjoined from requiring
petitioner to submit for review the tapes of its program. The respondent Board opposed the motion.
The trial court granted petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration.

Respondent Board appealed to the Court of Appeals. The respondent Court of


Appeal reversed the trial court. It ruled that: (1) the respondent board has jurisdiction and power to
review the TV program "Ang Iglesia ni Cristo," and (2) the respondent Board did not act with grave
abuse of discretion on the ground that the materials constitute an attack against another religion. It
also found the series "indecent, contrary to law and contrary to good customs.”

ISSUES

1. Whether or not the respondent Board has the power to review petitioner's TV program "Ang
Iglesia ni Cristo"
2. Whether on not, assuming respondent Board has the power, it gravely abused its discretion
when it prohibited the airing of petitioner's religious program

HELD

1. YES. Section 3 of PD No. 1986, gives the Board the power to screen, review and examine all
"television programs." It also directs the Board to apply "contemporary Filipino cultural values as
standard" to determine those which are objectionable for being "immoral, indecent, contrary to
law and/or good customs, injurious to the prestige of the Republic of the Philippines and its

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people, or with a dangerous tendency to encourage the commission of violence or of a wrong or


crime."
Petitioner contends that the term "television program" should not include religious programs like
its program. A contrary interpretation will contravene section 5, Article III of the Constitution
which guarantees that "no law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and
worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed."

The Court rejects petitioner's submission. Freedom of religion has been accorded a preferred
status by the framers of our fundamental laws, past and present. According to Mr. Justice
Isagani Cruz “The right to religious profession and worship has a two-fold aspect, viz., freedom to
believe and freedom to act on one's beliefs. The first is absolute as long as the belief is confined
within the realm of thought. The second is subject to regulation where the belief is translated into
external acts that affect the public welfare.”

The Court thus rejects petitioner's postulate that its religious program is per se beyond
review by the respondent Board. Its public broadcast on TV of its religious program brings it out
of the bosom of internal belief. Television is a medium that reaches even the eyes and ears of
children. The Court iterates the rule that the exercise of religious freedom can be regulated by
the State when it will bring about the clear and present danger of some substantive evil which
the State is duty bound to prevent, i.e., serious detriment to the more overriding interest of
public health, public morals, or public welfare. A laissez faire policy on the exercise of religion
can be seductive to the liberal mind but history counsels the Court against its blind adoption as
religion is and continues to be a volatile area of concern in our country today.

2. YES. Respondent Board gravely abuse its discretion when it prohibited the airing of petitioner’s
religious program.Any act that restrains speech is hobbled by the presumption of invalidity and
should be greeted with furrowed brows.It is the burden of the respondent Board to overthrow
this presumption. If it fails its act of censorship will be struck down. It failed in the case at bar.

The evidence shows that the respondent Board x-rated petitioners TV series for "attacking"
either religions, especially the Catholic church. An examination of the evidence, will show that
the so-called "attacks" are mere criticisms of some of the deeply held dogmas and tenets of other
religions. The videotapes were not viewed by the respondent court as they were not presented as
evidence. Yet they were considered by the respondent court as indecent, contrary to law and good
customs, hence, can be prohibited from public viewing under section 3(c) of PD 1986. This ruling
clearly suppresses petitioner's freedom of speech and interferes with its right to free exercise of
religion.

The respondent Board may disagree with the criticisms of other religions by petitioner but
that gives it no excuse to interdict such criticisms. It is not the task of the State to favor any
religion by protecting it against an attack by another religion. Religious dogmas and beliefs are
often at war and to preserve peace among their followers, especially the fanatics, the
establishment clause of freedom of religion prohibits the State from leaning towards any
religion. Vis-a-vis religious differences, the State enjoys no banquet of options. Neutrality alone
is its fixed and immovable stance. In fine, respondent board cannot squelch the speech of
petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo simply because it attacks other religions, even if said religion happens
to be the most numerous church in our country.

The respondents cannot also rely on the ground "attacks against another religion" in x-rating
the religious program of petitioner. Even a side glance at section 3 of PD No. 1986 will reveal
that it is not among the grounds to justify an order prohibiting the broadcast of petitioner's
television program. The ground "attack against another religion" was merely added by the

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respondent Board in its Rules. This rule is void for it runs smack against the hoary doctrine that
administrative rules and regulations cannot expand the letter and spirit of the law they seek to
enforce.

In x-rating the TV program of the petitioner, the respondents failed to apply the clear and
present danger rule. In American Bible Society v. City of Manila, this Court held: "The
constitutional guaranty of free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship carries
with it the right to disseminate religious information. Any restraint of such right can be justified
like other restraints on freedom of expression on the ground that there is a clear and present
danger of any substantive evil which the State has the right to prevent." In Victoriano
vs. Elizalde Rope Workers Union, we further ruled that ". . . it is only where it is unavoidably
necessary to prevent an immediate and grave danger to the security and welfare of the
community that infringement of religious freedom may be justified, and only to the smallest
extent necessary to avoid the danger."

The records show that the decision of the respondent Board, affirmed by the respondent
appellate court, is completely bereft of findings of facts to justify the conclusion that the subject
video tapes constitute impermissible attacks against another religion. There is no showing
whatsoever of the type of harm the tapes will bring about especially the gravity and imminence
of the threatened harm. Prior restraint on speech, including religious speech, cannot be justified
by hypothetical fears but only by the showing of a substantive and imminent evil which has
taken the life of a reality already on ground.

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Vicencio, Carmel Louise

EBRALINAG v. DIVISION SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS OF CEBU


G.R. No. 95770, 29 December 1995

The subsequent expulsion of members of the sect on the basis of the regulations assailed in the
original petitions was therefore clearly directed against religious practice. It is obvious that the
assailed orders and memoranda would gravely endanger the free exercise of the religious beliefs of the
members of the sect and their minor children.

FACTS

The petitioners were minor schoolchildren, and members of the sect, Jehovah’ Witnesses
(assisted by their parents) who were expelled from their classes by various public school authorities
in Cebu for refusing to salute the flag, sing the national anthem and recite the patriotic pledge as
required by Republic Act No. 1265 and by Department Order No. 8 issued by the Department of
Education. Aimed primarily at private educational institutions which did not observe the flag
ceremony exercises, Republic Act No. 1265 penalizes all educational institutions for failure or refusal
to observe the flag ceremony with public censure on first offense and cancellation of the recognition
or permit on second offense.

The implementing regulations issued by the Department of Education thereafter detailed the
manner of observance of the same. Immediately pursuant to these orders, school officials in Masbate
expelled children belonging to the sect of the Jehovah’s Witnesses from school for failing or refusing
to comply with the flag ceremony requirement.

ISSUE

Whether or not the expulsion orders made by the public respondents areviolative of both the
freeexercise of religion clause and the right of citizens to education under the 1987 Constitution

HELD

No less fundamental than the right to take part is the right to stand apart, and in the
context of the instant case, the freedom of religion enshrined in the Constitution should be seen as
the rule, not the exception.

The constitutional protection of religious freedom terminated disabilities, it did not create
new privileges. It gave religious equality, not civil immunity. The essence of the free exercise clause
is freedom from conformity to religious dogma, not freedom from conformity to law because of
religious dogma. Moreover, the suggestion implicit in the State’s pleadings to the effect that the flag
ceremony requirement would be equally and evenly applied to all citizens regardless of sect or
religion and does not thereby discriminate against any particular sect or denomination escapes the
fact that “[a] regulation, neutral on its face, may in its application, nonetheless offend the
constitutional requirement for governmental neutrality if it unduly burdens the free exercise of
religion.”

The ostensible interest shown by petitioners in preserving the flag as the symbol of the
nation appears to be integrally related to petitioner’s disagreement with the message conveyed by
the refusal of members of the Jehovah’s Witness sect to salute the flag or participate actively in flag
ceremonies on religious grounds. Where the governmental interest clearly appears to be unrelated to
the suppression of an idea, a religious doctrine or practice or an expression or form of expression, the
Court will not find it difficult to sustain a regulation. However, regulations involving this area are

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generally held against the most exacting standards, and the zone of protection accorded by the
Constitution cannot be violated, except upon a showing of a clear and present danger of a
substantive evil which the state has a right to protect. Stated differently, in the case of a regulation
which appears to abridge a right to which the fundamental law accords high significance it is the
regulation, not the act (or refusal to act), which is the exception and which requires the court’s
strictest scrutiny.

While the very concept of ordered liberty precludes this Court from allowing every individual
to subjectively define his own standards on matters of conformity in which society, as a whole has
important interests, the records of the case and the long history of flag salute cases abundantly
supports the religious quality of the claims adduced by the members of the sect Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Their treatment of flag as a religious symbol is well-founded and well-documented and is based on
grounds religious principle. The message conveyed by their refusal to participate in the flag
ceremony is religious, shared by the entire community of Jehovah’ Witnesses and is intimately
related to their theocratic beliefs and convictions. The subsequent expulsion of members of the sect
on the basis of the regulations assailed in the original petitions was therefore clearly directed
against religious practice. It is obvious that the assailed orders and memoranda would gravely
endanger the free exercise of the religious beliefs of the members of the sect and their minor
children.

Furthermore, the view that the flag is not a religious but a neutral, secular symbol expresses
a majoritarian view intended to stifle the expression of the belief that an act of saluting the flag
might sometimes be to some individuals─so offensive as to be worth their giving up another
constitutional right─the right to education. Individuals or groups of individuals get from a symbol
the meaning they put to it. Compelling members of a religious sect to believe otherwise on the pain
of denying minor children the right to an education is a futile and unconscionable detour towards
instilling virtues of loyalty and patriotism which are best instilled and communicated by painstaking
and non-coercive methods. Coerced loyalties, after all, only serve to inspire the opposite. The
methods utilized to impose them breed resentment and dissent. Those who attempt to coerce
uniformity of sentiment soon find out that the only path towards achieving unity is by way of
suppressing dissent. In the end, such attempts only find the “unanimity of the graveyard.”

The responsibility of inculcating the values of patriotism, nationalism, good citizenship, and
moral uprightness is a responsibility shared by the State with parents and other societal institutions
such as religious sects and denominations. The manner in which such values are demonstrated in a
plural society occurs in ways so variable that government cannot make claims to the exclusivity of its
methods of inculcating patriotism so all-encompassing in scope as to leave no room for appropriate
parental or religious influences. Provided that those influences do not pose a clear and present
danger of a substantive evil to society and its institutions, expressions of diverse beliefs, no matter
how upsetting they may seem to the majority, are the price we pay for the freedoms we enjoy.

Compelling flag salute cannot be likened to compelling members of a religious sect to bow
down before a graven image. The flag is not an image but a secular symbol. To regard it otherwise
because a religious minority regards it so would be to put in question many regulations that the
State may constitutionally enact or measures which it may adopt to promote civic virtues which the
Constitution itself enjoins the State to promote.

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Alava, Quino

ESTRADA v. ESCRITOR
A.M. No. P-02-1651, 22 June 2006

The State could not penalize respondent for she is exercising her right to freedom of religion.
The free exercise of religion is specifically articulated as one of the fundamental rights in our
Constitution. As Jefferson put it, it is the most inalienable and sacred of human rights. The State’s
interest in enforcing its prohibition cannot be merely abstract or symbolic in order to be sufficiently
compelling to outweigh a free exercise claim.

FACTS

Soledad Escritor is a court interpreter since 1999 in the RTC of Las Pinas City. Alejandro
Estrada, the complainant, wrote to Judge Jose F. Caoibes, presiding judge of Branch 253, RTC of Las
Pinas City, requesting for an investigation of rumors that Escritor has been living with Luciano
Quilapio Jr., a man not her husband, and had eventually begotten a son. Escritor’s husband, who
had lived with another woman, died a year before she entered into the judiciary. On the other hand,
Quilapio is still legally married to another woman. Estrada is not related to either Escritor or
Quilapio and is not a resident of Las Pinas but of Bacoor, Cavite. According to the complainant,
respondent should not be allowed to remain employed in the judiciary for it will appear as if the
court allows such act.

Escritor is a member of the religious sect known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watch
Tower and Bible Tract Society where her conjugal arrangement with Quilapio is in conformity with
their religious beliefs. After ten years of living together, she executed on July 28, 1991 a
“Declaration of Pledging Faithfulness” which was approved by the congregation. Such declaration is
effective when legal impediments render it impossible for a couple to legalize their union. Gregorio,
Salazar, a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses since 1985 and has been a presiding minister since
1991, testified and explained the import of and procedures for executing the declaration which was
completely executed by Escritor and Quilapio’s in Atimonan, Quezon and was signed by three
witnesses and recorded in Watch Tower Central Office.

ISSUE

Whether or not Soledad’s right to religious freedom carve out an exception from the
prevailing jurisprudence on illicit relations for which government employees are held
administratively liable?

HELD

YES. Escritor’s Conjugal arrangement cannot be penalized as she made out a case for
exemption from the law based on her fundamental right to freedom of religion.

The Court recognized that State interests must be upheld in order that freedoms – including
religious freedom – may be enjoyed.

In the area of religious exercise as a preferred freedom, however, man stands accountable to
an authority higher than the State, and so the State interest sought to be upheld must be so
compelling that its violation will erode the very fabric of the State that will also protect the freedom.
In the absence of showing that such State interest exists, man must be allowed to subscribe to the
Infinite.

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A distinction between public and secular morality and religious morality should be kept in
mind. The jurisdiction of the Court extends only to public and secular morality.

The Court states that our Constitution adheres the benevolent neutrality approach that
gives room for accommodation of religious exercises as required by the Free Exercise Clause. This
benevolent neutrality could allow for accommodation of morality based on religion, provided it does
not offend compelling state interests.

The state’s interest is the preservation of the integrity of the judiciary by maintaining among
its ranks a high standard of morality and decency. “There is nothing in the OCA’s (Office of the
Court Administrator) memorandum to the Court that demonstrates how this interest is so
compelling that it should override respondent’s plea of religious freedom. Indeed, it is inappropriate
for the complainant, a private person, to present evidence on the compelling interest of the state. The
burden of evidence should be discharged by the proper agency of the government which is the Office
of the Solicitor General”

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Alforque, Jimmie Jan

ANG LADLAD LGBT PARTY v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS


G.R. No. 190582, 8 April 2010 (Del Castillo, J.)

“What our non-establishment clause calls for is "government neutrality in religious


matters.Clearly, governmental reliance on religious justification is inconsistent with this policy of
neutrality."

FACTS

The case has its roots in the COMELEC’s refusal to accredit Ang Ladlad as a party-list
organization under Republic Act (RA) No. 7941, otherwise known as the Party-List System Act. Ang
Ladlad is an organization composed of men and women who identify themselves as lesbians, gays,
bisexuals, or trans-gendered individuals (LGBTs).

Ang Ladlad argued that the denial of accreditation, insofar as it justified the exclusion by
using religious dogma, violated the constitutional guarantees against the establishment of religion.
COMELEC reiterated that petitioner does not have a concrete and genuine national political agenda
to benefit the nation and that the petition was validly dismissed on moral grounds. It also argued for
the first time that the LGBT sector is not among the sectors enumerated by the Constitution and RA
7941

ISSUE

Whether or not the refusal of COMELEC to accredit petitioner as a party list is unjustified
and unconstitutional.

HELD

YES. Our Constitution provides in Article III, Section 5 that "no law shall be made
respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." At bottom, what our
non-establishment clause calls for is "government neutrality in religious matters." Clearly,
"governmental reliance on religious justification is inconsistent with this policy of neutrality." We
thus find that it was grave violation of the non-establishment clause for the COMELEC to utilize the
Bible and the Koran to justify the exclusion of Ang Ladlad.

Rather than relying on religious belief, the legitimacy of the Assailed Resolutions should
depend, instead, on whether the COMELEC is able to advance some justification for its rulings
beyond mere conformity to religious doctrine. Otherwise stated, government must act for secular
purposes and in ways that have primarily secular effects.

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Angeles, George, II

CHERYLL SANTOS LEUS v. ST. SCHOLASTICA’S COLLEGE WESTGROVE AND/OR SR.


EDNA QUIAMBAO, OSB
G.R. No. 187226, 28 January 2015

When the law refers to morality, it necessarily pertains to public and secular morality and not
religious morality.Accordingly, in order for a conduct to be considered as disgraceful or immoral, it
must be “detrimental (or dangerous) to those conditions upon which depend the existence and progress
of human society’ and not because the conduct is proscribed by the beliefs of one religion or the other.”

FACTS

Petitioner was hired by St. Scholastica’sCollege Westgrove (SSCW), a Catholic educational


institution, as a non-teaching personnel.Sometime in 2003, the petitioner and her boyfriend
conceived a child out of wedlock. When SSCW learned of the petitioner’s pregnancy, Sr. Edna
Quiambao (Sr. Quiambao), SSCW’s Directress, advised her to file a resignation letter effective June
1, 2003. In response, the petitioner informed Sr. Quiambao that she would not resign from her
employment just because she got pregnant without the benefit of marriage. Also, in a letter dated
May 31, 2003, petition explained that her pregnancy out of wedlock does not amount to serious
misconduct or conduct unbecoming of an employee. On June 2, 2003, Sr. Quiambao informed
petitioner that Sec. 94(e) of the 1992 Manual of Regulations for Private Schools (MRPS)cites
“disgraceful or immoral conduct” as a ground for dismissal in addition to the just causes for
terminationof employment provided under Article 282 of the Labor Code.

After exchange of letters through counsel, Sr. Quiambao in her letter dated June 11,
2003informed the petitioner that her employment with SSCW is terminated on the ground of serious
misconduct. She stressed that pre-marital sexual relations between two consenting adults with no
impediment to marry, even if they subsequently married, amounts to immoral conduct. She further
pointed out that SSCW finds unacceptable the scandal brought about by the petitioner’s pregnancy
out of wedlock as it ran counter to the moral principles that SSCW stands for and teaches its
students.

Petitioner filed a complaint for illegal dismissal. She maintained that her pregnancy out of
wedlock cannot be considered as serious misconduct since the same is a purely private affair and not
connected in any way with her duties as an employee of SSCW. Further, the petitioner averred that
she and her boyfriend eventually got married even prior to her dismissal.

ISSUE

Whether the petitioner’s pregnancy out of wedlock constitutes a valid ground to terminate
her employment.

HELD

In Chua-Qua v. Clave, the Court stressed that to constitute immorality, the circumstances of
each particular case must be holistically considered and evaluated in light of the prevailing norms of
conduct and applicable laws. Otherwise stated, it is not the totality of the circumstances surrounding
the conduct per se that determines whether the same is disgraceful or immoral, but the conduct that
is generally accepted by society as respectable or moral. If the conduct does not conform to what
society generally views as respectable or moral, then the conduct is considered as disgraceful or
immoral. Tersely put, substantial evidence must be presented, which would establish that a

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particular conduct, viewed in light of the prevailing norms of conduct, is considered disgraceful or
immoral.

Thus, the determination of whether a conduct is disgraceful or immoral involves a two-step


process: first, a consideration of the totality of the circumstances surrounding the conduct; and
second, an assessment of the said circumstances vis-à-vis the prevailing norms of conduct,i.e., what
the society generally considers moral and respectable.

That the petitioner was employed by a Catholic educational institution per se does not
absolutely determine whether herpregnancy out of wedlock is disgraceful or immoral. There is still a
necessity to determine whether the petitioner’s pregnancy out of wedlock is considered disgraceful or
immoral in accordance with the prevailing norms of conduct.

When the law refers to morality, it necessarily pertains to public and secular morality and
not religious morality. Thus, the proscription against “disgraceful or immoral conduct” under Section
94(e) of the 1992 MRPS, which is made as a cause for dismissal, must necessarily refer to public and
secular morality. Accordingly, in order for a conduct to be considered as disgraceful or immoral, it
must be “detrimental (or dangerous) to those conditions upon which depend the existence and
progress of human society’ and not because the conduct is proscribed by the beliefs of one religion or
the other.”

It bears stressing that the petitioner and her boyfriend, at the time they conceived a child,
had no legal impediment to marry. Indeed, even prior to her dismissal, the petitioner married her
boyfriend, the father of her child.As the Court held in Anonymous v. Radam, there is no law which
penalizes an unmarried mother by reason of her sexual conduct or proscribes the consensual sexual
activity between two unmarried persons; that neither does such situation contravene any
fundamental state policy enshrined in the Constitution.

The petitioner’s conduct cannot be considered as disgraceful or immoral; such conduct is not
denounced by public and secular morality. It may be an unusual arrangement, but it certainly is not
disgraceful or immoral within the contemplation ofthe law.

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Balingasa, Mary Angeline

RE: LETTER OF TONY Q. VALENCIANO, Holding of Religious Rituals at the Hall of


Justice Building in Quezon City
A.M. No. 10-4-19-SC, 7 March 2017

Establishment entails a positive action on the part of the State. Accommodation, on the other
hand, is passive. In the former, the State becomes involved through the use of government resources
with the primary intention of setting up a state religion. In the latter, the State, without being
entangled, merely gives consideration to its citizens who want to freely exercise their religion.

FACTS

Tony Q. Valenciano wrote a series of letter to then Chief Justice Puno, reporting, among
others, that the basement of the Hall of Justice of Quezon City had been converted into a Roman
Catholic Chapel and masses were held therein from 12:00 noon until 1:00 p.m. to the inconvenience
of other court employees and of the public. He believed that such practice violated the constitutional
provision on the separation of Church and State and the constitutional prohibition against the
appropriation of public money or property for the benefit of a sect, church, denomination and any
other system of religion. The letters were referred to RTC Executive Judge Sagun and MeTC
Executive Judge Lutero of Q.C. They recommended that the holding of masses be allowed to continue
considering that it was not inimical to the interests of the employees and the public.

The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) recommended the dismissal of the letter-
complaints. It opined that the principle of separation of Church and State must be interpreted
according to the standards of Benevolent Neutrality/ Accommodation which balances the interest of
the State through the Establishment Clause, and the interest and right of the individual to freely
exercise his religion as guaranteed by the Free Exercise Clause. The OCA further observed that the
present controversy did not involve national or local law or regulation in conflict with the Free
Exercise Clause. This is an issue of whether the said religious practice could be accommodated or
not.

ISSUE

Whether the holding of masses at the basement of the Q.C. Hall of Justice violates the
constitutional principle of separation of Church and State as well as the constitutional prohibition
against appropriation of public money or property for the benefit of a sect, church, denomination,
sectarian institution, or system of religion

HELD

NO. The prayer of Valenciano that the holding of religious rituals of any of the world’s
religions in the Q.C. Hall of Justice or any halls of justice all over the country be prohibited is
denied.

The holding of religious rituals in the Halls of Justice does not amount to a union of Church
and State. The State still recognizes the inherent right ofthe people to have some form of belief
system, whether such may be belief in a Supreme Being, a certain way of life, or even an outright
rejection ofreligion. Our very own Constitution recognizes the heterogeneity andreligiosity of our
people as reflected in lmbong v. Ochoa:

History has shown us that our government, in law and in practice, has allowed these
various religious, cultural, social and racial groups to thrive in a single society together. It

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has embraced minority groups and is tolerant towards all—the religious people of different
sects and the non-believers. xxx

The Filipino people in "imploring the aid of Almighty God" manifested their
spirituality innate in our nature and consciousness asa people, shaped by tradition and
historical experience. As this isembodied in the preamble, it means that the State recognizes
withrespect the influence of religion in so far as it instills into the mind thepurest principles
of morality. Moreover, in recognition of thecontributions of religion to society, the 1935, 1973
and 1987Constitutions contain benevolent and accommodating provisionstowards religions
such as tax exemption of church property, salary ofreligious officers in government
institutions, and optional religiousinstructions in public schools.

Thus, the right to believe or not to believe has again been enshrined in Section 5, Article III
of the 1987 Constitution.

Section 5. xxx. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship,
without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. xxx

“The right to religious profession and worship has a two-fold aspect—freedom to believe and
freedom to act on one's beliefs. The first is absolute aslong as the belief is confined within the realm
of thought. The second issubject to regulation where the belief is translated into external acts that
affect the public welfare.” Allowing religion to flourish is not contrary to the principle of separation of
Church and State. In fact, these two principles are in perfectharmony with each other.The State is
aware of the existence of religious movements whose members believe in the divinity of Jose Rizal.
Yet, it does not implementmeasures to suppress the said religious sects. Such inaction or indifference
onthe part of the State gives meaning to the separation of Church and State, andat the same time,
recognizes the religious freedom of the members of thesesects to worship their own Supreme
Being.Clearly, allowing the citizens to practice their religion is not equivalent to a fusion of Church
and State.

Religious freedom, however, is not absolute. It cannot have its way if there is a compelling
state interest.To successfully invoke compelling state interest, it must be demonstrated that the
masses in the QC Hall of Justiceunduly disrupt the delivery of public services or affect the judges
andemployees in the performance of their official functions.As reported by the Executive Judges of
Quezon City, the masses were being conducted only during noon breaks and were not disruptive of
publicservices. The court proceedings were not being distracted or interrupted andthat the
performance of the judiciary employees were not being adverselyaffected. Moreover, no Civil Service
rules were being violated. As there hasbeen no detrimental effect on the public service or prejudice to
the State,there is simply no state interest compelling enough to prohibit the exercise ofreligious
freedom in the halls of justice.

In order to give life to the constitutional right of freedom of religion, the State adopts a policy
of accommodation. Accommodation is arecognition of the reality that some governmental measures
may not beimposed on a certain portion of the population for the reason that thesemeasures are
contrary to their religious beliefs. As long as it can be shownthat the exercise of the right does not
impair the public welfare, the attemptof the State to regulate or prohibit such right would be an
unconstitutionalencroachment.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is the constitutional mandate that “no law shall be
made respecting an establishment of religion,”otherwiseknown as the non-establishment clause.The
non-establishment clause reinforces the wall of separation between Church and State.Its minimal
sense is that the state cannot establish or sponsor an official religion.In the same breath that the
establishment clause restricts what the government can do with religion, it also limits what religious

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sects can orcannot do. They can neither cause the government to adopt their particulardoctrines as
policy for everyone, nor can they cause the government torestrict other groups.

Establishment entails a positive action on the part of the State. Accommodation, on the other
hand, is passive. In the former, the Statebecomes involved through the use of government resources
with the primaryintention of setting up a state religion. In the latter, the State, without
beingentangled, merely gives consideration to its citizens who want to freely exercise their
religion.Guided by the foregoing, it is our considered view that the holding of Catholic masses at the
basement of the QC Hall of Justice is not a case ofestablishment, but merely accommodation.
First,there is no law, ordinanceor circular issued by any duly constitutive authorities expressly
mandatingthat judiciary employees attend the Catholic masses at the basement. Second,when
judiciary employees attend the masses to profess their faith, it is at theirown initiative as they are
there on their own free will and volition, without any coercion from the judges or administrative
officers. Third,nogovernment funds are being spent because the lightings and airconditioning
continue to be operational even if there are no religious rituals there. Fourth,the basement has
neither been converted into a Roman Catholic chapel norhas it been permanently appropriated for
the exclusive use of its faithful.Fifth,the allowance of the masses has not prejudiced other religions.

Further, there was no appropriation of public money or property for the benefit of any
Church. Here, the basement of the QC Hall of Justice is not appropriated, applied or employed for
the sole purpose of supporting the Roman Catholics.It has not been converted into a Roman Catholic
chapel for the exclusive use of its faithful contrary to the claim of Valenciano. No undue religious
bias is being committed when the subject basement is allowed to be temporarily used bythe Catholics
to celebrate mass, as the same area can be used by other groupsof people and for other
purposes.Thus, the basement of the QC Hall of Justice has remained to be a public property devoted
for public use becausethe holding of Catholic masses therein is a mere incidental consequence of its
primary purpose.

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Liberty of Abode and Freedom of Movement

Balonkita, Christa

MARCOS v. MANGLAPUS
G.R. No. 88211, 15 September 1989

The right to return to one’s country is not among the rights specifically guaranteed in the Bill
of Rights, which treats only of the liberty of abode and the right to travel. Nevertheless, the right to
return may be considered as a generally accepted principle under International Law, and under the
Constitution, is part of the law of the land. However, it is distinct and separate from the right to travel
and enjoys a different protection under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights.

FACTS

Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos was deposed from the presidency via the non-violent
“people power” revolution and was forced into exile. Marcos, in his deathbed, has signified his wish
to return to the Philippines to die. But President Corazon Aquino, considering the dire consequences
to the nation of his return at a time when the stability of government is threatened from various
directions and the economy is just beginning to rise and move forward, has stood firmly on the
decision to bar the return of Marcos and his family.

Aquino barred Marcos from returning due to possible threats & following supervening
events:

1. Failed Manila Hotel coup in 1986 led by Marcos leaders


2. Channel 7 taken over by rebels & loyalists
3. Plan of Marcoses to return w/ mercenaries aboard a chartered plane of a Lebanese arms
dealer. This is to prove that they can stir trouble from afar
4. Honasan’s failed coup
5. Communist insurgency movements
6. Secessionist movements in Mindanao
7. Devastated economy because of
8. Accumulated foreign debt
9. Plunder of nation by Marcos & cronies

Marcos filed for a petition of mandamus and prohibition to order the respondents to issue
them their travel documents and prevent the implementation of President Aquino’s decision to bar
Marcos from returning in the Philippines. Petitioner questions Aquino’s power to bar his return in
the country. He also questioned the claim of the President that the decision was made in the interest
of national security, public safety and health. Petitioner also claimed that the President acted
outside her jurisdiction.

According to the Marcoses, such act deprives them of their right to life, liberty, property
without due process and equal protection of the laws. They also said that it deprives them of their
right to travel which according to Section 6, Article 3 of the constitution, may only be impaired by a
court order.
ISSUE

Whether or not the President may prohibit the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines

HELD

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"It must be emphasized that the individual right involved is not the right to travel from the
Philippines to other countries or within the Philippines. These are what the right to travel would
normally connote. Essentially, the right involved in this case at bar is the right to return to one's
country, a distinct right under international law, independent from although related to the right to
travel. Thus, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights treat the right to freedom of movement and abode within the territory of a state,
the right to leave the country, and the right to enter one's country as separate and distinct rights.
What the Declaration speaks of is the "right to freedom of movement and residence within the
borders of each state". On the other hand, the Covenant guarantees the right to liberty of movement
and freedom to choose his residence and the right to be free to leave any country, including his own.
Such rights may only be restricted by laws protecting the national security, public order, public
health or morals or the separate rights of others. However, right to enter one's country cannot be
arbitrarily deprived. It would be therefore inappropriate to construe the limitations to the right to
return to ones country in the same context as those pertaining to the liberty of abode and the right to
travel.

The Bill of rights treats only the liberty of abode and the right to travel, but it is a well
considered view that the right to return may be considered, as a generally accepted principle of
International Law and under our Constitution as part of the law of the land.

The court held that President did not act arbitrarily or with grave abuse of discretion in
determining that the return of the Former Pres. Marcos and his family poses a serious threat to
national interest and welfare. President Aquino has determined that the destabilization caused by
the return of the Marcoses would wipe away the gains achieved during the past few years after the
Marcos regime.

The return of the Marcoses poses a serious threat and therefore prohibiting their return to
the Philippines, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED.

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Cabitac, Fernando, III


RICARDO SILVERIO v. CA
G.R. NO. 94284, 8 April 1991

Holding an accused in a criminal case within the reach of the Courts by preventing his
departure from the Philippines must be considered as a valid restriction on his right to travel so that
he may be dealt with in accordance with law.

FACTS

On 14 October 1985, Petitioner was charged with violation of Section 20 (4) of the Revised
Securities Act. In due time, he posted bail for his provisional liberty.
On 26 January 1988, or more than two (2) years after the filing of the Information,
respondent People of the Philippines filed an Urgent ex parte Motion to cancel the passport of and to
issue a hold-departure Order against accused-petitioner on the ground that he had gone abroad
several times without the necessary Court approval resulting in postponements of the arraignment
and scheduled hearings.
Overruling opposition, the Regional Trial Court, on 4 April 1988, issued an Order directing
the Department of Foreign Affairs to cancel Petitioner's passport or to deny his application therefor,
and the Commission on Immigration to prevent Petitioner from leaving the country. Petitioner's
Motion for Reconsideration was denied. Petitioner's Certiorari Petition before the Court of Appeals
met a similar fate.
ISSUE

Whether the right to travel can be impaired upon lawful order of the Court, even on grounds
other than the "interest of national security, public safety or public health."

HELD

We perceive no reversible error. Petitioner takes the posture that while the 1987
Constitution recognizes the power of the Courts to curtail the liberty of abode within the limits
prescribed by law, it restricts the allowable impairment of the right to travel only on grounds of
interest of national security, public safety or public health.
The submission is not well taken. Article III, Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution should be
interpreted to mean that while the liberty of travel may be impaired even without Court Order, the
appropriate executive officers or administrative authorities are not armed with arbitrary discretion
to impose limitations. They can impose limits only on the basis of "national security, public safety, or
public health" and "as may be provided by law," a limitive phrase which did not appear in the 1973
text. Apparently, the phraseology in the 1987 Constitution was a reaction to the ban on international
travel imposed under the previous regime when there was a Travel Processing Center, which issued
certificates of eligibility to travel upon application of an interested party
Article III, Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution should by no means be construed as delimiting
the inherent power of the Courts to use all means necessary to carry their orders into effect in
criminal cases pending before them. When by law jurisdiction is conferred on a Court or judicial
officer, all auxiliary writs, process and other means necessary to carry it into effect may be employed
by such Court or officer (Rule 135, Section 6, Rules of Court).
Petitioner's argument that the ruling in Manotoc, Jr., v. Court of Appeals, et al. (supra), to
the effect that the condition imposed upon an accused admitted to bail to make himself available at
all times whenever the Court requires his presence operates as a valid restriction on the right to
travel no longer holds under the 1987 Constitution, is far from tenable. The nature and function of a
bail bond has remained unchanged whether under the 1935, the 1973, or the 1987 Constitution.
Besides, the Manotoc ruling on that point was but a re-affirmation of that laid down long before
in People v. Uy Tuising.

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Petitioner is facing a criminal charge. He has posted bail but has violated the conditions
thereof by failing to appear before the Court when required. Warrants for his arrest have been
issued. Those orders and processes would be rendered nugatory if an accused were to be allowed to
leave or to remain, at his pleasure, outside the territorial confines of the country. Holding an accused
in a criminal case within the reach of the Courts by preventing his departure from the Philippines
must be considered as a valid restriction on his right to travel so that he may be dealt with in
accordance with law. The offended party in any criminal proceeding is the People of the Philippines.
It is to their best interest that criminal prosecutions should run their course and proceed to finality
without undue delay, with an accused holding himself amenable at all times to Court Orders and
processes.

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Castillo, Jephthah

REYES v. CA

The right to travel refers to the right to move from one place to another. Here, the restriction
on petitioner’s right to travel as a consequence of the pendency of the criminal case filed against him
was not unlawful.

FACTS

Petitioner, Rev. Reyes was among those arrested in the Manila Peninsula Hotel siege on
November 2007 and together with fifty (50) others, they were brought to Camp Crame to await
inquest proceedings. On December 2007, a Hold Departure Order List was
issued ordering the Immigration to include the name of petitioner and 49 others for the alleged crime
of Rebellion, in the interest of national security and public safety.

Petitioner’s counsel wrote the DOJ Secretary requesting the lifting of HDO, in view of the
dismissal of his client’s criminal case on rebellion. That, the DOJ Secretary has not acted on their
request, petitioner then next recourse was for the availment of the writ of amparo because of his
alleged continued restraint of right to travel.

ISSUE

Whether petitioner’s right to liberty has been violated or threatened with violation by the
issuance of the HDO, which would entitle him to the privilege of the writ of amparo.

HELD

No.

The right to travel refers to the right to move from one place to another. Here, the restriction
on petitioner’s right to travel as a consequence of the pendency of the criminal case filed against him
was not unlawful. Petitioner has also failed to establish that his right to travel was impaired in the
manner and to the extent that it amounted to a serious violation of his right to life, liberty and
security, for which there exists no readily available legal recourse or remedy.

The writ of amparo was originally conceived as a response to the extraordinary rise in the
number of killings and enforced disappearances, and to the perceived lack of available and effective
remedies to address these extraordinary concerns. Where, as in this case, there is no clear showing
that the right to life, liberty or security of the petitioner is immediately in danger or threatened, or
that the danger or threat is continuing. Petitioner’s apprehension is at best merely speculative.
Petition is dismissed.

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Dator, Peter Paul

OFFICE OF THE CITY COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. MACARINE


A.M. No. MTJ-10-1770, 18 July 2012 (Brion, J.)

The right to travel is guaranteed by the Constitution. However, the exercise of such right is not
absolute. Section 6, Article III of the 1987 Constitution allows restrictions on one's right to travel
provided that such restriction is in the interest of national security, public safety or public health as
may be provided by law. This, however, should by no means be construed as limiting the Court's
inherent power of administrative supervision over lower courts.

FACTS

The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) filed the present administrative case against
Judge Ignacio B. Macarine (respondent) for violation of OCA Circular No. 49-2003 dated May 20,
2003. This OCA circular requires that:

 All foreign travels of judges and court personnel, regardless of the number of days, must be
with prior permission from the Court.
 A travel authority must be secured from the OCA
 Certain documentary requirements should be submitted to and received by the OCA at least
two weeks before the intended time of travel.
 No action shall be taken on requests for travel authority with incomplete requirements.
 Judges and personnel who shall leave the country without travel authority issued by [the
OCA] shall be subject to disciplinary action.

On August 13, 2009, the respondent wrote then Court Administrator, now Associate Justice
Jose Portugal Perez, requesting for authority to travel to Hongkong with his family for the period of
September 10 - 14, 2009 where he would celebrate his 65th... birthday. The respondent stated that
his travel abroad shall be charged to his annual forced leave. However, he did not submit the
corresponding application for leave. For his failure to submit the complete requirements, his request
for authority to travel remained unacted upon. The respondent proceeded with his travel abroad
without the required travel authority from the OCA.

In an Evaluation Report dated September 6, 2010, the OCA found the respondent guilty of
violation of OCA Circular No. 49-2003 for traveling out of the country without filing the necessary
application for leave and without first securing a travel authority from the Court.

The OCA recommended that the respondent be fined in the amount of P5,000.00 for Violation
for Circular No. 49-2003 dated May 20, 2003.

ISSUE

Whether or not Circular No. 49-2003 is violative of the Constitutional right to travel.

HELD

No. The right to travel is guaranteed by the Constitution. However, the exercise of such right
is not absolute. Section 6, Article III of the 1987 Constitution allows restrictions on one's right to
travel provided that such restriction is in the interest of national security, public safety or public
health as may be provided by law.

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This, however, should by no means be construed as limiting the Court's inherent power of
administrative supervision over lower courts.

To ensure management of court dockets and to avoid disruption in the administration of


justice, OCA Circular No. 49-2003 requires a judge who wishes to travel abroad to submit, together
with his application for leave of absence duly recommended for approval by his Executive Judge, a
certification from the Statistics Division, Court Management Office of the OCA, as to the condition of
his docket, based on his Certificate of Service for the month immediately preceding the date of his
intended travel, that he has decided and resolved all cases or incidents within three (3) months from
date of submission, pursuant to Section 15(1) and (2), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution.

For traveling abroad without having been officially allowed by the Court, the respondent is
guilty of violation of OCA Circular No. 49-2003.

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Del Mundo, Angelo Raphael B.

EFRAIM C. GENUINO, et al. v. HON. LEILA M. DE LIMA IN HER CAPACITY SECRETARY


OF JUSTICE, et al.
G.R. No. 197930, 17 April 2018

The issuance of DOJ Circular No. 41 has no legal basis. Under Sec 6, Art. 3 of the 1987
Constitution provides three considerations that may permit a restriction on the right to travel:
national security, public safety or public health. As a further requirement, there must be an explicit
provision of statutory law or the Rules of Court providing for the impairment.

FACTS

These consolidated Petitions for Certiorari and Prohibition with Prayer for the Issuance of
Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO) and/or Writs of Preliminary Injunction under Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court assail the constitutionality of Department of Justice (DOJ) Circular No. 41, series of
2010, otherwise known as the Consolidated Rules and Regulations Governing Issuance and
Implementation of Hold Departure Orders, Watchlist Orders and Allow Departure Orders, on the
ground that it infringes on the constitutional right to travel.

On May 25, 2010, then Acting DOJ Secretary Alberto C. Agra issued the assailed DOJ
Circular No. 41, consolidating DOJ Circular Nos. 17 and 18, which govern the issuance and
implementation of HDOs, WLOs, and ADOs.

After the expiration of GMA’s term as President of the Republic of the Philippines an her
subsequent election as Pampanga representative, criminal complaints were filed against her before
the DOJ particularly plunder, malversation and/or illegal use of OWWA funds, illegal use of public
funds, graft and corruption, violation of the OEC, violation of the Code of Conduct on Ethical
Standards for Public Officials and qualified theft. In view of the foregoing criminal complaints, De
Lima issued DOJ WLO No. 2011-422 against GMA pursuant to her authority under DOJ Circular
No. 41. She also ordered for the inclusion of GMA’s name in the Bureau of Immigration (BI)
watchlist.

On October 20, 2011, two criminal complaints for Electoral Sabotage and Violation of the
OEC were filed against GMA and her husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo. Following the filing of criminal
complaints, De Lima issued DOJ WLO No. 2011-573 against GMA and Miguel Arroyo with a validity
period of 60 days, unless sooner terminated or otherwise extended.

Meanwhile, in G.R. No. 197930, HDO No. 2011-64 was issued against Genuinos, among
others, after criminal complaints for Malversation and Violation of Sections 3(e), (g), (h) an (i) of R.A.
No. 3019. The petitioners therein seek to annul and set aside the following orders issued by the
former Secretary Leila De Lima, pursuant to the said circular.

ISSUE

Whether or not the DOJ has the authority to issue Circular No. 41

HELD

No. The issuance of DOJ Circular No. 41 has no legal basis. Under Sec 6, Art. 3 of the 1987
Constitution provides three considerations that may permit a restriction on the right to travel:
national security, public safety or public health. As a further requirement, there must be an explicit
provision of statutory law or the Rules of Court providing for the impairment.

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To begin with, there is no law particularly providing for the authority of the secretary of
justice to curtail the exercise of the right to travel. To be clear, DOJ Circular No. 41 is not a law. It is
not a legislative enactment which underwent the scrutiny and concurrence of lawmakers, and
submitted to the President for approval. It is a mere administrative issuance apparently designed to
carry out the provisions of an enabling law which the former DOJ Secretary believed to be Executive
Order (E.O.) No. 292, otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987.

It is, however, important to stress that before there can even be a valid administrative
issuance, there must first be a showing that the delegation of legislative power is itself valid. It is
valid only if there is a law that (a) is complete in itself, setting forth therein the policy to be executed,
carried out, or implemented by the delegate; and (b) fixes a standard the limits of which are
sufficiently determinate and determinable to which the delegate must conform in the performance of
his functions.

A painstaking examination of the provisions being relied upon by the former DOJ Secretary
will disclose that they do not particularly vest the DOJ the authority to issue DOJ Circular No. 41
which effectively restricts the right to travel through the issuance of the WLOs and HDOs. Sections
1 and 3, Book IV, Title III, Chapter 1 of E.O. No. 292 did not authorize the DOJ to issue WLOs and
HDOs to restrict the constitutional right to travel. There is even no mention of the exigencies stated
in the Constitution that will justify the impairment. The provision simply grants the DOJ the power
to investigate the commission of crimes and prosecute offenders, which are basically the functions of
the agency. However, it does not carry with it the power to indiscriminately devise all means it
deems proper in performing its functions without regard to constitutionally-protected rights. The
curtailment of fundamental right, which is what DOJ Circular No. 41 does, cannot be read into
mentioned provision of the law.

As such, it is compulsory requirement that there be an existing law, complete and sufficient
in itself, conferring the expressed authority to the concerned agency to promulgate rules. On its own,
the DOJ cannot make rules, its authority being confined to execution of laws. The DOJ is confined to
filling in the gaps and the necessary details in carrying into effect the law as enacted. Without a
clear mandate of an existing law, an administrative issuance is ultra vires.

To sum, DOJ Circular No. 41 does not have an enabling law where it could have derived its
authority to interfere with the exercise of the right to travel. Thus, the said circular is
unconstitutional.

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Right to Information

Del Prado, Darren Joseph

CHAVEZ v. PCGG
G. R. No. 130716, 8 March 2010

Writings coming into the hands of public officers in connection with their official functions must
be accessible to the public, consistent with the policy of transparency of governmental affairs.

FACTS

Petitioner Francisco I Chavez initiated this original action seeking (1) to prohibit and enjoin
respondents PCGG and its chairman from privately entering into, perfecting and/or executing any
agreement with the heirs of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos relating to and concerning the
properties and assets of Ferdinand Marcos located in the Philippines and/or abroad including the so-
called Marcos gold hoard"; and (2) to compel respondents] to make public all negotiations and
agreement, be they ongoing or perfected, and all documents related to or relating to such
negotiations and agreement between the PCGG and the Marcos heirs."

Chavez is the same person initiated the prosecution of the Marcoses and their cronies who
committed unmitigated plunder of the public treasury and the systematic subjugation of the
country's economy; he says that what impelled him to bring this action were several news reports2
bannered in a number of broadsheets sometime in September 1997. These news items referred to (1)
the alleged discovery of billions of dollars of Marcos assets deposited in various codedaccounts in
Swiss banks; and (2) the reported execution of a compromise, between the government(through
PCGG) and the Marcos heirs, on how to split or share these assets.

Petitioner demands that respondents make public any and all negotiations and agreements
pertaining to PCGG's task of recovering the Marcoses' ill-gotten wealth. He claims that any
compromise on the alleged billions of ill-gotten wealth involves an issue of "paramount public
interest," since it has a "debilitating effect on the country's economy" that would be greatly
prejudicial to the national interest of the Filipino people. Hence, the people in general have aright to
know the transactions or deals being contrived and effected by the government.

Respondent answers that they do not deny forging a compromise agreement with theMarcos
heirs. They claim, though, that petitioner's action is premature, because there is no showing that he
has asked the PCGG to disclose the negotiations and the Agreements. And even if he has, PCGG
may not yet be compelled to make any disclosure, since the proposed terms and conditions of the
Agreements have not become effective and binding.-PETITIONER INVOKES Sec. 7 [Article III]. The
right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official
records, and to documents, and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well
as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen,
subject to such limitations as may be provided bylaw.Sec. 28 [Article II]. Subject to reasonable
conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all
its transactions involving public interest.

Respondent answers that the above constitutional provisions refer to completed and
operative official acts, not to those still being considered.

ISSUE

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Whether or not the Court could require the PCGG to disclose to the public the details of any
agreement, perfected or not, with the Marcoses.

HELD

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The General and Supplemental Agreement


dated December 28, 1993, which PCGG and the Marcos heirs entered into are hereby declared null
and void for being contrary to law and the Constitution. Respondent PCGG, its officers and all
government functionaries and officials who are or may be directly or indirectly involved in the
recovery of the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses and their associates are directed to disclose
to the public the terms of any proposed compromise settlement, as well as the final agreement,
relating to such alleged ill-gotten wealth, in accordance with the discussions embodied in this
Decision. No pronouncement as to cost.

In Valmonte v. Belmonte Jr., the Court emphasized that the information sought must be"
matters of public concern," access to which may be limited by law. Similarly, the state policy of full
public disclosure extends only to "transactions involving public interest" and may also be"subject to
reasonable conditions prescribed by law." As to the meanings of the terms "public interest" and
"public concern," the Court, in Legaspi v. Civil Service Commission, elucidated: In determining
whether or not a particular information is of public concern there is no rigid test which can be
applied. Public concern" like "public interest" is a term that eludes exact definition.

Writings coming into the hands of public officers in connection with their official functions
must be accessible to the public, consistent with the policy of transparency of governmental affairs.
This principle is aimed at affording the people an opportunity to determine whether those to whom
they have entrusted the affairs of the government are honestly, faithfully and competently
performing their functions as public servants. Undeniably, the essence of democracy lies in the free
flow of thought; but thoughts and ideas must be well-informed so that the public would gain a better
perspective of vital issues confronting them and, thus, be able to criticize as well as participate in the
affairs of the government in a responsible, reasonable and effective manner. Certainly, it is by
ensuring an unfettered and uninhibited exchange of ideas among a well-informed public that a
government remains responsive to the changes desired by the people.

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Diaz, Jose Rodolfo

RE: REQUEST FOR COPY OF 2008 STATEMENT OF ASSETS, LIABILITIES AND NET
WORTH (SALN) AND PERSONAL DATA SHEET (PDS) OR CURRICULUM VITAE (CV) OF
THE JUSTICES OF THE SUPREME COURT AND OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE
JUDICIARY
A.M. No. 09-8-6-SC, 13 June 2012

In accordance with Section 17, Article IX of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, there is a duty
on the part of the members of the judiciary to disclose their SALNs and other personal documents
being a matter of public concern and interest, as long as it is made in the manner provided by law.

FACTS

The Court received two letters from Rowena C. Paraan and Karol Ilagan requesting for
copies of the SALN and PDS or the CV of its Justices for the year 2008 for the purpose of updating
their database of information on government officials. The special committee created by the Supreme
Court to review the request issued a Memorandum recommending the creation of a Committee on
Public Disclosure to take over the functions of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) with
respect to requests for copies of SALN and other personal documents of members of the Judiciary.
Meanwhile, several requests for copies of the SALN and other personal documents of the Justices of
the Court, the Court of Appeals (CA) and the Sandiganbayan (SB) were filed.

ISSUE

Whether or not the Supreme Court Justices are mandated by law to release their SALN to
the public.

HELD

Section 7 of Article III of the Constitution is relevant in the issue of public disclosure of
SALN and other documents of public officials, which provides that the right of the people to
information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to
documents, and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government
research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such
limitation as may be provided by law.

Emphasizing the import and meaning of the foregoing constitutional provision, the Court, in
the landmark case of Valmonte vs Belmonte, Jr., elucidated that the right to information goes hand
in hand with the Constitutional policies of full public disclosure and honesty in the public service. It
is meant to enhance the widening role of the citizenry in governmental decision=-making as well as
in checking abuse in government. The importance of the said right was pragmatically explicated that
the incorporation of this right in the Constitution is a recognition of the fundamental role of free
exchange of information in a democracy.

Thus, while public concern like public interest eludes exact definition and has been said to
embrace a broad spectrum of subjects which the public may want to know, either because such
matters directly affect their lives, or simply because such matters naturally arouse the interest of an
ordinary citizen, the Constitution itself, under Section 17, Article XI, has classified the information
disclosed in the SALN as a matter of public concern and interest. Hence, there is a duty on the part
of members of the government to disclose their SALNs to the public in the manner provided by law.

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In the case at bar, the Court notes the valid concerns of the other magistrates regarding
possible illicit motives of some individuals in their requests for access to such personal information
and their publication. However, custodians of public documents must not concern themselves with
the motives, reasons and objects of the persons seeking access to the records. The moral or material
injury which their misuse might inflict on the others is the requestor’s responsibility and lookout.
While public officers in the custody or control of public records have the discretion to regulate the
manner in which records may be inspected, examined or copied by interested persons, such
discretion does not carry with it the authority to prohibit access, inspection, examination, or copying
of the records. After all, public office is a public trust.

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Right of Association

Evangelista, Kevin

IN THE MATTER OF THE IBP MEMBERSHIP DUES DELINQUENCY OF ATTY. MARCIAL


A. EDILLON

FACTS

The respondent Marcial A. Edillon is a duly licensed practicing attorney in the Philippines.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Board of Governors unanimously adopted
Resolution No. 75-65 in Administrative Case No. MDD-1 (In the Matter of the Membership Dues
Delinquency of Atty. Marcial A. Edillon) recommending to the Court the removal of the name of the
respondent from its Roll of Attorneys for "stubborn refusal to pay his membership dues" to the IBP
since the latter's constitution notwithstanding due notice.

The core of the respondent's arguments is that the above provisions constitute an invasion of
his constitutional rights in the sense that he is being compelled, as a pre-condition to maintaining
his status as a lawyer in good standing, to be a member of the IBP and to pay the corresponding
dues, and that as a consequence of this compelled financial support of the said organization to which
he is admittedly personally antagonistic, he is being deprived of the rights to liberty and property
guaranteed to him by the Constitution. Hence, the respondent concludes, the above provisions of the
Court Rule and of the IBP By-Laws are void and of no legal force and effect.

ISSUE

Whether or not the constitutional right of association of Atty. Edillion was violated.

HELD

The first objection posed by the respondent is that the Court is without power to compel him
to become a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, hence, Section 1 of the Court Rule is
unconstitutional for it impinges on his constitutional right of freedom to associate (and not to
associate). Our answer is: To compel a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated Bar is not violative of
his constitutional freedom to associate.
Integration does not make a lawyer a member of any group of which he is not already a member. He
became a member of the Bar when he passed the Bar examinations. All that integration actually
does is to provide an official national organization for the well-defined but unorganized and
incohesive group of which every lawyer is a ready a member.
Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. He is free to attend or not
attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he
chooses. The only compulsion to which he is subjected is the payment of annual dues. The Supreme
Court, in order to further the State's legitimate interest in elevating the quality of professional legal
services, may require that the cost of improving the profession in this fashion be shared by the
subjects and beneficiaries of the regulatory program — the lawyers.

Assuming that the questioned provision does in a sense compel a lawyer to be a member of
the Integrated Bar, such compulsion is justified as an exercise of the police power of the State.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is the unanimous sense of the Court that the
respondent Marcial A. Edillon should be as he is hereby disbarred, and his name is hereby ordered
stricken from the Roll of Attorneys of the Court.

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Guevarra, Jhaypee D.

BPI v. BPI EMPLOYEES UNION-DAVAO


G.R. No. 164301, 10 August 2010, EN BANC (Corona, C.J.)

It is the policy of the State to promote unionism to enable the workers to negotiate with
management on the same level and with more persuasiveness than if they were to individually and
independently bargain for the improvement of their respective conditions. To this end, the
Constitution guarantees to them the rights to self-organization, collective bargaining and negotiations
and peaceful concerted actions including the right to strike in accordance with law. There is no
question that these purposes could be thwarted if every worker were to choose to go his own separate
way instead of joining his co-employees in planning collective action and presenting a united front
when they sit down to bargain with their employers. It is for this reason that the law has sanctioned
stipulations for the union shop and the closed shop as a means of encouraging the workers to join and
support the labor union of their own choice as their representative in the negotiation of their demands
and the protection of their interest vis--vis the employer.

FACTS

This case which involves the application of a collective bargaining agreement with a union
shop clause should be resolved principally from the standpoint of the clear provisions of our labor
laws, and the express terms of the CBA in question, and not by inference from the general
consequence of the merger of corporations under the Corporation Code, which obviously does not deal
with and, therefore, is silent on the terms and conditions of employment in corporations or juridical
entities.

On March 23, 2000, the BangkoSentralngPilipinas approved the Articles of Merger executed
on January 20, 2000 by and between BPI, herein petitioner, and FEBTC. This Article and Plan of
Merger was approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 7, 2000. Pursuant to the
Article and Plan of Merger, all the assets and liabilities of FEBTC were transferred to and absorbed
by BPI as the surviving corporation. FEBTC employees, including those in its different branches
across the country, were hired by petitioner as its own employees, with their status and tenure
recognized and salaries and benefits maintained.

Respondent BPI Employees Union-Davao Chapter - Federation of Unions in BPI Unibank


(hereinafter the Union, for brevity) is the exclusive bargaining agent of BPIs rank and file employees
in Davao City. The former FEBTC rank-and-file employees in Davao City did not belong to any labor
union at the time of the merger. Prior to the effectivity of the merger, or on March 31, 2000,
respondent Union invited said FEBTC employees to a meeting regarding the Union Shop Clause
(Article II, Section 2) of the existing CBA between petitioner BPI and respondent Union.

Some of the FEBTC chose not join the union, and those who initially joined subsequently
retracted their membership. In view thereof, the union requested the BPI to implement the Union
Shop Clause of the CBA and to terminate their employment pursuant thereto. The request was not
remained idle for two months, hence BPI and the union entered into a voluntary arbitration.

The Arbitrator ruled in favor of petitioner BPIs interpretation that the former FEBTC
employees were not covered by the Union Security Clause of the CBA between the Union and the
Bank on the ground that the said employees were not new employees who were hired and
subsequently regularized, but were absorbed employees by operation of law because the former
employees of FEBTC can be considered assets and liabilities of the absorbed corporation. The
Voluntary Arbitrator concluded that the former FEBTC employees could not be compelled to join the
Union, as it was their constitutional right to join or not to join any organization.

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ISSUE

Whether or not the former FEBTC employees that were absorbed by petitioner upon the
merger between FEBTC and BPI should be covered by the Union Shop Clause found in the existing
CBA between petitioner and respondent Union.

HELD

YES. The Court finds it reasonable and just to conclude that the Union Shop Clause of the
CBA covers the former FEBTC employees who were hired/employed by BPI during the effectivity of
the CBA in a manner which petitioner describes as absorption. A contrary appreciation of the facts of
this case would, undoubtedly, lead to an inequitable and very volatile labor situation which this
Court has consistently ruled against. Thus, those who later revoked their membership and who
refused were given fresh thirty days to join the union.

Section 2, Article II of the CBA is silent as to how one becomes a regular employee of the BPI
for the first time. There is nothing in the said provision which requires that a new regular employee
first undergo a temporary or probationary status before being deemed as such under the union shop
clause of the CBA.

Union security is a generic term which is applied to and comprehends closed shop, union
shop, maintenance of membership or any other form of agreement which imposes upon employees
the obligation to acquire or retain union membership as a condition affecting employment. There is
union shop when all new regular employees are required to join the union within a certain period for
their continued employment.A closed-shop, on the other hand, may be defined as an enterprise in
which, by agreement between the employer and his employees or their representatives, no person
may be employed in any or certain agreed departments of the enterprise unless he or she is,
becomes, and, for the duration of the agreement, remains a member in good standing of a union
entirely comprised of or of which the employees in interest are a part.

It is apparent that petitioner hinges its argument that the former FEBTC employees were
absorbed by BPI merely as a legal consequence of a merger based on the characterization by the
Voluntary Arbiter of these absorbed employees as included in the assets and liabilities of the
dissolved corporation - assets because they help the Bank in its operation and liabilities because
redundant employees may be terminated and company benefits will be paid to them, thus reducing
the Banks financial status. However, human beings are never embraced in the term assets and
liabilities. Moreover, BPIs absorption of former FEBTC employees was neither by operation of law
nor by legal consequence of contract. There was no government regulation or law that compelled the
merger of the two banks or the absorption of the employees of the dissolved corporation by the
surviving corporation.

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Ibanez, Abigail

BPI v. BPI EMPLOYEES UNION DAVAO


G.R 164301, 10 August 2010

Individual employees right not to join a union may be validly restricted by a union security
clause in a CBA and such union security clause is not a violation of the employees constitutional right
to freedom of association.

FACTS

On March 23, 2000, the BangkoSentral ng Pilipinas approved the Articles of Merger
executed on January 20, 2000 by and between BPI, herein petitioner, and FEBTC. Pursuant to the
Article and Plan of Merger, all the assets and liabilities of FEBTC were transferred to and absorbed
by BPI as the surviving corporation. FEBTC employees, including those in its different branches
across the country, were hired by petitioner as its own employees, with their status and tenure
recognized and salaries and benefits maintained.Respondent BPI Employees Union-Davao Chapter -
Federation of Unions in BPI Unibank (hereinafter the Union, for brevity) is the exclusive bargaining
agent of BPIs rank and file employees in Davao City. The former FEBTC rank-and-file employees in
Davao City did not belong to any labor union at the time of the merger. There were employees who
refused to join the union, the president of the Union requested BPI to implement the Union Shop
Clause of the CBA and to terminate their employment pursuant thereto. With no action on the part
BPI, the present action ensued.

ISSUE

Whether or not the former FEBTC employees that were absorbed by petitioner upon the
merger between FEBTC and BPI should be covered by the Union Shop Clause found in the existing
CBA between petitioner and respondent Union.

HELD

They are not covered by the union shop clause. Time and again, this Court has ruled
that the individual employees right not to join a union may be validly restricted by a
union security clause in a CBA and such union security clause is not a violation of the
employees constitutional right to freedom of association.All employees in the bargaining unit
covered by a Union Shop Clause in their CBA with management are subject to its terms. However,
under law and jurisprudence, the following kinds of employees are exempted from its coverage,
namely, employees who at the time the union shop agreement takes effect are bona fide members of
a religious organization which prohibits its members from joining labor unions on religious grounds;
employees already in the service and already members of a union other than the majority
at the time the union shop agreement took effect;confidential employees who are excluded
from the rank and file bargaining unit; and employees excluded from the union shop by express
terms of the agreement.
Petition Denied

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Fraternity Hazing Cases

Landayan, Mary Mercedita

ATENEO DE MANILA UNIVERSITY v. CAPULONG


G.R. No. 99327, 27 May 1993

Minimum standards to be observed by schools before imposing disciplinary sanctions: (1) the
students must be informed in writing of the nature and cause of any accusation against them; (2) that
they shall have the right to answer the charges against them with the assistance of counsel, if desired;
(3) they shall be informed of the evidence against them; (4) they shall have the right to adduce
evidence in their own behalf; and (5) the evidence must be duly considered by the investigating
committee or official designated by the school authorities to hear and decide the case.

Hazing is a valid ground for student expulsion from school.

FACTS

Leonardo "Lennie" H. Villa, a first year law student of Ateneo De Manila University, died of
serious physical injuries at Chinese General Hospital on February 10, 1991 after the initiation rites
of Aquila Legis. Bienvenido Marquez, another freshman was also hospitalized at the Capitol Medical
Center for acute renal failure occasioned by the serious physical injuries inflicted upon him on the
same occasion.

Petitioner Dean Cynthia del Castillo created a Joint Administration-Faculty-Student


Investigating Committeetasked to investigate and submit a report within 72 hours on the
circumstances surrounding the death of Lennie Villa. It also required respondent students to submit
their written statements within twenty-four (24) hours from receipt, which they failed to do. In the
meantime, they were placed on preventive suspension. The Joint Administration-Faculty-Student
Investigating Committee, after receiving the written statements and hearing the testimonies of
several witness, found a prima facie case against respondent students for violation of Rule 3 of the
Law School Catalogue entitled "Discipline."

Respondent students were then required to file their written answers to the formal charge.
Petitioner Dean created a Disciplinary Board to hear the charges against respondent students. The
Board found respondent students guilty of violating Rule No. 3 of the Ateneo Law School Rules on
Discipline which prohibits participation in hazing activities, pronouncingrespondents guilty of
hazing, either by active participation or through acquiescence. However, in view of the lack of
unanimity among the members of the Board on the penalty of dismissal, the Board left the
imposition of the penalty to the University Administration.Petitioner Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, as
President of ADMU, imposed the penalty of dismissal on all respondent students.

Respondent students filed with the RTC of Makati, a petition for certiorari, prohibition
and mandamus with prayer for TRO and preliminary injunctionprincipally centered on the alleged
lack of due process in their dismissal. The RTC Judge issued a TRO enjoining petitioners from
dismissing respondent students and stopping the former from conducting hearings relative to the
hazing incident. A day after the expiration of the TRO, Dean del Castillo created a Special Board
composed to investigate the charges of hazing against respondent students Abas and Mendoza who
were then excluded from the order of dismissal as neither had as yet submitted their case to the
Board.

Respondent students then filed a Supplemental Petition of certiorari, prohibition


and mandamuswith prayer for a TRO and preliminary injunction, to include the members of the

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Special Board, as additional respondents to the original petition. Petitioners moved to strike out the
Supplement Petition arguing that the creation of the Special Board was totally unrelated to the
original petition which alleged lack of due process in the conduct of investigations by the
Disciplinary Board. The RTC granted respondent students' prayer and on May 17, 1991, ordered
petitioners to reinstate respondent students.

Hence, this special civil action of certiorari under Rule 65 with prayer for the issuance of a
TRO enjoining the enforcement of the May 17, 1991 order of respondent judge.

ISSUE

(1) Whether or not respondent students had been denied due process in the investigation of
the charges against them;
(2) Whether or not the penalty imposed by the school administration is proper under the
circumstances.

HELD

(1) NO. We grant the petition and reverse the order of respondent judge ordering
readmission of respondent students. Respondent students' rights in a school disciplinary
proceedinghave been meticulously respected by petitioners in the various investigative proceedings
held before they were expelled. The minimum standards to be satisfied in the imposition of
disciplinary sanctions in academic institutions as laid down in Guzman v. National University, thus:

(1) the students must be informed in writing of the nature and cause of any accusation against
them;
(2) that they shall have the right to answer the charges against them with the assistance of
counsel, if desired;
(3) they shall be informed of the evidence against them;
(4) they shall have the right to adduce evidence in their own behalf; and
(5) the evidence must be duly considered by the investigating committee or official designated
by the school authorities to hear and decide the case.

It cannot seriously be asserted that the above requirements were not met. When, in view of
the death of Leonardo Villa, petitioner Cynthia del Castillo, as Dean of the Ateneo Law School,
notified and required respondent students to submit within their written statement on the
incident, the records show that instead of filing a reply, respondent students requested through their
counsel, copies of the charges. The others were even granted an extension to file their statements.

Indubitably, the nature and cause of the accusation were adequately spelled out in
petitioners' notices. Respondent students were given ample opportunity to adduce evidence in their
behalf and to answer the charges leveled against them.

The requisite assistance of counsel was met when, from the very start of the investigations
before the Joint Administration Faculty-Student Committee, the law firm of Gonzales Batiler and
Bilog and Associates put in its appearance and filed pleadings in behalf of respondent students.

Respondent students may not use the argument that since they were not accorded the
opportunity to see and examine the written statements which became the basis of petitioners' order,
they were denied procedural due processfor disciplinary cases involving students need not
necessarily include the right to cross examination. An administrative proceeding conducted to
investigate students' participation in a hazing activity need not be clothed with the attributes of a
judicial proceeding.

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Due process in disciplinary cases involving students does not entail proceedings and hearings
identical to those prescribed for actions and proceedings in courts of justice.Accordingly, disciplinary
charges against a student need not be drawn with the precision of a criminal information or
complaint.

(2) YES. Hazing is a valid ground for student expulsion from school.Hazing, as a ground for
disciplining a students, to the extent of dismissal or expulsion, finds its raison d' etre in the
increasing frequency of injury, even death, inflicted upon the neophytes by their insensate "masters."
Assuredly, it passes the test of reasonableness and absence of malice on the part of the school
authorities. Far from fostering comradeship and esprit d' corps, it has merely fed upon the cruel and
baser instincts of those who aspire to eventual leadership in our country.

At this juncture, it would be meet to recall the essential freedoms subsumed in the term
“academic freedom”, thus: (1) who may teach; (2) what may be taught; (3) how it shall be taught; and
(4) who may be admitted to study. Admission to an institution of higher learning is discretionary
upon a school, the same being a privilege on the part of the student rather than a right. While under
the Education Act of 1982, students have a right “to freely choose their field of study, subject to
existing curricula and to continue their course therein up to graduation,” such right is subject, as all
rights are, to the established academic and disciplinary standards laid down by the academic
institution.

The petition is GRANTED; the order of respondent Judge reinstating respondents students
into petitioner university is hereby REVERSED. The resolution of petitioner Joaquin Bernas then
President of ADMU is REINSTATED and the decision of the Special Board DISMISSING
respondent students ABAS and MENDOZA is AFFIRMED.

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Lelay, Lord Bien

VILLAREAL v. PEOPLE
GR No. 151258, 1 February 2012

The absence of malicious intent does not automatically mean, however, that the accused are
ultimately devoid of criminal liability. The Revised Penal Code also punishes felonies that are
committed by means of fault (culpa).Reckless imprudence or negligence consists of a voluntary act
done without malice, from which an immediate personal harm, injury or material damage results by
reason of an inexcusable lack of precaution or advertence on the part of the person committing it. In
this case, the danger is visible and consciously appreciated by the actor.

FACTS

Before the Court are the consolidated cases docketed as G.R. No. 151258 (Villareal v. People),
G.R. No. 154954 (People v. Court of Appeals), G.R. No. 155101 (Dizon v. People), and G.R. Nos.
178057 and 178080 (Villa v. Escalona).

The public outrage over the death of Leonardo "Lenny" Villa – the victim in this case – on 10
February 1991 led to a very strong clamor to put an end to hazing. Due in large part to the brave
efforts of his mother, petitioner Gerarda Villa, groups were organized, condemning his senseless and
tragic death. This widespread condemnation prompted Congress to enact a special law, which
became effective in 1995, that would criminalize hazing. The intent of the law was to discourage
members from making hazing a requirement for joining their sorority, fraternity, organization, or
association. Moreover, the law was meant to counteract the exculpatory implications of "consent" and
"initial innocent act" in the conduct of initiation rites by making the mere act of hazing punishable or
mala prohibita.

Although courts must not remain indifferent to public sentiments, in this case the general
condemnation of a hazing-related death, they are still bound to observe a fundamental principle in
our criminal justice system – "[N]o act constitutes a crime… unless it is made so by law." Nullum
crimen, nulla poena sine lege. Even if an act is viewed by a large section of the populace as immoral
or injurious, it cannot be considered a crime, absent any law prohibiting its commission. As
interpreters of the law, judges are called upon to set aside emotion, to resist being swayed by strong
public sentiments, and to rule strictly based on the elements of the offense and the facts allowed in
evidence.

According to the trial court, although hazing was not (at the time) punishable as a crime, the
intentional infliction of physical injuries on Villa was nonetheless a felonious act under Articles 263
to 266 of the Revised Penal Code. Thus, in ruling against the accused, the court a quo found that
pursuant to Article 4(1) of the Revised Penal Code, the accused fraternity members were guilty of
homicide, as it was the direct, natural and logical consequence of the physical injuries they had
intentionally inflicted.

The CA modified the trial court’s finding of criminal liability. It ruled that there could have
been no conspiracy since the neophytes, including Lenny Villa, had knowingly consented to the
conduct of hazing during their initiation rites. The accused fraternity members, therefore, were
liable only for the consequences of their individual acts. Accordingly, 19 of the accused – Victorino et
al. – were acquitted; 4 of them – Tecson et al. – were found guilty of slight physical injuries; and the
remaining 2 – Dizon and Villareal – were found guilty of homicide.

ISSUE

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Whether the trial court and CA are correct in finding the accused guilty of homicide and/or
slight physical injuries.

HELD

No. The Court is constrained to rule against the trial court’s finding of malicious intent to
inflict physical injuries on Lenny Villa, there being no proof beyond reasonable doubt of the existence
of malicious intent to inflict physical injuries or animus iniuriandi as required in mala in se cases,
considering the contextual background of his death, the unique nature of hazing, and absent a law
prohibiting hazing.

The absence of malicious intent does not automatically mean, however, that the accused
fraternity members are ultimately devoid of criminal liability. The Revised Penal Code also punishes
felonies that are committed by means of fault (culpa). According to Article 3 thereof, there is fault
when the wrongful act results from imprudence, negligence, lack of foresight, or lack of skill.

Reckless imprudence or negligence consists of a voluntary act done without malice, from
which an immediate personal harm, injury or material damage results by reason of an inexcusable
lack of precaution or advertence on the part of the person committing it. In this case, the danger is
visible and consciously appreciated by the actor. The test for determining whether or not a person is
negligent in doing an act is as follows: Would a prudent man in the position of the person to whom
negligence is attributed foresee harm to the person injured as a reasonable consequence of the course
about to be pursued? If so, the law imposes on the doer the duty to take precaution against the
mischievous results of the act. Failure to do so constitutes negligence.

There was patent recklessness in the hazing of Lenny Villa. The collective acts of the
fraternity members were tantamount to recklessness, which made the resulting death of Lenny a
culpable felony. It must be remembered that organizations owe to their initiates a duty of care not to
cause them injury in the process. With the foregoing facts, we rule that the accused are guilty of
reckless imprudence resulting in homicide. Since the NBI medico-legal officer found that the victim’s
death was the cumulative effect of the injuries suffered, criminal responsibility redounds to all those
who directly participated in and contributed to the infliction of physical injuries.

Our finding of criminal liability for the felony of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide
shall cover only accused Tecson, Ama, Almeda, Bantug, and Dizon. Had the Anti-Hazing Law been
in effect then, these five accused fraternity members would have all been convicted of the crime of
hazing punishable by reclusion perpetua (life imprisonment). Since there was no law prohibiting the
act of hazing when Lenny died, we are constrained to rule according to existing laws at the time of
his death.

The CA found that the prosecution failed to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, Victorino et al.’s
individual participation in the infliction of physical injuries upon Lenny Villa. As to accused
Villareal, his criminal liability was totally extinguished by the fact of his death, pursuant to Article
89 of the Revised Penal Code.

Furthermore, our ruling herein shall be interpreted without prejudice to the applicability of
the Anti-Hazing Law to subsequent cases. Furthermore, the modification of criminal liability from
slight physical injuries to reckless imprudence resulting in homicide shall apply only with respect to
accused Almeda, Ama, Bantug, and Tecson.

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Lintao, Jude

DUNGO v. PEOPLE
GR no. 209464, 1 July 2015

The participation of the offenders in the criminal conspiracy can be proven by the prima facie
evidence due to their presence during the hazing, unless they prevented the commission of the acts
therein.

FACTS

On January 14, 2006, at Villa Novaliches, Brgy. Pansol, Calamba City, Laguna, the Alpha
Phi Omega Fraternity in conspiracy with more or less twenty other members and officers conducted
initiation rite. MARLON VILLANUEVA y MEJILLA, a neophyte was subjected to physical harm.

After the initiation rites, accused Sibal inquired about Villanueva's condition but he was
ignored by Castillo. He then called co-accused Dungo for help. After Dungo arrived at the resort, they
hailed a tricycle and brought Villanueva to JP Rizal Hospital. There, he gave a false name to the
security guard as he heard that Dungo had done the same.

RTC found Dungo and Sibal guilty of the crime of violating Section 4 of the Anti-Hazing Law
and sentenced them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

The CA ruled that the appeal of Dungo and Sibal was bereft of merit.

ISSUE

Whether or not herein accused were guilty of violation of R.A. No. 8049?

HELD

Yes, they are guilty of violation of R.A. No. 8049.

Section 1 of R.A. No. 8049 defines hazing as an initiation rite or practice as a prerequisite for
admission into membership in a fraternity, sorority or organization by placing the recruit, neophyte
or applicant in some embarrassing or humiliating situations such as forcing him to do menial, silly,
foolish and other similar tasks or activities or otherwise subjecting him to physical or psychological
suffering or injury. From the said definition, the elements of the crime of hazing can be determined:

1. That there is an initiation rite or practice as a prerequisite for admission into membership
in a fraternity, sorority or organization;
2. That there must be a recruit, neophyte or applicant of the fraternity, sorority or
organization; and

3. That the recruit, neophyte or applicant is placed in some embarrassing or humiliating


situations such as forcing him to do menial, silly, foolish and other similar tasks or activities
or otherwise subjecting him to physical or psychological suffering or injury.

Classes of direct participants are: the first class of principals would be the actual
participants in the hazing. If the person subjected to hazing or other forms of initiation rites suffers
any physical injury or dies as a result thereof, the officers and members of the fraternity, sorority or
organization who actually participated in the infliction of physical harm shall be liable as principals.
The second class of principals would be the officers, former officers, or alumni of the organization,

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group, fraternity or sorority who actually planned the hazing. The third class of principals would be
the officers or members of an organization group, fraternity or sorority who knowingly cooperated in
carrying out the hazing by inducing the victim to be present thereat due to their indispensable
cooperation in the crime by inducing the victim to attend the hazing. The next class of principals
would be the fraternity or sorority's adviser. The last class of principals would be the parents of the
officers or members of the fraternity, group, or organization.

Exceptionally, under R.A. No. 8049, the participation of the offenders in the criminal
conspiracy can be proven by the prima facie evidence due to their presence during the hazing, unless
they prevented the commission of the acts therein.

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Eminent Domain

Lopez, Sherlyn

HACIENDA LUISITA, INC. v. PRESIDENTIAL AGRARIAN REFORM COUNCIl


G.R. No. 171101, 24 April 2012

Just compensation has been defined as the full and fair equivalent of the property taken from
its owner by the expropriator.The measure is not the takers gain, but the owners loss.In determining
just compensation, the price or value of the property at the time it was taken from the owner and
appropriated by the government shall be the basis. If the government takes possession of the land
before the institution of expropriation proceedings, the value should be fixed as of the time of the
taking of said possession, not of the filing of the complaint.

FACTS

The case before us is a second motion for reconsideration filed by the Petitioner. On
November 21, 1989, Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) issued a resolution stating that
the date of actual taking of agricultural land for the payment of just compensation is the approval of
the Stock Distribution Plan by PARC. Hacienda Luisita Inc., (HLI) questioned the resolution before
the court.

HLI argues that the decision of the court is erroneous. Petitioner also contends that since the
SDP is a modality which the agrarian reform law gives the landowner as alternative to compulsory
coverage, then the FWBs cannot be considered as owners and possessors of the agricultural lands of
Hacienda Luisita at the time the SDP was approved by PARC. It further claims that the approval of
the SDP is not akin to a Notice of Coverage in compulsory coverage situations because stock
distribution option and compulsory acquisition are two (2) different modalities with independent and
separate rules and mechanisms. Concomitantly, HLI maintains that the Notice of Coverage issued
on January 2, 2006 may, at the very least, be considered as the date of taking as this was the only
time that the agricultural lands of Hacienda Luisita were placed under compulsory acquisition in
view of its failure to perform certain obligations under the SDP. According to HLI, the date of taking
should be left to the determination of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in conjunction with
its authority to preliminarily determine the just compensation for the land made subject of CARP.

Mallari, et al. are of a similar view. They contend that Tarlac Development Corporation
(Tadeco), having as it were majority control over HLI, was never deprived of the use and benefit of
the agricultural lands of Hacienda Luisita. Upon this premise, Mallari, et al. claim the date of taking
could not be at the time of the approval of the SDP.

At the outset, it should be noted that Section 2, Rule 52 of the Rules of Court states, No
second motion for reconsideration of a judgment or final resolution by the same party shall be
entertained. A second motion for reconsideration, as a rule, is prohibited for being a mere reiteration
of the issues assigned and the arguments raised by the parties.

ISSUE

Whether PARC’s approval of the Stock Distribution Plain is the date of taking by the
government for payment of just compensation.

HELD

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Yes. The reckoning date of taking is on November 21, 1989. It is the date of issuance of
PARC Resolution. It is the official act by the government, that is, the PARC’s approval of the SDP,
which should be considered as the reckoning point for the taking of the agricultural lands of
Hacienda Luisita. Although the transfer of ownership over the agricultural lands was made
prior to the SDP’s approval, it is this Court consistent view that these lands officially
became subject of the agrarian reform coverage through the stock distribution scheme
only upon the approval of the SDP.

Sec. 4, Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution expressly provides that the taking of land for use
in the agrarian reform program of the government is conditioned on the payment of just
compensation. As stated:

Section 4. The State shall, by law, undertake an agrarian reform


program founded on the right of farmers and regular farm workers, who are landless,
to own directly or collectively the lands they till or, in the case of other farm workers,
to receive a just share of the fruits thereof. To this end, the State shall encourage and
undertake the just distribution of all agricultural lands, subject to such priorities and
reasonable retention limits as the Congress may prescribe, taking into account
ecological, developmental, or equity considerations, and subject to the payment of
just compensation. (Emphasis supplied.)

In Land Bank of the Philippines v. Livioco, the Court held that the time of takingis the time
when the landowner was deprived of the use and benefit of his property, such as when title is
transferred to the Republic. It should be noted, however, that taking does not only take place upon
the issuance of title either in the name of the Republic or the beneficiaries of the Comprehensive
Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). Taking also occurs when agricultural lands are voluntarily
offered by a landowner and approved by PARC for CARP coverage through the stock distribution
scheme, as in the instant case. Thus, HLI submitting its SDP for approval is an acknowledgment on
its part that the agricultural lands of Hacienda Luisita are covered by CARP. However, it was the
PARC approval which should be considered as the effective date of taking as it was only during this
time that the government officially confirmed the CARP coverage of these lands.

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Magtira, John Michael

SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS v.


SPS.TECSON
G.R. No. 155620. 9 August 2005

Failure of respondents to question the lack of expropriation proceedings for a long period of
time, they are deemed to have waived and are estopped from assailing the power of the government to
expropriate or the public use for which the power was exercised. What is left to respondents is the right
of compensation.

Just compensation is the fair value of the property as between one who receives, and one who
desires to sell, fixed at the time of the actual taking by the government.

FACTS

Respondents are co-owners of a parcel of land in Bulacan. Said parcel of land was among the
properties taken by the governmentsometime in 1940 without the owners’ consent and without the
necessary expropriation proceedings. On 1994, respondents demanded for payment of the fair
market thereof which remained unheeded. Thereafter, respondents filed a complaint for recovery of
possession with damages against petitioners.

RTC dismissed the case based on the doctrine of state immunity from suit. The CA found
instead that the doctrine of state immunity from suit is not applicable, because the recovery of
compensation is the only relief available to the landowner. It remanded the case to the RTC to
determine the just compensation.

On 2002, the CA affirmed the RTC decision recommending the amount of P1,500per square
meter with the modification that the just compensation stated above should earn interest of six
percent (6%) per annum computed from the filing of the action.
Petitioners insist that the action is barred by prescription having been filed fifty-four (54)
years after the accrual of the action in 1940. Also, petitioners claim that the just compensation
should be based on the value of the property at the time of taking in 1940 and not at the time of
payment.

ISSUES

1.) WON laches has set in the current action.


2.) WON just compensation should be based on the value at the time of taking.

HELD

1.) No, laches is not applicable in this case.

Laches is principally a doctrine of equity which is applied to avoid recognizing a right when
to do so would result in a clearly inequitable situation or in an injustice. Both equity and the law
direct that a property owner should be compensated if his property is taken for public use.

The long-standing rule that where private property is taken by the Government for public
usewithout first acquiring title thereto either through expropriation or negotiated sale, the owner’s
action to recover the land or the value thereof does not prescribe.

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However, for failure of respondents to question the lack of expropriation proceedings for a
long period of time,they are deemed to have waived and are estopped from assailing the power of the
government to expropriate or the public use for which the power was exercised. What is left to
respondents is the right of compensation.

2.) Just compensation should be computed from the time of taking.

The court has uniformly held that just compensation is the fair value of the property as
between one who receives, and one who desires to sell, fixed at the time of the actual taking by the
government. The reason for this rule has been clearly explained in Republic v. Lara, et al., to wit:

For where property is taken ahead of the filing of the condemnation proceedings, the
value thereof may be enhanced by the public purpose for which it is taken; the entry
by the plaintiff upon the property may have depreciated its value thereby; or, there
may have been a natural increase in the value of the property from the time it is
taken to the time the complaint is filed, due to general economic conditions.

However, for said illegal taking, respondents are entitled to adequate compensation in the
form of actual or compensatory damages which in this case should be the legal interest of six percent
(6%) per annum.

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SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS v.


SPS.TECSON
G.R. No. 179334, 21 April 2015.*

The non-filing of the case for expropriation will not necessarily lead to the return of the
property to the landowner.

FACTS

In view of the contrasting opinions of the members of the Third Division on the instant
motion, the issue was referred to the En Banc for resolution.

HELD

We maintain our conclusions in the assailed July 1, 2013 Decision with modification on the
amount of interest awarded, as well as the additional grant of exemplary damages and attorney’s
fees.

The State is not obliged to pay premium to the property owner for appropriating the latter’s
property; it is only bound to make good the loss sustained by the landowner, with due consideration
of the circumstances availing at the time the property was taken.Thus, when property is taken, full
compensation of its value must immediately be paid to achieve a fair exchange for the property and
the potential income lost.

The just compensation due to the landowners amounts to an effective forbearance on the part
of the State — a proper subject of interest computed from the time the property was taken until the
full amount of just compensation is paid — in order to eradicate the issue of the constant variability
of the value of the currency over time.

It is important to note, however, that interest shall be compounded at the time judicial
demand is made pursuant to Article 2212 of the Civil Code. The award of interest on the value of the
land at the time of taking in 1940 until full payment is adequate compensation to respondents-
movants for the deprivation of their property without the benefit of expropriation proceedings.

Moreover, Additional compensation shall be awarded to respondents by way of exemplary


damages and attorney’s fees in view of the government’s taking without the benefit of expropriation
proceedings. However, the non-filing of the case for expropriation will not necessarily lead to the
return of the property to the landowner. For to hastily nullify said expropriation in the guise of lack
of due process would certainly diminish or weaken one of the State’s inherent powers, the ultimate
objective of which is to serve the greater good.

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Mangahas, Bethany

MACTAN-CEBU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AUTHORITY and AIR TRANSPORTATION


OFFICE v. BERNARDO L. LOZADA, SR., et al.
G.R. No. 176625, 25 February 2010

The taking of private property, consequent to the Government's exercise of its power of eminent
domain, is always subject to the condition that the property be devoted to the specific public purpose
for which it was taken. If this particular purpose or intent is not initiated or not at all pursued, and is
peremptorily abandoned, then the former owners, if they so desire, may seek the reversion of the
property, subject to the return of the amount of just compensation received. Should the expropriator
commit to use the property for a purpose other than that stated in the petition for expropriation filed,
then it should file another petition for the new purpose.

FACTS

Bernardo L. Lozada, Sr. was the registered owner of a parcel of land located in Lahug, Cebu
City. The said lot was expropriated by the Republic in connection with its program for the
improvement and expansion of the Lahug Airport. The projected expansion and improvement of the
Airport, however, did not materialize because the general aviation operations at the Lahug Airport
were transferred to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority. Subsequently, Lozada sought
to repurchase his property from the Republic.

ISSUE

Whether Lozada may repurchase the disputed property after the purpose for which the same
was expropriated has been abandoned.

HELD

YES. It is well settled that the taking of private property by the Governments power of
eminent domain is subject to two mandatory requirements: (1) that it is for a particular public
purpose; and (2) that just compensation be paid to the property owner. These requirements partake
of the nature of implied conditions that should be complied with to enable the condemnor to keep the
property expropriated. For this reason, the taking of private property, consequent to the
Government's exercise of its power of eminent domain, is always subject to the condition that the
property be devoted to the specific public purpose for which it was taken. Corollarily, if this
particular purpose or intent is not initiated or not at all pursued, and is peremptorily abandoned,
then the former owners, if they so desire, may seek the reversion of the property, subject to the
return of the amount of just compensation received. In such a case, the exercise of the power of
eminent domain has become improper for lack of the required factual justification.

In sum, the expropriator should commit to use the property pursuant to the purpose stated
in the petition for expropriation filed, failing which, it should file another petition for the new
purpose. If not, it is then incumbent upon the expropriator to return the said property to its private
owner, if the latter desires to reacquire the same

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Manuel, Kenneth Glenn

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the NATIONAL POWER


CORPORATION, v. HEIRS OF SATURNINO Q. BORBON, AND COURT OF APPEALS
G.R. No. 165354, 12 January 2015, FIRST DIVISION (Bersamin, J.)

With respect to the element of public use, the expropriator should commit to use the property
pursuant to the purpose stated in the petition for expropriation filed, failing which, it should file
another petition for the new purpose. If not, it is then incumbent upon the expropriator to return the
said property to its private owner, if the latter desires to reacquire the same. Otherwise, the judgment
of expropriation suffers an intrinsic flaw, as it would lack one indispensable element for the proper
exercise of the power of eminent domain, namely, the particular public purpose for which the property
will be devoted.

FACTS

NAPOCOR entered a property located in Barangay San Isidro, Batangas City in order to
construct and maintain transmission lines. Respondents heirs of Saturnino Q. Borbon owned the
property. NAPOCOR filed a complaint for expropriation in the Regional Trial Court in Batangas City
(RTC), seeking the acquisition of an easement of right of way over a portion of the property.

The respondents staunchly maintained that NAPOCOR had not negotiated with them before
entering the property and that the entry was done without their consent; nonetheless, they tendered
no objection to NAPOCOR’s entry provided it would pay just compensation not only for the portion
sought to be expropriated but for the entire property whose potential was greatly diminished, if not
totally lost, due to the project.

During the pendency of an appeal, NAPOCOR filed a Manifestation and Motion to


Discontinue Expropriation Proceedings, informing that the parties failed to reach an amicable
agreement; that the property sought to be expropriated was no longer necessary for public purpose
because of the intervening retirement of the transmission lines installed on the respondents’
property; that because the public purpose for which such property would be used thereby ceased to
exist, the proceedings for expropriation should no longer continue, and the State was now duty-
bound to return the property to its owners; and that the dismissal or discontinuance of the
expropriation proceedings was in accordance with Section 4, Rule 67 of the Rules of Court.

ISSUE

Whether or not the expropriation proceedings should be discontinued or dismissed pending


appeal.

HELD

The dismissal of the proceedings for expropriation at the instance of NAPOCOR is proper,
but, conformably with Section 4, Rule 67 of the Rules of Court, the dismissal or discontinuance of the
proceedings must be upon such terms as the court deems just and equitable.

The right of eminent domain is “the ultimate right of the sovereign power to appropriate, not
only the public but the private property of all citizens within the territorial sovereignty, to public
purpose.” But the exercise of such right is not unlimited, for two mandatory requirements should
underlie the Government’s exercise of the power of eminent domain, namely: (1) that it is for a
particular public purpose; and (2) that just compensation be paid to the property owner. These

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requirements partake the nature of implied conditions that should be complied with to enable the
condemnor to keep the property expropriated.

Public use, in common acceptation, means “use by the public.” However, the concept has
expanded to include utility, advantage or productivity for the benefit of the public. “Public use” has
now been held to be synonymous with “public interest,” “public benefit,” and “public convenience.”

It is essential that the element of public use of the property be maintained throughout the
proceedings for expropriation. The effects of abandoning the public purpose were explained in
Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority v. Lozada, Sr., to wit:

More particularly, with respect to the element of public use, the expropriator should
commit to use the property pursuant to the purpose stated in the petition for
expropriation filed, failing which, it should file another petition for the new purpose.
If not, it is then incumbent upon the expropriator to return the said property to its
private owner, if the latter desires to reacquire the same. Otherwise, the judgment of
expropriation suffers an intrinsic flaw, as it would lack one indispensable element for
the proper exercise of the power of eminent domain, namely, the particular public
purpose for which the property will be devoted. Accordingly, the private property
owner would be denied due process of law, and the judgment would violate the
property owner’s right to justice, fairness and equity.

It is not denied that the purpose of the plaintiff was to acquire the land in question for public
use. The fundamental basis then of all actions brought for the expropriation of lands, under the
power of eminent domain, is public use. That being true, the very moment that it appears at any
stage of the proceedings that the expropriation is not for a public use, the action must necessarily fail
and should be dismissed, for the reason that the action cannot be maintained at all except when the
expropriation is for some public use. That must be true even during the pendency of the appeal or at
any other stage of the proceedings. If, for example, during the trial in the lower court, it should be
made to appear to the satisfaction of the court that the expropriation is not for some public use, it
would be the duty and the obligation of the trial court to dismiss the action. And even during the
pendency of the appeal, if it should be made to appear to the satisfaction of the appellate court that
the expropriation is not for public use, then it would become the duty and the obligation of the
appellate court to dismiss it.

Verily, the retirement of the transmission lines necessarily stripped the expropriation
proceedings of the element of public use. To continue with the expropriation proceedings despite the
definite cessation of the public purpose of the project would result in the rendition of an invalid
judgment in favor of the expropriator due to the absence of the essential element of public use.

Accordingly, the Court grants the motion to discontinue the proceedings subject to the
conditions to be shortly mentioned hereunder, and requires the return of the property to the
respondents. Having said that, we must point out that NAPOCOR entered the property without the
owners’ consent and without paying just compensation to the respondents. Neither did it deposit any
amount as required by law prior to its entry. The Constitution is explicit in obliging the Government
and its entities to pay just compensation before depriving any person of his or her property for public
use. Considering that in the process of installing transmission lines, NAPOCOR destroyed some fruit
trees and plants without payment, and the installation of the transmission lines went through the
middle of the land as to divide the property into three lots, thereby effectively rendering the entire
property inutile for any future use, it would be unfair for NAPOCOR not to be made liable to the
respondents for the disturbance of their property rights from the time of entry until the time of
restoration of the possession of the property.

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In view of the discontinuance of the proceedings and the eventual return of the property to
the respondents, there is no need to pay “just compensation” to them because their property would
not be taken by NAPOCOR. Instead of full market value of the property, therefore, NAPOCOR
should compensate the respondents for the disturbance of their property rights from the time of
entry until the time of restoration of the possession by paying to them actual or other compensatory
damages.

This should mean that the compensation must be based on what they actually lost as a result
and by reason of their dispossession of the property and of its use, including the value of the fruit
trees, plants and crops destroyed by NAPOCOR’s construction of the transmission lines. Considering
that the dismissal of the expropriation proceedings is a development occurring during the appeal, the
Court now treats the dismissal of the expropriation proceedings as producing the effect of converting
the case into an action for damages. For that purpose, the Court remands the case to the court of
origin for further proceedings. The court of origin shall treat the case as if originally filed as an
action for damages.

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Marasigan, Mariella

NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION v. HEIRS OF MACABANGKITSANGKAY


G.R. No. 141447, 4 May 2006

The well-established rule is that it is not for the trial court to determine the merits of the
decision it rendered and use the same as basis for its order allowing execution pending appeal. The
authority to determine the merits of the appeal and the correctness of the findings and conclusions of
the trial court is lodged in the appellate court. The trial court cannot preempt the decision of the
appellate court and use its own decision as basis for affirming the trial court's order of execution
pending appeal.

FACTS

Macabangkit Sangkay (Sangkay) was the owner of a parcel of land located in Iligan City. The
heirs of Sangkay (Heirs) declared the said property in their respective names.

In 1979, National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR), constructed an underground three-


kilometer long tunnel traversing the properties of the Heirs. The Heirs were not informed that such
underground tunnel had been constructed; neither did NAPOCOR compensate them for the use of
the property. The Heirs only discovered the underground tunnel when they sold the property with
Global Asia Management and Resource Corporation and the latter refused to buy the property due to
the presence of NAPOCOR’s underground tunnel.

The Heirs filed a complaint for damages and recovery of possession against NAPOCOR
before RTC Iligan. NAPOCOR admitted the construction of the tunnel in 1979 but contested that
the Heirs are already barred by prescription, estoppel, and laches.

The trial court ordered the payment of rentals. However, in the appellate court, the Court of
Appeals set-aside the decision of the trial court.

The Heirs insist, however, that the "good reasons" cited by the trial court for granting their
motion for execution pending appeal are based on the trial court's findings of facts, i.e, respondent
acted in bad faith in constructing a three-kilometer long tunnel underneath petitioners' property
without their knowledge and consent; respondent had not compensated the petitioners for its use of
the property since 1979; respondent profited from its use of their properties; the existence of the
tunnel rendered petitioners' property unfit for industrial, residential or commercial use due to the
danger posed by it, and no one was willing to buy the property; and the fair market value of the
property had been amply proved by evidence.

For its part, respondent avers that, it acted in good faith based on Section 3(f) and (g) of
Republic Act No. 6395,33 as amended. Respondent posits that it is incredible that petitioners failed
to discover the tunnel when it was constructed in 1979; hence, petitioners slept on their rights for 18
years or so. It further averred that the precise amount due to petitioners for the respondent's use of
the tunnel, by way of compensation, is another contentious issue on appeal. Even assuming that
petitioners are entitled to compensation or reasonable rentals for the portion appropriated by
respondent, the appellate court still has to resolve the issue of whether, as claimed by the
respondent, petitioners' claim is barred by Section 3(i)34 of Republic Act No. 6395.

ISSUE

Whether or not the Heirs are entitled for compensation or reasonable rentals for the portion
appropriated by NAPOCOR.

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HELD

NO. The well-established rule is that it is not for the trial court to determine the merits of
the decision it rendered and use the same as basis for its order allowing execution pending appeal.
The authority to determine the merits of the appeal and the correctness of the findings and
conclusions of the trial court is lodged in the appellate court. The trial court cannot preempt the
decision of the appellate court and use its own decision as basis for affirming the trial court's order of
execution pending appeal.

Neither is the trial court justified to order execution pending appeal, on its assertion that the
appeal of the respondent is a dilatory tactic. As the Court held in Manacop v. Equitable PCI Bank:

Besides, that the appeal is merely dilatory is not a good reason for granting execution
pending appeal. As held in BF Corporation v. Edsa Shangri-la Hotel:

'it is not for the trial judge to determine the merit of a decision he rendered as this is
the role of the appellate court. Hence, it is not within competence of the trial court, in
resolving a motion for execution pending appeal, to rule that the appeal is patently
dilatory and rely on the same as basis for finding good reasons to grant the motion.
Only an appellate court can appreciate the dilatory intent of an appeal as an
additional good reason in upholding an order for execution pending appeal'

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Marcelino, Kristen

LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. HEIRS OF JOSE TAPULADO


G.R. No. 199141, 8 March 2017

Although the determination of just compensation is essentially a judicial function, the RTC,
sitting as a SAC, must consider the factors mentioned in Section 17 of R.A. No. 6657.The RTC is
bound to observe the basic factors and formula prescribed by the DAR pursuant to Section 17 of R.A.
No. 6657. Nonetheless, when the RTC is faced with situations that do not warrant the strict
application of the formula, it may, in the exercise of its discretion, relax the formula's application to
fit the factual situations before it. In such a case, however, the RTC is duty bound to explain and
justify in clear terms the reason for any deviation from the prescribed factors and formula.

FACTS

Jose Tapulado (Tapulado), now deceased, was the owner of two (2) parcels of land located in
Davao del Sur. In 1972, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) placed the subject lands under
the coverage of the Operation Land Transfer (OLT) Program pursuant to Presidential Decree (P.D.)
No. 27; and in 1978, awarded them to the farmer-beneficiaries. Tapulado, however, did not receive
any compensation from the government.

Actually, it was only on March 24, 1980, that the DAR and the Land Bank of the Philippines
(LBP) computed the value of the subject lands, placing them at ₱38,002.47 or ₱1,315 .00 per hectare.
The respondents, the Heirs of Tapulado (Tapulados), rejected the valuation of the subject lands.
They filed a petition for determination of just compensation before the DAR Adjudication Board
(DARAB). The DARAB, in turn, referred their petition to the Provincial Agrarian Reform Office of
Davao del Sur (PARO) for the recomputation of the value of the subject lands under P.D. No. 27 in
relation to DAR Administrative Order (A.O.) No. 13.

On January 24, 2003, without waiting for the completion of PARO's re-evaluation of the land,
the Tapulados filed a petition before the RTC, sitting as Special Agrarian Court (SAC), for the
determination and payment of just compensation.

The RTC pegged the amount of ₱200,000.00 per hectare as the reasonable compensation for
their properties considering that the Tapulados lost the subject lands and were deprived of the fruits
thereof since 1972.

Petitioner LBP motion for reconsideration was denied by the RTC.

On appeal, the CA agreed with the R TC that the computation of the just compensation
should be in accordance with R.A. No. 6657 because the compensation had remained unsettled up to
the passage of the new law. The CA wrote that for purposes of computing the just compensation, the
value of the property at the time of its taking should be considered. As the copies of the emancipation
patents were not attached, the CA ordered the remand of the case to the RTC for further reception of
evidence as regards the date of the emancipation patents to serve as the reckoning point of the
computation of just compensation.

ISSUE

Whether or not the Honorable Court of Appeals committed grave error of law when it ordered
the remand of the case to the Special Agrarian Court (SAC) for the reception of evidence as to the
date of the grant of emancipation patent and the computation of just compensation in accordance
with the market-data approach.

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HELD

Yes. The Court agrees with the CA that the case should be remanded to the RTC for the
computation of just compensation.

The subject property was awarded to the farmer-beneficiaries in 1978. On March 24, 1980,
LBP approved its initial valuation. Clearly, the process of the determination of just compensation
should be governed by Section 17 of R.A. No. 6657, to wit:

Section 17. Determination of Just Compensation. - In determining just compensation, the


cost of acquisition of the land, the current value of like properties, its nature, actual use and
income, the sworn valuation by the owner, the tax declarations, and the assessment made by
the government assessors shall be considered. The social and economic benefits contributed
by the farmers and the farmworkers and by the Government to the property, as well as the
non-payment of taxes or loans secured from any government financing institution on the said
land, shall be considered as additional factors to determine its valuation.

Accordingly, the Court sets aside the RTC valuation of their property at ₱200,000.00 per
hectare. The RTC valuation failed to comply with the parameters of Section 17 of R.A. No. 6657 and
DAR regulation. In fact, the RTC neither used any formula in coming up with the valuation of the
subject land nor explained its reason for deviating therefrom.It simply declared the amount of
₱200,000.00 per hectare as the fair and reasonable amount of compensation, without any clear basis.

Although the determination of just compensation is essentially a judicial function, the RTC,
sitting as a SAC, must consider the factors mentioned in Section 17 of R.A. No. 6657.The RTC is
bound to observe the basic factors and formula prescribed by the DAR pursuant to Section 17 of R.A.
No. 6657. Nonetheless, when the RTC is faced with situations that do not warrant the strict
application of the formula, it may, in the exercise of its discretion, relax the formula's application to
fit the factual situations before it. In such a case, however, the RTC is duty bound to explain and
justify in clear terms the reason for any deviation from the prescribed factors and formula.

In the determination of just compensation, the RTC should be guided by the following:

1. Just compensation must be valued at the time of taking, or the time when the owner was
deprived of the use and benefit of his property, that is, the date when the title or the
emancipation patents were issued in the names of the farmer-beneficiaries.

2. Just compensation must be determined pursuant to the guidelines set forth in Section 17
of R.A. No. 6657, as amended, prior to its amendment by R.A. No. 9700. Nevertheless, while
it should take into account the different formulas created by the DAR in arriving at the just
compensation, it is not strictly bound thereto if the situations before it do not warrant their
application. In which case, the RTC must clearly explain the reasons for deviating therefrom,
and for using other factors or formulas in arriving at a reasonable just compensation.

3. Interest may be awarded as warranted by the circumstances of the case and based on
prevailing jurisprudence. In previous cases, the Court had allowed the grant of legal interest
in expropriation cases where there was delay in the payment since the just compensation due
to the landowners was deemed to be an effective forbearance on the part of the State. Legal
interest on the unpaid balance shall be fixed at the rate of 12% per annum from the time of
taking and 6% per annum from the finality of the decision until fully paid.

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Mendoza, Roland Joseph

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES (MIAA) v. HEIRS OF ELADIO SANTIAGO


G.R.NO. 193828, 7 March 2017

The determination of just compensation in eminent domain cases is a judicial function and
that any valuation for just compensation laid down in the statutes may serve only as a guiding
principle or one of the factors in determining just compensation but it may not substitute the court's
own judgment as to what amount should be awarded and how to arrive at such amount.

FACTS

On January 30, 2002, herein petitioner filed with the RTC of Parañaque City a Complaint for
the expropriation of fragments of two parcels of land in Parañaque City for the purpose of installing
runway approach lights spanning nine hundred (900) meters. The properties sought to be
expropriated are: (1) a 180-square-meter portion of Lot registered in the name of a certain Eladio
Santiago but is now owned by herein respondents who are his heirs (heirs of Santiago), and (2) a
540-square-meter portion of Lot No. 5012 registered in the names Antonio, Patricio and Cecilia, all
surnamed Bernabe, but was subsequently sold to and now owned by Titan Construction
Corporation, represented by herein respondent Jerry Yao.

In its Complaint, petitioner contended that it was compelled to institute the action for
expropriation because several meetings were held between the parties concerning the proposed
acquisition of the needed areas but no agreement was reached because respondents wanted
petitioner to buy their entire properties; however, the total areas of which are beyond what were
needed for the project. Petitioner also alleged that under Ordinance No. 96-16 of Parañaque City, the
zonal value of the subject lots is fixed at ₱3,000.00 per square meter.

In their Answer, respondents heirs of Santiago aver that: they are willing to sell provided the
entire lot covered by OCT No. 189 be expropriated because the remaining portion shall be rendered
useless after the completion of the project; the zonal valuation of the property by the Bureau of
Internal Revenue (BIR) per Department Order No. 16-98, dated February 2, 1998, is not less than
₱30,000.00 per square meter, and petitioner should also be made to pay consequential damages,
interest, attorney's fees and costs of suit.

On his part, respondent Yao, in his Answer, asserted that the expropriation sought by
petitioner is improper, invalid and inappropriate as there are still other probable and better
properties which can serve the purpose alleged in the complaint.

Meanwhile, in compliance with the Order of the RTC dated August 19, 2002, the parties
submitted the names of the commissioners of their choice for the purpose of determining the just
compensation for the property sought to be expropriated. In the same Order, the RTC designated the
City Assessor of Parañaque as Chairman of the commissioners.

Thereafter, the commissioners submitted their respective appraisal reports indicating


therein the amounts which were suggested as just compensation for the subject properties.

Then RTC issued an Order finding merit to the cause of the Respondents and ordering
Petitioner to pay the corresponding just compensation. Such order was further affirmed by the Court
of Appeals.

ISSUE

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Whether the ruling of the expropriation court lacks sufficient basis to support
its conclusion.

HELD

The petition is untenable.

It has been this Court's consistent ruling that just compensation cannot be arrived at
arbitrarily. As enumerated above, several factors must be considered, such as, but not limited to,
acquisition cost, current market value of like properties, tax value of the condemned property, its
size, shape, and location.

In consonance with the above rule, it has also been repeatedly emphasized that the
determination of just compensation in eminent domain cases is a judicial function and that any
valuation for just compensation laid down in the statutes may serve only as a guiding principle or
one of the factors in determining just compensation but it may not substitute the court's own
judgment as to what amount should be awarded and how to arrive at such amount. Thus, this Court
has held that the courts are not bound to consider the standards laid down under Section 5 of RA
8974 because the exact wording of the said provision is that "in .order to facilitate the determination
of just compensation, the courts may consider" them. The use of the word "may" in the provision is
construed as permissive and operating to confer discretion. In the absence of a finding of
arbitrariness, abuse or serious error, the exercise of such discretion may not be interfered with. In
the present case, the Court finds no arbitrariness, abuse or serious error in the findings of the RTC.
Considering that the determination of the amount of just compensation by the RTC was even
affirmed by the CA, which had the opportunity to examine the facts anew, this Court sees no reason
to disturb it.

At this point, it bears to reiterate that just compensation is defined as the full and fair
equivalent of the property taken from its owner by the expropriator. The measure is not the taker's
gain, but the owner's loss.The word "just" is used to intensify the meaning of the word
"compensation" and to convey, thereby, the idea that the equivalent to be rendered for the property
to be taken shall be substantial, full and ample.

Inasmuch as the determination of just compensation in expropriation cases is a judicial


function, as earlier discussed, and there being no showing that the RTC did not act capriciously or
arbitrarily in its valuation of the subject lots, and that such valuation is affirmed by the CA upon
review, the Court sees no reason to disturb the lower courts' factual findings as to such valuation.
The findings of the RTC and the CA were based on documentary evidence and the amounts fixed and
agreed to by the trial court and respondent appellate court are not grossly exorbitant or otherwise
unjustified.

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Navarro, Jessica

DANILO BARTOLATA, represented by his Attorney-in-Fact REBECCA R. PILOT and/or


DIONISIO P. PILOT v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC
WORKS AND HIGHWAYS, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND
COMMUNICATIONS, and TOLL REGULATORY BOARD
G.R. No. 223334, 7 June 2017

Jurisprudence teaches us that "taking," in the exercise of the power of eminent domain,
"occurs not only when the government actually deprives or dispossesses the property owner of his
property or of its ordinary use, but also when there is a practical destruction or material impairment
of the value of his property."

FACTS

Petitioner Danilo Bartolata acquired ownership over a 400 square meter parcel of land
identified as Lot 5, Blk. 1, Phase 1, AFP Officer's Village, Taguig, Metro Manila by virtue of an
Order of Award from the Bureau of Lands dated December 14, 1987. It appears from the Order of
Award that petitioner was the sole bidder for the property during a public auction conducted on
August 14, 1987, with the offer of Pl5 per square meter or P6,000 total for the 400 square meter lot.
Sometime in 1997, respondents acquired 223 square meters of petitioner's property for the
development of the Metro Manila Skyway Project. The parties agreed that in exchange for the
acquisition, petitioner would be paid just compensation for the appraised value of the property, fixed
at ₱55,000 per square meter or an aggregate of ₱l2,265,000 for the entire affected area by the
Municipal Appraisal Committee of Taguig, Metro Manila.5Subsequently, on August 14, 1997,
respondents appropriated ₱l,480,000 in favor of petitioner as partial payment.Since the date of
initial payment, petitioner had, on numerous occasions, demanded from respondents the balance of
Php l0,785,000.00, but the latter refused to settle their outstanding obligation. This prompted
petitioner to file, on September 20, 2006, a Complaint6 for a sum of money with the Regional Trial
Court (R TC), Branch 166 in Pasig City.

In their Supplemental Answer, dated July 9, 2009, respondents raised that the Order of
Award from the Bureau of Lands granting title to petitioner over the subject property contained the
following encumbrance:This award shall further be subject to the provisions of the Public Land Law
(Commonwealth Act No. 141, as amended), and particularly the following conditions: 2. The land
shall be subject to the easement and servitudes provided for in Section 109-114 of Commonwealth
Act No. 141, as amended.8 (emphasis added)Respondents then argued that pursuant to Section 112
of Commonwealth Act No. 141 (CA 141), the government is entitled to an easement of right of way
not exceeding 60 meters in width, without need of payment for just compensation, save for the value
of improvements existing. The pertinent provision reads: SECTION 112. Said land shall further be
subject to a right-of-way not exceeding sixty (60) meters in width for public highways, railroads,
irrigation ditches, aqueducts, telegraph and telephone lines and similar works as the Government or
any public or quasi-public service or enterprise, including mining or forest concessionaires, may
reasonably require for carrying on their business, with damages for the improvements only.

Under the above-cited provision, any payment for the government's use of the easement,
unless made to compensate the landowner for the value of the improvements affected, is
unwarranted. Consequently, respondents prayed, by way of counterclaim, that the ₱l,480,000 partial
payment made to petitioner for the acquisition of the latter's property, which was well within the 60-
meter threshold width, be returned to the government.In rebuttal, petitioner contended that
Presidential Decree No. 2004 (PD 2004), which amended Republic Act No. 730 (RA 730), allegedly
removed the statutory lien attached to the subject property. Sec. 2 of RA 730, as amended, now

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reads: SEC. 2. Lands acquired under the provisions of this Act shall not be subject to any restrictions
against encumbrance or alienation before and after the issuance of the patents thereon.

RTC: The RTC ruled that PD 2004 could not have removed the encumbrances attached to
petitioner's property since the law does not cover public lands sold through auction. The RTC,
therefore, ruled that the government is entitled to a 60-meter width right of way on the property, for
which it is not entitled to pay just compensation under Sec. 112 of CA 141. Nevertheless, the RTC
found no reason to grant respondents' counterclaim. In ruling that petitioner is not under obligation
to return the initial payment made, the RTC considered the fact that respondents effectively entered
into a contract of sale with petitioner for the acquisition of the piece of land to be used for the Metro
Manila Skyway Project, which contract of sale was consummated by respondents' partial payment.
By virtue of this consummated contract of sale, so the RTC further ratiocinated, petitioner never
opposed the taking of his property. He was made to believe, as he did in fact believe, that he will be
paid just compensation as agreed upon by the parties. It cannot then be said that petitioner was
illegally paid when he transacted with the government in good faith and when he relied on
respondents' representations that he is entitled to just compensation.

CA: The appellate court affirmed the RTC's finding that the subject property is still subject
to the easement of right of way, which is free of any compensation, except only for the value of the
existing improvements that may have been affected. Echoing the RTC's line of reasoning, the CA
ruled that PD 2004 could not be extended to benefit petitioner who acquired the subject property
through an auction sale. The lot in issue is, therefore, subject to the statutory lien embodied in Sec.
112 of CA 141.Further upholding the government's right to enforce against petitioner's property the
easement for public highways without cost, the CA granted respondents' counterclaim on appeal.
The CA noted that the portion of petitioner's property that was used by respondents corresponds to
the widths of 13.92 meters and 13.99 meters, well within the 60-meter limit under CA 141.16 Given
that respondents never exceeded the threshold width, and that petitioner never established that
there were improvements in his property that were affected, the CA held that petitioner is not
entitled to any form of compensation. Consequently, the CA ordered him to return the ₱l ,480,000
partial payment made, lest he be unjustly enriched by respondents' use of the legal easement that
under the law should have been free of charge.

ISSUE

Whether or not respondents are liable to pay just compensation to petitioner

HELD

The Court affirmed the CA's interpretation of Sec. 112 of CA 141 and ruled that the Republic
was under no obligation to pay therein respondent Andaya just compensation in enforcing its right of
way. Be that as it may, the Court did not foreclose the possibility of the property owner being
entitled to just compensation if the enforcement of the right of way resulted in the "taking" of the
portions not subject to the legal easement.

Jurisprudence teaches us that "taking," in the exercise of the power of eminent domain,
"occurs not only when the government actually deprives or dispossesses the property owner of his
property or of its ordinary use, but also when there is a practical destruction or material impairment
of the value of his property." As in Andaya, even though the Republic was not legally bound to pay
just compensation for enforcing its right of way, the Court nevertheless found that its project to be
undertaken-the construction of floodwalls for Phase 1, Stage 1 of the Lower Agusan Development
Project-would prevent ingress and egress in Andaya' s private property and tum it into a catch basin
for the floodwaters coming from the Agusan River, effectively depriving him of the normal use of the
remainder of his property. To the mind of the Court, this resulted in a "taking" of what was left of

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Andaya's property, entitling him to consequential damages, awarded by the Court in the form of just
compensation.

To demonstrate in concrete terms, the property involved in Andaya contained a total area of
10,380 square meters, which can be divided in the following manner:

i. The 4,443 square meter portion subject to the easement of right of way, which can further be
subdivided into two:

a. The 701 square meter portion corresponding to total area of the 10-meter easement
actually utilized by the Republic; and
b. The 3,742 square meter portion corresponding to the unutilized area of the portion
subject to the 60-meter width easement; and

ii. The remainder 5,937 square meter portion not subject to the government's easement of right
of way.

The 701 square meter easement in Andaya was the site for the floodwall project. This was
the extent of the right of way enforced by the government. The Court affirmed the CA ruling that the
Republic may acquire the 701 square meter property free of charge, save only for the value of the
improvements that may be affected.

As previously discussed, the floodwall project on the 701 square meter property would have
deprived Andaya of the normal use of the remainder, i.e., both the 3,742 and the 5,937 square meter
residual portions. But of the two, the Court held that Andaya is entitled to just compensation only
for the 5,937 square meter span. The Court ratiocinated that though unutilized, the 3,742 square
meter portion is still covered by Sec. 112 of CA 141 that limits the property owner's compensation to
the value of the improvements, not of the value of the property per se.To recapitulate, two elements
must concur before the property owner will be entitled to just compensation for the remaining
property under Sec. 112 of CA 141: (1) that the remainder is not subject to the statutory lien of right of
way; and (2) that the enforcement of the right of way results in the practical destruction or material
impairment of the value of the remaining property, or in the property owner being dispossessed or
otherwise deprived of the normal use of the said remainder.

Recall that the subject property in this case is a 400 square meter parcel of land. The 223
square meter portion of the subject property was traversed by respondents' Metro Manila Skyway
Project. And as noted by the CA, the subdivision plan shows that the covered area corresponds to the
widths of 13.92 meters and 13.99 meters, well within the 60-meter width threshold provided by law.
Respondents are then not under any legal obligation to pay just compensation for utilizing the 223
square meter portion pursuant to the Republic's right of way under Sec. 112 of CA 141, and in
accordance with our ruling in Andaya.

Anent the remaining 177 square meters of the 400 square meter lot, suffice it to state that it
was never proved that the said area was not subject to the statutory lien. Neither was it established
that despite not having been utilized for the Metro Manila Skyway Project, the enforcement of the
easement resulted in the "taking" of the remaining property all the same. There is then no
evidentiary basis for awarding petitioner just compensation, as correctly ruled by the RTC and the
CA. However, petitioner remains the owner of the said 177 square meters and can fully exercise all
the rights of ownership over the same.

Respondents are barred by estoppel from recovering the initial payment of ₱l,480,000 from
petitioner.

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Guilty of reiteration, Sec. 112 of CA 141 precludes petitioner from claiming just
compensation for the government's enforcement of its right of way. The contract allegedly entered by
the parties for the government's acquisition of the affected portion of the property in exchange for
just compensation is then void ab initio for being contrary to law. Consequently, petitioner has no
right to collect just compensation for the government's use of the 223 square meter lot. Anent the
₱l,480,000 partial payment already made by respondents, such amount paid shall be governed by the
provisions on solution in debiti or unjust enrichment.

"Solutia in debiti" arises when something is delivered through mistake to a person who has
no right to demand it. It obligates the latter to return what has been received through mistake. As
defined in Article 2154 of the Civil Code, 33the concept has two indispensable requisites: first, that
something has been unduly delivered through mistake; and second, that something was received
when there was no right to demand it.

Petitioner was never entitled to collect and receive just compensation for the government's
enforcement of its right of way, including the ₱l,480,000 payment made by respondents. For its part,
the government erroneously made payment to petitioner because of its failure to discover earlier on
that the portion of the property acquired was subject to a statutory lien in its favor, which it could
have easily learned of upon perusal of petitioner's Order of Award. These circumstances satisfy the
requirements for solution in debiti to apply. Regardless, respondents' action to compel petitioner to
return what was mistakenly delivered is now barred by the doctrine of estoppel. The doctrine is
based upon the grounds of public policy, fair dealing, good faith and justice, and its purpose is to
forbid one to speak against his own act, representations, or commitments to the injury of one to
whom they were directed and who reasonably relied thereon.

In this case, petitioner was erroneously paid ₱l,480,000 on August 14, 1997 when
respondents appropriated the amount in his favor. However, because of respondents' representation
that the amount was a mere down payment for just compensation, petitioner never objected to the
taking of his land and peacefully parted with his property, expecting to be paid in full for the value of
the taken property thereafter. As the events unfolded, respondents did not make good their
guarantee. Instead, they would claim for the recovery of the wrongful payment after almost twelve
(12) years, on July 9, 2009, as a counterclaim in their Supplemental Answer. Indubitably,
respondents are barred by estoppel from recovering from petitioner the amount initially paid. A
modification of the assailed CA ruling is, therefore, in order.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court resolves to PARTIALLY GRANT the


petition. The award to respondents for the recovery of the ₱l,480,000 initial payment is hereby
DELETED as their right to a refund has already prescribed. Petitioner Danilo Bartolata remains
the owner of the 177 square meter portion and can exercise all rights of ownership over the said lot.
SO ORDERED.

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Pagalilauan, Gerome

REPUBLIC v. SPOUSES SALVADOR


G.R. No. 205428, 7 June 2017

Consequential damages are only awarded if as a result of the expropriation, the remaining
property of the owner suffers from an impairment or decrease in value.

FACTS

Spouses Salvador are registered owners of a Parcel of land covered by a TCT in


Valenzuela.Republic, represented by DPWH, filed a verified complaint for the expropriation of the
said parcel of land as well as the improvements there on for the construction of the C-5 Northern
Link Road Project from NLEX to McArthur Highway.

The spouses received two checks from the DPWH representing 100% of the zonal value of the
subject property and the cost of the one-storey semi-concrete residential house erected on the
property amounting to P161,850.00 and P523,449.22, respectively.

RTC issued the corresponding Writ of Possession in favor of the Republic. RTC rendered
judgment in favor of the Republic condemning the subject property for the purpose of implementing
the construction of the project

RTC likewise directed the Republic to pay respondents consequential damages equivalent to
the value of the capital gains tax and other taxes necessary for the transfer of the subject property in
the Republic's name.

The Republic moved for partial reconsideration on the issue relating to the payment of
Capital Gains Tax

RTC denied the motion for having been belatedly filed.

The RTC also found no justifiable basis to reconsider its award of consequential damages in
favor of respondents, as the payment of capital gains tax and other transfer taxes is but a
consequence of the expropriation proceedings.

Republic filed the present Petition for Review on Certiorari assailing the RTC's Decision and
Order.

ISSUE

Whether the capital gains tax on the transfer of the expropriated property can be considered
as consequential damages that may be awarded to respondents.

HELD

No.

The RTC committed a serious error when it directed the Republic to pay respondents
consequential damages equivalent to the value of the capital gains tax and other taxes necessary for
the transfer of the subject property.

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"Just compensation is defined as the full and fair equivalent of the property sought to be
expropriated. The measure is not the taker's gain but the owner's loss. The compensation, to be just
must be fair not only to the owner but also to the taker."

In order to determine just compensation, the trial court should first ascertain the market
value of the property by considering the cost of acquisition, the current value of like properties, its
actual or potential uses, and in the particular case of lands, their size, shape, location and the tax
declarations thereon. If, as a result of the expropriation the remaining lot suffers from an
impairment or decrease in value consequential damages may be awarded by the trial court, provided
that the consequential benefits which may arise from the expropriation do not exceed said damages
suffered by the owner of the property.

In this case, the RTC deemed it fair and just for DPWH to pay for the fees. This is an error.
It is settled that the transfer of property through expropriation proceedings is a sale or· exchange
within the meaning of the National Internal Revenue Code, and profit from the transaction
constitutes capital gain. Since capital gains tax is a tax on passive income, it is the seller, or
respondents in this case, who are liable to shoulder the tax.

In fact, DPWH is authorized by the BIR as a withholding agent for the expropriation of real
property for infrastructure projects.

Consequential damages are only awarded if as a result of the expropriation, the remaining
property of the owner suffers from an impairment or decrease in value. In this case, no evidence was
submitted to prove any impairment or decrease in value of the subject property as a result of the
expropriation.

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Pagtalunan, Maylen C.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM v. SUSIE IRENE GALLE


G.R. No. 171836, 11 August 2014

Without prompt payment, compensation cannot, be considered "just," for the owner is made to
suffer the consequence of being immediately deprived of his land while being made to wait for years
before actually receiving the amount necessary to cope with his loss

FACTS

Respondent Susie Irene Galle (Galle) owned two contiguous parcels of land known as the
Patalon Coconut Estate (the estate) in Patalon, Zamboanga City, with a total area of 410.2271
hectares (or 4,102,271 square meters) and covered by two titles issued in her name.

In August 1992 Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) valued 356.2257 hectares of the estateat
₱6,083,545.26, which valuation was rejected by Galle. The rejected amount was supposedly deposited
in the name of Galle, in the form of cash and bonds.Zamboanga City Registry of Deeds cancelled
Galle’s titles and transferred the entire estate to the State.Part of her land was taken from Galle by
the government without just compensation.

Galle instituted a case for "Cancellation of Transfer Certificates of Title and Reconveyance,
Determination and Payment of Just Compensation, and Damages.

The SAC conducted pretrial, where the parties jointly moved for the creation of a
commission of three that would determine the just compensation for Galle’s estate. Thus,
Zamboanga City Assessor, Zamboanga City Engineer and DBP Property Appraiser werecalled in to
sit as commissioners.The commissioners submitted the sum of ₱340,040,054.00 asthe value of
plaintiff Susie Irene Galle’s expropriated land.

On August 20, 1992, DAR offered a compensation of Php6,083,545.26 for the property
covering an area of 356.2257 has. This offered compensation was later increased to Php7,534,063.92.

The Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) conducted summary


administrative proceedings for the acquisition of the estate and LBP to determine and include the
value of the 1.4 hectares barangay road in the total valuation. It directed to pay the landowner,
₱10,627,148.00 upon completion of the essential requirements.

ISSUE

Whether or not the amount to be paid constitutes “just compensation”?

HELD

No. The Court remanded the case for the proper computation of just compensation.

There is a need to remand the case in order to properly compute the just compensation that
Galle and her heirs are entitled to, including interest and attorney’s fees, ifany. The Court is not the
proper forum for that, asit is not a trier of facts, and it cannot receive evidence to fix the correct
amount of just compensation. For thispurpose, the CA may be commissioned to receive and evaluate
the evidence of the parties; this becomes especially relevant where the property was taken from its
owners way back and the case for just compensation has been pending for decades, not to mention

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that the original owner – Susie Galle – did not live to receive what is due her, even as she fought this
protracted court battle. Considering, however, the only surviving petitioner is now an octogenarian
and needs urgent medical attention, we find these special circumstances justifying in the
acceleration of the final disposition of this case. This court deemed it best pro hacviceto commission
the CA as its agent to receiveand evaluate the evidence of the parties. The CA’s mandate is to
ascertain the just compensation due in accordance with this Decision, applying Section 17 of RA
6557 and applicable DAR regulations. As explained in Land Bank of the Philippines v. Gallego, Jr.,
the remand of cases before this Court to the CA for the reception of further evidence is not a novel
procedure. It is sanctioned by Section 6, Rule 46 of the Rules of Court. In fact, the Court availed of
this procedure in quite a few cases.

The determination of just compensation is a judicial function. Moreover, both Section 17 of


RA 6657 and the formula prescribed in the applicable AO of the DAR must be considered in the
computation.

The concept of just compensation contemplates of just and timely payment; it embraces not
only the correct determination of the amount to be paid to the landowner, but also the payment ofthe
land within a reasonable time from its taking. Without prompt payment, compensation cannot, as
Land Bank of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals instructs, be considered "just," for the owner is
made to suffer the consequence of being immediately deprived of his land while being made to wait
for years before actually receiving the amount necessary to cope with his loss.

The Court opted to grant, in the interest of justice, Galle’s heirs the right to withdraw the
amount of ₱7,534,063.91, which LBP iswilling to compensate the respondents for their mother’s
estate, in the meantime that the case is pending determination anew in the CA.

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Rights of Suspects

Perianes, Laurisse Marie

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EDUARDO MACAM y LONTOC, et al.


G.R. No. L-91011-12, 24 November 1994, FIRST DIVISION (Quiason, J.)

The right to counsel attaches upon the start of an investigation. While any identification of an
uncounseled accused at the police line-up is inadmissible, the exclusionary sanctions against the
admission in evidence of custodial investigation of an uncounseled accused cannot be applied where
the prosecution did not present evidence regarding appellant’s indentification at the police line-up.

FACTS

Accused-appellants Eduardo Macam (Eduardo), et al. were accused of Robbery with


Homicide. Accordingly, they entered the residence of one Benito Macam y Sy (Benito) and divested
said party of his properties which valued in the total amount of P454,000.00, more or less, and by
reason of the crime of Robbery, accused-appellants attacked, assaulted, and employed personal
violence upon the person of one Leticia Macam y Tui (Leticia), thereby inflicting upon her serious
and mortal injuries which were direct and immediate of her untimely death. On the occasion of said
offense, three (3) other persons sustained physical injuries which have required medical attendance
for more than 30 days. In addition to the said crime of Robbery with Homicide, one of the accused
appellants, Eugenio Cawilan, Sr. (Eugenio, Sr.) was also charged with violation of Presidential
Decree No. 1612, otherwise known as the Anti-Fencing Law.

When arraigned, all of the accused-appellant pleaded “not guilty” to the crimes charged.
However, after the prosecution presented its evidence, Eduardo together with Antonio Cedro
(Antonio), and Eugenio Cawilan, Jr. (Eugenio, Jr.) assisted by their respective counsels, changed
their plea from “not guilty” to “guilty.” Consequently, a separated judgement was rendered
sentencing each of them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The trial proceeded with respect
to the Eugenio Sr. and other accused-appellants herein. Thereafter, the trial court rendered its
judgment finding the latter guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Robbery with Homicide.
In addition thereto, Eugenio, Sr. was acquitted of violation of the Anti-Fencing Law.

Hence, this appeal where accused appellants contend that their arrest without a warrant
and their uncounseled identification by the prosecution witnesses during the police line-up at the
hospital are violative of their constitutional rights under Section 12, Article 3 of the Constitution.

ISSUE

Whether or not the arrest of accused-appellants herein are valid.

HELD

NO.

According to accused-appellants, it was the security guards at the factory of the father of
accused Eduardo who detained them. They were later brought to the Quezon City Police
Headquarters for investigation when they refused to admit their participation in the commission of
the crime. Appellants were then brought to the Quezon City General Hospital and were made to line-
up together with several policemen in civilian clothes. The three (3) persons who sustained injuries
during the robbery were asked to pinpoint the perpetrators.

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In previous decisions, the Court held that the right to counsel attaches upon the start of an
investigation, i.e., when the investigating officer starts to ask questions to elicit information,
confessions or admissions from the accused. A police line-up is considered a critical stage of the
proceedings. However, the prosecution did not present evidence regarding appellant’s identification
at the police line-up. Hence, the exclusionary sanctions against the admission in evidence of
custodial identification of an uncounseled accused cannot be applied.

Additionally, appellants did not object to the in-court identification made by the prosecution
witnesses, who made the identification of appellants at the police line-up at the hospital, again
identified appellants in open court. Accused-appellants did not object to the in-court identification as
being tainted by the illegal line-up. In the absence of such identification, the prosecution need not
show that said identifications were made of independent origin.

While the arrest of accused-appellants was made without the benefit of a warrant of arrest.
However, they are estopped from questioning the legality of their arrest. This issue is being raised
for the first time by the accused-appellants before the Supreme Court. Thus, any irregularity
attendant of their arrest was cured when they voluntarily submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of
the trial court by entering a plea of not guilty and by participating in the trial.

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Pura, Valentin, V

PEOPLE vs. LAMSING


G.R. No. 105316, 21 September 1995

The right to counsel guaranteed in Art. III, Sec. 12(1) of the Constitution does not extend to
police lineups because they are not part of custodial investigations.

FACTS

The case arose from the alleged killing by Rene Lamsingof Winnie Cabunilas, a security
guard, while on duty at the construction site of a Synergy building on Aurora Boulevard, Cubao,
Quezon City, in the early hours of November 1, 1989.

Four days after the killing, Lamsing was arrested by policemen, while in a drinking spree
with friends at a basketball court near the scene of the crime. He was detained and in a police
lineup, was identified by witnesses as one of those responsible for the death of Winnie Cabunilas.

On November 9, 1989, an information was filed against him and a John Doe for the special
complex crime of robbery with homicide. The trial court convicted Lamsing.

Lamsing complains that he was made to join a police lineup where he was identified by three
persons, including Elizabeth De los Santos, without the assistance of counsel.

ISSUE

Whether or not the right to counsel is mandatory in a police lineup.

HELD

NO. It was settled in Gamboa v. Cruzthat the right to counsel guaranteed in Art. III, Sec.
12(1) of the Constitution does not extend to police lineups because they are not part of custodial
investigations. The reason for this is that at that point, the process has not yet shifted from the
investigatory to the accusatory. The accused's right to counsel attaches only from the time that
adversary judicial proceedings are taken against him.

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Ramo, Keif Khari M.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. HECTOR MAQUEDA


G.R. No. 112983, 22 March 1995

Right to Counsel

The exercise of the rights to remain silent and to counsel and to be informed thereof under
Section 12(1)1, Article III of the Constitution are not confined to that period prior to the filing of a
criminal complaint or information but are available at that stage when a person is “under
investigation for the commission of an offense.”

Par. 2 Section 20 (1973 Constitution)

The second paragraph of Section 20, Article III of the 1973 Constitution broadened the
application of Miranda by making it applicable to the investigation for the commission of an offense of
a person not incustody. Accordingly, as so formulated, the second paragraph of Section 20 changed
the rule adopted in People vs. Jose that the rights of the accused only begin upon arraignment.

Application of par. 2 Section 20 (1973 Constitution)

At the time a person is arrested, it shall be the duty of the arresting officer to inform him of
the reason for the arrest and he must be shown the warrant of arrest, if any. He shall be informed of
his constitutional rights to remain silent and to counsel, and that any statement he might make
could be used against him. The person arrested shall have the right to communicate with his lawyer,
a relative, or anyone he chooses by the most expedient means—by telephone if possible—or by letter
or messenger. It shall be the responsibility of the arresting officer to see to it that this is
accomplished. No custodial investigation shall be conducted unless it be in the presence of counsel
engaged by the person arrested, by any person on his behalf, or appointed by the court upon petition
either of the detainee himself or by anyone on his behalf. The right to counsel may be waived but the
waiver shall not be valid unless made with the assistance of counsel. Any statement obtained in
violation of the procedure herein laid down, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, in whole or in part,
shall be inadmissible in evidence.

The right to remain silent and to counsel and to be informed thereof under the second
paragraph of Section 20 are available to a person at any time before arraignment whenever he is
investigated for the commission of an offense. This paragraphwas incorporated into Section 12(1),
Article III of the presentConstitution with the following additional safeguards: (a) thecounselmust be
competent andindependent, preferably of hisown choice, (b) if the party cannot afford the services of
such counsel, he must be provided with one, and (c) the rights therein cannot be waived except in
writing and in the presence of counsel.

Section 12(2), Article III of 1987 Constitution

When the court has already acquired jurisdiction over the person of accused by virtue of
warrant of arrest, it would be improper for any public officer or law enforcement agency to investigate
him in connection with the commission of the offense for which he is charged. If,nevertheless, he is
subjected to such investigation, then Section12(1), Article III of the Constitution and the jurisprudence
thereon must be faithfully complied with.

1 SEC. 12(1) Any person under investigation for the commission ofan offense shall have the right to be informed of his right
toremain silent and to have competent and independent counselpreferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford
theservices of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rightscannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of
counsel.

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FACTS

Britisher Horace William Barker, a consultant of the World Bank, and his Filipino wife,
Teresita Mendoza, chose the peace and quiet of a country home not any near the metropolis of
Manila or its environs, but in the rugged and mountainous terrain of Tuba, Benguet. In the early
morning of 27 August 1991, in the sanctity of their own home, Horace was brutally slain and
Teresita badly battered with lead pipes on the occasion of a robbery. Sufficient prima facie evidence
pointed to Rene Salvamante, the victims·former houseboy, as one of the perpetrators of the ghastly
crime.

Eventually, the prosecution filed Amended Informationswith only Salvamante and Maqueda
as the accused. Since Rene Salvamante continues to elude arrest and has remained at large, trial
proceeded against Maqueda only, after he entered a plea of not guilty.

The prosecution’s version of the events that transpired aver that Maqueda was arrested in
Guinyangan, Quezon. The Guinyangan Police Station turned over Maqueda to Maj. Anagaran who
then brought Maqueda to the Benguet Provincial Jail. That before Maj. Anagaran’s arrival at
Guinyangan, Maqueda had been taken to the headquarters of the PNP Mobile Force Company in
Quezon. Its commanding officerdirected SPO3 Armando Molleno to get Maqueda’s statement. He did
so and according to him, he informed Maqueda of his rights under the Constitution. Maqueda
thereafter signed a SinumpaangSalaysay wherein he narrated his participation in the crime at the
Barker house on 27 August 1991.

In April 1992, while he was under detention, Maqueda filed a Motion to Grant Bail, stating
therein that “he is willing and volunteering to be a State witness in the above entitled case, it
appearing that he is the least guilty among the accused in this case.” The prosecutor (Prosecutor
Zarate) told Maqueda that he would oppose the motion for bail since he, Maqueda, was the only
accused on trial.

Statements to Ray Dean Salvosa

In the meantime, Ray Dean Salvosa arrived at the Office of Prosecutor Zarate and obtained
permission from the latter to talk to Maqueda. Salvosa then led Maqueda toward the balcony.
Maqueda narrated to Salvosa that Salvamante brought him to Baguio City in order to find a job as a
peanut vendor; Salvamante then brought him to the Barker house and it was only when they were at
the vicinity thereof that Salvamante revealed to him that his real purpose in going to Baguio City
was to rob the Barkers; he initially objected to the plan, but later on agreed to it; when they were in
the kitchen of the Barker house, one of the househelps was already there; Salvamante hit her with a
lead pipe and she screamed; then Mrs. Barker came down, forcing him, Maqueda, to attack her with
the lead pipe provided him by Salvamante. After he felled Mrs. Barker, he helped Salvamante in
beating up Mr. Barker who had followed his wife downstairs. When the Barkers were already
unconscious on the floor, Salvamante went upstairs and a few minutes later came down bringing
with him a radio cassette and some pieces of jewelry. Maqueda further divulged to Salvosa that they
then changed clothes, went out of the house, walked toward the road where they saw two persons
from whom they asked directions, and when a passenger jeepney stopped and they were informed by
the two persons that it was bound for Baguio City, he and Salvamante boarded it. They alighted
somewhere along Albano Street in Baguio City and walked until they reached the Philippine Rabbit
Bus station where they boarded a bus for Manila

Maqueda put up the defense of denial and alibi. Maqueda said that he was arrested by
members of the CAFGU was then brought to the Guinyangan municipal jail, then to the Tuba Police
Station, Tuba, Benguet. There he was told to cooperate with the police in arresting Salvamante so he

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would not stay long in the Province of Benguet. He was also told that if he would point to accused
Salvamante, he would be freed and he could also become a state witness. He told them that he could
attest to the fact that he accompanied accused Salvamante in selling the cassette recorder. He was
brought to the Benguet Provincial Jail at La Trinidad, Benguet where he has remained under
detention up to the present.

Decision of the Trial Court

In its decision (1993), the trialcourt found accused Hector Maqueda guilty beyondreasonable
doubt of the crime of robbery with homicide andserious physical injuries.

Although the trial court had doubts on the identification of Maqueda by prosecution
witnesses Teresita Mendoza Barker, NorieDacara, and Julieta Villanueva and thus disregarded
their testimonies on this matter, it decreed a conviction “based on the confession and the proof of
“corpusdelicti” as well as on circumstantial evidence. It stated, among others, that Maqueda’s Motion
to Grant Bail contains this statement ‘That he is willing and volunteering to be a State witness in the
above-entitled case, it appearing that he is the least guilty among the accused in this case.’Thisin
effect, supports his extrajudicial confession (referring to the SinumpaangSalaysaytaken by SPO3
Molleno immediately after he was arrested) made to thepolice at Calauag, Quezon Province. The
Court said that his admissions to Prosecutor Zarate and Ray Dean Salvosa as to what he actually did
can be considered as another circumstance to already bolster the increasing circumstances against
the accused.

ISSUE/S

Was the trial court correct in admittingthe statementsof Maquedain his


SinumpaangSalaysay?

HELD

NO.

The trial court admitted the SinumpaangSalaysay ofaccused Maqueda although it was taken
without theassistance of counsel because it was of the opinion thatsince an information had already
been filed in courtagainst him and he was arrested pursuant to a warrant ofarrest issued by the
court, the SinumpaangSalaysaywasnot, therefore, taken during custodialinvestigation. Hence,
Section 12(1), Article III of the Constitution, is not applicable, i.e., thepolice investigation was
“nolonger within the ambit of a custodial investigation.” It held thatthe admissibility of
theSinumpaangSalaysayshould not be tested under theaforequoted Section 12(1), Article III of the
Constitution,but on the voluntariness of its execution. Sincevoluntariness is presumed, Maqueda had
the burden ofproving otherwise, which he failed to do and, hence, theSinumpaangSalaysaywas
admissible against him.

While we commend the efforts of the trial court to distinguish between the rights of a person
under Section 12(1), Article III of the Constitution and his rights after a criminal complaint or
information had been filed against him, we cannot agree with its sweeping view that after such filing
an accused "no longer Has] the right to remain silent and to counsel but he [has] the right to refuse
to be a witness and not to have any prejudice whatsoever result to him by such refusal." If this were
so, then there would be a hiatus in the criminal justice process where an accused is deprived of his
constitutional rights to remain silent and to counsel and to be informed of such rights. Such a view
would not only give a very restrictive application to Section 12(1).

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The exercise of the rights to remain silent and to counsel and to be informed thereof under
Section 12(1), Article III of the Constitution are not confined to that period prior to the filing of a
criminal complaint or information but are available at that stage when a person is "under
investigation for the commission of an offense." The direct and primary source of this Section 12(1) is
the second paragraph of Section 20, Article II of the 1973 Constitution which is now Section 17,
Article III of the 1987 Constitution.

It was, therefore, wrong for the trial court to hold that Section 12(1), Article III of the
Constitution is strictly limited to custodial investigation and that it does not apply to a person
against whom a criminal complaint or information has already been filed because after its filing he
loses his right to remain silent and to counsel. Once a criminal complaint or information is filed in
court and the accused is thereafter arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest, he must be delivered to
the nearest police station or jail and the arresting officer must make a return of the warrant to the
issuing judge,and since the court has already acquired jurisdiction over his person, it would be
improper for any public officer or law enforcement agency to investigate him in connection with the
commission of the offense for which he is charged. If, nevertheless, he is subjected to such'
investigation, then Section 12(1), Article III of the Constitution and the jurisprudence thereon must
be faithfully complied with.

The SinumpaangSalaysay of Maqueda taken by SP02 Molleno after the former's arrest was
taken in palpable violation of his rights under Section 12(1), Article III of the Constitution. As
disclosed by a reading thereof, Maqueda was not even told of any of his constitutional rights under
the said section. The statement was also taken in the absence of counsel. Such
uncounselled SinumpaangSalaysay is wholly inadmissible pursuant to paragraph 3, Section 12,
Article III of the Constitution2.

2(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall be inadmissible in evidence against
him.

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Revadillo, Clarence

PEOPLE v. TING LAN UY


G.R. No. 157399, 17 November 2015

FACTS

Sometime in July 1990, accused Jose Ting Lan Uy, Jr., a public accountable officer,being
theTreasurer of National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR), and Ernesto Gamus and Jaime Ochoa,
both public officers being the Manager of the Loan Management and Foreign Exchange Division and
Foreign Trader Analyst, respectively, of NAPOCOR; and accused Raul Gutierrez, a private
individual being a foreign exchange trader, falsify or cause to be falsified the NAPOCOR's
application for managers checks with the Philippine National Bank in the total amount of 183 805
291.25 pesos, intended for the purchase of US dollars from the United Coconut Planters Bank, by
inserting the account number of Raul Gutierrez SA-111-121204-4, when in truth and infact that the
Payment Instructions when signed by the NAPOCOR authorities did not indicate the account
number of Raul Gutierrez, thereby making alteration or intercalation in a genuine document which
changes its meaning, and with the use of the said falsified commercial documents, accused succeeded
in diverting, collecting and receiving the said amount from NAPOCOR, which they thereafter
malverse, embezzle, misappropriate, and convert to their own personal use and benefit to the
damage and prejudice of the NAPOCOR. Gamus, Uy, and Ochoa pleaded not guilty. Gutierrez
remained at large.

During pre-trial, it was found that Gamus does not have any custody to public funds.
However, because of preponderance of evidence, he is civilly liable for the damages.

ISSUE

Whether Ochoa be held guilty of malversation thru falsification of commercial document


without violating his constitutional right to due process and to be informed of the accusation against
him, when the information alleged willful and intentional commission of the acts complained of,
whereas the judgment found him guilty of inexcusable negligence amounting to malice.

HELD

The Sandiganbayan rendered its decision, finding Ochoa guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
the crime of malversation thru falsification of commercial document and that, on theground of
reasonable doubt, accused Ting Lan Uy, Jr., was acquitted of Malversation of public funds thru
falsification of commercial document. Malversation may be committed either througha positive act of
misappropriation of public funds or property or passively through negligence by allowing another to
commit such misappropriation. The felony involves breach of public trust, and whether it is
committed through deceit or negligence, the law makes it punishable and prescribes a uniform
penalty. Even when the information charges willful malversation, conviction for malversation
through negligence may still be adjudged if the evidence ultimately proves that mode of commission
of the offense.

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Rosario, Patricia Mae

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RAPEZA


G.R. No. 169431, 4 April 2007 (Tinga, J.)

A confession is admissible in evidence if it is satisfactorily shown to have been obtained


withinthe limits imposed by the 1987 Constitution.

FACTS

AppellantJerry Rapeza, together with Mike Regino (Regino), was charged with the murder of
the Spouses Cesar Ganzon and Priscilla Libas.

The Information filed by the prosecution alleged that on October 21, 1995 unidentified
woman went reported to the police a murder that took place in SitioCawa-Cawa, Culion. The officer-
in-charge, SPO2 CiriacoGapas, together with the investigating team headed by SPO2
CrisantoCuizon, Jr., went to the victims' house, where they saw two blooded bodies, which was later
identified as Libas and Ganzon. The Autopsy Reports show that the common cause of death was
hypovolemic shock secondary to massive bleeding from multiple stab wounds and both bodies were in
the early stage of decomposition.

Upon information supplied to SPO2 Gapas, he went out to look for Rapeza and invited the
latter for questioning. While under police custody, the appellant expressed his willingness to make
confession in the presence of a lawyer. The appellant was brought to the police station and later
brought to the house of the only available lawyer in the municipality- Atty. Roberto Reyes. Because
Atty. Reyes is suffering from rheumatism and the typewriter in the police station was out of order,
the custodial investigation took place at the house of Atty. Reyes, in the presence of the Vice Mayor
of Culion, 2 officials of the Sangguniang Barangay, an interpreter, SPO2 Cuizon, and SPO2 Gapas
(officer in charge). There, Rapeza executed a SinumpaangSalaysay where he narrated the incident.
An interpreter was provided appellant as he was not well versed in Tagalog being a native of Samar.
As he is illiterate, appellant affixed only his thumbmark on the statement above his printed name.
Bonifacio Abad, theinterpreter, and Atty. Reyes, as the assisting counsel, also signed the statement.
Atty. Reyes signed again as the notary public who notarized the statement.

Thereafter, a complaint for multiple murder was files against Regino, who was likewise
arrested. The Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Culion conducted preliminary investigation. Finding
probable cause only against Rapeza, Regino was ordered released. Provincial prosecutor however
reversed the finding of the MTC by impleading Regino in the information, but then the latter had
left Culion already and remained at large.

During the trial, the appellant testified that he did not know the victims and that he had
nothing to do with their deaths. He was a native of Samar and he did not know how to read or write
as he never attended school. He arrived in Culion as afisherman for the Parabal Fishing Boat and
several days after appellant’s arrival, the killings tookplace. Appellant, along with Regino and
another mannamed Benny Macabili, was asked by a police officer to help load the bodies of the
victims in a banca. Shortly thereafter, appellant was arrested and brought to the municipal hall
where he was mauled by PO2 Macatangayand placed in a small cell. Appellant was then asked by
SPO2 Gapas to sign a document so that he will be released. When appellant replied that he did not
know how to sign his name, SPO2 Gapas took appellant’s thumb, dipped it in ink and marked it on
the document.He claimed he didnot resist because he was afraid of being mauled again.

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Appellant further denied going to the house of Atty.Reyes or meeting Abad, the alleged
interpreter. He neverleft the jail from the time he was arrested except to attendthe hearing before
the MTC.

The Regional Trial Court (RTC) held that the accused is guilty of two (2) counts of murder.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the Decision of the RTC.

ISSUE

Whether the guilt of the accused was proven beyond reasonable doubt.

HELD

NO. There is no direct evidence of appellant’s guilt except for the alleged confession and the
corpus delicti. Upon careful examination of the alleged confession and the testimony of the
witnesses, we hold that the alleged confession is inadmissible and must perforce be discarded.

A confession is admissible in evidence if it is satisfactorily shown to have been obtained


within the limits imposed by the 1987 Constitution. Sec. 12, Art. III thereof states in part, to wit:
SEC. 12. (1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to
be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably
of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one.
These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel. (2) No torture, force,
violence, threat, intimidation or any other means which vitiate the free will shall be used against
him. Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are
prohibited. (3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall be
inadmissible in evidence against him.

It is stated in the alleged confession that prior to questioning SPO2 Gapashad informed
appellant in Tagalog of his right to remain silent, that any statement he made could be used in
evidence for or against him, that he has a right to counsel of his own choice, and that if he cannot
afford the services of one, the police shall provide one for him. However, there is no showing that
appellant had actually understood his rights. He was not even informed that he may waive such
rights only in writing and in the presence of counsel. In order to comply with the constitutional
mandates, there should likewise be meaningful communication to and understanding of his rights by
the appellant, as opposed to a routine, peremptory and meaningless recital thereof. Since
comprehension is the objective, the degree of explanation required will necessarily depend on the
education, intelligence, and other relevant personal circumstances of the person
undergoinginvestigation.

With the exclusion of appellant’s alleged confession, we are left with no other recourse but to
acquit him of the offenses charged for the constitutional right to be presumed innocent until proven
guilty can be overcome only by proof beyond reasonable doubt. In fact, unless the prosecution
discharges the burden of proving the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, the latter need
not even offer evidence in his behalf.

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San Gil, Kamille Bernadeth

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ANTONIO LAUGA


G.R. No. 186228, 15 March 2010

Barangay-based volunteer organizations in the nature of watch groups, as in the case of the
"bantay bayan," are recognized by the local government unit to perform functions relating to the
preservation of peace and order at the barangay level. Thus, any inquiry he makes has the color of a
state-related function and objective insofar as the entitlement of a suspect to his constitutional rights
provided for under Article III, Section 12 of the Constitution, otherwise known as the Miranda Rights,
is concerned.

FACTS

Antonio Lauga was accused of the crime of qualified rape committed against his 13-year old
daughter. One of the witnesses for the prosecution was Moises Boy Banting, a bantay bayan in the
barangay. He said that after his assistance was sought, he went to Lauga’s house and found him
wearing only his underwear. He invited Lauga to the police station, to which Lauga obliged. At the
police outpost, Lauga admitted to him that he raped his daughter because he was unable to control
himself.

Lauga contested the admissibility in evidence of his alleged confession with a "bantay bayan"
and the credibility of the witnesses for the prosecution. He further argues that even if he, indeed,
confessed to Moises Boy Banting, a "bantay bayan," the confession was inadmissible in evidence
because he was not assisted by a lawyer and there was no valid waiver of such requirement.

ISSUE

Whether his extrajudicial confession before a “bantay bayan” without the assistance of a
counsel was a violation of his constitutional right.

HELD

YES. A "bantay bayan," is "a group of male residents living in the area organized for the
purpose of keeping peace in their community, which is an accredited auxiliary of the PNP." Pursuant
to Section 1(g) of Executive Order No. 309 issued on 11 November 1987, as amended, a Peace and
Order Committee in each barangay shall be organized "to serve as implementing arm of the
City/Municipal Peace and Order Council at the Barangay level." The composition of the Committee
includes, among others: (1) the Punong Barangay as Chairman; (2) the Chairman of
the Sangguniang Kabataan; (3) a Member of the Lupon Tagapamayapa; (4) a Barangay Tanod; and
(5) at least three (3) Members of existing Barangay-Based Anti-Crime or neighborhood Watch
Groups or a Non Government Organization Representative well-known in his community.

This Court is, therefore, convinced that barangay-based volunteer organizations in the
nature of watch groups, as in the case of the "bantay bayan," are recognized by the local government
unit to perform functions relating to the preservation of peace and order at the barangay level. Thus,
without ruling on the legality of the actions taken by Moises Boy Banting, and the specific scope of
duties and responsibilities delegated to a "bantay bayan," particularly on the authority to conduct a
custodial investigation, any inquiry he makes has the color of a state-related function and objective
insofar as the entitlement of a suspect to his constitutional rights provided for under Article III,
Section 12 of the Constitution, otherwise known as the Miranda Rights, is concerned.

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We, therefore, find the extrajudicial confession of appellant, which was taken without a
counsel, inadmissible in evidence.

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Rights of the Accused

Solis, Patrick David

CORPUZ v. PEOPLE
G.R. No. 74259, 14 February 1991

The equipoise rule invoked by petitioner is applicable only where the evidence of the parties is
evenly balanced, in which case the constitutional presumption of innocence should tilt the scales in
favor of the accused.

FACTS

As Supervising Accounting Clerk in the Office of the Provincial Treasurer of Nueva Vizcaya,
the petitioner was designated Acting Supervising Cashier in the said Office. In this capacity, he
received collections, disbursed funds and made bank deposits and withdrawals pertaining to
government accounts.

His designation as Acting Supervising Cashier was terminated, and a Transfer of


Accountabilities was subsequently effected between the petitioner and his successor. The Certificate
of Turnover revealed a shortage in the amount of P72,823.08.

A letter of demand required the petitioner to produce the missing amount but he was able to
pay only P10,159.50. The balance was demanded in another letter. This was subsequently reduced
by P12,067.51 through the payment to the petitioner of temporarily disallowed cash items and
deductions from his salary before his dismissal from the service.

A final letter of demand for the total deficiency of P50,596.07 was sent to the petitioner. The
demand not having been met, an information for malversation of the said amount was filed against
him with the respondent court.

The above facts are not denied by the petitioner. He insists, however, that he is not guilty of
the charge because the shortage imputed to him was malversed by other persons.

His claim is that the P50,000.00 constituting the bulk of the shortage represented the
unliquidated withdrawal made by Paymaster Diosdado Pineda through one of four separate checks
issued and encashed while the petitioner was on official leave of absence. He avers he was later
made to post the amount in his cash book by Acting Deputy Provincial Treasurer Bernardo C.
Aluning and he had no choice but to comply although he had not actually received the said amount.

Testifying for the prosecution, Pineda insisted he had liquidated all four checks after the
amounts thereof were disbursed, turning over to the petitioner the corresponding withdrawal
vouchers, paid vouchers, and payrolls, (which were all submitted as exhibits). He added that the
petitioner was not really absent on the dates in question as alleged but was in fact the one who
prepared the said checks in the morning before attending to his sick wife in the hospital, returning to
the office in the afternoon. He said that the payroll payments made on December 22, 23 and 29,
1980, were liquidated on December 29, 1980, after the petitioner came back from the hospital.

Acting Provincial Treasurer Perfecto Martinez corroborated Pineda’s testimony that the
petitioner was not on official leave on the dates in question. He said that although Check No. 958525
had already been encashed on December 23, 1980, the encashment was not immediately recorded in
the petitioner’s cashbook, “which (was) one way of temporarily hiding the early detection of a

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shortage.” It was only in March 1981 that the shortage was discovered and, when confronted with it,
the petitioner had no explanation to offer.

Aluning denied he had exerted pressure on the petitioner topost the shortage in the
petitioner’s cash book. He explained that after receiving the bank statement from the PNB for
December 1980, he discovered that although the amount of P50,000.00 appeared to have been
already encashed, the en-cashment was not reflected in the petitioner’s cash book. As his superior,
he required the petitioner to make the proper entry in the cash book because the amount withdrawn
was already part of the latter’s accountability.

ISSUE

Whether the equipoise rule invoked by the petitioner is applicable, in which case the
constitutional presumption of innocence should tilt the scales in favor of the accused.

HELD

The above findings are mainly factual and are based on substantial evidence. There is no
reason to disturb them, absent any of the exceptional circumstances that will justify their review and
reversal. On the contrary, the Court is convinced that the facts as established point unmistakably to
the petitioner’s guilt of the offense charged.

The petitioner’s claim that he is the victim of a “sinister design” to hold him responsible for a
crime he has not committed is less than convincing. His attempt to throw the blame on others for his
failure to account for the missing money only shows it is he who is looking for a scapegoat. The
plaintive protest that he is “a small fry” victimized by the “untouchables” during the Marcos regime
is a mere emotional appeal that does not impress at all. The suggestion that the supposed injustice
on the petitioner would be abetted by this Court unless his conviction is reversed must be rejected as
it warrant presumptuousness.

The equipoise rule invoked by the petitioner is applicable only where the evidence of the
parties is evenly balanced, in which case the constitutional presumption of innocence should tilt the
scales in favor of the accused. There is no such equipoise here. The evidence of the prosecution is
overwhelming and has not been overcome by the petitioner with his nebulous claims of persecution
and conspiracy. The presumed innocence of the accused must yield to the positive finding that he
malversed the sum of P50,310.87 to the prejudice of the public whose confidence he has breached.
His conviction must be affirmed.

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Tandoc, John Karol

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RUFINO MIRANDILLA BERMAS


G.R. No. 120420, 21 April 1999

FACTS

On August 3, 1994, complainant Manuela Bermas, 15 years old, was raped by her own father,
appellant Rufino Bermas, while she was lying down on a wooden bed inside their house at Creek
Drive II, San Antonio Valley 8, Paraaque, Metro Manila (pp. 6-7, TSN, Oct. 19, 1994). Armed with a
knife, appellant removed the victim's shorts and panty, placed himself above her, inserted his penis
in her vagina and conducted coital movements (pp. 7-8, ibid.). After the appellant satisfied his lustful
desire, he threatened the victim with death if she reports the incident to anyone. (p. 9, ibid.)

On the day scheduled for his arraignment on 03 October 1994, the accused was brought before
the trial court without counsel. The court thereupon assigned Atty. Rosa Elmira C. Villamin of the
Public Attorney's Office to be the counsel de officio. Accused forthwith pleaded not guilty. The pre-
trial was waived.

The initial reception of evidence was held on 19 October 1994. The prosecution placed
complainant Manuela Bermas at the witness stand. She testified on direct examination with hardly
any participation by defense counsel who, inexplicably, later waived the cross-examination and then
asked the court to be relieved of her duty as counsel de officio.

During that time, the Defense Counsel's request to be relieved of his duty as a lawyer for the
accused was granted, and another defense counsel was appointed the new counsel de officio.

While Atty. Gomez was ultimately allowed to cross-examine the complainant, it should be quite
evident, however, that he barely had time, to prepare therefor.
To substitute for her, the Public Attorney’s office recommended Atty. Roberto Gomez to be appointed
as defense counsel de oficio. And so the trial court appointed him.

Atty. Gomez asked for a ten minute recess before he began his cross examination, presumably to
prepare. But a ten minute preparation to cross examine the complainant upon whose testimony
largely rests the verdict on the accused who stands to be meted the death penalty if found guilty, is
far too inadequate. He could not possibly have familiarized himself with the records and surrounding
circumstances of the case, read the complaint, the statement of the complainant, the medico-legal
report, memos of the police, transcripts and other relevant documents and confer with the accused
and his witnesses, all in ten minutes.

The reception of the defense evidence was scheduled for 12 December 1994; it was later reset to
09 January 1995. When the case was called on 09 January 1995, the defense counsel was nowhere to
be found.

ISSUE

Whether or not the accused was properly assisted and represented by counsel as mandated by
the constitution

HELD

NO.

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The Court, after a painstaking review of the records, finds merit in the appeal enough to
warrant a remand of the case for new trial.
This Court finds and must hold, most regrettably, that accused-appellant has not
properly and effectively been accorded the right to counsel. So important is the right to
counsel that it has been enshrined in our fundamental law and its precursor laws. Indeed, even prior
to the advent of the 1935 Constitution, the right to counsel of an accused has already been
recognized under General Order No. 58, dated 23 April 1900, stating that a defendant in all criminal
prosecutions is entitled to counsel at every stage of the proceedings, [10] and that if he is unable to
employ counsel, the court must assign one to defend him. [11] The 1935 Constitution has no less been
expressive in declaring, in Article III, Section 17, thereof, that -

(17) In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed to be innocent until the contrary
is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the
nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a speedy and public trial, to meet the
witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses in
his behalf.

Except for a proviso allowing trial in absentia, the right to counsel under the 1973
Constitution, essentially, has remained unchanged. Under the 1987 Constitution, a
worthwhile innovation that has been introduced is the provision from which prevailing
jurisprudence on the availability of the right to counsel as early as the stage of custodial
interrogation can be deemed to be predicated. The rule, found in Sections 12 and 14,
Article III, of the 1987 Constitution, states -

Sec. 12. (1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right
to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel
preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be
provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.

Sec. 14. x x x x x x x x x
(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 be informed of the
nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a 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 evidence in his behalf. However, after arraignment, trial may
proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided that he has been duly notified
and his failure to appear is unjustifiable.

The constitutional mandate is reflected in the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedures which declares
in Section 1, Rule 115, thereof, that it is a right of the accused at the trial to be present in
person and by counsel at every stage of the proceedings from the arraignment to the
promulgation of the judgment.

The right to counsel must be more than just the presence of a lawyer in the courtroom or the
mere propounding of standard questions and objections. The right to counsel means that the
accused is amply accorded legal assistance extended by a counsel who commits himself to
the cause for the defense and acts accordingly. The right assumes an active involvement
by the lawyer in the proceedings, particularly at the trial of the case, his bearing
constantly in mind of the basic rights of the accused, his being well-versed on the case,
and his knowing the fundamental procedures, essential laws and existing jurisprudence.
The right of an accused to counsel finds substance in the performance by the lawyer of
his sworn duty of fidelity to his client. Tersely put, it means an efficient and truly decisive
legal assistance and not a simple perfunctory representation.

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It is never enough that accused be simply informed of his right to counsel; he should
also be asked whether he wants to avail himself of one and should be told that he can hire
a counsel of his own choice if he so desires or that one can be provided to him at his
request. Section 7, Rule 116, of the Rules of Criminal Procedure provides:

Sec. 7. Appointment of counsel de oficio. - The court, considering the gravity of the offense
and the difficulty of the questions that may arise, shall appoint as counsel de oficio only such
members of the bar in good standing who, by reason of their experience and ability may
adequately defend the accused. But in localities where such members of the bar are not
available, the court may appoint any person, resident of the province and of good repute for
probity and ability, to defend the accused.

A counsel de oficio is expected to do his utmost. A mere pro-forma appointment of de


oficio counsel who fails to genuinely protect the interests of the accused merits disapprobation.The
exacting demands expected of a lawyer should be no less than stringent when one is a counsel de
officio. He must take the case not as a burden but as an opportunity to assist in the proper
dispensation of justice. No lawyer is to be excused from this responsibility except only for the most
compelling and cogent reasons.

WHEREFORE, let this case be REMANDED to the court a quo for trial on the basis of the
complaint, aforequoted, under which he was arraigned. Atty. Ricardo A. Fernandez, Jr. of the Anti-
Death Penalty Task Force is hereby appointed counsel de officio for the appellant.

Attys. Rosa Elmina Villamin of the Public Attorney's Office, Paraaque, Roberto Gomez and
Nicanor Lonzame are hereby ADMONISHED for having fallen much too short of their responsibility
as officers of the court and as members of the Bar and are warned that any similar infraction shall
be dealt with most severely.

SO ORDERED.

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Urbano, Mary Yasmine

PEOPLE v. LARRAÑAGA
G.R. Nos. 138874-75, 3 February 2004

Due process is satisfied when the parties are afforded a fair and reasonable opportunity to
explain their respective sides of the controversy.

FACTS

On the night of July 16,1997, sisters Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong, who lived in Cebu City,
failed to come home on the expected time. It was raining hard and Mrs. Thelma Chiong thought her
daughters were simply having difficulty getting a ride. Thus, she instructed her sons, Bruce and
Dennis, to fetch their sisters. They returned home without the girls.At 5AM, her entire family
started the search for her daughters, but there was no trace of them. Thus, the family sought the
assistance of the police who continued the search. But still, they could not find them.

Two days after, a certain Rudy Lasaga reported to the police that a young woman was found
dead at the foot of a cliff in Tan-awan, Carcar, Cebu. Officers proceeded to Tan-awan and there, they
found a dead woman lying on the ground. Attached to her left wrist was a handcuff. Her pants were
torn, her orange t-shirt was raised up to her breast and her bra was pulled down. Her face and neck
were covered with masking tape. The woman was identified as Marijoy. After almost ten months,
accused Davidson Rusia surfaced and admitted before the police having participated in the
abduction of the sisters. He identified appellants Francisco Juan Larrañaga, Josman Aznar, Rowen
Adlawan, Alberto Caño, Ariel Balansag, James Anthony Uy, and James Andrew Uy as co-
perpetrators in the crime.

Rusia testified that he met Rowen and Josman at Ayala Mall at 10:30 in the evening of July
16, 1997 because they would have a “big happening”, who told him to ride with them in a white car.
Following them were Larrañaga, James Anthony and James Andrew, who were in a red car. Josman
stopped in front of the waiting shed where Marijoy and Jacqueline were standing, and were then
forced to ride the car. Rusia taped their mouths while Rowen handcuffed them jointly,

After stopping by a safe house the group thereafter headed to the South Bus Terminal where
they met Alberto and Ariel, and hired the white van driven by the former. They travelled towards
Tan-awan, leaving the red car at the South Bus Terminal. Afterwards, they parked their vehicles
near a precipice, they drank and had a pot session. Later, they pulled Jacqueline out of the van and
told her to dance as they encircled her. They started taking turns raping Marijoy inside the vehicle,
and thereafter raped Jacqueline. Josman later on instructed Rowen and Ariel to bring Marijoy to the
cliff and push her into the ravine, and that they made fun of Jacqueline, who was made to run while
being followed by the group while boarding the van; There was a tricycle passing by. The group
brought Jacqueline inside the van. Rowen beat her until she passed out. The group then headed back
to Cebu City with James Andrew driving the white car. Rusia got off from the van somewhere near
the Ayala Center.

The appellants raised the defense of alibi, thus:

Larrañaga, through his witnesses, sought to establish that on July 16, 1997, he was in
Quezon City taking his mid-term examinations at the Center for Culinary Arts. In the evening of
that day until 3:00 o'clock in the morning of July 17, 1997, he was with his friends at the R & R Bar
and Restaurant, same city.His teacher Rowena Bautista, on the other hand, testified that he
attended her lecture in Applied Mathematics. Also, some of his neighbors at the Loyola Heights
Condominium, Quezon City, including the security guard, Salvador Boton, testified that he was in

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his condo unit in the evening of July 16, 1997. Representatives of the four airline companies plying
the route of Manila-Cebu-Manila presented proofs showing that the name Francisco Juan Larrañaga
does not appear in the list of pre-flight and post-flight manifests from July 15, 1997 to about
noontime of July 17, 1997.

Alberto and Ariel claimed that they had the van’s aircon repaired in the evening of July 16,
1997, accompanied by the former’s wife and the owners of the van. The repair shop was only able to
finish the work at 10:00 the following morning.

Josman claimed that he was at his house together with his friends about 8:00 in the evening
of July 16, 1997, ate dinner and drank, and thereafter went to BAI Disco, transferred to DTM Bar,
and went home at 3:00 the following morning.

Rusia was discharged as an accused and became a state witness. Still, the body of Jacqueline
was never found. The trial court found the other appellants guilty of two crimes of kidnapping and
serious illegal detention and sentenced each of them to suffer the penalties of two (2) reclusiones
perpetua.

ISSUE

Whether or not there was a violation of the appellants’ right to due process.

HELD

No. The appeal is bereft of merit.

Due process of law is the primary and indispensable foundation of individual freedoms; it is
the basic and essential term in the social compact which defines the rights of the individual and
delimits the powers which the State may exercise.

Section 14, Article III of our Constitution catalogues the essentials of due process in a
criminal prosecution, thus:

"SEC. 14. (1) No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due
process of law.

(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 be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to
have a 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 evidence in his behalf. However, after arraignment, trial may
proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided that he has been
notified and his failure to appear is unjustifiable."

Rule 115 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure casts the foregoing provision in a more
detailed manner, thus:

"SECTION 1. Rights of accused at the trial. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused
shall be entitled to the following rights:

(a) To be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved beyond reasonable doubt.
(b) To be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.

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(c) To be present and defend in person and by counsel at every stage of


the proceedings, from arraignment to promulgation of the judgment. xxx
(d) To testify as a witness in his own behalf but subject to cross-examination on
matters covered by direct examination. His silence shall not in any manner prejudice
him.
(e) To be exempt from being compelled to be a witness against himself.
(f) To confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him at the trial.
Either party may utilize as part of its evidence the testimony of a witness
who is deceased, out of or cannot with due diligence be found in the
Philippines, unavailable, or otherwise unable to testify, given in another
case or proceeding, judicial or administrative, involving the same parties
and subject matter, the adverse party having the opportunity to cross-
examine him.
(g) To have compulsory process issued to secure the attendance of witnesses and
production of other evidence in his behalf.
(h) To have speedy, impartial and public trial.
(i) To appeal in all cases allowed and in the manner prescribed by law."

Of the foregoing rights, what appellants obviously claim as having been trampled upon by
the trial court are their: (a) right to be assisted by counsel at every stage of the
proceedings; (b) right to confront and cross-examine the prosecution witnesses; (c) right to produce
evidence on their behalf; and (d) right to an impartial trial.

A. Right to Counsel

Anent the right to counsel, appellants fault the trial court: first, for appointing counsel de
oficio despite their insistence to be assisted by counsel of their own choice; and second, for refusing to
suspend trial until they shall have secured the services of new counsel.

Appellants cannot feign denial of their right to counsel. The Court held that there is no
denial of the right to counsel where a counsel de oficio was appointed during the absence of the
accused's counsel de parte, pursuant to the court's desire to finish the case as early as practicable
under the continuous trial system.

Indisputably, it was the strategic machinations of appellants and their counsel de


parte which prompted the trial court to appoint counsel de oficio. The unceremonious withdrawal of
appellants' counsel de parte during the proceedings, as well as their stubborn refusal to return to the
court for trial undermines the continuity of the proceedings. Considering that the case had already
been dragging on a lethargic course, it behooved the trial court to prevent any further dilatory
maneuvers on the part of the defense counsel. Accordingly, it was proper for the trial court to appoint
counsel de oficio to represent appellants during the remaining phases of the proceedings.

If the chosen counsel deliberately makes himself scarce, the court is not precluded from
appointing a de oficio counsel whom it considers competent and independent to enable the trial to
proceed until the counsel of choice enters his appearance.The right of the accused to select his own
counsel must be exercised in a reasonable time and in a reasonable manner.

B. Right to Confront and Cross-


Examine the Prosecution
Witnesses.

Appellants also fault the trial court for depriving them of the right to cross-examine Rusia
and the other prosecution witnesses. Appellants' assertion has no factual and legal anchorage. For

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one, it is not true that they were not given sufficient opportunity to cross-examine Rusia. All of
appellants' counsel de parte had a fair share of time in grilling Rusia concerning his background to
the kidnapping of Marijoy and Jacqueline.

That the trial court imposed limitation on the length of time counsel for appellants may
cross-examine Rusia cannot be labelled as a violation of the latter's constitutional right. Considering
that appellants had several lawyers, it was just imperative for the trial court to impose a time limit
on their cross-examination so as not to waste its time on repetitive and prolix questioning.

C. Right to Impartial Trial

Appellants imputes bias and partiality to Judge Ocampo when he asked questions and made
comments when the defense witnesses were testifying.

Canon 14 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics states that a judge may properly intervene during
trial to promote expeditious proceeding, prevent unnecessary waste of time and dilly-dallying of
counsel or clear up obscurities. The test is whether the intervention of the judge tends to prevent the
proper presentation of a cause or the ascertainment of the truth in the matter where he interposes
his questions or comments.Records show that the intervention by way of comment of Judge Ocampo
during the hearing was not only appropriate but was necessary.Remarks which merely manifest a
desire to confine the proceedings to the real point in issue and to expedite the trial do not constitute
a rebuke of counsel.

A trial judge is not a wallflower during trial. It is proper for him to caution and admonish
witnesses when necessary and he may rebuke a witness for levity or for other improper conduct.This
is because he is called upon to ascertain the truth of the controversy before him.It bears stressing at
this point that the perceived harshness and impatience exhibited by Judge Ocampo did not at all
prevent the defense from presenting adequately its side of the cases.

D. Right to Produce Evidence

Appellants assail the trial court's exclusion of the testimonies of four (4) airlines
personnelwhich were intended to prove that Larrañaga did not travel to Cebu from Manila or from
Cebu to Manila on July 16, 1997. The trial court's exclusion of the testimonies is justified. By
an alibi, Larrañaga attempted to prove that he was at a place (Quezon City) so distant that his
participation in the crime was impossible. To prove that he was not in the pre-flight and post-flight
of the four (4) major airlines flying the route of Cebu to Manila and Manila to Cebu on July 15 and
16, 1997 would not prove the legal requirement of "physical impossibility" because he could have
taken the flight from Manila to Cebu prior to that date, such as July 14, 1997. According to Judge
Ocampo, it was imperative for appellants' counsel to prove that Larrañaga did not take a flight to
Cebu before July 16, 1997.

In the same way, the Court cannot fault the trial court for not allowing the defense to
continue with the" tedious process of presenting additional witnesses to prove Larrañaga's enrolment
at the Center for Culinary Arts, located at Quezon City, from June 18, 1997 to July 30, 1997
considering that it would not also prove that he was not in Cebu on July 16 to 17, 1997. It is a known
practice of students who are temporarily residing in Metro Manila to return to their provinces once
in a while to spend time with their families. To prove that Larrañaga was enrolled during a certain
period of time does not negate the possibility that he went home to Cebu City sometime in July 1997
and stayed there for a while.

Due process of law is not denied by the exclusion of irrelevant, immaterial, or incompetent
evidence, or testimony of an incompetent witness.It is not error to refuse evidence which although

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admissible for certain purposes, is not admissible for the purpose which counsel states as the ground
for offering it.

To repeat, due process is satisfied when the parties are afforded a fair and reasonable
opportunity to explain their respective sides of the controversy.In the present case, there is no
showing of violation of due process which justifies the reversal or setting aside of the trial court's
findings.

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Vicencio, Carmel Louise

PEOPLE v. CACHUELA
G.R. No. 191752, 10 June 2013

An ‘effective and vigilant counsel’ necessarily and logically requires that the lawyer be present
and [be] able to advise and assist his client from the time the confessant answers the first question
asked by the investigating officer until the signing of the extrajudicial confession.

FACTS

Ibañez visited WSC two days before the robbery and asked several questions from Henessy.
A robbery occurred at WSC where 53 firearms and several ammunitions worth P1,563,300.00 had
been stolen. Among the firearms stolen were a .9 mm Bernardelli with serial number
T110203E000151 and a .45 Glock 30 with serial number FML 245. Rex, a gunsmith working in WSC,
was found dead at the firing range. Rex sustained gunshot wounds on different parts of his body.

Cachuela and Ibañez were caught trying to sell the .9 mm Bernardelli, with serial number
T1102-03E000151, and the .45 Glock 30, with serial number FML 245, respectively, in separate
entrapment operations; and they were unable to explain how they came into possession of the stolen
firearms.

At the NBI Main Office, Zaldy pointed to the appellants, during a police line-up, as the
persons responsible for the robbery at WSC and for the killing of Rex.Nabilgas also executed a
handwritten confession implicating the appellants and Zaldy in the crime.

ISSUE

Whether or not the out-of-court identification and the extrajudicial confession are admissible

HELD

Out-of-court identification is conducted by the police in various ways. It is done thru show-
ups where the suspect alone is brought face-to-face with the witness for identification. It is done thru
mug shots where photographs are shown to the witness to identify the suspect. It is also done thru
line-ups where a witness identifies the suspect from a group of persons lined up for the purpose x xx
In resolving the admissibility of and relying on out-of-court identification of suspects, courts have
adopted the totality of circumstances test where they consider the following factors, viz.: (1) the
witness’ opportunity to view the criminal at the time of the crime; (2) the witness’ degree of attention
at that time; (3) the accuracy of any prior description, given by the witness; (4) the level of certainty
demonstrated by the witness at the identification; (5) the length of time between the crime and the
identification; and, (6) the suggestiveness of the identification procedure.

In the present case, Lino merely stated that Zaldy, during a police line-up, identified the
appellants as the persons involved in the robbery of WSC and in the killing of Rex. Lino did not state
when the line-up took place; how this line-up had been conducted; who were the persons in the line-
up with the appellants (if there were indeed other persons included in the line-up); and whether the
line-up was confined to persons of the same height and built as the appellants. Lino likewise did not
indicate who accompanied Zaldy before and during the line-up, and whether there had been the
possibility of prior or contemporaneous improper insinuations on Zaldy regarding the appearance of
the appellants.

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Lino’s failure to state relevant details surrounding the police line-up is a glaring omission
that renders unreliable Zaldy’sout-of-court identification. No way exists for the courts to evaluate the
factors used in determining the admissibility and reliability of out-of-court identifications, such as
the level of certainty demonstrated by the witness at the identification; the length of time between
the crime and the identification; and the suggestiveness of the identification procedure. The absence
of an independent in-court identification by Zaldy additionally justifies our strict treatment and
assessment of Lino’s testimony.

Nabilgas was already under custodial investigation by the authorities when he executed the
alleged written confession. “A custodial investigation is understood x xx as x xx any questioning
initiated by law enforcement authorities after a person is taken into custody or otherwise deprived of
his freedom of action in any significant manner. x xx It begins when there is no longer a general
inquiry into an unsolved crime and the investigation has started to focus on a particular person as a
suspect, i.e., when the police investigator starts interrogating or exacting a confession from the
suspect in connection with an alleged offense.”

“An ‘effective and vigilant counsel’ necessarily and logically requires that the lawyer be
present and [be] able to advise and assist his client from the time the confessant answers the first
question asked by the investigating officer until the signing of the extrajudicial confession.” In
addition, the extrajudicial confession of Nabilgas was not corroborated by a witness who was present
at the time the written confession was made. We note in this regard that the prosecution did not
present Atty. Go at the witness stand despite hints made during the early stages of the trial that she
would be presented.

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Alforque, Jimmie Jan

GO, et al., v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES


G.R. NO. 185227, 18 July 2012, THIRD DIVISION (Perlas-Bernabe, J.)

To take the deposition of the prosecution witness elsewhere and not before the same court
where the case is pending would not only deprive a detained accused of his right to attend the
proceedings but also to deprive the trial judge of the opportunity to observe the witness’ deportment
and assess his credibility.

FACTS

Sometime in August 1996, the petitioners defrauded Highdone Company Ltd., by means of
false representations that they have chattels such as machinery, spare parts, equipment, and raw
materials installed located in the Bataan Export Processing Zone, knowing that the same had been
mortgaged and foreclosed by China Bank Corporation, thereby causing damage to Highdone
Company.

The complaining witness, Li Luen Ping, a frail old businessman from Laos, traveled from his
home country in order to attend the hearing. However, trial dates were subsequently postponed due
to his unavailability.

On October 13, 2005, the private prosecutor filed with the MeTC a Motion to Take Oral
Depositionof Li Luen Ping, alleging that he was being treated for lung infection at the Cambodia
Charity Hospital in Laos, Cambodia and that, upon doctor’s advice, he could not make the long
travel to the Philippines by reason of ill health. Notwithstanding petitioners’ Opposition,the MeTC
grantedthe motion after the prosecution complied with the directive to submit a Medical Certificate
of Li Luen Ping. Petitioners sought its reconsideration, which the MeTC denied,prompting
petitioners to file a Petition for Certioraribefore the RTC. RTC granted the petition and declared the
MeTC Orders null and void.The RTC held that Section 17, Rule 23 on the taking of depositions of
witnesses in civil cases cannot apply suppletorily to the case since there is a specific provision in the
Rules of Court with respect to the taking of depositions of prosecution witnesses in criminal cases,
which is primarily intended to safeguard the constitutional rights of the accused to meet the witness
against him face to face.

ISSUE

Whether or not the constitutional right of the petitioners to a public trial is infringed in
allowing the taking of the deposition in Cambodia.

HELD

YES. The procedure for testimonial examination of an unavailable witness is covered under
Sec 15, Rule 119. For purposes of taking the deposition in criminal cases, more particularly of a
prosecution witness who would forseeably be unavailable for trial, the testimonial examination
should be made before the court, or at least before the judge, where the case is pending as required
by the clear mandate of Section 15, Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure

Since the conditional examination of a prosecution witness must take place at no other place
than the court where the case is pending, the RTC properly nullified the MeTC’s orders granting the
motion to take the deposition of Li Luen Ping before the Philippine consular official in Laos,
Cambodia.

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Angeles, George, II

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. CRISTINA SAMSON


G.R. No. 2148830, 2 September 2015

There is no law or dictum holding that staying put is proof of innocence for the Court is not
blind to the cunning ways of a wolf which, after a kill, may feign innocence and choose not to flee.

FACTS

On August 14, 2002, Cristina was charged with the crime of Parricide, defined and penalized
under Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC). When arraigned almost four (4) years later,
Cristina entered a plea of not guilty. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued with the parties agreeing
to a reverse trial on account of her invocation of the justifying circumstance of self-defense.

The version of the defense states that on June 27, 2002, Cristina was in their house watching
television together with her children when her husband, Gerry Delmar (Gerry), who was drunk at
that time, arrived. Gerry asked Cristina if she had cooked food already but the latter answered in
the negative because she had no money to buy food. Gerry scolded and uttered words against her,
and then slapped her. They had an altercation for about ten (10) minutes when Cristina’s father
arrived and pacified them. Gerry left but after thirty (30) minutes, he returned. He pointed a knife at
Cristina’s neck. The latter begged Gerry not to hurt her and to pity their children if something
happens to her. Gerry continued pointing the knife and told Cristina to stop talking or otherwise, he
will put a hole in her neck. Then, Gerry slapped Cristina’s face twice. While Gerry was still holding
the knife, Cristina pushed him and he fell on the ground. She took the knife which Gerry was
holding and begged him not to come near her. She was holding the knife near her chest pointed at
Gerry when he suddenly grabbed her and that was the time that the knife went in contact with his
chest. When she saw her husband bloodied, she shouted for help and her father (Rodolfo Samson)
and brother (Allan Samson) came and brought Gerry to the hospital. Her relatives told her that
Gerry died in the hospital.

On the other hand, the prosecution provided the following facts: On June 27, 2002, appellant
and the victim had one of their usual fights. As testified by appellant herself, she and her two
children were watching television in their home when the victim arrived drunk. Victim asked for his
dinner but appellant was not able to cook food which led to the fight. Christine, the youngest
daughter of the appellant and the victim, narrated that she witnessed the fight between her parents,
that as the fight escalated, appellant was able to get hold of the knife which was placed on the roof
and stabbed the victim. The victim fell on the ground and crawled until he reached the door. Cristine
remembered that people arrived in their home, helped the victim board a tricycle and brought him to
the hospital. Appellant, on the other hand, ran out and went to her father and asked for money and
left. That was the last night that Christine and Cherry Lou saw their mother.

In its September 27, 2012 Decision, the RTC found the proffered self-defense of Cristina to be
untenable. In its view, there was no longer any threat to her life before she stabbed her husband
Gerry. The CA affirmed the ruling of the RTC. It stated that although there could have been an
unlawful aggression at the start when Gerry repeatedly slapped Cristina and held a knife at her
throat, it already disappeared when he put down the knife. Also. The CA took the fact of Cristina’s
flight and evasion of arrest for four (4) years against her. To the appellate court, it belied her claim of
innocence.

ISSUE

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Whether or not the CA erred in not appreciating the justifying.

HELD

Generally, flight, in the absence of a credible explanation, would be a circumstance from


which an inference of guilt might be established, for a truly innocent person would normally grasp
the first available opportunity to defend himself and assert his innocence.29 It has been held,
however, that non-flight may not be construed as an indication of innocence either. There is no law
or dictum holding that staying put is proof of innocence, for the Court is not blind to the cunning
ways of a wolf which, after a kill, may feign innocence and choose not to flee. 30 In Cristina's case,
she explained that she took flight for fear of her safety because of possible retaliation from her
husband's siblings.31 The Court finds such reason for her choice to flee acceptable. She did not hide
from the law but from those who would possibly do her harm.

The RTC and the CA might have some hesitation in accepting her explanation for her choice
of action. Nevertheless, under the circumstances, a cloud of uncertainty lingers. In such a case, it is
the duty of the Court to resolve the doubt in favor of the accused.

Considering that Cristina was justified in killing her husband under Article 11, paragraph 1
of the RPC, she should be exonerated of the crime charged. For the same reason, the Court finds no
act or omission from which a civil liability may arise.

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Balingasa, Mary Angeline

PEOPLE v. DANDANON
G.R. No. 196258, 28 September 2015

Unlike flight of an accused, which is competent evidence against him as having a tendency to
establish his guilt, non-flight is simply inaction, which may be due to several factors. Hence, it may
not be positively construed as an indication of innocence.

FACTS

Accused-appellant Bonifacio Dandanonwas charged, together with two unidentified men,


with murder by hitting Prosecutor Godofredo Paceño twice on his head with the use of firearm inside
a multicab, causing the latter’s instantaneous death. Dandanon presented an alibi that he was in
Sibagat, Agusan del Sur when Paceño was killed in Butuan City. The RTC found the Dandanon
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged. He appealed but the Court of Appeals gave
scant consideration to his arguments on the alleged irregularities in the police investigation and out-
of-court identification by witnesses of accused-appellant, and the inconsistencies in the sworn
statements and prosecution’s witnesses. Aggrieved, Dandanon appealed before the Supreme Court.
Aside from challenging the weight and credence accorded by the RTC, and later affirmed by the CA,
to the evidence of the prosecution, especially the testimonies of the witnesses who identified him as
Paceño’s killer, Dandanon particularly pointed out that his choice to face the prosecution and clear
his name instead of hiding is proof that he is innocent of the crime being charged against him.

ISSUE

Whether Paceño should be acquitted.

HELD

NO. We are not persuaded by accused-appellant’s argument that he is innocent because he


chose to face prosecution and clear his name ratherthan go into hiding. Unlike flight of an accused,
which is competentevidence against him as having a tendency to establish his guilt, non-flight
issimply inaction, which may be due to several factors.Hence, it may not be positively construed as
an indication of innocence.

In People v. Diaz, we explained: “As we have held in People vs. Omar, non-flight may not be
construed as an indication of innocence. There is no law or dictum holding that non flight of an
accused is conclusive proof of innocence. In the more recentcase of People vs. Delmo, the appellants
therein claimed that none of themfled despite opportunities to do so which should be credited to
them as anindication of their innocence. To this contention we held that “[w]hile it is true that we
have ruled that flight is evidence of guilt, there is no law ordictum holding that staying put is proof
of innocence, for the Court is notblind to the cunning ways of a wolf which, after a kill, may
feigninnocence and choose not to flee.”

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Balonkita, Christa
PEOPLE v. CHI CHAN LIU
GR No. 189272, 21 January 2015

The right of a person under investigation is to have a “competent and independent counsel
preferably of his own choice.”

FACTS

At 10:00 a.m. of December 3, 1998, SPO2 Lazaro Paglicawan and SPO3 Isagani Yuzon, the
officers-on-duty at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Station, Looc, Occidental Mindoro, received
a radio message from the Barangay Captain of Ambil Island, Looc, Maximo Torreliza, that a
suspicious looking boat was seen somewhere within the vicinity of said island.4 Immediately
thereafter, the police officers headed towards the specified location wherein they spotted two (2)
boats anchored side by side, one of which resembled a fishing boat and the other, a speedboat. They
noticed one (1) person on board the fishing boat and two (2) on board the speed boat who were
transferring cargo from the former to the latter. As they moved closer to the area, the fishing boat
hurriedly sped away. Due to the strong waves, the police officers were prevented from chasing the
same and instead, went towards the speed boat, which seemed to be experiencing engine trouble. On
board the speed boat, the officers found the appellants Chi Chan Liu a.k.a. Chan Que and Hui Lao
Chung a.k.a. Leofe Senglao with several transparent plastic bags containing a white, crystalline
substance they instantly suspected to be the regulated drug, methamphetamine hydrochloride,
otherwise known as “shabu.” They requested the appellants to show their identification papers but
appellants failed to do so.5 Thus, the police officers directed appellants to transfer to their service
boat and thereafter towed appellants’ speed boat to the shore behind the Municipal Hall of Looc,
Occidental Mindoro. On their way, the police officers testified that appellant Chi Chan Liu
repeatedly offered them “big, big amount of money” which they ignored.

On December 4, 1998, General Acop arrived together with Colonel Damian on a helicopter.
They talked with Mayor Telebrico and the arresting officers and then brought the appellants with
the suspected illegal drugs to Camp Vicente Lim for further investigation. There, the appellants and
the suspected prohibited drugs were turned over to Police Inspector Julieto B. Culili, of the
Intelligence and Investigation Division, PNP, Regional Office IV, who attempted to communicate
with the appellants using “broken” English. According to Inspector Culili, appellant Chi Chan Liu
only kept saying the phrase “call China, big money,” giving him a certain cellular phone number.
Because of language differences, inspector Culili sought the assistance of interpreter.

On December 5, 1998, the interpreter arrived. With the assistance of said interpreter,
Inspector Culili informed and explained to the appellants their rights under Philippine laws
inclusive of the right to remain silent, the right to counsel, as well as the right to be informed of the
charges against them, and the consequences thereof. Inspector Culili also requested the interpreter
to ask the appellants whether they wanted to avail of said constitutional rights. However, appellants
only kept repeating the phrase “big money, call China.” Apart from their names, aliases and personal
circumstances, the appellants did not divulge any other information.

In the arraignment, appellants pleaded NOT GUILTY to the charges against them.

Later, appellants’ claimed the invalidity of their arraignment for they were not represented
by a counsel of their choice but were merely represented by a court-appointed government lawyer.
Appellants assert that the trial court likewise appointed a special interpreter, who merely
understood a little Chinese language. As such, considering the absence of any assurance that the
interpreter was able to explain to appellants the charges against them in the language they
understood, appellants therefore did not validly enter their plea.

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ISSUE

Whether or not the appellants’ constitutional rights to their counsel of choice was violated
during custodial investigation.

HELD

NO. The Court does not find a violation of appellants’ right to counsel for even in their
own narration of facts, appellants stated that when they appeared without counsel when the case
was called for arraignment on January 19, 1999, the trial court gave appellants time to secure the
services of counsel of their choice. It was only when appellants again appeared without counsel on
February 23, 1999 that the court appointed a counsel from the Public Attorney’s Office. It is clear,
therefore, that appellants had ample opportunity to secure the services of a counsel of their own
choice.

They cannot now assign error in the proceedings conducted by the trial court for the fact
remains that they were appointed with counsel in full compliance with the law. In much the same
way, appellants had every opportunity to secure the services of a Chinese interpreter with such
competence at par with their standards. As pointed out by the CA, the trial court gave appellants the
authorization to seek, through their counsel, the Chinese Embassy’s assistance for purposes of
procuring a Chinese interpreter. Appellants were even given time, through several postponements,
to properly secure the services of one. If appellants were unsatisfied with the competence of the
court-appointed interpreter, it should have taken the opportunities given by the trial court.

WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is DENIED.

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Cabitac, Fernando, III

PEOPLE OF THE PHIILIPPINES v. ENRICO MIRONDO


G.R. NO. 210841, 14 October 2015

An accused in a criminal prosecution is presumed innocent until his guilt is proven beyond
reasonable doubt. This is the most echoed constitutional guarantee that is worth reiterating in the
case at bench.

FACTS

Mirondo was indicted for Violation of Section 5, Article II of R.A. No. 9165 in the
Information, dated June 5, 2006, the accusatory portion of which states:
That on or about May 21, 2006, in the Municipality of San Pedro, Province of Laguna,
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused without any legal
authority, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sell, pass and deliver one (1)
transparent plastic sachet of METHAMPHETAMINE HYDROCHLORIDE, commonly known as
"shabu," a dangerous drug, weighing 0.03 gram.
When arraigned, Mirondo entered a plea of Not Guilty to the offense charged. After pre-trial
was terminated, trial on the merits ensued.

RTC found Mirondo guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of violation of Section 5 of
R.A. No. 9165. It accorded weight and credence to the collective testimonies of PO1 JiffordSignap
(PO1 Signap) and SPO4 Melchor de la Pefia (SPO4 de la Peña), stating that the presumption of
regularity in the performance of official duties in favor of the said police operatives had not been
overturned in the absence of a clear showing that they had been impelled by any ill motive to falsely
testify against Mirondo. The RTC debunked the defense of denial interposed by Mirondo, declaring
that it could not prevail over the positive identification of the accused by the prosecution witnesses.
In its assailed Decision, the CA affirmed the RTC judgment of conviction.

ISSUE

Whether accused is guilty for violation of Section 5, Art.2 of R.A. 9165

HELD

The Court finds the appeal to be impressed with merit.

It is a well-established doctrine that the trial court's findings of fact are, as a general rule,
entitled to great weight and will not be disturbed on appeal, especially when affirmed by the CA.
This rule, however, admits of exceptions and does not apply where facts of weight and substance
with direct and material bearing on the final outcome of the case have been overlooked,
misapprehended or misapplied. The case at bench falls under such exception and, hence, a departure
from the general rule is warranted.

For a successful prosecution of an offense of illegal sale of dangerous drugs, the following
essential elements must be proven: (1) that the transaction or sale took place; (2) the corpus delicti or
the illicit drug was presented as evidence; and (3) that the buyer and seller were identified. Implicit
in all these is the need for proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the
presentation in court of the confiscated prohibited or regulated drug as evidence. The narcotic
substance itself constitutes the very corpus delicti of the offense and the fact of its existence is vital
to sustain a judgment of conviction.

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In the case at bench, the Court finds that the second element is wanting. It appears that the
subject 0.03 gram of shabu allegedly confiscated from Mirondo was never presented in evidence
during the trial for identification by the prosecution witnesses PO1 Signap and SPO4 de la Peña,
albeit the same had been formally offered by the prosecution. Accordingly, the prosecution failed to
prove the indispensable element of corpus delicti of the case.

The Court notes that there were nagging questions about the post-examination custody that
were left unanswered by the prosecution evidence, particularly, as to who exercised custody and
possession of the specimen after the chemical examination and how it was handled, stored and
safeguarded pending its presentation as evidence in court. The failure of the prosecution to provide
details pertaining to the said post-examination custody of the seized item created a gap in the chain
of custody which again raised reasonable doubt on the authenticity of the corpus delicti.

In light of the above disquisition, the Court finds no further need to discuss and pass upon
the merits of Mirondo's defense of denial and frame-up. Well-settled is the rule in criminal law that
the conviction of an accused must be based on the strength of the prosecution evidence and not on
the weakness or absence of evidence of the defense. The accused has no burden to prove his
innocence and the weakness of the defense he interposed is inconsequential. He must be acquitted
and set free as the prosecution failed to overcome the presumption of innocence in his favor.

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Castillo, Jephthah

PEOPLE v. BUCA

Failure to specify the exact date when the rape was committed does not render the Information
defective. The reason for this is that the gravamen of the crime of rape is carnal knowledge of the
private complainant under any of the circumstances enumerated under Article 335 of the Revised
Penal Code, as amended.

FACTS

In this case, Anjoy Buca was charged of the crime of rape for 3 separate information. 2 of
those informations were dismissed. During his examination, accused-appellant vehemently denied
the accusations against him. He insisted that on December 24, 2002 at about 5:45 in the morning, he
passed by AAA's house. AAA called him as Uncle Joel and requested that he look after her younger
brother who was crying. When asked where their mother was, AAA answered that she left to buy
food. When he was about to leave, AAA called him again because her younger sibling was crying and
she requested if he could watch over them. Accused-appellant declined as he was about to go to his
work. He further testified that there was no unusual incident that happened on the day of December
24, 2002. Furthermore, he insisted that he has no knowledge whatsoever of the other accusations of
AAA and BBB against him.

Anjoy Buca was convicted by both RTC and the CA. SC find the testimony of AAA sufficient
to establish the element of carnal knowledge. We note that the RTC described the testimony of AAA
as positive, credible, natural and convincing. The Court has held time and again that testimonies of
rape victims who are young and immature deserve full credence, considering that no young woman,
especially of tender age, would concoct a story of defloration, allow an examination of her private
parts, and thereafter pervert herself by being subject to a public trial, if she was not motivated solely
by the desire to obtain justice for the wrong committed against her. Youth and immaturity are
generally badges of truth. It is highly improbable that a girl of tender years, one not yet exposed to
the ways of the world, would impute to any man a crime so serious as rape if what she claims is not
true.

Further, it is doctrinally settled that factual findings of the trial