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Narratives

Constitutional Law II
Michael Vernon Guerrero Mendiola
2005
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Table of Contents
People vs. Dramayo [GR L-21325, 29 October 1971] 1
Alejandro vs. Pepito [GR L-52090, 21 February 1980] 2
Dumlao vs. Commission on Elections [GR L-52245, 22 January 1980] 3
People vs. Mingoa [GR L-5371, 26 March 1953] 4
Feeder International Line PTE, Ltd. vs. Court of Appeals [GR 94262, 31 May 1991] 5
People vs. Martos [GR 91847, 24 July 1992] 6
Corpuz vs. People [GR 74259, 14 February 1991] 7
Dizon-Pamintuan vs. People [GR 111426, 11 July 1994] 8
People vs. Holgado [GR L-2809, 22 March 1950] 10
Delgado vs. Court of Appeals [GR L-46392, 10 November 1986] 11
People vs. Baluyot [GRs L-35752-3, 31 January 1977] 11
People vs. Magsi [GR L-32888, 12 August 1983] 13
People vs. Malunsing [GR L-29015, 29 April 1975] 14
Moslares vs. Court of Appeals [GR 129744, 26 June 1998] 15
Borja vs. Mendoza [GR L-45667, 20 June 1977] 16
People vs. Alcalde [GR 139225-28, 29 May 2002] 17
People vs. Dy [GR 115236-37, 29 January 2002] 19
People vs. Sadiosa [GR 107084, 15 May 1998] 21
People vs. Perez [GR 122764, 24 September 1998] 22
People vs. Lozano [GR 125080, 25 September 1998] 24
People vs. Ladrillo [GR 124342, 8 December 1999] 25
People vs. Lumilan [GR 102706, 25 January 2000] 26
Evangelista vs. People [GRs 10813536, 14 August 2000] 29
People vs. Valdesancho [GR 137051-52, 30 May 2001] 30
People vs. Alcalde [GR 139225-28, 29 May 2002] 31
People vs. Ostia [GR 131804, 26 February 2003] 32
People vs. Flores [GR 128823-24, 27 December 2002] 35
Acebedo vs. Sarmiento [GR L-28025, 16 December 1970] 36
People vs. Laya [GR L-53873, 13 May 1988] 37
Conde vs. Rivera [GR 21741, 25 January 1924] 39
Dacanay vs. People [GR 101302, 25 January 1995] 39
People vs. Rivera [GR 139180, 31 July 2001] 40
Solar Team Entertainment vs. How [GR 140863, 22 August 2000] 42
Garcia vs. Domingo [GR L-30104, 25 July 1973] 43
Re: Request Radio-TV Coverage of the Trial of the Plunder Cases against Estrada. Perez vs. Estrada [AM 01-4-03-SC, 29 June 2001] ...45
Tumey vs. Ohio [273 US 510, 7 March 1927] 45
Soriano vs. Angeles [GR 109920, 31 August 2000] 46
United States vs. Javier [GR L-12990, 21 January 1918] 48
United States vs. Garcia [GR L-3951, 14 March 1908] 48
People vs. Sandal [GRs 32394-95, 5 September 1930] 49
People vs. de Luna [GR 77969, 22 June 1989] 50
People vs. Prieto [GR L-46542, 21 July 1978] 51
People vs. Salas [GR L-66469, 29 July 1986] 51
Gimenez vs. Nazareno [GR L-37933, 15 April 1988] 52
Aquino vs. Military Commission No.2 [GR L-37364, 9 May 1975] 53
People vs. Salas [GR L-66469, 29 July 1986] 55
Carredo vs. People [GR 77542, 19 March 1990] 55
This collection contains forty seven (47) cases
summarized in this format by Michael Vernon M. Guerrero (as a senior law student)
during the First Semester, school year 2005-2006 in the Political Law Review class
under Dean Mariano Magsalin Jr. at the Arellano University School of Law (AUSL).
Compiled as PDF, September 2012.
Berne Guerrero entered AUSL in June 2002 and eventually graduated from AUSL in 2006.
He passed the Philippine bar examinations immediately after (April 2007).

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Narratives (Berne Guerrero)

286 People vs. Dramayo [GR L-21325, 29 October 1971]


En Banc, Fernando (J): 8 concur, 1 took no part
Facts: In the morning of 9 January 1964, Pableo Dramayo and Paterno Ecubin, in the company of the
deceased Estelito Nogaliza, all of Barrio Magsaysay, of the Municipality of Sapao, Surigao del Norte, saw its
chief of police, to shed light on a robbery committed in Nogaliza's house 5 days before. The response was
decidedly in the negative as they themselves were prime suspects, having been implicated by at least 2
individuals who had confessed. At about 7:00 p.m. of the same day, while they were in the house of Priolo
Billona, Dramayo invited all those present including Francisco Billona, Modesto Ronquilla, Crescencio and
Savero Savandal, for a drinking session at a place at the back of the school house. It was on that occasion that
Dramayo brought up the idea of killing Estelito Nogaliza so that he could not satisfy in the robbery case. The
idea was for Dramayo and Ecubin to ambush Estelito, who was returning from Sapao. The others were to
station themselves nearby. Soon Nogaliza was sighted. He was accosted by Dramayo with a request for a
cigarette. It was then that Ecubin hit him with a piece of wood on the side of the head near the right ear.
Dramayo's participation consisted of repeated stabs with a short pointed bolo as he lay prostrate from the
blow of Ecubin. It was the former also, who warned the rest of the group to keep their mouths sealed as to
what had just happened. His equanimity appeared undisturbed for early the next morning, he went to the
house of the deceased and informed the latter's widow Corazon that he had just seen the cadaver of Estelito.
The barrio lieutenant and the chief of police were duly notified. The latter, upon noticing blood stains on the
trousers of Dramayo, asked him to explain. The answer was that a skin ailment of his daughter was the cause
thereof. Dramayo, et. al. were charged for the murder of Estelito Nogaliza. The lower court found Pableo
Dramayo and Paterno Ecubin, guilty beyond reasonable doubt, of the crime of murder, qualified by the
circumstance of evident premeditation as aggravated by night time, and imposes upon each of the said
accused the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The other accused were not convicted as, two of them, Crescencio
Savandal and Severo Savandal being utilized as state witnesses, and the other three, Priolo Billona, Francisco
Billona and Modesto Ronquilla acquitted. Dramayo and Ecubin appealed.
Issue: Whether Dramayo and Ecubin should be acquitted inasmuch as the other co-accused have been
acquitted due to reasonable doubt.
Held: The starting point is the presumption of innocence, according to the Constitution, which is a right
safeguarded both Dramayo and Ecubin. Accusation is not, according to the fundamental law, synonymous
with guilt. It is incumbent on the prosecution to demonstrate that culpability lies. Dramayo and Ecubin were
not even called upon then to offer evidence on their behalf. Their freedom is forfeit only if the requisite
quantum of proof necessary for conviction be in existence. Their guilt must be shown beyond reasonable
doubt. To such a standard, this Court has always been committed. There is need, therefore, for the most
careful scrutiny of the testimony of the state, both oral and documentary, independently of whatever defense
is offered by the accused. Only if the judge below and the appellate tribunal could arrive at a conclusion that
the crime had been committed precisely by the person on trial under such an exacting test should the sentence
be one of conviction. It is thus required that every circumstance favoring his innocence be duly taken into
account. The proof against him must survive the test of reason; the strongest suspicion must not be permitted
to sway judgment. The conscience must be satisfied that on the defendant could be laid the responsibility for
the offense charged; that not only did he perpetrate the act but that it amounted to a crime. What is required
then is moral certainty. It cannot be denied that the credible and competent evidence of record resulted in
moral certainty being entertained not only by the trial judge but by the Supreme Court as to the culpability of
Dramayo and Ecubin. The force of the controlling doctrines, on the other hand, required that the other three
accused be acquitted precisely because, unlike in the case of Dramayo and Ecubin, the requisite quantum of
proof to show guilt beyond reasonable doubt was not present. There is no question as to the other two who
testified for the state being like-vise no longer subject to any criminal liability. The judgment of conviction
should not have occasioned any surprise on the part of Dramayo and Ecubin, as from the evidence deserving
of the fullest credence, their guilt had been more than amply demonstrated. The presumption of innocence
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could not come to their rescue as it was more than sufficiently overcome by the proof that was offered by the
prosecution. What would have been a blot on the law is that if, on the facts as established, no reasonable
doubt being entertained, Dramayo and Ecubin would have been acquitted likewise just because the other 5
defendants were not similarly sentenced. There had been cases where the Supreme Court, notwithstanding a
majority of the defendants being acquitted, the element of conspiracy likewise being allegedly present, did
hold the party or parties responsible for the offense guilty of the crime charged, a moral certainly having
arisen as to their culpability.
287 Alejandro vs. Pepito [GR L-52090, 21 February 1980]
First Division, Melencio-Herrera (J): 5 concur
Facts: During Bianito Alejandro's arraignment, he pleaded not guilty to the crime of Homicide before the
Court of First Instance of Aklan (Branch III, presided by Judge Gerardo M.S. Pepito). Alejandro, however,
admitted in open court that he killed the deceased but that he acted in self-defense. The judge, on 6 July 1979,
in an order required the defense counsel, first to prove evidence in self-defense and the prosecution to present
its evidence to disprove the same. Alejandro moved for reconsideration, reiterated in an Amended Motion, of
the Order contending that the Court action was violative of Section 3 Rule 119 of the Rules of Court, which
establishes the sequence in the presentation of evidence by the parties in criminal cases, first by the
prosecution and then by the defense, and not vice versa. Additionally, Alejandro claimed that the procedure
adopted by the Judge is prejudicial to the substantial rights of the accused in the sense that the same would
give rise to the presumption that the prosecution had already established the guilt of the accused beyond
reasonable doubt when what is only on record is the accused's admission that he had killed the victim in self
defense. The Judge denied reconsideration in an Order dated 9 October 1979. Alejandro filed the petition for
certiorari with tthe Supreme Court.
Issue: Whether the trial order should be in reverse order inasmuch as the accused has admitted to the killing
but under the claim of self-defense.
Held: Enshrined in our Constitution as a protection to accused persons in criminal cases is the requirement
that no person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law. That requirement
simply requires that the procedure established by law shall be followed. Section 3 of Rule 119 prescribes the
order of trial in criminal cases, provides that "the plea of not guilty having been entered, the trial must
proceed in the following order: (a) The fiscal, on behalf of the People of the Philippines, must offer evidence
in support of the charges. (b) The defendant or his attorney may offer evidence in support of the defense. (c)
The parties may then respectively offer rebutting evidence only, unless the court, in furtherance of justice,
permit them to offer new additional evidence bearing upon the main issue in question. (d) When the
introduction of evidence shall have been concluded, unless the case is submitted to the court without
argument, the fiscal must open the argument, the attorney for the defense must follow, and the fiscal may
conclude the same. The argument by either attorney may be oral or written, but only the written arguments, or
such portions of the same as may be in writing, shall be preserved in the record of the case." Thus, it
behooved the Judge to have followed the sequence of trial set forth. That procedure observes the "mandate of
reason and the guarantee of fairness with which due process is identified". The procedure outlined safeguards
and protects the fundamental right of the accused to be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved. That
right is founded on the principle of justice and is intended not to protect the guilty but to prevent as far as
human agencies can, the conviction of an innocent person. Indeed, the form of a trial is also a matter of public
order and interest; the orderly course of procedure requires that the prosecution shall go forward and present
all of its proof in the first instance. As held in People vs. Balicasan (17 SCRA 1119 [1966]), "in view of the
assertion of self-defense in the testimony of the accused, the court should have taken anew defendant's plea
and then proceeded with the trial of the case, in the order set forth in Section 3 of Rule 119 of the Rules of
Court." The Judge's desire to abbreviate the trial and unclog his docket is commendable but it must yield to
the paramount objective of safeguarding the rights of an accused at all stages of criminal proceedings, and to
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the interest of orderly procedure adopted for the public good.


288 Dumlao vs. Commission on Elections [GR L-52245, 22 January 1980]
En Banc, Melencio-Herrera (J): 5 concur, 1 abstained as far as Dumlao is concerned.
Facts: A Petition for Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction and/or Restraining Order was filed by Patricio
Dumlao, Romeo B. Igot and Alfredo Salapantan Jr., in their own behalf and all others allegedly similarly
situated, seeking to enjoin respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) from implementing certain
provisions of Batas Pambansa 51, 52, and 53 for being Dumlao specifically questions the constitutionality of
section 4 of Batas Pambansa (BP) 52 as discriminatory and contrary to the equal protection and due process
guarantees of the Constitution. Said Section 4 provides that "In addition to violation of section 10 of Art. XIIC of the Constitution and disqualification mentioned in existing laws, which are hereby declared as
disqualification for any of the elective officials enumerated in section 1 hereof. Any retired elective
provincial, city of municipal official who has received payment of the retirement benefits to which he is
entitled under the law and who shall have been 65 years of age at the commencement of the term of office to
which he seeks to be elected, shall not be qualified to run for the same elective local office from which he has
retired." Dumlao alleged that the aforecited provision is directed insidiously against him, and that the
classification provided therein is based on "purely arbitrary grounds and, therefore, class legislation." For
their part, Igot and Salapantan, Jr. assail the validity of Section 7 of BP 51, which provides that "Unless
sooner removed for cause, all local elective officials hereinabove mentioned shall hold office for a term of 6
years. which shall commence on the first Monday of March 1980"; Section 4 of BP 52, which provides that
"any person who has committed any act of disloyalty to the State, including acts amounting to subversion,
insurrection, rebellion or other similar crimes, shall not be qualified to be a candidate for any of the offices
covered by this Act, or to participate in any partisan political activity therein: provided, that a judgment of
conviction for any of the aforementioned crimes shall be conclusive evidence of such fact and the filing of
charges for the commission of such crimes before a civil court or military tribunal after preliminary
investigation shall be prima facie evidence of such fact"; Section 1 and Section 6 of BP 52. In addition to the
said provisions, Igot and Salapantan, Jr. also questioned the accreditation of some political parties by the
COMELEC, as authorized by BP 53, on the ground that it is contrary to section 9(1), Art. XII(C) of the
Constitution, which provides that a "bona fide candidate for any public office shall be free from any form of
harassment and discrimination."
Issue: Whether Section 4, BP 52, which disqualifies elective candidates who have been charged in civil
and/or military tribunals, is valid.
Held: Explicit is the constitutional provision that, 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. An
accusation, according to the fundamental law, is not synonymous with guilt. The challenged proviso
contravenes the constitutional presumption of innocence, as a candidate is disqualified from running from
public office on the ground alone that charges have been filed against him before a civil or military tribunal. It
condemns before one is fully heard. In ultimate effect, except as to the degree of proof, no distinction is made
between a person convicted of acts of disloyalty and one against whom charges have been filed for such acts,
as both of them would be ineligible to run for public office. A person disqualified to run for public office on
the ground that charges have been filed against him is virtually placed in the same category as a person
already convicted of a crime with the penalty of arresto, which carries with it the accessory penalty of
suspension of the right to hold office during the term of the sentence. Although the filing of charges is
considered as but prima facie evidence, and therefore, may be rebutted, yet, there is "clear and present
danger" that because the proximity of the elections, time constraints will prevent one charged with acts of
disloyalty from offering contrary proof to overcome the prima facie evidence against him. Additionally, it is
best that evidence pro and con of acts of disloyalty be aired before the Courts rather than before an
administrative body such as the COMELEC. A highly possible conflict of finding between two government
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bodies, to the extreme detriment of a person charged, will thereby be avoided. Furthermore, a
legislative/administrative determination of guilt should not be allowed to be substituted for a judicial
determination. Being infected with constitutional infirmity, a partial declaration of nullity of only that
objectionable portion is mandated. The first paragrap of Section 4, BP 52, on the other hand, is valid.
However, that portion of the second paragraph of section 4 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 52 providing that "the
filing of charges for the commission of such crimes before a civil court or military tribunal after preliminary
investigation shall be prima facie evidence of such fact", is hereby declared null and void, for being violative
of the constitutional presumption of innocence guaranteed to an accused.
289 People vs. Mingoa [GR L-5371, 26 March 1953]
En Banc, Reyes (J): 10 concur
Facts: Found short in his accounts as officer-in-charge of the office of the municipal treasurer of Despujols,
Romblon, and unable to produce the missing fund amounting to P3,938 upon demand by the provincial
auditor, Aquino Mingoa was prosecuted for the crime of malversation of public funds in the Court of First
Instance of Romblon. Mingoa explained to the examining officer that some days before he had, by mistake,
put the money in a large envelope which he took with him to a show and that he forgot it on his seat and it
was not there anymore when he returned. But he did not testify in court and presented no evidence in his
favor. Having been found guilty as charged and sentenced to the corresponding penalty, he appealed to the
Court of Appeals. But that court certified the case to the Supreme Court on the ground that it involved a
constitutional question.
Issue: Whether Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, which provides that "the failure of a public officer to
have duly forthcoming any public funds or property with which he is chargeable, upon demand by any duly
authorized officer, shall be prima facie evidence that he has put such missing funds or property to personal
use" violates the constitutional right of the accused to be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved
cannot be sustained.
Held: The validity of statutes establishing presumptions in criminal cases is now a settled matter, Cooley, in
his work on constitutional limitations (8th ed., Vol. I, pp. 639-641), says that "there is no constitutional
objection to the passage of a law providing that the presumption of innocence may be overcome by a contrary
presumption founded upon the experience of human conduct, and enacting what evidence shall be sufficient
to overcome such presumption of innocence." In line with this view, it is generally held in the United States
that the legislature may enact that when certain facts have been proved they shall, be prima facie evidence of
the existence of the guilt of the accused and shift the burden of proof provided there be a rational connection
between the facts proved and the ultimate fact presumed so that the inference of the one from proof of the
others is not unreasonable and arbitrary because of lack of connection between the two in common
experience. The same view has been adopted here as may be seen from the decisions of the Supreme court in
US vs. Tria (17 Phil 303); US vs. Luling (34 Phil 725); and People vs. Merilo (GR L-3489, 28 June 1951).
The statute in the present case creates a presumption of guilt once certain facts are proved. It makes the failure
of a public officer to have duly forthcoming, upon proper demand, any public funds or property with which he
is chargeable prima facie evidence that he has put such missing funds or property to personal use. The
ultimate act presumed is that the officer has malversed the funds or property entrusted to his custody, and the
presumption is made to arise from proof that he has received them and yet he has failed to have them
forthcoming upon proper demand. Clearly, the fact presumed is but a natural inference from the fact proved,
so that it cannot be said that there is no rational connection between the two. Furthermore, the statute
establishes only a prima facie presumption, thus giving the accused an opportunity to present evidence to
rebut it. The presumption is reasonable and will stand the test of validity laid down in the above citations.
Herein, Mingoa's explanation is inherently unbelievable and cannot overcome the presumption of guilt arising
from his inability to produce the fund which was found missing. If the money was really lost without
Mingoa's fault, the most natural thing for him to do would be to so inform his superiors and apply for release
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from liability. But this he did not do. Instead, he tried to borrow to cover the shortage. And on the flimsy
excuse that he preferred to do his own sleuthing, he even did not report the loss to the police. Considering
further, as the prosecution points out in its brief, Mingoa had at first tried to avoid meeting the auditor who
wanted to examine his accounts, and that for sometime before the alleged loss many teachers and other
employees of the town had not been paid their salaries, there is good ground to believe that Mingoa had really
malversed the fund in question and that his story about its loss was pure invention.
290 Feeder International Line PTE, Ltd. vs. Court of Appeals [GR 94262, 31 May 1991]
Second Division, Regalado (J): 3 concur, 1 on leave
Facts: The M/T "ULU WAI" a foreign vessel of Honduran registry, owned and operated by Feeder
International Shipping Lines of Singapore, left Singapore on 6 May 1986 carrying 1,100 metric tons of gas oil
and 1,000 metric tons of fuel oil consigned to Far East Synergy Corporation of Zamboanga, Philippines. On
14 May 1986, the vessel anchored at the vicinity of Guiuanon Island in Iloilo without notifying the Iloilo
customs authorities. The presence of the vessel only came to the knowledge of the Iloilo authorities by
information of the civilian informer in the area. Acting on said information, the Acting District Collector of
Iloilo dispatched a Customs team on 19 May 1986 to verify the report. The Customs team found out that the
vessel did not have on board the required ship and shipping documents, except for a clearance from the port
authorities of Singapore clearing the vessel for "Zamboan." In view thereof, the vessel and its cargo were held
and a Warrant of Seizure and Detention over the same was issued after due investigation. Feeder International
Line PTE Ltd, through its agent Feeder International (Phils.) Inc. then filed its Motion to Dismiss and to
Quash the Warrants of Seizure and Detention which the District Collector denied in his Order dated 12
December 1986. In the course of the forfeiture proceedings, the parties, through their respective counsel,
agreed on a stipulation of facts. On 17 March 1987, the District Collector issued his decision, finding the M/T
"ULU WAI" guilty of violating Section 2530 (a) of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (PD 1464),
as amended, while her cargo of 1,100 M/T Gas Oil and 1,000 M/T Fuel Oil are found guilty of violating
Section 2530 (a), (f), and (1-1) under the same Code and are hereby forfeited in favor of the Republic of the
Philippines. Feeder International appealed to the Commissioner of Customs who rendered a decision dated 13
May 1987, affirming the decisin of the District Collector of Customs of Iloilo in toto. On 25 June 1987,
Feeder International filed a petition for review of the decisions of the Collector and the Commissioner of
Customs with the Court of Tax Appeals, praying for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and/or a
restraining order to enjoin the Commissioner from implementing his decision. On 14 December 1988, the
Court of Tax Appeals issued its decision affirmed the decision of the Commissioner of Customs. Feeder
International, on 19 January 1990, filed a petition for review of the Court of Tax Appeals' decision with the
Supreme Court. On 21 March 1990, the Supreme Court issued a resolution referring the disposition of the
case to the Court of Appeals in view of the Court's decision in Development Bank of the Philippines vs. Court
of Appeals, et al. holding that final judgments or decrees of the Court of Tax Appeals are within the exclusive
appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals. On 8 May 1990, the Court of Appeals rendered its questioned
decision affirming the decision of the Court of Tax Appeals. Feeder International's motion for reconsideration
having been denied on 4 July 1990, it interposed the present petition.
Issue: Whether a forfeiture proceeding is penal in nature, and whether the corporation can invoke the right to
be presumed innocent.
Held: A forfeiture proceeding under tariff and customs laws is not penal in nature, contrary to the argument
advanced by Feeder International. In the case of People vs. Court of First Instance of Rizal, etc., et al., the
Court made an exhaustive analysis of the nature of forfeiture proceedings, in relation to criminal proceedings,
holding therein that "seizure and forfeiture proceedings under the tariff and customs laws are not criminal in
nature as they do not result in the conviction of the offender nor in the imposition of the penalty provided for
in Section 3601 of the Code. As can be gleaned from Section 2533 of the code, seizure proceedings are purely
civil and administrative in character, the main purpose of which is to enforce the administrative fines or
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forfeiture incident to unlawful importation of goods or their deliberate possession. The penalty in seizure
cases is distinct and separate from the criminal liability that might be imposed against the indicted importer or
possessor and both kinds of penalties may be imposed. Considering, therefore, that proceedings for the
forfeiture of goods illegally imported are not criminal in nature since they do not result in the conviction of
the wrongdoer nor in the imposition upon him of a penalty, proof beyond reasonable doubt is not required in
order to justify the forfeiture of the goods. The degree of proof required is merely substantial evidence which
means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Further,
a corporate entity has no personality to invoke the right to be presumed innocent which right is available only
to an individual who is an accused in a criminal case. Herein, the Court finds and so hold that the Government
has sufficiently established that an illegal importation, or at least an attempt thereof, has been committed with
the use of the vessel M/T "ULU WAI," thus warranting the forfeiture of said vessel and its cargo pursuant to
the provisions of the Tariff and Customs Code. Feeder International is guilty of illegal importation, there
having been an intent to unload, is amply supported by substantial evidence. The findings of fact of the Court
of Appeals are in consonance with the findings of both the Collector and the Commissioner of Customs, as
affirmed by the Court of Tax Appeals. The Court finds no compelling reason to deviate from the elementary
principle that findings of fact of the Court of Appeals, and of the administrative and quasi-judicial bodies for
that matter, are entitled to great weight and are conclusive and binding upon this Court absent a showing of a
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.
291 People vs. Martos [GR 91847, 24 July 1992]
First Division, Nocon (J): 3 concur
Facts: On 1 February 1989, acting on the tip of a confidential informer (C.I.) or asset, a team from the First
Narcotics Regional Unit based in Urdaneta, Pangasinan, composed of Sgts. Rogelio Raguine, Peregrino
Benito and Ramon Padilla, went to Bgy. Carmen East, Rosales, Pangasinan at about 4:00 p.m., in pursuit of a
certain "Lito" who was engaged in selling marijuana to students and adults alike. "Lito", whose full name is
Carlito Martos, was washing his feet at the water pump near his house when Sgt. Raguine and the CI
approached him. Sgt. Raguine, acting as poseur-buyer, was introduced by the CI to "Lito". The former then
inquired if "Lito" had "stuff" for sale, and upon eliciting an affirmative answer, ordered P50.00 worth of stuff.
Lito went inside his house and returned after a while to where Sgt. Raguine and the CI were. He handed the
stuff contained in a small plastic bag, to Sgt. Raguine while the latter gave Carlito Martos a P50.00 bill, which
serial number was earlier recorded by him in a log book. After being convinced that the content of the plastic
bag was marijuana, Sgt. Raguine immediately signalled Sgts. Benito and Padilla, who were then positioned in
separate places some 10 meters away from the water pump, to close in and effect arrest. After identifying
themselves as NARCOM agents, Sgts. Benito and Padilla seized Carlito Martos, but the latter was able to
wrench himself free from his captors and escaped. The three agents pursued him, but when Carlito Martos
heard a shot, he stopped running, raised his hands and surrendered. It turned out that the shot was fired from
the gun of Sgt. Padilla which accidentally hit the CI on the left arm. Thereupon, Carlito Martos was brought
to the NARCOM office in Urdaneta, Pangasinan. The stuff was turned over to the PC/INP Crime Laboratory,
Camp Crame, for analysis. The report confirmed the fact that the stuff was marijuana. Martos was charged for
violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act in an information dated 20 March 1989. The Regional Trial Court,
Branch 53 of Rosales, Pangasinan, found Martos guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of selling
marijuana, defined and penalized under Article II, Section 4 of Republic Act 6425, as amended, otherwise
known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and
a fine of P30,000.00, and to pay the costs. Martos appealed.
Issue: Whether the Court could presume that official duty was regularly performed by the arresting officers to
determine the culpability of the accused person.
Held: There is no dispute that the findings of facts of the trial courts deserve great weight and respect for they
have the privilege of examining the demeanor of the witnesses while on the witness stand and determine the
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veracity of the their testimonies. The rule, however, admits of certain exceptions, such as (1) when the
conclusions is a finding based entirely on speculations; (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken,
absurd or impossible; (3) where there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) when the judgment is based on
misapprehension of facts; and (5) when the court, in making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case
and the same are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the appellee. The present case calls for a
careful scrutiny of the records due to the irreconcilable differences in the testimonies of the prosecution
witnesses which weakens the case for the People. For instance, the P50.00 bill which was supposed to have
been offered to the Martos to purchase the marijuana was not formally offered in evidence. The decision
further states that the confidential informer was wounded on the right arm, when all the testimonies of both
the prosecution and defense witnesses consistently state that the informer was hit on the left arm. The
testimonies of the prosecution witnesses are replete with inconsistencies. Further, there was no evidence
presented to prove that the marijuana shown in evidence is the same marijuana allegedly sold by martos to the
buy-bust team. In prosecuting a case for violation of Section 4, Article II of Republic Act 6425, the
prosecution must be able to establish by clear and convincing evidence that the person charged at a particular
time, date and place committed any of such unlawful acts. As it is, the Court is not convinced that the
evidence of the prosecution could stand ground sufficient to convict Martos. The Court cannot even presume
that official duty was regularly performed by the arresting officers, for it cannot by itself prevail over the
constitutional presumption of innocence accorded an accused person. "If the inculpatory facts and
circumstances are capable of two or more explanations one of which is consistent with the innocence of the
accused and the other consistent with his guilt, then the evidence does not fulfill the test of moral certainty
and is not sufficient to support a conviction." The accused is not even called upon to offer evidence on his
behalf. His freedom is forfeited only if the requisite quantum of proof necessary for conviction be in
existence. An assiduous and thorough analysis of the evidence on record disclosed that Martos' conviction has
no basis. The prosecution's evidence in support of its theory is not convincing. If there was any evidence
presented, it was so slender and shaky, not presented with care and thoroughness which the gravity of the
offense demanded and, taken in its entirety, is utterly insufficient to produce conviction beyond reasonable
doubt.
292 Corpuz vs. People [GR 74259, 14 February 1991]
En Banc, Cruz (J): 13 concur
Facts: As Supervising Accounting Clerk in the Office of the Provincial Treasurer of Nueva Vizcaya,
Generozo Corpuz y Padre 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. On 13 April 1981, his designation as Acting Supervising Cashier was terminated, and on 22 April
1981, a Transfer of Accountabilities was 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 dated 22 April 1981, required
Corpuz to produce the missing amount but he was able to pay only P10,159.50. The balance was demanded in
another letter dated 12 October 1981. This was subsequently reduced by P12,067.51 through the payment to
Corpuz of temporarily disallowed cash items and deductions from his salary before his dismissal from the
service. On 27 September 1982, a final letter of demand for the total deficiency of P50,596.07 was sent to
Corpuz. The demand not having been met, an information for malversation of the said amount was filed
against him with the Sandiganbayan on 11 October 1983. Corpuz insists, however, that he is not guilty of the
charge because the shortage imputed to him was malversed by other persons. On 27 February 1986, the court
found Corpuz guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principal of the crime of Malversation of Public Funds, and
there being no modifying circumstances in attendance, and applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the
Sandiganbayan sentenced him to suffer imprisonment ranging from 12 Years and 1 Day of reclusion temporal,
as minimum, to 20 years of reclusion temporal, as maximum; to restitute to the provincial government of
Nueva Vizcaya the sum of P50,596.07 which is the amount misappropriated, and to pay the costs of the suit.
Further, the court ordered Corpuz to suffer the penalty of perpetual special disqualification, and to pay a fine
equal to the amount embezzled. Hence, the petition.
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Issue: Whether the equipose rule applies in the present case.


Held: Except for Check 958525, which was only entered in Corpuz's Cash Book on 31 March 1981, or 3
months after its issuance and encashment, all the other 3 were duly entered. Then Check 956639 which was
issued and encashed on the same day as Check 958525, was duly entered in his Cash Book. Non-entry of the
latter check on time was a subtle way of camouflaging the embezzlement of its money equivalent. There
seems to be no logical reason why Checks 956639 and 958525 could not have been liquidated together by
Diosdado Pineda who used the proceeds to pay salary differentials of government officials and employees of
the province of Nueva Vizcaya, since these have been issued and encashed on the same day. Corpuz could not
have been absent since his Employee's Leave Card, wherein his earned leaves are indicated, shows that during
the month of December 1980, he earned 1.25 days vacation leave and 1.25 days sick leave, which is the same
number of days vacation and sick leaves that he earned monthly from 7 July 1976 to October 1981. Moreover,
even if it were true that he was absent on 23 December 1980, the day when Check 958525 was issued and
encashed, yet, the other check which was issued and encashed on the same day was duly liquidated. These
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 Corpuz's guilt of the offense charged. This
conclusion is bolstered by the Solicitor General's observation that Corpuz's denial of responsibility for the
missing P50,000.00 is negated by the following factors: (1) when he entered the said amount in his cash book
in March 1981, he did not make any notation that said amount, though entered, was not actually received; (2)
At the time he signed the certificate of turn-over, he did not make any certification that the amount of
P50,000.00 should not be charged against him; (3) Despite his insistence that Pineda and Martinez
misappropriated the money, he did not file any case, whether civil, criminal or otherwise, against either or
both. Corpuz'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 Corpuz would be abetted by the Supreme Court
unless his conviction is reversed must be rejected as an arrant presumptuousness. The equipoise rule invoked
by Corpuz 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 Corpuz 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.
293 Dizon-Pamintuan vs. People [GR 111426, 11 July 1994]
First Division, Davide Jr. (J): 4 concur
Facts: Teodoro Encarnacion, Undersecretary, Department of Public Works and Highways arrived at his
residence located at Better Living Subdivision, Paraaque at around 9:45 p.m. of 12 February 1988 coming
from the Airport and immediately proceeded inside the house, leaving behind his driver and two housemaids
outside to pick-up his personal belongings from his case. 5 unidentified masked armed persons appeared from
the grassy portion of the lot beside the house and poked their guns to his driver and two helpers and dragged
them inside his house. The men pointed a gun at him and was made to lie face down on the floor. Thereafter,
the robbers ransacked the house and took away jewelries and other personal properties including cash. After
the intruders left the house he reported the matter immediately to the police. He was then interviewed by the
Paraaque police and was informed that an operation group would be assigned to the case. He likewise
reported the matter to the Western Police District on 15 February 1988. Two days later, a group of WPD
operatives came over to his house and he was asked to prepare a list of items of jewelry and other valuables
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that were lost including a sketch of distinctive items. He was later told that some of the lost items were in
Chinatown area as tipped by the informer the police had dispatched. That an entrapment would be made with
their participation, on 14 February 1988. As such, they went to Camp Crame at around 9:00 a.m. and arrived
at the vicinity of 733 Florentino Torres Street, Sta. Cruz, Manila at about 10:00 a.m.; that he is with his wife
posed as a buyer and were able to recognize items of the jewelry stolen displayed at the stall being tended by
Norma Dizon Pamintuan; the pieces were: 1 earring and ring studded with diamonds worth P75,000 bought
from estimator Nancy Bacud, 1 set of earring diamond worth P15,000, and 1 gold chain with crucifix worth
P3,000. Dizon-Pamintuan was charged with violation of the Anti-Fencing Law (Criminal Case 88-64954). On
the basis of the testimonies of prosecution witnesses Teodoro Encarnacion (one of the offended parties), Cp.
Ignacio Jao, Jr., and Pfc. Emmanuel Sanchez, both of the Western Police District, the trial court (Branch 20 of
the Regional Trial Court of Manila) promulgated on 16 November 1990 its decision, finding DizonPamintuan guilty for violation of Presidential Decree 1612 beyond reasonable doubt, and sentenced her to
suffer an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment from 14 years of prison mayor to 18 years of reclusion
temporal. No civil liability was imposed in view of the recovery of the items. Dizon-Pamintuan then appealed
her conviction to the Court of Appeals (CA-GR CR 11024) where she raised two issues: (1) that the judgment
was based on a mere presumption, and (2) that the prosecution failed to show that the value of the jewelry
recovered is P93,000.00. On 29 March 1993, the Court of Appeals held that the guilt of Dizon-Pamintuan
was established beyond reasonabe doubt. Nevertheless, the Court of Appeals was of the opinion that there was
not enough evidence to prove the value of the pieces of jewelry recovered, which is essential to the imposition
of the proper penalty under Section 3 of PD 1612. It opined that the trial court erred in concluding that "the
value of the recovered jewelries is P93,000.00 based on the bare testimony of Teodoro Encarnacion and the
self-serving list he submitted; and thus remanded the records to the court of origin. Dizon-Pamintuan filed the
petition for review.
Issue: Whether the prosecution proved the existence of the third element in the crime of fencing, i.e. the
accused know or should have known that the items recovered from here were the proceeds of the crime of
robbery of theft.
Held: Fencing, as defined in Section 2 of PD 1612 (Anti-Fencing Law), is "the act of any person who, with
intent to gain for himself or for another, shall buy, receive, possess, keep, acquire, conceal, sell or dispose of,
or shall buy and sell, or in any manner deal in any article, item, object or anything of value which he knows,
or should be known to him, to have been derived from the proceeds of the crime of robbery or theft." Herein,
there is no doubt that the first, second, and fourth elements were duly established. A robbery was committed
on 12 February 1988 in the house of Encarnacion who afterwards reported the incident to the Paraaque
Police, the Western Police District, the NBI, and the CIS, and submitted a list of the lost items and sketches of
the jewelry taken from them. Three of these items stolen, viz., (a) a pair of earrings and ring studded with
diamonds worth P75,000.00; (b) one set of earrings worth P15,000.00; and (c) a chain with crucifix worth
P3,000.00, were displayed for sale at a stall tended to by Dizon-Pamintuan in Florentino Torres Street, Sta.
Cruz, Manila. The public display of the articles for sale clearly manifested an intent to gain on the part of
Dizon-Pamintuan. As to the thrid element, one is deemed to know a particular fact if he has the cognizance,
consciousness or awareness thereof, of is aware of the existence of something, or has the acquaintance with
facts, or if he has something within the mind's grasp with certitude and clarity. When knowledge of the
existence of a particular fact is an element of an offense, such knowledge is established if a person is aware of
a high probability of its existence unless he actually believes that it does not exist. On the other hand, the
words "should know" denote the fact that a person of reasonable prudence and intelligence would ascertain
the fact in performance of his duty to another or would govern his conduct upon assumption that such fact
exists. Knowledge refers to a mental state of awareness about a fact. Since the court cannot penetrate the mind
of an accused and state with certainty what is contained therein, it must determine such knowledge with care
from the overt acts of that person. And given two equally plausible states of cognition or mental awareness,
the court should choose the one which sustains the constitutional presumption of innocence. Since Section 5
of PD 1612 expressly provides that "mere possession of any good, article, item, object, or anything of value
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which has been the subject of robbery or thievery shall be prima facie evidence of fencing," it follows that
Dizon-Pamintuan is presumed to have knowledge of the fact that the items found in her possession were the
proceeds of robbery or theft. The presumption is reasonable for no other natural or logical inference can arise
from the established fact of her possession of the proceeds of the crime of robbery or theft. This presumption
does not offend the presumption of innocence enshrined in the fundamental law. Dizon-Pamintuan was unable
to rebut the presumption under PD 1612. She relied solely on the testimony of her brother which was
insufficient to overcome the presumption, and, on the contrary, even disclosed that Dizon-Pamintuan was
engaged in the purchase and sale of jewelry and that she used to buy from a certain Fredo.
294 People vs. Holgado [GR L-2809, 22 March 1950]
Second Division, Moran (CJ): 7 concur
Facts: Frisco Holgado was charged in the Court of First Instance of Romblon with slight illegal detention
because according to the information, being a private person, he did "feloniously and without justifiable
motive, kidnap and detain one Artemia Fabreag in the house of Antero Holgado for about eight hours thereby
depriving said Artemia Fabreag of her personal liberty." On 8 May 1948, the day set for the trial, Holgado
pleaded guilty without the benefit of a lawyer. Two days later, or on 10 May 1948, the trial court rendered
judgment, finding Holgado guilty and sentencing him the penalty of prision mayor in its maximum degree to
reclusion temporal in the medium degree, as minimum, or 10 years and 1 day of prision mayor to 20 years,
with the accessory penalties provided for by law, with costs. Holgado appealed.
Issue: Whether the duties required of the trial court when the accused has no counsel were complied with.
Held: Under the circumstances, particularly the qualified plea given by the accused, who was unaided by
counsel, it was not prudent, to say the least, for the trial court to render such a serious judgment finding the
accused guilty of a capital offense, and imposing upon him such a heavy penalty as ten years and one day of
prision mayor to twenty years, without absolutely any evidence to determine and clarify the true facts of the
case. Under Section 3, Rule 112 of the the Rules of Court, when a defendant appears without attorney, the
court has four important duties to comply with: (1) It must inform the defendant that it is his right to have
attorney before being arraigned; (2) After giving him such information the court must ask him if he desires the
aid of an attorney; (3) If he desires and is unable to employ attorney, the court must assign attorney de oficio
to defend him; and (4) If the accused desires to procure an attorney of his own the court must grant him a
reasonable time therefor. Not one of these duties had been complied with by the trial court. The record
discloses that said court did not inform the accused of his right to have an attorney nor did it ask him if he
desired the aid of one. The trial court failed to inquire whether or not the accused was to employ an attorney,
to grant him reasonable time to procure one or to assign an attorney de oficio. One of the great principles of
justice guaranteed by our Constitution is that "no person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without
due process of law", and that all accused "shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel." In
criminal cases there can be no fair hearing unless the accused be given an opportunity to be heard by counsel.
The right to be heard would be of little avail if it does not include the right to be heard by counsel. Even the
most intelligent or educated man may have no skill in the science of the law, particularly in the rules of
procedure, and, without counsel, he may be convicted not because he is guilty but because he does not know
how to establish his innocence. And this can happen more easily to persons who are ignorant or uneducated. It
is for this reason that the right to be assisted by counsel is deemed so important that it has become a
constitutional right and it is so implemented that under our rules of procedure it is not enough for the Court to
apprise an accused of his right to have an attorney, it is not enough to ask him whether he desires the aid of an
attorney, but it is essential that the court should assign one de oficio for him if he so desires and he is poor or
grant him a reasonable time to procure an attorney of his own. Hence, the judgment appealed from is reversed
and the case is remanded to the Court below for a new arraignment and a new trial after the accused is
apprised of his right to have and to be assisted by counsel.

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295 Delgado vs. Court of Appeals [GR L-46392, 10 November 1986]


Second Division, Paras (J): 4 concur
Facts: Emma R. Delgado -- together with Gloria C. Tortona, Celia Capistrano and Catalino Bautista alias
Atty. Paulino Bautista (at large) -- was charged with estafa thru falsification of public and/or official
documents resulting in deceiving one Erlinda Rueda, a Medical Technologist, in arranging her travel to the
United States. All the accused (except Catalino Bautista) pleaded not guilty upon arraignment and trial on the
merits ensued. Delgado was assisted and represented by her counsel de parte, Atty. Lamberto G. Yco. On 13
December 1973, the date set for the continuation of the defense evidence, said Atty. Yco failed to appear
despite proper and previous notice. Instead, he sent a telegram requesting for postponement on the ground
allegedly that he was sick. No medical certificate was however submitted. The trial fiscal objected, believing
that the motion was dilatory because there had been numerous postponements in the past at Delgado's behest.
The trial Court sustained the fiscal's objection thereto, considered Emma Delgado to have waived presentation
of her evidence, and considered the case submitted for decision. Thereafter, a judgment of conviction was
rendered by the trial court, dated 20 March 1974, finding Gloria C. Tortona, Emma R. Delgado and Celia
Capistrano guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the complex crime of Estafa thru Falsification of Public and/or
Official Documents, and sentencing each to an indeterminate penalty ranging from 2 years and 4 months of
prision correccional, as minimum to 6 years, also of prision correccional, as maximum, to pay a fine of
P5,000.00, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to indemnify the offended party
Erlinda Ruedas in the amount of P7,431.00. Each was further ordered to pay, jointly and severally, the
complainant moral damages in the amount of P5,000.00, and one fourth of the costs of the proceedings.
Tortona did not appeal from the decision. Capistrano and Delgado appealed to the Court of Appeals raising
the issue of "whether or not on the basis of the evidence and the law the judgment appealed from should be
maintained." On 6 December 1976, the Court of Appeals rendered judgment affirming the decision of the trial
court as to Delgado and reversing the judgment as to Capistrano. On 27 December 1976, an entry of final
judgment was issued and on 1 February 1977, the records of the case were remanded to the lower court for
execution of judgment. Believing that there was irregularity in the sending of notices and copy of the decision
as Delgado was not informed or notified of said decision by her counsel on record, Atty. Lamberto G. Yco,
Delgado filed on 17 February 1977 with the Court of Appeals an "Urgent Motion to Set Aside Entry of
Judgment, to Recall the Records and Allow the Movant to Personally Receive Copy of the Decision." The
motion was denied by the Court of Appeals in its Resolution dated 20 April 1977. On 11 May 1977 an Order
was issued by the Court of First Instance of Manila directing the arrest of Delgado and the confiscation of her
bond for failure to appear at the execution of judgment on 11 May 1977. On 27 May 1977, Delgado filed a
Motion for the Reconsideration of the Order denying her Motion to Set Aside Entry of Judgments, etc.. and
prayed that she be granted a new trial on the ground that she was deprived of her right to be defended by
competent counsel (Yco not being a member of the Philippine Bar). On 3 June 1977, the Court of Appeals
denied Delgado's motion. Delgado filed a petition for "Certiorari and Mandamus with prayer for a Writ of
preliminary injunction" with the Supreme Court.
Issue: Whether Delgado is entitled to a new trial, inasmuch as Atty. Lamberto G. Yco, Delgados counsel,
is not a member of the Philippine bar.
Held: A accused person is entitled to be represented by a member of the bar in a criminal case filed against
her before the Regional Trial Court. Unless she is represented by a lawyer, there is great danger that any
defense presented in her behalf will be inadequate considering the legal perquisites and skills needed in the
court proceedings. This would certainly be a denial of due process. Herein, since Delgados "lawyer," Atty.
Lamberto G. Yco, is not a real lawyer, the Court remanded the case to the trial court for new trial.
296 People vs. Baluyot [GRs L-35752-3, 31 January 1977]
First Division, Makasiar (J): 4 concur

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Facts: On 6 August 1970, in the Municipality of Malolos, Province of Bulacan, Miguel Baluyot y Dulay,
Pablo Pinca y Narca and Antonio Balinjari y Naval, alias Tony Baluyot robbed money from Gerry Sureta alias
Marcelino Carceles y Abasola, then driving a taxi marked AIRLANE with plate 14-97, 40-TX 870 (TX-9345
s/69), to the damage and prejudice of Sureta. They stabbed Sureta, hitting him n the neck, thereby inflicting
serious wounds (stab wounds), which directly caused the death of Sureta. Baluyot, Pinca and Balinjari were
charged with the crime of robbery with homicide before the Circuit Criminal Court of the Fifth Judicial
District holding sessions in Malolos, Bulacan (Judge Abelardo M. Dayrit, presiding). Upon arraignment on 28
September 1970, all the accused, assisted by attorney de oficio, Atty. Oscar Torres, pleaded not guilty to the
information. The following day September 29 when the case was called for trial, the prosecution started
presenting its evidence. The accused were assisted by the same attorney de oficio, Atty. Oscar Torres, who
manifested that he was appearing as counsel for the accused in that day's trial only. Trial was continued the
following day, 30 September 1970. The accused were this time assisted by another counsel de oficio, Atty.
Godofredo Linsangan. Thereafter, the continuation of the trial was reset for 7 October 1970. At this hearing,
the accused were assisted by another counsel de oficio, Atty. Eduardo Villafuerte, who was appointed by the
trial court after the accused informed it that they had no lawyer. Then the trial court asked the new counsel de
oficio what his pleasure was, and the latter requested that he be given a few minutes within which to confer
with the accused. The trial court gave him 20 minutes within which to "consummate" his conference.
Accordingly, when the session was resumed, Atty. Villafuerte manifested that "after conferring with the
accused, they intimated their desire to withdraw their former plea of not guilty and to substitute in lieu thereof
the plea of guilty to the offense charged." Without inquiring from the prosecution what its stand was on the
motion of counsel for the accused, the trial court, addressing itself to all the accused said "You have heard the
manifestations of counsel. Do you now affirm the truthfulness and correctness of the manifestation of counsel
to the effect that you now desire to withdraw your former plea of not guilty and to substitute the same with
that of guilty to the offense charged?" All of the accused replied in the affirmative. When asked whether the
accused were ready to hear their sentence, the latter replied in the affimative. Then and there, and without
much ado, the trial court dictated in open court its decision convicting Baluyot, Pinca and Balinjari of the
crime of robbery with homicide and sentencing each and all of them to death, "with the other accessories of
the law; to proportionately indemnify the heirs of the victim in the amount of P12,000.00; to correspondingly
pay the said heirs by way of moral and exemplary damages in the amount of P20,000.00, proportionately; and
similarly, to proportionately pay the costs of these proceedings." Hence, the automatic review.
Issue: Whether it is sufficient for the trial court to ask the accused whether they were ready to receive their
sentence after they had affirmed the "truthfulness and correctness" of their counsel's manifestation on their
change of plea.
Held: Similar to the identical case of People vs. Ricalde (L-34673, January 30, 1973), it is held that previous
decisions have repeatedly warned against the danger of the plea of guilty being improvidently entered in
capital cases. The Court has uniformly stressed the importance of the trial court's receiving evidence
notwithstanding the plea of guilty in order that no reasonable doubt may remain as to the guilt and the degree
of culpability of the accused. The Court has time and time again reminded judges that they are duty bound to
be extra solicitous in seeing to it that when an accused pleads guilty he understands fully the meaning of his
plea and the import of inevitable conviction. Herein, the trial court did not even ascertain for itself whether
the accused completely understood the precise nature of the charge and the meaning of the aggravating
circumstances of nighttime, craft and abuse of superior strength as having attended the commission of the
crime, so as to obviate any doubt as to the possibility that they have misunderstood the nature and gravity of
the charge to which they were pleading guilty. The trial court did not conduct a dialogue with the accused on
their educational attainment, especially considering that a cursory perusal of their signatures on the statements
they gave to the Malolos Police Force tends to show that they have very little or scanty education. Moreover,
after the arraignment, trial was held on three dates and on each day the accused were assisted by 3 different
counsel de oficio. In the hearing of 7 October 1970 the day the decision under review was rendered the
counsel de oficio who assisted the accused was designated by the trial court only after the case was called for
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trial, i.e., after the accused had informed the trial court that they did not have a lawyer. Under these
circumstances, it is not unreasonable to assume that said counsel de oficio proceeded to trial without first fully
investigating the facts of the case and that his interview with the accused, even if it lasted for 20 minutes as
the record insinuates, was not, and could not have been sufficient to enable him to acquire a fairly good grasp,
much less a comprehensive knowledge, of the relevant facts of the case. Incidentally, under the Rules of
Court, whenever an attorney de oficio is employed or assigned by the court to defend the accused at the trial,
he shall be given a reasonable time to consult with the accused and prepare his defense before proceeding
further in the case, which shall not be less than 2 days in case of trial. The record, incidentally, does not show
the existence of a "good cause" to justify the trial court in shortening the trial fixed by the Rules. The trial
court cannot plead ignorance of the prevailing injunction directed towards trial judges to exercise patience
and circumspection in explaining to the accused not only the nature and meaning of the accusation and the
full import of their plea of guilty but also the meaning in layman's language of the aggravating
circumstances that attended the commission of the crime. Furthermore, the trial court did not even consult the
testimonies of the 3 State witnesses namely, the doctor and the police officers who took down the
statements of the accused who testified during the first and second hearings, at least with the end in view
of ascertaining the degree of the penalty that should be imposed after accepting the plea of guilty of the
accused. What the trial court did was only to ask the accused whether they were ready to receive their
sentence after they had affirmed the "truthfulness and correctness" of their counsel's manifestation on their
change of plea. In short, the trial court did not even inform the accused that their plea of guilty might mean
death for all of them.
297 People vs. Magsi [GR L-32888, 12 August 1983]
En Banc, Makasiar (J): 9 concur, 2 took no part, 1 on official leave, 1 on sick leave
Facts: On 14 January 1968 in the Municipality of San Fernando, La Union, Philippines, Eloi Magsi, Juan
Ponce y Billon (@ Johnny), Perfecto Arce (@ Peping), along with Gerardo Flores (@ Gerry), Opring Olazo,
Doro Doe and Peter Doe, conspired in the killing of one Jesus Gallardo outside the latter's house through the
use of carbine, pistols and revolvers. Magsi, et. al. were charged before the Court of First Instance of La
Union, Second Judicial District on 10 January 1968 for murder, with aggravating circumstances attendant in
the commission of the offense, i.e. (1) abuse of superior strength; (2) use of a motor vehicle; (3) the offense
was committed in the dwelling place of the offended party; and (4) that the offense was committed by a band.
"Doro Doe," subsequently identified as Teodoro del Rosario. Altogether, the case was actually set and
rescheduled for 6 times: (1) On 1 August 1970, where despite appointment by the court of Atty. Mario Rivera
as de officio counsel for the accused, hearing was re-set to 8 September 1970 on motion of Atty. Rivera, who
was prompted to ask for it because of accused's desire to be represented by a de parte counsel. Prior to the
next hearing, Atty. Rivera moved to withdraw as de officio counsel and it was favorably acted on by the court
on 7 September 1970. (2) On 8 September 1970, for failure of the de officio and de parte counsels to appear,
despite a second call of the case, the hearing was re-set for the next day and the court appointed Atty.
Dominador Cariaso de officio counsel for the accused. (3) On 9 September 1970, neither the de parte nor the
de officio counsel was in Court, so Atty. Rivera was reappointed that day as de officio counsel for arraignment
purposes only. Del Rosario entered a plea of guilty but qualified it with the allegation that he committed the
crime out of fear of his co-accused Eloy Magsi and the other co-accused. Accused's allegation of duress
prompted Atty. Rivera to move for the re-setting of the case for the study and presentation of possible
mitigating circumstances. The case was accordingly re-set for 14 September 1970. (4) On 14 September 1970,
the presentation of mitigating circumstances was not held as scheduled, but de officio counsel Atty. Cariaso's
explanation regarding his close ties with the deceased and his family was heard, and his motion to be relieved
as counsel by reason thereof, and be replaced by one who can attend to the defense of the accused with
candor, was denied by the court. However, per the note presented to the Court by Atty. Cariaso presumably
from Atty. Baterina, de parte counsel for the accused, the contents of which sought the re-setting of the case
for the first week of October, the case was again re-set for 6 October 1970. The Court motu proprio changed
accused's plea of guilty to not guilty. (5) On 6 October 1970, Atty. Cariaso, who appeared in court only after a
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warrant for his arrest was issued, informed the Court that those interested in the conviction of the accused
opposed his appearance as de officio counsel, and at the same time, also turned over another note, the contents
of which asked for another resetting. The Court denied the motion of Atty. Cariaso to withdraw as counsel,
but re-set the case for 19 October 1970. (6) On 19 October 1970, Atty. Cariaso outrightly informed the Court
that the accused was ready to enter an unqualified plea of guilty. Based on accused's plea of guilty without
any evidence for the prosecution on any of the alleged aggravating circumstances nor accused's evidence on
duress, the Court rendered its decision the next day, 20 October 1970, finding del Rosario guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of murder and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of death. Hence, the
mandatory review.
Issue: Whether the court had been remiss in its duties to the accused, who was convicted on an improvident
plea of guilty.
Held: Of the six hearing dates held relative to the case, accused at two instances entered a qualified plea of
guilty. De officio counsel Atty, Rivera and accused were hardly afforded by the Court any opportunity to
discuss the case together, and the qualified plea of guilty resulted from the Court's proddings rather than from
accused's spontaneous volition. The Court knew that accused's prior plea of guilty was qualified by alleged
duress employed on him by the other accused. It behooved the Court to allow the accused an opportunity to
present evidence on the alleged duress, as well as discover for itself the reasons for accused's change of mind
regarding his plea. But more importantly, the Court could have complied, as it failed to do so the first time,
with its bounden duty to apprise and advise the accused of the seriousness of the charges, the meaning of the
qualifying and modifying circumstances, and gravity of the penalty that may be imposed on him despite the
plea of guilty, as well as received prosecution's evidence on the alleged aggravating circumstances attendant
to the commission of the offense charged. But these considerations notwithstanding, sans any evidence
whatsoever from the prosecution nor from the defense, after Atty. Cariaso's manifestation, and its trite queries
addressed to the accused whether he confirmed the same or not, the Court proceeded to decide the case. The
Court has consistently enjoined strict and substantial adherence to its rulings in cases where defendants are
charged with capital offenses. Mere pro-forma appointment of de officio counsel, who fails to genuinely
protect the interests of the accused, resetting of hearing by the court for alleged reception of evidence when in
fact none was conducted, perfunctory queries addressed to the accused whether he understands the charges
and the gravity of the penalty, are not sufficient compliance with the Court's injunctions. The conduct of the
trial court clearly established the fact that it had been remiss in its duties to the accused, who was convicted
on an improvident plea of guilty.
298 People vs. Malunsing [GR L-29015, 29 April 1975]
Second Division, Fernando (J): 4 concur
Facts: In the original complaint, Manuel Villegas was charged along with other accused Geremias Pajarito
and Samuel Pajarito. After the preliminary investigation, no doubt due to the efforts of Atty. Geronimo
Pajarito (same surname as Geremias and Samuel), possibly a kinsman, Geremias and Samuel "were both
discharged for lack of probable cause." Atty. Pajarito explicitly manifested in the opening of the trial Manuel
Villegas intimated to him that he had his own lawyer. There was an admission that he did appear for him in
the preliminary investigation but only because there was no other counsel. Villegas was informed that "the
Court will give you a lawyer. Atty. Pajarito is appointed as counsel de oficio for you. We will proceed with the
trial"; nothwithstanding Atty. Pajaritos reservations about the matter, stating that as Villegas had manifested
that he had dispensed with his services, his representation might later on be questioned. After marking it of
record that Atty. Pajarito was appointed as such counsel de oficio, the attorney was asked whether he wanted
to confer with Villegas. This was the answer: "I think I know the case." The Court then immediately
proceeded with the hearing, having the first witness called. The prosecution during the trial presented its
witnesses, and likewise all the defendants, except Manuel Villegas, took the witness stand and testified for
and in their defense. Villegas is a very old man, ignorant and unlettered; during the entire proceedings in the
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case, Villegas while present did not know what was going on. The trial court never apprised Villegas of his
fundamental right to be assisted by a lawyer. The trial court did not bother inquiring why Villegas did not
take the witness stand, something out of the ordinary as all defendants, except Villegas, had testified. The trial
court went on throughout the proceedings of the case without knowing why Villegas did not testify, that if
Villegas testified what would his testimony be like, what would be his demeanor during his testimony. The
trial court rendered decision, admitting that "No evidence was presented for and in behalf of Manuel
Villegas," but convicting Villegas for murder.
Issue: Whether a counsel de oficios appointment as counsel for the accused is sufficient to satisfy the
Constitutional guarantee of the accuseds right to counsel.
Held: It is not enough that a counsel de oficio was appointed, especially so as here, where the accused had
indicated that he wanted a lawyer of his choice, a decision prompted moreover by the fact that he had lost
confidence in the member of the bar thus designated. Nor is it to manifest respect for this right if the counsel
de oficio thus named, instead of conferring with the accused, would just blithely inform the judge that he was
already fully prepared for his exacting responsibility. It was unintended, of course, but the result could not
rightly be distinguished from pure travesty. Villegas could then rightfully invoke this constitutional guarantee.
Inasmuch as it is intended to assure a just and fair proceeding, he is entitled at the most to a new trial where
he can be duly represented either by a counsel of his choice or by one appointed de oficio, one who would
discharge his task in a much more diligent and conscientious manner and would not readily assume that he
need not bother himself unduly with familiarizing himself further with all aspects of the case. For only in such
a way may there be an intelligent defense. If the matter be viewed thus, there is no unfairness to the state
either. It can still see to it that a person against whom a probable cause had been found would have to stand
trial, but, to repeat, with all the constitutional safeguards.
299 Moslares vs. Court of Appeals [GR 129744, 26 June 1998]
Second Division, Melo (J): 4 concur
Facts: On 19 February 1991, Honor P. Moslares purchased three units of Toyota Corolla 1600 from Toyota
Bel-Air, Inc. which were thereupon registered under his name, under the name of Manila Construction
Development Corporation of the Philippines, and under the name of Austra-Phil Homes Inc. In payment
thereof, Moslares issued Philippine Bank of Communications Check 841644 dated 24 May 1991 in the
amount of P1,425,780.00. When presented for payment, said check was dishonored for having been drawn
against insufficient funds. Thus, Moslares was charged for violation of Batas Pambansa 22 and for Estafa. The
hearings of the case were postponed several times either at the instance of Moslares or the prosecution, or
motu proprio by the court. On 13 September 1995, the scheduled date of the presentation of evidence by
Moslares, he failed to appear, but was represented by a newly retained lawyer, Atty. Dionisio Landero, who
claimed that he was not ready to proceed with the trial as he was not yet familiar with the case. As a result, the
trial court set the promulgation of the decision on 30 October 1995. On 9 October 1995, Moslares filed a
Motion for Reconsideration/Re-Trial. However, on 26 October 1995 the trial court issued its decision, stating
that "Moslares did not attend during the presentation of evidence for the prosecution nor for the defense. The
Court set the presentation of evidence for the defense 19 times, 4 of which were cancelled on the ground that
there was a typhoon and the public prosecutor was 'indisposed'. But the accused did not even testify and
presented only one witness, a certain Sixto Avila. Subject cases were submitted for decision 4 times for failure
of the accused to present evidence but was lifted in the interest of justice upon motion of the accused. He
changed his lawyer four times everytime the Court ordered the case submitted for decision for failure of the
accused to present his evidence in order to gain a delay." The court therein found Moslares guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of violation of BP 22 (Criminal Case 92-0099 and Criminal Case 92-0100), and sentenced
him to suffer an imprisonment of 1 year for each criminal case. On 30 October 1995, the trial court proceeded
to promulgate in absentia the 26 October 1996 decision. On 14 November 1995, Moslares filed a notice of
appeal which was denied due course by the lower court in its assailed order dated 1 February 1996. The lower
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court, relying on the case of People vs. Mapalao (197 SCRA 79 [1991]), considered Moslares to have waived
his right to appeal. On 14 February 1996, Moslares filed a petition for relief from judgment which was
likewise denied by the trial court. On 14 March 1996, Moslares filed a petition for review with the Court of
Appeals which treated the petition as one for certiorari. Moslares also filed on 3 October 1996, a petition to
post bail, later supplemented. On 29 November 1996, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision dismissing the
petition for review and denying the petition to post bail. Motions for reconsideration subsequently filed by
Moslares were denied. Moslares filed the petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court.
Issue: Whether Moslareshas waived his right to present evidence
Held: While it is true that the right to present evidence may be waived expressly or impliedly, it cannot be
said that Moslares had waived said right in the present case. The postponements sought by Moslares and
counsel appear to be justified and were not vexatious and oppressive. The intention and the willingness of
Moslares to present evidence can be gleaned from the fact that he had already presented one witness and has
other witnesses ready for presentation, although this was delayed, but for meritorious reasons, such as illness
of Moslares and his counsel, Moslares' confinement at a hospital, ongoing negotiations between the parties,
and substitution of counsel. The rights of an accused during trial are given paramount importance in our laws
and rules on criminal procedure. Among the fundamental rights of the accused is the right to be heard by
himself and counsel. Verily, this right is even guaranteed by the Constitution itself. This right has been
recognized and established in order to make sure that justice is done to the accused. Further, the constitutional
right of the accused to be heard in his defense is inviolate. No court of justice under our system of
government has the power to deprive him of that right. It would have thus been more befitting and seemly of
the Court of Appeals had it ordered the trial court to reopen the case for the reception of Moslares' evidence.
Granting that Moslares had sought a number of postponements, the requirements of substantial justice
mandate that he should have been given his day in court. The grant of a reasonable continuance would have
been sounder judicial discretion to ferret out the truth, than to have a speedy disposition of the case but at the
expense of a fundamental right. Hence, it was error for the trial court to have proceeded with the
promulgation of decision on the premise that Moslares had waived his right to appear in court to present his
evidence. Likewise, the Court of Appeals, in affirming said decision, gravely abused its discretion as it
sustained a decision of the lower court rendered in violation of Moslares' right to due process.
300 Borja vs. Mendoza [GR L-45667, 20 June 1977]
Second Division, Fernando (J): 4 concur, 1 on leave
Facts: Manuel Borja was accused of slight physical injuries before the City Court of Cebu. No arraignment
was made. Notwithstanding this, Judge Romulo R. Senining proceeded with the trial in absentia and
thereafter, in a decision promulgated on 18 August 1976, found Borja guilty of such offense and sentenced
him to suffer imprisonment for a period of 20 days of arresto menor. Thereafter, an appeal was duly elevated
to the Court of First Instance of Cebu presided by Judge Rafael T. Mendoza. Without any notice to Borja and
without requiring him to submit his memorandum, a decision on the appealed case was rendered on 16
November 1976 affirming the judgment of the City Court. Borja filed the petition for certiorari with the
Supreme Court.
Issue: Whether Borja should be arraigned first before the trial can commence.
Held: The plea to nullify the proceedings in the criminal case finds support in the procedural due process
mandate of the Constitution. It requires that the accused be arraigned so that he may be informed as to why he
was indicted and what penal offense he has to face, to be convicted only on a showing that his guilt is shown
beyond reasonable doubt with full opportunity to disprove the evidence against him. Moreover, the sentence
to be imposed in such a case is to be in accordance with a valid law. Due process is where the accused is
"heard in a court of competent jurisdiction, and proceeded against under the orderly processes of law, and
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only punished after inquiry and investigation, upon notice to him, with an opportunity to be heard, and a
judgment awarded with the authority of a constitutional law." An arraignment thus becomes indispensable as
the means "for bringing the accused into court and notifying him of the cause he is required to meet." Upon
the accused being arraigned, "there is a duty laid by the Code [now the Rules of Court] upon the court to
inform [him] of certain rights and to extend to him, on his demand, certain others. This duty is an affirmative
one which the court, on its own motion, must perform, unless waived." No such duty, however, is laid on the
court with regard to the rights of the accused which he may be entitled to exercise during the trial. Those are
rights which he must assert himself and the benefits of which he himself must demand. In other words, in the
arraignment the court must act of its own volition, as arraignment is an indispensable requirement in any
criminal prosecution." Procedural due process demands no less. Nor is it only the due process guarantee that
calls for the accused being duly arraigned. As noted, it is at that stage where in the mode and manner required
by the Rules, an accused, for the first time, is granted the opportunity to know the precise charge that
confronts him. It is imperative that he is thus made fully aware of possible loss of freedom, even of his life,
depending on the nature of the crime imputed to him. At the very least then, he must be fully informed of why
the prosecuting arm of the state is mobilized against him. An arraignment serves that purpose. It is true, the
complaint or information may not be worded with sufficient clarity. He would be in a much worse position
though if he does not even have such an opportunity to plead to the charge. With his counsel by his side, he is
thus in a position to enter his plea with full knowledge of the consequences. He is not even required to do so
immediately. He may move to quash. What is thus evident is that an arraignment assures that he be fully
acquainted with the nature of the crime imputed to him and the circumstances under which it is allegedly
committed. It is thus a vital aspect of the constitutional rights guaranteed him. It is not useless formality,
much less an idle ceremony.
301 People vs. Alcalde [GR 139225-28, 29 May 2002]
En Banc, Davide Jr. (CJ): 14 concur
Facts: At 1:00 p.m. of 29 August 1997, SPO2 Nicanor Avendao, arriving at the house of Arnel Alcalde y
Pascasio in Barangay Bubukal, Santa Cruz, Laguna,found the house in disarray. He saw a naked woman
lying dead on a wooden bed with both hands and feet tied from behind, as well as a dead child on a crib. The
dead woman was Wendy Alcalde, and the dead child was Arwin Alcalde. Some clothes and a puppy were
also burned. Avendao and his team recovered a piece of steel near Wendys face and empty bottles of gin
and Royal Tru-Orange on top of the cabinet. They took pictures of the dead bodies and caused the entry of
the incident in the police blotter. He learned later that Arnel's two daughters, Bernalyn and Erica, had been
rushed to the provincial hospital for treatment before he and his team arrived at the crime scene. On 24
September 1997, the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Laguna filed before the trial court two
informations against Arnel for parricide, committed against his wife Wendy and his 11-month old son Arwin,
and two informations for frustrated parricide, committed against his two daughters Bernalyn and Erica the
before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 28, Santa Cruz, Laguna. Upon his arraignment on 22 October 1997,
Arnel, who was assisted by a counsel de parte, refused to speak. Pursuant to Section 1(c) of Rule 116 of the
Rules of Court, the trial court entered for him a plea of not guilty in each of the cases. On the same occasion,
the defense waived pre-trial. The cases were then consolidated and jointly tried. The witnesses initially
presented by the prosecution were SPO2 Nicanor Avendao, Dr. Nilo Pempengco, Dr. June Mendoza, and
Salud Suillan. After the prosecution rested its case and formally offered its exhibits, the defense filed a motion
for leave of court to file a demurrer to evidence, which was granted. On 27 April 1998, the defense, through
counsel de parte Atty. Renato B. Vasquez, Sr., filed a demurrer to evidence based on the grounds that (a) The
accused has not been adequately informed of the nature and cause of accusation against him during the
arraignment; (b) Not an iota of incriminatory evidence, direct or circumstantial, has been adduced and
presented by the prosecution during the trial; and (c) The constitutional presumption of innocence of the
accused has not been overcome by any evidence or contrary presumption. In its Order of 22 May 1998, the
trial court denied the demurrer to evidence and set the dates for the presentation of the evidence for the
defense. However, in a Manifestation dated 4 June 1998, Atty. Vasquez informed the court that the defense
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opted not to present evidence for Arnels defense, as the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond
reasonable doubt. On 16 July 1998, the prosecution filed its Comment on the manifestation and prayed for the
re-opening of the presentation of prosecutions evidence for the purpose of proving that Arnel was at the
scene of the crime. In its Order of 21 August 1998, the trial court allowed the prosecution to present
additional evidence. The defense questioned the propriety of the said order before the Court of Appeals in a
petition for certiorari. In its resolution of 17 December 1998, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for
non-compliance with Section 1, Rule 65, Rules of Court, and for the further reason that the order sought to be
set aside was interlocutory in character and could not, therefore, be the subject of a petition for certiorari; and
that even granting that the exception applied, the trial court committed no capriciousness in issuing the
assailed order. The prosecution thereafter presented SPO1 Neptali de la Cruz and Jose Alcalde as additional
witnesses. After the prosecution finally rested its case, the trial court set on 8 October 1998 the presentation of
the evidence for the defense. However, on 7 October 1998, counsel for ARNEL, Atty. Vasquez Sr., informed
the trial court of his inability to communicate with Arnel because of Arnels out of touch of the world
behavior. Atty. Vasquez manifested that the defense was constrained to submit the case for decision. In its
decision of 30 April 1999, the trial court found that the prosecutions evidence has duly established a
succession of circumstantial evidence that leads to the inescapable conclusion that Arnel committed the
crimes charged. The court found Arnel guilty beyond reasonable doubt (Criminal Cases SC-6651 and SC6654) for the killing of Wendy and Arwin, and imposed upon him the penalty of death in both cases.
Likewise, the court found Arnel guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of frustrated parricide (Criminal
Cases SC-6652 and SC-6653), after considering the severity of the wounds suffered by his daughters
Bernalyn and Erika. Hence, the automatic review.
Issue: Whether arraignment may be had when the accused is suffering from an unsound mental health.
Held: The failure of Arnels counsel de parte to ask for the suspension of his arraignment on the ground that
Arnel was suffering from an unsound mental health did not amount to a waiver of such right. It must be
recalled that Arnels arraignment was on 22 October 1997. At the time, what was applicable was Section 12(a)
of Rule 116 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, which reads "The arraignment shall be suspended, if at
the time thereof: (a) The accused appears to be suffering from an unsound mental condition which effectively
renders him unable to fully understand the charge against him and to plead intelligently thereto. In such case,
the court shall order his mental examination and, if necessary, his confinement for such purpose." Nowhere in
that Section was it required that a motion by the accused be filed for the suspension of arraignment. Hence,
the absence of such motion could not be considered a waiver of the right to a suspension of arraignment.
True, Section 11(a) of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, requires a motion by the proper party, but
this new requirement of motion by the proper party could not be applied to these cases because the Revised
Rules of Criminal Procedure, which prescribes such requirement, took effect only on 1 December 2000.
Besides, a waiver must be knowingly and intelligently made by the person possessing such right.
Unfortunately, Arnel was apparently deprived of such mental faculties. Thus, no waiver, impliedly or
expressly, could have been made by Arnel at the time of his arraignment by reason of his mental condition.
Settled is the rule that when a judge is informed or discovers that an accused is apparently in a present
condition of insanity or imbecility, it is within his discretion to investigate the matter. If it be found that by
reason of such affliction the accused could not, with the aid of counsel, make a proper defense, it is the duty
of the court to suspend the proceedings and commit the accused to a proper place of detention until his
faculties are recovered. Moreover, the aforementioned Section 12(a) of Rule 116 mandates the suspension of
the arraignment and the mental examination of the accused should it appear that he is of unsound mind. In
these cases, the trial court should have ascertained Arnels mental state instead of proceeding with his
arraignment and its subsequent proceedings. The physical and outward manifestations of Arnel at the time of
his arraignment, which were brought to the attention of the trial court, indicated substantial demonstration of a
mental disorder that rendered Arnel unfit to be arraigned or tried in the four criminal cases. The trial court
failed to exercise utmost circumspection in assuming that Arnel was in full possession of his mental faculties
and understood the proceedings against him. The constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of
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the accusation against him under the Bill of Rights carries with it the correlative obligation to effectively
convey to the accused the information to enable him to effectively prepare for his defense. At the bottom is
the issue of fair trial. While not every aberration of the mind or exhibition of mental deficiency on the part of
the accused is sufficient to justify suspension of the proceedings, the trial court must be fully satisfied that the
accused would have a fair trial with the assistance the law secures or gives. Under the circumstances in these
cases, the trial court gravely failed in this regard.
302 People vs. Dy [GR 115236-37, 29 January 2002]
First Division, Ynares-Santiago (J): 4 concur
Facts: Gina Marie Mobley, together with her companion Helen Kathleen Tennican, both American nationals,
were exchange students at the Chengdu University of Science and Technology in Chengdu, Sichuan, China.
Gina was taking up Biology. Helen was also a Biology major and took Chinese Studies as an additional
course. Both were enrolled at the Pacific Lutheran University at Tacoma, Washington, where Gina was a
university scholar. Having heard of the renowned Filipino hospitality from their Filipino-American friends,
Gina and Helen decided to spend their semestral break in the Philippines. They arrived in the country on 10
January 1994. In the afternoon of 12 January 1994, they were driven from their hotel to the Philippine Rabbit
Bus terminal in Dau, Pampanga, where they were supposed to take a ride to Baguio City. While waiting for
their bus, they went to a Shakeys Pizza Parlor near the terminal. Gina and Helen took the table near the
comfort room, while Bryan Dy y La Madrid and Giovan Bernardino y Garcia, who are brothers-in-law, and
their driver Rizal, were seated at the next table. With them was their driver, Rizal. Bryan and Giovan offered
the girls a ride to Baguio City, which eventually, was accepted by Helen and Gina, thinking that they could
save some money besides the thought that the boys looked nice and trustworthy. They left Shakeys at 7:30
p.m. and boarded a white 1991 four-door Mitsubishi sedan. Rizal took the wheel, while Bryan sat at the front
passenger seat. Helen, Gina and Giovan stayed on the back seat, in that order. Before proceeding to Baguio,
they stopped at a residential area where Bryan delivered some papers and picked up some jackets. The group
arrived in Baguio City at 10:45 p.m., proceeding first to the house of Bryans uncle, but shortly afterwards,
looked for another place to stay. They went to the Terraces Hotel, the Baden Powell, and the Benguet Pines
Tourist Inn to check the rates and the rooms. They checked in at the Benguet Pines Tourist Inn at 11:00 p.m.
They got two rooms on opposite sides of the corridor on the second floor. After a while, Bryan and Giovan
asked the girls out for some drinks and dancing at the Songs Jazz Bar along Session Road. While at the Songs
Jazz Bar, Helen drank a margarita, tequila and blowjob with plenty of water. Gina drank Singaporean sling,
blowjob and half a glass of Giovans mai tai. Bryan drank just one shot of tequila while Giovan drank half a
glass of mai tai. After the group left Songs Jazz Bar, Giovan drove to a convenience store on the pretext that
he was thirsty and wanted to buy cola drinks. Giovan and Bryan alighted and returned after some 10 minutes
with Giovan carrying 3 plastic cups of Sprite or Seven-Up and Bryan, two cups and a plastic bag containing
Chinese food with small lemons to be squeezed on it. Bryan gave Helen and Gina a cup each. Helen and
Gina drank from the cups. Meanwhile, as they were drinking their cola drinks, Giovan drove the group to
Club John Hay where he told the guards at the gate that they were just going to check on the Clubs billeting
rates. They parked in front of the billeting office. Gina was then about to finish her cola drink when she felt
something gritty in it which stuck into her teeth; they were like small particles. She spat them back into the
cup and dumped out the remaining contents of the cup outside the car and thereafter gave the cup to Giovan
who threw it into a trash can. Gina commented out loud about the gritty substance in her drink and related
that in China they often found strange things in their food. There was no word from the boys. Helen finished
her drink and then handed the empty cup to Giovan who likewise threw it into a trash can. After leaving Club
John Hay, the group returned to their hotel. Gina and Helen appeared to have been drugged, as they were
disoriented by the events thereafter. Helen felt that someone was violating her personal space before she
became unconscious. Gina remembered that Giovan forcefully kissed her and inserted two fingers in her
vagina before someone else entered her room; finding Bryan attempting to have carnal knowledge with her,
she did oral sex on Bryan to prevent him from penetrating her before she passed out. Gina woke up at 3:00
p.m. feeling groggy and confused. She opened her purse to get money to pay for the room, but found that her
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US$290.00, P2,000.00, 300 yuan and US$200.00 travellers check were all missing. Only her US $100.00
travellers check was left. She tried to wake Helen up but the latter only rolled over. Gina ran downstairs and
met Hilda, a hotel desk girl, who asked her if she was alright. Gina cried and told her that she had been
robbed. Hilda said she will call the police. Gina returned to their room to wake up Helen but the latter still
did not wake up. After sometime, Gina again went downstairs and was introduced to 5 or 6 members of the
Criminal Investigation Service (CIS). She told them that she was robbed and sexually molested and narrated
to them what had happened. Bryan and Giovan were charged with Rape and Acts of Lasciviousness in
Criminal Cases 12600-R, and 12601-R. The two cases were tried jointly. Bryan and Giovan refused to be
arraigned and enter a plea; hence, a plea of not guilty was entered on their behalf. During the trial, and
based on the set of facts provided by the private prosecutor, the entries in Ginas journal and the transcript of
stenographic notes taken during the preliminary examination conducted by the trial court in the afternoon of
January 26 and 27, 1994, Dr. Hernandez opined that Gina and Helen were drugged, possibly with lorazepam
or ativan, which is a benzodiazepine. On 16 March 1994, the trial court rendered a decision declaring Bryan
and Giovan guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes of rape and acts of lasciviousness as charged. In
Criminal Case 12600 (rape), the court sentenced Bryan to suffer an indeterminate penalty of 8 years of prision
mayor, as minimum, to 14 years and 8 months of reclusion temporal, as maximum (appreciating the
privileged mitigating circumstance of minority and the generic mitigating circumstance of voluntary
surrender); and Giovan to an indeterminate penalty of 12 years and 1 day of reclusion temporal, as minimum,
to 20 years and 1 DAY of reclusion perpetua, as maximum (appreciating the mitigating circumstance of
voluntary surrender). Both were ordered to pay Gina Marie Mobley in the amounts of: P50,000.00 for her
being raped, P12,195.00 (the equivalent of US$450.00 dollars at the exchange rate of P27.10 to US$1.00) as
actual damages, and P500,000.00 as moral damages, plus costs. In Criminal Case 12601-R (acts of
lasciviousness), the Court sentenced Bryan to suffer a straight penalty of 2 months of arresto mayor; and
Giovan to suffer an indeterminate penalty of 2 months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to 2 years and 4 months
of prision correccional, as maximum. Both were ordered to indemnify, jointly and severally Gina Marie
Mobley in the amount of P100,000.00 for and as moral damages, plus costs; and furthermore, pay, jointly and
severally, the offended party attorneys fees in the amount of P100,000.00 in the two cases. Bryan and Giovan
filed separate appeals.
Issue: Whether the alleged lack of arraignment nullifies the proceedings against Bryan Dy and Giovan
Bernardino.
Held: Concededly, the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation may not be waived.
Indeed, the defense may waive their right to enter a plea and let the court enter a plea of not guilty in their
behalf. However, it becomes altogether a different matter if the accused themselves refuse to be informed of
the nature and cause of the accusation against them. The defense can not hold hostage the court by their
refusal to the reading of the complaint or information. The reason proffered by Bryan and Giovan for their
refusal to be arraigned, i.e., that to do so would supposedly constitute a waiver of their right to appeal the
resolutions of the prosecutor to the Secretary of Justice, appears to be specious. Evidently, Bryan and Giovan
only wanted the trial court to suspend the arraignment to enable them to exhaust their remedy of appeal to the
Secretary of Justice. However, Bryan and Giovan had no valid ground to move that their arraignment be held
in abeyance, considering that at that time they had not filed a petition for review of the prosecutors resolution
before the Department of Justice. It is also important to stress that to nullify the proceedings had before the
court a quo would set a dangerous precedent. For, all that an accused would do is to refuse to be arraigned
and then proceed to trial, and if found guilty would just invoke the absence of arraignment to set aside the
proceedings had in the trial court. Such practice would run counter to the purpose and spirit of our rules of
procedure which is: to help achieve an orderly and speedy disposition of cases. Nonetheless, Bryan and
Giovan were substantially informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against them when their counsel
received a copy of the Prosecutors resolution maintaining the charge for rape and acts of lasciviousness. The
failure to read the complaint or information in a language or dialect known to them was essentially a
procedural infirmity that was eventually non-prejudicial to Bryan and Giovan. Not only did they receive a
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copy of the information, they likewise participated in the trial, cross-examined the complainant and her
witnesses and presented their own witnesses to debunk and deny the charges against them. The conduct of
the defense, particularly their participation in the trial, clearly indicates that they were fully aware of the
nature and cause of the accusations against them. Interestingly, after the arraignment, the defense never
brought up the supposed invalidity or defect thereof. Rather, Bryan and Giovan and their counsel vigorously
and fully participated in the trial of the case. Bryan and Giovan are clearly estopped to question the alleged
invalidity of or infirmity in their arraignment. By actively participating in the trial of the case, they have
effectively waived whatever procedural error there was in their arraignment. In short, whatever was the
defect in their arraignment was substantially cured by their own omission and subsequent actions.
303 People vs. Sadiosa [GR 107084, 15 May 1998]
Third Division, Romero (J): 3 concur
Facts: Arsenia Conse went to Bayombong, Nueva Ecija in early 1992 where she met Cely Navarro, Marcela
Manzano, Erly Tuliao and Benilda Domingo. She enticed the four to apply for overseas employment
informing them that she had a cousin who could send them to Kuwait as domestic helpers. Apparently
convinced by Arsenia Conse, the four went with her on 5 February 1992 to Manila. Upon arrival, they
proceeded to Room 210, Diamond Building, Libertad St., Pasay City where Arsenia Conse introduced the
group to Delia Sadiosa. The four then applied for work as domestic helpers. On that occasion, Sadiosa assured
the four that she could dispatch them to Kuwait and forthwith demanded P8,000.00 from each of them for
processing fee and P1,000.00 for passport (P1,500.00 from Cely Navarro). She assured the group that she
would facilitate the processing of all the necessary documents needed by them. She further promised them
that upon payment of the required fees, they would be able to leave for Kuwait immediately. The four did give
Sadiosa the money demanded although on different dates. The latter issued the corresponding receipts
therefor. Again, she assured them that they could leave for Kuwait on different dates: Cely Navarro and Erly
Tuliao on 17 February 1992 which was rescheduled twice on 19 February 1992 and on 25 February 1992, and
Benilda Domingo and Marcela Manzano on 17 March 1992 which was moved twice on 24 February 1992 and
on 17 March 1992. However, not one of them was able to leave for Kuwait. When they asked for the return of
their money, Sadiosa refused and ignored their demand. Consequently, the four filed the complaint for illegal
recruitment against Sadiosa. The information read: "That on or about and during the period comprise (sic)
from January 1992 to March 1992, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above named accused Delia Sadiosa y Cabenta, well knowing that she is not a duly
licensed job recruiter, by means of false representations and fraudulent allegations to the effect that she could
secure employment as domestic helpers abroad for Benilda Sabado y Domingo, Marcela Tabernero y
Manzano, Erly Tuliao y Sabado and Cely Navarro y Manzano, did then and there wilfully (sic), unlawfully
and feloniously recruit aforesaid persons and collected from them the amount of P8,000.00 each, which
amount were given to the accused by the aforesaid complainants upon receipt of which, far from complying
with her obligation aforestated, accused appropriated for herself the said amount and failed to deploy
complainants abroad. Contrary to law." Upon arraignment, Sadiosa pleaded "not guilty." The trial court found
Sadiosa guilty of illegal recruitment in large scale defined by Article 38 (b) and penalized under Article 39 (a)
of the Labor Code, as amended by Presidential Decree 1920 and 2018, and sentenced her to life imprisonment
and to pay a fine of P100,000.00. The court also ordered Sadiosa to indemnify Benilda Sabado y Domingo,
the sum of P8,000.00; Marcela Tabernero y Manzano, the sum of P8,000.00; Erly Tuliao y Sabado, the sum of
P8,000.00 and Cely Navarro y Manzano, the sum of P8,000.00. To pay the costs. Sadiosa appealed.
Issue: Whether the information was sufficient to allege illegal recruitment, and that said charge will not be
confused with estafa by the facts stated therein.
Held: The information is sufficient where it clearly states the designation of the offense by the statute and the
acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense. However, there is no need to specify or refer to
the particular section or subsection of the statute that was violated by the accused. No law requires that in
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order that an accused may be convicted, the specific provision penalizing the act charged should be mentioned
in the information. What identifies the charge is the actual recital of the facts and not that designated by the
fiscal in the preamble thereof. It is not even necessary for the protection of the substantial rights of the
accused, nor the effective preparation of his defense, that the accused be informed of the technical name of
the crime of which he stands charged. He must look to the facts alleged. Herein, the information filed against
Sadiosa sufficiently shows that it is for the crime of illegal recruitment in large scale, as defined in Art. 38 (b)
of the Labor Code and penalized in Art. 39 of the same Code although it is designated as for "illegal
recruitment" only. Under the Code, the essential elements of the crime of illegal recruitment in large scale are
as follows: (1) the accused engages in the recruitment and placement of workers, as defined under Article 13
(b) or in any prohibited activities under Article 34 of the Labor Code; (2) accused has not complied with the
guidelines issued by the Secretary of Labor and Employment, particularly with respect to the securing of a
license or an authority to recruit and deploy workers, whether locally or overseas; and (3) accused commits
the same against three (3) or more persons, individually or as a group." All these elements are to be found in
the information. It alleges that Sadiosa, knowing fully well that she was "not a duly licensed job recruiter,"
falsely represented that she could "secure employment as domestic helpers abroad" for the four complainants.
As such, the purpose of the requirement under Sec. 8, Rule 110 to inform and apprise the accused of the true
crime of which she was charged, has been complied with. The main purpose of the requirement that the acts
or omissions complained of as constituting an offense must be stated in ordinary and concise language is to
enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is intended to be charged so that he could
suitably prepare for his defense. It is also required so that the trial court could pronounce the proper judgment.
This gives substance to the constitutional guarantee that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be
informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. Herein, Sadiosa was fully accorded the right
to be informed of the charges against her. The fact that she put up the defense of having accepted the money
only in her capacity as an officer of the recruitment agency shows that she fully understood the nature and
cause of the accusation against her.
Furthermore, it is incorrect for Sadiosa to maintain that the information filed against her contained conflicting
and irreconcilable charges of illegal recruitment, estafa under Article 315 par. 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code
and estafa under the same article but under par. 2 (a) thereof. While on its face the allegations in the
information may constitute estafa, it merely describes how Sadiosa was able to consummate the act of illegal
recruitment through false and fraudulent representation by pretending that she was a duly-licensed
recruiter who could secure employment for complainants in Kuwait. These allegations in the information
therefore do not render the information defective or multiplicitous. Sadiosa could have been validly charged
separately with estafa under the same set of facts in the illegal recruitment case, but she was fortunate enough
not to have been so charged. Nevertheless, there is no doubt from a reading of the information, that it
accurately and clearly avers all of the ingredients that constitute illegal recruitment in large scale. The
prosecutor simply captioned the information with the generic name of the offense under the Labor Code
illegal recruitment. Hence, to avoid misconception and misinterpretation of the information, the prosecutor
should have indicated in its caption, the offense he had clearly alleged in its body, that the crime charged was
for illegal recruitment in large scale. However, such omission or lack of skill of the prosecutor who crafted the
information should not deprive the people of the right to prosecute a crime with so grave a consequence
against the economic life of the aggrieved parties. What is important is that he did allege in the information
the facts sufficient to constitute the offense of illegal recruitment in large scale.
304 People vs. Perez [GR 122764, 24 September 1998]
En Banc, Regalado (J): 12 concur, 1 concurs in result
Facts: According to Maribel Perez, Ernesto Perez brought her to Samar from their residence in Sampaloc,
Manila sometime in February 1994, supposedly to separate her from her siblings who were drug users or
addicts. Maribel was only 13 years old then. Ernersto is her stepfather, he being the second husband of her
mother, Anacleta de la Cruz. When they arrived in Samar, they stayed in the house of the spouses Raul and
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Nida Nieva at Barangay Ilo in the town of Sta. Margarita. While Ernesto and the Nievas were drinking in the
kitchen on the night of 21 February 1994, Maribel proceeded to the bedroom to sleep. The kitchen, wherein
the Nievas would be spending the night was about one arm's length away from the bedroom. At around 9:00
p.m., Maribel was awakened by the presence of someone pulling down her panties. Maribel soon realized that
it was Ernesto who was removing her underwear. Ernesto spread her legs, went on top of her and started
thrusting his genital organ toward her private parts. Maribel cried in pain when Ernesto's penis penetrated into
her vagina. To stifle Maribel's outcries, Ernesto covered her mouth with his hand and warned her that he
would box her if she again shouted or resisted his bestial advances. Faced with that threat, Maribel no longer
struggled against Ernesto as he continued with his lechery. After a while, Ernesto withdrew from Maribel and
masturbated in front of her. Semen, which Maribel later naively referred to as water, was thereafter ejaculated
by Ernesto toward her vagina. Eventually, Ernesto proceeded to sleep beside the victim. The following
morning, Nida Nieva asked Maribel why she was crying the night before. After Maribel revealed to Nida the
sexual assault committed by Ernesto, the two immediately went to the capitan of Barangay Ilo and then to the
police headquarters of Sta. Margarita to report the incident. On the same day, Maribel was brought to the
Calbayog District Hospital for physical examination. On the basis of a complaint subscribed by Maribel, an
information was filed in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 32, Calbayog City, Samar (Criminal Case 1899)
against Ernesto for allegedly raping Maribel, his stepdaughter. The indictment alleged "That on or about the
21st day of February, 1994, at about 9:00 o'clock in the evening, at Barangay Ilo, Municipality of Sta.
Margarita, Province of Samar, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, with lewd designs, by means of force and intimidation, did then and there wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with (sic) MARIBEL PEREZ against her will; that in the
commission of the said offense, the accused acted with grave abuse of confidence, he being the stepfather of
the complainant, by enticing her to leave their house located at 159 J. Fegiras (sic) St., Sampaloc, Manila and
was brought to Barangay Ilo, Sta. Margarita, Samar where the above-mentioned offense was committed." On
being duly arraigned, Ernesto pleaded not guilty to the accusation against him. Thereafter, a full-blown trial
was conducted in the court below, wherein the People and Ernesto were afforded full opportunity to establish
their respective versions of the criminal charge. The trial court convicted Ernesto Perez, also known as
Erning, of the felony of rape committed against his stepdaughter, and sentenced him to the supreme penalty
of death, and ordering him to pay his victim the amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages and the costs of the
criminal action. Hence, the automatic review.
Issue: Whether the death sentence should be applied inasmuch as the victim is below 18 years of age and is
the accuseds stepdaughter, notwithstanding the fact that the information alleges simple rape.
Held: Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code provides for the penalty of reclusion perpetua for the carnal
knowledge of a woman procured through force or intimidation and without any other attendant circumstance.
With the advent of Republic Act 7659 on 31 December 1993, and in addition to the two instances theretofore
introduced by Republic Act 4111, 7 new special circumstances of rape were added to Article 335 calling for
the single indivisible penalty of death. The first of such additional circumstances, upon which the trial court
based its judgment of conviction against Ernesto Perez, is the conjoined factual requirement, which must be
alleged and proved, that the victim is under 18 years of age and that the offender inter alia is the stepparent of
the victim, which duality and concurrence of circumstances could warrant the imposition of the death penalty.
The modality of the rape, as well as the other six modes introduced by Republic Act 7659, partakes of the
nature of a qualifying circumstance under the Revised Penal Code since it increases the penalty for rape by
one degree. It cannot be considered as equivalent to an aggravating circumstance because aggravating
circumstances affect only the period of the penalty and do not increase the penalty to a higher degree. Also,
under the rules of criminal procedure, a qualifying circumstance to be considered as such must be so alleged
in the information, which is not required of aggravating circumstances. The information filed against Ernesto
in the present case does not support or justify the penalty of death imposed upon him by the trial court. A
reading of the information discloses that, contrary to the findings of said court, only the crime of simple rape
was charged against Ernesto and no attendant special circumstance, which would in effect qualify the crime
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was alleged as such in the information. While the fact that Ernesto is the stepfather of complainant was
pleaded in the information, it was mentioned therein merely as the basis for the allegation that Ernesto acted
with grave abuse of confidence. On the other hand, and of significant importance, the circumstance that
Maribel was less than 18 years of age at the time of the rape was never, in any manner, stated in the
information. For that matter, the allegations in the victim's complaint are substantially the same as those in the
information, including the omission of her age at the time of the rape. It would be a denial of the right of the
accused to be informed of the charges against him and, consequently, a denial of due process, if he is charged
with simple rape and be convicted of its qualified form punishable by death, although the attendant
circumstance qualifying the offense and resulting in capital punishment was not alleged in the indictment on
which he was arraigned. Procedurally, then, while the minority of Maribel and the relationship of Ernesto and
his victim were established during the trial, Ernesto can only be convicted of simple rape because he cannot
be punished for a graver offense than that with which he was charged. The requirement for complete
allegations on the particulars of the indictment is based on the right of the accused to be fully informed of the
nature of the charge against him, so that he may adequately prepare for this defense pursuant to the due
process clause of the Constitution. The fact, however, is that it is the prosecution which determines the
charges to be filed and how the legal and factual elements in the case shall be utilized as components of the
information. It is not for the accused, usually a layman, to speculate upon the purposes and strategy of the
prosecution and be thereafter prejudiced through erroneous guesswork. Thus, since the People dictate what he
should be charged with, fairness demands that he should not be convicted of a crime with which he is not
charged or which is not necessarily included therein.
305 People vs. Lozano [GR 125080, 25 September 1998]
First Division, Panganiban (J): 4 concur
Fact: On 29 August 1990 at about 4:30 p.m., Lilia Montederamos, a resident of Barangay Sta. Rosa, Maasin,
Southern Leyte, was requested by her mother, Catalina Montederamos to buy rice at the neighboring barangay
of Ibarra. On her way to Ibarra, Lilia passed by the coconut plantation of Luding Bandibas where she saw
Temestocles Lozano. When Lilia resumed walking to her destination, Lilia noticed that Lozano was following
her. As she was alone, Lilia got frightened and started to run. Eventually, however, Lozano caught up with
Lilia. Once astride each other, Lozano suddenly covered Lilia's mouth, poked a sharp-pointed stick on her
side and warned her not to make any noise or else she would die. Lilia pleaded to Lozano not to do anything
to her because she was pregnant but the plea fell on deaf ears. Instead, Lozano forcibly brought her to a
banana plantation at the lower portion of the road. When Lilia tried to shout, appellant boxed her thrice on her
right cheek causing her to feel dizzy. After delivering the fist blows, Lozano ordered Lilia to take off her
clothes and threatened her with death if she refused. When Lilia finished undressing, Lozano took off his
clothes but his pants and briefs were only pulled down to his knees. He then ordered Lilia to lie down on the
stony ground after which, he lay on top of Lilia and inserted his penis into her vagina. Thereafter, Lozano
pulled out his penis from the vagina of Lilia, wound it up with banana fiber and inserted it again into Lilia's
vagina. Then, he pulled out again his penis and forced Lilia to suck it. After he was through, Lozano brought
Lilia with him. As they proceeded to the Bodega of Montalbo, Lilia saw persons coming towards their
direction. Lilia seized this as an opportunity for escape especially so that the left arm of Lozano was no longer
holding her neck. She then pushed Lozano and ran to the persons coming towards their way. She recognized
these persons as Aniceto Malasaga, Diony Malasaga and Juanito Bandibas. Lilia ran directly to Diony
Malasaga and told his group that somebody wanted to kill her. The 3 brought Lilia home and upon arrival
thereat, she informed her parents that appellant raped her. On the same night, Lilia's father reported the
incident to the Maasin Police Station. On the following day, 30 August 1990, Lilia went to the Maasin Police
Station to report the incident; there, she executed a sworn statement. Provincial Prosecutor Iego A. Gorduiz
charged Lozano with rape in an Information dated 24 October 1990 before the Regional Trial Court of
Maasin, Southern Leyte, Branch 25 (Criminal Case 1471), which reads as follows: "The undersigned, acting
upon a sworn complaint originally signed and filed by the offended party, Lilia L. Montederamos, hereby
accuses Temestocles Lozano, alias Tommy, a resident of Ibarra, Maasin, Southern Leyte and is presently
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detained at the Provincial Jail, Maasin, Southern Leyte of the crime of Rape, committed by him as follows:
'That sometime in the afternoon of August 29, 1990, in [B]arangay Ibarra, [M]unicipality of Maasin,
[P]rovince of Southern Leyte, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused with lustful intent and lewd design and by means of force, threats, intimidation and/or
violence did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sexually attack, assault and ravish the
offended party, Lilia L Montederamos, and had carnal intercourse without her consent and against her will, to
her damage and [to the prejudice of the] social order." Upon his arraignment on 13 March 1991, Lozano,
assisted by Counsel de Parte Porfirio P. Siayngco, pleaded not guilty. Trial on the merits ensued in due course.
On 29 February 1996, the trial court rendered its Decision, finding Lozano guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
the crime of Rape as defined and punished by Art. 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and
sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua; to indemnify the offended party [in] the amount of
P50,000.00 without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency; and to pay the costs. Lozano appealed.
Issue: Whether Lozano is liable to one count of rape only even if the evidence showed that he had carnal
knowledge with his victim at least twice.
Held: Although the prosecution's evidence tended to prove that Lozano had carnal knowledge of the victim at
least twice, he cannot be held liable for two counts of rape, because the Information charged him with only
one count. An accused cannot be convicted of an offense, unless it is clearly charged in the complaint or
information. Constitutionally, he has a right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against
him. To convict him of an offense other than that charged in the complaint or information would be a
violation of this constitutional right. he case is similar to the case of People v. De Guzman, where the
appellant therein was convicted of only one count of rape because the Information charged him with only one,
despite the fact that evidence presented during the trial showed that there were at least two acts of attempted
rape and one consummated rape.
306 People vs. Ladrillo [GR 124342, 8 December 1999]
Second Division, Bellosillo (J): 4 concur
Facts: Jane Vasquez, the 8-year old complaining witness, could not state the month and year she was
supposedly abused by her cousin Edwin Ladrillo. She could narrate however that one afternoon she went to
Ladrillo's house in Abanico, Puerto Princesa City, which was only 5 meters away from where she lived. There
he asked her to pick lice off his head; she complied. But later, he told her to lie down in bed as he stripped
himself naked. He removed her panty and placed himself on top of her. Then he inserted his penis into her
vagina. He covered her mouth with his hand to prevent her from shouting as he started gyrating his buttocks.
He succeeded in raping her 4 times on the same day as every time his penis softened up after each intercourse
he would make it hard again and insert it back into her vagina. After successively satisfying his lust Ladrillo
would threaten to "send her to the police" if she would report the incident to anyone. Sometime in 1994
Salvacion Ladrillo Vasquez, mother of Jane, noticed that Jane had difficulty urinating and kept pressing her
abdomen and holding her private part. As she writhed in discomfort she approached her mother and said,
"Ma, hindi ka maniwala sa akin na 'yung uten ni Kuya Edwin ipinasok sa kiki ko" (Ma, you won't believe that
Kuya Edwin inserted his penis into my vagina). Perturbed by her daughter's revelation, Salvacion
immediately brought her to their church, the Iglesia ni Kristo, where she was advised to report to the National
Bureau of Investigation (NBI). At the NBI Salvacion was referred to the Puerto Princesa Provincial Hospital
so that Jane could be physically examined. On 3 February 1995, Jane Vasquez with the assistance of her
mother Salvacion Ladrillo Vasquez filed a criminal complaint against Edwin Ladrillo. The Information
alleged "That on or about the year 1992 at Abanico Road, Brgy. San Pedro Puerto Princesa City... the said
accused, with the use of force and intimidation did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously have
carnal knowledge with the undersigned five (5) years of age, minor, against her will and without her consent."
The defense is anchored on alibi and denial. Ladrillo claimed that in 1992, the year he allegedly raped Jane as
stated in the Information, he was still residing in Liberty, Puerto Princesa City, and did not even know Jane or
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her mother at that time. That it was only in 1993, according to him, that he moved to Abanico, Puerto Princesa
City. Edito Ladrillo, Edwin's father, testified that his family lived in Abanico for the first time only in 1993;
that when he and his sister Salvacion, mother of Jane, had a quarrel, he forbade his son Edwin from attending
church services with Salvacion at the Iglesia ni Kristo, which caused his sister to be all the more angry with
him; and, the instant criminal case was a means employed by his sister to exact revenge on him for their past
disagreements. Still, the trial court found Ladrillo guilty as charged, sentenced him to reclusion perpetua, and
ordered him to indemnify Jane Vasquez the amount of P100,000.00, and to pay the costs. Ladrillo appealed.
Issue: Whether the peculiar designation of time in the Information, i.e ."on or about the year 1992," runs
afoul of the constitutionally protected right of the accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation against him.
Held: Preliminarily, the crime was alleged in the Information to have been committed "on or about the year
1992." The peculiar designation of time in the Information violates Section 11, Rule 110, of the Rules of
Court which requires that the time of the commission of the offense must be alleged as near to the actual date
as the information or complaint will permit. More importantly, it runs afoul of the constitutionally protected
right of the accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. The Information is
not sufficiently explicit and certain as to time to inform accused-appellant of the date on which the criminal
act is alleged to have been committed. The phrase "on or about the year 1992" encompasses not only the 12
months of 1992 but includes the years prior and subsequent to 1992, e.g., 1991 and 1993, for which Ladrillo
has to virtually account for his whereabouts. Hence, the failure of the prosecution to allege with particularity
the date of the commission of the offense and, worse, its failure to prove during the trial the date of the
commission of the offense as alleged in the Information, deprived Ladrillo of his right to intelligently prepare
for his defense and convincingly refute the charges against him. At most, Ladrillo could only establish his
place of residence in the year indicated in the Information and not for the particular time he supposedly
committed the rape. Certainly, time is not an essential ingredient or element of the crime of rape. However, it
assumes importance in the instant case since it creates serious doubt on the commission of the rape or the
sufficiency of the evidence for purposes of conviction. The Information states that the crime was committed
"on or about the year 1992," and complainant testified during the trial that she was sexually abused by
Ladrillo in the latter's house in Abanico, Puerto Princesa City. It appears however from the records that in
1992 Ladrillo was still residing in Liberty, Puerto Princesa City, a town different from Abanico, Puerto
Princesa City, and had never been to Abanico at any time in 1992 nor was he familiar with the complainant
and her family. He only moved to Abanico, Puerto Princesa City, in 1993. It was therefore impossible for
Ladrillo to have committed the crime of rape in 1992 at his house in Abanico, Puerto Princesa City, on the
basis of the prosecution evidence, as he was not yet residing in Abanico at that time and neither did his family
have a home there. The materiality of the date cannot therefore be cursorily ignored since the accuracy and
truthfulness of complainant's narration of events leading to the rape practically hinge on the date of the
commission of the crime.
307 People vs. Lumilan [GR 102706, 25 January 2000]
Second Division, De Leon Jr. (J): 4 concur
Facts: In the early evening of 12 October 1987, Meliton Asuncion, Modesto Roque, Eliong dela Cruz, Jerry
Palomo, Simeon Pacano, Benito Alonzo, Nolasco Estrada, Mario Palomo and Romeo Pacho were drinking
liquor inside the house of Policarpio Palomo when it was sprayed with bullets. The successive gunshots
emanated from the fence about 6 meters away from where they were drinking, killing Meliton Asuncion,
Modesto Roque, and Eliong dela Cruz and seriously wounding Jerry Palomo, Simeon Pacano, Nolasco
Estrada, Mario Palomo and Romeo Pacho. Simeon Pacano was hit in the left leg causing him to fall on his
face. When the firing ceased, he remained in the said position pretending to be dead, as he recognized Fred
Orbiso who entered the house and checked the bodies of the victims for survivors. He also recognized Leon
Lumilan and Antonio Garcia who joined Orbiso inside the house. They were purportedly after a certain Ben
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Estrada who was the barangay captain of Gayong-Gayong Sur, Ilagan, Isabela. The Provincial Fiscal charged
Orbiso, Lumilan, and Garcia of the crime of qualified illegal possession of firearms used in murder. The
information reads "The undersigned Provincial Fiscal accuses Fred Orbiso, Leon Lumilan and Antonio Garcia
of the crime of Qualified Illegal Possession of Firearms used in Murder, in violation of Presidential Decree
No. 1866, committed as follows: 'That on or about the 12th day of October 1987, in the municipality of
Ilagan, Province of Isabela, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the herein
accused, not being authorized or allowed by the law to keep, possess and carry firearms, did then and there
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in their possession and under their control and custody, firearms
without first having obtained the necessary permit and/or license to possess the same, and that on the occasion
of such possession, the herein accused with treachery did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
with intent to kill suddenly and unexpectedly and without giving them chance to defend themselves, fired
[sic] at and shoot Meliton Asuncion, Modesto Roque, and Eliong dela Cruz inflicting upon them gunshot
wounds which directly caused their deaths; and further inflicting on the same occasion gunshot wounds upon
Jerry Palomo, Romeo Pacho, Nolasco Estrada, Mario Palomo and Simeon Pacano, which injuries would
ordinarily cause the death of the said Jerry Palomo, Romeo Pacho, Nolasco Estrada, Mario Palomo and
Simeon Pacano, thus performing all the acts of execution which should have produced the crime of murder
with respect to the last named victims as a consequence, but nevertheless, did not produce it by reason of
causes independent of their will, that is, by the timely and able medical assistance rendered to the said Jerry
Palomo, Romeo Pacho, Nolasco Estrada, Mario Palomo and Simeon Pacano which prevented their deaths.'
Contrary to Law." Both Lumilan and Garcia interposed the defense of alibi. After an assessment of the
evidence, the trial court declared that no proof beyond reasonable doubt was adduced by the prosecution to
justify the conviction of Orbiso, et. al. for Qualified Illegal Possession of Firearms Used in Murder. However,
the trial court found Garcia and Lumilan guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of 1) Murder as defined
and penalized under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code in conjunction with Article 6 of the Revised Penal
Code, and sentenced both to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua on three counts each for the killing of
Meliton Asuncion, Modesto Roque and Eliong dela Cruz. They were also found guilty of frustrated murder
and were sentenced to a prison term of 8 years and 20 days as minimum to 14 years, 10 months, and 21 days
as maximum on two counts each for the wounding of Jerry Palomo and Simeon Pacano. They were also found
guilty of attempted murder and were sentenced to a prison term of 5 years as minimum to 8 years and 21 days
as maximum on three counts each for the wounding of Nolasco Estrada, Mario Palomo and Romeo Pacho.
They were ordered to indemnify the heirs of the deceased Meliton Asuncion damages in the amount of
P30,000.00, moral damages of P10,000.00 each, actual damages of P4,150.00 and lost earning of P27,000.00
for one year as farmer; the deceased Modesto Roque damages of P30,000.00, moral damages of P10,000.00
each actual damages of P8,000.00 and lost earning of P10,000.00 for one year as farmer; and the deceased
Eliong dela Cruz, damages of P30,000.00 and moral damages of P10,000.00 each; for the wounding of
Simeon Pacano and Jerry Palomo, moral damages of P10,000.00 each and actual damages of P11,550.00 for
jerry Palomo; and for an attempt on the life of Nolasco Estrada and Mario Palomo, an actual damages of
P100.00 for NOLASCO ESTRADA and actual damages of P200.00 and lost earning of P10,500.00 for one
year as farmer for Mario Palomo, with costs. Lumilan and Garcia filed a motion for reconsideration which
was, however, denied by the trial court in its Resolution dated 24 October 1991. Lumilan and Garcia
appealed.
Issue: Whether Lumilan and Garcia may be properly convicted of murder, frustrated murder and attempted
murder under an Information that charges them with qualified illegal possession of firearms used in murder in
violation of Section 1 of Presidential Decree 1866, as amended.
Held: At the time the trial court promulgated its judgment of conviction in September 1990, it had already
been 6 months since the Court held in People v. Tac-an that the unlawful possession of an unlicensed firearm
or ammunition, whether or not homicide or murder resulted from its use, on one hand, and murder or
homicide, on the other, are offenses different and separate from and independent of, each other. While the
former is punished under a special law, the latter is penalized under the Revised Penal Code. Consequently,
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the prosecution for one will not bar prosecution for the other, and double jeopardy will not lie. It cannot be
said that murder or homicide necessarily includes or is necessarily included in qualified illegal possession of
firearms used in murder or homicide. To state otherwise is to contradict Tac-an and its progeny of cases where
the Court categorically ruled out the application of double jeopardy in the simultaneous prosecution for
murder or homicide and qualified illegal possession of firearms used in murder or homicide against same
accused involving the same fatal act. On the other hand, Sec. 4, Rule 120 of the Revised Rules of Court
provides that an accused may not be convicted of an offense other than that with which he is charged in the
Information, unless such other offense was both established by evidence and is included in the offense
charged in the Information. Since murder or homicide neither includes or is necessarily included in qualified
illegal possession of firearms used in murder or homicide, the trial court may not validly convict an accused
for the former crime under an Information charging the latter offense. Conversely, an accused charged in the
Information with homicide or murder may not be convicted of qualified illegal possession of firearms used in
murder or homicide, for the latter is not included in the former. Pursuant to the amendments to Section 1 of
PD 1866, however, where an accused uses an unlicensed firearm in committing homicide or murder, he may
no longer be charged with what used to be the two separate offenses of homicide or murder under the Revised
Penal Code and qualified illegal possession of firearms used in homicide or murder under PD 1866. As
amended by RA 8294, PD 1866 now mandates that the accused will be prosecuted only for the crime of
homicide or murder with the fact of illegal possession of firearms being relegated to a mere special
aggravating circumstance. To obviate any doubt, RA 8294 expressly restricts the filing of an information for
illegal possession of firearms to cases where no other crime is committed. The Information charging Lumilan,
et. al. with Qualified Illegal Possession of Firearms Used in Murder, violates Section 1 of PD. 1866, as
amended by RA 8294, which obliterated the now obsolete concept of qualified illegal possession of firearms
or illegal possession of firearms in its aggravated form, i.e., where the penalty for illegal possession is
increased to reclusion perpetua or death by the attendance of homicide or murder. In fact, qualified illegal
possession of firearms, which used to be a distinct offense, no longer exists in our statute books.
Still, while the Information specifically states that Lumilan, et. al. are being accused of the crime of Qualified
Illegal Possession of Firearms Used in Murder in violation of PD 1866, its text is so worded that it describes
at least three (3) crimes: (1) Illegal possession of firearms, (2) murder, and (3) frustrated / attempted murder.
The Information is undeniably duplicitous. Sec. 13, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Court provides that a
complaint or information must charge but one offense, except only in cases where the law prescribed a single
punishment for various offenses. Duplicity or multiplicity of, charges is a ground for a motion to quash under
Sec. 2 (e), Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Court. The accused, however, may choose not to file a motion to
quash and be convicted of as many distinct charges as are alleged in the information and proved during the
trial. In the same vein, failure to interpose any objection to the defect in the information constitutes waiver.
Herein, Lumilan, et. al. did not file any motion to quash the Information. More significantly, the bulk of the
evidence that they presented during the trial was intended to disprove their complicity in the murder,
frustrated murder and attempted murder of the victims. Appellants were undeniably defending themselves,
not so much with the charge of qualified illegal possession in mind, but with the full awareness that they were
as well and more vigorously being prosecuted for murder, frustrated murder and attempted murder. As such,
Lumilan, et. al. cannot pretend that the Information did not fully apprise them of the charges against them as
to cause them surprise in the event of conviction. The appellation of the crime charged as determined by the
provincial fiscal may not exactly correspond to the actual crimes constituted by the criminal acts described in
the Information to have been committed by the accused, but what controls is the description of the said
criminal acts and not the technical name of the crime supplied by the provincial fiscal. Since Lumilan, et. al.
defended themselves not only against the offense of Qualified Illegal Possession of Firearms Used in Murder
as specified in the Information, but also, and more seriously against the crimes of Murder, Frustrated Murder
and Attempted Murder as described in the body of the Information, it cannot be said that their conviction for
the latter crimes is infirm and invalid.
Parenthetically, the accused were acquitted due to reasonable doubt inasmuch as there are serious doubt as to
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whether Simeon Pacano actually saw the assailants.


308 Evangelista vs. People [GRs 10813536, 14 August 2000]
Resolution of First Division, Ynares-Santiago (J): 4 concur
Facts: On 17 September 1987, Tanduay Distillery, Inc. filed with the Bureau of Internal Revenue an
application for tax credit in the amount of P180,701,682.00, for allegedly erroneous payments of ad valorem
taxes from 1 January 1986 to 31 August 1987. Tanduay claimed that it is a rectifier of alcohol and other
spirits, which per previous ruling of the BIR is only liable to pay specific taxes and not ad valorem taxes.
Upon receipt of the application, Aquilino Larin of the Specific Tax Office sent a memorandum to the Revenue
Accounting Division (RAD), headed by Potenciana M. Evangelista, requesting the said office to check and
verify whether the amounts claimed by Tanduay were actually paid to the BIR as ad valorem taxes. Larin's
memorandum was received by the Revenue Administrative Section (RAS), a subordinate office of the RAD.
After making the necessary verification, the RAS prepared a certification in the form of a 1st Indorsement to
the Specific Tax Office, dated 25 September 1987, which was signed by Evangelista as RAD chief. The 1st
Indorsement states that Tanduay made tax payments classified under Tax Numeric Code (TNC) 3011-0001
totalling P102,519,100.00 and payments classified under TNC 0000-0000 totalling P78,182,582.00.
Meanwhile, Teodoro Pareo, head of the Tax and Alcohol Division, certified to Justino Galban, Jr., Head of
the Compounders, Rectifiers and Repackers Section, that Tanduay was a rectifier not liable for ad valorem
tax. Pareo recommended to Larin that the application for tax credit be given due course. Hence, Larin
recommended that Tanduay's claim be approved, on the basis of which Deputy Commissioner Eufracio D.
Santos signed Tax Credit Memo No. 5177 in the amount of P180,701,682.00. Sometime thereafter, a certain
Ruperto Lim wrote a letter-complaint to then BIR Commissioner Bienvenido Tan, Jr. alleging that the grant of
Tax Credit Memo 5177 was irregular and anomalous. Based on this, Larin, Pareo, Galban and petitioner
Evangelista were charged before the Sandiganbayan with violation of Section 268 (4) of the National Internal
Revenue Code and of Section 3 (e) of RA 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Larin, Pareo and
Evangelista were later convicted of both crimes, while Galban was acquitted inasmuch as his only
participation in the processing of Tanduay's application was the preparation of the memorandum confirming
that Tanduay was a rectifier. The three accused filed separate petitions for review. Pareo's and Larin's
petitions were consolidated and, in a decision dated 17 April 1996, both were acquitted by the Supreme Court
in Criminal Cases 14208 and 14209. On 30 September 1999, the Supreme Court rendered a Decision
acquitting Evangelista of the charge of violation of then Section 268 (4) of the National Internal Revenue
Code but affirming her conviction for violation of RA 3019, Section 3 (e), [gross negligence in issuing a
certification containing TNCs which she did not know the meaning of and which, in turn, became the basis of
the Bureau's grant of Tanduay's application for tax credit] thus imposing on her an indeterminate sentence of
imprisonment for 6 years and 1 month as minimum to 12 years as maximum, and the penalty of perpetual
disqualification from public office (Criminal Case 14208). Evangelista seasonably filed a Motion for
Reconsideration.
Issue: Whether Evanglista was founf guilty of an offense different from that alleged in the information, adn
thus she was unable to properly defend herself from the crime for which she was convicted..
Held: The Information against Evangelista and her co-accused in Criminal Case 14209 alleges in fine that
they caused undue injury to the Government and gave unwarranted benefits to Tanduay when they endorsed
approval of the claim for tax credit by preparing, signing and submitting false memoranda, certification
and/or official communications stating that Tanduay paid ad valorem taxes when it was not liable for such
because its products are distilled spirits on which specific taxes are paid, by reason of which false
memoranda, certification and/or official communications the BIR approved the application for tax credit, thus
defrauding the Government of the sum of P107,087,394.80, representing the difference between the amount
claimed as tax credit and the amount of ad valorem taxes paid by Tanduay to the BIR. Instead of convicting
her of the acts described in the Information, she was convicted of issuing the certification without identifying
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the kinds of tax for which the TNCs stand and without indicating whether Tanduay was really entitled to tax
credit or not. Further, Evangelista was convicted of a supposed crime not punishable by law. She was charged
with violation of Section 3 (e) of RA 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which states that "In
addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall
constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful: xxx (e) Causing any
undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits,
advantage or preference in the discharge of his official, judicial or administrative functions through manifest
partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and
employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other
concessions. xxx" RA 3019, Section 3, paragraph (e), as amended, provides as one of its elements that the
public officer should have acted by causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or by
giving any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his functions.
Herein, Evangelista, in issuing the certification, did not cause any undue injury to the Government. She also
did not give unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference to Tanduay. Neither did Evangelista display
manifest partiality to Tanduay nor act with evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. Quite the
contrary, Evangelista's certification was against the interest of Tanduay. It did not advocate the grant of its
application for tax credit. The certification can even be read as a recommendation of denial of the application.
Evangelista's conviction was merely based on her alleged failure to identify with certainty in her certification
the kinds of taxes paid by Tanduay and to indicate what the TNCs stand for, which acts were different from
those described in the Information under which she was charged. This violated her constitutional right to due
process and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against her. It is well-settled that an
accused cannot be convicted of an offense unless it is clearly charged in the complaint or information.
Constitutionally, he has a right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. To
convict him of an offense other than that charged in the complaint or information would be a violation of this
constitutional right. Herein, the acts for which she was convicted are different from those alleged in the
Information. More importantly, Evangelista's act of issuing the certification did not constitute corrupt
practices as defined in Section 3 (e) of RA 3019. Evangelista's omission to indicate what kind of taxes TNCs
3011-0001 and 0000-0000 stand for was not a criminal act. Employees of the BIR were expected to know
what the TNCs stand for. If they do not, there is a "Handbook of Tax Numeric Code of Revenue Sources"
which they can consult.
309 People vs. Valdesancho [GR 137051-52, 30 May 2001]
First Division, Puno (J): 3 concur, 1 on leave
Facts: Vicente Valdesancho y Delmo is the husband of Elvie's sister, Erlinda Valdesancho. Elvie and her two
younger brothers, Erick and Eddie, lived with their brother in the mountains of Barangay Minayutan, Famy,
Laguna. In 1994, however, Elvie's mother, Leonida Basco, requested the spouses Erlinda and Valdesancho to
let Elvie, Erick and Eddie live in their house in San Antonio, Mabitac, Laguna. The three were going to study
in Barangay San Antonio. They resided with the accused from 24 June 1994 to June 1995. Elvie was then 14
years old and in Grade 1 at the Barangay San Antonio School. The first incident of rape happened in the early
morning of 15 August 1994. Elvie was in the house of Valdesancho while Erlinda was then in Manila.
Valdesancho succeeded in having carnal knowledge of Elvie, subsequent to Valdesancho's order to powder his
back. Valdesancho warned her not to reveal the dastardly act to anybody, otherwise he would kill her and her
family. All this time, Elvie's brothers were sleeping in the other room. The second incident of rape happened
in the evening of 16 August 1994. Elvie was in the house of Valdesancho studying. He called Elvie to his
room and ordered her to look under the bed for a chick. Valdesancho again had carnal knowledge of her
against her will. Again, Valdesancho threatened Elvie not to report the incident to anybody, otherwise he
would kill her and her family. Elvie kept her harrowing experience to herself for fear that Valdesancho would
carry out his threat. In September 1995, however, when Elvie was already residing with her brother and
mother in Barangay Minayutan, Famy, Laguna, she reported the rape incidents to her Tiya Soling. She was
fearful that Valdesancho might rape her again. Although she no longer lived with Valdesancho, the latter
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stayed in their (Elvie's) house in Barangay Minayutan for less than a month in September 1995 and he gave
her malicious looks. Tiya Soling reported the rape incidents to Elvie's mother who verified the story from
Elvie herself. On 15 January 1996, Elvie executed a sworn statement at the Mabitac Police Station narrating
the rape incidents. On 27 March 1996, two informations were filed against Valdesancho. In Criminal Case S1964, the information reads "That on or about August 15, 1994 at Sitio Mahabang Parang, Barangay
Nanguma, Municipality of Mabitac, Province of Laguna and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
the above-named accused with lewd designs and by means of force and violence, did then and there wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously have sexual intercourse with one Elvie B. Basco, 15 years old, single (,) against
her will and consent and to her damage and prejudice. Contrary to law." In Criminal Case S-1965, the
information reads "That on or about the evening of August 16, 1994 at Sitio Mahabang Parang, Barangay
Nanguma, Municipality of Mabitac, Province of Laguna and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
the above-named accused with lewd designs and by means of force and violence, did then and there wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously have sexual intercourse with one Elvie B. Basco, 15 years of age, single (,) against
her will and consent and to her damage and prejudice. Contrary to law." Valdesancho denied the rape charges
leveled against him. He contends that Elvie, with the assistance of her mother Leonida, filed the instant cases
against him because of the serious quarrel between his wife, Erlinda, and Leonida spurred by Leonida's
relationship with a lesbian named Melita Flores. The trial court upheld the prosecution's story. The court
found Valdesancho guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of "rape" committed against Elvie Basco, in
the 2 informations for rape, and sentenced him to 2 Reclusion Perpetua; to pay the victim the sum of
P100,000.00 for moral damages in the two (2) cases; and to pay the cost. Valdesancho appealed.
Issue: Whether Valdesancho was denied due process when he was convicted for rapes alleged committed
August 15 and 16, 1993, when the information alleged such rapes were committed on August 15 and 16,
1994.
Held: Article III, Section 14 of the 1987 Constitution mandates that no person shall be held liable for a
criminal offense without due process of law. It further provides that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused
shall be informed of the nature and cause of accusation against him and shall enjoy the right to be heard by
himself and counsel. Similarly, the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended, which took effect on 1
December 2000, provides that in all criminal prosecutions, it is the right of the accused to be informed of the
nature and cause of the accusation against him. To convict an accused for an offense not alleged in the
complaint or information violates such right. Herein, the informations in Criminal Cases S-1964 and S-1965
charged Valdesancho with rape committed against Elvie Basco on 15 August 1994 and 16 August 1994,
respectively. All evidence of the prosecution tried to prove that the victim was raped by Valdesancho on these
dates. Valdesancho interposed the defense of alibi. He proved that on these dates he was in the town of Sta.
Maria helping a friend butcher a pig for the town fiesta. He also proved that on said dates, the victim, Elvie,
was no longer living with them in Mabitac, Laguna. She already transferred to Minayutan, Famy, Laguna
where she was in Grade 2. Despite the parties' evidence, the trial court convicted Valdesancho for allegedly
raping Elvie on August 15 and 16, 1993. Without doubt, the accused was not given any chance to prove where
he was on August 15 and 16, 1993. What he did was to prove where he was on August 15 and 16, 1994 for the
informations charged him with rapes on those specific dates. He had no opportunity to defend himself on the
rapes allegedly committed on the earlier dates. This is plain denial of due process.
310 People vs. Alcalde [GR 139225-28, 29 May 2002]
En Banc, Davide Jr. (CJ): 14 concur
Facts: At 1:00 p.m. of 29 August 1997, SPO2 Nicanor Avendao, arriving at the house of Arnel Alcalde y
Pascasio in Barangay Bubukal, Santa Cruz, Laguna, found the house in disarray. He saw a naked woman
lying dead on a wooden bed with both hands and feet tied from behind, as well as a dead child on a crib. The
dead woman was Wendy Alcalde, and the dead child was Arwin Alcalde. Some clothes and a puppy were
also burned. Avendao and his team recovered a piece of steel near Wendys face and empty bottles of gin
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and Royal Tru-Orange on top of the cabinet. They took pictures of the dead bodies and caused the entry of
the incident in the police blotter. He learned later that Arnel's two daughters, Bernalyn and Erica, had been
rushed to the provincial hospital for treatment before he and his team arrived at the crime scene. On 24
September 1997, the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Laguna filed before the trial court two
informations against Arnel for parricide, committed against his wife Wendy and his 11-month old son Arwin,
and two informations for frustrated parricide, committed against his two daughters Bernalyn and Erica the
before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 28, Santa Cruz, Laguna. Upon his arraignment on 22 October 1997,
Arnel, who was assisted by a counsel de parte, refused to speak. The trial court entered for him a plea of not
guilty in each of the cases. On the same occasion, the defense waived pre-trial. The cases were then
consolidated and jointly tried. After the prosecution has presented its witnesses and rested its case and
formally offered its exhibits, the defense filed a motion for leave of court to file a demurrer to evidence,
which was granted. On 27 April 1998, the defense filed a demurrer to evidence based on the grounds that (a)
The accused has not been adequately informed of the nature and cause of accusation against him during the
arraignment; (b) Not an iota of incriminatory evidence, direct or circumstantial, has been adduced and
presented by the prosecution during the trial; and (c) The constitutional presumption of innocence of the
accused has not been overcome by any evidence or contrary presumption. In its Order of 22 May 1998, the
trial court denied the demurrer to evidence and set the dates for the presentation of the evidence for the
defense. However, in a Manifestation dated 4 June 1998, Atty. Vasquez informed the court that the defense
opted not to present evidence for Arnels defense, as the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond
reasonable doubt. On 16 July 1998, the prosecution filed its Comment on the manifestation and prayed for the
re-opening of the presentation of prosecutions evidence for the purpose of proving that Arnel was at the
scene of the crime. In its Order of 21 August 1998, the trial court allowed the prosecution to present
additional evidence. The defense questioned the propriety of the said order before the Court of Appeals in a
petition for certiorari. In its resolution of 17 December 1998, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for
non-compliance with Section 1, Rule 65, Rules of Court, and for the further reason that the order sought to be
set aside was interlocutory in character and could not, therefore, be the subject of a petition for certiorari; and
that even granting that the exception applied, the trial court committed no capriciousness in issuing the
assailed order. The prosecution thereafter presented their additional witnesses. After the prosecution finally
rested its case, the trial court set on 8 October 1998 the presentation of the evidence for the defense.
However, on 7 October 1998, Atty. Vasquez Sr., informed the trial court of his inability to communicate with
Arnel because of Arnels out of touch of the world behavior. Atty. Vasquez manifested that the defense was
constrained to submit the case for decision. In its decision of 30 April 1999, the trial court found that the
prosecutions evidence has duly established a succession of circumstantial evidence that leads to the
inescapable conclusion that Arnel committed the crimes charged. The court found Arnel guilty beyond
reasonable doubt (Criminal Cases SC-6651 and SC-6654) for the killing of Wendy and Arwin, and imposed
upon him the penalty of death in both cases. Likewise, the court found Arnel guilty beyond reasonable doubt
of the crime of frustrated parricide (Criminal Cases SC-6652 and SC-6653), after considering the severity of
the wounds suffered by his daughters Bernalyn and Erika. Hence, the automatic review.
Issue: Whether the trial court should have ascertained the mental state of the accused before he was read the
information during the arraignment.
Held: The constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him under the
Bill of Rights carries with it the correlative obligation to effectively convey to the accused the information to
enable him to effectively prepare for his defense. At the bottom is the issue of fair trial. While not every
aberration of the mind or exhibition of mental deficiency on the part of the accused is sufficient to justify
suspension of the proceedings, the trial court must be fully satisfied that the accused would have a fair trial
with the assistance the law secures or gives. Herein, the trial court should have ascertained Arnels mental
state instead of proceeding with his arraignment and its subsequent proceedings.
311

People vs. Ostia [GR 131804, 26 February 2003]


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En Banc, Callejo Sr. (J): 11 concur, 1 believes the attendance of the qualifying circumstance of Treachery
should warrant the grant of exemplary damages, 1 on leave
Facts: The Spouses Ponciano Onato and Edita Onato resided with their 4-year old daughter, Beverly Onato,
in Sitio Mactang, Barangay Ilo, Sto. Nio, Samar. Ponciano was a fisherman and a farmer but was employed
by Tito Soria in his buy-and-sell of fish business. Roberto Ostia, a co-worker of Ponciano, resided in the
poblacion of Sto. Nio. On 13 May 1995, a Saturday, at about 7:00 p.m., Rufo Legaspi (a carpenter, a
Barangay Tanod, and a neighbor of Ponciano) was seated near his house, resting before retiring for the
evening, when he saw Roberto, with Beverly perched on his right shoulder, walking towards the direction of
the poblacion. Robertos left hand was holding the right hand of Mary Donoso, a 9-year old playmate of
Beverly. The trio were in animated conversation on their way towards the poblacion. After the lapse of an
hour or so, Edita noticed that Beverly had not yet returned to their house. She went out of the house to look
for her daughter. Rufo told Edita that earlier he saw Beverly perched on the shoulder of Roberto on their way
towards the direction of the poblacion. Thereafter, Roberto sauntered by; however, Beverly was no longer
with him. Puzzled, Edita inquired from Roberto where Beverly was. Instead of responding, Roberto fled.
Edita was flustered. Rufo, who witnessed the incident, advised Edita to report the incident to the police
authorities. Edita rushed back home and woke up Ponciano. She told her husband that Beverly had been
taken by Roberto and that Beverly had not yet returned home. The couple rushed from their house and
reported the incident to the police authorities. With the help of their neighbors and police officers Manuel
Toribio and Dodong Espino, the couple looked for Beverly but failed to locate her. They resumed their search
the next day, 14 May 1995, and, at 3:00 p.m., they found Beverly sprawled in a grassy portion below a copra
kiln about 120 meters away from the house of the Onato couple and about 15 meters from the nearest house.
Beverly was already dead. Pictures of Beverly were taken where her body was found. Lorenzo Bernabe, the
Municipal Sanitary Inspector who had been trained by the District Hospital to perform autopsies in the
absence of the Municipal District Officer (Dr. Renato Ortiz), performed the autopsy on the cadaver of
Beverly. On 18 May 1995, a criminal complaint for rape with homicide was filed by Ponciano against
Roberto with the Municipal Circuit Trial Court and after the requisite preliminary investigation, an
Information charging Roberto with Rape with Homicide was filed on 7 December 1995 with Branch 32 of the
Regional Trial Court of Calbayog City which reads "That on or about the 13th day of May, 1995, at about
7:00 oclock in the evening, at Sitio Mactang, Barangay Ilo, Municipality of Sto. Nio, Province of Samar,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with lewd design,
by means of force and intimidation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal
knowledge against a minor four (4) years old girl, BEVERLY ONATO, without the latters consent and
against her will, and thereafter, with deliberate intent to kill, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously inflict upon the said Beverly Onato fatal wounds on the different parts of her body, which caused
her untimely death. Contrary to law." On the date set for his arraignment, Roberto appeared without counsel.
The court issued an order appointing Atty. Artemio Apostol as counsel de oficio of Roberto. Said counsel
prayed for the resetting of the arraignment to 30 January 1996 to enable him to secure a copy of the necropsy
report and study the case intelligently. The court granted the motion. During the arraignment of Roberto on
30 January 1996, he, through his counsel de oficio, manifested to the court that he was willing to plead guilty
to the lesser offense of murder. However, the public prosecutor prayed for a continuance so that he could
consult the provincial prosecutor and the father of the victim, Ponciano, on the offer of Roberto. The
arraignment of Roberto was reset to 29 February 1996, on which date, he, through his counsel de oficio,
moved that a reinvestigation be conducted by the public prosecutor. The motion was granted by the trial
court. However, despite notice from the office of the public prosecutor, Roberto failed to adduce controverting
evidence. On motion of the prosecution, the arraignment of Roberto was set on 9 August 1996. When
arraigned on said date, Roberto, with the assistance of his counsel de oficio, entered a plea of Not Guilty to
the charge of rape with homicide. Trial ensued. During the trial set on 6 May 1997, Roberto, through counsel,
moved that he be allowed to withdraw his plea of not guilty to rape with homicide and to enter a plea of guilty
to murder. Ponciano, the father of Beverly, and the public prosecutor agreed to Robertos pleading guilty to
murder. On 19 May 1997, Roberto, per Certificate of Re-arraignment signed by the Branch Clerk of Court,
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was re-arraigned for the lesser offense of murder and pleaded guilty thereto. The court then informed Roberto
that the penalty for murder was reclusion perpetua to death, two indivisible penalties, and that the court may
impose the death penalty on him depending on the circumstances found by the trial court. When trial resumed
on 22 May 1997, for the prosecution to continue presenting its evidence, Roberto took the witness stand to
answer more questions from the court. During the trial on 26 May 1997, the prosecution formally offered its
documentary evidence. The court admitted all the prosecutions documentary evidence without any objection
from Roberto. The latter did not anymore adduce any testimonial and documentary evidence in his behalf and
on said date, the court issued an order declaring that the case was submitted for its decision. On 25 August
1997, the trial court rendered judgment finding Roberto guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder with the
qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation and with the generic aggravating circumstances of (a)
abuse of confidence considering that Roberto and Ponciano were co-workers, (b) nighttime considering that
Beverly was killed in the evening and (c) despoblado considering that the nearest house to the situs criminis
was 14 meters. The court sentenced him to suffer the penalty of death, to pay the costs, and to indemnify the
heirs of the victim Beverly Onato in the amount of P50,000.00. Hence, the automatic appeal.
Issue: Whether the trial court porperly informed the accused of the nature of the charges against him.
Held: The trial court is required to probe thoroughly into the reasons as well as the facts and circumstances
for the change of plea of the accused and his comprehension of his plea; explain to him the elements of the
crime for which he is charged as well as the nature and effect of qualifying circumstances, generic
aggravating circumstances and mitigating circumstances in the commission thereof; and inform him of the
imposable penalty and his civil liabilities for the crime for which he would plead guilty to. Herein, the
Information was merely read and translated to Ostia in the waray dialect which he understood. The trial
court informed Ostia that by pleading guilty, he admitted all the facts alleged in the Information and that the
court would no longer conduct any trial but that it would impose on him the proper penalty for the crime of
murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, a heinous crime under RA 7659 punishable by two
indivisible penalties, namely, reclusion perpetua to death and that either of said penalties may be imposed on
him depending upon the circumstances which may ultimately be appreciated by the court. When asked by the
trial court if he pleaded guilty on his own volition, and if nobody forced, threatened or coerced him into
admitting having killed Beverly, Ostia answered that he admitted having killed Beverly on his own free will.
Thus, the trial court failed to comply with its duties under Section 3, Rule 116 of the Rules of Court. It bears
stressing that Ostia did not even know how to read and write. In fact, he merely affixed his thumbmark on the
Waiver of Right to a Preliminary Investigation. The trial court failed to explain to Ostia (a) the nature of
murder and the elements thereof; (b) that killing Beverly, a four-year old girl, constituted treachery, a
qualifying circumstance; Ostia being unlettered could not be presumed to understand the requisites of
treachery, a highly technical legal term; (c) the nature and effect of a qualifying aggravating circumstance in
the killing of Beverly and its effect on the penalty that may be imposed on him; (d) what heinous crimes are
and the meaning and import of indivisible penalties; (e) the specific circumstances which may be considered
by the court in the imposition of reclusion perpetua or death penalty; (f) whether his plea of guilty after the
prosecution had commenced presenting its evidence may still be considered by the trial court as a mitigating
circumstance; (g) the nature of civil liabilities that he may be ordered to pay and the amounts thereof. The
trial court even failed to probe into the reasons for Ostias change of plea from not guilty of rape with
homicide to guilty of murder and for his failure to adduce evidence during the reinvestigation of the case
despite having been granted the right to do so by the trial court. The trial court did not even bother inquiring
from Ostia whether he sought the advice of his counsel before pleading guilty to murder and whether he
wanted to adduce evidence in his behalf to prove any mitigating circumstances in the commission of the
crime to warrant the imposition of the lesser penalty of reclusion perpetua. Notwithstanding the improvident
plea of guilty of Ostia, the Court found it unnecessary to remand the case to the trial court. This is so because
independent of Ostias plea of guilty and his testimony admitting liability for Beverlys death, the evidence
adduced by the prosecution, albeit circumstantial, established the guilt of Ostia for murder beyond reasonable
doubt.
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312 People vs. Flores [GR 128823-24, 27 December 2002]


En Banc, Carpio-Morales (J): 14 concur
Facts: On 5 December 1996, Filipina L. Flores, 11 years old at the time, and her younger sister Catherine
were left to the care of their father, Pedro Flores Jr. y Flores (@ "Pesiong"), at their family residence in Sitio
Buenlag, Barangay Nancamaliran West, Urdaneta, Pangasinan, their mother Marcelina L. Flores having
departed for Singapore to work as an overseas contract worker. After partaking of supper on the night of 9
December 1996, Pedro asked Filipina to accompany him to the comfort room situated outside their house,
claiming that he was afraid of ghosts. Albeit Filipina did not believe him, she acquiesced because her mother
had told her to always obey her father. When Pedro came out of the comfort room, he ordered Filipina to
remove her short pants, threatening her with death if she disobeyed, and made her lie down. He then removed
his short pants and brief and, against her will, he inserted his finger and later his penis into Filipinas vagina
where she later felt hot fluid. Pedro thereafter wiped Filipinas vagina and his hand, threatened to kill her if
she reported what he did, directed her to put on her shorts, and they both went home. The following morning,
Filipina reported the incident to her Inang Lorie whose full name is Norielyn Antonio, the aunt of her
mother, who told her that if her father would sexually assault her again, he would have him detained. 19
nights later or on 28 December 1996, as Filipina lay asleep in their house, she was awakened when Pedro
touched her right foot. Armed with a knife, Pedro told her not to talk and ordered her to remove her short
pants and panty. She complied. Pedro thereupon removed his short pants and brief and went on top of her
chest during which she tried to push him away but failed. Pedro then inserted his finger into Filipinas vagina
for some time, wiped his hands, and then inserted his penis for a long time as he was sucking her breast.
Filipina felt Pedros semen drop into her private organ where she noticed the presence of blood and a bit of
whitish substance. Pedro later wiped her vagina with a towel. The following morning, Filipina again reported
the matter to her grandaunt Norielyn, and to her playmate Carla Salvador. On 31 January 1997, Filipina,
accompanied by Norielyn, a relative, and a tricycle driver-neighbor, reported the matter to the Philippine
National Police of Urdaneta where she gave a statement. On the same day, she, still accompanied by Norielyn,
submitted herself to a medical examination at the Don Amadeo J. Perez, Jr. Memorial General Hospital. On 3
February 1997, complaints were filed against Pedro. The criminal complaint in Criminal Case U-9184 reads
"The undersigned, Filipina Flores y Lazo, 11 years old, grade three pupil and a resident of Sitio Buenlag,
Brgy Nancamaliran West, Urdaneta, Pangasinan, under oath, hereby accuses Pedro Flores Jr. y Flores for the
crime of rape, committed as follows: 'That on the 9th day of December 1996, in the morning at Sitio
Buenlag, Brgy. Nancamaliran West, Municipality of Urdaneta, Province of Pangasinan, Philippines and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, by means of force and intimidation, did
then and there, willfully, unlawfully, criminally and feloniously sexually abuse the herein complaining
witness Filipina Flores y Lazo, 11 years old, all against her will.'" The criminal complaint in Criminal Case U9185, on the other hand, reads "The undersigned, Filipina Flores y Lazo, 11 years old, grade three pupil and a
resident of Sitio Buenlag, Brgy. Nancamaliran West, Urdaneta, Pangasinan, under oath, hereby accuses Pedro
Flores Jr. y Flores, alias "Pesyong", committed as follows: 'That on the 28th day of December 1996, in the
evening at Sitio Buenlag, Brgy Nancamaliran West, Municipality of Urdaneta, Province of Pangasinan,
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with deliberate
intent and by means of force and intimidation, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully, criminally and
feloniously sexually abuse the herein complaining witness Filipina Flores, an 11 years old and daughter of the
herein accused with the use of sharp pointed bladed weapon and all against her will. '" Arraigned on 10
February 1997, Pedro pleaded not guilty to both charges. After trial, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 46,
Urdaneta, Pangasinan found Pedro guilty of Statutory Rape and sentenced him to death in both cases in its 7
April 1997 Joint Decision, besides ordering him to pay Filipina the sum of P50,000.00 as moral damages,
P20,000.00 as exemplary damages, plus all the necessary penalties and costs in each case. Hence, the
automatic review.
Issue: Whether the informations violates the constitutional right of Pedro Flores to be informed of teh nature
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and cause of the accusation against him.


Held: From a reading of the complaints, Pedro Flores was denied the constitutional right to be informed of
the nature and cause of the accusation against him. This right has the following objectives: (1) To furnish the
accused with such a description of the charge against him as will enable him to make the defense; (2) To avail
himself of his conviction or acquittal for protection against further prosecution for the same cause; (3) To
inform the court of the facts alleged, so that it may decide whether they are sufficient in law to support a
conviction if one should be had. The right cannot be waived for reasons of public policy. Hence, it is
imperative that the complaint or information filed against the accused be complete to meet its objectives. As
such, an indictment must fully state the elements of the specific offense alleged to have been committed. For
an accused cannot be convicted of an offense, even if duly proven, unless it is alleged or necessarily included
in the complaint or information. The trial court found Pedro guilty of Statutory Rape under Article 335 of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended by RA 7659 (which restored the death penalty for heinous crimes effective
31 December 1993). Article 335 provides that "Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman
under any of the following circumstances: (1) By using force or intimidation; (2) When the woman is
deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and (3) When the woman is under twelve years of age or is
demented." The gravamen of the crime of rape is carnal knowledge or sexual intercourse between a man and a
woman under the circumstances enumerated in the penal code. Thus, to sustain a conviction, the complaint or
information must allege that the accused had carnal knowledge of or sexual intercourse with the private
complainant. In the criminal complaints herein, however, no such allegation was made. The allegation that
Pedro did sexually abuse Filipina does not suffice. Sexual abuse cannot be equated with carnal knowledge
or sexual intercourse. The allegation in the criminal complaints that the accused sexually abused the private
complainant cannot thus be read to mean that accused had carnal knowledge or sexual intercourse with the
private complainant. The Court is not unaware of the rule in case there is a variance between allegation and
proof as etched in Section 4 of Rule 120 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure which reads that "When
there is variance between the offense charged in the complaint or information and that proved, and the offense
as charged is included in or necessarily includes the offense proved, the accused shall be convicted of the
offense proved which is included in the offense charged, or of the offense charged which is included in the
offense proved." The present case, however, is not one of variance between allegation and proof. The recital
of facts in the criminal complaints simply does not properly charge rape, sexual abuse not being an essential
element or ingredient thereof. Neither can Pedro be convicted of acts of lasciviousness or of any offense for
that matter under our penal laws. It is settled that what characterizes the charge is the actual recital of facts in
the complaint or information. For every crime is made up of certain acts and intent which must be set forth in
the complaint or information with reasonable particularity of time, place, names (plaintiff and defendant), and
circumstances. In other words, the complaint must contain a specific allegation of every fact and circumstance
necessary to constitute the crime charged, the accused being presumed to have no independent knowledge of
the facts that constitute the offense. Even under the provisions of Republic Act No. 7610 (The Special
Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act), Pedro cannot be held
liable. The phrase sexually abuse in the criminal complaints does not comply with the requirement that the
complaint must contain a specific averment of every fact necessary to constitute the crime. Notably, the
phrase sexual abuse is not used under RA 7610 as an elemental fact but as an altogether separate offense.
Section 5 of RA 7610 enumerated the punishable acts that must be alleged in the complaint or information to
hold an accused liable, none of which is reflected in the present complaints charging Pedro Flores. Thus, the
informations in Criminal Cases U-9184 and U-9185 were declared null and void by the Supreme Court for
being violative of the constitutional right of Pedro Flores, Jr. y Flores alias Pesiong, for Rape to be
informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.
313 Acebedo vs. Sarmiento [GR L-28025, 16 December 1970]
First Division, Fernando (J): 7 concur. 3 on official leave
Facts: It was shown that on 3 August 1959, the Provincial Fiscal filed in the Court of First Instance of
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Pampanga a criminal information for damage to property through reckless imprudence against David
Acebedo y Dalman and a certain Chi Chan Tan. As there were no further proceedings in the meantime,
Acebedo on 19 May 1965 moved to dismiss the criminal charge. Judge Malcolm G. Sarmient was not in
agreement as shown by his order of denial of 10 July 1965. Then, after two more years, came the trial with the
complainant having testified on direct examination but not having as yet been fully cross-examined. At the
continuation of the trial set for 7 June 1967 such witness did not show up. The provincial fiscal moved for
postponement. Counsel for Acebedo, however, not only objected but sought the dismissal of the case based on
the right of the accused to speedy trial. The Judge this time acceded, but would likewise base his order of
dismissal, orally given, on the cross-examination of complainant not having started as yet. Later that same
day, the Judge did reconsider the order and reinstated the case, his action being due to its being shown that the
cross-examination of the complainant had already started. Acebedo filed a petition for certiorari.
Issue: Whether Acebedo is entitled to have the case dismissed based on the right ofteh accused to speedy trial.
Held: The right to a speedy trial means one free from vexatious, capricious and oppressive delays, its salutary
objective being to assure that an innocent person may be free from the anxiety and expense of a court
litigation or, if otherwise, of having his guilt determined within the shortest possible time compatible with the
presentation and consideration of whatever legitimate defense he may interpose. The remedy in the event of a
non-observance of this right is by habeas corpus if the accused were restrained of his liberty, or by certiorari,
prohibition, or mandamus for the final dismissal of the case. The right of the accused to have a speedy trial is
violated not only when unjustified postponements of the trial are asked for and secured, but also when,
without good cause or justifiable motive, a long period of time is allowed to elapse without having his case
tried. An accused person is entitled to a trial at the earliest opportunity. He cannot be oppressed by delaying
the commencement of trial for an unreasonable length of time. If the proceedings pending trial are deferred,
the trial itself is necessarily delayed. It is not to be supposed, of course, that the Constitution intends to
remove from the prosecution every reasonable opportunity to prepare for trial. Impossibilities cannot be
expected or extraordinary efforts required on the part of the prosecutor or the court. The Constitution does not
say that the right to a speedy trial may be availed of only where the prosecution for crime is commenced and
undertaken by the fiscal. It does not exclude from its operation cases commenced by private individuals.
Where once a person is prosecuted criminally, he is entitled to a speedy trial, irrespective of the nature of the
offense or the manner in which it is authorized to be commenced. More specifically, the Court has
consistently adhered to the view that a dismissal based on the denial of the right to a speedy trial amounts to
an acquittal. Necessarily, any further attempt at continuing the prosecution or starting a new one would fall
within the prohibition against an accused being twice put in jeopardy. Herein, Acebedo not once but twice did
seek to have the prosecution for damage to property against him terminated as the matter was pending for at
least 6 years, the first time he sought to put an end to it. When at last, the trial stage was reached, the
complaining witness testified on direct examination but made no appearance when his cross-examination was
to be continued. A clear case of a denial of the right to a speedy trial was thus made out. There was an order of
dismissal that amounted to an acquittal. No reconsideration could therefore be had without offending the
provision on double jeopardy.
314 People vs. Laya [GR L-53873, 13 May 1988]
Third Division, Gutierrez Jr. (J): 4 concur
Facts: Soledad Castro and Crisologo Abines were charged with the crime of grave coercion in an information
filed by Third Assistant Provincial Fiscal Manuel R. Potot on 15 January 1980 with the Court of First Instance
of Cebu, Branch 15 (Criminal Case AR-645). The crime was allegedly committed as follows: "That on the
29th day of December, 1978, at 9:00 o'clock in the morning, more or less, in the Barangay of Looc,
Municipality of Santander, Province of Cebu, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
the above-named accused, conspiring and confederating and helping one another, without authority of law and
by means of violence, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously prevent the spouses Leoncio
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Wenceslao and Valena B. Wenceslao and their laborers from fencing a piece of land owned by the
Wenceslaos, the fencing not being prohibited by law. In violation of Article 286 of the Revised Penal Code."
Upon arraignment on 13 February 1980, Castro and Abines pleaded "not guilty." In an order dated the same
day, the trial of the case was set on March 14 and 25, 1980 both at 8:30 a.m. "as requested by the prosecution
and defense." Representing the prosecution during the arraignment was Assistant Provincial Fiscal Sotero R.
Camello, the prosecutor assigned to the sala of the judge. Fiscal Camello inhibited himself from prosecuting
the case because when he originally investigated the case. The case was assigned to Assistant Provincial
Fiscal Potot. On 12 March 1980, Fiscal Potot received notice of the hearing scheduled for 14 March 1980. On
this same day, Fiscal Potot filed an urgent ex-parte motion for postponement stating among others that before
learning of the scheduled 14 March 1980 hearing, he was already committed to appear in Branch 3 and
Branch 12 of the Court of First Instance of Cebu and that on March 14, 25, and 26, 1980, all in the afternoon,
he, as special prosecutor of the Tanodbayan, had already set for clarificatory examination the Toledo City
Highways Engineering District cases for estafa and violation of RA 3019. On the scheduled 14 March 1980
hearing, the defense counsel objected to the postponement on the ground that the prosecution represented by
Fiscal Camello had agreed to the scheduled hearings of March 14 and 25, 1980 and manifested that on said
dates Fiscal Potot will be available. The Court granted the motion for postponement of the scheduled March
14, 1980 hearing but ordered the hearing on 25 March 1980 at 8:30 a.m. to be held as scheduled. On 18
March 1980, Fiscal Potot requested the Provincial Fiscal that the case be assigned to Assistant Provincial
Fiscal Andres Amil. The case was transferred to Fiscal Amil on 21 March 1980. Fiscal Amil then filed a
motion to postpone the scheduled 25 March 1980 hearing on the grounds that he has long been committed to
appear before the Municipal Circuit Court of Barili, Cebu which date was personally chosen by his and
besides the undersigned is not prepared to enter a trial of the case considering that he is not familiar with the
facts of the case since the records of the case is with Assistant Provincial Fiscal Sotero R. Camello; and that it
is physically impossible for the undersigned to be appearing on two courts in a distance about 50 kilometers
apart. Fiscal Amil prayed that the hearing of the case be transferred to another date in the month of May 1980.
During the scheduled hearing of 25 March 1980, Castro and Abines objected to the motion for postponement.
They manifested their readiness for trial, and insisted on proceeding with the hearing. In an order dated 25
March 1980, the court denied the motion for postponement and sustained the objections of the accused. The
case was ordered dismissed for failure to prosecute. A motion for reconsideration filed by the People of the
Philippines was denied. Hence, the petition for review.
Issue: Whether the 2-months' delay of the trial from 25 March 1980 to May 1980 violated the constitutional
right to speedy trial of Castro and Abines.
Held: The right to a speedy trial is defined as that the accused is free from vexatious, capricious, and
oppressive delays, its salutary objective being to assure that an innocent person may be free from anxiety and
expense of a court litigation or, if otherwise, of having his guilt determined within the shortest possible time
compatible with the presentation and consideration of whatever legitimate defense he may interpose. Whether
or not one has been denied speedy trial is not susceptible to precise quantification. At best, the constitutional
right of speedy trial is relative, consistent with reasonable delays, taking into account the circumstances of
each case. The right to a speedy trial is a more vague and generically different concept than other
constitutional rights guaranteed to accused persons and cannot be quantified into a specified number of days
or months, and it is impossible to pinpoint a precise time in the judicial process when the right must be
asserted or considered waived. A claim that a defendant has been denied his right to a speedy trial is subject to
a balancing test, in which the conduct of both the prosecution and the defendant are weighed, and courts
should consider such factors as length of the delay, the defendant's assertion or non-assertion of his right, and
prejudice to the defendant resulting from the delay, in determining whether defendant's right to a speedy trial
has been denied. Herein, the manner the prosecution handled a simple case of coercion is deplorable. It must
be noted that after Fiscal Camello inhibited himself from the case because he could not in conscience
prosecute the case considering that he had recommended its dismissal as its initial investigator and after
prosecuting Fiscal Potot asked that he be relieved from the case because of his tight schedule, the court below
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specifically ordered that the case be assigned to another fiscal furnishing a copy of said order to the Provincial
Fiscal himself. The Provincial Fiscal assigned another Fiscal, Fiscal Amil, but it turned out that the latter like
Fiscal Potot was not also available during the scheduled 25 March 1980 hearing because of previous
commitments on the very same day. The cavalier attitude of the Provincial Fiscal's Office not only towards a
more efficient management of its work but, more important, a greater respect for the rights of the accused
greatly prejudiced the constitutional right to speedy trial of Castro and Abines. The case was a simple one. It
did not need lengthy and tedious preparation for trial. The 2-months' delay of the trial from 25 March 1980 to
May 1980, if requested for sound reasons may not be unreasonable. However, owing to the nature of the case,
the reasons for the postponements, and the fact that one of the accused is a municipal mayor, who had to leave
his work everytime he was haled to court only to be told to return another day, the delay because vexatious
because the lower court stated " the delay is not only prejudicial to him but also to the people of Santander,
Cebu."
315 Conde vs. Rivera [GR 21741, 25 January 1924]
First Division, Malcolm (J): 7 concur
Facts: Aurelia Conde, formerly a municipal midwife in Lucena, Tayabas, has been forced to respond to no
less the five information for various crimes and misdemeanors, has appeared with her witnesses and counsel
at hearings no less than on 8 different occasions only to see the cause postponed, has twice been required to
come to the Supreme Court for protection, and now, after the passage of more than 1 year from the time when
the first information was filed, seems as far away from a definite resolution of her troubles as she was when
originally charged.
Issue: Whether mandamus will ie to compel the dismissal of the information in light of delays in the trial of
the case.
Held: The Philippine organic and statutory law expressly guarantee that in all criminal prosecutions the
accused shall enjoy the right to have a speedy trial. Aurelia Conde, like all other accused persons, has a right
to a speedy trial in order that if innocent she may go free, and she has been deprived of that right in defiance
of law. Dismissed from her humble position, and compelled to dance attendance on courts while
investigations and trials are arbitrarily postponed without her consent, is palpably and openly unjust to her
and a detriment to the public. By the use of upon the appropriate information, could have attended to the
formal preliminary examination, and could have prepared the case for a trial free from vexatious, capricious,
and oppressive delays. The Government of the Philippine Islands which should be the last to set an example
of delay and oppression in the administration of justice. The Court is thus under a moral and legal obligation
to see that these proceedings come to an end and that the accused is discharged from the custody of the law.
Thus, where a prosecuting officer, without good cause, secures postponements of the trial of a defendant
against his protest beyond a reasonable period of time, the accused is entitled to relief by a proceeding in
mandamus to compel a dismissal of the information, or if he be restrained of his liberty, by habeas corpus to
obtain his freedom. Hence, the Supreme Court ordered the Provincial Fiscal of Tayabas to abstain from
further attempts to prosecute Conde pursuant to informations, and dismissed the charges pending before the
justice of the of Lucena, Tayabas.
316 Dacanay vs. People [GR 101302, 25 January 1995]
En Banc, Quiason (J): 13 concur, 1 took no part
Facts: In 1985, Jaime C. Dacanay was the vice-president of the National Sugar Trading Corporation
(NASUTRA). In 1986, a criminal complaint for economic sabotage through smuggling, with regard to the
importation of raw sugar in 1983 and 1984 by NASUTRA, was filed with the Tanodbayan against the
principal officers of the said corporation including Dacanay. On 10 October 1986, the Tanodbayan approved
the resolution of the team of Special Prosecutors who investigated the case. It found sufficient prima facie
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evidence against Dacanay and his co-accused to warrant the filing of an information with Sandiganbayan for
violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019, as amended. The corresponding information was filed with the
Sandiganbayan. On November 20, Dacabat filed a motion to quash but he later withdrew the same. On 14
October 1988, a resolution was issued by Special Prosecutors Margarito P. Gervacio and Robert E. Kallos,
recommending the dismissal of the complaint against Dacanay and his co-accused for lack of sufficient
evidence and the withdrawal of the information filed in court. The resolution was approved by Acting Special
Prosecutor Jose Ferrer. On 6 January 1989, the resolution issued by Prosecutors Gervacio and Kallos was
reviewed by special Prosecutor Wilfredo Orencia, who recommended its disapproval. The recommendation of
Prosecutor Orencia was approved by Acting Special Prosecutor Jose F. Guerrero and by Ombudsman Conrado
Vasquez. On February 22, Jose Unson, Dacanay's co-accused, filed a motion to quash the information in the
Sandiganbayan. The motion was adopted by Dacanay. On December 12, the Sandiganbayan denied the
motion to quash. Likewise, the motion for reconsideration filed by Unson and adopted by Dacanay was
denied. On 3 April 1991, Dacanay filed a motion for immediate and separate trial invoking his constitutional
right to a speedy trial. On April 23, the People of the Philippines opposed the said motion on the ground that a
separate trial for Dacanay would entail a lengthy and repetitious proceeding. In a resolution dated 24 April
1991, the Sandiganbayan denied Dacanay's motion. On June 6, Dacanay filed a motion for reconsideration
setting forth as grounds therefor his advanced age and the protection of his reputation. On July 9, the People
of the Philippines filed a comment to Dacanay's motion for reconsideration and alleged that the parties should
first await the resolution of the petition for certiorari filed by his co-accused Jose Unson with the Supreme
Court. In a resolution dated 6 August 1991, the Sandiganbayan denied Dacanay's motion for reconsideration.
Dacanay filed the petition for review on certiorari.
Issue: Whether Dacanay is entitled to a separate trial.
Held: Section 8, Rule 119 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure explicitly states: "When two or more
accused are jointly charged with any offense, they shall be tried jointly, unless the court in its discretion upon
motion of the fiscal or any accused orders separate trials for one or more accused." The resulting
inconvenience and expense on the part of the Government (due to a repetition of the presentation of the same
evidence) cannot be given preference over the right to speedy trial and the protection to a person's life, liberty
or property accorded by the Constitution. This is particularly true in Dacanay's case where the prosecutors'
opposition to the request for separate trial was based on the ground that the principal accused in the case, the
former President of NASUTRA, was abroad and was not yet arrested. If an accused cannot be placed under
arrest because he remains outside the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines, with more reason should his
co-accused, who are under arrest, be entitled to a separate trial. A separate trial is in consonance with the right
of an accused to a speedy trial as guaranteed to him by the 1987 Constitution, more specifically under Section
14(2) of Article III thereof. Herein, it has been 8 years since the information against Dacanay was filed, but
the case against him has yet to be tried. The long delay has clearly prejudiced Dacanay, who is now more than
73 years of age.
317 People vs. Rivera [GR 139180, 31 July 2001]
En Banc, Mendoza (J): 9 concur, 4 on official business, 1 on leave
Facts: Sometime in March 1997, Erlanie Rivera's younger sister, Zaira, was taken by their parents to the
Escolastica Romero Memorial Hospital in Lubao, Pampanga. Erlanie's mother stayed with her sister in the
hospital, but her father, Rolando Rivera, went back home to Santiago, Lubao, Pampanga. At around 11 p.m. of
the same day, Erlanie was awakened as Rolando started kissing her and fondling her breasts. Erlanie tried to
resist by kicking and pushing Rolando, but her efforts were to no avail. Rolando removed her shorts and
panty, touched her private parts, and then had sexual intercourse with her. After he was through with her,
Rolando told complainant not to tell anyone what had happened or he would kill Erlanie's mother and sister.
Hence, when her mother came home the following day, Erlanie did not tell her what had happened because
she was afraid of Rolando. On 9 April 1997, however, Erlanie, in the presence of her mother, told her aunt,
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Marietta Pagtalunan, and her grandmother, Maxima Payumo, that she had been raped by Rolando. For this
reason, she was referred to Dr. Barin for physical examination. She also executed a sworn statement before
the police of Lubao, Pampanga. Rolando Rivera was charged in an information filed with the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 49, Guagua, Pampanga, which reads "That sometime in the month of March 1997, in barangay
Santiago, municipality of Lubao, province of Pampanga, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused ROLANDO RIVERA, by means of violence, threat and
intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, and maliciously succeeded in having
carnal knowledge [of] his 13 year old daughter, Erlanie D. Rivera, against the latter's will and without her
consent. Contrary to law." During the arraignment on 30 September 1997, the information was read to
Rolando in the local dialect (Pampango). Rolando, duly assisted by counsel de oficio, pleaded not guilty to
the crime charged, whereupon trial was held. On 22 June 1999, the trial court rendered a decision, finding
Rolando Rivera guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape as charged. For having violated Article
335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act 7659, with the attendant circumstances that the
victim is under 18 years of age and the offender is the father of the victim and absent any circumstance that
could mitigate the commission thereof, the Court sentenced Rolando to suffer the supreme penalty of death by
lethal injection, and ordered him, in line with established jurisprudence, to indemnify the offended party
Erlanie Rivera in the sum of P75,000.00 as compensatory damages and P50,000.00 as moral damages.
Rolando appealed.
Issue: Whether the right to speedy and adequate justice of one party necessary limits the right to competent
and independent counsel of choice of another, and whether the speedy disposition of the case (a day after the
memorandum was filed) denies due process to the accused.
Held: While the Constitution recognizes the accused's right to competent and independent counsel of his own
choice, his option to secure the services of a private counsel is not absolute. For considering the State's and
the offended party's right to speedy and adequate justice, the court may restrict the accused's option to retain a
private counsel if the accused insists on an attorney he cannot afford, or if the chosen counsel is not a member
of the bar, or if the attorney declines to represent the accused for a valid reason. The trial court appointed Atty.
Bansil a counsel de oficio to represent Rolando on 6 October 1998 because his regular counsel, Atty. Anselmo
Mangalindan, was absent without any explanation. Atty. Mangalindan had previously been granted several
postponements. As held in People v. Serzo, Jr. (274 SCRA 553, 568 [1997]), the Courts are not required to
wait indefinitely the pleasure and convenience of the accused as they are also mandated to promote the
speedy and orderly administration of justice. Nor should they countenance such an obvious trifling with the
rules. Indeed, public policy requires that the trial continue as scheduled, considering that appellant was
adequately represented by counsels who were not shown to be negligent, incompetent or otherwise unable to
represent him. Atty. Bansil was present and heard the testimony of Dr. Barin, the prosecution witness, on that
day. Dr. Barin's testimony on direct examination was simple, containing primarily a discussion of her findings
on the hymenal laceration sustained by complainant. Her testimony did not require considerable study and
extraordinary preparation on the part of defense counsel for the purpose of cross-examination. It seems Atty.
Bansil no longer found it necessary to cross-examine Dr. Barin.
Further, Rolando was not denied due process considering the speed with which the trial court rendered
judgment against him, which judgment was promulgated one day after he filed his memorandum. The
decision rendered by the trial court gives a clear account of the facts and the law on which it is based. It
discusses in full the court's findings on the credibility of both the prosecution and defense witnesses and its
evaluation of the evidence of both parties. As held in the analogous case of People v. Mercado (GR. 116239,
29 November 2000.), the speed with which the trial court disposed of the case cannot be attributed to the
injudicious performance of its function. Indeed, a judge is not supposed to study a case only after all the
pertinent pleadings have been filed. It is a mark of diligence and devotion to duty that a judge studies a case
long before the deadline set for the promulgation of his decision has arrived. The one-day period between the
filing of accused-appellants' memorandum and the promulgation of the decision was sufficient time to
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consider their arguments and to incorporate these in the decision. As long as the trial judge does not sacrifice
the orderly administration of justice in favor of a speedy but reckless disposition of a case, he cannot be taken
to task for rendering his decision with due dispatch.
318 Solar Team Entertainment vs. How [GR 140863, 22 August 2000]
Third Division, Gonzaga-Reyes (J): 4 concur
Facts: On 28 May 1999, the City Prosecutor of Paraaque filed an Information for estafa against Ma. Fe
Barreiro based on the complaint filed by Solar Team Entertainment, Inc. (Criminal Case 99-536) before the
Regional Trial Court of Paraaque City, Branch 257, presided by Judge Rolando G. How. Before the
scheduled arraignment of Barreiro on 5 August 1999 could take place, the court issued an Order dated 29 June
1999, resetting the arraignment of Barreiro on 2 September 1999 on the ground that Barreiro had filed an
appeal with the Department of Justice (DOJ). Barreiro manifested in the same Order that she would submit a
certification from the DOJ granting due course to her appeal on or before the second scheduled arraignment.
On 24 September 1999, the court issued an Order denying Solar Team Entertainments motion for
reconsideration of the order that previously reset the arraignment of Barreiro. Said order further rescheduled
the arraignment of Barreiro to 18 November 1999. On 10 November 1999, Barreiro filed another Motion to
Defer Arraignment. On 15 November 1999, before the scheduled date of the arraignment of Barreiro and
before the date set for the hearing of Barreiros Motion to Defer Arraignment, the court issued an Order
further deferring the arraignment of Barreiro until such time that the appeal with the said office (SOJ) is
resolved. Solar Team Entertainments motion for reconsideration of the order was denied by the court on 22
November 1999. Solar Team Entertainment filed the petition for certiorari and mandamus, bewailing the fact
that 6 months have elapsed since Barreiro appeared or submitted herself to the jurisdiction of the court and up
to now she still has to be arraigned.
Issue: Whether the court may indefinitely suspend the arraignment of the accused pending the resolution of
the accused's appeal of the prosecutor's act with the Secretary of Justice.
Held: The power of the Secretary of Justice to review resolutions of his subordinates even after the
information has already been filed in court is well settled. Decisions or resolutions of prosecutors are subject
to appeal to the secretary of justice who, under the Revised Administrative Code, exercises the power of
direct control and supervision over said prosecutors; and who may thus affirm, nullify, reverse or modify their
rulings. Section 39, Chapter 8, Book IV in relation to Sections 5, 8, and 9, Chapter 2, Title III of the Code
gives the secretary of justice supervision and control over the Office of the Chief Prosecutor and the
Provincial and City Prosecution Offices. Supplementing the aforequoted provisions are Section 3 of RA 3783
and Section 37 of Act 4007. Review as an act of supervision and control by the justice secretary over the
fiscals and prosecutors finds basis in the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies which holds that
mistakes, abuses or negligence committed in the initial steps of an administrative activity or by an
administrative agency should be corrected by higher administrative authorities, and not directly by courts. As
a rule, only after administrative remedies are exhausted may judicial recourse be allowed. Procedurally
speaking, after the filing of the information, the court is in complete control of the case and any disposition
therein is subject to its sound discretion. The decision to suspend arraignment to await the resolution of an
appeal with the Secretary of Justice is an exercise of such discretion. A court can defer to the authority of the
prosecution arm to resolve, once and for all, the issue of whether or not sufficient ground existed to file the
information. This is in line with the Court's general pronouncement that courts cannot interfere with the
prosecutors discretion over criminal prosecution. Thus, herein, Judge How did not act with grave abuse of
discretion when it suspended the arraignment of Barreiro to await the resolution of her petition for review
with the Secretary of Justice.
The authority of the Secretary of Justice to review resolutions of his subordinates even after an information
has already been filed in court does not present an irreconcilable conflict with the 30-day period prescribed by
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Section 7 of the Speedy Trial Act. Section 7 of the Speedy Trial Act of 1998 prescribing the 30-day period for
the arraignment of the accused is not absolute. In fact, Section 10 of the same law enumerates periods of
delay that shall be excluded in computing the time within which trial must commence. Section 10 (f) of said
law provides that "The following periods of delay shall be excluded in computing the time within which trial
must commence: (f) Any period of delay resulting from a continuance granted by any justice or judge motu
propio or on motion of the accused or his/her counsel or at the request of the public prosecutor, if the justice
or judge granted such continuance on the basis of his/her findings that the ends of justice served by taking
such action outweigh the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial. No such period of
delay resulting from a continuance granted by the court in accordance with this subparagraph shall be
excludable under this section unless the court sets forth, in the record of the case, either orally or in writing,
its reasons for finding that the ends of justice served by the granting of such continuance outweigh the best
interests of the public and the accused in a speedy trial. Accordingly, the exceptions provided in the Speedy
Trial Act of 1998 reflect the fundamentally recognized principle that the concept of speedy trial is a
relative term and must necessarily be a flexible concept. Prudence and wisdom dictate that the court should
hold in abeyance the proceedings while the Secretary of Justice resolves the petition for review questioning
the resolution of the prosecutor. The delay in such a case is justified because the determination of whether the
delay is unreasonable, thus amounting to a transgression of the right to a speedy trial, cannot be simply
reduced to a mathematical process. Hence, the length of delay is not the lone criterion to be considered,
several factors must be taken into account in determining whether or not the constitutional right to a speedy
trial has been violated. The factors to consider and balance are the duration of the delay, reason thereof,
assertion of the right or failure to assert it and the prejudice caused by such delay.
319 Garcia vs. Domingo [GR L-30104, 25 July 1973]
Resolution En Banc, Fernando (J): 5 concur, 1 took no part, 1 on leave
Facts: In Branch I of the City Court of Manila presided over by Judge Gregorio N. Garcia, there were
commenced, by appropriate informations all dated 16 January 1968, 8 criminal actions against Edgardo Calo,
and Simeon Carbonnel and Francisco Lorenzana, as follows: a. Against Edgardo Calo (on complaint of
Francisco Lorenzana) (1) Criminal Case F-109191, for slight physical injuries; (2) Criminal Case F-109192,
also for slight physical injuries; and (3) Criminal Case F-109193, for maltreatment; b. Against Simeon
Carbonnel (id.) (1) Criminal Case F-109197, for maltreatment; (2) Criminal Case F-109196, for slight
physical injuries; and (3) Criminal Case F-109198 for light threats; (c) Against Francisco Lorenzana (on
complaint of Calo and Carbonnel) (1) Criminal Case F-109201, for violation of Sec. 887 of the Revised
Ordinances of Manila (resisting an officer); and (2) Criminal Case F-109200, for slander. The trial of the
cases was jointly held on March 4, 18, 23, and 30; April 17 and 20; May 4 and 11; June 1, 15, 22, and 29; and
August 3 and 10, 1968. All 14 trial dates except March 4 and 18, and April 17, 1968 fell on a Saturday.
This was arranged by the parties and the Court upon the insistence of Calo and Carbonnel who, as police
officers under suspension because of the cases, desired the same to be terminated as soon as possible and as
there were many cases scheduled for trial on the usual criminal trial days. The trial of the cases in question
were held, with the conformity of the accused and their counsel, in the chambers of Judge Garcia. During all
14 days of trial, spanning a period of several months, the accused were at all times represented by their
respective counsel, who acted not only in defense of their clients, but as prosecutors of the accusations filed at
their clients' instance. There was only 1 day when Atty. Consengco, representing Calo and Carbonnel, was
absent. This was on 20 April 1968. But at the insistence of Pat. Carbonnel, the trial proceeded, and Carbonnel
cross-examined one of the witnesses presented by the adverse party. At the conclusion of the hearings the
accused, thru counsel, asked for and were granted time to submit memoranda. Calo and Carbonnel, thru
counsel, Atty. Rafael Consengco, submitted a 14-page memorandum with not less than 35 citations of relevant
portions of the transcript of stenographic notes in support of their prayer for exoneration, and for the
conviction of Lorenzana in respect of their countercharges against the latter. The promulgation of judgment
was first scheduled on 23 September 1968. This was postponed to 28 September 1968, at the instance of Atty.
Rafael Consengco, as counsel for respondents Calo and Carbonnel, and again to 1 October 1968, this time at
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the instance of Atty. Consengco and Atty. Francisco Koh who had, in the meantime, also entered his
appearance as counsel for Calo and Carbonnel. The applications for postponement were not grounded upon
and supposed defect or irregularity of the proceedings. Early in the morning of 1 October 1968, Calo and
Carbonnel, thru their counsel, Atty. Rafael S. Consengco, filed with the Court of First Instance a petition for
certiorari and prohibition, with application for preliminary prohibitory and mandatory injunction, alleging
jurisdictional defects. After proceedings duly had, Judge Felix Domingo (CFI Manila) issued an order
declaring that the constitutional and statutory rights of the accused had been violated, adversely affecting their
right to a free and impartial trial noting that the trial of these cases lasting several weeks were held
exclusively in chambers and not in the court room open to the public; and ordering the city court Judge
(Garcia) "to desist from reading or causing to be read or promulgated the decisions he may have rendered
already in the criminal cases in question pending in his Court, until further orders of the CFI. A motion for
reconsideration proving unavailing, Garcia and Lorenzana on 28 January 1969, elevated the matter to the
Supreme Court by means of a suit for certiorari and prohibition.
Issue: Whether the conduct of the trial inside the Judges air-conditioned chambers, rather than the usual open
court, render the proceedings violative of the constitutional mandate for public trial.
Held: The 1935 Constitution which was in force at the time of the antecedents of the petition explicitly
enumerated the right to a public trial to which an accused was entitled. Trial should also be public in order to
offset any danger of conducting it in an illegal and unjust manner, and thus serve as a deterrence to
arbitrariness. There is no ambiguity in the words employed. The trial must be public. It possesses that
character when anyone interested in observing the manner a judge conducts the proceedings in his courtroom
may do so. There is to be no ban on such attendance. His being a stranger to the litigants is of no moment. No
relationship to the parties need be shown. The thought that lies behind this safeguard is the belief that thereby
the accused is afforded further protection, that his trial is likely to be conducted with regularity and not tainted
with any impropriety. It is understandable why such a right is deemed embraced in procedural due process.
Where a trial takes place, as is quite usual, in the courtroom and a calendar of what cases are to be heard is
posted, no problem arises. It is the usual course of events that individuals desirous of being present are free to
do so. There is the well recognized exception though that warrants the exclusion of the public where the
evidence may be characterized as "offensive to decency or public morals." Still, herein, when the trial was
held on Saturdays and in the air-conditioned chambers of the City Judge for the convenience of the parties
and of the Judge, the proceedings were not violative of the right to public trial. There is no showing that the
public was thereby excluded. It is to be admitted that the size of the room allotted the Judge would reduce the
number of those who could be present. Such a fact though is not indicative of any transgression of this right.
Courtrooms are not of uniform dimensions. Some are smaller than others. It suffices to satisfy the requirement
of a trial being public if the accused could "have his friends, relatives and counsel present, no matter with
what offense he may be charged." Reference may also be made to the undisputed fact at least 14 hearings had
been held in chambers of the city court Judge, without objection on the part of policemen. An objective
appraisal of conditions in municipal or city courts would have gone far in dispelling the apprehension that
there was an evasion of a constitutional command. The crowded daily calendar, the nature of the cases
handled, civil as well as criminal, the relaxed attitude on procedural rules not being strictly adhered to all
make for a less tense atmosphere. As a result the attendance of the general public is much more in evidence;
nor is its presence unwelcome. When it is remembered further that the occupants of such courts are not
chosen primarily for their legal acumen, but taken from that portion of the bar more considerably attuned to
the pulse of public life, it is not to be rationally expected that an accused would be denied whatever solace
and comfort may come from the knowledge that a judge, with the eyes of the persons in court alert to his
demeanor and his rulings, would run the risk of being unjust, unfair, or arbitrary. Nor does it change matters,
just because, it was in the air-conditioned chambers of a city court judge rather than in the usual place that the
trial took place.
320

Re: Request Radio-TV Coverage of the Trial in the Sandiganbayan of the Plunder Cases against
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the Former President Joseph E. Estrada. Perez vs. Estrada [AM 01-4-03-SC, 29 June 2001]
En Banc, Vitug (J): 4 concur, 1 on leave, 2 file separate concurring opinions, 2 file separate dissenting
opinion, 1 joins separate opinion of one concurring justice
Facts: On 13 March 2001, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), an association representing
duly franchised and authorized television and radio networks throughout the country, sent a letter requesting
the Supreme Court to allow live media coverage of the anticipated trial of the plunder and other criminal
cases filed against former President Joseph E. Estrada before the Sandiganbayan in order "to assure the public
of full transparency in the proceedings of an unprecedented case in our history." The request was seconded by
Mr. Cesar N. Sarino in his letter of 5 April 2001 to the Chief Justice and, still later, by Senator Renato
Cayetano and Attorney Ricardo Romulo. On 17 April 2001, the Secretary of Justice Hernando Perez formally
filed the petition.
Issue: Whether the press should be allowed to air Estradas trial to the public.
Held: The press is a mighty catalyst in awakening public consciousness, and it has become an important
instrument in the quest for truth. Recent history exemplifies media's invigorating presence, and its
contribution to society is quite impressive. The Court, just recently, has taken judicial notice of the enormous
effect of media in stirring public sentience during the impeachment trial, a partly judicial and partly political
exercise, indeed the most-watched program in the boob-tubes during those times, that would soon culminate
in EDSA II. The propriety of granting or denying the petition involve the weighing out of the constitutional
guarantees of freedom of the press and the right to public information, on the one hand, and the fundamental
rights of the accused, on the other hand, along with the constitutional power of a court to control its
proceedings in ensuring a fair and impartial trial. When these rights race against one another, the right of the
accused must be preferred to win. With the possibility of losing not only the precious liberty but also the very
life of an accused, it behooves all to make absolutely certain that an accused receives a verdict solely on the
basis of a just and dispassionate judgment, a verdict that would come only after the presentation of credible
evidence testified to by unbiased witnesses unswayed by any kind of pressure, whether open or subtle, in
proceedings that are devoid of histrionics that might detract from its basic aim to ferret veritable facts free
from improper influence, and decreed by a judge with an unprejudiced mind, unbridled by running emotions
or passions. Due process guarantees the accused a presumption of innocence until the contrary is proved in a
trial that is not lifted above its individual settings nor made an object of public's attention and where the
conclusions reached are induced not by any outside force or influence but only by evidence and argument
given in open court, where fitting dignity and calm ambiance is demanded. Thus, an accused has a right to a
public trial but it is a right that belongs to him, more than anyone else, where his life or liberty can be held
critically in balance. A public trial aims to ensure that he is fairly dealt with and would not be unjustly
condemned and that his rights are not compromised in secrete conclaves of long ago. A public trial is not
synonymous with publicized trial; it only implies that the court doors must be open to those who wish to
come, sit in the available seats, conduct themselves with decorum and observe the trial process. In the
constitutional sense, a courtroom should have enough facilities for a reasonable number of the public to
observe the proceedings, not too small as to render the openness negligible and not too large as to distract the
trial participants from their proper functions, who shall then be totally free to report what they have observed
during the proceedings.
321 Tumey vs. Ohio [273 US 510, 7 March 1927]
Taft (CJ):
Facts: Tumey was arrested at White Oak, and was brought before Mayor Pugh, of the village of North
College Hill, charged with unlawfully possessing intoxicating liquor. He moved for his dismissal because of
the disqualification of the mayor to try him under the 14th Amendment. The mayor denied the motion,
proceeded to the trial, convicted Tumey of unlawfully possessing intoxicating liquor within Hamilton county
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as charged, fined him $100, and ordered that he be imprisoned until the fine and costs were paid. Tumey
obtained a bill of exceptions and carried the case on error to the court of common pleas of Hamilton county.
That court heard the case and reversed the judgment, on the ground that the mayor was disqualified as
claimed. The state sought review by the Court of Appeals of the First Appellate District of Ohio, which
reversed the common pleas and affirmed the judgment of the mayor. On 4 May 1926, the state Supreme Court
refused Tumey's application to require the Court of Appeals to certify its record in the case. Tumey then filed
a petition in error in that court as of right, asking that the judgment of the mayor's court and of the appellate
court be reversed on constitutional grounds. On 11 May 1926, the Supreme Court adjudged that the petition
be dismissed for the reason that no debatable constitutional question was involved in the cause. The judgment
was then brought to the US Supreme Court upon a writ of error allowed by the Chief Justice of the state
Supreme Court, to which it was rightly directed.
Issue: Whether the pecuniary interest of the Mayor and his village, and the system of courts in prosecuting
violations of the Prohibition Act, renders the mayor disqualified from hearing the case.
Held: All questions of judicial qualification may not involve constitutional validity. Thus matters of kinship,
personal bias, state policy, remoteness of interest would seem generally to be matters merely of legislative
discretion. But it certainly violates the 14th Amendment and deprives a defendant in a criminal case of due
process of law to subject his liberty or property to the judgment of a court, the judge of which has a direct,
personal, substantial pecuniary interest in reaching a conclusion against him in his case. Herein, the mayor
has authority, which he exercised in the case, to order that the person sentenced to pay a fine shall remain in
prison until the fine and costs are paid. The mayor thus has a direct personal pecuniary interest in convicting
the defendant who came before him for trial, in the $12 of costs imposed in his behalf, which he would not
have received if the defendant had been acquitted. This was not exceptional, but was the result of the normal
operation of the law and the ordinance. The system by which an inferior judge is paid for his service only
when he convicts the defendant has not become so embedded by custom in the general practice, either at
common law or in this country, that it can be regarded as due process of law, unless the costs usually imposed
are so small that they may be properly ignored as within the maxim "de minimis non curat lex." The Court
cannot regard the prospect of receipt or loss of such an emolument in each case as a minute, remote, trifling,
or insignificant interest. It is certainly not fair to each defendant brought before the mayor for the careful and
judicial consideration of his guilt or innocence that the prospect of such a prospective loss by the mayor
should weigh against his acquittal. But the pecuniary interest of the mayor in the result of his judgment is not
the only reason for holding that due process of law is denied to the defendant here. The statutes were drawn to
stimulate small municipalities, in the country part of counties in which there are large cities, to organize and
maintain courts to try persons accused of violations of the Prohibition Act everywhere in the county. The
inducement is offered of dividing between the state and the village the large fines provided by the law for its
violations. The trial is to be had before a mayor without a jury, without opportunity for retrial, and with a
review confined to questions of law presented by a bill of exceptions, with no opportunity by the reviewing
court to set aside the judgment on the weighing of evidence, unless it should appear to be so manifestly
against the evidence as to indicate mistake, bias, or willful disregard of duty by the trial court. Thus, no matter
what the evidence was against him, the defendant had the right to have an impartial judge. He seasonably
raised the objection, and was entitled to halt the trial because of the disqualification of the judge, which
existed both because of his direct pecuniary interest in the outcome, and because of his official motive to
convict and to graduate the fine to help the financial needs of the village. There were thus presented at the
outset both features of the disqualification. The judgment of the Supreme Court of Ohio is reversed, and the
cause remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with the present opinion.
322 Soriano vs. Angeles [GR 109920, 31 August 2000]
Second Division, Mendoza (J): 4 concur
Facts: According to Soriano, Ruel Garcia and his uncle, Pedro Garcia, who were members of the Caloocan
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police, barged into the barangay hall of Barangay 56, Zone 5 in Caloocan City, shortly after midnight on 7
November 1991, looking for Ceferino A. Soriano, the barangay captain. Ruel Garcia gave Soriano fist blows
on the face 4 times with his left hand, while he poked a gun at him with his right hand, at the same time
cursing him, "Putang ina mo cabeza" (You son of a bitch chief"). Although there were 4 barangay tanods
(Manuel Montoya, Arturo del Rosario, Ramiro Samson, and Francisco Raton) in the barangay hall, they could
not come to the aid of Soriano because they were held at bay by Pedro Garcia. The Garcias then left with their
companions who had been waiting outside the hall. Soriano was treated for his injuries in the hospital. On the
other hand, Ruel Garcia denied Soriano's allegation. He alleged that he went to the barangay hall in the
evening of 6 November 1991 because his younger brother had been reportedly arrested for figuring in a brawl
with Dennis Mones and a certain Ocampo, and beaten up by Soriano. As Garcia saw Soriano near the door of
the barangay hall, he asked for the whereabouts of his brother and the reason for the latter's arrest. Apparently
thinking that Garcia was trying to intervene in the case he was investigating, Soriano angrily told Garcia to
lay off: "Walang pulis pulis dito" (Your being a policeman doesn't pull strings here"). When Garcia insisted on
going inside the barangay hall, Soriano blocked him and then pushed him on the chest. Garcia also pushed
Soriano, causing him to fall on a pile of nightsticks and injure himself. All the time, Garcia claimed he had his
gun tucked at his waist. Private respondent's uncle, Pedro Garcia, then arrived and took him home. Garcia was
charged with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 121, Caloocan City, for direct assault (Criminal Case C40740). on 26 August 1992, before Garcia's arraignment, she called the parties and their counsels to her
chambers and urged them to settle the case, and, to which Soriano refused. The hearing on 15 September 1992
was postponed to September 16 to allow Garcias counsel to prepare for the case. On 15 March 1993, the trial
court acquitted Garcia. In acquitting Garcia, Judge Adoracion C. Angeles found it incredible that Soriano did
not resist or even say anything when Garcia allegedly assaulted him and that none of the four barangay tanods
who were near him came to his aid. She thought that if Soriano had indeed been attacked, he would have
suffered more serious injuries than a contusion on the forehead, erythema on the chest, and a lacerated wound
on the lower lip. The judge also excluded from the evidence the testimonies of Soriano and barangay tanod
Manuel Montoya on the ground that their testimonies had not been formally offered in evidence as required
by Rule 132, 534 to 35 of the Revised Rules on Evidence. Soriano filed a petition for certiorari, alleging that
the decision is void because it was not rendered by an impartial tribunal.
Issue: Whether the judge was biased in trying to make the parties arrive at an amicable settlement , and
allowing Garcias counsel to postpone the hearing on the 16 September 1992 instead of 15 September 1992.
Held: It is settled that mere suspicion that a judge is partial to one of the parties is not enough evidence to
prove the charge. Bias and prejudice cannot be presumed, especially weighed against a judge's sacred
allegation under oath of office to administer justice without respect to any person and do equal right to the
poor and the rich. There must be a showing of bias and prejudice stemming from an extrajudicial source
resulting in an opinion in the merits on some basis other than what the judge learned from his participation in
the case. Herein, the judge's efforts to have the parties arrive at an amicable settlement is not evidence of
partiality for Garcia. She could have been motivated by factors other than a desire to clear Garcia of criminal
liability, i.e., the clearing of her court docket or in setting a good example considering that Soriano and Garcia
were neighbors occupying public offices charged with the maintenance of peace and order in the community.
As for the allegation that the trial was not held until after 3 weeks to give garcia more time to persuade
Soriano to amicably settle the case, it has been shown that it was not judge but court personnel in charge of
scheduling cases who assigned the dates of trial taking into account the court calendar. The cancellation of the
15 September 1992 hearing, on the other hand, was made to give Garcia's counsel, Atty. Maria Lelibet
Sampaga, time to study the case and prepare for trial. Although Atty. Sampaga had once appeared in behalf of
Garcia, it was for the purpose of assisting the latter at the arraignment because the regular counsel was absent.
As new counsel, Atty. Sampaga needed to study the case. A postponement to the next day, 16 September
1992, was not an unreasonable request. Indeed, this did not involve resetting the case since 16 September
1992 had been originally designated as one of the initial trial dates.Nor is there any showing that the judge
decided the criminal case on grounds other than its merits. A reading of her decision acquitting Garcia shows
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that the same was made on the basis of her evaluation of the evidence of the prosecution and of the defense.
Because of the conflicting versions of the parties as to what really happened, her decision was necessarily
based on her appreciation of the eligibility of the witnesses for the prosecution and the defense.
323 United States vs. Javier [GR L-12990, 21 January 1918]
First Division, Malcolm (J): 7 concur
Facts: Doroteo Natividad on the afternoon of 22 October 1915, fastened his carabao valued at P150 in his
corral situated in the barrio of Trapiche, municipality of Tananuan, Province of Batangas. On the following
morning when he went to look after the animal, he found the gate to the corral open and that the carabao had
disappeared. He reported the matter to the Constabulary, and a patrol of the Constabulary under the leadership
of sergeant Presa (+) on November 20, encountered Lazaro Javier, Apolinario Mendoza, and Placido de
Chavez leading a carabao. When the ladrones saw the Constabulary, they scattered in all directions. On the
following day, the Constabulary found the carabao tied in front of the house of one Pedro Monterola in the
barrio of Santa Clara, municipality of San Pablo. The carabao was identified by Doroteo Natividad as the one
which had been taken from his corral on the night of 22 October 1915, and by the Constabulary as the one
seen in the possession of Javier. Javier was charged for stealing the carabao before the justice of the peace of
the municipality of Santo Tomas, Province of Batangas. During trial, the sworn statement of sergeant Presca,
now deceased, was presented in court by the prosecution. Presca's signature in the statement was identified.
Javier alleged that the lower court erred in admitting said sworn statement as evidence.
Issue: Whether the sworn statement, which was executed by a person now deceased, is inadmissible
inasmuch as the accused is not given the opportunity to cross-examine the author thereof.
Held: The Philippine Bill of Rights provides "That in all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the
right to meet the witnesses face to face," and the provision of the Code of Criminal Procedure, section 15 (5),
states taht "In all criminal prosecutions the defendant shall be entitled: to be confronted at the trial by and to
cross-examine the witnesses against him." With reference to the clause of the Bill of Rights, it "intends to
secure the accused in the right to be tried, so far as facts provable by witnesses are concerned, by only such
witnesses as meet him face to face at the trial, who give their testimony in his presence, and give to the
accused an opportunity of cross-examination. It was intended to prevent the conviction of the accused upon
depositions or ex parte affidavits, and particularly to preserve the right of the accused to test the recollection
of the witness in the exercise of the right of cross-examination." In other words, confrontation is essential
because cross-examination is essential. A second reason for the prohibition is that a tribunal may have before
it the deportment and appearance of the witness while testifying. The sworn statement of Presa was not made
by question and answer under circumstances which gave the defense an opportunity to cross-examine the
witness. The proviso of the Code of Criminal Procedure as to confrontation is therefore inapplicable. Presa's
statement again is not the testimony of a witness deceased, given in a former action between the same relating
to the same matter. Consequently, the exception provided by section 298, No. 8, of the Code of Civil
Procedure and relied upon by the prosecution in the lower court is also inapplicable. Nor is the statement of
Presca a dying declaration or a deposition in a former trial or shown to be a part of the preliminary
examination. Under these circumstances, the sworn statement was improperly received in evidence in the
lower court. Still, although the Court could find this to be reversible error and, ordinarily, should remand the
case for a new trial. The Court however is convinced that this would gain the accused nothing except delay
for the testimony of the owner of the carabao and of the two Constabulary soldiers, rebutted by no reasonable
evidence on behalf of the accused, is deemed sufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
324 United States vs. Garcia [GR L-3951, 14 March 1908]
First Division, Carson (J): 6 concur
Facts: Simeon de los Santos, Feliciano Garcia, Alberto Tolentino, and a certain Gutierrez, were charged for
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the crime of robbery. De los Santos, Garcia and Gutierrez were convicted of the crime charged, while
Tolentino was acquitted. Counsel for Simeon de los Santos insists that there is no evidence of record
connecting de los Santos with the commission of the crime other than his own confession in the court of the
justice of the peace, and that this confession was improperly admitted in evidence, it not affirmatively
appearing that it was made voluntarily. On the other hand, counsel for Feliciano Garcia calls attention to the
fact that one of his coaccused, Alberto Tolentino, was acquitted by the trial judge although he was identified
by the witness Soto as a member of the band which committed the crime, and yet Garcia was convicted upon
the testimony of this witness; and thus argues that since the trial court did not accept Soto's testimony as to
Tolentino, it should not have been accepted as to Garcia. Lastly, the counsel for Garcia, Gutierrez, and De los
Santos asked for a new trial on the ground that, their counsel in the trial court having been taken ill before the
trial, they were not able to secure the presence of their witnesses.
Issue: Whether the defense can complain, about the failure to secure the presence of witnesses at trial, on
appeal.
Held: As to the allegation of the counsel for Garcia, Gutierrez, and De los Santos their counsel in the trial
court having been taken ill before the trial, they were not able to secure the presence of their witnesses, to
warrant the conduct of a new trial; the record discloses, however, that, it appearing that the original counsel
assigned to defend these accused was sick at the time of the trial, new counsel was assigned for their defense
by the court, and it does not appear that any effort was made to secure the presence of witnesses nor was any
motion made to the court for a continuance for that purpose. The appellants in a criminal case can not be
heard for the first time on appeal to complain that they could not secure the presence of witnesses at the trial,
when it does not appear that they made any effort so to do before or during the progress of the trial, or that
they sought the aid of the court to compel the attendance of their witnesses, or objected to proceeding without
them.
325 People vs. Sandal [GRs 32394-95, 5 September 1930]
En Banc, Avancena (CJ): 5 concur, 1 dissents
Facts: When Tomas Permites went to Manila to look after certain matters he left Eleno Lamorena in charge of
his interests in Monungan. While Permites was in Manila, Sandal, Lonsing, Arimao, Mama and Pampang
caused some injuries to his carabaos, as a result of which Eleno had a dispute with them. Eleno sent word of
what happened to Permites in Manila, and when the latter returned to Monungan, he verified the facts and
filed a complaint against Sandal, et. al.. Eleno was to be the principal witness. On 18 February 1929, in
Abaga, District of Monungan, Province of Lanao, Inambar, a Moro woman, heard Sandal call Eleno
Lamorena, and later saw them engaged in conversation. While the two were talking, Pampang went up to
them and with a hammer struck Lamorena (the deceased) on the back of the neck, felling him to the ground.
Sandal, Lonsing, Arimao, and Mama, then closed in on the fallen man beating him to death. On that night
Moro Dimaponong was going home, he saw Sandal, et. al. near a sawmill, carrying the corpse of Eleno,
which they threw into the river. Upon the the inquiry made by the Constabulary lieutenant into Eleno's
disappearance, Dimaponong testified that Sandal, et.al. carried the corpse of Eleno which they threw into the
river. The corpse was found in that part of the river indicated by Dimaponong. Doctor Pablo Hamoy in the
post-mortem examination found the following lesions: The right side of the neck and the right shoulder were
bruised; the neck was fractured and the right shoulder dislocated; the right eyes was bruised; marked cyanosis
and acute hemorrhage of both eyes which were somewhat sunken; marked cyanosis of the lips with the
incisors jutting forward and loose cyanosis and hemorrhage of the gums, and hemorrhage of the nose;
cyanosis of the whole face, a wound in the left arm and forearm, and a contusion on the breast and abdomen.
Sandal, et. al. were charged for the crime of murder before the Court of First Instance of Lanao. Sandal, et. al.
denied the facts set forth and attempted to prove an alibi. The trial court convicted Sandal, Arimao, Lonsing,
Mama, and Pampang of murder, and sentenced each of them to 20 years of cadena temporal, with the
accessories of law, to indemnify the heirs of the deceased jointly and severally in the amount of P1,000, and
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to pay their proportional part of the costs. Sandal, et. al. appealed. Sandal, et.al. assigned as an error the fact
that the trial court failed to require the fiscal to exhibit the testimony given by the witnesses during the
preliminary investigation conducted by the justice of the peace.
Issue: Whether the witnesses during the preliminary investigation should be presented as witnesses during
trial.
Held: Sandal, et.al. assigned as an error the fact that the trial court failed to require the fiscal to exhibit the
testimony given by the witnesses during the preliminary investigation conducted by the justice of the peace.
But the only effect of this failure was to entitle the defense to adduce secondary evidence touching the
testimony of said witnesses, for the purpose of attacking their veracity, should they have been presented as
witnesses during the trial.
326 People vs. de Luna [GR 77969, 22 June 1989]
Second Division, Gancayco (J): 4 concur
Facts: Patrick de Luna was charged with Murder before Branch 10 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City,
under the following information, "That on or about the 17th day of December 1986, at about 7:00 P.M., in the
City of Cebu, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused with
deliberate intent, with intent to kill and with treachery and evident premeditation, did then and there attack,
assault and use personal violence upon one Tricia by punching and kicking her on the different parts of her
body thereby inflicting upon her the following physical injuries: 'Cardio respiratory arrest, secondary to
severe multiple injuries, traumatic.' and as a consequence of said injuries Tricia died in the next day. Contrary
to law." De Luna, assisted by Counsel-de-Oficio Atty. David Ompoc, when arraigned on 23 December 1986,
entered a plea of guilty with the qualification that "hindi ko sinasadya." The accused allegedly waived his
right that the prosecution present its evidence in order to determine for the court the degree of culpability of
the accused under the present charge. The trial court, on 23 December 1986, rendered the decision convicting
de Luna of the crime of Murder, and sentenced him to Reclusion Perpetua (life imprisonment) and to
indemnify the heirs of Tricia the sum of P30,000.00. de Luna appealed.
Issue: Whether the accused may waive the presentation of evidence for the prosecution, when the accused
pleaded guilty during the arraignment.
Held: The essence of a plea of guilty is that the accused admits his guilt, freely, voluntarily, and with a full
knowledge of the consequences and meaning of his act and with a clear understanding of the precise nature of
the crime charged in the complaint or information. While it is true that a plea of guilty admits all the
allegations in the information including the aggravating and qualifying circumstances, the repeated and
emphatic qualification stated by de Luna as regards his plea of guilty should have drawn the attention of the
trial court that the plea was made without a full knowledge of its consequences. Apparently, counsel failed to
advise him as to the meaning and effect of the technical language used in the information qualifying the acts
constituting the offense. In order to be valid, the plea must be an unconditional admission of guilt. It must be
of such nature as to foreclose the defendant's right to defend himself from said charge, thus leaving the court
no alternative but to impose the penalty fixed by law. Under the circumstances of the case, de Luna's
qualified plea of guilty is not a valid plea of guilty. While the Court has had the occasion to rule that it is
permissible for an accused to enter a plea of guilty to the crime charged with the reservation to prove
mitigating circumstances, considering, however, the gravity of the offense charged, the more prudent course
for the trial court to follow is to reject the plea made by de Luna and direct the parties to submit their
respective evidence. When an accused pleads guilty to a capital offense, the court shall conduct a searching
inquiry into the voluntariness and full comprehension of the consequences of his plea and require the
prosecution to prove his guilt and the precise degree of culpability. The accused may also present evidence in
his behalf. Thus, after a plea of guilty in capital offenses, it is imperative that the trial court requires the
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presentation of evidence for the prosecution to enable itself to determine the precise participation and the
degree of culpability of the accused in the perpetration of the capital offense charged. Notwithstanding the
waiver made by de Luna as to the presentation of evidence by the prosecution, the presentation of evidence
should be required in order to preclude any room for reasonable doubt in the mind of the trial court, or the
Supreme Court on review, as to the possibility that there might have been some misunderstanding on the part
of the accused as to the nature of the charge to which he pleaded guilty, and to ascertain the circumstances
attendant to the commission of the crime which justify or require the exercise of a greater or lesser degree of
severity in the imposition of the prescribed penalties.
327 People vs. Prieto [GR L-46542, 21 July 1978]
Second Division, Fernando (J): 4 concur
Facts: On 7 February 1977, Judge Hermenegildo A. Prieto, Sr., of the Court of First Instance of Isabela,
issued an order issuing "a warrant of arrest for the apprehension of accused Dario Gamayon for his
continuous failure to appear in Court everytime the case is called for trial." The order continued: "His bail
bond is declared forfeited," and likewise gave the bondsmen thirty days "from notice thereof within which to
produce the body of accused Dario Gamayon and show cause why judgment should not be rendered against
them for the amount of their undertaking." On 5 April 197, in resolving a motion for reconsideration,
however, the judge reversed. Hence, the petition for certiorari.
Issue: Whether the provision allowing the continuation of a trial after arraignment notwithstanding rhw
absence of the accused affected the traditional concept of bail.
Held: The last sentence of Section 19 of the Constitution allows the continuation of a trial after arraignment,
notwithstanding the absence of an accused, provided that he has been duly notified and his failure to appear is
unjustified. However, it must be considered that the constitutional right to bail would be rendered nugatory if,
by the mere fact that the trial could proceed in the absence of the accused, the undertaking in a bail bond and
the Rules of Court provision could be ignored. Clearly, the innovation introduced by the present Constitution
goes no further than to enable a judge to continue with the trial even if the accused is not present under the
conditions therein specified. It does not give him the right to jump bail. Where it is undisputed that the
accused had gone abroad, the usual procedure provided by the Rules of Court to determine the liability of his
bondsmen should be followed. There is no justification in law, therefore, for such valid and correct order
being reconsidered, just because of the innovation in the Constitution as to the trial being held in the absence
of an accused. The present Constitution certainly has not made a dent on the traditional and correct concept of
a bail as given to allow the release of a person in the custody of the law on condition that he would appear
before any court whenever so required, Upon failure to do so, the warrant of arrest previously issued can be a
sufficient justification for his confinement. All that is assured on accused who posts bail, therefore, is that
prior to his conviction, he need not be deprived of his liberty. The mere fact that the trial could not continue in
his absence certainly affords no justification for his jumping bail nor for his bondsmen to escape from the
legal effects of their undertaking.
328 People vs. Salas [GR L-66469, 29 July 1986]
First Division, Cruz (J): 4 concur
Facts: Mario Abong was originally charged with homicide in the Court of First Instance of Cebu but before
he could be arraigned the case was reinvestigated on motion of the prosecution. As a result of the
reinvestigation, an amended information was filed, with no bail recommended, to which he pleaded not guilty.
Trial commenced, but while it was in progress, the prisoner, taking advantage of the first information for
homicide, succeeded in deceiving the city court of Cebu into granting him bail and ordering his release; and
so he escaped. The judge, learning later of the trickery, cancelled the illegal bail bond and ordered Abong's rearrest. Abong, however, was gone. Nonetheless (Bernardo Salas), the prosecution moved that the hearing
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continue in accordance with the constitutional provision authorizing trial in absentia under certain
circumstances. the judge denied the motion, however, and suspended all proceedings until the return of the
accused. The order of the trial court is before the Supreme Court on certiorari and mandamus.
Issue: Whether Abong may be tried in absentia, in light of his escape.
Held: Section 19, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution provides that "In all criminal prosecution, 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
unjustified." The purpose of this rule is to speed up the disposition of criminal cases, trial of which could in
the past be indefinitely deferred, and many times completely abandoned, because of the defendant's escape.
The old case of People v. Avancea (32 OG 713) required his presence at certain stages of the trial which as a
result, had to be discontinued as long as the defendant had not reappeared or remained at large. As his right to
be present at these stages was then held not waivable even by his escape, such escape thus operated to the
fugitive's advantage, and in mockery of the authorities, insofar as the trial could not proceed as long as he had
not been recaptured. The doctrine laid down in that case has been modified by Section 19, which now allows
trial in absentia, Now, the prisoner cannot by simply escaping thwart his continued prosecution and possibly
eventual conviction provided only that: a) he has been arraigned; b) he has been duly notified of the trial; and
c) his failure to appear is unjustified. Thus, the right to be present at one's trial may now be waived except
only at that stage where the prosecution intends to present witnesses who will identify the accused. Under
Section 19, the defendant's escape will be considered a waiver of this right and the inability of the court to
notify him of the subsequent hearings will not prevent it from continuing with his trial. He will be deemed to
have received due notice. The same fact of his escape will make his failure to appear unjustified because he
has, by escaping, placed himself beyond the pale, and protection, of the law.
329 Gimenez vs. Nazareno [GR L-37933, 15 April 1988]
En Banc, Gancayco (J): 14 concur
Facts: On 3 August 1973, Samson Suan, Alex Potot, Rogelio Mula, Fernando Cargando, Rogelio Baguio and
Teodoro de la Vega, Jr., were charged with the crime of murder. On 22 August 1973, the accused were
arraigned and each of them pleaded not guilty to the crime charged. Following the arraignment, the judge,
Hon. Ramon E. Nazareno, set the hearing of the case for 18 September 1973 at 1:00 p.m. All the accused
were duly informed of this. Before the scheduled date of the first hearing the de la Vega escaped from his
detention center and on the said date, failed to appear in court. This prompted the fiscals handling the case
(Fiscal Celso M. Gimenez and Federico B. Mercado) to file a motion with the lower court to proceed with the
hearing of the case against all the accused praying that de la Vega, Jr. be tried in absentia invoking the
application of Section 19, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution. Pursuant to the above-written provision, the
lower court proceeded with the trial of the case but nevertheless gave de ala Vega the opportunity to take the
witness stand the moment he shows up in court. After due trial, or on 6 November 1973, the lower court
rendered a decision dismissing the case against the other five accused (Suan, et. al.) while holding in
abeyance the proceedings against de la Vega. On 16 November 1973, Gimenez and Mercado filed a Motion
for Reconsideration questioning the dispositive portion of the court's decision on the ground that it will render
nugatory the constitutional provision on "trial in absentia" cited earlier. However, this was denied by the
lower court in an Order dated 22 November 1973. Gimenez and Mercado filed a petition for certiorari and
mandamus with the Supreme Court.
Issue: Whether judgment upon an accused tried should be in abeyance pending the appearance of the accused
before the court.
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Held: The second part of Section 19, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution provides that a "trial in absentia"
may be had when the following requisites are present: (1) that there has been an arraignment; (2) that the
accused has been notified; and (3) that he fails to appear and his failure to do so is unjustified. Herein, all the
above conditions were attendant calling for a trial in absentia. De la Vega was arraigned on 22 August 1973
and in the said arraignment he pleaded not guilty. He was also informed of the scheduled hearings set on
September 18 and 19, 1973 and this is evidenced by his signature on the notice issued by the lower court. It
was also proved by a certified copy of the Police Blotter that de la Vega escaped from his detention center. No
explanation for his failure to appear in court in any of the scheduled hearings was given. Even the trial court
considered his absence unjustified. The lower court correctly proceeded with the reception of the evidence of
the prosecution and the other accused in the absence of de la Vega, but it erred when it suspended the
proceedings as to de la Vega and rendered a decision as to the other accused only. Upon the termination of a
trial in absentia, the court has the duty to rule upon the evidence presented in court. The court need not wait
for the time until the accused who escape from custody finally decides to appear in court to present his
evidence and cross-examine the witnesses against him. To allow the delay of proceedings for this purpose is
to render ineffective the constitutional provision on trial in absentia. Still, the accused remain to be presumed
innocent, a judgment of conviction must still be based upon the evidence presented in court, and such
evidence must prove him guilty beyond reasonable doubt. There can be no violation of due process since the
accused was given the opportunity to be heard. By his failure to appear during the trial of which he had
notice, he virtually waived the rights to cross-examine and to present evidence on his behalf. Thus, an escapee
who has been duly tried in absentia waives his right to present evidence on his own behalf and to confront and
cross-examine witnesses who testified against him.
330 Aquino vs. Military Commission No.2 [GR L-37364, 9 May 1975]
En Banc, Aquino (J): 5 concur, 1 inhibited himself, 2 filed separate opinions, 1 filed separate concurring
opinion, 2 filed separate dissenting opinions
Facts: Following the proclamation of martial law in the Philippines, Benigno S. Aquino Jr. was arrested on 23
September 1972, pursuant to General Order 2-A of the President for complicity in a conspiracy to seize
political and state power in the country and to take over the Government. He was detained at Fort Bonifacio
in Rizal province. On 25 September 1972, he sued for a writ of habeas corpus in which he questioned the
legality of the proclamation of martial law and his arrest and detention. The Supreme Court issued a writ of
habeas corpus, returnable to it, and required the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philipines, the Secretary
of National Defense, etc. to file their respective answers, after which the case was heard. Thereafter, the
parties submitted their memoranda. Aquino's last Reply memorandum was dated 30 November 1972. On 17
September 1974, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition and upheld the validity of martial law and the
arrest and detention of Aquino. The original petition in the case was filed on 23 August 1973. It sought to
restrain the Military Commission from proceeding with the hearing and trial of Aquino on 27 August 1973.
Because of the urgency of the petition, the Supreme Court called a hearing on Sunday, August 26, on the
question of whether with its membership of only 9 Justices, it had a quorum to take cognizance of the petition
in view of the constitutional questions involved. At that hearing, the Court asked the parties to agree to seek
from the Military Commission a postponement of Aquino's trial the following day. The purpose was to relieve
the Court of the pressure of having to decide the question of quorum without adequate time to do so. When
the proceedings before the Military Commission opened the following day, however, Aquino questioned the
fairness of the trial and announced that he did not wish to participate in the proceedings even as he discharged
both his defense counsel of choice and his military defense counsel. The proceedings were thereupon
adjourned to another day. In the meantime, for Aquino's assurance, a Special Committee, composed of a
retired Justice of the Supreme Court, to be designated by the Chief Justice, as Chairman, and four (4)
members to be designated respectively by petitioner, the President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the
Secretary of Justice and the Secretary of National Defense, was created to reinvestigate the charges against
Aquino. The Secretaries of Justice and National Defense designated their representatives but Aquino refused
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to name his. The Chief Justice asked former Justice J. B. L. Reyes but the latter declined, as he also declined
in his capacity as President of the IBP to designate a representative to the Committee. As a result, with only
two of its members designated, the Special Committee has not been able to function. On 4 September 1973, a
supplemental petition alleging the creation of the Special Committee and questioning the legality of its
creation was filed. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Secretary of Justice were included as
respondents. Subsequently, the Court resolved to require the respondents to file their answer and on 21 August
1974, within the extended period granted by the Court, respondents, with, the exception of the Chief Justice,
filed their answer to the supplemental petition. Thereafter, Aquino was required to file a reply and was
granted additional time after the lapse of the original period, but instead of doing so, Aquino asked for the
admission of a second supplemental petition challenging the continued enforcement of martial law in the
Philippines, in the light of Presidential statements to the effect that with the coming into force of the new
Constitution on 17 January 1973, martial law was "technically and legally" lifted. To this petition respondents
answered. Thereafter, the parties submitted their respective memoranda in lieu of oral argument as per
Resolution of the Supreme Court on 14 January 1975. On 24 March 1975, Aquino filed an "Urgent Motion for
Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order Against Military Commission No. 2"; praying that said Commission
be prohibited from proceeding with the perpetuation of testimony under its Order dated 10 March 1975, the
same being illegal, until further orders from the Supreme Court. On 14 April 1975, the Supreme Court issued
a restraining order against Military Commission No. 2, restraining it from further proceeding with the
perpetuation of testimony under its Order dated 10 March 1975 until the matter is heard and further orders are
issued. When the case was called for hearing, Aquino's counsel presented to this Court a motion to withdraw
the petition, as well as all other pending matters and/or incidents in connection therewith. Respondents'
counsel interposed objections to the granting of the aforesaid motion to withdraw. After the hearing, the
Supreme Court Resolved: "(a) to require the Solicitor General to furnish the Court as well as the petitioner
and the latter's counsel, with copies of the transcript of all the stenographic notes taken at the hearing before
the Military Commission No. 2 for the perpetuation of the testimony of the witnesses for the prosecution in
various criminal cases filed against herein petitioner, within five (5) days from today; (b) to request the
Solicitor General and the AFP Judge Advocate General to make the necessary arrangements for the petitioner
to confer with his counsel on matters connected with the aforementioned motion to withdraw; (c) to allow
counsel for the petitioner, if they so desire, to file a manifestation in amplification of the aforesaid motion to
withdraw, within ten (10) days from the date they confer with the petitioner, and thereafter to allow the
Solicitor General to file a counter-manifestation within ten (10) days from receipt of a copy thereof; and (d) to
consider the case submitted for decision after submission by both parties of their respective pleadings on the
motion to withdraw." Subsequently, the parties manifested their compliance.
Issue: Whether Aquino may waive his right to be present during the hearings before the Military
Commission.
Held: As a general rule, subject to certain exceptions, any constitutional or statutory right may be waived if
such waiver is not against public policy. The personal presence of the accused from the beginning to the end
of a trial for felony, involving his life and liberty, has been considered necessary and vital to the proper
conduct of his defense. The "trend of modern authority is in favor of the doctrine that a party in a criminal
case may waive irregularities and rights, whether constitutional or statutory, very much the same as in a civil
case." There are, for instance, certain rights secured to the individual by the fundamental charter which may
be the subject of waiver. The rights of an accused to defend himself in person and by attorney, to be informed
of the nature and cause of the accusation, to a speedy and public trial, and to meet the witnesses face to face,
as well as the right against unreasonable searches and seizures, are rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
They are rights necessary either because of the requirements of due process to ensure a fair and impartial trial,
or of the need of protecting the individual from the exercise of arbitrary power. And yet, there is no question
that all of these rights may be waived. Under the present Constitution, trial even of a capital offense may
proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused. It is now provided that "after arraignment, trial may
proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided that he has been duly notified and his failure to
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appear is unjustified." Thus, considering the provisions of the Constitution and the absence of any law
specifically requiring his presence at all stages of his trial, there appears, therefore, no logical reason why
Aquino, although he is charged with a capital offense, should be precluded from waiving his right to be
present in the proceedings for the perpetuation of testimony, since this right was conferred upon him for his
protection and benefit. Further, Section 7 of Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of Court (Deposition of witness
for the prosecution) the "Failure or refusal on the part of the defendant to attend the examination or the taking
of the deposition after notice hereinbefore provided, shall be considered a waiver," Similarly, Presidential
Decree 328 expressly provides that "the failure or refusal to attend the examination or the taking of the
deposition shall be considered a waiver." Herein, then, Aquino has the full right to waive his presence at said
proceedings. Since only 6 Justices (Fernando, Teehankee, Barredo, Antonio, Muoz Palma and Aquino) are of
the view that Aquino may waive his right to be present at all stages of the proceedings while 5 Justices
(Castro, Makasiar, Esguerra, Concepcion Jr. and Martin) are in agreement that he may so waive such right,
except when he is to be identified, the result is that the Military Commission's Order requiring his presence at
all times during the proceedings before it should be modified, in the sense that Aquino's presence shall be
required only in the instance just indicated.
331 People vs. Salas [GR L-66469, 29 July 1986]
First Division, Cruz (J): 4 concur
Facts: Mario Abong was originally charged with homicide in the Court of First Instance of Cebu but before
he could be arraigned the case was reinvestigated on motion of the prosecution. As a result of the
reinvestigation, an amended information was filed, with no bail recommended, to which he pleaded not guilty.
Trial commenced, but while it was in progress, the prisoner, taking advantage of the first information for
homicide, succeeded in deceiving the city court of Cebu into granting him bail and ordering his release; and
so he escaped. The judge, learning later of the trickery, cancelled the illegal bail bond and ordered Abong's rearrest. Abong, however, was gone. Nonetheless (Bernardo Salas), the prosecution moved that the hearing
continue in accordance with the constitutional provision authorizing trial in absentia under certain
circumstances. the judge denied the motion, however, and suspended all proceedings until the return of the
accused. The order of the trial court is before the Supreme Court on certiorari and mandamus.
Issue: Whether Abong may be tried in absentia, in light of his escape.
Held: Section 19, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution provides that "In all criminal prosecution, 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
unjustified." Section 19,thus, allows trial in absentia, The prisoner cannot by simply escaping thwart his
continued prosecution and possibly eventual conviction provided only that: a) he has been arraigned; b) he
has been duly notified of the trial; and c) his failure to appear is unjustified. Thus, the right to be present at
one's trial may now be waived except only at that stage where the prosecution intends to present witnesses
who will identify the accused. Under Section 19, the defendant's escape will be considered a waiver of this
right and the inability of the court to notify him of the subsequent hearings will not prevent it from continuing
with his trial. He will be deemed to have received due notice. The same fact of his escape will make his
failure to appear unjustified because he has, by escaping, placed himself beyond the pale, and protection, of
the law.
332 Carredo vs. People [GR 77542, 19 March 1990]
First Division, Gancayco (J): 4 concur

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Narratives (Berne Guerrero)

Facts: On 3 February 1983, Carredo was charged with malicious mischief before the Municipal Trial Court of
Malabuyoc, Cebu City. He deposited a cash bond for his provisional liberty. Upon arraignment, he entered a
plea of not guilty and thereafter he filed a written waiver of appearance dated 14 May 1984 which reads as
follows: "IN COMPLIANCE with the Letter of Instruction No. 40, dated November 10, 1972, the
undersigned accused hereby waives his appearance during the trial or any stage thereof and he agrees that in
case he fails to appear for trial despite due notice, his absence will be deemed as express waiver of his right to
be present, and the Honorable Court may proceed with the trial of his case as if he were present. In this
connection, he admits that he could be identified by witnesses who are testifying at the time that said accused
was not present." At the hearing on 14 August 1985 the prosecution moved for the recall of its principal
witness for the purpose of identifying Carredo who was not then present. Hence, the hearing was re-scheduled
on 9 October 1985 and a subpoena was issued to Carredo who failed to appear on said date. The defense
counsel justified Carredo's absence in that the latter's presence can no longer be required as he already filed a
written waiver of appearance. Nevertheless, the municipal judge issued an order dated 27 May 1986 ordering
the arrest of Carredo, the confiscation of the cash bond, and at the same time ordering the bondsman, who is
Carredo himself, to show cause why no judgment should be rendered against the bondsman. A motion for
reconsideration thereof having been denied, Carredo elevated the matter to the Regional Trial Court of Cebu
City through a petition for certiorari and prohibition. In an order dated 28 January 1987, the said trial court
denied the same. Carredo filed the petition for review on certiorari.
Issue: Whether the express waiver of appearance after arraignment includes the instance where the accused
need to be identified by witnesses.
Held: Section 19, Article 4 of the 1973 Constitution, then in force, provided that "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 unjustified." It is important to state that the provision of the Constitution authorizing the trial in
absentia of the accused in case of his non-appearance after arraignment despite due notice simply means that
he thereby waives his right to meet the witnesses face to face among others. An express waiver of appearance
after arraignment, as in this case, is of the same effect. However, such waiver of appearance and trial in
absentia does not mean that the prosecution is thereby deprived of its right to require the presence of the
accused for purposes of identification by its witnesses which is vital for the conviction of the accused. Such
waiver of a right of the accused does not mean a release of the accused from his obligation under the bond to
appear in court whenever so required. The accused may waive his right but not his duty or obligation to the
court.

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