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CRIMINAL LAW

G.R. No. 193768. March 5, 2014 People of


the Philippines Vs. Jerry Caranto y Propeta
Jerry was arrested during a buybust operation conducted on 24
July 2002 by the members of the
DEU of the Taguig PNP. A buybust operation is a form of
entrapment employed by peace
officers to apprehend prohibited
drug law violators in the act of
committing a drug-related offense.
Non-compliance with the
requirements of Section 21, par. 1 of
Article II of R.A. No. 9165
The required procedure on the seizure and
custody of drugs is embodied in Section
21, paragraph 1, Article II of R.A. No.
9165, which states:
1) The apprehending team having initial
custody and control of the drugs shall,
immediately after seizure and
confiscation, physically inventory and
photograph the same in the presence
of the accused or the person/s from
whom such items were confiscated
and/or seized, or his/her representative or
counsel, a representative from the media
and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and
any elected public official who shall be
required to sign the copies of the
inventory and be given a copy thereof.
(Emphasis supplied)
This is implemented by Section 21(a),
Article II of the Implementing Rules and
Regulations of R.A. No. 9165, which
reads:
(a) The apprehending officer/team having
initial custody and control of the drugs
shall, immediately after seizure and
confiscation, physically inventory and
photograph the same in the presence of
the accused or the person/s from whom
such items were confiscated and/or
seized, or his/her representative or
counsel, a representative from the media

and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and


any elected public official who shall be
required to sign the copies of the
inventory and be given a copy thereof: x x
x Provided, further, that non-compliance
with these requirements under justifiable
grounds, as long as the integrity and the
evidentiary value of the seized items are
properly preserved by the apprehending
officer/team, shall not render void and
invalid such seizures of and custody over
said items. (Emphasis supplied)
This Court recognizes that the strict
compliance with the requirements of
Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165 may not
always be possible under field conditions,
many of them far from ideal. For this
reason, the Implementing Rules provide
that non-compliance with the strict
directive of Section 21 is not necessarily
fatal to the prosecution s case because
courts recognize the possible occurrence
of procedural lapses. However, we
emphasize that these lapses must be
recognized and explained in terms of their
justifiable grounds and the integrity and
evidentiary value of the evidence seized
must be shown to have been preserved.
In the present case, the prosecution did
not bother to present any explanation to
justify the non-observance of the
prescribed procedures. Therefore, the
non-observance by the police of the
required procedure cannot be excused. It
likewise failed to prove that the integrity
and evidentiary value of the items
adduced were not tainted.
Chain of Custody
To secure a conviction for the illegal sale
of shabu, the following elements must be
present: (a) the identities of the buyer
and seller, the object of the sale, and the
consideration; and (b) the delivery of the
thing sold and the payment for the thing.
It is material to establish that the
transaction actually took place, and to
bring to the court the corpus delicti as
evidence. In the prosecution of a drug
case, the primary consideration is to

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ensure that the identity and integrity of
the seized drugs and other related articles
have been preserved from the time they
were confiscated from the accused until
their presentation as evidence in court.
The chain of custody requirement ensures
that doubts concerning the identity of the
evidence are removed. In a long line of
cases, we have considered it fatal for the
prosecution when they fail to prove that
the specimen submitted for laboratory
examination was the same one allegedly
seized from the accused.
The chain of custody rule requires that
the marking of the seized items
to
truly ensure that they are the same items
that enter the chain and are eventually
the ones offered in evidence should be
done (1) in the presence of the
apprehended violator (2) immediately
upon confiscation. This step initiates the
process of protecting innocent persons
from dubious and concocted searches.
Marking means the placing by the
apprehending officer or the poseur-buyer
of his/her initials and signature on the
item/s seized.
A perusal of the records will show that the
procedure of preserving the chain of
custody as laid down by jurisprudence was
not observed.
It is clear from the aforecited testimonies
that the evidence was not marked in
front of the accused or his representative.
Evidently, there was an irregularity in the
first link of the chain of custody.
Even assuming that the physical inventory
contemplated in R.A. No. 9165 subsumes
the marking of the items itself, the
belated marking of the seized items at the
police station sans the required presence
of the accused and the witnesses
enumerated under Section 21(a) of the
Implementing Rules and Regulations of
R.A. No. 9165, and absent a justifiable
ground to stand on, cannot be considered
a minor deviation from the procedures

prescribed by the law. We note that other


than the allegation that a marking was

done at the police station, there was no


proof that such marking was actually
undertaken at all. From the time it was
placed inside the pocket or wallet of PO2
Arago, it surfaced again only at the
marking of exhibits. In fact, there was no
statement from any of the witnesses that
markings were made on the seized item in
the presence of any of the persons
mentioned in Section 21 (a) of the
Implementing Rules and Regulations of
R.A. No. 9165. Moreover, the prosecution
even failed to present an accomplished
Certificate of Inventory.
Another gap in the chain of custody is
apparent from the lack of evidence
presented by the prosecution to prove
that the sachet of shabu, which was
entrusted by PO2 Arago to the
investigator, is the same sachet that was
delivered to the forensic chemist. The
records are wanting of testimonies
showing the manner of handling of the
evidence, precautions taken and other
significant circumstances surrounding this
essential transfer of custody. The
prosecution did not take the testimony of
the investigator, nor did they adduce
evidence on what the investigator did with
the seized shabu, how these got to the
forensic chemist, and how they were kept
before being adduced in evidence at trial.
In fact, the identity of such investigator
was not even mentioned nor was there
any mention of a marking made on the
seized item.
Upon further examination, we find that
another gap in the chain of custody is
apparent. There was no information on
what happened to the drugs after P/Insp.
Gural examined it. This Court recognizes
that the chemist s testimony was
stipulated upon. However, the stipulations
did not cover the manner on how the
specimens were handled after her
examination. Without this testimony,
there is no way for this Court to be
assured that the substances produced in
court are the same specimens the forensic

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chemist found positive for shabu.
Furthermore, most glaring is the fact that
the prosecution even stipulated that the
forensic chemist had no knowledge from
whom the alleged specimens were taken.
Ultimately, when the prosecution evidence
is wanting, deficient to the point of doubt
that the dangerous drug recovered from
the accused is the same drug presented to
the forensic chemist for review and
examination, or the same drug presented
to the court, an essential element in cases
of illegal sale and illegal possession of
dangerous drugs, the corpus delicti, is
absent.
Negation of Presumption of Regularity
The lower courts erred in giving weight to
the presumption of regularity in the
performance that a police officer enjoys in
the absence of any taint of irregularity and
of ill motive that would induce him to
falsify his testimony. The regularity of the
performance of the police officers duties
leaves much to be desired in this case
given the lapses in their handling of the
allegedly confiscated shabu. The totality of
all the aforementioned procedural lapses
effectively produced serious doubts on the
integrity and identity of the corpus delicti,
especially in the face of allegations of
frame- up.
We recognize that the evidence proffered
by the defense is far from strong; the
appellant merely denied the occurrence of
a buy-bust operation and failed to present
impartial witnesses who were not
interested in the case. In our jurisdiction,
the defense of denial or frame-up, like
alibi, has been viewed with disfavor for it
can easily be concocted and is a common
defense ploy in most prosecutions for
violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act. It
should be emphasized, however, that
these weaknesses do not add any strength
to the prosecution s cause. Thus, however
weak the defense evidence might be, the
prosecution s whole case still falls. As the
well- entrenched dictum goes, the

evidence for the prosecution must stand


or fall on its own weight and cannot be

allowed to draw strength from the


weakness of the defense.
We therefore resolve to acquit the accused
for failure of the prosecution
due to the
gap-induced weakness of the case to
prove the appellant s guilt beyond
reasonable doubt.

G.R. No. 204894. March 10, 2014 People of


the Philippines Vs. Noel Enojas y Hingpit,
Arnold Gomez y Fabregas, Fernando
Santos y Delantar, and Roger Jalandoni y
Ari
Issue: CONVICTION FOR MURDER.

Here the totality of the circumstantial


evidence the prosecution presented
sufficiently provides basis for the
conviction of all the accused.
The Court must, however, disagree with
the CA s ruling that the aggravating
circumstances of a) aid of armed men and
b) use of unlicensed firearms qualified the
killing of PO2 Pangilinan to murder. In aid
of armed men, the men act as
accomplices only. They must not be acting
in the commission of the crime under the
same purpose as the principal accused,
otherwise they are to be regarded as coprincipals or co-conspirators. The use of
unlicensed firearm, on the other hand, is a
special aggravating circumstance that is
not among the circumstances mentioned
in Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code as
qualifying a homicide to murder.
Consequently, the accused in this case
may be held liable only for homicide,
aggravated by the use of unlicensed
firearms, a circumstance alleged in the
information.
As to the admissibility of the text
messages, the RTC admitted them in
conformity with the Court s earlier
Resolution applying the Rules on
Electronic Evidence to criminal actions.

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Text messages are to be proved by the
testimony of a person who was a party to
the same or has personal knowledge of
them. Here, PO3 Cambi, posing as the
accused Enojas, exchanged text messages
with the other accused in order to identify
and entrap them. As the recipient of those
messages sent from and to the mobile
phone in his possession, PO3 Cambi had
personal knowledge of such messages and
was competent to testify on them.
The accused lament that they were
arrested without a valid warrant of arrest.
But, assuming that this was so, it cannot
be a ground for acquitting them of the
crime charged but for rejecting any
evidence that may have been taken from
them after an unauthorized search as an
incident of an unlawful arrest, a point that
is not in issue here. At any rate, a crime
had been committed the killing of PO2
Pangilinan and the investigating police
officers had personal knowledge of facts
indicating that the persons they were to
arrest had committed it. The text
messages to and from the mobile phone
left at the scene by accused Enojas
provided strong leads on the participation
and identities of the accused. Indeed, the
police caught them in an entrapment
using this knowledge.

G.R. No. 191360. March 10, 2014 People of


the Philippines Vs. Sherwin Bis y
Avellaneda
In prosecutions involving narcotics,
the narcotic substance itself
constitutes the corpus delicti of the
offense and the fact of its existence
is vital to sustain a judgment of
conviction beyond reasonable
doubt. The prosecution is dutybound to establish with unwavering
exactitude that the dangerous drug
presented in court as evidence
against the accused is the same
prohibited substance seized from
him.

G.R. No. 196960. March 12, 2014 People of


the Philippines Vs. Erwin Tamayo y
Bautisa
ISSUE: CONVICTION FOR MURDER;
qualified by taking advantage of superior
strength and
employing means to weaken the defense
and afford impunity.
Assuming that the prosecution witnesses
failed to identify exactly who inflicted the
fatal wounds on Joey during the
commotion, Erwin s liability is not
diminished since he and the others with
him acted with concert in beating up and
ultimately killing Joey. Conspiracy makes
all the assailants equally liable as coprincipals by direct participation.
Since about 15 men, including accused
Erwin, pounced on their one helpless
victim, relentlessly bludgeoned him on the
head, and stabbed him on the stomach
until he was dead, there is no question
that the accused took advantage of their
superior strength.

G.R. No. 207819. March 12, 2014 People of


the Philippines Vs. Guillermo B. Candano,
Jr.
The essential issue for the Court s
resolution is whether or not
Cadano s conviction should be
upheld. [3 counts of statutory
rape]
Statutory rape is committed by sexual
intercourse with a woman below 12 years
of age regardless of her consent, or the
lack of it, to the sexual act. Proof of force,
intimidation or consent is unnecessary as
they are not elements of statutory rape,
considering that the absence of free
consent is conclusively presumed when
the victim is below the age of 12. At that
age, the law presumes that the victim
does not possess discernment and is
incapable of giving intelligent consent to
the sexual act. Thus, to convict an
accused of the crime of statutory rape, the
prosecution carries the burden of proving:
(a) the age of the complainant; (b) the

identity of the accused; and (c) the sexual


intercourse between the accused and the

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complainant.
A judicious review of the records would
reveal that the aforementioned elements
of statutory rape are present. First, the
presentation of AAA s Certificate of Live
Birth showing that she was born on July
25, 1998 has proven that she was below
12 years of age when the three (3) rape
incidents happened on December 26 and
27, 1996, and in June 2000, respectively.
Second, the prosecution proved that
Cadano indeed had carnal knowledge of
AAA on three (3) separate occasions
through the latter s positive, categorical,
and spontaneous testimony, as
corroborated by the medico-legal report.
Given the foregoing, the Court finds no
cogent reason to reverse the RTC s
assessment of AAA s credibility, which was
affirmed by the CA.

G.R. No. 199689. March 12, 2014 People of


the Philippines Vs. Hermanos Constantino,
Jr. y Binayug, a.k.a. "Jojit"
After a careful scrutiny of the
testimonies of the prosecution
witnesses, the Court finds glaring
inconsistencies affecting the
integrity of the shabu purportedly
confiscated from Constantino. The
inconsistent testimonies of PO3
Domingo, PO3 Hernandez, and
P/SInsp. Tulauan as to who, when,
and where the two plastic sachets
of shabu were marked lead the
Court to question whether the two
plastic sachets of shabu identified
in court were the very same ones
confiscated from Constantino. The
doubtful markings already broke
the chain of custody of the seized
shabu at a very early stage.
Herein, the prosecution is completely
silent as to why PO3 Domingo, the
poseur-buyer, despite having immediate
custody of the two plastic sachets of
shabu purchased from Constantino, failed
to immediately mark the seized drugs
before turning over the custody of the

same to another police officer. This lapse

in procedure opened the door for


confusion and doubt as to the identity of
the drugs actually seized from Constantino
during the buy-bust and the ones
presented before the trial court, especially
considering that three different people,
during the interval, supposedly received
and marked the same. To clarify the
matter, the prosecution could have
presented as witness either SPO2 Tamang
or SPO2 Taguiam to directly validate the
marking in court, but unfortunately, the
prosecution chose to dispense with the
testimonies of both officers. This omission
diminished the importance of the
markings as the reference point for the
subsequent handling of the evidence. As a
consequence, an objective person could
now justifiably suspect the shabu
ultimately presented as evidence in court
to be planted or contaminated.
In light of the foregoing, Constantino is
acquitted of the crime charged, not
because the Court accords credence to his
defense of frame-up, but because the
prosecution failed to discharge its burden
of proving his guilt beyond reasonable
doubt.

G.R. No. 205230. March 12, 2014 People of


the Philippines V.s Ernesto Ventura, Sr.
ISSUE: RAPE OF A DEMENTED PERSON

Article 266-A, paragraph 1 of the RPC, as


amended, provides for two circumstances
when having carnal knowledge of a
woman with a mental disability is
considered rape, to wit: paragraph 1(b)
when the offended party is deprived of
reason; and paragraph 1(d) when the
offended party is demented.
Under paragraph 1(d), the term demented
refers to a person who has dementia,
which is a condition of deteriorated
mentality, characterized by marked
decline from the individual s former
intellectual level and often by emotional
apathy, madness, or insanity. On the

other hand, under paragraph 1(b), the


phrase deprived of reason has been

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interpreted to include those suffering from
mental abnormality, deficiency, or
retardation. Since AAA is mentally
deficient, she should properly be classified
as a person who is deprived of reason,
and not one who is demented. Hence,
carnal knowledge of a mentally deficient
individual is rape under subparagraph b
and not subparagraph d of Article 266A(1) of the RPC, as amended.
Nevertheless, the erroneous reference to
paragraph 1(d) in the Information will not
exonerate Ventura because he failed to
raise this as an objection, and the
particular facts stated in the Information
were protestation sufficient to inform him
of the nature of the charge against him

G.R. No. 199740. March 24, 2014 People of


the Philippines Vs. Jerry Obogne
RAPE
Finally, the trial court and the Court of
Appeals correctly found appellant guilty of
simple rape and properly imposed upon
him the penalty of reclusion perpetua
pursuant to Article 266-B, par. 1 of the
Revised Penal Code. The trial court
correctly ruled that AAA s mental
disability could not be considered as a
qualifying circumstance because the
Information failed to allege that appellant
knew of such mental condition at the time
of the commission of the crime.
By itself, the fact that the offended party
in a rape case is a mental retardate does
not call for the imposition of the death
penalty, unless knowledge by the offender
of such mental disability is specifically
alleged and adequately proved by the
prosecution.
For the Anti-Rape Law of 1997, now
embodied in Article 266-B of the Revised
Penal Code (RPC) expressly provides that
the death penalty shall also be imposed if
the crime of rape is committed with the
qualifying circumstance of (10) when the
offender knew of the mental disability,
emotional disorder and/or physical
handicap of the offended party at the time
of the commission of the crime. Said

knowledge x x x qualifies rape as a


heinous offense. Absent said
circumstance, which must be proved by
the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt,
the conviction of appellant for qualified
rape under Art. 266-B (10), RPC, could
not be sustained, although the offender
may be held liable for simple rape and
sentenced to reclusion perpetua.
[T]he mere fact that the rape victim is a
mental retardate does not automatically
merit the imposition of the death penalty.
Under Article 266-B (10) of the Revised
Penal Code, knowledge by the offender of
the mental disability, emotional disorder,
or physical handicap at the time of the
commission of the rape is the qualifying
circumstance that sanctions the imposition
of the death penalty. As such this
circumstance must be formally alleged in
the information and duly proved by the
prosecution.
Rule 110 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal
Procedure requires both qualifying and
aggravating circumstances to be alleged
with specificity in the information. x x x
But in the absence of a specific or
particular allegation in the information
that the appellant knew of her mental
disability or retardation, as well as lack of
adequate proof that appellant knew of this
fact, Article 266-B (10), RPC, could not be
properly applied x x x
Hence, the appellant can only be
convicted of simple rape, as defined under
Article 266-A of the [Revised] Penal Code,
for which the imposable penalty is
reclusion perpetua.

G.R. No. 168539. March 25, 2014 People of


the Philippines Vs. Henry T. Go
The only question that needs to be
settled in the present petition is
whether herein respondent, a
private person, may be indicted for
conspiracy in violating Section 3(g)
of R.A. 3019 even if the public
officer, with whom he was alleged
to have conspired, has died prior to
the filing of the Information.

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Respondent contends that by
reason of the death of Secretary
Enrile, there is no public officer
who was charged in the
Information and, as such,
prosecution against respondent
may not prosper.
The Court is not persuaded.
It is true that by reason of Secretary
Enrile's death, there is no longer any
public officer with whom respondent can
be charged for violation of R.A. 3019. It
does not mean, however, that the
allegation of conspiracy between them can
no longer be proved or that their alleged
conspiracy is already expunged. The only
thing extinguished by the death of
Secretary Enrile is his criminal liability. His
death did not extinguish the crime nor did
it remove the basis of the charge of
conspiracy between him and private
respondent. Stated differently, the death
of Secretary Enrile does not mean that
there was no public officer who allegedly
violated Section 3 (g) of R.A. 3019. In
fact, the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman
for Luzon found probable cause to indict
Secretary Enrile for infringement of
Sections 3 (e) and (g) of R.A. 3019. Were
it not for his death, he should have been
charged.
The requirement before a private person
may be indicted for violation of Section
3(g) of R.A. 3019, among others, is that
such private person must be alleged to
have acted in conspiracy with a public
officer. The law, however, does not
require that such person must, in all
instances, be indicted together with the
public officer. If circumstances exist where
the public officer may no longer be
charged in court, as in the present case
where the public officer has already died,
the private person may be indicted alone.
Indeed, it is not necessary to join all
alleged co-conspirators in an indictment
for conspiracy. If two or more persons
enter into a conspiracy, any act done by
any of them pursuant to the agreement is,

in contemplation of law, the act of each of

them and they are jointly responsible


therefor. This means that everything said,
written or done by any of the conspirators
in execution or furtherance of the common
purpose is deemed to have been said,
done, or written by each of them and it
makes no difference whether the actual
actor is alive or dead, sane or insane at
the time of trial. The death of one of two
or more conspirators does not prevent the
conviction of the survivor or survivors.

G.R. No. 197204. March 26, 2014 Danilo O.


Garcia and Joven SD. Brizuela Vs.
Sandiganbayan and People of the
Philippines
The issues are (1) whether the
Sandiganbayan erred in convicting
petitioners of the crime charged,
and (2) whether the
Sandiganbayan erred in denying
their second motions for
reconsideration.
The three essential elements for violation
of Section 3(e) of RA 3019 are: (1) that
the accused is a public officer discharging
administrative, judicial or official
functions; (2) that the accused acted with
manifest partiality, evident bad faith or
gross inexcusable negligence; and (3) that
the accused caused undue injury to any
party including the Government, or giving
any private party unwarranted benefits,
advantage or preference in the discharge
ofhis functions.
On the first element, the records show
that at the time the procurement of the
CCIE occurred, petitioners Garcia and
Brizuela were public officers discharging
their officials functions in the Philippine
National Police as Assistant Regional
Director for Comptrollership and
Disbursing Officer, respectively. In th~
course ofthe trial, the Sandiganbayan
issued a Pre-Trial Order dated 17 May
2005 which contained the stipulation of
fact that "all the accused were public
officers, occupying their respective
positions as described in the Information,
at the time the matters of this case

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allegedly occurred." Thus, petitioners were
public officials holding positions in the PNP
on the questioned dates as clearly
stipulated in 'the Amended Information
filed by the Ombudsman. Indisputably,
the first element was met.
With regard to the second element, that
the public officer acted with manifest
partiality, evident bad faith or gross
inexcusable negligence, the case of Albert
v. Sandiganbayan explained the different
modes by which the crime may be
committed:
. The second element provides the
different modes by which the crime may
be committed, that is, through "manifest
partiality," "evident bad faith," or "gross
inexcusable negligence." In Uriarte v.
People, this Court explained that Section
3(e) of RA 3019 may be committed either
by dolo, as when the accused acted with
evident bad faith or manifest partiality, or
by culpa, as when the accused committed
gross inexcusable negligence. There is
"manifest partiality" when there is a clear,
notorious, or plain inclination or
predilection to favor one side or person
rather than another. "Evident bad faith"
connotes not only bad judgment but also
palpably and patently fraudulent and
dishonest purpose to do moral obliquity or
conscious wrongdoing for some perverse
motive or ill will. "Evident bad faith"
contemplates a state of mind affirmatively
operating with furtive design or with some
motive or self-interest or ill will or for
ulterior purposes. "Gross inexcusable
negligence" refers to negligence
characterized by the want of even the
slightest care, acting or omitting to act in
a situation where there is a duty to act,
not inadvertently but willfully and
intentionally, with conscious indifference
to consequences insofar as other persons
may be affected.
In this case, the Amended Information
filed by the Ombudsman specifically.
states "evident bad faith" as the mode by
which the crime has been committed. As

defined in Albert, evident bad faith


connotes not only bad judgment but_ also

palpably and patently fraudulent and


dishonest purpose to do moral obliquity or
conscious wrongdoing for some perverse
motive or ill will. It contemplates a state
of mind affirmatively operating with
furtive design or with some motive or self
interest or ill will or for ulterior purposes.
Here, Garcia and Luna were the ones who
approved the PNP Personnel Payrolls
containing the false entries and it was
Brizuela who certified that the police
personnel listed in the payrolls received
their intended CCIE when in fact they did
not. Clearly, these are acts of evident bad
faith at the least. In submitting fabricated
and forged personnel payrolls as
supporting and liquidating documents to
cover up the illegal release of
p20,000,000, petitioners orchestrated a
conscious wrongdoing to serve some
ulterior motive or self-interest.
Lastly, the third element of the offense that the act of the accused caused undue
injury to any party, including the
Government, or gave any private party
unwarranted benefit, advantage or
preference in the discharge of the
functions of the accused - was also
established. Proof of the extent of damage
is not essential, it being sufficient that the
injury suffered or the benefit received is
perceived to be substantial enough and
not merely negligible.
In the present case, the prosecution's
evidence duly proved that petitioners,
using their official positions, by dishonesty
and breach of sworn duty, facilitated the
approval and release of government funds
amounting to P20,000,000 supposedly for
the purchase of CCIE items of PNP
personnel. However, the recipients of the
P20,000,000 turned out to be fictitious
PNP
_personnel, and up to now the
P20,000,000 remains unaccounted for.

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Thus, petitioners should be made liable for
their deceit and misrepresentation and
should compensate the government for
the actual damage the government has
suffered.

G.R. No. 162205. March 31, 2014 Revelina


Limson Vs. Eugenio Juan Gonzalez
ISSUE: falsification and illegal use o f
aliases against respondent Eugenio Juan
Gonzalez.
on the issue of the alleged use of illegal
aliases, the Court observes that
respondent s aliases involved the names
Eugenio Gonzalez , Eugenio Gonzales ,
Eugenio Juan Gonzalez , Eugenio Juan
Gonzalez y Regalado , Eugenio C.R.
Gonzalez , Eugenio J. Gonzalez , and
per Limson
Eugenio Juan Robles
Gonzalez. But these names contained his
true names, albeit at times joined with an
erroneous middle or second name, or a
misspelled family name in one instance.
The records disclose that the erroneous
middle or second names, or the
misspelling of the family name resulted
from error or inadvertence left unchecked
and unrectified over time. What is
significant, however, is that such names
were not fictitious names within the
purview of the Anti-Alias Law; and that
such names were not different from each
other. Considering that he was not also
shown to have used the names for
unscrupulous purposes, or to deceive or
confuse the public, the dismissal of the
charge against him was justified in fact
and in law.
An alias is a name or names used by a
person or intended to be used by him
publicly and habitually, usually in business
transactions, in addition to the real name
by which he was registered at birth or
baptized the first time, or to the substitute
name authorized by a competent
authority; a man s name is simply the
sound or sounds by which he is commonly
designated by his fellows and by which
they distinguish him, but sometimes a
man is known by several different names
and these are known as aliases. An alias is

thus a name that is different from the


individual s true name, and does not refer
to a name that is not different from his
true name.

G.R. No. 180496. April 2, 2014 People of


the Philippines Vs. Roy San Gaspar
ISSUE: PARRICIDE

Parricide is committed when: (1) a


person is killed; (2) the deceased is killed
by the accused; (3) the deceased is the
father, mother, or child, whether
legitimate or illegitimate, or a legitimate
other ascendant or other descendant, or
the legitimate spouse of the accused.

G.R. No. 196970. April 2, 2014 People of


the Philippines Vs. Rene Santiago
RAPE

Finally, both the trial court and the Court


of Appeals correctly convicted appellant of
simple rape, instead of statutory rape.
The elements of [statutory rape] are: (1)
that the accused had carnal knowledge of
a woman; and (2) that the woman is
below 12 years of age x x x. In this case,
although the Informations alleged that
AAA was 11 years of age when the rape
incidents transpired, she was actually 13
years of age when the rape incidents
transpired on December 25, 2004 and
January 21, 2005, as her Certificate of
Birth showed that she was born on March
10, 1991. Thus, appellant is guilty only of
simple, not statutory rape for which he
was properly imposed the sentence of
reclusion perpetua pursuant to Article
266-B of the Revised Penal Code.
However, it must be mentioned that
appellant is not eligible for parole
pursuant to Section 3 of Republic Act No.
9346.

G.R. No. 202704. April 2, 2014 People of


the Philippines Vs. Joel Abat y Cometa
in any event, the impregnation
of a woman is NOT an element
of rape. Proof that the child
was fathered by another man
does not show that accusedappellant is not guilty,

10
considering the positive
testimony of the victim that the
accused abused her.
It is therefore quite clear that the
pregnancy of
the victim is not required. For the
conviction of an accused, it is
sufficient that the prosecution
establish beyond reasonable doubt
that he had carnal knowledge of the
offended party and that he had
committed such act under any of the
circumstances enumerated above.
Carnal knowledge is defined as the act of
a man having sexual bodily connections
with a woman[.] (Citations
omitted, emphases supplied).

G.R. No. 208007. April 2, 2014 People of


the Philippines Vs. Rodrigo Gutierez y
Robles, et al.
For a measly five- or ten-peso tip
that a IO-year-old child would need
for lunch money, a known
acquaintance of their family would
destroy a child's dignity by having
illicit carnal knowledge of her. This
case involves an act that is so
dastardly that it is punished by
Article 266-A of the Revised PenaJ
Code as statutory rape which
carries a sentence of reclusion
perpetua.
In any case, whether she cried for help is
immaterial in a charge of statutory rape
since [t]he law presumes that such a
victim, on account of her tender age, does
not and cannot have a will of her own.

G.R. No. 198022. April 7, 2014 People of


the Philippines Vs. Sonny Gatarin y
Caballero @ "Jay-R" and Eduardo
Quisayas

We find appellant guilty beyond


reasonable doubt not of robbery with
homicide but of murder.
To sustain a conviction for robbery with
homicide, the prosecution must prove the

following elements: (1) the taking of


personal property belonging to another;
(2) with intent to gain; (3) with the use of
violence or intimidation against a person;
and (4) on the occasion or by reason of
the robbery, the crime of homicide, as
used in the generic sense, was committed.
It is, therefore, clear from the foregoing
that the evidence presented to prove the
robbery aspect of the special complex
crime of robbery with homicide, does not
show that robbery actually took place. The
prosecution did not convincingly establish
the corpus delicti of the crime of robbery.
Corpus delicti has been defined as the
body or substance of the crime and, in its
primary sense, refers to the fact that a
crime has actually been committed. As
applied to a particular offense, it means
the actual commission by someone of the
particular crime charged. In this case, the
element of taking, as well as the existence
of the money alleged to have been lost
and stolen by appellant, was not
adequately established.
We find no sufficient evidence to show
either the amount of money stolen, or if
any amount was in fact stolen from
Januario. Even if we consider Januario s
dying declaration, the same pertains only
to the stabbing incident and not to the
alleged robbery.
Moreover, assuming that robbery was
indeed committed, the prosecution must
establish with certitude that the killing
was a mere incident to the robbery, the
latter being the perpetrator s main
purpose and objective. It is not enough to
suppose that the purpose of the author of
the homicide was to rob; a mere
presumption of such fact is not sufficient.
Stated in a different manner, a conviction
requires certitude that the robbery is the
main purpose, and objective of the
malefactor and the killing is merely
incidental to the robbery. The intent to rob

must precede the taking of human life but


the killing may occur before, during or
after the robbery. What is crucial for a

11
conviction for the crime of robbery with
homicide is for the prosecution to firmly
establish the offender s intent to take
personal property before the killing,
regardless of the time when the homicide
is actually carried out. In this case, there
was no showing of the appellant s
intention, determined by their acts prior
to, contemporaneous with, and
subsequent to the commission of the
crime, to commit robbery. No shred of
evidence is on record that could support
the conclusion that appellant s primary
motive was to rob Januario and that he
was able to accomplish it.
To establish the fact that appellant and his
co-accused killed the victim by stabbing
him with a bladed weapon, the
prosecution presented Umali as an
eyewitness to the mauling incident. It was
this same witness who identified the
perpetrators. The trial and appellate
courts also relied on the statement of
Januario as to the circumstances of his
death, testified to by PO1 Coronel and
SPO3 Mendoza as dying declaration and
as part of res gestae.
A dying declaration, although generally
inadmissible as evidence due to its
hearsay character, may nonetheless be
admitted when the following requisites
concur, namely: (a) the declaration
concerns the cause and the surrounding
circumstances of the declarant's death;
(b) it is made when death appears to be
imminent and the declarant is under a
consciousness of impending death; (c) the
declarant would have been competent to
testify had he or she survived; and (d) the
dying declaration is offered in a case in
which the subject of inquiry involves the
declarant's death.
In the case at bar, it appears that not all
the requisites of a dying declaration are
present. From the records, no questions
relative to the second requisite was
propounded to Januario. It does not
appear that the declarant was under the
consciousness of his impending death

when he made the statements. The rule is


that, in order to make a dying declaration

admissible, a fixed belief in inevitable and


imminent death must be entered by the
declarant. It is the belief in impending
death and not the rapid succession of
death in point of fact that renders a dying
declaration admissible. The test is whether
the declarant has abandoned all hopes of
survival and looked on death as certainly
impending. Thus, the utterances made by
Januario could not be considered as a
dying declaration.
However, even if Januario s utterances
could not be appreciated as a dying
declaration, his statements may still be
appreciated as part of the res gestae. Res
gestae refers to the circumstances, facts,
and declarations that grow out of the main
fact and serve to illustrate its character
and are so spontaneous and
contemporaneous with the main fact as to
exclude the idea of deliberation and
fabrication. The test of admissibility of
evidence as a part of the res gestae is,
therefore, whether the act, declaration, or
exclamation, is so interwoven or
connected with the principal fact or event
that it characterizes as to be regarded as
a part of the transaction itself, and also
whether it clearly negates any
premeditation or purpose to manufacture
testimony.
The requisites for admissibility of a
declaration as part of the res gestae
concur herein. When Januario gave the
identity of the assailants to SPO3
Mendoza, he was referring to a startling
occurrence which is the stabbing by
appellant and his co-accused. At that
time, Januario and the witness were in the
vehicle that would bring him to the
hospital, and thus, had no time to contrive
his identification of the assailant. His
utterance about appellant and his coaccused having stabbed him, in answer to
the question of SPO3 Mendoza, was made
in spontaneity and only in reaction to the
startling occurrence. Definitely, the
statement is relevant because it identified
the accused as the authors of the crime.

12
Verily, the killing of Januario, perpetrated
by appellant, is adequately proven by the
prosecution.
From the evidence presented, we find that
as alleged in the information, abuse of
superior strength attended the
commission of the crime, and thus,
qualifies the offense to murder. Abuse of
superior strength is considered whenever
there is a notorious inequality of forces
between the victim and the aggressor,
assessing a superiority of strength
notoriously advantageous for the
aggressor which the latter selected or took
advantage of in the commission of the
crime.
It is clear from the records of the case
that Januario was then fifty-four (54)
years old. Appellant, on the other hand,
was then forty (40) years old. Appellant
committed the crime with his co-accused,
his nephew. Clearly, assailants are
younger than the victim. These two
accused were seen by Umali as the
persons who mauled Januario. Moreover,
assailants were armed with a bladed
weapon, while Januario was unarmed. To
be sure, with two assailants younger than
the victim, armed with a bladed weapon
and inflicting multiple mortal wounds on
the victim, there is definitely abuse of
superior strength deliberately taken
advantage of by appellant and his coaccused in order to consummate the
offense.

G.R. No. 194629. April 21, 2014 People of


the Philippines Vs. Dante Dulay
As regards the crime committed
against Junior, the Court is in
accord with the CA s conclusion
that Dulay is guilty of frustrated
murder.
The requisites of a frustrated felony are:
(1) that the offender has performed all the
acts of execution which would produce the
felony; and (2) that the felony is not
produced due to causes independent of
the perpetrator s will.

Applying the foregoing to the case at bar,


Dulay has performed all acts of execution
in throwing the grenade which could have
caused Junior s death as a consequence,
but because of immediate medical
assistance, a cause independent of Dulay s
will, Junior survived.

G.R. No. 193856. April 21, 2014 People of


the Philippines Vs. Sukarno Janaide y
Agga
SPO1 Roca may have truly marked the
item of shabu he seized from accused
Sukarno as RR which he insisted he did.
Someone else, therefore, replaced the
item by another one, now marked as "RR1." Indeed, Roca has not ruled out the
possibility that the latter marking on the
shabu item presented in court may have
been made by someone else. This leads
the Court to conclude that there may have
been switching of evidence in the selling
charge. Guilt in that charge has not,
therefore, been proved beyond reasonable
doubt.--> ACQUITTED

G.R. No. 187495. April 21, 2014 People of


the Philippines Vs. Edgar Jumawan
"Among the duties assumed by the
husband are his duties to love,
cherish and protect his wife, to
give her a home, to provide her
with the comforts and the
necessities oflife within his means,
to treat her kindly and not cruelly
or inhumanely He is bound to
honor her x xx; it is his duty not
only to maintain and support her,
but also to protect herfrom
oppression and wrong. "
Husbands do not have property rights
over their wives' bodies. Sexual
intercourse, albeit within the realm of
marriage, if not consensual, is rape. This
is the clear State policy expressly
legislated in Section 266-A of the Revised
Penal Code (RPC), as amended by

Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8353 or the AntiRape Law of 1997.


Clearly, it is now acknowledged that rape,
as a form of sexual violence, exists within
marriage. A man who penetrates her wife

13
without her consent or against her will
commits sexual violence upon her, and
the Philippines, as a State Party to the
CEDAW and its accompanying Declaration,
defines and penalizes the act as rape
under R.A. No. 8353.
A woman is no longer the chattelantiquated practices labeled her to be. A
husband who has sexual intercourse with
his wife is not merely using a property, he
is fulfilling a marital consortium with a
fellow human being with dignity equal to
that he accords himself. He cannot be
permitted to violate this dignity by
coercing her to engage in a sexual act
without her full and free consent. Surely,
the Philippines cannot renege on its
international commitments and
accommodate conservative yet irrational
notions on marital activities that have lost
their relevance in a progressive society.
As above discussed, the definition of rape
in Section 1 of R.A. No. 8353 pertains to:
(a) rape, as traditionally known; (b)
sexual assault; and (c) marital rape or
that where the victim is the perpetrator s
own spouse. The single definition for all
three forms of the crime shows that the
law does not distinguish between rape
committed in wedlock and those
committed without a marriage. Hence, the
law affords protection to women raped by
their husband and those raped by any
other man alike.
All told, the presumption of innocence
endowed an accused-appellant was
sufficiently overcome by KKK s clear,
straightforward, credible, and truthful
declaration that on two separate
occasions, he succeeded in having sexual
intercourse with her, without her consent
and against her will. Evidence of
overwhelming force and intimidation to
consummate rape is extant from KKK s
narration as believably corroborated by
the testimonies of MMM and OOO and the
physical evidence of KKK s torn panties
and short pants. Based thereon, the
reason and conscience of the Court is

morally certain that the accused-appellant


is guilty of raping his wife on the nights of

October 16 and 17, 1998.

G.R. No. 188052. April 21, 2014 Jean D.


Gamboa Vs. People of the Philippines
In this case, the elements of the crime of
Estafa under Article 315, paragraph 1(b)
of the Revised Penal Code sought to be
established by the prosecution are as
follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

That money, goods or other personal


properties are received by the
offender in trust or on commission,
or for administration, or under any
other obligation involving the duty
to make delivery of or to return,
the same;
That there is a misappropriation or
conversion of such money or
property by the offender or denial
on his part of such receipt;
That such misappropriation or
conversion or denial is to the
prejudice of another; and
That there is a demand made by the
offended party on the offender.

G.R. No. 180016. April 29, 2014 Lito Corpuz


Vs. People of the Philippines Concurring and
Dissenting Opinion CJ. Sereno, J.
Leonen Dissenting Opinion J. Carpio, J.
Abad Concurring Opinion J. Brion
There seems to be a perceived injustice brought
about by the range of penalties that the courts
continue to impose on crimes against property
committed today, based on the amount of
damage measured by the value of money eighty
years ago in 1932. However, this Court cannot
modify the said range of penalties because that
would constitute judicial legislation. What the
legislature s perceived failure in amending the
penalties provided for in the said crimes cannot
be remedied through this Court s decisions, as
that would be encroaching upon the power of
another branch of the government. This,
however, does not render the whole situation
without any remedy. It can be appropriately
presumed that the framers of the Revised Penal
Code (RPC) had anticipated this matter by
including Article 5, which

reads:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

14
ART. 5. Duty of the court in connection with acts
which should be repressed but which are not
covered by the law, and in cases of excessive
penalties.
Whenever a court has knowledge
of any act which it may deem proper to
repress and which is not punishable by law,
it shall render the proper decision, and shall
report to the Chief Executive, through the
Department of Justice, the reasons which
induce the court to believe that said act
should be made the subject of penal
legislation.

In the same way, the court shall submit to


the Chief Executive, through the Department
of Justice, such statement as may be
deemed proper, without suspending the
execution of the sentence, when a strict
enforcement of the provisions of this Code
would result in the imposition of a clearly
excessive penalty, taking into consideration
the degree of malice and the injury caused
by the offense.18

The first paragraph of the above provision clearly


states that for acts bourne out of a case which is
not punishable by law and the court finds it
proper to repress, the remedy is to render the
proper decision and thereafter, report to the
Chief Executive, through the Department of
Justice, the reasons why the same act should be
the subject of penal legislation. The premise here
is that a deplorable act is present but is not the
subject of any penal legislation, thus, the court is
tasked to inform the Chief Executive of the need
to make that act punishable by law through
legislation. The second paragraph is similar to the
first except for the situation wherein the act is
already punishable by law but the corresponding
penalty is deemed by the court as excessive. The
remedy therefore, as in the first paragraph is not
to suspend the execution of the sentence but to
submit to the Chief Executive the reasons why
the court considers the said penalty to be non
commensurate with the act committed. Again,
the court is tasked to inform the Chief Executive,
this time, of the need for a legislation to provide
the proper penalty.

In his book, Commentaries on the Revised Penal


Code,19 Guillermo B. Guevara opined that in

Article 5, the duty of the court is merely to report


to the Chief Executive, with a recommendation

for an amendment or modification of the legal


provisions which it believes to be harsh.
Thus:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

This provision is based under the legal maxim


nullum crimen, nulla poena sige lege, that is,
that there can exist no punishable act except
those previously and specifically provided for by
penal statute.

No matter how reprehensible an act is, if the


law making body does not deem it necessary to
prohibit its perpetration with penal sanction, the
Court of justice will be entirely powerless to
punish such act.

Under the provisions of this article the Court


cannot suspend the execution of a sentence
on the ground that the strict enforcement of
the provisions of this Code would cause
excessive or harsh penalty. All that the
Court could do in such eventuality is to
report the matter to the Chief Executive
with a recommendation for an amendment
or modification of the legal provisions which
it believes to be harsh.20

There is an opinion that the penalties provided


for in crimes against property be based on the
current inflation rate or at the ratio of P1.00 is
equal to P100.00 . However, it would be
dangerous as this would result in uncertainties,
as opposed to the definite imposition of the
penalties. It must be remembered that the
economy fluctuates and if the proposed
imposition of the penalties in crimes against
property be adopted, the penalties will not cease
to change, thus, making the RPC, a self
amending law. Had the framers of the RPC
intended that to be so, it should have provided
the same, instead, it included the earlier cited
Article 5 as a remedy. It is also improper to
presume why the present legislature has not
made any moves to amend the subject penalties
in order to conform with the present times. For
all we know, the legislature intends to retain the
same penalties in order to deter the further

commission of those punishable acts which have


increased tremendously through the years. In
fact, in recent moves of the legislature, it is
apparent that it aims to broaden the coverage of
those who violate penal laws. In the crime of
Plunder, from its original minimum amount of

15
P100,000,000.00 plundered, the legislature
lowered it to P50,000,000.00. In the same way,
the legislature lowered the threshold amount
upon which the Anti Money Laundering Act may
apply, from P1,000,000.00 to P500,000.00.

Verily, the primordial duty of the Court is merely


to apply the law in such a way that it shall not
usurp legislative powers by judicial legislation
and that in the course of such application or
construction, it should not make or supervise
legislation, or under the guise of interpretation,
modify, revise, amend, distort, remodel, or
rewrite the law, or give the law a construction
which is repugnant to its terms.38 The Court
should apply the law in a manner that would give
effect to their letter and spirit, especially when
the law is clear as to its intent and
purpose. Succinctly put, the Court should shy
away from encroaching upon the primary function
of a co equal branch of the Government;
otherwise, this would lead to an inexcusable
breach of the doctrine of separation of powers by
means of judicial legislation.

The solution to the present controversy could not


be solved by merely adjusting the questioned
monetary values to the present value of money
based only on the current inflation rate. There
are other factors and variables that need to be
taken into consideration, researched, and
deliberated upon before the said values could be
accurately and properly adjusted. The effects on
the society, the injured party, the accused, its
socio economic impact, and the likes must be
painstakingly evaluated and weighed upon in
order to arrive at a wholistic change that all of us
believe should be made to our existing
law. Dejectedly, the Court is ill equipped, has no
resources, and lacks sufficient personnel to
conduct public hearings and sponsor studies and
surveys to validly effect these changes in our
Revised Penal Code. This function clearly and
appropriately belongs to Congress.

Alberto Almojuela y Villanueva Vs. People


of the Philippines G.R. No. 183202.
June 2, 2014
Circumstantial evidence as basis for

conviction

Circumstantial evidence may be


characterized as that evidence that proves
a fact or series of facts from which the

facts in issue may be established by


inference.24 Under the Revised Rules on
Evidence, a conviction based on
circumstantial evidence may be sustained
if the following requisites are all
present:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

There is more than one circumstance;


The facts from which the inferences are
derived are proven; and
The combination of all the
circumstances is such as to
produce a conviction beyond
reasonable doubt.25

In People v. Galvez,26 we laid down the


basic guidelines that judges must observe
when faced with merely circumstantial
evidence in deciding criminal cases. The
probative value of such circumstantial
evidence must be distilled using the
following:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

a. Circumstantial evidence should be acted


upon with caution;
b. All the essential facts must be
consistent with the hypothesis of
guilt;
c. The facts must exclude every other
theory but that of the guilt of the
accused; and
The facts must establish with certainty the
guilt of the accused so as to convince
beyond reasonable doubt that the accused
was the perpetrator of the offense. The
peculiarity of circumstantial evidence is
that the series of events pointing to the
commission of a felony is appreciated not
singly but collectively. The guilt of the
accused cannot be deduced from
scrutinizing just one (1) particular piece of

evidence. They are like puzzle


which when put together reveal
convincing picture pointing to
conclusion that the accused is
of the crime.27

pieces
a
the
the author

The mitigating circumstances of


incomplete self-defense and
voluntary surrender

An incomplete self-defense is appreciated


when:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

16
there is unlawful aggression on the part
of the victim;
the means employed to prevent or repel
the unlawful aggression is not
reasonably necessary; and
there is lack of provocation on the part
of the person defending himself.

There can be no self-defense, whether


complete or incomplete, unless the
victim had committed unlawful
aggression against the person who
resorted to self-defense.29 This
mitigating circumstance is inapplicable in
the present case because the unlawful
aggression did not start from the victim
Quejong but from Almojuela. The
prosecution proved that it was Almojuela
who first challenged Paz and his group to
a fight. Almojuela came prepared to fight
and was in fact armed with a bladed
weapon.

Moreover, the third element is also absent


since there is no lack of sufficient
provocation on Almojuela s part as shown
by his confrontational stance right from
the start.

People of the Philippines Vs. Angelita I.


Daud, et al. G.R. No. 197539. June 2,
2014
Illegal recruitment in large scale
To constitute illegal recruitment in large
scale, three elements must concur: (a)
the offender has no valid license or
authority required by law to enable him to
lawfully engage in recruitment and
placement of workers; (b) the offender
undertakes any of the activities within the
meaning of recruitment and placement
under Article 13(b) of the Labor Code, or
any of the prohibited practices
enumerated under Article 34 of the said
Code (now Section 6 of Republic Act No.
8042); and (c) the offender committed the
same against three or more persons,

individually or as a group.21

The prosecution witnesses were positive


and categorical in their testimonies that
they personally met appellant; that they
knew appellant was associated with Green
Pasture Worldwide Tour and Consultancy;

and that appellant had performed


recruitment activities such as promising
employment abroad, encouraging job
applications, and providing copies of job
orders. The private complainants
testimonies are consistent and corroborate
one another on material points, such as
the amount of the placement fees asked,
and the purported country of destination
and nature of work.

It was not necessary for the prosecution


to still prove that appellant himself
received the placement fees from private
complainants and issued receipts for the
same, given the finding of both the RTC
and the Court of Appeals of the existence
of conspiracy among appellant and his coaccused Hanelita and Daud, appellant s
wife and mother-in-law,
respectively. When there is conspiracy,
the act of one is the act of all.23 It is not
essential that there be actual proof that all
the conspirators took a direct part in every
act. It is sufficient that they acted in
concert pursuant to the same objective.24
Estafa

We likewise affirm the conviction of


appellant for three counts of estafa
committed against the private
complainants in Criminal Case Nos. 030123, 03-0127, and 03-0130, based on
the very same evidence that proved
appellant s criminal liability for illegal
recruitment.

It is settled that a person may be charged


and convicted separately of illegal
recruitment under Republic Act No. 8042,
in relation to the Labor Code, and estafa

under Article 315, paragraph 2(a) of the


Revised Penal Code. As we explained in
People v. Cortez and
Yabut28:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

In this jurisdiction, it is settled that a


person who commits illegal recruitment
may be charged and convicted separately
of illegal recruitment under the Labor
Code and estafa under par. 2(a) of Art.
315 of the Revised Penal Code. The
offense of illegal recruitment is malum

17
prohibitum where the criminal intent of
the accused is not necessary for
conviction, while estafa is malum in se
where the criminal intent of the accused is
crucial for conviction. Conviction for
offenses under the Labor Code does not
bar conviction for offenses punishable by
other laws. Conversely, conviction for
estafa under par. 2(a) of Art. 315 of the
Revised Penal Code does not bar a
conviction for illegal recruitment under the
Labor Code. It follows that one s acquittal
of the crime of estafa will not necessarily
result in his acquittal of the crime of illegal
recruitment in large scale, and vice versa.

The elements of estafa are: (a) that the


accused defrauded another by abuse of
confidence or by means of deceit, and (b)
that damage or prejudice capable of
pecuniary estimation is caused to the
offended party or third person.29

People of the Philippines Vs. Rolando


Baraga y Arcilla G.R. No. 208761. June
4, 2014
Sexual abuse under Section 5(b),
Article III of R.A. No. 7610 has
three elements: (1) the accused
commits an act of sexual
intercourse or lascivious
conduct; (2) the said act is
performed with a child exploited in
prostitution or subjected to other
sexual abuse; and (3) the child is
below 18 years old.10cralawred
Lascivious conduct means the
intentional touching, either directly
or through clothing, of the
genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner
thigh, or buttocks, or the
introduction of any object into the
genitalia, anus, or mouth, of any
person, whether of the same or
opposite sex, with an intent to
abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade,
or arouse or gratify the sexual
desire of any person, bestiality,
masturbation, lascivious exhibition
of the genitals or pubic area of a

person.11 On the other hand, a


child is deemed subjected to other
sexual abuse when he or she

indulges in lascivious conduct


under the coercion or influence of
any adult.12cralawred
A perusal of the records of this
case shows that the prosecution
was able to establish Baraga s
criminal liability under Section
5(b), Article III of R.A. No.
7610. First, Baraga, on two
instances, i.e., on April 2, 2007
and on August 19, 2007,
intentionally touched AAA s
vagina. Second, Baraga used his
moral ascendancy and influence
over his daughter AAA to
consummate his lascivious
design. Third, AAA was less than
18 years of age when the said
incidents happened.
Under Section 5, Article III, of R.A.
No. 7610, the offender shall be
punished with the penalty of
reclusion temporal in its medium
period to reclusion
perpetua. However, when the
victim of the sexual abuse is under
12 years old, the imposable
penalty shall be reclusion temporal
in its medium period.

Ramon A. Syhunliong Vs. Teresita D.


Rivera G.R. No. 200148. June 4, 2014
Issues and Arguments of the
Parties
Undaunted, Syhunliong now
presents to this Court the issues of
whether or not: (a) the trial court s
denial of a motion to quash
information may be validly assailed
through a special civil action for
certiorari; (b) Rivera may validly
question the denial of her motion
to quash before the CA after
voluntarily allowing herself to be
arraigned even during the

pendency of such motion to quash;


(c) the CA may validly review on
certiorari what was, at best, an
error of judgment made by the
RTC; (d) the CA correctly ruled
that the facts charged in the

18
information do not constitute the
offense of libel; and (e) the CA
committed reversible error in
ordering the outright dismissal of
Criminal Case No. Q-07-147802 on
the putative ground that the
allegedly libelous text messages
were privileged communication.30
Prescription had set in.

Syhunliong raised five issues before this


Court, but the Court s resolution of the
same would be a superfluity in the light of
Rivera s unrefuted averment that
prescription had set in before the
complaint for libel was instituted.

In Romualdez v. Hon. Marcelo,37 the


Court, partially quoting People v. Moran,38
stressed the reason behind and the
character of prescription of penal offenses,
to wit:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

Here the State is the grantor,


surrendering by act of grace its rights to
prosecute, and declaring the offense to be
no longer the subject of prosecution. The
statute is not a statute of process, to be
scantily and grudgingly applied, but an
amnesty, declaring that after a certain
time oblivion shall be cast over the
offence; x x x that from henceforth[,] he
may cease to preserve the proofs of his
innocence, for the proofs of his guilt are
blotted out. Hence[,] it is that statutes of
limitation are to be liberally construed in
favor of the defendant, not only because
such liberality of construction belongs to
all acts of amnesty and grace, but
because the very existence of the statute,
is a recognition and notification by the
legislature of the fact that time, while it
gradually wears out proofs of innocence,
has assigned to it fixed and positive
periods in which it destroys proofs of
guilt. Independently of these views, it
must be remembered that delay in
instituting prosecutions is not only
productive of expense to the State, but of

peril to public justice in the attenuation


and distortion, even by mere natural lapse
of memory, of testimony. It is the policy
of the law that prosecutions should be

prompt, and that statutes, enforcing such


promptitude should be vigorously
maintained. They are not merely acts of
grace, but checks imposed by the State
upon itself, to exact vigilant activity from
its subalterns, and to secure for criminal
trials the best evidence that can be
obtained.
Indeed, there is no reason why we should
deny petitioner the benefits accruing from
the liberal construction of prescriptive
laws on criminal statutes. Prescription
emanates from the liberality of the State.
x x x Any doubt on this matter must be
resolved in favor of the grantee thereof,
the accused.39 (Italics
supplied)ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

In the case at bar, it is extant in


the records that Syhunliong filed
his complaint against Rivera more
than one year after the allegedly
libelous message was sent to
Lumapas. Whether the date of the
filing of the complaint is April 16,
2007 or August 18, 2007,40 it
would not alter the fact that its
institution was made beyond the
prescriptive period provided for in
Article 90 of the RPC. The Court
finds no persuasive reason why
Rivera should be deprived of the
benefits accruing from the
prescription of the crime ascribed
to her.
People v. Castro,41 on the other hand, is
instructive anent the effect in criminal
proceedings of the failure of an accused to
raise prescription as a ground in a motion
to quash an information,
viz:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

Does the failure of the accused to move to


quash before pleading constitute a waiver
to raise the question of prescription at a
later stage of the case?

A case in point is People vs. Moran, 44


Phil., 387. x x x [T]he court ruled that the
crime had already prescribed holding that
this defense can not [b]e deemed waived
even if the case had been decided by the
lower court and was pending appeal in the

19
Supreme Court. The philosophy behind
this ruling was aptly stated as follows:
Although the general rule is that the
defense of prescription is not available
unless expressly set up in the lower court,
as in that case it is presumed to have
been waived and cannot be taken
advantage of thereafter, yet this rule is
not always of absolute application in
criminal cases, such as that in which
prescription of the crime is expressly
provided by law, for the State not having
then the right to prosecute, or continue
prosecuting, nor to punish, or continue
punishing, the offense, or to continue
holding the defendant subject to its action
through the imposition of the penalty, the
court must so declare. And elaborating
on this proposition, the Court went on to
state as follows:
As prescription of the crime is the loss by
the State of the right to prosecute and
punish the same, it is absolutely
indisputable that from the moment the
State has lost or waived such right, the
defendant may, at any stage of the
proceeding, demand and ask that the
same be finally dismissed and he be
acquitted from the complaint, and such
petition is proper and effective even if the
court taking cognizance of the case has
already rendered judgment and said
judgment is merely in suspense, pending
the resolution of a motion for a
reconsideration and new trial, and this is
the more so since in such a case there is
not yet any final and irrevocable
judgment.
The ruling above adverted to squarely
applies to the present case. Here, the rule
provides that the plea of prescription
should be set up before arraignment, or
before the accused pleads to the charge,
as otherwise the defense would be
deemed waived; but, as was well said in
the Moran case, this rule is not of absolute
application, especially when it conflicts
with a substantive provisions of the law,
such as that which refers to prescription of
crimes. Since, under the Constitution, the
Supreme Court has only the power to
promulgate rules concerning pleadings,
practice and procedure, and the admission

to the practice of law, and cannot cover


substantive rights (section 13, article VIII,
of the Constitution), the rule we are
considering cannot be interpreted or given
such scope or extent that would come into
conflict or defeat an express provision of
our substantive law. One of such
provisions is article 89 of the Revised
Penal Code which provides that the
prescription of crime has the effect of
totally extinguishing the criminal liability.
And so we hold that the ruling laid down
in the Moran case still holds good even if it
were laid down before the adoption of the
present Rules of Court.42 (Italics supplied)

While Castro is an old jurisprudence, it still


finds application in the case at bench in
view of Section 9, Rule 117 of the Rules of
Court, which in essence partially provides
that the defense of extinction of criminal
action or liability, e.g., prescription, is not
deemed waived even if the accused had
not raised the same in a motion to
quash. In Rivera s case, the issue of
prescription is raised in her comment to
the instant petition before this
Court. Syhunliong does not specifically
refute Rivera s averment, thus, it is
deemed admitted.

In sum, even if the Court were to sustain


Syhunliong s stance that Rivera availed of
the wrong remedy when she resorted to
filing a petition for certiorari before the CA
to assail the RTC orders denying the
motion to quash, the result would only
prove circuitous. Even if the trial
proceeds and an adverse decision is
rendered against Rivera, she can appeal
the same, but the CA and this Court would
still be compelled to order the dismissal of
the information on account of prescription
of the crime.
Prescription of the crime is already a
compelling reason for this Court to
order the dismissal of the libel
information, but the
Court still stresses that the text
message which Rivera sent to
Lumapas falls within the purview of a
qualified privileged communication.

20
The rule on privileged communication
means that a communication made in
good faith on any subject matter in which
the communicator has an interest, or
concerning which he has a duty, is
privileged if made to a person having a
corresponding duty. 43

In order to prove that a statement falls


within the purview of a qualified privileged
communication under Article 354, No. 1,
the following requisites must concur: (1)
the person who made the communication
had a legal, moral, or social duty to make
the communication, or at least, had an
interest to protect, which interest may
either be his own or of the one to whom it
is made; (2) the communication is
addressed to an officer or a board, or
superior, having some interest or duty in
the matter, and who has the power to
furnish the protection sought; and (3) the
statements in the communication are
made in good faith and without malice.44

In the case at bar, it was Lumapas who


informed Rivera of either the delay or
denial of the latter s claims for payment of
salaries, benefits and incentives by
Syhunliong. Rivera expressed through the
subject text message her grievances to
Lumapas. At that time, Lumapas was the
best person, who could help expedite the
release of Rivera s claims.

Prescinding from the above, the Court


thus finds no error in the CA s declaration
that Rivera s text message falls within the
ambit of a qualified privileged
communication since she was speaking in
response to duty [to protect her own
interest] and not out of an intent to injure
the reputation 45 of Syhunliong. Besides,
[t]here was no unnecessary publicity of
the message beyond [that] of conveying it
to the party concerned. 46

People of the Philippines Vs. Jeric


Fernandez y Jaurigue G.R. No. 199211.

June 4, 2014
Illegal Recruitment In Large Scale

Article 38 of the Labor Code defines


illegal recruitment as "any recruitment

activities, including the prohibited


practices enumerated under Article 34
of (the Labor Code), to be undertaken
by non-licensees or non-holders of
authority." The term "recruitment and
placement" refers to any act of
canvassing, enlisting, contracting,
transporting, utilizing, hiring or
procuring workers, including referrals,
contract services, promising or
advertising for employment, locally or
abroad, whether for profit or not,
provided that any person or entity
which, in any manner, offers or
promises for a fee employment to two
or more persons shall be deemed
engaged in recruitment and
placement. The law imposes a higher
penalty when the illegal recruitment is
committed by a syndicate or in large
scale as they are considered an
offense involving economic sabotage.
Illegal recruitment is deemed
committed by a syndicate if carried out
by a group of three (3) or more
persons conspiring and/or
confederating with one another in
carrying out any unlawful or illegal
transaction, enterprise or scheme. It is
deemed committed in large scale if
committed against three (3) or more
persons individually or as a group.3

For illegal recruitment in large scale to


prosper, the prosecution has to prove
three essential elements, namely: (1)
the accused undertook a recruitment
activity under Article 13(b) or any
prohibited practice under Article 34 of
the Labor Code; (2) the accused did
not have the license or the authority to
lawfully engage in the recruitment and
placement of workers; and (3) the
accused committed such illegal activity
against three or more persons
individually or as a group.

In the present case, the appellant


promised the five complainants that
there were jobs available for them in
Hongkong; and that through his help,
they could be deployed for work within
a month or two. He exacted money

21
from them for the plane ticket, hotel
accommodation, processing of visa
and placement fees. Notably, the
prosecution presented a Certification
dated January 10, 2003 issued by
Felicitas Q. Bay, Director II of the
Philippine Overseas Employment
Agency (POEA) Licensing Branch,
showing that the appellant had no
authority or license to lawfully engage
in the recruitment and placement of
workers. These acts, to our mind,
constitute illegal recruitment. There is
illegal recruitment when one who does
not possess the necessary authority or
license gives the impression of having
the ability to send a worker abroad.
Corollarily, where the offense is
committed against three or more
persons, as in this case, it is qualified
to illegal recruitment in large scale
which provides a higher penalty under
Article 39(a) of the Labor Code.

Estafa

We point out that conviction under the


Labor Code for illegal recruitment does
not preclude punishment under the
Revised Penal Code for the crime of
estafa.4 We are convinced that the
prosecution proved beyond reasonable
doubt that appellant violated Article
315(2)(a) of the Revised Penal Code,
as amended, which provides that
estafa is committed by any person who
defrauds another by using a fictitious
name; or by falsely pretending to
possess power, influence,
qualifications, property, credit, agency,
business; by imaginary transactions or
similar forms of deceit executed prior
to or simultaneous with the fraud.5

The appellant s act of falsely


pretending to possess power and
qualifications to deploy the
complainants to Hongkong, even if he
did not have the authority or license
for the purpose, undoubtedly
constitutes estafa under Article

315(2)(a) of the Revised Penal Code.


The elements of deceit and damage

are clearly present; the appellant s


false pretenses were the very cause
that induced the complainants to part
with their money.

The People of the Philippines Vs. Mildred


Salvatierra y Matuco G.R. No. 200884.
June 4, 2014
The crime of illegal recruitment is defined
and penalized under Sections 6 and 7 of
RA 8042, or the Migrant Workers and
Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, It is
necessary that the prosecution prove the
concurrence of the following elements: (1)
the offender undertakes any of the
activities within the meaning of
recruitment and placement under Article
13 (b) of the labor Code, or any of the
prohibited practices enumerated under
Article 34 of the Labor Code (now Section
6 of RA 8042) and (2) the offender has no
valid license or authority required by law
to enable him to lawfully engage in
recruitment and placement of workers. In
the case of illegal recruitment in large
scale, a third element is added: that the
offender commits any of the acts of
recruitment and placement against three
or more persons, individually or as a
group.23cralawred

In this case, appellant engaged in


recruitment when she represented herself
to be capable of deploying workers to
South Korea upon submission of the
pertinent documents and payment of the
required fees. As appellant claimed to be
the liaison officer of Llanesa Consultancy
Services, the victims believed that she
indeed had the capability to deploy them
abroad. All the witnesses and the
supposed victims identified appellant as
the one who made such representation
and received the payments they made
evidenced by the petty cash vouchers and
receipts she signed. Moreover, appellant
was caught in an entrapment operation
when she received the amount demanded
allegedly as additional requirement before

they can be deployed abroad. It was,


likewise, certified to by the Philippine
Overseas Employment Administration
Licensing Division that neither appellant
nor Llanesa Consultancy Services were

22
licensed to recruit workers for overseas
employment. It is also clear from the
evidence presented that the crime of
illegal recruitment was committed by
appellant against five persons.
We likewise agree with the appellate court
that appellant may also be held liable for
estafa. The very same evidence proving
appellant s criminal liability for illegal
recruitment also established her criminal
liability for estafa.24 The elements of
estafa are: (a) that the accused defrauded
another by abuse of confidence or by
means of deceit, and (b) that damage or
prejudice capable of pecuniary estimation
is caused to the offended party or third
person.25cralawred

In this case, as testified to by the


victims/witnesses, appellant defrauded the
victims by making them believe that she
has the capacity to deploy them to South
Korea as workers, even as she did not
have the authority or license for the
purpose. Because of this enticement, the
victims parted with their money in varying
amounts as placement fees to appellant.
Consequently, the victims suffered
damages as the promised employment
abroad never materialized and the money
they parted were never recovered.2

People of the Philippines Vs. Renato Dela


Cruz G.R. No. 192820. June 4, 2014
ACTS OF LASCIVIOUSNESS

The elements of this crime are: (1) the


offender commits any act of lasciviousness
or lewdness; (2) it is done under any of
the following circumstances: (a) by using
force or intimidation, or (b) when the
offended party is deprived of reason or
otherwise unconscious, or (c) when the
offended party is under 12 years of age;
and (3) the offended party is another
person of either sex.14

People of the Philippines Vs. Renato


Besmonte G.R. No. 196228. June 4,
2014
Carnal knowledge, the other essential
element in consummated statutory rape,
does not require full penile penetration of
the female.29 In People v. Campuhan,30

the Court made clear that the mere


touching of the external genitalia by a
penis capable of consummating the
sexual act is sufficient to constitute
carnal knowledge. All that is necessary to
reach the consummated stage of rape is
for the penis of the accused capable of
consummating the sexual act to come into
contact with the lips of the pudendum of
the victim. This means that the rape is
consummated once the penis of the
accused capable of consummating the
sexual act touches either labia of the
pudendum. And People v. Bali-Balita31
instructed that the touching that
constitutes rape does not mean mere
epidermal contact, or stroking or grazing
of organs, or a slight brush or a scrape of
the penis on the external layer of the
victim s vagina, or the mons pubis, but
rather the erect penis touching the labias
or sliding into the female
genitalia. Consequently, the conclusion
that touching the labia majora or the labia
minora of the pudendum constitutes
consummated rape proceeds from the
physical fact that the labias are physically
situated beneath the mons pubis or the
vaginal surface, such that for the penis to
touch either of them is to attain some
degree of penetration beneath the surface
of the female genitalia. It is required,
however, that this manner of touching of
the labias must be sufficiently and
convincingly established.

Jose Espineli a.k.a. Danilo Espineli Vs.


People of the Philippines G.R. No.
179535. June 9, 2014
Jurisprudence teaches us that for
circumstantial evidence to be sufficient to

support a conviction, all circumstances


must be consistent with each other,
consistent with the hypothesis that the
accused is guilty, and at the same time
inconsistent with the hypothesis that he is
innocent x x x. 1 Thus, conviction based
on circumstantial evidence can be upheld
provided that the circumstances proven
constitute an unbroken chain which leads
to one fair and reasonable conclusion that
points to the accused, to the exclusion of
all others, as the guilty person.2cralawred

23
The circumstantial evidence relied upon
by the Court of Appeals sufficiently
support
petitioner s conviction.

The Court has carefully scrutinized the


evidence presented in this case in the light
of the standards discussed above and
finds the foregoing circumstantial
evidence sufficient to support a judgment
of conviction. Several reasons deserve
our acceptance of the circumstances upon
which petitioner s conviction was based, to
wit:

First, NBI Agent Segunial testified that he


had investigated Reyes and reduced the
latter s statement into writing declaring,
among others, that in the morning of
December 15, 1996, he (Reyes)
overheard petitioner telling Sotero Ayaw
ko nang abutin pa ng bukas yang si
Berbon and saw them armed with .45
caliber pistol and an armalite,
respectively, before boarding a red
car. The CA gave weight to Reyes sworn
statement in this
wise:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

The probative value of Romeo Reyes


sworn statement as to the words spoken
by appellant to his co-accused Sotero
Paredes in the morning of December 15,
1996 cannot be disputed. x x x33
Petitioner takes vigorous exception to the
said findings, insisting that the said sworn
statement belongs to the category of
hearsay evidence and therefore
inadmissible. He asserts that its contents
were never confirmed or authenticated by
Reyes, thus, it lacks probative value.

The Court is unconvinced.

The hearsay evidence rule as provided


under Section 36, Rule 130 of the Rules of
Court states:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

Sec. 36. Testimony generally confined to


personal knowledge; hearsay excluded.
A witness can testify only to those facts
which he knows of his personal
knowledge; that is, which are derived

from his own perception, except as


otherwise provided in these rules.

Evidence is hearsay when its probative


force depends in whole or in part on the
competency and credibility of some
persons other than the witness by whom it
is sought to produce. However, while the
testimony of a witness regarding a
statement made by another person given
for the purpose of establishing the truth of
the fact asserted in the statement is
clearly hearsay evidence, it is otherwise if
the purpose of placing the statement on
the record is merely to establish the fact
that the statement, or the tenor of such
statement, was made. Regardless of the
truth or falsity of a statement, when what
is relevant is the fact that such statement
has been made, the hearsay rule does not
apply and the statement may be
shown. As a matter of fact, evidence as
to the making of the statement is not
secondary but primary, for the statement
itself may constitute a fact in issue or is
circumstantially relevant as to the
existence of such a fact.34 This is known
as the doctrine of independently relevant
statements.35cralawred

In the present case, the testimony of NBI


Agent Segunial that while he was
investigating Reyes, the latter confided to
him that he (Reyes) heard petitioner
telling Sotero Ayaw ko nang abutin pa ng
bukas yang si Berbon and that he saw
the two (petitioner and Sotero) armed
with a .45 caliber pistol and an armalite,
respectively, before boarding a red car,
cannot be regarded as hearsay
evidence. This is considering that NBI
Agent Segunial s testimony was not

presented to prove the truth of such


statement but only for the purpose of
establishing that on February 10, 1997,
Reyes executed a sworn statement
containing such narration of facts. This is
clear from the offer of the witness oral
testimony.36 Moreover, NBI Agent
Segunial himself candidly admitted that he
is incompetent to testify on the
truthfulness of Reyes statement.37 Verily
then, what the prosecution sought to be

24
admitted was the fact that Reyes made
such narration of facts in his sworn
statement and not necessarily to prove
the truth thereof. Thus, the testimony of
NBI Agent Segunial is in the nature of an
independently relevant statement where
what is relevant is the fact that Reyes
made such statement and the truth and
falsity thereof is immaterial. In such a
case, the statement of the witness is
admissible as evidence and the hearsay
rule does not apply.38 Moreover, the
written statement of Reyes is a notarized
document having been duly subscribed
and sworn to before Atty. Cesar A. Bacani,
a supervising agent of the NBI. As such,
it may be presented in evidence without
further proof, the certificate of
acknowledgment being a prima facie
evidence of the due execution of this
instrument or document involved pursuant
to Section 30 of Rule 132 of the Rules of
Court. As held in Gutierrez v. MendozaPlaza,39 a notarized document enjoys a
prima facie presumption of authenticity
and due execution which must be rebutted
by clear and convincing evidence. Here,
no clear and convincing evidence was
presented by petitioner to overcome such
presumption. Clearly, therefore, the CA
did not err in its appreciation of Reyes
sworn statement as testified to by NBI
Agent Segunial.

Second, the identification and recognition


through photograph by Rodolfo of the
1971 Ford Escort red colored car as the
same car he had sold to Sotero in
September 1996 clearly and convincingly
prove that it was the very same red car
used in the killing of Alberto on December
15, 1996.

Third, Alberto was shot and killed on


December 15, 1996 and the gunmen
immediately fled the scene riding a red car
which was identified as the same car
previously sold by Rodolfo to Sotero.

Fourth, though the testimony of Dr. Lagat


was limited to the post-mortem

examination of the cadaver of Alberto, his


findings that the victim suffered multiple

gunshot wounds and that the same were


caused by high-powered guns, served as
corroborative evidence and contributed in
a significant way in establishing the level
of proof that the law requires in convicting
petitioner.

Lastly, petitioner s escape from detention


on August 26, 1998 while the case was
pending can also be considered as another
circumstance since it is a strong indication
of his guilt.

All told, this Court finds the concordant


combination and cumulative effect of the
alleged established circumstances, which
essentially were the same circumstances
found by the trial court and the appellate
court, to have satisfied the requirement of
Section 4, Rule 133 of the Rules of
Court. Indeed, the incriminating
circumstances, when taken together,
constitute an unbroken chain of events
enough to arrive at the conclusion that
petitioner was responsible for the killing of
the victim.

People of the Philippines Vs. Roger Ringor


Umawid G.R. No. 208719. June 9, 2014
The Issue Before the Court
The issue for the Court s resolution
is whether or not Umawid s
conviction for the crimes of Murder
and Frustrated Murder should be
upheld.cra1awredjgc
The Court s Ruling
Umawid s appeal is bereft of merit.
A. The Defense of Insanity
Umawid s plea of insanity as an
exempting circumstance to

exonerate himself from criminal


liability rests on Article 12 of the
RPC which
provides:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Art. 12. Circumstances which
exempt from criminal liability.

25
The following are exempt from
criminal
liability:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
1. An imbecile or an insane person,
unless the latter has acted during a
lucid interval.
Where the imbecile or an insane
person has committed an act which
the law defines as a felony (delito),
the court shall order his
confinement in one of the hospitals
or asylums established for persons
thus afflicted, which he shall not be
permitted to leave without first
obtaining the permission of the
same court.
x x x x
As case law instructs, the defense
of insanity is in the nature of
confession and avoidance
because an accused invoking
the same admits to have
committed the crime but claims
that he or she is not guilty
because of such insanity. As
there is a presumption in favor of
sanity, anyone who pleads the
said defense bears the burden
of proving it with clear and
convincing evidence.
Accordingly, the evidence on this
matter must relate to the time
immediately preceding or
simultaneous with the commission
of the offense/s with which he is
charged.16
Insanity exists when there is a
complete deprivation of intelligence
while committing the act, i.e.,
when the accused is deprived of
reason, he acts without the least
discernment because there is a
complete absence of power to
discern, or there is total
deprivation of freedom of the will.
Mere abnormality of the mental
faculties is not enough, especially if
the offender has not lost

consciousness of his acts. Insanity


is evinced by a deranged and
perverted condition of the mental
faculties and is manifested in
language and conduct. Thus, in
order to lend credence to adefense
of insanity, it must be shown that
theaccused had no full and clear
understanding of the nature and
consequences of his or her acts.17
In this case, Umawid solely relied
on the testimonies of Dr. Quincina
and Dr. Juliana to substantiate his
plea of insanity. Records, however,
reveal that Dr. Quincina s
testimony only showed that he
evaluated Umawid s mental
condition in May 2002, February
2003, and March 2003.18 In other
words, he only examined Umawid
six (6) months before the latter
committed the crimes and three
(3) months and four (4) months
thereafter. Notably, he admitted
that his findings did not include
Umawid s mental disposition
immediately before or at the very
moment when he committed such
crimes.19As such, Dr. Quincina s
testimony cannot prove Umawid s
insanity. Neither would Dr.
Juliana s testimony shore up
Umawid s cause as the former
failed to attest to the latter s
mental condition and even referred
him to another doctor for further
evaluation. Given these
circumstances, Umawid s defense
of insanity remained
unsubstantiated and, hence, he
was properly adjudged by the RTC
and the CA as criminally liable.
The Qualifying Circumstance of
Treachery

Under Article 248 of the RPC, treachery


qualifies the killing of a person to the
crime of
Murder:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

Art. 248. Murder. Any person who, not


falling within the provisions of Article 246,

26
shall kill another, shall be guilty of
murder and shall be punished by reclusion
perpetua, to death if committed with any
of the following attendant
circumstances:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

1. With treachery, taking advantage of


superior strength, with the aid of armed
men, or employing means to weaken the
defense, or of means or persons to insure
or afford impunity; (Emphases and
underscoring supplied)

x x x x

The concept of treachery in criminal law is


well-established there is treachery when
the offender commits any of the crimes
against the person, employing means,
methods or forms in the execution thereof
which tend directly and specially to insure
its execution, without risk to himself
arising from the defense which the
offended party might make.20 Based on
the foregoing, it may then be deduced
that two (2) conditions must concur for
treachery to be appreciated: first, the
employment of means of execution that
gives the person attacked no opportunity
to defend himself or to retaliate; and,
second, the means of execution was
deliberate or consciously adopted.21

In this relation, jurisprudence states that


an unexpected and sudden attack which
renders the victim unable and unprepared
to put up a defense is the essence of
treachery.22 Likewise, it has been held
that the killing of a child is characterized
by treachery even if the manner of the
assault is not shown because the
weakness of the victim due to her tender
age results in the absence of any danger
to the accused.23

With these principles in mind, the Court


agrees with the findings of the RTC and

the CA that treachery was attendant in the


killing of Maureen. The facts of this case
show that Umawid suddenly appeared at
the terrace of Vicente s house and started
attacking Vicente with panabas. However,

the latter was able to evade Umawid s


attacks, resulting in Maureen being
inadvertently hit and killed in the process.
While it was not shown that Umawid
consciously employed treachery so as to
insure the death of Maureen, who was
then just two (2) years old at the time, it
is well to reiterate that the killing by an
adult of a minor child is treacherous,24 and
thus, qualifies Maureen s killing to Murder.
Aberratio Ictus; Due Process
Considerations

As a final point, the Court observes that


Maureen s death is a case of aberratio
ictus, given that the fatal blow therefor
was only delivered by mistake as it was
actually Vicente who was Umawid s
intended target. In this regard, Umawid s
single deed actually resulted in the: (a)
Attempted Murder of Vicente; and (b)
Consummated Murder of Maureen. This
may be classified as species of complex
crime defined under Article 4829 of the
RPC, particularly, a delito compuesto, or a
compound crime where a single act
produces two (2) or more grave or less
grave felonies.30Based on the foregoing,
Umawid should have been punished for
committing the complex crime of Murder
and Attempted Murder, pursuant to Article
48 in relation to Article 4(1)31 of the RPC.
However, considering that the information
in Criminal Case No. 23-0471 only
charged him with the Murder of Maureen,
Umawid cannot be convicted of a complex
crime because to do so would be violative
of his right to due process.32As held in the
case of Burgos v. Sandiganbayan:33

In criminal cases, where the life and


liberty of the accused is at stake, due
process requires that the accused be
informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation against him. An accused
cannot be convicted of an offense
unless it is clearly charged in the

complaint or information. To convict


him of an offense other than that charged
in the complaint or information would be a
violation of this constitutional right.34
(Emphasis and underscoring
supplied)ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

27

All told, the Court hereby finds Umawid


guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crimes of Murder in Criminal Case No. 230471 and Frustrated Murder in Criminal
Case No. 23-0543, defined and penalized
under Article 248 of the RPC.

People of the Philippines Vs. Vivian


Bulotano y Amante G.R. No. 190177.
June 11, 2014
In the prosecution of a case for sale of
illegal drugs punishable under Section 5,
Article II of Republic Act No. 9165,
noncompliance with the procedure set
forth in Section 21 of the law is not
necessarily fatal as to render an accused s
arrest illegal or the items confiscated from
him inadmissible as evidence of his guilt,
if, nonetheless, the integrity and
evidentiary value of the confiscated items
is preserved, there will yet be basis for the
establishment of the guilt of the
accused.1cralawred

People of the Philippines Vs. Oliver A.


Buclao G.R. No. 208173. June 11, 2014
To protect one's daughter is one of the
noblest roles of a father. A father who
defies this role is afflicted with a
dysfunctional character that borders on
moral depravity. Even if this breach of
trust deserves the highest penalties in our
legal order, it will never compensate for
the daughter's deepest scars and sorrows.

Ma. Ana Consuelo A.S. Madrigal Vs.


Department of Justice, et al. G.R. No.
168903. June 18, 2014
The elements of estafa in general
are: 17
1) That the accused defrauded
another (a) by abuse of confidence,

or (b) by means of deceit; and


2) That damage or prejudice
capable of pecuniary estimation is
caused to the offended party or
third person.
The first element covers the
following ways of committing
estafa: 18
1) with unfaithfulness or abuse of

confidence;
2) by means of false pretenses or
fraudulent acts; or
3) through fraudulent means.
The first way of committing estafa
is known as estafa with abuse of
confidence, while the second and
the third ways cover estafa by
means of deceit.
This Court finds that the present
case does not constitute estafa in
either form.
1) That the accused defrauded
another
(a) by abuse of confidence, or
(b) by means of deceit
As regards the first element, we
find that there was neither abuse
of confidence nor deceit in this
case.
It is the main contention of
petitioner that she was defrauded
through the use of her signature in
blank and through the use of the
first set of document she signed,
which has supposedly been
abandoned. Petitioner is being
held personally liable for the loan
of MTI by virtue of the
Comprehensive Surety Agreement
(CSA) she signed in her personal
capacity for the initial application
for the USD10.5 million loan from
FEBTC. Petitioner alleges that
since the second application for
USD 10 million loans was the one
granted by FEBTC, the second set
of documents supporting that loan
should be controlling. In that
second application, petitioner

signed the CSA in her capacity as


president of MLM Logistics
International.
On the charge of abuse of
confidence, we find that there is no
evidence that could possibly lead to
a conclusion that respondents

28
committed abuse of confidence in
dealing with petitioner.
First, a perusal of the evidence
reveals that petitioner did not sign
a blank document nor was she
deceived by respondents regarding
the terms of the CSA. On its face,
the CSA was a standard preprinted
form. A plain reading thereof
shows that the signatory
guarantees the punctual payment
of indebtedness that may have
been due or owed by the
borrower. Petitioner ought to have
read the terms of the CSA before
she signed it.
Second, considering the
accountability of the signatory
upon signing the CSA, petitioner
must have observed prudence in
order to protect her
interests. Hence, she should have
personally indicated her own terms
in the CSA ? whether she was
signing as a representative, a
surety, or a witness. It is unlikely
that FEBTC officers would make it
appear that she was personally
liable as surety of a loan without
her knowledge and
authority. Petitioner failed to
overcome the presumption in favor
of respondents that the ordinary
course of business has been
followed.
On the contrary, considering
further that the loan of USD10
million was approved and released
to petitioner prior to the execution
of the second set of documents, it
is more sensible to believe that given her financial status and
capability to recompense the loan the bank approved the loan upon
her personal guarantee and
execution of the first CSA.
The existence of two (2)
documents is irrelevant in this case
as the original intention of the
parties is evident - that petitioner
and Luis P. Lorenzo, in their

personal capacities are co-sureties


of MTI s loan. Pursuant to Article
2047 of the Civil Code, a surety
undertakes to be bound solidarily
with the principal debtor to assure
the fulfillment of the obligation.20 It
would therefore be absurd to
conclude that petitioner signed the
CSA in her capacity as president of
MTI considering that the principle
behind suretyship will be
negated. Otherwise stated, the
borrower cannot at the same time
be a guarantor/surety to assure
the fulfillment of its own loan
application. Moreover, the CSA is
a continuing guarantee that
petitioner, upon executing the said
document, bound herself to the
contract until the full and due
payment and performance of all
the obligations of the
borrower. 21 Undisputedly, there
was only one loan transaction, and
FEBTC does not intend to collect
from both loan documents. Thus,
we find no abuse of confidence or
deceit committed by respondents
in the foregoing circumstances.
2) That damage or prejudice capable
of
pecuniary estimation is caused to the
offended party or third person

As a consequence, even if
petitioner paid the amount of
Php5,903,172.30, we find that it
was legally paid pursuant to a valid
and existing agreement which
petitioner voluntarily entered
into. Therefore, the payment did
not constitute damage or prejudice
to petitioner.

Noel A. Lasanas Vs. People of the


Philippines G.R. No. 159031. June 23,
2014
Any person who contracts a second
marriage without first having a

judicial declaration of the nullity of


his or her first marriage, albeit on
its face void and inexistent for lack
of a marriage license, is guilty of
bigamy as defined and penalized

29
by Article 349 of the Revised Penal
Code.
The elements of the crime of
bigamy are as follows: (1) that the
offender has been legally married;
(2) that the marriage has not been
legally dissolved or, in case his or
her spouse is absent, the absent
spouse could not yet be presumed
dead according to the Civil Code;
(3) that he or she contracts a
second or subsequent marriage;
and (4) that the second or
subsequent marriage has all the
essential requisites for
validity.27cralawred
Based on the findings of the CA, this case
has all the foregoing elements attendant.

The first and second elements of


bigamy were present in view of the
absence of a judicial declaration of
nullity of marriage between the
accused and Socorro. The
requirement of securing a judicial
declaration of nullity of marriage
prior to contracting a subsequent
marriage is found in Article 40 of
the Family Code,
The crime of bigamy was consummated
from the moment he contracted the
second marriage without his marriage to
Socorro being first judicially declared null
and void, because at the time of the
celebration of the second marriage, his
marriage to Socorro was still deemed valid
and subsisting due to such marriage not
being yet declared null and void by a court
of competent jurisdiction.30 What makes
a person criminally liable for bigamy,
according to People v.
Odtuhan:31cralawred

x x x is when he contracts a second or


subsequent marriage during the
subsistence of a valid marriage. Parties to
the marriage should not be permitted to

judge for themselves its nullity, for the


same must be submitted to the judgment
of competent courts and only when the
nullity of the marriage is so declared can it
be held as void, and so long as there is no
such declaration, the presumption is that

the marriage exists. Therefore, he who


contracts a second marriage before the
judicial declaration of nullity of the first
marriage assumes the risk of being
prosecuted for bigamy.

The accused s defense of acting in good


faith deserves scant consideration
especially because the records show that
he had filed a complaint for the annulment
of his marriage with Socorro prior to the
institution of the criminal complaint
against him but after he had already
contracted his second marriage with
Josefa. But even such defense would
abandon him because the RTC (Branch
39) dismissed his complaint for annulment
of marriage after the information for
bigamy had already been filed against
him, thus confirming the validity of his
marriage to Socorro.

Considering that the accused s


subsequent marriage to Josefa was
an undisputed fact, the third
element of bigamy was
established. Nonetheless, he
submits that his marriage to Josefa
was invalid because of lack of a
recorded judgment of nullity of
marriage. Such argument had no
worth, however, because it was he
himself who failed to secure a
judicial declaration of nullity of his
previous marriage prior to
contracting his subsequent
marriage. In Tenebro v. Court of
Appeals,32 the Court has explained
that [s]ince a marriage contracted
during the subsistence of a valid
marriage is automatically void, the
nullity of this second marriage is
not per se an argument for the
avoidance of criminal liability for
bigamy. x x x A plain reading of
[Article 349 of the Revised Penal
Code], therefore, would indicate

that the provision penalizes the


mere act of contracting a second or
subsequent marriage during the
subsistence of a valid marriage.

People of the Philippines Vs. Larry


Mendoza y Estrada G.R. No. 192432.

30
June 23, 2014
The law enforcement agents who conduct
buy-bust operations against persons
suspected of drug trafficking in violation of
Republic Act No. 9165 (RA No. 9165),
otherwise known as the Comprehensive
Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, should
comply with the statutory requirements
for preserving the chain of custody of the
seized evidence. Failing this, they are
required to render sufficient reasons for
their non-compliance during the trial;
otherwise, the presumption that they have
regularly performed their official duties
cannot obtain, and the persons they
charge should be acquitted on the ground
of reasonable doubt.

People of the Philippines Vs. Ma. Harleta


Velasco y Briones, et al. G.R. No.
195668. June 25, 2014
The several accused in illegal recruitment
committed in large scale against whom
the State establishes a conspiracy are
each equally criminally and civilly liable. It
follows, therefore, that as far as civil
liability is concerned each is solidarily
liable to the victims of the illegal
recruitment for the reimbursement of the
sums collected from them, regardless of
the extent of the participation of the
accused in the illegal recruitment.

Rene Ronulo Vs. People of the philippines


G.R. No. 182438. July 2, 2014
The elements of the crime
punishable under Article 352 of
the
RPC, as amended, were proven
by
the prosecution
Article 352 of the RPC, as
amended, penalizes an authorized
solemnizing officer who shall
perform or authorize any illegal
marriage ceremony. The elements

of this crime are as follows: (1)


authority of the solemnizing
officer; and (2) his performance of
an illegal marriage ceremony.
In the present case, the
petitioner admitted that he has
authority to solemnize a

marriage. Hence, the only issue to


be resolved is whether the alleged
blessing by the petitioner is
tantamount to the performance of
an illegal marriage ceremony
which is punishable under Article
352 of the RPC, as amended.
While Article 352 of the RPC, as
amended, does not specifically
define a marriage ceremony and
what constitutes its illegal
performance, Articles 3(3) and 6 of
the Family Code are clear on these
matters. These provisions were
taken from Article 5523 of the New
Civil Code which, in turn, was
copied from Section 324 of the
Marriage Law with no substantial
amendments.
Article 625 of the Family Code
provides that [n]o prescribed form
or religious rite for the
solemnization of the marriage is
required. It shall be necessary,
however, for the contracting
parties to appear personally
before the solemnizing officer
and declare in the presence of
not less than two witnesses of
legal age that they take each
other as husband and wife. 26
Pertinently, Article 3(3)27 mirrors
Article 6 of the Family Code and
particularly defines a marriage
ceremony as that which takes
place with the appearance of the
contracting parties before the
solemnizing officer and their
personal declaration that they take
each other as husband and wife in
the presence of not less than two
witnesses of legal age.
Even prior to the date of the
enactment of Article 352 of the

RPC, as amended, the rule was


clear that no prescribed form of
religious rite for the solemnization
of the marriage is required.
However, as correctly found by the

31
CA, the law sets the minimum
requirements constituting a
marriage ceremony: first, there
should be the personal appearance
of the contracting parties before a
solemnizing officer; and second,
their declaration in the presence of
not less than two witnesses that
they take each other as husband
and wife.
As to the first requirement, the
petitioner admitted that the parties
appeared before him and this fact
was testified to by witnesses. On
the second requirement, we find
that, contrary to the petitioner s
allegation, the prosecution has
proven, through the testimony of
Florida, that the contracting parties
personally declared that they take
each other as husband and wife.
We also do not agree with the petitioner
that the principle of separation of church
and State precludes the State from
qualifying the church blessing into a
marriage ceremony. Contrary to the
petitioner s allegation, this principle has
been duly preserved by Article 6 of the
Family Code when it provides that no
prescribed form or religious rite for the
solemnization of marriage is required. This
pronouncement gives any religion or sect
the freedom or latitude in conducting its
respective marital rites, subject only to
the requirement that the core
requirements of law be observed.

We emphasize at this point that Article


1529 of the Constitution recognizes
marriage as an inviolable social institution
and that our family law is based on the
policy that marriage is not a mere
contract, but a social institution in which
the State is vitally interested. The State
has paramount interest in the
enforcement of its constitutional policies
and the preservation of the sanctity of
marriage. To this end, it is within its
power to enact laws and regulations, such
as Article 352 of the RPC, as amended,
which penalize the commission of acts
resulting in the disintegration and

mockery of marriage.

From these perspectives, we find it


clear that what the petitioner
conducted was a marriage
ceremony, as the minimum
requirements set by law were
complied with. While the petitioner
may view this merely as a
blessing, the presence of the
requirements of the law
constitutive of a marriage
ceremony qualified this blessing
into a marriage ceremony as
contemplated by Article 3(3) of the
Family Code and Article 352 of the
RPC, as amended.
We come now to the issue of whether the
solemnization by the petitioner of this
marriage ceremony was illegal.

Under Article 3(3) of the Family Code, one


of the essential requisites of marriage is
the presence of a valid marriage
certificate. In the present case, the
petitioner admitted that he knew that the
couple had no marriage license, yet he
conducted the blessing of their
relationship.

Undoubtedly, the petitioner conducted the


marriage ceremony despite knowledge
that the essential and formal
requirements of marriage set by law
were lacking. The marriage ceremony,
therefore, was illegal. The petitioner s
knowledge of the absence of these
requirements negates his defense of good
faith.

We also do not agree with the petitioner


that the lack of a marriage certificate
negates his criminal liability in the present
case. For purposes of determining if a
marriage ceremony has been conducted, a
marriage certificate is not included in the
requirements provided by Article 3(3) of

the Family Code, as discussed above.

Neither does the non-filing of a criminal


complaint against the couple negate
criminal liability of the petitioner. Article
352 of the RPC, as amended, does not

32
make this an element of the crime.

Reynaldo S. Mariano Vs. People of the


Philippines G.R. No. 178145. July 7,
2014
The courts of law are hereby
reminded once again to exercise
care in the determination of the
proper penalty imposable upon the
offenders whom they find and
declare to be guilty of the offenses
charged or proved. Their correct
determination is the essence of due
process of law.
The Office of the Provincial
Prosecutor of Bulacan charged the
petitioner with frustrated murder
for hitting and bumping Ferdinand
de Leon while overtaking the
latter s jeep
Reckless imprudence consists in
voluntary, but without malice, doing or
failing to do an act from which material
damage results by reason of inexcusable
lack of precaution on the part of the
person performing of failing to perform
such act, taking into consideration his
employment or occupation, degree of
intelligence, physical condition and other
circumstances regarding persons, time
and place. 9 To constitute the offense of
reckless driving, the act must be
something more than a mere negligence
in the operation of the motor vehicle, but
a willful and wanton disregard of the
consequences is required.10 The
Prosecution must further show the direct
causal connection between the negligence
and the injuries or damages complained
of. In Manzanares v. People,11 the
petitioner was found guilty of reckless
imprudence resulting in multiple homicide
and serious physical injuries because of
the finding that he had driven the Isuzu
truck very fast before it smashed into a
jeepney. In Pangonorom v. People,12 a
public utility driver driving his vehicle very
fast was held criminally negligent because
he had not slowed down to avoid hitting a
swerving car. In the absence of any

cogent reasons, therefore, the Court bows


to the CA s observations that the
petitioner had driven his pick-up truck at a

fast speed in order to overtake the jeep of


Ferdinand, and in so attempting to
overtake unavoidably hit Ferdinand,
causing the latter s injuries.

Contrary to the petitioner s insistence, the


mitigating circumstance of voluntary
surrender cannot be appreciated in his
favor. Paragraph 5 of Article 365, Revised
Penal Code, expressly states that in the
imposition of the penalties, the courts
shall exercise their sound discretion,
without regard to the rules prescribed in
Article 64 of the Revised Penal Code. The
rationale of the law, according to People
v. Medroso, Jr.:13

x x x can be found in the fact that in


quasi-offenses penalized under Article
365, the carelessness, imprudence or
negligence which characterizes the
wrongful act may vary from one situation
to another, in nature, extent, and
resulting consequences, and in order that
there may be a fair and just application of
the penalty, the courts must have ample
discretion in its imposition, without being
bound by what We may call the
mathematical formula provided for in
Article 64 of the Revised Penal Code. On
the basis of this particular provision, the
trial court was not bound to apply
paragraph 5 of Article 64 in the instant
case even if appellant had two mitigating
circumstances in his favor with no
aggravating circumstance to offset them.

Even so, the CA erred in imposing on the


petitioner the penalty for reckless
imprudence resulting in serious physical
injuries. The error should be avoided
because no person should be condemned
to suffer a penalty that the law does not
prescribe or provide for the offense
charged or proved. Verily, anyone
judicially declared guilty of any crime
must be duly punished in accordance with
the law defining the crime and prescribing

the punishment. Injustice would always


result to the offender should the penalty
exceed that allowed by the law. The
imposition of the correct penalty on the
offender is the essence of due process of

33
law.

The penalty for the offender guilty of


reckless imprudence is based on the
gravity of the resulting injuries had his act
been intentional. Thus, Article 365 of the
Revised Penal Code stipulates that had the
act been intentional, and would constitute
a grave felony, the offender shall suffer
arresto mayor in its maximum period to
prision correccional in its medium period;
if it would have constituted a less grave
felony, arresto mayor in its minimum and
medium periods shall be imposed; and if it
would have constituted a light felony,
arresto menor in its maximum period shall
be imposed. Pursuant to Article 9 of the
Revised Penal Code, a grave felony is
that to which the law attaches the capital
punishment or a penalty that in any of its
periods is afflictive in accordance with
Article 25 of the Revised Penal Code; a
less grave felony is that which the law
punishes with a penalty that is
correctional in its maximum period in
accordance with Article 25 of the Revised
Penal Code; and a light felony is an
infraction of law for the commission of
which a penalty of either arresto menor or
a fine not exceeding P200.00, or both is
provided.

In turn, Article 25 of the Revised Penal


Code enumerates the principal afflictive
penalties to be reclusion perpetua,
reclusion temporal, and prision mayor; the
principal correctional penalties to be
prision correccional, arresto mayor,
suspension and destierro; and the light
penalties to be arresto menor and fine not
exceeding P200.00. Under this provision,
death stands alone as the capital
punishment.

The Revised Penal Code classifies the


felony of serious physical injuries based
on the gravity of the physical injuries, to
wit:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

Article 263. Serious physical injuries.


Any person who shall wound, beat, or
assault another, shall be guilty of the
crime of serious physical injuries and shall

suffer:

1. The penalty of prision mayor, if in


consequence of the physical injuries
inflicted, the injured person shall become
insane, imbecile, impotent, or blind;

2. The penalty of prision correccional in its


medium and maximum periods, if in
consequence of the physical injuries
inflicted, the person injured shall have lost
the use of speech or the power to hear or
to smell, or shall have lost an eye, a hand,
a foot, an arm, or a leg or shall have lost
the use of any such member, or shall have
become incapacitated for the work in
which he was therefor habitually engaged;

3. The penalty of prision correccional in its


minimum and medium periods, if in
consequence of the physical injuries
inflicted, the person injured shall have
become deformed, or shall have lost any
other part of his body, or shall have lost
the use thereof, or shall have been ill or
incapacitated for the performance of the
work in which he as habitually engaged for
a period of more than ninety days;

4. The penalty of arresto mayor in its


maximum period to prision correccional in
its minimum period, if the physical injuries
inflicted shall have caused the illness or
incapacity for labor of the injured person
for more than thirty days.

If the offense shall have been committed


against any of the persons enumerated in
Article 246, or with attendance of any of
the circumstances mentioned in Article
248, the case covered by subdivision
number 1 of this Article shall be punished
by reclusion temporal in its medium and

maximum periods; the case covered by


subdivision number 2 by prision
correccional in its maximum period to
prision mayor in its minimum period; the
case covered by subdivision number 3 by
prision correccional in its medium and
maximum periods; and the case covered
by subdivision number 4 by prision
correccional in its minimum and medium
periods.

34

The provisions of the preceding paragraph


shall not be applicable to a parent who
shall inflict physical injuries upon his child
by excessive chastisement.

In its decision,14 the CA found that


Ferdinand had sustained multiple facial
injuries, a fracture of the inferior part of
the right orbital wall, and subdural
hemorrhage secondary to severe head
trauma; that he had become stuporous
and disoriented as to time, place and
person. It was also on record that he had
testified at the trial that he was unable to
attend to his general merchandise store
for three months due to temporary
amnesia; and that he had required the
attendance of caregivers and a masseur
until October 31, 1999.

With Ferdinand not becoming insane,


imbecile, impotent, or blind, his physical
injuries did not fall under Article 263, 1,
supra. Consequently, the CA incorrectly
considered the petitioner s act as a grave
felony had it been intentional, and should
not have imposed the penalty at arresto
mayor in its maximum period to prision
correccional in its medium period. Instead,
the petitioner s act that caused the serious
physical injuries, had it been intentional,
would be a less grave felony under
Article 25 of the Revised Penal Code,
because Ferdinand s physical injuries were
those under Article 263, 3, supra, for
having incapacitated him from the
performance of the work in which he was
habitually engaged in for more than 90
days.

Conformably with Article 365 of the


Revised Penal Code, the proper penalty is
arresto mayor in its minimum and
medium periods, which ranges from one
to four months. As earlier mentioned, the
rules in Article 64 of the Revised Penal
Code are not applicable in reckless
imprudence, and considering further that
the maximum term of imprisonment would

not exceed one year, rendering the


Indeterminate Sentence Law
inapplicable,15 the Court holds that the

straight penalty of two months of arresto


mayor was the correct penalty for the
petitioner.

Aloysius Dait Lumauig Vs. People of the


philippines G.R. No. 166680. July 7,
2014
A prior notice or demand for liquidation of
cash advances is not a condition sine qua
non before an accountable public officer
may be held liable under Article 2181 of
the Revised Penal Code.
The acquittal of petitioner in the
anti- graft case is not a bar to his
conviction for failure to render an
account in the present case.

It is undisputed that the two charges


stemmed from the same incident.
However, [we have] consistently held
that the same act may give rise to two or
more separate and distinct charges. 16
Further, because there is a variance
between the elements of the two offenses
charged, petitioner cannot safely assume
that his innocence in one case will extend
to the other case even if both cases hinge
on the same set of evidence.

To hold a person criminally liable under


Section 3(e) of RA 3019, the following
elements must be
present:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

(1)
That the accused is a public officer or a former;
(2)

That said public officer commits the prohibited official duties or in relation t
o his or her public
(3)
That he or she causes undue injury to any party;
(4)
That such injury is caused by giving unwarranted parties; and
(5)
That the public officer has acted with manifest inexcusable negligence. 17

On the other hand, the elements of the


felony punishable under Article 218 of the
Revised Penal Code
are:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

(1)
That the offender is a public officer whether
(2)
That he must be an accountable officer for public
(3)
That he is required by law or regulation to auditor; and,

35
(4)
That he fails to do so for a period of two months after such account should be r
endered.18

The glaring differences between the


elements of these two offenses necessarily
imply that the requisite evidence to
establish the guilt or innocence of the
accused would certainly differ in each
case. Hence, petitioner s acquittal in the
anti-graft case provides no refuge for him
in the present case given the differences
between the elements of the two offenses.

Prior demand to liquidate is not a


requisite for conviction under Article 218
of the Revised Penal Code.

The central aspect of petitioner s next


argument is that he was not reminded of
his unliquidated cash advances. The Office
of the Special Prosecutor countered that
Article 218 does not require the COA or
the provincial auditor to first make a
demand before the public officer should
render an account. It is sufficient that
there is a law or regulation requiring him
to render an account.

The question has been settled in Manlangit


v. Sandiganbayan19 where we ruled that
prior demand to liquidate is not necessary
to hold an accountable officer liable for
violation of Article 218 of the Revised
Penal Code:chanroblesvirtuallawlibra===
Nowhere in the provision does it require
that there first be a demand before an
accountable officer is held liable for a
violation of the crime. The law is very
clear. Where none is provided, the court
may not introduce exceptions or
conditions, neither may it engraft into the
law qualifications not contemplated.

Where the law is clear and unambiguous,


it must be taken to mean exactly what it
says and the court has no choice but to
see to it that its mandate is obeyed. There
is no room for interpretation, but only
application.

People of the Philippines Vs. Rael Delfin


G.R. No. 201572. July 9, 2014
Variance In the Date of the
Commission of the Murder as
Alleged

in the Information and as


Established
During the Trial Does Not
Invalidate
the Information

We sustain the validity of the


information under which the appellant
was tried, and convicted,
notwithstanding the variance in the
date of the commission of the crime as
alleged in the information and as
established during the trial.

In crimes where the date of


commission is not a material element,
like murder, it is not necessary to
allege such date with absolute
specificity or certainty in the
information. The Rules of Court
merely requires, for the sake of
properly informing an accused, that
the date of commission be
approximated:12

Sec. 6. Sufficiency of complaint or


information.
A complaint or
information is sufficient if it states the
name of the accused; the designation
of the offense given by the statute;

the acts or omissions complained of as


constituting the offense; the name of
the offended party; the approximate
date of the commission of the
offense; and the place where the
offense was committed.

When an offense is committed by more


than one person, all of them shall be
included in the complaint or
information.

Sec. 11. Date of commission of the


offense. - It is not necessary to
state in the complaint or
information the precise date the
offense was committed except
when it is a material ingredient of
the offense. The offense may be
alleged to have been committed on
a date as near as possible to the
actual date of its
commission. (Emphasis supplied).

36

Since the date of commission of the


offense is not required with exactitude,
the allegation in an information of a
date of commission different from the
one eventually established during the
trial would not, as a rule, be
considered as an error fatal to
prosecution.13 In such cases, the
erroneous allegation in the information
is just deemed supplanted by the
evidence presented during the trial14
or may even be corrected by a formal
amendment of the information.15

The foregoing rule, however, is


concededly not absolute. Variance in
the date of commission of the offense
as alleged in the information and as
established in evidence becomes fatal
when such discrepancy is so great that
it induces the perception that the
information and the evidence are no
longer pertaining to one and the same
offense. In this event, the defective
allegation in the information is not
deemed supplanted by the evidence
nor can it be amended but must be
struck down for being violative of the
right of the accused to be informed of
the specific charge against him.

Miguel Cirera y Ustelo Vs. People of the


Philippines G.R. No. 181843. July 14,
2014
Treachery as a qualifying circumstance
must be deliberately sought to ensure the
safety of the accused from the defensive
acts of the victim. Unexpectedness of the
attack does not always equate to
treachery.

The attack might have been done on


impulse [or] as a reaction to an actual or
imagined provocation offered by the
victim. 132 In this case, petitioner was not
only dismissed by Austria when he
approached him for money. There was

also an altercation between him and


Naval. The provocation might have been
enough to entice petitioner to action and
attack private complainants.

Therefore, the manner of attack might not

have been motivated by a determination


to ensure success in committing the
crime. What was more likely the case,
based on private complainants
testimonies, was that petitioner s action
was an impulsive reaction to being
dismissed by Austria, his altercation with
Naval, and Naval s attempt to summon
Austria home.

Generally, this type of provocation


negates the existence of treachery.133 This
is the type of provocation that does not
lend itself to premeditation. The
provocation in this case is of the kind
which triggers impulsive reactions left
unchecked by the accused and caused him
to commit the crime. There was no
evidence of a modicum of premeditation
indicating the possibility of choice and
planning fundamental to achieve the
elements of treachery.

The ability of the offended parties to


retaliate and protect themselves may not
by itself negate the existence of treachery.
The efforts of the accused to employ
means and method to ensure his safety
and freedom from retaliation may not
have succeeded. However, in this case,
the ability of the offended parties to have
avoided greater harm by running away or
by being able to subdue the accused is a
strong indicator that no treachery exists.

People of the Philippines Vs. Rosendo


Amaro G.R. No. 199100. July 18, 2014
The elements of the crime of
forcible abduction, as defined in
Article 342 of the Revised Penal
Code, are: (1) that the person

abducted is any woman, regardless


of her age, civil status, or
reputation; (2) that she is taken
against her will; and (3) that the
abduction is with lewd designs. On
the other hand, rape under Article
266-A is committed by having
carnal knowledge of a woman by:
(1) force or intimidation, or (2)
when the woman is deprived of
reason or is unconscious, or (3)
when she is under twelve years of
age.

37
The prosecution was able to prove
all these elements in this case. The
victim, AAA was a seven (7) yearold girl who was taken against her
will by appellant who told her that
he knew her mother and that he
would bring her home.10 At her
tender age, AAA could have easily
been deceived by appellant. The
employment of deception suffices
to constitute the forcible taking,
especially since the victim is an
unsuspecting young girl. It is the
taking advantage of their
innocence that makes them easy
culprits of deceiving minds.11 The
presence of lewd designs in forcible
abduction is established by the
actual rape of the victim.12

People of the Philippines Vs. George


Zapata y Viana G.R. No. 197046. July
21, 2014
In the crime of parricide, only the
following elements need to be
satisfactorily established: (1) the
death of the deceased; (2) that he
or she was killed by the accused;
and (3) that the deceased was a
legitimate ascendant or
descendant, or the legitimate
spouse of the accused. 17 All these
elements have been proven beyond
doubt.

People of the Philippines Vs. Armando


Dionaldo y Ebron, et al. G.R. No.
207949. July 23, 2014
After the amendment of the
Revised Penal Code on December
31, 1993 by RA 7659, Article 267
of the same Code now
provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Art. 267. Kidnapping and serious

illegal detention.
Any private
individual who shall kidnap or
detain another, or in any other
manner deprive him of his liberty,
shall suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua to
death:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

1. If the kidnapping or detention


shall have lasted more than three
days.
2. If it shall have been committed
simulating public authority.
3. If any serious physical injuries
shall have been inflicted upon the
person kidnapped or detained; or if
threats to kill him shall have been
made.
4. If the person kidnapped or
detained shall be a minor, except
when the accused is any of the
parents, female or a public officer;
The penalty shall be death
where the kidnapping or detention
was committed for the purpose of
extorting ransom from the victim
or any other person, even if none
of the circumstances abovementioned were present in the
commission of the offense.
When the victim is killed or dies
as a consequence of the
detention or is raped, or is
subjected to torture or
dehumanizing acts, the maximum
penalty shall be imposed.
(Emphases supplied)
The Court further elucidated in
People v.
Mercado:32cralawlawlibrary
In People v. Ramos, the accused
was found guilty of two separate
heinous crimes of kidnapping
for ransom and murder
committed on July 13, 1994 and
sentenced to death. On appeal, this
Court modified the ruling and found
the accused guilty of the special
complex crime of kidnapping
for ransom with murder under
the last paragraph of Article 267,

as amended by Republic Act No.


7659. This Court
said:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
x x x This amendment introduced

38
in our criminal statutes the concept
of special complex crime? of
kidnapping with murder or
homicide. It effectively eliminated
the distinction drawn by the courts
between those cases where the
killing of the kidnapped victim was
purposely sought by the accused,
and those where the killing of the
victim was not deliberately
resorted to but was merely an
afterthought. Consequently, the
rule now is: Where the person
kidnapped is killed in the
course of the detention,
regardless of whether the
killing was purposely sought or
was merely an afterthought,
the kidnapping and murder or
homicide can no longer be
complexed under Art. 48, nor
be treated as separate crimes,
but shall be punished as a
special complex crime under
the last paragraph of Art. 267,
as amended by RA No. 7659.33
(Emphases supplied; citations
omitted)
Thus, further taking into account
the fact that the kidnapping was
committed for the purpose of
extorting ransom, accusedappellants conviction must be
modified from Kidnapping and
Serious Illegal Detention to the
special complex crime of
Kidnapping for Ransom with
Homicide, which carries the
penalty of death.

Manolito Gil Z. Zafra Vs. People of the


Philippines G.R. No. 176317. July 23,
2014
In convicting an accused of the complex
crime of malversation of public funds
through falsification of a public document,
the courts shall impose the penalty for the
graver felony in the maximum period
pursuant to Article 48 of the Revised Penal
Code, plus fine in the amount of the funds
malversed or the total value of the

property embezzled. In addition, the


courts shall order the accused to return to

the Government the funds malversed, or


the value of the property embezzled.
The RTC stated in its decision convicting
the petitioner,
viz:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

The particular pages of the Monthly


Reports from which witness Magluyan
based her examination to determine the
discrepancies in the Official Receipts listed
by the accused therein, bore only the
typewritten name of the accused without
any signature. However, prosecution
witness Rebecca Rillorta showed that
those individual pages were part of a
number of pages of a report submitted for
a particular month, and she showed that
the last pages of the related reports were
duly signed by the accused. Witness
Rillorta brought to the Court the original
pages of the questioned monthly reports
and demonstrated to the Court the
sequence of the pagination and the last
pages of the monthly reports bearing the
signature of accused Zafra x x x. By
these the prosecution demonstrated
that the individual pages of the
Monthly Collection Report which
listed receipts for lesser amounts
were part of official reports regularly
submitted by the accused in his
capacity as Collection Agent of the
BIR in San Fernando City, La Union.
The testimony of Maria Domagas
establishes that the questionable
receipts were within the series of
receipts accountability of accused for
a particular month. x x x. The
testimony of State Auditor Domagas
established the link of accused
accountable receipts, with the
receipts numbers reported in his
Monthly Collection Report as well as
to the receipts issued to the
taxpayers. Thereby prosecution
showed that while the receipts issued
to the taxpayer were not signed by
the accused, these receipts were his
accountable forms. Such that the use
thereof is presumed to be sourced from
him. Even the defense witness admitted

that the receipts emanated from the office


of the accused.

39

Notably, there is a big disparity


between the amount covered by BIR
Form No. 25.24 issued to the
taxpayer, and the amount for the
same receipt number appearing in the
Monthly Collection Reports indicating
the falsification resorted to by the
accused in the official reports he filed,
thereby remitting less than what was
collected from taxpayers concerned,
resulting to the loss of revenue for
the government as unearthed by the
auditors. 20

The findings of fact of the RTC were


affirmed by the CA. Hence, the petitioner
was correctly convicted of the crimes
charged because such findings of fact by
the trial court, being affirmed by the CA
as the intermediate reviewing tribunal, are
now binding and conclusive on the Court.
Accordingly, we conclude that the
Prosecution sufficiently established that
the petitioner had been the forger of the
falsified and tampered public documents,
and that the falsifications of the public
documents had been necessary to commit
the malversations of the collected taxes.
Yet, we see an obvious need to correct the
penalties imposed on the petitioner. He
was duly convicted of 18 counts of
malversation of public funds through
falsification of public documents, all
complex crimes. Pursuant to Article 48 of
the Revised Penal Code,24 the penalty for
each count is that prescribed on the more
serious offense, to be imposed in its
maximum period.

Falsification of a public document by a


public officer is penalized with prision
mayor and a fine not to exceed
P5,000.00.25Prision mayor has a duration
of six years and one day to 12 years of
imprisonment.26 In contrast, the penalty
for malversation ranges from prision
correccional in its medium and maximum
periods to reclusion temporal in its
maximum period to reclusion perpetua
depending on the amount

misappropriated, and a fine equal to the


amount of the funds malversed or to the

total value of the property embezzled.

To determine the maximum periods of the


penalties to be imposed on the petitioner,
therefore, we must be guided by the
following rules, namely: (1) the penalties
provided under Article 217 of the Revised
Penal Code constitute degrees; and (2)
considering that the penalties provided
under Article 217 of the Revised Penal
Code are not composed of three periods,
the time included in the penalty prescribed
should be divided into three equal
portions, which each portion forming one
period, pursuant to Article 65 of the
Revised Penal Code.27cralawred

Accordingly, the penalties prescribed


under Article 217 of the Revised Penal
Code should be divided into three periods,
with the maximum period being the
penalty properly imposable on each count,
except in any instance where the penalty
for falsification would be greater than such
penalties for malversation.

People of the Philippines Vs. Trinidad A.


Cahilig G.R. No. 199208. July 30, 2014
the elements of Qualified Theft,
committed with grave abuse of
confidence, are as follows:
Taking of personal property;
That the said property belongs to
another;
That the said taking be done with intent
to gain;
That it be done without the owner s
consent;
That it be accomplished without the use
of violence or intimidation against
persons, nor of force upon things;
That it be done with grave abuse of
confidence.8

It is clear that all the elements of Qualified


Theft are present in these cases.

Cahilig took money from WPESLAI and its


depositors by taking advantage of her
position. Her intent to gain is clear in the
use of a carefully planned and deliberately
executed scheme to commit the theft.

Grave abuse of confidence, as an element

40
of Qualified Theft, must be the result of
the relation by reason of dependence,
guardianship, or vigilance, between the
appellant and the offended party that
might create a high degree of confidence
between them which the appellant
abused. 9

Cahilig s position was one reposed with


trust and confidence, considering that it
involves handling, managing, receiving,
and disbursing money from WPESLAI s
depositors and other funds of the
association. Cahilig s responsibilities as
WPESLAI cashier required prudence and
vigilance over the money entrusted into
her care.

However, instead of executing her duties,


she deliberately misled the board of
directors into authorizing disbursements
for money that eventually ended up in her
personal account, a fact that Cahilig did
not deny.

Cristina B. Castillo Vs. Phillip R. Salvador


G.R. No. 191240. July 30, 2014
To begin with, in Manantan v. CA,74
we discussed the consequences of
an acquittal on the civil liability of
the accused as
follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Our law recognizes two kinds of
acquittal, with different effects on
the civil liability of the accused.
First is an acquittal on the ground
that the accused is not the author
of the act or omission complained
of. This instance closes the door to
civil liability, for a person who has
been found to be not the
perpetrator of any act or omission
cannot and can never be held liable
for such act or omission. There
being no delict, civil liability ex
delicto is out of the question, and
the civil action, if any, which may
be instituted must be based on

grounds other than the delict


complained of. This is the situation
contemplated in Rule III of the
Rules of Court. The second
instance is an acquittal based on

reasonable doubt on the guilt of


the accused. In this case, even if
the guilt of the accused has not
been satisfactorily established, he
is not exempt from civil liability
which may be proved by
preponderance of evidence only.
This is the situation contemplated
in Article 29 of the Civil Code,
where the civil action for damages
is for the same act or omission. x
x x.75
A reading of the CA decision would
show that respondent was
acquitted because the prosecution
failed to prove his guilt beyond
reasonable doubt. Said the
CA:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
The evidence for the prosecution
being insufficient to prove beyond
reasonable doubt that the crime as
charged had been committed by
appellant, the general
presumption, that a person is
innocent of the crime or wrong,
stands in his favor. The prosecution
failed to prove that all the
elements of estafa are present in
this case as would overcome the
presumption of innocence in favor
of appellant. For in fact, the
prosecution's primary witness
herself could not even establish
clearly and precisely how appellant
committed the alleged fraud. She
failed to convince us that she was
deceived through
misrepresentations and/or insidious
actions, in venturing into a
remittance business. Quite the
contrary, the obtaining
circumstance in this case indicate
the weakness of her submissions.76
Thus, since the acquittal is based
on reasonable doubt, respondent is
not exempt from civil liability which
may be proved by preponderance
of evidence only.

Joel Yongco and Julieto Laojan Vs.


People of the Philippines/Anecito

41
Tangian, Jr. Vs. People of the
Philippines G.R. No. 209373/G.R. No.
209414. July 30, 2014
There is conspiracy when two or
more persons come to an
agreement concerning a felony and
decide to commit it.7 Well-settled is
the rule that in conspiracy, direct
proof of a previous agreement is
not necessary as it may be
deduced from the mode, method,
and manner by which the offense
was perpetrated.8 It may be
inferred from the acts of the
accused before, during, or after the
commission of the crime which,
when taken together, would be
enough to reveal a community of
criminal design, as the proof of
conspiracy is frequently made by
evidence of a chain of
circumstances.9
In the case at bar, even though
there is no showing of a prior
agreement among the accused,
their separate acts taken and
viewed together are actually
connected and complemented each
other indicating a unity of criminal
design and purpose.10
Tangian s complicity in the illicit
deed was manifest from the fact,
as he himself admitted, that he
was the one who personally
transported the stolen items from
the CEO to the junkshop. His claim
that he was not aware of any
irregularity in the act he performed
is rendered dubious by his 16 years
of service as truck driver for the
City of Iligan. To be sure, his
record of service argues against his
claim of ignorance of the standard
protocol that a gate pass to be
issued by the CEO property
custodian should first be secured
before taking out items from the
CEO compound, including alleged
waste materials. He should also
know better than to assume that
Laojan can authorize the

withdrawal of items without the


requisite gate pass since Laojan s
duty, as security guard, is precisely
to prevent the same.

The People of the Philippines Vs. Victor


Cogaed y Romana G.R. No. 200334.
July 30, 2014
The mantle of protection upon
one s person and one s effects
through Article III, Section 2 of the
Constitution is essential to allow
citizens to evolve their autonomy
and, hence, to avail themselves of
their right to privacy. The alleged
compromise with the battle against
dangerous drugs is more apparent
than real. Often, the compromise
is there because law enforcers
neglect to perform what could have
been done to uphold the
Constitution as they pursue those
who traffic this scourge of society.
Squarely raised in this appeal1 is
the admissibility of the evidence
seized as a result of a warrantless
arrest. The police officers
identified the alleged perpetrator
through facts that were not based
on their personal knowledge. The
information as to the accused s
whereabouts was sent through a
text message. The accused who
never acted suspicious was
identified by a driver. The bag that
allegedly contained the contraband
was required to be opened under
intimidating circumstances and
without the accused having been
fully apprised of his rights.
This was not a reasonable search
within the meaning of the
Constitution. There was no
reasonable suspicion that would
allow a legitimate stop and frisk
action. The alleged waiver of
rights by the accused was not done
intelligently, knowingly, and
without improper pressure or
coercion.

The evidence, therefore, used

42
against the accused should be
excluded consistent with Article III,
Section 3 (2) of the
Constitution. There being no
possible admissible evidence, the
accused should be acquitted

Dr. Antonio P. Cabugao Vs. People of the


Philippines and Spouses Roldolfo M.
Palma and Rosario F. Palma/Dr.
Clenio Ynzon Vs. People of the
Philippines and Spouses Rodolfo M.
Palma and Rosario F. Palma G.R. Nos.
163879 & 165805. July 30, 2014
In a nutshell, the petition brought
before this Court raises the issue of
whether or not petitioners'
conviction of the crime of reckless
imprudence resulting in homicide,
arising from an alleged medical
malpractice, is supported by the
evidence on record.

AS TO DR. YNZON'S LIABILITY:

Reckless imprudence consists of


voluntarily doing or failing to do, without
malice, an act from which material
damage results by reason of an
inexcusable lack of precaution on the part
of the person performing or failing to
perform such act.13 The elements of
reckless imprudence are: (1) that the
offender does or fails to do an act; (2)
that the doing or the failure to do that act
is voluntary; (3) that it be without malice;
(4) that material damage results from the
reckless imprudence; and (5) that there is
inexcusable lack of precaution on the part
of the offender, taking into consideration
his employment or occupation, degree of
intelligence, physical condition, and other
circumstances regarding persons, time
and place.14cralawred

With respect to Dr. Ynzon, all the


requisites of the offense have been clearly
established by the evidence on record.
The court a quo and the appellate court
were one in concluding that Dr. Ynzon
failed to observe the required standard of
care expected from doctors.

In the instant case, it was sufficiently


established that to prevent certain death,
it was necessary to perform surgery on JR
immediately. As correctly observed by the
appellate court, Dr. Ynzon revealed want
of reasonable skill and care in attending to
the needs of JR by neglecting to monitor
effectively the developments and changes
on JR's condition during the observation
period, and to act upon the situation after
the 24-hour period when his abdominal
pain persisted and his condition worsened.
Lamentable, Dr. Ynzon appeared to have
visited JR briefly only during regular
rounds in the mornings. He was not there
during the crucial times on June 16, 2000
when JR's condition started to deteriorate
until JR's death. As the attending surgeon,
he should be primarily responsible in
monitoring the condition of JR, as he is in
the best position considering his skills and
experience to know if the patient's
condition had deteriorated. While the
resident-doctors-on-duty could likewise
monitor the patient s condition, he is the
one directly responsible for the patient as
the attending surgeon. Indeed, it is
reckless and gross negligence of duty to
relegate his personal responsibility to
observe the condition of the patient.
Again, acute appendicitis was the working
diagnosis, and with the emergence of
graver symptoms after the 24-hour
observation, Dr. Ynzon ruled out surgery
for no apparent reason. We, likewise, note
that the records are devoid of showing of
any reasonable cause which would lead
Dr. Ynzon to overrule appendectomy
despite the initial diagnosis of
appendicitis. Neither was there any
showing that he was entertaining another
diagnosis nor he took appropriate steps
towards another diagnosis.

Among the elements constitutive of

reckless imprudence, what perhaps is


most central to a finding of guilt is the
conclusive determination that the accused
has exhibited, by his voluntary act without
malice, an inexcusable lack of precaution.
It is that which supplies the criminal intent
so indispensable as to bring an act of
mere negligence and imprudence under

43
the operation of the penal law. This is
because a conscious indifference to the
consequences of the conduct is all that is
required from the standpoint of the frame
of mind of the accused.24 Quasi-offenses
penalize the mental attitude or condition
behind the act, the dangerous
recklessness, the lack of care or foresight,
the imprudencia punible, unlike willful
offenses which punish the intentional
criminal act.25 This is precisely where this
Court found Dr. Ynzon to be guilty of - his
seemingly indifference to the deteriorating
condition of JR that he as a consequence,
failed to exercise lack of precaution which
eventually led to JR's death.
AS TO DR. CABUGAO'S LIABILITY:
Both the trial court and the appellate court
bewail the failure to perform
appendectomy on JR, or the failure to
determine the source of infection which
caused the deterioration of JR's condition.
However, a review of the records fail to
show that Dr. Cabugao is in any position
to perform the required appendectomy.

Immediately apparent from a review of


the records of this case is the fact that Dr.
Cabugao is not a surgeon, but a general
practitioner specializing in family
medicine;27 thus, even if he wanted to, he
cannot do an operation, much less an
appendectomy on JR. It is precisely for
this reason why he referred JR to Dr.
Ynzon after he suspected appendicitis.
AS TO CIVIL LIABILITY

While this case is pending appeal, counsel


for petitioner Dr. Ynzon informed the
Court that the latter died on December
23, 2011 due to multi-organ failure as
evidenced by a copy of death certificate.33
Thus, the effect of death, pending appeal
of his conviction of petitioner Dr. Ynzon
with regard to his criminal and pecuniary
liabilities should be in accordance to
People v. Bayotas,34 wherein the Court
laid down the rules in case the accused
dies prior to final
judgment:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

1. Death of the accused pending appeal of


his conviction extinguishes his criminal

liability as well as the civil liability based


solely thereon. As opined by Justice
Regalado, in this regard, "the death of the
accused prior to final judgment terminates
his criminal liability and only the civil
liability directly arising from and based
solely on the offense committed, i.e., civil
liability ex delicto in senso strictiore."

2. Corollarily, the claim for civil


liability survives notwithstanding the
death of accused, if the same may
also be predicated on a source of
obligation other than delict. Article
1157 of the Civil Code enumerates
these other sources of obligation from
which the civil liability may arise as a
result of the same act or omission:
a) Law
b) Contracts
c) Quasi-contracts
d) x x x x x x x x x
e) Quasi-delicts
3. Where the civil liability survives,
as explained in Number 2 above, an
action for recovery therefor may be
pursued but only by way of filing a
separate civil action and subject to
Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules
on Criminal Procedure as amended.
This separate civil action may be
enforced either against the
executor/administrator or the estate
of the accused, depending on the
source of obligation upon which the
same is based as explained above.

In view of the foregoing, it is clear that


the death of the accused Dr. Ynzon
pending appeal of his conviction
extinguishes his criminal liability.
However, the recovery of civil liability

subsists as the same is not based on delict


but by contract and the reckless
imprudence he was guilty of under Article
365 of the Revised Penal Code. For this
reason, a separate civil action may be
enforced either against the
executor/administrator or the estate of
the accused, depending on the source of
obligation upon which the same is
based,36 and in accordance with Section 4,
Rule 111 of the Rules on Criminal

44
Procedure, we
quote:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Sec. 4. Effect of death on civil actions.


The death of the accused after
arraignment and during the pendency of
the criminal action shall extinguish the
civil liability arising from the delict.
However, the independent civil action
instituted under section 3 of this Rule
or which thereafter is instituted to
enforce liability arising from other
sources of obligation may be
continued against the estate or legal
representative of the accused after
proper substitution or against said
estate, as the case may be. The heirs
of the accused may be substituted for
the deceased without requiring the
appointment of an executor or
administrator and the court may
appoint a guardian ad litem for the
minor heirs.

In sum, upon the extinction of the criminal


liability and the offended party desires to
recover damages from the same act or
omission complained of, the party may file
a separate civil action based on the other
sources of obligation in accordance with
Section 4, Rule 111.37 If the same act or
omission complained of arises from quasidelict, as in this case, a separate civil
action must be filed against the executor
or administrator of the estate of the
accused, pursuant to Section 1, Rule 87 of
the Rules of Court:

People of the Philippines Vs. Jose C. Go, et


al. G.R. No. 191015. August 6, 2014
The power of courts to grant demurrer in
criminal cases should be exercised with
great caution, because not only the rights
of the accused
but those of the offended
party and the public interest as well
are
involved. Once granted, the accused is
acquitted and the offended party may be
left with no recourse. Thus, in the
resolution of demurrers, judges must act

with utmost circumspection and must


engage in intelligent deliberation and
reflection, drawing on their experience,
the law and jurisprudence, and delicately
evaluating the evidence on hand.

The elements of estafa through abuse of


confidence under Article 315, par. 1(b) of
the Revised Penal Code48 are: (a) that
money, goods or other personal property
is received by the offender in trust or on
commission, or for administration, or
under any other obligation involving the
duty to make delivery of or to return the
same; (b) that there be misappropriation
or conversion of such money or property
by the offender, or denial on his part of
such receipt; (c) that such
misappropriation or conversion or denial is
to the prejudice of another; and (d) there
is demand by the offended party to the
offender. 49cralawred

Obviously, a bank takes its depositors


money as a loan, under an obligation to
return the same; thus, the term demand
deposit.

The contract between the bank and its


depositor is governed by the provisions of
the Civil Code on simple loan. Article 1980
of the Civil Code expressly provides that
x x x savings x x x deposits of money in
banks and similar institutions shall be
governed by the provisions concerning
simple loan. There is a debtor-creditor
relationship between the bank and its
depositor. The bank is the debtor and the
depositor is the creditor. The depositor
lends the bank money and the bank
agrees to pay the depositor on demand. x
x x50

Moreover, the banking laws impose high


standards on banks in view of the
fiduciary nature of banking. This
fiduciary relationship means that the
bank s obligation to observe high
standards of integrity and performance is
deemed written into every deposit
agreement between a bank and its
depositor. The fiduciary nature of banking

requires banks to assume a degree of


diligence higher than that of a good father
of a family. 51cralawred

In Soriano v. People,52 it was held that the


President of a bank is a fiduciary with
respect to the bank s funds, and he holds

45
the same in trust or for administration for
the bank s benefit. From this, it may be
inferred that when such bank president
makes it appear through falsification that
an individual or entity applied for a loan
when in fact such individual or entity did
not, and the bank president obtains the
loan proceeds and converts the same,
estafa is committed.

Next, regarding misappropriation, the


evidence tends to extablish that Manager s
Check Nos. 0000003340 and 0000003347
were encashed, using the bank s funds
which clearly belonged to OCBC s
depositors, and then deposited in Go s
OCBC Savings Account No. 00810-001080 at OCBC Recto Branch although he
was not the named payee therein. Next,
the money was automatically transferred
to Go s OCBC Current Account No. 00800-000015-0 and used to fund his seven
previously-issued personal checks totaling
P145,488,274.48, which checks were
dishonored the day before. Simply put,
the evidence strongly indicates that Go
converted OCBC funds to his own personal
use and benefit. The words convert and
misappropriate connote an act of using or
disposing of another s property as if it
were one s own, or of devoting it to a
purpose or use different from that agreed
upon. To misappropriate for one s own
use includes not only conversion to one s
personal advantage, but also every
attempt to dispose of the property of
another without right. x x x In proving the
element of conversion or
misappropriation, a legal presumption of
misappropriation arises when the accused
fails to deliver the proceeds of the sale or
to return the items to be sold and fails to
give an account of their
whereabouts. Thus, the mere
presumption of misappropriation or
conversion is enough to conclude that a
probable cause exists for the indictment x
x x. 53cralawred

As to the third element of estafa, there is


no question that as a consequence of the
misappropriation of OCBC s funds, the
bank and its depositors have been

prejudiced; the bank has been placed


under receivership, and the depositors
money is no longer under their unimpeded
disposal.

Finally, on the matter of demand, while it


has not been shown that the bank
demanded the return of the funds, it has
nevertheless been held that [d]emand is
not an element of the felony or a condition
precedent to the filing of a criminal
complaint for estafa. Indeed, the accused
may be convicted of the felony under
Article 315, paragraph 1(b) of the Revised
Penal Code if the prosecution proved
misappropriation or conversion by the
accused of the money or property subject
of the Information. In a prosecution for
estafa, demand is not necessary where
there is evidence of misappropriation or
conversion. 54 Thus, strictly speaking,
demand is not an element of the offense
of estafa through abuse of confidence;
even a verbal query satisfies the
requirement.55 Indeed, in several past
rulings of the Court, demand was not even
included as an element of the crime of
estafa through abuse of confidence, or
under paragraph 1(b).56cralawred

On the other hand, the elements of the


crime of falsification of commercial
document under Art. 17257 are: (1) that
the offender is a private individual; (2)
that the offender committed any of the
acts of falsification; and (3) that the act of
falsification is committed in a commercial
document. 58 As to estafa through
falsification of public, official or
commercial documents, it has been held
that

The falsification of a public, official, or


commercial document may be a means of
committing Estafa, because before the
falsified document is actually utilized to
defraud another, the crime of Falsification
has already been consummated, damage
or intent to cause damage not being an
element of the crime of falsification of
public, official or commercial

document. In other words, the crime of


falsification has already existed. Actually

46
utilizing that falsified public, official or
commercial document to defraud another
is estafa. But the damage is caused by
the commission of Estafa, not by the
falsification of the document. Therefore,
the falsification of the public, official or
commercial document is only a necessary
means to commit the
estafa.59chanrobleslaw

Simulating OCBC loan documents


such
as loan applications, credit approval
memorandums, and the resultant
promissory notes and other credit
documents
by causing it to appear that
persons have participated in any act or
proceeding when they did not in fact so
participate, and by counterfeiting or
imitating their handwriting or signatures
constitute falsification of commercial and
public documents.

As to the respondents respective


participation in the commission of the
crime, suffice it to state that as the
beneficiary of the proceeds, Go is
presumed to be the author of the
falsification. The fact that previously, his
personal checks totaling P145,488,274.48
were dishonored, and the day after, the
amount of P120,819,475.00 was
immediately credited to his account, which
included funds from the encashment of
Manager s Check Nos. 0000003340 and
0000003347 or the loan proceeds of the
supposed Timmy s, Inc. and Asia Textile
Mills, Inc. accounts, bolsters this
view. [W]henever someone has in his
possession falsified documents [which he
used to] his advantage and benefit, the
presumption that he authored it
arises. 60cralawred

People of the Philippines Vs. Leonardo


Battad and Marcelino Bacnis G.R. No.
206368. August 6, 2014
n People of the Philippines v. Edgar

Jumawan,33 the Court pronounced


the husband of the private
complainant therein as guilty of
rape in spite of his defense that he
and the victim were a legally
married and cohabiting couple. The

Court brushed this defense aside


and held
that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Rape is a crime that evokes
global condemnation because it
is an abhorrence to a woman s
value and dignity as a human
being. It respects no time,
place, age, physical condition
or social status. It can happen
anywhere and it can happen to
anyone. Even, as shown in the
present case, to a wife, inside her
time-honored fortress, the family
home, committed against her by
her husband who vowed to be her
refuge from cruelty. (Emphasis
ours)
Hence, the actuality that AAA was
pregnant at the time of the rape
does not go against the fact that
the accused-appellant and Bacnis
had forcible sexual coitus with her.
The gravamen of the offense is
sexual intercourse with a woman
against her will or without her
consent.34 And that is all the
prosecution had to prove.

People of the Philippines Vs. Roberto


Holgado y Dela Cruz and Antonio
Misarez y Zaraga G.R. No. 207992.
August 11, 2014
Law enforcers should not trifle with
the legal requirement to ensure
integrity in the chain of custody of
seized dangerous drugs and drug
paraphernalia. This is especially
true when only a miniscule amount
of dangerous drugs is alleged to
have been taken from the accused.

Venancio M. Sevilla Vs. People of the


Philippines G.R. No. 194390. August 13,
2014
Issue
Essentially, the issue for the
Court s resolution is whether
Sevilla can be convicted of the
felony of falsification of public
document through reckless

47
imprudence notwithstanding that
the charge against him in the
Information was for the intentional
felony of falsification of public
document under Article 171(4) of
the RPC.
At the outset, it bears stressing that the
Sandiganbayan s designation of the felony
supposedly committed by Sevilla is
inaccurate. The Sandiganbayan convicted
Sevilla of reckless imprudence, punished
under Article 365 of the RPC, which
resulted into the falsification of a public
document. However, the Sandiganbayan
designated the felony committed as
falsification of public document through
reckless imprudence. The foregoing
designation implies that reckless
imprudence is not a crime in itself but
simply a modality of committing it. Quasioffenses under Article 365 of the RPC are
distinct and separate crimes and not a
mere modality in the commission of a
crime.

There is need, therefore, to rectify the


designation of the offense without
disturbing the imposed penalty for the
guidance of bench and bar in strict
adherence to precedent.17 (Emphasis
ours)

Thus, the proper designation of the felony


should be reckless imprudence resulting to
falsification of public documents and not
falsification of public documents through
reckless imprudence.
Having threshed out the proper
designation of the felony committed by
Sevilla, the Court now weighs the merit of
the instant appeal. Sevilla s appeal is
anchored mainly on the variance between
the offense charged in the Information
that was filed against him and that proved
by the prosecution. The rules on variance
between allegation and proof are laid
down under Sections 4 and 5, Rule 120 of
the Rules of Court,
viz:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Sec. 4. Judgment in case of variance


between allegation and proof.
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.

Sec. 5. When an offense includes or is


included in another. An offense charged
necessarily includes the offense proved
when some of the essential elements or
ingredients of the former, as alleged in the
complaint or information, constitute the
latter. And an offense charged is
necessarily included in the offense proved,
when the essential ingredients of the
former constitute or form part of those
constituting the latter.

Accordingly, in case of variance between


the allegation and proof, a defendant may
be convicted of the offense proved when
the offense charged is included in or
necessarily includes the offense proved.

There is no dispute that a variance exists


between the offense alleged against
Sevilla and that proved by the prosecution
the Information charged him with the
intentional felony of falsification of public
document under Article 171(4) of the RPC
while the prosecution was able to prove
reckless imprudence resulting to
falsification of public
documents. Parenthetically, the question
that has to be resolved then is whether
reckless imprudence resulting to
falsification of public document is
necessarily included in the intentional
felony of falsification of public document
under Article 171(4) of the RPC.

Thus, Sevilla s claim that his constitutional


right to be informed of the nature and
cause of the accusation against him was
violated when the Sandiganbayan
convicted him of reckless imprudence
resulting to falsification of public
documents, when the Information only
charged the intentional felony of
falsification of public documents, is

48
untenable. To stress, reckless imprudence
resulting to falsification of public
documents is an offense that is
necessarily included in the willful act of
falsification of public documents, the latter
being the greater offense. As such, he
can be convicted of reckless imprudence
resulting to falsification of public
documents notwithstanding that the
Information only charged the willful act of
falsification of public documents.

People of the Philippines Vs. Petrus a.k.a.


"John" and "Ricky" and Susana Yau y
Sumogba a.k.a. "Susan" G.R. No.
208170. August 20, 2014
The elements of Kidnapping For
Ransom under Article 267 of the
RPC, as amended by R.A. No.
7659, are as follows: (a) intent on
the part of the accused to deprive
the victim of his liberty; (b) actual
deprivation of the victim of his
liberty; and (c) motive of the
accused, which is extorting ransom
for the release of the
victim.24cralawred
All of the foregoing elements were
duly established by the testimonial
and documentary evidences for the
prosecution in the case at bench.
First, Petrus is a private individual.
Second, Petrus kidnapped Alastair
by using sleeping substance which
rendered the latter unconscious
while inside a taxicab driven by the
said accused-appellant. Third,
Petrus took and detained Alastair
inside the house owned by him and
Susana Yau in Bacoor, Cavite,
where said victim was handcuffed
and chained, and hence, deprived
of his liberty. Fourth, Alastair was
taken against his will. And fifth,
Petrus made demands for the
delivery of a ransom in the amount
of US$600,000.00 for the release
of the victim.
Anent the criminal liability of each
accused-appellant, there is no
doubt that Petrus is liable as

principal of the crime of kidnapping

for ransom. Susana, on the other


hand, is liable only as an
accomplice to the crime as
correctly found by the lower
courts. It must be emphasized
that there was no evidence
indubitably proving that Susana
participated in the decision to
commit the criminal act. The only
evidence the prosecution had
against her was the testimony of
Alastair to the effect that he
remembered her as the woman
who gave food to him or who
accompanied his kidnapper
whenever he would bring food to
him every breakfast, lunch and
dinner.
Jurisprudence25 is instructive of the
elements required, in accordance
with Article 18 of the RPC, in order
that a person may be considered
an accomplice, namely, (1) that
there be a community of design;
that is, knowing the criminal design
of the principal by direct
participation, he concurs with the
latter in his purpose; (2) that he
cooperates in the execution by
previous or simultaneous act, with
the intention of supplying material
or moral aid in the execution of the
crime in an efficacious way; and
(3) that there be a relation
between the acts done by the
principal and those attributed to
the person charged as accomplice.
In the case at bench, Susana knew
of the criminal design of her
husband, Petrus, but she kept
quiet and never reported the
incident to the police authorities.
Instead, she stayed with Petrus
inside the house and gave food to
the victim or accompanied her
husband when he brought food to
the victim. Susana not only
countenanced Petrus illegal act,
but also supplied him with material
and moral aid. It has been held
that being present and giving

49
moral support when a crime is
being committed make a person
responsible as an accomplice in the
crime committed.26 As keenly
observed by the RTC, the act of
giving food by Susana to the victim
was not essential and
indispensable for the perpetration
of the crime of kidnapping for
ransom but merely an expression
of sympathy or feeling of support
to her husband.27 Moreover, this
Court is guided by the ruling
in People v. De Vera,28 where it
was stressed that in case of doubt,
the participation of the offender
will be considered as that of an
accomplice rather than that of a
principal.

Soledad Tria Vs. People of the Philippines


G.R. No. 204755. September 17, 2014
The elements of estafa under this
provision are: (1) that the money,
good or other personal property is
received by the offender in trust, or
on commission, or for
administration, or under any other
obligation involving the duty to
make delivery of, or to return, the
same; (2) that there be
misappropriation or conversion of
such money or property by the
offender or denial on his part of
such receipt; (3) that such
misappropriation or conversion or
denial is to the prejudice of
another; and (4) that there is a
demand made by the offended
party on the
offender.24cralawlawlibrary
The first, third and fourth elements
are immediately discernible from
the prosecution s evidence. Exhibit
B which is the Receipt of Goods
on Consignment shows that on
March 8, 2000, the petitioner
received pieces of jewelry on
consignment from Seven Sphere
with the obligation to return the
unsold pieces or remit the sale

proceeds of the sold items. This


documentary evidence was

corroborated by the testimony of


Meneses, who signed the document
in behalf of the consignor at the
time of its execution. She identified
the petitioner s signature on the
document and she confirmed the
contents of the agreement as being
a consignment contract, as well as
the petitioner s consequent duties
thereunder to remit sale proceeds
or return the unsold pieces of
jewelry.
It is also indubitable from Meneses
unrebutted testimony that Seven
Sphere was prejudiced in the
amount of P23,370.00 after the
petitioner failed to return the
remaining eleven (11) pieces of
jewelry consigned to her or their
value. Demand for payment was
made upon the petitioner in a letter
dated August 21, 2001 but despite
receipt thereof, she was unable to
return the remaining pieces of
jewelry or remit their sale
proceeds.
Indeed, misappropriation or conversion is
deducible from the petitioner s failure to
return the last eleven (11) pieces of
jewelry entrusted to her. She never
endeavoured to refute this fact during trial
and even until the herein appellate
proceedings. Instead, the petitioner
anchors her plea for acquittal on the claim
that intent to defraud is negated by the
established fact that out of the twenty two
(22) jewelry items entrusted to her, she
was able to return eleven (11) pieces.

The argument fails to convince. The


petitioner s asseveration bolsters rather
than weakens the case for the
prosecution, as it implies an admission of
her receipt of twenty two (22) jewelry
items from Seven Sphere and her failure
to account for all of them.

The return of eleven (11) pieces of the


jewelry items is inconsequential because
she received twenty two (22) items on
consignment and bound herself to return
ALL of them if unsold. The petitioner

50
breached her legal duty under the
consignment contract to return or remit
the sale proceeds of ALL of such items
when she was able to return only half of
them while the other eleven (11) pieces
remained unreturned and unaccounted
for, to the damage and prejudice of the
consignor.

Neither can we lend credence to


the petitioner s claim that her
failure to account for the jewelry
subject of this indictment was
because she sold the same on
credit. Such act directly
contravenes the explicit terms of
the authority granted to her
because the consignment
transaction with Seven Sphere
prohibited her from selling the
jewelry on credit,
Misappropriation and conversion is again
palpable from these circumstances. By
selling the jewelry on credit, the petitioner
used the property for a purpose other
than that agreed upon. The words
convert and misappropriate connote
an act of using or disposing of another s
property as if it were one s own or
devoting it to a purpose or use different
from that agreed upon.27cralawlawlibrary

Further, her alleged verbal


agreement with Seven Sphere that
she can render services in
exchange for the dismissal of the
case, casts no significant bearing
to the herein proceedings. Only
the State may validly waive the
criminal action against an
accused. 28 The consequences of
such agreement with Seven Sphere
can affect only her civil liability to
the former for the value of the
misappropriated jewelry items.
Such matter can be more properly
threshed out during the execution
stage of the civil aspect of this case
before the trial court where the
evidence of such verbal agreement
as well as the deductions made on

the petitioner s salary can be


received.

People of the Philippines Vs. Julito


Gerandoy G.R. No. 202838. September
17, 2014
As repeatedly held by this Court,
"Lust is no respecter of time and
place." 37 Neither the crampness of
the room, nor the presence of
other people therein, nor the high
risk of being caught, has been held
sufficient and effective obstacle to
deter the commission of
rape.38 In the case of People v.
Alarcon,39 the accused argued that
rape could not have committed
when the victim's siblings were by
her side was dismissed by the
court. Isolation is not a
determinative factor to rule on
whether a rape was committed or
not and there is no rule that a
woman can only be raped in
seclusion.40 It can be committed,
discreetly or indiscreetly, even in a
room full of family members
sleeping side by side. It has been
ruled that rape is not rendered
impossible simply because the
siblings of the victim who were
with her in that small room were
not awakened during its
commission.41cralawlawlibrary
Also, if rape can be committed
inside a small room with occupants
sleeping side by side, it is likewise
not impossible for the accused to
commit acts of lasciviousness or
other sexual abuses against the
victim in a similar setting even if
her siblings were sleeping with her.

Ma. Rosario P. Campos Vs. People of the


Philippines and First Women's Credit
Corp. G.R. No. 187401. September 17,
2014

To be liable for violation of B.P. 22,


the following essential elements
must be present: (1) the making,
drawing, and issuance of any check
to apply for account or for value;
(2) the knowledge of the maker,
drawer, or issuer that at the time
of issue he does not have sufficient

51
funds in or credit with the drawee
bank for the payment of the check
in full upon its presentment; and
(3) the subsequent dishonor of the
check by the drawee bank for
insufficiency of funds or credit or
dishonor for the same reason had
not the drawer, without any valid
cause, ordered the bank to stop
payment.11cralawlawlibrary
The presence of the first and third
elements is undisputed. An issue
being advanced by Campos
through the present petition
concerns her alleged failure to
receive a written demand letter
from FWCC, the entity in whose
favor the dishonored checks were
issued. In a line of cases, the Court
has emphasized the importance of
proof of receipt of such notice of
dishonor,12 although not as an
element of the offense, but as a
means to establish that the issuer
of a check was aware of
insufficiency of funds when he
issued the check and the bank
dishonored it, in relation to the
second element of the offense and
Section 2 of B.P. 22. Considering
that the second element involves a
state of mind which is difficult to
establish, Section 2 of B.P. 22
creates a presumption of
knowledge of insufficiency of
funds,13
The Court has in truth repeatedly held
that the mere presentation of registry
return receipts that cover registered mail
was not sufficient to establish that written
notices of dishonor had been sent to or
served on issuers of checks. The
authentication by affidavit of the mailers
was necessary in order for service by
registered mail to be regarded as clear
proof of the giving of notices of dishonor
and to predicate the existence of the
second element of the
offense.14cralawlawlibrary

In still finding no merit in the present


petition, the Court, however, considers

Campos defense that she exerted efforts


to reach an amicable settlement with her
creditor after the checks which she issued
were dishonored by the drawee bank, BPI
Family Bank. Campos categorically
declared in her petition that, [she] has in
her favor evidence to show that she was
in good faith and indeed made
arrangements for the payment of her
obligations subsequently after the
dishonor of the checks. 15 Clearly, this
statement was a confirmation that she
actually received the required notice of
dishonor from FWCC. The evidence
referred to in her statement were
receipts16 dated January 13, 1996,
February 29, 1996, April 22, 1998 and
May 26, 1998 issued by FWCC to Campos
for payments in various amounts ranging
from P2,500.00 to P15,700.00. Campos
would not have entered into the alleged
arrangements beginning January 1996
until May 1998 if she had not received a
notice of dishonor from her creditor, and
had no knowledge of the insufficiency of
her funds with the bank and the dishonor
of her checks.

Campos could have avoided


prosecution by paying the amounts
due on the checks or making
arrangements for payment in full
within five (5) days after receiving
notice. Unfortunately for Campos,
these circumstances were not
established in the instant case. She
failed to sufficiently disclose the
terms of her alleged arrangement
with FWCC, and to establish that
the same had been fully complied
with so as to completely satisfy the
amounts covered by the subject
checks. Moreover, documents to
prove such fact should have been
presented before the MeTC during
the trial, yet Campos opted to be
tried in absentia, and thus waived
her right to present evidence.
While Campos blamed her former
counsel for alleged negligence that
led to her failure to be present
during the trial,17 it is settled that
the negligence of counsel binds his

52
or her client. Given the
circumstances, the Court finds no
cogent reason to reverse the ruling
of the CA which affirmed the
conviction of Campos.

People of the Philippines Vs. Bobby Torres


G.R. No. 189850. September 22, 2014
In an appeal by an accused, he
waives
his right not to be subject to
double
jeopardy.
We cannot give credence to appellant s
contentions. An appeal in [a] criminal
case opens the entire case for review
on any question including one not
raised by the parties. 26 [W]hen an
accused appeals from the sentence of
the trial court, he waives the
constitutional safeguard against double
jeopardy and throws the whole case
open to the review of the appellate
court, which is then called upon to
render such judgment as law and
justice dictate, whether favorable or
unfavorable to the appellant. 27 In
other words, when appellant appealed
the RTC s judgment of conviction for
murder, he is deemed to have
abandoned his right to invoke the
prohibition on double jeopardy since it
became the duty of the appellate court
to correct errors as may be found in
the appealed judgment. Thus,
appellant could not have been placed
twice in jeopardy when the CA
modified the ruling of the RTC by
finding him guilty of robbery with
homicide as charged in the
Information instead of murder.
Appellant is guilty of the crime of
robbery with homicide.

Robbery with homicide exists when a


homicide is committed either by reason,

or on occasion, of the robbery. To sustain


a conviction for robbery with homicide,
the prosecution must prove the following
elements: (1) the taking of personal
property belonging to another; (2) with
intent to gain; (3) with the use of violence
or intimidation against a person; and (4)
on the occasion or by reason of the

robbery, the crime of homicide, as used in


its generic sense, was committed. A
conviction requires certitude that the
robbery is the main purpose and objective
of the malefactor and the killing is merely
incidental to the robbery. The intent to
rob must precede the taking of human life
but the killing may occur before, during or
after the robbery . 28cralawred

In this case, the prosecution adduced


proof beyond reasonable doubt that the
primary intention of appellant and his
companions was to rob Espino. Umali and
Macapar, the eyewitnesses presented by
the prosecution, testified that at around
10:00 p.m. of September 21, 2001,
appellant s brother and co-accused,
Ronnie, blocked Espino s car at the corner
of C.M. Recto Avenue and Ylaya
Street. When Espino alighted from his
vehicle, Ronnie attempted to grab his
belt-bag. A struggle for possession of the
belt-bag ensued. It was at this juncture
that appellant and the other co-accused
joined the fray and stabbed Espino several
times in the head and body. When Espino
fell to the pavement from his stab
wounds, appellant, Ronnie and their
cohorts got hold of the victim s wallet,
belt-bag, wristwatch and jewelry then fled
together.29cralawred

From the foregoing, it is clear that the


primordial intention of appellant and his
companions was to rob Espino. Had they
primarily intended to kill Espino, they
would have immediately stabbed him to
death. However, the fact that Ronnie
initially wrestled with appellant for
possession of the belt-bag clearly shows
that the central aim was to commit
robbery against Espino. This intention
was confirmed by the accused s taking of
Espino s belt-bag, wallet, wrist-watch and

jewelries after he was stabbed to


death. The killing was therefore merely
incidental, resulting by reason or on
occasion of the robbery.
The weapons are not the corpus delicti.

Appellant contends that the evidence is


insufficient for his conviction since the

53
weapons used in the stabbing of Espino
were not presented. In other words, he
asserts that it was improper to convict
him because the corpus delicti had not
been established.

We disagree.
[C]orpus delicti refers to
the fact of the commission of the crime
charged or to the body or substance of the
crime. In its legal sense, it does not refer
to the ransom money in the crime of
kidnapping for ransom or to the body of
the person murdered or, in this case, [the
weapons used in the commission of
robbery with homicide]. Since the corpus
delicti is the fact of the commission of the
crime, this Court has ruled that even a
single witness uncorroborated testimony,
if credible may suffice to prove it and
warrant a conviction therefor. Corpus
delicti may even be established by
circumstantial evidence. 32cralawred

In this case, the corpus delicti was


established by the evidence on
record. The prosecution eyewitnesses
testified that appellant and his cohorts
used knives to perpetrate the
crime. Their testimonies on the existence
and use of weapons in committing the
offense was supported by the medical
findings of Dr. Salen who conducted the
post-mortem examination. Dr. Salen
found that Espino sustained several stab
wounds with varying measurements which
were caused by sharp bladed
instruments. Appellant is therefore
mistaken in arguing that the failure to
present the weapons used in killing Espino
was fatal to the cause of the prosecution.
The evidence was sufficient to establish
the presence of abuse of superior
strength.

Appellant argues that mere superiority in


numbers does not indicate the presence of
abuse of superior strength. In the same
manner, appellant claims that the number
of wounds inflicted on the victim is not the

criterion for the appreciation of this


circumstance.

There is abuse of superior strength when

the offenders took advantage of their


combined strength in order to
consummate the offense. 38 Here,
appellant and his four companions not
only took advantage of their numerical
superiority, they were also armed with
knives. Espino, on the other hand, was
unarmed and defenseless. While Ronnie
was wrestling with Espino, appellant and
his co-accused simultaneously assaulted
the latter. The unidentified companion
locked his arm around the neck of Espino
while appellant and his co-accused
stabbed and hacked him several
times. While Espino was lying defenseless
on the ground, they divested him of all his
valuables. Thereafter, they immediately
fled the scene of the crime.39 It is clear
that they executed the criminal act by
employing physical superiority over
Espino.

People of the Philippines Vs. Mark Jason


Chavez y Bitangcor G.R. No. 207950.
September 22, 2014
Every conviction for any crime must be
accompanied by the required moral
certainty that the accused has committed
the offense charged beyond reasonable
doubt. The prosecution must prove the
offender s intent to take personal property
before the killing, regardless of the time
when the homicide [was] actually carried
out 1 in order to convict for the crime of
robbery with homicide. The accused may
nevertheless be convicted of the separate
crime of homicide once the prosecution
establishes beyond reasonable doubt the
accused s culpability for the victim s
death.
In the special complex crime of robbery
with homicide, homicide is committed in
order (a) to facilitate the robbery or the
escape of the culprit; (b) to preserve the
possession by the culprit of the loot; (c) to
prevent discovery of the commission of

the robbery; or (d) to eliminate witnesses


to the commission of the crime. 61 21 stab
wounds would be overkill for these
purposes.

The sheer number of stab wounds inflicted


on Barbie makes it difficult to conclude an
original criminal intent of merely taking

54
Barbie s personal property.

In People v. Sanchez,62 this court found


accused-appellant liable for the separate
crimes of homicide and theft for failure of
the prosecution to conclusively prove that
homicide was committed for the purpose
of robbing the
victim:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

this court finds that the prosecution


proved beyond reasonable doubt the guilt
of Chavez for the separate crime of
homicide.

First, the alibi of Chavez still places him at


the scene of the crime that early morning
of October 28, 2006.

The victim, Elmer Duque, went by the


nickname, Barbie, and he had a boyfriend
named Maki. Nevertheless, Chavez
described his friendship with Barbie to be
[w]e re like brothers. 64 He testified
during cross-examination that he was a
frequent visitor at Barbie s parlor that he
cannot recall how many times he had
been there.65 This speaks of a close
relationship between Chavez and Barbie.

Second, the number of stab wounds


inflicted on Barbie strengthens an
intention to kill and ensures his
death. The prosecution proved that there
was a total of 22 stab wounds found in
different parts of Barbie s body and that a
kitchen knife was found in a manhole near
Chavez s house at No. 536, 5th Street, San
Beda, San Miguel, Manila.69cralawred
IV

It is contrary to human nature for a


mother to voluntarily surrender her own
son and confess that her son committed a

heinous crime.

Chavez was 22 years old, no longer a


minor, when he voluntarily went to the
police station on November 5, 2006 for
investigation,83 and his mother
accompanied him.

The booking sheet and arrest report states

that when [the accused was] appraised


[sic] of his constitutional rights and nature
of charges imputed against him, accused
opted to remain silent. 91 This booking
sheet and arrest report is also dated
November 7, 2006, or two days after
Chavez, accompanied by his mother, had
voluntarily gone to the police station.

The right to counsel upon being


questioned for the commission of a crime
is part of the Miranda rights, which require
that:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

. . . (a) any person under custodial


investigation has the right to remain
silent; (b) anything he says can and will
be used against him in a court of law; (c)
he has the right to talk to an attorney
before being questioned and to have his
counsel present when being questioned;
and (d) if he cannot afford an attorney,
one will be provided before any
questioning if he so desires.92

The Miranda rights were incorporated in


our Constitution but were modified to
include the statement that any waiver of
the right to counsel must be made in
writing and in the presence of
counsel. 93cralawred

The invocation of these rights applies


during custodial investigation, which
begins when the police investigation is no
longer a general inquiry into an unsolved

crime but has begun to focus on a


particular suspect taken into custody by
the police who starts the interrogation and
propounds questions to the person to elicit
incriminating statements. 94cralawred

It may appear that the Miranda rights only


apply when one is taken into custody by
the police, such as during an
arrest. These rights are intended to
protect ordinary citizens from the
pressures of a custodial
setting:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

Republic Act No. 743896 expanded the


definition of custodial investigation to
include the practice of issuing an

55
invitation to a person who is investigated
in connection with an offense he is
suspected to have committed, without
prejudice to the liability of the inviting
officer for any violation of law. 97cralawred

This means that even those who


voluntarily surrendered before a police
officer must be apprised of their Miranda
rights. For one, the same pressures of a
custodial setting exist in this
scenario. Chavez is also being questioned
by an investigating officer in a police
station. As an additional pressure, he
may have been compelled to surrender by
his mother who accompanied him to the
police station.

This court, thus, finds that the


circumstantial evidence sufficiently proves
beyond reasonable doubt that Chavez is
guilty of the crime of homicide, and not
the special complex crime of robbery with
homicide.

Nenita Carganillo Vs. People of the


Philippines G.R. No. 182424. September
22, 2014
Under Article 315, paragraph 1(b)
of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended, the offense of estafa
committed with abuse of
confidence requires the following
elements:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

(a)
that money, goods or other personal property is received by the offender in trus
t or on
commission, or for administration, or under any other obligation involving the d
uty to make
delivery of or to return the same[;]
(b)

that there be misappropriation or conversion of such money or property by the of


fender, or
denial on his part of such receipt[;]
(c)
that such misappropriation or conversion or denial is to the prejudice of anothe
r; and
(d)
there is demand by the offended party to the offender.13

We find that all the elements of


estafa are present in this case: that
the petitioner received in trust the
amount of P132,000.00 from
Teresita for the purpose of buying
palay and misappropriated it when
she failed to return the said
amount to Teresita upon demand.

Dionisio B. Coloma, Jr. Vs. Hon.


Sandiganbayan and People of the
Philippines G.R. No. 205561. September
24, 2014
Essentially, the issue in this case is
whether or not Coloma s conviction for the
crime of violation of Section 3(e) of R.A.
No. 3019 was proper.
Coloma was charged with the crime of
violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019
which has the following essential
elements: (a) the accused must be a
public officer discharging administrative,
judicial or official functions; (b) he must
have acted with manifest partiality,
evident bad faith or gross inexcusable
negligence; and (c) his action caused any
undue injury to any party, including the
government, or gave any private party
unwarranted benefits, advantage or
preference in the discharge of his
functions. As observed by the
Sandiganbayan, all these elements exist in
this case.

It is irrefutable that the first element is


present. Coloma was undisputably the

Director of the PNPA at the time material


to the charge against him. Apart from
this, he never denied his designation as
the Special Assistant and Action Officer to
the Director of the LIS-PPSC. From the
task of selecting the site for RTS 9 to the
dealings with the contractors for the
project, this latter position signifies
Coloma s task to oversee and administer
the construction of RTS 9. His claims that
he had no participation in the construction
of the facilities do not, in any way, strip
him of both his powers and duties related
to the implementation of the project.

As to the second element, Coloma s


argument is basically a denial of bad faith
on his part. He claims that his statements
as to the completion of the project s land
development; the 90% completion of the
administration building s construction; and
the commencement of the construction of
the 50-capacity barracks were his
personal factual observations, thereby
negating the charge that he was guilty of
misrepresentation in his official report.

56
This argument fails to persuade.

The second element of Section 3 (e) of


R.A. No. 3019 may be committed in three
ways, that is, through manifest partiality,
evident bad faith or gross inexcusable
negligence. Proof of any of these three in
connection with the prohibited acts
mentioned in Section 3(e) of R.A. No.
3019 is enough to
convict.9cralawlawlibrary

On the meaning of partiality,


bad faith,
and gross negligence, the Court has
elucidated:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Partiality is synonymous with bias


which excites a disposition to see and
report matters as they are wished for
rather than as they are.
Bad faith does
not simply connote bad judgment or
negligence; it imputes a dishonest
purpose or some moral obliquity and
conscious doing of a wrong; a breach of
sworn duty through some motive or intent
or ill will; it partakes of the nature of
fraud. Gross negligence has been so
defined as negligence characterized by the
want of even slight care, acting or
omitting to act in a situation where there
is a duty to act, not inadvertently but
wilfully and intentionally with a conscious
indifference to consequences in so far as
other persons may be affected. It is the
omission of that care which even
inattentive and thoughtless men never fail
to take on their own
property. 10chanrobleslaw

Here, the results of the ocular inspection


clearly belie Coloma s reports. While it
may be conceded that there was no
averment of the entire project s
completion, and that completion may be
susceptible of a subjective interpretation,
it still perplexes the Court as to why
Coloma, a responsible officer in the
administration of the multi-million peso
project, failed to provide a reliable and

accurate description of the project s


accomplishment. The discrepancy between
the results of the ocular inspection and
Coloma s statements in his report was not

a trivial matter that would merit


disregard. The Court may not close its
eyes from the ostensible manipulation of
information stated by Coloma. From a
person tasked to administer the project in
terms of site selection and payment of
suppliers, a just and authentic reporting
was expected. After-mission reports are
not inconsequential documents which
merely partake of a formality or a
mechanism for a smooth transition of
duties. It is not an empty statement of
accomplishments. A report on the
progress and/or completion of a
government infrastructure project serves
not only as a descriptive account of the
project, but more importantly, as a source
of information on the faithful execution of
a government objective financed by public
funds.
Notably, the offense defined under Section
3 (e) of R.A. No. 3019 may be committed
even if bad faith is not attendant.11 Thus,
even assuming for the sake of argument
that Coloma did not act in bad faith in
rendering his report, his negligence under
the circumstances was not only gross but
also inexcusable. Again, it was clearly
established that the degree of his
involvement in the project may not excuse
his ignorance of the realistic progress of
RTS 9. He should have exercised care in
his declaration in the report, especially
because he had the duty to oversee the
development of the project.

In a catena of cases, the Court has held


that there are two ways by which a public
official violates Section 3(e) of R.A. No.
3019 in the performance of his functions,
namely: (1) by causing undue injury to
any party, including the Government; or
(2) by giving any private party any
unwarranted benefit, advantage or
preference. The accused may be charged
under either mode or both. The
disjunctive term or connotes that either
act qualifies as a violation of Section 3(e)
of R.A. No. 3019.13 In other words, the
presence of one would suffice for

conviction. Further, the term undue


injury in the context of Section 3(e) of
the R.A. No. 3019 punishing the act of

57
causing undue injury to any party, has a
meaning akin to that civil law concept of
actual damage. Actual damage, in the
context of these definitions, is akin to that
in civil law.14cralawlawlibrary

As explained by the Sandiganbayan, the


undue injury caused by Coloma to the
government is based on two grounds: 1)
as a co-signatory in the current accounts
created for the payment of creditors,15
Coloma reserved to himself control over
the deposits to and withdrawals
therefrom; and 2) the cost of the RTS 9 as
declared by Coloma in his report was
significantly higher than the actual cost
computed after inspection.

The Court agrees.

The undue injury caused to the


government is evident from Coloma s
statement of a cost of RTS 9 higher than
that discovered upon inspection. It bears
stressing that the Sandiganbayan
accorded credence on Engr. Vacnot s
testimony that the cost of the facilities
constructed in RTS 9 only cost
P3,180,000.00, more or less, lower than
what was reported by Coloma. Contrary to
Coloma s claim, this information was
supported by detailed costings and was
unequivocally testified on during trial.
Despite the opportunity to cross-examine
the witness, Coloma failed to controvert
the evidence against him. This fact, taken
together with the showing that no 50capacity barracks was ever built on the
site as opposed to Coloma s reportage,
established that the construction of RTS 9
was replete with irregularities. Otherwise
stated, the public funds disbursed for the
project were not utilized in strict accord to
its purpose. Thus, the worth of public
funds spent for the project does not match
the meager benefit to be derived
therefrom.

People of the Philippines Vs. Richard

Guinto y San Andres G.R. No. 198314.


September 24, 2014
In illegal sale of dangerous drugs, the
prosecution must establish the identity of
the buyer and the seller, the object and

consideration of the sale and the delivery


of the thing sold and the payment
therefor.23 Hence, to establish a concrete
case, it is an utmost importance to prove
the identity of the narcotic substance itself
as it constitutes the very corpus delicti of
the offense and the fact of its existence is
vital to sustain a judgment of conviction.
It is therefore imperative for the
prosecution to first establish beyond
reasonable doubt the identity of the
dangerous drug before asserting other
arguments.24cralawlawlibrary

People of the Philippines Vs. Charlie


Fieldad, et al. G.R. No. 196005. October
1, 2014
Nature of the Killings
Fieldad argues that there can be no
treachery since the jail guards
were all issued with firearms to
protect themselves from danger
and to maintain peace and order
within the compound. 17 This
argument is untenable.
There is treachery when the
offender commits any of the crimes
against the person, employing
means, methods, or forms in the
execution thereof which tend
directly and specially to insure its
execution, without risk to himself
arising from the defense which the
offended party might take.18cralaw
In the instant case, despite being
armed, the jail officers were not
afforded any chance of defending
themselves. Without warning,
Fieldad and his cohorts disabled
the defenses of the jail officers.
Chan held the shoulder of JO2
Gamboa as he shot the latter.
Meanwhile, Fieldad teamed-up with
Cornista to divest JO1 Bacolor of

his armalite, and to knock him


down. Then Fieldad took JO2
Gamboa s gun and shot JO1
Bacolor.
Elements of Carnapping

Carnapping is the taking, with intent to


gain, of a motor vehicle belonging to

58
another without consent, or by means of
violence against or intimidation of
persons, or by using force upon things.44
The elements of the crime of carnapping
are that: (1) there is an actual taking of
the vehicle; (2) the offender intends to
gain from the taking of the vehicle; (3)
the vehicle belongs to a person other than
the offender himself; and (4) the taking is
without the consent of the owner thereof,
or it was committed by means of violence
against or intimidation of persons, or by
using force upon things.45cralawlawlibrary

All the elements of carnapping are present


in this case. Both appellants admitted that
they boarded the Tamaraw jeep and drove
away in it. The owner of the vehicle,
Benjamin Bauzon, testified that he did not
consent to the taking of his vehicle by
appellants.
Defense of Uncontrollable Fear

To escape liability for the crime of


carnapping, appellants claim that Leal
forced them to take the Tamaraw jeep to
facilitate his flight from jail.

Under Article 12 of the Revised Penal


Code, a person is exempt from criminal
liability if he acts under the impulse of an
uncontrollable fear of an equal or greater
injury.49 For such defense to prosper the
duress, force, fear or intimidation must be
present, imminent and impending, and of
such a nature as to induce a wellgrounded apprehension of death or
serious bodily harm if the act be done.50 A
person invoking uncontrollable fear must
show that the compulsion was such that it
reduced him to a mere instrument acting
not only without will but against his will as
well.51 It is necessary that the compulsion
be of such a character as to leave no
opportunity to escape or self-defense in
equal combat.52cralawlawlibrary

In this case, appellants had ample

opportunity to escape. In the first place,


Leal was already armed when
Fieldad voluntarily followed him to the
place where the Tamaraw jeep was
parked. The vehicle stopped three times:

to board Delim; to board Chan; and when


they stopped to transfer vehicles. In
addition, according to appellants
testimonies, only Leal was armed.

To be believed, testimony must not only


proceed from the mouth of a credible
witness; it must be credible in itself such
as the common experience and
observation of mankind can approve as
probable under the circumstance.54 The
circumstances under which appellants
participated in the commission of the
carnapping would not justify in any way
their claim that they acted under an
uncontrollable fear of being killed by their
fellow carnapper. Rather, the
circumstances establish the fact that
appellants, in their flight from jail,
consciously concurred with the other
malefactors to take the Tamaraw jeep
without the consent of its owner.

People of the Philippines Vs. Garry Dela


Cruz y De Guzman G.R. No. 205821.
October 1, 2014
Law enforcers should not trifle with the
legal requirement to ensure integrity in
the chain of custody of seized dangerous
drugs and drug paraphernalia. This is
especially true when only a miniscule
amount of dangerous drugs is alleged to
have been taken from the
accused. 1cralawlawlibrary

Norberto Cruz y Bartolome Vs. People of


the Philippines G.R. No. 166441.
October 8, 2014
The intent of the offender to lie with the
female defines the distinction between
attempted rape and acts of lasciviousness.
The felony of attempted rape requires

such intent; the felony of acts of


lasciviousness does not. Only the direct
overt acts of the offender establish the
intent to lie with the female. However,
merely climbing on top of a naked female
does not constitute attempted rape
without proof of his erectile penis being in
a position to penetrate the female's
vagina.

Felina Rosaldes Vs. People of the


Philippines G.R. No. 173988. October 8,
2014

59
The petitioner, a public schoolteacher, was
charged with and found guilty of child
abuse, a violation of Republic Act No.
7610.1 The victim was her own Grade 1
pupil whom she physically maltreated for
having accidentally bumped her knee
while she was drowsing off on a bamboo
sofa as he entered the classroom. Her
maltreatment left him with physical
injuries, as duly certified by a physician.
Although the petitioner, as a
schoolteacher, could duly discipline
Michael Ryan as her pupil, her infliction of
the physical injuries on him was
unnecessary, violent and excessive. The
boy even fainted from the violence
suffered at her hands.13 She could not
justifiably claim that she acted only for the
sake of disciplining him. Her physical
maltreatment of him was precisely
prohibited by no less than the Family
Code, which has expressly banned the
infliction of corporal punishment by a
school administrator, teacher or individual
engaged in child care exercising special
parental authority (i.e., in loco parentis),
viz:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

Article 233. The person exercising


substitute parental authority shall have
the same authority over the person of the
child as the parents.

In no case shall the school administrator,


teacher or individual engaged in child care
exercising special parental authority inflict
corporal punishment upon the child, (n)

Proof of the severe results of the


petitioner's physical maltreatment of
Michael Ryan was provided by Dr. Teresita
Castigador, the Medico-Legal Officer of the
Dr. Ricardo Y. Ladrido Memorial Hospital
in Iloilo who examined the victim at about
1:00 o'clock in the afternoon of February
13, 1996, barely three hours from the
time the boy had sustained his injuries.

Section 3 of Republic Act No. 7610 defines


child abuse
thusly:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

x x x x

(b) "Child abuse" refers to the


maltreatment, whether habitual or
not, of the child which includes any of
the following:

(1) Psychological and physical abuse,


neglect, cruelty, sexual abuse and
emotional maltreatment;chanrobleslaw

(2) Any act by deeds or words which


debases, degrades or demeans the
intrinsic worth and dignity of a child
as a human being;

(3) Unreasonable deprivation of his basic


needs for survival, such as food and
shelter; or

(4) Failure to immediately give medical


treatment to an injured child resulting in
serious impairment of his growth and
development or in his permanent
incapacity or death.

x x x x

In the crime charged against the


petitioner, therefore, the maltreatment
may consist of an act by deeds or by
words that debases, degrades or demeans
the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as
a human being. The act need not be
habitual. The CA concluded that the
petitioner "went overboard in disciplining
Michael Ryan, a helpless and weak 7-year
old boy, when she pinched hard Michael

Ryan on the left thigh and when she held


him in the armpits and threw him on the
floor[; and as] the boy fell down, his body
hit the desk causing him to lose
consciousness [but instead] of feeling a
sense of remorse, the accused-appellant
further held the boy up by his ears and
pushed him down on the floor."15 On her
part, the trial judge said that the physical
pain experienced by the victim had been
aggravated by an emotional trauma that
caused him to stop going to school
altogether out of fear of the petitioner,
compelling his parents to transfer him to
another school where he had to adjust
again.16 Such established circumstances

60
proved beyond reasonable doubt that the
petitioner was guilty of child abuse by
deeds that degraded and demeaned the
intrinsic worth and dignity of Michael Ryan
as a human being.

Leonora Rimando Vs. Spouses Winston


and Elenita Aldaba, and People of the
Philippines G.R. No. 203583. October
13, 2014
The Issue Before the Court
The primordial issue for the Court s
resolution is whether or not the CA
correctly upheld Rimando s civil
liability in the estafa case despite
her acquittal and exoneration from
civil liability in the BP 22 cases.

The Court s Ruling

The petition is without merit.

At the outset, the Court notes that


Rimando s acquittal in the estafa case
does not necessarily absolve her from any
civil liability to private complainants, Sps.
Aldaba. It is well-settled that the
acquittal of the accused does not
automatically preclude a judgment against
him on the civil aspect of the case. The
extinction of the penal action does not
carry with it the extinction of the civil
liability where: (a) the acquittal is based
on reasonable doubt as only
preponderance of evidence is required; (b)
the court declares that the liability of the
accused is only civil; and (c) the civil
liability of the accused does not arise from
or is not based upon the crime of which
the accused is acquitted. However, the
civil action based on delict may be
deemed extinguished if there is a finding
on the final judgment in the criminal
action that the act or omission from which
the civil liability may arise did not exist or

where the accused did not commit the


acts or omission imputed to
him. 22cralawlawlibrary

In this case, Rimando s civil liability did


not arise from any purported act
constituting the crime of estafa as the RTC
clearly found that Rimando never

employed any deceit on Sps. Aldaba to


induce them to invest money in Multitel.
Rather, her civil liability was correctly
traced from being an accommodation
party to one of the checks she issued to
Sps. Aldaba on behalf of Multitel. In
lending her name to Multitel, she, in
effect, acted as a surety to the latter, and
as such, she may be held directly liable for
the value of the issued check.23 Verily,
Rimando s civil liability to Sps. Aldaba in
the amount of P500,000.00 does not arise
from or is not based upon the crime she is
charged with, and hence, the CA correctly
upheld the same despite her acquittal in
the estafa case.

In this relation, the CA is also correct in


holding that Rimando s acquittal and
subsequent exoneration in the BP 22
cases had no effect in the estafa case,
even if both cases were founded on the
same factual circumstances. In Nierras v.
Judge Dacuycuy,24 the Court laid down the
fundamental differences between BP 22
and estafa, to
wit:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

What petitioner failed to mention in his


argument is the fact that deceit and
damage are essential elements in Article
315 (2-d) Revised Penal Code, but are not
required in Batas Pambansa Bilang 22.
Under the latter law, mere issuance of a
check that is dishonored gives rise to the
presumption of knowledge on the part of
the drawer that he issued the same
without sufficient funds and hence
punishable which is not so under the Penal
Code. Other differences between the two
also include the following: (1) a drawer of
a dishonored check may be convicted
under Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 even if

he had issued the same for a pre-existing


obligation, while under Article 315 (2-d) of
the Revised Penal Code, such
circumstance negates criminal liability; (2)
specific and different penalties are
imposed in each of the two offenses; (3)
estafa is essentially a crime against
property, while violation of Batas
Pambansa Bilang 22 is principally a crime
against public interest as it does injury to

61
the entire banking system; (4) violations
of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code
are mala in se, while those of Batas
Pambansa Bilang 22 are mala
prohibita.25chanrobleslaw

Owing to such differences, jurisprudence


in People v. Reyes26 even instructs that
the simultaneous filing of BP 22 and estafa
cases do not amount to double
jeopardy:chanRoblesvirtualLawl

Essentially, while a BP 22 case and an


estafa case may be rooted from an
identical set of facts, they nevertheless
present different causes of action, which,
under the law, are considered separate,
distinct, and independent from each
other. Therefore, both cases can proceed
to their final adjudication
both as to
their criminal and civil aspects subject to
the prohibition on double recovery.28
Perforce, a ruling in a BP 22 case
concerning the criminal and civil liabilities
of the accused cannot be given any
bearing whatsoever in the criminal and
civil aspects of a related estafa case, as in
this instance.

People of the Philippines Vs. Pablito


Andaya y Reano G.R. No. 183700.
October 13, 2014
The non-presentation of the confidential
informant as a witness does not ordinarily
weaken the State's case against the
accused. However, if the arresting lawmen
arrested the accused based on the prearranged signal from the confidential
informant who acted as the poseur buyer,
his non-presentation must be credibly
explained and the transaction established
by other ways in order to satisfy the
quantum of proof beyond reasonable
doubt because the arresting lawmen did
not themselves participate in the buy-bust
transaction with the accused.

People of the Philippines Vs. Ex-Mayor


Carlos Estonilo, Sr., et al. G.R. No.
201565. October 13, 2014
After a review of the record of the case,
this Court sustains the conviction of the
accused-appellants for murder with direct
assault.
To successfully prosecute the crime of

murder, the following elements must be


established:53 (1) that a person was
killed; (2) that the accused killed him or
her; (3) that the killing was attended by
any of the qualifying circumstances
mentioned in Article 248 of the Revised
Penal Code; and (4) that the killing is not
parricide or
infanticide.54chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

In this case, the prosecution was able to


clearly establish that (1) Floro was killed;
(2) Ex-Mayor Carlos, Sr., Rey, Edel,
Nonong, and Calvin were five of the nine
perpetrators who killed him; (3) the killing
was attended by the qualifying
circumstance of evident premeditation as
testified to by prosecution eyewitnesses,
Servando and Antipolo, as well as
treachery as below discussed; and (4) the
killing of Floro was neither parricide nor
infanticide.

Of the four elements, the second and third


elements are essentially contested by the
defense. The Court finds that the
prosecution unquestionably established
these two elements.

For the second element, the prosecution


presented pieces of evidence which when
joined together point to the accusedappellants as the offenders. Foremost,
there is motive to kill Floro. It was Floro s
support for Vicente Cotero, who was Rey s
opponent for the position of mayor in
Placer, Masbate. Second, the prosecution
was able to establish that the accusedappellants planned to kill Floro on two
separate occasions. The prosecution

witness, Servando, was present in Mayor


Carlos, Sr. s house when they were
plotting to kill Floro. He also heard Mayor
Carlos, Sr. say ipatumba si Floro
Casas. Third, Antipolo was an eyewitness
to the killing. His testimony was
corroborated by another witness,
Serapion, who testified having seen the
accused-appellants leaving the school a
few minutes after he heard the
gunshots. Serapion also recounted having
heard one of them said mission
accomplished sir, after which, Mayor

62
Carlos, Sr. ordered them to leave.
Treachery also attended the killing of
Floro. For treachery to be present, two
elements must concur: (1) at the time of
the attack, the victim was not in a position
to defend himself; and (2) the accused
consciously and deliberately adopted the
particular means, methods, or forms of
attack employed by him. The essence of
treachery is that the attack is deliberate
and without warning, done in a swift and
unexpected way, affording the hapless,
unarmed and unsuspecting victim no
chance to resist or escape. In this case,
accused-appellant Nonoy and accused
Negro successively fired at Floro about
seven times
and the victim sustained 13
gunshot wounds all found to have been
inflicted at close range giving the latter no
chance at all to evade the attack and
defend himself from the unexpected
onslaught. Accused-appellants Edel and
Nonong were on standby also holding their
firearms to insure the success of their
mission without risk to themselves; and
three others served as lookouts. Hence,
there is no denying that their collective
acts point to a clear case of treachery.
On the offense committed by accusedappellants, the RTC correctly concluded
that they should be held accountable for
the complex crime of direct assault with
murder. There are two modes of
committing atentados contra la autoridad
o sus agentes under Article 148 of the
Revised Penal Code. Accused-appellants
committed the second form of assault, the
elements of which are that there must be
an attack, use of force, or serious
intimidation or resistance upon a person in
authority or his agent; the assault was
made when the said person was
performing his duties or on the occasion of
such performance; and the accused knew
that the victim is a person in authority or
his agent, that is, that the accused must
have the intention to offend, injure or
assault the offended party as a person in
authority or an agent of a person in
authority.

In this case, Floro was the duly appointed


District Supervisor of Public Schools,

Placer, Masbate, thus, was a person in


authority. But contrary to the statement
of the RTC that there was direct assault
just because Floro was a person in
authority, this Court clarifies that the
finding of direct assault is based on the
fact that the attack or assault on Floro
was, in reality, made by reason of the
performance of his duty as the District
Supervisor.

When the assault results in the killing of


that agent or of a person in authority for
that matter, there arises the complex
crime of direct assault with murder or
homicide.

People of the Philippines Vs. Democrito


Paras G.R. No. 192912. October 22,
2014
Under Article 89, paragraph 1 of
the Revised Penal Code, as
amended, the death of an accused
pending his appeal extinguishes
both his criminal and civil liability
ex delicto. Said provision
reads:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Art. 89. How criminal liability is
totally extinguished. - Criminal
liability is totally
extinguished:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
1. By the death of the convict, as
to the personal penalties; and as to
pecuniary penalties, liability
therefore is extinguished only when
the death of the offender occurs
before final judgment[.]
The Court, in People v. Bayotas,11
enunciated the following guidelines
construing the above provision in
case the accused dies before final
judgment:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
1. Death of the
accused pending appeal of
his conviction extinguishes his
criminal liability as well as the
civil liability based solely

thereon. As opined by Justice

63
Regalado, in this regard, "the
death of the accused prior to
final judgment terminates his
criminal liability and only the
civil liability directly arising
from and based solely on the
offense committed, i.e., civil
liability ex delicto in senso
strictiore."
2. Corollarily, the claim for civil
liability survives notwithstanding
the death of accused, if the same
may also be predicated on a source
of obligation other than
delict. Article 1157 of the Civil
Code enumerates these other
sources of obligation from which
the civil liability may arise as a
result of the same act or
omission:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)

Law
Contracts
Quasi-contracts
xxx
Quasi-delicts

3. Where the civil liability survives,


as explained in Number 2 above,
an action for recovery therefor may
be pursued but only by way of
filing a separate civil action and
subject to Section 1, Rule 111 of
the 1985 Rules on Criminal
Procedure as amended. This
separate civil action may be
enforced either against the
executor/administrator or the
estate of the accused, depending
on the source of obligation upon
which the same is based as
explained above.
4. Finally, the private offended
party need not fear a forfeiture of
his right to file this separate civil
action by prescription, in cases
where during the prosecution of
the criminal action and prior to its
extinction, the private-offended
party instituted together therewith

the civil action. In such

case, the statute of limitations on


the civil liability is deemed
interrupted during the pendency of
the criminal case, conformably with
provisions of Article 1155 of the
Civil Code, that should thereby
avoid any apprehension on a
possible privation of
right by prescription. (Citations
omitted; emphasis ours.)
Thus, upon the death of the
accused pending appeal of his
conviction, the criminal action is
extinguished inasmuch as there is
no longer a defendant to stand as
the accused; the civil action
instituted therein for the recovery
of civil liability ex delicto is ipso
facto extinguished, grounded as it
is on the criminal action.
In this case, when the accusedappellant died on January 24,
2013, his appeal to this Court was
still pending. The Decision dated
June 4, 2014 was thereafter
promulgated as the Court was not
immediately informed of the
accused-appellant's death.
The death of the accused-appellant
herein, thus, extinguished his
criminal liability, as well as his civil
liability directly arising from and
based solely on the crime
committed.

Presidential Commission on Good


Government (PCGG) Vs. The Hon.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales,
Gregorio S. Licaros, Gaudencio
Beduya, et al. G.R. No. 206357.
November 12, 2014
The Issue
Based on the above backdrop, the
issue submitted for this Court's
resolution is whether or not
respondent Ombudsman
committed grave abuse of
discretion in dismissing the
Affidavit-Complaint dated January

64
6, 2003 on the ground of
prescription.ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

Our Ruling

The petition is without merit.

RA 3019, Section 11 provides that all


offenses punishable under said law shall
prescribe in ten (10) years. This period
was later increased to fifteen (15) years
with the passage of Batas Pambansa (BP)
Blg. 195, which took effect on March 16,
1982. This does not mean, however, that
the longer prescriptive period shall apply
to all violations of RA 3019.

Following Our pronouncements in People


v. Pacificador,6 the rule is that "in the
interpretation of the law on prescription of
crimes, that which is more favorable to
the accused is to be adopted." As such,
the longer prescriptive period of 15 years
pursuant to BP Big. 195 cannot be applied
to crimes committed prior to the
effectivity of the said amending law on
March 16, 1982.

Considering that the crimes were


committed in 1969, 1970, 1973, 1975,
and 1977, the applicable prescriptive
period thereon is the ten-year period set
in RA 3019, the law in force at that time.
What is, then, left for Our determination is
the reckoning point for the 10-year
period.

Notably, RA 3019 is silent as to when the


period of prescription shall begin to run.
This void, however, is remedied by Act
No. 3326,7 Section 2 of which provides in
part:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

Sec. 2. Prescription shall begin to run from


the day of the commission of the violation
of the law, and if the same be not known
at the time, from the discovery thereof
and the institution of judicial proceeding
for its investigation and punishment, xxx.

Based on the above, there are two


reckoning points for the counting of the

prescription of an offense: 1) the day of


the commission of the violation of the law;
and 2) if the day when the violation was
committed be not known, then it shall
begin to run from the discovery of said
violation and the institution of judicial
proceedings for investigation and
punishment.

The first mode being self-explanatory, We


proceed with Our construction of the
second mode.

In interpreting the meaning of the phrase


"if the same be not known at the time,
from the discovery thereof and the
institution of judicial proceeding for its
investigation," this Court has, as early as
1992 in People v. Duque,8 held that in
cases where the illegality of the activity is
not known to the complainant at the time
of its commission, Act No. 3326, Section 2
requires that prescription, in such a case,
would begin to run only from the
discovery thereof, i.e. discovery of the
unlawful nature of the constitutive act or
acts.9

It is also in Duque10 where this Court


espoused the raison d'etre for the second
mode. We said, "[i]n the nature of things,
acts made criminal by special laws are
frequently not immoral or obviously
criminal in themselves; for this reason,
the applicable statute requires that if the
violation of the special law is not known at
the time, the prescription begins to run
only from the discovery thereof, i.e.,
discovery of the unlawful nature of the

constitutive act or acts."11

Further clarifying the meaning of the


second mode, the Court, in Duque,12 held
that Section 2 should be read as
"[prescription shall begin to run from the
day of the commission of the violation of
the law, and if the same be not known at
the time, from the discovery thereof and
until the institution of judicial proceedings
for its investigation and punishment."13
Explaining the reason therefor, this Court
held that a contrary interpretation would
create the absurd situation where "the

65
prescription period would both begin and
be interrupted by the same occurrence;
the net effect would be that the
prescription period would not have
effectively begun, having been rendered
academic by the simultaneous interruption
of that same period."14 Additionally, this
interpretation is consistent with the
second paragraph of the same provision
which states that "prescription shall be
interrupted when proceedings are
instituted against the guilty person, [and
shall] begin to run again if the
proceedings are dismissed for reasons not
constituting jeopardy."

Applying the same principle, We have


consistently held in a number of cases,
some of which likewise involve behest
loans contracted during the Marcos
regime, that the prescriptive period for
the crimes therein involved generally
commences from the discovery thereof,
and not on the date of its actual
commission.

In the 199915 and 201116 cases of


Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding
Committee on Behest Loans v. Desierto,
the Court, in said separate instances,
reversed the ruling of the Ombudsman
that the prescriptive period therein began
to run at the time the behest loans were
transacted and instead, it should be
counted from the date of the discovery
thereof.

In the 1999 case, We recognized the


impossibility for the State, the aggrieved
party, to have known the violation of RA
3019 at the time the questioned
transactions were made in view of the fact
that the public officials concerned
connived or conspired with the
"beneficiaries of the loans." There, We
agreed with the contention of the
Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding
Committee that the prescriptive period
should be computed from the discovery of
the commission thereof and not from the
day of such commission. It was also in the

same case where We clarified that the


phrase "if the same be not known" in

Section 2 of Act No. 3326 does not mean


"lack of knowledge" but that the crime "is
not reasonably knowable" is unacceptable.
Furthermore, in this 1999 case, We
intimated that the determination of the
date of the discovery of the offense is a
question of fact which necessitates the
reception of evidence for its
determination.

Similarly, in the 2011 Desierto case, We


ruled that the "blameless ignorance"
doctrine applies considering that the
plaintiff therein had no reasonable means
of knowing the existence of a cause of
action.17 In this particular instance, We
pinned the running of the prescriptive
period to the completion by the
Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding
Committee of an exhaustive investigation
on the loans. We elucidated that the first
mode under Section 2 of Act No. 3326
would not apply since during the Marcos
regime, no person would have dared to
question the legality of these
transactions.18

Prior to the 2011 Desierto case came Our


2006 Resolution19 in Romualdez v.
Marcelo,20 which involved a violation of
Section 7 of RA 3019. In resolving the
issue of whether or not the offenses
charged in the said cases have already
prescribed, We applied the same principle
enunciated in Duque21 and ruled that the
prescriptive period for the offenses therein
committed began to run from the
discovery thereof on the day former
Solicitor General Francisco I. Chavez filed
the complaint with the PCGG.

This was reiterated in Disini v.


Sandiganbayan22 where We counted the
running of the prescriptive period in said
case from the date of discovery of the
violation after the PCGG's exhaustive
investigation despite the highly publicized
and well-known nature of the Philippine
Nuclear Power Plant Project therein

involved, recognizing the fact that the


discovery of the crime necessitated the
prior exhaustive investigation and
completion thereof by the PCGG.

66

In Republic v. Cojuangco, Jr.,23 however,


We held that not all violations of RA 3019
require the application of the second mode
for computing the prescription of the
offense. There, this Court held that the
second element for the second mode to
apply, i.e. that the action could not have
been instituted during the prescriptive
period because of martial law, is absent.
This is so since information about the
questioned investment therein was not
suppressed from the discerning eye of the
public nor has the Office of the Solicitor
General made any allegation to that
effect. This Court likewise faulted therein
petitioner for having remained dormant
during the remainder of the period of
prescription despite knowing of the
investment for a sufficiently long period of
time.

An evaluation of the foregoing


jurisprudence24 on the matter reveals
the following guidelines in the
determination of the reckoning point
for the period of prescription of
violations of RA 3019,
viz:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

As a general rule, prescription begins to


run from the date of the
commission of the offense.
If the date of the commission of the
violation is not known, it shall be
counted form the date of discovery
thereof.
In determining whether it is the general
rule or the exception that should
apply in a particular case, the
availability or suppression of the
information relative to the crime
should first be determined. If the
necessary information, data, or
records based on which the crime
could be discovered is readily
available to the public, the general
rule applies. Prescription shall,
therefore, run from the date of the
commission of the crime.
Otherwise, should martial law
prevent the filing thereof or should

information about the violation be

suppressed, possibly through


connivance, then the exception
applies and the period of
prescription shall be reckoned from
the date of discovery thereof.

In the case at bar, involving as it does the


grant of behest loans which We have
recognized as a violation that, by their
nature, could be concealed from the public
eye by the simple expedient of
suppressing their
documentation,25cralawred the second
mode applies. We, therefore, count the
running of the prescriptive period from the
date of discovery thereof on January 4,
1993, when the Presidential Ad Hoc FactFinding Committee reported to the
President its findings and conclusions
anent RHC's loans. This being the case,
the filing by the PCGG of its AffidavitComplaint before the Office of the
Ombudsman on January 6, 2003, a little
over ten (10) years from the date of
discovery of the crimes, is clearly belated.
Undoubtedly, the ten-year period within
which to institute the action has already
lapsed, making it proper for the
Ombudsman to dismiss petitioner's
complaint on the ground of prescription.

Simply put, and as correctly held by the


Ombudsman, prescription has already set
in when petitioner PCGG filed the
Affidavit-Complaint on January 6, 2003.

The People of the Philippines Vs. Engr.


Rodolfo Yecyec, Rogelio Bias, Isidro
Victa, et al. G.R. No. 183551. November
12, 2014
To determine whether probable cause
exists and to charge those believed to
have committed the crime as defined by
law, is a function that belongs to the
public prosecutor. It is an executive
function.22 The public prosecutor, who is

given a broad discretion to determine


whether probable cause exists and to
charge those believed to have committed
the crime as defined by law and, thus,
should be held for trial, has the quasijudicial authority to determine whether or
not a criminal case must be filed in
court.23 Whether or not that function has

67
been correctly discharged by the public
prosecutor, that is, whether or not he has
made a correct ascertainment of the
existence of probable cause in a case, is a
matter that the trial court itself does not
and may not be compelled to pass upon.
The determination of probable cause to
hold a person for trial must be
distinguished from the determination of
probable cause to issue a warrant of
arrest, which is a judicial function. The
judicial determination of probable cause,
is one made by the judge to ascertain
whether a warrant of arrest should be
issued against the accused. The judge
must satisfy himself that based on the
evidence submitted, there is a necessity to
place the accused under custody in order
not to frustrate the ends of justice.27 If the
judge finds no probable cause, the judge
cannot be forced to issue the arrest
warrant.28chanrobleslaw

Corollary to the principle that a judge


cannot be compelled to issue a warrant of
arrest if he or she deems that there is no
probable cause for doing so, the judge
should not override the public prosecutor's
determination of probable cause to hold
an accused for trial on the ground that the
evidence presented to substantiate the
issuance of an arrest warrant was
insufficient. It must be stressed that in our
criminal justice system, the public
prosecutor exercises a wide latitude of
discretion in determining whether a
criminal case should be filed in court, and
the courts must respect the exercise of
such discretion when the information filed
against the person charged is valid on its
face, and that no manifest error or grave
abuse of discretion can be imputed to the
public prosecutor.29chanrobleslaw

Thus, absent a finding that an information


is invalid on its face or that the prosecutor
committed manifest error or grave abuse
of discretion, a judge's determination of
probable cause is limited only to the
judicial kind or for the purpose of deciding
whether the arrest warrant should be
issued against the accused.

In this case, there is no question that the


Information filed against the respondents
was sufficient to hold them liable for the
crime of Theft because it was compliant
with Section 6, Rule 110 of the Rules of
Court.30 Moreover, a review of the
resolutions of the MCTC, the Provincial
Prosecutor, the RTC, and the CA shows
that there is substantial basis to support
finding of probable cause against the
respondents, albeit with the RTC and the
CA having varying opinions as to the
application and interpretation of such
basis. Hence, as the Information was valid
on its face and there was no manifest
error or arbitrariness on the part of the
MCTC and the Provincial Prosecutor, the
RTC and the CA erred when they
overturned the finding of probable cause
against the respondents.

It was clearly premature on the part of the


RTC and the CA to make a determinative
finding prior to the parties' presentation of
their respective evidence that the
respondents lacked the intent to gain and
acted in good faith considering that they
merely sought to recover the rubber cup
lumps that they believed to be theirs. It
has long been settled that the presence or
absence of the elements of the crime is
evidentiary in nature and is a matter of
defense that may be best passed upon
after a full-blown trial on the
merits.31chanrobleslaw

In all, by granting this petition, the Court


is not prejudging the criminal case or the
guilt or innocence of the respondents. The
Court is simply saying that, as a general
rule, if the information is valid on its face
and there is no showing of manifest error,
grave abuse of discretion or prejudice on
the part of the public prosecutor, the court
should not dismiss it for lack of "probable
cause," because evidentiary matters
should first be presented and heard during
the trial. The functions and duties of both
the trial court and the public prosecutor in
"the proper scheme of things" in our
criminal justice system should be clearly

understood.32chanrobleslaw

68
People of the Philippines Vs. Enrique
Quintos y Badilla G.R. No. 199402.
November 12, 2014
A person commits rape when he sexually
assaults another who does not consent or
is incapable of giving consent to a sexual
act. Children, either in chronological or
mental age, are incapable of giving
consent to a sexual act.

Ariel T. Lim Vs. People of the Philippines


G.R. No. 190834. November 26, 2014
Thus, the present petition wherein
petitioner posits that jurisprudence
dictates the dismissal of the criminal case
against him on the ground that he has
fully paid the amount of the dishonored
checks even before the Informations
against him were filed in court. Petitioner
mainly relies on Griffith v. Court of
Appeals.
In the more recent case of Tan v.
Philippine Commercial International Bank,9
the foregoing principle articulated in
Griffith was the precedent cited to justify
the acquittal of the accused in said
case. Therein, the Court enumerated the
elements for violation of B.P. Big. 22 being
"(1) The accused makes, draws or issues
a check to apply to account or for value;
(2) The accused knows at the time of the
issuance that he or she does not have
sufficient funds in, or credit with the
drawee bank for the payment of the check
in full upon its presentment; and (3) The
check is subsequently dishonored by the
drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or
credit, or it would have been dishonored
for the same reason had not the drawer,
without any valid reason, ordered the
bank to stop payment."10 To facilitate
proving the second element, the law
created a prima facie presumption of
knowledge of insufficiency of funds or
credit, which is established when it is
shown that the drawer of the check was
notified of its dishonor and, within five
banking days thereafter, failed to fully pay
the amount of the check or make
arrangements for its full payment. If the

check, however, is made good or the


drawer pays the value of the check within
the five-day period, then the presumption
is rebutted. Evidently, one of the essential

elements of the violation is no longer


present and the drawer may no longer be
indicted for B.P. Blg. 22. Said payment
within the period prescribed by the law is
a complete defense.

Generally, only the full payment of the


value of the dishonored check during the
five-day grace period would exculpate the
accused from criminal liability under B.P.
Blg. 22 but, as the Court further
elaborated in
Tan:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

In Griffith v. Court of Appeals, the Court


held that were the creditor had collected
more than a sufficient amount to cover
the value of the checks representing
rental arrearages, holding the debtor's
president to answer for a criminal offense
under B.P. Big. 22 two years after the said
collection is no longer tenable nor
justified by law or equitable
considerations. In that case, the Court
ruled that albeit made beyond the grace
period but two years prior to the
institution of the criminal case, the
payment collected from the proceeds of
the foreclosure and auction sale of the
petitioner's impounded properties, with
more than a million pesos to spare,
justified the acquittal of the
petitioner.cralawred

x x x x

In the present case, PCIB already


extracted its proverbial pound of flesh by
receiving and keeping in possession the
four buses - trust properties surrendered
by petitioner in about mid 1991 and March
1992 pursuant to Section 7 of the Trust
Receipts Law, the estimated value of
which was "about P6.6 million." It thus
appears that the total amount of the

dishonored checks - P1,785,855.75 -, x


x x was more than fully satisfied prior to
the transmittal and receipt of the July
9,1992 letter of demand. In keeping
with jurisprudence, the Court then
considers such payment of the dishonored
checks to have obliterated the criminal
liability of petitioner.

69

It is consistent rule that penal statutes are


construed strictly against the State and
liberally in favor of the accused. And since
penal laws should not be applied
mechanically, the Court must determine
whether the application of the penal law is
consistent with the purpose and reason of
the law. x x x11 (Underscoring supplied)

Thus, although payment of the value of


the bounced check, if made beyond the 5day period provided for in B.P. Blg. 22,
would normally not extinguish criminal
liability, the aforementioned cases show
that the Court acknowledges the existence
of extraordinary cases where, even if all
the elements of the crime or offense are
present, the conviction of the accused
would prove to be abhorrent to society's
sense of justice. Just like in Griffith and in
Tan,12 petitioner should not be penalized
although all the elements of violation of
B.P. Blg. 22 are proven to be present. The
fact that the issuer of the check had
already paid the value of the dishonored
check after having received the subpoena
from the Office of the Prosecutor should
have forestalled the filing of the
Information in court. The spirit of the law
which, for B.P. Big. 22, is the protection of
the credibility and stability of the banking
system, would not be served by penalizing
people who have evidently made amends
for their mistakes and made restitution for
damages even before charges have been
filed against them. In effect, the payment
of the checks before the filing of the
informations has already attained the
purpose of the law.

It should be emphasized as well that


payment of the value of the bounced
check after the information has been
filed in court would no longer have the
effect of exonerating the accused from
possible conviction for violation of B.P.
Big. 22. Since from the commencement of
the criminal proceedings in court, there is
no circumstance whatsoever to show that
the accused had every intention to
mitigate or totally alleviate the ill effects

of his issuance of the unfunded check,

then there is no equitable and compelling


reason to preclude his prosecution. In
such a case, the letter of the law should
be applied to its full extent.

Furthermore, to avoid any confusion, the


Court's ruling in this case should be well
differentiated from cases where the
accused is charged with estafa under
Article 315, par. 2(d) of the Revised Penal
Code, where the fraud is perpetuated by
postdating a check, or issuing a check in
payment of an obligation when the
offender had no funds in the bank, or his
funds deposited therein were not sufficient
to cover the amount of the check. In said
case of estafa, damage and deceit are the
essential elements of the offense, and the
check is merely the accused's tool in
committing fraud. In such a case, paying
the value of the dishonored check will not
free the accused from criminal liability. It
will merely satisfy the civil liability of the
crime but not the criminal liability.

In fine, the Court holds that herein


petitioner must be exonerated from the
imposition of penalties for violation of B.P.
Big. 22 as he had already paid the amount
of the dishonored checks six (6) months
before the filing of Informations with the
court. Such a course of action is more in
keeping with justice and equity.

People of the Philippines Vs. Virgilio


Amora y Viscarra G.R. No. 190322.
November 26, 2014
The qualifying circumstance of treachery
does not require that the perpetrator
attack his victim from behind. "Even a
frontal attack could be treacherous when
unexpected and on an unarmed victim
who would be in no position to repel the
attack or avoid it."1chanrobleslaw

Rosal Hubilla y Carillo Vs. People of the

Philippines G.R. No. 176102. November


26, 2014
The Court recognizes the mandate of
Republic Act No. 9344 (Juvenile Justice
and Welfare Act of 2006) to protect the
best interest of the child in conflict with
the law through measures that will ensure
the observance of international standards
of child protection,1 and to apply the

70
principles of restorative justice in all laws,
policies and programs applicable to
children in conflict with the law.2 The
mandate notwithstanding, the Court will
not hesitate or halt to impose the penalty
of imprisonment whenever warranted on a
child in conflict with the law.chanrobleslaw
A review of the provisions of Republic Act
No. 9344 reveals, however, that
imprisonment of children in conflict with
the law is by no means prohibited. While
Section 5 (c) of Republic Act No. 9344
bestows on children in conflict with the
law the right not to be unlawfully or
arbitrarily deprived of their liberty;
imprisonment as a proper disposition of a
case is duly recognized, subject to certain
restrictions on the imposition of
imprisonment, namely: (a) the detention
or imprisonment is a disposition of last
resort, and (b) the detention or
imprisonment shall be for the shortest
appropriate period of time. Thereby, the
trial and appellate courts did not violate
the letter and spirit of Republic Act No.
9344 by imposing the penalty of
imprisonment on the petitioner simply
because the penalty was imposed as a last
recourse after holding him to be
disqualified from probation and from the
suspension of his sentence, and the term
of his imprisonment was for the shortest
duration permitted by the law.

A survey of relevant international


agreements13 supports the course of
action taken herein. The United Nations
Standard Minimum Rules for the
Administration of Juvenile Justice (Beijing
Guidelines),14 the United Nations
Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile
Delinquency (Riyadh Guidelines) and the
United Nations Rules for the Protection of
Juveniles Deprived of Liberty15 are
consistent in recognizing that
imprisonment is a valid form of
disposition, provided it is imposed as a
last resort and for the minimum necessary
period.

Lastly, following Section 51 of Republic


Act No. 9344, the petitioner, although he

has to serve his sentence, may serve it in

an agricultural camp or other training


facilities to be established, maintained,
supervised and controlled by the Bureau
of Corrections, in coordination with the
Department of Social Welfare and
Development, in a manner consistent with
the offender child's best interest. Such
service of sentence will be in lieu of
service in the regular penal institution.

Alfredo De Guzman, Jr. Vs. People of the


Philippines G.R. No. 178512. November
26, 2014
Frustrated homicide requires intent to kill
on the part of the offender. Without proof
of such intent, the felony may only be
serious physical injuries. Intent to kill may
be established through the overt and
external acts and conduct of the offender
before, during and after the assault, or by
the nature, location and number of the
wounds inflicted on the victim.

Artemio Villareal Vs. People of the


Philippines/People of the Philippines
Vs. the Hon. Court of Appeals, et
al./Fidelito Dizon Vs. People of the
Philippines/Gerarda H. Villa Vs.
Manuel Lorenzo Escalona II, et al.
G.R. No. 151258/G.R. No. 154954/G.R.
No. 155101/G.R. Nos. 178057 & 178080.
December 1, 2014
We are asked to revisit our
Decision in the case involving the
death of Leonardo Lenny Villa
due to fraternity hazing. While
there is nothing new in the
arguments raised by the parties in
their respective Motions for
Clarification or Reconsideration, we
find a few remaining matters
needing to be clarified and
resolved. Some of these matters
include the effect of our Decision
on the finality of the Court of
Appeals judgments insofar as
respondents Antonio Mariano
Almeda (Almeda), Junel Anthony

D. Ama (Ama), Renato Bantug, Jr.


(Bantug), and Vincent Tecson
(Tecson) are concerned; the
question of who are eligible to seek
probation; and the issue of the
validity of the probation
proceedings and the concomitant

71
orders of a court that allegedly had
no jurisdiction over the case.
The finality of a CA decision will not
bar
the state from seeking the annulment
of
the judgment via a Rule 65 petition.
Indeed, Rule 120 of the Rules of Court
speaks of the finality of a criminal
judgment once the accused applies for
probation, viz:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

SECTION 7. Modification of judgment.


A
judgment of conviction may, upon
motion of the accused, be modified or set
aside before it becomes final or before
appeal is perfected. Except where the
death penalty is imposed, a judgment
becomes final after the lapse of the
period for perfecting an appeal, or when
the sentence has been partially or totally
satisfied or served, or when the accused
has waived in writing his right to appeal,
or has applied for probation. (7a)
(Emphases supplied)

Coupled with Section 7 of Rule 11725 and


Section 1 of Rule 122,26 it can be culled
from the foregoing provisions that only
the accused may appeal the criminal
aspect of a criminal case, especially if the
relief being sought is the correction or
review of the judgment therein. This rule
was instituted in order to give life to the
constitutional edict27 against putting a
person twice in jeopardy of punishment
for the same offense. It is beyond
contention that the accused would be
exposed to double jeopardy if the state
appeals the criminal judgment in order to
reverse an acquittal or even to increase
criminal liability. Thus, the accused s
waiver of the right to appeal
as when
applying for probation makes the
criminal judgment immediately final and
executory.

In view thereof, we find that the proper


interpretation of Section 7 of Rule 120
must be that it is inapplicable and
irrelevant where the court s jurisdiction is
being assailed through a Rule 65 petition.
Section 7 of Rule 120 bars the

modification of a criminal judgment only if


the appeal brought before the court is in
the nature of a regular appeal under Rule
41, or an appeal by certiorari under Rule
45, and if that appeal would put the
accused in double jeopardy. As it is, we
find no irregularity in the partial
annulment of the CA Decision in CA-G.R.
No. 15520 in spite of its finality, as the
judgment therein was issued with grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction.
The orders of Caloocan City RTC
Branch 130 have no legal effect, as
they were issued without jurisdiction.

First, Tecson et al. filed their


Applications for Probation with the
wrong court. Part and parcel of our
criminal justice system is the authority or
jurisdiction of the court to adjudicate and
decide the case before it. Jurisdiction
refers to the power and capacity of the
tribunal to hear, try, and decide a
particular case or matter before it.31 That
power and capacity includes the
competence to pronounce a judgment,
impose a punishment,32 and enforce or
suspend33 the execution of a sentence in
accordance with law.
The OSG questions34 the entire
proceedings involving the probation
applications of Tecson et al. before
Caloocan City RTC Branch 130. Allegedly,
the trial court did not have competence to
take cognizance of the applications,
considering that it was not the court of
origin of the criminal case. The OSG points
out that the trial court that originally
rendered the Decision in Criminal Case
No. C-38340(91) was Branch 121 of the
Caloocan City RTC.
The pertinent provision of the Probation

Law is hereby quoted for


reference:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

SEC. 4. Grant of Probation.


Subject to
the provisions of this Decree, the trial
court may, after it shall have
convicted and sentenced a defendant,
and upon application by said defendant
within the period for perfecting an appeal,
suspend the execution of the

72
sentence and place the defendant on
probation for such period and upon such
terms and conditions as it may deem
best; Provided, That no application for
probation shall be entertained or granted
if the defendant has perfected the appeal
from the judgment of conviction. x x x x
(Emphases supplied)

It is obvious from the foregoing provision


that the law requires that an application
for probation be filed with the trial court
that convicted and sentenced the
defendant, meaning the court of origin.
Here, the trial court that originally
convicted and sentenced Tecson et al. of
the crime of homicide was Branch 121
not Branch 130 of the Caloocan City
RTC.35 Neither the judge of Branch 130 in
his Orders nor Tecson et al. in their
pleadings have presented any explanation
or shown any special authority that would
clarify why the Applications for Probation
had not been filed with or taken
cognizance of by Caloocan City RTC
Branch 121. While we take note that in a
previous case, the CA issued a Decision
ordering the inhibition of Branch 121
Judge Adoracion G. Angeles from hearing
and deciding Criminal Case No. C38340(91), the ruling was made
specifically applicable to the trial of
petitioners therein, i.e. accused
Concepcion, Ampil, Adriano, and S.
Fernandez.36chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Tecson et al. thus committed a fatal error


when they filed their probation
applications with Caloocan City RTC
Branch 130, and not with Branch 121. We
stress that applicants are not at liberty to
choose the forum in which they may seek
probation, as the requirement under
Section 4 of the Probation law is
substantive and not merely procedural.
Considering, therefore, that the probation
proceedings were premised on an
unwarranted exercise of authority, we find
that Caloocan City RTC Branch 130 never
acquired jurisdiction over the case.

In any event, Tecson et al. were


ineligible to seek probation at the

time they applied for it. Probation58 is a


special privilege granted by the state to
penitent qualified offenders who
immediately admit their liability and thus
renounce their right to appeal. In view of
their acceptance of their fate and
willingness to be reformed, the state
affords them a chance to avoid the stigma
of an incarceration record by making them
undergo rehabilitation outside of prison.
Some of the major purposes of the law
are to help offenders to eventually
develop themselves into law-abiding and
self-respecting individuals, as well as to
assist them in their reintegration with the
community.

It must be reiterated that probation is not


a right enjoyed by the accused. Rather, it
is an act of grace or clemency conferred
by the state.

It points out that when they appealed to


the CA their homicide conviction by the
RTC, they thereby made themselves
ineligible to seek probation pursuant to
Section 4 of Presidential Decree No. 968
(the Probation Law).

We refer again to the full text of Section 4


of the Probation Law as
follows:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

SEC. 4. Grant of Probation.


Subject to
the provisions of this Decree, the trial
court may, after it shall have
convicted and sentenced a defendant,
and upon application by said defendant
within the period for perfecting an appeal,
suspend the execution of the
sentence and place the defendant on
probation for such period and upon such
terms and conditions as it may deem
best; Provided, That no application for
probation shall be entertained or
granted if the defendant has
perfected the appeal from the

judgment of conviction.

Probation may be granted whether the


sentence imposes a term of imprisonment
or a fine only. An application for probation
shall be filed with the trial court. The filing

73
of the application shall be deemed a
waiver of the right to appeal.

An order granting or denying probation


shall not be appealable. (Emphases
supplied)

Indeed, one of the legal prerequisites of


probation is that the offender must not
have appealed the conviction.61 In the
2003 case Lagrosa v. Court of Appeals,62
this Court was faced with the issue of
whether a convict may still apply for
probation even after the trial court has
imposed a non-probationable verdict,
provided that the CA later on lowers the
original penalty to a sentence within the
probationable limit. In that case, the trial
court sentenced the accused to a
maximum term of eight years of prisin
mayor, which was beyond the coverage of
the Probation Law. They only became
eligible for probation after the CA reduced
the maximum term of the penalty
imposed to 1 year, 8 months and 21 days
of prisin correccional.
The ultimate discharge of Tecson et
al.
from probation did not totally
extinguish
their criminal liability.

Accused Bantug asserts65 that, in any


event, their criminal liability has already
been extinguished as a result of their
discharge from probation and the eventual
termination of the criminal case against
them by Caloocan City RTC Branch 130.
As previously discussed, a void judgment
cannot be the source of legal rights;
legally speaking, it is as if no judgment
had been rendered at all. Considering our
annulment of the Orders of Caloocan City
RTC Branch 130 in relation to the
probation proceedings, respondents
cannot claim benefits that technically do
not exist.

In any event, Tecson et al. cannot invoke


Article 89 of the Revised Penal Code, as
we find it inapplicable to this case. One of
the hallmarks of the Probation Law is
precisely to suspend the execution of the

sentence, 66 and not to replace the


original sentence with another, as we
pointed out in our discussion in Baclayon
v. Mutia:67chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

An order placing defendant on


probation is not a sentence but is
rather in effect a suspension of the
imposition of sentence. It is not a final
judgment but is rather an
interlocutory judgment in the nature
of a conditional order placing the
convicted defendant under the supervision
of the court for his reformation, to be
followed by a final judgment of discharge,
if the conditions of the probation are
complied with, or by a final judgment of
sentence if the conditions are violated.
(Emphases supplied)

Correspondingly, the criminal liability of


Tecson et al. remains.
In light of our recent Decision in
Colinares v. People, Tecson et al.
may now reapply for probation.

Very recently, in Colinares v. People,68 we


revisited our ruling in Francisco and
modified our pronouncements insofar as
the eligibility for probation of those who
appeal their conviction is concerned.
Through a majority vote of 9-6, the Court
En Banc in effect abandoned Lagrosa and
settled the following once and for
all:69chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

People of the Philippines Vs. Shirley A.


Casio G.R. No. 211465. December 3,

2014
Chicks mo dong? 1
With this sadly familiar question
being used on the streets of many
of our cities, the fate of many
desperate women is sealed and
their futures vanquished. This case
resulted in the rescue of two
minors from this pernicious
practice. Hopefully, there will be
more rescues. Trafficking in
persons is a deplorable crime. It is
committed even though the minor
knew about or consented to the act
of trafficking.

74
This case involves Republic Act No.
9208,2 otherwise known as the
Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of
2003. 3

Alejandro C. Rivera Vs. People of the


Philippines/Alfredo Y. Perez, Jr. Vs.
People of the Philippines/Luis D.
Montero Vs. People of the Philippines
G.R. No. 156577/G.R. No. 156587/G.R.
No. 156749. December 3, 2014
WHETHER OR NOT THE
CONVICTION OF THE
PETITIONERS FOR THE CRIME
OF VIOLATING SECTION 3(E)
OF R.A. NO. 3019 IS PROPER.
At any rate, the Court has reviewed and
scrutinized the records and found no
cogent reason to reverse the conviction of
the petitioners, who were charged with
violating Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019.
The essential elements of such crime are
as follows:

The accused must be a public officer


discharging administrative, judicial
or official functions;
The accused must have acted with
manifest partiality, evident bad
faith or gross inexcusable
negligence; and
The action of the accused caused undue
injury to any party, including the
government, or gave any private
party unwarranted benefits,
advantage or preference in the
discharge of the functions of the
accused.33

The Court has consistently held that there


are two ways by which a public official
violates Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 in
the performance of his functions, namely:
(1) by causing undue injury to any party,

including the Government; or (2) by


giving any private party any unwarranted
benefit, advantage or preference. The
accused may be charged under either
mode or both. The disjunctive term or
connotes that either act qualifies as a
violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No.
3019.34

It is not enough that undue injury was


caused or unwarranted benefits were
given as these acts must be performed
through manifest partiality, evident bad
faith or gross inexcusable negligence.
Proof of any of these three in connection
with the prohibited acts mentioned in
Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 is enough to
convict.35

The Court finds that the petitioners indeed


(1) committed undue injury to the
government and (2) gave unwarranted
benefits to PAL Boat through manifest
partiality. These findings will be discussed
in seriatim.
The accused gave unwarranted
benefits to PAL Boat through
manifest partiality

The Court rules that the petitioners gave


unwarranted benefits to PAL Boat and its
manager, Palanas, especially in its prequalification. The word "unwarranted"
means lacking adequate or official
support; unjustified; unauthorized or
without justification or adequate reason.
"Advantage" means a more favorable or
improved position or condition; benefit,
profit or gain of any kind; benefit from
some course of action. "Preference"
signifies priority or higher evaluation or
desirability; choice or estimation above
another.38

As correctly found by the Sandiganbayan,


PAL Boat was not financially and
technically capable of undertaking the

floating clinics project. The court a quo


believed that the petitioners knew that
and still awarded the project to PAL Boat.
They also failed to follow the proper
procedure and documentations in
awarding a negotiated contract. These
unwarranted benefits were due to the
manifest partiality exhibited by them in
numerous instances.
The accused caused undue
injury to the Government through
their manifest partiality

The Sandiganbayan was correct in ruling


that the petitioners also caused undue

75
injury to the government through their
continuing and manifest partiality towards
PAL Boat.

Undue injury in the context of Section


3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 should be equated
with that civil law concept of actual
damage. Unlike in actions for torts,
undue injury in Sec. 3(e) cannot be
presumed even after a wrong or a
violation of a right has been established.
Its existence must be proven as one of the
elements of the crime. In fact, the causing
of undue injury, or the giving of any
unwarranted benefits, advantage or
preference through manifest partiality,
evident bad faith or gross inexcusable
negligence constitutes the very act
punished under this section. Thus, it is
required that the undue injury be
specified, quantified and proven to the
point of moral certainty.50

As correctly stated by the Sandiganbayan,


the COA Audit Report visibly established
the undue injury committed against the
government. The total contract price of
the seven (7) floating clinics was
P700,000.00. The DOH, however, only
paid P630,000.00 because, upon the
discovery by the new Regional Director
Ortiz of the defects of the vessels, Palanas
was required to conduct repairs. Still he
failed to do so. Ortiz formally severed the
contract of PAL Boat and did not anymore
pay the remaining balance of P70,000.00.
Arias v. Sandiganbayan is not
applicable in the present case

Perez invokes the Arias doctrine58 which


states that [a]ll heads of offices have to
rely to a reasonable extent on their
subordinates and on the good faith of
those who prepare bids, purchase
supplies, or enter into negotiations. He
contends that he merely relied on the
vouchers and reports prepared by his
subordinates and released the payments
in good faith.

To clarify, the Arias doctrine is not an


absolute rule. It is not a magic cloak that
can be used as a cover by a public officer

to conceal himself in the shadows of his


subordinates and necessarily escape
liability. Thus, this ruling cannot be
applied to exculpate the petitioners in
view of the peculiar circumstances in this
case which should have prompted them,
as heads of offices, to exercise a higher
degree of circumspection and, necessarily,
go beyond what their subordinates had
prepared.59

The case of Cruz v. Sandiganbayan60


carved out an exception to the Arias
doctrine, stating that:

Unlike in Arias, however, there exists in


the present case an exceptional
circumstance which should have prodded
petitioner, if he were out to protect the
interest of the municipality he swore to
serve, to be curious and go beyond what
his subordinates prepared or
recommended. In fine, the added reason
contemplated in Arias which would have
put petitioner on his guard and examine
the check/s and vouchers with some
degree of circumspection before signing
the same was obtaining in this case.

In the case at bench, Perez should have


placed himself on guard when the
documents and vouchers given to him by
his subordinates did not indicate the
retention money required by P.D. No.
1594. Moreover, when he personally
inspected the construction site of PAL
Boat, he should have noticed the financial
weakness of the contractor and the
defective works. Deplorably, Perez kept
mum and chose to continue causing
undue injury to the government. No other
conclusion can be inferred other than his
manifest partiality towards PAL Boat.
Conspiracy among the accused

exists despite the acquittal of


Soriano

Finally, the petitioners contend that the


acquittal of Soriano showed the
inexistence of conspiracy among them. In
conspiracy, the act of one is not the act of
all. There being no common design among
them, they deserve to be acquitted.

76

Their argument does not merit


consideration.

A conspiracy exists when two or more


persons come to an agreement concerning
the commission of a felony and decide to
commit it. To determine conspiracy, there
must be a common design to commit a
felony.61 A conspiracy is in its nature a
joint offense. The crime depends upon the
joint act or intent of two or more person.
Yet, it does not follow that one person
cannot be convicted of conspiracy. As long
as the acquittal or death of a coconspirator does not remove the basis of a
charge of conspiracy, one defendant may
be found guilty of the offense.62

In this case, the common criminal design


of the petitioners was their act of prequalifying PAL Boat and subsequently of
entering into a negotiated contract. As
stated by the Sandiganbayan, Soriano was
acquitted because the prosecution failed
to show that he had any participation in
pre-qualifying PAL Boat for the contract.63
He merely performed monitoring activities
during the implementation of the project.
The criminal design still exists despite
Soriano s acquittal, because all the
petitioners were involved in pre-qualifying
PAL Boat. Rivera recommended the prequalification of PAL Boat, which was
approved by Perez and then Montero
eventually entered into a negotiated
contract with it. Hence, the unity of
criminal design and execution was very
patent.

People of the Philippines Vs. Leonardo


Castrodes G.R. No. 206768. December
3, 2014
There is no rule that rape is committed
only in seclusion.1 A man s carnality is not
hindered by time or place his prurient
desire impels him to commit rape even in
the most public of places.

Mel Caprizo Candelaria Vs. People of the


Philippines G.R. No. 209386. December
8, 2014
The elements of Qualified Theft,
punishable under Article 31028 in
relation to Article 30929 of the

Revised Penal Code (RPC), as


amended, are: (a) the taking of
personal property; (b) the said
property belongs to another; (c)
the said taking be done with intent
to gain; (d) it be done without the
owner s consent; (e) it be
accomplished without the use of
violence or intimidation against
persons, nor of force upon things;
and (f) it be done under any of the
circumstances enumerated in
Article 310 of the RPC, i.e., with
grave abuse of confidence.30
In this case, there is a confluence
of all the foregoing elements.
Through the testimony of the
prosecution witnesses, it was
sufficiently established that the
14,000 liters of diesel fuel loaded
into the lorry truck with plate
number PTA-945 driven by
Candelaria for delivery to Viron on
August 23, 2006 was taken by him,
without the authority and consent
of Lao, the owner of the diesel fuel,
and that Candelaria abused the
confidence reposed upon him by
Lao, as his employer.

Antonio L. Daluraya Vs. Marla Oliva G.R.


No. 210148. December 8, 2014
The Issue Before the Court
The sole issue advanced for the
Court s resolution is whether or not
the CA was correct in finding
Daluraya civilly liable for Marina
Oliva s death despite his acquittal

in the criminal case for Reckless


Imprudence Resulting in Homicide
on the ground of insufficiency of
evidence.
The Court s Ruling

The petition is meritorious.

Every person criminally liable for a felony


is also civilly liable. The acquittal of an
accused of the crime charged, however,
does not necessarily extinguish his civil
liability.31 In Manantan v. CA,32 the Court
expounded on the two kinds of acquittal

77
recognized by our law and their
concomitant effects on the civil liability of
the accused, as follows:

Our law recognizes two kinds of acquittal,


with different effects on the civil liability of
the accused. First is an acquittal on the
ground that the accused is not the author
of the act or omission complained of. This
instance closes the door to civil liability,
for a person who has been found to be not
the perpetrator of any act or omission
cannot and can never be held liable for
such act or omission. There being no
delict, civil liability ex delicto is out of the
question, and the civil action, if any, which
may be instituted must be based on
grounds other than the delict complained
of. This is the situation contemplated in
Rule 111 of the Rules of Court. The
second instance is an acquittal based on
reasonable doubt on the guilt of the
accused. In this case, even if the guilt of
the accused has not been satisfactorily
established, he is not exempt from civil
liability which may be proved by
preponderance of evidence only.33

In Dayap v. Sendiong,34 the Court


explained further:

The acquittal of the accused does not


automatically preclude a judgment against
him on the civil aspect of the case. The
extinction of the penal action does not
carry with it the extinction of the civil
liability where: (a) the acquittal is based
on reasonable doubt as only
preponderance of evidence is required; (b)
the court declares that the liability of the
accused is only civil; and (c) the civil
liability of the accused does not arise from
or is not based upon the crime of which
the accused is acquitted. However, the
civil action based on delict may be
deemed extinguished if there is a
finding on the final judgment in the
criminal action that the act or
omission from which the civil liability
may arise did not exist or where the
accused did not commit the acts or

omission imputed to him.

Thus, if demurrer is granted and the


accused is acquitted by the court, the
accused has the right to adduce evidence
on the civil aspect of the case unless the
court also declares that the act or
omission from which the civil liability
may arise did not exist. This is because
when the accused files a demurrer to
evidence, he has not yet adduced
evidence both on the criminal and civil
aspects of the case. The only evidence on
record is the evidence for the prosecution.
What the trial court should do is issue an
order or partial judgment granting the
demurrer to evidence and acquitting the
accused, and set the case for continuation
of trial for the accused to adduce evidence
on the civil aspect of the case and for the
private complainant to adduce evidence
by way of rebuttal. Thereafter, the court
shall render judgment on the civil aspect
of the case.35 (Emphases supplied)

In case of an acquittal, the Rules of Court


requires that the judgment state whether
the evidence of the prosecution absolutely
failed to prove the guilt of the accused or
merely failed to prove his guilt beyond
reasonable doubt. In either case, the
judgment shall determine if the act or
omission from which the civil liability
might arise did not exist. 36

A punctilious examination of the MeTC s


Order, which the RTC sustained, will show
that Daluraya s acquittal was based on the
conclusion that the act or omission from
which the civil liability may arise did not
exist, given that the prosecution was not
able to establish that he was the author of
the crime imputed against him. Such
conclusion is clear and categorical when
the MeTC declared that the testimonies of
the prosecution witnesses are wanting in
material details and they did not
sufficiently establish that the accused
precisely committed the crime charged
against him. 37 Furthermore, when Marla
sought reconsideration of the MeTC s
Order acquitting Daluraya, said court

reiterated and firmly clarified that the


prosecution was not able to establish that
the accused was the driver of the Nissan

78
Vanette which bumped Marina Oliva 38
and that there is no competent evidence
on hand which proves that the accused
was the person responsible for the death
of Marina Oliva. 39

Clearly, therefore, the CA erred in


construing the findings of the MeTC, as
affirmed by the RTC, that Daluraya s
acquittal was anchored on reasonable
doubt, which would necessarily call for a
remand of the case to the court a quo for
the reception of Daluraya s evidence on
the civil aspect. Records disclose that
Daluraya s acquittal was based on the fact
that the act or omission from which the
civil liability may arise did not exist in
view of the failure of the prosecution to
sufficiently establish that he was the
author of the crime ascribed against him.
Consequently,his civil liability should be
deemed as non-existent by the nature of
such acquittal.

People of the Philippines Vs. Palmy


Tibayan and Rico Z. Puerto G.R. Nos.
209655-60. January 14, 2015

The Issue Before the Court


The primordial issue for the Court s
resolution is whether or not
accused-appellants are guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of Syndicated Estafa defined
and penalized under Item 2 (a),
Paragraph 4, Article 315 of the RPC
in relation to PD 1689.cralawred
The Court s Ruling

The Court sustains the convictions of


accused-appellants.

Item 2 (a), Paragraph 4, Article 315 of the


RPC provides:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

Art. 315. Swindling (estafa).


Any person
who shall defraud another by any means
mentioned herein below shall be punished
by:

x x x x
By means of any of the following false
pretenses or fraudulent acts

executed prior to or simultaneously


with the commission of the fraud:
(a) By using a fictitious name, or
falsely pretending to possess
power, influence, qualifications,
property, credit, agency, business,
or imaginary transactions; or by
means of other similar deceits. x
x x x

The elements of Estafa by means of deceit


under this provision are the following: (a)
that there must be a false pretense or
fraudulent representation as to his power,
influence, qualifications, property, credit,
agency, business or imaginary
transactions; (b) that such false pretense
or fraudulent representation was made or
executed prior to or simultaneously with
the commission of the fraud; (c) that the
offended party relied on the false
pretense, fraudulent act, or fraudulent
means and was induced to part with his
money or property; and (d) that, as a
result thereof, the offended party suffered
damage.41chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

In relation thereto, Section 1 of PD 1689


defines Syndicated Estafa as
follows:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

Section 1. Any person or persons who


shall commit estafa or other forms of
swindling as defined in Articles 315 and
316 of the Revised Penal Code, as

amended, shall be punished by life


imprisonment to death if the swindling
(estafa) is committed by a syndicate
consisting of five or more persons formed
with the intention of carrying out the
unlawful or illegal act, transaction,
enterprise or scheme, and the
defraudation results in the
misappropriation of moneys contributed
by stockholders, or members of rural
banks, cooperatives, samahang
nayon(s), or farmers associations, or
funds solicited by
corporations/associations from the general
public.

Thus, the elements of Syndicated Estafa


are: (a) Estafa or other forms of

79
swindling, as defined in Articles 315 and
316 of the RPC,, is committed; (b) the
Estafa or swindling is committed by a
syndicate of five (5) or more persons; and
(c) defraudation results in the
misappropriation of moneys contributed
by stockholders, or members of rural
banks, cooperative, samahang nayon(s),
or farmers associations, or of funds
solicited by corporations/associations from
the general
public.42chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

In this case, a judicious review of the


records reveals TGICI s modus operandi of
inducing the public to invest in it on the
undertaking that their investment would
be returned with a very high monthly
interest rate ranging from three to five
and a half percent (3%-5.5%).43 Under
such lucrative promise, the investing
public are enticed to infuse funds into
TGICI. However, as the
directors/incorporators of TGICI knew
from the start that TGICI is operating
without any paid-up capital and has no
clear trade by which it can pay the
assured profits to its investors,44 they
cannot comply with their guarantee and
had to simply abscond with their investors
money. Thus, the CA correctly held that
accused-appellants, along with the other
accused who are still at large, used TGICI
to engage in a Ponzi scheme, resulting in
the defraudation of the TGICI investors.

To be sure, a Ponzi scheme is a type of


investment fraud that involves the
payment of purported returns to existing
investors from funds contributed by new
investors. Its organizers often solicit new
investors by promising to invest funds in
opportunities claimed to generate high
returns with little or no risk. In many
Ponzi schemes, the perpetrators focus on
attracting new money to make promised
payments to earlier-stage investors to
create the false appearance that investors
are profiting from a legitimate
business.45 It is not an investment
strategy but a gullibility scheme, which
works only as long as there is an ever
increasing number of new investors

joining the scheme.46 It is difficult to


sustain the scheme over a long period of
time because the operator needs an ever
larger pool of later investors to continue
paying the promised profits to early
investors. The idea behind this type of
swindle is that the con-man collects his
money from his second or third round of
investors and then absconds before
anyone else shows up to collect.
Necessarily, Ponzi schemes only last
weeks, or months at the
most.47chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

In this light, it is clearthat all the elements


of Syndicated Estafa, committed through a
Ponzi scheme,are present in this case,
considering that: (a) the
incorporators/directors of TGICI
comprising more than five (5) people,
including herein accused-appellants,,
made false pretenses and representations
to the investing public in this case,the
private complainants regarding a
supposed lucrative investment opportunity
with TGICI in order to solicit money from
them; (b) the said false pretenses and
representations were made prior to or
simultaneous with the commission of
fraud; (c) relying on the same, private
complainants invested their hard earned
money into TGICI; and (d) the
incorporators/directors of TGICI ended up
running away with the private
complainants investments, obviously to
the latter s prejudice.

Corollary thereto, the CA correctly


upgraded accused-appellants conviction
from simple Estafa to Syndicated Estafa.
In a criminal case, an appeal throws the
whole case wide open for review. Issues
whether raised or not by the parties may
be resolved by the appellate court.48
Hence, accused-appellants appeal
conferred upon the appellate court full
jurisdiction and rendered it competent to
examine the records, revise the judgment
appealed from, increase the penalty, and
cite the proper provision of the penal
law.49chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrarychanrobleslaw

Alejandro C. Almendras, Jr. Vs. Alexis C.

80
Almendras G.R. No. 179491. January 14,
2015
THE ISSUES
From the foregoing, we reduce the
issues to the following:
(1) Whether or not petitioner was
deprived due process;
(2) Whether or not the letters are
libelous in nature;
(3) Whether or not the letters fall
within the purview of
privileged communication; and
(4) Whether or not respondent is
entitled to moral and exemplary
damages, attorney s fees and
litigation expenses.
OUR RULING

We deny the petition.


First, we rule that petitioner was not
deprived of his right to due process.

Settled is the rule that a client is bound by


the mistakes of his counsel. The only
exception is when the negligence of the
counsel is so gross, reckless and
inexcusable that the client is deprived of
his day in court. In such instance, the
remedy is to reopen the case and allow
the party who was denied his day in court
to adduce evidence. However, perusing
the case at bar, we find no reason to
depart from the general
rule.18chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Petitioner was given several opportunities


to present his evidence or to clarify his
medical constraints in court, but he did
not do so, despite knowing full well that
he had a pending case in court. For
petitioner to feign and repeatedly insist

upon a lack of awareness of the progress


of an important litigation is to unmask a
penchant for the ludicrous. Although he
rightfully expected counsel to amply
protect his interest, he cannot just sit
back, relax and await the outcome of the
case. In keeping with the normal course of

events, he should have taken the initiative


of making the proper inquiries from his
counsel and the trial court as to the status
of his case. For his failure to do so, he
has only himself to blame.19 The Court
cannot allow petitioner the exception to
the general rule just because his counsel
admitted having no knowledge of his
medical condition. To do so will set a
dangerous precedent of never-ending
suits, so long as lawyers could allege their
own fault or negligence to support the
client s case and obtain remedies and
reliefs already lost by the operation of
law.20chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Second, we find that petitioner s
letters are libelous in nature and do
not fall within the purview of
privileged communication.

For an imputation to be libelous under


Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code, the
following requisites must be present: (a) it
must be defamatory; (b) it must be
malicious; (c) it must be given publicity;
and (d) the victim must be
identifiable.21chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Consequently, under Article 354, every


defamatory imputation is presumed to be
malicious, even if true, if no good
intention and justifiable motive is shown.
As an exception to the rule, the
presumption of malice is done away with
when the defamatory imputation qualifies
as privileged communication.22 In order to
qualify as privileged communication under
Article 354, Number 1,23 the following
requisites must concur: (1) the person
who made the communication had a legal,
moral, or social duty to make the
communication, or at least, had an
interest to protect, which interest may
either be his own or of the one to whom it
is made; (2) the communication is

addressed to an officer or a board, or


superior, having some interest or duty in
the matter, and who has the power to
furnish the protection sought; and (3) the
statements in the communication are
made in good faith and without
malice.24chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

81
Were petitioner s letters defamatory in
nature? We believe so.

In determining whether a statement is


defamatory, the words used are to be
construed in their entirety and should be
taken in their plain, natural, and ordinary
meaning as they would naturally be
understood by the persons reading them,
unless it appears that they were used and
understood in another sense.25 In the
instant case, the letters tag respondent as
a reknown black mailer, a vengeful
family member who filed cases against his
mother and siblings, and with nefarious
designs. Even an impartial mind reading
these descriptions would be led to
entertain doubts on the person s
character, thereby affecting that person s
reputation.

Malice can also be presumed inasmuch as


the letters are not privileged in nature.
Petitioner s contention that he has the
legal, moral or social duty to make the
communication cannot be countenanced
because he failed to communicate the
statements only to the person or persons
who have some interest or duty in the
matter alleged, and who have the power
to furnish the protection sought by the
author of the statement. A written letter
containing libelous matter cannot be
classified as privileged when it is
published and circulated among the
public.26 Examination of the letters would
reveal that petitioner himself intended for
the letters to be circulated (and they were
so) when he said
that:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

May I therefore request the assistance of


your office in circulating the above
information to concerned officials and
secretariat employees of the House of
Representatives.27

This lack of selectivity on his part is


indicative of malice and is anathema to his

claim of privileged communication


because such publication created upon the
minds of the readers a circumstance which
brought discredit and shame to

respondent s
reputation.28chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Lastly, having duly proved that all the
elements of libel are present in this case,
we rule that the damages awarded by
the trial court and affirmed by the
appellate court must be modified and
equitably reduced.

In awarding damages in libel cases, the


court is given ample discretion to
determine the amount, depending upon
the facts of the particular case.29 Article
2219 of the Civil Code expressly
authorizes the recovery of moral damages
in cases of libel, slander or any other form
of defamation. However, while no proof
of pecuniary loss is necessary in order
that moral damages may be awarded, x x
x it is nevertheless essential that the
claimant should satisfactorily show the
existence of the factual basis of damages
and its causal connection to defendant s
acts. 30 Considering that respondent
sufficiently justified his claim for damages
(i.e. he testified that he was embarrassed
by the said letters [and] ashamed to show
his face in [sic] government offices 31), we
find him entitled to moral and exemplary
damages.

Rogelio J. Gonzaga Vs. People of the


Philippines G.R. No. 195671. January
21, 2015
The Court s Ruling
The petition lacks merit.
Reckless imprudence, as defined in
Article 36540 of the RPC, consists in
voluntarily, but without malice,
doing or failing to do an act from
which material damage results by
reason of inexcusable lack of
precaution on the part of the
person performing or failing to

perform such act, taking into


consideration his employment or
occupation, degree of intelligence,
physical condition and other
circumstances regarding persons,
time and place.
In order to establish a motorist s

82
liability for the negligent operation
of a vehicle, it must be shown that
there was a direct causal
connection between such
negligence and the injuries or
damages complained of. To
constitute the offense of reckless
driving, the act must be something
more than a mere negligence in
the operation of a motor vehicle
a willful and wanton disregard of
the consequences is required.41
Willful, wanton or reckless
disregard for the safety of others
within the meaning of reckless
driving statutes has been held to
involve a conscious choice of a
course of action which injures
another, either with knowledge of
serious danger to others involved,
or with knowledge of facts which
would disclose the danger to any
reasonable person. Verily, it is
the inexcusable lack of
precaution or conscious
indifference to the
consequences of the conduct
which supplies the criminal
intent and brings an act of
mere negligence and
imprudence under the
operation of the penal law,
without regard to whether the
private offended party may himself
be considered likewise at
fault.42chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
In the present case, the RTC and
the CA uniformly found that
Rogelio s act of driving very fast
on the wrong side of the road
was the proximate cause of the
collision, resulting to the death of
Dionesio, Sr. and serious physical
injuries to Dionesio, Jr. and Cherry.
Notably, the road where the
incident occurred was a curve
sloping upwards towards Brgy.
Bocboc where the Inguitos were
bound and descending towards the
opposite direction where Rogelio
was going. Indeed, the very fact of
speeding, under such

circumstances, is indicative of
imprudent behavior.As a motorist,
Rogelio was bound to exercise
ordinary care in such affair by
driving at a reasonable rate of
speed commensurate with the
conditions encountered, as this
would enable him to keep the
vehicle under control and avoid
injury to others using the
highway.43] Moreover, it is
elementary in traffic school that a
driver slows down before
negotiating a curve as it may be
reasonably anticipated that another
vehicle may appear from the
opposite direction at any moment.
Hence, excessive speed, combined
with other circumstances such as
the occurrence of the accident on
or near a curve, as in this case,
constitutes
negligence.44 Consequently, the
Court finds that Rogelio acted
recklessly and imprudently in
driving at a fast speed on the
wrong side of the road while
approaching the curve where the
incident happened, thereby
rendering him criminally liable, as
well as civilly accountable for the
material damages resulting
therefrom.

People of the Philippines Vs. Jomer Butial


G.R. No. 192785. February 4, 2015
The prosecution s evidence must establish
that the illegal drug presented in court is
the same illegal drug actually recovered
from
appellant.1chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

BBB Vs. AAA G.R. No. 193225. February 9,


2015
ISSUE: ISSUANCE OF PERMANENT
PROTECTION ORDER (RA 9262)
Disquisition of the Court
The instant petition is not a proper
subject of a compromise agreement.

The Court cannot take the simplest course


of finally writing finis to the instant
petition by rendering a judgment merely

83
based on compromise as prayed for by
BBB due to reasons discussed below.
Alleging psychological violence and
economic abuse, AAA anchored her
application for the issuance of a TPO and a
PPO on the basis of the provisions of R.A.
No. 9262. In the instant petition, what is
essentially being assailed is the PPO
issued by the RTC and which was affirmed
by the CA. The rules, however, intend that
cases filed under the provisions of R.A.
No. 9262 be not subjects of compromise
agreements.
It bears stressing that Section 23(d) of AM
04-10-11-2C, explicitly prohibits
compromise on any act constituting the
crime of violence. In Garcia v. Drilon,21
the Court declared that:
Violence, however, is not a subject for
compromise. A process which involves
parties mediating the issue of violence
implies that the victim is somehow at
fault. x x x.22(Emphasis deleted)
AM No. 10-4-16-SC,23 on the other hand,
directs the referral to mediation of all
issues under the Family Code and other
laws in relation to support, custody,
visitation, property relations and
guardianship of minor children,
exceptingtherefrom those covered by R.A.
No. 9262.
While AAA filed her application for a TPO
and a PPO as anindependent action and
not as an incidental relief prayed for in a
criminal suit, the instant petition cannot
be taken outside the ambit of cases falling
under the provisions of R.A. No. 9262.
Perforce, the prohibition against
subjecting the instant petition to
compromise applies.
The courts a quo committed no error
in issuing a PPO against BBB.
the choices of the children as with whom
they would prefer to stay would alter the
effects of the PPO. Hence, this Court

affirms the herein assailed PPO except


items (d), (f), (g), (h) and (i) thereof

relative to who shall be granted custody


over the three children, how the spouses
shall exercise visitation rights, and the
amount and manner of providing financial
support, which are matters the RTC is now
directed to determine with dispatch.
The Court notes BBB s manifestation that
he and AAA had arrived at an amicable
settlement as regards the issues of
custody, exercise of parental authority
over, and support of DDD and EEE. While
these matters can be lawful subjects of
compromise, AAA s vacillation, as
expressed by her counsel, compels the
Court to exercise prudence by directing
the RTC to resolve with finality the
aforesaid issues. The parties are,
however, not precluded from entering into
a compromise as regards the aforesaid
issues, but the Court now requires the
RTC s direct supervision lest the parties
muddle the issues anew and fail to put an
end to their bickering.
The deletion from the PPO of the
directive of the RTC and the CA
relative to the award of support is not
warranted. While CCC is not BBB s
biological son, he was legitimated
under the latter s name. Like DDD and
EEE, CCC is entitled to receive support
from BBB.
Article 177 of the Family Code provides
that [o]nly children conceived and born
outside of wedlock of parents who, at the
time of the conception of the former, were
not disqualified by any impediment to
marry each other may be legitimated.
Article 178 states that [l]egitimation shall
take place by a subsequent valid marriage
between parents.
In the case at bar, the parties do not
dispute the fact that BBB is not CCC s
biological father. Such being the case, it
was improper to have CCC legitimated
after the celebration of BBB and AAA s
marriage. Clearly then, the legal process
of legitimation was trifled with. BBB

84
voluntarily but falsely acknowledged CCC
as his son. Article 1431 of the New Civil
Code pertinently provides:
Art. 1431. Through estoppel an admission
or representation is rendered conclusive
upon the person making it, and cannot be
denied or disproved
as against the person relying thereon.
At least for the purpose of resolving the
instant petition, the principle of estoppel
finds application and it now bars BBB from
making an assertion contrary to his
previous representations. He should not
be allowed to evade a responsibility
arising from his own misrepresentations.
He is bound by the effects of the
legitimation process. CCC remains to be
BBB s son, and pursuant to Article 179 of
the Family Code, the former is entitled to
the same rights as those of a legitimate
child, including the receipt of his father s
support.
Notwithstanding the above, there is no
absolute preclusion for BBB from raising
before the proper court the issue of CCC s
status and filiation. However, BBB cannot
do the same in the instant petition before
this Court now. In Tison v. CA, the Court
held that the civil status [of a child]
cannot be attacked collaterally. The
child s legitimacy
cannot be contested by
way of defense or as a collateral issue in
another action for a different purpose. The
instant petition sprang out of AAA s
application for a PPO before the RTC.
Hence, BBB s claim that CCC is not his
biological son is a collateral issue, which
this Court has no authority to
resolve now.
All told, the Court finds no merit in BBB s
petition, but there exists a necessity to
remand the case for the RTC to resolve
matters relative to who shall be granted
custody over the three children, how the
spouses shall exercise visitation rights,
and the amount and manner of providing

financial support.

This Court, thus, affirms the CA s order to


remand the case for the RTC to resolve
the question of custody. Since the children
are now all older than seven years of age,
they can choose for themselves whom
they want to stay with. If all the three
children would manifest to the RTC their
choice to stay with AAA, then the PPO
issued by RTC shall continue to be
executed in its entirety. However, if any of
the three children would choose to be
under BBB s care, necessarily, the PPO
issued against BBB relative to them is to
be modified. The PPO, in its entirety,
would remain effective only as to AAA and
any of the children who opt to stay with
her. Consequently, the RTC may
accordingly alter the manner and amount
of financial support BBB should give
depending on who shall finally be awarded
custody over the children. Pursuant to
Articles 201 and 202 of the Family Code,
BBB s resources and means and the
necessities of AAA and the children are the
essential factors in determining the
amount of support, and the same can be
reduced or increased proportionately. The
RTC is reminded to be circumspect in
resolving the matter of support, which is a
mutual responsibility of the spouses. The
parties do not dispute that AAA is now
employed as well, thus, the RTC should
consider the same with the end in mind of
promoting the best interests of the
children.

A final note on the effectivity and


violation of a PPO
The Court reminds the parties that the
application for the issuance of a PPO is not
a process to be trifled with. It is only
granted after notice and hearing. Once
issued, violation of its provisions shall be
punishable with a fine ranging from Five
Thousand Pesos (845,000.00) to Fifty
Thousand Pesos (8450,000.00) and/or
imprisonment of six (6) months.

85
Section 16 of R.A. No. 9262,
hand, provides that [a] PPO
effective until revoked by a
application of the person in
the order was issued.

on the other
shall be
court upon
whose favor

Pending the resolution of the instant


petition, BBB claims that he and AAA had
executed a MOA, upon which basis a
judgment by compromise is sought to be
rendered. Atty. Uyboco, on her part,
pointed out AAA s vacillation anent the
MOA s execution. With the foregoing
circumstances, the parties, wittingly or
unwittingly, have imposed upon this Court
the undue burden of speculating whether
or not AAA s half-hearted acquiescence to
the MOA is tantamount to an application
for the revocation of the PPO. The Court,
however, refuses to indulge the whims of
either parties. The questions raised in the
instant petition for the Court to dispose of
revolve around the propriety of the PPO s
issuance. The Court resolves that principal
query in the affirmative. The PPO thus
stands unless AAA, categorically and
without any equivocation, files an
application for its revocation.

People of the Philippines Vs. Ltsg.


Dominador Bayabos, et al./People of
the Philippines Vs. Radm. Virginio R.
Aris, et al. G.R. No. 171222/G.R. No.
174786. February 18, 2015
While this Court has recently faced
questions on the criminal liability of
fraternity members for hazing, this
case presents novel questions on
the extent of liability of schools and
school authorities under Republic
Act No. 8049, or the Anti-Hazing
Law.
The responsibility given to an academic
institution for the welfare of its students
has been characterized by law and judicial
doctrine as a form of special parental
authority and responsibility. This
responsibility has been amplified by the
enactment of the Anti-Hazing Law, in that

the failure by school authorities to take

any action to prevent the offenses as


provided by the law exposes them to
criminal liability as accomplices in the
criminal acts. Thus, the institution and its
officers cannot stand idly by in the face of
patently criminal acts committed within
their sphere of responsibility. They bear
the commensurate duty to ensure that the
crimes covered by the Anti- Hazing Law
are not committed.
It was within this legal framework that the
school authorities of the Philippine
Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) were
criminally charged before the
Sandiganbayan as accomplices to hazing
under the Anti-Hazing Law. Before they
were arraigned, the Sandiganbayan
quashed the Information against them on
the basis of the dismissal of the criminal
case against the principal accused and,
the failure to include in the Information
the material averments required by the
Anti-Hazing Law.
Consequently, this Petition was filed
before this Court questioning the
Sandiganbayan s quashal of the
Information.
THE ISSUES
The Special Prosecutor asks this Court to
address a number of legal issues. After a
thorough evaluation of the Petitions,
however, we cull the threshold issues
needing to be addressed by this Court as
follows:
I. Whether the prosecution of
respondents for the crime of
accomplice to hazing can proceed
in spite of the dismissal with
finality of the case against the
principal accused
II. Whether the Information filed
against respondents contains all
the material averments for the
prosecution of the crime of
accomplice to hazing under the
Anti-Hazing Law

86
OUR RULING
With regard to the first issue, we agree
with petitioner that the Sandiganbayan
erred when it dismissed outright the case
against respondents, on the sole ground
that the case against the purported
principals had already been dismissed. It
is a settled rule that the case against
those charged as accomplices is not ipso
facto dismissed in the absence of trial of
the purported principals; the dismissal of
the case against the latter; or even the
latter s acquittal, especially when the
occurrence of the crime has in fact been
established.
In People v. Rafael, the Supreme Court En
Banc reasoned thus: The corresponding
responsibilities of the principal,
accomplice, and accessory are distinct
from each other. As long as the
commission of the offense can be duly
established in evidence, the determination
of the liability of the accomplice or
accessory can proceed independently of
that of the principal. Accordingly, so long
as the commission of the crime can be
duly proven, the trial of those charged as
accomplices to determine their criminal
liability can proceed independently of that
of the alleged principal.
Nonetheless, as will be discussed below,
we affirm the quashal of the Information
against respondents.
Section 14, Article III of the Constitution,
recognizes the right of the accused to be
informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation against them. As a
manifestation of this constitutional right,
the Rules of Court requires that the
information charging persons with an
offense be sufficient. One of the key
components of a sufficient information is
the statement of the acts or omissions
constituting the offense charged, subject
of the complaint.
The information must also be crafted in a
language ordinary and concise enough to
enable persons of common understanding

to know the offense being charged against

them. This approach is intended to allow


them to suitably prepare for their defense,
as they are presumed to have no
independent knowledge of the facts
constituting the offense they have
purportedly committed. The information
need not be in the same kind of language
used in the law relied upon.
The crime of hazing is thus committed
when the following essential elements are
established: (1) a person is placed in
some embarrassing or humiliating
situation or subjected to physical or
psychological suffering or injury; and (2)
these acts were employed as a
prerequisite for the person s admission or
entry into an organization. In the crime of
hazing, the crucial ingredient
distinguishing it from the crimes against
persons defined under Title Eight of the
Revised Penal Code is the infliction by a
person of physical or psychological
suffering on another in furtherance of the
latter s admission or entry into an
organization.
In the case of school authorities and
faculty members who have had no direct
participation in the act, they may
nonetheless be charged as accomplices if
it is shown that (1) hazing, as established
by the above elements, occurred; (2) the
accused are school authorities or faculty
members; and (3) they consented to or
failed to take preventive action against
hazing in spite actual knowledge thereof.
First, we reject the contention of
respondents that PMMA should not be
considered an organization. Under the
Anti-Hazing Law, the breadth of the term
organization includes
but is not limited
to groups, teams, fraternities, sororities,
citizen army training corps, educational
institutions, clubs, societies, cooperatives,
companies, partnerships, corporations, the
PNP, and the AFP.
Attached to the Department of
Transportation and Communications, the

87
PMMA is a government-owned educational
institution established for the primary
purpose of producing efficient and welltrained merchant marine officers. Clearly,
it is included in the term organization
within the meaning of the law.
We also disagree with the Sandiganbayan
ruling that the quashal of the Information
was warranted for failure to allege that
the purported acts were not covered by
the exemption relating to the duly
recommended and approved testing and
training procedure and practices for
prospective regular members of the AFP
and the PNP. This exemption is an
affirmative defense in, not an essential
element of, the crime of accomplice to
hazing. It is an assertion that must be
properly claimed by the accused, not by
the prosecution. The reason for this rule is
that the accused carry the burden of proof
in establishing by clear and convincing
evidence that they have satisfied the
requirements thereof. Thus, the
prosecution s failure to point out in the
Information that the exception is
inapplicable would not justify the quashal
of that Information.
Nevertheless, we find
albeit for a
different reason that the Motion to
Quash must be granted, as the
Information does not include all the
material facts constituting the crime of
accomplice to hazing.
As can be gleaned from the above, the
indictment merely states that
psychological pain and physical injuries
were inflicted on the victim. There is no
allegation that the purported acts were
employed as a prerequisite for admission
or entry into the organization. Failure to
aver this crucial ingredient would prevent
the successful prosecution of the criminal
responsibility of the accused, either as
principal or as accomplice, for the crime of
hazing. Plain reference to a technical term
in this case, hazing
is insufficient and
incomplete, as it is but a characterization
of the acts allegedly committed and thus a

mere conclusion of law. Section 6, Rule


110 of the Rules of Court, expressly states

that the information must include, inter


alia, both the designation of the offense
given by the statute and the acts or
omissions complained of as constituting
the offense. The Special Prosecutor s
belated argument in his Petition before
this Court that the successful completion
of the indoctrination and orientation
program was used as a prerequisite for
continued admission to the academy
i.e., attainment of active midshipman
status does not cure this defect in the
Information. Thus, the Information must
be quashed, as the ultimate facts it
presents do not constitute the crime of
accomplice to hazing.
Finally, we reject the Special Prosecutor s
claim that the Sandiganbayan should just
have ordered the filing of another
information or the correction of the defect
by amendment, instead of dismissing the
case outright. Indeed, Section 4, Rule 117
of the Rules of Court, provides that if a
motion to quash is based on the ground
that the facts charged do not constitute an
offense, the court shall give the
prosecution a chance to correct the defect
by amendment. However, the provision
also states that if the prosecution fails to
make the amendment, the motion shall be
granted. Here, we point out that the
Special Prosecutor insisted in his
Comment on the Motion to Quash that
there was no defect in the Information.
Neither has he filed a new information
after the motion was sustained, pursuant
to Section 5, Rule 117. Thus, the
Sandiganbayan was correct in ordering
the quashal of the Information and the
eventual dismissal of the case.
This does not mean, however, that the
Special Prosecutor is now precluded from
filing another information. Section 6, Rule
117, specifically states that an order
sustaining a motion to quash would not
bar another prosecution. That is, of
course, unless respondents are able to
prove that the criminal action or liability
has been extinguished, or that double

88
jeopardy has already attached.