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RULE 110

Republic of the Philippines


Supreme Court
Baguio City
FIRST DIVISION
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
Plaintiff-Appellee,

G.R. No. 188322


Present:
CORONA, C.J.,
Chairperson,
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
BERSAMIN,
DEL CASTILLO, and
PEREZ,* JJ.

- versus -

Promulgated:
JOSEPH ASILAN y TABORNAL,
Accused-Appellant.

April 11, 2012

x---------------------------------------------------- x
DECISION

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:


This is an appeal filed by the accused-appellant Joseph Asilan y Tabornal (Asilan) to challenge the
February 25, 2009 Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 02686, which affirmed in toto his
Murder conviction, rendered by the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 20 of the City of Manila on January 8,
2007, in Criminal Case No. 06-243060.
On March 31, 2006, Asilan was charged with the complex crime of Direct Assault with Murder in an
Information,[2] the pertinent portion of which reads:
That on or about March 27, 2006, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused,
conspiring, and confederating with another whose true name, real identity and present
whereabouts are still unknown and mutually helping each other, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully, and feloniously attack, assault and use personal violence upon the person of PO1
RANDY ADOVAS y PE-CAAT, a member of the Philippine National Police assigned at Camp
Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig, MM, duly qualified, appointed, and acting as such, and therefore
an agent of a person in authority, which fact was known to the said accused, while PO1 RANDY
ADOVAS y PE-CAATwas in the performance of his official duty, that is, while handcuffing the
at-large co-conspirator for illegal possession of deadly weapon, herein accused suddenly appeared
and with intent to kill, treachery and evident premeditation, attack, assault, and use personal
violence upon said police officer by then and there repeatedly stabbing the latter with a fan
knife then grabbing his service firearm and shooting him, thereby inflicting upon the said PO1
RANDY ADOVAS y PE-CAAT mortal stab and gunshot wounds which were the direct and
immediate cause of his death thereafter.

Asilan pleaded not guilty upon his arraignment [3] on April 10, 2006. Pre-Trial Conference followed on
April 26, 2006, where the counsels agreed to stipulate that Asilan, who was at that time present in the RTC, was the
same Asilan named in the Information, and that the victim, Police Officer 1 (PO1) Randy Adovas y Pe-caat
(Adovas), was a police officer in active duty at the time of his death. [4] Trial on the merits ensued after the
termination of the pre-trial conference.
Below is the prosecutions version, as succinctly summarized by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG)
from the testimony of Joselito Binosa (Binosa)[5]:
In the evening of March 27, 2006, around 10:00 oclock, Joselito Binosa, a jeepney
barker/carwash boy while chatting with his friends at the El Nio Bakery along Teresa Street, Sta.
Mesa, Manila, heard a gunshot nearby. He then went to the place where the sound came and from
where he was standing which was about three (3) to four (4) meters away, he saw a uniformed
policeman, who seemed to be arresting someone and ordering the latter to lay on the ground.
The police officer pushed the man to the wall, poked the gun on him and was about to
handcuff the latter when another man, herein appellant Asilan arrived, drew something from his
back and stabbed the police officer on his back several times until the latter fell to the ground.
The man who was being arrested by the police officer held the latters hand while he was
being stabbed repeatedly by [Asilan]. The man who was being arrested then took the officers
gun and shot the latter with it.
The fellow barker of Joselito Binosa then threw stones at the malefactors who
subsequently left the place.
Joselito Binosa secretly followed [Asilan] and his companion who walked towards the
railroad track taking Teresa St., Sta. Mesa, Manila. [Asilan] entered an alley and thereafter
returned to the place of the incident. The other man walked on to the tracks.
At that moment, a policeman passed by and Binosa pointed [Asilan] to him. [Asilan] was
arrested and the knife which was used in the
stabbing was confiscated by the policeman.[6] (Citations omitted.)

The above narration of events was largely corroborated by Pol Justine San Diego (San Diego), a student,
who also witnessed the events that transpired on March 27, 2006.[7]
The prosecution also submitted as evidence Medico Legal Report No. M-219-06, [8] accomplished and
testified to by Dr. Vladimir V. Villaseor. The pertinent portion of the Medico Legal Report states:

SPECIMEN SUBMITTED:
Cadaver of Randy Pe-caat Adovas, 29 y/o male, married, a policeman, 167 cm in height
and a resident of 19 West Bank Road, Floodway, Rosario Pasig City.
PURPOSE OF LABORATORY EXAMINATION:
To determine the cause of death.
FINDINGS:
Body belongs to a fairly nourished, fairly developed male cadaver in rigor mortis with
postmortem lividity at the dependent portions of the body. Conjunctivae, lips and nailbeds are
pale. With exploratory laparotomy incision at the anterior abdominal wall, measuring 29 cm long,
along the anterior midline.
Trunk & Upper Extremity:

1)

Stab wound, right axillary region, measuring 6 x 4 cm, 16 cm from the anterior

midline.
2)
Stab wound, right hypochondriac region, measuring 2.3 x 0.7 cm, 2cm right of the
anterior midline, 9 cm deep, directed posteriorwards, downwards & medialwards, lacerating the
right lobe of the liver.
-overCONCLUSION:
Cause of death is MULTIPLE STAB WOUNDS & GUNSHOT WOUND OF THE
TRUNK AND UPPER EXTREMITIES.

Meanwhile, Asilan, in his Appellants Brief,[9] summed up his defense as follows:


On March 27, 2006, at around 10:00 oclock p.m. JOSEPH ASILAN [Asilan] was on
board a passenger jeepney on his way to Mandaluyong. As he had to transfer to another jeepney,
[Asilan] alighted at Old Sta. Mesa and waited for a jeep bound for Pasig City. Suddenly, three (3)
motorcycles stopped in front of him, the passengers of which approached and frisked him. He was
thereafter brought to the police station and in a small room, he was forced to admit to the stabbing
of a police officer. Thereafter, he was brought to a nearby hospital and was medically
examined. Then he was again taken to the police station where he was confronted with the knife
which was allegedly used in stabbing PO1 Adovas. He was mauled for refusing to confess to the
stabbing of the said policeman. Afterwards, he was presented to alleged eyewitnesses. However,
the supposed eyewitnesses were not the ones presented by the prosecution in court.[10]

The RTC convicted Asilan of Murder in its Decision [11] dated January 8, 2007, the dispositive portion of
which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court finds the Prosecution to have failed to
establish and prove beyond reasonable doubt the offense of direct assault. Where a complex crime
is charged and the evidence fails to support the charge as to one of the component, the accused can
be convicted of the other (People v. Roma, 374 SCRA 457).
WHEREFORE, his guilt having been proven beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of
murder with the qualifying circumstance of treachery, judgment is hereby rendered finding
accused Joseph Asilan y TabornalGUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder and is
hereby imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua. He is hereby ordered to pay the heirs of PO1
Randy Adovas y Pe-Caat the sum of 84,224.00 as actual damages, 25,000.00 for moral damages
and 50,000.00 civil indemnity.[12]

The RTC, in acquitting Asilan of Direct Assault, held that while it was confirmed that Adovas was in his
police uniform at the time of his death, the prosecution failed to establish convincingly that he was in the
performance of his duty when he was assaulted by Asilan. The RTC explained that there was no evidence to show
that Adovas was arresting somebody at the time Asilan stabbed him.[13] The RTC added:
What the framers of the law wanted was to know the reason of the assault upon a person
in authority or his agents. The prosecution failed to show why the victim was pushing the man on
the wall or why he poked his gun at the latter. That the victim was assaulted while in the
performance of his duty or by reason thereof was not conclusively proven.[14]

In convicting Asilan of Murder, the RTC held that his defense of denial could not be accorded more
weight than the categorical assertions of the witnesses who positively identified him as the man who suddenly
appeared from behind [Adovas] and stabbed the latter repeatedly. [15] Moreover, Asilan admitted that he was at the
scene of the crime when he was arrested, that he could not give any reason for the witnesses to falsely testify against
him, and that he did not know them.

Anent the aggravating circumstances, the RTC found that the killing of Adovas was proven to be attended
with treachery since Adovas was attacked from behind, depriving him of the opportunity to defend himself.
[16]

However, the RTC declared that the aggravating circumstance of evident premeditation could not be

appreciated x x x absent evidence that [Asilan] planned or prepared to kill [Adovas] or of the time when the plot was
conceived.[17]
As to the damages, the RTC found the prosecutions evidence, which consisted of Adovass wifes
testimony, and the receipts of the expenses she incurred in Adovass hospitalization, wake, and burial, sufficient to
award moral and actual damages.
On January 19, 2007, Asilan appealed[18] his conviction to the Court of Appeals, mainly on the ground that
the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. He subsequently filed a Motion to Litigate as a
Pauper, [19] which on February 28, 2007, was granted in an Order[20] by the RTC.
On February 25, 2009, the Court of Appeals rendered its Decision, affirming in toto the RTCs ruling.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed Decision dated 08 January 2007 of the
Court a quo in Criminal Case No. 06-243060, finding Accused-Appellant JOSEPH ASILAN Y
TABORNAL guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Murder, is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.[21]

The Court of Appeals rejected Asilans arguments and averred that his denial and bare attempt at
exculpation by trying to destroy the credibility of the candid, categorical, and trustworthy testimonies of the
witnesses must fail.
Aggrieved, Asilan is now appealing[22] his case to this Court, with the same assignment of errors he posited
before the Court of Appeals:
ASSIGNMENT OF ERRORS
I
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY
BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE OFFENSE CHARGED BY RELYING ON THE
INCONSISTENT AND UNNATURAL TESTIMONY OF THE ALLEGED EYEWITNESS.
II
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY
OF THE CRIME CHARGED DESPITE THE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE
HIS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.
III
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED
CIRCUMSTANCE OF TREACHERY.[23]

IN

APPRECIATING

THE

QUALIFYING

Discussion
Asilan was convicted of the crime of Murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code:

Art. 248. Murder. Any person who, not falling within the provisions of Article 246
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:
1.

2.

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;
In consideration of a price, reward, or promise;

3.

By means of inundation, fire, poison, explosion, shipwreck, stranding of a vessel,


derailment or assault upon a railroad, fall of an airship, by means of motor vehicles,
or with the use of any other means involving great waste and ruin;

4.

On occasion of any of the calamities enumerated in the preceding paragraph, or of


an earthquake, eruption of a volcano, destructive cyclone, epidemic, or any other
public calamity;

5.
6.

With evident premeditation;


With cruelty, by deliberately and inhumanly augmenting the suffering of the victim,
or outraging or scoffing at his person or corpse.

Asilan claims that the testimonies of the witnesses were not only filled with inconsistencies, they were also
incredible for being contrary to the common experience and observation that mankind can approve as probable
under the circumstance.[24]
Asilan insists that the testimony of Binosa should not be given credence as he was selective in his
recollection of the events. Asilan claimed that Binosa seemed to have recalled more details on cross-examination,
thus improving on the version he gave during his direct examination. Asilan further claims that Binosas
suggestion that Asilan returned to the scene of the crime after he committed the alleged crime is very
unlikely. Asilan avers that San Diegos testimony was likewise not credible as it was clearly only a more refined
version of Binosas account of the events. Moreover, Asilan says that San Diegos testimony is too good to be true
as he is unlikely to have a detailed recollection of an event, which according to him happened within a span of two
minutes.[25]
Credibility of Witnesses
It is a well-settled rule that the assessment of the trial court regarding the credibility of witnesses will
generally not be disturbed on appeal. The rationale for this doctrine is that the trial court is in a better position to
decide the issue, as it heard the witnesses themselves and observed their deportment and manner of testifying during
the trial.[26] The only exceptions to this rule are the following:
1. When patent inconsistencies in the statements of witnesses are ignored by the trial court; or
2. When the conclusions arrived at are clearly unsupported by the evidence.[27]
This Court sees no reason to apply the above exceptions and disturb the findings of the RTC, which were
affirmed by the Court of Appeals.

Our perusal of the records showed that the RTC was vigilant in its duty to ascertain the truth. The RTC itself
propounded clarificatory questions to Binosa and San Diego while they were testifying. At the end of the trial, the
RTC found these witnesses credible, and believed their eyewitness accounts because they were categorical in their
identification of Asilan as one of Adovass assailants. The RTC also pointed out that it could not find any dubious
reason for Binosa and San Diego to falsely implicate Asilan in a heinous crime. [28]
Alleged Inconsistencies
The alleged inconsistency in Binosas testimony does not render his testimony fictitious. The fact that he
was able to provide more details of the events only during cross-examination is not unusual, and on the contrary
tends to buttress, rather than weaken, his credibility, since it shows that he was neither coached nor were his answers
contrived.[29] After all, [w]itnesses are not expected to remember every single detail of an incident with perfect or
total recall.[30]
As for San Diegos testimony, it is not unnatural for him to have a detailed recollection of the
incident. Different persons have different reactions to similar situations. There is no typical reaction to a sudden
occurrence.[31] It is worthy to note that San Diego was only sixteen years old when he witnessed the stabbing of
Adovas. It was his first time to witness a person being stabbed right before his very eyes. He testified that three
months after that night, the events were still vividly imprinted in his mind. [32] It is thus not improbable that he could,
with certainty, identify Asilan as the man who stabbed Adovas that fateful night.
Likewise, our scrutiny of the so-called inconsistencies relied upon by Asilan showed that they only referred to
minor details, which did not affect the credibility of the prosecution witnesses. [33] InPeople v. Albarido,[34] this Court
said:
It is elementary in the rule of evidence that inconsistencies in the testimonies of prosecution
witnesses with respect to minor details and collateral matters do not affect the substance of their
declaration nor the veracity or weight of their testimony. In fact, these minor inconsistencies
enhance the credibility of the witnesses, for they remove any suspicion that their testimonies were
contrived or rehearsed. In People vs. Maglente, this Court ruled that inconsistencies in details
which are irrelevant to the elements of the crime are not grounds for acquittal. x x x.[35]

Credibility of the evidence


Asilan further asseverates that it is perplexing how none of the witnesses, who were present during the
incident, warned Adovas of the impending danger to his life. He contends that for evidence to be believed, it must
not only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness, but must be credible in itself such as the common experience
and observation of mankind can approve as probable under the circumstance.[36]
This Court would like to reiterate that no standard form of behavior is expected of an individual who
witnesses something shocking or gruesome like murder. This is especially true when the assailant is near. It is not
unusual that some people would feel reluctant in getting involved in a criminal incident.[37]

In the same manner, it is also not surprising that Asilan returned to the scene of the crime after stabbing
Adovas. His failure to flee and the apparent normalcy of his behavior subsequent to the commission of the crime
do not imply his innocence.[38] This Court, elucidating on this point, declared:
Flight is indicative of guilt, but its converse is not necessarily true. Culprits behave differently and
even erratically in externalizing and manifesting their guilt. Some may escape or flee -- a
circumstance strongly illustrative of guilt -- while others may remain in the same vicinity so as to
create a semblance of regularity, thereby avoiding suspicion from other members of the
community.[39]

Defense of Denial
Unfortunately, Asilans bare denial, when juxtaposed with the prosecution witnesses positive
declarations, is not worthy of credence. Denial, which is the usual refuge of offenders, is an inherently weak
defense, and must be buttressed by other persuasive evidence of non-culpability to merit credibility. The defense of
denial fails even more when the assailant, as in this case, was positively identified by credible witnesses, against
whom no ulterior motive could be ascribed.[40]
Asilan not only admitted that he was at the scene of the crime when he was arrested by the police
authorities, he also admitted that he did not know any of the prosecution witnesses prior to his trial. Moreover, he
had filed no case against the police officers whom he accused of mauling him to make him admit to the stabbing of
Adovas. Asilans self-serving statements deserve no weight in law and cannot be given greater evidentiary value
over the testimony of the witnesses who testified on positive points.[41]
Qualifying Circumstance of Treachery
Asilan pleads that treachery cannot be appreciated in the present case as the prosecution failed to establish that
he had consciously or deliberately adopted or chosen the mode of attack employed upon Adovas to deprive him of
an opportunity to defend himself or retaliate. Asilan argues that mere suddenness of the attack is not enough to
constitute treachery. He further posits that while it may be true that he allegedly came from behind, the mode of
attack could have occurred in a spur of the moment.[42]
The RTC correctly appreciated the qualifying circumstance of treachery in the killing of Adovas.
The prosecution was able to sufficiently establish the attendance of treachery in the case at bar. It is basic
in our penal law that treachery is present when the offender employs means, methods or forms which tend directly
and especially to insure the execution of the crime, without risk to himself arising from the defense which the
offended party might make.[43] In People v. Tan,[44] this Court expounded on the concept of treachery as follows:
The essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack, without the slightest
provocation on the part of the person attacked. Treachery is present when the offender commits
any of the crimes against persons, employing means, methods or forms in the execution thereof,
which tend directly and especially to insure its execution, without risk arising from the defense
which the offended party might make. In the case at bar, the attack on Magdalino Olos was
treacherous, because he was caught off guard and was therefore unable to defend himself, as
testified to by the prosecution witnesses and as indicated by the wounds inflicted on him. [45]

Both eyewitnesses testified on how Asilan attacked Adovas from behind. Adovas could not have defended
himself because Asilan stabbed him at his back repeatedly sans provocation or warning. The deciding factor is that
Asilans execution of his attack made it impossible for Adovas to defend himself or retaliate. [46]
Sufficiency of the Information
Asilan also claims that his constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of accusation against
him was infringed when he was convicted for Murder, since the manner by which he carried out the killing with the
qualifying circumstance of treachery was not alleged in the Information against him. Thus, he asserts, he was
effectively only charged with Homicide.[47]
This Court does not find merit in Asilans contention that he cannot be convicted of murder because his
acts of treachery were not alleged with specificity in the Information. Section 6, Rule 110 of the Rules on Criminal
Procedure states:
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 by the statute; the acts
or omissions complained of as constituting the offense; the name of the offended party; the
approximate time of the commission of the offense; and the place wherein the offense was
committed.
When the offense is committed by more than one person, all of them shall be included in
the complaint or information.

This Court held that [u]nder Section 6, the Information is sufficient if it contains the full name of the
accused, the designation of the offense given by the statute, the acts or omissions constituting the offense, the name
of the offended party, the approximate date, and the place of the offense. [48] The Information herein complied with
these conditions. Contrary to Asilans contention, the qualifying circumstance of treachery was specifically
alleged in the Information. The rule is that qualifying circumstances must be properly pleaded in the Information
in order not to violate the accuseds constitutional right to be properly informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation against him.[49] Asilan never claimed that he was deprived of his right to be fully apprised of the nature
of the charges against him due to the insufficiency of the Information.
This Court completely agrees with the Court of Appeals pronouncement that since treachery was
correctly alleged in the Information and duly established by the prosecution, x x x [Asilan]s conviction for the
crime of murder is proper.[50]
In any case, it is now too late for Asilan to assail the sufficiency of the Information on the ground that there
was failure to specifically allege therein how treachery was carried out. Section 9, Rule 117 of the Rules of Court
provides:
SEC. 9. Failure to move to quash or to allege any ground therefor.- The failure of the
accused to assert any ground of a motion to quash before he pleads to the complaint or
information, either because he did not file a motion to quash or failed to allege the same in said
motion, shall be deemed a waiver of any objections except those based on the grounds provided
for in paragraphs (a), (b), (g), and (i) of section 3 of this Rule.

Moreover, in People v. Candaza,[51] this Court held that [a]n Information which lacks essential allegations
may still sustain a conviction when the accused fails to object to its sufficiency during the trial, and the deficiency
was cured by competent evidence presented therein.[52] In this case, Asilan not only failed to question the
sufficiency of the Information at any time during the pendency of his case before the RTC, he also allowed the
prosecution to present evidence, proving the elements of treachery in the commission of the offense. Asilan is thus
deemed to have waived any objections against the sufficiency of the Information.[53]
Pursuant to prevailing jurisprudence, [54] this Court is increasing the award of civil indemnity from Fifty
Thousand Pesos (50,000.00) to Seventy-Five Thousand Pesos (75,000.00), and the moral damages from TwentyFive Thousand Pesos (25,000.00) to Fifty Thousand Pesos (50,000.00). Moreover, in view of the presence of the
qualifying circumstance of treachery, an additional award of Thirty Thousand Pesos ( 30,000.00), as exemplary
damages, in accordance with Article 2230 of the Civil Code,[55] should be awarded to the heirs of Adovas.[56]
As to actual damages, Adovass widow, Irene Adovas, presented the receipts showing that she paid
25,224.00 to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Inc., as hospital expenses, [57] 35,000.00 to Marulas Memorial Homes,
[58]

and 20,000.00 to Funeraria Saranay as funeral expenses,[59] or a total of 80,224.00.


Both the RTC and the Court of Appeals failed to consider that under Article 2206 of the Civil Code, Asilan

is also liable for the loss of the earning capacity of Adovas, and such indemnity should be paid to his heirs [60]:
Art. 2206. The amount of damages for death caused by a crime or quasi-delict shall be at
least three thousand pesos, even though there may have been mitigating circumstances. In
addition:
(1) The defendant shall be liable for the loss of the earning capacity of the deceased, and the
indemnity shall be paid to the heirs of the latter; such indemnity shall in every case be assessed
and awarded by the court, unless the deceased on account of permanent physical disability not
caused by the defendant, had no earning capacity at the time of his death;

Irene Adovas testified[61] on the amount her husband received as police officer and presented documentary
evidence to show that Adovas, who was only 29 years old when he died, [62] earned8,605.00 a month[63] at the time
of his death.
The following are the factors in computing the amount of damages recoverable for the loss of earning
capacity of the deceased:
1) The number of years on the basis of which the damages shall be computed. This is based on the formula
(2/3 x 80 age of the deceased at the time of his death = life expectancy), which is adopted from the American
Expectancy Table of Mortality; and
2) The rate at which the losses sustained by the heirs of the deceased should be fixed.[64]
Net income is arrived at by deducting the amount of the victims living expenses from the amount of his
gross income.[65] The loss of earning capacity of Asilan is thus computed as follows:
Net Earning Capacity = life expectancy x [gross annual income living expenses] [66]

= 2/3 [80-age at time of death] x [gross annual income 50% of gross annual income]
= 2/3 [80-29] x [103,260.00 51,630.00]
= 34 x 51,630.00
= 1,755,420.00
WHEREFORE, the decision dated February 25, 2009 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No.
02686 is hereby AFFIRMED insofar as it found accused-appellant Joseph Asilan y Tabornal guilty beyond
reasonable

doubt

of MURDER and

sentenced

to

suffer

the

penalty

of reclusion

perpetua,

with MODIFICATION as to the damages. Asilan is hereby ordered to indemnify the heirs of Randy Adovas y Pecaat the following: (a) 75,000.00 as civil indemnity; (b) 50,000.00 as moral damages; (c) 30,000.00 as
exemplary damages; (d) 80,224.00 as actual damages; (e) 1,755,420.00 as loss of earning capacity; and (f)
interest on all damages awarded at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of finality of this judgment.
SO ORDERED.

TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO


Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:

RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice
Chairperson

LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
Associate Justice

MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO


Associate Justice

JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ


Associate Justice
CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision
had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.

RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice

RULE 111
Republic of the Philippines
Supreme Court
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
DANTE HERNANDEZ DATU,
Petitioner,

G.R. No. 169718


Present:
CORONA, C.J.,
Chairperson,
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
DEL CASTILLO,
ABAD,* and
PEREZ, JJ.

- versus -

Promulgated:
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
Respondent.
December 13, 2010
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
DECISION
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:

This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the Decision [1] of
the Court of Appeals dated March 31, 2005 in CA-G.R. CR No. 26159, which affirmed the Decision [2] of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of the City of Manila, Branch 38 dated August 28, 2000 in Criminal Case No. 95144230 that found petitioner Dante Hernandez Datu guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Acts of
Lasciviousness penalized under Section 5, Article III of Republic Act No. 7610 or the Special Protection of Children
Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.

The full text of the Information filed against petitioner reads as follows:
The undersigned Assistant Prosecutor upon sworn complaint of Rolando Registrado, complainant
herein, in representation of his daughter, Jerica Registrado, whose statement is hereto attached as
Annex A, accuses DANTE DATU Y HERNANDEZ of the crime of Acts of Lasciviousness
punishable under RA 7610 otherwise known as the Special Protection Against Child Abuse,
Exploitation and Discrimination Act, committed as follows:
That on or about February 24, 1995, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused,
with lewd design, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously commit acts of
lasciviousness upon JERICA REGISTRADO, 5 years of age, by then and there inserting his finger
in the latters genitals, against her will and consent.[3]

Upon arraignment, petitioner pleaded not guilty; thus, trial ensued.

The pertinent facts of this case are as follows:

The evidence for the prosecution shows that in the morning of February 24, 1995, at
about 7:00 a.m., Jerica, aged 5, was playing with her friends Khamil and Neeca near the house of
their neighbor Boyet Rama (or Boyet) situated at the corner of a street in Old Sta. Mesa, Manila;
that suddenly, [petitioner] grabbed Jerica and inserted his middle finger in her vagina, after which,
he warned her not to tell it to anyone; that immediately, Jerica ran to her house; that while her
mother was giving Jerica a bath, she found bloodstain in her (Jerica) panty and blood in her
vagina; that upon being informed of her mothers discovery, Rolando, Jericas father, looked at her
vagina and found it swollen; and that asked by her father who did it, Jerica disclosed that it was
appellant.
On the same date, February 24, 1995, Jerica was brought to the NBI where she was
examined by Dr. Villena, whose findings are as follows:
GENITAL EXAMINATION:
Pubic hair, no growth. Labia majora and minora, coaptated (sic). Fourchette,
tense. Vestibular mucosa, congested. Contusion, purplish, peri-urethral area.
Hymen, thin, short, intact. Hymenal orifice measures 0.5 cm. in diameter.
Vaginal walls and rugosities, cannot be reached by the examining finger.
CONCLUSION:
Physical Virginity Preserved.
Professing innocence, appellant claimed that commission of the alleged sexual
molestation is highly improbable as it supposedly took place in a busy street; that the charge was
concocted upon inducement of David Escalo (or Escalo), a friend of Jericas parents, as admitted
by Escalo to Zaragosa during one of their drinking sprees; and that a case for oral defamation was
filed by him against Jericas parents for their false accusation.[4]

In the end, the trial court convicted petitioner of the crime charged in a Decision dated August 28, 2000, the
dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding the accused guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of Acts of Lasciviousness penalized under Section 5, Article III of
Republic Act 7610 and sentences him to suffer an indeterminate penalty of twelve (12) years and
one (1) day as minimum to fifteen (15) years, six (6) months and twenty (20) days of reclusion
temporal together with the accessory penalties provided by law, to indemnify private complainant
in the sum of P50,000.00 as and by way of moral damages and to pay the costs.[5]

Taking issue with the said judgment, petitioner appealed the same to the Court of Appeals but the appellate court
merely affirmed the assailed lower court ruling in a Decision dated March 31, 2005.

Undaunted, petitioner filed with this Court a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court[6] assailing the aforesaid Court of Appeals Decision. This Court gave due course to the petition and required
both parties to submit their respective Memoranda. However, in petitioners Memorandum, his counsel indicated that
petitioner died on August 3, 2006.[7] As proof of petitioners death, a certified photocopy of his Death Certificate with
Registry No. 2006-859[8] was attached as Annex 1 of the said pleading.

In light of this supervening event which occurred while petitioners appeal of the judgment of his conviction was
pending resolution before this Court, we are constrained by both law and jurisprudence to dismiss the present case
for the appeal has been rendered moot.

Article 89(1) of the Revised Penal Code instructs us that criminal liability is totally extinguished by the death of the
offender, to wit:
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.

In the seminal case of People v. Bayotas,[9] we formulated the following principles which guide this Court
as regards to the application of the foregoing penal provision, to wit:
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 the
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

xxxx
d)

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 the provisions of
Article 1155 of the Civil Code, that should thereby avoid any apprehension on a possible
privation of right by prescription.[10]

It is therefore evident from the foregoing discussion that venturing into the merits of petitioners appeal
given the circumstance of his untimely demise has become superfluous because, even assuming this Court would
proceed to affirm the lower courts judgment of conviction, such a ruling would be of no force and effect as the
resultant criminal liability is totally extinguished by his death. Consequently, his civil liability arising from the
crime, being civil liability ex delicto, is likewise extinguished by his death. Since his appeal was still pending before
this Court, there was no final judgment of conviction upon which an award of civil indemnity could be based.
Accordingly, this Court holds that the death of petitioner extinguished his criminal liability and the civil liability
based solely on the act complained of, i.e., acts of lasciviousness. Thus, the assailed Court of Appeals Decision

dated March 31, 2005, affirming petitioners conviction by the trial court, had become ineffectual. [11] As a result
thereof, the instant petition is hereby dismissed.
WHEREFORE, in view of the death of petitioner Dante Hernandez Datu, the Decision dated March 31,
2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 26159 is SET ASIDE and Criminal Case No. 95-144230 before
the Regional Trial Court of the City of Manila is DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.

TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO


Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice
Chairperson

MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO


Associate Justice

ROBERTO A. ABAD
Associate Justice

JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ


Associate Justice

CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision
had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.

RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice

RULE 113
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
A.M. No. MTJ-07-1666
September 5, 2012
(Formerly A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 05-1761-MTJ)
GERLIE M. UY and MA. CONSOLACION T. BASCUG, Complainants,
vs.
JUDGE ERWIN B. JAVELLANA, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT, LA CASTELLANA, NEGROS
OCCIDENTAL,Respondent.
DECISION
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
This administrative case arose from a verified complaint1 for "gross ignorance of the law and procedures, gross
incompetence, neglect of duty, conduct improper and unbecoming of a judge, grave misconduct and others," filed by
Public Attorneys Gerlie2 M. Uy (Uy) and Ma. Consolacion T. Bascug (Bascug) of the Public Attorneys Office
(PAO), La Carlotta District, against Presiding Judge Erwin3 B. Javellana (Javellana) of the Municipal Trial Court
(MTC), La Castellana, Negros Occidental.
Public Attorneys Uy and Bascug alleged the following in their complaint:
First, Judge Javellana was grossly ignorant of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure. Public Attorneys Uy and
Bascug cited several occasions as examples: (a) In Crim. Case No. 04-097, entitled People v. Cornelio, for
Malicious Mischief, Judge Javellana issued a warrant of arrest after the filing of said case despite Section 16 of the
Revised Rule on Summary Procedure; (b) In Crim. Case No. 04-075, entitled People v. Celeste, et al., for Trespass
to Dwelling, Judge Javellana did not grant the motion to dismiss for non-compliance with the Lupon requirement
under Sections 18 and 19(a) of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure, insisting that said motion was a prohibited
pleading; (c) Also in People v. Celeste, et al., Judge Javellana refused to dismiss outright the complaint even when
the same was patently without basis or merit, as the affidavits of therein complainant and her witnesses were all
hearsay evidence; and (d) In Crim. Case No. 02-056, entitled People v. Lopez, et al., for Malicious Mischief, Judge
Javellana did not apply the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure and, instead, conducted a preliminary examination
and preliminary investigation in accordance with the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, then set the case for
arraignment and pre-trial, despite confirming that therein complainant and her witnesses had no personal knowledge
of the material facts alleged in their affidavits, which should have been a ground for dismissal of said case.Second,
Judge Javellana gave the impression that he was a co-agent in a surety company with a certain Leilani "Lani"
Manunag (Manunag). Judge Javellana had conveyed to the public on several occasions that Manunag was in a
special position to influence him in granting provisional liberty to the accused.4 In different cases, Judge Javellana
(a) instructed the wife of an accused to file the Motion to Reduce Bond prepared by the PAO with Manunag, leading
the wife to believe that Manunag was a court personnel, hence, said Motion was never filed with the MTC and,
instead of the cash bond the accused intended to post, the accused was released on a surety bond issued by
Manunags company for which the accused still had to pay premium;5 (b) reduced the bail from P 40,000.00
to P 30,000.00, consistent with the reduced bail amount Manunag instructed the representative of the accused to
seek, not to P 10,000.00 as prayed for by the PAO in the Motion for Reduction of Bail or to P 20,000.00 as
recommended by the Chief of Police;6 (c) did not warn Manunag against getting involved in court processes as she
was engaged in surety insurance and did not even question a counter-affidavit of an accused prepared by "Lani;"7 (d)
instructed the relatives of the accused to go to Manunag who knew how to "process" an affidavit of desistance, and
when said relatives did approach Manunag, the latter charged them fees;8 (e) did not set the Motion to Reduce Bail
for hearing but granted the same because it was filed by "the intimate friend of judge who is an agent of surety" and
took cognizance of the amount of premium for the surety bond in determining the amount of bail;9 (f) denied the
Motion to Extend Time to File Counter-Affidavit for violation of the three-day notice rule, but granted the Motion to
Reduce Bail facilitated by Manunag even when it was filed in violation of the same rule; 10 and (g) issued warrants of
arrest under questionable circumstances, more particularly described in the immediately succeeding paragraph, in
which cases, the bail bonds of the accused were facilitated by Manunag.
Third, Judge Javellana violated Section 6(b), Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure and issued
warrants of arrest without propounding searching questions to the complainants and their witnesses to determine the
necessity of placing the accused under immediate custody. As a result, Judge Javellana issued warrants of arrest even
when the accused had already voluntarily surrendered or when a warrantless arrest had been effected.

Fourth, Judge Javellana failed to observe the constitutional rights of the accused as stated in Section 12(1), Article
III of the Constitution. Judge Javellana set Crim. Case No. 03-097, entitled People v. Bautista, 11 for preliminary
investigation even when the accused had no counsel, and proceeded with said investigation without informing the
accused of his rights to remain silent and to have a counsel.
Fifth, Judge Javellana was habitually tardy. The subpoena in Civil Case No. 05-001, entitled Villanueva v.
Regalado,12 only stated that the hearing would be "in the morning," without indicating the time. Judge Javellana
failed to arrive for the pre-trial of the case set in the morning of April 14, 2005. Judge Javellana was still a no-show
when the pre-trial was reset in the morning of April 15, 2005 and May 3, 2005. Finally, anticipating Judge
Javellanas tardiness, the pre-trial was rescheduled at 1:30 in the afternoon of another date.
Sixth, Judge Javellana whimsically or inconsistently implemented laws and rules depending on stature of the parties,
persons accompanying the parties, lawyers of the parties, and his personal relations with the parties/lawyers. Judge
Javellana, in several cases,13 denied or refused to receive Motions for Extension of Time to File Counter-Affidavits
signed only by the accused, yet in other cases,14 granted such motions. In another case,15 Judge Javellana denied the
Motion to Extend Time to File Counter-Affidavit for violation of the three-day notice rule, but granted the Motion to
Reduce Bail, which was in violation of the same rule. Judge Javellanas inconsistent and irregular ruling could be
due to the fact that the former motion was filed by Public Attorney Bascug, with whom Judge Javellana had an axe
to grind, while the latter motion was facilitated by Manunag.
Seventh, Judge Javellana also adopted the mantra that the "litigants are made for the courts" instead of "courts for
the litigants." In Crim. Case No. 03-104, entitled People v. Fermin, the accused, assisted by Public Attorney Uy,
pleaded guilty to the crime of attempted homicide. The accused filed a Petition/Application for Probation, prepared
by the PAO but signed only by the accused. Judge Javellana refused to accept said Petition/Application and required
the father of the accused to return the Petition/Application all the way from the MTC in La Castellana to the PAO in
La Carlota, despite the great distance between these two cities. The PAO already adopted the practice of preparing
the motions for extension of time to file counter-affidavit, motions for release of minor, or applications for
probation, but letting the accused themselves or their parents (in case the accused were minors) sign the
motions/applications, thus, enabling the PAO to serve as many clients as possible despite the lack of lawyers. Such
practice is not prohibited considering that under Rule 138, Section 34 of the Rules of Court, a party may conduct his
litigation in a municipal court "in person, with an aid of an agent or friend appointed by him for the purpose or with
aid of an attorney."16
Eighth, Judge Javellana did not observe the proper procedure in airing his complaints against public attorneys. Judge
Javellana rebuked the public attorneys in the Orders he issued. In one such Order,17 Judge Javellana misleadingly
stated that Public Attorney Uy "has already expressed her desire not to attend todays hearing," when Public
Attorney Uy actually waived her personal appearance at said hearing as she had to attend the hearing of a criminal
case at the MTC of Pontevedra. In another Order,18 Judge Javellana reported, prior to confirmation, that the PAO
lawyer refused to prepare the motion for extension of time to file counter-affidavit, thus, prompting the accused to
hire a special counsel. Additionally, Judge Javellana improperly filed his complaints against the public attorneys
appearing before his court with the Department of Justice or the District Public Attorney (DPA) of Bacolod City,
instead of the appropriate authorities, namely, the DPA of La Carlota City or the PAO Regional Director. Moreover,
Judge Javellana had required Public Attorney Bascug to explain why she allowed the accused in Crim. Case No. 03090, entitled People v. Earnshaw, to sign the Motion for Extension of Time to File Counter-Affidavits, even when
she was the one who prepared said Motion. Judge Javellana did not verify first whether it was indeed Public
Attorney Bascug who prepared the Motion in question, thus, violating her right to due process. Also, Judge
Javellana was already encroaching upon the domain of the PAO. It is the concern of the PAO and not the court "as to
how the Public Attorneys Office will be managed, specifically, what policies to use in the acceptance of cases
brought to its Office, how one could avail of its legal services, at what point in time one is considered a client of said
Office x x x ."19
Lastly, to support their complaint, Public Attorneys Uy and Bascug attached a hand-written note20 relating the
observations of an anonymous member of Judge Javellanas staff, viz:
Page One
1. Honorable Judge reports to duty at past 11:00 A.M. and hurriedly conducts preliminary investigations or
preliminary examinations after making party litigants wait from 8:00 A.M. until 11:00 A.M. There had been
occasions when litigants became impatient for waiting for several hours for the Judges arrival and would
leave the court. Judge then would forego the examination.
2. Judge spends more time conversing in cafeterias than stay in the court. Litigants who are in a hurry to go
home would bring the affidavits to the cafeteria for Judges signature.
3. Most of the time, in Court, in front of litigants as audience and even while solemnizing civil marriage
Judge would keep repeating these remarks:

I am a criminal lawyer.
I did not come from the DAR or the COMELEC.
I am an intelligent Judge.
I am the counsel of the famous Gargar-Lumangyao and Spider
Hunter cases and I have caused the execution of Col. Torres.
I am not under the Mayor or the Chief of Police.
and other remarks as if he is the only intelligent, credible and qualified judge in the whole world.
4. Judge tolerates the negligence of duty of his court utility worker. Said utility worker never reports to
open or close the court; he never cleans the courtroom; most of the time he stays in his Karaoke bar which
is some few meters away from the MTC of La Castellana. As a matter of fact the MTC of La Castellana is
the dirtiest of all the courtrooms in the whole province.
Page Two
5. Motion for Extension of Time to File Counter Affidavit in CC 03-090-Pp. vs. Efraim Earnshaw made by
Atty. Bascug was denied by Judge on the ground that it was the accused who signed the Motion and Atty.
Bascug was ordered to explain. Other motions had been denied for not meeting the 3-day rule but others
were granted.
6. Motion to Reduce Bail received by court on January 7, 2004 was not set for hearing but was ordered
granted because it was filed by the intimate friend of the judge who is an agent of Surety. This did not meet
the 3-day rule CC 03-108 Pp. vs. Lowell Panaguiton for "Homicide."
Page Three
1. Criminal Case No. 03-102- Julius Villanueva "Frustrated Homicide" Urgent Motion to Stay
Transfer to Provincial Jail - Filed 1/21/2004 was not heard but order was issued January 21, 2004
also.
2. Criminal Case No. 03-090- Efraim Earnshaw "Less Serious Physical Injuries" January 26, 2004
- Scheduled for arraignment but upon order of Judge on affidavit of Desistance of Melanie Pabon
and Motion to Dismiss was filed and case dismissed.
3. Deonaldo Lopez Case - Motion for Extension of Time to File Counter Affidavit dated 10-3-02
was signed by accused namely Deonaldo Lopez, Jojo Balansag, Junnel Jorge, and Bernie Bello granted by judge.21
Based on the foregoing, Public Attorneys Uy and Bascug prayed that Judge Javellana be removed from the MTC of
La Castellana.
In his Comment22 on the complaint against him, Judge Javellana discounted the allegations of Public Attorneys Uy
and Bascug as "baseless, untruthful, intrigues, malicious and a harassment tending to intimidate him," and countered
as follows:
First, Judge Javellana asserted that he was not grossly ignorant of the rules of procedure and explained his actions in
particular cases: (a) In People v. Cornelio, Judge Javellana issued a warrant of arrest for the two accused charged
with Malicious Mischief in the exercise of his judicial discretion, and the necessity of holding the accused in
detention became evident when it was revealed during trial that the same accused were wanted for Attempted
Homicide in Crim. Case No. 04-096; (b) In People v. Celeste, et al., Judge Javellana insisted that referral of the
dispute (involving an alleged Trespass to Dwelling) to the Lupong Tagapamayapa was not a jurisdictional
requirement and the Motion to Dismiss on said ground was a prohibited pleading under the Revised Rule on
Summary Procedure; (c) Still in People v. Celeste, et al., Judge Javellana refused to dismiss outright the complaint
as prayed for by Public Attorney Uy as the Judge had to accord due process to the complainant in said case; and (d)
In People v. Lopez, et al. another case for Malicious Mischief, Judge Javellana reiterated that a motion to dismiss is
a prohibited pleading under the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure and added that he could not dismiss the case
outright since the prosecution has not yet fully presented its evidence.

Second, Judge Javellana denied acting as the co-agent of Manunag. Manunag was an Authorized Surety Bond Agent
of Commonwealth Insurance and Surety Bond Company, a bonding company duly accredited by the Office of the
Court Administrator (OCA). The relationship between Judge Javellana and Manunag was "purely on official
business." That Manunag influenced Judge Javellana in fixing the amount of bail in several cases was a malicious
and deliberate lie, based on mere speculation and suspicion. Judge Javellana had consistently granted the reduction
of the amount of bail to only 75%, and not as low as 25%, of the amount stated in Department Circular No. 89 dated
August 29, 2000 of the Department of Justice (DOJ). Judge Javellana even chided Public Attorneys Uy and Bascug
that as officers of the court, said public attorneys were duty bound not to demand outrageous reduction of bail. In
addition, Judge Javellana could not warn Manunag to stay away from "the processes (sic) premises in the Court"
because "everybody are allowed to attend Court proceedings unless otherwise the attendance of the public is
prohibited."23 Judge Javellana likewise stated that he could not interfere with the processing of surety insurance and
bond for such was a private matter between the insurance and bonding company and its authorized agents. Referring
to case records, Judge Javellana pointed out that he only granted the motions to reduce bail that complied with the
three-day notice rule.
Third, Judge Javellana claimed to have conducted preliminary examination, asking the complainants and their
witnesses searching questions, before issuing warrants of arrest. According to Judge Javellana, he would sign the
official form of the warrant of arrest right after the preliminary examination. In some cases, Judge Javellana was not
aware that the accused had already voluntarily surrendered or was already taken into custody by virtue of a
warrantless arrest because police officers did not timely inform the court of such fact.
Fourth, Judge Javellana did not violate the constitutional rights of the accused in People v. Bautista. Judge Javellana
argued that while a judge can ask clarificatory questions during the preliminary investigation, a preliminary
investigation is mandatory only when the law imposes the penalty of imprisonment of at least four years, two
months, and one day. Judge Javellana further averred that he always advised litigants to secure the services of a
counsel or that of a public attorney from the PAO. However, even when the public attorney failed or refused to
appear before the court, Judge Javellana still proceeded with his clarificatory questions since there was yet no full
blown trial for which the accused already needed the services of a competent lawyer.
Fifth, Judge Javellana explained his failure to arrive for the pre-trial in Villanueva v. Regalado scheduled on April
14, 2005. Judge Javellana averred that he had been suffering from diabetes, as evinced by his medical records from
the Supreme Court Health and Welfare Plan, and on said date, his blood sugar rose to 300, which caused him to be
lethargic, weak, and drowsy.
Sixth, Judge Javellana repudiated the allegation that he applied the law and ruled whimsically and inconsistently.
Judge Javellana asserted that he "applied the law and the rules according to what he believes is fair, just and
equitable in the exercise of his judicial discretion."24 Judge Javellana never favored Manunag and in all criminal
cases involving homicide, he had granted the reduction of bail toP 30,000.00 (75% of the recommended bail
of P 40,000.00).
Seventh, Judge Javellana admitted not accepting petitions, applications, and motions prepared by the PAO but
signed only by the accused, asseverating that public attorneys should affix their signatures and state their Roll of
Attorneys number in every pleading they file in court. Judge Javellana asked that "if all courts admits (sic) any
pleading filed by any litigant then what will happen to the practice of law?"25
Eighth, Judge Javellana emphasized that government lawyers, such as Public Attorneys Uy and Bascug, are paid
with peoples money, so they should be sincere and dedicated to their work and, whenever possible, go the extra
mile to serve poor litigants. Thus, Judge Javellana reported Public Attorneys Uy and Bascug to higher PAO officials
to guide said public attorneys and not to interfere with the performance of their functions.
And ninth, Judge Javellana identified the member of his staff who wrote the note containing more allegations
against him as Mr. Ray D. Pineda (Pineda), Process Server. Judge Javellana described Pineda as "very abnormal,
eccentric and queer in his relationship with his fellow staff as shown by his quarrelsome attitude and fond of inciting
litigants to criticize the Clerk of Court and other personnel and most of all his loyalty to the Official of the
Municipality rather than to this Court x x x."26 Judge Javellana clarified that he often mentioned the GargarLumangyao Kidnapping with Double Murder Case and the Spider Hunters Multiple Murder and Multiple Frustrated
Murder Case not to boast but to relay the impression that he meant business as Presiding Judge. These cases were
dubbed as the "Case of the Century" by then Executive Judge Bernardo Ponferrada of the Regional Trial Court of
Bacolod City (who later became Deputy Court Administrator) because the same involved big time personalities.
Judge Javellana mentioned the said cases even when solemnizing marriages because he would then be reading the
Holy Scriptures and he had to highlight that he survived the trials and threats to his life because of the Holy Bible.
Judge Javellana also did not have a Court Aide who owned a Karaoke Bar whose negligence the judge was
tolerating. Pineda was just "jealous" because he was not designated by Judge Javellana as Acting Docket Clerk in
lieu of Mr. Vee Caballero who was already on terminal leave prior to retirement. Judge Javellana further narrated
that he had reprimanded Pineda several times, even in open court. In one of these instances, it was because Pineda
submitted a falsified information sheet to the Supreme Court Personnel Division, stating therein that he had never
been charged with a criminal offense, when in truth, he was previously charged with "Physical Injury." Judge

Javellana advised Pineda to rectify the latters records by executing an affidavit to be submitted to the Supreme
Court Personnel Division, but Pineda did not heed the same.
In the end, Judge Javellana stressed that the charges against him were baseless and malicious; and the acts being
complained of involved judicial discretion and, thus, judicial in nature and not the proper subject of an
administrative complaint. Judge Javellana hinted about a conspiracy between the Municipal Mayor, on one hand,
and Public Attorneys Uy and Bascug, on the other. The Municipal Mayor was purportedly angry at Judge Javellana
because the latter caused the arrest of and heard the cases against the formers supporters and employees; while
Public Attorney Bascug was suffering from a "Losing Litigants Syndrome" and "Prosecution Complex," and was
influencing Public Attorney Uy, a neophyte lawyer.
Consequently, Judge Javellana sought the dismissal of the instant complaint against him.
The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), in its report27 dated January 2, 2006, found Judge Javellana liable for
gross ignorance of the law or procedure when he did not apply the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure in cases
appropriately covered by said Rule; and (2) gross misconduct when he got involved in business relations with
Manunag, implemented the law inconsistently, and mentioned his accomplishments for publicity. The OCA thus
recommended that:
1. The instant administrative complaint be REDOCKETED as a regular administrative matter; and
2. Judge Edwin B. Javellana, MTC, La Castellana, Negros Occidental be SUSPENDED from office
without salary and other benefits for three (3) months with a STERN WARNING that repetition of the same
or similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely.28
In a Resolution29 dated February 5, 2007, the Court re-docketed the complaint as a regular administrative matter and
required parties to manifest their willingness to submit the case for resolution on the basis of the pleadings filed.
On separate dates,30 the parties manifested their willingness to submit the case for resolution based on the pleadings
already filed.
We agree with the findings and conclusions of the OCA, except for the penalty imposed.
I
Gross Ignorance of the Law
The Revised Rule of Summary Procedure shall govern the following criminal cases:
SECTION 1. Scope. This Rule shall govern the summary procedure in the Metropolitan Trial Courts, the
Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, the Municipal Trial Courts, and the Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in the following
cases falling within their jurisdiction.
xxxx
B. Criminal Cases:
(1) Violations of traffic laws, rules and regulations;
(2) Violations of the rental law;
(3) Violations of municipal or city ordinances;
(4) Violations of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 (Bouncing Checks Law).
(5) All other criminal cases where the penalty prescribed by law for the offense charged is imprisonment
not exceeding six months, or a fine not exceeding one thousand pesos (P 1,000.00), or both, irrespective of
other imposable penalties, accessory or otherwise, or of the civil liability arising therefrom: Provided,
however, That in offenses involving damage to property through criminal negligence, this Rule shall govern
where the imposable fine does not exceed ten thousand pesos (P 10,000.00). (Emphasis supplied.)
The cases People v. Cornelio31 and People v. Lopez, et al.32 pending before Judge Javellana were both for malicious
mischief.

The crime of malicious mischief is committed by any person who deliberately causes damage to the property of
another through means not constituting arson.33 There are special cases of malicious mischief which are specifically
covered by Article 328 of the Revised Penal Code, which provides:
ART. 328. Special cases of malicious mischief. Any person who shall cause damage to obstruct the performance of
public functions, or using any poisonous or corrosive substance; or spreading any infection or contagion among
cattle; or who causes damage to the property of the National Museum or National Library, or to any archive or
registry, waterworks, road, promenade, or any other thing used in common by the public, shall be punished:
1. By prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods, if the value of the damage caused exceeds
1,000 pesos;
2. By arresto mayor, if such value does not exceed the above- mentioned amount but is over 200 pesos; and
3. By arresto menor, if such value does not exceed 200 pesos. (Emphasis ours.)
All other cases of malicious mischief shall be governed by Article 329 of the same Code, which reads:
ART. 329. Other mischiefs. The mischiefs not included in the next preceding article shall be punished:
1. By arresto mayor in its medium and maximum periods, if the value of the damage caused exceeds 1,000
pesos;
2. By arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods, if such value is over 200 pesos but does not
exceed 1,000 pesos; and
3. By arresto menor or fine of not less than the value of the damage caused and not more than 200 pesos, if
the amount involved does not exceed 200 pesos or cannot be estimated. (Emphasis ours.)
Without any showing that the accused in People v. Cornelio and People v. Lopez, et al. were charged with the
special cases of malicious mischief particularly described in Article 328 of the Revised Penal Code, then Article 329
of the same Code should be applied. If the amounts of the alleged damage to property in People v. Cornelio and
People v. Lopez, et al., P 6,000.0034 and P 3,000.00,35 respectively, are proven, the appropriate penalty for the
accused would be arresto mayor in its medium and maximum periods which under Article 329(a) of the Revised
Penal Code, would be imprisonment for two (2) months and one (1) day to six (6) months. Clearly, these two cases
should be governed by the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure.
Judge Javellanas issuance of a Warrant of Arrest for the accused in People v. Cornelio is in violation of Section 16
of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure, categorically stating that "the court shall not order the arrest of the
accused except for failure to appear whenever required." Judge Javellana never claimed that the accused failed to
appear at any hearing. His justification that the accused was wanted for the crime of attempted homicide, being tried
in another case, Crim. Case No. 04-096, is totally unacceptable and further indicative of his ignorance of law. People
v. Cornelio, pending before Judge Javellanas court as Crim. Case No. 04-097, is for malicious mischief, and is
distinct and separate from Crim. Case No. 04-096, which is for attempted homicide, although both cases involved
the same accused. Proceedings in one case, such as the issuance of a warrant of arrest, should not be extended or
made applicable to the other.
In People v. Lopez, et al., Judge Javellana conducted a preliminary investigation even when it was not required or
justified.36
The Revised Rule on Summary Procedure does not provide for a preliminary investigation prior to the filing of a
criminal case under said Rule. A criminal case within the scope of the Rule shall be commenced in the following
manner:
SEC. 11. How commenced. The filing of criminal cases falling within the scope of this Rule shall be either by
complaint or by information; Provided, however, That in Metropolitan Manila and in Chartered Cities, such cases
shall be commenced only by information, except when the offense cannot be prosecuted de oficio.
The complaint or information shall be accompanied by the affidavits of the complainant and of his witnesses in such
number of copies as there are accused plus two (2) copies for the courts files. If this requirement is not complied
with within five (5) days from date of filing, the case may be dismissed.
SEC. 12. Duty of Court.

(a) If commenced by complaint. On the basis of the complaint and the affidavits and other evidence
accompanying the same, the court may dismiss the case outright for being patently without basis or merit
and order the release of the accused if in custody.
(b) If commenced by information. When the case is commenced by information, or is not dismissed
pursuant to the next preceding paragraph, the court shall issue an order which, together with copies of the
affidavits and other evidence submitted by the prosecution, shall require the accused to submit his counteraffidavit and the affidavits of his witnesses as well as any evidence in his behalf, serving copies thereof on
the complainant or prosecutor not later than ten (10) days from receipt of said order. The prosecution may
file reply affidavits within ten (10) days after receipt of the counter-affidavits of the defense.
SEC. 13. Arraignment and trial. Should the court, upon a consideration of the complaint or information and the
affidavits submitted by both parties, find no cause or ground to hold the accused for trial, it shall order the dismissal
of the case; otherwise, the court shall set the case for arraignment and trial.
If the accused is in custody for the crime charged, he shall be immediately arraigned and if he enters a plea of guilty,
he shall forthwith be sentenced.
Section 1, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure only requires that a preliminary investigation be
conducted before the filing of a complaint or information for an offense where the penalty prescribed by law is at
least four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day without regard to the fine. As has been previously established
herein, the maximum penalty imposable for malicious mischief in People v. Lopez, et al. is just six (6) months.
Judge Javellana did not provide any reason as to why he needed to conduct a preliminary investigation in People v.
Lopez, et al. We stress that the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure was precisely adopted to promote a more
expeditious and inexpensive determination of cases, and to enforce the constitutional rights of litigants to the speedy
disposition of cases.37
Judge Javellana cannot be allowed to arbitrarily conduct proceedings beyond those specifically laid down by the
Revised Rule on Summary Procedure, thereby lengthening or delaying the resolution of the case, and defeating the
express purpose of said Rule.
We further agree with the OCA that Judge Javellana committed a blatant error in denying the Motion to Dismiss
filed by the accused in People v. Celeste, et al. and in insisting that said Motion was a prohibited pleading, even
though the case was never previously referred to the Lupong
Tagapamayapa as required by Sections 18 and 19(a) of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure.
The pertinent provisions of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure read:
Sec. 18. Referral to Lupon. Cases requiring referral to the Lupon for conciliation under the provisions of
Presidential Decree No. 1508 where there is no showing of compliance with such requirement, shall be dismissed
without prejudice, and may be revived only after such requirement shall have been complied with. This provision
shall not apply to criminal cases where the accused was arrested without a warrant.
Sec. 19. Prohibited pleadings and motions. The following pleadings, motions, or petitions shall not be allowed in
the cases covered by this Rule:
(a) Motion to dismiss the complaint or to quash the complaint or information except on the ground of lack of
jurisdiction over the subject matter, or failure to comply with the preceding section. (Emphases ours.)
We see no ambiguity in the aforequoted provisions. A case which has not been previously referred to the Lupong
Tagapamayapa shall be dismissed without prejudice. A motion to dismiss on the ground of failure to comply with the
Lupon requirement is an exception to the pleadings prohibited by the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure. Given
the express provisions of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure, we find irrelevant Judge Javellanas argument
that referral to the Lupon is not a jurisdictional requirement. The following facts are undisputed: People v. Celeste,
et al. was not referred to the Lupon, and the accused filed a Motion to Dismiss based on this ground. Judge Javellana
should have allowed and granted the Motion to Dismiss (albeit without prejudice) filed by the accused in People v.
Celeste, et al.
The Revised Rule on Summary Procedure has been in effect since November 15, 1991. It finds application in a
substantial number of civil and criminal cases pending before Judge Javellanas court. Judge Javellana cannot claim
to be unfamiliar with the same.

Every judge is required to observe the law. When the law is sufficiently basic, a judge owes it to his office to simply
apply it; and anything less than that would be constitutive of gross ignorance of the law. In short, when the law is so
elementary, not to be aware of it constitutes gross ignorance of the law.38
In Agunday v. Judge Tresvalles,39 we called the attention of Judge Tresvalles to Section 2 of the Revised Rule on
Summary Procedure which states that a "patently erroneous determination to avoid the application of the Revised
Rule on Summary Procedure is a ground for disciplinary action." We went on further to interpret said provision as
follows:
Although the said provision states that "patently erroneous determination to avoid the application of the Revised
Rule on Summary Procedure is a ground for disciplinary action," the provision cannot be read as applicable only
where the failure to apply the rule is deliberate or malicious. Otherwise, the policy of the law to provide for the
expeditious and summary disposition of cases covered by it could easily be frustrated. Hence, requiring judges to
make the determination of the applicability of the rule on summary procedure upon the filing of the case is the only
guaranty that the policy of the law will be fully realized. x x x.40 (Emphasis ours.)
Resultantly, Judge Javellana cannot invoke good faith or lack of deliberate or malicious intent as a defense. His
repeated failure to apply the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure in cases so obviously covered by the same is
detrimental to the expedient and efficient administration of justice, for which we hold him administratively liable.
As for Judge Javellanas refusal to dismiss People v. Lopez, et al. and People v. Celeste, et al., however, we
exonerate him of the administrative charges for the same. Judge Javellana is correct that the appreciation of evidence
is already within his judicial discretion.41 Any alleged error he might have committed in this regard is the proper
subject of an appeal but not an administrative complaint. We remind Judge Javellana though to adhere closely to the
Revised Rule on Summary Procedure in hearing and resolving said cases.
II
Gross Misconduct
Judges are enjoined by the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary42 to act and behave, in and out
of court, in a manner befitting their office, to wit:
Canon 2
INTEGRITY
Integrity is essential not only to the proper discharge of the judicial office but also to the personal demeanor of
judges.
SECTION 1. Judges shall ensure that not only is their conduct above reproach, but that it is perceived to be so in the
view of a reasonable observer.
SECTION 2. The behavior and conduct of judges must reaffirm the people's faith in the integrity of the judiciary.
Justice must not merely be done but must also be seen to be done.
xxxx
Canon 3
IMPARTIALITY
Impartiality is essential to the proper discharge of the judicial office. It applies not only to the decision itself but also
to the process by which the decision is made.
SECTION 1. Judges shall perform their judicial duties without favor, bias or prejudice.
SECTION 2. Judges shall ensure that his or her conduct, both in and out of court, maintains and enhances the
confidence of the public, the legal profession and litigants in the impartiality of the judge and of the judiciary.
xxxx
Canon 4
PROPRIETY
Propriety and the appearance of propriety are essential to the performance of all the activities of a judge.

SECTION 1. Judges shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of their activities.
SECTION 2. As a subject of constant public scrutiny, judges must accept personal restrictions that might be viewed
as burdensome by the ordinary citizen and should do so freely and willingly. In particular, judges shall conduct
themselves in a way that is consistent with the dignity of the judicial office.
xxxx
SECTION 8. Judges shall not use or lend the prestige of the judicial office to advance their private interests, or those
of a member of their family or of anyone else, nor shall they convey or permit others to convey the impression that
anyone is in a special position improperly to influence them in the performance of judicial duties.
xxxx
SECTION 14. Judges shall not knowingly permit court staff or others subject to their influence, direction or
authority, to ask for, or accept, any gift, bequest, loan favor in relation to anything done or to be done or omitted to
be done in connection with their duties or functions.
xxxx
Canon 5
EQUALITY
Ensuring equality of treatment to all before the courts is essential to the due performance of the judicial office.
xxxx
SECTION 2. Judges shall not, in the performance of judicial duties, by words or by conduct, manifest bias or
prejudice towards any person or group on irrelevant grounds.
xxxx
SECTION 2. Judges shall not, in the performance of judicial duties, by words or conduct, manifest bias or prejudice
towards any person or group on irrelevant grounds.
SECTION 3. Judges shall carry out judicial duties with appropriate consideration for all persons, such as the parties,
witnesses, lawyers, court staff and judicial colleagues, without differentiation on any irrelevant ground, immaterial
to the proper performance of such duties.
xxxx
Canon 6
COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE
Competence and diligence are prerequisites to the due performance of judicial office.
xxxx
SECTION 5. Judges shall perform all judicial duties, including the delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently, fairly
and with reasonable promptness.
SECTION 6. Judges shall maintain order and decorum in all proceedings before the court and be patient, dignified
and courteous in relation to litigants, witnesses, lawyers and others with whom the judge deals in an official
capacity. Judges shall require similar conduct of legal representatives, court staff and others subject to their
influence, direction or control.
Judge Javellana had violated the aforequoted canons/standards in several instances.
Judge Javellana did not admit having a business relationship with Manunag, contrary to the finding of the OCA.
What Judge Javellana stated in his Comment was that his relationship with Manunag was "purely on official
business," since Manunag was a duly authorized agent of a credited bonding company. Nonetheless, Judge
Javellana, by referring the accused who appeared before his court directly to Manunag for processing of the bail
bond of said accused, gave the impression that he favored Manunag and Manunags bonding company, as well as the

reasonable suspicion that he benefitted financially from such referrals. Judge Javellana should remember that he
must not only avoid impropriety, but the "appearance of impropriety" as well.
Moreover, Judge Javellana was conspicuously inconsistent in Granting43 or denying44 motions for extension of time
to file pleadings which were signed only by the accused. Judge Javellana reasoned in his Comment that the PAO
lawyers who prepared the motions should have signed the same as counsels for the accused, but this only explained
Judge Javellanas denial of said motions. It did not address why, in other cases, Judge Javellana had granted similar
motions signed only by the accused. Without any satisfactory basis for the difference in his ruling on these motions,
Judge Javellana had acted arbitrarily to the prejudice of the PAO lawyers.
Judge Javellana himself admitted that he often mentioned his previous accomplishments as counsel in big and
controversial cases, claiming that he only did so to impress upon the parties that he meant business and that he relied
greatly upon God to survive the trials and threats to his life. We are not persuaded.
The previous Code of Judicial Conduct specifically warned the judges against seeking publicity for personal
vainglory.45 Vainglory, in its ordinary meaning, refers to an individuals excessive or ostentatious pride especially in
ones own achievements.46 Even no longer explicitly stated in the New Code of Judicial Conduct, judges are still
proscribed from engaging in self-promotion and indulging their vanity and pride by Canons 1 (on Integrity) and 2
(on Propriety) of the New Code.
We have previously strongly reminded judges in that:
Canon 2, Rule 2.02 of the Code of Judicial Conduct says in no uncertain terms that "a judge should not seek
publicity for personal vainglory." A parallel proscription, this time for lawyers in general, is found in Rule 3.01 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility: "a lawyer shall not use or permit the use of any false, fraudulent,
misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement or claim regarding his qualifications or legal
services." This means that lawyers and judges alike, being limited by the exacting standards of their profession,
cannot debase the same by acting as if ordinary merchants hawking their wares. As succinctly put by a leading
authority in legal and judicial ethics, "(i)f lawyers are prohibited from x x x using or permitting the use of any
undignified or self-laudatory statement regarding their qualifications or legal services (Rule 3.01, Code of
Professional Responsibility), with more reasons should judges be prohibited from seeking publicity for vanity or
self-glorification. Judges are not actors or actresses or politicians, who thrive by publicity.47
Judge Javellanas actuations as described above run counter to the mandate that judges behave at all times in such a
manner as to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.48 We cannot stress enough
that "judges are the visible representations of law and justice. They ought to be embodiments of competence,
integrity and independence. In particular, municipal judges are frontline officers in the administration of justice. It is
therefore essential that they live up to the high standards demanded by the Code of Judicial Conduct." 49
For his violations of the New Code of Professional Conduct, Judge Javellana committed gross misconduct. We have
defined gross misconduct as a "transgression of some established and definite rule of action, more particularly,
unlawful behavior or gross negligence by the public officer."50
There is no sufficient evidence to hold Judge Javellana administratively liable for the other charges against him
contained in the complaint. Yet, we call Judge Javellanas attention to several matters pointed out by the OCA, that if
left unchecked, may again result in another administrative complaint against the judge: (1) notices of hearing issued
by Judge Javellanas court must state the specific time, date, and place 51; (2) in case Judge Javellana is unable to
attend a hearing for any reason, he must inform his Clerk of Court as soon as possible so that the latter can already
cancel the hearing and spare the parties, counsels, and witnesses from waiting52; and (3) he must take care in
ascertaining the facts and according due process to the parties concerned before levying charges of incompetence or
indifference against the PAO lawyers appearing before his court.53
III
Penalty
Gross ignorance of the law54 and gross misconduct constituting violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct 55 are
classified as serious charges under Rule 140, Section 8 of the Revised Rules of Court, and penalized under Rule 140,
Section 11(a) of the same Rules by:
1) Dismissal from the service, forfeiture of all or part of the benefits as the Court may determine, and
disqualification from reinstatement or appointment to any public office, including government-owned or
controlled corporations. Provided, however, that the forfeiture of benefits shall in no case include accrued
leave credits;
2) Suspension from office without salary and other benefits for more than three (3) but not exceeding six
(6) months; or

3) A fine of more than P 20,000.00 but not exceeding P 40,000.00


The OCA recommended that Judge Javellana be suspended without salary and benefits for three months.1vvph!
1 Given the gravity and number of violations committed by Judge Javellana, we deem it appropriate to impose
suspension without salary and benefits for a period of three months and one day.
WHEREFORE, Judge Erwin B. Javellana is found GUILTY of gross ignorance of the law and gross misconduct. He
is SUSPENDED from office without salary and other benefits for a period of three (3) months and one (1) day with
a STERN WARNING that the repetition of the same or similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely.
Let a copy of this Decision be attached to his records with this Court.
SO ORDERED.
TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO
Chief Justice
Chairperson
LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
Associate Justice

MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.


Associate Justice

BIENVENIDO L. REYES
Associate Justice

RULE 113
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 190318

November 27, 2013

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs.
ROBERTO VELASCO, Accused-Appellant.
DECISION
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
We resolve the present appeal from the Decision1 dated August 25, 2009 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.H.C. No. 03315, entitled People of the Philippines v. Roberto Velasco which affirmed with modification the
Decision2 dated March 5, 2008 of the Regional Trial Court RTC) of Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 13 in Criminal Cases
No. 3579-M-2002, 3580-M-2002, 3581-M-2002 and 145-M-2003. The trial court found appellant Roberto Velasco
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of three counts of rape under Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code
as charged in Criminal Cases No. 3579-M-2002, 3580-M-2002 and 3581-M-2002. The trial court also found
appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of acts of lasciviousness in Criminal Case No. 145-M-2003.
The pertinent portions of the three Informations charging appellant with one count each of the felony of rape in
Criminal Cases No. 3580-M-2002, 3581-M-2002 and 145-M-2003 read as follows:
[Criminal Case No. 3580-M-2002]
That on or about the 27th day of December 2001, in the municipality of Malolos, province of Bulacan, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, being the stepfather of [Lisa3], a
minor 14 years of age, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, by means of force and intimidation,
have carnal knowledge of his stepdaughter [Lisa] against her will and without her consent. 4
[Criminal Case No. 3581-M-2002]
That on or about the 28th day of December, 2001, in the municipality of Malolos, province of Bulacan, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, being the stepfather of [Lisa], a minor
14 yrs. of age, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously by means of force and intimidation, have
carnal knowledge of his stepdaughter [Lisa] against her will and without her consent.5
[Criminal Case No. 145-M-2003]
That on or about the 29th day of December, 2001, in the municipality of Malolos, province of Bulacan, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused being the stepfather of [Lisa], a minor
14 years of age, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously by means of force and intimidation, have
carnal knowledge of his stepdaughter [Lisa] against her will and without her consent.6
On the other hand, the accusatory portion of the Information charging appellant with the felony of acts of
lasciviousness in Criminal Case No. 3579-M-2002 stated:
That on or about the 21st day of December, 2002, in the municipality of Malolos, province of Bulacan, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, taking advantage of his moral
ascendancy and influence over his stepdaughter [Lisa], a 15-year old child, with lewd designs, did then and there
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously by means of force and intimidation kiss and touch the private parts of
complainant against her will and consent.7
Appellant was arraigned for the two charges of rape in Criminal Case Nos. 3580-M-2002 and 3581-M-2002; and
one charge of acts of lasciviousness in Criminal Case No. 3579-M-2002 on February 3, 2003 to which he entered a
plea of not guilty on all charges.8 He was later arraigned on March 12, 2003 for the third charge of rape in Criminal
Case No. 145-M-2003 to which he likewise pleaded "not guilty."9

After pre-trial, the cases were consolidated and the trial court conducted joint hearings on the merits. The
prosecution intended to present the victim "Lisa" and Dr. Ivan Richard Viray, the medico-legal officer who
examined her. However, after "Lisa" completed her testimony, the presentation of Dr. Viray was dispensed with
upon the defenses admission of the due execution of the medical certificate and the stipulation of the prosecution
that the cause of the victims non-virgin state was not determined by Dr. Viray.10 The defense, in turn, presented
appellant and his nephew, Roderick Palconet.
The material facts according to the prosecution and restated in the Appellees Brief are:
Appellant is the live-in partner of [AAA], the mother of private complainant [Lisa]. [Lisa] stayed with them in their
house in x x x, Malolos, Bulacan since she was fourteen (14) years old.
On December 27, 2001, at around 11:00 oclock in the morning, [Lisa] was at the sala watching television.
Momentarily, appellant approached her and thereafter, removed his shorts and underwear as well as that of [Lisas].
He then mounted [Lisa] and inserted his penis into her vagina. He warned her not to report the incident to anybody,
otherwise, he will kill both [Lisa] and her mother. After satisfying his lust, appellant left without saying a word. At
the time of the incident, [Lisa] and [appellant] were alone in the house as [Lisas] brother and mother were out for
work.
The following day, or on December 28, 2001, appellant again approached [Lisa] and removed both their shorts and
underwear. He went on top of her and inserted his penis into her vagina. She was again threatened not to tell anyone
of the incident. The incident took place outside the familys bedroom at around 11:00 oclock in the morning while
[Lisas] mother and brother were not in the house.
The next day, or on December 29, 2001, also at around 11:00 oclock in the morning, [Lisa] was raped for the third
consecutive time by appellant while they were alone in the house. [Lisa] testified that white fluid came out of
appellants penis. Like in previous incidents, she was threatened not to tell anyone of the incident.
A year thereafter, or on December 21, 2002, at midnight, when the other members of the family were asleep,
appellant attempted to insert his penis into [Lisas] vagina while the latter was sleeping on her folding bed. This
time, [Lisa] cried. Although appellant succeeded in touching and kissing [Lisas] private parts, he did not push
through with his intention of raping her for fear of getting caught by the other family members who were sleeping
just a few feet away from them. The medico legal report submitted by public physician Richard Ivan Viray states
that [Lisa] is in a non-virgin state; that she had shallow healed hymenal lacerations at 2 and 3 oclock positions and
deep healed lacerations at 6 and 7 oclock positions.11 (Citations omitted.)
Conversely, the defense offered a different version of events which was retold in the Appellants Brief in this wise:
For six (6) days a week in December 2001 and December 2002, [appellant] was working as a mason in Barangay
Caingin, Malolos, Bulacan. He leaves their house at 7:00 oclock in the morning to go to work and arrives at 5:30 in
the afternoon.
He was [the] live-in partner of [Lisas] mother. He was at work on the 27th, 28th and 29th of December 2001 with
his nephew Roderick Palconet while he was at home on the 21st of December 2002. The accusations against him
were instigated by [Lisas] father who was mad at him for having a live-in relationship with [Lisas] mother.
RODERICK PALCONET, the [appellants] nephew and co-worker at Caingin, Malolos, Bulacan, averred that from
8:00 oclock in the morning to 5:00 oclock in the afternoon of the 27th, 28th and 29th of December 2001, he was
with [appellant].12 (Citations omitted.)
At the conclusion of trial, the trial court convicted appellant on all the charges leveled against him. The dispositive
portion of the March 5, 2008 Decision of the trial court reads:
WHEREFORE, given the foregoing, the Court finds the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape
on three (3) counts as charged in Crim. Case Nos. 3579-M-02, 3580-M-02, and 3581-M-02 and hereby sentences
him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua for each count (total: three reclusion perpetua).
The Court likewise finds the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Acts of Lasciviousness in
Crim. Case No. 145-M-03, and hereby sentences him to suffer the indeterminate penalty of six (6) months of arresto
mayor as minimum to six (6) years of prision correccional as maximum.
The accused is likewise directed to indemnify the private complainant in the amount of P150,000.00.13
Appellant elevated his case to the Court of Appeals which denied his appeal and affirmed with modification the trial
court judgment in a Decision dated August 25, 2009, the dispositive portion of which states:

WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing, the decision of the trial court is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS as
follows:
1. In Criminal Case Nos. 3579-M-02, 3580-M-02 and 3581-M-02, appellant Roberto Velasco is held liable
to pay the victim P50,000.00 as civil indemnity; P50,000.00 moral damages; and P25,000.00 exemplary
damages for each count of rape in addition to the penalty of reclusion perpetua;
2. In Criminal Case No. 145-M-03, appellant Roberto Velasco is sentenced to suffer the indeterminate
prison term of four (4) months of arresto mayor as minimum to four (4) years of prision correccional as
maximum for the act of lasciviousness. He is also held liable to pay the victim P30,000.00 moral damages
and P20,000.00 civil indemnity.14
Hence, appellant resorted to the present appeal, putting forward the following assignment of errors:
I
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT FINDING THE WARRANTLESS ARREST OF THE
ACCUSED-APPELLANT AS ILLEGAL.
II
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT ACCUSED-APPELLANTS
RIGHTS UNDER REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7438 (AN ACT DEFINING CERTAIN RIGHTS OF PERSON
ARRESTED, DETAINED OR UNDER CUSTODIAL INVESTIGATION AS WELL AS THE DUTIES OF
THE ARRESTING, DETAINING AND INVESTIGATING OFFICERS, AND PROVIDING PENALTIES
FOR VIOLATIONS THEREOF) WERE VIOLATED.
III
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING WEIGHT AND CREDENCE TO THE PRIVATE
COMPLAINANTS INCREDIBLE TESTIMONY.
IV
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY
DESPITE THE PROSECUTIONS FAILURE TO PROVE HIS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT.15
The petition is without merit.
Appellant essentially focuses his defense on two issues: first, the preliminary issue surrounding the validity of his
warrantless arrest; and, second, the substantive issue concerning the evidence used to convict him for three counts of
rape and one count of acts of lasciviousness.
With regard to purported irregularities that attended appellants warrantless arrest, we are of the same persuasion as
the Court of Appeals which ruled that such a plea comes too late in the day to be worthy of consideration.
Jurisprudence tells us that an accused is estopped from assailing any irregularity of his arrest if he fails to raise this
issue or to move for the quashal of the information against him on this ground before arraignment, thus, any
objection involving a warrant of arrest or the procedure by which the court acquired jurisdiction of the person of the
accused must be made before he enters his plea; otherwise, the objection is deemed waived. 16
Nevertheless, even if appellants warrantless arrest were proven to be indeed invalid, such a scenario would still not
provide salvation to appellants cause because jurisprudence also instructs us that the illegal arrest of an accused is
not sufficient cause for setting aside a valid judgment rendered upon a sufficient complaint after a trial free from
error.17
Having disposed of the issue concerning appellants warrantless arrest, we now undertake to resolve the more crucial
issue involving the weight and sufficiency of the evidence used to convict appellant of the felonies he was charged
with in these consolidated cases.
Appellant argues that the trial court erroneously gave probative weight and credence to the alleged victims
incredible and uniform testimony which casts doubt on her truthfulness. He also contends that the medico-legal
reports conclusion which states that the "subject is in a non-virgin state physically" did not prove that the victim

was indeed raped. Moreover, he claims that the alleged victims failure to resist or to wake her brother and mother
immediately after the alleged sexual molestation on December 21, 2002 or to shout for help from their neighbors
who were in close proximity to their house negated the credibility of her accusations.
Appellant also reasons that the alleged victims willingness to live in the same house with him despite what he
allegedly did to her, taken together with her failure to immediately report the alleged sexual assaults to the
authorities, further eroded the reliability of the victims statements. Finally, he points out that he could not have
possibly committed the crimes attributed to him because, during the times and dates the alleged criminal acts took
place, he claims to be somewhere else.
In short, appellant asserts that the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. However, after a
careful review of the records of this case, we can safely conclude that such an assertion of innocence cannot be
upheld.
It is settled in jurisprudence that in a prosecution for rape, the accused may be convicted solely on the basis of the
testimony of the victim that is credible, convincing, and consistent with human nature and the normal course of
things.18 Furthermore, it is axiomatic that when it comes to evaluating the credibility of the testimonies of the
witnesses, great respect is accorded to the findings of the trial judge who is in a better position to observe the
demeanor, facial expression, and manner of testifying of witnesses, and to decide who among them is telling the
truth.19 Lastly, in order for a discrepancy or inconsistency in the testimony of a witness to serve as a basis for
acquittal, it must establish beyond doubt the innocence of the appellant for the crime charged since the credibility of
a rape victim is not diminished, let alone impaired, by minor inconsistencies in her testimony.20
In the case at bar, we are in full agreement with the Court of Appeals that no fact or circumstance exists to warrant a
reversal of the trial courts assessment that the victims testimony is credible and worthy of belief. We also concur
with the findings of the appellate court that the testimony of the victim was made in a candid and straightforward
manner, even on extensive cross-examination. In sum, the alleged discrepancies in the victims testimony were not
significant enough to successfully tilt the scales of justice in favor of appellant.
With regard to appellants argument that the findings of the medico-legal report do not support the allegation that the
victim was indeed raped, we cannot give any credit to such claim in light of established jurisprudence holding that a
medical certificate is not necessary to prove the commission of rape, as even a medical examination of the victim is
not indispensable in a prosecution for rape.21
We have also recently reiterated that the failure of the victim to shout for help does not negate rape and the victims
lack of resistance especially when intimidated by the offender into submission does not signify voluntariness or
consent.22 Furthermore, it is doctrinally settled that "delay in reporting rape incidents, in the face of threats of
physical violence, cannot be taken against the victim"23 because "delay in reporting an incident of rape is not an
indication of a fabricated charge and does not necessarily cast doubt on the credibility of the complainant." 24 It is
likewise settled in jurisprudence that human reactions vary and are unpredictable when facing a shocking and
horrifying experience such as sexual assault, thus, not all rape victims can be expected to act conformably to the
usual expectations of everyone.25
Thus, on the basis of the foregoing doctrines, we cannot uphold appellants assertion that the victims lack of
resistance; delay in reporting the rape incidents; and continued residence in appellants place of dwelling even after
she was raped numerous times militates against a finding that the allegations of rape are true.
We likewise conclude that the lower courts imposition of the penalty of reclusion perpetua in each charge of rape
was proper, notwithstanding the mention in the Informations of the qualifying circumstances of minority and
relationship. As the Court of Appeals noted, the appellants relationship to the victim, as her stepfather, was not
proven since there was no evidence of a valid marriage between appellant and the victims mother.
Anent the charge of one count of acts of lasciviousness, we declare that the prosecution was able to sufficiently
prove that appellant did commit the same.
The elements of this crime under Article 336 of the Revised Penal Code 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.26Furthermore,
there is jurisprudence which says that in case of acts of lasciviousness, the lone testimony of the offended party, if
credible, is sufficient to establish the guilt of the accused.27
In the case at bar, we agree with the Court of Appeals finding that the testimony of the victim was made in a
straightforward and convincing manner.1wphi1 Her testimony in this regard detailed how she was forced and
intimidated by appellant on December 21, 2002 and how appellant succeeded in molesting her by kissing and
touching her private parts, thus, satisfying the required elements of the crime charged.

As his principal defense against all these criminal charges, appellant provided an alibi. He maintains that, at the time
of the three rape incidents as well as the one instance of acts of lasciviousness, he was working at a construction site
in Barangay Caingin, Malolos City, Bulacan with his nephew Roderick Palconet who was the only witness he
presented in court in order to corroborate his alibi.
Time and again, we have repeated the legal doctrine that for alibi to prosper, it must be proved that during the
commission of the crime, the accused was in another place and that it was physically impossible for him to be at the
crime scene.28 Furthermore, we have also established in jurisprudence that, in order for a corroboration of an alibi to
be considered credible, it must necessarily come from disinterested witnesses.29
In the case at bar, the testimony of appellants sole corroborating witness reveals that the distance between the
construction site and the appellants house where the instances of rape and acts of lasciviousness occurred is
relatively short and can be covered by a mere five-minute travel by motor vehicle. The relevant portion of said
testimony reads as follows:
[FISCAL JOSON]
Q When you said Caingin, it was a barangay of Malolos City?
A Yes, sir.
Q And you can reach Barangay Caingin from the place of the house of Mr. Velasco up to Brgy. Caingin, it will take
only five (5) minutes ride?
A It can be if there is no traffic, sir.30
Moreover, the testimony of appellants nephew, which is undoubtedly coming from a close relative, cannot, in any
way, be described as disinterested and unbiased. Therefore, considering these factual circumstances, appellants
defense of alibi certainly cannot prosper.
In view of the foregoing, we therefore affirm the conviction of appellant for three counts of the felony of simple rape
and for one count of the felony of acts of lasciviousness. The award of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, andP50,000.00
as moral damages for each count of simple rape is correct in addition to the penalty of reclusion perpetua. However,
the award of exemplary damages for each count of simple rape shall be increased toP30,000.00 pursuant to
prevailing jurisprudence.31 The award of P20,000.00 as civil indemnity and P30,000.00 as moral damages for acts of
lasciviousness is proper in addition to the penalty of an indeterminate prison term of four (4) months of arresto
mayor as minimum to four (4) years of prision correccional as maximum.
However, before we conclude, we clarify an oversight in the assignment of case numbers to the corresponding
felonies charged which was committed by the trial court in the dispositive portion of its March 5, 2008 Decision and
repeated by the Court of Appeals in its August 25, 2009 Decision. In both rulings, the criminal charge of acts of
lasciviousness was erroneously attributed to Criminal Case No. 145-M-2003 when, in fact, the Information filed for
said case explicitly indicated the criminal charge of rape. On the other hand, the corresponding Information as well
as the evidence presented in Criminal Case No. 3579-M-2002 clearly points to a criminal charge of acts of
lasciviousness. Thus, the correct attribution of criminal cases vis a vis crimes charged should be Criminal Case Nos.
3580-M-2002, 3581-M-2002 and 145-M-2003 were for rape; and Criminal Case No. 3579-M-2002 was for acts of
lasciviousness.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision dated August 25, 2009 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.H.C. No. 03315, finding appellant Roberto Velasco GUILTY in Criminal Case Nos. 3580-M-2002, 3581-M-2002
and 145-M-2003 for a total of three (3) counts of rape for which he is to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua for
each count, as well as, in Criminal Case No. 3579-M-2002 for one count of acts of lasciviousness for which he is to
suffer the indeterminate prison term of four (4) months of arresto mayor as minimum to four (4) years of prision
correccional as maximum, is hereby AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATIONS that:
(1) The exemplary damages to be paid by appellant Roberto Velasco for each count of simple rape is
increased from Twenty-Five Thousand Pesos (P25,000.00) to Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00);
(2) Appellant Roberto Velasco is ordered to pay the private offended party interest on all damages awarded
at the legal rate of six percent (6%) per annum from the date of finality of this judgment.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

RULE 115
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 200304

January 15, 2014

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs.
DONALD VASQUEZ y SANDIGAN @ "DON," Accused-Appellant,
DECISION
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
The case before this Court is an appeal from the Decision1 dated May 31, 2011 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
CR.-H.C. No. 04201. Said decision affirmed with modification the Joint Decision2 dated August 6 2009 of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 41, in Criminal Case Nos. 98-164174 and 98-164175, which
convicted the appellant Donald Vasquez y Sandigan of the crimes of illegal sale and illegal possession of regulated
drugs under Sections 15 and 16 Article III of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, otherwise known as the
Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972.
Criminal Case No. 98-164174 stemmed from a charge of violation of Section 15 Article III of Republic Act No.
6425, as amended,3 which was allegedly committed as follows:
That on or about April 3, 1998 in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused not having been authorized by
law to sell, dispense, deliver, transport or distribute any regulated drug, did then and there [willfully], unlawfully and
knowingly sell or offer for sale, dispense, deliver, transport or distribute 45.46 grams, 44.27 grams, 45.34 grams,
51.45 grams, 41.32 grams and 20.14 grams or with a total weight of TWO HUNDRED FORTY-SEVEN POINT
NINETY-EIGHT (247.98) grams contained in six (6) transparent plastic sachets of white crystalline substance
known as "Shabu" containing methamphetamine hydrochloride, which is a regulated drug.4
Criminal Case No. 98-164175, on the other hand, arose from an alleged violation of Section 16, Article III of
Republic Act No. 6425, as amended,5 which was said to be committed in this manner:
That on or about April 3, 1998 in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused without being authorized by law
to possess or use any regulated drug, did then and there [willfully], unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession
and under his custody and control 1.61 grams, 0.58 grams, 0.29 grams, 0.09 [grams], 0.10 grams, 0.17 grams, 0.21
grams, 0.24 grams, 0.12 grams, 0.06 grams, 0.04 grams, [0].51 grams or all with a total weight of four point zero
three grams of white crystalline substance contained in twelve (12) transparent plastic sachets known as "SHABU"
containing methamphetamine hydrochloride, a regulated drug, without the corresponding license or prescription
thereof.6
Initially, Criminal Case No. 98-164175 was raffled to the RTC of Manila, Branch 23. Upon motion7 of the appellant,
however, said case was allowed to be consolidated with Criminal Case No. 98-164174 in the RTC of Manila, Branch
41.8 On arraignment, the appellant pleaded not guilty to both charges.9 The pre-trial conference of the cases was held
on July 27, 1998, but the same was terminated without the parties entering into any stipulation of facts. 10
During the trial of the cases, the prosecution presented the testimonies of the following witnesses: (1) Police
Inspector (P/Insp.) Jean Fajardo,11 (2) P/Insp. Marilyn Dequito,12 and (3) Police Officer (PO) 2 Christian
Trambulo.13 Thereafter, the defense presented in court the testimonies of: (1) the appellant Donald Vasquez y
Sandigan,14 (2) Angelina Arejado,15 and (3) Anatolia Caredo.16
The Prosecutions Case
The prosecutions version of the events was primarily drawn from the testimonies of P/Insp. Fajardo and PO2
Trambulo.
P/Insp. Fajardo testified that in the morning of April 1, 1998, a confidential informant went to their office and
reported that a certain Donald Vasquez was engaged in illegal drug activity. This alias Don supposedly claimed that
he was an employee of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). According to the informant, alias Don promised
him a good commission if he (the informant) would present a potential buyer of drugs. P/Insp. Fajardo relayed the

information to Police Superintendent (P/Supt.) Pepito Domantay, the commanding officer of their office. P/Insp.
Fajardo was then instructed to form a team and conduct a possible buy-bust against alias Don. She formed a team on
the same day, which consisted of herself, PO2 Trambulo, PO1 Agravante, PO1 Pedrosa, PO1 Sisteno, and PO1 De la
Rosa. P/Insp. Fajardo was the team leader. With the help of the informant, she was able to set up a meeting with
alias Don. The meeting was to be held at around 9:00 p.m. on that day at Cindys Restaurant located in Welcome
Rotonda. She was only supposed to meet alias Don that night but she decided to bring the team along for security
reasons.17
At about 9:00 p.m. on even date, P/Insp. Fajardo and her team went to the meeting place with the informant. The
members of her team positioned themselves strategically inside the restaurant. The informant introduced P/Insp.
Fajardo to alias Don as the buyer of shabu. She asked alias Don if he was indeed an employee of the NBI and he
replied in the affirmative. They agreed to close the deal wherein she would buy 250 grams of shabu forP250,000.00.
They also agreed to meet the following day at Cindys Restaurant around 10:00 to 11:00 p.m.18
In the evening of April 2, 1998, P/Insp. Fajardo and her team went back to Cindys Restaurant. Alias Don was
already waiting for her outside the establishment when she arrived. He asked for the money and she replied that she
had the money with her. She brought five genuine P500.00 bills, which were inserted on top of five bundles of play
money to make it appear that she had P250,000.00 with her. After she showed the money to alias Don, he suggested
that they go to a more secure place. They agreed for the sale to take place at around 1:30 to 2:00 a.m. on April 3,
1998 in front of alias Dons apartment at 765 Valdez St., Sampaloc, Manila. The team proceeded to the Western
Police District (WPD) Station along U.N. Avenue for coordination. Afterwards, the team held their final briefing
before they proceeded to the target area. They agreed that the pre-arranged signal was for P/Insp. Fajardo to scratch
her hair, which would signify that the deal had been consummated and the rest of the team would rush up to the
scene. The team then travelled to the address given by alias Don.19
When the team arrived at the target area around 1:15 a.m. on April 3, 1998, the two vehicles they used were parked
along the corner of the street. P/Insp. Fajardo and the informant walked towards the apartment of alias Don and
stood in front of the apartment gate. Around 1:45 a.m., alias Don came out of the apartment with a male companion.
Alias Don demanded to see the money, but P/Insp. Fajardo told him that she wanted to see the drugs first. Alias Don
gave her the big brown envelope he was carrying and she checked the contents thereof. Inside she found a plastic
sachet, about 10x8 inches in size, which contained white crystalline substance. After checking the contents of the
envelope, she assumed that the same was indeed shabu. She then gave the buy-bust money to alias Don and
scratched her hair to signal the rest of the team to rush to the scene. P/Insp. Fajardo identified herself as a narcotics
agent. The two suspects tried to flee but PO2 Trambulo was able to stop them from doing so. P/Insp. Fajardo took
custody of the shabu. When she asked alias Don if the latter had authority to possess or sell shabu, he replied in the
negative. P/Insp. Fajardo put her initials "JSF" on the genuine P500.00 bills below the name of Benigno Aquino.
After the arrest of the two suspects, the buy-bust team brought them to the police station. The suspects rights were
read to them and they were subsequently booked.20
P/Insp. Fajardo said that she found out that alias Don was in fact the appellant Donald Vasquez. She learned of his
name when he brought out his NBI ID while he was being booked. P/Insp. Fajardo also learned that the name of the
appellants companion was Reynaldo Siscar, who was also arrested and brought to the police station. P/Insp. Fajardo
explained that after she gave the buy-bust money to the appellant, the latter handed the same to Siscar who was
present the entire time the sale was being consummated. Upon receiving the buy-bust money placed inside a green
plastic bag, Siscar looked at the contents thereof and uttered "okey na to." P/Insp. Fajardo marked the drug specimen
and brought the same to the Crime Laboratory. She was accompanied there by PO2 Trambulo and PO1 Agravante.
She handed over the drug specimen to PO1 Agravante who then turned it over to P/Insp. Taduran, the forensic
chemist on duty. The police officers previously weighed the drug specimen. Thereafter, the personnel at the crime
laboratory weighed the specimen again. P/Insp. Fajardo and her team waited for the results of the laboratory
examination.21
P/Insp. Fajardo further testified that the six plastic bags of shabu seized during the buy-bust operation were actually
contained in a self-sealing plastic envelope placed inside a brown envelope. When the brown envelope was
confiscated from the appellant, she put her initials "JSF" therein and signed it. She noticed that there were markings
on the envelope that read "DD-93-1303 re Antonio Roxas y Sunga" but she did not bother to check out what they
were for or who made them. When she interrogated the appellant about the brown envelope, she found out that the
same was submitted as evidence to the NBI Crime Laboratory. She also learned that the appellant worked as a
Laboratory Aide at the NBI Crime Laboratory. She identified in court the six plastic sachets of drugs that her team
recovered, which sachets she also initialed and signed. P/Insp. Fajardo also stated that after the appellant was
arrested, PO2 Trambulo conducted a body search on the two suspects. The search yielded 12 more plastic sachets of
drugs from the appellant. The 12 sachets were varied in sizes and were contained in a white envelope. P/Insp.
Fajardo placed her initials and signature on the envelope. As to the 12 sachets, the same were initialed by P/Insp.
Fajardo and signed by PO2 Trambulo.22
The testimony of PO2 Trambulo corroborated that of P/Insp. Fajardos. PO2 Trambulo testified that in the morning
of April 1, 1998, a confidential informant reported to them about the illegal drug activities of alias Don. P/Supt.
Domantay then tasked P/Insp. Fajardo to form a buy-bust team. P/Insp. Fajardo was able to set up a meeting with

alias Don at Cindys Restaurant in Welcome Rotonda, Quezon City. At that meeting, PO2 Trambulo saw P/Insp.
Fajardo talk to alias Don. P/Insp. Fajardo later told the members of the team that she convinced alias Don that she
was a good buyer of shabu and the latter demanded a second meeting to see the money. After the initial meeting,
P/Insp. Fajardo briefed P/Supt. Domantay about what happened. PO2 Trambulo stated that on April 2, 1998, P/Insp.
Fajardo was furnished with five genuine P500.00 bills together with the boodle play money. P/Insp. Fajardo placed
her initials in the genuine bills below the name "Benigno Aquino, Jr." Afterwards, the team left the office. When
they arrived at Cindys Restaurant past 10:00 p.m., alias Don was waiting outside. P/Insp. Fajardo showed the
boodle money to alias Don and after some time, they parted ways. P/Insp. Fajardo later told the team that alias Don
decided that the drug deal would take place in front of alias Dons rented apartment on Valdez St., Sampaloc,
Manila. After an hour, the team went to Valdez St. to familiarize themselves with the area. They then proceeded to
the WPD station to coordinate their operation. Thereafter, P/Insp. Fajardo conducted a final briefing wherein PO2
Trambulo was designated as the immediate back-up arresting officer. The agreed pre-arranged signal was for P/Insp.
Fajardo to scratch her hair to indicate the consummation of the deal. PO2 Trambulo was to signal the same to the
other members of the team.23
The buy-bust team went to the target area at around 1:30 to 2:00 a.m. on April 3, 1998. P/Insp. Fajardo and the
informant walked towards the direction of alias Dons apartment, while PO2 Trambulo positioned himself near a
parked jeepney about 15 to 20 meters from the apartment gate. The rest of the team parked their vehicles at the street
perpendicular to Valdez St. Later, alias Don went out of the gate with another person. PO2 Trambulo saw alias Don
gesturing to P/Insp. Fajardo as if asking for something but P/Insp. Fajardo gestured that she wanted to see something
first. Alias Don handed P/Insp. Fajardo a big brown envelope, which the latter opened. P/Insp. Fajardo then handed
to alias Don a green plastic bag containing the buy-bust money and gave the pre-arranged signal. When PO2
Trambulo saw this, he immediately summoned the rest of the team and rushed to the suspects. He was able to
recover the buy-bust money from alias Dons male companion. Upon frisking alias Don, PO2 Trambulo retrieved 12
pieces of plastic sachets of suspected drugs. The same were placed inside a white envelope that was tucked inside
alias Dons waist. PO2 Trambulo marked each of the 12 sachets with his initials "CVT" and the date. The police
officers then informed the suspects of their rights and they proceeded to the police headquarters in Fort Bonifacio. 24
As regards the brown envelope that alias Don handed to P/Insp. Fajardo, the latter retained possession thereof. The
envelope contained six pieces of plastic bags of white crystalline substance. When they got back to their office, the
team reported the progress of their operation to P/Supt. Domantay. The arrested suspects were booked and the
required documentations were prepared. Among such documents was the Request for Laboratory Examination of the
drug specimens seized. PO2 Trambulo said that he was the one who brought the said request to the PNP Crime
Laboratory, along with the drug specimens.25
P/Insp. Marilyn Dequito, the forensic chemist, testified on the results of her examination of the drug specimens
seized in this case. She explained that P/Insp. Macario Taduran, Jr. initially examined the drug specimens but the
latter was already assigned to another office. The results of the examination of P/Insp. Taduran were laid down in
Physical Science Report No. D-1071-98. P/Insp. Dequito first studied the data contained in Physical Science Report
No. D-1071-98 and retrieved the same from their office. She entered that fact in their logbook RD-17-98. She then
weighed the drug specimens and examined the white crystalline substance from each of the plastic sachets. She
examined first the specimens marked as "A-1," "A-2," "A-3," "A-4," "A-5" and "A-6." P/Insp. Dequitos
examination revealed that the white crystalline substances were positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride. 26She
also examined the contents of 12 heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets that also contained crystalline substances.
The 12 plastic sachets were marked "B-1" to "B-12." The white crystalline powder inside the 12 plastic sachets also
tested positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride. P/Insp. Dequitos findings were contained in Physical Science
Report No. RD-17-98.27
The prosecution, thereafter, adduced the following object and documentary evidence: (1) photocopies of the five
original P500.00 bills28 used as buy-bust money (Exhibits A-E); (2) Request for Laboratory Examination29 dated
April 3, 1998 (Exhibit F); (3) Initial Laboratory Report30 dated April 3, 1998, stating that the specimen submitted for
examination tested positive for methylamphetamine hydrochloride (Exhibit G); (4) Court Order 31 dated September 2,
1998 (Exhibit H); (5) Physical Sciences Report No. D-1071-9832 dated April 3, 1998 (Exhibit I); (6) Drug specimens
A-1 to A-6 (Exhibits J-O); (7) Big brown envelope (Exhibit P); (8) Small white envelope (Exhibit Q); (9) Drug
specimens B-1 to B-12 (Exhibits R-CC); (10) Physical Sciences Report No. RD-17-9833 (Exhibit DD); (11) Joint
Affidavit of Arrest34 (Exhibit EE); (12) Play money (Exhibit FF); (13) Booking Sheet and Arrest Report35(Exhibit
GG); (14) Request for Medical Examination36 (Exhibit HH); (15) Medico Legal Slip37 of Donald Vasquez (Exhibit
II); and (16) Medico Legal Slip38 of Reynaldo Siscar (Exhibit JJ).
The Defenses Case
As expected, the defense belied the prosecutions version of events. The appellants brief39 before the Court of
Appeals provides a concise summary of the defenses counter-statement of facts. According to the defense:
Donald Vasquez was a regular employee of the NBI, working as a Laboratory Aide II at the NBI Forensics
Chemistry Division. His duties at the time included being a subpoena clerk, receiving chemistry cases as well as
requests from different police agencies to have their specimens examined by the chemist. He also rendered day and

night duties, and during regular office hours and in the absence of the laboratory technician, he would weigh the
specimens. As subpoena clerk, he would receive subpoenas from the trial courts. When there is no chemist, he
would get a Special Order to testify, or bring the drug specimens, to the courts.
On 1 April 1998, Donald Vasquez took his examination in Managerial Statistics between 6:00 to 9:00 oclock p.m.
Thereafter, he took a jeepney and alighted at Stop and Shop at Quiapo. From there, he took a tricycle to his house,
arriving at 9:45 oclock that evening, where he saw Reynaldo Siscar and Sonny San Diego, the latter a confidential
informant of the narcotics agents.
On 3 April 1998, at 1:45 oclock in the morning, Donalds household help, Anatolia Caredo, who had just arrived
from Antipolo that time, was eating while Donald was asleep. She heard a knock on the door. Reynaldo Siscar
opened the door and thereafter two (2) men entered, poking guns at Reynaldo. They were followed by three (3)
others. The door to Donalds room was kicked down and they entered his room. Donald, hearing noise, woke up to
see P./Insp. Fajardo pointing a gun at him. He saw that there were six (6) policemen searching his room, picking up
what they could get. One of them opened a cabinet and got drug specimens in [Donalds] possession in relation to
his work as a laboratory aide. The drugs came from two (2) cases and marked as DD-93-1303 owned by Antonio
Roxas, and DD-96-5392 owned by SPO4 Emiliano Anonas. The drug specimen contained in the envelope marked as
DD-93-1303 was intended for presentation on 3 April 1998. Aside from the drug specimens, the policemen also took
his jewelry, a VHS player, and his wallet containing P2,530.00.
Angelina Arejado, Donalds neighbor, witnessed the policemen entering the apartment and apprehending Donald
and Reynaldo from the apartment terrace.40 (Citations omitted.)
The defense then offered the following evidence: (1) NBI Disposition Form41 dated April 3, 1998 (Exhibit 1); (2)
Sworn Statement of Idabel Bernabe Pagulayan42 (Exhibit 2); (3) Photocopy of the buy-bust money43 (Exhibit 3); (4)
List of Hearings44 attended by Donald Vasquez (Exhibit 4); (5) Authorization Letter45 prepared by Acting Deputy
Director Arturo A. Figueras dated March 27, 1998 (Exhibit 5); and (6) List of Evidence46 taken by Donald Vasquez
from 1996-1998 (Exhibit 6).
The Decision of the RTC
On August 6, 2009, the RTC convicted the appellant of the crimes charged. The RTC gave more credence to the
prosecutions evidence given that the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty on the part of the
police officers was not overcome. The trial court held that the appellant did not present any evidence that would
show that the police officers in this case were impelled by an evil motive to charge him of very serious crimes and
falsely testify against him. Also, the trial court noted that the volume of the shabu involved in this case was
considerable, i.e., 247.98 grams and 4.03 grams for illegal sale and illegal possession, respectively. To the mind of
the trial court, such fact helped to dispel the possibility that the drug specimens seized were merely planted by the
police officers. Furthermore, the RTC ruled that the positive testimonies of the police officers regarding the illegal
drug peddling activities of the appellant prevailed over the latters bare denials.
Assuming for the sake of argument that the appellant was merely framed up by the police, the trial court pointed out
that:
[T]he accused should have reported the said incident to the proper authorities, or asked help from his Acting Chief
[Idabel] Pagulayan from the NBI to testify and identify in Court the xerox copy of the Disposition Form which she
issued to the accused and the Affidavit dated April 17, 1998 (xerox copy) executed by her or from Mr. Arturo A.
Figueras, Acting Deputy Director, Technical Services of the NBI to testify and identify the Letter issued by the said
Acting Deputy Director in order to corroborate and strengthen his testimony that he was indeed authorized to keep
in his custody the said shabu to be presented or turned over to the Court as evidence, and he should have filed the
proper charges against those police officers who were responsible for such act. But the accused did not even bother
to do the same. Further, the pieces of evidence (Disposition Form, Affidavit of [Idabel] Pagulayan and Letter dated
March 27, 1998 issued by Acting Deputy Director) presented by the accused in Court could not be given weight and
credence considering that the said persons were not presented in Court to identify the said documents and that the
prosecution has no opportunity to cross-examine the same, thus, it has no probative value. 47
The trial court, thus, decreed:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:
1. In Crim. Case No. 98-164174, finding accused, DONALD VASQUEZ y SANDIGAN @ "DON" guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Violation of Sec. 15, Art. III in Relation to Sec.
2 (e), (f), (m), (o), Art. I of R.A. No. 6425 and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua and a fine of P5,000,000.00; and 2. In Crim. Case No. 98-164175, judgment is hereby rendered
finding the accused, DONALD VASQUEZ y SANDIGAN @ "DON" guilty beyond reasonable doubt of

the crime of Violation of Sec. 16, Art. III in Relation to Sec. 2 (e-2) Art. I of R.A. 6425 as Amended by
Batas Pambansa Bilang 179 and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of SIX (6) MONTHS and ONE
(1) DAY to FOUR (4) YEARS and a fine of FOUR THOUSAND (P4,000.00) PESOS.
The subject shabu (247.98 grams and 4.03 grams, respectively) are hereby forfeited in favor of the government and
the Branch Clerk of Court is hereby directed to deliver and/or cause the delivery of the said shabu to the Philippine
Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), upon the finality of this Decision.48
The Judgment of the Court of Appeals
On appeal,49 the Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction of the appellant. The appellate court ruled that the
prosecution sufficiently proved the elements of the crimes of illegal sale and illegal possession of shabu. The
testimony of P/Insp. Fajardo on the conduct of the buy-bust operation was found to be clear and categorical. As the
appellant failed to adduce any evidence that tended to prove any ill motive on the part of the police officers to
falsely charge the appellant, the Court of Appeals held that the presumption of regularity in the performance of
official duties on the part of the police officers had not been controverted in this case.
The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals decision stated:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal is hereby DENIED. The August 6, 2009 Decision of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 41 of the City of Manila in Criminal Cases No. 98-164174-75, finding appellant
Donald Vasquez y Sandigan guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the crimes of Violation of Section 15 and Section
16, Article III of Republic Act No. 6425 is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that in Criminal Case No. 98164175, appellant is hereby sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of six months of arresto mayor, as
minimum, to two years, four months and one day of prision correccional in its medium period, as maximum. 50
The Ruling of the Court
The appellant appealed his case to this Court to once again impugn his conviction on two grounds: (1) the purported
illegality of the search and the ensuing arrest done by the police officers and (2) his supposed authority to possess
the illegal drugs seized from him.51 He argues that the police officers did not have a search warrant or a warrant of
arrest at the time he was arrested. This occurred despite the fact that the police officers allegedly had ample time to
secure a warrant of arrest against him. Inasmuch as his arrest was illegal, the appellant avers that the evidence
obtained as a result thereof was inadmissible in court. As the corpus delicti of the crime was rendered inadmissible,
the appellant posits that his guilt was not proven beyond reasonable doubt. Appellant further insists that he was able
to prove that he was authorized to keep the drug specimens in his custody, given that he was an employee of the NBI
Forensic Chemistry Laboratory who was tasked with the duty to bring drug specimens in court.
After an assiduous review of the evidence adduced by both parties to this case, we resolve to deny this appeal.
At the outset, the Court rules that the appellant can no longer assail the validity of his arrest. We reiterated in People
v. Tampis52 that "[a]ny objection, defect or irregularity attending an arrest must be made before the accused enters
his plea on arraignment. Having failed to move for the quashing of the information against them before their
arraignment, appellants are now estopped from questioning the legality of their arrest. Any irregularity was cured
upon their voluntary submission to the trial courts jurisdiction."53 Be that as it may, the fact of the matter is that the
appellant was caught in flagrante delicto of selling illegal drugs to an undercover police officer in a buy-bust
operation. His arrest, thus, falls within the ambit of Section 5(a), Rule 113 54 of the Revised Rules on Criminal
Procedure when an arrest made without warrant is deemed lawful. Having established the validity of the warrantless
arrest in this case, the Court holds that the warrantless seizure of the illegal drugs from the appellant is likewise
valid. We held in People v. Cabugatan55 that:
This interdiction against warrantless searches and seizures, however, is not absolute and such warrantless searches
and seizures have long been deemed permissible by jurisprudence in instances of (1) search of moving vehicles, (2)
seizure in plain view, (3) customs searches, (4) waiver or consented searches, (5) stop and frisk situations (Terry
search), and search incidental to a lawful arrest. The last includes a valid warrantless arrest, for, while as a rule, an
arrest is considered legitimate [if] effected with a valid warrant of arrest, the Rules of Court recognize permissible
warrantless arrest, to wit: (1) arrest in flagrante delicto, (2) arrest effected in hot pursuit, and (3) arrest of escaped
prisoners. (Citation omitted.)
Thus, the appellant cannot seek exculpation by invoking belatedly the invalidity of his arrest and the subsequent
search upon his person.
We now rule on the substantive matters.
To secure a conviction for the crime of illegal sale of regulated or prohibited drugs, the following elements should
be satisfactorily proven: (1) the identity of the buyer and seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the

delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor.56 As held in People v. Chua Tan Lee,57 in a prosecution of illegal
sale of drugs, "what is material is proof that the accused peddled illicit drugs, coupled with the presentation in court
of the corpus delicti." On the other hand, the elements of illegal possession of drugs are: (1) the accused is in
possession of an item or object which is identified to be a prohibited drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by
law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the said drug. 58
In the case at bar, the testimonies of P/Insp. Fajardo and PO2 Trambulo established that a buy-bust operation was
legitimately carried out in the wee hours of April 3, 1998 to entrap the appellant. P/Insp. Fajardo, the poseur-buyer,
positively identified the appellant as the one who sold to her six plastic bags of shabu that were contained in a big
brown envelope for the price of P250,000.00. She likewise identified the six plastic bags of shabu, which contained
the markings she placed thereon after the same were seized from the appellant. When subjected to laboratory
examination, the white crystalline powder contained in the plastic bags tested positive for shabu. We find that
P/Insp. Fajardos testimony on the events that transpired during the conduct of the buy-bust operation was detailed
and straightforward. She was also consistent and unwavering in her narration even in the face of the opposing
counsels cross-examination.
Apart from her description of the events that led to the exchange of the drug specimens seized and the buy-bust
money, P/Insp. Fajardo further testified as to the recovery from the appellant of another 12 pieces of plastic sachets
of shabu. After the latter was arrested, P/Insp. Fajardo stated that PO2 Trambulo conducted a body search on the
appellant. This search resulted to the confiscation of 12 more plastic sachets, the contents of which also tested
positive for shabu. The testimony of P/Insp. Fajardo was amply corroborated by PO2 Trambulo, whose own account
dovetailed the formers narration of events. Both police officers also identified in court the twelve plastic sachets of
shabu that were confiscated from the appellant.
In People v. Ting Uy,59 the Court explains that "credence shall be given to the narration of the incident by
prosecution witnesses especially so when they are police officers who are presumed to have performed their duties
in a regular manner, unless there be evidence to the contrary." In the instant case, the appellant failed to ascribe,
much less satisfactorily prove, any improper motive on the part of the prosecution witnesses as to why they would
falsely incriminate him. The appellant himself even testified that, not only did he not have any misunderstanding
with P/Insp. Fajardo and PO2 Trambulo prior to his arrest, he in fact did not know them at all.60In the absence of
evidence of such ill motive, none is presumed to exist.61
The records of this case are also silent as to any measures undertaken by the appellant to criminally or
administratively charge the police officers herein for falsely framing him up for selling and possessing illegal drugs.
Such a move would not have been a daunting task for the appellant under the circumstances. Being a regular
employee of the NBI, the appellant could have easily sought the help of his immediate supervisors and/or the chief
of his office to extricate him from his predicament. Instead, what the appellant offered in evidence were mere
photocopies of documents that supposedly showed that he was authorized to keep drug specimens in his custody.
That the original documents and the testimonies of the signatories thereof were not at all presented in court did
nothing to help the appellants case. To the mind of the Court, the evidence offered by the appellant failed to
persuade amid the positive and categorical testimonies of the arresting officers that the appellant was caught redhanded selling and possessing a considerable amount of prohibited drugs on the night of the buy-bust operation.
It is apropos to reiterate here that where there is no showing that the trial court overlooked or misinterpreted some
material facts or that it gravely abused its discretion, the Court will not disturb the trial courts assessment of the
facts and the credibility of the witnesses since the RTC was in a better position to assess and weigh the evidence
presented during trial. Settled too is the rule that the factual findings of the appellate court sustaining those of the
trial court are binding on this Court, unless there is a clear showing that such findings are tainted with arbitrariness,
capriciousness or palpable error.62
On the basis of the foregoing, the Court is convinced that the prosecution was able to establish the guilt of the
appellant of the crimes charged.
The Penalties
Anent the proper imposable penalties, Section 15 and Section 16, Article III, in relation to Section 20(3) of Republic
Act No. 6425, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, state:
SEC. 15. Sale, Administration, Dispensation, Delivery, Transportation and Distribution of Regulated Drugs. - The
penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall
be imposed upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, dispense, deliver, transport or distribute any
regulated drug. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 20 of this Act to the contrary, if the victim of the offense
is a minor, or should a regulated drug involved in any offense under this Section be the proximate cause of the death
of a victim thereof, the maximum penalty herein provided shall be imposed. SEC. 16. Possession or Use of
Regulated Drugs. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos

to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any person who shall possess or use any regulated drug without the
corresponding license or prescription, subject to the provisions of Section 20 hereof.
SEC. 20. Application of Penalties, Confiscation and Forfeiture of the Proceeds or Instruments of the Crime. - The
penalties for offenses under Sections 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9 of Article II and Sections 14, 14-A, 15 and 16 of Article III of
this Act shall be applied if the dangerous drugs involved is in any of the following quantities:
1. 40 grams or more of opium;
2. 40 grams or more of morphine;
3. 200 grams or more of shabu or methylamphetamine hydrochloride;
4. 40 grams or more of heroin;
5. 750 grams or more of Indian hemp or marijuana;
6. 50 grams or more of marijuana resin or marijuana resin oil;
7. 40 grams or more of cocaine or cocaine hydrocholoride; or
8. In the case of other dangerous drugs, the quantity of which is far beyond therapeutic requirements, as
determined and promulgated by the Dangerous Drugs Board, after public consultations/hearings conducted
for the purpose.
Otherwise, if the quantity involved is less than the foregoing quantities, the penalty shall range from prision
correccional to reclusion perpetua depending upon the quantity. (Emphases supplied.)
In Criminal Case No. 98-164174 involving the crime of illegal sale of regulated drugs, the appellant was found to
have sold to the poseur-buyer in this case a total of 247.98 grams of shabu, which amount is more than the minimum
of 200 grams required by the law for the imposition of either reclusion perpetua or, if there be aggravating
circumstances, the death penalty.
Pertinently, Article 6363 of the Revised Penal Code mandates that when the law prescribes a penalty composed of
two indivisible penalties and there are neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstances in the commission of the
crime, the lesser penalty shall be applied.1wphi1 Thus, in this case, considering that no mitigating or aggravating
circumstances attended the appellants violation of Section 15, Article III of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, the
Court of Appeals correctly affirmed the trial courts imposition of reclusion perpetua. The P5,000,000.00 fine
imposed by the RTC on the appellant is also in accord with Section 15, Article III of Republic Act No. 6425, as
amended.
As to the charge of illegal possession of regulated drugs in Criminal Case No. 98-164175, the Court of Appeals
properly invoked our ruling in People v. Tira64 in determining the proper imposable penalty. Indeed, we held in Tira
that:
Under Section 16, Article III of Rep. Act No. 6425, as amended, the imposable penalty of possession of a regulated
drug, less than 200 grams, in this case, shabu, is prision correccional to reclusion perpetua. Based on the quantity of
the regulated drug subject of the offense, the imposable penalty shall be as follows:
QUANTITY

IMPOSABLE PENALTY

Less than one (1) gram to 49.25 grams

prision correccional

49.26 grams to 98.50 grams

prision mayor

98.51 grams to 147.75 grams

reclusion temporal

147.76 grams to 199 grams

reclusion perpetua
(Emphases ours.)

Given that the additional 12 plastic sachets of shabu found in the possession of the appellant amounted to 4.03
grams, the imposable penalty for the crime is prision correccional. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, there
being no aggravating or mitigating circumstance in this case, the imposable penalty on the appellant should be the
indeterminate sentence of six months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to four years and two months of prision
correccional, as maximum. The penalty imposed by the Court of Appeals, thus, falls within the range of the proper

imposable penalty. In Criminal Case No. 98-164175, no fine is imposable considering that in Republic Act No.
6425, as amended, a fine can be imposed as a conjunctive penalty only if the penalty is reclusion perpetua to death. 65
Incidentally, the Court notes that both parties in this case admitted that the appellant was a regular employee of the
NBI Forensics Chemistry Division. Such fact, however, cannot be taken into consideration to increase the penalties
in this case to the maximum, in accordance with Section 24 of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended.66Such a special
aggravating circumstance, i.e., one that which arises under special conditions to increase the penalty for the offense
to its maximum period,67 was not alleged and charged in the informations. Thus, the same was properly disregarded
by the lower courts.
All told, the Court finds no reason to overturn the conviction of the appellant.
WHEREFORE, the Court of Appeals Decision dated May 31, 2011 in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 04201 is AFFIRMED.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
TERESITA J. LEOARDO-DE CASTRO
Associate Justice

RULE 116
EN BANC
PEOPLE OF THEPHILIPPINES,
Plaintiff-Appellee,

G.R. No. 177742


Present:
PUNO, C.J.,
QUISUMBING,
YNARES-SANTIAGO,
CARPIO,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
CORONA*,
CARPIO MORALES,
AZCUNA,
TINGA,
CHICO-NAZARIO,
VELASCO, JR.,
NACHURA,
REYES
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, and BRION, JJ.

- versus -

Promulgated:
JOSELITO A. LOPIT,
Accused-Appellant.
December 17, 2008
x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
DECISION
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:

Before us on automatic review is the Decision [1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated June 30, 2006 in CAG.R. CR-H.C. No. 01896 which affirmed, with modifications, the decision [2] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Bulanao, Tabuk, Kalinga, Branch 25, in Criminal Case No. 85-2003, finding herein accused-appellant guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of Qualified Rape committed against his own daughter and sentencing him to suffer
the extreme penalty of death.
Consistent with People v. Cabalquinto, [3] the Court withholds the real name of the rape victim. Instead,
fictitious initials of AAA are used to represent her. Also, the personal circumstances of the victim or any other
information tending to establish or compromise her identity, as well as those of her immediate family or household
members, is not disclosed in this decision.[4] In this regard, the mother is referred to as BBB.
In three (3) separate Informations [5] dated September 15, 2003, accused-appellant was charged with three
(3) counts of rape committed against his own 14-year old daughter AAA on September 5, 7, and 9, 2003. Except for
the dates of the commission of the crime, the Informations were identically worded, thus:
CRIM. CASE NO. 85-2003
The undersigned accuses [accused-appellant], a detention prisoner at the PNP of Tabuk,
of the crime of RAPE, defined and penalized under Republic Act Numbered 8353, committed as
follows:
That on or about September 5, 2003 at San Julian, Tabuk, Kalinga, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the accused, through force, threat and intimidation, did then
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of her daughter [AAA],
who is a minor, fourteen (14) years of age, against her will.
CONTRARY TO LAW.[6]

On November 4, 2003, accused-appellant, duly assisted by Atty. Marcelino K. Wacas of the Public
Attorneys Office (PAO), entered a plea of not guilty in Criminal Case Nos. 85-2003, 86-2003 and 87-2003. [7]
On November 10, 2003, the PAO lawyer verbally moved to be relieved as counsel for accused-appellant
and with the latters concurrence, the motion was granted. In his stead, Atty. Daniel Dapeg of the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines Legal Aid Pilot Project was appointed as accused-appellants counsel de oficio.[8]
During the pre-trial conference held on November 12, 2003, accused-appellant, assisted by counsel,
manifested his desire to plea-bargain. In open court, he expressed willingness to plead guilty in Criminal Case No.
85-2003, on the condition that the Informations in Criminal Case Nos. 86-2003 and 87-2003 be withdrawn. Victim
AAA, assisted by her mother BBB and the provincial prosecutor, expressed her conformity thereto. [9]
Thus, accused-appellant entered a new plea of guilty to the crime of rape in Criminal Case No. 85-2003.
This was done with the assistance of counsel de oficio and after the trial court conducted searching inquiry into
the voluntariness and full comprehension of the consequences of the accused-appellants plea.
[10]

Thereafter, the trial court commenced with the reception of evidence to prove accused-appellants guilt and
degree of culpability.
The prosecution presented the victim AAA and her mother BBB as witnesses, while accused-appellant
testified on his own defense.
After trial, the court a quo rendered its Decision on November 28, 2003 imposing upon the accusedappellant the supreme penalty of death thus:
Accordingly, judgment is hereby rendered finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of rape attendant the qualifying and aggravating circumstances of minority and
relationship, victim [AAA] being 15 years old and daughter of [accused-appellant] and hereby
sentences the said accused the supreme penalty of death and to indemnify minor
victim P75,000.00, by way of civil indemnity, moral damages in the amount ofP100,000.00
and P50,000.00 by way of exemplary damages, plus cost.
Transmit the record of the case to the Office of the Clerk of Court, Supreme Court of
the Philippines for review.
SO ORDERED.[11]
The records of these cases were forwarded to this Court for automatic review, in view of the death penalty
imposed.
In our Resolution[12] of August 10, 2004, We accepted the appeal and directed the Chief, Judicial Records
Office, to send notices to the parties to file their respective briefs and to the Director of the Bureau of Corrections, to
confirm the detention of the accused at the National Penitentiary. Accused-appellant filed his Appellant's
Brief[13] on April 11, 2005, while the People, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), filed its Appellee's
Brief[14] on May 31, 2005.
Conformably with this Courts decision in People v. Mateo,[15] accused-appellants appeal by way of
automatic review was transferred to the CA where it was docketed as CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 01896.
The prosecution, through the testimonies of the victim (AAA) and witness (BBB), the victims mother,
established the following facts:
[AAA], then fourteen (14) years old having been born on October 2, 1988, is the daughter
of the [accused-appellant] and BBB, a barangay midwife; they were married on May 10,
1986. On September 5, 2003 at around2:00 in the afternoon, [AAA], a third year high school
student at Tabuk National High School was in their house together with her mentally retarded
sister CCC. At that time, their mother [BBB] was in San Julian Elementary School. Suddenly
[AAA]s father [accused-appellant], a farmer, arrived drunk and forced the victim to have sexual
intercourse with him. She struggled but her efforts were in vain since [accused-appellant] was
strong. [Accused-appellant] removed his pants and pinned the victim on the bed, pulled down her
pants and inserted his penis into her vagina. [AAA] cried. After doing the bestial act, [accusedappellant] left but not before threatening [AAA] that he would kill her, her mother and siblings if
she reported the matter. As further testified by the victim, she had been sleeping with her father on

the cement floor of their unfinished house for some time and that her father started staying with
them only in 2002 since he had been staying in Laguna as a soldier in the Philippine Army.
Terrified and disgusted by what happened to her, the victim left home on September 10,
2003. She stayed in the house of Rita Carbonel in San Francisco, Tabuk, Kalinga. On September
11, 2003, [BBB] came looking for her and it was only then that the victim revealed the sexual
assaults committed by her father. Without delay, [BBB] accompanied her daughter to the police
headquarters where the victims statement was taken.
[BBB] testified that she and [accused-appellant] were married on May 10, 1986 at
Calanasan, Cagayan. Although she did not present any document to prove such assertion nor did
she expressly and categorically state that [accused-appellant] was the victims father, the victim
repeatedly referred to [accused-appellant] as her father all throughout her testimony. Their
relationship was never refuted by the [accused-appellant] who in fact admitted in open court that
[AAA] was one of his daughters.
On the other hand, accused-appellant testified on his own version of the events which transpired
on September 5, 2003:
For his part, [accused-appellant] testified that on September 5, 2003, he came home
drunk and fell asleep naked on the cemented floor; that he was awakened when someone placed a
mat and a blanket for him. He thought that his daughter was his wife, so he had sex with
her. [Accused-appellant] manifested remorse and declared that he pleaded guilty as he had no
money to fight his case also to secure a reduction of the penalty that will be imposed on him.
On June 30, 2006, the CA promulgated the herein challenged decision affirming in most part the decision
of the trial court with modification only in the amount of the award of moral and exemplary damages. Pertinently,
the CA decision reads in part:
With respect to the civil aspect of the crimes, We sustain the award of civil indemnity in the
amount of P75,000.00 since rape was committed in its qualified form. However, the trial courts
award of P100,000.00 as moral damages and P50,000.00 as exemplary damages must be
modified. In line with existing jurisprudence, the award of moral damages should be in the amount
of P75,000.00, without need of further proof. Likewise, exemplary damages is reduced
to P25,000.00 in line with existing jurisprudence.
A final note: Notwithstanding current moves for the abolition of the death penalty, no legislation
or rules have yet been promulgated relative thereto as of the time of the writing of his Decision,
hence We are constrained to affirm the penalty imposed by the court a quo which We find to be
conformable to the facts and existing law.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appealed Decision is hereby AFFIRMED with
MODIFICATION that the award of moral damages is reduced to P75,000.00 and exemplary
damages to P25,000.00 or a total ofP175,000.00. Let the record of this case be elevated to the
Honorable Supreme Court for review pursuant to Rule 124, Section 13 of the Revised Rules on
Criminal Procedure as amended by A.M. No. 00-5-03-SC.
SO ORDERED.
On April 23, 2007, the CA forwarded the records of the case to this Court for automatic review.[16]
In the Resolution[17] dated June 26, 2007, We required the parties to simultaneously submit their respective
supplemental briefs. However, the parties filed separate manifestations stating that they were waiving the filing of
supplemental briefs and instead opted to stand by their respective briefs filed with the CA.
In his Brief, accused-appellant alleged that the trial court gravely erred in imposing on him the supreme penalty of
death.
Before delving into the main issue of the case, it is necessary to determine whether the trial court has
satisfied the requirement as mandated by Rule 116 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, which provides:
SEC. 3. Plea of guilty to capital offense; reception of evidence.- When the accused pleads
guilty to a capital offense, the court shall conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness and
full comprehension of the consequences of his plea and require the prosecution to prove his guilt
and the precise degree of culpability. The accused may also present evidence on his behalf.

Explicitly, when the accused pleads guilty to a capital offense, the court shall conduct a searching inquiry
into the voluntariness and full comprehension of the consequences of his plea and require the prosecution to prove
his guilt and the precise degree of his culpability. The accused may also present evidence on his behalf. Under the
foregoing Rule, three things are enjoined upon the trial court when a plea of guilty to a capital offense is entered: (1)
the court must conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness of the plea and the accused's full comprehension of
the consequences thereof; (2) the court must require the prosecution to present evidence to prove the guilt of the
accused and the precise degree of his culpability; and (3) the court must ask the accused if he desires to present
evidence on his behalf and allow him to do so if he desires.[18]
We explained the rationale of the rule in People v. Albert,[19] thus:
The rationale behind the rule is that courts must proceed with more care where the
possible punishment is in its severest form--death--for the reason that the execution of such a
sentence is irrevocable and experience has shown that innocent persons have at times pleaded
guilty. The primordial purpose then is to avoid improvident pleas of guilt on the part of an accused
when grave crimes are involved since he might be admitting his guilt before the court and thus
forfeit his life and liberty without having fully understood the meaning, significance and
consequences of his plea. Moreover, the requirement of taking further evidence would aid the
Supreme Court on appellate review in determining the propriety or impropriety of the plea.
It is not enough to inquire as to the voluntariness of the plea; the court must explain fully to the accused
that once convicted, he could be meted the death penalty; that death is a single and indivisible penalty and will be
imposed regardless of any mitigating circumstance that may have attended the commission of the felony. Thus, the
importance of the courts obligation cannot be overemphasized, for one cannot dispel the possibility that the accused
may have been led to believe that due to his voluntary plea of guilty, he may be imposed a lesser penalty, [20] which
was precisely what happened here.
The trial court proffered the following questions to accused-appellant to determine the voluntariness and
full comprehension of his change of plea from not guilty to guilty, thus:[21]
COURT
Q Mr. Lopit y Abulao you have been arraigned yesterday with the Information for Rape in
Criminal Case No. 85-2003, did you confer with your newly designated counsel de
oficio regarding your plea?
WITNESS
A Yes, Your Honor.
Q After having been confer (sic) with him that you entered a plea of guilty for the Information of
Rape you voluntary done (sic) of your own perception?
A Yes, Your Honor.
Q Will you tell us the reason why you have pleaded guilty to the offense?
A I have no money to fight my case, Your Honor.
Q Is that the reason why you have admitted or because you are repenting for the intention you
have committed?
A That is the only reason, Your Honor.
Q Are you telling us that you did not rape your daughter?
A No, Your Honor.
Q If you did not rape your daughter, why did you plead guilty?
A Atty. Wagas told me to admit one case in order to reduce the penalty, Your Honor.
Q In fact there are three (3) Criminal Cases for Rape allotted against you involving your daughter,
is that correct?
A Yes, Your Honor.
Q Did you believe that beneficial to you to admit one?
A Yes, Your Honor.
Q And that is the reason you pleaded guilty?
A Yes, Your Honor.

Q Is it not therefore the lack of money that to fight a case and prompted you to plea of guilty?
A Yes, both Your Honor.
Q So it is the reason?
A Yes Your Honor.[22]
Clearly, Section 3, Rule 116 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure was not satisfactorily complied
with. The trial court should have taken the necessary measures to see to it that accused-appellant really and freely
comprehended the meaning, full significance and consequences of his plea but it did not. It failed to explain to
accused-appellant that the penalty imposable for the crime attended by the qualifying circumstance of minority and
filiation, as alleged in the Information against him, is death, whether or not he pleads guilty and regardless of the
presence of other mitigating circumstances. Accused-appellants justification that he had no money to defend his case
and his belief that the penalty would be reduced if he pleaded guilty were not sufficient reasons for the trial court to
allow a change of plea from not guilty to one of guilty. It was the duty of the judge to see to it that the accused did
not labor under this mistaken impression.
Still, the trial courts shortcomings will not necessarily result in accused-appellants acquittal. The evidence
for the prosecution, independently of accused-appellants plea of guilty, adequately established his guilt beyond
reasonable doubt as charged in the Informations. The testimony of the victim AAA is worthy of belief and enough to
convict accused-appellant. She testified in a candid, straightforward and categorical manner. She narrated in open
court that on September 5, 2003, she was ravished by her own father. She recalled thus:
My mother went to San Juan Elementary School at 2: oclock he was forcing me but I
refused. He was strong and I kicked him and he put my pants down and then he took advantage of
me.[23]
AAA recounted how accused-appellant was able to insert his private organ into hers in the midst of her
tears and in full view of her mentally challenged sister who was unfortunately oblivious of their fathers dastardly
act.[24] After satisfying his bestial instinct, accused-appellant left his daughter AAA with a threat: No agipulong ka,
patayen kayo amin. (If you will report, I will kill you all).[25]
Thus, accused-appellants plea of guilty effectively corroborated and substantiated victim AAAs allegation
that accused-appellant indeed raped her.
In his Brief, accused-appellant does not question his conviction for raping his own daughter. He only
assails the imposition of the death penalty by the CA. Accused-appellant contends that while the Information alleged
the qualifying circumstances of both his relationship to the victim and the latters minority, the prosecution failed to
prove beyond reasonable doubt these qualifying circumstances. The People through the OSG, while maintaining that
accused-appellants guilt has been proven beyond reasonable doubt, agrees that accused-appellant should only be
convicted of simple rape, as the qualifying circumstances of the victims minority and her filiation with accusedappellant were not proven beyond reasonable doubt.
We agree.
Article 266 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by RA 7659 and further amended by RA 8353,
provides:
Art. 266-A. Rape. When and how committed. - Rape is committed
1.) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following
circumstances:
a) Through force, threat, or intimidation;
Art. 266-B. Penalties.- Rape under paragraph 1 of the next preceding article shall be punished
by reclusion perpetua.
xxx xxx xxx
The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the
following aggravating/qualifying circumstances:
1) When the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent,
ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree,
or the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim;
In the prosecution of criminal cases, especially those involving the extreme penalty of death, nothing but
proof beyond reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to constitute the crime with which an accused is charged

must be established. Qualifying circumstances or special qualifying circumstances must be proved with equal
certainty and clearness as the crime itself; otherwise, there can be no conviction of the crime in its qualified
form. As a qualifying circumstance of the crime of rape, the concurrence of the victims minority and her relationship
to the accused-appellant must be both alleged and proven beyond reasonable doubt.[26]
Here, the Information alleged the concurrence of the victims minority and her relationship to accusedappellant. However, except for the bare testimony of the victim and her mother as to the formers age as well as their
filiation to the accused-appellant, no birth certificate or baptismal certificate or school record and marriage contract
exist on record to prove beyond reasonable doubt the victims age or her minority at the time of the commission of
the offense. In People v. Tabanggay,[27] we held:
Jurisprudence dictates that when the law specifies certain circumstances that will qualify
an offense and thus attach to it a greater degree of penalty, such circumstances must be both
alleged and proven in order to justify the imposition of the graver penalty. Recent rulings of the
Court relative to the rape of minors invariably state that in order to justify the imposition of death,
there must be independent evidence proving the age of the victim, other than the testimonies of
prosecution witnesses and the absence of denial by the accused. A duly certified certificate of live
birth accurately showing the complainant's age, or some other official document or record such as
a school record, has been recognized as competent evidence.
In the instant case, we find insufficient the bare testimony of private complainants and
their mother as to their ages as well as their kinship to the appellant. x x x [We] cannot agree with
the solicitor general that appellants admission of his relationship with his victims would
suffice. Elementary is the doctrine that the prosecution bears the burden of proving all the
elements of a crime, including the qualifying circumstances. In sum, the death penalty cannot be
imposed.
There is no showing that the victims birth certificate and accused-appellants marriage contract were lost or
destroyed or were unavailable without the prosecutions fault. Therefore, the prosecution failed to prove beyond
reasonable doubt that the alleged special qualifying circumstance of minority attended the commission of the crime
of rape. Hence, accused-appellant should be convicted only of simple rape.Simple rape is punishable by a single
indivisible penalty of reclusion perpetua. Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code provides that in all cases in which
the law prescribes a single indivisible penalty, it shall be applied by the courts regardless of any mitigating or
aggravating circumstances that may have attended the commission of the deed.
Accordingly, the imposed indemnity and moral damages should be reduced to (P50,000.00) pursuant to our
ruling in People v. Gonzales,[28] that upon a finding of the fact of rape, the award of civil indemnity ex delicto is
mandatory. If the death penalty is imposed, the indemnity should be P75,000.00; otherwise, the victim is entitled
to P50,000.00. An additional P50,000.00 should be awarded as moral damages. Moral damages are automatically
granted in rape cases without need of further proof other than the commission of the crime, because it is assumed
that a rape victim has actually suffered moral injuries entitling her to such an award.
Finally, the award of exemplary damages in the amount of P25,000.00 is in order. Exemplary damages may
be awarded in criminal cases as part of civil liability if the crime was committed with one or more aggravating
circumstances. Relationship as an alternative circumstance under Article 15 of the Revised Penal Code is considered
aggravating in the crime of rape. In this case, victim AAA was raped by her own father. Accused-appellant admitted
the allegation of such relationship in his direct testimony. Hence, complainant is entitled to the award of exemplary
damages in the amount of P25,000.00 in order to deter fathers with perverse tendencies and aberrant sexual behavior
from preying upon their young daughters.[29]
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated June 30, 2006 of the CA is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that
accused-appellant is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of SIMPLE RAPE and is sentenced to suffer the
penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the victim AAA, indemnity ex delicto of P50,000.00, moral damages
of P50,000.00 and exemplary damages of P25,000.00. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

RULE 126
FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 158467

SPOUSES JOEL AND


MARIETTA MARIMLA,
Petitioners,

Present:

NACHURA,* J.,
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,**
BRION,***
- versus -

PERALTA,**** and
BERSAMIN, JJ.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINESAND HON.


OMAR T. VIOLA, RTC Judge, Branch 57,
Angeles City,

Promulgated:

Respondents.

October 16, 2009

x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:


Before the Court is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. It seeks to annul the
Order[1] dated September 6, 2002 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Angeles City, Branch 57, denying petitioner
spouses Joel and Marietta Marimlas Motion to Quash Search Warrant and to Suppress Evidence Illegally Seized,
and the Order[2] dated April 21, 2003 denying the Motion for Reconsideration thereof.

The facts, as culled from the records, are as follows:

On February 15, 2002, Special Investigator (SI) Ray C. Lagasca of the NBI Anti-Organized Crime Division
filed two (2) applications for search warrant with the RTC of Manila seeking permission to search: (1) petitioners
house located on RD Reyes St., Brgy. Sta. Trinidad, Angeles City [3] and (2) the premises on Maria Aquino St., Purok
V, Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Porac, Pampanga, [4] both for Violation of Section 16, Article III of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6425,
as amended. The said applications uniformly alleged that SI Lagascas request for the issuance of the search warrants
was founded on his personal knowledge as well as that of witness Roland D. Fernandez (Fernandez), obtained after

a series of surveillance operations and a test buy made at petitioners house. The purpose of the application for search
warrants was to seize the following articles/items:
Undetermined amount of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride, popularly known as SHABU,
MARIJUANA, weighing scale, plastic sachets, tooters, burner, rolling papers, and paraphernalia,
all of which articles/items are being used or intended to be used in Violation of Republic Act 6425
as amended, and are hidden or being kept in said house/premises. [5]

Executive Judge Mario Guaria III (Judge Guaria III) examined in writing and under oath SI Lagasca and
Fernandez, in the form of searching questions and answers, and found that based on facts personally known to SI
Lagasca and Fernandez, petitioners had in their possession and control, inside their house located on RD Reyes St.,
Brgy. Sta. Trinidad, Angeles City, an undetermined amount of methamphetamine hydrochloride known
as shabu and marijuana. Pursuant these findings, Judge Guaria III issued a search warrant docketed as Search
Warrant No. 02-2677, which commanded any peace officer to make immediate search, at any time of the day or
night, not beyond 10 days from date hereof, of the premises above-mentioned and forthwith seize and take
possession of the properties subject of the offense and bring to his court said properties to be dealt with as the law
directs.[6]

On the strength of this warrant, members of the NBI Anti-Organized Crime Division, namely, SI Lagasca,
Primitivo M. Najera, Jr., Jesusa D. Jamasali, Horten Hernaez, and Ritche N. Oblanca, in coordination with the
Philippine National Police of Angeles City, searched petitioners house on February 19, 2002 at around 5:00 in the
morning.[7] They were able to seize cash in the amount of P15,200.00[8]and the following items:
1.

One (1) brick of dried flowering tops wrapped in a packing tape marked RCL-1-2677, (net weight 915.7 grams);

2.

One (1) small brick of dried flowering tape wrapped in a newsprint marked RCL-2-2677 (net weight 491.5 grams);

3.

Dried flowering tops separately contained in sixteen (16) transparent plastic bags, altogether wrapped
in a newsprint marked RCL-3-2677 (net weight - 127.9 grams); and

4.

Dried flowering tops separately contained in nine (9) plastic tea bags, altogether placed in a yellow
plastic bag marked RCL-4-2677 (net weight - 18.2736 grams).[9]

On February 20, 2002, an Information [10] for Violation of Section 8, Article II of R.A. No. 6425, as
amended by R.A. No. 7659, was filed against petitioners before the RTC of Angeles City, Branch 57, presided by
herein respondent Judge Omar T. Viola.

On March 25, 2002, petitioners filed a Motion to Quash Search Warrant and to Suppress Evidence Illegally
Seized[11] on the following grounds: (1) the application for search warrant was filed outside the territorial jurisdiction
and judicial region of the court where the alleged crime was committed; (2) the court which issued the questioned
search warrant committed grave abuse of discretion when it issued the same because under the law it cannot issue a
search warrant outside its territorial jurisdiction; (3) the questioned search warrant is void ab initio; and (4) the
evidence illegally seized by virtue of the questioned search warrant is therefore inadmissible in evidence.

In support of the above motion, petitioners filed a Motion to Admit Documentary Evidence, [12] asking the
court to admit the following documents: (1) application for Search Warrant No. 02-2677; (2) authorization letter
dated February 12, 2002 with the signature of NBI Director Reynaldo G. Wycoco (Director Wycoco); (3) NBI ID
No. 5370 of Agent Victor Emmanuel G. Lansang with the Signature ofDirector Wycoco; and (4) Administrative
Matter (A.M.) No. 00-5-03-SC (Re: Proposed Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure [Rules 110-127, Revised Rules
of Court]). Petitioners claim that the issuance of Search Warrant No. 02-2677 was defective considering the
application was not personally endorsed by [Dir.] Wycoco, and that the latters signature in the authorization letter is
different from that as appearing in the identification card, and therefore it is not the true and genuine signature of
[Dir.] Wycoco.[13]
In its Comment/Opposition to the Motion to Quash, [14] the Office of the City Prosecutor, Angeles City claims that the
questioned search warrant does not fall within the coverage of Sec. 2 of Rule 126 of the Revised Rules on Criminal
Procedure, but under A.M. No. 99-10-09-SC,[15] which authorizes the Executive Judges and Vice Executive Judges
of the RTCs of Manila and Quezon City to act on all applications for search warrants involving dangerous drugs,
among others, filed by the NBI, and provides that said warrants may be served in places outside the territorial
jurisdiction of the RTCs of Manila and Quezon City.

On August 14, 2009, SI Lagasca filed his Opposition and/or Answer to the Motion to Quash Search Warrant and to
Suppress Evidence Illegally Seized.[16] He avers that Judge Guaria III issued Search Warrant No. 02-2677 by virtue
of Administrative Order No. 20-97[17] issued on February 12, 1997. He also claims that it was NBI Deputy Director
for Special Investigation Fermin Nasol who signed the authorization letter in behalf of Director Wycoco, for him to
apply for a search warrant in the house/premises of petitioners on RD Reyes St., Brgy. Sta. Trinidad, Angeles City
and Maria Aquino St., Purok V, Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Porac, Pampanga for violation of R.A. No. 6425.

In an Order[18] dated September 6, 2002, Judge Omar T. Viola denied petitioners Motion to Quash Search
Warrant and to Suppress Evidence Illegally Seized for lack of merit, ratiocinating as follows:
The public prosecutor was able to point out that the search warrant issued by Judge Mario
Guaria III, the Executive Judge of the Manila Regional Trial Court, is in order considering that
AM 99-10-09-SC allows or authorizes executive judges and vice executive judges of the Regional

Trial Court of Manila and Quezon City to issue warrants which may be served in places outside
their territorial jurisdiction in cases where the same was filed and, among others, by the NBI.

The NBI also was able to explain that the authority to apply search warrant was
personally signed by Deputy Director for Special Investigation Fermin Nasol who is authorized to
sign and that he was delegated the authority to sign for and in behalf of the NBI Director on
documents of this like. Deputy Director Fermin Nasol having that authority to sign for and in
behalf of the NBI Director, Reynaldo Wycoco, there is, therefore, compliance with the law
regarding the issuance of authority to apply search warrant.

WHEREFORE, in view of the revelation, the Court has no other recourse but to agree
with the views of the prosecution as well as the NBI. And this being so, the Court finds not
enough ground to quash the search warrant issued against Spouses Joel and Marietta Marilma.

The motion filed by them and their supplement, is therefore denied, for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.[19]

On September 23, 2002, petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration [20] on the ground that the denial of
their Motion to Quash Search Warrant and to Suppress Evidence Illegally Seized is not in accordance with the law
and existing jurisprudence. They claim that no evidence was presented by Deputy Director Nasol that he was
authorized to sign for and in behalf of Director Wycoco.

Said Motion for Reconsideration was likewise denied by respondent court on the ground that the issues
raised therein were mere reiterations of petitioners arguments that had already been considered and passed upon in
the Motion to Quash Search Warrant and to Suppress Evidence Illegally Seized. Respondent court added:
To elaborate, this Court believes and is of the opinion that the Deputy Director of the NBI
possesses the authority to sign for and in behalf of the NBI Director requesting for the issuance of
a search warrant and nothing in the Administrative Matter 99-10-09 prohibits the delegation of
such ministerial act to the Deputy Director who is an alter ego of the NBI Director. It is also quite
clear that the NBI Director approved said authorization for SI Ray Lagasca to apply for a search
warrant because said document was never recalled or amended by the Office of the Bureau
Director up to the present.

The Court is also of the view that A.M. 99-10-09 is still valid, binding and legal by virtue
of the fact that not even the Supreme Court (sic) did not make any pronouncement withdrawing
and or declaring the same ineffective, hence, until such order is issued, this Court must interpret
and rule for its continued validity and applicability.[21]

Hence, this petition.

Petitioners claim that the search warrant was issued in violation of A.M. No. 99-10-09-SC and Section 2 of
Rule 126 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure.

The pivotal issue to be resolved in this petition is whether or not the respondent court acted with grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed Orders dated September 6,
2002 and April 21, 2003, denying petitioners Motion to Quash Search Warrant and to Suppress Evidence Illegally
Seized and their Motion for Reconsideration, respectively.

At the onset, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) prays for the dismissal of this petition on the ground
that the filing of the said petition directly with this Court runs afoul of the doctrine of hierarchy of courts. The OSG
argues that while this Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Court of Appeals (CA) over petitions for certiorari,
this petition should have been filed with the CA. The OSG contends that the petitioners have not shown any
compelling reason to justify the filing of the petition directly with this Court.

The general rule is that a party is mandated to follow the hierarchy of courts. However, in exceptional
cases, the Court, for compelling reasons or if warranted by the nature of the issues raised, may take cognizance of
petitions filed directly before it.[22] In this case, the Court opts to take cognizance of the petition, as it involves the
application of the rules promulgated by this Court in the exercise of its rule-making power under the Constitution. [23]

At the heart of the present controversy are A.M. No. 99-10-09-SC, Clarifying the Guidelines on the Application for
the Enforceability of Search Warrants, which was enacted on January 25, 2000; and A.M. No. 00-5-03-SC,
the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, which took effect on December 1, 2000, specifically, Section 2, Rule 126
thereof. We quote the pertinent portions of the two issuances below:
Administrative Matter No. 99-10-09-SC

Resolution Clarifying the Guidelines on the Application for the Enforceability of Search
Warrants

In the interest of an effective administration of justice and pursuant to the powers vested in the
Supreme Court by the Constitution, the following are authorized to act on all applications for
search warrants involving heinous crimes, illegal gambling, dangerous drugs and illegal
possession of firearms.

The Executive Judge and Vice Executive Judges of Regional Trial Courts, Manila and Quezon
City filed by the Philippine National Police (PNP), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the
Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOC-TF) and the Reaction Against Crime Task
Force (REACT-TF) with the Regional Trial Courts of Manila and Quezon City.

The applications shall be personally endorsed by the Heads of the said agencies, for the search of
places to be particularly described therein, and the seizure of property of things as prescribed in
the Rules of Court, and to issue the warrants of arrest, if justified, which may be served in places
outside the territorial jurisdiction of said courts.

The authorized judges shall keep a special docket book listing the details of the applications and
the result of the searches and seizures made pursuant to the warrants issued.

This Resolution is effective immediately and shall continue until further orders from this Court
and shall be an exemption to the provisions of Circular No. 13 dated 1 October 1985 and Circular
No. 19 dated 4 August 1987. x x x
A.M. No. 00-5-03-SC
Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure

Rule 126

SEARCH AND SEIZURE


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

(a)

Any court within whose territorial jurisdiction a crime was committed.

(b)

For compelling reasons stated in the application, any court within the judicial

region where the crime was committed if the place of the commission of the crime is known, or
any court within the judicial region where the warrant shall be enforced.

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

From the above, it may be seen that A.M. No. 99-10-09-SC authorizes the Executive Judge and Vice Executive
Judges of the RTCs of Manila and Quezon City to act on all applications for search warrants involving heinous
crimes, illegal gambling, dangerous drugs and illegal possession of firearms on application filed by the PNP, NBI,
PAOC-TF, and REACT-TF. On the other hand, Rule 126 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure provides that
the application for search warrant shall be filed with: (a) any court within whose territorial jurisdiction a crime was
committed, and (b) for compelling reasons, any court within the judicial region where the crime was committed if
the place of the commission of the crime is known, or any court within the judicial region where the warrant shall be
enforced.

Petitioners contend that the application for search warrant was defective. They aver that the application for search
warrant filed by SI Lagasca was not personally endorsed by the NBI Head, Director Wycoco, but instead endorsed
only by Deputy Director Nasol and that while SI Lagasca declared that Deputy Director Nasol was commissioned to
sign the authorization letter in behalf of Director Wycoco, the same was not duly substantiated. Petitioners conclude
that the absence of the signature of Director Wycoco was a fatal defect that rendered the application on the
questioned search warrant void per se, and the issued search warrant null and void because the spring cannot rise
above its source. [24]

We disagree. Nothing in A.M. No. 99-10-09-SC prohibits the heads of the PNP, NBI, PAOC-TF and REACT-TF
from delegating their ministerial duty of endorsing the application for search warrant to their assistant heads. Under
Section 31, Chapter 6, Book IV of the Administrative Code of 1987, an assistant head or other subordinate in every
bureau may perform such duties as may be specified by their superior or head, as long as it is not inconsistent with
law. The said provision reads:
Chapter 6 POWERS AND DUTIES OF HEADS OF
BUREAUS AND OFFICES

Sec. 31. Duties of Assistant Heads and Subordinates. (1) Assistant heads and other subordinates in
every bureau or office shall perform such duties as may be required by law or regulations, or as
may be specified by their superiors not otherwise inconsistent with law.

(2) The head of bureau or office may, in the interest of economy, designate the assistant head to act
as chief of any division or unit within the organization, in addition to his duties, without additional
compensation, and

(3) In the absence of special restriction prescribed by law, nothing shall prevent a subordinate
officer or employee from being assigned additional duties by proper authority, when not
inconsistent with the performance of the duties imposed by law.

Director Wycocos act of delegating his task of endorsing the application for search warrant to Deputy Director Nasol
is allowed by the above quoted provision of law unless it is shown to be inconsistent with any law. Thus, Deputy
Director Nasols endorsement had the same force and effect as an endorsement issued by Director Wycoco
himself. The finding of the RTC in the questioned Orders that Deputy Director Nasol possessed the authority to sign
for and in behalf of Director Wycoco is unassailable.
Petitioners also assert that the questioned Search Warrant was void ab initio. They maintain that A.M. No. 99-10-09SC, which was enacted on January 25, 2000, was no longer in effect when the application for search warrant was
filed on February 15, 2002. They argue that the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, which took effect on
December 1, 2000, should have been applied, being the later law. Hence, the enforcement of the search warrant in
Angeles City, which was outside the territorial jurisdiction of RTC Manila, was in violation of the law.

The petitioners contention lacks merit.

A.M. No. 99-10-09-SC provides that the guidelines on the enforceability of search warrants provided therein shall
continue until further orders from this Court. In fact, the guidelines in A.M. No. 99-10-09-SC are reiterated in A.M.
No. 03-8-02-SC entitled Guidelines On The Selection And Designation Of Executive Judges And Defining Their
Powers, Prerogatives And Duties, which explicitly stated that the guidelines in the issuance of search warrants in
special criminal cases by the RTCs of Manila and Quezon City shall be an exception to Section 2 of Rule 126 of the
Rules of Court, to wit:[25]

Chapter V. Specific Powers, Prerogatives and Duties of


Executive Judges in Judicial Supervision

Sec. 12. Issuance of search warrants in special criminal cases by the Regional Trial
Courts of Manila and Quezon City. The Executive Judges and, whenever they are on official leave
of absence or are not physically present in the station, the Vice-Executive Judges of the RTCs of
Manila and Quezon City shall have authority to act on applications filed by the National Bureau of
Investigation (NBI), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Anti-Crime Task Force
(ACTAF), for search warrants involving heinous crimes, illegal gambling, illegal possession of
firearms and ammunitions as well as violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of
2002, the Intellectual Property Code, the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001, the Tariff and
Customs Code, as amended, and other relevant laws that may hereafter be enacted by Congress,
and included herein by the Supreme Court.
The applications shall be personally endorsed by the heads of such agencies and shall
particularly describe therein the places to be searched and/or the property or things to be seized as
prescribed in the Rules of Court. The Executive Judges and Vice-Executive Judges concerned

shall issue the warrants, if justified, which may be served in places outside the territorial
jurisdiction of the said courts.
The Executive Judges and the authorized Judges shall keep a special docket book listing
names of Judges to whom the applications are assigned, the details of the applications and the
results of the searches and seizures made pursuant to the warrants issued.
This Section shall be an exception to Section 2 of Rule 126 of the Rules of Court. (italics
ours)

In sum, we cannot find any irregularity or abuse of discretion on the part of Judge Omar T. Viola for
denying petitioners Motion to Quash Search Warrant and to Suppress Evidence Illegally Seized. On the contrary,
Judge Guaria III had complied with the procedural and substantive requirements for issuing the questioned search
warrant.

WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is hereby DISMISSED. The Orders dated September 6, 2002
and April 21, 2003, both issued by respondent Judge Omar T. Viola of the RTC of Angeles City, Branch 57, are
hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.