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Article 263. Serious physical injuries.

- Any person who shall


Art. 248. Murder. Any person who, not falling within the wound, beat, or assault another, shall be guilty of the crime of
provisions of Article 246 shall kill another, shall be guilty of serious physical injuries and shall suffer:
murder and shall be punished by reclusion temporal in its
maximum period to death, if committed with any of the 1. The penalty of prision mayor, if in consequence of the
following attendant circumstances: physical injuries inflicted, the injured person shall become
insane, imbecile, impotent, or blind;
1. With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength,
with the aid of armed men, or employing means to 2. The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and
weaken the defense or of means or persons to insure or maximum periods, if in consequence of the physical injuries
afford impunity. inflicted, the person injured shall have lost the use of speech
or the power to hear or to smell, or shall have lost an eye, a
2. In consideration of a price, reward, or promise. hand, a foot, an arm, or a leg or shall have lost the use of any
such member, or shall have become incapacitated for the
3. By means of inundation, fire, poison, explosion, work in which he was therefor habitually engaged;
shipwreck, stranding of a vessel, derailment or assault
upon a street car or locomotive, fall of an airship, by 3. The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and
means of motor vehicles, or with the use of any other medium periods, if in consequence of the physical injuries
means involving great waste and ruin. inflicted, the person injured shall have become deformed, or
shall have lost any other part of his body, or shall have lost
4. On occasion of any of the calamities enumerated in the use thereof, or shall have been ill or incapacitated for the
the preceding paragraph, or of an earthquake, eruption performance of the work in which he as habitually engaged
of a volcano, destructive cyclone, epidemic or other for a period of more than ninety days;
public calamity.
4. The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to
5. With evident premeditation. prision correccional in its minimum period, if the physical
injuries inflicted shall have caused the illness or incapacity
6. With cruelty, by deliberately and inhumanly for labor of the injured person for more than thirty days.
augmenting the suffering of the victim, or outraging or
scoffing at his person or corpse. If the offense shall have been committed against any of
the persons enumerated in Article 246, or with attendance of
Art. 249. Homicide. Any person who, not falling within the any of the circumstances mentioned in Article 248, the case
provisions of Article 246, shall kill another without the covered by subdivision number 1 of this Article shall be
attendance of any of the circumstances enumerated in the next punished by reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum
preceding article, shall be deemed guilty of homicide and be periods; the case covered by subdivision number 2 by prision
punished by reclusion temporal. correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its
minimum period; the case covered by subdivision number 3
Article 256. Intentional abortion. - Any person who shall by prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods;
intentionally cause an abortion shall suffer: and the case covered by subdivision number 4 by prision
correccional in its minimum and medium periods.
1. The penalty of reclusion temporal, if he shall use any
violence upon the person of the pregnant woman. The provisions of the preceding paragraph shall not be
2. The penalty of prision mayor if, without using applicable to a parent who shall inflict physical injuries upon
violence, he shall act without the consent of the woman. his child by excessive chastisement.
3. The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and
maximum periods, if the woman shall have consented. Article 264. Administering injurious substances or
beverages. - The penalties established by the next preceding
Article 259. Abortion practiced by a physician or midwife article shall be applicable in the respective case to any person
and dispensing of abortives. - The penalties provided in Article who, without intent to kill, shall inflict upon another any serious,
256 shall be imposed in its maximum period, respectively, upon physical injury, by knowingly administering to him any
any physician or midwife who, taking advantage of their injurious substance or beverages or by taking advantage of his
scientific knowledge or skill, shall cause an abortion or assist in weakness of mind or credulity.
causing the same.
Article 265. Less serious physical injuries. - Any person who
Any pharmacist who, without the proper prescription shall inflict upon another physical injuries not described in the
from a physician, shall dispense any abortive shall suffer arresto preceding articles, but which shall incapacitate the offended
mayor and a fine not exceeding 1,000 pesos. party for labor for ten days or more, or shall require medical
assistance for the same period, shall be guilty of less serious
Article 262. Mutilation. - The penalty of reclusion temporal to physical injuries and shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor.
reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon any person who shall
intentionally mutilate another by depriving him, either totally or Whenever less serious physical injuries shall have been
partially, or some essential organ of reproduction. inflicted with the manifest intent to kill or offend the injured
person, or under circumstances adding ignominy to the offense
Any other intentional mutilation shall be punished by in addition to the penalty of arresto mayor, a fine not exceeding
prision mayor in its medium and maximum periods. 500 pesos shall be imposed.
Any less serious physical injuries inflicted upon the The provisions contained in this article shall NOT be applicable:
offender's parents, ascendants, guardians, curators, teachers, or
persons of rank, or persons in authority, shall be punished by 1. When the penalty provided for the offense is equal to or
prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods, lower than those provided in the first two paragraphs of this
provided that, in the case of persons in authority, the deed does article, in which case the court shall impose the penalty
not constitute the crime of assault upon such person. next lower in degree than that which should be imposed in
the period which they may deem proper to apply.
Article 266. Slight physical injuries and maltreatment. - The
crime of slight physical injuries shall be punished: 2. When, by imprudence or negligence and with violation
of the Automobile Law, to death of a person shall be
1. By arresto menor when the offender has inflicted caused, in which case the defendant shall be punished by
physical injuries which shall incapacitate the offended prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods.
party for labor from one to nine days, or shall require
medical attendance during the same period. Reckless imprudence consists in voluntary, but without
malice, doing or falling to do an act from which material damage
2. By arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 20 pesos and results by reason of inexcusable lack of precaution on the part
censure when the offender has caused physical injuries of the person performing of failing to perform such act, taking
which do not prevent the offended party from engaging in into consideration his employment or occupation, degree of
his habitual work nor require medical assistance. intelligence, physical condition and other circumstances
regarding persons, time and place.
3. By arresto menor in its minimum period or a fine not
exceeding 50 pesos when the offender shall ill-treat another Simple imprudence consists in the lack of precaution
by deed without causing any injury. displayed in those cases in which the damage impending to be
caused is not immediate nor the danger clearly manifest.
Article 359. Slander by deed. - The penalty of arresto mayor in
its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum The penalty next higher in degree to those provided for in
period or a fine ranging from 200 to 1,000 pesos shall be this article shall be imposed upon the offender who fails to lend
imposed upon any person who shall perform any act not on the spot to the injured parties such help as may be in this hand
included and punished in this title, which shall cast dishonor, to give. (As amended by R.A. 1790, approved June 21, 1957).
discredit or contempt upon another person. If said act is not of a
serious nature, the penalty shall be arresto menor or a fine not
exceeding 200 pesos.

Article 365. Imprudence and negligence. - Any person who,


by reckless imprudence, shall commit any act which, had it been
intentional, would constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the
penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision
correccional in its medium period; if it would have constituted a
less grave felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum
and medium periods shall be imposed; if it would have
constituted a light felony, the penalty of arresto menor in its
maximum period shall be imposed.

Any person who, by simple imprudence or negligence,


shall commit an act which would otherwise constitute a grave
felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its medium
and maximum periods; if it would have constituted a less serious
felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum period shall
be imposed.

When the execution of the act covered by this article


shall have only resulted in damage to the property of another,
the offender shall be punished by a fine ranging from an amount
equal to the value of said damages to three times such value, but
which shall in no case be less than twenty-five pesos.

A fine not exceeding two hundred pesos and censure


shall be imposed upon any person who, by simple imprudence
or negligence, shall cause some wrong which, if done
maliciously, would have constituted a light felony.

In the imposition of these penalties, the court shall


exercise their sound discretion, without regard to the rules
prescribed in Article sixty-four.
physical condition of the parties and other circumstances
Republic of the Philippines showing that there is a rational equivalence between the means
SUPREME COURT of attack and the defense. In the case at bar, the petitioners act
Manila of shooting the Ferrer brothers was not a reasonable and
necessary means of repelling the aggression allegedly initiated
FIRST DIVISION by the Ferrer brothers. As aptly stated by the trial court,
petitioners gun was far deadlier compared to the stones thrown
G.R. No. 165483 September 12, 2006 by the Ferrer brothers. Moreover, we stated earlier that when the
Ferrer brothers allegedly threw stones at the petitioner, the latter
RUJJERIC Z. PALAGANAS,1 petitioner, had other less harmful options than to shoot the Ferrer brothers.
vs. Such act failed to pass the test of reasonableness of the means
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent. employed in preventing or repelling an unlawful aggression.
Homicide; Self-Defense; Where an accused admits killing the
Criminal Law; Homicide; Justifying Circumstances; Self- victim but invokes self-defense, it is incumbent upon the
Defense; As an element of self-defense, unlawful aggression accused to prove by clear and convincing evidence that he acted
refers to an assault or attack, or a threat thereof in an imminent in self-defense. In resolving criminal cases where the accused
and immediate manner, which places the defendants life in invokes self-defense to escape criminal liability, this Court
actual peril.As an element of self-defense, unlawful consistently held that where an accused admits killing the victim
aggression refers to an assault or attack, or a threat thereof in an but invokes self-defense, it is incumbent upon the accused to
imminent and immediate manner, which places the defendants prove by clear and convincing evidence that he acted in self-
life in actual peril. It is an act positively strong showing the defense. As the burden of evidence is shifted on the accused to
wrongful intent of the aggressor and not merely a threatening or prove all the elements of self-defense, he must rely on the
intimidating attitude. It is also described as a sudden and strength of his own evidence and not on the weakness of the
unprovoked attack of immediate and imminent kind to the life, prosecution.
safety or rights of the person attacked. There is an unlawful
aggression on the part of the victim when he puts in actual or Criminal Law; Words and Phrases; Frustrated Felony and
imminent peril the life, limb, or right of the person invoking self- Attempted Felony, Distinguished.The distinctions between
defense. There must be actual physical force or actual use of frustrated and attempted felony are summarized as follows: 1.)
weapon. In order to constitute unlawful aggression, the person In frustrated felony, the offender has performed all the acts of
attacked must be confronted by a real threat on his life and limb; execution which should produce the felony as a consequence;
and the peril sought to be avoided is imminent and actual, not whereas in attempted felony, the offender merely commences
merely imaginary. the commission of a felony directly by overt acts and does not
perform all the acts of execution. 2.) In frustrated felony, the
Justifying Circumstances; Self-Defense; It is an oft-repeated reason for the non-accomplishment of the crime is some cause
rule that the nature and number of wounds inflicted by the independent of the will of the perpetrator; on the other hand, in
accused are constantly and unremittingly considered important attempted felony, the reason for the non-fulfillment of the crime
indicia to disprove a plea of self-defense.It is significant to is a cause or accident other than the offenders own spontaneous
note that the shooting resulted in the death of Melton, and desistance.
wounding of Servillano and Michael. With regard to Melton, a
bullet hit his right thigh, and another bullet hit his head which Physical Injuries; If there was no intent to kill on the part of the
caused his instant death. As regards Servillano, a bullet accused and the wound/s sustained by the victim were not fatal,
penetrated two of his vital organs, namely, the large intestine the crime committed may be serious, less serious or slight
and urinary bladder. He underwent two (2) surgeries in order to physical injury.In addition to these distinctions, we have ruled
survive and fully recover. Michael, on the other hand, sustained in several cases that when the accused intended to kill his victim,
a gunshot wound on the right shoulder. It must also be noted that as manifested by his use of a deadly weapon in his assault, and
the Ferrer brothers were shot near the videoke bar, which his victim sustained fatal or mortal wound/s but did not die
contradict petitioners claim he was chased by the Ferrer because of timely medical assistance, the crime committed is
brothers. Given the foregoing circumstances, it is difficult to frustrated murder or frustrated homicide depending on whether
believe that the Ferrer brothers were the unlawful aggressors. As or not any of the qualifying circumstances under Article 249 of
correctly observed by the prosecution, if the petitioner shot the the Revised Penal Code are present. However, if the wound/s
Ferrer brothers just to defend himself, it defies reason why he sustained by the victim in such a case were not fatal or mortal,
had to shoot the victims at the vital portions of their body, which then the crime committed is only attempted murder or attempted
even led to the death of Melton who was shot at his head. It is homicide. If there was no intent to kill on the part of the accused
an oft-repeated rule that the nature and number of wounds and the wound/s sustained by the victim were not fatal, the crime
inflicted by the accused are constantly and unremittingly committed may be serious, less serious or slight physical injury.
considered important indicia to disprove a plea of self-defense.
Criminal Law; Aggravating Circumstances; Generic
Same; Same; The reasonableness of the means employed by the aggravating circumstances are those that generally apply to all
person defending himself may take into account the weapons, crimes such as those mentioned in Article 14, pars. No. 1, 2, 3,
the physical condition of the parties and other circumstances 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 14, 18, 19 and 20, of the Revised Penal Code, and
showing that there is a rational equivalence between the means have the effect of increasing the penalty for the crime to its
of attack and the defense.The second element of self-defense maximum period, but it cannot increase the same to the next
requires that the means employed by the person defending higher degree; Special aggravating circumstances are those
himself must be reasonably necessary to prevent or repel the which arise under special conditions to increase the penalty for
unlawful aggression of the victim. The reasonableness of the the offense to its maximum period, but the same cannot increase
means employed may take into account the weapons, the the penalty to the next higher degree; The meaning and effect of
generic and special aggravating circumstances are exactly the exception, damages therefore may be awarded despite the
same except that in case of generic aggravating, the same CAN absence of documentary evidence if there is testimony that the
be offset by an ordinary mitigating circumstance whereas in the victim was either (1) self-employed, earning less than the
case of special aggravating circumstance, it CANNOT be offset minimum wage under current labor laws, and judicial notice is
by an ordinary mitigating circumstance.Generic aggravating taken of the fact that in the victims line of work, no
circumstances are those that generally apply to all crimes such documentary evidence is available; of (2) employed as a daily-
as those mentioned in Article 14, paragraphs No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, wage worker earning less than the minimum wage under current
9, 10, 14, 18, 19 and 20, of the Revised Penal Code. It has the labor laws.
effect of increasing the penalty for the crime to its maximum
period, but it cannot increase the same to the next higher degree. DECISION
It must always be alleged and charged in the information, and
must be proven during the trial in order to be appreciated. CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
Moreover, it can be offset by an ordinary mitigating
circumstance. On the other hand, special aggravating For what is a man, what has he got?
circumstances are those which arise under special conditions to If not himself, then he has naught.
increase the penalty for the offense to its maximum period, but To say the things he truly feels;
the same cannot increase the penalty to the next higher degree. And not the words of one who kneels.
Examples are quasi-recidivism under Article 160 and complex The record shows I took the blows -
crimes under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code. It does not And did it my way!
change the character of the offense charged. It must always be
alleged and charged in the information, and must be proven The song evokes the bitterest passions. This is not the first time
during the trial in order to be appreciated. Moreover, it cannot the song "My Way"2 has triggered violent behavior resulting in
be offset by an ordinary mitigating circumstance. It is clear from people coming to blows. In the case at bar, the few lines of the
the foregoing that the meaning and effect of generic and special song depicted what came to pass when the victims and the
aggravating circumstances are exactly the same except that in aggressors tried to outdo each other in their rendition of the
case of generic aggravating, the same CAN be offset by an song.
ordinary mitigating circumstance whereas in the case of special
aggravating circumstance, it CANNOT be offset by an ordinary In this Petition for Review on Certiorari3 under Rule 45 of the
mitigating circumstance. Revised Rules of Court, petitioner Rujjeric Z. Palaganas prays
for the reversal of the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-
Same; Illegal Possession of Firearms; With the passage of R.A. G.R. CR No. 22689 dated 30 September 2004,4 affirming with
No. 8294 on 6 June 1997, the use of an unlicensed firearm in modification the Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
murder or homicide is now considered as a SPECIAL Branch 46, of Urdaneta, Pangasinan, in Criminal Cases No. U-
aggravating circumstance and not a generic aggravating 9608, U-9609, and U-9610 and U-9634, dated 28 October
circumstance.Aside from the aggravating circumstances 1998,5 finding petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
abovementioned, there is also an aggravating circumstance crime of Homicide under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code,
provided for under Presidential Decree No. 1866, as amended and two (2) counts of Frustrated Homicide under Article 249 in
by Republic Act No. 8294, which is a special law. Its pertinent relation to Articles 6 and 50 of the same Code.
provision states: If homicide or murder is committed with the
use of an unlicensed firearm, such use of an unlicensed firearm On 21 April 1998, petitioner and his older brother, Ferdinand Z.
shall be considered as an aggravating circumstance. In Palaganas (Ferdinand), were charged under four (4) separate
interpreting the same provision, the trial court reasoned that such Informations6 for two (2) counts of Frustrated Murder, one (1)
provision is silent as to whether it is generic or qualifying. count of Murder, and one (1) count for Violation of COMELEC
Thus, it ruled that when the law is silent, the same must be Resolution No. 29587 relative to Article 22, Section 261, of the
interpreted in favor of the accused. Since a generic aggravating Omnibus Election Code,8 allegedly committed as follows:
circumstance is more favorable to petitioner compared to a
qualifying aggravating circumstance, as the latter changes the CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-9608
nature of the crime and increase the penalty thereof by degrees,
the trial court proceeded to declare that the use of an unlicensed That on or about January 16, 1998, in the evening at Poblacion,
firearm by the petitioner is to be considered only as a generic Manaoag, Pangasinan and within the jurisdiction of this
aggravating circumstance. This interpretation is erroneous since Honorable Court, the above-named accused armed with an
we already held in several cases that with the passage of unlicensed firearm, with intent to kill, treachery and evident
Republic Act No. 8294 on 6 June 1997, the use of an unlicensed premeditation, conspiring together, did then and there willfully,
firearm in murder or homicide is now considered as a SPECIAL unlawfully and feloniously shoot SERVILLANO FERRER, JR.
aggravating circumstance and not a generic aggravating y Juanatas, inflicting upon him "gunshot wound penetrating
circumstance. Republic Act No. 8294 applies to the instant case perforating abdomen, urinary bladder, rectum bullet sacral
since it took effect before the commission of the crimes in 21 region," the accused having thus performed all the acts of
April 1998. Therefore, the use of an unlicensed firearm by the execution which would have produced the crime of Murder as a
petitioner in the instant case should be designated and consequence, but which nevertheless, did not produce it by
appreciated as a SPECIAL aggravating circumstance and not reason of the causes independent of the will of the accused and
merely a generic aggravating circumstance. that is due to the timely medical assistance rendered to said
Servillano J. Ferrer, Jr. which prevented his death, to his damage
Damages; Documentary evidence should be presented to and prejudice.
substantiate a claim for loss of earning capacity; Exceptions.
The rule is that documentary evidence should be presented to CONTRARY to Art. 248 in relation with Arts. 6 and 50, all of
substantiate a claim for loss of earning capacity. By way of the Revised Penal Code, as amended.
of Malvar and Rizal Streets, Poblacion, Manaoag to continue
CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-9609 their drinking spree and to sing. Inside the karaoke bar, they
were having a good time, singing and drinking beer.
That on or about January 16, 1998, in the evening at Poblacion,
Manaoag, Pangasinan and within the jurisdiction of this Thereafter, at 10:30 in the evening, Jaime Palaganas arrived
Honorable Court, the above-named accused armed with an together with Ferdinand Palaganas and Virgilio Bautista. At that
unlicensed firearm, with intent to kill, treachery and evident time, only the Ferrer brothers were the customers in the bar. The
premeditation, conspiring together, did then and there willfully, two groups occupied separate tables. Later, when Jaime
unlawfully and feloniously shoot MICHAEL FERRER alias Palaganas was singing, [Melton] Ferrer sang along with him as
"Boying Ferrer", inflicting upon him gunshot wound on the right he was familiar with the song [My Way]. Jaime however,
shoulder, the accused having thus performed all the acts of resented this and went near the table of the Ferrer brothers and
execution which would have produced the crime of murder as a said in Pangasinan dialect "As if you are tough guys." Jaime
consequence, but which nevertheless, did not produce it by further said "You are already insulting me in that way." Then,
reason of the causes independent of the will of the accused and Jaime struck Servillano Ferrer with the microphone, hitting the
that is due to the medical assistance rendered to said Michael back of his head. A rumble ensued between the Ferrer brothers
"Boying" Ferrer which prevented his death, to his damage and on the one hand, and the Palaganases, on the other hand. Virgilio
prejudice. Bautista did not join the fray as he left the place. During the
rumble, Ferdinand went out of the bar. He was however pursued
CONTRARY to Art. 248 in relation with Arts. 6 and 50, all of by Michael. When Servillano saw Michael, he also went out and
the Revised Penal Code, as amended. told the latter not to follow Ferdinand. Servillano and Michael
then went back inside the bar and continued their fight with
CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-9610 Jaime.

That on or about January 16, 1998, in the evening at Poblacion, Meantime, Edith Palaganas, sister of Jaime and the owner of the
Manaoag, Pangasinan and within the jurisdiction of this bar, arrived and pacified them. Servillano noticed that his
Honorable Court, the above-named accused armed with an wristwatch was missing. Unable to locate the watch inside the
unlicensed firearm, with intent to kill, treachery and evident bar, the Ferrer brothers went outside. They saw Ferdinand about
premeditation, conspiring together, did then and there willfully, eight (8) meters away standing at Rizal Street. Ferdinand was
unlawfully and feloniously shoot MELTON FERRER alias pointing at them and said to his companion, later identified as
"TONY FERRER", inflicting upon him mortal gunshot wounds petitioner [Rujjeric] Palaganas, "Oraratan paltog mo lara",
in the head and right thigh which caused the instantaneous death meaning "They are the ones, shoot them." Petitioner then shot
of said Melton "Tony" Ferrer, to the damage and prejudice of them hitting Servillano first at the left side of the abdomen,
his heirs. causing him to fall on the ground, and followed by [Melton] who
also fell to the ground. When Servillano noticed that [Melton]
CONTRARY to Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as was no longer moving, he told Michael "Bato, bato." Michael
amended by R.A. 7659. picked up some stones and threw them at petitioner and
Ferdinand. The latter then left the place. Afterwards, the police
CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-9634 officers came and the Ferrer brothers were brought to the
Manaoag Hospital and later to Villaflor Hospital in Dagupan.
That on or about January 16, 1998 which is within the election Servillano later discovered that [Melton] was fatally hit in the
period at Poblacion, Manaoag, Pangasinan, and within the head while Michael was hit in the right shoulder.
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously bear and On the other hand, the defense, in its Appellant's Brief dated 3
carry one (1) caliber .38 without first securing the necessary December 1999,14 asserted the following set of facts:
permit/license to do the same.
On January 16, 1998, at around 11:00 in the evening, after a
CONTRARY to COMELEC RES. 2958 in relation with SEC. drinking session at their house, the brothers Melton (Tony),
261 of the OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE, as amended.9 Servillano (Junior) and Michael (Boying), all surnamed Ferrer,
(Underscoring supplied.) occupied a table inside the Tidbits Caf and Videoke Bar and
started drinking and singing. About thirty minutes later, Jaime
When arraigned on separate dates,10 petitioner and Ferdinand Palaganas along with his nephew Ferdinand (Apo) and friend
entered separate pleas of "Not Guilty." Upon motion of Virgilio Bautista arrived at the bar and occupied a table near that
Ferdinand,11 the four cases were consolidated and were of the Ferrers'.
assigned to Branch 46 of the RTC in Urdaneta, Pangasinan.12
After the Ferrers' turn in singing, the microphone was handed
The factual antecedents as viewed by the prosecution, are over to Jaime Palaganas, who then started to sing. On his third
summarized in the Comment dated 18 April 2005 of the Office song [My Way], Jaime was joined in his singing by Tony Ferrer,
of the Solicitor General,13 to wit: who sang loudly and in an obviously mocking manner. This
infuriated Jaime, who then accosted Tony, saying, "You are
On January 16, 1998, around 8:00 in the evening, brothers already insulting us." The statement resulted in a free for all fight
Servillano, [Melton] and Michael, all surnamed Ferrer were between the Ferrers', on one hand, and the Palaganases on the
having a drinking spree in their house because [Melton], who other. Jaime was mauled and Ferdinand, was hit on the face and
was already living in San Fernando, La Union, visited his three was chased outside of the bar by Junior and Boying Ferrer.
brothers and mother at their house in Sitio Baloking, Poblacion,
Manaoag, Pangasinan. At 9:45 in the evening, the three brothers Ferdinand then ran towards the house of the appellant Rujjeric
decided to proceed to Tidbits Videoke bar located at the corner Palaganas, his brother, and sought the help of the latter. Rujjeric,
stirred from his sleep by his brother's shouts, went out of his danger to his life at the time he and Ferdinand saw the Ferrer
house and, noticing that the van of his uncle was in front of the brothers outside the videoke bar.21 It noted that when petitioner
Tidbits Videoke Bar, proceeded to that place. Before reaching and Ferdinand saw the Ferrer brothers outside the videoke bar,
the bar, however, he was suddenly stoned by the Ferrer brothers the latter were not carrying any weapon. Petitioner then was free
and was hit on different parts of his body, so he turned around to run or take cover when the Ferrer brothers started pelting them
and struggled to run towards his house. He then met his brother, with stones. Petitioner, however, opted to shoot the Ferrer
Ferdinand, going towards the bar, so he tugged him and urged brothers. It also stated that the use by petitioner of a gun was not
him to run towards the opposite direction as the Ferrer brothers a reasonable means to prevent the attack of the Ferrer brothers
continued pelting them with large stones. Rujjeric then noticed since the latter were only equipped with stones, and that the gun
that Ferdinand was carrying a gun, and, on instinct, grabbed the was deadlier compared to stones. Moreover, it also found that
gun from the latter, faced the Ferrer brothers and fired one shot petitioner used an unlicensed firearm in shooting the Ferrer
in the air to force the brothers to retreat. Much to his surprise, brothers.22
however, the Ferrer brothers continued throwing stones and
when (sic) the appellant was again hit several times. Unable to As regards the Violation of COMELEC Resolution No. 2958, in
bear the pain, he closed his eyes and pulled the trigger. relation to Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code, the trial
court acquitted the petitioner of the offense as his use and
On 28 October 1998, the trial court rendered its Decision finding possession of a gun was not for the purpose of disrupting
petitioner guilty only of the crime of Homicide and two (2) election activities.23 In conclusion, the trial court held:
counts of Frustrated Homicide.15 He was, however, acquitted
of the charge of Violation of COMELEC Resolution No. 2958 WHEREFORE, JUDGMENT is hereby rendered as follows:
in relation to Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code.16 On
the other hand, Ferdinand was acquitted of all the charges 1. Under CRIM. CASE NO. U-9610, [Rujjeric] PALAGANAS
against him.17 is hereby CONVICTED beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
of HOMICIDE (Not Murder) with the use of an unlicensed
In holding that petitioner is liable for the crimes of Homicide firearm. The penalty imposable is in its maximum period which
and Frustrated Homicide but not for Murder and Frustrated is 20 years. The Court sentences [Rujjeric] Palaganas to suffer
Murder, the trial court explained that there was no conspiracy the penalty of Reclusion Temporal in its maximum period or 20
between petitioner and Ferdinand in killing Melton and years of imprisonment; and to pay the heirs of [MELTON]
wounding Servillano and Michael.18 According to the trial Ferrer the sum of P7,791.50 as actual medical expenses of
court, the mere fact that Ferdinand "pointed" to where the Ferrer [MELTON] Ferrer; P500,000.00 as moral damages representing
brothers were and uttered to petitioner "Araratan, paltog mo unearned income of [MELTON]; P50,000.00 for the death of
lara!" (They are the ones, shoot them!), does not in itself connote [MELTON]; P50,000.00 for exemplary damages and
common design or unity of purpose to kill. It also took note of P100,000.00 for burial and funeral expenses.
the fact that petitioner was never a participant in the rumble
inside the Tidbits Cafe Videoke Bar (videoke bar) on the night Ferdinand Palaganas is hereby ACQUITTED for failure of the
of 16 January 1998. He was merely called by Ferdinand to prosecution to prove conspiracy and likewise, for failure to
rescue their uncle, Jaime, who was being assaulted by the Ferrer prove the guilt of Ferdinand Palaganas beyond reasonable
brothers. It further stated that the shooting was instantaneous doubt.
and without any prior plan or agreement with Ferdinand to
execute the same. It found that petitioner is solely liable for 2. Under CRIM. CASE NO. U-9608, [Rujjeric] PALAGANAS
killing Melton and for wounding Servillano and Michael, and is hereby CONVICTED beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
that Ferdinand is not criminally responsible for the act of of FRUSTRATED HOMICIDE (Not Frustrated Murder), with
petitioner. the use of an unlicensed firearm, the Court sentences him to
suffer the penalty of Prision Mayor in its maximum period or 12
Further, it declared that there was no treachery that will qualify years of imprisonment and to pay Servillano Ferrer the sum of
the crimes as murder and frustrated murder since the Ferrer P163,569.90 for his medical expenses and P50,000.00 for
brothers were given the chance to defend themselves during the exemplary damages;
shooting incident by stoning the petitioner and Ferdinand.19 It
reasoned that the sudden and unexpected attack, without the Ferdinand Palaganas is ACQUITTED for failure of the
slightest provocation on the part of the victims, was absent. In prosecution to prove conspiracy and likewise, for failure to
addition, it ratiocinated that there was no evident premeditation prove the guilt of Ferdinand Palaganas beyond reasonable
as there was no sufficient period of time that lapsed from the doubt.
point where Ferdinand called the petitioner for help up to the
point of the shooting of the Ferrer brothers.20 Petitioner was 3. Under CRIM. CASE NO. U-9609, [Rujjeric] PALAGANAS
sleeping at his house at the time he heard Ferdinand calling him is hereby CONVICTED beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
for help. Immediately, petitioner, still clad in pajama and of FRUSTRATED HOMICIDE (Not Frustrated Murder), with
sleeveless shirt, went out of his room to meet Ferdinand. the use of an unlicensed firearm, the Court sentences him to
Thereafter, both petitioner and Ferdinand went to the videoke suffer the penalty of Prision Mayor in its maximum period or 12
bar where they met the Ferrer brothers and, shortly afterwards, years of imprisonment; and to pay Michael Ferrer the sum of
the shooting ensued. In other words, according to the trial court, P2,259.35 for his medical expenses and P50,000.00 for
the sequence of the events are so fast that it is improbable for the exemplary damages;
petitioner to have ample time and opportunity to then plan and
organize the shooting. Ferdinand Palaganas is ACQUITTED for failure of the
prosecution to prove conspiracy and likewise, for failure to
Corollarily, it also stated that petitioner cannot successfully prove the guilt of Ferdinand Palaganas beyond reasonable
invoke self-defense since there was no actual or imminent doubt.
II.
Ordering accused [Rujjeric] Palaganas to pay Mrs. Elena Ferrer,
the mother of the Ferrer brothers, the amount of P100,000.00 as THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT
attorney's fees in CRIM. CASES NOS. U-9608, U-9609, U- ACQUITTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT ON THE GROUND
9610. OF LAWFUL SELF-DEFENSE.28

4. Under CRIM. CASE NO. U-9634, for failure of the Anent the first issue, petitioner argued that all the elements of a
prosecution to prove the guilt of [Rujjeric] Palaganas beyond valid self-defense are present in the instant case and, thus, his
reasonable doubt of the crime of Violation of COMELEC acquittal on all the charges is proper; that when he fired his gun
Resolution No. 2958 in relation with Section 261 of the on that fateful night, he was then a victim of an unlawful
Omnibus Election Code, the Court ACQUITS [RUJJERIC] aggression perpetrated by the Ferrer brothers; that he, in fact,
PALAGANAS.24 sustained an injury in his left leg and left shoulder caused by the
stones thrown by the Ferrer brothers; that the appellate court
Aggrieved, the petitioner appealed the foregoing Decision of the failed to consider a material evidence described as "Exhibit O";
RTC dated 28 October 1998, before the Court of Appeals. In its that "Exhibit O" should have been given due weight since it
Decision dated 30 September 2004, the Court of Appeals shows that there was slug embedded on the sawali wall near the
affirmed with modifications the assailed RTC Decision. In sign "Tidbits Caf and Videoke Bar"; that the height from which
modifying the Decision of the trial court, the appellate court held the slug was taken was about seven feet from the ground; that if
that the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender under it was true that petitioner and Ferdinand were waiting for the
Article 13, No. 7, of the Revised Penal Code should be Ferrer brothers outside the videoke bar in order to shoot them,
appreciated in favor of petitioner since the latter, accompanied then the trajectory of the bullets would have been either straight
by his counsel, voluntarily appeared before the trial court, even or downward and not upward considering that the petitioner and
prior to its issuance of a warrant of arrest against him.25 It also the Ferrer brothers were about the same height (5'6"-5'8"); that
stated that the Indeterminate Sentence Law should be applied in the slug found on the wall was, in fact, the "warning shot" fired
imposing the penalty upon the petitioner.26 The dispositive by the petitioner; and, that if this exhibit was properly
portion of the Court of Appeals' Decision reads: appreciated by the trial court, petitioner would be acquitted of
all the charges.29
WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction is hereby
AFFIRMED, subject to the MODIFICATION that the penalty Moreover, petitioner contended that the warning shot proved
to be imposed for the crimes which the appellant committed are that that the Ferrer brothers were the unlawful aggressors since
as follows: there would have been no occasion for the petitioner to fire a
warning shot if the Ferrer brothers did not stone him; that the
(1) For Homicide (under Criminal Case No. U-9610), the testimony of Michael in the trial court proved that it was the
appellant is ordered to suffer imprisonment of ten (10) years of Ferrer brothers who provoked petitioner to shoot them; and that
prision mayor as minimum to seventeen (17) years and four (4) the Ferrer brothers pelted them with stones even after the
months of reclusion temporal as maximum. Appellant is also "warning shot."30
ordered to pay the heirs of Melton Ferrer civil indemnity in the
amount of P50,000.00, moral damages in the amount of Petitioner's contention must fail.
P50,000.00 without need of proof and actual damages in the
amount of P43,556.00. Article 11, paragraph (1), of the Revised Penal Code provides
for the elements and/or requisites in order that a plea of self-
(2) For Frustrated Homicide (under Criminal Case No. U-9609), defense may be validly considered in absolving a person from
the appellant is hereby ordered to suffer imprisonment of four criminal liability, viz:
(4) years and two (2) months of prision correcional as minimum
to ten (10) years of prision mayor as maximum. Appellant is also ART. 11. Justifying circumstances. The following do not incur
ordered to pay Michael Ferrer actual damages in the amount of any criminal liability:
P2,259.35 and moral damages in the amount of P30,000.00.
1. Anyone who acts in defense of his person or rights, provided
(3) For Frustrated Homicide (under Criminal Case No. U-9608), that the following circumstances concur;
the appellant is hereby penalized with imprisonment of four (4)
years and two (2) months of prision correcional as minimum to First. Unlawful aggression;
ten (10) years of prision mayor as maximum. Appellant is also
ordered to pay Servillano Ferrer actual damages in the amount Second. Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent
of P163,569.90 and moral damages in the amount of or repel it;
P30,000.00.27
Third. Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person
On 16 November 2004, petitioner lodged the instant Petition for defending himself. x x x.
Review before this Court on the basis of the following
arguments: As an element of self-defense, unlawful aggression refers to an
assault or attack, or a threat thereof in an imminent and
I. immediate manner, which places the defendant's life in actual
peril.31 It is an act positively strong showing the wrongful intent
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN of the aggressor and not merely a threatening or intimidating
AFFIRMING THE JUDGMENT OF CONVICTION OF THE attitude.32 It is also described as a sudden and unprovoked
TRIAL COURT. attack of immediate and imminent kind to the life, safety or
rights of the person attacked.33
who was shot at his head.45 It is an oft-repeated rule that the
There is an unlawful aggression on the part of the victim when nature and number of wounds inflicted by the accused are
he puts in actual or imminent peril the life, limb, or right of the constantly and unremittingly considered important indicia to
person invoking self-defense. There must be actual physical disprove a plea of self-defense.46
force or actual use of weapon.34 In order to constitute unlawful
aggression, the person attacked must be confronted by a real Let it not be forgotten that unlawful aggression is a primordial
threat on his life and limb; and the peril sought to be avoided is element in self-defense.47 It is an essential and indispensable
imminent and actual, not merely imaginary.35 requisite, for without unlawful aggression on the part of the
victim, there can be, in a jural sense, no complete or incomplete
In the case at bar, it is clear that there was no unlawful self-defense.48 Without unlawful aggression, self-defense will
aggression on the part of the Ferrer brothers that justified the act not have a leg to stand on and this justifying circumstance cannot
of petitioner in shooting them. There were no actual or imminent and will not be appreciated, even if the other elements are
danger to the lives of petitioner and Ferdinand when they present.49 To our mind, unlawful aggression, as an element of
proceeded and arrived at the videoke bar and saw thereat the self-defense, is wanting in the instant case.
Ferrer brothers. It appears that the Ferrer brothers then were
merely standing outside the videoke bar and were not carrying The second element of self-defense requires that the means
any weapon when the petitioner arrived with his brother employed by the person defending himself must be reasonably
Ferdinand and started firing his gun.36 necessary to prevent or repel the unlawful aggression of the
victim. The reasonableness of the means employed may take
Assuming, arguendo, that the Ferrer brothers had provoked the into account the weapons, the physical condition of the parties
petitioner to shoot them by pelting the latter with stones, the and other circumstances showing that there is a rational
shooting of the Ferrer brothers is still unjustified. When the equivalence between the means of attack and the defense.50 In
Ferrer brothers started throwing stones, petitioner was not in a the case at bar, the petitioner's act of shooting the Ferrer brothers
state of actual or imminent danger considering the wide distance was not a reasonable and necessary means of repelling the
(4-5 meters) of the latter from the location of the former.37 aggression allegedly initiated by the Ferrer brothers. As aptly
Petitioner was not cornered nor trapped in a specific area such stated by the trial court, petitioner's gun was far deadlier
that he had no way out, nor was his back against the wall. He compared to the stones thrown by the Ferrer brothers.51
was still capable of avoiding the stones by running away or by
taking cover. He could have also called or proceeded to the Moreover, we stated earlier that when the Ferrer brothers
proper authorities for help. Indeed, petitioner had several allegedly threw stones at the petitioner, the latter had other less
options in avoiding dangers to his life other than confronting the harmful options than to shoot the Ferrer brothers. Such act failed
Ferrer brothers with a gun. to pass the test of reasonableness of the means employed in
preventing or repelling an unlawful aggression.
The fact that petitioner sustained injuries in his left leg and left
shoulder, allegedly caused by the stones thrown by the Ferrer With regard to the second issue, petitioner asserts that the Court
brothers, does not signify that he was a victim of unlawful of Appeals erred in not acquitting him on the ground of lawful
aggression or that he acted in self-defense.38 There is no self-defense.
evidence to show that his wounds were so serious and severe.
The superficiality of the injuries sustained by the petitioner is no Petitioner's argument is bereft of merit.
indication that his life and limb were in actual peril.39
In resolving criminal cases where the accused invokes self-
Petitioner's assertion that, despite the fact that he fired a warning defense to escape criminal liability, this Court consistently held
shot, the Ferrer brothers continued to pelt him with stones,40 that where an accused admits killing the victim but invokes self-
will not matter exonerate him from criminal liability. Firing a defense, it is incumbent upon the accused to prove by clear and
warning shot was not the last and only option he had in order to convincing evidence that he acted in self-defense.52 As the
avoid the stones thrown by the Ferrer brothers. As stated earlier, burden of evidence is shifted on the accused to prove all the
he could have run away, or taken cover, or proceeded to the elements of self-defense, he must rely on the strength of his own
proper authorities for help. Petitioner, however, opted to shoot evidence and not on the weakness of the prosecution.53
the Ferrer brothers.
As we have already found, there was no unlawful aggression on
It is significant to note that the shooting resulted in the death of the part of the Ferrer brothers which justified the act of petitioner
Melton, and wounding of Servillano and Michael. With regard in shooting them. We also ruled that even if the Ferrer brothers
to Melton, a bullet hit his right thigh, and another bullet hit his provoked the petitioner to shoot them, the latter's use of a gun
head which caused his instant death.41 As regards Servillano, a was not a reasonable means of repelling the act of the Ferrer
bullet penetrated two of his vital organs, namely, the large brothers in throwing stones. It must also be emphasized at this
intestine and urinary bladder.42 He underwent two (2) surgeries point that both the trial court and the appellate court found that
in order to survive and fully recover.43 Michael, on the other petitioner failed to established by clear and convincing evidence
hand, sustained a gunshot wound on the right shoulder.44 It his plea of self-defense. In this regard, it is settled that when the
must also be noted that the Ferrer brothers were shot near the trial court's findings have been affirmed by the appellate court,
videoke bar, which contradict petitioner's claim he was chased said findings are generally conclusive and binding upon this
by the Ferrer brothers. Given the foregoing circumstances, it is Court.54 In the present case, we find no compelling reason to
difficult to believe that the Ferrer brothers were the unlawful deviate from their findings. Verily, petitioner failed to prove by
aggressors. As correctly observed by the prosecution, if the clear and convincing evidence that he is entitled to an acquittal
petitioner shot the Ferrer brothers just to defend himself, it on the ground of lawful self-defense.
defies reason why he had to shoot the victims at the vital
portions of their body, which even led to the death of Melton
On another point, while we agree with the trial court and the same day he was admitted and that the treatment duration for
Court of Appeals that petitioner is guilty of the crime of such wound would be for six to eight days only.59 Given these
Homicide for the death of Melton in Criminal Case No. U-9610, set of undisputed facts, it is clear that the gunshot wound
and Frustrated Homicide for the serious injuries sustained by sustained by Michael in his right shoulder was not fatal or mortal
Servillano in Criminal Case No. U-9608, we do not, however, since the treatment period for his wound was short and he was
concur in their ruling that petitioner is guilty of the crime of discharged from the hospital on the same day he was admitted
Frustrated Homicide as regards to Michael in Criminal Case No. therein. Therefore, petitioner is liable only for the crime of
U-9609. We hold that petitioner therein is guilty only of the attempted homicide as regards Michael in Criminal Case No. U-
crime of Attempted Homicide. 9609.

Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code states and defines the stages With regard to the appreciation of the aggravating circumstance
of a felony in the following manner: of use of an unlicensed firearm, we agree with the trial court and
the appellate court that the same must be applied against
ART. 6. Consummated, frustrated, and attempted felonies. petitioner in the instant case since the same was alleged in the
Consummated felonies, as well as those which are frustrated and informations filed against him before the RTC and proven
attempted, are punishable. during the trial. However, such must be considered as a special
aggravating circumstance, and not a generic aggravating
A felony is consummated when all the elements necessary for circumstance.
the for its execution and accomplishment are present; and it is
frustrated when the offender performs all the acts of execution Generic aggravating circumstances are those that generally
which would produce the felony as a consequence but which, apply to all crimes such as those mentioned in Article 14,
nevertheless, do not produce it by reason or causes independent paragraphs No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 14, 18, 19 and 20, of the
of the will of the perpetrator. Revised Penal Code. It has the effect of increasing the penalty
for the crime to its maximum period, but it cannot increase the
There is an attempt when the offender commences the same to the next higher degree. It must always be alleged and
commission of a felony directly by overt acts, and does not charged in the information, and must be proven during the trial
perform all the acts of execution which should produce the in order to be appreciated.60 Moreover, it can be offset by an
felony by reason of some cause or accident other than his own ordinary mitigating circumstance.
spontaneous desistance (italics supplied).
On the other hand, special aggravating circumstances are those
Based on the foregoing provision, the distinctions between which arise under special conditions to increase the penalty for
frustrated and attempted felony are summarized as follows: the offense to its maximum period, but the same cannot increase
the penalty to the next higher degree. Examples are quasi-
1.) In frustrated felony, the offender has performed all the acts recidivism under Article 160 and complex crimes under Article
of execution which should produce the felony as a consequence; 48 of the Revised Penal Code. It does not change the character
whereas in attempted felony, the offender merely commences of the offense charged.61 It must always be alleged and charged
the commission of a felony directly by overt acts and does not in the information, and must be proven during the trial in order
perform all the acts of execution. to be appreciated.62 Moreover, it cannot be offset by an ordinary
mitigating circumstance.
2.) In frustrated felony, the reason for the non-accomplishment
of the crime is some cause independent of the will of the It is clear from the foregoing that the meaning and effect of
perpetrator; on the other hand, in attempted felony, the reason generic and special aggravating circumstances are exactly the
for the non-fulfillment of the crime is a cause or accident other same except that in case of generic aggravating, the same CAN
than the offender's own spontaneous desistance. be offset by an ordinary mitigating circumstance whereas in the
case of special aggravating circumstance, it CANNOT be offset
In addition to these distinctions, we have ruled in several cases by an ordinary mitigating circumstance.
that when the accused intended to kill his victim, as manifested
by his use of a deadly weapon in his assault, and his victim Aside from the aggravating circumstances abovementioned,
sustained fatal or mortal wound/s but did not die because of there is also an aggravating circumstance provided for under
timely medical assistance, the crime committed is frustrated Presidential Decree No. 1866,63 as amended by Republic Act
murder or frustrated homicide depending on whether or not any No. 8294,64 which is a special law. Its pertinent provision
of the qualifying circumstances under Article 249 of the Revised states:
Penal Code are present.55 However, if the wound/s sustained by
the victim in such a case were not fatal or mortal, then the crime If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an
committed is only attempted murder or attempted homicide.56 unlicensed firearm, such use of an unlicensed firearm shall be
If there was no intent to kill on the part of the accused and the considered as an aggravating circumstance.
wound/s sustained by the victim were not fatal, the crime
committed may be serious, less serious or slight physical In interpreting the same provision, the trial court reasoned that
injury.57 such provision is "silent as to whether it is generic or
qualifying."65 Thus, it ruled that "when the law is silent, the
Based on the medical certificate of Michael, as well as the same must be interpreted in favor of the accused."66 Since a
testimony of the physician who diagnosed and treated Michael, generic aggravating circumstance is more favorable to petitioner
the latter was admitted and treated at the Dagupan Doctors- compared to a qualifying aggravating circumstance, as the latter
Villaflor Memorial Hospital for a single gunshot wound in his changes the nature of the crime and increase the penalty thereof
right shoulder caused by the shooting of petitioner.58 It was also by degrees, the trial court proceeded to declare that the use of an
stated in his medical certificate that he was discharged on the unlicensed firearm by the petitioner is to be considered only as
a generic aggravating circumstance.67 This interpretation is the Indeterminate Sentence of Law, the penalty now becomes
erroneous since we already held in several cases that with the four (4) years and two (2) months of arresto mayor as minimum
passage of Republic Act. No. 8294 on 6 June 1997, the use of period to six (6) years of prision correccional as maximum
an unlicensed firearm in murder or homicide is now considered period. As regards the civil liability of petitioner, the latter is
as a SPECIAL aggravating circumstance and not a generic hereby ordered to pay Michael Ferrer exemplary damages in the
aggravating circumstance.68 Republic Act No. 8294 applies to amount of P25,000.00 in addition to the actual damages and
the instant case since it took effect before the commission of the moral damages awarded by the Court of Appeals.
crimes in 21 April 1998. Therefore, the use of an unlicensed
firearm by the petitioner in the instant case should be designated (2) In Criminal Case No. U-9608, the penalty imposable on the
and appreciated as a SPECIAL aggravating circumstance and petitioner for the frustrated homicide is prision mayor under
not merely a generic aggravating circumstance. Article 50 of the Revised Penal Code.76 There being a special
aggravating circumstance of the use of an unlicensed firearm
As was previously established, a special aggravating and applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the penalty now
circumstance cannot be offset by an ordinary mitigating becomes six (6) years of prision correccional as minimum
circumstance. Voluntary surrender of petitioner in this case is period to twelve (12) years of prision mayor as maximum
merely an ordinary mitigating circumstance. Thus, it cannot period. As regards the civil liability of petitioner, the latter is
offset the special aggravating circumstance of use of unlicensed hereby ordered to pay Servillano Ferrer exemplary damages in
firearm. In accordance with Article 64, paragraph 3 of the the amount of P25,000.00 in addition to the actual damages and
Revised Penal Code, the penalty imposable on petitioner should moral damages awarded by the Court of Appeals.
be in its maximum period.69
(3) In Criminal Case No. U-9610, the penalty imposable on
As regards the civil liability of petitioner, we deem it necessary petitioner for the homicide is reclusion temporal under Article
to modify the award of damages given by both courts. 249 of the Revised Penal Code.77 There being a special
aggravating circumstance of the use of an unlicensed firearm
In Criminal Case No. U-9610 for Homicide, we agree with both and applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the penalty now
courts that the proper amount of civil indemnity is P50,000.00, is twelve (12) years of prision mayor as minimum period to
and that the proper amount for moral damages is P50,000.00 twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal as maximum period. As
pursuant to prevailing jurisprudence.70 However, based on the regards the civil liability of petitioner, the latter is hereby
receipts for hospital, medicine, funeral and burial expenses on ordered to pay Melton Ferrer exemplary damages in the amount
record, and upon computation of the same, the proper amount of of P25,000.00 in addition to the actual damages and moral
actual damages should be P42,374.18, instead of P43,556.00. damages awarded by the Court of Appeals. The actual damages
Actual damages for loss of earning capacity cannot be awarded likewise awarded by the Court of Appeals is hereby reduced to
in this case since there was no documentary evidence to P42,374.18.
substantiate the same.71 Although there may be exceptions to
this rule,72 none is availing in the present case. Nevertheless, SO ORDERED.
since loss was actually established in this case, temperate
damages in the amount of P25,000.00 may be awarded to the
heirs of Melton Ferrer. Under Article 2224 of the New Civil
Code, temperate or moderate damages may be recovered when
the court finds that some pecuniary loss was suffered but its
amount cannot be proved with certainty. Moreover, exemplary
damages should be awarded in this case since the presence of
special aggravating circumstance of use of unlicensed firearm
was already established.73 Based on prevailing jurisprudence,
the award of exemplary damages for homicide is P25,000.00.74

In Criminal Cases No. U-9608 and U-9609, we agree with both


courts as to the award of actual damages and its corresponding
amount since the same is supported by documentary proof
therein. The award of moral damages is also consistent with
prevailing jurisprudence. However, exemplary damages should
be awarded in this case since the presence of special aggravating
circumstance of use of unlicensed firearm was already
established. Based on prevailing jurisprudence, the award of
exemplary damages for both the attempted and frustrated
homicide shall be P25,000.00 for each.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the Court


of Appeals dated 30 September 2004 is hereby AFFIRMED
with the following MODIFICATIONS:

(1) In Criminal Case No. U-9609, the petitioner is found guilty


of the crime of attempted homicide. The penalty imposable on
the petitioner is prision correccional under Article 51 of the
Revised Penal Code.75 There being a special aggravating
circumstance of the use of an unlicensed firearm and applying
Roque, on the other hand, through the testimonies of Reynald
FIRST DIVISION Dayaday (Reynald) and Dennis Blancada (Dennis), denied the
January 16, 2017 accusation and interposed the defense of alibi.
G.R. No. 213224
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, Reynald, accused-appellant's brother, testified that on October
vs. 27, 2005, the night before the wedding of his niece, he was at
ROQUE DAYADAY y DAGOOC1, Accused-Appellant. the house of his older Brother, Teodolfo Dayaday, at Barangay
Esperanza (Barrio 3), Norala, South Cotabato.13 He was with
DECISION Roque and seven (7) other people, who were tasked to prepare
CAGUIOA, J.: the food for the wedding celebration. They were all together in
the kitchen from 5 o'clock in the evening to 3 o'clock in the
On appeal is the May 26, 2014 Decision2 of the Court of morning. 14
Appeals (CA), Special Twenty-Third Division in CA-G.R. CR-
HC No. 00887-MIN, which affirmed the Decision3 dated Dennis testified that he was at Barangay Esperanza, Norala,
September 27, 2010 of the Regional Trial Court (R TC) of South Cotabato on October 27, 2005 because he was invited to
Surallah, South Cotabato, Branch 26, in Criminal Case No. cook in the house of Teodolfo Dayaday. 15 He arrived there at
4005-N. 12 o'clock noon but his duty started at 5 o'clock in the evening
and ended at 3 o'clock in the morning the following day. 16 He
The Facts recalled that during those times that he was cooking, Roque
never left the kitchen. 17
In an Information4 filed with the RTC, accused-appellant Roque
Dayaday y Dagooc (Roque) was charged with the crime of Ruling of the RTC
Murder, the accusatory portion of which reads:
Finding the positive testimony of Alex credible as against
"That on or about the 27th day of October 2005 at around 10:00 Roque's defense of alibi, the RTC convicted Roque of the crime
o'clock in the evening thereof, at Barangay Esperanza, of murder and sentenced him accordingly. The dispositive
Municipality of Norala, Province of South Cotabato, portion of the Decision18 dated September 27, 2010 reads as
Philippines, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the follows:
above-named accused, while armed with a handgun and a knife,
with intent to kill, attended by treachery and evident WHEREFORE, premises all considered, the court finds the
premeditation, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and evidence of the prosecution sufficient to sustain it in finding the
feloniously attack, assault and shoot for several times and stab accused criminally responsible of the crime charged.
one BASILIO GALLENERO, hitting and inflicting upon the
latter several mortal gunshot wounds on the different parts of his Consequently, accused Roque Dayaday y Dago-oc is hereby
body, and stab wound at the epigastric area of the victim's found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder as
abdomen, which caused his death shortly thereafter." he is charged in this case.

CONTRARY TO LAW, attended by aggravating circumstance He is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of
of Illegal Possession of Firearms.5 reclusion perpetua.

Upon arraignment, Roque pleaded not guilty to the offense He is further ordered to pay the heirs of his deceased victim,
charged. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued. The prosecution Basilio Gallenero, the amount of P75,000.00 as indemnity for
presented Alex Gallenero (Alex), the son of the victim, and Dr. his death; the amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages; the
Lanelita Lanaria-Amido (Dr. Amido ), the Municipal Health amount of P30,000.00 as exemplary damages and the amount of
Officer of Norala, South Cotabato, as witnesses who testified to P30,000.00 as reasonable actual expenses for his wake and
the following facts, to wit: burial and the costs of suit.

On the evening of October 27, 2005 at about 10 o'clock, Alex SO ORDERED.19


and his father, Basilio Gallenero (Basilio), were walking home
along the road in Barrio 3, Norala, South Cotabato6 after Aggrieved, Roque appealed to the CA by a Notice of Appeal
attending a wedding celebration at the house of Rodolfo dated October 28, 2010.20 Both parties accordingly filed their
Dayaday,7 when suddenly, Roque shot the victim in the back respective Briefs dated April 26, 201121 and November 22,
four (4) times, successively. Alex easily recognized Roque as 2011.22
the assailant because the place was well lit and he was just about
ten (10) meters away from Roque when the latter fired his gun. Ruling of the CA
8 For fear of his life, Alex an away from the place of incident. 9
He reported the incident to his uncle Petring Pinuela and to the The CA concurred with the RTC's finding on Alex's credibility
police officers of Norala.10 and dismissed the alleged inconsistencies in his testimony. 23
Moreover, the CA found Roque's defense of alibi very flimsy.
The postmortem report of Dr. Amido showed that the victim According to the CA, while the defense witnesses claimed that
suffered four (4) gunshot wounds and one (1) stab wound11 and Roque was cooking at the time of the commission, it was not
died due to cardiopulmonary arrest, probably secondary to physically impossible for Roque to be at the scene of the crime
multiple injuries caused by the gunshot and stab wounds. 12 because the place where he was allegedly cooking was in the
same vicinity where the crime was committed. 24
The CA further ruled that while the prosecution failed to prove
the aggravating circumstance of evident premeditation, In the present case, both the RTC and CA found the testimony
treachery was very patent in the instant case, which is sufficient of Alex straightforward and worthy of belief. Alex identified
to qualify the crime to murder. Records showed that the victim Roque as the one who shot his father at the back and his positive
was shot several times in the back while he was walking, which declaration was never destroyed even after cross-examination in
means that he was defenseless at the time of the attack; and the court. 34
fact that the stab wound was located on the victim's abdomen
would not preclude treachery because the victim was already For his part, Roque failed to identify any significant factor
vulnerable due to the gunshot wounds.25 circumstance which would justify the reversal of the RTC's and
CA's findings on Alex's credibility.
Thus, on May 26, 2014, the CA rendered the assailed
Decision26 affirming Rogue's conviction, the decretal portion of The imputation of bias to Alex because of his relationship with
which reads: the victim must necessarily fail. In People v. Montemayor,35the
Court ruled that relationship by itself does not give rise to any
WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision dated September 27, 2010 presumption of bias or ulterior motive, nor does it impair the
of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 26, Surallah, South credibility of witnesses or tarnish their testimonies. 36 The
Cotabato finding accused-appellant Roque Dayaday y Dagooc relationship of a witness to the victim would even make his
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder in testimony more credible, as it would be unnatural for a relative
Criminal Case No. 4005-N is AFFIRMED. who is interested in vindicating the crime to charge and
prosecute another person other than the real culprit. 37 Relatives
SO ORDERED.27 of victims of crimes have a natural knack for remembering the
faces of the attacker and they, more than anybody else, would
Hence, this appeal. 28 be concerned with obtaining justice for the victim by having the
felon brought to justice and meted the proper penalty.38 Where
In the Resolution dated January 28, 2015,29 this Court required there is no showing of an improper motive on the part of the
the parties to file their supplemental briefs; but both parties prosecution's witnesses for testifying against the appellant, their
manifested30 that they would no longer file the pleadings and relationship to the victim does not render their testimony less
opted to replead and adopt the arguments submitted before the credible. 39 In this case, since there is no showing of any ill or
CA. improper motive on the part of Alex to testify against the
accused, his relationship with the victim even made his
Issue testimony more credible and truthful.

Consequently, the only issue for the Court's consideration is Furthermore, the alleged discrepancy between Alex's testimony
whether the CA erred in affirming Roque's conviction for the and the postmortem report of Dr. Amido as to the number of
crime of murder. gunshot wounds is more imagined than real. As correctly
pointed out by the CA, the postmortem report showing that there
The Court's Ruling are four (4) entry gunshot wounds and three (3) exit wounds,
which means that there are three (3) perforating gunshots and
In the instant appeal, Roque essentially questions the credibility one (1) penetrating gunshot, coincides with Alex's declaration
of Alex and the veracity of his accusations. Roque insists that that his father was shot four (4) times.39-a
Alex is a biased witness considering his relationship with the
victim. He further avers that Alex exhibited a propensity to lie The Court also agrees with the CA that the inconsistency
when he stated in his affidavit that there were other witnesses between Alex's affidavit and his testimony in open court as to
who saw the commission of the crime, and later admitted in open whether there are other witnesses to the crime is immaterial to
court that he was the sole witness to the crime. Roque also affect his credibility, because it does not detract from the fact
claims that the testimony of Alex that his father had been shot that Alex saw and identified Roque as the assailant of his
four (4) times runs counter to the postmortem report of Dr. father.40 In People v. Yanson, 41the Court held:
Amido, which indicates that there were seven (7) gunshot
wounds. x x x [T]his Court had consistently ruled that the alleged
inconsistencies between the testimony of a witness in open court
The appeal fails. and his sworn statement before the investigators are not fatal
defects to justify a reversal of judgment. Such discrepancies do
Time and again, the Court has held that when the issues involve not necessarily discredit the witness since ex parte affidavits are
matters of credibility of witnesses, the findings of the trial court, almost always incomplete. A sworn statement or an affidavit
its calibration of the testimonies, and its assessment of the does not purport to contain a complete compendium of the
probative weight thereof, as well as its conclusions anchored on details of the event narrated by the affiant. Sworn statements
said findings, are accorded high respect, if not conclusive effect. taken ex parte are generally considered to be inferior to the
This is so because the trial court has the unique opportunity to testimony given in open court.
observe the demeanor of witnesses and is in the best position to
discern whether they are telling the truth. 31 Hence, it is a settled xxxx
rule that appellate courts will not overturn the factual findings
of the trial court unless there is a showing that the latter The discrepancies in [the witness]'s testimony do not damage the
overlooked facts or circumstances of weight and substance that essential integrity of the prosecution's evidence in its material
would affect the result of the case. 32 The foregoing rule finds whole. Instead, the discrepancies only erase suspicion that the
an even more stringent application where the findings of the testimony was rehearsed or concocted. These honest
RTC are sustained by the CA. 33
inconsistencies serve to strengthen rather than destroy [the SO ORDERED.
witness]'s credibility.42

Under Article 24843 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), murder


is committed when: (1) a person was killed; (2) the accused
killed him; (3) the killing was with the attendance of any of the
qualifying circumstances enumerated in Article 248; and (4) the
killing neither constitutes parricide nor infanticide.44

All elements of the crime of murder have been established in


this case beyond reasonable doubt.

Through the testimony of Alex, the eyewitness to the crime, it


was established that Basilio was killed and it was Roque who
had killed him. As to the presence of qualifying circumstances,
the Court sustains the CA's finding that treachery attended the
killing of Basilio. There is treachery when a victim is set upon
by the accused without warning, as when the accused attacks the
victim from behind, or when the attack is sudden and
unexpected and without the slightest provocation on the part of
the victim, or is, in any event, so sudden and unexpected that the
victim is unable to defend himself, thus insuring the execution
of the criminal act without risk to the assailant. 45

Here, the evidence unequivocally shows that the attack against


Basilio, which came from behind, was sudden, deliberate and
unexpected. The victim was completely unaware of any threat
to his life as he was merely walking home with his son. The use
of a firearm showed deliberate intent to kill Basilio and the
location and number of gunshot wounds rendered him
defenseless and incapable of retaliation. Hence, treachery was
evident in the case at bar, sufficient to qualify the crime to
Murder.

Penalty, Civil Indemnity and Damages

Under Article 248 of the RPC, the penalty for murder qualified
by treachery is reclusion perpetua to death. Considering that,
apart from treachery, the aggravating circumstances of evident
premeditation and illegal possession of firearms, as alleged in
the Information, were not duly proven, the RTC correctly held
that the proper imposable penalty is reclusion perpetua.

As to the award of damages, the Court deems it proper to modify


the CA's award pursuant to the Court's recent ruling in People v.
Jugueta.46Therefore, in addition to the amount of 30,000.00 as
reasonable actual expenses for the wake and burial and the costs
of suit, the victim's heirs are entitled to 75,000.00 as civil
indemnity; 75,000.00 as moral damages; and 75,000.00 as
exemplary damages. All damages awarded shall earn interest at
the rate of 6% per annum from date of finality of this judgment
until fully paid.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Appeal is

DISMISSED for lack of merit. The Decision dated May 26,


2014 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 00887-
MIN, finding accused-appellant Roque Dayaday y Dagooc
GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder is
hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS in that the award
of civil indemnity, moral damages and exemplary damages are
each increased to Seventy-Five Thousand Pesos (75,000.00)
and all monetary awards shall earn interest at the legal rate of
six percent (6%) per annum from the date of finality of this
Decision until fully paid.
Manolong, 85 Phil., 829 and People vs. Petilla, 92 Phil., 395.
But in Melo vs. People, supra, we expressly repealed our ruling
in the case of People vs. Tarok, supra, and followed in the case
of People vs. Villasis, supra. In the Melo vs. People case, we
stated the ruling to be that:
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT . . . Stating it in another form, the rule is that "where after the
Manila first prosecution a new fact supervenes for which the defendant
is responsible, which changes the character of the offense and,
EN BANC together with the facts existing at the time, constitutes a new and
distinct offense" (15 Am. Jur., 66), the accused cannot be said
G.R. No. L-13315 April 27, 1960 to be in second jeopardy if indicted for the new offense. (85
Phil., 769-770).
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs. Do the facts in the case at bar justify the application of the new
BUENAVENTURA BULING, defendant-appellant. ruling? In other words, has a new fact supervened, like death in
the case of Melo vsno. People, which changes the character of
Assistant Solicitor General Esmeraldo Umali and Solicitor the offense into one which was not in existence at the time the
Emerito M. Salva for appellee. case for less serious physical injuries was filed? We do not
Francisco A. Puray for appellant. believe that a new fact supervened, or that a new fact has come
into existence. What happened is that the first physician that
LABRADOR, J.: examined the wounds of the offended party certified on
December 10, 1956 that the injury was as follows: "wound,
Appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Leyte, incised, wrist lateral, right, 3/4 inch long, sutured" and that the
Hon. Gaudencio Cloribel, presiding, finding the accused same would take from 10 to 15 days to heal and incapacitated
Buenaventura Buling guilty of serious physical injuries and (the wounded man) for the same period of time from his usual
sentencing him to imprisonment of four months of arresto work (Exh. 3). It was on the basis of this certificate that on
mayor, as minimum, to one year of prision correccional, as December 8, 1956, defendant-appellant was found guilty of less
maximum, and to indemnify the offended party. serious physical injuries and sentenced to imprisonment of 1
month and 1 day of arresto mayor, etc.
The following uncontroverted facts appear in the record: On
December 7, 1956, the accused was charged in the Justice of the But on January 18, 1957, another physician examined the
Peace Court of Cabalian, Leyte, with the crime of less serious offended party, taking an X-ray picture of the arm of the
physical injuries for having inflicted wounds on complaining offended party which had been wounded. The examination
witness Isidro Balaba, which according to the complaint would discloses, according to the physician, the following injuries:
"require, medical attendance for a period from 10 to 15 days and
will incapacitate the said Isidro Balaba from the performance of Old stab wound 4 inches long. With infection, distal end arm,
his customary labors for the game period of time." The accused right. X-ray plate finding after one month and 12 days
pleaded guilty to the complaint and was on December 8, 1957 Fracture old oblique, incomplete distal end, radius right, with
found guilty of the crime charged and sentenced to 1 month and slight calus. (Exh. "E").
1 day of arresto mayor and to pay damages to the offended party
in the sum of P20.00, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of and the certification is to the effect that treatment will take from
insolvency. On the same day he began to serve his sentence and 1 months to 2 months barring complications.
has fully served the same.
Counsel for the appellant claims that no fact had supervened in
However, Balaba's injuries did not heal within the period the case at bar, as a result of which another offense had been
estimated, and so on February 20, 1957, the Provincial Fiscal ommitted. It is argued that the injury and the condition thereof
filed an information against the accused before the Court of First was the same when the first examination was made on
Instance of Leyte, charging him of serious physical injuries. The December 10, 1956, as when the examination was made on
information alleges that the wounds inflicted by the accused on January 18, 1957, and that if any new fact had been disclosed in
Isidro Balaba require medical attendance and incapacitated him the latter examination failure of this new fact to be disclosed in
for a period of from 1 months to 2 months. After trial the the previous examination may be attributed to the incompetence
accused was found guilty of serious physical injuries and on the part of the examining physician. We find much reason in
sentenced in the manner indicated in first paragraph hereof. This this argument. What happened is no X-ray examination of the
is the decision now sough to be set aside and reversed in this wounded hand was made during the first examination, which
appeal. was merely superficial. The physician who made the first
examination could not have seen the fracture at the distal end of
The only question for resolution by this Court whether the the right arm, and this could only be apparent or visible by X-
prosecution and conviction of Balaba for less serious physical ray photography.
injuries is a bar to the second prosecution for serious physical
injuries. Under the circumstances above indicated, we are inclined to
agree with the contention made on behalf of appellant that no
Two conflicting doctrines on double jeopardy have been new supervening fact has existed or occurred, which has
enunciated by this Court, one in the cases of People vs. Tarok, transformed the offense from less serious physical injuries to
73 Phil., 260 and People vs. Villasis, 81 Phil., 881, and the other, serious physical injuries.
in the cases of Melo vs. People, 85 Phil., 766, People vs.
But the Solicitor General cites the case of People vs. Manolong,
supra, and argues that our ruling in said case should apply to the
case at bar, for the reason that in the said case the first crime
with which the accused was charged was less serious physical
injuries and the second one was serious physical injuries and yet
we held that there was no jeopardy. We have carefully examined
this case and have found that the first examination made of the
offended party showed injuries which would take from 20 to 30
days to heal, whereas the subsequent examination disclosed that
the wound of the offended party would require medical
attendance and incapacitate him for labor for a period of 90 days,
"causing deformity and the loss of the use of said member". No
finding was made in the first examination that the injuries had
caused deformity and the loss of the use of the right hand. As
nothing was mentioned in the first medical certificate about the
deformity and the loss of the use of the right hand, we presume
that such fact was not apparent or could not have been
discernible at the time the first examination was made. The
course (not the length), of the healing of an injury may not be
determined before hand; it can only be definitely known after
the period of healing has ended. That is the reason why the court
considered that there was a supervening fact occurring since the
filing of the original information.

But such circumstances do not exist in the case at bar. If the X-


ray examination discloses the existence of a fracture on January
17, 1957, that fracture must have existed when the first
examination was made on December 10, 1956. There is,
therefore, no now or supervening fact that could be said to have
developed or arisen since the filing of the original action, which
would justify the application of the ruling enunciated by us in
the cases of Melo vs. People and People vs. Manolong, supra.
We attribute the new finding of fracture, which evidently
lengthened the period of healing of the wound, to the very
superficial and inconclusive examination made on December
10, 1956. Had an X-ray examination taken at the time, the
fracture would have certainly been disclosed. The wound
causing the delay in healing was already in existence at the time
of the first examination, but said delay was caused by the very
superficial examination then made. As we have stated, we find
therefore that no supervening fact had occurred which justifies
the application of the rule in the case of Melo vs. People and
People vs. Manolong, for which reason we are constrained to
apply the general rule of double jeopardy.

We take this opportunity to invite the attention of the


prosecuting officers that before filing informations for physical
injuries, thorough physical and medical examinations of the
injuries should first be made to avoid instances, like the present,
where by reason of the important Constitutional provision of
double jeopardy, the accused can not be held to answer for the
graver offense committed.

The decision appealed from is hereby reversed. The judgment of


conviction is set aside and the defendant-appellant acquitted of
the charge of serious physical injuries. Without costs.

Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Montemayor, Bautista Angelo,


Concepcion, Endencia, Barrera and Gutierrez David, JJ.,
concur.
healing period barring complications, was declared to be from
eighteen to twenty-one days. 5

Afterwards, a motion to quash was filed by the accused on June


10, 1968 on the ground that, having been previously convicted
Republic of the Philippines of slight physical injuries by the City Court of Bacolod and
SUPREME COURT having already served the penalty imposed on him for the very
Manila same offense, the prosecution for frustrated murder arising out
of the same act committed against the same offended party, the
EN BANC crime of slight physical injuries necessarily being included in
G.R. No. L-29270 November 23, 1971 that of frustrated murder, he would be placed in second jeopardy
if indicted for the new offense. 6 In its well-reasoned resolution
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellant, of June 21, 1968 granting the motion to quash and ordering the
vs. dismissal of a criminal case for frustrated murder against the
RODRIGO YORAC, defendant-appellee. accused, Judge Alampay relied on People v. Buling which, in
his opinion, A motion for reconsideration being unavailing, an
Office of the Solicitor General Antonio P. Barredo, Assistant appeal was elevated to us.
Solicitor General
Pacifico P. de Castro and Solicitor Pedro A. Ramirez for As succinctly set forth in the brief of the People of the
plaintiff- appellant. Philippines: "The sole issue in this case is whether the
Vicente F. Delfin for defendant-appellee. defendant, who had already been convicted of slight physical
injuries before the City Court of Bacolod for injuries inflicted
FERNANDO, J.: upon Lam Hock, and had served sentence therefore, may be
prosecuted anew for frustrated murder for the same act
The constitutional right not to be put twice in jeopardy for the committed against the same person." 7 The position taken by the
same offense 1 was the basis for a motion to quash filed by the appellant is in the affirmative but, as indicated at the outset, the
accused, now appellee, Rodrigo Yorac. He was prosecuted for controlling force of People v. Buling would preclude us from
frustrated murder arising allegedly from having assaulted, reversing the resolution of Judge Alampay.
attacked, and hit with a piece of wood the offended party, for
which he had been previously tried and sentenced for slight 1. The Constitution, to repeat, is quite explicit: "No
physical injuries, his plea being one of guilt. The later person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same
information for frustrated murder was based on a second offense. As Justice Laurel made clear in an address as delegate
medical certificate after the lapse of one week from the former before the Constitutional Convention, such a provision finds its
previously given by the same physician who, apparently, was origin" from the days when sanguinary punishments were
much more thorough the second time, to the effect that the frequently resorted to by despots." 9 A defendant in a criminal
victim did suffer a greater injury than was at first ascertained. case should therefore, according to him, be adjudged either
The lower court, presided by the Honorable Judge Nestor B. guilty or not guilty and thereafter left alone in peace, in the latter
Alampay, considering that there was no, supervening fact that case the State being precluded from taking an appeal. 10 It is in
would negate the defense of double jeopardy, sustained the that sense that the right against being twice put in jeopardy is
motion to quash in an order of June 21, 1968. The People considered as possessing many features in common with the rule
appealed. As the order complained of is, fully supported by the of finality in civil cases. For the accused is given assurance that
latest authoritative ruling of this Tribunal, People v. Buling, 2 the matter is closed, enabling him to plan his, future accordingly,
we have to affirm. protecting him from continued distress, not to mention saving
both him and the state from the expenses incident to redundant
In the brief for the People of the Philippines, it was shown that litigation. There is likewise the observation that this
the accused Yorac was charged with slight physical injuries constitutional guarantee helps to equalize the adversary
before the City Court of Bacolod, the offended party being a capabilities of two grossly mismatched litigants, a poor and
certain Lam Hock who, according to the medical certificate impecunious defendant hardly in a position to keep on
issued in April 10, 1968 by a Dr. Rogelio Zulueta, a resident shouldering the costs of a suit.
physician of the Occidental Negros Provincial Hospital, was
confined "since April 8, 1968 up to the present time for head Then, as a member of the Supreme Court, Justice Laurel had the
injury." 3 Then came a plea of guilty by the accused on April first opportunity to give meaning to what, under the
16, 1968 resulting in his being penalized to suffer ten days of Constitution, should be considered "the same offense." In the
arresto menor. He started serving his sentence forthwith. On case of People v. Tarok, decided in 1941, 11 the then
April 18, 1968, the provincial fiscal filed an information, this comparatively new Rules of Court in its Section 9 of Rule 113
time in the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, speaks of a bar to another prosecution for the offense charged
charging the same defendant with frustrated murder arising from after a defendant shall have been convicted or acquitted or the
the same act against the aforesaid victim Lam Hock upon case against him dismissed or otherwise terminated without his
another medical certificate dated April 17, 1968 issued by the express consent, "or for any attempt to commit the same or
same Dr. Zulueta. In the medical certificate of April 17, 1968, it frustration thereof or for, any offense which necessarily includes
was made to appear that the confinement of the offended party or is necessarily included in the offense charged in the former
in the hospital was the result of: "1. Contusion with lacerated complaint or information." 12
wound 4 inches parieto-occipital region scalp mid portion. 2.
Cerebral concussion, moderately severe, secondary." 4 In the Tarok case, the conviction for parricide of the accused
Moreover, it further contained a statement that the X-ray finding was sought to be set aside, as previously he had been indicted
did not yield any "radiographic evidence of fracture." The for the crime of serious physical injuries, to which he had
pleaded guilty. He was sentenced and was actually incarcerated 1957, however, another physician examined the offended party
by virtue of such penalty imposed. The offended party was his and with the use of an X-ray apparatus, certified that he did
wife whom he hacked with bolo, his ire being aroused by certain, suffer a fracture requiring a treatment of from one and one-half
remarks made her. While he was thus serving sentence, the months to two and one half months, barring complications. As a
victim died resulting in the new prosecution for parricide of result, on February 20, 1957, an information was filed against
which he was convicted. On appeal to this Court, it was decided the same accused, this time before the Court of First Instance of
over the dissents of the then Justice Moran and Justice Diaz that Leyte, charging him with serious physical injuries. He stood trial
the offense of serious physical injury of which he was found and was found guilty of such an offense and sentenced to
guilty being included in parricide his previous conviction was a imprisonment of four months of arresto mayor as minimum to
bar to such subsequent prosecution for the more serious crime. one year of prision correccional as maximum. On appeal to this
The lower court judgement of conviction was thus reversed. Court, his invocation of the defense of double jeopardy struck a
According to Justice Laurel who spoke for the Court: "To our responsive chord, and he was acquitted.
mind, the principle embodied in the New Rules of Court is a
clear expression of selection of rule amidst conflicting theories. 4. The opinion of Justice Labrador explained with clarity
We take the position that when we amended section 26 of why the constitutional right against being put twice in jeopardy
General Orders No. 58 by providing that the conviction or was a bar to the second prosecution. Thus: "If the X-ray
acquittal of the defendant or the dismissal of the case shall be a examination discloses the existence of a fracture on January 17,
bar to another prosecution for any offense not only necessarily 1957, that fracture must have existed when the first examination
therein included but which necessarily includes the offense was made on December 10, 1956. There is therefore, no view or
charged in the former complaint or information, we meant what supervening fact that could be said to have developed or arisen
we have, in plain language, stated. We certainly did not mean to since the filing of the original action, which would justify the
engage in the simple, play of words." 13 application of the ruling enunciated by us in the cases if Melo
vs. People and People vs. Manolong ... . We attribute the new
2. Such a ruling was however re-examined and set aside finding of fracture, which evidently lengthened the period of
in Melo v. People, 14 where it was held that an accused who healing of the wound, to the very superficial and inconclusive
pleaded guilty to the offense of frustrated homicide, the examination made on December 10, 1956. Had an X-ray
offended party thereafter dying in the evening of the same day, examination been taken at the time, the fracture would have
could not rely on a plea of double jeopardy if, as a result thereof, certainly been disclosed. The wound causing the delay in
the information was amended to charge him with homicide. 15 healing was already in existence at the time of the first
As was clarified in the opinion of this Court through the then examination, but said delay was, caused by the very superficial
Chief Justice Moran, one of the dissenters in the Tarok case: examination then made. As we have stated, we find therefore
"This rule of identity does not apply, however, when the second that no supervening fact had occurred which justifies the
offense was not in existence at the time of the first prosecution, application of the rule in the case of Melo vs. People and People
for the simple reason that in such case there is no possibility for vs. Manolong for which reason we are constrained to apply the
the accused, during the first prosecution, to be convicted for an general rule of double jeopardy." 20 It is quite apparent, in the
offense that was then inexistent. Thus, where the accused was light of the foregoing, why the lower court, submitting to the
charged with physical injuries and after conviction the injured compulsion of the Buling decision, had to sustain the motion to
person dies, the charge for homicide against the same accused quash and to dismiss the information against appellee Yorac. No
does not put him twice in jeopardy." 16 Stated differently, if error could therefore be rightfully imputed to it.
after the first prosecution "a new fact supervenes on which WHEREFORE, the resolution of June 21, 1968 of Judge Nestor
defendant may be held liable, resulting in altering the character B. Alampay granting the motion to quash, ordering the dismissal
of the crime and giving rise to a new and distinct offense, "the of the case and the immediate release of the appellee Rodrigo
accused cannot be said to be in second jeopardy if indicted for Yorac, is affirmed. Without costs.
the new offense." 17 It is noteworthy, however, that in the Melo
ruling, there was a reiteration of what was so emphatically Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro,
asserted by Justice Laurel in the Tarok case in these words: "As Teehankee, Villamor and Makasiar, JJ., concur. Barredo, J.,
the Government cannot begin with the highest, and then down took no part.
step by step, bringing the man into jeopardy for every dereliction
included therein, neither can it begin the lowest and ascend to
the highest with precisely the same result." 18

3. There is then the indispensable requirement of the


existence of "a new fact [which] supervenes for which the
defendant is responsible" changing the character of the crime
imputed to him and together with the facts existing previously
constituting a new and distinct offense. The conclusion reached
in People v. Buling, 19 the latest case in point relied upon by
Judge Alampay in the resolution no appeal, was thus,
predictable. As set forth in the opinion of Justice Labrador in the
case, there was a medical certification that the wounds for which
the accused Buenaventura as first prosecuted for less serious
physical injuries would require medical attendance from a
period of from ten days to fifteen days. He pleaded guilty and
on December 8, 1956, sentenced by the Justice of the Peace of
Cabalian Leyte, to one month and one day of arresto mayor. He
started serving his sentence on the same day. On January 18,
information, but only against respondent Fama Jr., (Case No.
5241) for serious physical injuries as follows:
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT That on or about April 12, 1975, in the Municipality of January,
Manila Province of Iloilo, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Court, the said accused, with deliberate intent, and without any
SECOND DIVISION justifiable motive, armed with pieces of stone did then and there
G.R. No. L-41863 April 22, 1977 willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and throw
pieces of stone at Miguel Viajar, hitting him on the lower right
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, and ASST. PROV'L eye which would heal from five (5) to nine (9) days barring
FISCAL F. VISITACION, JR., petitioners, complications but leaving a permanent scar and deforming on
vs. the right face of said Miguel Viajar.
HONORABLE MIDPANTAO L. ADIL, Presiding Judge,
Court of First Instance of Iloilo, Branch II, and CONTRARY TO LAW. (Pp. 94-95, Record)
MARGARITO FAMA, JR., respondents.
On August 1, 1975, Fama Jr. filed an urgent motion to defer
Acting Solicitor General Hugo E. Gutierrez, Jr., Assistant proceedings in Criminal Case No. 5241, claiming that since he
Solicitor General Alicia V. Sempio-Diy and Solicitor Amado was already charged and pleaded not guilty in Criminal Case
D. Aquino for petitioners. No. 3335, he would be in double jeopardy, if Case No. 5241
were to be prosecuted. This motion was opposed by the Fiscal
Fama & Jimenea for private respondent. and the Court required both parties to file their respective
memorandum on the issue of double jeopardy.
BARREDO, J:
Petition for certiorari; to set aside the orders of respondent judge In the meantime, the Fiscal after filing Case No. 5241, sought
dated September 22, 1975 and October 14, 1975 dismissing the dismissal of Case No. 3335, but the Municipal Court did not
Criminal Case No. 5241 of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo act on said motion. Instead, the case was set for hearing, and in
against private respondent Margarito Fama, Jr., said dismissal view of the postponements asked by the Fiscal in order to await
being predicated on the ground of double jeopardy, in view of the resolution of the issue of double jeopardy in Case No. 5241,
the dismissal of a previous charge of slight physical injuries on September 11, 1975, the following order was entered:
against the same respondent for the same incident by the
Municipal Court of Janiuay, Iloilo in Criminal Case No. 3335, Under our democratic and constituted system of government
notwithstanding that in the information in the first-mentioned litigants before our courts of justice, plaintiffs and defendants,
case, it was alleged that the injuries sustained by the offended complainants and accused are entitled to the equal protection of
party, aside from possibly requiring medical attendance from 6 our laws. More is an accused, the trial of his case has been
to 9 days barring complications", as was alleged in the repeatedly postponed for several times by this Court in the
information in Criminal Case No. 3335, had left "a permanent exercise of its sound discretion at the instance of the
sear and deform(ed) the right face of (said offended party) prosecution. So, when this case was called for hearing on the
Miguel Viajar." afternoon of September 1, 1975 the accused through counsel
vigorously objected to another postponement and moved for the
The first criminal complaint filed against respondent Fama Jr. dismissal of the case against him. To grant another
on April 15, 1975 (Case No. 3335) was as follows: postponement as sought by the Fiscal against the vehement,
strong and vigorous objection of the accused is to the mind of
That at about 5:30 o'clock in the afternoon of April 12, 1975, at the Court, no longer an exercise of sound discretion consistent
Aquino Nobleza St., Municipality of January, Province of Iloilo, with justice and fairness but a clear and palpable abuse of
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court discretion amounting to a serious denial to, and a grave violation
the above-named accused, while armed with a piece of stone, of, the right of the accused to a speedy trial to which he is
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, assault, rightfully entitled to under Section 16 of Article IV, (Bill of
attack and use personal violence upon one Miguel Viajar by then Rights) of the Philippine Constitution.
hurling the latter with a stone, hitting said Miguel Viajar on the
right cheek, thereby inflicting physical injuries which would IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the above-entitled case is
have required and will require medical attendance for a period hereby ordered dismissed. The Cash Bond posted by the accused
from 5 to 9 days barring complication as per medical certificate is hereby ordered cancelled and released (Pp. 96-97, Record.)
of the physician hereto attached.
Whereupon, on even date, Fama Jr. filed an addendum to his
CONTRARY TO LAW. (Pp. 93-94, Record) memorandum in Case No. 5241 inviting attention to the above
dismissal order and reiterating his theory of double jeopardy. On
Arraigned on July 7, 1975, the accused entered a plea of not September 22, 1975, respondent court issued the impugned
guilty. order sustaining the contention of double jeopardy and
dismissing Case No. 5241. The prosecution's motion for
Meanwhile, on June 8, 1975, complainant Viajar filed a letter- reconsideration was denied in the other assailed order of
complaint with the Provincial Fiscal of Iloilo charging Atty. October 14, 1975, respondent judge relying on the ruling laid
Alfredo Fama, Raul Fama and herein respondent Margarito down in Peo. vs. Silva, 4 SCRA 95.
Fama, Jr. with serious physical injuries arising from the same
incident alleged in above Criminal Case No. 3335. After In brief, what happened here was that when Case No. 3335 was
conducting a preliminary investigation, under date of July 28, filed in the inferior court of January, the charge against Fama Jr.
1975, the Fiscal filed in the Court of First Instance of Iloilo an had to be for slight physical injuries only, because according to
the certification of the attending physician, the injuries suffered
by the offended party Viajar, would require medical attendance ACCORDINGLY, the orders of September 22, 1975 and
from 5 to 9 days only "baring complications." Indeed, when the October 14, 1975 herein complained of are hereby set aside and
complaint was filed on April 15, 1975, only three days had respondent court is ordered to proceed with the trial and
passed since the incident in which the injuries were sustained judgment thereof according to law. Costs against private
took place, and there were yet no indications of a graver injury respondent Fama Jr.
or consequence to be suffered by said offended party. Evidently,
it was only later, after Case No. 3335 had already been filed and Fernando (Chairman), Antonio, Aquino and Concepcion, Jr., JJ.,
the wound on the face of Viajar had already healed, that the concur.
alleged deformity became apparent.

Now, expert evidence is not needed for anyone to understand


that the scar or deformity that would be left by a wound on the
face of a person cannot be pre-determined. On the other hand,
whether or not there is actually a deformity on the face of Viajar
is a question of fact that has to be determined by the trial court.
The only issue We are to resolve here is whether or not the
additional allegation of deformity in the information in Case No.
5241 constitutes a supervening element which should take this
case out of the ruling in People vs. Silva cited by respondent
court.

In Silva, there was no question that the extent of the damage to


property and physical injuries suffered by the offended parties
therein were already existing and known when the prior minor
case was prosecuted, What is controlling then in the instant case
is Melo vs. People, 85 Phil. 766, in which it was held:

This rule of identity does not apply, however, when the second
offense was not in existence at the time of the first prosecution,
for the simple reason that in such case there is no possibility for
the accused during the first prosecution, to be convicted for an
offense that was then inexistent Thus, where the accused was
charged with physical injuries and after conviction the injured
dies, the charge of homicide against the same accused does not
put him twice in jeopardy.

So also is People vs. Yorac, 42 SCRA, 230, to the following


effect:

Stated differently, if after the first. prosecution 'a new fact


supervenes on which defendant may be held liable, resulting in
altering the character of the crime and giving rise to a new and
distinct offense, 'the accused cannot be said to be in second
jeopardy if indicted for the new offense.

In People vs. Buling, 107 Phil. 112, We explained how a


deformity may be considered as a supervening fact. Referring to
the decision in People vs. Manolong, 85 Phil. 829, We held:

No finding was made in the first examination that the injuries


had caused deformity and the loss of the use of the right hand.
As nothing was mentioned in the first medical certificate about
the deformity and the loss of the use of the right hand, we
presumed that such fact was not apparent or could have been
discernible at the time the first examination was made. The
course (not the length) of the healing of an injury may not be
determined before hand; it can only be definitely known after
the period of healing has ended. That is the reason why the court
considered that there was a supervening fact occuring since the
filing of the original information.

In other words, in the peculiar circumstances of this case, the


plea of double jeopardy of private respondent Fama Jr., cannot
hold. It was, therefore, a grave error correctible by certiorari for
respondent court to have dismissed Criminal Case No. 5241.
No. 03-276 and Criminal Case No. 03-277, and set their
arraignment on September 8, 2003. On August 19, 2003, the
petitioners moved for the reconsideration of the joint resolution,
arguing that the complainants had not presented proof of their
having been given medical attention lasting 10 days or longer,
thereby rendering their charges of less serious physical injuries
1Republic of the Philippines dismissible; and that the two cases for less serious physical
SUPREME COURT injuries, being necessarily related to the case of frustrated
Manila homicide still pending in the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor,
should not be governed by the Rules on Summary Procedure.6
FIRST DIVISION On November 11, 2003, the MTC denied the petitioners motion
for reconsideration because the grounds of the motion had
G.R. No. 166414 October 22, 2014 already been discussed and passed upon in the resolution sought
to be reconsidered; and because the cases were governed by the
GODOFREDO ENRILE AND DR. FREDERICK ENRILE, Rules on Summary Procedure, which prohibited the motion for
Petitioners, reconsideration.7 Thereafter, the petitioners presented a
vs. manifestation with motion to quash and a motion for the
HON. DANILO A. MANALASTAS (AS PRESIDING deferment of the arraignment.8
JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MALOLOS
BULACAN, BR. VII), HON. ERANIO G. CEDILLO, SR., On February 11, 2004, the MTC denied the motion to quash, and
(AS PRESIDING JUDGE, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT ruled that the cases for less serious physical injuries were
OF MEYCAUAYAN, BULACAN, BR.1) AND PEOPLE OF covered by the rules on ordinary procedure; and reiterated the
THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents. arraignment previously scheduled on March 15, 2004.9 It
explained its denial of the motion to quash in the following
DECISION terms, to wit:

BERSAMIN, J.: xxxx

The remedy against the denial of a motion to quash is for the As to the Motion to Quash, this Court cannot give due course to
movant accused to enter a plea, go to trial, and should the said motion. A perusal of the records shows that the grounds
decision be adverse, reiterate on appeal from the final judgment and/or issues raised therein are matters of defense that can be
and assign as error the denial of the motion to quash. The denial, fully ventilated in a full blown trial on the merits.
being an interlocutory order, is not appealable, and may not be
the subject of a petition for certiorari because of the availability Accordingly, Criminal Cases Nos. 03-276 and 03-277 both for
of other remedies in the ordinary course of law. Less Serious Physical Injuries are hereby ordered tried under the
ordinary procedure.
Antecedents
The Motion to Quash is hereby DENIED for reasons aforestated.
Petitioners Godofredo Enrile and Dr. Frederick Enrile come to
the Court on appeal, seeking to reverse and undo the adverse Meanwhile, set these cases for arraignment on March 15, 2004
resolutions promulgated on August 31, 20041 and December 21, as previously scheduled.
2004,2 whereby the Court of Appeals (CA) respectively
dismissed their petition for certiorari and prohibition (assailing SO ORDERED.10
the dismissal of their petition for certiorariby the Regional Trial
Court (RTC), Branch 7, in Malolos, Bulacan, presided by RTC Still, the petitioners sought reconsideration of the denial of the
Judge Danilo A. Manalastas, to assail the denial of their motions motion to quash, but the MTC denied their motion on March 25,
to quash the two informations charging themwith less serious 2004.11
physical injuries by the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of
Meycauayan, Bulacan), and denied their motion for Unsatisfied, the petitioners commenced a special civil action for
reconsideration anent such dismissal. certiorari assailing the order dated February 11, 2004 denying
their motion to quash, and the order dated March 25, 2004
The mauling incident involving neighbors that transpired on denying their motion for reconsideration. The special civil
January 18, 2003 outside the house of the petitioners in St. action for certiorari was assigned to Branch 7, presided by RTC
Francis Subdivision, Barangay Pandayan, Meycauayan Bulacan Judge Manalastas.
gave rise to the issue subject of this appeal. Claiming themselves
to be the victims in that mauling, Josefina Guinto Morano,3 On May 25, 2004, the RTC Judge Manalastas dismissed the
Rommel Morano and Perla Beltran Morano charged the petition for certiorari because:
petitioners and one Alfredo Enrile4 in the MTC with frustrated
homicide (victim being Rommel) in Criminal Case No. 03-275; As could be gleaned from the order of the public respondent
with less serious physical injuries (victim being Josefina) in dated February 11, 2004, the issuesraised in the motion toquash
Criminal Case No. 03-276; and with less serious physical are matters of defense that could only be threshed outin a full
injuries (victim being Perla) in Criminal Case No. 03-277, all of blown trial on the merits. Indeed, proof of the actual healing
the MTC of Meycauayan, Bulacan on August 8, 2003 after the period of the alleged injuries of the private complainants could
parties submitted their respective affidavits, the MTC issued its only be established in the trial of the cases filed against herein
joint resolution,5 whereby it found probable cause against the petitioners by means of competent evidence x x x. On the other
petitioners for less serious physical injuries in Criminal Case hand, this court is likewise not in a position, not being a trier of
fact insofar as the instant petition is concerned, to rule on the the RTC dismissed the petition for certiorari upon its finding that
issue as to whether or not there was probable cause to prosecute the MTC did not gravely abuse its discretion in denying the
the petitioners for the alleged less physical injuries with which petitioners motion to quash. In its view, the RTC considered the
they stand charged. x x x. denial of the motion to quash correct, for it would be premature
and unfounded for the MTC to dismiss the criminal cases against
All things considered, it would be premature to dismiss, the the petitioners upon the supposed failure by the complainants to
subject criminal cases filed against the herein petitioners when prove the period of their incapacity or of the medical attendance
the basis thereof could be determined only after trial on the for them. Indeed, the timeand the occasion to establish the
merits. x x x.12 duration of the incapacity or medical attendance would only be
at the trial on the merits.
The petitioners moved for the reconsideration, but the RTC
denied their motion on July 9, 2004.13 Secondly, the motion to quash is the mode by which an accused,
before entering his plea, challenges the complaint or information
The petitioners next went to the CA via a petition for certiorari for insufficiency on its facein point of law, or for defects
and prohibition to nullify the orders issued by the RTC on May apparent on its face.20 Section 3, Rule 117 of the Rules of Court
25, 2004 and July 9, 2004, averring grave abuse of discretion enumerates the grounds for the quashal of the complaint or
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the information, as follows: (a) the facts charged do not constitute
RTC. They urged the dismissal of the criminal cases on the same an offense; (b) the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over
grounds they advanced in the RTC. the offense charged; (c) the court trying the case has no
jurisdiction over the person of the accused; (d) the officer who
However, on August 31, 2004, the CA promulgated its assailed filed the information had no authority to do so; (e) the complaint
resolution dismissing the petition for certiorari and prohibition or information does not conform substantially to the prescribed
for being the wrong remedy, the proper remedy being an appeal; form; (f) more than one offense is charged except when a single
and ruling that they should have filed their notice of appealon or punishment for various offenses is prescribed by law; (g) the
before August 18, 2004 due to their receiving the order of July criminal action or liability has been extinguished; (h) the
9, 2004 on August 3, 2004.14 complaint or information contains averments which, if true,
would constitute a legal excuse or justification; and (i) the
On December 21, 2004, the CA denied the petitioners motion accused has been previously convicted or acquitted of the
for reconsideration.15 offense charged, or the case against him was dismissed or
otherwise terminated without his express consent.
Issues
In this appeal, the petitioners submit that: According to Section 6,21 Rule 110 of the Rules of Court, the
I. complaint or information is sufficient if it states the names of the
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN accused; the designation of the offense given by the statute; the
UPHOLDING THE TRIAL COURTS RULING DENYING acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense; the
THE PETITIONERS' MOTION TO QUASH THE name of the offended party; the approximate date of the
COMPLAINTS DESPITE THE CLEAR AND PATENT commission of the offense; and the place where the offense was
SHOWING THAT BOTH COMPLAINTS, ON THEIR FACE, committed. The fundamental test in determining the sufficiency
LACKED ONE OF THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF THE of the averments in a complaint or information is, therefore,
ALLEGED CRIME OF LESS SERIOUS PHYSICAL whether the facts alleged therein, if hypothetically admitted,
INJURIES. constitute the elements of the offense.22
II.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT By alleging in their motion to quashthat both complaints should
RULING THAT THE INJURIES SUSTAINED BY THE be dismissed for lack of one of the essential elements of less
PRIVATE COMPLAINANTS WERE NOT PERPETRATED serious physical injuries, the petitioners were averring that the
BY THE PETITIONERS.16 facts charged did not constitute offenses. To meet the test of
Ruling of the Court sufficiency, therefore, it is necessary to refer to the law
definingthe offense charged, which,in this case, is Article 265 of
The CA did not commit any reversible errors. the Revised Penal Code, which pertinently states:

Firstly, considering that the certiorari case in the RTC was an Article 265. Less serious physical injuries Any person who
original action, the dismissal of the petition for certiorarion May shall inflict upon another physical injuries x x x which shall
25, 2004, and the denial of the motion for reconsideration onJuly incapacitate the offended party for labor for ten days or more, or
9, 2004, were in the exercise of its original jurisdiction. As such, shall require medical assistance for the same period, shall be
the orders were final by reason of their completely disposing of guilty of less serious physical injuries and shall suffer the
the case, leaving nothing more to be done by the RTC.17 The penalty of arresto mayor.
proper recourse for the petitioners should be an appeal by notice
of appeal,18 taken within 15 days from notice of the denial of x x x x.
the motion for reconsideration.19
Based on the law, the elements of the crime of less serious
Yet, the petitioners chose to assail the dismissal by the RTC physical injuries are, namely: (1) that the offender inflicted
through petitions for certiorari and prohibition in the CA, instead physical injuries upon another; and (2) that the physical injuries
of appealing by notice of appeal. Such choice was patently inflicted either incapacitated the victim for labor for 10 days or
erroneous and impermissible, because certiorari and prohibition, more, or the injuries required medical assistance for more than
being extra ordinary reliefs to address jurisdictional errors of a 10 days.
lower court, were not available to them. Worthy to stress is that
Were the elements of the crime sufficiently averred in the attached merely stated that "the probable disability period of
complaints? To answer this query, the Court refersto the healing is 10 to 12 days, for Josefina G. Morano, and, 12-15
averments of the complaints themselves, to wit: days, for Perla B. Morano, hence, the findings of the healing
periods were merely speculations, surmises and conjectures
Criminal Case No. 03-276 ."They insist that the "private complainants should have
presented medical certificates that would show the number of
That on the 18th day of January 2003, at around 7:30 in the days rendered for medication considering that they filed their
evening more or less, in Brgy. Pandayan (St. Francis Subd.), complaint on March 15, 2003 or about two (2) months after the
Municipality of Meycauayan, Province of Bulacan, Republic of alleged incident."26
the Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above named accused motivated by anger by The petitioners insistence is utterly bereft of merit.1wphi1
conspiring, confederating and mutually helping with another did
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, As the MTC and RTC rightly held, the presentation of the
assault and strike the face of one JOSEFINA GUINTO medical certificates to prove the duration of the victims need
MORAO, thereby inflicting upon his (sic) physical injuries for medical attendance or of their incapacity should take place
that will require a period of 10 to 12 days barring healing and only at the trial, not before or during the preliminary
will incapacitate his customary labor for the same period of time investigation. According to Cinco v. Sandiganbayan,27 the
attached Medical Certificate (sic). preliminary investigation, which is the occasion for the
submission of the parties respective affidavits, counter-
CONTRARY TO LAW.23 affidavits and evidence to buttress their separate allegations, is
merely inquisitorial, and is often the only means of discovering
Criminal Case No. 03-277 whether a person may be reasonably charged with a crime, to
enable the prosecutor to prepare the information.28 It is not yet
That on the 18th day of January 2003, at around 7:30 in the a trial on the merits, for its only purpose is to determine whether
evening more or less, in Brgy. Pandayan (St. Francis Subd.), a crime has been committed and whether there is probable cause
Municipality of Meycauayan, Province of Bulacan, Republic of to believe that the accused is guilty thereof.29 The scope of the
the Philippines and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable investigation does not approximate that of a trial before the
Court, the above named accused MOTIVATED by anger did court; hence, what is required is only that the evidence be
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, sufficient to establish probable causethat the accused committed
assault and right and give hitting her head against pavement of the crime charged, not that all reasonable doubtof the guilt of the
one PERLA BELTRAN MORAO inflicting the latter physical accused be removed.30
injuries and will require Medical Attendance for a period of 12
to 15 days barring unforeseen complication as per Medical We further agree with the RTCs observation that "the issues
Certificate hereto attached. raised in the motion to quash are matters of defense that could
only be threshed out in a full blown trial on the merits. Indeed,
CONTRARY TO LAW.24 proof of actual healing period of the alleged injuries of the
private complainant could only be established in the trial of the
The aforequoted complaints bear out that the elements of less cases filed against herein petitioners by means of competent
serious physical injuries were specifically averred therein. The evidence, and to grant the main prayer of the instant petition for
complaint in Criminal Case No. 03-276 stated that: (a) the the dismissal of the criminal cases against them for less serious
petitioners "wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault physical injuries is to prevent the trial court to hear and receive
and strike the face of one JOSEFINA GUINTO MORAO;" evidence in connection with said cases and to render judgments
and (b) the petitioners inflicted physical injuries upon the thereon. x x x All things considered, it would be premature to
complainant "that will require a period of 10 to 12 days barring dismiss the subject criminal cases filed against the herein
healing and will incapacitate his customary labor for the same petitioners when the basis thereof could be determined only after
period of time;" while that in CriminalCase No. 03-277 alleged trial of the merits."31
that: (a) the petitioners "wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
attack, assault and right and give hitting her head against And, lastly, in opting to still assail the denial of the motion to
pavement of one PERLA BELTRAN MORAO;" and (b) the quash by the MTC by bringing the special civil action for
petitioners inflicted upon the complainant "physical injuries certiorariin the RTC, the petitioners deliberately disregarded the
[that] will require Medical Attendance for a period of 12 to 15 fundamental conditions for initiating the special civil action for
days barring unforeseen complication." certiorari. These conditions were, firstly, the petitioners must
show thatthe respondent trial court lacked jurisdiction or
In the context of Section 6, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court,25 exceeded it, or gravely abused its discretion amounting to lack
the complaints sufficiently charged the petitioners with less or excess of jurisdiction; and,secondly, because the denial was
serious physical injuries. Indeed, the complaints onlyneeded to interlocutory, they must show that there was no plain, speedy,
aver the ultimate facts constituting the offense, not the details of and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.32
why and how the illegal acts allegedly amounted to undue injury
or damage, for such matters, being evidentiary, were appropriate The petitioners disregard of the fundamental conditions
for the trial. Hence, the complaints were not quashable. precluded the success of their recourse. To start with, the
petitioners did not show that the MTC had no jurisdiction, or
In challenging the sufficiency of the complaints, the petitioners exceeded its jurisdiction in denying the motion to quash, or
insist that the "complaints do not provide any evidence/s that gravely abused its discretion amounting to lack or excess of
would tend to establish and to show that the medical attendance jurisdiction in its denial. That showing was the door that would
rendered on private complainants actually and in fact lasted for have opened the way to their success with the recourse. Yet, the
a period exceeding ten (10) days;" and the medical certificates door remained unopened to them because the denial by the MTC
of the motion to quash was procedurally and substantively
correct because the duration of the physical incapacity or
medical attendance should be dealt with only during the trial on
the merits, not at the early stage of dealing with and resolving
the motion to quash. As to the second condition, the fact that the
denial was interlocutory, not a final order, signified that the
MTC did not yet completely terminate its proceedings in the
criminal cases. The proper recourse of the petitioners was to
enter their pleas as the accused, go to trial in the MTC, and
should the decision of the MTC be adverse to them in the end,
reiterate the issue on their appeal from the judgment and assign
as error the unwarranted denial of their motion to quash.33
Certiorari was not available to them in the RTC because they
had an appeal, or another plain, speedy or adequate remedy in
the ordinary course of law.

WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the petition for review on


certiorari; AFFIRMS the resolutions promulgated on August 31,
2004 and December 21, 2004; and ORDERS the petitioners to
pay the costs of suit.

SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 172608 February 6, 2007

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs.
BERNARD MAPALO, Accused-Appellant.

DECISION

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
inflicting on the aforenamed victim fatal injuries which were the
In its Decision1 dated 27 October 2004, the Regional Trial Court direct and immediate cause of his death, to the damage and
(RTC), Branch 32 of Agoo, La Union, in Criminal Case No. A- prejudice of his heirs.7
2871, found appellant Bernard Mapalo guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of Murder, and imposed upon him the penalty Consequently, a warrant of arrest was issued for the
of reclusion perpetua. On appeal, the Court of Appeals rendered apprehension of Alejandro Fajardo, Jr., Jimmy Frigillana, and
a Decision2 dated 21 November 2005, modifying the Decision Rolando Mapalo alias "Lando." Only Alejandro Fajardo, Jr. was
of the RTC, and finding Bernard Mapalo guilty beyond apprehended; the other two remain at large.
reasonable doubt of the crime of Frustrated Murder.
On arraignment, appellant pleaded not guilty.8 Thereafter, trial
The Indictments on the merits commenced.

Appellant, together with Peter Doe, John Doe and Peter Doe, Jr., After the prosecution had rested its case, Alejandro Fajardo, Jr.
was charged before the RTC of Agoo, La Union with the crime filed a Demurrer to Evidence which was granted by the RTC, in
of Murder, said to have been committed as follows: its Order9 dated 5 November 1998, on the ground that the
prosecution did not present any evidence against him. Thus,
That on or about the 13th day of February, 1994, in the only accused Bernard Mapalo proceeded to present his
Municipality of Aringay, Province of La Union, Philippines, and evidence. He was eventually found guilty.
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-
named accused, with intent to kill and being then armed with The Case for the Prosecution
lead pipes and bladed weapons and conspiring, confederating
and mutually helping each other, did then and there by means of The prosecution presented Calixto Garcia (Garcia) as its lone
treachery and with evident premeditation and taking advantage eyewitness.
of their superior strength, wil[l]fully, unlawfully and feloniously
attack, assault and use personal violence on one Manuel Garcia testified that on 12 February 1994, a pre-Valentine dance
Piamonte y Ugay by clubbing him with the said pipes and was held in Sitio Baracbac, Brgy. Sta. Cecilia in Aringay, La
stabbing him several times with the said bladed weapons, and Union. He watched the dance, along with the appellant and
thereby inflicting on the aforenamed victim fatal injuries which Jimmy Frigillana.10 In the early morning of 13 February 1994,
were the direct and immediate cause of his death, to the damage at around 3:00 a.m., a fight erupted between Manuel Piamonte
and prejudice of his heirs. (Piamonte) and the group of Lando Mapalo,11 Jimmy
Frigillana, and the appellant.12
Contrary to law.3
Garcia further testified that he witnessed the fight from a
The RTC ordered the issuance of a warrant of arrest for the distance of more or less five (5) meters. He claimed that he could
apprehension of the appellant. No bail was recommended.4 see the incident very clearly because of the light at the dancing
When the case was called, appellant filed a Motion for hall.13 He saw the appellant club Piamonte with a lead pipe
Reinvestigation and Bail, which was granted. from behind, hitting him on the right side of the head.14 The
pipe was one and a half (1 and ) feet in length, and one and a
On 27 March 1995, 3rd Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Manuel half (1 and ) inches in diameter.15 At that time when the
S. Oliva filed a Motion to Admit Amended Information and for appellant struck Piamonte with a lead pipe, he saw Jimmy
the Issuance of Warrant of Arrest for the Apprehension of the Frigillana and Lando Mapalo standing in front of Piamonte.
Other Accused,5 alleging that a reinvestigation was conducted Later, he saw the dead body of Piamonte, which had suffered
and a prima facie case was found against the other accused. It multiple stab wounds.16 He saw stab wounds on the left and
was prayed that an amended information be admitted and a right parts of the abdomen, and below the left breast, as well as
warrant of arrest be issued for the apprehension of Alejandro small wounds on the front part of his left hip.17 Garcia disclosed
Fajardo, Jr., Jimmy Frigillana, and Rolando Mapalo alias that he neither witnessed how Piamonte was stabbed, nor did he
"Lando." Finding the Motion to be well-taken, the RTC issued see the act of stabbing Piamonte.18 He does not know who
an Order,6 dated 27 April 1995, admitting the Amended stabbed the latter.19 It was only when Piamontes shirt was
Information, viz: removed when he saw stab wounds on the formers dead
body.20
The undersigned Assistant Provincial Prosecutor accuses
BERNARD MAPALO, ALEJANDRO FAJARDO, JR., The Case for the Defense
JIMMY FRIGILLANA and ROLANDO MAPALO alias Lando
of the crime of MURDER, committed as follows: Appellant testified that in the evening of 13 February 1994,21 at
around 9:00 p.m., he, along with his wife, Caridad Mapalo,
That on or about the 13th day of February, 1994, in the entertained several guests at their residence, namely, Crispin
Municipality of Aringay, Province of La Union, Philippines, and Calderon, Noel Cordero, Ruel Mercado, and Rolando
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed Mapalo.22 They drank wine.23 Appellant knew that there was a
accused, with intent to kill and being then armed with lead pipe Valentines Day dance celebration at the dance hall, located
and bladed weapons and conspiring, confederating and mutually northeast of his house at a distance of about 20-30 meters.24 At
helping each other, did then and there by means of treachery and 12:30 a.m., after his guests had left the house, he went to
with evident premeditation and taking advantage of their sleep.25 At 3:00 a.m., his wife woke him up and was informed
superior strength, wil[l]fully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, that somebody had been stabbed. He said he came to know that
assault and use personal violence on one Manuel Piamonte y Piamonte was the person who was stabbed.26 He added that he
Ugay by clubbing him with the said pipe and stabbing him planned to go out of the house, but his wife prevented him from
several times with the said bladed weapons, and thereby
doing so.27 He, thereafter, returned to his room, and went back Pesos (P12,700.00) as actual damages. Fifty Thousand Pesos
to sleep.28 (P50,000.00) as civil indemnity for the death of Piamonte and
Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) as moral damages.38
Corroborating the appellants defense of denial and alibi, his
wife, Caridad Mapalo, narrated that on 13 February 199429 at The Ruling of the Court of Appeals
8:00 p.m., she served brandy to her husband and their guests at
their residence. The celebration finished at around 12:00 Before the appellate court, appellant challenged the credibility
midnight.30 Thereafter, she and her husband went to sleep, of the prosecutions lone eyewitness. Appellant similarly
while their guests proceeded to the dance hall. At 3:00 a.m., she assailed the ruling of the RTC on the ground that it erred in
awoke because of a commotion from the dance hall.31 She convicting him despite the failure of the prosecution to prove his
described that the dance hall is around 60 to 70 meters, guilt beyond reasonable doubt.39
southwest of their residence.32 She went outside of their house,
and along with her sister-in-law, Marissa Dapit, proceeded to the The Court of Appeals found no adequate reason to disturb the
edge of the dancing hall.33 She claimed that her husband did not findings of the RTC in weighing the testimony of Garcia. It did
go out and just stayed at their house.34 She explained that she not find significant the alleged inconsistencies in Garcias
and Marissa Dapit went out to see or to know the name of the affidavits as executed before the investigating police and the
person who died at the commotion.35 At the dancing hall, she prosecutor.40 The appellate court did not accept the appellants
saw the body of Piamonte, lying face down.36 defense of alibi. The positive identification of the prosecution
witness which was consistent and categorical, and shown to be
The Ruling of the RTC without ill-motive, has discredited appellants defense.

After trial, the RTC rendered a Decision, dated 27 October 2004, The Court of Appeals, however, found reason to modify the
finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of findings of the RTC. It convicted the appellant of frustrated
Murder. murder only. It was not convinced that the evidence on record
established conspiracy among the appellant and his co-accused.
It ruled that appellants defense of alibi cannot prevail over the The appellate court rationalized that while the evidence shows
positive identification of the lone eyewitness. As emphasized by that Piamonte sustained stab wounds which caused his death,41
the RTC, per admission of appellant, the distance between his the appellant was never identified as the one who inflicted the
house and the dancing hall is only 20 to 30 meters, more or less. stab wounds on the deceased. According to the appellate court,
There was no physical impossibility for the appellant to be the prosecutions evidence only established that the appellant
present at the scene of the crime. Moreover, it found Garcias clubbed Piamonte with a lead pipe. However, the prosecutions
testimony to be consistent and uncontradicted. On the other witness did not see the stabbing. He was not able to describe the
hand, the RTC considered the testimony of Caridad Mapalo as particular acts which caused Piamontes death. Hence, it cannot
defying the natural course of human reaction and experience. be inferred from the account of the witness that the appellant and
The RTC found it strange that it was only Caridad Mapalo who his co-accused came to an agreement to commit a felony, or that
was awakened by the commotion, while the appellant remained they decided to commit the same, by concerted acts.42 The
asleep. Learning of the same, Caridad Mapalo exposed herself Court of Appeals made the following observations:
to danger by proceeding to the dance hall to see what the
commotion was all about without even informing her husband. In the first place, the killing was the result of a fight that erupted
The RTC conjectured that Caridad Mapalo proceeded to the suddenly during the Valentine dance, which discourages the
dance hall not to see what the commotion was all about, but conclusion that the killing was planned. Also, the witness did
because she was informed that her husband was involved in a not see any stabbing. He did not see anyone else perform any act
fight.37 of stabbing or hitting, other than the appellant delivering blows
with a lead pipe on the victim. There is no proof, therefore, of
Further, the RTC ruled that conspiracy was established by the any concerted action or common design to kill the victim that
prosecution. According to the RTC, the appellant was clearly could be the basis for a finding of conspiracy among several
identified by Garcia as the one who struck Piamonte on the head malefactors. Because of this, it could not be said that conspiracy
with a lead pipe, which alone is "sufficient manifestation of a was proven attendant beyond reasonable doubt.43
concerted, common and united design with the other accused to
commit an unlawful and felonious act." The fact that the medical In the absence of a conspiracy, the Court of Appeals said that
certificate shows the cause of death as stab wounds was deemed the appellant could only be held liable for the consequences of
by the RTC as immaterial, in view of the presence of conspiracy. his own criminal act. It ruled that when the appellant hit
The RTC also appreciated the attendance of abuse of superior Piamonte in the head with the lead pipe, he performed all the
strength as a qualifying circumstance, on the rationalization that acts that would have brought about the death of the victim.44
the perpetrators were armed with bladed weapons and a lead Piamontes death however was due to some other supervening
pipe that were out of proportion to the unarmed Piamonte. cause, independent of the appellants will.45

The decretal portion of the RTC Decision states: The fallo of the Court of Appeals Decision reads, viz:

WHEREFORE, the accused BERNARD MAPALO is hereby WHEREFORE, premises considered, the lower courts
found Guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Decision is hereby MODIFIED, in that the accused-appellant
MURDER and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of Bernard Mapalo is hereby found guilty beyond reasonable doubt
RECLUSION PERPETUA. of the crime of Frustrated Murder. Accused-appellant is hereby
sentenced to 8 years and 1 day of prision mayor, as minimum to
Further, the accused is ordered to pay the heirs of Manuel 14 years, 8 months and 1 day of reclusion temporal, as
Piamonte the amount of Twelve Thousand Seven Hundred maximum.
Q If that accused is inside the courtroom now will you please
Further, the accused is ordered to pay the heirs of Manuel stand up and point to him if he is inside the courtroom?
Piamonte[,] the amount of Twenty Five Thousand Pesos A No, he is not around.
(P25,000.00) as temperate damages, Thirty Thousand Pesos COURT:
(P30,000.00) as civil indemnity and Thirty Thousand Pesos Q Was he notified for (sic) todays hearing?
(P30,000.00) as moral damages pursuant to prevailing INTERPRETER:
jurisprudence. (People v. Pacana, 345 SCRA 72 [2000]; People
v. Givera, 349 SCRA 513 [2001]).46 Yes, he signed, sir.

The Issues COURT: O R D E R:


Appellant contends that:
I It appears that the accused Bernard Mapalo was being notified
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN for (sic) todays hearing and his wife came to Court and
CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT DESPITE informed the Honorable Court that her husband could not come
FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO IDENTIFY THE to Court because he is sick.52
ACCUSED-APPELLANT IN OPEN COURT; and
II The same testimony, however, conspicuously reveals that there
ASSUMING THAT THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT IS was no identification in open court of the appellant because said
GUILTY, THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN appellant was not present at the time, despite notice, as
CONVICTING HIM OF FRUSTRATED MURDER INSTEAD according to his wife, he was sick.
OF FRUSTRATED HOMICIDE.47
In a later case, this Court clarified that a physical courtroom
The Ruling of the Court identification is essential only when there is a question or doubt
on whether the one alleged to have committed the crime is the
In support of the first assignment of error, appellant raises, for same person who is charged in the information and subject of
the first time, the defense that the witness for the prosecution the trial. In People v. Quezada,53 this Court expounded, thus:
failed to positively identify him during the trial proceedings.
Citing People v. Galera48 and People v. Hatton,49 appellant We do not see the absolute need for complainant to point to
submits that the prosecution failed to discharge its first duty, appellant in open court as her attacker. While positive
which is the identification of the accused as the author of the identification by a witness is required by the law to convict an
crime charged.50 Witness Garcia did not identify the appellant accused, it need not always be by means of a physical courtroom
in open court. identification. As the court held in People v. Paglinawan:

Appellant further posits that Garcia did not deny drinking gin at "x x x. Although it is routine procedure for witnesses to point
around 9:00 p.m. on 13 February 1994 until 3:00 a.m. of the out the accused in open court by way of identification, the fact
following day. Garcia was then intoxicated if he had been that the witness x x x did not do so in this case was because the
drinking hard liquor continuously for six hours. At such point, public prosecutor failed to ask her to point out appellant, hence
he can no longer positively determine a persons identity. It is such omission does not in any way affect or diminish the truth
argued that the foregoing circumstances create doubts as to the or weight of her testimony."
identity of the appellant as one of the perpetrators of the crime.
In-court identification of the offender is essential only when
We first tackle the issue on the lack of in-court identification. there is a question or doubt on whether the one alleged to have
committed the crime is the same person who is charged in the
True that on the matter of identification, the Court in Hatton information and subject of the trial. This is especially true in
said: cases wherein the identity of the accused, who is a stranger to
the prosecution witnesses, is dubitable. In the present case,
More importantly, the accused-appellant was not positively however, there is no doubt at all that the rapist is the same
identified in court. True, his name was referred to by both individual mentioned in the Informations and described by the
Basierto and Ongue in their respective direct testimonies. victim during the trial. (Emphasis supplied.)54
However, he was not identified in Court. The failure of the
prosecution witness to positively identify the assailant in court We do not find herein a case where there is a question or doubt
is fatal to the prosecutions cause. Pre-trial identification is not as to whether the one alleged to have committed the crime is the
sufficient.51 same person charged in the information and subject of the trial.
In fact, appellant never denied that he is the person indicted in
Verily, the records are bereft of proof that there was in-court the Information, and subject of the proceedings. His denial is
identification by the witness Garcia of the appellant. Indeed, that he did not participate in the commission of the crime.
Garcia did not point to the appellant in the courtroom. Such fact Hence, in-court identification is not indispensable in the case at
can be gleaned from the pertinent portion of the transcript of bar.
stenographic notes of the trial, reproduced hereunder, as
follows: We are convinced that the identity of the appellant was
sufficiently established by the evidence on record.
Direct-examination by Prosecutor Rudio of the witness Calixto
Garcia The appellant is not a stranger to the witness Garcia. The identity
of the appellant to Garcia does not appear to be controvertible.
Q Do you know the accused Bernard Mapalo? In fact, appellant himself admits that he and Garcia are friends.
A I know, sir. Thus:
Q Until now, this Calixto Garcia is your friend?
Cross-examination by Prosecutor Lachica of [appellant] A Yes, sir.
Bernard Mapalo PROSECUTOR LACHICA:
That would be all for the witness.
Q Mr. Witness you said that you were informed by your counsel RE-DIRECT EXAMINATION BY ATTY. RIMANDO:
a while ago that a certain Calixto Garcia testified against you in Q This Calixto Garcia was your guest in that evening in your
this case did I get you right? residence?
A No, sir.
A Yes, sir. Q Is your family close with (sic) this Calixto Garcia?
Q And this Calixto Garica is a resident of the same Barangay as A Yes, sir.56
you are?
A Yes, sir. Moreover, we do not find herein the presence of factors57 that
Q In fact this Calixto Garcia is an acquaintance of yours? could cause the witness Garcia to misidentify the appellant. In
A Yes, sir. People v. Limpangog,58 this Court enumerated several other
Q He is considered a friend? known causes of misidentification, viz:
A Yes, sir I consider him as such.
Q Prior to the incident which happened sometime on February x x x Known causes of misidentification have been identified as
13, 1994, you have never quarreled with this Calixto Garcia? follows:
A No, sir.
Q Even after that incident that happened on February 13, 1994 "Identification testimony has at least three components. First,
you never quarreled with Calixto Garcia? witnessing a crime, whether as a victim or a bystander, involves
A No, sir. perception of an event actually occurring. Second, the witness
Q You know that this Calixto Garcia is not a relative of must memorize details of the event. Third, the witness must be
Piamonte the victim in this case? able to recall and communicate accurately. Dangers of
A I do not know whether he is a relative of the victim or not. unreliability in eyewitness testimony arise at each of these three
Q You know for a fact that Calixto Garcia executed a statement stages, for whenever people attempt to acquire, retain, and
before the police pointing to you or pointing to you as the retrieve information accurately, they are limited by normal
assailant of Paimonte did you come to know that? human fallibilities and suggestive influences."59
A No, sir.
Q You said that you know Calixto Garcia your friend according There is no question that the witness Garcia was at a close range
to you, did you confront him when he testified against you in of merely five meters more or less from the scene of the
court? incident.60 Neither can it be said that the illumination was poor.
A No, sir. The dancing hall was lighted.61 No improper motive was
Q You did not tell your friend that he was mistaken in attributed to the witness Garcia for testifying against the
identifying you as the assailant of Piamonte, correct? appellant. Moreover, witness Garcia is familiar not only to
A No, sir. 55 appellant. Garcia was also familiar with the deceased, Piamonte.
Witness Garcia, in his testimony, referred to Piamonte as his
The proper identification of the appellant is further bolstered by third cousin.62
the fact that appellants wife, Caridad Mapalo corroborated the
testimony that the witness Garcia is a family friend of the On appellants submission that it is doubtful if witness Garcia
spouses. Thus: can still have positively identified him as one of the perpetrators
of the crime considering that the former admitted to drinking
Cross examination of Caridad Mapalo by Prosecutor Lachica hard liquor from 9:00 p.m. on 13 February 1994 until 3:00 a.m.
Q Do you know a certain Calixto Garcia? of the following day, we are not convinced that the same can
A Yes, sir. overthrow the trial courts evaluation of Garcias testimony.
Q He is your Barangay mate? Beyond appellants bare allegations, no evidence whatsoever
A Yes, sir. was produced to show that Garcia suffered from such a level of
Q His house is closed to your house, correct? intoxication as to impair his facility and disable him to identify
A Far, sir. appellant. In the case of People v. Dee,63 the credibility of the
Q But he is staying within your barangay which is Sta. Cecilia? surviving victim therein as witness was disputed because he was
A Yes, sir. under the influence of liquor at the time of the incident. In Dee,
Q This Calixto Garcia whom you know is a friend of your the witness was even found positive for alcoholic breath, but the
family, correct? Court ruled that such fact does not necessarily prevent him from
A Yes, sir. making a positive identification of his attackers, especially since
Q In fact, your family have (sic) never quarreled with Calixto his level of intoxication was not shown to impair his faculties.
Garcia? The credibility of the witness therein was not made to suffer on
A None, sir. that score alone.64
Q Prior to the filing of this case, you know that Calixto Garcia
being a friend will not falsify his testimony regarding your The foregoing material considerations, taken together with the
husband? fact that witness Garcia and the appellant are not strangers to
A Yes, sir. each other, satisfy us that the danger of Garcia misidentifying
ATTY. RIMANDO: the appellant does not exist. Where the prosecution eyewitness
Objection, your honor. was familiar with both victim and accused, and where the locus
COURT: criminis afforded good visibility, and where no improper motive
Objection overruled. can be attributed to the witness for testifying against the
PROSECUTOR LACHICA: accused, his version of the story deserves much weight.65
support the attendance thereof, i.e., it must be shown to exist as
Hence, we do not find any reason to depart from the general rule clearly and convincingly as the commission of the offense
that the conclusions of the trial court on the credibility of itself.74 Thus, it has been held that neither joint nor
witnesses deserve great respect, viz: simultaneous actions is per se sufficient proof of conspiracy.75

The assessment of the credibility of witness and their testimony We are, further, guided by the following pronouncement of the
is a matter best undertaken by the trial court because of its Court:
unique opportunity to observe the witnesses firsthand; and to
note their demeanor, conduct and attitude under examination. Its For conspiracy to exist, the participants must agree to the
findings on such matters are binding and conclusive on appellate commission of the felony and decide to commit it, which
courts unless some facts or circumstances of weight and agreement may be deduced from the mode and manner of the
substance have been overlooked, misapprehended or commission of the offense or inferred from the acts that point to
misinterpreted.66 joint purpose and design, concerted action and community of
intent. x x x.76
Appellants defense of alibi and denial cannot stand in the face
of the positive identification of the accused. We have unfailingly While conspiracy need not be established by direct evidence, it
held that alibi and denial being inherently weak cannot prevail is, nonetheless, required that it be proved by clear and
over the positive identification of the accused as the perpetrator convincing evidence by showing a series of acts done by each
of the crime.67 It is facile to fabricate and difficult to disprove, of the accused in concert and in pursuance of the common
and is generally rejected.68 unlawful purpose.77

For the defense of alibi to prosper, it must be shown with clear There is a want of evidence to show the concerted acts of the
and convincing evidence that at the time of the commission of appellant and his co-accused in pursuing a common design - to
the crime charged, the accused is in a place other than the situs kill the deceased, Piamonte. The sole eyewitness for the
of the crime such that it was physically impossible for him to prosecution, Garcia, was categorical and precise in declaring
have been at the situs criminis when the crime was that he did not see the act of stabbing Piamonte, nor the manner
committed.69 in which Piamonte was stabbed. He later learned that Piamonte
died from stab wounds when he saw the latters dead body
In the case at bar, appellant was not successful in invoking the covered with stab wounds. The cause of death of Piamonte, as
defense of alibi. Appellant insists that he was sleeping at his found by the RTC and the Court of Appeals,78 and as borne by
residence at the time when the incident occurred. The RTC and the records, is multiple stab wounds.79 It was, thus, incumbent
the Court of Appeals consistently found that the distance on the part of the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt
between appellants residence and the dance hall, or the situs that the appellant and his co-accused acted in concert with a
criminis, is 20 to 30 meters, more or less.70 Such a distance is unity of purpose to kill Piamonte. They must show to the
negligible. In fact, appellants wife testified that from their satisfaction of this Court the appellants overt act in pursuance
residence, she could see the people dancing at the hall.71 It was or furtherance of the complicity.80 They must show that
not highly impossible for the appellant to be physically present appellants act of striking Piamonte with a pipe was an
at the dancing hall at the time of the occurrence of the incident. intentional participation in the transaction with a view to the
We, therefore, reject appellants defense of alibi. furtherance of the common design and purpose.81

We shall now determine the criminal liability of the appellant. The prosecution was unable to show, either by direct or indirect
evidence, proof of the agreement among the appellant and his
To reiterate, the RTC, in convicting the appellant guilty beyond co-accused to warrant conspiracy as a basis for appellants
reasonable doubt of the crime of murder, proceeded from a conviction. No evidence was even adduced to show implied
rationalization that there was conspiracy among appellant and conspiracy. Nothing has been shown that the appellant and his
his co-accused. It also appreciated the attendance of abuse of co-accused were "aimed by their acts towards the
superior strength to qualify the crime to Murder. accomplishment of the same unlawful object, each doing a part
so that their combined acts, though apparently independent of
The Court of Appeals was unable to agree with the RTC. It each other were, in fact, connected and cooperative, indicating
found that the conspiracy was not proven beyond reasonable a closeness of personal association and a concurrence of
doubt. It ruled that the witness Garcia admitted to not being able sentiment."82
to see the stabbing. He could only attest to the clubbing of the
victim by appellant with a lead pipe. No proof was shown as to This complete absence of evidence on the part of the prosecution
the concerted action of the malefactors of their common design to show the conduct of the appellant and his co-accused,
to kill. It, thus, modified the RTCs conviction, and, instead, disclosing a common understanding among them relative to the
found appellant guilty of frustrated murder. commission of the offense,83 is fatal to the prosecution. The
prosecutions witness could not testify on the manner by which
The Amended Information charged the appellant and his co- the deceased Piamonte was stabbed, precisely because by his
accused with conspiracy in killing Piamonte. own admission, he did not see the stabbing. No account of the
stabbing which caused the death of the deceased Piamonte was
Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an ever given nor shown. Unfortunately, no account of how
agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to Piamonte died was ever given, except for the established fact
commit it.72 Conspiracy as a basis for conviction must rest on that he died due to stabbing. The appellants act of holding a
nothing less than a moral certainty.73 Considering the far- lead pipe and hitting the deceased in the head was not shown to
reaching consequences of criminal conspiracy, the same degree be in furtherance of the common design of killing the deceased.
of proof necessary in establishing the crime is required to What transpired during the stabbing of the victim, which is
material to proving the fact of conspiracy, is, regrettably, left We cannot convict appellant of Attempted or Frustrated Murder
merely to speculation. This Court must neither conjecture nor or Homicide. The principal and essential element of attempted
surmise that a conspiracy existed. The rule is clear that the guilt or frustrated homicide or murder is the assailants intent to take
of the accused must be proved with moral certainty.84 All the life of the person attacked.93 Such intent must be proved
doubts should be resolved in favor of the accused. Thus, the time clearly and convincingly, so as to exclude reasonable doubt
honored principle in criminal law that if the inculpatory facts are thereof.94 Intent to kill may be proved by evidence of: (a)
capable of two or more explanations, one consistent with the motive; (b) the nature or number of weapons used in the
innocence of the accused and the other with his guilt, the Court commission of the crime; (c) the nature and number of wounds
should adopt that which is more favorable to the accused for then inflicted on the victim; (d) the manner the crime was committed;
the evidence does not fulfill the test of moral certainty.85 and (e) words uttered by the offender at the time the injuries are
inflicted by him on the victim.95
Liability of the Accused Bernard Mapalo
In the case at bar, no motive on the part of appellant to kill
There being no conspiracy, the liability of the appellant will Piamonte was shown either prior or subsequent to the incident.
revolve around his individual participation in the event.86 Nor can such intent to kill be inferred from his acts. It bears
reiterating that no injury on the body of the deceased was
In the case of Li v. People,87 a street fight ensued resulting in attributed to the appellants act of hitting the victim with a lead
the death of the victim therein. No conspiracy was proven pipe. On the nature of the weapon used, the lead pipe was
beyond reasonable doubt. The liability of the accused Li who described by Garcia as one and a half feet in length, and one and
was shown to have struck the victims right arm with a baseball a half inches in diameter. The relevant testimony of Garcia on
bat, resulting in a contusion was, thus, determined by the Court the incident follows:
in the following manner:
Q Now you said that Bernard Mapalo clubbed this Manuel
The only injury attributable to Li is the contusion on the victims Piamonte. He clubbed him from behind?
right arm that resulted from Li striking [the victim] Arugay with
a baseball bat. In view of the victims supervening death from A Yes, sir.
injuries which cannot be attributed to Li beyond reasonable Q And what did he use in clubbing the victim, is it lead pipe?
doubt, the effects of the contusion caused by Li are not mortal A Yes, sir.
or at least lie entirely in the realm of speculation. When there is Q How long is that lead pipe?
no evidence of actual incapacity of the offended party for labor A Around this length. (Witness demonstrated 1 1/2 feet).
or of the required medical attendance, the offense is only slight Q And how wide is the diameter?
physical injuries, penalized as follows: A 1 inches.
Q What part of his body was hit?
xxxx A Right side of the head, sir. (Witness showing the right side of
his head.)96
The duration of the penalty of arresto menor is from one day to
thirty days. The felony of slight physical injuries is necessarily Homicidal intent must be evidenced by the acts that, at the time
included in the homicide charges. Since the Information against of their execution, are unmistakably calculated to produce the
Li states that among the means employed to commit the death of the victim by adequate means.97 We cannot infer intent
felonious act was the use of the baseball bat, conviction on the to kill from the appellants act of hitting Piamonte in the head
lesser offense or slight physical injuries is proper. There being with a lead pipe. In the first place, wounds were not shown to
no aggravating or mitigating circumstances established, the have been inflicted because of the act. Secondly, absent proof of
imposition of the penalty in its medium period is warranted. Li circumstances to show the intent to kill beyond reasonable
was convicted by the RTC on January 5, 1994. Having long doubt, this Court cannot declare that the same was attendant.
served more than the imposable penalty, Li is entitled to
immediate release unless, of course, he is being lawfully When the offender shall ill-treat another by deed without
detained for another cause.88 causing any injury, and without causing dishonor, the offense is
Maltreatment under Article 266,98 par. 3 of the Revised Penal
In the case at bar, no injury was shown to be attributable to the Code. It was beyond reasonable doubt that by hitting Piamonte,
appellant. The only medical evidence that appears on records is appellant ill-treated the latter, without causing any injury. As we
the deceased Piamontes death certificate,89 which indicates have earlier stated, no proof of injury was offered. Maltreatment
that the cause of death is massive hypovolemia90 secondary to is necessarily included in Murder, which is the offense charged
multiple stab wounds. The factual findings of the RTC and the in the Information. Thus:
Court of Appeals coincide to show that the cause of death of
Piamonte is multiple stab wounds. Nothing has been shown ART. 266. Slight physical injuries and maltreatment. The
otherwise. Other than the presence of multiple stab wounds, no crime of slight physical injuries shall be punished:
other type of injury on the deceased was established. No
contusions or injury on the head of the victim or anywhere else xxxx
in his body caused by a lead pipe was shown. The witness
Garcia, in his testimony, merely pointed to stab wounds on the 3. By arresto menor in its minimum period or a fine not
different parts of the body of the deceased.91 No proof on the exceeding 50 pesos when the offender shall ill-treat another by
injury that was sustained by the deceased that can be attributable deed without causing any injury.
to appellants act was demonstrated. No other physical evidence
was proffered.92 The duration of the penalty of arresto menor in its minimum
period is 1 day to 10 days.
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals, dated 21
November 2005, in CA-G.R. CR HC No. 00408 is MODIFIED.
Appellant Bernard Mapalo is ACQUITTED of the charge of
MURDER for lack of evidence beyond reasonable doubt. He is
found GUILTY of the crime of MALTREATMENT, as defined
and punished by Article 266, par. 3 of the Revised Penal Code.
He is accordingly sentenced to suffer the penalty of
imprisonment of arresto menor of 10 days. Considering that
appellant has been incarcerated since 2004, which is well- Republic of the Philippines
beyond the period of the penalty herein imposed, the Director of SUPREME COURT
the Bureau of Prisons is ordered to cause appellants Manila
IMMEDIATE RELEASE, unless appellant is being lawfully
held for another cause, and to inform this Court, within five (5) SECOND DIVISION
days from receipt of this Decision, of the compliance therewith.
G.R. No. 172834 February 6, 2008
SO ORDERED.
JUN MUPAS and GIL MUPAS, petitioners,
vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

DECISION

TINGA, J.:

Petitioners Jun and Gil1 Mupas were found guilty of frustrated


homicide in Criminal Case No. 2314 in the Decision2 dated 22
November 2002 rendered by the Regional Trial Court of
Malaoan, La Union, Branch 34. The dispositive portion of the
decision reads:

WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing, the Court hereby


renders judgment declaring both accused JUN MUPAS and GIL
MUPAS @ "Banjo" guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
of FRUSTRATED HOMICIDE as defined and penalized in Art.
249 in relation with Art. 6 of the Revised Penal Code, and
thereby sentenced EACH of the accused to suffer an
indeterminate penalty of imprisonment from FOUR (4) YEARS
and TWO (2) MONTHS PRISION CORRECCIONAL as
Minimum to TEN (10) years PRISION MAYOR as maximum
and the accessory penalties provided for by law and to
indemnify jointly the private complainant the reasonable
amount of P5,000.00 for hospital expenses and other
miscellaneous expenses.

The preventive imprisonment suffered by the accused is counted


in his favor.

SO ORDERED.3

The relevant antecedents are as follows:

The Information4 for frustrated homicide alleged:

That on or about the 18th day of February 1993, in the


Municipality of Bangar, Province of La Union, Philippines and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-
named accused conspiring, confederating and mutually helping
one another and with intent to kill, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously attack, maul with fist and stones and
stab with a knife Rogelio Murao y Sibayan hitting the latter and
inflicting injuries on his face and head thus performing all the
acts of execution which would have produced the crime of
Homicide as a consequence but which nevertheless did not
produce it by reason of causes independent of the will of the
accused, that was the timely and able medical assistance
rendered to the offended party which saved his life to his damage saw that they had already been pacified by one Ms. Monis.
and prejudice. Afterward, he sent the two men home. Gil also went home and
thereat, Rogelio, who had a stone with him, arrived with his
CONTRARY TO LAW.5 father Flaviano who was carrying a bolo. Rogelio then
challenged Gil and Jun to a fight.13
During the arraignment, petitioners, assisted by counsel, pleaded
not guilty to the charge.6 Thereafter, trial ensued. Danilo Olpindo testified that between 7:00 and 8:00 in the
morning of 18 February 1993, he was buying soap from Banjos
The prosecution presented three witnesses, namely: Rogelio store when a fistfight transpired between Rogelio and Jun.
Murao (Rogelio), Flaviano Murao (Flaviano) and Dr. Arsenio Rogelio then ran away, picked up a stone and threw it at Jun.
B. Martinez (Dr. Martinez). After Rogelio threw another stone at Banjos house, Jun chased
him and had a fistfight with him again. Banjo then came out of
Rogelio testified that at around 7:30 in the morning of 18 the house and asked the two to go home. Danilo also saw
February 1993, he was walking to school with his companion Teresita Monis at the scene trying to pacify the two.14
Eduardo Murao, Jr. when Jun suddenly stopped and stabbed him
using a 29-inch Batangas knife. Meantime, Banjo bodily Teresita Monis testified that on that fateful day, she was riding
restrained him but luckily Rogelio was able to avoid the blow. a tricycle when suddenly, somebody from outside punched one
Next, Banjo and Jun hurled stones at him and hit him on the leg of her co-passengers. She saw an arm reach inside the tricycle
while Rogelio was running eastward. Rogelio then flagged and hit the passenger. Blood started to ooze from the fellows
down a motorized tricycle but the two assailants continued to forehead. Shortly, she had to alight from the tricycle to attend
pursue him. While inside the tricycle, Banjo held Rogelio by his the flag ceremony at her school.15
neck and punched him while Jun stabbed him several times.
Then, Rogelio alighted from the tricycle and ran home. Josefina Mendoza testified that on said day, she saw Jun box
Afterwards, his father and mother accompanied him to the Rogelio. Subsequently, Banjo went near the two and dispersed
hospital.7 There, Dr. Martinez attended to Rogelio and issued a them.16
medical certificate containing the following findings:
Jun and Gil were found guilty as charged and the judgment of
Cut wound, 2-3 cm. parietal area conviction was elevated to the Court of Appeals.
Abrasion, maxiliary area, (L)
Contusion, maxiliary area, (L) Before the Court of Appeals, Jun and Gil argued that the trial
Abrasion, lumbar area, (L) court erred in: (1) finding Gil guilty of the crime charged despite
the prosecutions failure to prove his guilt beyond reasonable
HEALING PERIOD: It may take two weeks to heal.8 doubt; and (2) finding Jun guilty of the crime of frustrated
homicide instead of physical injuries only.17
Prior to the incident, Rogelio recalled that in January of the same
year, he had a misunderstanding with Jun where he and the latter Jun and Gil contended that Rogelio had failed to identify with
hurled invectives at each other. Rogelio suspected that this event moral certainty that Gil had been one of those who inflicted the
gave rise to the subject incident.9 injury on him. They pointed out that Rogelio had failed to
categorically state that Gil and Banjo Mupas are one and the
Flaviano, Rogelios father, testified that on 18 February 1993, same person. Moreover, they asserted that in Juns case, the
Rogelio came home bleeding from head injuries. Immediately, prosecution had failed to prove intent to kill and as such, he
he brought Rogelio to the Martinez Clinic in Bangar, La Union. should be convicted only of the crime of physical injuries.18
Flaviano reported that he has spent P2,000.00 for Rogelios
medical treatment and P3,000.00 for attorneys fees and The Court of Appeals in a Decision19 dated 23 January 2006, in
transportation.10 CA-G.R. CR. No. 27768, affirmed with modifications the
decision of the trial court. The dispositive portion of the decision
For the defense, Jun testified that on 18 February 1993, at around reads:
7:30 in the morning, he was watering the plants in front of Gils
house when he accidentally sprayed water on Rogelio who was WHEREFORE, the Decision appealed from convicting
passing by. Rogelio scolded him and Jun immediately accused-appellants JUN MUPAS and GIL MUPAS alias
apologized. Rogelio then challenged Jun to a fistfight which Jun BANJO MUPAS of the crime of Frustrated Homicide is
accepted. After that, Rogelio ran away, picked up big stones and AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that appellants are
threw them at Gils house. Jun gave chase and was able to catch ordered to pay ROGELIO MURAO in the amount of P4,000 as
up with Rogelio. They both boarded a tricycle and continued temperate damages.
their fighting inside. One of the passengers of the tricycle,
Josefina Mendoza, pacified the two men. Banjo arrived only SO ORDERED.20
when the fighting ceased.11
After a review of the records of the case, the Court of Appeals
Afterwards, Jun went home. Then, Rogelio and Flaviano, each concluded that Banjo Mupas and Gil Mupas are one and the
armed with a bolo, arrived and challenged Jun to a fight. same person. The Court of Appeals observed that when Banjo
However, the two could not enter the house as the gate was posted a bail bond in the case entitled "People of the Philippines
locked.12 v. Jun Mupas and Banjo Mupas," he had made no objection to
the caption of the case and he had even signed his name as Gil
Gil testified that in the morning of 18 February 1993, at around Mupas. Secondly, when the Information was amended to
7:00, somebody threw a stone at their house. He went outside include Gils alias, Banjo did not interpose any objection to the
the house and saw Jun chasing Rogelio. He went near them and
correction. Lastly, Rogelio had not been able to identify Banjo
in court due to the latters absence at the time of his testimony.21 In contrast, the defense was able to present three (3) other
witnesses than the petitioners themselves. In the Courts view,
The Court of Appeals likewise held that Jun already performed Danilo Olpindo, one of the defense witnesses, could hardly be
all the acts of execution necessary to bring about the death of called a biased witness contrary to the appellate courts opinion.
Rogelio which would have transpired had it not been for the He may indeed be Juns second cousin but the appellate court
timely medical intervention. As such, the trial court correctly failed to consider that Danilo is likewise Rogelios third
found him liable for the crime of frustrated homicide.22 cousin29 which fact, in the Courts estimation, cancels the
supposed partiality based on kinship.
Jun and Gil are now before the Court reiterating their assertion
that the prosecution failed to establish Gils identity as one of Danilo Olpindo, Josefina Mendoza together with Jun and Gil are
the perpetrators of the crime and that his defense of denial was in agreement that a fistfight occurred between Jun and Rogelio.
duly supported by clear and convincing evidence.23 They also In addition, Jun admitted that the fighting continued inside a
contend that on the assumption that Jun is guilty of having tricycle. Teresita Monis attested that this latter detail did occur
committed a crime, he should only be convicted of the crime of but was not able to identify whose hand it was that reached in
physical injuries.24 the tricycle and hit Rogelio.

There is merit in the petition. Juxtaposing the testimonies of the witnesses, it can be safely
deduced that a fistfight occurred only between Jun and Rogelio
The Constitution mandates that an accused shall be presumed which continued inside a tricycle. Rogelios allegations of
innocent until the contrary is proven beyond reasonable doubt. Banjos participation in the incident and that Jun carried with
The prosecution has the burden to overcome such presumption him a bolo are uncorroborated and bereft of any proof. Absent
of innocence by presenting the quantum of evidence required. In proof of Gil alias Banjos involvement in the incident, his
addition, the prosecution must rest on its own merits and must acquittal is in order.
not rely on the weakness of the defense. In fact, if the
prosecution fails to meet the required quantum of evidence, the Assuming that Gil alias Banjo had any participation, there is
defense may logically not even present evidence on its own likewise no evidence that he or Jun had intent to kill Rogelio.
behalf. In which case, the presumption of innocence shall Intent to kill is the principal element of homicide or murder, in
prevail and hence, the accused shall be acquitted. However, once whatever stage of commission. Such intent must be proved in a
the presumption of innocence is overcome, the defense bears the clear and evident manner to exclude every possible doubt as to
burden of evidence to show reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the homicidal intent of the aggressor.30
the accused. Reasonable doubt is that doubt engendered by an
investigation of the whole proof and an inability after such Although it can be fairly assumed that the injuries suffered by
investigation to let the mind rest each upon the certainty of guilt. Rogelio were sustained during the fistfight, it is not conclusive
Absolute certainty of guilt is not demanded by the law to convict that the same were inflicted purposely to kill him. For one, if Jun
a criminal charge, but moral certainty is required as to every in fact had been carrying a bolo with intent of killing Rogelio,
proposition of proof requisite to constitute the offense.25 and if indeed Banjo had conspired with Jun, it is no small
wonder why the wounds inflicted were more superficial than
The trial court solely hinged its judgment of conviction on the mortal, more mild than grave. That Rogelio was able to go home
victim Rogelios lone and uncorroborated testimony. While it is shortly after the tricycle incident without being pursued by his
true that the testimony of one witness is sufficient to sustain a aggressor also shows that Jun and Banjo were not intent on
conviction if such testimony establishes the guilt of the accused beating him to death or even leaving him for dead.31 It is thus
beyond reasonable doubt, the Court rules that the testimony of wrong to infer that the intent to kill was present in the absence
one witness in this case is not sufficient for this purpose.26 of circumstances sufficient to prove this fact beyond reasonable
Apart from Rogelios testimony, the Court observes that the doubt.32 Moreover, Rogelios suggested motive for killing him,
prosecutions version of events has no leg to stand on. i.e., his previous altercation with Jun, was too weak and shallow
a reason to kill under the circumstances.33
In his Sworn Statement27 dated 23 February 1993, Rogelio
admitted that he had a companion with him on that fateful Notably, Dr. Martinez, Rogelios attending physician, opined
incident named Eduardo Murao, Jr. He also stated that there that if Rogelios wound was left untreated it could lead to his
were other persons who may have witnessed the assault namely, death, but at the same time he also testified that such wound
"Josephine Mendoza, Terisita Mico and one Mario Olpindo, the merely required suturing. He also testified that the wound,
driver of the tricycle." On the witness stand, Rogelio likewise which was only 2-3 cm long and whose depth he did not
testified that there had been others who may have witnessed the indicate, could have been caused by a rough or sharp object not
incident including Eduardo Murao, Jr. and Teresita Monis.28 necessarily a knife. And in the medical certificate he issued, he
Interestingly, Josephine Mendoza testified for the defense that reported that the wounds sustained by Rogelio would take two
she had only witnessed a fistfight between Jun and Rogelio (2) weeks to heal.34 Dr. Martinez stated as follows:
while Teresita Monis, also for the defense, testified that she had
only seen a hand reach inside the tricycle to hit Rogelio. Q And what did you do when you noticed the wounds on the
patient Rogelio Murao?
It appears then that Rogelio had at his disposal many witnesses
who could have supported his allegations but curiously and A I gave the necessary injections and medicines preliminary
without any explanation, none of these so-called witnesses were in suturing the wound and treating the wound, sir.
presented. It is thus Rogelios word against the attestations of Q What particular kind of injections did you make on the
others. Such omission already raises a reasonable doubt as to the patient?
guilt of the petitioners.
A Regularly a patient who will undergo the kind of operation to conclusively prove that he had conspired with Jun in the
[sic] we gave novaine injection[.] [T]hen after ten minutes we commission of the crime or that he had any participation in it.
gave the local anesthesia for suturing, sir.
Q You said that you conducted surgery, what exactly did you The Court sustains the appellate courts award of P4,000.00 as
do? temperate damages. Having suffered actual injuries, Rogelio is
A After rushing and preparing the operative area and after likewise entitled to moral damages.40 The award of P5,000.00
giving the novaine injection [sic] and I will now examine the as moral damages is sufficient under the circumstances.41
kind of wound, it was a two to three cms. long on the parietal
area and partially cut and after cleaning the wound, we put WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED IN PART and the
anesthesia and suture the wound, sir. Decision dated 23 January 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-
xxx G.R. CR. No. 27768 is MODIFIED. Petitioner Jun Mupas is
Q Particularly this cut wound which you mentioned as the found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Less
wound on the parietal area of the patient, what particularly [sic] Serious Physical Injuries, and sentenced to suffer a straight
did you do when you said you applied surgery, did you do prison term of four (4) months and ten (10) days of arresto
surgery only on the cut wound? mayor in its maximum period, and to pay Rogelio Murao the
A I referred to injuries, damages tissues, we removed amount of Four Thousand Pesos (P4,000.00) as temperate
unnecessary tissues, sir. damages, and Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) as moral
Q After removing the unnecessary tissues, and cut wound, damages.
what did you do?
A I have to suture, sir. Petitioner Gil Mupas is ACQUITTED and the bail bond posted
Q And in laymans language, what is meant by suture? for his provisional liberty is cancelled and released.
A We used the chromic sutures and followed by the skin suture
which is made of silk, sir. SO ORDERED.
Q Now, this cut would as you have said doctor, what would
be the result of this cut wound if it was not treated by you? Quisumbing,Chairperson, Carpio, Carpio-Morales, Velasco, Jr.,
A Death, sir. JJ., concur.
Q How come it would result to death, if you did not treat the
cut wound?
A In the first place according to the legal ethics made by Dr.
Solis even if there is slight wound on the head, it is considered
serious because the wound on the head is proximal to the brain,
sir. Meaning, usually, it gets in when the injuries were on the
head, sir.35
xxx
Q You also stated that it is a cut wound which must have been
caused by a sharp instrument or bladed edge?
A Sharp edge, sir.
xxx
Q Because it is a cut wound, the tendency was not penetrating
wound?
A No, not penetrating wound, sir.
Q The wound is possible to have been caused by a knife or it
might have been caused by any sharp object not necessarily a
knife or by any rough or sharp object?
A Yes, sir.36

Taken in its entirety, there is a dearth of medical evidence on


record to sustain the claim that petitioners had any intention to
kill Rogelio. When such intent is lacking but wounds were
inflicted, the crime is not frustrated homicide but physical
injuries only and in this case, less serious physical injuries
considering the attending physicians opinion that the wounds
sustained by Rogelio would take two (2) weeks to heal.37

Although the Information charged petitioners with frustrated


homicide, a finding of guilt for the lesser offense of less serious
physical injuries may be made considering that the latter offense
is necessarily included in the former, and since the essential
ingredients of physical injuries constitute and form part of those
constituting the offense of homicide.38

In sum, absent competent proof, Jun should be held liable only


for the crime of less serious physical injuries under Article
26539 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. Gil, alias Banjo,
must be absolved from any liability for failure of the prosecution
AGUIRRE, DR. JUVIDO AGATEP and DR. MARISSA B.
PASCUAL, respondents.

DECISION

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

In this petition for review on certiorari1 under Rule 45 of the


Rules of Court, as amended, petitioner Gloria Pilar S. Aguirre
(Gloria Aguirre) seeks the reversal of the 21 July 2005
Decision2 and 5 December 2005 Resolution,3 both of the Court
of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 88370, entitled "Gloria Pilar S.
Aguirre v. Secretary of the Department of Justice, Michelina S.
Aguirre-Olondriz, Dr. Juvido Agatep, Dra. Marissa B. Pascual,
Pedro B. Aguirre and John and Jane Does."

The Court of Appeals found no grave abuse of discretion on the


part of the Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ) when
the latter issued the twin resolutions dated 11 February 20044
and 12 November 2004,5 respectively, which in turn affirmed
the 8 January 2003 Resolution6 of the Office of the City
Prosecutor (OCP) of Quezon City.

The Assistant City Prosecutor for the OCP of Quezon City


recommended the dismissal of the criminal complaint, docketed
as I.S. No. 02-12466, for violation of Articles 172 (Falsification
by Private Individuals and Use of Falsified Documents) and 262
(Mutilation), both of the Revised Penal Code, in relation to
Republic Act No. 7610, otherwise known as "Child Abuse,
Exploitation and Discrimination Act," for insufficiency of
evidence.

The case stemmed from a complaint filed by petitioner Gloria


Aguirre against respondents Pedro B. Aguirre (Pedro Aguirre),
Michelina S. Aguirre-Olondriz (Olondriz), Dr. Juvido Agatep
(Dr. Agatep), Dr. Marissa B. Pascual (Dr. Pascual) and several
John/Jane Does for falsification, mutilation and child abuse.

The antecedents of the present petition are:

Laureano "Larry" Aguirre7 used to be a charge of the Heart of


Mary Villa, a child caring agency run by the Good Shepherd
Sisters and licensed by the Department of Social Work and
Development (DSWD). Sometime in 1978, respondent Pedro
Aguirre; the latter's spouse, Lourdes S. Aguirre (Lourdes
Aguirre); and their four daughters, who included petitioner
Gloria Aguirre and respondent Olondriz, came to know Larry,
who was then just over a year old. The Aguirres would have
Larry spend a few days at their home and then return him to the
orphanage thereafter. In June 1980, Larry, then two years and
nine months of age, formally became the ward of respondent
Pedro Aguirre and his spouse Lourdes Aguirre by virtue of an
Affidavit of Consent to Legal Guardianship executed in their
favor by Sister Mary Concepta Bellosillo, Superior of the Heart
Republic of the Philippines of Mary Villa. On 19 June 1986, the Aguirre spouses'
SUPREME COURT guardianship of Larry was legalized when the Regional Trial
Manila Court (RTC), Branch 3 of Balanga, Bataan, duly appointed them
as joint co-guardians over the person and property of Larry.
THIRD DIVISION
As Larry was growing up, the Aguirre spouses and their children
G.R. No. 170723 March 3, 2008 noticed that his developmental milestones were remarkably
delayed. His cognitive and physical growth did not appear
GLORIA PILAR S. AGUIRRE, petitioner, normal in that "at age 3 to 4 years, Larry could only crawl on his
vs. tummy like a frog x x x;"8 he did not utter his first word until he
SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, was three years of age; did not speak in sentences until his sixth
MICHELINA S. AGUIRRE-OLONDRIZ, PEDRO B. year; and only learned to stand up and walk after he turned five
years old. At age six, the Aguirre spouses first enrolled Larry at dizziness, vomiting and headaches after he was hit by his
the Colegio de San Agustin, Dasmarias Village, but the child adoptive mother. Consult was done in Makati Medical Center
experienced significant learning difficulties there. In 1989, at and several tests were done, results of which were consistent
age eleven, Larry was taken to specialists for neurological and with his developmental problem. There was no evidence of
psychological evaluations. The psychological evaluation9 done acute insults. The family subsequently decided that he should
on Larry revealed the latter to be suffering from a mild mental stay with one of his sisters to avoid similar incident and the
deficiency.10 Consequent thereto, the Aguirre spouses possibility that he would retaliate although he has never hurt
transferred Larry to St. John Ma. Vianney, an educational anybody. There has been no episode of violent outburst or
institution for special children. aggressive behavior. He would often keep to himself when sad,
angry or frustrated.
In November of 2001, respondent Dr. Agatep, a
urologist/surgeon, was approached concerning the intention to He is currently employed in the company of his sister and given
have Larry, then 24 years of age, vasectomized. Prior to assignment to do some photocopying, usually in the mornings.
performing the procedure on the intended patient, respondent He enjoys playing billiards and basketball with his nephews and,
Dr. Agatep required that Larry be evaluated by a psychiatrist in he spends most of his leisure time watching TV and listening to
order to confirm and validate whether or not the former could music. He could perform activities of daily living without
validly give his consent to the medical procedure on account of assistance except that he still needs supervision in taking a bath.
his mental deficiency. He cannot prepare his own meal and never allowed to go out and
run errands alone. He does not have friends and it is only his
In view of the required psychiatric clearance, Larry was brought adoptive family whom he has significant relationships. He
to respondent Dr. Pascual, a psychiatrist, for evaluation. In a claims that he once had a girlfriend when he was in high school
psychiatric report dated 21 January 2002, respondent Dr. who was more like a best friend to him. He never had sexual
Pascual made the following recommendation: relations. He has learned to smoke and drink alcohol few years
ago through his cousins and the drivers. There is no history of
[T]he responsibility of decision making may be given to his abuse of alcohol or any prohibited substances.
parent or guardian.11
MEDICAL STATUS EXAMINATION
the full text of which reads
The applicant was appropriately dressed. He was cooperative
PSYCHIATRY REPORT and he had intermittent eye contact. Speech was spontaneous,
soft, and relevant. He responded to questions in single words or
21 January 2002 simple sentences. He was anxious specially at the start of the
interview, with full affect appropriate to mood and thought
GENERAL DATA content. There was no apparent thought or perceptual
disturbance. No suicidal/homicidal thoughts elicited. He was
LAUREANO AGUIRRE, 24 years old, male, high school oriented to time, place and person. He has intact remote and
graduate of St. John [Marie Vianney], was referred for recent memory. He could do simple calculation. He could write
psychiatric evaluation to determine competency to give consent his name and read simple words. His human figure was
for vasectomy. comparable to a 7-8 year old. He demonstrated fair judgment
and poor insight. He had fair impulse control.
CLINICAL SUMMARY
PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTS
Larry was adopted at age 3 from an orphanage and prenatal
history is not known to the adoptive family except that abortion Psychological tests done on March 6, 1990 (Dr. Lourdes
was attempted. Developmental milestones were noted to be Ledesma) and on August 4, 2000 (Dr. Ma. Teresa Gustilo-
delayed. He started to walk and speak in single word at around Villaosor) consistently revealed mild to moderate mental
age 5. He was enrolled in Colegio de San Agustin at age 6 where deficiency.
he showed significant learning difficulties that he had to repeat
1st and 4th grades. A consult was done in 1989 when he was 11 SIGNIFICANT LABORATORY EXAMS RESULTS
years old. Neurological findings and EEG results were not
normal and he was given Tecretol and Encephabol by his CT scan done 09 January 2001 showed nonspecific right deep
neurologist. Psychological evaluation revealed mild to moderate parietal subcortical malacia. No localized mass lesion in the
mental retardation, special education training was advised and brain.
thus, he was transferred to St. John Marie Vianney. He finished
his elementary and secondary education in the said school. He MRI done on 10 January 2001 showed bilateral parietal x x x
was later enrolled in a vocational course at Don Bosco which he volume loss, encephalomalacia, gliosis and ulegyria consistent
was unable to continue. There has been no reported behavioral with sequela of postnatal or neonatal infarcts. Ex-vacuo
problems in school and he gets along relatively well with his dilatation of the atria of lateral ventricles associated thinned
teachers and some of his classmates. posterior half of the corpus callosum.

Larry grew up with a very supportive adoptive family. He is the ASSESSMENT AND RECOMMENDATION
youngest in the family of four sisters. Currently, his adoptive
parents are already old and have medical problem and thus, they Axis I None
could no longer monitor and take care of him like before. His
adoptive mother has Bipolar Mood Disorder and used to Axis II Mental Retardation, mild to moderate type
physically maltreat him. A year ago, he had an episode of
Axis III None Aguirre, although of legal age but conspiratorially caused to be
declared by respondents to be "mentally deficient" and
Axis IV None at present incompetent to give consent to his BILATERAL
VASECTOMY, was then intentionally, unlawfully,
Axis V Current GAF = 50-60 maliciously, feloniously and/or criminally placed thereafter
under surgery for MUTILATION VIA "BILATERAL
Larry's mental deficiency could be associated with possible VASECTOMY" x x x, EVEN WITHOUT ANY
perinatal insults, which is consistent with the neuroimaging AUTHORIZATION ORDER from the GUARDIANSHIP
findings. Mental retardation associated with neurological COURT, nor personal consent of Larry Aguirre himself.
problems usually has poorer prognosis. Larry is very much
dependent on his family for his needs, adaptive functioning, In addition to the above, the complaint included therein an
direction and in making major life decisions. At his capacity, he allegation that
may never understand the nature, the foreseeable risks and
benefits, and consequences of the procedure (vasectomy) that v. x x x without a PRIOR medical examination, professional
his family wants for his protection. Thus, the responsibility of interview of nor verification and consultation with my mother,
decision making may be given to his parent or guardian. Lourdes Sabino-Aguirre, respondent Dra. Pascual baselessly,
fraudulently and with obvious intent to defame and malign her
Marissa B. Pascual, M.D. reputation and honor, and worse, that of our Sabido family,
Psychiatrist12 falsely concluded and diagnosed, via her falsified Psychiatry
Report, that my mother Lourdes Sabido-Aguirre purportedly
Considering the above recommendation, respondent Pedro suffers from "BIPOLAR MOOD DISORDER" x x x.
Aguirre's written consent was deemed sufficient in order to
proceed with the conduct of the vasectomy. Hence, on 31 To answer petitioner Gloria Aguirre's accusations against them,
January 2002, respondent Dr. Agatep performed a bilateral respondents Pedro Aguirre, Olondriz, Dr. Agatep and Dr.
vasectomy on Larry. Pascual submitted their respective Counter-Affidavits.

On 11 June 2002, petitioner Gloria Aguirre, respondent Pedro In her defense,14 respondent Olondriz denied that she
Aguirre's eldest child, instituted a criminal complaint for the "prospected, scouted, facilitated, solicited and/or procured any
violation of the Revised Penal Code, particularly Articles 172 false statement, mutilated or abused" her common-law brother,
and 262, both in relation to Republic Act No. 7610 against Larry Aguirre. Further, she countered that:
respondents Pedro Aguirre, Olondriz, Dr. Agatep, Dr. Pascual
and several John/Jane Does before the Office of the City 3. x x x While I am aware and admit that Larry went through a
Prosecutor of Quezon City. vasectomy procedure, there is nothing in the Complaint which
explains how the vasectomy amounts to a mutilation.
The Complaint Affidavit,13 docketed as I.S. No. 02-12466,
contained the following allegations: xxxx

2. x x x Dr. Agatep and Dra. Pascual were (sic) medical 5. In any case, as I did not perform the vasectomy, I can state
practitioners specializing in urology and psychiatry with complete confidence that I did not participate in any way
respectively; while respondent Pedro B. Aguirre is my father; in the alleged mutilation.
Michelina S. Aguirre-Olondriz is my sister, and the victim
Laureano "Larry" Aguirre xxx is my common law brother. 6. Neither did I procure or solicit the services of the physician
JOHN and JANE DOES were the persons who, acting upon the who performed the vasectomy, Dr. Juvido Agatep x x x. It was
apparent instructions of respondents Michelina Aguirre- my father, Pedro Aguirre, Larry's guardian, who obtained his
Olondriz and/or Pedro B. Aguirre, actually scouted, prospected, services. I merely acted upon his instructions and accompanied
facilitated, solicited and/or procured the medical services of my brother to the physician, respondents Dra. Marissa B.
respondents Dra. Pascual and Dr. Agatep vis--vis the intended Pascual x x x.
mutilation via bilateral vasectomy of my common law brother
Larry Aguirre subject hereof. xxxx

xxxx 10. Neither does the Complaint explain in what manner the
Complainant is authorized or has any standing to declare that
4. Sometime in March 2002, however, the Heart of Mary Villa Larry's consent was not obtained. Complainant is not the
of the Good Shepherd Sisters was furnished a copy of guardian or relative of Larry. While she argues that Larry's
respondent Dra. Pascual's Psychiatry Report dated 21 January consent should have been obtained the Complaint does not
2004 by the "DSWD," in which my common law brother dispute the psychiatrist's findings about Larry's inability to give
"Larry" was falsely and maliciously declared incompetent and consent.
incapable of purportedly giving his own consent to the
MUTILATION VIA BILATERAL VASECTOMY intended to xxxx
be performed on him by all the respondents.
13. x x x the Complaint does not even state what alleged
xxxx participation was falsified or the portion of the psychiatric report
that allegedly states that someone participated when in fact that
6. Based on the foregoing charade and false pretenses invariably person did not so participate.
committed by all of the respondents in conspiracy with each
other, on 31 January 2002, my common law brother Larry xxxx
the sake of argument that Larry does have the capacity to make
15. Again, I had no participation in the preparation of the report the decision concerning his vasectomy, respondent Pedro
of Dr. Pascual x x x. Aguirre argues that petitioner Gloria Aguirre has no legal
personality to institute the subject criminal complaint, for only
xxxx Larry would have the right to do so.

17. x x x the Complaint does not dispute that he (Larry) is Just as the two preceding respondents did, respondent Dr.
mentally deficient or incompetent to give consent. Agatep also disputed the allegations of facts stated in the
Complaint. Adopting the allegations of his co-respondents
xxxx insofar as they were material to the charges against him, he
vehemently denied failing to inform Larry of the intended
19. x x x I verified that the effect of a vasectomy operation was procedure. In his counter-statement of facts he averred that:
explained to him (Larry) by both respondent doctors.
(b) x x x I scheduled Larry for consultative interview x x x
20. x x x I accompanied Larry and obeyed my father on the wherein I painstakingly explained what vasectomy is and the
belief that my father continues to be the legal guardian of Larry. consequences thereof; but finding signs of mental deficiency, x
I know of no one else who asserts to be his legal guardian x x x x I advised his relatives and his nurse who accompanied him
x.15 to have Larry examined by a psychiatrist who could properly
determine whether or not Larry x x x can really give his consent,
Alleging the same statement of facts and defenses, respondent thus I required them to secure first a psychiatric evaluation and
Pedro Aguirre argues against his complicity in the crime of clearance prior to the contemplated procedure.
mutilation as charged and asserts that:
(c) On January 21, 2002, I was furnished a copy of a psychiatric
5. In any case, as I did not perform the vasectomy, I can state report prepared by Dr. Marissa Pascual x x x. In her said report,
with complete confidence that I did not participate in any way Dr. Pascual found Larry to suffer from "mental retardation, mild
in the alleged mutilation.16 to moderate type" and further stated that "at his capacity, he may
never understand the nature, the foreseeable risks and benefits
Nevertheless, he maintains that the vasectomy performed on and consequences of the procedure (vasectomy) x x x, thus the
Larry does not in any way amount to mutilation, as the latter's responsibility of decision making may be given to his parent or
reproductive organ is still completely intact.17 In any case, guardian x x x."
respondent Pedro Aguirre explains that the procedure performed
is reversible through another procedure called Vasovasostomy, (d) x x x I was likewise furnished a copy of an affidavit executed
to wit: by Pedro Aguirre stating that he was the legal guardian of Larry
x x x Pedro Aguirre gave his consent to vasectomize Larry x x
8. I understand that vasectomy is reversible through a procedure x.
called Vasovasostomy. I can also state with confidence that the
procedure enables men who have undergone a vasectomy to sire (e) Only then, specifically January 31, 2002, vasectomy was
a child. Hence, no permanent damage was caused by the performed with utmost care and diligence.19
procedure.
In defense against the charge of falsification and mutilation,
Respondent Pedro Aguirre challenges the charge of falsification respondent Dr. Agatep argued that subject complaint should be
in the complaint, to wit: dismissed for the following reasons:

14. x x x I did not make it appear that any person participated in 1. The complainant has no legal personality to file this case. As
any act or proceeding when that person did not in fact participate mentioned above, she is only a common law sister of Larry who
x x x. has a legal guardian in the person of Pedro Aguirre, one of the
herein respondents x x x.
xxxx
2. x x x [t]he allegations in the complaint clearly centers on the
16. x x x I had no participation in the preparation of the report condition of complainant's mother, Lourdes Aguirre, her
of Dra. Pascual. She arrived at her report independently, using reputation, and miserably fails to implicate the degree of
her own professional judgment x x x. participation of herein respondent. x x x

xxxx xxxx

31. What I cannot understand about Petita's Complaint is how (b) Falsification. x x x I strongly aver that this felony does not
Larry is argued to be legally a child under the definition of one apply to me since it clearly gives reference to co-respondent, Dr.
law but nonetheless and simultaneously argued to be capacitated Marissa Pascual's Psychiatry Report, dated January 21, 2002, in
to give his consent as fully as an adult.18 relation with her field of profession, an expert opinion. I do not
have any participation in the preparation of said report, x x x
Respondent Pedro Aguirre further clarifies that co-guardianship neither did I utilized (sic) the same in any proceedings to the
over Larry had been granted to himself and his wife, Lourdes damage to another. x x x I also deny using a falsified document
Aguirre, way back on 19 June 1986 by the Regional Trial Court, x x x.
Branch 3 of Balanga, Bataan. Respondent Pedro Aguirre
contends that being one of the legal guardians, consequently, (c) Mutilation. x x x Vasectomy does not in anyway equate to
parental authority over Larry is vested in him. But assuming for castration and what is touched in vasectomy is not considered
an organ in the context of law and medicine, it is quite remote
from the penis x x x. Even the statement in the Psychiatric Report of respondent Dr.
Pascual that Lourdes Aguirre had Bipolar Mood Disorder cannot
(d) Child Abuse. x x x the complaint-affidavit is very vague in be considered falsification since
specifying the applicability of said law. It merely avers that
Laureano "Larry" Aguirre is a child, and alleges his father, The report did not state that Lourdes Aguirre was in fact
Pedro Aguirre, has parental authority over him x x x.20 personally interviewed by respondent Dr. Pascual and that the
latter concluded that Lourdes Aguirre has Bipolar Mood
Similarly, respondent Dr. Pascual denied the criminal charges of Disorder. The report merely quoted other sources of information
falsification and mutilation imputed to her. She stands by the with respect to the condition of Lourdes Aguirre, in the same
contents of the assailed Psychiatric Report, justifying it thus: manner that the fact that Lourdes Aguirre was physically
abusing Larry Aguirre was also not of Dra. Pascual personal
x x x My opinion of Larry Aguirre's mental status was based on knowledge. But the fact that Dra. Pascual cited finding, which
my own personal observations, his responses during my is not of her own personal knowledge in her report does not
interview of him, the results of the two (2) psychological tests mean that she committed falsification in the process. Her
conducted by clinical psychologists, the results of laboratory sources may be wrong and may affect the veracity of her report,
tests, including a CT Scan and MRI, and his personal and family but for as long as she has not alleged therein that she personally
history which I obtained from his sister, Michelina Aguirre- diagnosed Lourdes Aguirre, which allegation would not then be
Olondriz x x x. true, she cannot be charged of falsification. Therefore, it goes
without saying that if the author of the report is not guilty, then
5. x x x the reference in my report concerning Mrs. Lourdes with more reason the other respondents are not liable.23
Aguirre is not a statement of my opinion of Mrs. Aguirre's
mental status, x x x. Rather, it is part of the patient's personal Respecting the charge of mutilation, the Assistant City
and family history as conveyed to me by Mrs. Aguirre-Olondriz. Prosecutor also held that the facts alleged did not amount to the
crime of mutilation as defined and penalized under Article 262
6. x x x An expression of my opinion, especially of an expert of the Revised Penal Code, i.e., "[t]he vasectomy operation did
opinion, cannot give rise to a charge for falsification. A contrary not in any way deprived (sic) Larry of his reproductive organ,
opinion by another expert only means that the experts differ, and which is still very much part of his physical self." He
does not necessarily reflect on the truth or falsity of either ratiocinated that:
opinion x x x.
While the operation renders him the inability (sic) to procreate,
7. x x x I never stated that I examined Mrs. Aguirre, because I the operation is reversible and therefore, cannot be the
never did x x x. permanent damage contemplated under Article 262 of the
Revised Penal Code.24
8. I had no participation in the surgery performed on Larry
Aguirre except to render an opinion on his capacity to give The Assistant City Prosecutor,25 in a Resolution26 dated 8
informed consent to the vasectomy x x x. January 2003, found no probable cause to hold respondents
Pedro Aguirre, Olondriz, Dr. Agatep and Dr. Pascual liable for
9. Without admitting the merits of the complaint, I submit that the complaint of falsification and mutilation, more specifically,
complainants are not the proper persons to subscribe to the same the violation of Articles 172 and 262 of the Revised Penal Code,
as they are not the offended party, peace officer or other public in relation to Republic Act No. 7610. Accordingly, the Assistant
officer charged with the enforcement of the law violated x x x.21 City Prosecutor recommended the dismissal of petitioner Gloria
Aguirre's complaint for insufficiency of evidence. The
The Assistant City Prosecutor held that the circumstances dispositive portion of the resolution reads:
attendant to the case did not amount to the crime of falsification.
He held that WHEREFORE, it is recommended that the above-entitled case
be dismissed for insufficiency of evidence.27
[T]he claim of the complainant that the Psychiatric Report was
falsified, because consent was not given by Larry Aguirre to the On 18 February 2003, petitioner Gloria Aguirre appealed the
vasectomy and/or he was not consulted on said operation does foregoing resolution to the Secretary of the DOJ by means of a
not constitute falsification. It would have been different if it was Petition for Review.28
stated in the report that consent was obtained from Larry Aguirre
or that it was written therein that he was consulted on the In a Resolution dated 11 February 2004, Chief State Prosecutor
vasectomy, because that would mean that it was made to appear Jovencito R. Zuo, for the Secretary of the DOJ, dismissed the
in the report that Larry Aguirre participated in the act or petition. In resolving said appeal, the Chief State Prosecutor
proceeding by giving his consent or was consulted on the matter held that:
when in truth and in fact, he did not participate. Or if not, the
entry would have been an untruthful statement. But that is not Under Section 12, in relation to Section 7, of Department
the case. Precisely (sic) the report was made to determine Circular No. 70 dated July 3, 2000, the Secretary of Justice may,
whether Larry Aguirre could give his consent to his intended motu proprio, dismiss outright the petition if there is no showing
vasectomy. Be that as it may, the matter of Larry's consent of any reversible error in the questioned resolution or finds the
having obtained or not may nor be an issue after all, because same to be patently without merit.
complainant's (sic) herself alleged that Larry's mental condition
is that of a child, who can not give consent. Based on the We carefully examined the petition and its attachments and
foregoing consideration, no falsification can be established found no error that would justify a reversal of the assailed
under the circumstances.22
resolution which is in accord with the law and evidenced (sic)
on the matter.29 Evidently, the controversy lies in the permanency of sterilization
as a result of a vasectomy operation, and the chances of restoring
Petitioner Gloria Aguirre's Motion for Reconsideration was fertility with a reversal surgery x x x.
likewise denied with finality by the DOJ in another Resolution
dated 12 November 2004. We sustain the DOJ in ruling that the bilateral vasectomy
performed on Larry does not constitute mutilation even if
Resolute in her belief, petitioner Gloria Aguirre went to the intentionally and purposely done to prevent him from siring a
Court of Appeals by means of a Petition for Certiorari, child.
Prohibition and Mandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court,
as amended. xxxx

On 21 July 2005, the Court of Appeals promulgated its Decision Sterilization is to be distinguished from castration: in the latter
dismissing petitioner Gloria Aguirre's recourse for lack of merit. act the reproductive capacity is permanently removed or
damaged.32
The fallo of the assailed decision reads:
It then concluded that:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present petition is
hereby DENIED DUE COURSE and accordingly DISMISSED The matter of legal liability, other than criminal, which private
for lack of merit. Consequently, the assailed Resolutions dated respondents may have incurred for the alleged absence of a valid
February 11, 2004 and November 12, 2004 of the Secretary of consent to the vasectomy performed on Larry, is certainly
Justice in I.S. No. 02-12466 are hereby AFFIRMED.30 beyond the province of this certiorari petition. Out task is
confined to the issue of whether or not the Secretary of Justice
Petitioner Gloria Aguirre's motion for reconsideration proved and the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City committed
futile as it was denied by the appellate court in a Resolution grave abuse of discretion in their determining the existence or
dated 5 December 2005. absence of probable cause for filing criminal cases for
falsification and mutilation under Articles 172 (2) and 262 of the
Hence, the present petition filed under Rule 45 of the Rules of Revised Penal Code.33
Court, as amended, premised on the following arguments:
Petitioner Gloria Aguirre, however, contends that the Court of
I. Appeals and the DOJ failed to appreciate several important
facts: 1) that bilateral vasectomy conducted on petitioner's
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS, brother, Larry Aguirre, was admitted34; 2) that the procedure
GRAVE AND REVERSIBLE ERRORS OF LAW WHEN IT caused the perpetual destruction of Larry's reproductive organs
CONCLUDED, BASED PURPORTEDLY ON THE of generation or conception;35 3) that the bilateral vasectomy
INTERNET WHICH RUNS AMUCK WITH OUR SYSTEM was intentional and deliberate to deprive Larry forever of his
OF THE RULE OF LAW AND THE EVIDENCE ON reproductive organ and his capacity to procreate; and 4) that
RECORD, THAT BILATERAL VASECTOMY IS respondents, "in conspiracy with one another, made not only one
PURPORTEDLY 100% REVERSIBLE BY A FUTURE but two (2) untruthful statements, and not mere inaccuracies
MEDICAL PROCEDURE HENCE NOT AMOUNTING TO when they made it appear in the psychiatry report"36 that a)
MUTILATION, X X X; AND Larry's consent was obtained or at the very least that the latter
was informed of the intended vasectomy; and b) that Lourdes
xxxx Aguirre was likewise interviewed and evaluated. Paradoxically,
however, petitioner Gloria Aguirre does not in any way state that
II. she, instead of respondent Pedro Aguirre, has guardianship over
the person of Larry. She only insists that respondents should
WORSE, THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED have obtained Larry's consent prior to the conduct of the
GRAVE, SERIOUS AND REVERSIBLE ERRORS OF LAW bilateral vasectomy.
WHEN IT REFUSED TO DIRECT THE INDICTMENT OF
THE PRIVATE RESPONDENTS FOR MUTILATION AND In contrast, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), for public
FALSIFICATION DESPITE THE EXISTENCE OF respondent DOJ, argues that "the conduct of preliminary
SUFFICIENT PROBABLE CAUSE THEREFOR X X X.31 investigation to determine the existence of probable cause for
the purpose of filing (an) information is the function of the
The foregoing issues notwithstanding, the more proper issue for public prosecutor."37 More importantly, "the element[s] of
this Court's consideration is, given the facts of the case, whether castration or mutilation of an organ necessary for generation is
or not the Court of Appeals erred in ruling that the DOJ did not completely absent as he was not deprived of any organ necessary
commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of for reproduction, much less the destruction of such organ."38
jurisdiction when the latter affirmed the public prosecutor's
finding of lack of probable cause for respondents Pedro Aguirre, Likewise, in support of the decision of the Court of Appeals,
Olondriz, Dr. Agatep and Dr. Pascual to stand trial for the respondents Pedro Aguirre and Olondriz assert that,
criminal complaints of falsification and mutilation in relation to fundamentally, petitioner Gloria Aguirre has no standing to file
Republic Act No. 7610. the complaint, as she has not shown any injury to her person or
asserted any relationship with Larry other than being his
In ruling that the DOJ did not commit grave abuse of discretion "common law sister"; further, that she cannot prosecute the
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, the Court of Appeals present case, as she has not been authorized by law to file said
explained that: complaint, not being the offended party, a peace officer or a
public officer charged with the enforcement of the law. Put simply, public prosecutors under the DOJ have a wide range
Accordingly, respondents Pedro Aguirre and Olondriz posit that of discretion, the discretion of whether, what and whom to
they, together with the other respondents Dr. Agatep and Dr. charge, the exercise of which depends on a smorgasbord of
Pascual, may not be charged with, prosecuted for and ultimately factors which are best appreciated by (public) prosecutors.48
convicted of: 1) "mutilation x x x since the bilateral vasectomy And this Court has consistently adhered to the policy of non-
conducted on Larry does not involve castration or amputation of interference in the conduct of preliminary investigations, and to
an organ necessary for reproduction as the twin elements of the leave to the investigating prosecutor sufficient latitude of
crime of mutilation x x x are absent"39; and 2) "falsification x x discretion in the determination of what constitutes sufficient
x since the acts allegedly constituting falsification involve evidence as will establish probable cause for the filing of an
matters of medical opinion and not matters of fact,"40 and that information against the supposed offender.49
petitioner Gloria Aguirre failed to prove damage to herself or to
any other person. But this is not to discount the possibility of the commission of
abuses on the part of the prosecutor. It is entirely possible that
Respondent Dr. Agatep, in the same vein, stresses that the investigating prosecutor may erroneously exercise the
vasectomy is not mutilation. He elucidates that vasectomy is discretion lodged in him by law. This, however, does not render
merely the "excision of the vas deferens, the duct in testis which his act amenable to correction and annulment by the
transport semen"41; that it is the penis and the testis that make extraordinary remedy of certiorari, absent any showing of grave
up the male reproductive organ and not the vas deferens; and abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction.50
additionally argues that for the crime of mutilation to be
accomplished, Article 262 of the Revised Penal Code Prescinding from the above, the court's duty in an appropriate
necessitates that there be intentional total or partial deprivation case, therefore, is confined to a determination of whether the
of some essential organ for reproduction. Tubes, seminal ducts, assailed executive determination of probable cause was done
vas deferens or prostatic urethra not being organs, respondent without or in excess of jurisdiction resulting from a grave abuse
Dr. Agatep concludes, therefore, that vasectomy does not of discretion. For courts of law to grant the extraordinary writ of
correspond to mutilation. certiorari, so as to justify the reversal of the finding of whether
or not there exists probable cause to file an information, the one
Anent the charge of falsification of a private document, seeking the writ must be able to establish that the investigating
respondent Dr. Agatep asseverates that he never took part in prosecutor exercised his power in an arbitrary and despotic
disclosing any information, data or facts as contained in the manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and it must be
contentious Psychiatric Report. patent and gross as would amount to an evasion or to a unilateral
refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act in contemplation
For her part, respondent Dr. Pascual insists that the assailed of law. Grave abuse of discretion is not enough.51 Excess of
Psychiatry Report was the result of her independent exercise of jurisdiction signifies that he had jurisdiction over the case but
professional judgment. "Rightly or wrongly, (she) diagnosed has transcended the same or acted without authority.52
Larry Aguirre to be incapable of giving consent, based on
interviews made by the psychiatrist on Larry Aguirre and Applying the foregoing disquisition to the present petition, the
persons who interacted with him."42 And supposing that said reasons of the Assistant City Prosecutor in dismissing the
report is flawed, it is, at most, an erroneous medical diagnosis. criminal complaints for falsification and mutilation, as affirmed
by the DOJ, is determinative of whether or not he committed
The petition has no merit. grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction.
Probable cause has been defined as the existence of such facts
and circumstances as would excite belief in a reasonable mind, In ruling the way he did that no probable cause for falsification
acting on the facts within the knowledge of the prosecutor, that and mutilation exists - the Assistant City Prosecutor deliberated
the person charged was guilty of the crime for which he was on the factual and legal milieu of the case. He found that there
prosecuted.43 The term does not mean "actual and positive was no sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case for the
cause" nor does it import absolute certainty.44 It is merely based crimes complained of as defined and punished under Articles
on opinion and reasonable belief;45 that is, the belief that the act 172, paragraph 2, and 262 of the Revised Penal Code in relation
or omission complained of constitutes the offense charged. A to Republic Act No. 7610, respectively. Concerning the crime
finding of probable cause merely binds over the suspect to stand of falsification of a private document, the Assistant City
trial. It is not a pronouncement of guilt.46 Prosecutor reasoned that the circumstances attendant to the case
did not amount to the crime complained of, that is, the lack of
The executive department of the government is accountable for consent by Larry Aguirre before he was vasectomized; or the
the prosecution of crimes, its principal obligation being the fact that the latter was not consulted. The lack of the two
faithful execution of the laws of the land. A necessary preceding attendant facts do not in any way amount to
component of the power to execute the laws is the right to falsification, absent the contention that it was made to appear in
prosecute their violators,47 the responsibility of which is thrust the assailed report that said consent was obtained. That would
upon the DOJ. Hence, the determination of whether or not have been an untruthful statement. Neither does the fact that the
probable cause exists to warrant the prosecution in court of an Psychiatric Report state that Lourdes Aguirre has Bipolar Mood
accused is consigned and entrusted to the DOJ. And by the Disorder by the same token amount to falsification because said
nature of his office, a public prosecutor is under no compulsion report does not put forward that such finding arose after an
to file a particular criminal information where he is not examination of the concerned patient. Apropos the charge of
convinced that he has evidence to prop up the averments thereof, mutilation, he reasoned that though the vasectomy rendered
or that the evidence at hand points to a different conclusion. Larry unable to procreate, it was not the permanent damage
contemplated under the pertinent provision of the penal code.
We agree. Grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess the crime of falsification of private document under the Revised
of jurisdiction on the part of the DOJ and the Assistant City Penal Code, a crime which all the respondents have been
Prosecutor was not shown in the present case. accused of perpetrating. The elements of said crime under
paragraph 2 of Article 172 of our penal code are as follows: 1)
In the present petition, respondents Pedro Aguirre, Olondriz, Dr. that the offender committed any acts of falsification, except
Agatep and Dr. Pascual are charged with violating Articles 172 those in par. 7, enumerated in Article 171; 2) that the
and 262 of the Revised Penal Code, in relation to Republic Act falsification was committed in any private document; and 3) that
No. 7610. Article 172, paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code, the falsification caused damage to a third party or at least the
defines the crime of falsification of a private document, viz falsification was committed with intent to cause such damage.
Under Article 171, paragraph 2, a person may commit
Art. 172. Falsification by private individuals and use of falsified falsification of a private document by causing it to appear in a
documents. The penalty of prision correccional in its medium document that a person or persons participated in an act or
and maximum periods and a fine of not more than 5,000 pesos proceeding, when such person or persons did not in fact so
shall be imposed upon: participate in the act or proceeding. On the other hand,
falsification under par. 3 of the same article is perpetrated by a
xxxx person or persons who, participating in an act or proceeding,
made statements in that act or proceeding and the offender, in
2. Any person who, to the damage of a third party, or with the making a document, attributed to such person or persons
intent to cause such damage, shall in any private document statements other than those in fact made by such person or
commit any of the acts of falsification enumerated in the next persons. And the crime defined under paragraph 4 thereof is
preceding article. committed when 1) the offender makes in a document
statements in a narration of facts; 2) he has a legal obligation to
Petitioner Gloria Aguirre charges respondents with falsification disclose the truth of the facts narrated by him; 3) the facts
of a private document for conspiring with one another in keeping narrated by the offender are absolutely false; and 4) the
Larry "in the dark about the foregoing (vasectomy) as the same perversion of truth in the narration of facts was made with the
was concealed from him by the respondents x x x,"53 as well as wrongful intent of injuring a third person.
for falsely concluding and diagnosing Lourdes Aguirre to be
suffering from Bipolar Mood Disorder. Applying the above-stated elements of the crime to the case at
bar, in order that respondent Dr. Pascual, and the rest acting in
A scrutiny, however, of Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code conspiracy with her, to have committed the crime of falsification
which defines the acts constitutive of falsification, that is under par. 3 and 4 of Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code, it
is essential that that there be prima facie evidence to show that
Art. 171. x x x shall falsify a document by committing any of she had caused it to appear that Larry gave his consent to be
the following acts: vasectomized or at the very least, that the proposed medical
procedure was explained to Larry. But in the assailed report, no
1. Counterfeiting or imitating any handwriting, signature, or such thing was done. Lest it be forgotten, the reason for having
rubric; Larry psychiatrically evaluated was precisely to ascertain
whether or not he can validly consent with impunity to the
2. Causing it to appear that persons have participated in any act proposed vasectomy, and not to obtain his consent to it or to
or proceeding when they did not in fact so participate; oblige respondent Dr. Pascual to explain to him what the import
of the medical procedure was. Further, that Larry's consent to be
3. Attributing to persons who have participated in an act or vasectomized was not obtained by the psychiatrist was of no
proceeding statements other than those in fact made by them; moment, because nowhere is it stated in said report that such
assent was obtained. At any rate, petitioner Gloria Aguirre
4. Making untruthful statements in a narration of facts; contradicts her very own allegations when she persists in the
contention that Larry has the mental age of a child; hence, he
5. Altering true dates; was legally incapable of validly consenting to the procedure.

6. Making any alteration or intercalation in a genuine document In the matter of the supposed incorrect diagnosis of Lourdes
which changes its meaning; Aguirre, with regard to paragraph 2 of Article 171 of the Revised
Penal Code, we quote with approval the succinct statements of
7. Issuing in an authenticated form a document purporting to be the Assistant City Prosecutor:
a copy of an original document when no such original exists, or
including in such copy a statement contrary to, or different from, [T]he fact that Dra. Pascual cited finding, which is not of her
that of the genuine original; or own personal knowledge in her report does not mean that she
committed falsification in the process. Her sources may be
8. Intercalating any instrument or note relative to the issuance wrong and may affect the veracity of her report, but for as long
thereof in a protocol, registry, or official book. as she has not alleged therein that she personally diagnosed
Lourdes Aguirre, which allegation would not then be true, she
vis--vis the much criticized Psychiatric Report, shows that the cannot be charged of falsification. Therefore, it goes without
acts complained of do not in any manner, by whatever stretch of saying that if the author of the report is not guilty, then with
the imagination, fall under any of the eight (8) enumerated acts more reason the other respondents are not liable.54
constituting the offense of falsification.
As to the charge of mutilation, Art. 262 of the Revised Penal
In order to properly address the issue presented by petitioner Code defines the crime as
Gloria Aguirre, it is necessary that we discuss the elements of
Art. 262. Mutilation. The penalty of reclusion temporal to combine with the seminal fluid to form the ejaculant, is divided
reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon any person who shall and the cut ends merely tied.57 That part, which is cut, that is,
intentionally mutilate another by depriving him, either totally or the vas deferens, is merely a passageway that is part of the duct
partially, of some essential organ for reproduction. system of the male reproductive organs. The vas deferens is not
an organ, i.e., a highly organized unit of structure, having a
Any other intentional mutilation shall be punished by prision defined function in a multicellular organism and consisting of a
mayor in its medium and maximum periods. range of tissues.58 Be that as it may, even assuming arguendo
that the tubular passage can be considered an organ, the cutting
A straightforward scrutiny of the above provision shows that the of the vas deferens does not divest or deny a man of any essential
elements55 of mutilation under the first paragraph of Art. 262 organ of reproduction for the simple reason that it does not entail
of the Revised Penal Code to be 1) that there be a castration, that the taking away of a part or portion of the male reproductive
is, mutilation of organs necessary for generation; and 2) that the system. The cut ends, after they have been tied, are then dropped
mutilation is caused purposely and deliberately, that is, to back into the incision.59
deprive the offended party of some essential organ for
reproduction. According to the public prosecutor, the facts Though undeniably, vasectomy denies a man his power of
alleged did not amount to the crime of mutilation as defined and reproduction, such procedure does not deprive him, "either
penalized above, i.e., "[t]he vasectomy operation did not in any totally or partially, of some essential organ for reproduction."
way deprived (sic) Larry of his reproductive organ, which is still Notably, the ordinary usage of the term "mutilation" is the
very much part of his physical self." Petitioner Gloria Aguirre, deprivation of a limb or essential part (of the body),60 with the
however, would want this Court to make a ruling that bilateral operative expression being "deprivation." In the same manner,
vasectomy constitutes the crime of mutilation. the word "castration" is defined as the removal of the testies or
ovaries.61 Such being the case in this present petition, the
This we cannot do, for such an interpretation would be contrary bilateral vasectomy done on Larry could not have amounted to
to the intentions of the framers of our penal code. the crime of mutilation as defined and punished under Article
262, paragraph 1, of the Revised Penal Code. And no criminal
A fitting riposte to the issue at hand lies in United States v. culpability could be foisted on to respondent Dr. Agatep, the
Esparcia,56 in which this Court had the occasion to shed light urologist who performed the procedure, much less the other
on the implication of the term mutilation. Therein we said that: respondents. Thus, we find sufficient evidence to explain why
the Assistant City Prosecutor and the DOJ ruled the way they
The sole point which it is desirable to discuss is whether or not did. Verily, We agree with the Court of Appeals that the writ of
the crime committed is that defined and penalized by article 414 certiorari is unavailing; hence, should not be issued.
of the Penal Code. The English translation of this article reads:
"Any person who shall intentionally castrate another shall suffer It is once more apropos to pointedly apply the Court's general
a penalty ranging from reclusion temporal to reclusion policy of non-interference in the conduct of preliminary
perpetua." The Spanish text, which should govern, uses the word investigations. As it has been oft said, the Supreme Court cannot
"castrare," inadequately translated into English as "castrate." order the prosecution of a person against whom the prosecutor
The word "capar," which is synonymous of "castrar," is defined does not find sufficient evidence to support at least a prima facie
in the Royal Academic Dictionary as the destruction of the case.62 The courts try and absolve or convict the accused but,
organs of generation or conception. Clearly it is the intention of as a rule, have no part in the initial decision to prosecute him.63
the law to punish any person who shall intentionally deprived The possible exception to this rule is where there is an
another of any organ necessary for reproduction. An applicable unmistakable showing of a grave abuse of discretion amounting
construction is that of Viada in the following language: to lack or excess of jurisdiction that will justify judicial intrusion
into the precincts of the executive. But that is not the case herein.
"At the head of these crimes, according to their order of gravity,
is the mutilation known by the name of 'castration' which WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is
consists of the amputation of whatever organ is necessary for DENIED for lack of merit. The assailed 21 July 2005 Decision
generation. The law could not fail to punish with the utmost and 5 December 2005 Resolution, both of the Court of Appeals
severity such a crime, which, although not destroying life, in CA-G.R. SP No. 88370 are hereby AFFIRMED. Costs
deprives a person of the means to transmit it. But bear in mind against petitioner Gloria Aguirre.
that according to this article in order for 'castration' to exist, it is
indispensable that the 'castration' be made purposely. The law SO ORDERED.
does not look only to the result but also to the intention of the
act. Consequently, if by reason of an injury or attack, a person Ynares-Santiago, Chairperson, Austria-Martinez, Corona*,
is deprived of the organs of generation, the act, although Reyes, JJ., concur.
voluntary, not being intentional to that end, it would not come
under the provisions of this article, but under No. 2 of article
431." (Viada, Codigo Penal, vol. 3, p. 70. See to same effect, 4
Groizard, Codigo Penal, p. 525.)

Thus, the question is, does vasectomy deprive a man, totally or


partially, of some essential organ of reproduction? We answer
in the negative.

In the male sterilization procedure of vasectomy, the tubular


passage, called the vas deferens, through which the sperm (cells)
are transported from the testicle to the urethra where they
treachery, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously assault, attack and shoot one Rudy Baclig, inflicting
upon the latter gunshot injuries.
l
That the accused had performed all the acts of execution which
Republic of the Philippines would have produce[d] the crime of Murder as a consequence,
SUPREME COURT but which, nevertheless, did not produce it by reason of causes
Baguio City independent of his own will.

THIRD DIVISION That the same was aggravated by the use of an unlicensed
firearm.
G.R. No. 167766 April 7, 2010
CONTRARY TO LAW.
ENGR. CARLITO PENTECOSTES, JR., Petitioner,
vs. Duly arraigned, petitioner pleaded Not Guilty to the crime as
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. charged.7

DECISION During the trial, it was established that at the time the incident
occurred, petitioner was employed by the National Irrigation
PERALTA, J.: Administration (NIA) as Irrigation Superintendent assigned at
the Baua River Irrigation System (BRIS). Petitioner vehemently
Assailed before Us is the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals denied any involvement in the incident, alleging that he was in
(CA), dated February 18, 2005, in CA-G.R. CR. No. 27458, Quezon City at the time the crime was being committed. He
which affirmed with modification the Decision2 of the Regional contended that he was following-up the funding for one of the
Trial Court (RTC) of Aparri, Cagayan, Branch 6, in Criminal projects of NIA in Gonzaga, Cagayan. He insisted that he
Case No. VI-984, finding petitioner Engr. Carlito Pentecostes, reported at the NIA Central Office on September 1, 1998 and
Jr. guilty of the crime of less serious physical injuries instead of stayed in Manila until the afternoon of September 4, 1998. To
attempted murder, and the Resolution3 dated April 19, 2005, buttress his allegations, the petitioner presented a Certificate of
denying the motion for reconsideration. Appearance8 issued by Engr. Orlando C. Hondrade, then NIA
Deputy Administrator, who testified thru a deposition that he
The antecedents are as follows: indeed signed the document. Engr. Hondrade testified that he
specifically remembered that petitioner personally appeared
On September 2, 1998, Rudy Baclig was drinking with his before him on the 1st and 4th days of September for a duration
brother-in-law. After consuming bottle of gin, he left and of 10 to 15 minutes. Petitioner also submitted his daily time
went to the house of a certain Siababa to buy coffee and sugar. record to prove that he was not at their office in Cagayan from
He was accompanied by his four- year-old son. On their way the afternoon of August 31, 1998, claiming that he traveled to
there, a gray automobile coming from the opposite direction Quezon City pursuant to a travel authority issued by his
passed by them. After a while, he noticed that the vehicle was superior.9
moving backward towards them. When the car was about two
arms length from where they were, it stopped and he heard the On February 27, 2003, after presentation of the parties
driver of the vehicle call him by his nickname Parrod. Rudy respective evidence, the RTC rendered a Decision10 finding
came closer, but after taking one step, the driver, which he petitioner guilty of the crime of attempted murder. The decretal
identified as the petitioner, opened the door and while still in the portion of the Decision reads:
car drew a gun and shot him once, hitting him just below the left
armpit. Rudy immediately ran at the back of the car, while WHEREFORE, the Court finds accused Engr. Carlito
petitioner sped away. After petitioner left, Rudy and his son Pentecostes, Jr. guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principal of
headed to the seashore. Rudy later went back to the place where the crime of Attempted Murder and sentences him the penalty
he was shot and shouted for help.4 of four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day of prision
correccional, as minimum, to eight (8) years of prision mayor,
The people who assisted him initially brought him to the as maximum. Further, the accused is ordered to pay private
Municipal Hall of Gonzaga, Cagayan, where he was complainant Rudy Baclig the amount of Two Thousand Pesos
interrogated by a policeman who asked him to identify his (P2,000.00).
assailant. He informed the policeman that petitioner was the one
who shot him. After he was interrogated, he was later brought to SO ORDERED.11
the Don Alfonso Ponce Memorial Hospital at Gonzaga,
Cagayan. The following day, he was discharged from the The RTC concluded that Rudy positively identified the
hospital.5 petitioner as the one who shot him there was sufficient lighting
for Rudy to identify the perpetrator and he knew petitioner ever
On June 1, 1999, an Information6 was filed by the Provincial since he attained the age of reason. As to petitioners defense of
Prosecutor of Aparri, Cagayan, charging the petitioner of alibi, the RTC ratiocinated that when petitioner personally
frustrated murder, the pertinent portion of which reads: appeared before Engr. Hondrade on September 1, 1998, it would
not be impossible for him to immediately return to Gonzaga,
That on or about September 2, 1998, in the [M]unicipality of Cagayan that afternoon and commit the crime in the evening of
Gonzaga, [P]rovince of Cagayan, and within the jurisdiction of September 2, 1998.12
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, armed with a
gun, with intent to kill, with evident premeditation and with
Petitioner then sought recourse before the CA, arguing that the shooting. Moreover, the prosecution failed to establish that the
RTC committed serious errors in finding that he was guilty of car used by the perpetrator was owned by the petitioner.
attempted murder and that the RTC failed to consider the
testimonies of his witnesses and the documentary evidence Further, petitioner maintains that it was impossible for him to
presented in his favor.13 have shot the victim on the night of September 2, 1998, since he
was not in the Province of Cagayan Valley from September 1,
On February 18, 2005, the CA rendered a Decision affirming 1998 to September 4, 1998.
with modification the decision of the RTC, the dispositive
portion of which reads: The petition is bereft merit.

WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court dated In sum, petitioner submits before this Court two issues for
27 February 2003 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that resolution. First, whether or not the prosecution established
accused-appellant Pentecostes is only found GUILTY OF LESS beyond reasonable doubt that petitioner was the one who shot
SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURIES and is hereby sentenced to the victim; Second, whether or not petitioners defense of alibi
suffer imprisonment of six (6) months of arresto mayor, there would prosper.
being one aggravating and no mitigating circumstance to offset
it. As regards the first issue, this Court finds that the prosecution
established beyond reasonable doubt that petitioner was the one
SO ORDERED.14 who shot Rudy that fateful night of September 2, 1998. Both the
RTC and the CA found that petitioner indeed shot Rudy. In
In convicting the petitioner to a lesser offence, the CA opined arriving at this conclusion, the RTC ratiocinated in this wise:
that it was not established that petitioner intended to kill Rudy
when he shot him. Petitioners act of shooting Rudy once was Private complainant Rudy Baclig averred that he personally
not followed by any other assault or any act which would ensure knew the accused since he was of the age of reason. Rudy knew
his death. Considering that petitioner was driving a car, he could accused Engr. Carlito Pentecostes Jr. to be working with the
have chased Rudy if he really intended to kill the latter, or run NIA at Sta. Cruz, Gonzaga, Cagayan. Both private complainant
him over since Rudy went to the rear of the car. Petitioners Rudy Baclig and accused Engr. Carlito Pentecostes Jr. were
desistance displayed his nonchalance to cause the death of Rudy. residents of Gonzaga, Cagayan, although they reside in different
Moreover, Rudy only sustained a gunshot wound on the arm, barangays. Rudy was residing at Brgy. Batangan, while the
which required only 10 days of medical attendance.15 accused was living two-and-a-half kilometers away at Brgy.
Flourishing. Rudy Baclig categorically stated that when the car
Not satisfied, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration,16 of the accused passed by him, it slowly stopped then moved
but was denied in a Resolution dated April 9, 2005. backward and when the car was at a distance of about two arms
length, which was about three (3) meters, the accused called
Hence, this petition which raises the following issues: Rudys nickname Parrod. Hearing his nickname, Rudy went
towards the car, but he was only able to take one step, accused
The honorable Court of Appeals, with due respect, committed a Engr. Carlito Pentecostes Jr. opened the door of the car and shot
grave abuse of discretion when it gives credence to the statement Rudy once and afterwards the accused hurriedly sped away.
of the private complainant presuming that the petitioner- Asked how he was able to identify Engr. Carlito Pentecostes Jr.
appellant is the assailant allegedly due to his voice and his to be the person who shot him when it was night time, Rudy said
alleged ownership of the vehicle, and considering that the that he was able to identify the accused through the lights of the
private complainant was then intoxicated, and the crime was car and on cross-examination he said that aside from the lights
committed at nighttime, such conclusion is entirely grounded on of the car, there were also lights coming from a store nearby the
speculations, surmises and conjectures. place of the incident. The Court believes that with these kinds of
lights, Rudy Baclig was able to identify the accused, considering
The honorable fourteenth division committed grave abuse of the distance between the assailant and the victim was only three
discretion when it failed to give weight, discuss and consider the (3) meters.
arguments and defenses made the petitioner-appellant in our
brief, vis--vis the manifestation and motion of the solicitor x x x x.
general.
Rudy Baclig was not telling a lie when he declared that he was
The honorable fourteenth division committed an error when it shot at about two arms length only because the doctor who
relied heavily on an unfounded, baseless and alleged motive of treated him, Dr. Mila M. Marantan, declared that Rudy Baclig
petitioner, being a crusader of illegal drugs in their own town, to suffered a gunshot wound, the entry was with powder burns
be the basis that he is the assailant.17 which is an evidence that Rudy Baclig was shot at a close range.

Petitioner questions the conclusion of the CA when it found him The defense harped on the fact that the private complainant
guilty of the crime of less serious physical injuries. He argues smelled liquor. The complainant at first denied having taken
that Rudy failed to positively identify him as the assailant, since liquor, but he admitted he took one-half bottle of gin before he
Rudy never admitted that he was able to identify the petitioner went to buy coffee and sugar. On cross-examination, the
through his physical appearance, but only through his voice, complainant admitted also that every afternoon, he drank liquor.
despite the fact that it was the first time Rudy heard petitioners He admitted that he could still walk naturally a distance of about
voice when he allegedly shot him. Petitioner also insists that one kilometer. He also said that his vision might be affected.
when the incident occurred, Rudys vision was impaired as he This testimony of Rudy Baclig cannot be considered as evidence
just drank half a bottle of gin and the place was not properly lit. that he was not able to identify the accused. He was categorical
Rudy also failed to identify the type of gun used during the in stating that he was able to identify the accused. The doctor
who treated Rudy of his injury declared the patient smelled affected by the alcohol intake, and that he would have mistaken
liquor, but she could not tell how much liquor the patient took, someone else for the accused.
however, the patient could answer all her questions.
Again, positive declaration is given more weight than the denial
x x x x. of the accused-appellant. In addition, the same findings were
previously reached by the trial court which had the opportunity
There are other evidences that tend to show that Rudy Baclig to observe first-hand the demeanor of the witnesses, and assess
was able to identify the assailant. Immediately after he was shot, their credibility.
Rudy told a police investigator, a certain Torres and Dr. Mila
Marantan that it was Engr. Carlito Pentecostes, Jr. who shot Regarding the Solicitor Generals recommendation, the Court is
him.18 not bound to follow it although in some cases, we are persuaded
by the same. However, in this case, it was not able to persuade
This conclusion was concurred into by the CA, which Us as it only adopted the same arguments advanced by accused-
categorically stated in its decision that "[t]he prosecution was appellants counsel.
able to present a witness, in the person of Baclig, who
categorically identified petitioner as his assailant and whose Some of these arguments include the failure to present any
testimony was characterized by frankness."19 Contrary to document or evidence showing that the car used was owned by
petitioners contention, Rudy saw him and positively identified the accused-appellant. The ownership of the car, however, is
him as his shooter, viz: immaterial in the light of the positive identification of the
accused. In addition, the statement of the prosecutions
Q: When you heard the driver of the car calling you by your witnesses that the car was often used by accused-appellants
nickname Parrod, what was your reaction? father does not remove the possibility that he may also use it.

A: I went near because I thought he was telling me something. On the third allegation of error, again, accused-appellant has
misread the decision and exaggerated by accusing us of relying
Q: And what made you decide to go near the driver of the heavily on the existence of a probable motive on the part of
vehicle? accused-appellant to commit the act complained of. This is clear
in the decision that the same was meant to assess whether there
A: Because he called me by my name, Sir. was a probable motive for the private complainant to lie.21

Q: When the driver of the car called you by your [nickname], It is clear that the arguments advanced by the petitioner in the
were you able to recognize the driver of the car who called you? case at bar, questioning the conclusion of the RTC and the CA
that petitioner shot the victim, are trivial. The fact remains that
A: Yes, Sir. Rudy has been shot with a gun and he positively identified his
shooter as the petitioner. Petitioner faulted the RTC and the CA
Q: And who was that person who called you by your name for giving credence to the testimony of Rudy. However, it is to
Parrod? be noted that even the lone declaration of a sole eyewitness is
sufficient to convict if that testimony is found to be credible.
A: It was Engr. Pentecostes, Sir. Credibility of witnesses is to be weighed and should not be based
on numbers. The matter of assigning values to declaration on the
Q: The same person you identified a while ago? witness stand is best and most competently performed by the
trial judge who had the unmatched opportunity to observe the
A: Yes, Sir.20 witnesses and to assess their credibility by various indicia
available but not reflected on the record.22
Corollarilly, petitioner already raised these arguments in his
motion for reconsideration of the decision of the court a quo, This Court has meticulously scrutinized the transcripts of
which the CA addressed point by point in the assailed resolution stenographic notes of this case and finds that the RTC, as well
denying the motion. We quote with approval the following as the CA, committed no error in giving credence to the evidence
discussion of the CA: of the prosecution. The Court has long adhered to the rule that
findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses and their
On the first allegation, accused-appellant wrongly read the testimonies are accorded great respect unless it overlooked
decision. The Court upheld the trial courts finding that it was substantial facts and circumstances, which if considered, would
indeed accused-appellant who attacked the private complainant, materially affect the result of the case. This deference to the trial
not because the latter heard accused-appellants voice but that courts appreciation of the facts and of the credibility of
he was able to see him through the lights of the car when he witnesses is consistent with the principle that when the
opened the window and the door. x x x testimony of a witness meets the test of credibility, that alone is
sufficient to convict the accused.23 This is especially true when
xxxx the factual findings of the trial court are affirmed by the
appellate court.24
Clearly, it was not merely hearing the assailants voice, but that
he was able to see him, that private-complainant was able to As regards petitioners defense of alibi, well settled is the rule
identify the accused-appellant. It was admittedly a fact that that alibi is an inherently weak defense which cannot prevail
private complainant had a drink but it does not mean that he was over the positive identification of the accused by the victim.25
intoxicated, especially since he admitted that he drinks Moreover, in order for the defense of alibi to prosper, it is not
everyday. Thus, his bodys tolerance to alcohol is probably enough to prove that the petitioner was somewhere else when
heightened. There was also no proof that his vision had been the offense was committed, but it must likewise be demonstrated
that he was so far away that it was not possible for him to have Indeterminate Sentence Law finds no application in the case at
been physically present at the place of the crime or its immediate bar, since it does not apply to those whose maximum term of
vicinity at the time of its commission.26 In the case at bar, it was imprisonment is less than one year.31
established that petitioner personally appeared before Engr.
Hondrade only on September 1 and 4, 1998. His whereabouts As regards the awards for damages, moral damages may be
for the two days in between the said dates are unaccounted for. recovered in criminal offenses resulting in physical injuries, but
There was no showing that he could not have gone back to there must be a factual basis for the award.32 We have studied
Cagayan, committed the crime, and went back to Quezon City the records and find no factual basis for the award of moral
during those two days. Petitioners defense of denial and alibi damages.
cannot prevail as against the positive, straightforward and
consistent testimony of Rudy that it was petitioner who shot him WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of the
on the night of September 2, 1998. Court of Appeals, dated February 18, 2005, and the Resolution
dated April 19, 2005 in CA-G.R. CR No. 27458, are
As to the crime committed by petitioner, this Court also concurs AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Petitioner Engr. Carlito
with the conclusion of the CA that petitioner is guilty of the Pentecostes, Jr. is sentenced to suffer the straight penalty of
crime of less serious physical injuries, not attempted murder. three (3) months of arresto mayor.

The principal and essential element of attempted or frustrated SO ORDERED.


murder is the intent on the part of the assailant to take the life of
the person attacked. Such intent must be proved in a clear and
evident manner to exclude every possible doubt as to the
homicidal intent of the aggressor.27 In the present case, intent
to kill the victim could not be inferred from the surrounding
circumstances. Petitioner only shot the victim once and did not
hit any vital part of the latters body. If he intended to kill him,
petitioner could have shot the victim multiple times or even ran
him over with the car. Favorably to petitioner, the inference that
intent to kill existed should not be drawn in the absence of
circumstances sufficient to prove this fact beyond reasonable
doubt.28 When such intent is lacking but wounds are inflicted
upon the victim, the crime is not attempted murder but physical
injuries only. Since the Medico-Legal Certificate29 issued by
the doctor who attended Rudy stated that the wound would only
require ten (10) days of medical attendance, and he was, in fact,
discharged the following day, the crime committed is less
serious physical injuries only. The less serious physical injury
suffered by Rudy is defined under Article 265 of the Revised
Penal Code, which provides that "(A)ny person who inflicts
upon another physical injuries not described as serious physical
injuries but which shall incapacitate the offended party for labor
for ten (10) days or more, or shall require medical attendance for
the same period, shall be guilty of less serious physical injuries
and shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor."1avvphi1

As to the aggravating circumstainnce of treachery, this Court


finds that the CA erroneously concluded that treachery attended
the commission of the crime. To establish treachery, the
following must be proven: (1) the employment of such means of
execution as would give the person attacked no opportunity for
self-defense or retaliation; and (2) the deliberate and conscious
adoption of the means of execution.30 The circumstances Republic of the Philippines
attending the commission of the crime negate the existence of SUPREME COURT
treachery in its execution. Although petitioner deliberately Manila
assaulted Rudy and there was suddenness in his attack, he did
not logically plan to assault the latter when he chanced upon him FIRST DIVISION
while he was driving. In treachery, the perpetrator intentionally
and purposely employs ways and means to commit the crime. G.R. No. L-47448 May 17, 1978
There was no evidence, however, to show that petitioner
employed such means of execution that would ensure the THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
commission of the crime without harm to his person. Thus, vs.
treachery did not attend the commission of the crime. HON. EMETERIO C. OCAYA, as District Judge, 15th
Judicial District, Branch VI, Province of Bukidnon, and
There being no aggravating and no mitigating circumstance, the ESTERLINA MARAPAO, LETICIA MARAPAO and
penalty for the crime of less serious physical injuries should be DIOSDADO MARAPAO, respondents.
taken from the medium period of arresto mayor, which is from
two (2) months and one (1) day to four (4) months. The
Arcadio D. Fabria and Camilo E. Tamin, Office of the dismissal of the case "as the crime of slight or less physical
Provincial Fiscal of Malaybalay, Bukidnon for petitioner. injury is not within the jurisdiction of the court" as per his Order
of October 27, 1977, stating as his reason that
Eusebio P. Aquino for private respondents.
The Court is of the opinion that what governs in the filing of a
TEEHANKEE, J.: physical injury case is the certificate issued by the physician
regarding the duration of treatment, and not what the victim
The Court declares the questioned orders of respondent judge declares because the same is self-serving.
dismissing the information for supposed lack of jurisdiction as
null and void. Respondent judge wrongfully dismissed the case The fiscal's motion for reconsideration proved futile with
before him in disregard to the elemental rule that jurisdiction is respondent judge in his Order of November 16, 1977 denying
determined by the allegations of the information and that the the same, evaluating the case without having heard the parties
offense of serious physical injuries charged in the information or their witnesses (particularly the physician who issued the
had duly vested his court with jurisdiction. The Court orders the medical certificate) nor having received their evidence and
transfer of the case below to another branch of the Bukidnon ruling against the deformity alleged in the information on the
court of-first instance, since it is doubtful that the State and basis of his perception from a reading of the medical certificate
offended party may expect a fair and impartial hearing and and the fiscal's written resolution finding proper basis for the
determination of the case from respondent judge who with his filing of the information, that
erroneous pre-conceptions and predilections has adversely
prejudged their case for serious physical injuries as one merely Now, does the finding of the fiscal to the effect that he observed
of slight or less serious physical injuries. a big scar at the left cheek bone of Mrs. Lolita Ares justify the
filing of the charge of serious physical injuries, under Article
The office of the provincial fiscal of Bukidnon, after preliminary 263 of the Revised Penal Code, when the attending physician
investigation filed an information dated October 13, 1977 in the certified that what he found was a lacerated wound on the right
court of respondent judge, charging the three private side of the face? Clearly, the scar found by the investigating
respondents- accused (Esterlina Marapao, Leticia Marapao and fiscal could not be the result of the acts imputed to the accused
Diosdado Marapao) for serious physical injuries committed as but for some other cause, for how could the scar be found on the
follows: left side when the injury inflicted was on the right side?
(Emphasis supplied)
That on or about the 23rd day of July, 1977, in Don Carlos,
Bukidnon, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Hence, the petition at bar as filed by the provincial fiscal for
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, nullification of respondent judge's orders.
confederating and mutually helping each other, did then and
there willfully unlawfully and feloneously attack, assault and The Solicitor General in his comment has noted that there is
use personal violence upon one Mrs. LOLITA ARES, a mother ample legal and factual basis for the information charging
who was then still on the twelfth (12th) day from her child serious physical injuries, stating that "(T)hat the allegations in
delivery, by then and there wrestling her to the ground and the Information that a fist-size stone hit the face of Lolita Ares
thereafter throwing and hitting her with a fist-size stone at the causing lacerated wound on the maxillary arch of the face which
face thereby inflicting upon said Mrs. LOLITA ARES:- considerably deformed her face (are) not only supported by the
medical certificate, but also by the admission of accused
lacerated wound, transverse right at about 2.5 cm. x 0.5 cm. in Diosdado Marapao during the pre investigation that he threw a
width at the level of the m arch of the face, with contusion and fist-size stone which hit the face of Lolita Ares and the personal
swelling all around the inflicted area finding of Fiscal Tamin during the preliminary in. investigation
that there is a prominent scar on her face," and that the offense
which injury considerably deforms her face, and further causing as charged falls under Article 263, paragraph 3 of the Revised
upon said Mrs. LOLITA ARES to suffer a relapse (nabughat in Penal Code which imposes thereon a penalty of prision
the local dialect) arising from her weak constitution due to her correccional in its minimum and medium periods and is
recent child delivery, which relapse incapacitated her from therefore properly cognizable by respondent judge's court.
performing her customary labor for a period of more than thirty
days. The Court finds that respondent judge committed a grave abuse
of discretion in precipitately dismissing the case for alleged lack
Contrary to and in violation of Article 263, paragraph 3 of the of jurisdiction on the mere basis of his totally wrong notion that
Revised Penal Code. what governs in the filing of a physical injury case is the medical
certificate regarding the duration of treatment and "not what the
The records do not show that arraignment or trial on the merits victim declares because the same is self-serving."
has been held, much less that warrants for the arrest of the
accused had been issued. Instead, after "scanning the records of It is elemental that the jurisdiction of a court in criminal cases is
(the) case" and noting that the thereto attached medical determined by the allegations of the information or criminal
certificate stated that the injuries suffered by the victim Lolita complaint and not by the result of the evidence presented at the
Ares would require medical attention from 7 to 10 days and, trial,' much less by the trial judge's personal appraisal of the
therefore, 4 "may either be slight or less serious physical injuries affidavits and exhibits attached by the fiscal to the record of the
only" contrary to victim's affidavit that she was incapacitated case without hearing the parties and their witnesses nor
from her customary labor for more than 30 days and the fiscal's receiving their evidence at a proper trial.
findings as to the prominent sear left on the victim's face as a
result "which considerably deforms her face" (as duly alleged in It is equally elementary that the mere fact that evidence
the information), respondent judge motu proprio ordered the presented at the trial would indicate that a lesser offense outside
the trial, 1 court's jurisdiction was committed does not deprive
the trial court of its jurisdiction which had vested in it under the
allegations of the information as filed since "(once) the
jurisdiction attaches to the person and subject matter of the
litigation, the subsequent happening of events, although they are
of such a character as would have prevented jurisdiction from
attaching in the first instance, will not operate to oust
jurisdiction already attached. 2

Indeed, the Solicitor General has aptly commented that "the


dismissal of the case had only resulted in duplication of work
and wasted time in the remand of records when respondent trial
judge dismissed the instant case for want of jurisdiction, when
it could have immediately proceeded to arraign the accused and
try him. "

Once more the Court is constrained to admonish the trial courts


to proceed with proper study and circumspection before
summarily dismissing cases duly filed within their court's
cognizance and needlessly burdening the appellate courts with
cases such as that at bar which should not have reached us at all
in the first instance. Respondent judge's disregard of the
established rule that the information for serious physical injuries
properly vested his court with jurisdiction to try and hear the
case, and that if from the evidence submitted a lesser offense
was established, that he equally had jurisdiction to impose the
sentence for such lesser offense, is difficult of comprehension.
Besides, the doctor who issued the medical certificate had yet to
be presented at the trial and conceivably could corroborate the
victim's testimony that her injuries had taken longer to heal than
had at first been estimated by him as well as clearify the location
of he victim's facial scar.

Respondent judge's actions and premature and baseless


declaration that the victim's declaration as to the period of her
incapacity is "self-serving" raise serious doubts as to whether
the State and the offended party may expect a fair and impartial
hearing and determination of the case from him, since seemingly Republic of the Philippines
with his erroneous pre-conceptions and predilections, he has SUPREME COURT
adversely prejudged their case as one merely of slight or less Manila
serious physical injuries. The case below should therefore be
transferred to another court presided by another judge. FIRST DIVISION

ACCORDINGLY, the questioned orders of respondent judge G.R. No. 169533 March 20, 2013
are declared null and void. The case below for serious physical GEORGE BONGALON, Petitioner,
injuries is remanded and ordered transferred to Branch V of the vs.
court of first instance below, and the judge presiding the same is PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
ordered to issue the corresponding warrants of arrest and to DECISION
proceed with dispatch with the arraignment of the respondents- BERSAMIN, J.:
accused and the trial and determination of the case on the merits.
Let copy of this decision be attached to the personal record of Not every instance of the laying of hands on a child constitutes
respondent judge. No pronouncement as to costs. the crime of child abuse under Section 10 (a) of Republic Act
No. 7610.1 Only when the laying of hands is shown beyond
SO ORDERED. reasonable doubt to be intended by the accused to debase,
degrade or demean the intrinsic worth and dignity of the child
Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Santos, Fernandez, and as a human being should it be punished as child abuse.
Guerrero, JJ., concur. Otherwise, it is punished under the Revised Penal Code.

The Case

On June 22, 2005,2 the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the


conviction of the petitioner for the crime of child abuse under
Section 10 (a) of Republic Act No. 7610.

Antecedents
On June 26, 2000, the Prosecutors Office of Legazpi City After trial, the RTC found and declared the petitioner guilty of
charged the petitioner in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in child abuse as charged, to wit:9
Legazpi City with child abuse, an act in violation of Section
10(a) of Republic Act No. 7610, alleging as follows: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations,
judgment is hereby rendered finding the accused GEORGE
That on or about the 11th day of May 2000, in the City of BONGALON @ "GI" GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of
Legazpi Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Violation of Republic Act No. 7610, and is hereby ordered to
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there undergo imprisonment of six (6) years and one (1) day to eight
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously commit on the person of (8) years of prision mayor in its minimum period.
JAYSON DELA CRUZ, a twelve year-old,
SO ORDERED.
Grade VI pupil of MABA Institute, Legazpi City, acts of
physical abuse and/or maltreatment by striking said JAYSON Ruling of the CA
DELA CRUZ with his palm hitting the latter at his back and by
slapping said minor hitting his left cheek and uttering derogatory On appeal, the petitioner assailed the credibility of the
remarks to the latters family to wit: "Mga hayop kamo, para Prosecution witnesses by citing their inconsistencies. He
dayo kamo digdi, Iharap mo dito ama mo" (You all animals, you contended that the RTC overlooked or disregarded material facts
are all strangers here. Bring your father here), which acts of the and circumstances in the records that would have led to a
accused are prejudicial to the childs development and which favorable judgment for him. He attacked the lack of credibility
demean the intrinsic worth and dignity of the said child as a of the witnesses presented against him, citing the failure of the
human being. complaining brothers to react to the incident, which was
unnatural and contrary to human experience.
CONTRARY TO LAW.3
The CA affirmed the conviction, but modified the penalty,10
The Prosecution showed that on May 11, 2002, Jayson Dela viz:
Cruz (Jayson) and Roldan, his older brother, both minors, joined
the evening procession for the Santo Nio at Oro Site in Legazpi WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision dated
City; that when the procession passed in front of the petitioners October 20, 2003 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 9 of
house, the latters daughter Mary Ann Rose, also a minor, threw Legazpi City is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in
stones at Jayson and called him "sissy"; that the petitioner that accused-appellant George Bongalon is sentenced to suffer
confronted Jayson and Roldan and called them names like the indeterminate penalty of (4) years, two (2) months and one
"strangers" and "animals"; that the petitioner struck Jayson at (1) day of prision correccional, as minimum term, to six (6)
the back with his hand, and slapped Jayson on the face;4 that the years, eight (8) months and 1 day of prision mayor as the
petitioner then went to the brothers house and challenged maximum term.
Rolando dela Cruz, their father, to a fight, but Rolando did not
come out of the house to take on the petitioner; that Rolando Further, accused-appellant is ordered to pay the victim, Jayson
later brought Jayson to the Legazpi City Police Station and de la Cruz the additional amount of P5,000 as moral damages.
reported the incident; that Jayson also underwent medical
treatment at the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching SO ORDERED.
Hospital;5 that the doctors who examined Jayson issued two
medical certificates attesting that Jayson suffered the following Issues
contusions, to wit: (1) contusion .5 x 2.5 scapular area, left; and
(2) +1x1 cm. contusion left zygomatic area and contusion .5 x The petitioner has come to the Court via a petition for certiorari
2.33 cm. scapular area, left.6 under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.11

On his part, the petitioner denied having physically abused or The petitioner asserts that he was not guilty of the crime
maltreated Jayson. He explained that he only talked with Jayson charged; and that even assuming that he was guilty, his liability
and Roldan after Mary Ann Rose and Cherrylyn, his minor should be mitigated because he had merely acted to protect her
daughters, had told him about Jayson and Roldans throwing two minor daughters.
stones at them and about Jaysons burning Cherrylyns hair. He
denied shouting invectives at and challenging Rolando to a fight, Ruling of the Court
insisting that he only told Rolando to restrain his sons from
harming his daughters.7 At the outset, we should observe that the petitioner has adopted
the wrong remedy in assailing the CAs affirmance of his
To corroborate the petitioners testimony, Mary Ann Rose conviction. His proper recourse from the affirmance of his
testified that her father did not hit or slap but only confronted conviction was an appeal taken in due course. Hence, he should
Jayson, asking why Jayson had called her daughters "Kimi" and have filed a petition for review on certiorari. Instead, he wrongly
why he had burned Cherrlyns hair. Mary Ann Rose denied brought a petition for certiorari. We explained why in People v.
throwing stones at Jayson and calling him a "sissy." She insisted Court of Appeals:12
that it was instead Jayson who had pelted her with stones during
the procession. She described the petitioner as a loving and The special civil action for certiorari is intended for the
protective father.8 correction of errors of jurisdiction only or grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Its
Ruling of the RTC principal office is only to keep the inferior court within the
parameters of its jurisdiction or to prevent it from committing
such a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction. As observed in Land Bank of the Philippines v. The petitioners right to liberty is in jeopardy. He may be
Court of Appeals, et al. "the special civil action for certiorari is entirely deprived of such birthright without due process of law
a remedy designed for the correction of errors of jurisdiction and unless we shunt aside the rigidity of the rules of procedure and
not errors of judgment. The raison detre for the rule is when a review his case. Hence, we treat this recourse as an appeal timely
court exercises its jurisdiction, an error committed while so brought to the Court. Consonant with the basic rule in criminal
engaged does not deprived it of the jurisdiction being exercised procedure that an appeal opens the whole case for review, we
when the error is committed. If it did, every error committed by should deem it our duty to correct errors in the appealed
a court would deprive it of its jurisdiction and every erroneous judgment, whether assigned or not.17
judgment would be a void judgment. In such a scenario, the
administration of justice would not survive. Hence, where the The law under which the petitioner was charged, tried and found
issue or question involved affects the wisdom or legal soundness guilty of violating is Section 10 (a), Article VI of Republic Act
of the decisionnot the jurisdiction of the court to render said No. 7610, which relevantly states:
decisionthe same is beyond the province of a special civil
action for certiorari. The proper recourse of the aggrieved party Section 10. Other Acts of Neglect, Abuse, Cruelty or
from a decision of the Court of Appeals is a petition for review Exploitation and other Conditions Prejudicial to the Childs
on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court. Development.

It is of no consequence that the petitioner alleges grave abuse of (a) Any person who shall commit any other acts of child abuse,
discretion on the part of the CA in his petition. The allegation of cruelty or exploitation or be responsible for other conditions
grave abuse of discretion no more warrants the granting of due prejudicial to the childs development including those covered
course to the petition as one for certiorari if appeal was available by Article 59 of Presidential Decree No. 603, as amended, but
as a proper and adequate remedy. At any rate, a reading of his not covered by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, shall suffer
presentation of the issues in his petition indicates that he thereby the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period.
imputes to the CA errors of judgment, not errors of jurisdiction.
He mentions instances attendant during the commission of the xxxx
crime that he claims were really constitutive of justifying and
mitigating circumstances; and specifies reasons why he believes Child abuse, the crime charged, is defined by Section 3 (b) of
Republic Act No. 7610 favors his innocence rather than his guilt Republic Act No. 7610, as follows:
for the crime charged.13 The errors he thereby underscores in
the petition concerned only the CAs appreciation and Section 3. Definition of terms.
assessment of the evidence on record, which really are errors of
judgment, not of jurisdiction. xxxx

Even if we were to treat the petition as one brought under Rule (b) "Child Abuse" refers to the maltreatment, whether habitual
45 of the Rules of Court, it would still be defective due to its or not, of the child which includes any of the following:
being filed beyond the period provided by law. Section 2 of Rule
45 requires the filing of the petition within 15 days from the (1) Psychological and physical abuse, neglect, cruelty, sexual
notice of judgment to be appealed. However, the petitioner abuse and emotional maltreatment;
received a copy of the CAs decision on July 15, 2005,14 but
filed the petition only on September 12, 2005,15 or well beyond (2) Any act by deeds or words which debases, degrades or
the period prescribed by the Rules of Court. demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human
being;
The procedural transgressions of the petitioner notwithstanding,
we opt to forego quickly dismissing the petition, and instead set (3) Unreasonable deprivation of his basic needs for survival,
ourselves upon the task of resolving the issues posed by the such as food and shelter; or
petition on their merits. We cannot fairly and justly ignore his
plea about the sentence imposed on him not being (4) Failure to immediately give medical treatment to an injured
commensurate to the wrong he committed. His plea is worthy of child resulting in serious impairment of his growth and
another long and hard look. If, on the other hand, we were to development or in his permanent incapacity or death.
outrightly dismiss his plea because of the procedural lapses he
has committed, the Court may be seen as an unfeeling tribunal xxxx
of last resort willing to sacrifice justice in order to give premium
to the rigidity of its rules of procedure. But the Rules of Court Although we affirm the factual findings of fact by the RTC and
has not been intended to be rigidly enforced at all times. Rather, the CA to the effect that the petitioner struck Jayson at the back
it has been instituted first and foremost to ensure justice to every with his hand and slapped Jayson on the face, we disagree with
litigant. Indeed, its announced objective has been to secure a their holding that his acts constituted child abuse within the
"just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action and purview of the above-quoted provisions. The records did not
proceeding."16 This objective will be beyond realization here establish beyond reasonable doubt that his laying of hands on
unless the Rules of Court be given liberal construction and Jayson had been intended to debase the "intrinsic worth and
application as the noble ends of justice demand. Thereby, we dignity" of Jayson as a human being, or that he had thereby
give primacy to substance over form, which, to a temple of intended to humiliate or embarrass Jayson. The records showed
justice and equity like the Court, now becomes the ideal the laying of hands on Jayson to have been done at the spur of
ingredient in the dispensation of justice in the case now awaiting the moment and in anger, indicative of his being then
our consideration. overwhelmed by his fatherly concern for the personal safety of
his own minor daughters who had just suffered harm at the hands
of Jayson and Roldan. With the loss of his self-control, he lacked
that specific intent to debase, degrade or demean the intrinsic
worth and dignity of a child as a human being that was so
essential in the crime of child abuse.

It is not trite to remind that under the well-recognized doctrine


of pro reo every doubt is resolved in favor of the petitioner as
the accused. Thus, the Court should consider all possible
circumstances in his favor.18

What crime, then, did the petitioner commit?

Considering that Jaysons physical injury required five to seven


days of medical attention,19 the petitioner was liable for slight
physical injuries under Article 266 (1) of the Revised Penal
Code, to wit:

Article 266. Slight physical injuries and maltreatment. The


crime of slight physical injuries shall be punished:

1. By arresto menor when the offender has inflicted physical


injuries which shall incapacitate the offended party for labor
from one to nine days, or shall require medical attendance during
the same period. Republic Act No. 8504 February 13, 1998

xxxx AN ACT PROMULGATING POLICIES AND


PRESCRIBING MEASURES FOR THE PREVENTION
The penalty for slight physical injuries is arresto menor, which AND CONTROL OF HIV/AIDS IN THE PHILIPPINES,
ranges from one day to 30 days of imprisonment.20 In imposing INSTITUTING A NATIONWIDE HIV/AIDS
the correct penalty, however, we have to consider the mitigating INFORMATION AND EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM,
circumstance of passion or obfuscation under Article 13 (6) of ESTABLISHING A COMPREHENSIVE HIV/AIDS
the Revised Penal Code,21 because the petitioner lost his reason MONITORING SYSTEM, STRENGTHENING THE
and self-control, thereby diminishing the exercise of his will PHILIPPINE NATIONAL AIDS COUNCIL, AND FOR
power.22 Passion or obfuscation may lawfully arise from causes OTHER PURPOSES
existing only in the honest belief of the accused.23 It is relevant
to mention, too, that in passion or obfuscation, the offender ARTICLE VI
suffers a diminution of intelligence and intent. With his having CONFIDENTIALITY
acted under the belief that Jayson and Roldan had thrown stones
at his two minor daughters, and that Jayson had burned Sec. 30. Medical confidentiality. All health professionals,
Cherrlyns hair, the petitioner was entitled to the mitigating medical instructors, workers, employers, recruitment agencies,
circumstance of passion. Arresto menor is prescribed in its insurance companies, data encoders, and other custodians of any
minimum period (i.e., one day to 10 days) in the absence of any medical record, file, data, or test results are directed to strictly
aggravating circumstance that offset the mitigating observe confidentiality in the handling of all medical
circumstance of passion. Accordingly, with the Indeterminate information, particularly the identity and status of persons with
Sentence Law being inapplicable due to the penalty imposed not HIV.
exceeding one year,24 the petitioner shall suffer a straight
penalty of 10 days of arresto menor. Section 31. Exceptions to the mandate of confidentiality.
Medical confidentiality shall not be considered breached in the
The award of moral damages to Jayson is appropriate. Such following cases:
damages are granted in criminal cases resulting in physical
injuries.25 The amount of P5,000.00 fixed by the lower courts (a) when complying with reportorial requirements in
as moral damages is consistent with the current jurisprudence.26 conjunction with the AIDSWATCH programs provided in Sec.
27 of this Act;
WHEREFORE, we SET ASIDE the decision of the Court of
Appeals; and ENTER a new judgment: (a) finding petitioner (b) when informing other health workers directly involved or
George Bongalon GUlLTY beyond reasonable doubt of the about to be involved in the treatment or care of a person with
crime of SLIGHT PHYSICAL INJURIES under paragraph 1, HIV/AIDS: Provided, That such treatment or care carry the risk
Article 266, of the Revised Penal Code; (b) sentencing him to of HIV transmission: Provided, further, That such workers shall
suffer the penalty of 10 days of arresto menor; and (c) ordering be obliged to maintain the shared medical confidentiality;
him to pay Jayson Dela Cruz the amount of P5,000.00 as moral
damages, plus the costs of suit. (c) when responding to a subpoena duces tecum and subpoena
ad testificandum issued by a Court with jurisdiction over a legal
SO ORDERED. proceeding where the main issue is the HIV status of an
individual: Provided, That the confidential medical record shall
be properly sealed by its lawful custodian after being double-
checked for accuracy by the head of the office or department,
hand delivered, and personally opened by the judge: Provided,
further, That the judicial proceedings be held in executive
session.

Section 32. Release of HIV/AIDS test results. All results of


HIV/AIDS testing shall be confidential and shall be released
only to the following persons:

(a) the person who submitted himself/herself to such test;

(b) either parent of a minor child who has been tested;

(c) a legal guardian in the case of insane persons or orphans;

(d) a person authorized to receive such results in conjunction


with the AIDSWATCH program as provided in Sec. 27 of this
Act;

(e) a justice of the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court, as


provided under subSec. (c) of this Act and in accordance with R. RPC
the provision of Sec. 16 hereof. Art. 174, 175, 347, 365
Article 174. False medical certificates, false certificates of
Section 33. Penalties for violations of confidentiality. Any merits or service, etc. - The penalties of arresto mayor in its
violation of medical confidentiality as provided in Sec.s 30 and maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period
32 of this Act shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment for six and a fine not to exceed P1,000 pesos shall be imposed upon:
(6) months to four (4) years, without prejudice to administrative
sanctions such as fines and suspension or revocation of the 1. Any physician or surgeon who, in connection, with the
violator's license to practice his/her profession, as well as the practice of his profession, shall issue a false certificate; and
cancellation or withdrawal of the license to operate any business
entity and the accreditation of hospitals, laboratories or clinics. 2. Any public officer who shall issue a false certificate of merit
of service, good conduct or similar circumstances.
Section 34. Disclosure to sexual partners. Any person with
HIV is obliged to disclose his/her HIV status and health The penalty of arresto mayor shall be imposed upon any private
condition to his/her spouse or sexual partner at the earliest person who shall falsify a certificate falling within the classes
opportune time. mentioned in the two preceding subdivisions.

Article 175. Using false certificates. - The penalty of arresto


menor shall be imposed upon any one who shall knowingly use
any of the false certificates mentioned in the next preceding
article.

Article 347. Simulation of births, substitution of one child for


another and concealment or abandonment of a legitimate child.
- The simulation of births and the substitution of one child for
another shall be punished by prision mayor and a fine of not
exceeding 1,000 pesos.

The same penalties shall be imposed upon any person who shall
conceal or abandon any legitimate child with intent to cause
such child to lose its civil status.

Any physician or surgeon or public officer who, in violation of


the duties of his profession or office, shall cooperate in the
execution of any of the crimes mentioned in the two next
preceding paragraphs, shall suffer the penalties therein
prescribed and also the penalty of temporary special
disqualification.

CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE

Article 365. Imprudence and negligence. - Any person who, by


reckless imprudence, shall commit any act which, had it been
intentional, would constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the
penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision
correccional in its medium period; if it would have constituted a
less grave felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum
and medium periods shall be imposed; if it would have
constituted a light felony, the penalty of arresto menor in its
maximum period shall be imposed.

Any person who, by simple imprudence or negligence, shall


commit an act which would otherwise constitute a grave felony,
shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its medium and
maximum periods; if it would have constituted a less serious
felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum period shall
be imposed.

When the execution of the act covered by this article shall have
only resulted in damage to the property of another, the offender
shall be punished by a fine ranging from an amount equal to the Republic of the Philippines
value of said damages to three times such value, but which shall Congress of the Philippines
in no case be less than twenty-five pesos. Metro Manila

A fine not exceeding two hundred pesos and censure shall be Eighth Congress
imposed upon any person who, by simple imprudence or
negligence, shall cause some wrong which, if done maliciously,
would have constituted a light felony. Republic Act No. 7170 January 7, 1992

In the imposition of these penalties, the court shall exercise their AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE LEGACY OR DONATION
sound discretion, without regard to the rules prescribed in OF ALL OR PART OF A HUMAN BODY AFTER DEATH
Article sixty-four. FOR SPECIFIED PURPOSES

The provisions contained in this article shall not be applicable: Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
Philippines in Congress assembled::
1. When the penalty provided for the offense is equal to or lower
than those provided in the first two paragraphs of this article, in Section 1. Title. This Act shall be known as the "Organ
which case the court shall impose the penalty next lower in Donation Act of 1991".
degree than that which should be imposed in the period which
they may deem proper to apply. Section 2. Definition of Terms. As used in this Act the
following terms shall mean:
2. When, by imprudence or negligence and with violation of the
Automobile Law, to death of a person shall be caused, in which (a) "Organ Bank Storage Facility" - a facility licensed,
case the defendant shall be punished by prision correccional in accredited or approved under the law for storage of human
its medium and maximum periods. bodies or parts thereof.

Reckless imprudence consists in voluntary, but without malice, (b) "Decedent" - a deceased individual, and includes a still-
doing or falling to do an act from which material damage results born infant or fetus.
by reason of inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the
person performing of failing to perform such act, taking into (c) "Testator" - an individual who makes a legacy of all or
consideration his employment or occupation, degree of part of his body.
intelligence, physical condition and other circumstances
regarding persons, time and place. (d) "Donor" - an individual authorized under this Act to
donate all or part of the body of a decedent.1awphilalf
Simple imprudence consists in the lack of precaution displayed
in those cases in which the damage impending to be caused is (e) "Hospital" - a hospital licensed, accredited or approval
not immediate nor the danger clearly manifest. under the law, and includes, a hospital operated by the
Government.
The penalty next higher in degree to those provided for in this
article shall be imposed upon the offender who fails to lend on (f) "Part" - includes transplantable organs, tissues, eyes,
the spot to the injured parties such help as may be in this hand bones, arteries, blood, other fluids and other portions of the
to give. (As amended by R.A. 1790, approved June 21, 1957). human body.

(g) "Person" - an individual, corporation, estate, trust,


partnership, association, the Government or any of its
subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities, including
government-owned or -controlled corporations; or any other
legal entity.

(h) "Physician" or "Surgeon" - a physician or surgeon


licensed or authorized to practice medicine under the laws of the
Republic of the Philippines.
(i) "Immediate Family" of the decedent - the persons For purposes of this Act, an autopsy shall be conducted on the
enumerated in Section 4(a) of this Act. cadaver of accident, trauma, or other medico-legal cases
immediately after the pronouncement of death, to determine
(j) "Death" - the irreversible cessation of circulatory and qualified and healthy human organs for transplantation and/or in
respiratory functions or the irreversible cessation of all functions furtherance of medical science.
of the entire brain, including the brain stem. A person shall be
medically and legally dead if either:1awphilalf Section 6. Persons Who May Become Legatees or Donees.
The following persons may become legatees or donees of human
(1) In the opinion of the attending physician, based on the bodies or parts thereof for any of the purposes stated hereunder:
acceptable standards of medical practice, there is an absence of
natural respiratory and cardiac functions and, attempts at (a) Any hospital, physician or surgeon - For medical or
resuscitation would not be successful in restoring those dental education, research, advancement of medical or dental
functions. In this case, death shall be deemed to have occurred science, therapy or transplantation;
at the time these functions ceased; or
(b) Any accredited medical or dental school, college or
(2) In the opinion of the consulting physician, concurred in university - For education, research, advancement of medical or
by the attending physician, that on the basis of acceptable dental science, or therapy;
standards of medical practice, there is an irreversible cessation
of all brain functions; and considering the absence of such (c) Any organ bank storage facility - For medical or dental
functions, further attempts at resuscitation or continued education, research, therapy, or transplantation; and
supportive maintenance would not be successful in resorting
such natural functions. In this case, death shall be deemed to (d) Any specified individual - For therapy or
have occurred at the time when these conditions first appeared. transplantation needed by him.

The death of the person shall be determined in accordance with Section 7. Duty of Hospitals. A hospital authorized to receive
the acceptable standards of medical practice and shall be organ donations or to conduct transplantation shall train
diagnosed separately by the attending physician and another qualified personnel and their staff to handle the task of
consulting physician, both of whom must be appropriately introducing the organ donation program in a humane and
qualified and suitably experienced in the care of such parties. delicate manner to the relatives of the donor-decedent
The death shall be recorded in the patient's medical record. enumerated in Section 4 hereof. The hospital shall accomplish
the necessary form or document as proof of compliance with the
Section 3. Person Who May Execute A Legacy. Any above requirement.
individual, at least eighteen (18) years of age and of sound mind,
may give by way of legacy, to take effect after his death, all or Section 8. Manner of Executing a Legacy.
part of his body for any purpose specified in Section 6 hereof.
(a) Legacy of all or part of the human body under Section
Section 4. Person Who May Execute a Donation. 3 hereof may be made by will. The legacy becomes effective
upon the death of the testator without waiting for probate of the
(a) Any of the following, person, in the order of property will. If the will is not probated, or if it is declared invalid for
stated hereunder, in the absence of actual notice of contrary testamentary purposes, the legacy, to the extent that it was
intentions by the decedent or actual notice of opposition by a executed in good faith, is nevertheless valid and effective.
member of the immediate family of the decedent, may donate
all or any part of the decedent's body for any purpose specified (b) A legacy of all or part of the human body under Section
in Section 6 hereof: 3 hereof may also be made in any document other than a will.
The legacy becomes effective upon death of the testator and
(1) Spouse; shall be respected by and binding upon his executor or
administrator, heirs, assigns, successors-in-interest and all
(2) Son or daughter of legal age; members of the family. The document, which may be a card or
any paper designed to be carried on a person, must be signed by
(3) Either parent; the testator in the presence of two witnesses who must sign the
document in his presence. If the testator cannot sign, the
(4) Brother or sister of legal age; or document may be signed for him at his discretion and in his
presence, in the presence of two witnesses who must, likewise,
(5) Guardian over the person of the decedent at the time of sign the document in the presence of the testator. Delivery of the
his death. document of legacy during the testator's lifetime is not necessary
to make the legacy valid.
(b) The persons authorized by sub-section (a) of this
Section may make the donation after or immediately before (c) The legacy may be made to a specified legatee or
death. without specifying a legatee. If the legacy is made to a specified
legatee who is not available at the time and place of the testator's
Section 5. Examination of Human Body or Part Thereof . A death, the attending physician or surgeon, in the absence of any
legacy of donation of all or part of a human body authorizes any expressed indication that the testator desired otherwise, may
examination necessary to assure medical acceptability of the accept the legacy as legatee. If the legacy does not specify a
legacy or donation for the purpose(s) intended. legatee, the legacy may be accepted by the attending physician
or surgeon as legatee upon or following the testator's death. The
physician who becomes a legatee under this subsection shall not
participate in the procedures for removing or transplanting a part testator or donor may amend or revoke the legacy or donation
or parts of the body of the decedent. either by:

(d) The testator may designate in his will, card or other (1) The execution and delivery to the legatee or donee of a
document, the surgeon or physician who will carry out the signed statement to that effect; or
appropriate procedures. In the absence of a designation, or if the
designee is not available, the legatee or other persons authorized (2) An oral statement to that effect made in the presence of
to accept the legacy may authorize any surgeon or physician for two other persons and communicated to the legatee or donee; or
the purpose.
(3) A statement to that effect during a terminal illness or
Section 9. Manner of Executing a Donation. Any donation by injury addressed to an attending physician and communicated to
a person authorized under subsection (a) of Section 4 hereof the legatee or donee; or
shall be sufficient if it complies with the formalities of a
donation of a movable property. (4) A signed card or document to that effect found on the
person or effects of the testator or donor.
In the absence of any of the persons specified under Section 4
hereof and in the absence of any document of organ donation, (b) Any will, card or other document, or an executed copy
the physician in charge of the patient, the head of the hospital or thereof, which has not been delivered to the legatee or donee
a designated officer of the hospital who has custody of the body may be revoked by the testator or donor in the manner provided
of the deceased classified as accident, trauma, or other medico- in subsection (a) of this Section or by destruction, cancellation
legal cases, may authorize in a public document the removal or mutilation of the document and all executed copies thereof.
from such body for the purpose of transplantation of the organ
to the body of a living person: Provided, That the physician, Any legacy made by a will may also be amended or revoked in
head of hospital or officer designated by the hospital for this the manner provided for amendment or revocation of wills, or
purpose has exerted reasonable efforts, within forty-eight (48) as provided in subsection (a) of this Section.
hours, to locate the nearest relative listed in Section 4 hereof or
guardian of the decedent at the time of death. Section 13. Rights and Duties After Death.

In all donations, the death of a person from whose body an organ (a) The legatee or donee may accept or reject the legacy or
will be removed after his death for the purpose of transplantation donation as the case may be. If the legacy of donation is of a part
to a living person, shall be diagnosed separately and certified by of the body, the legatee or donee, upon the death of the testator
two (2) qualified physicians neither of whom should be: and prior to embalming, shall effect the removal of the part,
avoiding unnecessary mutilation. After removal of the part,
(a) A member of the team of medical practitioners who custody of the remainder of the body vests in the surviving
will effect the removal of the organ from the body; nor spouse, next of kin or other persons under obligation to dispose
of the body of the decedent.
(b) The physician attending to the receipt of the organ to
be removed; nor (b) Any person who acts in good faith in accordance with
the terms of this Act shall not be liable for damages in any civil
(c) The head of hospital or the designated officer action or subject to prosecution in any criminal proceeding of
authorizing the removal of the organ. this Act.

Section 10. Person(s) Authorized to Remove Transplantable Section 14. International Sharing of Human Organs or Tissues.
Organs. Only authorized medical practitioners in a hospital Sharing of human organs or tissues shall be made only through
shall remove and/or transplant any organ which is authorized to exchange programs duly approved by the Department of Health:
be removed and/or transplanted pursuant to Section 5 hereof. Provided, That foreign organ or tissue bank storage facilities and
similar establishments grant reciprocal rights to their Philippine
Section 11. Delivery of Document of Legacy or Donation. If counterparts to draw organs or tissues at any time.
the legacy or donation is made to a specified legatee or donee,
the will, card or other document, or an executed copy thereof, Section 15. Information Drive. In order that the public will
may be delivered by the testator or donor, or is authorized obtain the maximum benefits from this Act, the Department of
representative, to the legatee or donee to expedite the Health, in cooperation with institutions, such as the National
appropriate procedures immediately after death. The will, card Kidney Institute, civic and non-government health organizations
or other document, or an executed copy thereof, may be and other health related agencies, involved in the donation and
deposited in any hospital or organ bank storage facility that transplantation of human organs, shall undertake a public
accepts it for safekeeping or for facilitation or procedures after information program.
death. On the request of any interested party upon or after the
testator's death, the person in possession shall produce the The Secretary of Health shall endeavor to persuade all health
document of legacy or donation for verification. professionals, both government and private, to make an appeal
for human organ donation.
Section 12. Amendment or Revocation of Legacy or Donation.
Section 16. Rules and Regulations. The Secretary of Health,
after consultation with all health professionals, both government
a) If he will, card or other document, or an executed copy and private, and non-government health organizations shall
thereof, has been delivered to a specific legatee or donee, the promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary or
proper to implement this Act.
"Sec. 9. Manner of Executing a Donation. Any donation
Section 17. Repealing Clause. All laws, decrees, ordinances, by a person authorized under subsection (a) of Sec. 4 hereof
rules and regulations, executive or administrative orders, and shall be sufficient if it complies with the formalities of a
other presidential issuance inconsistent with this Act, are hereby donation of a movable property.
repealed, amended or modified accordingly.
"In the absence of any persons specified under Sec. 4 hereof
Section 18. Separability Clause. The provisions of this Act are and in the absence of any document of organ donation, the
hereby deemed separable. If any provision hereof should be physician in charge of the patient, the head of the hospital or a
declared invalid or unconstitutional, the remaining provisions designated officer of the hospital who has custody of the body
shall remain in full force and effect. of the deceased classified as accident, trauma, or other medico-
legal cases, may authorize in a public document the removal
Section 19. Effectivity. This Act shall take effect after fifteen from such body for the purpose of transplantation of the organ
(15) days following its publication in the Official Gazette or at to the body of a living person: provided, that the physician,
least two (2) newspapers of general circulation. head of the hospital or officer designated by the hospital for
this purpose has exerted reasonable efforts, within forty-eight
Approved: January 7, 1992 (48) hours, to locate the nearest relative listed in Sec. 4 hereof
or guardian of the decedent at the time of death: provided,
however, that the said physician, head or designated officer of
the hospital, or the medico-legal officer of any government
agency which has custody of such body may authorize the
removal of the cornea or corneas of the decedent within twelve
(12) hours after death and upon the request of qualified legatees
or donees for the sole purpose of transplantation: provided, that
such removal of the cornea or corneas will not interfere with
any subsequent investigation or alter the post-mortem facial
appearance of the decedent by such means as placing eye caps
after the said cornea or corneas have been removed.

"In all donations, the death of a person from whose body an


organ will be removed after his death for the purpose of
transplantation to a living person, shall be diagnosed separately
and certified by two (2) qualified physicians neither of whom
shall be:

"(a) A member of the team of medical practitioners who will


effect the removal of the organ from the body; nor

"(b) The physician attending to recipient of the organ to be


removed; nor

"(c) The head of hospital or the designated officer authorizing


the removal of the organ."

Sec. 2. Section 10 of Republic Act No. 7170 is also amended


to read as follows:

"Sec. 10. Person(s) Authorized to Remove and Transplant


Organs and Tissues. Only authorized medical practitioners
in a hospital shall remove and/or transplant any organ which is
authorized to be removed and/or transplanted pursuant to Sec.
5 hereof: provided, however, that the removal of corneal tissues
shall be performed only by ophthalmic surgeons and
ophthalmic technicians trained in the methodology of such
procedure and duly certified by the accredited National
Association of Ophthalmologists."

RA 7885 AN ACT TO ADVANCE CORNEAL Sec. 3. The implementing rules and regulations of Republic
TRANSPLANTATION IN THE PHILIPPINES, Act No. 7170 shall be amended accordingly by the Secretary
AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE REPUBLIC ACT of Health, in consultation with professional health groups and
NUMBERED SEVEN THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED non-government health organizations, to make it consistent
AND SEVENTY (R.A. NO. 7170), OTHERWISE KNOWN with the provisions of this Act.
AS THE ORGAN DONATION ACT OF 1991
Sec. 4. The provisions of this Act are hereby declared
Section 1. Sec. 9 of Republic Act No. 7170 is hereby separable, and in the event any such provisions is declared
amended to read as follows: unconstitutional, the other provisions not affected thereby shall
remain in force and effect.
Sec. 5. All other laws, decrees, executive orders, This deals with the Petition for Review on Certiorari under
administrative orders, rules and regulations or parts thereof Rule 45 of the Rules of Court praying that the Decision1 of the
which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are Court of Appeals (CA), dated March 31, 2006, adjudging
hereby repealed, amended or modified accordingly. petitioner liable for damages, and the Resolution2 dated
November 22, 2006, denying petitioner's motion for
Sec. 6. This Act shall take effect upon its approval. reconsideration thereof, be reversed and set aside.

The CA's narration of facts is accurate, to wit:

Approved: February 20, 1995 Plaintiff-appellee Zenaida Magud-Logmao is the mother of


deceased Arnelito Logmao. Defendant-appellant Dr. Filoteo
Alano is the Executive Director of the National Kidney
Institute (NKI).

At around 9:50 in the evening of March 1, 1988, Arnelito


Logmao, then eighteen (18) years old, was brought to the East
Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) in Quezon City by two
sidewalk vendors, who allegedly saw the former fall from the
overpass near the Farmers Market in Cubao, Quezon City. The
patients data sheet identified the patient as Angelito Lugmoso
of Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong. However, the clinical abstract
prepared by Dr. Paterno F. Cabrera, the surgical resident on-
duty at the Emergency Room of EAMC, stated that the patient
is Angelito [Logmao].

Dr. Cabrera reported that [Logmao] was drowsy with alcoholic


breath, was conscious and coherent; that the skull x-ray showed
no fracture; that at around 4:00 oclock in the morning of
March 2, 1988, [Logmao] developed generalized seizures and
was managed by the neuro-surgery resident on-duty; that the
condition of [Logmao] progressively deteriorated and he was
intubated and ambu-bagging support was provided; that
admission to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and mechanical
ventilator support became necessary, but there was no vacancy
at the ICU and all the ventilator units were being used by other
patients; that a resident physician of NKI, who was rotating at
EAMC, suggested that [Logmao] be transferred to NKI; and
that after arrangements were made, [Logmao] was transferred
to NKI at 10:10 in the morning.

At the NKI, the name Angelito [Logmao] was recorded as


Angelito Lugmoso. Lugmoso was immediately attended to and
given the necessary medical treatment. As Lugmoso had no
relatives around, Jennifer B. Misa, Transplant Coordinator,
was asked to locate his family by enlisting police and media
assistance. Dr. Enrique T. Ona, Chairman of the Department of
Surgery, observed that the severity of the brain injury of
Lugmoso manifested symptoms of brain death. He requested
the Laboratory Section to conduct a tissue typing and tissue
cross-matching examination, so that should Lugmoso expire
Republic of the Philippines despite the necessary medical care and management and he
SUPREME COURT would be found to be a suitable organ donor and his family
Baguio City would consent to organ donation, the organs thus donated could
be detached and transplanted promptly to any compatible
THIRD DIVISION beneficiary.

G.R. No. 175540 April 7, 2014 Jennifer Misa verified on the same day, March 2, 1988, from
EAMC the identity of Lugmoso and, upon her request, she was
DR. FILOTEO A. ALANO, Petitioner, furnished by EAMC a copy of the patients date sheet which
vs. bears the name Angelito Lugmoso, with address at Boni
ZENAIDA MAGUD-LOGMAO, Respondent. Avenue, Mandaluyong. She then contacted several radio and
television stations to request for air time for the purpose of
DECISION locating the family of Angelito Lugmoso of Boni Avenue,
Mandaluyong, who was confined at NKI for severe head injury
PERALTA, J.: after allegedly falling from the Cubao overpass, as well as
Police Station No. 5, Eastern Police District, whose area of A Certification dated March 10, 1988 was issued by Dr.
jurisdiction includes Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong, for Maximo Reyes, Medico-Legal Officer of the NBI, stating that
assistance in locating the relatives of Angelito Lugmoso. he received a telephone call from Dr. Liquete on March 3, 1988
Certifications were issued by Channel 4, ABS-CBN and GMA at 9:15 a.m. regarding the case of Lugmoso, who was declared
attesting that the request made by the NKI on March 2, 1988 to brain dead; that despite efforts to locate the latters relatives,
air its appeal to locate the family and relatives of Angelito no one responded; that Dr. Liquete sought from him a second
Lugmoso of Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong was accommodated. opinion for organ retrieval for donation purposes even in the
A Certification was likewise issued by Police Station No. 5, absence of consent from the family of the deceased; and that he
Eastern Police District, Mandaluyong attesting to the fact that verbally agreed to organ retrieval.
on March 2, 1988, at about 6:00 p.m., Jennifer Misa requested
for assistance to immediately locate the family and relatives of At 3:45 in the afternoon of March 3, 1988, a medical team,
Angelito Lugmoso and that she followed up her request until composed of Dr. Enrique Ona, as principal surgeon, Drs.
March 9, 1988. Manuel Chua-Chiaco, Jr., Rose Marie Rosete-Liquete, Aurea
Ambrosio, Ludivino de Guzman, Mary Litonjua, Jaime
On March 3, 1988, at about 7:00 oclock in the morning, Dr. Velasquez, Ricardo Fernando, and Myrna Mendoza, removed
Ona was informed that Lugmoso had been pronounced brain the heart, kidneys, pancreas, liver and spleen of Lugmoso. The
dead by Dr. Abdias V. Aquino, a neurologist, and by Dr. medical team then transplanted a kidney and the pancreas of
Antonio Rafael, a neurosurgeon and attending physician of Lugmoso to Lee Tan Hoc and the other kidney of Lugmoso to
Lugmoso, and that a repeat electroencephalogram (EEG) was Alexis Ambustan. The transplant operation was completed at
in progress to confirm the diagnosis of brain death. Two hours around 11:00 oclock in the evening of March 3, 1988.
later, Dr. Ona was informed that the EEG recording exhibited
a flat tracing, thereby confirming that Lugmoso was brain dead. On March 4, 1988, Dr. Antonio R. Paraiso, Head of the
Upon learning that Lugmoso was a suitable organ donor and Cadaver Organ Retrieval Effort (CORE) program of NKI,
that some NKI patients awaiting organ donation had blood and made arrangements with La Funeraria Oro for the embalmment
tissue types compatible with Lugmoso, Dr. Ona inquired from of the cadaver of Lugmoso good for a period of fifteen (15)
Jennifer Misa whether the relatives of Lugmoso had been days to afford NKI more time to continue searching for the
located so that the necessary consent for organ donation could relatives of the latter. On the same day, Roberto Ortega,
be obtained. As the extensive search for the relatives of Funeral Consultant of La Funeraria Oro, sent a request for
Lugmoso yielded no positive result and time being of the autopsy to the NBI. The Autopsy Report and Certification of
essence in the success of organ transplantation, Dr. Ona Post-Mortem Examination issued by the NBI stated that the
requested Dr. Filoteo A. Alano, Executive Director of NKI, to cause of death of Lugmoso was intracranial hemorrhage
authorize the removal of specific organs from the body of secondary to skull fracture.
Lugmoso for transplantation purposes. Dr. Ona likewise
instructed Dr. Rose Marie Rosete-Liquete to secure permission On March 11, 1988, the NKI issued a press release announcing
for the planned organ retrieval and transplantation from the its successful double organ transplantation. Aida Doromal, a
Medico-Legal Office of the National Bureau of Investigation cousin of plaintiff, heard the news aired on television that the
(NBI), on the assumption that the incident which lead to the donor was an eighteen (18) year old boy whose remains were
brain injury and death of Lugmoso was a medico legal case. at La Funeraria Oro in Quezon City. As the name of the donor
sounded like Arnelito Logmao, Aida informed plaintiff of the
On March 3, 1988, Dr. Alano issued to Dr. Ona a news report.
Memorandum, which reads as follows:
It appears that on March 3, 1988, Arlen Logmao, a brother of
This is in connection with the use of the human organs or any Arnelito, who was then a resident of 17-C San Pedro Street,
portion or portions of the human body of the deceased patient, Mandaluyong, reported to Police Station No. 5, Eastern Police
identified as a certain Mr. Angelito Lugmoso who was brought District, Mandaluyong that the latter did not return home after
to the National Kidney Institute on March 2, 1988 from the East seeing a movie in Cubao, Quezon City, as evidenced by a
Avenue Medical Center. Certification issued by said Station; and that the relatives of
Arnelito were likewise informed that the latter was missing.
As shown by the medical records, the said patient died on Upon receiving the news from Aida, plaintiff and her other
March 3, 1988 at 9:10 in the morning due to craniocerebral children went to La Funeraria Oro, where they saw Arnelito
injury. Please make certain that your Department has exerted inside a cheap casket.
all reasonable efforts to locate the relatives or next of kin of the
said deceased patient such as appeal through the radios and On April 29, 1988, plaintiff filed with the court a quo a
television as well as through police and other government complaint for damages against Dr. Emmanuel Lenon, Taurean
agencies and that the NBI [Medico-Legal] Section has been Protectors Agency, represented by its Proprietor, Celso
notified and is aware of the case. Santiago, National Kidney Institute, represented by its
Director, Dr. Filoteo A. Alano, Jennifer Misa, Dr. Maximo
If all the above has been complied with, in accordance with the Reyes, Dr. Enrique T. Ona, Dr. Manuel Chua-Chiaco, Jr., Dr.
provisions of Republic Act No. 349 as amended and P.D. 856, Rose Marie O. Rosete-Liquete, Dr. Aurea Z. Ambrosio, Dr.
permission and/or authority is hereby given to the Department Ludivino de Guzman, Dr. Mary Litonjua, Dr. Jaime Velasquez,
of Surgery to retrieve and remove the kidneys, pancreas, liver Dr. Ricardo Fernando, Dr. Myrna Mendoza, Lee Tan Koc,
and heart of the said deceased patient and to transplant the said Alexis Ambustan, Dr. Antonio R. Paraiso, La Funeraria Oro,
organs to any compatible patient who maybe in need of said Inc., represented by its President, German E. Ortega, Roberto
organs to live and survive. Ortega alias Bobby Ortega, Dr. Mariano B. Cueva, Jr., John
Doe, Peter Doe, and Alex Doe in connection with the death of
her son Arnelito. Plaintiff alleged that defendants conspired to
remove the organs of Arnelito while the latter was still alive
and that they concealed his true identity. Petitioner maintains that when he gave authorization for the
removal of some of the internal organs to be transplanted to
On January 17, 2000, the court a quo rendered judgment other patients, he did so in accordance with the letter of the law,
finding only Dr. Filoteo Alano liable for damages to plaintiff Republic Act (R.A.) No. 349, as amended by Presidential
and dismissing the complaint against the other defendants for Decree (P.D.) 856, i.e., giving his subordinates instructions to
lack of legal basis.3 exert all reasonable efforts to locate the relatives or next of kin
of respondent's son. In fact, announcements were made through
After finding petitioner liable for a quasi-delict, the Regional radio and television, the assistance of police authorities was
Trial Court of Quezon City (RTC) ordered petitioner to pay sought, and the NBI Medico-Legal Section was notified. Thus,
respondent P188,740.90 as actual damages; P500,000.00 as petitioner insists that he should not be held responsible for any
moral damages; P500,000.00 as exemplary damages; damage allegedly suffered by respondent due to the death of
P300,000.00 as attorney's fees; and costs of suit. Petitioner her son and the removal of her sons internal organs for
appealed to the CA. transplant purposes.

On March 31, 2006, the CA issued its Decision, the dispositive The appellate court affirmed the trial court's finding that there
portion of which reads as follows: was negligence on petitioner's part when he failed to ensure that
reasonable time had elapsed to locate the relatives of the
WHEREFORE, the Decision appealed from is AFFIRMED, deceased before giving the authorization to remove said
with MODIFICATION by DELETING the award of deceased's internal organs for transplant purposes. However, a
P188,740.90 as actual damages and REDUCING the award of close examination of the records of this case would reveal that
moral damages to P250,000.00, the award of exemplary this case falls under one of the exceptions to the general rule
damages to P200,000.00 and the award of attorney's fees to that factual findings of the trial court, when affirmed by the
P100,000.00. appellate court, are binding on this Court. There are some
important circumstances that the lower courts failed to consider
SO ORDERED.4 in ascertaining whether it was the actions of petitioner that
brought about the sufferings of respondent.6
Petitioner then elevated the matter to this Court via a petition
for review on certiorari, where the following issues are The Memorandum dated March 3, 1988 issued by petitioner,
presented for resolution: stated thus:

A. WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS DISREGARDED As shown by the medical records, the said patient died on
EXISTING JURISPRUDENCE PRONOUNCED BY THIS March 3, 1988 at 9:10 in the morning due to craniocerebral
HONORABLE SUPREME COURT IN HOLDING injury. Please make certain that your Department has exerted
PETITIONER DR. FILOTEO ALANO LIABLE FOR all reasonable efforts to locate the relatives or next-of-kin of
MORAL AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES AND the said deceased patient, such as appeal through the radios and
ATTORNEY'S FEES DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE ACT television, as well as through police and other government
OF THE PETITIONER IS NOT THE PROXIMATE CAUSE agencies and that the NBI [Medico-Legal] Section has been
NOR IS THERE ANY FINDING THAT THE ACT OF THE notified and is aware of the case.
PETITIONER WAS THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE
INJURY OR DAMAGE ALLEGEDLY SUSTAINED BY If all the above has been complied with, in accordance with the
RESPONDENT ZENAIDA MAGUD-LOGMAO. provisions of Republic Act No. 349 as amended and P.D. 856,
permission and/or authority is hereby given to the Department
B. WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY of Surgery to retrieve and remove the kidneys, pancreas, liver
ERRED IN REFUSING AND/OR FAILING TO DECLARE and heart of the said deceased patient and to transplant the said
THAT PETITIONER DR. ALANO ACTED IN GOOD organs to any compatible patient who maybe in need of said
FAITH AND PURSUANT TO LAW WHEN HE ISSUED organs to live and survive.7
THE AUTHORIZATION TO REMOVE AND RETRIEVE
THE ORGANS OF ANGELITO LUGMOSO (LATER A careful reading of the above shows that petitioner instructed
IDENTIFIED TO BE IN FACT ARNELITO LOGMAO) his subordinates to "make certain" that "all reasonable efforts"
CONSIDERING THAT NO NEGLIGENCE CAN BE are exerted to locate the patient's next of kin, even enumerating
ATTRIBUTED OR IMPUTED ON HIM IN HIS ways in which to ensure that notices of the death of the patient
PERFORMANCE OF AN ACT MANDATED BY LAW. would reach said relatives. It also clearly stated that permission
or authorization to retrieve and remove the internal organs of
C. WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY the deceased was being given ONLY IF the provisions of the
ERRED IN AWARDING RESPONDENT ZENAIDA applicable law had been complied with. Such instructions
MAGUD-LOGMAO MORAL AND EXEMPLARY reveal that petitioner acted prudently by directing his
DAMAGES AND ATTORNEY'S FEES THAT ARE NOT IN subordinates to exhaust all reasonable means of locating the
ACCORDANCE WITH AND ARE CONTRARY TO relatives of the deceased. He could not have made his directives
ESTABLISHED JURISPRUDENCE.5 any clearer. He even specifically mentioned that permission is
only being granted IF the Department of Surgery has complied
The first two issues boil down to the question of whether with all the requirements of the law. Verily, petitioner could
respondent's sufferings were brought about by petitioner's not have been faulted for having full confidence in the ability
alleged negligence in granting authorization for the removal or of the doctors in the Department of Surgery to comprehend the
retrieval of the internal organs of respondent's son who had instructions, obeying all his directives, and acting only in
been declared brain dead. accordance with the requirements of the law.
Furthermore, as found by the lower courts from the records of
the case, the doctors and personnel of NKI disseminated
notices of the death of respondent's son to the media and sought
the assistance of the appropriate police authorities as early as
March 2, 1988, even before petitioner issued the
Memorandum. Prior to performing the procedure for retrieval
of the deceased's internal organs, the doctors concerned also
the sought the opinion and approval of the Medico-Legal
Officer of the NBI.

Thus, there can be no cavil that petitioner employed reasonable


means to disseminate notifications intended to reach the
relatives of the deceased. The only question that remains
pertains to the sufficiency of time allowed for notices to reach
the relatives of the deceased.

If respondent failed to immediately receive notice of her son's


death because the notices did not properly state the name or
identity of the deceased, fault cannot be laid at petitioner's door.
The trial and appellate courts found that it was the EAMC, who
had the opportunity to ascertain the name of the deceased, who
recorded the wrong information regarding the deceased's
identity to NKI. The NKI could not have obtained the
information about his name from the patient, because as found
by the lower courts, the deceased was already unconscious by
the time he was brought to the NKI.

Ultimately, it is respondent's failure to adduce adequate


evidence that doomed this case.1wphi1 As stated in Otero v.
Tan,8 "[i]n civil cases, it is a basic rule that the party making
allegations has the burden of proving them by a preponderance
of evidence. The parties must rely on the strength of their own
evidence and not upon the weakness of the defense offered by
their opponent."9 Here, there is to proof that, indeed, the period
of around 24 hours from the time notices were disseminated,
cannot be considered as reasonable under the circumstances.
They failed to present any expert witness to prove that given
the medical technology and knowledge at that time in the
1980's, the doctors could or should have waited longer before
harvesting the internal organs for transplantation.

Verily, the Court cannot, in conscience, agree with the lower


court. Finding petitioner liable for damages is improper. It
should be emphasized that the internal organs of the deceased
were removed only after he had been declared brain dead; thus,
the emotional pain suffered by respondent due to the death of
her son cannot in any way be attributed to petitioner. Neither
can the Court find evidence on record to show that respondent's
emotional suffering at the sight of the pitiful state in which she
found her son's lifeless body be categorically attributed to
petitioner's conduct.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the


Court of Appeals, dated March 31, 2006, is REVERSED and
SET ASIDE. The complaint against petitioner is hereby
DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.
be construed to fall within the definition of a hospital as
described in this Act.

(e) 'Licensee' is the person or persons granted a license to


operate and maintain a hospital according to an approved
minimum standard.

Sec. 3. Construction Permit. No hospital, government or


private, shall be constructed unless plans have been approved
and construction permit issued by the licensing agency as
defined in this Act.

Sec. 4. Registration and license. No hospital shall operate


or be opened to the public unless it shall have been registered
and a license for its operation obtained from the licensing
agency provided in this Act.

Sec. 5. Licensing Agency. For purposes of setting standards


in hospital construction and operation, the Bureau of Medical
Services in addition to its present duties shall act as the licensing
agency. The Secretary of Health shall reorganize this Bureau to
include a staff of hospital architects, hospital administrators,
sanitary engineers and such personnel as may be necessary to
carry out the purposes of this Act without necessarily increasing
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 4226 the present personnel strength of this Bureau.

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 4226 - AN ACT REQUIRING THE Sec. 6. Powers and duties of the licensing agency. The
LICENSURE OF ALL HOSPITALS IN THE Bureau of Medical Services, or the licensing agency shall have
PHILIPPINES AND AUTHORIZING THE BUREAU OF the following powers and duties:
MEDICAL SERVICES TO SERVE AS THE LICENSING
AGENCY a. To conduct an ocular survey of all existing hospitals in the
Philippines, government or private, with a view to determine
Section 1. This Act shall also be known as the Hospital their fitness to operate considering their facilities and physical
Licensure Act. plant.

Sec. 2. Definitions. As used in this Act b. To prescribe standard plans for government hospital plants
in consultation with the Division of Architecture, Bureau of
(a) 'Hospital' means a place devoted primarily to the Public Works.
maintenance and operation of facilities for the diagnosis,
treatment and care of individuals suffering from illness, disease, c. To approve plans for hospital plants, government or private,
injury or deformity, or in need of obstetrical or other medical and to issue permits or authority to construct hospitals in
and nursing care. The term 'hospital shall also be construed as accordance with the provisions of this Act.
any institution, building or place where there are installed beds,
or cribs, or bassinets for twenty-four-hour use or longer by d. To keep a permanent register of approved hospitals or those
patients in the treatment of diseases, diseased-conditions, issued licenses to operate indicating the name of the hospital,
injuries, deformities, or abnormal physical and mental states, address or location, type of hospital, name of the director or
maternity cases, and all institutions such as those for administrator, ownership, number of authorized beds and
convalescence, sanitarial or sanitarial care, infirmities, bassinets and such other pertinent data as may be necessary.
nurseries, dispensaries and such other names by which they may
designated. e. To grant licenses for the operation and maintenance of
hospitals or revoke the same in accordance with the provisions
(b) 'Government hospital' means a hospital operated and of this Act.
maintained either partially or wholly by the national, provincial,
municipal or city government or other political subdivision, or f. To make periodic inspection of all hospitals so as to check
by any department, division, board or other agency thereof. compliance with rules and regulations legally promulgated or
with the provisions of this Act and to make recommendations to
(c) 'Private hospital' means one which is privately owned, directors or administrators of hospitals for the correction of
established and operated with funds raised or contributed defects found during such inspections.
through donations, or by private capital or other means, by
private individuals, association, corporation, religious g. To publish yearly a list of all approved hospitals indicating
organization, firm, company or joint stock association. the name, location, type, authorized beds, and name of the
director or administrator.
(d) 'Clinic' means a place in which patients avail of medical
consultations or treatments on an out-patient basis. However, h. To submit yearly reports to the Secretary of Health, the
any clinic or dispensary where there is at least six beds or cribs Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the
or bassinets installed for twenty-four-hour use by patients shall Senate and the chairmen and members of the Committees on
Health of both Houses of Congress, such reports to include a list
of approved hospitals indicating the name of the hospital, SECTION 13. Separate Licenses Required. Separate
location, bed capacity and name of the director or administrator licenses shall be required for hospitals or branches thereof
and make recommendations on hospital needs or requirements maintained in separate premises, even though they are operated
for hospital service in certain communities that do not enjoy under the same management: provided, however, that separate
such hospital services. licenses shall not be required for separate buildings in the same
compound: provided, further, that permits for construction or
Sec. 7. Filing of Application for Construction Permit. alteration of buildings within the same compound shall also be
Application for a permit to construct a hospital shall be secured from the licensing agency to determine compliance with
submitted to the Office of the Director, Bureau of Medical standards and requirements herein authorized.
Services in a form prescribed by the latter and accompanied by
a plan of the hospital plant proposed to be constructed. The SECTION 14. License not transferable. License for the
application shall state the name of the hospital, ownership, operation of hospitals shall not be transferable. The licensing
number of beds proposed to be operated, location and type of agency shall be notified of any change in ownership, change of
hospital to be constructed. name of the hospital, and transfer of location and in the latter
case, an application for a new license should be submitted.
Sec. 8. Minimum Standards of Construction. In order that
a permit to construct a hospital can be issued the hospital plan SECTION 15. Rules and Regulations. The Bureau of
shall provide sufficient bed space for the hospital bed capacity Medical Services acting as a licensing agency and subject to the
proposed, a laboratory room, an operating room, including work approval of the Secretary of Health, shall promulgate rules and
rooms for sterilization, anesthesia preparation, etc., an X-ray or regulations to implement the provisions of this Act.
radiology room, pharmacy, dispensary or out-patient
department, delivery room, isolation rooms, autopsy room or SECTION 16. Classification of Hospitals. The licensing
morgue, sufficient quarters for residents, nurses, attendants and agency shall study and adopt a system of classifying hospitals in
helpers and sufficient number of toilet facilities. the Philippines as to: (1) general or special; (2) hospital services
capabilities; (3) size or bed capacity and (4) class of hospital
Wards shall be constructed such that segregation of the sexes is whether training or not.
observed and as far as practicable classified as to the type of
cases to be confined. SECTION 17. Fees. Each applicant for a permit to construct
a hospital shall pay the amount of five pesos as permit fee. A
Sec. 9. Application for Registration and Issuance of License. registration fee of five pesos and an annual license fee of ten
Application for registration of a hospital and for the issuance pesos shall likewise be collected for each hospital and for each
of a license for its operation and maintenance shall be filed with approved license: provided, that a government hospital shall be
the Bureau of Medical Services on a form prescribed by it. exempt from the payment of such fees. The amount herein
Registration may be made and license issued upon compliance collected shall be officially receipted by the licensing agency
with the provisions of Section eight hereof and the rules and and shall constitute as a revolving fund for the use of the
regulations prescribed by the licensing agency pursuant to the licensing agency.
provisions of this Act.
SECTION 18. Penalties. Any person, partnership,
SECTION 10. Inspection. Permit to construct a hospital or association, or corporation who establishes, operates, conducts,
a major portion thereof and license to operate and maintain the manages or maintains a hospital or hospital clinic within the
same shall be issued by the licensing agency only after a meaning of this Act without first obtaining a license as provided
representative of the licensing agency has conducted an ocular for in this Act or violates any provision hereof shall be guilty of
inspection and certified that the applicant has satisfactorily a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be liable to a
complied with requisites prescribed in this Act. The license to fine of not more than five hundred pesos for the first offense and
operate and maintain a hospital shall be renewed every year not more than one thousand pesos for each subsequent offense,
upon payment of the prescribed fees. and each day that the hospital shall operate after the first
conviction shall be considered a subsequent offense.
SECTION 11. Revocation of License. The licensing agency
may suspend or revoke a license already issued for any of the SECTION 19. Repeal. Any law or laws or parts thereof
following grounds: (a) repeated violation by the licensee of any inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed.
provision of this Act or of any other existing law; (b) repeated
violation of rules and regulations prescribed in the Sec. 20. Effectivity. This Act shall take effect upon its
implementation of this Act; or (c) repeated failure to make approval.
necessary corrections or adjustments required by the licensing
agency in the improvement of facilities and services.

SECTION 12. Hearing. Any person, association,


corporation, or any other private entity who has been refused a
license to operate and maintain a hospital or whose license for
such hospital has been suspended or revoked shall be entitled to
an administrative hearing to be conducted by the Secretary of
Health and his two undersecretaries to determine the
justifiability of such denial, suspension or revocation of the
license: provided, that the licensee may resort to the courts, as
in other cases provided by law.
SEC. 4. The Department of Health shall promulgate the
necessary rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this
Act.

SEC. 5. If any provision of this Act is declared void and


unconstitutional the remaining provisions hereof not affected
thereby shall remain in full force and effect.

SEC. 6. All laws, decrees, orders, rules and regulations or part


thereof inconsistent with this Act are hereby repealed or
amended accordingly.

SEC. 7. This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its
Republic of the Philippines publication in two national newspapers of general circulation.
Congress of the Philippines
Metro Manila Approved,

Thirteenth Congress
Third Regular Session

Begun and held in Metro Manila, on Monday, the nineteenth


day of February, two thousand seven.

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9439 April 27, 2007

AN ACT PROHIBITING THE DETENTION OF PATIENTS


IN HOSPITALS AND MEDICAL CLINICS ON GROUNDS
OF NONPAYMENT OF HOSPITAL BILLS OR MEDICAL
EXPENSES

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the


Philippines in Congress assembled:

SECTION 1. It shall be unlawful for any hospital or medical


clinic in the country to detain or to otherwise cause, directly or
indirectly, the detention of patients who have fully or partially
recovered or have been adequately attended to or who may have
died, for reasons of nonpayment in part or in full of hospital bills
or medical expenses.

SEC. 2. Patients who have fully or partially recovered and who


already wish to leave the hospital or medical clinic but are
financially incapable to settle, in part or in full, their
hospitalization expenses, including professional fees and
medicines, shall be allowed to leave the hospital or medical
clinic, with a right to demand the issuance of the corresponding
medical certificate and other pertinent papers required for the
release of the patient from the hospital or medical clinic upon
the execution of a promissory note covering the unpaid
obligation. The promissory note shall be secured by either a
mortgage or by a guarantee of a co-maker, who will be jointly
and severally liable with the patient for the unpaid obligation. In
the case of a deceased patient, the corresponding death
certificate and other documents required for interment and other
purposes shall be released to any of his surviving relatives
requesting for the same: Provided, however, That patients who
stayed in private rooms shall not be covered by this Act.

SEC. 3. Any officer or employee of the hospital or medical clinic


responsible for releasing patients, who violates the provisions of
this Act shall be punished by a fine of not less than Twenty
thousand pesos (P20,000.00), but not more than Fifty thousand
pesos (P50,000.00), or imprisonment of not less than one month,
but not more than six months, or both such fine and
imprisonment, at the discretion of the proper court.
"SEC. 2. For purposes of this Act, the following definitions shall
govern:

"(a) 'Emergency' - a condition or state of a patient wherein


based on the objective findings of a prudent medical officer on
duty for the day there is immediate danger and where delay in
initial support and treatment may cause loss of life or cause
permanent disability to the patient.
Republic of the Philippines
Congress of the Philippines "(b) 'Serious case' - refers to a condition of a patient
Metro Manila characterized by gravity or danger wherein based on the
objective findings of a prudent medical officer on duty for the
Tenth Congress day when left unattended to, may cause loss of life or cause
permanent disability to the patient.

Republic Act No. 8344 August 25, 1997 "(c) 'Confinement' - a state of being admitted in a hospital
or medical clinic for medical observation, diagnosis, testing, and
AN ACT PENALIZING THE REFUSAL OF HOSPITALS treatment consistent with the capability and available facilities
AND MEDICAL CLINICS TO ADMINISTER of the hospital or clinic.
APPROPRIATE INITIAL MEDICAL TREATMENT AND
SUPPORT IN EMERGENCY OR SERIOUS CASES, "(d) 'Hospital' - a facility devoted primarily to the diagnosis,
AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE BATAS PAMBANSA treatment and care of individuals suffering from illness, disease,
BILANG 702, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS "AN ACT injury or deformity, or in need of obstetrical or other medical
PROHIBITING THE DEMAND OF DEPOSITS OR and nursing care. It shall also be construed as any institution,
ADVANCE PAYMENTS FOR THE CONFINEMENT OR building or place where there are facilities and personnel for the
TREATMENT OF PATIENTS IN HOSPITALS AND continued and prolonged care of patients.
MEDICAL CLINICS IN CERTAIN CASES"
"(e) 'Emergency treatment and support' - any medical or
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the surgical measure within the capability of the hospital or medical
Philippines in Congress assembled:: clinic that is administered by qualified health care professionals
to prevent the death or permanent disability of a patient.
Section 1. Section 1 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 702 is hereby
amended to read as follows: "(f) 'Medical clinic' - a place in which patients can avail of
medical consultation or treatment on an outpatient basis.
"SECTION 1. In emergency or serious cases, it shall be unlawful
for any proprietor, president, director, manager or any other "(g) 'Permanent disability' - a condition of physical
officer, and/or medical practitioner or employee of a hospital or disability as defined under Article 192-C and Article 193-B and
medical clinic to request, solicit, demand or accept any deposit C of Presidential Decree No 442; as amended, otherwise known
or any other form of advance payment as a prerequisite for as the Labor Code of the Philippines.
confinement or medical treatment of a patient in such hospital
or medical clinic or to refuse to administer medical treatment "(h) 'Stabilize' - the provision of necessary care until such
and support as dictated by good practice of medicine to prevent time that the patient may be discharged or transferred to another
death or permanent disability: Provided, That by reason of hospital or clinic with a reasonable probability that no physical
inadequacy of the medical capabilities of the hospital or medical deterioration would result from or occur during such discharge
clinic, the attending physician may transfer the patient to a or transfer.
facility where the appropriate care can be given, after the patient
or his next of kin consents to said transfer and after the receiving "SEC. 3. After the hospital or medical clinic mentioned above
hospital or medical clinic agrees to the transfer: Provided, shall have administered medical treatment and support, it may
however, That when the patient is unconscious, incapable of cause the transfer of the patient to an appropriate hospital
giving consent and/or unaccompanied, the physician can consistent with the needs of the patient, preferably to a
transfer the patient even without his consent: Provided, further, government hospital, specially in the case of poor or indigent
That such transfer shall be done only after necessary emergency patients.
treatment and support have been administered to stabilize the
patient and after it has been established that such transfer entails "SEC. 4. Any official, medical practitioner or employee of the
less risks than the patient's continued confinement: Provided, hospital or medical clinic who violates the provisions of this Act
furthermore, That no hospital or clinic, after being informed of shall, upon conviction by final judgment, be punished by
the medical indications for such transfer, shall refuse to receive imprisonment of not less than six (6) months and one (1) day but
the patient nor demand from the patient or his next of kin any not more than two (2) years and four (4) months, or a fine of not
deposit or advance payment: Provided, finally, That strict less than Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00), but not more
compliance with the foregoing procedure on transfer shall not than One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or both, at the
be construed as a refusal made punishable by this Act." discretion of the court: Provided, however, That if such violation
was committed pursuant to an established policy of the hospital
Section 2. Section 2 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 702 is hereby or clinic or upon instruction of its management, the director or
deleted and in place thereof, new sections 2, 3 and 4 are added, officer of such hospital or clinic responsible for the formulation
to read as follows: and implementation of such policy shall, upon conviction by
final judgment, suffer imprisonment of four (4) to six (6) years,
or a fine of not less than One hundred thousand pesos consents to said transfer: Provided, however, That when the
(P100,000.00), but not more than Five hundred thousand pesos patient is unconscious, incapable of giving consent and/or
(P500,000.00) or both, at the discretion of the court." unaccompanied, the physician can transfer the patient even
without his consent, Provided, further, That such transfer shall
Section 3. Section 3 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 702 is hereby be done only after the necessary emergency treatment and
repealed. support have been administered to stabilize the patient and after
it has been established that such transfer entails less risks than
Section 4. Section 4 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 702 shall become the patient's continued confinement: Provided, finally, That
Section 5 thereof and shall be amended to read as follows: strict compliance with the foregoing procedure on transfer shall
not be construed as a refusal made punishable by this Act."
"SEC. 5. The Department of Health shall promulgate the
necessary rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this 2. For the purpose of implementing the above, the
Act." following definitions are provided:

Section 5. This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its 2.1 Emergency - A condition or state of patient wherein
publication in two (2) national newspapers of general based on the objective findings of a prudent medical officer on
circulation. duty for the day there is immediate danger and where delay in
initial support and treatment may cause loss of life or cause
Approved: August 25, 1997 permanent disability to the patient.

2.2 Serious Case - refers to a condition of a patient


The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation characterized by gravity or danger wherein based on the
objective findings of a prudent medical officer on duty for the
day when left unattended to, may cause loss of life or cause
IMPLEMENTING RULES AND REGULATIONS OF permanent disability to the patient.
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8344,
2.3 Confinement - a state of being admitted in a hospital or
OTHERWISE KNOWN AS "AN ACT PENALIZING THE medical clinic for medical observation, diagnosis, testing, and
REFUSAL OF HOSPITALS AND MEDICAL CLINICS TO treatment consistent with the capability and available facilities
ADMINISTER APPROPRIATE INITIAL MEDICAL of the hospital or clinic.
TREATMENT AND SUPPORT IN EMERGENCY OR
SERIOUS CASES, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE 2.4 Hospital - a facility devoted primarily to the diagnosis,
BATAS PAMBANSA BILANG 702, OTHERWISE KNOWN treatment and care of individuals or other medical and nursing
AS AN ACT PROHIBITING THE DEMAND OF DEPOSITS care. It shall also be construed as any institution, building or
OR ADVANCE PAYMENTS FOR THE CONFINEMENT OR place where there are facilities and personnel for the continued
TREATMENT OF PATIENTS IN HOSPITALS AND and prolonged care of patients. The hospital shall be duly
MEDICAL CLINICS IN CERTAIN CASES" licensed by the Bureau of Licensing and Regulation of the DOH.

WHEREAS, the Tenth Congress of the Republic of the 2.5 Emergency Treatment and Support - any medical or
Philippines enacted Republic Act No. 8344 on June 05, 1997; surgical measure within the capability of a hospital or medical
clinic that is administer by qualified health care professionals to
WHEREAS, the President of the Republic of the Philippines prevent the death or permanent disability of a patient. (In
signed into law R.A. 8344 on August 25, 1997; determining the capability of a hospital or clinic, the standards
and the classification of these facilities set by the DOH Bureau
WHEREAS, under Section 5 of R.A. 8344, the Department of of Licensing and Regulation shall be used).
Health (DOH) is mandated to promulgate the necessary rules
and regulations to carry out the provisions of the aforementioned 2.6 Medical Clinic - a place in which patients can avail of
law. medical consultation or treatment on an outpatient basis.

NOW THEREFORE, pursuant to the provisions of R.A. 8344 2.7 Permanent Disability - a condition of physical
authorizing the Department of Health to promulgate the disability as defined under Article 192-C and Article 193-B and
necessary rules and regulations, the following are hereby issued: C of Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, otherwise known
as the Labor Code of the Philippines.
1. Section 1 of said Act provides: "In emergency or
serious cases, it shall be unlawful for any proprietor, president, 2.8 Stabilize - the provision of necessary care until such
director, manager or any other officer, and/or medical time that the patient may be discharged or transferred to another
practitioner or employee of a hospital or medical clinic to hospital or clinic with a reasonable probability that no physical
request, solicit, demand or accept any deposit or any other form deterioration would result from or occur during such discharge
of advance payment as a prerequisite for confinement or medical or transfer.
treatment of a patient in such hospital or medical clinic or to
refuse to administer medical treatment and support as dictated 3. Transfer of Patients - Section 3 of R.A. 8344 provides:
by good practice of medicine to prevent death or permanent "After the hospital or medical clinic mentioned above shall have
disability: Provided, That by reason of inadequacy of the administered medical treatment and consistent with the needs of
medical capabilities of the hospital or medical clinic, the the patients preferably to a government hospital, specially in the
attending physician may transfer the patient to a facility where case of poor or indigent patients."
appropriate care can be given, after the patient or his next of kin
3.1 The transferring and receiving hospital, shall be as 6.1 A copy of the law and this implementing rules and
much as practicable, be within ten (10) kilometer radius of each regulations should be displayed prominently at hospital
other. emergency rooms, hospital admission, counters and medical
clinic premises.
3.2 The transfer of patients contemplated under this Act
shall at all times be properly documented. 6.2 Hospital and clinic managers shall establish billing and
collection procedure for treatment or confinement of emergency
3.3 Hospitals may require a deposit or advance payment and serious cases which shall not commence until the essential
when the patient is no longer under the state of emergency and appropriate treatment of such cases has been completed.
he/she refuses to be transferred.
6.3 Hospital and clinic managers shall instruct their
4. All hospitals shall use a Uniform Discharge/Transfer personnel to provide prompt and immediate medical attention to
Slip for cases covered by RA 8344 which shall include the emergency and serious cases without any prior requirements for
following information: payment or deposit.

4.1 Admission Form of transferring hospital. 6.4 It is clarified that the law and this administrative order
covers only the provision of medical and surgical goods and
4.2 Transfer Form of Transferring Hospital, to include but services, and do not cover the provision of non-medical
not necessarily limited to the following information: amenities which have nothing to do with the treatment of the
emergency or serious case. The provisions of and payment for
4.2.1 Vital signs these non-medical amenities shall be subject to appropriate
institutional business practice.
4.2.2 Name of Attending Physician
6.5 Alleged violations of the Act and this Order may be
4.2.3 Treatment given to patient reported to the Bureau of Licensing and Regulations, Office for
Standards and Regulations, Department of Health, Sta. Cruz,
4.2.4 Name of receiving hospital Manila, or to the nearest Regional Health Office which shall
immediately conduct a fact-finding investigation. The findings
4.2.5 Name of contact person and approving official at shall be referred to the appropriate fiscal for criminal
receiving hospital prosecution. Persons convicted of violation shall be punished in
accordance with the Act.
4.2.6 Consent of the patient or companion. In case of an
unaccompanied minor or patient, they may be transferred 6.6 At the instance of the Bureau of Licensing and
without consent provided that the provisions of Section 1 of RA Regulation, Administrative proceedings may also be pursued
8344 is strictly observed. against erring clinics or hospitals that could lead to either
suspension or revocation of appropriate licenses.
The hospital shall endeavor to use all forms of media to contact
the next of kin of the unaccompanied minor or patient. These Rules and Regulations shall take effect fifteen (15) days
after publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of
4.2.7 In case of refusal of transfer, the name of the hospital, general circulation.
the name(s) of persons who refused and the reason(s) for the
refusal. Adopted: February 18, 1998

A copy of the Uniform Discharge/Transfer Slip is hereto


attached as Annex A*.

5. Penal Provisions - any official, medical practitioner or


employee of the hospital or medical clinic who violates the
provisions of RA 8344 shall, upon conviction by final judgment,
be punished by imprisonment of not less than six (6) months and
one (1) day but not more than two (2) years and four months, or
a fine of not less than Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00) but
not more than One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00) or
both at the discretion of the court: Provided, however, That if
such violation was committed pursuant to an established policy
of the hospital or clinic or upon instruction of its management,
the director or officer of such hospital or clinic responsible for REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6615
the formulation and imprisonment of four (4) to six (6) years, or
a fine of not less than One Hundred Thousand Pesos REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6615 - AN ACT REQUIRING
(P100,000.00), but not more than Five Hundred Thousand Pesos GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE HOSPITALS AND
(P500,000.00) or both, at the discretion of the court. CLINICS TO EXTEND MEDICAL ASSISTANCE IN
EMERGENCY CASES
6. In order to demonstrate compliance with the Act's
provisions, all hospitals and medical clinics are instructed to Section 1. All government and private hospitals or clinic duly
institute the following measures: licensed to operate as such are hereby required to render
immediate emergency medical assistance and to provide
facilities and medicine within its capabilities to patients in
emergency cases who are in danger of dying and/or who may
have suffered serious physical injuries.

Sec. 2. The expenses and losses of earnings incurred by a


private hospital of clinic for medicines, facilities and services
beyond first aid extended to emergency cases as required herein,
and not to exceed fifty thousand pesos per year, shall be
deductible expenses and losses for income tax purposes which
may be carried over for a period of five years, any provision of
law or regulation to the contrary notwithstanding.

Sec. 3. Any hospital director, administrator, officer-in-charge


or physician in the hospital, medical center or clinic, who shall
refuse or fail without good cause to render the appropriate
assistance pursuant to the requirements of section one after said
case had been brought to his attention, or any nurse, midwife or
medical attendant who shall refuse to extend the appropriate
assistance, subject to existing rules, or neglect to notify or call a
physician shall be punished by imprisonment of one month and
one day to one year and one day, and a fine of three hundred
pesos to one thousand pesos, without prejudice to the provisions
of Republic Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred eighty-two in
the case of physicians.

In the case of Government hospitals, the imposition of the


penalty upon the person or persons guilty of the violations shall
be without prejudice to the administrative action that might be
proper.

In the case of private hospitals, aside from the imposition of


penalty upon the person or persons guilty of the violations, the
license of the hospital to operate shall, whenever justified, be
suspended or revoked.

Sec. 4. Subject to the approval of the Secretary of Health, the


Bureau of Medical Services shall promulgate the necessary rules
and regulations to carry out the provisions of this Act.

Sec. 5. Any law or laws or parts thereof inconsistent with the


provisions of this Act is hereby repealed.

Sec. 6. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

Approved: October 23, 1972

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 150355 July 31, 2006

MANILA DOCTORS HOSPITAL, petitioner,


vs.
SO UN CHUA and VICKY TY, respondents.

DECISION

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:

Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under


Rule 45 questioning the Decision1 dated October 2, 2001
promulgated by the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. Ty deliberately evaded the staff of the Credit and Collection
61581, which affirmed the Decision dated September 30, 1997 Department; that the cutting-off of the telephone line and
of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 159, Pasig City, but removal of the air-conditioning unit, television set, and
which reduced the award of damages. refrigerator cannot constitute unwarranted actuations, for the
same were resorted to as cost-cutting measures and to minimize
This case originated from an action for damages filed with the respondents' charges that were already piling up, especially after
RTC by respondents So Un Chua and Vicky Ty against respondent Ty refused to settle the balance notwithstanding
petitioner Manila Doctors Hospital.2 The complaint is premised frequent demands; that respondent Ty evaded the staff when the
on the alleged unwarranted actuations of the petitioner towards latter attempted to inform her that the room facilities will be cut
its patient, respondent So Un Chua (Chua), who was confined off to minimize the rising charges; and that respondents
for hypertension, diabetes, and related illnesses. instituted the present civil case purposely as leverage against the
petitioner after the latter had filed criminal charges for violation
The antecedents of the case follow: of Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 22 against respondent Ty for
issuing checks, later dishonored, totaling P1,075,592.95, the
On December 13, 1993, respondents filed a Complaint averring amount referring to the unpaid hospital bills. In its compulsory
that on October 30, 1990, respondent Chua, the mother of counterclaim, petitioner prayed, among other items, for the
respondent Vicky Ty, was admitted in petitioner's hospital for award of no less than P1,000,000.00 as compensatory damages
hypertension and diabetes; that while respondent Chua was due to the filing of a malicious and unfounded suit, and, in its
confined, Judith Chua, the sister of respondent Ty, had been permissive counterclaim, petitioner prayed for respondents to
likewise confined for injuries suffered in a vehicular accident; pay P1,075,592.95, the amount representing the due and
that partial payments of the hospital bills were made, totaling demandable obligation under the Promissory Note dated June 5,
P435,800.00; that after the discharge of Judith Chua, respondent 1992, including the stipulated interest therein and the 25 percent
Chua remained in confinement and the hospital bills for both of the total amount due as attorney's fees.
patients accumulated; that respondent Chua was pressured by
the petitioner, through its Credit and Collection Department, to During pre-trial, the parties stipulated on the following issues:
settle the unpaid bills; that respondent Ty represented that she First, whether the respondents are liable to the petitioner to pay
will settle the bills as soon as the funds become available; that the hospital bills arising from the hospitalization of respondent
respondent Ty pleaded to the management that in view of the Chua and Judith Chua; and second, whether the parties are
physical condition of her mother, respondent Chua, the entitled to their respective claims for damages.3 Furthermore,
correspondences relating to the settlement of the unpaid hospital the parties stipulated on the following facts: a) Judith Chua was
bills should be relayed to the former; that these pleas were confined from June 14, 1991 to May 2, 1992; b) respondents
unheeded by the petitioner; that petitioner threatened to failed to pay the balance despite repeated reminders; c) the said
implement unpleasant measures unless respondent Ty reminders referred to the hospital bills of respondent Chua and
undertakes her mother's obligation as well as the obligation of Judith Chua; d) one of the attending physicians of respondent
her sister, Judith Chua, to pay the hospitalization expenses; that Chua was Dr. Rody Sy; and e) the petitioner ordered the removal
petitioner made good its threat and employed unethical, of the facilities in question from the room of its patient,
unpleasant and unlawful methods which allegedly worsened the respondent Chua, with the qualification that they were
condition of respondent Chua, particularly, by (i) cutting off the constrained to discontinue the same after the representative of
telephone line in her room and removing the air-conditioning respondent Chua refused to update the hospital bills or refused
unit, television set, and refrigerator, (ii) refusing to render to transfer her to semi-deluxe room or ward to lessen costs.4
medical attendance and to change the hospital gown and bed
sheets, and (iii) barring the private nurses or midwives from On September 30, 1997, the RTC rendered its Decision in favor
assisting the patient. Respondents thus prayed for the award of of the respondents, the dispositive portion of which states:
moral damages, exemplary damages, and attorney's fees.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment on the
In its Answer, Amended Answer, and Rejoinder, petitioner complaint is hereby rendered in favor of the [respondents] as
specifically denied the material averments of the Complaint and against the [petitioner] as follows:
Reply, and interposed its counterclaims arguing that as early as
one week after respondent Chua had been admitted to its [O]rdering the [petitioner] to pay the [respondents] the
hospital, Dr. Rody Sy, her attending physician, had already following, to wit:
given instructions for her to be discharged, but respondents
insisted that Chua remain in confinement; that, through its staff, a) P200,000.00 as moral damages;
petitioner accordingly administered medical examinations, all of
which yielded negative results; that respondent Ty voluntarily b) P100,000.00 as exemplary damages; and
undertook, jointly and severally, to pay the hospital bills for both
patients; that although respondent Ty paid up to P435,000.00, c) P50,000.00 as attorney's fees and the amount of P50,000.00
more or less, she reneged on her commitment to pay the balance as litigation costs.
in violation of the Contract for Admission and Acknowledgment
of Responsibility for Payment dated October 30, 1990 which she SO ORDERED.5
voluntarily executed; that she signed a Promissory Note on June
5, 1992 for the unpaid balance of P1,075,592.95 and issued In brief, the RTC held that the removal of the facilities of the
postdated checks to cover the same; that no such undue pressure room triggered the hypertension of respondent Chua; that the
had been imposed upon respondent Chua to settle the bills, the petitioner acted in bad faith in removing the facilities without
truth being that, as a matter of standard procedure, the reminders prior notice; that her condition was aggravated by the pressure
to settle the bills were transmitted not to the patients but to their employed by the administration upon her to pay the hospital
relatives who usually undertook to pay the same; that respondent bills; that the food always came late as compared to the other
patients; that the beddings and clothes of respondent Chua were The petition is impressed with merit.
no longer changed and, as a result, bed sores emerged on her
body; that there was an utter lack of medical attendance; that, While, as a rule, only questions of law may be raised in a petition
because of these, respondent Chua suffered from self-pity and for review on certiorari under Rule 45, under certain exceptions,
depression; that petitioner clearly discriminated against the the Court may re-examine the evidence presented by the parties
respondents; that respondent Ty had no choice but to sign the during the trial. At least four exceptions exist in this case,
promissory notes in order to secure the release of her mother, namely: (a) when the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely
respondent Chua; that the foregoing actuations constitute an on speculation, surmises, or conjectures; (b) when the judgment
abuse of rights; that petitioner failed to establish the pecuniary is based on a misapprehension of facts; (c) when the findings of
loss it suffered and, hence, it is not entitled to compensatory fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and
damages; and that, since the promissory note is a contract of contradicted by the evidence on record; and (d) when the courts
adhesion, the petitioner is not entitled to the award of attorney's a quo manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed
fees as stipulated thereon. by the parties and which, if properly considered, would justify a
different conclusion.9
On appeal to the CA, the petitioner assigned the following
errors: The principal questions are, first, whether the actuations of the
petitioner amount to actionable wrongs, and second, whether the
A. counterclaims of the petitioner can be backed up by the measure
of preponderant evidence.
THE HONORABLE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED
REVERSIBLE ERROR BY FINDING THE ACTUATIONS In brief, the courts a quo concurred in the holding that the
OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF DEFENDANT- petitioner and its staff failed to take into consideration the
APPELLANT TO BE IN BAD FAITH, OPPRESSIVE AND physical condition of its patient, respondent Chua, when it
UNNECESSARY AS TO MAKE IT LIABLE TO removed the facilities provided in her room;10 that the removal
PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES FOR DAMAGES AND of these facilities, namely, the air-conditioner, telephone lines,
ATTORNEY'S FEES. television, and refrigerator, aggravated the condition of the
patient, triggered her hypertension, and caused her blood
B. pressure to fluctuate,11 considering that there was no proper
ventilation in the room.12 In view of the foregoing, the courts a
THE HONORABLE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED quo concluded that the actuations of the petitioner were
REVERSIBLE ERROR BY NOT RULING UPON THE oppressive, unnecessary,13 and anti-social,14 done in bad faith
PERMISSIVE COUNTERCLAIM OF DEFENDANT- without proper notice,15 with no intention other than to harass
APPELLANT WITH RESPECT TO THE P1,075,592.95 or irritate the respondents,16 all of which constitute an abuse of
REPRESENTING THE HOSPITAL BILL OF PLAINTIFFS- rights.17
APPELLEES, WHICH OBLIGATION IS NOT DISPUTED
AND WHICH AMOUNT WAS NEVER CONTROVERTED We do not agree. The conclusions of the courts a quo are either
BY PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES.6 haphazard conjectures, or founded on a misapprehension of
facts. The record is replete with evidence that justifies a different
On October 2, 2001, the CA promulgated its Decision the conclusion.
dispositive portion of which reads:
Indeed the operation of private pay hospitals and medical clinics
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the appealed Decision is impressed with public interest and imbued with a heavy social
is hereby AFFIRMED with the modification that the award of responsibility. But the hospital is also a business, and, as a
moral damages, exemplary damages as well as attorney's fees is business, it has a right to institute all measures of efficiency
reduced to Seventy Five Thousand Pesos (P75,000.00), Thirty commensurate to the ends for which it is designed, especially to
Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00) and Twenty Thousand Pesos ensure its economic viability and survival. And in the legitimate
(P20,000.00), respectively. Litigation costs are hereby deleted. pursuit of economic considerations, the extent to which the
Costs against appellant. public may be served and cured is expanded, the pulse and life
of the medical sector quickens, and the regeneration of the
SO ORDERED.7 people as a whole becomes more visibly attainable. In the
institution of cost-cutting measures, the hospital has a right to
Apart from the reduction in the award of damages, the CA reduce the facilities and services that are deemed to be non-
affirmed all salient portions of the RTC Decision and declined essential, such that their reduction or removal would not be
to disturb the findings of fact. detrimental to the medical condition of the patient.18 For the
moment, the question to be considered is whether the subject
Petitioner is now before this Court raising essentially the same facilities are indeed non-essential the air-conditioner,
grounds heard by the CA. telephone, television, and refrigerator the removal of which
would cause the adverse health effects and emotional trauma the
Incidentally, with respect to the related criminal case against respondents so claimed. Corollary to this question is whether the
respondent Ty, this Court, on September 27, 2004, promulgated petitioner observed the diligence of a good father of the
its Decision entitled Ty v. People of the Philippines,8 which family19 in the course of ascertaining the possible repercussions
affirmed the decisions of the lower courts finding respondent Ty of the removal of the facilities prior to the removal itself and for
guilty of violating B.P. Blg. 22 and ordering her to pay the a reasonable time thereafter, with a view to prevent damage.20
private complainant, herein petitioner, the total amount of the
dishonored checks. After an extensive analysis of the record, it becomes rather
worrisome to this Court that the courts a quo unreservedly drew
their conclusions from the self-serving and uncorroborated the medical determination to the effect that it was safe to remove
testimonies of the respondents the probative value of which is the facilities and would cause no harmful effect55 had been
highly questionable.21 We hold that the respondents failed to amply corroborated by respondent Chua's own doctor
prove the damages so claimed. himself.56 When Dr. Sy testified as rebuttal witness for the
respondents themselves and whose credibility respondents
The evidence in the record firmly establishes that the staff of the failed to impeach, he categorically stated that he consented to
petitioner took proactive steps to inform the relatives of the removal since the removal of the said facilities would not by
respondent Chua of the removal of facilities prior thereto, and to itself be detrimental to the health of his patient, respondent
carry out the necessary precautionary measures to ensure that Chua.57 And in this respect, he had been advising respondent
her health and well-being would not be adversely affected: as Ty, the daughter of the patient, that the facilities, such as the air-
early as around two weeks after her admission on October 30, conditioner, television, refrigerator, and telephone, are not
1990, to the time when the facilities had been removed absolutely necessary, and, that although they may add to the
sometime in the middle of May 1992,22 and even up to the point comfort of the patient, if absent, they will not cause any
when she actually left the premises of the hospital three weeks significant deterioration of her condition,58 given that, in his
later, or during the first week of June 1992,23 the medical experience as a cardiologist, and after personally attending
condition of respondent Chua, as consistently and indisputably respondent Chua on a daily basis before, during, and after the
confirmed by her attending physician, Dr. Rody Sy, a removal and even up to the time of her actual discharge,59 he
cardiologist, who was called as witness for both parties,24 concluded that many hypertensive and diabetic patients, as in
whom even respondent Chua repeatedly praised to be "my her case, do not at all need in particular an air-conditioning unit,
doctor" and "a very good doctor"25 at that, and whose among the other facilities aforementioned.60 And, contrary to
statements at times had been corroborated as well by Sister Mary the findings of the courts a quo and the self-serving testimonies
Philip Galeno, SPC, the Administrator of the hospital and who of respondents that the lack of ventilation, after the removal of
also happens to be a registered nurse, had been "relatively the air-conditioner, triggered her hypertension, Dr. Sy
well,"26 "ambulatory,"27 "walking around in the room,"28 and categorically stated that during his daily rounds with the patient
that she was "able to leave the hospital on her own without any he was certain that, although admittedly the blood pressure in
assistance;"29 that although she complained of symptoms such general would fluctuate daily, there had been no adverse effect
as dizziness, weakness,30 and abdominal discomfort,31 Dr. Sy on her, and that her blood pressure were within acceptable
requested several medical examinations, such as the laboratory limits,61 especially considering that he treated the patient on a
tests, renal tests, MRI, ultrasound, and CT scan,32 all of which daily basis up to the point of actual discharge,62 and
were administered after procuring the consent of respondent accordingly, as confirmed by the medical records, he made no
Chua's family33 as admitted by respondent Ty herself,34 and change in the medications thereafter.63 In support of Dr. Sy's
even called on other specialists, such as a neurologist, findings, Sister Galeno, testified that she knew the condition of
endocrinologist, and gastroenterologist, to look into her the ventilation of the patient's deluxe room, located at the fifth
condition35 and conduct other tests as well36 according to their floor, even without the air-conditioning, notably in times of
fields of specialty, all of which yielded no serious finding;37 brownout, and that there had been enough ventilation since the
that her illnesses were "lifelong illnesses"38 at a stage where grilled window of that room was large enough which, if opened,
they cannot be totally removed or abolished,39 making it clear would permit sufficient ventilation.64 The Court finds that the
to her family that "one hundred percent recovery is not possible" premise of the RTC judgment refers merely to hypothetical
despite being given daily medication in the hospital;40 but that statements which fail to establish any clear and direct link to the
her condition, nonetheless, is not serious,41 as the blood injury allegedly suffered by the patient:
pressure is more or less controlled and within acceptable
limits,42 "not that critical to precipitate any acute attack,"43 nor Q You found it safe to remove these facilities from the room
likely to fall into any emergency,44 nor yet does she require of the patient suffering from diabetes and hypertension?
continuous or prolonged hospitalization45 since she was stable A Yes, Sir. Many hypertensive, diabetic patients do not need
enough to be treated at home and on an "out-patient" basis, so air-conditioning, or T.V. or refrigerator.
much so that Dr. Sy encouraged her to exercise and avoid resting Q Do you agree with me that hypertension is triggered
all the sometimes by excitement, anger or (sic) a person suffering from
such illness?
time,46 and recommended that "anytime she may be A Hypertension can be triggered by anything.
discharged"47 Court:
Q And even in other words the discomfort can also trigger?
even in just "two weeks after confinement,"48 the propriety of A Sometimes mental stress can trigger.
his order of discharge concurred upon by the other specialists as
well,49 had it not been for respondents' insistence to stay in the xxxx
hospital in view of their hope for absolute recovery50 despite Court:
the admission of respondent Chua herself that she cannot Q You mentioned earlier that this hypertension may be
anymore be totally cured.51 triggered mentally?
A Yes, Your Honor.
It is also undisputed that the hospital administrator, Sister
Galeno, prior to the removal of the facilities, consulted the Court:
attending physician, Dr. Sy.52 To Sister Galeno, also a Q Will the removal of these facilities not affect the patient
registered nurse, the matter of removal and its possible including the relatives?
repercussions on the health of the patient, as a matter of hospital A It may to a certain extent. And well, maybe the days after
policy, is a critical and sensitive maneuver, and, hence, it is the removal would prove that fluctuation in blood pressure are
carried out only after discussing with the doctors to evaluate all within acceptable limits.65
important factors.53 The fact of prior consultation54 as well as
With respect to the findings of the courts a quo that bed sores damages is the premise that an individual was injured in
appeared on the body of respondent Chua, that she suffered from contemplation of law. Thus, there must first be the breach of
depression after the disconnection of the said facilities, that her some duty and the imposition of liability for that breach before
private midwives were barred, and that the delivery of food was damages may be awarded; it is not sufficient to state that there
delayed, this Court holds, as above, that these conclusions are should be tort liability merely because the plaintiff suffered
bereft of sound evidentiary basis, self-serving and some pain and suffering.76
uncorroborated as they are. Again, Dr. Sy affirmed that during
the daily rounds he would make on the patient, he did not detect Moreover, this Court must reiterate the standard of tort to arrive
any skin lesion or any other abnormality up to the time she was at a proper award for damages premised on matters that suggest
actually discharged.66 Nor did he find any sign of depression, the application of medical knowledge, especially in the
although, admittedly, he observed that she had been "very description of the causal link between external or environmental
angry" because of the removal of the facilities.67 All the while factors, on one hand, and their effect unto the physical or
he did not receive any complaint from respondent Chua emotional health of the patient, on the other, expert opinion, as
indicating that she suffered from the foregoing infirmities,68 discussed in Cruz v. Court of Appeals,77 is generally required:
considering that it is the responsibility of the family of the
patient to specifically inform the attending physician or the All three courts below bewail the inadequacy of the facilities of
nurses during their rounds whatever they feel is important, or if the clinic and its untidiness; the lack of provisions such as blood,
there were any new developments since the last visit.69 As oxygen, and certain medicines; the failure to subject the patient
corroborated by Sister Galeno, throughout respondent Chua's to a cardio-pulmonary test prior to the operation; the omission
confinement, she never received any complaint from the latter of any form of blood typing before transfusion; and even the
or her relatives that she had not been attended to by the nursing subsequent transfer of Lydia to the San Pablo Hospital and the
staff.70 Worth noting again is the fact that the nursing staff and reoperation performed on her by the petitioner. But while it may
the attending physicians, which included Dr. Sy, in accordance be true that the circumstances pointed out by the courts below
with hospital policy, would routinely make their rounds on a seemed beyond cavil to constitute reckless imprudence on the
daily basis, or would visit the patient whenever they are called part of the surgeon, this conclusion is still best arrived at not
for any problem,71 and, in the case of the specialists other than through the educated surmises nor conjectures of laymen,
the attending physician, they would visit the patient about once including judges, but by the unquestionable knowledge of expert
a week.72 The nurses, on the other hand, would make their witnesses. For whether a physician or surgeon has exercised the
rounds more frequently, that is, at least once per shift, or every requisite degree of skill and care in the treatment of his patient
eight hours.73 Apart from the self-serving statements of is, in the generality of cases, a matter of expert opinion. The
respondents, which by now have become rather indicative of deference of courts to the expert opinions of qualified physicians
being mere afterthoughts, there is no clear showing from the stems from its realization that the latter possess unusual
record that the petitioner and its medical staff deviated from the technical skills which laymen in most instances are incapable of
foregoing policy and practice, nor had they been called upon to intelligently evaluating. Expert testimony should have been
look into the alleged physical reactions or emotional trauma offered to prove that the circumstances cited by the courts below
respondent Chua claims to have suffered during and after the are constitutive of conduct falling below the standard of care
removal of the facilities. It must be emphasized that, as stated employed by other physicians in good standing when
above, respondent Chua herself explicitly found Dr. Sy to be a performing the same operation. It must be remembered that
"very good doctor" because he personally attended to her when the qualifications of a physician are admitted, as in the
"almost every hour."74 And throughout her confinement, Dr. Sy instant case, there is an inevitable presumption that in proper
positively stated that her family employed a private midwife cases he takes the necessary precaution and employs the best of
who attended to her all the time.75 his knowledge and skill in attending to his clients, unless the
contrary is sufficiently established. This presumption is
The evidence in the record overwhelmingly demonstrates that rebuttable by expert opinion which is so sadly lacking in the case
respondent Chua had been adequately attended to, and this Court at bench.78
cannot understand why the courts a quo had declared that there
was an "utter lack of medical attendance," or that her health With respect to the propriety of the notice of removal of
suffered during the period after the removal of the facilities. The facilities, the evidence shows that the hospital staff,
Court finds that the facilities in question are non-essential for accompanied by Sister Gladys Lim, SPC, Finance
the care of respondent Chua and, hence, they may be lessened Administrative Assistant of the hospital,79 through written and
or removed by the petitioner for the sake of economic necessity verbal notices as per hospital policy, forewarned the
and survival. respondents, through respondent Ty and her sister, Judith Chua,
of the impending removal of the facilities over a week
Though human experience would show that the deactivation of beforehand80 in view of their obstinate refusal to vacate and
the air-conditioner may cause a temperature differential that transfer to a lower rate room81 or to update the mounting
may trigger some physical discomfort, or that the removal of hospital bills82 which, by then, had swollen to approximately
entertainment facilities such as the television set, or the one million pesos.83 Respondent Ty refused to read many of the
disconnection of communication devices such as the telephone, written notices sent by the Credit
may cause some exasperation on the part of the one who benefits
from these, nevertheless, all things considered, and given the Department.84 After repeated attempts to contact respondent
degree of diligence the petitioner duly exerted, not every Ty85 and before the actual removal of the facilities, the staff of
suppression of the things that one has grown accustomed to the petitioner tried to personally serve the final notice dated
enjoy amounts to an actionable wrong, nor does every physical April 23, 1992,86 signed by Sister Gladys Lim, addressed to
or emotional discomfort amount to the kind of anguish that respondent Ty, which adopted the tenor of the prior verbal
warrants the award of moral damages under the general warnings, and which expressly and sternly warned the
principles of tort. The underlying basis for the award of tort respondents that the hospital shall be constrained to take legal
action and that they shall be compelled to transfer the patient, and that, most importantly, no physical restraint upon the person
respondent Chua, to a lower rate room unless the balance could of respondent Chua or upon the person of her relatives had been
be satisfied.87 Respondent Ty, for no justifiable reason, and imposed by the staff.
sticking to her inclination to avoid the staff, refused to receive
or acknowledge this letter as well.88 Worth noting is that Sister Authorities, including those of common law origin, explicitly
Galeno, testified that, as a matter of hospital policy the tenor of declare that a patient cannot be detained in a hospital for non-
which respondents, by virtue of the Contract for Admission payment of the hospital bill. If the patient cannot pay the hospital
dated October 30, 1990, agreed to comply with,89 the hospital or physician's bill, the law provides a remedy for them to pursue,
can only cut off the non-essential facilities and only in extreme that is, by filing the necessary suit in court for the recovery of
cases90 if the patient occupies a private room all to herself; such fee or bill.108 If the patient is prevented from leaving the
had the room been semi-private shared by other patients, or had hospital for his inability to pay the bill, any person who can act
it been the ward, the hospital cannot disconnect the facilities on his behalf can apply in court for the issuance of the writ of
since this would unduly prejudice the other patients. But habeas corpus.109
respondent Chua herself insisted on staying in a private room
despite her being fully aware of the ballooning charges,91 and The form of restraint must be total; movement must be
even if she could have freely gone home anytime to her restrained in all directions. If restraint is partial, e.g., in a
condominium unit which, as admitted, was equipped with an air- particular direction with freedom to proceed in another, the
conditioner.92 With respect to the "pressure" and "harassment" restraint on the person's liberty is not total.110 However, the
respondents allegedly suffered daily whenever the hospital staff hospital may legally detain a patient against his will when he is
would follow up the billing during odd hours, or at 10pm, 11pm, a detained or convicted prisoner, or when the patient is suffering
12 midnight, 1am, or 2am,93 this averment had been from a very contagious disease where his release will be
convincingly refuted by the witnesses for the petitioner, namely, prejudicial to public health, or when the patient is mentally ill
Editha L. Vecino, the Head of Credit and Collection, and Sister such that his release will endanger public safety,111 or in other
Galeno, in that the Credit and Collection Department would only exigent cases as may be provided by law. Moreover, under the
hold office hours from 8am to 5pm and, hence, it is impossible common law doctrines on tort, it does not constitute a trespass
to "harass" the respondents during the times they so claimed.94 to the person to momentarily prevent him from leaving the
premises or any part thereof because he refuses to comply with
The courts a quo found that respondent Ty had "no choice but to some reasonable condition subject to which he entered them. In
sign the promissory note in order for her mother to be released all cases, the condition of this kind of restraint must be
from the hospital,"95 thus suggesting that the hospital refused to reasonable in the light of the circumstances.112 At any rate, as
actually discharge or bodily release its patient, respondent Chua, stated above, the patient is free to leave the premises, even in the
until arrangements had been made to settle the charges. ostensible violation of these conditions, after being momentarily
interrupted by the hospital staff for purposes of informing him
While there are portions of the testimonies of the witnesses for of those reasonable conditions, such as the assessment of
the petitioner which state that although, as per standard whether the patient is fit to leave, insane, or suffering from a
procedure, the patient "cannot leave"96 the hospital without the contagious disease, etc., or simply for purposes of making a
"discharge,"97 "clearance" or "gate pass" issued only after demand to settle the bill. If the patient chooses to abscond or
leave without the consent of the hospital in violation of any of
arrangements on the settlement of bills had been made,98 still, the conditions deemed to be reasonable under the circumstances,
it must be understood that these are only demonstrative of the the hospital may nonetheless register its protest and may choose
precondition that a patient cannot step out of the premises to pursue the legal remedies available under law, provided that
"without the consent" of the hospital, or, in other words, that the the hospital may not physically detain the patient, unless the
"clearance" merely indicates that the hospital expressly case falls under the exceptions abovestated.
consented to the actual release of the patient,99 but, even
without its consent, the patient is still free to leave "anytime" as Authorities are of the view that, ordinarily, a hospital, especially
a matter of policy, in spite of the refusal to issue a "clearance" if it is a private pay hospital,113 is entitled to be compensated
or "gate pass,"100 or even in cases where the accounts have not for its services, by either an express or an implied contract, and
yet been liquidated or settled,101 or yet even if no promissory if no express contract exists, there is generally an implied
note or post-dated check were executed in favor of the petitioner, agreement that the patient will pay the reasonable value of the
as testified by no less than Sister Galeno,102 and corroborated services rendered;114 when a hospital treats a patient's injuries,
by Editha Vecino;103 and that, petitioner, a private hospital it has an enforceable claim for full payment for its services,
established for profit,104 being also a business, by warning regardless of the patient's financial status.115 At this juncture, it
respondents that it shall withhold clearance, is simply exercising must be noted that there is testimony, though to a degree
its right to protest against an absconding patient as a precursor disputable, to the effect that the execution of the promissory note
to avail of other appropriate legal remedies; that, on the contrary, and the issuance of postdated checks were conditions imposed
the respondents opted not to leave because of their own promise not by the petitioner but voluntarily offered by the counsel for
not to leave unless the hospital bills were fully settled;105 that respondents.116 At any rate, however, this Court holds, in view
the accusations found in the Demand Letter dated May 19, 1992, of the foregoing authorities, that the requirement to have the
and signed by the counsel for the respondents,106 particularly, relative of respondent Chua to execute a promissory note as part
that the petitioner "refused to discharge the patient, [respondent of the arrangement to settle the unpaid obligations is a formality
Chua,] despite orders from the attending physician, Dr. Rody that converts any implied contract into written form and,
Sy," had all been refuted by Sister Galeno when she read its moreover, amounts to a reasonable condition, the non-
contents in front of the counsel for respondents, emphatically fulfillment of which, in itself, however, as discussed, cannot
telling him that "we are not detaining his clients;" that allow the hospital to detain the patient. It must also be stressed,
"[respondent Ty] was the one who told us that they are not going contrary to the findings of the courts a quo, that such an
to leave the hospital unless they have fully paid the hospital;"107 agreement embodied in a promissory note, as well as the
Contract for Admission and Acknowledgment of Responsibility We do not agree. The law prescribes the presence of three
for Payment dated October 30, 1990, do not become contracts requisites to exempt the actor from liability under this
of adhesion simply because the person signing it was under paragraph: (1) that the evil sought to be avoided actually exists;
stress that was not the result of the actions of the hospital,117 (2) that the injury feared be greater than the one done to avoid
especially taking into account that there is testimony to the effect it; (3) that there be no other practical and less harmful means of
that respondent Ty signed the Promissory Note dated June 5, preventing it.
1992 in the presence of counsel and acting under his advise.118
In the instant case, the evil sought to be avoided is merely
But as to the propriety of the circumstances surrounding the expected or anticipated. If the evil sought to be avoided is
issuance of the postdated checks to cover the amount stated in merely expected or anticipated or may happen in the future, this
the Promissory Note dated June 5, 1992, this Court must refer to defense is not applicable. Ty could have taken advantage of an
the discussion of the recent case of Ty v. People of the available option to avoid committing a crime. By her own
Philippines119 where this Court affirmed the conviction of admission, she had the choice to give jewelry or other forms of
respondent Ty for the issuance of bouncing checks addressed to security instead of postdated checks to secure her obligation.
the petitioner herein. While the instant case is to be
distinguished from the Ty case in nature, applicable law, the Moreover, for the defense of state of necessity to be availing, the
standards of evidence, and in the defenses available to the greater injury feared should not have been brought about by the
parties, hence, the judgment of conviction in that case should not negligence or imprudence, more so, the willful inaction of the
at all prejudice the disposition of this case, even if the facts actor. In this case, the issuance of the bounced checks was
coincide, nonetheless, for purposes of convenience and brought about by Ty's own failure to pay her mother's hospital
instructive utility, the Court quotes the relevant portions: bills.

In this case, far from it, the fear, if any, harbored by Ty was not The Court also thinks it rather odd that Ty has chosen the
real and imminent. Ty claims that she was compelled to issue exempting circumstance of uncontrollable fear and the
the checks a condition the hospital allegedly demanded of her justifying circumstance of state of necessity to absolve her of
before her mother could be discharged for fear that her mother's liability. It would not have been half as bizarre had Ty been able
health might deteriorate further due to the inhumane treatment to prove that the issuance of the bounced checks was done
of the hospital or worse, her mother might commit suicide. This without her full volition. Under the circumstances, however, it
is speculative fear; it is not the uncontrollable fear contemplated is quite clear that neither uncontrollable fear nor avoidance of a
by law. greater evil or injury prompted the issuance of the bounced
checks.
To begin with, there was no showing that the mother's illness
was so life-threatening such that her continued stay in the Parenthetically, the findings of fact in the Decision of the trial
hospital suffering all its alleged unethical treatment would court in the Civil Case for damages filed by Ty's mother against
induce a well-grounded apprehension of her death. Secondly, it the hospital is wholly irrelevant for purposes of disposing the
is not the law's intent to say that any fear exempts one from case at bench. While the findings therein may establish a claim
criminal liability much less petitioner's flimsy fear that her for damages which, we may add, need only be supported by a
mother might commit suicide. In other words, the fear she preponderance of evidence, it does not necessarily engender
invokes was not impending or insuperable as to deprive her of reasonable doubt as to free Ty from liability.120
all volition and to make her a mere instrument without will,
moved exclusively by the hospital's threats or demands. In view of the foregoing, the Court therefore holds that the
courts a quo committed serious errors in finding that the
Ty has also failed to convince the Court that she was left with petitioner was "biased,"121 "discriminated" against the
no choice but to commit a crime. She did not take advantage of respondents,122 and "purposely intended to irritate"123 or
the many opportunities available to her to avoid committing one. "harass"124 them; that it "acted in bad faith in removing the
By her very own words, she admitted that the collateral or facilities without prior notice;"125 and that its acts were "anti-
security the hospital required prior to the discharge of her social."126 The aforequoted declarations of the witnesses,
mother may be in the form of postdated checks or jewelry. And significant portions of which this Court considers as expert
if indeed she was coerced to open an account with the bank and testimony, are reliable and remain considerably trustworthy to
issue the checks, she had all the opportunity to leave the scene controvert respondents' assertions as well as to reverse the
to avoid involvement. conclusions of fact and law of the CA and the RTC that
respondent Chua suffered the physical and emotional anguish so
Moreover, petitioner had sufficient knowledge that the issuance claimed, and so, for these reasons, the Court holds that the
of checks without funds may result in a violation of B.P. 22. She petitioner inflicted no actionable wrong.
even testified that her counsel advised her not to open a current
account nor issue postdated checks "because the moment I will This Court observes that the courts a quo awarded both
not have funds it will be a big problem." Besides, apart from respondents moral damages. But it is well-settled that in case of
petitioner's bare assertion, the record is bereft of any evidence to physical injuries, with some exceptions,127 moral damages are
corroborate and bolster her claim that she was compelled or recoverable only by the party injured and not by her spouse, next
coerced to cooperate with and give in to the hospital's demands. of kin, or relative who happened to sympathize with the injured
party.128 Hence, even if the courts a quo were correct in their
Ty likewise suggests . . . that the justifying circumstance of state basis for damages, they should have declined to award damages
of necessity under par. 4, Art. 11 of the Revised Penal Code may to respondent Ty.
find application in this case.
The last issue to be resolved is the question whether the P210,000.00.142 Since this amount forms a fraction of her total
counterclaims of the petitioner are supported by a civil liability, then this amount, in deference to Ty, should be
preponderance of evidence. deducted therefrom.

We agree with the petitioner that the courts a quo seriously erred The claim for attorney's fees, as stipulated under the Promissory
in mistaking the case of its compulsory counterclaim for its Note dated June 5, 1992, should be reduced for being
permissive counterclaim and for failing to consider the evidence unreasonable under the circumstances, from 25 percent to 12
which impressively supports the latter. First, for failure without percent of the total amount due.143
justifiable cause of respondents' counsel to comment on the
Partial Formal Offer of Evidence dated February 14, 1996129 As a final word, the Court takes judicial notice of the pending
filed by the petitioner, the RTC issued an order during the course Senate Bill No. 337, entitled "An Act Prohibiting the Detention
of the trial, which counsel for respondents neither contested nor of Patients in Hospitals and Medical Clinics on Grounds of Non-
raised on appeal, admitting Exhibits "1" to "16", together with Payment of Hospital Bills or Medical Expenses," which
their submarkings and the purposes for which the same were declares, among others, that it shall be unlawful for any hospital
offered,130 all of which had also been previously authenticated or medical clinic to cause directly or indirectly the detention of
and their contents verified by the witnesses for the petitioner.131 patients for non-payment, in part or in full, of their hospital
These documents include the Contract for Admission of bills,144 and, furthermore, requires patients who have fully
respondent Chua dated October 30, 1990, duly executed by recovered and are financially incapable to settle the
respondent Ty, incorporating therein the rules and regulations of hospitalization expenses to execute a promissory note, co-signed
the hospital, including the duty to understand the same132 as by another individual, to the extent of the unpaid obligation
well as the undertaking of respondent Ty to be jointly and before leaving the hospital.145 While this Court may have
severally liable for the payment of the hospital bills of touched upon these matters in the adjudication of the instant
respondent Chua;133 the Promissory Note dated June 5, 1992 in case, it must be stated that this decision should in no way
the amount of P1,075,592.95 duly executed by respondent Ty in preempt any constitutional challenge to the provisions of Senate
favor of the petitioner agreeing to be jointly and severally liable Bill No. 337 if passed into law, bearing in mind the standards
to pay the unpaid obligations of respondent Chua and Judith for the exercise of the power of judicial review146 as well as the
Chua, including interest and attorney's fees in case of recognition that the tenor of the bill may adjust with the times,
default;134 the Undertakings signed by respondent Ty dated or that the bill itself may fail to pass, according to the dynamism
March 3, 1992 and April 7, 1992 to maintain regular of the legislative process, especially in light of the objections
deposits;135 and the credit memos and statements of account interposed by interest groups to date.147
that support the amount referring to the unpaid obligation.136
Second, the parties stipulated during pre-trial that respondents WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the
failed to pay the balance despite repeated reminders.137 And Court of Appeals dated October 2, 2001, together with the
third, respondent Ty in open court identified and admitted that Decision dated September 30, 1997 of the Regional Trial Court
she signed the Contract of Admission dated October 30, 1990 as in Civil Case No. 63958, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
well as the Undertakings dated March 3, 1992 and April 7, 1992 Another judgment is entered dismissing the Complaint and
but which, for no justifiable reason, she "did not bother to ordering respondents, jointly and severally, to pay the petitioner
read,"138 and, what is more, she repeatedly admitted during the the amount of P865,592.95, with stipulated interest of 12 percent
course of the trial that she failed to fully settle the foregoing reckoned from the date of extrajudicial demand until full
hospital bills.139 In fact, while the Ty case cannot control the payment, and 12 percent of the total amount due as attorney's
incidents of the instant case as heretofore stated, it is still worth fees.
mentioning, at least for informative purposes, the findings of
this Court in Ty with respect to respondents' obligations to the No pronouncement as to costs.
petitioner:
SO ORDERED.
Ty's mother and sister availed of the services and the facilities
of the hospital. For the care given to her kin, Ty had a legitimate
obligation to pay the hospital by virtue of her relationship with
them and by force of her signature on her mother's Contract of
Admission acknowledging responsibility for payment, and on
the promissory note she executed in favor of the hospital.140

In view of all these findings, the Court earnestly disagrees with


the sweeping conclusion of the CA that "[Petitioner] failed to
present any iota of evidence to prove his claim,"141 a statement
apparently referring to the permissive counterclaim of
P1,075,592.95. However, with respect to the compulsory
counterclaim predicated on the filing of a baseless suit and
injury to its reputation, petitioner did not raise this matter on
appeal and, hence, is deemed to have waived the same.

But the Court in Ty made a partial finding on the civil liability


of respondent Ty with respect to the amount covered by seven
of the several dishonored checks she issued equivalent to
G.R. No. 89572 December 21, 1989

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, CULTURE AND


SPORTS (DECS) and DIRECTOR OF CENTER FOR
EDUCATIONAL MEASUREMENT, petitioners,
vs.
ROBERTO REY C. SAN DIEGO and JUDGE TERESITA
DIZON-CAPULONG, in her capacity as Presiding Judge of
the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela, Metro Manila,
Branch 172, respondents.

Ramon M. Guevara for private respondent.

CRUZ, J.:

The issue before us is mediocrity. The question is whether a


person who has thrice failed the National Medical Admission
Test (NMAT) is entitled to take it again.

The petitioner contends he may not, under its rule that-

h) A student shall be allowed only three (3) chances to take the


NMAT. After three (3) successive failures, a student shall not
be allowed to take the NMAT for the fourth time.

The private respondent insists he can, on constitutional grounds.

But first the facts.

The private respondent is a graduate of the University of the East


with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Zoology. The petitioner
claims that he took the NMAT three times and flunked it as
many times. 1 When he applied to take it again, the petitioner
rejected his application on the basis of the aforesaid rule. He
then went to the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela, Metro
Manila, to compel his admission to the test.

In his original petition for mandamus, he first invoked his


constitutional rights to academic freedom and quality education.
By agreement of the parties, the private respondent was allowed
to take the NMAT scheduled on April 16, 1989, subject to the
outcome of his petition. 2 In an amended petition filed with
leave of court, he squarely challenged the constitutionality of
MECS Order No. 12, Series of 1972, containing the above-cited
rule. The additional grounds raised were due process and equal
protection.

After hearing, the respondent judge rendered a decision on July


4, 1989, declaring the challenged order invalid and granting the
petition. Judge Teresita Dizon-Capulong held that the petitioner
had been deprived of his right to pursue a medical education
through an arbitrary exercise of the police power. 3

We cannot sustain the respondent judge. Her decision must be


reversed.

In Tablarin v. Gutierrez, 4 this Court upheld the constitutionality


of the NMAT as a measure intended to limit the admission to
medical schools only to those who have initially proved their
competence and preparation for a medical education. Justice
Republic of the Philippines Florentino P. Feliciano declared for a unanimous Court:
SUPREME COURT
Manila Perhaps the only issue that needs some consideration is whether
there is some reasonable relation between the prescribing of
EN BANC passing the NMAT as a condition for admission to medical
school on the one hand, and the securing of the health and safety the means employed are reasonably necessary to the attainment
of the general community, on the other hand. This question is of the object sought to be accomplished and not unduly
perhaps most usefully approached by recalling that the oppressive upon individuals. 5
regulation of the pratice of medicine in all its branches has long
been recognized as a reasonable method of protecting the health In other words, the proper exercise of the police power requires
and safety of the public. That the power to regulate and control the concurrence of a lawful subject and a lawful method.
the practice of medicine includes the power to regulate
admission to the ranks of those authorized to practice medicine, The subject of the challenged regulation is certainly within the
is also well recognized. Thus, legislation and administrative ambit of the police power. It is the right and indeed the
regulations requiring those who wish to practice medicine first responsibility of the State to insure that the medical profession
to take and pass medical board examinations have long ago been is not infiltrated by incompetents to whom patients may
recognized as valid exercises of governmental power. Similarly, unwarily entrust their lives and health.
the establishment of minimum medical educational
requirements-i.e., the completion of prescribed courses in a The method employed by the challenged regulation is not
recognized medical school-for admission to the medical irrelevant to the purpose of the law nor is it arbitrary or
profession, has also been sustained as a legitimate exercise of oppressive. The three-flunk rule is intended to insulate the
the regulatory authority of the state. What we have before us in medical schools and ultimately the medical profession from the
the instant case is closely related: the regulation of access to intrusion of those not qualified to be doctors.
medical schools. MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, as noted earlier,
articulates the rationale of regulation of this type: the While every person is entitled to aspire to be a doctor, he does
improvement of the professional and technical quality of the not have a constitutional right to be a doctor. This is true of any
graduates of medical schools, by upgrading the quality of those other calling in which the public interest is involved; and the
admitted to the student body of the medical schools. That closer the link, the longer the bridge to one's ambition. The State
upgrading is sought by selectivity in the process of admission, has the responsibility to harness its human resources and to see
selectivity consisting, among other things, of limiting admission to it that they are not dissipated or, no less worse, not used at all.
to those who exhibit in the required degree the aptitude for These resources must be applied in a manner that will best
medical studies and eventually for medical practice. The need to promote the common good while also giving the individual a
maintain, and the difficulties of maintaining, high standards in sense of satisfaction.
our professional schools in general, and medical schools in
particular, in the current state of our social and economic A person cannot insist on being a physician if he will be a
development, are widely known. menace to his patients. If one who wants to be a lawyer may
prove better as a plumber, he should be so advised and adviced.
We believe that the government is entitled to prescribe an Of course, he may not be forced to be a plumber, but on the other
admission test like the NMAT as a means of achieving its stated hand he may not force his entry into the bar. By the same token,
objective of "upgrading the selection of applicants into [our] a student who has demonstrated promise as a pianist cannot be
medical schools" and of "improv[ing] the quality of medical shunted aside to take a course in nursing, however appropriate
education in the country." Given the widespread use today of this career may be for others.
such admission tests in, for instance, medical schools in the
United States of America (the Medical College Admission Test The right to quality education invoked by the private respondent
[MCAT] and quite probably, in other countries with far more is not absolute. The Constitution also provides that "every
developed educational resources than our own, and taking into citizen has the right to choose a profession or course of study,
account the failure or inability of the petitioners to even attempt subject to fair, reasonable and equitable admission and academic
to prove otherwise, we are entitled to hold that the NMAT is requirements. 6
reasonably related to the securing of the ultimate end of
legislation and regulation in this area. That end, it is useful to The private respondent must yield to the challenged rule and
recall, is the protection of the public from the potentially deadly give way to those better prepared. Where even those who have
effects of incompetence and ignorance in those who would qualified may still not be accommodated in our already crowded
undertake to treat our bodies and minds for disease or trauma. medical schools, there is all the more reason to bar those who,
like him, have been tested and found wanting.
However, the respondent judge agreed with the petitioner that
the said case was not applicable. Her reason was that it upheld The contention that the challenged rule violates the equal
only the requirement for the admission test and said nothing protection clause is not well-taken. A law does not have to
about the so-called "three-flunk rule." operate with equal force on all persons or things to be
conformable to Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution.
We see no reason why the rationale in the Tablarin case cannot
apply to the case at bar. The issue raised in both cases is the There can be no question that a substantial distinction exists
academic preparation of the applicant. This may be gauged at between medical students and other students who are not
least initially by the admission test and, indeed with more subjected to the NMAT and the three-flunk rule. The medical
reliability, by the three-flunk rule. The latter cannot be regarded profession directly affects the very lives of the people, unlike
any less valid than the former in the regulation of the medical other careers which, for this reason, do not require more vigilant
profession. regulation. The accountant, for example, while belonging to an
equally respectable profession, does not hold the same delicate
There is no need to redefine here the police power of the State. responsibility as that of the physician and so need not be
Suffice it to repeat that the power is validly exercised if (a) the similarly treated.
interests of the public generally, as distinguished from those of
a particular class, require the interference of the State, and (b)
There would be unequal protection if some applicants who have MARISSA A. REGODON, LAURA M. SANTOS,
passed the tests are admitted and others who have also qualified KARANGALAN D. SERRANO, DANILO A. VILLAVER,
are denied entrance. In other words, what the equal protection MARIA ROSARIO L. LEONOR, ALICIA S. LIZANO,
requires is equality among equals. MARITEL M. ECHIVERRI, BERNADETTE T.
MENDOZA, FERNANDO F. MANDAPAT, ALELI A.
The Court feels that it is not enough to simply invoke the right GOLLAYAN, ELCIN C. ARRIOLA, HERMINIGILDA E.
to quality education as a guarantee of the Constitution: one must CONEJOS, SALLY B. BUNAGAN, ROGELIO B.
show that he is entitled to it because of his preparation and ANCHETA, OSCAR H. PADUA, JR., EVELYN D.
promise. The private respondent has failed the NMAT five GRAJO, EVELYN S. ACOSTA, MARGARITA BELINDA
times. 7 While his persistence is noteworthy, to say the least, it L. VICENCIO, VALENTINO P. ARBOLEDA, EVELYN O.
is certainly misplaced, like a hopeless love. RAMOS, ACHILLES J. PERALTA, CORAZON M. CRUZ,
LEUVINA P. CHICO, JOSEPH A. JAO, MA. LUISA S.
No depreciation is intended or made against the private GUTIERREZ, LYDIA C. CHAN, OPHELIA C. HIDALGO,
respondent. It is stressed that a person who does not qualify in FERNANDO T. CRUZ, MELVIN M. USITA, RAFAEL I.
the NMAT is not an absolute incompetent unfit for any work or TOLENTINO, GRACE E. UY, CHERYL R. TRIGUERO,
occupation. The only inference is that he is a probably better, MICHAEL L. SERRANO, FEDERICO L. CASTILLO,
not for the medical profession, but for another calling that has MELITA J. CAEDO, SAMUEL B. BANGOY,
not excited his interest. BERNARDITA B. SY, GLORIA T. JULARBAL,
FREDERICK D. FRANCISCO, CARLOS M. BERNARDO,
In the former, he may be a bungler or at least lackluster; in the JR., HUBERT S. NAZARENO, CLARISSA B. BACLIG,
latter, he is more likely to succeed and may even be outstanding. DAYMINDA G. BONTUYAN, BERNADETTE H.
It is for the appropriate calling that he is entitled to quality CABUHAT, NANCY J. CHAVEZ, MARIO D.
education for the full harnessing of his potentials and the CUARESMA, ERNESTO L. CUE, EVELYN C.
sharpening of his latent talents toward what may even be a CUNDANGAN, RHONEIL R. DEVERATURDA,
brilliant future. DERILEEN D. DORADO, SAIBZUR N. EDDING,
VIOLETA C. FELIPE, HERMINIO V. FERNANDEZ, JR.,
We cannot have a society of square pegs in round holes, of MARIA VICTORIA M. LACSAMANA, NORMA G.
dentists who should never have left the farm and engineers who LAFAVILLA, RUBY B. LANTIN, MA. ELOISA Q.
should have studied banking and teachers who could be better MALLARI, CLARISA SJ. NICOLAS, PERCIVAL H.
as merchants. PANGILINAN, ARNULFO A. SALVADOR, ROBERT B.
SANCHEZ, MERLY D. STA. ANA and YOLANDA P.
It is time indeed that the State took decisive steps to regulate and UNICA, respondents.
enrich our system of education by directing the student to the
course for which he is best suited as determined by initial tests DECISION
and evaluations. Otherwise, we may be "swamped with
mediocrity," in the words of Justice Holmes, not because we are TINGA, J.:
lacking in intelligence but because we are a nation of misfits.
This petition for review under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the Procedure seeks to nullify the D E C I S I O N,1 dated May 16,
respondent court dated January 13, 1989, is REVERSED, with 2000, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283. The
costs against the private respondent. It is so ordered. appellate court affirmed the judgment2 dated December 19,
1994, of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 52,
Fernan, C.J., Narvasa Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Paras, in Civil Case No. 93-66530. The trial court allowed the
Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Sarmiento, Cortes, Grio- respondents to take their physicians oath and to register as duly
Aquino, Medialdea and Regalado, JJ., concur. licensed physicians. Equally challenged is the R E S O L U T I
O N3 promulgated on August 25, 2000 of the Court of Appeals,
Republic of the Philippines denying petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.
SUPREME COURT
Manila The facts of this case are as follows:

SECOND DIVISION The respondents are all graduates of the Fatima College of
Medicine, Valenzuela City, Metro Manila. They passed the
G.R. No. 144681 June 21, 2004 Physician Licensure Examination conducted in February 1993
by the Board of Medicine (Board). Petitioner Professional
PROFESSIONAL REGULATION COMMISSION (PRC), Regulation Commission (PRC) then released their names as
CHAIRMAN HERMOGENES P. POBRE, ASSOCIATE successful examinees in the medical licensure examination.
COMMISSIONER ARMANDO PASCUAL, BOARD OF
MEDICINE, CHAIRMAN RODOLFO P. DE GUZMAN, Shortly thereafter, the Board observed that the grades of the
JOSE S. RAMIREZ, JUANITO B. BILLOTE, RUBEN R. seventy-nine successful examinees from Fatima College in the
POLICARPIO, EDGARDO T. FERNANDO and two most difficult subjects in the medical licensure exam,
RICARDO D. FULGENCIO II, petitioners, Biochemistry (Bio-Chem) and Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB-
vs. Gyne), were unusually and exceptionally high. Eleven Fatima
ARLENE V. DE GUZMAN, VIOLETA V. MENESES, examinees scored 100% in Bio-Chem and ten got 100% in OB-
CELERINA S. NAVARRO, JOSE RAMONCITO P. Gyne, another eleven got 99% in Bio-Chem, and twenty-one
NAVARRO, ARNEL V. HERRERA and GERALDINE scored 99% in OB-Gyne. The Board also observed that many of
ELIZABETH M. PAGILAGAN, ELNORA R. RAQUENO, those who passed from Fatima got marks of 95% or better in
both subjects, and no one got a mark lower than 90%. A
comparison of the performances of the candidates from other WHEREFORE, this petition is GRANTED. Accordingly, the
schools was made. The Board observed that strangely, the writ of preliminary mandatory injunction issued by the lower
unusually high ratings were true only for Fatima College court against petitioners is hereby nullified and set aside.
examinees. It was a record-breaking phenomenon in the history
of the Physician Licensure Examination. SO ORDERED.7

On June 7, 1993, the Board issued Resolution No. 19, Arlene V. de Guzman, et al., then elevated the foregoing
withholding the registration as physicians of all the examinees Decision to this Court in G.R. No. 112315. In our Resolution
from the Fatima College of Medicine.4 The PRC asked the dated May 23, 1994, we denied the petition for failure to show
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate whether reversible error on the part of the appellate court.
any anomaly or irregularity marred the February 1993 Physician
Licensure Examination. Meanwhile, on November 22, 1993, during the pendency of the
instant petition, the pre-trial conference in Civil Case No. 93-
Prior to the NBI investigation, the Board requested Fr. 66530 was held. Then, the parties, agreed to reduce the
Bienvenido F. Nebres, S.J., an expert mathematician and testimonies of their respective witnesses to sworn questions-
authority in statistics, and later president of the Ateneo de and-answers. This was without prejudice to cross-examination
Manila University, to conduct a statistical analysis of the results by the opposing counsel.
in Bio-Chem and Ob-Gyne of the said examination.
On December 13, 1993, petitioners counsel failed to appear at
On June 10, 1993, Fr. Nebres submitted his report. He reported the trial in the mistaken belief that the trial was set for December
that a comparison of the scores in Bio-Chem and Ob-Gyne, of 15. The trial court then ruled that petitioners waived their right
the Fatima College examinees with those of examinees from De to cross-examine the witnesses.
La Salle University and Perpetual Help College of Medicine
showed that the scores of Fatima College examinees were not On January 27, 1994, counsel for petitioners filed a
only incredibly high but unusually clustered close to each other. Manifestation and Motion stating the reasons for her non-
He concluded that there must be some unusual reason creating appearance and praying that the cross-examination of the
the clustering of scores in the two subjects. It must be a cause witnesses for the opposing parties be reset. The trial court denied
"strong enough to eliminate the normal variations that one the motion for lack of notice to adverse counsel. It also denied
should expect from the examinees [of Fatima College] in terms the Motion for Reconsideration that followed on the ground that
of talent, effort, energy, etc."5 adverse counsel was notified less than three (3) days prior to the
hearing.
For its part, the NBI found that "the questionable passing rate of
Fatima examinees in the [1993] Physician Examination leads to Meanwhile, to prevent the PRC and the Board from proceeding
the conclusion that the Fatima examinees gained early access to with Adm. Case No. 1687, the respondents herein moved for the
the test questions."6 issuance of a restraining order, which the lower court granted in
its Order dated April 4, 1994.
On July 5, 1993, respondents Arlene V. De Guzman, Violeta V.
Meneses, Celerina S. Navarro, Jose Ramoncito P. Navarro, The petitioners then filed with this Court a petition for certiorari
Arnel V. Herrera, and Geraldine Elizabeth M. Pagilagan (Arlene docketed as G.R. No. 115704, to annul the Orders of the trial
V. De Guzman et al., for brevity) filed a special civil action for court dated November 13, 1993, February 28, 1994, and April
mandamus, with prayer for preliminary mandatory injunction 4, 1994. We referred the petition to the Court of Appeals where
docketed as Civil Case No. 93-66530 with the Regional Trial it was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 34506.
Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 52. Their petition was adopted
by the other respondents as intervenors. On August 31, 1994, the appellate court decided CA-G.R. SP
No. 34506 as follows:
Meanwhile, the Board issued Resolution No. 26, dated July 21,
1993, charging respondents with "immorality, dishonest WHEREFORE, the present petition for certiorari with prayer for
conduct, fraud, and deceit" in connection with the Bio-Chem temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction is
and Ob-Gyne examinations. It recommended that the test results GRANTED and the Orders of December 13, 1993, February 7,
of the Fatima examinees be nullified. The case was docketed as 1994, February 28, 1994, and April 4, 1994 of the RTC-Manila,
Adm. Case No. 1687 by the PRC. Branch 52, and all further proceedings taken by it in Special
Civil Action No. 93-66530 are hereby DECLARED NULL and
On July 28, 1993, the RTC issued an Order in Civil Case No. VOID. The said RTC-Manila is ordered to allow petitioners
93-66530 granting the preliminary mandatory injunction sought counsel to cross-examine the respondents witnesses, to allow
by the respondents. It ordered the petitioners to administer the petitioners to present their evidence in due course of trial, and
physicians oath to Arlene V. De Guzman et al., and enter their thereafter to decide the case on the merits on the basis of the
names in the rolls of the PRC. evidence of the parties. Costs against respondents.

The petitioners then filed a special civil action for certiorari with IT IS SO ORDERED.8
the Court of Appeals to set aside the mandatory injunctive writ,
docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 31701. The trial was then set and notices were sent to the parties.

On October 21, 1993, the appellate court decided CA-G.R. SP A day before the first hearing, on September 22, 1994, the
No. 31701, with the dispositive portion of the Decision petitioners filed an Urgent Ex-Parte Manifestation and Motion
ordaining as follows: praying for the partial reconsideration of the appellate courts
decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 34506, and for the outright On July 9, 1998, we disposed of G.R. Nos. 117817 and 118437
dismissal of Civil Case No. 93-66530. The petitioners asked for in this wise:
the suspension of the proceedings.
WHEREFORE, the petition in G.R. No. 117817 is DISMISSED
In its Order dated September 23, 1994, the trial court granted the for being moot. The petition in G.R. No. 118437 is likewise
aforesaid motion, cancelled the scheduled hearing dates, and DISMISSED on the ground that there is a pending appeal before
reset the proceedings to October 21 and 28, 1994. the Court of Appeals. Assistant Solicitor General Amparo M.
Cabotaje-Tang is advised to be more circumspect in her dealings
Meanwhile, on October 25, 1994, the Court of Appeals denied with the courts as a repetition of the same or similar acts will be
the partial motion for reconsideration in CA-G.R. SP No. 34506. dealt with accordingly.
Thus, petitioners filed with the Supreme Court a petition for
review docketed as G.R. No. 117817, entitled Professional SO ORDERED.12
Regulation Commission, et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al.
While CA-G.R. SP No. 37283 was awaiting disposition by the
On November 11, 1994, counsel for the petitioners failed to appellate court, Arnel V. Herrera, one of the original petitioners
appear at the trial of Civil Case No. 93-66530. Upon motion of in Civil Case No. 93-66530, joined by twenty-seven intervenors,
the respondents herein, the trial court ruled that herein to wit: Fernando F. Mandapat, Ophelia C. Hidalgo, Bernadette
petitioners waived their right to cross-examine the herein T. Mendoza, Ruby B. Lantin-Tan, Fernando T. Cruz, Marissa A.
respondents. Trial was reset to November 28, 1994. Regodon, Ma. Eloisa Q. Mallari-Largoza, Cheryl R. Triguero,
Joseph A. Jao, Bernadette H. Cabuhat, Evelyn S. Acosta-
On November 25, 1994, petitioners counsel moved for the Cabanes, Laura M. Santos, Maritel M. Echiverri, Bernadette C.
inhibition of the trial court judge for alleged partiality. On Escusa, Carlosito C. Domingo, Alicia S. Lizano, Elnora R.
November 28, 1994, the day the Motion to Inhibit was to be Raqueno-Rabaino, Saibzur N. Edding, Derileen D. Dorado-
heard, petitioners failed to appear. Thus, the trial court denied Edding, Robert B. Sanchez, Maria Rosario L. Leonor-
the Motion to Inhibit and declared Civil Case No. 93-66530 Lacandula, Geraldine Elizabeth M. Pagilagan-Palma, Margarita
deemed submitted for decision. Belinda L. Vicencio-Gamilla, Herminigilda E. Conejos,
Leuvina P. Chico-Paguio, Elcin C. Arriola-Ocampo, and Jose
On December 19, 1994, the trial court handed down its judgment Ramoncito P. Navarro, manifested that they were no longer
in Civil Case No. 93-66530, the fallo of which reads: interested in proceeding with the case and moved for its
dismissal. A similar manifestation and motion was later filed by
WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered ordering the respondents intervenors Mary Jean I. Yeban-Merlan, Michael L. Serrano,
to allow the petitioners and intervenors (except those with Norma G. Lafavilla, Arnulfo A. Salvador, Belinda C. Rabara,
asterisks and footnotes in pages 1 & 2 of this decision) [sic],9 to Yolanda P. Unica, Dayminda G. Bontuyan, Clarissa B. Baclig,
take the physicians oath and to register them as physicians. Ma. Luisa S. Gutierrez, Rhoneil R. Deveraturda, Aleli A.
Gollayan, Evelyn C. Cundangan, Frederick D. Francisco,
It should be made clear that this decision is without prejudice to Violeta V. Meneses, Melita J. Caedo, Clarisa SJ. Nicolas,
any administrative disciplinary action which may be taken Federico L. Castillo, Karangalan D. Serrano, Danilo A. Villaver,
against any of the petitioners for such causes and in the manner Grace E. Uy, Lydia C. Chan, and Melvin M. Usita. The Court of
provided by law and consistent with the requirements of the Appeals ruled that its decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283 would
Constitution as any other professionals. not apply to them.

No costs. On May 16, 2000, the Court of Appeals decided CA-G.R. SP


No. 37283, with the following fallo, to wit:
SO ORDERED.10
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the decision
As a result of these developments, petitioners filed with this appealed from, We hereby AFFIRM the same and DISMISS the
Court a petition for review on certiorari docketed as G.R. No. instant appeal.
118437, entitled Professional Regulation Commission v. Hon.
David G. Nitafan, praying inter alia, that (1) G.R. No. 118437 No pronouncement as to costs.
be consolidated with G.R. No. 117817; (2) the decision of the
Court of Appeals dated August 31, 1994 in CA-G.R. SP No. SO ORDERED.13
34506 be nullified for its failure to decree the dismissal of Civil
Case No. 93-66530, and in the alternative, to set aside the In sustaining the trial courts decision, the appellate court
decision of the trial court in Civil Case No. 93-66530, order the ratiocinated that the respondents complied with all the statutory
trial court judge to inhibit himself, and Civil Case No. 93-66530 requirements for admission into the licensure examination for
be re-raffled to another branch. physicians in February 1993. They all passed the said
examination. Having fulfilled the requirements of Republic Act
On December 26, 1994, the petitioners herein filed their Notice No. 2382,14 they should be allowed to take their oaths as
of Appeal11 in Civil Case No. 93-66530, thereby elevating the physicians and be registered in the rolls of the PRC.
case to the Court of Appeals, where it was docketed as CA-G.R.
SP No. 37283. Hence, this petition raising the following issues:

In our Resolution of June 7, 1995, G.R. No. 118437 was I


consolidated with G.R. No. 117817.
WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENTS HAVE A VALID
CAUSE OF ACTION FOR MANDAMUS AGAINST
PETITIONERS IN THE LIGHT OF THE RESOLUTION OF excludes another from the use and enjoyment of a right or office
THIS HONORABLE COURT IN G.R. NO. 112315 to which the other is entitled.
AFFIRMING THE COURT OF APPEALS DECISION
DECLARING THAT IF EVER THERE IS SOME DOUBT AS We shall discuss the issues successively.
TO THE MORAL FITNESS OF EXAMINEES, THE
ISSUANCE OF LICENSE TO PRACTICE MEDICINE IS 1. On The Existence of a Duty of the Board of Medicine To Issue
NOT AUTOMATICALLY GRANTED TO THE Certificates of Registration as Physicians under Rep. Act No.
SUCCESSFUL EXAMINEES. 2382.

II For mandamus to prosper, there must be a showing that the


officer, board, or official concerned, has a clear legal duty, not
WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITION FOR MANDAMUS involving discretion.19 Moreover, there must be statutory
COULD PROCEED DESPITE THE PENDENCY OF authority for the performance of the act,20 and the performance
ADMINISTRATIVE CASE NO. 1687, WHICH WAS of the duty has been refused.21 Thus, it must be pertinently
PRECISELY LODGED TO DETERMINE THE MORAL asked now: Did petitioners have the duty to administer the
FITNESS OF RESPONDENTS TO BECOME DOCTORS.15 Hippocratic Oath and register respondents as physicians under
the Medical Act of 1959?
To our mind, the only issue is: Did the Court of Appeals commit
a reversible error of law in sustaining the judgment of the trial As found by the Court of Appeals, on which we agree on the
court that respondents are entitled to a writ of mandamus? basis of the records:

The petitioners submit that a writ of mandamus will not lie in It bears emphasizing herein that petitioner-appellees and
this case. They point out that for a writ of mandamus to issue, intervenor-appellees have fully complied with all the statutory
the applicant must have a well-defined, clear and certain legal requirements for admission into the licensure examinations for
right to the thing demanded and it is the duty of the respondent physicians conducted and administered by the respondent-
to perform the act required. Thus, mandamus may be availed of appellants on February 12, 14, 20 and 21, 1993. Stress, too, must
only when the duty sought to be performed is a ministerial and be made of the fact that all of them successfully passed the same
not a discretionary one. The petitioners argue that the appellate examinations.22
courts decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283 upholding the
decision of the trial court in Civil Case No. 93-66530 The crucial query now is whether the Court of Appeals erred in
overlooked its own pronouncement in CA-G.R. SP No. 31701. concluding that petitioners should allow the respondents to take
The Court of Appeals held in CA-G.R. SP No. 31701 that the their oaths as physicians and register them, steps which would
issuance of a license to engage in the practice of medicine enable respondents to practice the medical profession23
becomes discretionary on the PRC if there exists some doubt pursuant to Section 20 of the Medical Act of 1959?
that the successful examinee has not fully met the requirements
of the law. The petitioners stress that this Courts Resolution The appellate court relied on a single provision, Section 20 of
dated May 24, 1994 in G.R. No. 112315 held that there was no Rep. Act No. 2382, in concluding that the petitioners had the
showing "that the Court of Appeals had committed any ministerial obligation to administer the Hippocratic Oath to
reversible error in rendering the questioned judgment" in CA- respondents and register them as physicians. But it is a basic rule
G.R. SP No. 31701. The petitioners point out that our Resolution in statutory construction that each part of a statute should be
in G.R. No. 112315 has long become final and executory. construed in connection with every other part to produce a
harmonious whole, not confining construction to only one
Respondents counter that having passed the 1993 licensure section.24 The intent or meaning of the statute should be
examinations for physicians, the petitioners have the obligation ascertained from the statute taken as a whole, not from an
to administer to them the oath as physicians and to issue their isolated part of the provision. Accordingly, Section 20, of Rep.
certificates of registration as physicians pursuant to Section Act No. 2382, as amended should be read in conjunction with
2016 of Rep. Act No. 2382. The Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. the other provisions of the Act. Thus, to determine whether the
SP No. 37283, found that respondents complied with all the petitioners had the ministerial obligation to administer the
requirements of Rep. Act No. 2382. Furthermore, respondents Hippocratic Oath to respondents and register them as
were admitted by the Medical Board to the licensure physicians, recourse must be had to the entirety of the Medical
examinations and had passed the same. Hence, pursuant to Act of 1959.
Section 20 of Rep. Act No. 2382, the petitioners had the
obligation to administer their oaths as physicians and register A careful reading of Section 20 of the Medical Act of 1959
them. discloses that the law uses the word "shall" with respect to the
issuance of certificates of registration. Thus, the petitioners
Mandamus is a command issuing from a court of competent "shall sign and issue certificates of registration to those who
jurisdiction, in the name of the state or the sovereign, directed to have satisfactorily complied with the requirements of the
some inferior court, tribunal, or board, or to some corporation or Board." In statutory construction the term "shall" is a word of
person requiring the performance of a particular duty therein command. It is given imperative meaning. Thus, when an
specified, which duty results from the official station of the party examinee satisfies the requirements for the grant of his
to whom the writ is directed, or from operation of law.17 Section physicians license, the Board is obliged to administer to him his
3 of Rule 6518 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure outlines oath and register him as a physician, pursuant to Section 20 and
two situations when a writ of mandamus may issue, when any par. (1) of Section 2225 of the Medical Act of 1959.
tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person unlawfully (1)
neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically However, the surrounding circumstances in this case call for
enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station; or (2) serious inquiry concerning the satisfactory compliance with the
Board requirements by the respondents. The unusually high
scores in the two most difficult subjects was phenomenal, The function of mandamus is not to establish a right but to
according to Fr. Nebres, the consultant of PRC on the matter, enforce one that has been established by law. If no legal right
and raised grave doubts about the integrity, if not validity, of the has been violated, there can be no application of a legal remedy,
tests. These doubts have to be appropriately resolved. and the writ of mandamus is a legal remedy for a legal right.32
There must be a well-defined, clear and certain legal right to the
Under the second paragraph of Section 22, the Board is vested thing demanded.33 It is long established rule that a license to
with the power to conduct administrative investigations and practice medicine is a privilege or franchise granted by the
"disapprove applications for examination or registration," government.34
pursuant to the objectives of Rep. Act No. 2382 as outlined in
Section 126 thereof. In this case, after the investigation, the It is true that this Court has upheld the constitutional right35 of
Board filed before the PRC, Adm. Case No. 1687 against the every citizen to select a profession or course of study subject to
respondents to ascertain their moral and mental fitness to a fair, reasonable, and equitable admission and academic
practice medicine, as required by Section 927 of Rep. Act No. requirements.36 But like all rights and freedoms guaranteed by
2382. In its Decision dated July 1, 1997, the Board ruled: the Charter, their exercise may be so regulated pursuant to the
police power of the State to safeguard health, morals, peace,
WHEREFORE, the BOARD hereby CANCELS the education, order, safety, and general welfare of the people.37
respondents[] examination papers in the Physician Licensure Thus, persons who desire to engage in the learned professions
Examinations given in February 1993 and further DEBARS requiring scientific or technical knowledge may be required to
them from taking any licensure examination for a period of ONE take an examination as a prerequisite to engaging in their chosen
(1) YEAR from the date of the promulgation of this DECISION. careers. This regulation takes particular pertinence in the field
They may, if they so desire, apply for the scheduled of medicine, to protect the public from the potentially deadly
examinations for physicians after the lapse of the period effects of incompetence and ignorance among those who would
imposed by the BOARD. practice medicine. In a previous case, it may be recalled, this
Court has ordered the Board of Medical Examiners to annul both
SO ORDERED.28 its resolution and certificate authorizing a Spanish subject, with
the degree of Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery from the
Until the moral and mental fitness of the respondents could be University of Barcelona, Spain, to practice medicine in the
ascertained, according to petitioners, the Board has discretion to Philippines, without first passing the examination required by
hold in abeyance the administration of the Hippocratic Oath and the Philippine Medical Act.38 In another case worth noting, we
the issuance of the certificates to them. The writ of mandamus upheld the power of the State to upgrade the selection of
does not lie to compel performance of an act which is not duly applicants into medical schools through admission tests.39
authorized.
It must be stressed, nevertheless, that the power to regulate the
The respondents nevertheless argue that under Section 20, the exercise of a profession or pursuit of an occupation cannot be
Board shall not issue a certificate of registration only in the exercised by the State or its agents in an arbitrary, despotic, or
following instances: (1) to any candidate who has been oppressive manner. A political body that regulates the exercise
convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction of any criminal of a particular privilege has the authority to both forbid and grant
offense involving moral turpitude; (2) or has been found guilty such privilege in accordance with certain conditions. Such
of immoral or dishonorable conduct after the investigation by conditions may not, however, require giving up ones
the Board; or (3) has been declared to be of unsound mind. They constitutional rights as a condition to acquiring the license.40
aver that none of these circumstances are present in their case. Under the view that the legislature cannot validly bestow an
arbitrary power to grant or refuse a license on a public agency
Petitioners reject respondents argument. We are informed that or officer, courts will generally strike down license legislation
in Board Resolution No. 26,29 dated July 21, 1993, the Board that vests in public officials discretion to grant or refuse a license
resolved to file charges against the examinees from Fatima to carry on some ordinarily lawful business, profession, or
College of Medicine for "immorality, dishonesty, fraud, and activity without prescribing definite rules and conditions for the
deceit in the Obstetrics-Gynecology and Biochemistry guidance of said officials in the exercise of their power.41
examinations." It likewise sought to cancel the examination
results obtained by the examinees from the Fatima College. In the present case, the aforementioned guidelines are provided
for in Rep. Act No. 2382, as amended, which prescribes the
Section 830 of Rep. Act No. 2382 prescribes, among others, that requirements for admission to the practice of medicine, the
a person who aspires to practice medicine in the Philippines, qualifications of candidates for the board examinations, the
must have "satisfactorily passed the corresponding Board scope and conduct of the examinations, the grounds for denying
Examination." Section 22, in turn, provides that the oath may the issuance of a physicians license, or revoking a license that
only be administered "to physicians who qualified in the has been issued. Verily, to be granted the privilege to practice
examinations." The operative word here is "satisfactorily," medicine, the applicant must show that he possesses all the
defined as "sufficient to meet a condition or obligation" or qualifications and none of the disqualifications. Furthermore, it
"capable of dispelling doubt or ignorance."31 Gleaned from must appear that he has fully complied with all the conditions
Board Resolution No. 26, the licensing authority apparently did and requirements imposed by the law and the licensing
not find that the respondents "satisfactorily passed" the licensure authority. Should doubt taint or mar the compliance as being less
examinations. The Board instead sought to nullify the than satisfactory, then the privilege will not issue. For said
examination results obtained by the respondents. privilege is distinguishable from a matter of right, which may be
demanded if denied. Thus, without a definite showing that the
2. On the Right Of The Respondents To Be Registered As aforesaid requirements and conditions have been satisfactorily
Physicians
met, the courts may not grant the writ of mandamus to secure Escusa, Carlosito C. Domingo, Alicia S. Lizano, Elnora R.
said privilege without thwarting the legislative will. Raqueno-Rabaino, Saibzur N. Edding, Derileen D. Dorado-
Edding, Robert B. Sanchez, Maria Rosario Leonor-Lacandula,
3. On the Ripeness of the Petition for Mandamus Geraldine Elizabeth M. Pagilagan-Palma, Margarita Belinda L.
Vicencio-Gamilla, Herminigilda E. Conejos, Leuvina P. Chico-
Lastly, the petitioners herein contend that the Court of Appeals Paguio, Elcin C. Arriola-Ocampo, and Jose Ramoncito P.
should have dismissed the petition for mandamus below for Navarro manifested to the Court of Appeals during the pendency
being premature. They argue that the administrative remedies of CA-G.R. SP No. 37283, that they were no longer interested
had not been exhausted. The records show that this is not the in proceeding with the case and moved for its dismissal insofar
first time that petitioners have sought the dismissal of Civil Case as they were concerned. A similar manifestation and motion
No. 93-66530. This issue was raised in G.R. No. 115704, which were later filed by intervenors Mary Jean I. Yeban-Merlan,
petition we referred to the Court of Appeals, where it was Michael L. Serrano, Norma G. Lafavilla, Arnulfo A. Salvador,
docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 34506. On motion for Belinda C. Rabarra, Yolanda P. Unica, Dayminda G. Bontuyan,
reconsideration in CA-G.R. SP No. 34506, the appellate court Clarissa B. Baclig, Ma. Luisa S. Gutierrez, Rhoneil R.
denied the motion to dismiss on the ground that the prayers for Deveraturda, Aleli A. Gollayan, Evelyn C. Cundangan,
the nullification of the order of the trial court and the dismissal Frederick D. Francisco, Violeta V. Meneses, Melita J. Caedo,
of Civil Case No. 93-66530 were inconsistent reliefs. In G.R. Clarisa SJ. Nicolas, Federico L. Castillo, Karangalan D.
No. 118437, the petitioners sought to nullify the decision of the Serrano, Danilo A. Villaver, Grace E. Uy, Lydia C. Chan, and
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 34506 insofar as it did not Melvin M. Usita. Following these manifestations and motions,
order the dismissal of Civil Case No. 93-66530. In our the appellate court in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283 decreed that its
consolidated decision, dated July 9, 1998, in G.R. Nos. 117817 ruling would not apply to them. Thus, inasmuch as the instant
& 118437, this Court speaking through Justice Bellosillo opined case is a petition for review of the appellate courts ruling in CA-
that: G.R. SP No. 37283, a decision which is inapplicable to the
aforementioned respondents will similarly not apply to them.
Indeed, the issue as to whether the Court of Appeals erred in not
ordering the dismissal of Civil Case No. 93-66530 sought to be As to Achilles J. Peralta, Evelyn O. Ramos, Sally B. Bunagan,
resolved in the instant petition has been rendered meaningless Rogelio B. Ancheta, Oscar H. Padua, Jr., Evelyn D. Grajo,
by an event taking place prior to the filing of this petition and Valentino P. Arboleda, Carlos M. Bernardo, Jr., Mario D.
denial thereof should follow as a logical consequence.42 There Cuaresma, Violeta C. Felipe, Percival H. Pangilinan, Corazon
is no longer any justiciable controversy so that any declaration M. Cruz and Samuel B. Bangoy, herein decision shall not apply
thereon would be of no practical use or value.43 It should be pursuant to the Orders of the trial court in Civil Case No. 93-
recalled that in its decision of 19 December 1994 the trial court 66530, dropping their names from the suit.
granted the writ of mandamus prayed for by private respondents,
which decision was received by petitioners on 20 December Consequently, this Decision is binding only on the remaining
1994. Three (3) days after, or on 23 December 1994, petitioners respondents, namely: Arlene V. de Guzman, Celerina S.
filed the instant petition. By then, the remedy available to them Navarro, Rafael I. Tolentino, Bernardita B. Sy, Gloria T.
was to appeal the decision to the Court of Appeals, which they Jularbal, Hubert S. Nazareno, Nancy J. Chavez, Ernesto L. Cue,
in fact did, by filing a notice of appeal on 26 December 1994.44 Herminio V. Fernandez, Jr., Maria Victoria M. Lacsamana and
Merly D. Sta. Ana, as well as the petitioners.
The petitioners have shown no cogent reason for us to reverse
the aforecited ruling. Nor will their reliance upon the doctrine of WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. Accordingly,
the exhaustion of administrative remedies in the instant case (1) the assailed decision dated May 16, 2000, of the Court of
advance their cause any. Appeals, in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283, which affirmed the
judgment dated December 19, 1994, of the Regional Trial Court
Section 2645 of the Medical Act of 1959 provides for the of Manila, Branch 52, in Civil Case No. 93-66530, ordering
administrative and judicial remedies that respondents herein can petitioners to administer the physicians oath to herein
avail to question Resolution No. 26 of the Board of Medicine, respondents as well as the resolution dated August 25, 2000, of
namely: (a) appeal the unfavorable judgment to the PRC; (b) the appellate court, denying the petitioners motion for
should the PRC ruling still be unfavorable, to elevate the matter reconsideration, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE; and (2) the
on appeal to the Office of the President; and (c) should they still writ of mandamus, issued in Civil Case No. 93-66530, and
be unsatisfied, to ask for a review of the case or to bring the case affirmed by the appellate court in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283 is
to court via a special civil action of certiorari. Thus, as a rule, NULLIFIED AND SET ASIDE.
mandamus will not lie when administrative remedies are still
available.46 However, the doctrine of exhaustion of SO ORDERED.
administrative remedies does not apply where, as in this case, a
pure question of law is raised.47 On this issue, no reversible
error may, thus, be laid at the door of the appellate court in CA-
G.R. SP No. 37283, when it refused to dismiss Civil Case No.
93-66530.

As we earlier pointed out, herein respondents Arnel V. Herrera,


Fernando F. Mandapat, Ophelia C. Hidalgo, Bernadette T.
Mendoza, Ruby B. Lantin-Tan, Fernando T. Cruz, Marissa A.
Regodon, Ma. Eloisa Q. Mallari-Largoza, Cheryl R. Triguero,
Joseph A. Jao, Bernadette H. Cabuhat, Evelyn S. Acosta-
Cabanes, Laura M. Santos, Maritel M. Echiverri, Bernadette C.
it a temporary permit to operate in the municipality, instead of
in Zamboanga City where the school was first proposed to be
located. It has since adopted Antipolo as its permanent site and
changed its name to the Rizal College of Medicine.

In 1985, the Department of Education, Culture and Sports


(DECS) and the Board of Medical Education (BME) authorized
the Commission on Medical Education to conduct a study of all
medical schools in the Philippines. The, report of the
Commission showed that the College fell very much short of the
minimum standards set for medical schools. 1 The, team of
inspectors, composed of Doctors Florentino Herrera, Jr., Elena
Ines Cuyegkeng, Horacio Estrada, Jose V. Silao, Jr. and Andres
L. Reyes, recommended the closure of the school 2 upon the
following findings, to wit:

(a) the College was not fulfilling the purpose for which it
had been created because of its inappropriate location and the
absence in its curriculum of subjects relating to Muslim culture
and welfare;
(b) its lack of university affiliation hindered its students
from obtaining a "balanced humanistic and scientific"
education;

(c) it did not have its philosophy base hospital for the
Republic of the Philippines training of its students in the major clinical disciplines, as
SUPREME COURT required by the DECS;
Manila (d) more than 60% of the college faculty did not teach in
the College full-time, resulting in shortened and irregular class
EN BANC hours, subject overloading, and in general, poor quality
teaching.
G.R. No. 88259 August 10, 1989
The, school disputed these findings as biased and
THE BOARD OF MEDICAL EDUCATION and the HON. discriminatory. At its request, the Board of Medical Education,
LOURDES R. QUISUMBING, in her capacity as Secretary in May, 1987, sent another team of doctors 3 for a re-evaluation
of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports and of the College. After inspection, the team confirmed the
Chairman, Board of Medical Education, petitioners, previous findings and recommended the phase-out of the school.
vs. 4
HON. DANIEL P. ALFONSO, Presiding Judge of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 74, Fourth Judicial Region, The, first two reports were verified on June 23, 1987 by a third
Antipolo, Rizal, and the PHILIPPINE MUSLIM- team of inspectors. 5 A year thereafter, the College failed
CHRISTIAN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE FOUNDATION, another test what was in effect the fourth evaluation of its fitness
INC., respondents. to continue as a medical school conducted on March 4 and 5,
1988 by a team from the Board of Medical Education
Carpio, Villaraza & Cruz for private respondent. determining the eligibility of medical schools for government
Anatolio S. Tuazon, Jr. for intervenors. recognition. The, College was adjudged "inadequate" in all
aspects of the survey, to wit, college, curriculum, facilities,
NARVASA, J.: teaching hospital, and studentry. 6 The, inspectors, Doctors Nilo
Rosas, Macario Tan and Elena Ines Cuyegkeng, accordingly
Petitioners, the Board of Medical Education, the government recommended denial of government; recognition.
agency which supervises and regulates the country's medical
colleges, and Secretary Lourdes R. Quisumbing of the Accordingly, the Board of Medical Education recommended to
Department of Education, Culture and Sports, as Chairperson of the DECS the closure of the College, effective the end of the
the Board, pray for a writ of certiorari to nullify and set aside the school year 1988-1989. The, College however succeeded in
order issued by respondent Judge Daniel P. Alfonso, Regional having the Board form yet another team to review the previous
Trial Court, Antipolo, Rizal, in Civil Case No. 1385 restraining findings. Doctors Elena Ines Cuyegkeng, Alberto Romualdez,
the enforcement of petitioner Quisumbing's order of closure of Artemio Ordinaria Joven Cuanang and Nilo L. Rosas conducted
the respondent Philippine Muslim-Christian College of their inspection on June 18, 1988. Their findings: although there
Medicine Foundation, Inc. (hereafter simply the had been a "major effort to improve the physical plant for
College).lwph1.t classroom instructions and the library, serious deficiencies
remain(ed) in the areas of clinical facilities and library
The, College, a private educational institution, was founded in operations;" "faculty continue(d) to be quite inadequate with no
1981 for the avowed purpose of producing physicians who will prospects for satisfactory growth and development;" "student
"emancipate Muslim citizens from age-old attitudes on health." profile ... (was) below par from the point of view of credentials
The, unstable peace and order situation in Mindanao led to the (NMAT and transfer records) as well as level knowledge and
establishment of the College in Antipolo, Rizal, which granted preparedness at various stages of medical education," and "the
most serious deficiency ... (was) the almost total lack of serious three (3) years from the last evaluation, which in this instance
development efforts in academic medicine i.e., seeming lack was made, on June 18, 1988.
of philosophy of teaching, no serious effort to study curricula,
almost non-existent innovative approaches." Again, the Resort to the Courts to obtain a reversal of the determination by
recommendation was to close the College with provisions for the Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports that the College
the dispersal of its students to other medical schools. 7 is unfit to continue its operations is in this case clearly
unavailing. There is, to begin with, no law authorizing an appeal
In her letter of June 23, 1988, Secretary Quisumbing informed from decisions or orders of the Secretary of Education, Culture
the Chairman of the College's Board of Trustees, Mr. Victor and Sports to this Court or any other Court. It is not the function
Sumulong, of the decision of the Board of Medical Education to of this Court or any other Court to review the decisions and
close the College. Mr. Sumulong instead proposed a gradual orders of the Secretary on the issue of whether or not an
phase-out starting the school year 1989-1990 in order not to educational institution meets the norms and standards required
dislocate the students and staff and to minimize financial loss. 8 for permission to operate and to continue operating as such. On
The, Board subsequently allowed the College to continue its this question, no Court has the power or prerogative to substitute
operations but only until May, 1989, after which it was to be its opinion for that of the Secretary. Indeed, it is obviously not
closed, this decision being "final and unappealable." The, expected that any Court would have the competence to do so.
College was, however, assured of assistance in the relocation of The, only authority reposed in the Courts in the matter is the
its students and in its rehabilitation as an institution for health- determination of whether or not the Secretary of Education,
related and paramedical courses. 9 Culture and Sports has acted within the scope of powers granted
him by law and the Constitution. As long as it appears that he
The, College appealed the decision to the Office of the has done so, any decision rendered by him should not and will
President, imputing grave abuse of discretion to the Secretary. not be subject to review and reversal by any court.
10 On February 16, 1989, Executive Secretary Catalino
Macaraig, Jr., finding "no reason to disturb" the contested Of course, if it should be made, to appear to the Court that those
decision, affirmed it. 11 powers were in a case exercised so whimsically, capriciously,
oppressively, despotically or arbitrarily as to call for peremptory
On March 2, 1989, the College went to court. It filed Civil Case correction or stated otherwise, that the Secretary had acted
No. 1385 in the court of respondent Judge Daniel P. Alfonso with grave abuse of discretion, or had unlawfully neglected the
against Secretary Quisumbing in her capacity as Secretary of performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a
Education, Culture and Sports, questioning the decision as duty, or excluded another from the use or enjoyment of a right
illegal, oppressive, arbitrary and discriminatory and applied for or office to which such other is entitled it becomes the Court's
a writ of preliminary injunction to restrain its implementation. duty to rectify such action through the extraordinary remedies
of certiorari, prohibition, or mandamus, whichever may properly
The, writ issued as prayed for by order of the respondent Judge apply. Yet even in these extreme instances, where a Court finds
dated May 10, 1989. 12 His Honor ruled that the inspection of that there has been abuse of powers by the Secretary and
June 18, 1988 was the principal basis of the closure order, and consequently nullifies and/or forbids such an abuse of power, or
on such basis sustained the claim of the College that the compliance whatever is needful to keep its exercise within
inspection was done in an "arbitrary and haphazard manner" by bounds, the Court, absent any compelling reason to do
a team of inspectors who had already prejudged the school. otherwise, should still leave to the Secretary the ultimate
Judge Alfonso held that there was no evidence supporting the determination of the issue of the satisfy action or fulfillment by
findings in the report of June 18, 1988, and declared that his an educational institution of the standards set down for its
philosophy ocular inspection of the College disclosed that the legitimate operation, as to which it should not ordinarily
deficiencies mentioned in the report were non-existent, and that substitute its over judgment for that of said office.
on the contrary, the laboratory and library areas were "big
enough," and in the operations of the proposed base hospital In any case, the recorded facts quite clearly fail to support the
were going on smoothly at the time of the ocular inspection." College's claim of grave abuse of discretion containing the order
of closure, and on the contrary convincingly show the
The, school thereupon promptly advertised in major newspaper challenged decision to be correct. From 1985, no less than five
dailies for enrollees in all levels of the medical college and in its (5) surveys were conducted of respondent institution to
pre-board review classes. 13 determine its compliance with the minimum standards
established for a medical college. The, first survey, that
Hence the present petition, assailing the order of injunction undertaken by the Commission on Medical Education, disclosed
dated May 10, 1989 as having been issued with grave abuse of such various and significant deficiencies in the school as to
discretion, and praying for a restraining order against its constrain the inspectors to recommend its closure. Four (4) other
enforcement as well as for the dismissal of the action instituted surveys were thereafter made by as many different committees
in the court a quo. The, Court on June 1, 1989 ordered the or teams, at the school's instance or otherwise, all of which
respondent College to desist from advertising and admitting basically confirmed the results of that first survey. Moreover,
students, and the respondent judge to refrain from enforcing his the findings of all five (5) surveys were affirmed by the Office
injunction order. of the President. Indeed, the petitioner, through the Chairman of
its Board of Trustees, to all intents and purposes accepted the
The, College in its Comment would justify its entitlement to the validity of the findings of those five (5) survey groups when it
questioned injunction on the ground that the closure order proposed, in 1988, a gradual phase-out of the school starting in
against which it was directed was issued without factual basis 1989. The, respondent College knew that the recommendation
and in violation of the right of the College to due process of law, for its closure was made, as early as 1986, that recommendation
and that it violates MECS Order No. 5 (Series of 1986) to the was reiterated and reaffirmed four (4) times thereafter until it
effect that the penalty of closure cannot be imposed earlier than was finally approved and acted upon by the Secretary, whose
action was confirmed by the Office of the President. Said period therein snowed, which in this case is sought to be counted
respondent was given notice in June 1988, that in consequence from June 18, 1988, or the date of the last evaluation. The,
of all these, the time for its definite closure had been unalterably provision referred to reads:
set at May, 1989, a notice which was accompanied by
assurances of assistance in the relocation of its students before The following sanction shall be applied against any medical
June, 1989 and in its rehabilitation as a school for other courses. school, for failure to comply with the specific requirements of
After having resorted to the whole range of administrative the essentials, viz.:
remedies available to it, without success, it sought to obtain from
the respondent Court the relief it could not obtain from those c. Withdrawal or cancellation of the school's government;
sources, and what can only be described as a deliberate attempt authority to operate, for failure to fully comply with the
to frustrate and obstruct implementation of the decision for its prescribed requirements after three (3) years from the last
closure as of June, 1989 openly solicited, by newspaper evaluation conducted on the school.
advertisements or otherwise, enrollment of new and old
students. It must at once be obvious from a reading of the provision,
paragraph c, that the situation therein contemplated where a
Given these facts, and it being a matter of law that the Secretary school is found to have failed to "fully comply with the
of Education, Culture and Sports exercises the power to enjoin prescribed requirements," i.e., has not complied with some
compliance with the requirements laid down for medical schools requirements and has failed to do so within three (3) years from
and to mete out sanctions where he finds that violations thereof the last evaluation is quite distinct from that obtaining in the case
have been committed, it was a grave abuse of discretion for the at bar where respondent school was found to have
respondent judge to issue the questioned injunction and thereby deficiencies so serious as to warrant its immediate closure. Said
thwart official action, in the premises correctly taken, allowing paragraph c should not be construed to prohibit absolutely the
the College to operate without the requisite government permit. withdrawal or cancellation of government; authority to operate
A single ocular inspection, done after the College had been pre- until after three (3) years from the last evaluation conducted on
warned thereof, did not, in the circumstances, warrant only the the school; or, stated otherwise, it does not unexceptionally
findings of more qualified inspectors about the true state of the prescribe a three-year waiting period before authority to operate
College, its faculty, facilities, operations, etc. The, members of may be withdrawn. Rather, it should be read as giving the
the evaluating team came from the different sectors in the fields Secretary of Education the discretion, depending on the
of education and medicine, 14 and their judgment in this seriousness of the discovered deficiencies, to afford an
particular area is certainly better than that of the respondent educational institution which has failed to comply with some
Judge whose sole and only visit to the school could hardly have requirement or other, time not exceeding three (3) years to
given him much more to go on than a brief look at the physical correct the deficiencies before applying the sanction of
plant and facilities and into the conduct of the classes and other withdrawal or cancellation of the government; authority to
school activities. Respondent Judge gravely abused his operate. The, circumstances in the case at bar are far from
discretion in substituting his judgment for theirs. It is well- nominal and, to repeat, are different from those obviously
settled doctrine that courts of justice should not generally envisioned by the paragraph in question. There had never been
interfere with purely administrative and discretionary functions; a recommendation that the College be granted an opportunity to
that courts have no supervisory power over the proceedings and comply with certain requirements. From the outset, the proposal
actions of the administrative departments of the government; had been that it be forthwith closed, its discovered deficiencies
involving the exercise of judgment and findings of facts, as a medical college being of so serious a character as to be
because by reason of their special knowledge and expertise over irremediable. The, other four (4) surveys were conducted, not to
matters falling under their jurisdiction, the latter are in a better determine if in the course of time the petitioner school had
position to pass judgment on such matters andn their findings of already fully complied with all the prescribed requisites, but
facts in that regard are generally accorded respect, if not finality, rather, whether or not the original recommendation for its
by the courts. 15 There are, to be sure, exceptions to this general closure was correct and should be sustained. And, as already
rule but none of them obtains in this case. mentioned, the subsequent surveys, over a period of more than
three (3) years, served but to confirm the validity of that initial
The, claim of denial of due process likewise holds no water, as proposal for its closure. Under these circumstances, therefore,
the record clearly shows that the College was given every even if it be assumed that the provision, paragraph c, applied to
opportunity to so improve itself as to come up to requirements, petitioner school, it must be held that there has been substantial
but remained sadly sub-standard after the inspections conducted compliance therewith.
by the evaluating teams. It had, in fact, admitted its failure to
have up to the desired standards when it proposed its gradual Having thus disposed of the issues raised by the facts of the case,
phase-out in its letter dated June 27, 1988 to Secretary the Court sees no useful purpose to be served by remanding the
Quisumbing. It was also precisely because of its complaints of case to the Trial Court for further proceedings. The, only
bias and prejudice that the Board of Medical Education acceptable reason for such a remand would be so that the Trial
dispatched new teams to survey and re-evaluate its performance. Court may determine whether or not the petitioners' first have
It had even gone all the way up to the Office of the President to acted within the scope of their powers or grossly abused them, a
seek a reversal of the order of closure. There is thus no reason matter that this Court has already passed upon here. Such a
for it to complain of a lack of opportunity to be heard and to remand cannot be justified on the theory that the Trial Court will
explain its side as well as to seek reconsideration of the ruling make its philosophy independent determination of whether or
complained of. not respondent medical institution has complied with the
minimum standards laid down for its continued operation, since,
There is also no merit in respondent College's argument that the as here ruled, it has not that power.
closure violated NMCS ORDER No. 5, Series of 1986, because
it was sought to be effected before the lapse of the three-year
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby
granted and the temporary restraining order issued by the Court
is made, permanent. The, questioned writ of preliminary
injunction dated May 10, 1989 is set aside and respondent Judge
is ordered to dismiss Civil Case No. 1385. SO ORDERED

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-25135 September 21, 1968

PHILIPPINE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, petitioner,


vs.
BOARD OF MEDICAL EXAMINERS and JOSE MA.
TORRES, respondents.

Seva-Albert-Vergara and Julio V. Presbitero for petitioner.


Regino Hermosisima, Jr., for respondent Jose Ma. Torres.
Solicitor General for respondent Board of Medical Examiners.

CONCEPCION, C.J.:

Original action for certiorari and mandamus, against the Board


of Medical Examiners and Jose Ma. Torres, to annul a resolution
of the former and a certificate issued by the same authorizing the
latter to practice medicine in the Philippines without
examination.

The facts are not disputed. Jose Ma. Torres hereinafter


referred to as respondent is a Spanish subject and a member
of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
otherwise known as the Claretian Missionaries. Having
graduated from the University of Barcelona, Spain, with the
degree of Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery, he is entitled,
under the laws of Spain, to practice medicine and surgery allege that the resolution in question is sanctioned by the
throughout the territory thereof. provisions of the Treaty above referred to; that petitioner has no
cause of action; and that the petition should be dismissed for
On January 21, 1955, respondent was granted special authority failure of the petitioner to exhaust the available administrative
to practice medicine in Lamitan, Basilan City, where he resides, remedies.
pursuant to Section 771(e) of the Revised Administrative Code
reading: Respondents cite the cases of Costas vs. Aldanese2 and Almario
vs. City Mayor 3 in support of the theory that petitioner herein
SEC. 771. Persons exempt from registration. Registration has no sufficient interest or "personality" to maintain the present
shall not be required of the following classes of persons: . . . case. In the first case, it was held that the President of the
Association of Philippine (Marine) Engineers4 had no particular
(e) In cases of epidemic or in municipalities where there is no "individual" interest, and, hence,no cause of action for
legally qualified practicing physician, or when the mandamus to compel the Collector of Customs to implement
circumstances require it, in the interest of the public health, the section 1203(j) of the Administrative Code, providing that
Director of Health may issue special authorizations, to all steamers making round trips of more than 48 hours or travelling
medical students who have completed the first three years of at night shall carry the complement of marine engineers therein
their studies, or to persons who have qualified in medicine, and specified. In the second case, a citizen of the Philippines, as
to graduate or registered nurses, who may request it. such, who is not an Applicant for any stall or booth, or the
representative of any such applicant, stallholder or any
This authority was revoked, on November 8, 1960, by the then association of persons who are deprived of the right to occupy
Secretary of Health, upon the ground that "the conditions under stalls in said market, "is not the real party in interest who has the
which it was granted no longer obtained in Lamitan Basilan capacity, right or personality" to bring an action for mandamus,
City, there being enough practising physicians in that locality." to compel the office of Pasay City to comply with the provisions
Said officer restored the authority on December 19, 1960, to be of Republic Act No. 37, by ejecting, from the public market of
revoked again, on January 22, 1963. It was renewed once more, said City, stallholders who are not nationals of the Philippines.
on September 1, 1963, and, once again, it was revoked on
February 10, 1964, upon the recommendation of the Board of Said cases are not in point. To begin with, both are actions for
Medical Examiners hereinafter referred to as the Board. On mandamus, whereas the case at bar is mainly one for certiorari.
motion for reconsideration filed by respondent, the Board Although, petitioner herein, likewise, seeks a writ of mandamus,
issued, on April 6, 1965, its Resolution No. 25, series of 1965, directing the Board to cancel the certificate of registration issued
which was approved by the President, granting respondent a to the respondent, this would be a necessary consequence of the
certificate to practice medicine in the Philippines without the writ of certiorari annulling the disputed resolution. Moreover,
examination required in Republic Act No. 2882, otherwise said two (2) cases were commenced by individuals, who, as
known as the Medical Act of 1959. The resolution relied such, had no special interest in the relief therein prayed for.
therefor upon The Treaty on the Validity of Academic Degrees Indeed, in the Almario case it was intimated that the result might
and The Exercise of the Professions between the Republic of the have been otherwise had it been brought by an "association"
Philippines and the Spanish State, signed at Manila on March 4, whose members have an interest in the subject matter of the
1949, and ratified on May 19, 1949. 1 action.

Petitioner herein, Philippine Medical Association, is a domestic This was confirmed by PHILCONSA vs. Gimenez,5 in which
corporation. On June 14, 1965, it addressed the Chairman of the we sustained the right of the Philippine Constitution Association
Board a communication requesting reconsideration of said to assail the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 3836, insofar
resolution No. 25, upon the ground that, pursuant to said as it allowed retirement gratuity and commutation of vacation
Medical Act of 1959, respondent has to take and pass the and sick leave to members of Congress and to elective officials
examination therein prescribed, before he can be allowed to thereof. Further authority in favor of petitioner herein is supplied
practice medicine in the Philippines. This letter was followed by by Nacionalista Party vs. F. Bautista Angelo 6 in which the
another, dated October 6, 1965, to which said Chairman replied Nacionalista Party successfully impugned the validity of the
on October 8, 1965, stating "that the final decision on the matter designation of the then Solicitor General as Acting Member of
will have to come from the President of the Philippines upon the Commission on Elections.
whose authority said resolution has been finally approved and
implemented." It is our considered opinion that the view adopted in the last
three (3) cases should be maintained and that, in line therewith,
Thereupon, or, on October 18, 1965, petitioner commenced the petitioner herein has sufficient interest to prosecute the case at
present action, for the purpose stated at the beginning of this bar and a cause of action against respondents herein.
decision, upon the theory that the Board had violated Republic
Act No. 2882 in granting respondent's certificate for the general As regards their objection based upon petitioner's failure to
practice of medicine in the Philippines without the examination appeal to the President, suffice it to say that the rule requiring
prescribed in said Act; that the Board had exceeded its authority exhaustion of administrative remedies is concededly subject to
in passing said Resolution, because of which the same is null exceptions, among which are cases involving only questions of
and void; that the Board should, therefore, be ordered to cancel law or when jurisdiction is in issue7or the action complained of
the certificate issued in pursuance of said resolution; and that bears the approval of a department secretary, as the disputed
petitioner has no other plain, adequate and speedy remedy in the resolution, which was approved by the Executive Secretary "by
ordinary course of law. authority of the President," or as an alter ego of the Executive. 8
The case at bar falls under these exceptions to said
In their respective answers, respondents admit the basic facts, rule.1awphl.nt
but not the conclusions drawn therefrom by the petitioner and
The main issue herein hinges on the interpretation of Article I of Board is violative of Republic Act No. 2882 and hence, null and
the Treaty aforementioned, reading as follows: void; and that, respondent Board of Medical Examiners should
be, as it is hereby ordered to cancel the certificate of registration,
The nationals of both countries who shall have obtained degrees for the practice of medicine in the Philippines, issued in favor of
or diplomas to practice the liberal professions in either of the respondent Jose Ma. Torres, without special pronouncement as
Contracting States, issued by competent national authorities, to costs. It is so ordered.
shall be deemed competent to exercise said professions in the
territory of the Other, subject to the laws and regulations of the Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro,
latter. When the degree or diploma of Bachelor, issued by Angeles and Fernando, JJ., concur.
competent national authorities allows its holder without
requiring further evidence of proficiency to pursue normally
higher courses of study, he shall also be deemed qualified to
continue his studies in the territory of either Party in conformity
with the applicable laws and regulations of the State which
recognizes the validity of the title or diploma in question, and
with the rules and regulations of the particular educational
institution in which he intends to pursue his studies.

This Treaty provision was the subject matter of our resolution of


August 15, 1961, in connection with the petition of Arturo Efren Republic of the Philippines
Garcia for admission to the Philippine Bar without taking the SUPREME COURT
Bar Examinations. After completing, in Spain, the course Manila
prescribed therefor, Garcia had been graduated from the College
of Law of the Universidad Central de Madrid with the degree of EN BANC
"Licenciado en Derecho", which entitled him to practice law in
Spain. Having invoked the provisions of said treaty in support G.R. No. 78164 July 31, 1987
of his claim of exemption from the requisite bar examinations,
this Court denied his petition upon the ground, among others ". TERESITA TABLARIN, MA, LUZ CIRIACO, MA NIMFA B.
. . that the privileges provided in the Treaty invoked by the ROVIRA, EVANGELINA S. LABAO, in their behalf and in
applicant are made expressly subject to the laws and regulations behalf of applicants for admission into the Medical Colleges
of the contracting State in whose territory it is desired to exercise during the school year 1987-88 and future years who have not
the legal profession; and Section 1 of Rule 127, in connection taken or successfully hurdled tile National Medical Admission
with Sections 2, 9, and 16 thereof, which have the force of law, Test (NMAT). petitioners,
require that before anyone can practice the legal profession in vs.
the Philippines he must first successfully pass the required bar THE HONORABLE JUDGE ANGELINA S. GUTIERREZ,
examinations; . . ." Presiding Judge of Branch XXXVII of the Regional Trial Court
of the National Capital Judicial Region with seat at Manila, THE
We find no plausible reason to depart from this view. On the HONORABLE SECRETARY LOURDES QUISUMBING, in
contrary, we reiterate the same, inasmuch as the theory of her capacity as Chairman of the BOARD OF MEDICAL
respondent herein cannot be accepted without placing graduates EDUCATION, and THE CENTER FOR EDUCATIONAL
from our own educational institutions at a disadvantage vis-a- MEASUREMENT (CEM), respondents.
vis Spanish graduates from Spanish schools, colleges or
universities. Indeed, the latter could under respondent's FELICIANO, J.:
pretense engage in the practice of medicine in the Philippines
without taking the examination prescribed in Republic Act No. The petitioners sought admission into colleges or schools of
2882, whereas the former would have to take and pass said medicine for the school year 1987-1988. However, the
examination. Worse still, since as we ruled in the Garcia case petitioners either did not take or did not successfully take the
the benefits of the aforementioned Treaty cannot be availed National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) required by the
of in the Philippines except by Spanish subjects, the result would Board of Medical Education, one of the public respondents, and
be should respondent's contention be sustained that administered by the private respondent, the Center for
graduates from Spanish schools of medicine would be entitled Educational Measurement (CEM).
to practice medicine in the Philippines without examination, if
they were Spanish subjects, but not if they are Filipinos. On 5 March 1987, the petitioners filed with the Regional Trial
Court, National Capital Judicial Region, a Petition for
Surely said treaty was not made to discriminate against Declaratory Judgment and Prohibition with a prayer for
Philippine schools, colleges or universities, much less against Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction. The
nationals of the Philippines. petitioners sought to enjoin the Secretary of Education, Culture
and Sports, the Board of Medical Education and the Center for
WHEREFORE, we hold that said Treaty merely extended to Educational Measurement from enforcing Section 5 (a) and (f)
diplomas issued or degrees conferred by educational institutions of Republic Act No. 2382, as amended, and MECS Order No.
of Spain the same recognition and treatment that we accord to 52, series of 1985, dated 23 August 1985 and from requiring the
similar diplomas or degrees from local institutions of learning; taking and passing of the NMAT as a condition for securing
that holders of said Spanish diplomas or degrees must take the certificates of eligibility for admission, from proceeding with
examination prescribed by our laws for holders of similar accepting applications for taking the NMAT and from
diplomas or degrees from educational institutions in the administering the NMAT as scheduled on 26 April 1987 and in
Philippines; that resolution No. 25, series of 1965, of respondent the future. After hearing on the petition for issuance of
preliminary injunction, the trial court denied said petition on 20 (g) To select, determine and approve hospitals or some
April 1987. The NMAT was conducted and administered as departments of the hospitals for training which comply with the
previously scheduled. minimum specific physical facilities as provided in
subparagraph (b) hereof; and
Petitioners accordingly filed this Special Civil Action for
certiorari with this Court to set aside the Order of the respondent (h) To promulgate and prescribe and enforce the necessary rules
judge denying the petition for issuance of a writ of preliminary and regulations for the proper implementation of the foregoing
injunction. functions. (Emphasis supplied)

Republic Act 2382, as amended by Republic Acts Nos. 4224 and Section 7 prescribes certain minimum requirements for
5946, known as the "Medical Act of 1959" defines its basic applicants to medical schools:
objectives in the following manner:
Admission requirements. The medical college may admit any
Section 1. Objectives. This Act provides for and shall govern student who has not been convicted by any court of competent
(a) the standardization and regulation of medical education (b) jurisdiction of any offense involving moral turpitude and who
the examination for registration of physicians; and (c) the presents (a) a record of completion of a bachelor's degree in
supervision, control and regulation of the practice of medicine science or arts; (b) a certificate of eligibility for entrance to a
in the Philippines. (Underscoring supplied) medical school from the Board of Medical Education; (c) a
certificate of good moral character issued by two former
The statute, among other things, created a Board of Medical professors in the college of liberal arts; and (d) birth certificate.
Education which is composed of (a) the Secretary of Education, Nothing in this act shall be construed to inhibit any college of
Culture and Sports or his duly authorized representative, as medicine from establishing, in addition to the preceding, other
Chairman; (b) the Secretary of Health or his duly authorized entrance requirements that may be deemed admissible.
representative; (c) the Director of Higher Education or his duly
authorized representative; (d) the Chairman of the Medical xxx xxx x x x (Emphasis supplied)
Board or his duly authorized representative; (e) a representative
of the Philippine Medical Association; (f) the Dean of the MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, issued by the then Minister of
College of Medicine, University of the Philippines; (g) a Education, Culture and Sports and dated 23 August 1985,
representative of the Council of Deans of Philippine Medical established a uniform admission test called the National Medical
Schools; and (h) a representative of the Association of Admission Test (NMAT) as an additional requirement for
Philippine Medical Colleges, as members. The functions of the issuance of a certificate of eligibility for admission into medical
Board of Medical Education specified in Section 5 of the statute schools of the Philippines, beginning with the school year 1986-
include the following: 1987. This Order goes on to state that:

(a) To determine and prescribe equirements for admission 2. The NMAT, an aptitude test, is considered as an
into a recognized college of medicine; instrument toward upgrading the selection of applicants for
admission into the medical schools and its calculated to improve
(b) To determine and prescribe requirements for minimum the quality of medical education in the country. The cutoff score
physical facilities of colleges of medicine, to wit: buildings, for the successful applicants, based on the scores on the NMAT,
including hospitals, equipment and supplies, apparatus, shall be determined every year by the Board of Medical
instruments, appliances, laboratories, bed capacity for Education after consultation with the Association of Philippine
instruction purposes, operating and delivery rooms, facilities for Medical Colleges. The NMAT rating of each applicant, together
outpatient services, and others, used for didactic and practical with the other admission requirements as presently called for
instruction in accordance with modern trends; under existing rules, shall serve as a basis for the issuance of the
prescribed certificate of elegibility for admission into the
(c) To determine and prescribe the minimum number and medical colleges.
minimum qualifications of teaching personnel, including
student-teachers ratio; 3. Subject to the prior approval of the Board of Medical
Education, each medical college may give other tests for
(d) To determine and prescribe the minimum required applicants who have been issued a corresponding certificate of
curriculum leading to the degree of Doctor of Medicine; eligibility for admission that will yield information on other
aspects of the applicant's personality to complement the
(e) To authorize the implementation of experimental medical information derived from the NMAT.
curriculum in a medical school that has exceptional faculty and
instrumental facilities. Such an experimental curriculum may xxx xxx xxx
prescribe admission and graduation requirements other than
those prescribed in this Act; Provided, That only exceptional 8. No applicant shall be issued the requisite Certificate of
students shall be enrolled in the experimental curriculum; Eligibility for Admission (CEA), or admitted for enrollment as
first year student in any medical college, beginning the school
(f) To accept applications for certification for admission to a year, 1986-87, without the required NMAT qualification as
medical school and keep a register of those issued said called for under this Order. (Underscoring supplied)
certificate; and to collect from said applicants the amount of
twenty-five pesos each which shall accrue to the operating fund Pursuant to MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, the private respondent
of the Board of Medical Education; Center conducted NMATs for entrance to medical colleges
during the school year 1986-1987. In December 1986 and in
April 1987, respondent Center conducted the NMATs for
admission to medical colleges during the school year Turning to Article XIV, Section 1, of the 1987 Constitution, we
1987.1988.1avvphi1 note that once more petitioners have failed to demonstrate that
the statute and regulation they assail in fact clash with that
Petitioners raise the question of whether or not a writ of provision. On the contrary we may note-in anticipation of
preliminary injunction may be issued to enjoin the enforcement discussion infra that the statute and the regulation which
of Section 5 (a) and (f) of Republic Act No. 2382, as amended, petitioners attack are in fact designed to promote "quality
and MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, pending resolution of the issue education" at the level of professional schools. When one reads
of constitutionality of the assailed statute and administrative Section 1 in relation to Section 5 (3) of Article XIV as one must
order. We regard this issue as entirely peripheral in nature. It one cannot but note that the latter phrase of Section 1 is not to
scarcely needs documentation that a court would issue a writ of be read with absolute literalness. The State is not really enjoined
preliminary injunction only when the petitioner assailing a to take appropriate steps to make quality education " accessible
statute or administrative order has made out a case of to all who might for any number of reasons wish to enroll in a
unconstitutionality strong enough to overcome, in the mind of professional school but rather merely to make such education
the judge, the presumption of constitutionality, aside from accessible to all who qualify under "fair, reasonable and
showing a clear legal right to the remedy sought. The equitable admission and academic requirements. "
fundamental issue is of course the constitutionality of the statute
or order assailed. 2. In the trial court, petitioners had made the argument that
Section 5 (a) and (f) of Republic Act No. 2382, as amended,
1. The petitioners invoke a number of provisions of the 1987 offend against the constitutional principle which forbids the
Constitution which are, in their assertion, violated by the undue delegation of legislative power, by failing to establish the
continued implementation of Section 5 (a) and (f) of Republic necessary standard to be followed by the delegate, the Board of
Act 2381, as amended, and MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985. The Medical Education. The general principle of non-delegation of
provisions invoked read as follows: legislative power, which both flows from the reinforces the more
fundamental rule of the separation and allocation of powers
(a) Article 11, Section 11: "The state values the dignity of every among the three great departments of government,1 must be
human person and guarantees full respect of human rights. " applied with circumspection in respect of statutes which like the
Medical Act of 1959, deal with subjects as obviously complex
(b) ArticleII, Section l3: "The State recognizes the vital role of and technical as medical education and the practice of medicine
the youth in nation building and shall promote and protect their in our present day world. Mr. Justice Laurel stressed this point
physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well being. It 47 years ago in Pangasinan Transportation Co., Inc. vs. The
shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and Public Service Commission:2
encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs."
One thing, however, is apparent in the development of the
(c) Article II, Section 17: "The State shall give priority to principle of separation of powers and that is that the maxim of
education, science and technology, arts, culture and sports to delegatus non potest delegare or delegate potestas non potest
foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress and delegare, adopted this practice (Delegibus et Consuetudiniis
to promote total human liberation and development. " Anglia edited by G.E. Woodbine, Yale University Press, 1922,
Vol. 2, p. 167) but which is also recognized in principle in the
(d) Article XIV, Section l: "The State shall protect and promote Roman Law (d. 17.18.3) has been made to adapt itself to the
the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels and take complexities of modern government, giving rise to the adoption,
appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all. " within certain limits of the principle of "subordinate legislation,"
not only in the United States and England but in practically all
(e) Article XIV, Section 5 (3): "Every citizen has a right to select modern governments. (People vs. Rosenthal and Osmena [68
a profession or course of study, subject to fair, reasonable and Phil. 318, 1939]. Accordingly, with the growing complexity of
equitable admission and academic requirements." modern life, the multiplication of the subjects of governmental
regulation and the increased difficulty of administering the laws,
Article II of the 1987 Constitution sets forth in its second half there is a constantly growing tendency toward the delegation of
certain "State policies" which the government is enjoined to greater power by the legislature, and toward the approval of the
pursue and promote. The petitioners here have not seriously practice by the courts." 3
undertaken to demonstrate to what extent or in what manner the
statute and the administrative order they assail collide with the The standards set for subordinate legislation in the exercise of
State policies embodied in Sections 11, 13 and 17. They have rule making authority by an administrative agency like the
not, in other words, discharged the burden of proof which lies Board of Medical Education are necessarily broad and highly
upon them. This burden is heavy enough where the abstract. As explained by then Mr. Justice Fernando in Edu v.
constitutional provision invoked is relatively specific, rather Ericta4
than abstract, in character and cast in behavioral or operational
terms. That burden of proof becomes of necessity heavier where The standard may be either expressed or implied. If the former,
the constitutional provision invoked is cast, as the second the non-delegation objection is easily met. The standard though
portion of Article II is cast, in language descriptive of basic does not have to be spelled out specifically. It could be implied
policies, or more precisely, of basic objectives of State policy from the policy and purpose of the act considered as a whole. In
and therefore highly generalized in tenor. The petitioners have the Reflector Law, clearly the legislative objective is public
not made their case, even a prima facie case, and we are not safety. What is sought to be attained as in Calalang v. Williams
compelled to speculate and to imagine how the legislation and is "safe transit upon the roads. 5
regulation impugned as unconstitutional could possibly offend
the constitutional provisions pointed to by the petitioners. We believe and so hold that the necessary standards are set forth
in Section 1 of the 1959 Medical Act: "the standardization and
regulation of medical education" and in Section 5 (a) and 7 of maintain, and the difficulties of maintaining, high standards in
the same Act, the body of the statute itself, and that these our professional schools in general, and medical schools in
considered together are sufficient compliance with the particular, in the current stage of our social and economic
requirements of the non-delegation principle. development, are widely known.

3. The petitioners also urge that the NMAT prescribed in MECS We believe that the government is entitled to prescribe an
Order No. 52, s. 1985, is an "unfair, unreasonable and admission test like the NMAT as a means for achieving its stated
inequitable requirement," which results in a denial of due objective of "upgrading the selection of applicants into [our]
process. Again, petitioners have failed to specify just what medical schools" and of "improv[ing] the quality of medical
factors or features of the NMAT render it "unfair" and education in the country." Given the widespread use today of
"unreasonable" or "inequitable." They appear to suggest that such admission tests in, for instance, medical schools in the
passing the NMAT is an unnecessary requirement when added United States of America (the Medical College Admission Test
on top of the admission requirements set out in Section 7 of the [MCAT]11 and quite probably in other countries with far more
Medical Act of 1959, and other admission requirements developed educational resources than our own, and taking into
established by internal regulations of the various medical account the failure or inability of the petitioners to even attempt
schools, public or private. Petitioners arguments thus appear to to prove otherwise, we are entitled to hold that the NMAT is
relate to utility and wisdom or desirability of the NMAT reasonably related to the securing of the ultimate end of
requirement. But constitutionality is essentially a question of legislation and regulation in this area. That end, it is useful to
power or authority: this Court has neither commission or recall, is the protection of the public from the potentially deadly
competence to pass upon questions of the desirability or wisdom effects of incompetence and ignorance in those who would
or utility of legislation or administrative regulation. Those undertake to treat our bodies and minds for disease or trauma.
questions must be address to the political departments of the
government not to the courts. 4. Petitioners have contended, finally, that MECS Order No. 52,
s. 1985, is in conflict with the equal protection clause of the
There is another reason why the petitioners' arguments must fail: Constitution. More specifically, petitioners assert that that
the legislative and administrative provisions impugned by them portion of the MECS Order which provides that
constitute, to the mind of the Court, a valid exercise of the police
power of the state. The police power, it is commonplace the cutoff score for the successful applicants, based on the scores
learning, is the pervasive and non-waivable power and authority on the NMAT, shall be determined every-year by the Board of
of the sovereign to secure and promote an the important interests Medical 11 Education after consultation with the Association of
and needs in a word, the public order of the general Philippine Medical Colleges. (Emphasis supplied)
community.6 An important component of that public order is the
health and physical safety and well being of the population, the infringes the requirements of equal protection. They assert, in
securing of which no one can deny is a legitimate objective of other words, that students seeking admission during a given
governmental effort and regulation.7 school year, e.g., 1987-1988, when subjected to a different
cutoff score than that established for an, e.g., earlier school year,
Perhaps the only issue that needs some consideration is whether are discriminated against and that this renders the MECS Order
there is some reasonable relation between the prescribing of "arbitrary and capricious." The force of this argument is more
passing the NMAT as a condition for admission to medical apparent than real. Different cutoff scores for different school
school on the one hand, and the securing of the health and safety years may be dictated by differing conditions obtaining during
of the general community, on the other hand. This question is those years. Thus, the appropriate cutoff score for a given year
perhaps most usefully approached by recalling that the may be a function of such factors as the number of students who
regulation of the practice of medicine in all its branches has long have reached the cutoff score established the preceding year; the
been recognized as a reasonable method of protecting the health number of places available in medical schools during the current
and safety of the public.8 That the power to regulate and control year; the average score attained during the current year; the level
the practice of medicine includes the power to regulate of difficulty of the test given during the current year, and so
admission to the ranks of those authorized to practice medicine, forth. To establish a permanent and immutable cutoff score
is also well recognized. thus, legislation and administrative regardless of changes in circumstances from year to year, may
regulations requiring those who wish to practice medicine first wen result in an unreasonable rigidity. The above language in
to take and pass medical board examinations have long ago been MECS Order No. 52, far from being arbitrary or capricious,
recognized as valid exercises of governmental power.9 leaves the Board of Medical Education with the measure of
Similarly, the establishment of minimum medical educational flexibility needed to meet circumstances as they change.
requirements i.e., the completion of prescribed courses in a
recognized medical school for admission to the medical We conclude that prescribing the NMAT and requiring certain
profession, has also been sustained as a legitimate exercise of minimum scores therein as a condition for admission to medical
the regulatory authority of the state.10 What we have before us schools in the Philippines, do not constitute an unconstitutional
in the instant case is closely related: the regulation of access to imposition.
medical schools. MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, as noted earlier,
articulates the rationale of regulation of this type: the WHEREFORE, the Petition for certiorari is DISMISSED and
improvement of the professional and technical quality of the the Order of the respondent trial court denying the petition for a
graduates of medical schools, by upgrading the quality of those writ of preliminary injunction is AFFIRMED. Costs against
admitted to the student body of the medical schools. That petitioners.
upgrading is sought by selectivity in the process of admission,
selectivity consisting, among other things, of limiting admission SO ORDERED.
to those who exhibit in the required degree the aptitude for
medical studies and eventually for medical practice. The need to
Teehankee, C.J., Yap, Fernan, Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera,
Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Sarmiento THIRD DIVISION
and Cortes, JJ., concur.
G.R. No. 166097 July 14, 2008

BOARD OF MEDICINE, DR. RAUL FLORES (now DR.


JOSE S. RAMIREZ), in his capacity as Chairman of the Board,
PROFESSIONAL REGULATION COMMISSION, through its
Chairman, HERMOGENES POBRE (now DR. ALCESTIS M.
GUIANG), Petitioners,
vs.
YASUYUKI OTA, Respondent.

DECISION

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:

Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari assailing


the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No.
849452 dated November 16, 2004 which affirmed the Decision3
of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 22, Manila, dated
October 19, 2003.4

The facts are as follows:

Yasuyuki Ota (respondent) is a Japanese national, married to a


Filipina, who has continuously resided in the Philippines for
more than 10 years. He graduated from Bicol Christian College
of Medicine on April 21, 1991 with a degree of Doctor of
Medicine.5 After successfully completing a one-year post
graduate internship training at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical
Center, he filed an application to take the medical board
examinations in order to obtain a medical license. He was
required by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) to
submit an affidavit of undertaking, stating among others that
should he successfully pass the same, he would not practice
medicine until he submits proof that reciprocity exists between
Japan and the Philippines in admitting foreigners into the
practice of medicine.6

Respondent submitted a duly notarized English translation of the


Medical Practitioners Law of Japan duly authenticated by the
Consul General of the Philippine Embassy to Japan, Jesus I.
Yabes;7 thus, he was allowed to take the Medical Board
Examinations in August 1992, which he subsequently passed.8

In spite of all these, the Board of Medicine (Board) of the PRC,


in a letter dated March 8, 1993, denied respondent's request for
a license to

practice medicine in the Philippines on the ground that the Board


"believes that no genuine reciprocity can be found in the law of
Japan as there is no Filipino or foreigner who can possibly
practice there."9

Respondent then filed a Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus


against the Board before the RTC of Manila on June 24, 1993,
which petition was amended on February 14, 1994 to implead
the PRC through its Chairman.10

In his petition before the RTC, respondent alleged that the Board
and the PRC, in refusing to issue in his favor a Certificate of
Registration and/or license to practice medicine, had acted
Republic of the Philippines arbitrarily, in clear contravention of the provision of Section 20
SUPREME COURT of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 2382 (The Medical Act of 1959),
Manila
depriving him of his legitimate right to practice his profession Petitioners pray that the CA Decision dated November 16, 2004
in the Philippines to his great damage and prejudice.11 be reversed and set aside, that a new one be rendered reinstating
the Board Order dated March 8, 1993 which disallows
On October 19, 2003, the RTC rendered its Decision finding that respondent to practice medicine in the Philippines, and that
respondent had adequately proved that the medical laws of respondent's petition before the trial court be dismissed for lack
Japan allow foreigners like Filipinos to be granted license and of merit.20
be admitted into the practice of medicine under the principle of
reciprocity; and that the Board had a ministerial duty of issuing In his Comment, respondent argues that: Articles 2 and 11 of the
the Certificate of Registration and license to respondent, as it Medical Practitioners Law of Japan and Section 9 of the
was shown that he had substantially complied with the Philippine Medical Act of 1959 show that reciprocity exists
requirements under the law.12 The RTC then ordered the Board between the Philippines and Japan concerning the practice of
to issue in favor of respondent the corresponding Certificate of medicine. Said laws clearly state that both countries allow
Registration and/or license to practice medicine in the foreigners to practice medicine in their respective jurisdictions
Philippines.13 as long as the applicant meets the educational requirements,
training or residency in hospitals and pass the licensure
The Board and the PRC (petitioners) appealed the case to the examination given by either country. Consul General Yabes in
CA, stating that while respondent submitted documents showing his letter dated January 28, 1992 stated that "the Japanese
that foreigners are allowed to practice medicine in Japan, it was Government allows a foreigner to practice medicine in Japan
not shown that the conditions for the practice of medicine there after complying with the local requirements." The fact that there
are practical and attainable by a foreign applicant, hence, is no reported Filipino who has successfully penetrated the
reciprocity was not established; also, the power of the PRC and medical practice in Japan does not mean that there is no
the Board to regulate and control the practice of medicine is reciprocity between the two countries, since it does not follow
discretionary and not ministerial, hence, not compellable by a that no Filipino will ever be granted a medical license by the
writ of mandamus.14 Japanese Government. It is not the essence of reciprocity that
before a citizen of one of the contracting countries can demand
The CA denied the appeal and affirmed the ruling of the RTC.15 its application, it is necessary that the interested citizens
country has previously granted the same privilege to the citizens
Hence, herein petition raising the following issue: of the other contracting country.21 Respondent further argues
that Section 20 of the Medical Act of 195922 indicates the
WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A mandatory character of the statute and an imperative obligation
REVERSIBLE ERROR IN FINDING THAT RESPONDENT on the part of the Board inconsistent with the idea of discretion.
HAD ESTABLISHED THE EXISTENCE OF RECIPROCITY Thus, a foreigner, just like a Filipino citizen, who successfully
IN THE PRACTICE OF MEDICINE BETWEEN THE passes the examination and has all the qualifications and none
PHILIPPINES AND JAPAN.16 of the disqualifications, is entitled as a matter of right to the
issuance of a certificate of registration or a physicians license,
Petitioners claim that: respondent has not established by which right is enforceable by mandamus.23
competent and conclusive evidence that reciprocity in the
practice of medicine exists between the Philippines and Japan. Petitioners filed a Reply24 and both parties filed their respective
While documents state that foreigners are allowed to practice memoranda25 reiterating their arguments.1avvphi1
medicine in Japan, they do not similarly show that the conditions
for the practice of medicine in said country are practical and The Court denies the petition for lack of merit.
attainable by a foreign applicant. There is no reciprocity in this
case, as the requirements to practice medicine in Japan are There is no question that a license to practice medicine is a
practically impossible for a Filipino to comply with. There are privilege or franchise granted by the government.26 It is a right
also ambiguities in the Medical Practitioners Law of Japan, that is earned through years of education and training, and which
which were not clarified by respondent, i.e., what are the requires that one must first secure a license from the state
provisions of the School Educations Laws, what are the criteria through professional board examinations.27
of the Minister of Health and Welfare of Japan in determining
whether the academic and technical capability of foreign Indeed,
medical graduates are the same or better than graduates of
medical schools in Japan, and who can actually qualify to take [T]he regulation of the practice of medicine in all its branches
the preparatory test for the National Medical Examination. has long been recognized as a reasonable method of protecting
Consul General Yabes also stated that there had not been a single the health and safety of the public. That the power to regulate
Filipino who was issued a license to practice medicine by the and control the practice of medicine includes the power to
Japanese Government. The publication showing that there were regulate admission to the ranks of those authorized to practice
foreigners practicing medicine in Japan, which respondent medicine, is also well recognized. Thus, legislation and
presented before the Court, also did not specifically show that administrative regulations requiring those who wish to practice
Filipinos were among those listed as practicing said medicine first to take and pass medical board examinations have
profession.17 Furthermore, under Professional Regulation long ago been recognized as valid exercises of governmental
Commission v. De Guzman,18 the power of the PRC and the power. Similarly, the establishment of minimum medical
Board to regulate and control the practice of medicine includes educational requirements i.e., the completion of prescribed
the power to regulate admission to the ranks of those authorized courses in a recognized medical school for admission to the
to practice medicine, which power is discretionary and not medical profession, has also been sustained as a legitimate
ministerial, hence, not compellable by a writ of mandamus.19 exercise of the regulatory authority of the state."28
It must be stressed however that the power to regulate the xxxx
exercise of a profession or pursuit of an occupation cannot be
exercised by the State or its agents in an arbitrary, despotic, or Article 11. No one can take the National Medical Examination
oppressive manner. A political body which regulates the except persons who conform to one of the following items:
exercise of a particular privilege has the authority to both forbid
and grant such privilege in accordance with certain conditions. 1. Persons who finished regular medical courses at a university
As the legislature cannot validly bestow an arbitrary power to based on the School Education Laws (December 26, 1947) and
grant or refuse a license on a public agency or officer, courts will graduated from said university.
generally strike down license legislation that vests in public
officials discretion to grant or refuse a license to carry on some 2. Persons who passed the preparatory test for the National
ordinarily lawful business, profession, or activity without Medical Examination and practiced clinics and public sanitation
prescribing definite rules and conditions for the guidance of said more than one year after passing the said test.
officials in the exercise of their power.29
3. Persons who graduated from a foreign medical school or
R.A. No. 2382 otherwise known as the Medical Act of 1959 acquired medical practitioner license in a foreign country, and
states in Section 9 thereof that: also are recognized to have the same or more academic ability
and techniques as persons stated in item 1 and item 2 of this
Section 9. Candidates for Board Examinations.- Candidates for article.31
Board examinations shall have the following qualifications:
Petitioners argue that while the Medical Practitioners Law of
1. He shall be a citizen of the Philippines or a citizen of any Japan allows foreigners to practice medicine therein, said
foreign country who has submitted competent and conclusive document does not show that conditions for the practice of
documentary evidence, confirmed by the Department of Foreign medicine in said country are practical and attainable by a foreign
Affairs, showing that his countrys existing laws permit citizens applicant; and since the requirements are practically impossible
of the Philippines to practice medicine under the same rules and for a Filipino to comply with, there is no reciprocity between the
regulations governing citizens thereof; two countries, hence, respondent may not be granted license to
practice medicine in the Philippines.
xxxx
The Court does not agree.
Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 22330 also provides in Section
(j) thereof that: R.A. No. 2382, which provides who may be candidates for the
medical board examinations, merely requires a foreign citizen to
j) The [Professional Regulation] Commission may, upon the submit competent and conclusive documentary evidence,
recommendation of the Board concerned, approve the confirmed by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA),
registration of and authorize the issuance of a certificate of showing that his countrys existing laws permit citizens of the
registration with or without examination to a foreigner who is Philippines to practice medicine under the same rules and
registered under the laws of his country: Provided, That the regulations governing citizens thereof.
requirement for the registration or licensing in said foreign state
or country are substantially the same as those required and Section (j) of P.D. No. 223 also defines the extent of PRC's
contemplated by the laws of the Philippines and that the laws of power to grant licenses, i.e., it may, upon recommendation of
such foreign state or country allow the citizens of the Philippines the board, approve the registration and authorize the issuance of
to practice the profession on the same basis and grant the same a certificate of registration with or without examination to a
privileges as the subject or citizens of such foreign state or foreigner who is registered under the laws of his country,
country: Provided, finally, That the applicant shall submit provided the following conditions are met: (1) that the
competent and conclusive documentary evidence, confirmed by requirement for the registration or licensing in said foreign state
the Department of Foreign Affairs, showing that his country's or country are substantially the same as those required and
existing laws permit citizens of the Philippines to practice the contemplated by the laws of the Philippines; (2) that the laws of
profession under the rules and regulations governing citizens such foreign state or country allow the citizens of the Philippines
thereof. The Commission is also hereby authorized to prescribe to practice the profession on the same basis and grant the same
additional requirements or grant certain privileges to foreigners privileges as the subject or citizens of such foreign state or
seeking registration in the Philippines if the same privileges are country; and (3) that the applicant shall submit competent and
granted to or some additional requirements are required of conclusive documentary evidence, confirmed by the DFA,
citizens of the Philippines in acquiring the same certificates in showing that his country's existing laws permit citizens of the
his country; Philippines to practice the profession under the rules and
regulations governing citizens thereof.
xxxx
The said provision further states that the PRC is authorized to
As required by the said laws, respondent submitted a copy of the prescribe additional requirements or grant certain privileges to
Medical Practitioners Law of Japan, duly authenticated by the foreigners seeking registration in the Philippines if the same
Consul General of the Embassy of the Philippines in Japan, privileges are granted to or some additional requirements are
which provides in Articles 2 and 11, thus: required of citizens of the Philippines in acquiring the same
certificates in his country.
Article 2. Anyone who wants to be medical practitioner must
pass the national examination for medical practitioner and get Nowhere in said statutes is it stated that the foreign applicant
license from the Minister of Health and Welfare. must show that the conditions for the practice of medicine in
said country are practical and attainable by Filipinos. Neither is
it stated that it must first be proven that a Filipino has been occasions, they are allowed to show their medical skills during
granted license and allowed to practice his profession in said seminars for demonstration purposes only. (Emphasis supplied)
country before a foreign applicant may be given license to
practice in the Philippines. Indeed, the phrase used in both R.A. Very truly yours,
No. 2382 and P.D. No. 223 is that:
Jesus I. Yabes
[T]he applicant shall submit] competent and conclusive Minister Counsellor &
documentary evidence, confirmed by the Department of Foreign Consul General
Affairs, showing that his country's existing laws permit citizens
of the Philippines to practice the profession [of medicine] under From said letter, one can see that the Japanese Government
the [same] rules and regulations governing citizens thereof. x x allows foreigners to practice medicine therein provided that the
x (Emphasis supplied) local requirements are complied with, and that it is not the
impossibility or the prohibition against Filipinos that would
It is enough that the laws in the foreign country permit a Filipino account for the absence of Filipino physicians holding licenses
to get license and practice therein. Requiring respondent to and practicing medicine in Japan, but the difficulty of passing
prove first that a Filipino has already been granted license and the board examination in the Japanese language. Granting that
is actually practicing therein unduly expands the requirements there is still no Filipino who has been given license to practice
provided for under R.A. No. 2382 and P.D. No. 223. medicine in Japan, it does not mean that no Filipino will ever be
able to be given one.
While it is true that respondent failed to give details as to the
conditions stated in the Medical Practitioners Law of Japan -- Petitioners next argue that as held in De Guzman, its power to
i.e., the provisions of the School Educations Laws, the criteria issue licenses is discretionary, hence, not compellable by
of the Minister of Health and Welfare of Japan in determining mandamus.
whether the academic and technical capability of foreign
medical graduates are the same as or better than that of graduates The Court finds that the factual circumstances of De Guzman
of medical schools in Japan, and who can actually qualify to take are different from those of the case at bar; hence, the principle
the preparatory test for the National Medical Examination applied therein should be viewed differently in this case. In De
respondent, however, presented proof that foreigners are Guzman, there were doubts about the integrity and validity of
actually practicing in Japan and that Filipinos are not precluded the test results of the examinees from a particular school which
from getting a license to practice there. garnered unusually high scores in the two most difficult
subjects. Said doubts called for serious inquiry concerning the
Respondent presented before the trial court a Japanese applicants satisfactory compliance with the Board
Government publication, Physician-Dentist-Pharmaceutist requirements.34 And as there was no definite showing that the
Survey, showing that there are a number of foreign physicians requirements and conditions to be granted license to practice
practicing medicine in Japan.32 He also presented a letter dated medicine had been satisfactorily met, the Court held that the writ
January 28, 1992 from Consul General Yabes,33 which states: of mandamus may not be granted to secure said privilege
without thwarting the legislative will.35
Sir:
Indeed, to be granted the privilege to practice medicine, the
With reference to your letter dated 12 January 1993, concerning applicant must show that he possesses all the qualifications and
your request for a Certificate of Confirmation for the purpose of none of the disqualifications. It must also appear that he has fully
establishing a reciprocity with Japan in the practice of medical complied with all the conditions and requirements imposed by
profession relative to the case of Mr. Yasuyuki Ota, a Japanese the law and the licensing authority.36
national, the Embassy wishes to inform you that inquiries from
the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health and In De Guzman itself, the Court explained that:
Welfare as well as Bureau of Immigration yielded the following
information: A careful reading of Section 2037 of the Medical Act of 1959
discloses that the law uses the word "shall" with respect to the
1. They are not aware of a Filipino physician who was granted a issuance of certificates of registration. Thus, the petitioners
license by the Japanese Government to practice medicine in [PRC] "shall sign and issue certificates of registration to those
Japan; who have satisfactorily complied with the requirements of the
Board." In statutory construction the term "shall" is a word of
2. However, the Japanese Government allows a foreigner to command. It is given imperative meaning. Thus, when an
practice medicine in Japan after complying with the local examinee satisfies the requirements for the grant of his
requirements such as holding a valid visa for the purpose of physician's license, the Board is obliged to administer to him his
taking the medical board exam, checking the applicant's oath and register him as a physician, pursuant to Section 20 and
qualifications to take the examination, taking the national board par. (1) of Section 22 of the Medical Act of 1959.38
examination in Japanese and filing an application for the
issuance of the medical license. In this case, there is no doubt as to the competence and
qualifications of respondent. He finished his medical degree
Accordingly, the Embassy is not aware of a single Filipino from Bicol Christian College of Medicine. He completed a one-
physician who was issued by the Japanese Government a license year post graduate internship training at the Jose Reyes
to practice medicine, because it is extremely difficult to pass the Memorial Medical Center, a government hospital. Then he
medical board examination in the Japanese language. Filipino passed the Medical Board Examinations which was given on
doctors here are only allowed to work in Japanese hospitals as August 8, 1992 with a general average of 81.83, with scores
trainees under the supervision of a Japanese doctor. On certain higher than 80 in 9 of the 12 subjects.
In fine, the only matter being questioned by petitioners is the
alleged failure of respondent to prove that there is reciprocity
between the laws of Japan and the Philippines in admitting
foreigners into the practice of medicine. Respondent has
satisfactorily complied with the said requirement and the CA has
not committed any reversible error in rendering its Decision
dated November 16, 2004 and Resolution dated October 19,
2003.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED for lack of


merit.

SO ORDERED.