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JUSTICE MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.

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Penned Cases

FAR EAST BANK & TRUST COMPANY vs. SPS ERNESTO & LEONOR CAYETANO
GR No. 179909, January 25, 2010
FACTS: Respondent Leonor C. Cayetano (Cayetano) executed a special power
of attorney in favor of her daughter Teresita C. Tabing (Tabing) authorizing her to
contract a loan from petitioner and to mortgage her two lots. Petitioner loaned Tabing
P100, 000.00, secured by two promissory notes and a real estate mortgage over
Cayetanos two properties. The mortgage document was signed by Tabing and her
husband as mortgagors in their individual capacities, without stating that Tabing was
executing the mortgage contract for and in behalf of Cayetano. Petitioner foreclosed the
mortgage for failure of spouses Tabing to pay the loan. The mortgaged properties were
sold to petitioner through public auction. Subsequently, petitioner consolidated its title
and obtained new titles in its name after the lapse of redemption period. Five years
later, Tabing, on behalf of Cayetano expressed the intention to repurchase the
properties for petitioner gave respondent the chance to buy back the properties by
joining a bidding. Respondent however, filed a complaint for annulment of mortgage and
extrajudicial foreclosure sale as well as the cancellation of petitioners title over the
properties. The Regional Trial Court ruled in favor of respondents, holding that
Cayetano cannot be bound by the real estate mortgage executed by Tabing unless it is
shown that the same was made and signed in the name of principal. The Court of
Appeals affirmed the RTCs ruling.
ISSUE: Whether or not the principal is bound by the real estate mortgage
executed by the authorized agent in her own name without indicating the principal.
HELD: NO. It is a general rule in the law of agency that, in order to bind the
principal by a mortgage on real property executed by an agent, it must upon its face
purport to be made, signed and sealed in the name of the principal; otherwise, it will
bind the agent only. It is not enough that the agent was in fact authorized to make the
mortgage, if he has not acted in the name of the principal. Neither is it ordinarily
sufficient that in the mortgage the agent describes himself as acting by virtue of a power
of attorney, if in fact the agent has acted in his own name and has set in his own hand
and seal to the mortgage. Notwithstanding the nullity of the real estate mortgage
executed by Tabing and her husband, we find that the equity principle of laches is
applicable. Records show that respondent could have filed an action to annul the
mortgage on their properties, but for unexplained reasons, they failed to do so. They
only questioned the loan and mortgage transactions after the lapse of more than five
years from date of foreclosure sale.

ZACARIA A. CANDAO, ET AL V. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND


SANDIGANBAYAN, G.R. NOS. 186659-710, OCTOBER 19, 2011.
Malversation; elements. The following elements are essential for conviction in
malversation cases: (1) the offender is a public officer; (2) he had custody or control of
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funds or property by reason of the duties of his office; (3) those funds or property were
public funds or property for which he was accountable; and (4) he appropriated, took,
misappropriated or consented or, through abandonment or negligence, permitted
another person to take them. All the foregoing elements were satisfactorily established
by the prosecution in this case. Petitioners have not rebutted the legal presumption that,
with the Disbursing Officers (Haron) failure to account for the illegally withdrawn
amounts covered by the subject checks when demanded by the COA, they
misappropriated and used the said funds for their personal benefit. Zacaria A. Candao,
et al v. People of the Philippines and Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 186659-710, October
19, 2011.

JHORIZALDY UY VS. CENTRO CERAMICA CORPORATION, ET AL., G.R. NO.


174631. OCTOBER 19, 2011.
Dismissal; illegal. Resignation is defined as the voluntary act of employees who
are compelled by personal reasons to disassociate themselves from their employment.
It must be done with the intention of relinquishing an office, accompanied by the act of
abandonment. In this case, the evidence on record suggested that petitioner did not
resign; he was orally dismissed by Sy. The crucial factor is the verbal order directly
given by Sy, the company president, for petitioner to immediately turn over his
accountabilities. It is this lack of clear, valid and legal cause, not to mention due process
that made his dismissal illegal, warranting reinstatement and the award of backwages.
Moreover, the filing of a complaint for illegal dismissal just three weeks later is difficult to
reconcile with voluntary resignation. Had petitioner intended to voluntarily relinquish his
employment after being unceremoniously dismissed by no less than the company
president, he would not have sought redress from the NLRC and vigorously pursued
this case against the respondents. Jhorizaldy Uy vs. Centro Ceramica Corporation, et
al., G.R. No. 174631. October 19, 2011.

BRICCIO RICKY A. POLLO VS. CHAIRPERSON KARINA CONSTANTINO-DAVID,


ET AL., G.R. NO. 181881. OCTOBER 18, 2011.
Right to privacy; unreasonable search and seizure. This case involves a search
of office computer assigned to a government employee who was charged
administratively and eventually dismissed from the service. The employees personal
files stored in the computer were used by the government employer as evidence of
misconduct. Petitioner questions the legality of the search conducted on his office
computer and the copying of his personal files without his knowledge and consent. He
said this search violated his constitutional right to privacy. The right to privacy is a facet
of the right protected by the guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure under
Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution.
Relying on US jurisprudence, the Court noted that the existence of privacy right
involves a two-fold requirement: first, that a person has exhibited an actual (subjective)
expectation of privacy; and second, that the expectation be one that society is prepared
to recognize as reasonable (objective). Once the right is established, the next inquiry is
whether the search alleged to have violated such right was reasonable. This proceeds
from the principle that the constitutional guarantee under Section 2, Article III, is not a
prohibition of all searches and seizures but only of unreasonable searches and
seizures.

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In the case of searches conducted by a public employer, the court needs to


balance the invasion of the employees legitimate expectations of privacy against the
governments need for supervision, control, and the efficient operation of the workplace.
A public employers intrusions on the constitutionally protected privacy interests of
government employees for non-investigatory, work-related purposes, as well as for
investigations of work-related misconduct, should be judged by the standard of
reasonableness under all the circumstances. Under this reasonableness standard, both
the inception and the scope of the intrusion must be reasonable. Ordinarily, a search of
an employees office by a supervisor will be justified at its inception when there are
reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will turn up evidence that the
employee is guilty of work-related misconduct, or that the search is necessary for a noninvestigatory work-related purpose. The search will be permissible in its scope when the
measures adopted are reasonably related to the objectives of the search and not
excessively intrusive in light of the nature of the misconduct.
Applying the above standards and principles, the Court then addressed the
following issues: (1) Did petitioner have a reasonable expectation of privacy in his office
and computer files?; and (2) Was the search authorized by the respondent Civil Service
Commission Chair, the copying of the contents of the hard drive on petitioners
computer, reasonable in its inception and scope? Here, the relevant surrounding
circumstances to consider include: (1) the employees relationship to the item seized;
(2) whether the item was in the immediate control of the employee when it was seized;
and (3) whether the employee took actions to maintain his privacy in the item.
The Court answered the first issue in the negative. Petitioner failed to prove that
he had an actual (subjective) expectation of privacy either in his office or governmentissued computer which contained his personal files. Petitioner did not allege that he had
a separate enclosed office which he did not share with anyone, or that his office was
always locked and not open to other employees or visitors. Neither did he allege that he
used passwords or adopted any means to prevent other employees from accessing his
computer files. On the contrary, he submits that being in the public assistance office of
the CSC, he normally would have visitors in his office. Even assuming that petitioner
had at least a subjective expectation of privacy in his computer as he claims, the same
is negated by the presence of policy regulating the use of office computers. The CSC
had implemented a policy that puts its employees on notice that they have no
expectation of privacy in anything they create, store, send or receive on the office
computers. Under this policy, the CSC may monitor the use of the computer resources
using both automated or human means. This implies that on-the-spot inspections may
be done to ensure that computer resources were used only for legitimate business
purposes.
On the second issue, the Court answered in the affirmative. The search of
petitioners computer files was conducted in connection with an investigation of workrelated misconduct. Under the facts obtaining, the Court held that the search conducted
on petitioners computer was justified at its inception and in scope. Briccio Ricky A.
Pollo vs. Chairperson Karina Constantino-David, et al., G.R. No. 181881. October 18,
2011.

PACITA CAALIM-VERZONILLA V. ATTY. VICTORIANO G. PASCUA. A.C. NO. 6655.


OCTOBER 11, 2011.
Attorney; misconduct. With his admission that he drafted and notarized another
instrument that did not state the true consideration of the sale so as to reduce the
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capital gains and other taxes due on the transaction, respondent cannot escape liability
for making an untruthful statement in a public document for an unlawful purpose. As the
second deed indicated an amount much lower than the actual price paid for the property
sold, respondent abetted in depriving the Government of the right to collect the correct
taxes due. Not only did respondent assist the contracting parties in an activity aimed at
defiance of the law, he likewise displayed lack of respect for and made a mockery of the
solemnity of the oath in an Acknowledgment. By notarizing such illegal and fraudulent
document, he is entitling it full faith and credit upon its face, which it obviously does not
deserve considering its nature and purpose. Respondents actions violated not only
Rule 1.02, Canon 1 of the Code of Responsibility, but pertinent sections of the 2004
Rules on Notarial Practice as well. Thus, respondent is meted the penalty of revocation
of notarial commission and suspension from the practice of law for a period of two
years. Pacita Caalim-Verzonilla v. Atty. Victoriano G. Pascua. A.C. No. 6655. October
11, 2011.

TOMAS P. TAN, JR. V. ATTY. HAIDE V. GUMBA. A.C. NO. 9000. OCTOBER 5, 2011.
Attorney; grave misconduct. Respondent attorney was found to have violated
Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Respondents actions
clearly show that she deceived complainant into lending money to her through the use
of documents and false representations and by taking advantage of her education and
complainants ignorance in legal matters. As manifested by complainant, he would have
never granted the loan to respondent were it not for respondents misrepresentation that
she was authorized to sell the property and that complainant could register the open
deed of sale if respondent fails to pay the loan. By her misdeed, respondent has eroded
not only complainants perception of the legal profession but the publics perception as
well. Her actions constitute gross misconduct for which she may be disciplined. Tomas
P. Tan, Jr. v. Atty. Haide V. Gumba. A.C. No. 9000. October 5, 2011.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES V. CONRADO LAOG Y RAMIN, G.R. NO. 178321,


OCTOBER 5, 2011.
Abuse of superior strength. The aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior
strength is considered whenever there is a notorious inequality of forces between the
victim and the aggressor that is plainly and obviously advantageous to the aggressor
and purposely selected or taken advantage of to facilitate the commission of the crime.
It is taken into account whenever the aggressor purposely used excessive force that is
out of proportion to the means of defense available to the person attacked. In this case,
as personally witnessed by AAA, appellant struck Jennifer in the head with a lead pipe
then stabbed her repeatedly until she was dead. Clearly, the manner by which appellant
had brutally slain Jennifer with a lethal weapon, by first hitting her in the head with a
lead pipe to render her defenseless and vulnerable before stabbing her repeatedly,
unmistakably showed that appellant intentionally used excessive force out of proportion
to the means of defense available to his unarmed victim. As aptly observed by the
appellate court: it has long been established that an attack made by a man with a
deadly weapon upon an unarmed and defenseless woman constitutes the circumstance
of abuse of that superiority which his sex and the weapon used in the act afforded him
and from which the woman was unable to defend herself. Unlike in treachery, where the
victim is not given the opportunity to defend himself or repel the aggression, taking
advantage of superior strength does not mean that the victim was completely
defenseless. Abuse of superiority is determined by the excess of the aggressors natural
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strength over that of the victim, considering the momentary position of both and the
employment of means weakening the defense, although not annulling it. People of the
Philippines v. Conrado Laog y Ramin, G.R. No. 178321, October 5, 2011.

ENGR. JOSE E. CAYANAN VS. NORTH STAR INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL, INC. G.R.
NO. 172954. OCTOBER 5, 2011
Check; issuance for consideration. Upon issuance of a check, in the absence of
evidence to the contrary, it is presumed that the same was issued for valuable
consideration which may consist either in some right, interest, profit or benefit accruing
to the party who makes the contract, or some forbearance, detriment, loss or some
responsibility, to act, or labor, or service given, suffered or undertaken by the other side.
Under the Negotiable Instruments Law, it is presumed that every party to an instrument
acquires the same for a consideration or for value. As petitioner alleged that there was
no consideration for the issuance of the subject checks, it devolved upon him to present
convincing evidence to overthrow the presumption and prove that the checks were in
fact issued without valuable consideration. Sadly, however, petitioner has not presented
any credible evidence to rebut the presumption, as well as North Stars assertion, that
the checks were issued as payment for the PHP 3,662,869.29 (US$85,000) petitioner
owed. Engr. Jose E. Cayanan vs. North Star International Travel, Inc. G.R. No. 172954.
October 5, 2011

CITY GOVERNMENT OF TUGUEGARAO, REPRESENTED BY ROBERT P. GUZMAN


V. RANDOLPH S. TING, G.R. NOS. 192435-36, SEPTEMBER 14, 2011.
Appeal; legal personality to appeal Sandiganbayans dismissal of case. The
crucial issue in this case concerns petitioners legal personality to challenge before the
Supreme Court the dismissal by the Sandiganbayan of the criminal cases against
respondent. Petitioner is not the proper party to file the present action. Section 4 (c) of
P.D. No. 1606, as amended, clearly provides that in all cases elevated to the
Sandiganbayan and from the Sandiganbayan to the Supreme Court, the Office of the
Ombudsman, through its special prosecutor, shall represent the People of the
Philippines, except in cases filed pursuant to Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A,
issued in 1986. A private complainant in a criminal case before the Sandiganbayan is
allowed to appeal only the civil aspect of the criminal case after its dismissal by said
court. Petitioner is not even the offended party or private complainant in the main case.
While petitioners name was included in the caption of the cases as private complainant
during the preliminary investigation and re-investigation proceedings in the Office of the
Ombudsman, it is the City of Tuguegarao which suffered damage as a consequence of
the subject purchase of lands by respondent and, hence, is the private complainant in
the main case. City Government of Tuguegarao, represented by Robert P. Guzman v.
Randolph S. Ting, G.R. Nos. 192435-36, September 14, 2011.

ALERT SECURITY AND INVESTIGATION AGENCY, INC., ET AL. VS. SAIDALI


PASAWILAN, ET AL., G.R. NO. 182397. SEPTEMBER 14, 2011.
Termination; illegal dismissal. In the case at bar, respondent security guards were
relieved from their posts because they filed with the Labor Arbiter a complaint against
their employer for money claims due to underpayment of wages. The Supreme Court
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found that this was not a valid cause for dismissal. The Labor Code enumerates several
just and authorized causes for a valid termination of employment. An employee
asserting his right and asking for minimum wage is not among those causes.
Termination; abandonment of work. Petitioners aver that respondents were
merely transferred to a new post wherein the wages are adjusted to the current
minimum wage standards. They maintain that the respondents voluntarily abandoned
their jobs when they failed to report for duty in the new location. Assuming that this
contention was true, the Supreme Court held that there was no abandonment of work.
For there to be abandonment: first, there should be a failure of the employee to report
for work without a valid or justifiable reason, and second, there should be a showing
that the employee intended to sever the employer-employee relationship. The fact that
petitioners filed a complaint for illegal dismissal is indicative of their intention to remain
employed with private respondent. On the first element of failure to report for work, in
this case, there was no showing that respondents were notified of their new
assignments. Granting that the Duty Detail Orders were indeed issued, they served no
purpose unless the intended recipients of the orders are informed of such. Therefore,
the Court held that there was no abandonment of work in this case. Alert Security and
Investigation Agency, Inc., et al. vs. Saidali Pasawilan, et al., G.R. No. 182397.
September 14, 2011.

NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, REPRESENTED ITS PRESIDENT CYRIL DEL


CALLAR VS. JUDGE SANTOS B. ADIONG, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BR. 8,
MARAWI CITY, A.M. NO. RTJ-07-2060. JULY 27, 2011
Judge; gross ignorance of the law. Respondent Judge failed to conduct a pre-trial
conference contrary to elementary rules of procedure which he should have known all
too well considering his long years of service in the bench. Such ignorance of a basic
rule in court procedure, as failing to conduct pre-trial, sadly amounts to gross ignorance
and warrants a corresponding penalty. As to the allegations of poor judgment and gross
ignorance of basic legal principles in granting the motions for execution pending appeal
for flimsy and unsupported reasons, the particular reasons relied upon by respondent
judge for issuing the writ of execution pending appeal are so unreliably weak and feeble
that it highlights the lack of knowledge of respondent judge with regard to the proper
appreciation of arguments. Dire financial conditions of the plaintiffs supported by mere
self-serving statements as good reason for the issuance of a writ of execution pending
appeal does not stand on solid footing. It does not even stand on its own. National
Power Corporation, represented its President Cyril Del Callar vs. Judge Santos B.
Adiong, Regional Trial Court, BR. 8, Marawi City, A.M. No. RTJ-07-2060. July 27, 2011

RUPERTO A. AMBIL JR. VS. SANDIGANBAYAN AND PEOPLE OF THE


PHILIPPINES/ALEXANDRINO R. APELADO SR. VS. PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, G.R. NO. 175457/G.R. NO. 175482, JULY 6, 2011.
Sandiganbayan; jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over
petitioner Ambil Jr. is beyond question. The same is true as regards petitioner Apelado
Sr. As to him, a Certification from the Provincial Government Department Head of the
HRMO shows that his position as Provincial Warden is classified as Salary Grade 22.
Nonetheless, it is only when none of the accused are occupying positions
corresponding to salary grade 27 or higher shall exclusive jurisdiction be vested in the
lower courts. Here, petitioner Apelado Sr. was charged as a co-principal with Governor
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Ambil Jr., over whose position the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction. Accordingly, he was
correctly tried jointly with said public officer in the proper court which had exclusive
original jurisdiction over them the Sandiganbayan. Ruperto A. Ambil Jr. vs.
Sandiganbayan and People of the Philippines/Alexandrino R. Apelado Sr. vs. People of
the Philippines, G.R. No. 175457/G.R. No. 175482, July 6, 2011.

PETRA C. MARTINEZ, IN HER CAPACITY AS GENERAL MANAGER OF CLAVERIA


AGRI-BASED MULTI-PURPOSE COOPERATIVE, INC. VS. FILOMENA L.
VILLANUEVA/OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN VS. FILOMENA L. VILLANUEVA, G.R.
NO. 169196/G.R. NO. 169198, JULY 6, 2011.
Public officials; prohibited positions. Respondent in this case was charged with
violation of Section 7(d) of Republic Act 6713 for solicitation or acceptance of gifts by
reason of public office. The CA found that RA 6713 was repealed by RA 6938; thus,
respondent was not liable. The SC found the contrary. There was no repeal. The ban on
Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) officials holding a position in a cooperative
provided in RA 6938 should be taken as a prohibition in addition to those provided in RA
6713 and specifically applicable to CDA officials and employees. True, RA 6938 allows
CDA officials and employees to become members of cooperatives and enjoy the
privileges and benefits attendant to membership. However, RA 6938 should not be
taken as creating in favor of CDA officials and employees an exemption from the
coverage of Section 7(d), RA 6713 considering that the benefits and privileges attendant
to membership in a cooperative are not confined solely to availing of loans and not all
cooperatives are established for the sole purpose of providing credit facilities to their
members.
Public officials; misconduct. The prohibition in Section 7(d) of RA 6713 is malum
prohibitum. It is the commission of that act as defined by the law, and not the character
or effect thereof, that determines whether or not the provision has been violated.
Therefore, it is immaterial whether respondent has fully paid her loans since the law
prohibits the mere act of soliciting a loan under the circumstances provided in Section
7(d) of RA 6713. Neither is undue influence on respondents part required to be proven
as held by the CA. Whether respondent used her position or authority as a CDA official
is of no consequence in the determination of her administrative liability. And considering
that respondent admitted having taken two loans from CABMPCI, which is a
cooperative whose operations are directly regulated by respondents office, respondent
was correctly meted the penalty of suspension by the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon for
violation of Section 7(d). Petra C. Martinez, In her capacity as General Manager of
Claveria Agri-based Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Inc. vs. Filomena L. villanueva/Office of
the Ombudsman vs. Filomena L. Villanueva, G.R. No. 169196/G.R. No. 169198, July 6,
2011.

EFREN L. ALVAREZ VS. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. NO. 192591, JUNE
29, 2011.
Anti-Graft; undue injury. The term undue injury in the context of Section 3(e) of
the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act punishing the act of causing undue injury to
any party, has a meaning akin to that civil law concept of actual damage. Actual
damage, in the context of these definitions, is akin to that in civil law. Article 2199 of the
Civil Code provides that except as provided by law or by stipulation, one is entitled to an
adequate compensation only for such pecuniary loss suffered by a party as he has duly
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proved. Efren L. Alvarez vs. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 192591, June 29, 2011.

MARK CLEMENTE Y MARTINEZ V. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. NO.


194367, JUNE 15, 2011.
Illegal possession and use of false bank notes. The elements of the crime
committed under Article 168 of the Revised Penal Code are the following: (a) that any
treasury or bank note or certificate or other obligation and security payable to bearer, or
any instrument payable to order or other document of credit not payable to bearer is
forged or falsified by another person; (2) that the offender knows that any of the said
instruments is forged or falsified; and (3) that he either used or possessed with intent to
use any of such forged or falsified instruments.
Illegal possession and use of false bank notes. In this case, the Supreme Court,
citingPeople v. Digoro, reversed and set aside the findings of the lower courts and
acquitted petitioner of the crime of Illegal possession and use of false bank notes
defined and penalized under Article 168 of the Revised Penal Code. In Digoro,
possession of false treasury or bank notes alone, without anything more, is not a
criminal offense. For it to constitute an offense under Article 168 of the RPC, the
possession must be with intent to use said false treasury or bank notes. In the case at
bar, the prosecution failed to show that petitioner used the counterfeit money or that he
intended to use the counterfeit bills. Francis dela Cruz, to whom petitioner supposedly
gave the fake P500 bill to buy soft drinks, was not presented in court. According to the
jail officers, they were only informed by Francis dela Cruz that petitioner asked the latter
to buy soft drinks at the Manila City jail bakery using a fake P500 bill. In short, the jail
officers did not have personal knowledge that petitioner asked Francis dela Cruz to use
the P500 bill. Their account, however, is hearsay and not based on the personal
knowledge. Mark Clemente y Martinez v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 194367,
June 15, 2011.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES V. MADS SALUDIN MANTAWIL, ET AL, G.R. NO.


188319, JUNE 8, 2011.
Dangerous Drugs Act; chain of custody. In every prosecution for illegal sale of
dangerous drug, what is crucial is the identity of the buyer and seller, the object and its
consideration, the delivery of the thing sold, and the payment for it. Implicit in these
cases is first and foremost the identity and existence, coupled with the presentation to
the court of the traded prohibited substance, this object evidence being an integral part
of the corpus delicti of the crime of possession or selling of regulated/prohibited drug.
There can be no such crime when nagging doubts persist on whether the specimen
submitted for examination and presented in court was the one recovered from, or sold
by, the accused. Essential, therefore, in appropriate cases is that the identity of the
prohibited drug be established with moral certainty. The chain-of-custody requirement,
set forth in Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 3, Series of 1979, performs this
function which ensures that unnecessary doubts concerning the identity of the evidence
are removed.
Dangerous Drugs Act; chain of custody. In Malillin v. People, the Supreme Court
ruled that the chain of custody requirements that must be met in proving that the seized
drugs are the ones presented in court are as follows: (1) testimony about every link in
the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered into
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evidence; and (2) witnesses should describe the precautions taken to ensure that there
had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in
the chain to have possession of the item. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that
there is no broken chain in the custody of the confiscated shabu. People of the
Philippines v. Mads Saludin Mantawil, et al, G.R. No. 188319, June 8, 2011.

HON. WALDO Q. FLORES, ET AL V. ATTY. ANTONIO F. MONTEMAYOR, G.R. NO.


170146, JUNE 8, 2011.
Administrative cases; res judicata. Dismissal of a criminal action does not
foreclose institution of an administrative proceeding against the same respondent, nor
carry with it the relief from administrative liability. Res judicata did not set in because
there is no identity of causes of action. Moreover, the decision of the Ombudsman
dismissing the criminal complaint cannot be considered a valid and final judgment. On
the criminal complaint, the Ombudsman only had the power to investigate and file the
appropriate case before the Sandiganbayan.
Double jeopardy; elements. Double jeopardy attaches only (1) upon a valid
indictment, (2) before a competent court, (3) after arraignment, (4) when a valid plea
has been entered, and (5) when the defendant was convicted or acquitted, or the case
was dismissed or otherwise terminated without the express consent of the accused.
None of these requisites applies where the Ombudsman only conducted a preliminary
investigation of the same criminal offense against the respondent public officer. The
dismissal of a case during preliminary investigation does not constitute double jeopardy,
preliminary investigation not being part of the trial. Hon. Waldo Q. Flores, et al v. Atty.
Antonio F. Montemayor, G.R. No. 170146, June 8, 2011.

DR. RUBI LI VS. SPOUSES REYNALDO AND LINA SOLIMAN AS PARENTS/HEIRS


OF DECEASED ANGELICA SOLIMAN, G.R. NO. 165279. JUNE 7, 2011
Medical malpractice. An integral part of physicians overall obligation to patient is
the duty of reasonable disclosure of available choices with respect to proposed therapy
and of dangers inherently and potentially involved in each. However, the physician is not
obliged to discuss relatively minor risks inherent in common procedures when it is
common knowledge that such risks inherent in procedure of very low incidence. Cited
as exceptions to the rule that the patient should not be denied the opportunity to weigh
the risks of surgery or treatment are emergency cases where it is evident he cannot
evaluate data, and where the patient is a child or incompetent. The court thus
concluded that the patients right of self-decision can only be effectively exercised if the
patient possesses adequate information to enable him in making an intelligent choice.
The scope of the physicians communications to the patient, then must be measured by
the patients need, and that need is whatever information is material to the decision. The
test therefore for determining whether a potential peril must be divulged is its materiality
to the patients decision.
Cobbs v. Grant reiterated the pronouncement in Canterbury v. Spence that for
liability of the physician for failure to inform patient, there must be causal relationship
between physicians failure to inform and the injury to patient and such connection
arises only if it is established that, had revelation been made, consent to treatment
would not have been given.

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There are four essential elements a plaintiff must prove in a malpractice action
based upon the doctrine of informed consent: (1) the physician had a duty to disclose
material risks; (2) he failed to disclose or inadequately disclosed those risks; (3) as a
direct and proximate result of the failure to disclose, the patient consented to treatment
she otherwise would not have consented to; and (4) plaintiff was injured by the
proposed treatment. The gravamen in an informed consent case requires the plaintiff to
point to significant undisclosed information relating to the treatment which would have
altered her decision to undergo it.
The element of ethical duty to disclose material risks in the proposed medical
treatment cannot thus be reduced to one simplistic formula applicable in all instances.
Further, in a medical malpractice action based on lack of informed consent, the plaintiff
must prove both the duty and the breach of that duty through expert testimony. Dr. Rubi
Li vs. Spouses Reynaldo and Lina Soliman as parents/heirs of deceased Angelica
Soliman, G.R. No. 165279. June 7, 2011

MARCELO G. GANADEN, ET AL. V. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL., G.R.


NOS. 170500 & 170510-11. JUNE 1, 2011.
Administrative cases; execution of Ombudsman decisions. Petitioners in this
case raise the issue of whether administrative decisions of the Office of the
Ombudsman imposing the penalties of dismissal and one-year suspension from office
are immediately executory pending appeal. The Supreme Court held that it is
immediately executory pending appeal. This is the rule provided for under Section 7,
Rule III of the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman, as amended by
Administrative Order No. 17, dated September 15, 2003, which provides among others:
An appeal shall not stop the decision from being executory. In case the penalty is
suspension or removal and the respondent wins such appeal, he shall be considered as
having been under preventive suspension and shall be paid the salary and such other
emoluments that he did not receive by reason of the suspension or removal. A decision
of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative cases shall be executed as a matter
of course Under this provision, a respondent who is found administratively liable by
the Office of the Ombudsman and is slapped with a penalty of suspension of more than
one month from service has the right to file an appeal with the CA under Rule 43 of the
1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended. But although a respondent is given the
right to appeal, the act of filing an appeal does not stay the execution of the decision of
the Office of the Ombudsman. Marcelo G. Ganaden, et al. v. The Hon. Court of
Appeals, et al., G.R. Nos. 170500 & 170510-11. June 1, 2011.

RIMANDO A. GANNAPAO V. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, ET AL., G.R. NO.


180141. MAY 31, 2011.
Administrative proceedings; due process. The essence of due process is simply
an opportunity to be heard or, as applied to administrative proceedings, an opportunity
to explain ones side or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling
complained of. In the application of the principle of due process, what is sought to be
safeguarded is not lack of previous notice but the denial of the opportunity to be heard.
As long as a party was given the opportunity to defend his interests in due course, he
was not denied due process. Petitioner here was adequately apprised of the charges
filed against him and he submitted his answer to the complaint while the case was still
under a pre-charge investigation. When the Office of the Legal Service conducted a
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summary hearing on the complaint, petitioner was again duly notified of the proceedings
and was given an opportunity to explain his side. He was not denied due process.
Administrative proceedings; length of service as an alternative circumstance.
Length of service as a factor in determining the imposable penalty in administrative
cases is not always a mitigating circumstance. It is an alternative circumstance, which
can mitigate or possibly even aggravate the penalty, depending on the circumstances of
the case. Where the government employee concerned took advantage of his long years
of service and position in public office, length of service may not be considered in
lowering the penalty. The Court will take this circumstance against the public officer or
employee in administrative cases involving serious offenses, even if it was the first time
said public officer or employee was administratively charged.
Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service; requirements; examples.
The acts of respondent constitute the administrative offense of Conduct Prejudicial to
the Best Interest of the Service, which need not be related to, or connected with, the
public officers official functions. As long as the questioned conduct tarnishes the image
and integrity of his public office, the corresponding penalty may be meted on the erring
public officer or employee. Under the Civil Service law and rules, there is no concrete
description of what specific acts constitute the grave offense of Conduct Prejudicial to
the Best Interest of the Service. However, the Court has considered the following acts or
omissions, inter alia, as Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service:
misappropriation of public funds; abandonment of office; failure to report back to work
without prior notice; failure to safe keep public records and property; making false
entries in public documents; falsification of court orders; a judges act of brandishing a
gun and threatening the complainants during a traffic altercation; and a court
interpreters participation in the execution of a document conveying complainants
property which resulted in a quarrel in the latters family.
Procedural due process; right to cross-examine. While the right to cross-examine
is a vital element of procedural due process, the right does not require an actual cross
examination but merely an opportunity to exercise this right if desired by the party
entitled to it. In this case, while National Police Commission Memorandum Circular No.
96-010 provides that the sworn statements of witnesses shall take the place of oral
testimony but shall be subject to cross-examination, petitioner missed this opportunity
precisely because he did not appear at the deadline for the filing of his supplemental
answer or counter-affidavit, and accordingly the hearing officer considered the case
submitted for decision. And even with the grant of his subsequent motion to be
furnished with a copy of the complaint and its annexes, he still failed to file a
supplemental answer or counter-affidavit and instead filed a motion to dismiss.
Rimando A. Gannapao v. Civil Service Commission, et al., G.R. No. 180141. May 31,
2011.

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