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Statcon: Particular Latin Rules

MENS LEGISLATORIS
[G.R. No. L-28771. March 31, 1971.]

was legitimated by their marriage on March 28. 1962. She is therefore his widow.
As provided in the Civil Code, she is entitled to one-half of the inheritance and
the plaintiff, as the surviving sister to the other half.

CORNELIA MATABUENA, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. PETRONILA CERVANTES,


Defendant-Appellee.

DECISION

Alegre, Roces, Salazar & Saez, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

FERNANDO, J.:

Fernando Gerona, Jr., for Defendant-Appellee.


SYLLABUS
1. CIVIL LAW; PROPERTY RELATIONS BETWEEN HUSBAND AND WIFE;
DONATIONS BY REASON OF MARRIAGE; PROHIBITION AGAINST DONATION
BETWEEN SPOUSES DURING MARRIAGE; APPLICABLE TO COMMON LAW
RELATIONSHIP. While Art. 133 of the Civil Code considers as void a "donation
between the spouses during the marriage", policy considerations of the most
exigent character as well as the dictates of morality require that the same
prohibition should apply to a common-law relationship. A 1954 Court of Appeals
decision Buenaventura v. Bautista, (50 O.G. 3679) interpreting a similar provision
of the old Civil Code speaks unequivocally. If the policy of the law is, in the
language of the opinion of the then Justice J.B.L. Reyes of that Court, "to prohibit
donations in favor of the other consort and his descendants because of fear of
undue and improper pressure and influence upon the donor, a prejudice deeply
rooted in our ancient law; porque no se engaen despojandose el uno al otro por
amor que han de consuno, [according to] the Partidas (Part. IV, Tit. Xl, LAW IV),
reiterating the rationale Ne mutuato amore invicem spoliarentur of the Pandects
(Bk 24, Tit. I, De donat, inter virum et uxorem); then there is every reason to
apply the same prohibitive policy to persons living together as husband and wife
without benefit of nuptials. For it is not to be doubted that assent to such
irregular connection for thirty years bespeaks greater influence of one party over
the other, so that the danger that the law seeks to avoid is correspondingly
increased. Moreover, as already pointed out by Ulpian (in his lib. 32 ad Sabinum,
fr. 1), it would not be just that such donations should subsist lest the condition of
those who incurred guilt should turn out to be better. So long as marriage
remains the cornerstone of our family law, reason and morality alike demand that
the disabilities attached to marriage should likewise attach to concubinage.
2. ID.; SUCCESSION; INTESTATE SUCCESSION; SURVIVING SPOUSE; RULE
WHERE A SISTER SURVIVES WITH THE WIDOW. The lack of validity of the
donation made b~ the deceased to defendant Petronila Cervantes does not
necessarily result in plaintiff having exclusive right to the disputed property. Prior
to the death of Felix Matabuena, the relationship between him and the defendant

A question of first impression is before this Court in this litigation. We are called
upon to decide whether the ban on a donation between the spouses during a
marriage applies to a common-law relationship. 1 The plaintiff, now appellant
Cornelia Matabuena, a sister to the deceased Felix Matabuena, maintains that a
donation made while he was living maritally without benefit of marriage to
defendant, now appellee Petronila Cervantes, was void. Defendant would uphold
its validity. The lower court, after noting that it was made at a time before
defendant was married to the donor, sustained the latters stand. Hence this
appeal. The question, as noted, is novel in character, this Court not having had as
yet the opportunity of ruling on it. A 1954 decision of the Court of Appeals,
Buenaventura v. Bautista, 2 by the then Justice J. B. L. Reyes, who was
appointed to this Court later that year, is indicative of the appropriate response
that should be given. The conclusion reached therein is that a donation between
common-law spouses falls within the prohibition and is "null and void as contrary
to public policy." 3 Such a view merits fully the acceptance of this Court. The
decision must be reversed.
In the decision of November 23, 1965, the lower court, after stating that in
plaintiffs complaint alleging absolute ownership of the parcel of land in question,
she specifically raised the question that the donation made by Felix Matabuena to
defendant Petronila Cervantes was null and void under the aforesaid article of the
Civil Code and that defendant on the other hand did assert ownership precisely
because such a donation was made in 1956 and her marriage to the deceased did
not take place until 1962, noted that when the case was called for trial on
November 19, 1965, there was stipulation of facts which it quoted. 4 Thus: "The
plaintiff and the defendant assisted by their respective counsels, jointly agree and
stipulate: (1) That the deceased Felix Matabuena owned the property in question;
(2) That said Felix Matabuena executed a Deed of Donation inter vivos in favor of
Defendant, Petronila Cervantes over the parcel of land in question on February
20, 1956, which same donation was accepted by defendant; (3) That the
donation of the land to the defendant which took effect immediately was made
during the common law relationship as husband and wife between the defendantdone and the now deceased donor and later said donor and done were married
on March 28, 1962; (4) That the deceased Felix Matabuena died intestate on
September 13, 1962; (5) That the plaintiff claims the property by reason of being
the only sister and nearest collateral relative of the deceased by virtue of an

Statcon: Particular Latin Rules


affidavit of self-adjudication executed by her in 1962 and had the land declared in
her name and paid the estate and inheritance taxes thereon" 5
The judgment of the lower court on the above facts was adverse to plaintiff. It
reasoned out thus: "A donation under the terms of Article 133 of the Civil Code is
void if made between the spouses during the marriage. When the donation was
made by Felix Matabuena in favor of the defendant on February 20, 1956,
Petronila Cervantes and Felix Matabuena were not yet married. At that time they
were not spouses. They became spouses only when they married on March 28,
1962, six years after the deed of donation had been executed." 6
We reach a different conclusion. While Art. 133 of the Civil Code considers as void
a "donation between the spouses during the marriage," policy considerations of
the most exigent character as well as the dictates of morality require that the
same prohibition should apply to a common-law relationship. We reverse.
1. As announced at the outset of this opinion, a 1954 Court of Appeals decision,
Buenaventura v. Bautista, 7 interpreting a similar provision of the old Civil Code 8
speaks unequivocally. If the policy of the law is, in the language of the opinion of
the then Justice J.B.L. Reyes of that Court, "to prohibit donations in favor of the
other consort and his descendants because of fear of undue and improper
pressure and influence upon the donor, a prejudice deeply rooted in our ancient
law; porque no se engaen despojandose el uno al otro por amor que han de
consuno [according to] the Partidas (Part IV, Tit. XI, LAW IV), reiterating the
rationale Ne mutuato amore invicem spoliarentur of the Pandects (Bk. 24, Tit. 1,
De donat, inter virum et uxorem); then there is every reason to apply the same
prohibitive policy to persons living together as husband and wife without the
benefit of nuptials. For it is not to be doubted that assent to such irregular
connection for thirty years bespeaks greater influence of one party over the
other, so that the danger that the law seeks to avoid is correspondingly
increased. Moreover, as already pointed out by Ulpian (in his lib. 32 ad Sabinum,
fr. 1), it would not be just that such donations should subsist, lest the condition
of those who incurred guilt should turn out to be better. So long as marriage
remains the cornerstone of our family law, reason and morality alike demand that
the disabilities attached to marriage should likewise attach to concubinage." 9
2. It is hardly necessary to add that even in the absence of the above
pronouncement, any other conclusion cannot stand the test of scrutiny. It would
be to indict the framers of the Civil Code for a failure to apply a laudable rule to a
situation which in its essentials cannot be distinguished. Moreover, if it is at all to
be differentiated, the policy of the law which embodies a deeply-rooted notion of
what is just and what is right would be nullified if such irregular relationship
instead of being visited with disabilities would be attended with benefits.
Certainly a legal norm should not be susceptible to such a reproach. If there is
ever any occasion where the principle of statutory construction that what is
within the spirit of the law is as much a part of it as what is written, this is it.
Otherwise the basic purpose discernible in such codal provision would not be

attained. Whatever omission may be apparent in an interpretation purely literal of


the language used must be remedied by an adherence to its avowed objective. In
the language of Justice Pablo: "El espiritu que informa la ley debe ser la luz que
ha de guiar a los tribunales en la aplicacin de sus disposiciones. 10
3. The lack of validity of the donation made by the deceased to defendant
Petronila Cervantes does not necessarily result in plaintiff having exclusive right
to the disputed property. Prior to the death of Felix Matabuena, the relationship
between him and the defendant was legitimated by their marriage on March 28,
1962. She is therefore his widow. As provided for in the Civil Code, she is entitled
to one-half of the inheritance and the plaintiff, as the surviving sister, to the other
half. 11
WHEREFORE, the lower court decision of November 23, 1965 dismissing the
complaint with costs is reversed. The questioned donation is declared void, with
the rights of plaintiff and defendant as pro indiviso heirs to the property in
question recognized. The case is remanded to the lower court for its appropriate
disposition in accordance with the above opinion. Without pronouncement as to
costs.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Barredo,
Villamor and Makasiar, JJ., concur.
Teehankee, J, took no part.

Statcon: Particular Latin Rules


UBI LEX NON DISTINGUIT, NEC NOC DISTINGUERE DEBERMUS
G.R. No. 93833 September 28, 1995

ESG Bastos ka, nakalimutan mo na kung paano ka pumasok dito sa hotel.


Magsumbong ka sa Union kung gusto mo. Nakalimutan mo na kung paano ka
nakapasok dito "Do you think that on your own makakapasok ka kung hindi ako.
Panunumbyoyan na kita (Sinusumbatan na kita).

SOCORRO D. RAMIREZ, petitioner, vs.HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS,


and ESTER S. GARCIA, respondents.

CHUCHI Itutuloy ko na M'am sana ang duty ko.

KAPUNAN, J.:

ESG Kaso ilang beses na akong binabalikan doon ng mga no (sic) ko.

A civil case damages was filed by petitioner Socorro D. Ramirez in the Regional
Trial Court of Quezon City alleging that the private respondent, Ester S. Garcia, in
a confrontation in the latter's office, allegedly vexed, insulted and humiliated her
in a "hostile and furious mood" and in a manner offensive to petitioner's dignity
and personality," contrary to morals, good customs and public policy." 1

ESG Nakalimutan mo na ba kung paano ka pumasok sa hotel, kung on your


own merit alam ko naman kung gaano ka "ka bobo" mo. Marami ang nag-aaply
alam kong hindi ka papasa.

In support of her claim, petitioner produced a verbatim transcript of the event


and sought moral damages, attorney's fees and other expenses of litigation in the
amount of P610,000.00, in addition to costs, interests and other reliefs awardable
at the trial court's discretion. The transcript on which the civil case was based
was culled from a tape recording of the confrontation made by petitioner. 2 The
transcript reads as follows:

CHUCHI Kumuha kami ng exam noon.


ESG Oo, pero hindi ka papasa.
CHUCHI Eh, bakit ako ang nakuha ni Dr. Tamayo
ESG Kukunin ka kasi ako.

Plaintiff Soccoro D. Ramirez (Chuchi) Good Afternoon M'am.

CHUCHI Eh, di sana

Defendant Ester S. Garcia (ESG) Ano ba ang nangyari sa 'yo, nakalimot ka na


kung paano ka napunta rito, porke member ka na, magsumbong ka kung ano
ang gagawin ko sa 'yo.

ESG Huwag mong ipagmalaki na may utak ka kasi wala kang utak. Akala mo
ba makukuha ka dito kung hindi ako.

CHUCHI Kasi, naka duty ako noon.


ESG Tapos iniwan no. (Sic)

CHUCHI Mag-eexplain ako.


ESG Huwag na, hindi ako mag-papa-explain sa 'yo, makaalala ka kung paano
ka puma-rito. "Putang-ina" sasabi-sabihin mo kamag-anak ng nanay at tatay mo
ang mga magulang ko.

CHUCHI Hindi m'am, pero ilan beses na nila akong binalikan, sabing ganoon
ESG Ito and (sic) masasabi ko sa 'yo, ayaw kung (sic) mag explain ka, kasi
hanggang 10:00 p.m., kinabukasan hindi ka na pumasok. Ngayon ako ang
babalik sa 'yo, nag-aaply ka sa States, nag-aaply ka sa review mo, kung
kakailanganin ang certification mo, kalimutan mo na kasi hindi ka sa akin
makakahingi.
CHUCHI Hindi M'am. Kasi ang ano ko talaga noon i-cocontinue ko up to 10:00
p.m.

ESG Wala na akong pakialam, dahil nandito ka sa loob, nasa labas ka puwede
ka ng hindi pumasok, okey yan nasaloob ka umalis ka doon.
CHUCHI Kasi M'am, binbalikan ako ng mga taga Union.
ESG Nandiyan na rin ako, pero huwag mong kalimutan na hindi ka
makakapasok kung hindi ako. Kung hindi mo kinikilala yan okey lang sa akin,
dahil tapos ka na.

Statcon: Particular Latin Rules


CHUCHI Ina-ano ko m'am na utang na loob.
ESG Huwag na lang, hindi mo utang na loob, kasi kung baga sa no,
nilapastangan mo ako.
CHUCHI Paano kita nilapastanganan?
ESG Mabuti pa lumabas ka na. Hindi na ako makikipagusap sa 'yo. Lumabas ka
na. Magsumbong ka. 3
As a result of petitioner's recording of the event and alleging that the said act of
secretly taping the confrontation was illegal, private respondent filed a criminal
case before the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City for violation of Republic Act
4200, entitled "An Act to prohibit and penalize wire tapping and other related
violations of private communication, and other purposes." An information
charging petitioner of violation of the said Act, dated October 6, 1988 is quoted
herewith:
INFORMATION

by R.A. 4200 refers to a the taping of a communication by a person other than a


participant to the communication. 4
From the trial court's Order, the private respondent filed a Petition for Review on
Certiorari with this Court, which forthwith referred the case to the Court of
Appeals in a Resolution (by the First Division) of June 19, 1989.
On February 9, 1990, respondent Court of Appeals promulgated its assailed
Decision declaring the trial court's order of May 3, 1989 null and void, and
holding that:
[T]he allegations sufficiently constitute an offense punishable under Section 1 of
R.A. 4200. In thus quashing the information based on the ground that the facts
alleged do not constitute an offense, the respondent judge acted in grave abuse
of discretion correctible by certiorari. 5
Consequently, on February 21, 1990, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration
which respondent Court of Appeals denied in its Resolution 6 dated June 19, 1990.
Hence, the instant petition.

That on or about the 22nd day of February, 1988, in Pasay City Metro Manila,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this honorable court, the above-named
accused, Socorro D. Ramirez not being authorized by Ester S. Garcia to record
the latter's conversation with said accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully
and feloniously, with the use of a tape recorder secretly record the said
conversation and thereafter communicate in writing the contents of the said
recording to other person.

Petitioner vigorously argues, as her "main and principal issue" 7 that the
applicable provision of Republic Act 4200 does not apply to the taping of a private
conversation by one of the parties to the conversation. She contends that the
provision merely refers to the unauthorized taping of a private conversation by a
party other than those involved in the communication. 8 In relation to this,
petitioner avers that the substance or content of the conversation must be
alleged in the Information, otherwise the facts charged would not constitute a
violation of R.A. 4200. 9 Finally, petitioner agues that R.A. 4200 penalizes the
taping of a "private communication," not a "private conversation" and that
consequently, her act of secretly taping her conversation with private respondent
was not illegal under the said act. 10

Contrary to law.

We disagree.

Pasay City, Metro Manila, September 16, 1988.

First, legislative intent is determined principally from the language of a statute.


Where the language of a statute is clear and unambiguous, the law is applied
according to its express terms, and interpretation would be resorted to only
where a literal interpretation would be either impossible 11 or absurb or would
lead to an injustice. 12

The Undersigned Assistant City Fiscal Accusses Socorro D. Ramirez of Violation of


Republic Act No. 4200, committed as follows:

MARIANO M. CUNETAAsst. City Fiscal


Upon arraignment, in lieu of a plea, petitioner filed a Motion to Quash the
Information on the ground that the facts charged do not constitute an offense,
particularly a violation of R.A. 4200. In an order May 3, 1989, the trial court
granted the Motion to Quash, agreeing with petitioner that 1) the facts charged
do not constitute an offense under R.A. 4200; and that 2) the violation punished

Section 1 of R.A. 4200 entitled, " An Act to Prohibit and Penalized Wire Tapping
and Other Related Violations of Private Communication and Other Purposes,"
provides:

Statcon: Particular Latin Rules


Sec. 1. It shall be unlawfull for any person, not being authorized by all the parties
to any private communication or spoken word, to tap any wire or cable, or by
using any other device or arrangement, to secretly overhear, intercept, or record
such communication or spoken word by using a device commonly known as a
dictaphone or dictagraph or detectaphone or walkie-talkie or tape recorder, or
however otherwise described.
The aforestated provision clearly and unequivocally makes it illegal for any
person, not authorized by all the parties to any private communication to secretly
record such communication by means of a tape recorder. The law makes no
distinction as to whether the party sought to be penalized by the statute ought to
be a party other than or different from those involved in the private
communication. The statute's intent to penalize all persons unauthorized to make
such recording is underscored by the use of the qualifier "any". Consequently, as
respondent Court of Appeals correctly concluded, "even a (person) privy to a
communication who records his private conversation with another without the
knowledge of the latter (will) qualify as a violator" 13 under this provision of R.A.
4200.
A perusal of the Senate Congressional Records, moreover, supports the
respondent court's conclusion that in enacting R.A. 4200 our lawmakers indeed
contemplated to make illegal, unauthorized tape recording of private
conversations or communications taken either by the parties themselves or by
third persons. Thus:
xxx xxx xxx
Senator Taada: That qualified only "overhear".
Senator Padilla: So that when it is intercepted or recorded, the element of
secrecy would not appear to be material. Now, suppose, Your Honor, the
recording is not made by all the parties but by some parties and involved not
criminal cases that would be mentioned under section 3 but would cover, for
example civil cases or special proceedings whereby a recording is made not
necessarily by all the parties but perhaps by some in an effort to show the intent
of the parties because the actuation of the parties prior, simultaneous even
subsequent to the contract or the act may be indicative of their intention.
Suppose there is such a recording, would you say, Your Honor, that the intention
is to cover it within the purview of this bill or outside?
Senator Taada: That is covered by the purview of this bill, Your Honor.
Senator Padilla: Even if the record should be used not in the prosecution of
offense but as evidence to be used in Civil Cases or special proceedings?

Senator Taada: That is right. This is a complete ban on tape recorded


conversations taken without the authorization of all the parties.
Senator Padilla: Now, would that be reasonable, your Honor?
Senator Taada: I believe it is reasonable because it is not sporting to record the
observation of one without his knowing it and then using it against him . It is not
fair, it is not sportsmanlike. If the purpose; Your honor, is to record the intention
of the parties. I believe that all the parties should know that the observations are
being recorded.
Senator Padilla: This might reduce the utility of recorders.
Senator Taada: Well no. For example, I was to say that in meetings of the board
of directors where a tape recording is taken, there is no objection to this if all the
parties know. It is but fair that the people whose remarks and observations are
being made should know that the observations are being recorded.
Senator Padilla: Now, I can understand.
Senator Taada: That is why when we take statements of persons, we say:
"Please be informed that whatever you say here may be used against you." That
is fairness and that is what we demand. Now, in spite of that warning, he makes
damaging statements against his own interest, well, he cannot complain any
more. But if you are going to take a recording of the observations and remarks of
a person without him knowing that it is being taped or recorded, without him
knowing that what is being recorded may be used against him, I think it is unfair.
xxx xxx xxx
(Congression Record, Vol. III, No. 31, p. 584, March 12, 1964)
Senator Diokno: Do you understand, Mr. Senator, that under Section 1 of the bill
as now worded, if a party secretly records a public speech, he would be penalized
under Section 1? Because the speech is public, but the recording is done secretly.
Senator Taada: Well, that particular aspect is not contemplated by the bill. It is
the communication between one person and another person not between a
speaker and a public.
xxx xxx xxx

Statcon: Particular Latin Rules


(Congressional Record, Vol. III, No. 33, p. 626, March 12, 1964)
xxx xxx xxx
The unambiguity of the express words of the provision, taken together with the
above-quoted deliberations from the Congressional Record, therefore plainly
supports the view held by the respondent court that the provision seeks to
penalize even those privy to the private communications. Where the law makes
no distinctions, one does not distinguish.
Second, the nature of the conversations is immaterial to a violation of the
statute. The substance of the same need not be specifically alleged in the
information. What R.A. 4200 penalizes are the acts of secretly overhearing,
intercepting or recording private communications by means of the devices
enumerated therein. The mere allegation that an individual made a secret
recording of a private communication by means of a tape recorder would suffice
to constitute an offense under Section 1 of R.A. 4200. As the Solicitor General
pointed out in his COMMENT before the respondent court: "Nowhere (in the said
law) is it required that before one can be regarded as a violator, the nature of the
conversation, as well as its communication to a third person should be
professed." 14
Finally, petitioner's contention that the phrase "private communication" in Section
1 of R.A. 4200 does not include "private conversations" narrows the ordinary
meaning of the word "communication" to a point of absurdity. The word
communicate comes from the latin word communicare, meaning "to share or to
impart." In its ordinary signification, communication connotes the act of sharing
or imparting signification, communication connotes the act of sharing or
imparting, as in a conversation, 15 or signifies the "process by which meanings or
thoughts are shared between individuals through a common system of symbols
(as language signs or gestures)" 16 These definitions are broad enough to include
verbal or non-verbal, written or expressive communications of "meanings or
thoughts" which are likely to include the emotionally-charged exchange, on
February 22, 1988, between petitioner and private respondent, in the privacy of
the latter's office. Any doubts about the legislative body's meaning of the phrase
"private communication" are, furthermore, put to rest by the fact that the terms
"conversation" and "communication" were interchangeably used by Senator
Taada in his Explanatory Note to the bill quoted below:
It has been said that innocent people have nothing to fear from their
conversations being overheard. But this statement ignores the usual nature of
conversations as well the undeniable fact that most, if not all, civilized people
have some aspects of their lives they do not wish to expose. Free conversations
are often characterized by exaggerations, obscenity, agreeable falsehoods, and
the expression of anti-social desires of views not intended to be taken seriously.

The right to the privacy of communication, among others, has expressly been
assured by our Constitution. Needless to state here, the framers of our
Constitution must have recognized the nature of conversations between
individuals and the significance of man's spiritual nature, of his feelings and of his
intellect. They must have known that part of the pleasures and satisfactions of
life are to be found in the unaudited, and free exchange of communication
between individuals free from every unjustifiable intrusion by whatever means.
17

In Gaanan vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 18 a case which dealt with the issue
of telephone wiretapping, we held that the use of a telephone extension for the
purpose of overhearing a private conversation without authorization did not
violate R.A. 4200 because a telephone extension devise was neither among those
"device(s) or arrangement(s)" enumerated therein, 19 following the principle that
"penal statutes must be construed strictly in favor of the accused." 20 The instant
case turns on a different note, because the applicable facts and circumstances
pointing to a violation of R.A. 4200 suffer from no ambiguity, and the statute
itself explicitly mentions the unauthorized "recording" of private communications
with the use of tape-recorders as among the acts punishable.
WHEREFORE, because the law, as applied to the case at bench is clear and
unambiguous and leaves us with no discretion, the instant petition is hereby
DENIED. The decision appealed from is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

Statcon: Particular Latin Rules


EJUSDEM GENERIS
When do we apply this rule?
G.R. No. L-32717 November 26, 1970
AMELITO R.
respondent.

MUTUC,

petitioner,

vs.COMMISSION

ON

ELECTIONS,

Amelito R. Mutuc in his own behalf.


Romulo C. Felizmena for respondent.
FERNANDO, J.:
The invocation of his right to free speech by petitioner Amelito Mutuc, then a
candidate for delegate to the Constitutional Convention, in this special civil action
for prohibition to assail the validity of a ruling of respondent Commission on
Elections enjoining the use of a taped jingle for campaign purposes, was not in
vain. Nor could it be considering the conceded absence of any express power
granted to respondent by the Constitutional Convention Act to so require and the
bar to any such implication arising from any provision found therein, if deference
be paid to the principle that a statute is to be construed consistently with the
fundamental law, which accords the utmost priority to freedom of expression,
much more so when utilized for electoral purposes. On November 3, 1970, the
very same day the case was orally argued, five days after its filing, with the
election barely a week away, we issued a minute resolution granting the writ of
prohibition prayed for. This opinion is intended to explain more fully our decision.
In this special civil action for prohibition filed on October 29, 1970, petitioner,
after setting forth his being a resident of Arayat, Pampanga, and his candidacy
for the position of delegate to the Constitutional Convention, alleged that
respondent Commission on Elections, by a telegram sent to him five days
previously, informed him that his certificate of candidacy was given due course
but prohibited him from using jingles in his mobile units equipped with sound
systems and loud speakers, an order which, according to him, is "violative of
[his] constitutional right ... to freedom of speech." 1 There being no plain, speedy
and adequate remedy, according to petitioner, he would seek a writ of prohibition,
at the same time praying for a preliminary injunction. On the very next day, this
Court adopted a resolution requiring respondent Commission on Elections to file
an answer not later than November 2, 1970, at the same time setting the case
for hearing for Tuesday November 3, 1970. No preliminary injunction was issued.
There was no denial in the answer filed by respondent on November 2, 1970, of

the factual allegations set forth in the petition, but the justification for the
prohibition was premised on a provision of the Constitutional Convention Act,
2
which made it unlawful for candidates "to purchase, produce, request or
distribute sample ballots, or electoral propaganda gadgets such as pens, lighters,
fans (of whatever nature), flashlights, athletic goods or materials, wallets,
bandanas, shirts, hats, matches, cigarettes, and the like, whether of domestic or
foreign origin." 3It was its contention that the jingle proposed to be used by
petitioner is the recorded or taped voice of a singer and therefore a tangible
propaganda material, under the above statute subject to confiscation. It prayed
that the petition be denied for lack of merit. The case was argued, on November
3, 1970, with petitioner appearing in his behalf and Attorney Romulo C.
Felizmena arguing in behalf of respondent.
This Court, after deliberation and taking into account the need for urgency, the
election being barely a week away, issued on the afternoon of the same day, a
minute resolution granting the writ of prohibition, setting forth the absence of
statutory authority on the part of respondent to impose such a ban in the light of
the doctrine of ejusdem generis as well as the principle that the construction
placed on the statute by respondent Commission on Elections would raise serious
doubts about its validity, considering the infringement of the right of free speech
of petitioner. Its concluding portion was worded thus: "Accordingly, as prayed for,
respondent Commission on Elections is permanently restrained and prohibited
from enforcing or implementing or demanding compliance with its aforesaid order
banning the use of political jingles by candidates. This resolution is immediately
executory." 4
1. As made clear in our resolution of November 3, 1970, the question before us
was one of power. Respondent Commission on Elections was called upon to justify
such a prohibition imposed on petitioner. To repeat, no such authority was
granted by the Constitutional Convention Act. It did contend, however, that one
of its provisions referred to above makes unlawful the distribution of electoral
propaganda gadgets, mention being made of pens, lighters, fans, flashlights,
athletic goods or materials, wallets, bandanas, shirts, hats, matches, and
cigarettes, and concluding with the words "and the like." 5 For respondent
Commission, the last three words sufficed to justify such an order. We view the
matter differently. What was done cannot merit our approval under the wellknown principle of ejusdem generis, the general words following any enumeration
being applicable only to things of the same kind or class as those specifically
referred to. 6 It is quite apparent that what was contemplated in the Act was the
distribution of gadgets of the kind referred to as a means of inducement to obtain
a favorable vote for the candidate responsible for its distribution.
The more serious objection, however, to the ruling of respondent Commission
was its failure to manifest fealty to a cardinal principle of construction that a
statute should be interpreted to assure its being in consonance with, rather than
repugnant to, any constitutional command or prescription. 7 Thus, certain

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Administrative Code provisions were given a "construction which should be more
in harmony with the tenets of the fundamental law." 8 The desirability of removing
in that fashion the taint of constitutional infirmity from legislative enactments has
always commended itself. The judiciary may even strain the ordinary meaning of
words to avert any collision between what a statute provides and what the
Constitution requires. The objective is to reach an interpretation rendering it free
from constitutional defects. To paraphrase Justice Cardozo, if at all possible, the
conclusion reached must avoid not only that it is unconstitutional, but also grave
doubts upon that score. 9
2. Petitioner's submission of his side of the controversy, then, has in its favor
obeisance to such a cardinal precept. The view advanced by him that if the above
provision of the Constitutional Convention Act were to lend itself to the view that
the use of the taped jingle could be prohibited, then the challenge of
unconstitutionality would be difficult to meet. For, in unequivocal language, the
Constitution prohibits an abridgment of free speech or a free press. It has been
our constant holding that this preferred freedom calls all the more for the utmost
respect when what may be curtailed is the dissemination of information to make
more meaningful the equally vital right of suffrage. What respondent Commission
did, in effect, was to impose censorship on petitioner, an evil against which this
constitutional right is directed. Nor could respondent Commission justify its action
by the assertion that petitioner, if he would not resort to taped jingle, would be
free, either by himself or through others, to use his mobile loudspeakers.
Precisely, the constitutional guarantee is not to be emasculated by confining it to
a speaker having his say, but not perpetuating what is uttered by him through
tape or other mechanical contrivances. If this Court were to sustain respondent
Commission, then the effect would hardly be distinguishable from a previous
restraint. That cannot be validly done. It would negate indirectly what the
Constitution in express terms assures. 10
3. Nor is this all. The concept of the Constitution as the fundamental law, setting
forth the criterion for the validity of any public act whether proceeding from the
highest official or the lowest functionary, is a postulate of our system of
government. That is to manifest fealty to the rule of law, with priority accorded to
that which occupies the topmost rung in the legal hierarchy. The three
departments of government in the discharge of the functions with which it is
entrusted have no choice but to yield obedience to its commands. Whatever
limits it imposes must be observed. Congress in the enactment of statutes must
ever be on guard lest the restrictions on its authority, whether substantive or
formal, be transcended. The Presidency in the execution of the laws cannot
ignore or disregard what it ordains. In its task of applying the law to the facts as
found in deciding cases, the judiciary is called upon to maintain inviolate what is
decreed by the fundamental law. Even its power of judicial review to pass upon
the validity of the acts of the coordinate branches in the course of adjudication is
a logical corollary of this basic principle that the Constitution is paramount. It
overrides any governmental measure that fails to live up to its mandates.

Thereby there is a recognition of its being the supreme law.


To be more specific, the competence entrusted to respondent Commission was
aptly summed up by the present Chief Justice thus: "Lastly, as the branch of the
executive department although independent of the President to which the
Constitution has given the 'exclusive charge' of the 'enforcement and
administration of all laws relative to the conduct of elections,' the power of
decision of the Commission is limited to purely 'administrative questions.'" 11 It
has been the constant holding of this Court, as it could not have been otherwise,
that respondent Commission cannot exercise any authority in conflict with or
outside of the law, and there is no higher law than the Constitution. 12 Our
decisions which liberally construe its powers are precisely inspired by the thought
that only thus may its responsibility under the Constitution to insure free, orderly
and honest elections be adequately fulfilled. 13 There could be no justification
then for lending approval to any ruling or order issuing from respondent
Commission, the effect of which would be to nullify so vital a constitutional right
as free speech. Petitioner's case, as was obvious from the time of its filing, stood
on solid footing.
WHEREFORE, as set forth in our resolution of November 3, 1970, respondent
Commission is permanently restrained and prohibited from enforcing or
implementing or demanding compliance with its aforesaid order banning the use
of political taped jingles. Without pronouncement as to costs.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Barredo and
Villamor, JJ., concur.
Dizon and Makasiar, JJ., are on leave.
Separate Opinions
TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
In line with my separate opinion in Badoy vs. Ferrer 1 on the unconstitutionality of
the challenged provisions of the 1971 Constitutional Convention Act, I concur
with the views of Mr. Justice Fernando in the main opinion that "there could be no
justification .... for lending approval to any ruling or order issuing from
respondent Commission, the effect of which would be to nullify so vital a
constitutional right as free speech." I would only add the following observations:
This case once again calls for application of the constitutional test of
reasonableness required by the due process clause of our Constitution. Originally,
respondent Commission in its guidelines prescribed summarily that the use by a
candidate of a "mobile unit roaming around and announcing a meeting and the

Statcon: Particular Latin Rules


name of the candidate ... is prohibited. If it is used only for a certain place for a
meeting and he uses his sound system at the meeting itself, there is no
violation." 2Acting upon petitioner's application, however, respondent Commission
ruled that "the use of a sound system by anyone be he a candidate or not
whether stationary or part of a mobile unit is not prohibited by the 1971
Constitutional Convention Act" but imposed the condition "provided that there
are no jingles and no streamers or posters placed in carriers."
Respondent Commission's narrow view is that "the use of a 'jingle,' a verbally
recorded form of election propaganda, is no different from the use of a 'streamer'
or 'poster,' a printed form of election propaganda, and both forms of election
advertisement fall under the prohibition contained in sec. 12 of R.A. 6132," and
"the record disc or tape where said 'jingle' has been recorded can be subject of
confiscation by the respondent Commission under par. (E) of sec. 12 of R.A.
6132." In this modern day and age of the electronically recorded or taped voice
which may be easily and inexpensively disseminated through a mobile sound
system throughout the candidate's district, respondent Commission would outlaw
"recorded or taped voices" and would exact of the candidate that he make use of
the mobile sound system only by personal transmission and repeatedly
personally sing his "jingle" or deliver his spoken message to the voters even if he
loses his voice in the process or employ another person to do so personally even
if this should prove more expensive and less effective than using a recorded or
taped voice.
Respondent Commission's strictures clearly violate, therefore, petitioner's basic
freedom of speech and expression. They cannot pass the constitutional test of
reasonableness in that they go far beyond a reasonable relation to the proper
governmental object and are manifestly unreasonable, oppressive and arbitrary.
Insofar as the placing of the candidate's "streamers" or posters on the mobile
unit or carrier is concerned, respondent Commission's adverse ruling that the
same falls within the prohibition of section 12, paragraphs (C) and (E) has not
been appealed by petitioner. I would note that respondent Commission's premise
that "the use of a 'jingle' ... is no different from the use of a 'streamer' or 'poster'
"in that these both represent forms of election advertisements to make the
candidate and the fact of his candidacy known to the voters is correct, but its
conclusion is not. The campaign appeal of the "jingle" is through the voters' ears
while that of the "streamers" is through the voters' eyes. But if it be held that the
Commission's ban on "jingles" abridges unreasonably, oppressively and arbitrarily
the candidate's right of free expression, even though such "jingles" may
occasionally offend some sensitive ears, the Commission's ban on "streamers"
being placed on the candidate's mobile unit or carrier, which "streamers" are less
likely to offend the voters' sense of sight should likewise be held to be an
unreasonable, oppressive and arbitrary curtailment of the candidate's same
constitutional right.

The intent of the law to minimize election expenses as invoked by respondent


Commission, laudable as it may be, should not be sought at the cost of the
candidate's constitutional rights in the earnest pursuit of his candidacy, but is to
be fulfilled in the strict and effective implementation of the Act's limitation in
section 12(G) on the total expenditures that may be made by a candidate or by
another person with his knowledge and consent.
# Separate Opinions
TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
In line with my separate opinion in Badoy vs. Ferrer 1 on the unconstitutionality of
the challenged provisions of the 1971 Constitutional Convention Act, I concur
with the views of Mr. Justice Fernando in the main opinion that "there could be no
justification .... for lending approval to any ruling or order issuing from
respondent Commission, the effect of which would be to nullify so vital a
constitutional right as free speech." I would only add the following observations:
This case once again calls for application of the constitutional test of
reasonableness required by the due process clause of our Constitution. Originally,
respondent Commission in its guidelines prescribed summarily that the use by a
candidate of a "mobile unit roaming around and announcing a meeting and the
name of the candidate ... is prohibited. If it is used only for a certain place for a
meeting and he uses his sound system at the meeting itself, there is no
violation." 2Acting upon petitioner's application, however, respondent Commission
ruled that "the use of a sound system by anyone be he a candidate or not
whether stationary or part of a mobile unit is not prohibited by the 1971
Constitutional Convention Act" but imposed the condition "provided that there
are no jingles and no streamers or posters placed in carriers."
Respondent Commission's narrow view is that "the use of a 'jingle,' a verbally
recorded form of election propaganda, is no different from the use of a 'streamer'
or 'poster,' a printed form of election propaganda, and both forms of election
advertisement fall under the prohibition contained in sec. 12 of R.A. 6132," and
"the record disc or tape where said 'jingle' has been recorded can be subject of
confiscation by the respondent Commission under par. (E) of sec. 12 of R.A.
6132." In this modern day and age of the electronically recorded or taped voice
which may be easily and inexpensively disseminated through a mobile sound
system throughout the candidate's district, respondent Commission would outlaw
"recorded or taped voices" and would exact of the candidate that he make use of
the mobile sound system only by personal transmission and repeatedly
personally sing his "jingle" or deliver his spoken message to the voters even if he
loses his voice in the process or employ another person to do so personally even
if this should prove more expensive and less effective than using a recorded or
taped voice.

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Respondent Commission's strictures clearly violate, therefore, petitioner's basic
freedom of speech and expression. They cannot pass the constitutional test of
reasonableness in that they go far beyond a reasonable relation to the proper
governmental object and are manifestly unreasonable, oppressive and arbitrary.
Insofar as the placing of the candidate's "streamers" or posters on the mobile
unit or carrier is concerned, respondent Commission's adverse ruling that the
same falls within the prohibition of section 12, paragraphs (C) and (E) has not
been appealed by petitioner. I would note that respondent Commission's premise
that "the use of a 'jingle' ... is no different from the use of a 'streamer' or 'poster'
"in that these both represent forms of election advertisements to make the
candidate and the fact of his candidacy known to the voters is correct, but its
conclusion is not. The campaign appeal of the "jingle" is through the voters' ears
while that of the "streamers" is through the voters' eyes. But if it be held that the
Commission's ban on "jingles" abridges unreasonably, oppressively and arbitrarily
the candidate's right of free expression, even though such "jingles" may
occasionally offend some sensitive ears, the Commission's ban on "streamers"
being placed on the candidate's mobile unit or carrier, which "streamers" are less
likely to offend the voters' sense of sight should likewise be held to be an
unreasonable, oppressive and arbitrary curtailment of the candidate's same
constitutional right.
The intent of the law to minimize election expenses as invoked by respondent
Commission, laudable as it may be, should not be sought at the cost of the
candidate's constitutional rights in the earnest pursuit of his candidacy, but is to
be fulfilled in the strict and effective implementation of the Act's limitation in
section 12(G) on the total expenditures that may be made by a candidate or by
another person with his knowledge and consent.

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EXPRESSIO UNIUS EST EXCLUSION ALTERIUS

4273, Ormoc Cadastre be reopened, and that they be allowed to file their
cadastral answer.

G.R. No. L-35376 September 11, 1980


REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES and THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS,
petitioners, vs.HON. NUMERIANO G. ESTENZO, ETC., ET AL., respondents.
DE CASTRO, J.:
Petitioners Republic of the Philippines and The Director of Lands seek the review
of the decision dated July 22, 1972 of the respondent Judge in Cad. Case No. 27,
GLRO Rec. No. 1714, Lot No. 4273, Ormoc Cadastre entitled, "The Director of
Lands, petitioner, versus Tiburcio, Florencia, Fabian and Gonzala, all surnamed
Aotes, claimants-movants", the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the decision of this Court dated September 28, 1940, declaring Lot
No. 4273 Public Land is set aside and said Lot No. 4273 of the Ormoc Cadastre is
hereby adjudicated in favor of herein movants in undivided interests and in equal
share of each to GONZALA AOTES, married to Victorino Gormanes; TIBURCIO
AOTES, married to Epefania Maglasang; FLORENCIA AOTES, married to Basilio
Barabad; and FABIAN AOTES, married to Dulcisima Barabad; all adjudicatees are
Filipinos, of legal ages, the first named is residing in Can-adiong, Ormoc City,
Philippines; and as soon as this decision shall have become final, let the
Commissioner of Land Registration Commission, Quezon City, issue the
corresponding decree of aforesaid parcel of land in the names of herein
adjudicatees, subject to the liability and claims of creditors, Hens, or other
persons for the full period of two (2) years after their distribution as imposed by
Section 4 of Rule 74 of the Rules of Court. 1
The following facts are undisputed in the instant case:
In a decision dated September 28, 1940 by the Cadastral Court, Lot No. 4273 of
the Ormoc Cadastre was declared public land.
On February 23, 1972, private respondents Aotes filed with the Court of First
Instance of Leyte, Branch V, Ormoc City, presided by the respondent Judge a
petition to reopen the aforesaid decision dated September 28, 1940 under Rep.
Act 931 as amended by Rep. Act 6236 claiming to be the owners and possessors
of Lot No. 4273 of the Ormoc Cadastre by virtue of hereditary succession but,
due to their non-appearance on the date of the hearing of the Cadastral Case
because of ignorance and excusable neglect, said land was declared public land
and that they had been in adverse, peaceful and notorious possession of the said
parcel of land since the time immemorial, paying all the taxes, interests and
penalties. They pray that the decision of the Cadastral Court affecting Lot No.

On March 16, 1972, petitioners filed an opposition to the aforesaid petition on the
ground that such petition is barred by the expiration of the period for reopening
cadastral proceedings under Rep. Act 931 which expired on December 31, 1968
and this period has not been extended under the provisions of Rep. Act 6236
because the latter applies only to the extensions of time limit for the filing of
applications for free patent and for judicial confirmation of imperfect or
incomplete titles.
Respondent Judge in its order dated May 9, 1972, denied the opposition for lack
of sufficient merit and set the case for hearing on June 24, 1972.
On July 22, 1972, respondent judge rendered decision setting aside the decision
of the cadastral court dated September 28, 1940 declaring Lot No. 4273 public
land and adjudicating said lot in favor of the private respondents in undivided
interest in equal share of one-fourth (1/4) each.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the lower court, petitioners filed this instant
petition assigning only one error to writ: The trial court erred in assuming
jurisdiction over the petition for reopening of Cadastral Proceedings.
In the Brief, 2 petitioners argue that the lower court has no jurisdiction over the
proceedings for reopening of the cadastral case because under the provision of
Rep. Act 931, the period for reopening of cadastral proceedings expired on
December 31, 1968, and that period has not been extended by Rep. Act 6236
which applies only to the extension of the time limit for the filing of applications
for free patent and for judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles and
not to reopening of cadastral proceedings. In the Manifestation and Motion, 3
respondents Aotes claim that considering the time limit for firing applications for
free patents and for judicial confirmation of incomplete and imperfect titles has
been extended up to December 31, 1980, the reopening of cadastral cases
should also be extended until December 31, 1980 in fairness and justice to them.
The sole issue to be resolved, considering the above facts, is whether or not Rep.
Act 6236 which provides for the extension of the time limit to file applications for
free patent and for judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles to
December 31, 1976 applies also to the reopening of cadastral proceedings on
certain lands which were declared public lands.
There is merit in the petition.
By way of background, Rep. Act 931, which was approved on June 20, 1953, is

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an act to authorize the filing in the proper court, under certain conditions, of
certain claims of title to parcels of land that have been declared public land, by
virtue of judicial decisions rendered within the forty years next preceding the
approval of this act. Under this aforesaid act, all persons claiming title to parcels
of land that have been the object of cadastral proceedings, who at the time of the
survey were in actual possession of the same but for some justifiable reason had
been unable to file their claim in the proper court during the time limit
established by law, in case such parcels of land, on account of their failure to file
such claims, have been, or are about to be declared land of the public domain, by
virtue of judicial proceedings instituted within the forty years next preceding the
approval of this act, are granted the right within five years after the date on
which this act shall take effect, to petition for a reopening of the judicial
proceedings under the provisions of Act 2259. Rep. Act 2061, which took effect
on June 13, 1958, refers to an act setting a new time limit for the filing of
applications for free patents, for the judicial confirmation of imperfect or
incomplete titles, and for the reopening of judicial proceedings on certain lands
which were declared public lands. Under this act the time for filing applications
shall not extend beyond December 31, 1968. Rep. Act 6236, approved on June
19, 1971, however, extended the time limit for the filing of applications for free
patents and for the judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles not to
extend beyond December 31, 1976. In resume, Rep. Act 931 granted a right
within 5 years from June 20, 1953 to petition for a reopening of cadastral
proceedings. Rep. Act 2061 fixed a new time limit which is up to December 31,
1968 to file applications for free patents, for the judicial confirmation of imperfect
or incomplete titles and for the reopening of judicial proceedings on certain lands
which were declared public land. Rep. Act 6236 extended the time limit which is
up to December 31, 1976 for the filing of applications for free patents and for the
judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles.
Respondent Aotes filed on February 23, 1972 a petition to reopen the decision of
the Cadastral Court under Rep. Act 931 as amended by Rep. Act 6236.
Respondents Aotes claim that since the time limit for filing applications for free
patents and applications for judicial confirmation of incomplete and imperfect
titles have been extended up to December 31, 1980, the reopening of cadastral
cases is also extended until December 31, 1980. Rep. Act 6236, the very law on
which respondents Aotes bases his petition to reopen the cadastral proceedings
fails to supply any basis for respondents' contention. It will be noted that while
Rep. Act 2061 fixed the time to reopen cadastral cases which shall not extend
beyond December 31, 1968, no similar provision is found in Rep. Act 6236
expressly 'extending the time limit for the reopening of cadastral proceedings on
parcels of land declared public land. As correctly pointed out by petitioners, the
extension as provided for by the Rep. Act 6236 makes no reference to reopening
of cadastral cases as the earlier law, Rep. Act 2061, expressly did. Under the
legal maxim of statutory construction, expressio unius est exclusio alterius
(Express Mention is Implied Exclusion), the express mention of one thing in a
law, as a general rule, means the exclusion of others not expressly mentioned.
This rule, as a guide to probable legislative intent, is based upon the rules of logic

and the natural workings of the human mind. 4 If Rep. Act 6236 had intended
that the extension it provided for applies also to reopening of cadastral cases, it
would have so provided in the same way that it provided the extension of time to
file applications for free patent and for judicial confirmation of imperfect or
incomplete title. The intention to exclude the reopening of cadastral proceedings
or certain lands which were declared public land in Rep. Act 6236 is made clearer
by reference to Rep. Act 2061 which includes the reopening of cadastral cases,
but not so included in Rep. Act 6236.
We hold, therefore, that the extension provided for by Rep. Act 6236 which is the
sole basis for filing the respondents Aotes' petition to reopen the cadastral
proceedings applies only to the filing of applications for free patent and for
judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles and not to reopening of
cadastral proceedings like the instant case, a proceeding entirely different from
"filing an application for a free patent or for judicial confirmation of imperfect or
incomplete titles."
Parenthetically, in setting aside the decision dated September 28, 1940, the
respondent Judge has concluded that Rep. Act 6236 is applicable also to
reopening of cadastral proceedings, thereby, altering Rep. Act 6236. That cannot
be done by the judiciary. That is a function that properly pertains to the
legislative branch. As was pointed out in Gonzaga vs. Court of Appeals: 5 "It has
been repeated time and again that where the statutory norm speaks
unequivocally, there is nothing for the courts to do except to apply it. The law,
leaving no doubt as to the scope of its operation, must be obeyed. Our decisions
have consistently been to that effect. 6 Likewise, it is a cardinal rule of statutory
construction that where the terms of the statute are clear and unambiguous, no
interpretation is called for, and the law is applied as written, 7 for application is
the first duty of courts, and interpretation, only were literal application is
impossible or inadequate. 8
More importantly, the lower court has no longer jurisdiction to entertain the
petition filed by respondents for reopening the cadastral proceedings because the
latter, as we have noted, did not file the aforesaid petition within the period fixed
by the applicable laws to wit: Rep. Act 931 and 2061. Consequently, the decision
dated September 30, 1940 of the Cadastral Court declaring the land in question a
public land has become final and conclusive. It has also acquired the status of res
judicata. It must be remembered that generally, the fundamental principle of res
judicata applies to all cases and proceedings, including land registration or
cadastral proceedings. 9 The doctrine of res judicata precludes parties from
relitigating issues actually litigated and determined by a prior and final judgment.
It is well-settled that a prior judgment is conclusive in a subsequent suit between
the same parties on the subject matter, and on the same cause of action, not
only as to matters which were decided in the first action, but also as to every
other matter which the parties could have properly set up in the prior suit. 10
Indeed, settled is the rule that a cadastral case is a judicial proceeding in rem,

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which, as such binds the
deemed to have settled
thereon, like those of the
judicata. 12 In the case of

whole world. 11 The final judgment rendered therein is


the status of the land subject thereof, if not noted
petitioner, are deemed barred under the principle of res
Cano vs. De Camacho, this Court held:

Although the title of Jesus Vao over said Lot 1-B is not as yet indefeasible, no
decree having been issued in his favor, all rights, interests or claims existing
before said date are deemed barred by said decision, under the principle of res
judicata, once the decision become final, upon expiration of the thirty-day period
to appeal therefrom. 13
By reiterating its ruling, this Court once more stresses and emphasizes that Rep.
Act 6236 does not apply to the reopening of cadastral proceedings and as a
consequence, the respondent Judge has no jurisdiction over the petition of the
respondents Aotes to reopen the cadastral proceedings.
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered setting aside the decisions dated July
22, 1972 of the respondent Judge and reiterating that of the Cadastral Court
dated September 28, 1940. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

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CASUS OMISSUS

No justice, judge, fiscal, treasurer, or assessor of any province, no officer or


employee of the Army, no member of the national, provincial, city, municipal or
rural police force and no classified civil service officer or employee shall aid any
candidate, or exert any influence in any manner in a election or take part therein,
except to vote, if entitled thereto, or to preserve public peace, if he is a peace
officer.

Casus ominus pro omisso habendus est (Restrictive rule)


G.R. No. 14129

July 31, 1962

PEOPLE
OF
THE
PHILIPPINES,
MANANTAN, defendant-appellee.

plaintiff-appellant,

vs.GUILLERMO

Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellant.Padilla Law Office for


defendant-appellee.
REGALA, J.:
This is an appeal of the Solicitor General from the order of the Court of First
Instance of Pangasinan dismissing the information against the defendant.
The records show that the statement of the case and the facts, as recited in the
brief of plaintiff-appellant, is complete and accurate. The same is, consequently,
here adopted, to wit:
In an information filed by the Provincial Fiscal of Pangasinan in the Court of First
Instance of that Province, defendant Guillermo Manantan was charged with a
violation Section 54 of the Revised Election Code. A preliminary investigation
conducted by said court resulted in the finding a probable cause that the crime
charged as committed by defendant. Thereafter, the trial started upon
defendant's plea of not guilty, the defense moved to dismiss the information on
the ground that as justice of the peace the defendant is one of the officers
enumerated in Section 54 of the Revised Election Code. The lower court denied
the motion to dismiss holding that a justice of the peace is within the purview
Section 54. A second motion was filed by defense counsel who cited in support
thereof the decision of the Court of Appeals in People vs. Macaraeg, (CA-G.R. No.
15613-R, 54 Off. Gaz., pp. 1873-76) where it was held that a justice of the peace
is excluded from the prohibition of Section 54 of the Revised Election Code.
Acting on this second motion to dismiss, the answer of the prosecution, the reply
of the defense, and the opposition of the prosecution, the lower court dismissed
the information against the accused upon the authority of the ruling in the case
cited by the defense.
Both parties are submitting this case upon the determination of this single
question of law: Is a justice the peace included in the prohibition of Section 54 of
the Revised Election Code?
Section 54 of the said Code reads:

Defendant-appellee argues that a justice of the peace is not comprehended


among the officers enumerated in Section 54 of the Revised Election Code. He
submits the aforecited section was taken from Section 449 of the Revised
Administrative Code, which provided the following:
SEC. 449. Persons prohibited from influencing elections. No judge of the First
Instance, justice of the peace, or treasurer, fiscal or assessor of any province and
no officer or employee of the Philippine Constabulary, or any Bureau or employee
of the classified civil service, shall aid any candidate or exert influence in any
manner in any election or take part therein otherwise than exercising the right to
vote.
When, therefore, section 54 of the Revised Election Code omitted the words
"justice of the peace," the omission revealed the intention of the Legislature to
exclude justices of the peace from its operation.
The above argument overlooks one fundamental fact. It is to be noted that under
Section 449 of the Revised Administrative Code, the word "judge" was modified
or qualified by the phrase "of First instance", while under Section 54 of the
Revised Election Code, no such modification exists. In other words, justices of the
peace were expressly included in Section 449 of the Revised Administrative Code
because the kinds of judges therein were specified, i.e., judge of the First
Instance and justice of the peace. In Section 54, however, there was no necessity
therefore to include justices of the peace in the enumeration because the
legislature had availed itself of the more generic and broader term, "judge." It
was a term not modified by any word or phrase and was intended to comprehend
all kinds of judges, like judges of the courts of First Instance, Judges of the
courts of Agrarian Relations, judges of the courts of Industrial Relations, and
justices of the peace.
It is a well known fact that a justice of the peace is sometimes addressed as
"judge" in this jurisdiction. It is because a justice of the peace is indeed a judge.
A "judge" is a public officer, who, by virtue of his office, is clothed with judicial
authority (U.S. v. Clark, 25 Fed. Cas. 441, 422). According to Bouvier Law
Dictionary, "a judge is a public officer lawfully appointed to decide litigated
questions according to law. In its most extensive sense the term includes all
officers appointed to decide litigated questions while acting in that capacity,
including justices of the peace, and even jurors, it is said, who are judges of

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facts."
A review of the history of the Revised Election Code will help to justify and clarify
the above conclusion.
The first election law in the Philippines was Act 1582 enacted by the Philippine
Commission in 1907, and which was later amended by Act. Nos. 1669, 1709,
1726 and 1768. (Of these 4 amendments, however, only Act No. 1709 has a
relation to the discussion of the instant case as shall be shown later.) Act No.
1582, with its subsequent 4 amendments were later on incorporated Chapter 18
of the Administrative Code. Under the Philippine Legislature, several amendments
were made through the passage of Acts Nos. 2310, 3336 and 3387. (Again, of
these last 3 amendments, only Act No. 3587 has pertinent to the case at bar as
shall be seen later.) During the time of the Commonwealth, the National
Assembly passed Commonwealth Act No. 23 and later on enacted Commonwealth
Act No. 357, which was the law enforced until June 1947, when the Revised
Election Code was approved. Included as its basic provisions are the provisions of
Commonwealth Acts Nos. 233, 357, 605, 666, 657. The present Code was further
amended by Republic Acts Nos. 599, 867, 2242 and again, during the session of
Congress in 1960, amended by Rep. Acts Nos. 3036 and 3038. In the history of
our election law, the following should be noted:
Under Act 1582, Section 29, it was provided:
No public officer shall offer himself as a candidate for elections, nor shall he be
eligible during the time that he holds said public office to election at any
municipal, provincial or Assembly election, except for reelection to the position
which he may be holding, and no judge of the First Instance, justice of the peace,
provincial fiscal, or officer or employee of the Philippine Constabulary or of the
Bureau of Education shall aid any candidate or influence in any manner or take
part in any municipal, provincial, or Assembly election under the penalty of being
deprived of his office and being disqualified to hold any public office whatsoever
for a term of 5 year: Provide, however, That the foregoing provisions shall not be
construe to deprive any person otherwise qualified of the right to vote it any
election." (Enacted January 9, 1907; Took effect on January 15, 1907.)
Then, in Act 1709, Sec. 6, it was likewise provided:
. . . No judge of the First Instance, Justice of the peace provincial fiscal or officer
or employee of the Bureau of Constabulary or of the Bureau of Education shall aid
any candidate or influence in any manner to take part in any municipal provincial
or Assembly election. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be
deprived of his office or employment and shall be disqualified to hold any public
office or employment whatever for a term of 5 years, Provided, however, that the

foregoing provisions shall not be construed to deprive any person otherwise


qualified of the right to vote at any election. (Enacted on August 31, 1907; Took
effect on September 15, 1907.)
Again, when the existing election laws were incorporated in the Administrative
Code on March 10, 1917, the provisions in question read:
SEC. 449. Persons prohibited from influencing elections. No judge of the First
Instance, justice of the peace, or treasurer, fiscal or assessor of any province and
no officer or employee of the Philippine Constabulary or any Bureau or employee
of the classified civil service, shall aid any candidate or exert influence in any
manner in any election or take part therein otherwise than exercising the right to
vote. (Emphasis supplied)
After the Administrative Code, the next pertinent legislation was Act No. 3387.
This Act reads:
SEC. 2636. Officers and employees meddling with the election. Any judge of
the First Instance, justice of the peace, treasurer, fiscal or assessor of any
province, any officer or employee of the Philippine Constabulary or of the police
of any municipality, or any officer or employee of any Bureau of the classified civil
service, who aids any candidate or violated in any manner the provisions of this
section or takes part in any election otherwise by exercising the right to vote,
shall be punished by a fine of not less than P100.00 nor more than P2,000.00, or
by imprisonment for not less than 2 months nor more than 2 years, and in all
cases by disqualification from public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage
for a period of 5 years. (Approved December 3, 1927.) (Emphasis supplied.)
Subsequently, however, Commonwealth Act No. 357 was enacted on August 22,
1938. This law provided in Section 48:
SEC. 48. Active Interventation of Public Officers and Employees. No justice,
judge, fiscal, treasurer or assessor of any province, no officer or employee of the
Army, the Constabulary of the national, provincial, municipal or rural police, and
no classified civil service officer or employee shall aid any candidate, nor exert
influence in any manner in any election nor take part therein, except to vote, if
entitled thereto, or to preserve public peace, if he is a peace officer.
This last law was the legislation from which Section 54 of the Revised Election
Code was taken.
It will thus be observed from the foregoing narration of the legislative
development or history of Section 54 of the Revised Election Code that the first
omission of the word "justice of the peace" was effected in Section 48 of

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Commonwealth Act No. 357 and not in the present code as averred by
defendant-appellee. Note carefully, however, that in the two instances when the
words "justice of the peace" were omitted (in Com. Act No. 357 and Rep. Act No.
180), the word "judge" which preceded in the enumeration did not carry the
qualification "of the First Instance." In other words, whenever the word "judge"
was qualified by the phrase "of the First Instance", the words "justice of the
peace" would follow; however, if the law simply said "judge," the words "justice
of the peace" were omitted.
The above-mentioned pattern of congressional phraseology would seem to justify
the conclusion that when the legislature omitted the words "justice of the peace"
in Rep. Act No. 180, it did not intend to exempt the said officer from its
operation. Rather, it had considered the said officer as already comprehended in
the broader term "judge".
It is unfortunate and regrettable that the last World War had destroyed
congressional records which might have offered some explanation of the
discussion of Com. Act No. 357 which legislation, as indicated above, has
eliminated for the first time the words "justice of the peace." Having been
completely destroyed, all efforts to seek deeper and additional clarifications from
these records proved futile. Nevertheless, the conclusions drawn from the
historical background of Rep. Act No. 180 is sufficiently borne out by reason hid
equity.
Defendant further argues that he cannot possibly be among the officers
enumerated in Section 54 inasmuch as under that said section, the word "judge"
is modified or qualified by the phrase "of any province." The last mentioned
phrase, defendant submits, cannot then refer to a justice of the peace since the
latter is not an officer of a province but of a municipality.
Defendant's argument in that respect is too strained. If it is true that the phrase
"of any province" necessarily removes justices of the peace from the enumeration
for the reason that they are municipal and not provincial officials, then the same
thing may be said of the Justices of the Supreme Court and of the Court of
Appeals. They are national officials. Yet, can there be any doubt that Justices of
the Supreme Court and of the Court of Appeals are not included in the
prohibition? The more sensible and logical interpretation of the said phrase is that
it qualifies fiscals, treasurers and assessors who are generally known as
provincial officers.
The rule of "casus omisus pro omisso habendus est" is likewise invoked by the
defendant-appellee. Under the said rule, a person, object or thing omitted from
an enumeration must be held to have been omitted intentionally. If that rule is
applicable to the present, then indeed, justices of the peace must be held to have
been intentionally and deliberately exempted from the operation of Section 54 of

the Revised Election Code.


The rule has no applicability to the case at bar. The maxim "casus omisus" can
operate and apply only if and when the omission has been clearly established. In
the case under consideration, it has already been shown that the legislature did
not exclude or omit justices of the peace from the enumeration of officers
precluded from engaging in partisan political activities. Rather, they were merely
called by another term. In the new law, or Section 54 of the Revised Election
Code, justices of the peace were just called "judges."
In insisting on the application of the rule of "casus omisus" to this case,
defendant-appellee cites authorities to the effect that the said rule, being
restrictive in nature, has more particular application to statutes that should be
strictly construed. It is pointed out that Section 54 must be strictly construed
against the government since proceedings under it are criminal in nature and the
jurisprudence is settled that penal statutes should be strictly interpreted against
the state.
Amplifying on the above argument regarding strict interpretation of penal
statutes, defendant asserts that the spirit of fair play and due process demand
such strict construction in order to give "fair warning of what the law intends to
do, if a certain line is passed, in language that the common world will
understand." (Justice Holmes, in McBoyle v. U.S., 283 U.S. 25, L. Ed. 816).
The application of the rule of "casus omisus" does not proceed from the mere fact
that a case is criminal in nature, but rather from a reasonable certainty that a
particular person, object or thing has been omitted from a legislative
enumeration. In the present case, and for reasons already mentioned, there has
been no such omission. There has only been a substitution of terms.
The rule that penal statutes are given a strict construction is not the only factor
controlling the interpretation of such laws; instead, the rule merely serves as an
additional, single factor to be considered as an aid in determining the meaning of
penal laws. This has been recognized time and again by decisions of various
courts. (3 Sutherland, Statutory Construction, p. 56.) Thus, cases will frequently
be found enunciating the principle that the intent of the legislature will govern
(U.S. vs. Corbet, 215 U.S. 233). It is to be noted that a strict construction should
not be permitted to defeat the policy and purposes of the statute (Ash Sheep Co.
v. U.S., 252 U.S. 159). The court may consider the spirit and reason of a statute,
as in this particular instance, where a literal meaning would lead to absurdity,
contradiction, injustice, or would defeat the clear purpose of the law makers
(Crawford, Interpretation of Laws, Sec. 78, p. 294). A Federal District court in the
U.S. has well said:

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The strict construction of a criminal statute does not mean such construction of it
as to deprive it of the meaning intended. Penal statutes must be construed in the
sense which best harmonizes with their intent and purpose. (U.S. v. Betteridge
43 F. Supp. 53, 56, cited in 3 Sutherland Statutory Construction 56.)
As well stated by the Supreme Court of the United States, the language of
criminal statutes, frequently, has been narrowed where the letter includes
situations inconsistent with the legislative plan (U.S. v. Katz, 271 U.S. 354; See
also Ernest Brunchen, Interpretation of the Written Law (1915) 25 Yale L.J. 129.)
Another reason in support of the conclusion reached herein is the fact that the
purpose of the statute is to enlarge the officers within its purview. Justices of the
Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and various judges, such as the judges of
the Court of Industrial Relations, judges of the Court of Agrarian Relations, etc.,
who were not included in the prohibition under the old statute, are now within its
encompass. If such were the evident purpose, can the legislature intend to
eliminate the justice of the peace within its orbit? Certainly not. This point is fully
explained in the brief of the Solicitor General, to wit:
On the other hand, when the legislature eliminated the phrases "Judge of First
Instance" and justice of the peace", found in Section 449 of the Revised
Administrative Code, and used "judge" in lieu thereof, the obvious intention was
to include in the scope of the term not just one class of judges but all judges,
whether of first Instance justices of the peace or special courts, such as judges of
the Court of Industrial Relations. . . . .
The weakest link in our judicial system is the justice of the peace court, and to so
construe the law as to allow a judge thereof to engage in partisan political
activities would weaken rather than strengthen the judiciary. On the other hand,
there are cogent reasons found in the Revised Election Code itself why justices of
the peace should be prohibited from electioneering. Along with Justices of the
appellate courts and judges of the Court of First Instance, they are given
authority and jurisdiction over certain election cases (See Secs. 103, 104, 117123). Justices of the peace are authorized to hear and decided inclusion and
exclusion cases, and if they are permitted to campaign for candidates for an
elective office the impartiality of their decisions in election cases would be open
to serious doubt. We do not believe that the legislature had, in Section 54 of the
Revised Election Code, intended to create such an unfortunate situation. (pp.
708, Appellant's Brief.)
Another factor which fortifies the conclusion reached herein is the fact that the
administrative or executive department has regarded justices of the peace within
the purview of Section 54 of the Revised Election Code.

In Tranquilino O. Calo, Jr. v. The Executive Secretary, the Secretary of Justice,


etc. (G.R. No. L-12601), this Court did not give due course to the petition for
certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction against the respondents, for
not setting aside, among others, Administrative Order No. 237, dated March 31,
1957, of the President of the Philippines, dismissing the petitioner as justice of
the peace of Carmen, Agusan. It is worthy of note that one of the causes of the
separation of the petitioner was the fact that he was found guilty in engaging in
electioneering, contrary to the provisions of the Election Code.
Defendant-appellee calls the attention of this Court to House Bill No. 2676, which
was filed on January 25, 1955. In that proposed legislation, under Section 56,
justices of the peace are already expressly included among the officers enjoined
from active political participation. The argument is that with the filing of the said
House Bill, Congress impliedly acknowledged that existing laws do not prohibit
justices of the peace from partisan political activities.
The argument is unacceptable. To begin with, House Bill No. 2676 was a
proposed amendment to Rep. Act No. 180 as a whole and not merely to section
54 of said Rep. Act No. 180. In other words, House Bill No. 2676 was a proposed
re-codification of the existing election laws at the time that it was filed. Besides,
the proposed amendment, until it has become a law, cannot be considered to
contain or manifest any legislative intent. If the motives, opinions, and the
reasons expressed by the individual members of the legislature even in debates,
cannot be properly taken into consideration in ascertaining the meaning of a
statute (Crawford, Statutory Construction, Sec. 213, pp. 375-376), a fortiori what
weight can We give to a mere draft of a bill.
On law reason and public policy, defendant-appellee's contention that justices of
the peace are not covered by the injunction of Section 54 must be rejected. To
accept it is to render ineffective a policy so clearly and emphatically laid down by
the legislature.
Our law-making body has consistently prohibited justices of the peace from
participating in partisan politics. They were prohibited under the old Election Law
since 1907 (Act No. 1582 and Act No. 1709). Likewise, they were so enjoined by
the Revised Administrative Code. Another which expressed the prohibition to
them was Act No. 3387, and later, Com. Act No. 357.
Lastly, it is observed that both the Court of Appeals and the trial court applied the
rule of "expressio unius, est exclusion alterius" in arriving at the conclusion that
justices of the peace are not covered by Section 54. Said the Court of Appeals:
"Anyway, guided by the rule of exclusion, otherwise known as expressio unius est
exclusion alterius, it would not be beyond reason to infer that there was an
intention of omitting the term "justice of the peace from Section 54 of the
Revised Election Code. . . ."

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The rule has no application. If the legislature had intended to exclude a justice of
the peace from the purview of Section 54, neither the trial court nor the Court of
Appeals has given the reason for the exclusion. Indeed, there appears no reason
for the alleged change. Hence, the rule of expressio unius est exclusion alterius
has been erroneously applied. (Appellant's Brief, p. 6.)
Where a statute appears on its face to limit the operation of its provisions to
particular persons or things by enumerating them, but no reason exists why
other persons or things not so enumerated should not have been included, and
manifest injustice will follow by not so including them, the maxim expressio unius
est exclusion alterius, should not be invoked. (Blevins v. Mullally 135 p. 307, 22
Cal. App. 519.) .
FOR THE ABOVE REASONS, the order of dismissal entered by the trial court
should be set aside and this case is remanded for trial on the merits.

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DURA LEX SED LEX
G.R. No. L-22301

August 30, 1967

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs.MARIO MAPA Y


MAPULONG, defendant-appellant.
Francisco P. Cabigao for defendant-appellant.Office of the Solicitor General
Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General F. R. Rosete and Solicitor O. C.
Hernandez for plaintiff-appellee.
FERNANDO, J.:
The sole question in this appeal from a judgment of conviction by the lower court
is whether or not the appointment to and holding of the position of a secret agent
to the provincial governor would constitute a sufficient defense to a prosecution
for the crime of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition. We hold that it
does not.
The accused in this case was indicted for the above offense in an information
dated August 14, 1962 reading as follows: "The undersized accuses MARIO MAPA
Y MAPULONG of a violation of Section 878 in connection with Section 2692 of the
Revised Administrative Code, as amended by Commonwealth Act No. 56 and as
further amended by Republic Act No. 4, committed as follows: That on or about
the 13th day of August, 1962, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused
did then and there wilfully and unlawfully have in his possession and under his
custody and control one home-made revolver (Paltik), Cal. 22, without serial
number, with six (6) rounds of ammunition, without first having secured the
necessary license or permit therefor from the corresponding authorities. Contrary
to law."
When the case was called for hearing on September 3, 1963, the lower court at
the outset asked the counsel for the accused: "May counsel stipulate that the
accused was found in possession of the gun involved in this case, that he has
neither a permit or license to possess the same and that we can submit the same
on a question of law whether or not an agent of the governor can hold a firearm
without a permit issued by the Philippine Constabulary." After counsel sought
from the fiscal an assurance that he would not question the authenticity of his
exhibits, the understanding being that only a question of law would be submitted
for decision, he explicitly specified such question to be "whether or not a secret
agent is not required to get a license for his firearm."
Upon the lower court stating that the fiscal should examine the document so that
he could pass on their authenticity, the fiscal asked the following question: "Does

the accused admit that this pistol cal. 22 revolver with six rounds of ammunition
mentioned in the information was found in his possession on August 13, 1962, in
the City of Manila without first having secured the necessary license or permit
thereof from the corresponding authority?" The accused, now the appellant,
answered categorically: "Yes, Your Honor." Upon which, the lower court made a
statement: "The accused admits, Yes, and his counsel Atty. Cabigao also affirms
that the accused admits."
Forthwith, the fiscal announced that he was "willing to submit the same for
decision." Counsel for the accused on his part presented four (4) exhibits
consisting of his appointment "as secret agent of the Hon. Feliciano Leviste," then
Governor of Batangas, dated June 2, 1962;1 another document likewise issued by
Gov. Leviste also addressed to the accused directing him to proceed to Manila,
Pasay and Quezon City on a confidential mission; 2 the oath of office of the
accused as such secret agent, 3 a certificate dated March 11, 1963, to the effect
that the accused "is a secret agent" of Gov. Leviste. 4 Counsel for the accused
then stated that with the presentation of the above exhibits he was "willing to
submit the case on the question of whether or not a secret agent duly appointed
and qualified as such of the provincial governor is exempt from the requirement
of having a license of firearm." The exhibits were admitted and the parties were
given time to file their respective memoranda.1wph1.t
Thereafter on November 27, 1963, the lower court rendered a decision convicting
the accused "of the crime of illegal possession of firearms and sentenced to an
indeterminate penalty of from one year and one day to two years and to pay the
costs. The firearm and ammunition confiscated from him are forfeited in favor of
the Government."
The only question being one of law, the appeal was taken to this Court. The
decision must be affirmed.
The law is explicit that except as thereafter specifically allowed, "it shall be
unlawful for any person to . . . possess any firearm, detached parts of firearms or
ammunition therefor, or any instrument or implement used or intended to be
used in the manufacture of firearms, parts of firearms, or ammunition." 5 The next
section provides that "firearms and ammunition regularly and lawfully issued to
officers, soldiers, sailors, or marines [of the Armed Forces of the Philippines], the
Philippine Constabulary, guards in the employment of the Bureau of Prisons,
municipal police, provincial governors, lieutenant governors, provincial
treasurers, municipal treasurers, municipal mayors, and guards of provincial
prisoners and jails," are not covered "when such firearms are in possession of
such officials and public servants for use in the performance of their official
duties."6
The law cannot be any clearer. No provision is made for a secret agent. As such

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he is not exempt. Our task is equally clear. The first and fundamental duty of
courts is to apply the law. "Construction and interpretation come only after it has
been demonstrated that application is impossible or inadequate without them." 7
The conviction of the accused must stand. It cannot be set aside.
Accused however would rely on People v. Macarandang,8 where a secret agent
was acquitted on appeal on the assumption that the appointment "of the accused
as a secret agent to assist in the maintenance of peace and order campaigns and
detection of crimes, sufficiently put him within the category of a "peace officer"
equivalent even to a member of the municipal police expressly covered by section
879." Such reliance is misplaced. It is not within the power of this Court to set
aside the clear and explicit mandate of a statutory provision. To the extent
therefore that this decision conflicts with what was held in People v.
Macarandang, it no longer speaks with authority.
Wherefore, the judgment appealed from is affirmed.

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G.R. No. L-22291 November 15, 1976
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs.JESUS SANTAYANA Y
ESCUDERO, defendant-appellant.
Ernesto C. Hidalgo and Enrique Jocson for appellant.
Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General Pacifico P. de Castro
and Trial Attorney Josefina Domingo de Leon for appellee.
CONCEPCION, JR., J:
Accused, Jesus Santayana y Escudero, was found guilty of the crime of illegal
possesion of firearms and sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of from one (1)
year and one (1) day to two (2) years and to pay the costs.
The essential facts are not in dispute. On February 19, 1962, accused Jesus
Santayana, was appointed as "Special Agent" 1 by then Colonel Jose C. Maristela,
Chief of the CIS. On March 9, 1962, a Memorandum Receipt 2 for equipment was
issued in the name of the accused regarding one pistol Melior SN-122137 with
one (1) mag and stock. Col. Maristela likewise issued an undated certification 3 to
the effect that the accused was an accredited member of the CIS and the pistol
described in the said Memorandum Receipt was given to him by virtue of his
appointment as special agent and that he was authorized to carry and possess
the same in the performance of his official duty and for his personal protection.
On October 29, 1962, the accused was found in Plaza Miranda in possession of
the above-described pistol with four rounds of ammunition, cal. 25, without a
license to possess them. An investigation was conducted and thereupon, a
corresponding complaint was filed against the accused. The case underwent trial
after which the accused was convicted of the crime charged with its
corresponding penalty. Hence, the case was appealed to US and the accused
assigned three errors allegedly committed by the trial court in disposing of this
case.
Of these assigned errors, the two main issued posed are whether or not the
present subject matter falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the municipal
court pursuant to Republic Act No. 2613; and whether or not the appointment of
the appellant as special agent of the CIS which apparently authorizes him to
carry and posses firearms exempts him from securing a license or permit
corresponding thereto.
Resolving the issue of jurisdiction, there is no doubt that under Section 87 of
Republic Act No. 286, as amended by Republic Act No. 2613, the justice over
cases of illegal possession of firearms. But equally the Court of First Instance of

Manila, which took cognizance of this case had jurisdiction over the offense
charged because under Section 44 of Republic Act No. 296, Court of First
Instance have original jurisdiction "in all criminal cases in which the penalty
provided by law is imprisonment for more than six (6) months, or a fine of more
than two hundred pesos (P200.00)"; and the offense charged in the information
is punishable by imprisonment for a period of not less than one (1) year and one
(1) day nor more than five (5) years, or both such imprisonment and a fine of not
less than one thousand pesos (P1,000.00) or more than five thousand pesos
(P5,000.00).
From the foregoing, it is evident that the jurisdiction of the Municipal Courts over
Criminal Cases in which the penalty provided by law is imprisonment for not more
than six (6) months or fine of not more than two hundred (P200.00) pesos or
both such imprisonment and fine is exclusive and original to said courts. But
considering that the offense of illegal possession of firearms with which the
appellant was charged is penalized by imprisonment for a period of not less than
one (1) year and one (1) day or more than five (5) years, or both such
imprisonment and a fine of not less than one thousand (P1,000.00) pesos or
more than five thousand (P5,000.00) pesos (Republic Act No. 4), the offense,
therefore, does not fall within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Municipal
Court. The Court of First Instance has concurrent jurisdiction over the same.
As to the second issue to be resolved, there is no question that appellant was
appointed as CIS secret agent with the authority to carry and possess firearms. 4
Indeed, appellant was issued a firearm in the performance of his official duties
and for his personal protection. 5 It also appears that appellant was informed by
Col. Maristela that it was not necessary for him to apply for a license or to
register the said firearm because it was government property and therefore could
not legally be registered or licensed in appellant's name. 6 Capt. Adolfo M.
Bringas from whom appellant received the firearm also informed the latter that
no permit to carry the pistol was necessary "because you are already appointed
as CIS agent."
At the time of appellant's apprehension, the doctrine then prevailing is
enunciated in the case of People vs. Macarandang 7 wherein We held that the
appointment of a civilian as "secret agent to assist in the maintenace of peace
and order campaigns and detection of crimes sufficiently puts him within the
category of a 'peace officer' equivalent even to a member of the municipal police
expressly covered by Section 879." The case of People vs. Mapa 8 revoked the
doctrine in the Macarandang case only on August 30, 1967. Under the
Macarandang rule therefore obtaining at the time of appellant's appointment as
secret agent, he incurred no criminal liability for possession of the pistol in
question.
Wherefore, and conformably with the recommendation of the Solicitor General,

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the decision appealed from is hereby reversed and appellant Jesus Santayana y
Escudero is hereby acquitted. The bond for his provisional release is cancelled.
Costs de oficio.

SO ORDERED.