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APPEAL & DOUBLE JEOPARDY

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. DELFIN RONDERO,accused-appellant.


DECISION
PER CURIAM:
When an accused appeals from the judgment of the trial court, he waives the constitutional
safeguard against double jeopardy and throws the whole case open for review of the appellate court,
which is then called to render such judgment as law and justice dictate, whether favorable or unfavorable.
[1]
With this precept in mind, this Court as the ultimate dispenser of justice, will not hesitate to render the
proper imposable penalty, whenever it sees fit, even the supreme penalty of death.
Before us is an appeal from a decision rendered by the Regional Trial Court of Dagupan City, Branch
41, sentencing herein accused-appellant Delfin Rondero y Sigua to suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetuafor the crime of homicide.
The facts of the case are as follows:
On the evening of March 25, 1994, Mardy Doria came home late from a barrio fiesta. When he
noticed that his nine year old sister, Mylene, was not around, he woke up his parents to inquire about his
sisters whereabouts. Realizing that Mylene was missing, their father, Maximo Doria, sought the help of a
neighbor, Barangay Kagawad Andong Rondero to search for Mylene. Maximo and Andong went to the
house of a Barangay Captain to ask for assistance and also requested their other neighbors in Pugaro,
Dagupan to look for Mylene.
The group began searching for Mylene at around 1:00 oclock in the morning of March 26,
1994. They scoured the campus of Pugaro Elementary School and the seashore in vain. They even
returned to the school and inspected every classroom but to no avail. Tired and distraught, Maximo
started on his way home. When he was about five (5) meters away from his house, Maximo, who was
then carrying a flashlight, saw herein accused-appellant Delfin Rondero pumping the artesian well about
one (1) meter away. Accused-appellant had an ice pick clenched in his mouth and was washing his
bloodied hands.[2]
Maximo hastily returned to the school and told Kagawad Andong what he saw without, however,
revealing that the person he saw was the latters own son. [3] Maximo and Andong continued their search
for Mylene but after failing to find her, the two men decided to go home. After some time, a restless
Maximo began to search anew for her daughter. He again sought the help of Andong and the barangay
secretary. The group returned to Pugaro Elementary School where they found Mylenes lifeless body
lying on a cemented pavement near the canteen. [4] Her right hand was raised above her head, which was
severely bashed, and her fractured left hand was behind her back. She was naked from the waist down
and had several contusions and abrasions on different parts of her body. Tightly gripped in her right hand
were some hair strands. A blue rubber slipper with a tiny leaf painted in red was found beside her body
while the other slipper was found behind her back.
Half an hour later, five (5) policemen arrived at the scene and conducted a spot investigation. They
found a pair of shorts[5] under Mylenes buttocks, which Maximo identified as hers. Thereafter, Maximo
led the policemen to the artesian well where he had seen accused-appellant earlier washing his
hands. The policemen found that the artesian well was spattered with blood. [6] After the investigation, the
policemen, together with Maximo, went back to their headquarters in Dagupan City. There, Maximo

disclosed that before they found Mylenes body, he saw accused-appellant washing his bloodstained
hands at the artesian well.[7] Acting on this lead, the policemen returned to Pugaro and arrested accusedappellant.
An autopsy of the body of the victim conducted by the Assistant City Health Officer of Dagupan City,
Dr. Tomas G. Cornel, revealed the following injuries:
EXTERNAL FINDINGS
1. Contusion hematoma, anterior chest wall, along the midclavicular line, level of the 2nd
intercostal space, right.
2. Contusion hematoma, along the parasternal line, level of the 1 st intercostal space, left.
3. Contusion hematoma, posterior aspect, shoulder, left.
4. Contusion hematoma, anterior axillary line, level of the 3rd intercostal space. left.
5. Contusion hematoma, anterior aspect, neck.
6. Contusion hematoma, lower jaw, mid portion.
7. Contusion hematoma, periorbital, right.
8. Lacerated wound, 1x x , maxillary area, right.
9. Contusion hematoma, temporal area, left.
10. Contusion hematoma, mid frontal area.
11. Lacerated wound x x , frontal area, left.
12. Contusion hematoma, occipital area, right.
13. Abrasion, medial anterior aspect, elbow, left.
14. Abrasion, lateral aspect, buttock, right.
15. Abrasion, antero lateral aspect, iliac crest, right.
16. Contusion hematoma, upper lip.
17. Avulsion, upper central and lateral incisors.
18. Fresh laceration of the hymen at 1:00 oclock, 6:00 oclock and 9:00 oclock position. Fresh
laceration of the labia minora at 6:00 oclock and 9:00 oclock position.
INTERNAL FINDINGS

Massive intracranial hemorrhage with brain tissue injury. Fracture of the right occipital bone.
Note:
Vaginal smear was done at the Gov. Teofilo Sison Memorial Provl Hosp. Laboratory and the result
showed no sperm cell seen. (March 26, 1994)
Cause of death: Cardio Respiratory Arrest
Due to: Massive Intracranial Hemorrhage Traumatic[8]
For Mylenes burial, her parents spent P5,043.00 during her wake, [9] P9,000.00 for funeral
expenses[10] and P850.00 for church services and entombment.[11]
On March 28, 1994, the hair strands which were found on the victims right hand and at the scene of
the crime, together with hair specimens taken from the victim and accused-appellant, were sent to he
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for laboratory examination. [12]
Meanwhile, on March 30, 1994, accused-appellant was formally charged with the special complex
crime of rape with homicide in an information which reads:
The undersigned 4th Assistant City Prosecutor accuses DELFIN RONDERO y Sigua, of Pugaro District,
Dagupan City, of the crime of RAPE WITH HOMICIDE, committed as follows:
That on or about the 26th day of March, 1994, in the city of Dagupan, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, DELFIN RONDERO y Sigua, did then
and there, wilfully, unlawfully, criminally, and forcibly have carnal knowledge with one MYLENE J. DORIA,
a 9-year old girl, against her will and consent, and thereafter, with intent to kill, criminally and unlawfully
employed violence against her person, thereby causing the death of said MYLENE J. DORIA, as
evidenced by the Autopsy Report issued by Dr. Tomas G. Cornel, Asst. City Health Officer, this city, to the
damage and prejudice of the legal heirs of said deceased, MYLENE J. DORIA in the amount of not less
than FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00), Philippine currency, and other consequential damages.
Contrary to Article 335 in relation to Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code.
Accused-appellant pleaded not guilty at his arraignment. In the meantime, the NBI sent a fax
message to the Dagupan City Police Station saying that it could not conduct an examination on the hair
strands because the proper comparative specimens were not given. The NBI suggested that hair strands
be pulled, not cut, from the suspect and from the victim on the four regions of their heads so that all parts
of the hair strands, from root to tip, may be presented. [13] Thereupon, accused-appellant, who executed a
waiver of detention including a waiver of the provisions of Section 12, Article III of the Constitution on the
rights of the accused during custodial investigation, [14] was allegedly convinced by a certain Major Wendy
Ocampo to give sample hair strands. Another police officer went to the Dorias residence to get hair
samples from Mylene, who had not yet been interred. The hair strands taken from accused-appellant and
the victim were later indorsed to the NBI for laboratory testing. [15] Comparative micro-physical examination
on the specimens showed that the hair strands found on the right hand of the victim had similar
characteristics to those of accused-appellants, while the hair specimen taken from the crime scene
showed similar characteristics to those of the victims. [16] Alicia P. Liberato, the NBI Senior Forensic
Chemist who conducted the microscopic examination on the hair samples, later reiterated the aforesaid
findings in court.[17]

At the trial, Dr. Cornel, the physician who conducted the autopsy on Mylene at around 9:30 oclock in
the morning of March 26, 1994, testified that the victims death probably occurred before 11:00 oclock in
the evening of March 25, 1994 judging from the rigidity of her lower and upper extremities. He explained
that the contusions and hematoma found on Mylenes body were possibly caused by a blunt instrument, a
clenched fist or a piece of wood. [18] The lacerated wounds on her face may have been caused by a bladed
instrument, not necessarily sharp, or by hitting her head on a concrete wall with jagged edges. The
abrasions on her elbow, right buttock and upper hip may have been caused by a rough object that came
in contact with her skin. [19] Dr. Cornel also explained that the victims upper and lateral incisors may have
been avulsed by a sudden blow in the mouth using a blunt instrument, stone or wood. He added that the
fresh hymenal lacerations at 1:00 o'clock, 6:00 oclock and 9:00 oclock positions and the fresh laceration
of the labia minora at 6:00 oclock and 9:00 oclock positions could have been caused either by sexual
intercourse or by an object forcibly inserted in Mylenes vagina. [20]
Accused-appellant resolved not to testify at the trial, opting instead to present his wife and his father
as witnesses to account for his whereabouts on the night of the gruesome incident.
Christine Gonzales, wife of accused-appellant, testified that on March 25, 1994, at around 7:00
oclock in the evening, she had a quarrel with her husband. Accused-appellant was then slightly drunk
and apparently irked when supper was not yet ready. He slapped his wife and shouted invectives at her,
causing a disturbance in the neighborhood and prompting his father, who lived just a house away, to
intervene. When accused-appellant refused to be pacified, his father hit him in the nose, mouth and
different parts of the body.[21] His father left accused-appellant profusely bleeding. Accused-appellant then
changed his blood-stained clothes and went to bed with his wife. It was a little after 8:00 oclock in the
evening.
Christine woke up the next day at around 7:00 oclock in the morning. She washed some clothes
including the blood-stained ones her husband wore the night before. After doing the laundry, she went
out to pay her father a visit. On her way back home, Christine was informed by a child that her husband
was arrested by the police. Christine rushed home and found some policemen taking the newly washed
undershirt and short pants of accused-appellant from the clothesline. The policemen brought Christine
with them to the police headquarters for questioning. When asked about the blood on her husbands
clothes, Christine told them about their quarrel the night before. [22]
Accused-appellants father, Leonardo Rondero, corroborated Christines story. He testified that on
the night in question, at around 7:00 oclock in the evening, he was resting at home, located only a house
away from his sons, when he heard the latter having a heated discussion with Christine. Embarrassed at
the scene that his son was creating at such an hour, Leonardo went to he couples house to pacify the
slightly inebriated accused-appellant. Accused-appellant ignored his father and continued shouting at his
wife. Leonardo then hit him several times causing his nose and mouth to bleed profusely that it stained
his sandoand short pants. Startled at the injuries that his son sustained, Leonardo went home. Early the
next morning, March 26, 1994, at around 1:30 oclock, Leonardo was awakened by his neighbor, Maximo
Doria, who sought his assistance to search for his missing nine-year old daughter Mylene. Leonardo
willingly obliged. Thus, Maximo, Leonardo and the barangay secretary searched the nearby houses for
hours but failed to find Mylene.[23]
On October 13, 1995, the trial court rendered judgment [24] convicting accused-appellant of the crime
of murder and sentencing him to death. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE:

For the crime you had wilfully and deliberately committed, this court finds you guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of murder defined and punished by Section 6 of Republic Act No. 7659, in relation to
Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, together with all its attendant aggravating circumstances without
any mitigating circumstance of whatever nature.
You, Delfin Rondero, are hereby therefore sentenced to die by electrocution pursuant to Article 81 of
Republic Act No. 7659, for your heinous crime as charged in the information as a punishment and as an
example to future offenders.
You are hereby further ordered to indemnify the heirs of the victim by paying to them an amount of
P60,000.00 for the loss of life of Mylene J. Doria; P15,000.00 for consequential damages and
P100,000.00 as moral damages.
May God have mercy on your soul.
SO ORDERED.[25]
Accused-appellant moved for reconsideration. On November 10, 1995, the trial court issued an
order modifying its earlier decision, convicting accused-appellant of the crime of homicide and sentencing
him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua instead, on the ground that under Section 10 of Republic
Act No. 7610, otherwise known as the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation
and Discrimination Act, the penalty for homicide is reclusion perpetua when the victim is under twelve
(12) years of age.[26]
In this appeal, accused-appellant raises the following assignment of errors:
I. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY OF THE
CRIME OF MURDER AMENDED TO HOMICIDE AND SENTENCING HIM TO SUFFER
LIFE IMPRISONMENT (sic) AND TO INDEMNIFY THE AGGRIEVED PARTY IN THE
AMOUNT OF P175,000.00 BASED ONLY ON CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE.
II. THE LOWER COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ERROR IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED OF
HOMICIDE.
III. THE LOWER COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ERROR IN FINDING ACCUSED GUILTY TO
(sic) THE CRIME OF HOMICIDE DESPITE ILLEGAL ARREST AND ILLEGAL DETENTION
OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT.[27]
The appeal has no merit.
Accused-appellant argues that the circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution is not
strong enough to sustain his conviction, asserting that Maximo Dorias testimony that he saw him about a
meter away washing his bloodied hands at an artesian well was highly improbable inasmuch as it was
dark at that time. Accused-appellant also considered it strange that when Maximo saw him, he did not
bother to ask if he had seen Mylene. Finally, accused-appellant alleges that the slippers presented in
court as evidence are not the same ones which were recovered at the scene of the crime since the
pictures presented in court did not show the leaf painted in red on the left slipper.
Section 4, Rule 133 of the Revised Rules of Court provides:

Sec. 4. Circumstantial evidence, when sufficient.- Circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction if:
(a) There is more than one circumstance;
(b) The facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and
(c) The combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable
doubt.
Circumstantial evidence is that evidence which proves a fact or series of facts from which the facts in
issue may be established by inference. [28] Such evidence is founded on experience and observed facts
and coincidences establishing a connection between the known and proven facts and the facts sought to
be proved.[29] Circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction in criminal cases when there is more than
one circumstance, derived from facts duly given and the combination of all is such as to produce
conviction beyond reasonable doubt. The test for accepting circumstantial evidence as proof of guilt
beyond reasonable doubt is: the series of circumstances duly proved must be consistent with each other
and that each and every circumstance must be consistent with the accuseds guilt and inconsistent with
his innocence.
In the case at bar, the prosecution avers that there are several circumstances availing which, when
pieced together, point to accused-appellant as the author of the gruesome crime committed on the night
of March 25, 1994, to wit:
1. A few hours after the victims probable time of death, Maximo saw accused-appellant, with
an ice pick clenched in his mouth, washing his bloodied hands at an artesian well. [30]
2. A pair of slippers which Maximo identified as belonging to accused-appellant was found at
the scene of the crime. One was found beside the victims body while the other was under
her buttocks.[31] Maximo positively pointed to accused-appellant as the owner of the pair of
slippers because of a distinguishing mark of the painting of a red leaf on the left
slipper. Maximo said accused-appellant used to frequent their house wearing the same pair
of slippers for over a year.[32]
3. The hair strands which were found on Mylenes right hand and the hair strands taken from
accused-appellant were shown to have similar characteristics when subjected to microscopic
examination.[33]
4. Accused-appellants undershirt and short pants which he wore on the night of March 25,
1994 had bloodstains. His wife admitted having washed the undershirt and short pants in
the early morning of March 26, 1994.[34]
Contrary to the allegations of accused-appellant, the evidence presented by the prosecution is
sufficient to sustain his conviction. Maximo stated on the witness stand that he was able to identify
accused-appellant because he focused his flashlight on him while he was washing his bloodstained
hands at an artesian well located only a meter away from where Maximo was standing. [35] Maximo
considered it wise not to talk to accused-appellant because at that time he had an ice pick clenched in his
mouth and looked slightly drunk. As to the allegation that the slippers presented in court were not the
same ones recovered at the scene of the crime, suffice it to say that the photographs taken of the crime
scene were not focused only on the pair of slippers; hence, the red leaf may be too minuscule to be
noticed. In any case, the pair of slippers shown in the photographs corroborate the testimony of the
prosecutions witnesses that a pair of rubber slippers were indeed recovered at the scene.

It might not be amiss to note that Maximo was not shown to have had any motive to impute so grave
a wrong on accused-appellant. Prior to the incident, accused-appellant used to frequent Maximos house
for a visit.[36] On the night of the incident, Maximo even sought the help of accused-appellants father to
search for Mylene.
On the other hand, the testimonies of the witnesses for the defense are incredulous, to say the
least. Leonardo Rondero, accused-appellants father, testified that he mauled his son in an effort to pacify
him during a heated altercation with his wife, Christine. Leonardo said that he felt embarrassed because
his son was shouting invectives at Christine and was causing a scene in the neighborhood so he hit the
accused-appellant several times. Leonardos curious way of pacifying his son resulted in bodily injuries
on the latter. Strangely, despite his sustained injuries and profuse bleeding, accused-appellant and his
wife just went to sleep after Leonardo left. [37] We find it unnatural that a father, a barangay kagawad,
would repeatedly hit his son in an effort to pacify him in the middle of a marital spat. We find it even more
unnatural that one who was bleeding profusely would act so insouciant as to just to go to sleep without
attending to his injuries.
Accused-appellant alleges that while in the custody of police officers, some hair strands were taken
from him without his consent and submitted to the NBI for investigation, in violation of his right against self
incrimination. Aside from executing a waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code,
accused-appellant executed a waiver of the provisions of Article III, Section 12 of the Constitution
regarding the rights of an accused during custodial investigation. [38] It appears, however, that the waivers
were executed by the accused without the assistance of a counsel of his own choice.
The use of evidence against the accused obtained by virtue of his testimony or admission without the
assistance of counsel while under custodial investigation is proscribed under Sections 12 and 17, Article
III of the Constitution, to wit:
Sec. 12. (1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be
informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his
own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These
rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.
(2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation or any other means which vitiate the free will shall be
used against him. Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention
are prohibited.
(3) Any confession or admission in violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall be inadmissible in evidence
against him.
xxx

xxx

xxx

Sec. 17. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.


The aforesaid rules are set forth in the Constitution as a recognition of the fact that the psychological
if not physical atmosphere of custodial investigations in the absence of procedural safeguards is
inherently coercive in nature. However, to paraphrase Justice Sanchez in the case of Chavez vs. Court
of Appeals,[39]Compulsion does not necessarily connote the use of violence; it may be the product of
unintentional statements. Pressure which operates to overbear his will, disable him from making a free
and rational choice or impair his capacity for making rational judgment would be sufficient. So is moral
coercion tending to force testimony from the unwilling lips of the defendant. Needless to say, the above-

mentioned provisions are an affirmation that coercion can be mental as well as physical and that the
blood of the accused is not the only hallmark of an unconstitutional inquisition. [40]
It bears emphasis, however, that under the above-quoted provisions, what is actually proscribed is
the use of physical or moral compulsion to extort communication from the accused-appellant and not the
inclusion of his body in evidence when it may be material. For instance, substance emitted from the body
of the accused may be received as evidence in prosecution for acts of lasciviousness [41] and morphine
forced out of the mouth of the accused may also be used as evidence against him. [42] Consequently,
although accused-appellant insists that hair samples were forcibly taken from him and submitted to the
NBI for forensic examination, the hair samples may be admitted in evidence against him, for what is
proscribed is the use of testimonial compulsion or any evidence communicative in nature acquired from
the accused under duress.
On the other hand, the blood-stained undershirt and short pants taken from the accused are
inadmissible in evidence. They were taken without the proper search warrant from the police
officers. Accused-appellants wife testified that the police officers, after arresting her husband in their
house, took the garments from the clothesline without proper authority. [43] This was never rebutted by the
prosecution. Under the libertarian exclusionary rule known as the fruit of the poisonous tree, evidence
illegally obtained by the state should not be used to gain other evidence because the illegally obtained
evidence taints all evidence subsequently obtained. Simply put, accused-appellants garments, having
been seized in violation of his constitutional right against illegal searches and seizure, are inadmissible in
court as evidence.
Nevertheless, even without the admission of the bloodied garments of the accused as corroborative
evidence, the circumstances obtaining against accused-appellant are sufficient to establish his guilt.
Having disposed of the foregoing, we now come to the issue of whether accused-appellant should be
convicted of the special complex crime of rape with homicide.
It is a jurisprudential rule that an appeal throws a whole case to review and it becomes the duty of
the appellate court to correct such error as may be found in the judgment appealed from whether they are
made the subject of assigned errors or not.[44]
The trial court dismissed the charge of rape holding that it has not been adequately proven due to
the absence of spermatozoa in the victims private part. It is well settled that the absence of spermatozoa
in the victims private part does not negate the commission of rape for the simple reason that the mere
touching of the pudenda by the male organ is already considered as consummated rape. Mylene Doria
was naked from waist down when she was found. Her private organ had hymenal lacerations at 1:00
oclock, 6:00 oclock and 9:00 oclock positions. There were fresh lacerations in the labia minora at 6:00
oclock and 9:00 oclock positions as well. The trial judge even noted that it can be conclusively deduced
that her sex organ was subjected to a humiliating punishment. While the examining physician speculated
that the lacerations could have been caused by a piece of wood or rounded object, he did not rule out the
possibility of forcible sexual intercourse.
The presence of physical injuries on the victim strongly indicates the employment of force on her
person. Contusion was found on Mylenes face, arms and thighs. In rape cases, when a woman is
forcibly made to lie down, she will utilize her elbow as the fulcrum so that abrasions will be observed. In
an attempt to stand, the victim will flex her neck forward. The offender will then push her head
backwards, causing hematoma at the region of the occiput. To prevent penetration of the male organ,
she will try to flex her thighs and the offender will give a strong blow to the inner aspects of both thighs so
that the victim will be compelled to straighten them. [45]

As aptly observed by the Solicitor General, aside from the hymenal lacerations, the examining
physician testified that Mylene sustained abrasions on her left elbow, right buttock and right upper hip and
contusion hematoma at the occipital area, i.e., back part of the head, right side. [46] Indeed, the physical
evidence indubitably tells a harrowing crime committed against nine-year old Mylene Doria in a manner
that no words can sufficiently describe.
Anent accused-appellants third assignment of error, it might be true that accused-appellants
warrantless arrest was not lawful. The police officers who arrested him had no personal knowledge of
facts indicating that he was the perpetrator of the crime just committed. His warrantless arrest was not
based on a personal knowledge of the police officers indicating facts that he has committed the gruesome
crime but solely on Maximos suspicion that he was involved in the slaying of Mylene since he was seen
washing his bloodied hands in the early morning of March 26, 1994. [47] Nevertheless, it is hornbook
knowledge that any irregularity attending the arrest of an accused is deemed waived when, instead of
quashing the information for lack of jurisdiction over his person, the accused voluntarily submits himself to
the court by entering a plea of guilty or not guilty during the arraignment and participating in the
proceedings.
Finally, we reiterate that when an accused appeals from the sentence of the trial court, he waives the
constitutional safeguard against double jeopardy and throws the whole case open to the review of the
appellate court, which is then called to render judgment as the law and justice dictate, whether favorable
or unfavorable, and whether they are made the subject of assigned errors or not. This precept should be
borne in mind by every lawyer of an accused who unwittingly takes the risk involved when he decides to
appeal his sentence.
Accused-appellants guilt having been established beyond reasonable doubt for the rape and brutal
slaying of Mylene Doria, this Court has no other recourse but to impose the penalty of death upon
accused-appellant Delfin Rondero y Sigua. Under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by
Republic Act No. 7659, when by reason or on occasion of the rape, a homicide is committed, the penalty
shall be death. At this juncture, it should be stated that four justices of the court have continued to
maintain the unconstitutionality of R.A. No. 7659 insofar as it prescribes the death penalty; nevertheless,
they submit to the ruling of the majority to the effect that this law is constitutional and that the death
penalty can be lawfully imposed in the case at bar.
The award of P50,000.00 as indemnity to the heirs of the victim is increased to P75,000.00 in line
with our ruling in People vs. Mahinay.[48] The award of moral damages in the sum of P100,000.00 is
reduced to P50,000.00. Further, accused-appellant is ordered to pay the sum of P15,000.00 as
consequential damages.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 41, Dagupan City finding accusedappellant Delfin Rondero y Sigua guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of homicide is
MODIFIED. Accused-appellant Delfin Rondero y Sigua is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
charge of special complex crime of rape with homicide committed against Mylene J. Doria and is
accordingly sentenced to suffer the supreme penalty of DEATH. He is also ordered to pay the heirs of the
victim the sum of P75,000.00 by way of civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages and P15,000.00 as
consequential damages.
In accordance with Section 25 of Republic Act No. 7659, amending Article 83 of the Revised Penal
Code, upon finality of this decision, let the records of this case be forwarded to the Office of the President
for possible exercise of pardoning power.
SO ORDERED.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellant, vs. DANILO F. SERRANO, SR., accusedappellee.


In re: Judge Pepe P. Domael, Presiding Judge, Branch 37, Regional Trial Court, Naval, Biliran, for
disciplinary action for gross ignorance of the law.
RESOLUTION
PARDO, J.:
The Court, in the exercise of supervision over judges and court employees, has initiated this action in
consequence of the palpably erroneous ruling of Judge Pepe P. Domael of the Regional Trial Court,
Naval, Biliran, in Criminal Case No. N-1648, entitled People of the Philippines vs. Danilo F. Serrano, Sr.,
allowing an appeal filed by the prosecution from a decision of acquittal.
On August 1, 1993, Maribel D. Visbal filed with the Regional Trial Court, Naval, Biliran, a sworn
complaint charging Danilo F. Serrano, Sr., with rape.[1]
At the arraignment on January 14, 1994, accused Serrano pleaded not guilty.[2] Trial ensued.
After due trial, on March 6, 1998, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 16, Naval, Biliran, rendered
decision acquitting the accused on the ground that the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond
reasonable doubt. The decision was promulgated on July 28, 1998.[3]
On August 11, 1998, Assistant Public Prosecutor Federico R. Huamayor filed a notice of appeal to
the Supreme Court from the decision acquitting the accused for being contrary to the facts and the law. [4]
On August 24, 1998, Judge Pepe P. Domael, presiding judge of Branch 37, Regional Trial Court,
Naval, Biliran, issued an order[5] giving due course to the appeal filed by the Provincial Prosecutor.
Consequently, Clerk III Rey S. Morillo of Branch 37, Regional Trial Court, Naval, Biliran, forwarded
the original record of the case to this Court.
In a resolution dated March 15, 1999, [6] we dismissed the appeal for violation of the rule on double
jeopardy and required Judge Pepe P. Domael to explain why he should not be dismissed from office for
gross ignorance of the law.
On March 29, 1999, Judge Pepe P. Domael submitted an explanation, [7] stating that he gave due
course to the appeal because the prosecution cited Memorandum Circular No. 3 dated April 1, 1997 of
the Department of Justice pertaining to appeals of decisions of acquittal by the trial court.
Judge Domael further admitted that he was caught off-handed by the novel action taken by the
prosecution in appealing a decision of acquittal in a criminal case. [8] After noting that the accused did not
file any opposition to the manifestation of the prosecution, Judge Domael assumed such inaction to be a
waiver of any objection to such appeal.
We find explanation unacceptable.
The Code of Judicial Conduct requires that a magistrate be the embodiment of judicial
competence. As a judge, Judge Domael must have the basic rules at the palm of his hands as he is
expected to maintain professional competence at all times. [9]
It is elementary that the rule against double jeopardy proscribes an appeal from a judgment of
acquittal on the merits.[10] A verdict of acquittal is immediately final and a re-examination of the merits of
such acquittal, even in an appellate court, will put him a second time in jeopardy for the same offense. [11]
The Constitution itself provides that no person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the
same offense.[12] Such a constitutional guarantee prohibits an appeal from a judgment of acquittal, and the
law does not provide for exceptions other than deprivation of due process or grave abuse of discretion
under exceptional circumstances.[13]

It is true that the Department of Justice in Memorandum Circular No. 3 dated April 1, 1997,
enunciated the proposition that acquittals may be appealed as long as a second trial will not be required
and will not place the accused in second jeopardy, in the event the appeal succeeds.
However, such rule is not shown to be applicable to the case at bar. To use the Memorandum
Circular of the Department of Justice to overthrow a constitutional guarantee deeply ingrained to protect
the rights of an accused would require more than just a mere statement that the decision was contrary to
the facts and to the law, as stated by the prosecution in its notice of appeal.
The preclusion against appeal by the government from judgments of acquittal applies even though
the accused did not raise the question of double jeopardy.[14] Although the accused Danilo F. Serrano, Sr.
did not object to the appeal interposed by the prosecution, Judge Domael should have known that
granting such appeal would constitute double jeopardy. Fundamental knowledge of the law and
jurisprudence must alert him against any misinterpretation or misuse of doctrines by any party in the case
before him.
It is imperative that judges be studious of and conversant with basic legal principles. [15] When the law
is so elementary, not to be aware of it constitutes ignorance of the law. [16] In granting the appeal filed by
the prosecution despite the acquittal of the accused, respondent judge exhibited ignorance of the law.
Judge Domaels claim that he was led to believe that he had taken a correct course of action [17] only
reinforced the fact that he did not know the fundamental doctrines of the law, and evinced his weakness
and his lack of knowledge of the basic precepts of the law.
However, the acts in question were not shown to be tainted with bad faith, fraud, or malice on the
part of Judge Pepe P. Domael. Thus, although the error committed constitutes ignorance of the law, such
is not so gross as to warrant the dismissal of the judge from service. [18]
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Court finds Judge Pepe P. Domael, Regional Trial Court, Naval, Biliran,
guilty of ignorance of the law and is hereby SUSPENDED from office for two (2) months without pay, to be
served during the courts vacation period in April and May, 2000, with WARNING that repetition of the
same or similar acts would be dealt with more severely.
The Court further requires Judge Pepe P. Domael to acquaint himself with the basic rules on
Criminal Procedure.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 76262-63 March 16, 1989
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
HON. PEDRO G. LAGGUI, Presiding Judge of Branch XXXIV of the Regional Trial Court of
Pampanga and ELISEO SORIANO, respondents.
The Solicitor General for petitioner.
Coronel Law Office for private respondent.

GRIO-AQUINO, J.:
The private respondent Eliseo F. Soriano issued a postdated check that bounced. He was charged by the
Provincial Fiscal in two separate informations, for violation of B.P. Blg. 22 (Crim. Case No. 2934) and
estafa (Crim. Case No. 3007). After a joint trial of the two cases, respondent Judge Pedro Laggui of the
Regional Trial Court of Pampanga promulgated a joint decision on September 24, 1986, (1) dismissing

the information in Criminal Case No. 2934 (for violation of B.P. Blg. 22) for being "fatally defective" (p. 63,
Rollo), and (2) convicting the accused of estafa in Criminal Case No. 3007.
The accused appealed the decision in Criminal Case No. 3007 to the Court of Appeals, which on July 26,
1988, reversed and set aside the judgment of the Regional Trial Court, thereby acquitting the accused
Eliseo Soriano, "without prejudice to the person entitled to (sic) the civil action for restitution of the thing
and reparation or indemnity for the damage suffered" (CA-G.R. No. 0.4096, p. 615, Records in Criminal
Case No. 2934, Vol. II.)
The State filed the instant petition for certiorari and mandamus assailing the dismissal of the allegedly
defective information in Criminal Case No. 2934 and praying that the trial court be ordered to reinstate the
case and render judgment as the law and the evidence warrant.
Respondent Judge filed his own Comments on the petition to defend his order in the case. The accused
adopted the Judge's comments as his own.
The only issue raised by the petition is a legal one: whether or not the information in Criminal Case No.
2934 is indeed "fatally defective." The information reads as follows:
The undersigned Acting Provincial Fiscal and Assistant Provincial Fiscal accuse ELISEO
F. SORIANO of felony of Violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22, committed as follows:
That sometime in October 1983, in the municipality of San Fernando, Province of
Pampanga, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above
named accused ELISEO F. SORIANO, with intent to defraud, by means of deceit,
knowing fully well that he had no funds and/or sufficient funds in the bank, for value
received did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously issue and make out Banco
Filipino Check No. 1679962 postdated July 18, 1984, in the amount of TWO HUNDRED
FIFTY THOUSAND (P250,000.00) PESOS, Philippine Currency, drawn against his
current account with Banco Filipino, Malolos Branch, Bulacan, payable to Lolita 0. Hizon
in payment of an obligation and when the said check was presented for encashment, said
check was dishonored and returned, with the information that the said check is drawn
against 'CLOSE ACCOUNT' and in spite of repeated demands made of the accused to
redeem said check or settle the said amount, accused failed and refused and still fails
and refuses to comply with said demands, to the damage and prejudice of Lolita 0. Hizon,
in the total amount of P250,000.00 Philippine Currency.
All contrary to law. (Annex A, p. 21, Rollo.)
Upon arraignment, Soriano pleaded not guilty to the information.
During the pre-trial, the prosecution and the defense admitted the following:
l. That at the instance of the private complainant Lolita 0. Hizon, Unity Savings and Loan
Association Inc. Cashier Check No. 0623 dated October 4, 1983 in the amount of
P250,000 (Exh. A) was issued by the said bank drawn against the Metropolitan Bank and
Trust Company, San Fernando, Pampanga Branch, and the said check was endorsed by
the daughter of Lolita 0. Hizon with authority from the latter in favor of the accused Eliseo
Soriano;

2. That the said Check (Exh. A) was thereafter endorsed by the accused in favor of Dr.
Zoilo Pangilinan as payment of the accused's indebtedness to the former and the check
was thereafter encashed by the bank;
3. That the said check (Exh. A) after its encashment by the bank, was returned to the
private complainant Lolita 0. Hizon;
4. That more or less on the date when Cashier Check No. 0623 (Exh. A) was issued, the
accused issued Banco Filipino Check No. 1679962 (Exh. B) dated July 18, 1984 in the
amount of P 250,000 in favor of the private complainant Lolita 0. Hizon. According to the
accused this Banco Filipino chock (Exh. B) was undated, while according to the private
complainant Lolita 0. Hizon, the said check (Exh. B), was dated July 18, 1984;
5. That when Banco Filipino Check (Exh. B) was deposited by the private complainant
with the Union Bank of the Philippines, San Fernando, Pampanga on July 18, 1984, the
check was dishonored by the bank because the account of the accused with the drawee
bank was already closed as of July 10, 1984 (Exh. B-1);
6. That because the check (Exh. B) was dishonored by the bank, a demand letter dated
August 24, 1984 (Exh. C) was received by the accused from the counsel of the private
complainant (Exh. C-1).' (p. 23, Rollo.)
The other facts which were established at the trial are:
The accused (now private respondent) Eliseo F. Soriano is a minister of the "Church of God in Jesus
Christ, the Pillar and Ground of the Truth in the Philippines." (p. 28, Rollo.) He first met the offended party
Lolita 0. Hizon in July or August, 1983, when her godson, Arcadio Malla who is a member of Soriano's
congregation, introduced the latter to her. HIZON became interested in Soriano's religious group and
became a member thereof on November 27, 1983.
In the second week of August 1983, Soriano confided to Hizon his worries about his indebtedness of P
250,000 to Dr. and Mrs. Zoilo Pangilinan. The obligation was secured by a mortgage on the
congregation's property which would mature on October 4, 1983. Hizon offered to help. She agreed to
lend P250,000 in cash to Soriano who would issue a post-dated check to her for the same amount.
To raise the P 250,000, Hizon borrowed against her time deposit at the Unity Savings and Loan
Association, Inc. (USLA). Since she and her husband were leaving for the United States on a short trip in
August 1983, she signed the necessary papers for the loan before their departure. She also executed a
special power of attorney authorizing her daughter, Rose Anne Hizon, to receive from USLA the P250,000
check representing the proceeds of her loan and to endorse and deliver it to Soriano upon Soriano's
issuing to her a post-dated check for the same amount of P250,000. Accordingly, on October 4, 1983,
Rose Anne got the P250,000 check from the USLA endorsed it to Soriano who issued, in exchange
therefor, his Banco Filipino check for the same amount. His check was undated.
When Lolita Hizon arrived from her trip on October 16, 1983, she asked Soriano why his check bore no
date. Soriano told her to date it "July 18, 1984" (pp. 26-27, Rollo) so he would have sufficient time to fund
it. When Hizon deposited the check on that date, the drawee bank dishonored it because Soriano's
account with it had been closed as of July 10, 1984, or one week before the due date of the check.
During the trial on the merits, Soriano admitted that when he issued the check he did not have enough
funds in the bank, and that he failed to deposit the needed amount to cover it. He alleged that he issued

the check as "a temporary receipt for what he had received" (pp. 20-21, t.s.n., December 2, 1985; pp. 10
and 35, RTC Decision, p. 30, Rollo).
Despite repeated demands to make good his check, or to replace it with cash, Soriano did neither.
In its decision dated September 1, 1986, the trial court ruled that the accused could not be convicted of a
violation of the Bouncing Checks Law, B.P. Blg. 22, because the information failed to allege that he knew,
when be issued the check, that he would not have sufficient funds for its payment in full upon its
presentment to the drawee bank. In the opinion of the trial judge, the information did not charge an
offense, hence, he dismissed it.
In this petition for certiorari and mandamus, the State alleges that the information is sufficient, hence,
respondent Judge committed an error of law, and/or gravely abused his discretion, in dismissing Criminal
Case No. 2934. We agree.
The accused was charged with having violated Batas Pambansa Blg. 22, which provides:
Section 1. Checks without sufficient funds Any person who makes or draws and issues
any check to apply on account or for value, knowing at the time of issue that he does not
have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of such in full
upon presentment, which check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for
insufficiency of funds or credit or would have been dishonored for the same reason had
not the drawer, without any valid reason, ordered the bank to stop payment, shall be
punished by imprisonment of not less than thirty (30) days but not more than on (1) year
or by a fine of not less than but not more than double the amount of the check which fine
shall in no case exceed Two Hundred Thousand Pesos, or both such fine and
imprisonment at the discretion of the court. (Emphasis supplied.)
The elements of the offense are:
1. the making, drawing and issuance of any check to apply to account or for Value,
2. the maker, drawer or issuer knows at the time of issue that he does not have sufficient
funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of such check in full upon its
presentment, and
3. the check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or
credit or would have been dishonored for the same reason had not the drawer, without
any valid reason, ordered the bank to stop payment.
The "defect" which respondent Judge perceived in the information was the failure to allege that the
accused, as maker or drawer of the check at the time of issue, knew of the insufficiency of his funds in the
bank for payment of the check in full "upon its presentment" (p. 56, Rollo). In the court's opinion, it was
not enough for the information to have alleged that the accused knew when he issued the check that
he then did not have sufficient funds in the bank; the information should have alleged that the accused
knew that he would not have sufficient funds in the bank to pay the check in full "upon its presentment". It
believed that the absence of an allegation that the accused foresaw or had foreknowledge of the
insufficiency of his bank account upon presentment of the check for payment, was fatal to the information.
The interpretation is erroneous. Section 2 of the law provides:

Section 2. Evidence of knowledge of insufficient funds.-The making, drawing and


issuance of a check payment of which is refused by the drawee because of insufficient
funds in or credit with such bank, when presented within ninety (90) days from the date of
the check, shall be prima facie evidence of knowledge of such insufficiency of funds or
credit unless such maker or drawer pays the holder thereof the amount due thereon, or
makes arrangements for payment in full by the drawee of such check within five (5)
banking days after receiving notice that such cheek has not been paid by the drawee
(Emphasis supplied.)
In other words the presence of the first and third elements of the offense constitutes prima facie evidence
that the second element exists. The maker's knowledge of the insufficiency of his funds is legally
presumed from the dishonor of his check for insufficiency of funds. This Court has ruled that:
Violation of the bad checks act is committed when one makes or draws and issues any
check to apply on account or for value, knowing at the time of issue that he does not
have sufficient funds' or 'having sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank . . . shall
fail to keep sufficient funds or to maintain a credit to cover the full amount of the check if
presented within a period of ninety (90) days from the date appearing thereon, for which
reason it is dishonored by the drawee bank. (People vs. Manzanilla, 156 SCRA 279,
282.)
The gravamen of the offense under B.P. Blg. 22 is the act of making and issuing a worthless check or a
check that is dishonored upon its presentment for payment. The law has made the mere act of issuing a
bum check amalum prohibitum an act proscribed by legislature for being deemed pernicious and inimical
to public welfare. (Lozano vs. Martinez, Lobaton vs. Cruz, Datuin vs. Pano, Violago vs. Pano, Abad vs.
Gerochi Aguiluz vs. Isnani Hojas vs. Pearanda, People vs. Nitafan, G.R. Nos. L-63419, 66839-42,
71654, 74524-25, 75122-49, 75812-13, 75765-67 & 75789, December 18, 1986, 146 SCRA 323).
Since the information in Criminal Case No. 2934 did allege that the accused, for value received,
unlawfully and feloniously issued the postdated check "knowing fully well that he had no funds and/or
insufficient funds in the bank . . . and when the said check was presented for encashment, said check
was dishonored and returned with the information that the said check is drawn against 'CLOSE
ACCOUNT' . . . (pp. 2 122, Rollo) the information satisfies the legal definition of the offense under Section
1, B.P. Blg. 22. It is sufficient. The trial court erred in dismissing it.
However, although its decision is erroneous, that decision may not be annulled or set aside because it
amounted to a judgment of acquittal. It became final and executory upon its promulgation. The State may
not appeal that decision for it would place the accused twice in jeopardy of punishment for the offense in
violation of his constitutional right against double jeopardy (Art. III, Sec. 21, 1987 Constitution).
This case is somewhat similar to the case of US vs. Yam Tung Way, 21 Phil. 67, where this Court ruled
that the defendant, after having been discharged by a competent court, cannot again be put on trial for
the same offense "whether his discharge be the result of formal acquittal or of a ruling of the court upon
some question of law arising at the trial; no appeal lies in such case on behalf of the government." The
accused therein was charged with infringement of literary rights. After trial, he moved for the dismissal of
the information on the ground that the evidence of the Government did not establish the commission of
the offense charged. The Court reserved its judgment on the motion and required the defendant to submit
his evidence. Afterwards, it discharged him on the ground that no copyright law existed then in the
Philippines. The Government appealed. The Supreme Court held that the Government had no right to
appeal:

Defendant was regularly arraigned, pleaded not guilty, put upon his trial by the calling of
the government's witness against him, and thereafter discharged by the trial court. It is
true that the court made no express finding as to whether the defendant did or did not
commit the specific acts set out in the information, and that the dismissal of the
information was based on the court's conclusion of law that there being no copyright law
in force in these Islands, the acts which it is alleged were committed by the defendant do
not constitute the crime with which he was charged, nor any other offense defined and
penalized by law. But the reasoning and authority of the opinion of the Supreme Court of
the United States in the case of Kepner vs. United States, supra, is conclusively against
the right of appeal by the government from a judgment discharging the defendant in a
criminal case after he has been brought to trial, whether defendant was acquitted on the
merits or whether defendant's discharge was based upon the trial court's conclusion of
law that the trial had failed for some reason to establish the guilt of the defendant as
charged.
As indicated in the opinion in that case, the protection afforded by the prohibition against
the putting of any person twice in jeopardy for the same offense, is a protection not
merely against the peril of second punishment, but against being tried a second time for
the same offense. In that case the court expressly held that:
It follows that Military Order No. 58, as amended by Act of the Philippine
Commission, No. 194, insofar as it undertakes to permit an appeal by the
Government after acquittal, was repealed by the Act of Congress of July,
1902, providing immunity from second jeopardy for the same criminal
offense.
But the reasoning of the opinion goes further and denies the right to the Government to
procure the reversal of erroneous proceedings and commence anew, save only in those
cases in which the first proceeding did not create legal jeopardy. So that, without his own
consent, a defendant who has once been brought to trial in a court of competent
jurisdiction cannot be again put on trial for the same offense after the first trial has
terminated by a judgment directing his discharge, whether his discharge be the result of a
formal acquittal, or of a ruling of the court upon some question of law arising at the trial.
(US vs. Yam Tung Way, 21 Phil. 67, 70-71.)
Since in the present case the accused Eliseo Soriano had been arraigned, pleaded "not guilty," and was
tried upon a valid and sufficient information (although the lower court erroneously thought otherwise) and
the case against him was dismissed by decision of the trial court (hence, without his consent and not
upon his motion), he has been placed in jeopardy or danger of punishment for the offense charged. For
this Court to re-assess the evidence against him pursuant to the Government's appeal, would place him
twice in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense.
Although the dismissal of the information against him may constitute a miscarriage of justice, the
erroneous dismissal by the trial court may not be disturbed for it would violate his basic constitutional right
to be exemp t from double jeopardy.
WHEREFORE, the petition for review of the trial court's decision dismissing the information in Criminal
Case No. 2934, is denied.
SO ORDERED.

ALFONSO T. YUCHENGCO, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, ROBERT COYIUTO, JR. and
JAIME LEDESMA, respondents.
DECISION
DE LEON, JR., J.:
Before us is the petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court which seeks to nullify and
set aside the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals dated May 28, 1999 in CA-G.R. CR No. 21351 acquitting
herein private respondents of the crime of libel and its Resolution [2] dated July 26, 1999.
The Information[3] in Criminal Case No. 93-10985 of the Regional trial Court (RTC) of Makati City,
Branch 145, charging herein private respondents Robert Coyiuto; Jr. and Jaime Leeds of the crime of libel
defined and penalized under Articles 353 and 355 of the Revised Penal Code reads:
That on or about the 23rd and 29th day of June 1993 in the Municipality of Makati, Metro Manila,
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and
confederating together and both of them mutually helping and aiding one another, with evident purpose of
impeaching the virtue, honesty, integrity and reputation of the person of one ALFONSO YUCHENGCO,
and with malicious intent of exposing him to public contempt and ridicule did then and there wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously compose, prepare, write, publish and cause to be composed, prepared, written
and published in the 23rd day and 29th day of June, 1993 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a news
daily of general and public circulation throughout the archipelago, printed and published in Metro Manila,
an article, the contents of which are herein set forth in full:
Philippine Daily Inquirer Issue of June 23, 1993
OPMC GADFLIES! WILL YOU TRUST THEM WITH YOUR PROXY VOTES? [portraying a cartoon of
complainant Yuchengco and others as gadflies surrounding a cake marked OPMC which OPMC
management led by respondents Coyuito and Ledesma threatens to swat].
As registered in the records for the 1993 Annual Stockholders Meeting, these gadflies appear to hold the
following stockholdings:
Mario Jalandoni

20,000 shares or P 1,100.00

Antonio Cope

100,000 shares or P5,500.00

Saklolo Leao

100,000 shares or P5,500.00

Leonardo Siguion Reyna

100,000 shares or P5,500.00

xxx
xxx

xxx

Combined together, these stockholdings add up to 320,000 shares only, equivalent to


0.0000034177272% of total outstanding shares of Oriental Petroleum and Minerals Corporation. At
current market prices their combined investments only amount to P17,600.00.

To add insult to injury, how did Mr. Jalandoni get his shares? And who is paying as well for the expensive
advertisements against Management?
Inspite of this, they have come out strongly in the newspapers in varied degrees of vociferousness and
antagonism, hurling simplistic and unfounded allegations against Management with which they hope to
capture the sympathy of stockholders and the general investing public.
With the amount of money they have invested and is risking with us in OPMC as you now can see, will
you still believe that all these supposed crusading deeds by them are for the best interest of the
stockholders, the Company and for all concerned as they claim? Oh, come on!
xxx
xxx

xxx

They are antagonistic stockholders out to takeover the company for a song with your support. They are
nothing but CORPORATE RAIDERS! The ultimate Gadflies.., nuisance and pestering stockholders.
Their ferocity and vociferousness against Management is just a smokescreen to cover up and legitimize
the highly anomalous, immoral, irregular and illegal sale of OPMC shares held by PCGG to Rizal
Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) of Alfonso Yuchengco.
xxx
xxx

xxx

Dont believe therefore their blatant lies and seemingly vigilant talk. They are only hot air to mislead you.
Their only concern is to trigger the illegal sale of OPMC shares to RCBC by creating popular pressure to
make a call on the unpaid subscription on the last stock rights issue - an act that will only benefit them.
xxx
xxx

xxx

WHO ARE THEY IN THE PAST?


Messrs. Mario Jalandoni, Antonio Cope and Saklolo Leao, et. al., are mere pawns being pushed by
RCBC of Alfonso Yuchengco and his chief lieutenant, Leonardo Siguion Reyna.
Mr. Yuchengco and Siguion Reyna had close personal and financial relationships with the Martial Law
regime.
In the book, Wrong Number author Ricardo Manapat said the group that bought out General Telephone
and Electric (GTE), the American owners of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), in
1967 included Yuchengco and lawyer Siguion Reyna.
It was only after 10 years, or around 1977, that the details of the takeover became known, Manapat said.
It was only when the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged the group
members with violating US laws that the full story became available to the public.
The US SEC charged that the takeover of PLDT by the Filipino group involved secret commissions and
kickbacks. Four people, including Yuchengco, were charged by the US authorities.

In its complaint, the US SEC had also charged that the American owners of PLDT were forced by
Philippine government officials at the highest levels to sell to the group that included Yuchengco.
A plan was therefore devised to transfer the controlling interests of GTE to the Philippine
Telecommunications Investment Corp. (PTIC), a corporation which served as the holding company for the
PLDT shares of Yuchengco, and the three others accused in the US SEC case, Manapat wrote.
Philippine Daily Inquirer Issue of June 29, 1993
WHATS THE REAL ISSUE IN OPMC?
TRYING TO COOK MANAGEMENTS GOOSE TO COVER UP THEIR DIRTY TRICKS.
Time and again, the RCBC-Yuchengco Group has resorted to evading the real issues that have to be
resolved in OPMC, hurling cut-and-dried accusations against the management. This is a trick designed to
avoid answering the legal and moral questions that have been raised against them on the rotten
sweetheart deal they cooked up with the PCGG.
STOP DISHING THE DIRT!
ITS THE PIEDRAS-RCBC-YUCHENGCO GROUP DEAL AND YOUR PAST, STUPID!!!
xxx
xxx

xxx

WHO ARE FACING ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPTIONS CHARGES? A DEPOSITOR OF RCBC FILED
RAPS WITH THE CENTRAL BANK AGAINST RCBC FOR UNSOUND AND UNSAFE BANKING
PRACTICE FOR LENDING INTEREST-FREE AND WITH NO COLLATERAL P102 MILLION TO
BANKROLL THE ILLEGAL PCGG-RCBC-YUCHENGCO GROUP DEAL. ALSO, THREE OTHER ANTIGRAFT AND CORRUPTION CHARGES ARE PENDING BEFORE THE OMBUDSMAN AND THE
SANDIGANBAYAN AGAINST THE ANOMALOUS PCGG-RCBC-YUCHENGCO GROUP DEAL WHICH
INCLUDES FORMER PCGG OFFICIALS, MARIO JALANDONI AND DAVID CASTRO.
xxx
xxx

xxx

RCBC-YUCHENGCO GROUP RESORTS TO SQUID TACTICS TO CONFUSE THE PUBLIC:


1.

ON THE 999 MILLION SHARES

Fr. Emeterio Barcelon has spoken that it is their family that bought the shares as restitutions from the old
regime. This share purchase was approved by the highly respected former PCGG Chairman Jovito
Salonga. Why not ask the former OPMC Director and EVP, Oscar Manuel? He has a very telling role on
what really happened about the 999 Million shares.
and through the aforequoted defamatory imputations, had thus imputed against ALFONSO
YUCHENGCO, the commission of a vice, defects and/or acts, condition, status or circumstances which
have undermined his integrity and caused his dishonor and discredit, to the damage and prejudice of said
Alfonso Yuchengco.

Contrary to law.
Upon being arraigned on March 23, 1995, the accused, assisted by counsel, separately entered the
plea of Not guilty to the charge in the Information.
After trial, the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 145, rendered its Decision[4] on July 10,
1997 in Criminal Case No. 93-10985 finding both accused, herein private respondents Robert Coyiuto, Jr.
and Jaime Ledesma, guilty of the crime of libel, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused ROBERTO COYIUTO, JR., and JAIME LEDESMA to be
GUILTY as charged with (sic) the offense of LIBEL.
Accordingly, accused Roberto Coyuito, Jr., is hereby sentenced to suffer imprisonment for a term not less
than TWO (2) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY of arresto mayor nor more than ONE (1) YEAR, EIGHT (8)
MONTHS and TWENTY-ONE (21) DAYS of prision correccional, as well as the penalties accessory
thereto.
Accused Jaime L. Ledesma is in turn sentenced to suffer imprisonment for a term of not less than FOUR
(4) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY of arresto mayor and not more than TWO (2) YEARS, FOUR (4)
MONTHS and TEN (10) DAYS of prision correccional and the penalties accessory thereto.
Further, the accused are hereby ordered to pay the complainant, Alfonso Yuchengco, jointly and
severally:
1.

The sum of ONE (1) PESO as nominal damages;

2.

The sum of ONE MILLION (1,000,000.00) PESOS as exemplary damages; and

3.

The sum of ONE MILLION (1,000,000.00) PESOS as reasonable attorneys fees.

SO ORDERED.
On appeal, however, the Court of Appeals reversed the said decision of the trial court, upon its
finding that the questioned publications are not libelous per se, the same being neither malicious nor
defamatory. The dispositive portion of the assailed judgment acquitting both accused, reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision, dated July 10, 1997, of the Regional Trial Court
(Branch 145) in Makati City in Criminal Case No. 93-10985 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, this
Court finding accused-appellants Robert Coyuito, Jr. and Jaime Ledesma NOT GUILTY of the offense
charged- hence, acquitted. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
The subsequent motion for reconsideration filed by the petitioner, Alfonso Yuchengco, was merely
noted by the Court of Appeals in its Resolution of July 26, 1999 and thus, it is deemed denied even by the
petitioner in the instant petition[5] which is anchored on the following grounds, to wit:
I

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION


AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT THE
PUBLICATIONS WERE NOT LIBELOUS PER SE AND THAT PETITIONER FAILED TO
PROVE MALICE.
II
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION
AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT FAILED TO
CONSIDER THAT THE PETITIONER WAS NOT A CANDIDATE TO THE OPMC BOARD
AND THAT THEREFORE THERE WAS NO REASON TO MALIGN PETITIONER.
Petitioner Alfonso Yuchengco alleges in essence that the contents of the two (2) published articles,
subject of the Information, which branded and portrayed him as a gadfly, a corporate raider and a
crony of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos were derogatory and libelous per se, hence, malice
need not be proved since the same is presumed pursuant to Article 354 of the Revised Penal Code.
Likewise, the derogatory publications cannot be considered as privileged communications as no public
interest could be served by maligning him since he was neither a candidate nor did he campaign for any
of the candidates in the June 29, 1993 elections for OPMC Board of Directors. In addition, the appellate
courts adoption of the opinion of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 139, in its decision in Criminal
Case Nos. 93-10988 and 93-10989 is highly irregular for the reason that the latter is an inferior court and
that the complainant in said criminal cases was Atty. Leonardo Siguion-Reyna, who was a candidate in
the then forthcoming elections of the board of directors of the OPMC. [6]
On the other hand, respondents contend, in substance, that the instant petition merely raised
possible errors of law and misappreciation of evidence committed by the respondent appellate court in
acquitting them, which are outside the province of a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised
Rules of Court. Besides, the questioned decision of the Court of Appeals is in accordance with the
evidence adduced by the parties to the case.[7]
For its part, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed a Manifestation [8] dated June 29, 1998, in
lieu of Appellees Brief, recommending that the assailed decision of respondent appellate court be upheld
principally on the ground that the alleged guilt of the respondents was not proven beyond reasonable
doubt.
We stress that a judgment of acquittal in criminal proceedings is final and unappealable whether it
happens at the trial court level or before the Court of Appeals. This means that a review of alleged errors
in the said judgment arising from misappreciation of facts and the evidence adduced cannot be made
without trampling upon the right of the accused against double jeopardy which is firmly established in this
jurisdiction.
The rule on double jeopardy, which basically means that no person shall be put on trial twice for the
same offense, was introduced by the United States into the country through the Philippine Bill of 1902 and
the Jones Law of 1916. It was later embodied in the 1935 and 1973 Philippine constitutions and the same
was reproduced verbatim under Section 21, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, [9] thus:
SECTION 21. No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. If an act is
punished by a law and an ordinance, conviction or acquittal under either shall constitute a bar to another
prosecution for the same act.

The Rules of Court on Criminal Procedure relative to double jeopardy strictly adheres to the above
constitutional provision.[10] Rule 117, Section 7 thereof, provides:
SECTION 7. Former conviction or acquittal; double jeopardy.- When an accused has been convicted or
acquitted, or the case against him dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent by a
court of competent jurisdiction, upon a valid complaint or information or other formal charge sufficient in
form and substance to sustain a conviction and after the accused had pleaded to the charge, the
conviction or acquittal of the accused or the dismissal of the case shall be a bar to another prosecution for
the offense charged, or for any attempt to commit the same or frustration thereof, or for any offense which
necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the offense charged in the former complaint or
information.
xxx
xxx

xxx

Thus, since the landmark case of U.S. v. Kepner,[11] this Court, in a string of cases, [12]consistently
thwarted persistent attempts at reviewing judgments of acquittal in criminal cases in view of the rule on
double jeopardy.
By way of exception, a judgment of acquittal in a criminal case may be assailed in a petition
for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court but only upon a clear showing by the petitioner that the
lower court, in acquitting the accused, committed not merely reversible errors of judgment but also grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction or a denial of due process, thus rendering
the assailed judgment void. In which event, the accused cannot be considered at risk of double jeopardy
which has the following essential elements: 1) the accused is charged under a complaint or an
information sufficient in form and substance to sustain a conviction; 2) the court has jurisdiction; 3) the
accused has been arraigned and he has pleaded; and 4) he is convicted or acquitted, or the case is
dismissed without his express consent.[13]
It is not disputed that herein private respondents were charged with the crime of libel upon a valid
Information in Criminal Case No. 93-10985 before a competent court. After having been duly arraigned,
trial on the merits ensued that led to their conviction by the trial court. On appeal, the judgment rendered
by the trial court was reversed by the Court of Appeals. The petitioner in this petition now questions the
jurisdiction of respondent appellate court for having allegedly committed grave abuse of discretion when it
acquitted the private respondents.
We note, however, that the allegations of the petitioner in his petition for certiorari merely raised
possible errors in the appreciation of evidence purportedly committed by the respondent appellate court.
The issues on whether or not the published articles, subject of the Information in Criminal Case No. 9310985, are libelous per se or privileged communication involve questions of fact which require evaluation
of the evidence adduced by the parties.
Factual matters cannot be inquired into by this Court in a certiorari proceeding. We can no longer be
tasked to go over the proofs presented by the parties and analyze, assess and weigh them again to
ascertain if the trial court and the appellate court were correct in according superior credit to this or that
piece of evidence of one party or the other. [14] The sole office of a writ of certiorari is the correction of
errors of jurisdiction including the commission of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
jurisdiction, and does not include the review of public respondents evaluation of the evidence and the
factual findings based thereon.[15] We reiterated the said principle in the case of People v. Court of
Appeals and Maquiling,[16] to wit:

It is quite obvious from the foregoing allegations that petitioner imputed grave abuse of discretion
toRespondent Court because of the latters supposed misappreciation and wrongful assessment
of factual evidence. However, as earlier stressed, the present recourse is a petition for certiorari under
Rule 65. It is a fundamental aphorism in law that a review of facts and evidence is not the province of the
extraordinary remedy of certiorari, which is extra ordinem beyond the ambit of appeal. Stated elsewise,
factual matters cannot normally be inquired into by the Supreme Court in a certiorari proceeding. This
Court cannot be tasked to go over the proofs presented by the parties and analyze, assess and weigh
them again, in order to ascertain if the trial and the appellate courts were correct in according superior
credit to this or that piece of evidence of one party or the other.
Besides, a mistake in the judgment acquitting the accused of the crime charged occasioned by
misappreciation of evidence or errors of law does not necessarily nullify the decision. What may vitiate a
decision are jurisdictional errors arising from the courts commission of grave abuse of discretion or denial
of due process.[17] In which event, the factual circumstances constituting grave abuse of discretion or
denial of due process must be shown as patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or a
virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law, as where the
power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and hostility.[18]
However, the petitioner failed to cite any circumstance clearly indicative of grave abuse of discretion
on the part of the respondent appellate court such as, for instance, the assailed judgments alleged lack of
basis in law or supporting evidence. Petitioner also failed to show that the state was deprived of a fair
opportunity to prosecute and prove its case [19] or the occurrence of mistrial [20] resulting in a denial of due
process, thus rendering the assailed judgment void.
Aside from the aforecited factual issues, the petition alleged that respondent Court of Appeals
adopted in its assailed decision the opinion of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 139, in Criminal
Case Nos. 93-10988 and 93-10989, which is not quite correct. The Court of Appeals merely adverted to
the decision of the trial court in the said cases initiated by Atty. Leonardo Siguion-Reyna against herein
private respondents involving the article published in the Inquirer on June 23, 1993, subject of the
Information, insofar as the term gadfly was pronounced therein as not libelous per se.
Parenthetically, the challenged decision of respondent Court of Appeals in this case is based on its
own independent appreciation of the evidence and the pertinent laws including the recommendation of
the Office of the Solicitor General for the acquittal of herein private respondents of the crime of libel on the
ground of reasonable doubt, to wit:
xxx
xxx

xxx

Under Article 354(1) of the Revised Penal Code, malice is not presumed and must therefore be proved
where the alleged libelous communication is qualifiedly privileged. In such instance, the burden of proof to
establish malice on the part of the accused is on the plaintiff or the prosecution xxx. The prosecution
failed to discharge such onus probandi. To be more specific, no culpability could be imputed to the
accused-appellants for the alleged offending publication without doing violence to the precept of
privileged communication implicit in the freedom of the press.
xxx
xxx

xxx

The alleged libelous articles were published as an offshoot of the corporate struggle for control of the
management of Oriental Petroleum and Minerals Corporation (OPMC).

xxx
xxx

xxx

The existence of actual government investment in OPMC imbued the aforementioned corporate struggle
with significant public interest that can be best protected if such controversy is made transparent for
public opinion. It need not be gainsaid that a desire to generate public opinion against a particular
transaction on a matter of public interest is not only a social duty but a right protected by the Constitution.
xxx
xxx

xxx

[T]he appellants were not harbingers of doom who opened Pandoras box in order to promote their selfish
ends. Rather, the raison d'tre which propelled them to sound the clarion call for vigilance was succinctly
stated as follows:
The overriding intent of the publications was to criticize the highly irregular sale of government
assets, which was performed by and between public officials, supposedly in the exercise of their
public duties, and a large, nationwide bank, and to remind the OPMC stockholders of these very
important facts.
xxx
xxx

xxx

We hasten to add that We were also persuaded by the posture adopted by the Solicitor General who
after a conscientious study of the instant case, recommended the acquittal of appellants on the ground
that their alleged crime was not proven beyond reasonable doubt.
To be sure, the Solicitor General represents the People of the Philippines on appeal. Nevertheless, it is
not unusual for the Solicitor General to take a position adverse to the People or the prosecution. The
reason, as explained by the Supreme Court xxx, is that as the lawyer of the government, its agencies and
instrumentalities, the Solicitor General has the duty to see to it that the best interest of the government is
upheld within the limits set by law xxx. It is incumbent upon him to present to the court what he considers
would legally uphold the best interest of the government although it may run counter to a clients
position.[21] xxx
xxx
xxx

xxx

In any event, we find that the appellate court committed no grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction in rendering its assailed decision in the case at bar. All the evidence adduced
and the issues and arguments raised by the parties in their respective pleadings were exhaustively and
correctly addressed by the appellate court in its 54-page assailed decision. Consequently, the said
judgment of the Court of Appeals acquitting herein private respondents of the crime of libel in Criminal
Case No. 93-10985 may not be reviewed, much less reversed, without violating their constitutional right
against double jeopardy as enshrined in Section 21, Article III of the 1987 Constitution. [22]
In view of all the foregoing, it is our considered opinion and we hold that the instant petition is not
meritorious, and that the same should be dismissed.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari is hereby DISMISSED. No pronouncement as to


costs.
SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 128986. June 21, 1999]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
MAQUILING, respondents.

vs.

COURT

OF

APPEALS

and

CASAN

DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:
The rule against double jeopardy proscribes an appeal from a judgment of acquittal. If said judgment
is assailed in a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, as in the present case, the
petitioner must prove that the lower court, in acquitting the accused, committed not merely reversible
errors, but grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. A judgment rendered
with grave abuse of discretion or without due process is void, does not exist in legal contemplation and,
thus, cannot be the source of an acquittal. However, where the petition demonstrate mere errors in
judgment not amounting to grave abuse of discretion or deprivation of due process, the writ
of certiorari cannot issue. A review of alleged errors of judgments cannot be made without trampling upon
the right of the accused against double jeopardy.
The Case

Through the solicitor general, Petitioner People of the Philippines brings before this Court a special
civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, assailing the 65-page March 24, 1997
Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA). [2] Petitioner prays that said Decision be annulled and the case
remanded to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Lanao del Norte, Branch 5, so that the latter can effect the
entry of its judgment[3] convicting herein Respondent Casan Maquiling of homicide and serious physical
injuries.
The dispositive portion of the assailed Decision reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Lanao del Norte, Branch 5 dated September
25, 1995 is hereby SET ASIDE and a new order is hereby issued ACQUITTING the accused of the crimes
charged.
xxx xxx

xxx

Costs de oficio.[4]
On the other hand, the dispositive portion of the RTC Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the accused
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of homicide for killing the deceased Frederick Pacasum, and of serious
physical injuries for having physically injured Oligario Villarimo.

For killing Frederick Pacasum, there being no aggravating or mitigating circumstances attendant,
accused is condemned to suffer an indeterminate penalty of [n]ine (9) years of prision mayor to [f]ifteen
(15) years reclusion temporal, and pay the civil liability herein above-awarded, including the cost of the
suit.
For the physical injuries of Oligario Villarimo, there being no aggravating and mitigating circumstance
attendant too, accused is condemned to suffer a straight penalty of six (6) months ar[r]esto mayor.
The period of detention that accused underwent during the pendency of trial shall be credited in full, in
the service of his sentence.[5]
The Facts

Both the prosecutions and the defenses versions of the incident that gave rise to this controversy
were adequately summarized by the appellate court as follows:
The prosecutions witnesses insisted that it was Ramil Maquiling who first boxed the deceased Frederick
Pacasum who was compelled to box back. That the appellant, elder brother of Ramil, appeared from
nowhere and boxed the deceased. Thereafter the accused and his brother (Ramil) ran out of the disco
but when the deceased and his companions followed outside, Ramil Maquiling and his companions were
waiting and another fist fight ensued.
While the commotion was going on, appellant went to his parked Isuzu Trooper and got his .45 caliber
pistol. Appellant then approached the deceased. Before he could reach him, Audie Pacasum who was
with the group of the deceased, tried to prevent appellant from using his gun. Appellant then fired a
warning shot causing the people around to scamper for safety. The deceased turned his back to see
what was going on. At that moment, appellant shot the deceased twice on the left thigh. The deceased
fell on the ground lying on his back with his hands clutching his left thigh. Appellant then approached the
deceased and fired another shot hitting the deceased on the chest. Jojo Villarimo was himself shot in the
leg. As a consequence of the gunshot wounds, Frederick Pacasum died while Jojo Villarimo suffered
gunshot wounds on his upper right leg which required medical attendance for six (6) months.
The accused and his witnesses on the other hand, maintained that while the accused was entertaining
his guests at the Spectrum Disco located in the basement of Iligan Village Hotel, he saw Frederic[k]
Pacasum and Ramil Maquiling, his younger brother, pointing at each other, then Frederick boxed Ramil
who was hit on the face and fell on the floor. As he approached Ramil and Frederick, he saw Frederick
hit Ramil on his head with a bottle as the latter was attempting to stand up causing him to fall anew on the
floor. He also saw Frederick kick Ramil in several parts of his body. Hence, he attempted to intervene to
stop Frederick from mauling Ramil. Instead, Frederick boxed appellant on the side of the cheek below his
right eye. Appellant wanted to retaliate by boxing Frederick but could not do so because of Raden
Pacasum and Jojo Villarimo who were standing beside Frederick and who were much larger and bigger
than appellant. The accused then opted to back out and left the disco. He then noticed the deceased
Frederick and Raden Pacasum and Jojo Villarimo following him outside. He proceeded to his Isuzu
Trooper which was parked about 12 meters from the entrance of the disco. As he was about to open the
door of his vehicle, he looked back and saw Frederick coming from his vehicle and holding a shotgun. He
then opened his trooper vehicle and got his .45 caliber pistol. Frederic[k] approached appellant holding
the shotgun at hip level with the barrel pointed at the appellant. Appellant then fired two (2) warning shots
to the air to deter the deceased from coming any closer. He then heard Raden Pacasum shout: Barilin
mo na. Frederick fired the shotgun hitting the accused in the hip. The accused fell to the ground with his
elbow and knees, his right hand still holding the pistol. He tried to stand up but could not. In a kneeling
position with his right foot extended backward, he aimed at Frederick and shot him twice in the hip. His

intention was not to kill but to disarm. But Frederick would not release the shotgun and instead prepared
to aim the same at the accused. Left with no choice, the accused shot Frederick on the chest. Then Jojo
Villarimo ran towards Frederick and picked up the shotgun. The accused then aimed at his leg to disarm
him.
After shooting Jojo Villarimo, appellant examined his pistol and finding the same to be empty, released
the pistols slide. He attempted to stand up but could not and just crawled to his trooper. Raden
Pacasum then went near him and grabbed the pistol from his hand [,] pointed same at him and squeezed
the trigger but the gun did not fire as it had no more bullets. Raden Pacasum then went away taking with
him the pistol. The accused was thereafter loaded into a [T]amaraw vehicle which brought him to the
Mindanao Sanitarium and Hospital where he was treated.[6]
On June 13, 1988, Iligan City Fiscal Ulysses V. Lagcao charged Respondent Casan Maquiling with
homicide and frustrated homicide. Acting on the petition of the private complainants, the Department of
Justice subsequently directed the upgrading of the charge of homicide to murder. The Amended
Information reads:[7]
That on or about June 3, 1988, in the City of Iligan, Philippines, and within the Jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the said accused, armed with a deadly weapon, to wit[,] a cal. 45 pistol, by means of
treachery and abuse of superior strength, and with intent to kill, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously attack, assault, shoot and wound one Frederick Pacasum, thereby inflicting upon him the
following physical injuries, to wit:
- gunshot wounds
- hemorrhage shock
which caused his death.
Contrary to and in violation of Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, with the aggravating circumstances
of treachery and abuse of superior strength.
To both charges, Respondent Maquiling, assisted by Counsel de Parte Moises Dalisay Jr., entered a
plea of not guilty upon his arraignment on June 5, 1989. [8] Trial ensued. Thereafter, the trial court
rendered its Decision convicting private respondent of homicide and serious physical injuries.
Appellate Courts Ruling

In reversing the trial court, the Court of Appeals accepted the claim of self-defense and ruled:
xxx The witnesses have uniformly testified that a fight ensued between the deceased Frederick
Pacasum and Ramil Maquiling in the course of which Frederick boxed Ramil causing him to fall on the
floor. When the accused-appellant tried to pacify and stop Frederick from inflicting further harm on his
brother, he was instead boxed on the right cheek by Frederick. And while he wanted to retaliate he could
not do so because of the superiority in numbers and in strength of Frederick and his companions who
were not only more in [number] but likewise taller and bigger. Hence accused had opted to leave the
disco but was followed to his car by Frederick with a shotgun [i]n hand. The deceased Frederick not only
aimed the shotgun [at] him but actually fired at the accused. And the accused shot at the deceased only
after he was himself injured by the deceased who fired a shotgun at him. He likewise shot at Olegario
Jojo Villaremo to disarm him as he likewise took possession of the shotgun.

There was reasonable necessity of the means used to prevent and[/]or repel the unlawful
aggression. The accused fired a warning shot to deter the deceased from attacking and even after he
was himself hit by the shotgun. He had fired first at the left thigh of the deceased, as his intention was
merely to disarm Frederick, not to kill him. But when the appellant perceived that Frederick was still
aiming the shotgun [at] him, xxx he decided to fire the fatal shot.
There was likewise lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself. It was the
deceased Frederick, with a shotgun [in] hand, [who] approached the accused who was then about to
open his Isuzu trooper. When accused looked back, he saw Frederick coming with a shotgun. Accused
then opened his trooper and got his .45 caliber pistol. The deceased also disregarded the warning shots
fired by the accused and was the first to shoot at the accused. [9]
The appellate court also noted various flaws and inconsistencies in the testimonies of the
prosecution witnesses, in effect strengthening the version set forth by the accused. It held:
To the mind of the court, the discrepancies as to the manner the accused killed the deceased are
material.
Major and evident discrepancies in the testimony of witnesses on various aspects, cannot but raise well
founded and overriding doubts on their credibility. (xxx) Irreconcilable and unexplained contradictions in
the testimonies of prosecution cast doubt on the guilt of the accused and such contradictory statements
will not sustain a judgment of conviction (xxx).[10]
Through this special civil action for certiorari before us, the solicitor general now seeks [11] to set aside
Respondent Courts Decision, for having been allegedly rendered with grave abuse of discretion.
Assignment of Errors

In its Memorandum, the Office of the Solicitor General raises a single issue:
Whether or not the Assailed Decision, dated 24 March 1997, of respondent court is void ab initio, for
having been rendered in denial of due process and with grave abuse of discretion. [12]
The Courts Ruling

The petition is not meritorious.


Preliminary Matter:

Procedural Remedies

Ordinarily, the judicial recourse of an aggrieved party is to appeal the trial court's judgment to the
Court of Appeals and thereafter, to the Supreme Court in a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules
of Court. In such cases, this tribunal is limited to the determination of whether the lower court committed
reversible errors[13] or, in other words, mistakes of judgment.[14] A direct review by the Supreme Court is
the normal recourse of the accused, where the penalty imposed by the trial court is death, reclusion
perpetua or life imprisonment.

The rule on double jeopardy, however, prohibits the state from appealing or filing a petition for review
of a judgment of acquittal that was based on the merits of the case. Thus, Section 2, Rule 122 of the
Rules of Court reads:
"Sec. 2. Who may appeal. -- Any party may appeal from a final judgment or order, except if the accused
would be placed thereby in double jeopardy."
This rule stems from the constitutional mandate stating that no person shall be put twice in jeopardy
for the same offense. xxx"[15] It is rooted in the early case U.S. v. Kepner,[16] in which the United States
Supreme Court, reviewing a Philippine Supreme Court decision, declared that an appeal by the
prosecution from a judgment of acquittal would place the defendant in double jeopardy.[17]
Double jeopardy is present if the following elements concur: (1) the accused individuals are charged
under a complaint or an information sufficient in form and substance to sustain their conviction; (2) the
court has jurisdiction; (3) the accused have been arraigned and have pleaded; and (4) they are convicted
or acquitted, or the case is dismissed without their express consent. [18]
In the case at bar, there are no questions as regards the existence of the first, third and fourth
elements. Petitioner, however, questions the presence of the second element and submits that
Respondent Court of Appeals was ousted of its jurisdiction, because it denied the petitioner due process
and because it committed grave abuse of discretion.
To question the jurisdiction of the lower court or the agency exercising judicial or quasi judicial
functions, the remedy is a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. The
petitioner in such cases must clearly show that the public respondent acted without jurisdiction or with
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. [19] Grave abuse of discretion defies
exact definition, but generally refers to capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to
lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of
positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law,
as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and
hostility."[20]
It has been held, however, that no grave abuse of discretion may be attributed to a court simply
because of its alleged misappreciation of facts and evidence. [21] A writ of certiorari may not be used to
correct a lower tribunal's evaluation of the evidence and factual findings. In other words, it is not a
remedy for mere errors of judgment, which are correctible by an appeal or a petition for review under Rule
45 of the Rules of Court.[22]
In fine, certiorari will issue only to correct errors of jurisdiction, not errors of procedure or mistakes in
the findings or conclusions of the lower court. [23] As long as a court acts within its jurisdiction, any alleged
errors committed in the exercise of its discretion will amount to nothing more than errors of judgment
which are reviewable by timely appeal and not by special civil action for certiorari.[24]
A denial of due process likewise results in loss or lack of jurisdiction. Accordingly, no double
jeopardy would attach where the state is deprived of a fair opportunity to prosecute and prove its case,
[25]
or where the dismissal of an information or complaint is purely capricious or devoid of reason, [26] or
when there is lack of proper notice and opportunity to be heard. [27]
First Issue:

Grave Abuse of Discretion

To show grave abuse of discretion, herein petitioner contends that Respondent Court of Appeals
committed manifest bias and partiality in rendering the assailed Decision. It claims that Respondent
Court ignored and discarded uncontroverted physical evidence which the trial judge had relied
upon. Furthermore, it allegedly erred in finding that he had base[d] his decision on the testimony of
witnesses whose demeanor he did not personally witness. In addition, it supposedly harped on
insignificant inconsistencies in the testimonies of some prosecution witnesses, while unquestioningly
accepting the private respondents claim of self-defense.
Finally, the solicitor general maintains that the assailed Decision (1) failed to discuss the effect of
Maquilings escape from confinement during the pendency of the case; (2) shifted the burden of proof on
the prosecution to prove Maquilings guilt, although he admitted killing the victim in self defense; (3)
ignored the physical evidence particularly the downward trajectory of the bullets that had hit the two
victims, thereby showing that private respondent was still standing when he shot them; and the shotgun
wound sustained by private respondent, which disabled him and rendered him incapable of shooting the
victims.
It is quite obvious from the foregoing allegations that petitioner imputed grave abuse of discretion to
Respondent Court because of the latter's supposed misappreciation and wrongful assessment of factual
evidence. However, as earlier stressed, the present recourse is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65. It
is a fundamental aphorism in law that a review of facts and evidence is not the province of the
extraordinary remedy of certiorari, which is extra ordinem -- beyond the ambit of appeal. [28] Stated
elsewise, factual matters cannot normally be inquired into by the Supreme Court in
a certiorari proceeding. This Court cannot be tasked to go over the proofs presented by the parties and
analyze, assess and weigh them again, in order to ascertain if the trial and the appellate courts were
correct in according superior credit to this or that piece of evidence of one party or the other. [29]
The mere fact that a court erroneously decides a case does not necessarily deprived it of
jurisdiction. Thus, assuming arguendo that a court commits a mistake in its judgment, the error does not
vitiate the decision, considering that it has jurisdiction over the case. [30]
An examination of the 65-page Decision rendered by the Court of Appeals shows no patent and
gross error amounting to grave abuse of discretion. Neither does it show an arbitrary or despotic exercise
of power arising from passion or hostility. In concluding that private respondent acted in self-defense, the
Court of Appeals found the three requisites were present, viz.:
This Court is convinced that the accused acted in self-defense. There was unlawful aggression. The
witnesses have uniformly testified that a fight ensued between the deceased Frederick Pacasum and
Ramil Maquiling in the course of which Frederick boxed Ramil causing him to fall on the floor. When the
accused-appellant tried to pacify and stop Frederick from inflicting further harm on his brother, he was
boxed on the right cheek by Frederick. And while he wanted to retaliate he could not do so because of
the superiority in number and in strength of Frederick and his companions who were not only more in
number but likewise taller and bigger. Hence accused had opted to leave the disco but was followed to
his car by Frederick with a shotgun [i]n hand. The deceased Frederick not only aimed the shotgun [at]
him but actually fired at the accused. And the accused shot at the deceased only after he was himself
injured by the deceased who fired a shotgun at him. He likewise shot at Olegario Jojo Villaremo to
disarm him as he likewise took possession of the shotgun.
There was reasonable necessity of the means used to prevent and[/]or repel the unlawful
aggression. The accused fired a warning shot to deter the deceased from attacking and even after he
was himself hit by the shotgun. He had fired first at the left thigh of the deceased as his intention was

merely to disarm Frederick[,] not to kill him. But when the appellant perceived that Frederick was still
aiming the shotgun [at] him, xxx he decided to fire the fatal shot.
There was likewise lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself. It was the
deceased Frederick with a shotgun [i]n hand [who] approached the accused who was then about to open
his Isuzu trooper. When [the] accused looked back, he saw Frederick coming with a shotgun. Accused
then opened his trooper and got his .45 caliber pistol. The deceased also disregarded the warning shots
fired by the accused and was the first to shoot at the accused. [31]
Contrary to the contention of the petitioner, the appellate court based its findings of self-defense on
the strength of private respondents evidence, not on the witness or inconsistencies of the prosecutions
own.
Regarding the physical evidence, the Court of Appeals found that the gunshot wound sustained by
the accused is the best evidence that there was an exchange of gunfire. Since the prosecution witnesses
were silent on how it occurred, Respondent Court was indeed left with only the defense version to
evaluate. Explaining the downward trajectory of the bullets that hit the victims thigh, private respondent
stated that he was able to shoot in a kneeling position by using his elbows and his left knee to prop
himself up. This fact, together with the various inconsistencies in the testimonies of the prosecution
witnesses, cast doubt on their credibility and led the appellate court to believe that Casan Maquiling did
act in self-defense; hence, his acquittal.
Second Issue:

Denial of Due Process

Petitioner also argues that the prosecution was denied due process when the Respondent Court
reviewed the trial court's assessment of the credibility of witnesses, despite its not having been raised as
an issue in the appeal brief.[32]
Such argument is untenable. Basic is the rule that an appeal in a criminal case throws the whole
case wide open for review; and that the appellate court can correct errors, though unassigned, that may
be found in the appealed judgment.[33] The appeals court may even reverse the trial court's decision on
the basis of grounds other than those that the parties raised as errors. [34] We, therefore, find no denial of
due process in Respondent Courts decision to review the entire case. Significantly, it did not entertain
new evidence. Moreover, petitioner was not deprived of any opportunity to rebut any evidence on record.
Epilogue

We commend the solicitor general for his vigilance in questioning the acquittal of private
respondent. We appreciate the tenacity of his arguments and his effort to protect the rights of the People
and the State. However, the present Constitution bars an appeal or a review of an acquittal based upon
mere errors of judgment of a lower court.
While certiorari may be used to correct an abusive acquittal, the petitioner in such extraordinary
proceeding must clearly demonstrate that the lower court blatantly abused its authority to a point so grave
as to deprive it of its very power to dispense justice. On the other hand, if the petition, regardless of its
nomenclature, merely calls for an ordinary review of the findings of the court a quo, the constitutional right
against double jeopardy would be violated. Such recourse is tantamount to converting the petition
forcertiorari into an appeal, contrary to the express injunction of the Constitution, the Rules of Court and
prevailing jurisprudence on double jeopardy.

In dismissing this petition for certiorari, this Court is not ruling on the guilt or the innocence of Private
Respondent Maquiling. Neither is it agreeing with the findings of the Court of Appeals that the accused is
innocent. Such conclusions are rendered only in an appeal properly brought before this Court. But as
already stated, an appeal or a petition for review of a judgment of acquittal is barred by the rule on double
jeopardy.
In short, by rejecting this petition, the Court is merely ruling that the petitioner failed to show (1) that
the Court of Appeals has committed grave abuse of discretion to such extent as to deprive it of the power
to decide the case, or (2) that it denied due process of law to the People of the Philippines to such extent
as to annulled the assailed judgment.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED for its failure to clearly show grave abuse of
discretion on the part of the Court of Appeals. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
MIGUEL ARGEL, complainant, vs. JUDGE HERMINIA M. PASCUA, RTC-Br. 25, Vigan, Ilocos
Sur, respondent.
RESOLUTION
BELLOSILLO, J.:
A.M. No. RTJ-94-1131 (Miguel Argel v. Judge Herminia M. Pascua, RTC-Br. 25, Vigan Ilocos Sur). This is an administrative complaint for Gross Ignorance of the Law filed by Miguel Argel against Judge
Herminia M. Pascua, RTC-Br. 25, Vigan, Ilocos Sur.[1]
Complainant alleged in his complaint that respondent Judge rendered a Decision dated 19 August
1993[2] in Crim. Case No. 2999-V entitled People v. Miguel Argel convicting him of murder notwithstanding
the fact that he had already been previously acquitted by respondent in her Decision [3]dated 22 July
1993, promulgated on 13 August 1993. Complainant contends that respondent Judge is guilty of gross
ignorance of the law and of violating his constitutional right against double jeopardy.
In a letter-explanation dated 7 March 1994 respondent Judge alleged that she rendered the
judgment of acquittal dated 22 July 1993 because she erroneously thought that there was no witness who
positively identified the accused, herein complainant, as the perpetrator of the crime. Her mistake was
brought about by the fact that the testimony of the eyewitness was not attached to the records at the time
she wrote her decision. However, when she re-read her notes after her attention was called by the lawyer
of the private complainant that there was such an eyewitness, respondent confirmed that there was
indeed one in the person of Tito Retreta. Hence she "revised" her previous decision and rendered the
Decision dated 19 August 1993 finding the accused guilty of murder. Fully aware of her prior decision of
acquittal, respondent nevertheless ordered the police to bring complainant Argel to court not for the
purpose of having him incarcerated but only to inform him of her new decision so that he could be made
to answer for his civil liabilities arising from the crime. Before she could explain the matter to
complainant, the latter's brother already filed a petition for habeas corpus before the Court of Appeals.
[4]
According to respondent, she decided to await the hearing of the petition before setting complainant
free so that she could give him a copy of her new decision. [5]
In his Reply to the letter-explanation of respondent, complainant additionally charged respondent
with gross negligence for not exercising extreme caution in the preparation of her decision by making sure
that all the transcripts of stenographic notes were attached to the records before writing the decision. [6]

In a Memorandum dated 11 May 2001 the Office of the Court Administrator recommended that
respondent be fined P20,000.00 for gross ignorance of the law.
As stated earlier, complainant was accused of murder in Crim. Case No. 2999-V of the RTC of
Vigan, Ilocos Sur. On 13 August 1993 judgment was promulgated acquitting him on the ground that there
was no witness who positively identified him as the perpetrator of the crime. However after respondent's
attention was called by the private complainant's counsel to the fact that there was such a witness and
confirmed by respondent upon re-reading her notes, she issued an Order dated 16 August 1993 stating
her intention to"revise" the previous judgment of acquittal, branded the same as "uncalled for" and "not
final," and reset the case for another "rendering of the decision." [7] The reason given was that the
judgment of acquittal was rendered without all the facts and circumstances being brought to her attention.
Respondent Judge explained that the transcript of stenographic notes of the testimony of eyewitness
Tito Retreta was not attached to the records when she wrote her decision. Thus, in a Decision dated 19
August 1993, respondent Judge declared herein complainant Miguel Argel guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of murder on the basis of the eyewitness account of Tito Retreta, sentenced complainant Argel to
seventeen (17) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal to reclusion perpetua, and to
pay the heirs of the victim P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and P60,000.00 for actual damages.
Too elementary is the rule that a decision once final is no longer susceptible to amendment or
alteration except to correct errors which are clerical in nature, [8] to clarify any ambiguity caused by an
omission or mistake in the dispositive portion, [9] or to rectify a travesty of justice brought about by a moromoro or mock trial.[10] A final decision is the law of the case and is immutable and unalterable regardless
of any claim of error or incorrectness.[11]
In criminal cases, a judgment of acquittal is immediately final upon its promulgation. [12] It cannot be
recalled for correction or amendment[13] except in the cases already mentioned nor withdrawn by another
order reconsidering the dismissal of the case since the inherent power of a court to modify its order or
decision does not extend to a judgment of acquittal in a criminal case. [14]
Complainant herein was already acquitted of murder by respondent in a decision promulgated on 13
August 1993. Applying the aforestated rule, the decision became final and immutable on the same
day. As a member of the bench who is always admonished to be conversant with the latest legal and
judicial developments, more so of elementary rules, respondent should have known that she could no
longer "revise" her decision of acquittal without violating not only an elementary rule of procedure but also
the constitutional proscription against double jeopardy. When the law is so elementary, not to know it
constitutes gross ignorance of the law.[15]
The fact that respondent never had any intention of having complainant incarcerated on the basis of
the second decision but only to make him answer for the civil liabilities arising from the crime, as
respondent explained, cannot exculpate her from administrative liability. On the contrary, such thinking on
the part of respondent that she could still "revise" a promulgated decision of acquittal even for such a
purpose underscores, not mitigates, her gross ignorance.
We cannot write finis to this case without also commenting on respondent's negligence in the
preparation of her decision. Judges have always been reminded to take down their own notes of salient
portions of hearings and not to rely on the transcripts of stenographic notes. The pivotal testimony of Tito
Retreta would not have been overlooked and consequently disregarded had respondent prepared her
own notes and read them as she was supposed to.

WHEREFORE, for Gross Ignorance of the Law respondent Judge Herminia M. Pascua, RTC-Br. 25,
Vigan, Ilocos Sur, is FINED P20,000.00, the same to be deducted from her retirement benefits. Since
respondent has already compulsorily retired as of 18 September 1998, let her retirement benefits be
immediately released to her minus the amount of P20,000.00 herein imposed on her as fine.
SO ORDERED.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. NILO LEONES, accused-appellant.
DECISION
PUNO, J.:
While it is true that this Court is the court of last resort, there are allegations of error committed by a
lower court which we ought not to look into to uphold the right of the accused. Such is the case in an
appeal by the prosecution seeking to increase the penalty imposed upon the accused for this runs afoul of
the right of the accused against double jeopardy.
The accused Nilo Leones was charged and convicted by the trial court of three (3) counts of rape
and three (3) counts of acts of lasciviousness. The dispositive portion of the trial court decision rendered
on February 19, 1997 reads, viz:
WHEREFORE, this Court finds the accused NILO LEONES guilty as charged. He is hereby sentenced
to suffer the penalty of THREE (3) TWENTY (20) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of reclusion perpetua for the
three counts of rape, and THREE (3) indeterminate sentences of FIVE (5) YEARS minimum to SIX (6)
YEARS maximum for the three counts of acts of lasciviousness, which he shall serve
simultaneously. Further, he is hereby ordered to pay the victim the amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos
(P50,000.00) representing moral damages, and one-half of the costs. [1]
The accused did not appeal the above decision, but the prosecution filed a notice of appeal on
February 25, 1997.[2] The accused started to serve sentence on March 11, 1997. [3]
In its Appellant's Brief, the prosecution alleges that the penalties for the three counts of rape imposed
upon the accused are not in accord with R.A. No. 7659 [4] and should each be increased to death; while
the penalties meted out for the three counts of acts of lasciviousness are erroneous pursuant to R.A. No.
7610[5]and should each be increased to 12 years and 1 day of reclusion temporal minimum, as minimum,
to 17 years and 4 months of reclusion temporal medium, as maximum.[6]
Section 1, Rule 122 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides:
Section 1. Who may appeal.- Any party may appeal from a judgment or final order, unless the accused
will be placed in double jeopardy.
This Court has not just once ruled that where the accused after conviction by the trial court did not appeal
his conviction, an appeal by the government seeking to increase the penalty imposed by the trial court
places the accused in double jeopardy and should therefore be dismissed. [7] We held in Heirs of Tito
Rillorta v. Hon. Romeo N. Firme, et al.,[8] viz:
Section 2 of Rule 122 of the Rules of Court provides that 'the People of the Philippines cannot appeal if
the defendant would be placed thereby in double jeopardy.' This provision is based on the old case of

Kepner v. United States (11 Phil. 669; 195 U.S. 100), where the U.S. Supreme Court, reviewing a decision
of the Philippine Supreme Court in 1904, declared by a 5-4 vote that appeal of the prosecution from a
judgment of acquittal (or for the purpose of increasing the penalty imposed upon the convict) would
place him in double jeopardy. It has been consistently applied since then in this jurisdiction. [9]
Even assuming that the penalties imposed by the trial court were erroneous, these cannot be
corrected by this Court on appeal by the prosecution. As we held in the Heirs of Rillorta case, viz:
. . . whatever error may have been committed by the lower court was merely an error of judgment and
not of jurisdiction. It did not affect the intrinsic validity of the decision. This is the kind of error that can no
longer be rectified on appeal by the prosecution no matter how obvious the error may be. [10]
The prosecution-appellant cites the cases of People v. Olfindo, et al.,[11] People v. Godines, et al.,
and People v. Medina,[13] in support of its appeal. The Solicitor General points out that in these cases,
the Court consistently ruled that an appeal in a criminal proceeding opens the whole case for review,
including the review of the penalty. The prosecution, however, sorely misses an important point. It is true
that said cases enunciate the doctrine that an appeal in a criminal proceeding throws the whole case
open for review. However, in all these cases, it was the accused, not the prosecution, who brought
the case to this Court on appeal. In contradistinction with the present case, therefore, there was no
issue on double jeopardy in the said cases. These cases, therefore, do not lend support to the
prosecution's cause which must fall on the ground of double jeopardy.
[12]

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the appeal of the prosecution from the decision of the trial court is
dismissed. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 172989

June 19, 2007

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and MARGARITA C. SIA, respondents.
DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
This petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court assails the October 26, 2005 Decision 1 of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 28562 which affirmed with modification the Decision of the
Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 66, by deleting the penalty of imprisonment and imposing
instead a fine of P200,000.00 for each violation of Batas Pambansa (BP) Blg. 22, as well as the April 17,
2006 Resolution2 denying its motion for partial reconsideration.
Honig Sugar Trading Corporation (HSTC) is a domestic corporation engaged in the trading of raw and
refined sugar and its by-products. Fifty percent (50%) of its outstanding capital stock is owned by New
Frontier Holding Corp. (NFHC), also a domestic corporation wholly owned by respondent Margarita C.
Sias family. South Pacific Sugar Corporation (SPSC) is another domestic corporation wholly owned and
controlled by the Sia family. Respondent Margarita C. Sia was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of
HSTC and the President and a member of the board of directors of SPSC. HSTC and SPSC do business

with each other; SPSC refines the raw sugar of HSTC, sometimes buys them for resale, and sells HSTCs
refined sugar. Generally, their business transactions were carried on a credit basis.
In the course of their transactions, SPSC issued checks in favor of HSTC, with respondent Sia as
signatory. Among the checks issued by respondent were: HRR0005306773 for P42,625,000;
HRR0005306682 forP15,840,000; HRR0005306774 for P91,776,970 and HRR0005306775
for P9,180,000, in the total amount ofP159,421,970.00.
On January 13, 1999, Sia wrote a letter to Mr. Robert Dean of HSTC requesting not to deposit the checks
pending the accounting of SPSCs total obligation, and another letter to United Coconut Planters Bank
(UCPB) asking for a "Stop Payment Order" (SPO) for the same reason. 3
On February 10, 1999, SPSC and HSTC executed a Loan Agreement 4 whereby the latter extended a loan
to SPSC amounting to P579,835,538.63, inclusive of all its outstanding obligations, subject to the
completion of the accounting on March 15, 1999.5
HSTC deposited the subject checks in its Far East Bank and Trust Company account in Makati City but
were dishonored for having been the subject of a SPO and for having been "Drawn Against Insufficient
Funds" (DAIF).6In four separate letters dated May 26, 1999,7 Mr. Raul V. Gamban, President of HSTC,
informed respondent of the dishonor and demanded payment thereof. In reply, respondent demanded the
withdrawal of the demand letter as HSTCs Board of Directors did not authorize any officer to make such
a demand and that the Loan Agreement effectively superseded or cancelled the issued checks. 8
On February 23, 2000, Mr. Vicente S. Cenzon, a member of the Board of Directors of HSTC, filed four
separate complaint-affidavits9 against respondent Sia for violation of BP Blg. 22 and estafa, which led to
the filing of four separate Informations before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 62. The
cases were consolidated and docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 293441-44. 10
After joint trial, the trial court rendered a Decision finding respondent guilty of four counts of violation
of BP Blg. 22, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered finding the accused Margarita C. Sia guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of four (4) counts of violation of B.P. 22 and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of Six (6) months
imprisonment for each count and to indemnify the private complainant the amount of Forty Two Million Six
Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Pesos (P42,625,000.00) in Crim. Case No. 293441; the amount of
Fifteen Million Eight Hundred Forty Thousand (P15,840,000.00) Pesos for Crim. Case No. 293442; the
amount of Ninety One Million Seven Hundred Seventy Six Thousand and Nine Hundred Seventy
(P91,776,970.00) Pesos for Crim. Case No. 293443 and the amount of Nine Million One Hundred Eighty
Thousand (P9,180,000.00) for Crim. Case No. 293444 as civil indemnity with interest at the rate of twelve
(12%) percent per annum from the filing of the Information until fully paid, plus attorneys fees of Thirty
Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00) and costs.
SO ORDERED.11
Respondent appealed before the Regional Trial Court which affirmed the joint decision of the lower
court.12 She then filed a petition for review with the Court of Appeals which affirmed her conviction but
modified the decision by deleting the penalty of imprisonment and imposing instead a fine of P200,000.00
for each case, thus:
WHEREFORE, the petition for review is partially GRANTED. The assailed decision of RTC Br. 66 Makati
City affirming the joint decision of the MTC Br. 62 of Makati City is hereby AFFIRMED with

MODIFICATION that the imposition of the penalty of 6 months imprisonment for each case on petitioner
be deleted and adjudging her instead to pay a fine of P200,000.00 for each of the cases, in addition to the
civil liability for the value of the checks in question. In case petitioner is unable to pay such fine, the rule
on subsidiary penalty under Article 39 of the Revised Penal Code shall be applied.
SO ORDERED.13
Both parties filed motions for reconsideration with the Court of Appeals which were both denied. 14
On June 26, 2006, petitioner People of the Philippines, thru the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), filed
a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court alleging that:
I
RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DICRETION WHEN IT DOWNGRADED THE PENALTY
IMPOSED ON RESPONDENT SIA FROM IMPRISONMENT TO FINE DESPITE HER CHARACTER AS A
WHITE-COLLARED OFFENDER AND ECONOMIC SABOTEUR.
II
RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT CREDITED RESPONDENT
SIA WITH GOOD FAITH BASED ON SUPPOSED DOCUMENTS THAT SHE HERSELF DID NOT
IDENTIFY ON THE WITNESS STAND NOR SUBJECTED TO THE PEOPLES SCRUTINY AND
EXAMINATION.
III
RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT RULED THAT RESPONDENT
SIA IS NOW SHIELDED AGAINST DOUBLE JEOPARDY.15
At the outset, it must be stated that the petition suffers from a fatal infirmity. Petitioners remedy from the
adverse decision of the Court of Appeals would have been to file a petition for review on certiorari under
Rule 45 within 15 days after notice of denial of its motion for partial reconsideration. This is the proper
remedy of a party aggrieved by a decision of the Court of Appeals. However, instead of a petition for
review under Rule 45, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 alleging grave abuse of
discretion on the part of the Court of Appeals when it substituted the penalty of imprisonment with a fine
of P200,000,00 for each case.
A petition under Rule 65 is an independent action that cannot be availed of as a substitute for the lost
remedy of an ordinary appeal, including that under Rule 45, especially if such loss or lapse was
occasioned by ones own neglect or error in the choice of remedies. And under Section 5(f) of Rule 56 of
the Rules of Court, an error in the choice or mode of appeal, as in this case, merits an outright
dismissal.16
Furthermore, the instant petition lacks merit. It seeks to impose a harsher penalty upon respondent in
clear violation of Section 2 of Rule 122. Indeed, both the accused and the prosecution may appeal a
criminal case, but the government may do so only if the accused would not be placed in double jeopardy.
Moreover, the prosecution cannot appeal on the ground that the accused should have been given a more
severe penalty.17

In People v. Leones,18 we held that while "it is true that this Court is the Court of last resort, there are
allegations of error committed by a lower court which we ought not to look into to uphold the right of the
accused. Such is the case in an appeal by the prosecution seeking to increase the penalty imposed upon
the accused for this runs afoul of the right of the accused against double jeopardy." 19 Further, it added:
This Court has not just once ruled that where the accused after conviction by the trial court did not appeal
his conviction, an appeal by the government seeking to increase the penalty imposed by the trial court
places the accused in double jeopardy and should therefore be dismissed. x x x
xxxx
Even assuming that the penalties imposed by the trial court were erroneous, these cannot be corrected
by the Court on appeal by the prosecution. x x x.20
The only instance when double jeopardy will not attach, or the penalty may be increased is through a
petition forcertiorari on the ground of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
of the Court of Appeals. Petitioner availed of this remedy, however, it failed to demonstrate grave abuse of
discretion on the part of the Court of Appeals.
In praying to reinstate the penalty of imprisonment, petitioner is asking this Court to re-evaluate the
evidence relied upon by the Court of Appeals vis-avis the philosophy enunciated in Vaca v. Court of
Appeals and Lim v. People in fixing the penalty, that is, the redeeming valuable human material and
preventing unnecessary deprivation of personal liberty and economic usefulness with due regard to the
protection of the social order.21This cannot be done via petition for certiorari or appeal.
There is no merit in petitioners argument that respondent deserves the penalty of imprisonment
considering that she is a white-collared offender who introduced into circulation several bum checks and
that several cases forestafa are pending before the trial courts. As aptly held by the Court of Appeals:
There is nothing in the case at bench which warrants non-application of the policy enunciated in the Vaca
and Rosa Lim cases. The interests of justice would be better served if fine rather than imprisonment is
imposed on petitioner who did not personally benefit from the transaction. A fortiori, a fine in the maximum
amount ofP200,000.00 for each case in lieu of imprisonment would be more appropriate penalty for her,
aside from being held civilly liable for the value of the checks.
As it is, petitioner has not yet been convicted of any criminal offense by final judgment. While it may be
true that she has a string of cases, nonetheless no final judgment has as yet been rendered in any of
those cases. Hence, she is still entitled to the presumption of innocence. Absent any showing of bad faith
on the part of petitioner, deletion of the penalty of imprisonment is proper. Should petitioner, however, be
unable to pay the fine, the provision of the Revised Penal Code on subsidiary imprisonment shall apply.22
Consequently, the decision of the Court of Appeals is now final and executory and can no longer be
reviewed, nor be modified by imposing harsher penalties as this would place respondent in double
jeopardy.
Besides, even assuming that the Court of Appeals misappreciated the evidence and erroneously
substituted the penalty of imprisonment with a fine, these cannot be corrected on an appeal by the
prosecution. Given the far-reaching scope of private respondents right against double jeopardy, an
appeal based on an alleged misappreciation of evidence will not lie. 23 Whatever error may have been
committed by the Court of Appeals was merely an error of judgment and not of jurisdiction. It did not affect
the intrinsic validity of the decision. For, as long as it acted within its jurisdiction, any alleged error

committed in the exercise thereof will amount to nothing more than an error of judgment reviewable and
may be corrected by a timely appeal.24
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition for certiorari is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
VICENTE PALU-AY, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, HON. EDGAR D. GUSTILO, PEOPLE OF
THE PHILIPPINES and DOMINGO PULMONES,respondents.
DECISION
MENDOZA, J.:
Petitioner seeks a review of the decision [1] of the Court of Appeals dismissing a petition for annulment
of the judgment in Criminal Case No. 20974 which he had filed in the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo,
Branch 28. Petitioner contends that the trial court decided the case outside the issues made out by the
pleadings and, therefore, acted without due process. Consequently, the Court of Appeals should have
annulled the trial courts decision.
It appears that at about 5:30 p.m. in the afternoon of March 30, 1986, petitioner Vicente Palu-ay and
private respondent Domingo Pulmones were having drinks with Edgar Soldevilla, Jonathan Fernandez,
Efren Lauron, Basilio Pulmones, and Tirzo Superio at the house of Nelson Irecillo when a gun (a .38
caliber Super) being held by Pulmones went off near the face of petitioner. As a result, petitioner
sustained serious injuries which could have been fatal had it not been for timely medical attention given to
him. As a result of the incident, petitioners face was paralyzed.
An information for frustrated homicide, later amended to frustrated murder, was filed with the
Regional Trial Court of Iloilo, Branch 28 against private respondent. Private respondent pleaded not
guilty, whereupon trial was held.
The prosecution presented evidence showing that while petitioner and private respondent were
having drinks with their group, Emeterio Dermil tried to join but was sent away by private respondent for
the reason that it was a family affair the group was having. Dermil resented what he had been told and
gave private respondent an angry look. For this reason, Pulmones stood up to confront Dermil, but the
latter ran away. Pulmones tried to run after him but was unable to catch him. Pulmones returned to the
group about five minutes later holding a gun and shot petitioner with it. Petitioner asked Pulmones why
he shot him (petitioner) as Pulmones ran away.
The defense corroborated the version of the prosecution up to the point where Pulmones tried to run
after Dermil. However, it is claimed by the defense that as Pulmones tried to rejoin the group, he saw a
gun tucked at the back of Efren Lauron. He took it with the intention of entrusting it to petitioner. As he
was showing the gun which he had placed on his palm to petitioner, however, the latter turned to look at
him, whereupon petitioners face touched the gun and it went off. The defense, therefore, claimed that the
shooting of petitioner was merely accidental for which reason private respondent incurred no criminal
liability.
On March 27, 1991, the trial court rendered a decision finding private respondent Domingo
Pulmones guilty of serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence; sentencing him to suffer
imprisonment ranging from 6 months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to 4 years and 2 months of prision

correccional, as maximum; and ordering him to indemnify petitioner in the amount of P264,424.040 as
actual damages, P50,000.00 as moral damages for the permanent disability of petitioner, P20,000.00 as
exemplary damages, and P10,000.00 as attorneys fees, and to pay the costs.
The trial court found that Pulmones had no motive to do petitioner harm, let alone kill him, noting that
petitioner and private respondent were close friends and relatives and had no quarrel . . . prior to the
incident in question. They were with the same group drinking on the occasion of the barangay
fiesta. The trial court held that, in all probability, Pulmones finger was resting on the trigger when he
showed the gun to petitioner, so that when petitioner turned to look at him, his cheek touched the gun and
Pulmones accidentally pressed the trigger.
Pulmones did not appeal his conviction and the decision became final and executory. On April 18,
1991, he filed an application for probation which the trial court granted on May 24, 1991.
On April 29, 1993, petitioner filed this case for annulment of judgment with the Court of Appeals. The
case was, however, dismissed. In its decision rendered on December 9, 1993, the Court of Appeals held
that petitioner could not validly file a petition for annulment of judgment without the approval of the
Solicitor General; that the petition was an attempt to secure review of a final and executory decision of the
trial court; and, that a review of the case would expose the accused to double jeopardy.
Hence, this petition. Two issues are raised: (1) whether or not the petitioner has personality to file a
petition for annulment of judgment and, (2) if so, whether the judgment should be annulled.
First. Petitioner contends that the appellate court erred in ruling that a private complainant cannot
file a petition for annulment of judgment without the Solicitor Generals approval except only as to the civil
aspect of the case. He invokes the ruling in People v. Santiago[2] in which this Court sustained the right of
the private complainant in a criminal case to file a petition forcertiorari to set aside the judgment rendered
in the criminal case on the ground that the prosecution had been deprived of due process. This Court
made it clear, however, that such action may be brought by the private complainant only insofar as the
civil aspect of the case is concerned:
It is well-settled that in criminal cases where the offended party is the State, the interest of the private
complainant or the private offended party is limited to the civil liability. Thus, in the prosecution of the
offense, the complainants role is limited to that of a witness for the prosecution. If a criminal case is
dismissed by the trial court or if there is an acquittal, an appeal therefrom on the criminal aspect may be
undertaken only by the State through the Solicitor General. Only the Solicitor General may represent the
People of the Philippines on appeal. The private offended party or complainant may not take such
appeal. However, the said offended party or complainant may appeal the civil aspect despite the acquittal
of the accused.
. . . The complainant has an interest in the civil aspect of the case so he may file such special civil action
questioning the decision or action of the respondent court on jurisdictional grounds. In so doing,
complainant should not bring the action in the name of the People of the Philippines. The action may be
prosecuted in the name of said complainant.[3]
In this case, petitioners action does not concern the civil aspect of the case but the validity of the
judgment itself. Indeed, petitioner does not actually question the award of damages. What he contends
is that the trial court decided the case outside the issues made out by the pleadings and thereby deprived
the prosecution of due process. The Solicitor General, in representation of the State, disagrees. He
claims that all the requisites or conditions of due process are present in this case. [4]

The very case of People v. Santiago cited by petitioner in support of his claim of standing refutes
such claim.
Second. This case seeks the annulment of a final judgment rendered in a criminal case. The
governing rule is stated, thus:
Under the present procedure, aside from the reliefs provided in these two sections (Secs. 1 & 2, Rule
38), there is no other means whereby the defeated party may procure final and executory judgment
to be set aside with a view to the renewal of the litigation, unless (a) the judgment is void for want of
jurisdiction or for lack of due process of law, or (b) it has been obtained by fraud. (1 Morans Rules
of Court 1950 Ed., p. 697, citing Anuran v. Aquino, 38 Phil. 29; Banco Espaol-Filipino v. Palanca, 37
Phil. 921). Reason of public policy which favors the stability of judicial decisions are mute in the
presence of fraud which the law abhors (Garchitorena v. Sotelo, 74 Phil. 25). [5]
In the case at bar, it is contended that the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo in Criminal Case
No. 20974 should be annulled because it is based on an issue not made out during the trial. Petitioner
states:
So, the factual issue presented by the evidence is whether Pulmones fired the gun deliberately and
treacherously at Palu-ay as claimed by the prosecution, or he showed the gun to Palu-ay on his open
palm but it exploded hitting the latter as claimed by the defense. Therefore, when respondent Court
found that the gun fired because Pulmones recklessly showed it to Palu-ay with his finger on the trigger, it
went outside the factual issues raised by the parties, hence, it acted on an issue where the parties were
not heard, hence, respondent court acted without due process of law or without jurisdiction. [6]
The question before the trial court was whether the shooting was deliberate or intentional, as the
prosecution claimed it was, or accidental, as the defense contended it was. Private respondent (accused
in the criminal case) claimed he was holding the gun on the palm of his hand, showing it to petitioner,
when it accidentally fired because petitioners face hit it.
The trial court could not believe the prosecutions claim that the shooting was deliberate or
intentional because of the lack of motive for Pulmones to kill petitioner who is his friend and relative. The
two did not have any altercation or quarrel before the incident. Neither could the court fully believe the
defense version that the gun could just explode or go off on its own. It thought that when Pulmones was
showing the gun to petitioner, he somehow put his finger on the trigger so that when petitioner hit or
touched the gun, private respondent accidentally pressed the trigger. The trial court said:
The Court could not believe the statement of Domingo Pulmones that he was holding the gun with an
open palm when he showed it to Vicente Palu-ay, because it would be impossible to hold a gun with an
open palm. The Court is more inclined to believe that he was holding the gun with his finger on the
trigger, when he showed it to Vicente Palu-ay, even if he did not intend to shoot the latter. Domingo
Pulmones failed to take the precautionary measure as is called upon from a person of sufficient
discretion, of a pointing the barrel of the gun upwards, or away from Vicente Palu-ay, when he showed it
to the latter. This Court has observed the person of Domingo Pulmones, during his testimony, he
appeared to be intelligent, and in fact, he stated that he was an employee of an electric cooperative
before the incident in question happened. He was expected to have exercised the necessary care and
diligence in the handling of a firearm. In other words, Domingo Pulmones was recklessly imprudent in
handling the super .38 caliber pistol which he retrieved from the back waist of Efren Lauron. [7]
Thus, the trial court gave its opinion as to what it believed had transpired.

Within the issues made out by the parties, a court can find what it thinks happened. A judge is free
to decide on the basis of probability. He can make his assessment of the truthfulness of the testimonies
aided by his own knowledge and experience.
A decision is void for lack of due process if, as a result, a party is deprived of the opportunity of being
heard as when on the basis of what is presented during a pre-trial alone the court foregoes the holding of
a trial and proceeds to render a decision, [8] or when after denying the defense motion to dismiss the
criminal prosecution the trial court denies the defense motion to present evidence. [9] Indeed, extrinsic
fraud is a ground for the annulment of a judgment because it prevents a party from having a trial or a real
contest, or from presenting all of his case to the court. [10] In the case at bar, a hearing was held during
which the prosecution and the defense were heard on their evidence. Thereafter, judgment was rendered
on the basis of the evidence thus presented. Consequently, any error made by the trial court in the
appreciation of the evidence was only an error of judgment but not of jurisdiction so as to render the
judgment void.
Indeed, the question raised by the petition for annulment of judgment is a factual question that
cannot be reviewed not only because the decision of the trial court is now final but also because a review
of such question at the instance of the prosecution would violate the right of the accused against being
placed in double jeopardy of punishment for the same act.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 176389

January 18, 2011

ANTONIO LEJANO, Petitioner,


vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
G.R. No. 176864
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee,
vs.
HUBERT JEFFREY P. WEBB, ANTONIO LEJANO, MICHAEL A. GATCHALIAN, HOSPICIO
FERNANDEZ, MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ, PETER ESTRADA and GERARDO BIONG, Appellants.
RESOLUTION
ABAD, J.:
On December 14, 2010 the Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals (CA) and acquitted the
accused in this case, Hubert Jeffrey P. Webb, Antonio Lejano, Michael A. Gatchalian, Hospicio
Fernandez, Miguel Rodriguez, Peter Estrada, and Gerardo Biong of the charges against them on the
ground of lack of proof of their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
On December 28, 2010 complainant Lauro G. Vizconde, an immediate relative of the victims, asked the
Court to reconsider its decision, claiming that it "denied the prosecution due process of law; seriously

misappreciated the facts; unreasonably regarded Alfaro as lacking credibility; issued a tainted and
erroneous decision; decided the case in a manner that resulted in the miscarriage of justice; or committed
grave abuse in its treatment of the evidence and prosecution witnesses." 1
But, as a rule, a judgment of acquittal cannot be reconsidered because it places the accused under
double jeopardy. The Constitution provides in Section 21, Article III, that:
Section 21. No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. x x x
To reconsider a judgment of acquittal places the accused twice in jeopardy of being punished for the
crime of which he has already been absolved. There is reason for this provision of the Constitution. In
criminal cases, the full power of the State is ranged against the accused. If there is no limit to attempts to
prosecute the accused for the same offense after he has been acquitted, the infinite power and capacity
of the State for a sustained and repeated litigation would eventually overwhelm the accused in terms of
resources, stamina, and the will to fight.
As the Court said in People of the Philippines v. Sandiganbayan: 2
[A]t the heart of this policy is the concern that permitting the sovereign freely to subject the citizen to a
second judgment for the same offense would arm the government with a potent instrument of oppression.
The provision therefore guarantees that the State shall not be permitted to make repeated attempts to
convict an individual for an alleged offense, thereby subjecting him to embarrassment, expense, and
ordeal and compelling him to live in a continuing state of anxiety and insecurity, as well as enhancing the
possibility that even though innocent he may be found guilty. Societys awareness of the heavy personal
strain which a criminal trial represents for the individual defendant is manifested in the willingness to limit
the government to a single criminal proceeding to vindicate its very vital interest in the enforcement of
criminal laws.3
Of course, on occasions, a motion for reconsideration after an acquittal is possible. But the grounds are
exceptional and narrow as when the court that absolved the accused gravely abused its discretion,
resulting in loss of jurisdiction, or when a mistrial has occurred. In any of such cases, the State may assail
the decision by special civil action of certiorari under Rule 65. 4
Here, although complainant Vizconde invoked the exceptions, he has been unable to bring his pleas for
reconsideration under such exceptions. For instance, he avers that the Court "must ensure that due
process is afforded to all parties and there is no grave abuse of discretion in the treatment of witnesses
and the evidence."5But he has not specified the violations of due process or acts constituting grave abuse
of discretion that the Court supposedly committed. His claim that "the highly questionable and suspicious
evidence for the defense taints with serious doubts the validity of the decision" 6 is, without more, a mere
conclusion drawn from personal perception.
Complainant Vizconde cites the decision in Galman v. Sandiganbayan 7 as authority that the Court can set
aside the acquittal of the accused in the present case. But the government proved in Galman that the
prosecution was deprived of due process since the judgment of acquittal in that case was "dictated,
coerced and scripted."8 It was a sham trial. Here, however, Vizconde does not allege that the Court held a
sham review of the decision of the CA. He has made out no case that the Court held a phony deliberation
in this case such that the seven Justices who voted to acquit the accused, the four who dissented, and
the four who inhibited themselves did not really go through the process.
Ultimately, what the complainant actually questions is the Courts appreciation of the evidence and
assessment of the prosecution witnesses credibility. He ascribes grave error on the Courts finding that

Alfaro was not a credible witness and assails the value assigned by the Court to the evidence of the
defense. In other words, private complainant wants the Court to review the evidence anew and render
another judgment based on such a re-evaluation. This is not constitutionally allowed as it is merely a
repeated attempt to secure Webb, et als conviction. The judgment acquitting Webb, et al is final and can
no longer be disturbed.
WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES for lack of merit complainant Lauro G. Vizcondes motion for
reconsideration dated December 28, 2010.
For essentially the same reason, the Court DENIES the motions for leave to intervene of Fr. Robert P.
Reyes, Sister Mary John R. Mananzan, Bishop Evangelio L. Mercado, and Dante L.A. Jimenez,
representing the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption and of former Vice President Teofisto
Guingona, Jr.
No further pleadings shall be entertained in this case.
SO ORDERED.