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People v. damaso, 212 SCRA 457 appellant interposed his objections to the admissibility of C.

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN


the prosecution's evidence on grounds of its being hearsay, CONSIDERING AS EVIDENCE THE
immaterial or irrelevant and illegal for lack of a search FIREARMS DOCUMENTS AND ITEMS
G.R. No. 93516 August 12, 1992 warrant. On these bases, he, thereafter, manifested that LISTED IN EXHIBIT E AFTER THEY WERE
he was not presenting any evidence for the accused (TSN, DECLARED INADMISSIBLE WITH FINALITY
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILLIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, December 28, 1989, p. 139). On January 17, 1990, the trial BY ANOTHER BRANCH OF THE SAME
vs. court rendered decision, the dispositive portion of which COURT AND THE SAID EVIDENCE ARE
BASILIO DAMASO @ Bernardo/BERNIE MENDOZA @ KA states: THE FRUITS OF AN ILLEGAL SEARCH.
DADO, accused-appellant.
WHEREFORE, the Court finds accused D. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. Basilio Damaso alias Bernardo/Bernie THE MOTIONS TO QUASH FILED BY
Mendoza alias Ka Dado guilty beyond ACCUSED-APPELLANT BECAUSE THE
reasonable doubt of Violation of SEPARATE CHARGE FOR SUBVERSION
Presidential Decree Number 1866, and AGAINST HIM ABSORBED THE CHARGE
considering that the Violation is in FOR ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS
MEDIALDEA, J.: furtherance of, or incident to, or in IN FURTHERANCE OF OR INCIDENT TO,
connection with the crime of OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE CRIME OF
subversion, pursuant to Section 1, SUBVERSION. (pp. 55-66, Rollo)
The accused-appellant, Basilio Damaso, was originally Paragraph 3 of Presidential Decree
charged in an information filed before the Regional Trial Number 1866 hereby sentences the
Court of Dagupan City with violation of Presidential Decree The antecedent facts are set forth by the Solicitor General
accused to suffer the penalty
No. 1866 in furtherance of, or incident to, or in connection in his Brief, as follows:
of Reclusion Perpetua and to pay the
with the crime of subversion, together with Luzviminda costs of the proceedings.
Morados y Galang @ Ka Mel, Teresita Calosa y Macabangon On June 18, 1988, Lt. Candido
@ Ka Tessie, Ricardo Calosa y Perez @ Ka Ric, Marites Quijardo, a Philippine Constabulary
Calosa y Evangelista @ Ka Tess, Eric Tanciangco y Capira @ The M14 Rifle bearing Serial Number
officer connected with the 152nd PC
Ka Ric and Luz Tanciangco y Pencial @ Ka Luz (Records, p. 1249935 and live ammunition and all
Company at Lingayen, Pangasinan, and
3). Such information was later amended to exclude all the the articles and/or items seized on
some companions were sent to verify
above-enumerated persons except the accused-appellant June 19, 1988 in connection with this
the presence of CPP/NPA members in
from the criminal charge. The amended information reads: case and marked and submitted in
Barangay Catacdang, Arellano-Bani,
court as evidence are ordered
Dagupan City. In said place, the group
confiscated and forfeited in favor of
That an or about the 19th day of June, apprehended Gregorio Flameniano,
the government, the same to be turned
1988, in the City of Dagupan, Berlina Aritumba, Revelina Gamboa and
over to the Philippine Constabulary
Philippines, and within the territorial Deogracias Mayaoa. When interrogated,
Command at Lingayen, Pangasinan.
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the persons apprehended revealed that
the above-named accused, Basilio there was an underground safehouse at
DAMASO @ Bernardo/Bernie Mendoza @ SO ORDERED. (Rollo, p. 31) Gracia Village in Urdaneta, Pangasinan.
KA DADO, did then and there, willfully, After coordinating with the Station
unlawfully and criminally, have in his Commander of Urdaneta, the group
Thus, this present recourse with the following assignment
possession, custody and control one (1) proceeded to the house in Gracia
of errors:
M14 Rifle bearing Serial No. 1249935 Village. They found subversive
with magazine and Fifty-Seven (57) live documents, a radio, a 1 x 7 caliber .45
ammunition, in furtherance of, or A. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING firearm and other items (pp. 4, 6-7,
incident to, or in connection with the ACCUSED APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND tsn, October 23, 1989).
crime of subversion, filed against said REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME OF
accused in the above-entitled case for ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS AND
After the raid, the group proceeded to
Violation of Republic Act 1700, as AMMUNITIONS IN FURTHERANCE OF, OR
Bonuan, Dagupan City, and put under
amended by Executive Order No. 276. INCIDENT TO, OR IN CONNECTION WITH
surveillance the rented apartment of
THE CRIME OF SUBVERSION DESPITE
Rosemarie Aritumba, sister of Berlina
THE WOEFULLY INADEQUATE EVIDENCE
Contrary to Third Paragraph of Sec. 1, Aritumba whom they earlier arrested.
PRESENTED BY THE PROSECUTION.
P.D. 1866. (Records, p. 20) They interviewed Luzviminda Morados,
a visitor of Rosemarie Aritumba. She
B. THE COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING stated that she worked with Bernie
Upon arraignment, the accused-appellant pleaded not THE ACCUSED WHEN THE QUALIFYING Mendoza, herein appellant. She guided
guilty to the crime charged (Records, p. 37). Trial on the CIRCUMSTANCES OF SUBVERSION WAS the group to the house rented by
merits ensued. The prosecution rested its case and offered NOT PROVEN BY THE PROSECUTION. appellant. When they reached the
its exhibits for admission. The counsel for accused- house, the group found that it had
already been vacated by the occupants. The records of this case show that the accused-appellant Q That underground house, do you know who was the
Since Morados was hesitant to give the was singled out as the sole violator of P.D. No. 1866, in principal occupant of that house?
new address of Bernie Mendoza, the furtherance of, or incident to, or in connection with the
group looked for the Barangay Captain crime of subversion. Yet, there is no substantial and
xxx xxx xxx
of the place and requested him to point credible evidence to establish the fact that the appellant is
out the new house rented by appellant. allegedly the same person as the lessee of the house where
The group again required Morados to go the M-14 rifle and other subversive items were found or the A During our conversation with the occupants, they
with them. When they reached the owner of the said items. The prosecution presented two revealed that a certain Ka Bernie is the one occupying the
house, the group saw Luz Tanciangco witnesses who attested to this fact, thus: house, Bernie Mendoza alias Basilio Damaso.
outside. They told her that they
already knew that she was a member of
Lieutenant Candito Quijardo . . . (TSN, December 27, 1989, pp. 126-
the NPA in the area. At first, she
128)
denied it, but when she saw Morados
she requested the group to go inside Fiscal
the house. Upon entering the house, Clearly, the aforequoted testimonies are hearsay because
the group, as well as the Barangay the witnesses testified on matters not on their own
Q How about this Bernie Mendoza, who was the one renting
Captain, saw radio sets, pamphlets personal knowledge. The Solicitor General, however,
the house?
entitled "Ang Bayan," xerox copiers and argues that while the testimonies may be hearsay, the
a computer machine. They also found same are admissible because of the failure of counsel for
persons who were companions of Luz A He was not around at that time, but according to appellant to object thereto.
Tanciangco (namely, Teresita Calosa, Luz (Tanciangco) who mentioned the name Bernie Mendoza
Ricardo Calosa, Maries Calosa, Eric (as) the one who was renting the house and at the same
It is true that the lack of objection to a hearsay testimony
Tanciangco and Luzviminda Morados). time claiming that it was Bernie Mendoza who owns the
results in its being admitted as evidence. But, one should
The group requested the persons in the said items. (TSN of October 31, 1989, p. 40)
not be misled into thinking that since these testimonies are
house to allow them to look around.
admitted as evidence, they now have probative value.
When Luz Tanciangco opened one of
xxx xxx xxx Hearsay evidence, whether objected to or not, cannot be
the rooms, they saw books used for
given credence. In People vs. Valero, We emphatically
subversive orientation, one M-14 rifle,
declared that:
bullets and ammunitions, Kenwood Q I am showing you another picture which we request to be
radio, artificial beard, maps of the marked as Exhibit "K-2," tell us if it has any connection to
Philippines, Zambales, Mindoro an(d) the house? The failure of the defense counsel to
Laguna and other items. They object to the presentation of
confiscated the articles and brought incompetent evidence, like hearsay
A The same house, sir.
them to their headquarters for final evidence or evidence that violates the
inventory. They likewise brought the rule of res inter alios acta, or his
persons found in the house to the Q Now, this person who according to you allegedly failure to ask for the striking out of the
headquarters for investigation. Said occupied the house at Bonuan Gueset, by the name of same does not give such evidence any
persons revealed that appellant was Bernie Mendoza, in your capacity as a Military officer, did probative value. The lack of objection
the lessee of the house and owned the you find out the identity? may make any incompetent evidence
items confiscated therefrom (pp. 8-12, admissible. But admissibility of
tsn, ibid; pp. 2-4, 6, 8-10, 31, tsn, evidence should not be equated with
A I am not the proper (person) to tell the real identity of
October 31, 1989). (p. 5, Brief of weight of evidence. Hearsay evidence
Bernie de Guzman.
Plaintiff-Appellee, p. 91, Rollo) whether objected to or not has no
probative value.
Q Can you tell the Honorable Court the proper person who (L-45283-84, March 19, 1982, 112 SCRA
While We encourage and support law enforcement agencies
could tell the true identity of Bernie Mendoza? 675, emphasis supplied)
in their drive against lawless elements in our society, We
must, however, stress that the latter's efforts to this end
must be done within the parameters of the law. In the case A The Intelligence of the Pangasinan PC Command. It is unfortunate that the prosecution failed to
at bar, not only did We find that there are serious flaws in present as witnesses the persons who knew the
the method used by the law officers in obtaining evidence appellant as the lessee and owner of the M-14
against the accused-appellant but also that the evidence as Q Can you name these officers?
rifle. In this way, the appellant could have
presented against him is weak to justify conviction. exercised his constitutional right to confront the
A Captain Roberto Rosales and his assistant, First Lt. witnesses and to cross-examine them for their
Federico Castro. (ibid, pp. 54-55) truthfulness. Likewise, the records do not show
We reverse.
any other evidence which could have identified
the appellant as the lessee of the house and the
M/Sqt. Artemio Gomez
owner of the subversive items. To give probative
value to these hearsay statements and convict Without this evidence, the authorities' intrusion into the of which we believed to be used for subversive orientation
the appellant on this basis alone would be to appellant's dwelling cannot be given any color of legality. and the M-14 rifle.
render his constitutional rights useless and While the power to search and seize is necessary to the
without meaning. public welfare, still it must be exercised and the law
Q In what portion of the house did you find this M-14 rifle
enforced without transgressing the constitutional rights of
which you mentioned?
the citizens, for the enforcement of no statute is of
Even assuming for the sake of argument that the appellant
sufficient importance to justify indifference to the basic
is the lessee of the house, the case against him still will not
principles of government (Rodriguez v. Evangelista, 65 Phil. A In the same room of which the subversive documents
prosper, the reason being that the law enforcers failed to
230, 235). As a consequence, the search conducted by the were placed.
comply with the requirements of a valid search and seizure
authorities was illegal. It would have been different if the
proceedings.
situation here demanded urgency which could have
Q If this firearm would be shown to you would you be able
prompted the authorities to dispense with a search
to identify the same?
The right against unreasonable searches and seizures is warrant. But the record is silent on this point. The fact that
enshrined in the Constitution (Article III, Section 2). The they came to the house of the appellant at nighttime (Exh.
purpose of the law is to prevent violations of private J, p. 7, Records), does not grant them the license to go A Yes, sir.
security in person and property, and unlawful invasions of inside his house. In Alih v. Castro, We ruled that:
the sanctity of the home by officers of the law acting under
Q I am showing to you a rifle bearing a serial number
legislative or judicial sanction and to give remedy against
The respondents cannot even plead the 1249985 which for purposes of identification, may we
such usurpations when attempted (see Alvero v. Dizon, 76
urgency of the raid because it was in request your Honor, that this rifle be marked as Exhibit "D."
Phil. 637, 646). However, such right is not absolute. There
fact not urgent. They knew where the
are instances when a warrantless search and seizure
petitioners were. They had every
becomes valid, namely: (1) search incidental to an arrest; COURT:
opportunity to get a search warrant
(2) search of a moving vehicle; and (3) seizure of evidence
before making the raid. If they were
in plain view (Manipon, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan, L-58889, July
worried that the weapons inside the Mark it.
31, 1986, 143 SCRA 267, 276). None of these exceptions is
compound would be spirited away, they
present in this case.
could have surrounded the premises in
FISCAL:
the meantime, as a preventive
The Solicitor General argues otherwise. He claims that the measure. There was absolutely no
group of Lt. Quijardo entered the appellant's house upon reason at all why they should disregard Q Kindly examine the said firearm and tell the Honorable
invitation of Luz Tanciangco and Luzviminda Morados, the orderly processes required by the Court the relation of that firearm to the firearm which
helper of the appellant; that when Luz Tanciangco opened Constitution and instead insist on according to you you found inside the room allegedly
one of the rooms, they saw a copier machine, computer, M- arbitrarily forcing their way into the occupied by one Bernie Mendoza?
14 rifle, bullets and ammunitions, radio set and more petitioner's premises with all the
subversive items; that technically speaking, there was no menace of a military invasion. (G.R.
A This is the same rifle which was discovered during our
search as the group was voluntarily shown the articles used No. 69401, June 23, 1987, 151 SCRA
raid in the same house. (TSN, October 31, 1989, pp. 36-38,
in subversion; that besides, a search may be validly 279, 286)
emphasis supplied).
conducted without search warrant with the consent of the
person searched in this case, appellant's helper and Luz
Another factor which illustrates the weakness of the case
Tanciangco allowed them to enter and to look around the The Solicitor General contends that the
against the accused-appellant is in the identification of the
appellant's house; and that since the evidence seized was discrepancy is merely a typographical error.
gun which he was charged to have illegally possessed. In
in plain view of the authorities, the same may be seized
the amended information (supra, pp. 1-2), the gun was
without a warrant.
described as an M-14 rifle with serial no. 1249935. Yet, the We do not think so. This glaring error goes into the
gun presented at the trial bore a different serial number substance of the charge. Its correction or lack of it could
We are not persuaded. The constitutional immunity from thus: spell the difference between freedom and incarceration of
unreasonable searches and seizures, being personal one, the accused-appellant.
cannot be waived by anyone except the person whose
FISCAL
rights are invaded or one who is expressly authorized to do
In crimes of illegal possession of firearm as in this case, the
so in his or her behalf (De Garcia v. Locsin, 65 Phil. 689,
695). In the case at bar, the records show that appellant Q Will you kindly restate again the items that you found prosecution has the burden to prove the existence of the
firearm and that the accused who possessed or owned the
was not in his house at that time Luz Tanciangco and Luz inside the house?
firearm does not have the corresponding license for it.
Morados, his alleged helper, allowed the authorities to
enter it (TSN, October 31, 1989, p. 10). We Find no Since the gun as identified at the trial differs from the gun
Lt. Quijardo: described in the amended information, the corpus
evidence that would establish the fact that Luz Morados
was indeed the appellant's helper or if it was true that she delicti (the substance of the crime, the fact that a crime
has actually been committed) has not been fully
was his helper, that the appellant had given her authority A When she opened the doors of the rooms that we
established. This circumstance coupled with dubious claims
to open his house in his absence. The prosecution likewise requested for, we immediately saw different kinds of books
failed to show if Luz Tanciangco has such an authority.
of appellant's connection to the house (where the gun was The first Whereas clause of R.A. 1700 inquire into . . . (G.R. Nos. 83837-42,
found) have totally emasculated the prosecution's case. states that the CPP is an organized April 22, 1992).
conspiracy to overthrow the
Government, not only by force and
But even as We find for the accused-appellant, We, take Nonetheless, the evidence in hand is too weak to convict
violence but also by deceit, subversion,
exception to the argument raised by the defense that the the accused-appellant of the charge of illegal possession of
and other illegal means. This is a
crime of subversion absorbs the crime of illegal possession firearm in furtherance of, or incident to or in connection
recognition that subversive acts do not
of firearm in furtherance of or incident to or in connection with the crime of subversion, We are therefore, left with
only constitute force and violence
with the crime of subversion. It appears that the accused- no option, but to acquit the accused on reasonable doubt.
(contrary to the arguments of private
appellant is facing a separate charge of subversion. The
respondents), but may partake of other
defense submits that the trial court should have
forms as well. One may in fact be guilty ACCORDINGLY, the decision appealed from is hereby
peremptorily dismissed this case in view of the subversion
of subversion by authoring subversive REVERSED and the appellant is ACQUITTED with costs de
charge. In People of the Philippines v. Asuncion, et al., We
materials, where force and violence is oficio.
set forth in no uncertain terms the futility of such
neither necessary or indispensable.
argument. We quote:
SO ORDERED.
Private respondents contended that the
If We are to espouse the theory of the
Court in Misolas v. Panga impliedly
respondents that force and violence are Grio-Aquino and Bellosillo, JJ., concur.
ruled that if an accused is
the very essence of subversion, then it
simultaneously charged with violation
loses its distinction from rebellion.
of P.D. 1866 and subversion, the Separate Opinions
In People v. Liwanag (G.R. No. 27683,
doctrine of absorption of common
1976, 73 SCRA 473, 480 [1976]), the
crimes as applied in rebellion would
Court categorically distinguished CRUZ, J., concurring:
have found application therein. The
subversion from rebellion, and held:
respondents relied on the opinion of
this Court when it said: I concur, subject to my reservations in Baylosis v. Chavez,
Violation of Republic Act No. 1700, or subversion, as it is 202 SCRA 405.
more commonly called, is a crime distinct from that of
. . . in the present case, petitioner is being charged
actual rebellion. The crime of rebellion is committed
specifically for the qualified offense of illegal possession of Separate OpinionsCRUZ, J., concurring:
by rising publicly and taking up arms against the
firearms and ammunition under PD 1866. HE IS NOT BEING
Government for any of the purposes specified in Article 134
CHARGED WITH THE COMPLEX CRIME OF SUBVERSION WITH
of the Revised Penal Code; while the Anti-Subversion Act I concur, subject to my reservations in Baylosis v. Chavez,
ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS. NEITHER IS HE BEING
(Republic Act No. 1700) punishes affiliation or 202 SCRA 405.
SEPARATELY CHARGED FOR SUBVERSION AND FOR ILLEGAL
membership in a subversive organization as defined
POSSESSION OF FIREARMS. Thus, the rulings of the Court
therein. In rebellion, there must be a public uprising and
in Hernandez, Geronimo and Rodriguez find no application
taking of arms against the Government; whereas, in
in this case.
subversion, mere membership in a subversive association is
sufficient and the taking up of arms by a member of a
subversive organization against the Government is but a This is however a mere obiter. In the
circumstance which raises the penalty to be imposed upon above case, the Court upheld the
the offender. (Emphasis supplied) validity of the charge under the third
paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. 1866.
The Court opined that the dictum in
Furthermore, in the case of Buscayno v.
the Hernandez case is not applicable in
Military Commission (G.R. 58284, 109
that case, considering that the
289 (1981]), this Court said that
legislature deemed it fit to provide for
subversion, like treason, is a crime
two distinct offenses: (1) illegal
against national security, while
possession of firearms qualified by
rebellion is a crime against public
subversion (P.D. 1866) and (2)
order. Rising publicly and taking arms
subversion qualified by the taking up of
against the Government is the very
arms against the Government (R.A.
element of the crime on rebellion. On
1700). The practical result of this may
the other hand, R.A. 1700 was enacted
be harsh or it may pose grave difficulty
to outlaw the Communist Party of the
on an accused in instances similar to
Philippines (CPP) , other similar
those that obtain in the present case,
associations and its successors because
but the wisdom of the legislature in the
their existence and activities constitute
lawful exercise of its power to enact
a clear, present and grave danger to
laws is something that the Court cannot
national security.