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[G.R. No. 104768.

July 21, 2003]

Republic of the Philippines, petitioner, vs. Sandiganbayan, Major General Josephus Q. Ramas and Elizabeth Dimaano, respondents.

DECISION

CARPIO, J.:

The Case

Before this Court is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to set aside the Resolutions of the Sandiganbayan (First Division)[1] dated
18 November 1991 and 25 March 1992 in Civil Case No. 0037. The first Resolution dismissed petitioners Amended Complaint and
ordered the return of the confiscated items to respondent Elizabeth Dimaano, while the second Resolution denied petitioners Motion
for Reconsideration. Petitioner prays for the grant of the reliefs sought in its Amended Complaint, or in the alternative, for the remand
of this case to the Sandiganbayan (First Division) for further proceedings allowing petitioner to complete the presentation of its
evidence.

Antecedent Facts

Immediately upon her assumption to office following the successful EDSA Revolution, then President Corazon C. Aquino issued
Executive Order No. 1 (EO No. 1) creating the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG). EO No. 1 primarily tasked the
PCGG to recover all ill-gotten wealth of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close
associates. EO No. 1 vested the PCGG with the power (a) to conduct investigation as may be necessary in order to accomplish and carry
out the purposes of this order and the power (h) to promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purpose
of this order. Accordingly, the PCGG, through its then Chairman Jovito R. Salonga, created an AFP Anti-Graft Board (AFP Board)
tasked to investigate reports of unexplained wealth and corrupt practices by AFP personnel, whether in the active service or retired.[2]

Based on its mandate, the AFP Board investigated various reports of alleged unexplained wealth of respondent Major General Josephus
Q. Ramas (Ramas). On 27 July 1987, the AFP Board issued a Resolution on its findings and recommendation on the reported
unexplained wealth of Ramas. The relevant part of the Resolution reads:

III. FINDINGS and EVALUATION:

Evidence in the record showed that respondent is the owner of a house and lot located at 15-Yakan St., La Vista, Quezon City. He is also
the owner of a house and lot located in Cebu City. The lot has an area of 3,327 square meters.

The value of the property located in Quezon City may be estimated modestly at P700,000.00.

The equipment/items and communication facilities which were found in the premises of Elizabeth Dimaano and were confiscated by
elements of the PC Command of Batangas were all covered by invoice receipt in the name of CAPT. EFREN SALIDO, RSO Command
Coy, MSC, PA. These items could not have been in the possession of Elizabeth Dimaano if not given for her use by respondent
Commanding General of the Philippine Army.

Aside from the military equipment/items and communications equipment, the raiding team was also able to confiscate money in the
amount of P2,870,000.00 and $50,000 US Dollars in the house of Elizabeth Dimaano on 3 March 1986.

Affidavits of members of the Military Security Unit, Military Security Command, Philippine Army, stationed at Camp Eldridge, Los
Baos, Laguna, disclosed that Elizabeth Dimaano is the mistress of respondent. That respondent usually goes and stays and sleeps in the
alleged house of Elizabeth Dimaano in Barangay Tengga, Itaas, Batangas City and when he arrives, Elizabeth Dimaano embraces and
kisses respondent. That on February 25, 1986, a person who rode in a car went to the residence of Elizabeth Dimaano with four (4)
attache cases filled with money and owned by MGen Ramas.

Sworn statement in the record disclosed also that Elizabeth Dimaano had no visible means of income and is supported by respondent
for she was formerly a mere secretary.

Taking in toto the evidence, Elizabeth Dimaano could not have used the military equipment/items seized in her house on March 3, 1986
without the consent of respondent, he being the Commanding General of the Philippine Army. It is also impossible for Elizabeth
Dimaano to claim that she owns the P2,870,000.00 and $50,000 US Dollars for she had no visible source of income.

This money was never declared in the Statement of Assets and Liabilities of respondent. There was an intention to cover the existence of
these money because these are all ill-gotten and unexplained wealth. Were it not for the affidavits of the members of the Military
Security Unit assigned at Camp Eldridge, Los Baos, Laguna, the existence and ownership of these money would have never been known.

The Statement of Assets and Liabilities of respondent were also submitted for scrutiny and analysis by the Boards consultant. Although
the amount of P2,870,000.00 and $50,000 US Dollars were not included, still it was disclosed that respondent has an unexplained
wealth of P104,134. 60.

IV. CONCLUSION:

In view of the foregoing, the Board finds that a prima facie case exists against respondent for ill-gotten and unexplained wealth in the
amount of P2,974,134.00 and $50,000 US Dollars.

V. RECOMMENDATION:

Wherefore it is recommended that Maj. Gen. Josephus Q. Ramas (ret.) be prosecuted and tried for violation of RA 3019, as amended,
otherwise known as Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and RA 1379, as amended, otherwise known as The Act for the Forfeiture of
Unlawfully Acquired Property.[3]

Thus, on 1 August 1987, the PCGG filed a petition for forfeiture under Republic Act No. 1379 (RA No. 1379) [4] against Ramas.

Before Ramas could answer the petition, then Solicitor General Francisco I. Chavez filed an Amended Complaint naming the Republic
of the Philippines (petitioner), represented by the PCGG, as plaintiff and Ramas as defendant. The Amended Complaint also impleaded
Elizabeth Dimaano (Dimaano) as co-defendant.
The Amended Complaint alleged that Ramas was the Commanding General of the Philippine Army until 1986. On the other hand,
Dimaano was a confidential agent of the Military Security Unit, Philippine Army, assigned as a clerk-typist at the office of Ramas from 1
January 1978 to February 1979. The Amended Complaint further alleged that Ramas acquired funds, assets and properties manifestly
out of proportion to his salary as an army officer and his other income from legitimately acquired property by taking undue advantage
of his public office and/or using his power, authority and influence as such officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and as a
subordinate and close associate of the deposed President Ferdinand Marcos.[5]

The Amended Complaint also alleged that the AFP Board, after a previous inquiry, found reasonable ground to believe that respondents
have violated RA No. 1379.[6] The Amended Complaint prayed for, among others, the forfeiture of respondents properties, funds and
equipment in favor of the State.

Ramas filed an Answer with Special and/or Affirmative Defenses and Compulsory Counterclaim to the Amended Complaint. In his
Answer, Ramas contended that his property consisted only of a residential house at La Vista Subdivision, Quezon City, valued at
P700,000, which was not out of proportion to his salary and other legitimate income. He denied ownership of any mansion in Cebu City
and the cash, communications equipment and other items confiscated from the house of Dimaano.

Dimaano filed her own Answer to the Amended Complaint. Admitting her employment as a clerk-typist in the office of Ramas from
January-November 1978 only, Dimaano claimed ownership of the monies, communications equipment, jewelry and land titles taken
from her house by the Philippine Constabulary raiding team.

After termination of the pre-trial,[7] the court set the case for trial on the merits on 9-11 November 1988.

On 9 November 1988, petitioner asked for a deferment of the hearing due to its lack of preparation for trial and the absence of witnesses
and vital documents to support its case. The court reset the hearing to 17 and 18 April 1989.

On 13 April 1989, petitioner filed a motion for leave to amend the complaint in order to charge the delinquent properties with being
subject to forfeiture as having been unlawfully acquired by defendant Dimaano alone x x x.[8]

Nevertheless, in an order dated 17 April 1989, the Sandiganbayan proceeded with petitioners presentation of evidence on the ground
that the motion for leave to amend complaint did not state when petitioner would file the amended complaint. The Sandiganbayan
further stated that the subject matter of the amended complaint was on its face vague and not related to the existing complaint. The
Sandiganbayan also held that due to the time that the case had been pending in court, petitioner should proceed to present its evidence.

After presenting only three witnesses, petitioner asked for a postponement of the trial.

On 28 September 1989, during the continuation of the trial, petitioner manifested its inability to proceed to trial because of the absence
of other witnesses or lack of further evidence to present. Instead, petitioner reiterated its motion to amend the complaint to conform to
the evidence already presented or to change the averments to show that Dimaano alone unlawfully acquired the monies or properties
subject of the forfeiture.

The Sandiganbayan noted that petitioner had already delayed the case for over a year mainly because of its many postponements.
Moreover, petitioner would want the case to revert to its preliminary stage when in fact the case had long been ready for trial. The
Sandiganbayan ordered petitioner to prepare for presentation of its additional evidence, if any.

During the trial on 23 March 1990, petitioner again admitted its inability to present further evidence. Giving petitioner one more chance
to present further evidence or to amend the complaint to conform to its evidence, the Sandiganbayan reset the trial to 18 May 1990. The
Sandiganbayan, however, hinted that the re-setting was without prejudice to any action that private respondents might take under the
circumstances.

However, on 18 May 1990, petitioner again expressed its inability to proceed to trial because it had no further evidence to present.
Again, in the interest of justice, the Sandiganbayan granted petitioner 60 days within which to file an appropriate pleading. The
Sandiganbayan, however, warned petitioner that failure to act would constrain the court to take drastic action.

Private respondents then filed their motions to dismiss based on Republic v. Migrino.[9] The Court held in Migrino that the PCGG does
not have jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute military officers by reason of mere position held without a showing that they are
subordinates of former President Marcos.

On 18 November 1991, the Sandiganbayan rendered a resolution, the dispositive portion of which states:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing the Amended Complaint, without pronouncement as to costs. The
counterclaims are likewise dismissed for lack of merit, but the confiscated sum of money, communications equipment, jewelry and land
titles are ordered returned to Elizabeth Dimaano.

The records of this case are hereby remanded and referred to the Hon. Ombudsman, who has primary jurisdiction over the forfeiture
cases under R.A. No. 1379, for such appropriate action as the evidence warrants. This case is also referred to the Commissioner of the
Bureau of Internal Revenue for a determination of any tax liability of respondent Elizabeth Dimaano in connection herewith.

SO ORDERED.

On 4 December 1991, petitioner filed its Motion for Reconsideration.

In answer to the Motion for Reconsideration, private respondents filed a Joint Comment/Opposition to which petitioner filed its Reply
on 10 January 1992.

On 25 March 1992, the Sandiganbayan rendered a Resolution denying the Motion for Reconsideration.

Ruling of the Sandiganbayan

The Sandiganbayan dismissed the Amended Complaint on the following grounds:

(1.) The actions taken by the PCGG are not in accordance with the rulings of the Supreme Court in Cruz, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan[10] and
Republic v. Migrino[11] which involve the same issues.

(2.) No previous inquiry similar to preliminary investigations in criminal cases was conducted against Ramas and Dimaano.
(3.) The evidence adduced against Ramas does not constitute a prima facie case against him.

(4.) There was an illegal search and seizure of the items confiscated.

The Issues

Petitioner raises the following issues:

A. RESPONDENT COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN CONCLUDING THAT PETITIONERS EVIDENCE CANNOT MAKE A CASE FOR
FORFEITURE AND THAT THERE WAS NO SHOWING OF CONSPIRACY, COLLUSION OR RELATIONSHIP BY CONSANGUINITY
OR AFFINITY BY AND BETWEEN RESPONDENT RAMAS AND RESPONDENT DIMAANO NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT
SUCH CONCLUSIONS WERE CLEARLY UNFOUNDED AND PREMATURE, HAVING BEEN RENDERED PRIOR TO THE
COMPLETION OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE EVIDENCE OF THE PETITIONER.

B. RESPONDENT COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE PETITIONER, INCLUDING
THE FILING OF THE ORIGINAL COMPLAINT AND THE AMENDED COMPLAINT, SHOULD BE STRUCK OUT IN LINE WITH THE
RULINGS OF THE SUPREME COURT IN CRUZ, JR. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, 194 SCRA 474 AND REPUBLIC v. MIGRINO, 189 SCRA
289, NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT:

1. The cases of Cruz, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan, supra, and Republic v. Migrino, supra, are clearly not applicable to this case;

2. Any procedural defect in the institution of the complaint in Civil Case No. 0037 was cured and/or waived by respondents with the
filing of their respective answers with counterclaim; and

3. The separate motions to dismiss were evidently improper considering that they were filed after commencement of the presentation of
the evidence of the petitioner and even before the latter was allowed to formally offer its evidence and rest its case;

C. RESPONDENT COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE ARTICLES AND THINGS SUCH AS SUMS OF MONEY,
COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT, JEWELRY AND LAND TITLES CONFISCATED FROM THE HOUSE OF RESPONDENT
DIMAANO WERE ILLEGALLY SEIZED AND THEREFORE EXCLUDED AS EVIDENCE.[12]

The Courts Ruling

First Issue: PCGGs Jurisdiction to Investigate Private Respondents

This case involves a revisiting of an old issue already decided by this Court in Cruz, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan[13] and Republic v.
Migrino.[14]

The primary issue for resolution is whether the PCGG has the jurisdiction to investigate and cause the filing of a forfeiture petition
against Ramas and Dimaano for unexplained wealth under RA No. 1379.

We hold that PCGG has no such jurisdiction.

The PCGG created the AFP Board to investigate the unexplained wealth and corrupt practices of AFP personnel, whether in the active
service or retired.[15] The PCGG tasked the AFP Board to make the necessary recommendations to appropriate government agencies on
the action to be taken based on its findings.[16] The PCGG gave this task to the AFP Board pursuant to the PCGGs power under Section
3 of EO No. 1 to conduct investigation as may be necessary in order to accomplish and to carry out the purposes of this order. EO No. 1
gave the PCGG specific responsibilities, to wit:

SEC. 2. The Commission shall be charged with the task of assisting the President in regard to the following matters:

(a) The recovery of all ill-gotten wealth accumulated by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his immediate family, relatives,
subordinates and close associates, whether located in the Philippines or abroad, including the takeover and sequestration of all business
enterprises and entities owned or controlled by them, during his administration, directly or through nominees, by taking undue
advantage of their public office and/ or using their powers, authority, influence, connections or relationship.

(b) The investigation of such cases of graft and corruption as the President may assign to the Commission from time to time.

x x x.

The PCGG, through the AFP Board, can only investigate the unexplained wealth and corrupt practices of AFP personnel who fall under
either of the two categories mentioned in Section 2 of EO No. 1. These are: (1) AFP personnel who have accumulated ill-gotten wealth
during the administration of former President Marcos by being the latters immediate family, relative, subordinate or close associate,
taking undue advantage of their public office or using their powers, influence x x x;[17] or (2) AFP personnel involved in other cases of
graft and corruption provided the President assigns their cases to the PCGG.[18]

Petitioner, however, does not claim that the President assigned Ramas case to the PCGG. Therefore, Ramas case should fall under the
first category of AFP personnel before the PCGG could exercise its jurisdiction over him. Petitioner argues that Ramas was undoubtedly
a subordinate of former President Marcos because of his position as the Commanding General of the Philippine Army. Petitioner claims
that Ramas position enabled him to receive orders directly from his commander-in-chief, undeniably making him a subordinate of
former President Marcos.

We hold that Ramas was not a subordinate of former President Marcos in the sense contemplated under EO No. 1 and its amendments.

Mere position held by a military officer does not automatically make him a subordinate as this term is used in EO Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A
absent a showing that he enjoyed close association with former President Marcos. Migrino discussed this issue in this wise:

A close reading of EO No. 1 and related executive orders will readily show what is contemplated within the term subordinate. The
Whereas Clauses of EO No. 1 express the urgent need to recover the ill-gotten wealth amassed by former President Ferdinand E.
Marcos, his immediate family, relatives, and close associates both here and abroad.

EO No. 2 freezes all assets and properties in the Philippines in which former President Marcos and/or his wife, Mrs. Imelda Marcos,
their close relatives, subordinates, business associates, dummies, agents, or nominees have any interest or participation.
Applying the rule in statutory construction known as ejusdem generis that is-

[W]here general words follow an enumeration of persons or things by words of a particular and specific meaning, such general words
are not to be construed in their widest extent, but are to be held as applying only to persons or things of the same kind or class as those
specifically mentioned [Smith, Bell & Co, Ltd. vs. Register of Deeds of Davao, 96 Phil. 53, 58, citing Black on Interpretation of Laws, 2nd
Ed., 203].

[T]he term subordinate as used in EO Nos. 1 & 2 refers to one who enjoys a close association with former President Marcos and/or his
wife, similar to the immediate family member, relative, and close associate in EO No. 1 and the close relative, business associate,
dummy, agent, or nominee in EO No. 2.

xxx

It does not suffice, as in this case, that the respondent is or was a government official or employee during the administration of former
President Marcos. There must be a prima facie showing that the respondent unlawfully accumulated wealth by virtue of his close
association or relation with former Pres. Marcos and/or his wife. (Emphasis supplied)

Ramas position alone as Commanding General of the Philippine Army with the rank of Major General[19] does not suffice to make him
a subordinate of former President Marcos for purposes of EO No. 1 and its amendments. The PCGG has to provide a prima facie
showing that Ramas was a close associate of former President Marcos, in the same manner that business associates, dummies, agents or
nominees of former President Marcos were close to him. Such close association is manifested either by Ramas complicity with former
President Marcos in the accumulation of ill-gotten wealth by the deposed President or by former President Marcos acquiescence in
Ramas own accumulation of ill-gotten wealth if any.

This, the PCGG failed to do.

Petitioners attempt to differentiate the instant case from Migrino does not convince us. Petitioner argues that unlike in Migrino, the
AFP Board Resolution in the instant case states that the AFP Board conducted the investigation pursuant to EO Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A in
relation to RA No. 1379. Petitioner asserts that there is a presumption that the PCGG was acting within its jurisdiction of investigating
crony-related cases of graft and corruption and that Ramas was truly a subordinate of the former President. However, the same AFP
Board Resolution belies this contention. Although the Resolution begins with such statement, it ends with the following
recommendation:

V. RECOMMENDATION:

Wherefore it is recommended that Maj. Gen. Josephus Q. Ramas (ret.) be prosecuted and tried for violation of RA 3019, as amended,
otherwise known as Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and RA 1379, as amended, otherwise known as The Act for the Forfeiture of
Unlawfully Acquired Property.[20]

Thus, although the PCGG sought to investigate and prosecute private respondents under EO Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, the result yielded a
finding of violation of Republic Acts Nos. 3019 and 1379 without any relation to EO Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A. This absence of relation to
EO No. 1 and its amendments proves fatal to petitioners case. EO No. 1 created the PCGG for a specific and limited purpose, and
necessarily its powers must be construed to address such specific and limited purpose.

Moreover, the resolution of the AFP Board and even the Amended Complaint do not show that the properties Ramas allegedly owned
were accumulated by him in his capacity as a subordinate of his commander-in-chief. Petitioner merely enumerated the properties
Ramas allegedly owned and suggested that these properties were disproportionate to his salary and other legitimate income without
showing that Ramas amassed them because of his close association with former President Marcos. Petitioner, in fact, admits that the
AFP Board resolution does not contain a finding that Ramas accumulated his wealth because of his close association with former
President Marcos, thus:

10. While it is true that the resolution of the Anti-Graft Board of the New Armed Forces of the Philippines did not categorically find a
prima facie evidence showing that respondent Ramas unlawfully accumulated wealth by virtue of his close association or relation with
former President Marcos and/or his wife, it is submitted that such omission was not fatal. The resolution of the Anti-Graft Board should
be read in the context of the law creating the same and the objective of the investigation which was, as stated in the above, pursuant to
Republic Act Nos. 3019 and 1379 in relation to Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-a;[21] (Emphasis supplied)

Such omission is fatal. Petitioner forgets that it is precisely a prima facie showing that the ill-gotten wealth was accumulated by a
subordinate of former President Marcos that vests jurisdiction on PCGG. EO No. 1[22] clearly premises the creation of the PCGG on the
urgent need to recover all ill-gotten wealth amassed by former President Marcos, his immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close
associates. Therefore, to say that such omission was not fatal is clearly contrary to the intent behind the creation of the PCGG.

In Cruz, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan,[23] the Court outlined the cases that fall under the jurisdiction of the PCGG pursuant to EO Nos. 1,
2,[24] 14,[25] 14-A:[26]

A careful reading of Sections 2(a) and 3 of Executive Order No. 1 in relation with Sections 1, 2 and 3 of Executive Order No. 14, shows
what the authority of the respondent PCGG to investigate and prosecute covers:

(a) the investigation and prosecution of the civil action for the recovery of ill-gotten wealth under Republic Act No. 1379, accumulated
by former President Marcos, his immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close associates, whether located in the Philippines or
abroad, including the take-over or sequestration of all business enterprises and entities owned or controlled by them, during his
administration, directly or through his nominees, by taking undue advantage of their public office and/or using their powers, authority
and influence, connections or relationships; and

(b) the investigation and prosecution of such offenses committed in the acquisition of said ill-gotten wealth as contemplated under
Section 2(a) of Executive Order No. 1.

However, other violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act not otherwise falling under the foregoing categories, require a
previous authority of the President for the respondent PCGG to investigate and prosecute in accordance with Section 2 (b) of Executive
Order No. 1. Otherwise, jurisdiction over such cases is vested in the Ombudsman and other duly authorized investigating agencies such
as the provincial and city prosecutors, their assistants, the Chief State Prosecutor and his assistants and the state prosecutors.
(Emphasis supplied)
The proper government agencies, and not the PCGG, should investigate and prosecute forfeiture petitions not falling under EO No. 1
and its amendments. The preliminary investigation of unexplained wealth amassed on or before 25 February 1986 falls under the
jurisdiction of the Ombudsman, while the authority to file the corresponding forfeiture petition rests with the Solicitor General.[27] The
Ombudsman Act or Republic Act No. 6770 (RA No. 6770) vests in the Ombudsman the power to conduct preliminary investigation and
to file forfeiture proceedings involving unexplained wealth amassed after 25 February 1986.[28]

After the pronouncements of the Court in Cruz, the PCGG still pursued this case despite the absence of a prima facie finding that Ramas
was a subordinate of former President Marcos. The petition for forfeiture filed with the Sandiganbayan should be dismissed for lack of
authority by the PCGG to investigate respondents since there is no prima facie showing that EO No. 1 and its amendments apply to
respondents. The AFP Board Resolution and even the Amended Complaint state that there are violations of RA Nos. 3019 and 1379.
Thus, the PCGG should have recommended Ramas case to the Ombudsman who has jurisdiction to conduct the preliminary
investigation of ordinary unexplained wealth and graft cases. As stated in Migrino:

[But] in view of the patent lack of authority of the PCGG to investigate and cause the prosecution of private respondent for violation of
Rep. Acts Nos. 3019 and 1379, the PCGG must also be enjoined from proceeding with the case, without prejudice to any action that may
be taken by the proper prosecutory agency. The rule of law mandates that an agency of government be allowed to exercise only the
powers granted to it.

Petitioners argument that private respondents have waived any defect in the filing of the forfeiture petition by submitting their
respective Answers with counterclaim deserves no merit as well.

Petitioner has no jurisdiction over private respondents. Thus, there is no jurisdiction to waive in the first place. The PCGG cannot
exercise investigative or prosecutorial powers never granted to it. PCGGs powers are specific and limited. Unless given additional
assignment by the President, PCGGs sole task is only to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses, their relatives and cronies.[29]
Without these elements, the PCGG cannot claim jurisdiction over a case.

Private respondents questioned the authority and jurisdiction of the PCGG to investigate and prosecute their cases by filing their
Motion to Dismiss as soon as they learned of the pronouncement of the Court in Migrino. This case was decided on 30 August 1990,
which explains why private respondents only filed their Motion to Dismiss on 8 October 1990. Nevertheless, we have held that the
parties may raise lack of jurisdiction at any stage of the proceeding.[30] Thus, we hold that there was no waiver of jurisdiction in this
case. Jurisdiction is vested by law and not by the parties to an action.[31]

Consequently, the petition should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction by the PCGG to conduct the preliminary investigation. The
Ombudsman may still conduct the proper preliminary investigation for violation of RA No. 1379, and if warranted, the Solicitor General
may file the forfeiture petition with the Sandiganbayan.[32] The right of the State to forfeit unexplained wealth under RA No. 1379 is
not subject to prescription, laches or estoppel.[33]

Second Issue: Propriety of Dismissal of Case

Before Completion of Presentation of Evidence

Petitioner also contends that the Sandiganbayan erred in dismissing the case before completion of the presentation of petitioners
evidence.

We disagree.

Based on the findings of the Sandiganbayan and the records of this case, we find that petitioner has only itself to blame for non-
completion of the presentation of its evidence. First, this case has been pending for four years before the Sandiganbayan dismissed it.
Petitioner filed its Amended Complaint on 11 August 1987, and only began to present its evidence on 17 April 1989. Petitioner had
almost two years to prepare its evidence. However, despite this sufficient time, petitioner still delayed the presentation of the rest of its
evidence by filing numerous motions for postponements and extensions. Even before the date set for the presentation of its evidence,
petitioner filed, on 13 April 1989, a Motion for Leave to Amend the Complaint.[34] The motion sought to charge the delinquent
properties (which comprise most of petitioners evidence) with being subject to forfeiture as having been unlawfully acquired by
defendant Dimaano alone x x x.

The Sandiganbayan, however, refused to defer the presentation of petitioners evidence since petitioner did not state when it would file
the amended complaint. On 18 April 1989, the Sandiganbayan set the continuation of the presentation of evidence on 28-29 September
and 9-11 October 1989, giving petitioner ample time to prepare its evidence. Still, on 28 September 1989, petitioner manifested its
inability to proceed with the presentation of its evidence. The Sandiganbayan issued an Order expressing its view on the matter, to wit:

The Court has gone through extended inquiry and a narration of the above events because this case has been ready for trial for over a
year and much of the delay hereon has been due to the inability of the government to produce on scheduled dates for pre-trial and for
trial documents and witnesses, allegedly upon the failure of the military to supply them for the preparation of the presentation of
evidence thereon. Of equal interest is the fact that this Court has been held to task in public about its alleged failure to move cases such
as this one beyond the preliminary stage, when, in view of the developments such as those of today, this Court is now faced with a
situation where a case already in progress will revert back to the preliminary stage, despite a five-month pause where appropriate action
could have been undertaken by the plaintiff Republic.[35]

On 9 October 1989, the PCGG manifested in court that it was conducting a preliminary investigation on the unexplained wealth of
private respondents as mandated by RA No. 1379.[36] The PCGG prayed for an additional four months to conduct the preliminary
investigation. The Sandiganbayan granted this request and scheduled the presentation of evidence on 26-29 March 1990. However, on
the scheduled date, petitioner failed to inform the court of the result of the preliminary investigation the PCGG supposedly conducted.
Again, the Sandiganbayan gave petitioner until 18 May 1990 to continue with the presentation of its evidence and to inform the court of
what lies ahead insofar as the status of the case is concerned x x x.[37] Still on the date set, petitioner failed to present its evidence.
Finally, on 11 July 1990, petitioner filed its Re-Amended Complaint.[38] The Sandiganbayan correctly observed that a case already
pending for years would revert to its preliminary stage if the court were to accept the Re-Amended Complaint.

Based on these circumstances, obviously petitioner has only itself to blame for failure to complete the presentation of its evidence. The
Sandiganbayan gave petitioner more than sufficient time to finish the presentation of its evidence. The Sandiganbayan overlooked
petitioners delays and yet petitioner ended the long-string of delays with the filing of a Re-Amended Complaint, which would only
prolong even more the disposition of the case.
Moreover, the pronouncements of the Court in Migrino and Cruz prompted the Sandiganbayan to dismiss the case since the PCGG has
no jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute the case against private respondents. This alone would have been sufficient legal basis for
the Sandiganbayan to dismiss the forfeiture case against private respondents.

Thus, we hold that the Sandiganbayan did not err in dismissing the case before completion of the presentation of petitioners evidence.

Third Issue: Legality of the Search and Seizure

Petitioner claims that the Sandiganbayan erred in declaring the properties confiscated from Dimaanos house as illegally seized and
therefore inadmissible in evidence. This issue bears a significant effect on petitioners case since these properties comprise most of
petitioners evidence against private respondents. Petitioner will not have much evidence to support its case against private respondents
if these properties are inadmissible in evidence.

On 3 March 1986, the Constabulary raiding team served at Dimaanos residence a search warrant captioned Illegal Possession of
Firearms and Ammunition. Dimaano was not present during the raid but Dimaanos cousins witnessed the raid. The raiding team seized
the items detailed in the seizure receipt together with other items not included in the search warrant. The raiding team seized these
items: one baby armalite rifle with two magazines; 40 rounds of 5.56 ammunition; one pistol, caliber .45; communications equipment,
cash consisting of P2,870,000 and US$50,000, jewelry, and land titles.

Petitioner wants the Court to take judicial notice that the raiding team conducted the search and seizure on March 3, 1986 or five days
after the successful EDSA revolution.[39] Petitioner argues that a revolutionary government was operative at that time by virtue of
Proclamation No. 1 announcing that President Aquino and Vice President Laurel were taking power in the name and by the will of the
Filipino people.[40] Petitioner asserts that the revolutionary government effectively withheld the operation of the 1973 Constitution
which guaranteed private respondents exclusionary right.

Moreover, petitioner argues that the exclusionary right arising from an illegal search applies only beginning 2 February 1987, the date of
ratification of the 1987 Constitution. Petitioner contends that all rights under the Bill of Rights had already reverted to its embryonic
stage at the time of the search. Therefore, the government may confiscate the monies and items taken from Dimaano and use the same
in evidence against her since at the time of their seizure, private respondents did not enjoy any constitutional right.

Petitioner is partly right in its arguments.

The EDSA Revolution took place on 23-25 February 1986. As succinctly stated in President Aquinos Proclamation No. 3 dated 25 March
1986, the EDSA Revolution was done in defiance of the provisions of the 1973 Constitution.[41] The resulting government was
indisputably a revolutionary government bound by no constitution or legal limitations except treaty obligations that the revolutionary
government, as the de jure government in the Philippines, assumed under international law.

The correct issues are: (1) whether the revolutionary government was bound by the Bill of Rights of the 1973 Constitution during the
interregnum, that is, after the actual and effective take-over of power by the revolutionary government following the cessation of
resistance by loyalist forces up to 24 March 1986 (immediately before the adoption of the Provisional Constitution); and (2) whether the
protection accorded to individuals under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Covenant) and the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (Declaration) remained in effect during the interregnum.

We hold that the Bill of Rights under the 1973 Constitution was not operative during the interregnum. However, we rule that the
protection accorded to individuals under the Covenant and the Declaration remained in effect during the interregnum.

During the interregnum, the directives and orders of the revolutionary government were the supreme law because no constitution
limited the extent and scope of such directives and orders. With the abrogation of the 1973 Constitution by the successful revolution,
there was no municipal law higher than the directives and orders of the revolutionary government. Thus, during the interregnum, a
person could not invoke any exclusionary right under a Bill of Rights because there was neither a constitution nor a Bill of Rights during
the interregnum. As the Court explained in Letter of Associate Justice Reynato S. Puno:[42]

A revolution has been defined as the complete overthrow of the established government in any country or state by those who were
previously subject to it or as a sudden, radical and fundamental change in the government or political system, usually effected with
violence or at least some acts of violence. In Kelsen's book, General Theory of Law and State, it is defined as that which occurs whenever
the legal order of a community is nullified and replaced by a new order . . . a way not prescribed by the first order itself.

It was through the February 1986 revolution, a relatively peaceful one, and more popularly known as the people power revolution that
the Filipino people tore themselves away from an existing regime. This revolution also saw the unprecedented rise to power of the
Aquino government.

From the natural law point of view, the right of revolution has been defined as an inherent right of a people to cast out their rulers,
change their policy or effect radical reforms in their system of government or institutions by force or a general uprising when the legal
and constitutional methods of making such change have proved inadequate or are so obstructed as to be unavailable. It has been said
that the locus of positive law-making power lies with the people of the state and from there is derived the right of the people to abolish,
to reform and to alter any existing form of government without regard to the existing constitution.

xxx

It is widely known that Mrs. Aquinos rise to the presidency was not due to constitutional processes; in fact, it was achieved in violation
of the provisions of the 1973 Constitution as a Batasang Pambansa resolution had earlier declared Mr. Marcos as the winner in the 1986
presidential election. Thus it can be said that the organization of Mrs. Aquinos Government which was met by little resistance and her
control of the state evidenced by the appointment of the Cabinet and other key officers of the administration, the departure of the
Marcos Cabinet officials, revamp of the Judiciary and the Military signaled the point where the legal system then in effect, had ceased to
be obeyed by the Filipino. (Emphasis supplied)

To hold that the Bill of Rights under the 1973 Constitution remained operative during the interregnum would render void all
sequestration orders issued by the Philippine Commission on Good Government (PCGG) before the adoption of the Freedom
Constitution. The sequestration orders, which direct the freezing and even the take-over of private property by mere executive issuance
without judicial action, would violate the due process and search and seizure clauses of the Bill of Rights.

During the interregnum, the government in power was concededly a revolutionary government bound by no constitution. No one could
validly question the sequestration orders as violative of the Bill of Rights because there was no Bill of Rights during the interregnum.
However, upon the adoption of the Freedom Constitution, the sequestered companies assailed the sequestration orders as contrary to
the Bill of Rights of the Freedom Constitution.

In Bataan Shipyard & Engineering Co. Inc. vs. Presidential Commission on Good Government,[43] petitioner Baseco, while conceding
there was no Bill of Rights during the interregnum, questioned the continued validity of the sequestration orders upon adoption of the
Freedom Constitution in view of the due process clause in its Bill of Rights. The Court ruled that the Freedom Constitution, and later the
1987 Constitution, expressly recognized the validity of sequestration orders, thus:

If any doubt should still persist in the face of the foregoing considerations as to the validity and propriety of sequestration, freeze and
takeover orders, it should be dispelled by the fact that these particular remedies and the authority of the PCGG to issue them have
received constitutional approbation and sanction. As already mentioned, the Provisional or Freedom Constitution recognizes the power
and duty of the President to enact measures to achieve the mandate of the people to . . . (r)ecover ill-gotten properties amassed by the
leaders and supporters of the previous regime and protect the interest of the people through orders of sequestration or freezing of assets
or accounts. And as also already adverted to, Section 26, Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution treats of, and ratifies the authority to
issue sequestration or freeze orders under Proclamation No. 3 dated March 25, 1986.

The framers of both the Freedom Constitution and the 1987 Constitution were fully aware that the sequestration orders would clash
with the Bill of Rights. Thus, the framers of both constitutions had to include specific language recognizing the validity of the
sequestration orders. The following discourse by Commissioner Joaquin G. Bernas during the deliberations of the Constitutional
Commission is instructive:

FR. BERNAS: Madam President, there is something schizophrenic about the arguments in defense of the present amendment.

For instance, I have carefully studied Minister Salongas lecture in the Gregorio Araneta University Foundation, of which all of us have
been given a copy. On the one hand, he argues that everything the Commission is doing is traditionally legal. This is repeated by
Commissioner Romulo also. Minister Salonga spends a major portion of his lecture developing that argument. On the other hand,
almost as an afterthought, he says that in the end what matters are the results and not the legal niceties, thus suggesting that the PCGG
should be allowed to make some legal shortcuts, another word for niceties or exceptions.

Now, if everything the PCGG is doing is legal, why is it asking the CONCOM for special protection? The answer is clear. What they are
doing will not stand the test of ordinary due process, hence they are asking for protection, for exceptions. Grandes malos, grandes
remedios, fine, as the saying stands, but let us not say grandes malos, grande y malos remedios. That is not an allowable extrapolation.
Hence, we should not give the exceptions asked for, and let me elaborate and give three reasons:

First, the whole point of the February Revolution and of the work of the CONCOM is to hasten constitutional normalization. Very much
at the heart of the constitutional normalization is the full effectivity of the Bill of Rights. We cannot, in one breath, ask for constitutional
normalization and at the same time ask for a temporary halt to the full functioning of what is at the heart of constitutionalism. That
would be hypocritical; that would be a repetition of Marcosian protestation of due process and rule of law. The New Society word for
that is backsliding. It is tragic when we begin to backslide even before we get there.

Second, this is really a corollary of the first. Habits tend to become ingrained. The committee report asks for extraordinary exceptions
from the Bill of Rights for six months after the convening of Congress, and Congress may even extend this longer.

Good deeds repeated ripen into virtue; bad deeds repeated become vice. What the committee report is asking for is that we should allow
the new government to acquire the vice of disregarding the Bill of Rights.

Vices, once they become ingrained, become difficult to shed. The practitioners of the vice begin to think that they have a vested right to
its practice, and they will fight tooth and nail to keep the franchise. That would be an unhealthy way of consolidating the gains of a
democratic revolution.

Third, the argument that what matters are the results and not the legal niceties is an argument that is very disturbing. When it comes
from a staunch Christian like Commissioner Salonga, a Minister, and repeated verbatim by another staunch Christian like
Commissioner Tingson, it becomes doubly disturbing and even discombobulating. The argument makes the PCGG an auctioneer,
placing the Bill of Rights on the auction block. If the price is right, the search and seizure clause will be sold. Open your Swiss bank
account to us and we will award you the search and seizure clause. You can keep it in your private safe.

Alternatively, the argument looks on the present government as hostage to the hoarders of hidden wealth. The hoarders will release the
hidden health if the ransom price is paid and the ransom price is the Bill of Rights, specifically the due process in the search and seizure
clauses. So, there is something positively revolving about either argument. The Bill of Rights is not for sale to the highest bidder nor can
it be used to ransom captive dollars. This nation will survive and grow strong, only if it would become convinced of the values enshrined
in the Constitution of a price that is beyond monetary estimation.

For these reasons, the honorable course for the Constitutional Commission is to delete all of Section 8 of the committee report and allow
the new Constitution to take effect in full vigor. If Section 8 is deleted, the PCGG has two options. First, it can pursue the Salonga and
the Romulo argument that what the PCGG has been doing has been completely within the pale of the law. If sustained, the PCGG can go
on and should be able to go on, even without the support of Section 8. If not sustained, however, the PCGG has only one honorable
option, it must bow to the majesty of the Bill of Rights.

The PCGG extrapolation of the law is defended by staunch Christians. Let me conclude with what another Christian replied when asked
to toy around with the law. From his prison cell, Thomas More said, "I'll give the devil benefit of law for my nations safety sake. I ask the
Commission to give the devil benefit of law for our nations sake. And we should delete Section 8.

Thank you, Madam President. (Emphasis supplied)

Despite the impassioned plea by Commissioner Bernas against the amendment excepting sequestration orders from the Bill of Rights,
the Constitutional Commission still adopted the amendment as Section 26,[44] Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution. The framers of
the Constitution were fully aware that absent Section 26, sequestration orders would not stand the test of due process under the Bill of
Rights.

Thus, to rule that the Bill of Rights of the 1973 Constitution remained in force during the interregnum, absent a constitutional provision
excepting sequestration orders from such Bill of Rights, would clearly render all sequestration orders void during the interregnum.
Nevertheless, even during the interregnum the Filipino people continued to enjoy, under the Covenant and the Declaration, almost the
same rights found in the Bill of Rights of the 1973 Constitution.
The revolutionary government, after installing itself as the de jure government, assumed responsibility for the States good faith
compliance with the Covenant to which the Philippines is a signatory. Article 2(1) of the Covenant requires each signatory State to
respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights[45] recognized in the present
Covenant. Under Article 17(1) of the Covenant, the revolutionary government had the duty to insure that [n]o one shall be subjected to
arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence.

The Declaration, to which the Philippines is also a signatory, provides in its Article 17(2) that [n]o one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his
property. Although the signatories to the Declaration did not intend it as a legally binding document, being only a declaration, the Court
has interpreted the Declaration as part of the generally accepted principles of international law and binding on the State.[46] Thus, the
revolutionary government was also obligated under international law to observe the rights[47] of individuals under the Declaration.

The revolutionary government did not repudiate the Covenant or the Declaration during the interregnum. Whether the revolutionary
government could have repudiated all its obligations under the Covenant or the Declaration is another matter and is not the issue here.
Suffice it to say that the Court considers the Declaration as part of customary international law, and that Filipinos as human beings are
proper subjects of the rules of international law laid down in the Covenant. The fact is the revolutionary government did not repudiate
the Covenant or the Declaration in the same way it repudiated the 1973 Constitution. As the de jure government, the revolutionary
government could not escape responsibility for the States good faith compliance with its treaty obligations under international law.

It was only upon the adoption of the Provisional Constitution on 25 March 1986 that the directives and orders of the revolutionary
government became subject to a higher municipal law that, if contravened, rendered such directives and orders void. The Provisional
Constitution adopted verbatim the Bill of Rights of the 1973 Constitution.[48] The Provisional Constitution served as a self-limitation by
the revolutionary government to avoid abuses of the absolute powers entrusted to it by the people.

During the interregnum when no constitution or Bill of Rights existed, directives and orders issued by government officers were valid so
long as these officers did not exceed the authority granted them by the revolutionary government. The directives and orders should not
have also violated the Covenant or the Declaration. In this case, the revolutionary government presumptively sanctioned the warrant
since the revolutionary government did not repudiate it. The warrant, issued by a judge upon proper application, specified the items to
be searched and seized. The warrant is thus valid with respect to the items specifically described in the warrant.

However, the Constabulary raiding team seized items not included in the warrant. As admitted by petitioners witnesses, the raiding
team confiscated items not included in the warrant, thus:

Direct Examination of Capt. Rodolfo Sebastian

AJ AMORES

Q. According to the search warrant, you are supposed to seize only for weapons. What else, aside from the weapons, were seized from
the house of Miss Elizabeth Dimaano?

A. The communications equipment, money in Philippine currency and US dollars, some jewelries, land titles, sir.

Q. Now, the search warrant speaks only of weapons to be seized from the house of Elizabeth Dimaano. Do you know the reason why
your team also seized other properties not mentioned in said search warrant?

A. During the conversation right after the conduct of said raid, I was informed that the reason why they also brought the other items not
included in the search warrant was because the money and other jewelries were contained in attach cases and cartons with markings
Sony Trinitron, and I think three (3) vaults or steel safes. Believing that the attach cases and the steel safes were containing firearms,
they forced open these containers only to find out that they contained money.

xxx

Q. You said you found money instead of weapons, do you know the reason why your team seized this money instead of weapons?

A. I think the overall team leader and the other two officers assisting him decided to bring along also the money because at that time it
was already dark and they felt most secured if they will bring that because they might be suspected also of taking money out of those
items, your Honor.[49]

Cross-examination

Atty. Banaag

Q. Were you present when the search warrant in connection with this case was applied before the Municipal Trial Court of Batangas,
Branch 1?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. And the search warrant applied for by you was for the search and seizure of five (5) baby armalite rifles M-16 and five (5) boxes of
ammunition?

A. Yes, sir.

xxx

AJ AMORES

Q. Before you applied for a search warrant, did you conduct surveillance in the house of Miss Elizabeth Dimaano?

A. The Intelligence Operatives conducted surveillance together with the MSU elements, your Honor.

Q. And this party believed there were weapons deposited in the house of Miss Elizabeth Dimaano?

A. Yes, your Honor.

Q. And they so swore before the Municipal Trial Judge?


A. Yes, your Honor.

Q. But they did not mention to you, the applicant for the search warrant, any other properties or contraband which could be found in
the residence of Miss Elizabeth Dimaano?

A. They just gave us still unconfirmed report about some hidden items, for instance, the communications equipment and money.
However, I did not include that in the application for search warrant considering that we have not established concrete evidence about
that. So when

Q. So that when you applied for search warrant, you had reason to believe that only weapons were in the house of Miss Elizabeth
Dimaano?

A. Yes, your Honor.[50]

xxx

Q. You stated that a .45 caliber pistol was seized along with one armalite rifle M-16 and how many ammunition?

A. Forty, sir.

Q. And this became the subject of your complaint with the issuing Court, with the fiscals office who charged Elizabeth Dimaano for
Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunition?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Do you know what happened to that case?

A. I think it was dismissed, sir.

Q. In the fiscals office?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Because the armalite rifle you seized, as well as the .45 caliber pistol had a Memorandum Receipt in the name of Felino Melegrito, is
that not correct?

A. I think that was the reason, sir.

Q. There were other articles seized which were not included in the search warrant, like for instance, jewelries. Why did you seize the
jewelries?

A. I think it was the decision of the overall team leader and his assistant to bring along also the jewelries and other items, sir. I do not
really know where it was taken but they brought along also these articles. I do not really know their reason for bringing the same, but I
just learned that these were taken because they might get lost if they will just leave this behind.

xxx

Q. How about the money seized by your raiding team, they were not also included in the search warrant?

A. Yes sir, but I believe they were also taken considering that the money was discovered to be contained in attach cases. These attach
cases were suspected to be containing pistols or other high powered firearms, but in the course of the search the contents turned out to
be money. So the team leader also decided to take this considering that they believed that if they will just leave the money behind, it
might get lost also.

Q. That holds true also with respect to the other articles that were seized by your raiding team, like Transfer Certificates of Title of
lands?

A. Yes, sir. I think they were contained in one of the vaults that were opened.[51]

It is obvious from the testimony of Captain Sebastian that the warrant did not include the monies, communications equipment, jewelry
and land titles that the raiding team confiscated. The search warrant did not particularly describe these items and the raiding team
confiscated them on its own authority. The raiding team had no legal basis to seize these items without showing that these items could
be the subject of warrantless search and seizure.[52] Clearly, the raiding team exceeded its authority when it seized these items.

The seizure of these items was therefore void, and unless these items are contraband per se,[53] and they are not, they must be returned
to the person from whom the raiding seized them. However, we do not declare that such person is the lawful owner of these items,
merely that the search and seizure warrant could not be used as basis to seize and withhold these items from the possessor. We thus
hold that these items should be returned immediately to Dimaano.

WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is DISMISSED. The questioned Resolutions of the Sandiganbayan dated 18 November 1991
and 25 March 1992 in Civil Case No. 0037, remanding the records of this case to the Ombudsman for such appropriate action as the
evidence may warrant, and referring this case to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue for a determination of any tax
liability of respondent Elizabeth Dimaano, are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 159110 December 10, 2013

VALENTINO L. LEGASPI, Petitioner,


vs.
CITY OF CEBU, T.C. (TITO) SAYSON AND RICARDO HAPITAN, Respondents.

x---------------x

G.R. No. 159692

BIENVENIDO P. JABAN, SR., and BIENVENIDO DOUGLAS LUKE BRADBURY JABAN, Petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, CITY OF CEBU, CITY MAYOR ALVIN GARCIA, SANGUNIANG PANLUNSOD OF CITY OF CEBU, HON.
RENATO V. OSMEÑA, AS PRESIDING OFFICER OF THE SANGGUNIANG PANLUNSOD and CITOM CHAIRMAN ALAN GAVIOLA,
AS CITOM CHIEF, CITOM TRAFFIC ENFORCER E. A. ROMERO, and LITO GILBUENA, Respondents.

DECISION

BERSAMIN, J.:

The goal of the decentralization of powers to the local government units (LGUs) is to ensure the enjoyment by each of the territorial and
political subdivisions of the State of a genuine and meaningful local autonomy. To attain the goal, the National Legislature has devolved
the three great inherent powers of the State to the LGUs. Each political subdivision is there by vested with such powers subject to
constitutional and statutory limitations.

In particular, the Local Government Code (LGC) has expressly empowered the LGUs to enact and adopt ordinances to regulate
vehicular traffic and to prohibit illegal parking within their jurisdictions. Now challenged before the Court are the constitutionality and
validity of one such ordinance on the ground that the ordinance constituted a contravention of the guaranty of due process under the
Constitution by authorizing the immobilization of offending vehicles through the clamping of tires. The challenge originated in the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) at the instance of the petitioners – vehicle owners who had borne the brunt of the implementation of the
ordinance –with the RTC declaring the ordinance unconstitutional, but it has now reached the Court as a consolidated appeal taken in
due course by the petitioners after the Court of Appeals (CA) reversed the judgment of the RTC.

Antecedents

On January 27, 1997 the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Cebu enacted Ordinance No. 1664toauthorizethetraffic enforcers of
Cebu City to immobilize any motor vehicle violating the parking restrictions and prohibitions defined in Ordinance No. 801 (Traffic
Code of Cebu City).1 The pertinent provisions of Ordinance No. 1664 read:

Section 1. POLICY–It is the policy of the government of the City of Cebu to immobilize any motor vehicle violating any provision of any
City Ordinance on Parking Prohibitions or Restrictions, more particularly Ordinance No. 801, otherwise known as the Traffic Code of
Cebu City, as amended, in order to have a smooth flow of vehicular traffic in all the streets in the City of Cebu at all times.

Section 2. IMMOBILIZATION OF VEHICLES–Any vehicle found violating any provision of any existing ordinance of the City of Cebu
which prohibits, regulates or restricts the parking of vehicles shall be immobilized by clamping any tire of the said violating vehicle with
the use of a denver boot vehicle immobilizer or any other special gadget designed to immobilize motor vehicles. For this particular
purpose, any traffic enforcer of the City (regular PNP Personnel or Cebu City Traffic Law Enforcement Personnel) is hereby authorized
to immobilize any violating vehicleas hereinabove provided.

Section 3. PENALTIES–Any motor vehicle, owner or driver violating any ordinance on parking prohibitions, regulations and/or
restrictions, as may be providedunder Ordinance No. 801, as amended, or any other existing ordinance, shall be penalized in
accordance with the penalties imposed in the ordinance so violated, provided that the vehicle immobilizer may not be removed or
released without its owner or driver paying first to the City Treasurer of Cebu City through the Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) all the
accumulated penalties for all prior traffic law violations that remain unpaid or unsettled, plus the administrative penalty of Five
Hundred Pesos (₱500.00) for the immobilization of the said vehicle, and receipts of such payments presented to the concerned
personnel of the bureau responsible for the release of the immobilized vehicle, unless otherwise ordered released by any of the following
officers:

a) Chairman, CITOM

b) Chairman, Committee on Police, Fire and Penology

c) Asst. City Fiscal Felipe Belciña

3.1 Any person who tampers or tries to release an immobilized or clamped motor vehicle by destroying the denver boot vehicle
immobilizer or other such special gadgets, shall be liable for its loss or destruction and shall be prosecuted for such loss or destruction
under pain or penalty under the Revised Penal Code and any other existing ordinance of the City of Cebu for the criminal act, in
addition to his/her civil liabilities under the Civil Code of the Philippines; Provided that any such act may not be compromised nor
settled amicably extrajudicially.

3.2 Any immobilized vehicle which is unattended and constitute an obstruction to the free flow of traffic or a hazard thereof shall be
towed to the city government impounding area for safekeeping and may be released only after the provision of Section 3 hereof shall
have been fully complied with.

3.3 Any person who violates any provision of this ordinance shall, upon conviction, be penalized with imprisonment of not less than one
(1)month nor more than six (6) months or of a fine of not less than Two Thousand Pesos(₱2,000.00)nor more than Five Thousand
Pesos(₱5,000.00), or both such imprisonment and fine at the discretion of the court.2

On July 29, 1997, Atty. Bienvenido Jaban (Jaban,Sr.) and his son Atty. Bienvenido Douglas Luke Bradbury Jaban (Jaban,Jr.) brought
suit in the RTC in Cebu City against the City of Cebu, then represented by Hon. Alvin Garcia, its City Mayor, the Sangguniang
Panlungsod of Cebu City and its Presiding Officer, Hon. Renato V. Osmeña, and the chairman and operatives or officers of the City
Traffic Operations Management (CITOM),seeking the declaration of Ordinance No. 1644 as unconstitutional for being in violation of
due process and for being contrary to law, and damages.3 Their complaint alleged that on June 23, 1997, Jaban Sr. had properly parked
his car in a paying parking area on Manalili Street, Cebu City to get certain records and documents fromhis office;4that upon his return
after less than 10 minutes, he had found his car being immobilized by a steel clamp, and a notice being posted on the car to the effect
that it would be a criminal offense to break the clamp;5 that he had been infuriated by the immobilization of his car because he had
been thereby rendered unable to meet an important client on that day; that his car was impounded for three days, and was informed at
the office of the CITOM that he had first to pay₱4,200.00as a fine to the City Treasurer of Cebu City for the release of his car;6that the
fine was imposed without any court hearing and without due process of law, for he was not even told why his car had been immobilized;
that he had undergone a similar incident of clamping of his car on the early morning of November 20, 1997 while his car was parked
properly in a parking lot in front of the San Nicolas Pasil Market in Cebu City without violating any traffic regulation or causing any
obstruction; that he was compelled to pay ₱1,500.00(itemized as ₱500.00 for the clamping and₱1,000.00for the violation) without any
court hearing and final judgment; that on May 19, 1997, Jaban, Jr. parked his car in a very secluded place where there was no sign
prohibiting parking; that his car was immobilized by CITOM operative Lito Gilbuena; and that he was compelled to pay the total sum of
₱1,400.00for the release of his car without a court hearing and a final judgment rendered by a court of justice.7

On August 11, 1997, Valentino Legaspi (Legaspi) likewise sued in the RTC the City of Cebu,T.C. Sayson, Ricardo Hapitan and John Does
to demand the delivery of personal property, declaration of nullity of the Traffic Code of Cebu City, and damages.8 He averred that on
the morning of July 29, 1997, he had left his car occupying a portion of the sidewalk and the street outside the gate of his house to make
way for the vehicle of the anay exterminator who had asked to be allowed to unload his materials and equipment from the front of the
residence inasmuch as his daughter’s car had been parked in the carport, with the assurance that the unloading would not take too
long;9 that while waiting for the anay exterminator to finish unloading, the phone in his office inside the house had rung, impelling him
to go into the house to answer the call; that after a short while, his son-in-law informed him that unknown persons had clamped the
front wheel of his car;10 that he rushed outside and found a traffic citation stating that his car had been clamped by CITOM
representatives with a warning that the unauthorized removal of the clamp would subject the remover to criminal charges;11 and that in
the late afternoon a group headed by Ricardo Hapitan towed the car even if it was not obstructing the flow of traffic.12

In separate answers for the City of Cebu and its co-defendants,13 the City Attorney of Cebu presented similar defenses, essentially
stating that the traffic enforcers had only upheld the law by clamping the vehicles of the plaintiffs;14 and that Ordinance No. 1664
enjoyed the presumption of constitutionality and validity.15

The cases were consolidated before Branch 58 of the RTC, which, after trial, rendered on January 22, 1999 its decision declaring
Ordinance No. 1664 as null and void upon the following ratiocination:

In clear and simple phrase, the essence of due process was expressed by Daniel Webster as a "law which hears before it condemns". In
another case[s], "procedural due process is that which hears before it condemns, which proceeds upon inquiry and renders judgment
only after trial." It contemplate(s)notice and opportunity to be heard before judgment is rendered affecting ones (sic) person or
property." In both procedural and substantive due process, a hearing is always a pre-requisite, hence, the taking or deprivation of one’s
life, liberty or property must be done upon and with observance of the "due process" clause of the Constitution and the non-observance
or violation thereof is, perforce, unconstitutional.

Under Ordinance No. 1664, when a vehicle is parked in a prohibited, restrycted (sic) or regulated area in the street or along the street,
the vehicle is immobilized by clamping any tire of said vehicle with the use of a denver boot vehicle immobilizer or any other special
gadget which immobilized the motor vehicle. The violating vehicle is immobilized, thus, depriving its owner of the use thereof at the sole
determination of any traffic enforcer or regular PNP personnel or Cebu City Traffic Law Enforcement Personnel. The vehicle
immobilizer cannot be removed or released without the owner or driver paying first to the City Treasurer of Cebu through the Traffic
Violations Bureau all the accumulated penalties of all unpaid or unsettled traffic law violations, plus the administrative penalty of
₱500.00 and, further, the immobilized vehicle shall be released only upon presentation of the receipt of said payments and upon release
order by the Chairman, CITOM, or Chairman, Committee on Police, Fire and Penology, or Asst. City Fiscal Felipe Belcina. It should be
stressed that the owner of the immobilized vehicle shall have to undergo all these ordeals at the mercy of the Traffic Law Enforcer who,
as the Ordinance in question mandates, is the arresting officer, prosecutor, Judge and collector. Otherwise stated, the owner of the
immobilized motor vehicle is deprived of his right to the use of his/her vehicle and penalized without a hearing by a person who is not
legally or duly vested with such rights, power or authority. The Ordinance in question is penal in nature, and it has been held;

xxxx

WHEREFORE, premised (sic) considered, judgment is hereby rendered declaring Ordinance No.1664unconstitutional and directing the
defendant City of Cebu to pay the plaintiff Valentino Legaspi the sum of ₱110,000.00 representing the value of his car, and to all the
plaintiffs, Valentino L. Legaspi, Bienvenido P. Jaban and Bienvenido Douglas Luke Bradbury Jaban, the sum of ₱100,000.00 each or
₱300,000.00 all as nominal damages and another ₱100,000.00 each or₱300,000.00 all as temperate or moderate damages. With costs
against defendant City of Cebu.

SO ORDERED.16 (citations omitted)

The City of Cebu and its co-defendants appealed to the CA, assigning the following errors to the RTC, namely: (a) the RTC erred in
declaring that Ordinance No. 1664 was unconstitutional; (b) granting, arguendo, that Ordinance No. 1664 was unconstitutional, the
RTC gravely erred in holding that any violation prior to its declaration as being unconstitutional was irrelevant; (c) granting, arguendo,
that Ordinance No. 1664 was unconstitutional, the RTC gravely erred in awarding damages to the plaintiffs; (d) granting, arguendo, that
the plaintiffs were entitled to damages, the damages awarded were excessive and contrary to law; and (e) the decision of the RTC was
void, because the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) had not been notified of the proceedings.

On June 16, 2003, the CA promulgated its assailed decision,17overturning the RTCand declaring Ordinance No. 1664 valid, to wit:

The principal thrust of this appeal is the constitutionality of Ordinance 1664. Defendants-appellants contend that the passage of
Ordinance 1664is in accordance with the police powers exercised by the City of Cebu through the Sangguniang Panlungsod and granted
by RA 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code. A thematic analysis of the law on municipal corporations confirms this
view. As in previous legislation, the Local Government Code delegates police powers to the local governments in two ways. Firstly, it
enumerates the subjects on which the Sangguniang Panlungsod may exercise these powers. Thus, with respect to the use of public
streets, Section 458 of the Code states:

Section 458 (a) The sangguniang panlungsod, as the legislative branch of the city, x x x shall x x x

(5) (v) Regulate the use of streets, avenues, alleys, sidewalks, bridges, park and other public places and approve the construction,
improvement, repair and maintenance of the same; establish bus and vehicle stops and terminals or regulate the use of the same by
privately owned vehicles which serve the public; regulate garages and the operation of conveyances for hire; designate stands to be
occupied by public vehicles when not in use; regulate the putting up of signs, signposts, awnings and awning posts on the streets; and
provide for the lighting, cleaning and sprinkling of streets and public places;
(vi) Regulate traffic on all streets and bridges; prohibit encroachments or obstacles thereon and, when necessary in the interest of public
welfare, authorize the removal of encroachments and illegal constructions in public places.It then makes a general grant of the police
power. The scope of the legislative authority of the local government is set out in Section 16, to wit:

Section 16. General Welfare. –Every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied
therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are
essential to the promotion of the general welfare.

This provision contains what is traditionally known as the general welfare clause. As expounded in United States vs. Salaveria, 39 Phil
102, the general welfare clause has two branches. One branch attaches itself to the main trunk of municipal authority, and relates to
such ordinances and regulations as may be necessary to carry into effect and discharge the powers and duties conferred upon the
municipal council by law. The second branch of the clause is much more independent of the specific functions of the council, and
authorizes such ordinances as shall seem necessary and proper to provide for health, safety, prosperity and convenience of the
municipality and its inhabitants.

In a vital and critical way, the general welfare clause complements the more specific powers granted a local government. It serves as a
catch-all provision that ensures that the local government will be equipped to meet any local contingency that bears upon the welfare of
its constituents but has not been actually anticipated. So varied and protean are the activities that affect the legitimate interests of the
local inhabitants that it is well-nigh impossible to say beforehand what may or may not be done specifically through law. To ensure that
a local government can react positively to the people’s needs and expectations, the general welfare clause has been devised and
interpreted to allow the local legislative council to enact such measures as the occasion requires.

Founded on clear authority and tradition, Ordinance 1664 may be deemed a legitimate exercise of the police powers of the Sangguniang
Panlungsod of the City of Cebu. This local law authorizes traffic enforcers to immobilize and tow for safekeeping vehicles on the streets
that are illegally parked and to release them upon payment of the announced penalties. As explained in the preamble, it has become
necessary to resort to these measures because of the traffic congestion caused by illegal parking and the inability of existing penalties to
curb it. The ordinance is designed to improve traffic conditions in the City of Cebu and thus shows a real and substantial relation to the
welfare, comfort and convenience of the people of Cebu. The only restrictions to an ordinance passed under the general welfare clause,
as declared in Salaveria, is that the regulation must be reasonable, consonant with the general powers and purposes of the corporation,
consistent with national laws and policies, and not unreasonable or discriminatory. The measure in question undoubtedly comes within
these parameters.

Upon the denial of their respective motions for reconsideration on August 4, 2003, the Jabans and Legaspi came to the Court via
separate petitions for review on certiorari. The appeals were consolidated.

Issues

Based on the submissions of the parties, the following issues are decisive of the challenge, to wit:

1. Whether Ordinance No. 1664was enacted within the ambit of the legislative powers of the City of Cebu; and

2. Whether Ordinance No. 1664complied with the requirements for validity and constitutionality, particularly the limitations set by the
Constitution and the relevant statutes.

Ruling

The petitions for review have nomerit.

A.
Tests for a valid ordinance

In City of Manila v. Laguio, Jr.,18 the Court restatesthe tests of a valid ordinance thusly:

The tests of a valid ordinance are well established. A long line of decisions has held that for an ordinance to be valid, it must not only be
within the corporate powers of the local government unit to enact and must be passed according to the procedure prescribed by law, it
must also conform to the following substantive requirements: (1) must not contravene the Constitution or any statute; (2) must not be
unfair or oppressive;(3) must not be partial or discriminatory; (4) must not prohibit but may regulate trade; (5) must be general and
consistent with public policy; and (6) must not be unreasonable.19

As jurisprudence indicates, the tests are divided into the formal (i.e., whether the ordinance was enacted within the corporate powers of
the LGU, and whether it was passed in accordance with the procedure prescribed by law), and the substantive (i.e.,involving inherent
merit, like the conformity of the ordinance with the limitations under the Constitution and the statutes, as well as with the requirements
of fairness and reason, and its consistency with public policy).

B.
Compliance of Ordinance No. 1664
with the formal requirements

Was the enactment of Ordinance No. 1664 within the corporate powers of the LGU of the City of Cebu?

The answer is in the affirmative. Indeed, with no issues being hereby raised against the formalities attendant to the enactment of
Ordinance No. 1664, we presume its full compliance with the test in that regard. Congress enacted the LGC as the implementing law for
the delegation to the various LGUs of the State’s great powers, namely: the police power, the power of eminent domain, and the power
of taxation. The LGC was fashioned to delineate the specific parameters and limitations to be complied with by each LGU in the exercise
of these delegated powers with the view of making each LGU a fully functioning subdivision of the State subject to the constitutional and
statutory limitations.

In particular, police power is regarded as "the most essential, insistent and the least limitable of powers, extending as it does ‘to all the
great public needs.’"20 It is unquestionably "the power vested in the legislature by the constitution, to make, ordain and establish all
manner of wholesome and reasonable laws, statutes and ordinances, either with penalties or without, not repugnant to the constitution,
as they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of the commonwealth, and of the subject of the same."21 According to Cooley: "[The
police power] embraces the whole system of internal regulation by which the state seeks not only to preserve the public order and to
prevent offences against itself, but also to establish for the intercourse of citizens with citizens, those rules of good manners and good
neighborhood which are calculated to prevent the conflict of rights and to insure to each the uninterrupted enjoyment of his own, so far
as it is reasonably consistent with the right enjoyment of rights by others."22

In point is the exercise by the LGU of the City of Cebu of delegated police power. In Metropolitan Manila Development Authorityv. Bel-
Air Village Association,Inc.,23 the Court cogently observed:

It bears stressing that police power is lodged primarily in the National Legislature. It cannot be exercised by any group or body of
individuals not possessing legislative power. The National Legislature, however, may delegate this power to the President and
administrative boards as well as the lawmaking bodies of municipal corporations or local government units. Once delegated, the agents
can exercise only such legislative powers as are conferred on them by the national lawmaking body. (emphasis supplied)

The CA opined, and correctly so, that vesting cities like the City of Cebu with the legislative power to enact traffic rules and regulations
was expressly done through Section 458 of the LGC, and also generally by virtue of the General Welfare Clause embodied in Section 16
of the LGC.24Section 458of the LGC relevantly states: Section 458. Powers, Duties, Functions and Composition. –(a) The sangguniang
panlungsod, as the legislative body of the city, shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for the general welfare
of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to Section 16 of this Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the city as
provided for under Section 22 of this Code, and shall:

xxxx

(5) Approve ordinances which shall ensure the efficient and effective delivery of the basic services and facilities as provided for under
Section 17 of this Code, and in addition to said services and facilities, shall:

xxxx

(v) Regulate the use of streets, avenues, alleys, sidewalks, bridges, parks and other public places and approve the construction,
improvement repair and maintenance of the same; establish bus and vehicle stops and terminals or regulate the use of the same by
privately-owned vehicles which serve the public; regulate garages and operation of conveyances for hire;designate stands to be occupied
by public vehicles when not in use; regulate the putting up of signs, signposts, awnings and awning posts on the streets; and provide for
the lighting, cleaning and sprinkling of streets and public places;(vi) Regulate traffic on all streets and bridges; prohibit encroachments
or obstacles thereon and, when necessary in the interest of public welfare, authorize the removal of encroachments and illegal
constructions in public places;(emphasis supplied)The foregoing delegation reflected the desire of Congress to leave to the cities
themselves the task of confronting the problem of traffic congestions associated with development and progress because they were
directly familiar with the situations in their respective jurisdictions. Indeed, the LGUs would be in the best position to craft their traffic
codes because of their familiarity with the conditions peculiar to their communities. With the broad latitude in this regard allowed to
the LGUs of the cities ,their traffic regulations must be held valid and effective unless they infringed the constitutional limitations and
statutory safeguards.

C.
Compliance of Ordinance No. 1664
with the substantive requirements

The first substantive requirement for a valid ordinance is the adherence to the constitutional guaranty of due process of law. The
guaranty is embedded in Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution, which ordains:

Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal
protection of the laws.4

The guaranty of due process of law is a constitutional safeguard against any arbitrariness on the part of the Government, whether
committed by the Legislature, the Executive, or the Judiciary. It is a protection essential to every inhabitant of the country, for, as a
commentator on Constitutional Law has vividly written:25

x x x. If the law itself unreasonably deprives a person of his life, liberty, or property, he is denied the protection of due process. If the
enjoyment of his rights is conditioned on an unreasonable requirement, due process is likewise violated. Whatsoever be the source of
such rights, be it the Constitution itself or merely a statute, its unjustified withholding would also be a violation of due process. Any
government act that militates against the ordinary norms of justice or fair play is considered an infraction of the great guaranty of due
process; and this is true whether the denial involves violation merely of the procedure prescribed by the law or affects the very validity
of the law itself.

In City of Manila v. Laguio, Jr.,26 the Court expounded on the aspects of the guaranty of due process of law as a limitation on the acts of
government, viz:

This clause has been interpreted as imposing two separate limits on government, usually called "procedural due process" and
"substantive due process."

Procedural due process, as the phrase implies, refers to the procedures that the government must follow before it deprives a person of
life, liberty, or property. Classic procedural due process issues are concerned with that kind of notice and what form of hearing the
government must provide when it takes a particular action.

Substantive due process, as that phrase connotes, asks whether the government has an adequate reason for taking away a person’s life,
liberty, or property. In other words, substantive due process looks to whether there is sufficient justification for the government’s
action. Case law in the United States (U.S.) tells us that whether there is such a justification depends very much on the level of scrutiny
used. For example, if a law is in an area where only rational basis review is applied, substantive due process is met so long as the law is
rationally related to a legitimate government purpose. But if it is an area where strict scrutiny is used, such as for protecting
fundamental rights, then the government will meet substantive due process only if it can prove that the law is necessary to achieve a
compelling government purpose.

The police power granted to local government units must always be exercised with utmost observance of the rights of the people to due
process and equal protection of the law. Such power cannot be exercised whimsically, arbitrarily or despotically as its exercise is subject
to a qualification, limitation or restriction demanded by the respect and regard due to the prescription of the fundamental law,
particularly those forming part of the Bill of Rights. Individual rights, it bears emphasis, may be adversely affected only to the extent
that may fairly be required by the legitimate demands of public interest or public welfare. Due process requires the intrinsic validity of
the law in interfering with the rights of the person to his life, liberty and property.27
The Jabans contend that Ordinance No. 1664, by leaving the confiscation and immobilization of the motor vehicles to the traffic
enforcers or the regular personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) instead of to officials exercising judicial authority, was
violative of the constitutional guaranty of due process; that such confiscation and immobilization should only be after a hearing on the
merits by courts of law; and that the immobilization and the clamping of the cars and motor vehicles by the police or traffic enforcers
could be subject to abuse.

On his part, Legaspi likewise contends that Ordinance No. 1664 violated the constitutional guaranty of due process for being arbitrary
and oppressive; and that its provisions conferring upon the traffic enforcers the absolute discretion to be the enforcers, prosecutors,
judges and collectors all at the same time were vague and ambiguous.28 He reminds that the grant of police powers for the general
welfare under the LGC was not unlimited but subject to constitutional limitations;29and that these consolidated cases should not be
resolved differently from the resolution of a third case assailing the validity of Ordinance No.1664 (Astillero case), in which the decision
of the same RTC declaring Ordinance No.1664 as unconstitutional had attained finality following the denial of due course to the appeal
of the City of Cebu and its co-defendants.

Judged according to the foregoing enunciation of the guaranty of due process of law, the contentions of the petitioners cannot be
sustained.1âwphi1 Even under strict scrutiny review, Ordinance No. 1664 met the substantive tests of validity and constitutionality by
its conformity with the limitations under the Constitution and the statutes, as well as with the requirements of fairness and reason, and
its consistency with public policy.

To us, the terms encroachment and obstacles used in Section 458 of the LGC, supra, were broad enough to include illegally parked
vehicles or whatever else obstructed the streets, alleys and sidewalks, which were precisely the subject of Ordinance No. 1664 in a
vowedly aiming to ensure "a smooth flow of vehicular traffic in all the streets in the City of Cebu at all times" (Section 1). This aim was
borne out by its Whereas Clauses, viz:

WHEREAS, the City of Cebu enacted the Traffic Code (Ordinance No. 801) as amended, provided for Parking Restrictions and Parking
Prohibitions in the streets of Cebu City;

WHEREAS, despite the restrictions and prohibitions of parking on certain streets of Cebu City, violations continued unabated due,
among others, to the very low penalties imposed under the Traffic Code of Cebu City;

WHEREAS, City Ordinance 1642 was enacted in order to address the traffic congestions caused by illegal parkings in the streets of Cebu
City;

WHEREAS, there is a need to amend City Ordinance No.1642 in order to fully address and solve the problem of illegal parking and
other violations of the Traffic Code of Cebu City;30 (emphasis supplied)

Considering that traffic congestions were already retarding the growth and progress in the population and economic centers of the
country, the plain objective of Ordinance No. 1664 was to serve the public interest and advance the general welfare in the City of Cebu.
Its adoption was, therefore, in order to fulfill the compelling government purpose of immediately addressing the burgeoning traffic
congestions caused by illegally parked vehicles obstructing the streets of the City of Cebu.

Legaspi’s attack against the provisions of Ordinance No. 1664 for being vague and ambiguous cannot stand scrutiny.1âwphi1 As can be
readily seen, its text was for thright and unambiguous in all respects. There could be no confusion on the meaning and coverage of the
ordinance. But should there be any vagueness and ambiguity in the provisions, which the OSG does not concede,31 there was nothing
that a proper application of the basic rules of statutory construction could not justly rectify.

The petitioners further assert that drivers or vehicle owners affected by Ordinance No. 1664 like themselves were not accorded the
opportunity to protest the clamping, towing, and impounding of the vehicles, or even to be heard and to explain their side prior to the
immobilization of their vehicles; and that the ordinance was oppressive and arbitrary for that reason.

The adverse assertions against Ordinance No. 1664 are unwarranted.

Firstly, Ordinance No. 1664 was far from oppressive and arbitrary. Any driver or vehicle owner whose vehicle was immobilized by
clamping could protest such action of a traffic enforcer or PNP personnel enforcing the ordinance. Section 3 of Ordinance No. 1664,
supra, textually afforded an administrative escape in the form of permitting the release of the immobilized vehicle upon a protest
directly made to the Chairman of CITOM; or to the Chairman of the Committee on Police, Fire and Penology of the City of Cebu; or to
Asst. City Prosecutor Felipe Belciña–officials named in the ordinance itself. The release could be ordered by any of such officials even
without the payment of the stipulated fine. That none of the petitioners, albeit lawyers all, resorted to such recourse did not diminish
the fairness and reasonableness of the escape clause written in the ordinance. Secondly, the immobilization of a vehicle by clamping
pursuant to the ordinance was not necessary if the driver or vehicle owner was around at the time of the apprehension for illegal parking
or obstruction. In that situation, the enforcer would simply either require the driver to move the vehicle or issue a traffic citation should
the latter persist in his violation. The clamping would happen only to prevent the transgress or from using the vehicle itself to escape the
due sanctions. And, lastly, the towing away of the immobilized vehicle was not equivalent to a summary impounding, but designed to
prevent the immobilized vehicle from obstructing traffic in the vicinity of the apprehension and thereby ensure the smooth flow of
traffic. The owner of the towed vehicle would not be deprived of his property.

In fine, the circumstances set forth herein indicate that Ordinance No. 1664 complied with the elements of fairness and reasonableness.

Did Ordinance No. 1664 meet the requirements of procedural due process?

Notice and hearing are the essential requirements of procedural due process. Yet, there are many instances under our laws in which the
absence of one or both of such requirements is not necessarily a denial or deprivation of due process. Among the instances are the
cancellation of the passport of a person being sought for the commission of a crime, the preventive suspension of a civil servant facing
administrative charges, the distraint of properties to answer for tax delinquencies, the padlocking of restaurants found to be unsanitary
or of theaters showing obscene movies, and the abatement of nuisance per se.32 Add to them the arrest of a person in flagrante
delicto.33

The clamping of the petitioners’ vehicles pursuant to Ordinance No. 1664 (and of the vehicles of others similarly situated) was of the
same character as the aforecited established exceptions dispensing with notice and hearing. As already said, the immobilization of
illegally parked vehicles by clamping the tires was necessary because the transgressors were not around at the time of apprehension.
Under such circumstance, notice and hearing would be superfluous. Nor should the lack of a trial-type hearing prior to the clamping
constitute a breach of procedural due process, forgiving the transgressors the chance to reverse the apprehensions through a timely
protest could equally satisfy the need for a hearing. In other words, the prior intervention of a court of law was not indispensable to
ensure a compliance with the guaranty of due process.

To reiterate, the clamping of the illegally parked vehicles was a fair and reasonable way to enforce the ordinance against its
transgressors; otherwise, the transgressors would evade liability by simply driving away.

Finally, Legaspi’s position, that the final decision of the RTC rendered in the Astillero case declaring Ordinance No. 1664
unconstitutional bound the City of Cebu, thereby precluding these consolidated appeals from being decided differently, is utterly
untenable. For one, Legaspi undeservedly extends too much importance to an irrelevant decision of the RTC–irrelevant, because the
connection between that case to these cases was not at all shown. For another, he ignores that it should be the RTC that had improperly
acted for so deciding the Astillero case despite the appeals in these cases being already pending in the CA. Being the same court in the
three cases, the RTC should have anticipated that in the regular course of proceedings the outcome of the appeal in these cases then
pending before the CA would ultimately be elevated to and determined by no less than the Court itself. Such anticipation should have
made it refrain from declaring Ordinance No. 1664 unconstitutional, for a lower court like itself, appreciating its position in the
"interrelation and operation of the integrated judicial system of the nation," should have exercised a "becoming modesty" on the issue of
the constitutionality of the same ordinance that the Constitution required the majority vote of the Members of the Court sitting en bane
to determine.34 Such "becoming modesty" also forewarned that any declaration of unconstitutionality by an inferior court was binding
only on the parties, but that a declaration of unconstitutionality by the Court would be a precedent binding on all. 35

WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the pet1t10ns for review on certiorari for their lack of merit; AFFIRMS the decision promulgated on
June 16, 2003 by the Court of Appeals; and ORDERS the petitioners to pay the costs of suit.
G.R. No. 111097 July 20, 1994

MAYOR PABLO P. MAGTAJAS & THE CITY OF CAGAYAN DE ORO, petitioners,


vs.
PRYCE PROPERTIES CORPORATION, INC. & PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT AND GAMING CORPORATION, respondents.

Aquilino G. Pimentel, Jr. and Associates for petitioners.

R.R. Torralba & Associates for private respondent.

CRUZ, J.:

There was instant opposition when PAGCOR announced the opening of a casino in Cagayan de Oro City. Civic organizations angrily
denounced the project. The religious elements echoed the objection and so did the women's groups and the youth. Demonstrations were
led by the mayor and the city legislators. The media trumpeted the protest, describing the casino as an affront to the welfare of the city.

The trouble arose when in 1992, flush with its tremendous success in several cities, PAGCOR decided to expand its operations to
Cagayan de Oro City. To this end, it leased a portion of a building belonging to Pryce Properties Corporation, Inc., one of the herein
private respondents, renovated and equipped the same, and prepared to inaugurate its casino there during the Christmas season.

The reaction of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cagayan de Oro City was swift and hostile. On December 7, 1992, it enacted Ordinance
No. 3353 reading as follows:

ORDINANCE NO. 3353

AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING THE ISSUANCE OF BUSINESS PERMIT AND CANCELLING EXISTING BUSINESS PERMIT TO
ANY ESTABLISHMENT FOR THE USING AND ALLOWING TO BE USED ITS PREMISES OR PORTION THEREOF FOR THE
OPERATION OF CASINO.

BE IT ORDAINED by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Cagayan de Oro, in session assembled that:

Sec. 1. — That pursuant to the policy of the city banning the operation of casino within its territorial jurisdiction, no business permit
shall be issued to any person, partnership or corporation for the operation of casino within the city limits.

Sec. 2. — That it shall be a violation of existing business permit by any persons, partnership or corporation to use its business
establishment or portion thereof, or allow the use thereof by others for casino operation and other gambling activities.

Sec. 3. — PENALTIES. — Any violation of such existing business permit as defined in the preceding section shall suffer the following
penalties, to wit:

a) Suspension of the business permit for sixty (60) days for the first offense and a fine of P1,000.00/day

b) Suspension of the business permit for Six (6) months for the second offense, and a fine of P3,000.00/day

c) Permanent revocation of the business permit and imprisonment of One (1) year, for the third and subsequent offenses.

Sec. 4. — This Ordinance shall take effect ten (10) days from publication thereof.

Nor was this all. On January 4, 1993, it adopted a sterner Ordinance No. 3375-93 reading as follows:

ORDINANCE NO. 3375-93

AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING THE OPERATION OF CASINO AND PROVIDING PENALTY FOR VIOLATION THEREFOR.

WHEREAS, the City Council established a policy as early as 1990 against CASINO under its Resolution No. 2295;

WHEREAS, on October 14, 1992, the City Council passed another Resolution No. 2673, reiterating its policy against the establishment
of CASINO;

WHEREAS, subsequently, thereafter, it likewise passed Ordinance No. 3353, prohibiting the issuance of Business Permit and to cancel
existing Business Permit to any establishment for the using and allowing to be used its premises or portion thereof for the operation of
CASINO;

WHEREAS, under Art. 3, section 458, No. (4), sub paragraph VI of the Local Government Code of 1991 (Rep. Act 7160) and under Art.
99, No. (4), Paragraph VI of the implementing rules of the Local Government Code, the City Council as the Legislative Body shall enact
measure to suppress any activity inimical to public morals and general welfare of the people and/or regulate or prohibit such activity
pertaining to amusement or entertainment in order to protect social and moral welfare of the community;

NOW THEREFORE,

BE IT ORDAINED by the City Council in session duly assembled that:

Sec. 1. — The operation of gambling CASINO in the City of Cagayan de Oro is hereby prohibited.

Sec. 2. — Any violation of this Ordinance shall be subject to the following penalties:

a) Administrative fine of P5,000.00 shall be imposed against the proprietor, partnership or corporation undertaking the
operation, conduct, maintenance of gambling CASINO in the City and closure thereof;

b) Imprisonment of not less than six (6) months nor more than one (1) year or a fine in the amount of P5,000.00 or both at the
discretion of the court against the manager, supervisor, and/or any person responsible in the establishment, conduct and maintenance
of gambling CASINO.
Sec. 3. — This Ordinance shall take effect ten (10) days after its publication in a local newspaper of general circulation.

Pryce assailed the ordinances before the Court of Appeals, where it was joined by PAGCOR as intervenor and supplemental petitioner.
Their challenge succeeded. On March 31, 1993, the Court of Appeals declared the ordinances invalid and issued the writ prayed for to
prohibit their enforcement. 1 Reconsideration of this decision was denied on July 13, 1993. 2

Cagayan de Oro City and its mayor are now before us in this petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. 3 They aver that the
respondent Court of Appeals erred in holding that:

1. Under existing laws, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Cagayan de Oro does not have the power and authority to
prohibit the establishment and operation of a PAGCOR gambling casino within the City's territorial limits.

2. The phrase "gambling and other prohibited games of chance" found in Sec. 458, par. (a), sub-par. (1) — (v) of R.A. 7160 could
only mean "illegal gambling."

3. The questioned Ordinances in effect annul P.D. 1869 and are therefore invalid on that point.

4. The questioned Ordinances are discriminatory to casino and partial to cockfighting and are therefore invalid on that point.

5. The questioned Ordinances are not reasonable, not consonant with the general powers and purposes of the instrumentality
concerned and inconsistent with the laws or policy of the State.

6. It had no option but to follow the ruling in the case of Basco, et al. v. PAGCOR, G.R. No. 91649, May 14, 1991, 197 SCRA 53 in
disposing of the issues presented in this present case.

PAGCOR is a corporation created directly by P.D. 1869 to help centralize and regulate all games of chance, including casinos on land
and sea within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines. In Basco v. Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation, 4 this Court
sustained the constitutionality of the decree and even cited the benefits of the entity to the national economy as the third highest
revenue-earner in the government, next only to the BIR and the Bureau of Customs.

Cagayan de Oro City, like other local political subdivisions, is empowered to enact ordinances for the purposes indicated in the Local
Government Code. It is expressly vested with the police power under what is known as the General Welfare Clause now embodied in
Section 16 as follows:

Sec. 16. — General Welfare. — Every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied
therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are
essential to the promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial jurisdictions, local government units shall ensure
and support, among other things, the preservation and enrichment of culture, promote health and safety, enhance the right of the
people to a balanced ecology, encourage and support the development of appropriate and self-reliant scientific and technological
capabilities, improve public morals, enhance economic prosperity and social justice, promote full employment among their residents,
maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants.

In addition, Section 458 of the said Code specifically declares that:

Sec. 458. — Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation. — (a) The Sangguniang Panlungsod, as the legislative body of the city, shall
enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to Section
16 of this Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the city as provided for under Section 22 of this Code, and shall:

(1) Approve ordinances and pass resolutions necessary for an efficient and effective city government, and in this connection, shall:

xxx xxx xxx

(v) Enact ordinances intended to prevent, suppress and impose appropriate penalties for habitual drunkenness in public places,
vagrancy, mendicancy, prostitution, establishment and maintenance of houses of ill repute, gambling and other prohibited games of
chance, fraudulent devices and ways to obtain money or property, drug addiction, maintenance of drug dens, drug pushing, juvenile
delinquency, the printing, distribution or exhibition of obscene or pornographic materials or publications, and such other activities
inimical to the welfare and morals of the inhabitants of the city;

This section also authorizes the local government units to regulate properties and businesses within their territorial limits in the interest
of the general welfare. 5

The petitioners argue that by virtue of these provisions, the Sangguniang Panlungsod may prohibit the operation of casinos because
they involve games of chance, which are detrimental to the people. Gambling is not allowed by general law and even by the Constitution
itself. The legislative power conferred upon local government units may be exercised over all kinds of gambling and not only over
"illegal gambling" as the respondents erroneously argue. Even if the operation of casinos may have been permitted under P.D. 1869, the
government of Cagayan de Oro City has the authority to prohibit them within its territory pursuant to the authority entrusted to it by
the Local Government Code.

It is submitted that this interpretation is consonant with the policy of local autonomy as mandated in Article II, Section 25, and Article
X of the Constitution, as well as various other provisions therein seeking to strengthen the character of the nation. In giving the local
government units the power to prevent or suppress gambling and other social problems, the Local Government Code has recognized the
competence of such communities to determine and adopt the measures best expected to promote the general welfare of their
inhabitants in line with the policies of the State.

The petitioners also stress that when the Code expressly authorized the local government units to prevent and suppress gambling and
other prohibited games of chance, like craps, baccarat, blackjack and roulette, it meant all forms of gambling without distinction. Ubi
lex non distinguit, nec nos distinguere debemos. 6 Otherwise, it would have expressly excluded from the scope of their power casinos
and other forms of gambling authorized by special law, as it could have easily done. The fact that it did not do so simply means that the
local government units are permitted to prohibit all kinds of gambling within their territories, including the operation of casinos.

The adoption of the Local Government Code, it is pointed out, had the effect of modifying the charter of the PAGCOR. The Code is not
only a later enactment than P.D. 1869 and so is deemed to prevail in case of inconsistencies between them. More than this, the powers
of the PAGCOR under the decree are expressly discontinued by the Code insofar as they do not conform to its philosophy and
provisions, pursuant to Par. (f) of its repealing clause reading as follows:
(f) All general and special laws, acts, city charters, decrees, executive orders, proclamations and administrative regulations, or
part or parts thereof which are inconsistent with any of the provisions of this Code are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.

It is also maintained that assuming there is doubt regarding the effect of the Local Government Code on P.D. 1869, the doubt must be
resolved in favor of the petitioners, in accordance with the direction in the Code calling for its liberal interpretation in favor of the local
government units. Section 5 of the Code specifically provides:

Sec. 5. Rules of Interpretation. — In the interpretation of the provisions of this Code, the following rules shall apply:

(a) Any provision on a power of a local government unit shall be liberally interpreted in its favor, and in case of doubt, any
question thereon shall be resolved in favor of devolution of powers and of the lower local government unit. Any fair and reasonable
doubt as to the existence of the power shall be interpreted in favor of the local government unit concerned;

xxx xxx xxx

(c) The general welfare provisions in this Code shall be liberally interpreted to give more powers to local government units in
accelerating economic development and upgrading the quality of life for the people in the community; . . . (Emphasis supplied.)

Finally, the petitioners also attack gambling as intrinsically harmful and cite various provisions of the Constitution and several decisions
of this Court expressive of the general and official disapprobation of the vice. They invoke the State policies on the family and the proper
upbringing of the youth and, as might be expected, call attention to the old case of U.S. v. Salaveria,7 which sustained a municipal
ordinance prohibiting the playing of panguingue. The petitioners decry the immorality of gambling. They also impugn the wisdom of
P.D. 1869 (which they describe as "a martial law instrument") in creating PAGCOR and authorizing it to operate casinos "on land and
sea within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines."

This is the opportune time to stress an important point.

The morality of gambling is not a justiciable issue. Gambling is not illegal per se. While it is generally considered inimical to the
interests of the people, there is nothing in the Constitution categorically proscribing or penalizing gambling or, for that matter, even
mentioning it at all. It is left to Congress to deal with the activity as it sees fit. In the exercise of its own discretion, the legislature may
prohibit gambling altogether or allow it without limitation or it may prohibit some forms of gambling and allow others for whatever
reasons it may consider sufficient. Thus, it has prohibited jueteng and monte but permits lotteries, cockfighting and horse-racing. In
making such choices, Congress has consulted its own wisdom, which this Court has no authority to review, much less reverse. Well has
it been said that courts do not sit to resolve the merits of conflicting theories. 8 That is the prerogative of the political departments. It is
settled that questions regarding the wisdom, morality, or practicibility of statutes are not addressed to the judiciary but may be resolved
only by the legislative and executive departments, to which the function belongs in our scheme of government. That function is
exclusive. Whichever way these branches decide, they are answerable only to their own conscience and the constituents who will
ultimately judge their acts, and not to the courts of justice.

The only question we can and shall resolve in this petition is the validity of Ordinance No. 3355 and Ordinance No. 3375-93 as enacted
by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cagayan de Oro City. And we shall do so only by the criteria laid down by law and not by our own
convictions on the propriety of gambling.

The tests of a valid ordinance are well established. A long line of decisions 9 has held that to be valid, an ordinance must conform to the
following substantive requirements:

1) It must not contravene the constitution or any statute.

2) It must not be unfair or oppressive.

3) It must not be partial or discriminatory.

4) It must not prohibit but may regulate trade.

5) It must be general and consistent with public policy.

6) It must not be unreasonable.

We begin by observing that under Sec. 458 of the Local Government Code, local government units are authorized to prevent or
suppress, among others, "gambling and other prohibited games of chance." Obviously, this provision excludes games of chance which
are not prohibited but are in fact permitted by law. The petitioners are less than accurate in claiming that the Code could have excluded
such games of chance but did not. In fact it does. The language of the section is clear and unmistakable. Under the rule of noscitur a
sociis, a word or phrase should be interpreted in relation to, or given the same meaning of, words with which it is associated.
Accordingly, we conclude that since the word "gambling" is associated with "and other prohibited games of chance," the word should be
read as referring to only illegal gambling which, like the other prohibited games of chance, must be prevented or suppressed.

We could stop here as this interpretation should settle the problem quite conclusively. But we will not. The vigorous efforts of the
petitioners on behalf of the inhabitants of Cagayan de Oro City, and the earnestness of their advocacy, deserve more than short shrift
from this Court.

The apparent flaw in the ordinances in question is that they contravene P.D. 1869 and the public policy embodied therein insofar as
they prevent PAGCOR from exercising the power conferred on it to operate a casino in Cagayan de Oro City. The petitioners have an
ingenious answer to this misgiving. They deny that it is the ordinances that have changed P.D. 1869 for an ordinance admittedly cannot
prevail against a statute. Their theory is that the change has been made by the Local Government Code itself, which was also enacted by
the national lawmaking authority. In their view, the decree has been, not really repealed by the Code, but merely "modified pro tanto" in
the sense that PAGCOR cannot now operate a casino over the objection of the local government unit concerned. This modification of
P.D. 1869 by the Local Government Code is permissible because one law can change or repeal another law.

It seems to us that the petitioners are playing with words. While insisting that the decree has only been "modified pro tanto," they are
actually arguing that it is already dead, repealed and useless for all intents and purposes because the Code has shorn PAGCOR of all
power to centralize and regulate casinos. Strictly speaking, its operations may now be not only prohibited by the local government unit;
in fact, the prohibition is not only discretionary but mandated by Section 458 of the Code if the word "shall" as used therein is to be
given its accepted meaning. Local government units have now no choice but to prevent and suppress gambling, which in the petitioners'
view includes both legal and illegal gambling. Under this construction, PAGCOR will have no more games of chance to regulate or
centralize as they must all be prohibited by the local government units pursuant to the mandatory duty imposed upon them by the Code.
In this situation, PAGCOR cannot continue to exist except only as a toothless tiger or a white elephant and will no longer be able to
exercise its powers as a prime source of government revenue through the operation of casinos.

It is noteworthy that the petitioners have cited only Par. (f) of the repealing clause, conveniently discarding the rest of the provision
which painstakingly mentions the specific laws or the parts thereof which are repealed (or modified) by the Code. Significantly, P.D.
1869 is not one of them. A reading of the entire repealing clause, which is reproduced below, will disclose the omission:

Sec. 534. Repealing Clause. — (a) Batas Pambansa Blg. 337, otherwise known as the "Local Government Code," Executive Order No. 112
(1987), and Executive Order No. 319 (1988) are hereby repealed.

(b) Presidential Decree Nos. 684, 1191, 1508 and such other decrees, orders, instructions, memoranda and issuances related to or
concerning the barangay are hereby repealed.

(c) The provisions of Sections 2, 3, and 4 of Republic Act No. 1939 regarding hospital fund; Section 3, a (3) and b (2) of Republic
Act. No. 5447 regarding the Special Education Fund; Presidential Decree No. 144 as amended by Presidential Decree Nos. 559 and 1741;
Presidential Decree No. 231 as amended; Presidential Decree No. 436 as amended by Presidential Decree No. 558; and Presidential
Decree Nos. 381, 436, 464, 477, 526, 632, 752, and 1136 are hereby repealed and rendered of no force and effect.

(d) Presidential Decree No. 1594 is hereby repealed insofar as it governs locally-funded projects.

(e) The following provisions are hereby repealed or amended insofar as they are inconsistent with the provisions of this Code:
Sections 2, 16, and 29 of Presidential Decree No. 704; Sections 12 of Presidential Decree No. 87, as amended; Sections 52, 53, 66, 67, 68,
69, 70, 71, 72, 73, and 74 of Presidential Decree No. 463, as amended; and Section 16 of Presidential Decree No. 972, as amended, and

(f) All general and special laws, acts, city charters, decrees, executive orders, proclamations and administrative regulations, or
part or parts thereof which are inconsistent with any of the provisions of this Code are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.

Furthermore, it is a familiar rule that implied repeals are not lightly presumed in the absence of a clear and unmistakable showing of
such intention. In Lichauco & Co. v. Apostol, 10 this Court explained:

The cases relating to the subject of repeal by implication all proceed on the assumption that if the act of later date clearly reveals an
intention on the part of the lawmaking power to abrogate the prior law, this intention must be given effect; but there must always be a
sufficient revelation of this intention, and it has become an unbending rule of statutory construction that the intention to repeal a
former law will not be imputed to the Legislature when it appears that the two statutes, or provisions, with reference to which the
question arises bear to each other the relation of general to special.

There is no sufficient indication of an implied repeal of P.D. 1869. On the contrary, as the private respondent points out, PAGCOR is
mentioned as the source of funding in two later enactments of Congress, to wit, R.A. 7309, creating a Board of Claims under the
Department of Justice for the benefit of victims of unjust punishment or detention or of violent crimes, and R.A. 7648, providing for
measures for the solution of the power crisis. PAGCOR revenues are tapped by these two statutes. This would show that the PAGCOR
charter has not been repealed by the Local Government Code but has in fact been improved as it were to make the entity more
responsive to the fiscal problems of the government.

It is a canon of legal hermeneutics that instead of pitting one statute against another in an inevitably destructive confrontation, courts
must exert every effort to reconcile them, remembering that both laws deserve a becoming respect as the handiwork of a coordinate
branch of the government. On the assumption of a conflict between P.D. 1869 and the Code, the proper action is not to uphold one and
annul the other but to give effect to both by harmonizing them if possible. This is possible in the case before us. The proper resolution of
the problem at hand is to hold that under the Local Government Code, local government units may (and indeed must) prevent and
suppress all kinds of gambling within their territories except only those allowed by statutes like P.D. 1869. The exception reserved in
such laws must be read into the Code, to make both the Code and such laws equally effective and mutually complementary.

This approach would also affirm that there are indeed two kinds of gambling, to wit, the illegal and those authorized by law. Legalized
gambling is not a modern concept; it is probably as old as illegal gambling, if not indeed more so. The petitioners' suggestion that the
Code authorizes them to prohibit all kinds of gambling would erase the distinction between these two forms of gambling without a clear
indication that this is the will of the legislature. Plausibly, following this theory, the City of Manila could, by mere ordinance, prohibit
the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office from conducting a lottery as authorized by R.A. 1169 and B.P. 42 or stop the races at the San
Lazaro Hippodrome as authorized by R.A. 309 and R.A. 983.

In light of all the above considerations, we see no way of arriving at the conclusion urged on us by the petitioners that the ordinances in
question are valid. On the contrary, we find that the ordinances violate P.D. 1869, which has the character and force of a statute, as well
as the public policy expressed in the decree allowing the playing of certain games of chance despite the prohibition of gambling in
general.

The rationale of the requirement that the ordinances should not contravene a statute is obvious. Municipal governments are only agents
of the national government. Local councils exercise only delegated legislative powers conferred on them by Congress as the national
lawmaking body. The delegate cannot be superior to the principal or exercise powers higher than those of the latter. It is a heresy to
suggest that the local government units can undo the acts of Congress, from which they have derived their power in the first place, and
negate by mere ordinance the mandate of the statute.

Municipal corporations owe their origin to, and derive their powers and rights wholly from the legislature. It breathes into them the
breath of life, without which they cannot exist. As it creates, so it may destroy. As it may destroy, it may abridge and control. Unless
there is some constitutional limitation on the right, the legislature might, by a single act, and if we can suppose it capable of so great a
folly and so great a wrong, sweep from existence all of the municipal corporations in the State, and the corporation could not prevent it.
We know of no limitation on the right so far as to the corporation themselves are concerned. They are, so to phrase it, the mere tenants
at will of the legislature. 11

This basic relationship between the national legislature and the local government units has not been enfeebled by the new provisions in
the Constitution strengthening the policy of local autonomy. Without meaning to detract from that policy, we here confirm that
Congress retains control of the local government units although in significantly reduced degree now than under our previous
Constitutions. The power to create still includes the power to destroy. The power to grant still includes the power to withhold or recall.
True, there are certain notable innovations in the Constitution, like the direct conferment on the local government units of the power to
tax, 12 which cannot now be withdrawn by mere statute. By and large, however, the national legislature is still the principal of the local
government units, which cannot defy its will or modify or violate it.

The Court understands and admires the concern of the petitioners for the welfare of their constituents and their apprehensions that the
welfare of Cagayan de Oro City will be endangered by the opening of the casino. We share the view that "the hope of large or easy gain,
obtained without special effort, turns the head of the workman" 13 and that "habitual gambling is a cause of laziness and ruin." 14 In
People v. Gorostiza, 15 we declared: "The social scourge of gambling must be stamped out. The laws against gambling must be enforced
to the limit." George Washington called gambling "the child of avarice, the brother of iniquity and the father of mischief." Nevertheless,
we must recognize the power of the legislature to decide, in its own wisdom, to legalize certain forms of gambling, as was done in P.D.
1869 and impliedly affirmed in the Local Government Code. That decision can be revoked by this Court only if it contravenes the
Constitution as the touchstone of all official acts. We do not find such contravention here.

We hold that the power of PAGCOR to centralize and regulate all games of chance, including casinos on land and sea within the
territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines, remains unimpaired. P.D. 1869 has not been modified by the Local Government Code, which
empowers the local government units to prevent or suppress only those forms of gambling prohibited by law.

Casino gambling is authorized by P.D. 1869. This decree has the status of a statute that cannot be amended or nullified by a mere
ordinance. Hence, it was not competent for the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cagayan de Oro City to enact Ordinance No. 3353
prohibiting the use of buildings for the operation of a casino and Ordinance No. 3375-93 prohibiting the operation of casinos. For all
their praiseworthy motives, these ordinances are contrary to P.D. 1869 and the public policy announced therein and are therefore ultra
vires and void.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the challenged decision of the respondent Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED, with costs
against the petitioners. It is so ordered.
G.R. No. L-31195 June 5, 1973

PHILIPPINE BLOOMING MILLS EMPLOYMENT ORGANIZATION, NICANOR TOLENTINO, FLORENCIO, PADRIGANO RUFINO,
ROXAS MARIANO DE LEON, ASENCION PACIENTE, BONIFACIO VACUNA, BENJAMIN PAGCU and RODULFO MUNSOD,
petitioners,
vs.
PHILIPPINE BLOOMING MILLS CO., INC. and COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, respondents.

L.S. Osorio & P.B. Castillo and J.C. Espinas & Associates for petitioners.

Demetrio B. Salem & Associates for private respondent.

MAKASIAR, J.:

The petitioner Philippine Blooming Mills Employees Organization (hereinafter referred to as PBMEO) is a legitimate labor union
composed of the employees of the respondent Philippine Blooming Mills Co., Inc., and petitioners Nicanor Tolentino, Florencio
Padrigano, Rufino Roxas, Mariano de Leon, Asencion Paciente, Bonifacio Vacuna, Benjamin Pagcu and Rodulfo Munsod are officers
and members of the petitioner Union.

Petitioners claim that on March 1, 1969, they decided to stage a mass demonstration at Malacañang on March 4, 1969, in protest against
alleged abuses of the Pasig police, to be participated in by the workers in the first shift (from 6 A.M. to 2 P.M.) as well as those in the
regular second and third shifts (from 7 A.M. to 4 P.M. and from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M., respectively); and that they informed the respondent
Company of their proposed demonstration.

The questioned order dated September 15, 1969, of Associate Judge Joaquin M. Salvador of the respondent Court reproduced the
following stipulation of facts of the parties — parties —

3. That on March 2, 1969 complainant company learned of the projected mass demonstration at Malacañang in protest against
alleged abuses of the Pasig Police Department to be participated by the first shift (6:00 AM-2:00 PM) workers as well as those working
in the regular shifts (7:00 A.M. to 4:00 PM and 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM) in the morning of March 4, 1969;

4. That a meeting was called by the Company on March 3, 1969 at about 11:00 A.M. at the Company's canteen, and those present
were: for the Company: (1) Mr. Arthur L. Ang (2) Atty. S. de Leon, Jr., (3) and all department and section heads. For the PBMEO (1)
Florencio Padrigano, (2) Rufino Roxas, (3) Mariano de Leon, (4) Asencion Paciente, (5) Bonifacio Vacuna and (6) Benjamin Pagcu.

5. That the Company asked the union panel to confirm or deny said projected mass demonstration at Malacañang on March 4,
1969. PBMEO thru Benjamin Pagcu who acted as spokesman of the union panel, confirmed the planned demonstration and stated that
the demonstration or rally cannot be cancelled because it has already been agreed upon in the meeting. Pagcu explained further that the
demonstration has nothing to do with the Company because the union has no quarrel or dispute with Management;

6. That Management, thru Atty. C.S. de Leon, Company personnel manager, informed PBMEO that the demonstration is an
inalienable right of the union guaranteed by the Constitution but emphasized, however, that any demonstration for that matter should
not unduly prejudice the normal operation of the Company. For which reason, the Company, thru Atty. C.S. de Leon warned the
PBMEO representatives that workers who belong to the first and regular shifts, who without previous leave of absence approved by the
Company, particularly , the officers present who are the organizers of the demonstration, who shall fail to report for work the following
morning (March 4, 1969) shall be dismissed, because such failure is a violation of the existing CBA and, therefore, would be amounting
to an illegal strike;

7. That at about 5:00 P.M. on March 3, 1969, another meeting was convoked Company represented by Atty. C.S. de Leon, Jr. The
Union panel was composed of: Nicanor Tolentino, Rodolfo Munsod, Benjamin Pagcu and Florencio Padrigano. In this afternoon
meeting of March 3, 1969, Company reiterated and appealed to the PBMEO representatives that while all workers may join the
Malacañang demonstration, the workers for the first and regular shift of March 4, 1969 should be excused from joining the
demonstration and should report for work; and thus utilize the workers in the 2nd and 3rd shifts in order not to violate the provisions of
the CBA, particularly Article XXIV: NO LOCKOUT — NO STRIKE'. All those who will not follow this warning of the Company shall be
dismiss; De Leon reiterated the Company's warning that the officers shall be primarily liable being the organizers of the mass
demonstration. The union panel countered that it was rather too late to change their plans inasmuch as the Malacañang demonstration
will be held the following morning; and

8. That a certain Mr. Wilfredo Ariston, adviser of PBMEO sent a cablegram to the Company which was received 9:50 A.M., March
4, 1969, the contents of which are as follows: 'REITERATING REQUEST EXCUSE DAY SHIFT EMPLOYEES JOINING
DEMONSTRATION MARCH 4, 1969.' (Pars. 3-8, Annex "F", pp. 42-43, rec.)

Because the petitioners and their members numbering about 400 proceeded with the demonstration despite the pleas of the respondent
Company that the first shift workers should not be required to participate in the demonstration and that the workers in the second and
third shifts should be utilized for the demonstration from 6 A.M. to 2 P.M. on March 4, 1969, respondent Company prior notice of the
mass demonstration on March 4, 1969, with the respondent Court, a charge against petitioners and other employees who composed the
first shift, charging them with a "violation of Section 4(a)-6 in relation to Sections 13 and 14, as well as Section 15, all of Republic Act
No. 875, and of the CBA providing for 'No Strike and No Lockout.' " (Annex "A", pp. 19-20, rec.). The charge was accompanied by the
joint affidavit of Arthur L. Ang and Cesareo de Leon, Jr. (Annex "B", pp. 21-24, rec.). Thereafter, a corresponding complaint was filed,
dated April 18, 1969, by Acting Chief Prosecutor Antonio T. Tirona and Acting Prosecutor Linda P. Ilagan (Annex "C", pp. 25-30, rec.)

In their answer, dated May 9, 1969, herein petitioners claim that they did not violate the existing CBA because they gave the respondent
Company prior notice of the mass demonstration on March 4, 1969; that the said mass demonstration was a valid exercise of their
constitutional freedom of speech against the alleged abuses of some Pasig policemen; and that their mass demonstration was not a
declaration of strike because it was not directed against the respondent firm (Annex "D", pp. 31-34, rec.)

After considering the aforementioned stipulation of facts submitted by the parties, Judge Joaquin M. Salvador, in an order dated
September 15, 1969, found herein petitioner PBMEO guilty of bargaining in bad faith and herein petitioners Florencio Padrigano,
Rufino Roxas, Mariano de Leon, Asencion Paciente, Bonifacio Vacuna, Benjamin Pagcu, Nicanor Tolentino and Rodulfo Munsod as
directly responsible for perpetrating the said unfair labor practice and were, as a consequence, considered to have lost their status as
employees of the respondent Company (Annex "F", pp. 42-56, rec.)
Herein petitioners claim that they received on September 23, 1969, the aforesaid order (p. 11, rec.); and that they filed on September 29,
1969, because September 28, 1969 fell on Sunday (p. 59, rec.), a motion for reconsideration of said order dated September 15, 1969, on
the ground that it is contrary to law and the evidence, as well as asked for ten (10) days within which to file their arguments pursuant to
Sections 15, 16 and 17 of the Rules of the CIR, as amended (Annex "G", pp. 57-60, rec. )

In its opposition dated October 7, 1969, filed on October 11, 1969 (p. 63, rec.), respondent Company averred that herein petitioners
received on September 22, 1969, the order dated September 17 (should be September 15), 1969; that under Section 15 of the amended
Rules of the Court of Industrial Relations, herein petitioners had five (5) days from September 22, 1969 or until September 27, 1969,
within which to file their motion for reconsideration; and that because their motion for reconsideration was two (2) days late, it should
be accordingly dismissed, invoking Bien vs. Castillo,1 which held among others, that a motion for extension of the five-day period for
the filing of a motion for reconsideration should be filed before the said five-day period elapses (Annex "M", pp. 61-64, rec.).

Subsequently, herein petitioners filed on October 14, 1969 their written arguments dated October 11, 1969, in support of their motion
for reconsideration (Annex "I", pp. 65-73, rec.).

In a resolution dated October 9, 1969, the respondent en banc dismissed the motion for reconsideration of herein petitioners for being
pro forma as it was filed beyond the reglementary period prescribed by its Rules (Annex "J", pp. 74-75, rec.), which herein petitioners
received on October 28, 196 (pp. 12 & 76, rec.).

At the bottom of the notice of the order dated October 9, 1969, which was released on October 24, 1969 and addressed to the counsels of
the parties (pp. 75-76, rec.), appear the requirements of Sections 15, 16 and 17, as amended, of the Rules of the Court of Industrial
Relations, that a motion for reconsideration shall be filed within five (5) days from receipt of its decision or order and that an appeal
from the decision, resolution or order of the C.I.R., sitting en banc, shall be perfected within ten (10) days from receipt thereof (p. 76,
rec.).

On October 31, 1969, herein petitioners filed with the respondent court a petition for relief from the order dated October 9, 1969, on the
ground that their failure to file their motion for reconsideration on time was due to excusable negligence and honest mistake committed
by the president of the petitioner Union and of the office clerk of their counsel, attaching thereto the affidavits of the said president and
clerk (Annexes "K", "K-1" and "K-2", rec.).

Without waiting for any resolution on their petition for relief from the order dated October 9, 1969, herein petitioners filed on
November 3, 1969, with the Supreme Court, a notice of appeal (Annex "L", pp. 88-89, rec.).

There is need of briefly restating basic concepts and principles which underlie the issues posed by the case at bar.

(1) In a democracy, the preservation and enhancement of the dignity and worth of the human personality is the central core as
well as the cardinal article of faith of our civilization. The inviolable character of man as an individual must be "protected to the largest
possible extent in his thoughts and in his beliefs as the citadel of his person."2

(2) The Bill of Rights is designed to preserve the ideals of liberty, equality and security "against the assaults of opportunism, the
expediency of the passing hour, the erosion of small encroachments, and the scorn and derision of those who have no patience with
general principles."3

In the pithy language of Mr. Justice Robert Jackson, the purpose of the Bill of Rights is to withdraw "certain subjects from the
vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials, and to establish them as legal principles
to be applied by the courts. One's rights to life, liberty and property, to free speech, or free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and
other fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections."4 Laski proclaimed that "the
happiness of the individual, not the well-being of the State, was the criterion by which its behaviour was to be judged. His interests, not
its power, set the limits to the authority it was entitled to exercise."5

(3) The freedoms of expression and of assembly as well as the right to petition are included among the immunities reserved by the
sovereign people, in the rhetorical aphorism of Justice Holmes, to protect the ideas that we abhor or hate more than the ideas we
cherish; or as Socrates insinuated, not only to protect the minority who want to talk, but also to benefit the majority who refuse to
listen.6 And as Justice Douglas cogently stresses it, the liberties of one are the liberties of all; and the liberties of one are not safe unless
the liberties of all are protected.7

(4) The rights of free expression, free assembly and petition, are not only civil rights but also political rights essential to man's
enjoyment of his life, to his happiness and to his full and complete fulfillment. Thru these freedoms the citizens can participate not
merely in the periodic establishment of the government through their suffrage but also in the administration of public affairs as well as
in the discipline of abusive public officers. The citizen is accorded these rights so that he can appeal to the appropriate governmental
officers or agencies for redress and protection as well as for the imposition of the lawful sanctions on erring public officers and
employees.

(5) While the Bill of Rights also protects property rights, the primacy of human rights over property rights is recognized.8 Because
these freedoms are "delicate and vulnerable, as well as supremely precious in our society" and the "threat of sanctions may deter their
exercise almost as potently as the actual application of sanctions," they "need breathing space to survive," permitting government
regulation only "with narrow specificity."9

Property and property rights can be lost thru prescription; but human rights are imprescriptible. If human rights are extinguished by
the passage of time, then the Bill of Rights is a useless attempt to limit the power of government and ceases to be an efficacious shield
against the tyranny of officials, of majorities, of the influential and powerful, and of oligarchs — political, economic or otherwise.

In the hierarchy of civil liberties, the rights of free expression and of assembly occupy a preferred position as they are essential to the
preservation and vitality of our civil and political institutions; 10 and such priority "gives these liberties the sanctity and the sanction
not permitting dubious intrusions." 11

The superiority of these freedoms over property rights is underscored by the fact that a mere reasonable or rational relation between the
means employed by the law and its object or purpose — that the law is neither arbitrary nor discriminatory nor oppressive — would
suffice to validate a law which restricts or impairs property rights. 12 On the other hand, a constitutional or valid infringement of human
rights requires a more stringent criterion, namely existence of a grave and immediate danger of a substantive evil which the State has
the right to prevent. So it has been stressed in the main opinion of Mr. Justice Fernando in Gonzales vs. Comelec and reiterated by the
writer of the opinion in Imbong vs. Ferrer. 13 It should be added that Mr. Justice Barredo in Gonzales vs. Comelec, supra, like Justices
Douglas, Black and Goldberg in N.Y. Times Co. vs. Sullivan, 14 believes that the freedoms of speech and of the press as well as of
peaceful assembly and of petition for redress of grievances are absolute when directed against public officials or "when exercised in
relation to our right to choose the men and women by whom we shall be governed," 15 even as Mr. Justice Castro relies on the
balancing-of-interests test. 16 Chief Justice Vinson is partial to the improbable danger rule formulated by Chief Judge Learned Hand,
viz. — whether the gravity of the evil, discounted by its improbability, justifies such invasion of free expression as is necessary to avoid
the danger. 17

II

The respondent Court of Industrial Relations, after opining that the mass demonstration was not a declaration of strike, concluded that
by their "concerted act and the occurrence temporary stoppage of work," herein petitioners are guilty bargaining in bad faith and hence
violated the collective bargaining agreement with private respondent Philippine Blooming Mills Co., inc.. Set against and tested by
foregoing principles governing a democratic society, such conclusion cannot be sustained. The demonstration held petitioners on March
4, 1969 before Malacañang was against alleged abuses of some Pasig policemen, not against their employer, herein private respondent
firm, said demonstrate was purely and completely an exercise of their freedom expression in general and of their right of assembly and
petition for redress of grievances in particular before appropriate governmental agency, the Chief Executive, again the police officers of
the municipality of Pasig. They exercise their civil and political rights for their mutual aid protection from what they believe were police
excesses. As matter of fact, it was the duty of herein private respondent firm to protect herein petitioner Union and its members fro the
harassment of local police officers. It was to the interest herein private respondent firm to rally to the defense of, and take up the
cudgels for, its employees, so that they can report to work free from harassment, vexation or peril and as consequence perform more
efficiently their respective tasks enhance its productivity as well as profits. Herein respondent employer did not even offer to intercede
for its employees with the local police. Was it securing peace for itself at the expenses of its workers? Was it also intimidated by the local
police or did it encourage the local police to terrorize or vex its workers? Its failure to defend its own employees all the more weakened
the position of its laborers the alleged oppressive police who might have been all the more emboldened thereby subject its lowly
employees to further indignities.

In seeking sanctuary behind their freedom of expression well as their right of assembly and of petition against alleged persecution of
local officialdom, the employees and laborers of herein private respondent firm were fighting for their very survival, utilizing only the
weapons afforded them by the Constitution — the untrammelled enjoyment of their basic human rights. The pretension of their
employer that it would suffer loss or damage by reason of the absence of its employees from 6 o'clock in the morning to 2 o'clock in the
afternoon, is a plea for the preservation merely of their property rights. Such apprehended loss or damage would not spell the difference
between the life and death of the firm or its owners or its management. The employees' pathetic situation was a stark reality — abused,
harassment and persecuted as they believed they were by the peace officers of the municipality. As above intimated, the condition in
which the employees found themselves vis-a-vis the local police of Pasig, was a matter that vitally affected their right to individual
existence as well as that of their families. Material loss can be repaired or adequately compensated. The debasement of the human being
broken in morale and brutalized in spirit-can never be fully evaluated in monetary terms. The wounds fester and the scars remain to
humiliate him to his dying day, even as he cries in anguish for retribution, denial of which is like rubbing salt on bruised tissues.

As heretofore stated, the primacy of human rights — freedom of expression, of peaceful assembly and of petition for redress of
grievances — over property rights has been sustained. 18 Emphatic reiteration of this basic tenet as a coveted boon — at once the shield
and armor of the dignity and worth of the human personality, the all-consuming ideal of our enlightened civilization — becomes Our
duty, if freedom and social justice have any meaning at all for him who toils so that capital can produce economic goods that can
generate happiness for all. To regard the demonstration against police officers, not against the employer, as evidence of bad faith in
collective bargaining and hence a violation of the collective bargaining agreement and a cause for the dismissal from employment of the
demonstrating employees, stretches unduly the compass of the collective bargaining agreement, is "a potent means of inhibiting speech"
and therefore inflicts a moral as well as mortal wound on the constitutional guarantees of free expression, of peaceful assembly and of
petition. 19

The collective bargaining agreement which fixes the working shifts of the employees, according to the respondent Court Industrial
Relations, in effect imposes on the workers the "duty ... to observe regular working hours." The strain construction of the Court of
Industrial Relations that a stipulated working shifts deny the workers the right to stage mass demonstration against police abuses
during working hours, constitutes a virtual tyranny over the mind and life the workers and deserves severe condemnation. Renunciation
of the freedom should not be predicated on such a slender ground.

The mass demonstration staged by the employees on March 4, 1969 could not have been legally enjoined by any court, such an
injunction would be trenching upon the freedom expression of the workers, even if it legally appears to be illegal picketing or strike. 20
The respondent Court of Industrial Relations in the case at bar concedes that the mass demonstration was not a declaration of a strike
"as the same not rooted in any industrial dispute although there is concerted act and the occurrence of a temporary stoppage work."
(Annex "F", p. 45, rec.).

The respondent firm claims that there was no need for all its employees to participate in the demonstration and that they suggested to
the Union that only the first and regular shift from 6 A.M. to 2 P.M. should report for work in order that loss or damage to the firm will
be averted. This stand failed appreciate the sine qua non of an effective demonstration especially by a labor union, namely the complete
unity of the Union members as well as their total presence at the demonstration site in order to generate the maximum sympathy for the
validity of their cause but also immediately action on the part of the corresponding government agencies with jurisdiction over the
issues they raised against the local police. Circulation is one of the aspects of freedom of expression. 21 If demonstrators are reduced by
one-third, then by that much the circulation of the issues raised by the demonstration is diminished. The more the participants, the
more persons can be apprised of the purpose of the rally. Moreover, the absence of one-third of their members will be regarded as a
substantial indication of disunity in their ranks which will enervate their position and abet continued alleged police persecution. At any
rate, the Union notified the company two days in advance of their projected demonstration and the company could have made
arrangements to counteract or prevent whatever losses it might sustain by reason of the absence of its workers for one day, especially in
this case when the Union requested it to excuse only the day-shift employees who will join the demonstration on March 4, 1969 which
request the Union reiterated in their telegram received by the company at 9:50 in the morning of March 4, 1969, the day of the mass
demonstration (pp. 42-43, rec.). There was a lack of human understanding or compassion on the part of the firm in rejecting the request
of the Union for excuse from work for the day shifts in order to carry out its mass demonstration. And to regard as a ground for
dismissal the mass demonstration held against the Pasig police, not against the company, is gross vindictiveness on the part of the
employer, which is as unchristian as it is unconstitutional.

III

The respondent company is the one guilty of unfair labor practice. Because the refusal on the part of the respondent firm to permit all
its employees and workers to join the mass demonstration against alleged police abuses and the subsequent separation of the eight (8)
petitioners from the service constituted an unconstitutional restraint on the freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom
petition for redress of grievances, the respondent firm committed an unfair labor practice defined in Section 4(a-1) in relation to Section
3 of Republic Act No. 875, otherwise known as the Industrial Peace Act. Section 3 of Republic Act No. 8 guarantees to the employees the
right "to engage in concert activities for ... mutual aid or protection"; while Section 4(a-1) regards as an unfair labor practice for an
employer interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in the exercise their rights guaranteed in Section Three."

We repeat that the obvious purpose of the mass demonstration staged by the workers of the respondent firm on March 4, 1969, was for
their mutual aid and protection against alleged police abuses, denial of which was interference with or restraint on the right of the
employees to engage in such common action to better shield themselves against such alleged police indignities. The insistence on the
part of the respondent firm that the workers for the morning and regular shift should not participate in the mass demonstration, under
pain of dismissal, was as heretofore stated, "a potent means of inhibiting speech." 22

Such a concerted action for their mutual help and protection deserves at least equal protection as the concerted action of employees in
giving publicity to a letter complaint charging bank president with immorality, nepotism, favoritism an discrimination in the
appointment and promotion of ban employees. 23 We further ruled in the Republic Savings Bank case, supra, that for the employees to
come within the protective mantle of Section 3 in relation to Section 4(a-1) on Republic Act No. 875, "it is not necessary that union
activity be involved or that collective bargaining be contemplated," as long as the concerted activity is for the furtherance of their
interests. 24

As stated clearly in the stipulation of facts embodied in the questioned order of respondent Court dated September 15, 1969, the
company, "while expressly acknowledging, that the demonstration is an inalienable right of the Union guaranteed by the Constitution,"
nonetheless emphasized that "any demonstration for that matter should not unduly prejudice the normal operation of the company"
and "warned the PBMEO representatives that workers who belong to the first and regular shifts, who without previous leave of absence
approved by the Company, particularly the officers present who are the organizers of the demonstration, who shall fail to report for
work the following morning (March 4, 1969) shall be dismissed, because such failure is a violation of the existing CBA and, therefore,
would be amounting to an illegal strike (;)" (p. III, petitioner's brief). Such threat of dismissal tended to coerce the employees from
joining the mass demonstration. However, the issues that the employees raised against the local police, were more important to them
because they had the courage to proceed with the demonstration, despite such threat of dismissal. The most that could happen to them
was to lose a day's wage by reason of their absence from work on the day of the demonstration. One day's pay means much to a laborer,
more especially if he has a family to support. Yet, they were willing to forego their one-day salary hoping that their demonstration would
bring about the desired relief from police abuses. But management was adamant in refusing to recognize the superior legitimacy of their
right of free speech, free assembly and the right to petition for redress.

Because the respondent company ostensibly did not find it necessary to demand from the workers proof of the truth of the alleged
abuses inflicted on them by the local police, it thereby concedes that the evidence of such abuses should properly be submitted to the
corresponding authorities having jurisdiction over their complaint and to whom such complaint may be referred by the President of the
Philippines for proper investigation and action with a view to disciplining the local police officers involved.

On the other hand, while the respondent Court of Industrial Relations found that the demonstration "paralyzed to a large extent the
operations of the complainant company," the respondent Court of Industrial Relations did not make any finding as to the fact of loss
actually sustained by the firm. This significant circumstance can only mean that the firm did not sustain any loss or damage. It did not
present evidence as to whether it lost expected profits for failure to comply with purchase orders on that day; or that penalties were
exacted from it by customers whose orders could not be filled that day of the demonstration; or that purchase orders were cancelled by
the customers by reason of its failure to deliver the materials ordered; or that its own equipment or materials or products were damaged
due to absence of its workers on March 4, 1969. On the contrary, the company saved a sizable amount in the form of wages for its
hundreds of workers, cost of fuel, water and electric consumption that day. Such savings could have amply compensated for unrealized
profits or damages it might have sustained by reason of the absence of its workers for only one day.

IV

Apart from violating the constitutional guarantees of free speech and assembly as well as the right to petition for redress of grievances of
the employees, the dismissal of the eight (8) leaders of the workers for proceeding with the demonstration and consequently being
absent from work, constitutes a denial of social justice likewise assured by the fundamental law to these lowly employees. Section 5 of
Article II of the Constitution imposes upon the State "the promotion of social justice to insure the well-being and economic security of
all of the people," which guarantee is emphasized by the other directive in Section 6 of Article XIV of the Constitution that "the State
shall afford protection to labor ...". Respondent Court of Industrial Relations as an agency of the State is under obligation at all times to
give meaning and substance to these constitutional guarantees in favor of the working man; for otherwise these constitutional
safeguards would be merely a lot of "meaningless constitutional patter." Under the Industrial Peace Act, the Court of Industrial
Relations is enjoined to effect the policy of the law "to eliminate the causes of industrial unrest by encouraging and protecting the
exercise by employees of their right to self-organization for the purpose of collective bargaining and for the promotion of their moral,
social and economic well-being." It is most unfortunate in the case at bar that respondent Court of Industrial Relations, the very
governmental agency designed therefor, failed to implement this policy and failed to keep faith with its avowed mission — its raison
d'etre — as ordained and directed by the Constitution.

It has been likewise established that a violation of a constitutional right divests the court of jurisdiction; and as a consequence its
judgment is null and void and confers no rights. Relief from a criminal conviction secured at the sacrifice of constitutional liberties, may
be obtained through habeas corpus proceedings even long after the finality of the judgment. Thus, habeas corpus is the remedy to
obtain the release of an individual, who is convicted by final judgment through a forced confession, which violated his constitutional
right against self-incrimination; 25 or who is denied the right to present evidence in his defense as a deprivation of his liberty without
due process of law, 26 even after the accused has already served sentence for twenty-two years. 27

Both the respondents Court of Industrial Relations and private firm trenched upon these constitutional immunities of petitioners. Both
failed to accord preference to such rights and aggravated the inhumanity to which the aggrieved workers claimed they had been
subjected by the municipal police. Having violated these basic human rights of the laborers, the Court of Industrial Relations ousted
itself of jurisdiction and the questioned orders it issued in the instant case are a nullity. Recognition and protection of such freedoms are
imperative on all public offices including the courts 28 as well as private citizens and corporations, the exercise and enjoyment of which
must not be nullified by mere procedural rule promulgated by the Court Industrial Relations exercising a purely delegate legislative
power, when even a law enacted by Congress must yield to the untrammelled enjoyment of these human rights. There is no time limit to
the exercise of the freedoms. The right to enjoy them is not exhausted by the delivery of one speech, the printing of one article or the
staging of one demonstration. It is a continuing immunity to be invoked and exercised when exigent and expedient whenever there are
errors to be rectified, abuses to be denounced, inhumanities to be condemned. Otherwise these guarantees in the Bill of Rights would be
vitiated by rule on procedure prescribing the period for appeal. The battle then would be reduced to a race for time. And in such a
contest between an employer and its laborer, the latter eventually loses because he cannot employ the best an dedicated counsel who
can defend his interest with the required diligence and zeal, bereft as he is of the financial resources with which to pay for competent
legal services. 28-a

VI

The Court of Industrial Relations rule prescribes that motion for reconsideration of its order or writ should filed within five (5) days
from notice thereof and that the arguments in support of said motion shall be filed within ten (10) days from the date of filing of such
motion for reconsideration (Sec. 16). As above intimated, these rules of procedure were promulgated by the Court of Industrial
Relations pursuant to a legislative delegation. 29

The motion for reconsideration was filed on September 29, 1969, or seven (7) days from notice on September 22, 1969 of the order
dated September 15, 1969 or two (2) days late. Petitioners claim that they could have filed it on September 28, 1969, but it was a
Sunday.

Does the mere fact that the motion for reconsideration was filed two (2) days late defeat the rights of the petitioning employees? Or
more directly and concretely, does the inadvertent omission to comply with a mere Court of Industrial Relations procedural rule
governing the period for filing a motion for reconsideration or appeal in labor cases, promulgated pursuant to a legislative delegation,
prevail over constitutional rights? The answer should be obvious in the light of the aforecited cases. To accord supremacy to the
foregoing rules of the Court of Industrial Relations over basic human rights sheltered by the Constitution, is not only incompatible with
the basic tenet of constitutional government that the Constitution is superior to any statute or subordinate rules and regulations, but
also does violence to natural reason and logic. The dominance and superiority of the constitutional right over the aforesaid Court of
Industrial Relations procedural rule of necessity should be affirmed. Such a Court of Industrial Relations rule as applied in this case
does not implement or reinforce or strengthen the constitutional rights affected,' but instead constrict the same to the point of nullifying
the enjoyment thereof by the petitioning employees. Said Court of Industrial Relations rule, promulgated as it was pursuant to a mere
legislative delegation, is unreasonable and therefore is beyond the authority granted by the Constitution and the law. A period of five (5)
days within which to file a motion for reconsideration is too short, especially for the aggrieved workers, who usually do not have the
ready funds to meet the necessary expenses therefor. In case of the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, a period of fifteen (15) days
has been fixed for the filing of the motion for re hearing or reconsideration (See. 10, Rule 51; Sec. 1, Rule 52; Sec. 1, Rule 56, Revised
Rules of Court). The delay in the filing of the motion for reconsideration could have been only one day if September 28, 1969 was not a
Sunday. This fact accentuates the unreasonableness of the Court of Industrial are concerned.

It should be stressed here that the motion for reconsideration dated September 27, 1969, is based on the ground that the order sought to
be reconsidered "is not in accordance with law, evidence and facts adduced during the hearing," and likewise prays for an extension of
ten (10) days within which to file arguments pursuant to Sections 15, 16 and 17 of the Rules of the Court of Industrial Relations (Annex
"G", pp. 57-60, rec.); although the arguments were actually filed by the herein petitioners on October 14, 1969 (Annex "I", pp. 70-73,
rec.), long after the 10-day period required for the filing of such supporting arguments counted from the filing of the motion for
reconsideration. Herein petitioners received only on October 28, 1969 the resolution dated October 9, 1969 dismissing the motion for
reconsideration for being pro forma since it was filed beyond the reglementary period (Annex "J", pp. 74-75, rec.)

It is true that We ruled in several cases that where a motion to reconsider is filed out of time, or where the arguments in suppf such
motion are filed beyond the 10 day reglementary period provided for by the Court of Industrial Relations rules, the order or decision
subject of29-a reconsideration becomes final and unappealable. But in all these cases, the constitutional rights of free expression, free
assembly and petition were not involved.

It is a procedural rule that generally all causes of action and defenses presently available must be specifically raised in the complaint or
answer; so that any cause of action or defense not raised in such pleadings, is deemed waived. However, a constitutional issue can be
raised any time, even for the first time on appeal, if it appears that the determination of the constitutional issue is necessary to a
decision of the case, the very lis mota of the case without the resolution of which no final and complete determination of the dispute can
be made. 30 It is thus seen that a procedural rule of Congress or of the Supreme Court gives way to a constitutional right. In the instant
case, the procedural rule of the Court of Industrial Relations, a creature of Congress, must likewise yield to the constitutional rights
invoked by herein petitioners even before the institution of the unfair labor practice charged against them and in their defense to the
said charge.

In the case at bar, enforcement of the basic human freedoms sheltered no less by the organic law, is a most compelling reason to deny
application of a Court of Industrial Relations rule which impinges on such human rights. 30-a

It is an accepted principle that the Supreme Court has the inherent power to "suspend its own rules or to except a particular case from
its operation, whenever the purposes of justice require." 30-b Mr. Justice Barredo in his concurring opinion in Estrada vs. Sto.
Domingo. 30-c reiterated this principle and added that

Under this authority, this Court is enabled to cove with all situations without concerning itself about procedural niceties that do not
square with the need to do justice, in any case, without further loss of time, provided that the right of the parties to a full day in court is
not substantially impaired. Thus, this Court may treat an appeal as a certiorari and vice-versa. In other words, when all the material
facts are spread in the records before Us, and all the parties have been duly heard, it matters little that the error of the court a quo is of
judgment or of jurisdiction. We can then and there render the appropriate judgment. Is within the contemplation of this doctrine that as
it is perfectly legal and within the power of this Court to strike down in an appeal acts without or in excess of jurisdiction or committed
with grave abuse of discretion, it cannot be beyond the admit of its authority, in appropriate cases, to reverse in a certain proceed in any
error of judgment of a court a quo which cannot be exactly categorized as a flaw of jurisdiction. If there can be any doubt, which I do not
entertain, on whether or not the errors this Court has found in the decision of the Court of Appeals are short of being jurisdiction
nullities or excesses, this Court would still be on firm legal grounds should it choose to reverse said decision here and now even if such
errors can be considered as mere mistakes of judgment or only as faults in the exercise of jurisdiction, so as to avoid the unnecessary
return of this case to the lower court for the sole purpose of pursuing the ordinary course of an appeal. (Emphasis supplied). 30-d

Insistence on the application of the questioned Court industrial Relations rule in this particular case at bar would an unreasoning
adherence to "Procedural niceties" which denies justice to the herein laborers, whose basic human freedoms, including the right to
survive, must be according supremacy over the property rights of their employer firm which has been given a full hearing on this case,
especially when, as in the case at bar, no actual material damage has be demonstrated as having been inflicted on its property rights.

If We can disregard our own rules when justice requires it, obedience to the Constitution renders more imperative the suspension of a
Court of Industrial Relations rule that clash with the human rights sanctioned and shielded with resolution concern by the specific
guarantees outlined in the organic law. It should be stressed that the application in the instant case Section 15 of the Court of Industrial
Relations rules relied upon by herein respondent firm is unreasonable and therefore such application becomes unconstitutional as it
subverts the human rights of petitioning labor union and workers in the light of the peculiar facts and circumstances revealed by the
record.
The suspension of the application of Section 15 of the Court of Industrial Relations rules with reference to the case at is also authorized
by Section 20 of Commonwealth Act No. 103, the C.I.R. charter, which enjoins the Court of Industrial Relations to "act according to
justice and equity and substantial merits of the case, without regard to technicalities or legal forms ..."

On several occasions, We emphasized this doctrine which was re-stated by Mr. Justice Barredo, speaking for the Court, in the 1970 case
of Kapisanan, etc. vs. Hamilton, etc., et. al., 30-e thus:

As to the point that the evidence being offered by the petitioners in the motion for new trial is not "newly discovered," as such term is
understood in the rules of procedure for the ordinary courts, We hold that such criterion is not binding upon the Court of Industrial
Relations. Under Section 20 of Commonwealth Act No. 103, 'The Court of Industrial Relations shall adopt its, rules or procedure and
shall have such other powers as generally pertain to a court of justice: Provided, however, That in the hearing, investigation and
determination of any question or controversy and in exercising any duties and power under this Act, the Court shall act according to
justice and equity and substantial merits of the case, without regard to technicalities or legal forms and shall not be bound by any
technical rules of legal evidence but may inform its mind in such manner as it may deem just and equitable.' By this provision the
industrial court is disengaged from the rigidity of the technicalities applicable to ordinary courts. Said court is not even restricted to the
specific relief demanded by the parties but may issue such orders as may be deemed necessary or expedient for the purpose of settling
the dispute or dispelling any doubts that may give rise to future disputes. (Ang Tibay v. C.I.R., G.R. No. 46496, Feb. 17, 1940; Manila
Trading & Supply Co. v. Phil. Labor, 71 Phil. 124.) For these reasons, We believe that this provision is ample enough to have enabled the
respondent court to consider whether or not its previous ruling that petitioners constitute a minority was founded on fact, without
regard to the technical meaning of newly discovered evidence. ... (Alonso v. Villamor, 16 Phil. 315; Chua Kiong v. Whitaker, 46 Phil.
578). (emphasis supplied.)

To apply Section 15 of the Court of Industrial Relations rules with "pedantic rigor" in the instant case is to rule in effect that the poor
workers, who can ill-afford an alert competent lawyer, can no longer seek the sanctuary of human freedoms secured to them by the
fundamental law, simply because their counsel — erroneously believing that he received a copy of the decision on September 23, 1969,
instead of September 22, 1969 - filed his motion for reconsideration September 29, 1969, which practically is only one day late
considering that September 28, 1969 was a Sunday.

Many a time, this Court deviated from procedure technicalities when they ceased to be instruments of justice, for the attainment of
which such rules have been devised. Summarizing the jurisprudence on this score, Mr. Justice Fernando, speaking for a unanimous
Court in Palma vs. Oreta, 30-f Stated:

As was so aptly expressed by Justice Moreland in Alonso v. Villamor (16 Phil. 315 [1910]. The Villamor decision was cited with approval
in Register of Deeds v. Phil. Nat. Bank, 84 Phil. 600 [1949]; Potenciano v. Court of Appeals, 104 Phil. 156 [1958] and Uy v. Uy, 14243,
June 30, 1961, 2 SCRA 675.), decided as far back as 1910, "technicality. when it deserts its proper-office as an aid to justice and becomes
its great hindrance and chief enemy, deserves scant consideration from courts." (Ibid., p, 322.) To that norm, this Court has remained
committed. The late Justice Recto in Blanco v. Bernabe, (63 Phil. 124 [1936]) was of a similar mind. For him the interpretation of
procedural rule should never "sacrifice the ends justice." While "procedural laws are no other than technicalities" view them in their
entirety, 'they were adopted not as ends themselves for the compliance with which courts have organized and function, but as means
conducive to the realization the administration of the law and of justice (Ibid., p.,128). We have remained steadfastly opposed, in the
highly rhetorical language Justice Felix, to "a sacrifice of substantial rights of a litigant in altar of sophisticated technicalities with
impairment of the sacred principles of justice." (Potenciano v. Court of Appeals, 104 Phil. 156, 161 [1958]). As succinctly put by Justice
Makalintal, they "should give way to the realities of the situation." (Urbayan v. Caltex, L-15379, Aug. 31, 1962, 5 SCRA 1016, 1019). In
the latest decision in point promulgated in 1968, (Udan v. Amon, (1968, 23 SCRA citing McEntee v. Manotok, L-14968, Oct. 27, 1961, 3
SCRA 272.) Justice Zaldivar was partial to an earlier formulation of Justice Labrador that rules of procedure "are not to be applied in a
very rigid, technical sense"; but are intended "to help secure substantial justice." (Ibid., p. 843) ... 30-g

Even if the questioned Court of Industrial Relations orders and rule were to be given effect, the dismissal or termination of the
employment of the petitioning eight (8) leaders of the Union is harsh for a one-day absence from work. The respondent Court itself
recognized the severity of such a sanction when it did not include the dismissal of the other 393 employees who are members of the
same Union and who participated in the demonstration against the Pasig police. As a matter of fact, upon the intercession of the
Secretary of Labor, the Union members who are not officers, were not dismissed and only the Union itself and its thirteen (13) officers
were specifically named as respondents in the unfair labor practice charge filed against them by the firm (pp. 16-20, respondent's Brief;
Annexes "A", "B" and "C", pp. 20-30, rec.). Counsel for respondent firm insinuates that not all the 400 or so employee participated in
the demonstration, for which reason only the Union and its thirteen (13) officers were specifically named in the unfair labor practice
charge (p. 20, respondent's brief). If that were so, then many, if not all, of the morning and regular shifts reported for work on March 4,
1969 and that, as a consequence, the firm continued in operation that day and did not sustain any damage.

The appropriate penalty — if it deserves any penalty at all — should have been simply to charge said one-day absence against their
vacation or sick leave. But to dismiss the eight (8) leaders of the petitioner Union is a most cruel penalty, since as aforestated the Union
leaders depend on their wages for their daily sustenance as well as that of their respective families aside from the fact that it is a lethal
blow to unionism, while at the same time strengthening the oppressive hand of the petty tyrants in the localities.

Mr. Justice Douglas articulated this pointed reminder:

The challenge to our liberties comes frequently not from those who consciously seek to destroy our system of Government, but from
men of goodwill — good men who allow their proper concerns to blind them to the fact that what they propose to accomplish involves an
impairment of liberty.

... The Motives of these men are often commendable. What we must remember, however, is that preservation of liberties does not
depend on motives. A suppression of liberty has the same effect whether the suppress or be a reformer or an outlaw. The only protection
against misguided zeal is a constant alertness of the infractions of the guarantees of liberty contained in our Constitution. Each
surrender of liberty to the demands of the moment makes easier another, larger surrender. The battle over the Bill of Rights is a never
ending one.

... The liberties of any person are the liberties of all of us.

... In short, the Liberties of none are safe unless the liberties of all are protected.

... But even if we should sense no danger to our own liberties, even if we feel secure because we belong to a group that is important and
respected, we must recognize that our Bill of Rights is a code of fair play for the less fortunate that we in all honor and good conscience
must be observe. 31
The case at bar is worse.

Management has shown not only lack of good-will or good intention, but a complete lack of sympathetic understanding of the plight of
its laborers who claim that they are being subjected to indignities by the local police, It was more expedient for the firm to conserve its
income or profits than to assist its employees in their fight for their freedoms and security against alleged petty tyrannies of local police
officers. This is sheer opportunism. Such opportunism and expediency resorted to by the respondent company assaulted the immunities
and welfare of its employees. It was pure and implement selfishness, if not greed.

Of happy relevance is the 1967 case of Republic Savings Bank vs. C.I.R., 32 where the petitioner Bank dismissed eight (8) employees for
having written and published "a patently libelous letter ... to the Bank president demanding his resignation on the grounds of
immorality, nepotism in the appointment and favoritism as well as discrimination in the promotion of bank employees." Therein, thru
Mr. Justice Castro, We ruled:

It will avail the Bank none to gloat over this admission of the respondents. Assuming that the latter acted in their individual capacities
when they wrote the letter-charge they were nonetheless protected for they were engaged in concerted activity, in the exercise of their
right of self organization that includes concerted activity for mutual aid and protection, (Section 3 of the Industrial Peace Act ...) This is
the view of some members of this Court. For, as has been aptly stated, the joining in protests or demands, even by a small group of
employees, if in furtherance of their interests as such, is a concerted activity protected by the Industrial Peace Act. It is not necessary
that union activity be involved or that collective bargaining be contemplated. (Annot., 6 A.L.R. 2d 416 [1949]).

xxx xxx xxx

Instead of stifling criticism, the Bank should have allowed the respondents to air their grievances.

xxx xxx xxx

The Bank defends its action by invoking its right to discipline for what it calls the respondents' libel in giving undue publicity to their
letter-charge. To be sure, the right of self-organization of employees is not unlimited (Republic Aviation Corp. vs. NLRB 324 U.S. 793
[1945]), as the right of the employer to discharge for cause (Philippine Education Co. v. Union of Phil. Educ. Employees, L-13773, April
29, 1960) is undenied. The Industrial Peace Act does not touch the normal exercise of the right of the employer to select his employees
or to discharge them. It is directed solely against the abuse of that right by interfering with the countervailing right of self organization
(Phelps Dodge Corp. v. NLRB 313 U.S. 177 [1941])...

xxx xxx xxx

In the final sum and substance, this Court is in unanimity that the Bank's conduct, identified as an interference with the employees'
right of self-organization or as a retaliatory action, and/or as a refusal to bargain collectively, constituted an unfair labor practice within
the meaning and intendment of section 4(a) of the Industrial Peace Act. (Emphasis supplied.) 33

If free expression was accorded recognition and protection to fortify labor unionism in the Republic Savings case, supra, where the
complaint assailed the morality and integrity of the bank president no less, such recognition and protection for free speech, free
assembly and right to petition are rendered all the more justifiable and more imperative in the case at bar, where the mass
demonstration was not against the company nor any of its officers.

WHEREFORE, judgement is hereby rendered:

(1) setting aside as null and void the orders of the respondent Court of Industrial Relations dated September 15 and October 9,
1969; and

(2) directing the re instatement of the herein eight (8) petitioners, with full back pay from the date of their separation from the
service until re instated, minus one day's pay and whatever earnings they might have realized from other sources during their
separation from the service.

With costs against private respondent Philippine Blooming Company, Inc.


G.R. No. L-11390 March 26, 1918

EL BANCO ESPAÑOL-FILIPINO, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
VICENTE PALANCA, administrator of the estate of Engracio Palanca Tanquinyeng, defendant-appellant.

Aitken and DeSelms for appellant.


Hartigan and Welch for appellee.

STREET, J.:

This action was instituted upon March 31, 1908, by "El Banco Espanol-Filipino" to foreclose a mortgage upon various parcels of real
property situated in the city of Manila. The mortgage in question is dated June 16, 1906, and was executed by the original defendant
herein, Engracio Palanca Tanquinyeng y Limquingco, as security for a debt owing by him to the bank. Upon March 31, 1906, the debt
amounted to P218,294.10 and was drawing interest at the rate of 8 per centum per annum, payable at the end of each quarter. It
appears that the parties to this mortgage at that time estimated the value of the property in question at P292,558, which was about
P75,000 in excess of the indebtedness. After the execution of this instrument by the mortgagor, he returned to China which appears to
have been his native country; and he there died, upon January 29, 1810, without again returning to the Philippine Islands.

As the defendant was a nonresident at the time of the institution of the present action, it was necessary for the plaintiff in the
foreclosure proceeding to give notice to the defendant by publication pursuant to section 399 of the Code of Civil Procedure. An order
for publication was accordingly obtained from the court, and publication was made in due form in a newspaper of the city of Manila. At
the same time that the order of the court should deposit in the post office in a stamped envelope a copy of the summons and complaint
directed to the defendant at his last place of residence, to wit, the city of Amoy, in the Empire of China. This order was made pursuant to
the following provision contained in section 399 of the Code of Civil Procedure:

In case of publication, where the residence of a nonresident or absent defendant is known, the judge must direct a copy of the summons
and complaint to be forthwith deposited by the clerk in the post-office, postage prepaid, directed to the person to be served, at his place
of residence

Whether the clerk complied with this order does not affirmatively appear. There is, however, among the papers pertaining to this case,
an affidavit, dated April 4, 1908, signed by Bernardo Chan y Garcia, an employee of the attorneys of the bank, showing that upon that
date he had deposited in the Manila post-office a registered letter, addressed to Engracio Palanca Tanquinyeng, at Manila, containing
copies of the complaint, the plaintiff's affidavit, the summons, and the order of the court directing publication as aforesaid. It appears
from the postmaster's receipt that Bernardo probably used an envelope obtained from the clerk's office, as the receipt purports to show
that the letter emanated from the office.

The cause proceeded in usual course in the Court of First Instance; and the defendant not having appeared, judgment was, upon July 2,
1908, taken against him by default. Upon July 3, 1908, a decision was rendered in favor of the plaintiff. In this decision it was recited
that publication had been properly made in a periodical, but nothing was said about this notice having been given mail. The court, upon
this occasion, found that the indebtedness of the defendant amounted to P249,355. 32, with interest from March 31, 1908. Accordingly
it was ordered that the defendant should, on or before July 6, 1908, deliver said amount to the clerk of the court to be applied to the
satisfaction of the judgment, and it was declared that in case of the failure of the defendant to satisfy the judgment within such period,
the mortgage property located in the city of Manila should be exposed to public sale. The payment contemplated in said order was never
made; and upon July 8, 1908, the court ordered the sale of the property. The sale took place upon July 30, 1908, and the property was
bought in by the bank for the sum of P110,200. Upon August 7, 1908, this sale was confirmed by the court.

About seven years after the confirmation of this sale, or to the precise, upon June 25, 1915, a motion was made in this cause by Vicente
Palanca, as administrator of the estate of the original defendant, Engracio Palanca Tanquinyeng y Limquingco, wherein the applicant
requested the court to set aside the order of default of July 2, 1908, and the judgment rendered upon July 3, 1908, and to vacate all the
proceedings subsequent thereto. The basis of this application, as set forth in the motion itself, was that the order of default and the
judgment rendered thereon were void because the court had never acquired jurisdiction over the defendant or over the subject of the
action.

At the hearing in the court below the application to vacate the judgment was denied, and from this action of the court Vicente Planca, as
administrator of the estate of the original defendant, has appealed. No other feature of the case is here under consideration than such as
related to the action of the court upon said motion.

The case presents several questions of importance, which will be discussed in what appears to be the sequence of most convenient
development. In the first part of this opinion we shall, for the purpose of argument, assume that the clerk of the Court of First Instance
did not obey the order of the court in the matter of mailing the papers which he was directed to send to the defendant in Amoy; and in
this connection we shall consider, first, whether the court acquired the necessary jurisdiction to enable it to proceed with the foreclosure
of the mortgage and, secondly, whether those proceedings were conducted in such manner as to constitute due process of law.

The word "jurisdiction," as applied to the faculty of exercising judicial power, is used in several different, though related, senses since it
may have reference (1) to the authority of the court to entertain a particular kind of action or to administer a particular kind of relief, or
it may refer to the power of the court over the parties, or (2) over the property which is the subject to the litigation.

The sovereign authority which organizes a court determines the nature and extent of its powers in general and thus fixes its competency
or jurisdiction with reference to the actions which it may entertain and the relief it may grant.

Jurisdiction over the person is acquired by the voluntary appearance of a party in court and his submission to its authority, or it is
acquired by the coercive power of legal process exerted over the person.

Jurisdiction over the property which is the subject of the litigation may result either from a seizure of the property under legal process,
whereby it is brought into the actual custody of the law, or it may result from the institution of legal proceedings wherein, under special
provisions of law, the power of the court over the property is recognized and made effective. In the latter case the property, though at all
times within the potential power of the court, may never be taken into actual custody at all. An illustration of the jurisdiction acquired
by actual seizure is found in attachment proceedings, where the property is seized at the beginning of the action, or some subsequent
stage of its progress, and held to abide the final event of the litigation. An illustration of what we term potential jurisdiction over the res,
is found in the proceeding to register the title of land under our system for the registration of land. Here the court, without taking actual
physical control over the property assumes, at the instance of some person claiming to be owner, to exercise a jurisdiction in rem over
the property and to adjudicate the title in favor of the petitioner against all the world.
In the terminology of American law the action to foreclose a mortgage is said to be a proceeding quasi in rem, by which is expressed the
idea that while it is not strictly speaking an action in rem yet it partakes of that nature and is substantially such. The expression "action
in rem" is, in its narrow application, used only with reference to certain proceedings in courts of admiralty wherein the property alone is
treated as responsible for the claim or obligation upon which the proceedings are based. The action quasi rem differs from the true
action in rem in the circumstance that in the former an individual is named as defendant, and the purpose of the proceeding is to
subject his interest therein to the obligation or lien burdening the property. All proceedings having for their sole object the sale or other
disposition of the property of the defendant, whether by attachment, foreclosure, or other form of remedy, are in a general way thus
designated. The judgment entered in these proceedings is conclusive only between the parties.

In speaking of the proceeding to foreclose a mortgage the author of a well known treaties, has said:

Though nominally against person, such suits are to vindicate liens; they proceed upon seizure; they treat property as primarily indebted;
and, with the qualification above-mentioned, they are substantially property actions. In the civil law, they are styled hypothecary
actions, and their sole object is the enforcement of the lien against the res; in the common law, they would be different in chancery did
not treat the conditional conveyance as a mere hypothecation, and the creditor's right ass an equitable lien; so, in both, the suit is real
action so far as it is against property, and seeks the judicial recognition of a property debt, and an order for the sale of the res. (Waples,
Proceedings In Rem. sec. 607.)

It is true that in proceedings of this character, if the defendant for whom publication is made appears, the action becomes as to him a
personal action and is conducted as such. This, however, does not affect the proposition that where the defendant fails to appear the
action is quasi in rem; and it should therefore be considered with reference to the principles governing actions in rem.

There is an instructive analogy between the foreclosure proceeding and an action of attachment, concerning which the Supreme Court
of the United States has used the following language:

If the defendant appears, the cause becomes mainly a suit in personam, with the added incident, that the property attached remains
liable, under the control of the court, to answer to any demand which may be established against the defendant by the final judgment of
the court. But, if there is no appearance of the defendant, and no service of process on him, the case becomes, in its essential nature, a
proceeding in rem, the only effect of which is to subject the property attached to the payment of the defendant which the court may find
to be due to the plaintiff. (Cooper vs. Reynolds, 10 Wall., 308.)

In an ordinary attachment proceeding, if the defendant is not personally served, the preliminary seizure is to, be considered necessary
in order to confer jurisdiction upon the court. In this case the lien on the property is acquired by the seizure; and the purpose of the
proceedings is to subject the property to that lien. If a lien already exists, whether created by mortgage, contract, or statute, the
preliminary seizure is not necessary; and the court proceeds to enforce such lien in the manner provided by law precisely as though the
property had been seized upon attachment. (Roller vs. Holly, 176 U. S., 398, 405; 44 L. ed., 520.) It results that the mere circumstance
that in an attachment the property may be seized at the inception of the proceedings, while in the foreclosure suit it is not taken into
legal custody until the time comes for the sale, does not materially affect the fundamental principle involved in both cases, which is that
the court is here exercising a jurisdiction over the property in a proceeding directed essentially in rem.

Passing now to a consideration of the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance in a mortgage foreclosure, it is evident that the court
derives its authority to entertain the action primarily from the statutes organizing the court. The jurisdiction of the court, in this most
general sense, over the cause of action is obvious and requires no comment. Jurisdiction over the person of the defendant, if acquired at
all in such an action, is obtained by the voluntary submission of the defendant or by the personal service of process upon him within the
territory where the process is valid. If, however, the defendant is a nonresident and, remaining beyond the range of the personal process
of the court, refuses to come in voluntarily, the court never acquires jurisdiction over the person at all. Here the property itself is in fact
the sole thing which is impleaded and is the responsible object which is the subject of the exercise of judicial power. It follows that the
jurisdiction of the court in such case is based exclusively on the power which, under the law, it possesses over the property; and any
discussion relative to the jurisdiction of the court over the person of the defendant is entirely apart from the case. The jurisdiction of the
court over the property, considered as the exclusive object of such action, is evidently based upon the following conditions and
considerations, namely: (1) that the property is located within the district; (2) that the purpose of the litigation is to subject the property
by sale to an obligation fixed upon it by the mortgage; and (3) that the court at a proper stage of the proceedings takes the property into
custody, if necessary, and expose it to sale for the purpose of satisfying the mortgage debt. An obvious corollary is that no other relief
can be granted in this proceeding than such as can be enforced against the property.

We may then, from what has been stated, formulated the following proposition relative to the foreclosure proceeding against the
property of a nonresident mortgagor who fails to come in and submit himself personally to the jurisdiction of the court: (I) That the
jurisdiction of the court is derived from the power which it possesses over the property; (II) that jurisdiction over the person is not
acquired and is nonessential; (III) that the relief granted by the court must be limited to such as can be enforced against the property
itself.

It is important that the bearing of these propositions be clearly apprehended, for there are many expressions in the American reports
from which it might be inferred that the court acquires personal jurisdiction over the person of the defendant by publication and notice;
but such is not the case. In truth the proposition that jurisdiction over the person of a nonresident cannot be acquired by publication
and notice was never clearly understood even in the American courts until after the decision had been rendered by the Supreme Court
of the United States in the leading case of Pennoyer vs. Neff (95 U. S. 714; 24 L. ed., 565). In the light of that decision, and of other
decisions which have subsequently been rendered in that and other courts, the proposition that jurisdiction over the person cannot be
thus acquired by publication and notice is no longer open to question; and it is now fully established that a personal judgment upon
constructive or substituted service against a nonresident who does not appear is wholly invalid. This doctrine applies to all kinds of
constructive or substituted process, including service by publication and personal service outside of the jurisdiction in which the
judgment is rendered; and the only exception seems to be found in the case where the nonresident defendant has expressly or impliedly
consented to the mode of service. (Note to Raher vs. Raher, 35 L. R. A. [N. S. ], 292; see also 50 L .R. A., 585; 35 L. R. A. [N. S.], 312

The idea upon which the decision in Pennoyer vs. Neff (supra) proceeds is that the process from the tribunals of one State cannot run
into other States or countries and that due process of law requires that the defendant shall be brought under the power of the court by
service of process within the State, or by his voluntary appearance, in order to authorize the court to pass upon the question of his
personal liability. The doctrine established by the Supreme Court of the United States on this point, being based upon the constitutional
conception of due process of law, is binding upon the courts of the Philippine Islands. Involved in this decision is the principle that in
proceedings in rem or quasi in rem against a nonresident who is not served personally within the state, and who does not appear, the
relief must be confined to the res, and the court cannot lawfully render a personal judgment against him. (Dewey vs. Des Moines, 173 U.
S., 193; 43 L. ed., 665; Heidritter vs. Elizabeth Oil Cloth Co., 112 U. S., 294; 28 L. ed., 729.) Therefore in an action to foreclose a
mortgage against a nonresident, upon whom service has been effected exclusively by publication, no personal judgment for the
deficiency can be entered. (Latta vs. Tutton, 122 Cal., 279; Blumberg vs. Birch, 99 Cal., 416.)
It is suggested in the brief of the appellant that the judgment entered in the court below offends against the principle just stated and that
this judgment is void because the court in fact entered a personal judgment against the absent debtor for the full amount of the
indebtedness secured by the mortgage. We do not so interpret the judgment.

In a foreclosure proceeding against a nonresident owner it is necessary for the court, as in all cases of foreclosure, to ascertain the
amount due, as prescribed in section 256 of the Code of Civil Procedure, and to make an order requiring the defendant to pay the money
into court. This step is a necessary precursor of the order of sale. In the present case the judgment which was entered contains the
following words:

Because it is declared that the said defendant Engracio Palanca Tanquinyeng y Limquingco, is indebted in the amount of P249,355.32,
plus the interest, to the 'Banco Espanol-Filipino' . . . therefore said appellant is ordered to deliver the above amount etc., etc.

This is not the language of a personal judgment. Instead it is clearly intended merely as a compliance with the requirement that the
amount due shall be ascertained and that the evidence of this it may be observed that according to the Code of Civil Procedure a
personal judgment against the debtor for the deficiency is not to be rendered until after the property has been sold and the proceeds
applied to the mortgage debt. (sec. 260).

The conclusion upon this phase of the case is that whatever may be the effect in other respects of the failure of the clerk of the Court of
First Instance to mail the proper papers to the defendant in Amoy, China, such irregularity could in no wise impair or defeat the
jurisdiction of the court, for in our opinion that jurisdiction rest upon a basis much more secure than would be supplied by any form of
notice that could be given to a resident of a foreign country.

Before leaving this branch of the case, we wish to observe that we are fully aware that many reported cases can be cited in which it is
assumed that the question of the sufficiency of publication or notice in a case of this kind is a question affecting the jurisdiction of the
court, and the court is sometimes said to acquire jurisdiction by virtue of the publication. This phraseology was undoubtedly originally
adopted by the court because of the analogy between service by the publication and personal service of process upon the defendant; and,
as has already been suggested, prior to the decision of Pennoyer vs. Neff (supra) the difference between the legal effects of the two forms
of service was obscure. It is accordingly not surprising that the modes of expression which had already been molded into legal tradition
before that case was decided have been brought down to the present day. But it is clear that the legal principle here involved is not
effected by the peculiar language in which the courts have expounded their ideas.

We now proceed to a discussion of the question whether the supposed irregularity in the proceedings was of such gravity as to amount
to a denial of that "due process of law" which was secured by the Act of Congress in force in these Islands at the time this mortgage was
foreclosed. (Act of July 1, 1902, sec. 5.) In dealing with questions involving the application of the constitutional provisions relating to
due process of law the Supreme Court of the United States has refrained from attempting to define with precision the meaning of that
expression, the reason being that the idea expressed therein is applicable under so many diverse conditions as to make any attempt ay
precise definition hazardous and unprofitable. As applied to a judicial proceeding, however, it may be laid down with certainty that the
requirement of due process is satisfied if the following conditions are present, namely; (1) There must be a court or tribunal clothed with
judicial power to hear and determine the matter before it; (2) jurisdiction must be lawfully acquired over the person of the defendant or
over the property which is the subject of the proceeding; (3) the defendant must be given an opportunity to be heard; and (4) judgment
must be rendered upon lawful hearing.

Passing at once to the requisite that the defendant shall have an opportunity to be heard, we observe that in a foreclosure case some
notification of the proceedings to the nonresident owner, prescribing the time within which appearance must be made, is everywhere
recognized as essential. To answer this necessity the statutes generally provide for publication, and usually in addition thereto, for the
mailing of notice to the defendant, if his residence is known. Though commonly called constructive, or substituted service of process in
any true sense. It is merely a means provided by law whereby the owner may be admonished that his property is the subject of judicial
proceedings and that it is incumbent upon him to take such steps as he sees fit to protect it. In speaking of notice of this character a
distinguish master of constitutional law has used the following language:

. . . if the owners are named in the proceedings, and personal notice is provided for, it is rather from tenderness to their interests, and in
order to make sure that the opportunity for a hearing shall not be lost to them, than from any necessity that the case shall assume that
form. (Cooley on Taxation [2d. ed.], 527, quoted in Leigh vs. Green, 193 U. S., 79, 80.)

It will be observed that this mode of notification does not involve any absolute assurance that the absent owner shall thereby receive
actual notice. The periodical containing the publication may never in fact come to his hands, and the chances that he should discover
the notice may often be very slight. Even where notice is sent by mail the probability of his receiving it, though much increased, is
dependent upon the correctness of the address to which it is forwarded as well as upon the regularity and security of the mail service. It
will be noted, furthermore, that the provision of our law relative to the mailing of notice does not absolutely require the mailing of
notice unconditionally and in every event, but only in the case where the defendant's residence is known. In the light of all these facts, it
is evident that actual notice to the defendant in cases of this kind is not, under the law, to be considered absolutely necessary.

The idea upon which the law proceeds in recognizing the efficacy of a means of notification which may fall short of actual notice is
apparently this: Property is always assumed to be in the possession of its owner, in person or by agent; and he may be safely held, under
certain conditions, to be affected with knowledge that proceedings have been instituted for its condemnation and sale.

It is the duty of the owner of real estate, who is a nonresident, to take measures that in some way he shall be represented when his
property is called into requisition, and if he fails to do this, and fails to get notice by the ordinary publications which have usually been
required in such cases, it is his misfortune, and he must abide the consequences. (6 R. C. L., sec. 445 [p. 450]).

It has been well said by an American court:

If property of a nonresident cannot be reached by legal process upon the constructive notice, then our statutes were passed in vain, and
are mere empty legislative declarations, without either force, or meaning; for if the person is not within the jurisdiction of the court, no
personal judgment can be rendered, and if the judgment cannot operate upon the property, then no effective judgment at all can be
rendered, so that the result would be that the courts would be powerless to assist a citizen against a nonresident. Such a result would be
a deplorable one. (Quarl vs. Abbett, 102 Ind., 233; 52 Am. Rep., 662, 667.)

It is, of course universally recognized that the statutory provisions relative to publication or other form of notice against a nonresident
owner should be complied with; and in respect to the publication of notice in the newspaper it may be stated that strict compliance with
the requirements of the law has been held to be essential. In Guaranty Trust etc. Co. vs. Green Cove etc., Railroad Co. (139 U. S., 137,
138), it was held that where newspaper publication was made for 19 weeks, when the statute required 20, the publication was
insufficient.
With respect to the provisions of our own statute, relative to the sending of notice by mail, the requirement is that the judge shall direct
that the notice be deposited in the mail by the clerk of the court, and it is not in terms declared that the notice must be deposited in the
mail. We consider this to be of some significance; and it seems to us that, having due regard to the principles upon which the giving of
such notice is required, the absent owner of the mortgaged property must, so far as the due process of law is concerned, take the risk
incident to the possible failure of the clerk to perform his duty, somewhat as he takes the risk that the mail clerk or the mail carrier
might possibly lose or destroy the parcel or envelope containing the notice before it should reach its destination and be delivered to him.
This idea seems to be strengthened by the consideration that placing upon the clerk the duty of sending notice by mail, the performance
of that act is put effectually beyond the control of the plaintiff in the litigation. At any rate it is obvious that so much of section 399 of
the Code of Civil Procedure as relates to the sending of notice by mail was complied with when the court made the order. The question
as to what may be the consequences of the failure of the record to show the proof of compliance with that requirement will be discussed
by us further on.

The observations which have just been made lead to the conclusion that the failure of the clerk to mail the notice, if in fact he did so fail
in his duty, is not such an irregularity, as amounts to a denial of due process of law; and hence in our opinion that irregularity, if proved,
would not avoid the judgment in this case. Notice was given by publication in a newspaper and this is the only form of notice which the
law unconditionally requires. This in our opinion is all that was absolutely necessary to sustain the proceedings.

It will be observed that in considering the effect of this irregularity, it makes a difference whether it be viewed as a question involving
jurisdiction or as a question involving due process of law. In the matter of jurisdiction there can be no distinction between the much and
the little. The court either has jurisdiction or it has not; and if the requirement as to the mailing of notice should be considered as a step
antecedent to the acquiring of jurisdiction, there could be no escape from the conclusion that the failure to take that step was fatal to the
validity of the judgment. In the application of the idea of due process of law, on the other hand, it is clearly unnecessary to be so
rigorous. The jurisdiction being once established, all that due process of law thereafter requires is an opportunity for the defendant to be
heard; and as publication was duly made in the newspaper, it would seem highly unreasonable to hold that failure to mail the notice was
fatal. We think that in applying the requirement of due process of law, it is permissible to reflect upon the purposes of the provision
which is supposed to have been violated and the principle underlying the exercise of judicial power in these proceedings. Judge in the
light of these conceptions, we think that the provision of Act of Congress declaring that no person shall be deprived of his property
without due process of law has not been infringed.

In the progress of this discussion we have stated the two conclusions; (1) that the failure of the clerk to send the notice to the defendant
by mail did not destroy the jurisdiction of the court and (2) that such irregularity did not infringe the requirement of due process of law.
As a consequence of these conclusions the irregularity in question is in some measure shorn of its potency. It is still necessary, however,
to consider its effect considered as a simple irregularity of procedure; and it would be idle to pretend that even in this aspect the
irregularity is not grave enough. From this point of view, however, it is obvious that any motion to vacate the judgment on the ground of
the irregularity in question must fail unless it shows that the defendant was prejudiced by that irregularity. The least, therefore, that can
be required of the proponent of such a motion is to show that he had a good defense against the action to foreclose the mortgage.
Nothing of the kind is, however, shown either in the motion or in the affidavit which accompanies the motion.

An application to open or vacate a judgment because of an irregularity or defect in the proceedings is usually required to be supported
by an affidavit showing the grounds on which the relief is sought, and in addition to this showing also a meritorious defense to the
action. It is held that a general statement that a party has a good defense to the action is insufficient. The necessary facts must be
averred. Of course if a judgment is void upon its face a showing of the existence of a meritorious defense is not necessary. (10 R. C. L.,
718.)

The lapse of time is also a circumstance deeply affecting this aspect of the case. In this connection we quote the following passage from
the encyclopedic treatise now in course of publication:

Where, however, the judgment is not void on its face, and may therefore be enforced if permitted to stand on the record, courts in many
instances refuse to exercise their quasi equitable powers to vacate a judgement after the lapse of the term ay which it was entered,
except in clear cases, to promote the ends of justice, and where it appears that the party making the application is himself without fault
and has acted in good faith and with ordinary diligence. Laches on the part of the applicant, if unexplained, is deemed sufficient ground
for refusing the relief to which he might otherwise be entitled. Something is due to the finality of judgments, and acquiescence or
unnecessary delay is fatal to motions of this character, since courts are always reluctant to interfere with judgments, and especially
where they have been executed or satisfied. The moving party has the burden of showing diligence, and unless it is shown affirmatively
the court will not ordinarily exercise its discretion in his favor. (15 R. C. L., 694, 695.)

It is stated in the affidavit that the defendant, Engracio Palanca Tanquinyeng y Limquingco, died January 29, 1910. The mortgage under
which the property was sold was executed far back in 1906; and the proceedings in the foreclosure were closed by the order of court
confirming the sale dated August 7, 1908. It passes the rational bounds of human credulity to suppose that a man who had placed a
mortgage upon property worth nearly P300,000 and had then gone away from the scene of his life activities to end his days in the city of
Amoy, China, should have long remained in ignorance of the fact that the mortgage had been foreclosed and the property sold, even
supposing that he had no knowledge of those proceedings while they were being conducted. It is more in keeping with the ordinary
course of things that he should have acquired information as to what was transpiring in his affairs at Manila; and upon the basis of this
rational assumption we are authorized, in the absence of proof to the contrary, to presume that he did have, or soon acquired,
information as to the sale of his property.

The Code of Civil Procedure, indeed, expressly declares that there is a presumption that things have happened according to the ordinary
habits of life (sec. 334 [26]); and we cannot conceive of a situation more appropriate than this for applying the presumption thus
defined by the lawgiver. In support of this presumption, as applied to the present case, it is permissible to consider the probability that
the defendant may have received actual notice of these proceedings from the unofficial notice addressed to him in Manila which was
mailed by an employee of the bank's attorneys. Adopting almost the exact words used by the Supreme Court of the United States in
Grannis vs. Ordeans (234 U. S., 385; 58 L. ed., 1363), we may say that in view of the well-known skill of postal officials and employees in
making proper delivery of letters defectively addressed, we think the presumption is clear and strong that this notice reached the
defendant, there being no proof that it was ever returned by the postal officials as undelivered. And if it was delivered in Manila, instead
of being forwarded to Amoy, China, there is a probability that the recipient was a person sufficiently interested in his affairs to send it or
communicate its contents to him.

Of course if the jurisdiction of the court or the sufficiency of the process of law depended upon the mailing of the notice by the clerk, the
reflections in which we are now indulging would be idle and frivolous; but the considerations mentioned are introduced in order to
show the propriety of applying to this situation the legal presumption to which allusion has been made. Upon that presumption,
supported by the circumstances of this case, ,we do not hesitate to found the conclusion that the defendant voluntarily abandoned all
thought of saving his property from the obligation which he had placed upon it; that knowledge of the proceedings should be imputed to
him; and that he acquiesced in the consequences of those proceedings after they had been accomplished. Under these circumstances it
is clear that the merit of this motion is, as we have already stated, adversely affected in a high degree by the delay in asking for relief.
Nor is it an adequate reply to say that the proponent of this motion is an administrator who only qualified a few months before this
motion was made. No disability on the part of the defendant himself existed from the time when the foreclosure was effected until his
death; and we believe that the delay in the appointment of the administrator and institution of this action is a circumstance which is
imputable to the parties in interest whoever they may have been. Of course if the minor heirs had instituted an action in their own right
to recover the property, it would have been different.

It is, however, argued that the defendant has suffered prejudice by reason of the fact that the bank became the purchaser of the property
at the foreclosure sale for a price greatly below that which had been agreed upon in the mortgage as the upset price of the property. In
this connection, it appears that in article nine of the mortgage which was the subject of this foreclosure, as amended by the notarial
document of July 19, 1906, the parties to this mortgage made a stipulation to the effect that the value therein placed upon the
mortgaged properties should serve as a basis of sale in case the debt should remain unpaid and the bank should proceed to a
foreclosure. The upset price stated in that stipulation for all the parcels involved in this foreclosure was P286,000. It is said in behalf of
the appellant that when the bank bought in the property for the sum of P110,200 it violated that stipulation.

It has been held by this court that a clause in a mortgage providing for a tipo, or upset price, does not prevent a foreclosure, nor affect
the validity of a sale made in the foreclosure proceedings. (Yangco vs. Cruz Herrera and Wy Piaco, 11 Phil. Rep., 402; Banco-Español
Filipino vs. Donaldson, Sim and Co., 5 Phil. Rep., 418.) In both the cases here cited the property was purchased at the foreclosure sale,
not by the creditor or mortgagee, but by a third party. Whether the same rule should be applied in a case where the mortgagee himself
becomes the purchaser has apparently not been decided by this court in any reported decision, and this question need not here be
considered, since it is evident that if any liability was incurred by the bank by purchasing for a price below that fixed in the stipulation,
its liability was a personal liability derived from the contract of mortgage; and as we have already demonstrated such a liability could
not be the subject of adjudication in an action where the court had no jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. If the plaintiff bank
became liable to account for the difference between the upset price and the price at which in bought in the property, that liability
remains unaffected by the disposition which the court made of this case; and the fact that the bank may have violated such an obligation
can in no wise affect the validity of the judgment entered in the Court of First Instance.

In connection with the entire failure of the motion to show either a meritorious defense to the action or that the defendant had suffered
any prejudice of which the law can take notice, we may be permitted to add that in our opinion a motion of this kind, which proposes to
unsettle judicial proceedings long ago closed, can not be considered with favor, unless based upon grounds which appeal to the
conscience of the court. Public policy requires that judicial proceedings be upheld. The maximum here applicable is non quieta movere.
As was once said by Judge Brewer, afterwards a member of the Supreme Court of the United States:

Public policy requires that judicial proceedings be upheld, and that titles obtained in those proceedings be safe from the ruthless hand
of collateral attack. If technical defects are adjudged potent to destroy such titles, a judicial sale will never realize that value of the
property, for no prudent man will risk his money in bidding for and buying that title which he has reason to fear may years thereafter be
swept away through some occult and not readily discoverable defect. (Martin vs. Pond, 30 Fed., 15.)

In the case where that language was used an attempt was made to annul certain foreclosure proceedings on the ground that the affidavit
upon which the order of publication was based erroneously stated that the State of Kansas, when he was in fact residing in another
State. It was held that this mistake did not affect the validity of the proceedings.

In the preceding discussion we have assumed that the clerk failed to send the notice by post as required by the order of the court. We
now proceed to consider whether this is a proper assumption; and the proposition which we propose to establish is that there is a legal
presumption that the clerk performed his duty as the ministerial officer of the court, which presumption is not overcome by any other
facts appearing in the cause.

In subsection 14 of section 334 of the Code of Civil Procedure it is declared that there is a presumption "that official duty has been
regularly performed;" and in subsection 18 it is declared that there is a presumption "that the ordinary course of business has been
followed." These presumptions are of course in no sense novelties, as they express ideas which have always been recognized. Omnia
presumuntur rite et solemniter esse acta donec probetur in contrarium. There is therefore clearly a legal presumption that the clerk
performed his duty about mailing this notice; and we think that strong considerations of policy require that this presumption should be
allowed to operate with full force under the circumstances of this case. A party to an action has no control over the clerk of the court;
and has no right to meddle unduly with the business of the clerk in the performance of his duties. Having no control over this officer,
the litigant must depend upon the court to see that the duties imposed on the clerk are performed.

Other considerations no less potent contribute to strengthen the conclusion just stated. There is no principle of law better settled than
that after jurisdiction has once been required, every act of a court of general jurisdiction shall be presumed to have been rightly done.
This rule is applied to every judgment or decree rendered in the various stages of the proceedings from their initiation to their
completion (Voorhees vs. United States Bank, 10 Pet., 314; 35 U. S., 449); and if the record is silent with respect to any fact which must
have been established before the court could have rightly acted, it will be presumed that such fact was properly brought to its
knowledge. (The Lessee of Grignon vs. Astor, 2 How., 319; 11 L. ed., 283.)

In making the order of sale [of the real state of a decedent] the court are presumed to have adjudged every question necessary to justify
such order or decree, viz: The death of the owners; that the petitioners were his administrators; that the personal estate was insufficient
to pay the debts of the deceased; that the private acts of Assembly, as to the manner of sale, were within the constitutional power of the
Legislature, and that all the provisions of the law as to notices which are directory to the administrators have been complied with. . . .
The court is not bound to enter upon the record the evidence on which any fact was decided. (Florentine vs. Barton, 2 Wall., 210; 17 L.
ed., 785.) Especially does all this apply after long lapse of time.

Applegate vs. Lexington and Carter County Mining Co. (117 U. S., 255) contains an instructive discussion in a case analogous to that
which is now before us. It there appeared that in order to foreclose a mortgage in the State of Kentucky against a nonresident debtor it
was necessary that publication should be made in a newspaper for a specified period of time, also be posted at the front door of the court
house and be published on some Sunday, immediately after divine service, in such church as the court should direct. In a certain action
judgment had been entered against a nonresident, after publication in pursuance of these provisions. Many years later the validity of the
proceedings was called in question in another action. It was proved from the files of an ancient periodical that publication had been
made in its columns as required by law; but no proof was offered to show the publication of the order at the church, or the posting of it
at the front door of the court-house. It was insisted by one of the parties that the judgment of the court was void for lack of jurisdiction.
But the Supreme Court of the United States said:

The court which made the decree . . . was a court of general jurisdiction. Therefore every presumption not inconsistent with the record is
to be indulged in favor of its jurisdiction. . . . It is to be presumed that the court before making its decree took care of to see that its order
for constructive service, on which its right to make the decree depended, had been obeyed.
It is true that in this case the former judgment was the subject of collateral , or indirect attack, while in the case at bar the motion to
vacate the judgment is direct proceeding for relief against it. The same general presumption, however, is indulged in favor of the
judgment of a court of general jurisdiction, whether it is the subject of direct or indirect attack the only difference being that in case of
indirect attack the judgment is conclusively presumed to be valid unless the record affirmatively shows it to be void, while in case of
direct attack the presumption in favor of its validity may in certain cases be overcome by proof extrinsic to the record.

The presumption that the clerk performed his duty and that the court made its decree with the knowledge that the requirements of law
had been complied with appear to be amply sufficient to support the conclusion that the notice was sent by the clerk as required by the
order. It is true that there ought to be found among the papers on file in this cause an affidavit, as required by section 400 of the Code of
Civil Procedure, showing that the order was in fact so sent by the clerk; and no such affidavit appears. The record is therefore silent
where it ought to speak. But the very purpose of the law in recognizing these presumptions is to enable the court to sustain a prior
judgment in the face of such an omission. If we were to hold that the judgment in this case is void because the proper affidavit is not
present in the file of papers which we call the record, the result would be that in the future every title in the Islands resting upon a
judgment like that now before us would depend, for its continued security, upon the presence of such affidavit among the papers and
would be liable at any moment to be destroyed by the disappearance of that piece of paper. We think that no court, with a proper regard
for the security of judicial proceedings and for the interests which have by law been confided to the courts, would incline to favor such a
conclusion. In our opinion the proper course in a case of this kind is to hold that the legal presumption that the clerk performed his duty
still maintains notwithstanding the absence from the record of the proper proof of that fact.

In this connection it is important to bear in mind that under the practice prevailing in the Philippine Islands the word "record" is used
in a loose and broad sense, as indicating the collective mass of papers which contain the history of all the successive steps taken in a case
and which are finally deposited in the archives of the clerk's office as a memorial of the litigation. It is a matter of general information
that no judgment roll, or book of final record, is commonly kept in our courts for the purpose of recording the pleadings and principal
proceedings in actions which have been terminated; and in particular, no such record is kept in the Court of First Instance of the city of
Manila. There is, indeed, a section of the Code of Civil Procedure which directs that such a book of final record shall be kept; but this
provision has, as a matter of common knowledge, been generally ignored. The result is that in the present case we do not have the
assistance of the recitals of such a record to enable us to pass upon the validity of this judgment and as already stated the question must
be determined by examining the papers contained in the entire file.

But it is insisted by counsel for this motion that the affidavit of Bernardo Chan y Garcia showing that upon April 4, 1908, he sent a
notification through the mail addressed to the defendant at Manila, Philippine Islands, should be accepted as affirmative proof that the
clerk of the court failed in his duty and that, instead of himself sending the requisite notice through the mail, he relied upon Bernardo to
send it for him. We do not think that this is by any means a necessary inference. Of course if it had affirmatively appeared that the clerk
himself had attempted to comply with this order and had directed the notification to Manila when he should have directed it to Amoy,
this would be conclusive that he had failed to comply with the exact terms of the order; but such is not this case. That the clerk of the
attorneys for the plaintiff erroneously sent a notification to the defendant at a mistaken address affords in our opinion very slight basis
for supposing that the clerk may not have sent notice to the right address.

There is undoubtedly good authority to support the position that when the record states the evidence or makes an averment with
reference to a jurisdictional fact, it will not be presumed that there was other or different evidence respecting the fact, or that the fact
was otherwise than stated. If, to give an illustration, it appears from the return of the officer that the summons was served at a
particular place or in a particular manner, it will not be presumed that service was also made at another place or in a different manner;
or if it appears that service was made upon a person other than the defendant, it will not be presumed, in the silence of the record, that
it was made upon the defendant also (Galpin vs. Page, 18 Wall., 350, 366; Settlemier vs. Sullivan, 97 U. S., 444, 449). While we believe
that these propositions are entirely correct as applied to the case where the person making the return is the officer who is by law
required to make the return, we do not think that it is properly applicable where, as in the present case, the affidavit was made by a
person who, so far as the provisions of law are concerned, was a mere intermeddler.

The last question of importance which we propose to consider is whether a motion in the cause is admissible as a proceeding to obtain
relief in such a case as this. If the motion prevails the judgment of July 2, 1908, and all subsequent proceedings will be set aside, and the
litigation will be renewed, proceeding again from the date mentioned as if the progress of the action had not been interrupted. The
proponent of the motion does not ask the favor of being permitted to interpose a defense. His purpose is merely to annul the effective
judgment of the court, to the end that the litigation may again resume its regular course.

There is only one section of the Code of Civil Procedure which expressly recognizes the authority of a Court of First Instance to set aside
a final judgment and permit a renewal of the litigation in the same cause. This is as follows:

SEC. 113. Upon such terms as may be just the court may relieve a party or legal representative from the judgment, order, or
other proceeding taken against him through his mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; Provided, That application
thereof be made within a reasonable time, but in no case exceeding six months after such judgment, order, or proceeding was taken.

An additional remedy by petition to the Supreme Court is supplied by section 513 of the same Code. The first paragraph of this section,
in so far as pertinent to this discussion, provides as follows:

When a judgment is rendered by a Court of First Instance upon default, and a party thereto is unjustly deprived of a hearing by fraud,
accident, mistake or excusable negligence, and the Court of First Instance which rendered the judgment has finally adjourned so that no
adequate remedy exists in that court, the party so deprived of a hearing may present his petition to the Supreme Court within sixty days
after he first learns of the rendition of such judgment, and not thereafter, setting forth the facts and praying to have judgment set aside.
...

It is evident that the proceeding contemplated in this section is intended to supplement the remedy provided by section 113; and we
believe the conclusion irresistible that there is no other means recognized by law whereby a defeated party can, by a proceeding in the
same cause, procure a judgment to be set aside, with a view to the renewal of the litigation.

The Code of Civil Procedure purports to be a complete system of practice in civil causes, and it contains provisions describing with much
fullness the various steps to be taken in the conduct of such proceedings. To this end it defines with precision the method of beginning,
conducting, and concluding the civil action of whatever species; and by section 795 of the same Code it is declared that the procedure in
all civil action shall be in accordance with the provisions of this Code. We are therefore of the opinion that the remedies prescribed in
sections 113 and 513 are exclusive of all others, so far as relates to the opening and continuation of a litigation which has been once
concluded.

The motion in the present case does not conform to the requirements of either of these provisions; and the consequence is that in our
opinion the action of the Court of First Instance in dismissing the motion was proper.
If the question were admittedly one relating merely to an irregularity of procedure, we cannot suppose that this proceeding would have
taken the form of a motion in the cause, since it is clear that, if based on such an error, the came to late for relief in the Court of First
Instance. But as we have already seen, the motion attacks the judgment of the court as void for want of jurisdiction over the defendant.
The idea underlying the motion therefore is that inasmuch as the judgment is a nullity it can be attacked in any way and at any time. If
the judgment were in fact void upon its face, that is, if it were shown to be a nullity by virtue of its own recitals, there might possibly be
something in this. Where a judgment or judicial order is void in this sense it may be said to be a lawless thing, which can be treated as
an outlaw and slain at sight, or ignored wherever and whenever it exhibits its head.

But the judgment in question is not void in any such sense. It is entirely regular in form, and the alleged defect is one which is not
apparent upon its face. It follows that even if the judgment could be shown to be void for want of jurisdiction, or for lack of due process
of law, the party aggrieved thereby is bound to resort to some appropriate proceeding to obtain relief. Under accepted principles of law
and practice, long recognized in American courts, a proper remedy in such case, after the time for appeal or review has passed, is for the
aggrieved party to bring an action to enjoin the judgment, if not already carried into effect; or if the property has already been disposed
of he may institute suit to recover it. In every situation of this character an appropriate remedy is at hand; and if property has been
taken without due process, the law concedes due process to recover it. We accordingly old that, assuming the judgment to have been
void as alleged by the proponent of this motion, the proper remedy was by an original proceeding and not by motion in the cause. As we
have already seen our Code of Civil Procedure defines the conditions under which relief against a judgment may be productive of
conclusion for this court to recognize such a proceeding as proper under conditions different from those defined by law. Upon the point
of procedure here involved, we refer to the case of People vs. Harrison (84 Cal., 607) wherein it was held that a motion will not lie to
vacate a judgment after the lapse of the time limited by statute if the judgment is not void on its face; and in all cases, after the lapse of
the time limited by statute if the judgment is not void on its face; and all cases, after the lapse of such time, when an attempt is made to
vacate the judgment by a proceeding in court for that purpose an action regularly brought is preferable, and should be required. It will
be noted taken verbatim from the California Code (sec. 473).

The conclusions stated in this opinion indicate that the judgment appealed from is without error, and the same is accordingly affirmed,
with costs. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Torres, Carson, and Avanceña, JJ., concur.


G.R. No. L-68288 July 11, 1986

DIOSDADO GUZMAN, ULYSSES URBIZTONDO, and ARIEL RAMACULA, petitioners,


vs.
NATIONAL UNIVERSITY and DOMINGO L. JHOCSON in his capacity as President of National University, respondents.

Efren H. Mercado and Haydee Yorac for petitioners.

Samson S. Alcantara for respondents.

NARVASA, J.:

Petitioners Diosdado Guzman, Ulysses Urbiztondo and Ariel Ramacula, students of respondent National University, have come to this
Court to seek relief from what they describe as their school's "continued and persistent refusal to allow them to enrol." In their petition
"for extraordinary legal and equitable remedies with prayer for preliminary mandatory injunction" dated August 7, 1984, they allege:

1) that respondent University's avowed reason for its refusal to re-enroll them in their respective courses is "the latter's
participation in peaceful mass actions within the premises of the University.

2) that this "attitude of the (University) is simply a continuation of its cavalier if not hostile attitude to the student's exercise of their
basic constitutional and human rights already recorded in Rockie C. San Juan vs. National University, S.C. G.R. No. 65443 (1983) and
its utter contempt for the principle of due process of law to the prejudice of petitioners;" and

3) that "in effect petitioners are subjected to the extreme penalty of expulsion without cause or if there be any, without being informed
of such cause and without being afforded the opportunity to defend themselves. Berina v. Philippine Maritime Institute (117 SCRA 581
[1983]).

In the comment filed on September 24, 1986 for respondent University and its President pursuant to this Court's requirement therefor1
, respondents make the claim:

1) that "petitioners' failure to enroll for the first semester of the school year 1984-1985 is due to their own fault and not because of
their allegedexercise of their constitutional and human rights;"

2) that petitioner Urbiztondo, sought to re-enroll only on July 5, 1986 "when the enrollment period was already closed;"

3) that as regards petitioner Guzman, his "academic showing" was "poor", "due to his activities in leading boycotts of classes";
that when his father was notified of this development sometime in August, 1982, the latter had demanded that his son "reform or else
we will recall him to the province"; that Guzman was one of the petitioners in G.R. No. 65443 entitled "Rockie San Juan, et al. vs.
National University, et al.," at the hearing of which on November 23, 1983 this Court had admonished "the students involved (to) take
advantage and make the most of the opportunity given to them to study;" that Guzman "however continued to lead or actively
participate in activities within the university premises, conducted without prior permit from school authorities, that disturbed or
disrupted classes therein;" that moreover, Guzman "is facing criminal charges for malicious mischief before the Metropolitan Trial
Court of Manila (Crim. Case No. 066446) in connection with the destruction of properties of respondent University on September 12,
1983 ", and "is also one of the defendants in Civil Case No. 8320483 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila entitled 'National University,
Inc. vs. Rockie San Juan et al.' for damages arising from destruction of university properties

4) that as regards petitioner Ramacula, like Guzman "he continued to lead or actively participate, contrary to the spirit of the
Resolution dated November 23, 1983 of this ... Court (in G.R. No. 65443 in which he was also one of the petitioners) and to university
rules and regulations, within university premises but without permit from university officials in activities that disturbed or disrupted
classes;" and

5) that petitioners have "failures in their records, (and) are not of good scholastic standing. "

Respondents close their comment with the following assertions, to wit:

1) By their actuations, petitioners must be deemed to have forfeited their privilege, if any, to seek enrollment in respondent
university. The rights of respondent university, as an institution of higher learning, must also be respected. It is also beyond
comprehension why petitioners, who continually despise and villify respondent university and its officials and faculty members, should
persist in seeking enrollment in an institution that they hate.

2) Under the circumstances, and without regard to legal technicalities, it is not to the best interest of all concerned that
petitioners be allowed to enroll in respondent university.

3) In any event, petitioners' enrollment being on the semestral basis, respondents cannot be compelled to enroll them after the
end of the semester.

On October 2, 1984 this Court issued a resolution reading as follows:

... Acting on the Comment submitted by respondent, the Court Resolved to NOTE the same and to require a REPLY to such Comment.
The Court further Resolved to ISSUE a MANDATORY INJUNCTION, enjoining respondent to allow the enrolment of petitioners for the
coming semester without prejudice to any disciplinary proceeding to which any or all of them may be subjected with their right to lawful
defense recognized and respected. As regards petitioner Diosdado Guzman, even if it be a fact that there is a pending criminal charge
against him for malicious mischief, the Court nonetheless is of the opinion that, as above-noted, without prejudice to the continuation
of any disciplinary proceeding against him, that he be allowed to resume his studies in the meanwhile. As shown in Annex 2 of the
petition itself, Mr. Juan P. Guzman, father of said petitioner, is extending full cooperation with petitioners to assure that whatever
protest or grievance petitioner Guzman may have would be ventilated in a lawful and peaceful manner.

Petitioners' REPLY inter alia—

1) denied that Urbiztondo attempted to enroll only on July 5, 1984 (when enrollment was already closed), it being alleged that
"while he did try to enroll that day, he also attempted to do so several times before that date, all to no avail, because respondents ...
persistently refused to allow him to do so" respondents' ostensible reason being that Urbiztondo (had) participated in mass actions ...
within the school premises," although there were no existing disciplinary charge against petitioner Urbiztondo" at the time;
2) asserted that "neither the text nor the context of the resolution 2 justifies the conclusion that "petitioners' right to exercise their
constitutional freedoms" had thereby been restricted or limited; and

3) alleged that "the holding of activities (mass action) in the school premises without the permission of the school ... can be
explained by the fact that the respondents persistently refused to issue such permit repeatedly sought by the students. "

On November 23, 1984, this Court promulgated another resolution, this time reading as follows:

... The Court, after considering the pleadings filed and deliberating on the issues raised in the petition for extraordinary legal and
equitable remedies with prayer for preliminary mandatory injunction as well as the respondents' comment on the petition and the reply
of counsel for petitioners to the respondents' comment, Resolved to (a) give DUE COURSE to the petition; (b) consider the respondents'
comment as ANSWER to the petition; and (c) require the parties to file their respective MEMORANDA within twenty (20) days from
notice. ... .

Immediately apparent from a reading of respondents' comment and memorandum is the fact that they had never conducted
proceedings of any sort to determine whether or not petitioners-students had indeed led or participated "in activities within the
university premises, conducted without prior permit from school authorities, that disturbed or disrupted classes therein" 3 or
perpetrated acts of "vandalism, coercion and intimidation, slander, noise barrage and other acts showing disdain for and defiance of
University authority." 4 Parenthetically, the pendency of a civil case for damages and a criminal case for malicious mischief against
petitioner Guzman, cannot, without more, furnish sufficient warrant for his expulsion or debarment from re-enrollment. Also apparent
is the omission of respondents to cite this Court to any duly published rule of theirs by which students may be expelled or refused re-
enrollment for poor scholastic standing.

Under the Education Act of 1982, 5 the petitioners, as students, have the right among others "to freely choose their field of study subject
to existing curricula and to continue their course therein up to graduation, except in case of academic deficiency, or violation of
disciplinary regulations." 6 Petitioners were being denied this right, or being disciplined, without due process, in violation of the
admonition in the Manual of Regulations for Private Schools 7 that "(n)o penalty shall be imposed upon any student except for cause as
defined in ... (the) Manual and/or in the school rules and regulations as duly promulgated and only after due investigation shall have
been conducted." 8 This Court is therefore constrained, as in Berina v. Philippine Maritime Institute, 9 to declare illegal this act of
respondents of imposing sanctions on students without due investigation.

Educational institutions of course have the power to "adopt and enforce such rules as may be deemed expedient for ... (its) government,
... (this being)" incident to the very object of incorporation, and indispensable to the successful management of the college." 10 The
rules may include those governing student discipline. Indeed, the maintenance of "good school discipline" is a duty specifically enjoined
on "every private school" by the Manual of Regulations for Private Schools; 11 and in this connection, the Manual further provides that-

... The school rules governing discipline and the corresponding sanctions therefor must be clearly specified and defined in writing and
made known to the students and/or their parents or guardians. Schools shall have the authority and prerogative to promulgate such
rules and regulations as they may deem necessary from time to time effective as of the date of their promulgation unless otherwise
specified. 12

But, to repeat, the imposition of disciplinary sanctions requires observance of procedural due process. And it bears stressing that due
process in disciplinary cases involving students does not entail proceedings and hearings similar to those prescribed for actions and
proceedings in courts of justice. The proceedings in student discipline cases may be summary; and cross-examination is not, 'contrary to
petitioners' view, an essential part thereof. There are withal minimum standards which must be met to satisfy the demands of
procedural due process; and these are, that (1) the students must be informed in writing of the nature and cause of any accusation
against them; (2) they shag have the right to answer the charges against them, with the assistance of counsel, if desired; (3) they shall be
informed of the evidence against them; (4) they shall have the right to adduce evidence in their own behalf; and (5) the evidence must
be duly considered by the investigating committee or official designated by the school authorities to hear and decide the case.

WHEREFORE, the petition is granted and the respondents are directed to allow the petitioners to re-enroll or otherwise continue with
their respective courses, without prejudice to any disciplinary proceedings to which any or all of them may be subjected in accordance
with the standards herein set forth.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-56180 October 16, 1986

ATENEO DE MANILA UNIVERSITY, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, and SPOUSES ROMEO G. GUANZON and TERESITA REGALADO, respondents.

Ernesto P. Pangalangan for petitioner.

Mirano, Mirano & Associates for private respondents.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:

In a letter-complaint dated December 13, 1967 addressed to Rev. William Welsh S.J., Dean of Men, Dean of Resident Students, and
Chairman of the Board of Discipline, College of Arts and Sciences, Ateneo de Manila, Carmelita Mateo, a waitress in the cafeteria of
Cervini Hall inside the university campus charged Juan Ramon Guanzon, son of private respondents Romeo Guanzon and Teresita
Regalado, and a boarder and first year student of the university with unbecoming conduct committed on December 12, 1967 at about
5:15 in the evening at the Cervini Hall's cafeteria, as follows:

xxx xxx xxx

Mr. Guanzon, a boarder at Cervini who I think comes from Bacolod, was asking for "siopao." I was at the counter and I told him that the
"siopao" had still to be heated and asked him to wait for a while. Then Mr. Guanzon started mumbling bad words directed to me, in the
hearing presence of other boarders. I asked him to stop cursing, and he told me that was none of my business. Since he seemed
impatient, I was going to give back his money without any contempt. (sic) He retorted that he did not like to accept the money. He got
madder and started to curse again. Then he threatened to strike me with his fist. I tried to avoid this. But then he actually struck me in
my left temple. Before he could strike again, his fellow boarders held him and Dr. Bella and Leyes coaxed him to stop; I got hold of a
bottle so I could dodge him. It was then that Fr. Campbell arrived. The incident was hidden from Fr. Campbell by the boarders. I could
not tell him myself as I had gone into the kitchen crying because I was hurt.

The university conducted an investigation of the slapping incident. On the basis of the investigation results, Juan Ramon was dismissed
from the university.

The dismissal of Juan Ramon triggered off the filing of a complaint for damages by his parents against the university in the then Court
of First Instance of Negros Occidental at Bacolod City. The complaint states that Juan Ramon was expelled from school without giving
him a fair trial in violation of his right to due process and that they are prominent and well known residents of Bacolod City, with the
unceremonious expulsion of their son causing them actual, moral, and exemplary damages as well as attorney's fees.

In its answer, the university denied the material allegations of the complaint and justified the dismissal of Juan Ramon on the ground
that his unbecoming behavior is contrary to good morals, proper decorum, and civility, that such behavior subjected him as a student to
the university's disciplinary regulations' action and sanction and that the university has the sole prerogative and authority at any time to
drop from the school a student found to be undesirable in order to preserve and maintain its integrity and discipline so indispensable
for its existence as an institution of learning.

After due trial, the lower court found for the Guanzons and ordered the university to pay them P92.00 as actual damages; P50,000.00
as moral damages; P5,000.00 as attorney's fees and to pay the costs of the suit.

Upon appeal to the Court of Appeals by the university, the trial court's decision was initially reversed and set aside. The complaint was
dismissed.

However, upon motion for reconsideration filed by the Guanzons, the appellate court reversed its decision and set it aside through a
special division of five. In the resolution issued by the appellate court, the lower court's decision was reinstated. The motion for
reconsideration had to be referred to a special division of five in view of the failure to reach unanimity on the resolution of the motion,
the vote of the regular division having become 2 to 1.

The petitioner now asks us to review and reverse the resolution of the division of five on the following grounds:

ONE

THE RESOLUTION OF THE DIVISION OF FIVE COMMITTED A SERIOUS AND GRAVE ERROR OF LAW IN RULING THAT
PRIVATE RESPONDENTS WERE NOT AFFORDED DUE PROCESS IN THE DISCIPLINE CASE AGAINST THEIR SON, JUAN
RAMON GUANZON.

TWO

THE RESOLUTION OF THE DIVISION OF FIVE ERRONEOUSLY RULED THAT THE RESORT TO JUDICIAL REMEDY BY PRIVATE
RESPONDENTS DID NOT VIOLATE THE RULE ON FINALITY OF ADMINISTRATION ACTION OR EXHAUSTION OF
ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES.

THREE

THE FINDING AND CONCLUSIONS OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE DIVISION OF FIVE ARE TAINTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION, OR ARE CONFLICTING, OR CONTRARY TO THE EVIDENCE IN THE CASE.

In reversing its own decision, the appellate court relied heavily on the findings of the Director of Private Schools affirmed by the
Minister of Education and the findings of the lower Court to the effect that due process of law was not observed by the petitioner when it
dismissed the private respondents' son Juan Ramon. The resolution invoked the rule that findings of facts by administrative officers in
matters falling within their competence will not generally be reviewed by the courts, as well as the principle that findings of facts of the
trial court are entitled to great weight and should not be disturbed on appeal.

The conclusions of the Court of Appeals in its split decision are not sustained by the facts on record.

The statement regarding the finality given to factual findings of trial courts and administrative tribunals is correct if treated as a general
principle. The general principle, however, is subject to well established exceptions.
We disregard the factual findings of trial courts when-(l) the conclusion is a finding grounded on speculations, surmises, and
conjectures; (2) the inferences made are manifestly mistaken, absurd, or impossible; (3) there is a grave abuse of discretion; (4) there is
a misapprehension of facts; and (5) the court, in arriving at its findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same are contrary to
the admissions of the parties or the evidence presented. (Gomez v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 135 SCRA 620; Republic v. Court of
Appeals, 132 SCRA 514; Carolina Industries, Inc. v. CMS Stock Brokerage, Inc., 97 SCRA 734; and Bacayo v. Genato, 135 SCRA 668).

A similar rule applies to administrative agencies.

By reason of their special knowledge and expertise gained from the handling of specific matters falling under their respective
jurisdictions, we ordinarily accord respect if not finality to factual findings of administrative tribunals. However, there are exceptions to
this rule and judicial power asserts itself whenever the factual findings are not supported by evidence; where the findings are vitiated by
fraud, imposition, or collusion; where the procedure which led to the factual findings is irregular; when palpable errors are committed;
or when a grave abuse of discretion, arbitrariness, or capriciousness is manifest. (International Hardwood and Veneer Co., of the
Philippines v. Leogardo, 117 SCRA 967; Baguio Country Club Corporation v. National Labor Relations Commission, 118 SCRA 557;
Sichangco v. Commissioner of Immigration, 94 SCRA 61; and Eusebio v. Sociedad Agricola de Balarin, 16 SCRA 569).

The Court of Appeals ruled that Juan Ramon Guanzon was not accorded due process. We fail to see what, in the records, made the
respondent court reverse its earlier and correct finding that there was due process.

The original decision, penned by then Associate and now Presiding Justice Emilio A. Gancayco reviews the facts on record to show that
the procedures in the expulsion case were fair, open, exhaustive, and adequate.

The decision states:

First, after the slapping incident which happened on December 12, 1967, Fr. Welsh in his capacity as Chairman of the Board of
Discipline upon receipt of the letter-complaint (Exh. 2) of Carmelita Mateo conducted a preliminary inquiry by interviewing the
companions and friends of Juan Ramon Guanzon who were also at the cafeteria. They confirmed the incident in question. (Exhs. 5, 6, 7
and 9).

Second, Fr. Welsh, finding that there was probable cause against Mr. Guanzon, prepared a memorandum to the members of the Board
of Discipline dated December 16, 1967 (Exh. 8) and delivered a copy each to Fr. Francisco Perez, Dr. Amada Capawan, Mr. Piccio and
Dr. Reyes.

Third, on December 14, 1967, Mr. Guanzon was fully informed of the accusation against him when Fr. Welsh read the letter-complaint
of Carmelita Mateo and he admitted the truth of the charge. (tsn., pp. 38-39, May 9, 1970; Exh. 4).

Fourth, Fr. Welsh also sent separate letters to Rev. Antonio Cuna, Student Counselor of the College of Arts and Sciences dated
December 18, 1967 and Rev. James Culligan, Director of Guidance of the College of Arts and Sciences dated December 18, 1967 seeking
any information for guidance in the action of the Board of Discipline regarding the case of Mr. Guanzon. (Exhs. 10-11)

Fifth, notice of the meeting of the Board of Discipline set on December 19, 1967 was posted at the Bulletin Board of the College of Arts
and Sciences and also at Dormitory Halls (tsn., pp. 21-22, July 21, 1970) The Secretary of the Dean of Discipline personally notified Mr.
Guanzon of the meeting of the Board on December 19, 1967, he was told to seek the help of his guardians, parents and friends including
the student counsellors in the residence halls and College of Arts and Sciences. (tsn., p. 18, July 21, 1970)

Sixth, despite notice of the Board of Discipline on December 19, 1967, Mr. Guanzon did not care to inform his parents or guardian
knowing fully well the seriousness of the offense he had committed and instead he spoke for himself and admitted to have slapped
Carmelita Mateo. He then asked that he be excused as he wanted to catch the boat for Bacolod City for the Christmas vacation.

Seventh, the decision of the Board of Discipline was unanimous in dropping from the rolls of students Mr. Guanzon (Exh. 12) which was
elevated to the office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences, Rev. Joseph A. Galdon, who after a review of the case found no ground to reverse
the decision of the Board of Discipline. (Exh. 13) The case was finally elevated to the President of the Ateneo University who sustained
the decision of the Board of Discipline (Exh. 21-A, p. 6) A motion for reconsideration was filed by the President of the Student Council
in behalf of Mr. Guanzon (Exh. 15) but the same was denied by the President of the University.

Eighth, when the decision of the Board of Discipline was about to be carried out, Mr. Guanzon voluntarily applied for honorable
dismissal. He went around to the officials of the university to obtain his clearance and this was approved on January 8, 1968. (Exh. 3,
tsn., p. 58, May 6, 1970)

Ninth, Mr. Romeo Guanzon, father of Juan Ramon Guanzon arranged for full and complete refund of his tuition fee for the entire
second semester of the school year 1967-68. Juan Ramon was never out of school. He was admitted at the De la Salle College of Bacolod
City and later transferred to another Jesuit School.

From the above proceedings that transpired it can not be said that Juan Ramon Guanzon was denied due proems of law. On the
contrary, we find that he was given the full opportunity to be heard to be fully informed of the charge against him and to be confronted
of the witnesses face to face. And since he chose to remain silent and did not bother to inform his parents or guardian about the
disciplinary action taken against him by the defendant university, neither he nor his parents should find reason to complain.

xxx xxx xxx

When the letter-complaint was read to Juan Ramon, he admitted the altercation with the waitress and his slapping her on the face. Rev.
Welsh did not stop with the admission. He interviewed Eric Tagle, Danny Go, Roberto Beriber, and Jose Reyes, friends of Juan Ramon
who were present during the incident.

The Board of Discipline was made up of distinguished members of the faculty-Fr. Francisco Perez, Biology Department Chairman; Dr.
Amando Capawan, a Chemistry professor; Assistant Dean Piccio of the College; and Dr. Reyes of the same College. There is nothing in
the records to cast any doubt on their competence and impartiality insofar as this disciplinary investigation is concerned.

Juan Ramon himself appeared before the Board of Discipline. He admitted the slapping incident, then begged to be excused so he could
catch the boat for Bacolod City. Juan Ramon, therefore, was given notice of the proceedings; he actually appeared to present his side;
the investigating board acted fairly and objectively; and all requisites of administrative due process were met.
We do not share the appellate court's view that there was no due process because the private respondents, the parents of Juan Ramon
were not given any notice of the proceedings.

Juan Ramon, who at the time was 18 years of age, was already a college student, intelligent and mature enough to know his
responsibilities. In fact, in the interview with Rev. Welsh, he even asked if he would be expelled because of the incident. He was fully
cognizant of the gravity of the offense he committed. When informed about the December 19, 1967 meeting of the Board of Discipline,
he was asked to seek advice and assistance from his guardian and/or parents.

In the natural course of things, Juan Ramon is assumed to have reported this serious matter to his parents. The fact that he chose to
remain silent and did not inform them about his case, not even when he went home to Bacolod City for his Christmas vacation, was not
the fault of the petitioner university.

Moreover, notwithstanding the non-participation of the private respondents, the university, as stated earlier, undertook a fair and
objective investigation of the slapping incident.

Due process in administrative proceedings also requires consideration of the evidence presented and the existence of evidence to
support the decision (Halili v. Court of Industrial Relations, 136 SCRA 112).

While it may be true that Carmelita Mateo was not entirely blameless for what happened to her because she also shouted at Juan
Ramon and tried to hit him with a cardboard box top, this did not justify Juan Ramon's slapping her in the face. The evidence clearly
shows that the altercation started with Juan Ramon's utterance of the offensive language "bilat ni bay," an Ilongo phrase which means
sex organ of a woman. It was but normal on the part of Mateo to react to the nasty remark. Moreover, Roberto Beriber, a friend of Juan
Ramon who was present during the incident told Rev. Welsh during the investigation of the case that Juan Ramon made threatening
gestures at Mateo prompting her to pick up a cardboard box top which she threw at Juan Ramon. The incident was in public thus
adding to the humiliation of Carmelita Mateo. There was "unbecoming conduct" and pursuant to the Rules of Discipline and Code of
Ethics of the university, specifically under the 1967-1969 Catalog containing the rules and academic regulations (Exhibit 19), this
offense constituted a ground for dismissal from the college. The action of the petitioner is sanctioned by law. Section 107 of the Manual
of Regulations for Private Schools recognizes violation of disciplinary regulations as valid ground for refusing re-enrollment of a student
(Tangonan v. Pano, 137 SCRA 245).

Before Juan Ramon was admitted to enroll, he received (1) the College of Arts and Sciences Handbook containing the general
regulations of the school and the 1967-1969 catalog of the College of Arts and Sciences containing the disciplinary rules and academic
regulations and (2) a copy of the Rules and Regulations of the Cervini-Elizo Halls of the petitioner university one of the provisions of
which is as follows: under the title "Dining Room"-"The kitchen help and server should always be treated with civility." Miss Mateo was
employed as a waitress and precisely because of her service to boarders, not to mention her sex, she deserved more respect and gracious
treatment.

The petitioner is correct in stating that there was a serious error of law in the appellate court's ruling on due process.

The petitioner raises the issue of "exhaustion of administrative remedies" in view of its pending appeal from the decision of the Ministry
of Education to the President of the Philippines. It argues that the private respondents' complaint for recovery of damages filed in the
lower court was premature.

The issue raised in court was whether or not the private respondents can recover damages as a result of the dismissal of their son from
the petitioner university. This is a purely legal question and nothing of an administrative nature is to or can be done. (Gonzales v.
Hechanova, 9 SCRA 230; Tapales v. University of the Philippines, 7 SCRA 553; Limoico v. Board of Administrators, (PVA), 133 SCRA
43; Malabanan v. Ramonte, 129 SCRA 359). The case was brought pursuant to the law on damages provided in the Civil Code. The
jurisdiction to try the case belongs to the civil courts.

There was no need to await action from Malacañang.

This brings us to the final issue which is whether or not the private respondents are entitled to damages. There is no basis for the
recovery of damages. Juan Ramon was afforded due process of law. The penalty is based on reasonable rules and regulations applicable
to all students guilty of the same offense. He never was out of school. Before the decision could be implemented, Juan Ramon asked for
an honorable dismissal which was granted. He then enrolled at the De la Salle University of Bacolod City and later transferred to
another Jesuit school Moreover, his full and complete tuition fees for the second semester were refunded through the representation of
Mr. Romeo Guanzon, Juan Ramon's father.

It is unfortunate of the parents suffered some embarrassment because of the incident. However, their predicament arose from the
misconduct of their own son who, in the exuberance of youth and unfortunate loss of self control, did something which he must have,
later, regretted. There was no bad faith on the part of the university. In fact, the college authorities deferred any undue action until a
definitive decision had been rendered. The whole procedure of the disciplinary process was set up to protect the privacy of the student
involved. There is absolutely no indication ot malice,. fraud, and improper or willful motives or conduct on the part of the Ateneo de
Manila University in this case.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The appellate court's resolution dated January 26, 1981 is REVERSED and
SET ASIDE. The appellate court's decision dated March 15, 1979 is REINSTATED.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-14078 March 7, 1919

RUBI, ET AL. (manguianes), plaintiffs,


vs.
THE PROVINCIAL BOARD OF MINDORO, defendant.

D. R. Williams & Filemon Sotto for plaintiff.


Office of the Solicitor-General Paredes for defendant.

MALCOLM, J.:

In one of the cases which denote a landmark in American Constitutional History (Worcester vs. Georgia [1832], 6 Pet., 515), Chief
Justice Marshall, the first luminary of American jurisprudence, began his opinion (relating to the status of an Indian) with words which,
with a slight change in phraseology, can be made to introduce the present opinion — This cause, in every point of view in which it can be
placed, is of the deepest interest. The legislative power of state, the controlling power of the constitution and laws, the rights if they have
any, the political existence of a people, the personal liberty of a citizen, are all involved in the subject now to be considered.

To imitate still further the opinion of the Chief Justice, we adopt his outline and proceed first, to introduce the facts and the issues, next
to give a history of the so called "non-Christians," next to compare the status of the "non-Christians" with that of the American Indians,
and, lastly, to resolve the constitutional questions presented.

I. INTRODUCTION.

This is an application for habeas corpus in favor of Rubi and other Manguianes of the Province of Mindoro. It is alleged that the
Maguianes are being illegally deprived of their liberty by the provincial officials of that province. Rubi and his companions are said to be
held on the reservation established at Tigbao, Mindoro, against their will, and one Dabalos is said to be held under the custody of the
provincial sheriff in the prison at Calapan for having run away form the reservation.

The return of the Solicitor-General alleges:

1. That on February 1, 1917, the provincial board of Mindoro adopted resolution No. 25 which is as follows:

The provincial governor, Hon. Juan Morente, Jr., presented the following resolution:

"Whereas several attempts and schemes have been made for the advancement of the non-Christian people of Mindoro, which were all a
failure,

"Whereas it has been found out and proved that unless some other measure is taken for the Mangyan work of this province, no
successful result will be obtained toward educating these people.

"Whereas it is deemed necessary to obliged them to live in one place in order to make a permanent settlement,

"Whereas the provincial governor of any province in which non-Christian inhabitants are found is authorized, when such a course is
deemed necessary in the interest of law and order, to direct such inhabitants to take up their habitation on sites on unoccupied public
lands to be selected by him and approved by the provincial board.

"Whereas the provincial governor is of the opinion that the sitio of Tigbao on Lake Naujan is a place most convenient for the Mangyanes
to live on, Now, therefore be it

"Resolved, that under section 2077 of the Administrative Code, 800 hectares of public land in the sitio of Tigbao on Naujan Lake be
selected as a site for the permanent settlement of Mangyanes in Mindoro subject to the approval of the Honorable Secretary of the
Interior, and

"Resolved further, That Mangyans may only solicit homesteads on this reservation providing that said homestead applications are
previously recommended by the provincial governor."

2. That said resolution No. 25 (series 1917) of the provincial board of Mindoro was approved by the Secretary of the Interior of
February 21, 1917.

3. That on December 4, 1917, the provincial governor of Mindoro issued executive order No. 2 which says:

"Whereas the provincial board, by Resolution No. 25, current series, has selected a site in the sitio of Tigbao on Naujan Lake for the
permanent settlement of Mangyanes in Mindoro.

"Whereas said resolution has been duly approve by the Honorable, the Secretary of the Interior, on February 21, 1917.

"Now, therefore, I, Juan Morente, jr., provincial governor of Mindoro, pursuant to the provisions of section 2145 of the revised
Administrative Code, do hereby direct that all the Mangyans in the townships of Naujan and Pola and the Mangyans east of the Baco
River including those in the districts of Dulangan and Rubi's place in Calapan, to take up their habitation on the site of Tigbao, Naujan
Lake, not later than December 31, 1917.

"Any Mangyan who shall refuse to comply with this order shall upon conviction be imprisoned not exceed in sixty days, in accordance
with section 2759 of the revised Administrative Code."

4. That the resolution of the provincial board of Mindoro copied in paragraph 1 and the executive order of the governor of the
same province copied in paragraph 3, were necessary measures for the protection of the Mangyanes of Mindoro as well as the protection
of public forests in which they roam, and to introduce civilized customs among them.

5. That Rubi and those living in his rancheria have not fixed their dwelling within the reservation of Tigbao and are liable to be
punished in accordance with section 2759 of Act No. 2711.

6. That the undersigned has not information that Doroteo Dabalos is being detained by the sheriff of Mindoro but if he is so
detained it must be by virtue of the provisions of articles Nos. 2145 and 2759 of Act No. 2711.
It thus appears that the provincial governor of Mindoro and the provincial board thereof directed the Manguianes in question to take up
their habitation in Tigbao, a site on the shore of Lake Naujan, selected by the provincial governor and approved by the provincial board.
The action was taken in accordance with section 2145 of the Administrative Code of 1917, and was duly approved by the Secretary of the
Interior as required by said action. Petitioners, however, challenge the validity of this section of the Administrative Code. This,
therefore, becomes the paramount question which the court is called upon the decide.

Section 2145 of the Administrative Code of 1917 reads as follows:

SEC. 2145. Establishment of non-Christina upon sites selected by provincial governor. — With the prior approval of the
Department Head, the provincial governor of any province in which non-Christian inhabitants are found is authorized, when such a
course is deemed necessary in the interest of law and order, to direct such inhabitants to take up their habitation on sites on unoccupied
public lands to be selected by him an approved by the provincial board.

In connection with the above-quoted provisions, there should be noted section 2759 of the same Code, which read as follows:

SEC. 2759. Refusal of a non-Christian to take up appointed habitation. — Any non-Christian who shall refuse to comply with the
directions lawfully given by a provincial governor, pursuant to section two thousand one hundred and forty-five of this Code, to take up
habitation upon a site designated by said governor shall upon conviction be imprisonment for a period not exceeding sixty days.

The substance of what is now found in said section 2145 is not new to Philippine law. The genealogical tree of this section, if we may be
permitted to use such terminology, would read: Section 2077, Administrative Code of 1916; section 62, Act No. 1397; section 2 of various
special provincial laws, notably of Act No. 547, specifically relating to the Manguianes; section 69, Act No. 387.

Section 2145 and its antecedent laws make use of the term "non-Christians." This word, as will later be disclosed, is also found in
varying forms in other laws of the Philippine Islands. In order to put the phrase in its proper category, and in order to understand the
policy of the Government of the Philippine Islands with reference to the uncivilized elements of the Islands, it is well first of all to set
down a skeleton history of the attitude assumed by the authorities towards these "non-Christians," with particular regard for the
legislation on the subject.

II. HISTORY.

A. BEFORE ACQUISITION OF THE PHILIPPINE BY THE UNITED STATES.

The most important of the laws of the Indies having reference to the subject at hand are compiled in Book VI, Title III, in the following
language.

LAW I.

The Emperor Charles and the Prince, the governor, at Cigales, on March 21, 1551. Philip II at Toledo, on February 19, 1560. In the forest
of Segovia on September 13, 1565. In the Escorial on November 10, 1568. Ordinance 149 of the poblaciones of 1573. In San Lorenzo, on
May 20, 1578,

THAT THE "INDIOS" BE REDUCED INTO "POBLACIONES" COMMUNITIES).

In order that the indios may be instructed in the Sacred Catholic Faith and the evangelical law, and in order that they may forget the
blunders of their ancient rites and ceremonies to the end that they may live in harmony and in a civilized manner, it has always been
endeavored, with great care and special attention, to use all the means most convenient to the attainment of these purposes. To carry
out this work with success, our Council of the Indies and other religious persons met at various times; the prelates of new Spain
assembled by order of Emperor Charles V of glorious memory in the year one thousand five hundred and forty-six — all of which
meetings were actuated with a desire to serve God an our Kingdom. At these meetings it was resolved that indios be made to live in
communities, and not to live in places divided and separated from one another by sierras and mountains, wherein they are deprived of
all spiritual and temporal benefits and wherein they cannot profit from the aid of our ministers and from that which gives rise to those
human necessities which men are obliged to give one another. Having realized that convenience of this resolution, our kings, our
predecessors, by different orders, have entrusted and ordered the viceroys, presidents, and governors to execute with great care and
moderation the concentration of the indios into reducciones; and to deal with their doctrine with such forbearance and gentleness,
without causing inconveniences, so that those who would not presently settle and who would see the good treatment and the protection
of those already in settlements would, of their own accord, present themselves, and it is ordained that they be not required to pay taxes
more than what is ordered. Because the above has been executed in the greater part of our Indies, we hereby order and decree that the
same be complied with in all the remaining parts of the Indies, and the encomederos shall entreat compliance thereof in the manner
and form prescribed by the laws of this title.

xxx xxx xxx

LAW VIII.

Philip II at the Pardo, on December 1, 1573. Philip III at Madrid, October 10, 1618.

THE "REDUCCTIONES" BE MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF THIS LAW.

The places wherein the pueblos and reducciones shall be formed should have the facilities of waters. lands, and mountains, ingress and
egress, husbandry and passageway of one league long, wherein the indios can have their live stock that they may not be mixed with
those of the Spaniards.

LAW IX.

Philip II at Toledo, on February 19, 1956.

THAT THE "INDIOS" IN "REDUCCIONES" BE NOT DEPRIVED OF THE LANDS PREVIOUSLY HELD BY THEM.

With more good-will and promptness, the indios shall be concentrated in reducciones. Provided they shall not be deprived of the lands
and granaries which they may have in the places left by them. We hereby order that no change shall be made in this respect, and that
they be allowed to retain the lands held by them previously so that they may cultivate them and profit therefrom.

xxx xxx xxx


LAW XIII.

THE SAME AS ABOVE.

THAT THE "REDUCCIONES" BE NOT REMOVED WITHOUT ORDER OF THE KING, VICEROY, OR COURT.

No governor, or magistrate, or alcalde mayor, or any other court, has the right to alter or to remove the pueblos or the reducciones once
constituted and founded, without our express order or that of the viceroy, president, or the royal district court, provided, however, that
the encomenderos, priests, or indios request such a change or consent to it by offering or giving information to that en. And, because
these claims are often made for private interests and not for those of the indios, we hereby order that this law be always complied with,
otherwise the change will be considered fraudulently obtained. The penalty of one thousand pesos shall be imposed upon the judge or
encomendero who should violate this law.

LAW XV.

Philip III at Madrid, on October 10, 1618.

THAT THERE BE MAYORS AND ALDERMEN IN THE "REDUCTIONES," WHO SHALL BE "INDIOS."

We order that in each town and reduccion there be a mayor, who should be an indio of the same reduccion; if there be more than eighty
houses, there should be two mayors and two aldermen, also indios; and, even if the town be a big one, there should, nevertheless, be
more than two mayors and four aldermen, If there be less than eighty indios but not less than forty, there should be not more than one
mayor and one alderman, who should annually elect nine others, in the presence of the priests , as is the practice in town inhabited by
Spaniards and indios.

LAW XXI.

Philip II, in Madrid, On May 2, 1563, and on November 25, 1578. At Tomar, on May 8, 1581. At Madrid, on January 10, 1589. Philip III,
at Todesillas, on July 12, 1600. Philip IV, at Madrid, on October 1 and December 17, 1646. For this law and the one following, see Law I,
Tit. 4, Book 7.

THAT IN THE TOWNS OF THE "INDIOS," THERE SHALL LIVE NO SPANIARDS, NEGROES, "MESTIZOS," AND MULATTOES.

We hereby prohibit and forbid Spaniards, negroes, mulattores, or mestizos to live to live in the reducciones and towns and towns of the
indios, because it has been found that some Spaniards who deal, trade, live, and associate with the indios are men of troublesome
nature, of dirty ways of living; robbers, gamblers, and vicious and useless men; and, to avoid the wrongs done them, the indios would
leave their towns and provinces; and the negroes, mestizos, and mulattoes, besides maltreating them and utilizing their services,
contaminate them with their bad customs, idleness, and also some of their blunders and vices which may corrupt and pervert the goal
which we desire to reach with regard to their salvation, increase, and tranquillity. We hereby order the imposition of grave penalties
upon the commission of the acts above-mentioned which should not be tolerated in the towns, and that the viceroys, presidents,
governors, and courts take great care in executing the law within their powers and avail themselves of the cooperation of the ministers
who are truly honest. As regards the mestizos and Indian and Chinese half-breeds (zambaigos), who are children of indias and born
among them, and who are to inherit their houses and haciendas, they all not be affected by this law, it appearing to be a harsh thing to
separate them from their parents. (Law of the Indies, vol. 2, pp. 228, 229, 230, 231.)

A clear exposition of the purposes of the Spanish government, in its efforts to improve the condition of the less advanced inhabitants of
the Islands by concentrating them in "reducciones," is found in the Decree of the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands of January
14, 1881, reading as follows:

It is a legal principle as well as a national right that every inhabitant of a territory recognized as an integral part of a nation should
respect and obey the laws in force therein; while, on other hand, it is the duty to conscience and to humanity for all governments to
civilize those backward races that might exist in the nation, and which living in the obscurity of ignorance, lack of all the nations which
enable them to grasp the moral and material advantages that may be acquired in those towns under the protection and vigilance
afforded them by the same laws.

It is equally highly depressive to our national honor to tolerate any longer the separation and isolation of the non-Christian races from
the social life of the civilized and Christian towns; to allow any longer the commission of depredations, precisely in the Island of Luzon
wherein is located the seat of the representative of the Government of the, metropolis.

It is but just to admit the fact that all the governments have occupied themselves with this most important question, and that much has
been heretofore accomplished with the help and self-denial of the missionary fathers who have even sacrificed their lives to the end that
those degenerate races might be brought to the principles of Christianity, but the means and the preaching employed to allure them
have been insufficient to complete the work undertaken. Neither have the punishments imposed been sufficient in certain cases and in
those which have not been guarded against, thus giving and customs of isolation.

As it is impossible to consent to the continuation of such a lamentable state of things, taking into account the prestige which the country
demands and the inevitable duty which every government has in enforcing respect and obedience to the national laws on the part of all
who reside within the territory under its control, I have proceeded in the premises by giving the most careful study of this serious
question which involves important interests for civilization, from the moral and material as well as the political standpoints. After
hearing the illustrious opinions of all the local authorities, ecclesiastics, and missionaries of the provinces of Northern Luzon, and also
after finding the unanimous conformity of the meeting held with the Archbishop of Manila, the Bishops of Jaro and Cebu, and the
provincial prelates of the orders of the Dominicans, Agustinians, Recoletos, Franciscans, and Jesuits as also of the meeting of the
Council of Authorities, held for the object so indicated, I have arrived at an intimate conviction of the inevitable necessity of proceeding
in a practical manner for the submission of the said pagan and isolated races, as well as of the manner and the only form of
accomplishing such a task.

For the reasons above stated and for the purpose of carrying out these objects, I hereby promulgate the following:

DECREE.

1. All the indian inhabitants (indios) of the Islands of Luzon are, from this date, to be governed by the common law, save those
exceptions prescribed in this decree which are bases upon the differences of instructions, of the customs, and of the necessities of the
different pagan races which occupy a part of its territory.
2. The diverse rules which should be promulgated for each of these races — which may be divided into three classes; one, which
comprises those which live isolated and roaming about without forming a town nor a home; another, made up of those subdued pagans
who have not as yet entered completely the social life; and the third, of those mountain and rebellious pagans — shall be published in
their respective dialects, and the officials, priests, and missionaries of the provinces wherein they are found are hereby entrusted in the
work of having these races learn these rules. These rules shall have executive character, beginning with the first day of next April, and,
as to their compliance, they must be observed in the manner prescribed below.

3. The provincial authorities in conjunction with the priests shall proceed, from now on, with all the means which their zeal may
suggest to them, to the taking of the census of the inhabitants of the towns or settlement already subdued, and shall adopt the necessary
regulations for the appointment of local authorities, if there be none as yet; for the construction of courts and schools, and for the
opening or fixing up of means of communication, endeavoring, as regards the administrative organization of the said towns or
settlements, that this be finished before the first day of next July, so that at the beginning of the fiscal year they shall have the same
rights and obligations which affect the remaining towns of the archipelago, with the only exception that in the first two years they shall
not be obliged to render personal services other than those previously indicated.

4. So long as these subdued towns or settlements are located infertile lands appropriate for cultivation, the inhabitants thereof
shall not be obliged to move their dwelling-houses; and only in case of absolute necessity shall a new residence be fixed for them,
choosing for this purpose the place most convenient for them and which prejudices the least their interest; and, in either of these cases,
an effort must be made to establish their homes with the reach of the sound of the bell.

5. For the protection and defense of these new towns, there shall be established an armed force composed precisely of native
Christian, the organization and service of which shall be determined in a regulations based upon that of the abolished Tercios de Policia
(division of the Guardia Civil).

6. The authorities shall see to it that the inhabitants of the new towns understand all the rights and duties affecting them and the
liberty which they have as to where and now they shall till their lands and sell the products thereof, with the only exception of the
tobacco which shall be bought by the Hacienda at the same price and conditions allowed other producers, and with the prohibition
against these new towns as well as the others from engaging in commerce of any other transaction with the rebellious indios, the
violation of which shall be punished with deportation.

7. In order to properly carry out this express prohibition, the limits of the territory of the rebellious indios shall be fixed; and
whoever should go beyond the said limits shall be detained and assigned governmentally wherever convenient.

8. For the purpose of assisting in the conversion of the pagans into the fraternity of the Catholic Church, all by this fact along be
exempt for eight years from rendering personal labor.

9. The authorities shall offer in the name of the State to the races not subdued (aetas and mountains igorrots the following
advantages in returns for their voluntary submission: to live in towns; unity among their families; concession of good lands and the
right to cultivate them in the manner they wish and in the way them deem most productive; support during a year, and clothes upon
effecting submission; respect for their habits and customs in so far as the same are not opposed to natural law; freedom to decide of
their own accord as to whether they want to be Christians or not; the establishment of missions and families of recognized honesty who
shall teach, direct, protect, and give them security and trust them; the purchase or facility of the sale of their harvests; the exemption
from contributions and tributes for ten years and from the quintas (a kind of tax) for twenty years; and lastly, that those who are
governed by the local authorities as the ones who elect such officials under the direct charge of the authorities of the province or district.

10. The races indicated in the preceding article, who voluntarily admit the advantages offered, shall, in return, have the obligation
of constituting their new towns, of constructing their town hall, schools, and country roads which place them in communication with
one another and with the Christians; provided, the location of these towns be distant from their actual residences, when the latter do not
have the good conditions of location and cultivations, and provided further the putting of families in a place so selected by them be
authorized in the towns already constituted.

11. The armed force shall proceed to the prosecution and punishment of the tribes, that, disregarding the peace, protection, and
advantages offered them, continue in their rebellious attitude on the first of next April, committing from now on the crimes and
vexations against the Christian towns; and for the this purposes, the Captain General's Office shall proceed with the organization of the
divisions of the Army which, in conjunction with the rural guards (cuadrilleros), shall have to enter the territory of such tribes. On the
expiration of the term, they shall destroy their dwelling-houses, labors, and implements, and confiscate their products and cattle. Such a
punishment shall necessarily be repeated twice a year, and for this purpose the military headquarters shall immediately order a
detachment of the military staff to study the zones where such operations shall take place and everything conducive to the successful
accomplishment of the same.

12. The chiefs of provinces, priests, and missioners, local authorities, and other subordinates to my authorities, local authorities,
and other subordinates to may authority, civil as well as military authorities, shall give the most effective aid and cooperation to the said
forces in all that is within the attributes and the scope of the authority of each.

13. With respect to the reduccion of the pagan races found in some of the provinces in the southern part of the Archipelago, which
I intend to visit, the preceding provisions shall conveniently be applied to them.

14. There shall be created, under my presidency as Governor-General, Vice-Royal Patron, a council or permanent commission
which shall attend to and decide all the questions relative to the application of the foregoing regulations that may be brought to it for
consultations by the chiefs of provinces and priests and missionaries.

15. The secondary provisions which may be necessary, as a complement to the foregoing, in brining about due compliance with
this decree, shall be promulgated by the respective official centers within their respective jurisdictions. (Gaceta de Manila, No. 15)
(Diccionario de la Administracion, vol. 7, pp. 128-134.)

B. AFTER ACQUISITON OF THE PHILIPPINES BY THE UNITED STATES.

Ever since the acquisition of the Philippine Islands by the United States, the question as to the best method for dealing with the
primitive inhabitants has been a perplexing one.

1. Organic law.
The first order of an organic character after the inauguration of the American Government in the Philippines was President McKinley's
Instructions to the Commission of April 7, 1900, later expressly approved and ratified by section 1 of the Philippine Bill, the Act of
Congress of July 1, 1902. Portions of these instructions have remained undisturbed by subsequent congressional legislation. One
paragraph of particular interest should here be quoted, namely:

In dealing with the uncivilized tribes of the Islands, the Commission should adopt the same course followed by Congress in permitting
the tribes of our North American Indians to maintain their tribal organization and government and under which many of these tribes
are now living in peace and contentment, surrounded by civilization to which they are unable or unwilling to conform. Such tribal
governments should, however, be subjected to wise and firm regulation; and, without undue or petty interference, constant and active
effort should be exercised to prevent barbarous practices and introduce civilized customs.

Next comes the Philippine Bill, the Act of Congress of July 1, 1902, in the nature of an Organic Act for the Philippines. The purpose of
section 7 of the Philippine Bill was to provide for a legislative body and, with this end in view, to name the prerequisites for the
organization of the Philippine Assembly. The Philippine Legislature, composed of the Philippine Commission and the Philippine
Assembly, was to have jurisdiction over the Christian portion of the Islands. The Philippine Commission was to retain exclusive
jurisdiction of that part of said Islands inhabited by Moros or other non-Christian tribes.

The latest Act of Congress, nearest to a Constitution for the Philippines, is the Act of Congress of August 29, 1916, commonly known as
the Jones Law. This transferred the exclusive legislative jurisdiction and authority theretofore exercised by the Philippine Commission,
to the Philippine Legislature (sec. 12). It divided the Philippine Islands into twelve senatorial districts, the twelfth district to be
composed of the Mountain Province, Baguio, Nueva Vizcaya, and the Department of Mindanao and Sulu. The Governor-General of the
Philippine Islands was authorized to appoint senators and representatives for the territory which, at the time of the passage of the Jones
Law, was not represented in the Philippine Assembly, that is, for the twelfth district (sec. 16). The law establish a bureau to be known as
the "Bureau of non-Christian Tribes" which shall have general supervision over the public affairs of the inhabitants which are
represented in the Legislature by appointed senators and representatives( sec. 22).

Philippine organic law may, therefore, be said to recognized a dividing line between the territory not inhabited by Moros or other non-
Christian tribes, and the territory which Moros or other non-Christian tribes, and the territory which is inhabited by Moros or other
non-Christian tribes.

2. Statute law.

Local governments in the Philippines have been provided for by various acts of the Philippine Commission and Legislature. The most
notable are Acts Nos. 48 and 49 concerning the Province of Benguet and the Igorots; Act NO. 82, the Municipal Code; ;Act no. 83, the
Provincial Government Act; Act No. 183, the Character of the city of Manila; Act No. 7887, providing for the organization and
government of the Moro Province; Act No. 1396, the Special Provincial Government Act; Act No. 1397, the Township Government Act;
Act No. 1667, relating to the organization of settlements; Act No. 1963, the Baguio charger; and Act No. 2408, the Organic Act of the
Department of Mindanao and Sulu. The major portion of these laws have been carried forward into the Administrative Codes of 1916 an
d1917.

Of more particular interest are certain special laws concerning the government of the primitive peoples. Beginning with Act No. 387,
sections 68-71, enacted on April 9, 1902, by the United States Philippine Commission, having reference to the Province of Nueva
Vizcaya, Acts Nos. 4111, 422, 445, 500, 547, 548, 549, 550, 579, 753, 855, 1113, 1145, 4568, 1306 were enacted for the provinces of Abra,
Antique, Bataan, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Isabela. Lepanto-Bontoc, Mindoro, Misamis, Nueva Vizcaya, Pangasinan, Paragua (Palawan),
Tarlac, Tayabas, and Zambales. As an example of these laws, because referring to the Manguianes, we insert Act No. 547:

No. 547. — AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF LOCAL CIVIL GOVERNMENTS FOR THE MANGUIANES IN THE
PROVINCE OF MINDORO.

By authority of the United States, be it enacted by the Philippine Commission, that:

SECTION 1. Whereas the Manguianes of the Provinces of Mindoro have not progressed sufficiently in civilization to make it
practicable to bring them under any form of municipal government, the provincial governor is authorized, subject to the approval of the
Secretary of the Interior, in dealing with these Manguianes to appoint officers from among them, to fix their designations and badges of
office, and to prescribe their powers and duties: Provided, That the powers and duties thus prescribed shall not be in excess of those
conferred upon township officers by Act Numbered Three hundred and eighty-seven entitled "An Act providing for the establishment of
local civil Governments in the townships and settlements of Nueva Vizcaya."

SEC. 2. Subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, the provincial governor is further authorized, when he deems such a
course necessary in the interest of law and order, to direct such Manguianes to take up their habitation on sites on unoccupied public
lands to be selected by him and approved by the provincial board. Manguianes who refuse to comply with such directions shall upon
conviction be imprisonment for a period not exceeding sixty days.

SEC. 3. The constant aim of the governor shall be to aid the Manguianes of his province to acquire the knowledge and experience
necessary for successful local popular government, and his supervision and control over them shall be exercised to this end, an to the
end that law and order and individual freedom shall be maintained.

SEC. 4. When in the opinion of the provincial board of Mindoro any settlement of Manguianes has advanced sufficiently to make such
a course practicable, it may be organized under the provisions of sections one to sixty-seven, inclusive, of Act Numbered three hundred
and eighty-seven, as a township, and the geographical limits of such township shall be fixed by the provincial board.

SEC. 5. The public good requiring the speedy enactment of this bill, the passage of the same is hereby expedited in accordance with
section two of 'An Act prescribing the order of procedure by the Commission in the enactment of laws,' passed September twenty-sixth,
nineteen hundred.

SEC. 6. This Act shall take effect on its passage.

Enacted, December 4, 1902.

All of these special laws, with the exception of Act No. 1306, were repealed by Act No. 1396 and 1397. The last named Act incorporated
and embodied the provisions in general language. In turn, Act No. 1397 was repealed by the Administrative Code of 1916. The two
Administrative Codes retained the provisions in questions.
These different laws, if they of the non-Christian inhabitants of the Philippines and a settled and consistent practice with reference to
the methods to be followed for their advancement.

C. TERMINOLOGY.

The terms made use of by these laws, organic and statutory, are found in varying forms.

"Uncivilized tribes" is the denomination in President McKinley's instruction to the Commission.

The most commonly accepted usage has sanctioned the term "non-Christian tribes." These words are to be found in section 7 of the
Philippine Bill and in section 22 of the Jones Law. They are also to be found in Act No. 253 of the Philippines Commission, establishing
a Bureau of non-Christian Tribes and in Act No. 2674 of the Philippine Legislature, carried forward into sections 701-705 of the
Administrative Code of 1917, reestablishing this Bureau. Among other laws which contain the phrase, there can be mentioned Acts Nos.
127, 128, 387, 547, 548, 549, 550, 1397, 1639, and 2551.

"Non-Christian people," "non-Christian inhabitants," and "non-Christian Filipinos" have been the favorite nomenclature, in lieu of the
unpopular word "tribes," since the coming into being of a Filipinized legislature. These terms can be found in sections 2076, 2077, 2390,
2394, Administrative Code of 1916; sections 701-705, 2145, 2422, 2426, Administrative Code of 1917; and in Acts Nos. 2404, 2435,
2444, 2674 of the Philippine Legislatures, as well as in Act No. 1667 of the Philippine Commission.

The Administrative Code specifically provides that the term "non-Christian" shall include Mohammedans and pagans. (Sec. 2576,
Administrative Code of 1917; sec. 2561, Administrative Code of 1916, taken from Act No. 2408, sec. 3.)

D. MEANING OF TERM "NON-CHRISTIAN."

If we were to follow the literal meaning of the word "non-Christian," it would of course result in giving to it a religious signification.
Obviously, Christian would be those who profess the Christian religion, and non-Christians, would be those who do not profess the
Christian religion. In partial corroboration of this view, there could also be cited section 2576 of the last Administrative Code and
certain well-known authorities, as Zuñiga, "Estadismo de las Islas Filipinas," Professor Ferdinand Blumentritt, "Philippine Tribes and
Languages," and Dr. N. M. Saleeby, "The Origin of Malayan Filipinos." (See Blair & Robertson, "The Philippine Islands," 1493-1898, vol.
III, p. 300, note; Craig-Benitez, "Philippine Progress prior to 1898," vol. I. p. 107.)

Not content with the apparent definition of the word, we shall investigate further to ascertain what is its true meaning.

In one sense, the word can have a geographical signification. This is plainly to be seen by the provisions of many laws. Thus, according
to the Philippine Bill, the authority of the Philippine Assembly was recognized in the "territory" of the Islands not inhabited by Moros or
other non-Christian tribes. Again, the Jones Law confers similar recognition in the authorization of the twelfth senatorial district for the
"territory not now represented in the Philippine Assembly." The Philippines Legislature has, time and again, adopted acts making
certain other acts applicable to that "part" of the Philippine Islands inhabited by Moros or other non-Christian tribes.

Section 2145, is found in article XII of the Provincial Law of the Administrative Code. The first section of this article, preceding section
2145, makes the provisions of the article applicable only in specially organized provinces. The specially organized provinces are the
Mountain Province, Nueva Vizcaya, Mindoro, Batanes, and Palawan. These are the provinces to which the Philippine Legislature has
never seen fit to give all the powers of local self-government. They do not, however, exactly coincide with the portion of the Philippines
which is not granted popular representation. Nevertheless, it is still a geographical description.

It is well-known that within the specially organized provinces, there live persons some of who are Christians and some of whom are not
Christians. In fact, the law specifically recognizes this. ( Sec. 2422, Administrative Code of 1917, etc.)

If the religious conception is not satisfactory, so against the geographical conception is likewise inadquate. The reason it that the motive
of the law relates not to a particular people, because of their religion, or to a particular province because of its location, but the whole
intent of the law is predicated n the civilization or lack of civilization of the inhabitants.

At most, "non-Christian" is an awkward and unsatisfactory word. Apologetic words usually introduce the term. "The so-called non-
Christian" is a favorite expression. The Secretary of the Interior who for so many years had these people under his jurisdiction,
recognizing the difficulty of selecting an exact designation, speaks of the "backward Philippine peoples, commonly known as the 'non-
Christian tribes."' (See Hearings before the Committee on the Philippines, United States Senate, Sixty-third Congress, third session on
H.R. 18459, An Act to declare the purpose of the People of the United States as to the future political status of the Philippine Islands and
to provide a more autonomous government for the Islands, pp. 346, 351; letter of the Secretary of the Interior of June 30, 1906,
circulated by the Executive Secretary.)

The idea that the term "non-Christian" is intended to relate to degree of civilization, is substantiated by reference to legislative, judicial,
and executive authority.

The legislative intent is borne out by Acts Nos. 48, 253, 387, 1667, and 2674, and sections 701 et seq, and sections 2422 et seq, of the
Administrative Code of 1917. For instance, Act No. 253 charged the Bureau of non-Christian tribes to conduct "systematic investigations
with reference to non-Christian tribes . . . with special view to determining the most practicable means for bringing about their
advancement in civilization and material property prosperity."

As authority of a judicial nature is the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of United States vs. Tubban [Kalinga] ([1915], 29, Phil.,
434). The question here arose as to the effect of a tribal marriage in connection with article 423 of the Penal code concerning the
husband who surprises his wife in the act of adultery. In discussing the point, the court makes use of the following language:

. . . we are not advised of any provision of law which recognizes as legal a tribal marriage of so-called non-Christians or members of
uncivilized tribes, celebrated within that province without compliance with the requisites prescribed by General Orders no. 68. . . . We
hold also that the fact that the accused is shown to be a member of an uncivilized tribe, of a low order of intelligence, uncultured and
uneducated, should be taken into consideration as a second marked extenuating circumstance.

Of much more moment is the uniform construction of execution officials who have been called upon to interpret and enforce the law.
The official who, as a member of the Philippine Commission, drafted much of the legislation relating to the so-called Christians and who
had these people under his authority, was the former Secretary of the Interior. Under date of June 30, 1906, this official addressed a
letter to all governor of provinces, organized under the Special Provincial Government Act, a letter which later received recognition by
the Governor-General and was circulated by the Executive Secretary, reading as follows:
Sir: Within the past few months, the question has arisen as to whether people who were originally non-Christian but have recently been
baptized or who are children of persons who have been recently baptized are, for the purposes of Act 1396 and 1397, to be considered
Christian or non-Christians.

It has been extremely difficult, in framing legislation for the tribes in these islands which are not advanced far in civilization, to hit upon
any suitable designation which will fit all cases. The number of individual tribes is so great that it is almost out of the question to
enumerate all of them in an Act. It was finally decided to adopt the designation 'non-Christians' as the one most satisfactory, but the real
purpose of the Commission was not so much to legislate for people having any particular religious belief as for those lacking sufficient
advancement so that they could, to their own advantage, be brought under the Provincial Government Act and the Municipal Code.

The mere act of baptism does not, of course, in itself change the degree of civilization to which the person baptized has attained at the
time the act of baptism is performed. For practical purposes, therefore, you will give the member of so-called "wild tribes" of your
province the benefit of the doubt even though they may recently have embraced Christianity.

The determining factor in deciding whether they are to be allowed to remain under the jurisdiction of regularly organized municipalities
or what form of government shall be afforded to them should be the degree of civilization to which they have attained and you are
requested to govern yourself accordingly.

I have discussed this matter with the Honorable, the Governor-General, who concurs in the opinion above expressed and who will have
the necessary instructions given to the governors of the provinces organized under the Provincial Government Act. (Internal Revenue
Manual, p. 214.)

The present Secretary of the Interior, in a memorandum furnished a member of this court, has the following to say on the subject:

As far as names are concerned the classification is indeed unfortunate, but while no other better classification has as yet been made the
present classification should be allowed to stand . . . I believe the term carries the same meaning as the expressed in the letter of the
Secretary of the Interior (of June 30, 1906, herein quoted). It is indicative of the degree of civilization rather than of religious
denomination, for the hold that it is indicative of religious denomination will make the law invalid as against that Constitutional
guaranty of religious freedom.

Another official who was concerned with the status of the non-Christians, was the Collector of Internal Revenue. The question arose for
ruling relatives to the cedula taxation of the Manobos and the Aetas. Thereupon, the view of the Secretary of the Interior was requested
on the point, who, by return indorsement, agreed with the interpretation of the Collector of Internal Revenue. This Construction of the
Collector of Internal Revenue can be found in circular letter No. 188 of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, dated June 11, 1907, reading as
follows (Internal Revenue Manual, p. 214):

The internal revenue law exempts "members of non-Christian tribes" from the payment of cedula taxes. The Collector of Internal
Revenue has interpreted this provision of law to mean not that persons who profess some form of Christian worship are alone subject to
the cedula tax, and that all other person are exempt; he has interpreted it to mean that all persons preserving tribal relations with the
so-called non-Christian tribes are exempt from the cedula tax, and that all others, including Jews, Mohammedans, Confucians,
Buddists, etc., are subject to said tax so long as they live in cities or towns, or in the country in a civilized condition. In other words, it is
not so much a matter of a man's form of religious worship or profession that decides whether or not he is subject to the cedula tax; it is
more dependent on whether he is living in a civilized manner or is associated with the mountain tribes, either as a member thereof or as
a recruit. So far, this question has not come up as to whether a Christian, maintaining his religious belief, but throwing his lot and living
with a non-Christian tribe, would or would not be subject to the cedula tax. On one occasion a prominent Hebrew of Manila claimed to
this office that he was exempt from the cedula tax, inasmuch as he was not a Christian. This Office, however, continued to collect cedula
taxes from all the Jews, East Indians, Arabs, Chinamen, etc., residing in Manila. Quite a large proportion of the cedula taxes paid in this
city are paid by men belonging to the nationalities mentioned. Chinamen, Arabs and other s are quite widely scattered throughout the
Islands, and a condition similar to that which exist in Manila also exists in most of the large provincial towns. Cedula taxes are therefore
being collected by this Office in all parts of these Islands on the broad ground that civilized people are subject to such taxes, and non-
civilized people preserving their tribal relations are not subject thereto.

(Sgd.) JNO. S. HORD,


Collector of Internal Revenue.

On September 17, 1910, the Collector of Internal Revenue addressed circular letter No. 327, approved by the Secretary of Finance and
Justice, to all provincial treasurers. This letter in part reads:

In view of the many questions that have been raised by provincial treasurers regarding cedula taxes due from members of non-Christian
tribes when they come in from the hills for the purposes of settling down and becoming members of the body politic of the Philippine
Islands, the following clarification of the laws governing such questions and digest of rulings thereunder is hereby published for the
information of all concerned:

Non-Christian inhabitants of the Philippine Islands are so classed, not by reason of the fact that they do not profess Christianity, but
because of their uncivilized mode of life and low state of development. All inhabitants of the Philippine Islands classed as members of
non-Christian tribes may be divided into three classes in so far as the cedula tax law is concerned . . .

Whenever any member of an non-Christian tribe leaves his wild and uncivilized mode of life, severs whatever tribal relations he may
have had and attaches himself civilized community, belonging a member of the body politic, he thereby makes himself subject to
precisely the same law that governs the other members of that community and from and after the date when he so attaches himself to
the community the same cedula and other taxes are due from him as from other members thereof. If he comes in after the expiration of
the delinquency period the same rule should apply to him as to persons arriving from foreign countries or reaching the age of eighteen
subsequent to the expiration of such period, and a regular class A, D, F, or H cedula, as the case may be, should be furnished him
without penalty and without requiring him to pay the tax for former years.

In conclusion, it should be borne in mind that the prime factors in determining whether or not a man is subject to the regular cedula tax
is not the circumstance that he does or does not profess Christianity, nor even his maintenance of or failure to maintain tribal relations
with some of the well known wild tribes, but his mode of life, degree of advancement in civilization and connection or lack of connection
with some civilized community. For this reason so called "Remontados" and "Montescos" will be classed by this office as members of
non-Christian tribes in so far as the application of the Internal Revenue Law is concerned, since, even though they belong to no well
recognized tribe, their mode of life, degree of advancement and so forth are practically the same as those of the Igorrots and members of
other recognized non-Christina tribes.

Very respectfully,
(Sgd.) ELLIS CROMWELL,
Collector of Internal Revenue,

Approved:
(Sgd.) GREGORIO ARANETA,
Secretary of Finance and Justice.

The two circular above quoted have since been repealed by Bureau of Internal Revenue Regulations No. 1, promulgated by Venancio
Concepcion, Acting Collector of Internal Revenue, and approved on April 16, 1915, by Honorable Victorino Mapa, Secretary of Finance
and Justice. Section 30 of the regulations is practically a transcript of Circular Letter No. 327.

The subject has come before the Attorney-General for consideration. The Chief of Constabulary request the opinion of the Attorney-
General as to the status of a non-Christian who has been baptized by a minister of the Gospel. The precise questions were these: "Does
he remain non-Christian or is he entitled to the privileges of a Christian? By purchasing intoxicating liquors, does he commit an
infraction of the law and does the person selling same lay himself liable under the provision of Act No. 1639?" The opinion of Attorney-
General Avanceña, after quoting the same authorities hereinbefore set out, concludes:

In conformity with the above quoted constructions, it is probable that is probable that the person in question remains a non-Christian,
so that, in purchasing intoxicating liquors both he and the person selling the same make themselves liable to prosecution under the
provisions of Act No. 1639. At least, I advise you that these should be the constructions place upon the law until a court shall hold
otherwise.

Solicitor-General Paredes in his brief in this case says:

With respect to the meaning which the phrase non-Christian inhabitants has in the provisions of the Administrative code which we are
studying, we submit that said phrase does not have its natural meaning which would include all non-Christian inhabitants of the
Islands, whether Filipino or strangers, civilized or uncivilized, but simply refers to those uncivilized members of the non-Christian
tribes of the Philippines who, living without home or fixed residence, roam in the mountains, beyond the reach of law and order . . .

The Philippine Commission in denominating in its laws that portion of the inhabitants of the Philippines which live in tribes as non-
Christian tribes, as distinguished from the common Filipinos which carry on a social and civilized life, did not intended to establish a
distinction based on the religious beliefs of the individual, but, without dwelling on the difficulties which later would be occasioned by
the phrase, adopted the expression which the Spanish legislation employed to designate the uncivilized portion of the inhabitants of the
Philippines.

The phrase 'non-Christian inhabitants' used in the provisions of articles 2077 and 2741 of Act No. 2657 (articles 2145 and 2759) should
be understood as equivalent to members of uncivilized tribes of the Philippines, not only because this is the evident intention of the law,
but because to give it its lateral meaning would make the law null and unconstitutional as making distinctions base the religion of the
individual.

The Official Census of 1903, in the portion written by no less an authority than De. David P. Barrows, then "Chief of the Bureau of non-
Christian Tribes," divides the population in the Christian or Civilized Tribes, and non-Christian or Wild Tribes. (Census of the
Philippine Islands [1903], vol. 1, pp. 411 et seq). The present Director of the Census, Hon. Ignacio Villamor, writes that the classification
likely to be used in the Census now being taken is: "Filipinos and Primitive Filipinos." In a Pronouncing Gazetteer and Geographical
Dictionary of the Philippine Islands, prepared in the Bureau of Insular Affairs, War Department, a sub-division under the title non-
Christian tribes is, "Physical and Political Characteristics of the non-Christian Tribes," which sufficiently shows that the terms refers to
culture and not to religion.

In resume, therefore, the Legislature and the Judiciary, inferentially, and different executive officials, specifically, join in the
proposition that the term "non-Christian" refers, not to religious belief, but, in a way , to geographical area, and, more directly, to
natives of the Philippine Islands of a law grade of civilization, usually living in tribal relationship apart from settled communities.

E. THE MANGUIANES.

The so-called non-Christians are in various state approaching civilization. The Philippine Census of 1903 divided them into four classes.
Of the third class, are the Manguianes (or Mangyans) of Mindoro.

Of the derivation of the name "Manguian" Dr. T. H. Pardo de Tavera in his Etimilogia de los nombres de Rozas de Filipinas, says:

In Tagalog, Bicol, and Visaya, Manguian signifies "savage," "mountainer," "pagan," "negro." It may be that the use of this word is
applicable to a great number of Filipinos, but nevertheless it has been applied only to certain inhabitants of Mindoro. Even in primitive
times without doubt this name was given to those of that island who bear it to-day, but its employed in three Filipino languages shows
that the radical ngian had in all these languages a sense to-day forgotten. In Pampango this ending still exists and signifies "ancient,"
from which we can deduce that the name was applied to men considered to be the ancient inhabitants, and that these men were pushed
back into the interior by the modern invaders, in whose language they were called the "ancients."

The Manguianes are very low in culture. They have considerable Negrito blood and have not advanced beyond the Negritos in
civilization. They are a peaceful, timid, primitive, semi-nomadic people. They number approximately 15,000. The manguianes have
shown no desire for community life, and, as indicated in the preamble to Act No. 547, have not progressed sufficiently in civilization to
make it practicable to bring them under any form of municipal government. (See Census of the Philippine (Islands [1903], vol. I, pp. 22,
23, 460.)

III. COMPARATIVE — THE AMERICAN INDIANS.

Reference was made in the Presidents' instructions to the Commission to the policy adopted by the United States for the Indian Tribes.
The methods followed by the Government of the Philippines Islands in its dealings with the so-called non-Christian people is said, on
argument, to be practically identical with that followed by the United States Government in its dealings with the Indian tribes. Valuable
lessons, it is insisted, can be derived by an investigation of the American-Indian policy.

From the beginning of the United States, and even before, the Indians have been treated as "in a state of pupilage." The recognized
relation between the Government of the United States and the Indians may be described as that of guardian and ward. It is for the
Congress to determine when and how the guardianship shall be terminated. The Indians are always subject to the plenary authority of
the United States.
Chief Justice Marshall in his opinion in Worcester vs. Georgia, hereinbefore mentioned, tells how the Congress passed an Act in 1819
"for promoting those humane designs of civilizing the neighboring Indians." After quoting the Act, the opinion goes on — "This act
avowedly contemplates the preservation of the Indian nations as an object sought by the United States, and proposes to effect this object
by civilizing and converting them from hunters into agriculturists."

A leading case which discusses the status of the Indians is that of the United States vs. Kagama ([1886], 118 U.S., 375). Reference is
herein made to the clause of the United States Constitution which gives Congress "power to regulate commerce with foreign nations,
and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes." The court then proceeds to indicate a brief history of the position of the
Indians in the United States (a more extended account of which can be found in Marshall's opinion in Worcester vs. Georgia, supra), as
follows:

The relation of the Indian tribes living within the borders of the United States, both before and since the Revolution, to the people of the
United States, has always been an anomalous one and of a complex character.

Following the policy of the European Governments in the discovery of American towards the Indians who were found here, the colonies
before the Revolution and the States and the United States since, have recognized in the Indians a possessory right to the soil over
which they roamed and hunted and established occasional villages. But they asserted an ultimate title in the land itself, by which the
Indian tribes were forbidden to sell or transfer it to other nations or peoples without the consent of this paramount authority. When a
tribe wished to dispose of its lands, or any part of it, or the State or the United States wished to purchase it, a treaty with the tribe was
the only mode in which this could be done. The United States recognized no right in private persons, or in other nations, to make such a
purchase by treaty or otherwise. With the Indians themselves these relation are equally difficult to define. They were, and always have
been, regarded as having a semi-independent position when they preserved their tribal relations; not as States, not as nation not a
possessed of the fall attributes of sovereignty, but as a separate people, with the power of regulating their internal and social relations,
and thus far not brought under the laws of the Union or of the State within whose limits they resided.

The opinion then continues:

It seems to us that this (effect of the law) is within the competency of Congress. These Indian tribes are the wards of the nation. The are
communities dependent on the United States. dependent largely for their daily food. Dependent for their political rights. They owe no
allegiance to the States, and receive from the no protection. Because of the local ill feeling, the people of the States where they are found
are often their deadliest enemies. From their very weakness and helplessness, so largely due to the course of dealing of the Federal
Government with them and the treaties in which it has been promised, there arise the duty of protection, and with it the power. This has
always been recognized by the Executive and by Congress, and by this court, whenever the question has arisen . . . The power of the
General Government over these remnants of race once powerful, now weak and diminished in numbers, is necessary to their protection,
as well as to the safety of those among whom they dwell. it must exist in that government, because it never has existed anywhere else,
because the theater of its exercise is within the geographical limits of the United States, because it has never been denied, and because it
alone can enforce its laws on all the tribes.

In the later case of United States vs. Sandoval ([1913], 231 U.S., 28) the question to be considered was whether the status of the Pueblo
Indians and their lands was such that Congress could prohibit the introduction of intoxicating liquor into those lands notwithstanding
the admission of New Mexico to statehood. The court looked to the reports of the different superintendent charged with guarding their
interests and founds that these Indians are dependent upon the fostering care and protection of the government "like reservation
Indians in general." Continuing, the court said "that during the Spanish dominion, the Indians of the pueblos were treated as wards
requiring special protection, where subjected to restraints and official supervisions in the alienation of their property." And finally, we
not the following: "Not only does the Constitution expressly authorize Congress to regulate commerce with the Indians tribes, but long-
continued legislative and executive usage and an unbroken current of judicial decisions have attributed to the United States as a
superior and civilized nation the power and the duty of exercising a fostering care and protection over all dependent Indian
communities within its borders, whether within its original territory or territory subsequently acquired, and whether within or without
the limits of a state."

With reference to laws affecting the Indians, it has been held that it is not within the power of the courts to overrule the judgment of
Congress. For very good reason, the subject has always been deemed political in nature, not subject to the jurisdiction of the judicial
department of the government. (Matter of Heff [1905], 197 U.S., 488; U.S. vs. Celestine [1909], 215 U.S., 278; U.S. vs. Sandoval, supra;
Worcester vs. Georgia, supra; U.S. vs. Rogers [1846], 4 How., 567; the Cherokee Tobacco [1871], 11 Wall, 616; Roff vs. Burney [1897],
168 U.S., 218; Thomas vs. Gay [1898], 169 U.S.., 264; Lone Wolf vs. Hitchcock[1903], 187 U.S., 553; Wallace vs. Adams [1907], 204
U.S., 415; Conley vs. Bollinger [1910], 216 U.S., 84; Tiger vs. Western Invest. Co. [1911], 221 U.S., 286; U.S. vs. Lane [1913], 232 U.S..,
598; Cyr vs. Walker (1911], 29 Okla, 281; 35 L.R.A. [N. S.], 795.) Whenever, therefore, the United States sets apart any public land as an
Indian reservation, it has full authority to pass such laws and authorize such measures as may be necessary to give to the Indians
thereon full protection in their persons and property. (U.S. vs. Thomas [1894], 151 U.S., 577.)

All this borne out by long-continued legislative and executive usage, and an unbroken line of judicial decisions.

The only case which is even remotely in point and which, if followed literally, might result in the issuance of habeas corpus, is that of
United States vs. Crook ([1879], Fed. Cas. No. 14891). This was a hearing upon return to a writ of habeas corpus issued against Brigadier
General George Crook at the relation of Standing Bear and other Indians, formerly belonging to the Ponca Tribe of Indians. The petition
alleged in substance that the relators are Indians who have formerly belonged to the Ponca tribe of Indians, now located in the Indian
Territory; that they had some time previously withdrawn from the tribe, and completely severed their tribal relations therewith, and had
adopted the general habits of the whites, and were then endeavoring to maintain themselves by their own exertions, and without aid or
assistance from the general government; that whilst they were thus engaged, and without being guilty of violating any of the laws of the
United States, they were arrested and restrained of their liberty by order of the respondent, George Crook. The substance of the return
to the writ was that the relators are individual members of, and connected with, the Ponca tribe of Indians; that they had fled or escaped
form a reservation situated some place within the limits of the Indian Territory — had departed therefrom without permission from the
Government; and, at the request of the Secretary of the Interior, the General of the Army had issued an order which required the
respondent to arrest and return the relators to their tribe in the Indian Territory, and that, pursuant to the said order, he had caused the
relators to be arrested on the Omaha Indian Territory.

The first question was whether an Indian can test the validity of an illegal imprisonment by habeas corpus. The second question, of
much greater importance, related to the right of the Government to arrest and hold the relators for a time, for the purpose of being
returned to the Indian Territory from which it was alleged the Indian escaped. In discussing this question, the court reviewed the policy
the Government had adopted in its dealing with the friendly tribe of Poncase. Then, continuing, the court said: "Laws passed for the
government of the Indian country, and for the purpose of regulating trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes, confer upon certain
officers of the Government almost unlimited power over the persons who go upon the reservations without lawful authority . . . Whether
such an extensive discretionary power is wisely vested in the commissioner of Indian affairs or not , need not be questioned. It is enough
to know that the power rightfully exists, and, where existing, the exercise of the power must be upheld." The decision concluded as
follows:

The reasoning advanced in support of my views, leads me to conclude:

1. that an Indian is a 'person' within the meaning of the laws of the United States, and has, therefore, the right to sue out a writ of
habeas corpus in a federal court, or before a federal judge, in all cases where he may be confined or in custody under color of authority
of the United States or where he is restrained of liberty in violation of the constitution or laws of the United States.

2. That General George Crook, the respondent, being commander of the military department of the Platte, has the custody of the
relators, under color of authority of the United States, and in violation of the laws therefore.

3. That n rightful authority exists for removing by force any of the relators to the Indian Territory, as the respondent has been
directed to do.

4. that the Indians possess the inherent right of expatriation, as well as the more fortunate white race, and have the inalienable
right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," so long as they obey the laws and do not trespass on forbidden ground. And,

5. Being restrained of liberty under color of authority of the United States, and in violation of the laws thereof, the relators must
be discharged from custody, and it is so ordered.

As far as the first point is concerned, the decision just quoted could be used as authority to determine that Rubi, the Manguian
petitioner, a Filipino, and a citizen of the Philippine Islands, is a "person" within the meaning of the Habeas Corpus Act, and as such,
entitled to sue out a writ in the Philippine courts. (See also In re Race Horse [1895], 70 Fed., 598.) We so decide.

As to the second point the facts in the Standing Bear case an the Rubi case are not exactly identical. But even admitting similarity of
facts, yet it is known to all that Indian reservations do exist in the United States, that Indians have been taken from different parts of the
country and placed on these reservation, without any previous consultation as to their own wishes, and that, when once so located, they
have been made to remain on the reservation for their own good and for the general good of the country. If any lesson can be drawn
form the Indian policy of the United States, it is that the determination of this policy is for the legislative and executive branches of the
government and that when once so decided upon, the courts should not interfere to upset a carefully planned governmental system.
Perhaps, just as may forceful reasons exists for the segregation as existed for the segregation of the different Indian tribes in the United
States.

IV. CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS.

A. DELEGATION OF LEGISLATIVE POWER.

The first constitutional objection which confronts us is that the Legislature could not delegate this power to provincial authorities. In so
attempting, it is contended, the Philippine Legislature has abdicated its authority and avoided its full responsibility.

That the maxim of Constitutional Law forbidding the delegation of legislative power should be zealously protected, we agree. An
understanding of the rule will, however, disclose that it has not bee violated in his instance.

The rule has nowhere been better stated than in the early Ohio case decided by Judge Ranney, and since followed in a multitude of case,
namely: "The true distinction therefore is between the delegation of power to make the law, which necessarily involves a discretion as to
what it shall be, and conferring an authority or discretion as to its execution, to be exercised under and in pursuance of the law. The first
cannot be done; to the later no valid objection can be made." (Cincinnati, W. & Z. R. Co. vs. Comm'rs. Clinton County [1852], 1 Ohio S.t,
88.) Discretion, as held by Chief Justice Marshall in Wayman vs. Southard ([1825], 10 Wheat., 1) may be committed by the Legislature
to an executive department or official. The Legislature may make decisions of executive departments of subordinate official thereof, to
whom t has committed the execution of certain acts, final on questions of fact. (U.S. vs. Kinkead [1918], 248 Fed., 141.) The growing
tendency in the decision is to give prominence to the "necessity" of the case.

Is not all this exactly what the Legislature has attempted to accomplish by the enactment of section 21454 of the Administrative Code?
Has not the Legislature merely conferred upon the provincial governor, with the approval of the provincial board and the Department
Head, discretionary authority as to the execution of the law? Is not this "necessary"?

The case of West vs. Hitchock, ([1906], 205 U.S., 80) was a petition for mandamus to require the Secretary of the Interior to approve
the selection and taking of one hundred and sixty acres by the relator out of the lands ceded to the United States by the Wichita and
affiliated bands of Indians. Section 463 of the United States Revised Statutes provided: "The Commissioner of Indian Affairs shall,
under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, and agreeably to such regulations as the President may prescribe, have the
management of all Indian affairs, and of all matters arising out to the Indian relations." Justice Holmes said: "We should hesitate a good
deal, especially in view of the long established practice of the Department, before saying that this language was not broad enough to
warrant a regulation obviously made for the welfare of the rather helpless people concerned. The power of Congress is not doubted. The
Indians have been treated as wards of the nation. Some such supervision was necessary, and has been exercised. In the absence of
special provisions naturally it would be exercised by the Indian Department." (See also as corroborative authority, it any is needed,
Union Bridge Co. vs. U.S. [1907], 204 U.S.., 364, reviewing the previous decisions of the United States Supreme Court: U.S. vs. Lane
[1914], 232 U.S., 598.)

There is another aspect of the question, which once accepted, is decisive. An exception to the general rule. sanctioned by immemorial
practice, permits the central legislative body to delegate legislative powers to local authorities. The Philippine Legislature has here
conferred authority upon the Province of Mindoro, to be exercised by the provincial governor and the provincial board.

Who but the provincial governor and the provincial board, as the official representatives of the province, are better qualified to judge
"when such as course is deemed necessary in the interest of law and order?" As officials charged with the administration of the province
and the protection of its inhabitants, who but they are better fitted to select sites which have the conditions most favorable for
improving the people who have the misfortune of being in a backward state?

Section 2145 of the Administrative Code of 1917 is not an unlawful delegation of legislative power by the Philippine Legislature to
provincial official and a department head.

B. RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION
The attorney de officio, for petitioners, in a truly remarkable brief, submitted on behalf of his unknown clients, says that — "The statute
is perfectly clear and unambiguous. In limpid English, and in words as plain and unequivocal as language can express, it provides for
the segregation of 'non-Christians' and none other." The inevitable result, them, is that the law "constitutes an attempt by the
Legislature to discriminate between individuals because of their religious beliefs, and is, consequently, unconstitutional."

Counsel's premise once being conceded, his arguments is answerable — the Legislature must be understood to mean what it has plainly
expressed; judicial construction is then excluded; religious equality is demanded by the Organic Law; the statute has violated this
constitutional guaranty, and Q. E. D. is invalid. But, as hereinbefore stated, we do not feel free to discard the long continued meaning
given to a common expression, especially as classification of inhabitants according to religious belief leads the court to what it should
avoid, the nullification of legislative action. We hold that the term "non-Christian" refers to natives of the Philippines Islands of a low
grade of civilization, and that section 2145 of the Administrative Code of 1917, does not discriminate between individuals an account of
religious differences.

C. LIBERTY; DUE PROCESS OF LAW; EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAWS.

The third constitutional argument is grounded on those portions of the President's instructions of to the Commission, the Philippine
Bill, and the Jones Law, providing "That no law shall be enacted in said Islands which shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or
property without due process of law, or deny to any person therein the equal protection of the laws." This constitutional limitation is
derived from the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution — and these provisions, it has been said "are universal in
their application, to all persons within the territorial jurisdiction, without regard to any differences of race, of color, or of nationality."
(Yick Wo vs. Hopkins [1886], 118 U.S., 356.) The protection afforded the individual is then as much for the non-Christian as for the
Christian.

The conception of civil liberty has been variously expressed thus:

Every man may claim the fullest liberty to exercise his faculties, compatible with the possession of like liberty by every other. (Spencer,
Social Statistics, p. 94.)

Liberty is the creature of law, essentially different from that authorized licentiousness that trespasses on right. That authorized
licentiousness that trespasses on right. It is a legal and a refined idea, the offspring of high civilization, which the savage never
understood, and never can understand. Liberty exists in proportion to wholesome restraint; the more restraint on others to keep off
from us, the more liberty we have . . . that man is free who is protected from injury. (II Webster's Works, p. 393.)

Liberty consists in the ability to do what one caught to desire and in not being forced to do what one ought not do desire. (Montesque,
spirit of the Laws.)

Even liberty itself, the greatest of all rights, is no unrestricted license to ac according to one's own will. It is only freedom from restraint
under conditions essential to the equal enjoyment of the same right by others. (Field, J., in Crowley vs. Christensen [1890], 137 U.S.,
86.)

Liberty does not import "an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint. There
are manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good. On any other basis, organized society could
not exist with safety to its members. Society based on the rule that each one is a law unto himself would soon be confronted with
disorder and anarchy. Real liberty for all could not exist under the operation of a principle which recognizes the right of each individual
person to use his own, whether in respect of his person or his property, regardless of the injury that may be done to others . . . There is,
of course, a sphere with which the individual may asserts the supremacy of his own will, and rightfully dispute the authority of any
human government — especially of any free government existing under a written Constitution — to interfere with the exercise of that
will. But it is equally true that in very well-ordered society charged with the duty of conserving the safety of its members, the rights of
the individual in respect of his liberty may at times, under the pressure of great dangers, be subjected to such restraint to be enforced by
reasonable regulations, as the safety of the general public may demand." (Harlan, J., In Jacobson vs. Massachusetts [1905] 197 U.S., 11.)

Liberty is freedom to do right and never wrong; it is ever guided by reason and the upright and honorable conscience of the individual.
(Apolinario Mabini.)

Civil Liberty may be said to mean that measure of freedom which may be enjoyed in a civilized community, consistently with the
peaceful enjoyment of like freedom in others. The right to Liberty guaranteed by the Constitution includes the right to exist and the
right to be free from arbitrary personal restraint or servitude. The term cannot be dwarfed into mere freedom from physical restraint of
the person of the citizen, but is deemed to embrace the right of man to enjoy the faculties with which he has been endowed by this
Creator, subject only to such restraints as are necessary for the common welfare. As enunciated in a long array of authorities including
epoch-making decisions of the United States Supreme Court, Liberty includes the right of the citizens to be free to use his faculties in all
lawful ways; to live an work where he will; to earn his livelihood by an lawful calling; to pursue any avocations, an for that purpose. to
enter into all contracts which may be proper, necessary, and essential to his carrying out these purposes to a successful conclusion. The
chief elements of the guaranty are the right to contract, the right to choose one's employment, the right to labor, and the right of
locomotion.

In general, it may be said that Liberty means the opportunity to do those things which are ordinarily done by free men. (There can be
noted Cummings vs. Missouri [1866], 4 Wall, 277; Wilkinson vs. Leland [1829], 2 Pet., 627; Williams vs. Fears [1900], 179 U.S., 274;
Allgeyer vs. Louisiana [1896], 165, U.S., 578; State vs. Kreutzberg [1902], 114 Wis., 530. See 6 R.C.L., 258, 261.)

One thought which runs through all these different conceptions of Liberty is plainly apparent. It is this: "Liberty" as understood in
democracies, is not license; it is "Liberty regulated by law." Implied in the term is restraint by law for the good of the individual and for
the greater good of the peace and order of society and the general well-being. No man can do exactly as he pleases. Every man must
renounce unbridled license. The right of the individual is necessarily subject to reasonable restraint by general law for the common
good. Whenever and wherever the natural rights of citizen would, if exercises without restraint, deprive other citizens of rights which
are also and equally natural, such assumed rights must yield to the regulation of law. The Liberty of the citizens may be restrained in the
interest of the public health, or of the public order and safety, or otherwise within the proper scope of the police power. (See Hall vs.
Geiger-Jones [1916], 242 U.S., 539; Hardie-Tynes Manufacturing Co. vs. Cruz [1914], 189 Al., 66.)

None of the rights of the citizen can be taken away except by due process of law. Daniel Webster, in the course of the argument in the
Dartmouth College Case before the United States Supreme Court, since a classic in forensic literature, said that the meaning of "due
process of law" is, that "every citizen shall hold his life, liberty, property, an immunities under the protection of the general rules which
govern society." To constitute "due process of law," as has been often held, a judicial proceeding is not always necessary. In some
instances, even a hearing and notice are not requisite a rule which is especially true where much must be left to the discretion of the
administrative officers in applying a law to particular cases. (See McGehee, Due Process of Law, p. 371.) Neither is due process a
stationary and blind sentinel of liberty. "Any legal proceeding enforced by public authority, whether sanctioned by age and customs, or
newly devised in the discretion of the legislative power, in furtherance of the public good, which regards and preserves these principles
of liberty and justice, must be held to be due process of law." (Hurtado vs. California [1883], 110, U.S., 516.) "Due process of law" means
simply . . . "first, that there shall be a law prescribed in harmony with the general powers of the legislative department of the
Government; second, that this law shall be reasonable in its operation; third, that it shall be enforced according to the regular methods
of procedure prescribed; and fourth, that it shall be applicable alike to all the citizens of the state or to all of a class." (U.S. vs. Ling Su
Fan [1908], 10 Phil., 104, affirmed on appeal to the United States Supreme Court. 1) "What is due process of law depends on
circumstances. It varies with the subject-matter and necessities of the situation." (Moyer vs. Peablody [1909], 212 U. S., 82.)

The pledge that no person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws is not infringed by a statute which is applicable to all of a
class. The classification must have a reasonable basis and cannot be purely arbitrary in nature.

We break off with the foregoing statement, leaving the logical deductions to be made later on.

D. SLAVERY AND INVOLUNTARY SERVITUDE.

The fourth constitutional contention of petitioner relates to the Thirteen Amendment to the United States Constitution particularly as
found in those portions of Philippine Organic Law providing "That slavery shall not exist in said Islands; nor shall involuntary servitude
exist except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted." It is quite possible that the Thirteenth
Amendment, since reaching to "any place subject to" the "jurisdiction" of the United States, has force in the Philippine. However this
may be, the Philippine Legislature has, by adoption, with necessary modifications, of sections 268 to 271 inclusive of the United States
Criminal Code, prescribed the punishment for these crimes. Slavery and involuntary servitude, together wit their corollary, peonage, all
denote "a condition of enforced, compulsory service of one to another." (Hodges vs. U.S. [1906], 203 U.S., 1.) The term of broadest
scope is possibly involuntary servitude. It has been applied to any servitude in fact involuntary, no matter under what form such
servitude may have been disguised. (Bailey vs. Alabama [1910], 219 U.S., 219.)

So much for an analysis of those constitutional provisions on which petitioners rely for their freedom. Next must come a description of
the police power under which the State must act if section 2145 is to be held valid.

E. THE POLICE POWER.

Not attempting to phrase a definition of police power, all that it is necessary to note at this moment is the farreaching scope of the
power, that it has become almost possible to limit its weep, and that among its purposes is the power to prescribe regulations to
promote the health, peace, morals, education, and good order of the people, and to legislate so as to increase the industries of the State,
develop its resources and add to is wealth and prosperity. (See Barbier vs. Connolly [1884], 113 U.S., 27.) What we are not interested in
is the right of the government to restrain liberty by the exercise of the police power.

"The police power of the State," one court has said, . . . "is a power coextensive with self-protection, and is not inaptly termed the 'law of
overruling necessity.' It may be said to be that inherent and plenary power in the State which enables it to prohibit all things hurtful to
the comfort, safety and welfare of society." (Lake View vs. Rose Hill Cemetery Co. [1873], 70 Ill., 191.) Carried onward by the current of
legislation, the judiciary rarely attempt to dam the on rushing power of legislative discretion, provided the purposes of the law do not go
beyond the great principles that mean security for the public welfare or do not arbitrarily interfere with the right of the individual.

The Government of the Philippine Islands has both on reason and authority the right to exercise the sovereign police power in the
promotion of the general welfare and the public interest. "There can be not doubt that the exercise of the police power of the Philippine
Government belongs to the Legislature and that this power is limited only by the Acts of Congress and those fundamental principles
which lie at the foundation of all republican forms of government." (Churchill and Tait vs. Rafferty [1915], 32 Phil., 580; U.S. vs.
Pompeya [1915], 31 Phil., 245.)

With the foregoing approximation of the applicable basic principles before us, before finally deciding whether any constitutional
provision has indeed been violated by section 2145 of the Administrative Code, we should endeavor to ascertain the intention of the
Legislature in enacting this section. If legally possible, such legislative intention should be effectuated.

F. LEGISLATIVE INTENT.

The preamble of the resolution of the provincial board of Mindoro which set apart the Tigbao reservation, it will be remembered,
assigned as reasons fort the action, the following: (1) The failure of former attempts for the advancement of the non-Christian people of
the province; and (2) the only successfully method for educating the Manguianes was to oblige them to live in a permanent settlement.
The Solicitor-General adds the following; (3) The protection of the Manguianes; (4) the protection of the public forests in which they
roam; (5) the necessity of introducing civilized customs among the Manguianes.

The present Secretary of the Interior says of the Tigbao reservation and of the motives for its selection, the following:

To inform himself of the conditions of those Manguianes who were taken together to Tigbao, the Secretary of the Interior on June 10 to
13, 1918, made a trip to the place. There he found that the site selected is a good one; that creditable progress has been made in the
clearing of forests, construction of buildings, etc., that there appears to be encouraging reaction by the boys to the work of the school the
requirements of which they appear to meet with enthusiastic interest after the first weeks which are necessarily a somewhat trying
period for children wholly unaccustomed to orderly behaviour and habit of life. He also gathered the impression that the results
obtained during the period of less than one year since the beginning of the institution definitely justify its continuance and
development.

Of course, there were many who were protesting against that segregation. Such was naturally to be expected. But the Secretary of the
Interior, upon his return to Manila, made the following statement to the press:

"It is not deemed wise to abandon the present policy over those who prefer to live a nomadic life and evade the influence of civilization.
The Government will follow its policy to organize them into political communities and to educate their children with the object of
making them useful citizens of this country. To permit them to live a wayfaring life will ultimately result in a burden to the state and on
account of their ignorance, they will commit crimes and make depredation, or if not they will be subject to involuntary servitude by
those who may want to abuse them."

The Secretary of the Interior, who is the official charged with the supervision of all the non-Christian people, has adopted as the polaris
of his administration — "the advancement of the non-Christian elements of our population to equality and unification with the highly
civilized Christian inhabitants." This is carried on by the adoption of the following measures:
(a) Pursuance of the closer settlement policy whereby people of seminomadic race are induced to leave their wild habitat and settle
in organized communities.

(b) The extension of the public school system and the system of public health throughout the regions inhabited by the non-
Christian people.

(c) The extention of public works throughout the Mohammedan regions to facilitate their development and the extention of
government control.

(d) Construction of roads and trials between one place and another among non-Christians, to promote social and commercial
intercourse and maintain amicable relations among them and with the Christian people.

(e) Pursuance of the development of natural economic resources, especially agriculture.

(f) The encouragement of immigration into, and of the investment of private capital in, the fertile regions of Mindanao and Sulu.

The Secretary adds:

To attain the end desired, work of a civilizing influence have been continued among the non-Christian people. These people are being
taught and guided to improve their living conditions in order that they may fully appreciate the benefits of civilization. Those of them
who are still given to nomadic habits are being persuaded to abandon their wild habitat and settle in organized settlements. They are
being made to understand that it is the purpose of the Government to organize them politically into fixed and per manent communities,
thus bringing them under the control of the Government, to aid them to live and work, protect them from involuntary servitude and
abuse, educate their children, and show them the advantages of leading a civilized life with their civilized brothers. In short, they are
being impressed with the purposes and objectives of the Government of leading them to economic, social, and political equality, and
unification with the more highly civilized inhabitants of the country. (See Report of the Department for 1917.)

The fundamental objective of governmental policy is to establish friendly relations with the so-called non-Christians, and to promote
their educational, agricultural, industrial, and economic development and advancement in civilization. (Note Acts Nos. 2208, 2404,
2444.) Act No. 2674 in reestablishing the Bureau of non-Christian Tribes, defines the aim of the Government towards the non-Christian
people in the following unequivocal terms:

It shall be the duty of the Bureau of non-Christian Tribes to continue the work for advancement and liberty in favor of the region
inhabited by non-Christian Filipinos and foster by all adequate means and in a systematical, rapid, and complete manner the moral,
material, economic, social, and political development of those regions, always having in view the aim of rendering permanent the
mutual intelligence between, and complete fusion of, all the Christian and non-Christian elements populating the provinces of the
Archipelago. (Sec. 3.)

May the Manguianes not be considered, as are the Indians in the United States, proper wards of the Filipino people? By the fostering
care of a wise Government, may not these unfortunates advance in the "habits and arts of civilization?" Would it be advisable for the
courts to intrude upon a plan, carefully formulated, and apparently working out for the ultimate good of these people?

In so far as the Manguianes themselves are concerned, the purpose of the Government is evident. Here, we have on the Island of
Mindoro, the Manguianes, leading a nomadic life, making depredations on their more fortunate neighbors, uneducated in the ways of
civilization, and doing nothing for the advancement of the Philippine Islands. What the Government wished to do by bringing than into
a reservation was to gather together the children for educational purposes, and to improve the health and morals — was in fine, to begin
the process of civilization. this method was termed in Spanish times, "bringing under the bells." The same idea adapted to the existing
situation, has been followed with reference to the Manguianes and other peoples of the same class, because it required, if they are to be
improved, that they be gathered together. On these few reservations there live under restraint in some cases, and in other instances
voluntarily, a few thousands of the uncivilized people. Segregation really constitutes protection for the manguianes.

Theoretically, one may assert that all men are created free and equal. Practically, we know that the axiom is not precisely accurate. The
Manguianes, for instance, are not free, as civilized men are free, and they are not the equals of their more fortunate brothers. True,
indeed, they are citizens, with many but not all the rights which citizenship implies. And true, indeed, they are Filipinos. But just as
surely, the Manguianes are citizens of a low degree of intelligence, and Filipinos who are a drag upon the progress of the State.

In so far as the relation of the Manguianes to the State is concerned, the purposes of the Legislature in enacting the law, and of the
executive branch in enforcing it, are again plain. Settlers in Mindoro must have their crops and persons protected from predatory men,
or they will leave the country. It is no argument to say that such crimes are punished by the Penal Code, because these penalties are
imposed after commission of the offense and not before. If immigrants are to be encouraged to develop the resources of the great
Islands of Mindoro, and its, as yet, unproductive regions, the Government must be in a position to guarantee peace and order.

Waste lands do not produce wealth. Waste people do not advance the interest of the State. Illiteracy and thriftlessness are not conducive
to homogeneity. The State to protect itself from destruction must prod on the laggard and the sluggard. The great law of overwhelming
necessity is all convincing.

To quote again from the instructive memorandum of the Secretary of the Interior:

Living a nomadic and a wayfaring life and evading the influence of civilization, they (the manguianes) are engaged in the works of
destruction — burning and destroying the forests and making illegal caiñgins thereon. Not bringing any benefit to the State but instead
injuring and damaging its interests, what will ultimately become of these people with the sort of liberty they wish to preserve and for
which they are now fighting in court? They will ultimately become a heavy burden to the State and on account of their ignorance they
will commit crimes and make depredations, or if not they will be subjected to involuntary servitude by those who may want to abuse
them.

There is no doubt in my mind that this people a right conception of liberty and does not practice liberty in a rightful way. They
understand liberty as the right to do anything they will — going from one place to another in the mountains, burning and destroying
forests and making illegal caiñgins thereon.

Not knowing what true liberty is and not practising the same rightfully, how can they allege that they are being deprived thereof without
due process of law?

xxx xxx xxx


But does the Constitutional guaranty that 'no person shall be deprived of his liberty without due process of law' apply to a class of
persons who do not have a correct idea of what liberty is and do not practise liberty in a rightful way?

To say that it does will mean to sanction and defend an erroneous idea of such class of persons as to what liberty is. It will mean, in the
case at bar, that the Government should not adopt any measures looking to the welfare and advancement of the class of persons in
question. It will mean that this people should be let along in the mountains and in a permanent state of savagery without even the
remotest hope of coming to understand liberty in its true and noble sense.

In dealing with the backward population, like the Manguianes, the Government has been placed in the alternative of either letting them
alone or guiding them in the path of civilization. The latter measure was adopted as the one more in accord with humanity and with
national conscience.

xxx xxx xxx

The national legislation on the subject of non-Christian people has tended more and more towards the education and civilization of such
people and fitting them to be citizens. The progress of those people under the tutelage of the Government is indeed encouraging and the
signs of the times point to a day which is not far distant when they will become useful citizens. In the light of what has already been
accomplished which has been winning the gratitude of most of the backward people, shall we give up the noble work simply because a
certain element, believing that their personal interests would be injured by such a measure has come forward and challenged the
authority of the Government to lead this people in the pat of civilization? Shall we, after expending sweat, treasure, and even blood only
to redeem this people from the claws of ignorance and superstition, now willingly retire because there has been erroneously invoked in
their favor that Constitutional guaranty that no person shall be deprived of his liberty without due process of law? To allow them to
successfully invoke that Constitutional guaranty at this time will leave the Government without recourse to pursue the works of
civilizing them and making them useful citizens. They will thus left in a permanent state of savagery and become a vulnerable point to
attack by those who doubt, nay challenge, the ability of the nation to deal with our backward brothers.

The manguianes in question have been directed to live together at Tigbao. There they are being taught and guided to improve their
living conditions. They are being made to understand that they object of the government is to organize them politically into fixed and
permanent communities. They are being aided to live and work. Their children are being educated in a school especially established for
them. In short, everything is being done from them in order that their advancement in civilization and material prosperity may be
assured. Certainly their living together in Tigbao does not make them slaves or put them in a condition compelled to do services for
another. They do not work for anybody but for themselves. There is, therefore, no involuntary servitude.

But they are compelled to live there and prohibited from emigrating to some other places under penalty of imprisonment. Attention in
this connection is invited to the fact that this people, living a nomadic and wayfaring life, do not have permanent individual property.
They move from one place to another as the conditions of living warrants, and the entire space where they are roving about is the
property of the nation, the greater part being lands of public domain. Wandering from one place to another on the public lands, why can
not the government adopt a measure to concentrate them in a certain fixed place on the public lands, instead of permitting them to
roam all over the entire territory? This measure is necessary both in the interest of the public as owner of the lands about which they are
roving and for the proper accomplishment of the purposes and objectives of the government. For as people accustomed to nomadic
habit, they will always long to return to the mountains and follow a wayfaring life, and unless a penalty is provinced for, you can not
make them live together and the noble intention of the Government of organizing them politically will come to naught.

G. APPLICATION AND CONCLUSION.

Our exhaustive study should have left us in a position to answer specific objections and to reach a general conclusion.

In the first place, it is argued that the citizen has the right, generally speaking, to go where he pleases. Could be not, however, be kept
away from certain localities ? To furnish an example from the Indian legislation. The early Act of Congress of 1802 (2 U.S. Stat. at L., p.
141) Indian reservation. Those citizens certainly did not possess absolute freedom of locomotion. Again the same law provided for the
apprehension of marauding Indians. Without any doubt, this law and other similar were accepted and followed time and again without
question.

It is said that, if we hold this section to be constitutional, we leave this weak and defenseless people confined as in a prison at the mercy
of unscrupulous official. What, it is asked, would be the remedy of any oppressed Manguian? The answer would naturally be that the
official into whose hands are given the enforcement of the law would have little or not motive to oppress these people; on the contrary,
the presumption would all be that they would endeavor to carry out the purposes of the law intelligently and patriotically. If, indeed,
they did ill-treat any person thus confined, there always exists the power of removal in the hands of superior officers, and the courts are
always open for a redress of grievances. When, however, only the validity of the law is generally challenged and no particular case of
oppression is called to the attention of the courts, it would seems that the Judiciary should not unnecessarily hamper the Government in
the accomplishment of its laudable purpose.

The question is above all one of sociology. How far, consistently with freedom, may the right and liberties of the individual members of
society be subordinated to the will of the Government? It is a question which has assailed the very existence of government from the
beginning of time. Now purely an ethical or philosophical subject, nor now to be decided by force, it has been transferred to the peaceful
forum of the Judiciary. In resolving such an issue, the Judiciary must realize that the very existence of government renders imperatives
a power to restrain the individual to some extent, dependent, of course, on the necessities of the class attempted to be benefited. As to
the particular degree to which the Legislature and the Executive can go in interfering with the rights of the citizen, this is, and for a
along time to come will be, impossible for the courts to determine.

The doctrines of laissez faire and of unrestricted freedom of the individual, as axioms of economics and political theory, are of the past.
The modern period has shown as widespread belief in the amplest possible demonstration of governmental activity. The courts
unfortunately have sometimes seemed to trial after the other two branches of the government in this progressive march.

Considered, therefore, purely as an exercise of the police power, the courts cannot fairly say that the Legislature has exceeded its rightful
authority. it is, indeed, an unusual exercise of that power. But a great malady requires an equally drastic remedy.

Further, one cannot hold that the liberty of the citizen is unduly interfered without when the degree of civilization of the Manguianes is
considered. They are restrained for their own good and the general good of the Philippines. Nor can one say that due process of law has
not been followed. To go back to our definition of due process of law and equal protection of the law, there exists a law ; the law seems to
be reasonable; it is enforced according to the regular methods of procedure prescribed; and it applies alike to all of a class.
As a point which has been left for the end of this decision and which, in case of doubt, would lead to the determination that section 2145
is valid. it the attitude which the courts should assume towards the settled policy of the Government. In a late decision with which we
are in full accord, Gambles vs. Vanderbilt University (200 Southwestern Reporter, 510) the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of
Tennessee writes:

We can seen objection to the application of public policy as a ratio decidendi. Every really new question that comes before the courts is,
in the last analysis, determined on that theory, when not determined by differentiation of the principle of a prior case or line of cases, or
by the aid of analogies furnished by such prior case. In balancing conflicting solutions, that one is perceived to tip the scales which the
court believes will best promote the public welfare in its probable operation as a general rule or principle. But public policy is not a thing
inflexible. No court is wise enough to forecast its influence in all possible contingencies. Distinctions must be made from time to time as
sound reason and a true sense of justice may dictate."

Our attempt at giving a brief history of the Philippines with reference to the so-called non-Christians has been in vain, if we fail to
realize that a consistent governmental policy has been effective in the Philippines from early days to the present. The idea to unify the
people of the Philippines so that they may approach the highest conception of nationality. If all are to be equal before the law, all must
be approximately equal in intelligence. If the Philippines is to be a rich and powerful country, Mindoro must be populated, and its fertile
regions must be developed. The public policy of the Government of the Philippine Islands is shaped with a view to benefit the Filipino
people as a whole. The Manguianes, in order to fulfill this governmental policy, must be confined for a time, as we have said, for their
own good and the good of the country.

Most cautiously should the power of this court to overrule the judgment of the Philippine Legislature, a coordinate branch, be exercised.
The whole tendency of the best considered case is toward non-interference on the part of the courts whenever political ideas are the
moving consideration. Justice Holmes, in one of the aphorisms for which he is justly famous, said that "constitutional law, like other
mortal contrivances, has to take some chances." (Blinn vs. Nelson [1911], 222 U.S., 1.) If in the final decision of the many grave
questions which this case presents, the courts must take "a chance," it should be with a view to upholding the law, with a view to the
effectuation of the general governmental policy, and with a view to the court's performing its duty in no narrow and bigoted sense, but
with that broad conception which will make the courts as progressive and effective a force as are the other departments of the
Government.

We are of the opinion that action pursuant to section 2145 of the Administrative Code does not deprive a person of his liberty without
due process of law and does not deny to him the equal protection of the laws, and that confinement in reservations in accordance with
said section does not constitute slavery and involuntary servitude. We are further of the opinion that section 2145 of the Administrative
Code is a legitimate exertion of the police power, somewhat analogous to the Indian policy of the United States. Section 2145 of the
Administrative Code of 1917 is constitutional.

Petitioners are not unlawfully imprisoned or restrained of their liberty. Habeas corpus can, therefore, not issue. This is the true ruling of
the court. Costs shall be taxes against petitioners. So ordered.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (DOE), Petitioner,
v. PILIPINAS SHELL PETROLEUM CORPORATION, Respondent.
G.R. No. 173918 April 8, 2008

DECISION

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the Decision dated 4 August 2006 of the Court
of Appeals in C.A. G.R. SP No. 82183.[1] The appellate court reversed the Decision[2] dated 19 August 2003 of the Office of the
President in OP NO. Case 96-H-6574 and declared that Ministry of Finance (MOF) Circular No. 1-85 dated 15 April 1985, as amended,
is ineffective for failure to comply with Section 3 of Chapter 2, Book 7 of the Administrative Code of 1987,[3] which requires the
publication and filing in the Office of the National Administration Register (ONAR) of administrative issuances. Thus, surcharges
provided under the aforementioned circular cannot be imposed upon respondent Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation.

Respondent is a corporation duly organized existing under the laws of the Philippines. It is engaged in the business of refining oil,
marketing petroleum, and other related activities.[4]

The Department of Energy (DOE) is a government agency under the direct control and supervision of the Office of the President. The
Department is mandated by Republic Act No. 7638 to prepare, integrate, coordinate, supervise and control all plans, programs, projects
and activities of the Government relative to energy exploration, development, utilization, distribution and conservation.

On 10 October 1984, the Oil Price Stabilization Fund (OPSF) was created under Presidential Decree No. 1956 for the purpose of
minimizing frequent price changes brought about by exchange rate adjustments and/or increase in world market prices of crude oil and
imported petroleum products.[5]

Letter of Instruction No. 1431 dated 15 October 1984 was issued directing the utilization of the OPSF to reimburse oil companies the
additional costs of importation of crude oil and petroleum products due to fluctuation in foreign exchange rates to assure adequate and
continuous supply of petroleum products at reasonable prices.[6]

Letter of Instruction No. 1441, issued on 20 November 1984, mandated the Board of Energy (now, the Energy Regulatory Board) to
review and reset prices of domestic oil products every two months to reflect the prevailing prices of crude oil and petroleum. The prices
were regulated by adjusting the OPSF impost, increasing or decreasing this price component as necessary to maintain the balance
between revenues and claims on the OPSF.[7]

On 27 February 1987, Executive Order No. 137 was enacted to amend P. D. No. 1956. It expanded the sources and utilization of the
OPSF in order to maintain stability in the domestic prices of oil products at reasonable levels.[8]

On 4 December 1991, the Office of Energy Affairs (OEA), now the DOE, informed the respondent that respondents contributions to the
OPSF for foreign exchange risk charge for the period December 1989 to March 1991 were insufficient. OEA Audit Task Force noted a
total underpayment of P14,414,860.75 by respondent to the OPSF. As a consequence of the underpayment, a surcharge of
P11,654,782.31 was imposed upon respondent. The said surcharge was imposed pursuant to MOF Circular No. 1-85, as amended by
Department of Finance (DOF) Circular No. 2-94,[9] which provides that:

2. Remittance of payment to the OPSF as provided for under Section 5 of MOF Order No. 11-85 shall be made not later than 20th of the
month following the month of remittance of the foreign exchange payment for the import or the month of payment to the domestic
producers in the case of locally produced crude. Payment after the specified date shall be subject to a surcharge of fifteen percent (15%)
of the amount, if paid within thirty (30) days from the due date plus two percent (2%) per month if paid after thirty days.[10] (Emphasis
supplied.)

On 9 December 1991, the OEA wrote another letter[11] to respondent advising the latter of its additional underpayment to the OPSF of
the foreign exchange risk fee in the amount of P10,139,526.56 for the period April 1991 to October 1991. In addition, surcharges in the
amount of P2,806,656.65 were imposed thereon.

In a letter dated 20 January 1992 addressed to the OEA, respondent justified that its calculations for the transactions in question were
based on a valid interpretation of MOF Order NO. 11-85 dated 12 April 1985 and MOE Circular No. 85-05-82 dated 16 May 1985.[12]

On 24 March 1992, respondent paid the OEA in full the principal amount of its underpayment, totaling P24,554,387.31, but not the
surcharges.[13]

In a letter[14] dated 15 March 1996, OEA notified the respondent that the latter is required to pay the OPSF a total amount of
P18,535,531.40 for surcharges on the late payment of foreign exchange risk charges for the period December 1989 to October 1991.

In a letter[15] dated 11 July 1996, the DOE reiterated its demand for respondent to settle the surcharges due. Otherwise, the DOE
warned that it would proceed against the respondents Irrevocable Standby Letter of Credit to recover its unpaid surcharges.

On 19 July 1996, respondent filed a Notice of Appeal before the Office of the President. The Office of the President affirmed the
conclusion of the DOE, contained in its letters dated 15 March 1996 and 11 July 1996. While it admitted that the implementation of
MOF Circular No. 1-85 is contingent upon its publication and filing with the ONAR, it noted that respondent failed to adduce evidence
of lack of compliance with such requirements. The aforementioned Decision reads:[16]

Given the foregoing, the DOEs implementation of MOF Circular 1-85 by imposing surcharges on Pilipinas Shell is only proper. Like this
Office, the DOE is bound to presume the validity of that administrative regulation.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision of the Department of Energy, contained in its letters dated 15 March 1996 and 11 July
1996, is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.

Respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Decision dated 19 August 2003 of the Office of the President, which was denied on
28 November 2003.[17]

Respondent filed an appeal before the Court of Appeals wherein it presented Certifications dated 9 February 2004[18] and 11 February
2004[19] issued by ONAR stating that DOF Circular No. 2-94 and MOF Circular No. 1-85 respectively, have not been filed before said
office.
The Court of Appeals reversed the Decision of the Office of the President in O.P. CASE No. 96-H-6574 and ruled that MOF Circular 1-
85, as amended, was ineffective for failure to comply with the requirement to file with ONAR. It decreed that even if the said circular
was issued by then Acting Minister of Finance Alfredo de Roda, Jr. long before the Administrative Code of 1987, Section 3 of Chapter 2,
Book 7 thereof specifies that rules already in force on the date of the effectivity of the Administrative Code of 1987 must be filed within
three months from the date of effectivity of said Code, otherwise such rules cannot thereafter be the basis of any sanction against any
party or persons.[20] According to the dispositive of the appellate courts Decision:[21]

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The Decision dated August 19, 2003 and the Resolution dated November 28,
2003 of the Office of the President, are hereby REVERSED.

ACCORDINGLY, the imposition of surcharges upon petitioner is hereby declared without legal basis.

On 25 September 2006, petitioner filed the present Petition for Review on Certiorari, wherein the following issues were raised:[22]

I THE SURCHARGE IMPOSED BY MINISTRY OF FINANCE (MOF) CIRCULAR No. 1-85 HAS BEEN AFFIRMED BY E.O. NO. 137
HAVING RECEIVED VITALITY FROM A LEGISLATIVE ENACTMENT, MOF CIRCULAR NO. 1-85 CANNOT BE RENDERED
INVALID BY THE SUBSEQUENT ENACTMENT OF A LAW REQUIRING REGISTRATION OF THE MOF CIRCULAR WITH THE
OFFICE OF THE NATIONAL REGISTER

II ASSUMING THAT THE REGISTRATION OF MOF NO. 1-85 IS REQUIRED, RESPONDENT WAIVED ITS OBJECTION ON THE
BASIS OF NON-REGISTRATION WHEN IT PAID THE AMOUNT REQUIRED BY PETITIONER.

This petition is without merit.

As early as 1986, this Court in Taada v. Tuvera[23] enunciated that publication is indispensable in order that all statutes, including
administrative rules that are intended to enforce or implement existing laws, attain binding force and effect, to wit:

We hold therefore that all statutes, including those of local application and private laws, shall be published as a condition for their
effectivity, which shall begin fifteen days after publication unless a different effectivity date is fixed by the legislature.

Covered by this rule are presidential decrees and executive orders promulgated by the President in the exercise of legislative powers
whenever the same are validly delegated by the legislature or, at present, directly conferred by the Constitution. Administrative rules
and regulations must also be published if their purpose is to enforce or implement existing law pursuant also to a valid delegation.
(Emphasis provided.)

Thereafter, the Administrative Code of 1987 was enacted, with Section 3 of Chapter 2, Book VII thereof specifically providing that:

Filing.(1) Every agency shall file with the University of the Philippines Law Center three (3) certified copies of every rule adopted by it.
Rules in force on the date of effectivity of this Code which are not filed within three (3) months from the date shall not thereafter be the
basis of any sanction against any party or persons.

(2) The records officer of the agency, or his equivalent functionary, shall carry out the requirements of this section under pain of
disciplinary action.

(3) A permanent register of all rules shall be kept by the issuing agency and shall be open to public inspection. (Emphasis provided.)

Under the doctrine of Tanada v. Tuvera,[24] the MOF Circular No. 1-85, as amended, is one of those issuances which should be
published before it becomes effective since it is intended to enforce Presidential Decree No. 1956. The said circular should also comply
with the requirement stated under Section 3 of Chapter 2, Book VII of the Administrative Code of 1987 filing with the ONAR in the
University of the Philippines Law Center for rules that are already in force at the time the Administrative Code of 1987 became effective.
These requirements of publication and filing were put in place as safeguards against abuses on the part of lawmakers and as guarantees
to the constitutional right to due process and to information on matters of public concern and, therefore, require strict compliance.

In the present case, the Certifications dated 11 February 2004[25] and 9 February 2004[26] issued by ONAR prove that MOF Circular
No. 1-85 and its amendatory rule, DOF Circular No. 2-94, have not been filed before said office. Moreover, petitioner was unable to
controvert respondents allegation that neither of the aforementioned circulars were published in the Official Gazette or in any
newspaper of general circulation. Thus, failure to comply with the requirements of publication and filing of administrative issuances
renders MOF Circular No. 1-85, as amended, ineffective.

In National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms v. Energy Regulatory Board,[27] this Court emphasized that both the
requirements of publication and filing of administrative issuances intended to enforce existing laws are mandatory for the effectivity of
said issuances. In support of its ruling, it specified several instances wherein this Court declared administrative issuances, which failed
to observe the proper requirements, to have no force and effect:

Nowhere from the above narration does it show that the GRAM Implementing Rules was published in the Official Gazette or in a
newspaper of general circulation. Significantly, the effectivity clauses of both the GRAM and ICERA Implementing Rules uniformly
provide that they shall take effect immediately. These clauses made no mention of their publication in either the Official Gazette or in a
newspaper of general circulation. Moreover, per the Certification dated January 11, 2006 of the Office of the National Administrative
Register (ONAR), the said implementing rules and regulations were not likewise filed with the said office in contravention of the
Administrative Code of 1987.

Applying the doctrine enunciated in Taada v. Tuvera, the Court has previously declared as having no force and effect the following
administrative issuances: (1) Rules and Regulations issued by the Joint Ministry of Health-Ministry of Labor and Employment
Accreditation Committee regarding the accreditation of hospitals, medical clinics and laboratories; (2) Letter of Instruction No. 1416
ordering the suspension of payments due and payable by distressed copper mining companies to the national government; (3)
Memorandum Circulars issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration regulating the recruitment of domestic helpers
to Hong Kong; (4) Administrative Order No. SOCPEC 89-08-01 issued by the Philippine International Trading Corporation regulating
applications for importation from the Peoples Republic of China; (5) Corporation Compensation Circular No. 10 issued by the
Department of Budget and Management discontinuing the payment of other allowances and fringe benefits to government officials and
employees; and (6) POEA Memorandum Circular No. 2 Series of 1983 which provided for the schedule of placement and documentation
fees for private employment agencies or authority holders.

In all these cited cases, the administrative issuances questioned therein were uniformly struck down as they were not published or filed
with the National Administrative Register. On the other hand, in Republic v. Express Telecommunications Co., Inc, the Court declared
that the 1993 Revised Rules of the National Telecommunications Commission had not become effective despite the fact that it was filed
with the National Administrative Register because the same had not been published at the time. The Court emphasized therein that
publication in the Official Gazette or a newspaper of general circulation is a condition sine qua non before statutes, rules or regulations
can take effect.

Petitioners argument that respondent waived the requisite registration of MOF Circular No. 1-85, as amended, when it paid in full the
principal amount of underpayment totaling P24,544,387.31, is specious. MOF Circular No. 1-85, as amended imposes surcharges, while
respondents underpayment is based on MOF Circular No. 11-85 dated 12 April 1985.

Petitioner also insists that the registration of MOF Circular No. 1-85, as amended, with the ONAR is no longer necessary since the
respondent knew of its existence, despite its non-registration. This argument is seriously flawed and contrary to jurisprudence. Strict
compliance with the requirements of publication cannot be annulled by a mere allegation that parties were notified of the existence of
the implementing rules concerned. Hence, also in National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms v. Energy Regulatory
Board, this Court pronounced:

In this case, the GRAM Implementing Rules must be declared ineffective as the same was never published or filed with the National
Administrative Register. To show that there was compliance with the publication requirement, respondents MERALCO and the ERC
dwell lengthily on the fact that parties, particularly the distribution utilities and consumer groups, were duly notified of the public
consultation on the ERCs proposed implementing rules. These parties participated in the said public consultation and even submitted
their comments thereon.

However, the fact that the parties participated in the public consultation and submitted their respective comments is not compliance
with the fundamental rule that the GRAM Implementing Rules, or any administrative rules whose purpose is to enforce or implement
existing law, must be published in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation. The requirement of publication of
implementing rules of statutes is mandatory and may not be dispensed with altogether even if, as in this case, there was public
consultation and submission by the parties of their comments.[28] (Emphasis provided.)

Petitioner further avers that MOF Circular No. 1-85, as amended, gains its vitality from the subsequent enactment of Executive Order
No. 137, which reiterates the power of then Minister of Finance to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to implement the
executive order. Such contention is irrelevant in the present case since the power of the Minister of Finance to promulgate rules and
regulations is not under dispute. The issue rather in the Petition at bar is the ineffectivity of his administrative issuance for non-
compliance with the requisite publication and filing with the ONAR. And while MOF Circular No. 1-85, as amended, may be
unimpeachable in substance, the due process requirements of publication and filing cannot be disregarded. Moreover, none of the
provisions of Executive Order No. 137 exempts MOF Circular No. 1-85, as amended from the aforementioned requirements.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the instant Petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision dated 4 August 2006 of the Court of Appeals
in C.A. G.R. SP No. 82183 is AFFIRMED. No cost.
[G.R. No. 148560. November 19, 2001]

JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, petitioner, vs. SANDIGANBAYAN (Third Division) and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

DECISION

BELLOSILLO, J.:

JOHN STUART MILL, in his essay On Liberty, unleashes the full fury of his pen in defense of the rights of the individual from the vast
powers of the State and the inroads of societal pressure. But even as he draws a sacrosanct line demarcating the limits on individuality
beyond which the State cannot tread - asserting that "individual spontaneity" must be allowed to flourish with very little regard to social
interference - he veritably acknowledges that the exercise of rights and liberties is imbued with a civic obligation, which society is
justified in enforcing at all cost, against those who would endeavor to withhold fulfillment. Thus he says -

The sole end for which mankind is warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number,
is self-protection. The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his
will, is to prevent harm to others.

Parallel to individual liberty is the natural and illimitable right of the State to self-preservation. With the end of maintaining the
integrity and cohesiveness of the body politic, it behooves the State to formulate a system of laws that would compel obeisance to its
collective wisdom and inflict punishment for non-observance.

The movement from Mill's individual liberalism to unsystematic collectivism wrought changes in the social order, carrying with it a new
formulation of fundamental rights and duties more attuned to the imperatives of contemporary socio-political ideologies. In the
process, the web of rights and State impositions became tangled and obscured, enmeshed in threads of multiple shades and colors, the
skein irregular and broken. Antagonism, often outright collision, between the law as the expression of the will of the State, and the
zealous attempts by its members to preserve their individuality and dignity, inevitably followed. It is when individual rights are pitted
against State authority that judicial conscience is put to its severest test.

Petitioner Joseph Ejercito Estrada, the highest-ranking official to be prosecuted under RA 7080 (An Act Defining and Penalizing the
Crime of Plunder),[1] as amended by RA 7659,[2] wishes to impress upon us that the assailed law is so defectively fashioned that it
crosses that thin but distinct line which divides the valid from the constitutionally infirm. He therefore makes a stringent call for this
Court to subject the Plunder Law to the crucible of constitutionality mainly because, according to him, (a) it suffers from the vice of
vagueness; (b) it dispenses with the "reasonable doubt" standard in criminal prosecutions; and, (c) it abolishes the element of mens rea
in crimes already punishable under The Revised Penal Code, all of which are purportedly clear violations of the fundamental rights of
the accused to due process and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.

Specifically, the provisions of the Plunder Law claimed by petitioner to have transgressed constitutional boundaries are Secs. 1, par. (d),
2 and 4 which are reproduced hereunder:

Section 1. x x x x (d) "Ill-gotten wealth" means any asset, property, business, enterprise or material possession of any person within the
purview of Section Two (2) hereof, acquired by him directly or indirectly through dummies, nominees, agents, subordinates and/or
business associates by any combination or series of the following means or similar schemes:

(1) Through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or malversation of public funds or raids on the public treasury;

(2) By receiving, directly or indirectly, any commission, gift, share, percentage, kickbacks or any other form of pecuniary benefit from
any person and/or entity in connection with any government contract or project or by reason of the office or position of the public office
concerned;

(3) By the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets belonging to the National Government or any of its subdivisions,
agencies or instrumentalities, or government owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries;

(4) By obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirectly any shares of stock, equity or any other form of interest or participation
including the promise of future employment in any business enterprise or undertaking;

(5) By establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial monopolies or other combinations and/or implementation of decrees and
orders intended to benefit particular persons or special interests; or

(6) By taking advantage of official position, authority, relationship, connection or influence to unjustly enrich himself or themselves at
the expense and to the damage and prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines.

Section 2. Definition of the Crime of Plunder, Penalties. - Any public officer who, by himself or in connivance with members of his
family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other persons, amasses, accumulates or acquires ill-
gotten wealth through a combination or series of overt or criminal acts as described in Section 1 (d) hereof, in the aggregate amount or
total value of at least fifty million pesos (P50,000,000.00) shall be guilty of the crime of plunder and shall be punished by reclusion
perpetua to death. Any person who participated with the said public officer in the commission of an offense contributing to the crime of
plunder shall likewise be punished for such offense. In the imposition of penalties, the degree of participation and the attendance of
mitigating and extenuating circumstances as provided by the Revised Penal Code shall be considered by the court. The court shall
declare any and all ill-gotten wealth and their interests and other incomes and assets including the properties and shares of stocks
derived from the deposit or investment thereof forfeited in favor of the State (underscoring supplied).

Section 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder, it shall not be necessary to prove each and every
criminal act done by the accused in furtherance of the scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth, it being
sufficient to establish beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or
conspiracy (underscoring supplied).

On 4 April 2001 the Office of the Ombudsman filed before the Sandiganbayan eight (8) separate Informations, docketed as: (a) Crim.
Case No. 26558, for violation of RA 7080, as amended by RA 7659; (b) Crim. Cases Nos. 26559 to 26562, inclusive, for violation of Secs.
3, par. (a), 3, par. (a), 3, par. (e) and 3, par. (e), of RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), respectively; (c) Crim. Case No.
26563, for violation of Sec. 7, par. (d), of RA 6713 (The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees); (d)
Crim. Case No. 26564, for Perjury (Art. 183 of The Revised Penal Code); and, (e) Crim. Case No. 26565, for Illegal Use Of An Alias (CA
No. 142, as amended by RA 6085).
On 11 April 2001 petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion for the remand of the case to the Ombudsman for preliminary investigation with
respect to specification "d" of the charges in the Information in Crim. Case No. 26558; and, for reconsideration/reinvestigation of the
offenses under specifications "a," "b," and "c" to give the accused an opportunity to file counter-affidavits and other documents
necessary to prove lack of probable cause. Noticeably, the grounds raised were only lack of preliminary investigation,
reconsideration/reinvestigation of offenses, and opportunity to prove lack of probable cause. The purported ambiguity of the charges
and the vagueness of the law under which they are charged were never raised in that Omnibus Motion thus indicating the explicitness
and comprehensibility of the Plunder Law.

On 25 April 2001 the Sandiganbayan, Third Division, issued a Resolution in Crim. Case No. 26558 finding that "a probable cause for the
offense of PLUNDER exists to justify the issuance of warrants for the arrest of the accused." On 25 June 2001 petitioner's motion for
reconsideration was denied by the Sandiganbayan.

On 14 June 2001 petitioner moved to quash the Information in Crim. Case No. 26558 on the ground that the facts alleged therein did
not constitute an indictable offense since the law on which it was based was unconstitutional for vagueness, and that the Amended
Information for Plunder charged more than one (1) offense. On 21 June 2001 the Government filed its Opposition to the Motion to
Quash, and five (5) days later or on 26 June 2001 petitioner submitted his Reply to the Opposition. On 9 July 2001 the Sandiganbayan
denied petitioner's Motion to Quash.

As concisely delineated by this Court during the oral arguments on 18 September 2001, the issues for resolution in the instant petition
for certiorari are: (a) The Plunder Law is unconstitutional for being vague; (b) The Plunder Law requires less evidence for proving the
predicate crimes of plunder and therefore violates the rights of the accused to due process; and, (c) Whether Plunder as defined in RA
7080 is a malum prohibitum, and if so, whether it is within the power of Congress to so classify it.

Preliminarily, the whole gamut of legal concepts pertaining to the validity of legislation is predicated on the basic principle that a
legislative measure is presumed to be in harmony with the Constitution.[3] Courts invariably train their sights on this fundamental rule
whenever a legislative act is under a constitutional attack, for it is the postulate of constitutional adjudication. This strong predilection
for constitutionality takes its bearings on the idea that it is forbidden for one branch of the government to encroach upon the duties and
powers of another. Thus it has been said that the presumption is based on the deference the judicial branch accords to its coordinate
branch - the legislature.

If there is any reasonable basis upon which the legislation may firmly rest, the courts must assume that the legislature is ever conscious
of the borders and edges of its plenary powers, and has passed the law with full knowledge of the facts and for the purpose of promoting
what is right and advancing the welfare of the majority. Hence in determining whether the acts of the legislature are in tune with the
fundamental law, courts should proceed with judicial restraint and act with caution and forbearance. Every intendment of the law must
be adjudged by the courts in favor of its constitutionality, invalidity being a measure of last resort. In construing therefore the
provisions of a statute, courts must first ascertain whether an interpretation is fairly possible to sidestep the question of
constitutionality.

In La Union Credit Cooperative, Inc. v. Yaranon[4] we held that as long as there is some basis for the decision of the court, the
constitutionality of the challenged law will not be touched and the case will be decided on other available grounds. Yet the force of the
presumption is not sufficient to catapult a fundamentally deficient law into the safe environs of constitutionality. Of course, where the
law clearly and palpably transgresses the hallowed domain of the organic law, it must be struck down on sight lest the positive
commands of the fundamental law be unduly eroded.

Verily, the onerous task of rebutting the presumption weighs heavily on the party challenging the validity of the statute. He must
demonstrate beyond any tinge of doubt that there is indeed an infringement of the constitution, for absent such a showing, there can be
no finding of unconstitutionality. A doubt, even if well-founded, will hardly suffice. As tersely put by Justice Malcolm, "To doubt is to
sustain."[5] And petitioner has miserably failed in the instant case to discharge his burden and overcome the presumption of
constitutionality of the Plunder Law.

As it is written, the Plunder Law contains ascertainable standards and well-defined parameters which would enable the accused to
determine the nature of his violation. Section 2 is sufficiently explicit in its description of the acts, conduct and conditions required or
forbidden, and prescribes the elements of the crime with reasonable certainty and particularity. Thus -

1. That the offender is a public officer who acts by himself or in connivance with members of his family, relatives by affinity or
consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other persons;

2. That he amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth through a combination or series of the following overt or criminal acts:
(a) through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or malversation of public funds or raids on the public treasury; (b) by receiving,
directly or indirectly, any commission, gift, share, percentage, kickback or any other form of pecuniary benefits from any person and/or
entity in connection with any government contract or project or by reason of the office or position of the public officer; (c) by the illegal
or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets belonging to the National Government or any of its subdivisions, agencies or
instrumentalities of Government owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries; (d) by obtaining, receiving or accepting directly
or indirectly any shares of stock, equity or any other form of interest or participation including the promise of future employment in any
business enterprise or undertaking; (e) by establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial monopolies or other combinations and/or
implementation of decrees and orders intended to benefit particular persons or special interests; or (f) by taking advantage of official
position, authority, relationship, connection or influence to unjustly enrich himself or themselves at the expense and to the damage and
prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines; and,

3. That the aggregate amount or total value of the ill-gotten wealth amassed, accumulated or acquired is at least P50,000,000.00.

As long as the law affords some comprehensible guide or rule that would inform those who are subject to it what conduct would render
them liable to its penalties, its validity will be sustained. It must sufficiently guide the judge in its application; the counsel, in defending
one charged with its violation; and more importantly, the accused, in identifying the realm of the proscribed conduct. Indeed, it can be
understood with little difficulty that what the assailed statute punishes is the act of a public officer in amassing or accumulating ill-
gotten wealth of at least P50,000,000.00 through a series or combination of acts enumerated in Sec. 1, par. (d), of the Plunder Law.

In fact, the amended Information itself closely tracks the language of the law, indicating with reasonable certainty the various elements
of the offense which petitioner is alleged to have committed:

"The undersigned Ombudsman, Prosecutor and OIC-Director, EPIB, Office of the Ombudsman, hereby accuses former PRESIDENT OF
THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, a.k.a. 'ASIONG SALONGA' and a.k.a. 'JOSE VELARDE,' together
with Jose 'Jinggoy' Estrada, Charlie 'Atong' Ang, Edward Serapio, Yolanda T. Ricaforte, Alma Alfaro, JOHN DOE a.k.a. Eleuterio Tan
OR Eleuterio Ramos Tan or Mr. Uy, Jane Doe a.k.a. Delia Rajas, and John DOES & Jane Does, of the crime of Plunder, defined and
penalized under R.A. No. 7080, as amended by Sec. 12 of R.A. No. 7659, committed as follows:

That during the period from June, 1998 to January 2001, in the Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
accused Joseph Ejercito Estrada, THEN A PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, by himself AND/OR in
CONNIVANCE/CONSPIRACY with his co-accused, WHO ARE MEMBERS OF HIS FAMILY, RELATIVES BY AFFINITY OR
CONSANGUINITY, BUSINESS ASSOCIATES, SUBORDINATES AND/OR OTHER PERSONS, BY TAKING UNDUE ADVANTAGE OF
HIS OFFICIAL POSITION, AUTHORITY, RELATIONSHIP, CONNECTION, OR INFLUENCE, did then and there willfully, unlawfully
and criminally amass, accumulate and acquire BY HIMSELF, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, ill-gotten wealth in the aggregate amount
or TOTAL VALUE of FOUR BILLION NINETY SEVEN MILLION EIGHT HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY
THREE PESOS AND SEVENTEEN CENTAVOS (P4,097,804,173.17), more or less, THEREBY UNJUSTLY ENRICHING HIMSELF OR
THEMSELVES AT THE EXPENSE AND TO THE DAMAGE OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE AND THE REPUBLIC OF THE
PHILIPPINES, through ANY OR A combination OR A series of overt OR criminal acts, OR SIMILAR SCHEMES OR MEANS, described
as follows:

(a) by receiving OR collecting, directly or indirectly, on SEVERAL INSTANCES, MONEY IN THE AGGREGATE AMOUNT OF FIVE
HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE MILLION PESOS (P545,000,000.00), MORE OR LESS, FROM ILLEGAL GAMBLING IN THE FORM OF
GIFT, SHARE, PERCENTAGE, KICKBACK OR ANY FORM OF PECUNIARY BENEFIT, BY HIMSELF AND/OR in connection with co-
accused CHARLIE 'ATONG' ANG, Jose 'Jinggoy' Estrada, Yolanda T. Ricaforte, Edward Serapio, AND JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES,
in consideration OF TOLERATION OR PROTECTION OF ILLEGAL GAMBLING;

(b) by DIVERTING, RECEIVING, misappropriating, converting OR misusing DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, for HIS OR THEIR
PERSONAL gain and benefit, public funds in the amount of ONE HUNDRED THIRTY MILLION PESOS (P130,000,000.00), more or
less, representing a portion of the TWO HUNDRED MILLION PESOS (P200,000,000.00) tobacco excise tax share allocated for the
province of Ilocos Sur under R.A. No. 7171, by himself and/or in connivance with co-accused Charlie 'Atong' Ang, Alma Alfaro, JOHN
DOE a.k.a. Eleuterio Ramos Tan or Mr. Uy, Jane Doe a.k.a. Delia Rajas, AND OTHER JOHN DOES & JANE DOES; (italic supplied).

(c) by directing, ordering and compelling, FOR HIS PERSONAL GAIN AND BENEFIT, the Government Service Insurance System
(GSIS) TO PURCHASE 351,878,000 SHARES OF STOCKS, MORE OR LESS, and the Social Security System (SSS), 329,855,000
SHARES OF STOCK, MORE OR LESS, OF THE BELLE CORPORATION IN THE AMOUNT OF MORE OR LESS ONE BILLION ONE
HUNDRED TWO MILLION NINE HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED SEVEN PESOS AND FIFTY CENTAVOS
(P1,102,965,607.50) AND MORE OR LESS SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY FOUR MILLION SIX HUNDRED TWELVE THOUSAND AND
FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY PESOS (P744,612,450.00), RESPECTIVELY, OR A TOTAL OF MORE OR LESS ONE BILLION EIGHT
HUNDRED FORTY SEVEN MILLION FIVE HUNDRED SEVENTY EIGHT THOUSAND FIFTY SEVEN PESOS AND FIFTY
CENTAVOS (P1,847,578,057.50); AND BY COLLECTING OR RECEIVING, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, BY HIMSELF AND/OR IN
CONNIVANCE WITH JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, COMMISSIONS OR PERCENTAGES BY REASON OF SAID PURCHASES OF
SHARES OF STOCK IN THE AMOUNT OF ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY NINE MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS
(P189,700,000.00) MORE OR LESS, FROM THE BELLE CORPORATION WHICH BECAME PART OF THE DEPOSIT IN THE
EQUITABLE-PCI BANK UNDER THE ACCOUNT NAME 'JOSE VELARDE;'

(d) by unjustly enriching himself FROM COMMISSIONS, GIFTS, SHARES, PERCENTAGES, KICKBACKS, OR ANY FORM OF
PECUNIARY BENEFITS, IN CONNIVANCE WITH JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, in the amount of MORE OR LESS THREE
BILLION TWO HUNDRED THIRTY THREE MILLION ONE HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY THREE
PESOS AND SEVENTEEN CENTAVOS (P3,233,104,173.17) AND DEPOSITING THE SAME UNDER HIS ACCOUNT NAME 'JOSE
VELARDE' AT THE EQUITABLE-PCI BANK."

We discern nothing in the foregoing that is vague or ambiguous - as there is obviously none - that will confuse petitioner in his defense.
Although subject to proof, these factual assertions clearly show that the elements of the crime are easily understood and provide
adequate contrast between the innocent and the prohibited acts. Upon such unequivocal assertions, petitioner is completely informed of
the accusations against him as to enable him to prepare for an intelligent defense.

Petitioner, however, bewails the failure of the law to provide for the statutory definition of the terms "combination" and "series" in the
key phrase "a combination or series of overt or criminal acts" found in Sec. 1, par. (d), and Sec. 2, and the word "pattern" in Sec. 4.
These omissions, according to petitioner, render the Plunder Law unconstitutional for being impermissibly vague and overbroad and
deny him the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, hence, violative of his fundamental right to due
process.

The rationalization seems to us to be pure sophistry. A statute is not rendered uncertain and void merely because general terms are used
therein, or because of the employment of terms without defining them;[6] much less do we have to define every word we use. Besides,
there is no positive constitutional or statutory command requiring the legislature to define each and every word in an enactment.
Congress is not restricted in the form of expression of its will, and its inability to so define the words employed in a statute will not
necessarily result in the vagueness or ambiguity of the law so long as the legislative will is clear, or at least, can be gathered from the
whole act, which is distinctly expressed in the Plunder Law.

Moreover, it is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics that words of a statute will be interpreted in their natural, plain and
ordinary acceptation and signification,[7] unless it is evident that the legislature intended a technical or special legal meaning to those
words.[8] The intention of the lawmakers - who are, ordinarily, untrained philologists and lexicographers - to use statutory phraseology
in such a manner is always presumed. Thus, Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary contains the following commonly accepted definition
of the words "combination" and "series:"

Combination - the result or product of combining; the act or process of combining. To combine is to bring into such close relationship as
to obscure individual characters.

Series - a number of things or events of the same class coming one after another in spatial and temporal succession.

That Congress intended the words "combination" and "series" to be understood in their popular meanings is pristinely evident from the
legislative deliberations on the bill which eventually became RA 7080 or the Plunder Law:

DELIBERATIONS OF THE BICAMERAL COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE, 7 May 1991

REP. ISIDRO: I am just intrigued again by our definition of plunder. We say THROUGH A COMBINATION OR SERIES OF OVERT OR
CRIMINAL ACTS AS MENTIONED IN SECTION ONE HEREOF. Now when we say combination, we actually mean to say, if there are
two or more means, we mean to say that number one and two or number one and something else are included, how about a series of the
same act? For example, through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, will these be included also?
REP. GARCIA: Yeah, because we say a series.

REP. ISIDRO: Series.

REP. GARCIA: Yeah, we include series.

REP. ISIDRO: But we say we begin with a combination.

REP. GARCIA: Yes.

REP. ISIDRO: When we say combination, it seems that -

REP. GARCIA: Two.

REP. ISIDRO: Not only two but we seem to mean that two of the enumerated means not twice of one enumeration.

REP. GARCIA: No, no, not twice.

REP. ISIDRO: Not twice?

REP. GARCIA: Yes. Combination is not twice - but combination, two acts.

REP. ISIDRO: So in other words, thats it. When we say combination, we mean, two different acts. It cannot be a repetition of the same
act.

REP. GARCIA: That be referred to series, yeah.

REP. ISIDRO: No, no. Supposing one act is repeated, so there are two.

REP. GARCIA: A series.

REP. ISIDRO: Thats not series. Its a combination. Because when we say combination or series, we seem to say that two or more, di ba?

REP. GARCIA: Yes, this distinguishes it really from ordinary crimes. That is why, I said, that is a very good suggestion because if it is
only one act, it may fall under ordinary crime but we have here a combination or series of overt or criminal acts. So x x x x

REP. GARCIA: Series. One after the other eh di....

SEN. TANADA: So that would fall under the term series?

REP. GARCIA: Series, oo.

REP. ISIDRO: Now, if it is a combination, ano, two misappropriations....

REP. GARCIA: Its not... Two misappropriations will not be combination. Series.

REP. ISIDRO: So, it is not a combination?

REP. GARCIA: Yes.

REP. ISIDRO: When you say combination, two different?

REP. GARCIA: Yes.

SEN. TANADA: Two different.

REP. ISIDRO: Two different acts.

REP. GARCIA: For example, ha...

REP. ISIDRO: Now a series, meaning, repetition...

DELIBERATIONS ON SENATE BILL NO. 733, 6 June 1989

SENATOR MACEDA: In line with our interpellations that sometimes one or maybe even two acts may already result in such a big
amount, on line 25, would the Sponsor consider deleting the words a series of overt or, to read, therefore: or conspiracy COMMITTED
by criminal acts such as. Remove the idea of necessitating a series. Anyway, the criminal acts are in the plural.

SENATOR TANADA: That would mean a combination of two or more of the acts mentioned in this.

THE PRESIDENT: Probably two or more would be....

SENATOR MACEDA: Yes, because a series implies several or many; two or more.

SENATOR TANADA: Accepted, Mr. President x x x x

THE PRESIDENT: If there is only one, then he has to be prosecuted under the particular crime. But when we say acts of plunder there
should be, at least, two or more.

SENATOR ROMULO: In other words, that is already covered by existing laws, Mr. President.
Thus when the Plunder Law speaks of "combination," it is referring to at least two (2) acts falling under different categories of
enumeration provided in Sec. 1, par. (d), e.g., raids on the public treasury in Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (1), and fraudulent conveyance of
assets belonging to the National Government under Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (3).

On the other hand, to constitute a series" there must be two (2) or more overt or criminal acts falling under the same category of
enumeration found in Sec. 1, par. (d), say, misappropriation, malversation and raids on the public treasury, all of which fall under Sec. 1,
par. (d), subpar. (1). Verily, had the legislature intended a technical or distinctive meaning for "combination" and "series," it would have
taken greater pains in specifically providing for it in the law.

As for "pattern," we agree with the observations of the Sandiganbayan[9] that this term is sufficiently defined in Sec. 4, in relation to
Sec. 1, par. (d), and Sec. 2 -

x x x x under Sec. 1 (d) of the law, a 'pattern' consists of at least a combination or series of overt or criminal acts enumerated in
subsections (1) to (6) of Sec. 1 (d). Secondly, pursuant to Sec. 2 of the law, the pattern of overt or criminal acts is directed towards a
common purpose or goal which is to enable the public officer to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth. And thirdly, there must
either be an 'overall unlawful scheme' or 'conspiracy' to achieve said common goal. As commonly understood, the term 'overall unlawful
scheme' indicates a 'general plan of action or method' which the principal accused and public officer and others conniving with him
follow to achieve the aforesaid common goal. In the alternative, if there is no such overall scheme or where the schemes or methods
used by multiple accused vary, the overt or criminal acts must form part of a conspiracy to attain a common goal.

Hence, it cannot plausibly be contended that the law does not give a fair warning and sufficient notice of what it seeks to penalize.
Under the circumstances, petitioner's reliance on the "void-for-vagueness" doctrine is manifestly misplaced. The doctrine has been
formulated in various ways, but is most commonly stated to the effect that a statute establishing a criminal offense must define the
offense with sufficient definiteness that persons of ordinary intelligence can understand what conduct is prohibited by the statute. It can
only be invoked against that specie of legislation that is utterly vague on its face, i.e., that which cannot be clarified either by a saving
clause or by construction.

A statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible standards that men of common intelligence must necessarily
guess at its meaning and differ in its application. In such instance, the statute is repugnant to the Constitution in two (2) respects - it
violates due process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties targeted by it, fair notice of what conduct to avoid; and, it leaves
law enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle.[10] But
the doctrine does not apply as against legislations that are merely couched in imprecise language but which nonetheless specify a
standard though defectively phrased; or to those that are apparently ambiguous yet fairly applicable to certain types of activities. The
first may be "saved" by proper construction, while no challenge may be mounted as against the second whenever directed against such
activities.[11] With more reason, the doctrine cannot be invoked where the assailed statute is clear and free from ambiguity, as in this
case.

The test in determining whether a criminal statute is void for uncertainty is whether the language conveys a sufficiently definite warning
as to the proscribed conduct when measured by common understanding and practice.[12] It must be stressed, however, that the
"vagueness" doctrine merely requires a reasonable degree of certainty for the statute to be upheld - not absolute precision or
mathematical exactitude, as petitioner seems to suggest. Flexibility, rather than meticulous specificity, is permissible as long as the
metes and bounds of the statute are clearly delineated. An act will not be held invalid merely because it might have been more explicit in
its wordings or detailed in its provisions, especially where, because of the nature of the act, it would be impossible to provide all the
details in advance as in all other statutes.

Moreover, we agree with, hence we adopt, the observations of Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza during the deliberations of the Court that
the allegations that the Plunder Law is vague and overbroad do not justify a facial review of its validity -

The void-for-vagueness doctrine states that "a statute which either forbids or requires the doing of an act in terms so vague that men of
common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application, violates the first essential of due process of
law."[13] The overbreadth doctrine, on the other hand, decrees that "a governmental purpose may not be achieved by means which
sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms."[14]

A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one which is overbroad because of possible "chilling effect" upon
protected speech. The theory is that "[w]hen statutes regulate or proscribe speech and no readily apparent construction suggests itself
as a vehicle for rehabilitating the statutes in a single prosecution, the transcendent value to all society of constitutionally protected
expression is deemed to justify allowing attacks on overly broad statutes with no requirement that the person making the attack
demonstrate that his own conduct could not be regulated by a statute drawn with narrow specificity."[15] The possible harm to society
in permitting some unprotected speech to go unpunished is outweighed by the possibility that the protected speech of others may be
deterred and perceived grievances left to fester because of possible inhibitory effects of overly broad statutes.

This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes have general in terrorem effect resulting from their very existence, and,
if facial challenge is allowed for this reason alone, the State may well be prevented from enacting laws against socially harmful conduct.
In the area of criminal law, the law cannot take chances as in the area of free speech.

The overbreadth and vagueness doctrines then have special application only to free speech cases. They are inapt for testing the validity
of penal statutes. As the U.S. Supreme Court put it, in an opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist, "we have not recognized an 'overbreadth'
doctrine outside the limited context of the First Amendment."[16] In Broadrick v. Oklahoma,[17] the Court ruled that "claims of facial
overbreadth have been entertained in cases involving statutes which, by their terms, seek to regulate only spoken words" and, again,
that "overbreadth claims, if entertained at all, have been curtailed when invoked against ordinary criminal laws that are sought to be
applied to protected conduct." For this reason, it has been held that "a facial challenge to a legislative act is the most difficult challenge
to mount successfully, since the challenger must establish that no set of circumstances exists under which the Act would be valid."[18]
As for the vagueness doctrine, it is said that a litigant may challenge a statute on its face only if it is vague in all its possible applications.
"A plaintiff who engages in some conduct that is clearly proscribed cannot complain of the vagueness of the law as applied to the
conduct of others."[19]

In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness are analytical tools developed for testing "on their faces" statutes in
free speech cases or, as they are called in American law, First Amendment cases. They cannot be made to do service when what is
involved is a criminal statute. With respect to such statute, the established rule is that "one to whom application of a statute is
constitutional will not be heard to attack the statute on the ground that impliedly it might also be taken as applying to other persons or
other situations in which its application might be unconstitutional."[20] As has been pointed out, "vagueness challenges in the First
Amendment context, like overbreadth challenges typically produce facial invalidation, while statutes found vague as a matter of due
process typically are invalidated [only] 'as applied' to a particular defendant."[21] Consequently, there is no basis for petitioner's claim
that this Court review the Anti-Plunder Law on its face and in its entirety.

Indeed, "on its face" invalidation of statutes results in striking them down entirely on the ground that they might be applied to parties
not before the Court whose activities are constitutionally protected.[22] It constitutes a departure from the case and controversy
requirement of the Constitution and permits decisions to be made without concrete factual settings and in sterile abstract contexts.[23]
But, as the U.S. Supreme Court pointed out in Younger v. Harris[24]

[T]he task of analyzing a proposed statute, pinpointing its deficiencies, and requiring correction of these deficiencies before the statute
is put into effect, is rarely if ever an appropriate task for the judiciary. The combination of the relative remoteness of the controversy,
the impact on the legislative process of the relief sought, and above all the speculative and amorphous nature of the required line-by-
line analysis of detailed statutes, . . . ordinarily results in a kind of case that is wholly unsatisfactory for deciding constitutional
questions, whichever way they might be decided.

For these reasons, "on its face" invalidation of statutes has been described as "manifestly strong medicine," to be employed "sparingly
and only as a last resort,"[25] and is generally disfavored.[26] In determining the constitutionality of a statute, therefore, its provisions
which are alleged to have been violated in a case must be examined in the light of the conduct with which the defendant is charged.[27]

In light of the foregoing disquisition, it is evident that the purported ambiguity of the Plunder Law, so tenaciously claimed and argued at
length by petitioner, is more imagined than real. Ambiguity, where none exists, cannot be created by dissecting parts and words in the
statute to furnish support to critics who cavil at the want of scientific precision in the law. Every provision of the law should be
construed in relation and with reference to every other part. To be sure, it will take more than nitpicking to overturn the well-
entrenched presumption of constitutionality and validity of the Plunder Law. A fortiori, petitioner cannot feign ignorance of what the
Plunder Law is all about. Being one of the Senators who voted for its passage, petitioner must be aware that the law was extensively
deliberated upon by the Senate and its appropriate committees by reason of which he even registered his affirmative vote with full
knowledge of its legal implications and sound constitutional anchorage.

The parallel case of Gallego v. Sandiganbayan[28] must be mentioned if only to illustrate and emphasize the point that courts are
loathed to declare a statute void for uncertainty unless the law itself is so imperfect and deficient in its details, and is susceptible of no
reasonable construction that will support and give it effect. In that case, petitioners Gallego and Agoncillo challenged the
constitutionality of Sec. 3, par. (e), of The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for being vague. Petitioners posited, among others, that
the term "unwarranted" is highly imprecise and elastic with no common law meaning or settled definition by prior judicial or
administrative precedents; that, for its vagueness, Sec. 3, par. (e), violates due process in that it does not give fair warning or sufficient
notice of what it seeks to penalize. Petitioners further argued that the Information charged them with three (3) distinct offenses, to wit:
(a) giving of "unwarranted" benefits through manifest partiality; (b) giving of "unwarranted" benefits through evident bad faith; and, (c)
giving of "unwarranted" benefits through gross inexcusable negligence while in the discharge of their official function and that their
right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against them was violated because they were left to guess which of the
three (3) offenses, if not all, they were being charged and prosecuted.

In dismissing the petition, this Court held that Sec. 3, par. (e), of The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act does not suffer from the
constitutional defect of vagueness. The phrases "manifest partiality," "evident bad faith," and "gross and inexcusable negligence" merely
describe the different modes by which the offense penalized in Sec. 3, par. (e), of the statute may be committed, and the use of all these
phrases in the same Information does not mean that the indictment charges three (3) distinct offenses.

The word 'unwarranted' is not uncertain. It seems lacking adequate or official support; unjustified; unauthorized (Webster, Third
International Dictionary, p. 2514); or without justification or adequate reason (Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. v. US Dept. of Justice,
C.D. Pa., 405 F. Supp. 8, 12, cited in Words and Phrases, Permanent Edition, Vol. 43-A 1978, Cumulative Annual Pocket Part, p. 19).

The assailed provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act consider a corrupt practice and make unlawful the act of the public
officer in:

x x x or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official, administrative or
judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence, x x x (Section 3 [e], Rep. Act 3019, as
amended).

It is not at all difficult to comprehend that what the aforequoted penal provisions penalize is the act of a public officer, in the discharge
of his official, administrative or judicial functions, in giving any private party benefits, advantage or preference which is unjustified,
unauthorized or without justification or adequate reason, through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.

In other words, this Court found that there was nothing vague or ambiguous in the use of the term "unwarranted" in Sec. 3, par. (e), of
The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which was understood in its primary and general acceptation. Consequently, in that case,
petitioners' objection thereto was held inadequate to declare the section unconstitutional.

On the second issue, petitioner advances the highly stretched theory that Sec. 4 of the Plunder Law circumvents the immutable
obligation of the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt the predicate acts constituting the crime of plunder when it requires
only proof of a pattern of overt or criminal acts showing unlawful scheme or conspiracy -

SEC. 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder, it shall not be necessary to prove each and every criminal
act done by the accused in furtherance of the scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth, it being sufficient
to establish beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy.

The running fault in this reasoning is obvious even to the simplistic mind. In a criminal prosecution for plunder, as in all other crimes,
the accused always has in his favor the presumption of innocence which is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and unless the State
succeeds in demonstrating by proof beyond reasonable doubt that culpability lies, the accused is entitled to an acquittal.[29] The use of
the "reasonable doubt" standard is indispensable to command the respect and confidence of the community in the application of
criminal law. It is critical that the moral force of criminal law be not diluted by a standard of proof that leaves people in doubt whether
innocent men are being condemned. It is also important in our free society that every individual going about his ordinary affairs has
confidence that his government cannot adjudge him guilty of a criminal offense without convincing a proper factfinder of his guilt with
utmost certainty. This "reasonable doubt" standard has acquired such exalted stature in the realm of constitutional law as it gives life to
the Due Process Clause which protects the accused against conviction except upon proof beyond reasonable doubt of every fact
necessary to constitute the crime with which he is charged.[30] The following exchanges between Rep. Rodolfo Albano and Rep. Pablo
Garcia on this score during the deliberations in the floor of the House of Representatives are elucidating -

DELIBERATIONS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON RA 7080, 9 October 1990


MR. ALBANO: Now, Mr. Speaker, it is also elementary in our criminal law that what is alleged in the information must be proven
beyond reasonable doubt. If we will prove only one act and find him guilty of the other acts enumerated in the information, does that
not work against the right of the accused especially so if the amount committed, say, by falsification is less than P100 million, but the
totality of the crime committed is P100 million since there is malversation, bribery, falsification of public document, coercion, theft?

MR. GARCIA: Mr. Speaker, not everything alleged in the information needs to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. What is required to
be proved beyond reasonable doubt is every element of the crime charged. For example, Mr. Speaker, there is an enumeration of the
things taken by the robber in the information three pairs of pants, pieces of jewelry. These need not be proved beyond reasonable doubt,
but these will not prevent the conviction of a crime for which he was charged just because, say, instead of 3 pairs of diamond earrings
the prosecution proved two. Now, what is required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt is the element of the offense.

MR. ALBANO: I am aware of that, Mr. Speaker, but considering that in the crime of plunder the totality of the amount is very
important, I feel that such a series of overt criminal acts has to be taken singly. For instance, in the act of bribery, he was able to
accumulate only P50,000 and in the crime of extortion, he was only able to accumulate P1 million. Now, when we add the totality of the
other acts as required under this bill through the interpretation on the rule of evidence, it is just one single act, so how can we now
convict him?

MR. GARCIA: With due respect, Mr. Speaker, for purposes of proving an essential element of the crime, there is a need to prove that
element beyond reasonable doubt. For example, one essential element of the crime is that the amount involved is P100 million. Now, in
a series of defalcations and other acts of corruption in the enumeration the total amount would be P110 or P120 million, but there are
certain acts that could not be proved, so, we will sum up the amounts involved in those transactions which were proved. Now, if the
amount involved in these transactions, proved beyond reasonable doubt, is P100 million, then there is a crime of plunder (underscoring
supplied).

It is thus plain from the foregoing that the legislature did not in any manner refashion the standard quantum of proof in the crime of
plunder. The burden still remains with the prosecution to prove beyond any iota of doubt every fact or element necessary to constitute
the crime.

The thesis that Sec. 4 does away with proof of each and every component of the crime suffers from a dismal misconception of the import
of that provision. What the prosecution needs to prove beyond reasonable doubt is only a number of acts sufficient to form a
combination or series which would constitute a pattern and involving an amount of at least P50,000,000.00. There is no need to prove
each and every other act alleged in the Information to have been committed by the accused in furtherance of the overall unlawful
scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth. To illustrate, supposing that the accused is charged in an
Information for plunder with having committed fifty (50) raids on the public treasury. The prosecution need not prove all these fifty
(50) raids, it being sufficient to prove by pattern at least two (2) of the raids beyond reasonable doubt provided only that they amounted
to at least P50,000,000.00.[31]

A reading of Sec. 2 in conjunction with Sec. 4, brings us to the logical conclusion that "pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the
overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy" inheres in the very acts of accumulating, acquiring or amassing hidden wealth. Stated otherwise,
such pattern arises where the prosecution is able to prove beyond reasonable doubt the predicate acts as defined in Sec. 1, par. (d).
Pattern is merely a by-product of the proof of the predicate acts. This conclusion is consistent with reason and common sense. There
would be no other explanation for a combination or series of

overt or criminal acts to stash P50,000,000.00 or more, than "a scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill gotten
wealth." The prosecution is therefore not required to make a deliberate and conscious effort to prove pattern as it necessarily follows
with the establishment of a series or combination of the predicate acts.

Relative to petitioner's contentions on the purported defect of Sec. 4 is his submission that "pattern" is "a very important element of the
crime of plunder;" and that Sec. 4 is "two pronged, (as) it contains a rule of evidence and a substantive element of the crime," such that
without it the accused cannot be convicted of plunder -

JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: In other words, cannot an accused be convicted under the Plunder Law without applying Section 4 on the Rule
of Evidence if there is proof beyond reasonable doubt of the commission of the acts complained of?

ATTY. AGABIN: In that case he can be convicted of individual crimes enumerated in the Revised Penal Code, but not plunder.

JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: In other words, if all the elements of the crime are proved beyond reasonable doubt without applying Section
4, can you not have a conviction under the Plunder Law?

ATTY. AGABIN: Not a conviction for plunder, your Honor.

JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: Can you not disregard the application of Sec. 4 in convicting an accused charged for violation of the Plunder
Law?

ATTY. AGABIN: Well, your Honor, in the first place Section 4 lays down a substantive element of the law x x x x

JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: What I said is - do we have to avail of Section 4 when there is proof beyond reasonable doubt on the acts
charged constituting plunder?

ATTY. AGABIN: Yes, your Honor, because Section 4 is two pronged, it contains a rule of evidence and it contains a substantive element
of the crime of plunder. So, there is no way by which we can avoid Section 4.

JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: But there is proof beyond reasonable doubt insofar as the predicate crimes charged are concerned that you do
not have to go that far by applying Section 4?

ATTY. AGABIN: Your Honor, our thinking is that Section 4 contains a very important element of the crime of plunder and that cannot
be avoided by the prosecution.[32]

We do not subscribe to petitioner's stand. Primarily, all the essential elements of plunder can be culled and understood from its
definition in Sec. 2, in relation to Sec. 1, par. (d), and "pattern" is not one of them. Moreover, the epigraph and opening clause of Sec. 4
is clear and unequivocal:

SEC. 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder x x x x


It purports to do no more than prescribe a rule of procedure for the prosecution of a criminal case for plunder. Being a purely
procedural measure, Sec. 4 does not define or establish any substantive right in favor of the accused but only operates in furtherance of
a remedy. It is only a means to an end, an aid to substantive law. Indubitably, even without invoking Sec. 4, a conviction for plunder
may be had, for what is crucial for the prosecution is to present sufficient evidence to engender that moral certitude exacted by the
fundamental law to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, even granting for the sake of argument that Sec. 4 is
flawed and vitiated for the reasons advanced by petitioner, it may simply be severed from the rest of the provisions without necessarily
resulting in the demise of the law; after all, the existing rules on evidence can supplant Sec. 4 more than enough. Besides, Sec. 7 of RA
7080 provides for a separability clause -

Sec. 7. Separability of Provisions. - If any provisions of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid,
the remaining provisions of this Act and the application of such provisions to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected
thereby.

Implicit in the foregoing section is that to avoid the whole act from being declared invalid as a result of the nullity of some of its
provisions, assuming that to be the case although it is not really so, all the provisions thereof should accordingly be treated
independently of each other, especially if by doing so, the objectives of the statute can best be achieved.

As regards the third issue, again we agree with Justice Mendoza that plunder is a malum in se which requires proof of criminal intent.
Thus, he says, in his Concurring Opinion -

x x x Precisely because the constitutive crimes are mala in se the element of mens rea must be proven in a prosecution for plunder. It is
noteworthy that the amended information alleges that the crime of plunder was committed "willfully, unlawfully and criminally." It thus
alleges guilty knowledge on the part of petitioner.

In support of his contention that the statute eliminates the requirement of mens rea and that is the reason he claims the statute is void,
petitioner cites the following remarks of Senator Taada made during the deliberation on S.B. No. 733:

SENATOR TAADA . . . And the evidence that will be required to convict him would not be evidence for each and every individual
criminal act but only evidence sufficient to establish the conspiracy or scheme to commit this crime of plunder.[33]

However, Senator Taada was discussing 4 as shown by the succeeding portion of the transcript quoted by petitioner:

SENATOR ROMULO: And, Mr. President, the Gentleman feels that it is contained in Section 4, Rule of Evidence, which, in the
Gentleman's view, would provide for a speedier and faster process of attending to this kind of cases?

SENATOR TAADA: Yes, Mr. President . . .[34]

Senator Taada was only saying that where the charge is conspiracy to commit plunder, the prosecution need not prove each and every
criminal act done to further the scheme or conspiracy, it being enough if it proves beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or ciminal
acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy. As far as the acts constituting the pattern are concerned, however, the
elements of the crime must be proved and the requisite mens rea must be shown.

Indeed, 2 provides that -

Any person who participated with the said public officer in the commission of an offense contributing to the crime of plunder shall
likewise be punished for such offense. In the imposition of penalties, the degree of participation and the attendance of mitigating and
extenuating circumstances, as provided by the Revised Penal Code, shall be considered by the court.

The application of mitigating and extenuating circumstances in the Revised Penal Code to prosecutions under the Anti-Plunder Law
indicates quite clearly that mens rea is an element of plunder since the degree of responsibility of the offender is determined by his
criminal intent. It is true that 2 refers to "any person who participates with the said public officer in the commission of an offense
contributing to the crime of plunder." There is no reason to believe, however, that it does not apply as well to the public officer as
principal in the crime. As Justice Holmes said: "We agree to all the generalities about not supplying criminal laws with what they omit,
but there is no canon against using common sense in construing laws as saying what they obviously mean."[35]

Finally, any doubt as to whether the crime of plunder is a malum in se must be deemed to have been resolved in the affirmative by the
decision of Congress in 1993 to include it among the heinous crimes punishable by reclusion perpetua to death. Other heinous crimes
are punished with death as a straight penalty in R.A. No. 7659. Referring to these groups of heinous crimes, this Court held in People v.
Echegaray:[36]

The evil of a crime may take various forms. There are crimes that are, by their very nature, despicable, either because life was callously
taken or the victim is treated like an animal and utterly dehumanized as to completely disrupt the normal course of his or her growth as
a human being . . . . Seen in this light, the capital crimes of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for ransom resulting in the death of
the victim or the victim is raped, tortured, or subjected to dehumanizing acts; destructive arson resulting in death; and drug offenses
involving minors or resulting in the death of the victim in the case of other crimes; as well as murder, rape, parricide, infanticide,
kidnapping and serious illegal detention, where the victim is detained for more than three days or serious physical injuries were
inflicted on the victim or threats to kill him were made or the victim is a minor, robbery with homicide, rape or intentional mutilation,
destructive arson, and carnapping where the owner, driver or occupant of the carnapped vehicle is killed or raped, which are penalized
by reclusion perpetua to death, are clearly heinous by their very nature.

There are crimes, however, in which the abomination lies in the significance and implications of the subject criminal acts in the scheme
of the larger socio-political and economic context in which the state finds itself to be struggling to develop and provide for its poor and
underprivileged masses. Reeling from decades of corrupt tyrannical rule that bankrupted the government and impoverished the
population, the Philippine Government must muster the political will to dismantle the culture of corruption, dishonesty, greed and
syndicated criminality that so deeply entrenched itself in the structures of society and the psyche of the populace. [With the
government] terribly lacking the money to provide even the most basic services to its people, any form of misappropriation or
misapplication of government funds translates to an actual threat to the very existence of government, and in turn, the very survival of
the people it governs over. Viewed in this context, no less heinous are the effects and repercussions of crimes like qualified bribery,
destructive arson resulting in death, and drug offenses involving government officials, employees or officers, that their perpetrators
must not be allowed to cause further destruction and damage to society.

The legislative declaration in R.A. No. 7659 that plunder is a heinous offense implies that it is a malum in se. For when the acts
punished are inherently immoral or inherently wrong, they are mala in se[37] and it does not matter that such acts are punished in a
special law, especially since in the case of plunder the predicate crimes are mainly mala in se. Indeed, it would be absurd to treat
prosecutions for plunder as though they are mere prosecutions for violations of the Bouncing Check Law (B.P. Blg. 22) or of an
ordinance against jaywalking, without regard to the inherent wrongness of the acts.

To clinch, petitioner likewise assails the validity of RA 7659, the amendatory law of RA 7080, on constitutional grounds. Suffice it to say
however that it is now too late in the day for him to resurrect this long dead issue, the same having been eternally consigned by People v.
Echegaray[38] to the archives of jurisprudential history. The declaration of this Court therein that RA 7659 is constitutionally valid
stands as a declaration of the State, and becomes, by necessary effect, assimilated in the Constitution now as an integral part of it.

Our nation has been racked by scandals of corruption and obscene profligacy of officials in high places which have shaken its very
foundation. The anatomy of graft and corruption has become more elaborate in the corridors of time as unscrupulous people
relentlessly contrive more and more ingenious ways to bilk the coffers of the government. Drastic and radical measures are imperative
to fight the increasingly sophisticated, extraordinarily methodical and economically catastrophic looting of the national treasury. Such is
the Plunder Law, especially designed to disentangle those ghastly tissues of grand-scale corruption which, if left unchecked, will spread
like a malignant tumor and ultimately consume the moral and institutional fiber of our nation. The Plunder Law, indeed, is a living
testament to the will of the legislature to ultimately eradicate this scourge and thus secure society against the avarice and other
venalities in public office.

These are times that try men's souls. In the checkered history of this nation, few issues of national importance can equal the amount of
interest and passion generated by petitioner's ignominious fall from the highest office, and his eventual prosecution and trial under a
virginal statute. This continuing saga has driven a wedge of dissension among our people that may linger for a long time. Only by
responding to the clarion call for patriotism, to rise above factionalism and prejudices, shall we emerge triumphant in the midst of
ferment.

PREMISES CONSIDERED, this Court holds that RA 7080 otherwise known as the Plunder Law, as amended by RA 7659, is
CONSTITUTIONAL. Consequently, the petition to declare the law unconstitutional is DISMISSED for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 83988 May 24, 1990

RICARDO C. VALMONTE AND UNION OF LAWYERS AND ADVOCATES FOR PEOPLES'S RIGHTS (ULAP), petitioners,
vs.
GEN. RENATO DE VILLA AND NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION DISTRICT COMMAND, respondents.

Ricardo C. Valmonte for and in his own behalf and co-petitioners.

PADILLA, J.:

In the Court's decision dated 29 September 1989, petitioners' petition for prohibition seeking the declaration of the checkpoints as
unconstitutional and their dismantling and/or banning, was dismissed.

Petitioners have filed the instant motion and supplemental motion for reconsideration of said decision. Before submission of the
incident for resolution, the Solicitor General, for the respondents, filed his comment, to which petitioners filed a reply.

It should be stated, at the outset, that nowhere in the questioned decision did this Court legalize all checkpoints, i.e. at all times and
under all circumstances. What the Court declared is, that checkpoints are not illegal per se. Thus, under exceptional circumstances, as
where the survival of organized government is on the balance, or where the lives and safety of the people are in grave peril, checkpoints
may be allowed and installed by the government. Implicit in this proposition is, that when the situation clears and such grave perils are
removed, checkpoints will have absolutely no reason to remain.

Recent and on-going events have pointed to the continuing validity and need for checkpoints manned by either military or police forces.
The sixth (6th) attempted coup d' etat (stronger than all previous ones) was staged only last 1 December 1989. Another attempt at a
coup d' etat is taken almost for granted. The NPA, through its sparrow units, has not relented but instead accelerated its liquidation of
armed forces and police personnel. Murders, sex crimes, hold-ups and drug abuse have become daily occurrences. Unlicensed firearms
and ammunition have become favorite objects of trade. Smuggling is at an all time high. Whether or not effective as expected,
checkpoints have been regarded by the authorities as a security measure designed to entrap criminals and insurgents and to constitute a
dragnet for all types of articles in illegal trade.

No one can be compelled, under our libertarian system, to share with the present government its ideological beliefs and practices, or
commend its political, social and economic policies or performance. But, at least, one must concede to it the basic right to defend itself
from its enemies and, while in power, to pursue its program of government intended for public welfare; and in the pursuit of those
objectives, the government has the equal right, under its police power, to select the reasonable means and methods for best achieving
them. The checkpoint is evidently one of such means it has selected.

Admittedly, the routine checkpoint stop does intrude, to a certain extent, on motorist's right to "free passage without interruption", but
it cannot be denied that, as a rule, it involves only a brief detention of travellers during which the vehicle's occupants are required to
answer a brief question or two. 1 For as long as the vehicle is neither searched nor its occupants subjected to a body search, and the
inspection of the vehicle is limited to a visual search, said routine checks cannot be regarded as violative of an individual's right against
unreasonable search.

These routine checks, when conducted in a fixed area, are even less intrusive. As held by the U.S. Supreme Court:

Routine checkpoint stops do not intrude similarly on the motoring public. First, the potential interference with legitimate traffic is
minimal. Motorists using these highways are not taken by surprise as they know, or may obtain knowledge of, the location of the
checkpoints and will not be stopped elsewhere. Second, checkpoint operations both appear to and actually involve less discretionary
enforcement activity. The regularized manner in which established checkpoints are operated is visible evidence, reassuring to law-
abiding motorists, that the stops are duly authorized and believed to serve the public interest. The location of a fixed checkpoint is not
chosen by officers in the field, but by officials responsible for making overall decisions as to the most effective allocation of limited
enforcement resources. We may assume that such officials will be unlikely to locate a checkpoint where it bears arbitrarily or
oppressively on motorists as a class, and since field officers may stop only those cars passing the checkpoint, there is less room for
abusive or harassing stops of individuals than there was in the case of roving-patrol stops. Moreover, a claim that a particular exercise of
discretion in locating or operating a checkpoint is unreasonable is subject to post-stop judicial review. 2

The checkpoints are nonetheless attacked by the movants as a warrantless search and seizure and, therefore, violative of the
Constitution. 3

As already stated, vehicles are generally allowed to pass these checkpoints after a routine inspection and a few questions. If vehicles are
stopped and extensively searched, it is because of some probable cause which justifies a reasonable belief of the men at the checkpoints
that either the motorist is a law-offender or the contents of the vehicle are or have been instruments of some offense. Again, as held by
the U.S. Supreme Court—

Automobiles, because of their mobility, may be searched without a warrant upon facts not justifying a warrantless search of a residence
or office. Brinegar v. United States, 338 US 160, 93 L Ed 1879, 69 S Ct 1302 (1949); Carroll v. United States, 267 US 132, 69 L Ed 543,45
S Ct 280, 39 ALR 790 (1925). The cases so holding have, however, always insisted that the officers conducting the search have
'reasonable or probable cause to believe that they will find the instrumentality of a crime or evidence pertaining to a crime before they
begin their warrantless search. ... 4

Besides these warrantless searches and seizures at the checkpoints are quite similar to searches and seizures accompanying warrantless
arrests during the commission of a crime, or immediately thereafter. In People vs. Kagui Malasuqui it was held—

To hold that no criminal can, in any case, be arrested and searched for the evidence and tokens of his crime without a warrant, would be
to leave society, to a large extent, at the mercy of the shrewdest the most expert, and the most depraved of criminals, facilitating their
escape in many instances. 5

By the same token, a warrantless search of incoming and outgoing passengers, at the arrival and departure areas of an international
airport, is a practice not constitutionally objectionable because it is founded on public interest, safety, and necessity.

Lastly, the Court's decision on checkpoints does not, in any way, validate nor condone abuses committed by the military manning the
checkpoints. The Court's decision was concerned with power, i.e. whether the government employing the military has the power to
install said checkpoints. Once that power is acknowledged, the Court's inquiry ceases. True, power implies the possibility of its abuse.
But whether there is abuse in a particular situation is a different "ball game" to be resolved in the constitutional arena.
The Court, like all other concerned members of the community, has become aware of how some checkpoints have been used as points of
thievery and extortion practiced upon innocent civilians. Even the increased prices of foodstuffs coming from the provinces, entering
the Metro Manila area and other urban centers, are largely blamed on the checkpoints, because the men manning them have reportedly
become "experts" in mulcting travelling traders. This, of course, is a national tragedy .

But the Court could not a priori regard in its now assailed decision that the men in uniform are rascals or thieves. The Court had to
assume that the men in uniform live and act by the code of honor and they are assigned to the checkpoints to protect, and not to abuse,
the citizenry. 6 The checkpoint is a military "concoction." It behooves the military to improve the QUALITY of their men assigned to
these checkpoints. For no system or institution will succeed unless the men behind it are honest, noble and dedicated.

In any situation, where abuse marks the operation of a checkpoint, the citizen is not helpless. For the military is not above but subject to
the law. And the courts exist to see that the law is supreme. Soldiers, including those who man checkpoints, who abuse their authority
act beyond the scope of their authority and are, therefore, liable criminally and civilly for their abusive acts;7 This tenet should be
ingrained in the soldiery in the clearest of terms by higher military authorities.

ACCORDINGLY, the Motion and Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration are DENIED. This denial is FINAL.

SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 140946. September 13, 2004]

MICROSOFT CORPORATION and LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, petitioners, vs. MAXICORP, INC., respondent.

DECISION

CARPIO, J.:

The Case

This petition for review on certiorari[1] seeks to reverse the Court of Appeals Decision[2] dated 23 December 1998 and its Resolution
dated 29 November 1999 in CA-G.R. SP No. 44777. The Court of Appeals reversed the Order[3] of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 23,
Manila (RTC), denying respondent Maxicorp, Inc.s (Maxicorp) motion to quash the search warrant that the RTC issued against
Maxicorp. Petitioners are the private complainants against Maxicorp for copyright infringement under Section 29 of Presidential Decree
No. 49 (Section 29 of PD 49)[4] and for unfair competition under Article 189 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).[5]

Antecedent Facts

On 25 July 1996, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Agent Dominador Samiano, Jr. (NBI Agent Samiano) filed several applications
for search warrants in the RTC against Maxicorp for alleged violation of Section 29 of PD 49 and Article 189 of the RPC. After
conducting a preliminary examination of the applicant and his witnesses, Judge William M. Bayhon issued Search Warrants Nos. 96-
451, 96-452, 96-453 and 96-454, all dated 25 July 1996, against Maxicorp.

Armed with the search warrants, NBI agents conducted on 25 July 1996 a search of Maxicorps premises and seized property fitting the
description stated in the search warrants.

On 2 September 1996, Maxicorp filed a motion to quash the search warrants alleging that there was no probable cause for their issuance
and that the warrants are in the form of general warrants. The RTC denied Maxicorps motion on 22 January 1997. The RTC also denied
Maxicorps motion for reconsideration.

The RTC found probable cause to issue the search warrants after examining NBI Agent Samiano, John Benedict Sacriz (Sacriz), and
computer technician Felixberto Pante (Pante). The three testified on what they discovered during their respective visits to Maxicorp.
NBI Agent Samiano also presented certifications from petitioners that they have not authorized Maxicorp to perform the witnessed
activities using petitioners products.

On 24 July 1997, Maxicorp filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals seeking to set aside the RTCs order. On 23 December
1998, the Court of Appeals reversed the RTCs order denying Maxicorps motion to quash the search warrants. Petitioners moved for
reconsideration. The Court of Appeals denied petitioners motion on 29 November 1999.

The Court of Appeals held that NBI Agent Samiano failed to present during the preliminary examination conclusive evidence that
Maxicorp produced or sold the counterfeit products. The Court of Appeals pointed out that the sales receipt NBI Agent Samiano
presented as evidence that he bought the products from Maxicorp was in the name of a certain Joel Diaz.

Hence, this petition.

The Issues

Petitioners seek a reversal and raise the following issues for resolution:

1. WHETHER THE PETITION RAISES QUESTIONS OF LAW;

2. WHETHER PETITIONERS HAVE LEGAL PERSONALITY TO FILE THE PETITION;

3. WHETHER THERE WAS PROBABLE CAUSE TO ISSUE THE SEARCH WARRANTS;

4. WHETHER THE SEARCH WARRANTS ARE GENERAL WARRANTS.

The Ruling of the Court

The petition has merit.

On Whether the Petition Raises Questions of Law

Maxicorp assails this petition as defective since it failed to raise questions of law. Maxicorp insists that the arguments petitioners
presented are questions of fact, which this Court should not consider in a Rule 45 petition for review. Petitioners counter that all the
issues they presented in this petition involve questions of law. Petitioners point out that the facts are not in dispute.

A petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court should cover questions of law.[6] Questions of fact are not reviewable. As a
rule, the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are final and conclusive and this Court will not review them on appeal,[7] subject to
exceptions as when the findings of the appellate court conflict with the findings of the trial court.[8]

The distinction between questions of law and questions of fact is settled. A question of law exists when the doubt or difference centers
on what the law is on a certain state of facts. A question of fact exists if the doubt centers on the truth or falsity of the alleged facts.
Though this delineation seems simple, determining the true nature and extent of the distinction is sometimes problematic. For example,
it is incorrect to presume that all cases where the facts are not in dispute automatically involve purely questions of law.

There is a question of law if the issue raised is capable of being resolved without need of reviewing the probative value of the
evidence.[9] The resolution of the issue must rest solely on what the law provides on the given set of circumstances. Once it is clear that
the issue invites a review of the evidence presented, the question posed is one of fact.[10] If the query requires a re-evaluation of the
credibility of witnesses, or the existence or relevance of surrounding circumstances and their relation to each other, the issue in that
query is factual.[11] Our ruling in Paterno v. Paterno[12] is illustrative on this point:

Such questions as whether certain items of evidence should be accorded probative value or weight, or rejected as feeble or spurious, or
whether or not the proofs on one side or the other are clear and convincing and adequate to establish a proposition in issue, are without
doubt questions of fact. Whether or not the body of proofs presented by a party, weighed and analyzed in relation to contrary evidence
submitted by adverse party, may be said to be strong, clear and convincing; whether or not certain documents presented by one side
should be accorded full faith and credit in the face of protests as to their spurious character by the other side; whether or not
inconsistencies in the body of proofs of a party are of such gravity as to justify refusing to give said proofs weight all these are issues of
fact.

It is true that Maxicorp did not contest the facts alleged by petitioners. But this situation does not automatically transform all issues
raised in the petition into questions of law. The issues must meet the tests outlined in Paterno.

Of the three main issues raised in this petition the legal personality of the petitioners, the nature of the warrants issued and the
presence of probable cause only the first two qualify as questions of law. The pivotal issue of whether there was probable cause to issue
the search warrants is a question of fact. At first glance, this issue appears to involve a question of law since it does not concern itself
with the truth or falsity of certain facts. Still, the resolution of this issue would require this Court to inquire into the probative value of
the evidence presented before the RTC. For a question to be one of law, it must not involve an examination of the probative value of the
evidence presented by the litigants or any of them.[13]

Yet, this is precisely what the petitioners ask us to do by raising arguments requiring an examination of the TSNs and the documentary
evidence presented during the search warrant proceedings. In short, petitioners would have us substitute our own judgment to that of
the RTC and the Court of Appeals by conducting our own evaluation of the evidence. This is exactly the situation which Section 1, Rule
45 of the Rules of Court prohibits by requiring the petition to raise only questions of law. This Court is not a trier of facts. It is not the
function of this court to analyze or weigh evidence.[14] When we give due course to such situations, it is solely by way of exception. Such
exceptions apply only in the presence of extremely meritorious circumstances.[15]

Indeed, this case falls under one of the exceptions because the findings of the Court of Appeals conflict with the findings of the RTC.[16]
Since petitioners properly raised the conflicting findings of the lower courts, it is proper for this Court to resolve such contradiction.

On Whether Petitioners have the Legal Personality to File this Petition

Maxicorp argues that petitioners have no legal personality to file this petition since the proper party to do so in a criminal case is the
Office of the Solicitor General as representative of the People of the Philippines. Maxicorp states the general rule but the exception
governs this case.[17] We ruled in Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc. v. Court of Appeals[18] that the petitioner-complainant in a
petition for review under Rule 45 could argue its case before this Court in lieu of the Solicitor General if there is grave error committed
by the lower court or lack of due process. This avoids a situation where a complainant who actively participated in the prosecution of a
case would suddenly find itself powerless to pursue a remedy due to circumstances beyond its control. The circumstances in Columbia
Pictures Entertainment are sufficiently similar to the present case to warrant the application of this doctrine.

On Whether there was Probable Cause to Issue the Search Warrants

Petitioners argue that the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the RTC based on the fact that the sales receipt was not in the name of
NBI Agent Samiano. Petitioners point out that the Court of Appeals disregarded the overwhelming evidence that the RTC considered in
determining the existence of probable cause. Maxicorp counters that the Court of Appeals did not err in reversing the RTC. Maxicorp
maintains that the entire preliminary examination that the RTC conducted was defective.

The Court of Appeals based its reversal on two factual findings of the RTC. First, the fact that the sales receipt presented by NBI Agent
Samiano as proof that he bought counterfeit goods from Maxicorp was in the name of a certain Joel Diaz. Second, the fact that
petitioners other witness, John Benedict Sacriz, admitted that he did not buy counterfeit goods from Maxicorp.

We rule that the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the RTCs findings.

Probable cause means such reasons, supported by facts and circumstances as will warrant a cautious man in the belief that his action
and the means taken in prosecuting it are legally just and proper.[19] Thus, probable cause for a search warrant requires such facts and
circumstances that would lead a reasonably prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and the objects sought in
connection with that offense are in the place to be searched.[20]

The judge determining probable cause must do so only after personally examining under oath the complainant and his witnesses. The
oath required must refer to the truth of the facts within the personal knowledge of the petitioner or his witnesses, because the purpose
thereof is to convince the committing magistrate, not the individual making the affidavit and seeking the issuance of the warrant, of the
existence of probable cause.[21] The applicant must have personal knowledge of the circumstances. Reliable information is
insufficient.[22] Mere affidavits are not enough, and the judge must depose in writing the complainant and his witnesses.[23]

The Court of Appeals reversal of the findings of the RTC centers on the fact that the two witnesses for petitioners during the preliminary
examination failed to prove conclusively that they bought counterfeit software from Maxicorp. The Court of Appeals ruled that this
amounted to a failure to prove the existence of a connection between the offense charged and the place searched.

The offense charged against Maxicorp is copyright infringement under Section 29 of PD 49 and unfair competition under Article 189 of
the RPC. To support these charges, petitioners presented the testimonies of NBI Agent Samiano, computer technician Pante, and Sacriz,
a civilian. The offenses that petitioners charged Maxicorp contemplate several overt acts. The sale of counterfeit products is but one of
these acts. Both NBI Agent Samiano and Sacriz related to the RTC how they personally saw Maxicorp commit acts of infringement and
unfair competition.

During the preliminary examination, the RTC subjected the testimonies of the witnesses to the requisite examination. NBI Agent
Samiano testified that he saw Maxicorp display and offer for sale counterfeit software in its premises. He also saw how the counterfeit
software were produced and packaged within Maxicorps premises. NBI Agent Samiano categorically stated that he was certain the
products were counterfeit because Maxicorp sold them to its customers without giving the accompanying ownership manuals, license
agreements and certificates of authenticity.

Sacriz testified that during his visits to Maxicorp, he witnessed several instances when Maxicorp installed petitioners software into
computers it had assembled. Sacriz also testified that he saw the sale of petitioners software within Maxicorps premises. Petitioners
never authorized Maxicorp to install or sell their software.

The testimonies of these two witnesses, coupled with the object and documentary evidence they presented, are sufficient to establish the
existence of probable cause. From what they have witnessed, there is reason to believe that Maxicorp engaged in copyright infringement
and unfair competition to the prejudice of petitioners. Both NBI Agent Samiano and Sacriz were clear and insistent that the counterfeit
software were not only displayed and sold within Maxicorps premises, they were also produced, packaged and in some cases, installed
there.

The determination of probable cause does not call for the application of rules and standards of proof that a judgment of conviction
requires after trial on the merits. As implied by the words themselves, probable cause is concerned with probability, not absolute or
even moral certainty. The prosecution need not present at this stage proof beyond reasonable doubt. The standards of judgment are
those of a reasonably prudent man,[24] not the exacting calibrations of a judge after a full-blown trial.

No law or rule states that probable cause requires a specific kind of evidence. No formula or fixed rule for its determination exists.[25]
Probable cause is determined in the light of conditions obtaining in a given situation.[26] Thus, it was improper for the Court of Appeals
to reverse the RTCs findings simply because the sales receipt evidencing NBI Agent Samianos purchase of counterfeit goods is not in his
name.

For purposes of determining probable cause, the sales receipt is not the only proof that the sale of petitioners software occurred. During
the search warrant application proceedings, NBI Agent Samiano presented to the judge the computer unit that he purchased from
Maxicorp, in which computer unit Maxicorp had pre-installed petitioners software.[27] Sacriz, who was present when NBI Agent
Samiano purchased the computer unit, affirmed that NBI Agent Samiano purchased the computer unit.[28] Pante, the computer
technician, demonstrated to the judge the presence of petitioners software on the same computer unit.[29] There was a comparison
between petitioners genuine software and Maxicorps software pre-installed in the computer unit that NBI Agent Sambiano
purchased.[30] Even if we disregard the sales receipt issued in the name of Joel Diaz, which petitioners explained was the alias NBI
Agent Samiano used in the operation, there still remains more than sufficient evidence to establish probable cause for the issuance of
the search warrants.

This also applies to the Court of Appeals ruling on Sacrizs testimony. The fact that Sacriz did not actually purchase counterfeit software
from Maxicorp does not eliminate the existence of probable cause. Copyright infringement and unfair competition are not limited to the
act of selling counterfeit goods. They cover a whole range of acts, from copying, assembling, packaging to marketing, including the mere
offering for sale of the counterfeit goods. The clear and firm testimonies of petitioners witnesses on such other acts stand untarnished.
The Constitution and the Rules of Court only require that the judge examine personally and thoroughly the applicant for the warrant
and his witnesses to determine probable cause. The RTC complied adequately with the requirement of the Constitution and the Rules of
Court.

Probable cause is dependent largely on the opinion and findings of the judge who conducted the examination and who had the
opportunity to question the applicant and his witnesses.[31] For this reason, the findings of the judge deserve great weight. The
reviewing court should overturn such findings only upon proof that the judge disregarded the facts before him or ignored the clear
dictates of reason.[32] Nothing in the records of the preliminary examination proceedings reveal any impropriety on the part of the
judge in this case. As one can readily see, here the judge examined thoroughly the applicant and his witnesses. To demand a higher
degree of proof is unnecessary and untimely. The prosecution would be placed in a compromising situation if it were required to present
all its evidence at such preliminary stage. Proof beyond reasonable doubt is best left for trial.

On Whether the Search Warrants are in the Nature of General Warrants

A search warrant must state particularly the place to be searched and the objects to be seized. The evident purpose for this requirement
is to limit the articles to be seized only to those particularly described in the search warrant. This is a protection against potential abuse.
It is necessary to leave the officers of the law with no discretion regarding what articles they shall seize, to the end that no unreasonable
searches and seizures be committed.[33]

In addition, under Section 4, Rule 126 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, a search warrant shall issue in connection with one specific
offense. The articles described must bear a direct relation to the offense for which the warrant is issued.[34] Thus, this rule requires that
the warrant must state that the articles subject of the search and seizure are used or intended for use in the commission of a specific
offense.

Maxicorp argues that the warrants issued against it are too broad in scope and lack the specificity required with respect to the objects to
be seized. After examining the wording of the warrants issued, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Maxicorp and reversed the RTCs
Order thus:

Under the foregoing language, almost any item in the petitioners store can be seized on the ground that it is used or intended to be used
in the illegal or unauthorized copying or reproduction of the private respondents software and their manuals.[35]

The Court of Appeals based its reversal on its perceived infirmity of paragraph (e) of the search warrants the RTC issued. The appellate
court found that similarly worded warrants, all of which noticeably employ the phrase used or intended to be used, were previously held
void by this Court.[36] The disputed text of the search warrants in this case states:

a) Complete or partially complete reproductions or copies of Microsoft software bearing the Microsoft copyrights and/or trademarks
owned by MICROSOFT CORPORATION contained in CD-ROMs, diskettes and hard disks;

b) Complete or partially complete reproductions or copies of Microsoft instruction manuals and/or literature bearing the Microsoft
copyrights and/or trademarks owned by MICROSOFT CORPORATION;

c) Sundry items such as labels, boxes, prints, packages, wrappers, receptacles, advertisements and other paraphernalia bearing the
copyrights and/or trademarks owned by MICROSOFT CORPORATION;

d) Sales invoices, delivery receipts, official receipts, ledgers, journals, purchase orders and all other books of accounts and documents
used in the recording of the reproduction and/or assembly, distribution and sales, and other transactions in connection with fake or
counterfeit products bearing the Microsoft copyrights and/or trademarks owned by MICROSOFT CORPORATION;

e) Computer hardware, including central processing units including hard disks, CD-ROM drives, keyboards, monitor screens and
diskettes, photocopying machines and other equipment or paraphernalia used or intended to be used in the illegal and unauthorized
copying or reproduction of Microsoft software and their manuals, or which contain, display or otherwise exhibit, without the authority
of MICROSOFT CORPORATION, any and all Microsoft trademarks and copyrights; and

f) Documents relating to any passwords or protocols in order to access all computer hard drives, data bases and other information
storage devices containing unauthorized Microsoft software.[37] (Emphasis supplied)
It is only required that a search warrant be specific as far as the circumstances will ordinarily allow.[38] The description of the property
to be seized need not be technically accurate or precise. The nature of the description should vary according to whether the identity of
the property or its character is a matter of concern.[39] Measured against this standard we find that paragraph (e) is not a general
warrant. The articles to be seized were not only sufficiently identified physically, they were also specifically identified by stating their
relation to the offense charged. Paragraph (e) specifically refers to those articles used or intended for use in the illegal and unauthorized
copying of petitioners software. This language meets the test of specificity.[40]

The cases cited by the Court of Appeals are inapplicable. In those cases, the Court found the warrants too broad because of particular
circumstances, not because of the mere use of the phrase used or intended to be used. In Columbia Pictures, Inc. v. Flores, the warrants
ordering the seizure of television sets, video cassette recorders, rewinders and tape cleaners x x x were found too broad since the
defendant there was a licensed distributor of video tapes.[41] The mere presence of counterfeit video tapes in the defendants store does
not mean that the machines were used to produce the counterfeit tapes. The situation in this case is different. Maxicorp is not a licensed
distributor of petitioners. In Bache & Co. (Phil.), Inc., et al. v. Judge Ruiz, et al., the Court voided the warrants because they authorized
the seizure of records pertaining to all business transactions of the defendant.[42] And in 20th Century Fox Film Corp. v. Court of
Appeals, the Court quashed the warrant because it merely gave a list of articles to be seized, aggravated by the fact that such appliances
are generally connected with the legitimate business of renting out betamax tapes.[43]

However, we find paragraph (c) of the search warrants lacking in particularity. Paragraph (c) states:

c) Sundry items such as labels, boxes, prints, packages, wrappers, receptacles, advertisements and other paraphernalia bearing the
copyrights and/or trademarks owned by MICROSOFT CORPORATION;

The scope of this description is all-embracing since it covers property used for personal or other purposes not related to copyright
infringement or unfair competition. Moreover, the description covers property that Maxicorp may have bought legitimately from
Microsoft or its licensed distributors. Paragraph (c) simply calls for the seizure of all items bearing the Microsoft logo, whether
legitimately possessed or not. Neither does it limit the seizure to products used in copyright infringement or unfair competition.

Still, no provision of law exists which requires that a warrant, partially defective in specifying some items sought to be seized yet
particular with respect to the other items, should be nullified as a whole. A partially defective warrant remains valid as to the items
specifically described in the warrant.[44] A search warrant is severable, the items not sufficiently described may be cut off without
destroying the whole warrant.[45] The exclusionary rule found in Section 3(2) of Article III of the Constitution renders inadmissible in
any proceeding all evidence obtained through unreasonable searches and seizure. Thus, all items seized under paragraph (c) of the
search warrants, not falling under paragraphs a, b, d, e or f, should be returned to Maxicorp.

WHEREFORE, we PARTIALLY GRANT the instant petition. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 23 December 1998 and its
Resolution dated 29 November 1999 in CA-G.R. SP No. 44777 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE except with respect to articles seized
under paragraph (c) of Search Warrants Nos. 96-451, 96-452, 96-453 and 96-454. All articles seized under paragraph (c) of the search
warrants, not falling under paragraphs a, b, d, e or f, are ordered returned to Maxicorp, Inc. immediately.

SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 147607. January 22, 2004]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. BENHUR MAMARIL, appellant.

DECISION
AZCUNA, J.:
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Lingayen, Pangasinan, Branch 39, in
Criminal Case No. L-5963, finding appellant Benhur Mamaril guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section 8[1] of Republic
Act (RA) No. 6425, as amended by RA No. 7659.

The Information filed against appellant reads:

That on or about the 1st day of February, 1999 and sometime prior thereto, in the municipality of Lingayen, province of Pangasinan,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, willfully, unlawfully and criminally [did]
keep and possess crushed marijuana leaves contained in seventy eight (78) sachets with a total weight of two hundred thirty six and
eighty three hundredth (236.83) grams and two (2) bricks of marijuana fruiting tops weighing one thousand six hundred grams, each
brick weighing eight hundred (800) grams, with a total weight of one thousand eight hundred thirty six and eighty three hundredth
(1,836.83) grams, a prohibited drug, without authority to possess the same.

CONTRARY to Sec. 8 of R.A. 6425, as amended by R.A. 7659, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972.[2]

When arraigned on October 8, 1999, appellant pleaded not guilty.[3] At the pre-trial conference held on October 18, 1999, the parties
admitted the following facts:

1. That the search was made in the house and premises of the parents of the accused where he (accused) also lives, at Ramos St.,
Lingayen, Pangasinan, on February 1, 1999 at about 2:30 o clock in the afternoon;

2. That the search was conducted by the elements of the PNP particularly SPO4 Faustino Ferrer, SPO1 Alfredo Rico and others;

3. That the policemen brought along with them a camera;

4. That the accused was in the balcony of the house when it was searched;

5. The existence of the report of physical science report No. (DT-077-99) issued by the PNP Crime Laboratory through Chemist Theresa
Ann Bugayong Cid;

6. That accused was subjected to urine sample laboratory on February 2, 1999.[4]

Thereafter, trial ensued.

The Prosecutions Evidence

On January 25, 1999, the Intelligence Section PNCO of the Lingayen Police Station, represented by SPO2 Chito S. Esmenda, applied[5]
before the Regional Trial Court of Lingayen, Pangasinan, Branch 39, for a search warrant authorizing the search for marijuana, a
prohibited drug, at the family residence of appellant Benhur Mamaril, situated at Ramos Street, Poblacion, Lingayen, Pangasinan. On
said date, then presiding Executive Judge Eugenio G. Ramos (now retired) issued Search Warrant No. 99-51.[6]

On February 1, 1999, at about 2:30 p.m., the Chief of Police of the Lingayen Police Station, SPO3 Alfredo Rico, SPO4 Faustino Ferrer,
Jr. and other police officers went to the residence of appellant and implemented Search Warrant No. 99-51. When they arrived at
appellants house, they saw appellants mother under the house. They asked her where appellant was, and she told them that appellant
was in the house, upstairs. When they went upstairs, they saw appellant coming out of the room. Upon seeing the policemen, appellant
turned back and tried to run towards the back door. SPO3 Rico told appellant to stop, which appellant did. SPO3 Rico informed
appellant that they had a search warrant to search the house premises. They showed appellant and his mother the search warrant.
Appellant looked at the search warrant and did not say anything. Thereafter, the policemen searched the house. The search was
witnessed by two members of the barangay council in said area, namely, Barangay Kagawad Leonardo Ramos and Barangay Tanod
Valentino Quintos, whom the police brought with them.[7]

The searching team confiscated the following: (1) fifty-five (55) heat-sealed plastic sachets containing suspected marijuana leaves, which
were found in a buri bag (bayong) under appellants house; (2) three heat-sealed plastic sachets containing suspected marijuana leaves
and seeds contained in an eye-glass case; (3) twenty-two (22) heat-sealed plastic sachets containing suspected marijuana leaves and
seeds taken under a pillow placed on a monobloc chair; and (4) two (2) bricks of suspected marijuana contained inside a white and gray
bag found inside the closet of appellants room. SPO3 Alfredo Rico took pictures[8] of the confiscated items and prepared a receipt[9] of
the property seized. SPO4 Faustino Ferrer, Jr. prepared a certification[10] that the house was properly searched, which was signed by
appellant and the barangay officials who witnessed the search. After the search, the police officers brought appellant and the confiscated
articles to the Lingayen Police Station and turned them over to the desk officer.[11]

The next day, on February 2, 1999, police officers Alfredo Rico, Alberto Santiago and Rodolfo Madrid brought the confiscated articles to
the Crime Laboratory at Camp Florendo, San Fernando, La Union for examination. Appellant was also brought there for a drug test.[12]

Police Superintendent Ma. Theresa Ann Bugayong Cid, forensic chemist and head of the PNP Crime Laboratory, Regional Office I,
Camp Florendo, Parian, San Fernando City, La Union, testified that on February 2, 1999, she received from the Chief of Police of
Lingayen, Pangasinan, a request[13] for a drug test on the person of appellant Benhur Mamaril and a laboratory examination of the
confiscated specimens.[14] After weighing the specimens and testing the same, Police Superintendent Cid issued a report[15] finding
the specimens[16] to be POSITIVE to the test for the presence of marijuana x x x.[17]

Moreover, Police Superintendent Cid affirmed the findings in her report[18] that the examination conducted on the urine sample of
appellant was positive for the presence of methamphetamine hydrochloride known as shabu.[19]

After the prosecution formally offered its testimonial and documentary exhibits on March 5, 2000, appellant, through his counsel, filed
a motion with memorandum[20] contending that: (1) the exhibits of the prosecution are inadmissible in evidence under Section 2 and
Section 3 (2) of Article III (Bill of Rights) of the 1987 Constitution as the search warrant, by virtue of which said exhibits were seized,
was illegally issued, considering that the judges examination of the complainant and his two witnesses was not in writing; and (2) said
search warrant was illegally or improperly implemented. Appellant prayed that all the exhibits of the prosecution be excluded as
evidence or in the alternative, that the resolution of the admissibility of the same be deferred until such time that he has completed the
presentation of his evidence in chief. On August 25, 2000, the prosecution opposed the motion, and the trial court denied appellants
motion.[21]

The Defenses Evidence

Appellant Benhur Mamaril, 31, single, laborer, denied that he was residing at his parents house at Ramos Street, Lingayen, Pangasinan
since he has been residing at a rented house at Barangay Matic-matic, Sta. Barabara, Pangasinan since December 18, 1998. Appellant
declared that on February 1, 1999, it was his brother and the latters family who were residing with his mother at Ramos Street, but on
said day, his brother and family were not in the house since they were at the fishpond.[22]

Appellant testified that on February 1, 1999, he was at his parents house at Ramos Street, Lingayen, Pangasinan, because he and his
live-in partner visited his mother on said day and arrived there at 10:00 a.m. At about 2:00 p.m. of February 1, 1999, while appellant
was at the back of his parents house, about seven to nine policemen, in civilian clothes, arrived. The policemen asked appellant to go
upstairs and they immediately handcuffed him and brought him to the balcony of the house. He stayed at the balcony until the search
was finished after more than 30 minutes. Thereafter, he was brought to the clinic of one Dr. Felix and a medical examination was
conducted on him. Then he was brought to the municipal hall.[23]

Appellant testified that he saw the buri bag, the eye-glass case, and the gray and white bag containing suspected marijuana for the first
time on the day of the search when he was at the balcony of their house. He also testified that he saw the Receipt of Property Seized for
the first time while he was testifying in court. He admitted that the signature on the certification that the house was properly searched
was his.[24]

Moreover, appellant testified that in the early morning of February 2, 1999, he was brought to the PNP Crime Laboratory in San
Fernando, La Union where he gave his urine sample. Appellant insinuated that the confiscated items were only planted because he had
a misunderstanding with some policemen in Lingayen. However, he admitted that the policemen who searched his parents house did
not threaten or harm him in any way and he had no misunderstanding with SPO3 Alfredo Rico.[25]

Atty. Enrico O. Castillo, Branch Clerk of Court, RTC-Branch 39, Lingayen, Pangasinan, was requested to testify on the available records
regarding Search Warrant No. 99-51 on file in the trial court and to identify said documents. Atty. Castillo testified that he only had with
him the application for search warrant, the supporting affidavits of PO3 Alberto Santiago and Diosdado Fernandez and the return of the
search warrant.[26]

Atty. Enrico declared that before he assumed office as Branch Clerk of Court, the person supposed to be in custody of any transcript of
the searching questions and answers made by Executive Judge Eugenio G. Ramos in connection with the application for Search Warrant
No. 99-51 was Mrs. Liberata Ariston, who was then a legal researcher and at the same time OIC-Branch Clerk of Court. However, during
the trial of this case, Mrs. Liberata Ariston was in the United States of America. Atty. Enrico averred that he asked Mrs. Liberata
Aristons daughter, Catherine Ramirez, who is a court stenographer, about said transcript, but it has not been found. Atty. Enrico
testified that based on the records, there is no stenographic notes. He added that they tried their best to locate the subject transcript, but
they could not find it.[27]

The Trial Courts Decision

On January 23, 2001, the trial court rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, the prosecution having established beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused of the crime of possession of
marijuana defined and penalized under Section 8 of RA 6425, as amended, this Court in the absence of any modifying circumstances,
hereby sentences said accused to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA and to pay a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos
(P500,000), plus costs of this suit.

The period of preventive imprisonment suffered by the accused shall be credited in full in service of his sentence in accordance with
Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code.

SO ORDERED.[28]

The Appeal

Appellant contends that the trial court made the following errors:

I THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING AS INADMISSIBLE IN EVIDENCE THE ARTICLES ALLEGEDLY SEIZED FROM
ACCUSED-APPELLANT CONSIDERING THAT SEARCH WARRANT NO. 99-51 WAS ILLEGALLY ISSUED.

II THE TRIAL COURT LIKEWISE ERRED IN NOT DECLARING AS TOTALLY INADMISSIBLE THE INVENTORIED ARTICLES IN
THE RECEIPT OF SEIZED PROPERTY AND THE CORRESPONDING CERTIFICATION ISSUED THERETO (EXHS. J AND I) SINCE
THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT WAS NOT ASSISTED BY COUNSEL WHEN HE SIGNED THE SAME.

III THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT OF THE CRIME CHARGED DESPITE THE FACT THAT
HIS GUILT WAS NOT PROVEN BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.[29]

Appellant prays for his acquittal on the ground that Search Warrant No. 99-51 was illegally issued considering that there was no
evidence showing that the required searching questions and answers were made anent the application for said search warrant.
Appellant pointed out that Branch Clerk of Court Enrico O. Castillo testified that based on the records, there was no transcript of
stenographic notes of the proceedings in connection with the application for said search warrant. Appellant thus asserts that it cannot
be said that the judge made searching questions upon the alleged applicant and his witnesses, which is in violation of Section 2, Article
III of the Constitution and Section 5, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court.

Our Ruling

Appellants contention is meritorious.

The right against unreasonable searches and seizures is guaranteed under Article III, Section 2, of the Constitution, thus:

Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of
whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable
cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he
may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Said Constitutional provision is implemented under Rule 126 of the Rules of Court, thus:

Sec. 4. Requisites for issuing search warrant. A search warrant shall not issue except upon probable cause in connection with one
specific offense to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the
witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be seized which may be anywhere in
the Philippines.

Sec. 5. Examination of complainant; record. -- The judge must, before issuing the warrant, personally examine in the form of searching
questions and answers, in writing and under oath, the complainant and the witnesses he may produce on facts personally known to
them and attach to the record their sworn statements, together with the affidavits submitted.

Under the above provisions, the issuance of a search warrant is justified only upon a finding of probable cause. Probable cause for a
search has been defined as such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an
offense has been committed and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched.[30] In
determining the existence of probable cause, it is required that: (1) the judge must examine the complainant and his witnesses
personally; (2) the examination must be under oath; and (3) the examination must be reduced in writing in the form of searching
questions and answers.[31]

Atty. Enrico O. Castillo, Branch Clerk of Court, RTC-Branch 39 of Lingayen, Pangasinan, who was requested to testify on the available
records kept in their office regarding Search Warrant No. 99-51, presented before the court only the application for search warrant[32]
and the supporting affidavits[33] of PO3 Alberto Santiago and Diosdado Fernandez. Atty. Castillo could not produce the sworn
statements of the complainant and his witnesses showing that the judge examined them in the form of searching questions and answers
in writing as required by law. Atty. Castillo testified, thus:

xxx xxx xxx

Q Would you admit that from the records available there is no transcript of the proceedings of a searching questions and answers made
by the Executive Judge upon the complainant as well as the two (2) witnesses not only in connection with application for Search
Warrant 99-51 but in all of those application covered by that record namely, 99-49, 99-50, 99-51, 99-52, 99-53 and 99-54?

A Sir, based on the records there is no transcript of [s]tenographic notes.

Q Did you not ask Catherine Ramirez, the daughter of then OIC-Mrs. Liberata Ariston about said transcript?

A I asked her for several times, sir, and in fact I asked her again yesterday and she told me that she will try to find on (sic) the said
transcript.

Q But until now there is no transcript yet?

A Yes, sir.

Q Because according to the rules the transcript must be attached to the records of this case together with the application for search
warrant as well as the supporting affidavit of the said application, but there is no records available to have it with you and there is no
proof with you?

A Because during the time I assumed the office, sir, the records in the store room which they placed is topsy turvy and all the records are
scattered. So, we are having a hard time in scanning the records, sir.

Q But did you not try your very best assisted by the Court personnel to locate said transcript, Mr. Witness?

A Sir, we tried our best but based on the transcript I can not just read the said transcript.

Q You mean to say you were able to [find] the stenographic notes?

A No, sir. There are stenographic notes but they are not yet transcribed, sir.

Q That is by a machine steno?

A Yes, sir.

Q Did you not ask the assistance of the co-stenographers in your sala who are using the machine steno to identify what cases does that
stenographic notes (sic)?

A Sir, I was assisted by some stenographers but we can (sic) not find the transcript of stenographic notes concerning Search Warrant
No. 99-49 to 99-54.[34] (Underscoring ours)

Based on the above testimony and the other evidence on record, the prosecution failed to prove that Executive Judge Eugenio G. Ramos
put into writing his examination of the applicant and his witnesses in the form of searching questions and answers before issuance of
the search warrant. The records only show the existence of an application[35] for a search warrant and the affidavits[36] of the
complainants witnesses. In Mata v. Bayona,[37] we held:

Mere affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses are thus not sufficient. The examining Judge has to take depositions in writing of
the complainant and the witnesses he may produce and to attach them to the record. Such written deposition is necessary in order that
the Judge may be able to properly determine the existence or non-existence of the probable cause, to hold liable for perjury the person
giving it if it will be found later that his declarations are false.

We, therefore, hold that the search warrant is tainted with illegality by the failure of the Judge to conform with the essential requisites
of taking the depositions in writing and attaching them to the record, rendering the search warrant invalid.

We cannot give credit to the argument of the Solicitor General that the issuing judge examined under oath, in the form of searching
questions and answers, the applicant SPO2 Chito S. Esmenda and his witnesses on January 25, 1999 as it is so stated in Search Warrant
No. 99-51. Although it is possible that Judge Ramos examined the complainant and his witnesses in the form of searching questions and
answers, the fact remains that there is no evidence that the examination was put into writing as required by law. Otherwise, the
depositions in writing of the complainant and his witnesses would have been attached to the record, together with the affidavits that the
witnesses submitted, as required by Section 5, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court. Consequently, we find untenable the assertion of the
Solicitor General that the subject stenographic notes could not be found at the time Branch Clerk of Court Enrico Castillo testified
before the trial court because of the confused state of the records in the latters branch when he assumed office.

The Solicitor General also argues that appellant is deemed to have waived his right to question the legality of the search because he did
not protest against it, and even admitted during his testimony that he was neither threatened nor maltreated by the policemen who
searched their residence.

We disagree. The cases[38] cited by the Solicitor General involved a warrantless search. In this case, the police authorities presented a
search warrant to appellant before his residence was searched. At that time, appellant could not determine if the search warrant was
issued in accordance with the law. It was only during the trial of this case that appellant, through his counsel, had reason to believe that
the search warrant was illegally issued causing appellant to file a motion with memorandum objecting to the admissibility of the
evidence formally offered by the prosecution. In People v. Burgos,[39] we ruled:

Neither can it be presumed that there was a waiver, or that consent was given by the accused to be searched simply because he failed to
object. To constitute a waiver, it must appear first that the right exists; secondly, that the person involved had knowledge, actual or
constructive, of the existence of such a right; and lastly, that said person had an actual intention to relinquish the right. (Pasion Vda. de
Garcia v. Locsin, 65 Phil. 689). The fact that the accused failed to object to the entry into his house does not amount to a permission to
make a search therein (Magoncia v. Palacio, 80 Phil. 770). As pointed out by Justice Laurel in the case of Pasion Vda. de Garcia v.
Locsin (supra):

xxxxxxxxx

x x x As the constitutional guaranty is not dependent upon any affirmative act of the citizen, the courts do not place the citizen in the
position of either contesting an officers authority by force, or waiving his constitutional rights; but instead they hold that a peaceful
submission to a search or seizure is not a consent, or an invitation thereto, but is merely a demonstration of regard for the supremacy of
the law. (56 C.J., pp.1180, 1181).

We apply the rule that: courts indulge every reasonable presumption against waiver of fundamental constitutional rights and that we do
not presume acquiescence in the loss of fundamental rights. (Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U.S. 458).

In this case, we construe the silence of appellant at the time the policemen showed him the search warrant as a demonstration of regard
for the supremacy of the law. Moreover, appellant seasonably objected[40] on constitutional grounds to the admissibility of the
evidence seized pursuant to said warrant during the trial of the case,[41] after the prosecution formally offered its evidence.[42] Under
the circumstances, no intent to waive his rights can reasonably be inferred from his conduct before or during the trial.

No matter how incriminating the articles taken from the appellant may be, their seizure cannot validate an invalid warrant.[43] In Mata
v. Bayona,[44] we ruled:

.[N]othing can justify the issuance of the search warrant but the fulfillment of the legal requisites. It might be well to point out what has
been said in Asian Surety & Insurance Co., Inc. vs. Herrera:

It has been said that of all the rights of a citizen, few are of greater importance or more essential to his peace and happiness than the
right of personal security, and that involves the exemption of his private affairs, books and papers from inspection and scrutiny of
others. While the power to search and seize is necessary to the public welfare, still it must be exercised and the law enforced without
transgressing the constitutional rights of the citizens, for the enforcement of no statute is of sufficient importance to justify indifference
to the basic principles of government.

Thus, in issuing a search warrant the Judge must strictly comply with the requirements of the Constitution and the statutory provisions.
A liberal construction should be given in favor of the individual to prevent stealthy encroachment upon, or gradual depreciation of the
rights secured by the Constitution. No presumption of regularity are to be invoked in aid of the process when an officer undertakes to
justify it.

We, therefore, find that the requirement mandated by the law that the examination of the complainant and his witnesses must be under
oath and reduced to writing in the form of searching questions and answers was not complied with, rendering the search warrant
invalid. Consequently, the evidence seized pursuant to said illegal search warrant cannot be used in evidence against appellant in
accordance with Section 3 (2),[45] Article III of the Constitution.

It is unnecessary to discuss the other issues raised by appellant in seeking to exclude the evidence seized pursuant to said illegal search
warrant.

Without the aforesaid illegally obtained evidence, there is no sufficient basis to sustain the conviction of appellant.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Lingayen, Pangasinan, Branch 39, in Criminal Case No. L-5963, is
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Judgment is hereby rendered declaring Search Warrant No. 99-51 NULL and VOID and the search and
seizure made at appellants residence illegal. For lack of evidence to establish appellants guilt beyond reasonable doubt, appellant
BENHUR MAMARIL is hereby ACQUITTED and ordered RELEASED from confinement unless he is being held for some other legal
grounds.

The Director of the Bureau of Corrections is ORDERED to IMPLEMENT without delay this Decision and to INFORM this Court, within
ten (10) days from receipt hereof, of the date appellant was actually released from confinement.

The confiscated marijuana is ORDERED forfeited in favor of the State and the trial court is hereby directed to deliver or cause its
delivery to the Dangerous Drugs Board for proper disposition.

Costs de oficio.

SO ORDERED.
42 Phil. 886

JOHNSON, J.:

This is an original petition, filed in this court, for the writs of induction and prohibition. It appears from the record that on April 30,
1919, one Ramon Gayanilo, corporal of the Philippine Constabulary, presented to the judge of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo an
application for search warrant, the said Ramon Gayanilo stating in his application; "That in the house of Chino Uy Kheytin, Sto. Nino
St., No. 20, Iloilo, under the writing desk in his store, there is kept a certain amount of opium." The application was subscribed and
sworn to by the said complainant before the Honorable L. M. Southworth, judge of the Twenty-third Judicial District.

Upon that application the said judge, on the same day, issued a search warrant in the following terms:
"The United States, to any officer of the law.

"Whereas on this day proof, by affidavit, having been presented before me by Corporal Ramon Gayanilo, Philippine Constabulary, that
there is probable cause to believe that in the house of Chino Uy Kheytin, Sto. Nino St., No. 20, under the desk for writing in his store
there is kept a certain amount of opium.

"Therefore, you are hereby commanded during day or night to make an immediate search on the person of Uy Kheytin or in the house,
Sto. Nino St., No. 20, for the following property opium and, if you find the same or any part thereof, to bring it forthwith before me in
the Court of First Instance of Iloilo.

"Witness my hand this 30th day of April, 1919.

(Sgd.) "L. M. SOUTHWORTH,

"Judge of the Court of Iloilo"


Armed with that search warrant, the respondent M. S. Torralba, lieutenant of the Philippine Constabulary, accompanied by some of his
subordinates, on the same day (April 30th) searched the house of the petitioner Uy Kheytin and found therein 60 small cans of opium.
They wanted to I search also the bodega on the ground-floor of the house, but Uy Kheytin positively denied that it was his or that he
rented it. Lieutenant Torralba wanted to be sure, and for this reason he placed a guard in the premises to see that nothing was removed
therefrom, and then went away to find out who the owner of the bodega was. The next morning he learned from the owner of the
house, one Segovia, of the town of Molo, that the Chinaman Uy Kheytin was the one who was renting the bodega. Thereupon
Lieutenant Torralba and his subordinates resumed the search and then and there found and seized the following articles :
"No. 2.-One wrap of paper containing a broken bottle of opium liquid, which is kept in a tin box No. 1.

"No. 3.-One wrap of paper containing an opium pipe, complete, one opium container, one wrap of opium ashes, one rag soaked in
opium and one thimble with opium.

"No. 4.-One leather hand bag containing 7 small bottles containing opium, with two cedulas belonging to Tian Liong, with key.

"No. 5.-One wooden box containing 75 empty cans, opium containers.

"No. 6.-One tin box containing 23 small empty cans, opium containers.

"No. 7.-One cardboard box containing 3 pieces of wood, one old chisel, one file, one piece of soldering lead, one box of matches, 5 pieces
of iron plates, and several other tin plates.

"No. 8.-One roll of 7 sheets of brass.

"No. 9.-Three soldering outfits.

"No. 10.-One hammer.

"No. 11.-One Chinese scale for opium.

"No. 12.-Twelve small bottles empty.

"No. 13.-Two bottles containing opium.

"No. 14.-One bundle of Chinese books of accounts with several personal letters of Chino Uy Kheytin.

"No. 15.-One tin box containing 60 cans of molasses, with 1 small bottle containing molasses."
Thereafter a criminal complaint was filed in the court of the justice of the peace of Iloilo against all the petitioners herein, charging
them with a violation of the Opium Law. They were duly arrested, and a preliminary investigation was conducted by the justice of the
peace, after which he found that there was probable cause for believing that the crime complained of had been committed and that the
defendants were the persons responsible therefor. The cause was duly transmitted to the Court of First Instance.

While said cause was in the Court of First Instance, pending the filing of a complaint by the provincial fiscal, the defendants, petitioners
herein, through their attorney, filed a petition in the Court of First Instance, asking for the return of "private papers, books and other
property" which the Constabulary officers had seized from said defendants, upon the ground that they had been so seized illegally and
in violation of the constitutional rights of the defendants. It was urged (1) that the search warrant of April 30th was illegal because the
requisites prescribed by the General Orders No. 58 had not been complied with in its issuance; (2) that the searches and seizures made
on May 1st had been made without any semblance of authority and hence illegal; and (3) that the seizure of the defendants' books and
letters was a violation of the provisions of the Jones Law providing that no person shall be compelled to testify against himself, and
protecting him against unreasonable searches and seizures.

After a hearing upon said motion, the Honorable Antonio Villareal, judge, in a very carefully prepared opinion, reached the conclusion
that the searches and seizures, complained of had been legally made, and consequently, denied the defendants' petition.

Thereafter and on November 22, 1919, the said defendants, petitioners herein, filed the present petition in this court, praying as follows:
"Wherefore, in view of the foregoing allegations, it is respectfully prayed that a preliminary injunction issue.
"First, restraining the respondent judge, and his successors from making any cognizance of any action of any kind which has or may be
brought against these petitioners which have resulted directly or indirectly from the unlawful searches and seizures above-mentioned;

"Second, restraining the respondent clerk of the court, the respondent fiscal, the respondent commandant of the Constabulary, and the
successors of any of them, and the assistants of any of them, from any further examination of the private papers, books, and other
property unlawfully seized as above alleged; from making or using the same for the purpose or in such a manner that the character or
reputation of these petitioners might be injured; from making or using any copies, memorandum, notes, or extracts obtained from the
books, papers, etc., so seized; from making any examinations of any of the property thus obtained or from using any reports or from
publishing in any manner any reports already prepared as a result of the examination of such property; or from making any other use of
the property and papers so obtained until orders are received from this court regarding the disposition of the same.

"It is further requested, that a writ of prohibition issue, restraining the respondent judge from at any time taking cognizance of any
action or prosecution growing out of the unlawful searches and seizures above-mentioned, and directing such judge or his successor to
order the immediate return to these petitioners of all of the papers and other property thus unlawfully obtained, together with all
copies, extracts, memorandum, notes, photographs, reports, samples, or evidence obtained by reason of such searches and seizures
whereby the reputation and character of petitioners may be further damaged; furthermore enjoining all of the respondents and their
assistants from divulging any of the secrets or information which they have thus unlawfully obtained from these petitioners; and
especially ordering the respondent judge to dismiss all actions or prosecutions already filed before him or which may hereafter come
before him as a result of the unlawful acts herein allged."
I

THE SEARCH WARRANT OF APRIL 30TH

The petitioners contend that the search warrant of April 30, 1919, was illegal, (1) because it was not issued upon either of the grounds
mentioned in section 96 of General Orders No. 58, and (2) because the judge who issued it did not determine the probable cause by
examining witnesses under oath, as required by section 98 of said General Orders No. 58.

Section 96 of General Orders No. 58 is as follows:


"Sec. 96. It (a search warrant) may be issued upon either of the following grounds:

"1. When the property was stolen or embezzled.

"2. When it was used or when the intent exists to use it as the means of committing a felony."
In support of their first contention the petitioners argue that the property ordered to be seized, namely, opium under the said search
warrant, had not been stolen or embezzled, nor had it been used or intended to be used as the means of committing a felony; that the
word "felony" is applicable only to a serious crime which is malum per se and not to one which is merely malum prohibitum, such as the
possession of opium.

For the purpose of this decision we deem it unnecessary to draw the distinction between the words "felony" and "misdemeanor" as used
in the common law. Suffice it to say that, whatever may be the technical common-law meaning of the word "felony," which is used in
paragraph 2 of section 96 above quoted, we believe it would be the height of absurdity to hold, upon technical grounds, that a search
warrant is illegal which is issued to search for and seize property the very possession of which is forbidden by law and constitutes a
crime. Opium is such property. "Search-warrants have heretofore been allowed to search for stolen goods, for goods supposed to have
been smuggled into the country in violation of the revenue laws, for implements of gaming or counterfeiting, for lottery tickets or
prohibited liquors kept for sale contrary to law, for obscene books and papers kept for sale or circulation, and for powder or other
explosive and dangerous material so kept as to endanger the public safety." (Cooley on Constitutional Limitations, 7th ed., p. 432.)

In support of their second contention, the petitioners invoke section 98 of General Orders No. 58, which provides as follows:
"SEC. 98. The judge or justice must, before issuing the warrant, examine on oath the complainant and any witnesses he may produce
and take their depositions in writing."
Section 97 provides that "a search warrant shall not issue except for probable cause" and section 98 above quoted provides the manner
in which that probable cause shall be determined by the judge issuing the warrant. In the present case, however, the judge did not
examine any witness under oath but relied solely upon the sworn application of the Constabulary officer in determining whether; there
was probable cause. In that application the complainant swore positively: "That in the house of Chino, Uy Kheytin, Sto. Nino St., No.
20, Iloilo, under the writing desk in his store, there is kept a certain amount of opium." This statement was found to be true by the
subsequent finding and seizure of a considerable quantity of opium in the place mentioned. The question now is, whether the omission
of the judge to comply with the requirements of section 98 would, under the circumstances, justify the court in declaring that the search
warrant in question was illegal and ordering the return of the opium found and seized under said warrant.

A search warrant may be likened to a warrant of arrest. The issuance of both is restricted by the same provision of the Jones Law (sec.
3) which is as follows:
"That no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be
searched and the person or thing to be seized."
A person, then, is protected from unreasonable arrests just as much as he is protected from unreasonable searches. But suppose he
happened to be arrested without any warrant, or upon a warrant which had been issued by a judge without first properly determining
whether there was probable cause, and upon investigation it should be found, from his own admissions, that he was the author of the
crime,-should he be released upon the ground that he had not been legally arrested? In the case of Ker vs. Illinois (119 U. S., 436) Ker
having committed the crime of larceny, escaped and went to Peru. He was kidnapped in Peru and brought back to the State of Illinois
without any pretense of authority. Passing upon the question of the constitutionality of the arrest of Ker, the Supreme Court of the
United States, speaking through Mr. Justice Miller, said:
"We do not intend to say that there may not be proceedings previous to the trial in regard to which the prisoner could invoke in some
manner the provisions of this clause of the Constitution; but for mere irregularities in the manner in which he may be brought into the
custody of the law, we do not think he is entitled to say that he should not be tried at all for the crime with which he is charged in a
regular indictment. He may be arrested for a very heinous offense by persons without any warrant, or without any previous complaint,
and brought before a proper officer, and this may be in some sense said to be 'withuot due process of law.' But it would hardly be
claimed that after the case had been investigated, and the defendant held by the proper authorities to answer for the crime, he could
plead that he was first arrested 'without due proces of law.'" (Followed in U. S. vs. Grant and Kennedy, 18 Phil., 122, 146; U. S. vs.
Wilson, 4 Phil., 317.)
In the present case there was an irregularity in the issuance of the search warrant in question in that the judge did not first examine the
complainant or any witnesses under oath, as required by section 98 of General Orders No. 58. But the property sought to be searched
for and seized having been actually found in the place described by the complainant, reasoning by analogy from the case of an improper
arrest, we are of the opinion that that irregularity is not sufficient cause for ordering the return of the opium found and seized under
said warrant, to the petitioners, and exonerating the latter.
II

THE SEARCH MADE ON MAY 1ST

Petitioners contend that this was made without any search warrant and without any authority of law; that the search warrant of April
30th could not be used on May 1st because that warrant had been executed on the day of its issuance. In support of this contention
counsel for the petitioners, in the lower court, argued that:
"While it is true that a warrant is good for 10 days after the date of issuance, this cannot be interpreted to mean that a search warrant
can be used every day for 10 days, and for a different purpose each day. This would be absurd. It is admitted, for sake of argument,
that if upon a search, under a legally issued warrant, some other prohibited articles than those named in the warrant should be found,
these articles might be seized. Also, it might possibly be true, that if a warrant was issued to search for a certain article and it was not
found after the first search, that another search could be made sometime within the 10 days. But this is certainly the furthest possible
extreme the doctrine could be carried. It certainly could not be interpreted to allow a search to be made, and after the articles for which
the warrant was issued had been seized, to use this same warrant as authority to make another search."
We agree with counsel that a search warrant cannot be used every day for ten days, "and for a different purpose each day," and that after
the articles for which the warrant was issued have been seized the same warrant cannot be used as authority to make another search.
But this argument is not applicable to the facts in this case. It appears from the oral evidence adduced during the hearing of the
petitioners' motion in the court below that the search for opium, the property mentioned in the warrant, was not completed on April
30th; it was interrupted by the necessity to ascertain who the owner of the bodega on the ground-floor was, because the petitioner Uy
Kheytin falsely disclaimed ownership thereof. In other words, the search of May 1st was not made "for a different purpose," nor could it
be considered "another search," but was really a continuation of the search begun on April 30th. This is shown by the fact that during
the interval between the two searches the premises in question were guarded by Constabulary soldiers, and the petitioners were made to
understand on April 30th that the authorities were not yet through with the search and would continue the same as soon as they found
out that the bodega was also occupied by the petitioner Uy Kheytin. We are, therefore, of the opinion that the search made on May 1st
was authorized under the search warrant of April 30th.

III

THE SEIZURE OF BOOKS, LETTERS, ETC.

The important question that remains to be decided is whether, under a search warrant for opium, the officers of the law were authorized
to seize books, personal letters, and other property having a remote or no connection with opium. The respondent M. S. Torralba,
lieutenant of the Constabulary, testified that he seized these articles because he believed or suspected that they had some relation with
the opium in question; in other words, he thought that they might be used as evidence against the petitioners when they are prosecuted
for a violation of the Opium Law. The respondents contend that this was a sufficient justification under the law for the seizure of such
articles under the same warrant for opium.

We are of the opinion that the respondents' contention is untenable. Both the Jones Law (sec. 3) and General Orders No. 58 (sec. 97)
specifically require that a search; warrant should particularly describe the place to be searched and the things to be seized. The evident
purpose and intent of this requirement is to limit the things to be seized to those, and only those, particularly described in the search
warrant-to leave the officers of the law with no discretion regarding what articles they shall seize, to the end that "unreasonable searches
and seizures" may not be made,-that abuses may not be committed. That this is the correct interpretation of this constitutional
provision is borne out by American authorities.
"In order to comply with the constitutional provisions regulating the issuance of search warrants, the property to be seized under a
warrant must be particularly described therein and no other property can be taken thereunder. The goods to be seized must be
described with such certainty as to identify them, and the description must be so particular that the officer charged with the execution of
the warrant will be left with no discretion respecting the property to be taken. * * * Under a warrant to search a person for stolen
goods, the officer cannot lawfully take from the person a letter, such letter not being particularly described in the warrant asproperty to
be searched for." (24 R. C. L., 714, 715.)

"It is a violation of the declaration of rights respecting searches and seizures for an officer, while searching one's person under a search
warrant for stolen goods, to take from it, against the party's will, a letter written to him." (State vs. Slamon, 87 Am. St. Rep., 711.)

"We have said that if the officer follows the command of his warrant, he is protected; and this is so even when the complaint proves to
have been unfounded. But if he exceed the command by searching in places not described therein, or by seizing persons or articles not
commanded, he is not protected by the warrant, and can only justify himself as in other cases where he assumes to act without process.
Obeying strictly the command of his warrant, he may break open outer or inner doors, and his justification does not depend upon his
discovering that for which he is to make search." (Cooley on Constitutional Limitations, 7th ed., p. 434.)
That the officers of the law believed that the books, papers, etc., which they seized might be used as evidence against the petitioners
herein in a criminal action against them for a violation of the Opium Law, is no reason or justification under the law for the seizure:
First, because they were not "particularly described" or even mentioned in the search warrant; second, because, even if they had been
mentioned in the search warrant, they could not be legally seized, for a search warrant cannot be used for the purpose of obtaining
evidence; and third, because to compel a person to produce his private papers to be used in evidence against him would be equivalent to
compelling him to be a witness against himself.
The authorities for the first proposition have already been given above.

It may be said that-


"Books of account, private documents, and private papers are property which men may lawfully possess. It is not believed that the
statute (subsection 2 of section 96, G. 0. 58) was intended to cover property of this class. Granting that property of which men may
lawfully possess themselves has been used in the commission of a crime and not possessed nor created purely for the purpose of
committing a crime, and not likely to be used again, then certainly its seizure can only be for the purpose of using the same as evidence
to prove the commission of the crime already committed. This purpose is not contemplated by the provision of the law. The finding of
evidence can not be the immediate reason for issuing the search warrant. To use a search warrant for the purpose of obtaining
possession of property for this purpose would be an 'unreasonable' use of the remedy by search warrant, which is prohibited by law."
(Regidor vs. Araullo, 5 Off. Gaz., 955, 961, 962; U. S. vs. De los Reyes and Esguerra, 20 Phil., 467.)
Judge Cooley in his work on Constitutional Limitations, 7th ed., p. 431, says:
"The warrant is not allowed for the purpose of obtaining evidence of an intended crime; but only after lawful evidence of an offense
actually committed. Nor even then is it allowable to invade one's privacy for the sole purpose of obtaining evidence against him, except
in a few special cases where that which is the subject of the crime is supposed to be concealed, and the public or the complainant has an
interest in it or in its destruction."
In the case of Boyd vs. United States (116 U. S., 616), the Supreme Court of the United States, speaking through Mr. Justice Bradley,
said:
"The seizure or compulsory production of a man's private papers to be used in evidence against him is equivalent to compelling him to
be a witness against himself, and, in a prosecution for a crime, penalty or forfeiture, is equally within the prohibition of the Fifth
Amendment.

"Both amendments (fourth and fifth) relate to the personal security of the citizen. They nearly run into and mutually throw light upon
each other. When the thing forbidden in the Fifth Amendment, namely, compelling a man to be a witness against himself, is the object
of a search and seizure of his private papers, it is an 'unreasonable search and seizure' within the Fourth Amendment.

"Search and seizure of a man's private papers to be used in evidence for the purpose of convicting him of a crime, recovering a penalty,
or of forfeiting his property, is totally different from the search and seizure of stolen goods, dutiable articles on which the duties have
not been paid, and the like, which rightfully belong to the custody of the law." (See also Silverthorne Lumber Co. vs. United States,
decided Jan. 26, 1920, by the Supreme Court of the United States.)

"The seizure of a person's private papers, to be used in evidence against him, is equivalent to compelling him to be a witness against
himself." (State vs. Slamon, 73 Vt., 212; 87 Am. St. Rep., 711.)
From all of the foregoing our conclusions are:
That although in the issuance of the search warrant in question the judge did not comply with the requirements of section 98 of General
Orders No. 58, the petitioners are not entitled to the return of the opium and its paraphernalia which were found and seized under said
warrant, and much less are they entitled to be exonerated because of such permission of the judge.

That the search made on May 1st was a continuation of the search begun on the previous day, and, therefore, did not require another
search warrant.

That the seizure' of the petitioners' books, letters, telegrams, and other articles which have no inherent relation with opium and the
possession of which is not forbidden by law, was illegal and in violation of the petitioners' constitutional rights. Therefore, it is hereby
ordered and decreed that each and all of the respondents herein, their assistants or successors, be, and they hereby are, forbidden from
examining or making any use of said books, letters, telegrams, etc., namely, the articles described in items Nos. 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, and 15
of the sheriff's return (Exhibit 3, reproduced at the top of page 3 of this decision[1] ) and they are hereby ordered to immediately return
the said articles to the petitioners. So ordered.
Araullo, and Villamor, JJ., concur.
G. R. Nos. 102009-10 July 6, 1994

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
ROLANDO DE GRACIA, CHITO HENSON and JOHN DOES, accused. ROLANDO DE GRACIA, accused-appellant.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.

Nicolas R. Ruiz, II for accused-appellant.

REGALADO, J.:

The incidents involved in this case took place at the height of the coup d' etat staged in December, 1989 by ultra-rightist elements
headed by the Reform the Armed Forces Movement-Soldiers of the Filipino People (RAM-SFP) against the Government. At that time,
various government establishments and military camps in Metro Manila were being bombarded by the rightist group with their "tora-
tora" planes. At around midnight of November 30, 1989, the 4th Marine Battalion of the Philippine Marines occupied Villamor Air Base,
while the Scout Rangers took over the Headquarters of the Philippine Army, the Army Operations Center, and Channel 4, the
government television station. Also, some elements of the Philippine Army coming from Fort Magsaysay occupied the Greenhills
Shopping Center in San Juan, Metro Manila. 1

Accused-appellant Rolando de Gracia was charged in two separate informations for illegal possession of ammunition and explosives in
furtherance of rebellion, and for attempted homicide, docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. Q-90-11755 and Q-90-11756, respectively, which
were tried jointly by the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 103.

In Criminal Case No. Q-90-11755, Rolando de Gracia, Chito Henson and several John Does whose true names and identities have not as
yet been ascertained, were charged with the crime of illegal possession of ammunition and explosives in furtherance of rebellion,
penalized under Section 1, paragraph 3, of Presidential Decree No. 1866, allegedly committed as follows:

That on or about the 5th day of DECEMBER, 1989, in QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES, and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping one another, and without
authority of law, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, feloniously and knowingly have in their possession, custody and control, the
following to wit:

Five (5) bundles of C-4 or dynamites


Six (6) cartoons of M-16 ammunition at 20 each
One hundred (100) bottles of MOLOTOV bombs

without first securing the necessary license and/or permit to possess the same from the proper authorities, and armed with said
dynamites, ammunition and explosives and pursuant to their conspiracy heretofore agreed upon by them and prompted by common
designs, come to an agreement and decision to commit the crime of rebellion, by then and there participating therein and publicly
taking arms against the duly constituted authorities, for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of the Republic of the Philippines,
disrupting and jeopardizing its activities and removing from its allegiance the territory of the Philippines or parts thereof. 2

In Criminal Case No. Q-90-11756, Rolando de Gracia, Chito Henson, Lamberto Bicus, Rodolfo Tor and several John Does were charged
with attempted homicide allegedly committed on December 1, 1989 in Quezon City upon the person of Crispin Sagario who was shot
and hit on the right thigh.

Appellant was convicted for illegal possession of firearms in furtherance of rebellion, but was acquitted of attempted homicide.

During the arraignment, appellant pleaded not guilty to both charges. However, he admitted that he is not authorized to possess any
firearms, ammunition and/or explosive. 3 The parties likewise stipulated that there was a rebellion during the period from November
30 up to December 9, 1989. 4

The records show that in the early morning of December 1, 1989, Maj. Efren Soria of the Intelligence Division, National Capital Region
Defense Command, was on board a brown Toyota car conducting a surveillance of the Eurocar Sales Office located at Epifanio de los
Santos Avenue in Quezon City, together with his team composed of Sgt. Crispin Sagario, M/Sgt. Ramon Briones, S/Sgt. Henry Aquino,
one S/Sgt. Simon and a Sgt. Ramos. The surveillance, which actually started on the night of November 30, 1989 at around 10:00 P.M.,
was conducted pursuant to an intelligence report received by the division that said establishment was being occupied by elements of the
RAM-SFP as a communication command post.

Sgt. Crispin Sagario, the driver of the car, parked the vehicle around ten to fifteen meters away from the Eurocar building near P.
Tuazon Street, S/Sgt. Henry Aquino had earlier alighted from the car to conduct his surveillance on foot. A crowd was then gathered
near the Eurocar office watching the on-going bombardment near Camp Aguinaldo. After a while, a group of five men disengaged
themselves from the crowd and walked towards the car of the surveillance team. At that moment, Maj. Soria, who was then seated in
front, saw the approaching group and immediately ordered Sgt. Sagario to start the car and leave the area. As they passed by the group,
then only six meters away, the latter pointed to them, drew their guns and fired at the team, which attack resulted in the wounding of
Sgt. Sagario on the right thigh. Nobody in the surveillance team was able to retaliate because they sought cover inside the car and they
were afraid that civilians or bystanders might be caught in the cross-fire.

As a consequence, at around 6:30 A.M. of December 5, 1989, a searching team composed of F/Lt. Virgilio Babao as team leader, M/Sgt.
Lacdao, Sgt. Magallion, Sgt. Patricio Pacatang, and elements of the 16th Infantry Battalion under one Col. delos Santos raided the
Eurocar Sales Office. They were able to find and confiscate six cartons of M-16 ammunition, five bundles of C-4 dynamites, M-shells of
different calibers, and "molotov" bombs inside one of the rooms belonging to a certain Col. Matillano which is located at the right
portion of the building. Sgt. Oscar Obenia, the first one to enter the Eurocar building, saw appellant De Gracia inside the office of Col.
Matillano, holding a C-4 and suspiciously peeping through a door. De Gracia was the only person then present inside the room. A
uniform with the nametag of Col. Matillano was also found. As a result of the raid, the team arrested appellant, as well as Soprieso
Verbo and Roberto Jimena who were janitors at the Eurocar building. They were then made to sign an inventory, written in Tagalog, of
the explosives and ammunition confiscated by the raiding team. No search warrant was secured by the raiding team because, according
to them, at that time there was so much disorder considering that the nearby Camp Aguinaldo was being mopped up by the rebel forces
and there was simultaneous firing within the vicinity of the Eurocar office, aside from the fact that the courts were consequently closed.
The group was able to confirm later that the owner of Eurocar office is a certain Mr. Gutierrez and that appellant is supposedly a "boy"
therein.
Appellant Rolando de Gracia gave another version of the incident. First, he claims that on November 30, 1989, he was in Antipolo to
help in the birthday party of Col. Matillano. He denies that he was at the Eurocar Sales Office on December 1, 1989. Second, he contends
that when the raiding team arrived at the Eurocar Sales Office on December 5, 1989, he was inside his house, a small nipa hut which is
adjacent to the building. According to him, he was tasked to guard the office of Col. Matillano which is located at the right side of the
building. He denies, however, that he was inside the room of Col. Matillano when the raiding team barged in and that he had explosives
in his possession. He testified that when the military raided the office, he was ordered to get out of his house and made to lie on the
ground face down, together with "Obet" and "Dong" who were janitors of the building. He avers that he does not know anything about
the explosives and insists that when they were asked to stand up, the explosives were already there.

Appellant stated that he visited Col. Matillano in 1987 at the stockade of the Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police (PC-
INP), and that he knew Matillano was detained because of the latter's involvement in the 1987 coup d' etat. In July, 1989, appellant
again went to see Matillano because he had no job. Col. Matillano then told him that he could stay in the PC-INP stockade and do the
marketing for them. From that time until his arrest at the Eurocar office, appellant worked for Matillano.

De Gracia believes that the prosecution witnesses were moved to testify against him because "bata raw ako ni Col. Matillano eh may
atraso daw sa kanila si Col. Matillano kaya sabi nila ito na lang bata niya ang ipitin natin."

On February 22, 1991, the trial court rendered judgment 5 acquitting appellant Rolando de Gracia of attempted homicide, but found
him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of illegal possession of firearms in furtherance of rebellion and sentenced him to
serve the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Moreover, it made a recommendation that "(i)nasmuch as Rolando de Gracia appears to be
merely executing or obeying orders and pursuant to the spirit contained in the 2nd paragraph of Art. 135, R. P. C., the court
recommends that Rolando de Gracia be extended executive clemency after serving a jail term of five (5) years of good behavior.

That judgment of conviction is now challenged before us in this appeal.

Appellant principally contends that he cannot be held guilty of illegal possession of firearms for the reason that he did not have either
physical or constructive possession thereof considering that he had no intent to possess the same; he is neither the owner nor a tenant
of the building where the ammunition and explosives were found; he was merely employed by Col. Matillano as an errand boy; he was
guarding the explosives for and in behalf of Col. Matillano; and he did not have actual possession of the explosives. He claims that intent
to possess, which is necessary before one can be convicted under Presidential Decree No. 1866, was not present in the case at bar.

Presidential Decree No. 1866 provides as follows:

Sec. 1. Unlawful Manufacture, Sale, Acquisition, Disposition or Possession of Firearms or Ammunition or Instruments Used or
intended to be Used in the Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunition. — The penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to
reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully manufacture, deal in, acquire, dispose, or possess any
firearms, part of firearms, ammunition or machinery, tool or instrument used or intended to be used in the manufacture of any firearm
or ammunition.

If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, the penalty of death shall be imposed.

If the violation of this Section is in furtherance of, or incident to, or in connection with the crimes of rebellion, insurrection or
subversion, the penalty of death shall be imposed.

Presidential Decree No. 1866 was passed because of an upsurge of crimes vitally affecting public order and safety due to the
proliferation of illegally possessed and manufactured firearms, ammunition and explosives, and which criminal acts have resulted in
loss of human lives, damage to property and destruction of valuable resources of the country. The series of coup d' etats unleashed in
the country during the first few years of the transitional government under then President Corazon P. Aquino attest to the ever-growing
importance of laws such as Presidential Decree No. 1866 which seek to nip in the bud and preempt the commission of any act or acts
which tend to disturb public peace and order.

I. The first issue to be resolved is whether or not intent to possess is an essential element of the offense punishable under
Presidential Decree No. 1866 and, if so, whether appellant De Gracia did intend to illegally possess firearms and ammunition.

The rule is that ownership is not an essential element of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. What the law requires is merely
possession which includes not only actual physical possession but also constructive possession or the subjection of the thing to one's
control and management. 6 This has to be so if the manifest intent of the law is to be effective. The same evils, the same perils to public
security, which the law penalizes exist whether the unlicensed holder of a prohibited weapon be its owner or a borrower. To accomplish
the object of this law the proprietary concept of the possession can have no bearing whatsoever. 7

But is the mere fact of physical or constructive possession sufficient to convict a person for unlawful possession of firearms or must
there be an intent to possess to constitute a violation of the law? This query assumes significance since the offense of illegal possession
of firearms is a malum prohibitum punished by a special law, 8 in which case good faith and absence of criminal intent are not valid
defenses. 9

When the crime is punished by a special law, as a rule, intent to commit the crime is not necessary. It is sufficient that the offender has
the intent to perpetrate the act prohibited by the special law. Intent to commit the crime and intent to perpetrate the act must be
distinguished. A person may not have consciously intended to commit a crime; but he did intend to commit an act, and that act is, by
the very nature of things, the crime itself. In the first (intent to commit the crime), there must be criminal intent; in the second (intent
to perpetrate the act) it is enough that the prohibited act is done freely and consciously. 10

In the present case, a distinction should be made between criminal intent and intent to possess. While mere possession, without
criminal intent, is sufficient to convict a person for illegal possession of a firearm, it must still be shown that there was animus
possidendi or an intent to possess on the part of the accused. 11 Such intent to possess is, however, without regard to any other criminal
or felonious intent which the accused may have harbored in possessing the firearm. Criminal intent here refers to the intention of the
accused to commit an offense with the use of an unlicensed firearm. This is not important in convicting a person under Presidential
Decree No. 1866. Hence, in order that one may be found guilty of a violation of the decree, it is sufficient that the accused had no
authority or license to possess a firearm, and that he intended to possess the same, even if such possession was made in good faith and
without criminal intent.

Concomitantly, a temporary, incidental, casual, or harmless possession or control of a firearm cannot be considered a violation of a
statute prohibiting the possession of this kind of weapon, 12 such as Presidential Decree No. 1866. Thus, although there is physical or
constructive possession, for as long as the animus possidendi is absent, there is no offense committed.
Coming now to the case before us, there is no doubt in our minds that appellant De Gracia is indeed guilty of having intentionally
possessed several firearms, explosives and ammunition without the requisite license or authority therefor. Prosecution witness Sgt.
Oscar Abenia categorically testified that he was the first one to enter the Eurocar Sales Office when the military operatives raided the
same, and he saw De Gracia standing in the room and holding the several explosives marked in evidence as Exhibits D to D-4. 13 At
first, appellant denied any knowledge about the explosives. Then, he alternatively contended that his act of guarding the explosives for
and in behalf of Col. Matillano does not constitute illegal possession thereof because there was no intent on his part to possess the same,
since he was merely employed as an errand boy of Col. Matillano. His pretension of impersonal or indifferent material possession does
not and cannot inspire credence.

Animus possidendi is a state of mind which may be determined on a case to case basis, taking into consideration the prior and
coetaneous acts of the accused and the surrounding circumstances. What exists in the realm of thought is often disclosed in the range of
action. It is not controverted that appellant De Gracia is a former soldier, having served with the Philippine Constabulary prior to his
separation from the service for going on absence without leave
(AWOL). 14 We do not hesitate, therefore, to believe and conclude that he is familiar with and knowledgeable about the dynamites,
"molotov" bombs, and various kinds of ammunition which were confiscated by the military from his possession. As a former soldier, it
would be absurd for him not to know anything about the dangerous uses and power of these weapons. A fortiori, he cannot feign
ignorance on the import of having in his possession such a large quantity of explosives and ammunition. Furthermore, the place where
the explosives were found is not a military camp or office, nor one where such items can ordinarily but lawfully be stored, as in a gun
store, an arsenal or armory. Even an ordinarily prudent man would be put on guard and be suspicious if he finds articles of this nature
in a place intended to carry out the business of selling cars and which has nothing to do at all, directly or indirectly, with the trade of
firearms and ammunition.

On the basis of the foregoing disquisition, it is apparent, and we so hold, that appellant De Gracia actually intended to possess the
articles confiscated from his person.

II. The next question that may be asked is whether or not there was a valid search and seizure in this case. While the matter has
not been squarely put in issue, we deem it our bounden duty, in light of advertence thereto by the parties, to delve into the legality of the
warrantless search conducted by the raiding team, considering the gravity of the offense for which herein appellant stands to be
convicted and the penalty sought to be imposed.

It is admitted that the military operatives who raided the Eurocar Sales Office were not armed with a search warrant at that time. 15 The
raid was actually precipitated by intelligence reports that said office was being used as headquarters by the RAM. 16 Prior to the raid,
there was a surveillance conducted on the premises wherein the surveillance team was fired at by a group of men coming from the
Eurocar building. When the military operatives raided the place, the occupants thereof refused to open the door despite requests for
them to do so, thereby compelling the former to break into the office. 17 The Eurocar Sales Office is obviously not a gun store and it is
definitely not an armory or arsenal which are the usual depositories for explosives and ammunition. It is primarily and solely engaged in
the sale of automobiles. The presence of an unusual quantity of high-powered firearms and explosives could not be justifiably or even
colorably explained. In addition, there was general chaos and disorder at that time because of simultaneous and intense firing within
the vicinity of the office and in the nearby Camp Aguinaldo which was under attack by rebel forces. 18 The courts in the surrounding
areas were obviously closed and, for that matter, the building and houses therein were deserted.

Under the foregoing circumstances, it is our considered opinion that the instant case falls under one of the exceptions to the prohibition
against a warrantless search. In the first place, the military operatives, taking into account the facts obtaining in this case, had
reasonable ground to believe that a crime was being committed. There was consequently more than sufficient probable cause to warrant
their action. Furthermore, under the situation then prevailing, the raiding team had no opportunity to apply for and secure a search
warrant from the courts. The trial judge himself manifested that on December 5, 1989 when the raid was conducted, his court was
closed. 19 Under such urgency and exigency of the moment, a search warrant could lawfully be dispensed with.

The view that we here take is in consonance with our doctrinal ruling which was amply explained in People vs. Malmstedt 20 and bears
reiteration:

While it is true that the NARCOM officers were not armed with a search warrant when the search was made over the personal effects of
accused, however, under the circumstances of the case, there was sufficient probable cause for said officers to believe that accused was
then and there committing a crime.

Probable cause has been defined as such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonable, discreet and prudent man to believe
that an offense has been committed, and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched.
The required probable cause that will justify a warrantless search and seizure is not determined by any fixed formula but is resolved
according to the facts of each case.

Warrantless search of the personal effects of an accused has been declared by this Court as valid, because of existence of probable cause,
where the smell of marijuana emanated from a plastic bag owned by the accused, or where the accused was acting suspiciously, and
attempted to flee.

Aside from the persistent reports received by the NARCOM that vehicles coming from Sagada were transporting marijuana and other
prohibited drugs, their Commanding Officer also received information that a Caucasian coming from Sagada on that particular day had
prohibited drugs in his possession. Said information was received by the Commanding Officer of NARCOM the very same morning that
accused came down by bus from Sagada on his way to Baguio City.

When NARCOM received the information, a few hours before the apprehension of herein accused, that a Caucasian travelling from
Sagada to Baguio City was carrying with him prohibited drugs, there was no time to obtain a search warrant. In the Tangliben case, the
police authorities conducted a surveillance at the Victory Liner Terminal located at Bgy. San Nicolas, San Fernando, Pampanga, against
persons engaged in the traffic of dangerous drugs, based on information supplied by some informers. Accused Tangliben who was
acting suspiciously and pointed out by an informer was apprehended and searched by the police authorities. It was held that when faced
with on-the-spot information, the police officers had to act quickly and there was no time to secure a search warrant.

It must be observed that, at first, the NARCOM officers merely conducted a routine check of the bus (where accused was riding) and the
passengers therein, and no extensive search was initially made. It was only when one of the officers noticed a bulge on the waist of
accused, during the course of the inspection, that accused was required to present his passport. The failure of accused to present his
identification papers, when ordered to do so, only managed to arouse the suspicion of the officer that accused was trying to hide his
identity. For is it not a regular norm for an innocent man, who has nothing to hide from the authorities, to readily present his
identification papers when required to do so?
The receipt of information by NARCOM that a Caucasian coming from Sagada had prohibited drugs in his possession, plus the
suspicious failure of the accused to produce his passport, taken together as a whole, led the NARCOM officers to reasonably believe that
the accused was trying to hide something illegal from the authorities. From these circumstances arose a probable cause which justified
the warrantless search that was made on the personal effects of the accused. In other words, the acts of the NARCOM officers in
requiring the accused to open his pouch bag and in opening one of the wrapped objects found inside said bag (which was discovered to
contain hashish) as well as the two (2) teddy bears with hashish stuffed inside them, were prompted by accused's own attempt to hide
his identity by refusing to present his passport, and by the information received by the NARCOM that a Caucasian coming from Sagada
had prohibited drugs in his possession. To deprive the NARCOM agents of the ability and facility to act accordingly, including, to search
even without warrant, in the light of such circumstances, would be to sanction impotence and ineffectiveness in law enforcement, to the
detriment of society.

In addition, we find the principle enunciated in Umil, et al., vs. Ramos,


et al., 21 applicable, by analogy, to the present case:

The arrest of persons involved in the rebellion whether as its fighting armed elements, or for committing non-violent acts but in
furtherance of the rebellion, is more an act of capturing them in the course of an armed conflict, to quell the rebellion, than for the
purpose of immediately prosecuting them in court for a statutory offense. The arrest, therefore, need not follow the usual procedure in
the prosecution of offenses which requires the determination by a judge of the existence of probable cause before the issuance of a
judicial warrant of arrest and the granting of bail if the offense is bailable. Obviously the absence of a judicial warrant is no legal
impediment to arresting or capturing persons committing overt acts of violence against government forces, or any other milder acts but
really in pursuance of the rebellious movement. The arrest or capture is thus impelled by the exigencies of the situation that involves the
very survival of society and its government and duly constituted authorities. If killing and other acts of violence against the rebels find
justification in the exigencies of armed hostilities which (are) of the essence of waging a rebellion or insurrection, most assuredly so in
case of invasion, merely seizing their persons and detaining them while any of these contingencies continues cannot be less justified.

III. As earlier stated, it was stipulated and admitted by both parties that from November 30, 1989 up to and until December 9,
1989, there was a rebellion. Ergo, our next inquiry is whether or not appellant's possession of the firearms, explosives and ammunition
seized and recovered from him was for the purpose and in furtherance of rebellion.

The trial court found accused guilty of illegal possession of firearms in furtherance of rebellion pursuant to paragraph 2 of Article 135 of
the Revised Penal Code which states that "any person merely participating or executing the command of others in a rebellion shall
suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period." The court below held that appellant De Gracia, who had been servicing the
personal needs of Col. Matillano (whose active armed opposition against the Government, particularly at the Camelot Hotel, was well
known), is guilty of the act of guarding the explosives and "molotov" bombs for and in behalf of the latter. We accept this finding of the
lower court.

The above provision of the law was, however, erroneously and improperly used by the court below as a basis in determining the degree
of liability of appellant and the penalty to be imposed on him. It must be made clear that appellant is charged with the qualified offense
of illegal possession of firearms in furtherance of rebellion under Presidential Decree No. 1866 which, in law, is distinct from the crime
of rebellion punished under Articles 134 and 135 of the Revised Penal Code. These are two separate statutes penalizing different offenses
with discrete penalties. The Revised Penal Code treats rebellion as a crime apart from murder, homicide, arson, or other offenses, such
as illegal possession of firearms, that might conceivably be committed in the course of a rebellion. Presidential Decree No. 1866 defines
and punishes, as a specific offense, the crime of illegal possession of firearms committed in the course or as part of a rebellion. 22

As a matter of fact, in one case involving the constitutionality of Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1866, the Court has explained that
said provision of the law will not be invalidated by the mere fact that the same act is penalized under two different statutes with
different penalties, even if considered highly advantageous to the prosecution and onerous to the accused. 23 It follows that, subject to
the presence of the requisite elements in each case, unlawful possession of an unlicensed firearm in furtherance of rebellion may give
rise to separate prosecutions for a violation of Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1866, and also a violation of Articles 134 and 135 of
the Revised Penal Code on rebellion. Double jeopardy in this case cannot be invoked because the first is an offense punished by a special
law while the second is a felony punished by the Revised Penal Code, 24 with variant elements.

It was a legal malapropism for the lower court to interject the aforestated provision of the Revised Penal Code in this prosecution for a
crime under a special law. Consequently, there is no basis for its recommendation for executive clemency in favor of appellant De Gracia
after he shall have served a jail term of five years with good behavior. In any event, this is a matter within the exclusive prerogative of
the President whose decision thereon should be insulated against any tenuous importunity.

Withal, we are duly convinced that the firearms, explosives and ammunition confiscated from appellant De Gracia were illegally
possessed by him in furtherance of the rebellion then admittedly existing at that time. In the words of the court a quo:

2. the nature and quantity of the items — 5 bundles of C-4 dynamites, 6 cartons of M-16 ammo and 100 bottles of molotov bombs
indicate that the reports received by the military that the Eurocar Sales Building was being used by the rebels was not without basis.
Those items are clearly not for one's personal defense. They are for offensive operations. De Gracia admitted that per instruction of Col.
Matillano he went down to Eurocar Sales Building from Antipolo to stay guard there.

His manifestation of innocence of those items and what he has been guarding in that office is not credible for: (a) he was a former
military personnel; (b) at the birthday party of Col. Matillano on November 30, 1989 many soldiers and ex-soldiers were present which
self-evidently discloses that De Gracia, in the company of his boss, was still very much at home and constantly in touch with soldiers
and the armed rebellion of November 30, 1989 to December 8 or 9, 1989 was a military coup d' etat; (c) it appears that he is the only
person tasked with caretaking (sic) there in the Matillano office, which shows that he is a highly trusted right-hand man of Col.
Matillano; and (d) as heretofore discussed, De Gracia was earlier seen with some men who fired upon a car of the AFP intelligence
agents. 25

Presidential Decree No. 1866 imposes the death penalty where the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition is committed in
furtherance of rebellion. At the time the offense charged in this case was committed under the governance of that law, the imposition of
the death penalty was proscribed by the Constitution. Consequently, appellant De Gracia could only be sentenced to serve the penalty of
reclusion perpetua which was correctly meted out by the trial court, albeit with an erroneous recommendation in connection therewith.

WHEREFORE, the impugned judgment of the trial court is hereby AFFIRMED, but its recommendation therein for executive clemency
and the supposed basis thereof are hereby DELETED, with costs against accused-appellant.

SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 123595. December 12, 1997]

SAMMY MALACAT y MANDAR, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

DECISION

DAVIDE, JR., J.:

In an Information[1] filed on 30 August 1990, in Criminal Case No. 90-86748 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch
5, petitioner Sammy Malacat y Mandar was charged with violating Section 3 of Presidential Decree No. 1866,[2] as follows:

That on or about August 27, 1990, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
knowingly keep, possess and/or acquire a hand grenade, without first securing the necessary license and/or permit therefor from the
proper authorities.

At arraignment[3] on 9 October 1990, petitioner, assisted by counsel de oficio, entered a plea of not guilty.

At pre-trial on 11 March 1991, petitioner admitted the existence of Exhibits A, A-1, and A-2,[4] while the prosecution admitted that the
police authorities were not armed with a search warrant nor warrant of arrest at the time they arrested petitioner.[5]

At trial on the merits, the prosecution presented the following police officers as its witnesses: Rodolfo Yu, the arresting officer; Josefino
G. Serapio, the investigating officer; and Orlando Ramilo, who examined the grenade.

Rodolfo Yu of the Western Police District, Metropolitan Police Force of the Integrated National Police, Police Station No. 3, Quiapo,
Manila, testified that on 27 August 1990, at about 6:30 p.m., in response to bomb threats reported seven days earlier, he was on foot
patrol with three other police officers (all of them in uniform) along Quezon Boulevard, Quiapo, Manila, near the Mercury Drug store at
Plaza Miranda. They chanced upon two groups of Muslim-looking men, with each group, comprised of three to four men, posted at
opposite sides of the corner of Quezon Boulevard near the Mercury Drug Store. These men were acting suspiciously with [t]heir eyes
moving very fast.[6]

Yu and his companions positioned themselves at strategic points and observed both groups for about thirty minutes. The police officers
then approached one group of men, who then fled in different directions. As the policemen gave chase, Yu caught up with and
apprehended petitioner. Upon searching petitioner, Yu found a fragmentation grenade tucked inside petitioners front waist line.[7] Yus
companion, police officer Rogelio Malibiran, apprehended Abdul Casan from whom a .38 caliber revolver was recovered. Petitioner and
Casan were then brought to Police Station No. 3 where Yu placed an X mark at the bottom of the grenade and thereafter gave it to his
commander.[8]

On cross-examination, Yu declared that they conducted the foot patrol due to a report that a group of Muslims was going to explode a
grenade somewhere in the vicinity of Plaza Miranda. Yu recognized petitioner as the previous Saturday, 25 August 1990, likewise at
Plaza Miranda, Yu saw petitioner and 2 others attempt to detonate a grenade. The attempt was aborted when Yu and other policemen
chased petitioner and his companions; however, the former were unable to catch any of the latter. Yu further admitted that petitioner
and Casan were merely standing on the corner of Quezon Boulevard when Yu saw them on 27 August 1990. Although they were not
creating a commotion, since they were supposedly acting suspiciously, Yu and his companions approached them. Yu did not issue any
receipt for the grenade he allegedly recovered from petitioner.[9]

Josefino G. Serapio declared that at about 9:00 a.m. of 28 August 1990, petitioner and a certain Abdul Casan were brought in by Sgt.
Saquilla[10] for investigation. Forthwith, Serapio conducted the inquest of the two suspects, informing them of their rights to remain
silent and to be assisted by competent and independent counsel. Despite Serapios advice, petitioner and Casan manifested their
willingness to answer questions even without the assistance of a lawyer. Serapio then took petitioners uncounselled confession (Exh. E),
there being no PAO lawyer available, wherein petitioner admitted possession of the grenade. Thereafter, Serapio prepared the affidavit
of arrest and booking sheet of petitioner and Casan. Later, Serapio turned over the grenade to the Intelligence and Special Action
Division (ISAD) of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit for examination.[11]

On cross-examination, Serapio admitted that he took petitioners confession knowing it was inadmissible in evidence.[12]

Orlando Ramilo, a member of the Bomb Disposal Unit, whose principal duties included, among other things, the examination of
explosive devices, testified that on 22 March 1991, he received a request dated 19 March 1991 from Lt. Eduardo Cabrera and PO
Diosdado Diotoy for examination of a grenade. Ramilo then affixed an orange tag on the subject grenade detailing his name, the date
and time he received the specimen. During the preliminary examination of the grenade, he [f]ound that [the] major components
consisting of [a] high filler and fuse assembly [were] all present, and concluded that the grenade was [l]ive and capable of exploding. On
even date, he issued a certification stating his findings, a copy of which he forwarded to Diotoy on 11 August 1991.[13]

Petitioner was the lone defense witness. He declared that he arrived in Manila on 22 July 1990 and resided at the Muslim Center in
Quiapo, Manila. At around 6:30 in the evening of 27 August 1990, he went to Plaza Miranda to catch a breath of fresh air. Shortly after,
several policemen arrived and ordered all males to stand aside. The policemen searched petitioner and two other men, but found
nothing in their possession. However, he was arrested with two others, brought to and detained at Precinct No. 3, where he was accused
of having shot a police officer. The officer showed the gunshot wounds he allegedly sustained and shouted at petitioner [i]to ang tama
mo sa akin. This officer then inserted the muzzle of his gun into petitioners mouth and said, [y]ou are the one who shot me. Petitioner
denied the charges and explained that he only recently arrived in Manila. However, several other police officers mauled him, hitting him
with benches and guns. Petitioner was once again searched, but nothing was found on him. He saw the grenade only in court when it
was presented.[14]

The trial court ruled that the warrantless search and seizure of petitioner was akin to a stop and frisk, where a warrant and seizure can
be effected without necessarily being preceded by an arrest and whose object is either to maintain the status quo momentarily while the
police officer seeks to obtain more information.[15] Probable cause was not required as it was not certain that a crime had been
committed, however, the situation called for an investigation, hence to require probable cause would have been premature.[16] The RTC
emphasized that Yu and his companions were [c]onfronted with an emergency, in which the delay necessary to obtain a warrant,
threatens the destruction of evidence[17] and the officers [h]ad to act in haste, as petitioner and his companions were acting
suspiciously, considering the time, place and reported cases of bombing. Further, petitioners group suddenly ran away in different
directions as they saw the arresting officers approach, thus [i]t is reasonable for an officer to conduct a limited search, the purpose of
which is not necessarily to discover evidence of a crime, but to allow the officer to pursue his investigation without fear of violence.[18]
The trial court then ruled that the seizure of the grenade from petitioner was incidental to a lawful arrest, and since petitioner [l]ater
voluntarily admitted such fact to the police investigator for the purpose of bombing the Mercury Drug Store, concluded that sufficient
evidence existed to establish petitioners guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

In its decision[19] dated 10 February 1994 but promulgated on 15 February 1994, the trial court thus found petitioner guilty of the crime
of illegal possession of explosives under Section 3 of P.D. No. 1866, and sentenced him to suffer:

[T]he penalty of not less than SEVENTEEN (17) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS AND ONE (1) DAY OF RECLUSION TEMPORAL, as
minimum, and not more than THIRTY (30) YEARS OF RECLUSION PERPETUA, as maximum.

On 18 February 1994, petitioner filed a notice of appeal[20] indicating that he was appealing to this Court. However, the record of the
case was forwarded to the Court of Appeals which docketed it as CA-G.R. CR No. 15988 and issued a notice to file briefs.[21]

In his Appellants Brief [22] filed with the Court of Appeals, petitioner asserted that:

1. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE SEARCH UPON THE PERSON OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT AND THE
SEIZURE OF THE ALLEGED HANDGRENADE FROM HIM WAS AN APPROPRIATE INCIDENT TO HIS ARREST.

2. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING AS EVIDENCE AGAINST ACCUSED-APPELLANT THE HANDGRENADE
ALLEGEDLY SEIZED FROM HIM AS IT WAS A PRODUCT OF AN UNREASONABLE AND ILLEGAL SEARCH.

In sum, petitioner argued that the warrantless arrest was invalid due to absence of any of the conditions provided for in Section 5 of
Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, citing People vs. Mengote.[23] As such, the search was illegal, and the hand grenade seized, inadmissible
in evidence.

In its Brief for the Appellee, the Office of the Solicitor General agreed with the trial court and prayed that its decision be affirmed in
toto.[24]

In its decision of 24 January 1996,[25] the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court, noting, first, that petitioner abandoned his original
theory before the court a quo that the grenade was planted by the police officers; and second, the factual finding of the trial court that
the grenade was seized from petitioners possession was not raised as an issue. Further, respondent court focused on the admissibility in
evidence of Exhibit D, the hand grenade seized from petitioner. Meeting the issue squarely, the Court of Appeals ruled that the arrest
was lawful on the ground that there was probable cause for the arrest as petitioner was attempting to commit an offense, thus:

We are at a loss to understand how a man, who was in possession of a live grenade and in the company of other suspicious character[s]
with unlicensed firearm[s] lurking in Plaza Miranda at a time when political tension ha[d] been enkindling a series of terroristic
activities, [can] claim that he was not attempting to commit an offense. We need not mention that Plaza Miranda is historically
notorious for being a favorite bomb site especially during times of political upheaval. As the mere possession of an unlicensed grenade is
by itself an offense, Malacats posture is simply too preposterous to inspire belief.

In so doing, the Court of Appeals took into account petitioners failure to rebut the testimony of the prosecution witnesses that they
received intelligence reports of a bomb threat at Plaza Miranda; the fact that PO Yu chased petitioner two days prior to the latters arrest,
or on 27 August 1990; and that petitioner and his companions acted suspiciously, the accumulation of which was more than sufficient to
convince a reasonable man that an offense was about to be committed. Moreover, the Court of Appeals observed:

The police officers in such a volatile situation would be guilty of gross negligence and dereliction of duty, not to mention of gross
incompetence, if they [would] first wait for Malacat to hurl the grenade, and kill several innocent persons while maiming numerous
others, before arriving at what would then be an assured but moot conclusion that there was indeed probable cause for an arrest. We are
in agreement with the lower court in saying that the probable cause in such a situation should not be the kind of proof necessary to
convict, but rather the practical considerations of everyday life on which a reasonable and prudent mind, and not legal technicians, will
ordinarily act.

Finally, the Court of Appeals held that the rule laid down in People v. Mengote,[26] which petitioner relied upon, was inapplicable in
light of [c]rucial differences, to wit:

[In Mengote] the police officers never received any intelligence report that someone [at] the corner of a busy street [would] be in
possession of a prohibited article. Here the police officers were responding to a [sic] public clamor to put a check on the series of
terroristic bombings in the Metropolis, and, after receiving intelligence reports about a bomb threat aimed at the vicinity of the
historically notorious Plaza Miranda, they conducted foot patrols for about seven days to observe suspicious movements in the area.
Furthermore, in Mengote, the police officers [had] no personal knowledge that the person arrested has committed, is actually
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense. Here, PO3 Yu [had] personal knowledge of the fact that he chased Malacat in Plaza
Miranda two days before he finally succeeded in apprehending him.

Unable to accept his conviction, petitioner forthwith filed the instant petition and assigns the following errors:

1. THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE FINDING OF THE TRIAL COURT THAT THE WARRANTLESS ARREST
OF PETITIONER WAS VALID AND LEGAL.

2. THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE RULING IN PEOPLE VS. MENGOTE DOES NOT FIND
APPLICATION IN THE INSTANT CASE.

In support thereof, petitioner merely restates his arguments below regarding the validity of the warrantless arrest and search, then
disagrees with the finding of the Court of Appeals that he was attempting to commit a crime, as the evidence for the prosecution merely
disclosed that he was standing at the corner of Plaza Miranda and Quezon Boulevard with his eyes moving very fast and looking at every
person that come (sic) nearer (sic) to them. Finally, petitioner points out the factual similarities between his case and that of People v.
Mengote to demonstrate that the Court of Appeals miscomprehended the latter.

In its Comment, the Office of the Solicitor General prays that we affirm the challenged decision.

For being impressed with merit, we resolved to give due course to the petition.

The challenged decision must immediately fall on jurisdictional grounds. To repeat, the penalty imposed by the trial court was:
[N]ot less than SEVENTEEN (17) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS AND ONE (1) DAY OF RECLUSION TEMPORAL, as minimum, and not
more than THIRTY (30) YEARS OF RECLUSION PERPETUA, as maximum.

The penalty provided by Section 3 of P.D. No. 1866 upon any person who shall unlawfully possess grenades is reclusion temporal in its
maximum period to reclusion perpetua.

For purposes of determining appellate jurisdiction in criminal cases, the maximum of the penalty, and not the minimum, is taken into
account. Since the maximum of the penalty is reclusion perpetua, the appeal therefrom should have been to us, and not the Court of
Appeals, pursuant to Section 9(3) of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 (B.P. Blg. 129),[27] in relation to Section 17 of the
Judiciary Act of 1948,[28] Section 5(2) of Article VIII of the Constitution[29] and Section 3(c) of Rule 122 of the Rules of Court.[30] The
term life imprisonment as used in Section 9 of B.P. Blg. 129, the Judiciary Act of 1948, and Section 3 of Rule 122 must be deemed to
include reclusion perpetua in view of Section 5(2) of Article VIII of the Constitution.

Petitioners Notice of Appeal indicated that he was appealing from the trial courts decision to this Court, yet the trial court transmitted
the record to the Court of Appeals and the latter proceeded to resolve the appeal.

We then set aside the decision of the Court of Appeals for having been rendered without jurisdiction, and consider the appeal as having
been directly brought to us, with the petition for review as petitioners Brief for the Appellant, the comment thereon by the Office of the
Solicitor General as the Brief for the Appellee and the memoranda of the parties as their Supplemental Briefs.

Deliberating on the foregoing pleadings, we find ourselves convinced that the prosecution failed to establish petitioners guilt with moral
certainty.

First, serious doubt surrounds the story of police officer Yu that a grenade was found in and seized from petitioners possession. Notably,
Yu did not identify, in court, the grenade he allegedly seized. According to him, he turned it over to his commander after putting an X
mark at its bottom; however, the commander was not presented to corroborate this claim. On the other hand, the grenade presented in
court and identified by police officer Ramilo referred to what the latter received from Lt. Eduardo Cabrera and police officer Diotoy not
immediately after petitioners arrest, but nearly seven (7) months later, or on 19 March 1991; further, there was no evidence whatsoever
that what Ramilo received was the very same grenade seized from petitioner. In his testimony, Yu never declared that the grenade
passed on to Ramilo was the grenade the former confiscated from petitioner. Yu did not, and was not made to, identify the grenade
examined by Ramilo, and the latter did not claim that the grenade he examined was that seized from petitioner. Plainly, the law
enforcement authorities failed to safeguard and preserve the chain of evidence so crucial in cases such as these.

Second, if indeed petitioner had a grenade with him, and that two days earlier he was with a group about to detonate an explosive at
Plaza Miranda, and Yu and his fellow officers chased, but failed to arrest them, then considering that Yu and his three fellow officers
were in uniform and therefore easily cognizable as police officers, it was then unnatural and against common experience that petitioner
simply stood there in proximity to the police officers. Note that Yu observed petitioner for thirty minutes and must have been close
enough to petitioner in order to discern petitioners eyes moving very fast.

Finally, even assuming that petitioner admitted possession of the grenade during his custodial investigation by police officer Serapio,
such admission was inadmissible in evidence for it was taken in palpable violation of Section 12(1) and (3) of Article III of the
Constitution, which provide as follows:

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.

xxx

(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall be inadmissible in evidence against him.

Serapio conducted the custodial investigation on petitioner the day following his arrest. No lawyer was present and Serapio could not
have requested a lawyer to assist petitioner as no PAO lawyer was then available. Thus, even if petitioner consented to the investigation
and waived his rights to remain silent and to counsel, the waiver was invalid as it was not in writing, neither was it executed in the
presence of counsel.

Even granting ex gratia that petitioner was in possession of a grenade, the arrest and search of petitioner were invalid, as will be
discussed below.

The general rule as regards arrests, searches and seizures is that a warrant is needed in order to validly effect the same.[31] The
Constitutional prohibition against unreasonable arrests, searches and seizures refers to those effected without a validly issued
warrant,[32] subject to certain exceptions. As regards valid warrantless arrests, these are found in Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of
Court, which reads, in part:

Sec. 5. -- Arrest, without warrant; when lawful -- A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;

(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested
has committed it; and

(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped ***

A warrantless arrest under the circumstances contemplated under Section 5(a) has been denominated as one "in flagrante delicto,"
while that under Section 5(b) has been described as a "hot pursuit" arrest.

Turning to valid warrantless searches, they are limited to the following: (1) customs searches; (2) search of moving vehicles; (3) seizure
of evidence in plain view; (4) consent searches;[33] (5) a search incidental to a lawful arrest;[34] and (6) a "stop and frisk."[35]

In the instant petition, the trial court validated the warrantless search as a stop and frisk with the seizure of the grenade from the
accused [as] an appropriate incident to his arrest, hence necessitating a brief discussion on the nature of these exceptions to the warrant
requirement.
At the outset, we note that the trial court confused the concepts of a "stop-and-frisk" and of a search incidental to a lawful arrest. These
two types of warrantless searches differ in terms of the requisite quantum of proof before they may be validly effected and in their
allowable scope.

In a search incidental to a lawful arrest, as the precedent arrest determines the validity of the incidental search, the legality of the arrest
is questioned in a large majority of these cases, e.g., whether an arrest was merely used as a pretext for conducting a search.[36] In this
instance, the law requires that there first be a lawful arrest before a search can be made -- the process cannot be reversed.[37] At
bottom, assuming a valid arrest, the arresting officer may search the person of the arrestee and the area within which the latter may
reach for a weapon or for evidence to destroy, and seize any money or property found which was used in the commission of the crime, or
the fruit of the crime, or that which may be used as evidence, or which might furnish the arrestee with the means of escaping or
committing violence.[38]

Here, there could have been no valid in flagrante delicto or hot pursuit arrest preceding the search in light of the lack of personal
knowledge on the part of Yu, the arresting officer, or an overt physical act, on the part of petitioner, indicating that a crime had just been
committed, was being committed or was going to be committed.

Having thus shown the invalidity of the warrantless arrest in this case, plainly, the search conducted on petitioner could not have been
one incidental to a lawful arrest.

We now proceed to the justification for and allowable scope of a "stop-and-frisk" as a "limited protective search of outer clothing for
weapons," as laid down in Terry, thus:

We merely hold today that where a police officer observes unusual conduct which leads him reasonably to conclude in light of his
experience that criminal activity may be afoot and that the persons with whom he is dealing may be armed and presently dangerous,
where in the course of investigating this behavior he identifies himself as a policeman and makes reasonable inquiries, and where
nothing in the initial stages of the encounter serves to dispel his reasonable fear for his own or others' safety, he is entitled for the
protection of himself and others in the area to conduct a carefully limited search of the outer clothing of such persons in an attempt to
discover weapons which might be used to assault him. Such a search is a reasonable search under the Fourth Amendment ***[39]

Other notable points of Terry are that while probable cause is not required to conduct a "stop and frisk,"[40] it nevertheless holds that
mere suspicion or a hunch will not validate a "stop and frisk." A genuine reason must exist, in light of the police officer's experience and
surrounding conditions, to warrant the belief that the person detained has weapons concealed about him.[41] Finally, a "stop-and-frisk"
serves a two-fold interest: (1) the general interest of effective crime prevention and detection, which underlies the recognition that a
police officer may, under appropriate circumstances and in an appropriate manner, approach a person for purposes of investigating
possible criminal behavior even without probable cause; and (2) the more pressing interest of safety and self-preservation which permit
the police officer to take steps to assure himself that the person with whom he deals is not armed with a deadly weapon that could
unexpectedly and fatally be used against the police officer.

Here, here are at least three (3) reasons why the stop-and-frisk was invalid:

First, we harbor grave doubts as to Yus claim that petitioner was a member of the group which attempted to bomb Plaza Miranda two
days earlier. This claim is neither supported by any police report or record nor corroborated by any other police officer who allegedly
chased that group. Aside from impairing Yu's credibility as a witness, this likewise diminishes the probability that a genuine reason
existed so as to arrest and search petitioner. If only to further tarnish the credibility of Yu's testimony, contrary to his claim that
petitioner and his companions had to be chased before being apprehended, the affidavit of arrest (Exh. "A") expressly declares
otherwise, i.e., upon arrival of five (5) other police officers, petitioner and his companions were "immediately collared."

Second, there was nothing in petitioners behavior or conduct which could have reasonably elicited even mere suspicion other than that
his eyes were moving very fast an observation which leaves us incredulous since Yu and his teammates were nowhere near petitioner
and it was already 6:30 p.m., thus presumably dusk. Petitioner and his companions were merely standing at the corner and were not
creating any commotion or trouble, as Yu explicitly declared on cross-examination:
Q And what were they doing?
A They were merely standing.
Q You are sure of that?
A Yes, sir.
Q And when you saw them standing, there were nothing or they did not create any commotion?
A None, sir.
Q Neither did you see them create commotion?
A None, sir.[42]

Third, there was at all no ground, probable or otherwise, to believe that petitioner was armed with a deadly weapon. None was visible to
Yu, for as he admitted, the alleged grenade was discovered inside the front waistline of petitioner, and from all indications as to the
distance between Yu and petitioner, any telltale bulge, assuming that petitioner was indeed hiding a grenade, could not have been
visible to Yu. In fact, as noted by the trial court:

When the policemen approached the accused and his companions, they were not yet aware that a handgrenade was tucked inside his
waistline. They did not see any bulging object in [sic] his person.[43]

What is unequivocal then in this case are blatant violations of petitioners rights solemnly guaranteed in Sections 2 and 12(1) of Article
III of the Constitution.

WHEREFORE, the challenged decision of the Seventeenth Division of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 15988 is SET ASIDE for
lack of jurisdiction on the part of said Court and, on ground of reasonable doubt, the decision of 10 February 1994 of Branch 5 of the
Regional Trial Court of Manila is REVERSED and petitioner SAMMY MALACAT y MANDAR is hereby ACQUITTED and ORDERED
immediately released from detention, unless his further detention is justified for any other lawful cause.

Costs de oficio.

SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 120330. November 18, 1997]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. WENCESLAO JAYSON, accused-appellant.

DECISION

MENDOZA, J.:

Accused-appellant Wenceslao Jayson was charged with violation of P.D. No. 1866 in the Regional Trial Court of Davao City. The
amended information alleged

That on or about March 16, 1991, in the City of Davao, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-
mentioned accused wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously with intent to possess, had in his possession and under his custody one (1) .38
caliber revolver (Paltik), with Serial Number 91955 and four (4) live ammunitions inside the chamber of said revolver, without first
securing the necessary license to possess the same.

That the same .38 caliber revolver was used by the accused in killing Nelson Jordan on March 16, 1991.

Contrary to law.

Davao City, Philippines, July 12, 1991.

The prosecution evidence shows that in the evening of March 16, 1991, accused-appellant, then a bouncer at the Ihaw-Ihaw nightclub on
Bonifacio Street, Davao City, shot one Nelson Jordan. He was arrested after he had been pointed by eyewitnesses as the gunman.
Recovered from him was a .38 caliber revolver with serial number 91955,[1] four live bullets, and one empty shell.[2] The firearm and
ammunition were covered by a memorandum receipt and mission order issued by Major Francisco Arquillano, Deputy Commander of
the Civil-Military Operation and CAFGU Affairs of the Davao Metropolitan District Command.[3] The mission order authorized
accused-appellant to carry the said firearm and twelve rounds of ammunition [t]o intensify intel[ligence] coverage and was for a three-
month duration (from February 8, 1991 to May 8, 1991), subject to the following restrictions:[4]

VII. The carrying of firearms is prohibited in places where people gather for political, religious, social, educational, and recreational
purposes, such as churches or chapels, carnival grounds or fans, nightclubs, cabarets, dance halls, dancing places during fiestas and
other celebrations, bars, liquor drinking places, theaters or movies, cockpits, race tracks and the like, except when the personnel
concerned is on official mission in such places for which he was authorized to carry firearms.

Accused-appellant was initially charged with murder[5] in an information filed on March 20, 1991 and docketed as Criminal Case No.
22,456-91 in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 18 of Davao City but, after plea-bargaining, he was allowed to plead guilty to the lesser
offense of homicide.[6] In a decision dated September 24, 1991, the trial court sentenced him to imprisonment of 6 years and 1 day of
prision mayor, as minimum, to 12 years and 1 day of reclusion temporal, as maximum.[7]

On July 15, 1991, he was charged with illegal possession of firearm.[8] The information against him was amended on October 8, 1991 in
order to allege that the firearm subject of the charge had been used in the killing of a person (Nelson Jordan) on March 16, 1991.

On June 17, 1993,[9] he was found guilty by the Regional Trial Court and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. The trial court found
accused-appellant acted in good faith, believing that the mission order and memorandum receipt issued to him were valid.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals[10] increased the penalty on accused-appellant to reclusion perpetua and, in accordance with Rule 124,
13 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, certified the case to this Court for review. Both accused-appellant and plaintiff-appellee have
filed supplemental briefs.

Accused-appellant maintains that he acted in the good faith belief that he was authorized to carry the firearm by virtue of the mission
order and memorandum receipt issued to him by Major Francisco Arquillano of the Davao Metropolitan District Command. He argues
that the failure of the prosecution to present as witness the government official who had certified that accused-appellant was not the
holder of a firearms license is fatal to the prosecution of this case.

I.

Although not raised as an error by the accused-appellant, it is pertinent to consider the circumstances surrounding accused-appellants
arrest and the seizure from him of the firearm in question considering that both were made without any warrant from a court.

With respect to the arrest, SPO1 Loreto Tenebro[11] testified that at around 10:00 in the evening of March 16, 1991, while he and
Patrolmen Camotes and Reinerio Racolas were patrolling in their car, they received a radio message from their camp directing them to
proceed to the Ihaw-Ihaw on Bonifacio Street where there had been a shooting. Accordingly, they proceeded to the place and there saw
the victim, Nelson Jordan. Bystanders pointed to accused-appellant as the one who had shot Jordan. They then arrested accused-
appellant. Seized from him was a .38 caliber revolver with serial number 91955. The firearm was covered by a mission order and
memorandum receipt. Considering these facts, we hold that the warrantless arrest and search were valid.

Rule 113, 5(b) of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides:

Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person: . . . .

(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested
has committed it.

In the case at bar there was a shooting. The policemen summoned to the scene of the crime found the victim. Accused-appellant was
pointed to them as the assailant only moments after the shooting. In fact accused-appellant had not gone very far (only ten meters away
from the Ihaw-Ihaw), although he was then fleeing. The arresting officers thus acted on the basis of personal knowledge of the death of
the victim and of facts indicating that accused-appellant was the assailant.

This Court has upheld a warrantless arrest under analogous circumstances. In People v. Tonog, Jr.,[12] the police found the lifeless body
of a person with several stab wounds. An informer pointed to the accused as the person who had killed the victim. That afternoon, police
officers arrested the accused. On their way to the police station, a policeman noticed bloodstains on the accuseds pants which, when
examined, was found to be the same blood type O found on the fatal knife. The Court upheld the warrantless arrest and ruled that the
blood-stained pants, having been seized as an incident of a lawful arrest, was admissible in evidence.
In People v. Gerente,[13] the police arrested the accused three hours after the victim had been killed. They went to the scene of the
crime where they found a piece of wood and a concrete hollow block used by the killers in bludgeoning the victim to death. A neighbor
of the accused who witnessed the killing, pointed to him as one of the assailants. The warrantless arrest was held valid under Rule 113,
5(b).

In People v. Acol,[14] a group held up a passenger jeepney. Policemen immediately responded to the report of the crime. One of the
victims saw four persons walking towards Fort Bonifacio, one of whom was wearing his jacket. He pointed them to the policemen. When
the group saw the policemen coming, they ran in different directions. Three were caught and arrested. Each was found in possession of
an unlicensed revolver and charged with illegal possession of firearms. The accused claimed that the warrantless seizure of firearms was
illegal. The Court rejected their plea and held that the search was a valid incident of a lawful arrest.

The subsequent search of accused-appellants person and the seizure from him of the firearm was likewise lawful. Rule 126, 12 states:

Sec. 12. Search incident to lawful arrest. A person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous weapons or anything which may be
used as proof of the commission of an offense, without a search warrant.

In People v. Lua,[15] a buy-bust operation was conducted against the accused. After accused had gone inside his house and returned
with the three tea bags of marijuana and received the marked money, the designated poseur-buyer gave the signal to his fellow police
officers who closed in and arrested the accused. In the course of the arrest, a police officer noticed something bulging at accuseds
waistline, which turned out to be an unlicensed .38 caliber paltik with two live bullets. Accused was charged with illegal possession of
firearm. The search was held to be a valid incident of a lawful arrest.

II.

We now come to the main question of accused-appellants liability for illegal possession of firearm. There is no dispute that accused-
appellant was in possession of the gun in this case. His defense is that the gun is covered by a memorandum receipt and mission order
issued by Major Francisco Arquillano, then Deputy Commander of the Civil-Military Operation and CAFGU Affairs of the Davao
Metropolitan District Command.

The issuance of mission orders is governed by Memorandum Circular No. 8 dated October 16, 1986 of the then Ministry of Justice,
which in pertinent part states:[16]

. . It is unlawful for any person or office to issue a mission order authorizing the carrying of firearms by any person unless the following
conditions are met:

1. That the AFP officer is authorized by the law to issue the mission order;

2. That the recipient or addressee of the mission order is also authorized by the law to have a mission order, i.e., he must be an organic
member of the command/unit of the AFP officer issuing the mission order. If mission orders are issued to civilians (not members of the
uniformed service), they must be civilian agents included in the regular plantilla of the government agency involved in law enforcement
and are receiving regular compensation for the services they are rendering. (In this case, the agency head or officials so designated by
the law shall issue the mission order.) . . . .

As the Court of Appeals held, however, Major Arquillano, who had issued the mission order in question, was not authorized to do the
same. Neither was accused-appellant qualified to have a mission order.

Admittedly, Major Arquillano was not authorized to issue mission orders to civilian agents of the AFP as he was not any of the following
officers mentioned in the Implementing Rules and Regulations of P.D. No. 1866, 5(a), to wit:[17]

(1) The Minister of National Defense and such other Ministry officials duly designated by him;

(2) The Chief of Staff, AFP;

(3) Chief of the General/Special/Technical and Personal Staffs of GHQ AFP;

(4) Commanders of the AFP Major Services including the Chiefs of their respective General/Special/Technical and Personal Staffs;

(5) Commanders and Chiefs of Staffs of AFPWSSU and major commands/units of the AFP and the Major Services;

(6) Commanders of battalions and higher units and their equivalent in the Philippine Air Force and Philippine Navy;

(7) Commanders of AFP intelligence units from GHQ AFP down to regional command levels;

(8) Provincial Commanders, METRODISCOM Commanders, company commanders and their equivalent in the Philippine Air Force
and Philippine Navy; and

(9) Detachment commanders in remote areas whose higher commanders are not easily available to issue such orders.

Major Arquillano claimed, however, that Colonel Franco Calida, had authorized him (Major Arquillano) to exercise this function so that
people would not be swarming [in Calidas] office.[18] As the appellate court well stated, full faith and credit cannot be given to such
bare assertion. Not only was there no written delegation of authority to Major Arquillano, it is even doubtful whether Col. Calida, who,
as commander of the unit had authority to issue mission orders, could delegate this authority to his deputy.

Nor was accused-appellant qualified to be issued a mission order because he was a mere reserve of the Citizen Forces Geographical Unit
(CAFGU) without regular monthly compensation. In fact he worked as a bouncer in a nightclub, and it was as a bouncer that he used the
gun seized from him.

Even assuming that the issuance to accused-appellant of the mission order was valid, it is clear that, in carrying the firearm inside the
nightclub where he was working as a bouncer, accused-appellant violated the restrictions in the mission order. These restrictions
prohibited him from carrying firearms in places where people converge unless on official mission. Accused-appellants claim that he had
been told by Major Arquillano that he could carry the firearm anywhere in Davao City[19] was flatly denied by Major Arquillano who
testified that precisely he called accused-appellants attention to the restrictions.[20]
Nevertheless, it is argued that the prosecution failed to prove accused-appellants guilt beyond reasonable doubt because the prosecution
did not present SPO4 Welliejado S. Sim of the FAS/Explosive NCO Davao Metropolitan District Command, who had certified that per
records on file [in] this Command Mr. Wenceslao Jayson does not exist/appear in the list of license holders as of this date. Accused-
appellant claims that the prosecution merely presented as Exhibit H the certification without calling the issuing authority to testify so
that he could be cross-examined with regard to his certification.

Objection based on this ground must be deemed waived in view of accused-appellants failure to object to the presentation of the
evidence. The certification in question was marked when the parties entered into a stipulation of facts,[21] but accused-appellants
counsel did not object. Neither did counsel object when the certification was offered in evidence by the prosecution.[22]

In any event, accused-appellant does not claim to be the holder of a regular license but only of a mission order and memorandum
receipt. Considering the invalidity of these documents, both the Regional Trial Court and Court of Appeals correctly held accused-
appellant liable under P.D. No. 1866.

Nor can accused-appellant claim to have acted in the good faith belief that the documents issued to him sufficed as legal authority for
him to carry the firearm. As the Court of Appeals pointed out, good faith and absence of criminal intent are not valid defenses because
the offense committed is malum prohibitum punishable by special law.[23]

III.

It remains for us to determine whether the provisions of the recently enacted R.A. No. 8294, amending P.D. No. 1866,[24] can be
applied to this case on the theory that it is more favorable to accused-appellant.[25] R.A. No. 8294, provides in pertinent part:

1. Unlawful Manufacture, Sale, Acquisition, Disposition or Possession of Firearms or ammunition or Instruments Used or Intended to
be Used in the Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunition. - The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine of not
less than Fifteen thousand pesos (P15,000) shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully manufacture, deal in, acquire,
dispose, or possess any low powered firearm, such as rimfire handgun, .380 or .32 and other firearm of similar firepower, part of
firearm, ammunition, or machinery, tool or instrument used or intended to be used in the manufacture of any firearm or ammunition:
Provided, That no other crime was committed.

....

If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, such use of an unlicensed firearm shall be considered as an
aggravating circumstance. (Emphasis added)

Apparently, even though the penalty for illegal possession of firearm has been reduced in the new law, the latter cannot be applied in
this case so as to favor accused-appellant in view of the proviso in 1 that the first paragraph, providing for lighter penalty, does not apply
to cases where another crime has been committed. Nor can the third paragraph be applied by considering the illegal possession of
firearm as a mere aggravating circumstance because, although the gun seized was used in the commission of a crime, this case concerns
solely the charge of illegal possession of firearm. The criminal case for homicide is not before us for consideration.

Consequently, this case must be decided in accordance with the ruling in People v. Quijada,[26] that a person who kills another with the
use of an unlicensed firearm is guilty of homicide or murder as the case may be under the Revised Penal Code and aggravated illegal
possession of firearm under P.D. No. 1866, 1, par. 2.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 83260 April 18, 1990

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
JUAN DE LA CRUZ y GONZALES and REYNALDO BELTRAN y ANIBAN, accused-appellants.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.


Augusta J. Salas for accused-appellants.

REGALADO, J.:

Accused-appellant Juan de la Cruz y Gonzales and his co-accused Reynaldo Beltran y Aniban were charged in Criminal Case No. 87-
54417 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila with violation of Section 4, Art. II, in relation to Section 21, Article IV of Republic Act No.
6425, as amended, in an information which reads:

That on or about May 4, 1987, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, conspiring and confederating together and mutually
helping each other, not being authorized by law to sell, deliver, give away to another or distribute any prohibited drug, did then and
there wilfully, unlawfully, and knowingly sell, deliver or give away to and other the following:

1. One (1) cigarette foil wrapper containing marijuana;

2. Two (2) cigarette foil wrapper (sic) containing marijuana which are prohibited drugs.

Contrary to law.1

The accused, who were assisted by a counsel de oficio, pleaded not guilty when arraigned on May 26, 1987. On August 18, 1987, trial on
the merits started, with the prosecution thereafter presenting as its witnesses P/Pfc. Adolfo Arcoy, P/Capt. Luena Layador, T/Sgt. Jaime
Raposas, Sgt. Vicente Jimenez, and S/Sgt. Armando Isidro. On its part, the defense presented both accused, Lolita Mendoza and
Maribeth Manapat as its witnesses.

The court a quo, in a comparative evaluation of evidence, painstakingly summarized the clashing factual versions of the prosecution and
defense, as follows:

. . . On its part, the prosecution alleged that after receiving a confidential report from Arnel, their informant, a "buy-bust" operation was
conducted by the 13th Narcotics Regional Unit through a team composed of T/Sgt. Jaime Raposas as Team Leader, S/Sgt. Rodelito
Oblice, Sgt. Dante Yang, Sgt. Vicente Jimenez, P/Pfc. Adolfo Arcoy as poseur-buyer and Pat. Deogracias Gorgonia at Maliclic St., Tondo,
Manila at around 2:30 o'clock in the afternoon of May 4, 1987 to catch the pusher/s. P/Pfc. Adolfo Arcoy acted as the poseur-buyer with
Arnel as his companion to buy marijuana worth P10.00 from the two accused, Juan de la Cruz and Reynaldo Beltran. At the scene, it
was Juan de la Cruz whom Arcoy first negotiated (with) on the purchase and when Arcoy told De la Cruz that he was buying P10.00
worth of marijuana, De la Cruz instructed Reynaldo Beltran to give one aluminum foil of marijuana which Beltran got from his pants'
pocket and delivered it to Arcoy. After ascertaining that the foil of suspected marijuana was really marijuana, Arcoy gave the
prearranged signal to his teammates by scratching his head and his teammates who were strategically positioned in the vicinity,
converged at the place, identified themselves as NARCOM agents and effected the arrest of De la Cruz and Beltran. The P10.00 marked
bill (Exhibit C-1) used by Arcoy was found in the possession of Juan de la Cruz together with two aluminum foils and containing
marijuana (Exhibits "B-2" and "B-3").

Traversing this version is that of the defense which, in brief, consists of a denial to (sic) the prosecution's theory and the claim that
accused Juan de la Cruz, who was then suffering from loose bowel movement, was all the time in bed at their place at 3034 Maliclic St.,
Tondo, Manila; that he never left their place throughout that day of May 4, 1987; that he never had a visitor on that day and that he was
never engaged in the sale of marijuana. The NARCOM agents raided his place without search warrant or without first securing his
previous permission. One searched thoroughly his place, the second acted as a guard posted at the door of De la Cruz' place and the
third agent was a mere observer. His place was ransacked and he was even bodily searched. As regards accused Reynaldo Beltran, he
was arrested by the same group (prior to the arrest of Juan de la Cruz) while he was playing "pool" at Aling Ely's place along Maliclic St.
that afternoon and that without much ado, he was taken because he was fingered by one Arnel to be engaged in selling marijuana. Both
accused were brought to a parked vehicle of the raiding team, From there, they were taken to NARCOM headquarters for investigation
where for the first time they came to know that they were being charged of selling marijuana. 2

Finding the version of the prosecution more worthy of credit, the court a quo rendered its decision3 on March 15, 1988, the decretal
portion of which states:

WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing consideration, the Court finds the accused, JUAN DE LA CRUZ y GONZALES and
REYNALDO BELTRAN y ANIBAN, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the Violation of Section 4, Article II, in relation to Section 21,
Article IV, both of Republic Act No. 6425, otherwise known as Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as further amended by Presidential Decree
No. 1675 and as charged in the Information, and, accordingly, hereby sentences each of them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua,
with the accessory penalties provided by law; to pay a fine of TWENTY THOUSAND (P20,000.00) PESOS, Philippine currency, without
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and each to pay one-half of the costs.

The three (3) aluminum foils containing marijuana (Exhibits "B-2" to "B-4") placed in an empty Marlboro pack (Exhibit "B-1") are
hereby ordered confiscated and forfeited in favor of the government and once this Decision shall become final and executory, the same
shall be turned over to the Dangerous Drugs Board through the Director, National Bureau of Investigation, Manila, for proper
disposition while the P10.00 bill (Exhibit "C-1") bearing Serial No. F-215962 shall be returned to T/Sgt. Jaime Raposas.

Furnish copy of this Decision to the Honorable Supreme Court through the Honorable Court Administrator. 4

From this decision, accused Juan de la Cruz y Gonzales and co-accused Reynaldo Beltran y Aniban interposed the instant appeal.

In a letter of the Warden, Manila City Jail, dated March 3, 1989, 5 the Court was informed of the death of accused-appellant Juan de la
Cruz y Gonzales on February 21, 1989. Counsel de oficio having thereafter submitted a certified true copy of the death certificate of the
accused 6 as directed by the Court, the criminal case against said accused-appellant was dismissed in our resolution of September 25,
1989. 7

The present appellate proceeding is, therefore, limited only to appellant Reynaldo Beltran y Aniban who now faults the trial court with
the following assignment of errors:
1. The Buy-Bust Operation being done to enforce Republic Act 6425 is unconstitutional and any evidence acquired under such method
should not be admissible in court.

2. The Buy-Bust Operation should be declared illegal for it breeds corruption of police and military officers through planting of evidence
for purposes of extortion.

3. The Court erred in giving probative value to the confiscated marijuana sticks despite the fact that no civilian or other neutral person
signed as a witness to its taking. If it were true, there must be at least one civic-minded citizen who could easily be convinced by the
police to witness it.

4. The Court erred in considering the evidence, Exhibits "B-2," "B-3" and "B-4", as the very ones confiscated.

If they were the very ones taken from the accused, the original receipt prepared at the scene of the crime would not have been thrown
away by the very agent who acted as the buyer. Exhibit "E" should have been given no probative value for having been executed by
someone who did not actually confiscate the marijuana.

5. The Court erred in giving probative value to the Buy-Bust Operation when even the alleged marked money utilized in the operation
could not be identified by the leader, T/Sgt. Jaime Raposas.

6. The Court erred in not giving value to the testimony of the two disinterested witnesses for the defense, namely, Lolita Mendoza and
Maribeth Manapat, whose testimony corroborated substantially that of the accused.

7. The Court erred in concluding that there was no motive for the military to manufacture evidence.1âwphi1 It is common knowledge
that apprehensions of this kind are made to fill up a quota of arrest in cases handled to comply with standard operating procedure and
efficiency reports. 8

We affirm the judgment of conviction.

Appellant assails, unconstitutional, the manner in which the so-called buy-bust operation is conducted in order to enforce the
Dangerous Drugs Act. He stigmatizes it as no different from seizure of evidence from one's person or abode without a search warrant.
He argues that this procedure is pregnant with opportunities, and gives rise to situations, for corrupting our law enforcers.

We are not unmindful of the fact that the common modus operandi of narcotic agents in utilizing poseur-buyers does not always
commend itself as the most reliable way to go after violators of the Dangerous Drugs Act as it is susceptible of mistakes as well as
harassment, extortion and abuse. 9 By the very nature of this anti-narcotics operation, the possibility of abuse is great. 10

We are not, however, inclined to shackle the hands of narcotics agents whose task, as it is, is already formidable and attended with great
risk, lest their dedicated efforts for the apprehension and successful prosecution of prohibited drug violators be unduly hampered. The
proliferation of drug addiction and trafficking has already reached an alarming level and has spawned a network of incorrigible, cunning
and dangerous operations. Our experience has proven entrapment to be an effective means of apprehending drug peddlers as
exemplified by this case.

The Solicitor General explains that a buy-bust operation is the method employed by peace officers to trap and catch a malefactor in
flagrante delicto. It is essentially a form of entrapment since the peace officer neither instigates nor induces the accused to commit a
crime. 11 Entrapment is the employment of such ways and means for the purpose of trapping or capturing a lawbreaker from whose
mind the criminal intent originated. Oftentimes, it is the only effective way of apprehending a criminal in the act of the commission of
the offense.12

While it is conceded that in a buy-bust operation, there is seizure of evidence from one's person without a search warrant, needless to
state a search warrant is not necessary, the search being incident to a lawful arrest. 13 A peace officer may, without a warrant, arrest a
person when, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing or is attempting to commit an offense. 14
It is a matter of judicial experience that in the arrest of violators of the Dangerous Drugs Act in a buy-bust operation, the malefactors
were invariably caught red-handed. 15 There being no violation of the constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure, the
confiscated articles are admissible in evidence.

Appellant castigates the prosecution for not having presented any civilian or other neutral person who could attest that the foils of
marijuana were indeed confiscated from him. The absence of any civilian witness should not undermine the case for the prosecution.
The natural reaction of a civilian to inhibit himself from being a witness to a crime is understandable. A criminal proceeding entails a lot
of unavoidable inconveniences, aside from the time involved in attendance as a witness in investigations and hearings. Adding to this
the inherent fear of reprisal, we have the natural reticence and abhorrence of most people to get involved in a criminal case.

At any rate, the testimony of other witnesses in this case would only be cumulative or corroborative as they would only be repeating the
facts already amply testified to by the government witnesses. Credence should be accorded to the prosecution's evidence more so as it
consisted mainly of testimonies of policemen. Law enforcers are presumed to have regularly performed their duty in the absence of
proof to the contrary. 16

Appellant maintains that the court below should have rejected Exhibit E, which evidences the receipt of marijuana from appellant and
which was prepared by Sgt. Vicente Jimenez, in the absence of the original receipt prepared at the scene of the crime by P/Pfc. Arcoy
who was the poseur-buyer.

We agree with the Solicitor General, since this is borne out by the records, that Exhibit E is actually based on, as it is merely a clearer
copy of, the receipt prepared at the scene of the crime by P/Pfc. Arcoy. Since the draft receipt had to be prepared hurriedly at the scene
in order that the accused could be brought to the Narcotics Command, such draft receipt was not clearly written, so Sgt. Vicente
Jimenez mechanically transferred the written entries of P/Pfc. Arcoy into a more legible copy. 17 Nonetheless, there is no dispute that
Sgt. Jimenez, a member of the team, had personal knowledge of the facts set forth in both receipts, being an eyewitness to the events
that had transpired.

The testimony of T/Sgt. Jaime Raposas, the team leader who gave P/Pfc. Arcoy the money to pay for the marijuana, is challenged in that
he failed to identify the marked money utilized in the operation. Appellant insists that the marked money must be recorded, if not
photographed in order to be admissible as evidence. This is clutching at evidentiary and argumental straws.
As found by the trial court, the money was in the possession of P/Pfc. Arcoy who had been assigned as the poseur-buyer.1âwphi1 In the
ensuing transaction, the foil of marijuana was handed to Arcoy by appellant and then Arcoy gave the money to accused Juan dela Cruz.
18

Suffice it to say that even if the money given to De la Cruz was not presented in court, the same would not militate against the People's
case. 19 In fact, there was even no need to prove that the marked money was handed to the appellants in payment of the goods. The
crime could have been consummated by the mere delivery of the prohibited drugs. What the law proscribes is not only the act of selling
but also, albeit not limited to, the act of delivering. In the latter case, the act of knowingly passing a dangerous drug to another
personally or otherwise, and by any means, with or without consideration, consummates the offense. 20

On the trial court's rejection of the testimony of the alleged two disinterested witnesses for the defense, namely, Lolita Mendoza and
Maribeth Manapat, we find no reason to disturb its ruling. We reiterate the time-honored principle that on the issue of which version to
accept, the findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses are given great weight and the highest degree of respect by the
appellate court. Subject to exceptions which do not obtain in the present case, the trial court is in a better position to decide this
question, having seen and heard the witnesses themselves and observed their deportment and manner of testifying during the trial. 21

Appellant imputes insidious motives on the part of the military to manufacture evidence, theorizing that a buy-bust operation is for the
purpose either of extorting money or, in line with alleged internal policies, complying with a quota of arrests. 22 These are bare
unsupported allegations. From the evidence of record, we find no reason why the prosecution witness should fabricate their testimonies
and implicate appellant in such a serious crime. The defense has not established any cogent motive for the police officers to falsely
charge the accused with peddling marijuana. As found by the trial court, there is not even a breath, much less an accusation by the
defense, that the military and police personnel involved were indeed engaged in such nefarious activities. 23

Finally, appellant reproaches the prosecution for not presenting the civilian informer as a witness. 24 It is settled that the non-
presentation of a certain witness by the prosecution is not a sufficiently plausible defense. If the accused believes that the testimony of
said witness is important to his cause, he should avail thereof, even by compulsory judicial process if necessary. Furthermore, the non-
presentation of some prosecution witnesses does not detract from the prosecution's case, since the number of such witnesses who
should be called to testify is addressed to the sound discretion of the prosecuting officers. 25

WHEREFORE, the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Manila in Criminal Case No. 87-54417, insofar as accused-appellant
Reynaldo Beltran y Aniban is concerned, is hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 125299. January 22, 1999]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. FLORENCIO DORIA y BOLADO, and VIOLETA GADDAO y CATAMA @
"NENETH," accused-appellants.

DECISION

PUNO, J.:

On December 7, 1995, accused-appellants Florencio Doria y Bolado and Violeta Gaddao y Catama @ "Neneth" were charged with
violation of Section 4, in relation to Section 21 of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972.[1] The information reads:

"That on or about the 5th day of December, 1995 in the City of Mandaluyong, Philippines, a place within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping and aiding one another and without
having been authorized by law, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sell, administer, deliver and give away to
another eleven (11) plastic bags of suspected marijuana fruiting tops weighing 7,641.08 grams in violation of the above-cited law.

CONTRARY TO LAW."[2]

The prosecution contends the offense was committed as follows: In November 1995, members of the North Metropolitan District,
Philippine National Police (PNP) Narcotics Command (Narcom), received information from two (2) civilian informants (CI) that one
"Jun" was engaged in illegal drug activities in Mandaluyong City. The Narcom agents decided to entrap and arrest "Jun" in a buy-bust
operation. As arranged by one of the CI's, a meeting between the Narcom agents and "Jun" was scheduled on December 5, 1995 at E.
Jacinto Street in Mandaluyong City.

On December 5, 1995, at 6:00 in the morning, the CI went to the PNP Headquarters at EDSA, Kamuning, Quezon City to prepare for the
buy-bust operation. The Narcom agents formed Team Alpha composed of P/Insp. Nolasco Cortes as team leader and PO3 Celso
Manlangit, SPO1 Edmund Badua and four (4) other policemen as members. P/Insp. Cortes designated PO3 Manlangit as the poseur-
buyer and SPO1 Badua as his back-up, and the rest of the team as perimeter security. Superintendent Pedro Alcantara, Chief of the
North Metropolitan District PNP Narcom, gave the team P2,000.00 to cover operational expenses. From this sum, PO3 Manlangit set
aside P1,600.00-- a one thousand peso bill and six (6) one hundred peso bills[3]-- as money for the buy-bust operation. The market
price of one kilo of marijuana was then P1,600.00. PO3 Manlangit marked the bills with his initials and listed their serial numbers in
the police blotter.[4] The team rode in two cars and headed for the target area.

At 7:20 of the same morning, "Jun" appeared and the CI introduced PO3 Manlangit as interested in buying one (1) kilo of marijuana.
PO3 Manlangit handed "Jun" the marked bills worth P1,600.00. "Jun" instructed PO3 Manlangit to wait for him at the corner of Shaw
Boulevard and Jacinto Street while he got the marijuana from his associate.[5] An hour later, "Jun" appeared at the agreed place where
PO3 Manlangit, the CI and the rest of the team were waiting. "Jun" took out from his bag an object wrapped in plastic and gave it to
PO3 Manlangit. PO3 Manlangit forthwith arrested "Jun" as SPO1 Badua rushed to help in the arrest. They frisked "Jun" but did not find
the marked bills on him. Upon inquiry, "Jun" revealed that he left the money at the house of his associate named "Neneth."[6] "Jun" led
the police team to "Neneth's" house nearby at Daang Bakal.

The team found the door of "Neneth's" house open and a woman inside. "Jun" identified the woman as his associate.[7] SPO1 Badua
asked "Neneth" about the P1,600.00 as PO3 Manlangit looked over "Neneth's" house. Standing by the door, PO3 Manlangit noticed a
carton box under the dining table. He saw that one of the box's flaps was open and inside the box was something wrapped in plastic. The
plastic wrapper and its contents appeared similar to the marijuana earlier "sold" to him by "Jun." His suspicion aroused, PO3 Manlangit
entered "Neneth's" house and took hold of the box. He peeked inside the box and found that it contained ten (10) bricks of what
appeared to be dried marijuana leaves.

Simultaneous with the box's discovery, SPO1 Badua recovered the marked bills from "Neneth."[8] The policemen arrested "Neneth."
They took "Neneth" and "Jun," together with the box, its contents and the marked bills and turned them over to the investigator at
headquarters. It was only then that the police learned that "Jun" is Florencio Doria y Bolado while "Neneth" is Violeta Gaddao y
Catama. The one (1) brick of dried marijuana leaves recovered from "Jun" plus the ten (10) bricks recovered from "Neneth's" house were
examined at the PNP Crime Laboratory.[9] The bricks, eleven (11) in all, were found to be dried marijuana fruiting tops of various
weights totalling 7,641.08 grams.[10]

The prosecution story was denied by accused-appellants Florencio Doria and Violeta Gaddao. Florencio Doria, a 33-year old carpenter,
testified that on December 5, 1995, at 7:00 in the morning, he was at the gate of his house reading a tabloid newspaper. Two men
appeared and asked him if he knew a certain "Totoy." There were many "Totoys" in their area and as the men questioning him were
strangers, accused-appellant denied knowing any "Totoy." The men took accused-appellant inside his house and accused him of being a
pusher in their community. When accused-appellant denied the charge, the men led him to their car outside and ordered him to point
out the house of "Totoy." For five (5) minutes, accused-appellant stayed in the car. Thereafter, he gave in and took them to "Totoy's"
house.

Doria knocked on the door of "Totoy's" house but no one answered. One of the men, later identified as PO3 Manlangit, pushed open the
door and he and his companions entered and looked around the house for about three minutes. Accused-appellant Doria was left
standing at the door. The policemen came out of the house and they saw Violeta Gaddao carrying water from the well. He asked Violeta
where "Totoy" was but she replied he was not there. Curious onlookers and kibitzers were, by that time, surrounding them. When
Violeta entered her house, three men were already inside. Accused-appellant Doria, then still at the door, overheard one of the men say
that they found a carton box. Turning towards them, Doria saw a box on top of the table. The box was open and had something inside.
PO3 Manlangit ordered him and Violeta to go outside the house and board the car. They were brought to police headquarters where
they were investigated.

Accused-appellant Doria further declared that his co-accused, Violeta Gaddao, is the wife of his acquaintance, Totoy Gaddao. He said
that he and Totoy Gaddao sometimes drank together at the neighborhood store. This closeness, however, did not extend to Violeta,
Totoy's wife.[11]

Accused-appellant Violeta Gaddao, a 35-year old rice vendor, claimed that on December 5, 1995, she was at her house at Daang Bakal,
Mandaluyong City where she lived with her husband and five (5) children, namely, Arvy, aged 10, Arjay, aged 8, the twins Raymond and
Raynan, aged 5, and Jason, aged 3. That day, accused-appellant woke up at 5:30 in the morning and bought pan de sal for her children's
breakfast. Her husband, Totoy, a housepainter, had left for Pangasinan five days earlier. She woke her children and bathed them. Her
eldest son, Arvy, left for school at 6:45 A.M. Ten minutes later, she carried her youngest son, Jayson, and accompanied Arjay to school.
She left the twins at home leaving the door open. After seeing Arjay off, she and Jayson remained standing in front of the school soaking
in the sun for about thirty minutes. Then they headed for home. Along the way, they passed the artesian well to fetch water. She was
pumping water when a man clad in short pants and denim jacket suddenly appeared and grabbed her left wrist. The man pulled her and
took her to her house. She found out later that the man was PO3 Manlangit.

Inside her house were her co-accused Doria and three (3) other persons. They asked her about a box on top of the table. This was the
first time she saw the box. The box was closed and tied with a piece of green straw. The men opened the box and showed her its
contents. She said she did not know anything about the box and its contents.

Accused-appellant Violeta Gaddao confirmed that her co-accused Florencio Doria was a friend of her husband, and that her husband
never returned to their house after he left for Pangasinan. She denied the charge against her and Doria and the allegation that marked
bills were found in her person.[12]

After trial, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 156, Pasig City convicted the accused-appellants. The trial court found the existence of an
"organized/syndicated crime group" and sentenced both accused-appellants to death and pay a fine of P500,000.00 each. The
dispositive portion of the decision reads as follows:

"WHEREFORE, the guilt of accused, FLORENCIO DORIA y BOLADO @ "Jun" and VIOLETA GADDAO y CATAMA @ "Neneth" having
been established beyond reasonable doubt, they are both CONVICTED of the present charge against them.

According to the amendatory provisions of Sec. 13 of Republic Act No. 7659 which cover violations of Sec. 4 of Republic Act No. 6425
and which was exhaustively discussed in People v. Simon, 234 SCRA 555, the penalty imposable in this case is reclusion perpetua to
death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos. Taking into consideration, however, the provisions of
Sec. 23, also of Republic Act No. 7659 which explicitly state that:

'The maximum penalty shall be imposed if the offense was committed by any person who belongs to an organized/syndicated crime
group.

An organized/syndicated crime group means a group of two or more persons collaborating, confederating or mutually helping one
another for purposes of gain in the commission of any crime.'

the Court is hereby constrained to sentence (hereby sentences) said FLORENCIO DORIA y BOLADO @ "Jun" and VIOLETA GADDAO
y CATAMA @ "Neneth" to DEATH and to pay a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) each without subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency and to pay the costs.

The confiscated marijuana bricks (7,641.08 grams) shall be turned over to the Dangerous Drugs Board, NBI for destruction in
accordance with law.

Let a Commitment Order be issued for the transfer of accused DORIA from the Mandaluyong City Jail to the New Bilibid Prisons,
Muntinlupa City and also for accused GADDAO for her transfer to the Correctional Institute for Women, Mandaluyong City.

Let the entire records of this case be forwarded immediately to the Supreme Court for mandatory review.

SO ORDERED."[13]

Before this Court, accused-appellant Doria assigns two errors, thus:

"I

THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING WEIGHT TO THE TESTIMONY OF THE WITNESSES FOR THE PROSECUTION
WHEN THEIR TESTIMONIES WERE SHOT WITH DISCREPANCIES, INCONSISTENCIES AND THAT THE CORPUS DELICTI OF
THE MARIJUANA ALLEGEDLY TAKEN FROM APPELLANT WAS NOT POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED BY THE POSEUR-BUYER.

II

THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN ADMITTING AS EVIDENCE THE MARIJUANA FRUITINGS FOUND INSIDE THE
CARTON BOX AS THESE WERE OBTAINED THROUGH A WARRANTLESS SEARCH AND DOES NOT COME WITHIN THE PLAIN
VIEW DOCTRINE."[14]

Accused-appellant Violeta Gaddao contends:

"I

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING APPELLANT GUILTY DESPITE THE INCREDIBILITY OF THE POLICE VERSION OF
THE MANNER THE ALLEGED BUY-BUST AS CONDUCTED.

II

THE PNP OFFICERS' VERSIONS AS TO WHERE THE BUY-BUST MONEY CAME FROM ARE INCONSISTENT WITH ONE
ANOTHER AND ALSO REEKS WITH INCREDIBILITY.

III

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING APPELLANT GUILTY AND SENTENCING HER TO DEATH DESPITE THE MANIFESTLY
IRRECONCILABLE INCONSISTENCIES IN THE VERSIONS OF THE POLICE AS TO HOW AND BY WHOM THE ALLEGED BUY-
BUST MONEY WAS RECOVERED FROM HER, WHICH IN CONSEQUENCE RESULTS IN THE EVIDENCE, OF RETRIEVAL FROM
HER OF THE SAME, NEBULOUS, AT BEST, NIL, AT WORST.

IV

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE VALIDITY OF THE WARRANTLESS SEARCH LEADING TO THE SEIZURE OF
THE MARIJUANA ALLEGEDLY FOUND INSIDE THE HOUSE OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT."[15]

The assigned errors involve two principal issues: (1) the validity of the buy-bust operation in the apprehension of accused-appellant
Doria; and (2) the validity of the warrantless arrest of accused-appellant Gaddao, the search of her person and house, and the
admissibility of the pieces of evidence obtained therefrom.
Accused-appellants were caught by the police in a buy-bust operation. A buy-bust operation is a form of entrapment employed by peace
officers as an effective way of apprehending a criminal in the act of the commission of an offense.[16] Entrapment has received judicial
sanction when undertaken with due regard to constitutional and legal safeguards.[17]

Entrapment was unknown in common law. It is a judicially created twentieth-century American doctrine that evolved from the
increasing use of informers and undercover agents in the detection of crimes, particularly liquor and narcotics offenses.[18] Entrapment
sprouted from the doctrine of estoppel and the public interest in the formulation and application of decent standards in the
enforcement of criminal law.[19] It also took off from a spontaneous moral revulsion against using the powers of government to beguile
innocent but ductile persons into lapses that they might otherwise resist.[20]

In the American jurisdiction, the term "entrapment" has a generally negative meaning because it is understood as the inducement of
one to commit a crime not contemplated by him, for the mere purpose of instituting a criminal prosecution against him.[21] The classic
definition of entrapment is that articulated by Justice Roberts in Sorrells v. United States,[22] the first Supreme Court decision to
acknowledge the concept: "Entrapment is the conception and planning of an offense by an officer, and his procurement of its
commission by one who would not have perpetrated it except for the trickery, persuasion or fraud of the officer."[23] It consists of two
(2) elements: (a) acts of persuasion, trickery, or fraud carried out by law enforcement officers or the agents to induce a defendant to
commit a crime; and (b) the origin of the criminal design in the minds of the government officials rather than that of the innocent
defendant, such that the crime is the product of the creative activity of the law enforcement officer.[24]

It is recognized that in every arrest, there is a certain amount of entrapment used to outwit the persons violating or about to violate the
law. Not every deception is forbidden. The type of entrapment the law forbids is the inducing of another to violate the law, the
"seduction" of an otherwise innocent person into a criminal career.[25] Where the criminal intent originates in the mind of the
entrapping person and the accused is lured into the commission of the offense charged in order to prosecute him, there is entrapment
and no conviction may be had.[26] Where, however, the criminal intent originates in the mind of the accused and the criminal offense is
completed, the fact that a person acting as a decoy for the state, or public officials furnished the accused an opportunity for commission
of the offense, or that the accused is aided in the commission of the crime in order to secure the evidence necessary to prosecute him,
there is no entrapment and the accused must be convicted.[27] The law tolerates the use of decoys and other artifices to catch a
criminal.

Entrapment is recognized as a valid defense[28] that can be raised by an accused and partakes of the nature of a confession and
avoidance.[29] It is a positive defense. Initially, an accused has the burden of providing sufficient evidence that the government induced
him to commit the offense. Once established, the burden shifts to the government to show otherwise.[30] When entrapment is raised as
a defense, American federal courts and a majority of state courts use the "subjective" or "origin of intent" test laid down in Sorrells v.
United States[31] to determine whether entrapment actually occurred. The focus of the inquiry is on the accused's predisposition to
commit the offense charged, his state of mind and inclination before his initial exposure to government agents.[32] All relevant facts
such as the accused's mental and character traits, his past offenses, activities, his eagerness in committing the crime, his reputation, etc.,
are considered to assess his state of mind before the crime.[33] The predisposition test emphasizes the accused's propensity to commit
the offense rather than the officer's misconduct[34] and reflects an attempt to draw a line between a "trap for the unwary innocent and
the trap for the unwary criminal."[35] If the accused was found to have been ready and willing to commit the offense at any favorable
opportunity, the entrapment defense will fail even if a police agent used an unduly persuasive inducement.[36] Some states, however,
have adopted the "objective" test.[37] This test was first authoritatively laid down in the case of Grossman v. State[38] rendered by the
Supreme Court of Alaska. Several other states have subsequently adopted the test by judicial pronouncement or legislation. Here, the
court considers the nature of the police activity involved and the propriety of police conduct.[39] The inquiry is focused on the
inducements used by government agents, on police conduct, not on the accused and his predisposition to commit the crime. For the
goal of the defense is to deter unlawful police conduct.[40] The test of entrapment is whether the conduct of the law enforcement agent
was likely to induce a normally law-abiding person, other than one who is ready and willing, to commit the offense;[41] for purposes of
this test, it is presumed that a law-abiding person would normally resist the temptation to commit a crime that is presented by the
simple opportunity to act unlawfully.[42] Official conduct that merely offers such an opportunity is permissible, but overbearing
conduct, such as badgering, cajoling or importuning,[43] or appeals to sentiments such as pity, sympathy, friendship or pleas of
desperate illness, are not.[44] Proponents of this test believe that courts must refuse to convict an entrapped accused not because his
conduct falls outside the legal norm but rather because, even if his guilt has been established, the methods employed on behalf of the
government to bring about the crime "cannot be countenanced." To some extent, this reflects the notion that the courts should not
become tainted by condoning law enforcement improprieties.[45] Hence, the transactions leading up to the offense, the interaction
between the accused and law enforcement officer and the accused's response to the officer's inducements, the gravity of the crime, and
the difficulty of detecting instances of its commission are considered in judging what the effect of the officer's conduct would be on a
normal person.[46]

Both the "subjective" and "objective" approaches have been criticized and objected to. It is claimed that the "subjective" test creates an
"anything goes" rule, i.e., if the court determines that an accused was predisposed to commit the crime charged, no level of police deceit,
badgering or other unsavory practices will be deemed impermissible.[47] Delving into the accused's character and predisposition
obscures the more important task of judging police behavior and prejudices the accused more generally. It ignores the possibility that
no matter what his past crimes and general disposition were, the accused might not have committed the particular crime unless
confronted with inordinate inducements.[48] On the other extreme, the purely "objective" test eliminates entirely the need for
considering a particular accused's predisposition. His predisposition, at least if known by the police, may have an important bearing
upon the question of whether the conduct of the police and their agents was proper.[49] The undisputed fact that the accused was a
dangerous and chronic offender or that he was a shrewd and active member of a criminal syndicate at the time of his arrest is relegated
to irrelevancy.[50]

Objections to the two tests gave birth to hybrid approaches to entrapment. Some states in the United States now combine both the
"subjective" and "objective" tests.[51] In Cruz v. State,[52] the Florida Supreme Court declared that the permissibility of police conduct
must first be determined. If this objective test is satisfied, then the analysis turns to whether the accused was predisposed to commit the
crime.[53] In Baca v. State,[54] the New Mexico Supreme Court modified the state's entrapment analysis by holding that "a criminal
defendant may successfully assert a defense of entrapment, either by showing lack of predisposition to commit the crime for which he is
charged, or, that the police exceeded the standards of proper investigation.[55] The hybrid approaches combine and apply the
"objective" and "subjective" tests alternatively or concurrently.

As early as 1910, this Court has examined the conduct of law enforcers while apprehending the accused caught in flagrante delicto. In
United States v. Phelps,[56] we acquitted the accused from the offense of smoking opium after finding that the government employee, a
BIR personnel, actually induced him to commit the crime in order to prosecute him. Smith, the BIR agent, testified that Phelps'
apprehension came after he overheard Phelps in a saloon say that he liked smoking opium on some occasions. Smith's testimony was
disregarded. We accorded significance to the fact that it was Smith who went to the accused three times to convince him to look for an
opium den where both of them could smoke this drug.[57] The conduct of the BIR agent was condemned as "most reprehensible."[58]
In People v. Abella,[59] we acquitted the accused of the crime of selling explosives after examining the testimony of the apprehending
police officer who pretended to be a merchant. The police officer offered "a tempting price, xxx a very high one" causing the accused to
sell the explosives. We found that there was inducement, "direct, persistent and effective" by the police officer and that outside of his
testimony, there was no evidence sufficient to convict the accused.[60] In People v. Lua Chu and Uy Se Tieng,[61] we convicted the
accused after finding that there was no inducement on the part of the law enforcement officer. We stated that the Customs secret
serviceman smoothed the way for the introduction of opium from Hongkong to Cebu after the accused had already planned its
importation and ordered said drug. We ruled that the apprehending officer did not induce the accused to import opium but merely
entrapped him by pretending to have an understanding with the Collector of Customs of Cebu to better assure the seizure of the
prohibited drug and the arrest of the surreptitious importers.[62]

It was also in the same case of People v. Lua Chu and Uy Se Tieng[63] we first laid down the distinction between entrapment vis-a-vis
instigation or inducement. Quoting 16 Corpus Juris,[64] we held:

"ENTRAPMENT AND INSTIGATION. -- While it has been said that the practice of entrapping persons into crime for the purpose of
instituting criminal prosecutions is to be deplored, and while instigation, as distinguished from mere entrapment, has often been
condemned and has sometimes been held to prevent the act from being criminal or punishable, the general rule is that it is no defense
to the perpetrator of a crime that facilities for its commission were purposely placed in his way, or that the criminal act was done at the
'decoy solicitation' of persons seeking to expose the criminal, or that detectives feigning complicity in the act were present and
apparently assisting in its commission. Especially is this true in that class of cases where the offense is one of a kind habitually
committed, and the solicitation merely furnishes evidence of a course of conduct. Mere deception by the detective will not shield
defendant, if the offense was committed by him, free from the influence or instigation of the detective. The fact that an agent of an
owner acts as a supposed confederate of a thief is no defense to the latter in a prosecution for larceny, provided the original design was
formed independently of such agent; and where a person approached by the thief as his confederate notifies the owner or the public
authorities, and, being authorised by them to do so, assists the thief in carrying out the plan, the larceny is nevertheless committed. It is
generally held that it is no defense to a prosecution for an illegal sale of liquor that the purchase was made by a 'spotter,' detective, or
hired informer; but there are cases holding the contrary."[65]

The distinction above-quoted was reiterated in two (2) decisions of the Court of Appeals. In People v. Galicia,[66] the appellate court
declared that "there is a wide difference between entrapment and instigation." The instigator practically induces the would-be accused
into the commission of the offense and himself becomes a co-principal. In entrapment, ways and means are resorted to by the peace
officer for the purpose of trapping and capturing the lawbreaker in the execution of his criminal plan.[67] In People v. Tan Tiong,[68]
the Court of Appeals further declared that "entrapment is no bar to the prosecution and conviction of the lawbreaker."[69]

The pronouncement of the Court of Appeals in People v. Galicia was affirmed by this Court in People v. Tiu Ua.[70] Entrapment, we
further held, is not contrary to public policy. It is instigation that is deemed contrary to public policy and illegal.[71]

It can thus be seen that the concept of entrapment in the American jurisdiction is similar to instigation or inducement in Philippine
jurisprudence. Entrapment in the Philippines is not a defense available to the accused. It is instigation that is a defense and is
considered an absolutory cause.[72] To determine whether there is entrapment or instigation, our courts have mainly examined the
conduct of the apprehending officers, not the predisposition of the accused to commit the crime. The "objective" test first applied in
United States v. Phelps has been followed in a series of similar cases.[73] Nevertheless, adopting the "objective" approach has not
precluded us from likewise applying the "subjective" test. In People v. Boholst,[74] we applied both tests by examining the conduct of
the police officers in a buy-bust operation and admitting evidence of the accused's membership with the notorious and dreaded Sigue-
Sigue Sputnik Gang. We also considered accused's previous convictions of other crimes[75] and held that his opprobrious past and
membership with the dreaded gang strengthened the state's evidence against him. Conversely, the evidence that the accused did not sell
or smoke marijuana and did not have any criminal record was likewise admitted in People v. Yutuc[76] thereby sustaining his defense
that led to his acquittal.

The distinction between entrapment and instigation has proven to be very material in anti-narcotics operations. In recent years, it has
become common practice for law enforcement officers and agents to engage in buy-bust operations and other entrapment procedures in
apprehending drug offenders. Anti-narcotics laws, like anti-gambling laws are regulatory statutes.[77] They are rules of convenience
designed to secure a more orderly regulation of the affairs of society, and their violation gives rise to crimes mala prohibita.[78] They
are not the traditional type of criminal law such as the law of murder, rape, theft, arson, etc. that deal with crimes mala in se or those
inherently wrongful and immoral.[79] Laws defining crimes mala prohibita condemn behavior directed, not against particular
individuals, but against public order.[80] Violation is deemed a wrong against society as a whole and is generally unattended with any
particular harm to a definite person.[81] These offenses are carried on in secret and the violators resort to many devices and subterfuges
to avoid detection. It is rare for any member of the public, no matter how furiously he condemns acts mala prohibita, to be willing to
assist in the enforcement of the law. It is necessary, therefore, that government in detecting and punishing violations of these laws, rely,
not upon the voluntary action of aggrieved individuals, but upon the diligence of its own officials. This means that the police must be
present at the time the offenses are committed either in an undercover capacity or through informants, spies or stool pigeons.[82]

Though considered essential by the police in enforcing vice legislation, the confidential informant system breeds abominable abuse.
Frequently, a person who accepts payment from the police in the apprehension of drug peddlers and gamblers also accept payment
from these persons who deceive the police. The informant himself may be a drug addict, pickpocket, pimp, or other petty criminal. For
whatever noble purpose it serves, the spectacle that government is secretly mated with the underworld and uses underworld characters
to help maintain law and order is not an inspiring one.[83] Equally odious is the bitter reality of dealing with unscrupulous, corrupt and
exploitative law enforcers. Like the informant, unscrupulous law enforcers' motivations are legion-- harassment, extortion, vengeance,
blackmail, or a desire to report an accomplishment to their superiors. This Court has taken judicial notice of this ugly reality in a
number of cases[84] where we observed that it is a common modus operandi of corrupt law enforcers to prey on weak and hapless
persons, particularly unsuspecting provincial hicks.[85] The use of shady underworld characters as informants, the relative ease with
which illegal drugs may be planted in the hands or property of trusting and ignorant persons, and the imposed secrecy that inevitably
shrouds all drug deals have compelled this Court to be extra-vigilant in deciding drug cases.[86] Criminal activity is such that stealth
and strategy, although necessary weapons in the arsenal of the police officer, become as objectionable police methods as the coerced
confession and the unlawful search. As well put by the Supreme Court of California in People v. Barraza,[87]

"[E]ntrapment is a facet of a broader problem. Along with illegal search and seizures, wiretapping, false arrest, illegal detention and the
third degree, it is a type of lawless enforcement. They all spring from common motivations. Each is a substitute for skillful and scientific
investigation. Each is condoned by the sinister sophism that the end, when dealing with known criminals of the 'criminal classes,'
justifies the employment of illegal means."[88]

It is thus imperative that the presumption, juris tantum, of regularity in the performance of official duty by law enforcement agents
raised by the Solicitor General be applied with studied restraint. This presumption should not by itself prevail over the presumption of
innocence and the constitutionally-protected rights of the individual.[89] It is the duty of courts to preserve the purity of their own
temple from the prostitution of the criminal law through lawless enforcement.[90] Courts should not allow themselves to be used as an
instrument of abuse and injustice lest an innocent person be made to suffer the unusually severe penalties for drug offenses.[91]
We therefore stress that the "objective" test in buy-bust operations demands that the details of the purported transaction must be
clearly and adequately shown. This must start from the initial contact between the poseur-buyer and the pusher, the offer to purchase,
the promise or payment of the consideration until the consummation of the sale by the delivery of the illegal drug subject of the
sale.[92] The manner by which the initial contact was made, whether or not through an informant, the offer to purchase the drug, the
payment of the "buy-bust" money, and the delivery of the illegal drug, whether to the informant alone or the police officer, must be the
subject of strict scrutiny by courts to insure that law-abiding citizens are not unlawfully induced to commit an offense. Criminals must
be caught but not at all cost. At the same time, however, examining the conduct of the police should not disable courts into ignoring the
accused's predisposition to commit the crime. If there is overwhelming evidence of habitual delinquency, recidivism or plain criminal
proclivity, then this must also be considered. Courts should look at all factors to determine the predisposition of an accused to commit
an offense in so far as they are relevant to determine the validity of the defense of inducement.

In the case at bar, the evidence shows that it was the confidential informant who initially contacted accused-appellant Doria. At the pre-
arranged meeting, the informant was accompanied by PO3 Manlangit who posed as the buyer of marijuana. PO3 Manlangit handed the
marked money to accused-appellant Doria as advance payment for one (1) kilo of marijuana. Accused-appellant Doria was apprehended
when he later returned and handed the brick of marijuana to PO3 Manlangit.

PO3 Manlangit testified in a frank, spontaneous, straighforward and categorical manner and his credibility was not crumpled on cross-
examination by defense counsel. Moreover, PO3 Manlangit's testimony was corroborated on its material points by SPO1 Badua, his
back-up security. The non-presentation of the confidential informant is not fatal to the prosecution. Informants are usually not
presented in court because of the need to hide their identity and preserve their invaluable service to the police.[93] It is well-settled that
except when the appellant vehemently denies selling prohibited drugs and there are material inconsistencies in the testimonies of the
arresting officers,[94] or there are reasons to believe that the arresting officers had motives to testify falsely against the appellant,[95] or
that only the informant was the poseur-buyer who actually witnessed the entire transaction,[96] the testimony of the informant may be
dispensed with as it will merely be corroborative of the apprehending officers' eyewitness testimonies.[97] There is no need to present
the informant in court where the sale was actually witnessed and adequately proved by prosecution witnesses.[98]

The inconsistencies in PO3 Manlangit's and SPO1 Badua's testimonies and the other police officers' testimonies are minor and do not
detract from the veracity and weight of the prosecution evidence. The source of the money for the buy-bust operation is not a critical
fact in the case at bar. It is enough that the prosecution proved that money was paid to accused-appellant Doria in consideration of
which he sold and delivered the marijuana.

Contrary to accused-appellant Doria's claim, the one kilo of marijuana "sold" by him to PO3 Manlangit was actually identified by PO3
Manlangit himself before the trial court. After appellants' apprehension, the Narcom agents placed this one (1) brick of marijuana
recovered from appellant Doria inside the carton box lumping it together with the ten (10) bricks inside. This is why the carton box
contained eleven (11) bricks of marijuana when brought before the trial court. The one (1) brick recovered from appellant Doria and
each of the ten (10) bricks, however, were identified and marked in court. Thus:

"ATTY. ARIAS, Counsel for Florencio Doria:

Mr. Police Officer, when you identified that box,. Tell the court, how were you able to identify that box?

A This is the box that I brought to the crime laboratory which contained the eleven pieces of marijuana brick we confiscated from the
suspect, sir.

Q Please open it and show those eleven bricks.

PROSECUTOR Witness bringing out from the said box...

ATTY. VALDEZ, Counsel for Violeta Gaddao:

Your Honor, I must protest the line of questioning considering the fact that we are now dealing with eleven items when the question
posed to the witness was what was handed to him by Jun?

COURT So be it.

ATTY. ARIAS May we make it of record that the witness is pulling out item after item from the box showed to him and brought in front
of him.

COURT Noted.

Q Now tell the court, how did you know that those are the eleven bricks?

x x x.

A I have markings on these eleven bricks, sir.

Q Point to the court, where are those markings?

A Here, sir, my signature, my initials with the date, sir.

PROSECUTOR Witness showed a white wrapper and pointing to CLM and the signature.

Q Whose signature is that?

ATTY VALDEZ Your Honor, may we just limit the inquiry to the basic question of the fiscal as to what was handed to him by the accused
Jun, your Honor?

PROSECUTOR Your Honor, there is already a ruling by this Honorable Court, your Honor, despite reconsideration.

COURT Let the prosecution do its own thing and leave the appreciation of what it has done to the court.

ATTY. VALDEZ We submit, your Honor.


A This brick is the one that was handed to me by the suspect Jun, sir.

COURT Why do you know that that is the thing? Are you sure that is not "tikoy?"

A Yes, your Honor.

Q What makes you so sure?

A I am sure that this is the one, your Honor. This is the Exhibit "A" which I marked before I brought it to the PCCL, your Honor.

Q What are you sure of?

A I am sure that this is the brick that was given to me by one alias Jun, sir.

Q What makes you so sure?

A Because I marked it with my own initials before giving it to the investigator and before we brought it to the PCCL, your Honor.

x x x.

PROSECUTOR May we request that a tag be placed on this white plastic bag and this be marked as Exhibit "D?"

COURT Mark it as Exhibit "D."

Q To stress, who made the entries of this date, Exhibit "A" then the other letters and figures on this plastic?

A This one, the signature, I made the signature, the date and the time and this Exhibit "A."

Q How about this one?

A I don't know who made this marking, sir.

PROSECUTOR May it be of record that this was just entered this morning.

Q I am asking you about this "itim" and not the "asul."

A This CLM, the date and the time and the Exhibit "A," I was the one who made these markings, sir.

PROSECUTOR May we place on record that the one that was enclosed...

ATTY. ARIAS Your Honor, there are also entries included in that enclosure where it appears D-394-95, also Exhibit "A," etc. etc., that
was not pointed to by the witness. I want to make it of record that there are other entries included in the enclosure.

COURT Noted. The court saw it.

Q Now, and this alleged brick of marijuana with a piece of paper, with a newspaper wrapping with a piece of paper inside which reads:
"D-394-95, Exhibit A, 970 grams SSL" be marked as our Exhibit "D-2?"

COURT Tag it. Mark it.

Q This particular exhibit that you identified, the wrapper and the contents was given to you by whom?

A It was given to me by suspect Jun, sir.

Q Whereat?

A At the corner of Boulevard and Jacinto St., sir.

Q How about the other items that you were able to recover?

x x x.

A These other marijuana bricks, because during our follow-up, because according to Jun the money which I gave him was in the hands
of Neneth and so we proceeded to the house of Neneth, sir.

x x x."[99]

The first brick identified by P03 Manlangit was the brick of marijuana "given to [him] by suspect Jun" at the corner of Boulevard and
Jacinto Streets. This brick, including the newspaper and white plastic wrapping were marked as Exhibits "D," "D-1," and "D-2" and
described as weighing nine hundred seventy (970) grams.[100]

We also reject appellant's submission that the fact that PO3 Manlangit and his team waited for almost one hour for appellant Doria to
give them the one kilo of marijuana after he "paid" P1,600.00 strains credulity. Appellant cannot capitalize on the circumstance that the
money and the marijuana in the case at bar did not change hands under the usual "kaliwaan" system. There is no rule of law which
requires that in "buy-bust" operations there must be a simultaneous exchange of the marked money and the prohibited drug between
the poseur-buyer and the pusher.[101] Again, the decisive fact is that the poseur-buyer received the marijuana from the accused-
appellant.[102]

We also hold that the warrantless arrest of accused-appellant Doria is not unlawful. Warrantless arrests are allowed in three instances
as provided by Section 5 of Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, to wit:

"Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. -- A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested
has committed it; and

(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or
temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.

x x x."[103]

Under Section 5 (a), as above-quoted, a person may be arrested without a warrant if he "has committed, is actually committing, or is
attempting to commit an offense." Appellant Doria was caught in the act of committing an offense. When an accused is apprehended in
flagrante delicto as a result of a buy-bust operation, the police are not only authorized but duty-bound to arrest him even without a
warrant.[104]

The warrantless arrest of appellant Gaddao, the search of her person and residence, and the seizure of the box of marijuana and marked
bills are different matters.

Our Constitution proscribes search and seizure without a judicial warrant and any evidence obtained without such warrant is
inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.[105] The rule is, however, not absolute. Search and seizure may be made without a
warrant and the evidence obtained therefrom may be admissible in the following instances:[106] (1) search incident to a lawful
arrest;[107] (2) search of a moving motor vehicle;[108] (3) search in violation of customs laws;[109] (4) seizure of evidence in plain
view;[110] (5) when the accused himself waives his right against unreasonable searches and seizures.[111]

The prosecution admits that appellant Gaddao was arrested without a warrant of arrest and the search and seizure of the box of
marijuana and the marked bills were likewise made without a search warrant. It is claimed, however, that the warrants were not
necessary because the arrest was made in "hot pursuit" and the search was an incident to her lawful arrest.

To be lawful, the warrantless arrest of appellant Gaddao must fall under any of the three (3) instances enumerated in Section 5 of Rule
113 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure as aforequoted. The direct testimony of PO3 Manlangit, the arresting officer, however
shows otherwise:

"ATTY VALDEZ, Counsel for appellant Gaddao:

We submit at this juncture, your Honor, that there will be no basis for that question.

Q This particular exhibit that you identified, the wrapper and the contents was given to you by whom?

A It was given to me by suspect Jun, sir.

Q Whereat?

A At the corner of Boulevard and Jacinto Street, sir.

Q How about the other items that you were able to recover?

ATTY. VALDEZ: We submit at this juncture, your Honor, that there will be no basis for that question.

COURT There is. Answer.

A These other marijuana bricks, because during our follow-up, because according to Jun the money which I gave him was in the hands
of Neneth and so we proceeded to the house of Neneth, sir.

Q Whereat?

A At Daang Bakal near the crime scene at Shaw Boulevard, sir.

Q And what happened upon arrival thereat?

A We saw alias Neneth inside the house and we asked him to give us the buy-bust money, sir.

Q You mentioned "him?"

A Her, sir. We asked her to give us the money, the marked money which Jun gave her, sir.

Q And what happened?

A At this instance, it was SPO1 Badua who can testify regarding this buy-bust money, sir.

x x x."[112]

SPO1 Badua testified on cross-examination that:

Q What was your intention in going to the house of Aling Neneth?

A To arrest her, sir.

Q But the fact is, Mr. Witness, when you reached the house of Aling Neneth, Aling Neneth was there?

A Yes, sir.

Q As far as you can see, she was just inside her house?

A I saw her outside, sir.


Q She was fetching water as a matter of fact?

A She was `sa bandang poso.'

Q Carrying a baby?

A No, sir.

Q At that particular time when you reached the house of Aling Neneth and saw her outside the house, she was not committing any
crime, she was just outside the house?

A No, sir.

Q She was not about to commit any crime because she was just outside the house doing her daily chores. Am I correct?

A I just saw her outside, sir.

Q And at that point in time you already wanted to arrest her. That is correct, is it not?

A Yes, sir.

Q Now, if any memory of your testimony is correct, according to you SPO1 Manlangit approached her?

A PO3 Manlangit, sir.

Q You did not approach her because PO3 Manlangit approached her?

A Yes, sir.

Q During all the time that this confrontation, arrest or whatever by SPO3 Manlangit was taking place, you were just in the side lines?

A I was just watching, sir.

Q So you were just an on-looker to what Manlangit was doing, because precisely according to you your role in this buy-bust operation
was as a back-up?

A Yes, sir.

Q Who got the alleged marijuana from inside the house of Mrs. Neneth?

A PO3 Manlangit, sir.

Q Manlangit got the marijuana?

A Yes, sir.

Q And the money from Aling Neneth?

A I don't know, sir.

Q You did not even know who got the money from Aling Neneth?

PROSECUTOR:

There is no basis for this question, your Honor. Money, there's no testimony on that.

ATTY. VALDEZ:

I was asking him precisely.

PROSECUTOR:

No basis.

COURT:

Sustained.

Q Alright. I will ask you a question and I expect an honest answer. According to the records, the amount of P1,600.00 was recovered
from the person of Aling Neneth. That's right?

A Yes, sir, the buy-bust money.

Q What you are now saying for certain and for the record is the fact that you were not the one who retrieved the money from Aling
Neneth, it was Manlangit maybe?

A I saw it, sir.

Q It was Manlangit who got the money from Aling Neneth?

A The buy-bust money was recovered from the house of Aling Neneth, sir.

Q It was taken from the house of Aling Neneth, not from the person of Aling Neneth. Is that what you are trying to tell the Court?
A No, sir.

ATTY. VALDEZ: I am through with this witness, your Honor."[113]

Accused-appellant Gaddao was not caught red-handed during the buy-bust operation to give ground for her arrest under Section 5 (a) of
Rule 113. She was not committing any crime. Contrary to the finding of the trial court, there was no occasion at all for appellant Gaddao
to flee from the policemen to justify her arrest in "hot pursuit."[114] In fact, she was going about her daily chores when the policemen
pounced on her.

Neither could the arrest of appellant Gaddao be justified under the second instance of Rule 113. "Personal knowledge" of facts in arrests
without warrant under Section 5 (b) of Rule 113 must be based upon "probable cause" which means an "actual belief or reasonable
grounds of suspicion."[115] The grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in the absence of actual belief of the arresting officers, the
suspicion that the person to be arrested is probably guilty of committing the offense, is based on actual facts, i.e., supported by
circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable cause of guilt of the person to be arrested.[116] A reasonable
suspicion therefore must be founded on probable cause, coupled with good faith on the part of the peace officers making the arrest.[117]

Accused-appellant Gaddao was arrested solely on the basis of the alleged identification made by her co-accused. PO3 Manlangit,
however, declared in his direct examination that appellant Doria named his co-accused in response to his (PO3 Manlangit's) query as to
where the marked money was.[118] Appellant Doria did not point to appellant Gaddao as his associate in the drug business, but as the
person with whom he left the marked bills. This identification does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that appellant Gaddao
conspired with her co-accused in pushing drugs. Appellant Doria may have left the money in her house,[119] with or without her
knowledge, with or without any conspiracy. Save for accused-appellant Doria's word, the Narcom agents had no reasonable grounds to
believe that she was engaged in drug pushing. If there is no showing that the person who effected the warrantless arrest had, in his own
right, knowledge of facts implicating the person arrested to the perpetration of a criminal offense, the arrest is legally
objectionable.[120]

Since the warrantless arrest of accused-appellant Gaddao was illegal, it follows that the search of her person and home and the
subsequent seizure of the marked bills and marijuana cannot be deemed legal as an incident to her arrest. This brings us to the question
of whether the trial court correctly found that the box of marijuana was in plain view, making its warrantless seizure valid.

Objects falling in plain view of an officer who has a right to be in the position to have that view are subject to seizure even without a
search warrant and may be introduced in evidence.[121] The "plain view" doctrine applies when the following requisites concur: (a) the
law enforcement officer in search of the evidence has a prior justification for an intrusion or is in a position from which he can view a
particular area; (b) the discovery of the evidence in plain view is inadvertent; (c) it is immediately apparent to the officer that the item
he observes may be evidence of a crime, contraband or otherwise subject to seizure.[122] The law enforcement officer must lawfully
make an initial intrusion or properly be in a position from which he can particularly view the area.[123] In the course of such lawful
intrusion, he came inadvertently across a piece of evidence incriminating the accused.[124] The object must be open to eye and
hand[125] and its discovery inadvertent.[126]

It is clear that an object is in plain view if the object itself is plainly exposed to sight. The difficulty arises when the object is inside a
closed container. Where the object seized was inside a closed package, the object itself is not in plain view and therefore cannot be
seized without a warrant. However, if the package proclaims its contents, whether by its distinctive configuration, its transparency, or if
its contents are obvious to an observer, then the contents are in plain view and may be seized.[127] In other words, if the package is such
that an experienced observer could infer from its appearance that it contains the prohibited article, then the article is deemed in plain
view.[128] It must be immediately apparent to the police that the items that they observe may be evidence of a crime, contraband or
otherwise subject to seizure.[129]

PO3 Manlangit, the Narcom agent who found the box, testified on cross-examination as follows:

"ATTY. VALDEZ:

So here we are. When you and Badua arrived, Aling Neneth was inside the house?

A Yes, sir.

Q Badua demanded from Aling Neneth the buy-bust money?

A Yes, sir.

Q At that particular instance, you saw the carton?

A Yes, sir.

Q This carton, according to you was under a table?

A Yes, sir, dining table.

Q I noticed that this carton has a cover?

A Yes, sir.

Q I ask you were the flaps of the cover raised or closed?

A It was open, sir. Not like that.

COURT

Go down there. Show to the court.

INTERPRETER

Witness went down the witness stand and approached a carton box.

A Like this, sir.


PROSECUTOR

Can we describe it?

ATTY. VALDEZ

Yes.

PROSECUTOR

One flap is inside and the other flap is standing and with the contents visible.

COURT

Noted.

Q At this juncture, you went inside the house?

A Yes, sir.

Q And got hold of this carton?

A Yes, sir.

Q Did you mention anything to Aling Neneth?

A I asked her, what's this...

Q No, no. no. did you mention anything to Aling Neneth before getting the carton?

A I think it was Badua who accosted Aling Neneth regarding the buy-bust money and he asked "Sa iyo galing ang marijuanang ito,
nasaan ang buy-bust money namin?" sir.

Q Making reference to the marijuana that was given by alias Jun?

A Yes, sir.

Q When you proceeded to take hold of this carton, Aling Neneth was not yet frisked, is it not [sic]?

A I just don't know if she was frisked already by Badua, sir.

Q Who got hold of this?

A I was the one, sir.

Q You were the one who got this?

A Yes, sir.

Q At that particular point in time, you did not know if the alleged buy-bust money was already retrieved by Badua?

A Yes, sir.

Q You went inside the house?

A Yes, sir.

Q You did not have any search warrant?

A Yes, sir.

Q In fact, there was nothing yet as far as you were concerned to validate the fact that Mrs. Gadao was in possession of the buy-bust
money because according to you, you did not know whether Badua already retrieved the buy-bust money from her?

A Yes, sir.

Q How far was this from the door?

A Two and a half meters from the door, sir. It was in plain view.

Q Under the table according to you?

A Yes, sir, dining table.

Q Somewhere here?

A It's far, sir.

PROSECUTOR

May we request the witness to place it, where he saw it?

A Here, sir.
Q What you see is a carton?

A Yes, sir, with plastic.

Q Marked "Snow Time Ice Pop?"

A Yes, sir.

Q With a piece of plastic visible on top of the carton?

A Yes, sir.

Q That is all that you saw?

A Yes, sir.

PROSECUTOR

For the record, your Honor...

Q You were only able to verify according to you...

PROSECUTOR

Panero, wait. Because I am objecting to the words a piece of plastic. By reading it...

ATTY. VALDEZ

That's a piece of plastic.

PROSECUTOR

By reading it, it will connote... this is not a piece of plastic.

ATTY. VALDEZ

What is that? What can you say, Fiscal? I'm asking you?

PROSECUTOR

With due respect, what I am saying is, let's place the size of the plastic. A piece of plastic may be big or a small one, for record purposes.

COURT

Leave that to the court.

PROSECUTOR

Leave that to the court.

Q The only reason according to you, you were able to... Look at this, no even Superman... I withdraw that. Not even a man with very kin
[sic] eyes can tell the contents here. And according to the Court, it could be "tikoy," is it not [sic]?

A Yes, sir.

Q Siopao?

A Yes, sir.

Q Canned goods?

A Yes, sir.

Q It could be ice cream because it says Snow Pop, Ice Pop?

A I presumed it was also marijuana because it may ...

Q I am not asking you what your presumptions are. I'm asking you what it could possibly be.

A It's the same plastic, sir.

ATTY. VALDEZ

I'm not even asking you that question so why are you voluntarily saying the information. Let the prosecutor do that for you.

COURT

Continue. Next question.

x x x."[130]

PO3 Manlangit and the police team were at appellant Gaddao's house because they were led there by appellant Doria. The Narcom
agents testified that they had no information on appellant Gaddao until appellant Doria named her and led them to her.[131] Standing
by the door of appellant Gaddao's house, PO3 Manlangit had a view of the interior of said house. Two and a half meters away was the
dining table and underneath it was a carton box. The box was partially open and revealed something wrapped in plastic.

In his direct examination, PO3 Manlangit said that he was sure that the contents of the box were marijuana because he himself checked
and marked the said contents.[132] On cross-examination, however, he admitted that he merely presumed the contents to be marijuana
because it had the same plastic wrapping as the "buy-bust marijuana." A close scrutiny of the records reveals that the plastic wrapper
was not colorless and transparent as to clearly manifest its contents to a viewer. Each of the ten (10) bricks of marijuana in the box was
individually wrapped in old newspaper and placed inside plastic bags-- white, pink or blue in color.[133] PO3 Manlangit himself
admitted on cross-examination that the contents of the box could be items other than marijuana. He did not know exactly what the box
contained that he had to ask appellant Gaddao about its contents.[134] It was not immediately apparent to PO3 Manlangit that the
content of the box was marijuana. The marijuana was not in plain view and its seizure without the requisite search warrant was in
violation of the law and the Constitution.[135] It was fruit of the poisonous tree and should have been excluded and never considered by
the trial court.[136]

The fact that the box containing about six (6) kilos of marijuana[137] was found in the house of accused-appellant Gaddao does not
justify a finding that she herself is guilty of the crime charged.[138] Apropos is our ruling in People v. Aminnudin,[139] viz:

"The Court strongly supports the campaign of the government against drug addiction and commends the efforts of our law enforcement
officers against those who would inflict this malediction upon our people, especially the susceptible youth. But as demanding as this
campaign may be, it cannot be more so than the compulsions of the Bill of Rights for the protection of the liberty of every individual in
the realm, including the basest of criminals. The Constitution covers with the mantle of its protection the innocent and the guilty alike
against any manner of high-handedness from the authorities, however praiseworthy their intentions.

Those who are supposed to enforce the law are not justified in disregarding the right of the individual in the name of order. Order is too
high a price for the loss of liberty. As Justice Holmes, again, said, 'I think it a less evil that some criminals should escape than that the
government should play an ignoble part.' It is simply not allowed in the free society to violate a law to enforce another, especially if the
law violated is the Constitution itself."[140]

Section 4 of Republic Act No. 6425, the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as amended by Section 13 of Republic Act No. 7659 punishes the
"sale, administration, delivery, distribution and transportation of a prohibited drug" with the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and
a fine ranging from P500,000.00 to P10 million, to wit:

"Sec. 4. Sale, Administration, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of Prohibited Drugs.-- The penalty of reclusion perpetua to
death, and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, unless
authorized by law, shall sell, administer, deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport any prohibited drug,
or shall act as a broker in any of such transactions.

x x x."

In every prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs, what is material is the submission of proof that the sale took place between the
poseur-buyer and the seller thereof and the presentation of the drug, i.e., the corpus delicti, as evidence in court.[141] The prosecution
has clearly established the fact that in consideration of P1,600.00 which he received, accused-appellant Doria sold and delivered nine
hundred seventy (970) grams of marijuana to PO3 Manlangit, the poseur-buyer. The prosecution, however, has failed to prove that
accused-appellant Gaddao conspired with accused-appellant Doria in the sale of said drug. There being no mitigating or aggravating
circumstances, the lower penalty of reclusion perpetua must be imposed.[142]

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 156, Pasig City acting as a Special Court in Criminal Case No.
3307-D is reversed and modified as follows:

1. Accused-appellant Florencio Doria y Bolado is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of five hundred
thousand pesos (P500,000.00).

2. Accused-appellant Violeta Gaddao y Catama is acquitted.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 150135 October 30, 2006

SPOUSES ANTONIO F. ALGURA and LORENCITA S.J. ALGURA, petitioners,


vs.
THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNIT OF THE CITY OF NAGA, ATTY. MANUEL TEOXON, ENGR. LEON PALMIANO, NATHAN
SERGIO and BENJAMIN NAVARRO, SR., respondents.

DECISION

VELASCO, JR., J.:

Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty


knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.
–– James Baldwin

The Constitution affords litigants—moneyed or poor—equal access to the courts; moreover, it specifically provides that poverty shall not
bar any person from having access to the courts.1 Accordingly, laws and rules must be formulated, interpreted, and implemented
pursuant to the intent and spirit of this constitutional provision. As such, filing fees, though one of the essential elements in court
procedures, should not be an obstacle to poor litigants' opportunity to seek redress for their grievances before the courts.

The Case

This Petition for Review on Certiorari seeks the annulment of the September 11, 2001 Order of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Naga
City, Branch 27, in Civil Case No. 99-4403 entitled Spouses Antonio F. Algura and Lorencita S.J. Algura v. The Local Government Unit
of the City of Naga, et al., dismissing the case for failure of petitioners Algura spouses to pay the required filing fees.2 Since the instant
petition involves only a question of law based on facts established from the pleadings and documents submitted by the parties,3 the
Court gives due course to the instant petition sanctioned under Section 2(c) of Rule 41 on Appeal from the RTCs, and governed by Rule
45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.

The Facts

On September 1, 1999, spouses Antonio F. Algura and Lorencita S.J. Algura filed a Verified Complaint dated August 30, 19994 for
damages against the Naga City Government and its officers, arising from the alleged illegal demolition of their residence and boarding
house and for payment of lost income derived from fees paid by their boarders amounting to PhP 7,000.00 monthly.

Simultaneously, petitioners filed an Ex-Parte Motion to Litigate as Indigent Litigants,5 to which petitioner Antonio Algura's Pay Slip
No. 2457360 (Annex "A" of motion) was appended, showing a gross monthly income of Ten Thousand Four Hundred Seventy Four
Pesos (PhP 10,474.00) and a net pay of Three Thousand Six Hundred Sixteen Pesos and Ninety Nine Centavos (PhP 3,616.99) for [the
month of] July 1999.6 Also attached as Annex "B" to the motion was a July 14, 1999 Certification7 issued by the Office of the City
Assessor of Naga City, which stated that petitioners had no property declared in their name for taxation purposes.

Finding that petitioners' motion to litigate as indigent litigants was meritorious, Executive Judge Jose T. Atienza of the Naga City RTC,
in the September 1, 1999 Order,8 granted petitioners' plea for exemption from filing fees.

Meanwhile, as a result of respondent Naga City Government's demolition of a portion of petitioners' house, the Alguras allegedly lost a
monthly income of PhP 7,000.00 from their boarders' rentals. With the loss of the rentals, the meager income from Lorencita Algura's
sari-sari store and Antonio Algura's small take home pay became insufficient for the expenses of the Algura spouses and their six (6)
children for their basic needs including food, bills, clothes, and schooling, among others.

On October 13, 1999, respondents filed an Answer with Counterclaim dated October 10, 1999,9 arguing that the defenses of the
petitioners in the complaint had no cause of action, the spouses' boarding house blocked the road right of way, and said structure was a
nuisance per se.

Praying that the counterclaim of defendants (respondents) be dismissed, petitioners then filed their Reply with Ex-Parte Request for a
Pre-Trial Setting10 before the Naga City RTC on October 19, 1999. On February 3, 2000, a pre-trial was held wherein respondents asked
for five (5) days within which to file a Motion to Disqualify Petitioners as Indigent Litigants.

On March 13, 2000, respondents filed a Motion to Disqualify the Plaintiffs for Non-Payment of Filing Fees dated March 10, 2000.11
They asserted that in addition to the more than PhP 3,000.00 net income of petitioner Antonio Algura, who is a member of the
Philippine National Police, spouse Lorencita Algura also had a mini-store and a computer shop on the ground floor of their residence
along Bayawas St., Sta. Cruz, Naga City. Also, respondents claimed that petitioners' second floor was used as their residence and as a
boarding house, from which they earned more than PhP 3,000.00 a month. In addition, it was claimed that petitioners derived
additional income from their computer shop patronized by students and from several boarders who paid rentals to them. Hence,
respondents concluded that petitioners were not indigent litigants.

On March 28, 2000, petitioners subsequently interposed their Opposition to the Motion12 to respondents' motion to disqualify them
for non-payment of filing fees.

On April 14, 2000, the Naga City RTC issued an Order disqualifying petitioners as indigent litigants on the ground that they failed to
substantiate their claim for exemption from payment of legal fees and to comply with the third paragraph of Rule 141, Section 18 of the
Revised Rules of Court—directing them to pay the requisite filing fees.13

On April 28, 2000, petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the April 14, 2000 Order. On May 8, 2000, respondents then filed
their Comment/Objections to petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration.

On May 5, 2000, the trial court issued an Order14 giving petitioners the opportunity to comply with the requisites laid down in Section
18, Rule 141, for them to qualify as indigent litigants.

On May 13, 2000, petitioners submitted their Compliance15 attaching the affidavits of petitioner Lorencita Algura16 and Erlinda
Bangate,17 to comply with the requirements of then Rule 141, Section 18 of the Rules of Court and in support of their claim to be
declared as indigent litigants.
In her May 13, 2000 Affidavit, petitioner Lorencita Algura claimed that the demolition of their small dwelling deprived her of a monthly
income amounting to PhP 7,000.00. She, her husband, and their six (6) minor children had to rely mainly on her husband's salary as a
policeman which provided them a monthly amount of PhP 3,500.00, more or less. Also, they did not own any real property as certified
by the assessor's office of Naga City. More so, according to her, the meager net income from her small sari-sari store and the rentals of
some boarders, plus the salary of her husband, were not enough to pay the family's basic necessities.

To buttress their position as qualified indigent litigants, petitioners also submitted the affidavit of Erlinda Bangate, who attested under
oath, that she personally knew spouses Antonio Algura and Lorencita Algura, who were her neighbors; that they derived substantial
income from their boarders; that they lost said income from their boarders' rentals when the Local Government Unit of the City of Naga,
through its officers, demolished part of their house because from that time, only a few boarders could be accommodated; that the
income from the small store, the boarders, and the meager salary of Antonio Algura were insufficient for their basic necessities like food
and clothing, considering that the Algura spouses had six (6) children; and that she knew that petitioners did not own any real property.

Thereafter, Naga City RTC Acting Presiding Judge Andres B. Barsaga, Jr. issued his July 17, 200018 Order denying the petitioners'
Motion for Reconsideration.

Judge Barsaga ratiocinated that the pay slip of Antonio F. Algura showed that the "GROSS INCOME or TOTAL EARNINGS of plaintiff
Algura [was] ₧10,474.00 which amount [was] over and above the amount mentioned in the first paragraph of Rule 141, Section 18 for
pauper litigants residing outside Metro Manila."19 Said rule provides that the gross income of the litigant should not exceed PhP
3,000.00 a month and shall not own real estate with an assessed value of PhP 50,000.00. The trial court found that, in Lorencita S.J.
Algura's May 13, 2000 Affidavit, nowhere was it stated that she and her immediate family did not earn a gross income of PhP 3,000.00.

The Issue

Unconvinced of the said ruling, the Alguras instituted the instant petition raising a solitary issue for the consideration of the Court:
whether petitioners should be considered as indigent litigants who qualify for exemption from paying filing fees.

The Ruling of the Court

The petition is meritorious.

A review of the history of the Rules of Court on suits in forma pauperis (pauper litigant) is necessary before the Court rules on the issue
of the Algura spouses' claim to exemption from paying filing fees.

When the Rules of Court took effect on January 1, 1964, the rule on pauper litigants was found in Rule 3, Section 22 which provided
that:

Section 22. Pauper litigant.—Any court may authorize a litigant to prosecute his action or defense as a pauper upon a proper showing
that he has no means to that effect by affidavits, certificate of the corresponding provincial, city or municipal treasurer, or otherwise.
Such authority[,] once given[,] shall include an exemption from payment of legal fees and from filing appeal bond, printed record and
printed brief. The legal fees shall be a lien to any judgment rendered in the case [favorable] to the pauper, unless the court otherwise
provides.

From the same Rules of Court, Rule 141 on Legal Fees, on the other hand, did not contain any provision on pauper litigants.

On July 19, 1984, the Court, in Administrative Matter No. 83-6-389-0 (formerly G.R. No. 64274), approved the recommendation of the
Committee on the Revision of Rates and Charges of Court Fees, through its Chairman, then Justice Felix V. Makasiar, to revise the fees
in Rule 141 of the Rules of Court to generate funds to effectively cover administrative costs for services rendered by the courts.20 A
provision on pauper litigants was inserted which reads:

Section 16. Pauper-litigants exempt from payment of court fees.—Pauper-litigants include wage earners whose gross income do not
exceed P2,000.00 a month or P24,000.00 a year for those residing in Metro Manila, and P1,500.00 a month or P18,000.00 a year for
those residing outside Metro Manila, or those who do not own real property with an assessed value of not more than P24,000.00, or not
more than P18,000.00 as the case may be.

Such exemption shall include exemption from payment of fees for filing appeal bond, printed record and printed brief.

The legal fees shall be a lien on the monetary or property judgment rendered in favor of the pauper-litigant.

To be entitled to the exemption herein provided, the pauper-litigant shall execute an affidavit that he does not earn the gross income
abovementioned, nor own any real property with the assessed value afore-mentioned [sic], supported by a certification to that effect by
the provincial, city or town assessor or treasurer.

When the Rules of Court on Civil Procedure were amended by the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure (inclusive of Rules 1 to 71) in Supreme
Court Resolution in Bar Matter No. 803 dated April 8, 1997, which became effective on July 1, 1997, Rule 3, Section 22 of the Revised
Rules of Court was superseded by Rule 3, Section 21 of said 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as follows:

Section 21. Indigent party.—A party may be authorized to litigate his action, claim or defense as an indigent if the court, upon an ex
parte application and hearing, is satisfied that the party is one who has no money or property sufficient and available for food, shelter
and basic necessities for himself and his family.

Such authority shall include an exemption from payment of docket and other lawful fees, and of transcripts of stenographic notes which
the court may order to be furnished him. The amount of the docket and other lawful fees which the indigent was exempted from paying
shall be a lien on any judgment rendered in the case favorable to the indigent, unless the court otherwise provides.

Any adverse party may contest the grant of such authority at any time before judgment is rendered by the trial court. If the court should
determine after hearing that the party declared as an indigent is in fact a person with sufficient income or property, the proper docket
and other lawful fees shall be assessed and collected by the clerk of court. If payment is not made within the time fixed by the court,
execution shall issue for the payment thereof, without prejudice to such other sanctions as the court may impose.

At the time the Rules on Civil Procedure were amended by the Court in Bar Matter No. 803, however, there was no amendment made
on Rule 141, Section 16 on pauper litigants.
On March 1, 2000, Rule 141 on Legal Fees was amended by the Court in A.M. No. 00-2-01-SC, whereby certain fees were increased or
adjusted. In this Resolution, the Court amended Section 16 of Rule 141, making it Section 18, which now reads:

Section 18. Pauper-litigants exempt from payment of legal fees.—Pauper litigants (a) whose gross income and that of their immediate
family do not exceed four thousand (P4,000.00) pesos a month if residing in Metro Manila, and three thousand (P3,000.00) pesos a
month if residing outside Metro Manila, and (b) who do not own real property with an assessed value of more than fifty thousand
(P50,000.00) pesos shall be exempt from the payment of legal fees.

The legal fees shall be a lien on any judgment rendered in the case favorably to the pauper litigant, unless the court otherwise provides.

To be entitled to the exemption herein provided, the litigant shall execute an affidavit that he and his immediate family do not earn the
gross income abovementioned, nor do they own any real property with the assessed value aforementioned, supported by an affidavit of
a disinterested person attesting to the truth of the litigant's affidavit.

Any falsity in the affidavit of a litigant or disinterested person shall be sufficient cause to strike out the pleading of that party, without
prejudice to whatever criminal liability may have been incurred.

It can be readily seen that the rule on pauper litigants was inserted in Rule 141 without revoking or amending Section 21 of Rule 3,
which provides for the exemption of pauper litigants from payment of filing fees. Thus, on March 1, 2000, there were two existing rules
on pauper litigants; namely, Rule 3, Section 21 and Rule 141, Section 18.

On August 16, 2004, Section 18 of Rule 141 was further amended in Administrative Matter No. 04-2-04-SC, which became effective on
the same date. It then became Section 19 of Rule 141, to wit:

Sec. 19. Indigent litigants exempt from payment of legal fees.– INDIGENT LITIGANTS (A) WHOSE GROSS INCOME AND THAT OF
THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILY DO NOT EXCEED AN AMOUNT DOUBLE THE MONTHLY MINIMUM WAGE OF AN EMPLOYEE
AND (B) WHO DO NOT OWN REAL PROPERTY WITH A FAIR MARKET VALUE AS STATED IN THE CURRENT TAX
DECLARATION OF MORE THAN THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND (P300,000.00) PESOS SHALL BE EXEMPT FROM PAYMENT OF
LEGAL FEES.

The legal fees shall be a lien on any judgment rendered in the case favorable to the indigent litigant unless the court otherwise provides.

To be entitled to the exemption herein provided, the litigant shall execute an affidavit that he and his immediate family do not earn a
gross income abovementioned, and they do not own any real property with the fair value aforementioned, supported by an affidavit of a
disinterested person attesting to the truth of the litigant's affidavit. The current tax declaration, if any, shall be attached to the litigant's
affidavit.

Any falsity in the affidavit of litigant or disinterested person shall be sufficient cause to dismiss the complaint or action or to strike out
the pleading of that party, without prejudice to whatever criminal liability may have been incurred. (Emphasis supplied.)

Amendments to Rule 141 (including the amendment to Rule 141, Section 18) were made to implement RA 9227 which brought about
new increases in filing fees. Specifically, in the August 16, 2004 amendment, the ceiling for the gross income of litigants applying for
exemption and that of their immediate family was increased from PhP 4,000.00 a month in Metro Manila and PhP 3,000.00 a month
outside Metro Manila, to double the monthly minimum wage of an employee; and the maximum value of the property owned by the
applicant was increased from an assessed value of PhP 50,000.00 to a maximum market value of PhP 300,000.00, to be able to
accommodate more indigent litigants and promote easier access to justice by the poor and the marginalized in the wake of these new
increases in filing fees.

Even if there was an amendment to Rule 141 on August 16, 2004, there was still no amendment or recall of Rule 3, Section 21 on
indigent litigants.

With this historical backdrop, let us now move on to the sole issue—whether petitioners are exempt from the payment of filing fees.

It is undisputed that the Complaint (Civil Case No. 99-4403) was filed on September 1, 1999. However, the Naga City RTC, in its April
14, 2000 and July 17, 2000 Orders, incorrectly applied Rule 141, Section 18 on Legal Fees when the applicable rules at that time were
Rule 3, Section 21 on Indigent Party which took effect on July 1, 1997 and Rule 141, Section 16 on Pauper Litigants which became
effective on July 19, 1984 up to February 28, 2000.

The old Section 16, Rule 141 requires applicants to file an ex-parte motion to litigate as a pauper litigant by submitting an affidavit that
they do not have a gross income of PhP 2,000.00 a month or PhP 24,000.00 a year for those residing in Metro Manila and PhP
1,500.00 a month or PhP 18,000.00 a year for those residing outside Metro Manila or those who do not own real property with an
assessed value of not more than PhP 24,000.00 or not more than PhP 18,000.00 as the case may be. Thus, there are two requirements:
a) income requirement—the applicants should not have a gross monthly income of more than PhP 1,500.00, and b) property
requirement––they should not own property with an assessed value of not more than PhP 18,000.00.

In the case at bar, petitioners Alguras submitted the Affidavits of petitioner Lorencita Algura and neighbor Erlinda Bangate, the pay slip
of petitioner Antonio F. Algura showing a gross monthly income of PhP 10,474.00,21 and a Certification of the Naga City assessor
stating that petitioners do not have property declared in their names for taxation.22 Undoubtedly, petitioners do not own real property
as shown by the Certification of the Naga City assessor and so the property requirement is met. However with respect to the income
requirement, it is clear that the gross monthly income of PhP 10,474.00 of petitioner Antonio F. Algura and the PhP 3,000.00 income of
Lorencita Algura when combined, were above the PhP 1,500.00 monthly income threshold prescribed by then Rule 141, Section 16 and
therefore, the income requirement was not satisfied. The trial court was therefore correct in disqualifying petitioners Alguras as
indigent litigants although the court should have applied Rule 141, Section 16 which was in effect at the time of the filing of the
application on September 1, 1999. Even if Rule 141, Section 18 (which superseded Rule 141, Section 16 on March 1, 2000) were applied,
still the application could not have been granted as the combined PhP 13,474.00 income of petitioners was beyond the PhP 3,000.00
monthly income threshold.

Unrelenting, petitioners however argue in their Motion for Reconsideration of the April 14, 2000 Order disqualifying them as indigent
litigants23 that the rules have been relaxed by relying on Rule 3, Section 21 of the 1997 Rules of Civil procedure which authorizes parties
to litigate their action as indigents if the court is satisfied that the party is "one who has no money or property sufficient and available
for food, shelter and basic necessities for himself and his family." The trial court did not give credence to this view of petitioners and
simply applied Rule 141 but ignored Rule 3, Section 21 on Indigent Party.
The position of petitioners on the need to use Rule 3, Section 21 on their application to litigate as indigent litigants brings to the fore the
issue on whether a trial court has to apply both Rule 141, Section 16 and Rule 3, Section 21 on such applications or should the court
apply only Rule 141, Section 16 and discard Rule 3, Section 21 as having been superseded by Rule 141, Section 16 on Legal Fees.

The Court rules that Rule 3, Section 21 and Rule 141, Section 16 (later amended as Rule 141, Section 18 on March 1, 2000 and
subsequently amended by Rule 141, Section 19 on August 16, 2003, which is now the present rule) are still valid and enforceable rules
on indigent litigants.

For one, the history of the two seemingly conflicting rules readily reveals that it was not the intent of the Court to consider the old
Section 22 of Rule 3, which took effect on January 1, 1994 to have been amended and superseded by Rule 141, Section 16, which took
effect on July 19, 1984 through A.M. No. 83-6-389-0. If that is the case, then the Supreme Court, upon the recommendation of the
Committee on the Revision on Rules, could have already deleted Section 22 from Rule 3 when it amended Rules 1 to 71 and approved
the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, which took effect on July 1, 1997. The fact that Section 22 which became Rule 3, Section 21 on
indigent litigant was retained in the rules of procedure, even elaborating on the meaning of an indigent party, and was also
strengthened by the addition of a third paragraph on the right to contest the grant of authority to litigate only goes to show that there
was no intent at all to consider said rule as expunged from the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.

Furthermore, Rule 141 on indigent litigants was amended twice: first on March 1, 2000 and the second on August 16, 2004; and yet,
despite these two amendments, there was no attempt to delete Section 21 from said Rule 3. This clearly evinces the desire of the Court to
maintain the two (2) rules on indigent litigants to cover applications to litigate as an indigent litigant.

It may be argued that Rule 3, Section 21 has been impliedly repealed by the recent 2000 and 2004 amendments to Rule 141 on legal
fees. This position is bereft of merit. Implied repeals are frowned upon unless the intent of the framers of the rules is unequivocal. It has
been consistently ruled that:

(r)epeals by implication are not favored, and will not be decreed, unless it is manifest that the legislature so intended. As laws are
presumed to be passed with deliberation and with full knowledge of all existing ones on the subject, it is but reasonable to conclude that
in passing a statute[,] it was not intended to interfere with or abrogate any former law relating to same matter, unless the repugnancy
between the two is not only irreconcilable, but also clear and convincing, and flowing necessarily from the language used, unless the
later act fully embraces the subject matter of the earlier, or unless the reason for the earlier act is beyond peradventure removed. Hence,
every effort must be used to make all acts stand and if, by any reasonable construction they can be reconciled, the later act will not
operate as a repeal of the earlier.24 (Emphasis supplied).

Instead of declaring that Rule 3, Section 21 has been superseded and impliedly amended by Section 18 and later Section 19 of Rule 141,
the Court finds that the two rules can and should be harmonized.

The Court opts to reconcile Rule 3, Section 21 and Rule 141, Section 19 because it is a settled principle that when conflicts are seen
between two provisions, all efforts must be made to harmonize them. Hence, "every statute [or rule] must be so construed and
harmonized with other statutes [or rules] as to form a uniform system of jurisprudence."25

In Manila Jockey Club, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, this Court enunciated that in the interpretation of seemingly conflicting laws, efforts
must be made to first harmonize them. This Court thus ruled:

Consequently, every statute should be construed in such a way that will harmonize it with existing laws. This principle is expressed in
the legal maxim 'interpretare et concordare leges legibus est optimus interpretandi,' that is, to interpret and to do it in such a way as to
harmonize laws with laws is the best method of interpretation.26

In the light of the foregoing considerations, therefore, the two (2) rules can stand together and are compatible with each other. When an
application to litigate as an indigent litigant is filed, the court shall scrutinize the affidavits and supporting documents submitted by the
applicant to determine if the applicant complies with the income and property standards prescribed in the present Section 19 of Rule
141—that is, the applicant's gross income and that of the applicant's immediate family do not exceed an amount double the monthly
minimum wage of an employee; and the applicant does not own real property with a fair market value of more than Three Hundred
Thousand Pesos (PhP 300,000.00). If the trial court finds that the applicant meets the income and property requirements, the authority
to litigate as indigent litigant is automatically granted and the grant is a matter of right.

However, if the trial court finds that one or both requirements have not been met, then it would set a hearing to enable the applicant to
prove that the applicant has "no money or property sufficient and available for food, shelter and basic necessities for himself and his
family." In that hearing, the adverse party may adduce countervailing evidence to disprove the evidence presented by the applicant;
after which the trial court will rule on the application depending on the evidence adduced. In addition, Section 21 of Rule 3 also
provides that the adverse party may later still contest the grant of such authority at any time before judgment is rendered by the trial
court, possibly based on newly discovered evidence not obtained at the time the application was heard. If the court determines after
hearing, that the party declared as an indigent is in fact a person with sufficient income or property, the proper docket and other lawful
fees shall be assessed and collected by the clerk of court. If payment is not made within the time fixed by the court, execution shall issue
or the payment of prescribed fees shall be made, without prejudice to such other sanctions as the court may impose.

The Court concedes that Rule 141, Section 19 provides specific standards while Rule 3, Section 21 does not clearly draw the limits of the
entitlement to the exemption. Knowing that the litigants may abuse the grant of authority, the trial court must use sound discretion and
scrutinize evidence strictly in granting exemptions, aware that the applicant has not hurdled the precise standards under Rule 141. The
trial court must also guard against abuse and misuse of the privilege to litigate as an indigent litigant to prevent the filing of exorbitant
claims which would otherwise be regulated by a legal fee requirement.

Thus, the trial court should have applied Rule 3, Section 21 to the application of the Alguras after their affidavits and supporting
documents showed that petitioners did not satisfy the twin requirements on gross monthly income and ownership of real property
under Rule 141. Instead of disqualifying the Alguras as indigent litigants, the trial court should have called a hearing as required by Rule
3, Section 21 to enable the petitioners to adduce evidence to show that they didn't have property and money sufficient and available for
food, shelter, and basic necessities for them and their family.27 In that hearing, the respondents would have had the right to also
present evidence to refute the allegations and evidence in support of the application of the petitioners to litigate as indigent litigants.
Since this Court is not a trier of facts, it will have to remand the case to the trial court to determine whether petitioners can be
considered as indigent litigants using the standards set in Rule 3, Section 21.

Recapitulating the rules on indigent litigants, therefore, if the applicant for exemption meets the salary and property requirements
under Section 19 of Rule 141, then the grant of the application is mandatory. On the other hand, when the application does not satisfy
one or both requirements, then the application should not be denied outright; instead, the court should apply the "indigency test" under
Section 21 of Rule 3 and use its sound discretion in determining the merits of the prayer for exemption.
Access to justice by the impoverished is held sacrosanct under Article III, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution. The Action Program for
Judicial Reforms (APJR) itself, initiated by former Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., placed prime importance on 'easy access to
justice by the poor' as one of its six major components. Likewise, the judicial philosophy of Liberty and Prosperity of Chief Justice
Artemio V. Panganiban makes it imperative that the courts shall not only safeguard but also enhance the rights of individuals—which
are considered sacred under the 1987 Constitution. Without doubt, one of the most precious rights which must be shielded and secured
is the unhampered access to the justice system by the poor, the underprivileged, and the marginalized.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the April 14, 2000 Order granting the disqualification of petitioners, the July 17, 2000
Order denying petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration, and the September 11, 2001 Order dismissing the case in Civil Case No. RTC-99-
4403 before the Naga City RTC, Branch 27 are ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. Furthermore, the Naga City RTC is ordered to set the "Ex-
Parte Motion to Litigate as Indigent Litigants" for hearing and apply Rule 3, Section 21 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure to determine
whether petitioners can qualify as indigent litigants.

No costs.

SO ORDERED.