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SECOND DIVISION

[A.M. No. RTJ-02-1698. June 23, 2005]

DANTE VICENTE, petitioner, vs. JUDGE JOSE S. MAJADUCON, respondent.

RESOLUTION

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:

In a letter-complaint dated July 21, 2000, addressed to then Court Administrator Alfredo L. Benipayo,
Dante Vicente charged respondent Judge Jose S. Majaducon of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of General
Santos City, Branch 23, with gross ignorance of the law, grave abuse of authority and manifest partiality,
praying that he be administratively disciplined and terminated from the service.

The instant administrative complaint stemmed from a series of criminal cases involving a certain Evelyn
Te of General Santos City. The factual and procedural antecedents leading to the instant administrative
case is summarized in this Courts Resolution of February 19, 2001, in G.R. Nos. 145715-18 entitled,
People of the Philippines vs. Evelyn Te, pertinent portions of which read as follows:

In a joint decision dated May 31, 1995, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 23, General Santos City, found
Evelyn Te guilty on four counts of violation of B. P. Blg. 22, otherwise known as the Bouncing Checks Law,
and sentenced her to two (2) months of imprisonment on each count. The decision became final and
executory after this Court had denied Tes petition for review from the affirmance of the trial courts
decision by the Court of Appeals.

On March 11, 2000, Te sought clarification from the trial court whether she should serve her sentences
successively or simultaneously. In an order, dated May 25, 2000, the trial court clarified that she should
serve her sentences successively, but for humanitarian reason and in accordance with Art. 70 of the
Revised Penal Code, it held that instead of serving imprisonment of EIGHT months, the prisoner EVELYN
TE should serve only six months.
On June 2, 2000, Te filed a motion for reconsideration, which she prayed be also considered as a petition
for issuance of the writ of habeas corpus. Citing Vaca v. Court of Appeals, 298 SCRA 656 (1998), in which
the sentence of imprisonment of a party found guilty of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 was reduced to a fine
equal to double the amount of the check involved, Te prayed that her sentence be similarly modified and
that she be immediately released from detention. In a supplemental motion, Te argued that she had
been denied equal protection of the law because the trial judge in another case involving multiple
counts of robbery directed the accused to simultaneously serve his sentences.

On June 20, 2000, the trial court denied Tes petition for issuance of the writ of habeas corpus on the
ground that Te was detained by virtue of a final judgment.

On June 22, 2000, Te filed an omnibus motion praying for her release on the ground that she had been in
jail since March 15, 2000 and had fully served the three months minimum of her total sentence under
the Indeterminate Sentence Law. In the alternative, Te prayed for release on recognizance.

On June 23, 2000, Te moved for reconsideration of the trial courts order of June 20, 2000, alleging that
the finality of the joint decision against her did not bar her application for the writ of habeas corpus. She
prayed that pending determination as to whether the Vaca ruling applied to her, she also be allowed to
post bail pursuant to Rule 102, 14.

On July 5, 2000, the trial court allowed Te to post bail in the amount of one million pesos, holding that it
would order her release upon the approval of her bail bond and thereafter certify the proceedings to the
Court as the latter has concurrent jurisdiction over proceedings for habeas corpus.

On July 7, 2000, the trial court approved Tes bail bonds in the reduced amount of P500,000.00 and
ordered her release. The trial court also directed its clerk of court to certify the proceedings to the Court.

On July 11, 2000, Assistant City Prosecutor Marie Ellengred L. Baliguiat moved for reconsideration of the
trial courts resolution of July 5, 2000.
On July 18, 2000, Te filed a notice of appeal from the order, dated June 20, 2000, and the resolution,
dated July 5, 2000, of the trial court.

On July 31, 2000, the trial court denied the motion for reconsideration of the Assistant City Prosecutor. It
also denied due course to Tes notice of appeal on the ground that there was no necessity for the appeal
to the Court of Appeals because it had already ordered that the whole records be forwarded to this
Court pursuant to Rule 102, 14.[1]

In the present case, complainant, who claims to be the station manager of Radyo Bombo, General Santos
City, alleges that while Te was in prison, respondent judge allowed her to be released and confined at a
local hospital in the guise that she was suffering from certain illnesses. Complainant further alleges that
respondent judge approved Tes application for bail as part of habeas corpus proceedings even though no
petition for habeas corpus in favor of Te was filed and docketed. As a result of respondent judges order
allowing the provisional liberty of Te, the local media in General Santos City made an uproar and
criticized respondent judge for his action on the said case. In retaliation, respondent judge cited for
indirect contempt a group of mediamen who published a critical article against him. Complainant
contends that respondent judge will not hesitate to use his clout and power to stifle criticism and
dissent. In addition, complainant alleges that in a separate case, respondent judge allowed the release of
the accused without the posting of the necessary bail. On the basis of the above allegations,
complainant prays that respondent judge be investigated and if warranted, be terminated and removed
from service.[2]

In his Comment, dated October 17, 2000, respondent judge submitted the following contentions which
we quote verbatim:

1. The certified records of the above-mentioned cases against Evelyn Te were forwarded to the Supreme
Court on August 5, 2000, upon the order of undersigned by the Branch Clerk of Court for review of our
questioned Order (attached as ANNEX 1 of letter Complaint);

2. On June 2, 2000, Evelyn Tes counsel filed not only a motion for reconsideration denying our previous
order denying her motion for release from detention but also a petition for Habeas Corpus in the same
cases;
3. In the exercise of sound discretion and after hearing the comment of the public prosecutor, we issued
the questioned Order, which is self-explanatory;

4. We believed then that we had the discretion to allow her to be released on bail, based on Sec. 14,
Rule 102 of the Revised Rules of Court;

5. We were thinking then that in such a dilemma, whether or not to release her on bail, it was a better
judgment to release her from bail on a writ of habeas corpus, because, Evelyn Te might be right in her
contention that she is considered to have served her sentences simultaneously. If we denied her petition
for Habeas Corpus, and on appeal, she could get a favorable decision from the Supreme Court, surely,
she could return and charge us with a graver offense of ignorance of the law and abuse of discretion. She
could even file other cases against us under the Revised Penal Code, such as rendering an unjust order,
or under the Civil Code for moral damages in millions of pesos;

6. To obviate such a possible move on Tes part, we opted to allow her release on bail through the writ of
habeas corpus proceedings. Anyway, the Supreme Court has the last say on that matter;

7. Therefore, we are of the view that the letter complaint of Mr. Dante Vicente is legally premature as it
concerned cases which are still sub judice;

8. Besides, we are of the opinion that Mr. Vicente has no personality as a third party to charge us with
anything as he has not shown any damage that he could have suffered because of our Order;

9. We are convinced that Mr. Vicente is trying to pre-empt our move to charge his radio station for libel
or cite the announcer for indirect contempt of Court when his radio station and announcer had been
reviling and attacking us for many days on the air for having allowed Evelyn Te to be treated and confined
in a hospital upon recommendation of a government doctor and for having allowed her release from
imprisonment on bail; a certified Xerox copy of the letter of the Regional Director of the Department of
Transportation and Communication (National Telecommunications Commission) dated August 9, 2000, in
reply to our request for copies of the broadcast tapes, is attached herewith as ANNEX 1;

10. As to the charge that we are stifling criticism by the print and broadcast media, we are of the view
that if media has the privilege to criticize the Courts and the Judges, we have also the right to charge
them for indirect contempt of Court and libel, because there are laws regarding this matter. The article of
a certain Joseph Jubelag is now a subject of an indirect contempt charge before us, which we are about
to resolve;

11. Regarding our Order in Criminal Case No. 14072 in the case of People vs. Jhoyche Gersonin-Palma,
RTC Br. 36, it was done with sound discretion on our part because it was already 6:30 in the evening and
the offices were closed and being a Friday, the accused would be detained for two days and three nights,
unless we accepted and approved the bail bond. Besides, the law requires judges to approve bail even
during the holidays. Immediately, on Monday, the money in the amount of P6,000.00 was deposited with
the Clerk of Court as shown in the official receipt (ANNEX 6 of letter complaint);

12. Regarding our competence, honesty and integrity, modesty aside, as a judge for the last thirteen
years in General Santos City, the records of the Municipal Trial Court and RTC, Branches 23 and 22 (being
a pairing judge of the latter court since October last year) show that most of our decisions appealed to
the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court have been sustained or affirmed;

13. As to our reputation in the community, let other members of the media and a member of the
Philippine Bar speak about it. We are enclosing herewith a Xerox copy of a news clipping of Philippine
Daily Inquirer, July 8, 2000 issue (attached herewith as ANNEX 2), about how we tried and decided the
celebrated case of People vs. Castracion, et. al. when the Supreme Court assigned us to hear the
evidence of the defense and decide the case. We did our work in that case as best we could as we have
done in all cases being tried and decided by us, mindful of our duty to do our work with faithful
diligence, honesty, and integrity. We do not expect praises from others as we do not also wish to be
criticized or attacked by Radio Bombo station in General Santos City especially by its manager, Mr. Dante
Vicente, without basis or competent proof and evidence. Atty. Rogelio Garcia, who vouched for our
honesty, competence and integrity is a former assemblyman of South Cotabato and General Santos City,
and an ex-Assistant Minister of Labor. He has known us in the community for almost twenty five years;

14. Complainant Dante Vicente is just a newcomer to General Santos and he and his radio station have a
bad and notorious reputation of attacking the character and good name of some people here as shown
by cases for libel filed in our courts.[3]

In its Report dated March 11, 2002, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) confirmed that Criminal
Cases Nos. 9456-9460 were indeed certified by respondent to this Court.[4] However, this Court in its
Resolution of February 19, 2001 in G.R. Nos. 145715-18, resolved to return the records of the
consolidated cases to the RTC of General Santos City, Branch 23, and to order the said court to give due
course to Evelyn Tes notice of appeal from the Order denying her petition for habeas corpus and from
the Order requiring her to post bail in the amount of one million pesos for her release from detention.
This Court made the following pronouncements:

Rule 102, 14 provides:

When person lawfully imprisoned recommitted, and when let to bail. If it appears that the prisoner was
lawfully committed, and is plainly and specifically charged in the warrant of commitment with an offense
punishable by death, he shall not be released, discharged, or bailed. If he is lawfully imprisoned or
restrained on a charge of having committed an offense not so punishable, he may be recommitted to
imprisonment or admitted to bail in the discretion of the court or judge. If he be admitted to bail, he
shall forthwith file a bond in such sum as the court or judge deems reasonable, considering the
circumstances of the prisoner and the nature of the offense charged, conditioned for his appearance
before the court where the offense is properly cognizable to abide its order or judgment; and the court
or judge shall certify the proceedings, together with the bond, forthwith to the proper court. If such
bond is not so filed, the prisoner shall be recommitted to confinement.

The foregoing provision, however, applies to cases where the applicant for the writ of habeas corpus is
restrained by virtue of a criminal charge against him, not where, as here, he is serving sentence by
reason of a final judgment. Indeed, Rule 102, 4 disallows issuance of the writ where the person alleged
to be restrained of his liberty is suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment.

The certification of a case under Rule 102, 14, moreover, refers to cases where the habeas corpus court
finds that the applicant is charged with the noncapital offense in another court. Thus, the certification of
this case to this Court is clearly erroneous.[5]

On the basis of the above-quoted Resolution and the provisions of Section 24, Rule 114 of the Rules of
Court, the OCA, in its Report in the present case, found respondent judge guilty of gross ignorance of the
law and recommended that he be fined in the amount of P20,000.00.[6]

The Court agrees with the findings of the OCA except for the recommended penalty.
Section 24, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court is plain and clear in prohibiting the grant of bail after
conviction by final judgment and after the convict has started to serve sentence. It provides:

SEC. 24. No bail after final judgment; exception. An accused shall not be allowed bail after the judgment
has become final, unless he has applied for probation before commencing to serve sentence, the penalty
and the offense being within the purview of the Probation Law. In case the accused has applied for
probation, he may be allowed temporary liberty under his bail, but if no bail was filed or the accused is
incapable of filing one, the court may allow his release on recognizance to the custody of a responsible
member of the community. In no case shall bail be allowed after the accused has commenced to serve
sentence. (Emphasis supplied)

The only exception to the above-cited provision of the Rules of Court is when the convict has applied for
probation before he commences to serve sentence, provided the penalty and the offense are within the
purview of the Probation Law.

In the case of Evelyn Te, the judgment finding her guilty of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 on four counts and
imposing upon her the penalty of imprisonment for two months on each count has already become final
and executory. She did not apply for probation. At the time respondent judge granted her bail she was
already serving her sentence.

From the foregoing, it is evident that Te is not entitled to bail. Respondent judge contends that under
Section 14, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court, he has the discretion to allow Te to be released on bail.
However, the Court reiterates its pronouncement in its Resolution of February 19, 2001 in G.R. Nos.
145715-18 that Section 14, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court applies only to cases where the applicant for
the writ of habeas corpus is restrained by virtue of a criminal charge against him and not in an instance,
as in the case involved in the present controversy, where the applicant is serving sentence by reason of a
final judgment.

The Court agrees with the observation of the OCA that respondent judges ignorance or disregard of the
provisions of Section 24, Rule 114 and Section 14, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court is tantamount to gross
ignorance of the law and procedure. A judge is called upon to exhibit more than just a cursory
acquaintance with statutes and procedural rules.[7] It is imperative that he be conversant with basic
legal principles and be aware of well-settled authoritative doctrines.[8] He should strive for excellence
exceeded only by his passion for truth, to the end that he be the personification of justice and the Rule
of Law.[9] When the law is sufficiently basic, a judge owes it to his office to simply apply it; anything less
than that would be gross ignorance of the law.[10]

In the present case, considering that the granting of bail is common in the litigation of criminal cases
before trial courts, we are not impressed with the explanation of respondent judge in granting bail to Te.
Respondent judge contends that he was caught in a dilemma whether or not to grant bail in favor of Te.
However, he thought that it would be better for him to release Te on bail rather than deny her
application; for if such denial is later found out by the appellate courts to be erroneous, Te could charge
him with gross ignorance of the law and abuse of discretion, or hold him liable for rendering an unjust
order or for damages. Hence, to obviate such possible move on Tes part, he simply allowed her to be
released on bail and relieved himself of any burden brought about by the case of Te by certifying the
same to this Court contending that, [a]nyway, the Supreme Court has the last say on (the) matter.

The Court finds respondents reasoning shallow and unjustified. He cannot simply shirk responsibility by
conveniently passing the buck, so to speak, to this Court on the pretext that we have the final say on the
matter. This is hardly the kind of trait expected of a judge. Rule 3.02, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial
Conduct provides that in every case, a judge shall endeavor diligently to ascertain the facts and the
applicable law unswayed by partisan interests, public opinion or fear of criticism. In Dimatulac vs. Villon,
[11] we held that:

The judge, on the other hand, should always be imbued with a high sense of duty and responsibility in
the discharge of his obligation to promptly and properly administer justice. He must view himself as a
priest for the administration of justice is akin to a religious crusade. Thus, exerting the same devotion as
a priest in the performance of the most sacred ceremonies of religious liturgy, the judge must render
service with impartiality commensurate with public trust and confidence reposed in him.[12]

In the present case, respondent judge fell short of the above-cited ideals expected of a magistrate.

Complainants allegation that no petition for habeas corpus was filed does not hold water. As borne by
the records, the Certification issued by one Atty. Elmer D. Lastimosa, Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial
Court of General Santos City, shows that Evelyn Tes petition for habeas corpus was incorporated in the
pleadings she filed in Criminal Cases Nos. 9456-9460, although no docket fees and other charges were
paid.[13] There is no showing that respondent should be held administratively liable for the non-
payment of docket and other lawful fees. At any rate, the matter may be considered in the appeal taken
by Te, as earlier adverted to in G.R. Nos. 145715-18.
Complainant further claims that on several occasions, respondent judge allowed Te to be released and
confined at a local hospital on account of false illnesses. However, the Court does not find sufficient
evidence to prove this charge. On the contrary, records on hand show that the confinement of Te in the
hospital is recommended by a panel of government doctors and that such confinement is made without
the objection of the public prosecutor.[14] Hence, the Court finds respondent judges act of allowing the
temporary confinement of Te in the hospital as justified. The Court agrees with the observation of the
OCA that in the absence of contradictory evidence, the presumption of regularity in the performance of
official duty should be upheld in favor of respondent judge.[15]

The Court likewise finds no sufficient evidence to find respondent judge guilty of the charge that he uses
his clout and power to stifle criticism and dissent. In the present case, the Court finds nothing irregular
or arbitrary in his act of requiring a number of journalists to show cause why they should not be cited for
indirect contempt. Freedom of speech and of expression, as guaranteed by the Constitution, is not
absolute.[16] Freedom of expression needs on occasion to be adjusted to and accommodated with the
requirements of equally important public interests such as the maintenance of the integrity of courts
and orderly functioning of the administration of justice.[17] In the instant case, the Court finds nothing
whimsical or despotic in respondent judges act of issuing the subject show-cause order. Instead,
respondent is merely exercising his right to protect his honor and, more importantly, the integrity of the
court which he represents.

As to the issue that respondent judge allowed the release of an accused in Criminal Case No. 14072,
entitled People vs. Jhoyce Gersonin-Palma, without the required bail bond being posted, it is not within
the jurisdiction of this Court to resolve the same on the basis of the OCA Report as it is already the
subject of a separate administrative case against respondent.[18]

Having found respondent guilty of gross ignorance of the law, as discussed earlier, the Court now
determines the proper imposable penalty. Section 8(9), Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as amended,
classifies gross ignorance of the law or procedure as a serious charge. Under Section 11(A) of the same
Rule, the imposable penalties, in case the respondent is found culpable of a serious charge, range from a
fine of not less than P20,000.00 but not more than P40,000.00 to dismissal from the service with
forfeiture of all or part of the benefits as the Court may determine, except accrued leaves, and
disqualification from reinstatement or appointment to any public office including government-owned or
controlled corporations.
However, on February 24, 2002, respondent retired upon reaching the compulsory retirement age of 70.
[19] Considering that respondent can no longer be dismissed or suspended, the Court is left with no
recourse but to impose the penalty of fine.

Further, it is noted that on July 8, 2002, the Third Division of this Court, in Administrative Matter
No.10874-Ret., concerning the compulsory retirement of respondent, resolved to release his retirement
benefits but set aside P100,000.00 thereof in view of several administrative cases still pending against
him.[20]

In the administrative complaints filed against respondent, two cases have, so far, resulted in his being
fined. In Chan vs. Majaducon,[21] respondent was found guilty of violating among others, Rules 1.01 and
2.01 and Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial conduct and was meted the penalty of fine in the amount of
P10,000.00. In the more recent case of Alconera vs. Majaducon,[22] respondent was found guilty of
gross ignorance of procedure and was fined P40,000.00. In view of the foregoing, it is proper to impose
the maximum fine of P40,000.00 to be deducted from the P100,000.00 set aside from respondents
retirement benefits in A.M. No. 10874-Ret.

WHEREFORE, respondent judge is found GUILTY of gross ignorance of the law or procedure. He is
ordered to pay a FINE of P40,000.00 to be deducted from the P100,000.00 set aside from his retirement
benefits in A.M. No. 10874-Ret.

SO ORDERED.

Puno, (Chairman), Callejo, Sr., Tinga, and Chico-Nazario, JJ., concur.

[1] Rollo, pp. 122-123.

[2] Id., pp. 1-2.

[3] Id., pp. 84-85.


[4] The cases, as earlier mentioned, were docketed as G.R. Nos. 145715-18, assigned to the Second
Division.

[5] Rollo, pp. 123-124.

[6] Id., pp. 93-98.

[7] A.M. No. RTJ-99-1488, June 20, 2000, Marzan-Gelacio vs. Flores, 334 SCRA 1, 10.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] A.M. No. MTJ-03-1496, July 10, 2003, Delos Santos vs. Mangino, 405 SCRA 521, 527.

[11] G.R. No. 127107, October 12, 1998, 297 SCRA 679.

[12] Id., pp. 713-714.

[13] Rollo, p. 14.

[14] Rollo, pp. 41-47.

[15] Section 3(m), Rule 131, Rules of Court.


[16] Choa vs. Chiongson, A.M. No. MTJ-95-1063, August 9, 1996, 260 SCRA 477, 484-485, citing Zaldivar
vs. Gonzales, Nos. L-79690-707, October 7, 1988, 166 SCRA 316, 353-354.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Docketed as OCA IPI No. 00-1040-RTJ, entitled, Concerned Taxpayer vs. Judge Majaducon.

[19] Alconera vs. Majaducon, A.M. No. MTJ-00-1313, April 27, 2005.

[20] Ibid.

[21] A.M. No. RTJ-02-1697, October 15, 2003, 413 SCRA 354.

[22] Supra.

THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 151876. June 21, 2005]

SUSAN GO and the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioners, vs. FERNANDO L. DIMAGIBA, respondent.

DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:

Administrative Circular 12-2000, as clarified by Administrative Circular 13-2001, merely establishes a rule
of preference in imposing penalties for violations of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 (BP 22), the Bouncing
Checks Law. When the circumstances of both the offense and the offender indicate good faith or a clear
mistake of fact without taint of negligence, the imposition of a fine alone -- instead of imprisonment -- is
the preferred penalty. As the Circular requires a review of the factual circumstances of a given case, it
applies only to pending or future litigations. It is not a penal law; hence, it does not have retroactive
effect. Neither may it be used to modify final judgments of conviction.

The Case

Before us is a Petition for Review[1] under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the October 10,
2001[2] and the October 11, 2001[3] Orders of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) (Branch 5), Baguio City.[4]
The October 10, 2001 Order released Respondent Fernando L. Dimagiba from confinement and required
him to pay a fine of P100,000 in lieu of imprisonment. The October 11, 2001 Order disposed as follows:

WHEREFORE, [in] applying the doctrine as held in the above-entitled cases in this case, the instant
petition for Habeas Corpus should be, as it is hereby, GRANTED. The Baguio City Jail Warden is hereby
ordered to IMMEDIATELY RELEASE the petitioner from confinement unless he is being held for some
other lawful cause other than by virtue of the Sentence Mittimus dated September 28, 2001 issued by
CESAR S. VIDUYA, Clerk of Court, MTC 4, Baguio City. Further, the petitioner is required to pay a fine in
the amount of P100,000.00 in lieu of his imprisonment, in addition to the civil aspect of the Joint
Judgment rendered by MTC 4 dated July 16, 1999.[5]

The Facts

The pertinent facts are not disputed. Respondent Fernando L. Dimagiba issued to Petitioner Susan Go
thirteen (13) checks which, when presented to the drawee bank for encashment or payment on the due
dates, were dishonored for the reason account closed.[6] Dimagiba was subsequently prosecuted for 13
counts of violation of BP 22[7] under separate Complaints filed with the Municipal Trial Court in Cities
(MTCC) in Baguio City.[8] After a joint trial, the MTCC (Branch 4) rendered a Decision on July 16, 1999,
convicting the accused in the 13 cases. The dispositive portion reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing disquisition, this Court finds the evidence of the prosecution to
have established the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt of the offenses charged and imposes
upon the accused the penalty of 3 months imprisonment for each count (13 counts) and to indemnify
the offended party the amount of One Million Two Hundred Ninety Five Thousand Pesos (P1,295,000.00)
with legal interest per annum commencing from 1996 after the checks were dishonored by reason
ACCOUNT CLOSED on December 13, 1995, to pay attorneys fees of P15,000.00 and to pay the costs.[9]

The appeal of Dimagiba was raffled to Branch 4 of the RTC in Baguio City.[10] On May 23, 2000, the RTC
denied the appeal and sustained his conviction.[11] There being no further appeal to the Court of
Appeals (CA), the RTC issued on February 1, 2001, a Certificate of Finality of the Decision.[12]

Thus, on February 14, 2001, the MTCC issued an Order directing the arrest of Dimagiba for the service of
his sentence as a result of his conviction. The trial court also issued a Writ of Execution to enforce his civil
liability.[13]

On February 27, 2001, Dimagiba filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the MTCC Order. He prayed for the
recall of the Order of Arrest and the modification of the final Decision, arguing that the penalty of fine
only, instead of imprisonment also, should have been imposed on him.[14] The arguments raised in that
Motion were reiterated in a Motion for the Partial Quashal of the Writ of Execution filed on February 28,
2001.[15]

In an Order dated August 22, 2001, the MTCC denied the Motion for Reconsideration and directed the
issuance of a Warrant of Arrest against Dimagiba.[16] On September 28, 2001, he was arrested and
imprisoned for the service of his sentence.

On October 9, 2001, he filed with the RTC of Baguio City a Petition[17] for a writ of habeas corpus. The
case was raffled to Branch 5, which scheduled the hearing for October 10, 2001. Copies of the Order
were served on respondents counsels and the city warden.[18]

Ruling of the Regional Trial Court


Right after hearing the case on October 10, 2001, the RTC issued an Order directing the immediate
release of Dimagiba from confinement and requiring him to pay a fine of P100,000 in lieu of
imprisonment. However, the civil aspect of the July 16, 1999 MTCC Decision was not touched upon.[19]
A subsequent Order, explaining in greater detail the basis of the grant of the writ of habeas corpus, was
issued on October 11, 2001.[20]

In justifying its modification of the MTCC Decision, the RTC invoked Vaca v. Court of Appeals[21] and
Supreme Court Administrative Circular (SC-AC) No. 12-2000,[22] which allegedly required the imposition
of a fine only instead of imprisonment also for BP 22 violations, if the accused was not a recidivist or a
habitual delinquent. The RTC held that this rule should be retroactively applied in favor of Dimagiba.[23]
It further noted that (1) he was a first-time offender and an employer of at least 200 workers who would
be displaced as a result of his imprisonment; and (2) the civil liability had already been satisfied through
the levy of his properties.[24]

On October 22, 2001, Petitioner Go filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the RTC Orders dated October
10 and 11, 2001.[25] That Motion was denied on January 18, 2002.[26]

Hence, this Petition filed directly with this Court on pure questions of law.[27]

The Issues

Petitioner raises the following issues for this Courts consideration:

1. [The RTC] Judge was utterly devoid of jurisdiction in amending a final and conclusive decision of the
Municipal Trial Court, Branch 4, dated July 16, 1999, in nullifying the Sentence Mittimus, dated
September 28, 2001, issued by x x x [the] Municipal Trial Court, Branch 4, Baguio City, and in ordering the
release of [Dimagiba] from confinement in jail for the service of his sentence under the said final and
conclusive judgment;

2. Assuming only for the sake of argument that habeas corpus is the proper remedy, the Petition for
Habeas Corpus is utterly devoid of merit as [Dimagiba was] not entitled to the beneficent policy
enunciated in the Eduardo Vaca and Rosa Lim cases and reiterated in the Supreme Court Circular No. 12-
2000; x x x
3. Granting for the sake of argument that [Dimagiba was] entitled to the beneficent policy enunciated in
the Eduardo Vaca and Rosa Lim cases and reiterated in the Supreme Court Circular No. 12-2000, the
minimum fine that should be imposed on [Dimagiba] is one million and two hundred ninety five
thousand pesos (P1,295,000.00) up to double the said amount or (P2,590,000), not just the measly
amount of P100,000; and

4. [The RTC] judge committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in
hearing and deciding [Dimagibas] Petition for Habeas Corpus without notice and without affording
procedural due process to the People of the Philippines through the Office of [the] City Prosecutor of
Baguio City or the Office of the Solicitor General.[28]

In the main, the case revolves around the question of whether the Petition for habeas corpus was validly
granted. Hence, the Court will discuss the four issues as they intertwine with this main question.[29]

The Courts Ruling

The Petition is meritorious.

Main Issue:

Propriety of the

Writ of Habeas Corpus

The writ of habeas corpus applies to all cases of illegal confinement or detention in which individuals are
deprived of liberty.[30] It was devised as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful
restraint; or, more specifically, to obtain immediate relief for those who may have been illegally confined
or imprisoned without sufficient cause and thus deliver them from unlawful custody.[31] It is therefore a
writ of inquiry intended to test the circumstances under which a person is detained.[32]
The writ may not be availed of when the person in custody is under a judicial process or by virtue of a
valid judgment.[33] However, as a post-conviction remedy, it may be allowed when, as a consequence of
a judicial proceeding, any of the following exceptional circumstances is attendant: (1) there has been a
deprivation of a constitutional right resulting in the restraint of a person; (2) the court had no jurisdiction
to impose the sentence; or (3) the imposed penalty has been excessive, thus voiding the sentence as to
such excess.[34]

In the present case, the Petition for a writ of habeas corpus was anchored on the ruling in Vaca and on
SC-AC No. 12-2000, which allegedly prescribed the imposition of a fine, not imprisonment, for
convictions under BP 22. Respondent sought the retroactive effect of those rulings, thereby effectively
challenging the penalty imposed on him for being excessive. From his allegations, the Petition appeared
sufficient in form to support the issuance of the writ.

However, it appears that respondent has previously sought the modification of his sentence in a Motion
for Reconsideration[35] of the MTCCs Execution Order and in a Motion for the Partial Quashal of the
Writ of Execution.[36] Both were denied by the MTCC on the ground that it had no power or authority to
amend a judgment issued by the RTC.

In his Petition for habeas corpus, respondent raised the same arguments that he had invoked in the said
Motions. We believe that his resort to this extraordinary remedy was a procedural infirmity. The remedy
should have been an appeal of the MTCC Order denying his Motions, in which he should have prayed
that the execution of the judgment be stayed. But he effectively misused the action he had chosen,
obviously with the intent of finding a favorable court. His Petition for a writ of habeas corpus was clearly
an attempt to reopen a case that had already become final and executory. Such an action deplorably
amounted to forum shopping. Respondent should have resorted to the proper, available remedy instead
of instituting a different action in another forum.

The Court also finds his arguments for his release insubstantial to support the issuance of the writ of
habeas corpus.

Preference in the
Application of Penalties

for Violation of BP 22

The following alternative penalties are imposable under BP 22: (1) imprisonment of not less than 30
days, but not more than one year; (2) a fine of not less or more than double the amount of the check, a
fine that shall in no case exceed P200,000; or (3) both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of
the court.[37]

SC-AC No. 12-2000, as clarified by SC-AC No. 13-2001,[38] established a rule of preference in imposing
the above penalties.[39] When the circumstances of the case clearly indicate good faith or a clear
mistake of fact without taint of negligence, the imposition of a fine alone may be considered as the
preferred penalty.[40] The determination of the circumstances that warrant the imposition of a fine rests
upon the trial judge only.[41] Should the judge deem that imprisonment is appropriate, such penalty
may be imposed.[42]

SC-AC No. 12-2000 did not delete the alternative penalty of imprisonment. The competence to amend
the law belongs to the legislature, not to this Court.[43]

Inapplicability of

SC-AC No. 12-2000

Petitioners argue that respondent is not entitled to the benevolent policy enunciated in SC-AC No. 12-
2000, because he is not a first time offender.[44] This circumstance is, however, not the sole factor in
determining whether he deserves the preferred penalty of fine alone. The penalty to be imposed
depends on the peculiar circumstances of each case.[45] It is the trial courts discretion to impose any
penalty within the confines of the law. SC-AC No. 13-2001 explains thus:

x x x. Administrative Circular No. 12-2000 establishes a rule of preference in the application of the penal
provisions of BP 22 such that where the circumstances of both the offense and the offender clearly
indicate good faith or a clear mistake of fact without taint of negligence, the imposition of a fine alone
should be considered as the more appropriate penalty. Needless to say, the determination of whether
the circumstances warrant the imposition of a fine alone rests solely upon the Judge. x x x.

It is, therefore, understood that:

xxxxxxxxx

2. The Judges concerned, may in the exercise of sound discretion, and taking into consideration the
peculiar circumstances of each case, determine whether the imposition of a fine alone would best serve
the interests of justice, or whether forbearing to impose imprisonment would depreciate the seriousness
of the offense, work violence on the social order, or otherwise be contrary to the imperatives of justice;

The Court notes that the Petition for a writ of habeas corpus relied mainly on the alleged retroactivity of
SC-AC No. 12-2000, which supposedly favored BP 22 offenders.[46] On this point, Dimagiba contended
that his imprisonment was violative of his right to equal protection of the laws, since only a fine would
be imposed on others similarly situated.[47]

The rule on retroactivity states that criminal laws may be applied retroactively if favorable to the
accused. This principle, embodied in the Revised Penal Code,[48] has been expanded in certain instances
to cover special laws.[49]

The issue of retroactivity of SC-AC No. 12-2000 was settled in De Joya v. Jail Warden of Batangas City,[50]
which we quote:

Petitioner's reliance of our ruling in Ordoez v. Vinarao that a convicted person is entitled to benefit from
the reduction of penalty introduced by the new law, citing People v. Simon, is misplaced. Thus, her plea
that as provided for in Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code, SC Admin. Circular No. 12-2000 as modified
by SC Admin. Circular No. 13-2001 should benefit her has no basis.
First. SC Admin. Circular No. 12-2000 is not a penal law; hence, Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code is
not applicable. The circular applies only to those cases pending as of the date of its effectivity and not to
cases already terminated by final judgment.

Second. As explained by the Court in SC Admin. Circular No. 13-2001, SC Admin. Circular No. 12-2000
merely lays down a rule of preference in the application of the penalties for violation of B.P. Blg. 22. It
does not amend B.P. Blg. 22, nor defeat the legislative intent behind the law. SC Admin. Circular No. 12-
2000 merely urges the courts to take into account not only the purpose of the law but also the
circumstances of the accused -- whether he acted in good faith or on a clear mistake of fact without taint
of negligence -- and such other circumstance which the trial court or the appellate court believes
relevant to the penalty to be imposed.[51]

Because the Circular merely lays down a rule of preference, it serves only as a guideline for the trial
courts. Thus, it is addressed to the judges, who are directed to consider the factual circumstances of
each case prior to imposing the appropriate penalty. In other words, the Administrative Circular does not
confer any new right in favor of the accused, much less those convicted by final judgment.

The competence to determine the proper penalty belongs to the court rendering the decision against
the accused.[52] That decision is subject only to appeal on grounds of errors of fact or law, or grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Another trial court may not encroach
upon this authority. Indeed, SC-AC No. 12-2000 necessarily requires a review of all factual circumstances
of each case. Such a review can no longer be done if the judgment has become final and executory.

In the present case, the MTCC of Baguio City had full knowledge of all relevant circumstances from which
respondents conviction and sentence were based. The penalty imposed was well within the confines of
the law. Upon appeal, the conviction was sustained by RTC-Branch 4 of Baguio City. Eventually, the
Decision attained finality. Hence, RTC-Branch 5 did not have the jurisdiction to modify the lawful
judgment in the guise of granting a writ of habeas corpus.

The doctrine of equal protection of laws[53] does not apply for the same reasons as those on
retroactivity. Foremost of these reasons is that the Circular is not a law that deletes the penalty of
imprisonment. As explained earlier, it is merely a rule of preference as to which penalty should be
imposed under the peculiar circumstances of a case. At any rate, this matter deserves scant
consideration, because respondent failed to raise any substantial argument to support his contention.
[54]
Modification of Final

Judgment Not Warranted

The Court is not unmindful of So v. Court of Appeals,[55] in which the final judgment of conviction for
violation of BP 22 was modified by the deletion of the sentence of imprisonment and the imposition of a
fine. That case proceeded from an Urgent Manifestation of an Extraordinary Supervening Event,[56] not
from an unmeritorious petition for a writ of habeas corpus, as in the present case. The Court exercised in
that case its authority to suspend or to modify the execution of a final judgment when warranted or
made imperative by the higher interest of justice or by supervening events.[57] The supervening event in
that case was the petitioners urgent need for coronary rehabilitation for at least one year under the
direct supervision of a coronary care therapist; imprisonment would have been equivalent to a death
sentence.[58]

The peculiar circumstances of So do not obtain in the present case. Respondents supposed unhealthy
physical condition due to a triple by-pass operation, and aggravated by hypertension, cited by the RTC in
its October 10, 2001 Order,[59] is totally bereft of substantial proof. The Court notes that respondent did
not make any such allegation in his Petition for habeas corpus. Neither did he mention his physical state
in his Memorandum and Comment submitted to this Court.

Respondent seeks the retroactive application of SC-AC No. 12-2000 in his favor on the basis alone of the
alleged settlement of his civil liability.[60] Citing Griffith v. Court of Appeals,[61] he theorizes that
answering for a criminal offense is no longer justified after the settlement of the debt.

Respondent, however, misreads Griffith. The Court held in that case that convicting the accused who,
two years prior to the filing of the BP 22 cases, had already paid his debt (from which the checks
originated) was contrary to the basic principles of fairness and justice.[62] Obviously, that situation is not
attendant here.

The civil liability in the present case was satisfied through the levy and sale of the properties of
respondent only after the criminal case had been terminated with his conviction.[63] Apparently, he had
sufficient properties that could have been used to settle his liabilities prior to his conviction. Indeed, such
an early settlement would have been an indication that he was in good faith, a circumstance that could
have been favorably considered in determining his appropriate penalty.

At any rate, civil liability differs from criminal liability.[64] What is punished in the latter is not the failure
to pay the obligation, but the issuance of checks that subsequently bounced or were dishonored for
insufficiency or lack of funds.[65] The Court reiterates the reasons why the issuance of worthless checks
is criminalized:

The practice is prohibited by law because of its deleterious effects on public interest. The effects of the
increase of worthless checks transcend the private interest of the parties directly involved in the
transaction and touches the interest of the community at large. The mischief it creates is not only a
wrong to the payee or holder, but also an injury to the public. The harmful practice of putting valueless
commercial papers in circulation multiplied a thousand-fold can very well pollute the channels of trade
and commerce, injure the banking system and eventually hurt the welfare of society and the public
interest. The law punishes the act not as an offense against property but an offense against public order.
[66]

WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED and the assailed Orders NULLIFIED. Respondents Petition for
habeas corpus is hereby DENIED. Let this case be REMANDED to MTCC of Baguio City for the re-arrest of
respondent and the completion of his sentence.

No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

Sandoval-Gutierrez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, and Garcia, JJ., concur.

[1] Rollo, pp. 4-39. An RTC judgment may be directly appealed to this Court if the issues raised are purely
questions of law. (1, Rule 45, Rules of Court) Petitioner mistakenly impleaded the judge as respondent. In
a petition for review, the lower court is excluded as a respondent. (4, id.)
[2] Rollo, pp. 90-91.

[3] Id., pp. 92-96.

[4] Presided by Judge Antonio M. Esteves.

[5] RTC Order, dated October 11, 2001, p. 5; rollo, p. 96.

[6] Petitioners Memorandum, p. 17 (rollo, p. 442); Solicitor Generals Memorandum, p. 2; respondents


Memorandum, p. 1 (rollo, p. 481).

[7] An Act Penalizing the Making or Drawing and Issuance of a Check Without Sufficient Funds or Credit
and for Other Purposes, approved on April 3, 1979.

[8] Presided by Judge Iluminada Cabato-Cortes.

[9] MTCC Joint Judgment, dated July 16, 1999, p. 14; rollo, p. 53.

[10] Presided by Judge Amado S. Caguioa.

[11] RTC Decision, dated May 23, 2000; rollo, pp. 54-56.

[12] Certificate of Finality, dated February 1, 2001; rollo, p. 57.

[13] Annex D, Petition; rollo, p. 58.


[14] Respondents Motion for Reconsideration, dated February 27, 2001; rollo, pp. 60-66.

[15] Respondents Motion for Partial Quashal of the Writ of Execution, dated February 28, 2001; rollo, pp.
67-73.

[16] Rollo, pp. 74-75.

[17] Rollo, pp. 76-79. The case was entitled In re: The Matter of the Petition for Habeas Corpu[s] of
Fernando Dimagiba, with Dimagiba as petitioner and the warden of the Baguio City Jail as respondent.
Evidently, the former erred in titling his Petition. Governed by Rule 102 of the Rules of Court, it should
have properly been referred to as Petition for the Writ of Habeas Corpus.

[18] Rollo, pp. 81-83.

[19] Assailed Order, dated October 10, 2001; rollo, pp. 90-91.

[20] Assailed Order, dated October 11, 2001; rollo, pp. 92-96.

[21] 359 Phil. 187, November 16, 1998.

[22] Issued on November 21, 2000.

[23] Assailed Order, dated October 11, 2001, pp. 3-4; rollo, p. 95-96.

[24] Ibid.
[25] Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration; rollo, pp. 97-106.

[26] RTC Order, dated January 18, 2002; rollo, p. 125.

[27] The case was deemed submitted for decision on September 2, 2004, upon this Courts receipt of the
solicitor generals Memorandum, signed by Assistant Solicitors General Antonio L. Villamor and Rodolfo
G. Urbiztondo, and Solicitor Luis F. Simon. The Office of the Solicitor General, as counsel for the People of
the Philippines, was allowed to join as co-petitioner, per this Courts Resolution dated November 25,
2002 (rollo, p. 137).

The Court received petitioners Memorandum, signed by Atty. Ariel Aloysius P. Ingalla, on July 26, 2004.
Respondents Memorandum, signed by Atty. Lauro D. Gacayan, was received on August 17, 2004.

[28] Petitioners Memorandum, pp. 21-22; rollo, pp. 446-447.

[29] The Court disregards the arguments of respondent in his Comment and Memorandum, in which he
said that he was innocent of the charges of violating BP 22. This Petition is not an appeal from his
judgment of conviction.

[30] 1, Rule 102, Rules of Court.

[31] Velasco v. Court of Appeals, 245 SCRA 677, 679, July 7, 1995. Also cited in Feria v. Court of Appeals,
382 Phil. 412, 420, February 15, 2000. See also Villavicencio v. Lukban, 39 Phil. 778, 788, March 25, 1919.

[32] Velasco v. Court of Appeals, supra.

[33] 4, Rule 102, Rules of Court.


[34] De Villa v. The Director, New Bilibid Prisons, GR No. 158802, November 17, 2004; Feria v. Court of
Appeals, supra; Andal v. People, 367 Phil. 154, 157, May 26, 1999; Harden v. Director of Prisons, 81 Phil.
741, 746, October 22, 1948.

[35] Rollo, pp. 60-66.

[36] Id., pp. 67-73.

[37] 1, BP 22.

[38] Issued on February 14, 2001.

[39] Abarquez v. Court of Appeals, 408 SCRA 500, 511, August 7, 2003; Nagrampa v. People, 435 Phil.
440, 454, August 6, 2002; Tan v. Mendez Jr., 432 Phil. 760, 772, June 6, 2002.

The rationale of this Circular is found in Vaca v. Court of Appeals (supra) and Lim v. People (340 SCRA
497, 504, September 18, 2000). In these cases, the Court held that it would best serve the ends of
criminal justice if, in fixing the penalty to be imposed for violation of BP 22, the same philosophy
underlying the Indeterminate Sentence Law is observed. The Court meant redeeming valuable human
material and preventing unnecessary deprivation of personal liberty and economic usefulness, with due
regard to the protection of the social order.

[40] Administrative Circular 13-2001. See also Tan v. Mendez, supra, p. 773.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid. 1, Article VI, Philippine Constitution.


[44] Petitioners Memorandum, pp. 28-29; rollo, pp. 453-454.

[45] Abarquez v. Court of Appeals; supra, p. 510.

In Vaca, petitioners were first-time offenders. They were Filipino entrepreneurs who were presumed to
contribute to the national economy. They brought the appeal, mistakenly believing that they had
committed no violation of BP 22. Otherwise, they would have accepted the trial courts judgment and
applied for probation to avoid a prison term. (Vaca v. Court of Appeals; supra, pp. 195-196).

[46] Rollo, pp. 76-78.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Art. 22. Retroactive effect of penal laws. Penal laws shall have a retroactive insofar as they favor the
person guilty of a felony, who is not a habitual criminal, x x x although at the time of the publication of
such laws a final sentence has been pronounced and the convict is serving the same.

[49] People v. Langit, 392 Phil. 94, 119, August 4, 2000; Gonzales v. Court of Appeals, 343 Phil. 297, 306,
August 18, 1997; People v. Ganguso, 320 Phil. 324, 340, November 23, 1995; People v. Simon, 234 SCRA
555, 570, July 29, 1994.

This doctrine follows the rule that the provisions of the Revised Penal Code apply supplementarily to
special laws. Art. 10, Revised Penal Code.

[50] 417 SCRA 636, December 10, 2003.

[51] Id., p. 642, per Callejo Sr., J.


[52] It should be noted that a decision prepared, signed, and promulgated by a judge who has not fully
or partly heard the case is valid. It is sufficient that the judge, in deciding the case, completely relied on
the records before him. Villanueva v. Estenzo, 64 SCRA 407, 413-414, June 27, 1975.

[53] The Constitutional guarantee of equal protection of laws means that no person or class of persons
shall be deprived of the same protection of the laws enjoyed by other persons or other classes in the
same place and in like circumstances. Tolentino v. Board of Accountancy, 90 Phil. 83, 90, September 28,
1951.

[54] Dimagiba merely noted that the equal-protection clause of the Constitution required the retroactive
application of SC-AC No. 12-2000. Respondents Memorandum, p. 15; rollo, p. 495.

[55] 436 Phil. 683, 688, August 29, 2002.

[56] Id., p. 685.

[57] Id., p. 688.

[58] Ibid.

[59] RTC Order, dated October 10, 2001, p. 1; rollo, p. 90.

[60] Respondents Memorandum, p. 18; rollo, p. 498.

[61] 428 Phil. 878, March 12, 2002.

[62] Id., p. 892.


[63] The debt was allegedly satisfied through the levy and sale of respondents Toyota Land Cruiser and
two parcels of land. Respondents Memorandum, p. 18; rollo, p. 498.

[64] See Rico v. People, 392 SCRA 61, 74, November 18, 2002; Caras v. Court of Appeals, 418 Phil. 655,
668, October 2, 2001.

THIRD DIVISION

IN THE MATTER OF THE G.R. No. 170497

APPLICATION FOR THE WRIT OF

HABEAS CORPUS RECLASSIFYING

SENTENCE TO R.A. NO. 8353 IN

BEHALF OF,
ROGELIO ORMILLA,

ROGELIO RIVERA,

ALFREDO NAVARRO,

Petitioners, Present:

Ynares-Santiago, J. (Chairperson),

- versus - Austria-Martinez,

Callejo, Sr., and

Chico-Nazario, JJ.

THE DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF

CORRECTIONS, AND THE Promulgated:

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,

Respondents. January 22, 2007


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

DECISION

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

This is a petition[1] for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus filed for and in behalf of Rogelio Ormilla,
Rogelio Rivera and Alfredo Navarro, praying for their release from confinement on the ground that an
excessive penalty was imposed on them.

At the outset, we note that only Ormilla signed his conformity to the petition while Rivera and Navarro
failed to manifest their conformity or sign the verification. Hence, the instant petition pertains only to
petitioner Ormilla.
Petitioner, together with Rivera and Navarro, was convicted of two counts of rape and sentenced to
reclusion perpetua for each count. He is presently confined at the National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa
and has served approximately 17 years of his sentence.[2]

In the instant petition, Ormilla alleged that he should be released from confinement by virtue of
Republic Act No. 8353 (R.A. No. 8353), otherwise known as The Anti-Rape Law of 1997. He claimed that
under the new rape law, the penalty for rape committed by two or more persons was downgraded to
prision mayor to reclusion temporal. Thus, the penalty of reclusion perpetua imposed on him is
excessive and should be modified in accordance with R.A. No. 8353. He prayed that he be released so he
could apply for pardon or parole.

In their Comment,[3] respondents, represented herein by the Office of the Solicitor-General, contended
that the penalty imposed under R.A. No. 8353 for rape committed by two or more persons is reclusion
perpetua to death. Under Article 70[4] of the Revised Penal Code, the duration of perpetual penalties is
30 years. Since petitioner was sentenced to reclusion perpetua for each count of rape, the aggregate of
the two penalties is 60 years. Respondents argued that petitioner has yet to complete the service of his
first sentence, as he has been in confinement for only 17 years. Respondents further argued that
petitioner is ineligible for parole, because Section 2 of the Indeterminate Sentence Law prohibits its
application to persons convicted of offenses punished by life imprisonment.

The sole issue for resolution is whether the writ may be granted in favor of petitioner.
The petition lacks merit.

Section 1, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court provides that a petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas
corpus may be availed of in cases of illegal confinement by which any person is deprived of his liberty, or
by which the rightful custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled thereto. In Feria v. Court
of Appeals,[5] the Court held that the writ may also be issued where, as a consequence of a judicial
proceeding, (a) there has been a deprivation of a constitutional right resulting in the restraint of a
person; (b) the court had no jurisdiction to impose the sentence; or (c) an excessive penalty has been
imposed, as such sentence is void as to such excess.[6]

None of the above circumstances is present in the instant case.

Recall that petitioner was charged and convicted under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code which
states:

Art. 335. When and how rape is committed. Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman
under any of the following circumstances.

1. By using force or intimidation;


2. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and

3. When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented.

The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.

Whenever the crime of rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons,
the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death. (Emphasis added)

With the enactment of R.A. No. 8353, petitioner claims that the penalty of reclusion perpetua has
become excessive, as the new law now punishes rape with prision mayor, citing Article 266-B as follows:
[7]

Article 266-B. Penalties. --- x x x


Rape under paragraph 2 of the next preceding article shall be punished by prision mayor.

Whenever the rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons, the
penalty shall be prision mayor to reclusion temporal.

x x x x. (Emphasis added)

Petitioners reliance on the above-mentioned portion of Article 266-B is misplaced. Note that the penalty
of prision mayor is imposed for rape committed under paragraph 2 of Article 266-A which is committed
by any person who inserts his penis into another persons mouth or anal orifice; or any instrument or
object, into the genital or anal orifice of another person. It bears stressing that petitioner, together with
Rivera and Navarro, was charged with and convicted of rape by having carnal knowledge of a woman
using force and intimidation under Article 335, which is now embodied in paragraph 1 of Article 266-A.

The full text of Article 266-A reads:


Art. 266-A. Rape; When and How Committed. Rape is committed

1) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:

a) Through force, threat or intimidation;

b) When the offended party is deprived of reason or is otherwise unconscious;

c) By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority;

d) When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the
circumstances above be present;
2) By any person who, under any of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph 1 hereof, shall commit an
act of sexual assault by inserting his penis into another persons mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument
or object, into the genital or anal orifice of another person. (Emphasis added)

Under Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 8353, the penalty for rape
committed by two or more persons, using force, threat or intimidation is reclusion perpetua to death, to
wit:

Art. 266-B. Penalties. Rape under paragraph 1 of the next preceding article shall be punished by
reclusion perpetua.

Whenever the rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons, the
penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death.

xxxx
It must be emphasized that the same penalties were imposed under Article 335 of the Revised Penal
Code prior to the enactment of R.A. No. 8353. It is clear therefore that R.A. No. 8353 did not downgrade
the applicable penalties to petitioners case.

Considering that the penalty of reclusion perpetua was properly imposed and that petitioner is confined
under authority of law, the petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus is hereby DENIED.

SO ORDERED.

CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO

Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:

MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ ROMEO J. CALLEJO, SR.

Associate Justice Associate Justice

MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO

Associate Justice
ATTESTATION

I attest that the conclusions in the above decision were reached in consultation before the case was
assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.

CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO
Associate Justice

Chairperson, Third Division

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the
above Decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of
the Courts Division.

REYNATO S. PUNO

Chief Justice
[1] Rollo, pp. 3-8.

[2] Id. at 6.

[3] Id. at 23-29.

[4] Successive service of sentences. x x x

In applying the provisions of this rule the duration of perpetual penalties (penal perpetua) shall be
computed at thirty years.

[5] 382 Phil. 412 (2000).

[6] Id. at 420-421.

[7] Rollo, p. 6.

[65] See Seares v. Salazar, 345 SCRA 308, 313, November 22, 2000.

[66] De Joya v. Jail Warden of Batangas City, supra, p. 644 (citing Lozano v. Martinez, 230 Phil. 406, 424,
December 18, 1986).
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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT

Manila

THIRD DIVISION

UDK No. 14817 January 13, 2014

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF MINOR SHANG KO VINGSON YU SHIRLY
VINGSON@ SHIRLY VINGSON DEMAISIP, Petitioner,

vs.

JOVY CABCABAN, Respondent.

DECISION

ABAD, J.:

Petitioner Shirly Vingson (Shirly) alleged that Shang Ko Vingson Yu (Shang Ko),1 her 14-year-old daughter,
ran away from home on September 23, 2011. On November 2, 2011 Shirly went to the police station in
Bacolod City upon receipt of information that Shang Ko was in the custody of respondent Jovy Cabcaban
Cabcaban), a police officer in that station. Since Cabcaban refused to release Shang Ko to her, Shirly
sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation NBI) to rescue her child. An NBI agent, Arnel Pura
Pura), informed Shirly that Shang Ko was no longer with Cabcaban but was staying with a private
organization called Calvary Kids. Pura told her, however, that the child was fine and had been attending
school.

This prompted petitioner Shirly to file a petition for habeas corpus against respondent Cabcaban and the
unnamed officers of Calvary Kids before the Court of Appeals (CA) rather than the Regional Trial Court of
Bacolod City citing as reason several threats against her life in that city.

In a Resolution dated December 18, 2012,2 the CA resolved in CA-G.R. SP 07261 to deny the petition for
its failure to clearly allege who has custody of Shang Ko. According to the CA, habeas corpus may not be
used as a means of obtaining evidence on the whereabouts of a person or as a means of finding out who
has specifically abducted or caused the disappearance of such person.3 The CA denied petitioner Shirly’s
motion for reconsideration on January 8, 2013, hence, this petition for review.

In her Comment,4 respondent Cabcaban claimed that on September 28, 2011 police officers found
Shang Ko crying outside a church. When queried, the latter refused to give any information about
herself. Thus, they indorsed her case to the Bacolod City Police Women and Children Protection Desk
that Cabcaban headed. After the initial interview, Cabcaban referred Shang Ko to Balay Pasilungan , a
temporary shelter for abused women and children.

Respondent Cabcaban further claimed that on the next day, a social worker sat with the minor who said
that her mother Shirly had been abusive in treating her. She narrated that on September 27, 2011 Shirly
instructed another daughter to give Shang Ko ₱280.00 and take her to the pier to board a boat going to
Iloilo City.5 Shang Ko was told to look for a job there and to never come back to Bacolod City. Since she
had nowhere to go when she arrived in Iloilo City, Shang Ko decided to return to Bacolod City with the
money given her. She went to her best friend’s house but was turned away for fear of Shirly. She called
her sister so that she and her boyfriend could get her but they, too, turned her down.6

Respondent Cabcaban also claimed that Shang Ko pleaded with the police and the social worker not to
return her to her mother. As a result, the Bacolod City Police filed a complaint7 against petitioner Shirly
for violation of Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and
Discrimination Act. The police sent notice to Shirly inviting her to a conference but she refused to receive
such notice. Two days later, however, she came and spoke to Cabcaban, pointing out that Shang Ko had
been a difficult child with a tendency to steal. From their conversation, Cabcaban surmised that Shirly
did not want to take her daughter back, having offered to pay for her daily expenses at the shelter.

Respondent Cabcaban said that on October 29, 2011 she decided to turn over Shang Ko to the Calvary
Kids, a private organization that gave sanctuary and schooling to abandoned and abused children.8 On
November 2, 2011 petitioner Shirly showed up at the police station asking for her daughter. Cabcaban
told her that Shang Ko was in a sanctuary for abandoned children and that the police officer had to first
coordinate with it before she can disclose where Shang Ko was. But Shirly was adamant and threatened
her with a lawsuit. Cabcaban claimed that Shang Ko’s father was a Taiwanese and that Shirly wanted the
child back to use her as leverage for getting financial support from him.

Respondent Cabcaban further claimed that one year later, NBI agents led by Pura went to the police
station to verify Shirly’s complaint that Cabcaban had kidnapped Shang Ko. Cabcaban accompanied the
NBI agents to Calvary Kids to talk to the institution’s social worker, school principal, and director. They
provided the NBI agents with the child’s original case study report9 and told them that it was not in
Shang Ko’s best interest to return her to her mother who abused and maltreated her. Shang Ko herself
told the NBI that she would rather stay at Calvary Kids because she was afraid of what would happen to
her if she returned home.10 As proof, Shang Ko wrote a letter stating that, contrary to her mother’s
malicious insinuations, Cabcaban actually helped her when she had nowhere to go after her family
refused to take her back.11

Under Section 1, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court, the writ of habeas corpus is available, not only in cases
of illegal confinement or detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty, but also in cases
involving the rightful custody over a minor.12 The general rule is that parents should have custody over
their minor children. But the State has the right to intervene where the parents, rather than care for
such children, treat them cruelly and abusively, impairing their growth and well-being and leaving them
emotional scars that they carry throughout their lives unless they are liberated from such parents and
properly counseled.

Since this case presents factual issues and since the parties are all residents of Bacolod City, it would be
best that such issues be resolved by a Family Court in that city. Meantime, considering the presumption
that the police authorities acted regularly in placing Shang Ko in the custody of Calvary Kids the Court
believes that she should remain there pending hearing and adjudication of this custody case. Besides she
herself has expressed preference to stay in that place.
WHEREFORE, the Court SETS ASIDE the Court of Appeals Resolutions in CA-G.R. SP 07261 dated
December 18, 2012 and January 8, 2013 and ORDERS this custody case forwarded to the Family Court of
Bacolod City for hearing and adjudication as the evidence warrants. Meantime until such court orders
otherwise let the minor Shang Ko Vingson remain in the custody of Calvary Kids of Bacolod City.

Further the Court ORDERS petitioner Shirly Vingson Shirly Vingson Demaisip to pay the balance of the
docket and other legal fees within 10 days from receipt of this Resolution.

SO ORDERED.

ROBERTO A. ABAD

Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.

Associate Justice

Chairperson

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA

Associate Justice JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA

Associate Justice

MARVIC MARIO VICTOR F. LEONEN

Associate Justice

ATTESTATION
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had be reached in consultation before the case was
assigned to the writer of the Court’s Division.

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO JR.

Associate Justice

Chairperson, Third Division

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairperson s Attestation, I certify
that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was
assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO

Chief Justice

Footnotes

1 In a police blotter, however, the minor signed her name as Shangco Vingson, rollo, p. 60.

2 CA-G.R. SP 07261, penned by Justice Gabriel T. Ingles with the concurrence of Justices Pampio A.
Abarintos and Pedro B. Corales, rollo, pp. 14-16.

3 Martinez v. Dir. Gen. Mendoza, 530 Phil. 627, 635 (2006).

4 Rollo, pp. 55-58.


5 Ferry tickets attached, id. at 62.

6 Police blotter, id. at 60; Sworn Statement of Shangco Vingson, id. at 79-83.

7 BCPO WCCD Case NR: 2013-078, id. at 78.

8 Calvary Kids Voluntary Commitment Form, id. at 68.

9 Id. at 88-95.

10 Calvary Kids Case Study Update, id. at 72-74.

11 Id. at 76.

12 Bagtas v. Santos, G.R. No. 166682, November 27, 2009, 606 SCRA 101, 111.

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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT

Manila

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 210636 July 28, 2014

MA. HAZELINA A. TUJANMILITANTE IN BEHALF OF THE MINOR CRISELDA M. CADA, Petitioner,

vs.

RAQUEL M. CADA-DEAPERA, Respondent.

DECISION

VELASCO, JR., J.:

Nature of the Case

Before Us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court with prayer for
injunctive relief seeking the reversal of the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision1 dated May 17, 2013 as well
as its Resolution dated December 27, 2013 in CA-G.R. SP No. 123759. In the main, petitioner questions
the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 130 in Caloocan City (RTC-Caloocan) to hear and
decide a special civil action for habeas corpus in relation to the custody of a minor residing in Quezon
City.

The Facts

On March 24, 2011, respondent Raquel M. Cada-Deapera filed before the R TC-Caloocan a verified
petition for writ of habeas corpus, docketed as Special Civil Action Case No. C-4344. In the said petition,
respondent demanded the immediate issuance of the special writ, directing petitioner Ma. Hazelina
Tujan-Militante to produce before the court respondent's biological daughter, minor Criselda M. Cada
(Criselda), and to return to her the custody over the child. Additionally, respondent indicated that
petitioner has three (3) known addresses where she can be served with summons and other court
processes, to wit: (1) 24 Bangkal St., Amparo Village, Novaliches, Caloocan City; (2) 118B K9Street,
Kamias, Quezon City; and (3) her office at the Ombudsman-Office of the Special Prosecutor, 5th Floor,
Sandiganbayan, Centennial Building, Commonwealth Avenue cor. Batasan Road, Quezon City.2

The next day, on March 25, 2011, the RTC-Caloocan issued a writ of habeas corpus, ordering petitioner
to bring the child to court on March 28, 2011. Despite diligent efforts and several attempts, however, the
Sheriff was unsuccessful in personally serving petitioner copies of the habeas corpus petition and of the
writ. Instead, on March 29, 2011, the Sheriff left copies of the court processes at petitioner’s Caloocan
residence, as witnessed by respondent’s counsel and barangay officials.3 Nevertheless, petitioner failed
to appear at the scheduled hearings before the RTC-Caloocan.

Meanwhile, on March 31, 2011, petitioner filed a Petition for Guardianship over the person of Criselda
before the RTC, Branch 89 in Quezon City (RTC-Quezon City). Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss the
petition for guardianship on the ground of litis pendentia, among others. Thereafter, or on June 3, 2011,
respondent filed a criminal case for kidnapping before the Office of the City Prosecutor – Quezon City
against petitioner and her counsel.

On July 12, 2011, the RTC-Quezon City granted respondent’s motion and dismissed the guardianship case
due to the pendency of the habeas corpuspetition before RTC-Caloocan.4

The falloof the Order reads:


WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing,the subject motion is hereby GRANTED.Accordingly, the case is
hereby DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.5

Then, on August 4, 2011, Raquel moved for the ex parte issuance of an alias writ of habeas corpus before
the RTC-Caloocan, which was granted by the trial court on August 8, 2011. On even date, the court
directed the Sheriff to serve the alias writ upon petitioner at the Office of the Assistant City Prosecutor
of Quezon City on August 10, 2011.6 In compliance, the Sheriff served petitioner the August 8, 2011
Order as well as the Alias Writ during the preliminary investigation of the kidnapping case.7

Following this development, petitioner, by way of special appearance, moved for the quashal of the writ
and prayed before the RTC Caloocan for the dismissal of the habeas corpus petition,8 claiming, among
others, that she was not personally served with summons. Thus, as argued by petitioner, jurisdiction
over her and Criselda’sperson was not acquired by the RTCCaloocan.

Ruling of the Trial Court

On January 20, 2012, the RTC-Caloocan issued an Order denying petitioner’s omnibus motion, citing
Saulo v. Brig. Gen. Cruz,9 where the Court held that a writ of habeas corpus, being an extraordinary
process requiring immediate proceeding and action, plays a role somewhat comparable to a summons in
ordinary civil actions, in that, by service of said writ, the Court acquires jurisdiction over the person of
the respondent, as petitioner herein.10

Moreover, personal service, the RTC said, does not necessarily require that service be made exclusively
at petitioner’s given address, for service may be made elsewhere or wherever she may be found for as
long as she was handed a copy of the court process in person by anyone authorized by law. Since the
sheriff was able to personally serve petitioner a copy of the writ, albeit in Quezon City, the RTC-Caloocan
validly acquired jurisdiction over her person.11 The dispositive portion of the Order reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Very Urgent Motion (Motion to Quash Alias Writ; Motion to
Dismiss)filed by respondent Ma. Hazelina Tujan-Militante dated August 11, 2011 is hereby DENIED for
lack of merit.

In the meantime, respondent Ma. Hazelina Tujan-Militante is hereby directed to appear and bring
Criselda Martinez Cada before this Court on February 10, 2012 at 8:30 o’clock in the morning.

SO ORDERED.12

Aggrieved, petitioner, via certiorari to the CA, assailed the issued Order.

Ruling of the Court of Appeals

Over a year later, the CA, in the challenged Decision dated May 17, 2013,13 dismissed the petition for
certiorari in the following wise:

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. The Regional Trial Court, Branch
130 of Caloocan City is DIRECTED to proceed with due dispatch in Spec. Proc. Case No. C-4344 for
Habeas Corpus, giving utmost consideration tothe best interest of the now nearly 14-year old child.

SO ORDERED.14

In so ruling, the CA held that jurisdiction was properly laid when respondent filed the habeas corpus
petition before the designated Family Court in Caloocan City.15 It also relied on the certification issued
by the punong barangay of Brgy. 179, Caloocan City, stating that petitioner is a bona fide resident
thereof, as well as the medical certificate issued by Criselda’s doctor on April 1, 2011, indicating that her
address is "Amparo Village, KC."16 Anent the RTC-Caloocan’s jurisdiction, the appellate court ruled that
service of summons is not required under Section 20 of A.M. No. 03-04-04-SC, otherwise known as the
Rules on Custody of Minors and Habeas Corpus in Relation to Custody of Minors. According tothe CA, the
rules on summons contemplated in ordinary civil actions have no place in petitions for the issuance of a
writ of habeas corpus, it being a special proceeding.17
Petitioner sought reconsideration ofthe above Decision but the same was denied by the CA in its
December 27, 2013 Resolution.1âwphi1

Hence, this Petition.

The Issues

At the core of this controversy isthe issue of whether or not the RTC Caloocan has jurisdiction over the
habeascorpus petition filed by respondent and, assuming arguendo it does, whether or not it validly
acquired jurisdiction over petitioner and the person of Criselda. Likewise pivotal is the enforce ability of
the writ issued by RTC-Caloocan in Quezon City where petitioner was served a copy thereof.

The Court’s Ruling

The petition lacks merit. The RTC-Caloocan correctly took cognizance of the habeas corpus petition.
Subsequently, it acquired jurisdiction over petitioner when the latter was served with a copy of the writ
in Quezon City.

The RTC-Caloocan has jurisdiction over the habeas corpus proceeding

Arguing that the RTC-Caloocan lacked jurisdiction over the case, petitioner relies on Section 3 of A.M.
No. 03-04-04-SC and maintains that the habeas corpus petition should have been filed before the family
court that has jurisdiction over her place of residence or that of the minor or wherever the minor may be
found.18 As to respondent, she asserts, among others, that the applicable rule is not Section 3 but
Section 20 of A.M. No. 03-04-04-SC.19

We find for respondent.


In the case at bar, what respondent filed was a petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus under
Section 20 of A.M. No. 03-04-04-SC and Rule 102 of the Rules of Court.20 As provided:

Section 20. Petition for writ of habeas corpus.- A verified petition for a writ of habeas corpus involving
custody of minors shall be filed with the Family Court. The writ shall beenforceable within its judicial
region to which the Family Court belongs.

However, the petition may be filed with the regular court in the absence of the presiding judge of the
Family Court, provided, however, that the regular court shall refer the case tothe Family Court as soon as
its presiding judge returns to duty.

The petition may also be filed with the appropriate regular courts in places where there are no Family
Courts.

The writ issued by the Family Court or the regular court shall be enforceable in the judicial region where
they belong.

The petition may likewise be filed with the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, or with any of its members
and, if so granted,the writ shall be enforceable anywhere in the Philippines. The writ may be made
returnable to a Family Court or to any regular court within the region where the petitioner resides or
where the minor may be found for hearing and decision on the merits.

Upon return of the writ, the court shall decide the issue on custody of minors. The appellate court, or
the member thereof, issuing the writ shall be furnished a copy of the decision. (emphasis added)

Considering that the writ is made enforceable within a judicial region, petitions for the issuance of the
writ of habeas corpus, whether they be filed under Rule 102 of the Rules of Court orpursuant to Section
20 of A.M. No. 03-04-04-SC, may therefore be filed withany of the proper RTCs within the judicial region
where enforcement thereof is sought.21
On this point, Section 13 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 (BP 129), otherwise known as the Judiciary
Reorganization Act of 1980, finds relevance. Said provision, which contains the enumeration of judicial
regions in the country, states:

Section 13. Creation of Regional Trial Courts. – There are hereby created thirteen Regional Trial Courts,
one for each of the following judicial regions:

xxxx

The National Capital Judicial Region, consisting of the cities of Manila, Quezon, Pasay, Caloocan and
Mandaluyong, and the municipalities of Navotas, Malabon, San Juan, Makati, Pasig, Pateros, Taguig,
Marikina, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, and Valenzuela. (emphasis ours)

In view of the afore-quoted provision,it is indubitable that the filing of a petition for the issuance of a
writ of habeas corpus before a family court in any of the cities enumerated is proper as long as the writ is
sought to be enforced within the National Capital Judicial Region, as here.

In the case at bar, respondent filed the petition before the family court of Caloocan City. Since Caloocan
City and Quezon City both belong to the same judicial region, the writ issued by the RTC-Caloocan can
still be implemented in Quezon City. Whether petitioner resides in the former or the latter is immaterial
in view of the above rule.

Anent petitioner’s insistence on the application of Section 3 of A.M. No. 03-04-04-SC, a plain reading of
said provision reveals that the provision invoked only applies to petitions for custody of minors, and not
to habeas corpus petitions. Thus:

Section 3. Where to file petition.- The petition for custody of minors shall be filed with the Family Court
of the province or city where the petitioner resides or where the minormay be found. (emphasis added)

Lastly, as regards petitioner’s assertion that the summons was improperly served, suffice it to state
thatservice of summons, to begin with, is not required in a habeas corpus petition, be it under Rule 102
of the Rules of Court or A.M. No. 03-04-04-SC. As held in Saulo v. Cruz, a writ of habeas corpus plays a
role somewhat comparable to a summons, in ordinary civil actions, in that, by service of said writ, the
court acquires jurisdiction over the person of the respondent.22

In view of the foregoing, We need not belabor the other issues raised.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The Court of Appeals Decision dated May 1 7, 2013 and its
Resolution dated December 27, 2013 are AFFIRMED.

No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.

Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

LUCAS P. BERSAMIN

Associate Justice

MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.**

Associate Justice JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA

Associate Justice

MARVIC MARIO VICTOR F. LEONEN

Associate Justice
ATTESTATION

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was
assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division.

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.

Asociate Justice

Chairperson

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairperson's Attestation, I certify
that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was
assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division.

MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO

Chief Justice

Footnotes

* Acting member per Special Order No. 1691-K dated May 22, 2014.

** Additional member per raffle dated July 14, 2014.

1 Penned by Associate Justice Pedro B. Corales and concurred in by Associate Justices Sesinando E. Villon
and Fiorito S. Macalino.
2 Rollo, pp. 848-849.

3 Id. at 861-862.

4 Id. at 1058-1059.

5 Id. at 1059.

6 Id. at 878.

7 Id. at 881.

8 Id. at 882.

9 105 Phil. 315 (1959).

10 Rollo, p. 980.

11 Id.

12 Id.

13 Entitled Ma. Hazelina A. Tujan-Militante, in behalf of the Minor Criselda M. Cada v. Raquel M. cada-
Deapera, Hon. Judge Raymundo Vallega, Presiding Judge of RTC Caloocan, Branch 130, and Sheriff Jun S.
Pangilinan, Branch Sheriff of RTC Caloocan, Branch 130.
14 Rollo, p. 637.

15 Id. at 632.

16 Id. at 632.

17 Id. at 633.

18 Id. at 27.

19 Id. at 745.

20 Id. at 849.

21 See 2 Regalado, Florenz D., REMEDIAL LAW COMPENDIUM176 (11th Ed.).

22 105 Phil. 315 (1959).

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