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THIRD DIVISION 6. ID.; ID.; ID.

; BURDEN OF PROOF AND PRESUMPTIONS; ONE WHO CLAIMS


PRIVILEGED COMMUNICATIONS MUST PROVE REQUISITES THEREOF. — One who claims this
[G.R. No. 91114. September 25, 1992.] privilege must prove the presence of these aforementioned requisites.

NELLY LIM, Petitioner, v. THE COURT OF APPEALS, HON. MANUEL D. VICTORIO, as 7. ID.; ID.; ID.; PRIVILEGED COMMUNICATIONS; PHYSICIAN-PATIENT PRIVILEGE;
Presiding Judge of RTC-Rosales, Pangasinan, Branch 53, and JUAN SIM, Respondents. INFORMATION GATHERED IN PRESENCE OF THIRD PARTIES, NOT PRIVILEGED. — There is
authority to the effect that information elicited during consultation with a physician in the presence of third
Quisumbing, Torres & Evangelista for Petitioner. parties removes such information from the mantle of the privilege: "Some courts have held that the casual
presence of a third person destroys the confidential nature of the communication between doctor and patient
Bince, Oficiana & Dancel for Private Respondent. and thus destroys the privilege, and that under such circumstances the doctor may testify. Other courts have
reached a contrary result."cralaw virtua1aw library

SYLLABUS 8. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PRIVILEGED, WAIVED IN CASE AT BAR. — while it may be true that
counsel for the petitioner opposed the oral request for the issuance of a subpoena ad testificandum to Dr.
Acampado and filed a formal motion for the quashal of the said subpoena a day before the witness was to
1. REMEDIAL LAW; ACTIONS; EVIDENCE; PRIVILEGED COMMUNICATIONS; testify, the petitioner makes no claim in any of her pleadings that her counsel had objected to any question
PHYSICIAN-PATIENT PRIVILEGE; RATIONAL BEHIND THE RULE. — This rule on the physician- asked of the witness on the ground that it elicited an answer that would violate the privilege, despite the trial
patient privilege is intended to facilitate and make safe full and confidential disclosure by the patient to the court’s advise that said counsel may interpose his objection to the testimony "once it becomes apparent that
physician of all facts, circumstances and symptoms, untrammeled by apprehension of their subsequent and the testimony, sought to be elicited is covered by the privileged communication rule." The particular
enforced disclosure and publication on the witness stand, to the end that the physician may form a correct portions of the stenographic notes of the testimony of Dr. Acampado quoted in the petitioner’s Petition and
opinion, and be enabled safely and efficaciously to treat his patient. It rests in public policy and is for the Memorandum, and in the private respondent’s Memorandum, do not at all show that any objections were
general interest of the community. interposed. Even granting ex gratia that the testimony of Dr. Acampado could be covered by the privilege,
the failure to seasonably object thereto amounted to a waiver thereof.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; SUBJECT TO WAIVER. — Since the object of the privilege is to protect
the patient, it may be waived if no timely objection is made to the physician’s testimony.
DECISION
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; REQUISITES. — In order that the privilege may be successfully claimed,
the following requisites must concur: "1. the privilege is claimed in a civil case; 2. the person against whom
the privilege is claimed is one duly authorized to practice medicine, surgery or obstetrics; 3. such person DAVIDE, JR., J.:
acquired the information while he was attending to the patient in his professional capacity; 4. the
information was necessary to enable him to act in that capacity; and 5. the information was confidential, and,
if disclosed, would blacken the reputation (formerly character) of the patient."cralaw virtua1aw library This petition brings into focus the rule on the confidentiality of the physician-patient relationship. Petitioner
urges this Court to strike down as being violative thereof the resolution of public respondent Court of
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CONDITIONS. — These requisites conform with the four (4) fundamental Appeals in C.A.-G.R. SP No. 16991 denying due course to a petition to annul the order of the trial court
conditions necessary for the establishment of a privilege against the disclosure of certain communications, to allowing a Psychiatrist of the National Mental Hospital to testify as an expert witness and not as an attending
wit: "1. The communications must originate in a confidence that they will not be disclosed. 2. This element physician of petitioner.
of confidentiality must be essential to the full and satisfactory maintenance of the relation between the
parties. 3. The relation must be one which in the opinion of the community ought to be sedulously fostered The parties are in agreement as to the following facts:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
4. The injury that would inure to the relation by the disclosure of the communications must be greater than
the benefit thereby gained for the correct disposal of litigation."cralaw virtua1aw library Petitioner and private respondent are lawfully married to each other.

5. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PHYSICIAN-PATIENT PRIVILEGE; SCOPE. — The physician may be On 25 November 1987, private respondent filed with Branch 53 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
considered to be acting in his professional capacity when he attends to the patient for curative, preventive, or Pangasinan a petition for annulment of such marriage on the ground that petitioner has been allegedly
palliative treatment. Thus, only disclosures which would have been made to the physician to enable him suffering from a mental illness called schizophrenia "before, during and after the marriage and until the
"safely and efficaciously to treat his patient" are covered by the privilege. It is to be emphasized that "it is present." After the issues were joined and the pre-trial was terminated, trial on the merits ensued. Private
the tenor only of the communication that is privileged. The mere fact of making a communication, as well as respondent presented three (3) witnesses before taking the witness stand himself to testify on his own behalf.
the date of a consultation and the number of consultations, are therefore not privileged from disclosure, so On 11 January 1989, private respondent’s counsel announced that he would present as his next witness the
long as the subject communicated is not stated."cralaw virtua1aw library Chief of the Female Services of the National Mental Hospital, Dr. Lydia Acampado, a Doctor of Medicine
who specializes in Psychiatry. Said counsel forthwith orally applied for the issuance of a subpoena ad
testificandum requiring Dr. Acampado to testify on 25 January 1989. Petitioner’s counsel opposed the
1
motion on the ground that the testimony sought to be elicited from the witness is privileged since the latter On 18 September 1989, the Court of Appeals promulgated a resolution 3 denying due course to the petition
had examined the petitioner in a professional capacity and had diagnosed her to be suffering from on the ground that "the petitioner failed in establishing the confidential nature of the testimony given by or
schizophrenia. Over such opposition, the subpoena was issued on 12 January 1989.chanrobles obtained from Dr. Acampado when she testified on January 25, 1989." Hence, the respondent Judge
virtualawlibrary chanrobles.com:chanrobles.com.ph committed no grave abuse of discretion. In support thereof, the respondent Court discussed the conditions
which would render as inadmissible testimonial evidence between a physician and his patient under
On 24 January 1989, petitioner’s counsel filed an urgent omnibus motion to quash the subpoena and suspend paragraph (c), Section 24, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court and made the following
the proceedings pending resolution of the motion. findings:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

Before Dr. Acampado took the witness stand on 25 January 1989, the court heard this urgent motion. "The present suit is a civil case for annulment of marriage and the person whose testimony is sought to be
Movant argued that having seen and examined the petitioner in a professional capacity, Dr. Acampado is stopped as a privileged communication is a physician, who was summoned by the patient in her professional
barred from testifying under the rule on the confidentiality of a physician-patient relationship. Counsel for capacity for curative remedy or treatment. The divergence in views is whether the information given by the
private respondent contended, however, that Dr. Acampado would be presented as an expert witness and physician in her testimony in open court on January 25, 1989 was a privileged communication. We are of the
would not testify on any information acquired while attending to the petitioner in a professional capacity. opinion that they do not fall within the realm of a privileged communication because the information were
The trial court, per respondent Judge, denied the motion and allowed the witness to testify. Dr. Acampado (sic) not obtained from the patient while attending her in her professional capacity and neither were (sic) the
thus took the witness stand, was qualified by counsel for private respondent as an expert witness and was information necessary to enable the physician to prescribe or give treatment to the patient Nelly Lim. And
asked hypothetical questions related to her field of expertise. She neither revealed the illness she examined neither does the information obtained from the physician tend to blacken the character of the patient or bring
and treated the petitioner for nor disclosed the results of her examination and the medicines she had disgrace to her or invite reproach. Dr. Acampado is a Medical Specialist II and in-charge (sic) of the Female
prescribed. Service of the National Center for Mental Health a fellow of the Philippine Psychiatrist Association and a
Diplomate of the Philippine Board of Psychiatrists. She was summoned to testify as an expert witness and
Since petitioner’s counsel insisted that the ruling of the court on the motion be reduced to writing, not as an attending physician of petitioner.
respondent Judge issued the following Order on the same date:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
After a careful scrutiny of the transcript of Dr. Acampado’s testimony, We find no declaration that touched
"In his omnibus motion filed with the Court only yesterday, January 24, 1989, petitioner seeks to prevent Dr. (sic) or disclosed any information which she has acquired from her patient, Nelly Lim, during the period she
Lydia Acampado from testifying because she saw and examined respondent Nelly Lim in her professional attended her patient in a professional capacity. Although she testified that she examined and interviewed the
capacity perforce her testimony is covered by the privileged (sic) communication rule. patient, she did not disclose anything she obtained in the course of her examination, interview and treatment
of her patient. Given a set of facts and asked a hypothetical question, Dr. Acampado rendered an opinion
Petitioner contends that Dr. Acampado is being presented as an expert witness and that she will not testify regarding the history and behaviour of the fictitious character in the hypothetical problem. The facts and
on any information she acquired in (sic) attending to Nelly Lim in her professional capacity. conditions alleged in the hypothetical problem did not refer and (sic) had no bearing to (sic) whatever
information or findings the doctor obtained from attending the (sic) patient. A physician is not disqualified
Based on the foregoing manifestation of counsel for petitioner, the Court denied the respondent’s motion and to testify as an expert concerning a patient’s ailment, when he can disregard knowledge acquired in
forthwith allowed Dr. Acampado to testify. However, the Court advised counsel for respondent to interpose attending such patient and make answer solely on facts related in (sic) the hypothetical question. (Butler v.
his objection once it becomes apparent that the testimony sought to be elicited is covered by the privileged Role, 242 Pac. 436; Supreme Court of Arizona Jan. 7, 1926). Expert testimony of a physician based on
communication rule. hypothetical question (sic) as to cause of illness of a person whom he has attended is not privileged,
provided the physician does not give testimony tending to disclose confidential information related to him in
On the witness box, Dr. Acampado answered routinary (sic) questions to qualify her as an expert in his professional capacity while attending to the patient. (Crago v. City of Cedar Rapids, 98 NW 354, see
psychiatry; she was asked to render an opinion as to what kind of illness (sic) are stelazine tablets applied to; Jones on Evidence, Vol. 3, p. 843, 3rd Ed.).
she was asked to render an opinion on a (sic) hypothetical facts respecting certain behaviours of a person;
and finally she admitted she saw and treated Nelly Lim but she never revealed what illness she examined The rule on privilege (sic) communication in the relation of physician and patient proceeds from the
and treated her (sic); nor (sic) the result of her examination of Nelly Lim, nor (sic) the medicines she fundamental assumption that the communication to deserve protection must be confidential in their origin.
prescribed. Confidentiality is not to be blindly implied from the mere relation of physician and patient. It might be
implied according to circumstances of each case, taking into consideration the nature of the ailment and the
WHEREFORE, the omnibus motion dated January 19, 1989 is hereby DENIED." 1 occasion of the consultation. The claimant of the privilege has the burden of establishing in each instance all
the facts necessary to create the privilege, including the confidential nature of the information given." 4
On 3 March 1989, petitioner filed with the public respondent Court of Appeals a petition 2 for certiorari and
prohibition, docketed therein as C.A.-G.R. SP No. 16991, to annul the aforesaid order of respondent Judge Her motion to reconsider the resolution having been denied, petitioner took this recourse under Rule 45 of
on the ground that the same was issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction, and the Rules of Court. In her view, the respondent Court of Appeals "seriously erred" :chanrob1es virtual 1aw
to prohibit him from proceeding with the reception of Dr. Acampado’s testimony.chanrobles.com : virtual library
law library
"I.

2
of the phrase "which would tend to blacken" in the latter to "would blacken." 9 Verily, these changes
. . . in not finding that all the essential elements of the rule on physician-patient privileged communication affected the meaning of the provision. Under the 1940 Rules of Court, it was sufficient if the information
under Section 21, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court (Section 24, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Evidence) would tend to blacken the character of the patient. In the 1964 Rules of Court, a stricter requirement was
exist in the case at bar. imposed; it was imperative that the information would blacken such character. With the advent of the
Revised Rules on Evidence on 1 July 1989, the rule was relaxed once more by the substitution of the word
II. character with the word reputation. There is a distinction between these two concepts." ‘Character’ is what a
man is, and ‘reputation’ is what he is supposed to be in what people say he is.’Character’ depends on
attributes possessed, and ‘reputation’ on attributes which others believe one to possess. The former signifies
. . . in believing that Dr. Acampado ‘was summoned as an expert witness and not as an attending physician reality and the latter merely what is accepted to be reality at present." 10
of petitioner.’
This rule on the physician-patient privilege is intended to facilitate and make safe full and confidential
III. disclosure by the patient to the physician of all facts, circumstances and symptoms, untrammeled by
apprehension of their subsequent and enforced disclosure and publication on the witness stand, to the end
that the physician may form a correct opinion, and be enabled safely and efficaciously to treat his patient. 11
. . . in concluding that Dr. Acampado made ‘no declaration that touched (sic) or disclosed any information It rests in public policy and is for the general interest of the community. 12
which she has acquired from her patient, Nelly Lim, during the period she attended her patient in a
professional capacity.’ Since the object of the privilege is to protect the patient, it may be waived if no timely objection is made to
the physician’s testimony. 13
IV.
In order that the privilege may be successfully claimed, the following requisites must
concur:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
. . . in declaring that ‘the petitioner failed in establishing the confidential nature of the testimony given by or
obtained from Dr. Acampado.’" 5 "1. the privilege is claimed in a civil case;

We gave due course to the petition and required the parties to submit their respective Memoranda 6 after the 2. the person against whom the privilege is claimed is one duly authorized to practice medicine,
private respondent filed his Comment 7 and the petitioner submitted her reply 8 thereto. The parties surgery or obstetrics;
subsequently filed their separate Memoranda.
3. such person acquired the information while he was attending to the patient in his professional
The petition is devoid of any merit. Respondent Court of Appeals committed no reversible error in its capacity;
challenged resolution.
4. the information was necessary to enable him to act in that capacity; and
The law in point is paragraph (c), Section 24 of the Revised Rules on Evidence which
reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph 5. the information was confidential, and, if disclosed, would blacken the reputation (formerly
character) of the patient." 14
"SECTION 24. Disqualification by reason of privileged communication. — The following persons
cannot testify as to matters learned in confidence in the following cases:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library These requisites conform with the four (4) fundamental conditions necessary for the establishment of a
privilege against the disclosure of certain communications, to wit:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
x x x
"1. The communications must originate in a confidence that they will not be disclosed.

(c) A person authorized to practice medicine, surgery or obstetrics cannot in a civil case, without the 2. This element of confidentiality must be essential to the full and satisfactory maintenance of the
consent of the patient, be examined as to any advice or treatment given by him or any information which he relation between the parties.
may have acquired in attending such patient in a professional capacity, which information was necessary to
enable him to act in that capacity, and which would blacken the reputation of the patient." chanrobles virtual 3. The relation must be one which in the opinion of the community ought to be sedulously fostered
lawlibrary
4. The injury that would inure to the relation by the disclosure of the communications must be greater
This is a reproduction of paragraph (c), Section 21, Rule 130 of the 1964 Revised Rules of Court with two than the benefit thereby gained for the correct disposal of litigation." 15
(2) modifications, namely: (a) the inclusion of the phrase "advice or treatment given by him," and (b)
substitution of the word reputation for the word character. Said Section 21 in turn is a reproduction of The physician may be considered to be acting in his professional capacity when he attends to the patient for
paragraph (f), Section 26, Rule 123 of the 1940 Rules of Court with a modification consisting in the change curative, preventive, or palliative treatment. Thus, only disclosures which would have been made to the
3
physician to enable him "safely and efficaciously to treat his patient" are covered by the privilege. 16 It is to
be emphasized that "it is the tenor only of the communication that is privileged. The mere fact of making a A I would say that there was none. Even if I asked information about Nelly, I could not get anything
communication, as well as the date of a consultation and the number of consultations, are therefore not from Dr. Lim.
privileged from disclosure, so long as the subject communicated is not stated." 17
Q Now, when Dr. Lim and his daughter went to your clinic, was there any doctor who was also
One who claims this privilege must prove the presence of these aforementioned requisites. 18 present during that interview?

Our careful evaluation of the submitted pleadings leads Us to no other course of action but to agree with the A No, sir, I don’t remember any." 20
respondent Court’s observation that the petitioner failed to discharge that burden. In the first place, Dr.
Acampado was presented and qualified as an expert witness. As correctly held by the Court of Appeals, she There is authority to the effect that information elicited during consultation with a physician in the presence
did not disclose anything obtained in the course of her examination, interview and treatment of the of third parties removes such information from the mantle of the privilege:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
petitioner; moreover, the facts and conditions alleged in the hypothetical problem did not refer to and had no
bearing on whatever information or findings the doctor obtained while attending to the patient. There is, as "Some courts have held that the casual presence of a third person destroys the confidential nature of the
well, no showing that Dr. Acampado’s answers to the questions propounded to her relating to the communication between doctor and patient and thus destroys the privilege, and that under such
hypothetical problem were influenced by the information obtained from the petitioner. Otherwise stated, her circumstances the doctor may testify. Other courts have reached a contrary result." 21
expert opinion excluded whatever information or knowledge she had about the petitioner which was
acquired by reason of the physician-patient relationship existing between them. As an expert witness, her Thirdly, except for the petitioner’s sweeping claim — that" (T)he information given by Dr. Acampado
testimony before the trial court cannot then be excluded. The rule on this point is summarized as brings disgrace and invite (sic) reproach to petitioner by falsely making it appear in the eyes of the trial court
follows:chanrobles virtual lawlibrary and the public that the latter was suffering from a mental disturbance called schizophrenia — which caused,
and continues to cause, irreparable injury to the name and reputation of petitioner and her family," 22 —
"The predominating view, with some scant authority otherwise, is that the statutory physician-patient which is based on a wrong premise, nothing specific or concrete was offered to show that indeed, the
privilege, though duly claimed, is not violated by permitting a physician to give expert opinion testimony in information obtained from Dr. Acampado would blacken the former’s "character" (or "reputation"). Dr.
response to a strictly hypothetical question in a lawsuit involving the physical mental condition of a patient Acampado never disclosed any information obtained from the petitioner regarding the latter’s ailment and
whom he has attended professionally, where his opinion is based strictly upon the hypothetical facts stated, the treatment recommended therefor.chanrobles.com : virtual law library
excluding and disregarding any personal professional knowledge he may have concerning such patient. But
in order to avoid the bar of the physician-patient privilege where it is asserted in such a case, the physician Finally, while it may be true that counsel for the petitioner opposed the oral request for the issuance of a
must base his opinion solely upon the facts hypothesized in the question, excluding from consideration his subpoena ad testificandum to Dr. Acampado and filed a formal motion for the quashal of the said subpoena a
personal knowledge of the patient acquired through the physician and patient relationship. If he cannot or day before the witness was to testify, the petitioner makes no claim in any of her pleadings that her counsel
does not exclude from consideration his personal professional knowledge of the patient’s condition he had objected to any question asked of the witness on the ground that it elicited an answer that would violate
should not be permitted to testify as to his expert opinion." 19 the privilege, despite the trial court’s advise that said counsel may interpose his objection to the testimony
"once it becomes apparent that the testimony, sought to be elicited is covered by the privileged
Secondly, it is quite clear from Dr. Acampado’s testimony that the petitioner was never interviewed alone. communication rule." The particular portions of the stenographic notes of the testimony of Dr. Acampado
Said interviews were always conducted in the presence of a third party, thus:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph quoted in the petitioner’s Petition 23 and Memorandum, 24 and in the private respondent’s Memorandum,
25 do not at all show that any objections were interposed. Even granting ex gratia that the testimony of Dr.
"Q I am asking you, doctor, whom did you interview? Acampado could be covered by the privilege, the failure to seasonably object thereto amounted to a waiver
thereof.
A I interviewed the husband first, then the father and after having the history, I interviewed the
patient, Nelly. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED for lack of merit.

Q How many times did Juan Sim and Nelly Lim go to your office? Costs against petitioner.

A Now, the two (2) of them came three (3) times. As I have stated before, once in the month of April SO ORDERED
of 1987 and two (2) times for the month of June 1987, and after that, since July of 1987, it was the father of
Nelly, Dr. Lim, who was bringing Nelly to me until November of 1987. Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Q Now, Dr. Lim is a fellow physician? Manila

A Yes, I understand. FIRST DIVISION

Q Was there anything that he told you when he visited with you in a clinic?
4
an afterthought." 6 Before leaving for Spain where she has since resided after their separation, Ma. Paz also
G.R. No. 108854 June 14, 1994 authorized and instructed her counsel to oppose the suit and pursue her counterclaim even during her
absence.
MA. PAZ FERNANDEZ KROHN, petitioner,
vs. On 29 May 1991, Edgar opposed Ma. Paz' motion to disallow the introduction of the confidential psychiatric
COURT OF APPEALS and EDGAR KROHN, JR., respondents. report as evidence, 7 and afterwards moved to strike out Ma. Paz' Statement for the Record. 8

Cruz, Durian, Agabin, Atienza, Alday and Tuason for petitioner. On 4 June 1991, the trial court issued an Order admitting the Confidential Psychiatric Evaluation Report in
evidence and ruling that —
Oscar F. Martinez for private respondent.
. . . the Court resolves to overrule the objection and to sustain the Opposition to the respondent's Motion;
first, because the very issue in this case is whether or not the respondent had been suffering from
BELLOSILLO, J.: psychological incapacity; and secondly, when the said psychiatric report was referred to in the complaint,
the respondent did not object thereto on the ground of the supposed privileged communication between
A confidential psychiatric evaluation report is being presented in evidence before the trial court in a petition patient and physician. What was raised by the respondent was that the said psychiatric report was irrelevant.
for annulment of marriage grounded on psychological incapacity. The witness testifying on the report is the So, the Court feels that in the interest of justice and for the purpose of determining whether the respondent as
husband who initiated the annulment proceedings, not the physician who prepared the report. alleged in the petition was suffering from psychological incapacity, the said psychiatric report is very
material and may be testified to by petitioner (Edgar Krohn, Jr.) without prejudice on the part of the
The subject of the evaluation report, Ma. Paz Fernandez Krohn, invoking the rule on privileged respondent to dispute the said report or to cross-examination first the petitioner and later the psychiatrist who
communication between physician and patient, seeks to enjoin her husband from disclosing the contents of prepared the same if the latter will be presented. 9
the report. After failing to convince the trial court and the appellate court, she is now before us on a petition
for review on certiorari. On 27 November 1991, the trial court denied the Motion to Reconsider Order dated June 4, 1991, and
directed that the Statement for the Record filed by Ma. Paz be stricken off the record. A subsequent motion
On 14 June 1964, Edgar Krohn, Jr., and Ma. Paz Fernandez were married at the Saint Vincent de Paul for reconsideration filed by her counsel was likewise denied.
Church in San Marcelino, Manila. The union produced three children, Edgar Johannes, Karl Wilhelm and
Alexandra. Their blessings notwithstanding, the relationship between the couple developed into a stormy Counsel of Ma. Paz then elevated the issue to respondent Court of Appeals. In a Decision promulgated 30
one. In 1971, Ma. Paz underwent psychological testing purportedly in an effort to ease the marital strain. October 1992, the appellate court dismissed the petition for certiorari. 10 On 5 February 1993, the motion to
The effort however proved futile. In 1973, they finally separated in fact. reconsider the dismissal was likewise denied. Hence, the instant petition for review.

In 1975, Edgar was able to secure a copy of the confidential psychiatric report on Ma. Paz prepared and Petitioner now seeks to enjoin the presentation and disclosure of the contents of the psychiatric report and
signed by Drs. Cornelio Banaag, Jr., and Baltazar Reyes. On 2 November 1978, presenting the report among prays for the admission of her Statement for the Record to form part of the records of the case. She argues
others, he obtained a decree ("Conclusion") from the Tribunal Metropolitanum Matrimoniale in Manila that since
nullifying his church marriage with Ma. Paz on the ground of "incapacitas assumendi onera conjugalia due Sec. 24, par. (c), Rule 130, of the Rules of Court 11 prohibits a physician from testifying on matters which
to lack of due discretion existent at the time of the wedding and thereafter." 1 On 10 July 1979, the decree he may have acquired in attending to a patient in a professional capacity, "WITH MORE REASON should
was confirmed and pronounced "Final and Definite." 2 be third person (like respondent-husband in this particular instance) be PROHIBITED from testifying on
privileged matters between a physician and patient or from submitting any medical report, findings or
Meanwhile, on 30 July 1982, the then Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of Pasig, Br. II, evaluation prepared by a physician which the latter has acquired as a result of his confidential and privileged
issued an order granting the voluntary dissolution of the conjugal partnership. relation with a patient." 12 She says that the reason behind the prohibition is —

On 23 October 1990, Edgar filed a petition for the annulment of his marriage with Ma. Paz before the trial . . . to facilitate and make safe, full and confidential disclosure by a patient to his physician of all facts,
court. 3 In his petition, he cited the Confidential Psychiatric Evaluation Report which Ma. Paz merely denied circumstances and symptoms, untrammeled by apprehension of their subsequent and enforced disclosure and
in her Answer as "either unfounded or irrelevant." 4 publication on the witness stand, to the end that the physician may form a correct opinion, and be enabled
safely and efficaciously to treat his patient. 13
At the hearing on 8 May 1991, Edgar took the witness stand and tried to testify on the contents of the
Confidential Psychiatric Evaluation Report. This was objected to on the ground that it violated the rule on She further argues that to allow her husband to testify on the contents of the psychiatric evaluation report
privileged communication between physician and patient. Subsequently, Ma. Paz filed a Manifestation "will set a very bad and dangerous precedent because it abets circumvention of the rule's intent in preserving
expressing her "continuing objection" to any evidence, oral or documentary, "that would thwart the the sanctity, security and confidence to the relation of physician and his patient." 14 Her thesis is that what
physician-patient privileged communication rule," 5 and thereafter submitted a Statement for the Record cannot be done directly should not be allowed to be done indirectly.
asserting among others that "there is no factual or legal basis whatsoever for petitioner (Edgar) to claim
'psychological incapacity' to annul their marriage, such ground being completely false, fabricated and merely
5
Petitioner submits that her Statement for the Record simply reiterates under oath what she asserted in her executed by medical practitioners. Plainly and clearly, this does not fall within the claimed prohibition.
Answer, which she failed to verify as she had already left for Spain when her Answer was filed. She Neither can his testimony be considered a circumvention of the prohibition because his testimony cannot
maintains that her "Statement for the Record is a plain and simple pleading and is not as it has never been have the force and effect of the testimony of the physician who examined the patient and executed the
intended to take the place of her testimony;" 15 hence, there is no factual and legal basis whatsoever to report.
expunge it from the records.
Counsel for petitioner indulged heavily in objecting to the testimony of private respondent on the ground
Private respondent Edgar Krohn, Jr., however contends that "the rules are very explicit: the prohibition that it was privileged. In his Manifestation before the trial court dated 10 May 1991, he invoked the rule on
applies only to a physician. Thus . . . the legal prohibition to testify is not applicable to the case at bar where privileged communications but never questioned the testimony as hearsay. It was a fatal mistake. For, in
the person sought to be barred from testifying on the privileged communication is the husband and not the failing to object to the testimony on the ground that it was hearsay, counsel waived his right to make such
physician of the petitioner." 16 In fact, according to him, the Rules sanction his testimony considering that a objection and, consequently, the evidence offered may be admitted.
husband may testify against his wife in a civil case filed by one against the other.
The other issue raised by petitioner is too trivial to merit the full attention of this Court. The allegations
Besides, private respondent submits that privileged communication may be waived by the person entitled contained in the Statement for the Records are but refutations of private respondent's declarations which may
thereto, and this petitioner expressly did when she gave her unconditional consent to the use of the be denied or disproved during the trial.
psychiatric evaluation report when it was presented to the Tribunal Metropolitanum Matrimoniale which
took it into account among others in deciding the case and declaring their marriage null and void. Private The instant appeal has taken its toll on the petition for annulment. Three years have already lapsed and
respondent further argues that petitioner also gave her implied consent when she failed to specifically object private respondent herein, as petitioner before the trial court, has yet to conclude his testimony thereat. We
to the admissibility of the report in her Answer where she merely described the evaluation report as "either thus enjoin the trial judge and the parties' respective counsel to act with deliberate speed in resolving the
unfounded or irrelevant." At any rate, failure to interpose a timely objection at the earliest opportunity to the main action, and avoid any and all stratagems that may further delay this case. If all lawyers are allowed to
evidence presented on privileged matters may be construed as an implied waiver. appeal every perceived indiscretion of a judge in the course of trial and include in their appeals depthless
issues, there will be no end to litigations, and the docket of appellate courts will forever be clogged with
With regard to the Statement for the Record filed by petitioner, private respondent posits that this in reality inconsequential cases. Hence, counsel should exercise prudence in appealing lower court rulings and raise
is an amendment of her Answer and thus should comply with pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court, only legitimate issues so as not to retard the resolution of cases. Indeed, there is no point in unreasonably
hence, its exclusion from the records for failure to comply with the Rules is proper. delaying the resolution of the petition and prolonging the agony of the wedded couple who after coming out
from a storm still have the right to a renewed blissful life either alone or in the company of each other. 23
The treatise presented by petitioner on the privileged nature of the communication between physician and
patient, as well as the reasons therefor, is not doubted. Indeed, statutes making communications between WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review is DENIED for lack of merit. The assailed Decision of
physician and patient privileged are intended to inspire confidence in the patient and encourage him to make respondent Court of Appeals promulgated on 30 October 1992 is AFFIRMED.
a full disclosure to his physician of his symptoms and condition. 17 Consequently, this prevents the
physician from making public information that will result in humiliation, embarrassment, or disgrace to the SO ORDERED.
patient. 18 For, the patient should rest assured with the knowledge that the law recognizes the
communication as confidential, and guards against the possibility of his feelings being shocked or his THIRD DIVISION
reputation tarnished by their subsequent disclosure. 19 The physician-patient privilege creates a zone of [G.R. No. 117740. October 30, 1998]
privacy, intended to preclude the humiliation of the patient that may follow the disclosure of his ailments.
Indeed, certain types of information communicated in the context of the physician-patient relationship fall CAROLINA ABAD GONZALES, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, HONORIA EMPAYNADO,
within the constitutionally protected zone of privacy, 20 including a patient's interest in keeping his mental CECILIA H. ABAD, MARIAN H. ABAD and ROSEMARIE S. ABAD, respondents.
health records confidential. 21 Thus, it has been observed that the psychotherapist-patient privilege is DECISION
founded upon the notion that certain forms of antisocial behavior may be prevented by encouraging those in ROMERO, J.:
need of treatment for emotional problems to secure the services of a psychotherapist.
Before us is a petition for certiorari to annul the decision of the Court of Appeals dated October 19, 1994,
Petitioner's discourse while exhaustive is however misplaced. Lim v. Court of Appeals 22 clearly lays down finding private respondents as the heirs of Ricardo de Mesa Abad as well as annulling petitioners extra-
the requisites in order that the privilege may be successfully invoked: (a) the privilege is claimed in a civil judicial partition of the decedents estate.
case; (b) the person against whom the privilege is claimed is one duly authorized to practice medicine,
surgery or obstetrics; (c) such person acquired the information while he was attending to the patient in his The facts are as follows:
professional capacity; (d) the information was necessary to enable him to act in that capacity; and, (e) the
information was confidential and, if disclosed, would blacken the reputation (formerly character) of the On April 18, 1972, petitioners Carolina Abad Gonzales, Dolores de Mesa Abad and Cesar de Mesa Tioseco
patient. sought the settlement of the intestate estate of their brother, Ricardo de Mesa Abad, before the then Court of
First Instance of Manila. In their petition, docketed as Special Proceedings No. 86792, petitioners claimed
In the instant case, the person against whom the privilege is claimed is not one duly authorized to practice that they were the only heirs of Ricardo de Mesa Abad, as the latter allegedly died a bachelor, leaving no
medicine, surgery or obstetrics. He is simply the patient's husband who wishes to testify on a document
6
descendants or ascendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate. On May 9, 1972, petitioners amended their (3) Denying the petition of decedents collateral relatives, namely: Dolores M. Abad, Cesar M. Tioseco and
petition by alleging that the real properties covered by TCT Nos. 13530, 53671, and 64021, listed therein as Carolina M. Abad to be declared as heirs and excluding them from participating in the administration and
belonging to the decedent, were actually only administered by the latter, the true owner being their late settlement of the estate of Ricardo Abad;
mother, Lucila de Mesa. On June 16, 1972, the trial court appointed Cesar de Mesa Tioseco as administrator
of the intestate estate of Ricardo de Mesa Abad. (4) Appointing Honoria Empaynado as the administratrix in this intestacy with a bond of THIRTY
THOUSAND (P30,000.00) PESOS; and
Meanwhile, on May 2, 1972, petitioners executed an extrajudicial settlement of the estate of their late
mother Lucila de Mesa, copying therein the technical descriptions of the lots covered by TCT Nos. 13530, (5) Ordering Cesar Tioseco to surrender to the new administratrix all property or properties, monies and
53671, and 64021. By virtue thereof, the Register of Deeds cancelled the above-mentioned TCTs in the such papers that came into his possession by virtue of his appointment as administrator, which appointment
name of Ricardo Abad and issued, in lieu thereof, TCT No. 108482 in the name of Dolores de Mesa Abad, is hereby revoked.[1]
TCT No. 108483 in the name of Cesar de Mesa Tioseco and TCT No. 108484 in the name of Carolina Abad
Gonzales. The three promptly executed real estate mortgages over the real properties in favor of Mrs. The trial court, likewise, found in favor of private respondents with respect to the latters motion for
Josefina Viola, the wife of their counsel, Escolastico Viola. annulment of certain documents. On November 19, 1974, it rendered the following judgment:

On July 7, 1972, private respondents Honoria Empaynado, Cecilia Abad Empaynado, and Marian Abad WHEREFORE, this Court finds oppositors Motion for Annulment, dated October 4, 1973 to be meritorious
Empaynado filed a motion to set aside proceedings and for leave to file opposition in Special Proceedings and accordingly
No. 86792. In their motion, they alleged that Honoria Empaynado had been the common-law wife of
Ricardo Abad for twenty-seven years before his death, or from 1943 to 1971, and that during these period, 1. Declares that the six (6) parcels of land described in TCT Nos. 13530, 53671 and 64021, all registered in
their union had produced two children, Cecilia Abad Empaynado and Marian Abad Empaynado. Private the name of Ricardo Abad, as replaced by TCT No. 108482 in the name of Dolores de Mesa Abad, TCT No.
respondents also disclosed the existence of Rosemarie Abad, a child allegedly fathered by Ricardo Abad 108483 in the name of Cesar de Mesa Tioseco and TCT No. 108484 in the name of Carolina de Mesa Abad-
with another woman, Dolores Saracho. As the law awards the entire estate to the surviving children to the Gonzales, and the residential house situated at 2432 Opalo Street, San Andres Subdivision, Manila, to be the
exclusion of collateral relatives, private respondents charged petitioners with deliberately concealing the properties of the late Ricardo Abad;
existence of said three children in order to deprive the latter of their rights to the estate of Ricardo Abad.
2. Declares the deed of Extra Judicial Settlement of the Estate of the Deceased Lucila de Mesa, executed on
On July 24, 1972, private respondents filed a motion to withdraw their first motion and, in lieu thereof, filed May 2, 1972 (Doc. No. 445, Page No. 86, Book No. VII, Series of 1972 of the notarial book of Faustino S.
a motion for reconsideration praying that Cecilia Abad be appointed administrator instead of Cesar Tioseco. Cruz) by petitioners and Carolina de Mesa Abad-Gonzales, to be inexistent and void from the beginning;
The trial court denied private respondents motion to remove Cesar Tioseco as administrator, but allowed
them to appear in the proceedings to establish their right as alleged heirs of Ricardo Abad. 3. Declares as null and void the cancellation of TCT Nos. 13530, 53671 and 64021 and issuance in lieu
thereof, of TCT Nos. 108482, 108483 and 108484;
Private respondents later discovered that petitioners had managed to cancel TCT Nos. 13530, 53671, and
64021 through the stratagem of extra-judicially partitioning their mothers estate. Accordingly, on October 4, 4. Orders the Register of Deeds of Manila to cancel TCT No. 108482 of Dolores de Mesa Abad; TCT No.
1973, private respondents filed a motion to annul the extra-judicial partition executed by petitioners, as well 108483 of Cesar de Mesa Tioseco; and TCT No. 108484 of Carolina de Mesa Abad-Gonzales and in lieu
as TCT Nos. 108482, 108483, and 108484, the Torrens titles issued in substitution of TCT Nos. 13530, thereof, restore and/or issue the corresponding certificate of title in the name of Ricardo Abad;
53671, and 64021 and the real estate mortgages constituted by the latter on said properties.
5. Declares as inexistent and void from the beginning the three (3) real estate mortgages executed on July 7,
After due trial, the lower court, on November 2, 1973, rendered the following judgment: 1972 executed by (a) petitioner Dolores de Mesa Abad, identified as Doc. No. 145, Page No. 30, Book No.
XX, Series of 1972; (b) petitioner Cesar de Mesa Tioseco, identified as Doc. No. 146, Page 31, Book No.
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered as follows: XX, Series of 1972; and (c) Carolina de Mesa Abad-Gonzales, identified as Doc. No. 144, Page No. 30,
Book No. XX, Series of 1972, all of the notarial book of Ricardo P. Yap of Manila, in favor of Mrs. Josefina
(1) Declaring Cecilia E. Abad, Marian E. Abad and Rosemarie S. Abad acknowledged natural children of C. Viola, and orders the Register of Deeds of Manila to cancel the registration or annotation thereof from the
the deceased Ricardo M. Abad; back of the torrens title of Ricardo Abad; and

(2) Declaring said acknowledged natural children, namely: Cecilia E. Abad, Marian E. Abad, and Rosemarie 6. Orders Atty. Escolastico R. Viola and his law associate and wife, Josefina C. Viola, to surrender to the
S. Abad the only surviving legal heirs of the deceased Ricardo M. Abad and as such entitled to succeed to new administratrix, Honoria Empaynado, TCT Nos. 108482, 108483, and 108484 within five (5) days from
the entire estate of said deceased, subject to the rights of Honoria Empaynado, if any, as co-owner of any of receipt hereof.
the property of said estate that may have been acquired thru her joint efforts with the deceased during the
period they lived together as husband and wife; SO ORDERED.[2]

Petitioners motion for reconsideration of the November 2, 1973 decision was denied by the trial court. Their
notice of appeal was likewise denied on the ground that the same had been filed out of time. Because of this
7
ruling, petitioners instituted certiorari and mandamus proceedings with the Court of Appeals, docketed there Petitioners, in contesting Cecilia, Marian and Rosemarie Abads filiation, submits the startling theory that the
as C.A.-G.R. No. SP-03268-R. On November 2, 1974, the appellate court granted petitioners petition and husband of Honoria Empaynado, Jose Libunao, was still alive when Cecilia and Marian Abad were born in
ordered the lower court to give due course to the latters appeal. The trial court, however, again dismissed 1948 and 1954, respectively.
petitioners appeal on the ground that their record on appeal was filed out of time.
It is undisputed that prior to her relationship with Ricardo Abad, Honoria Empaynado was married to Jose
Likewise, on January 4, 1975, petitioners filed their notice of appeal of the November 19, 1974 ruling of the Libunao, their union having produced three children, Angelita, Cesar, and Maria Nina, prior to the birth of
trial court. On March 21, 1975, this appeal was similarly denied on the ground that it had been filed out of Cecilia and Marian. But while private respondents claim that Jose Libunao died in 1943, petitioners claim
time. that the latter died sometime in 1971.

Due to the dismissal of their two appeals, petitioners again instituted certiorari and mandamus proceedings The date of Jose Libunaos death is important, for if he was still alive in 1971, and given that he was legally
with the Court of Appeals, docketed therein as C.A.-G.R. No. SP-04352. The appellate court affirmed the married to Honoria Empaynado, the presumption would be that Cecilia and Marian are not Ricardo Abads
dismissal of the two appeals, prompting petitioners to appeal to the Supreme Court. On July 9, 1985, this children with the latter, but of Jose Libunao and Honoria Empaynado. Article 256, the applicable provision
Court directed the trial court to give due course to petitioners appeal from the order of November 2, 1973 of the Civil Code, provides:
declaring private respondents heirs of the deceased Ricardo Abad, and the order dated November 19, 1974,
annulling certain documents pertaining to the intestate estate of deceased. Art. 256. The child shall be presumed legitimate, although the mother may have declared against its
legitimacy or may have been sentenced as an adulteress.[4]
The two appeals were accordingly elevated by the trial court to the appellate court. On October 19, 1994, the
Court of Appeals rendered judgment as follows: To bolster their theory, petitioners presented in evidence the application for enrolment at Mapua Institute of
Technology of Angelita Libunao, accomplished in 1956, which states:
WHEREFORE, all the foregoing considered, the instant appeal is DENIED for lack of merit. The orders of
the court a quo in SP No. 86792, to wit: Fathers Name: Jose Libunao

1. Order dated November 2, 1973, declaring in substance that Cecilia, Marian and Rosemarie, all surnamed Occupation: engineer (mining)
Abad as the acknowledged natural children and the only surviving heirs of the deceased Ricardo Abad;
Mothers Name: Honoria Empaynado[5]
2. Order dated November 19, 1974, declaring in substance that the six (6) parcels of land described in TCT
Nos. 13530, 53671 and 64021 are the properties of Ricardo Abad; that the extra-judicial partition of the as well as Cesar Libunaos 1958 application for enrolment at the Mapua Institute of Technology, which
estate of the deceased Lucila de Mesa executed on May 2, 1972 is inexistent and void from the beginning; states:
the cancellation of the aforementioned TCTs is null and void; the Register of Deeds be ordered to restore
and/or issue the corresponding Certificates of Title in the name of Ricardo Abad; and Fathers Name: Jose Libunao

3. Order dated March 21, 1975 denying the appeal of Dolores de Mesa Abad and Cesar de Mesa Tioseco Occupation: none
from the latter Order, for being filed out of time, are all AFFIRMED in toto. With costs against petitioner-
appellants. Mothers Name: Honoria Empaynado[6]

SO ORDERED.[3] Petitioners claim that had Jose Libunao been dead during the time when said applications were
accomplished, the enrolment forms of his children would have stated so. These not being the case, they
Petitioners now seek to annul the foregoing judgment on the following grounds: conclude that Jose Libunao must have still been alive in 1956 and 1958.

I. THE COURT OF APPEALS AND THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT Additionally, petitioners presented the joint affidavit of Juan Quiambao and Alejandro Ramos[7] stating that
RESPONDENTS CECILIA E. ABAD, MARIAN E. ABAD AND ROSEMARIE S. ABAD ARE THE to their knowledge Jose Libunao had died in 1971, leaving as his widow, Honoria Empaynado, and that the
ACKNOWLEDGED NATURAL CHILDREN OF THE DECEASED RICARDO DE MESA ABAD. former had been interred at the Loyola Memorial Park.

II. PETITIONERS ARE ENTITLED TO THE SUBJECT ESTATE WHETHER THE SAME IS OWNED Lastly, petitioners presented the affidavit of Dr. Pedro Arenas,[8] Ricardo Abads physician, declaring that in
BY THE DECEASED RICARDO DE MESA ABAD OR BY LUCILA DE MESA, THE MOTHER OF 1935, he had examined Ricardo Abad and found him to be infected with gonorrhea, and that the latter had
PETITIONERS AND RICARDO DE MESA ABAD. become sterile as a consequence thereof.

We are not persuaded. With these pieces of evidence, petitioners claim that Cecilia and Marian Abad are not the illegitimate
children of Ricardo Abad, but rather the legitimate children of the spouses Jose Libunao and Honoria
Empaynado.
8
overwhelmingly prove that they are the acknowledged natural children of Ricardo Abad. We quote with
At the outset, it must be noted that petitioners are disputing the veracity of the trial courts finding of facts. It approval the trial courts decision, thus:
is a fundamental and settled rule that factual findings of the trial court, adopted and confirmed by the Court
of Appeals, are final and conclusive and may not be reviewed on appeal.[9] Petitioners, however, argue that In his individual statements of income and assets for the calendar years 1958 and 1970, and in all his
factual findings of the Court of Appeals are not binding on this Court when there appears in the record of the individual income tax returns for the years 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1970, he has declared therein
case some fact or circumstance of weight and influence which has been overlooked, or the significance of as his legitimate wife, Honoria Empaynado; and as his legitimate dependent children, Cecilia, Marian
which has been misinterpreted, that if considered, would affect the result of the case.[10] (except in Exh. 12) and Rosemarie Abad (Exhs. 12 to 19; TSN, February 26, 1973, pp. 33-44).

This Court finds no justifiable reason to apply this exception to the case at bar. xxxxxxxxx

First, the evidence presented by petitioners to prove that Jose Libunao died in 1971 are, to say the least, far In December 1959, Ricardo Abad insured his daughters Cecilia, then eleven (11) years old, and Marian, then
from conclusive. Failure to indicate on an enrolment form that ones parent is deceased is not necessarily (5) years old, on [a] twenty (20) year-endowment plan with the Insular Life Assurance Co., Ltd. and paid for
proof that said parent was still living during the time said form was being accomplished. Furthermore, the their premiums (Exh. 34 and 34-A; 34-B to C; 35, 35-A to D; TSN, February 27, 1973, pp. 7-20).
joint affidavit of Juan Quiambao and Alejandro Ramos as to the supposed death of Jose Libunao in 1971 is
not competent evidence to prove the latters death at that time, being merely secondary evidence thereof. Jose In 1966, he and his daughter Cecilia Abad opened a trust fund acount of P100,000.00 with the Peoples Bank
Libunaos death certificate would have been the best evidence as to when the latter died. Petitioners have, and Trust Company which was renewed until (sic) 1971, payable to either of them in the event of death
however, inexplicably failed to present the same, although there is no showing that said death certificate has (Exhs. 36-A; 36-E). On January 5, 1971, Ricardo Abad opened a trust fund of P100,000.00 with the same
been lost or destroyed as to be unavailable as proof of Jose Libunaos death. More telling, while the records bank, payable to his daughter Marian (Exh. 37-A). On January 4, 1971, Ricardo Abad and his sister Dolores
of Loyola Memorial Park show that a certain Jose Bautista Libunao was indeed buried there in 1971, this Abad had (sic) agreed to stipulate in their PBTC Trust Agreement that the 9% income of their P100,000.00
person appears to be different from Honoria Empaynados first husband, the latters name being Jose Santos trust fund shall (sic) be paid monthly to the account reserved for Cecilia, under PBTC Savings Account No.
Libunao. Even the name of the wife is different. Jose Bautista Libunaos wife is listed as Josefa Reyes while 49053 in the name of Ricardo Abad and/or Cecilia Abad (Exh. 38) where the income of the trust fund
the wife of Jose Santos Libunao was Honoria Empaynado. intended for Cecilia was also deposited monthly (TSN, February 27, 1973, pp. 21-36). Ricardo Abad had
also deposited (money) with the Monte de Piedad and Savings Bank in the name of his daughter Marian,
As to Dr. Arenas affidavit, the same was objected to by private respondents as being privileged represented by him, as father, under Savings Account 17348 which has (sic) a balance of P34,812.28 as of
communication under Section 24 (c), Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.[11] The rule on confidential June 30, 1972. (Exh. 60-B)
communications between physician and patient requires that: a) the action in which the advice or treatment
given or any information is to be used is a civil case; b) the relation of physician and patient existed between With the finding that private respondents are the illegitimate children of Ricardo Abad, petitioners are
the person claiming the privilege or his legal representative and the physician; c) the advice or treatment precluded from inheriting the estate of their brother. The applicable provisions are:
given by him or any information was acquired by the physician while professionally attending the patient; d)
the information was necessary for the performance of his professional duty; and e) the disclosure of the Art. 988. In the absence of legitimate descendants or ascendants, the illegitimate children shall succeed to
information would tend to blacken the reputation of the patient.[12] the entire estate of the deceased.

Petitioners do not dispute that the affidavit meets the first four requisites. They assert, however, that the Art. 1003. If there are noillegitimate children, or a surviving spouse, the collateral relatives shall succeed to
finding as to Ricardo Abads sterility does not blacken the character of the deceased. Petitioners conveniently the entire estate of the deceased in accordance with the following articles. (Italics supplied)
forget that Ricardo Abads sterility arose when the latter contracted gonorrhea, a fact which most assuredly
blackens his reputation. In fact, given that society holds virility at a premium, sterility alone, without the As to petitioners claim that the properties in the name of Ricardo Abad actually belong to their mother
attendant embarrassment of contracting a sexually-transmitted disease, would be sufficient to blacken the Lucila de Mesa, both the trial court and the appellate court ruled that the evidence presented by private
reputation of any patient. We thus hold the affidavit inadmissible in evidence. And the same remains respondents proved that said properties in truth belong to Ricardo Abad. As stated earlier, the findings of
inadmissible in evidence, notwithstanding the death of Ricardo Abad. As stated by the trial court: fact by the trial court are entitled to great weight and should not be disturbed on appeal, it being in a better
position to examine the real evidence, as well as to observe the demeanor of the witnesses while testifying in
In the case of Westover vs. Aetna Life Insurance Company, 99 N.Y. 59, it was pointed out that: The the case.[13] In fact, petitioners seem to accept this conclusion, their contention being that they are entitled
privilege of secrecy is not abolished or terminated because of death as stated in established precedents. It is to the subject estate whether the same is owned by Ricardo Abad or by Lucila de Mesa.
an established rule that the purpose of the law would be thwarted and the policy intended to be promoted
thereby would be defeated, if death removed the seal of secrecy, from the communications and disclosures Digressing from the main issue, in its decision dated October 19, 1994, the Court of Appeals affirmed the
which a patient should make to his physician. After one has gone to his grave, the living are not permitted to trial courts order dated March 21, 1975 denying the appeal of Dolores de Mesa Abad and Cesar de Mesa
impair his name and disgrace his memory by dragging to light communications and disclosures made under Tioseco on the ground that the same was filed out of time. This affirmance is erroneous, for on July 9, 1985,
the seal of the statute. this Court had already ruled that the same was not filed out of time. Well-settled is the dictum that the
rulings of the Supreme Court are binding upon and may not be reversed by a lower court.
Given the above disquisition, it is clearly apparent that petitioners have failed to establish their claim by the
quantum of evidence required by law. On the other hand, the evidence presented by private respondents
9
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is hereby DENIED. The decision of the Court of In a normal situation, no controversy would be expected in the matter of the payment of said back salaries
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 30184 dated October 19, 1994 is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that because in the instant case, the party praying for the same is the employer Bank. The attendant
the affirmance of the Order dated March 21, 1975 denying the appeal of Dolores de Mesa Abad and Cesar circumstances here present have, however, created a peculiar situation. There is resistance to the claim
de Mesa Tioseco for being filed out of time is SET ASIDE. Costs against petitioners. because the management of the assets of the Bank has been transferred to the Respondents' Receiver who
perceived that the directive to pay back salaries after closure of the Bank would be dissipation of the banks'
SO ORDERED. assets to the prejudice of its various creditors.

Republic of the Philippines There is, however, in this case a significant matter that deserves consideration of this Court and which must
SUPREME COURT be viewed from the stand-point of equity. What stands out is that, regardless of whether the employees of
Manila Banco Filipino worked or not after January 25, 1985, there is the uncontested manifestation found in BF's
Answer to the Appeal, dated February 26, 1986 (Vol. IV of Case Records) that:
EN BANC
2. In the fact the receiver/liquidator Carlota Valenzuela had paid Union employees of petitioner BF
G.R. No. 70054 July 8, 1986 back salaries for no work from January 25, 1985 up to June, 1985. .. (Emphasis supplied)

BANCO FILIPINO, petitioner, All employees, thereto, of petitioner Banco Filipino who have not yet received their back salaries
vs. corresponding to the period from January 25, 1985 up to June, 1985 manifestly deserve and ought to be
MONETARY BOARD, ET AL., respondents. similarly paid by the respondent Monetary Board. It is but fair that the issue whether or not the employees of
petitioner Bank had actually worked during said period should now be discounted considering this voluntary
Ramon Quisumbing and Norberto Quisumbing and Emmanuel Pelaez for petitioner. act of respondent Monetary Board which would remove by estoppel any impediment to the receipt by all
bank employees of their back salaries from January 25, 1985 up to June, 1985, assuming that some of them
Inigo B. Regalado, Jr. counsel for Central Bank. have not yet received the same.

Sycip, Salazar, Feliciano & Hernandez for respondents. As the remaining period from June, 1985 to August, 1985, involves but a minimal period only of two (2)
months, and considering the unfortunate plight of the numerous employees who now invoke the
RESOLUTION symphathetic concern of this Court, and inasmuch as the appealed Order for the payment of back salaries is
only for a limited period or up to August, 1985, the appealed order of November 7, 1985 may be sustained.
On November 4, 1985, Petitioner Bank filed in the instant case a "Motion to Pay Back Salaries to All BF
Officers and Employees from February to August 29, 1985" in connection with its "Opposition to Petitioner BF and its stockholders have long put on record their consent to this patment of back salaries of its
Respondents" Motion for Reconsideration or for Clarification of the Resolution of the Court En Banc of separated officers and employees. It is also averred that BF intends to reopen its bank and branches, and the
October 8, 1985." On November 7, 1985, this Court referred said motion to pay back salaries to Branch 136 payment of back salaries to its employees, no less would help in the preservation of its personnel which is
(Judge Ricardo Francisco, presiding) of the Makati Regional Trial Court, which this Court had earlier the bank's most important assest, apart from doing justice to those aggrieved employees. It is mentioned that
directed under our Resolution of October 8, 1985 issued in G.R. No. 77054, to conduct hearings on the the Central Bank Liquidator has now more than a billion pesos in cash of Banco Filipino since it continued
matter of the closure of petitioner Bank and its alleged pre-planned liquidation. to receive payments from BF borrowers some P1.5 million a day. It is also said that with the deposits of
petitioner BF with the Bank of PI, there is money sufficient to allow the withdrawal of the sums needed to
On January 22, 1986, said Regional Trial Court, after considering the petitioner's motion of November 4, pay the salaries of the employees who have been now out of work for over a year. Apparently, no substantial
1985, the respondents' opposition thereto dated January 15, 1986; the petitioner's Reply dated January 16, prejudice for the payment of the distressed employees of the bank for only a specified limited period until
1986, and the respondents' Rejoinder dated January 20, 1986, issued an order directing the respondents the other issues in the consolidated consideration.
herein "to pay all officers and employees of petitioner their back salaries and wages corresponding to the
period from February to August 29, 1985." WHEREFORE, ruling that the Order of November 7, 1985 of Judge Ricardo Francisco, granting salary to
the officers and employees of Banco Filipino for the period from February, 1985 to August 29, 1985, may
On February 4, 1986, respondents herein filed with this Court an "Appeal from, or Petition to Set Aside, now be deemed moot and academic insofar as it relates to the period from January 25, 1985 to June, 1985 up
order to Pay Back Salaries dated 22 January 1986" praying for the reversal and setting aside of the to August, 1985, covers but a minimal span of two (2) months, the Court RESOLVES, for the reasons of
aforestated trial court's Order dated January 22, 1986. This was formally opposed by Petitioner when it filed equity, to allow the aforestated Order to remain undisturbed and to DISMISS the appeal therefrom. This
its "Answer to Appeal (re: back salaries)" on February 26, 1986. A month later, on March 26, 1986, Order is immediately held executory.
respondents filed their "Reply to the Answer" which petitioner traversed in a "Rejoinder to the Reply" dated
April 2, 1986. Gutierrez Jr., J., took no part.

G.R. No. 70054 July 8, 1986


BANCO FILIPINO vs. MONETARY BOARD
10
the resolution placing petitioner under receivership and thereafter under liquidation as it is the regularity and
Republic of the Philippines impartiality of these administrative proceedings which are being assailed by the petitioner, the trial court saw
no reason why said documents should be thus concealed from it.
SUPREME COURT
Respondents Monetary Board and Central Bank take exception to the said order and pray in their petition
Manila before this Court for the reversal and setting aside of the same. The grounds recited in support of their
petition are the following:
EN BANC
(1) The ratiocination of the trial court is wholly in error because the proceedings before it do not at all
G.R. No. 70054 July 8, 1986 deal with either the administrative proceedings conducted by the respondents or the regularity and
impartiality of the CB actions on BF; it does so simply upon the charge that no "hearing" was given BF prior
BANCO FILIPINO, petitioner, to those actions of closure and liquidation. However, no such prior hearing had been called as none is
vs. required by the law and by the Supreme Court decisions in force to this date (Rural Bank of Lucena, Inc. vs.
MONETARY BOARD, ET AL., respondents. Arca, 15 SCRA 66, and Rural Bank of Bato vs. IAC, G.R. 65642, Oct. 15, 1984).

RESOLUTION (2) The tapes and transcripts of the Monetary Board deliberations are confidential pursuant to Sections
13 and 15 of the Central Bank Act.
Subject of this "Petition to Set Aside Order to Produce Documents dated 17 February 1986" is the Order of
Branch 136, Regional Trial Court, Makati, granting the motion of the petitioner herein, based on Section 1, Sec. 13. Withdrawal of persons having a personal interest. Whenever any member attending a meeting of the
Rule 27, of the Rules of Court, for the production, inspection, and copying of certain papers and records Monetary Board has a material personal interest, directly or indirectly, in the discussion or resolution of any
which are claimed as needed by the Petitioner Bank for the preparation of its comments, objections, and given matter, said member shall not participate in the discussion or resolution of the matter and must retire
exceptions to the Conservator's report dated January 8, 1985, and Receiver's Report dated March 19, 1985. from the meeting during the deliberation thereon. The subject matter, when resolved, and the fact that a
The documents now asked to be produced, inspected, and copied are the following: member had a personal interest in it, shall be made available to the public. The minutes of the meeting shall
note the withdrawal of the member concerned. (As amended by PD No. 1827).
(1) Copies of tapes and transcripts of the Monetary Board (MB) deliberations on the closure of Banco
Filipino (BF) and its meeting on July 27, 1984, and March 22, 1985; Sec. 15. Responsibility. — Any member of the Monetary Board or officer or employee of the Central Bank
who wilfully violates this Act or who is guilty of gross negligence in the performance of his duties shall be
(2) Copies of the letter and reports of first conservator, Mr. Basilio Estanislao, to the MB and to held liable for any loss or injury suffered by the Bank as a result of such violation or negligence. Similar
Central Bank Governor Jose Fernandez; responsibility shall apply to the disclosure of any information of a confidential nature about the discussion or
resolutions of the Monetary Board, except as required in Section 13 of this Act, or about the operations of
(3) Papers showing computations of all the interests and penalties charged by the CB against BF; the Bank, and to the use of such information for personal gain or to the detriment of the Government, the
Bank or third parties. (As amended by Presidential Decree No. 72). (Italics supplied).
(4) Schedule of recommended valuation of reserves per Mr. Tiaoqui's report dated March 19, 1985;
(3) The Monetary Board deliberations were necessarily held subsequent t• the submission of the CB
(5) Adjustment per Annex "C" of Mr. Tiaoqui's report; reports. They did not enter into the making of those reports and can have no materiality to any question of
fact that may be raised in relation to their contents.
(6) Annexes"A","B",and"C"of the joint report of Mr. Tiaoqui, Mr. Aurellano, and Mrs. Valenzuela;
On April 16, 1986, Petitioner Banco Filipino filed its Comment on Respondent's petition to set aside the
(7) Schedule of devaluation of CB premises of Paseo de Roxas of same report; order for the production of the documents. In said pleading, the petitioner bank assails the respondent's
petition on the following grounds:
(8) Schedule of BF's realizable assets from P5,159.44 B to P3,909.23 B as of January 25, 1985;
(1) There is no reason why Banco Filipino should not be furnished the documents, particularly Nos. 3
(9) Documents listed in BF's letter to Mrs. Carlota Valenzuela dated October 25, 1985. to 9 of its motion, when these are merely attachments to the Supervision and Examination Sector, Dept. It
(SES) Reports, copies of which were given to it pursuant to a Supreme Court order.
In issuing the challenged order, the court below took the view that the Supreme Court's resolution referring
to it the matters relative to the bank's closure does not preclude the petitioner from availing of this mode of (2) The Supreme Court in its referral of October 8, 1985 to the RTC Makati intended full evidence
discovery as an additional means of preparing for the hearing. It considered the documents sought to be taking of the proceeding for judicial review of administrative action filed with the Supreme Court, the trial
produced as not privileged because these constitute or contain evidence material to the issues into by the court being better equipped for evidence taking.
Court. These materials are said to comprise of records of the administrative proceedings conducted by
respondent's officials and representatives from the inception of and preparation of the challenged reports and
11
(3) The respondents cannot claim privilege in refusing to produce the Central Bank records because it Court, 3rd edition, Vol. 2, p. 104). "The test to be applied by the trial judge in determining the relevancy of
is based only on the generalized interest in confidentiality. Petitioner cites as a precedent the doctrine documents and the sufficiency of their description is one of reasonableness and practicability" (Line Corp. of
established in the case of U.S. vs. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683, 713, which states that "when the ground for the Philippines vs. Moran, 59 Phil. 176, 180). "On the ground of public policy, the rules providing for
asserting privilege as to subpoenaed materials sought for use in a criminal case is based only on the production and inspection of books and papers do not authorize the production or inspection of privileged
generalized interest in confidentiality, it cannot prevail over the fundamental demands of due process of matter, that is, books, papers which because of their confidential and privileged character could not be
law." received in evidence" (27) CJS 224). "In passing on a motion for discovery of documents, the courts should
be liberal in determining whether or not documents are relevant to the subject matter of action" (Hercules
(4) The requested documents and records of the Central Bank are material and relevant because BF is Powder Co. vs. Haas Co., U.S. Dist. Ct. Oct. 26, 1944, 9 Fed. Rules Service, 659, cited in Moran, Comments
entitled to prove from the CB records (a) that Governor Fernandez closed BF without a MB resolution and on the Rules of Court, 1979 Ed. Vol. 2, p. 102). Likewise, "any statute declaring in general terms that
without examiner's reports on the financial position of BF; (b) that a MB resolution was later made to official records are confidential should be liberally construed, to have an implied exception for disclosure
legalize the BF closure but it had no supporting examiner's report; (c) that the earlier reports did not satisfy when needed in a court of justice" (Wigmore on Evidence, Vol. VIII, p. 801, citing the case of Marbury vs.
respondent Governor Fernandez and he ordered the examiners and the conservator, Gilberto Teodoro, to Madison, 1 Cr. 137,143).
"improve" them; and (d) that the reports were then fabricated.
In the light of the jurisprudence above-cited, this Court holds that no grave abuse of discretion was
Petitioner adds that what respondents fear is disclosure of their proceedings because petitioner has accused committed by the court below in granting petitioner's motion for the production of the documents
the CB governor of (a) covering 51% of its stockholding, (b) encashing BF securities in trickles as fuel a enumerated herein. We accept the view taken by the court below that the documents are not privileged and
run, (c) appointing a conservator when the President ordered the MB to grant petitioner a P 3 Billion credit that these constitute or contain evidence material to the issues being inquired into by the Court.
line, (d) replacing Estanislao with Gilberto Teodoro when the former wanted to resume normal operations of
BF, and (e) changing the conservatorship to receivership when it appointed Carlota Valenzuela as receiver With respect to Items Nos. 3 to 9, these are the annexes to the Supervision and Examination Sector, Dept. II
again without hearing. (SES) Reports submitted to the Central Bank and Monetary Board which were taken into consideration by
said respondents in closing petitioner bank. A copy of the SES Reports was furnished to the petitioner. We,
On May 13, 1986, Respondent Monetary Board filed their Reply to Petitioner Bank's Comment dated April therefore, fail to see any proper reason why the annexes thereto should be withheld. Petitioner cannot
15, 1986. Respondents argue that: adequately study and properly analyze the report without the corresponding annexes. Pertinent and relevant,
these could be useful and even necessary to the preparation by petitioner of its comment, objections and
(1) The case of U.S. vs. Nixon and the other decisions cited by petitioner are inapplicable because- exceptions to the Conservator's reports and receiver's reports.

a) The authorities cited refer only to a claim of privilege based only on the generalized interest of Regarding copies of the letter and reports of first Conservator, Mr. Basilio Estanislao, to the Monetary Board
confidentiality or on an executive privilege that is merely presumptive. On the other hand, the so-called MB and to Central Bank Governor Fernandez (Item No. 2) these appear relevant as petitioner has asserted that
deliberations are privileged communications pursuant to Section 21, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court because the above-named Conservator had in fact wanted to resume normal operations of Banco Filipino but then he
statements and opinions expressed in the deliberation of the members of the MB are specifically vested with was thereafter replaced by Mr. Gilberto Teodoro. The letter and reports could be favorable or adverse to the
confidentiality under Secs. 13 and 15 of the Central Bank Act. The "public interest" requirement for non- case of petitioner but whatever the result may be, petitioner should be allowed to photocopy the same.
disclosure is evident from the fact that the statute punishes any disclosure of such deliberations.
As to the tapes and transcripts of the Monetary Board deliberations on the closure of Banco Filipino and its
b) Petitioner has not in the least shown any relevance or need to produce the alleged MB meetings on July 27, 1984, and March 22, 1985, (Item No. 1), respondents contend that "it is obvious from
deliberations. What petitioner intends to prove are not "issues" raised in the pleadings of the main petition. the requirement (Sections 13 and 15 of the Central Bank Act) that the subject matter (of the deliberations),
when resolved. . . shall be made available to the public but the deliberations themselves are not open to
(2) Petitioner is interested, not in discovering evidence, but in practicing oppression by the forced disclosure but are to be kept in confidence." This Court, however, sees it in a different light. The
publication of the MB members' confidential statements at board meetings. deliberations may be confidential but not necessarily absolute and privileged. There is no specific provision
in the Central Bank Act, even in Sections 13 and 15 thereof, which prohibits absolutely the courts from
(3) The so-called deliberations of the Monetary Board are in truth merely the individual statements and conducting an inquiry on said deliberations when these are relevant or material to a matter subject of a suit
expressions of opinion of its members. They are not statements or opinions that can be imputed to the board pending before it. The disclosure is here not intended to obtain information for personal gain. There is no
itself or to the Central Bank. The transcripts of stenographic notes on the deliberations of the MB are not indication that such disclosure would cause detriment to the government, to the bank or to third parties.
official records of the CB; they are taken merely to assist the Secretary of the MB in the preparation of the Significantly, it is the bank itself here that is interested in obtaining what it considers as information useful
minutes of the meetings. And as advertedly also, the tape recordings are not available as these are used over and indispensably needed by it to support its position in the matter being inquired to by the court below.
and over again.
On the other hand, respondents cite Section 21, Rule 130, Rules of Court which states:
The motion for the production of the subject documents was filed by petitioner pursuant to Section 1, Rule
27, of the Rules of Court. It has been held that "a party is ordinarily entitled to the production of books, Section 21. Privileged Communications. The following persons cannot testify as to matters learned in
documents and papers which are material and relevant to the establishment of his cause of action or defense" confidence in the following cases:
(General Electric Co. vs. Superior Court in and for Alameda County, 45 C. 2d 879, cited in Martin, Rules of
12
xxx xxx xxx Valmonte Law Offices for Petitioner.

(e) A public officer cannot be examined during his term of office or afterwards, as to communications The Solicitor General for Respondents.
made to him in official confidence, when the court finds that the public interest would suffer by disclosure.
SYLLABUS
But this privilege, as this Court notes, is intended not for the protection of public officers but for the
protection of public interest (Vogel vs. Gruaz 110 U.S. 311 cited in Moran, Comments on the Rules of
Court, 1980 Ed. Vol. 5, p. 211). Where there is no public interest that would be prejudiced, this invoked rule 1. POLITICAL LAW; GOVERNMENT; PRIVILEGE AGAINST DISCLOSURE OF STATE
will not be applicable. SECRETS; BASIS. — At common law a governmental privilege against disclosure is recognized with
respect to state secrets bearing on military, diplomatic and similar matters. This privilege is based upon
The rule that a public officer cannot be examined as to communications made to him in official confidence public interest of such paramount importance as in and of itself transcending the individual interests of a
does not apply when there is nothing to show that the public interest would suffer by the disclosure question. private citizen, even though, as a consequence thereof, the plaintiff cannot enforce his legal rights.
... ,( Agnew vs. Agnew,'52 SD 472, cited in Martin Rules of Court of the Philippines, Third Edition, Vol. 5,
p. 199). 2. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; PRESIDENT; CONFIDENTIALITY OF HIS CONVERSATION
AND CORRESPONDENCE. — In the litigation over the Watergate tape subpoena in 1973, the U.S.
In the case at bar, the respondents have not established that public interest would suffer by the disclosure of Supreme Court recognized the right of the President to the confidentiality of his conversations and
the papers and documents sought by petitioner. Considering that petitioner bank was already closed as of correspondence, which it Jikened to "the claim of confidentiality of judicial deliberations." Said the "Court
January 25, 1985, any disclosure of the aforementioned letters, reports, and transcripts at this time pose no in United States v. Nixon: The expectation of a President to the confidentiality of his conversations and
danger or peril to our economy. Neither will it trigger any bank run nor compromise state secrets. correspondence, like the claim of confidentiality of judicial deliberations, for example, has all the values to
Respondent's reason for their resistance to the order of production are tenuous and specious. If the which we accord deference for the privacy of all citizens and, added to those values, is the necessity for
respondents public officials acted rightfully and prudently in the performance of their duties, there should be protection of the public interest in candid, objective, and even blunt or harsh opinions in Presidential
nothing at all that would provoke fear of disclosure decision making. A President and those who assist him must be free to explore alternatives in the process of
shaping policies and making decisions and to do so in a way many would be unwilling to express except
On the contrary, public interests will be best served by the disclosure of the documents. Not only the banks privately, These are the considerations justifying a presumptive privilege for Presidential communications.
and its employees but also its numerous depositors and creditors are entitled to be informed as to whether or The privilege is fundamental to the operation of the government and inextricably rooted in the separation of
not there was a valid and legal justification for the petitioner's bank closure. It will be well to consider that— powers under the Constitution. . . Thus, the Court for the first time gave executive privilege a constitutional
status and a new name, although not necessarily a new birth.
Public interest means more than a mere curiosity; it means something in which the public, the community at
large, has some pecuniary interest by which their legal rights or liabilities are affected (State vs. Crocket, 3. ID.; JUDICIARY; CONFIDENTIALITY OF JUDICIAL DELIBERATIONS. — "The
206, p. 816 cited in Words and Phrases, Vol. 35, p. 229). confidentiality of judicial deliberations" mentioned in the opinion of the Court referred to the fact that
Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court and judges of lower federal courts have traditionally treated their
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the order to produce documents dated February 17, 1986 issued by working papers and judicial notes as private property. A 1977 proposal in the U.S. Congress that Justices
the court below in S.C.- G.R. No. 70054, is hereby affirmed, except as to the copies of the tapes relative to and judges of lower federal courts "should be encouraged to make such arrangements as will assure the
the Monetary Board deliberations on the closure of Banco Filipino on January 25, 1985 and its meetings on preservation and eventual availability of their personal papers, especially the deposit of their papers in the
July 27, 1984, and March 22, 1985 and only if such tapes are actually no longer available taking into account same depository they select for [their] Public Papers" was rebuffed by the Justices who, in a letter to the
respondent Monetary Board's manifestations that the tape recording of the deliberations of that Board are, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Regulation and Government Information of the U.S. Senate, referred to
for purposes of economy, used over and over again inasmuch as these tapes are not required to be kept or "difficult concerns respecting the appropriate separation that must be maintained between the legislative
stored. (See Respondent's Reply, dated May 12, 1986; Rollo, Vol. IV, pp. 1288-1289). branch and this Court.

SO ORDERED. 4. POLITICAL LAW; GOVERNMENT; PRIVILEGE AGAINST DISCLOSURE OF STATE


SECRETS; RULE. — With respect to the privilege based on state secret, the rule was stated by the U.S.
EN BANC Supreme Court as follows: Judicial control over the evidence in a case cannot be abdicated to the caprice of
executive officers. Yet we will not go so far as to say that the court may automatically require a complete
[G.R. No. 95367. May 23, 1995.] disclosure to the judge before the claim of privilege will be accepted in any case. It may be possible to
satisfy the court, from all the circumstances of the case, that there is a reasonable danger that compulsion of
COMMISSIONER JOSE T. ALMONTE, VILLAMOR C. PEREZ, NERIO ROGADO, and ELISA the evidence will expose military matters which, in the interest of national security, should not be divulged.
RIVERA, Petitioners, v. HONORABLE CONRADO M. VASQUEZ and CONCERNED CITIZENS, When this is the case, the occasion for the privilege is appropriate, and the court should not jeopardize the
Respondents. security which the privilege is meant to protect by insisting upon an examination of the evidence, even by
the judge alone, in chambers. . . In each case, the showing of necessity which is made will determine how far
the court should probe in satisfying itself that the occasion for invoking the privilege is appropriate. Where
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there is a strong showing of necessity, the claim of privilege should not be lightly accepted, but even the 9. ID.; ID.; ID.; SAFEGUARD IN THE PRODUCTION OF PRESUMPTIVELY PRIVILEGED
most compelling necessity cannot overcome the claim of privilege if the court is ultimately satisfied that SUBPOENAED DOCUMENTS. — Even if the subpoenaed documents are treated as presumptively
military secrets are at stake. A fortiori, where necessity is dubious, a formal claim of privilege, made under privileged, this decision would only justify ordering their inspection in camera but not their non-production.
the circumstances of this case, will have to prevail. On the other hand, where the claim of confidentiality However, as concession to the nature of the functions of the EIIB and just to be sure no information of a
does not rest on the need to protect military, diplomatic or other national security secrets but on a general confidential character is disclosed, the examination of records in this case should be made in strict
public interest in the confidentiality of his conversations, courts have declined to find in the Constitution an confidence by the Ombudsman himself. Reference may be made to the documents in any decision or order
absolute privilege of the President against a subpoena considered essential to the enforcement of criminal which the Ombudsman may render or issue but only to the extent that it will not reveal covert activities of
laws. the agency. Above all, there must be a scrupulous protection of the documents delivered. With these
safeguards outlined, it is believed that a satisfactory resolution of the conflicting claims of the parties is
5. ID.; ID.; ID.; PRODUCTION OF PERSONNEL RECORDS OF EIIB DOES NOT INVOLVE achieved. It is not amiss to state that even matters of national security have been inquired into in appropriate
REVELATION OF MILITARY SECRETS. — In the case at bar, there is no claim that military or in camera proceedings by the courts. We see no reason why similar safeguards cannot be made to enable an
diplomatic secrets will be disclosed by the production of records pertaining to the personnel of the EIIB. agency of the Government, like the Office of the Ombudsman, to carry out its constitutional duty to protect
Indeed, EIIB’s function is the gathering and evaluation of intelligence reports and information regarding public interests while insuring the confidentiality of classified documents.
"illegal activities affecting the national economy, such as, but not limited to, economic sabotage, smuggling,
tax evasion, dollar salting." Consequently, while in cases which involve state secrets it may be sufficient to 10. ID.; ID.; ID.; COMPLAINT NEED NOT BE SIGNED AND VERIFIED. — Petitioners contend
determine from the circumstances of the case that there is reasonable danger that compulsion of the evidence that under Art. XI, §13(4) the Ombudsman can act only "in any appropriate case, and subject to such
will expose military matters without compelling production, no similar excuse can be made for a privilege limitations as may be provided by law" and that because the complaint in this case is unsigned and
resting on similar excuse can be made for a privilege resting on other considerations. unverified, the case is not an appropriate one. This contention lacks merit. As already stated, the Constitution
expressly enjoins the Ombudsman to act on any complaint filed "in any form or manner" concerning official
6. ID.; ID.; ID.; PERSONNEL RECORDS OF EIIB, NOT CLASSIFIED INFORMATION. — Nor acts or omissions. Thus, Art. XI, 12 provides: The Ombudsman and his Deputies, as protectors of the people,
has our attention been called to any law or regulation which considers personnel records of the EIIB as shall act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against public officials or employees of the
classified information. To the contrary, COA Circular No. 88-293, which petitioners invoke to support their Government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or
contention that there is adequate safeguard against misuse of public funds, provides that the "only item of controlled corporations and shall in appropriate cases, notify the complainants of the action taken and the
expenditure which should be treated strictly confidential" is that which refers to the "purchase of information result thereof. Similarly, the Ombudsman Act of 1989 (Rep. Act No. 6770) provides in 26(2): The Office of
and payment of rewards." It should be noted that the regulation requires that "reasonable records" be kept the Ombudsman shall receive complaints from any source in whatever form concerning an official act or
justifying the confidential or privileged character of the information relating to informers. There are no such omission . . .
reasonable records in this case to substitute for the records claimed to be confidential.
11. ID.; ID.; LIMITATION ON POWER TO INVESTIGATE. — Rather than referring to the form of
7. ID.; ID.; ID.; DENIAL BY OFFICIALS OF THE EIIB THAT THERE WERE SAVINGS FROM complaints, therefore, the phrase "in an appropriate case" in Art. XI, §12 means any case concerning official
CERTAIN ITEMS AND THAT DBM HAD RELEASED ALLOCATION NEEDED FOR 947 act or omission which is alleged to be "illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient. "The phrase "subject to such
PERSONNEL, IN EFFECT INVITED INQUIRY INTO VERACITY OF CLAIM. — The other statutes and limitations as may be provided by law" refers to such limitations as may be provided by Congress or, in the
regulations invoked by petitioners in support of their contention that the documents sought in the subpoena absence thereof, to such limitation as may be imposed by the courts. Such limitations may well include a
duces tecum of the Ombudsman are classified merely indicate the confidential nature of the EIIB’s requirement that the investigation be conducted in camera, with the public excluded, as exception to the
functions, but they do not exempt the EIIB from the duty to account for its funds to the proper authorities. general nature of the proceedings in the Office of the Ombudsman. A reconciliation is thereby made
Indeed by denying that there were savings made from certain items in the agency and alleging that the DBM between the demands of national security and the requirement of accountability enshrined in the
had released to the EIIB only the allocations needed for the 947 personnel retained after its reorganization, Constitution.
petitioners in effect invited inquiry into the veracity of their claim. If, as petitioners claim, the subpoenaed
records have been examined by the COA and found by it to be regular in all respects, there is no reason why 12. ID.; BILL OF RIGHTS EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAWS; NOT DENIED TO
they cannot be shown to another agency of the government which by constitutional mandate is required to RESPONDENTS WHERE OMBUDSMAN COMMENCED INVESTIGATION ON THE BASIS OF
look into any complaint concerning public office. UNVERIFIED COMPLAINT; CASE AT BAR. — Nor is there violation of petitioners’ right to the equal
protection of the laws. Petitioners complain that "in all forum and tribunals . . . the aggrieved parties . . . can
8. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN; REQUIRED TO ACT only hale respondents via their verified complaints or sworn statements with their identities fully disclosed,"
PROMPTLY ON COMPLAINTS IN ANY FORM OR MANNER. — On the other hand, the Ombudsman is while in proceedings before the Office of the Ombudsman anonymous letters suffice to start an
investigating a complaint that several items in the EIIB were filled by fictitious persons and that the investigation. In the first place, there can be no objection to this procedure because it is provided in the
allotments for these items in 1988 wire used for illegal purposes. The plantilla and other personnel records Constitution itself. In the second place, it is apparent that in permitting the filing of complaints "in any form
are relevant to his investigation. He and his Deputies are designated by the Constitution "protectors of the or manner," the framers of the Constitution took into account the well-known reticence of the people which
people" and as such they are required by it "to act promptly on complaints in any form or manner against keep them from complaining against official wrongdoings. As this Court had occasion to point out, the
public officials or employees of the Government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, Office of the Ombudsman is different from the other investigatory and prosecutory agencies of the
including government-owned or controlled corporation."cralaw virtua1aw library government because those subject to its jurisdiction are public officials who, through official pressure and

14
influence, can quash, delay or dismiss investigations held against them. On the other hand complainants are unnecessary and tiresome forays and investigations into government activities which would not only end up
more often than not poor and simple folk who cannot afford to hire lawyers. nowhere but which would also disrupt or derail such activities.

13. ID.; ID.; RIGHT AGAINST SELF-INCRIMINATION; NOT AVAILABLE WHERE 3. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; RIGHT TO INFORMATION ON MATTERS
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED TO BE PRODUCED ARE PUBLIC. — It is contended that the issuance of the OF PUBLIC CONCERN; NOT ABSOLUTE; ACCESS TO OFFICIAL RECORDS MAY BE
subpoena duces tecum would violate petitioners’ right against self-incrimination. It is enough to state that REGULATED. — The constitutional right allowing disclosure of governmental documents, i.e., the right to
the documents required to be produced in this case are public records and those to whom the subpoena duces information on matters of public concern is not absolute. While access to official records may be prohibited,
tecum is directed are government officials in whose possession or custody the documents are. Moreover, if, it may be regulated. Regulation includes appropriate authority to determine what documents are of public
as petitioners claim the disbursement by the EIIB of funds for personal service has already been cleared by concern, the manner of access to information contained in such documents and to withhold information
the COA, there is no reason why they should object to the examination of the documents by respondent under certain circumstances, particularly, as in this case, those circumstances affecting the national security.
Ombudsman.

KATIPUNAN, J., dissenting opinion:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library DECISION

1. POLITICAL LAW; GOVERNMENT; PRIVILEGE AGAINST DISCLOSURE OF STATE


SECRETS; EIIB CAN NOT BE REQUIRED TO DISCLOSE DOCUMENTS BY THE OMBUDSMAN IN MENDOZA, J.:
ASCERTAINING PROPER DISBURSEMENT OF ITS FUNDS. — Disclosure of the documents as
required by the Ombudsman would necessarily defeat the legal mandate of the EIIB as the intelligence arm
of the executive branch of government relating to matters affecting the economy of the nation. As such, This is a petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus to annul the subpoena duces tecum and orders
EIIB’s functions are related to matters affecting national security. In the performance of its function in issued by respondent Ombudsman, requiring petitioners Nerio Rogado and Elisa Rivera, as chief accountant
relation with the gathering of intelligence information executive privilege could as well be invoked by the and record custodian, respectively, of the Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau (EIIB) to produce
EIIB, especially in relation to its covert operations. The confidentiality privilege invoked by petitioners "all documents relating to Personal Services Funds for the year 1988" and all evidence such as vouchers
attaches in the exercise of the functions of the Chief Executive, as a separate and co-equal branch of from enforcing his orders.
government. By the same parity of reasoning, the disclosure of the EIIB documents required to be examined
by the Ombudsman even in camera proceedings, will under the pretext of ascertaining the proper Petitioner Jose T. Almonte was formerly Commissioner of the EIIB, while Villamor C. Perez is Chief of the
disbursements of the EIIB funds will unnecessarily impair the performance by the EIIB of its functions EIIB’s Budget and Fiscal Management Division. The subpoena duces tecum was issued by the Ombudsman
especially those affecting national security. Besides, the determination of the legality of EIIB’s in connection with his investigation of an anonymous letter alleging that funds representing savings from
disbursements of funds allocated to it are properly within the competence of the Commission on Audit, unfilled positions in the EIIB had been illegally disbursed. The letter, purporting to have been written by an
which as the ponencia of Justice Mendoza finds, has been cleared in audit. The Commission on Audit had employee of the EIIB and a concerned citizen, was addressed to the Secretary of Finance, with copies
adopted, as in the past, measures to protect "classified information" pertaining to examination of furnished several government offices, including the Office of the Ombudsman.chanrobles.com:cralaw:red
expenditures of intelligence agencies. In the present case, disclosure of information to any other agency
would unnecessarily expose the covert operations of EIIB, as a government agency charged with national The letter reads in pertinent parts:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
security functions.
1. These are the things that I have been observing. During the implementation of E.O 127 on May 1,
2. ID.; DETERMINATION OF A QUESTION AFFECTING NATIONAL SECURITY, A 1988, one hundred ninety (190) personnel were dismissed. Before that implementation, we had a monthly
POLITICAL QUESTION. — The determination, by the executive branch, through its appropriate agencies, savings of P500,000.00 from unfilled plantilla position plus the implementation of RA 6683 wherein seventy
of a question as affecting the national security is a policy decision for which this Court has neither the (70) regular employees availed a total amount of P1,400,000.00 was saved from the government monthly.
competence nor the mandate to infringe upon. In the absence of a clear showing a grave abuse of discretion The question is, how do they used or disbursed this savings? The EIIB has a syndicate headed by the Chief
on the part of the Executive, acting through its (national security) agencies, I am of the opinion that we of Budget Division who is manipulating funds and also the brain of the so called "ghost agents" or the
cannot interfere with a determination, properly made, on a question affecting economic security lest we are "Emergency Intelligence Agents" (EIA). The Commissioner of EIIB has a biggest share on this. Among his
prepared to ride roughshod over certain prerogatives of our political branches. In an area obviously affecting activities are:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
the national security, disclosure of confidential information on the promptings of some dissatisfied
employees would Potentially disturb a number of carefully laid-out operations dependent on secrecy and I a) Supporting RAM wherein he is involved. He gives big amount especially during Dec. Failed coup.
am not prepared to do this. The characterization of the documents as classified information is not a shield for
wrongdoing but a barrier against the burdensome requests for information which necessarily interfere with b) Payment for thirty five (35) mini UZI’s.
the proper performance of their duties. To give in, at every turn, to such requests would be greatly disruptive
of governmental functions. More so in this case, since expenditures of the EIIB for personal funds had c) Payment for the purchased of Maxima ‘87 for personal used of the Commissioner.
already been previously examined and passed upon in audit by the’ Commission on Audit. There has been
no allegation of any irregularity in the COA’s earlier examination, and in the absence of substantiated d) Another observation was the agents under the Director of NCR EIIB is he sole operating unit
allegations, the previous determination ought to be accorded our respect unless we want to encourage within Metro Manila which was approved by no less than the Commissioner due to anomalous activities of
15
almost all agents assigned at the central office directly under the Commissioner. Retired Brig. Gen. Almonte issued for the protection of EIIB personnel attending court hearings and the Finance Officer in withdrawing
as one of the Anti-Graft board member of the Department of finance should not tolerate this. However, the funds from the banks.
Commissioner did not investigate his own men instead, he placed them under the 15-30 payroll.
The Graft Investigation Officer of the Ombudsman’s office, Jose F. Saño, found the comments
e) Many more which are personal. unsatisfactory, being "unverified and plying only on generalizations without meeting specifically the points
raised by complainant as constitutive of the alleged anomalies." 3 He, therefore, asked for authority to
2. Sir, my question is this. Can your good office investigate EII intelligence funds particularly conduct a preliminary investigation. Anticipating the grant of his request, he issued a subpoena 4 to
Personal Services (01) Funds? I wonder why the Dep’t. of Budget & Mgmt. cannot compel EIIB to submit petitioners Almonte and Perez, requiring them to submit their counter-affidavits and the affidavits of their
an actual filled up position because almost half of it are vacant and still they are releasing it. Are EIIB witnesses, as well as a subpoena duces tecum 5 to the Chief of the EIIB’s Accounting Division ordering him
plantilla position classified? It is included in the Personal Services Itemnization (PSI) and I believe it is not to bring "all documents relating to Personal Services Funds for the year 1988 and all evidence, such as
classified and a ruling from Civil Service. Another info, when we had salary differential last Oct ‘88 all vouchers (salary) for the whole plantilla of EIIB for 1988."cralaw virtua1aw library
money for the whole plantilla were released and from that alone, Millions were saved and converted to ghost
agents of EIA. Petitioners Almonte and Perez moved to quash the subpoena and the subpoena duces tecum. In his Order
dated June 15, 1990, 6 respondent Ombudsman granted the motion to quash the subpoena in view of the fact
3. Another thing that I have observed was the Chief Budget Division possesses high caliber firearms that there were no affidavits filed against petitioners. But he denied their motion to quash the subpoena
such as a mini UZI, Armalite rifle and two (2) 45 cal. pistol issued to him by the Assistant Commissioner duces tecum. He ruled that petitioners were not being forced to produce evidence against themselves, since
wherein he is not an agent of EIIB and authorized as such according to memorandum order number 283 the subpoena duces tecum was directed to the Chief Accountant, petitioner Nerio Rogado. In addition the
signed by the President of the Republic of the Philippines effective 9 Jan. 1990. Ombudsman ordered the Chief of the Records Section of the EIIB, petitioner Elisa Rivera, to produce before
the investigator "all documents relating to Personnel Service Funds, for the year 1988, and all documents,
Another observation was when EIIB agents apprehended a certain civilian who possesses numerous assorted salary vouchers for the whole plantilla of the EIIB for 1988, within ten (10) days from receipt hereof."cralaw
high powered firearms. Agents plus one personnel from the legal proclaimed only five (5) firearms and the virtua1aw library
remaining was pilfered by them.
Petitioners Almonte and Perez moved for a reconsideration, arguing that Rogado and Rivera were EIIB
Another observation is almost all EIIB agents collects payroll from the big time smuggler syndicate monthly employees under their supervision and that the Ombudsman was doing indirectly what he could not do
and brokers every week for them not to be apprehended. directly, i.e., compelling them (petitioners Almonte and Perez) to produce evidence against themselves.

Another observation is the commissioner allocates funds coming from the intelligence funds to the media to Petitioners’ motion was denied in respondent Ombudsman’s order dated, August 6, 1990. hence, this petition
sustain their goods image of the bureau. which questions the orders of June 15, 1990 and August 6, 1990 of respondent Ombudsman.

In his comment 1 on the letter-complaint, petitioner Almonte denied that as a result of the separation of To put this case in perspective it should be stated at the outset that it does not concern a demand by a citizen
personnel, the EIIB had made some savings. he averred that the only funds released to his agency by the for information under the freedom of information guarantee of the Constitution. 7 Rather it concerns the
Department of Budget and Management (DBM) were those corresponding to 947 plantilla positions which power of the Office of the Ombudsman to obtain evidence in connection with an investigation conducted by
were filled. he also denied that there were "ghost agents" in the EIIB and claimed that disbursements for it vis-a-vis the claim of privilege of an agency of the Government. Thus petitioners raise the following
"open" (i.e., "covert" personnel) plantillas of the agency had been cleared by the Commission on Audit issues: 8
(COA); that the case of the 30 Uzis had already been investigated by Congress, where it was shown that it
was not the EIIB but an agent who had spent for the firearms and they were only loaned to the EIIB pending I. WHETHER OR NOT A CASE BROUGHT ABOUT BY AN UNSIGNED AND UNVERIFIED
appropriation by Congress; that, contrary to the charge that a Maxima car had been purchased for his use, he LETTER COMPLAINT IS AN "APPROPRIATE CASE" WITHIN THE CONCEPT OF THE
was using a government issued car from the NICA; that it was his prerogative as Commissioner to "ground" CONSTITUTION IN WHICH PUBLIC RESPONDENT CAN OBLIGE PETITIONERS BY VIRTUE OF
agents in the EIIB main office so that they could be given reorientation and retraining; that the allegation HIS SUBPOENA DUCES TECUM TO PROCEDURE TO HIM "ALL DOCUMENTS RELATING TO
that the EIIB operatives pilfered smuggled firearms was without factual basis because the firearms were the PERSONAL SERVICES FUNDS FOR THE YEAR 1988 AND ALL EVIDENCES, SUCH AS
subject of seizure proceedings before the Collector of Customs, Port of Manila; that the EIIB had been VOUCHERS (SALARY) FOR THE WHOLE PLANTILLA OF EIIB FOR 1988."cralaw virtua1aw library
uncompromising toward employees found involved in anomalous activities; and that intelligence funds had
not been used for media propaganda and if media people went to the EIIB it was because of newsworthy II. WHETHER OR NOT "ALL DOCUMENTS RELATING TO PERSONAL SERVICES FUNDS
stories. Petitioner asked that the complaint be dismissed and the case considered closed.chanrobles.com.ph : FOR THE YEAR 1988 AND ALL EVIDENCES, SUCH AS VOUCHERS (SALARY) FOR THE WHOLE
virtual law library PLANTILLA OF EIIB FOR 1988" ARE CLASSIFIED AND, THEREFORE, BEYOND THE REACH OF
PUBLIC RESPONDENT’S SUBPOENA DUCES TECUM.
Similarly petitioner Perez, budget chief of the EIIB, denied in his comment 2 dated April 3, 1990 that
savings had been realized from the implementation of E.O. No. 127, since the DBM provided allocations for I.
only the remaining 947 personnel. He said that the disbursement of funds for the plantilla positions for
"overt" and "covert" personnel had been cleared by the COA and that the high-powered firearms had been
16
There are several subsidiary issues raised by petitioners, but the principal ones revolve on the question
whether petitioners can be ordered to produce documents relating to personal services and salary vouchers of Judicial control over the evidence in a case cannot be abdicated to the caprice of executive officers. Yet we
EIIB employees on the plea that such documents are classified. Disclosure of the documents in question is will not go so far as to say that the court may automatically require a complete disclosure to the judge before
resisted on the ground that "knowledge of EIIB’s documents relative to its Personal Services Funds and its the claim of privilege will be accepted in any case. It may be possible to satisfy the court, from all the
plantilla . . . will necessarily [lead to] knowledge of its operations, movements, targets, strategies, and tactics circumstances of the case, that there is a reasonable danger that compulsion of the evidence will expose
and the whole of its being" and this could "destroy the EIIB." 9 military matters which, in the interest of national security, should not be divulged. When this is the case, the
occasion for the privilege is appropriate, and the court should not jeopardize the security which the privilege
Petitioners do not question the power of the Ombudsman to issue a subpoena duces tecum nor the relevancy is meant to protect by insisting upon an examination of the evidence, even by the judge alone, in chambers. .
or materially of the documents required to be produced, to the pending investigation in the Ombudsman’s . . In each case, the showing of necessity which is made will determine how far the court should probe in
office. Accordingly, the focus of discussion should be on the Government’s claim of privilege.chanrobles satisfying itself that the occasion for invoking the privilege is appropriate. Where there is a strong showing
law library of necessity, the claim of privilege should not be lightly accepted, but even most compelling necessity
cannot overcome the claim of privilege if the court is ultimately satisfied that military secrets are at stake. A
A. fortiori, where necessity is dubious, a formal claim of privilege, made under the circumstances of this case,
will haw to prevail. 16
At common law a governmental privilege against disclosure is recognized with respect to state secrets
bearing on military, diplomatic and similar matters. This privilege is based upon public interest of such On the other hand, where the claim of confidentiality does not rest on the need to protect military, diplomatic
paramount importance as in and of itself transcending the individual interests of a private citizen, even or other national security secrets but on a general public interest in the confidentiality of his conversations,
though, as a consequence thereof, the plaintiff cannot enforce his legal rights. 10 courts have declined to find in the Constitution an absolute privilege of the President against a subpoena
considered essential to the enforcement of criminal laws. 17
In addition, in the litigation over the Watergate tape subpoena in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized
the right of the President to the confidentiality of his conversations and correspondence, which it likened to B.
"the claim of confidentiality of judicial deliberations.” Said the Court in United States v. Nixon. 11
In the case at bar, there is no claim that military or diplomatic secrets will be disclosed by the production of
The expectation of a President to the confidentiality of his conversations and correspondence, like the claim records pertaining to the personnel of the EIIB. Indeed, EIIB’s function is the gathering and evaluation of
of confidentiality of judicial deliberations, for example, has all the values to which we accord deference for intelligence reports and information regarding "illegal activities affecting the national economy, such as, but
the privacy of all citizens and, added to those values, is the necessity for protection of the public interest in not limited to, economic sabotage, smuggling, tax evasion, dollar salting." 18 Consequently, while in cases
candid, objective, and even blunt or harsh opinions in Presidential decision-making. A President and those which involve state secrets it may be sufficient to determine from the circumstances of the case that there is
who assist him must be free to explore alternatives in the process of shaping policies and making decisions reasonable danger that compulsion of the evidence will expose military matters without compelling
and to do so in a way many would be unwilling to express except privately. These are the considerations production, 19 no similar excuse can be made for a privilege resting on other
justifying a presumptive privilege for Presidential communications. The privilege is fundamental to the considerations.chanrobles.com.ph : virtual law library
operation of the government and inextricably rooted in the separation of powers under the Constitution . . .
Nor has our attention been called to any law or regulation which considers personnel records of the EIIB as
Thus, the Court for the first time gave executive privilege a constitutional status and a new name, although classified information. To the contrary, COA Circular No. 88-293, which petitioners invoke to support their
not necessarily a new birth. 12 contention that there is adequate safeguard against misuse of public funds, provides that the "only item of
expenditure which should be treated strictly confidential" is that which refers to the "purchase of information
"The confidentiality of judicial deliberations" mentioned in the opinion of the Court referred to the fact that and payment of rewards." Thus, part, V, No. 7 of the Circular reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court and judges of lower federal courts have traditionally treated their
working papers and judicial notes as private property. A 1977 proposal in the U.S. Congress that Justices The only item of expenditure which should be treated as strictly confidential because it falls under the
and judges of lower federal courts "should be encouraged to make such arrangements as will assure the category of classified information is that relating to purchase of information and payment of rewards.
preservation and eventual availability of their personal papers, especially the deposit of their papers in the However, reasonable records should be maintained and kept for inspection of the Chairman, Commission on
same depository they select for [their] Public Papers" 13 was rebuffed by the Justices who, in a letter to the Audit or his duly authorized representative. All other expenditures are to be considered unclassified
Chairman of the Subcommittee on Regulation and Government Information of the U.S. Senate, referred to supported by invoices, receipts and other documents, and, therefore, subject to reasonable inquiry by the
"difficult concerns respecting the appropriate separation that must be maintained between the legislative Chairman or his duly authorized representative. 20
branch and this Court." 14
It should be noted that the regulation requires that "reasonable records" be kept justifying the confidential or
There are, in addition to such privileges, statutorily-created ones such as the Government’s privilege to privileged character of the information relating to informers. There are no such reasonable records in this
withhold the identity of persons who furnish information of violations of laws. 15 case to substitute for the records claimed to be confidential.

With respect to the privilege based on state secret, the rule was stated by the U.S. Supreme Court as The other statutes and regulations 21 invoked by petitioners in support of their contention that the documents
follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library sought in the subpoena duces tecum of the Ombudsman are classified merely indicate the confidential nature
17
of the EIIB’s functions, but they do not exempt the EIIB from the duty to account for its funds to the proper the Constitution expressly enjoins the Ombudsman to act on any complaint filed "in any form or manner"
authorities. Indeed by denying that there were savings made from certain items in the agency and alleging concerning official acts or omissions. Thus, Art. XI, § 12 provides:chanrobles virtual lawlibrary
that the DBM had released to the EIIB only the allocations needed for the 947 personnel retained after its
reorganization, petitioners in effect invited inquiry into the veracity of their claim. If, as petitioners claim, The Ombudsman and his Deputies, as protectors of the people, shall act promptly on complaints filed in any
the subpoenaed records have been examined by the COA and found by it to be regular in all respects, there form or manner against public officials or employees of the Government, or any subdivision, agency, or
is no reason why they cannot be shown to another agency of the government which by constitutional instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations and shall in appropriate
mandate is required to look into any complaint concerning public office. cases, notify the complainants of the action taken and the result thereof. (Emphasis added)

On the other hand, the Ombudsman is investigating a complaint that several items in the EIIB were filled by Similarly, the Ombudsman Act of 1989 (Rep. Act No. 6770) provides in § 26(2):chanrob1es virtual 1aw
fictitious persons and that the allotments for these items in 1988 were used for illegal purposes. The plantilla library
and other personnel records are relevant to his investigation. He and his Deputies are designated by the
Constitution "protectors of the people" and s such they are required by it "to act promptly on complaints in The Office of the Ombudsman shall receive complaints from any source in whatever form concerning an
any form or manner against public officials or employees of the Government, or any subdivision, agency or official act or omission. It shall act on the complaint immediately and it finds the same entirely baseless, it
instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporation." 22 shall dismiss the same and inform the complainant of such dismissal citing the reasons therefor. If it finds a
reasonable ground to investigate further, it shall first furnish the respondent public officer or employee with
His need for the documents thus outweighs the claim of confidentiality of petitioners. What is more, while a summary of the complaint and require him to submit a written answer within seventy-two hours from
there might have been compelling reasons for the claim of privilege in 1988 when it was asserted by receipt thereof. If the answer is found satisfactory, it shall dismiss the case. (Emphasis added)
petitioners, now, seven years later, these reasons may have been attenuated, if they have not in fact ceased.
The agents whose identities could not then be revealed may have ceased from the service of the EIIB, while Accordingly, in Diaz v. Sandiganbayan 27 the Court held that testimony given at a fact-finding investigation
the covert missions to which they might have been deployed might either have been accomplished or and charges made in a pleading in a case in court constituted a sufficient basis for the Ombudsman to
abandoned. On the other hand, the Ombudsman’s duty to investigate the complaint that there were in 1988 commence investigation, because a formal complaint was really not necessary.
unfilled positions in the EIIB for which continued funding was received by its officials and put to illegal use,
remains.chanrobles law library Rather than referring to the form of complaints, therefore, the phrase "in an appropriate case" in Art. XI, §
12 means any case concerning official act or omission which is alleged to be "illegal, unjust, improper, or
Above all, even if the subpoenaed documents are treated as presumptively privileged, this decision would inefficient." 28 The phrase "subject to such limitations as may be provided by law" refers to such limitations
only justify ordering their inspection in camera but not their nonproduction. However, as concession to the as may be provided by Congress or, in the absence thereof, to such limitations as may be imposed by the
nature of the functions of the EIIB and just to be sure no information of a confidential character is disclosed, courts. Such limitations may well include a requirement that the investigation be conducted in camera, with
the examination of records in this case should be made in strict confidence by the Ombudsman himself. the public excluded, as exception to the general nature of the proceedings in the Office of the Ombudsman.
Reference may be made to the documents in any decision or order which Ombudsman may render or issue 29 A reconciliation is thereby made between the demands of national security and the requirement of
but only to the extent that it will not reveal covert activities of the agency. Above all, there must be a accountability enshrined in the Constitution. 30
scrupulous protection of the documents delivered.
What has been said above disposes of petitioners’ contention that the anonymous letter-complaint against
With these safeguards outlined, it is believed that a satisfactory resolution of the conflicting claims of the them is nothing but a vexatious prosecution. It only remains to say that the general investigation in the
parties is achieved, It is not amiss to state that even matters of national security have been inquired into in Ombudsman’s office is precisely for the purpose of protecting those against whom a complaint is filed
appropriate in camera proceedings by the courts. In Lansang v. Garcia 23 this Court held closed door against hasty, malicious, and oppressive prosecution as much as securing the State from useless and
sessions, with only the immediate parties and their counsel present, to determine claims that because of expensive trials. There may also be benefit resulting from such limited in camera inspection in terms of
subversion there was imminent danger to public safety warranting the suspension of the writ of habeas increased public confidence that the privilege is not being abused and increased likelihood that no abuse is in
corpus in 1971. Again in Marcos v. Manglapus 24 the Court met behind closed doors to receive military fact occurring.chanrobles law library : red
briefings on the threat posed to national security by the return to the country of the former President and his
family. In the United States, a similar inquiry into the danger to national security as a result of the II.
publication of classified documents on the Vietnam war as a result of the publication of classified documents
on the Vietnam was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. 25 We see no reason why similar safeguards cannot
be made to enable an agency of the Government, like the Office of the Ombudsman, to carry out its Nor is there violation of petitioners’ right to the equal protection of the laws. Petitioners complain that "in all
constitutional duty to protect public interests 26 while insuring the confidentiality of classified documents. forum and tribunals . . . the aggrieved parties . . . can only hale respondents via their verified complaints or
sworn statements with their identities fully disclosed," while in proceedings before the Office of the
C. Ombudsman anonymous letters suffice to start an investigation. In the first place, there can be no objection
to this procedure because it is provided in the Constitution itself. In the second place, it is apparent that in
Petitioners contend that under Art. XI, § 13 (4) the Ombudsman can act only "in any appropriate case, and permitting the filing of complaints "in any form and in a manner," the framers of the Constitution took into
subject to such limitations as may be provided by law" and that because the complaint in this case is account the well-known reticence of the people which keep them from complaining against official
unsigned and unverified, the case is not an appropriate one. This contention lacks merit. As already stated, wrongdoings. As this Court had occasion to point out, the Office of the Ombudsman is different from the
18
other investigatory and prosecutory agencies of the government because those subject to its jurisdiction are x-------------------------x
public officials who, through official pressure and influence, can quash, delay or dismiss investigations held
against them. 31 On the other hand complainants are more often than not poor and simple folk who cannot G.R. No. 169660 April 20, 2006
afford to hire lawyers. 32
FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ, Petitioner,
III. vs.
EDUARDO R. ERMITA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary, AVELINO J. CRUZ, JR., in his
capacity as Secretary of Defense, and GENEROSO S. SENGA, in his capacity as AFP Chief of Staff,
Finally, it is contended that the issuance of the subpoena duces tecum would violate petitioners’ right against Respondents.
self-incrimination. It is enough to state that the documents required to be produced in this case are public
records and those to whom the subpoena duces tecum is directed are government officials in whose x-------------------------x
possession or custody the documents are. Moreover, if, as petitioners claim the disbursement by the EII of
funds for personal service has already been cleared by the COA, there is no reason why they should object to G.R. No. 169667 April 20, 2006
the examination of the documents by respondent Ombudsman.chanrobles law library : red
ALTERNATIVE LAW GROUPS, INC. (ALG), Petitioner,
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED, but it is directed that the inspection of subpoenaed documents vs.
be made personally in camera by the Ombudsman, and with all the safeguards outlined in this decision. HON. EDUARDO R. ERMITA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary, Respondent.

SO ORDERED. x-------------------------x

EN BANC G.R. No. 169834 April 20, 2006

G.R. No. 169777* April 20, 2006 PDP- LABAN, Petitioner,


vs.
SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by FRANKLIN M. DRILON, in his capacity as Senate EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO R. ERMITA, Respondent.
President, JUAN M. FLAVIER, in his capacity as Senate President Pro Tempore, FRANCIS N.
PANGILINAN, in his capacity as Majority Leader, AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, JR., in his capacity x-------------------------x
as Minority Leader, SENATORS RODOLFO G. BIAZON, "COMPANERA" PIA S. CAYETANO,
JINGGOY EJERCITO ESTRADA, LUISA "LOI" EJERCITO ESTRADA, JUAN PONCE ENRILE, G.R. No. 171246 April 20, 2006
RICHARD J. GORDON, PANFILO M. LACSON, ALFREDO S.LIM, M. A. MADRIGAL, SERGIO
OSMENA III, RALPH G. RECTO, and MAR ROXAS, Petitioners, JOSE ANSELMO I. CADIZ, FELICIANO M. BAUTISTA, ROMULO R. RIVERA, JOSE AMOR
vs. AMORANDO, ALICIA A. RISOS-VIDAL, FILEMON C. ABELITA III, MANUEL P. LEGASPI, J.
EDUARDO R. ERMITA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary and alter-ego of President Gloria B. JOVY C. BERNABE, BERNARD L. DAGCUTA, ROGELIO V. GARCIA, and the INTEGRATED
Macapagal-Arroyo, and anyone acting in his stead and in behalf of the President of the Philippines, BAR FOR THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioners,
Respondents. vs.
HON. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO R. ERMITA, Respondent.
x-------------------------x
DECISION
G.R. No. 169659 April 20, 2006
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
BAYAN MUNA represented by DR. REYNALDO LESACA, JR., Rep. SATUR OCAMPO, Rep.
CRISPIN BELTRAN, Rep. RAFAEL MARIANO, Rep. LIZA MAZA, Rep. TEODORO CASINO, A transparent government is one of the hallmarks of a truly republican state. Even in the early history of
Rep. JOEL VIRADOR, COURAGE represented by FERDINAND GAITE, and COUNSELS FOR republican thought, however, it has been recognized that the head of government may keep certain
THE DEFENSE OF LIBERTIES (CODAL) represented by ATTY. REMEDIOS BALBIN, information confidential in pursuit of the public interest. Explaining the reason for vesting executive power
Petitioners, in only one magistrate, a distinguished delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention said: "Decision,
vs. activity, secrecy, and dispatch will generally characterize the proceedings of one man, in a much more
EDUARDO ERMITA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary and alter-ego of President Gloria eminent degree than the proceedings of any greater number; and in proportion as the number is increased,
Macapagal-Arroyo, Respondent. these qualities will be diminished."1

19
History has been witness, however, to the fact that the power to withhold information lends itself to abuse, On September 28, 2005, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon received from Executive Secretary Eduardo R.
hence, the necessity to guard it zealously. Ermita a letter4 dated September 27, 2005 "respectfully request[ing] for the postponement of the hearing
[regarding the NorthRail project] to which various officials of the Executive Department have been invited"
The present consolidated petitions for certiorari and prohibition proffer that the President has abused such in order to "afford said officials ample time and opportunity to study and prepare for the various issues so
power by issuing Executive Order No. 464 (E.O. 464) last September 28, 2005. They thus pray for its that they may better enlighten the Senate Committee on its investigation."
declaration as null and void for being unconstitutional.
Senate President Drilon, however, wrote5 Executive Secretary Ermita that the Senators "are unable to
In resolving the controversy, this Court shall proceed with the recognition that the issuance under review has accede to [his request]" as it "was sent belatedly" and "[a]ll preparations and arrangements as well as notices
come from a co-equal branch of government, which thus entitles it to a strong presumption of to all resource persons were completed [the previous] week."
constitutionality. Once the challenged order is found to be indeed violative of the Constitution, it is duty-
bound to declare it so. For the Constitution, being the highest expression of the sovereign will of the Filipino Senate President Drilon likewise received on September 28, 2005 a letter6 from the President of the North
people, must prevail over any issuance of the government that contravenes its mandates. Luzon Railways Corporation Jose L. Cortes, Jr. requesting that the hearing on the NorthRail project be
postponed or cancelled until a copy of the report of the UP Law Center on the contract agreements relative
In the exercise of its legislative power, the Senate of the Philippines, through its various Senate Committees, to the project had been secured.
conducts inquiries or investigations in aid of legislation which call for, inter alia, the attendance of officials
and employees of the executive department, bureaus, and offices including those employed in Government On September 28, 2005, the President issued E.O. 464, "Ensuring Observance of the Principle of Separation
Owned and Controlled Corporations, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the Philippine of Powers, Adherence to the Rule on Executive Privilege and Respect for the Rights of Public Officials
National Police (PNP). Appearing in Legislative Inquiries in Aid of Legislation Under the Constitution, and For Other Purposes,"7
which, pursuant to Section 6 thereof, took effect immediately. The salient provisions of the Order are as
On September 21 to 23, 2005, the Committee of the Senate as a whole issued invitations to various officials follows:
of the Executive Department for them to appear on September 29, 2005 as resource speakers in a public
hearing on the railway project of the North Luzon Railways Corporation with the China National Machinery SECTION 1. Appearance by Heads of Departments Before Congress. – In accordance with Article VI,
and Equipment Group (hereinafter North Rail Project). The public hearing was sparked by a privilege speech Section 22 of the Constitution and to implement the Constitutional provisions on the separation of powers
of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile urging the Senate to investigate the alleged overpricing and other unlawful between co-equal branches of the government, all heads of departments of the Executive Branch of the
provisions of the contract covering the North Rail Project. government shall secure the consent of the President prior to appearing before either House of Congress.

The Senate Committee on National Defense and Security likewise issued invitations2 dated September 22, When the security of the State or the public interest so requires and the President so states in writing, the
2005 to the following officials of the AFP: the Commanding General of the Philippine Army, Lt. Gen. appearance shall only be conducted in executive session.
Hermogenes C. Esperon; Inspector General of the AFP Vice Admiral Mateo M. Mayuga; Deputy Chief of
Staff for Intelligence of the AFP Rear Admiral Tirso R. Danga; Chief of the Intelligence Service of the AFP SECTION. 2. Nature, Scope and Coverage of Executive Privilege. –
Brig. Gen. Marlu Q. Quevedo; Assistant Superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Brig.
Gen. Francisco V. Gudani; and Assistant Commandant, Corps of Cadets of the PMA, Col. Alexander F. (a) Nature and Scope. - The rule of confidentiality based on executive privilege is fundamental to the
Balutan, for them to attend as resource persons in a public hearing scheduled on September 28, 2005 on the operation of government and rooted in the separation of powers under the Constitution (Almonte vs.
following: (1) Privilege Speech of Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel Jr., delivered on June 6, 2005 entitled Vasquez, G.R. No. 95367, 23 May 1995). Further, Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and
"Bunye has Provided Smoking Gun or has Opened a Can of Worms that Show Massive Electoral Fraud in Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees provides that Public Officials and Employees shall not
the Presidential Election of May 2005"; (2) Privilege Speech of Senator Jinggoy E. Estrada delivered on July use or divulge confidential or classified information officially known to them by reason of their office and
26, 2005 entitled "The Philippines as the Wire-Tapping Capital of the World"; (3) Privilege Speech of not made available to the public to prejudice the public interest.
Senator Rodolfo Biazon delivered on August 1, 2005 entitled "Clear and Present Danger"; (4) Senate
Resolution No. 285 filed by Senator Maria Ana Consuelo Madrigal – Resolution Directing the Committee Executive privilege covers all confidential or classified information between the President and the public
on National Defense and Security to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, and in the National Interest, officers covered by this executive order, including:
on the Role of the Military in the So-called "Gloriagate Scandal"; and (5) Senate Resolution No. 295 filed by
Senator Biazon – Resolution Directing the Committee on National Defense and Security to Conduct an Conversations and correspondence between the President and the public official covered by this executive
Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, on the Wire-Tapping of the President of the Philippines. order (Almonte vs. Vasquez G.R. No. 95367, 23 May 1995; Chavez v. Public Estates Authority, G.R. No.
133250, 9 July 2002);
Also invited to the above-said hearing scheduled on September 28 2005 was the AFP Chief of Staff, General
Generoso S. Senga who, by letter3 dated September 27, 2005, requested for its postponement "due to a Military, diplomatic and other national security matters which in the interest of national security should not
pressing operational situation that demands [his utmost personal attention" while "some of the invited AFP be divulged (Almonte vs. Vasquez, G.R. No. 95367, 23 May 1995; Chavez v. Presidential Commission on
officers are currently attending to other urgent operational matters." Good Government, G.R. No. 130716, 9 December 1998).

20
Information between inter-government agencies prior to the conclusion of treaties and executive agreements
(Chavez v. Presidential Commission on Good Government, G.R. No. 130716, 9 December 1998); As to the NorthRail project hearing scheduled on September 29, 2005, Executive Secretary Ermita, citing
E.O. 464, sent letter of regrets, in response to the invitations sent to the following government officials:
Discussion in close-door Cabinet meetings (Chavez v. Presidential Commission on Good Government, G.R. Light Railway Transit Authority Administrator Melquiades Robles, Metro Rail Transit Authority
No. 130716, 9 December 1998); Administrator Roberto Lastimoso, Department of Justice (DOJ) Chief State Counsel Ricardo V. Perez, then
Presidential Legal Counsel Merceditas Gutierrez, Department of Transportation and Communication
Matters affecting national security and public order (Chavez v. Public Estates Authority, G.R. No. 133250, 9 (DOTC) Undersecretary Guiling Mamonding, DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza, Philippine National
July 2002). Railways General Manager Jose Serase II, Monetary Board Member Juanita Amatong, Bases Conversion
Development Authority Chairperson Gen. Narciso Abaya and Secretary Romulo L. Neri.10 NorthRail
(b) Who are covered. – The following are covered by this executive order: President Cortes sent personal regrets likewise citing E.O. 464.11

Senior officials of executive departments who in the judgment of the department heads are covered by the On October 3, 2005, three petitions, docketed as G.R. Nos. 169659, 169660, and 169667, for certiorari and
executive privilege; prohibition, were filed before this Court challenging the constitutionality of E.O. 464.

Generals and flag officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and such other officers who in the In G.R. No. 169659, petitioners party-list Bayan Muna, House of Representatives Members Satur Ocampo,
judgment of the Chief of Staff are covered by the executive privilege; Crispin Beltran, Rafael Mariano, Liza Maza, Joel Virador and Teodoro Casino, Courage, an organization of
government employees, and Counsels for the Defense of Liberties (CODAL), a group of lawyers dedicated
Philippine National Police (PNP) officers with rank of chief superintendent or higher and such other officers to the promotion of justice, democracy and peace, all claiming to have standing to file the suit because of the
who in the judgment of the Chief of the PNP are covered by the executive privilege; transcendental importance of the issues they posed, pray, in their petition that E.O. 464 be declared null and
void for being unconstitutional; that respondent Executive Secretary Ermita, in his capacity as Executive
Senior national security officials who in the judgment of the National Security Adviser are covered by the Secretary and alter-ego of President Arroyo, be prohibited from imposing, and threatening to impose
executive privilege; and sanctions on officials who appear before Congress due to congressional summons. Additionally, petitioners
claim that E.O. 464 infringes on their rights and impedes them from fulfilling their respective obligations.
Such other officers as may be determined by the President. Thus, Bayan Muna alleges that E.O. 464 infringes on its right as a political party entitled to participate in
governance; Satur Ocampo, et al. allege that E.O. 464 infringes on their rights and duties as members of
SECTION 3. Appearance of Other Public Officials Before Congress. – All public officials enumerated in Congress to conduct investigation in aid of legislation and conduct oversight functions in the implementation
Section 2 (b) hereof shall secure prior consent of the President prior to appearing before either House of of laws; Courage alleges that the tenure of its members in public office is predicated on, and threatened by,
Congress to ensure the observance of the principle of separation of powers, adherence to the rule on their submission to the requirements of E.O. 464 should they be summoned by Congress; and CODAL
executive privilege and respect for the rights of public officials appearing in inquiries in aid of legislation. alleges that its members have a sworn duty to uphold the rule of law, and their rights to information and to
(Emphasis and underscoring supplied) transparent governance are threatened by the imposition of E.O. 464.

Also on September 28, 2005, Senate President Drilon received from Executive Secretary Ermita a copy of In G.R. No. 169660, petitioner Francisco I. Chavez, claiming that his constitutional rights as a citizen,
E.O. 464, and another letter8 informing him "that officials of the Executive Department invited to appear at taxpayer and law practitioner, are affected by the enforcement of E.O. 464, prays in his petition that E.O.
the meeting [regarding the NorthRail project] will not be able to attend the same without the consent of the 464 be declared null and void for being unconstitutional.
President, pursuant to [E.O. 464]" and that "said officials have not secured the required consent from the
President." On even date which was also the scheduled date of the hearing on the alleged wiretapping, Gen. In G.R. No. 169667, petitioner Alternative Law Groups, Inc.12 (ALG), alleging that as a coalition of 17
Senga sent a letter9 to Senator Biazon, Chairperson of the Committee on National Defense and Security, legal resource non-governmental organizations engaged in developmental lawyering and work with the poor
informing him "that per instruction of [President Arroyo], thru the Secretary of National Defense, no officer and marginalized sectors in different parts of the country, and as an organization of citizens of the
of the [AFP] is authorized to appear before any Senate or Congressional hearings without seeking a written Philippines and a part of the general public, it has legal standing to institute the petition to enforce its
approval from the President" and "that no approval has been granted by the President to any AFP officer to constitutional right to information on matters of public concern, a right which was denied to the public by
appear before the public hearing of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security scheduled [on] E.O. 464,13 prays, that said order be declared null and void for being unconstitutional and that respondent
28 September 2005." Executive Secretary Ermita be ordered to cease from implementing it.

Despite the communications received from Executive Secretary Ermita and Gen. Senga, the investigation On October 11, 2005, Petitioner Senate of the Philippines, alleging that it has a vital interest in the resolution
scheduled by the Committee on National Defense and Security pushed through, with only Col. Balutan and of the issue of the validity of E.O. 464 for it stands to suffer imminent and material injury, as it has already
Brig. Gen. Gudani among all the AFP officials invited attending. sustained the same with its continued enforcement since it directly interferes with and impedes the valid
exercise of the Senate’s powers and functions and conceals information of great public interest and concern,
For defying President Arroyo’s order barring military personnel from testifying before legislative inquiries filed its petition for certiorari and prohibition, docketed as G.R. No. 169777 and prays that E.O. 464 be
without her approval, Brig. Gen. Gudani and Col. Balutan were relieved from their military posts and were declared unconstitutional.
made to face court martial proceedings.
21
On October 14, 2005, PDP-Laban, a registered political party with members duly elected into the Philippine
Senate and House of Representatives, filed a similar petition for certiorari and prohibition, docketed as G.R. Petitioners in G.R. No. 16966023 and G.R. No. 16977724 filed their memoranda on March 7, 2006, while
No. 169834, alleging that it is affected by the challenged E.O. 464 because it hampers its legislative agenda those in G.R. No. 16966725 and G.R. No. 16983426 filed theirs the next day or on March 8, 2006.
to be implemented through its members in Congress, particularly in the conduct of inquiries in aid of Petitioners in G.R. No. 171246 did not file any memorandum.
legislation and transcendental issues need to be resolved to avert a constitutional crisis between the
executive and legislative branches of the government. Petitioners Bayan Muna et al. in G.R. No. 169659, after their motion for extension to file memorandum27
was granted, subsequently filed a manifestation28 dated March 14, 2006 that it would no longer file its
Meanwhile, by letter14 dated February 6, 2006, Senator Biazon reiterated his invitation to Gen. Senga for memorandum in the interest of having the issues resolved soonest, prompting this Court to issue a
him and other military officers to attend the hearing on the alleged wiretapping scheduled on February 10, Resolution reprimanding them.29
2005. Gen. Senga replied, however, by letter15 dated February 8, 2006, that "[p]ursuant to Executive Order
No. 464, th[e] Headquarters requested for a clearance from the President to allow [them] to appear before Petitioners submit that E.O. 464 violates the following constitutional provisions:
the public hearing" and that "they will attend once [their] request is approved by the President." As none of
those invited appeared, the hearing on February 10, 2006 was cancelled.16 Art. VI, Sec. 2130

In another investigation conducted jointly by the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food and the Blue Art. VI, Sec. 2231
Ribbon Committee on the alleged mismanagement and use of the fertilizer fund under the Ginintuang
Masaganang Ani program of the Department of Agriculture (DA), several Cabinet officials were invited to Art. VI, Sec. 132
the hearings scheduled on October 5 and 26, November 24 and December 12, 2005 but most of them failed
to attend, DA Undersecretary Belinda Gonzales, DA Assistant Secretary Felix Jose Montes, Fertilizer and Art. XI, Sec. 133
Pesticide Authority Executive Director Norlito R. Gicana,17 and those from the Department of Budget and
Management18 having invoked E.O. 464. Art. III, Sec. 734

In the budget hearings set by the Senate on February 8 and 13, 2006, Press Secretary and Presidential Art. III, Sec. 435
Spokesperson Ignacio R. Bunye,19 DOJ Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez20 and Department of Interior and
Local Government Undersecretary Marius P. Corpus21 communicated their inability to attend due to lack of Art. XIII, Sec. 16 36
appropriate clearance from the President pursuant to E.O. 464. During the February 13, 2005 budget hearing,
however, Secretary Bunye was allowed to attend by Executive Secretary Ermita. Art. II, Sec. 2837

On February 13, 2006, Jose Anselmo I. Cadiz and the incumbent members of the Board of Governors of the Respondents Executive Secretary Ermita et al., on the other hand, pray in their consolidated memorandum38
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, as taxpayers, and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines as the official on March 13, 2006 for the dismissal of the petitions for lack of merit.
organization of all Philippine lawyers, all invoking their constitutional right to be informed on matters of
public interest, filed their petition for certiorari and prohibition, docketed as G.R. No. 171246, and pray that The Court synthesizes the issues to be resolved as follows:
E.O. 464 be declared null and void.
1. Whether E.O. 464 contravenes the power of inquiry vested in Congress;
All the petitions pray for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order enjoining respondents from
implementing, enforcing, and observing E.O. 464. 2. Whether E.O. 464 violates the right of the people to information on matters of public concern; and

In the oral arguments on the petitions conducted on February 21, 2006, the following substantive issues were 3. Whether respondents have committed grave abuse of discretion when they implemented E.O. 464 prior to
ventilated: (1) whether respondents committed grave abuse of discretion in implementing E.O. 464 prior to its publication in a newspaper of general circulation.
its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation; and (2) whether E.O. 464
violates the following provisions of the Constitution: Art. II, Sec. 28, Art. III, Sec. 4, Art. III, Sec. 7, Art. IV. Essential requisites for judicial review
Sec. 1, Art. VI, Sec. 21, Art. VI, Sec. 22, Art. XI, Sec. 1, and Art. XIII, Sec. 16. The procedural issue of
whether there is an actual case or controversy that calls for judicial review was not taken up; instead, the Before proceeding to resolve the issue of the constitutionality of E.O. 464, ascertainment of whether the
parties were instructed to discuss it in their respective memoranda. requisites for a valid exercise of the Court’s power of judicial review are present is in order.

After the conclusion of the oral arguments, the parties were directed to submit their respective memoranda, Like almost all powers conferred by the Constitution, the power of judicial review is subject to limitations,
paying particular attention to the following propositions: (1) that E.O. 464 is, on its face, unconstitutional; to wit: (1) there must be an actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power; (2) the
and (2) assuming that it is not, it is unconstitutional as applied in four instances, namely: (a) the so called person challenging the act must have standing to challenge the validity of the subject act or issuance;
Fertilizer scam; (b) the NorthRail investigation (c) the Wiretapping activity of the ISAFP; and (d) the otherwise stated, he must have a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or
investigation on the Venable contract.22
22
will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement; (3) the question of constitutionality must be raised at
the earliest opportunity; and (4) the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.39 The national political party, Bayan Muna, likewise meets the standing requirement as it obtained three seats
in the House of Representatives in the 2004 elections and is, therefore, entitled to participate in the
Except with respect to the requisites of standing and existence of an actual case or controversy where the legislative process consonant with the declared policy underlying the party list system of affording citizens
disagreement between the parties lies, discussion of the rest of the requisites shall be omitted. belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties who lack well-defined
political constituencies to contribute to the formulation and enactment of legislation that will benefit the
Standing nation.48

Respondents, through the Solicitor General, assert that the allegations in G.R. Nos. 169659, 169660 and As Bayan Muna and Representatives Ocampo et al. have the standing to file their petitions, passing on the
169667 make it clear that they, adverting to the non-appearance of several officials of the executive standing of their co-petitioners Courage and Codal is rendered unnecessary.49
department in the investigations called by the different committees of the Senate, were brought to vindicate
the constitutional duty of the Senate or its different committees to conduct inquiry in aid of legislation or in In filing their respective petitions, Chavez, the ALG which claims to be an organization of citizens, and the
the exercise of its oversight functions. They maintain that Representatives Ocampo et al. have not shown any incumbent members of the IBP Board of Governors and the IBP in behalf of its lawyer members,50 invoke
specific prerogative, power, and privilege of the House of Representatives which had been effectively their constitutional right to information on matters of public concern, asserting that the right to information,
impaired by E.O. 464, there being no mention of any investigation called by the House of Representatives or curtailed and violated by E.O. 464, is essential to the effective exercise of other constitutional rights51 and
any of its committees which was aborted due to the implementation of E.O. 464. to the maintenance of the balance of power among the three branches of the government through the
principle of checks and balances.52
As for Bayan Muna’s alleged interest as a party-list representing the marginalized and underrepresented, and
that of the other petitioner groups and individuals who profess to have standing as advocates and defenders It is well-settled that when suing as a citizen, the interest of the petitioner in assailing the constitutionality of
of the Constitution, respondents contend that such interest falls short of that required to confer standing on laws, presidential decrees, orders, and other regulations, must be direct and personal. In Franciso v. House of
them as parties "injured-in-fact."40 Representatives,53 this Court held that when the proceeding involves the assertion of a public right, the mere
fact that he is a citizen satisfies the requirement of personal interest.
Respecting petitioner Chavez, respondents contend that Chavez may not claim an interest as a taxpayer for
the implementation of E.O. 464 does not involve the exercise of taxing or spending power.41 As for petitioner PDP-Laban, it asseverates that it is clothed with legal standing in view of the transcendental
issues raised in its petition which this Court needs to resolve in order to avert a constitutional crisis. For it to
With regard to the petition filed by the Senate, respondents argue that in the absence of a personal or direct be accorded standing on the ground of transcendental importance, however, it must establish (1) the
injury by reason of the issuance of E.O. 464, the Senate and its individual members are not the proper parties character of the funds (that it is public) or other assets involved in the case, (2) the presence of a clear case
to assail the constitutionality of E.O. 464. of disregard of a constitutional or statutory prohibition by the public respondent agency or instrumentality of
the government, and (3) the lack of any party with a more direct and specific interest in raising the questions
Invoking this Court’s ruling in National Economic Protectionism Association v. Ongpin42 and Valmonte v. being raised.54 The first and last determinants not being present as no public funds or assets are involved
Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office,43 respondents assert that to be considered a proper party, one must and petitioners in G.R. Nos. 169777 and 169659 have direct and specific interests in the resolution of the
have a personal and substantial interest in the case, such that he has sustained or will sustain direct injury controversy, petitioner PDP-Laban is bereft of standing to file its petition. Its allegation that E.O. 464
due to the enforcement of E.O. 464.44 hampers its legislative agenda is vague and uncertain, and at best is only a "generalized interest" which it
shares with the rest of the political parties. Concrete injury, whether actual or threatened, is that
That the Senate of the Philippines has a fundamental right essential not only for intelligent public decision- indispensable element of a dispute which serves in part to cast it in a form traditionally capable of judicial
making in a democratic system, but more especially for sound legislation45 is not disputed. E.O. 464, resolution.55 In fine, PDP-Laban’s alleged interest as a political party does not suffice to clothe it with legal
however, allegedly stifles the ability of the members of Congress to access information that is crucial to law- standing.
making.46 Verily, the Senate, including its individual members, has a substantial and direct interest over the
outcome of the controversy and is the proper party to assail the constitutionality of E.O. 464. Indeed, Actual Case or Controversy
legislators have standing to maintain inviolate the prerogative, powers and privileges vested by the
Constitution in their office and are allowed to sue to question the validity of any official action which they Petitioners assert that an actual case exists, they citing the absence of the executive officials invited by the
claim infringes their prerogatives as legislators.47 Senate to its hearings after the issuance of E.O. 464, particularly those on the NorthRail project and the
wiretapping controversy.
In the same vein, party-list representatives Satur Ocampo (Bayan Muna), Teodoro Casino (Bayan Muna),
Joel Virador (Bayan Muna), Crispin Beltran (Anakpawis), Rafael Mariano (Anakpawis), and Liza Maza Respondents counter that there is no case or controversy, there being no showing that President Arroyo has
(Gabriela) are allowed to sue to question the constitutionality of E.O. 464, the absence of any claim that an actually withheld her consent or prohibited the appearance of the invited officials.56 These officials, they
investigation called by the House of Representatives or any of its committees was aborted due to the claim, merely communicated to the Senate that they have not yet secured the consent of the President, not
implementation of E.O. 464 notwithstanding, it being sufficient that a claim is made that E.O. 464 infringes that the President prohibited their attendance.57 Specifically with regard to the AFP officers who did not
on their constitutional rights and duties as members of Congress to conduct investigation in aid of legislation attend the hearing on September 28, 2005, respondents claim that the instruction not to attend without the
and conduct oversight functions in the implementation of laws. President’s consent was based on its role as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, not on E.O. 464.
23
function. A legislative body cannot legislate wisely or effectively in the absence of information respecting
Respondents thus conclude that the petitions merely rest on an unfounded apprehension that the President the conditions which the legislation is intended to affect or change; and where the legislative body does not
will abuse its power of preventing the appearance of officials before Congress, and that such apprehension is itself possess the requisite information – which is not infrequently true – recourse must be had to others who
not sufficient for challenging the validity of E.O. 464. do possess it. Experience has shown that mere requests for such information are often unavailing, and also
that information which is volunteered is not always accurate or complete; so some means of compulsion is
The Court finds respondents’ assertion that the President has not withheld her consent or prohibited the essential to obtain what is needed.59 . . . (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
appearance of the officials concerned immaterial in determining the existence of an actual case or
controversy insofar as E.O. 464 is concerned. For E.O. 464 does not require either a deliberate withholding That this power of inquiry is broad enough to cover officials of the executive branch may be deduced from
of consent or an express prohibition issuing from the President in order to bar officials from appearing the same case. The power of inquiry, the Court therein ruled, is co-extensive with the power to legislate.60
before Congress. The matters which may be a proper subject of legislation and those which may be a proper subject of
investigation are one. It follows that the operation of government, being a legitimate subject for legislation,
As the implementation of the challenged order has already resulted in the absence of officials invited to the is a proper subject for investigation.
hearings of petitioner Senate of the Philippines, it would make no sense to wait for any further event before
considering the present case ripe for adjudication. Indeed, it would be sheer abandonment of duty if this Thus, the Court found that the Senate investigation of the government transaction involved in Arnault was a
Court would now refrain from passing on the constitutionality of E.O. 464. proper exercise of the power of inquiry. Besides being related to the expenditure of public funds of which
Congress is the guardian, the transaction, the Court held, "also involved government agencies created by
Constitutionality of E.O. 464 Congress and officers whose positions it is within the power of Congress to regulate or even abolish."

E.O. 464, to the extent that it bars the appearance of executive officials before Congress, deprives Congress Since Congress has authority to inquire into the operations of the executive branch, it would be incongruous
of the information in the possession of these officials. To resolve the question of whether such withholding to hold that the power of inquiry does not extend to executive officials who are the most familiar with and
of information violates the Constitution, consideration of the general power of Congress to obtain informed on executive operations.
information, otherwise known as the power of inquiry, is in order.
As discussed in Arnault, the power of inquiry, "with process to enforce it," is grounded on the necessity of
The power of inquiry information in the legislative process. If the information possessed by executive officials on the operation of
their offices is necessary for wise legislation on that subject, by parity of reasoning, Congress has the right to
The Congress power of inquiry is expressly recognized in Section 21 of Article VI of the Constitution which that information and the power to compel the disclosure thereof.
reads:
As evidenced by the American experience during the so-called "McCarthy era," however, the right of
SECTION 21. The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committees may conduct Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation is, in theory, no less susceptible to abuse than executive or
inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure. The rights of persons judicial power. It may thus be subjected to judicial review pursuant to the Court’s certiorari powers under
appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected. (Underscoring supplied) Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution.

This provision is worded exactly as Section 8 of Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution except that, in the For one, as noted in Bengzon v. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee,61 the inquiry itself might not properly be
latter, it vests the power of inquiry in the unicameral legislature established therein – the Batasang Pambansa in aid of legislation, and thus beyond the constitutional power of Congress. Such inquiry could not usurp
– and its committees. judicial functions. Parenthetically, one possible way for Congress to avoid such a result as occurred in
Bengzon is to indicate in its invitations to the public officials concerned, or to any person for that matter, the
The 1935 Constitution did not contain a similar provision. Nonetheless, in Arnault v. Nazareno,58 a case possible needed statute which prompted the need for the inquiry. Given such statement in its invitations,
decided in 1950 under that Constitution, the Court already recognized that the power of inquiry is inherent in along with the usual indication of the subject of inquiry and the questions relative to and in furtherance
the power to legislate. thereof, there would be less room for speculation on the part of the person invited on whether the inquiry is
in aid of legislation.
Arnault involved a Senate investigation of the reportedly anomalous purchase of the Buenavista and
Tambobong Estates by the Rural Progress Administration. Arnault, who was considered a leading witness in Section 21, Article VI likewise establishes crucial safeguards that proscribe the legislative power of inquiry.
the controversy, was called to testify thereon by the Senate. On account of his refusal to answer the The provision requires that the inquiry be done in accordance with the Senate or House’s duly published
questions of the senators on an important point, he was, by resolution of the Senate, detained for contempt. rules of procedure, necessarily implying the constitutional infirmity of an inquiry conducted without duly
Upholding the Senate’s power to punish Arnault for contempt, this Court held: published rules of procedure. Section 21 also mandates that the rights of persons appearing in or affected by
such inquiries be respected, an imposition that obligates Congress to adhere to the guarantees in the Bill of
Although there is no provision in the Constitution expressly investing either House of Congress with power Rights.
to make investigations and exact testimony to the end that it may exercise its legislative functions advisedly
and effectively, such power is so far incidental to the legislative function as to be implied. In other words, These abuses are, of course, remediable before the courts, upon the proper suit filed by the persons affected,
the power of inquiry – with process to enforce it – is an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative even if they belong to the executive branch. Nonetheless, there may be exceptional circumstances, none
24
appearing to obtain at present, wherein a clear pattern of abuse of the legislative power of inquiry might be to the discharge of highly important executive responsibilities involved in maintaining governmental
established, resulting in palpable violations of the rights guaranteed to members of the executive department operations, and extends not only to military and diplomatic secrets but also to documents integral to an
under the Bill of Rights. In such instances, depending on the particulars of each case, attempts by the appropriate exercise of the executive’ domestic decisional and policy making functions, that is, those
Executive Branch to forestall these abuses may be accorded judicial sanction. documents reflecting the frank expression necessary in intra-governmental advisory and deliberative
communications.70 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Even where the inquiry is in aid of legislation, there are still recognized exemptions to the power of inquiry,
which exemptions fall under the rubric of "executive privilege." Since this term figures prominently in the That a type of information is recognized as privileged does not, however, necessarily mean that it would be
challenged order, it being mentioned in its provisions, its preambular clauses,62 and in its very title, a considered privileged in all instances. For in determining the validity of a claim of privilege, the question
discussion of executive privilege is crucial for determining the constitutionality of E.O. 464. that must be asked is not only whether the requested information falls within one of the traditional
privileges, but also whether that privilege should be honored in a given procedural setting.71
Executive privilege
The leading case on executive privilege in the United States is U.S. v. Nixon, 72 decided in 1974. In issue in
The phrase "executive privilege" is not new in this jurisdiction. It has been used even prior to the that case was the validity of President Nixon’s claim of executive privilege against a subpoena issued by a
promulgation of the 1986 Constitution.63 Being of American origin, it is best understood in light of how it district court requiring the production of certain tapes and documents relating to the Watergate
has been defined and used in the legal literature of the United States. investigations. The claim of privilege was based on the President’s general interest in the confidentiality of
his conversations and correspondence. The U.S. Court held that while there is no explicit reference to a
Schwartz defines executive privilege as "the power of the Government to withhold information from the privilege of confidentiality in the U.S. Constitution, it is constitutionally based to the extent that it relates to
public, the courts, and the Congress."64 Similarly, Rozell defines it as "the right of the President and high- the effective discharge of a President’s powers. The Court, nonetheless, rejected the President’s claim of
level executive branch officers to withhold information from Congress, the courts, and ultimately the privilege, ruling that the privilege must be balanced against the public interest in the fair administration of
public."65 criminal justice. Notably, the Court was careful to clarify that it was not there addressing the issue of claims
of privilege in a civil litigation or against congressional demands for information.
Executive privilege is, nonetheless, not a clear or unitary concept. 66 It has encompassed claims of varying
kinds.67 Tribe, in fact, comments that while it is customary to employ the phrase "executive privilege," it Cases in the U.S. which involve claims of executive privilege against Congress are rare.73 Despite frequent
may be more accurate to speak of executive privileges "since presidential refusals to furnish information assertion of the privilege to deny information to Congress, beginning with President Washington’s refusal to
may be actuated by any of at least three distinct kinds of considerations, and may be asserted, with differing turn over treaty negotiation records to the House of Representatives, the U.S. Supreme Court has never
degrees of success, in the context of either judicial or legislative investigations." adjudicated the issue.74 However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in a case
decided earlier in the same year as Nixon, recognized the President’s privilege over his conversations against
One variety of the privilege, Tribe explains, is the state secrets privilege invoked by U.S. Presidents, a congressional subpoena.75 Anticipating the balancing approach adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in
beginning with Washington, on the ground that the information is of such nature that its disclosure would Nixon, the Court of Appeals weighed the public interest protected by the claim of privilege against the
subvert crucial military or diplomatic objectives. Another variety is the informer’s privilege, or the privilege interest that would be served by disclosure to the Committee. Ruling that the balance favored the President,
of the Government not to disclose the identity of persons who furnish information of violations of law to the Court declined to enforce the subpoena. 76
officers charged with the enforcement of that law. Finally, a generic privilege for internal deliberations has
been said to attach to intragovernmental documents reflecting advisory opinions, recommendations and In this jurisdiction, the doctrine of executive privilege was recognized by this Court in Almonte v.
deliberations comprising part of a process by which governmental decisions and policies are formulated. 68 Vasquez.77 Almonte used the term in reference to the same privilege subject of Nixon. It quoted the
following portion of the Nixon decision which explains the basis for the privilege:
Tribe’s comment is supported by the ruling in In re Sealed Case, thus:
"The expectation of a President to the confidentiality of his conversations and correspondences, like the
Since the beginnings of our nation, executive officials have claimed a variety of privileges to resist claim of confidentiality of judicial deliberations, for example, has all the values to which we accord
disclosure of information the confidentiality of which they felt was crucial to fulfillment of the unique role deference for the privacy of all citizens and, added to those values, is the necessity for protection of the
and responsibilities of the executive branch of our government. Courts ruled early that the executive had a public interest in candid, objective, and even blunt or harsh opinions in Presidential decision-making. A
right to withhold documents that might reveal military or state secrets. The courts have also granted the President and those who assist him must be free to explore alternatives in the process of shaping policies and
executive a right to withhold the identity of government informers in some circumstances and a qualified making decisions and to do so in a way many would be unwilling to express except privately. These are the
right to withhold information related to pending investigations. x x x"69 (Emphasis and underscoring considerations justifying a presumptive privilege for Presidential communications. The privilege is
supplied) fundamental to the operation of government and inextricably rooted in the separation of powers under the
Constitution x x x " (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
The entry in Black’s Law Dictionary on "executive privilege" is similarly instructive regarding the scope of
the doctrine. Almonte involved a subpoena duces tecum issued by the Ombudsman against the therein petitioners. It did
not involve, as expressly stated in the decision, the right of the people to information.78 Nonetheless, the
This privilege, based on the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers, exempts the executive from Court recognized that there are certain types of information which the government may withhold from the
disclosure requirements applicable to the ordinary citizen or organization where such exemption is necessary
25
public, thus acknowledging, in substance if not in name, that executive privilege may be claimed against excerpt of the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission shows, the framers were aware that these two
citizens’ demands for information. provisions involved distinct functions of Congress.

In Chavez v. PCGG,79 the Court held that this jurisdiction recognizes the common law holding that there is MR. MAAMBONG. x x x When we amended Section 20 [now Section 22 on the Question Hour] yesterday,
a "governmental privilege against public disclosure with respect to state secrets regarding military, I noticed that members of the Cabinet cannot be compelled anymore to appear before the House of
diplomatic and other national security matters."80 The same case held that closed-door Cabinet meetings are Representatives or before the Senate. I have a particular problem in this regard, Madam President, because
also a recognized limitation on the right to information. in our experience in the Regular Batasang Pambansa – as the Gentleman himself has experienced in the
interim Batasang Pambansa – one of the most competent inputs that we can put in our committee
Similarly, in Chavez v. Public Estates Authority,81 the Court ruled that the right to information does not deliberations, either in aid of legislation or in congressional investigations, is the testimonies of Cabinet
extend to matters recognized as "privileged information under the separation of powers,"82 by which the ministers. We usually invite them, but if they do not come and it is a congressional investigation, we usually
Court meant Presidential conversations, correspondences, and discussions in closed-door Cabinet meetings. issue subpoenas.
It also held that information on military and diplomatic secrets and those affecting national security, and
information on investigations of crimes by law enforcement agencies before the prosecution of the accused I want to be clarified on a statement made by Commissioner Suarez when he said that the fact that the
were exempted from the right to information. Cabinet ministers may refuse to come to the House of Representatives or the Senate [when requested under
Section 22] does not mean that they need not come when they are invited or subpoenaed by the committee of
From the above discussion on the meaning and scope of executive privilege, both in the United States and in either House when it comes to inquiries in aid of legislation or congressional investigation. According to
this jurisdiction, a clear principle emerges. Executive privilege, whether asserted against Congress, the Commissioner Suarez, that is allowed and their presence can be had under Section 21. Does the gentleman
courts, or the public, is recognized only in relation to certain types of information of a sensitive character. confirm this, Madam President?
While executive privilege is a constitutional concept, a claim thereof may be valid or not depending on the
ground invoked to justify it and the context in which it is made. Noticeably absent is any recognition that MR. DAVIDE. We confirm that, Madam President, because Section 20 refers only to what was originally
executive officials are exempt from the duty to disclose information by the mere fact of being executive the Question Hour, whereas, Section 21 would refer specifically to inquiries in aid of legislation, under
officials. Indeed, the extraordinary character of the exemptions indicates that the presumption inclines which anybody for that matter, may be summoned and if he refuses, he can be held in contempt of the
heavily against executive secrecy and in favor of disclosure. House.83 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Validity of Section 1 A distinction was thus made between inquiries in aid of legislation and the question hour. While attendance
was meant to be discretionary in the question hour, it was compulsory in inquiries in aid of legislation. The
Section 1 is similar to Section 3 in that both require the officials covered by them to secure the consent of reference to Commissioner Suarez bears noting, he being one of the proponents of the amendment to make
the President prior to appearing before Congress. There are significant differences between the two the appearance of department heads discretionary in the question hour.
provisions, however, which constrain this Court to discuss the validity of these provisions separately.
So clearly was this distinction conveyed to the members of the Commission that the Committee on Style,
Section 1 specifically applies to department heads. It does not, unlike Section 3, require a prior precisely in recognition of this distinction, later moved the provision on question hour from its original
determination by any official whether they are covered by E.O. 464. The President herself has, through the position as Section 20 in the original draft down to Section 31, far from the provision on inquiries in aid of
challenged order, made the determination that they are. Further, unlike also Section 3, the coverage of legislation. This gave rise to the following exchange during the deliberations:
department heads under Section 1 is not made to depend on the department heads’ possession of any
information which might be covered by executive privilege. In fact, in marked contrast to Section 3 vis-à-vis MR. GUINGONA. [speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee on Style] We now go, Mr.
Section 2, there is no reference to executive privilege at all. Rather, the required prior consent under Section Presiding Officer, to the Article on Legislative and may I request the chairperson of the Legislative
1 is grounded on Article VI, Section 22 of the Constitution on what has been referred to as the question hour. Department, Commissioner Davide, to give his reaction.

SECTION 22. The heads of departments may upon their own initiative, with the consent of the President, or THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir). Commissioner Davide is recognized.|avvphi|.net
upon the request of either House, as the rules of each House shall provide, appear before and be heard by
such House on any matter pertaining to their departments. Written questions shall be submitted to the MR. DAVIDE. Thank you, Mr. Presiding Officer. I have only one reaction to the Question Hour. I propose
President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives at least three days before their that instead of putting it as Section 31, it should follow Legislative Inquiries.
scheduled appearance. Interpellations shall not be limited to written questions, but may cover matters related
thereto. When the security of the State or the public interest so requires and the President so states in writing, THE PRESIDING OFFICER. What does the committee say?
the appearance shall be conducted in executive session.
MR. GUINGONA. I ask Commissioner Maambong to reply, Mr. Presiding Officer.
Determining the validity of Section 1 thus requires an examination of the meaning of Section 22 of Article
VI. Section 22 which provides for the question hour must be interpreted vis-à-vis Section 21 which provides MR. MAAMBONG. Actually, we considered that previously when we sequenced this but we reasoned that
for the power of either House of Congress to "conduct inquiries in aid of legislation." As the following in Section 21, which is Legislative Inquiry, it is actually a power of Congress in terms of its own lawmaking;
whereas, a Question Hour is not actually a power in terms of its own lawmaking power because in
26
Legislative Inquiry, it is in aid of legislation. And so we put Question Hour as Section 31. I hope
Commissioner Davide will consider this. Indeed, if the separation of powers has anything to tell us on the subject under discussion, it is that the
Congress has the right to obtain information from any source – even from officials of departments and
MR. DAVIDE. The Question Hour is closely related with the legislative power, and it is precisely as a agencies in the executive branch. In the United States there is, unlike the situation which prevails in a
complement to or a supplement of the Legislative Inquiry. The appearance of the members of Cabinet would parliamentary system such as that in Britain, a clear separation between the legislative and executive
be very, very essential not only in the application of check and balance but also, in effect, in aid of branches. It is this very separation that makes the congressional right to obtain information from the
legislation. executive so essential, if the functions of the Congress as the elected representatives of the people are
adequately to be carried out. The absence of close rapport between the legislative and executive branches in
MR. MAAMBONG. After conferring with the committee, we find merit in the suggestion of Commissioner this country, comparable to those which exist under a parliamentary system, and the nonexistence in the
Davide. In other words, we are accepting that and so this Section 31 would now become Section 22. Would Congress of an institution such as the British question period have perforce made reliance by the Congress
it be, Commissioner Davide? upon its right to obtain information from the executive essential, if it is intelligently to perform its legislative
tasks. Unless the Congress possesses the right to obtain executive information, its power of oversight of
MR. DAVIDE. Yes.84 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) administration in a system such as ours becomes a power devoid of most of its practical content, since it
depends for its effectiveness solely upon information parceled out ex gratia by the executive.89 (Emphasis
Consistent with their statements earlier in the deliberations, Commissioners Davide and Maambong and underscoring supplied)
proceeded from the same assumption that these provisions pertained to two different functions of the
legislature. Both Commissioners understood that the power to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation is Sections 21 and 22, therefore, while closely related and complementary to each other, should not be
different from the power to conduct inquiries during the question hour. Commissioner Davide’s only considered as pertaining to the same power of Congress. One specifically relates to the power to conduct
concern was that the two provisions on these distinct powers be placed closely together, they being inquiries in aid of legislation, the aim of which is to elicit information that may be used for legislation, while
complementary to each other. Neither Commissioner considered them as identical functions of Congress. the other pertains to the power to conduct a question hour, the objective of which is to obtain information in
pursuit of Congress’ oversight function.
The foregoing opinion was not the two Commissioners’ alone. From the above-quoted exchange,
Commissioner Maambong’s committee – the Committee on Style – shared the view that the two provisions When Congress merely seeks to be informed on how department heads are implementing the statutes which
reflected distinct functions of Congress. Commissioner Davide, on the other hand, was speaking in his it has issued, its right to such information is not as imperative as that of the President to whom, as Chief
capacity as Chairman of the Committee on the Legislative Department. His views may thus be presumed as Executive, such department heads must give a report of their performance as a matter of duty. In such
representing that of his Committee. instances, Section 22, in keeping with the separation of powers, states that Congress may only request their
appearance. Nonetheless, when the inquiry in which Congress requires their appearance is "in aid of
In the context of a parliamentary system of government, the "question hour" has a definite meaning. It is a legislation" under Section 21, the appearance is mandatory for the same reasons stated in Arnault.90
period of confrontation initiated by Parliament to hold the Prime Minister and the other ministers
accountable for their acts and the operation of the government,85 corresponding to what is known in Britain In fine, the oversight function of Congress may be facilitated by compulsory process only to the extent that it
as the question period. There was a specific provision for a question hour in the 1973 Constitution86 which is performed in pursuit of legislation. This is consistent with the intent discerned from the deliberations of
made the appearance of ministers mandatory. The same perfectly conformed to the parliamentary system the Constitutional Commission.
established by that Constitution, where the ministers are also members of the legislature and are directly
accountable to it. Ultimately, the power of Congress to compel the appearance of executive officials under Section 21 and the
lack of it under Section 22 find their basis in the principle of separation of powers. While the executive
An essential feature of the parliamentary system of government is the immediate accountability of the Prime branch is a co-equal branch of the legislature, it cannot frustrate the power of Congress to legislate by
Minister and the Cabinet to the National Assembly. They shall be responsible to the National Assembly for refusing to comply with its demands for information.
the program of government and shall determine the guidelines of national policy. Unlike in the presidential
system where the tenure of office of all elected officials cannot be terminated before their term expired, the When Congress exercises its power of inquiry, the only way for department heads to exempt themselves
Prime Minister and the Cabinet remain in office only as long as they enjoy the confidence of the National therefrom is by a valid claim of privilege. They are not exempt by the mere fact that they are department
Assembly. The moment this confidence is lost the Prime Minister and the Cabinet may be changed.87 heads. Only one executive official may be exempted from this power — the President on whom executive
power is vested, hence, beyond the reach of Congress except through the power of impeachment. It is based
The framers of the 1987 Constitution removed the mandatory nature of such appearance during the question on her being the highest official of the executive branch, and the due respect accorded to a co-equal branch
hour in the present Constitution so as to conform more fully to a system of separation of powers.88 To that of government which is sanctioned by a long-standing custom.
extent, the question hour, as it is presently understood in this jurisdiction, departs from the question period of
the parliamentary system. That department heads may not be required to appear in a question hour does not, By the same token, members of the Supreme Court are also exempt from this power of inquiry. Unlike the
however, mean that the legislature is rendered powerless to elicit information from them in all Presidency, judicial power is vested in a collegial body; hence, each member thereof is exempt on the basis
circumstances. In fact, in light of the absence of a mandatory question period, the need to enforce Congress’ not only of separation of powers but also on the fiscal autonomy and the constitutional independence of the
right to executive information in the performance of its legislative function becomes more imperative. As judiciary. This point is not in dispute, as even counsel for the Senate, Sen. Joker Arroyo, admitted it during
Schwartz observes: the oral argument upon interpellation of the Chief Justice.
27
Thus, underlying this requirement of prior consent is the determination by a head of office, authorized by the
Having established the proper interpretation of Section 22, Article VI of the Constitution, the Court now President under E.O. 464, or by the President herself, that such official is in possession of information that is
proceeds to pass on the constitutionality of Section 1 of E.O. 464. covered by executive privilege. This determination then becomes the basis for the official’s not showing up
in the legislative investigation.
Section 1, in view of its specific reference to Section 22 of Article VI of the Constitution and the absence of
any reference to inquiries in aid of legislation, must be construed as limited in its application to appearances In view thereof, whenever an official invokes E.O. 464 to justify his failure to be present, such invocation
of department heads in the question hour contemplated in the provision of said Section 22 of Article VI. The must be construed as a declaration to Congress that the President, or a head of office authorized by the
reading is dictated by the basic rule of construction that issuances must be interpreted, as much as possible, President, has determined that the requested information is privileged, and that the President has not
in a way that will render it constitutional. reversed such determination. Such declaration, however, even without mentioning the term "executive
privilege," amounts to an implied claim that the information is being withheld by the executive branch, by
The requirement then to secure presidential consent under Section 1, limited as it is only to appearances in authority of the President, on the basis of executive privilege. Verily, there is an implied claim of privilege.
the question hour, is valid on its face. For under Section 22, Article VI of the Constitution, the appearance of
department heads in the question hour is discretionary on their part. The letter dated September 28, 2005 of respondent Executive Secretary Ermita to Senate President Drilon
illustrates the implied nature of the claim of privilege authorized by E.O. 464. It reads:
Section 1 cannot, however, be applied to appearances of department heads in inquiries in aid of legislation.
Congress is not bound in such instances to respect the refusal of the department head to appear in such In connection with the inquiry to be conducted by the Committee of the Whole regarding the Northrail
inquiry, unless a valid claim of privilege is subsequently made, either by the President herself or by the Project of the North Luzon Railways Corporation on 29 September 2005 at 10:00 a.m., please be informed
Executive Secretary. that officials of the Executive Department invited to appear at the meeting will not be able to attend the same
without the consent of the President, pursuant to Executive Order No. 464 (s. 2005), entitled "Ensuring
Validity of Sections 2 and 3 Observance Of The Principle Of Separation Of Powers, Adherence To The Rule On Executive Privilege
And Respect For The Rights Of Public Officials Appearing In Legislative Inquiries In Aid Of Legislation
Section 3 of E.O. 464 requires all the public officials enumerated in Section 2(b) to secure the consent of the Under The Constitution, And For Other Purposes". Said officials have not secured the required consent from
President prior to appearing before either house of Congress. The enumeration is broad. It covers all senior the President. (Underscoring supplied)
officials of executive departments, all officers of the AFP and the PNP, and all senior national security
officials who, in the judgment of the heads of offices designated in the same section (i.e. department heads, The letter does not explicitly invoke executive privilege or that the matter on which these officials are being
Chief of Staff of the AFP, Chief of the PNP, and the National Security Adviser), are "covered by the requested to be resource persons falls under the recognized grounds of the privilege to justify their absence.
executive privilege." Nor does it expressly state that in view of the lack of consent from the President under E.O. 464, they cannot
attend the hearing.
The enumeration also includes such other officers as may be determined by the President. Given the title of
Section 2 — "Nature, Scope and Coverage of Executive Privilege" —, it is evident that under the rule of Significant premises in this letter, however, are left unstated, deliberately or not. The letter assumes that the
ejusdem generis, the determination by the President under this provision is intended to be based on a similar invited officials are covered by E.O. 464. As explained earlier, however, to be covered by the order means
finding of coverage under executive privilege. that a determination has been made, by the designated head of office or the President, that the invited official
possesses information that is covered by executive privilege. Thus, although it is not stated in the letter that
En passant, the Court notes that Section 2(b) of E.O. 464 virtually states that executive privilege actually such determination has been made, the same must be deemed implied. Respecting the statement that the
covers persons. Such is a misuse of the doctrine. Executive privilege, as discussed above, is properly invited officials have not secured the consent of the President, it only means that the President has not
invoked in relation to specific categories of information and not to categories of persons. reversed the standing prohibition against their appearance before Congress.

In light, however, of Sec 2(a) of E.O. 464 which deals with the nature, scope and coverage of executive Inevitably, Executive Secretary Ermita’s letter leads to the conclusion that the executive branch, either
privilege, the reference to persons being "covered by the executive privilege" may be read as an abbreviated through the President or the heads of offices authorized under E.O. 464, has made a determination that the
way of saying that the person is in possession of information which is, in the judgment of the head of office information required by the Senate is privileged, and that, at the time of writing, there has been no contrary
concerned, privileged as defined in Section 2(a). The Court shall thus proceed on the assumption that this is pronouncement from the President. In fine, an implied claim of privilege has been made by the executive.
the intention of the challenged order.
While there is no Philippine case that directly addresses the issue of whether executive privilege may be
Upon a determination by the designated head of office or by the President that an official is "covered by the invoked against Congress, it is gathered from Chavez v. PEA that certain information in the possession of
executive privilege," such official is subjected to the requirement that he first secure the consent of the the executive may validly be claimed as privileged even against Congress. Thus, the case holds:
President prior to appearing before Congress. This requirement effectively bars the appearance of the official
concerned unless the same is permitted by the President. The proviso allowing the President to give its There is no claim by PEA that the information demanded by petitioner is privileged information rooted in
consent means nothing more than that the President may reverse a prohibition which already exists by virtue the separation of powers. The information does not cover Presidential conversations, correspondences, or
of E.O. 464. discussions during closed-door Cabinet meetings which, like internal-deliberations of the Supreme Court
and other collegiate courts, or executive sessions of either house of Congress, are recognized as confidential.
28
This kind of information cannot be pried open by a co-equal branch of government. A frank exchange of And so is U.S. v. Article of Drug:97
exploratory ideas and assessments, free from the glare of publicity and pressure by interested parties, is
essential to protect the independence of decision-making of those tasked to exercise Presidential, Legislative On the present state of the record, this Court is not called upon to perform this balancing operation. In
and Judicial power. This is not the situation in the instant case.91 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) stating its objection to claimant’s interrogatories, government asserts, and nothing more, that the disclosures
sought by claimant would inhibit the free expression of opinion that non-disclosure is designed to protect.
Section 3 of E.O. 464, therefore, cannot be dismissed outright as invalid by the mere fact that it sanctions The government has not shown – nor even alleged – that those who evaluated claimant’s product were
claims of executive privilege. This Court must look further and assess the claim of privilege authorized by involved in internal policymaking, generally, or in this particular instance. Privilege cannot be set up by an
the Order to determine whether it is valid. unsupported claim. The facts upon which the privilege is based must be established. To find these
interrogatories objectionable, this Court would have to assume that the evaluation and classification of
While the validity of claims of privilege must be assessed on a case to case basis, examining the ground claimant’s products was a matter of internal policy formulation, an assumption in which this Court is
invoked therefor and the particular circumstances surrounding it, there is, in an implied claim of privilege, a unwilling to indulge sua sponte.98 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
defect that renders it invalid per se. By its very nature, and as demonstrated by the letter of respondent
Executive Secretary quoted above, the implied claim authorized by Section 3 of E.O. 464 is not Mobil Oil Corp. v. Department of Energy99 similarly emphasizes that "an agency must provide ‘precise and
accompanied by any specific allegation of the basis thereof (e.g., whether the information demanded certain’ reasons for preserving the confidentiality of requested information."
involves military or diplomatic secrets, closed-door Cabinet meetings, etc.). While Section 2(a) enumerates
the types of information that are covered by the privilege under the challenged order, Congress is left to Black v. Sheraton Corp. of America100 amplifies, thus:
speculate as to which among them is being referred to by the executive. The enumeration is not even
intended to be comprehensive, but a mere statement of what is included in the phrase "confidential or A formal and proper claim of executive privilege requires a specific designation and description of the
classified information between the President and the public officers covered by this executive order." documents within its scope as well as precise and certain reasons for preserving their confidentiality.
Without this specificity, it is impossible for a court to analyze the claim short of disclosure of the very thing
Certainly, Congress has the right to know why the executive considers the requested information privileged. sought to be protected. As the affidavit now stands, the Court has little more than its sua sponte speculation
It does not suffice to merely declare that the President, or an authorized head of office, has determined that it with which to weigh the applicability of the claim. An improperly asserted claim of privilege is no claim of
is so, and that the President has not overturned that determination. Such declaration leaves Congress in the privilege. Therefore, despite the fact that a claim was made by the proper executive as Reynolds requires, the
dark on how the requested information could be classified as privileged. That the message is couched in Court can not recognize the claim in the instant case because it is legally insufficient to allow the Court to
terms that, on first impression, do not seem like a claim of privilege only makes it more pernicious. It make a just and reasonable determination as to its applicability. To recognize such a broad claim in which
threatens to make Congress doubly blind to the question of why the executive branch is not providing it with the Defendant has given no precise or compelling reasons to shield these documents from outside scrutiny,
the information that it has requested. would make a farce of the whole procedure.101 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

A claim of privilege, being a claim of exemption from an obligation to disclose information, must, therefore, Due respect for a co-equal branch of government, moreover, demands no less than a claim of privilege
be clearly asserted. As U.S. v. Reynolds teaches: clearly stating the grounds therefor. Apropos is the following ruling in McPhaul v. U.S:102

The privilege belongs to the government and must be asserted by it; it can neither be claimed nor waived by We think the Court’s decision in United States v. Bryan, 339 U.S. 323, 70 S. Ct. 724, is highly relevant to
a private party. It is not to be lightly invoked. There must be a formal claim of privilege, lodged by the head these questions. For it is as true here as it was there, that ‘if (petitioner) had legitimate reasons for failing to
of the department which has control over the matter, after actual personal consideration by that officer. The produce the records of the association, a decent respect for the House of Representatives, by whose authority
court itself must determine whether the circumstances are appropriate for the claim of privilege, and yet do the subpoenas issued, would have required that (he) state (his) reasons for noncompliance upon the return of
so without forcing a disclosure of the very thing the privilege is designed to protect.92 (Underscoring the writ. Such a statement would have given the Subcommittee an opportunity to avoid the blocking of its
supplied) inquiry by taking other appropriate steps to obtain the records. ‘To deny the Committee the opportunity to
consider the objection or remedy is in itself a contempt of its authority and an obstruction of its processes.
Absent then a statement of the specific basis of a claim of executive privilege, there is no way of His failure to make any such statement was "a patent evasion of the duty of one summoned to produce
determining whether it falls under one of the traditional privileges, or whether, given the circumstances in papers before a congressional committee[, and] cannot be condoned." (Emphasis and underscoring supplied;
which it is made, it should be respected.93 These, in substance, were the same criteria in assessing the claim citations omitted)
of privilege asserted against the Ombudsman in Almonte v. Vasquez94 and, more in point, against a
committee of the Senate in Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities v. Nixon.95 Upon the other hand, Congress must not require the executive to state the reasons for the claim with such
particularity as to compel disclosure of the information which the privilege is meant to protect.103 A useful
A.O. Smith v. Federal Trade Commission is enlightening: analogy in determining the requisite degree of particularity would be the privilege against self-incrimination.
Thus, Hoffman v. U.S.104 declares:
[T]he lack of specificity renders an assessment of the potential harm resulting from disclosure impossible,
thereby preventing the Court from balancing such harm against plaintiffs’ needs to determine whether to The witness is not exonerated from answering merely because he declares that in so doing he would
override any claims of privilege.96 (Underscoring supplied) incriminate himself – his say-so does not of itself establish the hazard of incrimination. It is for the court to
say whether his silence is justified, and to require him to answer if ‘it clearly appears to the court that he is
29
mistaken.’ However, if the witness, upon interposing his claim, were required to prove the hazard in the It follows, therefore, that when an official is being summoned by Congress on a matter which, in his own
sense in which a claim is usually required to be established in court, he would be compelled to surrender the judgment, might be covered by executive privilege, he must be afforded reasonable time to inform the
very protection which the privilege is designed to guarantee. To sustain the privilege, it need only be evident President or the Executive Secretary of the possible need for invoking the privilege. This is necessary in
from the implications of the question, in the setting in which it is asked, that a responsive answer to the order to provide the President or the Executive Secretary with fair opportunity to consider whether the
question or an explanation of why it cannot be answered might be dangerous because injurious disclosure matter indeed calls for a claim of executive privilege. If, after the lapse of that reasonable time, neither the
could result." x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) President nor the Executive Secretary invokes the privilege, Congress is no longer bound to respect the
failure of the official to appear before Congress and may then opt to avail of the necessary legal means to
The claim of privilege under Section 3 of E.O. 464 in relation to Section 2(b) is thus invalid per se. It is not compel his appearance.
asserted. It is merely implied. Instead of providing precise and certain reasons for the claim, it merely
invokes E.O. 464, coupled with an announcement that the President has not given her consent. It is woefully The Court notes that one of the expressed purposes for requiring officials to secure the consent of the
insufficient for Congress to determine whether the withholding of information is justified under the President under Section 3 of E.O. 464 is to ensure "respect for the rights of public officials appearing in
circumstances of each case. It severely frustrates the power of inquiry of Congress. inquiries in aid of legislation." That such rights must indeed be respected by Congress is an echo from
Article VI Section 21 of the Constitution mandating that "[t]he rights of persons appearing in or affected by
In fine, Section 3 and Section 2(b) of E.O. 464 must be invalidated. such inquiries shall be respected."

No infirmity, however, can be imputed to Section 2(a) as it merely provides guidelines, binding only on the In light of the above discussion of Section 3, it is clear that it is essentially an authorization for implied
heads of office mentioned in Section 2(b), on what is covered by executive privilege. It does not purport to claims of executive privilege, for which reason it must be invalidated. That such authorization is partly
be conclusive on the other branches of government. It may thus be construed as a mere expression of motivated by the need to ensure respect for such officials does not change the infirm nature of the
opinion by the President regarding the nature and scope of executive privilege. authorization itself.

Petitioners, however, assert as another ground for invalidating the challenged order the alleged unlawful Right to Information
delegation of authority to the heads of offices in Section 2(b). Petitioner Senate of the Philippines, in
particular, cites the case of the United States where, so it claims, only the President can assert executive E.O 464 is concerned only with the demands of Congress for the appearance of executive officials in the
privilege to withhold information from Congress. hearings conducted by it, and not with the demands of citizens for information pursuant to their right to
information on matters of public concern. Petitioners are not amiss in claiming, however, that what is
Section 2(b) in relation to Section 3 virtually provides that, once the head of office determines that a certain involved in the present controversy is not merely the legislative power of inquiry, but the right of the people
information is privileged, such determination is presumed to bear the President’s authority and has the effect to information.
of prohibiting the official from appearing before Congress, subject only to the express pronouncement of the
President that it is allowing the appearance of such official. These provisions thus allow the President to There are, it bears noting, clear distinctions between the right of Congress to information which underlies the
authorize claims of privilege by mere silence. power of inquiry and the right of the people to information on matters of public concern. For one, the
demand of a citizen for the production of documents pursuant to his right to information does not have the
Such presumptive authorization, however, is contrary to the exceptional nature of the privilege. Executive same obligatory force as a subpoena duces tecum issued by Congress. Neither does the right to information
privilege, as already discussed, is recognized with respect to information the confidential nature of which is grant a citizen the power to exact testimony from government officials. These powers belong only to
crucial to the fulfillment of the unique role and responsibilities of the executive branch,105 or in those Congress and not to an individual citizen.
instances where exemption from disclosure is necessary to the discharge of highly important executive
responsibilities.106 The doctrine of executive privilege is thus premised on the fact that certain informations Thus, while Congress is composed of representatives elected by the people, it does not follow, except in a
must, as a matter of necessity, be kept confidential in pursuit of the public interest. The privilege being, by highly qualified sense, that in every exercise of its power of inquiry, the people are exercising their right to
definition, an exemption from the obligation to disclose information, in this case to Congress, the necessity information.
must be of such high degree as to outweigh the public interest in enforcing that obligation in a particular
case. To the extent that investigations in aid of legislation are generally conducted in public, however, any
executive issuance tending to unduly limit disclosures of information in such investigations necessarily
In light of this highly exceptional nature of the privilege, the Court finds it essential to limit to the President deprives the people of information which, being presumed to be in aid of legislation, is presumed to be a
the power to invoke the privilege. She may of course authorize the Executive Secretary to invoke the matter of public concern. The citizens are thereby denied access to information which they can use in
privilege on her behalf, in which case the Executive Secretary must state that the authority is "By order of formulating their own opinions on the matter before Congress — opinions which they can then communicate
the President," which means that he personally consulted with her. The privilege being an extraordinary to their representatives and other government officials through the various legal means allowed by their
power, it must be wielded only by the highest official in the executive hierarchy. In other words, the freedom of expression. Thus holds Valmonte v. Belmonte:
President may not authorize her subordinates to exercise such power. There is even less reason to uphold
such authorization in the instant case where the authorization is not explicit but by mere silence. Section 3, It is in the interest of the State that the channels for free political discussion be maintained to the end that the
in relation to Section 2(b), is further invalid on this score. government may perceive and be responsive to the people’s will. Yet, this open dialogue can be effective
only to the extent that the citizenry is informed and thus able to formulate its will intelligently. Only when
30
the participants in the discussion are aware of the issues and have access to information relating thereto can Privilege and Respect for the Rights of Public Officials Appearing in Legislative Inquiries in Aid of
such bear fruit.107 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Legislation Under the Constitution, and For Other Purposes," are declared VOID. Sections 1 and 2(a) are,
however, VALID.
The impairment of the right of the people to information as a consequence of E.O. 464 is, therefore, in the
sense explained above, just as direct as its violation of the legislature’s power of inquiry. SO ORDERED.

Implementation of E.O. 464 prior to its publication EN BANC


[G.R. No. 131636. March 5, 2003]
While E.O. 464 applies only to officials of the executive branch, it does not follow that the same is exempt
from the need for publication. On the need for publishing even those statutes that do not directly apply to PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. ARTEMIO INVENCION y SORIANO, appellant.
people in general, Tañada v. Tuvera states: DECISION
DAVIDE, JR., C.J.:
The term "laws" should refer to all laws and not only to those of general application, for strictly speaking all
laws relate to the people in general albeit there are some that do not apply to them directly. An example is a Before us for automatic review[1] is the Decision[2] dated 22 September 1997 of the Regional Trial Court of
law granting citizenship to a particular individual, like a relative of President Marcos who was decreed Tarlac, Tarlac, Branch 65, in Criminal Case No. 9375, finding accused-appellant Artemio Invencion y
instant naturalization. It surely cannot be said that such a law does not affect the public although it Soriano guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape committed against his 16-year-old daughter
unquestionably does not apply directly to all the people. The subject of such law is a matter of public interest Cynthia P. Invencion, and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of death and to pay Cynthia the sum of
which any member of the body politic may question in the political forums or, if he is a proper party, even in P50,000 as moral damages and P25,000 as exemplary damages, as well as the costs of suit.
courts of justice.108 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Artemio was charged before the Regional Trial Court of Tarlac with thirteen counts of rape in separate
Although the above statement was made in reference to statutes, logic dictates that the challenged order must complaints docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 9363 to 9375, all dated 17 October 1996. The cases were
be covered by the publication requirement. As explained above, E.O. 464 has a direct effect on the right of consolidated and jointly tried. At his arraignment Artemio entered a plea of not guilty in each case.
the people to information on matters of public concern. It is, therefore, a matter of public interest which
members of the body politic may question before this Court. Due process thus requires that the people The witnesses presented by the prosecution in its evidence in chief were Elven Invencion, Eddie Sicat,
should have been apprised of this issuance before it was implemented. Gloria Pagala, Dr. Rosario Fider, and Atty. Florencio Canlas. Presented as rebuttal witnesses were Gloria
Pagala and Celestino Navarro.
Conclusion
Elven Invencion, an 8-year-old grade two pupil of Sapang Tagalog Elementary School in Tarlac, Tarlac,
Congress undoubtedly has a right to information from the executive branch whenever it is sought in aid of testified that he is a half-brother of Cynthia and son of Artemio with his second common-law wife.
legislation. If the executive branch withholds such information on the ground that it is privileged, it must so Sometime before the end of the school year in 1996, while he was sleeping in one room with his father
assert it and state the reason therefor and why it must be respected. Artemio, Cynthia, and two other younger brothers, he was awakened by Cynthias loud cries. Looking
towards her, he saw his father on top of Cynthia, doing a pumping motion. After about two minutes, his
The infirm provisions of E.O. 464, however, allow the executive branch to evade congressional requests for father put on his short pants.[3]
information without need of clearly asserting a right to do so and/or proffering its reasons therefor. By the
mere expedient of invoking said provisions, the power of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation Elven further declared that Artemio was a very strict and cruel father and a drunkard. He angrily prohibited
is frustrated. That is impermissible. For Cynthia from entertaining any of her suitors. Whenever he was drunk, he would maul Elven and quarrel with
his stepfather, Celestino Navarro.[4]
[w]hat republican theory did accomplish…was to reverse the old presumption in favor of secrecy, based on
the divine right of kings and nobles, and replace it with a presumption in favor of publicity, based on the Eddie Sicat, a 40-year-old farmer and neighbor of Artemio in Barangay Sapang Tagalog, Tarlac, Tarlac,
doctrine of popular sovereignty. (Underscoring supplied)109 testified that on the second week of March 1996, between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m., while he was passing by the
house of Artemio on his way to the field to catch fish, he heard somebody crying. He then peeped through a
Resort to any means then by which officials of the executive branch could refuse to divulge information small opening in the destroyed portion of the sawali wall of Artemios house. He saw Cynthia lying on her
cannot be presumed valid. Otherwise, we shall not have merely nullified the power of our legislature to back and crying, while her father was on top of her, doing a pumping motion. Eddie observed them for about
inquire into the operations of government, but we shall have given up something of much greater value – our fifteen seconds, and then he left and proceeded to the field to catch fish.[5] He reported what he had
right as a people to take part in government. witnessed to Artemios stepfather, Celestino, later that morning.[6]

WHEREFORE, the petitions are PARTLY GRANTED. Sections 2(b) and 3 of Executive Order No. 464 Gloria Pagala, the mother of Cynthia and former common-law wife of Artemio, testified that she and
(series of 2005), "Ensuring Observance of the Principle of Separation of Powers, Adherence to the Rule on Artemio started living together in Guimba, Nueva Ecija, in February 1969. Out of their common-law
Executive relationship, they had six children, one of whom was Cynthia. In March 1982, she and Artemio parted ways
permanently. Later, Gloria and her children lived in Pura, Tarlac. When Artemios mother died sometime in
31
1996, Cynthia lived with Artemio in a small one-room dwelling owned by Celestino and located in
Barangay Sapang Tagalog, Tarlac, Tarlac.[7] On 30 August 1996, her son Novelito told her that Cynthia was II
pregnant. Gloria then went to the house of Artemio and asked Cynthia about her condition. The latter
confessed that she had been sexually abused by her father. Gloria then went to the office of the National NOT DISMISSING THIS CASE FOR FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE [HIS] GUILT
Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Tarlac and reported what Artemio had done to their daughter Cynthia.[8] BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.

Dr. Rosario Fider of Tarlac Provincial Hospital testified that she examined Cynthia on 16 September 1996. Artemio attacks the competency and credibility of Elven as a witness. He argues that Elven, as his son,
She found Cynthia to be five to six months pregnant and to have incomplete, healed hymenal lacerations at should have been disqualified as a witness against him under Section 20(c), Rule 130 of the Rules of
3, 5, 8 oclock positions, which could have been caused by sexual intercourse or any foreign body inserted in Court.[16] Besides, Elvens testimony appears not to be his but what the prosecution wanted him to say, as
her private part.[9] the questions asked were mostly leading questions. Moreover, Elven had ill-motive in testifying against him,
as he (Artemio) was cruel to him.
Atty. Florencio Canlas, an NBI agent, testified that on 18 September 1996, Cynthia, accompanied by her
mother, complained before him and NBI Supervising Agent Rolando Vergara that she was raped by her In another attempt to cast doubt on the credibility of the prosecution witnesses, Artemio points to the
father Artemio. She then executed a written statement,[10] which she subscribed and sworn to before Atty. following inconsistencies in their testimonies: (1) as to the time of the commission of the crime, Elven
Canlas.[11] testified having seen Artemio on top of his sister one night in March 1996, while Eddie Sicat testified having
seen them in the same position between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. in the second week of March 1996; (2) as to the
The defense did not present Artemio as a witness. Instead, his counsel de parte, Atty. Isabelo Salamida, took residence of Cynthia in 1996, Gloria testified that the former was living with her in Guimba from November
the witness stand and testified for the defense. He declared that on 24 June 1997 (the same day when he 1995 to September 1996, while Elven and Eddie declared that she was in Sapang Tagalog in March 1996;
testified before the court), between 10:45 and 11:00 a.m., he and his secretary went to the house of Artemio and (3) as to the residence of Artemio, Jr., Gloria stated that he was living with the appellant, but later she
in Barangay Sapang Tagalog. The hut was made of sawali. Its door was padlocked, and its windows were declared that he was living with her in Pura.
shut. When he went around the house and tried to peep through the old sawali walls on the front and left and
right sides of the hut, he could not see anything inside the room where Artemio and his children used to Artemio also argues that since his house had no electricity and was dark even at daytime, it was impossible
sleep. Although it was then about noontime, it was dark inside.[12] Atty. Salamida then concluded that for Elven and Eddie to see him allegedly doing pumping motion on top of Cynthia. In his Reply Brief, he
prosecution witness Eddie Sicat was not telling the truth when he declared having seen what Artemio did to likewise urges us to disregard the testimonies of rebuttal witnesses Celestino and Gloria. According to him,
Cynthia when he peeped through a small opening in the sawali wall of the house in the early morning Celestino had an ax to grind against him (Artemio) because he had been badgering Celestino for his share of
sometime on the second week of March 1996. the lot where the hut stands, which was owned by Artemios deceased mother. On the other hand, Gloria
wanted to get rid of Artemio because she was already cohabiting with another man.
On rebuttal, Gloria Pagala testified that the house where Artemio used to live was a small hut with some
destroyed portions in its sawali walls. When she went there to visit her children sometime in December In the Appellees Brief, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) prays for the affirmation of Artemios
1995, there was a hole in front and at the sidewall of the hut facing a vacant lot where people passed by to conviction and sentence, but recommends that a civil indemnity in the amount of P75,000 be awarded in
fish in a nearby brook.[13] When she went to the place again sometime in September 1996 after she was addition to the awards of moral and exemplary damages.
informed of Cynthias pregnancy, she noticed that the destroyed portions of the huts sawali walls were not
yet repaired.[14] We find no cogent reason to overturn the findings of the trial court on the culpability of Artemio.

The second rebuttal witness Celestino Navarro, stepfather of Artemio, testified that he is the owner of the It is doctrinally settled that the factual findings of the trial court, especially on the credibility of the
small house where Artemio and his children used to reside. At the time that Artemio and his children, witnesses, are accorded great weight and respect and will not be disturbed on appeal. This is so because the
including Cynthia, were living in that house, the huts old sawali walls had some small holes in them, thus trial court has the advantage of observing the witnesses through the different indicators of truthfulness or
confirming the testimony of Eddie Sicat. After Artemio was arrested on the basis of Cynthias complaint falsehood, such as the angry flush of an insisted assertion, the sudden pallor of a discovered lie, the
before the NBI, Celestino made some repairs in the hut by, among other things, placing galvanized iron tremulous mutter of a reluctant answer, the forthright tone of a ready reply, the furtive glance, the blush of
sheets to cover the holes at the destroyed portions of the sawali walls. Thereafter, a person named Alvin conscious shame, the hesitation, the yawn, the sigh, the candor or lack of it, the scant or full realization of
occupied the house.[15] the solemnity of an oath, or the carriage and mien.[17] This rule, however, admits of exceptions, as where
there exists a fact or circumstance of weight and influence that has been ignored or misconstrued by the
In its Decision of 22 September 1997, the trial court convicted Artemio in Criminal Case No. 9375. It, court, or where the trial court has acted arbitrarily in its appreciation of the facts.[18] We do not find any of
however, acquitted him in all the other twelve cases for lack of evidence. these exceptions in the case at bar.

In his Appellants Brief, Artemio contends that the trial court erred in As to the competency of Elven to testify, we rule that such is not affected by Section 25, Rule 130 of the
Rules of Court,[19] otherwise known as the rule on filial privilege. This rule is not strictly a rule on
I disqualification because a descendant is not incompetent or disqualified to testify against an ascendant.[20]
The rule refers to a privilege not to testify, which can be invoked or waived like other privileges. As
... BELIEVING THE TESTIMONIES OF THE PROSECUTION WITNESSES; correctly observed by the lower court, Elven was not compelled to testify against his father; he chose to
32
waive that filial privilege when he voluntarily testified against Artemio. Elven declared that he was circumstances that Artemio is the father of the victim and the latter was less than 18 years old at the time the
testifying as a witness against his father of his own accord and only to tell the truth.[21] crime was committed.

Neither can Artemio challenge the prosecutions act of propounding leading questions on Elven. Section Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 7659, which is the governing law in this
10(c) of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court[22] expressly allows leading questions when the witness is a child of case, pertinently reads:
tender years like Elven.
Article 335. When and how rape is committed.
The alleged ulterior motive of Elven in testifying against his father also deserves scant consideration. Such
insinuation of ill-motive is too lame and flimsy. As observed by the OSG, Elven, who was of tender age, The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.
could not have subjected himself to the ordeal of a public trial had he not been compelled by a motive other
than to bring to justice the despoiler of his sisters virtue. There is no indication that Elven testified because ...
of anger or any ill-motive against his father, nor is there any showing that he was unduly pressured or
influenced by his mother or by anyone to testify against his father. The rule is that where there is no The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the following
evidence that the principal witness for the prosecution was actuated by improper motive, the presumption is circumstances:
that he was not so actuated and his testimony is entitled to full credence.[23]
1. when the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant, step-parent,
We find as inconsequential the alleged variance or difference in the time that the rape was committed, i.e., guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the
during the night as testified to by Elven, or between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. per the testimony of Eddie. The parent of the victim.
exact time or date of the commission of rape is not an element of the crime. What is decisive in a rape
charge is that the commission of the rape by the accused has been sufficiently proved. Inconsistencies and To justify the imposition of the death penalty in a rape committed by a father on a daughter, the minority of
discrepancies as to minor matters irrelevant to the elements of the crime cannot be considered grounds for the victim and her relationship with the offender, which are special qualifying circumstances, must be
acquittal.[24] In this case, we believe that the crime of rape was, indeed, committed as testified to by Elven alleged in the complaint or information and proved by the prosecution during the trial by the quantum of
and Eddie. proof required for conviction. The accusatory portion of the complaint in Criminal Case No. 9375 reads as
follows:
The alleged inconsistencies in the testimonies of both Elven and Gloria do not impair the credibility of these
witnesses. We agree with the trial court that they are minor inconsistencies, which do not affect the That on or about the month of March 1996 at Sapang Tagalog, Municipality of Tarlac, Province of Tarlac,
credibility of the witnesses. We have held in a number of cases that inconsistencies in the testimonies of Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused Artemio S. Invencion did
witnesses that refer to minor and insignificant details do not destroy the witnesses credibility.[25] On the then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously by using force and intimidation have carnal knowledge
contrary, they may even be considered badges of veracity or manifestations of truthfulness on the material of his daughter Cynthia P. Invencion who was sixteen (16) years old, in their house.
points in the testimonies. What is important is that the testimonies agree on essential facts and substantially
corroborate a consistent and coherent whole.[26] CONTRARY TO LAW.[30]

Artemios allegation that it was impossible for both Elven and Eddie to have seen and witnessed the crime Although the relationship of Cynthia with her father Artemio was alleged in the complaint and duly
because the room was dark even at daytime was convincingly disputed by rebuttal witnesses Gloria Pagala established by evidence during trial, the allegation in the complaint regarding her age was not clearly
and Celestino Navarro. Furthermore, as observed by the OSG, even if the hut was without electricity, Elven proved.
could not have been mistaken in his identification of Artemio because he had known the latter for a long
time. Moreover, Elven was at the time only two meters away from Cynthia and Artemio. Even without In the very recent case of People v. Pruna,[31] we set the guidelines in appreciating age either as an element
sufficient illumination, Elven, who was jostled out of his sleep by Cynthias loud cry, could observe the of the crime or as a qualifying circumstance:
pumping motion made by his father.[27]
1. The best evidence to prove the age of the offended party is an original or certified true copy of the
The alleged ill-motives on the part of Gloria and Celestino were not sufficiently proved. Nothing in the certificate of live birth of such party.
records suggests any reason that would motivate Gloria to testify falsely against Artemio, who is the father
of her other children. Moreover, we have repeatedly held that no mother would subject her child to the 2. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, similar authentic documents such as baptismal certificate and
humiliation, disgrace, and trauma attendant to the prosecution for rape if she were not motivated solely by school records which show the date of birth of the victim would suffice to prove age.
the desire to have the person responsible for her childs defilement incarcerated.[28] As for Celestino, he
testified that the lot where the hut stands is owned by his daughter Erlinda, and not by Artemios mother.[29] 3. If the certificate of live birth or authentic document is shown to have been lost or destroyed or otherwise
At any rate, even without Celestinos testimony, Artemios conviction would stand. unavailable, the testimony, if clear and credible, of the victims mother or a member of the family either by
affinity or consanguinity who is qualified to testify on matters respecting pedigree such as the exact age or
The remaining issue for our resolution is the correctness of the penalty of death imposed by the trial court. date of birth of the offended party pursuant to Section 40, Rule 130 of the Rules on Evidence shall be
The death penalty was imposed because of the trial courts appreciation of the special qualifying sufficient under the following circumstances:
33
SUPREME COURT
a. If the victim is alleged to be below 3 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than 7 Manila
years old;
FIRST DIVISION
b. If the victim is alleged to be below 7 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than
12 years old; G.R. No. 169895 March 23, 2011

c. If the victim is alleged to be below 12 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than ISAGANI M. YAMBOT, LETTY JIMENEZ-MAGSANOC, JOSE MA. D. NOLASCO, ARTEMIO T.
18 years old. ENGRACIA, JR. and VOLT CONTRERAS, Petitioners,
vs.
4. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, authentic document, or the testimony of the victims mother or Hon. ARTEMIO TUQUERO in his capacity as Secretary of Justice, and ESCOLASTICO U. CRUZ,
relatives concerning the victims age, the complainants testimony will suffice provided that it is expressly and JR., Respondents.
clearly admitted by the accused.
DECISION
5. It is the prosecution that has the burden of proving the age of the offended party. The failure of the
accused to object to the testimonial evidence regarding age shall not be taken against him. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:

6. The trial court should always make a categorical finding as to the age of the victim. This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari (under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court), assailing the Decision1 of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 62479 dated July 8, 2005 and its Resolution2 dated September 29,
In the present case, no birth certificate or any similar authentic document was presented and offered in 2005 in the same case.
evidence to prove Cynthias age. The statement in the medical certificate showing Cynthias age is not proof
thereof, since a medical certificate does not authenticate the date of birth of the victim. Moreover, pursuant The antecedents of this case are as follows:
to Pruna, Glorias testimony regarding Cynthias age was insufficient, since Cynthia was alleged to be 16
years old already at the time of the rape and what is sought to be proved is that she was then 18 years old. On May 26, 1996, the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) printed an article3 headlined Judge mauled me, says
Moreover, the trial court did not even make a categorical finding on Cynthias minority. Finally, the silence court employee, carrying the by-line of petitioner Volt Contreras (Contreras). The article reported an alleged
of Artemio or his failure to object to the testimonial evidence regarding Cynthias age could not be taken mauling incident that took place between respondent Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Escolastico
against him. U. Cruz, Jr. (Judge Cruz) and Robert Mendoza (Mendoza), an administrative officer assigned at the Office
of the Clerk of Court of the Makati RTC.
It must be stressed that the severity of death penalty, especially its irreversible and final nature once carried
out, makes the decision-making process in capital offenses aptly subject to the most exacting rules of Reckoning the article to be false and malicious, Judge Cruz initiated a Complaint4 for libel with the City
procedure and evidence.[32] Accordingly, in the absence of sufficient proof of Cynthias minority, Artemio Prosecutor of Makati. In particular, Judge Cruz protested the following sentence in said article:
cannot be convicted of qualified rape and sentenced to suffer the death penalty. He should only be convicted
of simple rape and meted the penalty of reclusion perpetua. According to Mendoza, Cruz still has a pending case of sexual harassment filed with the Supreme Court by
Fiscal Maria Lourdes Garcia, also of the Makati RTC.5
As regards the civil liability of Artemio, the awards of moral damages in the amount of P50,000 and
exemplary damages in the amount of P25,000 are insufficient. Civil indemnity, which is mandatory upon the Rebutting the statement, Judge Cruz alleged that there was no suit for sexual harassment pending against
finding of the fact of rape,[33] should also be awarded. In simple rape, the civil indemnity for the victim him before this Court, and attached a certification dated July 16, 19966 of the Deputy Court Administrator
shall not be less than P50,000. attesting to the pendency of only two administrative cases against him, namely RTJ-96-1352 (Re: Mauling
incident) and OCA IPI No. 96-185-RTJ (For gross ignorance of the law, Partiality and Rendering an unjust
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 65, Tarlac, Tarlac, in Criminal Case No. judgment).
9375 is hereby AFFIRMED with the modification that that accused Artemio Invencion y Soriano is held
guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principal of the crime of simple rape, and is sentenced to suffer the For his part, Contreras filed a counter-affidavit7 with the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office, explaining the
penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the victim Cynthia Invencion the sums of P50,000 as indemnity; supposed factual basis for his article. It appeared that Atty. Maria Lourdes Paredes-Garcia (Paredes-Garcia)
P50,000 as moral damages; and P25,000 as exemplary damages. had filed with this Court a Petition for Review to question a contempt order issued against her by Judge
Cruz. In connection with said Petition for Review, which was docketed as G.R. No. 120654, Paredes-Garcia
Costs de oficio. filed a Reply dated February 5, 1996 asking this Court to look deeply into allegations of one Enrina Talag-
Pascual (Talag-Pascual) that Judge Cruz made sexual advances to her while she was a member of his staff at
SO ORDERED. the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Manila. Paredes-Garcia claimed that she suffered similar indignities
from Judge Cruz, and prayed that her Petition be treated as an administrative case against said judge.
Republic of the Philippines Paredes-Garcia appended a January 29, 1996 affidavit executed by Talag-Pascual to purportedly show the
34
proclivity of Judge Cruz for seducing women who became objects of his fancy. Contreras claimed that the In raising the above issues, petitioners essentially questioned the Makati City Prosecutors Office’s finding of
statement in his news article constituted a fair and true report of a matter of grave public interest as it probable cause to charge them with libel, as affirmed by the Secretary of Justice. As stated above, the Court
involved the conduct of a regional trial court judge. of Appeals dismissed the Petition for Certiorari by applying the procedural doctrine laid down in Advincula.

In the meantime, on September 11, 1996, this Court rendered its Decision8 on the Petition of Paredes- Similar to the present case, in Advincula, respondents Amando and Isagani Ocampo filed a Petition for
Garcia, granting her prayer to set aside Judge Cruz’s contempt order. The prayer in Paredes-Garcia’s Reply Certiorari and Prohibition with the Court of Appeals questioning the Resolution of the Secretary of Justice
that the Petition be treated as an administrative case against Judge Cruz was not passed upon by the Court. which had earlier led to the filing of Informations against them in court. The Court of Appeals granted the
Petition and set aside the Resolution of the Secretary of Justice. In reversing the Decision of the Court of
Subsequently, the City Prosecutor of Makati approved a Resolution9 finding probable cause against Appeals, we applied the rule that certiorari, being an extraordinary writ, cannot be resorted to when other
Mendoza and six PDI officers and employees, namely: Contreras, Isagani Yambot, Letty Jimenez- remedies are available. The Court observed that respondents had other remedies available to them, such as
Magsanoc, Jose Ma. Nolasco, Artemio Engracia, Jr. and Carlos Hidalgo (the PDI Staff). On February 21, the filing of a Motion to Quash the Information under Rule 117 of the Rules of Court, or allowing the trial to
1997, the City Prosecutor filed an Information10 for libel against Mendoza and the PDI Staff. Thereafter, the proceed where they could either file a demurrer to evidence or present their evidence to disprove the charges
PDI Staff filed a Motion with the trial court for the deferment of the arraignment to allow them to appeal to against them.19
the Secretary of the Department of Justice.
At the outset, it should be made clear that the Court is not abandoning the foregoing ruling in Advincula.
On March 3, 2000, then Secretary of Justice Artemio Tuquero (Secretary Tuquero) dismissed the PDI Staff’s However, Advincula cannot be read to completely disallow the institution of certiorari proceedings against
Petition for Review of the Resolution of the City Prosecutor.11 Secretary Tuquero rejected the argument of the Secretary of Justice’s determination of probable cause when the criminal information has already been
therein petitioners that the complaint should be dismissed on the ground of lack of supporting affidavits from filed in court. Under exceptional circumstances, a petition for certiorari assailing the resolution of the
third persons. According to Secretary Tuquero, affidavits of third persons are not essential for a libel Secretary of Justice (involving an appeal of the prosecutor’s ruling on probable cause) may be allowed,
complaint to prosper, as it is enough that the person defamed can be identified.12 As regards the factual notwithstanding the filing of an information with the trial court.
basis presented by Contreras, Secretary Tuquero noted it cannot be said that Judge Cruz was indeed facing a
sexual harassment suit in this Court.13 The Motion for Reconsideration14 was denied in a Resolution15 In Ching v. Secretary of Justice,20 petitioner filed a Petition for Certiorari with the Court of Appeals
dated October 12, 2000. assailing the Resolution of the Secretary of Justice finding probable cause for violation of Presidential
Decree No. 115, otherwise known as the Trust Receipts Law. Conformably with said Resolution, the City
The PDI Staff with the exception of Hidalgo (herein petitioners) filed a Petition for Certiorari with the Court Prosecutor filed 13 Informations against petitioner. Upon denial of the Motion for Reconsideration,
of Appeals to challenge the aforementioned Resolutions of Secretary Tuquero. The Petition was docketed as petitioner filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with the Court of Appeals assailing the
CA-G.R. SP No. 62479. Resolution of the Secretary of Justice. While this Court ultimately affirmed the Court of Appeals’ ruling
denying the Petition for Certiorari, the discussion affirming the resort to said extraordinary writ is
On July 8, 2005, the Court of Appeals rendered the assailed Decision dismissing the Petition for Certiorari. enlightening:
Applying our ruling in Advincula v. Court of Appeals,16 the appellate court held that since the Information
had already been filed with the trial court, the primary determination of probable cause is now with the In Mendoza-Arce v. Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas), this Court held that the acts of a quasi-judicial
latter.17 The Court of Appeals denied the ensuing Motion for Reconsideration in the assailed Resolution officer may be assailed by the aggrieved party via a petition for certiorari and enjoined (a) when necessary to
dated September 29, 2005. afford adequate protection to the constitutional rights of the accused; (b) when necessary for the orderly
administration of justice; (c) when the acts of the officer are without or in excess of authority; (d) where the
Hence, petitioners filed this Petition for Review with this Court, raising the following issues: charges are manifestly false and motivated by the lust for vengeance; and (e) when there is clearly no prima
facie case against the accused. The Court also declared that, if the officer conducting a preliminary
(A) WHETHER OR NOT A CRIMINAL COMPLAINT FOR LIBEL IS FATALLY DEFECTIVE OR investigation (in that case, the Office of the Ombudsman) acts without or in excess of his authority and
DEFICIENT IF IT IS NOT SUPPORTED BY AFFIDAVITS OF THIRD PERSONS. resolves to file an Information despite the absence of probable cause, such act may be nullified by a writ of
certiorari.
(B) WHETHER OR NOT A NEWS REPORT ON THE ACTUATIONS OF A PUBLIC OFFICIAL IS
PRIVILEGED IN NATURE AND HENCE, THE PRESUMPTION OF MALICE IS DESTROYED. Indeed, under Section 4, Rule 112 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Information shall be
prepared by the Investigating Prosecutor against the respondent only if he or she finds probable cause to
(C) WHETHER OR NOT THE PRIVILEGED NATURE OF A PUBLICATION IS A GROUND FOR hold such respondent for trial. The Investigating Prosecutor acts without or in excess of his authority under
DISMISSAL AND THAT THE RESPONDENT NEED NOT WAIT UNTIL TRIAL TO RAISE THE the Rule if the Information is filed against the respondent despite absence of evidence showing probable
ISSUE OF PRIVILEGE. cause therefor. If the Secretary of Justice reverses the Resolution of the Investigating Prosecutor who found
no probable cause to hold the respondent for trial, and orders such prosecutor to file the Information despite
(D) WHETHER OR NOT THE PUBLISHER AND EDITORS ARE JOINTLY LIABLE WITH THE the absence of probable cause, the Secretary of Justice acts contrary to law, without authority and/or in
AUTHOR OF THE ALLEGEDLY OFFENDING NEWS REPORT EVEN IF THEY DID NOT excess of authority. Such resolution may likewise be nullified in a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the
PARTICIPATE IN THE WRITING AND EDITING OF SAID NEWS REPORT.18 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure.21

35
In light of the particular factual context of the present controversy, we find that the need to uphold the He was walking along the corridor when Cruz looked out, saw him, and yelled, "Mendoza, halika nga rito
constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the press and crystal clear absence of a prima facie case against the (come here)."
PDI staff justify the resort to the extraordinary writ of certiorari.
"He dragged me to his chamber and locked the door. Tatlo kami doon, kasama ang sheriff niya na si Nory
Libel is defined as a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or Santos," Mendoza said.
any act, omission, condition, status or circumstance tending to discredit or cause the dishonor or contempt of
a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.22 Consequently, the following Inside, Mendoza said Cruz began taunting him, asking him, "Matigas ba ang dibdib mo, ha? (Do you have a
elements constitute libel: (a) imputation of a discreditable act or condition to another; (b) publication of the strong chest?)" Mendoza said, (h)e was made to sit in a guest’s chair in front of Cruz’s desk. He recalled
imputation; (c) identity of the person defamed; and, (d) existence of malice.23 The glaring absence of seeing placed on top of a side table a .99mm and a .45 caliber pistol which he presumed to belong to the
maliciousness in the assailed portion of the news article subject of this case negates the existence of probable judge.
cause that libel has been committed by the PDI staff.
While standing, Mendoza said the judge began punching him, at the same time subjecting him to verbal
As previously stated, Judge Cruz initiated the complaint for libel, asserting the falsity and maliciousness of abuse. The first punch was at the left side of his chest, the second at the right. The third was at his left knee,
the statement in a news report that "(a)ccording to Mendoza, Cruz still has a pending case of sexual then last was at the right knee, Mendoza said.
harassment filed with the Supreme Court by Fiscal Maria Lourdes Garcia, also of the Makati RTC."24 It can
be easily discerned that the article merely reported the statement of Mendoza that there was allegedly a His right knee was still swollen as of yesterday.
pending case of sexual harassment against Judge Cruz and that said article did not report the existence of the
alleged sexual harassment suit as a confirmed fact. Judge Cruz never alleged, much less proved, that "Hinamon pa niya ako, square daw kami," he said. "At hindi daw niya ako titigilan at ipapatanggal pa daw
Mendoza did not utter such statement. Nevertheless, Judge Cruz concludes that there was malice on the part niya ako (He even dared me to a fight. He threatened me that he would not stop until I am fired from my
of the PDI Staff by asserting that they did not check the facts. He claimed that the report got its facts wrong, job)," Mendoza said.
pointing to a certification from the Deputy Court Administrator attesting to the pendency of only two
administrative cases against him, both of which bear captions not mentioning sexual harassment. "Kung anak pa daw niya ang nakalaban ko, babarilin na lang daw niya ako sa sentido at babayaran na lang
ako (He said if it was his son with whom I quarreled, he would have simply put a bullet to my head and paid
A newspaper should not be held to account to a point of suppression for honest mistakes, or imperfection in for my life)."31
the choice of words.25 While, indeed, the allegation of inappropriate sexual advances in an appeal of a
contempt ruling does not turn such case into one for sexual harassment, we agree with petitioners’ In Borjal v. Court of Appeals,32 we held that "[a] newspaper especially one national in reach and coverage,
proposition that the subject news article’s author, not having any legal training, cannot be expected to make should be free to report on events and developments in which the public has a legitimate interest with
the fine distinction between a sexual harassment suit and a suit where there was an allegation of sexual minimum fear of being hauled to court by one group or another on criminal or civil charges for libel, so long
harassment. In fact, three other newspapers reporting the same incident committed the same mistake: the as the newspaper respects and keeps within the standards of morality and civility prevailing within the
Manila Times article was headlined "Judge in sex case now in physical injury rap";26 the Philippine Star general community."33 Like fair commentaries on matters of public interest,34 fair reports on the same
article described Judge Cruz as "(a) Makati judge who was previously charged with sexual harassment by a should thus be included under the protective mantle of privileged communications, and should not be
lady prosecutor";27 and the Manila Standard Article referred to him as "(a) Makati judge who was subjected to microscopic examination to discover grounds of malice or falsity.35 The concept of privileged
reportedly charged with sexual harassment by a lady fiscal."28 communication is implicit in the constitutionally protected freedom of the press,36 which would be
threatened when criminal suits are unscrupulously leveled by persons wishing to silence the media on
The questioned portion of the news article, while unfortunately not quite accurate, on its own, is insufficient account of unfounded claims of inaccuracies in news reports.
to establish the element of malice in libel cases. We have held that malice connotes ill will or spite and
speaks not in response to duty but merely to injure the reputation of the person defamed, and implies an WHEREFORE, the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of
intention to do ulterior and unjustifiable harm.29 Malice is present when it is shown that the author of the Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 62479 dated July 8, 2005 and its Resolution dated September 29, 2005 are
libelous remarks made such remarks with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard as to the hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
truth or falsity thereof.30
No pronouncement as to costs.
The lack of malice on the part of the PDI Staff in the quoting of Mendoza’s allegation of a sexual
harassment suit is furthermore patent in the tenor of the article: it was a straightforward narration, without SO ORDERED.
any comment from the reporter, of the alleged mauling incident involving Judge Cruz. The subject article
was, in fact, replete with other allegations by Mendoza of purported misconduct on the part of Judge Cruz. THIRD DIVISION
Except for the above-quoted statement, Judge Cruz did not find the other assertions by Mendoza as reported
by the PDI article to be libelous: AIR PHILIPPINES CORPORATION,
Petitioner,
At around 2 p.m., Mendoza said, an employee at Cruz’s court fetched him to the judge’s chamber.1âwphi1 - versus -

36
PENNSWELL, INC. Amount
Respondent. P.O.
Date
G.R. No. 172835 1. a. Anti-Friction Fluid

Present: b. Excellent Rust Corrosion (fake)


MPL-800
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J. MPL-008
Chairperson, 153,941.40
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, 155,496.00
CHICO-NAZARIO, 5714
NACHURA, and 5888
REYES, JJ. 05/20/99
06/20/99
Promulgated:
2. a. Contact Grease
December 13, 2007 b. Connector Grease (fake)
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x COG #2
CG
DECISION 115,236.00
230,519.52
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: 5540
6327
04/26/99
Petitioner Air Philippines Corporation seeks, via the instant Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules 08/05/99
of Court, the nullification of the 16 February 2006 Decision[1] and the 25 May 2006 Resolution[2] of the 3. a. Trixohtropic Grease
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 86329, which affirmed the Order[3] dated 30 June 2004 of the b. Di-Electric Strength Protective Coating (fake)
Regional Trial Court (RTC), Makati City, Branch 64, in Civil Case No. 00-561. EPC
EPC#2
Petitioner Air Philippines Corporation is a domestic corporation engaged in the business of air transportation 81,876.96
services. On the other hand, respondent Pennswell, Inc. was organized to engage in the business of 81,876.96
manufacturing and selling industrial chemicals, solvents, and special lubricants. 4582
5446
On various dates, respondent delivered and sold to petitioner sundry goods in trade, covered by Sales 01/29/99
Invoices No. 8846,[4] 9105,[5] 8962,[6] and 8963,[7] which correspond to Purchase Orders No. 6433, 6684, 04/21/99
6634 and 6633, respectively. Under the contracts, petitioners total outstanding obligation amounted to 4. a. Dry Lubricant
P449,864.98 with interest at 14% per annum until the amount would be fully paid. For failure of the b. Anti-Seize Compound (fake)
petitioner to comply with its obligation under said contracts, respondent filed a Complaint[8] for a Sum of ASC-EP
Money on 28 April 2000 with the RTC. ASC-EP 2000
87,346.52
In its Answer,[9] petitioner contended that its refusal to pay was not without valid and justifiable reasons. In 124,108.10
particular, petitioner alleged that it was defrauded in the amount of P592,000.00 by respondent for its 5712
previous sale of four items, covered by Purchase Order No. 6626. Said items were misrepresented by 4763 & 5890
respondent as belonging to a new line, but were in truth and in fact, identical with products petitioner had 05/20/99
previously purchased from respondent. Petitioner asserted that it was deceived by respondent which merely 02/16/99 & 06/24/99
altered the names and labels of such goods. Petitioner specifically identified the items in question, as
follows: According to petitioner, respondents products, namely Excellent Rust Corrosion, Connector Grease, Electric
Strength Protective Coating, and Anti-Seize Compound, are identical with its Anti-Friction Fluid, Contact
Label/Description Grease, Thixohtropic Grease, and Dry Lubricant, respectively. Petitioner asseverated that had respondent
Item No. been forthright about the identical character of the products, it would not have purchased the items
37
complained of. Moreover, petitioner alleged that when the purported fraud was discovered, a conference was [respondents] proprietary rights. Being privileged, the detailed list of ingredients or chemical components
held between petitioner and respondent on 13 January 2000, whereby the parties agreed that respondent may not be the subject of mode of discovery under Rule 27, Section 1 of the Rules of Court, which expressly
would return to petitioner the amount it previously paid. However, petitioner was surprised when it received makes privileged information an exception from its coverage.[13]
a letter from the respondent, demanding payment of the amount of P449,864.94, which later became the
subject of respondents Complaint for Collection of a Sum of Money against petitioner.
Alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of the RTC, petitioner filed a Petition for Certiorari under
During the pendency of the trial, petitioner filed a Motion to Compel[10] respondent to give a detailed list of Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with the Court of Appeals, which denied the Petition and affirmed the Order
the ingredients and chemical components of the following products, to wit: (a) Contact Grease and dated 30 June 2004 of the RTC.
Connector Grease; (b) Thixohtropic Grease and Di-Electric Strength Protective Coating; and (c) Dry
Lubricant and Anti-Seize Compound.[11] It appears that petitioner had earlier requested the Philippine The Court of Appeals ruled that to compel respondent to reveal in detail the list of ingredients of its
Institute of Pure and Applied Chemistry (PIPAC) for the latter to conduct a comparison of respondents lubricants is to disregard respondents rights over its trade secrets. It was categorical in declaring that the
goods. chemical formulation of respondents products and their ingredients are embraced within the meaning of
trade secrets. In disallowing the disclosure, the Court of Appeals expounded, thus:
On 15 March 2004, the RTC rendered an Order granting the petitioners motion. It disposed, thus:
The Supreme Court in Garcia v. Board of Investments (177 SCRA 374 [1989]) held that trade secrets and
The Court directs [herein respondent] Pennswell, Inc. to give [herein petitioner] Air Philippines confidential, commercial and financial information are exempt from public scrutiny. This is reiterated in
Corporation[,] a detailed list of the ingredients or chemical components of the following chemical products: Chavez v. Presidential Commission on Good Government (299 SCRA 744 [1998]) where the Supreme
Court enumerated the kinds of information and transactions that are recognized as restrictions on or
a. Contact Grease to be compared with Connector Grease; privileges against compulsory disclosure. There, the Supreme Court explicitly stated that:

b. Thixohtropic Grease to be compared with Di-Electric Strength Protective Coating; and The drafters of the Constitution also unequivocally affirmed that, aside from national security matters and
intelligence information, trade or industrial secrets (pursuant to the Intellectual Property Code and other
c. Dry Lubricant to be compared with Anti-Seize Compound[.] related laws) as well as banking transactions (pursuant to the Secrecy of Bank Deposits Act) re also exempt
from compulsory disclosure.
[Respondent] Pennswell, Inc. is given fifteen (15) days from receipt of this Order to submit to [petitioner]
Air Philippines Corporation the chemical components of all the above-mentioned products for chemical It is thus clear from the foregoing that a party cannot be compelled to produce, release or disclose
comparison/analysis.[12] documents, papers, or any object which are considered trade secrets.

In the instant case, petitioner [Air Philippines Corporation] would have [respondent] Pennswell produce a
Respondent sought reconsideration of the foregoing Order, contending that it cannot be compelled to detailed list of ingredients or composition of the latters lubricant products so that a chemical comparison and
disclose the chemical components sought because the matter is confidential. It argued that what petitioner analysis thereof can be obtained. On this note, We believe and so hold that the ingredients or composition of
endeavored to inquire upon constituted a trade secret which respondent cannot be forced to divulge. [respondent] Pennswells lubricants are trade secrets which it cannot be compelled to disclose.
Respondent maintained that its products are specialized lubricants, and if their components were revealed, its
business competitors may easily imitate and market the same types of products, in violation of its proprietary [Respondent] Pennswell has a proprietary or economic right over the ingredients or components of its
rights and to its serious damage and prejudice. lubricant products. The formulation thereof is not known to the general public and is peculiar only to
[respondent] Pennswell. The legitimate and economic interests of business enterprises in protecting their
The RTC gave credence to respondents reasoning, and reversed itself. It issued an Order dated 30 June 2004, manufacturing and business secrets are well-recognized in our system.
finding that the chemical components are respondents trade secrets and are privileged in character. A priori,
it rationalized: [Respondent] Pennswell has a right to guard its trade secrets, manufacturing formulas, marketing strategies
and other confidential programs and information against the public. Otherwise, such information can be
The Supreme Court held in the case of Chavez vs. Presidential Commission on Good Government, 299 illegally and unfairly utilized by business competitors who, through their access to [respondent] Pennswells
SCRA 744, p. 764, that the drafters of the Constitution also unequivocally affirmed that aside from national business secrets, may use the same for their own private gain and to the irreparable prejudice of the latter.
security matters and intelligence information, trade or industrial secrets (pursuant to the Intellectual Property
Code and other related laws) as well as banking transactions (pursuant to the Secrecy of Bank Deposit Act) xxxx
are also exempted from compulsory disclosure.
In the case before Us, the alleged trade secrets have a factual basis, i.e., it comprises of the ingredients and
Trade secrets may not be the subject of compulsory disclosure. By reason of [their] confidential and formulation of [respondent] Pennswells lubricant products which are unknown to the public and peculiar
privileged character, ingredients or chemical components of the products ordered by this Court to be only to Pennswell.
disclosed constitute trade secrets lest [herein respondent] would eventually be exposed to unwarranted
business competition with others who may imitate and market the same kinds of products in violation of
38
All told, We find no grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of (6) the extent to which the information could be easily or readily obtained through an independent
public respondent Judge in finding that the detailed list of ingredients or composition of the subject lubricant source.[22]
products which petitioner [Air Philippines Corporation] seeks to be disclosed are trade secrets of
[respondent] Pennswell; hence, privileged against compulsory disclosure.[14]
In Cocoland Development Corporation v. National Labor Relations Commission,[23] the issue was the
legality of an employees termination on the ground of unauthorized disclosure of trade secrets. The Court
Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration was denied. laid down the rule that any determination by management as to the confidential nature of technologies,
processes, formulae or other so-called trade secrets must have a substantial factual basis which can pass
Unyielding, petitioner brought the instant Petition before us, on the sole issue of: judicial scrutiny. The Court rejected the employers naked contention that its own determination as to what
constitutes a trade secret should be binding and conclusive upon the NLRC. As a caveat, the Court said that
WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS RULED IN ACCORDANCE WITH PREVAILING LAWS AND to rule otherwise would be to permit an employer to label almost anything a trade secret, and thereby create
JURISPRUDENCE WHEN IT UPHELD THE RULING OF THE TRIAL COURT THAT THE a weapon with which he/it may arbitrarily dismiss an employee on the pretext that the latter somehow
CHEMICAL COMPONENTS OR INGREDIENTS OF RESPONDENTS PRODUCTS ARE TRADE disclosed a trade secret, even if in fact there be none at all to speak of.[24] Hence, in Cocoland, the
SECRETS OR INDUSTRIAL SECRETS THAT ARE NOT SUBJECT TO COMPULSORY parameters in the determination of trade secrets were set to be such substantial factual basis that can
DISCLOSURE.[15] withstand judicial scrutiny.

The chemical composition, formulation, and ingredients of respondents special lubricants are trade secrets
Petitioner seeks to convince this Court that it has a right to obtain the chemical composition and ingredients within the contemplation of the law. Respondent was established to engage in the business of general
of respondents products to conduct a comparative analysis of its products. Petitioner assails the conclusion manufacturing and selling of, and to deal in, distribute, sell or otherwise dispose of goods, wares,
reached by the Court of Appeals that the matters are trade secrets which are protected by law and beyond merchandise, products, including but not limited to industrial chemicals, solvents, lubricants, acids, alkalies,
public scrutiny. Relying on Section 1, Rule 27 of the Rules of Court, petitioner argues that the use of modes salts, paints, oils, varnishes, colors, pigments and similar preparations, among others. It is unmistakable to
of discovery operates with desirable flexibility under the discretionary control of the trial court. Furthermore, our minds that the manufacture and production of respondents products proceed from a formulation of a
petitioner posits that its request is not done in bad faith or in any manner as to annoy, embarrass, or oppress secret list of ingredients. In the creation of its lubricants, respondent expended efforts, skills, research, and
respondent. resources. What it had achieved by virtue of its investments may not be wrested from respondent on the
mere pretext that it is necessary for petitioners defense against a collection for a sum of money. By and
A trade secret is defined as a plan or process, tool, mechanism or compound known only to its owner and large, the value of the information to respondent is crystal clear. The ingredients constitute the very fabric of
those of his employees to whom it is necessary to confide it.[16] The definition also extends to a secret respondents production and business. No doubt, the information is also valuable to respondents competitors.
formula or process not patented, but known only to certain individuals using it in compounding some article To compel its disclosure is to cripple respondents business, and to place it at an undue disadvantage. If the
of trade having a commercial value.[17] A trade secret may consist of any formula, pattern, device, or chemical composition of respondents lubricants are opened to public scrutiny, it will stand to lose the
compilation of information that: (1) is used in one's business; and (2) gives the employer an opportunity to backbone on which its business is founded. This would result in nothing less than the probable demise of
obtain an advantage over competitors who do not possess the information.[18] Generally, a trade secret is a respondents business. Respondents proprietary interest over the ingredients which it had developed and
process or device intended for continuous use in the operation of the business, for example, a machine or expended money and effort on is incontrovertible. Our conclusion is that the detailed ingredients sought to
formula, but can be a price list or catalogue or specialized customer list.[19] It is indubitable that trade be revealed have a commercial value to respondent. Not only do we acknowledge the fact that the
secrets constitute proprietary rights. The inventor, discoverer, or possessor of a trade secret or similar information grants it a competitive advantage; we also find that there is clearly a glaring intent on the part of
innovation has rights therein which may be treated as property, and ordinarily an injunction will be granted respondent to keep the information confidential and not available to the prying public.
to prevent the disclosure of the trade secret by one who obtained the information "in confidence" or through
a "confidential relationship."[20] American jurisprudence has utilized the following factors[21] to determine We now take a look at Section 1, Rule 27 of the Rules of Court, which permits parties to inspect documents
if an information is a trade secret, to wit: or things upon a showing of good cause before the court in which an action is pending. Its entire provision
(1) the extent to which the information is known outside of the employer's business; reads:

(2) the extent to which the information is known by employees and others involved in the business; SECTION 1. Motion for production or inspection order. Upon motion of any party showing good cause
therefore, the court in which an action is pending may (a) order any party to produce and permit the
(3) the extent of measures taken by the employer to guard the secrecy of the information; inspection and copying or photographing, by or on behalf of the moving party, of any designated documents,
papers, books, accounts, letters, photographs, objects or tangible things, not privileged, which constitute or
(4) the value of the information to the employer and to competitors; contain evidence material to any matter involved in the action and which are in his possession, custody or
control; or (b) order any party to permit entry upon designated land or other property in his possession or
(5) the amount of effort or money expended by the company in control for the purpose of inspecting, measuring, surveying, or photographing the property or any designated
developing the information; and relevant object or operation thereon. The order shall specify the time, place and manner of making the
inspection and taking copies and photographs, and may prescribe such terms and conditions as are just.

39
Art. 291. Revealing secrets with abuse of office. The penalty of arresto mayor and a fine not exceeding 500
A more than cursory glance at the above text would show that the production or inspection of documents or pesos shall be imposed upon any manager, employee or servant who, in such capacity, shall learn the secrets
things as a mode of discovery sanctioned by the Rules of Court may be availed of by any party upon a of his principal or master and shall reveal such secrets.
showing of good cause therefor before the court in which an action is pending. The court may order any
party: a) to produce and permit the inspection and copying or photographing of any designated documents, Art. 292. Revelation of industrial secrets. The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium
papers, books, accounts, letters, photographs, objects or tangible things, which are not privileged;[25] which periods and a fine not exceeding 500 pesos shall be imposed upon the person in charge, employee or
constitute or contain evidence material to any matter involved in the action; and which are in his possession, workman of any manufacturing or industrial establishment who, to the prejudice of the owner thereof, shall
custody or control; or b) to permit entry upon designated land or other property in his possession or control reveal the secrets of the industry of
for the purpose of inspecting, measuring, surveying, or photographing the property or any designated the latter.
relevant object or operation thereon.

Rule 27 sets an unequivocal proviso that the documents, papers, books, accounts, letters, photographs, Similarly, Republic Act No. 8424, otherwise known as the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, has a
objects or tangible things that may be produced and inspected should not be privileged.[26] The documents restrictive provision on trade secrets, penalizing the revelation thereof by internal revenue officers or
must not be privileged against disclosure.[27] On the ground of public policy, the rules providing for employees, to wit:
production and inspection of books and papers do not authorize the production or inspection of privileged
matter; that is, books and papers which, because of their confidential and privileged character, could not be SECTION 278. Procuring Unlawful Divulgence of Trade Secrets. - Any person who causes or procures an
received in evidence.[28] Such a condition is in addition to the requisite that the items be specifically officer or employee of the Bureau of Internal Revenue to divulge any confidential information regarding the
described, and must constitute or contain evidence material to any matter involved in the action and which business, income or inheritance of any taxpayer, knowledge of which was acquired by him in the discharge
are in the partys possession, custody or control. of his official duties, and which it is unlawful for him to reveal, and any person who publishes or prints in
any manner whatever, not provided by law, any income, profit, loss or expenditure appearing in any income
Section 24[29] of Rule 130 draws the types of disqualification by reason of privileged communication, to tax return, shall be punished by a fine of not more than two thousand pesos (P2,000), or suffer imprisonment
wit: (a) communication between husband and wife; (b) communication between attorney and client; (c) of not less than six (6) months nor more than five (5) years, or both.
communication between physician and patient; (d) communication between priest and penitent; and (e)
public officers and public interest. There are, however, other privileged matters that are not mentioned by
Rule 130. Among them are the following: (a) editors may not be compelled to disclose the source of Republic Act No. 6969, or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990,
published news; (b) voters may not be compelled to disclose for whom they voted; (c) trade secrets; (d) enacted to implement the policy of the state to regulate, restrict or prohibit the importation, manufacture,
information contained in tax census returns; and (d) bank deposits. [30] processing, sale, distribution, use and disposal of chemical substances and mixtures that present
unreasonable risk and/or injury to health or the environment, also contains a provision that limits the right of
We, thus, rule against the petitioner. We affirm the ruling of the Court of Appeals which upheld the finding the public to have access to records, reports or information concerning chemical substances and mixtures
of the RTC that there is substantial basis for respondent to seek protection of the law for its proprietary including safety data submitted and data on emission or discharge into the environment, if the matter is
rights over the detailed chemical composition of its products. confidential such that it would divulge trade secrets, production or sales figures; or methods, production or
processes unique to such manufacturer, processor or distributor; or would otherwise tend to affect adversely
That trade secrets are of a privileged nature is beyond quibble. The protection that this jurisdiction affords to the competitive position of such manufacturer, processor or distributor.[35]
trade secrets is evident in our laws. The Interim Rules of Procedure on Government Rehabilitation, effective
15 December 2000, which applies to: (1) petitions for rehabilitation filed by corporations, partnerships, and Clearly, in accordance with our statutory laws, this Court has declared that intellectual and industrial
associations pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 902-A,[31] as amended; and (2) cases for rehabilitation property rights cases are not simple property cases.[36] Without limiting such industrial property rights to
transferred from the Securities and Exchange Commission to the RTCs pursuant to Republic Act No. 8799, trademarks and trade names, this Court has ruled that all agreements concerning intellectual property are
otherwise known as The Securities Regulation Code, expressly provides that the court may issue an order to intimately connected with economic development.[37] The protection of industrial property encourages
protect trade secrets or other confidential research, development, or commercial information belonging to investments in new ideas and inventions and stimulates creative efforts for the satisfaction of human needs.
the debtor.[32] Moreover, the Securities Regulation Code is explicit that the Securities and Exchange It speeds up transfer of technology and industrialization, and thereby bring about social and economic
Commission is not required or authorized to require the revelation of trade secrets or processes in any progress.[38] Verily, the protection of industrial secrets is inextricably linked to the advancement of our
application, report or document filed with the Commission.[33] This confidentiality is made paramount as a economy and fosters healthy competition in trade.
limitation to the right of any member of the general public, upon request, to have access to all information
filed with the Commission.[34] Jurisprudence has consistently acknowledged the private character of trade secrets. There is a privilege not
to disclose ones trade secrets.[39] Foremost, this Court has declared that trade secrets and banking
Furthermore, the Revised Penal Code endows a cloak of protection to trade secrets under the following transactions are among the recognized restrictions to the right of the people to information as embodied in
articles: the Constitution.[40] We said that the drafters of the Constitution also unequivocally affirmed that, aside
from national security matters and intelligence information, trade or industrial secrets (pursuant to the
Intellectual Property Code and other related laws) as well as banking transactions (pursuant to the Secrecy of
Bank Deposits Act), are also exempted from compulsory disclosure.[41]
40
Indeed, the privilege is not absolute; the trial court may compel disclosure where it is indispensable for
Significantly, our cases on labor are replete with examples of a protectionist stance towards the trade secrets doing justice.[51] We do not, however, find reason to except respondents trade secrets from the application
of employers. For instance, this Court upheld the validity of the policy of a pharmaceutical company of the rule on privilege. The revelation of respondents trade secrets serves no better purpose to the
prohibiting its employees from marrying employees of any competitor company, on the rationalization that disposition of the main case pending with the RTC, which is on the collection of a sum of money. As can be
the company has a right to guard its trade secrets, manufacturing formulas, marketing strategies and other gleaned from the facts, petitioner received respondents goods in trade in the normal course of business. To
confidential programs and information from competitors.[42] Notably, it was in a labor-related case that this be sure, there are defenses under the laws of contracts and sales available to petitioner. On the other hand,
Court made a stark ruling on the proper determination of trade secrets. the greater interest of justice ought to favor respondent as the holder of trade secrets. If we were to weigh the
conflicting interests between the parties, we rule in favor of the greater interest of respondent. Trade secrets
In the case at bar, petitioner cannot rely on Section 77[43] of Republic Act 7394, or the Consumer Act of the should receive greater protection from discovery, because they derive economic value from being generally
Philippines, in order to compel respondent to reveal the chemical components of its products. While it is true unknown and not readily ascertainable by the public.[52] To the mind of this Court, petitioner was not able
that all consumer products domestically sold, whether manufactured locally or imported, shall indicate their to show a compelling reason for us to lift the veil of confidentiality which shields respondents trade secrets.
general make or active ingredients in their respective labels of packaging, the law does not apply to
respondent. Respondents specialized lubricants -- namely, Contact Grease, Connector Grease, Thixohtropic WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The Decision dated 16 February 2006, and the Resolution dated 25
Grease, Di-Electric Strength Protective Coating, Dry Lubricant and Anti-Seize Compound -- are not May 2006, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 86329 are AFFIRMED. No costs.
consumer products. Consumer products, as it is defined in Article 4(q),[44] refers to goods, services and
credits, debts or obligations which are primarily for personal, family, household or agricultural purposes, SO ORDERED.
which shall include, but not be limited to, food, drugs, cosmetics, and devices. This is not the nature of
respondents products. Its products are not intended for personal, family, household or agricultural purposes. Republic of the Philippines
Rather, they are for industrial use, specifically for the use of aircraft propellers and engines. SUPREME COURT
Manila
Petitioners argument that Republic Act No. 8203, or the Special Law on Counterfeit Drugs, requires the
disclosure of the active ingredients of a drug is also on faulty ground.[45] Respondents products are outside SECOND DIVISION
the scope of the cited law. They do not come within the purview of a drug[46] which, as defined therein,
refers to any chemical compound or biological substance, other than food, that is intended for use in the G.R. No. L-68097 January 16, 1986
treatment, prevention or diagnosis of disease in man or animals. Again, such are not the characteristics of
respondents products. EDWARD A. KELLER & CO., LTD., petitioner-appellant,
vs.
What is clear from the factual findings of the RTC and the Court of Appeals is that the chemical formulation COB GROUP MARKETING, INC., JOSE E. BAX, FRANCISCO C. DE CASTRO, JOHNNY DE LA
of respondents products is not known to the general public and is unique only to it. Both courts uniformly FUENTE, SERGIO C. ORDOÑEZ, TRINIDAD C. ORDOÑEZ, MAGNO C. ORDOÑEZ,
ruled that these ingredients are not within the knowledge of the public. Since such factual findings are ADORACION C. ORDOÑEZ, TOMAS C. LORENZO, JR., LUIZ M. AGUILA-ADAO, MOISES P.
generally not reviewable by this Court, it is not duty-bound to analyze and weigh all over again the evidence ADAO, ASUNCION MANAHAN and INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, respondents-
already considered in the proceedings below.[47] We need not delve into the factual bases of such findings appellees.
as questions of fact are beyond the pale of Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Factual findings of the trial court
when affirmed by the Court of Appeals, are binding and conclusive on the Supreme Court.[48] Sycip, Salazar, Feliciano & Hernandez Law Office for petitioner.

We do not find merit or applicability in petitioners invocation of Section 12[49] of the Toxic Substances and Vicente G. Gregorio for private respondents.
Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990, which grants the public access to records, reports or
information concerning chemical substances and mixtures, including safety data submitted, and data on Roberto P. Vega for respondent Asuncion Manahan.
emission or discharge into the environment. To reiterate, Section 12[50] of said Act deems as confidential
matters, which may not be made public, those that would divulge trade secrets, including production or sales AQUINO, C.J.:
figures or methods; production or processes unique to such manufacturer, processor or distributor, or would
otherwise tend to affect adversely the competitive position of such manufacturer, processor or distributor. It This case is about the liability of a marketing distributor under its sales agreements with the owner of the
is true that under the same Act, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources may release products. The petitioner presented its evidence before Judges Castro Bartolome and Benipayo. Respondents
information; however, the clear import of the law is that said authority is limited by the right to presented their evidence before Judge Tamayo who decided the case.
confidentiality of the manufacturer, processor or distributor, which information may be released only to a
medical research or scientific institution where the information is needed for the purpose of medical A review of the record shows that Judge Tamayo acted under a misapprehension of facts and his findings are
diagnosis or treatment of a person exposed to the chemical substance or mixture. The right to confidentiality contradicted by the evidence. The Appellate Court adopted the findings of Judge Tamayo. This is a case
is recognized by said Act as primordial. Petitioner has not made the slightest attempt to show that these where this Court is not bound by the factual findings of the Appellate Court. (See Director of Lands vs.
circumstances are availing in the case at bar. Zartiga, L-46068-69, September 30, 1982, 117 SCRA 346, 355).

41
Edward A. Keller & Co., Ltd. appointed COB Group Marketing, Inc. as exclusive distributor of its satisfied. They also proposed to substitute the Manahan mortgage with a mortgage on Adao's lot at 72 7th
household products, Brite and Nuvan in Panay and Negros, as shown in the sales agreement dated March 14, Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City (Exh. L).
1970 (32-33 RA). Under that agreement Keller sold on credit its products to COB Group Marketing.
These pieces of documentary evidence are sufficient to prove the liability of COB Group Marketing and to
As security for COB Group Marketing's credit purchases up to the amount of P35,000, one Asuncion justify the foreclosure of the two mortgages executed by Manahan and Lorenzo (Exh. D and E).
Manahan mortgaged her land to Keller. Manahan assumed solidarily with COB Group Marketing the
faithful performance of all the terms and conditions of the sales agreement (Exh. D). Section 22, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court provides that the act, declaration or omission of a party as to a
relevant fact may be given in evidence against him "as admissions of a party".
In July, 1970 the parties executed a second sales agreement whereby COB Group Marketing's territory was
extended to Northern and Southern Luzon. As security for the credit purchases up to P25,000 of COB Group The admissions of Bax are supported by the documentary evidence. It is noteworthy that all the invoices,
Marketing for that area, Tomas C. Lorenzo, Jr. and his father Tomas, Sr. (now deceased) executed a with delivery receipts, were presented in evidence by Keller, Exhibits KK-1 to KK-277-a and N to N-149-a,
mortgage on their land in Nueva Ecija. Like Manahan, the Lorenzos were solidarily liable with COB Group together with a tabulation thereof, Exhibit KK, covering the period from October 15, 1969 to January 22,
Marketing for its obligations under the sales agreement (Exh. E). 1971. Victor A. Mayo, Keller's finance manager, submitted a statement of account showing that COB Group
Marketing owed Keller P184,509.60 as of July 31, 1971 (Exh. JJ). That amount is reflected in the customer's
The credit purchases of COB Group Marketing, which started on October 15, 1969, limited up to January ledger, Exhibit M.
22, 1971. On May 8, the board of directors of COB Group Marketing were apprised by Jose E. Bax the
firm's president and general manager, that the firm owed Keller about P179,000. Bax was authorized to On the other hand, Bax although not an accountant, presented his own reconciliation statements wherein he
negotiate with Keller for the settlement of his firm's liability (Exh. 1, minutes of the meeting). showed that COB Group Marketing overpaid Keller P100,596.72 (Exh. 7 and 8). He claimed overpayment
although in his answer he did not allege at all that there was an overpayment to Keller.
On the same day, May 8, Bax and R. Oefeli of Keller signed the conditions for the settlement of COB Group
Marketing's liability, Exhibit J, reproduced as follows: The statement of the Appellate Court that COB Group Marketing alleged in its answer that it overpaid Keller
P100,596.72 is manifestly erroneous first, because COB Group Marketing did not file any answer, having
This formalizes our conditions for the settlement of C.O.B.'s account with Edward Keller Ltd. been declared in default, and second, because Bax and the other stockholders, who filed an answer, did not
allege any overpayment. As already stated, even before they filed their answer, Bax admitted that COB
1. Increase of mortgaged collaterals to the full market value (estimated by Edak at P90,000.00). Group Marketing owed Keller around P179,000 (Exh. 1).

2. Turn-over of receivables (estimated outstandings P70,000.00 to P80,000.00). Keller sued on September 16, 1971 COB Group Marketing, its stockholders and the mortgagors, Manahan
and Lorenzo.
3. Turn-over of 4 (four) trucks for outright sale to Edak, to be credited against C.0.B.'s account.
COB Group Marketing, Trinidad C. Ordonez and Johnny de la Fuente were declared in default (290 Record
4. Remaining 8 (eight) trucks to be assigned to Edak, C.O.B will continue operation with these 8 on Appeal).
trucks. They win be returned to COB after settlement of full account.
After trial, the lower court (1) dismissed the complaint; (2) ordered Keller to pay COB Group Marketing the
5. C.O.B has to put up securities totalling P200,000.00. P100,000.00 has to be liquidated within one sum of P100,596.72 with 6% interest a year from August 1, 1971 until the amount is fully paid: (3) ordered
year. The remaining P100,000.00 has to be settled within the second year. Keller to pay P100,000 as moral damages to be allocated among the stockholders of COB Group Marketing
in proportion to their unpaid capital subscriptions; (4) ordered the petitioner to pay Manahan P20,000 as
6. Edak wig agree to allow C.O.B. to buy goods to the value of the difference between P200,000.00 moral damages; (5) ordered the petitioner to pay P20,000 as attomey's fees to be divided among the lawyers
and their outstandings, provided C.O.B. is in a position to put up securities amounting to P200,000.00. of all the answering defendants and to pay the costs of the suit; (6) declared void the mortgages executed by
Manahan and Lorenzo and the cancellation of the annotation of said mortgages on the Torrens titles thereof,
Discussion held on May 8, 1971. and (7) dismissed Manahan's cross-claim for lack of merit.

Twelve days later, or on May 20, COB Group Marketing, through Bax executed two second chattel The petitioner appealed. The Appellate Court affirmed said judgment except the award of P20,000 as moral
mortgages over its 12 trucks (already mortgaged to Northern Motors, Inc.) as security for its obligation to damages which it eliminated. The petitioner appealed to this Court.
Keller amounting to P179,185.16 as of April 30, 1971 (Exh. PP and QQ). However, the second mortgages
did not become effective because the first mortgagee, Northern Motors, did not give its consent. But the Bax and the other respondents quoted the six assignments of error made by the petitioner in the Appellate
second mortgages served the purpose of being admissions of the liability COB Group Marketing to Keller. Court, not the four assignments of error in its brief herein. Manahan did not file any appellee's brief.

The stockholders of COB Group Marketing, Moises P. Adao and Tomas C. Lorenzo, Jr., in a letter dated We find that the lower courts erred in nullifying the admissions of liability made in 1971 by Bax as president
July 24, 1971 to Keller's counsel, proposed to pay Keller P5,000 on November 30, 1971 and thereafter every and general manager of COB Group Marketing and in giving credence to the alleged overpayment computed
thirtieth day of the month for three years until COB Group Marketing's mortgage obligation had been fully by Bax .
42
SO ORDERED.
The lower courts not only allowed Bax to nullify his admissions as to the liability of COB Group Marketing
but they also erroneously rendered judgment in its favor in the amount of its supposed overpayment in the Republic of the Philippines
sum of P100,596.72 (Exh. 8-A), in spite of the fact that COB Group Marketing was declared in default and SUPREME COURT
did not file any counterclaim for the supposed overpayment. Manila

The lower courts harped on Keller's alleged failure to thresh out with representatives of COB Group EN BANC
Marketing their "diverse statements of credits and payments". This contention has no factual basis. In
Exhibit J, quoted above, it is stated by Bax and Keller's Oefeli that "discussion (was) held on May 8, 1971." G.R. No. L-44060 July 20, 1978

That means that there was a conference on the COB Group Marketing's liability. Bax in that discussion did THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
not present his reconciliation statements to show overpayment. His Exhibits 7 and 8 were an afterthought. vs.
He presented them long after the case was filed. The petitioner regards them as "fabricated" (p. 28, BIENVENIDO PARAGSA, alias "BENBEN", defendant-appellant.
Appellant's Brief).
MAKASIAR, J.:
Bax admitted that Keller sent his company monthly statements of accounts (20-21 tsn, September 2, 1976)
but he could not produce any formal protest against the supposed inaccuracy of the said statements (22). He Bienvenido Paragsa, alias "Benben", appealed to the Court of Appeals the decision of the Court of First
lamely explained that he would have to dig up his company's records for the formal protest (23-24). He did Instance of Cebu (Judge Agapito Hontanosas, presiding), the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:
not make any written demand for reconciliation of accounts (27-28).
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered convicting the accused Bienvenido Paragsa of the crime of
As to the liability of the stockholders, it is settled that a stockholder is personally liable for the financial Rape as charged in the Information beyond reasonable doubt and applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law,
obligations of a corporation to the extent of his unpaid subscription (Vda. de Salvatierra vs. Garlitos 103 hereby sentences him to suffer the indeterminate penalty of twelve (12) years of prision mayor as minimum
Phil. 757, 763; 18 CJs 1311-2). to seventeen (17) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal as the maximum and to
indemnify the complaining witness in the amount of P8,000.00 (People vs. Rogato Rivera, 58, O.G. and
While the evidence shows that the amount due from COB Group Marketing is P184,509.60 as of July 31, People vs. Chan et al., CA No. 03545-GR, August 11, 1967) with all legal accessories and to pay the costs.
1971 or P186,354.70 as of August 31, 1971 (Exh. JJ), the amount prayed for in Keller's complaint is Being a detention prisoner, he is entitled to the full credit of his preventive imprisonment from the time of
P182,994.60 as of July 31, 1971 (18-19 Record on Appeal). This latter amount should be the one awarded to his confinement up to the date of the promulgation of this judgment.
Keller because a judgment entered against a party in default cannot exceed the amount prayed for (Sec. 5,
Rule 18, Rules of Court). xxx xxx xxx

WHEREFORE, the decisions of the trial court and the Appellate Court are reversed and set aside. (pp. 10-19, rollo).

COB Group marketing, Inc. is ordered to pay Edward A. Keller & Co., Ltd. the sum of P182,994.60 with Because the penalty of reclusion perpetua was imposed by the Court of Appeals on the accused, this case is
12% interest per annum from August 1, 1971 up to the date of payment plus P20,000 as attorney's fees. now before US for review pursuant to Section 34, Republic Act No. 296, as amended, otherwise known as
the Judiciary Act of 1948.
Asuncion Manahan and Tomas C. Lorenzo, Jr. are ordered to pay solidarity with COB Group Marketing the
sums of P35,000 and P25,000, respectively. The evidence for the prosecution consists of the testimony of Mirasol Magallanes, the alleged rape victim,
her aunt-in-law, Mrs. Lita Parochel, and Dr. Luis L. Gandiongco of the Bantayan Emergency Hospital,
The following respondents are solidarity liable with COB Group Marketing up to the amounts of their Bantayan, Cebu, who examined the offended party and submitted Exhibit A embodying his findings thereon,
unpaid subscription to be applied to the company's liability herein: Jose E. Bax P36,000; Francisco C. de
Castro, P36,000; Johnny de la Fuente, P12,000; Sergio C. Ordonez, P12,000; Trinidad C. Ordonez, P3,000; Substantially, the records show that in the afternoon of July 13, 1971, Mirasol, who was then a little over
Magno C. Ordonez, P3,000; Adoracion C. Ordonez P3,000; Tomas C. Lorenzo, Jr., P3,000 and Luz M. twelve and a half (12½) years old (Exhibit B, p. 7, rec.), was alone in her parents' house in Sitio Tabagac of
Aguilar-Adao, P6,000. Barrio Bunacan, Municipality of Madridejos, Cebu, cooking hog feed. Her parents were away at the time —
her father was in Cadiz, while her mother was in Sagay, both in Negros Occidental (p. 16, t.s.n., Jan. 5,
If after ninety (90) days from notice of the finality of the judgment in this case the judgment against COB 1972) while the rest of the family were with Mirasol's grandmother in Barrio Codia; also in Madridejos,
Group Marketing has not been satisfied fully, then the mortgages executed by Manahan and Lorenzo should Cebu. Mirasol was a 6th grade student of the Bunacan Elementary School (p. 6, t.s.n., Dec. 3, 1971). Upon
be foreclosed and the proceeds of the sales applied to the obligation of COB Group Marketing. Said instruction of her mother, she did not go to school that afternoon so that she could look after the pigs and
mortgage obligations should bear six percent legal interest per annum after the expiration of the said 90-day cook their feed. Thus, she was alone in the ground floor of their house cooking hog feed when the accused,
period. Costs against the private respondents. Bienvenido Paragsa, armed with a hunting knife, entered the house and closed the door after him.
Approaching from behind, he placed his left arm around Mirasol's neck, encircled her abdomen with his
43
right arm, at the same time pointing the hunting knife with s right hand at her breast, and threatened her not
to shout otherwise she would be killed. Thereafter, the accused pushed her to a bamboo bed nearby, rolled Mrs. Parochel met Mirasol's father at about 4:00 o'clock the same afternoon but she did not talk to him about
up her dress and, with his two hands, removed her panties. The accused then placed his hunting knife on the what she saw earlier in Tabagak However, she revealed the incident to her husband (p. 17, t.s.n., Ibid).
bed by Mirasol's side, opened the zipper of his pants while kneeling on the bed, opened Mirasol's thighs,
picked up the hunting knife again, placed himself on top of Mirasol, inserted his erect penis into her sexual When Mirasol's mother returned from Sagay, Negros Occidental, Mrs. Parochel had a conversation with her
organ and then made four push and pull movement until he ejaculated (pp. 7, 10-11, 12, 13, 14, t.s.n., Ibid). regarding the person of the accused and thereafter Mirasol's mother filed the corresponding complaint
In the process, Mirasol's dress and panties were not torn, since, because of fear, she allowed the accused to against the accused (p. 18, t.s.n., Ibid).
roll up her dress and pull her panties without any resistance whatsoever. During the intercourse, the accused
was not holding the hunting knife. After the accused had discharged, he ran to the storeroom of the house Incidentally, in support of the complaint of Bernandina Magallanes, mother of Mirasol, Mrs. Parochel
upstairs because he heard Mrs. Lita Parochel, wife of the younger brother of Mirasol's father, calling from executed an affidavit which she subscribed and swore to before the municipal judge of Madridejos, Cebu, on
outside the gate of the house, asking Mirasol to open the gate. Mirasol did not answer because she was then July 30, 1971, wherein she stated, among other things:
in the act of putting on her panties (p. 14, t.s.n., Ibid; p. 10, t.s.n., Jan. 5, 1972). After she had put on her
panties, she opened the gate and saw her aunt Lita, who asked her what the accused did to her, but she did 1. That at about 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon of July 13, 1971, I went to the house of Ruperto
not answer because she was afraid as the accused was still inside the house. She also did not tell her aunt Magallanes, my neighbor;
Lita that the accused had sexual intercourse with her under threats and against her will. Her aunt Lita then
walked away. 2. That when I entered their fence, I found out that one Benben Paragsa ran from the bed where
Mirasol Magallanes was sitting on while putting on her panties;
Thereafter, the accused reappeared in the room and told Mirasol that if she would tell her aunt Lita what he
did, he would kill her (pp. 13-14, t.s.n., Dec. 3, 1971). After the incident, Mirasol went to Barrio Codia later 3. That she, Mirasol Magallanes, upon my arrival, did not say anything to me about the happening;
in the afternoon of the same day and joined her brother and sister and grandmother. She did not reveal to any and that I was only thinking that something had happened (Exh. 1, p. 5, rec.).
of them what transpired between her and the accused in Tabagac.
In his typewritten brief, the appellant enumerated and discussed five errors as having been committed by the
Mirasol's father returned from Cadiz, Negros Occidental that same day; but Mirasol did not also reveal the trial court. These errors may, however, be boiled down to the issue of credibility.
incident to him because she was afraid her father might punish her. Her mother returned home on July 16,
1971 from Sagay, Negros Occidental; but Mirasol did not also tell her mother about what happened to her on Appellant admits having sexual intercourse with Mirasol, the complaining witness, but he stoutly denied that
July 13 in Tabagac It was her aunt Lita who revealed the matter to Mirasol's mother, who thereupon he did so by employing force or intimidation against Mirasol. He claims he and Mirasol were sweethearts;
confronted her daughter. Mirasol had to reveal the incident of July 13 to her mother only when her mother that on the day of the incident, it was Mirasol who invited him to the latter's house where they had sexual
asked her about it; because, according to her, she wanted to take revenge on the accused (p. 15, Dec. 3, intercourse after kissing each other; and that the intercourse they had that afternoon was, as a matter of fact,
1971). Three days after her return from Sagay, Negros Occidental — on July 19, 1971 — Mirasol's mother their third sexual intercourse (pp. 2, 3, 5, 6, 8-9, t.s.n., March 21, 1972).
brought her to the Bantayan Emergency Hospital in Bantayan, Cebu, where she was examined by Dr. Luis
L. Gandiongco, who submitted his findings as follows: The foregoing testimony of the accused was substantially corroborated by two witnesses for the defense,
Mercado Batosbatosan and Eduardo Ducay (pp. 5, 6-7, 12, 15-16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, t.s.n., Feb. 1, 1972).
Abrasion of inguinal region
A careful scrutiny of the record reveals that the prosecution's evidence is weak, unsatisfactory and
Abrasion, left thigh, medial side inconclusive to justify a conviction.

INTERNAL FINDINGS: Certain circumstances negate the commission by the appellant of the crime charged and point to the
conclusion that the sexual intercourse between the appellant and the complaining witness was voluntary.
1. Discharges sticky, milky in color, found at the anterior fornix but negative for spermatozoa (Exh. Force and intimidation were not proven. Mirasol did not offer any resistance or vocal protestation against the
A, p. 8, rec.; p. 2, t.s.n., Nov. 16, 1971). alleged sexual assault. She could have easily made an outcry or resisted the appellant's advances without
endangering her life. But she did not. She was allegedly raped in her own home, not far from her neighbors
Mrs. Lita Parochel, the aunt-in-law of Mirasol, testified that she is the wife of the younger brother of and during the daytime. If, indeed, she was raped under the circumstances narrated by her, she could have
Mirasol's father. Her house is fifty (50) meters away from the house of her brother-in-law, Ruperto revealed the same the very moment she was confronted by her aunt Lita who asked her what the accused did
Magallanes. In the afternoon of July 13, 1971, she went to the house of her brother-in-law in Tabagac to her upon entering the house immediately after the intercourse took place and when the accused ran from
Arriving there, she saw, through the gate which was made of split bamboos, the accused running away when the bed to a storeroom of the house to hide upon seeing and/or hearing the voice of her aunt Lita. or, she
she shouted to Mirasol, who was then in the act of putting on her panties, to open the gate (p. 10, t.s.n., Jan. could have grabbed the hunting knife by her side when the copulation was going on, and with it she could
15, 1972). Mirasol opened the gate after she had put on her panties. Entering the house, Mrs. Parochel asked have possibly prevented the accused from consummating the sexual act. But she did not.
Mirasol what the accused did to her, but Mirasol did not answer. So, she hid and from her hiding place she
saw the accused emerge from his hiding place and run away, passing through the gate of the fence. Another circumstance is that Mirasol did not reveal immediately to her parents that she was raped. It was
Thereupon, she told Mirasol to go home to barrio Codia because she was also going there (p. 15, t.s.n., Ibid). only after her mother arrived from Sagay, Negros Occidental, three (3) days after the incident, and
44
confronted her about the rape incident that her mother learned through her aunt Lita that she eventually
revealed to her mother what the accused did to her in the afternoon of July 13, 1971. A last circumstance which also engenders serious doubt on the veracity of Mrs. Parochel, whose testimony
the trial court summarized, runs thus:
Still another circumstance is the fact that Mirasol did not bother at all to rebut the testimony of the appellant
and his witnesses to the effect that the accused and Mirasol were actually sweethearts; and that they had had ... The victim did not answer the call of her aunt nor did she open the barred door.
two previous sexual communications before July 13, 1971, one of which happened on June 29, 1971 in the
house of the accused, where Mirasol and the accused slept together in the evening of the same day after the ... She returned to the opened door and asked Mirasol what had happened. Mirasol was very pale, trembling
mother of the accused and Mirasol had returned from the town fiesta of Bantayan, Cebu (p. 10, t.s.n., March and in a state of shock, did not answer her inquiries ...(p. 3, Decision; p. 64, rec.; emphasis added).
21, 1972).
The Solicitor General adopted the above factual summary made by the trial court by stating that —
The rule allowing silence of a person to be taken as an implied admission of the truth of the statements
uttered in his presence is applicable in criminal cases. But before the silence of a party can be taken as an Mirasol's aunt, Lita Parochel ... found her niece in a state of shock (p. 4, Brief for the Plaintiff-Appellee; p.
admission of what is said, it must appear: (1) that he heard and understood the statement; (2) that he was at 49, rec.; Emphasis supplied).
liberty to interpose a denial; (3) that the statement was in respect to some matter affecting his rights or in
which he was then interested, and calling, naturally, for an answer; (4) that the facts were within his A painstaking scrutiny of the record, particularly the transcript of stenographic notes, shows that contrary to
knowledge; and (5) that the fact admitted or the inference to be drawn from his silence would be material to the finding of the trial court, Mirasol answered the call of her aunt and opened the gate of the house after she
the issue (IV Francisco, The Revised Rules of Court in the Philippines, 1973 ed., p. 316). These requisites of had put on her panties (p. 14, t.s.n., Dec. 3, 1971); and that Mirasol only seemed to be afraid, besides
admission by silence all obtain in the present case. Hence, the silence of Mirasol on the facts asserted by the trembling (p. 23, t.s.n., 1972); nowhere in the record is any evidence of Mirasol having been in a state of
accused and his witnesses may be safely construed as an admission of the truth of such assertion. shock.

One more circumstance which engenders serious doubt on the truthfulness of Mirasol is the testimony of Dr. If Mirasol was in fact in a state of shock —
Gandiongco that he did not notice any laceration in the walls of Mirasol's vagina, thus —
1. How come she was able to put on her panties and thereafter open the gate of the house when she
Q Doctor, you testified that according to your findings a foreign body might have inserted the heard her aunt Lita calling from the outside?
internal organ of the offended party?
2. Her aunt Lita would feel so alarmed and so concerned that she would not lose any time to bring
A Yes, sir. her to a doctor or to a hospital for medical treatment or assistance;

Q And as a matter of fact, in your examination there was no laceration? 3. Her aunt Lita would have confronted the accused who was still hiding in the closet in a corner of
the ground floor, or she would have gone to the nearest police authority or barrio captain, who could have
A There was no laceration (p 5, t.s.n., November 16, 1971; Emphasis supplied). easily apprehended the accused:

Considering Mirasol's tender age, if she had no previous sexual experience, she must have been a virgin 4. Her aunt could have sought the assistance of their barriomates or neighbors; or
when she was allegedly raped by the accused. Yet she did not state that she felt some pain as the accused
tried to insert his organ into her private part. Neither did she state that she was bleeding during and after the 5. She could have brought Mirasol to her own house which was on about 50 meters away (pp. 7, 20,
alleged forced coition. Instead, she matter-of-factly narrated that the accused made four push and pull t.s.n., Jan. 5, 1972). But what did she do? She abandoned Mirasol "because" she Mirasol had to feed her
movements after which the latter ejaculated — indicating that he had an easy time doing it. hogs (p. 24, Idem).

If WE are to believe her story, certainly the doctor who examined her could have noticed the lacerations That Mirasol was pale, afraid and trembling can only be attributed to the fact that her aunt discovered her
even after the lapse of three (3) days from the coition, if the intercourse on July 13, 1971 was in fact her first having sexual intercourse at so young an age and that she feared that her aunt would report the same to her
experience. WE believe the absence of lacerations in the walls of Mirasol's vagina, as testified to by Dr. parents.
Gandiongco, supra, eloquently confirms the truth of the accused's assertion that before the incident in
question, he and Mirasol had two prior copulations. And if Mrs. Parochel really believed that her niece Mirasol was raped by appellant about 3 o'clock that
afternoon of July 13, 1971, why did she not report the outrage to Mirasol's father — her husband's brother —
And still another circumstance which casts serious doubt on the credibility of the complaining witness and whom she met about 4 o'clock that same afternoon, just one hour after the alleged rape?
her aunt Lita is the matter of the hunting knife. While it is true that on the witness stand these two witnesses
practically corroborated each other on this particular point, the matter of the accused having a hunting knife Mrs. Parochel's close relationship to her niece-daughter of her brother-in-law — vitiates her credibility.
with him on the day of the incident was not, however, mentioned by Mrs. Parochel in her affidavit, Exhibit
1, which she executed on July 30, 1971 — five months before she testified in court. Besides, at the trial, the Appellant cannot be legally convicted of simple seduction under Article 338 of the Revised Penal Code, for
prosecution did not bother to present such "hunting knife". the same is not warranted by the wording of the information, which does not alleged deceit, although
45
appellant testified that he promised to marry Mirasol if "something happens to her body." Much less can
simple seduction include rape. Her bedroom was in "shambles," evidently indicating that it was ransacked. The drawers and several
cabinets were open, and some personal garments, hadbags and papers were scattered on the floor. No
WHEREFORE, APPELLANT BIENVENIDO PARAGSA, ALIAS "BENBEN", IS HEREBY witness saw the commission of the crime. Appellant Ramiro Alegre, who was then living with relatives in
ACQUITTED, WITH COSTS de oficio AND HIS IMMEDIATE RELEASE IS HEREBY ORDERED one of the rented rooms on the ground floor of the victim's house, was taken to the Pasay City police
UNLESS HE IS BEING DETAINED ON OTHER CHARGES. headquarters for investigation in connection with the case, but was later released that same day for lack of
any evidence implicating him in the crime.
SO ORDERED.
During the latter part of July, 1966, Melecio Cudillan was apprehended in Tacloban City, Leyte, in the act of
Republic of the Philippines pawning a bracelet, one of the pieces of jewelry taken from the victim. In explaining how he came into
SUPREME COURT possession of the stolen pieces of jewelry, he admitted his participation in the killing and robbery of Adlina
Manila Sajo. This appears in his extrajudicial confession before the police authorities of Tacloban City on July 29,
1966 (Exhibits "F", "F-1" and "F-2"). In this statement, which was written in the English language, Melecio
EN BANC Cudillan implicated a certain "Esok" of Villalon, Calubian, Leyte; Jesus Medalla, of Villahermosa, Calubian,
Leyte; Mario Cudillan, also of Villahermosa, Calubian, Leyte; one "Danny" Fernandez, of Balaquid,
G.R. No. L-30423 November 7, 1979 Cabucgayan, Biliran Sub-province; and one "Rammy, " another Leyteno. When brought to Metro Manila
and while he was inside the Pasay City police headquarters, Melecio Cudillan again executed an
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, extrajudicial confession (Exhibits "A ", "A-1 " to "A-6" on July 31, 1966. This was sworn to before the
vs. Assistant City Fiscal of Pasay City on August 1, 1966. In this second statement, he narrated in detail the
RAMIRO ALEGRE y CERDONCILLO, MARIO COMAYAS y CUDILLAN, MELECIO participation in the commission of the crime of Jesus Medalla, "Celso" Fernandez, "Rami" and "Mario."
CUDILLAN y ARCILLAS, and JESUS MEDALLA y CUDILLAN, defendants-appellants. According to said statement, the declarant went near the cell within the Office of the Investigation Section,
Secret Service Division, and Identified Ramiro Alegre, Jesus Medalla and Mario Comayas as the persons he
referred to as Jesus Medalla, "Rami" and "Mario" in his declaration. On the basis of the aforementioned
ANTONIO, J.: extrajudicial confession of Melecio Cudillan, an Information for Robbery with Homicide was filed by the
Special Counsel of Pasay City against Celso Fernandez, alias "Esok," Jesus Medalla y Cudillan, Ramiro
This is an automatic review of a decision of the court of First Instance of Rizal, Seventh Judicial District, Alegre y Cerdoncillo, Mario Comayas y Cudillan, Melecio Cudillan y Arcillas, and one John Doe."
Branch VII, Pasay City finding all the accused, namely, Ramiro Alegre y Cerdoncillo, Mario Comayas y
Cudillan, Melecio Cudillan y Arcillas and Jesus Medalla y Cudillan, guilty of the crime of Robbery with When arraigned on August 10, 1966, Mario Comayas, Melecio Cudillan, Jesus Medalla and Ramiro Alegre
Homicide and sentencing them as follows: entered a plea of not guilty. The prosecution presented nine (9) witnesses. None of them, however, testified
on the actual commission of the crime. The recital of facts contained in the decision under review was based
WHEREFORE, this Court finds accused Melecio Cudillan, ,Jesus Medalla, Ramiro Alegre, and Mario principally and mainly on the extrajudicial confessions of Melecio Cudillan. Thus, the details of the planning
Comayas guilty beyond reasonable doubt of ROBBERY WITH HOMICIDE, committed with four (4) and the execution of the crime were taken from the "Pasay Sworn Statement" (Exhibits "A", "A-1" to "A-
aggravating circumstances, not offset by any mitigating circumstance, and hereby sentences all of them to 6"). The only evidence, therefore, presented by the prosecution to prove the guilt of appellants are the
suffer the penalty of death, to be carried out pursuant to the applicable provisions of law, to indemnify testimonies of Sgt. Mariano Isla and Hernando Carillo.
jointly and severally the heirs of Adlina Sajo in the amount of P350,000.00, representing the value of the
pieces of jewelry unrecovered, to pay jointly and severally also the heirs of Adelina Sajo the amount of The testimony of Sgt. Mariano Isla of the Pasay City police is to the effect that when he was investigating
P12,000.00. and to pay the costs. Melecio Cudillan, the latter pointed to Ramiro Alegre, Mario Comayas and Jesus Medalla as his companions
in the commission of the crime. According to him, said appellants "just stared at him (Melecio Cudilla) and
With or without appeal, let this case be elevated to the Supreme Court for review, pursuant to law. said nothing."

During the pendency of this appeal, Melecio Cudillan died on arrival at the New Bilibid Prison Hospital on Q. In what particular place in the Police Department did you have to confront the accused Melecio
August 16, 1970, and the case as against the said accused, insofar as his criminal liability is concerned, was Cudillan with the other suspects'?
dismissed on August 29, 1974. This decision, therefore, is limited to appellants Ramiro Alegre, Mario
Comayas and Jesus Medalla. A. In the office of the Secret Service Division.

This case arose from the death of Adelina Sajo y Maravilla, Spinster, 57 years old, whose body was found in Q. When you said there was a confrontation between the accused Melecio Cudillan and other suspects
her bathroom inside her house at the Maravilla compound, Ignacio Street, Pasay City, in the early morning whom do you refer to as other suspects?
of July 26, 1966. According to the Necropsy Report, she died of asphyxia by manual strangulation, and the
time of her death was placed between eighteen to twenty-two hours before 12:30 p.m. of July 26, 1966. A. Jesus Medalla, Celso Fernandez, Rosario Dejere and Mario. There was another person Eduardo
Comayas. He was also one of those suspects but Melecio Cudillan failed to point to him as his companion.
46
A. That he was also inside the room when they killed Adelina Sajo.
Q. Who were those persons or suspects pointed to by Melecio Cudillan in the Police Department of
Pasay City as his companions? Q. Now, regarding that conversation you had with the accused Jesus Medalla, when did that take
place, more or less?
A. To Jesus Medalla, Ramiro Alegre and Mario Comayas.
A. About that month also of June, about the middle of June.
Q. When Melecio Cudilla pointed to these persons what did these three persons do?
Q. What year?
A. They just stared at him and said nothing. (t.s.n., pp. 15-16, Hearing of October 28, 1966).
A. 1967.
According to the trial court, had the appellants "really been innocent (they) should have protested vigorously
and not merely kept their silence." Q. Do you know the other accused Mario Comayas?

Hernando Carillo, a detention prisoner in the Pasay City jail, declared that the three (3) appellants admitted A. Yes, sir.
to him that they took part in the robbery and homicide committed in the residence of the deceased, viz.:
Q. Why do you know him?
ATTY. DEPASUCAT:
A. He is also one of the prisoners and our cells are near each other. Q. If he is inside the courtroom,
Q. Do you know the other accused Ramiro Alegre? will you please point him out?

A. Yes, sir. INTERPRETER:

Q. If he is inside the court room, will you please point him out? Witness indicating to the fellow who gave his name as Mario Comayas.

INTERPRETER: ATTY. DEPASUCAT:

Witness points to the fellow in the second row, fourth from the left who, upon being asked, gave his name as Q. Did you have any occasion to talk with the accused Mario Comayas?
Ramiro Alegre.
A. Yes, sir.
ATTY. DEPASUCAT:
Q. When was that, more or less?
Q. Did you have any occasion to talk to Ramiro Alegre?
A. In the month of June, about the middle part also of June.
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And what did you talk about?
Q. Where?
A. Regarding this case of Adelina Sajo and he admitted to me that he was one of those who planned
A. In the city jail because our cells are also near each other. and killed Adelina Sajo.

Q. And what did you and Ramiro Alegre talk about? Q. I see! And what, else did he tell you, if any?

A. Concerning his case and he told me that he has also anticipated in the commission of the killing of A. That while the killing was being perpetrated upstairs he was told to by the door.
Adelina Sajo.
Q. How about the other accused Melencio Cudillan, do you know him?
Q. By the way, when did you talk with Ramiro Alegre, more or less?
A. Yes, sir.
A. About the middle of June.
Q. If he is in court, will you please point him out?
Q. And what else did Ramiro Alegre tell you, if any?
INTERPRETER:
47
the Time Record of Ramiro Alegre (Exhibit "1") which contained the number of hours he actually worked at
Witness pointing to the accused who gave his name as Melecio Cudillan. the Sheraton Hotel construction project.

ATTY. DEPASUCAT: Appellants now contend that the lower court erred in utilizing the extrajudicial confessions of Melecio
Cudillan (now deceased) as evidence against herein appellants; in concluding from the alleged "Silence" of
Q. Why do you know Melecio Cudillan? appellants when allegedly pointed to by Melecio Cudillan as "his companions" in the commission of the
crime, an admission of guilt; and in giving undue weight and credence to the testimony of an inmate of the
A. Because he is with me in one cell. Pasay City Jail that appellants admitted to him their participation in the crime.

Q. Were you able also to talk with Melecio Cudillan? I

A. Most of the time because we used to talk about our case. The extrajudicial confessions of Melecio Cudillan (Exhibits "A", "A- I " to "A-6" and "F", "F-1" and "F-2"),
on the basis of which the trial court was able to reconstruct how Melecio Cudillan committed the crime in
Q. When have you talked with Melecio Cudillan, more or less? question, cannot be used as evidence and are not competent proof against appellants Ramiro Alegre and
Jesus Medalla, under the principle of "res inter alios acta alteri nocere non debet" 1 there being no
A. Three days after my confinement and subsequently thereafter up to about the first week of June, independent evidence of conspiracy. 2 As a general rule, the extrajudicial declaration of an accused,
1967. although deliberately made, is not admissible and does not have probative value against his co- accused. It is
merely hearsay evidence as far as the other accused are concerned. 3 While there are recognized exceptions
Q. And what did the accused Melecio Cudillan tell you about this case? to this rule, the facts and circumstances attendant in the case at bar do not bring it within the purview of such
exceptions. The only evidence, therefore, linking the appellants to the crime would be their purported tacit
ATTY. RAMIREZ: admissions and/or failure to deny their implications of the crime made by Melecio Cudillan, and/or their
purported verbal confessions to Hernando Carillo, an inmate of the Pasay City jail.
Objection, Your Honor, leading.
II
COURT:
The next question to be resolved is whether or not the silence of appellants while under police custody, in
Witness may answer, there is already a basis. the face of statements of Melecio Cudillan implicating them as his companions in the commission of the
crime, could be considered as tacit admission on their part of their participation therein.
A. That they were the ones who planned and killed Adelina Sajo. (t.s.n., pp. 286-289, Hearing of July
21, 1967). The settled rule is that the silence of an accused in criminal cases, meaning his failure or refusal to testify,
may not be taken as evidence against him, 4 and that he may refuse to answer an incriminating question. 5 It
However, during the trial, Melecio Cudillan repudiated both the Tacloban City and Pasay City sworn has also been held that while an accused is under custody, his silence may not be taken as evidence against
statements as the product of compulsion and duress. He claimed that he was not assisted by counsel when he him as he has a right to remain silent; his silence when in custody may not be used as evidence against him,
was investigated by the police. Appellants Jesus Medalla and Mario Comayas denied any involvement in the otherwise, his right of silence would be illusory. 6 The leading case of Miranda v. Arizona7 held that the
crime. They testified that at the time of the incident in question. they were attending the internment of the prosecution may not use at trial the fact that an individual stood mute, or claimed his privilege against self-
deceased child of Ciriaco Abobote. According to Jesus Medalla, he and his companions left the Maravilla incrimination, in the face of an accusation made at a police custodial interrogation. Prior to Miranda, it was
compound at 10:00 o'clock in the morning of July 25, 1966 to attend the internment. 'They left the cemetery the view of many authorities that a man to whom a statement implicating him in a crime is directed may fail
at about 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon and proceeded directly to his house at Leveriza Street where he stayed to reply if he is in custody under a charge of the commission of that crime, not because he acquiesces in the
the whole night. Mario Comayas confirmed that he and Jesus Medalla were at the house of Ciriaco Abobote truth of the statement, but because he stands on his constitutional right to remain silent, as being the safest
in the morning of July 25, 1966, until after 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon when he returned to the bakery course for him to pursue and the best way out of his predicament. 8 Other courts have held that the
where he was employed to resume his work. circumstance that one is under arrest by itself does not render the evidence inadmissible, and that an
accusation of a crime calls for a reply even from a person under arrest or in the custody of an officer, where
Appellant Ramiro Alegre did not testify but presented three (3) witnesses to support his defense. Thus, the circumstances surrounding him indicate that he is free to answer if he chooses. 9
Urbano Villanueva testified that he was a sub-contractor of Jose Inton for the welding project of David M.
Consunji at the Sheraton Hotel construction; that Ramiro Alegre began working at the construction as a We hold that the better rule is that the silence of an accused under custody, or his failure to deny statements
welder on July 13, 1966, and that from 7:00 o'clock in the morning to 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon, Alegre by another implicating him in a crime, especially when such accused is neither asked to comment or reply to
worked in the project and that he knew this because he is the foreman and timekeeper in the project. He such implications or accusations, cannot be considered as a tacit confession of his participation in the
Identified the Time Record of Ramiro Alegre (Exhibit "1"). Rodolfo Villanueva and Romeo Origenes commission of the crime. Such an inference of acquiescence drawn from his silence or failure to deny the
testified that from 7:00 o'clock in the morning up to 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon of July 25, 1966, appellant statement would appear incompatible with the right of an accused against self-incrimination.
Ramiro Alegre was at the Sheraton Hotel construction at Roxas Boulevard. Their testimony is confirmed by
48
The right or privilege of a person accused of a crime against self- incrimination is a fundamental right. It is a overdraft account of the Antigua Botica Ramirez with the plaintiff as of December 17, 1928. J. J. Dunbar
personal right of great importance and is given absolutely and unequivocably. The privilege against self- and Daniel Boquer were guarantors for the overdraft.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
incrimination is an important development in man's struggle for liberty. It reflects man's fundamental values library
and his most noble of aspirations, the unwillingness of civilized men to subject those' suspected of crime to
the cruel trilemma of self-accusation, perjury or contempt; the fear that self-incriminating statements may be In case G.R. No. 34687, plaintiff-appellant sees to collect from defendants, Daniel Boque, Antigua Botica
obtained by inhumane treatment and abuses, and the respect for the inviolability of the human personality Ramirez, J. J. Dunabar, and Eduardo Gutierrez Repide, the amount of P5,837.07, balance as of March 24,
and of the right of each individual "to a private enclave where he may lead a private life." 10 1930, of a promissory note for P6,000 executed by the defendants on June 7, 1927, in favor of the plaintiff,
whereby the defendant promised, jointly and severally, to pay the plaintiff 90 days after its
In the words of Chavez v. Court of Appeals: 11 execution.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

... this right is 'not merely a formal technical rule the enforcement of which is left to the discretion of the In case G.R. No. 34688, plaintiff-appellant seeks to collect from defendants J. J. Dunbar, Daniel Boquer,
court;' it is mandatory; it secures to a defendant a valuable and substantive right; it is fundamental to our Eduardo Gutierrez Repide, and Manuela Reyes y Almeida, the sum of P17,702.52, balance of December 10,
scheme of justice ... 1927, of a promissory note for P30,000 executed by Dunbar Boquer, and Gutierrez Rupide, P10,000 of
which was guaranteed by Manuela Reyes y Almeida with a mortgage of a parcel of land situated in the City
Therefore, the court may not extract from a defendant's own lips and against his will an admission of his of Manila in favor of the plaintiff.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
guilt. Nor may a court as much as resort to compulsory disclosure, directly or indirectly, of facts usable
against him as a confession of the crime or the tendency of which is to prove the commission of a crime. For some time before the complaints were filed the Antigua Botica Ramirez was under the control and
Because, it is his right to forego testimony, to remain silent, unless he chooses to take the witness stand — management of the plaintiff, and a few months after plaintiff's complaints were filed, and upon plaintiff's
with undiluted, unfettered exercise of his own free, genuine will. EN BANC petition a receiver of the properties of the defendant Antigua Botica Ramirez was
appointed.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
G.R. No. L-34686 February 24, 1932
After trial, the court below rendered judgment, dismissing the three complaints, ordering the cancellation of
PHILIPPINE TRUST CO., Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. ANTIGUA BOTICA RAMIREZ, DANIEL the mortgage of Manuela Reyes' land, discharging the receiver and ordering him to turn over the properties
BOQUER, and J. J. DUNBAR, Defendants-Appellees. of the defendant Antigua Botica Ramirez to plaintiff. From this judgment the plaintiff appealed to this court
and made the following assignments of error:
-----------------------------
1. The trial court erred in permitting the defendant Eduardo Gutierrez Repide testify, over the objection and
G.R. No. 34687 February 24, 1932. exception of counsel for the plaintiff, that he signed the promissory notes marked Exhibits J and M in cases
Nos. 34687-88, as a mere surety, and for no consideration.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
PHILIPPINE TRUST CO., Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. ANTIGUA BOTICA RAMIREZ, DANIEL library
BOQUER, and J. J. DUNBAR, and EDUARDO GUTIERREZ REPIDE, Defendants-Appellees.
2. The trial court erred in not striking from the record defendant Eduardo Gutierrez Repide's testimony that
----------------------------- his codefendant Daniel Boquer told him that the plaintiff gave him several extentions for the payment of the
promissory notes marked Exhibits J and M in cases Nos. 34687-88, and in finding that such extensions were
G.R. No. 34688 February 24, 1932. in fact given by plaintiff.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

PHILIPPINE TRUST CO., Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. J. J. DUNBAR, DANIEL BOQUER, EDUARDO 3. The trial court erred in permitting the defendants Eduardo Gutierrez Repide, Daniel Boquer and J. J.
GUTIERREZ REPIDE, and MANUELA REYES Y ALMEIDA, Defendants-Appellees. Dunbar and the witness Rosario Boquer testify, over the objection and exception of counsel for the plaintiff,
that the shares which they owned of the stock of the defendant corporation Antigua Botica Ramirez were
Ross, Lawrence & Selph and Antonio T. Carrascoso, Jr. for appellant. assigned by them to plaintiff in payment of their obligations and in finding that such assignment, as claimed
Jose Ma. Cavanna, J. W. Ferrier & Eduardo Gutierrez Repide for appellees. by the defendant, was in fact made.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

OSTRAND, J.: 4. The trial court erred in holding that the plaintiff administered the business of the defendant corporation
Antigua Botica Ramirez, without any intervention on the latter's part, and in not permitting plaintiff's witness
This is an appeal from the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Manila in the above-entitled three cases J. M. Araullo testify as to the condition of the corporation in the month of April,
which have been tried together and decided by the court below as one case.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary 1929.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
chanrobles virtual law library
5. The trial court erred in finding that plaintiff sold certain furniture and other properties of the defendant
In case G.R. No. 34686, plaintiff-appellant seeks to collect from defendants-appellees, Antigua Botica Antigua Botica Ramirez at very reduced prices.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Ramirez, Daniel Boquer, and J. J. Dunbar, the amount of P7,531.28 which represents the balance of an
49
6. The trial court erred in admitting in evidence the documents marked defendant's Exhibit CC, DD and EE, The third assignment of error is directed toward the action of the lower court in permitting the defendants
and in not permitting plaintiff's witnesses E.B. Ford and E.B. Velasquez testify on Eduardo Gutierrez Repide, Daniel Boquer, and J. J. Dunbar, and the witness Rosario Boquer to testify that
them.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library the shares which they owned of the stock of the corporation Antigua Botica Ramirez were assigned by them
to plaintiff that such assignment was, in fact, made.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
7. The trial court erred in finding that the preponderance of evidence was in favor of the defendant and
against the plaintiff.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library The defendants claim that they assigned to plaintiff the shares which they owned of the stock of the
corporation Antigua Botica Ramirez in payment of their obligations. Plaintiff denies that such assignment
8. The trial court erred in rendering judgment in favor of the defendants, and not in favor of the plaintiff, as was ever made, and claims that the shares in question were assigned for the purpose of enabling plaintiff to
prayed for in its complaints.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library reorganize the corporation Antigua Botica Ramirez and sell its business at a fair and reasonable
price.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
9. The trial court erred in denying plaintiff's motions for a new trial.
We have carefully examined the evidence, and are of the opinion that plaintiff's contention should be
Under the first assignment of error, counsel for the plaintiff contend that the defendant Eduardo Gutierrez sustained. The defendants Eduardo Gutierrez Repide and Daniel Boquer testified, in direct examination, that
Repide should not have been permitted by the lower court to testify that he signed the promissory notes a deed of assignment to plaintiff of the shares in question in payment of the obligations of the defendants
marked plaintiff's Exhibits J and M as a mere surety, and for no consideration.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary was to be executed, and the record shows that no such document was ever
chanrobles virtual law library executed.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

We think that this point is well taken. It is admitted by the defendant Eduardo Gutierrez Repide that he It is claimed by the defendants that the assignment of their shares of the stock of the corporation Antigua
signed the promissory notes as a surety, and it was immaterial, so far as the plaintiff was concerned, whether Botica Ramirez to the plaintiff bank was made in payment of their obligations. Examining, however, the
or not the said Gutierrez Repide received anything in payment for the use of his signature. (Clark vs. Sellner, notice for the special stockholders' meeting on April 26, 1929, which notice was prepared by the defendant
42 Phil., 384.) chanrobles virtual law library Eduardo Gutierrez Repide himself, no mention is made therein of any assignment of the shares in question in
payment of the obligations of the defendants to plaintiff. The notice simply says that the meeting was being
The second assignment of error has reference to the action of the lower court in not striking from the record called "for the purpose of electing the new members of the Board of Directors and determining the manner
the testimony of the defendant Eduardo Gutierrez Repide that he was told by the defendant Daniel Boquer of liquidating with the Philippine Trust Company and Fidelity & Surety Company of the Philippine Islands
that the plaintiff bank gave him (Boquer) several extensions for the payment of the promissory notes the obligations of the corporation (Antiga Botica Ramirez) pending payment, and at the same time resolve
Exhibits J and M, and in finding that plaintiff gave such extensions.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles the indorsement of all the shares of the corporations to the creditor corporations in order that the latter might
virtual law library reorganize the Antigua Botica Ramirez (antes Zobel), Inc. in the manner most convenient to their interest."
Had such an assignment as claimed by the defendants been made, it is but natural to except that the
We have not found anything in the record to justify defendant's contention. The only witness for the defendant Gutierrez Repide would have made some mention thereof in the notice for the meeting prepared
defendants who testified on the alleged extensions given by plaintiff was the defendant Gutierrez Repide by him.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
himself, and his testimony consisted only of hearsay evidence and general statements against the direct and
positive evidence introduced by plaintiff that no extension was ever given for the payment of the promissory The fourth and fifth assignments of error relate to the action of the lower court in holding that plaintiff
notes. But what convinces the court that plaintiff did not extend the time for the payment of the promissory administered the business of the defendant corporation Antigua Botica Ramirez without any intervention on
notes in question, is the fact that the testimony of the defendant Eduardo Gutierrez Repide, was not the latter's part; in not permitting the witness J. M. Araullo to testify as to the condition of the corporation in
corroborated by either the defendant Daniel Boquer, who imparted the information to Gutierrez, Repide, or the month of April, 1929; and in finding that plaintiff sold certain properties of the defendant Antigua Botica
by the defendant J. J. Dunbar. The latter, in fact, admitted that no extension was given him for the payment Ramirez at very reduced prices.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
of the promissory notes. Dunbar testified as follows:
We think these points are well taken.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Q. Mr. Dunbar, have you ever obtained an extension for the payment of the indebtedness or obligations of
the Antigua Botica Ramirez to the Philippine Trust Company and Fidelity & Surety Company covered by The defendants contend that plaintiff should not have sold for P5,000 a credit of P18,539.25 which the
some of the documents here presented in evidence? - A. No, sir. defendant corporation Antigua Botica Ramirez had against the Palma Rosa Manufacturing Company. The
record, however, shows that the debtor, the said Palma Rosa Manufacturing Company, was insolvent and
Plaintiff might not have been prompt in proceeding against the principal debtor, but mere delay is no defense that before the new board of directors of the corporation Antigua Botica Ramirez made the sale, the
at all for the surety.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library defendants Daniel Boquer and Jose V. Ramirez were asked by plaintiff to make their comments and
recommendations and that no attention was paid to plaintiff's request. The defendants should not be heard
We rule that the lower court erred in not striking from the record the testimony of the defendant Eduardo now to complain.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Gutierrez Repide on the alleged extensions given by plaintiff to the defendant Daniel Boquer for the
payment of the promissory notes marked plaintiff's Exhibits J and M, and in finding that such extensions The defendant Daniel Boquer testified, in direct examination, that he delivered to plaintiff's witness J. M.
were given by plaintiff.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Araullo all the assets of the defendant coporation Antigua Botica Ramirez. On rebuttal, Araullo was not
permitted to controvert Boquer's testimony.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
50
The defendant Daniel Boquer was the manager of the business of the Antigua Botica Ramirez before the For all the foregoing considerations, the judgment of the lower court is hereby reversed, and judgment is
plaintiff took possession thereof, and the defendants claimed that the business was properly managed by hereby rendered -chanrobles virtual law library
Boquer. On rebuttal, Araullo was not permitted to testify as to the condition of the business at the time
plaintiff took it over for the purpose of reorganization.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law In case No. 34686, in favor of the plaintiff Philippine Trust Company and against the defendants Antigua
library Botica Ramirez, Daniel Boquer, and J. J. Dunbar, jointly, for the sum of seven thousand five hundred thirty-
one pesos and twenty-eight centavos(P7,531.28), with interest at the rate of nine per cent (9%) per annum
The rulings of the lower court were erroneous. The witness Araullo should have been permitted to testify, on from December 17, 1928, until paid.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
rebuttal, on the points covered by the defendant Boquer in direct examination.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
chanrobles virtual law library In case No. 34687, in favor of the plaintiff Philippine Trust Company and against the defendants Antigua
Botica Ramirez, Daniel Boquer, J. J. Dunbar, and Eduardo Gutierrez Repide, jointly and severally, for the
With reference to the sale of a motorcycle and certain shelves of the corporation Antigua Botica Ramirez, sum of five thousand eight hundred thirty-seven pesos and seven centavos (P5,837.07), with interest at the
we have examined the record and found nothing therein to show that they were not sold for a reasonable rate of ten per cent (10%) per annum, from March 24, 1930, until paid; and additional sum of five hundred
price. It appears that the party who once offered P500 for the motorcycle and later on P150, had no money eighty-three pesos and seventy centavos (P583.70) for and as attorney's fee and costs of
and claimed that the motorcycle was in bad condition, and there is total lack of evidence as to the condition collection.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
in which the shelves were at the time of the sale.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
In case No. 34688 in favor of the plaintiff Philippine Trust Company and against the defendant J. J. Dunbar,
The sixth and seventh assignments of error are concerned with certain evidence offered by the defendant and Daniel Boquer, Eduardo Gutierrez Repide and Manuela Reyes y Almeida, jointly and severally, for the sum
admitted by the lower court over the objection of counsel for the plaintiff, and with certain evidence offered of seventeen thousand seven hundred and two pesos and fifty-two centavos (P17,702.52), with interest at the
by the plaintiff and rejected by the lower court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library rate of ten per cent (10%) per annum from December 10, 1927, until paid, the liability of the defendant
Manuela Reyes y Almeida being limited, however, to the sum of ten thousand pesos (10,000), which is the
In view of the decision to be rendered by the court, we shall only discuss the assignment of error in amount of the obligation secured by her mortgage of February 13, 1926.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
connection with the document marked Exhibit EE offered by plaintiff in evidence and rejected by the lower chanrobles virtual law library
court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
The defendants J. J. Dunbar, Daniel Boquer, and Eduardo Gutierrez Repide are further sentenced to pay
Plaintiff's Exhibit EE is a copy of the minutes of a special meeting of the stockholders of the corporation plaintiff, jointly and severally, the additional sum of one centavos (P1,702.25) for and as attorneys' fees and
Antigua Botica Ramirez held on April 26, 1929, wherein a transcript of the stenographic notes taken at the costs of collection.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
stockholders' meeting of the same corporation held on April 19, 1929, was incorporated. At the said meeting
of April 19, 1929, the defendants Eduardo Gutierrez Repide, J. J. Dunbar and Daniel Boquer admitted their The defendant Manuela Reyes y Almeida is further sentenced to pay plaintiff the additional sum of one
obligations to the plaintiff bank and such admissions were inserted, without any objection on the part of the thousand pesos (P1,000) for and as attorney's fees and costs of collection.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
said defendants, in the minutes of the special stockholders' meeting of April 26, chanrobles virtual law library
1929.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
The costs will be limited to the attorney's fees and costs of collection as hereinbefore stated. So ordered.
Counsel for the defendants objected to the introduction of said Exhibit EE on the ground that it contained
certain statements made by the said defendants Eduardo Gutierrez Repide, J. J. Dunbar, and Daniel Boquer; It must be stressed here that even under a regime of martial law, the operations of our laws governing the
that the latter were not given an opportunity to explain their statements before plaintiff offered the document rights of an accused person are not open to doubt. Under the code for the administration of detainees, all
in evidence; and that this contention is without merit. Had plaintiff intended to impeach statements made by officers, civilian and military personnel are sworn to uphold the rights of detainees. Among such
the defendants Eduardo Gutierrez Repide, J. J. Dunbar, and Daniel Boquer on another occasion, plaintiff, as fundamental rights are the right against compulsory testimonial self-incrimination, the right, when under
claimed by counsel for the defendant, should have laid a foundation for the introduction in evidence of said investigation for the commission of an offense, to remain silent, to have counsel, and to be informed of his
Exhibit EE by calling the attention of the said defendants Eduardo Gutierrez Repide, J. J. Dunbar, and rights; the right not to be subjected to force, violence, threats, intimidation and degrading punishment or
Daniel Boquer to their former statements, but apparently plaintiff had no such purpose. Plaintiff's purpose in torture in the course of one's detention, and the safeguard that any confession obtained in violation of the
introducing the said Exhibit EE was probably to show certain admissions against interest made by the foregoing rights shall be inadmissible in evidence. 12 The 1973 Constitution gives explicit constitutional
defendants, and said EE might then be admissible without the necessity of plaintiff's first making the sanction to the right to silence. Thus, in Section 20 of Article IV of the Constitution, there is this categorical
defendant Eduardo Gutierrez Repide, J. J. Dunbar, and Daniel Boquer explain their statements. mandate: "Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to remain
silent and to counsel, and to be informed of such right. No force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other
. . . In offering in evidence the testimony given by Mr. Hemady and the Hashims in the earlier case, the means which vitiates the free will shall be used against him. Any confession obtained in violation of this
defendant-appellant did not claim that said testimony contained admissions against interest by the parties to section shall be inadmissible in evidence."
the action of their agents; if such had been the case, the testimony would have been admissible without the
laying of a foundation and without the witness having testified in the case at bar. . . . (Juan Ysmael & Co. vs.
Hashim and Gorayeb, 50 Phil., 132, 138.)
51
This privilege against self-incrimination guaranteed by the Constitution protects, therefore, the right of a warring personalities are important enough but more transcendental are the constitutional issues embedded
person to remain silent unless he chooses to speak in the unfettered exercise of his own will, and to suffer no on the parties dispute. While the significant issues are many, the jugular issue involves the relationship
penalty for such silence. 13 between the ruler and the ruled in a democracy, Philippine style.

This aspect of the right has been comprehensively explained by then Associate Justice Enrique M. Fernando, First, we take a view of the panorama of events that precipitated the crisis in the office of the President.
now Chief justice, in Pascual Jr. v. Board of Medical Examiners, 14 thus:
In the May 11, 1998 elections, petitioner Joseph Ejercito Estrada was elected President while respondent
The constitutional guarantee protects as well the right to silence. As far back as 1905, we had occasion to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was elected Vice-President. Some (10) million Filipinos voted for the petitioner
declare: 'The accused has a perfect right to remain silent and his silence cannot be used as a presumption of believing he would rescue them from lifes adversity. Both petitioner and the respondent were to serve a six-
his guilt.' Only last year, in Chavez v. Court of Appeals, speaking through Justice Sanchez, we reaffirmed year term commencing on June 30, 1998.
the doctrine anew that it is the right of a defendant 'to forego testimony, to remain silent, unless he chooses
to take the witness stand — with undiluted, unfettered exercise of his own free, genuine will.' From the beginning of his term, however, petitioner was plagued by a plethora of problems that slowly but
surely eroded his popularity. His sharp descent from power started on October 4, 2000. Ilocos Sur Governos,
Identifying the right of an accused to remain silent with right to privacy, this Court, in Pascual explained that Luis Chavit Singson, a longtime friend of the petitioner, went on air and accused the petitioner, his family
the privilege against self-incrimination "enables the citizen to create a zone of privacy which government and friends of receiving millions of pesos from jueteng lords.[1]
may not force to surrender to its detriment."
The expos immediately ignited reactions of rage. The next day, October 5, 2000, Senator Teofisto Guingona
We hold, therefore, that it was error for the trial court to draw from appellants' silence while under police Jr, then the Senate Minority Leader, took the floor and delivered a fiery privilege speech entitled I Accuse.
custody, in the face of the incriminatory statements of Melecio Cudillan, the conclusion that the aforesaid He accused the petitioner of receiving some P220 million in jueteng money from Governor Singson from
appellants had tacitly admitted their guilt. We hold, further, that in view of the inadmissibility of the November 1998 to August 2000. He also charged that the petitioner took from Governor Singson P70
extrajudicial confession of Melecio Cudillan implicating herein appellants, the remaining evidence against million on excise tax on cigarettes intended for Ilocos Sur. The privilege speech was referred by then Senate
them, consisting in the testimonies of Sgt. Mariano Isla and Hernando Carillo, is insufficient to sustain the President Franklin Drilon, to the Blue Ribbon Committee (then headed by Senator Aquilino Pimentel) and
judgment of conviction. Indeed, it is inherently improbable that herein appellants would have readily the Committee on Justice (then headed by Senator Renato Cayetano) for joint investigation.[2]
confessed their participation in the commission of a heinous crime to a casual acquaintance in a prison
detention cell, considering that on the same occasion they strongly denied any involvement in such crime The House of Representatives did no less. The House Committee on Public Order and Security, then headed
before the police authorities. by Representative Roilo Golez, decided to investigate the expos of Governor Singson. On the other hand,
Representatives Heherson Alvarez, Ernesto Herrera and Michael Defensor spearheaded the move to impeach
WHEREFORE, the judgement appealed from is reversed, and appellants Ramiro Alegre y Cerdoncillo, the petitioner.
Mario Comayas y Cudillan and Jesus Medalla y Cudillan are hereby ACQUITTED of the crime with which
they are charged. Their immediate release from detention is ordered, unless they or any one of them is Calls for the resignation of the petitioner filled the air. On October 11, Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin issued
otherwise held for some other lawful cause. a pastoral statement in behalf of the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Manila, asking petitioner to
step down from the presidency as he had lost the moral authority to govern.[3] Two days later or on October
SO ORDERED. 13, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines joined the cry for the resignation of the petitioner.[4]
Four days later, or on October 17, former President Corazon C. Aquino also demanded that the petitioner
EN BANC take the supreme self-sacrifice of resignation.[5] Former President Fidel Ramos also joined the chorus. Early
[G.R. Nos. 146710-15. March 2, 2001] on, or on October 12, respondent Arroyo resigned as Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and
Services[6] and later asked for petitioners resignation.[7] However, petitioner strenuously held on to his
JOSEPH E. ESTRADA, petitioner, vs. ANIANO DESIERTO, in his capacity as Ombudsman, office and refused to resign.
RAMON GONZALES, VOLUNTEERS AGAINST CRIME AND CORRUPTION, GRAFT FREE
PHILIPPINES FOUNDATION, INC., LEONARD DE VERA, DENNIS FUNA, ROMEO The heat was on. On November 1, four (4) senior economic advisers, members of the Council of Senior
CAPULONG and ERNESTO B. FRANCISCO, JR., respondent. Economic Advisers, resigned. They were Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, former Prime Minister Cesar
[G.R. No. 146738. March 2, 2001] Virata, former Senator Vicente Paterno and Washington Sycip.[8] On November 2, Secretary Mar Roxas II
also resigned from the Department of Trade and Industry.[9] On November 3, Senate President Franklin
JOSEPH E. ESTRADA, petitioner, vs. GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, respondent. Drilon, and House Speaker Manuel Villar, together with some 47 representatives defected from the ruling
DECISION coalition, Lapian ng Masang Pilipino.[10]
PUNO, J.:
The month of November ended with a big bang. In a tumultuous session on November 13, House Speaker
On the line in the cases at bar is the office of the President. Petitioner Joseph Ejercito Estrada alleges that he Villar transmitted the Articles of Impeachment[11] signed by 115 representatives, or more than 1/3 of all the
is the President on leave while respondent Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo claims she is the President. The members of the House of Representatives to the Senate. This caused political convulsions in both houses of
Congress. Senator Drilon was replaced by Senator Pimentel as Senate President. Speaker Villar was
52
unseated by Representative Fuentabella.[12] On November 20, the Senate formally opened the impeachment thousands of cheering demonstrators, General Reyes declared that on behalf of your Armed Forces, the
trial of the petitioner. Twenty-one (21) senators took their oath as judges with Supreme Court Chief Justice 130,000 strong members of the Armed Forces, we wish to announce that we are withdrawing our support to
Hilario G. Davide, Jr., presiding.[13] this government.[23] A little later, PNP Chief, Director General Panfilo Lacson and the major service
commanders gave a similar stunning announcement.[24] Some Cabinet secretaries, undersecretaries,
The political temperature rose despite the cold December. On December 7, the impeachment trial assistant secretaries, and bureau chiefs quickly resigned from their posts.[25] Rallies for the resignation of
started.[14] the battle royale was fought by some of the marquee names in the legal profession. Standing as the petitioner exploded in various parts of the country. To stem the tide of rage, petitioner announced he was
prosecutors were then House Minority Floor Leader Feliciano Belmonte and Representatives Joker Arroyo, ordering his lawyers to agree to the opening of the highly controversial second envelop.[26] There was no
Wigberto Taada, Sergio Apostol, Raul Gonzales, Oscar Moreno, Salacnib Baterina, Roan Libarios, Oscar turning back the tide. The tide had become a tsunami.
Rodriguez, Clavel Martinez and Antonio Nachura. They were assisted by a battery of private prosecutors led
by now Secretary of Justice Hernando Perez and now Solicitor General Simeon Marcelo. Serving as defense January 20 turned to be the day of surrender. At 12:20 a.m., the first round of negotiations for the peaceful
counsel were former Chief Justice Andres Narvasa, former Solicitor General and Secretary of Justice and orderly transfer of power started at Malacaangs Mabini Hall, Office of the Executive Secretary.
Estelito P. Mendoza, former City Fiscal of Manila Jose Flamiano, former Deputy Speaker of the House Raul Secretary Edgardo Angara, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Ramon Bagatsing, Political Adviser Angelito
Daza, Atty. Siegfried Fortun and his brother, Atty. Raymund Fortun. The day to day trial was covered by Banayo, Asst. Secretary Boying Remulla, and Atty. Macel Fernandez, head of the presidential Management
live TV and during its course enjoyed the highest viewing rating. Its high and low points were the constant Staff, negotiated for the petitioner. Respondent Arroyo was represented by now Executive Secretary Renato
conversational piece of the chattering classes. The dramatic point of the December hearings was the de Villa, now Secretary of Finance Alberto Romulo and now Secretary of Justice Hernando Perez.[27]
testimony of Clarissa Ocampo, senior vice president of Equitable-PCI Bank. She testified that she was one Outside the palace, there was a brief encounter at Mendiola between pro and anti-Estrada protesters which
foot away from petitioner Estrada when he affixed the signature Jose Velarde on documents involving a resulted in stone-throwing and caused minor injuries. The negotiations consumed all morning until the news
P500 million investment agreement with their bank on February 4, 2000.[15] broke out that Chief Justice Davide would administer the oath to respondent Arroyo at high noon at the
EDSA Shrine.
After the testimony of Ocampo, the impeachment trial was adjourned in the spirit of Christmas. When it
resumed on January 2, 2001, more bombshells were exploded by the prosecution. On January 11, Atty. At about 12:00 noon, Chief Justice Davide administered the oath to respondent Arroyo as President of the
Edgardo Espiritu who served as petitioners Secretary of Finance took the witness stand. He alleged that the Philippines.[28] At 2:30 p.m., petitioner and his family hurriedly left Malacaang Palace.[29] He issued the
petitioner jointly owned BW Resources Corporation with Mr. Dante Tan who was facing charges of insider following press statement:[30]
trading.[16] Then came the fateful day of January 16, when by a vote of 11-10[17] the senator-judges ruled
against the opening of the second envelop which allegedly contained evidence showing that petitioner held 20 January 2001
P3.3 billion in a secret bank account under the name Jose Velarde. The public and private prosecutors
walked out in protest of the ruling. In disgust, Senator Pimentel resigned as Senate President.[18] The ruling STATEMENT FROM
made at 10:00 p.m. was met by a spontaneous outburst of anger that hit the streets of the metropolis. By
midnight, thousands had assembled at the EDSA Shrine and speeches full of sulphur were delivered against PRESIDENT JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA
the petitioner and the eleven (11) senators.
At twelve oclock noon today, Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took her oath as President of the
On January 17, the public prosecutors submitted a letter to Speaker Fuentebella tendering their collective Republic of the Philippines. While along with many other legal minds of our country, I have strong and
resignation. They also filed their Manifestation of Withdrawal of Appearance with the impeachment serious doubts about the legality and constitutionality of her proclamation as President, I do not wish to be a
tribunal.[19] Senator Raul Roco quickly moved for the indefinite postponement of the impeachment factor that will prevent the restoration of unity and order in our civil society.
proceedings until the House of Representatives shall have resolved the issue of resignation of the public
prosecutors. Chief Justice Davide granted the motion.[20] It is for this reason that I now leave Malacaang Palace, the seat of the presidency of this country, for the sake
of peace and in order to begin the healing process of our nation. I leave the Palace of our people with
January 18 saw the high velocity intensification of the call for petitioners resignation. A 10-kilometer line of gratitude for the opportunities given to me for service to our people. I will not shirk from any future
people holding lighted candles formed a human chain from the Ninoy Aquino Monument on Ayala Avenue challenges that may come ahead in the same service of our country.
in Makati City to the EDSA Shrine to symbolize the peoples solidarity in demanding petitioners resignation.
Students and teachers walked out of their classes in Metro Manila to show their concordance. Speakers in I call on all my supporters and followers to join me in the promotion of a constructive national spirit of
the continuing rallies at the EDSA Shrine, all masters of the physics of persuasion, attracted more and more reconciliation and solidarity.
people.[21]
May the Almighty bless our country and beloved people.
On January 19, the fall from power of the petitioner appeared inevitable. At 1:20 p.m., the petitioner
informed Executive Secretary Edgardo Angara that General Angelo Reyes, Chief of Staff of the Armed MABUHAY!
Forces of the Philippines, had defected. At 2:30 p.m., petitioner agreed to the holding of a snap election for
President where he would not be a candidate. It did not diffuse the growing crisis. At 3:00 p.m., Secretary of (Sgd.) JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA
National Defense Orlando Mercado and General Reyes, together with the chiefs of all the armed services
went to the EDSA Shrine.[22] In the presence of former Presidents Aquino and Ramos and hundreds of It also appears that on the same day, January 20, 2001, he signed the following letter:[31]
53
presidency before the Supreme Court. Senators Teresa Aquino-Oreta and Robert Barbers were absent.[44]
Sir: The House of Representatives also approved Senator Guingonas nomination in Resolution No. 178.[45]
Senator Guingona took his oath as Vice President two (2) days later.[46]
By virtue of the provisions of Section 11, Article VII of the Constitution, I am hereby transmitting this
declaration that I am unable to exercise the powers and duties of my office. By operation of law and the On February 7, the Senate passed Resolution No. 83 declaring that the impeachment court is functus officio
Constitution, the Vice-President shall be the Acting President. and has been terminated.[47] Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago stated for the record that she voted against
the closure of the impeachment court on the grounds that the Senate had failed to decide on the impeachment
(Sgd.) JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA case and that the resolution left open the question of whether Estrada was still qualified to run for another
elective post.[48]
A copy of the letter was sent to former Speaker Fuentebella at 8:30 a.m., on January 20.[32] Another copy
was transmitted to Senate President Pimentel on the same day although it was received only at 9:00 p.m.[33] Meanwhile, in a survey conducted by Pulse Asia, President Arroyos public acceptance rating jacked up from
16% on January 20, 2001 to 38% on January 26, 2001.[49] In another survey conducted by the ABS-
On January 22, the Monday after taking her oath, respondent Arroyo immediately discharged the powers and CBN/SWS from February 2-7, 2001, results showed that 61% of the Filipinos nationwide accepted President
duties of the Presidency. On the same day, this Court issued the following Resolution in Administrative Arroyo as replacement of petitioner Estrada. The survey also revealed that President Arroyo is accepted by
Matter No. 01-1-05-SC, to wit: 60% in Metro Manila, by also 60% in the balance of Luzon, by 71% in the Visayas, and 55% in Mindanao.
Her trust rating increased to 52%. Her presidency is accepted by majorities in all social classes:
A.M. No. 01-1-05-SC In re: Request of Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to Take her Oath of Office
as President of the Republic of the Philippines before the Chief Justice Acting on the urgent request of Vice- 58% in the ABC or middle-to-upper classes, 64% in the D or mass, and 54% among the Es or very poor
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to be sworn in as President of the Republic of the Philippines, addressed class.[50]
to the Chief Justice and confirmed by a letter to the Court, dated January 20, 2001, which request was treated
as an administrative matter, the court Resolved unanimously to confirm the authority given by the twelve After his fall from the pedestal of power, the petitioners legal problems appeared in clusters. Several cases
(12) members of the Court then present to the Chief Justice on January 20, 2001 to administer the oath of previously filed against him in the Office of the Ombudsman were set in motion. These are: (1) OMB Case
office to Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as President of the Philippines, at noon of January 20, No. 0-00-1629, filed by Ramon A. Gonzales on October 23, 2000 for bribery and graft and corruption; (2)
2001. OMB Case No. 0-00-1754 filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption on November 17, 2000 for
plunder, forfeiture, graft and corruption, bribery, perjury, serious misconduct, violation of the Code of
This resolution is without prejudice to the disposition of any justiciable case that maybe filed by a proper Conduct for government Employees, etc; (3) OMB Case No. 0-00-1755 filed by the Graft Free Philippines
party. Foundation, Inc. on November 24, 2000 for plunder, forfeiture, graft and corruption, bribery, perjury, serious
misconduct; (4) OMB Case No. 0-00-1756 filed by Romeo Capulong, et al., on November 28, 2000 for
Respondent Arroyo appointed members of her Cabinet as well as ambassadors and special envoys.[34] malversation of public funds, illegal use of public funds and property, plunder, etc., (5) OMB Case No. 0-
Recognition of respondent Arroyos government by foreign governments swiftly followed. On January 23, in 00-1757 filed by Leonard de Vera, et al., on November 28, 2000 for bribery, plunder, indirect bribery,
a reception or vin d honneur at Malacaang, led by the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Papal Nuncio Antonio violation of PD 1602, PD 1829, PD 46, and RA 7080; and (6) OMB Case No. 0-00-1758 filed by Ernesto B.
Franco, more than a hundred foreign diplomats recognized the government of respondent Arroyo.[35] US Francisco, Jr. on December 4, 2000 for plunder, graft and corruption.
President George W. Bush gave the respondent a telephone call from the White House conveying US
recognition of her government.[36] A special panel of investigators was forthwith created by the respondent Ombudsman to investigate the
charges against the petitioner. It is chaired by Overall Deputy Ombudsman Margarito P. Gervasio with the
On January 24, Representative Feliciano Belmonte was elected new Speaker of the House of following as members, viz: Director Andrew Amuyutan, Prosecutor Pelayo Apostol, Atty. Jose de Jesus and
Representatives.[37] The House then passed Resolution No. 175 expressing the full support of the House of Atty. Emmanuel Laureso. On January 22, the panel issued an Order directing the petitioner to file his
Representatives to the administration of Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the counter-affidavit and the affidavits of his witnesses as well as other supporting documents in answer to the
Philippines.[38] It also approved Resolution No. 176 expressing the support of the House of Representatives aforementioned complaints against him.
to the assumption into office by Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as President of the Republic of the
Philippines, extending its congratulations and expressing its support for her administration as a partner in the Thus, the stage for the cases at bar was set. On February 5, petitioner filed with this Court GR No. 146710-
attainment of the nations goals under the Constitution.[39] 15, a petition for prohibition with a prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction. It sought to enjoin the
respondent Ombudsman from conducting any further proceedings in Case Nos. OMB 0-00-1629, 1754,
On January 26, the respondent signed into law the Solid Waste Management Act.[40] A few days later, she 1755, 1756, 1757 and 1758 or in any other criminal complaint that may be filed in his office, until after the
also signed into law the Political Advertising Ban and Fair Election Practices Act.[41] term of petitioner as President is over and only if legally warranted. Thru another counsel, petitioner, on
February 6, filed GR No. 146738 for Quo Warranto. He prayed for judgment confirming petitioner to be the
On February 6, respondent Arroyo nominated Senator Teofisto Guingona, Jr., as her Vice President.[42] the lawful and incumbent President of the Republic of the Philippines temporarily unable to discharge the duties
next day, February 7, the Senate adopted Resolution No. 82 confirming the nomination of Senator of his office, and declaring respondent to have taken her oath as and to be holding the Office of the
Guingona, Jr.[43] Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Juan Ponce Enrile, and John Osmea voted yes with President, only in an acting capacity pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution. Acting on GR Nos.
reservations, citing as reason therefore the pending challenge on the legitimacy of respondent Arroyos 146710-15, the Court, on the same day, February 6, required the respondents to comment thereon within a
54
non-extendible period expiring on 12 February 2001. On February 13, the Court ordered the consolidation of
GR Nos. 146710-15 and GR No. 146738 and the filing of the respondents comments on or before 8:00 a.m. Whether the prosecution of petitioner Estrada should be enjoined on the ground of prejudicial publicity.
of February 15.
We shall discuss the issues in seriatim.
On February 15, the consolidated cases were orally argued in a four-hour hearing. Before the hearing, Chief
Justice Davide, Jr.,[51] and Associate Justice Artemio Panganiban[52] recused themselves on motion of I
petitioners counsel, former Senator Rene A. Saguisag. They debunked the charge of counsel Saguisag that
they have compromised themselves by indicating that they have thrown their weight on one side but Whether or not the cases at bar involve a political question
nonetheless inhibited themselves. Thereafter, the parties were given the short period of five (5) days to file
their memoranda and two (2) days to submit their simultaneous replies. Private respondents[54] raise the threshold issue that the cases at bar pose a political question, and hence, are
beyond the jurisdiction of this Court to decide. They contend that shorn of its embroideries, the cases at bar
In a resolution dated February 20, acting on the urgent motion for copies of resolution and press statement assail the legitimacy of the Arroyo administration. They stress that respondent Arroyo ascended the
for Gag Order on respondent Ombudsman filed by counsel for petitioner in G.R. No. 146738, the Court presidency through people power; that she has already taken her oath as the 14th President of the Republic;
resolved: that she has exercised the powers of the presidency and that she has been recognized by foreign
governments. They submit that these realities on ground constitute the political thicket which the Court
(1) to inform the parties that the Court did not issue a resolution on January 20, 2001 declaring the office of cannot enter.
the President vacant and that neither did the Chief Justice issue a press statement justifying the alleged
resolution; We reject private respondents submission. To be sure, courts here and abroad, have tried to lift the shroud on
political question but its exact latitude still splits the best of legal minds. Developed by the courts in the 20th
(2) to order the parties and especially their counsel who are officers of the Court under pain of being cited century, the political question doctrine which rests on the principle of separation of powers and on prudential
for contempt to refrain from making any comment or discussing in public the merits of the cases at bar while considerations, continue to be refined in the mills constitutional law.[55] In the United States, the most
they are still pending decision by the Court, and authoritative guidelines to determine whether a question is political were spelled out by Mr. Justice Brennan
in the 1962 case of Baker v. Carr,[56] viz:
(3) to issue a 30-day status quo order effective immediately enjoining the respondent Ombudsman from
resolving or deciding the criminal cases pending investigation in his office against petitioner Joseph E. x x x Prominent on the surface on any case held to involve a political question is found a textually
Estrada and subject of the cases at bar, it appearing from news reports that the respondent Ombudsman may demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department or a lack of
immediately resolve the cases against petitioner Joseph E. Estrada seven (7) days after the hearing held on judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it, or the impossibility of deciding without an
February 15, 2001, which action will make the cases at bar moot and academic.[53] initial policy determination of a kind clearly for nonjudicial discretions; or the impossibility of a courts
undertaking independent resolution without expressing lack of the respect due coordinate branches of
The parties filed their replies on February 24. On this date, the cases at bar were deemed submitted for government; or an unusual need for unquestioning adherence to a political decision already made; or the
decision. potentiality of embarrassment from multifarious pronouncements by various departments on question.
Unless one of these formulations is inextricable from the case at bar, there should be no dismissal for non
The bedrock issues for resolution of this Court are: justiciability on the ground of a political questions presence. The doctrine of which we treat is one of
political questions, not of political cases.
I
In the Philippine setting, this Court has been continuously confronted with cases calling for a firmer
Whether the petitions present a justiciable controversy. delineation of the inner and outer perimeters of a political question.[57] Our leading case is Tanada v.
Cuenco,[58] where this Court, through former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, held that political
II questions refer to those questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their
sovereign capacity, or in regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or
Assuming that the petitions present a justiciable controversy, whether petitioner Estrada is a President on executive branch of the government. It is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom, not legality of
leave while respondent Arroyo is an Acting President. a particular measure. To a great degree, the 1987 Constitution has narrowed the reach of the political
question doctrine when it expanded the power of judicial review of this court not only to settle actual
III controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable but also to determine whether
or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of
Whether conviction in the impeachment proceedings is a condition precedent for the criminal prosecution of any branch or instrumentality of government.[59] Heretofore, the judiciary has focused on the thou shalt
petitioner Estrada. In the negative and on the assumption that petitioner is still President, whether he is nots of the Constitution directed against the exercise of its jurisdiction.[60] With the new provision,
immune from criminal prosecution. however, courts are given a greater prerogative to determine what it can do to prevent grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of
IV government. Clearly, the new provision did not just grant the Court power of doing nothing. In sync and
55
symmetry with this intent are other provisions of the 1987 Constitution trimming the so called political Sec. 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of
thicket. Prominent of these provisions is section 18 of Article VII which empowers this Court in limpid the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.
language to x x x review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual
basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ (of habeas corpus) or The indispensability of the peoples freedom of speech and of assembly to democracy is now self-evident.
the extension thereof x x x. The reasons are well put by Emerson: first, freedom of expression is essential as a means of assuring
individual fulfillment; second, it is an essential process for advancing knowledge and discovering truth;
Respondents rely on the case of Lawyers League for a Better Philippines and/or Oliver A. Lozano v. third, it is essential to provide for participation in decision-making by all members of society; and fourth, it
President Corazon C. Aquino, et al.[61] and related cases[62] to support their thesis that since the cases at is a method of achieving a more adaptable and hence, a more stable community of maintaining the
bar involve the legitimacy of the government of respondent Arroyo, ergo, they present a political question. A precarious balance between healthy cleavage and necessary consensus.[69] In this sense, freedom of speech
more cerebral reading of the cited cases will show that they are inapplicable. In the cited cases, we held that and of assembly provides a framework in which the conflict necessary to the progress of a society can take
the government of former President Aquino was the result of a successful revolution by the sovereign place without destroying the society.[70] In Hague v. Committee for Industrial Organization,[71] this
people, albeit a peaceful one. No less than the Freedom Constitution[63] declared that the Aquino function of free speech and assembly was echoed in the amicus curiae brief filed by the Bill of Rights
government was installed through a direct exercise of the power of the Filipino people in defiance of the Committee of the American Bar Association which emphasized that the basis of the right of assembly is the
provisions of the 1973 Constitution, as amended. It is familiar learning that the legitimacy of a government substitution of the expression of opinion and belief by talk rather than force; and this means talk for all and
sired by a successful revolution by people power is beyond judicial scrutiny for that government by all.[72] In the relatively recent case of Subayco v. Sandiganbayan,[73] this Court similarly stressed that
automatically orbits out of the constitutional loop. In checkered contrast, the government of respondent "... it should be clear even to those with intellectual deficits that when the sovereign people assemble to
Arroyo is not revolutionary in character. The oath that she took at the EDSA Shrine is the oath under the petition for redress of grievances, all should listen. For in a democracy, it is the people who count; those who
1987 Constitution.[64] In her oath, she categorically swore to preserve and defend the 1987 Constitution. are deaf to their grievances are ciphers.
Indeed, she has stressed that she is discharging the powers of the presidency under the authority of the 1987
Constitution. Needless to state, the cases at bar pose legal and not political questions. The principal issues for resolution
require the proper interpretation of certain provisions in the 1987 Constitution, notably section 1 of Article
In fine, the legal distinction between EDSA People Power I and EDSA People Power II is clear. EDSA I II,[74] and section 8[75]of Article VII, and the allocation of governmental powers under section 11[76] of
involves the exercise of the people power of revolution which overthrew the whole government. EDSA II is Article VII. The issues likewise call for a ruling on the scope of presidential immunity from suit. They also
an exercise of people power of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly to petition the government for involve the correct calibration of the right of petitioner against prejudicial publicity. As early as the 1803
redress of grievances which only affected the office of the President. EDSA I is extra constitutional and the case of Marbury v. Madison,[77] the doctrine has been laid down that it is emphatically the province and
legitimacy of the new government that resulted from it cannot be the subject of judicial review, but EDSA II duty of the judicial department to say what the law is . . . Thus, respondents invocation of the doctrine of
is intra constitutional and the resignation of the sitting President that it caused and the succession of the Vice political is but a foray in the dark.
President as President are subject to judicial review. EDSA I presented political question; EDSA II involves
legal questions. A brief discourse on freedom of speech and of the freedom of assembly to petition the II
government for redress of grievance which are the cutting edge of EDSA People Power II is not
inappropriate. Whether or not the petitioner resigned as President

Freedom of speech and the right of assembly are treasured by Filipinos. Denial of these rights was one of the We now slide to the second issue. None of the parties considered this issue as posing a political question.
reasons of our 1898 revolution against Spain. Our national hero, Jose P. Rizal, raised the clarion call for the Indeed, it involves a legal question whose factual ingredient is determinable from the records of the case and
recognition of freedom of the press of the Filipinos and included it as among the reforms sine quibus by resort to judicial notice. Petitioner denies he resigned as President or that he suffers from a permanent
non.[65] The Malolos Constitution, which is the work of the revolutionary Congress in 1898, provided in its disability. Hence, he submits that the office of the President was not vacant when respondent Arroyo took
Bill of Rights that Filipinos shall not be deprived (1) of the right to freely express his ideas or opinions, her oath as president.
orally or in writing, through the use of the press or other similar means; (2) of the right of association for
purposes of human life and which are not contrary to public means; and (3) of the right to send petitions to The issue brings under the microscope of the meaning of section 8, Article VII of the Constitution which
the authorities, individually or collectively. These fundamental rights were preserved when the United States provides:
acquired jurisdiction over the Philippines. In the instruction to the Second Philippine Commission of April 7,
1900 issued by President McKinley, it is specifically provided that no law shall be passed abridging the Sec. 8. In case of death, permanent disability, removal from office or resignation of the President, the Vice
freedom of speech or of the press or of the rights of the people to peaceably assemble and petition the President shall become the President to serve the unexpired term. In case of death, permanent disability,
Government for redress of grievances. The guaranty was carried over in the Philippine Bill, the Act of removal from office, or resignation of both the President and Vice President, the President of the Senate or,
Congress of July 1, 1902 and the Jones Law, the Act of Congress of August 29, 1966.[66] in case of his inability, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, shall then acts as President until
President or Vice President shall have been elected and qualified.
Thence on, the guaranty was set in stone in our 1935 Constitution,[67] and the 1973[68] Constitution. These
rights are now safely ensconced in section 4, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, viz: x x x.

56
The issue then is whether the petitioner resigned as President or should be considered resigned as of January Ed, Angie (Reyes) guaranteed that I would have five days to a week in the palace.[85] This is proof that
20, 2001 when respondent took her oath as the 14th President of the Republic. Resignation is not a high petitioner had reconciled himself to the reality that he had to resign. His mind was already concerned with
level legal abstraction. It is a factual question and its elements are beyond quibble: there must be an intent to the five-day grace period he could stay in the palace. It was a matter of time.
resign and the intent must be coupled by acts of relinquishment.[78] The validity of a resignation is not
governed by any formal requirement as to form. It can be oral. It can be written. It can be express. It can be The pressure continued piling up. By 11:00 p.m., former President Ramos called up Secretary Angara and
implied. As long as the resignation is clear, it must be given legal effect. requested, Ed, magtulungan tayo para magkaroon tayo ng (lets cooperate to ensure a) peaceful and orderly
transfer of power.[86] There was no defiance to the request. Secretary Angara readily agreed. Again, we
In the cases at bar, the facts shows that petitioner did not write any formal letter of resignation before he note that at this stage, the problem was already about a peaceful and orderly transfer of power. The
evacuated Malacaang Palace in the Afternoon of January 20, 2001 after the oath-taking of respondent resignation of the petitioner was implied.
Arroyo. Consequently, whether or not petitioner resigned has to be determined from his acts and omissions
before, during and after January 20, 2001 or by the totality of prior, contemporaneous and posterior facts and The first negotiation for a peaceful and orderly transfer of power immediately started at 12:20 a.m. of
circumstantial evidence bearing a material relevance on the issue. January 20, that fateful Saturday. The negotiation was limited to three (3) points: (1) the transition period of
five days after the petitioners resignation; (2) the guarantee of the safety of the petitioner and his family, and
Using this totality test, we hold that petitioner resigned as President. (3) the agreement to open the second envelope to vindicate the name of the petitioner.[87] Again, we note
that the resignation of petitioner was not a disputed point. The petitioner cannot feign ignorance of this fact.
To appreciate the public pressure that led to the resignation of the petitioner, it is important to follow the According to Secretary Angara, at 2:30 a.m., he briefed the petitioner on the three points and the following
succession of events after the expos of Governor Singson. The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee investigated. entry in the Angara Diary shows the reaction of the petitioner, viz:
The more detailed revelations of petitioners alleged misgovernance in the Blue Ribbon investigation spiked
the hate against him. The Articles of Impeachment filed in the House of Representatives which initially was xxx
given a near cipher chance of succeeding snowballed. In express speed, it gained the signatures of 115
representatives or more than 1/3 of the House of Representatives. Soon, petitioners powerful political allies I explain what happened during the first round of negotiations. The President immediately stresses that he
began deserting him. Respondent Arroyo quit as Secretary of Social Welfare. Senate President Drilon and just wants the five-day period promised by Reyes, as well as to open the second envelope to clear his name.
Former Speaker Villar defected with 47 representatives in tow. Then, his respected senior economic advisers
resigned together with his Secretary of Trade and Industry. If the envelope is opened, on Monday, he says, he will leave by Monday.

As the political isolation of the petitioner worsened, the peoples call for his resignation intensified. The call The President says. Pagod na pagod na ako. Ayoko na masyado nang masakit. Pagod na ako sa red tape,
reached a new crescendo when the eleven (11) members of the impeachment tribunal refused to open the bureaucracy, intriga. (I am very tired. I dont want any more of this its too painful. Im tired of the red tape,
second envelope. It sent the people to paroxysms of outrage. Before the night of January 16 was over, the the bureaucracy, the intrigue.)
EDSA Shrine was swarming with people crying for redress of their grievance. Their number grew
exponentially. Rallies and demonstration quickly spread to the countryside like a brush fire. I just want to clear my name, then I will go.[88]

As events approached January 20, we can have an authoritative window on the state of mind of the Again, this is high grade evidence that the petitioner has resigned. The intent to resign is clear when he said
petitioner. The window is provided in the Final Days of Joseph Ejercito Estrada, the diary of Executive x x x Ayoko na masyado nang masakit. Ayoko na are words of resignation.
Secretary Angara serialized in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.[79] The Angara Diary reveals that in morning
of January 19, petitioners loyal advisers were worried about the swelling of the crowd at EDSA, hence, they The second round of negotiation resumed at 7:30 a.m. According to the Angara Diary, the following
decided to crate an ad hoc committee to handle it. Their worry would worsen. At 1:20 p.m., petitioner pulled happened:
Secretary Angara into his small office at the presidential residence and exclaimed: Ed, seryoso na ito.
Kumalas na si Angelo (Reyes) (Ed, this is serious. Angelo has defected.)[80] An hour later or at 2:30, p.m., Oppositions deal
the petitioner decided to call for a snap presidential election and stressed he would not be a candidate. The
proposal for a snap election for president in May where he would not be a candidate is an indicium that 7:30 a.m. Rene arrives with Bert Romulo and (Ms. Macapagals spokesperson) Rene Corona. For this round,
petitioner had intended to give up the presidency even at that time. At 3:00 p.m., General Reyes joined the I am accompanied by Dondon Bagatsing and Macel.
sea of EDSA demonstrators demanding the resignation of the petitioner and dramatically announced the
AFPs withdrawal of support from the petitioner and their pledge of support to respondent Arroyo. The Rene pulls out a document titled Negotiating Points. It reads:
seismic shift of support left petitioner weak as a president. According to Secretary Angara, he asked Senator
Pimentel to advise petitioner to consider the option of dignified exit or resignation.[81] Petitioner did nor 1. The President shall sign a resignation document within the day, 20 January 2001, that will be effective on
disagree but listened intently.[82] The sky was falling fast on the petitioner. At 9:30 p.m., Senator Pimentel Wednesday, 24 January 2001, on which day the Vice President will assume the Presidency of the Republic
repeated to the petitioner the urgency of making a graceful and dignified exit. He gave the proposal a of the Philippines.
sweetener by saying that petitioner would allowed to go abroad with enough funds to support him and his
family.[83] Significantly, the petitioner expressed no objection to the suggestion for a graceful and dignified
exit but said he would never leave the country.[84] At 10:00 p.m., petitioner revealed to Secretary Angara,
57
2. Beginning today, 20 January 2001, the transition process for the assumption of the new administration The only unsettled points at that time were the measures to be undertaken by the parties during and after the
shall commence, and persons designated by the Vice president to various positions and offices of the transition period.
government shall start their orientation activities in coordination with the incumbent officials concerned.
According to Secretary Angara, the draft agreement which was premised on the resignation of the petitioner
3. The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police shall function under the Vice was further refined. It was then signed by their side and he was ready to fax it to General Reyes and Senator
President as national military and police effective immediately. Pimentel to await the signature of the United Opposition. However, the signing by the party of the
respondent Arroyo was aborted by her oath-taking. The Angara Diary narrates the fateful events, viz:[90]
4. The Armed Forces of the Philippines, through its Chief of Staff, shall guarantee the security of the
president and his family as approved by the national military and police authority (Vice President). xxx

5. It is to be noted that the Senate will open the second envelope in connection with the alleged savings 11:00 a.m. Between General Reyes and myself, there is a firm agreement on the five points to effect a
account of the President in the Equitable PCI Bank in accordance with the rules of the Senate, pursuant to peaceful transition. I can hear the general clearing all these points with a group he is with. I hear voices in
the request to the Senate President. the background.

Our deal Agreement

We bring out, too, our discussion draft which reads: The agreement starts: 1. The President shall resign today, 20 January 2001, which resignation shall be
effective on 24 January 2001, on which day the Vice President will assume the presidency of the Republic of
The undersigned parties, for and in behalf of their respective principals, agree and undertake as follows: the Philippines.

1. A transition will occur and take place on Wednesday, 24 January 2001, at which time President Joseph xxx
Ejercito Estrada will turn over the presidency to Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The rest of the agreement follows:
2. In return, President Estrada and his families are guaranteed security and safety of their person and
property throughout their natural lifetimes. Likewise, President Estrada and his families are guaranteed 2. The transition process for the assumption of the new administration shall commence on 20 January 2001,
freedom from persecution or retaliation from government and the private sector throughout their natural wherein persons designated by the Vice President to various government positions shall start orientation
lifetimes. activities with incumbent officials.

This commitment shall be guaranteed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) through the Chief of 3. The Armed Forces of the Philippines through its Chief of Staff, shall guarantee the safety and security of
Staff, as approved by the national military and police authorities Vice President (Macapagal). the President and his families throughout their natural lifetimes as approved by the national military and
police authority Vice President.
3. Both parties shall endeavor to ensure that the Senate siting as an impeachment court will authorize the
opening of the second envelope in the impeachment trial as proof that the subject savings account does not 4. The AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) shall function under the Vice President as national
belong to President Estrada. military and police authorities.

4. During the five-day transition period between 20 January 2001 and 24 January 2001 (the Transition 5. Both parties request the impeachment court to open the second envelope in the impeachment trial, the
Period), the incoming Cabinet members shall receive an appropriate briefing from the outgoing Cabinet contents of which shall be offered as proof that the subject savings account does not belong to the President.
officials as part of the orientation program.
The Vice President shall issue a public statement in the form and tenor provided for in Annex B heretofore
During the Transition Period, the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) shall function under Vice attached to this agreement.
President (Macapagal) as national military and police authorities.
xxx
Both parties hereto agree that the AFP chief of staff and PNP director general shall obtain all the necessary
signatures as affixed to this agreement and insure faithful implementation and observance thereof. 11:20 a.m. I am all set to fax General Reyes and Nene Pimentel our agreement, signed by our side and
awaiting the signature of the United Opposition.
Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo shall issue a public statement in the form and tenor provided for in
Annex A heretofore attached to this agreement.[89] And then it happens. General Reyes calls me to say that the Supreme Court has decided that Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo is President and will be sworn in at 12 noon.
The second round of negotiation cements the reading that the petitioner has resigned. It will be noted that
during this second round of negotiation, the resignation of the petitioner was again treated as a given fact.
58
Bakit hindi naman kayo nakahintay? Paano na ang agreement (Why couldnt you wait? What about the gratitude for the opportunities given to me for service to our people. I will not shrik from any future
agreement)? I asked. challenges that may come ahead in the same service of our country.

Reyes answered: Wala na, sir (Its over, sir). I call on all my supporters and followers to join me in the promotion of a constructive national spirit of
reconciliation and solidarity.
I asked him: Di yung transition period, moot and academic na?
May the Almighty bless our country and our beloved people.
And General Reyes answer: Oo nga, i-delete na natin, sir (Yes, were deleting that part).
MABUHAY!
Contrary to subsequent reports, I do not react and say that there was a double cross.
It was curtain time for the petitioner.
But I immediately instruct Macel to delete the first provision on resignation since this matter is already moot
and academic. Within moments, Macel erases the first provision and faxes the documents, which have been In sum, we hold that the resignation of the petitioner cannot be doubted. It was confirmed by his leaving
signed by myself, Dondon and Macel to Nene Pimentel and General Reyes. Malacaang. In the press release containing his final statement, (1) he acknowledged the oath-taking of the
respondent as President of the Republic albeit with the reservation about its legality; (2) he emphasized he
I direct Demaree Ravel to rush the original document to General Reyes for the signatures of the other side, was leaving the Palace, the seat of the presidency, for the sake of peace and in order to begin the healing
as it is important that the provision on security, at least, should be respected. process of our nation. He did not say he was leaving the Palace due to any kind of inability and that he was
going to re-assume the presidency as soon as the disability disappears; (3) he expressed his gratitude to the
I then advise the President that the Supreme Court has ruled that Chief Justice Davide will administer the people for the opportunity to serve them. Without doubt, he was referring to the past opportunity given him
oath to Gloria at 12 noon. to serve the people as President; (4) he assured that he will not shirk from any future challenge that may
come ahead in the same service of our country. Petitioners reference is to a future challenge after occupying
The president is too stunned for words. the office of the president which he has given up; and (5) he called on his supporters to join him in the
promotion of a constructive national spirit of reconciliation and solidarity. Certainly, the national spirit of
Final meal reconciliation and solidarity could not be attained if he did not give up the presidency. The press release was
petitioners valedictory, his final act of farewell. His presidency is now in the past tense.
12 noon Gloria takes her oath as President of the Republic of the Philippines.
It is, however, urged that the petitioner did not resign but only took a temporary leave of absence due to his
12:20 p.m. The PSG distributes firearms to some people inside the compound. inability to govern. In support of this thesis, the letter dated January 20, 2001 of the petitioner sent to Senate
President Pimentel and Speaker Fuentebella is cited. Again, we refer to the said letter, viz:
The President is having his final meal at the Presidential Residence with the few friends and Cabinet
members who have gathered. Sir

By this time, demonstrators have already broken down the first line of defense at Mendiola. Only the PSG is By virtue of the provisions of Section II, Article VII of the Constitution, I am hereby transmitting this
there to protect the Palace, since the police and military have already withdrawn their support for the declaration that I am unable to exercise the powers and duties of my office. By operation of law and the
President. Constitution, the Vice President shall be the Acting President.

1 p.m. The Presidents personal staff is rushing to pack as many of the Estrada familys personal possessions (Sgd.) Joseph Ejercito Estrada
as they can.
To say the least, the above letter is wrapped in mystery.[91] The pleadings filed by the petitioner in the cases
During lunch, Ronie Puno mentions that the President needs to release a final statement before leaving at bar did not discuss, nay even intimate, the circumstances that led to its preparation. Neither did the
Malacaang. counsel of the petitioner reveal to the Court these circumstances during the oral argument. It strikes the
Court as strange that the letter, despite its legal value, was never referred to by the petitioner during the
The statement reads: At twelve oclock noon today, Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took her oath week-long crisis. To be sure, there was not the slightest hint of its existence when he issued his final press
as President of the Republic of the Philippines. While along with many other legal minds of our country, I release. It was all too easy for him to tell the Filipino people in his press release that he was temporarily
have strong and serious doubts about the legality and constitutionality of her proclamation as president, I do unable to govern and that he was leaving the reins of government to respondent Arroyo for the time being.
not wish to be a factor that will prevent the restoration of unity and order in our civil society. Under any circumstance, however, the mysterious letter cannot negate the resignation of the petitioner. If it
was prepared before the press release of the petitioner clearly showing his resignation from the presidency,
It is for this reason that I now leave Malacaang Palace, the seat of the presidency of this country, for the sake then the resignation must prevail as a later act. If, however, it was prepared after the press release, still, it
of peace and in order to begin the healing process of our nation. I leave the Palace of our people with commands scant legal significance. Petitioners resignation from the presidency cannot be the subject of a
changing caprice nor of a whimsical will especially if the resignation is the result of his repudiation by the
59
people. There is another reason why this Court cannot give any legal significance to petitioners letter and prosecution do not suffer from any insuperable legal obstacle like the immunity from suit of a sitting
this shall be discussed in issue number III of this Decision. President.

After petitioner contended that as a matter of fact he did not resign, he also argues that he could not resign as Petitioner contends that the impeachment proceeding is an administrative investigation that, under section 12
a matter of law. He relies on section 12 of RA No. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt of RA 3019, bars him from resigning. We hold otherwise. The exact nature of an impeachment proceeding is
Practices Act, which allegedly prohibits his resignation, viz: debatable. But even assuming arguendo that it is an administrative proceeding, it can not be considered
pending at the time petitioner resigned because the process already broke down when a majority of the
Sec. 12. No public officer shall be allowed to resign or retire pending an investigation, criminal or senator-judges voted against the opening of the second envelope, the public and private prosecutors walked
administrative, or pending a prosecution against him, for any offense under this Act or under the provisions out, the public prosecutors filed their Manifestation of Withdrawal of Appearance, and the proceedings were
of the Revised Penal Code on bribery. postponed indefinitely. There was, in effect, no impeachment case pending against petitioner when he
resigned.
A reading of the legislative history of RA No. 3019 will hardly provide any comfort to the petitioner. RA
No. 3019 originated from Senate Bill No. 293. The original draft of the bill, when it was submitted to the III
Senate, did not contain a provision similar to section 12 of the law as it now stands. However, in his
sponsorship speech, Senator Arturo Tolentino, the author of the bill, reserved to propose during the period of Whether or not the petitioner is only temporarily unable to act as President.
amendments the inclusion of a provision to the effect that no public official who is under prosecution for any
act of graft or corruption, or is under administrative investigation, shall be allowed to voluntarily resign or We shall now tackle the contention of the petitioner that he is merely temporarily unable to perform the
retire.[92] During the period of amendments, the following provision was inserted as section 15: powers and duties of the presidency, and hence is a President on leave. As aforestated, the inability claim is
contained in the January 20, 2001 letter of petitioner sent on the same day to Senate President Pimentel and
Sec. 15. Termination of office No public official shall be allowed to resign or retire pending an investigation, Speaker Fuentebella.
criminal or administrative, or pending a prosecution against him, for any offense under the Act or under the
provisions of the Revised Penal Code on bribery. Petitioner postulates that respondent Arroyo as Vice President has no power to adjudge the inability of the
petitioner to discharge the powers and duties of the presidency. His significant submittal is that Congress has
The separation or cessation of a public official from office shall not be a bar to his prosecution under this the ultimate authority under the Constitution to determine whether the President is incapable of performing
Act for an offense committed during his incumbency.[93] his functions in the manner provided for in section 11 of Article VII.[95] This contention is the centerpiece
of petitioners stance that he is a President on leave and respondent Arroyo is only an Acting President.
The bill was vetoed by then President Carlos P. Garcia who questioned the legality of the second paragraph
of the provision and insisted that the Presidents immunity should extend even after his tenure. An examination of section 11, Article VII is in order. It provides:

Senate Bill No. 571, which was substantially similar to Senate Bill No. 293, was thereafter passed. Section SEC. 11. Whenever the President transmit to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of
15 above became section 13 under the new bill, but the deliberations on this particular provision mainly Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and
focused on the immunity of the President which was one of the reasons for the veto of the original bill. until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged
There was hardly any debate on the prohibition against the resignation or retirement of a public official with by the Vice-President as Acting President.
pending criminal and administrative cases against him. Be that as it may, the intent of the law ought to be
obvious. It is to prevent the act of resignation or retirement from being used by a public official as a Whenever a majority of all the Members of the Cabinet transmit to the President of the Senate and to the
protective shield to stop the investigation of a pending criminal or administrative case against him and to Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge
prevent his prosecution under the Anti-Graft Law or prosecution for bribery under the Revised Penal Code. the powers and duties of his office, the Vice-President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of
To be sure, no person can be compelled to render service for that would be a violation of his constitutional the office as Acting President.
right.[94] A public official has the right not to serve if he really wants to retire or resign. Nevertheless, if at
the time he resigns or retires, a public official is facing administrative or criminal investigation or Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of
prosecution, such resignation or retirement will not cause the dismissal of the criminal or administrative Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall reassume the powers and duties of his
proceedings against him. He cannot use his resignation or retirement to avoid prosecution. office. Meanwhile, should a majority of all the Members of the Cabinet transmit within five days to the
President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the
There is another reason why petitioners contention should be rejected. In the cases at bar, the records show President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Congress shall decide the issue. For
that when petitioner resigned on January 20, 2001, the cases filed against him before the Ombudsman were that purpose, the Congress shall convene, if it is not in session, within forty-eight hours, in accordance with
OMB Case Nos. 0-00-1629, 0-00-1755, 0-00-1756, 0-00-1757 and 0-00-1758. While these cases have been its rules and without need of call.
filed, the respondent Ombudsman refrained from conducting the preliminary investigation of the petitioner
for the reason that as the sitting President then, petitioner was immune from suit. Technically, the said cases If the Congress, within ten days after receipt of the last written declaration, or, if not in session within twelve
cannot be considered as pending for the Ombudsman lacked jurisdiction to act on them. Section 12 of RA days after it is required to assemble, determines by a two-thirds vote of both Houses, voting separately, that
No. 3019 cannot therefore be invoked by the petitioner for it contemplates of cases whose investigation or
60
the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice-President shall act as Resolved by the House of Representatives, To express its support to the assumption into office by Vice
President; otherwise, the President shall continue exercising the powers and duties of his office." President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as President of the Republic of the Philippines, to extend its
congratulations and to express its support for her administration as a partner in the attainment of the Nations
That is the law. Now the operative facts: goals under the Constitution.

(1) Petitioner, on January 20, 2001, sent the above letter claiming inability to the Senate President and Adopted,
Speaker of the House;
(Sgd.) FELICIANO BELMONTE JR.
(2) Unaware of the letter, respondent Arroyo took her oath of office as President on January 20, 2001 at
about 12:30 p.m.; Speaker

(3) Despite receipt of the letter, the House of Representative passed on January 24, 2001 House Resolution This Resolution was adopted by the House of Representatives on January 24, 2001.
No. 175;[96]
(Sgd.) ROBERTO P. NAZARENO
On the same date, the House of the Representatives passed House Resolution No. 176[97]which states:
Secretary General
RESOLUTION EXPRESSING THE SUPPORT OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO THE
ASSUMPTION INTO OFFICE BY VICE PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO AS On February 7, 2001, the House of the Representatives passed House Resolution No. 178[98] which states:
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, EXTENDING ITS CONGRATULATIONS
AND EXPRESSING ITS SUPPORT FOR HER ADMINISTRATION AS A PARTNER IN THE RESOLUTION CONFIRMING PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYOS NOMINATION OF
ATTAINMENT OF THE NATIONS GOALS UNDER THE CONSTITUTION SENATOR TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR. AS VICE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE
PHILIPPINES
WHEREAS, as a consequence of the peoples loss of confidence on the ability of former President Joseph
Ejercito Estrada to effectively govern, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police WHEREAS, there is a vacancy in the Office of the Vice President due to the assumption to the Presidency of
and majority of his cabinet had withdrawn support from him; Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo;

WHEREAS, upon authority of an en banc resolution of the Supreme Court, Vice President Gloria WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 9, Article VII of the Constitution, the President in the event of such
Macapagal-Arroyo was sworn in as President of the Philippines on 20 January 2001 before Chief Justice vacancy shall nominate a Vice President from among the members of the Senate and the House of
Hilario G. Davide, Jr.; Representatives who shall assume office upon confirmation by a majority vote of all members of both
Houses voting separately;
WHEREAS, immediately thereafter, members of the international community had extended their
recognition to Her Excellency, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as President of the Republic of the Philippines; WHEREAS, Her Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has nominated Senate Minority Leader
Teofisto T. Guingona Jr., to the position of Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines;
WHEREAS, Her Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has espoused a policy of national healing
and reconciliation with justice for the purpose of national unity and development; WHEREAS, Senator Teofisto T. Guingona Jr., is a public servant endowed with integrity, competence and
courage; who has served the Filipino people with dedicated responsibility and patriotism;
WHEREAS, it is axiomatic that the obligations of the government cannot be achieved if it is divided, thus by
reason of the constitutional duty of the House of Representatives as an institution and that of the individual WHEREAS, Senator Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. possesses sterling qualities of true statesmanship, having
members thereof of fealty to the supreme will of the people, the House of Representatives must ensure to the served the government in various capacities, among others, as Delegate to the Constitutional Convention,
people a stable, continuing government and therefore must remove all obstacles to the attainment thereof; Chairman of the Commission on Audit, Executive Secretary, Secretary of Justice, Senator of the Philippines
- qualities which merit his nomination to the position of Vice President of the Republic: Now, therefore, be it
WHEREAS, it is a concomitant duty of the House of Representatives to exert all efforts to unify the nation,
to eliminate fractious tension, to heal social and political wounds, and to be an instrument of national Resolved as it is hereby resolved by the House of Representatives, That the House of Representatives
reconciliation and solidarity as it is a direct representative of the various segments of the whole nation; confirms the nomination of Senator Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. as the Vice President of the Republic of the
Philippines.
WHEREAS, without surrendering its independence, it is vital for the attainment of all the foregoing, for the
House of Representatives to extend its support and collaboration to the administration of Her Excellency, Adopted,
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and to be a constructive partner in nation-building, the national interest
demanding no less: Now, therefore, be it (Sgd) FELICIANO BELMONTE JR.

61
Speaker
Resolved, as it is hereby resolved, That the Senate confirm the nomination of Sen. Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr.
This Resolution was adopted by the House of Representatives on February 7, 2001. as Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines.

(Sgd.) ROBERTO P. NAZARENO Adopted,

Secretary General (Sgd.) AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL JR.

(4) Also, despite receipt of petitioners letter claiming inability, some twelve (12) members of the Senate President of the Senate
signed the following:
This Resolution was adopted by the Senate on February 7, 2001.
RESOLUTION
(Sgd.) LUTGARDO B. BARBO
WHEREAS, the recent transition in government offers the nation an opportunity for meaningful change and
challenge; Secretary of the Senate

WHEREAS, to attain desired changes and overcome awesome challenges the nation needs unity of purpose On the same date, February 7, the Senate likewise passed Senate Resolution No. 83[101] which states:
and resolute cohesive resolute (sic) will;
RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING THAT THE IMPEACHMENT COURT IS FUNCTUS OFFICIO
WHEREAS, the Senate of the Philippines has been the forum for vital legislative measures in unity despite
diversities in perspectives; Resolved, as it is hereby resolved. That the Senate recognize that the Impeachment Court is functus officio
and has been terminated.
WHEREFORE, we recognize and express support to the new government of President Gloria Macapagal-
Arroyo and resolve to discharge our duties to attain desired changes and overcome the nations Resolved, further, That the Journals of the Impeachment Court of Monday, January 15, Tuesday, January 16
challenges.[99] and Wednesday, January 17, 2001 be considered approved.

On February 7, the Senate also passed Senate Resolution No. 82[100] which states: Resolved, further, That the records of the Impeachment Court including the second envelope be transferred
to the Archives of the Senate for proper safekeeping and preservation in accordance with the Rules of the
RESOLUTION CONFIRMING PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYOS NOMINATION OF Senate. Disposition and retrieval thereof shall be made only upon written approval of the Senate President.
SEN. TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR. AS VICE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE
PHILIPPINES Resolved, finally. That all parties concerned be furnished copies of this Resolution.

WHEREAS, there is it vacancy in the Office of the Vice-President due to the assumption to the Presidency Adopted,
of Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo;
(Sgd.) AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, JR.
WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 9 Article VII of the Constitution, the President in the event of such vacancy
shall nominate a Vice President from among the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives President of the Senate
who shall assume office upon confirmation by a majority vote of all members of both Houses voting
separately; This Resolution was adopted by the Senate on February 7, 2001.

WHEREAS, Her Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has nominated Senate Minority Leader (Sgd.) LUTGARDO B. BARBO
Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. to the position of Vice President of the Republic of the Phillippines;
Secretary of the Senate
WHEREAS, Sen. Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. is a public servant endowed with integrity, competence, and
courage; who has served the Filipino people with dedicated responsibility and patriotism; (5) On February 8, the Senate also passed Resolution No. 84 certifying to the existence of a vacancy in the
Senate and calling on the COMELEC to fill up such vacancy through election to be held simultaneously
WHEREAS, Sen. Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. possesses sterling qualities of true statesmanship, having served with the regular election on May 14, 2001 and the senatorial candidate garnering the thirteenth (13th)
the government in various capacities, among others, as Delegate to the Constitutional Convention, Chairman highest number of votes shall serve only for the unexpired term of Senator Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr.
of the Commission on Audit, Executive Secretary, Secretary of Justice. Senator of the land - which qualities
merit his nomination to the position of Vice President of the Republic: Now, therefore, be it (6) Both houses of Congress started sending bills to be signed into law by respondent Arroyo as President.
62
official duties. The judiciary has full power to, and will, when the matter is properly presented to it and the
(7) Despite the lapse of time and still without any functioning Cabinet, without any recognition from any occasion justly warrants it, declare an act of the Governor-General illegal and void and place as nearly as
sector of government, and without any support from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine possible in status quo any person who has been deprived his liberty or his property by such act. This remedy
National Police, the petitioner continues to claim that his inability to govern is only momentary. is assured to every person, however humble or of whatever country, when his personal or property rights
have been invaded, even by the highest authority of the state. The thing which the judiciary can not do is
What leaps to the eye from these irrefutable facts is that both houses of Congress have recognized mulct the Governor-General personally in damages which result from the performance of his official duty,
respondent Arroyo as the President. Implicitly clear in that recognition is the premise that the inability of any more that it can a member of the Philippine Commission or the Philippine Assembly. Public policy
petitioner Estrada is no longer temporary. Congress has clearly rejected petitioners claim of inability. forbids it.

The question is whether this Court has jurisdiction to review the claim of temporary inability of petitioner Neither does this principle of nonliability mean that the chief executive may not be personally sued at all in
Estrada and thereafter revise the decision of both Houses of Congress recognizing respondent Arroyo as relation to acts which he claims to perform as such official. On the contrary, it clearly appears from the
President of the Philippines. Following Taada v. Cuenco,[102] we hold that this Court cannot exercise its discussion heretofore had, particularly that portion which touched the liability of judges and drew an analogy
judicial power for this is an issue in regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the between such liability and that of the Governor-General, that the latter is liable when he acts in a case so
Legislative x x x branch of the government. Or to use the language in Baker vs. Carr,[103] there is a plainly outside of his power and authority that he can not be said to have exercise discretion in determining
textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department or a lack whether or not he had the right to act. What is held here is that he will be protected from personal liability
of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it. Clearly, the Court cannot pass upon for damages not only when he acts within his authority, but also when he is without authority, provided he
petitioners claim of inability to discharge the powers and duties of the presidency. The question is political actually used discretion and judgment, that is, the judicial faculty, in determining whether he had authority
in nature and addressed solely to Congress by constitutional fiat. It is a political issue which cannot be to act or not. In other words, he is entitled to protection in determining the question of his authority. If he
decided by this Court without transgressing the principle of separation of powers. decide wrongly, he is still protected provided the question of his authority was one over which two men,
reasonably qualified for that position, might honestly differ; but he is not protected if the lack of authority to
In fine, even if the petitioner can prove that he did not resign, still, he cannot successfully claim that he is a act is so plain that two such men could not honestly differ over its determination. In such case, he acts, not as
President on leave on the ground that he is merely unable to govern temporarily. That claim has been laid to Governor-General but as a private individual, and, as such, must answer for the consequences of his act.
rest by Congress and the decision that respondent Arroyo is the de jure President made by a co-equal branch
of government cannot be reviewed by this Court. Mr. Justice Johnson underscored the consequences if the Chief Executive was not granted immunity from
suit, viz: x x x. Action upon important matters of state delayed; the time and substance of the chief executive
IV spent in wrangling litigation; disrespect engendered for the person of one of the highest officials of the State
and for the office he occupies; a tendency to unrest and disorder; resulting in a way, in a distrust as to the
Whether or not the petitioner enjoys immunity from suit. Assuming he enjoys immunity, the extent of the integrity of government itself.[105]
immunity
Our 1935 Constitution took effect but it did not contain any specific provision on executive immunity. Then
Petitioner Estrada makes two submissions: first, the cases filed against him before the respondent came the tumult of the martial law years under the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos and the 1973
Ombudsman should be prohibited because he has not been convicted in the impeachment proceedings Constitution was born. In 1981, it was amended and one of the amendments involved executive immunity.
against him; and second, he enjoys immunity from all kinds of suit, whether criminal or civil. Section 17, Article VII stated:

Before resolving petitioners contentions, a revisit of our legal history on executive immunity will be most The President shall be immune from suit during his tenure. Thereafter, no suit whatsoever shall lie for
enlightening. The doctrine of executive immunity in this jurisdiction emerged as a case law. In the 1910 case official acts done by him or by others pursuant to his specific orders during his tenure.
of Forbes, etc. vs. Chuoco tiaco and Crossfield,[104] the respondent Tiaco, a Chinese citizen, sued petitioner
W. Cameron Forbes, Governor-General of the Philippine Islands, J.E. Harding and C.R. Trowbridge, Chief The immunities herein provided shall apply to the incumbent President referred to in Article XVII of this
of Police and Chief of the Secret Service of the City of Manila, respectively, for damages for allegedly Constitution.
conspiring to deport him to China. In granting a writ of prohibition, this Court, speaking thru Mr. Justice
Johnson, held: In his second Vicente G. Sinco Professional Chair Lecture entitled, Presidential Immunity And All The
Kings Men: The Law Of Privilege As A Defense To Actions For Damages,[106] petitioners learned counsel,
The principle of nonliability, as herein enunciated, does not mean that the judiciary has no authority to touch former Dean of the UP college of Law, Atty. Pacifico Agabin, brightlined the modifications effected by this
the acts of the Governor-General; that he may, under cover of his office, do what he will, unimpeded and constitutional amendment on the existing law on executive privilege. To quote his disquisition:
unrestrained. Such a construction would mean that tyranny, under the guise of the execution of the law,
could walk defiantly abroad, destroying rights of person and of property, wholly free from interference of In the Philippines, though, we sought to do the Americans one better by enlarging and fortifying the absolute
courts or legislatures. This does not mean, either, that a person injured by the executive authority by an act immunity concept. First, we extended it to shield the President not only from civil claims but also from
unjustifiable under the law has no remedy, but must submit in silence. On the contrary, it means, simply, that criminal cases and other claims. Second, we enlarged its scope so that it would cover even acts of the
the Governor-General, like the judges of the courts and the members of the Legislature, may not be President outside the scope of official duties. And third, we broadened its coverage so as to include not only
personally mulcted in civil damages for the consequences of an act executed in the performance of his the President but also other persons, be they government officials or private individuals, who acted upon
63
orders of the President. It can be said that at that point most of us were suffering from AIDS (or absolute
immunity defense syndrome). Mr. Aquino. On another point, if an impeachment proceeding has been filed against the President, for
example, and the President resigns before judgment of conviction has been rendered by the impeachment
The Opposition in the then Batasan Pambansa sought the repeal of this Marcosian concept of executive court or by the body, how does it affect the impeachment proceeding? Will it be necessarily dropped?
immunity in the 1973 Constitution. The move was led by then Member of Parliament, now Secretary of
Finance, Alberto Romulo, who argued that the after incumbency immunity granted to President Marcos Mr. Romulo. If we decide the purpose of impeachment to remove one from office, then his resignation
violated the principle that a public office is a public trust. He denounced the immunity as a return to the would render the case moot and academic. However, as the provision says, the criminal and civil aspects of
anachronism the king can do no wrong.[107] The effort failed. it may continue in the ordinary courts.

The 1973 Constitution ceased to exist when President Marcos was ousted from office by the People Power This is in accord with our ruling in In re: Saturnino Bermudez[111]that incumbent Presidents are immune
revolution in 1986. When the 1987 Constitution was crafted, its framers did not reenact the executive from suit or from being brought to court during the period of their incumbency and tenure but not beyond.
immunity provision of the 1973 Constitution. The following explanation was given by delegate J. Bernas, Considering the peculiar circumstance that the impeachment process against the petitioner has been aborted
viz:[108] and thereafter he lost the presidency, petitioner Estrada cannot demand as a condition sine qua non to his
criminal prosecution before the Ombudsman that he be convicted in the impeachment proceedings. His
Mr. Suarez. Thank you. reliance in the case of Lecaroz vs. Sandiganbayan[112] and related cases[113]are inapropos for they have a
different factual milieu.
The last question is with reference to the committees omitting in the draft proposal the immunity provision
for the President. I agree with Commissioner Nolledo that the Committee did very well in striking out this We now come to the scope of immunity that can be claimed by petitioner as a non-sitting President. The
second sentence, at the very least, of the original provision on immunity from suit under the 1973 cases filed against petitioner Estrada are criminal in character. They involve plunder, bribery and graft and
Constitution. But would the Committee members not agree to a restoration of at least the first sentence that corruption. By no stretch of the imagination can these crimes, especially plunder which carries the death
the President shall be immune from suit during his tenure, considering that if we do not provide him that penalty, be covered by the allege mantle of immunity of a non-sitting president. Petitioner cannot cite any
kind of an immunity, he might be spending all his time facing litigations, as the President-in-exile in Hawaii decision of this Court licensing the President to commit criminal acts and wrapping him with post-tenure
is now facing litigations almost daily? immunity from liability. It will be anomalous to hold that immunity is an inoculation from liability for
unlawful acts and omissions. The rule is that unlawful acts of public officials are not acts of the State and the
Fr. Bernas. The reason for the omission is that we consider it understood in present jurisprudence that during officer who acts illegally is not acting as such but stands in the same footing as any other trespasser.[114]
his tenure he is immune from suit. Indeed, a critical reading of current literature on executive immunity will reveal a judicial disinclination to
expand the privilege especially when it impedes the search for truth or impairs the vindication of a right. In
Mr. Suarez. So there is no need to express it here. the 1974 case of US v. Nixon,[115] US President Richard Nixon, a sitting President, was subpoenaed to
produce certain recordings and documents relating to his conversations with aids and advisers. Seven
Fr. Bernas. There is no need. It was that way before. The only innovation made by the 1973 Constitution advisers of President Nixons associates were facing charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice and other
was to make that explicit and to add other things. offenses which were committed in a burglary of the Democratic National Headquarters in Washingtons
Watergate Hotel during the 1972 presidential campaign. President Nixon himself was named an unindicted
Mr. Suarez. On that understanding, I will not press for any more query, Madam President. co-conspirator. President Nixon moved to quash the subpoena on the ground, among others, that the
President was not subject to judicial process and that he should first be impeached and removed from office
I thank the Commissioner for the clarification. before he could be made amenable to judicial proceedings. The claim was rejected by the US Supreme
Court. It concluded that when the ground for asserting privilege as to subpoenaed materials sought for use in
We shall now rule on the contentions of petitioner in the light of this history. We reject his argument that he a criminal trial is based only on the generalized interest in confidentiality, it cannot prevail over the
cannot be prosecuted for the reason that he must first be convicted in the impeachment proceedings. The fundamental demands of due process of law in the fair administration of criminal justice. In the 1982 case of
impeachment trial of petitioner Estrada was aborted by the walkout of the prosecutors and by the events that Nixon v. Fitzgerald,[116] the US Supreme Court further held that the immunity of the President from civil
led to his loss of the presidency. Indeed, on February 7, 2001, the Senate passed Senate Resolution No. 83 damages covers only official acts. Recently, the US Supreme Court had the occasion to reiterate this doctrine
Recognizing that the Impeachment Court is Functus Officio.[109] Since the Impeachment Court is now in the case of Clinton v. Jones[117] where it held that the US Presidents immunity from suits for money
functus officio, it is untenable for petitioner to demand that he should first be impeached and then convicted damages arising out of their official acts is inapplicable to unofficial conduct.
before he can be prosecuted. The plea if granted, would put a perpetual bar against his prosecution. Such a
submission has nothing to commend itself for it will place him in a better situation than a non-sitting There are more reasons not to be sympathetic to appeals to stretch the scope of executive immunity in our
President who has not been subjected to impeachment proceedings and yet can be the object of a criminal jurisdiction. One of the great themes of the 1987 Constitution is that a public office is a public trust.[118] It
prosecution. To be sure, the debates in the Constitutional Commission make it clear that when impeachment declared as a state policy that (t)he State shall maintain honesty and integrity in the public service and take
proceedings have become moot due to the resignation of the President, the proper criminal and civil cases positive and effective measures against graft and corruption."[119] It ordained that (p)ublic officers and
may already be filed against him, viz:[110] employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity,
loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.[120] It set the rule that (t)he
xxx right of the State to recover properties unlawfully acquired by public officials or employees, from them or
64
from their nominees or transferees, shall not be barred by prescription, laches or estoppel.[121] It maintained At best, appellant can only conjure possibility of prejudice on the part of the trial judge due to the barrage of
the Sandiganbayan as an anti-graft court.[122] It created the office of the Ombudsman and endowed it with publicity that characterized the investigation and trial of the case. In Martelino, et al. v. Alejandro, et al., we
enormous powers, among which is to "(i)nvestigate on its own, or on complaint by any person, any act or rejected this standard of possibility of prejudice and adopted the test of actual prejudice as we ruled that to
omission of any public official, employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, warrant a finding of prejudicial publicity, there must be allegation and proof that the judges have been
unjust, improper, or inefficient.[123] The Office of the Ombudsman was also given fiscal autonomy.[124] unduly influenced, not simply that they might be, by the barrage of publicity. In the case at bar, the records
These constitutional policies will be devalued if we sustain petitioners claim that a non-sitting president do not show that the trial judge developed actual bias against appellant as a consequence of the extensive
enjoys immunity from suit for criminal acts committed during his incumbency. media coverage of the pre-trial and trial of his case. The totality of circumstances of the case does not prove
that the trial judge acquired a fixed opinion as a result of prejudicial publicity which is incapable if change
V even by evidence presented during the trial. Appellant has the burden to prove this actual bias and he has not
discharged the burden.
Whether or not the prosecution of petitioner Estrada should be enjoined due to prejudicial publicity
We expounded further on this doctrine in the subsequent case of Webb vs. Hon. Raul de Leon, etc.[130] and
Petitioner also contends that the respondent Ombudsman should be stopped from conducting the its companion cases. viz.:
investigation of the cases filed against him due to the barrage of prejudicial publicity on his guilt. He
submits that the respondent Ombudsman has developed bias and is all set to file the criminal cases in Again, petitioners raise the effect of prejudicial publicity on their right to due process while undergoing
violation of his right to due process. preliminary investigation. We find no procedural impediment to its early invocation considering the
substantial risk to their liberty while undergoing a preliminary investigation.
There are two (2) principal legal and philosophical schools of thought on how to deal with the rain of
unrestrained publicity during the investigation and trial of high profile cases.[125] The British approach the xxx
problem with the presumption that publicity will prejudice a jury. Thus, English courts readily stay and stop
criminal trials when the right of an accused to fair trial suffers a threat.[126] The American approach is The democratic settings, media coverage of trials of sensational cases cannot be avoided and oftentimes, its
different. US courts assume a skeptical approach about the potential effect of pervasive publicity on the right excessiveness has been aggravated by kinetic developments in the telecommunications industry. For sure,
of an accused to a fair trial. They have developed different strains of tests to resolve this issue, i.e., few cases can match the high volume and high velocity of publicity that attended the preliminary
substantial probability of irreparable harm, strong likelihood, clear and present danger, etc. investigation of the case at bar. Our daily diet of facts and fiction about the case continues unabated even
today. Commentators still bombard the public with views not too many of which are sober and sublime.
This is not the first time the issue of trial by publicity has been raised in this Court to stop the trials or annul Indeed, even the principal actors in the case the NBI, the respondents, their lawyers and their sympathizers
convictions in high profile criminal cases.[127] In People vs. Teehankee, Jr.,[128] later reiterated in the case have participated in this media blitz. The possibility of media abuses and their threat to a fair trial
of Larranaga vs. Court of Appeals, et al.,[129] we laid down the doctrine that: notwithstanding, criminal trials cannot be completely closed to the press and public. Inn the seminal case of
Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia, it was wisely held:
We cannot sustain appellants claim that he was denied the right to impartial trial due to prejudicial publicity.
It is true that the print and broadcast media gave the case at bar pervasive publicity, just like all high profile xxx
and high stake criminal trials. Then and now, we now rule that the right of an accused to a fair trial is not
incompatible to a free press. To be sure, responsible reporting enhances an accuseds right to a fair trial for, (a) The historical evidence of the evolution of the criminal trial in Anglo-American justice demonstrates
as well pointed out, a responsible press has always been regarded as the handmaiden of effective judicial conclusively that the time this Nations organic laws were adopted, criminal trials both here and in England
administration, especially in the criminal field x x x. The press does not simply publish information about had long been presumptively open, thus giving assurance that the proceedings were conducted fairly to all
trials but guards against the miscarriage of justice by subjecting the police, prosecutors, and judicial concerned and discouraging perjury, the misconduct of participants, or decisions based on secret bias or
processes to extensive public scrutiny and criticism. partiality. In addition, the significant community therapeutic value of public trials was recognized: when a
shocking crime occurs, a community reaction of outrage and public protest often follows, and thereafter the
Pervasive publicity is not per se prejudicial to the right of an accused to fair trial. The mere fact that the trial open processes of justice serve an important prophylactic purpose, providing an outlet for community
of appellant was given a day-to-day, gavel-to-gavel coverage does not by itself prove that the publicity so concern, hostility, and emotion. To work effectively, it is important that societys criminal process satisfy the
permeated the mind of the trial judge and impaired his impartiality. For one, it is impossible to seal the appearance of justice, Offutt v. United States, 348 US 11, 14, 99 L Ed 11, 75 S Ct 11, which can best be
minds of members of the bench from pre-trial and other off-court publicity of sensational criminal cases. provided by allowing people to observe such process. From this unbroken, uncontradicted history, supported
The state of the art of our communication system brings news as they happen straight to our breakfast tables by reasons as valid today as in centuries past, it must be concluded that a presumption of openness inheres in
and right to our bedrooms. These news form part of our everyday menu of the facts and fictions of life. For the very nature of a criminal trial under this Nations system of justice, Cf., e.g., Levine v. United States, 362
another, our idea of a fair and impartial judge is not that of a hermit who is out of touch with the world. We US 610, 4 L Ed 2d 989, 80 S Ct 1038.
have not installed the jury system whose members are overly protected from publicity lest they lose their
impartiality. x x x x x x x x x. Our judges are learned in the law and trained to disregard off-court evidence (b) The freedoms of speech, press, and assembly, expressly guaranteed by the First Amendment, share a
and on-camera performances of parties to a litigation. Their mere exposure to publications and publicity common core purpose of assuring freedom of communication on matters relating to the functioning of
stunts does not per se fatally infect their impartiality. government. In guaranteeing freedoms such as those of speech and press, the First Amendment can be read
as protecting the right of everyone to attend trials so as give meaning to those explicit guarantees; the First
65
Amendment right to receive information and ideas means, in the context of trials, that the guarantees of Again, we hold that the evidence proffered by the petitioner is insubstantial. The accuracy of the news
speech and press, standing alone, prohibit government from summarily closing courtroom doors which had reports referred to by the petitioner cannot be the subject of judicial notice by this Court especially in light of
long been open to the public at the time the First Amendment was adopted. Moreover, the right of assembly the denials of the respondent Ombudsman as to his alleged prejudice and the presumption of good faith and
is also relevant, having been regarded not only as an independent right but also as a catalyst to augment the regularity in the performance of official duty to which he is entitled. Nor can we adopt the theory of
free exercise of the other First Amendment rights with which it was deliberately linked by the draftsmen. A derivative prejudice of petitioner, i.e., that the prejudice of respondent Ombudsman flows to his
trial courtroom is a public place where the people generally and representatives of the media have a right to subordinates. In truth, our Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, give investigating prosecutors the
be present, and where their presence historically has been thought to enhance the integrity and quality of independence to make their own findings and recommendations albeit they are reviewable by their
what takes place. superiors.[134] They can be reversed but they can not be compelled to change their recommendations nor
can they be compelled to prosecute cases which they believe deserve dismissal. In other words, investigating
(c) Even though the Constitution contains no provision which by its terms guarantees to the public the right prosecutors should not be treated like unthinking slot machines. Moreover, if the respondent Ombudsman
to attend criminal trials, various fundamental rights, not expressly guaranteed, have been recognized as resolves to file the cases against the petitioner and the latter believes that the finding of probable cause
indispensable to the enjoyment of enumerated rights. The right to attend criminal trial is implicit in the against him is the result of bias, he still has the remedy of assailing it before the proper court.
guarantees of the First Amendment: without the freedom to attend such trials, which people have exercised
for centuries, important aspects of freedom of speech and of the press could be eviscerated. VI.

Be that as it may, we recognize that pervasive and prejudicial publicity under certain circumstances can Epilogue
deprive an accused of his due process right to fair trial. Thus, in Martelino, et al. vs. Alejandro, et al., we
held that to warrant a finding of prejudicial publicity there must be allegation and proof that the judges have A word of caution to the hooting throng. The cases against the petitioner will now acquire a different
been unduly influenced, not simply that they might be, by the barrage of publicity. In the case at bar, we find dimension and then move to a new stage - - - the Office of the Ombudsman. Predictably, the call from the
nothing in the records that will prove that the tone and content of the publicity that attended the investigation majority for instant justice will hit a higher decibel while the gnashing of teeth of the minority will be more
of petitioners fatally infected the fairness and impartiality of the DOJ Panel. Petitioners cannot just rely on threatening. It is the sacred duty of the respondent Ombudsman to balance the right of the State to prosecute
the subliminal effects of publicity on the sense of fairness of the DOJ Panel, for these are basically the guilty and the right of an accused to a fair investigation and trial which has been categorized as the most
unbeknown and beyond knowing. To be sure, the DOJ Panel is composed of an Assistant Chief State fundamental of all freedoms.[135] To be sure, the duty of a prosecutor is more to do justice and less to
Prosecutor and Senior State Prosecutors. Their long experience in criminal investigation is a factor to prosecute. His is the obligation to insure that the preliminary investigation of the petitioner shall have a
consider in determining whether they can easily be blinded by the klieg lights of publicity. Indeed, their 26- circus-free atmosphere. He has to provide the restraint against what Lord Bryce calls the impatient
page Resolution carries no indubitable indicia of bias for it does not appear that they considered any extra- vehemence of the majority. Rights in a democracy are not decided by the mob whose judgment is dictated
record evidence except evidence properly adduced by the parties. The length of time the investigation was by rage and not by reason. Nor are rights necessarily resolved by the power of number for in a democracy,
conducted despite its summary nature and the generosity with which they accommodated the discovery the dogmatism of the majority is not and should never be the definition of the rule of law. If democracy has
motions of petitioners speak well of their fairness. At no instance, we note, did petitioners seek the proved to be the best form of government, it is because it has respected the right of the minority to convince
disqualification of any member of the DOJ Panel on the ground of bias resulting from their bombardment of the majority that it is wrong. Tolerance of multiformity of thoughts, however offensive they may be, is the
prejudicial publicity. (emphasis supplied) key to mans progress from the cave to civilization. Let us not throw away that key just to pander to some
peoples prejudice.
Applying the above ruling, we hold that there is not enough evidence to warrant this Court to enjoin the
preliminary investigation of the petitioner by the respondent Ombudsman. Petitioner needs to offer more IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petitions of Joseph Ejercito Estrada challenging the respondent Gloria
than hostile headlines to discharge his burden of proof.[131] He needs to show more weighty social science Macapagal-Arroyo as the de jure 14th President of the Republic are DISMISSED.
evidence to successfully prove the impaired capacity of a judge to render a bias-free decision. Well to note,
the cases against the petitioner are still undergoing preliminary investigation by a special panel of SO ORDERED.
prosecutors in the office of the respondent Ombudsman. No allegation whatsoever has been made by the
petitioner that the minds of the members of this special panel have already been infected by bias because of THIRD DIVISION
the pervasive prejudicial publicity against him. Indeed, the special panel has yet to come out with its [G. R. No. 146202. July 14, 2004]
findings and the Court cannot second guess whether its recommendation will be unfavorable to the
petitioner. RUFINA PATIS FACTORY, and JESUS LUCAS, SR. petitioners, vs. JUAN ALUSITAIN,
respondent.
The records show that petitioner has instead charged respondent Ombudsman himself with bias. To quote DECISION
petitioners submission, the respondent Ombudsman has been influenced by the barrage of slanted news CARPIO MORALES, J.:
reports, and he has buckled to the threats and pressures directed at him by the mobs.[132] News reports have
also been quoted to establish that the respondent Ombudsman has already prejudged the cases of the From the June 23, 2000 Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 54722 affirming that of the
petitioner[133]and it is postulated that the prosecutors investigating the petitioner will be influenced by this National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) awarding retirement benefits in the amount of P88,595.00 to
bias of their superior. respondent Juan Alusitain (Alusitain), petitioners Rufina Patis Factory and Jesus Lucas, Sr. (Lucas) come to
this Court on a petition for review on certiorari.
66
3. That I cannot secure a certification of separation from my last employer because I have not reached the
The antecedent facts are as follows: company applicable age of retirement.

In March 1948, Alusitain was hired as a laborer at the Rufina Patis Factory owned and operated by petitioner 4. That I am executing this affidavit to attest to the truth of the foregoing facts and to support my retirement
Lucas. After close to forty three years or on February 19, 1991, Alusitain admittedly tendered his letter of paper.
resignation which is quoted verbatim:
FURTHER AFFIANT SAYETH NAUGHT.
February 19, 1991
(Signed)
TO: MR. JESUS LUCAS, JR.
ASSISTANT MANAGER Affiant[3]
RUFINA PATIS FACTORY
On January 7, 1993, Republic Act No. 7641 (R.A. 7641),[4] AN ACT AMENDING ARTICLE 287 OF
Gentlemen: PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 442, AS AMENDED OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE LABOR CODE
OF THE PHILIPPINES, BY PROVIDING FOR RETIREMENT PAY TO QUALIFIED PRIVATE
I would like to tender my separation letter as a laborer, from your good company effective this 20th of SECTOR EMPLOYEES IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY RETIRMENT PLAN IN THE ESTABLISHMENT,
February 1991. May I take this opportunity to extent my heartfelt thanks to you for having given me the took effect[5] providing, among other things, thusly:
chance to commit myself to work in your factory from which I owe varied experiences that has made a part
of me and be what I am today. Anticipating your outmost consideration on this matter. I remain. Art. 287. Retirement. Any employee may be retired upon reaching the retirement age established in the
collective bargaining agreement or other applicable employment contract.
VERY TRULY YOURS,
xxx
(Signed)
JUAN A. ALUSITAIN In the absence of a retirement plan or agreement providing for retirement benefits of employees in the
establishment, an employee upon reaching the age of sixty (60) years or more, but not beyond sixty five (65)
RECEIVED THE ABOVE SEPARATION LETTER ON THIS DAY, FEBRUARY 20, 1991. years which is hereby declared the compulsory retirement age, who has served at least five (5) years in the
said establishment, may retire and shall be entitled to retirement pay equivalent to at least one half (1/2)
(Signed) month salary for every year of service, a fraction of at least six (6) months being considered as one whole
BY: JESUS R. LUCAS, JR. year.
Assistant Manager[2]
Unless the parties provide for broader inclusions, the term one half (1/2) month salary shall mean fifteen
On May 22, 1991, Alusitain executed a duly notarized affidavit of separation from employment and (15) days plus one twelfth (1/12) of the 13th month pay and the cash equivalent of not more than five (5)
submitted the same on even date to the Pensions Department of the Social Security System (SSS). The days of service incentive leaves.
affidavit reads:
xxx
Republic of the Philippines )SSS
Violation of this provision is hereby declared unlawful and subject to the penal provisions under Article 288
Quezon City ) of this Code.[6]

AFFIDAVIT OF SEPARATION FROM EMPLOYMENT Sometime in 1995, Alusitain, claiming that he retired from the company on January 31, 1995, having
reached the age of 65[7] and due to poor health, verbally demanded from petitioner Lucas for the payment of
I, JUAN ASERAS ALUSITAIN of legal age, 63, Filipino and residing at Int. 18 Flores St., Mal. Mla, after his retirement benefits. By his computation, he claimed that he was entitled to P86,710.00[8] broken down
having [been] sworn to in accordance with law hereby depose and state; as follows:

1. That I am [a] bonafide member of the Social Security System with SSS Number 03-0107252-0 Retirement Benefits = month salary for every year of service

2. That I was separated from my last employer RUFINA PATIS FACTORY with address at 290 C. Arellano One-half month salary = P1,885.00
St., Malabon, Metro Manila on 2-20-91 and thereafter, I was never again re-employed.
Years of Service = 47 years

67
Retirement Benefits = P86,710.00[9] WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the respondents Rufina Patis
Factory and Jesus Lucas, Sr., jointly and severally to pay complainant Juan Alusitain his retirement benefits
Petitioner Lucas, however, refused to pay the retirement benefits of Alusitain, prompting the latter to make a in the amount of P88,595.00.
written demand on September 20, 1995. Lucas, however, remained adamant in his refusal to give in to
Alusitains demands. SO ORDERED.[14]

Having failed to arrive at an amicable settlement, Alusitain filed on November 17, 1995 a complaint before On appeal, the NLRC, by Resolution[15] of May 17, 1999, affirmed the Labor Arbiters decision.
the NLRC against petitioners Rufina Patis Factory and Lucas for non-payment of retirement benefits. The
complaint was docketed as NLRC Case No. 00-11-07474-95. Aggrieved by the NLRC resolution, petitioners brought the case on certiorari[16] to the Court of Appeals
which, by the assailed decision, dismissed it, holding that the NLRC committed no error much less any
Petitioners maintained that Alusitain had resigned from the company on February 19, 1991 per his letter of grave abuse of discretion[17] as Alusitain was able to sufficiently establish that his letter of resignation and
resignation and the Affidavit of Separation dated May 22, 1991.[10] Affidavit of Separation were executed only for the purpose of securing a pension from the SSS and that he
remained in the employ of petitioners.[18]
On the other hand, while respondent admitted having tendered his letter of resignation on February 19, 1991
and executed the Affidavit of Separation on May 22, 1991,[11] he nevertheless maintained that he continued Their motion for reconsideration having been denied by the Court of Appeals by Resolution[19] of
working for petitioners until January 1995, the date of actual retirement, due to illness and old age, and that December 6, 2000, petitioners lodged the present petition.[20]
he merely accomplished the foregoing documents in compliance with the requirements of the SSS in order to
avail of his retirement benefits.[12] Petitioners argue that the appellate court erred when it did not give weight and probative value to Alusitains
letter of resignation and Affidavit of Separation, choosing instead to give credence to his self-serving sworn
By Decision[13] of February 6, 1997, Executive Labor Arbiter Valentin C. Guanio upheld Alusitains statement and that of his daughter that he remained in the employ of petitioners until January 31, 1995.
position in this wise:
Petitioners assert that the Affidavit of Separation, being a public document, is entitled to full faith and credit
After carefully considering the respective submissions of the parties and the evidence they adduced in upon its face, and proof is required to assail and controvert the same, citing Cacho v. Court of Appeals[21]
support of their opposing claims, this Office rules in favor of the complainant. and Arrieta v. Llosa.[22]

To substantiate his allegation that he had continued working for the respondents even after his supposed Petitioners further assert that the appellate court erred in applying retroactively R.A. 7641 as said law does
resignation on February 19, 1991, the complainant submitted in evidence his sworn statement and that of his not expressly provide for such retroactive application and to do so would defeat the clear intent of Congress.
eldest daughter, Gloria Alusitain. In his affidavit, the complainant swore that: Bagamat ako ay pensionado Furthermore, petitioners insist that the case of Oro Enterprises, Inc. v. NLRC[23] is inapplicable and submit
ng SSS, ako ay patuloy na naglilingkod/nagtratrabaho sa kompanya ng Rufina Patis Factory hanggang that what is controlling is the case of J.V. Angeles Construction Corp. v. NLRC[24] where this Court held
noong buwan ng Enero 1995. By way of corroboration, his daughter on the other hand, stated under oath that that before R.A. 7641 could be given retroactive effect, the claimant should still be an employee of the
since elementary school (sic), she was the one who brought food to her father at work in the Rufina Patis employer at the time the said law took effect,.
Factory; and that the last time she brought him food at the said factory was in the month of January 1995.
The petition is impressed with merit.
While the foregoing statements may appear to be self-serving, still they have the ring of truth. From
experience, it is quite common that the eldest daughter would be tasked with the duty of taking lunch to her This Court held in Oro[25] that R.A. 7641 should be given retroactive effect, viz:
father at work. Besides, the respondents failed to controvert these sworn declarations by submitting their
counter-affidavits. If it is true that the complainant had in fact stopped working on February 1991, the R.A. 7641 is undoubtedly a social legislation. The law has been enacted as a labor protection measure and as
respondents could have produced a number of witnesses who could have attested to this. Hence, their failure a curative statute that absent a retirement plan devised by, an agreement with, or a voluntary grant from, an
to submit even a single affidavit does not speak well of their credibility in this regard. employer can respond, in part at least, to the financial well-being of workers during their twilight years soon
following their life of labor. There should be little doubt about the fact that the law can apply to labor
Thus, this Office finds that the complainant had executed the letter of resignation and affidavit of separation contracts still existing at the time the statute has taken effect, and that its benefits can be reckoned not only
from employment in 1991 only for the purpose of securing a pension from the SSS, but that despite this he from the date of the laws enactment but retroactively to the time said employment contracts have started. .
remained in the employ of the respondents until his actual retirement on January 31, 1995, two years after .[26] (Underscoring supplied)
the effectivity of Republic Act 7641 on January 7, 1993. At the time of his retirement, the complainant was
already sixty-five (65) years of age and had served the respondent company for forty-seven (47) years and The doctrine enunciated in Oro has been clarified in several cases. In CJC Trading, Inc. v. NLRC,[27] this
therefore, he is legally entitled to the retirement benefits granted by R.A. 7641 which is one-half (1/2) month Court, speaking through Justice Florentino Feliciano, held that R.A. 7641 may be given retroactive effect
salary for every year of service which as computed will amount to a total of P88,595.00 (P1,885.00 x 47 where (1) the claimant for retirement benefits was still the employee of the employer at the time the statute
years). took effect; and (2) the claimant had complied with the requirements for eligibility under the statute for such
retirement benefits.[28] These twin requirements for the retroactive application of R.A. 7641 have been
reiterated in Philippine Scout Veterans Security and Investigation Agency v. NLRC,[29] Cabcaban v.
68
NLRC,[30] J.V. Angeles Construction Corporation v. NLRC,[31] and Manuel L. Quezon University v. in a notarial document is clear and convincing evidence. The subsequent notarial documents executed by
NLRC.[32] respondent and his daughter fall short of this standard.

It is thus clear that in order for respondent to claim retirement benefits from petitioner Rufina Patis Factory, The case of Reyes v. Zaballero[47] is instructive. In said case, the creditor executed on December 1, 1944 a
he has to prove that he was its employee at the time R.A. 7641 took effect. notarial document stating that he was releasing a real estate mortgage as the debtor had already paid his debt.
On even date, the creditor subsequently executed an affidavit without the debtors knowledge stating that he
As a general rule, the factual findings and conclusions of quasi-judicial agencies such as the NLRC are, on had accepted the payment under protest and obligado por las circunstancias actuales. This Court held that the
appeal, accorded great weight and even finality, unless petitioners are able to show that the NLRC arbitrarily creditors statement in his affidavit that he received the money obligado por las circunstancias actuales is
disregarded the evidence before it or misapprehended evidence of such nature as to compel a contrary self-serving evidence.[48]
conclusion if properly appreciated.[33]
A contrary rule would undermine the confidence of the public in the integrity of notarial documents. In
In affirming the decision of the NLRC and the Labor Arbiter, the Court of Appeals disregarded Alusitains Dequito v. Llamas,[49] this Court held:
letter of resignation and Affidavit of Separation and gave weight to his and his daughters sworn statements
that he remained in the employ of petitioners until January 31, 1995. After executing the affidavit voluntarily wherein he made admissions and declarations against his own
interest under the solemnity of an oath, he cannot be allowed to spurn them and undo what he has done. He
It is a basic rule in evidence, however, that the burden of proof is on the part of the party who makes the cannot, even with great repentance, retrieve the body he forsook and now wishes to live.[50]
allegations[34] ei incumbit probatio, qui dicit, non qui negat.[35] If he claims a right granted by law, he must
prove his claim by competent evidence, relying on the strength of his own evidence and not upon the Neither is the sworn statement of Alusitains daughter sufficient to prove that he indeed retired on January
weakness of that of his opponent. 31, 1995. The February 6, 1997 Decision of Labor Arbiter Guanio relates the material portion of the sworn
statement of Alusitains daughter as follows:
In the case at bar, it was incumbent on Alusitain to prove that he retired on January 31, 1995 and not on
February 20, 1991 as indicated on his letter of resignation. As the following discussion will show, he utterly . . . By way of corroboration, his daughter on the other hand, stated under oath that since elementary school
failed to discharge the onus. (sic), she was the one who brought food to her father at work in the Rufina Patis Factory; and that the last
time she brought him food at the said factory was in the month of January 1995.[51] (Emphasis and
Respondents letter of resignation and May 22, 1991 Affidavit of Separation which he admittedly voluntarily underscoring supplied)
executed constitute admissions against his own interest.[36] The said documents belie his claim that he
retired on January 31, 1995. Being an admission against interest, the documents are the best evidence which Alusitains daughter did not state, however, that her father worked for petitioner Rufina Patis Factory until
affords the greatest certainty of the facts in dispute.[37] The rationale for the rule is based on the his alleged retirement on January 31, 1995. All she said was that the last time she brought him food at the
presumption that no man would declare anything against himself unless such declaration was true.[38] Thus, factory was in January 1995. To conclude that Alusitain was still employed on January 1995 from the mere
it is fair to presume that the declaration corresponds with the truth, and it is his fault if it does not.[39] fact that his daughter brought him food at the Rufina Patis Factory is non sequitur.

While these two documents may have facilitated the release of Alusitains retirement benefits from the SSS, Lastly, while it is evident that Alusitains subsequent sworn statement is in the nature of a retraction of his
hence, beneficial to him at that time, they may still be considered admissions against interest since the May 22, 1991 Affidavit of Separation, such retraction does not necessarily negate the affidavit. For
disserving quality of the admission is judged as of the time it is used or offered in evidence and not when retractions are generally unreliable and looked upon with considerable disfavor by the courts as they can
such admission is made.[40] Thus, it matters not that the admission is self-serving when it was made, so easily be fabricated. Thus, before accepting a retraction, it is necessary to examine the circumstances
long as it is against respondents present claim.[41] surrounding it and possible motives for reversing the previous declaration, as these motives may not
necessarily be in consonance with the truth. To automatically adopt them hook, line and sinker would allow
No doubt, admissions against interest may be refuted by the declarant.[42] It bears stressing, however, that unscrupulous individuals to throw wide open the doors to fraud.
Alusitains Affidavit of Separation filed with the SSS is a notarial document,[43] hence, prima facie
evidence[44] of the facts expressed therein.[45] In the case at bar, Alusitains retraction is highly suspect. Other than his bare and self-serving allegations and
the sworn statement of his daughter which, as reflected above, cannot be relied upon, he has not shown any
Since notarial documents have in their favor the presumption of regularity, to contradict the facts stated scintilla of evidence that he was employed with petitioner Rufina Patis Factory at the time R.A. 7641 took
therein, there must be evidence that is clear, convincing and more than merely preponderant.[46] effect. He did not produce any documentary evidence such as pay slips, income tax return, his identification
card, or any other independent evidence to substantiate his claim.
Alusitain explains through his subsequent sworn statement that he only executed these two documents in
order to obtain his retirement benefits from the SSS. His daughter, also by sworn statement, corroborates his While the NLRC and its Labor Arbiters are not bound by technical rules of procedure and evidence in the
explanation. His position does not persuade. adjudication of cases,[52] this should not be construed as a license to disregard fundamental rules on
evidence in proving ones allegations.[53]
In order for a declarant to impugn a notarial document which he himself executed, it is not enough for him to
merely execute a subsequent notarial document. What the law requires in order to contradict the facts stated
69
In fine, Alusitain having failed to prove that he was an employee of petitioner at the time R.A. 7641 took
effect, his claim for retirement benefits thereunder must be disallowed. Once this decision becomes final and executory, let the corresponding order for the issuance of the decree be
issued.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Court of Appeals June 23, 2000 Decision and December 6,
2000 Resolution in CA-G.R. SP No. 54722 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. SO ORDERED.[1]
The Director of Lands and Mercedes Dizon did not appeal from the adverse decision of the Pasig-Rizal CFI.
SO ORDERED. Thus, the order for the issuance of a decree of registration became final, and Decree No. N-150912 was
issued by the Land Registration Commission (LRC).[2] Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. 10215 was
Republic of the Philippines issued in the name of Fermina Castro by the Register of Deeds for the Province of Rizal on May 29,
SUPREME COURT 1974.[3]
Manila
The land was then sold to Jesus S. Yujuico, and OCT No. 10215 was cancelled. On May 31, 1974,[4]
SECOND DIVISION Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 445863 was issued in Yujuicos name, who subdivided the land into
two lots. TCT No. 446386[5] over Lot 1 was issued in his name, while TCT No. S-29361[6] over Lot 2 was
ESTATE OF THE LATE G.R. No. 168661 issued in the name of petitioner Augusto Y. Carpio.
JESUS S. YUJUICO, represented Annotations at the back of TCT No. 446386 show that Yujuico had, at one time or another, mortgaged the
by ADMINISTRATORS lot to the Philippine Investments System Organization (PISO) and Citibank, N.A. Annotations in the title of
BENEDICTO V. YUJUICO and Present: petitioner Carpio reveal the lot was mortgaged in favor of Private Development Corporation (PDC), Rizal
EDILBERTO V. YUJUICO; and Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) and then Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank (PCIB) and
AUGUSTO Y. CARPIO, QUISUMBING, J., Chairperson, the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to secure various loans.
Petitioners, CARPIO MORALES, Sometime in 1977, Presidential Decree No. (PD) 1085 entitled Conveying the Land Reclaimed in the
TINGA, Foreshore and Offshore of the Manila Bay (The Manila-Cavite Coastal Road Project) as Property of the
VELASCO, JR., and Public Estates Authority as well as Rights and Interests with Assumptions of Obligations in the Reclamation
- versus - NACHURA,* JJ. Contract Covering Areas of the Manila Bay between the Republic of the Philippines and the Construction
and Development Corporation of the Philippines (1977) was issued. Land reclaimed in the foreshore and
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES Promulgated: offshore areas of Manila Bay became the properties of the Public Estates Authority (PEA), a government
and the COURT OF APPEALS, corporation that undertook the reclamation of lands or the acquisition of reclaimed lands. On January 13,
Respondents. October 26, 2007 1989, OCT No. SP 02 was issued in favor of PEA. The PEA also acquired ownership of other parcels of
x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x land along the Manila Bay coast, some of which were subsequently sold to the Manila Bay Development
Corporation (MBDC), which in turn leased portions to Uniwide Holdings, Inc.[7]
DECISION
VELASCO, JR., J.: The PEA undertook the construction of the Manila Coastal Road. As this was being planned, Yujuico and
Carpio discovered that a verification survey they commissioned showed that the road directly overlapped
In 1973, Fermina Castro filed an application for the registration and confirmation of her title over a parcel of their property, and that they owned a portion of the land sold by the PEA to the MBDC.
land with an area of 17,343 square meters covered by plan (LRC) Psu-964 located in the Municipality of
Paraaque, Province of Rizal (now Paraaque City), in the Pasig-Rizal Court of First Instance (CFI), Branch On July 24, 1996, Yujuico and Carpio filed before the Paraaque City Regional Trial Court (RTC), a
22. The application was docketed LRC Case No. N-8239. The application was opposed by the Office of the complaint for the Removal of Cloud and Annulment of Title with Damages docketed as Civil Case No. 96-
Solicitor General (OSG) on behalf of the Director of Lands, and by Mercedes Dizon, a private party. Both 0317 against the PEA. On May 15, 1998 the parties entered into a compromise agreement approved by the
oppositions were stricken from the records since the opposition of Dizon was filed after the expiration of the trial court in a Resolution dated May 18, 1998. On June 17, 1998, the parties executed a Deed of Exchange
period given by the court, and the opposition of the Director of Lands was filed after the entry of the order of of Real Property, pursuant to the compromise agreement, where the PEA property with an area of 1.4007
general default. After considering the evidence, the trial court rendered its April 26, 1974 Decision. The hectares would be conveyed to Jesus Yujuico and petitioner Carpio in exchange for their property with a
dispositive portion reads: combined area of 1.7343 hectares.

____________________________ On July 31, 1998, the incumbent PEA General Manager, Carlos P. Doble, informed the OSG that the new
* As per September 3, 2007 raffle. PEA board and management had reviewed the compromise agreement and had decided to defer its
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby declares the applicant, Fermina Castro, of legal age, single, Filipino and a implementation and hold it in abeyance following the view of the former PEA General Manager, Atty.
resident of 1515 F. Agoncillo St., Corner J. Escoda St., Ermita, Manila, the true and absolute owner of the Arsenio Yulo, Jr., that the compromise agreement did not reflect a condition of the previous PEA Board,
land applied for situated in the Municipality of Paraaque, Province of Rizal, with an area of 17,343 square requiring the approval of the Office of the President. The new PEA management then filed a petition for
meters and covered by plan (LRC) Psu-964 and orders the registration of said parcel of land in her name relief from the resolution approving the compromise agreement on the ground of mistake and excusable
with her aforementioned personal circumstances. negligence.
70
On appeal to the CA, in CA-G.R. CV No. 76212, respondent Republic alleged that the trial court erred in
The petition was dismissed by the trial court on the ground that it was filed out of time and that the disregarding that appellant had evidence to prove that the subject parcel of land used to be foreshore land of
allegation of mistake and excusable negligence lacked basis. the Manila Bay and that the trial court erred in dismissing Civil Case No. 01-0222 on the ground of res
judicata.[14]
The PEA fared no better in the Court of Appeals (CA), as the petition was dismissed for failure to pay the
required docket fees and for lack of merit.
The CA observed that shores are properties of the public domain intended for public use and, therefore, not
The matter was raised to the Supreme Court in Public Estates Authority v. Yujuico[8] but PEAs petition was registrable and their inclusion in a certificate of title does not convert the same into properties of private
denied, upholding the trial courts dismissal of the petition for relief for having been filed out of time. The ownership or confer title upon the registrant.
allegation of fraud in the titling of the subject property in the name of Fermina Castro was not taken up by
the Court. Further, according to the appellate court res judicata does not apply to lands of public domain, nor does
possession of the land automatically divest the land of its public character.
On June 8, 2001, in a Complaint for Annulment and Cancellation of Decree No. N-150912 and its The appellate court explained that rulings of the Supreme Court have made exceptions in cases where the
Derivative Titles, entitled Republic of the Philippines v. Fermina Castro, Jesus S. Yujuico, August Y. Carpio findings of the Director of Lands and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) were
and the Registry of Deeds of Paraaque City docketed as Civil Case No. 01-0222, filed with the Paraaque conflicting as to the true nature of the land in as much as reversion efforts pertaining foreshore lands are
City RTC, respondent Republic of the Philippines, through the OSG, alleged that when the land registered to embued with public interest.
Castro was surveyed by Engr. H. Obreto on August 3, 1972 and subsequently approved by the LRC on April
23, 1973, the land was still a portion of Manila Bay as evidenced by Namria Hydrographic Map No. 4243, The dispositive portion of the CA decision reads,
Surveys to 1980; 1st Ed/. January 9/61: Revised 80-11-2; that Roman Mataverde, the then OIC of the
Surveys Division, Bureau of Lands, informed the OIC of the Legal Division that [w]hen projected on
Cadastral Maps CM 14 deg. 13 N-120 deg, 59E, Sec.2-A of Paraaque Cadastre (Cad. 299), (LRC) Psu-964 WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present appeal is hereby GRANTED. The appealed Order dated
falls inside Manila Bay, outside Cad. 299; that then Acting Regional Lands Director Narciso V. Villapando August 7, 2002 of the trial court in Civil Case No. 01-0222 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The
issued a Report dated November 15, 1973 stating that plan (LRC) Psu-964 is a portion of Manila Bay; that case is hereby REMANDED to said court for further proceedings and a full-blown trial on the merits with
then Officer-in-Charge, Assistant Director of Lands, Ernesto C. Mendiola, submitted his Comment and utmost dispatch.[15]
Recommendation re: Application for Registration of Title of FERMINA CASTRO, LRC Case No. N-8239,
dated Dec. 1, 1977, praying that the instant registration case be dismissed; and that Fermina Castro had no Hence, this petition.
registrable rights over the property.
The Issues
More significantly, respondent Republic argued that, first, since the subject land was still underwater, it
could not be registered in the name of Fermina Castro. Second, the land registration court did not have Petitioners now raise the following issues before this Court:
jurisdiction to adjudicate inalienable lands, thus the decision adjudicating the subject parcel of land to
Fermina Castro was void. And third, the titles of Yujuico and Carpio, being derived from a void title, were
likewise void.[9] THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR AND DECIDED A QUESTION OF
SUBSTANCE IN A WAY NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW AND THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS
On September 13, 2001, Yujuico and Carpio filed a Motion to Dismiss (With Cancellation of Notice of Lis OF THE HONORABLE COURT AND HAS DEPARTED FROM THE ACCEPTED AND USUAL
Pendens),[10] on the grounds that: (1) the cause of action was barred by prior judgment; (2) the claim had COURSE OF JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS NECESSITATING THE HONORABLE COURTS EXERCISE
been waived, abandoned, or otherwise extinguished; (3) a condition precedent for the filing of the complaint OF ITS POWER OF SUPERVISION CONSIDERING THAT:
was not complied with; and (4) the complaint was not verified and the certification against forum shopping
was not duly executed by the plaintiff or principal party. I. THE REVERSAL BY THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE TRIAL COURTS
APPLICATION OF THE PRINCIPLE OF RES JUDICATA IN THE INSTANT CASE IS BASED ON ITS
On November 27, 2001, respondent Republic filed an Opposition[11] to the motion to dismiss to which ERRONEOUS ASSUMPTION THAT THE SUBJECT LAND IS OF PUBLIC DOMAIN, ALLEGEDLY
defendants filed a Reply[12] on January 14, 2002, reiterating the grounds for the motion to dismiss. PART OF MANILA BAY.

In the August 7, 2002 Order of the RTC,[13] Civil Case No. 01-0222 was dismissed. The trial court stated A. IN THE FIRESTONE CASE, THE HONORABLE COURT APPLIED THE PRINCIPLE OF RES
that the matter had already been decided in LRC Case No. N-8239, and that after 28 years without being JUDICATA NOTWITHSTANDING ALLEGATIONS OF LACK OF JURISDICTION OF A LAND
contested, the case had already become final and executory. The trial court also found that the OSG had REGISTRATION COURT, FORECLOSING ANY FURTHER ATTEMPT BY RESPONDENT THEREIN,
participated in the LRC case, and could have questioned the validity of the decision but did not. Civil Case AS IN THE INSTANT CASE, TO RESURRECT A LONG-SETTLED JUDICIAL DETERMINATION OF
No. 01-0222 was thus found barred by prior judgment. REGISTRABILITY OF A PARCEL OF LAND BASED ON THE SHEER ALLEGATION THAT THE
SAME IS PART OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.

71
B. THE LAND REGISTRATION COURT HAD JURISDICTION TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE 1. Alienations of land acquired under free patent or homestead provisions in violation of Section 118, CA
SUBJECT LAND WAS PART OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN. No. 141;

C. RESPONDENTS REVERSION CASE SEEKS TO RETRY THE VERY SAME FACTUAL ISSUES 2. Conveyances made by non-Christians in violation of Section 120, CA No. 141; and
THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN JUDICIALLY DETERMINED OVER THIRTY (30) YEARS AGO.
3. Alienations of lands acquired under CA No. 141 in favor of persons not qualified under Sections 121, 122,
D. THE JURISPRUDENTIAL BASES APPLIED BY THE COURT OF APPEALS IN ITS and 123 of CA No. 141.
QUESTIONED DECISION ARE MISPLACED, CONSIDERING THAT THEY ARE ALL PREDICATED
ON THE ERRONEOUS PREMISE THAT IT IS UNDISPUTED THAT THE SUBJECT LAND IS PART
OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN. From the foregoing, an action for reversion to cancel titles derived from homestead patents or free patents
based on transfers and conveyances in violation of CA No. 141 is filed by the OSG pursuant to its authority
II. RESPONDENT IS BARRED BY JURISDICTIONAL ESTOPPEL AND LACHES FROM under the Administrative Code with the RTC. It is clear therefore that reversion suits were originally utilized
QUESTIONING THE JURISDICTION OF THE LAND REGISTRATION COURT. to annul titles or patents administratively issued by the Director of the Land Management Bureau or the
Secretary of the DENR.
III. RELIANCE BY THE COURT OF APPEALS ON THE ISOLATED PRONOUNCEMENT OF THE
HONORABLE COURT IN THE PEA CASE IS UNWARRANTED AND MISLEADING CONSIDERING While CA No. 141 did not specify whether judicial confirmation of titles by a land registration court can be
THAT THE MATTER OF WHETHER RES JUDICATA APPLIES WITH RESPECT TO THE LAND subject of a reversion suit, the government availed of such remedy by filing actions with the RTC to cancel
REGISTRATION COURTS DECISION IN 1974 WAS NOT IN ISSUE IN SAID CASE. titles and decrees granted in land registration applications.

A. THE INSTANT REVERSION CASE IS NOT THE PROPER RECOURSE. The situation changed on August 14, 1981 upon effectivity of Batas Pambansa (BP) Blg. 129 which gave the
Intermediate Appellate Court the exclusive original jurisdiction over actions for annulment of judgments of
B. THE VALIDITY OF THE COURT-APPROVED COMPROMISE AGREEMENT 15 MAY 1998 RTCs.
HAS ALREADY BEEN AFFIRMED BY THE HONORABLE COURT IN THE PEA CASE.
When the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure became effective on July 1, 1997, it incorporated Rule 47 on
IV. EQUITABLE CONSIDERATIONS MANDATE THE APPLICATION OF THE RULE ON annulment of judgments or final orders and resolutions of the RTCs. The two grounds for annulment under
ORDINARY ESTOPPEL AND LACHES IN THE INSTANT CASE AGAINST RESPONDENT. Sec. 2, Rule 47 are extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction. If based on extrinsic fraud, the action must be
filed within four (4) years from its discovery, and if based on lack of jurisdiction, before it is barred by
V. RESPONDENT CANNOT BE GIVEN SPECIAL CONSIDERATION AND EXCUSED FOR laches or estoppel as provided by Section 3, Rule 47. Thus, effective July 1, 1997, any action for reversion
TRANSGRESSING RULES OF PROCEDURE.[16] of public land instituted by the Government was already covered by Rule 47.

The instant Civil Case No. 01-0222 for annulment and cancellation of Decree No. N-150912 and its
derivative titles was filed on June 8, 2001 with the Paraaque City RTC. It is clear therefore that the reversion
Essentially, the issues boil down to three: (1) Is a reversion suit proper in this case? (2) Is the present petition suit was erroneously instituted in the Paraaque RTC and should have been dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
estopped by laches? (3) Did the CA erroneously apply the principle of res judicata? The proper court is the CA which is the body mandated by BP Blg. 129 and prescribed by Rule 47 to handle
annulment of judgments of RTCs.
An action for reversion seeks to restore public land fraudulently awarded and disposed of to private In Collado v. Court of Appeals,[18] the government, represented by the Solicitor General pursuant to
individuals or corporations to the mass of public domain.[17] This remedy is provided under Section 9(2) of BP Blg. 129, filed a petition for annulment of judgment with the CA. Similarly in the case of
Commonwealth Act (CA) No. 141 (Public Land Act) which became effective on December 1, 1936. Said Republic v. Court of Appeals,[19] the Solicitor General correctly filed the annulment of judgment with the
law recognized the power of the state to recover lands of public domain. Section 124 of CA No. 141 reads: said appellate court.

SEC. 124. Any acquisition, conveyance, alienation, transfer, or other contract made or executed in violation This was not done in this case. The Republic misfiled the reversion suit with the Paraaque RTC. It should
of any of the provisions of Sections one hundred and eighteen, one hundred and twenty, one hundred and have been filed with the CA as required by Rule 47. Evidently, the Paraaque RTC had no jurisdiction over
twenty one, one hundred and twenty-two, and one hundred twenty-three of this Act shall be unlawful and the instant reversion case.
null and void from its execution and shall produce the effect of annulling and cancelling the grant, title,
patent, or permit originally issued, recognized or confirmed, actually or presumptively, and cause the Assuming that the Paraaque RTC has jurisdiction over the reversion case, still the lapse of almost three
reversion of the property and its improvements to the State. (Emphasis supplied.) decades in filing the instant case, the inexplicable lack of action of the Republic and the injury this would
cause constrain us to rule for petitioners. While it may be true that estoppel does not operate against the state
or its agents,[20] deviations have been allowed. In Manila Lodge No. 761 v. Court of Appeals, we said:
Pursuant to Section 124 of the Public Land Act, reversion suits are proper in the following instances, to wit:

72
Estoppels against the public are little favored. They should not be invoked except in rare and unusual
circumstances, and may not be invoked where they would operate to defeat the effective operation of a Considering that innocent purchaser for value Yujuico bought the lot in 1974, and more than 27 years had
policy adopted to protect the public. They must be applied with circumspection and should be applied only elapsed before the action for reversion was filed, then said action is now barred by laches.
in those special cases where the interests of justice clearly require it. Nevertheless, the government must not
be allowed to deal dishonorably or capriciously with its citizens, and must not play an ignoble part or do a While the general rule is that an action to recover lands of public domain is imprescriptible, said right can be
shabby thing; and subject to limitations x x x, the doctrine of equitable estoppel may be invoked against barred by laches or estoppel. Section 32 of PD 1592 recognized the rights of an innocent purchaser for value
public authorities as well as against private individuals.[21] (Emphasis supplied.) over and above the interests of the government. Section 32 provides:

SEC. 32. Review of decree of registration; Innocent purchaser for value.The decree of registration shall not
Equitable estoppel may be invoked against public authorities when as in this case, the lot was already be reopened or revised by reason of absence, minority, or other disability of any person adversely affected
alienated to innocent buyers for value and the government did not undertake any act to contest the title for an thereby, nor by any proceeding in any court for reversing judgments, subject, however, to the right of any
unreasonable length of time. person, including the government and the branches thereof, deprived of land or of any estate or interest
therein by such adjudication or confirmation of title obtained by actual fraud, to file in the proper Court of
In Republic v. Court of Appeals, where the title of an innocent purchaser for value who relied on the clean First Instance a petition for reopening and review of the decree of registration not later than one year from
certificates of the title was sought to be cancelled and the excess land to be reverted to the Government, we and after the date of the entry of such decree of registration, but in no case shall such petition be entertained
ruled that [i]t is only fair and reasonable to apply the equitable principle of estoppel by laches against the by the court where an innocent purchaser for value has acquired the land or an interest therein, whose rights
government to avoid an injustice to innocent purchasers for value (emphasis supplied).[22] We explained: may be prejudiced. Whenever the phrase innocent purchaser for value or an equivalent phrase occurs in this
Decree, it shall be deemed to include an innocent lessee, mortgagee, or other encumbrances for value.
(Emphasis supplied.)
Likewise time-settled is the doctrine that where innocent third persons, relying on the correctness of the
certificate of title, acquire rights over the property, courts cannot disregard such rights and order the
cancellation of the certificate. Such cancellation would impair public confidence in the certificate of title, for In this petition, the LRC (now LRA), on May 30, 1974, issued Decree No. N-150912 in favor of Fermina
everyone dealing with property registered under the Torrens system would have to inquire in every instance Castro and OCT No. 10215 was issued by the Rizal Registrar of Deeds on May 29, 1974. OCT No. 10215
whether the title has been regularly issued or not. This would be contrary to the very purpose of the law, does not show any annotation, lien, or encumbrance on its face. Relying on the clean title, Yujuico bought
which is to stabilize land titles. Verily, all persons dealing with registered land may safely rely on the the same in good faith and for value from her. He was issued TCT No. 445863 on May 31, 1974. There is no
correctness of the certificate of title issued therefore, and the law or the courts do not oblige them to go allegation that Yujuico was a buyer in bad faith, nor did he acquire the land fraudulently. He thus had the
behind the certificate in order to investigate again the true condition of the property. They are only charged protection of the Torrens System that every subsequent purchaser of registered land taking a certificate of
with notice of the liens and encumbrances on the property that are noted on the certificate.[23] title for value and in good faith shall hold the same free from all encumbrances except those noted on the
certificate and any of the x x x encumbrances which may be subsisting.[26] The same legal shield redounds
xxxx to his successors-in-interest, the Yujuicos and Carpio, more particularly the latter since Carpio bought the lot
from Jesus Y. Yujuico for value and in good faith.
But in the interest of justice and equity, neither may the titleholder be made to bear the unfavorable effect of
the mistake or negligence of the States agents, in the absence of proof of his complicity in a fraud or of Likewise protected are the rights of innocent mortgagees for value, the PISO, Citibank, N.A., PDC, RCBC,
manifest damage to third persons. First, the real purpose of the Torrens system is to quiet title to land to put PCIB, and DBP. Even if the mortgagors title was proved fraudulent and the title declared null and void, such
a stop forever to any question as to the legality of the title, except claims that were noted in the certificate at declaration cannot nullify the mortgage rights of a mortgagee in good faith.[27]
the time of the registration or that may arise subsequent thereto. Second, as we discussed earlier, estoppel by
laches now bars petitioner from questioning private respondents titles to the subdivision lots. Third, it was All told, a reversion suit will no longer be allowed at this stage.
never proven that Private Respondent St. Jude was a party to the fraud that led to the increase in the area of
the property after its subdivision. Finally, because petitioner even failed to give sufficient proof of any error More on the issue of laches. Laches is the failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of
that might have been committed by its agents who had surveyed the property, the presumption of regularity time, to do that which by exercising due diligence could or should have been done earlier. It is negligence or
in the performance of their functions must be respected. Otherwise, the integrity of the Torrens system, omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled thereto
which petitioner purportedly aims to protect by filing this case, shall forever be sullied by the ineptitude and has either abandoned or declined to assert it.[28]
inefficiency of land registration officials, who are ordinarily presumed to have regularly performed their
duties.[24] When respondent government filed the reversion case in 2001, 27 years had already elapsed from the time
the late Jesus Yujuico purchased the land from the original owner Castro. After the issuance of OCT No.
10215 to Castro, no further action was taken by the government to question the issuance of the title to Castro
Republic v. Court of Appeals is reinforced by our ruling in Republic v. Umali,[25] where, in a reversion until the case of Public Estates Authority, brought up in the oral argument before this Court on September 6,
case, we held that even if the original grantee of a patent and title has obtained the same through fraud, 2000.[29] We then held that allegation of fraud in the issuance of the title was not proper for consideration
reversion will no longer prosper as the land had become private land and the fraudulent acquisition cannot and determination at that stage of the case.
affect the titles of innocent purchasers for value.
73
From the undisputed facts of the case, it is easily revealed that respondent Republic took its sweet time to petition for relief from the May 18, 1998 Resolution approving said compromise agreement. With the
nullify Castros title, notwithstanding the easy access to ample remedies which were readily available after dismissal of the petition, the May 18, 1998 Resolution became final and executory and herein respondent
OCT No. 10215 was registered in the name of Castro. First, it could have appealed to the CA when the Republic through PEA was deemed to have recognized Castros title over the disputed land as legal and
Pasig-Rizal CFI rendered a decision ordering the registration of title in the name of applicant Castro on April valid. In Romero v. Tan,[33] we ruled that a judicial compromise has the effect of res judicata. We also
26, 1974. Had it done so, it could have elevated the matter to this Court if the appellate court affirms the made clear that a judgment based on a compromise agreement is a judgment on the merits, wherein the
decision of the land registration court. Second, when the entry of Decree No. N-150912 was made on May parties have validly entered into stipulations and the evidence was duly considered by the trial court that
29, 1974 by the Rizal Register of Deeds, the Republic had one (1) year from said date or up to May 28, 1975 approved the agreement. In the instant case, the May 18, 1998 Resolution approving the compromise
to file a petition for the reopening and review of Decree No. N-150912 with the Rizal CFI (now RTC) on the agreement confirmed the favorable decision directing the registration of the lot to Castros name in LRC Case
ground of actual fraud under section 32 of PD 1592. Again, respondent Republic did not avail of such No. N-8239. Similarly, in Firestone, the Margolles case confirmed the decision rendered in favor of Gana in
remedy. Third, when Jesus Yujuico filed a complaint for Removal of Cloud and Annulment of Title with Land Registration Case No. 672 ordering the issuance of the decree to said applicant. Fourth, in Firestone,
Damages against PEA before the Paraaque RTC in Civil Case No. 96-0317, respondent could have the Supreme Court relied on the letter of then Solicitor General Francisco Chavez that the evidence of the
persevered to question and nullify Castros title. Instead, PEA undertook a compromise agreement on which Bureau of Lands and the LRC was not sufficient to support an action for cancellation of OCT No. 4216. In
the May 18, 1998 Resolution[30] was issued. PEA in effect admitted that the disputed land was owned by the instant case, both the Solicitor General and the Government Corporate Counsel opined that the Yujuico
the predecessors-in-interest of petitioners and their title legal and valid; and impliedly waived its right to land was not under water and that there appears to be no sufficient basis for the Government to institute the
contest the validity of said title; respondent Republic even filed the petition for relief from judgment beyond action for annulment. Fifth, in Firestone, we ruled that the Margolles case had long become final, thus the
the time frames allowed by the rules, a fact even acknowledged by this Court in Public Estates Authority. validity of OCT No. 4216 should no longer be disturbed and should be applied in the instant case (reversion
Lastly, respondent only filed the reversion suit on June 8, 2001 after the passage of 27 years from the date suit) based on the principle of res judicata or, otherwise, the rule on conclusiveness of judgment.[34]
the decree of registration was issued to Fermina Castro.
Clearly from the above, Firestone is a precedent case. The Public Estates Authority had become final and
Such a Rip Van Winkle, coupled with the signing of the settlement with PEA, understandably misled thus the validity of OCT No. 10215 issued to Castro could no longer be questioned.
petitioners to believe that the government no longer had any right or interest in the disputed lot to the extent
that the two lots were even mortgaged to several banks including a government financing institution. Any While we said in Public Estates Authority that the court does not foreclose the right of the Republic from
nullification of title at this stage would unsettle and prejudice the rights and obligations of innocent parties. pursuing the proper recourse in a separate proceedings as it may deem warranted, the statement was obiter
All told, we are constrained to conclude that laches had set in. dictum since the inquiry on whether or not the disputed land was still under water at the time of its
registration was a non-issue in the said case.
Even granting arguendo that respondent Republic is not precluded by laches from challenging the title of
petitioners in the case at bar, still we find that the instant action for reversion is already barred by res Even granting for the sake of argument that Firestone is not squarely applicable, still we find the reversion
judicata. suit already barred by res judicata.

Petitioners relying on Firestone Ceramics, Inc. v. Court of Appeals[31] as a precedent to the case at bar For res judicata to serve as an absolute bar to a subsequent action, the following requisites must concur: (1)
contend that the instant reversion suit is now barred by res judicata. there must be a final judgment or order; (2) the court rendering it must have jurisdiction over the subject
matter and the parties; (3) it must be a judgment or order on the merits; and (4) there must be between the
We agree with petitioners. two cases, identity of parties, subject matter and causes of action.[35]
There is no question as to the first, third and last requisites. The threshold question pertains to the second
The doctrine on precedents is expressed in the latin maximStare decisis et non quieta movere. Follow past requisite, whether or not the then Pasig-Rizal CFI, Branch 22 had jurisdiction over the subject matter in LRC
precedents and do not disturb what has been settled.[32] In order however that a case can be considered as a Case No. N-8239. In Civil Case No. 01-0222, the Paraaque City RTC, Branch 257 held that the CFI had
precedent to another case which is pending consideration, the facts of the first case should be similar or jurisdiction. The CA reversed the decision of the Paraaque City RTC based on the assertion of respondent
analogous to the second case. Republic that the Pasig-Rizal CFI had no jurisdiction over the subject matter, and that there was a need to
determine the character of the land in question.
A perusal of the facts of the Firestone case and those of the case at bar reveals that the facts in the two (2)
cases are parallel. First, in Firestone and in this case, the claimants filed land registration applications with The Paraaque City RTC Order dismissing the case for res judicata must be upheld.
the CFI; both claimants obtained decrees for registration of lots applied for and were issued OCTs. Second,
in Firestone, the Republic filed a reversion case alleging that the land covered by the OCT was still The CA, in rejecting the dismissal of the reversion case by the Paraaque RTC, relied on two cases, namely:
inalienable forest land at the time of the application and hence the Land Registration Court did not acquire Municipality of Antipolo v. Zapanta[36] and Republic v. Vda. De Castillo.[37]
jurisdiction to adjudicate the property to the claimant. In the instant case, respondent Republic contend that
the land applied for by Yujuico was within Manila Bay at the time of application and therefore the CFI had In Municipality of Antipolo, we held that the land registration court had no jurisdiction to entertain any land
no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the complaint. Third, in Firestone, the validity of the title of the registration application if the land was public property, thus:
claimant was favorably ruled upon by this Court in G.R. No. 109490 entitled Patrocinio E. Margolles v. CA.
In the case at bar, the validity of the compromise agreement involving the disputed lot was in effect upheld Since the Land Registration Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the application for registration of public
when this Court in Public Estates Authority v. Yujuico dismissed the petition of PEA seeking to reinstate the property of ANTIPOLO, its Decision adjudicating the DISPUTED PROPERTY as of private ownership is
74
null and void. It never attained finality, and can be attacked at any time. It was not a bar to the action subject matter is determined by the allegations of the initiatory pleadingthe application.[41] Settled is the
brought by ANTIPOLO for its annulment by reason of res judicata. rule that the authority to decide a case and not the decision rendered therein is what makes up jurisdiction.
When there is jurisdiction, the decision of all questions arising in the case is but an exercise of
[x x x] the want of jurisdiction by a court over the subject matter renders the judgment void and a mere jurisdiction.[42]
nullity, and considering that a void judgment is in legal effect no judgment, by which no rights are divested,
from which no rights can be obtained, which neither binds nor bars any one, and under which all acts In our view, it was imprecise to state in Municipality of Antipolo that the Land Registration Court [has] no
performed and all claims flowing out of are void, and considering, further, that the decision, for want of jurisdiction to entertain the application for registration of public property x x x for such court precisely has
jurisdiction of the court, is not a decision in contemplation of law, and hence, can never become executory, it the jurisdiction to entertain land registration applications since that is conferred by PD 1529. The applicant
follows that such a void judgment cannot constitute a bar to another case by reason of res judicata. in a land registration case usually claims the land subject matter of the application as his/her private
property, as in the case of the application of Castro. Thus, the conclusion of the CA that the Pasig-Rizal CFI
xxxx has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the application of Castro has no legal mooring. The land
It follows that if a person obtains a title under the Public Land Act which includes, by oversight, lands which registration court initially has jurisdiction over the land applied for at the time of the filing of the application.
cannot be registered under the Torrens System, or when the Director of Lands did not have jurisdiction over After trial, the court, in the exercise of its jurisdiction, can determine whether the title to the land applied for
the same because it is a public forest, the grantee does not, by virtue of the said certificate of title alone, is registrable and can be confirmed. In the event that the subject matter of the application turns out to be
become the owner of the land illegally included (Republic vs. Animas, 56 SCRA 499, 503; Ledesma vs. inalienable public land, then it has no jurisdiction to order the registration of the land and perforce must
Municipality of Iloilo, 49 Phil. 769). dismiss the application.
Based on our ruling in Antipolo, the threshold question is whether the land covered by the titles of
[x x x x] petitioners is under water and forms part of Manila Bay at the time of the land registration application in
1974. If the land was within Manila Bay, then res judicata does not apply. Otherwise, the decision of the
Under these circumstances, the certificate of title may be ordered cancelled (Republic vs. Animas, et al., land registration court is a bar to the instant reversion suit.
supra), and the cancellation maybe pursued through an ordinary action therefore. This action cannot be
barred by the prior judgment of the land registration court, since the said court had no jurisdiction over the After a scrutiny of the case records and pleadings of the parties in LRC Case No. N-8239 and in the instant
subject matter. And if there was no such jurisdiction, then the principle of res judicata does not apply. [x x x] petition, we rule that the land of Fermina Castro is registrable and not part of Manila Bay at the time of the
Certainly, one of the essential requisites, i.e., jurisdiction over the subject matter, is absent in this case. filing of the land registration application.
(Italics supplied).[38]
The trial courts Decision in 1974 easily reveals the basis for its conclusion that the subject matter was a dry
land, thus:

The plain import of Municipality of Antipolo is that a land registration court, the RTC at present, has no On February 1, 1974, the applicant presented her evidence before the Deputy Clerk of this Court and among
jurisdiction over the subject matter of the application which respondent Republic claims is public land. This the evidence presented by her were certain documents which were marked as Exhibits D to J, inclusive. The
ruling needs elucidation. applicant testified in her behalf and substantially declared that: she was 62 years old, single, housekeeper
and residing at 1550 J. Escoda, Ermita, Manila; that she was born on June 3, 1911; that she first came to
Firmly entrenched is the principle that jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred by law.[39] know of the land applied for which is situated in the Municipality of Paraaque, province of Rizal, with an
Consequently, the proper CFI (now the RTC) under Section 14 of PD 1529[40] (Property Registration area of 17,343 square meters and covered by plan (LRC) Psu-964 while she was still ten (10) years old or
Decree) has jurisdiction over applications for registration of title to land. sometime in 1921; that when she first came to know of the land applied for, the person who was in
possession and owner of said land was her father, Catalino Castro; that during that time her father used to
Section 14 of PD 1592 provides: plant on said land various crops like pechay, mustard, eggplant, etc.; that during that time, her father built a
house on said land which was used by her father and the other members of the family, including the
applicant, as their residential house; that the land applied for was inherited by her father from her
SEC. 14. Who may apply.The following persons may file in the proper Court of First Instance an application grandfather Sergio Castro; that Catalino Castro continuously possessed and owned the land in question from
for registration of title to land, whether personally or through their duly authorized representatives: 1921 up to the time of his death in 1952; and that during that period of time nobody ever disturbed the
possession and ownership of her father over the said parcel of land; that after the death of her father in 1952
(1) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, she left the place and transferred her place of residence but she had also occasions to visit said land twice or
exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain thrice a week and sometimes once a week; that after she left the land in question in 1952, she still continued
under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12, 1945, or earlier. (Emphasis supplied.) possessing said land, through her caretaker Eliseo Salonga; that her possession over the land in question
from the time she inherited it up to the time of the filing of the application has been continuous, public,
adverse against the whole world and in the concept of an owner; that it was never encumbered, mortgaged,
or disposed of by her father during his lifetime and neither did she ever encumber or sell the same; that it
Conformably, the Pasig-Rizal CFI, Branch XXII has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the land was declared for taxation purposes by her father when he was still alive and her father also paid the real
registration case filed by Fermina Castro, petitioners predecessor-in-interest, since jurisdiction over the estate taxes due to the government although the receipt evidencing the payment of said real estate taxes for
75
the property applied for have been lost and could no longer be found inspite of diligent effort exerted to 13N - 120 59 E., Sec. 3-D and CM 14 30N - 120 59E., Sec. 2-A of Paranaque [sic] Cadastre (Cad-299),
locate the same. (LRC) Psu-964 falls inside Manila Bay, outside Cad-299.[45]

The other witness presented by the applicant was Emiliano de Leon, who declared that he was 70 years old, The same conclusion was adopted in a November 15, 1973 letter of Narciso Villapando, Acting Regional
married, farmer and residing at San Jose, Baliwag, Bulacan; that he knew Catalino Castro, the father of the Lands Director to the Chief, Legal Division, Bureau of Lands and in the Comment and Recommendation of
applicant because said Catalino Castro was his neighbor in Tambo, Paraaque, Rizal, he had a house erected Ernesto C. Mendiola, Assistant Director, also of the Bureau of Lands.
on the land of Catalino Castro; that he was born in 1903 and he first came to know of the land in question
when in 1918 when he was about 18 years old; that the area of the land owned and possessed by Catalino Respondent likewise cites Namria Hydrographic Map No. 4243 Revised 80-11-2 to support its position that
Castro where he constructed a residential house has an area of more than one and one-half (1 ) hectares; that Castros lot is a portion of Manila Bay.
the possession of Catalino Castro over the land in question was peaceful, continuous, notorious, adverse
against the whole world and in the concept of an owner; that during the time that Catalino Castro was in The burden of proving these averments falls to the shoulders of respondent Republic. The difficulty is
possession of the land applied for he planted on said parcel of land mango, coconut and banana, etc.; that locating the witnesses of the government. Roman Mataverde, then OIC of the Surveys Division retired from
Catalino Castro continuously possessed and owned said parcel of land up to the year 1952 when he died; that the government service in 1982. He should by this time be in his 90s. Moreover, Asst. Regional Director
during the time that Catalino Castro was in possession of said land, nobody ever laid claim over the said Narciso Villapando and Asst. Director Ernesto C. Mendiola are no longer connected with the Bureau of
property; that said land is not within any military or naval reservation; that upon the death of Catalino Lands since 1986.
Castro, the applicant took possession of the land applied for and that up to the present the applicant is in
possession of said land; that he resided in the land in question from 1918 up to the time he transferred his Assuming that OIC Roman Mataverde, Asst. Regional Director Narciso Villapando and Assistant Director
place of residence in Baliwag, Bulacan in the year 1958. Ernesto C. Mendiola are still available as witnesses, the projections made on the cadastral maps of the then
Bureau of Lands cannot prevail over the results of the two ocular inspections by several Bureau of Lands
On February 11, 1974, the Court, pursuant to the provision of Presidential Decree No. 230 issued by his officials that the disputed lot is definitely dry and solid land and not part of Manila Bay. Special Attorney
Excellency, Ferdinand E. Marcos dated July 9, 1973 held in abeyance the rendition of a decision in this case Saturnino A. Pacubas, Land Inspector Adelino G. Gorospe, Geodetic Engineer Manuel A. Cervantes and
and directed the applicant to submit a white print copy of plan (LRC) Psu-964 to the Director of lands who Administrative Asst. Lazaro A. Berana, all officials of the Bureau of Lands, were positive that the disputed
was directed by the Court to submit his comment and recommendation thereon. land is solid and dry land and no longer forms part of Manila Bay. Evidence gathered from the ocular
inspection is considered direct and firsthand information entitled to great weight and credit while the
The property in question is declared for taxation purposes under Tax Declaration No. 51842 (Exhibit G) and Mataverde and Villapando reports are evidence weak in probative value, being merely based on theoretical
real estate taxes due thereon have been paid up to the year 1973 (Exhibit H). projections in the cadastral map or table surveys.[46] Said projections must be confirmed by the actual
inspection and verification survey by the land inspectors and geodetic engineers of the Bureau of Lands.
In compliance with the Order of this Court February 11, 1974, the Director of Lands, thru Special Attorney Unfortunately for respondent Republic, the bureau land inspectors attested and affirmed that the disputed
Saturnino A. Pacubas, submitted a report to this Court dated April 25, 1974, stating among other things, that land is already dry land and not within Manila Bay.
upon ocular inspection conducted by Land Inspector Adelino G. Gorospe and the subsequent joint ocular
inspection conducted by Geodetic Engineer Manuel A. Cervantes and Administrative Assistant Lazaro G. On the other hand, the Namria Hydrographic Map No. 4243 does not reveal what portion of Manila Bay was
Berania, it was established that the parcel of land covered by plan (LRC) Psu-964 no longer forms part of the Castros lot located in 1974. Moreover, a hydrographic map is not the best evidence to show the nature and
Manila Bay but is definitely solid and dry land. location of the lot subject of a land registration application. It is derived from a hydrographic survey which
is mainly used for navigation purposes, thus:
In this connection, it should be noted that Administrative Assistant Lazaro G. Berania and Geodetic
Engineer Manuel A. Cervantes, in their report dated March 22, 1974 have also stated that the land applied
for cannot be reached by water even in the highest tide and that the said land is occupied by squatter families
who have erected makeshift shanties and a basketball court which only prove that the same is dry and solid
land away from the shores of Manila Bay.
Surveys whose principal purpose is the determination of data relating to bodies of water. A hydrographic
Furthermore, Land Inspector Adelino G. Gorospe in his letter-report dated November 28, 1973 has also survey may consist of the determination of one or several of the following classes of data: depth water;
stated that there is a house of pre-war vintage owned by the applicant on the land in question which in effect configuration and nature of the bottom; directions and force of currents; heights and times of tides and water
corroborates the testimony of the applicant and her witness that they have lived on the land in question even stages; and location of fixed objects for survey and navigation purposes.[47]
prior to the outbreak of the second world war and that the applicant has been in possession of the land in
question long time ago.[43]

Juxtaposed with finding of the ocular inspection by Bureau of Lands Special Attorney Pacubas and others
To counter the evidence of applicant Castro, and bolster its claim that she has no valid title, respondent that Castros lot is dry land in 1974, Namria Hydrographic Map No. 4243 is therefore inferior evidence and
Republic relies on the July 18, 1973 Office Memorandum[44] of Roman Mataverde, OIC, Surveys Division, lacking in probative force.
to the OIC, Legal Division, of the Bureau of Lands, stating that when projected on cadastral maps CM 14
76
Moreover, the reliability and veracity of the July 18, 1973 report of Roman Mataverde based on the alleged 4.6 The provision of P.D. 239 that no decree of registration may be issued by the court unless upon approval
projection on cadastral maps and the Villapando report dated November 15, 1973 are put to serious doubt in and recommendation of the Bureau of Lands was substantially complied with in the Report of Lands Special
the face of the opinion dated October 13, 1997 of the Government Corporate Counsel, the lawyer of the Attorney Saturnino Pacubas, submitted to the court.[48]
PEA, which upheld the validity of the titles of petitioners, thus:

We maintain to agree with the findings of the court that the property of Fermina Castro was registrable land,
as based on the two (2) ocular inspections conducted on March 22, 1974 by Lands Administrative Assistant Even the counsel of respondent Republic, the OSG, arrived at the conclusion that there is no sufficient legal
Lazaro G. Berania and Lands Geodetic Engr. Manuel Cervantes, finding the same no longer forms part of basis for said respondent to institute action to annul the titles of petitioners, thus:
Manila Bay but is definitely solid land which cannot be reached by water even in the highest of tides. This
Berania-Cervantes report based on ocular inspections literally overturned the findings and recommendations
of Land Director Narciso V. Villapando dated November 15, 1973, and that of Director Ernesto C. Mendiola
dated December 1, 1977, and the fact that the Villapando-Mendiola reports were merely based on It may be stated at the outset that a petition for annulment of certificate of title or reconveyance of land may
projections in the cadastral map or table surveys. be based on fraud which attended the issuance of the decree of registration and the corresponding certificate
of title.
xxxx
Based on the decision in the LRC Case No. N-8239 involving the petition for registration and confirmation
A. The Legal prognosis of the case is not promising in favor of PEA. of title filed by Fermina Castro, there is no showing that fraud attended the issuance of OCT No. 10215. it
4.1 LRC Case No. N-8239 has already become final and executory and OCT No. 10215 was already issued appears that the evidence presented by Fermina Castro was sufficient for the trial court to grant her petition.
in favor of Fermina Castro. Any and all attempts to question its validity can only be entertained in a quo
warranto proceedings (sic), assuming that there are legal grounds (not factual grounds) to support its The testimony of Fermina Castro, which was corroborated by Emiliano de Leon, that she and her
nullification. Subjecting it to a collateral attack is not allowed under the Torrens Title System. In Calalang predecessors-in-interest had been in possession of the land for more than thirty (30) years sufficiently
vs. Register of Deeds of Quezon City, 208 SCRA 215, the Supreme Court held that the present petition is established her vested right over the property initially covered by OCT No. 10215. The report dated April
not the proper remedy in challenging the validity of certificates of titles since the judicial action required is a 25, 1974 which was submitted to the trial court by the Director of Lands through Special Attorney Saturnino
direct and not a collateral attack (refer also to: Toyota Motor Philippine Corporation vs. CA, 216 SCRA Pacubas showed that the parcel of land was solid and dry land when Fermina Castros application for
236). registration of title was filed. It was based on the ocular inspection conducted by Land Inspector Adelino
Gorospe and the joint circular inspection conducted by Geodetic Engineer Manuel A. Cervantes and
4.2 OCT No. 10215 in favor of Fermina Castro was issued pursuant to a cadastral proceeding, hence is a rem Administrative Assistant Lazaro Berania on November 28, 1973 and March 22, 1974 respectively.
proceedings which is translated as a constructive notice to the whole world, as held in Adez Realty
Incorporated vs. CA, 212 SCRA 623. The aforesaid report must be requested unless there is a concrete proof that there was an irregularity in the
issuance thereof. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the ocular inspection of the parcel of land,
4.3 From the cursory and intent reading of the decision of Judge Sison in LRC Case No. N-8239, we cannot which was made the basis of said report, is presumed to be in order.
find any iota of fraud having been committed by the court and the parties. In fact, due process was observed
when the Office of the Solicitor General represented ably the Bureau of Lands. In Balangcad vs. Justices of Based on the available records, there appears to be no sufficient basis for the Government to institute an
the Court of Appeals, 206 SCRA 169, the Supreme Court held that title to registered property becomes action for the annulment of OCT No. 10215 and its derivative titles. It is opined that a petition for
indefeasible after one-year from date of registration except where there is actual fraud in which case it may cancellation/annulment of Decree No. N-150912 and OCT No. 10215 and all its derivative titles will not
be challenged in a direct proceeding within that period. This is also the ruling in Bishop vs. CA, 208 SCRA prosper unless there is convincing evidence to negate the report of the then Land Management Bureau
636, that to sustain an action for annulment of a torrens certificate for being void ab initio, it must be shown through Special Attorney Pacubas. Should the Government pursue the filing of such an action, the
that the registration court had not acquired jurisdiction over the case and there was actual fraud in securing possibility of winning the case is remote.[49]
the title.

4.4 As to priority of torrens title, PEA has no defense, assuming that both PEA and Yujuico titles are valid,
as held in Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System vs. CA, 215 SCRA 783, where two (2) More so, respondent Government, through its counsel, admits that the land applied by Fermina Castro in
certificates purport to include the same land, the earlier in date prevails. 1973 was solid and dry land, negating the nebulous allegation that said land is underwater. The only
conclusion that can be derived from the admissions of the Solicitor General and Government Corporate
4.5 The documents so far submitted by the parties to the court indicate that the mother title of the Yujuico Counsel is that the land subject of the titles of petitioners is alienable land beyond the reach of the reversion
land when registered in 1974 was not underwater. This was shown in the two (2) ocular inspections suit of the state.
conducted by the officials of the Land Bureau.

77
Notably, the land in question has been the subject of a compromise agreement upheld by this Court in Public SECOND DIVISION
Estates Authority.[50] In that compromise agreement, among other provisions, it was held that the property
covered by TCT Nos. 446386 and S-29361, the land subject of the instant case, would be exchanged for G.R. No. 149576 August 8, 2006
PEA property. The fact that PEA signed the May 15, 1998 Compromise Agreement is already a clear
admission that it recognized petitioners as true and legal owners of the land subject of this controversy. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the Land Registration Authority, Petitioner,
vs.
Moreover, PEA has waived its right to contest the legality and validity of Castros title. Such waiver is KENRICK DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Respondent.
clearly within the powers of PEA since it was created by PD 1084 as a body corporate which shall have the
attribute of perpetual succession and possessed of the powers of the corporations, to be exercised in DECISION
conformity with the provisions of this Charter [PD 1084].[51] It has the power to enter into, make, perform
and carry out contracts of every class and description, including loan agreements, mortgages and other types CORONA, J.:
of security arrangements, necessary or incidental to the realization of its purposes with any person, firm or
corporation, private or public, and with any foreign government or entity.[52] It also has the power to sue The Republic of the Philippines assails the May 31, 2001 decision 1 and August 20, 2001 resolution of the
and be sued in its corporate name.[53] Thus, the Compromise Agreement and the Deed of Exchange of Real Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 52948 in this petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
Property signed by PEA with the petitioners are legal, valid and binding on PEA. In the Compromise
Agreement, it is provided that it settles in full all the claims/counterclaims of the parties against each This case stemmed from the construction by respondent Kenrick Development Corporation of a concrete
other.[54] The waiver by PEA of its right to question petitioners title is fortified by the manifestation by perimeter fence around some parcels of land located behind the Civil Aviation Training Center of the Air
PEA in the Joint Motion for Judgment based on Compromise Agreement that Transportation Office (ATO) in 1996. As a result, the ATO was dispossessed of some 30,228 square meters
of prime land. Respondent justified its action with a claim of ownership over the property. It presented
4. The parties herein hereto waive and abandon any and all other claims and counterclaims which they may Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) Nos. 135604, 135605 and 135606 issued in its name and which allegedly
have against each other arising from this case or related thereto.[55] originated from TCT No. 17508 registered in the name of one Alfonso Concepcion.

ATO verified the authenticity of respondent’s titles with the Land Registration Authority (LRA). On May
Thus, there was a valid waiver of the right of respondent Republic through PEA to challenge petitioners 17, 1996, Atty. Jose Loriega, head of the Land Title Verification Task Force of the LRA, submitted his
titles. report. The Registrar of Deeds of Pasay City had no record of TCT No. 17508 and its ascendant title, TCT
No. 5450. The land allegedly covered by respondent’s titles was also found to be within Villamor Air Base
The recognition of petitioners legal ownership of the land is further bolstered by the categorical and (headquarters of the Philippine Air Force) in Pasay City.
unequivocal acknowledgment made by PEA in its September 30, 2003 letter where it stated that: Your
ownership thereof was acknowledged by PEA when it did not object to your membership in the CBP-IA By virtue of the report, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), on September 3, 1996, filed a complaint
Association, in which an owner of a piece of land in CBP-IA automatically becomes a member thereof.[56] for revocation, annulment and cancellation of certificates of title in behalf of the Republic of the Philippines
Section 26, Rule 130 provides that the act, declaration or omission of a party as to a relevant fact may be (as represented by the LRA) against respondent and Alfonso Concepcion. It was raffled to Branch 114 of the
given in evidence against him. The admissions of PEA which is the real party-in-interest in this case on the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City where it was docketed as Civil Case No. 96-1144.
nature of the land of Fermina Castro are valid and binding on respondent Republic. Respondents claim that
the disputed land is underwater falls flat in the face of the admissions of PEA against its interests. Hence, res On December 5, 1996, respondent filed its answer which was purportedly signed by Atty. Onofre Garlitos,
judicata now effectively precludes the relitigation of the issue of registrability of petitioners lot. Jr. as counsel for respondent.

In sum, the Court finds that the reversion case should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction on the part of the Since Alfonso Concepcion could not be located and served with summons, the trial court ordered the
Paraaque RTC. Even if we treat said case as a petition for annulment of judgment under Rule 47 of the 1997 issuance of an alias summons by publication against him on February 19, 1997.
Rules of Civil Procedure, the dismissal of the case nevertheless has to be upheld because it is already barred
by laches. Even if laches is disregarded, still the suit is already precluded by res judicata in view of the The case was thereafter punctuated by various incidents relative to modes of discovery, pre-trial,
peculiar facts and circumstances obtaining therein. postponements or continuances, motions to dismiss, motions to declare defendants in default and other
procedural matters.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. CV No. 76212 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the August 7, 2002 Order of the Paraaque During the pendency of the case, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and Committee on Justice and Human
City RTC, Branch 257 in Civil Case No. 01-0222 entitled Republic of the Philippines v. Fermina Castro, et Rights conducted a hearing in aid of legislation on the matter of land registration and titling. In particular,
al. dismissing the complaint is AFFIRMED. the legislative investigation looked into the issuance of fake titles and focused on how respondent was able
to acquire TCT Nos. 135604, 135605 and 135606.
No costs.
During the congressional hearing held on November 26, 1998, one of those summoned was Atty. Garlitos,
SO ORDERED. respondent’s former counsel. He testified that he prepared respondent’s answer and transmitted an unsigned
78
draft to respondent’s president, Mr. Victor Ong. The signature appearing above his name was not his. He (d) replies by way of rebuttal to some specific points raised by another but ignores further points which he or
authorized no one to sign in his behalf either. And he did not know who finally signed it. she has heard the other make 13 or

With Atty. Garlitos’ revelation, the Republic promptly filed an urgent motion on December 3, 1998 to (e) reads and signs a written statement made by another. 14
declare respondent in default, 2 predicated on its failure to file a valid answer. The Republic argued that,
since the person who signed the answer was neither authorized by Atty. Garlitos nor even known to him, the Here, respondent accepted the pronouncements of Atty. Garlitos and built its case on them. At no instance
answer was effectively an unsigned pleading. Pursuant to Section 3, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court, 3 it was a did it ever deny or contradict its former counsel’s statements. It went to great lengths to explain Atty.
mere scrap of paper and produced no legal effect. Garlitos’ testimony as well as its implications, as follows:

On February 19, 1999, the trial court issued a resolution granting the Republic’s motion. 4 It found 1. While Atty. Garlitos denied signing the answer, the fact was that the answer was signed. Hence, the
respondent’s answer to be sham and false and intended to defeat the purpose of the rules. The trial court pleading could not be considered invalid for being an unsigned pleading. The fact that the person who signed
ordered the answer stricken from the records, declared respondent in default and allowed the Republic to it was neither known to Atty. Garlitos nor specifically authorized by him was immaterial. The important
present its evidence ex parte. thing was that the answer bore a signature.

The Republic presented its evidence ex parte, after which it rested its case and formally offered its evidence. 2. While the Rules of Court requires that a pleading must be signed by the party or his counsel, it does not
prohibit a counsel from giving a general authority for any person to sign the answer for him which was what
Meanwhile, respondent sought reconsideration of the February 19, 1999 resolution but the trial court denied Atty. Garlitos did. The person who actually signed the pleading was of no moment as long as counsel knew
it. that it would be signed by another. This was similar to addressing an authorization letter "to whom it may
concern" such that any person could act on it even if he or she was not known beforehand.
Aggrieved, respondent elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals via a petition for certiorari 5 seeking to
set aside the February 19, 1999 resolution of the trial court. Respondent contended that the trial court erred 3. Atty. Garlitos testified that he prepared the answer; he never disowned its contents and he resumed acting
in declaring it in default for failure to file a valid and timely answer. as counsel for respondent subsequent to its filing. These circumstances show that Atty. Garlitos conformed
to or ratified the signing of the answer by another.
On May 31, 2001, the Court of Appeals rendered the assailed decision. It found Atty. Garlitos’ statements in
the legislative hearing to be unreliable since they were not subjected to cross-examination. The appellate Respondent repeated these statements of Atty. Garlitos in its motion for reconsideration of the trial court’s
court also scrutinized Atty. Garlitos’ acts after the filing of the answer 6 and concluded that he assented to February 19, 1999 resolution. And again in the petition it filed in the Court of Appeals as well as in the
the signing of the answer by somebody in his stead. This supposedly cured whatever defect the answer may comment 15 and memorandum it submitted to this Court.
have had. Hence, the appellate court granted respondent’s petition for certiorari. It directed the lifting of the
order of default against respondent and ordered the trial court to proceed to trial with dispatch. The Republic Evidently, respondent completely adopted Atty. Garlitos’ statements as its own. Respondent’s adoptive
moved for reconsideration but it was denied. Thus, this petition. admission constituted a judicial admission which was conclusive on it.

Did the Court of Appeals err in reversing the trial court’s order which declared respondent in default for its Contrary to respondent’s position, a signed pleading is one that is signed either by the party himself or his
failure to file a valid answer? Yes, it did. counsel. Section 3, Rule 7 is clear on this matter. It requires that a pleading must be signed by the party or
counsel representing him.
A party may, by his words or conduct, voluntarily adopt or ratify another’s statement. 7 Where it appears
that a party clearly and unambiguously assented to or adopted the statements of another, evidence of those Therefore, only the signature of either the party himself or his counsel operates to validly convert a pleading
statements is admissible against him. 8 This is the essence of the principle of adoptive admission. from one that is unsigned to one that is signed.

An adoptive admission is a party’s reaction to a statement or action by another person when it is reasonable Counsel’s authority and duty to sign a pleading are personal to him. He may not delegate it to just any
to treat the party’s reaction as an admission of something stated or implied by the other person. 9 By person.
adoptive admission, a third person’s statement becomes the admission of the party embracing or espousing
it. Adoptive admission may occur when a party: The signature of counsel constitutes an assurance by him that he has read the pleading; that, to the best of his
knowledge, information and belief, there is a good ground to support it; and that it is not interposed for
(a) expressly agrees to or concurs in an oral statement made by another; 10 delay. 16 Under the Rules of Court, it is counsel alone, by affixing his signature, who can certify to these
matters.
(b) hears a statement and later on essentially repeats it; 11
The preparation and signing of a pleading constitute legal work involving practice of law which is reserved
(c) utters an acceptance or builds upon the assertion of another; 12 exclusively for the members of the legal profession. Counsel may delegate the signing of a pleading to
another lawyer 17 but cannot do so

79
in favor of one who is not. The Code of Professional Responsibility provides:
Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the
Rule 9.01 ― A lawyer shall not delegate to any unqualified person the performance of any task which by Philippines for the commencement of disbarment proceedings against Atty. Onofre Garlitos, Jr. for his
law may only be performed by a member of the Bar in good standing. possible unprofessional conduct not befitting his position as an officer of the court.

Moreover, a signature by agents of a lawyer amounts to signing by unqualified persons, 18 something the SO ORDERED.
law strongly proscribes.
EN BANC
Therefore, the blanket authority respondent claims Atty. Garlitos entrusted to just anyone was void. Any act
taken pursuant to that authority was likewise void. There was no way it could have been cured or ratified by G.R. No. 21911 September 15, 1924
Atty. Garlitos’ subsequent acts.
EL VARADERO DE MANILA, Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. INSULAR LUMBER COMPANY,
Moreover, the transcript of the November 26, 1998 Senate hearing shows that Atty. Garlitos consented to the Defendant-Appellee.
signing of the answer by another "as long as it conformed to his draft." We give no value whatsoever to such
self-serving statement. Ernesto Zaragoza for appellant.
Ross, Lawrence & Selph and Antonio T. Carrascoso, Jr., for appellee.
No doubt, Atty. Garlitos could not have validly given blanket authority for just anyone to sign the answer.
The trial court correctly ruled that respondent’s answer was invalid and of no legal effect as it was an MALCOLM, J.:
unsigned pleading. Respondent was properly declared in default and the Republic was rightly allowed to
present evidence ex parte. El Varadero de Manila completed satisfactorily certain repairs on the lighter Tatlo, the property of the
Insular Lumber Company. The work was performed pursuant to no express agreement, but with the implicit
Respondent insists on the liberal application of the rules. It maintains that even if it were true that its answer understanding that the price would be as low as, or lower than, could be secured from any other
was supposedly an unsigned pleading, the defect was a mere technicality that could be set aside. company.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Procedural requirements which have often been disparagingly labeled as mere technicalities have their own The Insular Lumber Company being of the opinion that the bill as presented by El Varadero de Manila was
valid raison d’ etre in the orderly administration of justice. To summarily brush them aside may result in grossly exorbitant and a proposed compromise having failed of realization, the matter was taken to court
arbitrariness and injustice. 19 with the result that in the Court of First Instance of Manila, El Varadero de Manila, the plaintiff, secured
judgment against the Insular Lumber Company, the defendant, in the amount of P5,310.70, with legal
The Court’s pronouncement in Garbo v. Court of Appeals 20 is relevant: interest from the presentation of the complaint, and costs. Still dissatisfied, the plaintiff has appealed to this
court and here as asked us to increase the amount of the judgment to P12,412.62.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Procedural rules are [tools] designed to facilitate the adjudication of cases. Courts and litigants alike are thus chanrobles virtual law library
[enjoined] to abide strictly by the rules. And while the Court, in some instances, allows a relaxation in the
application of the rules, this, we stress, was never intended to forge a bastion for erring litigants to violate To arrive at as correct a judgment as is possible, it will first be necessary to set down a number of figures
the rules with impunity. The liberality in the interpretation and application of the rules applies only in proper and thereafter to seize upon a few salient facts as having influence.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
cases and under justifiable causes and circumstances. While it is true that litigation is not a game of virtual law library
technicalities, it is equally true that every case must be prosecuted in accordance with the prescribed
procedure to insure an orderly and speedy administration of justice. The itemized bill presented by the plaintiff, the amount which it still claims, totals P12,412.62. At one time
during the course of the negotiations, the plaintiff was willing to accept P10,241.37. (Exhibit I.) The
Like all rules, procedural rules should be followed except only when, for the most persuasive of reasons, witnesses for the plaintiff naturally took the view that the bill was correct. But the trial judge was of the
they may be relaxed to relieve a litigant of an injustice not commensurate with the degree of his opinion that it was excessive.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
thoughtlessness in not complying with the prescribed procedure. 21 In this case, respondent failed to show
any persuasive reason why it should be exempted from strictly abiding by the rules. The defendant, on the other hand, says that a reasonable figure for the work would be P5,310.70. Witnesses
were offered to substantiate this contention. Their testimony so impressed the trial judge that he adopted
As a final note, the Court cannot close its eyes to the acts committed by Atty. Garlitos in violation of the their statements as his own. During the course of the abortive negotiations, however, the defendant
ethics of the legal profession. Thus, he should be made to account for his possible misconduct. expressed a willingness to pay the plaintiff P8,070.12. (Exhibit G.) chanrobles virtual law library

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The May 31, 2001 decision and August 20, 2001 Now to emphasize three points which will materially assist us in rendering judgment. The first point relates
resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 52948 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the to the offer of compromise which naturally, under the general rules of evidence, must be excluded, except
February 19, 1999 resolution of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 114 declaring respondent in that as the amounts named in the offers to accept certain sums in settlement appear to have been arrived at as
default is hereby REINSTATED. a fair estimate of value, they are relevant. (City of Springfield vs. Schmook [1878], 68 Mo., 394; Daniels vs.
80
Town of Woonsocket [1874], 11 R. I., 4; Teasley vs. Bradley [1900], 110 Ga., 497.) Here, there was no were made voluntarily, and that they were therefore inadmissible as proof in so far as they can be construed
denial of liability and the only question discussed was the amount to be paid which the plaintiff insisted as admission or confession of guilt. In answer to this contention it is sufficient to say that there is no
should not be more than P8,070.12. The second point of interest relates to the testimony of Mariano Yengko, suggestion in the record in the court below that these extrajudicial statements were not made voluntarily, and
inspector of vessels, admittedly a disinterested witness, who in one synopsis of a fair value of the repairs, we are satisfied that if the evidence as to the circumstances under which these incriminating statements were
arrived at P5,134.20, but which, on cross-examination, he raised to between seven and eight thousand pesos. made be accepted as true it clearly rebuts the possibility that they were made involuntarily, or extorted by
And the third point is that the tacit understanding between the parties was that the cost of the repairs should force, threats, or promise of reward. The record clearly discloses that these extrajudicial statements were
be approximately the same as what other companies would charge. The defendant admits that El Varadero made in the course of offers to compromise and that they were made by the accused voluntarily, though
de Navotas would have done the work for about P8,000.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law doubtless these offers to compromise were made in the hope that it accepted he would escape prosecution.
library
The question as to the admissibility of offers to compromise in criminal cases has frequently been discussed
Basing our findings, therefore, on the foregoing considerations, we are of the opinion that the reasonable in the courts of the United States, and the practice there does not appear to be wholly uniform. We think,
value of the repairs performed by El Varadero de Manila on the Tatlo owned by the Insular Lumber however, that the weight both of authority and of reason sustains the rule which admits evidence of offers to
Company, was something less than P8,000. We fix the sum definitely at P7,700.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary compromise, but permits the accused to show that such offers were not made under a consciousness of guilt,
chanrobles virtual law library but merely to avoid the inconvenience of imprisonment or for some other reason which would justify a claim
by the accused that the offer to compromise was not in truth an admission of his guilt and an attempt to
Judgment is modified, and in lieu of the judgment rendered in the lower court, another shall issue in favor of avoid the legal consequences which would ordinarily ensue therefrom.
the plaintiff and against the defendant for the recovery of P7,700, with legal interest to begin to run from the
date when this judgment shall become final and to continue until payment, without express finding as to Satisfaction to the owner of the goods stolen is admissible, as evidence against the accused, but if made
costs in either instance. So ordered. merely to avoid the inconvenience of imprisonment, and not under a consciousness of guilt, it is not
evidence. (U. S. vs. Hunter, 1 Cranch, C. C., 317.)
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT In a prosecution for seduction, evidence that the accused had sought an adjustment with the prosecutrix is
Manila inadmissible, if such offer of adjustment did not contain an admission of guilt. (Wilson vs. State, 73 Ala.,
527.)
EN BANC
On a prosecution for assault with intent to commit rape upon a married woman, evidence is admissible on
G.R. No. L-8931 March 14, 1914 behalf of the prosecution to show that the defendant sent a third person to the father of the prosecutrix to
ascertain if the case could be compromised. (Barr vs. People, 113 Ill., 471.)
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs. In a larceny case, evidence is not admissible to show that defendant stated that he would pay $50 if it could
JUAN MAQUI, defendant-appellant. be settled, in reply to threats by the owner of the goods stolen that he would be prosecuted for damages, and
a solicitation to settle. (Frain vs. State, 40 Ga., 530.)
Alejo Mabanag for appellant.
Office of the Solicitor-General Harvey for appellee. In a prosecution for larceny, evidence is not admissible that defendant paid a sum of money in settlement of
a civil action brought to recover the property alleged to have been stolen. (State vs. Emerson, 48 Iowa, 172.)
CARSON, J.:
An offer of compromise, voluntarily made by the accused, without threat or promise, and the reply thereto,
The appellant in this case was convicted in the court below of the theft of the caraballa and her calf, and are admissible in evidence upon his trial for a crime. (State vs. Bruce, 33 La. Ann., 186.)
sentenced to imprisonment for the period of five years, to suffer the accessory penalties prescribed by law,
and to pay his share of the costs of the proceedings. An offer of compromise of a crime, unaccepted by the prosecutor, may be proven by the state as an
admission of guilt, or as disclosing possession of the property which is the subject of the burglary and
Counsel for the accused contends that the trial court erred in giving probative value to the testimony of one larceny charged in the indictment. (State vs. Rodriguez, 45 La. Ann., 1040; 13 Southern, 802.)
Dagsa, the principal witness for the prosecution; in accepting proof as to certain extrajudicial admissions
alleged to have been made by the accused, including an offer to compromise the case by the payment of a It may be shown that the prisoner sent a massage to the prosecutor, proposing to take a whipping and to be
sum of money; and in declining to accept as true the testimony of the accused in his own behalf at the trial. let go. (State vs. DeBerry, 92 N. C., 800.)
We find nothing in the record, however, which would justify us in disturbing the findings of the trial judge
as to the degree of the credit which should be accorded the various witnesses called at the trial. We are satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the accused, but we are opinion that in
imposing the penalty the trial court should have taken into consideration as a mitigating circumstance the
Counsel rests his contention that the evidence as to the extrajudicial statements made by the accused should manifest lack of "instruction and education" of the offender. It does not clearly appear whether he is or not
have been excluded on the ground that, as counsel insists, there is no formal proof n the record that they an uncivilized Igorot, although there are indications in the record which tend to show that he is. But in any
81
event, it is very clear that if he is not a member of an uncivilized tribe of Igorots, he is a densely ignorant SUPREME COURT
and untutored fellow, who lived in the Igorot country, and is not much, if any, higher that are they in the Manila
scale of civilization. The beneficent provisions of article 11 of the Penal Code as amended by Act No. 2142
of the Philippine Legislature are peculiarly applicable to offenders who are shown to be members of these EN BANC
uncivilized tribes, and to other offenders who, as a result of the fact that their lives are cast with such people
far away from the centers of civilization, appear to be so lacking in "instruction and education" that they G.R. No. L-10566 August 20, 1915
should not be held to so high a degree of responsibility as is demanded of those citizens who have had the
advantage of living their lives in contact with the refining influences of civilization. THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
It is true that this court has quite uniformly held that convicts of the crimes of theft and robbery are not REGINO TORRES and PABLO PADILLA, defendants-appellants.
entitled to the benefits of the provisions of article 11 of the Penal Code prior to its amendment by Act No.
2142, this on the theory that under the provisions of the article prior to its amendment the ground upon Ledesma, Clarin, Gabaldon and Recto for appellant Torres.
which the courts were authorized in their direction to mitigate the penalties prescribed by the code was "the P.E. del Rosario for appellant Padilla.
circumstance of the offender being a native, mestizo, or Chinese." As to crimes of this nature we declined to Attorney-General Avanceña for appellee.
hold that the mere fact that one is a native of the Philippine Islands, a mestizo or a Chinese would justify a
claim that upon conviction of crimes such as theft or robbery he should be treated more leniently than the ARELLANO, C.J.:
members of any other race or people, no sounds presumption arising from the mere racial affiliation of the
convict that he was less or to resist the temptation to commit them than are they. The record in this case has come before us on appeal by both defendants from the judgment of the Court of
First Instance of Cebu whereby they were convicted of a violation of Act No. 1761. Regino Torres was
Under the provisions of the article as amended by Act No. 2142, the ground upon which the courts are sentenced to imprisonment for three years. Pablo Padilla to one year and one month, and each to pay one-
authorized to mitigate the prescribed penalties is not racial affiliation of the convict, but "the degree of half of the costs. The three tins of opium, the corpus delicti, were ordered confiscated.
instruction and education of the offender;" and while mere ignorance or lack of education will not always be
sufficient to justify the mitigation of the prescribed penalties for crimes such as theft and robbery, there can On examination of the record it appears:
be no doubt that cases may and will arise wherein under all the "circumstances attending" the commission of
these offenses the exercise of a sound discretion will justify a more lenient treatment of an ignorant and That the testimony of George W. Walker and Juan Samson, secret service agents of the Cebu Customhouse
semicivilized offender, than that which should be accorded one who has the advantage of such a degree of who arrested the defendants, and the seizure of the corpus delicti (Exhibits A, B, and C) were held by the
instruction and education as would justify the court in believing that he was capable of fully and properly trial court to be conclusive evidence against defendants.
understanding and appreciating the criminal character of the offense committed by him.
That Walker testified that he had received information that on the night of January 20, 1914, Regino Torres
We conclude, therefore, that under the provisions of article 111 as amended by Act No. 2142, the courts may would go to the house of the widow of one Franco to get some opium; that at 7:30 that evening they
and should, even in cases of theft and robbery, take into consideration where it appears that under all the stationed themselves in Calle de Colon, where the said house stood, and a short while afterwards saw the
circumstances attending the commission of the offense, he should not be held to the strict degree of two defendants come out of the door of the garage on the premises; that Samson seized Torres, and as
responsibility prescribed in the code for the ordinary offender. Padilla started to run away Walker went in pursuit of him and on passing by Samson and Torres saw two tins
of opium; that three times he ordered Padilla to halt, and, as the latter continued to run, after he had thrown
The larceny of large cattle and falls within articles 517, 518, and 520 of the Penal Code, as amended by Act one tin over a fence; that, after the arrest of both defendants, Walker and Samson set out with lights to search
No. 2030. According to those sections, as amended, the value of the animals stolen being 650 pesetas, a for the tins and found the one thrown by Padilla inside the inclosure, and the other two tins, about a meter
penalty one degree higher than arresto mayor in its medium degree to presidio correccional in its minimum from the place where Samson had been holding Torres.
degree should have been imposed; in other words, presidio correccional in its medium degree to presidio
mayor in its minimum degree. Giving the convict the benefit of the provisions of article 11 of the Penal That the other officer, Samson, gave nearly the same testimony. He added, however, when questioned by the
Code, as amended, this penalty should be imposed in its minimum degree — that is to say, the penalty defense as to whether Walker had said anything to him on his return from his pursuit of Padilla, that Walker
applicable in this case is that of presidio correccional in its medium degree. did say that he saw Regino Torres throw away two tins and that he was looking for them. He was also asked
by the defense whether Walker had proposed to the defendants that they pay a fine in the form of a
Modified by imposing the penalty prescribed for the offense of which the defendant and appellant was compromise, to which he replied that he had not, but that, on the contrary, it was the defendants who made
convicted in the minimum degree — that is to say, by, imposing upon the accused the penalty of two years this offer.
four months and one day of presidio correccional, in lieu of that of five years' imprisonment imposed by the
court below — the judgment convicting and sentencing him should be and is hereby affirmed, with the costs That the defendant Regino Torres testified that Padilla told him that there was a large amount of opium, and
of this instance against the appellant. they agreed that at 6 o'clock in the evening they would go to the house above mentioned; that Padilla went to
Torres' house at 6 o'clock in the evening and hurried him up, saying: "Eat in a hurry, for the owner of the
Republic of the Philippines opium needs money"; that when they arrived at the house of Franco's widow, Padilla entered the door of the
place where the automobiles were kept, and five minutes afterwards called witness to enter the garage and
82
there Padilla showed Torres a tin of opium, at the same time saying that it was first class and cost P60 needed. Padilla was but an agent who made the offer to Torres. Padilla had not intention of holding,
without haggling; that witness replied that he would first show it to some trustworthy friends to determine its possessing and having as his own the opium which, on the part of another, he had offered to Torres. The
class; that Padilla agreed and they both left for this purpose, but that when they had gone about ten brazas possession or material holding in this case gives way to the civil possession which, according to Torres'
from the door, he was seized by Samson and saw that Padilla had run away and was being pursued by confession, was the reason that took him to the house of Franco's widow, thus putting into effect the
Walker. The court asked Torres whether he had wished to investigate first and buy afterwards, to which he intention to possess which he had a priori entertained as the cause of his presence in the place of the sale.
replied that he did, and that if he had been convinced of the quality of the opium he would have bought After all, the seizure of the two tins at a place one meter away from the spot where Torres was arrested by
about 20 or 25 tins. "But have you so much money?" inquired the judge. The defendant replied: "Yes, sir." Samson, and the seizure of one tin in the possession of Padilla, who had thrown it into an inclosure, are facts
held by the trial court to have been proven, and this finding, which does not violate any law and which we
That, upon arraignment, Pablo Padilla pleaded guilty. "The defendant's counsel," says the trial court in his do not find to be erroneous, should not be changed in this review of the evidence. We confirm the finding
decision, "requested that his client be permitted to state the circumstances that surrounded the case and and hold that it is in accord with the merits of the case.
which induced this defendant to commit the crime under prosecution." The court further says therein: "It is
preferable that counsel himself state the circumstances that, in his opinion, attended the crime and which With regard to the fourth cause of action, the facts are as follows: The witness, Walker, testified, among
may be considered as extenuating." other things, that Regino Torres endeavored to compromise the case and that he (Walker) was willing to
accept the compromise thought through the payment of P1,500, but subject to the approval of his superiors.
Pantaleon del Rosario, Padilla's counsel, stated that according to the information given by his client, the The defense asked that this testimony be stricken out, alleging that, in accordance with the Code of Civil
latter is a poor man who accompanied the other defendant Regino Torres principally in order that, in case Procedure, the compromise in such cases must be made in writing. "When made in civil cases, it is proper;
they were caught by the authorities, Torres might transfer the material possession of the opium to counsel's but in criminal causes, it is not," the court said, and accordingly overruled the objection. The defense
client and the latter would assume liability for such possession and suffer the legal consequences. excepted.

That the trial court took that statement into consideration in extenuation of the penalty he imposed upon We have already seen above what Samson's testimony was concerning this point and how thereby he
Padilla, concluding by saying that this defendant appeared to a be a poor man who, impelled by poverty, had corroborated that given by Walker.
accompanied Torres for the purpose, as every probability indicated, of obtaining a relatively small share in
the business in which Torres was engaged; while, with respect to Torres, the court said that he played the An offer to compromise is not a confession of debt and is not admissible in evidence (Code of Civ. Proc.,
most important role, for he confessed to have sufficient means to purchase opium to the amount of twenty sec. 346). In a criminal cause for theft (U.S. vs. Maqui, 27 Phil. Rep., 97) this court said that the weight both
tins at P60 a tin. of authority and reason sustains the rule which admits evidence of offers to compromise, in criminal cases,
but permits the accused to show that such offers were not made under a consciousness of guilt, but merely to
From the judgment of conviction Regino Torres bases his appeal on four assignments of error: (1) In that the avoid the inconvenience of imprisonment or for some other reason which would justify a claim by the
trial court concluded that two tins were taken from the appellant's possession; (2) in holding that the accused that the offer to compromise was not in truth an admission of his guilt and an attempt to avoid the
appellant, in his testimony, confessed to having been engaged in the business of buying and selling opium, legal consequences which would ordinarily ensue therefrom.
and in grounding the judgment of conviction on the said confession; (4) in accepting, as evidence for the
prosecution, the compromise that it is asserted he proposed to the agent George Walker; and (5), in that the It is a legal maxim, which assuredly constitutes one of the bases of the right to penalize, that in the matter of
penalty imposed upon the appellant was excessive. public crimes which directly affect the public interest, in so far as public vengeance and private interests are
concerned, no compromise whatever may be entered into as regards the penal action, however it may be
Pablo Padilla bases his appeal only on this last assignment. with respect to the civil liability. But section 25 of Act No. 1761, under which this cause was prosecuted,
expressly authorizes the Collector of Internal Revenue to compromise a case after action has been begun,
Errors 1, 2, and 3 will not lie. Where a person entertains an offer to sell, goes to the house where the sale is "instead of commencing or prosecuting suit thereon." The words in quotation marks are textual. A
to be affected, making haste because the vendor needs money and because he was urged to do so by the compromise necessarily implies two elements, one of which is the offer and the other the acceptance, in
agent who made him the offer, enters the house, examines the article, leaves the house with three tins which order that the penal action may be extinguished and there remain only the civil liability to deal with. Of
contained the thing offered for sale and which is a prohibited article by reason of its being opium, and if the course ordinarily it is the defendant who makes the offer, — a lawful act sanctioned by law in this class of
purchaser is not a person authorized to have it in his possession, it can not be held that the purchaser took the prosecutions, — and because it is made, no presumption of guilt must be raised against the maker, as occurs
three tins with him to sample their contents; such a purpose must be proven and unless it is there can be no in other criminal causes for public crimes in which the offer is not lawful because it is a thing prohibited by
other inference than that he carried away with him the thing purchased and that its acquisition was a law. The offer may have been prompted simply to avoid the annoyance of a prosecution, as sometimes
consummated fact, for the presumption is that the acts took place in the ordinary course of things and the happens in a civil case where a person involved in the litigation is perhaps entirely in the right but prefers to
general routine of dealings between men, and it cannot be doubted that the person who had the control over lose a sum of money rather than commence and prosecute an action. This case is, therefore, on all fours with
the opium at the moment it was seized, whoever it was that carried it, could be no other than the owner of that of section 346 of the Code of Civil Procedure, above cited. At all events, for the conviction of the
the money which the vendor so urgently desired to acquire on that day in exchange for the opium. Civil defendants it is not necessary to consider and weigh this evidence; it could only be considered as cumulative,
possession is the holding of a thing by a person with the intention of acquiring ownership thereof (Civ. and it was not taken into account by the trial court.
Code, art. 430). It was Torres who had the intention of having the opium as belonging to him, and as he
intended, so he had it, and it was afterwards taken from him, as being a thing that he could not hold, possess With regard to the 5th assignment of error which alleges that the penalty was excessive, it must be
nor lawfully have as his own. Padilla was not the owner of the money which the person who sold the opium remembered that the trial court exercised his discretion in fixing the penalty within the limits established by
83
law and that, in principle, what is authorized by law cannot be held to be arbitrary. But the penalty imposed For separate resolution, as an incident arising from these criminal cases under automatic review by the court,
by the trial court in his discretion will not necessarily have to stand for that reason. If such a principle is a complaint1 filed by judge Eustaquio Z. Gacott, Jr. of the Regional Trial Court of Palawan and Puerto
governed, appeals would be useless. This Supreme Court also exercises its discretion, and, in a higher Princesa City, Branch 47, to cite for indirect contempt Mauricio Reynoso, Jr., a columnist, and Eva P. Ponce
degree, by its right of review in criminal causes brought up on appeal or consultation and of high inspection de Leon, publisher and chairman of the editorial board, respectively, of the Palawan Times. His Honor's
over the administration of justice, it has the power to modify within the limits of the penalty provided by plaint is based on an article written by respondent Reynoso, Jr. in his column, "On the Beat," and published
law, in order to maintain uniformity in its application. If judicial decisions vary in the different provinces of in the July 20, 1994 issue of said newspaper which is of general circulation in Puerto Princesa City.
the Archipelago, even in identical or at least analogous cases, it is principally due to the fact that the judges,
acquainted with the extent of crime in their respective jurisdictions, are justified, in order to suppress crime, The pertinent portions of the article complained of are hereunder reproduced, with the alleged contemptuous
in applying the law more strictly and severely in some provinces than in others in accordance with the statements italicized for ready identification as the particulars equivalent to the innuendo in a libel charge:
greater or lesser propensity to disobey the laws and the peculiar circumstances that prevail in each locality.
But within the same province such variation would not be justifiable, as it would transgress the law which Isang maalab na issues (sic) pa ay ang DEATH THREATS laban kono kay Judge Eustaquio Gacott, Jr. ng
fits the penalty to the crime. In the Province of Cebu the court sentenced Lao Lock Hing, for the possession mga pamilya ng kanyang sinentensiyahan ng Double Death Penalty. Sinabi ni Wilmar Godoy sa DWRM
of 70 tins of opium, to five years' imprisonment and a fine of P10,000, or, in case of insolvency, to programa na wala silang pagbabantang ginawa umano, at hindi nila ito kailan man isinaisip. Umaasa na
subsidiary imprisonment; but this Supreme Court reduced the penalty to two years' imprisonment and a fine lamang sila sa magiging resulta ng review ng Korte Suprema. Ayon naman kay Gacott sa kanyang interview
of P3,000 (14 Phil. Rep., 861). In the same Province of Cebu, Miguel Villano was charged with having sa DYPR ay totoong pinagbabantaan siya ng mga Godoy. Kaya ayon marami siyang Security na armado, in
bought and sold 190 tins of opium — although one of the charges was for 100 tins only, valued at P3,000, full battle gear. Kung totoo ito, bakit hindi niya kasuhan ang mga ito? Ito rin ang katanungan ni Mr. Tony
because the 190 tins were received on different dates — and was sentenced on the charge for the 100 tins, to Omaga Diaz, ang station manager ng DYPR. O bale ba gumawa siya ng sariling MULTO Pagkatapos ay
one year and two months' imprisonment and to pay a fine of P2,500, a judgment which was affirmed by this takot na takot siya sa multong kanyang ginawa.
Supreme Court (18 Phil. Rep., 3592). In another cause, also tried in Cebu against one Loo Chaw for the sale
of 30 tins of opium, the penalty imposed was one year's imprisonment and a fine of P2,000; this also was Usap-usapan pa rin ang kaso ni Godoy. Ito raw ay isang open book maging sa kanyang mga co-teachers sa
affirmed by this Supreme Court (19 Phil. Rep., 3433). Pulot na nagli-live in si Godoy at ang babaing si Mia Taha. Matagal na ang kanilang ugnayan. Meron ding
"balita" ewan kung totoo, na noong si Godoy daw ay nasa Provincial Jail pa ay dinadalaw siya ni Taha At
The foregoing sentences are in notable contrast to the case at bar in which Regino Torres is sentenced to kumakain pa sila sa labas kasama ang isang Provincial Guard. Ito rin ang dahilan kung bakit ipinagpilitan ni
three years' imprisonment for the possession of two tins of opium, valued at scarcely P120, and Pablo Padilla Judge Gacott na madala kaagad sa Muntinlupa sa National Bilibid Prisons si Godoy kahit na ang kaso ay
to one year and one month for the possession of one tin of the same drug, worth probably P60. naka-apela pa.

The judgment appealed from is affirmed, with the understanding that the imprisonment to be imposed upon xxx xxx xxx
Regino Torres shall be that of nine months, and that upon Pablo Padilla, six months, each of them to pay the
costs of this instance in equal shares. So ordered. Pero mayroon payo si Atty. Telesforo Paredes, Jr. sa mga mamamayan ng Palawan, mag-ingat kayo sa
paglalakad at baka kung hindi kayo madapa ay madulas daw kayo. Dahil ayon daw kay Judge Gacott, base
Republic of the Philippines sa kanyang interview sa Magandang Gabi Bayan, "Tagilid na raw and mundo. Maraming nagpapatunay daw
SUPREME COURT dito, maski sa kapitolyo." Joke lang. Pero isang warning din sa may mga nobya, na mag-ingat sa pag-break
Manila sa inyong girlfriend, dahil baka mademanda kayo at masentensyahan ng double death penalty, lalo na kung
kay Judge Gacott, dahil alam na ninyo, tagilid and laban diyan.
EN BANC
G.R. Nos. 115908-09 March 29, 1995 The complaint avers that the article tends to impede, obstruct, belittle, downgrade and degrade the
administration of justice; that the article contains averments which are disrespectful, discourteous, insulting,
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, offensive and derogatory; that it does not only cast aspersions on the integrity and honesty of complainant as
vs. a judge and on his ability to administer justice objectively and impartially, but is an imputation that he is
DANNY GODOY, accused-appellant. biased and he prejudges the cases filed before him; and that the article is sub judice because it is still pending
automatic review.
JUDGE EUSTAQUIO Z. GACOTT, JR. complainant,
vs. Respondent Mauricio Reynoso, Jr. contends in his Comment2 that his article does not intend to impede nor
MAURICIO REYNOSO, JR. and EVA P. PONCE DE LEON, respondents. obstruct the administration of justice because the same was published after complainant had promulgated his
decision in the case; that such publication will not affect or influence the review by the Supreme Court of the
RESOLUTION criminal case, considering that the Palawan Times is circulated only in the City of Puerto Princess and some
REGALADO, J.: parts of Palawan; that the comments made therein were made in good faith and in the exercise of the
freedom of expression and of the press; that while the article may contain unfavorable comments about
complainant, it cannot be considered as having the tendency to degrade or impede the administration of

84
justice; and that the complaint, which is for contempt of a judge of a regional trial court, was erroneously Judge Gacott na madala kaagad sa Muntinlupa sa National Bilibid Prisons si Godoy kahit na ang kaso ay
filed with the Supreme Court contrary to Section 4, Rule 71 of the rules of Court. naka-apela pa." (Emphasis supplied)

Respondent Eva P. Ponce de Leon, in her Comment3 and Supplemental Comment,4 asserts that the article is The foregoing is merely a report of rumors regarding the accused Danny Godoy. They are not presented as
merely in reaction to the television interview given by complainant in the show, "Magandang Gabi Bayan," facts by respondent Mauricio Reynoso, Jr. In fact, he even goes to the extent of acknowledging that he
last June 18, 1994 wherein the latter defended his decision in Criminal Cases Nos. 11640-41, entitled himself does not know if the rumors are true or not.
"People vs. Godoy;" that the article is no longer sub judice as the same was published only after complainant
had rendered his decision and had already lost jurisdiction over the case; that the article cannot be The subject article then offers the following analysis:
considered contemptuous and defamatory in the absence of a clear and present danger that it will tend
directly or indirectly to impede, obstruct, or ridicule the administration of justice; that it constitutes a valid "Malaking epekto ang desisyon ng Korte Suprema sa dalawang tao, kay Danny Godoy at Judge Gacott.
exercise of the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the press; that a reading of the subject article in its Kung babaliktarin ng Supreme Court and decision ni Gacott, lalaya si Godoy, si Gacott naman ang masisira,
entirety will show that the same does not constitute contempt but, at most, is merely a fair criticism which ang kanyang aspirations na maitaas sa Court of Appeals at eventually makasama sa mga miyembro ng korte
did not intend to malign nor place him in disrepute in the performance of his functions; and that respondent suprema ng bansa. Kung papaboran naman Gacott ay sigurado na ang kamatayan ni Godoy, at double pa
Ponce de Leon cannot be held liable for contempt because she did not have either actual knowledge of, or pero si Gacott maitataas pa ang puwesto. Tayo naman, hintay lamang tayo ng ano mang magiging
Personal connection with, the authorship or publication of the allegedly contemptuous article, since she had developments ng kaso."
just returned from the United States when the same was published.
The foregoing is nothing more than a fair analysis. For indeed, if the Honorable Court affirms the Decision
On the issue of whether the specified statements complained of are contumacious in nature, we are inclined, of Complainant, the accused Danny Godoy would be meted the death sentence. On the other hand, if the
based on an overall perusal and objective analysis of the subject article, to hold in the negative. We have decision is reversed, this may adversely affect the aspirations of Complainant to be promoted to the Court of
read and reread the article in its entirety and we are fully convinced that what is involved here is a situation Appeals, and eventually to the Honorable Court.
wherein the alleged disparaging statements have been taken out of context. If the statements claimed to be
contumelious had been read with contextual care, there would have been no reason for this contempt Finally, the subject article reads:
proceeding.
"Pero mayroon payo si Atty. Telesforo Paredes, Jr. sa mga mamamayan ng Palawan, mag-ingat kayo sa
In our aforestated evaluation, we were sufficiently persuaded to favorably consider the following paglalakad at baka kung hindi kayo madapa ay madulas daw kayo. Dahil ayon daw kay Judge Gacott, base
explanation of respondent Ponce de Leon in her Supplemental Comment: sa kanyang interview sa Magandang Gabi Bayan, 'Tagilid na raw and mundo. Maraming nagpapatunay daw
dito, maski sa kapitolyo.' Joke lang. Pero isang warning din sa may mga nobya, na mag-ingat sa pag-break
On the other hand, a reading of the subject article in its entirety will show that the same does not constitute sa inyong girlfriend, dahil baka mademanda kayo at masentensyahan ng double death penalty, lalo na kung
contempt, but at most, merely constitutes fair criticism. kay Judge Gacott, dahil alam na ninyo, tagilid and laban diyan."

The first portion of the article reads: Again, the subject article merely reports what Atty. Telesforo Paredes, Jr. allegedly said. But more
importantly, the foregoing is merely a reaction not so much to Complainant's Decision, but to the public
"Isang maalab na issues (sic) pa ay ang DEATH THREATS laban kono kay Judge Eustaquio Gacott, Jr. ng statements made by Complainant in the national television show "Magandang Gabi Bayan."
mga pamilya ng kanyang sinentensiyahan ng Double Death Penalty. Sinabi ni Wilmar Godoy sa DWRM
programa na wala silang pagbabantang ginawa umano, at hindi nila ito kailan man isinaisip. Ayon naman Snide remarks or sarcastic innuendoes do not necessarily assume that level of contumely which is actionable
kay Gacott sa kanyang interview sa DYPR ay totoong pinagbabantaan siya ng mga Godoy. Kaya ayon under Rule 71 of the Rules of Court. Neither do we believe that the publication in question was intended to
marami siyang Security na armado, in full battle gear. Kung totoo ito, bakit hindi niya kasuhan ang mga ito? influence this Court for it could not conceivably be capable of doing so. The article has not transcended the
Ito rin ang katanungan ni Mr. Tony Omaga Diaz, ang station manager ng DYPR. O bale ba gumawa siya ng legal limits for editorial comment and criticism. Besides, it has not been shown that there exists a substantive
sariling MULTO Pagkatapos ay takot na takot siya sa multong kanyang ginawa." evil which is extremely serious and that the degree of its imminence is so exceptionally high as to warrant
punishment for contempt and sufficient to disregard the constitutional guaranties of free speech and press.
The foregoing does not even deal with the merits of the case, but with the public accusations being made by
complainant that he is being given death threats by the family of the accused, Danny Godoy. The article only It has been insightfully explained and suggested that a judge will generally and wisely pass unnoticed any
makes a justifiable query as to why Complainant does not file the appropriate charges if his accusations are mere hasty and unguarded expression of passion, or at least pass it with simply a reproof. It is so that in
true. every case where a judge decides for one party, he decides against another; and oftentimes both parties are
beforehand equally confident and sanguine. The disappointment, therefore, is great, and it is not in human
"Usap-usapan pa rin ang kaso ni Godoy. Ito raw ay isang open book maging sa kanyang mga co-teachers sa nature that there should be other than a bitter feeling, which often reaches to the judge as the cause of the
Pulot na nagli-live in si Godoy at ang babaing si Mia Taha. Matagal na ang kanilang ugnayan. Meron ding supposed wrong. A judge, therefore, ought to be patient, and tolerate everything which appears as but the
‘balita’ ewan kung totoo, na noong si Godoy daw ay nasa Provincial Jail pa ay dinadalaw siya ni Taha At momentary outbreak of disappointment. A second thought will generally make a party ashamed of such,
kumakain pa sila sa labas kasama ang isang Provincial Guard. Ito rin ang dahilan kung bakit ipinagpilitan ni outbreak, and the dignity of the court will suffer none by passing it in silence.5

85
Prescinding from the foregoing adjudgment, the Court observes that there are two primary issues presented
in this incident which deserve a more extended disquisition, firstly, because of their importance and frequent A major factor in determining whether a contempt is civil or criminal is the purpose for which the power is
involvement in contempt proceedings filed in the courts, and, secondly, by reason of the fact that there are exercised. Where the primary purpose is to preserve the court’s authority and to punish for disobedience of
numerous and variant pronouncements on the subject of contempt which need to be clarified. The principal its orders, the contempt is criminal. Where the primary purpose is to provide a remedy for an injured suitor
issues are (1) whether or not there can be contempt of court in case of post-litigation statements or and to coerce compliance with an order, the contempt is civil. A criminal contempt involves no element of
publications; and (2) which court has jurisdiction over a contempt committed against the trial court while the personal injury. It is directed against the power and dignity of the court; private parties have little, if any,
case is pending on appeal. Other cognate and related issues must also be discussed so as to provide judicial interest in the proceedings for punishment. Conversely, if the contempt consists in the refusal of a person to
guidance on the present state of our statutory and case laws thereon. do an act that the court has ordered him to do for the benefit or advantage of a party to an action pending
before the court, and the contemnor is committed until he complies with the order, the commitment is in the
Before we go into a more intensive analysis of said issues, however, it may be beneficial for purposes nature of an execution to enforce the judgment of the court; the party in whose favor that judgment was
thereof to preliminarily revisit and expound on the nature and implications of a special civil action for rendered is the real party in interest in the proceedings. Civil contempt proceedings look only to the future.
contempt or of any initiatory pleading therefor filed as an incident in the main case. That exercise will And it is said that in civil contempt proceedings, the contemnor must be in a position to purge himself. 11
further explain and justify our disposition of the contempt charge herein.
C. As to the Character of the Contempt Proceeding
I
It has been said that the real character of the proceedings is to be determined by the relief sought, or the
Prefatorial Considerations dominant purpose, and the proceedings are to be regarded as criminal when the purpose is primarily
punishment, and civil when the purpose is primarily compensatory or remedial. 12
The exercise of the power to punish for contempt has a dual aspect, primarily, the proper punishment of the
guilty party for his disrespect to the court, and, secondarily, his compulsory performance of some act or duty Criminal contempt proceedings are generally held to be in the nature of criminal or quasi-criminal actions.
required of him by the court and which he refuses to perform. Due perhaps to this two fold aspect of the They are punitive in nature, and the Government, the courts, and the people are interested in their
exercise of the power to punish them, contempts are classified as civil or criminal.6 However, the line of prosecution. Their purpose is to preserve the power and vindicate the authority and dignity of the court, and
demarcation between acts constituting criminal contempt, as distinguished from civil contempt, is quite to punish for disobedience of its orders. Strictly speaking, however, they are not criminal proceedings or
indistinct. The confusion in attempts to classify civil and criminal contempts is due to the fact that there are prosecutions, even though the contemptuous act involved is also a crime. The proceeding has been
contempts in which both elements appear; or there are contempts which are neither wholly civil nor characterized as sui generis, partaking of some of the elements of both a civil and criminal proceeding, but
altogether criminal, but partake of the characteristics of both; or it is also possible that the same act may really constituting neither. In general, criminal contempt proceedings should be conducted in accordance
constitute both a civil and criminal contempt. with the principles and rules applicable to criminal cases, in so far as such procedure is consistent with the
summary nature of contempt proceedings. So it has been held that the strict rules that govern criminal
A. As to the Nature of the Offense prosecutions apply to a prosecution for criminal contempt, that the accused is to be afforded many of the
protections provided in regular criminal cases, and that proceedings under statutes governing them are to be
A criminal contempt is conduct that is directed against the dignity and authority of the court or a judge strictly construed. However, criminal proceedings are not required to take any particular form so long as the
acting judicially; it is an act obstructing the administration of justice which tends to bring the court into substantial rights of the accused are preserved. 13
disrepute or disrespect.7 On the other hand, civil contempt consists in failing to do something ordered to be
done by a court in a civil action for the benefit of the opposing party therein and is, therefore, an offense Civil contempt proceedings are generally held to be remedial and civil in their nature; that is, they are
against the party in whose behalf the violated order is made.8 proceedings for the enforcement of some duty, and essentially a remedy for coercing a person to do the thing
required. As otherwise expressed, a proceeding for civil contempt is one instituted to preserve and enforce
A criminal contempt, being directed against the dignity and authority of the court, is an offense against the rights of a private party to an action and to compel obedience to a judgment or decree intended to benefit
organized society and, in addition, is also held to be an offense against public justice which raises an issue such a party litigant. So a proceeding is one for civil contempt, regardless of its form, if the act charged is
between the public and the accused, and the proceedings to punish it are punitive. On the other hand, the wholly the disobedience, by one party to a suit, of a special order made in behalf of the other party and the
proceedings to punish a civil contempt are remedial and for the purpose of the preservation of the right of disobeyed order may still be obeyed, and the purpose of the punishment is to aid in an enforcement of
private persons. It has been held that civil contempt is neither a felony nor a misdemeanor, but a power of obedience. The rules of procedure governing criminal contempt proceedings, or criminal prosecutions,
the court.9 ordinarily are inapplicable to civil contempt proceedings. It has been held that a proceeding for contempt to
enforce a remedy in a civil action is a proceeding in that action. Accordingly, where there has been a
It has further been stated that intent is a necessary element in criminal contempt, and that no one can be violation of a court order in a civil action, it is not necessary to docket an independent action in contempt or
punished for a criminal contempt unless the evidence makes it clear that he intended to commit it. On the proceed in an independent prosecution to enforce the order. It has been held, however, that while the
contrary, there is authority indicating that since the purpose of civil contempt proceedings is remedial, the proceeding is auxiliary to the main case in that it proceeds out of the original case, it is essentially a new and
defendant's intent in committing the contempt is immaterial. Hence, good faith or the absence of intent to independent proceeding in that it involves new issues and must be initiated by the issuance and service of
violate the court's order is not a defense in civil contempt. 10 new process. 14

B. As to the Purpose for which the Power is Exercised


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In general, civil contempt proceedings should be instituted by an aggrieved party, or his successor, or The right of freedom of the press is only a specific instance of the general right of freedom of speech;
someone who has a pecuniary interest in the right to be protected. In criminal contempt proceedings, it is persons engaged in the newspaper business cannot claim any other or greater right than that possessed by
generally held that the State is the real prosecutor. 15 persons not in that business. 19

Contempt is not presumed. In proceedings for criminal contempt, the defendant is presumed innocent and B. Different Doctrines or Schools of Thought
the burden is on the prosecution to prove the charges beyond reasonable doubt. In proceedings for civil
contempt, there is no presumption, although the burden of proof is on the complainant, and while the proof In the case of In re Francisco Brillantes, 20 Justice Perfecto explained in his dissenting opinion that "as to
need not be beyond reasonable doubt, it must amount to more than a mere preponderance of evidence. It has whether contempt may be committed for criticizing a tribunal after the same has rendered decision or taken
been said that the burden of proof in a civil contempt proceeding lies somewhere between the criminal final action on a matter which is the subject of criticism, there are two schools of thought represented,
"reasonable doubt" burden and the civil "fair preponderance" burden. 16 respectively, by what we may call the English doctrine and the American doctrine, the first for the
affirmative and the last one for the negative. The question now is to determine which of the two doctrines is
On the basis of the foregoing legal principles which are now well settled, it can be safely concluded that more conformable to reason and justice and, therefore, should be, adopted and applied by our tribunals."
under paragraph (d) of Section 3, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court on indirect contempt, any improper conduct
tending, directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice, constitutes 1. The English Doctrine
criminal contempt.
According to Justice Perfecto, the rule in England is that there can be contempt of court even after the case
II has been terminated. He then proceeded to ramify:

Whether or not Post-Litigation Publications can be the Subject of Contempt Proceedings In England comments upon the court's action in a concluded case, where libelous or calculated to bring the
court into disrepute, were freely punishable as contempt under the early common law. Distinction between
A. Effect of Freedom of Speech and Press Guaranties pending and concluded matters does not seem to have been made. Any comment impairing the dignity of the
court was punishable as contempt regardless of the time at which made.
In the case of In re Sotto, 17 this Court had the opportunity to define the relation between the courts and the
press, quoting there in the statements made by Judge Holmes in U.S. vs. Sullen, 18 thus: xxx xxx xxx

The administration of justice and the freedom of the press, though separate and distinct, are equally sacred, The whole theory of the early common law of contempt is admirably delivered by Wilmot, J., in King vs.
and neither should be violated by the other. The press and the courts have correlative rights and duties and Almon, . . . . The publication there complained of was a volume containing a diatribe against Lord Mansfield
should cooperate uphold the principles of the Constitution and laws, from which the former receives its for allowing an amendment of pleading as of course, and apparently from corrupt motives, in a concluded
prerogative and the latter its jurisdiction. The right of legitimate publicity must be scrupulously recognized case, and further charging him with having introduced a practice to defeat the efficacy of the writ of habeas
and care taken at all times to avoid impinging upon it. In a clear case where it is necessary in order to corpus. It is there said: "The arraignment of the justice of the judges is arraigning the King's justice; it is an
dispose of judicial business unhampered by publications which reasonably tend to impair the impartiality of impeachment of his wisdom and goodness in the choice of his judges, and excites in the mind of the people a
verdicts, or otherwise obstruct the administration of justice, this Court will not hesitate to exercise its general dissatisfaction with all judicial determinations, and indisposes their minds to obey them; and,
undoubted power to punish for contempt. This Court must be permitted to proceed with the disposition of its whenever men's allegiance to the laws is so fundamentally shaken, it is the most fatal and most dangerous
business in an orderly manner free from outside interference obstructive of its constitutional functions. This obstruction of justice, and, in my opinion, calls for a more rapid and immediate redress than any other
right will be insisted upon as vital to an impartial court, and, as a last resort, as an individual exercises the obstruction whatever — not for the sake of the judges as private individuals, but because they are the
right of self-defense, it will act to preserve its existence as an unprejudiced tribunal. channels by which the Kings' justice is conveyed to the people. To be impartial, and to be universally
thought so, are both absolutely necessary for giving justice that free, open, and uninterrupted current which
Hence, a person charged with contempt of court for making certain utterances or publishing writings which it has for many ages found all over this Kingdom, and which so eminently distinguishes and exalts it above
are clearly opprobrious may not, ordinarily, escape liability therefor by merely invoking the constitutional all nations upon the earth . . . . The constitution has provided very apt and proper remedies for correcting and
guaranties of freedom of speech and press. Liberty of speech and the press must not be confused with an rectifying the involuntary mistakes of judges, and for punishing and removing them for any voluntary
abuse of such liberties. Obstructing, by means of the spoken or written word, the administration of justice by perversions of justice. But, if their authority is to be trampled upon by pamphleteers and newswriters, and
the courts has been described as an abuse of the liberty of speech or the press such as will subject the abuser the people are to be told that the power given to the judges for their protection is prostituted to their
to punishment for contempt of court. destruction, the court may retain its power some little time; but I am sure it will instantly lose all its
authority, and the power of the court will not long survive the authority of it: Is it possible to stab that
Guaranties of free speech and a free press, as they appear in the Constitution, are frequently couched so as to authority more fatally than by charging the court, and more particularly the chief justice, with having
impute responsibility for any abuse of the privilege, and it is sometimes recognized that with respect to introduced a rule to subvert the constitutional liberty of the people? A greater scandal could not be published
whether an allegedly scandalous publication or utterance is to be treated as a contempt, a line must be drawn . . . . It is conceded that an act of violence upon his person when he was making such an order would be
between those speeches or writings which are protected by the privilege of free speech and a free press and contempt punishable by attachment. Upon what principle? For striking a judge in walking along the streets
those which constitute an abuse of it. would not be a contempt of the court. The reason, therefore, must be, that he is in the exercise of his office,
and discharging the function of a judge of this court; and, if his person is under this protection, why should
87
not his character be under the same protection? It is not for the sake of the individual, but for the sake of the was not punishable as contempt. It declared that so long as the published criticism does not impede the due
public, that his person is under such protection; and, in respect of the public, the imputing of corruption and administration of the law, it is better to maintain the guaranty of the Constitution than to undertake to
the perversion of justice to him, in an order made by him at his chambers, is attended with much more compel respect or punish libel by the summary process of contempt.
mischievous consequences than a blow; and therefore the reason of proceeding in this summary manner
applies with equal, if not superior, force, to one case as well as the other. There is no greater obstruction to Finally, in holding that persons who had published newspaper articles alleging that a designated judge had
the execution of justice from the striking a judge than from the abusing him, because his order lies open to been intentionally partial and corrupt in the trial of certain causes which had been decided and were not
be enforced or discharged, whether the judge is struck or abused for making it. pending when the publication occurred could not be punished as for contempt the court, in State ex rel.
Attorney General vs. Circuit Court, 26 cited a number of cases supporting the view that libelous newspaper
2. The American Doctrine comments upon the acts of a court in actions past and ended do not constitute contempt. It pointed out that
some of such decisions took the position that to punish such publications would constitute a serious invasion
In American jurisprudence, the general rule is that defamatory comments on the conduct of a judge with of constitutional guaranties of free speech and a free press.
respect to past cases or matters finally disposed of do not constitute contempt, even though libelous and
reflecting on the integrity of the judge and the court. 21 It has been said that the power to punish as a It ratiocinated in this manner: "Important as it is that courts should perform their grave public duties
contempt a criticism concerning a case made after its termination is denied under the theory that such a unimpeded and unprejudiced by illegitimate influences, there are other rights guaranteed to all citizens by
power is not necessary as a safeguard to the proper functioning of the court as a judicial tribunal. And it has our Constitution and form of government, either expressly or impliedly, which are fully as important, and
been said that comments, however stringent, relating to judicial proceedings which are past and ended are which must be guarded with an equally zealous care. These rights are the rights of free speech and of free
not contempt of court even though they may be a libel against the judge or some other officer of the court. publication of the citizens' sentiments on all subjects. It seems clear to us that so extreme a power as to
There is even the view that when a case is finished, the courts and judges are subject to the same criticisms punish for contempt because of libelous publications as to past litigation, is inconsistent with, and would
as other people and that no comment published in connection with a completed case, however libelous or materially impair, the constitutional rights of free speech and free press."
unjust, is punishable as contempt of court. Thus it is said that the remedies of a judge who suffers abuse at
the hands of the press, not amounting to contempt, are the same as those available to persons outside the However, even under American jurisprudence, as shall hereafter be demonstrated, the aforesaid rulings are
judiciary. 22 not without exceptions. There is ample authority that, under proper circumstances, constitutional guaranties
of freedom of speech and liberty of the press do not protect contemptuous publications relating to court
To the same effect was the holding in People ex rel. Supreme Court vs. Albertson, 23 where it was declared proceedings even though such publications are not made until after the pendency of the litigation in
that — question.27

The great weight of authority is to the effect that — in so far as proceedings to punish for contempt are 3. The Philippine Doctrine
concerned — comment upon the behavior of the court in cases fully determined in the particular court
criticized is unrestricted under our constitutional guaranty of liberty of the press and free speech, especially In the Philippine setting, as we have noted, there are conflicting views on this issue which have to be
in the absence of a statute of direct application to the contrary. This view in brief is based upon the theory analyzed and, if possible, reconciled. On that exordial indication, we have digressed into these aspects of the
that — keeping our constitutional guaranties in mind — libelous publications which bear upon the law on contempt and seized upon this incident in the criminal cases at bar in order to essay a rapprochement
proceedings of a court while they are pending may in some way affect their correct determination, and are of such views into what we may call the Philippine doctrine.
properly the subject of contempt proceedings. On the other hand, such publications or oral utterances of
entirely retrospective bearing come within the sphere of authorized comment unless they affect a judge In the early cases decided by this Court involving contempts through newspaper publications, the rule was
personally, when he has his remedy in an action of libel or slander, as does any other individual thus that contemptuous publications were actionable only if committed with respect to pending suits. Apparently,
offended. He has the right to bring an action at law before a jury of his peers. the weight of authority then was to the effect that criticism of the conduct of a judge or a court with regard to
matters finally disposed of does not constitute contempt, even though it may be libelous.
Along similar lines, in Ex Parte Mcleod, 24 the court ruled that:
That rule first found application in the case of In re Lozano, et al. 28 and was reiterated in the subsequent
The right of a court to punish, as for contempts, criticisms of its acts, or even libels upon its officers, not cases of In re Abistado, 29 and People vs. Alarcon, et al, 30 where this Court, speaking through Justice
going to the extent, by improper publications, of influencing a pending trial, . . . would not only be Malcolm, tersely stated:
dangerous to the rights of the people, but its exercise would drag down the dignity and moral influence of
these tribunals. Such criticism is the right of the citizen, and essential not only to the proper administration The rule is well established that newspaper publications tending to impede, obstruct, embarrass, or influence
of justice, but to the public tranquility and contentment. Withdrawing power from courts to summarily the courts in administering justice in a pending suit proceeding constitute criminal contempt which is
interfere with such exercise of the right of the press and freedom of speech deprives them of no useful summarily punishable by the courts. The rule is otherwise after the cause is ended. . . . (6 R.C.L., pp. 508-
power. 515).

Likewise, the State Supreme Court of Montana in State ex rel. Metcalf vs. District Court, 25 pointed out that It will be noted that the aforequoted conclusion was arrived at after a short discourse presented by the
the legal proceeding involved therein was not pending when the alleged libelous article was published, then ponente on the existing divergence of opinions on the matter between the English and American courts. But
referred to the guaranty of freedom of speech and the press, and eventually held that the publication involved the learned justice, notwithstanding his preference for and application of the American doctrine, nonetheless
88
thereafter made the recommendatory observation that "(w)ith reference to the applicability of the above This qualified distinction is not without justification and, in fact, was also foreshadowed by the concurring
authorities, it should be remarked first of all that this court is not bound to accept any of them absolutely and opinion of Justice Briones in Brillantes wherein, after noting the conflicting views on the amenability of the
unqualifiedly. What is best for the maintenance of the judiciary in the Philippines should be the criterion." contemnor during the pendency or after the termination of the judicial proceeding in the court involved as
illustrated by the English and American doctrines thereon, he advanced the proposition that —
It seems that this view was shared by then Associate Justice Moran when he dissented from the majority
opinion in the aforecited case of People vs. Alarcon, et al., which upheld the doctrine enunciated in Lozano . . . esta distincion no tiene mucha importancia. Lo importante para mi es ver si la critica lanzada por el
and Abistado, in this wise: "I know that in the United States, publications about courts, after the conclusion recurrido es falsa y esta concebida en terminos tales que "tiende directamente a degradar la administracion
of a pending case, no matter how perverse or scandalous, are in many instances brought within the de justicia," . . . es indiferente si versa sobre un asunto o negociacion totalmente terminada o no; el desacato
constitutional protection of the liberty of the press. But while this rule may find justification in that country, existe entonces y debe ser castigado.
considering the American temper and psychology and the stability of its political institutions, it is doubtful
whether here a similar toleration of gross misuse of liberty of the press would, under our circumstances, . . . Se trata simplemente de la facultad inherente en los tribunales de reprimir y castigar todo acto que tiende
result in no untoward consequences to our structure of democracy yet in the process of healthful a ambarazarles y obstruirles en su funcion de administrar justicia, . . . .
development and growth."
The rationale for making a qualification to the rule generally considered as the American doctrine, which
Such perception could have probably impelled Justice Moran to deviate from the then accepted doctrine, rule as herein qualified we now adopt and refer to as the Philippine doctrine on this issue, is profoundly and
with this rationalization: eloquently explicated by Justice Moran in Alarcon, to wit:

Contempt, by reason of publications relating to courts and to court proceedings, are of two kinds. A It is true that the Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech and of the press. But license or abuse of that
publication which tends to impede, obstruct, embarrass or influence the courts in administering justice in a freedom should not be confused with freedom in its true sense. Well-ordered liberty demands no less
pending suit or proceeding, constitutes criminal contempt which is summarily punishable by courts. This is unrelaxing vigilance against abuse of the sacred guaranties of the Constitution than the fullest protection of
the rule announced in the cases relied upon by the majority. A publication which tends to degrade the courts their legitimate exercise. As important as is the maintenance of a free press and the free exercise of the rights
and to destroy public confidence in them or that which tends to bring them in any way into disrepute, of the citizens is the maintenance of a judiciary unhampered in its administration of justice and secure in its
constitutes likewise criminal contempt, and is equally punishable by courts. In the language of the majority, continuous enjoyment of public confidence. "The administration of justice and freedom of the press, though
what is sought, in the language of the majority, what is sought, in the first kind of contempt, to be shielded separate and distinct are equally sacred, and neither should be violated by the other. The press and the courts
against the influenced of newspaper comments, is the all-important duty of the courts to administer justice in have correlative rights and duties and should cooperate to uphold the principles of the Constitution and the
the decision of a pending case. In the second kind of contempt, the punitive hand of justice is extended to laws, from which the former receives its prerogatives and the latter its jurisdiction." (U.S. vs. Su liens, 38
vindicate the courts from any act or conduct calculated to bring them into disfavor or to destroy public Fed., 2d., 230.) Democracy cannot long endure in a country where liberty is grossly misused any more than
confidence in them. In the first, there is no contempt where there is no action pending, as there is no decision where liberty is illegitimately abridged.
which might in any way be influenced by the newspaper publication. In the second, the contempt exists, with
or without a pending case, as what is sought to be protected is the court itself and its dignity. Courts would xxx xxx xxx
lose their utility if public confidence in them is destroyed.
If the contemptuous publication made by the respondent herein were directed to this Court in connection
That dissenting opinion was impliedly adopted in the subsequent case of In re Brillantes, 31 where the editor with a case already decided, the effect of the rule laid down by the majority is to deny this court the power to
of the Manila Guardian was declared in contempt of court for publishing an editorial, stating that the 1944 vindicate its dignity. The mischievous consequences that will follow from the situation thus sought to be
Bar Examinations were conducted in a farcical manner, even after the case involving the validity of said permitted, are both too obvious and odious to be stated. The administration of Justice, no matter how
examinations had been terminated. This was followed by In re Almacen 32 where the Court stated righteous, may be identified with all sorts of fancied scandal and corruption. Litigants, discontented for
categorically that the rule that bars contempt after a judicial proceeding has terminated had lost much of its having lost their cases, will have every way to give vent to their resentment. Respect and obedience to Law
validity, invoking therein the ruling in Brillantes and quoting with approval the dissenting opinion in will ultimately be shattered, and, as a consequence, the utility of the courts will completely disappear.
Alarcon.
It may be said that respect to courts cannot be compelled and that public confidence should be a tribute to
It appears, therefore, that in the two latest cases decided by this Court, the general rule that there can be no judicial worth, virtue and intelligence. But compelling respect to courts is one thing and denying the courts
contempt in post-litigation publications is not necessarily all-embracing under certain situations. From the the power to vindicate themselves when outraged is another. I know of no principle of law that authorizes
shift in judicial approach in Brillantes to the position announced in Almacen, it can inevitably be concluded with impunity a discontented citizen to unleash, by newspaper publications, the avalanche of his wrath and
that the termination of the case is not a guaranty of immunity from a contempt charge for publications or venom upon courts and judges. If he believes that a judge is corrupt and that justice has somewhere been
utterances which are defamatory or libelous, depending on the purpose and effects thereof. In other words, perverted, law and order require that he follow the processes provided by the Constitution and the statutes by
one may still be cited for contempt of court even after a case has ended, where such punitive action is instituting the corresponding proceedings for impeachment or otherwise. As Mr. Justice Palmer, in speaking
necessary to protect the court and its dignity and to vindicate it from acts or conduct intended or calculated of the duty of courts and court officers, has wisely said:
to degrade, ridicule or bring the court into disfavor and thereby erode or destroy public confidence in that
court. Would it be just to the persons who are called upon to exercise these powers to compel them to do so, and at
the same time allow them to be maltreated or libeled because they did so? How would a suitor like a
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juryman trying his case who might expect he would be assaulted, beaten, his property destroyed, or his and malice they may injuriously affect the standing, reputation, or pecuniary interests of individuals. The
reputation blasted, in case he decided against his opponent? Apply the same thing to judges, or the sheriff, true liberty of the press is amply secured by permitting every man to publish his opinion; but it is due to the
and how long could organized society hold together? With reference to a judge, if he has acted corruptly, it peace and dignity of society to inquire into the motives of such publications, and to distinguish between
is worse than a mere contempt. But it is apparent it would not be right that the court of which he is a member those which are meant for use and reformation, and with an eye solely to the public good, and those which
should determine this, and consequently the law has provided a plain and easy method of bringing him to are intended merely to delude and defame. To the latter description, it is impossible that any good
justice by a petition to Parliament; but, while the law authorizes this, it does not allow infamous charges to government should afford protection and impunity.
be made against him by persons, either in the newspapers or otherwise, with reference to how he has or shall
discharge the duties of his office. It must be apparent to all right thinking men that, if such were allowed to The liberty of the press means that anyone can publish anything he pleases, but he is liable for the abuse of
be indulged in, it must end in the usefulness of the court itself being destroyed, however righteous its judges this liberty. If he does this by scandalizing the courts of his country, he is liable to be punished for contempt.
may act. From what I have said it must not be supposed that I think that the decisions of the court, or the In other words, the abuse of the privilege consists principally in not telling the truth. There is a right to
actions of the judges, or other persons composing the court, are not to be discussed; on the contrary, I would publish the truth, but no right to publish falsehood to the injury of others with impunity. It, therefore, does
allow the freest criticism of all such acts if done in a fair spirit, only stopping at what must injure or destroy not include the right to malign the courts, to libel and slander and utter the most flagrant and indecent
the court itself and bring the administration of the law into disrepute, or be an outrage on the persons whose calumnies about the court and its officers, nor to invade the sanctuaries of the temples. Such practices and
acts are discussed, or when such discussion would interfere with the right decision of the cause before the such miscreants ought to be condemned, and the courts would deserve condemnation and abolition if they
court. did not vigorously and fearlessly punish such offenders. Such practices are an abuse of the liberty of the
press, and if the slander relates to the courts, it concerns the whole public and is consequently punishable
We do not hesitate to hereby give our imprimatur to the aforequoted opinion which, we fully believe, summarily as a criminal contempt. It is therefore the liberty of the press that is guaranteed, not the
conforms to basic dogmatic teachings on judicial and professional conduct requiring respect for and the licentiousness. It is the right to speak the truth, not the right to bear false witness against your neighbor. 35
giving of due deference to the judicial system and its members — ethical standards which this Court has,
time and again, been trying to inculcate in the minds of every member of the Bar and the public in general. This brings to fore the need to make a distinction between adverse criticism of the court's decision after the
case is ended and "scandalizing the court itself." The latter is not criticism; it is personal and scurrilous abuse
4. Cautela on the Balancing of Interests of a judge as such, in which case it shall be dealt with as a case of contempt. 36

On the bases of the foregoing authorities, it is evident that a line has to be drawn between those utterances or It must be clearly understood and always borne in mind that there is a vast difference between criticism or
writings which are protected by the privileges of free speech and a free press and those which constitute an fair comment on the one side and defamation on the other. Where defamation commences, true criticism
abuse thereof, in determining whether an allegedly scurrilous publication or statement is to be treated as ends. True criticism differs from defamation in the following particulars; (1) Criticism deals only with such
contempt of court. But to find the line where the permissible right of free speech ends and its reprehensible things as invite public attention or call for public comment. (2) Criticism never attacks the individual but
abuse begins is not always an easy task. In contempt proceedings, it was held that this line must usually be only his work. In every case the attack is on a man's acts, or on some thing, and not upon the man himself. A
defined by the courts themselves, and in such cases its location is to be established with special care and true critic never indulges in personalities. (3) True criticism never imputes or insinuates dishonorable
caution. 33 motives, unless justice absolutely requires it, and then only on the clearest proofs. (4) The critic never takes