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G.R. No.

L-34665 August 28, 1931 wounded Omamdam, he would have had to answer for his act, since whoever willfully commits a felony or
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee, a misdemeanor incurs criminal liability, although the wrongful act done be different from that which he
vs. intended. (Art. 1 of the Penal Code.) But, as we have said, this is not the case.
DONATO BINDOY, defendant-appellant. The witness for the defense, Gaudencio Cenas, corroborates the defendant to the effect that Pacas and
Florentino Saguin for appellant. Bindoy were actually struggling for the possession of the bolo, and that when the latter let go, the former
Attorney-General Jaranilla for appellee. had pulled so violently that it flew towards his left side, at the very moment when Emigdio Omamdam
VILLAMOR, J.: came up, who was therefore hit in the chest, without Donato's seeing him, because Emigdio had passed
The appellant was sentenced by the Court of First Instance of Occidental Misamis to the penalty of twelve behind him. The same witness adds that he went to see Omamdam at his home later, and asked him about
years and one day of reclusion temporal, with the accessories of law, to indemnify the heirs of the deceased his wound when he replied: "I think I shall die of this wound." And then continued: "Please look after my
in the amount of P1,000, and to pay the costs. The crime charged against the accused is homicide, wife when I die: See that she doesn't starve," adding further: "This wound was an accident. Donato did not
according to the following information: aim at me, nor I at him: It was a mishap." The testimony of this witness was not contradicted by any rebuttal
That on or about the 6th of May, 1930, in the barrio of Calunod, municipality of Baliangao, evidence adduced by the fiscal.
Province of Occidental Misamis, the accused Donato Bindoy willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously We have searched the record in vain for the motive of this kind, which, had it existed, would have greatly
attacked and with his bolo wounded Emigdio Omamdam, inflicting upon the latter a serious facilitated the solution of this case. And we deem it well to repeat what this court said in United States vs.
wound in the chest which caused his instant death, in violation of article 404 of the Penal Code. Carlos (15 Phil., 47), to wit:
The accused appealed from the judgment of the trial court, and his counsel in this instance contends that The attention of prosecuting officers, and especially of provincial fiscals, directed to the
the court erred in finding him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and in convicting him of the crime of importance of definitely ascertaining and proving, when possible, the motives which actuated the
homicide. commission of a crime under investigation.
The record shows that in the afternoon of May 6, 1930, a disturbance arose in a tuba wineshop in the barrio In many criminal cases one of the most important aids in completing the proof of the commission
market of Calunod, municipality of Baliangao, Province of Occidental Misamis, started by some of the tuba of the crime by the accused is the introduction of evidence disclosing the motives which tempted
drinkers. There were Faustino Pacas (alias Agaton), and his wife called Tibay. One Donato Bindoy, who was the mind of the guilty person to indulge the criminal act.
also there, offered some tuba to Pacas' wife; and as she refused to drink having already done so, Bindoy In view of the evidence before us, we are of opinion and so hold, that the appellant is entitled to acquittal
threatened to injure her if she did not accept. There ensued an interchange of words between Tibay and according to article 8, No. 8, Penal Code. Wherefore, the judgment appealed from is reversed, and the
Bindoy, and Pacas stepped in to defend his wife, attempting to take away from Bindoy the bolo he carried. accused Donato Bindoy is hereby acquitted with costs de oficio. So ordered.
This occasioned a disturbance which attracted the attention of Emigdio Omamdam, who, with his family, G.R. No. 165483 September 12, 2006
lived near the market. Emigdio left his house to see what was happening, while Bindoy and Pacas were RUJJERIC Z. PALAGANAS,1 petitioner,
struggling for the bolo. In the course of this struggle, Bindoy succeeded in disengaging himself from Pacas, vs.
wrenching the bolo from the latter's hand towards the left behind the accused, with such violence that the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
point of the bolo reached Emigdio Omamdam's chest, who was then behind Bindoy. DECISION
There is no evidence that Emigdio took part in the fight between Bindoy and Pacas. Neither is there any CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
indication that the accused was aware of Emigdio Omamdam's presence in the place, for, according to the For what is a man, what has he got?
testimony of the witnesses, the latter passed behind the combatants when he left his house to satisfy his If not himself, then he has naught.
curiosity. There was no disagreement or ill feeling between Bindoy and Omamdam, on the contrary, it To say the things he truly feels;
appears they were nephew and uncle, respectively, and were on good terms with each other. Bindoy did And not the words of one who kneels.
not try to wound Pacas, and instead of wounding him, he hit Omamdam; he was only defending his The record shows I took the blows -
possession of the bolo, which Pacas was trying to wrench away from him, and his conduct was perfectly And did it my way!
lawful. The song evokes the bitterest passions. This is not the first time the song "My Way"2 has triggered violent
The wound which Omamdam received in the chest, judging by the description given by the sanitary behavior resulting in people coming to blows. In the case at bar, the few lines of the song depicted what
inspector who attended him as he lay dying, tallies with the size of the point of Bindoy's bolo. came to pass when the victims and the aggressors tried to outdo each other in their rendition of the song.
There is no doubt that the latter caused the wound which produced Emigdio Omamdam's death, but the In this Petition for Review on Certiorari3 under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court, petitioner Rujjeric Z.
defendant alleges that it was caused accidentally and without malicious intent. Palaganas prays for the reversal of the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 22689 dated 30
Pacas and the widow of the deceased, Carmen Angot, testified having seen the accused stab Omamdam September 2004,4 affirming with modification the Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 46, of
with his bolo. Such testimony is not incompatible with that of the accused, to the effect that he wounded Urdaneta, Pangasinan, in Criminal Cases No. U-9608, U-9609, and U-9610 and U-9634, dated 28 October
Omamdam by accident. The widow testified that she knew of her husband's wound being caused by Bindoy 1998,5 finding petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Homicide under Article 249 of the
from his statement to her before his death. Revised Penal Code, and two (2) counts of Frustrated Homicide under Article 249 in relation to Articles 6
The testimony of the witnesses for the prosecution tends to show that the accused stabbed Omamdam in and 50 of the same Code.
the chest with his bolo on that occasion. The defendant, indeed, in his effort to free himself of Pacas, who On 21 April 1998, petitioner and his older brother, Ferdinand Z. Palaganas (Ferdinand), were charged under
was endeavoring to wrench his bolo from him, hit Omamdam in the chest; but, as we have stated, there is four (4) separate Informations6 for two (2) counts of Frustrated Murder, one (1) count of Murder, and one (1)
no evidence to show that he did so deliberately and with the intention of committing a crime. If, in his count for Violation of COMELEC Resolution No. 29587 relative to Article 22, Section 261, of the Omnibus
struggle with Pacas, the defendant had attempted to wound his opponent, and instead of doing so, had Election Code,8 allegedly committed as follows:
CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-9608 Thereafter, at 10:30 in the evening, Jaime Palaganas arrived together with Ferdinand Palaganas
That on or about January 16, 1998, in the evening at Poblacion, Manaoag, Pangasinan and within and Virgilio Bautista. At that time, only the Ferrer brothers were the customers in the bar. The two
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused armed with an unlicensed groups occupied separate tables. Later, when Jaime Palaganas was singing, [Melton] Ferrer sang
firearm, with intent to kill, treachery and evident premeditation, conspiring together, did then and along with him as he was familiar with the song [My Way]. Jaime however, resented this and went
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously shoot SERVILLANO FERRER, JR. y Juanatas, inflicting upon near the table of the Ferrer brothers and said in Pangasinan dialect "As if you are tough guys."
him "gunshot wound penetrating perforating abdomen, urinary bladder, rectum bullet sacral Jaime further said "You are already insulting me in that way." Then, Jaime struck Servillano Ferrer
region," the accused having thus performed all the acts of execution which would have produced with the microphone, hitting the back of his head. A rumble ensued between the Ferrer brothers
the crime of Murder as a consequence, but which nevertheless, did not produce it by reason of the on the one hand, and the Palaganases, on the other hand. Virgilio Bautista did not join the fray as
causes independent of the will of the accused and that is due to the timely medical assistance he left the place. During the rumble, Ferdinand went out of the bar. He was however pursued by
rendered to said Servillano J. Ferrer, Jr. which prevented his death, to his damage and prejudice. Michael. When Servillano saw Michael, he also went out and told the latter not to follow
CONTRARY to Art. 248 in relation with Arts. 6 and 50, all of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. Ferdinand. Servillano and Michael then went back inside the bar and continued their fight with
That on or about January 16, 1998, in the evening at Poblacion, Manaoag, Pangasinan and within Meantime, Edith Palaganas, sister of Jaime and the owner of the bar, arrived and pacified them.
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused armed with an unlicensed Servillano noticed that his wristwatch was missing. Unable to locate the watch inside the bar, the
firearm, with intent to kill, treachery and evident premeditation, conspiring together, did then and Ferrer brothers went outside. They saw Ferdinand about eight (8) meters away standing at Rizal
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously shoot MICHAEL FERRER alias "Boying Ferrer", inflicting Street. Ferdinand was pointing at them and said to his companion, later identified as petitioner
upon him gunshot wound on the right shoulder, the accused having thus performed all the acts of [Rujjeric] Palaganas, "Oraratan paltog mo lara", meaning "They are the ones, shoot them."
execution which would have produced the crime of murder as a consequence, but which Petitioner then shot them hitting Servillano first at the left side of the abdomen, causing him to
nevertheless, did not produce it by reason of the causes independent of the will of the accused fall on the ground, and followed by [Melton] who also fell to the ground. When Servillano noticed
and that is due to the medical assistance rendered to said Michael "Boying" Ferrer which that [Melton] was no longer moving, he told Michael "Bato, bato." Michael picked up some stones
prevented his death, to his damage and prejudice. and threw them at petitioner and Ferdinand. The latter then left the place. Afterwards, the police
CONTRARY to Art. 248 in relation with Arts. 6 and 50, all of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. officers came and the Ferrer brothers were brought to the Manaoag Hospital and later to Villaflor
CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-9610 Hospital in Dagupan. Servillano later discovered that [Melton] was fatally hit in the head while
That on or about January 16, 1998, in the evening at Poblacion, Manaoag, Pangasinan and within Michael was hit in the right shoulder.
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused armed with an unlicensed On the other hand, the defense, in its Appellant's Brief dated 3 December 1999,14 asserted the following set
firearm, with intent to kill, treachery and evident premeditation, conspiring together, did then and of facts:
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously shoot MELTON FERRER alias "TONY FERRER", inflicting On January 16, 1998, at around 11:00 in the evening, after a drinking session at their house, the
upon him mortal gunshot wounds in the head and right thigh which caused the instantaneous brothers Melton (Tony), Servillano (Junior) and Michael (Boying), all surnamed Ferrer, occupied a
death of said Melton "Tony" Ferrer, to the damage and prejudice of his heirs. table inside the Tidbits Café and Videoke Bar and started drinking and singing. About thirty
CONTRARY to Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. 7659. minutes later, Jaime Palaganas along with his nephew Ferdinand (Apo) and friend Virgilio Bautista
CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-9634 arrived at the bar and occupied a table near that of the Ferrers'.
That on or about January 16, 1998 which is within the election period at Poblacion, Manaoag, After the Ferrers' turn in singing, the microphone was handed over to Jaime Palaganas, who then
Pangasinan, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused did started to sing. On his third song [My Way], Jaime was joined in his singing by Tony Ferrer, who
then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously bear and carry one (1) caliber .38 without first sang loudly and in an obviously mocking manner. This infuriated Jaime, who then accosted Tony,
securing the necessary permit/license to do the same. saying, "You are already insulting us." The statement resulted in a free for all fight between the
CONTRARY to COMELEC RES. 2958 in relation with SEC. 261 of the OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE, as Ferrers', on one hand, and the Palaganases on the other. Jaime was mauled and Ferdinand, was hit
amended.9 (Underscoring supplied.) on the face and was chased outside of the bar by Junior and Boying Ferrer.
When arraigned on separate dates,10 petitioner and Ferdinand entered separate pleas of "Not Guilty." Upon Ferdinand then ran towards the house of the appellant Rujjeric Palaganas, his brother, and sought
motion of Ferdinand,11 the four cases were consolidated and were assigned to Branch 46 of the RTC in the help of the latter. Rujjeric, stirred from his sleep by his brother's shouts, went out of his house
Urdaneta, Pangasinan.12 and, noticing that the van of his uncle was in front of the Tidbits Videoke Bar, proceeded to that
The factual antecedents as viewed by the prosecution, are summarized in the Comment dated 18 April 2005 place. Before reaching the bar, however, he was suddenly stoned by the Ferrer brothers and was
of the Office of the Solicitor General,13 to wit: hit on different parts of his body, so he turned around and struggled to run towards his house. He
On January 16, 1998, around 8:00 in the evening, brothers Servillano, [Melton] and Michael, all then met his brother, Ferdinand, going towards the bar, so he tugged him and urged him to run
surnamed Ferrer were having a drinking spree in their house because [Melton], who was already towards the opposite direction as the Ferrer brothers continued pelting them with large stones.
living in San Fernando, La Union, visited his three brothers and mother at their house in Sitio Rujjeric then noticed that Ferdinand was carrying a gun, and, on instinct, grabbed the gun from
Baloking, Poblacion, Manaoag, Pangasinan. At 9:45 in the evening, the three brothers decided to the latter, faced the Ferrer brothers and fired one shot in the air to force the brothers to retreat.
proceed to Tidbits Videoke bar located at the corner of Malvar and Rizal Streets, Poblacion, Much to his surprise, however, the Ferrer brothers continued throwing stones and when (sic) the
Manaoag to continue their drinking spree and to sing. Inside the karaoke bar, they were having a appellant was again hit several times. Unable to bear the pain, he closed his eyes and pulled the
good time, singing and drinking beer. trigger.
On 28 October 1998, the trial court rendered its Decision finding petitioner guilty only of the crime of unlicensed firearm, the Court sentences him to suffer the penalty of Prision Mayor in its maximum
Homicide and two (2) counts of Frustrated Homicide.15 He was, however, acquitted of the charge of period or 12 years of imprisonment and to pay Servillano Ferrer the sum of P163,569.90 for his
Violation of COMELEC Resolution No. 2958 in relation to Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code.16 On medical expenses and P50,000.00 for exemplary damages;
the other hand, Ferdinand was acquitted of all the charges against him.17 Ferdinand Palaganas is ACQUITTED for failure of the prosecution to prove conspiracy and likewise,
In holding that petitioner is liable for the crimes of Homicide and Frustrated Homicide but not for Murder for failure to prove the guilt of Ferdinand Palaganas beyond reasonable doubt.
and Frustrated Murder, the trial court explained that there was no conspiracy between petitioner and 3. Under CRIM. CASE NO. U-9609, [Rujjeric] PALAGANAS is hereby CONVICTED beyond reasonable
Ferdinand in killing Melton and wounding Servillano and Michael.18 According to the trial court, the mere doubt of the crime of FRUSTRATED HOMICIDE (Not Frustrated Murder), with the use of an
fact that Ferdinand "pointed" to where the Ferrer brothers were and uttered to petitioner " Araratan, paltog unlicensed firearm, the Court sentences him to suffer the penalty of Prision Mayor in its maximum
mo lara!" (They are the ones, shoot them!), does not in itself connote common design or unity of purpose period or 12 years of imprisonment; and to pay Michael Ferrer the sum of P2,259.35 for his
to kill. It also took note of the fact that petitioner was never a participant in the rumble inside the Tidbits medical expenses and P50,000.00 for exemplary damages;
Cafe Videoke Bar (videoke bar) on the night of 16 January 1998. He was merely called by Ferdinand to Ferdinand Palaganas is ACQUITTED for failure of the prosecution to prove conspiracy and likewise,
rescue their uncle, Jaime, who was being assaulted by the Ferrer brothers. It further stated that the shooting for failure to prove the guilt of Ferdinand Palaganas beyond reasonable doubt.
was instantaneous and without any prior plan or agreement with Ferdinand to execute the same. It found Ordering accused [Rujjeric] Palaganas to pay Mrs. Elena Ferrer, the mother of the Ferrer brothers,
that petitioner is solely liable for killing Melton and for wounding Servillano and Michael, and that the amount of P100,000.00 as attorney's fees in CRIM. CASES NOS. U-9608, U-9609, U-9610.
Ferdinand is not criminally responsible for the act of petitioner. 4. Under CRIM. CASE NO. U-9634, for failure of the prosecution to prove the guilt of [Rujjeric]
Further, it declared that there was no treachery that will qualify the crimes as murder and frustrated murder Palaganas beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Violation of COMELEC Resolution No. 2958 in
since the Ferrer brothers were given the chance to defend themselves during the shooting incident by relation with Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code, the Court ACQUITS [RUJJERIC]
stoning the petitioner and Ferdinand.19 It reasoned that the sudden and unexpected attack, without the PALAGANAS.24
slightest provocation on the part of the victims, was absent. In addition, it ratiocinated that there was no Aggrieved, the petitioner appealed the foregoing Decision of the RTC dated 28 October 1998, before the
evident premeditation as there was no sufficient period of time that lapsed from the point where Ferdinand Court of Appeals. In its Decision dated 30 September 2004, the Court of Appeals affirmed with
called the petitioner for help up to the point of the shooting of the Ferrer brothers.20 Petitioner was modifications the assailed RTC Decision. In modifying the Decision of the trial court, the appellate court
sleeping at his house at the time he heard Ferdinand calling him for help. Immediately, petitioner, still clad held that the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender under Article 13, No. 7, of the Revised Penal
in pajama and sleeveless shirt, went out of his room to meet Ferdinand. Thereafter, both petitioner and Code should be appreciated in favor of petitioner since the latter, accompanied by his counsel, voluntarily
Ferdinand went to the videoke bar where they met the Ferrer brothers and, shortly afterwards, the shooting appeared before the trial court, even prior to its issuance of a warrant of arrest against him.25 It also stated
ensued. In other words, according to the trial court, the sequence of the events are so fast that it is that the Indeterminate Sentence Law should be applied in imposing the penalty upon the petitioner.26 The
improbable for the petitioner to have ample time and opportunity to then plan and organize the shooting. dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals' Decision reads:
Corollarily, it also stated that petitioner cannot successfully invoke self-defense since there was no actual or WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction is hereby AFFIRMED, subject to the MODIFICATION that
imminent danger to his life at the time he and Ferdinand saw the Ferrer brothers outside the videoke bar. 21 the penalty to be imposed for the crimes which the appellant committed are as follows:
It noted that when petitioner and Ferdinand saw the Ferrer brothers outside the videoke bar, the latter were (1) For Homicide (under Criminal Case No. U-9610), the appellant is ordered to suffer
not carrying any weapon. Petitioner then was free to run or take cover when the Ferrer brothers started imprisonment of ten (10) years of prision mayor as minimum to seventeen (17) years and four (4)
pelting them with stones. Petitioner, however, opted to shoot the Ferrer brothers. It also stated that the use months of reclusion temporal as maximum. Appellant is also ordered to pay the heirs of Melton
by petitioner of a gun was not a reasonable means to prevent the attack of the Ferrer brothers since the Ferrer civil indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00, moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00
latter were only equipped with stones, and that the gun was deadlier compared to stones. Moreover, it also without need of proof and actual damages in the amount of P43,556.00.
found that petitioner used an unlicensed firearm in shooting the Ferrer brothers.22 (2) For Frustrated Homicide (under Criminal Case No. U-9609), the appellant is hereby ordered to
As regards the Violation of COMELEC Resolution No. 2958, in relation to Section 261 of the Omnibus suffer imprisonment of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correcional as minimum to ten
Election Code, the trial court acquitted the petitioner of the offense as his use and possession of a gun was (10) years of prision mayor as maximum. Appellant is also ordered to pay Michael Ferrer actual
not for the purpose of disrupting election activities.23 In conclusion, the trial court held: damages in the amount of P2,259.35 and moral damages in the amount of P30,000.00.
WHEREFORE, JUDGMENT is hereby rendered as follows: (3) For Frustrated Homicide (under Criminal Case No. U-9608), the appellant is hereby penalized
1. Under CRIM. CASE NO. U-9610, [Rujjeric] PALAGANAS is hereby CONVICTED beyond reasonable with imprisonment of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correcional as minimum to ten
doubt of the crime of HOMICIDE (Not Murder) with the use of an unlicensed firearm. The penalty (10) years of prision mayor as maximum. Appellant is also ordered to pay Servillano Ferrer actual
imposable is in its maximum period which is 20 years. The Court sentences [Rujjeric] Palaganas to damages in the amount of P163,569.90 and moral damages in the amount of P30,000.00.27
suffer the penalty of Reclusion Temporal in its maximum period or 20 years of imprisonment; and On 16 November 2004, petitioner lodged the instant Petition for Review before this Court on the basis of
to pay the heirs of [MELTON] Ferrer the sum of P7,791.50 as actual medical expenses of [MELTON] the following arguments:
Ferrer; P500,000.00 as moral damages representing unearned income of [MELTON]; P50,000.00 for I.
the death of [MELTON]; P50,000.00 for exemplary damages and P100,000.00 for burial and funeral THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE JUDGMENT OF CONVICTION OF
expenses. THE TRIAL COURT.
Ferdinand Palaganas is hereby ACQUITTED for failure of the prosecution to prove conspiracy and II.
likewise, for failure to prove the guilt of Ferdinand Palaganas beyond reasonable doubt. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT ACQUITTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT ON
2. Under CRIM. CASE NO. U-9608, [Rujjeric] PALAGANAS is hereby CONVICTED beyond reasonable THE GROUND OF LAWFUL SELF-DEFENSE.28
doubt of the crime of FRUSTRATED HOMICIDE (Not Frustrated Murder), with the use of an
Anent the first issue, petitioner argued that all the elements of a valid self-defense are present in the instant The fact that petitioner sustained injuries in his left leg and left shoulder, allegedly caused by the stones
case and, thus, his acquittal on all the charges is proper; that when he fired his gun on that fateful night, he thrown by the Ferrer brothers, does not signify that he was a victim of unlawful aggression or that he acted
was then a victim of an unlawful aggression perpetrated by the Ferrer brothers; that he, in fact, sustained an in self-defense.38 There is no evidence to show that his wounds were so serious and severe. The
injury in his left leg and left shoulder caused by the stones thrown by the Ferrer brothers; that the appellate superficiality of the injuries sustained by the petitioner is no indication that his life and limb were in actual
court failed to consider a material evidence described as "Exhibit O"; that "Exhibit O" should have been peril.39
given due weight since it shows that there was slug embedded on the sawali wall near the sign "Tidbits Petitioner's assertion that, despite the fact that he fired a warning shot, the Ferrer brothers continued to
Café and Videoke Bar"; that the height from which the slug was taken was about seven feet from the pelt him with stones,40 will not matter exonerate him from criminal liability. Firing a warning shot was not
ground; that if it was true that petitioner and Ferdinand were waiting for the Ferrer brothers outside the the last and only option he had in order to avoid the stones thrown by the Ferrer brothers. As stated earlier,
videoke bar in order to shoot them, then the trajectory of the bullets would have been either straight or he could have run away, or taken cover, or proceeded to the proper authorities for help. Petitioner,
downward and not upward considering that the petitioner and the Ferrer brothers were about the same however, opted to shoot the Ferrer brothers.
height (5'6"-5'8"); that the slug found on the wall was, in fact, the "warning shot" fired by the petitioner; It is significant to note that the shooting resulted in the death of Melton, and wounding of Servillano and
and, that if this exhibit was properly appreciated by the trial court, petitioner would be acquitted of all the Michael. With regard to Melton, a bullet hit his right thigh, and another bullet hit his head which caused his
charges.29 instant death.41 As regards Servillano, a bullet penetrated two of his vital organs, namely, the large intestine
Moreover, petitioner contended that the warning shot proved that that the Ferrer brothers were the and urinary bladder.42 He underwent two (2) surgeries in order to survive and fully recover.43 Michael, on
unlawful aggressors since there would have been no occasion for the petitioner to fire a warning shot if the the other hand, sustained a gunshot wound on the right shoulder.44 It must also be noted that the Ferrer
Ferrer brothers did not stone him; that the testimony of Michael in the trial court proved that it was the brothers were shot near the videoke bar, which contradict petitioner's claim he was chased by the Ferrer
Ferrer brothers who provoked petitioner to shoot them; and that the Ferrer brothers pelted them with brothers. Given the foregoing circumstances, it is difficult to believe that the Ferrer brothers were the
stones even after the "warning shot."30 unlawful aggressors. As correctly observed by the prosecution, if the petitioner shot the Ferrer brothers just
Petitioner's contention must fail. to defend himself, it defies reason why he had to shoot the victims at the vital portions of their body, which
Article 11, paragraph (1), of the Revised Penal Code provides for the elements and/or requisites in order even led to the death of Melton who was shot at his head.45 It is an oft-repeated rule that the nature and
that a plea of self-defense may be validly considered in absolving a person from criminal liability, viz: number of wounds inflicted by the accused are constantly and unremittingly considered important indicia
ART. 11. Justifying circumstances. – The following do not incur any criminal liability: to disprove a plea of self-defense.46
1. Anyone who acts in defense of his person or rights, provided that the following circumstances Let it not be forgotten that unlawful aggression is a primordial element in self-defense.47 It is an essential
concur; and indispensable requisite, for without unlawful aggression on the part of the victim, there can be, in a
First. Unlawful aggression; jural sense, no complete or incomplete self-defense.48 Without unlawful aggression, self-defense will not
Second. Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it; have a leg to stand on and this justifying circumstance cannot and will not be appreciated, even if the other
Third. Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself. x x x. elements are present.49 To our mind, unlawful aggression, as an element of self-defense, is wanting in the
As an element of self-defense, unlawful aggression refers to an assault or attack, or a threat thereof in an instant case.
imminent and immediate manner, which places the defendant's life in actual peril.31 It is an act positively The second element of self-defense requires that the means employed by the person defending himself
strong showing the wrongful intent of the aggressor and not merely a threatening or intimidating must be reasonably necessary to prevent or repel the unlawful aggression of the victim. The reasonableness
attitude.32 It is also described as a sudden and unprovoked attack of immediate and imminent kind to the of the means employed may take into account the weapons, the physical condition of the parties and other
life, safety or rights of the person attacked.33 circumstances showing that there is a rational equivalence between the means of attack and the defense.50
There is an unlawful aggression on the part of the victim when he puts in actual or imminent peril the life, In the case at bar, the petitioner's act of shooting the Ferrer brothers was not a reasonable and necessary
limb, or right of the person invoking self-defense. There must be actual physical force or actual use of means of repelling the aggression allegedly initiated by the Ferrer brothers. As aptly stated by the trial
weapon.34 In order to constitute unlawful aggression, the person attacked must be confronted by a real court, petitioner's gun was far deadlier compared to the stones thrown by the Ferrer brothers.51
threat on his life and limb; and the peril sought to be avoided is imminent and actual, not merely Moreover, we stated earlier that when the Ferrer brothers allegedly threw stones at the petitioner, the latter
imaginary.35 had other less harmful options than to shoot the Ferrer brothers. Such act failed to pass the test of
In the case at bar, it is clear that there was no unlawful aggression on the part of the Ferrer brothers that reasonableness of the means employed in preventing or repelling an unlawful aggression.
justified the act of petitioner in shooting them. There were no actual or imminent danger to the lives of With regard to the second issue, petitioner asserts that the Court of Appeals erred in not acquitting him on
petitioner and Ferdinand when they proceeded and arrived at the videoke bar and saw thereat the Ferrer the ground of lawful self-defense.
brothers. It appears that the Ferrer brothers then were merely standing outside the videoke bar and were Petitioner's argument is bereft of merit.
not carrying any weapon when the petitioner arrived with his brother Ferdinand and started firing his gun.36 In resolving criminal cases where the accused invokes self-defense to escape criminal liability, this Court
Assuming, arguendo, that the Ferrer brothers had provoked the petitioner to shoot them by pelting the consistently held that where an accused admits killing the victim but invokes self-defense, it is incumbent
latter with stones, the shooting of the Ferrer brothers is still unjustified. When the Ferrer brothers started upon the accused to prove by clear and convincing evidence that he acted in self-defense.52 As the burden
throwing stones, petitioner was not in a state of actual or imminent danger considering the wide distance of evidence is shifted on the accused to prove all the elements of self-defense, he must rely on the strength
(4-5 meters) of the latter from the location of the former.37 Petitioner was not cornered nor trapped in a of his own evidence and not on the weakness of the prosecution.53
specific area such that he had no way out, nor was his back against the wall. He was still capable of As we have already found, there was no unlawful aggression on the part of the Ferrer brothers which
avoiding the stones by running away or by taking cover. He could have also called or proceeded to the justified the act of petitioner in shooting them. We also ruled that even if the Ferrer brothers provoked the
proper authorities for help. Indeed, petitioner had several options in avoiding dangers to his life other than petitioner to shoot them, the latter's use of a gun was not a reasonable means of repelling the act of the
confronting the Ferrer brothers with a gun. Ferrer brothers in throwing stones. It must also be emphasized at this point that both the trial court and the
appellate court found that petitioner failed to established by clear and convincing evidence his plea of self- trial. However, such must be considered as a special aggravating circumstance, and not a generic
defense. In this regard, it is settled that when the trial court's findings have been affirmed by the appellate aggravating circumstance.
court, said findings are generally conclusive and binding upon this Court.54 In the present case, we find no Generic aggravating circumstances are those that generally apply to all crimes such as those mentioned in
compelling reason to deviate from their findings. Verily, petitioner failed to prove by clear and convincing Article 14, paragraphs No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 14, 18, 19 and 20, of the Revised Penal Code. It has the effect
evidence that he is entitled to an acquittal on the ground of lawful self-defense. of increasing the penalty for the crime to its maximum period, but it cannot increase the same to the next
On another point, while we agree with the trial court and the Court of Appeals that petitioner is guilty of higher degree. It must always be alleged and charged in the information, and must be proven during the
the crime of Homicide for the death of Melton in Criminal Case No. U-9610, and Frustrated Homicide for trial in order to be appreciated.60 Moreover, it can be offset by an ordinary mitigating circumstance.
the serious injuries sustained by Servillano in Criminal Case No. U-9608, we do not, however, concur in their On the other hand, special aggravating circumstances are those which arise under special conditions to
ruling that petitioner is guilty of the crime of Frustrated Homicide as regards to Michael in Criminal Case increase the penalty for the offense to its maximum period, but the same cannot increase the penalty to the
No. U-9609. We hold that petitioner therein is guilty only of the crime of Attempted Homicide. next higher degree. Examples are quasi-recidivism under Article 160 and complex crimes under Article 48 of
Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code states and defines the stages of a felony in the following manner: the Revised Penal Code. It does not change the character of the offense charged.61 It must always be
ART. 6. Consummated, frustrated, and attempted felonies. – Consummated felonies, as well as alleged and charged in the information, and must be proven during the trial in order to be appreciated.62
those which are frustrated and attempted, are punishable. Moreover, it cannot be offset by an ordinary mitigating circumstance.
A felony is consummated when all the elements necessary for the for its execution and It is clear from the foregoing that the meaning and effect of generic and special aggravating circumstances
accomplishment are present; and it is frustrated when the offender performs all the acts of are exactly the same except that in case of generic aggravating, the same CAN be offset by an ordinary
execution which would produce the felony as a consequence but which, nevertheless, do not mitigating circumstance whereas in the case of special aggravating circumstance, it CANNOT be offset by
produce it by reason or causes independent of the will of the perpetrator. an ordinary mitigating circumstance.
There is an attempt when the offender commences the commission of a felony directly by overt Aside from the aggravating circumstances abovementioned, there is also an aggravating circumstance
acts, and does not perform all the acts of execution which should produce the felony by reason of provided for under Presidential Decree No. 1866,63 as amended by Republic Act No. 8294,64 which is a
some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance (italics supplied). special law. Its pertinent provision states:
Based on the foregoing provision, the distinctions between frustrated and attempted felony are If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, such use of an
summarized as follows: unlicensed firearm shall be considered as an aggravating circumstance.
1.) In frustrated felony, the offender has performed all the acts of execution which should produce In interpreting the same provision, the trial court reasoned that such provision is "silent as to whether it is
the felony as a consequence; whereas in attempted felony, the offender merely commences the generic or qualifying."65 Thus, it ruled that "when the law is silent, the same must be interpreted in favor of
commission of a felony directly by overt acts and does not perform all the acts of execution. the accused."66 Since a generic aggravating circumstance is more favorable to petitioner compared to a
2.) In frustrated felony, the reason for the non-accomplishment of the crime is some cause qualifying aggravating circumstance, as the latter changes the nature of the crime and increase the penalty
independent of the will of the perpetrator; on the other hand, in attempted felony, the reason for thereof by degrees, the trial court proceeded to declare that the use of an unlicensed firearm by the
the non-fulfillment of the crime is a cause or accident other than the offender's own spontaneous petitioner is to be considered only as a generic aggravating circumstance.67 This interpretation is erroneous
desistance. since we already held in several cases that with the passage of Republic Act. No. 8294 on 6 June 1997, the
In addition to these distinctions, we have ruled in several cases that when the accused intended to kill his use of an unlicensed firearm in murder or homicide is now considered as a SPECIAL aggravating
victim, as manifested by his use of a deadly weapon in his assault, and his victim sustained fatal or mortal circumstance and not a generic aggravating circumstance.68 Republic Act No. 8294 applies to the instant
wound/s but did not die because of timely medical assistance, the crime committed is frustrated murder or case since it took effect before the commission of the crimes in 21 April 1998. Therefore, the use of an
frustrated homicide depending on whether or not any of the qualifying circumstances under Article 249 of unlicensed firearm by the petitioner in the instant case should be designated and appreciated as a SPECIAL
the Revised Penal Code are present.55 However, if the wound/s sustained by the victim in such a case were aggravating circumstance and not merely a generic aggravating circumstance.
not fatal or mortal, then the crime committed is only attempted murder or attempted homicide.56 If there As was previously established, a special aggravating circumstance cannot be offset by an ordinary
was no intent to kill on the part of the accused and the wound/s sustained by the victim were not fatal, the mitigating circumstance. Voluntary surrender of petitioner in this case is merely an ordinary mitigating
crime committed may be serious, less serious or slight physical injury.57 circumstance. Thus, it cannot offset the special aggravating circumstance of use of unlicensed firearm. In
Based on the medical certificate of Michael, as well as the testimony of the physician who diagnosed and accordance with Article 64, paragraph 3 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty imposable on petitioner
treated Michael, the latter was admitted and treated at the Dagupan Doctors-Villaflor Memorial Hospital for should be in its maximum period.69
a single gunshot wound in his right shoulder caused by the shooting of petitioner.58 It was also stated in his As regards the civil liability of petitioner, we deem it necessary to modify the award of damages given by
medical certificate that he was discharged on the same day he was admitted and that the treatment both courts.
duration for such wound would be for six to eight days only. 59 Given these set of undisputed facts, it is clear In Criminal Case No. U-9610 for Homicide, we agree with both courts that the proper amount of civil
that the gunshot wound sustained by Michael in his right shoulder was not fatal or mortal since the indemnity is P50,000.00, and that the proper amount for moral damages is P50,000.00 pursuant to
treatment period for his wound was short and he was discharged from the hospital on the same day he was prevailing jurisprudence.70 However, based on the receipts for hospital, medicine, funeral and burial
admitted therein. Therefore, petitioner is liable only for the crime of attempted homicide as regards expenses on record, and upon computation of the same, the proper amount of actual damages should be
Michael in Criminal Case No. U-9609. P42,374.18, instead of P43,556.00. Actual damages for loss of earning capacity cannot be awarded in this
With regard to the appreciation of the aggravating circumstance of use of an unlicensed firearm, we agree case since there was no documentary evidence to substantiate the same.71 Although there may be
with the trial court and the appellate court that the same must be applied against petitioner in the instant exceptions to this rule,72 none is availing in the present case. Nevertheless, since loss was actually
case since the same was alleged in the informations filed against him before the RTC and proven during the established in this case, temperate damages in the amount of P25,000.00 may be awarded to the heirs of
Melton Ferrer. Under Article 2224 of the New Civil Code, temperate or moderate damages may be
recovered when the court finds that some pecuniary loss was suffered but its amount cannot be proved When arraigned, the accused pleaded "Not Guilty". Thereafter, the case was set for trial on the merits.
with certainty. Moreover, exemplary damages should be awarded in this case since the presence of special To prove the guilt of the accused, the prosecutor presented the following witnesses, namely: (1) Jessie
aggravating circumstance of use of unlicensed firearm was already established.73 Based on prevailing Ramirez, (2) Maria Burgos y Turla, (3) P/Cpl. Mariano Victoria, (4) Policarpio Baluyot, (5) Dr. Reino Rosete, (6)
jurisprudence, the award of exemplary damages for homicide is P25,000.00.74 Sumulong Daniel, (7) Jessica Herrera, (8) Sister Eva Palencia, (9) Conrado Salonga, (10) Dr. Devonne Loop,
In Criminal Cases No. U-9608 and U-9609, we agree with both courts as to the award of actual damages (11) Dr. Leo Cruz, (12) Paul Maclor, (13) Aida Sarmiento, (14) Patricia Prollamanta (15) Mel Santos, (16) Lorna
and its corresponding amount since the same is supported by documentary proof therein. The award of Limos, (17) Eduard Lee Bungarner, (18) Ronaldo Marquez, (19) Tom Bonte, (20) 2nd Asst. City Fiscal Nini
moral damages is also consistent with prevailing jurisprudence. However, exemplary damages should be Alcala, (21) lst Asst. City Fiscal Dorentino Z. Floresta, (22) Corazon Caber, (23) Rodolfo Mercurio and (24) Fe
awarded in this case since the presence of special aggravating circumstance of use of unlicensed firearm Israel.
was already established. Based on prevailing jurisprudence, the award of exemplary damages for both the On the other hand, the defense offered in evidence Exhibits "1" to "24" and the testimonies of (1) Heinrich
attempted and frustrated homicide shall be P25,000.00 for each. S. Ritter, (2) Father Roque Villanueva, (3) Angelita Amulong (4) Gaspar Alcantara, (5) Dr. Val Barcinal and (6)
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the Court of Appeals dated 30 September 2004 is Dr. Pedro C. Solis.
hereby AFFIRMED with the following MODIFICATIONS: The facts of the case upon which the lower court based its finding of guilt beyond reasonable doubt are
(1) In Criminal Case No. U-9609, the petitioner is found guilty of the crime of attempted homicide. The summarized in its decision, as follows:
penalty imposable on the petitioner is prision correccional under Article 51 of the Revised Penal Code.75 The people's evidence show that on October 10, 1986 about midnight, accused Heinrich Stefan
There being a special aggravating circumstance of the use of an unlicensed firearm and applying the Ritter brought a boy and girl namely: Jessie Ramirez and Rosario Baluyot inside his hotel room at
Indeterminate Sentence of Law, the penalty now becomes four (4) years and two (2) months of arresto MGM Hotel along Magsaysay Drive, Olongapo City. These two (2) children were chosen from
mayor as minimum period to six (6) years of prision correccional as maximum period. As regards the civil among a bunch of street children. Once inside the hotel room accused told them to take a bath.
liability of petitioner, the latter is hereby ordered to pay Michael Ferrer exemplary damages in the amount Jessie Ramirez, alias "Egan", was the first to take a bath and when he came out Rosario Baluyot
of P25,000.00 in addition to the actual damages and moral damages awarded by the Court of Appeals. went to the bathroom to do the same. While Rosario Baluyot was inside the bathroom, accused
(2) In Criminal Case No. U-9608, the penalty imposable on the petitioner for the frustrated homicide is Ritter took out some pictures depicting dressed up young boys, and put them on top of the table.
prision mayor under Article 50 of the Revised Penal Code.76 There being a special aggravating circumstance Other things which were taken out and placed on top of a table were three (3) other objects which
of the use of an unlicensed firearm and applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the penalty now he described as like that of a vicks inhaler. One of these objects the accused played with his hands
becomes six (6) years of prision correccional as minimum period to twelve (12) years of prision mayor as and placed it on his palms. The color of which is grayish blue which turned out later to be the
maximum period. As regards the civil liability of petitioner, the latter is hereby ordered to pay Servillano foreign object which was inserted inside the vagina of Rosario Baluyot. The other objects were
Ferrer exemplary damages in the amount of P25,000.00 in addition to the actual damages and moral later established to be anti-nasal inhalers against pollution purchased by the accused in Bangkok
damages awarded by the Court of Appeals. when he went there as a tourist. While Rosario was in the bathroom, accused told Ramirez to lay
(3) In Criminal Case No. U-9610, the penalty imposable on petitioner for the homicide is reclusion temporal down on bed, and so did the accused. He then started masturbating the young boy and also
under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code.77 There being a special aggravating circumstance of the use of guided the boy's hand for him to be masturbated, so that they masturbated each other, while they
an unlicensed firearm and applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the penalty now is twelve (12) years of were both naked, and he gave Jessie Ramirez an erection. When Rosario Baluyot came out of the
prision mayor as minimum period to twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal as maximum period. As bathroom, she was told to remove her clothes by accused and to join him in bed. The accused
regards the civil liability of petitioner, the latter is hereby ordered to pay Melton Ferrer exemplary damages then placed himself between the two (2) children and accused started fingering Rosario.
in the amount of P25,000.00 in addition to the actual damages and moral damages awarded by the Court At this time, Ramirez was already sleepy, but Rosario touched him to call his attention. He looked,
of Appeals. The actual damages likewise awarded by the Court of Appeals is hereby reduced to P42,374.18. and he saw accused placing his penis against the vagina of Rosario and that he was trying to
SO ORDERED. penetrate the vagina but it would not fit. After what he saw, Ramirez did not anymore bother to
G.R. No. 88582 March 5, 1991 look because he was sleepy and fell asleep.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, The following morning, the accused, whom the juveniles described as an "American, paid Ramirez
vs. alias "Egan" P200.00 and Rosario P300.00. He then left them in the hotel. After the American left,
HEINRICH S. RITTER, accused-appellant, they went downstairs, and Rosario told Egan that the American inserted something in her vagina.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. But they could not do anything anymore, because the American had already left, and neither did
Esteban B. Bautista for accused-appellant. they report the matter to the police. Sometime the following day, Jessie saw Rosario and he asked
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: her whether the object was already removed from her body and Rosario said "Yes". However,
The appellant challenges his conviction of the crime involving a young girl of about 12 years old who had Jessie Ramirez claimed that on the evening of that same date, he saw Rosario and she was
been allegedly raped and who later died because of a foreign object left inside her vaginal canal. complaining of pain in her vagina and when Egan asked her, she said that the foreign object was
Heinrich Stefan Ritter was charged with the crime of rape with homicide under an information which reads: not yet removed. Then there was another occasion wherein Jessie was summoned and when he
That on or about the tenth (10th day of October, 1986 in the City of Olongapo, Philippines, and came he saw Rosario writhing in pain and when he tried to talk to Rosario she scolded him with
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused with lewd design and defamatory remarks. Thereafter, he did not see Rosario anymore because he already went home to
with intent to kill one Rosario Baluyot, a woman under twelve (12) years of age, did then and there his aunt's house who resided at Barrio Barretto and resumed his studies in the primary grades.
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of said Rosario Baluyot and inserted a On May 14, 1987, Gaspar Alcantara, a defense witness, while garbage scavenging at Lot 21, near
foreign object into the vaginal canal of said Rosario Baluyot which caused her death shortly the gate of the U.S. Naval Base saw Rosario at Magsaysay Drive near the Happy Bake Shop near
thereafter, to the damage and prejudice of her relatives. (66) Lot 21, being ogled by people because Rosario's skirt was bloodied and she was unconscious and
foul smelling. Since nobody helped Rosario, he took pity on her condition and brought her to the that the fallopian tubes were congested with pus and so with the peritonieum, and the pelvic
Olongapo City General Hospital in an unconscious condition, via jeepney. He went to the cavity, and patches of pus in the liver, although the gallbladder and kidney appeared to have
Information desk and he was the one who gave the personal circumstances of Rosario as to her septicemia, poisoning of the blood. The peritonitis and septicemia were traced to have been
name, age, her residence as Nagbakulaw, Lower Kalaklan, and Gaspar Alcantara signed as caused through infection by the foreign object which has been lodged in the intra-vaginal canal of
"guardian" of Rosario, while Rosario was already in the emergency room. Although Gaspar Rosario. The foreign object which was already agreed upon by both parties that it is a portion of a
Alcantara denied that he did not know the name of Rosario Baluyot when he brought her to the sexual vibrator was extracted from the vagina of Rosario while under anesthesia. Said object was
hospital, this is belied by the testimony of the Information clerk Lorna Limos, who was then on coated with tissues, pus and blood. Dr. Rosete gave it to the assisting surgical nurse for
duty. Limos testified that it was Alcantara who supplied the personal circumstances of Rosario. The safekeeping and gave instructions to release it to the authorized person. This object was shown by
Court gives more credence to the testimony of Miss Limos as against Gaspar Alcantara who the nurse to Dr. Leo Cruz. Dr. Rosete considered the operation successful and the patient was alive
became a defense witness, for the reason that through his own testimony, Gaspar Alcantara when he left her under Dr. Cruz. Dr. Cruz stayed with said patient in the ward for about 30 minutes
claimed that even prior to May 14, 1987, he had already known Rosario Baluyot for more than one and thereafter he left. The following day, Rosario got serious and it was Dr. Leo Cruz who
(1) year, because he has seen the said girl go to the house of his twin brother, Melchor Alcantara, pronounced her death at 2:00 to 2:15 in the afternoon of May 20, 1987.
who is his immediate neighbor. Rosario used to visit a girl by the name of "Nora" who was then in Thereafter, a death certificate was prepared under the direction of Dr. Cruz which was indicated
the custody of his brother. His brother Melchor was also living with their mother, brother and therein that the cause of death was cardio-respiratory arrest, secondary to septicemia caused by
sister-in-law and their two (2) children in his house. Rosario as per Gaspar's testimony even stays the foreign object lodged in the intra uteral vaginal canal of Rosario Baluyot.
for one week or a few days at his brother's house when she visits Nora. So the Court can safely The foreign object was washed by nurse Obedina, then placed it in a transparent small jar and
assume that of all the more than one (1) year that he had regularly seen Rosario at his brother's labelled "Rosario Baluyot". Jessica Herrera asked the nurse for the foreign object, and it was given
house, he must have already did come to know the name of Rosario Baluyot including her age. In to her under proper receipt. Herrera then showed the same to the persons who helped financially
his testimony in Court he stated that he even asked Rosario for movie and softdrinks money which Rosario's case, and afterwards she gave it to Sister Eva Palencia. Sis. Palencia was in custody of the
can safely be concluded that he knows her very well. It is against normal behavior especially to a said object until Mr. Salonga came and asked her for the object.
Filipino who have a characteristic of curiosity not to have found out the real name of the girl he After Rosario Baluyot died, Sis. Palencia and a companion went to Gaspar Alcantara to ask him in
claims to know only as "Tomboy". locating the relatives of Rosario. They were able to trace Rosario's grandmother, Mrs. Maria Burgos
While Rosario Baluyot was confined at the Olongapo City General Hospital, nobody was attending Turla, and informed her that her granddaughter was already dead and lying in state at St. Martin
to her since she is a street child, having stowed away from the custody of her grandmother. Three Funeral Parlor. Mrs. Turla went there with her son, who shouldered all the burial expenses for
(3) good samaritans who belong to religious and civic organizations, in the persons of Jessica Rosario.
Herrera, Fe Israel and Sr. Eva Palencia, in one of their missions in the hospital chanced upon Subsequently, Sis. Palencia, Fr. Cullens and Mr. Salonga came to her residence at Sta. Rita and
Rosario Baluyot who was all alone with no relatives attending to her and after finding out that she asked her if she was interested in filing a case against the person who caused the death of her
was only 12 years old decided to help her. After a short interview with Rosario, regarding her granddaughter. Of course she agreed. Hence, she was brought to the Fiscal's (City) Office to file
name and age only because she clamped up about her residence and her relatives, they decided the same.
to help her by providing her the medicine she needed during her confinement in readiness for an After the case was filed against the herein accused, Atty. Edmundo Legaspi with his messenger
operation. It was Fe Israel who was able to get the name and age of Rosario Baluyot from Rosario came to her house and told her that the accused was willing to settle the case, but that accused
Baluyot herself when she saw her for the first time. For Fe Israel, the age of Rosario Baluyot was an Ritter had only P15,000.00. The old woman did not accept it because she knows that the accused
important factor because their program assisted only indigent patients from infants up to 13 years is liable to pay damages anyway. After that, she received a letter from Atty. Legaspi telling her to
old. get a lawyer for her case. By this time, Mrs. Turla, who wanted to have the case settled once and
Rosario's first ailment at the Olongapo City General Hospital was loose bowel movement and for all giving the reason that she can no longer bear the situation, sent her nephew, Conrado
vomiting, which was first suspected as gastro-enteritis, but which came out later as symptoms of Marcelo to Atty. Legaspi. Her nephew obliged and told her that she will be paid at the office of
peritonitis due to a massive infection in the abdominal cavity. Subsequently, on May 17, 1987, Atty. Legaspi. On a date not clear in the records, she went with her nephew Conrado Marcelo, and
after she was examined by the physicians at the hospital, it was found out that there was a foreign Roberto Sundiam, an assistant barangay tanod of Sta. Rita, and while they were there, she saw
object lodged in her vaginal canal and she had vaginal discharge tinged with blood and foul Ritter arrive at the law office. Ritter and Atty. Legaspi talked at the office near the bathroom, and
smelling odor emanating from her body. One of the doctors who attended to her was Dr. Barcinal, thereafter Ritter left. After he left, Atty. Legaspi told Rosario's grandmother that they are willing to
an OB-GYNE. Dr. Barcinal tried to extract the foreign object by means of a forceps, but several settle for P20,000.00, but that Ritter left only P15,000.00, so she received the money with the
attempts proved futile because said object was deeply embedded in the vaginal canal and was understanding that there was a balance of P5,000.00 yet. She was made to sign a statement, and
covered by tissues. Her abdomen was enlarged, tender and distended, symptoms of peritonitis. she was asked to change the age of her granddaughter Rosario. With the document prepared, she
The patient was feverish and incoherent when she was scheduled for operation on May 19, 1987, and the lawyer's messenger went to the Fiscal's office to have it subscribed, and was subscribed
after the first attempt for an operation on May 17 was aborted allegedly because the consent of before an assistant city fiscal. But the balance of P5,000.00 was not paid, because later on Atty.
Dr. Reino Rosete, the hospital director was not obtained. The surgeon who operated on her was Legaspi became the OIC of Olongapo City and he could no longer attend to it. Atty. Legaspi,
Dr. Rosete himself. He testified that Rosario had to be operated even in that condition in order to during one of the hearings before the Court even apologized to her.
save her life. Her condition was guarded. This was corroborated by Dr. Leo Cruz, the As to the case, P/Cpl. Marino Victoria, as criminal investigator of Station "A", was directed by Col.
anesthesiologist during Rosario's operation. It was in the evening of May 19 at about 7:00 p.m. Daos, Station Commander of the Olongapo Police Department to make a follow up of the case of
when Dr. Rosete opened her abdomen by making a 5 inch incision on her stomach. He found out Rosario Baluyot. On the other hand, since the suspect who inserted the foreign object inside
Rosario's vagina was said to be an American, the NISRA Subic Naval Base also conducted its Baluyot) own admission, he only learned about the death of his daughter Rosario Baluyot from the
investigation headed by criminal investigator Agent Conrado Salonga. Coordinating with the local newspaper, long after Rosario was already gone.
police and with Sister Eva Palencia, since Rosario was a street child at Magsaysay Drive, they The defense tried to dislodge the case by claiming that there could be no crime of Rape with
rounded up about 43 street children and from some of them they learned that Rosario Baluyot Homicide because the suspect was described as an American while Ritter is an Austrian. Also
was with Jessie Ramirez with an American at the MGM Hotel when the foreign object was inserted advanced by the defense is that, it is a case of mistaken identity. That Rosario Baluyot was at the
in her vagina. After finding Jessie Ramirez, they asked him about Rosario Baluyot. They found out time of the commission of the offense, already more than 13 years old, she having been born on
that indeed he was with Rosario Baluyot sometime before Christmas of 1986 with an American, December 26, 1973 as per baptismal certificate, wherein it appears that Rosario Baluyot was
who brought them to the said hotel. Jessie Ramirez was taken inside the U.S. Naval Base, baptized on December 25, 1974 and was born on December 26, 1973 as testified to by Fr. Roque
Olongapo City and took his statement. Then he was brought to Mr. Edward Lee Bungarner, a Villanueva of St. James Parish Church who issued the Baptismal Certificate, having custody and
cartographer, and out of the description supplied by Ramirez, a composite drawing was possession of the book of baptism for the year 1975, but admitted that he had no personal
photocopied and copies thereof were distributed to the local police and to the sentries at the gate knowledge about the matters or entries entered therein. Likewise, the defense's stand is that the
of the U.S. Naval Base. Some American servicemen who had resemblance to the composite accused cannot be liable for Homicide because a vibrator is not a weapon of death but it is a thing
drawing were photographed and these were shown to Jessie Ramirez, but the result was negative. for the purpose of giving sexual pleasure, and that the death of Rosario Baluyot was due to the
Aside from the physical description by Ramirez about the appearance of the suspect, he also incompetence of Dr. Rosete, the surgeon and Director of the Olongapo City General Hospital, who
described him as having the mannerisms of a homo-sexual. operated on her. (Rollo, pp. 109-116)
After obtaining information that foreign homo-sexuals frequented Ermita, Manila, and thinking On March 29, 1989, the trial court rendered its decision. The dispositive portion of the decision reads as
that the so-called American may be European or Australian national, the team composed of Agent follows:
Salonga, Mr. Heinsell, P/Cpl. Marino Victoria and P/Cpl. Andres Montaon, Jessie Ramirez and WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Court holds, that the prosecution has
Michael Johnson, another juvenile, proceeded to Manila. They first went to the Manila NISRA established the GUILT of the accused beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of Rape with
Office, and thereafter checked in a hotel. That was on September 23, 1987. On the first night, they Homicide as defined and penalized in Art. 335 No. 3 of the Revised Penal Code, and hereby
went to Luneta Park where foreign homo-sexuals were said to be frequenting, but the result was sentences HEINRICH STEFAN RITTER to a penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA, to indemnify the heirs
negative. Then on September 25, at about 11:00 p.m., while they were standing at the corner of A. of the deceased in the sum of SIXTY THOUSAND PESOS (P60,000.00) Philippine Currency, and TEN
Mabini and M.H. del Pilar Street, a male caucasian who looked like a homo-sexual stopped by THOUSAND PESOS (Pl0,000.00) by way of attorney's fees to the private prosecutors and to pay the
admiringly infront of the two (2) juveniles, Ramirez and Johnson. Jessie Ramirez then reported to costs. (Rollo, p. 126)
Mr. Salonga that this foreigner had a similarity with the American suspect, so the two minors were The accused now comes to this Court on the following assigned errors allegedly committed by the court:
instructed to follow the foreigner and to strike a conversation. They did, and when they returned, I
Jessie Ramirez told them that indeed the said foreigner was the one who brought him and Rosario THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED AND ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN FINDING THAT THE
Baluyot to the MGM Hotel. Bobby Salonga told Ramirez that this foreigner had no beard while the ALLEGED OFFENSE WAS COMMITTED ON OCTOBER 10, 1986 AND THAT IT WAS ACCUSED-
one previously described by Ramirez had a beard. Jessie Ramirez told them that maybe he have APPELLANT WHO COMMITTED IT.
just shaved it off. The said caucasian then entered a bar, and after several minutes he came out, II
and Jessie Ramirez upon his signal with his thumbs up, as a signal to confirm that the said THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED AND ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN FINDING THAT ROSARIO
foreigner is the suspect, arrested Ritter and brought him to the Manila Western Police District. It BALUYOT WAS LESS THAN TWELVE (12) YEARS OLD WHEN THE ALLEGED OFFENSE WAS
could be mentioned at this stage that in this operation they were accompanied by two (2) COMMITTED AND IN HOLDING THAT THERE WAS RAPE WITH HOMICIDE.
policemen from the Western Police District. The foreigner was hand cuffed and was told that he III
was a suspect for Rape with Homicide. After the arrest, they first went to the pension house of the THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED AND ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN GIVING CREDENCE TO AND
suspect in Ermita, Manila to get his shoulder bag which contained his personal belongings, and NOT REJECTING THE PROSECUTION'S EVIDENCE AND IN NOT UPHOLDING THAT OF THE
from there they brought him to the Western Police Department. At the said police headquarters, DEFENSE AND ACQUITTING THE ACCUSED.
they were allowed a permissive search by the foreigner of his clutch bag and his small shoulder Inasmuch as it is the bounden duty of this Court to affirm a judgment of conviction only if the guilt of the
bag and confiscated his passport, I.D., 3 inhalers, money in the form of dollars and travellers accused has been proved beyond reasonable doubt, it behooves us to exert the most painstaking effort to
checks amounting about $1,500.00 and about P100.00, all duly receipted for. From the passport examine the records in the light of the arguments of both parties if only to satisfy judicial conscience that
they learned that the suspect's name was Heinrich Stefan Ritter, an Austrian national. During the the appellant indeed committed the criminal act (See People v. Villapaña, 161 SCRA 73 [1988]).
questioning of Hitter, Salonga and his team already left the headquarters and went to their hotel, The appellant was convicted by the trial court of the crime of rape with homicide of a young girl who died
because at this time Jessie Ramirez was already shaking with fear after he identified the accused. after the rape because of a foreign object, believed to be a sexual vibrator, left inside her vagina.
The following day, they brought the accused to Olongapo and was detained at the Olongapo City As stated by the trial court one crucial issue in this case is the age of the victim—whether or not Rosario
Jail. The case for Rape with Homicide was filed against him at the City Fiscal of Olongapo. At the Baluyot was less than twelve (12) years old at the time the alleged incident happened on October 10, 1986.
preliminary investigation, accused was assisted by his own counsel. The private complainant was The age is important in determining whether or not there was statutory rape, Article 335 of the Revised
Maria Burgos Turla because it was she who had custody of Rosario Baluyot after her mother Anita Penal Code defines the third type of rape as having carnal knowledge of a woman under 12 years of age, in
Burgos died on January 12, 1982, and their father Policarpio Baluyot had left them under her which case force, intimidation, deprivation of reason or unconscious state do not have to be present.
custody. When this case was filed, the father's whereabouts was unknown, and he only appeared The trial court found that Rosario was below 12 years old when she was sexually abused by the accused
when the trial of this case before the Court was already in progress. And upon his (Policarpio and, therefore, rape was committed inspite of the absence of force or intimidation.
In resolving the issue, the trial court put great weight on the testimonies of the victim's grandmother and It is however, equally true that human memory on dates or days is frail and unless the day is an
father who testified that she was born on December 22, 1975. These oral declarations were admitted extraordinary or unusual one for the witness, there is no reasonable assurance of its correctness. (People v.
pursuant to then Rule 130, Section 33 of the Rules of Court where, in the absence of a birth certificate, the Dasig 93 Phil. 618, 632 [1953])
act or declaration about pedigree may be received in evidence on any notable fact in the life of a member With respect to the grandmother's testimony, the date of the brother's death or funeral was never
of the family. Since birth is a matter of pedigree within the rule which permits the admission of hearsay established, which indicates that the day was rather insignificant to be remembered. The father's
evidence, oral declarations are therefore admissible as proof of birth (Decision, p. 54). declaration is likewise not entirely reliable. His testimony in court does not at all show that he had direct
The grandmother, Maria Burgos Turla, testified that she remembered Rosario's birth date because her knowledge of his daughter's birth. He was certain though that she was more than one (1) year old at the
brother died in Pampanga and her daughter, Anita (Rosario's mother) was the only one who failed to time she was baptized.
attend the funeral because the latter has just given birth allegedly to Rosario (T.S.N. p. 8, Jan. 13, 1988). The other witnesses are not at all competent to testify on the victim's age, nor was there any basis shown to
The father likewise testified that as far as he could remember, Rosario was born on December 22, 1975 establish their competence for the purpose. The clinical records were based on Gaspar Alcantara's
(T.S.N., p. 4, Jan. 27, 1988) and he was certain that Rosario was more than one (1) year old when she was incompetent information given when he brought the victim to the hospital. Alcantara came to know her
baptized (T.S.N., p. 45, Jan. 27, 1988). only about a year before her death. He had absolutely no knowledge about the circumstances of Rosario's
The trial court further added that their testimony is supported by the clinical record and the death birth. The death certificate relied upon by the trial court was merely based on the clinical records. It is even
certificate indicating that she was 12 years old when she was admitted at the Olongapo City General less reliable as a record of birth.
Hospital for treatment. The age was supplied by Rosario's alleged guardian, Gaspar Alcantara to the All the evidence presented by the prosecution showing that Rosario Baluyot was less than 12 years old at
hospital's clinical record clerk, Lorna Limos. Fe Israel, a social worker who interviewed Rosario Baluyot also the time of the alleged incident are not adequate to establish the exact date of birth, much less offset a
testified that she was told by Rosario that she was 12 years old. The trial court accepted this as adequate documentary record showing a different date.
evidence of the truth. Moreover, Jessie Ramirez, the principal witness in this case declared that he was born The defense presented Rosario Baluyot's baptismal certificate which the trial court rejected as being
on September 5, 1973 and that he was older than Rosario Baluyot. Therefore, since he was 13 years old in hearsay and of no value. As against the oral declarations made by interested witnesses establishing
1986, Rosario must have been less than 12 yeas old in 1986. (Decision, p. 55) Rosario's age to be less than 12 years old, the evidence on record is more convincing and worthy of belief.
The trial court concluded that the oral declarations of the grandmother and father supported by other (See Filinvest Land, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 183 SCRA 664, 673 [1990]).
independent evidence such as the clinical record, death certificate and the testimonies of Fe Israel and By virtue of a subpoena duces tecum and ad testificandum, issued by the lower court to the St. James
Jessie Ramirez, rendered the baptismal certificate presented by the defense without any probative or Parish Church, Subic, Zambales, Fr. Roque Villanueva a Roman Catholic priest testified and stated that he is
evidentiary value. (Decision, p. 55) the head of said parish. He brought with him Baptismal Register No. 9 entitled "Liber Baptisnorum", a latin
The findings of the trial court with respect to Rosario Baluyot's age cannot stand the application of term for baptismal book or record. On page 151, No. 3 of the said Registry Book, there appears the name of
evidentiary rules. Rosario Baluyot who was baptized on December 25, 1974, and born on December 26, 1973. Parents are
The trial court relied on Section 33, Rule 130 (now Section 40 of Rule 130 of the 1989 Revised Rules of Policarpio Baluyot and Anita Burgos, residents of Subic, Zambales. Edita R. Milan appears as the only
Court). sponsor with Olongapo City as her address.
For oral evidence to be admissible under this Rule, the requisites are: In the case of Macadangdang v. Court of appeals (100 SCRA 73 [1980]), we held that:
(1) That the declarant must be dead or outside of the Philippines or unable to testify; xxx xxx xxx
(2) That pedigree is in issue; In our jurisprudence, this Court has been more definite in its pronouncements on the value of
(3) That the person whose pedigree is in question must be related to the declarant by birth or baptismal certificates. It thus ruled that while baptismal and marriage certificates may be
marriage; considered public documents, they are evidence only to prove the administration of the
(4) That the declaration must be made before the controversy occurred or ante litem motam; and sacraments on the dates therein specified—but not the veracity of the status or declarations made
(5) That the relationship between the declarant and the person whose pedigree is in question therein with respect to his kinsfolk and/or citizenship (Paa v. Chan, L-25945, Oct. 31, 1967). Again,
must as a general rule be shown by evidence other than such act or declaration. in the case of Fortus v. Novero (L-22378, 23 SCRA 1331 [1968]), this Court held that a baptismal
These requirements were not satisfied by the evidence for the prosecution nor do the declarations fall certificate is conclusive proof only of the baptism administered, in conformity with the rites of the
within the purview of the rule. Catholic Church by the priest who baptized the child, but it does not prove the veracity of the
The victim's grandmother and father whose declarations regarding Rosario's age were admitted by the trial declarations and statements contained in the certificate that concern the relationship of the
court are both alive, in the Philippines and able to testify as they both did testify in court. Their declarations person baptized. Such declarations and statements, in order that their truth may be admitted,
were made at the trial which is certainly not before the controversy arose. The other witnesses who testified must indispensably be shown by proof recognized by law. (At pp. 84-85)
on Rosario's age are not members of the victim's family. The testimonies of Rosario's relatives must be In the same light, the entries made in the Registry Book may be considered as entries made in the course of
weighed according to their own personal knowledge of what happened and not as hearsay evidence on business under Section 43 of Rule 130, which is an exception to the hearsay rule. The baptisms
matters of family history. administered by the church are one of its transactions in the exercise of ecclesiastical duties and recorded
At this point, we find the evidence regarding Rosario's age of doubtful value. in a book of the church during the course of its business. (U.S. v. de Vera, 28 Phil. 105 [1914] Hence, the
The trial court justified the admissibility of the grandmother's testimony pursuant to the ruling laid down in certificate (Exhibit "22") presented by the defense that Rosario Baluyot was baptized on December 25, 1974
U.S. v. Bergantino, (3 Phil., 118 [1903]) where the Court accepted the testimony of the mother that her may be admitted in evidence as proof of baptism. Policarpio Baluyot, the victim's father testified that he
daughter was 14 years old and 4 months old. The mother stated that she knew the age because the child had in his possession a baptismal certificate different from the one presented in court. However, no other
was born about the time of the cholera epidemic of 1889. This was not hearsay, but came from one who baptismal record was ever presented to prove a date different from that brought by the official custodian.
had direct knowledge of the child's birth. Since the baptismal certificate states that Rosario was baptized on December 25, 1974, it is therefore highly
improbable that Rosario could have been born on December 22, 1975. She could not have been baptized T Ipinakikita ko sa iyo ang isang larawan. Tignan mong mabuti ang larawang ito at sabihin mo nga
before she was born. Exhibit "22" may be proof only of baptism but it puts a lie to the declaration that sa akin kung makikilala mo ang mga bagay na nasa larawang ito, na may kinalaman sa nakita
Rosario was born in 1975. With the father's assertion that Rosario was more than one (1) year old when she mong kinuha ng Amerikano sa kanyang bag?
was baptized, we are then more inclined to agree that Rosario was born in 1973 as stated in the Baptismal S Napansin ko na ang kulay asul na bagay sa larawan ay katulad na katulad noong takip ng bagay
Registry. na inilabas ng Amerikano sa kanyang bag. Kaya lang ay bakit naging kulay asul gayong ng makita
In the case of People v. Rebancos (172 SCRA 425 [1989]), the Court stated: ko ito ay kulay puti? (Exhibit "A", p. 2; Emphasis Supplied)
xxx xxx xxx Presumably, what Jessie Ramirez saw was merely the Vicks inhaler which the appellant does not deny
. . . Although no birth certificate was presented because her birth had allegedly not been having possessed at that time. He was certain that the object was white. (T.S.N. p. 91, January 6, 1988)
registered, her baptismal certificate, coupled by her mother's testimony, was sufficient to establish Later, Ramirez retracted and corrected himself. He said that it was grayish in color with color blue (Medyo
that Mary Rose was below twelve years old when she was violated by Rebancos. (At. p. 426) kulay abo na may kulay na parang blue). (T.S.N. p. 92, January 6, 1988) The inconsistency of the witness'
Unfortunately, in the instant case, nobody could corroborate the date on a more reliable document as to testimony casts doubt as to the veracity of the statements made especially when he answered on additional
Rosario's birth which could serve as sufficient proof that she was born on December 26, 1973. Therefore, cross-examination that the reason why he concluded that Exhibit "C-2" was the same object being held by
she was more than 12 years old at the time of the alleged incident on October 10, 1986. Ritter was because it was the only one shown to him by the prosecution (T.S.N. pp. 109-110, January 6,
Moreover, it is not incumbent upon the defense to prove Rosario's age. The burden of proof lies on the 1988). Jessie Ramirez was not all certain about the sexual vibrator because he did not actually see it in the
prosecution to prove that Rosario was less than 12 years old at the time of the alleged incident in a charge possession of the appellant.
of statutory rape. The prosecution failed in this respect. What he merely remembers is the revelation made by Rosario the next morning that the foreigner inserted
Since Rosario was not established to have been under 12 years of age at the time of the alleged sexual something inside her vagina. The trial court admitted such statement as part of the res gestae. In a strained
violation, it was necessary to prove that the usual elements of rape were present; i.e. that there was force of effort to accept such statement as part of res gestae, the trial court focused the test of admissibility on the
intimidation or that she was deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious in accordance with Article 335 of lapse of time between the event and the utterance. For the average 13 years old, the insertion of a
the Revised Penal Code. mechanical device or anything for that matter into the vagina of a young girl is undoubtedly startling. For
We agree with the defense that there was no proof of such facts. On the contrary, the evidence shows that Rosario and Jessie, however, there must be more evidence to show that the statement, given after a night's
Rosario submitted herself to the sexual advances of the appellant. In fact, she appears to have consented to sleep had intervened, was given instinctively because the event was so startling Res gestae does not apply.
the act as she was paid P300.00 the next morning while her companion, Jessie Ramirez was paid P200.00 (Section 42, Rule 130, Rules of Court)
(T.S.N. p. 50, January 6, 1988). The environmental circumstances coupled with the testimonies and evidence Even if it were established that the appellant did insert something inside Rosario's vagina, the evidence is
presented in court clearly give the impression that Rosario Baluyot, a poor street child, was a prostitute still not adequate to impute the death of Rosario to the appellant's alleged act.
inspite of her tender age. Circumstances in life may have forced her to submit to sex at such a young age Jessie Ramirez testified that Rosario was able to remove the object inserted in her vagina. We quote:
but the circumstances do not come under the purview of force or intimidation needed to convict for rape. Q Now, you also stated on direct examination that later on Rosario even categorically admitted to
In view of these clear facts which the prosecution failed to refute, no rape was committed. But was Ritter you that she was already able to remove the object allegedly inserted inside her vagina, is that
guilty of homicide? correct?
The trial court justified its ruling by saying that the death of the victim was a consequence of the insertion A Yes, sir.
of the foreign object into the victim's vagina by the appellant. xxx xxx xxx
We now ask "Was the appellant responsible for the sexual vibrator left inside Rosario's vagina which led to ATTY. CARAAN:
her death? Q Will you kindly tell to this Honorable Court the exact words used by Rosario Baluyot later on
The trial court convicted the accused based on circumstantial evidence. Unfortunately, the circumstances when you met her when you asked her and when she told you that she was already able to
are capable of varying interpretations and are not enough to justify conviction. remove that object from her vagina?
Jessie Ramirez, the principal witness did not actually see the object inserted in Rosario's vagina. Neither A "Oy, Jessie, natanggal na, "she told me that. I asked her, "Was it already removed?" And she
could he identify the object (Exhibit "C-2") taken from Rosario as the same object which the appellant was answered, "Yes, it was removed." But the same night, she again complained of pain of her
holding at that time of the alleged incident. stomach. She sent one of her friends to call for me. And as a matter of fact, Tomboy was uttering
In his sworn statement given to the police investigator on September 4, 1987, he answered that: defamatory words against me as she was groaning in pain. (TSN, Jan. 6,1988, pp. 72-73)
xxx xxx xxx This encounter happened on the night of the day following the day after both children were invited by the
T Habang kayo ay nasa loob ng kuwarto ng otel, mayroon ka bang napansin na inilabas ng kano foreigner to the hotel. (T.S.N. p. 73, January 6, 1988). Rosario was said to be groaning in pain so we can just
sa kanyang daladalahan kung mayroon man? imagine the distress she was undergoing at this point in time. If the device inserted by the appellant caused
S Ang Amerikano ay may dala-dalang shoulder bag na kulay itim, at napansin ko na may inilabas the pain, it is highly inconceivable how she was able to endure the pain and discomfort until May, 1987,
siya sa kanyang bag na parang vicks inhaler, na kanyang inamoy-amoy habang nasa otel kami at seven (7) months after the alleged incident. Evidence must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible
pagkatapos niya ay inilapag niya sa lamiseta. witness but it must be credible in itself such as the common experience and observation of mankind can
T Ilarawan mo nga sa akin ang bagay na nakita mong inilabas ng Amerikano? approve as probable under the circumstances. (People vs. Patog, 144 SCRA 429 [1986]).
S Ito ay may habang tatlong pulgada at ang takip nito ay may habang dalawang pulgada. Iyong At this juncture, we find Dr. Pedro Solis' testimony rather significant. Dr. Pedro Solis, a witness for the
takip ay bilog na patulis at may tabang mga kalahating pulgada. Hindi ko napansin ang hugis ng defense is considered an expert witness. (A Doctor of Medicine and a graduate of the State University in
dulo ng bagay na may takip dahil natatakpan ng kamay at ilong ng Amerikano. 1940, a degree of Bachelor of Laws and member of the Bar 1949, and a graduate of the Institute of
Criminology University. He was awarded Post Graduate Diploma in Criminology in 1963, and also a
graduate of United Nations Asia and Far East Asia Institute on the Prevention of Crimes in Tokyo Japan A As I said, in my personal experience, hair pins, cottonballs and even this lipstick of women
1965. He was appointed Medico Legal Officer of the National Bureau of Investigation in 1940 until 1944. He usually, there are only about two (2) weeks time that the patient suffer some abnormal symptoms .
became Chief Medico Legal Officer in 1970 and became the Deputy Director of the NBI up to 1984. He is at Q Now, considering that this is a bigger object to the object that you mentioned, this object has a
present a Professorial Lecturer on Legal Medicine at the UP, FEU, UE, and Fatima College of Medicine; a shorter time?
Medico Legal Consultant of the PGH Medical Center, Makati Medical Center, UERM Medical Center, MCU A Yes, Sir shorter time. (TSN., Oct. 19. 1988, p. 20)
Medical Center. He has been with the NBI for 43 years. He has attended no less than 13 conferences The trial court, however, ruled that "there is no hard and fast rule as to the time frame wherein infection
abroad. He is the author of the textbooks entitled "Legal Medicine" and "Medical Jurisprudence".) With his sets in upon insertion of a foreign body in the vagina canal. For Dr. Solis, the time frame is not more than
impressive legal and medical background, his testimony is too authoritative to ignore. We quote the 10 months, and this case is still within the said time frame."
pertinent portions of his testimony: A more generous time interval may be allowed in non-criminal cases. But where an accused is facing a
Q Now Dr. Solis, would you kindly go over this object marked as Exh. "C-2" which object was penalty of reclusion perpetua, the evidence against him cannot be based on probabilities which are less
described as a part of a sexual vibrator battery operated. Now, given this kind of object, would you likely than those probabilities which favor him.
kindly tell us what would be the probable effect upon a 12 years old girl when it is inserted into It should be clarified that the time frame depends upon the kind of foreign body lodged inside the body.
her vagina? An examination of the object gave the following results:
A Well, this vibrator must be considered a foreign body placed into a human being and as such be (1) Color: Blue
considered a foreign object. As a foreign object, the tendency of the body may be: No. 1—expel Size: (a) Circumference—3.031
the foreign body—No. 2.—The tendency of the body is to react to that foreign body. One of the inches (b) Length—approximately
reactions that maybe manifested by the person wherein such foreign body is concerned is to cover 2.179 inches.
the foreign body with human tissue, in a way to avoid its further injury to the body. Composition: Showed the general
Now, the second reaction is irritation thereby producing certain manifest symptoms and changes characteristics of a styrene-butadiene plastic.
in the area where the foreign body is located. (2) The specimen can be electrically operated by means of a battery as per certification dated 01
In severe cases, the symptoms manifestation might not only be localized but may be felt all over June 1988, signed by Mr. Rodolfo D. Mercuric, Shipboard Electrical Systems Mechanics, Foreman II,
the body, we call it systemic reaction. Now, considering the fact that this foreign body as shown to SRF Shop 51, Subic (see attached certification).
me is already not complete, this shows exposure of its different parts for the body to react. If there (3) No comparative examination was made on specimen #1 and vibrator depicted in the catalog
is mechanism to cause the foreign body to vibrate, there must be some sort of power from within because no actual physical dimensions and/or mechanical characteristics were shown in the
and that power must be a dry cell battery. [The] composition of the battery are, manganese catalog. (Exhibit "LL")
dioxide ammonium, salts, water and any substance that will cause current flow. All of these The vibrator end was further subjected to a macro-photographic examination on the open end portion
substances are irritants including areas of the container and as such, the primary reaction of the which revealed the following:
body is to cause irritation on the tissues, thereby inflammatory changes develop and in all Result of Examination
likelihood, aside from those inflammatory changes would be a supervening infection in a way that Macro-photographic examination on the open end portion of specimen #1 shows the following
the whole generative organ of the woman will suffer from diseased process causing her the inscription:
systemic reaction like fever, swelling of the area, and other systemic symptoms. . . . . (TSN., pp. 13- MABUCHI MOTOR JAPAN RE 14 PAT (Exhibit "MM")
15, October 19,1988) From the above results, the subject object is certainly not considered as inert and based on Dr. Solis'
xxx xxx xxx testimony, it is more likely that infection should set in much earlier. Considering also that the object was
Q Now, given this object, how long would it take, Doctor before any reaction such as an infection inserted inside the vagina which is part of the generative organ of a woman, an organ which is lined with a
would set in, how many days after the insertion of this object in the vagina of a 12 year old girl? very thin layer of membrane with plenty of blood supply, this part of the body is more susceptible to
A In the example given to me, considering that one of the ends is exposed, in a way that vaginal infection. (T.S.N. p. 34, October 19, 1988)
secretion has more chance to get in, well, liberation of this irritant chemicals would be enhanced The truth of Dr. Solis' testimony is more probable under the circumstances of the case. We see no reason
and therefore in a shorter period of time, there being this vaginal reaction. why his opinions qualified by training and experience should not be controlling and binding upon the
Q How many days or weeks would you say would that follow after the insertion? Court in the determination of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. (People v. Tolentino, 166 SCRA 469 [1988]).
A As I said, with my experience at the NBI, insertion of any foreign body in the vaginal canal Dr. Barcinal, another witness for the defense also testified that he examined Rosario Baluyot on May 17,
usually developed within, a period of two (2) weeks . . . 1986 as a referral patient from the Department of Surgery to give an OB-GYN clearance to the patient prior
xxx xxx xxx to operation. (T.S.N. p. 6, September 28, 1988)
Q . . . [T]he subject in this case was allegedly raped, and a sexual vibrator was inserted in her Q And how many times did you examine this patient Rosario Baluyot on that day?
vagina on October 10, 1986 and she was operated on, on May 19, 1987 the following year, so it A I examined her twice on that day.
took more than 7 months before this was extracted, would you say that it will take that long Q The first time that you examined her, what is the result of your findings, if any?
before any adverse infection could set in inside the vagina? A My first examination, I examined the patient inside the delivery room. The patient was brought
A Infection and inflamatory changes will develop in a shorter time. (TSN., Oct. 19,1988, p. 18) to the delivery room wheel-chaired then from the wheel chair, the patient was ambigatory (sic).
xxx xxx xxx She was able to walk from the door to the examining table. On examination, the patient is
Q When you said shorter, how long would that be, Doctor? conscious, she was fairly nourished, fairly developed, she had fever, she was uncooperative at that
time and examination deals more on the abdomen which shows slightly distended abdomen with
muscle guarding with tenderness all over, with maximum tenderness over the hypogastric area. From the above testimonies, it is clear that Rosario was still conscious and could still answer questions
(T.S.N. p. 5, September 28, 1988) asked of her although she was complaining of stomach pains. Unfortunately, the medical attention given to
xxx xxx xxx her failed to halt the aggravation of her condition. The operation on May 19 was too late.
Q What about your second examination to the patient, what was your findings, if any? Rosario died because of septicemia, which in layman's language is blood poisoning, and peritonitis, which
A In my second examination, I repeated the internal examination wherein I placed my index finger is massive infection, in the abdominal cavity caused by the foreign object or the cut sexual vibrator lodged
and middle finger inside the vagina of the patient and was able to palpate a hard object. After in the vagina of the victim. This led to the infection from the uterus to the fallopian tubes and into the
which, I made a speculum examination wherein I was able to visualize the inner portion of the peritoneum and the abdominal cavity.
vaginal canal, there I saw purulent foul smelling, blood tints, discharge in the vaginal canal and a The trial court convicted the accused citing the rationale of Article 4 of the RPC
foreign body invaded on the posterior part of the vaginal canal. He who is the cause of the cause is the cause of the evil caused.
xxx xxx xxx But before the conviction is affirmed, we must first follow the rule as stated in the case of Urbano vs.
A I referred back to Dr. Fernandez about my findings and he asked me to try to remove the said Intermediate Appellate Court (157 SCRA 1 [1988]) to wit:
foreign object by the use of forceps which I tried to do so also but I failed to extract the same. The rule is that the death of the victim must be the direct, natural and logical consequence of the
Q All this time that you were examining the patient Rosario Baluyot both in the first and second wounds inflicted upon him by the accused. And since we are dealing with a criminal conviction,
instance, Rosario Baluyot was conscious and were you able to talk to her when you were the proof that the accused caused the victim's death must convince a rational mind beyond
examining her? reasonable doubt. (Emphasis supplied)
A Yes, sir. In People v. Tempongko, Jr., (144 SCRA 583, 592 [1986]), we explained that:
Q And did you ask her why there is a foreign object lodge inside her vagina? xxx xxx xxx
A Yes, Sir I asked her. The basic principle in every criminal prosecution is that accusation is not synonymous with guilt.
Q And what did she tell you, if any? The accused is presumed innocent until the contrary is proved by the prosecution. If the
A She said in her own words that "GINAMIT AKO NG NEGRO AT SIYA ANG NAGLAGAY NITO." prosecution fails, it fails utterly, even if the defense is weak or, indeed, even if there is no defense
Q Did she also tell you when, this Negro who used her and who inserted and placed the foreign at all. The defendant faces the full panoply of state authority with all "The People of the
object on her vagina? Philippines" arrayed against him. In a manner of speaking, he goes to bat with all the bases
A Yes, Sir I asked her and she said he used me three (3) months ago from the time I examined her. loaded. The odds are heavily against him. It is important, therefore, to equalize the positions of the
Q Now, you said that you referred the patient to the ward, what happened next with your patient? prosecution and the defense by presuming the innocence of the accused until the state is able to
A To my knowledge, the patient is already scheduled on operation on that date. refute the presumption by proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. (At. p. 592)
Q Meaning, May 17, 1987? The evidence for the accused maybe numerically less as against the number of witnesses and
A Yes, Sir I was presuming that the patient would undergo surgery after that? preponderance of evidence presented by the prosecution but there is no direct and convincing proof that
(TSN, Sept. 28,1988, pp. 8-9; Emphasis supplied) the accused was responsible for the vibrator left inside the victim's vagina which caused her death seven (7)
The trial court debunked Dr. Barcinals testimony considering Rosario's condition at that time. It ruled that it months after its insertion. What the prosecution managed to establish were mere circumstances which were
is inconceivable that she would be striking a normal conversation with the doctors and would be sitting on not sufficient to overcome the constitutional presumption of innocence. While circumstantial evidence may
the examination table since Gaspar Alcantara stated that when he brought Rosario Baluyot to the hospital, suffice to support a conviction it is imperative, though, that the following requisites should concur:
she was unconscious and writhing in pain. (a) There is more than one circumstance;
It was not improbable for Rosario Baluyot to still be conscious and ambulant at that time because there (b) The facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and
were several instances testified to by different witnesses that she was still able to talk prior to her operation: (c) The combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable
(1) Fe Israel, a witness for the prosecution and a member of the Olongapo Catholic Charismatic Renewal doubt. (Rule 133, Sec. 4 Revised Rules of Court)
Movement testified that as a member of this group she visits indigent children in the hospital every For the well-entrenched rule in evidence is that "before conviction can be had upon circumstantial
Saturday and after office hours on working days. evidence, the circumstances proved should constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and
On the Saturday prior to Rosario's death which was May 17, she was still able to talk to Rosario Baluyot. In reasonable conclusion pointing to the defendant, to the exclusion of all others, as the author of the crime
fact, one of her groupmates helped Rosario go to the comfort room to urinate. (T.S.N., pp. 16-19, May 25, (People v. Subano, 73 Phil. 692 [1942]; Emphasis supplied). It must fairly exclude every reasonable
1988) hypothesis of innocence (Dorado v. Court of Appeals, 153 SCRA 420, 433 [1987]). In this case the
(2) Angelita Amulong, a witness for the defense is another para social worker who worked at Pope John circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution does not conclusively point to the liability of the
23rd Community Center under Sister Eva Palencia. In one of her hospital visits, she encountered Rosario appellant for the crime charged. (People v. Tolentino, supra)
Baluyot in the month of May, 1987. She actually saw a child who happened to be Rosario Baluyot seated on We are aware of the wide publicity given to the plight of Rosario Baluyot and how her death exemplified
the cement floor and when she asked why she was seated there, she was told that it was too hot in the bed. starkly the daily terrors that most street children encounter as they sell their bodies in order to survive. At
She saw Rosario Baluyot for about 2 or 3 days successively. (T.S.N. pp. 10-13, September 7, 1988) an age when innocence and youthful joys should preponderate in their lives, they experience life in its most
(3) Gaspar Alcantara, the person who brought Rosario to the hospital actually testified that she was heartless and inhuman form. Instead of nothing more than gentle disappointments occupying their young
conscious (T.S.N. p. 36, September 14, 1988) but writhing in pain. He took pity on her so he brought her to minds, they daily cope with tragedies that even adults should never be made to carry.
the hospital (T.S.N. p. 12, September 14, 1988) It is with distressing reluctance that we have to seemingly set back the efforts of Government to dramatize
the death of Rosario Baluyot as a means of galvanizing the nation to care for its street children. It would
have meant a lot to social workers and prosecutors alike if one pedophile-killer could be brought to justice
so that his example would arouse public concern, sufficient for the formulation and implementation of . . . [F]rom the earliest years of this Court, it has emphasized the rule that reasonable doubt in
meaningful remedies. However, we cannot convict on anything less than proof beyond reasonable doubt. criminal cases must be resolved in favor of the accused. The requirement of proof beyond
The protections of the Bill of Rights and our criminal justice system are as much, if not more so, for the reasonable doubt calls for moral certainty of guilt. It has been defined as meaning such proof "to
perverts and outcasts of society as they are for normal, decent, and law-abiding people. the satisfaction of the court, keeping in mind the presumption of innocence, as precludes every
The requirement of proof which produces in an unprejudiced mind moral certainty or conviction that the reasonable hypothesis except that which it is given to support. It is not sufficient for the proof to
accused did commit the offense has not been satisfied. establish a probability, even though strong, that the fact charged is more likely to be true than the
By way of emphasis, we reiterate some of the factors arousing reasonable doubt: contrary. It must establish the truth of the fact to a reasonable and moral certainty—a certainty
1. The evidence on Rosario Baluyot's baptism creates reasonable doubt about her being less than that convinces and satisfies the reason and the conscience of those who are to act upon it.
12 years old when the carnal knowledge took place. If the evidence for the prosecution is to be (Moreno, Philippine Law Dictionary, 1972 Edition, p. 379, citing U.S. v. Reyes, 3 Phil. 3). . . .
believed, she was not yet born on the date she was baptized. In the instant case, since there are circumstances which prevent our being morally certain of the guilt of the
2. Since the proof of Rosario's being under 12 years of age is not satisfactory, the prosecution has appellant, he is, therefore, entitled to an acquittal.
to prove force, intimidation, or deprivation of reason in order to convict for rape. There is no such This notwithstanding, the Court can not ignore the acts of the appellant on the children, Jessie Ramirez and
proof. In fact, the evidence shows a willingness to submit to the sexual act for monetary Rosario Baluyot in October, 1986 at the MGM Hotel. Inspite of his flat denials, we are convinced that he
considerations. comes to this country not to look at historical sights, enrich his intellect or indulge in legitimate pleasures
3. The only witness to the fact of Ritter's placing a vibrator inside the vagina of Rosario was Jessie but in order to satisfy the urgings of a sick mind.
Ramirez. This witness did not see Ritter insert the vibrator. The morning after the insertion, he was With the positive Identification and testimony by Jessie Ramirez that it was the appellant who picked him
only told by Rosario about it. Two days later, he allegedly met Rosario who informed him that she and Rosario from among the children and invited them to the hotel; and that in the hotel he was shown
was able to remove the object. And yet, Ramirez testified that on the night of that second pictures of young boys like him and the two masturbated each other, such actuations clearly show that the
encounter, he saw Rosario groaning because of pain in her stomach. She was even hurling appellant is a pedophile. When apprehended in Ermita, he was sizing up young children. Dr. Solis defined
invectives. Ramirez' testimony is not only hearsay, it is also contradictory. pedophilia in his book entitled Legal Medicine, 1987 edition, as follows:
4. It was improbable, according to expert medical testimony, for a foreign object with active Pedophilia—A form of sexual perversion wherein a person has the compulsive desire to have
properties to cause pain, discomfort, and serious infection only after seven months inside a young sexual intercourse with a child of either sex. Children of various ages participate in sexual activities,
girl's vaginal canal. Infection would have set in much earlier. Jessie Ramirez recalled that the like fellatio, cunnilingus, fondling with sex organs, or anal sexual intercourse. Usually committed
incident happened in December of 1986. (TSN., January 6, 1988, pp. 15-17) The evidence, however by a homosexual between a man and a boy the latter being a passive partner.
shows that the appellant was not here in the Philippines that December. As per the Commission Ritter was prosecuted for rape with homicide and not pedophilia, assuming this is a crime by itself.
on Immigration Arrival and Departure Report, Heinrich Ritter arrived in the Philippines on October Pedophilia is clearly a behavior offensive to public morals and violative of the declared policy of the state
7, 1986 and left on October 12, 1986. He never returned until September 23, 1987 (Exhibits "DD" to promote and protect the physical, moral, spiritual and social well-being of our youth. (Article II, Section
and "EE") The incident could have happened only in October, but then it would have been highly 13, 1987 Constitution) (Harvey v. Defensor Santiago, 162 SCRA 840, 848 [1989]). Pedophiles, especially thrill
improbable for the sexual vibrator to stay inside the vagina for seven (7) months with the kind of seeking aliens have no place in our country.
serious complications it creates. In this case, there is reasonable ground to believe that the appellant committed acts injurious not only to
5. The gynecologist who attended to Rosario during her hospital confinement testified that she Rosario Baluyot but also to the public good and domestic tranquility of the people. The state has expressly
told him "Ginamit ako ng Negro at siya ang naglagay nito." The accused is not a black. committed itself to defend the right of children to assistance and special protection from all forms of
Noteworthy is the fact that nothing was mentioned about Rosario's activities after the hotel incident. neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development. (Art. XV, Section
Considering Dr. Barcinal's testimony indicating that she was "used" by a "Negro" three (3) months prior to 3 [2] . . . (Harvey v. Santiago, supra). The appellant has abused Filipino children, enticing them with money.
admission in the hospital and Rosario's unfortunate profession, there is always the possibility that she could The appellant should be expelled from the country.
have allowed herself to be violated by this perverse kind of sexual behavior where a vibrator or vibrators Furthermore, it does not necessarily follow that the appellant is also free from civil liability which is
were inserted into her vagina between October, 1986 and May, 1987. impliedly instituted with the criminal action. (Rule III, Section 1) The well-settled doctrine is that a person
Moreover, the long delay of seven (7) months after the incident in reporting the alleged crime renders the while not criminally liable, may still be civilly liable. We reiterate what has been stated in Urbano v. IAC,
evidence for the prosecution insufficient to establish appellant's guilty connection with the requisite moral supra.
certainty. (See People v. Mula Cruz, 129 SCRA 156 [1984]). . . . While the guilt of the accused in a criminal prosecution must be established beyond
The established facts do not entirely rule out the possibility that the appellant could have inserted a foreign reasonable doubt, only a preponderance of evidence is required in a civil action for damages.
object inside Rosario's vagina. This object may have caused her death. It is possible that the appellant could (Article 29, Civil Code). The judgment of acquittal extinguishes the civil liability of the accused only
be the guilty person. However, the Court cannot base an affirmance of conviction upon mere possibilities. when it includes a declaration that the facts from which the civil liability might arise did not exist.
Suspicions and possibilities are not evidence and therefore should not be taken against the accused. (Padilla v. Court of Appeals, 129 SCRA 559).
(People v. Tolentino, supra) The reason for the provisions of Article 29 of the Civil Code, which provides that the acquittal of
Well-established is the rule that every circumstance favorable to the accused should be duly taken into the accused on the ground that his guilt has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt does not
account. This rule applies even to hardened criminals or those whose bizarre behaviour violates the mores necessarily exempt him from civil liability for the same act or omission, has been explained by the
of civilized society. The evidence against the accused must survive the test of reason. The strongest Code Commission as follows:
suspicion must not be allowed to sway judgment. (See Sacay v. Sandiganbayan, 142 SCRA 593 [1986]). As The old rule that the acquittal of the accused in a criminal case also releases him from
stated in the case of People v. Ng (142 SCRA 615 [1986]): civil liability is one of the most serious flaws in the Philippine legal system. It has given
rise to numberless instances of miscarriage of justice, where the acquittal was due to a WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Appellant HEINRICH STEFAN RITTER is
reasonable doubt in the mind of the court as to the guilt of the accused. The reasoning ACQUITTED on grounds of reasonable doubt. The appellant is ordered to pay the amount of P30,000.00 by
followed is that inasmuch as the civil responsibility is derived from the criminal offense, way of moral and exemplary damages to the heirs of Rosario Baluyot. The Commissioner of Immigration
when the latter is not proved, civil liability cannot be demanded. and Deportation is hereby directed to institute proper deportation proceedings against the appellant and
This is one of those causes where confused thinking leads to unfortunate and deplorable to immediately expel him thereafter with prejudice to re-entry into the country.
consequences. Such reasoning fails to draw a clear line of demarcation between criminal SO ORDERED.
liability and civil responsibility, and to determine the logical result of the distinction. The
two liabilities are separate and distinct from each other. One affects the social order and
the other, private rights. One is for the punishment or correction of the offender while
the other is for the reparation of damages suffered by the aggrieved party. The two
responsibilities are so different from each other that article 1813 of the present (Spanish)
Civil Code reads thus: "There may be a compromise upon the civil action arising from a
crime; but the public action for the imposition of the legal penalty shall not thereby be
extinguished." It is just and proper that, for the purposes of the imprisonment of or fine
upon the accused, the offense should be proved beyond reasonable doubt. But for the
purpose of indemnifying the complaining party, why should the offense also be proved
beyond reasonable doubt? Is not the invasion or violation of every private right to be
proved only by a preponderance of evidence? Is the right of the aggrieved person any
less private because the wrongful act is also punishable by the criminal law?
For these reasons, the Commission recommends the adoption of the reform under
discussion. It will correct a serious defect in our law. It will close up an inexhaustible
source of injustice—a cause for disillusionment on the part of the innumerable persons
injured or wronged.
Rosario Baluyot is a street child who ran away from her grandmother's house.1âwphi1 Circumstances
forced her to succumb and enter this unfortunate profession. Nonetheless, she has left behind heirs who
have certainly suffered mental anguish, anxiety and moral shock by her sudden and incredulous death as
reflected in the records of the case. Though we are acquitting the appellant for the crime of rape with
homicide, we emphasize that we are not ruling that he is innocent or blameless. It is only the constitutional G.R. No. L-4445 February 28, 1955
presumption of innocence and the failure of the prosecution to build an airtight case for conviction which
saved him, not that the facts of unlawful conduct do not exist. As earlier stated, there is the likelihood that
he did insert the vibrator whose end was left inside Rosario's vaginal canal and that the vibrator may have THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
caused her death. True, we cannot convict on probabilities or possibilities but civil liability does not require vs.
proof beyond reasonable doubt. The Court can order the payment of indemnity on the facts found in the MANUEL BERONILLA, FILIPINO VELASCO, POLICARPIO PACULDO, and JACINTO ADRIATICO,
records of this case. defendants-appellants.
The appellant certainly committed acts contrary to morals, good customs, public order or public policy (see
Article 21 Civil Code). As earlier mentioned, the appellant has abused Filipino children, enticing them with Agripino A. Brillantes, Valera, Eufemio and Bernardez for appellants.
money. We can not overstress the responsibility for proper behavior of all adults in the Philippines, Prospero C. Sanidad and Claro M. Recto for defendant.
including the appellant towards young children. The sexual exploitation committed by the appellant should Office of the Solicitor General Juan R. Liwag and Solicitor Jaime R. de los Angeles and Martiniano P. Vivo for
not and can not be condoned. Thus, considering the circumstances of the case, we are awarding damages appellee.
to the heirs of Rosario Baluyot in the amount of P30,000.00.
And finally, the Court deplores the lack of criminal laws which will adequately protect street children from REYES, J.B.L., J.:
exploitation by pedophiles, pimps, and, perhaps, their own parents or guardians who profit from the sale of
young bodies. The provisions on statutory rape and other related offenses were never intended for the
This is an appeal by accused Manuel Beronilla, Policarpio Paculdo, Filipino Velasco, and Jacinto Adriatico
relatively recent influx of pedophiles taking advantage of rampant poverty among the forgotten segments
from the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Abra (Criminal Case No. 70) convicting them of murder
of our society. Newspaper and magazine articles, media exposes, college dissertations, and other studies
for the execution of Arsenio Borjal in the evening of April 18, 1945, in the town of La Paz , Province of Abra.
deal at length with this serious social problem but pedophiles like the appellant will continue to enter the
Philippines and foreign publications catering to them will continue to advertise the availability of Filipino
street children unless the Government acts and acts soon. We have to acquit the appellant because the Bill Arsenio Borjal was the elected mayor of La Paz, Abra, at the outbreak of war, and continued to serve as
of Rights commands us to do so. We, however, express the Court's concern about the problem of street Mayor during the Japanese occupation, until March 10, 1943, when he moved to Bangued because of an
children and the evils committed against them. Something must be done about it. attempt upon his life by unknown persons. On December 18, 1944, appellant Manuel Beronilla was
appointed Military Mayor of La Paz by Lt. Col. R. H. Arnold, regimental commander of the 15th Infantry, (Sgd.) MANUEL BERONILLA
Philippine Army, operating as a guerrilla unit in the province of Abra. Simultaneously with his appointment Military Mayor, La Paz, Abra
as Military Mayor, Beronilla received copy of a memorandum issued by Lt. Col. Arnold to all Military Mayors
in Northern Luzon, authorizing them "to appoint a jury of 12 bolomen to try persons accused of treason, (Exhibit 8, 8-a)
espionage, or the aiding and abetting (of ) the enemy" (Exhibit 9). He also received from the Headquarters
of the 15th Infantry a list of all puppet government officials of the province of Abra (which included Arsenio
Borjal, puppet mayor of La Paz), with a memorandum instructing all Military Mayors to investigate said and on the night of the same day, April 18, 1945, Beronilla ordered the execution of Borjal. Jacinto Adriatico
persons and gather against them complaints from people of the municipality for collaboration with the acted as executioner and Antonio Palope as grave digger. Father Luding of the Roman Catholic Church was
enemy (Exhibit 12-a). asked to administer the last confession to the prisoner, while Father Filipino Velasco of the Aglipayan
Church performed the last rites over Borjal's remains. Immediately after the execution, Beronilla reported
the matter to Col. Arnold who in reply to Beronilla's report, sent him the following message:
Sometime in March, 1945, while the operations for the liberation of the province of Abra were in progress,
Arsenio Borjal returned to La Paz with his family in order to escape the bombing of Bangued. Beronilla,
pursuant to his instructions, placed Borjal under custody and asked the residents of La Paz to file HEADQUARTERS 3RD MILITARY DISTRICT
complaints against him. In no time, charges of espionage, aiding the enemy, and abuse of authority were 15TH INFANTRY, USAFIP
filed against Borjal; a 12-man jury was appointed by Beronilla, composed of Jesus Labuguen as chairman, In the Field
and Benjamin Adriatico, Andres Afos, Juanito Casal, Santiago Casal, Benjamin Abella, Servillano Afos,
Mariano Ajel, Felimon Labuguen, Felix Murphy, Pedro Turqueza, and Delfin Labuguen as members; while 22 April 1945
Felix Alverne and Juan Balmaceda were named prosecutors, Policarpio Paculdo as clerk of the jury, and Lino
Inovermo as counsel for the accused. Later, Atty. Jovito Barreras voluntarily appeared and served as counsel
for Borjal. Sgt. Esteban Cabanos observed the proceedings for several days upon instructions of
Headquarters, 15th Infantry. The trial lasted 19 days up to April 10, 1945; the jury found Borjal guilty on all Msg. No. 398
accounts and imposed upon him instruction from his superiors. Mayor Beronilla forwarded the records of Subject: Report and information Re Borjal case
the case to the Headquarters of the 15th Infantry for review. Said records were returned by Lt. Col. Arnold To: Military Mayor Beronilla
to Beronilla on April 18, 1945 with the following instructions:
1. Received your letter dated 18 April 1945, subject, above.
HEADQUARTERS 3RD MILITARY DISTRICT 2. My request that you withhold action in this case was only dictated because of a query from
15TH INFANTRY, USAFIP Higher Headquarters regarding same. Actually, I believe there was no doubt as to the treasonable
In the Field acts of the accused Arsenio Borjal and I know that your trial was absolutely impartial and fair.
Consequently, I Can only compliment you for your impartial independent way of handling the
whole case.
16 April 1945
(Sgd.) R. H. ARNOLD
Lieut.-Colonel, 15th Inf., PA
Msg. No. 337 Commanding
Subject: Arsenio Borjal, Charges Against
To: Military Mayor of La Paz, Abra.
Received April 26, 1947 7:00 a.m.
1. Returned herewith are the papers on the case of Arsenio Borjal.
2. This is a matter best handled by your government and whatever disposition you make of the (Sgd.) MANUEL BERONILLA
case is hereby approved. Military Mayor, La Paz, Abra

(Sgd.) R. H. ARNOLD (Exhibit 21, 21-a)

Lieut.-Colonel, 15th Inf., PA
Commanding Two years thereafter, Manuel Beronilla as military mayor, Policarpio Paculdo as Clerk of the jury, Felix
Alverne and Juan Balmaceda as prosecutors, Jesus Labuguen, Delfin Labuguen, Filemon Labuguen,
Servillano Afos, Andres Afos, Benjamin Adriatico, Juanito Casel, Santiago Casel, Mariano Ajel, Felix Murphy,
Received April 18, 1945, 10:35 a.m. Benjamin Abella, and Pedro Turqueza as members of the jury, Jacinto Adriatico as executioner, Severo Afos
as grave digger, and Father Filipino Velasco as an alleged conspirator, were indicted in the Court of First
Instance of Abra for murder, for allegedly conspiring and confederating in the execution of Arsenio Borjal. VOLCKMANN TO ARNOLD CLN UNDERSTAND THAT MUNICIPALITIES OF ABRA HAVE ORGANIZED
Soon thereafter, the late President Manuel A. Roxas issued Executive Proclamation No. 8, granting amnesty JURY SYSTEM PD BELIEVE THAT THIS BODY IS ILLEGAL AND CANNOT TRY PUNISHMENTS
to all persons who committed acts penalized under the Revised Penal Code in furtherance of the resistance THEREOF PD SPECIFIC INSTANCE IS BROUGHT TO YOUR ATTENTION FRO PROPER AND
to the enemy against persons aiding in the war efforts of the enemy. Defendant Jesus Labuguen, then a IMMEDIATE ACTION ON ONE ARSENIO BORJAL OF LA PAZ WHO HAS BEEN TRIED CMA
master sergeant in the Philippine Army, applied for and was granted amnesty by the Amnesty Commission, CONVICTED AND SENTENCED TO BE HANGED PD REPORT ACTION TAKEN BY YOU ON THIS
Armed Forces of the Philippines (Records, pp. 618-20). The rest of the defendant filed their application for MATTER PD MSG BEGINS CLN"
amnesty with the Second Guerrilla Amnesty Commission, who denied their application on the ground that
the crime had been inspired by purely personal motives, and remanded the case to the Court of First (EXH. H)
Instance of Abra for trial on the merits.
The crucial question thus becomes whether or not this message, originally sent to Arnold's quarters in San
Upon motion of defense counsel, the case against defendant Jesus Labuguen, who had been granted Esteban, Ilocos Sur, was relayed by the latter to appellant Beronilla in La Paz, Abra, on the morning of April
amnesty by the Amnesty Commission of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, was ordered provisionally 18, 1945, together with the package of records of Borjal's trial that was admittedly returned to and received
dismissed: defendant Juan Balmaceda was discharged from the information so that he might be utilized as by Beronilla on that date, after review thereof by Arnold (Exhibit 8-8-a). Obviously, if the Volckmann
state witness, although actually he was not called to testify; while the case against defendants Antonio message was known to Beronilla, his ordering the execution of Borjal on the night of April 18, 1945 can not
Palope (the grave digger) and Demetrio Afos( a boloman) was dismissed for lack of sufficient evidence. be justified.

Trial proceeded against the rest of the defendants; and on July 10, 1950, the Court below rendered We have carefully examined the evidence on this important issue, and find no satisfactory proof that
judgment, acquitting the members of the jury and the grave digger Antonio Palope on the ground that Beronilla did actually receive the radiogram Exhibit H or any copy thereof. The accused roundly denied it.
they did not participated in the killing of Arsenio Borjal; acquitting defendants Jesus Labuguen, Felix The messenger, or "runner", Pedro Molina could not state what papers were enclosed in the package he
Alverne, Severo Afos, and Lauro Parado upon insufficiency of evidence to establish their participation in the delivered to Beronilla on that morning in question, nor could Francisco Bayquen (or Bayken), who claimed
crime; but convicting defendants Manuel Beronilla, Policarpio Paculdo, Filipino Velasco, and Jacinto to have been present at the delivery of the message, state the contents thereof.
Adriatico as conspirator and co-principals of the crime of murder, and sentencing them to suffer
imprisonment of from 17 years, 4 months and 1 day of reclusion temporal to reclusion perpetua, to
indemnify the heirs of Arsenio Borjal jointly and severally in the amount of P4,000 with subsidiary The only witness who asserted that Beronilla received and read the Volckmann message, Exhibit H, was
imprisonment in case of insolvency, and each to pay one fourth of the costs. In convicting said defendants Rafael Balmaceda, a relative of Borjal, who claimed to have been, as Beronilla's bodyguard, present at the
the Court a quo found that while the crime committed by them fell within the provisions of the Amnesty receipt of the message and to have read it over Beronilla's shoulder. This testimony, however, can not be
Proclamation, they were not entitled to the benefits thereof because the crime was committed after the accorded credence, for the reason that in the affidavit executed by this witness before Fiscal Antonio of
expiration of the time limit fixed by the amnesty proclamation;: i.e., that the deceased Arsenio Borjal was Abra (Exhibit 4), Balmaceda failed to make any mention of the reading, or even the receipt, of the message.
executed after the liberation of La Paz, Abra. In the affidavit, he stated:

In view of the sentence meted by the Court below, the accused Beronilla, Paculdo, Velasco and Adriatico Q. In your capacity as policeman, do you know of any usual occurrence that transpired in La Paz,
appealed to this Court. Abra? — A. Yes, sir.

The records are ample to sustain the claim of the defense that the arrest, prosecution and trial of the late Q. Will you state what is the event? — A. On April 17, 1945, I was assigned as guard at the
Arsenio Borjal were done pursuant to express orders of the 15th Infantry Headquarters. (Exhibit 9 and 12-a), Presidencia where Mayor Arsenio Borjal is confined. On the 18th of April, 1945, six bolomen came
instructing all military mayors under its jurisdiction to gather evidence against puppet officials and to to me while I was on duty as guard, that Mayor Borjal should be tied, on orders of Mayor Beronilla,
appoint juries of at least 12 bolomen to try the accused and find them guilty by two thirds vote. It is to be Mayor Borjal wanted to know the reason why he would be tied, as he had not yet learned of the
noted that Arsenio Borjal was specifically named in the list of civilian officials to be prosecuted (Exhibit 12- decision of the jury against him. Mayor Borjal wrote a note to Mayor Beronilla, asking the reason
b). for his being ordered to be tied. I personally delivered the note of Borjal to Mayor Beronilla. Mayor
Beronilla did not answer the note, but instead told me that I should tie Mayor Borjal, as tomorrow
he would die, as he cannot escape. I returned to the Presidencia, and Mayor Borjal was tied, as that
In truth, the prosecution does not seriously dispute that the trial and sentencing of Borjal was done in was the ordered of Mayor Beronilla.
accordance with instructions of superior military authorities, altho it point to irregularities that were due
more to ignorance of legal processes than personal animosity against Borjal. The state, however, predicates
its case principally on the existence of the radiogram Exhibit H from Col. Volckmann, overall area The plain import of the affidavit is that the witness Rafael Balmaceda was not with Beronilla when the
commander, to Lt. Col. Arnold, specifically calling attention to the illegality of Borjal's conviction and message arrived, otherwise Beronilla would have given him his orders direct, as he (Balmaceda) testified
sentence, and which the prosecution claims was known to the accused Beronilla. Said message is as follows: later at the trial. Moreover, it is difficult to believe that having learned of the contents of the Volckmann
message, Balmaceda should not have relayed it to Borjal , or to some member of the latter's family,
considering that they were relatives. In addition to Balmaceda was contradicted by Bayken, another
"Message: prosecution witness, as to the hatching of the alleged conspiracy to kill Borjal. Balmaceda claimed that the
accused-appellants decided to kill Borjal in the early evening of April 18, while Bayken testified that the But even assuming that the accused-appellant did commit crime with they are charged, the Court below
agreement was made about ten o'clock in the morning, shortly after the accused had denied Borjal's should not have denied their claim to the benefits of the Guerrilla Amnesty Proclamation No. 8 (42 Off.
petition to be allowed to hear mass. Gaz., 2072)on the ground that the slaying of Arsenio Borjal took place after actual liberation of the area
from enemy control and occupation. The evidence on record regarding the date of liberation of La Paz,
Upon the other hand, Beronilla's conduct belies his receipt of the Volckmann message. Had he executed Abra, is contradictory. The Military Amnesty Commission that decided the case of one of the original
Borjal in violation of superior orders, he would not have dared to report it to Arnold's headquarters on the accused Jesus Labuguen, held that La Paz, Abra, was liberated on July 1, 1945, according to its records; and
very same day, April 18th, 1945, as he did (Exhibit 20), half an hour after the execution. And what is even this finding was accepted by Judge Letargo when he dismissed the case against said accused on March 15,
more important, if Borjal was executed contrary to instructions, how could Lt. Colonel Arnold on April 21, 1949. On the other hand, Judge Bocar and Hilario, who subsequently took cognizance of the case, relied on
1945, write in reply (Exhibit 21, 21-a) "I can only compliment you for your impartial but independent way of Department Order No. 25, of the Department of the Interior, dated August 12, 1948, setting the liberation
handling the whole case" instead of berating Beronilla and ordering his court martial for disobedience? of the Province of Abra on April 4, 1945, fifteen days before Borjal was slain. The two dates are not strictly
contradictory; but given the benefit of the Presidential directive to the Amnesty Commissions (Adm. Order
No. 11, of October 2, 1946) that "any reasonable doubt as to whether a given case falls within the (amnesty)
Our conclusion is that Lt. Col. Arnold, for some reason that can not now be ascertained, failed to transmit proclamation shall be resolved in favor of the accused" (42 Off. Gaz., 2360), as was done in People vs. Gajo,
the Volckmann message to Beronilla. And this being so, the charge of criminal conspiracy to do away with Phil., 107 46 Off. Gaz., (No. 12) p. 6093.
Borjal must be rejected, because the accused had no need to conspire against a man who was, to their
knowledge, duly sentenced to death.
For the reasons stated, the judgment appealed from is reversed and the appellants are acquitted, with costs
de oficio.
The state claims that the appellants held grudges against the late Borjal. Even so, it has been already
decided that the concurrence of personal hatred and collaboration with the enemy as motives for a
liquidation does not operate to exclude the case from the benefits of the Amnesty claimed by appellants,
since then "it may not be held that the manslaughter stemmed from purely personal motives" (People vs.
Barrioquinto,* G. R. Nos. L-2011 and 2267, June 30, 1951). Actually, the conduct of the appellants does not
dispose that these appellants were impelled by malice (dolo). The arrest and trial of Borjal were made upon
express orders of the higher command; the appellants allowed Borjal to be defended by counsel, one of
them (attorney Jovito Barreras) chosen by Borjal's sister; the trial lasted nineteen (19) days; it was
suspended when doubts arose about its legality, and it was not resumed until headquarters (then in
Langangilang, Abra) authorized its resumption and sent an observer (Esteban Cabanos, of the S-5) to the
proceedings, and whose suggestions on procedure were followed; and when the verdict of guilty was
rendered and death sentence imposed, the records were sent to Arnold's headquarters for review, and
Borjal was not punished until the records were returned eight days later with the statement of Arnold that
"whatever disposition you make of the case is hereby approved" (Exhibit 8), which on its face was an assent
to the verdict and the sentence. The lower Court, after finding that the late Arsenio Borjal had really
committed treasonable acts, (causing soldiers and civilians to be tortured, and hidden American officers to G.R. No. 88724 April 3, 1990
be captured by the Japanese) expressly declared that "the Court is convinced that it was not for political or
personal reason that the accused decided to kill Arsenio Borjal" (Decision, p. 9; Record, p. 727). THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
It appearing that the charge is the heinous crime of murder, and that the accused-appellants acted upon CEILITO ORITA alias "Lito," defendant-appellant.
orders, of a superior officers that they, as military subordinates, could not question, and obeyed in good
faith, without being aware of their illegality, without any fault or negligence on their part, we can not say The Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
that criminal intent has been established (U. S. vs. Catolico, 18 Phil., 507; Peo. vs. Pacana, 47 Phil., 48; Sent. C. Manalo for defendant-appellant.
of the Tribunal Supremo of Spain, 3 July 1886; 7 January 1901; 24 March 1900; 21 Feb. 1921; 25 March
1929). Actus non facit reum nisi mens si rea.

To constitute a crime, the act must, except in certain crimes made such by statute, be
accompanied by a criminal intent, or by such negligence or indifference to duty or to MEDIALDEA, J.:
consequence, as, in law, is equivalent to criminal intent. The maxim is, actus non facit reum, nisi
mens rea-a crime is not committed if the minds of the person performing the act complained of The accused, Ceilito Orita alias Lito, was charged with the crime of rape in Criminal Case No. 83-031-B
be innocent. (U. S. vs. Catolico, 18 Phil., 507). before the Regional Trial Court, Branch II, Borongan, Eastern Samar. The information filed in the said case
reads as follows (p. 47, Rollo):
The undersigned Second Assistant Provincial Fiscal upon prior complaint under oath by the Complainant Cristina S. Abayan was a 19-year old freshman student at the St. Joseph's College at
offended party, accuses CEILITO ORITA alias LITO of the crime of Rape committed as follows: Borongan, Eastern Samar. Appellant was a Philippine Constabulary (PC) soldier.

That on March 20, 1983, at about 1:30 o'clock in the morning inside a boarding house at Victoria In the early morning of March 20, 1983, complainant arrived at her boarding house. Her
St., Poblacion, Borongan, Eastern Samar, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable classmates had just brought her home from a party (p. 44, tsn, May 23, 1984). Shortly after her
Court, above named accused with lewd designs and by the use of a Batangas knife he classmates had left, she knocked at the door of her boarding house (p. 5, ibid). All of a sudden,
conveniently provided himself for the purpose and with threats and intimidation, did, then and somebody held her and poked a knife to her neck. She then recognized appellant who was a
there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously lay with and succeeded in having sexual intercourse with frequent visitor of another boarder (pp. 8-9, ibid).
Cristina S. Abayan against her will and without her consent.
She pleaded with him to release her, but he ordered her to go upstairs with him. Since the door
CONTRARY TO LAW. which led to the first floor was locked from the inside, appellant forced complainant to use the
back door leading to the second floor (p. 77, ibid). With his left arm wrapped around her neck and
Upon being arraigned, the accused entered the plea of not guilty to the offense charged. After the his right hand poking a "balisong" to her neck, appellant dragged complainant up the stairs (p. 14,
witnesses for the People testified and the exhibits were formally offered and admitted, the prosecution ibid). When they reached the second floor, he commanded her to look for a room. With the
rested its case. Thereafter, the defense opted not to present any exculpatory evidence and instead filed a Batangas knife still poked to her neck, they entered complainant's room.
Motion to Dismiss. On August 5, 1985, the trial court rendered its decision, the dispositive portion of which
reads (pp. 59-60, Rollo): Upon entering the room, appellant pushed complainant who hit her head on the wall. With one
hand holding the knife, appellant undressed himself. He then ordered complainant to take off her
WHEREFORE. the Court being morally certain of the guilt of accused CEILITO ORITA @ LITO, of the clothes. Scared, she took off her T-shirt. Then he pulled off her bra, pants and panty (p. 20, ibid).
crime of Frustrated Rape (Art. 335, RPC), beyond reasonable doubt, with the aggravating
circumstances of dwelling and nightime (sic) with no mitigating circumstance to offset the same, He ordered her to lie down on the floor and then mounted her. He made her hold his penis and
and considering the provisions of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, imposes on accused an insert it in her vagina. She followed his order as he continued to poke the knife to her. At said
imprisonment of TEN (10) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY, PRISION MAYOR, as minimum to TWELVE (12) position, however, appellant could not fully penetrate her. Only a portion of his penis entered her
YEARS PRISION MAYOR, maximum; to indemnify CRISTINA S. ABAYAN, the amount of Four as she kept on moving (p. 23, ibid).
Thousand (P4,000.00) Pesos, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay
costs. Appellant then lay down on his back and commanded her to mount him. In this position, only a
small part again of his penis was inserted into her vagina. At this stage, appellant had both his
SO ORDERED. hands flat on the floor. Complainant thought of escaping (p. 20, ibid).

Not satisfied with the decision, the accused appealed to the Court of Appeals. On December 29, 1988, the She dashed out to the next room and locked herself in. Appellant pursued her and climbed the
Court of Appeals rendered its decision, the dispositive portion of which reads (p. 102, Rollo): partition. When she saw him inside the room, she ran to another room. Appellant again chased
her. She fled to another room and jumped out through a window (p. 27, ibid).
WHEREFORE, the trial court's judgment is hereby MODIFIED, and the appellant found guilty of the
crime of rape, and consequently, sentenced to suffer imprisonment of reclusion perpetua and to Still naked, she darted to the municipal building, which was about eighteen meters in front of the
indemnify the victim in the amount of P30,000.00. boarding house, and knocked on the door. When there was no answer, she ran around the
building and knocked on the back door. When the policemen who were inside the building
SO ORDERED. opened the door, they found complainant naked sitting on the stairs crying. Pat. Donceras, the
first policeman to see her, took off his jacket and wrapped it around her. When they discovered
what happened, Pat. Donceras and two other policemen rushed to the boarding house. They
On January 11, 1989, the Court of Appeals issued a resolution setting aside its December 29, 1988 decision heard a sound at the second floor and saw somebody running away. Due to darkness, they failed
and forwarded the case to this Court, considering the provision of Section 9, paragraph 3 of Batas to apprehend appellant.
Pambansa Blg. 129 in conjunction with Section 17, paragraph 3, subparagraph 1 of the Judiciary Act of
Meanwhile, the policemen brought complainant to the Eastern Samar Provincial Hospital where
she was physically examined.
The antecedent facts as summarized in the People's brief are as follows (pp. 71-75, Rollo):

Dr. Ma. Luisa Abude, the resident physician who examined complainant, issued a Medical
Certificate (Exhibit "A") which states:
Physical Examination — Patient is fairly built, came in with loose clothing with no under- consumation of the act." (p. 34, Rollo). The allegation would have been meritorious had the testimony of
clothes; appears in state of shock, per unambulatory. the victim ended there. The victim testified further that the accused was holding a Batangas knife during
the aggression. This is a material part of the victim's testimony which the accused conveniently deleted.
PE Findings — Pertinent Findings only.
We find no cogent reason to depart from the well-settled rule that the findings of fact of the trial court on
Neck- — Circumscribed hematoma at Ant. neck. the credibility of witnesses should be accorded the highest respect because it has the advantage of
observing the demeanor of witnesses and can discern if a witness is telling the truth (People v. Samson, G.R.
No. 55520, August 25, 1989). We quote with favor the trial court's finding regarding the testimony of the
Breast — Well developed, conical in shape with prominent nipples; linear abrasions victim (p 56, Rollo):
below (L) breast.

As correctly pointed out in the memorandum for the People, there is not much to be desired as to
Back — Multiple pinpoint marks. the sincerity of the offended party in her testimony before the court. Her answer to every question
profounded (sic), under all circumstances, are plain and straightforward. To the Court she was a
Extremities — Abrasions at (R) and (L) knees. picture of supplication hungry and thirsty for the immediate vindication of the affront to her
honor. It is inculcated into the mind of the Court that the accused had wronged her; had traversed
Vulva — No visible abrasions or marks at the perineal area or over the vulva, illegally her honor.
errythematous (sic) areas noted surrounding vaginal orifice, tender, hymen intact; no
laceration fresh and old noted; examining finger can barely enter and with difficulty; When a woman testifies that she has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape
vaginal canal tight; no discharges noted. was committed provided her testimony is clear and free from contradiction and her sincerity and candor,
free from suspicion (People v Alfonso, G.R. No. 72573, August 31, 1987, 153 SCRA 487; People v. Alcid, G.R.
As aforementioned, the trial court convicted the accused of frustrated rape. Nos. 66387-88, February 28, 1985, 135 SCRA 280; People v. Soterol G.R. No. 53498, December 16, 1985, 140
SCRA 400). The victim in this case did not only state that she was raped but she testified convincingly on
how the rape was committed. The victim's testimony from the time she knocked on the door of the
In this appeal, the accused assigns the following errors:
municipal building up to the time she was brought to the hospital was corroborated by Pat. Donceras.
Interpreting the findings as indicated in the medical certificate, Dr. Reinerio Zamora (who was presented in
1) The trial court erred in disregarding the substantial inconsistencies in the testimonies of the witnesses; view of the unavailability of Dr. Abude) declared that the abrasions in the left and right knees, linear
and abrasions below the left breast, multiple pinpoint marks, circumscribed hematoma at the anterior neck,
erythematous area surrounding the vaginal orifice and tender vulva, are conclusive proof of struggle
2) The trial court erred in declaring that the crime of frustrated rape was committed by the accused. against force and violence exerted on the victim (pp. 52-53, Rollo). The trial court even inspected the
boarding house and was fully satisfied that the narration of the scene of the incident and the conditions
The accused assails the testimonies of the victim and Pat. Donceras because they "show remarkable and therein is true (p. 54, Rollo):
vital inconsistencies and its incredibility amounting to fabrication and therefore casted doubt to its candor,
truth and validity." (p. 33, Rollo) . . . The staircase leading to the first floor is in such a condition safe enough to carry the weight of
both accused and offended party without the slightest difficulty, even in the manner as narrated.
A close scrutiny of the alleged inconsistencies revealed that they refer to trivial inconsistencies which are The partitions of every room were of strong materials, securedly nailed, and would not give way
not sufficient to blur or cast doubt on the witnesses' straightforward attestations. Far from being badges of even by hastily scaling the same.
fabrication, the inconsistencies in their testimonies may in fact be justifiably considered as manifestations
of truthfulness on material points. These little deviations also confirm that the witnesses had not been A little insight into human nature is of utmost value in judging rape complaints (People v. Torio, et al., G.R.
rehearsed. The most candid witnesses may make mistakes sometimes but such honest lapses do not No. L-48731, December 21, 1983, 126 SCRA 265). Thus, the trial court added (p. 55, Rollo):
necessarily impair their intrinsic credibility (People v. Cabato, G.R. No. L-37400, April 15, 1988, 160 SCRA
98). Rather than discredit the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, discrepancies on minor details must . . . And the jump executed by the offended party from that balcony (opening) to the ground
be viewed as adding credence and veracity to such spontaneous testimonies (Aportadera et al. v. Court of which was correctly estimated to be less than eight (8) meters, will perhaps occasion no injury to a
Appeals, et al., G.R. No. L-41358, March 16, 1988, 158 SCRA 695). As a matter of fact, complete uniformity in frightened individual being pursued. Common experience will tell us that in occasion of
details would be a strong indication of untruthfulness and lack of spontaneity (People v. Bazar, G.R. No. L- conflagration especially occuring (sic) in high buildings, many have been saved by jumping from
41829, June 27, 1988, 162 SCRA 609). However, one of the alleged inconsistencies deserves a little some considerable heights without being injured. How much more for a frightened barrio girl, like
discussion which is, the testimony of the victim that the accused asked her to hold and guide his penis in the offended party to whom honor appears to be more valuable than her life or limbs? Besides,
order to have carnal knowledge of her. According to the accused, this is strange because "this is the only the exposure of her private parts when she sought assistance from authorities, as corroborated, is
case where an aggressor's advances is being helped-out by the victim in order that there will be a
enough indication that something not ordinary happened to her unless she is mentally deranged. On the other hand, Article 6 of the same Code provides:
Sadly, nothing was adduced to show that she was out of her mind.
Art. 6. Consummated, frustrated, and attempted felonies. — Consummated felonies as well as
In a similar case (People v. Sambili G.R. No. L-44408, September 30, 1982, 117 SCRA 312), We ruled that: those which are frustrated and attempted, are punishable.

What particularly imprints the badge of truth on her story is her having been rendered entirely A felony is consummated when all the elements necessary for its execution and accomplishment
naked by appellant and that even in her nudity, she had to run away from the latter and managed are present; and it is frustrated when the offender performs all the acts of execution which would
to gain sanctuary in a house owned by spouses hardly known to her. All these acts she would not produce the felony as a consequence but which, nevertheless, do not produce it by reason of
have done nor would these facts have occurred unless she was sexually assaulted in the manner causes independent of the will of the perpetrator.
she narrated.
There is an attempt when the offender commences the commission of a felony directly by overt
The accused questions also the failure of the prosecution to present other witnesses to corroborate the acts, and does not perform all the acts of execution which should produce the felony by reason of
allegations in the complaint and the non-presentation of the medico-legal officer who actually examined some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance.
the victim. Suffice it to say that it is up to the prosecution to determine who should be presented as
witnesses on the basis of its own assessment of their necessity (Tugbang v. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. Correlating these two provisions, there is no debate that the attempted and consummated stages apply to
56679, June 29, 1989; People v. Somera, G.R. No. 65589, May 31, 1989). As for the non-presentation of the the crime of rape.1âwphi1 Our concern now is whether or not the frustrated stage applies to the crime of
medico-legal officer who actually examined the victim, the trial court stated that it was by agreement of the rape.
parties that another physician testified inasmuch as the medico-legal officer was no longer available. The
accused did not bother to contradict this statement.
The requisites of a frustrated felony are: (1) that the offender has performed all the acts of execution which
would produce the felony and (2) that the felony is not produced due to causes independent of the
Summing up, the arguments raised by the accused as regards the first assignment of error fall flat on its perpetrator's will. In the leading case of United States v. Eduave, 36 Phil. 209, 212, Justice Moreland set a
face. Some were not even substantiated and do not, therefore, merit consideration. We are convinced that distinction between attempted and frustrated felonies which is readily understood even by law students:
the accused is guilty of rape. However, We believe the subject matter that really calls for discussion, is
whether or not the accused's conviction for frustrated rape is proper. The trial court was of the belief that
there is no conclusive evidence of penetration of the genital organ of the victim and thus convicted the . . . A crime cannot be held to be attempted unless the offender, after beginning the commission
accused of frustrated rape only. of the crime by overt acts, is prevented, against his will, by some outside cause from performing
all of the acts which should produce the crime. In other words, to be an attempted crime the
purpose of the offender must be thwarted by a foreign force or agency which intervenes and
The accused contends that there is no crime of frustrated rape. The Solicitor General shares the same view. compels him to stop prior to the moment when he has performed all of the acts which should
produce the crime as a consequence, which acts it is his intention to perform. If he has performed
Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code defines and enumerates the elements of the crime of rape: all of the acts which should result in the consummation of the crime and voluntarily desists from
proceeding further, it can not be an attempt. The essential element which distinguishes attempted
Art. 335. When and how rape is committed. — Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a from frustrated felony is that, in the latter, there is no intervention of a foreign or extraneous cause
woman under any of the following circumstances: or agency between the beginning of the commission of the crime and the moment when all of the
acts have been performed which should result in the consummated crime; while in the former
there is such intervention and the offender does not arrive at the point of performing all of the
1. By using force or intimidation; acts which should produce the crime. He is stopped short of that point by some cause apart from
his voluntary desistance.
2. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious and
Clearly, in the crime of rape, from the moment the offender has carnal knowledge of his victim he actually
3. When the woman is under twelve years of age, even though neither of the circumstances attains his purpose and, from that moment also all the essential elements of the offense have been
mentioned in the two next preceding paragraphs shall be present. accomplished. Nothing more is left to be done by the offender, because he has performed the last act
necessary to produce the crime. Thus, the felony is consummated. In a long line of cases (People v. Oscar,
xxx xxx xxx 48 Phil. 527; People v. Hernandez, 49 Phil. 980; People v. Royeras, G.R. No. L-31886, April 29, 1974, 56 SCRA
666; People v. Amores, G.R. No. L-32996, August 21, 1974, 58 SCRA 505), We have set the uniform rule that
for the consummation of rape, perfect penetration is not essential. Any penetration of the female organ by
Carnal knowledge is defined as the act of a man in having sexual bodily connections with a woman (Black's
the male organ is sufficient. Entry of the labia or lips of the female organ, without rupture of the hymen or
Law Dictionary. Fifth Edition, p. 193).
laceration of the vagina is sufficient to warrant conviction. Necessarily, rape is attempted if there is no
penetration of the female organ (People v. Tayaba, 62 Phil. 559 People v. Rabadan et al., 53 Phil. 694; United
States v. Garcia: 9 Phil. 434) because not all acts of execution was performed. The offender merely Q What do you mean when you said comply, or what act do you referred (sic) to, when you said
commenced the commission of a felony directly by overt acts. Taking into account the nature, elements and comply?
manner of execution of the crime of rape and jurisprudence on the matter, it is hardly conceivable how the
frustrated stage in rape can ever be committed. A I inserted his penis into my vagina.

Of course, We are aware of our earlier pronouncement in the case of People v. Eriña 50 Phil. 998 [1927] Q And was it inserted?
where We found the offender guilty of frustrated rape there being no conclusive evidence of penetration of
the genital organ of the offended party. However, it appears that this is a "stray" decision inasmuch as it
has not been reiterated in Our subsequent decisions. Likewise, We are aware of Article 335 of the Revised A Yes only a little.
Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 2632 (dated September 12, 1960) and Republic Act No. 4111
(dated March 29, 1965) which provides, in its penultimate paragraph, for the penalty of death when the The fact is that in a prosecution for rape, the accused may be convicted even on the sole basis of the
rape is attempted or frustrated and a homicide is committed by reason or on the occasion thereof. We are victim's testimony if credible (People v. Tabago, G.R. No. 69778, November 8, 1988, 167 SCRA 65; People v.
of the opinion that this particular provision on frustrated rape is a dead provision. The Eriña case, supra, Aragona, G.R. No. L-43752, September 19, 1985, 138 SCRA 569; People v. Taduyo, G.R. Nos. L-37928-29,
might have prompted the law-making body to include the crime of frustrated rape in the amendments September 29, 1987, 154 SCRA 349). Moreover, Dr. Zamora's testimony is merely corroborative and is not
introduced by said laws. an indispensable element in the prosecution of this case (People v. Alfonso, supra).

In concluding that there is no conclusive evidence of penetration of the genital organ of the victim, the trial Although the second assignment of error is meritorious, it will not tilt the scale in favor of the accused
court relied on the testimony of Dr. Zamora when he "categorically declared that the findings in the vulva because after a thorough review of the records, We find the evidence sufficient to prove his guilt beyond
does not give a concrete disclosure of penetration. As a matter of fact, he tossed back to the offended party reasonable doubt of the crime of consummated rape.
the answer as to whether or not there actually was penetration." (p. 53, Rollo) Furthermore, the trial court
stated (p. 57, Rollo): Article 335, paragraph 3, of the Revised Penal Code provides that whenever the crime of rape is committed
with the use of a deadly weapon, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death. The trial court
. . . It cannot be insensible to the findings in the medical certificate (Exhibit "A") as interpreted by appreciated the aggravating circumstances of dwelling and nighttime. Thus, the proper imposable penalty
Dr. Reinerio Zamora and the equivocal declaration of the latter of uncertainty whether there was is death. In view, however, of Article 111, Section 19(1) of the 1987 Constitution and Our ruling in People v.
penetration or not. It is true, and the Court is not oblivious, that conviction for rape could proceed Millora, et al., G.R. Nos. L-38968-70, February 9, 1989, that the cited Constitutional provision did not declare
from the uncorroborated testimony of the offended party and that a medical certificate is not the abolition of the death penalty but merely prohibits the imposition of the death penalty, the Court has
necessary (People v. Royeras People v. Orteza, 6 SCRA 109, 113). But the citations the people relied since February 2, 1987 not imposed the death penalty whenever it was called for under the Revised Penal
upon cannot be applicable to the instant case. The testimony of the offended party is at variance Code but instead reduced the same to reclusion perpetua (People v. Solis, et al., G.R. Nos. 78732-33,
with the medical certificate. As such, a very disturbing doubt has surfaced in the mind of the court. February 14, 1990). Reclusion perpetua, being a single indivisible penalty under Article 335, paragraph 3, is
It should be stressed that in cases of rape where there is a positive testimony and a medical imposed regardless of any mitigating or aggravating circumstances (in relation to Article 63, paragraph 1,
certificate, both should in all respect, compliment each other, for otherwise to rely on the Revised Penal Code; see People v. Arizala, G.R. No. 59713, March 15, 1982, 112 SCRA 615; People v.
testimony alone in utter disregard of the manifest variance in the medical certificate, would be Manzano, G.R. No. L38449, November 25, 1982, 118 SCRA 705; People v. Ramirez, G.R. No. 70744, May 31,
productive of mischievous results. 1985, 136 SCRA 702).

The alleged variance between the testimony of the victim and the medical certificate does not exist. On the ACCORDINGLY, the decision of the Regional Trial Court is hereby MODIFIED. The accused Ceilito Orita is
contrary, it is stated in the medical certificate that the vulva was erythematous (which means marked by hereby found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape and sentenced to reclusion perpetua as
abnormal redness of the skin due to capillary congestion, as in inflammation) and tender. It bears emphasis well as to indemnify the victim in the amount of P30,000.00.
that Dr. Zamora did not rule out penetration of the genital organ of the victim. He merely testified that
there was uncertainty whether or not there was penetration. Anent this testimony, the victim positively SO ORDERED.
testified that there was penetration, even if only partially (pp. 302, 304, t.s.n., May 23, 1984):

Q Was the penis inserted on your vagina?

A It entered but only a portion of it.

xxx xxx xxx

2. Finally, the court erred in not acquitting said defendant from the information upon the ground
of insufficient evidence, or at the least, of reasonable doubt.

The following facts were proved at the hearing beyond a reasonable doubt:

Romana Silvestre, wife of Domingo Joaquin by her second marriage, cohabited with her codefendant
Martin Atienza from the month of March, 1930, in the barrio of Masocol, municipality of Paombong,
Province of Bulacan. On May 16, 1930, the complaining husband, Domingo Joaquin, filed with the justice of
the peace for that municipality, a sworn complaint for adultery, supported by affidavits of Gerardo Cabigao
and Castor de la Cruz (Exhibit B). On the same date, May 16, 1930, the said accused were arrested on a
warrant issued by said justice of the peace. On the 20th of the month, they were released on bail, each
giving a personal bond of P6,000. Pending the preliminary investigation of the case, the two defendants
begged the municipal president of Paombong, Francisco Suerte Felipe, to speak to the complaint, Domingo
Joaquin, urging him to withdraw the complaint, the two accused binding themselves to discontinue
cohabitation, and promising not to live again in the barrio of Masocol; Martin Atienza voluntarily signed the
promise (Exhibit A). The municipal president transmitted the defendants' petition to the complaining
husband, lending it his support. Domingo Joaquin acceded to it, and on May 20, 1930, filed a motion for
the dismissal of his complaint. In consideration of this petition, the justice of the peace of Paombong
dismissed the adultery case commenced against the accused, and cancelled the bonds given by them, with
the costs against the complainant.
G.R. No. L-35748 December 14, 1931
The accused then left the barrio of Masocol and went to live in that of Santo Niño, in the same municipality
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee, of Paombong.
ROMANA SILVESTRE and MARTIN ATIENZA, defendants-appellants.
About November 20, 1930, the accused Romana Silvestre met her son by her former marriage, Nicolas de la
Cruz, in the barrio of Santo Niño, and under pretext of asking him for some nipa leaves, followed him home
Teofilo Mendoza for appellants. to the village of Masocol, and remained there. The accused, Martin Atienza, who had continued to cohabit
Attorney-General Jaranilla for appellee. with said Romana Silvestre, followed her and lived in the home of Nicolas de la Cruz. On the night of
November 25, 1930, while Nicolas de la Cruz and his wife, Antonia de la Cruz, were gathered together with
the appellants herein after supper, Martin Atienza told said couple to take their furniture out of the house
because he was going to set fire to it. Upon being asked by Nicolas and Antonia why he wanted to set fire
VILLA-REAL, J.: to the house, he answered that that was the only way he could be revenged upon the people of Masocol
who, he said, had instigated the charge of adultery against him and his codefendant, Romana Silvestre. As
Martin Atienza was at that time armed with a pistol, no one dared say anything to him, not even Romana
Martin Atienza and Romana Silvestre appeal to this court from the judgment of the Court of First Instance Silvestre, who was about a meter away from her codefendant. Alarmed at what Martin Atienza had said, the
of Bulacan convicting them upon the information of the crime of arson as follows: The former as principal couple left the house at once to communicate with the barrio lieutenant, Buenaventura Ania, as to what
by direct participation, sentenced to fourteen years, eight months, and one day of cadena temporal, in they had just heard Martin Atienza say; but they had hardly gone a hundred arms' length when they heard
accordance with paragraph 2 of article 550, Penal Code; and the latter as accomplice, sentenced to six years cries of "Fire! Fire!" Turning back they saw their home in flames, and ran back to it; but seeing that the fire
and one day of presidio mayor; and both are further sentenced to the accessories of the law, and to pay had assumed considerable proportions, Antonia took refuge in the schoolhouse with her 1 year old babe in
each of the persons whose houses were destroyed by the fire, jointly and severally, the amount set forth in her arms, while Nicolas went to the home of his parents-in-law, took up the furniture he had deposited
the information, with costs. there, and carried it to the schoolhouse. The fire destroyed about forty-eight houses. Tomas Santiago
coming from the barrio artesian well, and Tomas Gonzalez, teacher at the barrio school of Masocol, and
Counsel appointed by the court to defend the accused- appellants de oficio, after delivering his argument, Felipe Clemente, an old man 61 years of age, coming from their homes, to the house on fire, saw Martin
prayed for the affirmance of the judgment with reference to the appellant Martin Atienza, and makes the Atienza going away from the house where the fire started, and Romana Silvestre leaving it.lawphil.net
following assignments of error with reference to Romana Silvestre, to wit:
As stated in the beginning, counsel appointed by this court to defend the accused-appellant de oficio,
1. The lower court erred in convincing Romana Silvestre as accomplice of the crime charged in the prays for the affirmance of the judgment appealed from with reference to defendant Martin Atienza. The
information. facts related heretofore, proved beyond a reasonable doubt at the hearing, justify this petition of the de
oficio counsel, and establish beyond a reasonable doubt said defendant's guilt of arson as charged, as 2. Any person who shall set fire to any inhabited house or any building in which people are
principal by direct participation. accustomed to meet together, without knowing whether or not such building or house was
occupied at the time, or any freight train in motion, if the damage caused in such cases shall
With respect to the accused-appellant Romana Silvestre, the only evidence of record against her are: That, exceed six thousand two hundred and fifty pesetas.
being married, she lived adulterously with her codefendant Martin Atienza, a married man; that both were
denounced for adultery by Domingo Joaquin, Romana Silvestre's second husband; that in view of the While the defendant indeed knew that besides himself and his codefendant, Romana Silvestre, there was
petition of the accused, who promised to discontinue their life together, and to leave the barrio of Masocol, nobody in De la Cruz's house at the moment of setting fire to it, he cannot be convicted merely arson less
and through the good offices of the municipal president of Paombong, the complaining husband asked for serious than what the trial court sentenced him for, inasmuch as that house was the means of destroying
the dismissal of the complaint; that in pursuance of their promise, both of the accused went to lived in the the others, and he did not know whether these were occupied at the time or not. If the greater seriousness
barrio of Santo Niño, in the same municipality; that under pretext for some nipa leaves from her son by her of setting fire to an inhabited house, when the incendiary does not know whether there are people in it at
former marriage, Nicolas de la Cruz, who had gone to the barrio of Santo Niño, Romana Silvestre followed the time, depends upon the danger to which the inmates are exposed, not less serious is the arson
him to his house in the barrio of Masocol on November 23, 1930, and remained there; that her committed by setting fire to inhabited houses by means of another inhabited house which the firebrand
codefendant, Martin Atienza followed her, and stayed with his coaccused in the same house; that on the knew to be empty at the moment of committing the act, if he did not know whether there were people or
night of November 25, 1930, at about 8 o'clock, while all were gathered together at home after supper, not in the others, inasmuch as the same danger exists.
Martin Atienza expressed his intention of burning the house as the only means of taking his revenge on the
Masocol resident, who had instigated Domingo Joaquin to file the complaint for adultery against them, With the evidence produced at the trial, the accused-appellant Martin Atienza might have been convicted
which compelled them to leave the barrio of Masocol; that Romana Silvestre listened to her codefendant's of the crime of arson in the most serious degree provided for in article 549 of the Penal Code, if the
threat without raising a protest, and did not give the alarm when the latter set fire to the house. Upon the information had alleged that at the time of setting fire to the house, the defendant knew that the other
strength of these facts, the court below found her guilty of arson as accomplice. houses were occupied, taking into account that barrio residents are accustomed to retire at the tolling of
the bell for the souls in purgatory, i.e., at 8 o'clock at night.
Article 14 of the Penal Code, considered in connection with article 13, defines an accomplice to be one who
does not take a direct part in the commission of the act, who does not force or induce other to commit it, For all the foregoing considerations, we are of the opinion and so hold, that: (1) Mere passive presence at
nor cooperates in the commission of the act by another act without which it would not have been the scene of another's crime, mere silence and failure to give the alarm, without evidence of agreement or
accomplished, yet cooperates in the execution of the act by previous or simultaneous actions. conspiracy, do not constitute the cooperation required by article 14 of the Penal Code for complicity in the
commission of the crime witnessed passively, or with regard to which one has kept silent; and (2) he who
Now then, which previous or simultaneous acts complicate Romana Silvestre in the crime of arson desiring to burn the houses in a barrio, without knowing whether there are people in them or not, sets fire
committed by her codefendant Martin Atienza? Is it her silence when he told the spouses, Nicolas de la to one known to be vacant at the time, which results in destroying the rest, commits the crime of arson,
Cruz and Antonia de la Cruz, to take away their furniture because he was going to set fire to their house as defined and penalized in article 550, paragraph 2, Penal Code.
the only means of revenging himself on the barrio residents, her passive presence when Martin Atienza set
fire to the house, where there is no evidence of conspiracy or cooperation, and her failure to give the alarm By virtue wherefore, the judgment appealed from is modified as follows: It is affirmed with reference to the
when the house was already on fire? accused-appellant Martin Atienza, and reversed with reference to the accused-appellant Romana Silvestre,
who is hereby acquitted with
The complicity which is penalized requires a certain degree of cooperation, whether moral, through advice, one-half of the costs de oficio. So ordered.
encouragement, or agreement, or material, through external acts. In the case of the accused-appellant
Romana Silvestre, there is no evidence of moral or material cooperation, and none of an agreement to
commit the crime in question. Her mere presence and silence while they are simultaneous acts, do not
constitute cooperation, for it does not appear that they encouraged or nerved Martin Atienza to commit
the crime of arson; and as for her failure to give the alarm, that being a subsequent act it does not make
her liable as an accomplice.

The trial court found the accused-appellant Martin Atienza guilty of arson, defined and penalized in article
550, paragraph 2, of the Penal Code, which reads as follows:

ART. 550. The penalty of cadena temporal shall be imposed upon:

xxx xxx xxx

G.R. No. L-28451 August 1, 1928 the part of the plaintiff that it would capsize if he did not separate the deceased from the boat in such a
manner as to give him no time to accomplish his purpose. It was necessary to disable him momentarily. For
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee, this purpose the blow given him by the appellant on the forehead with an oar was the least that could
vs. reasonably have been done. And this consideration militates with greater weight with respect to the second
NARCISO CABUNGCAL, defendant-appellant. blow given in his neck with the same oar, because, then the danger was greater that the boat might upset,
especially as the deceased had expressed his intention to upset it.
Esteban del Rosario for appellant.
Attorney-General Jaranilla for appellee. In view of all the circumstances of the case, in doing what the appellant did was in lawful defense of the
lives of the passengers of the boat, two of whom were his wife and child. The recourse of taking the boat to
the shore was not adequate in those circumstances, because that would require sometime, whereas the
AVANCEÑA, C.J.: deceased might in an instant cause the boat to capsize without giving time to arrive at the shore.

The appellant, Narciso Cabungcal, was sentenced by the Court of First Instance of Tayabas for the crime of The appellant having acted in defense of his wife and child and the other passengers in the boat and the
homicide to fourteen years, eight months and one day reclusion temporal, with the accessories of the law, means employed having been reasonably necessary in this defense, while it was at the cost of the life of the
to indemnify the heirs of the deceased in the sum of P500 and to pay the costs of the action. deceased, he is completely exempt from criminal liability.

On March 21, 1926 the appellant invited several persons to a picnic in a fishery of his property in the barrio Reversing the judgment appealed from, the appellant is acquitted, with the costs de oficio. So ordered.
of Misua, municipality of Infanta, Province of Tayabas. They spent the day at said fishery and in the
afternoon returned in two boats, one steered by the appellant and the other by an old woman named
Anastasia Penaojas. Nine persons were in the boat steered by the appellant, the great majority of whom
were women and among them the appellant's wife and son and a nursing child, son of a married couple
who had also gone in this boat. The deceased Juan Loquenario was another passenger in this boat. Upon
reaching a place of great depth the deceased rocked the boat which started it to take water, and the G.R. No. L-25459 August 10, 1926
appellant, fearing the boat might capsize, asked the deceased not to do it. As the deceased paid no
attention to this warning and continued rocking the boat, the appellant struck him on the forehead with an THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee,
oar. The deceased fell into the water and was submerged, but a little while after appeared on the surface vs.
having grasped the side of the boat, saying that he was going to capzise it and started to move it with this RAMON MABUG-AT, defendant-appellant.
end in view, seeing which the women began to cry, whereupon the appellant struck him on the neck with
the same oar, which submerged the deceased again. With the movement that the appellant made in giving
him the second blow, the boat upset and then the appellant proceeded to save his passengers. In the Vicente Sotto for appellant.
meantime the aged Anastasia Penaojas, who steered the other boat, and who at that time was about 200 or Attorney-General Jaranilla for appellee.
300 meters away, having heard the cries of the wrecked persons, quickened its speed, repaired to and
arrived in time to pick up the passengers who are clinging to the side of the capsized boat, taking them ROMUALDEZ, J.:
later to the river bank. The appellant, after having thus saved his passengers, proceeded to search for the
deceased but was unable to find him and his body was recovered later. The Court of First Instance of Oriental Negros imposed upon Ramon Mabug-at the penalty of twelve years
and one day cadena temporal, with the accessories of the law, to indemnify the offended party in the sum
The Attorney-General is of the opinion that the mitigating circumstances described in the first, third, fourth of P700 and to pay the costs, for the crime of frustrated murder.
and seventh paragraphs of article 9 of the Penal Code are present without any aggravating circumstance,
and the penalty to be imposed on the appellant should be one or two degrees less than that prescribed by The appellant appealed from this judgment, making two assignments of error as committed by the trial
the law. court, to wit:

In view of the facts stated, we are of the opinion that the appellant is completely exempt from all criminal 1. In holding that the crime committed is frustrated murder, and
2. In not giving any credit to the evidence presented by the defense, finding the defendant guilty
Due to the conditions of the river at the point where the deceased started to rock the boat, if it had beyond a reasonable doubt.
capsized the passengers would have run the risk of losing their lives, the majority of whom were women,
especially the nursing child. The conduct of the deceased in rocking the boat until the point of it having
The evidence of the prosecution shows that the accused and Juana Buralo was sweethearts. Juana had been
taken water and his insistence on this action, in spite of the appellant's warning, gave rise to the belief on
jealous of the accused on account of the latter having frequently visited the house of one Carmen. Their
relations were such that the accused invited Juana to take a walk on the afternoon of August 9, 1925. Juana Viada's Penal Code.) But, the fact is that treachery was proven and must be taken into consideration in this
refused him, later sending him a note of excuse. On the third day, or the night of August 11th, the accused case, because the accused fired at Perfecta Buralo, employing means which tended to insure the execution
went to the threshold of Cirilo Banyan's house where Juana Buralo had gone to take part in some devotion. of the crime without running any risk himself from anyone who might attempt to defend the said offended
There the accused, revolver in hand, requested Francisco Abellon to ask Juana to come downstairs and as party. The treachery which, according to the evidence, would have attended the crime had the bullet hit
Abellon refused to do so, the accused said: "If you do not want to go upstairs, I will get Juana and if anyone Juana Buralo was present in this case because the offended party Perfecta Buralo and Juana were going
tries to defend her I will kill him." upstairs with their backs towards the accused when he fired his revolver. The Supreme Court of Spain, in a
decision of May 7, 1885 (Viada, do., pp. 29, 30), in holding a crime to be murder and not homicide, stated
The accused waited until Juana and her niece Perfecta Buralo came downstairs, when they went in the the following:
direction of their house. The accused, who was seen by the two girls, followed them without saying a word.
It is only a short distance from the house where the devotion took place to that of the offended party, the Considering that, according to the concept of treachery as it is explained in article 10 of the Civil
houses being adjacent. As the two girls were going upstairs, the accused, while standing at the foot of the code dealing with said circumstance, it is evident that in firing the gun which Alejandro Sola was
stairway, fired a shot from his revolver which wounded Perfecta Buralo, the bullet passing through a part of carrying which caused the death of Nazario Iñigo, he employed means which tended to insure the
her neck, having entered the posterior region thereof and coming out through the left eye, which was commission of the crime without any risk to himself arising from any defense that might be made
completely destroyed. Due to proper medical attention, Perfecta Buralo did not die and is on e of the by the offended party, for neither the wounded party Bartolome Lobejano, at whom the shot was
witnesses who testified at the trial of this case. aimed in order to kill him so that he might not testify as to the assault committed upon him
shortly before, as held by the trial court, was not in a position to defend himself in any way, nor
The defense, without abandoning its allegation that the accused is not responsible for the crime, contends could Nazario Iñigo become aware of any attack so unjustified, rapid and unforeseen; considering,
that the crime proven is not frustrated murder but the discharge of a firearm, with injuries, it not having further, that the purely accidental circumstance that as a result of the shot a person other than the
been proven that it was the accused's intention to kill. one intended was killed, does not modify, in the instant case, the elements constituting the crime
of murder qualified by the treachery with which Alejandro Sola acted, whether with respect to the
wounded Bartolome Lobejano or to the deceased Nazario Iñigo, for which reason the rules of
The relations existing between the accused and Juana Buralo, his disappointment at her not accepting his article 65 are not applicable herein, the culprit not having, in fact, committed a crime different
invitation to take a walk, the fact that the accused, revolver in hand, went to look for Juana Buralo at the from that which he intended, taking into consideration the substantial and intrinsical meaning
house where the devotion was being held, later following her to her house, and especially having aimed at thereof, etc.
her person--the head--are facts which, in our opinion, permit of no other conclusion than that, in firing the
shot, it was the accused's intention to kill.
Although the case just cited refers to the crime of consummated murder, the doctrine sustained therein is
applicable to the case at bar so far as the concurrence of treachery as a qualifying circumstance is
In the decision of this court in the case of United States vs. Montenegro (15 Phil., 1), it was held: concerned.

We do not doubt that there may be cases wherein the discharge of a firearm at another is not in The crime now before us is frustrated murder, the accused having intended to kill and performed all the
itself sufficient to sustain a finding of the intention to kill, and there are many cases in the books acts of execution, which would have produced the crime of murder but which, nevertheless, did not
wherein the attendant circumstances conclusively establish that on discharging a firearm at produce it by reason of causes independent of his will. (Art. 3, Penal Code.)
another the actor was not in fact animated by the intent to kill. But, in seeking to ascertain the
intention with which a specific act is committed, it is always proper and necessary to look not
merely to the act itself but to all the attendant circumstances so far as they are developed by the We find no merit in the first assignment of error.
evidence; and where, as in the case at bar, a revolver is twice discharged point-blank at the body
of another, and the shots directed at the most vital parts of the body, it needs but little additional In regard to the second, it appears beyond a reasonable doubt that the facts enumerated above constitute
evidence to establish the intent to kill beyond a reasonable doubt. the crime of frustrated murder.

The fact that a person received the shot which was intended for another, does not alter his criminal liability. With the exception of the qualifying circumstance of treachery, we find no other aggravating circumstance.
(Art. 1, par. 3, Penal Code.)
The judgment appealed from being in accordance with the law and the facts proven, the same is hereby
The circumstances qualifying the murder alleged in the complaint are evidence premeditation and affirmed in all its parts costs against the appellant. So ordered.
treachery. Even when there is sufficient proof of premeditation (which we do not believe has been
sufficiently established), yet, it cannot be considered as a qualifying circumstance in the present case,
because the person whom the accused intended to kill was not Perfecta Buralo, who was hit by the bullet,
but her aunt Juana Buralo. Had evident premeditation been proven, and there being no other qualifying
circumstance of frustrated murder present in this case, the acts should be held to be frustrated homicide
and punished with the maximum degree of the penalty prescribed by law. (Question 2, p. 28, 1890 ed.,
correccional and to indemnify jointly and severally the heirs of the deceased in the amount of P1,000.
Defendants appealed separately from this judgment.

In the afternoon of December 24, 1938. Captain Godofredo Monsod, Constabulary Provincial Inspector at
Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, received from Major Guido a telegram of the following tenor: "Information
received escaped convict Anselmo Balagtas with bailarina and Irene in Cabanatuan get him dead or alive."
Captain Monsod accordingly called for his first sergeant and asked that he be given four men. Defendant
corporal Alberto Galanta, and privates Nicomedes Oralo, Venancio Serna and D. Fernandez, upon order of
their sergeant, reported at the office of the Provincial Inspector where they were shown a copy of the
above-quoted telegram and a newspaper clipping containing a picture of Balagtas. They were instructed to
arrest Balagtas and, if overpowered, to follow the instruction contained in the telegram. The same
instruction was given to the chief of police Oanis who was likewise called by the Provincial Inspector. When
the chief of police was asked whether he knew one Irene, a bailarina, he answered that he knew one of
loose morals of the same name. Upon request of the Provincial Inspector, the chief of police tried to locate
some of his men to guide the constabulary soldiers in ascertaining Balagtas' whereabouts, and failing to
see anyone of them he volunteered to go with the party. The Provincial Inspector divided the party into two
groups with defendants Oanis and Galanta, and private Fernandez taking the route to Rizal street leading
to the house where Irene was supposedly living. When this group arrived at Irene's house, Oanis
approached one Brigida Mallare, who was then stripping banana stalks, and asked her where Irene's room
was. Brigida indicated the place and upon further inquiry also said that Irene was sleeping with her
paramour. Brigida trembling, immediately returned to her own room which was very near that occupied by
Irene and her paramour. Defendants Oanis and Galanta then went to the room of Irene, and an seeing a
man sleeping with his back towards the door where they were, simultaneously or successively fired at him
with their .32 and .45 caliber revolvers. Awakened by the gunshots, Irene saw her paramour already
wounded, and looking at the door where the shots came, she saw the defendants still firing at him.
Shocked by the entire scene. Irene fainted; it turned out later that the person shot and killed was not the
notorious criminal Anselmo Balagtas but a peaceful and innocent citizen named Serapio Tecson, Irene's
paramour. The Provincial Inspector, informed of the killing, repaired to the scene and when he asked as to
who killed the deceased. Galanta, referring to himself and to Oanis, answered: "We two, sir." The corpse was
thereafter brought to the provincial hospital and upon autopsy by Dr. Ricardo de Castro, multiple gunshot
wounds inflicted by a .32 and a .45 caliber revolvers were found on Tecson's body which caused his death.

G.R. No. L-47722 July 27, 1943 These are the facts as found by the trial court and fully supported by the evidence, particularly by the
testimony of Irene Requinea. Appellants gave, however, a different version of the tragedy. According to
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, Appellant Galanta, when he and chief of police Oanis arrived at the house, the latter asked Brigida where
vs. Irene's room was. Brigida indicated the place, and upon further inquiry as to the whereabouts of Anselmo
ANTONIO Z. OANIS and ALBERTO GALANTA, defendants-appellants. Balagtas, she said that he too was sleeping in the same room. Oanis went to the room thus indicated and
upon opening the curtain covering the door, he said: "If you are Balagtas, stand up." Tecson, the supposed
Antonio Z. Oanis in his own behalf. Balagtas, and Irene woke up and as the former was about to sit up in bed. Oanis fired at him. Wounded,
Maximo L. Valenzuela for appellant Galanta. Tecson leaned towards the door, and Oanis receded and shouted: "That is Balagtas." Galanta then fired at
Acting Solicitor-General Ibañez and Assistant Attorney Torres for appellee. Tecson.

MORAN, J.: On the other hand, Oanis testified that after he had opened the curtain covering the door and after having
said, "if you are Balagtas stand up." Galanta at once fired at Tecson, the supposed Balagtas, while the latter
was still lying on bed, and continued firing until he had exhausted his bullets: that it was only thereafter
Charged with the crime of murder of one Serapio Tecson, the accused Antonio Z. Oanis and Alberto that he, Oanis, entered the door and upon seeing the supposed Balagtas, who was then apparently
Galanta, chief of police of Cabanatuan and corporal of the Philippine Constabulary, respectively, were, after watching and picking up something from the floor, he fired at him.
due trial, found guilty by the lower court of homicide through reckless imprudence and were sentenced
each to an indeterminate penalty of from one year and six months to two years and two months of prison
The trial court refused to believe the appellants. Their testimonies are certainly incredible not only because ample time and opportunity to ascertain his identity without hazard to themselves, and could even effect a
they are vitiated by a natural urge to exculpate themselves of the crime, but also because they are bloodless arrest if any reasonable effort to that end had been made, as the victim was unarmed, according
materially contradictory. Oasis averred that be fired at Tecson when the latter was apparently watching to Irene Requinea. This, indeed, is the only legitimate course of action for appellants to follow even if the
somebody in an attitudes of picking up something from the floor; on the other hand, Galanta testified that victim was really Balagtas, as they were instructed not to kill Balagtas at sight but to arrest him, and to get
Oasis shot Tecson while the latter was about to sit up in bed immediately after he was awakened by a him dead or alive only if resistance or aggression is offered by him.
noise. Galanta testified that he fired at Tecson, the supposed Balagtas, when the latter was rushing at him.
But Oanis assured that when Galanta shot Tecson, the latter was still lying on bed. It is apparent from these Although an officer in making a lawful arrest is justified in using such force as is reasonably necessary to
contradictions that when each of the appellants tries to exculpate himself of the crime charged, he is at secure and detain the offender, overcome his resistance, prevent his escape, recapture him if he escapes,
once belied by the other; but their mutual incriminating averments dovetail with and corroborate and protect himself from bodily harm (People vs. Delima, 46 Phil, 738), yet he is never justified in using
substantially, the testimony of Irene Requinea. It should be recalled that, according to Requinea, Tecson unnecessary force or in treating him with wanton violence, or in resorting to dangerous means when the
was still sleeping in bed when he was shot to death by appellants. And this, to a certain extent, is confirmed arrest could be effected otherwise (6 C.J.S., par. 13, p. 612). The doctrine is restated in the new Rules of
by both appellants themselves in their mutual recriminations. According, to Galanta, Oanis shot Tecson Court thus: "No unnecessary or unreasonable force shall be used in making an arrest, and the person
when the latter was still in bed about to sit up just after he was awakened by a noise. And Oanis assured arrested shall not be subject to any greater restraint than is necessary for his detention." (Rule 109, sec. 2,
that when Galanta shot Tecson, the latter was still lying in bed. Thus corroborated, and considering that the par. 2). And a peace officer cannot claim exemption from criminal liability if he uses unnecessary force or
trial court had the opportunity to observe her demeanor on the stand, we believe and so hold that no error violence in making an arrest (5 C.J., p. 753; U.S. vs. Mendoza, 2 Phil., 109). It may be true that Anselmo
was committed in accepting her testimony and in rejecting the exculpatory pretensions of the two Balagtas was a notorious criminal, a life-termer, a fugitive from justice and a menace to the peace of the
appellants. Furthermore, a careful examination of Irene's testimony will show not only that her version of community, but these facts alone constitute no justification for killing him when in effecting his arrest, he
the tragedy is not concocted but that it contains all indicia of veracity. In her cross-examination, even offers no resistance or in fact no resistance can be offered, as when he is asleep. This, in effect, is the
misleading questions had been put which were unsuccessful, the witness having stuck to the truth in every principle laid down, although upon different facts, in U.S. vs. Donoso (3 Phil., 234, 242).
detail of the occurrence. Under these circumstances, we do not feel ourselves justified in disturbing the
findings of fact made by the trial court.
It is, however, suggested that a notorious criminal "must be taken by storm" without regard to his right to
life which he has by such notoriety already forfeited. We may approve of this standard of official conduct
The true fact, therefore, of the case is that, while Tecson was sleeping in his room with his back towards the where the criminal offers resistance or does something which places his captors in danger of imminent
door, Oanis and Galanta, on sight, fired at him simultaneously or successively, believing him to be Anselmo attack. Otherwise we cannot see how, as in the present case, the mere fact of notoriety can make the life of
Balagtas but without having made previously any reasonable inquiry as to his identity. And the question is a criminal a mere trifle in the hands of the officers of the law. Notoriety rightly supplies a basis for
whether or not they may, upon such fact, be held responsible for the death thus caused to Tecson. It is redoubled official alertness and vigilance; it never can justify precipitate action at the cost of human life.
contended that, as appellants acted in innocent mistake of fact in the honest performance of their official Where, as here, the precipitate action of the appellants has cost an innocent life and there exist no
duties, both of them believing that Tecson was Balagtas, they incur no criminal liability. Sustaining this circumstances whatsoever to warrant action of such character in the mind of a reasonably prudent man,
theory in part, the lower court held and so declared them guilty of the crime of homicide through reckless condemnation — not condonation — should be the rule; otherwise we should offer a premium to crime in
imprudence. We are of the opinion, however, that, under the circumstances of the case, the crime the shelter of official actuation.
committed by appellants is murder through specially mitigated by circumstances to be mentioned below.
The crime committed by appellants is not merely criminal negligence, the killing being intentional and not
In support of the theory of non-liability by reasons of honest mistake of fact, appellants rely on the case of accidental. In criminal negligence, the injury caused to another should be unintentional, it being simply the
U.S. v. Ah Chong, 15 Phil., 488. The maxim is ignorantia facti excusat, but this applies only when the mistake incident of another act performed without malice. (People vs. Sara, 55 Phil., 939). In the words of Viada,
is committed without fault or carelessness. In the Ah Chong case, defendant therein after having gone to "para que se celifique un hecho de imprudencia es preciso que no haya mediado en el malicia ni intencion
bed was awakened by someone trying to open the door. He called out twice, "who is there," but received alguna de dañar; existiendo esa intencion, debera calificarse el hecho del delito que ha producido, por mas
no answer. Fearing that the intruder was a robber, he leaped from his bed and called out again., "If you que no haya sido la intencion del agente el causar un mal de tanta gravedad como el que se produjo."
enter the room I will kill you." But at that precise moment, he was struck by a chair which had been placed (Tomo 7, Viada Codigo Penal Comentado, 5.a ed. pag. 7). And, as once held by this Court, a deliberate
against the door and believing that he was then being attacked, he seized a kitchen knife and struck and intent to do an unlawful act is essentially inconsistent with the idea of reckless imprudence (People vs.
fatally wounded the intruder who turned out to be his room-mate. A common illustration of innocent Nanquil, 43 Phil., 232; People vs. Bindor, 56 Phil., 16), and where such unlawful act is wilfully done, a mistake
mistake of fact is the case of a man who was marked as a footpad at night and in a lonely road held up a in the identity of the intended victim cannot be considered as reckless imprudence (People vs. Gona, 54
friend in a spirit of mischief, and with leveled, pistol demanded his money or life. He was killed by his friend Phil., 605) to support a plea of mitigated liability.
under the mistaken belief that the attack was real, that the pistol leveled at his head was loaded and that
his life and property were in imminent danger at the hands of the aggressor. In these instances, there is an
innocent mistake of fact committed without any fault or carelessness because the accused, having no time As the deceased was killed while asleep, the crime committed is murder with the qualifying circumstance of
or opportunity to make a further inquiry, and being pressed by circumstances to act immediately, had no alevosia. There is, however, a mitigating circumstance of weight consisting in the incomplete justifying
alternative but to take the facts as they then appeared to him, and such facts justified his act of killing. In circumstance defined in article 11, No. 5, of the Revised Penal Code. According to such legal provision, a
the instant case, appellants, unlike the accused in the instances cited, found no circumstances whatsoever person incurs no criminal liability when he acts in the fulfillment of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right
which would press them to immediate action. The person in the room being then asleep, appellants had or office. There are two requisites in order that the circumstance may be taken as a justifying one: ( a) that
the offender acted in the performance of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right; and (b) that the injury or In accomplishing the acts with which the appellants were charged, they undoubtedly followed the order
offense committed be the necessary consequence of the due performance of such duty or the lawful issued by the Constabulary authorities in Manila requiring the Provincial Inspector in Cabanatuan to get
exercise of such right or office. In the instance case, only the first requisite is present — appellants have Balagtas dead or alive, in the honest belief that Serapio Tecson was Anselmo Balagtas. As the latter became
acted in the performance of a duty. The second requisite is wanting for the crime by them committed is not a fugitive criminal, with revolvers in his possession and a record that made him extremely dangerous and a
the necessary consequence of a due performance of their duty. Their duty was to arrest Balagtas or to get public terror, the Constabulary authorities were justified in ordering his arrest, whether dead or alive. In
him dead or alive if resistance is offered by him and they are overpowered. But through impatience or over- view of said order and the danger faced by the appellants in carrying it out, they cannot be said to have
anxiety or in their desire to take no chances, they have exceeded in the fulfillment of such duty by killing acted feloniously in shooting the person honestly believed by them to be the wanted man. Conscious of
the person whom they believed to be Balagtas without any resistance from him and without making any the fact that Balagtas would rather kill than be captured, the appellants did not want to take chances and
previous inquiry as to his identity. According to article 69 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty lower by should not be penalized for such prudence. On the contrary, they should be commended for their bravery
one or two degrees than that prescribed by law shall, in such case, be imposed. and courage bordering on recklessness because, without knowing or ascertaining whether the wanted man
was in fact asleep in his room, they proceeded thereto without hesitation and thereby exposed their lives to
For all the foregoing, the judgment is modified and appellants are hereby declared guilty of murder with danger.
the mitigating circumstance above mentioned, and accordingly sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of
from five (5) years of prision correctional to fifteen (15) years of reclusion temporal, with the accessories of The Solicitor-General, however, contends that the appellants were authorized to use their revolvers only
the law, and to pay the heirs of the deceased Serapio Tecson jointly and severally an indemnity of P2,000, after being overpowered by Balagtas. In the first place, the alleged instruction by the Provincial Inspector to
with costs. that effect, was in violation of the express order given by the Constabulary authorities in Manila and which
was shown to the appellants. In the second place, it would indeed be suicidal for the appellants or, for that
Yulo, C.J., Bocobo, Generoso and Lopez Vito, A., concur. matter, any agent of the authority to have waited until they have been overpowered before trying to put
our such a character as Balagtas. In the third place, it is immaterial whether or not the instruction given by
the Provincial Inspector was legitimate and proper, because the facts exist that the appellants acted in
conformity with the express order of superior Constabulary authorities, the legality or propriety of which is
not herein questioned.
Separate Opinions
The theory of the prosecution has acquired some plausibility, though quite psychological or sentimental, in
PARAS, J., dissenting: view only of the fact that it was not Balagtas who was actually killed, but an "innocent man . . . while he was
deeply asleep." Anybody's heart will be profoundly grieved by the trade, but in time will be consoled by the
Anselmo Balagtas, a life termer and notorious criminal, managed to escape and flee form Manila to the realization that the life of Serapio Tecson was not vainly sacrificed, for the incident will always serve as a
provinces. Receiving information to the effect that he was staying with one Irene in Cabanatuan, Nueva loud warning to any one desiring to follow in the footsteps of Anselmo Balagtas that in due time the duly
Ecija, the office of the Constabulary in Manila ordered the Provincial Inspector in Cabanatuan by telegram constituted authorities will, upon proper order, enforce the summary forfeiture of his life.
dispatched on December 25, 1938, to get Balagtas "dead or alive". Among those assigned to the task of
carrying out the said order, were Antonio Z. Oanis, chief of police of Cabanatuan, and Alberto Galanta, a In my opinion, therefore, the appellants are not criminally liable if the person killed by them was in fact
Constabulary corporal, to whom the telegram received by the Provincial Inspector and a newspaper picture Anselmo Balagtas for the reason that they did so in the fulfillment of their duty and in obedience to an
of Balagtas were shown. Oanis, Galanta and a Constabulary private, after being told by the Provincial order issued by a superior for some lawful purpose (Revised Penal Code, art. 11, pars. 5 and 6). They also
Inspector to gather information about Balagtas, "to arrest him and, if overpowered, to follow the cannot be held criminally liable even if the person killed by them was not Anselmo Balagtas, but Serapio
instructions contained in the telegram," proceeded to the place where the house of Irene was located. Tecson, because they did so under an honest mistake of fact not due to negligence or bad faith. (U.S. vs. Ah
Upon arriving thereat, Oanis approached Brigida Mallari, who was then gathering banana stalks in the yard, Chong, 15 Phil., 488).
and inquired for the room of Irene. After Mallari had pointed out the room, she was asked by Oanis to tell
where Irene's paramour, Balagtas, was, whereupon Mallari answered that he was sleeping with Irene. Upon It is true that, under article 4 of the Revised Penal Code, criminal liability is incurred by any person
reaching the room indicated, Oanis and Galanta, after the former had shouted "Stand up, if you are committing a felony although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended; but said
Balagtas," started shooting the man who was found by them lying down beside a woman. The man was article is clearly inapplicable since the killing of the person who was believed to be Balagtas was, as already
thereby killed, but Balagtas was still alive, for it turned out that the person shot by Oanis and Galanta was stated, not wrongful or felonious.
one Serapio Tecson.

The case of U.S. vs. Mendieta (34 Phil., 242), cited by the Solicitor-General, is not in point, inasmuch as the
Consequently, Oanis and Galanta were charged with having committed murder. The Court of First Instance defendant therein, who intended to injure Hilario Lauigan with whom he had a quarrel, but killed another
of Nueva Ecija, however, convicted them only of homicide through reckless imprudence and sentenced by mistake, would not be exempted from criminal liability if he actually injured or killed Hilario Lauigan,
them each to suffer the indeterminate penalty of from 1 year and 6 months to 2 years and 2 months of there being a malicious design on his part. The other case involved by the prosecution is U.S. vs. Donoso (3
prision correctional, to jointly and severally indemnify the heirs of Serapio Tecson in the amount of P1,000, Phil., 234). This is also not in point, as it appears that the defendants therein killed one Pedro Almasan after
and to pay the costs. Oanis and Galanta have appealed.
he had already surrendered and allowed himself to be bound and that the said defendants did not have which may be deemed proper, in view of the number and nature of the conditions of exemption
lawful instructions from superior authorities to capture Almasan dead or alive. present or lacking.

The appealed judgment should therefore be reversed and the appellants, Antonio Z. Oanis and Alberto This provision has been copied almost verbatim from Article 84 of the old Penal Code of the Philippines,
Galanta, acquitted, with costs de oficio. and which was also taken from Article 87 of the Spanish Penal Code of 1870.

Judge Guillermo Guevara, one of the members of the Committee created by Administrative Order No. 94 of
the Department of Justice for the drafting of the Revised Penal Code, in commenting on Article 69, said that
HONTIVEROS, J., dissenting: the justifying circumstances and circumstances exempting from liability which are the subject matter of this
article are the following: self-defense, defense of relatives, defense of strangers, state of necessity and
injury caused by mere accident. Accordingly, justifying circumstance No. 5 of Article 11 dealing with the
According to the opinion of the majority, it is proper to follow the rule that a notorious criminal "must be fulfillment of a duty or the lawful exercise of a right, calling or office, cannot be placed within its scope.
taken by storm without regard to his life which he has, by his conduct, already forfeited," whenever said
criminal offers resistance or does something which places his captors in danger of imminent attack.
Precisely, the situation which confronted the accused-appellants Antonio Z. Oanis and Alberto Galanta in The eminent treatiser of criminal law Mr. Groizard, in his commentary of Article 87 of the Spanish Penal
the afternoon of December 24, 1938, was very similar to this. It must be remembered that both officers Code of 1870 which is the source of Article 69 of our Code says:
received instructions to get Balagtas "dead or alive" and according to the attitude of not only the said
appellants but also of Capt. Monsod, constabulary provincial inspector of Nueva Ecija, it may be assumed Ni tratandose de la imbecilidad, ni de la locura, ni de la menor edad, ni del que obra violentado
that said instructions gave more emphasis to the first part; namely, to take him dead. It appears in the por una fuerza inrresistible o impulsado por miedo insuperable de un mal igual o mayor, o en
record that after the shooting, and having been informed of the case, Capt. Monsod stated that Oanis and cumplimiento de un deber, o en el ejercito legitimo de un derecho, oficio o cargo, o en virtud de
Galanta might be decorated for what they had done. That was when all parties concerned honestly believed obediencia debida, ni del que incurre en alguna omision hallandose impedido por causa legitima
that the dead person was Balagtas himself, a dangerous criminal who had escaped from his guards and was o insuperable, puede tener aplicacion al articulo que comentamos. Y la razon es obvia. En ninguna
supposedly armed with a .45 caliber pistol Brigida Mallari, the person whom the appellants met upon de estas execiones hay pluralidad de requisitos. La irrespondabilidad depende de una sola
arriving at the house of Irene Requinea, supposed mistress of Balagtas, informed them that said Balagtas condicion. Hay o no perturbacion de la razon; el autor del hecho es o no menor de nueve años;
was upstairs. Appellants found there asleep a man closely resembling the wanted criminal. Oanis said: If existe o no violencia material o moral irresistible, etc., etc.; tal es lo que respectivamente hay que
you are Balagtas stand up," But the supposed criminal showed his intention to attack the appellants, a examinar y resolver para declarar la culpabilidad o inculpabilidad. Es, por lo tanto, imposible que
conduct easily explained by the fact that he should have felt offended by the intrusion of persons in the acontezca lo que el texto que va al frente de estas lineas rquiere, para que se imponga al autor del
room where he was peacefully lying down with his mistress. In such predicament, it was nothing but human hecho la penalidad excepcional que establece; esto es, que falten algunos requisitos de los que la
on the part of the appellants to employ force and to make use of their weapons in order to repel the ley exige para eximir de responsabilidad, y que concurran el mayor numero de ellos, toda vez que,
imminent attack by a person who, according to their belief, was Balagtas It was unfortunate, however that en los casos referidos, la ley no exige multiples condiciones.
an innocent man was actually killed. But taking into consideration the facts of the case, it is, according to
my humble opinion, proper to apply herein the doctrine laid down in the case of U.S. vs. Ah Chong (15 Phil., It must be taken into account the fact according to Article 69 a penalty lower by one or two degrees than
488). In the instant case we have, as in the case supra, an innocent mistake of fact committed without any that prescribed by law shall be imposed if the deed is not wholly excusable by reason of the lack of some of
fault or carelessness on the part of the accused, who having no time to make a further inquiry, had no the conditions required by the law to justify the same or exempt from criminal liability. The word
alternative but to take the facts as they appeared to them and act immediately. "conditions" should not be confused with the word "requisites". In dealing with justifying circumstance No.
5 Judge Guevara states: "There are two requisites in order that this circumstance may be taken into account:
The decision of the majority, in recognition of the special circumstances of this case which favored the (a) That the offender acted in the performance of his duty or in the lawful exercise of a right; and ( b) That
accused-appellants, arrives at the conclusion that an incomplete justifying circumstance may be invoked, the injury or offense committed be the necessary consequence of the performance of a duty or the lawful
and therefore, according to Article 69 of the Revised Penal Code, the imposable penalty should be one exercise of a right or office." It is evident that these two requisites concur in the present case if we consider
which is lower by one or two degrees than that prescribed by law. This incomplete justifying circumstance is the intimate connection between the order given to the appellant by Capt. Monsod, the showing to them of
that defined in Article 11, No. 5 of the Revised Penal Code, in favor of "a person who acts in the fulfillment the telegram from Manila to get Balagtas who was with a bailarina named Irene, the conduct of said
of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or office." I believe that the application of this circumstance is appellants in questioning Brigida Mallari and giving a warning to the supposed criminal when both found
not proper. Article 69 of the Revised Penal Code provides as follows: him with Irene, and the statement made by Capt. Monsod after the shooting.

Art. 69. Penalty to be imposed when the crime committed is not wholly excusable. — A penalty If appellant Oanis is entitled to a reversal of the decision of the court below, there are more reasons in favor
lower by one or two degrees than that prescribed by law shall be imposed if the deed is not of the acquittal of appellant Galanta. According to the evidence no bullet from the gun fired by this
wholly excusable by reason of the lack of some of the conditions required to justify the same or to accused ever hit Serapio Tecson. Galanta was armed in the afternoon of December 24, 1938, with a .45
exempt from criminal liability in the several cases mentioned in articles 11 and 12, provided that caliber revolver (Exhibit L). He so testified and was corroborated by the unchallenged testimony of his
the majority of such conditions be present. The courts shall impose the penalty in the period superior officer Sgt. Valeriano Serafica. According to this witness, since Galanta was made a corporal of the
Constabulary he was given, as part of his equipment, revolver Exhibit L with a serial No. 37121. This gun had THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee,
been constantly used by Galanta, and, according to Sgt. Pedro Marasigan, who accompanied said accused vs.
when he took it from his trunk in the barracks on the night of December 24, 1938, upon order of Captain JUAN QUIANZON, defendant-appellant.
Monsod, it was the same revolver which was given to the witness with five .45 caliber bullets and one empty
shell. Fourteen unused bullets were also taken from Galanta by Sergeant Serafica, thus completing his Pedro B. Pobre for appellant.
regular equipment of twenty bullets which he had on the morning of December 24, 1938, when Sergeant Office of the Solicitor-General Hilado for appellee.
Serafica made the usual inspection of the firearms in the possession of the non-commissioned officers and
privates of the constabulary post at Cabanatuan. Galanta stated that he had fired only one shot and missed.
This testimony is corroborated by that of a ballistic expert who testified that bullets exhibits F and O, — the RECTO, J.:
first being extracted from the head of the deceased, causing wound No. 3 of autopsy report Exhibit C and
the second found at the place of the shooting, — had not been fired from revolver Exhibit L nor from any Charged with and convicted of the crime of homicide in the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Norte, and
other revolver of the constabulary station in Cabanatuan. It was impossible for the accused Galanta to have sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of from six years and one day of prision mayor, as minimum to
substituted his revolver because when Exhibit L was taken from him nobody in the barracks doubted that fourteen years, seven months and one day of reclusion temporal, as maximum, Juan Quianzon appeal to
the deceased was none other than Balagtas. Moreover, Exhibit L was not out of order and therefore there this court for the review of the case.
was no reason why Galanta should carry along another gun, according to the natural course of things. On
the other hand, aside from wound No. 3 as above stated, no other wound may be said to have been caused On February 1, 1934, a novena for the suffrage of the soul of the deceased person was being held in the
by a .45 caliber revolver bullet. Doctor Castro's record gives the conclusion that wound No. 2 must have house of Victoria Cacpal in a barrio, near the poblacion, of the municipality of Paoay, Ilocos Norte, with the
been caused by a .45 caliber revolver bullet. Doctor Castro's record gives the conclusion that wound No. 2 usual attendance of the relatives and friends. The incident that led to the filling of these charges took place
must have been caused by a .45 caliber bullet, but inasmuch as the diameter of the wound's entrance was between 3 to 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Andres Aribuabo, one of the persons present, went to ask for food
only 8 mm., the caliber should be .32 and not .45, because according to the medico-legal expert who of Juan Quianzon, then in the kitchen, who, to all appearances, had the victuals in his care. It was the
testified in this case, a bullet of a .45 caliber will produce a wound entrance with either 11 mm. or 12 mm. second or third time that Aribuabo approached Quianzon with the same purpose whereupon the latter,
diameter. All other wounds found by the surgeon who performed the autopsy appeared to have been greatly peeved, took hold of a firebrand and applied ran to the place where the people were gathered
caused by bullets of a lesser caliber. In consequence, it can be stated that no bullet fired by Galanta did exclaiming that he is wounded and was dying. Raising his shirt, he showed to those present a wound in his
ever hit or kill Serapio Tecson and therefore there is no reason why he should be declared criminally abdomen below the navel. Aribuabo died as a result of this wound on the tenth day after the incident.
responsible for said death.
There is no conflict between the prosecution and the defense as regards the foregoing facts. The question
to be determined is who wounded Aribuabo. The prosecution claims that it was Juan Quianzon and, to
prove it, called Simeon Cacpal, Roman Bagabay, Gregorio Dumlao and Julian Llaguno to the witness stand.

The first witness, Simeon Cacpal, claims to have witnessed the wounding of Andres Aribuabo in the
abdomen by Juan Quianzon. However, we find the testimony of this witness so improbable, incongruent
and contradictory that we consider meritorious the claim of the defense that it was an error of the lower
court to have taken it into consideration in formulating the findings of its judgment. Not so with respect to
the testimony of the other witnesses. Roman Bagabay, one of the persons present at said gathering,
testified that he saw Juan Quianzon apply a firebrand to the neck of Andres Aribuabo who shortly
afterwards went toward the place where the witness and the other guests were gathered, telling that he
was wounded and was going to die and naming Juan Quianzon as the person who wounded him. He also
testified that Juan Quianzon, upon being asked immediately by him about the incident, admitted to him
attacked Aribuabo with a bamboo spit. Gregorio Dumalao, a barrio lieutenant, who, upon being informed
of the incident, forthwith conducted an investigation, questioned Aribuabo and the latter told him that it
was the accused who had wounded him. He likewise questioned the accused and the latter, in turn, stated
that he had wounded the deceased with a bamboo spit. Upon being brought before Juan Llaguno, chief of
police of Paoay, for questioning, Quianzon confessed to Llaguno that he had applied a firebrand to
Aribuabo's neck and had later wounded him with a bamboo spit. Before the chief of police could put this
confession of Quianzon in writing, the later retracted, denying that he had wounded Aribuabo, for which
reason in the affidavit Exhibit B the fact of having applied a firebrand to Aribuabo's neck appears admitted
by Quianzon but not of having wounded the deceased with a bamboo spit.

G.R. No. 42607 September 28, 1935

The disinterestedness of these three witnesses for the prosecution, Bagabay, Dumalo and Llaguno, is not followed, and the fact that the patient had so acted in a paroxysm of pain does not alter the juridical
questioned by the defense. Neither the accused, in his testimony, nor his counsel, in the brief filed by him consequences of the punishable act of the accused.
in this court, was able to assign any unlawful, corrupt or wicked motive that might have actuated them to
testify falsely in this case and knowingly bring about the imprisonment of an innocent person. Bagabay is One who inflicts an injury on another is deemed by the law to be guilty of homicide if the injury
not even a relative of the deceased. Dumlao, the barrio lieutenant, is a nephew of the accused. Llaguno, contributes mediately or immediately to the death of such other. The fact that the other causes
chief of police of Paoay, is an officer of the law whose intervention of this case was purely in compliance contribute to the death does not relieve the actor of responsibility. . . . (13 R. C.L., 748.)
with his official duties. All the appellant has been able to state in his brief to question the credibility of
these witnesses is that they were contradicted by Simeon Cacpal, the other witness for the prosecution,
who testified that he had not seen them speak neither to Aribuabo nor to Quianzon in the afternoon of the Furthermore, it does not appear that the patient, in removing the drainage, had acted voluntarily and with
crime. But the position of the defense in invoking Simeon Cacpal's testimony for the purpose of the knowledge that he was performing an act prejudicial to his health, inasmuch as self-preservation is the
discrediting the other witnesses for the prosecution is untenable, after having vigorously impeached said strongest instinct in living beings. It much be assumed, therefore, that he unconsciously did so due to his
testimony, branding it as improbable, incongruent and contradictory. If Cacpal is a false witness — and the pathological condition and to his state of nervousness and restlessness on account of the horrible physical
court believes this claim of the defense as true — , none of his statements may be taken into account or pain caused by the wound, aggravated by the contract of the drainage tube with the inflammed
should exert any influence in the consideration of the other evidence in the case. peritoneum. "When the peritonitis is due to traumatism, or to a perforation of the stomach, intestine or
gall-bladder, etc., it is indicated by violent shivering and pain first localized at a point in the abdomen,
extending later to the entire abdominal wall; acute intolerable pain, which is aggravated by the slightest
After discharging testimony of Simeon Cacpal, the evidence presented by the prosecution relative to the movement, becoming unbearable upon contact with the hand, a rag, or the bedclothes. The pain is
appellant's criminal liability for the death of Andres Aribuabo, briefly consists, first, in the victim's statement continuous but it gives frequent paroxysms. The abdomen is swollen, tense. Vomittings of the greenish
immediately after receiving the wound, naming the accused as the author of the aggression, and the matter, which are very annoying and terribly painful, take from the beginning and continue while the
admission forthwith made by the accused that he had applied a firebrand to Aribuabo's neck and had disease lasts." (XVI Spanish-America Encyclopaedic Dictionary, 176; see also XXI Encyclopaedia Britannica,
wounded him, besides, with a bamboo spit. Both statements are competent evidence in the law, admissible 1911 ed., 171.) If to this is added the fact that the victim in this case was mentally deranged, according to
as a part of the res gestae (section 279 and 298, No. 7, of the Code of Civil Procedure; U.S. vs. Macuti, 26 the defense itself, it becomes more evident that the accused is wrong in imputing the natural consequences
Phil., 170; People vs. Portento and Portento, 48 Phil., 971). Second, in the extrajudicial confession of the of his criminal act to an act of his victim.
accused to the barrio lieutenant, Dumlao, and later to the chief of police Llaguno, in the same afternoon of
the crime, that he was the author of Aribuabo's wound and that he had inflicted it by means of a bamboo
spit. Inasmuch as this confession, although extrajudicial, is strongly corroborated and appears to have been The question herein raised by the appellant has already been finally settled by jurisprudence. The Supreme
made by the accused freely and voluntarily, it constitutes evidence against him relative to his liability as Court of Spain, in a decision of April 3, 1879, said in the case similar to the present, the following:
author of the crime charged (U.S. vs. so Fo, 23 Phil., 379; People vs. Cabrera, 43 Phil., 64, 82; U.S. vs. Jamino, "Inasmuch as a man is responsible for the consequences of his act — and in this case the physical condition
3 P.R.A., 52; Francisco's Quizzer on Evidence). and temperament of the offended party nowise lessen the evil, the seriousness whereof is to be judged, not
by the violence of the means employed, but by the result actually produced; and as the wound which the
appellant inflicted upon the deceased was the cause which determined his death, without his being able to
The defense of the accused consisted simply in denying that he had wounded the deceased and that he counteract its effects, it is evident that the act in question should be qualified as homicide, etc."
had confessed his guilt to the witnesses Bagabay, Dumlao and Llaguno. But such denial cannot prevail
against the adverse testimony of these three veracious and disinterested witnesses, all the more because
neither the accused nor any other witness for the defense has stated or insinuated that another person, not In the case of People vs. Almonte (56 Phil., 54), the abdominal wound was less serious than that received by
the accused, might be the author of the wound which resulted in Aribuabo's death, and because it is Aribuabo in this case, as it was not penetrating, merely involving the muscular tissue. In said case the death
admitted by the defense that it was the accused, whom Aribuabo had been pestering with request for food, of the victim was due to a secondary hemorrhage produced twenty-four hours after the wound had been
who attacked the latter, burning his neck with a firebrand, afetr which Aribuaboappeared wounded in the inflicted, because of the "bodily movements of the patient, who was in a state of nervousness, sitting up in
abdomen, without the accused and the witnesses for the defense explaining how and by whom the bed, getting up and pacing about the room, as as a consequence of which he internal vessels, already
aggression had been made. congested because of the wound, bled, and the hemorrhage thus produced caused his death." The court in
deciding the question stated that "when a person dies in consequence of an internal hemorrhage brought
on by moving about against the doctor's orders, not because of carelessness or a desire to increase the
It is contended by the defense that even granting that it was the accused who inflicted the wound which criminal liability of his assailant, but because of his nervous condition due to the wound inflicted by said
resulted in Aribuabo's death, he should not be convicted of homicide but only of serious physical injuries assailant, the crime is homicide and not merely slight physical injuries, simply because the doctor was of
because said wound was not necessarily fatal and the deceased would have survived it had he not twice the opinion that the wound might have healed in seven days."
removed the drainage which Dr. Mendoza had placed to control or isolate the infection. This contention is
without merit. According to the physician who examined whether he could survive or not." It was a wound
in the abdomen which occasionally results in traumatic peritonitis. The infection was cause by the fecal The grounds for this rule of jurisprudence are correctly set forth in 13 R.C.L., 751, as follows:
matter from the large intestine which has been perforated. The possibility, admitted by said physician that
the patient might have survived said wound had he not removed the drainage, does not mean that the act While the courts may have vacilated from time to time it may be taken to be settled rule of the
of the patient was the real cause of his death. Even without said act the fatal consequence could have common law that on who inflicts an injury on another will be held responsible for his death,
although it may appear that the deceased might have recovered if he had taken proper care of
himself, or submitted to a surgical operation, or that unskilled or improper treatment aggravated
the wound and contributed to the death, or that death was immediately caused by a surgical
operation rendered necessary by the condition of the wound. The principle on which this rule is
founded is one of universal application, and lies at the foundation of the criminal jurisprudence. It
is, that every person is to be held to contemplate and to be responsible for the natural
consequences of his own acts. If a person inflicts a wound with a deadly weapon in such a manner
as to put life in jeopardy, and death follows as a consequence of this felonious and wicked act, it
does not alter its nature or diminish its criminality to prove that other causes co-operated in
producing the fatal result. Indeed, it may be said that neglect of the wound or its unskillful and
improper treatment, which are of themselves consequences of the criminal act, which might
naturally follow in any case, must in law be deemed to have been among those which were in
contemplation of the guilty party, and for which he is to be held responsible. But, however, this
may be, the rule surely seems to have its foundation in a wise and practical policy. A different
doctrine would tend to give immunity to crime and to take away from human life a salutary and
essential safeguard. Amid the conflicting theories of the medical men, and the uncertainties
attendant upon the treatment of bodily ailments and injuries, it would be easy in many cases of
homicide to raise a doubt as to the immediate cause of death, and thereby to open a wide door G.R. No. L-17931 February 28, 1963
by which persons guilty of the highest crime might escape conviction and punishment.
Assuming that we should disregard Simeon Cacpal's testimony, there is no evidence of record that the vs.
crime charged was committed by means of the knife, Exhibit A, and we only have the extrajudicial HON. PEDRO GIMENEZ, in his capacity as Auditor General of the Philippines,
admission of the accused that he had committed it by means of a bamboo spit with which the wound of and HON. ISMAEL MATHAY, in his capacity as Auditor of the Central Bank, respondents.
the deceased might have been caused because, according to the physician who testified in this case, it was
produced by a "sharp and penetrating" instrument.
Jalandoni & Jamir for petitioner.
Officer of the Solicitor General for respondents.
Inasmuch as the mitigating circumstances of lack of instruction and of intention to commit so grave a
wrong as the committed should be taken into consideration in favor of the appellant, without any
aggravating circumstances adverse to him, we modify the appealed judgment by sentencing him to an CONCEPCION, J.:
indeterminate penalty with a minimum of four years of prision correccional and a maximum of a eight years
of prision mayor, affirming it in all other respect, with cost to said appellant. This is a petition for review of a decision of the Auditor General denying a claim for refund of petitioner
Casco Philippine Chemical Co., Inc.

The main facts are not disputed. Pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. 2609, otherwise known as
the Foreign Exchange Margin Fee Law, the Central Bank of the Philippines issued on July 1, 1959, its Circular
No. 95. fixing a uniform margin fee of 25% on foreign exchange transactions. To supplement the circular,
the Bank later promulgated a memorandum establishing the procedure for applications for exemption from
the payment of said fee, as provided in said Republic Act No. 2609. Several times in November and
December 1959, petitioner Casco Philippine Chemical Co., Inc. — which is engaged in the manufacture of
synthetic resin glues, used in bonding lumber and veneer by plywood and hardwood producers — bought
foreign exchange for the importation of urea and formaldehyde — which are the main raw materials in the
production of said glues — and paid therefor the aforementioned margin fee aggregating P33,765.42. In
May, 1960, petitioner made another purchase of foreign exchange and paid the sum of P6,345.72 as margin
fee therefor.

Prior thereto, petitioner had sought the refund of the first sum of P33,765.42, relying upon Resolution No.
1529 of the Monetary Board of said Bank, dated November 3, 1959, declaring that the separate importation
of urea and formaldehyde is exempt from said fee. Soon after the last importation of these products,
petitioner made a similar request for refund of the sum of P6,345.72 paid as margin fee therefor. Although
the Central Bank issued the corresponding margin fee vouchers for the refund of said amounts, the Auditor
of the Bank refused to pass in audit and approve said vouchers, upon the ground that the exemption instead of "urea and formaldehyde" — is conclusive upon the courts as regards the tenor of the measure
granted by the Monetary Board for petitioner's separate importations of urea and formaldehyde is not in passed by Congress and approved by the President (Primicias vs. Paredes, 61 Phil. 118, 120; Mabanag vs.
accord with the provisions of section 2, paragraph XVIII of Republic Act No. 2609. On appeal taken by Lopez Vito, 78 Phil. 1; Macias vs. Comm. on Elections, L-18684, September 14, 1961). If there has been any
petitioner, the Auditor General subsequently affirmed said action of the Auditor of the Bank. Hence, this mistake in the printing ofthe bill before it was certified by the officers of Congress and approved by the
petition for review. Executive — on which we cannot speculate, without jeopardizing the principle of separation of powers and
undermining one of the cornerstones of our democratic system — the remedy is by amendment or curative
The only question for determination in this case is whether or not "urea" and "formaldehyde" are exempt legislation, not by judicial decree.
by law from the payment of the aforesaid margin fee. The pertinent portion of Section 2 of Republic Act
No. 2609 reads: WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs against the petitioner. It is so
The margin established by the Monetary Board pursuant to the provision of section one hereof
shall not be imposed upon the sale of foreign exchange for the importation of the following:.

xxx xxx xxx

XVIII. Urea formaldehyde for the manufacture of plywood and hardboard when imported by and
for the exclusive use of end-users.

G.R. No. 89572 December 21, 1989

Wherefore, the parties respectfully pray that the foregoing stipulation of facts be admitted and
approved by this Honorable Court, without prejudice to the parties adducing other evidence to
prove their case not covered by this stipulation of facts. 1äwphï1.ñët DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, CULTURE AND SPORTS (DECS) and DIRECTOR OF CENTER FOR
Petitioner maintains that the term "urea formaldehyde" appearing in this provision should be construed as ROBERTO REY C. SAN DIEGO and JUDGE TERESITA DIZON-CAPULONG, in her capacity as Presiding
"urea and formaldehyde" (emphasis supplied) and that respondents herein, the Auditor General and the Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Branch 172, respondents.
Auditor of the Central Bank, have erred in holding otherwise. In this connection, it should be noted that,
whereas "urea" and "formaldehyde" are the principal raw materials in the manufacture of synthetic resin
glues, the National Institute of Science and Technology has expressed, through its Commissioner, the view Ramon M. Guevara for private respondent.

Urea formaldehyde is not a chemical solution. It is the synthetic resin formed as a condensation
product from definite proportions of urea and formaldehyde under certain conditions relating to CRUZ, J.:
temperature, acidity, and time of reaction. This produce when applied in water solution and
extended with inexpensive fillers constitutes a fairly low cost adhesive for use in the manufacture The issue before us is mediocrity. The question is whether a person who has thrice failed the National
of plywood. Medical Admission Test (NMAT) is entitled to take it again.

Hence, "urea formaldehyde" is clearly a finished product, which is patently distinct and different from urea" The petitioner contends he may not, under its rule that-
and "formaldehyde", as separate articles used in the manufacture of the synthetic resin known as "urea
formaldehyde". Petitioner contends, however, that the bill approved in Congress contained the copulative
conjunction "and" between the terms "urea" and "formaldehyde", and that the members of Congress h) A student shall be allowed only three (3) chances to take the NMAT. After three (3)
intended to exempt "urea" and "formaldehyde" separately as essential elements in the manufacture of the successive failures, a student shall not be allowed to take the NMAT for the fourth time.
synthetic resin glue called "urea" formaldehyde", not the latter as a finished product, citing in support of
this view the statements made on the floor of the Senate, during the consideration of the bill before said The private respondent insists he can, on constitutional grounds.
House, by members thereof. But, said individual statements do not necessarily reflect the view of the
Senate. Much less do they indicate the intent of the House of Representatives (see Song Kiat Chocolate But first the facts.
Factory vs. Central Bank, 54 Off. Gaz., 615; Mayon Motors Inc. vs. Acting Commissioner of Internal Revenue,
L-15000 [March 29, 1961]; Manila Jockey Club, Inc. vs. Games & Amusement Board, L-12727 [February 29,
The private respondent is a graduate of the University of the East with a degree of Bachelor of Science in
1960]). Furthermore, it is well settled that the enrolled bill — which uses the term "urea formaldehyde"
Zoology. The petitioner claims that he took the NMAT three times and flunked it as many times.1 When he
applied to take it again, the petitioner rejected his application on the basis of the aforesaid rule. He then medical schools in the United States of America (the Medical College Admission Test
went to the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, to compel his admission to the test. [MCAT] and quite probably, in other countries with far more developed educational
resources than our own, and taking into account the failure or inability of the petitioners
In his original petition for mandamus, he first invoked his constitutional rights to academic freedom and to even attempt to prove otherwise, we are entitled to hold that the NMAT is reasonably
quality education. By agreement of the parties, the private respondent was allowed to take the NMAT related to the securing of the ultimate end of legislation and regulation in this area. That
scheduled on April 16, 1989, subject to the outcome of his petition. 2 In an amended petition filed with end, it is useful to recall, is the protection of the public from the potentially deadly effects
leave of court, he squarely challenged the constitutionality of MECS Order No. 12, Series of 1972, of incompetence and ignorance in those who would undertake to treat our bodies and
containing the above-cited rule. The additional grounds raised were due process and equal protection. minds for disease or trauma.

After hearing, the respondent judge rendered a decision on July 4, 1989, declaring the challenged order However, the respondent judge agreed with the petitioner that the said case was not applicable. Her reason
invalid and granting the petition. Judge Teresita Dizon-Capulong held that the petitioner had been was that it upheld only the requirement for the admission test and said nothing about the so-called "three-
deprived of his right to pursue a medical education through an arbitrary exercise of the police power. 3 flunk rule."

We cannot sustain the respondent judge. Her decision must be reversed. We see no reason why the rationale in the Tablarin case cannot apply to the case at bar. The issue raised in
both cases is the academic preparation of the applicant. This may be gauged at least initially by the
admission test and, indeed with more reliability, by the three-flunk rule. The latter cannot be regarded any
In Tablarin v. Gutierrez, 4 this Court upheld the constitutionality of the NMAT as a measure intended to less valid than the former in the regulation of the medical profession.
limit the admission to medical schools only to those who have initially proved their competence and
preparation for a medical education. Justice Florentino P. Feliciano declared for a unanimous Court:
There is no need to redefine here the police power of the State. Suffice it to repeat that the power is validly
exercised if (a) the interests of the public generally, as distinguished from those of a particular class, require
Perhaps the only issue that needs some consideration is whether there is some the interference of the State, and (b) the means employed are reasonably necessary to the attainment of
reasonable relation between the prescribing of passing the NMAT as a condition for the object sought to be accomplished and not unduly oppressive upon individuals.5
admission to medical school on the one hand, and the securing of the health and safety
of the general community, on the other hand. This question is perhaps most usefully
approached by recalling that the regulation of the pratice of medicine in all its branches In other words, the proper exercise of the police power requires the concurrence of a lawful subject and a
has long been recognized as a reasonable method of protecting the health and safety of lawful method.
the public. That the power to regulate and control the practice of medicine includes the
power to regulate admission to the ranks of those authorized to practice medicine, is also The subject of the challenged regulation is certainly within the ambit of the police power. It is the right and
well recognized. Thus, legislation and administrative regulations requiring those who indeed the responsibility of the State to insure that the medical profession is not infiltrated by
wish to practice medicine first to take and pass medical board examinations have long incompetents to whom patients may unwarily entrust their lives and health.
ago been recognized as valid exercises of governmental power. Similarly, the
establishment of minimum medical educational requirements-i.e., the completion of The method employed by the challenged regulation is not irrelevant to the purpose of the law nor is it
prescribed courses in a recognized medical school-for admission to the medical arbitrary or oppressive. The three-flunk rule is intended to insulate the medical schools and ultimately the
profession, has also been sustained as a legitimate exercise of the regulatory authority of medical profession from the intrusion of those not qualified to be doctors.
the state. What we have before us in the instant case is closely related: the regulation of
access to medical schools. MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, as noted earlier, articulates the
rationale of regulation of this type: the improvement of the professional and technical While every person is entitled to aspire to be a doctor, he does not have a constitutional right to be a
quality of the graduates of medical schools, by upgrading the quality of those admitted doctor. This is true of any other calling in which the public interest is involved; and the closer the link, the
to the student body of the medical schools. That upgrading is sought by selectivity in the longer the bridge to one's ambition. The State has the responsibility to harness its human resources and to
process of admission, selectivity consisting, among other things, of limiting admission to see to it that they are not dissipated or, no less worse, not used at all. These resources must be applied in a
those who exhibit in the required degree the aptitude for medical studies and eventually manner that will best promote the common good while also giving the individual a sense of satisfaction.
for medical practice. The need to maintain, and the difficulties of maintaining, high
standards in our professional schools in general, and medical schools in particular, in the A person cannot insist on being a physician if he will be a menace to his patients. If one who wants to be a
current state of our social and economic development, are widely known. lawyer may prove better as a plumber, he should be so advised and adviced. Of course, he may not be
forced to be a plumber, but on the other hand he may not force his entry into the bar. By the same token, a
We believe that the government is entitled to prescribe an admission test like the NMAT student who has demonstrated promise as a pianist cannot be shunted aside to take a course in nursing,
as a means of achieving its stated objective of "upgrading the selection of applicants into however appropriate this career may be for others.
[our] medical schools" and of "improv[ing] the quality of medical education in the
country." Given the widespread use today of such admission tests in, for instance,
The right to quality education invoked by the private respondent is not absolute. The Constitution also
provides that "every citizen has the right to choose a profession or course of study, subject to fair,
reasonable and equitable admission and academic requirements.6

The private respondent must yield to the challenged rule and give way to those better prepared. Where
even those who have qualified may still not be accommodated in our already crowded medical schools,
there is all the more reason to bar those who, like him, have been tested and found wanting.

The contention that the challenged rule violates the equal protection clause is not well-taken. A law does
not have to operate with equal force on all persons or things to be conformable to Article III, Section 1 of
the Constitution.

There can be no question that a substantial distinction exists between medical students and other students
who are not subjected to the NMAT and the three-flunk rule. The medical profession directly affects the
very lives of the people, unlike other careers which, for this reason, do not require more vigilant regulation.
The accountant, for example, while belonging to an equally respectable profession, does not hold the same
delicate responsibility as that of the physician and so need not be similarly treated.

There would be unequal protection if some applicants who have passed the tests are admitted and others
who have also qualified are denied entrance. In other words, what the equal protection requires is equality
among equals.

The Court feels that it is not enough to simply invoke the right to quality education as a guarantee of the
Constitution: one must show that he is entitled to it because of his preparation and promise. The private
respondent has failed the NMAT five times. 7 While his persistence is noteworthy, to say the least, it is
certainly misplaced, like a hopeless love.

No depreciation is intended or made against the private respondent. It is stressed that a person who does
G.R. No. L-52245 January 22, 1980
not qualify in the NMAT is not an absolute incompetent unfit for any work or occupation. The only
inference is that he is a probably better, not for the medical profession, but for another calling that has not
excited his interest. PATRICIO DUMLAO, ROMEO B. IGOT, and ALFREDO SALAPANTAN, JR., petitioners,
In the former, he may be a bungler or at least lackluster; in the latter, he is more likely to succeed and may
even be outstanding. It is for the appropriate calling that he is entitled to quality education for the full
harnessing of his potentials and the sharpening of his latent talents toward what may even be a brilliant Raul M. Gonzales for petitioners
Office of the Solicitor General for respondent.
We cannot have a society of square pegs in round holes, of dentists who should never have left the farm
and engineers who should have studied banking and teachers who could be better as merchants.

It is time indeed that the State took decisive steps to regulate and enrich our system of education by MELENCIO-HERRERA, J:
directing the student to the course for which he is best suited as determined by initial tests and evaluations.
Otherwise, we may be "swamped with mediocrity," in the words of Justice Holmes, not because we are This is a Petition for Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction and/or Restraining Order filed by petitioners, in
lacking in intelligence but because we are a nation of misfits. their own behalf and all others allegedly similarly situated, seeking to enjoin respondent Commission on
Elections (COMELEC) from implementing certain provisions of Batas Pambansa Big. 51, 52, and 53 for being
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the respondent court dated January 13, 1989, is unconstitutional.
REVERSED, with costs against the private respondent. It is so ordered.
The Petition alleges that petitioner, Patricio Dumlao, is a former Governor of Nueva Vizcaya, who has filed Section 1. Election of certain Local Officials — ... The election shall be held on January 30,
his certificate of candidacy for said position of Governor in the forthcoming elections of January 30, 1980. 1980. (Batas Pambansa, Blg. 52)
Petitioner, Romeo B. Igot, is a taxpayer, a qualified voter and a member of the Bar who, as such, has taken
his oath to support the Constitution and obey the laws of the land. Petitioner, Alfredo Salapantan, Jr., is also Section 6. Election and Campaign Period — The election period shall be fixed by the
a taxpayer, a qualified voter, and a resident of San Miguel, Iloilo. Commission on Elections in accordance with Section 6, Art. XII-C of the Constitution. The
period of campaign shall commence on December 29, 1979 and terminate on January 28,
Petitioner Dumlao specifically questions the constitutionality of section 4 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 52 as 1980. (ibid.)
discriminatory and contrary to the equal protection and due process guarantees of the Constitution. Said
Section 4 provides: In addition to the above-cited provisions, petitioners Igot and Salapantan, Jr. also question the
accreditation of some political parties by respondent COMELEC, as authorized by Batas Pambansa Blg. 53,
Sec. 4. Special Disqualification in addition to violation of section 10 of Art. XI I-C of the on the ground that it is contrary to section 9(1)Art. XIIC of the Constitution, which provides that a "bona
Constitution and disqualification mentioned in existing laws, which are hereby declared fide candidate for any public office shall be it. from any form of harassment and discrimination. "The
as disqualification for any of the elective officials enumerated in section 1 hereof. question of accreditation will not be taken up in this case but in that of Bacalso, et als. vs. COMELEC et als.
No. L-52232) where the issue has been squarely raised,
Any retired elective provincial city or municipal official who has received payment of the
retirement benefits to which he is entitled under the law, and who shall have been 6,5 Petitioners then pray that the statutory provisions they have challenged be declared null and void for being
years of age at the commencement of the term of office to which he seeks to be elected violative of the Constitution.
shall not be qualified to run for the same elective local office from which he has retired
(Emphasis supplied) I . The procedural Aspect

Petitioner Dumlao alleges that the aforecited provision is directed insidiously against him, and that the At the outset, it should be stated that this Petition suffers from basic procedural infirmities, hence,
classification provided therein is based on "purely arbitrary grounds and, therefore, class legislation." traditionally unacceptable for judicial resolution. For one, there is a misjoinder of parties and actions.
Petitioner Dumlao's interest is alien to that of petitioners Igot and Salapantan Petitioner Dumlao does not
For their part, petitioners igot and Salapantan, Jr. assail the validity of the following statutory provisions: join petitioners Igot and Salapantan in the burden of their complaint, nor do the latter join Dumlao in his.
The respectively contest completely different statutory provisions. Petitioner Dumlao has joined this suit in
Sec 7. Terms of Office — Unless sooner removed for cause, all local elective officials his individual capacity as a candidate. The action of petitioners Igot and Salapantan is more in the nature of
hereinabove mentioned shall hold office for a term of six (6) years, which shall commence a taxpayer's suit. Although petitioners plead nine constraints as the reason of their joint Petition, it would
on the first Monday of March 1980. have required only a modicum more of effort tor petitioner Dumlao, on one hand said petitioners lgot and
Salapantan, on the other, to have filed separate suits, in the interest of orderly procedure.
.... (Batas Pambansa Blg. 51) Sec. 4.
For another, there are standards that have to be followed inthe exercise of the function of judicial review,
namely (1) the existence of an appropriate case:, (2) an interest personal and substantial by the party raising
Sec. 4. ... the constitutional question: (3) the plea that the function be exercised at the earliest opportunity and (4)
the necessity that the constiutional question be passed upon in order to decide the case (People vs. Vera 65
Any person who has committed any act of disloyalty to the State, including acts Phil. 56 [1937]).
amounting to subversion, insurrection, rebellion or other similar crimes, shall not be
qualified to be a candidate for any of the offices covered by this Act, or to participate in It may be conceded that the third requisite has been complied with, which is, that the parties have raised
any partisan political activity therein: the issue of constitutionality early enough in their pleadings.

provided that a judgment of conviction for any of the aforementioned crimes shall be This Petition, however, has fallen far short of the other three criteria.
conclusive evidence of such fact and
A. Actual case and controversy.
the filing of charges for the commission of such crimes before a civil court or military
tribunal after preliminary investigation shall be prima fascie evidence of such fact.
It is basic that the power of judicial review is limited to the determination of actual cases and controversies.
... (Batas Pambansa Big. 52) (Paragraphing and Emphasis supplied).
Petitioner Dumlao assails the constitutionality of the first paragraph of section 4 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 52, the purpose of administering an unconstitutional act constitutes a misapplication of such
quoted earlier, as being contrary to the equal protection clause guaranteed by the Constitution, and seeks funds," which may be enjoined at the request of a taxpayer.
to prohibit respondent COMELEC from implementing said provision. Yet, Dumlao has not been adversely
affected by the application of that provision. No petition seeking Dumlao's disqualification has been filed In the same vein, it has been held:
before the COMELEC. There is no ruling of that constitutional body on the matter, which this Court is being
asked to review on Certiorari. His is a question posed in the abstract, a hypothetical issue, and in effect, a
petition for an advisory opinion from this Court to be rendered without the benefit of a detailed factual In the determination of the degree of interest essential to give the requisite standing to
record Petitioner Dumlao's case is clearly within the primary jurisdiction (see concurring Opinion of now attack the constitutionality of a statute, the general rule is that not only persons
Chief Justice Fernando in Peralta vs. Comelec, 82 SCRA 30, 96 [1978]) of respondent COMELEC as provided individually affected, but also taxpayers have sufficient interest in preventing the illegal
for in section 2, Art. XII-C, for the Constitution the pertinent portion of which reads: expenditure of moneys raised by taxation and they may, therefore, question the
constitutionality of statutes requiring expenditure of public moneys. (Philippine
Constitution Association, Inc., et als., vs. Gimenez, et als., 15 SCRA 479 [1965]).
"Section 2. The Commission on Elections shall have the following power and functions:
However, the statutory provisions questioned in this case, namely, sec. 7, BP Blg. 51, and sections 4, 1, and 6
1) xxx BP Blg. 52, do not directly involve the disbursement of public funds. While, concededly, the elections to be
held involve the expenditure of public moneys, nowhere in their Petition do said petitioners allege that
2) Be the sole judge of all contests relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of their tax money is "being extracted and spent in violation of specific constitutional protections against
all members of the National Assembly and elective provincial and city officials. (Emphasis abuses of legislative power" (Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S., 83 [1960]), or that there is a misapplication of such
supplied) funds by respondent COMELEC (see Pascual vs. Secretary of Public Works, 110 Phil. 331 [1960]), or that
public money is being deflected to any improper purpose. Neither do petitioners seek to restrain
The aforequoted provision must also be related to section 11 of Art. XII-C, which provides: respondent from wasting public funds through the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law.
(Philippine Constitution Association vs. Mathay, 18 SCRA 300 [1966]), citing Philippine Constitution
Association vs. Gimenez, 15 SCRA 479 [1965]). Besides, the institution of a taxpayer's suit, per se is no
Section 11. Any decision, order, or ruling of the Commission may be brought to the assurance of judicial review. As held by this Court in Tan vs. Macapagal (43 SCRA 677 [1972]), speaking
Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty days from his receipt of through our present Chief Justice, this Court is vested with discretion as to whether or not a taxpayer's suit
a copy thereof. should be entertained.

B. Proper party. C. Unavoidability of constitutional question.

The long-standing rule has been that "the person who impugns the validity of a statute must have a Again upon the authority of People vs. Vera, "it is a wellsettled rule that the constitutionality of an act of the
personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a legislature will not be determined by the courts unless that question is properly raised and presented in
result of its enforcement" (People vs. Vera, supra). appropriate cases and is necessary to a determination of the case; i.e., the issue of constitutionality must be
the very lis mota presented."
In the case of petitioners Igot and Salapantan, it was only during the hearing, not in their Petition, that Igot
is said to be a candidate for Councilor. Even then, it cannot be denied that neither one has been convicted We have already stated that, by the standards set forth in People vs. Vera, the present is not an
nor charged with acts of disloyalty to the State, nor disqualified from being candidates for local elective "appropriate case" for either petitioner Dumlao or for petitioners Igot and Salapantan. They are actually
positions. Neither one of them has been calle ed to have been adversely affected by the operation of the without cause of action. It follows that the necessity for resolving the issue of constitutionality is absent,
statutory provisions they assail as unconstitutional Theirs is a generated grievance. They have no personal and procedural regularity would require that this suit be dismissed.
nor substantial interest at stake. In the absence of any litigate interest, they can claim no locus standi in
seeking judicial redress.
II. The substantive viewpoint.
It is true that petitioners Igot and Salapantan have instituted this case as a taxpayer's suit, and that the rule
enunciated in People vs. Vera, above stated, has been relaxed in Pascual vs. The Secretary of Public Works We have resolved, however, to rule squarely on two of the challenged provisions, the Courts not being
(110 Phil. 331 [1960], thus: entirely without discretion in the matter. Thus, adherence to the strict procedural standard was relaxed in
Tinio vs. Mina (26 SCRA 512 [1968]); Edu vs. Ericta (35 SCRA 481 [1970]); and in Gonzalez vs. Comelec (27
SCRA 835 [1969]), the Opinion in the Tinio and Gonzalez cases having been penned by our present Chief
... it is well settled that the validity of a statute may be contested only by one who will Justice. The reasons which have impelled us are the paramount public interest involved and the proximity
sustain a direct injury in consequence of its enforcement. Yet, there are many decisions of the elections which will be held only a few days hence.
nullifying at the instance of taxpayers, laws providing for the disbursement of public
funds, upon the theory that "the expenditure of public funds, by an officer of the State for
Petitioner Dumlao's contention that section 4 of BP Blg. 52 is discriminatory against him personally is belied Constitution is clear beyond reasonable doubt (Peralta vs. COMELEC, 82 SCRA 55 [1978], citing Cooper vs.
by the fact that several petitions for the disqualification of other candidates for local positions based on the Telfair 4 Dall 14; Dodd, Cases on Constitutional Law, 3rd ed. 1942, 56). Lastly, it is within the compentence
challenged provision have already been filed with the COMELEC (as listed in p. 15, respondent's Comment). of the legislature to prescribe qualifications for one who desires to become a candidate for office provided
This tellingly overthrows Dumlao's contention of intentional or purposeful discrimination. they are reasonable, as in this case.

The assertion that Section 4 of BP Blg. 52 is contrary to the safer guard of equal protection is neither well In so far as the petition of Igot and Salapantan are concerned, the second paragraph of section 4 of Batas
taken. The constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the laws is subject to rational classification. If the Pambansa Blg. 52, quoted in full earlier, and which they challenge, may be divided in two parts. The first
groupings are based on reasonable and real differentiations, one class can be treated and regulated provides:
differently from another class. For purposes of public service, employees 65 years of age, have been validly
classified differently from younger employees. Employees attaining that age are subject to compulsory a. judgment of conviction jor any of the aforementioned crimes shall be conclusive
retirement, while those of younger ages are not so compulsorily retirable. evidence of such fact ...

In respect of election to provincial, city, or municipal positions, to require that candidates should not be The supremacy of the Constitution stands out as the cardinal principle. We are aware of the presumption of
more than 65 years of age at the time they assume office, if applicable to everyone, might or might not be validity that attaches to a challenged statute, of the well-settled principle that "all reasonable doubts
a reasonable classification although, as the Solicitor General has intimated, a good policy of the law would should be resolved in favor of constitutionality," and that Courts will not set aside a statute as
be to promote the emergence of younger blood in our political elective echelons. On the other hand, it constitutionally defective "except in a clear case." (People vs. Vera, supra). We are constrained to hold that
might be that persons more than 65 years old may also be good elective local officials. this is one such clear case.

Coming now to the case of retirees. Retirement from government service may or may not be a reasonable Explicit is the constitutional provision that, in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed
disqualification for elective local officials. For one thing, there can also be retirees from government service innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel (Article
at ages, say below 65. It may neither be reasonable to disqualify retirees, aged 65, for a 65 year old retiree IV, section 19, 1973 Constitution). An accusation, according to the fundamental law, is not synonymous with
could be a good local official just like one, aged 65, who is not a retiree. guilt. The challenged proviso contravenes the constitutional presumption of innocence, as a candidate is
disqualified from running for public office on the ground alone that charges have been filed against him
But, in the case of a 65-year old elective local official, who has retired from a provincial, city or municipal before a civil or military tribunal. It condemns before one is fully heard. In ultimate effect, except as to the
office, there is reason to disqualify him from running for the same office from which he had retired, as degree of proof, no distinction is made between a person convicted of acts of dislotalty and one against
provided for in the challenged provision. The need for new blood assumes relevance. The tiredness of the whom charges have been filed for such acts, as both of them would be ineligible to run for public office. A
retiree for government work is present, and what is emphatically significant is that the retired employee has person disqualified to run for public office on the ground that charges have been filed against him is
already declared himself tired and unavailable for the same government work, but, which, by virtue of a virtually placed in the same category as a person already convicted of a crime with the penalty of arresto,
change of mind, he would like to assume again. It is for this very reason that inequality will neither result which carries with it the accessory penalty of suspension of the right to hold office during the term of the
from the application of the challenged provision. Just as that provision does not deny equal protection sentence (Art. 44, Revised Penal Code).
neither does it permit of such denial (see People vs. Vera, 65 Phil. 56 [1933]). Persons similarly situated are
sinlilarly treated. And although the filing of charges is considered as but prima facie evidence, and therefore, may be
rebutted, yet. there is "clear and present danger" that because of the proximity of the elections, time
In fine, it bears reiteration that the equal protection clause does not forbid all legal classification. What is constraints will prevent one charged with acts of disloyalty from offering contrary proof to overcome the
proscribes is a classification which is arbitrary and unreasonable. That constitutional guarantee is not prima facie evidence against him.
violated by a reasonable classification based upon substantial distinctions, where the classification is
germane to the purpose of the law and applies to all Chose belonging to the same class (Peralta vs. Additionally, it is best that evidence pro and con of acts of disloyalty be aired before the Courts rather than
Comelec, 82 SCRA 30 [1978] citing Felwa vs. Salas, 18 SCRA 606 [1966]; Rafael v. Embroidery and Apparel before an administrative body such as the COMELEC. A highly possible conflict of findings between two
Control and Inspection Board, 21 SCRA 336 [1967]; Inchong etc., et al. vs. Hernandez 101 Phil. 1155 [1957]). government bodies, to the extreme detriment of a person charged, will thereby be avoided. Furthermore, a
The purpose of the law is to allow the emergence of younger blood in local governments. The classification legislative/administrative determination of guilt should not be allowed to be substituted for a judicial
in question being pursuant to that purpose, it cannot be considered invalid "even it at times, it may be determination.
susceptible to the objection that it is marred by theoretical inconsistencies" (Chief Justice Fernando, The
Constitution of the Philippines, 1977 ed., p. 547).
Being infected with constitutional infirmity, a partial declaration of nullity of only that objectionable portion
is mandated. It is separable from the first portion of the second paragraph of section 4 of Batas Pambansa
There is an additional consideration. Absent herein is a showing of the clear invalidity of the questioned Big. 52 which can stand by itself.
provision. Well accepted is the rule that to justify the nullification of a law, there must be a clear and
unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not a doubtful and equivocal breach. Courts are practically
unanimous in the pronouncement that laws shall not be declared invalid unless the conflict with the
WHEREFORE, 1) the first paragraph of section 4 of Batas pambansa Bilang 52 is hereby declared valid. Said SEC. 67. Candidates holding elective office. – Any elective official, whether national or local, running for any
paragraph reads: office other than the one which he is holding in a permanent capacity, except for President and Vice-
President, shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his office upon the filing of his certificate of
SEC. 4. Special disqualification. — In addition to violation of Section 10 of Article XII(C) of candidacy.
the Constitution and disqualifications mentioned in existing laws which are hereby
declared as disqualification for any of the elective officials enumerated in Section 1 The petition for certiorari and prohibition in G.R. No. 147387 was filed by Rodolfo C. Fariñas, Manuel M.
hereof, any retired elective provincial, city or municipal official, who has received Garcia, Francis G. Escudero and Agapito A. Aquino. At the time of filing of the petition, the petitioners were
payment of the retirement benefits to which he is entitled under the law and who shall members of the minority bloc in the House of Representatives. Impleaded as respondents are: the Executive
have been 65 years of age at the commencement of the term of office to which he seeks Secretary, then Speaker of the House of Representatives Feliciano R. Belmonte, Jr., the Commission on
to be elected, shall not be qualified to run for the same elective local office from which Elections, the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Secretary of the
he has retired. Senate and the Secretary General of the House of Representatives.

2) That portion of the second paragraph of section 4 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 52 The petition for prohibition in G.R. No. 152161 was filed by Gerry A. Salapuddin, then also a member of the
providing that "... the filing of charges for the commission of such crimes before a civil House of Representatives. Impleaded as respondent is the COMELEC.
court or military tribunal after preliminary investigation shall be prima facie evidence of
such fact", is hereby declared null and void, for being violative of the constitutional Legislative History of Republic Act No. 9006
presumption of innocence guaranteed to an accused.
Rep. Act No. 9006, entitled "An Act to Enhance the Holding of Free, Orderly, Honest, Peaceful and Credible
SO ORDERED. Elections through Fair Election Practices," is a consolidation of the following bills originating from the
House of Representatives and the Senate, respectively:
G.R. No. 147387 December 10, 2003
REPRESENTATIVES, petitioners, …

x-----------------------x A Bicameral Conference Committee, composed of eight members of the Senate3 and sixteen (16) members
of the House of Representatives,4 was formed to reconcile the conflicting provisions of the House and
Senate versions of the bill.
G.R. No. 152161
On November 29, 2000, the Bicameral Conference Committee submitted its Report,5 signed by its
CONG. GERRY A. SALAPUDDIN, petitioner, members, recommending the approval of the bill as reconciled and approved by the conferees.
During the plenary session of the House of Representatives on February 5, 2001, Rep. Jacinto V. Paras
proposed an amendment to the Bicameral Conference Committee Report. Rep. Didagen P. Dilangalen
DECISION raised a point of order commenting that the House could no longer submit an amendment thereto. Rep.
Sergio A.F. Apostol thereupon moved that the House return the report to the Bicameral Conference
CALLEJO, SR., J.: Committee in view of the proposed amendment thereto. Rep. Dilangalen expressed his objection to the
proposal. However, upon viva voce voting, the majority of the House approved the return of the report to
Before the Court are two Petitions under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, as amended, seeking to declare as the Bicameral Conference Committee for proper action.6
unconstitutional Section 14 of Republic Act No. 9006 (The Fair Election Act), insofar as it expressly repeals
Section 67 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 (The Omnibus Election Code) which provides:
In view of the proposed amendment, the House of Representatives elected anew its conferees7 to the The petitioners also assert that Section 14 of Rep. Act No. 9006 violates the equal protection clause of the
Bicameral Conference Committee.8 Then again, for unclear reasons, upon the motion of Rep. Ignacio R. Constitution because it repeals Section 67 only of the Omnibus Election Code, leaving intact Section 66
Bunye, the House elected another set of conferees9 to the Bicameral Conference Committee.10 thereof which imposes a similar limitation to appointive officials, thus:

On February 7, 2001, during the plenary session of the House of Representatives, Rep. Bunye moved that SEC. 66. Candidates holding appointive office or position. – Any person holding a public appointive office
the House consider the Bicameral Conference Committee Report on the contrasting provisions of HB No. or position, including active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and officers and employees in
9000 and SB No. 1742. Rep. Dilangalen observed that the report had been recommitted to the Bicameral government-owned or controlled corporations, shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his office upon
Conference Committee. The Chair responded that the Bicameral Conference Report was a new one, and the filing of his certificate of candidacy.
was a result of the reconvening of a new Bicameral Conference Committee. Rep. Dilangalen then asked that
he be given time to examine the new report. Upon motion of Rep. Apostol, the House deferred the They contend that Section 14 of Rep. Act No. 9006 discriminates against appointive officials. By the repeal
approval of the report until the other members were given a copy thereof.11 of Section 67, an elective official who runs for office other than the one which he is holding is no longer
considered ipso facto resigned therefrom upon filing his certificate of candidacy. Elective officials continue
After taking up other pending matters, the House proceeded to vote on the Bicameral Conference in public office even as they campaign for reelection or election for another elective position. On the other
Committee Report on the disagreeing provisions of HB No. 9000 and SB No. 1742. The House approved the hand, Section 66 has been retained; thus, the limitation on appointive officials remains - they are still
report with 125 affirmative votes, 3 negative votes and no abstention. In explaining their negative votes, considered ipso facto resigned from their offices upon the filing of their certificates of candidacy.
Reps. Fariñas and Garcia expressed their belief that Section 14 thereof was a rider. Even Rep. Escudero, who
voted in the affirmative, expressed his doubts on the constitutionality of Section 14. Prior to casting his The petitioners assert that Rep. Act No. 9006 is null and void in its entirety as irregularities attended its
vote, Rep. Dilangalen observed that no senator signed the Bicameral Conference Committee Report and enactment into law. The law, not only Section 14 thereof, should be declared null and void. Even Section 16
asked if this procedure was regular.12 of the law which provides that "[t]his Act shall take effect upon its approval" is a violation of the due
process clause of the Constitution, as well as jurisprudence, which require publication of the law before it
On the same day, the Senate likewise approved the Bicameral Conference Committee Report on the becomes effective.
contrasting provisions of SB No. 1742 and HB No. 9000.
Finally, the petitioners maintain that Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code is a good law; hence, should
Thereafter, Rep. Act No. 9006 was duly signed by then Senate President Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. and then not have been repealed. The petitioners cited the ruling of the Court in Dimaporo v. Mitra, Jr.,13 that
Speaker of the House of Representatives Feliciano R. Belmonte, Jr. and was duly certified by the Secretary of Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code is based on the constitutional mandate on the "Accountability of
the Senate Lutgardo B. Barbo and the Secretary General of the House of Representatives Robert P. Public Officers:"14
Nazareno as "the consolidation of House Bill No. 9000 and Senate Bill No. 1742," and "finally passed by
both Houses on February 7, 2001." Sec. 1. Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the
people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism and
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Rep. Act No. 9006 into law on February 12, 2001. justice, and lead modest lives.

The Petitioners’ Case Consequently, the respondents Speaker and Secretary General of the House of Representatives acted with
grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction for not considering those members of
The petitioners now come to the Court alleging in the main that Section 14 of Rep. Act No. 9006, insofar as the House who ran for a seat in the Senate during the May 14, 2001 elections as ipso facto resigned
it repeals Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code, is unconstitutional for being in violation of Section therefrom, upon the filing of their respective certificates of candidacy.
26(1), Article VI of the Constitution, requiring every law to have only one subject which should be expressed
in its title. The Respondents’ Arguments

According to the petitioners, the inclusion of Section 14 repealing Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code For their part, the respondents, through the Office of the Solicitor General, urge this Court to dismiss the
in Rep. Act No. 9006 constitutes a proscribed rider. They point out the dissimilarity in the subject matter of petitions contending, preliminarily, that the petitioners have no legal standing to institute the present suit.
Rep. Act No. 9006, on the one hand, and Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code, on the other. Rep. Act Except for the fact that their negative votes were overruled by the majority of the members of the House of
No. 9006 primarily deals with the lifting of the ban on the use of media for election propaganda and the Representatives, the petitioners have not shown that they have suffered harm as a result of the passage of
elimination of unfair election practices, while Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code imposes a limitation Rep. Act No. 9006. Neither do petitioners have any interest as taxpayers since the assailed statute does not
on elective officials who run for an office other than the one they are holding in a permanent capacity by involve the exercise by Congress of its taxing or spending power.
considering them as ipso facto resigned therefrom upon filing of the certificate of candidacy. The repeal of
Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code is thus not embraced in the title, nor germane to the subject Invoking the "enrolled bill" doctrine, the respondents refute the petitioners’ allegations that "irregularities"
matter of Rep. Act No. 9006. attended the enactment of Rep. Act No. 9006. The signatures of the Senate President and the Speaker of
the House, appearing on the bill and the certification signed by the respective Secretaries of both houses of The Court’s Ruling
Congress, constitute proof beyond cavil that the bill was duly enacted into law.
Before resolving the petitions on their merits, the Court shall first rule on the procedural issue raised by the
The respondents contend that Section 14 of Rep. Act No. 9006, as it repeals Section 67 of the Omnibus respondents, i.e., whether the petitioners have the legal standing or locus standi to file the petitions at bar.
Election Code, is not a proscribed rider nor does it violate Section 26(1) of Article VI of the Constitution. The
title of Rep. Act No. 9006, "An Act to Enhance the Holding of Free, Orderly, Honest, Peaceful and Credible The petitions were filed by the petitioners in their capacities as members of the House of Representatives,
Elections through Fair Election Practices," is so broad that it encompasses all the processes involved in an and as taxpayers and registered voters.
election exercise, including the filing of certificates of candidacy by elective officials.
Generally, a party who impugns the validity of a statute must have a personal and substantial interest in the
They argue that the repeal of Section 67 is germane to the general subject of Rep. Act No. 9006 as case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement.15 The rationale
expressed in its title as it eliminates the effect of prematurely terminating the term of an elective official by for requiring a party who challenges the constitutionality of a statute to allege such a personal stake in the
his filing of a certificate of candidacy for an office other than the one which he is permanently holding, such outcome of the controversy is "to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of
that he is no longer considered ipso facto resigned therefrom. The legislature, by including the repeal of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions."16
Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code in Rep. Act No. 9006, has deemed it fit to remove the "unfairness"
of considering an elective official ipso facto resigned from his office upon the filing of his certificate of
candidacy for another elective office. With the repeal of Section 67, all elective officials are now placed on However, being merely a matter of procedure, this Court, in several cases involving issues of "overarching
equal footing as they are allowed to finish their respective terms even if they run for any office, whether the significance to our society,"17 had adopted a liberal stance on standing. Thus, in Tatad v. Secretary of the
presidency, vice-presidency or other elective positions, other than the one they are holding in a permanent Department of Energy,18 this Court brushed aside the procedural requirement of standing, took
capacity. cognizance of, and subsequently granted, the petitions separately filed by then Senator Francisco Tatad and
several members of the House of Representatives assailing the constitutionality of Rep. Act No. 8180 (An
Act Deregulating the Downstream Oil Industry and For Other Purposes).
The respondents assert that the repeal of Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code need not be expressly
stated in the title of Rep. Act No. 9006 as the legislature is not required to make the title of the act a
complete index of its contents. It must be deemed sufficient that the title be comprehensive enough The Court likewise took cognizance of the petition filed by then members of the House of Representatives
reasonably to include the general subject which the statute seeks to effect without expressing each and which impugned as unconstitutional the validity of a provision of Rep. Act No. 6734 (Organic Act for the
every means necessary for its accomplishment. Section 26(1) of Article VI of the Constitution merely calls Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) in Chiongbian v. Orbos.19 Similarly, the Court took cognizance
for all the parts of an act relating to its subject to find expression in its title. Mere details need not be set of the petition filed by then members of the Senate, joined by other petitioners, which challenged the
forth. validity of Rep. Act No. 7716 (Expanded Value Added Tax Law) in Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance.20

According to the respondents, Section 14 of Rep. Act No. 9006, insofar as it repeals Section 67, leaving Members of Congress, such as the petitioners, were likewise allowed by this Court to challenge the validity
Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code intact and effective, does not violate the equal protection clause of acts, decisions, rulings, or orders of various government agencies or instrumentalities in Del Mar v.
of the Constitution. Section 67 pertains to elective officials while Section 66 pertains to appointive officials. Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation,21 Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Guingona, Jr.,22 Philippine
A substantial distinction exists between these two sets of officials; elective officials occupy their office by Constitution Association v. Enriquez,23 Albano v. Reyes,24 and Bagatsing v. Committee on Privatization.25
virtue of their mandate based upon the popular will, while the appointive officials are not elected by
popular will. The latter cannot, therefore, be similarly treated as the former. Equal protection simply Certainly, the principal issue posed by the petitions, i.e., whether Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code,
requires that all persons or things similarly situated are treated alike, both as to rights conferred and which this Court had declared in Dimaporo26 as deriving its existence from the constitutional provision on
responsibilities imposed. accountability of public officers, has been validly repealed by Section 14 of Rep. Act No. 9006, is one of
"overarching significance" that justifies this Court’s adoption of a liberal stance vis-à-vis the procedural
Further, Section 16, or the "Effectivity" clause, of Rep. Act No. 9006 does not run afoul of the due process matter on standing. Moreover, with the national elections barely seven months away, it behooves the Court
clause of the Constitution as it does not entail any arbitrary deprivation of life, liberty and property. to confront the issue now and resolve the same forthrightly. The following pronouncement of the Court is
Specifically, the section providing for penalties in cases of violations thereof presume that the formalities of quite apropos:
the law would be observed, i.e., charges would first be filed, and the accused would be entitled to a hearing
before judgment is rendered by a court having jurisdiction. In any case, the issue about lack of due process ... All await the decision of this Court on the constitutional question. Considering, therefore, the importance
is premature as no one has, as yet, been charged with violation of Rep. Act No. 9006. which the instant case has assumed and to prevent multiplicity of suits, strong reasons of public policy
demand that [its] constitutionality . . . be now resolved. It may likewise be added that the exceptional
Finally, the respondents submit that the respondents Speaker and Secretary General of the House of character of the situation that confronts us, the paramount public interest, and the undeniable necessity for
Representatives did not commit grave abuse of discretion in not excluding from the Rolls those members a ruling, the national elections beings barely six months away, reinforce our stand.27
thereof who ran for the Senate during the May 14, 2001 elections. These respondents merely complied with
Rep. Act No. 9006, which enjoys the presumption of validity until declared otherwise by the Court.
Every statute is presumed valid.28 The presumption is that the legislature intended to enact a valid, without expressing each and every end and means necessary or convenient for the accomplishing of that
sensible and just law and one which operates no further than may be necessary to effectuate the specific object. Mere details need not be set forth. The title need not be an abstract or index of the Act.34
purpose of the law.29
The title of Rep. Act No. 9006 reads: "An Act to Enhance the Holding of Free, Orderly, Honest, Peaceful and
It is equally well-established, however, that the courts, as guardians of the Constitution, have the inherent Credible Elections through Fair Election Practices." Section 2 of the law provides not only the declaration of
authority to determine whether a statute enacted by the legislature transcends the limit imposed by the principles but also the objectives thereof:
fundamental law.30 And where the acts of the other branches of government run afoul of the Constitution,
it is the judiciary’s solemn and sacred duty to nullify the same.31 Sec. 2. Declaration of Principles. – The State shall, during the election period, supervise or regulate the
enjoyment or utilization of all franchises or permits for the operation of media of communication or
Proceeding from these guideposts, the Court shall now resolve the substantial issues raised by the information to guarantee or ensure equal opportunity for public service, including access to media time
petitions. and space, and the equitable right to reply, for public information campaigns and fora among candidates
and assure free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections.
Section 14 of Rep. Act No. 9006 Is Not a Rider32
The State shall ensure that bona fide candidates for any public office shall be free from any form of
At the core of the controversy is Section 14, the repealing clause of Rep. Act No. 9006, which provides: harassment and discrimination.35

Sec. 14. Sections 67 and 85 of the Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881) and Sections 10 and The Court is convinced that the title and the objectives of Rep. Act No. 9006 are comprehensive enough to
11 of Republic Act No. 6646 are hereby repealed. As a consequence, the first proviso in the third paragraph include the repeal of Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code within its contemplation. To require that the
of Section 11 of Republic Act No. 8436 is rendered ineffective. All laws, presidential decrees, executive said repeal of Section 67 of the Code be expressed in the title is to insist that the title be a complete index
orders, rules and regulations, or any part thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby of its content.36
repealed or modified or amended accordingly.
The purported dissimilarity of Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code, which imposes a limitation on
The repealed provision, Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code, quoted earlier, reads: elective officials who run for an office other than the one they are holding, to the other provisions of Rep.
Act No. 9006, which deal with the lifting of the ban on the use of media for election propaganda, does not
violate the "one subject-one title" rule. This Court has held that an act having a single general subject,
SEC. 67. Candidates holding elective office. – Any elective official, whether national or local, running for any indicated in the title, may contain any number of provisions, no matter how diverse they may be, so long as
office other than the one which he is holding in a permanent capacity, except for President and Vice- they are not inconsistent with or foreign to the general subject, and may be considered in furtherance of
President, shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his office upon the filing of his certificate of such subject by providing for the method and means of carrying out the general subject.37

The deliberations of the Bicameral Conference Committee on the particular matter are particularly
Section 26(1), Article VI of the Constitution provides: instructive:

SEC. 26 (1). Every bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in SEN. LEGARDA-LEVISTE:
the title thereof.

Yes, Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to clarify.

The proscription is aimed against the evils of the so-called omnibus bills and log-rolling legislation as well
as surreptitious and/or unconsidered encroaches. The provision merely calls for all parts of an act relating
to its subject finding expression in its title.33 So all we’re looking for now is an appropriate title to make it broader so that it would cover this provision
[referring to the repeal of Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code], is that correct? That’s all. Because I
believe ...
To determine whether there has been compliance with the constitutional requirement that the subject of an
act shall be expressed in its title, the Court laid down the rule that –
Constitutional provisions relating to the subject matter and titles of statutes should not be so narrowly
construed as to cripple or impede the power of legislation. The requirement that the subject of an act shall We are looking for an appropriate coverage which will result in the nomenclature or title.
be expressed in its title should receive a reasonable and not a technical construction. It is sufficient if the
title be comprehensive enough reasonably to include the general object which a statute seeks to effect, SEN. LEGARDA-LEVISTE:
Because I really do not believe that it is out of place. I think that even with the term "fair election practice," I agree, Mr. Chairman. I think the Congresswoman from Ilocos had very clearly put it, that it is covered in
it really covers it, because as expressed by Senator Roco, those conditions inserted earlier seemed unfair the Declaration of Principles and in the objective of this bill. And therefore, I hope that the House
and it is an election practice and, therefore, I think, I’m very comfortable with the title "Fair Election contingent would agree to this so that we can finish it now. And it expressly provides for fair election
Practice" so that we can get over with these things so that we don’t come back again until we find the title. practices because ...
I mean, it’s one provision which I think is fair for everybody. It may seem like a limitation but this limitation
actually provides for fairness in election practices as the title implies. THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. ROCO):

THE CHAIRMAN (REP. SYJUCO): Yeah, I think what is on the table is that we are not disputing this, but we are looking for a title that is more
generic so that then we have less of an objection on constitutionality. I think that’s the theory. So, there is
Yes. acceptance of this.

SEN. LEGARDA-LEVISTE: Maybe we should not call it na limitation on elected officials. Maybe we should say the special provision on
elected officials. So how is that? Alam mo ito ...
So I would want to beg the House contingent, let’s get it over with. To me, ha, it’s not a very touchy issue.
For me, it’s even a very correct provision. I feel very comfortable with it and it was voted in the Senate, at REP. MARCOS:
least, so I would like to appeal to the ... para matapos na, then we come back as a Bicam just for the title Is
that what you’re ...? I think we just change the Section 1, the short title.


It’s not the title per se, it’s the coverage. So if you will just kindly bear with us. I’m happy that there is Also, Then we say - - on the short title of the Act, we say ...
already one comfortable senator there among ... several of us were also comfortable with it. But it would be
well that when we rise from this Bicam that we’re all comfortable with it.


What if we say fair election practices? Maybe that should be changed...

Yes. Anyway, let’s listen to Congressman Marcos.


O, sige, fine, fine. Let’s a brainstorm. Equal...

Mr. Chairman, may I just make the observation that although it is true that the bulk of provisions deals with
the area of propaganda and political advertising, the complete title is actually one that indulge full REP. PADILLA:
coverage. It says "An Act to enhance the holding of free, orderly, honest ... elections through fair election
practices." But as you said, we will put that aside to discuss later one. Mr. Chairman, why don’t we use "An Act rationalizing the holding of free, orderly, honest, peaceful and
credible elections, amending for the purpose Batasang Pambansa known as the Omnibus Election Code?"
Secondly, I think the Declaration of Principles contained in Section 2, paragraph 2 is perfectly adequate in
that it says that it shall ensure candidates for public office that may be free from any form of harassment THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. ROCO):
and discrimination.
Why don’t we remove "fair" and then this shall be cited as Election Practices Act?"
Surely this provision in Section 67 of the old Election Code of the existing Omnibus Election Code is a form
of harassment or discrimination. And so I think that in the effort at leveling the playing field, we can cover REP. PICHAY:
this and it should not be considered a rider.
That’s not an election practice. That’s a limitation.
Ah - - - ayaw mo iyong practice. O, give me another noun. Done. So, okay na iyon. The title will be "Fair Election Act."

REP. MARCOS: The rest wala nang problema ano?

The Fair Election. VOICES:


O, Fair Election Act. REP. MACARAMBON:

REP. MACARAMBON: Wala na iyong practices?

Nagbi-brainstorm tayo dito, eh. How about if we change the title to enhance the holding of free, orderly, THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. ROCO):
honest, peaceful and ensure equal opportunity for public service through fair election practices?
Wala na, wala na. Mahina tayo sa practice, eh.
O, wala na? We will clean up.
Fair election practices?
Yeah. To ensure equal opportunity for public service through fair ...
The short title, "This Act ..."
Wala nang practices nga.
You’re back to your No. 21 already.
Wala nang practices.
The full title, the same?
It shall be cited as Fair Election Act.
(Informal discussions)
Iyon na nga. The full title is "An Act to enhance the holding ..." That’s the House version, eh, dahil pareho,
REP. PICHAY: hindi ba? Then the short title "This Act shall be known as the Fair Election Act."38

Approve na iyan. The legislators considered Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code as a form of harassment or
discrimination that had to be done away with and repealed. The executive department found cause with
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. ROCO): Congress when the President of the Philippines signed the measure into law. For sure, some sectors of
society and in government may believe that the repeal of Section 67 is bad policy as it would encourage
political adventurism. But policy matters are not the concern of the Court. Government policy is within the
exclusive dominion of the political branches of the government.39 It is not for this Court to look into the their office in a permanent capacity and are entitled to security of tenure47 while others serve at the
wisdom or propriety of legislative determination. Indeed, whether an enactment is wise or unwise, whether pleasure of the appointing authority.48
it is based on sound economic theory, whether it is the best means to achieve the desired results, whether,
in short, the legislative discretion within its prescribed limits should be exercised in a particular manner are Another substantial distinction between the two sets of officials is that under Section 55, Chapter 8, Title I,
matters for the judgment of the legislature, and the serious conflict of opinions does not suffice to bring Subsection A. Civil Service Commission, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 (Executive Order No.
them within the range of judicial cognizance.40 Congress is not precluded from repealing Section 67 by the 292), appointive officials, as officers and employees in the civil service, are strictly prohibited from engaging
ruling of the Court in Dimaporo v. Mitra41 upholding the validity of the provision and by its in any partisan political activity or take part in any election except to vote. Under the same provision,
pronouncement in the same case that the provision has a laudable purpose. Over time, Congress may find elective officials, or officers or employees holding political offices, are obviously expressly allowed to take
it imperative to repeal the law on its belief that the election process is thereby enhanced and the part in political and electoral activities.49
paramount objective of election laws – the fair, honest and orderly election of truly deserving members of
Congress – is achieved.
By repealing Section 67 but retaining Section 66 of the Omnibus Election Code, the legislators deemed it
proper to treat these two classes of officials differently with respect to the effect on their tenure in the
Moreover, the avowed purpose of the constitutional directive that the subject of a bill should be embraced office of the filing of the certificates of candidacy for any position other than those occupied by them.
in its title is to apprise the legislators of the purposes, the nature and scope of its provisions, and prevent Again, it is not within the power of the Court to pass upon or look into the wisdom of this classification.
the enactment into law of matters which have not received the notice, action and study of the legislators
and the public.42 In this case, it cannot be claimed that the legislators were not apprised of the repeal of
Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code as the same was amply and comprehensively deliberated upon by Since the classification justifying Section 14 of Rep. Act No. 9006, i.e., elected officials vis-a-vis appointive
the members of the House. In fact, the petitioners, as members of the House of Representatives, expressed officials, is anchored upon material and significant distinctions and all the persons belonging under the
their reservations regarding its validity prior to casting their votes. Undoubtedly, the legislators were aware same classification are similarly treated, the equal protection clause of the Constitution is, thus, not
of the existence of the provision repealing Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code. infringed.

Section 14 of Rep. Act No. 9006 The Enrolled Bill Doctrine

Is Not Violative of the Equal Is Applicable In this Case
Protection Clause of the Constitution43
Not content with their plea for the nullification of Section 14 of Rep. Act No. 9006, the petitioners insist that
The petitioners’ contention, that the repeal of Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code pertaining to the entire law should be nullified. They contend that irregularities attended the passage of the said law
elective officials gives undue benefit to such officials as against the appointive ones and violates the equal particularly in the House of Representatives catalogued thus:
protection clause of the constitution, is tenuous.
a. Creation of two (2) sets of BCC (Bicameral Conference Committee) members by the House
The equal protection of the law clause in the Constitution is not absolute, but is subject to reasonable during its session on February 5, 2001;
classification. If the groupings are characterized by substantial distinctions that make real differences, one
class may be treated and regulated differently from the other.44 The Court has explained the nature of the b. No communication from the Senate for a conference on the compromise bill submitted by the
equal protection guarantee in this manner: BCC on November 29, 2000;

The equal protection of the law clause is against undue favor and individual or class privilege, as well as c. The new Report submitted by the 2nd/3rd BCC was presented for approval on the floor without
hostile discrimination or the oppression of inequality. It is not intended to prohibit legislation which is copies thereof being furnished the members;
limited either in the object to which it is directed or by territory within which it is to operate. It does not
demand absolute equality among residents; it merely requires that all persons shall be treated alike, under d. The 2nd/3rd BCC has no record of its proceedings, and the Report submitted by it was not
like circumstances and conditions both as to privileges conferred and liabilities enforced. The equal signed by the Chairman (Sen. Roco) thereof as well as its senator-members at the time it was
protection clause is not infringed by legislation which applies only to those persons falling within a presented to and rammed for approval by the House;
specified class, if it applies alike to all persons within such class, and reasonable grounds exist for making a
distinction between those who fall within such class and those who do not.45
e. There was no meeting actually conducted by the 2nd/3rd BCC and that its alleged Report was
instantly made and passed around for the signature of the BCC members;
Substantial distinctions clearly exist between elective officials and appointive officials. The former occupy
their office by virtue of the mandate of the electorate. They are elected to an office for a definite term and
f. The Senate has no record of the creation of a 2nd BCC but only of the first one that convened on
may be removed therefrom only upon stringent conditions.46 On the other hand, appointive officials hold
November 23, 2000;
their office by virtue of their designation thereto by an appointing authority. Some appointive officials hold
g. The "Effectivity" clauses of SB No. 1741 and HB No. 9000, as well as that of the compromise bill The Effectivity Clause
submitted by the BCC that convened on November 20, 2000, were couched in terms that comply Is Defective
with the publication required by the Civil Code and jurisprudence, to wit:
Finally, the "Effectivity" clause (Section 16) of Rep. Act No. 9006 which provides that it "shall take effect
... immediately upon its approval," is defective. However, the same does not render the entire law invalid. In
Tañada v. Tuvera,54 this Court laid down the rule:
However, it was surreptitiously replaced in its final form as it appears in § 16, R.A. No. 9006, with the
provision that "This Act shall take effect immediately upon its approval;" ... the clause "unless it is otherwise provided" refers to the date of effectivity and not to the requirement of
publication itself, which cannot in any event be omitted. This clause does not mean that the legislator may
h. The copy of the compromise bill submitted by the 2nd/3rd BCC that was furnished the members make the law effective immediately upon approval, or on any other date without its previous publication.
during its consideration on February 7, 2001, did not have the same § 16 as it now appears in RA
No. 9006, but § 16 of the compromise bill, HB 9000 and SB 1742, reasons for which no objection Publication is indispensable in every case, but the legislature may in its discretion provide that the usual
thereto was made; fifteen-period shall be shortened or extended….55

i. The alleged BCC Report presented to the House on February 7, 2001, did not "contain a detailed, Following Article 2 of the Civil Code56 and the doctrine enunciated in Tañada, Rep. Act No. 9006,
sufficiently explicit statement of the changes in or amendments to the subject measure;" and notwithstanding its express statement, took effect fifteen days after its publication in the Official Gazette or
a newspaper of general circulation.
j. The disappearance of the "Cayetano amendment," which is Section 12 of the compromise bill
submitted by the BCC. In fact, this was the subject of the purported proposed amendment to the In conclusion, it bears reiterating that one of the firmly entrenched principles in constitutional law is that
compromise bill of Member Paras as stated in paragraph 7 hereof. The said provision states, the courts do not involve themselves with nor delve into the policy or wisdom of a statute. That is the
thusly: exclusive concern of the legislative branch of the government. When the validity of a statute is challenged
on constitutional grounds, the sole function of the court is to determine whether it transcends
Sec. 12. Limitation on Elected Officials. – Any elected official who runs for president and vice-president shall constitutional limitations or the limits of legislative power.57 No such transgression has been shown in this
be considered ipso facto resigned from his office upon the filing of the certificate of candidacy.50 case.

The petitioners, thus, urge the Court to go behind the enrolled copy of the bill. The Court is not persuaded. WHEREFORE, the petitions are DISMISSED. No pronouncement as to costs.
Under the "enrolled bill doctrine," the signing of a bill by the Speaker of the House and the Senate
President and the certification of the Secretaries of both Houses of Congress that it was passed are SO ORDERED.
conclusive of its due enactment. A review of cases51 reveals the Court’s consistent adherence to the rule.
The Court finds no reason to deviate from the salutary rule in this case where the irregularities alleged by
the petitioners mostly involved the internal rules of Congress, e.g., creation of the 2nd or 3rd Bicameral
Conference Committee by the House. This Court is not the proper forum for the enforcement of these
internal rules of Congress, whether House or Senate. Parliamentary rules are merely procedural and with
their observance the courts have no concern.52 Whatever doubts there may be as to the formal validity of
Rep. Act No. 9006 must be resolved in its favor. The Court reiterates its ruling in Arroyo v. De Venecia,53

But the cases, both here and abroad, in varying forms of expression, all deny to the courts the power to
inquire into allegations that, in enacting a law, a House of Congress failed to comply with its own rules, in
the absence of showing that there was a violation of a constitutional provision or the rights of private
individuals. In Osmeña v. Pendatun, it was held: "At any rate, courts have declared that ‘the rules adopted
by deliberative bodies are subject to revocation, modification or waiver at the pleasure of the body
adopting them.’ And it has been said that ‘Parliamentary rules are merely procedural, and with their
observance, the courts have no concern. They may be waived or disregarded by the legislative body.’
Consequently, ‘mere failure to conform to parliamentary usage will not invalidate the action (taken by a
deliberative body) when the requisite number of members have agreed to a particular measure.’"