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SALVADOR MARZALADO vs. People G.R. No. 152997. November 10, 2004 Facts: Cristina N.

Albano was the lessee of a unit in the house owned by the mother of the petitioner. His mother filed an ejectment case against Albano. Judgment was rendered against Albano, who was ordered to vacate the leased premises and to pay the unpaid rentals. Albano appealed to the RTC. During the pendency of the appeal, the electricity supply of the unit was cut off due to non-payment of bills. As a result, Albano transferred her children to her fathers house, four houses away, leaving a maid to sleep in the unit. Albano claims that she noticed that the lead pipe she used to hang clothes to dry was missing. When she returned the following day she discovered the padlock of the main door changed, preventing her from entering the premises. She went to see petitioner but he was not around. On the next day she again returned to her unit. She peeked through the window jalousies and saw that the place was already empty. She immediately reported the matter to the barangay officials, who in turn, advised her to go to the police. Thereafter, she filed a complaint for grave coercion, qualified trespass to dwelling and theft against petitioner. 10 days after, Albano tried to see the accused, but again failed. This time she noticed that the roofing of her unit had been removed and the main door locked from the inside. She was informed that the petitioner and his female companion took her lead pipe and also took her personal belongings which brought inside his house. Albano filed a suit for trespass to dwelling with the MeTC against Marzalado, Jr.. witness named Raniedo, the owner of the house fronting Albanos unit, testified that he saw the petitioner, take a lead pipe and hand it to a woman waiting at the terrace of Marzalado, Jr.s house. He further testified that the next when he was relaxing in front of his house, he heard noises coming from Albanos apartment. There he saw Marzalado, Jr., forcibly open the door of the unit, bring out the belongings of Albano, and take these to his own house. On his defense, he accused Albano of deliberately leaving the faucet open causing it to flood on the floor. The MeTC handed a judgment finding the accused Salvador Mar[z]alado, Jr. GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of Qualified Trespass To Dwelling under Article 280 of the Revised Penal Code. Marzalado appealed the decision to the RTC. RTC affirmed the MeTCs decision. The CA also affirmed the decision. Defense said that the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the decisions of the MTC and the RTC because the incident happened on Nov. 3 and not Nov. 2 and so there is a misapprehension of facts and that his entry in the premises is fully justified because he was assisted by their brgy. Secretary and 2 brgy. tanods. Issue: Whether or not the petitioner is guilty of qualified trespass to dwelling Ruling: The decision of the CA is reversed and that the accused is hereby acquitted. The Court states that the exact date when the alleged trespass occurred is not an essential element of the offense of trespass. It is sufficient that the Complaint or Information states that the crime has been committed at any time as near as possible to the date of its actual commission. However, the Supreme Court further stated that as certified by Barangay Lupon Secretary the unit rented by Albano was forcibly opened by the owner because of the strong water pressure coming out of the faucet even Albano herself admitted, she and her children already left the unit when the electricity supply was cut off. Hence, nobody was left to attend to the unit, except during some nights when Albanos maid slept in the unit. Clearly, Marzalado, Jr., acted for the justified purpose of avoiding further flooding and damage to his mothers property caused by the open faucet. No criminal intent could be clearly imputed to petitioner for the remedial action he had taken. There was an exigency that had to be addressed to avoid damage to the leased unit. There is nothing culpable concerning Marzalado, Jr.s judgment call to enter the unit and turn off the faucet instead of closing the inlet valve as suggested by the OSG. The Court also stated that in a situation of ambiguity, where the act of the accused permits of two possible signification, one culpable and another innocent, the ambiguity should be resolved in favor of the accused.