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WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

issued on February 1, 2001, a Certificate of Finality of the Decision. 12

G.R. No. 151876

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

June 21, 2005

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

On February 27, 2001, Dimagiba filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the MTCC Order. He prayed for the recall
of the Order of Arrest and the modification of the final Decision, arguing that the penalty of fine only, instead of
imprisonment also, should have been imposed on him. 14 The arguments raised in that Motion were reiterated in
a Motion for the Partial Quashal of the Writ of Execution filed on February 28, 2001. 15
In an Order dated August 22, 2001, the MTCC denied the Motion for Reconsideration and directed the issuance
of a Warrant of Arrest against Dimagiba.16 On September 28, 2001, he was arrested and imprisoned for the
service of his sentence.
On October 9, 2001, he filed with the RTC of Baguio City a Petition 17 for a writ of habeas corpus. The case was
raffled to Branch 5, which scheduled the hearing for October 10, 2001. Copies of the Order were served on
respondents counsels and the city warden.18
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court

The Case
Before us is a Petition for Review1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the October 10, 2001 2 and the
October 11, 20013 Orders of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) (Branch 5), Baguio City. 4 The October 10, 2001 Order
released Respondent Fernando L. Dimagiba from confinement and required him to pay a fine of P100,000 in
lieu of imprisonment. The October 11, 2001 Order disposed as follows:
"WHEREFORE, [in] applying the doctrine as held in the above-entitled cases in this case, the instant petition for
Habeas Corpus should be, as it is hereby, GRANTED. The Baguio City Jail Warden is hereby ordered to
IMMEDIATELY RELEASE the petitioner from confinement unless he is being held for some other lawful cause
other than by virtue of the Sentence Mittimus dated September 28, 2001 issued by CESAR S. VIDUYA, Clerk of
Court, MTC 4, Baguio City. Further, the petitioner is required to pay a fine in the amount of P100,000.00 in lieu
of his imprisonment, in addition to the civil aspect of the Joint Judgment rendered by MTC 4 dated July 16,
1999."5

Right after hearing the case on October 10, 2001, the RTC issued an Order directing the immediate release of
Dimagiba from confinement and requiring him to pay a fine of P100,000 in lieu of imprisonment. However, the
civil aspect of the July 16, 1999 MTCC Decision was not touched upon. 19 A subsequent Order, explaining in
greater detail the basis of the grant of the writ of habeas corpus, was issued on October 11, 2001. 20
In justifying its modification of the MTCC Decision, the RTC invoked Vaca v. Court of Appeals 21 and Supreme
Court Administrative Circular (SC-AC) No. 12-2000, 22 which allegedly required the imposition of a fine only
instead of imprisonment also for BP 22 violations, if the accused was not a recidivist or a habitual delinquent.
The RTC held that this rule should be retroactively applied in favor of Dimagiba. 23 It further noted that (1) he
was a first-time offender and an employer of at least 200 workers who would be displaced as a result of his
imprisonment; and (2) the civil liability had already been satisfied through the levy of his properties. 24
On October 22, 2001, Petitioner Go filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the RTC Orders dated October 10 and
11, 2001.25 That Motion was denied on January 18, 2002.26

The Facts
The pertinent facts are not disputed. Respondent Fernando L. Dimagiba issued to Petitioner Susan Go thirteen
(13) checks which, when presented to the drawee bank for encashment or payment on the due dates, were
dishonored for the reason "account closed." 6 Dimagiba was subsequently prosecuted for 13 counts of violation
of BP 227 under separate Complaints filed with the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) in Baguio City. 8 After a
joint trial, the MTCC (Branch 4) rendered a Decision on July 16, 1999, convicting the accused in the 13 cases.
The dispositive portion reads as follows:
"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing disquisition, this Court finds the evidence of the prosecution to have
established the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt of the offenses charged and imposes upon the
accused the penalty of 3 months imprisonment for each count (13 counts) and to indemnify the offended party
the amount of One Million Two Hundred Ninety Five Thousand Pesos (P1,295,000.00) with legal interest per
annum commencing from 1996 after the checks were dishonored by reason ACCOUNT CLOSED on December
13, 1995, to pay attorneys fees of P15,000.00 and to pay the costs."9
10

The appeal of Dimagiba was raffled to Branch 4 of the RTC in Baguio City. On May 23, 2000, the RTC denied
the appeal and sustained his conviction. 11 There being no further appeal to the Court of Appeals (CA), the RTC

Hence, this Petition filed directly with this Court on pure questions of law. 27
The Issues
Petitioner raises the following issues for this Courts consideration:
"1. [The RTC] Judge was utterly devoid of jurisdiction in amending a final and conclusive decision of the
Municipal Trial Court, Branch 4, dated July 16, 1999, in nullifying the Sentence Mittimus, dated September 28,
2001, issued by x x x [the] Municipal Trial Court, Branch 4, Baguio City, and in ordering the release of
[Dimagiba] from confinement in jail for the service of his sentence under the said final and conclusive
judgment;
"2. Assuming only for the sake of argument that habeas corpus is the proper remedy, the Petition for Habeas
Corpus is utterly devoid of merit as [Dimagiba was] not entitled to the beneficent policy enunciated in the
Eduardo Vaca and Rosa Lim cases and reiterated in the Supreme Court Circular No. 12-2000; x x x

"3. Granting for the sake of argument that [Dimagiba was] entitled to the beneficent policy enunciated in the
Eduardo Vaca and Rosa Lim cases and reiterated in the Supreme Court Circular No. 12-2000, the minimum fine
that should be imposed on [Dimagiba] is one million and two hundred ninety five thousand pesos
(P1,295,000.00) up to double the said amount or (P2,590,000), not just the measly amount of P100,000; and
"4. [The RTC] judge committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in hearing
and deciding [Dimagibas] Petition for Habeas Corpus without notice and without affording procedural due
process to the People of the Philippines through the Office of [the] City Prosecutor of Baguio City or the Office of
the Solicitor General."28
In the main, the case revolves around the question of whether the Petition for habeas corpus was validly
granted. Hence, the Court will discuss the four issues as they intertwine with this main question. 29
The Courts Ruling
The Petition is meritorious.
Main Issue:

The Court also finds his arguments for his release insubstantial to support the issuance of the writ of habeas
corpus.
Preference in the Application of Penalties for Violation of BP 22
The following alternative penalties are imposable under BP 22: (1) imprisonment of not less than 30 days, but
not more than one year; (2) a fine of not less or more than double the amount of the check, a fine that shall in
no case exceed P200,000; or (3) both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court. 37
SC-AC No. 12-2000, as clarified by SC-AC No. 13-2001, 38 established a rule of preference in imposing the above
penalties.39 When the circumstances of the case clearly indicate good faith or a clear mistake of fact without
taint of negligence, the imposition of a fine alone may be considered as the preferred penalty. 40 The
determination of the circumstances that warrant the imposition of a fine rests upon the trial judge only. 41
Should the judge deem that imprisonment is appropriate, such penalty may be imposed. 42
SC-AC No. 12-2000 did not delete the alternative penalty of imprisonment. The competence to amend the law
belongs to the legislature, not to this Court.43
Inapplicability of SC-AC No. 12-2000

Propriety of the Writ of Habeas Corpus


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

Petitioners argue that respondent is not entitled to the benevolent policy enunciated in SC-AC No. 12-2000,
because he is not a "first time offender." 44 This circumstance is, however, not the sole factor in determining
whether he deserves the preferred penalty of fine alone. The penalty to be imposed depends on the peculiar
circumstances of each case.45 It is the trial courts discretion to impose any penalty within the confines of the
law. SC-AC No. 13-2001 explains thus:
"x x x. Administrative Circular No. 12-2000 establishes a rule of preference in the application of the penal
provisions of BP 22 such that where the circumstances of both the offense and the offender clearly indicate
good faith or a clear mistake of fact without taint of negligence, the imposition of a fine alone should be
considered as the more appropriate penalty. Needless to say, the determination of whether the circumstances
warrant the imposition of a fine alone rests solely upon the Judge. x x x.
It is, therefore, understood that:

In the present case, the Petition for a writ of habeas corpus was anchored on the ruling in Vaca and on SC-AC
No. 12-2000, which allegedly prescribed the imposition of a fine, not imprisonment, for convictions under BP
22. Respondent sought the retroactive effect of those rulings, thereby effectively challenging the penalty
imposed on him for being excessive. From his allegations, the Petition appeared sufficient in form to support
the issuance of the writ.
However, it appears that respondent has previously sought the modification of his sentence in a Motion for
Reconsideration35 of the MTCCs Execution Order and in a Motion for the Partial Quashal of the Writ of
Execution.36 Both were denied by the MTCC on the ground that it had no power or authority to amend a
judgment issued by the RTC.
In his Petition for habeas corpus, respondent raised the same arguments that he had invoked in the said
Motions. We believe that his resort to this extraordinary remedy was a procedural infirmity. The remedy should
have been an appeal of the MTCC Order denying his Motions, in which he should have prayed that the
execution of the judgment be stayed. But he effectively misused the action he had chosen, obviously with the
intent of finding a favorable court. His Petition for a writ of habeas corpus was clearly an attempt to reopen a
case that had already become final and executory. Such an action deplorably amounted to forum shopping.
Respondent should have resorted to the proper, available remedy instead of instituting a different action in
another forum.

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"2. The Judges concerned, may in the exercise of sound discretion, and taking into consideration the peculiar
circumstances of each case, determine whether the imposition of a fine alone would best serve the interests of
justice, or whether forbearing to impose imprisonment would depreciate the seriousness of the offense, work
violence on the social order, or otherwise be contrary to the imperatives of justice;"
The Court notes that the Petition for a writ of habeas corpus relied mainly on the alleged retroactivity of SC-AC
No. 12-2000, which supposedly favored BP 22 offenders. 46 On this point, Dimagiba contended that his
imprisonment was violative of his right to equal protection of the laws, since only a fine would be imposed on
others similarly situated.47
The rule on retroactivity states that criminal laws may be applied retroactively if favorable to the accused. This
principle, embodied in the Revised Penal Code, 48 has been expanded in certain instances to cover special
laws.49

The issue of retroactivity of SC-AC No. 12-2000 was settled in De Joya v. Jail Warden of Batangas City,50 which
we quote:
"Petitioner's reliance of our ruling in Ordoez v. Vinarao that a convicted person is entitled to benefit from the
reduction of penalty introduced by the new law, citing People v. Simon, is misplaced. Thus, her plea that as
provided for in Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code, SC Admin. Circular No. 12-2000 as modified by SC Admin.
Circular No. 13-2001 should benefit her has no basis.
"First. SC Admin. Circular No. 12-2000 is not a penal law; hence, Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code is not
applicable. The circular applies only to those cases pending as of the date of its effectivity and not to cases
already terminated by final judgment.
"Second. As explained by the Court in SC Admin. Circular No. 13-2001, SC Admin. Circular No. 12-2000 merely
lays down a rule of preference in the application of the penalties for violation of B.P. Blg. 22. It does not amend
B.P. Blg. 22, nor defeat the legislative intent behind the law. SC Admin. Circular No. 12-2000 merely urges the
courts to take into account not only the purpose of the law but also the circumstances of the accused -whether he acted in good faith or on a clear mistake of fact without taint of negligence -- and such other
circumstance which the trial court or the appellate court believes relevant to the penalty to be imposed." 51
Because the Circular merely lays down a rule of preference, it serves only as a guideline for the trial courts.
Thus, it is addressed to the judges, who are directed to consider the factual circumstances of each case prior to
imposing the appropriate penalty. In other words, the Administrative Circular does not confer any new right in
favor of the accused, much less those convicted by final judgment.
The competence to determine the proper penalty belongs to the court rendering the decision against the
accused.52 That decision is subject only to appeal on grounds of errors of fact or law, or grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Another trial court may not encroach upon this authority.
Indeed, SC-AC No. 12-2000 necessarily requires a review of all factual circumstances of each case. Such a
review can no longer be done if the judgment has become final and executory.
In the present case, the MTCC of Baguio City had full knowledge of all relevant circumstances from which
respondents conviction and sentence were based. The penalty imposed was well within the confines of the law.
Upon appeal, the conviction was sustained by RTC-Branch 4 of Baguio City. Eventually, the Decision attained
finality. Hence, RTC-Branch 5 did not have the jurisdiction to modify the lawful judgment in the guise of granting
a writ of habeas corpus.
The doctrine of equal protection of laws 53 does not apply for the same reasons as those on retroactivity.
Foremost of these reasons is that the Circular is not a law that deletes the penalty of imprisonment. As
explained earlier, it is merely a rule of preference as to which penalty should be imposed under the peculiar
circumstances of a case. At any rate, this matter deserves scant consideration, because respondent failed to
raise any substantial argument to support his contention.54
Modification of Final Judgment Not Warranted
The Court is not unmindful of So v. Court of Appeals,55 in which the final judgment of conviction for violation of
BP 22 was modified by the deletion of the sentence of imprisonment and the imposition of a fine. That case
proceeded from an "Urgent Manifestation of an Extraordinary Supervening Event," 56 not from an unmeritorious
petition for a writ of habeas corpus, as in the present case. The Court exercised in that case its authority to
suspend or to modify the execution of a final judgment when warranted or made imperative by the higher
interest of justice or by supervening events. 57 The supervening event in that case was the petitioners urgent
need for coronary rehabilitation for at least one year under the direct supervision of a coronary care therapist;
imprisonment would have been equivalent to a death sentence. 58

The peculiar circumstances of So do not obtain in the present case. Respondents supposed "unhealthy physical
condition due to a triple by-pass operation, and aggravated by hypertension," cited by the RTC in its October
10, 2001 Order,59 is totally bereft of substantial proof. The Court notes that respondent did not make any such
allegation in his Petition for habeas corpus. Neither did he mention his physical state in his Memorandum and
Comment submitted to this Court.
Respondent seeks the retroactive application of SC-AC No. 12-2000 in his favor on the basis alone of the
alleged settlement of his civil liability. 60 Citing Griffith v. Court of Appeals,61 he theorizes that answering for a
criminal offense is no longer justified after the settlement of the debt.
Respondent, however, misreads Griffith. The Court held in that case that convicting the accused who, two years
prior to the filing of the BP 22 cases, had already paid his debt (from which the checks originated) was contrary
to the basic principles of fairness and justice. 62 Obviously, that situation is not attendant here.
The civil liability in the present case was satisfied through the levy and sale of the properties of respondent
only after the criminal case had been terminated with his conviction. 63 Apparently, he had sufficient properties
that could have been used to settle his liabilities prior to his conviction. Indeed, such an early settlement would
have been an indication that he was in good faith, a circumstance that could have been favorably considered in
determining his appropriate penalty.
At any rate, civil liability differs from criminal liability. 64 What is punished in the latter is not the failure to pay
the obligation, but the issuance of checks that subsequently bounced or were dishonored for insufficiency or
lack of funds.65 The Court reiterates the reasons why the issuance of worthless checks is criminalized:
"The practice is prohibited by law because of its deleterious effects on public interest. The effects of the
increase of worthless checks transcend the private interest of the parties directly involved in the transaction
and touches the interest of the community at large. The mischief it creates is not only a wrong to the payee or
holder, but also an injury to the public. The harmful practice of putting valueless commercial papers in
circulation multiplied a thousand-fold can very well pollute the channels of trade and commerce, injure the
banking system and eventually hurt the welfare of society and the public interest. The law punishes the act not
as an offense against property but an offense against public order." 66
WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED and the assailed Orders NULLIFIED. Respondents Petition for habeas
corpus is hereby DENIED. Let this case be REMANDED to MTCC of Baguio City for the re-arrest of respondent
and the completion of his sentence.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Go vs. Dimagiba
Post under case digests, Criminal Law at Wednesday, February 29, 2012 Posted by Schizophrenic Mind
Facts: Fernando Dimagiba issued to Susan Go thirteen checks which, when presented to the drawee bank for
encashment or payment on the due dates, were dishonored for the reason account closed. Subqequently,
Dimagiba was prosecuted for 13 counts of violation of BP 22 (An Act Penalizing the Making or Drawing and
Issuance of a Check Without Sufficient Funds or Credit and for Other Purposes, approved on April 3, 1979). He
was found guilty by the MTCC, was sentenced three months imprisonment, and was ordered to pay the
offended party the amount he owed plus interest. On February 27, 2001, Dimagiba filed a Motion for
Reconsideration and a Motion for the Partial Quashal of the Writ of Execution, praying for the recall of the Order
of Arrest and the modification of the final decision. Citing SC-AC No. 12-2000, he pointed out that the penalty of
fine only, instead of imprisonment also, should have been imposed on him. The MTCC denied the motion for
reconsideration; Dimagiba was arrested and imprisoned for the service of his sentence. On October 9, 2001,
Dimagiba filed with the RTC of Baguio city a petition for writ of habeas corpus which was granted by the said

court after hearing the case.


Issues:
(1) Whether or not the petition for writ of habeas corpus is the proper remedy.
(2) Whether or not SC-AC No. 12-2000 can be given retroactive application.
Held:
(1) No. The respondent had previously sought the modification of his sentence in a Motion for Reconsideration
and in a Motion for the Partial Quashal of the Writ of Execution. The remedy should have been an appeal of the
MTCC Order denying these motions. His petition for writ of habeas corpus was clearly an attempt to reopen a
case that had already become final and executory, an action deplorably amounting to forum shopping.
(2) No. The rule on retroactivity states that criminal laws may be applied retroactively if favorable to the
accused. SC-AC No. 12-2000 cannot be given retroactive application for it is not a law that deletes the penalty
of imprisonment. It is merely a rule of preference as to which penalty should be imposed under the peculiar
circumstances of the case.
[A.M. No. RTJ-02-1698. June 23, 2005]
DANTE VICENTE, petitioner, vs. JUDGE JOSE S. MAJADUCON, respondent. R E S O L U T I O N
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
In a letter-complaint dated July 21, 2000, addressed to then Court Administrator Alfredo L. Benipayo,
Dante Vicente charged respondent Judge Jose S. Majaducon of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of General Santos
City, Branch 23, with gross ignorance of the law, grave abuse of authority and manifest partiality, praying that
he be administratively disciplined and terminated from the service.
The instant administrative complaint stemmed from a series of criminal cases involving a certain Evelyn
Te of General Santos City. The factual and procedural antecedents leading to the instant administrative case is
summarized in this Courts Resolution of February 19, 2001, in G.R. Nos. 145715-18 entitled, People of the
Philippines vs. Evelyn Te, pertinent portions of which read as follows:
In a joint decision dated May 31, 1995, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 23, General Santos City, found Evelyn
Te guilty on four counts of violation of B. P. Blg. 22, otherwise known as the Bouncing Checks Law, and
sentenced her to two (2) months of imprisonment on each count. The decision became final and executory
after this Court had denied Tes petition for review from the affirmance of the trial courts decision by the Court
of Appeals.
On March 11, 2000, Te sought clarification from the trial court whether she should serve her sentences
successively or simultaneously. In an order, dated May 25, 2000, the trial court clarified that she should serve
her sentences successively, but for humanitarian reason and in accordance with Art. 70 of the Revised Penal
Code, it held that instead of serving imprisonment of EIGHT months, the prisoner EVELYN TE should serve only
six months.
On June 2, 2000, Te filed a motion for reconsideration, which she prayed be also considered as a petition for
issuance of the writ of habeas corpus. Citing Vaca v. Court of Appeals, 298 SCRA 656 (1998), in which the
sentence of imprisonment of a party found guilty of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 was reduced to a fine equal to
double the amount of the check involved, Te prayed that her sentence be similarly modified and that she be
immediately released from detention. In a supplemental motion, Te argued that she had been denied equal
protection of the law because the trial judge in another case involving multiple counts of robbery directed the
accused to simultaneously serve his sentences.
On June 20, 2000, the trial court denied Tes petition for issuance of the writ of habeas corpus on the ground
that Te was detained by virtue of a final judgment.

On June 22, 2000, Te filed an omnibus motion praying for her release on the ground that she had been in jail
since March 15, 2000 and had fully served the three months minimum of her total sentence under the
Indeterminate Sentence Law. In the alternative, Te prayed for release on recognizance.
On June 23, 2000, Te moved for reconsideration of the trial courts order of June 20, 2000, alleging that the
finality of the joint decision against her did not bar her application for the writ of habeas corpus. She prayed
that pending determination as to whether the Vaca ruling applied to her, she also be allowed to post bail
pursuant to Rule 102, 14.
On July 5, 2000, the trial court allowed Te to post bail in the amount of one million pesos, holding that it would
order her release upon the approval of her bail bond and thereafter certify the proceedings to the Court as the
latter has concurrent jurisdiction over proceedings for habeas corpus.
On July 7, 2000, the trial court approved Tes bail bonds in the reduced amount of P500,000.00 and ordered her
release. The trial court also directed its clerk of court to certify the proceedings to the Court.
On July 11, 2000, Assistant City Prosecutor Marie Ellengred L. Baliguiat moved for reconsideration of the trial
courts resolution of July 5, 2000.
On July 18, 2000, Te filed a notice of appeal from the order, dated June 20, 2000, and the resolution, dated July
5, 2000, of the trial court.
On July 31, 2000, the trial court denied the motion for reconsideration of the Assistant City Prosecutor. It also
denied due course to Tes notice of appeal on the ground that there was no necessity for the appeal to the
Court of Appeals because it had already ordered that the whole records be forwarded to this Court pursuant to
Rule 102, 14.[1]
In the present case, complainant, who claims to be the station manager of Radyo Bombo, General
Santos City, alleges that while Te was in prison, respondent judge allowed her to be released and confined at a
local hospital in the guise that she was suffering from certain illnesses. Complainant further alleges that
respondent judge approved Tes application for bail as part of habeas corpus proceedings even though no
petition for habeas corpus in favor of Te was filed and docketed. As a result of respondent judges order
allowing the provisional liberty of Te, the local media in General Santos City made an uproar and criticized
respondent judge for his action on the said case. In retaliation, respondent judge cited for indirect contempt a
group of mediamen who published a critical article against him. Complainant contends that respondent judge
will not hesitate to use his clout and power to stifle criticism and dissent. In addition, complainant alleges that
in a separate case, respondent judge allowed the release of the accused without the posting of the necessary
bail. On the basis of the above allegations, complainant prays that respondent judge be investigated and if
warranted, be terminated and removed from service.[2]
In his Comment, dated October 17, 2000, respondent judge submitted the following contentions which
we quote verbatim:
1.
The certified records of the above-mentioned cases against Evelyn Te were forwarded to the Supreme
Court on August 5, 2000, upon the order of undersigned by the Branch Clerk of Court for review of our
questioned Order (attached as ANNEX 1 of letter Complaint);
2.
On June 2, 2000, Evelyn Tes counsel filed not only a motion for reconsideration denying our previous
order denying her motion for release from detention but also a petition for Habeas Corpus in the same cases;
3.

In the exercise of sound discretion and after hearing the comment of the public prosecutor, we issued the

questioned Order, which is self-explanatory;


4.
We believed then that we had the discretion to allow her to be released on bail, based on Sec. 14, Rule
102 of the Revised Rules of Court;
5.
We were thinking then that in such a dilemma, whether or not to release her on bail, it was a better
judgment to release her from bail on a writ of habeas corpus, because, Evelyn Te might be right in her
contention that she is considered to have served her sentences simultaneously. If we denied her petition for
Habeas Corpus, and on appeal, she could get a favorable decision from the Supreme Court, surely, she could
return and charge us with a graver offense of ignorance of the law and abuse of discretion. She could even file
other cases against us under the Revised Penal Code, such as rendering an unjust order, or under the Civil
Code for moral damages in millions of pesos;
6.
To obviate such a possible move on Tes part, we opted to allow her release on bail through the writ of
habeas corpus proceedings. Anyway, the Supreme Court has the last say on that matter;
7.
Therefore, we are of the view that the letter complaint of Mr. Dante Vicente is legally premature as it
concerned cases which are still sub judice;
8.
Besides, we are of the opinion that Mr. Vicente has no personality as a third party to charge us with
anything as he has not shown any damage that he could have suffered because of our Order;
9.
We are convinced that Mr. Vicente is trying to pre-empt our move to charge his radio station for libel or
cite the announcer for indirect contempt of Court when his radio station and announcer had been reviling and
attacking us for many days on the air for having allowed Evelyn Te to be treated and confined in a hospital
upon recommendation of a government doctor and for having allowed her release from imprisonment on bail; a
certified Xerox copy of the letter of the Regional Director of the Department of Transportation and
Communication (National Telecommunications Commission) dated August 9, 2000, in reply to our request for
copies of the broadcast tapes, is attached herewith as ANNEX 1;
10.
As to the charge that we are stifling criticism by the print and broadcast media, we are of the view that if
media has the privilege to criticize the Courts and the Judges, we have also the right to charge them for
indirect contempt of Court and libel, because there are laws regarding this matter. The article of a certain
Joseph Jubelag is now a subject of an indirect contempt charge before us, which we are about to resolve;
11.
Regarding our Order in Criminal Case No. 14072 in the case of People vs. Jhoyche Gersonin-Palma, RTC
Br. 36, it was done with sound discretion on our part because it was already 6:30 in the evening and the offices
were closed and being a Friday, the accused would be detained for two days and three nights, unless we
accepted and approved the bail bond. Besides, the law requires judges to approve bail even during the
holidays. Immediately, on Monday, the money in the amount of P6,000.00 was deposited with the Clerk of
Court as shown in the official receipt (ANNEX 6 of letter complaint);
12.
Regarding our competence, honesty and integrity, modesty aside, as a judge for the last thirteen years
in General Santos City, the records of the Municipal Trial Court and RTC, Branches 23 and 22 (being a pairing
judge of the latter court since October last year) show that most of our decisions appealed to the Court of
Appeals and the Supreme Court have been sustained or affirmed;
13.
As to our reputation in the community, let other members of the media and a member of the Philippine
Bar speak about it. We are enclosing herewith a Xerox copy of a news clipping of Philippine Daily Inquirer, July
8, 2000 issue (attached herewith as ANNEX 2), about how we tried and decided the celebrated case of People

vs. Castracion, et. al. when the Supreme Court assigned us to hear the evidence of the defense and decide the
case. We did our work in that case as best we could as we have done in all cases being tried and decided by us,
mindful of our duty to do our work with faithful diligence, honesty, and integrity. We do not expect praises from
others as we do not also wish to be criticized or attacked by Radio Bombo station in General Santos City
especially by its manager, Mr. Dante Vicente, without basis or competent proof and evidence. Atty. Rogelio
Garcia, who vouched for our honesty, competence and integrity is a former assemblyman of South Cotabato
and General Santos City, and an ex-Assistant Minister of Labor. He has known us in the community for almost
twenty five years;
14.
Complainant Dante Vicente is just a newcomer to General Santos and he and his radio station have a bad
and notorious reputation of attacking the character and good name of some people here as shown by cases for
libel filed in our courts.[3]
In its Report dated March 11, 2002, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) confirmed that Criminal
Cases Nos. 9456-9460 were indeed certified by respondent to this Court.[4] However, this Court in its
Resolution of February 19, 2001 in G.R. Nos. 145715-18, resolved to return the records of the consolidated
cases to the RTC of General Santos City, Branch 23, and to order the said court to give due course to Evelyn
Tes notice of appeal from the Order denying her petition for habeas corpus and from the Order requiring her to
post bail in the amount of one million pesos for her release from detention. This Court made the following
pronouncements:
Rule 102, 14 provides:
When person lawfully imprisoned recommitted, and when let to bail. If it appears that the prisoner was
lawfully committed, and is plainly and specifically charged in the warrant of commitment with an offense
punishable by death, he shall not be released, discharged, or bailed. If he is lawfully imprisoned or restrained
on a charge of having committed an offense not so punishable, he may be recommitted to imprisonment or
admitted to bail in the discretion of the court or judge. If he be admitted to bail, he shall forthwith file a bond in
such sum as the court or judge deems reasonable, considering the circumstances of the prisoner and the
nature of the offense charged, conditioned for his appearance before the court where the offense is properly
cognizable to abide its order or judgment; and the court or judge shall certify the proceedings, together with
the bond, forthwith to the proper court. If such bond is not so filed, the prisoner shall be recommitted to
confinement.
The foregoing provision, however, applies to cases where the applicant for the writ of habeas corpus is
restrained by virtue of a criminal charge against him, not where, as here, he is serving sentence by reason of a
final judgment. Indeed, Rule 102, 4 disallows issuance of the writ where the person alleged to be restrained of
his liberty is suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment.
The certification of a case under Rule 102, 14, moreover, refers to cases where the habeas corpus court finds
that the applicant is charged with the noncapital offense in another court. Thus, the certification of this case to
this Court is clearly erroneous.[5]
On the basis of the above-quoted Resolution and the provisions of Section 24, Rule 114 of the Rules of
Court, the OCA, in its Report in the present case, found respondent judge guilty of gross ignorance of the law
and recommended that he be fined in the amount of P20,000.00.[6]
The Court agrees with the findings of the OCA except for the recommended penalty.
Section 24, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court is plain and clear in prohibiting the grant of bail after
conviction by final judgment and after the convict has started to serve sentence. It provides:
SEC. 24. No bail after final judgment; exception. An accused shall not be allowed bail after the

judgment has become final, unless he has applied for probation before commencing to serve
sentence, the penalty and the offense being within the purview of the Probation Law. In case the
accused has applied for probation, he may be allowed temporary liberty under his bail, but if no bail was filed
or the accused is incapable of filing one, the court may allow his release on recognizance to the custody of a
responsible member of the community. In no case shall bail be allowed after the accused has
commenced to serve sentence. (Emphasis supplied)

Complainants allegation that no petition for habeas corpus was filed does not hold water. As borne by
the records, the Certification issued by one Atty. Elmer D. Lastimosa, Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court
of General Santos City, shows that Evelyn Tes petition for habeas corpus was incorporated in the pleadings she
filed in Criminal Cases Nos. 9456-9460, although no docket fees and other charges were paid.[13] There is no
showing that respondent should be held administratively liable for the non-payment of docket and other lawful
fees. At any rate, the matter may be considered in the appeal taken by Te, as earlier adverted to in G.R. Nos.
145715-18.

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

Complainant further claims that on several occasions, respondent judge allowed Te to be released and
confined at a local hospital on account of false illnesses. However, the Court does not find sufficient evidence to
prove this charge. On the contrary, records on hand show that the confinement of Te in the hospital is
recommended by a panel of government doctors and that such confinement is made without the objection of
the public prosecutor.[14] Hence, the Court finds respondent judges act of allowing the temporary confinement
of Te in the hospital as justified. The Court agrees with the observation of the OCA that in the absence of
contradictory evidence, the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty should be upheld in
favor of respondent judge.[15]

In the case of Evelyn Te, the judgment finding her guilty of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 on four counts and
imposing upon her the penalty of imprisonment for two months on each count has already become final and
executory. She did not apply for probation. At the time respondent judge granted her bail she was already
serving her sentence.
From the foregoing, it is evident that Te is not entitled to bail. Respondent judge contends that under
Section 14, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court, he has the discretion to allow Te to be released on bail. However,
the Court reiterates its pronouncement in its Resolution of February 19, 2001 in G.R. Nos. 145715-18 that
Section 14, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court applies only to cases where the applicant for the writ of habeas
corpus is restrained by virtue of a criminal charge against him and not in an instance, as in the case involved in
the present controversy, where the applicant is serving sentence by reason of a final judgment.
The Court agrees with the observation of the OCA that respondent judges ignorance or disregard of the
provisions of Section 24, Rule 114 and Section 14, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court is tantamount to gross
ignorance of the law and procedure. A judge is called upon to exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance
with statutes and procedural rules.[7] It is imperative that he be conversant with basic legal principles and be
aware of well-settled authoritative doctrines.[8] He should strive for excellence exceeded only by his passion
for truth, to the end that he be the personification of justice and the Rule of Law.[9] When the law is sufficiently
basic, a judge owes it to his office to simply apply it; anything less than that would be gross ignorance of the
law.[10]
In the present case, considering that the granting of bail is common in the litigation of criminal cases
before trial courts, we are not impressed with the explanation of respondent judge in granting bail to Te.
Respondent judge contends that he was caught in a dilemma whether or not to grant bail in favor of Te.
However, he thought that it would be better for him to release Te on bail rather than deny her application; for if
such denial is later found out by the appellate courts to be erroneous, Te could charge him with gross ignorance
of the law and abuse of discretion, or hold him liable for rendering an unjust order or for damages. Hence, to
obviate such possible move on Tes part, he simply allowed her to be released on bail and relieved himself of
any burden brought about by the case of Te by certifying the same to this Court contending that, [a]nyway,
the Supreme Court has the last say on (the) matter.
The Court finds respondents reasoning shallow and unjustified. He cannot simply shirk responsibility by
conveniently passing the buck, so to speak, to this Court on the pretext that we have the final say on the
matter. This is hardly the kind of trait expected of a judge. Rule 3.02, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct
provides that in every case, a judge shall endeavor diligently to ascertain the facts and the applicable law
unswayed by partisan interests, public opinion or fear of criticism. In Dimatulac vs. Villon,[11] we held that:
The judge, on the other hand, should always be imbued with a high sense of duty and responsibility in the
discharge of his obligation to promptly and properly administer justice. He must view himself as a priest for
the administration of justice is akin to a religious crusade. Thus, exerting the same devotion as a priest in the
performance of the most sacred ceremonies of religious liturgy, the judge must render service with
impartiality commensurate with public trust and confidence reposed in him.[12]
In the present case, respondent judge fell short of the above-cited ideals expected of a magistrate.

The Court likewise finds no sufficient evidence to find respondent judge guilty of the charge that he uses
his clout and power to stifle criticism and dissent. In the present case, the Court finds nothing irregular or
arbitrary in his act of requiring a number of journalists to show cause why they should not be cited for indirect
contempt. Freedom of speech and of expression, as guaranteed by the Constitution, is not absolute.[16]
Freedom of expression needs on occasion to be adjusted to and accommodated with the requirements of
equally important public interests such as the maintenance of the integrity of courts and orderly functioning of
the administration of justice.[17] In the instant case, the Court finds nothing whimsical or despotic in
respondent judges act of issuing the subject show-cause order. Instead, respondent is merely exercising his
right to protect his honor and, more importantly, the integrity of the court which he represents.
As to the issue that respondent judge allowed the release of an accused in Criminal Case No. 14072,
entitled People vs. Jhoyce Gersonin-Palma, without the required bail bond being posted, it is not within the
jurisdiction of this Court to resolve the same on the basis of the OCA Report as it is already the subject of a
separate administrative case against respondent.[18]
Having found respondent guilty of gross ignorance of the law, as discussed earlier, the Court now
determines the proper imposable penalty. Section 8(9), Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as amended, classifies
gross ignorance of the law or procedure as a serious charge. Under Section 11(A) of the same Rule, the
imposable penalties, in case the respondent is found culpable of a serious charge, range from a fine of not less
than P20,000.00 but not more than P40,000.00 to dismissal from the service with forfeiture of all or part of the
benefits as the Court may determine, except accrued leaves, and disqualification from reinstatement or
appointment to any public office including government-owned or controlled corporations.
However, on February 24, 2002, respondent retired upon reaching the compulsory retirement age of 70.
[19] Considering that respondent can no longer be dismissed or suspended, the Court is left with no recourse
but to impose the penalty of fine.
Further, it is noted that on July 8, 2002, the Third Division of this Court, in Administrative Matter
No.10874-Ret., concerning the compulsory retirement of respondent, resolved to release his retirement benefits
but set aside P100,000.00 thereof in view of several administrative cases still pending against him.[20]
In the administrative complaints filed against respondent, two cases have, so far, resulted in his being
fined. In Chan vs. Majaducon,[21] respondent was found guilty of violating among others, Rules 1.01 and 2.01
and Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial conduct and was meted the penalty of fine in the amount of P10,000.00. In
the more recent case of Alconera vs. Majaducon,[22] respondent was found guilty of gross ignorance of
procedure and was fined P40,000.00. In view of the foregoing, it is proper to impose the maximum fine of
P40,000.00 to be deducted from the P100,000.00 set aside from respondents retirement benefits in A.M. No.
10874-Ret.

WHEREFORE, respondent judge is found GUILTY of gross ignorance of the law or procedure. He is
ordered to pay a FINE of P40,000.00 to be deducted from the P100,000.00 set aside from his retirement
benefits in A.M. No. 10874-Ret.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 167193
April 19, 2006
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS ENGR. ASHRAF KUNTING, Petitioner.
DECISION
AZCUNA, J.:
This is a petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus directing Police Chief Superintendent Ismael R.
Rafanan and General Robert Delfin, 1 Philippine National Police (PNP) Intelligence Chief, to bring petitioner
Ashraf Kunting before this Court and show cause why he is illegally detained.
The antecedents are as follows:
On October 19, 2001, petitioner Kunting was arrested in Malaysia for violation of the Malaysian Internal
Security Act. On June 12, 2003, the Royal Malaysian Police in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, turned over Kunting to
the PNP-IG and Task Force Salinglahi pursuant to warrants for his arrest issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
of Isabela City, Basilan, Branch 2, Ninth Judicial Region. Kunting was charged with four counts of Kidnapping for
Ransom and Serious Illegal Detention with the RTC under separate Amended Informations, docketed as
Criminal Case Nos. 3674-1187, 3537-1129, 3608-1164, and 3611-1165.
Petitioner was immediately flown to the Philippines and brought to the PNP-IG at Camp Crame for booking and
custodial investigation.
In a letter dated July 3, 2003, Atty. Guillermo G. Danipog, Jr., Police Superintendent and Chief of the Legal
Affairs Division, PNP-IG, informed the Branch Clerk of Court of the RTC that Kunting was already in the custody
of the PNP-IG. Atty. Danipog requested for Kuntings temporary detention at the PNP-IG, Camp Crame, Quezon
City due to the high security risks involved and prayed for the issuance of a corresponding commitment order.
In a letter dated July 9, 2003, Emilio F. Enriquez, Acting Clerk of Court of the RTC, replied to the request of Atty.
Danipog, thus:
The undersigned referred the matter to Hon. Danilo M. Bucoy, Presiding Judge of this Court, who issued the
Alias Warrant of Arrest in the herein mentioned case (Criminal Case No. 3674-1187) and per his instruction,
accused As[h]raf Kunting y Barreto [may be] temporarily detained thereat by virtue of the Alias Warrant of
Arrest issued in this case, however considering that the accused is a high security risk, he should be brought to
Isabela, Basilan as soon as the necessary security escort can be provided for his transfer, where the proper
commitment order can be issued as the herein mentioned case is about to be submitted by the prosecution.

(ASG) to recover the custody of Kunting from the PNP considering his importance to the ASG; and (2) there is a
big possibility that Kunting may be recovered by the ASG if he will be detained in Basilan due to inadequate
security facility in the municipal jail and its proximity to the area of operation of the ASG.
On August 13, 2004, the RTC rendered a decision against petitioners co-accused in the consolidated Criminal
Case Nos. 3608-1164, 3537-1129, 3674-1187, and 3611-1165, finding 17 of the accused, who were tried, guilty
of the crime/s charged.
On February 11, 2005, the RTC issued an Order denying Kuntings Motion to Set Case for Preliminary
Investigation since the PNP-IG has not turned over Kunting. The trial court reiterated its Order dated September
15, 2003, directing the Police Superintendent and Chief, Legal Affairs Division, PNP-IG, to turn over Kunting to
the court.1avvphil.net
In a letter dated February 22, 2005, Police Chief Superintendent Ismael R. Rafanan reiterated the request to
Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito R. Zuo to facilitate the transfer of the venue of the trial of Kuntings case,
citing the same grounds in the previous letter. He added that if Kunting had been transferred to Isabela City,
Basilan, he could have been one of the escapees in a jail break that occurred on April 10, 2004 as suspected
ASG members were able to go scot-free.
On March 15, 2005, Police Inspector Amado L. Barbasa, Jr., OIC, Legal Affairs Division, PNP-IG, filed with the RTC
a Motion to Defer Implementation of the Order dated February 11, 2005, citing, among other grounds, the
existence of a pending motion for the transfer of the venue of the trial of Criminal Case No. 3537-1129 against
Kunting, which was allegedly filed by the DOJ before this Court. Police Inspector Barbasa prayed that the Order
of the RTC dated February 11, 2005, directing the turnover of Kunting to the court, be suspended until the
motion for the transfer of venue is resolved.
On March 14, 2005, Kunting, by counsel, filed this petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus. Kunting
stated that he has been restrained of his liberty since June 12, 2003 by the PNP-IG led by Police Chief
Superintendent Ismael Rafanan and assisted by PNP Intelligence Chief, General Robert Delfin. He alleged that
he was never informed of the charges filed against him until he requested his family to research in Zamboanga
City. It was discovered in the RTC of Isabela City, Basilan that his name appeared in the list of accused who
allegedly participated in the kidnapping incident which occurred on June 2, 2001 in Lamitan, Basilan.
Kunting asserted that he never participated in the kidnapping incident, so he promptly filed an Urgent Motion
for Reinvestigation on September 8, 2003. He was aware that the PNP-IG requested Chief State Prosecutor
Jovencito R. Zuo for representation to file a motion with this Court for the transfer of venue of his case from
Isabela City, Basilan to Pasig City. Having no further information on the status of his case, he filed a Motion to
Set Case for Preliminary Investigation on January 26, 2005. He stated that since no action was taken by the trial
court or the DOJ, he filed this petition to put an end to his illegal detention classified in the records as "for
safekeeping purposes only."
The main issue is whether the petition for habeas corpus can prosper.

Thank you ever so much for your usual cooperation extended to the Court.

On September 15, 2003, the RTC issued an Order directing the Police Superintendent and Chief, Legal Affairs
Division, PNP-IG, to immediately turn over Kunting to the trial court since Kunting filed an Urgent Motion for
Reinvestigation.
On November 5, 2003, PNP-IG Director Arturo C. Lomibao wrote a letter to Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito R.
Zuo, Department of Justice (DOJ), requesting for representation and a motion to be filed for the transfer of the
venue of the trial from Isabela City, Basilan to Pasig City, for the following reasons: (1) Several intelligence
reports have been received by the PNP-IG stating that utmost effort will be exerted by the Abu Sayyaf Group

Under Section 1, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court, the writ of habeas corpus extends to "all case of illegal
confinement or detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any
person is withheld from the person entitled thereto." The remedy of habeas corpus has one objective: to inquire
into the cause of detention of a person, 3 and if found illegal, the court orders the release of the detainee. 4 If,
however, the detention is proven lawful, then the habeas corpus proceedings terminate.5
Section 4, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court provides when the writ is not allowed:
SEC. 4. When writ not allowed or discharge authorized.If it appears that the person alleged to be restrained of

his liberty is in the custody of an officer under process issued by a court or judge or by virtue of a
judgment or order of a court of record, and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the process, render
the judgment, or make the order, the writ shall not be allowed; or if the jurisdiction appears after the writ is
allowed, the person shall not be discharged by reason of any informality or defect in the process, judgment, or
order. Nor shall anything in this rule be held to authorize the discharge of a person charged with or
convicted of an offense in the Philippines, or of a person suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment.6
In this case, Kuntings detention by the PNP-IG was under process issued by the RTC. He was arrested by the
PNP by virtue of the alias order of arrest issued by Judge Danilo M. Bucoy, RTC, Branch 2, Isabela City, Basilan.
His temporary detention at PNP-IG, Camp Crame, Quezon City, was thus authorized by the trial
court.1avvphil.net
Moreover, Kunting was charged with four counts of Kidnapping for Ransom and Serious Illegal Detention in
Criminal Case Nos. 3608-1164, 3537-1129, 3674-1187, and 3611-1165. In accordance with the last sentence of
Section 4 above, the writ cannot be issued and Kunting cannot be discharged since he has been charged with a
criminal offense. Bernarte v. Court of Appeals 7 holds that "once the person detained is duly charged in court, he
may no longer question his detention by a petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus."
Nevertheless, this Court notes that the RTC in its Order dated February 11, 2005 reiterated its Order dated
September 15, 2003, directing the Police Superintendent and Chief, Legal Affairs Division, PNP-IG, Camp
Crame, Quezon City, to turn over Kunting to the court. TThe trial court has been waiting for two years for the
PNP-IG to turn over the person of Kunting for the trial of his case. The PNP-IG has delayed the turn over because
it is waiting for the DOJ to request for the transfer of venue of the trial of the case from Isabela City, Basilan to
Pasig City. In the absence of evidence that the DOJ has indeed filed a motion for the transfer of venue, In its
Comment, the Office of the Solicitor General stated that the PNP-IG is presently awaiting the resolution of the
Motion for Transfer of Venue it requested from the DOJ. In this regard, t the Police Chief Superintendent is,
therefore, directed to take positive steps towards action on said motion.comply with the Order of the trial court,
dated February 11, 2005, to turn over the body of petitioner Kunting to the trial court..
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for habeas corpus is hereby DISMISSED.
No costs.

MARIE ANTONETTE ABIGAIL C. SALIENTES,


SALIENTES, and ROSARIO C. SALIENTES,
Petitioners,

ORLANDO

B.

- versus -

LORAN S.D. ABANILLA, HONORABLE JUDGE PEDRO SABUNDAYO,


JR., REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 203, MUNTINLUPA CITY,
Respondents.

G.R. No. 162734


Present:
QUISUMBING, J., Chairperson,
CARPIO,
CARPIO MORALES,
TINGA, and
VELASCO, JR., JJ.

Promulgated:

August 29, 2006


x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
DECISION
QUISUMBING, J.:
The instant petition assails the Decision[1] dated November 10, 2003 of the Court of Appeals in

CA-G.R. SP No. 75680, which dismissed the petition for certiorari against the orders of the Regional Trial Court
in Special Proceedings No. 03-004. Likewise assailed is the Court of Appeals Resolution[2] dated March 19,
2004 denying reconsideration.
The facts of the case are as follows:
Private respondent Loran S.D. Abanilla and petitioner Marie Antonette Abigail C. Salientes are the
parents of the minor Lorenzo Emmanuel S. Abanilla. They lived with Marie Antonettes parents, petitioners
Orlando B. Salientes and Rosario C. Salientes. Due to in-laws problems, private respondent suggested to his
wife that they transfer to their own house, but Marie Antonette refused. So, he alone left the house of the
Salientes. Thereafter, he was prevented from seeing his son.
Later, Loran S.D. Abanilla in his personal capacity and as the representative of his son, filed a
Petition for Habeas Corpus and Custody,[3] docketed as Special Proceedings No. 03-004 before the Regional
Trial Court of Muntinlupa City. On January 23, 2003, the trial court issued the following order:
Upon verified Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus by Petitioners, the
Respondents Marie Antonette Abigail C. Salientes, Orlando B. Salientes and Rosario C.
Salientes are hereby directed to produce and bring before this Court the body of minor
Lorenzo Emmanuel Salientes Abanilla on January 31, 2003 at 1:00 oclock in the
afternoon and to show cause why the said child should not be discharged from
restraint.
Let this Writ be served by the Sheriff or any authorized representative of
this Court, who is directed to immediately make a return.
SO ORDERED.[4]
Petitioners moved for reconsideration which the court denied.
Consequently, petitioners filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals, but the same was
dismissed on November 10, 2003. The appellate court affirmed the February 24, 2003 Order of the trial court
holding that its January 23, 2003 Order did not award the custody of the 2-year-old child to any one but was
simply the standard order issued for the production of restrained persons. The appellate court held that the
trial court was still about to conduct a full inquiry, in a summary proceeding, on the cause of the minors
detention and the matter of his custody. The Court of Appeals ruled thus:
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.[5]
Petitioners moved for reconsideration, which was denied on March 19, 2004.
Hence, petitioners interposed this appeal by certiorari anchored on the following grounds:
1.
The Court of Appeals erred in not pronouncing the respondent judge
gravely abused his discretion, amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction
in issuing an order for the petitioner-mother to first show cause why her
own three-year old child in her custody should not be discharged from a socalled restraint despite no evidence at all of restraint and no evidence of
compelling reasons of maternal unfitness to deprive the petitioner-mother
of her minor son of tender years. The assailed orders, resolutions and
decisions of the lower court and the Court of Appeals are clearly void;
2.
The Court of Appeals erred in not pronouncing that the respondent judge
gravely abused his discretion in issuing a writ of habeas corpus which
clearly is not warranted considering that there is no unlawful restraint by
the mother and considering further that the law presumes the fitness of the
mother, thereby negating any notion of such mother illegally restraining or
confining her very own son of tender years. The petition is not even
sufficient in substance to warrant the writ. The assailed orders are clearly
void.
3.
Contrary to the Court of Appeals decision, the Sombong vs. CA case
supports rather than negates the position of the petitioners.
4.
Contrary to the Court of Appeals decision, summary proceeding does
violence to the tender-years-rule
5.
The Court of Appeals failed to consider that the private respondent failed

to present prima facie proof of any compelling reason of the unfitness of


the petitioner-mother;
6.
The Court of Appeals failed to see that the New Rules on Custody
SUFFICES AS REMEDY.[6]
Plainly put, the issue is: Did the Court of Appeals err when it dismissed the petition for certiorari
against the trial courts orders dated January 23, 2003 and February 24, 2003?
Petitioners contend that the order is contrary to Article 213[7] of the Family Code, which provides
that no child under seven years of age shall be separated from the mother unless the court finds compelling
reasons to order otherwise. They maintain that herein respondent Loran had the burden of showing any
compelling reason but failed to present even a prima facie proof thereof.
Petitioners posit that even assuming that there were compelling reasons, the proper remedy for
private respondent was simply an action for custody, but not habeas corpus. Petitioners assert that habeas
corpus is unavailable against the mother who, under the law, has the right of custody of the minor. They insist
there was no illegal or involuntary restraint of the minor by his own mother. There was no need for the mother
to show cause and explain the custody of her very own child.
Private respondent counters that petitioners argument based on Article 213 of the Family Code
applies only to the second part of his petition regarding the custody of his son. It does not address the first
part, which pertains to his right as the father to see his son. He asserts that the writ of habeas corpus is
available against any person who restrains the minors right to see his father and vice versa. He avers that the
instant petition is merely filed for delay, for had petitioners really intended to bring the child before the court in
accordance with the new rules on custody of minors, they would have done so on the dates specified in the
January 23, 2003 and the February 24, 2003 orders of the trial court.
Private respondent maintains that, under the law, he and petitioner Marie Antonette have shared
custody and parental authority over their son. He alleges that at times when petitioner Marie Antonette is out
of the country as required of her job as an international flight stewardess, he, the father, should have custody
of their son and not the maternal grandparents.
As correctly pointed out by the Court of Appeals, the assailed January 23, 2003 Order of the trial
court did not grant custody of the minor to any of the parties but merely directed petitioners to produce the
minor in court and explain why they are restraining his liberty. The assailed order was an interlocutory order
precedent to the trial courts full inquiry into the issue of custody, which was still pending before it.
Under Rule 41, Section 1[8] of the Rules of Court, an interlocutory order is not appealable but the
aggrieved party may file an appropriate special action under Rule 65. The aggrieved party must show that the
court gravely abused its discretion in issuing the interlocutory order. In the present case, it is incumbent upon
petitioners to show that the trial court gravely abused its discretion in issuing the order.
Habeas corpus may be resorted to in cases where rightful custody is withheld from a person
entitled thereto.[9] Under Article 211[10] of the Family Code, respondent Loran and petitioner Marie
Antonette have joint parental authority over their son and consequently joint custody. Further, although the
couple is separated de facto, the issue of custody has yet to be adjudicated by the court. In the absence of a
judicial grant of custody to one parent, both parents are still entitled to the custody of their child. In the
present case, private respondents cause of action is the deprivation of his right to see his child as alleged in
his petition.[11] Hence, the remedy of habeas corpus is available to him.
In a petition for habeas corpus, the childs welfare is the supreme consideration. The Child and
Youth Welfare Code[12] unequivocally provides that in all questions regarding the care and custody, among
others, of the child, his welfare shall be the paramount consideration.[13]
Again, it bears stressing that the order did not grant custody of the minor to any of the parties but
merely directed petitioners to produce the minor in court and explain why private respondent is prevented from
seeing his child. This is in line with the directive in Section 9[14] of A.M. 03-04-04-SC[15] that within fifteen
days after the filing of the answer or the expiration of the period to file answer, the court shall issue an order
requiring the respondent (herein petitioners) to present the minor before the court. This was exactly what the

court did.
Moreover, Article 213 of the Family Code deals with the judicial adjudication of custody and serves
as a guideline for the proper award of custody by the court. Petitioners can raise it as a counter argument for
private respondents petition for custody. But it is not a basis for preventing the father to see his own child.
Nothing in the said provision disallows a father from seeing or visiting his child under seven years of age.
In sum, the trial court did not err in issuing the orders dated January 23, 2003 and February 24,
2003. Hence, the Court of Appeals properly dismissed the petition for certiorari against the said orders of the
trial court.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated November 10, 2003 and the Resolution
dated March 19, 2004 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 75680 are AFFIRMED. Costs against
petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
Go, Sr. v Ramos
Facts:
Three cases arose from the same factual milieu. These petitions stemmed from the complaint-affidavit for
deportation initiated by Luis T. Ramos before the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (now Bureau of
Immigration) against Jimmy T. Go alleging that the latter is an illegal and undesirable alien.
Luis alleged that while Jimmy represents himself as a Filipino citizen, Jimmys personal circumstances and other
records indicate that he is not so. To prove his contention, Luis presented the birth certificate of Jimmy, issued
by the Office of the Civil Registrar of Iloilo City, which indicated Jimmys citizenship as FChinese.
Luis argued that although it appears from Jimmys birth certificate that his parents, Carlos and Rosario Tan, are
Filipinos, the document seems to be tampered, because only the citizenship of Carlos appears to be
handwritten while all the other entries were typewritten.
He also averred that in September 1989, Jimmy, through stealth, machination and scheming managed to cover
up his true citizenship, and with the use of falsified documents and untruthful declarations, was able to procure
a Philippine passport from the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Jimmy refuted the allegations in his counter-affidavit, averring that the complaint for deportation initiated by
Luis was merely a harassment case designed to oust him of his rightful share in their business dealings. He
alleged that his father Carlos, who was the son of a Chinese father and Filipina mother, elected Philippine
citizenship in accordance with Article IV, Section 1, paragraph 4 of the 1935 Constitution and Commonwealth
Act No. 625 (Com. Act No. 625), as evidenced by his having taken the Oath of Allegiance on July 11, 1950 and
having executed an Affidavit of Election of Philippine citizenship on July 12, 1950.
Although the said oath and affidavit were registered only on September 11, 1956, the reason behind such late
registration was sufficiently explained in an affidavit. Jimmy added that he had even voted in the 1952 and
1955 elections. He denied that his father arrived in the Philippines as an undocumented alien, alleging that his
father has no record of arrival in this country as alleged in the complaint-affidavit precisely because his father
was born and raised in the Philippines, and in fact, speaks fluent Ilonggo and Tagalog.
With regard to the erroneous entry in his birth certificate that he is FChinese, he maintained that such was
not of his own doing, but may be attributed to the employees of the Local Civil Registrars Office who might
have relied on his Chinese-sounding surname when making the said entry. He asserted that the said office has
control over his birth certificate; thus, if his fathers citizenship appears to be handwritten, it may have been
changed when the employees of that office realized that his father has already taken his oath as a Filipino.
As regards the entry in his siblings certificates of birth, particularly Juliet Go and Carlos Go, Jr., that their father
is Chinese, Jimmy averred that the entry was erroneous because it was made without prior consultation with his

father.

moved for reconsideration of the Order, but this was also denied by the trial court.

In a Resolution dated February 14, 2001, Associate Commissioner Linda L. Malenab-Hornilla dismissed the
complaint for deportation against Jimmy. She affirmed the findings of the National Bureau of Investigation
tasked to investigate the case that Jimmys father elected Filipino citizenship in accordance with the provisions
of the 1935 Philippine Constitution. By operation of law, therefore, the citizenship of Carlos was transmitted to
Jimmy, making him a Filipino as well.

The Court of Appeals granted the petition and enjoined the deportation of Jimmy until the issue of his
citizenship is settled with finality by the court.

On March 8, 2001, the Board of Commissioners (Board) reversed said dismissal, holding that Carlos election of
Philippine citizenship was made out of time. Finding Jimmys claim to Philippine citizenship in serious doubt by
reason of his fathers questionable election thereof, the Board directed the preparation and filing of the
appropriate deportation charges against Jimmy.

Held:
Yes.

On July 3, 2001, the corresponding Charge Sheet was filed against Jimmy, charging him of violating provisions
of The Philippine Immigration Act of 1940.
On November 9, 2001, Carlos and Jimmy filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition, docketed as SCA No.
2218, seeking to annul and set aside the March 8, 2001 Resolution of the Board of Commissioners, the Charge
Sheet, and the proceedings. In essence, they challenged the jurisdiction of the Board to continue with the
deportation proceedings.
In the interim, the Board issued a Decision ordering the apprehension and deportation of Jimmy.
In view of the said Decision, Carlos and Jimmy filed on June 13, 2002 a supplemental petition for certiorari and
prohibition before the trial court and reiterated their application for injunctive reliefs. The trial court issued a
writ of preliminary prohibitory injunction pending litigation on the main issue, enjoining the Bureau from
enforcing the April 17, 2002 Decision. Later, however, the trial court dissolved the writ in a Decision dated
January 6, 2004 as a consequence of the dismissal of the petition.
Carlos and Jimmy moved for reconsideration. But their motion was likewise denied.
Following the dismissal of the petition in SCA No. 2218, the Board issued a warrant of deportation which led to
the apprehension of Jimmy. Jimmy commenced a petition for habeas corpus, but the same was eventually
dismissed by reason of his provisional release on bail.
Carlos and Jimmy then questioned the Decision in SCA No. 2218 as well as the Resolution denying their motion
for reconsideration by way of a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No.
85143. They imputed grave abuse of discretion by the trial court for passing upon their citizenship, claiming
that what they asked for in their petition was merely the nullification of the March 8, 2001 Resolution and the
charge sheet.
The appellate tribunal dismissed the petition. It did not find merit in their argument that the issue of citizenship
should proceed only before the proper court in an independent action, and that neither the Bureau nor the
Board has jurisdiction over individuals who were born in the Philippines and have exercised the rights of Filipino
citizens. The appellate tribunal also rejected their claim that they enjoy the presumption of being Filipino
citizens.
Unfazed with the said ruling, they moved for reconsideration. Their motion having been denied, Carlos and
Jimmy each filed a petition for review on certiorari before the Supreme Court. Bureau of Immigration
Commissioner Alipio F. Fernandez, Jr. issued Warrant of Deportation which resulted in the apprehension and
detention of Jimmy at the Bureau of Immigration Bicutan Detention Center, pending his deportation to China.
On account of his detention, Jimmy once again filed a petition for habeas corpus before the RTC of Pasig City,
Branch 167, docketed as SP. Proc. No. 11507 assailing his apprehension and detention despite the pendency of
his appeal and his release on recognizance.
In an Order, the trial court dismissed the said petition ruling that the remedy of habeas corpus cannot be
availed of to obtain an order of release once a deportation order has already been issued by the Bureau. Jimmy

Issue/s:
Whether or not the petition for habeas corpus should be dismissed?

Bureau of Immigration maintains that the dismissal of the petition for habeas corpus by the trial court was
proper. A petition for habeas corpus has for its purpose only the determination of whether or not there is a
lawful ground for Jimmys apprehension and continued detention. They urge that the decision of the Board
dated April 17, 2002 that ordered Jimmys deportation has already attained finality by reason of the belated
appeal taken by Jimmy from the said decision on April 2, 2004 before the Office of the President, or after almost
two years from the time the decision was rendered. Said decision of the Board, they insist, is the lawful ground
that sanctions Jimmys apprehension and detention.
They also argue that Jimmy cannot rely on the bail on recognizance he was previously granted to question his
subsequent apprehension and detention. Under the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, the power to grant bail
can only be exercised while the alien is still under investigation, and not when the order of deportation had
already been issued by the Board. Hence, the bail granted was irregular as it has no legal basis. Furthermore,
they said the petition for habeas corpus necessarily has to be dismissed because the same is no longer proper
once the applicant thereof has been charged before the Board, which is the case with Jimmy. Nonetheless, they
claim that the habeas corpus case is rendered moot and academic as Jimmy is no longer being detained.
On the other hand, Jimmy counters that the instant petition for certiorari and prohibition is the most
appropriate, speedy and adequate remedy in spite of the availability of ordinary appeal considering that what
is involved in this case is his cherished liberty. Grave abuse of discretion on the part of the petitioners in
ordering his arrest and detention, he argues, all the more justifies the avails of the extraordinary writ.
Jimmy argues that the April 17, 2002 Decision of the Board has not attained finality owing to the availability of
various remedies, one of which is an appeal, and in fact is actually void because it was rendered without due
process. He also insists that the bail issued to him is valid and effective until the final determination of his
citizenship before the proper courts. Moreover, he maintains that the petition for habeas corpus was proper
since its object is to inquire into the legality of ones detention, and if found illegal, to order the release of the
detainee.
Jimmy also contends that the proceedings before the Board is void for failure to implead therein his father, and
that he should have been given a full blown trial before a regular court where he can prove his citizenship.
Considering the arguments and contentions of the parties, we find the petition meritorious.
We have held in a litany of cases that the extraordinary remedies of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus are
available only when there is no appeal or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.
The writ of certiorari does not lie where an appeal may be taken or where another adequate remedy is
available for the correction of the error.
The petitioners correctly argue that appeal should have been the remedy availed of as it is more plain, speedy
and adequate. The 48-hour appeal period demonstrates the adequacy of such remedy in that no unnecessary
time will be wasted before the decision will be re-evaluated.
A petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus is a special proceeding governed by Rule 102 of the
Revised Rules of Court. The objective of the writ is to determine whether the confinement or detention is valid
or lawful. If it is, the writ cannot be issued. What is to be inquired into is the legality of a persons detention as
of, at the earliest, the filing of the application for the writ of habeas corpus, for even if the detention is at its
inception illegal, it may, by reason of some supervening events, such as the instances mentioned in Section

4[98] of Rule 102, be no longer illegal at the time of the filing of the application.
Once a person detained is duly charged in court, he may no longer question his detention through a petition for
issuance of a writ of habeas corpus. His remedy would be to quash the information and/or the warrant of arrest
duly issued. The writ of habeas corpus should not be allowed after the party sought to be released had been
charged before any court. The term court in this context includes quasi-judicial bodies of governmental
agencies authorized to order the persons confinement, like the Deportation Board of the Bureau of
Immigration.
Likewise, the cancellation of his bail cannot be assailed via a petition for habeas corpus. When an alien is
detained by the Bureau of Immigration for deportation pursuant to an order of deportation by the Deportation
Board, the Regional Trial Courts have no power to release such alien on bail even in habeas corpus proceedings
because there is no law authorizing it.
Given that Jimmy has been duly charged before the Board, and in fact ordered arrested pending his
deportation, coupled by this Courts pronouncement that the Board was not ousted of its jurisdiction to
continue with the deportation proceedings, the petition for habeas corpus is rendered moot and academic.
G.R. No. 158802
November 17, 2004
IN RE: THE WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS FOR REYNALDO DE VILLA (detained at the New Bilibid
Prisons, Muntinlupa City)JUNE DE VILLA, petitioner-relator, vs.THE DIRECTOR, NEW BILIBID PRISONS,
respondent.
DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
This is a petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus under Rule 102 of the Rules of Court. Petitioner
Reynaldo de Villa, joined by his son, petitioner-relator June de Villa, seeks a two-fold relief: First, that
respondent Director of Prisons justify the basis for the imprisonment of petitioner Reynaldo de Villa; and
second, that petitioner be granted a new trial. 1 These reliefs are sought on the basis of purportedly exculpatory
evidence, gathered after performing deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing on samples allegedly collected from
the petitioner and a child born to the victim of the rape.
By final judgment dated February 1, 2001, in People of the Philippines v. Reynaldo de Villa, 2 we found petitioner
guilty of the rape of Aileen Mendoza, his niece by affinity; sentenced him to suffer the penalty of reclusin
perpetua; and ordered him to pay the offended party civil indemnity, moral damages, costs of the suit, and
support for Leahlyn Corales Mendoza, the putative child born of the rape. Petitioner is currently serving his
sentence at the New Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa City.
As summarized in our Decision dated February 1, 2001, Aileen Mendoza charged petitioner Reynaldo de Villa
with rape in an information dated January 9, 1995, filed with the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City. When
arraigned on January 26, 1995, petitioner entered a plea of "not guilty." 3
During the trial, the prosecution established that sometime in the third week of April 1994, at about 10:00 in
the morning, Aileen Mendoza woke up in her family's rented room in Sagad, Pasig, Metro Manila, to find
petitioner on top of her. Aileen was then aged 12 years and ten months. She was unable to shout for help
because petitioner covered her mouth with a pillow and threatened to kill her. Aileen could not do anything but
cry. Petitioner succeeded in inserting his penis inside her vagina. After making thrusting motions with his body,
petitioner ejaculated. This encounter allegedly resulted in Aileen's pregnancy, which was noticed by her
mother, Leonila Mendoza, sometime in November 1994. When confronted by her mother, Aileen revealed that
petitioner raped her. Aileen's parents then brought her to the Pasig Police Station, where they lodged a criminal
complaint against petitioner.4
Dr. Rosaline Cosidon, who examined Aileen, confirmed that she was eight months pregnant and found in her
hymen healed lacerations at the 5:00 and 8:00 positions. On December 19, 1994, Aileen gave birth to a baby

girl whom she named Leahlyn Mendoza.5


In his defense, petitioner alleged that, at the time of the alleged rape, he was already 67 years old. Old age and
sickness had rendered him incapable of having an erection. He further averred that Aileen's family had been
holding a grudge against him, which accounted for the criminal charges. Finally, he interposed the defense of
alibi, claiming that at the time of the incident, he was in his hometown of San Luis, Batangas. 6
The trial court found petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of qualified rape, and sentenced
him to death, to indemnify the victim in the amount of P50,000.00, to pay the costs of the suit and to support
the child, Leahlyn Mendoza.7
On automatic review,8 we found that the date of birth of Aileen's child was medically consistent with the time of
the rape. Since it was never alleged that Aileen gave birth to a full-term nine-month old baby, we gave
credence to the prosecution's contention that she prematurely gave birth to an eight-month old baby by normal
delivery.9 Thus, we affirmed petitioner's conviction for rape, in a Decision the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the Regional Trial Court, finding accused-appellant guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of rape, is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATIONS that he is sentenced to suffer the penalty of
reclusin perpetua and ordered to pay the offended party P50,000.00 as civil indemnity; P50,000.00 as moral
damages; costs of the suit and to provide support for the child Leahlyn Corales Mendoza.
SO ORDERED.10
Three years after the promulgation of our Decision, we are once more faced with the question of Reynaldo de
Villa's guilt or innocence.
Petitioner-relator in this case, June de Villa, is the son of Reynaldo. He alleges that during the trial of the case,
he was unaware that there was a scientific test that could determine once and for all if Reynaldo was the father
of the victim's child, Leahlyn. Petitioner-relator was only informed during the pendency of the automatic review
of petitioner's case that DNA testing could resolve the issue of paternity. 11 This information was apparently
furnished by the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) Anti-Death Penalty Task Force, which took over as counsel
for petitioner.
Thus, petitioner's brief in People v. de Villa sought the conduct of a blood type test and DNA test in order to
determine the paternity of the child allegedly conceived as a result of the rape. 12 This relief was implicitly
denied in our Decision of February 21, 2001.
On March 16, 2001, Reynaldo de Villa filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration of the Decision, wherein he once
more prayed that DNA tests be conducted. 13 The Motion was denied with finality in a Resolution dated
November 20, 2001.14 Hence, the Decision became final and executory on January 16, 2002. 15
Petitioner-relator was undaunted by these challenges. Having been informed that DNA tests required a sample
that could be extracted from saliva, petitioner-relator asked Billy Joe de Villa, a grandson of Reynaldo de Villa
and a classmate of Leahlyn Mendoza, to ask Leahlyn to spit into a new, sterile cup. 16 Leahlyn readily agreed
and did so. Billy Joe took the sample home and gave it to the petitioner-relator, who immediately labeled the
cup as "Container A."
Petitioner-relator then gathered samples from four grandchildren of Reynaldo de Villa. These samples were
placed in separate containers with distinguishing labels and temporarily stored in a refrigerator prior to
transport to the DNA Analysis Laboratory at the National Science Research Institute (NSRI). 17 During transport,
the containers containing the saliva samples were kept on ice.

Petitioner-relator requested the NSRI to conduct DNA testing on the sample given by Leahlyn Mendoza, those
given by the grandchildren of Reynaldo de Villa, and that given by Reynaldo de Villa himself. The identities of
the donors of the samples, save for the sample given by Reynaldo de Villa, were not made known to the DNA
Analysis Laboratory.18
After testing, the DNA Laboratory rendered a preliminary report on March 21, 2003, which showed that
Reynaldo de Villa could not have sired any of the children whose samples were tested, due to the absence of a
match between the pertinent genetic markers in petitioner's sample and those of any of the other samples,
including Leahlyn's.19
Hence, in the instant petition for habeas corpus, petitioner argues as follows:
DNA ANALYSIS ON PATERNITY SHOWS CONCLUSIVELY THAT PETITIONER DE VILLA IS NOT THE FATHER OF
LEAHLYN MENDOZA; HIS CONVICTION FOR RAPE, BASED ON THE FACT THAT LEAHLYN WAS SIRED AS A RESULT
OF THE ALLEGED RAPE, CANNOT STAND AND MUST BE SET ASIDE.20
xxx

xxx

xxx

A NEW TRIAL TO CONSIDER NEWLY DISCOVERED EVIDENCE IS PROPER AND MAY BE ORDERED BY THIS COURT
IN VIEW OF THE RESULTS OF THE DNA TESTS CONDUCTED.21
Considering that the issues are inter-twined, they shall be discussed together.
In brief, petitioner relies upon the DNA evidence gathered subsequent to the trial in order to re-litigate the
factual issue of the paternity of the child Leahlyn Mendoza. Petitioner alleges that this issue is crucial,
considering that his conviction in 2001 was based on the factual finding that he sired the said child. Since this
paternity is now conclusively disproved, he argues that the 2001 conviction must be overturned.
In essence, petitioner invokes the remedy of the writ of habeas corpus to collaterally attack the 2001 Decision.
The ancillary remedy of a motion for new trial is resorted to solely to allow the presentation of what is alleged
to be newly-discovered evidence. This Court is thus tasked to determine, first, the propriety of the issuance of a
writ of habeas corpus to release an individual already convicted and serving sentence by virtue of a final and
executory judgment; and second, the propriety of granting a new trial under the same factual scenario.
The extraordinary writ of habeas corpus has long been a haven of relief for those seeking liberty from any
unwarranted denial of freedom of movement. Very broadly, the writ applies "to all cases of illegal confinement
or detention by which a person has been deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any person
has been withheld from the person entitled thereto". 22 Issuance of the writ necessitates that a person be
illegally deprived of his liberty. In the celebrated case of Villavicencio v. Lukban, 23 we stated that "[a]ny
restraint which will preclude freedom of action is sufficient." 24
The most basic criterion for the issuance of the writ, therefore, is that the individual seeking such relief be
illegally deprived of his freedom of movement or placed under some form of illegal restraint. If an individual's
liberty is restrained via some legal process, the writ of habeas corpus is unavailing. Concomitant to this
principle, the writ of habeas corpus cannot be used to directly assail a judgment rendered by a competent
court or tribunal which, having duly acquired jurisdiction, was not deprived or ousted of this jurisdiction through
some anomaly in the conduct of the proceedings.
Thus, notwithstanding its historic function as the great writ of liberty, the writ of habeas corpus has very limited
availability as a post-conviction remedy. In the recent case of Feria v. Court of Appeals, 25 we ruled that review of
a judgment of conviction is allowed in a petition for the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus only in very
specific instances, such as when, as a consequence of a judicial proceeding, (a) there has been a deprivation of

a constitutional right resulting in the restraint of a person; (b) the court had no jurisdiction to impose the
sentence; or (c) an excessive penalty has been imposed, as such sentence is void as to such excess. 26
In this instance, petitioner invokes the writ of habeas corpus to assail a final judgment of conviction, without,
however, providing a legal ground on which to anchor his petition. In fine, petitioner alleges neither the
deprivation of a constitutional right, the absence of jurisdiction of the court imposing the sentence, or that an
excessive penalty has been imposed upon him.
In fine, petitioner invokes the remedy of habeas corpus in order to seek the review of findings of fact long
passed upon with finality. This relief is far outside the scope of habeas corpus proceedings. In the early case of
Abriol v. Homeres,27 for example, this Court stated the general rule that the writ of habeas corpus is not a writ
of error, and should not be thus used. The writ of habeas corpus, whereas permitting a collateral challenge of
the jurisdiction of the court or tribunal issuing the process or judgment by which an individual is deprived of his
liberty, cannot be distorted by extending the inquiry to mere errors of trial courts acting squarely within their
jurisdiction.28 The reason for this is explained very simply in the case of Velasco v. Court of Appeals: 29 a habeas
corpus petition reaches the body, but not the record of the case. 30 A record must be allowed to remain extant,
and cannot be revised, modified, altered or amended by the simple expedient of resort to habeas corpus
proceedings.
Clearly, mere errors of fact or law, which did not have the effect of depriving the trial court of its jurisdiction
over the case and the person of the defendant, are not correctible in a petition for the issuance of the writ of
habeas corpus; if at all, these errors must be corrected on certiorari or on appeal, in the form and manner
prescribed by law.31 In the past, this Court has disallowed the review of a court's appreciation of the evidence in
a petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus, as this is not the function of said writ. 32 A survey of our
decisions in habeas corpus cases demonstrates that, in general, the writ of habeas corpus is a high prerogative
writ which furnishes an extraordinary remedy; it may thus be invoked only under extraordinary
circumstances.33 We have been categorical in our pronouncements that the writ of habeas corpus is not to be
used as a substitute for another, more proper remedy. Resort to the writ of habeas corpus is available only in
the limited instances when a judgment is rendered by a court or tribunal devoid of jurisdiction. If, for instance,
it can be demonstrated that there was a deprivation of a constitutional right, the writ can be granted even after
an individual has been meted a sentence by final judgment.
Thus, in the case of Chavez v. Court of Appeals, 34 the writ of habeas corpus was held to be available where an
accused was deprived of the constitutional right against self-incrimination. A defect so pronounced as the
denial of an accused's constitutional rights results in the absence or loss of jurisdiction, and therefore
invalidates the trial and the consequent conviction of the accused. That void judgment of conviction may be
challenged by collateral attack, which precisely is the function of habeas corpus. 35 Later, in Gumabon v.
Director of the Bureau of Prisons,36 this Court ruled that, once a deprivation of a constitutional right is shown to
exist, the court that rendered the judgment is deemed ousted of jurisdiction and habeas corpus is the
appropriate remedy to assail the legality of the detention. 37 Although in Feria v. Court of Appeals38 this Court
was inclined to allow the presentation of new evidence in a petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus,
this was an exceptional situation. In that case, we laid down the general rule, which states that the burden of
proving illegal restraint by the respondent rests on the petitioner who attacks such restraint. Where the return
is not subject to exception, that is, where it sets forth a process which, on its face, shows good ground for the
detention of the prisoner, it is incumbent on petitioner to allege and prove new matter that tends to invalidate
the apparent effect of such process.39
In the recent case of Calvan v. Court of Appeals, 40 we summarized the scope of review allowable in a petition
for the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus. We ruled that the writ of habeas corpus, although not designed to
interrupt the orderly administration of justice, can be invoked by the attendance of a special circumstance that
requires immediate action. In such situations, the inquiry on a writ of habeas corpus would be addressed, not to
errors committed by a court within its jurisdiction, but to the question of whether the proceeding or judgment
under which a person has been restrained is a complete nullity. The probe may thus proceed to check on the
power and authority, itself an equivalent test of jurisdiction, of the court or the judge to render the order that
so serves as the basis of imprisonment or detention. 41 It is the nullity of an assailed judgment of conviction

which makes it susceptible to collateral attack through the filing of a petition for the issuance of the writ of
habeas corpus.
Upon a perusal of the records not merely of this case but of People v. de Villa, we find that the remedy of the
writ of habeas corpus is unavailing.
First, the denial of a constitutional right has not been alleged by petitioner. As such, this Court is hard-pressed
to find legal basis on which to anchor the grant of a writ of habeas corpus. Much as this Court sympathizes with
petitioner's plea, a careful scrutiny of the records does not reveal any constitutional right of which the
petitioner was unduly deprived.
We are aware that other jurisdictions have seen fit to grant the writ of habeas corpus in order to test claims
that a defendant was denied effective aid of counsel. 42 In this instance, we note that the record is replete with
errors committed by counsel, and it can be alleged that the petitioner was, at trial, denied the effective aid of
counsel. The United States Supreme Court requires a defendant alleging incompetent counsel to show that the
attorney's performance was deficient under a reasonable standard, and additionally to show that the outcome
of the trial would have been different with competent counsel. 43 The purpose of the right to effective assistance
of counsel is to ensure that the defendant receives a fair trial.44
The U.S. Supreme Court asserts that in judging any claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, one must
examine whether counsel's conduct undermined the proper functioning of the adversarial process to such an
extent that the trial did not produce a fair and just result. 45 The proper measure of attorney performance is
"reasonable" under the prevailing professional norms, and the defendant must show that the representation
received fell below the objective standard of reasonableness. 46 For the petition to succeed, the strong
presumption that the counsel's conduct falls within the wide range or reasonable professional assistance must
be overcome.47
In the case at bar, it appears that in the middle of the appeal, the petitioner's counsel of record, a certain Atty.
Alfonso G. Salvador, suddenly and inexplicably withdrew his appearance as counsel, giving the sole explanation
that he was "leaving for the United States for an indefinite period of time by virtue of a petition filed in his
favor."48 In the face of this abandonment, petitioner made an impassioned plea that his lawyer be prevented
from this withdrawal in a handwritten "Urgent Motion for Reconsideration and Opposition of Counsel's
Withdrawal of Appearance with Leave of Court" received by this Court on September 14, 1999. 49 Petitioner
alleged that his counsel's withdrawal is an "untimely and heartbreaking event", considering that he had placed
"all [his] trust and confidence on [his counsel's] unquestionable integrity and dignity." 50
While we are sympathetic to petitioner's plight, we do not, however, find that there was such negligence
committed by his earlier counsel so as to amount to a denial of a constitutional right. There is likewise no
showing that the proceedings were tainted with any other jurisdictional defect.
In fine, we find that petitioner invokes the remedy of the petition for a writ of habeas corpus to seek a reexamination of the records of People v. de Villa, without asserting any legal grounds therefor. For all intents and
purposes, petitioner seeks a reevaluation of the evidentiary basis for his conviction. We are being asked to
reexamine the weight and sufficiency of the evidence in this case, not on its own, but in light of the new DNA
evidence that the petitioner seeks to present to this Court. This relief is outside the scope of a habeas corpus
petition. The petition for habeas corpus must, therefore, fail.
Coupled with the prayer for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus, petitioner seeks a new trial to re-litigate
the issue of the paternity of the child Leahlyn Mendoza.
It must be stressed that the issue of Leahlyn Mendoza's paternity is not central to the issue of petitioner's guilt
or innocence. The rape of the victim Aileen Mendoza is an entirely different question, separate and distinct
from the question of the father of her child. Recently, in the case of People v. Alberio, 51 we ruled that the fact or

not of the victim's pregnancy and resultant childbirth are irrelevant in determining whether or not she was
raped. Pregnancy is not an essential element of the crime of rape. Whether the child which the victim bore was
fathered by the purported rapist, or by some unknown individual, is of no moment in determining an
individual's guilt.
In the instant case, however, we note that the grant of child support to Leahlyn Mendoza indicates that our
Decision was based, at least in small measure, on the victim's claim that the petitioner fathered her child. This
claim was given credence by the trial court, and, as a finding of fact, was affirmed by this Court on automatic
review.
The fact of the child's paternity is now in issue, centrally relevant to the civil award of child support. It is only
tangentially related to the issue of petitioner's guilt. However, if it can be conclusively determined that the
petitioner did not sire Leahlyn Mendoza, this may cast the shadow of reasonable doubt, and allow the acquittal
of the petitioner on this basis.
Be that as it may, it appears that the petitioner once more relies upon erroneous legal grounds in resorting to
the remedy of a motion for new trial. A motion for new trial, under the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, is
available only for a limited period of time, and for very limited grounds. Under Section 1, Rule 121, of the
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, a motion for new trial may be filed at any time before a judgment of
conviction becomes final, that is, within fifteen (15) days from its promulgation or notice. Upon finality of the
judgment, therefore, a motion for new trial is no longer an available remedy. Section 2 of Rule 121 enumerates
the grounds for a new trial:
SEC. 2. Grounds for a new trial.The court shall grant a new trial on any of the following grounds:
(a) That errors of law or irregularities prejudicial to the substantial rights of the accused have been committed
during the trial;
(b) That new and material evidence has been discovered which the accused could not with reasonable
diligence have discovered and produced at the trial and which if introduced and admitted would probably
change the judgment.
In the case at bar, petitioner anchors his plea on the basis of purportedly "newly-discovered evidence", i.e., the
DNA test subsequently conducted, allegedly excluding petitioner from the child purportedly fathered as a result
of the rape.
The decision sought to be reviewed in this petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus has long attained
finality, and entry of judgment was made as far back as January 16, 2002. Moreover, upon an examination of
the evidence presented by the petitioner, we do not find that the DNA evidence falls within the statutory or
jurisprudential definition of "newly- discovered evidence".
A motion for new trial based on newly-discovered evidence may be granted only if the following requisites are
met: (a) that the evidence was discovered after trial; (b) that said evidence could not have been discovered
and produced at the trial even with the exercise of reasonable diligence; (c) that it is material, not merely
cumulative, corroborative or impeaching; and (d) that the evidence is of such weight that that, if admitted, it
would probably change the judgment. 52 It is essential that the offering party exercised reasonable diligence in
seeking to locate the evidence before or during trial but nonetheless failed to secure it. 53
In this instance, although the DNA evidence was undoubtedly discovered after the trial, we nonetheless find
that it does not meet the criteria for "newly-discovered evidence" that would merit a new trial. Such evidence
disproving paternity could have been discovered and produced at trial with the exercise of reasonable
diligence.

Petitioner-relator's claim that he was "unaware" of the existence of DNA testing until the trial was concluded
carries no weight with this Court. Lack of knowledge of the existence of DNA testing speaks of negligence,
either on the part of petitioner, or on the part of petitioner's counsel. In either instance, however, this
negligence is binding upon petitioner. It is a settled rule that a party cannot blame his counsel for negligence
when he himself was guilty of neglect.54 A client is bound by the acts of his counsel, including the latter's
mistakes and negligence.55 It is likewise settled that relief will not be granted to a party who seeks to be
relieved from the effects of the judgment when the loss of the remedy at law was due to his own negligence, or
to a mistaken mode of procedure.56
Even with all of the compelling and persuasive scientific evidence presented by petitioner and his counsel, we
are not convinced that Reynaldo de Villa is entitled to outright acquittal. As correctly pointed out by the
Solicitor General, even if it is conclusively proven that Reynaldo de Villa is not the father of Leahlyn Mendoza,
his conviction could, in theory, still stand, with Aileen Mendoza's testimony and positive identification as its
bases.57 The Solicitor General reiterates, and correctly so, that the pregnancy of the victim has never been an
element of the crime of rape.58 Therefore, the DNA evidence has failed to conclusively prove to this Court that
Reynaldo de Villa should be discharged. Although petitioner claims that conviction was based solely on a
finding of paternity of the child Leahlyn, this is not the case. Our conviction was based on the clear and
convincing testimonial evidence of the victim, which, given credence by the trial court, was affirmed on appeal.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant petition for habeas corpus and new trial is DISMISSED for
lack of merit.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 169482
January 29, 2008
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION OF HABEAS CORPUS OF EUFEMIA E. RODRIGUEZ, filed by
EDGARDO E. VELUZ, petitioner, vs.LUISA R. VILLANUEVA and TERESITA R. PABELLO, respondents.
DECISION
CORONA, J.:
This is a petition for review1 of the resolutions2 dated February 2, 2005 and September 2, 2005 of the Court of
Appeals3 in CA-G.R. SP No. 88180 denying the petition for habeas corpus of Eufemia E. Rodriguez, filed by
petitioner Edgardo Veluz, as well as his motion for reconsideration, respectively.
Eufemia E. Rodriguez was a 94-year old widow, allegedly suffering from a poor state of mental health and
deteriorating cognitive abilities.4 She was living with petitioner, her nephew, since 2000. He acted as her
guardian.
In the morning of January 11, 2005, respondents Luisa R. Villanueva and Teresita R. Pabello took Eufemia from
petitioner Veluz house. He made repeated demands for the return of Eufemia but these proved futile. Claiming
that respondents were restraining Eufemia of her liberty, he filed a petition for habeas corpus5 in the Court of
Appeals on January 13, 2005.
The Court of Appeals ruled that petitioner failed to present any convincing proof that respondents (the legally
adopted children of Eufemia) were unlawfully restraining their mother of her liberty. He also failed to establish
his legal right to the custody of Eufemia as he was not her legal guardian. Thus, in a resolution dated February
2, 2005,6 the Court of Appeals denied his petition.
Petitioner moved for reconsideration but it was also denied. 7 Hence, this petition.
Petitioner claims that, in determining whether or not a writ of habeas corpus should issue, a court should limit
itself to determining whether or not a person is unlawfully being deprived of liberty. There is no need to

consider legal custody or custodial rights. The writ of habeas corpus is available not only if the rightful custody
of a person is being withheld from the person entitled thereto but also if the person who disappears or is
illegally being detained is of legal age and is not under guardianship. Thus, a writ of habeas corpus can cover
persons who are not under the legal custody of another. According to petitioner, as long as it is alleged that a
person is being illegally deprived of liberty, the writ of habeas corpus may issue so that his physical body may
be brought before the court that will determine whether or not there is in fact an unlawful deprivation of liberty.
In their comment, respondents state that they are the legally adopted daughters of Eufemia and her deceased
spouse, Maximo Rodriguez. Prior to their adoption, respondent Luisa was Eufemias half-sister 8 while
respondent Teresita was Eufemias niece and petitioners sister.9
Respondents point out that it was petitioner and his family who were staying with Eufemia, not the other way
around as petitioner claimed. Eufemia paid for the rent of the house, the utilities and other household needs.
Sometime in the 1980s, petitioner was appointed as the "encargado" or administrator of the properties of
Eufemia as well as those left by the deceased Maximo. As such, he took charge of collecting payments from
tenants and transacted business with third persons for and in behalf of Eufemia and the respondents who were
the only compulsory heirs of the late Maximo.
In the latter part of 2002, Eufemia and the respondents demanded an inventory and return of the properties
entrusted to petitioner. These demands were unheeded. Hence, Eufemia and the respondents were compelled
to file a complaint for estafa against petitioner in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. Consequently, and by
reason of their mothers deteriorating health, respondents decided to take custody of Eufemia on January 11,
2005. The latter willingly went with them. In view of all this, petitioner failed to prove either his right to the
custody of Eufemia or the illegality of respondents action.
We rule for the respondents.
The writ of habeas corpus extends to all cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any person is
deprived of his liberty or by which the rightful custody of a person is being withheld from the one entitled
thereto.10 It is issued when one is either deprived of liberty or is wrongfully being prevented from exercising
legal custody over another person.11 Thus, it contemplates two instances: (1) deprivation of a persons liberty
either through illegal confinement or through detention and (2) withholding of the custody of any person from
someone entitled to such custody.
In this case, the issue is not whether the custody of Eufemia is being rightfully withheld from petitioner but
whether Eufemia is being restrained of her liberty. Significantly, although petitioner admits that he did not have
legal custody of Eufemia, he nonetheless insists that respondents themselves have no right to her custody.
Thus, for him, the issue of legal custody is irrelevant. What is important is Eufemias personal freedom.
Fundamentally, in order to justify the grant of the writ of habeas corpus, the restraint of liberty must be in the
nature of an illegal and involuntary deprivation of freedom of action.12
In general, the purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to determine whether or not a particular
person is legally held. A prime specification of an application for a writ of habeas corpus, in fact, is an actual
and effective, and not merely nominal or moral, illegal restraint of liberty. "The writ of habeas corpus was
devised and exists as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint, and as the best
and only sufficient defense of personal freedom. A prime specification of an application for a writ of habeas
corpus is restraint of liberty. The essential object and purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into all
manner of involuntary restraint as distinguished from voluntary, and to relieve a person therefrom if such
restraint is illegal. Any restraint which will preclude freedom of action is sufficient." 13 (emphasis supplied)

In passing upon a petition for habeas corpus, a court or judge must first inquire into whether the petitioner is
being restrained of his liberty. 14 If he is not, the writ will be refused. Inquiry into the cause of detention will
proceed only where such restraint exists. 15 If the alleged cause is thereafter found to be unlawful, then the writ
should be granted and the petitioner discharged. 16 Needless to state, if otherwise, again the writ will be
refused.
While habeas corpus is a writ of right, it will not issue as a matter of course or as a mere perfunctory operation
on the filing of the petition.17 Judicial discretion is called for in its issuance and it must be clear to the judge to
whom the petition is presented that, prima facie, the petitioner is entitled to the writ. 18 It is only if the court is
satisfied that a person is being unlawfully restrained of his liberty will the petition for habeas corpus be
granted.19 If the respondents are not detaining or restraining the applicant or the person in whose behalf the
petition is filed, the petition should be dismissed. 20
In this case, the Court of Appeals made an inquiry into whether Eufemia was being restrained of her liberty. It
found that she was not:
There is no proof that Eufemia is being detained and restrained of her liberty by respondents.
Nothing on record reveals that she was forcibly taken by respondents. On the contrary, respondents,
being Eufemias adopted children, are taking care of her.21 (emphasis supplied)

2008, PO1 Ampatuan, who was then assigned at Sultan Kudarat Municipal Police Station, was asked by the
Chief of Police to report to the Provincial Director of Shariff Kabunsuan.

He was then brought to the Provincial Director of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Maguindanao where he
was restrained of his freedom without cause. The next day, 15 April 2008, PO1 Ampatuan was brought to the
General Santos City Airport and was made to board a Philippine Airlines plane bound for Manila. Upon landing
at the Manila Domestic Airport, PO1 Ampatuan was turned over to policemen of Manila and brought to Manila
Mayor Alfredo Lim by Police Director Geary Barias and General Roberto Rosales.

A press briefing was then conducted where it was announced that PO1 Ampatuan was arrested for the killing of
two (2) Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Officials. Thereafter, PO1 Ampatuan was brought to inquest
Prosecutor Renato Gonzaga of the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila due to the alleged murder of Atty.
Alioden D. Dalaig, head of the Law Department of the COMELEC.

However, on 21 April 2008, Chief Inquest Prosecutor Nelson Salva ordered the release for further investigation
of PO1 Ampatuan. The Order was approved by the City Prosecutor of Manila. But Police Senior Superintendent
Co Yee Co, Jr., and Police Chief Inspector Agapito Quimson refused to release PO1 Ampatuan.

The Court finds no cogent or compelling reason to disturb this finding. 22


WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED.
Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Ampatuan v. Macaraig
G.R. No. 18249729 June 2010
PONENTE: Perez, J.:
PARTIES:

1.
2.

PETITIONERS: NURHIDA JUHURI AMPATUAN


RESPONDENTS: JUDGE VIRGILIO V. MACARAIG, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, MANILA, BRANCH 37, DIRECTOR
GENERAL AVELINO RAZON, JR., DIRECTOR GEARY BARIAS, PSSUPT. CO YEE M. CO, JR. and POLICE CHIEF
INSPECTOR AGAPITO QUIMSON
NATURE: Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND:

1.
2.

Hence the petition for habeas corpus.

Respondents for their part, alleged that on the evening of 10 November 2007, a sixty-four-year-old man, later
identified as Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig, Head of the COMELEC Legal Department, was killed at the corner of M. H.
Del Pilar and Pedro Gil Streets, Ermita, Manila. The investigation conducted by the Manila Police District (MPD)
Homicide Section yielded the identity of the male perpetrator as PO1 Ampatuan. Consequently, PO1 Ampatuan
was commanded to the MPD District Director for proper disposition. Likewise, inquest proceedings were
conducted by the Manila Prosecutors Office.

On 18 April 2008, PO1 Ampatuan was charged with the administrative offense of grave misconduct for the
alleged killing of Atty. Dalaig. On the same day, Police Director General Avelino I. Razon, Jr. ordered that PO1
Ampatuan be placed under restrictive custody. Acting on the orders of General Razon, Jr., Special Order No. 921
was issued by Police Director Edgardo E. Acua, placing PO1 Ampatuan under restrictive custody of the
Regional Director, NCRPO, effective 19 April 2008.

Meanwhile, on 21 April 2008, the City Prosecutor of Manila recommended that the case against PO1 Ampatuan
be set for further investigation and that the latter be released from custody unless he is being held for other
charges/legal grounds.

Regional Trial Court: Original petition for Habeas Corpus


Supreme Court: Elevated to the Supreme Court by way of petition for certiorari under Rule 65
FACTS:

However, on 25 April 2008, Judge Virgilio V. Macaraig denied the petition for habeas corpus and held that the
placement of PO1 Ampatuan under restrictive custody pursuant to Section 52, par. 4 of Republic Act No. 8551
(otherwise known as the Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998) constitutes a valid
restraint of his liberty.

Petitioner Nurhida Juhuri Ampatuan filed a petition for the issuance of a Writ of Habeas Corpus for the release
of her husband, Police Officer I Basser B. Ampatuan (PO1 Ampatuan). The petitioner alleged that on 14 April

PERTINENT ISSUE: Whether or not the placement of PO1 Ampatuan under restrictive custody pursuant to

Section 52 of Republic Act No. 8551 is unlawful or illegal for which the remedy of habeas corpus is proper.

ANSWER: No.

SUPREME COURT RULINGS:

PROPRIETY OF THE REMEDY OF HABEAS CORPUS

The writ of habeas corpus applies only to cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any
person is deprived of his liberty The objective of the writ is to determine whether the confinement or
detention is valid or lawful. If it is, the writ cannot be issued. What is to be inquired into is the legality of a
persons detention as of, at the earliest, the filing of the application for the writ of habeas corpus, for even if
the detention is at its inception illegal, it may, by reason of some supervening events, such as the instances
mentioned in Section 4 of Rule 102, be no longer illegal at the time of the filing of the application.

Plainly stated, the writ obtains immediate relief for those who have been illegally confined or imprisoned
without sufficient cause. The writ, however, should not be issued when the custody over the person is by virtue
of a judicial process or a valid judgment.

whom the petition is presented that, prima facie, the petitioner is entitled to the writ. It is only if the court is
satisfied that a person is being unlawfully restrained of his liberty will the petition for habeas corpus be
granted. If the respondents are not detaining or restraining the applicant or the person in whose behalf the
petition is filed, the petition should be dismissed.

Restrictive custody under R.A. No. 6975, as amended by R.A. No. 8551 is not an unlawful or illegal
restraint on liberty Under Section 52 of R.A. No. 8551, the Chief of the PNP has the authority to place police
personnel under restrictive custody during the pendency of a grave administrative case filed against him or
even after the filing of a criminal complaint, grave in nature, against such police personnel. Given that PO1
Ampatuan has been placed under restrictive custody, such constitutes a valid argument for his continued
detention. This Court has held that a restrictive custody and monitoring of movements or whereabouts of police
officers under investigation by their superiors is not a form of illegal detention or restraint of liberty.

Restrictive custody is, at best, nominal restraint which is beyond the ambit of habeas corpus. It is neither actual
nor effective restraint that would call for the grant of the remedy prayed for. It is a permissible precautionary
measure to assure the PNP authorities that the police officers concerned are
always accounted for.
Since the basis of PO1 Ampatuans r estrictive custody is the administrative case filed against
him, his remedy is within such administrative process.

DISPOSITIVE:

The Supreme Court dismissed the petition for lack of merit.


The most basic criterion for the issuance of the writ, therefore, is that the individual seeking such relief is
illegally deprived of his freedom of movement or placed under some form of illegal restraint. If an individuals
liberty is restrained via some legal process, the writ of habeas corpus is unavailing. Fundamentally, in order to
justify the grant of the writ of habeas corpus, the restraint of liberty must be in the nature of an illegal and
involuntary deprivation of freedom of action.

Habeas corpus applies to any form of illegal or unlawful restraint of liberty In general, the purpose
of the writ of habeas corpus is to determine whether or not a particular person is legally held. A prime
specification of an application for a writ of habeas corpus, in fact, is an actual and effective, and not merely
nominal or moral, illegal restraint of liberty. The writ of habeas corpus was devised and exists as a speedy and
effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint, and as the best and only sufficient defense of
personal freedom. A prime specification of an application for a writ of habeas corpus is restraint of liberty. The
essential object and purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint as
distinguished from voluntary, and to relieve a person therefrom if such restraint is illegal. Any restraint which
will preclude freedom of action is sufficient.

Habeas Corpus: judicial inquiry and discretion In passing upon a petition for habeas corpus, a court or
judge must first inquire into whether the petitioner is being restrained of his liberty. If he is not, the writ will be
refused. Inquiry into the cause of detention will proceed only where such restraint exists. If the alleged cause is
thereafter found to be unlawful, then the writ should be granted and the petitioner discharged. Needless to
state, if otherwise, again the writ will be refused.

While habeas corpus is a writ of right, it will not issue as a matter of course or as a mere perfunctory operation
on the filing of the petition. Judicial discretion is called for in its issuance and it must be clear to the judge to

So v. Tacla, Jr.G.R. Nos. 190108 and 19047319 October 2010


PONENTE: Nachura, J.
PARTIES:
G.R. No. 190108
PETITIONERS: DAVID E. SO, on behalf of his daughter MARIA ELENA SO GUISANDE
RESPONDENTS: HON. ESTEBAN A. TACLA, JR., Regional Trial Court of Mandaluyong City, Branch 208 and DR.
BERNARDO A. VICENTE, National Center for Mental Health
G.R. No. 190473

PETITIONERS: HON. ESTEBAN A. TACLA, JR., Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Mandaluyong City,
Branch 208 and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
RESPONDENT: DAVID E. SO, on behalf of his daughter MARIA ELENA SO GUISANDE
NATURE:

Petition for writs of habeas corpus and amparo (G.R. No. 190108)
Petition for review on certiorari (G.R. No. 190473)
PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND:

Supreme Court: Original Petition for the writ of habeas corpus, amparo and for review on certiorari filed with
the Supreme Court

FACTS:

Regional Trial Court Proceedings

David E. So (So) filed a petition for the issuance of the writs of habeas corpus and amparo before Judge Esteban
A. Tacla, Jr. (Judge Tacla) of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 208, Mandaluyong City. So filed this on behalf
of his daughter, Ma. Elena So Guisande (Guisande), who is accused of Qualified Theft (a non- bailable offense)
in a criminal case pending before Judge Tacla.

On 03 December 2009, the NCMH rendered an evaluation report finding Guisande competent to stand trial. On
the same day, the 17th Division of the Court of Appeals heard the case pursuant to the joint writ of habeas
corpus and amparo. Thereafter, Justice Normandie B. Pizarro rendered an Order directing Guisande to stand
trial for qualified theft but ordered her confinement at St. Clares Medical Center in recognition of her right to
seek medical treatment.

Supreme Court Proceedings [Petition for review on certiorari (G.R. No. 190473)]

Thereafter, a petition for review on certiorari was filed by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), on behalf of
Judge Tacla and Dr. Vicente, questioning the Order of Justice Pizarro.
So alleged, among others, that Guisande was under a life-threatening situation while confined at the National
Center for Mental Health (NCMH), the government hospital ordered by the RTC Mandaluyong City to ascertain
the actual psychological state of Guisande, to determine whether she can stand for trial.

On 10 March 2010, the OSG filed a Manifestation and Motion praying for the dismissal of G.R. Nos. 190108 and
190473.

Confinement at the NCMH


So filed a Comment refuting the OSGs motion to dismiss G.R. Nos. 190108 and 190473.
Guisande was previously confined at the Makati Medical Center for Bipolar Mood Disorder. Her personal
psychiatrist certified that that she was not ready for discharge.

However, acting on the prosecutions Urgent Motion to Refer Accuseds Illness to a Government Hospital, Judge
Tacla ordered Guisandes referral to the NCMH for an independent forensic assessment of Guisandes mental
health to determine if she would be able to stand arraignment and undergo trial for Qualified Theft.

Subsequently, Judge Tacla, upon motion of the NCMH, ordered that accused Guisande be physically brought to
the NCMH.

In response, Guisande filed a Motion for Relief from Solitary Confinement before the sala of Judge Tecla.

Supreme Court Proceedings [Petition for writs of habeas corpus and amparo (G.R. No. 190108)]

So meanwhile filed petition before the Supreme Court for the issuance of the writs of habeas corpus and
amparo claiming life-threatening circumstances surrounding his daughters confinement at the NCMH. Such
which supposedly worsened her mental condition and violated her constitutional rights against solitary
detention and her right to the assistance of counsel.

The Supreme Court in its Resolution dated 24 November 2009 issued a joint writ of habeas corpus and amparo
and directed the Court of Appeals to conduct a hearing on the matter.

Court of Appeals Proceedings

The OSG thereafter filed a Motion to Admit Reply and a Reply where the OSG reiterated that GR. Nos. 190108
and 190473 had been rendered moot and academic with the dismissal of the criminal case for Qualified Theft
against Guisande.

PERTINENT ISSUES:

Whether or not the remedies of habeas corpus and amparo are proper in instances where the confinement or
limitation in liberty is not illegal or unlawful.
Whether or not the issue of Guisandes alleged illegal detention and violation of constitutional rights during her
incarceration at the NCMH is moot and academic.
ANSWERS:

No.
Yes.
SUPREME COURT RULINGS:

1.

AVAILABILITY OF THE REMEDIES OF HABEAS CORPUS AND AMPARO

The act or omission or the threatened act or omission complained of should be illegal or unlawful
As pointed out by the OSG, the basis for the petition for habeas corpus and amparo is the confinement of
Guisande at NCMH in connection with her prosecution for qualified theft. So alleged that her confinement at the
NCMH was life threatening as the NCMH could not adequately treat Guisandes mental condition. Thus, to
balance the conflicting right of an accused to medical treatment and the right of the prosecution to subject to
court processes an accused charged with a non-bailable offense, the CA directed the transfer of Guisande from
the NCMH to St. Clares Medical Center, while noting that because of the peculiarities of this case, there was a
deviation from the regular course of procedure, since accused Guisande should have been confined in jail

because she was charged with a non-bailable offense.

It bears stressing that nowhere in the transcript of the CA hearing on December 3, 2009, nor in the Order
recited in open court by Justice Pizarro, is there an affirmation of petitioner Sos claim that the confinement of
accused Guisande at the NCMH was illegal. Neither were the respective acts performed by respondents Judge
Tacla and Dr. Vicente in ascertaining the mental condition of accused Guisande to withstand trial declared
unlawful. On the contrary, the NCMH, a well-reputed government forensic facility, albeit not held in high regard
by petitioner Sos and accused Guisandes family, had assessed Guisande fit for trial.

The Rules on the Writs of habeas corpus and amparo are clear; the act or omission or the threatened act or
omission complained of confinement and custody for habeas corpus and violations of, or threat to violate, a
persons life, liberty, and security for amparo cases should be illegal or unlawful.

subjected to the lawful processes of the RTC Mandaluyong City. In short, the cases have now been rendered
moot and academic which, in the often cited David v. Macapagal-Arroyo, is defined as one that ceases to
present a justiciable controversy by virtue of supervening events, so that a declaration thereon would be of no
practical use or value.

DISPOSITIVE:

The Supreme Court denied the petitions in G.R. Nos. 190108 and 190473 for the Writs of Habeas Corpus and
Amparo, and review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court for being moot and academic.
EN BANC
G.R. No. 170924

The privilege of the writ of amparo is aimed at protecting and guaranteeing the rights to life,
liberty, and security of persons As was held in Rubrico v. Macapagal-Arroyo, the privilege of the writ of
amparo is envisioned basically to protect and guarantee the rights to life, liberty, and security of persons, free
from fears and threats that vitiate the quality of this life. It is an extraordinary writ conceptualized and adopted
in light of and in response to the prevalence of extra-legal killings and enforced disappearances. Accordingly,
the remedy ought to be resorted to and granted judiciously, lest the ideal sought by the Amparo Rule be diluted
and undermined by the indiscriminate filing of amparo petitions for purposes less than the desire to secure
amparo reliefs and protection and/or on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations.

July 4, 2007

In the matter of the Petition for Habeas Corpus of CEZARI GONZALES and JULIUS MESAROBERTO
RAFAEL PULIDO, petitioner, vs.Gen. EFREN ABU, as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines and all persons acting in his stead and under his authority, and GEN. ERNESTO DE
LEON, in his capacity as the Flag Officer in Command of the Philippine Navy, and all persons acting
in his stead and under his authority, respondents.
DECISION
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

On the other hand, in Ampatuan v. Macaraig, the Court held that the general purpose of the writ of habeas
corpus is to determine whether or not a particular person is legally held. The essential object and purpose of
the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint as distinguished from voluntary,
and to relieve a person therefrom if such restraint is illegal. Any restraint which will preclude freedom of action
is sufficient. In passing upon a petition for habeas corpus, a court or judge must first inquire into whether the
petitioner is being restrained of his liberty. If he is not, the writ will be refused. Inquiry into the cause of
detention will proceed only where such restraint exists. If the alleged cause is thereafter found to be unlawful,
then the writ should be granted and the petitioner discharged. Needless to state, if otherwise, again the writ
will be refused.

In the cases at bar, the question before the CA was correctly limited to which hospital, the NCMH or a medical
facility of accuseds own choosing, accused Guisande should be referred for treatment of a supposed mental
condition. In addition, we note that it was procedurally proper for the RTC to ask the NCMH for a separate
opinion on accuseds mental fitness to be arraigned and stand trial. Be that as it may, the CA allowed the
transfer of accused to St. Clares Medical Center under the custody of Dr. Rene Yat. Notwithstanding, Guisande
remained in custody of the law to answer for the non-bailable criminal charge against her, and was simply
allowed to pursue medical treatment in the hospital and from a doctor of her choice.

2.

EFFECT OF THE DISMISSAL OF THE CRIMINAL PROSECUTION ON THE PRESENT PETITIONS

The dismissal of the criminal prosecution for qualified theft against Guisande rendered the issue
moot and academic Certainly, with the dismissal of the non-bailable case against accused Guisande, she is
no longer under peril to be confined in a jail facility, much less at the NCMH. Effectively, accused Guisandes
person, and treatment of any medical and mental malady she may or may not have, can no longer be

Before Us is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the Decision 1 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 90546 which dismissed the Petition for Habeas Corpus filed by petitioner Roberto
Rafael Pulido (Pulido) in behalf of Cezari Gonzales and Julius Mesa, and imposed on petitioner the penalty of
censure, and its Resolution2 dated 6 January 2006 denying his motion for reconsideration.
The facts are not disputed.
At around one oclock in the morning of 27 July 2003, three hundred twenty-one (321) junior officers and
enlisted personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) entered and took over the premises of the
Oakwood Premiere Luxury Apartments (Oakwood) located at the Glorietta Complex, Ayala Avenue, Makati City.
They disarmed the security guards of said establishment and planted explosives in its immediate surroundings.
The soldiers publicly announced that they went to Oakwood to air their grievances against the administration
of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (President Arroyo). They declared their withdrawal of support from the
Commander-in-Chief of the AFP President Arroyo and demanded her resignation and that of the members of
her cabinet and top officers of both the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
At about one oclock in the afternoon, President Arroyo issued Proclamation No. 427 declaring the country to be
under a "state of rebellion." Consequently, she issued General Order No. 4 directing the AFP and the PNP to
carry out all reasonable measures, giving due regard to constitutional rights, to suppress and quell the
"rebellion."
After a series of negotiations between the soldiers and the government negotiators, the former agreed to
return to barracks, thus ending the occupation of Oakwood.

Among those involved in the occupation of Oakwood were Cezari Gonzales and Julius Mesa, both enlisted
personnel of the Philippine Navy. It is in their behalf that the Petition for Habeas Corpus was filed before the
Court of Appeals.
On 2 August 2003, then AFP Chief of Staff Narciso L. Abaya issued a directive 3 to all Major Service Commanders
and to the Chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) regarding the Custody
of Military Personnel Involved in the 27 July 2003 Mutiny. On the strength thereof, Gonzales and Mesa were
taken into custody by their Service Commander.
Gonzales and Mesa were not charged before a court martial with violation of the Articles of War. They were,
however, among the soldiers charged before Branch 61 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, with the
crime of Coup Detat as defined under Article 134-A of the Revised Penal Code. Said case entitled, " People v.
Capt. Milo D. Maestrecampo, et al." was docketed as Criminal Case No. 03-2784. On 18 November 2003, a
Commitment Order was issued by the RTC committing custody of the persons of Gonzales and Mesa to the
Commanding Officer of Fort San Felipe Naval Base, Cavite City. 4
On 8 December 2003, Gonzales and Mesa were discharged 5 from military service.
On 16 December 2003, per order of the RTC, Criminal Case No. 03-2784 was consolidated with Criminal Case
No. 03-2678 entitled, "People v. Ramon B. Cardenas" pending before Branch 148 of the RTC of Makati City, on
the ground that the cases are founded on the same facts and/or formed part of a series of offenses of similar
character.6
In a Manifestation and Motion dated 3 March 2004, Commodore Normando Naval, Commander of Naval Base
Cavite, asked the Makati RTC, Branch 148, to relieve him of his duty as custodian of Gonzales and Mesa and
that the latter be transferred to the Makati City Jail. 7 In an Order dated 29 April 2004, the RTC relieved him of
his duty but ordered the transfer of Gonzales and Mesa from the Naval Base Cavite in Sangley Point, Cavite
City, to the Philippine Marine Brigade Headquarters, Philippine Marine, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, Metro Manila,
under the custody of the Commander of the Marine Brigade of the Philippine Marines, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig,
Metro Manila.8
In an Order dated 8 July 2004, the RTC resolved the petitions for bail filed by the accused-soldiers. It admitted
Gonzales and Mesa, and twenty-five other co-accused to bail pegging the amount thereof at P100,000.00
each.9

Since Gonzales and Mesa continued to be in detention, a Petition for Habeas Corpus14 was filed by petitioner
Pulido on their behalf on 22 July 2005. The case was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 90546 and raffled to the Third
Division. In support thereof, it was argued that since Gonzales and Mesa are no longer subject to Military Law
as they had been discharged from the service on 8 December 2003, and since they are not charged before a
court martial, the military authorities have no jurisdiction to detain them, and there is no legal ground to detain
them further because a court order for their release had already been issued.
On 10 August 2005, the Court of Appeals (3 rd Division) issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus directing respondents
Gen. Efren Abu, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and all persons acting in his stead and
under his authority, and Gen. Ernesto de Leon, Flag Officer in Command of the Philippine Navy, and all persons
acting in his stead and under his authority, to produce the bodies of Gonzales and Mesa before the Court and to
appear and show the cause and validity of their detention. 15
On 18 August 2005, a return of the Writ of Habeas Corpus was made.16 Respondents prayed that the Petition for
Habeas Corpus be dismissed primarily on two grounds: (1) the continued detention of Gonzales and Mesa is
justified because of the pendency of the Petition for Certiorari questioning the order dated 8 July 2004 of the
RTC granting bail to Gonzales and Mesa before the 7 th Division of the Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. SP
No. 88440; and (2) petitioner is guilty of forum shopping because of his failure to state in the petition that the
order granting bail has been elevated to the Court of Appeals and pending before its 7 th Division.
On 9 September 2005, the Court of Appeals (7 th Division) rendered its decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 88440
dismissing the petition that questioned the propriety of the granting of bail to Gonzales, Mesa, and twenty-five
of their co-accused.17
On 12 September 2005, the Court of Appeals (3 rd Division) dismissed the Petition for Habeas Corpus for
violation of Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court. It ratiocinated:
A reading of the parties submissions reveals a threshold issue the charge of forum shopping and the related
falsity in the certification supporting the petition. We must initially resolve these issues because a finding that
the petitioner violated Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court can lead to the outright dismissal of the present
petition. x x x
xxxx
The records show that the present petition contained the following certificate of non-forum shopping:

On 19 July 2004, both Gonzales and Mesa posted bail. 10 On 20 July 2004, the RTC issued orders directing the
Commanding Officer of Philippine Marine Corps, Fort Bonifacio, Makati City, to release Gonzales and Mesa from
his custody.11 Despite said orders and their service to the marines, Gonzales and Mesa were not released.
On 21 July 2004, the People of the Philippines moved for partial reconsideration 12 of the order granting bail.
Prior to the resolution of said motion, Jovencito R. Zuo, Chief State Prosecutor, advised Brig. Gen. Manuel F.
Llena, Judge Advocate General, to defer action on the provisional release of Gonzales and Mesa "until the
Motion for Reconsideration shall have been resolved and attained finality." 13 On 26 October 2004, the RTC
denied the motion for partial reconsideration.
With the denial of the Motion for Partial Reconsideration, the People filed with the Court of Appeals on 4
February 2005 a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with urgent prayer for
Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction, asking for the nullification and setting
aside of the orders dated 8 July 2004 and 26 October 2004 of Judge Oscar B. Pimentel for having been issued
without jurisdiction and/or grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. The Petition for
Certiorari was raffled to the Seventh Division and was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 88440 entitled, "People of
the Philippines v. Hon. Oscar B. Pimentel, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch
148." The Court of Appeals (Seventh Division) did not issue a TRO and/or preliminary injunction.

"I, ROBERTO RAFAEL PULIDO, with office address at Unit 1601, 16 th Floor 139 Corporate Center Valero Street,
Makati City, after having been duly sworn in accordance with law, do hereby state that:
1. I am the petitioner in the above-captioned case;
2. I have read the Petition and caused it to be prepared. All the contents thereof are true to my own personal
knowledge and the record;
3. I have not heretofore commenced any action or proceeding involving the same issues, in the Supreme Court,
the Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency and to the best of my knowledge, no action or proceeding
is pending in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency; except for the related
cases of "Eugene Gonzales et al. vs. Gen. Narciso Abaya, et al., G.R. No. 164007 and "Humabono Adaza et al.,
vs. Gen. Pedro Cabuay et al., G.R. No. 160792, both awaiting the resolution of the Supreme Court.
5. (sic, should be 4) If I should learn of any similar action or proceeding filed or is pending in the Supreme

Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency, I undertake to report such fact within five (5) days
therefrom to this Court.
The present petition and its accompanying certification likewise show that the petitioner never mentioned the
pendency before the Seventh Division of this Court of the certiorari case, SP 88440, for the annulment of the
lower courts order granting the soldiers-accuseds petition for bail, when this same lower court order is cited
as basis for the immediate release of Gonzales and Mesa in the present petition. All that the certification
mentioned were the related cases pending before the Honorable Supreme Court. Neither did the petitioner
comply with his undertaking under his certification to inform this Court within five (5) days of the pendency of
any similar action or proceeding filed or is pending in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other
tribunal or agency, as in fact the certiorari case was already pending with this Court when the present petition
was filed. The certiorari case was only brought to our attention after the respondents filed their Return of the
Writ.
To be sure, the petitioner, who is also the counsel for the accused Gonzales and Mesa in the criminal case
before Branch 148 RTC Makati City and who represents Gonzales and Mesa as private respondents in CA-G.R.
SP No. 88440, cannot feign ignorance of the pendency of the certiorari case. Why he deliberately kept the
pendency of the certiorari case hidden from us, has not been sufficiently explained. We have no doubt,
however, that his deliberate act of withholding information on a material fact directly required to be disclosed
by the Rules of Court cannot but have legal consequences.
The primary basis of the present petition is the bail granted to and posted by Gonzales and Mesa. This is very
clear from the petitioners argument that "The continued detention of the enlisted personnel constitutes
violation of the lawful orders of the civilian court." He cited in support of this argument the grant and the
posting of the bail, and the issuance of the release orders by the lower court. He did not disclose, however,
what subsequently happened to the order granting bail. He deliberately omitted in his narration the fact that
the People moved to reconsider this order. Thus, he gave the impression that the order granting bail
immediately became enforceable and that Gonzales and Mesas continued detention is illegal because their
constitutional rights to bail, which have received judicial imprimatur, were continuously being violated by the
respondents.
The petitioner next omitted the fact that after the denial of its motion for reconsideration of the order granting
bail, the People filed the certiorari case before this Court, seeking to annul the lower courts order. While we are
aware of the rule that the mere pendency of a petition for certiorari will not prevent the implementation of
the assailed order unless the court where the petition was filed issues either a temporary restraining order or a
writ or preliminary injunction the filing of a petition for habeas corpus while the order granting bail is being
questioned on a petition for certiorari raises issues beyond the immediate execution of the lower courts bail
and release orders. They raise questions on the propriety of filing the habeas corpus petition to seek the
release of persons under detention, at the same time that a petition regarding their continued detention and
release are pending. Apparently, the petitioner wanted to avoid these questions, prompting him to actively
conceal the subsequent motion for reconsideration of the bail order and the petition for certiorari directly
questioning this same order. In short, the petitioner conveniently omitted in his narration of facts the
material factual antecedents detrimental to his cause; he chose to narrate only the factual
antecedents favorable to his cause.
That the present petition has direct and intimate links with the certiorari case is beyond doubt as they involve
two sides of the same coin. The certiorari case filed by the People seeks to prevent the release of Gonzales and
Mesa by annulling the lower courts grant of bail. The present petition, on the other hand, was filed in behalf of
Gonzales and Mesa to secure their immediate release because the order granting bail is already executory. In
effect, the petitioner seeks to implement through a petition for habeas corpus the provisional release from
detention that the lower court has ordered. The question this immediately raises is: can this be done through a
petition for habeas corpus when the validity of the grant of bail and the release under bail are live questions
before another Division of this Court?

We believe and so hold that his cannot and should not be done as this is precisely the reason why the rule
against forum shopping has been put in place. The remedies sought being two sides of the same coin (i.e., the
release of Gonzales and Mesa), they cannot be secured through separately-filed cases where issues of
jurisdiction may arise and whose rulings may conflict with one another. To be sure, we clearly heard the
petitioner say that there can be no conflict because the effectiveness of our ruling in this petition will depend
on the nature and tenor of the ruling in the certiorari case; there is no basis for a release on habeas corpus if
this same Court will rule in the certiorari case that the grant of bail is improper. For this very same reason, we
should not entertain the present petition as the matter before us is already before another co-equal body
whose ruling will be finally determinative of the issue of Gonzales and Mesas release. The Decision of the
Seventh Division of this Court, heretofore footnoted, ordering the release on bail of Gonzales and Mesa drives
home this point.
To be strictly accurate, the issues of detention and immediate release that are now before the two Divisions of
this Court are likewise properly within the jurisdiction of the lower court who has original jurisdiction over the
criminal case and who has issued the order granting bail in the exercise of this jurisdiction. If indeed there is a
question relating to the immediate release of Gonzales and Mesa pursuant to the lower courts order pending
the determination of the certiorari issues, such question should be brought before the lower court as the
tribunal that has ordered the release, or before the Seventh Division of this Court in the exercise of its
supervisory powers over the lower court. The Decision recently promulgated by the Seventh Division of this
Court ordering the release on bail of the soldiers-accused effectively demonstrates this point.
The inter-relationships among the criminal case below, the certiorari case and the present petition, as well as
among the courts where these cases are pending, show beyond doubt that the petitioner committed forum
shopping in the strict sense of that term i.e., the attempt by a party, after an adverse opinion in one forum, to
seek a favorable opinion in another forum other that through an appeal or certiorari. The "adverse" aspect for
the petitioner, while not an opinion, is no less adverse as he has failed to secure the release of Gonzales and
Mesa before the lower court and before this Court in the certiorari case (as of the time of the filing of the
present petition); thus, he came to us in the present petition. That the Seventh Division of this Court has
ordered the release on bail of the soldiers-accused, thus rendering the present petition moot and academic
after the finality of the 7th Division Decision, plainly demonstrates this legal reality. 18
The Court further imposed on petitioner the penalty of censure for the aforesaid violation. The dispositive
portion of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby DISMISS the petition for violation of and pursuant to Section 5
Rule 7 of the Rules of Court. The petitioner, Atty. Roberto Rafael Pulido, is hereby CENSURED for these
violations. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Honorable Supreme Court, to be attached to the
petitioners record as a member of the Bar, as a RECORD OF CENSURE that may be referred to and
considered in any future similar act.19
On 5 September 2005, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration 20 which the Court of Appeals (Special
Former Third Division) denied in its resolution21 dated 6 January 2006.
Petitioner is now before us raising the following issues:
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DISMISSING THE PETITION FOR HABEAS
CORPUS ON THE GROUND OF FORUM SHOPPING.
A. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT CONSIDERING THE NATURE OF THE
ACTION AND LIMITED ITSELF TO THE ISSUE OF FORUM SHOPPING.
B. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN IMPOSING UPON PETITIONER THE
PENALTY OF CENSURE.

C. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT PASSING UPON THE EXISTENCE OR
ABSENCE OF VALID GROUNDS TO DETAIN JULIUS MESA AND CEZARI GONZALES.
Petitioner prays that the assailed decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals be reversed and set aside, and
an order be issued ordering respondents to immediately release Gonzales and Mesa. He further prays that the
censure against him be also reversed and set aside.
Before respondents could comment on the petition, petitioner filed, with leave of court, a Motion to Withdraw
the Prayer for the Immediate Release of Julius Mesa and Cezari Gonzales. 22 Petitioner informed the Court that
the Commanding General of the Philippine Marines had ordered the release of Gonzales and Mesa and
surrendered their persons to the RTC of Makati City, Branch 148. Thus, Mesa and Gonzales are now enjoying
temporary liberty by virtue of the release orders dated 20 July 2004 issued by the RTC. Petitioner asks that the
prayer for the immediate release of Gonzales and Mesa be dismissed but asks that the other prayers in the
petition be granted.
In its comment, the Solicitor General stressed that the habeas corpus petition has been rendered moot and
academic by reason of the release of Mesa and Gonzales from detention and, in the absence of an actual case
or controversy, it is impractical to consider and resolve issues involving the validity or legality of their
detention, including the alleged refusal of the Court of Appeals to resolve said issues.
When the release of the persons in whose behalf the application for a Writ of Habeas Corpus was filed is
effected, the Petition for the issuance of the writ becomes moot and academic. 23 With the release of both Mesa
and Gonzales, the Petition for Habeas Corpus has, indeed, been rendered moot. Courts of justice constituted to
pass upon substantial rights will not consider questions where no actual interests are involved. Thus, the wellsettled rule that courts will not determine a moot question. Where the issues have become moot and
academic, there ceases to be any justiciable controversy, thus rendering the resolution of the same of no
practical value.24 This Court will therefore abstain from expressing its opinion in a case where no legal relief is
needed or called for.25
The only remaining issues to be resolved are: (1) Is petitioner guilty of forum shopping? (2) Should petitioner be
penalized when he failed to inform the 3 rd Division of the Court of Appeals of the pendency of the Petition for
Certiorari filed by respondents before the 7 th Division of the same court which asked for the annulment of the
RTCs order granting Gonzales and Mesas petition for bail?
To support his contention that there was no forum shopping, petitioner asserts that the issues in the petitions
for certiorari and habeas corpus are not similar/identical. As to his non-disclosure of respondents filing of the
motion for reconsideration and the Petition for Certiorari, petitioner claims that the same has no legal relevance
to the Petition for Habeas Corpus because at the time he filed said petition, the order granting bail subsisted
and has not been reversed or modified; and no TRO or injunction has been issued that would affect the efficacy
or validity of the order granting the bail and the order directing the release of Mesa and Gonzales.

For filing a Petition for Habeas Corpus despite the pendency of the Petition for Certiorari that questioned the
validity of the order granting bail, which order is precisely the very basis of the Petition for Habeas Corpus,
petitioner is guilty of forum shopping.
It has been held that forum shopping is the act of a party against whom an adverse judgment has been
rendered in one forum, of seeking another (and possibly favorable) opinion in another forum (other than by
appeal or the special civil action of certiorari), or the institution of two or more actions or proceedings grounded
on the same cause on the supposition that one or the other court would make a favorable disposition. Thus, it
has been held that there is forum shopping (1) when, as a result of an adverse decision in one forum, a party
seeks a favorable decision (other than by appeal or certiorari) in another; OR (2) if, after he has filed a petition
before the Supreme Court, a party files a motion before the Court of Appeals, since in such a case, he
deliberately splits appeals in the hope that even in one case in which a particular allowable remedy sought for
is dismissed, another case (offering a similar remedy) would still be open; OR (3) where a party attempts to
obtain a preliminary injunction in another court after failing to obtain the same from the original court. 26
The Court has laid down the yardstick to determine whether a party violated the rule against forum shopping,
as where the elements of litis pendentia are present or where a final judgment in one case will amount to res
judicata in the other. Stated differently, there must be between the two cases: (a) identity of parties; (b)
identity of rights asserted and reliefs prayed for, the relief being founded on the same facts; and (c) the identity
of the two preceding particulars is such that any judgment rendered in the other action will, regardless of which
party is successful, amount to res judicata in the action under consideration.27
As lucidly explained by the Court of Appeals, the ultimate relief sought by petitioner in both the certiorari and
habeas corpus cases is the release of Gonzales and Mesa. Petitioner should not have filed the Petition for
Habeas Corpus because the relief he is seeking therein is the same relief he is asking for in the certiorari case.
Moreover, the main issue in both cases boils down to whether Gonzales and Mesa should be released on bail.
Because of the presence of the elements of litis pendentia -- parties, reliefs and issue are substantially the
same/similar in the two cases; and any decision in the certiorari case will be binding on the habeas corpus case
petitioner is thus guilty of forum shopping.
For his failure to inform the Court of Appeals of the pendency of the certiorari case, petitioner clearly violated
his obligation to disclose within five days the pendency of the same or a similar action or claim as mandated in
Section 5(c), Rule 728 of the Rules of Court.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 90546 dated 12
September 2005 is AFFIRMED. Costs against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.