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275-289 Upon being notified of the incident at 2 o'clock in the afternoon of said day,
Dr. Emilio Nepomuceno, president of the sanitary division of Talisayan,
ABANDONING A MINOR Oriental Misamis, went to the appellant's house and found her lying in bed still
bleeding. Her bed, the floor of her house and beneath it, directly under the
People v. Bandian bed, were full of blood. Basing his opinion upon said facts, the physician in
question declared that the appellant gave birth in her house and in her own
bed; that after giving birth she threw her child into the thicket to kill it for the
DIAZ, J.: purpose of concealing her dishonor from the man, Luis Kirol, with whom she
had theretofore been living maritally, because the child was not his but of
Charged with the crime of infanticide, convicted thereof and sentenced to another man with whom she had previously had amorous relations. To give
reclusion perpetua and the corresponding accessory penalties, with the costs force to his conclusions, he testified that the appellant had admitted to him
of the suit, Josefina Bandian appealed from said sentence alleging that the that she had killed her child, when he went to her house at the time and on
trial court erred: the date above-stated.

I. In taking into consideration, to convict her, her alleged admission The prosecuting attorney and the lower court giving absolute credit to Dr.
to Dr. Nepomuceno that she had thrown away her newborn babe, Nepomuceno whose testimony was not corroborated but, on the contrary, was
and contradicted by the very witnesses for the prosecution and by the appellant,
as will be stated later, they were of the opinion and the lower court furthermore
II. In holding her guilty of infanticide, beyond reasonable doubt, and held, that the appellant was an infanticide. The Solicitor-General, however,
in sentencing her to reclusion perpetua, with costs. does not agree with both. On the contrary, he maintains that the appellant may
be guilty only of abandoning a minor under subsection 2 of article 276 of the
Revised Penal Code, the abandonment having resulted in the death of the
The facts of record ma be summarized as follows: minor allegedly abandoned.

At about 7 o'clock in the morning of January 31, 1936, Valentin Aguilar, the By the way, it should be stated that there is no evidence showing how the child
appellant's neighbor, saw the appellant go to a thicket about four or five brazas in question died. Dr. Nepomuceno himself affirmed that the wounds found in
from her house, apparently to respond to a call of nature because it was there the body of the child were not caused by the hand of man but by bites animals,
that the people of the place used to go for that purpose. A few minutes later, the pigs that usually roamed through the thicket where it was found.
he again saw her emerge from the thicket with her clothes stained with blood
both in the front and back, staggering and visibly showing signs of not being
able to support herself. He ran to her aid and, having noted that she was very Infanticide and abandonment of a minor, to be punishable, must be committed
weak and dizzy, he supported and helped her go up to her house and placed wilfully or consciously, or at least it must be result of a voluntary, conscious
her in her own bed. Upon being asked before Aguilar brought her to her house, and free act or omission. Even in cases where said crimes are committed
what happened to her, the appellant merely answered that she was very dizzy. through mere imprudence, the person who commits them, under said
Not wishing to be alone with the appellant in such circumstances, Valentin circumstances, must be in the full enjoyment of his mental faculties, or must
Aguilar called Adriano Comcom, who lived nearby, to help them, and later be conscious of his acts, in order that he may be held liable.
requested him to take bamboo leaves to stop the hemorrhage which had come
upon the appellant. Comcom had scarcely gone about five brazas when he The evidence certainly does not show that the appellant, in causing her child's
saw the body of a newborn babe near a path adjoining the thicket where the death in one way or another, or in abandoning it in the thicket, did so wilfully,
appellant had gone a few moments before. Comcom informed Aguilar of it and consciously or imprudently. She had no cause to kill or abandon it, to expose
latter told him to bring the body to the appellant's house. Upon being asked it to death, because her affair with a former lover, which was not unknown to
whether the baby which had just been shown to her was hers or not, the her second lover, Luis Kirol, took place three years before the incident; her
appellant answered in the affirmative. married life with Kirol — she considers him her husband as he considers her
his wife — began a year ago; as he so testified at the trial, he knew that the
appellant was pregnant and he believed from the beginning, affirming such alleged errors attributed to the lower court by the appellant are true; and it
belief when he testified at the trial, that the child carried by the appellant in her appearing that under such circumstances said appellant has the fourth and
womb was his, and he testified that he and she had been eagerly waiting for seventh exempting circumstances in her favor, is hereby acquitted of the crime
the birth of the child. The appellant, therefore, had no cause to be ashamed of which she had bee accused and convicted, with costs de oficio, and she is
of her pregnancy to Kirol. actually confined in jail in connection with this case, it is ordered that she be
released immediately. So ordered.
If to the foregoing facts is added the testimony of the witnesses Valentin
Aguilar and Adriano Comcom that the child was taken from the thicket and Separate Opinions
carried already dead to the appellant's house after the appellant had left the
place, staggering, without strength to remain on her feet and very dizzy, to the VILLA-REAL, J., concurring:
extent of having to be as in fact she was helped to go up to her house and to
lie in bed, it will clearly appear how far from the truth were Dr. Nepomuceno's I concur in the acquittal of the accused Josefina Bandian not on the ground that she is
affirmation and conclusions. Also add to all these the fact that the appellant exempt from criminal liability but because she has committed no criminal act or
denied having made any admission to said physician and that from the time omission.
she became pregnant she continuously had fever. This illness and her
extreme debility undoubtedly caused by her long illness as well as the The evidence conclusively shows that on the day in question the accused Josefina
hemorrhage which she had upon giving birth, coupled with the circumstances Bandian had spent a year of marital life with her lover Luis Kirol by whom she was
that she is a primipara, being then only 23 years of age, and therefore begotten with a child for the first time. Her said lover knew that she was pregnant and
inexperienced as to childbirth and as to the inconvenience or difficulties both were waiting for the arrival of the happy day when the fruit of their love should be
usually attending such event; and the fact that she, like her lover Luis Kirol — born. Since she became pregnant she continuously had fever, was weak and dizzy. On
a mere laborer earning only twenty-five centavos a day — is uneducated and January 31, at about 7 o'clock in the morning, she went down from her house and
could supplant with what she had read or learned from books what experience entered a thicket about four or five brazas away, where the residents of said place
itself could teach her, undoubtedly were the reasons why she was not aware responded to the call of nature. After some minutes the accused emerged from the
thicket staggering and apparently unable to support herself. Her neighbor Valentin
of her childbirth, or if she was, it did not occur to her or she was unable, due Aguilar, who saw her enter the thicket and emerged therefrom, ran to help her,
to her debility or dizziness, which causes may be considered lawful or supported her and aided her in going up to her house and to bed. Asked by Aguilar what
insuperable to constitute the seventh exempting circumstance (art. 12, happened to her, she merely answered that she was very dizzy. Thinking that he alone
Revised Penal Code), to take her child from the thicket where she had given was unable to attend to her, Valentin Aguilar called Adriano Comcom, who lived nearby,
it birth, so as not to leave it abandoned and exposed to the danger of losing and requested him to take bamboo leaves to stop the appellant's hemorrhage. Adriano
its life. had scarcely gone about five brazas, when he saw the body of a newborn child near the
path adjoining the thicket where the accused had been a few moments before. Upon
being informed of the discovery, Valentin Aguilar told Adriano Comcom to bring the child
The act performed by the appellant in the morning in question, by going into into the appellant's house. Upon being asked whether or not the child shown to her was
the thicket, according to her, to respond to call of nature, notwithstanding the hers, the appellant answered in the affirmative. After an autopsy had been made of the
fact that she had fever for a long time, was perfectly lawful. If by doing so she body, it was found that the child was born alive.
caused a wrong as that of giving birth to her child in that same place and later
abandoning it, not because of imprudence or any other reason than that she Unconscious, precipitate or sudden deliveries are well known in legal medicine among
was overcome by strong dizziness and extreme debility, she should not be young primiparæ who, by reason of their ignorance of the symptoms of parturition and
blamed therefor because it all happened by mere accident, from liability any of the process of expulsion of fetus, are not aware that they are giving birth when they
person who so acts and behaves under such circumstances (art. 12, are responding to an urgent call of nature (Dr. A. Lacassagne, Precis de Medicine
subsection 4, Revised Penal Code). Legale, pages, 799-781; Annales de Medicine Legale, December 1926, page 530;
Vibert, Manual de Medicina Legal y Toxicologia, vol. I, pages 512-514). There is no
doubt that the accused, in her feverish, weak and dizzy condition when she went into
In conclusion, taking into account the foregoing facts and considerations, and the thicket to defecate and being a primipara with no experience in childbirth, was not
granting that the appellant was aware of her involuntary childbirth in the thicket aware that upon defecating she was also expelling the child she was carrying in her
and that she later failed to take her child therefrom, having been so prevented womb. Believing that she did nothing more to respond to an urgent call of nature which
by reason of causes entirely independent of her will, it should be held that the brought her there, she returned home staggering for lack of strength to support herself
and for being dizzy, without suspecting that she was leaving a newborn child behind prevented by some lawful or insuperable cause, that is by some motive which has
her, and she only knew that she had given birth when she was shown the already dead lawfully, morally or physically prevented one to do what the law commands. In the
child with wounds on the body produced by the bites of pigs. present case, what the law requires of the accused-appellant, with respect to the child,
is that she care for, protect and not abandon it. Had she been aware of her delivery and
of the existence of the child, neither her debility nor her dizziness resulting from the
Article 3 of the Revised Penal Code provides that acts and omissions punishable by law
fever which consumed her, being in the full enjoyment of her mental faculties and her
are felonies, which may be committed not only by means of deceit (dolo) but also by
illness not being of such gravity as to prevent her from asking for help, would constitute
means of fault (culpa); there being deceit when the act is performed with deliberate
the lawful or insuperable impediment required by law. Having been ignorant of her
intent, and fault when the wrongful act results from imprudence, negligence, lack of
delivery and of the existence of the child, to her there was subjectively no cause for the
foresight or lack of skill.
law to impose a duty for her to comply with.

As the herein accused was not aware that she had delivered and that the child had been
Having had no knowledge of the expulsion of her fetus, the death thereof resulting from
exposed to the rough weather and to the cruelty of animals, it cannot be held that she
its exposure to the rough weather and to the cruelty of the animals cannot be imputed
deceitfully committed the crime of infanticide or that of abandonment of a minor,
to the accused, because she had neither deceitfully nor faultily committed any act or
because according to the above-cited legal provision there is deceit when the act
omission punishable by law with regard to the child.
punishable by law is performed with deliberate intent. Suffering from fever and from
dizziness, the appellant under the circumstances was not aware that she had given birth
and, consequently, she could not have deliberately intended to leave her child, of whose TRESPASSING
existence she was ignorant, to perish at the mercy of the elements and of the animals.
Neither can it be held that she faultily committed it because, as already stated, not
knowing for lack of experience in childbirth that in defecating — a perfectly lawful People v. De Peralta
physiological act, being natural — she might expel the child she carried in her womb,
she cannot be considered imprudent, a psychological defect of a person who fails to
use his reasoning power to foresee the pernicious consequences of his willful act.
Having had no knowledge of the fact of her delivery, the accused could not think that by
leaving the child in the thicket, it would die as a consequence of the rough weather or About the month of October, 1919, and for sometime previously Cecilio Toledo
of the cruelty of animals. Neither can she be considered negligent because negligence held the position of president of the "Philippine Marine Union," and in such
is the omission to do what the law or morals obliges one to do, which implies knowledge capacity, he had the privilege of occupying, as his dwelling, a room of house
of the thing which is the subject matter of the compliance with the obligation. Inasmuch
as the accused was not aware of her delivery, her mind cannot contemplate complying
No. 507 of Jaboneros Street of this city, which was rented to said association.
with her legal and moral duty to protect the life of her child. Neither can it be held that About the middle of said month of October, Toledo was discharged from the
the appellant lacked foresight because, having been absolutely ignorant of her delivery, position of president and was succeeded by Olimpio de Peralta. The latter, for
she could not foresee that by abandoning her child in a thicket it would die. Neither can the purpose of looking for a desk glass which he believed was the property of
it be held that her act was the result of lack of skill because she did not know that to the union, entered the room in question in the morning of the 16th of the same
defecate in a state of pregnancy might precipitate her delivery, and as defecation is a month. This gave rise to the information for trespass to dwelling against
natural physiological function, she could not refrain from satisfying it. Peralta, in which it is alleged that he entered the room of Toledo against the
will of the occupant. Trial was had and the accused was sentenced to suffer
We cannot apply to the accused fourth exempting circumstance of article 12 of the two months and one day of arresto mayor, to pay a fine 400 pesetas, and
Revised Penal Code which reads: "Any person who, while performing a lawful act with costs. From this judgment the present appeal was taken.
due care, causes an injury by mere accident without fault or intention of causing it,"
because although the lawful act of satisfying a natural physiological necessity
accidentally provoked the delivery, the delivery itself was not an injury, but the exposure Two witnesses for the prosecution, Lucia Matias and Daniel Alvarado, testify
of the child at the mercy of the elements and of the animals which cased its death. As as to how the accused entered the room on the day in question. The former
the child was born alive, if the accused had been aware of her delivery and she had stated that she was inside the room, the door of which was closed, when the
deliberately abandoned the child, her accidental delivery would not exempt her from accused pushed the door; and that she, upon seeing him already inside, asked
criminal liability because then the death of said child no longer would have been him: "Why did you enter without permission?" to which the accused answered:
accidental. Neither can we consider the seventh exempting circumstance of article 12 "I need something in this room," and Lucia Matias told him not to take away
of the Revised Penal Code consisting in the failure to perform an act required by law,
when prevented by some lawful or insuperable cause, because this exempting
the glass because Toledo was absent. The second witness, Daniel Alvarado,
circumstance implies knowledge of the precept of the law to be complied with but is states that he was inside the room cleaning a phonograph when the accused
struck the door and he heard a strong blow which he believes was a kick People v. Uy Almeda
against the door given by the accused.
On the other hand, two witnesses for the defense, Bernardo Bildad and
Bonifacio Viloria testify similarly that the accused on the day in question, 1. CRIMINAL LAW; TRESPASS TO DWELLING; CASE AT BAR. — The
between half past ten and eleven in the morning, entered the room of Toledo house in which the offended party lived was built on a lot inclosed by a stone
looking for the desk glass in question, accompanied by Lucia Matias whom he fence having an iron grill gate and on which the appellant had a warehouse.
found outside. Although the latter had free entry into and passage on the common lot, his
unauthorized intrusion into the house of the offended party made him a
After a careful study of the testimony given in the case, we are of the opinion trespasser.
that the accused, after calling at or near the door, pushed it and without the
permission of the occupants entered the room with the object of taking away 2. ID.; ID.; CRIMINAL INTENT. — What is intended to be protected and
the desk glass. There is no evidence that Toledo had expressed his will in the preserved by the law is the privacy of one’s dwelling, and, except in those
sense of prohibiting the accused Peralta from entering his room, and the mere cases enumerated in the third paragraph of article 280 of the Revised Penal
fact that the latter entered it, without the permission of the occupant, does not Code, criminal intent inheres in the unwelcome visit of a trespasser.
constitute the offense of trespass to dwelling provided for and penalized in
article 491 of the Penal Code. In order that this crime may exist it is necessary
that the entrance should be against the express or presumed prohibition of DECISION
the occupant, and the lack of permission should not be confused with
prohibition. In the decisions of the courts of Spain, as well as in those of this
jurisdiction, it has been held uniformly that this crime is committed when a PARAS, J.:
person enters another's dwelling against the will of the occupant, but not when
the entrance is effected without his knowledge or opposition.
This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Laguna,
convicting the appellant, Anacleto Uy Almeda, of the offense of qualified
As Groizard says in his commentaries on article 504 of the Penal Code of trespass to dwelling and sentencing him to undergo imprisonment for the
Spain, corresponding to article 491 of that of the Philippines: "It is not indeterminate period of from four months and one day of arresto mayor to two
necessary, in the ordinary life of men, in order to call at the door of a house or years, four months and one day of prision correccional, with the accessories
enter it, to obtain previous permission from the owner who lives in it. With the of the law and one-third of the costs.
utmost good faith may a person, to whom entrance has not been denied
beforehand, suppose that the owner of the room has no objection to receiving The facts established during the trial are substantially as follows: On the
him in it." And in the present case it is to be supposed that the members of the morning of November 13, 1940, the appellant, in company with other persons,
"Philippine Marine Union," among them the accused, had something arrived at the house of Honorata Limpo in the municipality of Biñan, Province
familiarity which warrants entrance into the room occupied by the president of of Laguna. The latter was thereupon informed by appellant’s companion,
the association, particularly when we consider the hour at which the act in Potenciano Villano, that they were going to demolish and repair her house, to
question happened (between half past ten and eleven in the morning), the fact which Honorata Limpo objected, specially in view of the absence of her
that the door of the room was not barricaded or locked with a key, and the husband at the time. Unheeding this opposition, and upon express orders of
circumstance that the room in question was part of the house rented to said the appellant, his companions Potenciano Villano and Antonio Dysionglo
association. proceeded to gain entry into the house by means of two ladders which they
placed against the front wall and to remove some boards and iron sheets that
For the reason above stated, the judgment appealed from is reversed, and the served to cover the front side. Appellant’s designs were put to a stop, however,
accused Olimpio de Peralta is acquitted, with costs of both instances de oficio. only by the arrival of Honorata’s son named Francisco, who called a policeman
So ordered. to the scene.
It appears that the house in question was built on a lot inclosed by a stone
fence having an iron grill gate. On the same lot the appellant had a warehouse; The judgment appealed from is affirmed, with costs.
and as he had freely used said gate in going to his property, it is now
contended that his entry into the yard of Honorata Limpo, which was a part of Gabriel and Natividad v. People and Court of Appeals
her "dwelling," could not have been unauthorized or against her will, so as to
warrant his conviction under article 280 of the Revised Penal Code.
Appellant’s argument would require some inquiry if the lot on which Honorata’s REYES, A., J.:
house was erected were exclusively hers and the appellant had not admittedly
used its gate in common with Honorata, and if said argument would not further This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of Appeals, convicting the
lead to a plainly unacceptable, nay undesirable, result that simply because he appellants Pedro Gabriel and Avelino Natividad of simple trespass to dwelling
had free entry into and passage on the common lot, he could have the same on facts found by the said court to be as follows:
right as regards Honorata’s house.
. . . Sherman Jones and his wife, Josefina Jones, were occupying
Another defense pressed in this appeal is that the opposition registered by the house No. 9-B, M.H. del Pilar St., Malabon, Rizal, having as
Honorata Limpo was directed against the demolition or repair of her house neighbor their comadre Mariquita Beltran. The electric meter of the
and not against the original entry of the appellant and his companions into the premises was installed on a wall in a balcony, and visible from the
yard or premises of her dwelling, and that although the removal of some porch of the house (Exhibit 1). At about 7:00 o'clock in the evening
boards and iron sheets, done by the appellant through his companions after of April 19, 1949, accused Pedro Gabriel, Avelino Natividad and
their lawful entry, may constitute an independent offense, the said subsequent Miguel Evangelista arrived at the house, presented themselves as
act cannot be the trespass defined and penalized by article 280 of the Revised Meralco light inspectors to Mrs. Jones who was them on the stairs of
Penal Code. This contention is of course partly disposed of in the preceding the house with Mariquita and inquired from the ladies for Sherman
paragraph. It is only necessary to add that Honorata could not have consented Jones. Mrs. Jones told them to wait on the porch; she entered the
to appellant’s intrusion into the house, which made him a trespasser, for the living room, closed the door behind her and went to the family
very purpose already objected to by her. Moreover, the method employed by bedroom where Sherman was then in the act of changing his clothes.
appellant’s men in affecting entry suggests prior refusal on the part of While Mrs. Jones was inside the bedroom and informing her husband
Honorata to admit them through its stairs. Neither is there any point in of the presence of Meralco inspectors, accused Gabriel inspected
appellant’s pretense that, one week before the occasion in question he had the electric meter and then shouted to his co-accused Natividad:
notified Honorata about the intended repairs, because said notice did and "Naty, atras ang contador." Natividad rushed into the living room and
could not mean her subsequent conformity. then entered the bedroom where Sherman and his wife were talking.
Natividad pushed the door of the bedroom with such force that the
The appellant next tries to exculpate himself by maintaining that there is said door brushed aside Mrs. Jones who was then leaving behind it.
absolutely no proof as to his criminal intent in entering the yard or even the Accused Gabriel followed Natividad to the bedroom and, with the
house of Honorata. Indeed, it is insisted that he merely wanted to repair said help of the flashlights, both searched for a gadget which they
house over which he was claiming ownership. Appellant thus pretended to suspected Sherman used in order to steal electric fluid.
have brought the house for P70 from the estranged wife of Honorata’s son Notwithstanding Sherman's protest of their institution, the two
against whose father he subsequently filed a suit to recover the premises. This accused continued their search. Finding that Sherman meant
case was however, decided against him. We are of the opinion that the alleged business, the intruders left the bedroom hastily, boarded their jeep
ownership is immaterial, for even supposing that the house belonged to the and went away with the other accused Evangelista to Sangandaan
appellant, that fact alone did not authorize to him to do anything with or enter Street where they met policeman Pablo Malosido of Caloocan. The
the house against the will of its actual occupant. he could have invoked the trio requested the policeman accompany them to tension to do him
aid of the court for the exercise or protection of his alleged proprietary rights. any arm. The policeman accompanied them, but upon noticing the
What is intended to be protected and preserved by the law is the privacy of presence of several Americans in the house, they left. They noticed
one’s dwelling, and, except in those cases enumerated in the third paragraph latter that a truck commonly known as 6 X 6 started from Sherman's
of article 280 of the Revised Penal Code, criminal intent inheres in the house and followed them. They were able to hide and later went to
unwelcome visit of a trespasser.
the municipal building of Caloocan, at which Sherman and his In the second case, U.S. vs. Flemister, the defendant, an American, went to a
companions subsequently arrived to complain. Sherman's complaint, bail uninvited, danced with somebody and then left. Returning a short time
however, was referred to the police authorities of Malabon who had thereafter, he was met near the door by the host, who took him by the hand
jurisdiction over the case. and asked him if he had come to dance and even invited him to be seated,
but tried to prevent him from entering the sala where there was a guest,
In asking for the reversal of the judgment below counsel for appellants argue another American, with whom he had a quarrel pending. The defendant,
that inasmuch as the original entry was with the permission of the occupant of however, rudely brushed the host aside, proceeded to the sala and quarreled
the house and therefore lawful, nothing that happened afterwards could with the other American. "It seems clear to us," said this Court in declaring the
"convert the original lawful entry into a unlawful one." The argument assumes defendant not guilty of trespass to dwelling, "that the purpose of the owner of
that appellants entered a dwelling with the consent of the householder. But the house was to prohibit the defendant not from entering his house but from
the assumption is gratuitous and unwarranted, the Court of Appeals having entering the sala in order to avoid a quarrel between the two Americans. His
found "that the entry was against the will of the spouses." That will was, we taking the defendant by the hand, asking him if he came to dance, and
think, clearly manifested by the lady of the house when she told appellants to requesting him to be seated, are inconsistent with the idea that he was
wait on the porch and closed the door behind her as she entered the drawing attempting to keep the defendant from entering the house." Again, unlike the
room. She did not, it is true, in so many words tell the appellants not to enter. appellants in the present case, the defendant in the case cited was not
But when she made them wait outside and shut the door to the interior of the prohibited from entering the house; on the contrary, it would appear that he
house, her action spoke louder than words. The porch is an open part of the was not welcomed into it.
house, and being allowed to wait there under the circumstances mentioned
can in no sense be taken as entry to a dwelling with the consent of the dweller. In the third case, People vs. De Peralta, the accused, the new president of the
Philippine Marine Union, called at the door of a room which his predecessor
Counsel cite the case of U.S. vs. Dionisio and Del Rosario, 12 Phil., 283; U.S. in office was allowed to occupy as his dwelling in a house rented by the union,
vs. Flemister, 1 Phil., 354; and People vs. De Peralta, 42 Phil., 69. But those pushed the said door and without the permission of the occupant entered the
cases were decided upon facts different from those of the present case. room to take away a desk glass which he believed was union property. These
was no evidence that the occupant "has expressed his will in the sense of
prohibiting (the accused) from entering his room," and it was to be supposed,
In the case first cited, U.S vs. Dionisio and Del Rosario, the defendants found this Court said, "that the members of the Philippine Marine Union, among them
the principal door of a house half-open. Entering without opposition from the the accused, had some familiarity which warrants entrance into the room
occupant of lower part of the house, who was, present, they proceed to the occupied by the president of the association, particularly when we consider
upper story, also without opposition, and there conversed with one of the the hour at which the act in question happened (between half pat ten and
inmates, who invited them to sit down and allowed them to stay for about two eleven in the morning), the fact that the door of the room was not barricaded
hours. Then trouble arose when defendants, posing as detectives, started or locked with a key, and the circumstance that the room in question was part
doing something illegal. In declaring defendants not guilty of the crime of of the house rented to said association." Upon those facts, this Court acquitted
trespass to dwelling, this court were held that the fact and circumstances from the accused of the charge of trespass to dwelling, following the uniform
which, in a given case, the opposition of the occupant may be inferred, must doctrine here and in Spain that "this crime is committed when a person enters
have been in existence prior to or at the time of the entry, and in no event can another's dwelling against the will of the occupant, but not when the entrance
facts arising after an entry has been secured with the expenses of tacit is effected without his knowledge or opposition." It is to be noted that the entry
consent of the occupant change the character of the entry from one with the in that case was effected without express or implied opposition from the
assent of the occupant to one contrary thereto. That the case is to be occupant of the room and under circumstances warranting an entrance
distinguished from the one before us in that there the defendants entered a without previous leave. In the present case, the entry was, as already noted,
half-opened door and went inside the house without opposition, express or against the will of the lady of the house, who, by her action if not by direct
implied, from any of the occupants. Here, on the other hand, the lady of the words, made it plain to the appellants that they were not to enter her dwelling.
house clearly — be it only impliedly — manifested her opposition to appellants'
entry by telling them to wait on the porch and closing the door behind her as
she left them there. Lastly, counsel contend that appellants are exempt from criminal liability under
the third paragraph of article 280 of the Revised Penal Code, because "they
rendered a service to justice" when, as Meralco line inspectors, they "followed In September 1993, during the pendency of the appeal, the electricity supply
Mrs. Sherman Jones to the bedroom" and there found her husband "hiding a of the unit was cut off due to non-payment of bills. As a result, Albano
transformer in an "aparador" ". Here again, counsel assume something which transferred her children to her father's house, four houses away, leaving a
was not believed by the Court of Appeals, that is, that appellants saw Jones maid to sleep in the unit.
in the act of hiding a transformer used by him "in stealing electricity," this claim
being characterized by the court as nothing but a "vain effort on the part of the Albano claims that on November 2, 1993, at around 1:00 p.m., she went to
appellants to fit the facts of the case to the provisions of the Revised Penal her unit. She noticed that the lead pipe she used to hang clothes to dry was
code to the effect that a person who enters a dwelling for the purpose of missing. When she returned at about 8:00 a.m. the following day, November
rendering service to justice, is not guilty of trespass." In other words, the Court 3, 1993, she discovered the padlock of the main door changed, preventing her
of Appeals believed that appellants merely suspected that there was a from entering the premises. She went to see petitioner but he was not around.
transformer in the house. That alone did not give them the right to enter the
house against the will of its owner, unarmed as they were with a search
warrant. On November 4, 1993, Albano again returned to her unit. She peeked through
the window jalousies and saw that the place was already empty. She
immediately reported the matter to the barangay officials, who in turn, advised
It appearing that the judgment appealed from is in accordance with law and her to go to the police. Thereafter, she filed a complaint for grave coercion,
the facts as found by the Court of Appeals, the same is hereby affirmed, with qualified trespass to dwelling and theft against petitioner.
costs against the appellants.
On November 14, 1993, Albano tried to see the accused, but again failed. This
Marzalado Jr. v. People time she noticed that the roofing of her unit had been removed and the main
door locked from the inside. She was informed that on November 1, 1993,
Marzalado, Jr., and his female companion took her lead pipe and on
QUISUMBING, J.: November 2, 1993, Marzalado, Jr., took her personal belongings and brought
them inside his house.
This petition for review on certiorari assails the Decision1 dated November 9,
2001 of the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. CR No. 22645, which affirmed the Accordingly, Albano filed a suit for trespass to dwelling with the MeTC of
Decision2 dated November 5, 1998 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City against Marzalado, Jr., thus:
Quezon City, Branch 79, in Criminal Case No. Q-98-74695. The RTC upheld
the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Quezon City, Branch 35, convicting The undersigned accuses SALVADOR MAR[Z]ALADO, JR., of the crime of
herein petitioner Salvador Marzalado, Jr., for violation of Article 280 3 of the Trespass to Dwelling, committed as follows:
Revised Penal Code on Qualified Trespass to Dwelling, and sentencing him
to suffer the penalty of two (2) months and one (1) day of arresto mayor and
to pay a fine of P500 and to pay the costs. 4 This petition likewise assails the That on or about the 2nd day of November, 1993, in Quezon City,
Resolution5 dated April 23, 2002, of the Court of Appeals, denying the Philippines, the above-named accused without any justifiable cause,
petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration. did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously enter the
dwelling place of CRISTINA N. ALBANO located at No. 241 Road 1,
Pag-Asa, this City, against the latter's will and without her consent or
The antecedent facts are as follows: any members of the household, to the damage and prejudice of the
said offended party.
Cristina N. Albano was the lessee of a unit in the house owned by Luz
Marzalado, the mother of herein petitioner, Salvador Marzalado, Jr. Sometime CONTRARY TO LAW.
in February 1993, Luz Marzalado filed an ejectment case against Albano.
Judgment was rendered against Albano, who was ordered to vacate the
leased premises and to pay the unpaid rentals. Albano appealed to the RTC. Quezon City, Philippines, March 16, 1994.6
On May 12, 1994, the accused was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the Marzalado, Jr., appealed to the RTC, which ruled the matter in this wise:
charge. A summary hearing followed, with Albano and her witness, Narciso
Raniedo, testifying for the prosecution. WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the appealed decision
dated October 28, 1997, the same is hereby affirmed in toto.
Raniedo, the owner of the house fronting Albano's unit, testified that at around
5:00 p.m., on November 1, 1993, he was about to enter his house, when he SO ORDERED.8
glanced at the unit leased by Albano. He saw Marzalado, Jr., take a lead pipe
and hand it to a woman waiting at the terrace of Marzalado, Jr.'s house.
Raniedo further said that on November 2, 1993, sometime between 4:30 p.m. Undaunted, Marzalado, Jr., elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals in CA-
and 5:00 p.m. he was relaxing in front of his house, when he heard noises G.R. CR No. 22645. The Court of Appeals found no error in the challenged
coming from Albano's apartment. There he saw Marzalado, Jr., forcibly open RTC decision and held:
the door of the unit, bring out the belongings of Albano, and take these to his
own house. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the lower court's decision is
hereby AFFIRMED in toto and the instant petition is DISMISSED.
For his defense, Marzalado, Jr., testified that after the MeTC ruled against
Albano in the MeTC ejectment case filed by his mother and because of the SO ORDERED.9
disconnection of the electricity, Albano already vacated the leased unit and
moved to her father's place. According to petitioner, on November 3, 1993, he Hence, petitioner comes to this Court assigning as errors of the court a quo
was on his way home when he saw water in a continuous stream flowing out the following:
of Albano's unit. He then searched for Albano but to no avail. He reported the
matter to the barangay officers and asked for two barangay tanods to
accompany him to the vacated unit. They went inside the unit where they I
found an open faucet, with water flooding the floor. He accused Albano of
deliberately leaving the faucet open. He claimed Albano filed the criminal case THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING
of trespass to dwelling to harass him and to retaliate against him and his THE DECISIONS OF THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT AND
On October 28, 1997, the MeTC handed down the following judgment: AND NOT NOVEMBER 2, 1993, AND THE PETITIONER'S ENTRY
WHEREFORE, the Court finds accused Salvador Mar[z]alado, Jr. BARANGAY TANOD[S] AND THE ENTRY IS FOR A VALID
"GUILTY" beyond reasonable doubt of Qualified Trespass To PURPOSE. HENCE, THERE IS NO TRESPASS TO DWELLING.
Dwelling under Article 280 of the Revised Penal Code and he is
hereby sentenced the penalty of TWO (2) MONTHS and ONE (1)
DAY of Arresto Mayor and to pay a fine of P 500.00 and to pay the II
The trial court observed that the defense would have been "a good defense" THERE WAS A MISAPPREHENSION OF FACTS, AND IT SHOULD
had the alleged entry been made on November 2, 1993, the date stated in the NOT HAVE ADOPTED THE FINDINGS OF FACTS OF THE
Information, instead of November 3, 1993, the date the accused said he METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT AND REGIONAL TRIAL
entered the premises because Albano deliberately left the faucet open. COURT.10
The foregoing may be reduced to one issue: Did the Court of Appeals err in precise time the offense was committed except when time is a material
sustaining the conviction of Marzalado, Jr., for qualified trespass to dwelling? ingredient of the offense, but the act may be alleged to have been committed
at any time as near to the actual date at which the offense was committed as
The petitioner argues that the Court of Appeals committed a reversible error the information or complaint will permit. A variance between the time set out
in sustaining the lower court, since in the proceedings below, there was a in the indictment and that established by the evidence during trial does not
grave misapprehension of facts by both the MeTC and RTC in finding that he constitute an error so serious as to warrant reversal of a conviction solely on
committed trespass to dwelling despite the glaring proof that his entry was that score.14 Thus, the error invoked by the petitioner in the date of the alleged
justifiable under paragraph 4, Article 11 of the Revised Penal Code 11 - to trespass in the Information is of no grave import, for it is far from being the
prevent an imminent danger to property. He stresses that while he did enter decisive issue in this case.
the unit, he did so with the aid of barangay officers and for the sole purpose
of turning off the faucet that was causing the flooding of the unit. He adds that However, still incumbent upon the prosecution is to establish the criminal
the Information filed against him should be considered fatally defective for intent and the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. Criminal cases
having stated that his entry was on November 2, 1993, when in fact it was on rise and fall on the strength of the evidence of the prosecution and not the
November 3, 1993. weakness of the evidence of the defense or the lack of it. 15 In the prosecution
for trespass, the material fact or circumstance to be considered is the
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) counters that petitioner's entry occurrence of the trespass. The gravamen of the crime is violation of
cannot be justified since the flooding of the floor was not a danger to life nor possession16 or the fact of having caused injury to the right of the
property. Rather, the OSG claims that the flooding of the unit could have been possession.17
averted had the petitioner resorted to merely turning off the inlet valve of the
water source. The OSG also stresses petitioner's failure to refute the charge To prove trespass, the prosecution presented as witness Narciso Raniedo
that he entered the complainant's unit on November 2, 1993. Moreover, the who testified that he saw petitioner enter the unit at around 4:30 p.m. to 5:00
OSG asserts that the exact time of the commission of the crime in the p.m. on November 2 and take out Albano's belongings. No other eyewitness
Information need not be so accurate to preclude other dates near the actual corroborated Raniedo's testimony. However, by her own account, Albano
date. It is sufficient that the Information states a time as near to the actual declared that she discovered the trespass in the evening of November 3,18 the
date, more so, where the time is not an essential element of the offense, as in same day the barangay certified Marzalado, Jr.'s entry. This obviously does
this case. not discount the fact that although the exact date of entry varied as between
petitioner and respondent, they both were referring to the same entry.
Anent the Information, the contention of petitioner that the Information is
defective is untenable. Admittedly, there is a discrepancy on the precise date What remains now is the issue of whether the entry of petitioner Marzalado,
of the alleged trespass - the Information charges petitioner Marzalado, Jr., Jr., was legally justified. We rule that it is, based on the circumstances of this
with trespass to dwelling allegedly committed on November 2, 1993, while case.
petitioner's defense relate to an entry made the following day. The
discrepancy however, does not make the information defective. Facts and As certified by Barangay Lupon Secretary Romulo E. Ragaya, the unit rented
circumstances necessary for inclusion in the information are determined by by Albano was "forcibly opened by the owner because of the strong water
reference to the definition and elements of the specific crime.12 In trespass to pressure coming out of the faucet…"19 As Albano herself admitted, she and
dwelling, the elements are: (1) the offender is a private person; (2) that he her children already left the unit when the electricity supply was cut off in the
enters the dwelling of another; and (3) such entrance is against the latter's will. month of September. Hence, nobody was left to attend to the unit, except
during some nights when Albano's maid slept in the unit. Clearly, Marzalado,
The exact date when the alleged trespass occurred is not an essential element Jr., acted for the justified purpose of avoiding further flooding and damage to
of the offense of trespass. It is sufficient that the Complaint or Information his mother's property caused by the open faucet. No criminal intent could be
states that the crime has been committed at any time as near as possible to clearly imputed to petitioner for the remedial action he had taken. There was
the date of its actual commission.13 Rule 110, Section 11 of the Rules of Court an exigency that had to be addressed to avoid damage to the leased unit.
provides that it is not necessary to state in the complaint or information the There is nothing culpable concerning Marzalado, Jr.'s judgment call to enter
the unit and turn off the faucet instead of closing the inlet valve as suggested On May 18 and 23, 2000, two separate Informations 5 docketed as Criminal
by the OSG. Cases Nos. 47381 and 47358, respectively, were filed against Caluag and
Sentillas. The Information in Criminal Case No. 47381 charged Caluag and
Thus, we find the evidence on record insufficient to hold petitioner guilty of the Sentillas with slight physical injuries committed as follows:
offense charged. Palpable doubt exists in our mind as to the guilt of petitioner.
In our view, the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the Decision of the That on or about the 19th day of March, 2000, in the City of Las Piñas,
Regional Trial Court and of the Metropolitan Trial Court when it found Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-
petitioner guilty of Qualified Trespass to Dwelling. In a situation of ambiguity, named accused, conspiring and confederating together, and both of them
where the act of the accused permits of two possible signification, one mutually helping and aiding one another did then and there willfully, unlawfully
culpable and another innocent, the ambiguity should be resolved in favor of and feloniously attack, assault, and employ personal violence upon the person
the accused. The evidence in this case simply fails to convince us of his guilt of NESTOR PURCEL DENIDO, by then and there mauling him, thereby
beyond reasonable doubt. inflicting upon him physical injuries which required medical attendance for less
than nine (9) days and incapacitated him from performing his customary labor
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated November 9, for the same period of time.
2001 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 22645, and its Resolution
dated April 23, 2002 denying the Motion for Reconsideration, are REVERSED CONTRARY TO LAW.6
and SET ASIDE. Petitioner SALVADOR MARZALADO, JR., is hereby
ACQUITTED of the charge against him for lack of evidence to sustain a The Information in Criminal Case No. 47358 charged Caluag with grave
conviction beyond reasonable doubt. threats committed as follows:

SO ORDERED. That on or about the 19th day of March 2000, in the City of Las Piñas,
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-
THREATS named accused, moved by personal resentment which he entertained against
one JULIA LAVIAL DENIDO, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously threaten said JULIA LAVIAL DENIDO with the infliction on her
Caluag v. People
person of a harm amounting to a crime, by then and there poking his gun at
her forehead and uttering the following words in tagalog, to wit:
"Saan ka pupunta gusto mo ito?"
For review on certiorari are the Decision1 dated December 9, 2005 of the Court
of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 28707 and its Resolution2 dated February 15,
thereby causing said complainant to be threatened.
2006, denying reconsideration. The appellate court had affirmed the Decision3
dated August 3, 2004 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Las Piñas City,
Branch 198, in Criminal Case No. 04-0183-84, which affirmed the Joint CONTRARY TO LAW.7
Decision4 dated January 28, 2004 of the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of
Las Piñas City, Branch 79, in Criminal Cases Nos. 47358 and 47381 finding Upon arraignment, Caluag and Sentillas pleaded not guilty. Thereafter, joint
petitioner Ronnie Caluag and Jesus Sentillas guilty of slight physical injuries trial ensued.
and Ronnie Caluag guilty of grave threats.
The prosecution presented the two private complainants, the spouses Nestor
The factual antecedents of this case are as follows: and Julia Denido, as witnesses. Their version of the facts are as follows:
In the afternoon of March 19, 2000, around 4 o’clock 8 in the afternoon, Nestor hand, the MeTC noted that Julia did not waste time reporting the gun-poking
learned that two of his guests from an earlier drinking spree were mauled. At incident to the barangay. While she had intended to report the mauling of her
that time, Caluag and Sentillas were drinking at the store owned by the son of husband, as he instructed her, what she reported instead was what happened
Sentillas. When Nestor inquired from several people including his own son to her. With such straightforward and seemingly natural course of events, the
Raymond what happened, Caluag butted in and replied, "Bakit kasama ka ba MeTC was convinced that the negative assertions of Caluag and Sentillas
roon?," and immediately boxed him without warning. Nestor retaliated but he cannot prevail over the positive testimonies of Nestor and Julia.
was overpowered by Caluag and Sentillas. Julia saw Caluag and Sentillas box
her husband. Although she tried to pacify them, they did not listen to her. To The decretal portion of the joint decision reads:
avoid his assailants, Nestor ran to his house. Julia followed him. At around
6:00 p.m., Nestor told his wife to report the boxing incident to the barangay
authorities.9 WHEREFORE, all the foregoing premises considered, the Court finds and
beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of Slight Physical Injuries under
Later, at around 7:30 in the evening, when Julia and her son Rotsen were on Criminal Case No. 47381, and sentences them to pay [a] fine of ₱200.00 each.
their way to their barangay hall, she encountered Caluag, who blocked her The two (2) accused are also censured to be more complaisant and well-bred
way at the alley near her house. Caluag confronted Julia with a gun, poked it in dealing with people.
at her forehead, and said "Saan ka pupunta, gusto mo ito?"10 Despite this
fearful encounter, she was still able to proceed to the barangay hall where she
reported the gun-poking incident to the barangay authorities.11 The Court also finds accused RONNIE CALUAG guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the offense of Grave Threats under Article 282, par. 2 of the Revised
Penal Code, under Criminal Case No. 47358, and sentences him to suffer two
For its part, the defense presented the accused Caluag and Sentillas; and the (2) months imprisonment [and to] pay [a] fine of ₱200.00.
barbecue vendor Pablo Barrameda, Jr. as witnesses. According to them, in
the afternoon of March 19, 2000 at around 6 o’clock in the evening, Caluag
was on his way home with his three-year old son when Nestor, drunk and Criminal Case No. 47382, as earlier explained, is ordered dismissed being
unruly, blocked his way and asked him, "Pare, galit ka ba sa akin?" He merely a duplication of Criminal Case No. 47358.
answered in the negative but Nestor persisted in his questioning and would
not allow him to pass through. Annoyed, he told Nestor, "Hindi nga! Ang kulit SO ORDERED.13
kulit mo!" Nestor then boxed him on his face which caused him to fall down.
Caluag first assured himself of the safety of his son and then punched Nestor Caluag and Sentillas appealed to the RTC which affirmed in toto the joint
back. As people around pacified them, he was led to the store owned by the decision of the MeTC.
son of Sentillas. Nestor pursued him and punched him again. As he retaliated,
some bystanders separated them. Nestor then shouted, "Putang ina mo, Pare!
Gago ka! Gago ka! Marami ka ng taong niloko!" Thereafter, an unidentified On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the RTC on
man from the crowd armed with a knife went towards Nestor but Sentillas December 9, 2005. The appellate court noted that the MeTC gave credence
timely interceded and pacified the man. Sentillas never boxed Nestor. Caluag to the testimonies of Nestor and Julia because they were in accord with the
also denied poking a gun at Julia.12 natural course of things. Likewise, petitioner’s negative assertions cannot
prevail over the positive testimonies of Nestor and Julia. The appellate court
disregarded the purported inconsistencies in the testimonies of Nestor and
In a Joint Decision dated January 28, 2004, the MeTC found Caluag and Julia since these refer to collateral matters and not to the essential details of
Sentillas guilty of slight physical injuries, and Caluag guilty of grave threats. the incident.1avvphi1

The MeTC relied on Nestor’s testimony. It noted that Nestor did not deny that Dissatisfied, petitioner appealed to this Court on the ground that the Court of
he was drunk at the time of the incident while Caluag admitted that he got Appeals:
annoyed by Nestor’s attitude. The MeTC concluded that Caluag and Sentillas
lost control of their tempers due to Nestor’s unruly behavior. On the other
… MANIFESTLY OVERLOOKED CERTAIN RELEVANT FACTS NOT with the MeTC that petitioner lost his temper, given the unruly behavior of
We find the petition with insufficient merit and accordingly sustain petitioner’s
II. conviction.

… ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE FINDINGS OF THE [MeTC] WHICH MADE At the outset, it must be stressed that petitioner raises questions of fact.
INFERENCES OR CONCLUSIONS IN ITS JOINT DECISION THAT ARE Certainly, such matters mainly require a calibration of the evidence or a
MANIFESTLY MISTAKEN, ABSURD OR IMPOSSIBLE AND WHICH ARE determination of the credibility of the witnesses presented by the parties and
GROUNDED ENTIRELY ON SPECULATIONS, SURMISES OR the existence and relevancy of specific surrounding circumstances, their
CONJECTURES OR ARE BASED ON A MISAPPREHENSION OF FACTS; relation to each other and to the whole, and the probabilities of the situation. 16

III. The well-entrenched rule is that only errors of law and not of fact are
reviewable by this Court in petitions for review on certiorari under Rule 45
… ERRED IN RULING THAT THE PETITIONER HEREIN IS GUILTY OF THE under which this petition is filed. It is not the Court’s function under Rule 45 to
OFFENSES CHARGED BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.14 review, examine and evaluate or weigh once again the probative value of the
evidence presented.17
Simply, the issue is: Was there sufficient evidence to sustain petitioner’s
conviction of slight physical injuries and of grave threats? Moreover, findings of fact of the trial court, when affirmed by the Court of
Appeals, are binding upon this Court. It is not the function of this Court to
weigh anew the evidence already passed upon by the Court of Appeals for
Petitioner contends that he was able to present Barrameda, an independent these are deemed final and conclusive and may no longer be reviewed on
and impartial witness, who supported his version of events and debunked appeal.18
those of Nestor and Julia. Contrary to the findings of the lower courts that
petitioner offered mere denials, Barrameda’s testimony is actually a positive
statement that should have been given full credit. Petitioner also argues that A departure from the general rule, however, may be warranted where the
although the lower courts acknowledged that Nestor was drunk and findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are contrary to the findings and
troublesome at the time of the incident, they chose to believe his testimony conclusions of the trial court, or when the same is unsupported by the
rather than petitioner’s. Petitioner adds that there is no basis for the lower evidence on record. Nevertheless, we find that there is no ground to apply the
courts to conclude that he lost his temper because of Nestor’s unruly behavior. exception in the instant case because the findings and conclusions of the
Petitioner maintains that just because Julia immediately reported the gun- Court of Appeals are in full accord with those of the MeTC and the RTC. This
poking incident to the barangay, this did not necessarily mean that it actually Court will not assess and evaluate all over again the evidence, both
happened. Petitioner also argues that assuming that he did poke a gun at testimonial and documentary, adduced by the parties to the appeal particularly
Julia, the crime committed was other light threats as defined under Article 285, where, as in this case, the findings of the MeTC, the RTC and the Court of
paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code.15 Appeals completely coincide.19

For the respondent, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) counters that Even if the Court relaxes the abovecited general rule and resolves the petition
the MeTC did not err in giving credence to the testimonies of Nestor and Julia. on the merits, we still find no reversible error in the appellate court’s ruling.
The MeTC found that the positive assertions of Nestor and Julia, their
straightforward manner of testifying, and the seemingly natural course of As the lower courts and the Court of Appeals correctly stated, the testimonies
events, constituted the more plausible and credible version. The MeTC also of Nestor and Julia were more in accord with the natural course of things.
noted that Julia did not waste time reporting the gun-poking incident to the There could be no doubt that Caluag and Sentillas lost control of their temper
barangay authorities immediately after it happened. The OSG also agrees as Caluag himself admitted that he got annoyed by Nestor’s unruly behavior.
Likewise, the gun-poking incident also happened since Julia did not waste Art. 285. Other light threats. — The penalty of arresto menor in its minimum
time in reporting it to the barangay authorities. Instead of reporting the mauling period or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos shall be imposed upon:
of her husband, she reported what happened to her in her hurry, excitement
and confusion. Indeed, the positive declarations of Nestor and Julia that 1. Any person who, without being included in the provisions of the
petitioner committed the acts complained of undermined his negative next preceding article, shall threaten another with a weapon or draw
assertions. The fact that Barrameda testified in petitioner’s behalf cannot be such weapon in a quarrel, unless it be in lawful self-defense.
given more weight than the straightforward and credible statements of Nestor
and Julia. Indeed, we find they had no reason to concoct stories to pin down
petitioner on any criminal act, hence their testimonies deserve full faith and 2. Any person who, in the heat of anger, shall orally threaten another
credit. with some harm not constituting a crime, and who by subsequent
acts show that he did not persist in the idea involved in his threat,
provided that the circumstances of the offense shall not bring it within
The MeTC, the RTC and the Court of Appeals uniformly found petitioner guilty the provisions of Article 282 of this Code.
of grave threats under Article 282, par. 2 of the Revised Penal Code and
sentenced him to suffer two months of imprisonment and to pay a fine of ₱200.
We find no reason to reverse the findings and conclusions of the MeTC and 3. Any person who shall orally threaten to do another any harm not
RTC, as affirmed by the Court of Appeals. constituting a felony.

Under the Revised Penal Code, there are three kinds of threats: grave threats In grave threats, the wrong threatened amounts to a crime which may or may
(Article 282), light threats (Article 283) and other light threats (Article 285). not be accompanied by a condition. In light threats, the wrong threatened does
These provisions state: not amount to a crime but is always accompanied by a condition. In other light
threats, the wrong threatened does not amount to a crime and there is no
Art. 282. Grave threats. — Any person who shall threaten another with the
infliction upon the person, honor or property of the latter or of his family of any
wrong amounting to a crime, shall suffer: The records show that at around 7:30 in the evening, Julia Denido left her
house to go to the barangay hall to report the mauling of her husband which
she witnessed earlier at around 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon. On her way
1. The penalty next lower in degree than that prescribed by law for the crime there, petitioner confronted her and pointed a gun to her forehead, while at
he threatened to commit, if the offender shall have made the threat demanding the same time saying "Saan ka pupunta, gusto mo ito?"20 Considering what
money or imposing any other condition, even though not unlawful, and said transpired earlier between petitioner and Julia’s husband, petitioner’s act of
offender shall have attained his purpose. If the offender shall not have attained pointing a gun at Julia’s forehead clearly enounces a threat to kill or to inflict
his purpose, the penalty lower by two degrees shall be imposed. serious physical injury on her person. Actions speak louder than words. Taken
in the context of the surrounding circumstances, the uttered words do not go
If the threat be made in writing or through a middleman, the penalty shall be against the threat to kill or to inflict serious injury evinced by petitioner’s
imposed in its maximum period. accompanying act.

2. The penalty of arresto mayor and a fine not exceeding 500 pesos, if the Given the surrounding circumstances, the offense committed falls under
threat shall not have been made subject to a condition. Article 282, par. 2 (grave threats) since: (1) killing or shooting someone
amounts to a crime, and (2) the threat to kill was not subject to a condition.
Art. 283. Light threats. — Any threat to commit a wrong not constituting a
crime, made in the manner expressed in subdivision 1 of the next preceding Article 285, par. 1 (other light threats) is inapplicable although it specifically
article, shall be punished by arresto mayor. states, "shall threaten another with a weapon or draw such weapon in a
quarrel", since it presupposes that the threat to commit a wrong will not
constitute a crime. That the threat to commit a wrong will constitute or not
constitute a crime is the distinguishing factor between grave threats on one blocked the tricycle and under their threats, the driver alighted and left.
hand, and light and other light threats on the other. Appellant and Edwin at once shouted invectives at Nelia, saying "Putang ina
mong matanda ka, walanghiya ka, kapal ng mukha mo, papatayin ka namin."
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for utter lack of merit. The Decision Appellant added "Putang ina kang matanda ka, wala kang kadala dala,
dated December 9, 2005 and the Resolution dated February 15, 2006 of the sinabihan na kita na kahit saan kita matiempuhan, papatayin kita."
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 28707 are AFFIRMED.
Appellant thereafter grabbed Nelia’s 18K gold necklace with a crucifix pendant
Costs against petitioner. which, according to an "alajera" in the province, was of 18k gold, and which
was worth ₱3,500, kicked the tricycle and left saying "Putang ina kang
matanda ka! Kayo mga nurses lang, anong ipinagmamalaki niyo, mga nurses
SO ORDERED. lang kayo. Kami, marami kaming mga abogado. Hindi niyo kami
maipapakulong kahit kailan!"
Nelia and her companions immediately went to the Pembo barangay hall
Consulta v. People where they were advised to undergo medical examination. They, however,
repaired to the Police Station, Precinct 8 in Comembo, Makati City and
reported the incident. They then proceeded to Camp Crame where they were
advised to return in a few days when any injuries they suffered were expected
to manifest.
The Court of Appeals having, by Decision of April 23, 2007,1 affirmed the
December 9, 2004 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch
Nine days after the incident or on June 16, 1999, Nelia submitted a medico-
139 convicting Pedro C. Consulta (appellant) of Robbery with Intimidation of
legal report and gave her statement before a police investigator.
Persons, appellant filed the present petition.

Denying the charge, appellant branded it as fabricated to spite him and his
The accusatory portion of the Information against appellant reads:
family in light of the following antecedent facts:

That on or about the 7th day of June, 1999, in the City of Makati, Philippines
He and his family used to rent the ground floor of Nelia’s house in Pateros.
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused,
Nelia is his godmother. The adjacent house was occupied by Nelia’s parents
with intent of gain, and by means of force, violence and intimidation, did then
with whom she often quarreled as to whom the rental payments should be
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, steal and carry away
remitted. Because of the perception of the parents of Nelia that his family was
complainant’s NELIA R. SILVESTRE gold necklace worth P3,500.00,
partial towards her, her parents disliked his family. Nelia’s father even filed a
belonging to said complainant, to the damage and prejudice of the owner
case for maltreatment against him which was dismissed and, on learning of
thereof in the aforementioned amount of P3,500.00.
the maltreatment charge, Nelia ordered him and his family to move out of their
house and filed a case against him for grave threats and another for light
CONTRARY TO LAW.2 (Emphasis in the original, underscoring supplied) threats which were dismissed or in which he was acquitted.

From the evidence for the prosecution, the following version is gathered: Appellant went on to claim that despite frequent transfers of residence to avoid
Nelia, she would track his whereabouts and cause scandal.
At about 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon of June 7, 1999, private complainant
Nelia R. Silvestre (Nelia), together with Maria Viovicente (Maria) and Veronica Appellant’s witness Darius Pacaña testified that on the date of the alleged
Amar (Veronica), boarded a tricycle on their way to Pembo, Makati City. Upon robbery, Nelia, together with her two companions, approached him while he
reaching Ambel Street, appellant and his brother Edwin Consulta (Edwin) was at Ambel Street in the company of Michael Fontanilla and Jimmy
Sembrano, and asked him (Pacaña) if he knew a bald man who is big/stout (3) Whether or not appellant has committed the crime of which he
with a big tummy and with a sister named Maria. As he replied in the was charged; and
affirmative, Nelia at once asked him to accompany them to appellant’s house,
to which he acceded. As soon as the group reached appellant’s house, (4) Whether or not the prosecution was able to prove the guilt of the
appellant, on his (Pacaña’s) call, emerged and on seeing the group, told them appellant beyond reasonable doubt. (Underscoring supplied)
to go away so as not to cause trouble. Retorting, Nelia uttered "Mga hayop
kayo, hindi ko kayo titigilan."
The first two issues, which appellant raised before the appellate court only
when he filed his Motion for Reconsideration of said court’s decision, were
Another defense witness, Thelma Vuesa, corroborated Pacaña’s account. resolved in the negative in this wise:

The trial court, holding that intent to gain on appellant’s part "is presumed from On the matter of accused-appellant’s claim of having been denied due
the unlawful taking" of the necklace, and brushing aside appellant’s denial and process, an examination of the records shows that while accused-appellant
claim of harassment, convicted appellant of Robbery, disposing as follows: was represented by Atty. Jocelyn P. Reyes, who "seems not a lawyer," during
the early stages of trial, the latter withdrew her appearance with the conformity
WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court finds accused PEDRO C. of the former as early as July 28, 2000 and subsequently, approved by the
CONSULTA guilty beyond reasonable doubt, as principal of the felony of RTC in its Order dated August 4, 2000. Thereafter, accused-appellant was
Robbery with Intimidation of Persons defined and penalized under Article 294, represented by Atty. Rainald C. Paggao from the Public Defender’s
paragraph No. 5, in relation to Article 293 of the Revised Penal Code and (Attorney’s) Office of Makati City. Since the accused-appellant was already
hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of imprisonment from one (1) year, represented by a member of the Philippine Bar who principally handled his
seven (7) months and eleven (11) days of arresto mayor, as minimum, to eight defense, albeit unsuccessfully, then he cannot now be heard to complain
(8) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day of prision mayor, as maximum, about having been denied of due process.3 (Underscoring supplied)
applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, there being no mitigating or
aggravating circumstances which attended the commission of the said crime. That appellant’s first counsel may not have been a member of the bar does
not dent the proven fact that appellant prevented Nelia and company from
The said accused is further ordered to pay unto the complainant Nelia proceeding to their destination. Further, appellant was afforded competent
Silvestre the amount of P3,500.00 representing the value of her necklace representation by the Public Attorneys’ Office during the presentation by the
taken by him and to pay the costs of this suit. prosecution of the medico-legal officer and during the presentation of his
evidence. People v. Elesterio4 enlightens:
SO ORDERED. (Italics in the original, underscoring supplied)
"As for the circumstance that the defense counsel turned out later to be a non-
The appellate court affirmed appellant’s conviction with modification on the lawyer, it is observed that he was chosen by the accused himself and that his
penalty. representation does not change the fact that Elesterio was undeniably
carrying an unlicensed firearm when he was arrested. At any rate, he has
since been represented by a member of the Philippine bar, who prepared the
In his present appeal, appellant raises the following issues: petition for habeas corpus and the appellant’s brief." (Underscoring supplied)

(1) Whether or not appellant was validly arraigned; On the third and fourth issues. Article 293 of the Revised Penal Code under
which appellant was charged provides:
(2) Whether or not appellant was denied due process having been
represented by a fake lawyer during arraignment, pre-trial and Art. 293. Who are guilty of robbery. – Any person who, with intent to gain, shall
presentation of principal witnesses for the prosecution; take any personal property belonging to another, by means of violence against
or intimidation of any person, or using force upon anything, shall be guilt of For "[w]hen there is variance between the offense charged in the complaint or
robbery. (Italics in the original, underscoring supplied) information and that proved, and the offense as charged is included in or
necessarily includes the offense proved, the accused shall be convicted of the
Article 294, paragraph 5, under which appellant was penalized provides: offense proved which is included in the offense charged, or of the offense
charged which is included in the offense proved." 8
Art. 294. Robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons – Penalties.
– Any person guilty of robbery with the use of violence against or intimidation SEC. 5. When an offense includes or is included in another. – An offense
of any person shall suffer: charged necessarily includes the offense proved when some of the essential
elements or ingredients of the former, as alleged in the complaint or
information, constitute the latter. And an offense charged is necessarily
xxxx included in the offense proved, when the essential ingredients of the former
constitute or form part of those constituting the latter.9 (Italics in the original,
5. The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor underscoring supplied)
in its medium period in other cases. x x x (Citations omitted; italics in the
original; underscoring supplied) Grave coercion, like robbery, has violence for one of its elements. Thus Article
286 of the Revised Penal Code provides:
The elements of robbery are thus: 1) there is a taking of personal property; 2)
the personal property belongs to another; 3) the taking is with animus lucrandi; "Art. 286. Grave coercions. – The penalty of prision correccional and a fine
and 4) the taking is with violence against or intimidation of persons or with not exceeding six thousand pesos shall be imposed upon any person who,
force upon things. without authority of law, shall, by means of violence, threats or intimidation,
prevent another from doing something not prohibited by law or compel him to
Animus lucrandi or intent to gain is an internal act which can be established do something against his will, whether it be right or wrong.
through the overt acts of the offender. It may be presumed from the furtive
taking of useful property pertaining to another, unless special circumstances If the coercion be committed in violation of the exercise of the right of suffrage
reveal a different intent on the part of the perpetrator.5 or for the purpose of compelling another to perform any religious act or to
prevent him from exercising such right or from doing such act, the penalty next
The Court finds that under the above-mentioned circumstances surrounding higher in degree shall be imposed." (Italics in the original; underscoring
the incidental encounter of the parties, the taking of Nelia’s necklace does not supplied)
indicate presence of intent to gain on appellant’s part. That intent to gain on
appellant’s part is difficult to appreciate gains light given his undenied claim The difference in robbery and grave coercion lies in the intent in the
that his relationship with Nelia is rife with ill-feelings, manifested by, among commission of the act. The motives of the accused are the prime criterion:
other things, the filing of complaints6 against him by Nelia and her family which
were subsequently dismissed or ended in his acquittal. 7
"The distinction between the two lines of decisions, the one holding to robbery
and the other to coercion, is deemed to be the intention of the accused. Was
Absent intent to gain on the part of appellant, robbery does not lie against him. the purpose with intent to gain to take the property of another by use of force
He is not necessarily scot-free, however. or intimidation? Then, conviction for robbery. Was the purpose, without
authority of law but still believing himself the owner or the creditor, to compel
From the pre-existing sour relations between Nelia and her family on one another to do something against his will and to seize property? Then,
hand, and appellant and family on the other, and under the circumstances conviction for coercion under Article 497 of the Penal Code. The motives of
related above attendant to the incidental encounter of the parties, appellant’s the accused are the prime criterion. And there was no common robber in the
taking of Nelia’s necklace could not have been animated with animus lucrandi. present case, but a man who had fought bitterly for title to his ancestral estate,
Appellant is, however, just the same, criminally liable. taking the law into his own hands and attempting to collect what he thought
was due him. Animus furandi was lacking."10 (Italics in the original; citations old niece, Christine Lovely Mae Delanos, when a passenger jeepney arrived.
omitted; underscoring supplied) Five decently dressed men stepped down from the vehicle and entered the
house. The first, who was attired in a business suit, introduced himself as
The Court finds that by appellant’s employment of threats, intimidation and Rocky Alberto and his companions as agents of the Criminal Investigation
violence consisting of, inter alia, uttering of invectives, driving away of the Service ("CIS").1 Alberto asked Leonida about her unpaid obligation to
tricycle driver, and kicking of the tricycle, Nelia was prevented from proceeding Josephine Santos. Leonida answered that she had already paid the debt
to her destination. before the barangay captain of Umingan. Moments later, another vehicle, a
brown colored car, stopped in front of the house. Henry Salimbay (the
barangay captain of Umingan), Josephine Santos, Manny Baltazar and two
Appellant is thus guilty of grave coercion which carries the penalty of prision unidentified males and one unidentified female, alighted. Leonida rushed to
correccional and a fine not exceeding ₱6,000. There being no aggravating or confront Salimbay, telling him that Josephine had sent the CIS agents to
mitigating circumstance, the penalty shall be imposed in its medium term. demand payment of her debt and that it was Josephine who should instead
Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum that may be imposed be accosted. Sensing an escalating tension between the two women, the
is anywhere from one (1) month and one (1) day to six (6) months of arresto barangay captain decided to leave, telling the parties that it was best for both
mayor, as minimum, and from two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of them to just amicably settle their differences.
to four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional, as maximum.
It would seem that the association between Leonida de la Peña and Josephine
WHEREFORE, the Court SETS ASIDE the challenged Court of Appeals Santos was one of friendship turned awry. On 22 March 1992, Josephine
Decision and another is rendered finding appellant, Pedro C. Consulta, appeared to have given a one-year loan to Leonida but the latter was unable
GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of Grave Coercion and sentences him to to timely pay the debt. For the next four years, Josephine would be
suffer the indeterminate penalty of from six (6) months of arresto mayor as unsuccessful in securing payment from her delinquent debtor. Josephine and
minimum, to three (3) years and six (6) months of prision correccional medium Manny Baltazar, both residents of Baguio City, would travel all the way to
as maximum. Resurreccion, Pangasinan, to seek payment from Leonida but, in all these
instances, Leonida would refuse to see Josephine and ignore the summons
Appellant is further ordered to return the necklace, failing which he is ordered issued by the barangay captain. This unease between the two women was
to pay its value, Three Thousand Five Hundred (₱3,500) Pesos. further heightened when Leonida subsequently filed a case for estafa against
Costs de oficio.
The eventful 10th of December 1996 was the scheduled conference between
SO ORDERED. debtor and creditor before Henry Salimbay, the barangay captain, and the
already irate Josephine, anticipating another rebuff from Leonida, decided to
personally go to her house with Salimbay in tow. Leonida stubbornly
People v. Santos maintained her having already settled the account. At this obstinate
insistence, an enraged Josephine Santos shouted invectives at Leonida and
VITUG, J.: began hurling things inside the house, scattering the palay and hitting, in the
process, Felizarda Saturnino, an aunt of Leonida with a woodcarving.
Josephine and Baltazar held Leonida, handcuffed her and, with the help of
It is not unknown that a debtor occasionally would suffer from the malady of
their companions, dragged her towards the parked passenger jeepney and
selective amnesia. The case is a tale of one unfortunate creditor who might
forced her to board it. She described the passenger jeepney as having a
have sought to rouse her absent-minded debtor from the haze of
locked door at its passenger rear-end portion and two doors on either side at
the driver’s seat, with side glass windows which were about ½ foot high and 1
foot wide, too small for a person her size to pass through. Leonida was flanked
On 10 December 1996, at six o'clock in the morning, Leonida de la Peña was by Rocky Alberto and one unidentified male in the passenger seat of the
at home in Barangay Resurreccion, Umingan, Pangasinan, with her eight-year
vehicle. On the front seat of the passenger jeepney were three other men. The next day, accompanied by Rocky Alberto, Leonida filed a complaint
Josephine, along with Baltazar and three other companions, rode in the car. before the Umingan Police Station. Alberto, upon giving his official statement
before the Umingan authorities, was unable to produce any document to prove
The two vehicles traveled, the brown car leading the way and the passenger his being a CIS agent.
jeepney closely following behind. The convoy first made a stopover at the
house of barangay captain Salimbay where Leonida heard Josephine and Felizarda Saturnino, an aunt of Leonida, sought to corroborate the statement
Baltazar call out, "Captain, we already got Nida." The group proceeded of her niece. According to Felizarda, the common-law husband of Leonida, a
towards the direction of Carmen, Pangasinan, passing through San Leon, and certain "Itong," arrived shortly after the group had left. Upon learning what had
finally progressing towards Kennon Road. Somewhere in the long stretch of happened to Leonida, Itong made inquiries. Barangay captain Salimbay
the Kennon Road, the group stopped at the Twin Peaks, a hub of commercial informed him that a warrant of arrest had been issued against Leonida. Later,
establishments where Baguio-bound passengers would casually stop for when she and Itong went to the Umingan police station, to report the
refreshments. Leonida, from her seat at the passenger side of the jeepney, abduction, they were instructed to first ascertain whether a warrant of arrest
heard Josephine and Baltazar telling the men from the jeepney to step down was indeed issued against Leonida.
from the vehicle and to partake of some refreshments. Josephine and one
unidentified companion came up to her and tried to force her to sign a A subsequent examination by Dr. Maria L. Chan showed that Leonida had
document forfeiting her property in favor of Josephine in satisfaction of the sustained multiple abrasions and hematoma in both upper extremities
unpaid loan. Leonida balked at the suggestion. Failing to convince Leonida to secondary to mauling.
sign the document, the group decided to continue with their journey.
On 19 March 1997, an accusatory information for the crime of Kidnapping was
In Baguio City, the group proceeded to a building along the Naguillan Road filed against Josephine Santos, Manny Baltazar and three other unidentified
which Leonida recognized to be Precinct I of the Baguio City police. She saw persons -
Josephine and Baltazar enter the police precinct. Later emerging from the
police station, the duo told their companions to alight from the jeepney.
Baltazar then took over the wheel of the passenger jeepney while Josephine "That on or about the 10th day of December, 1996, in the morning, at Bgy.
seated herself beside Leonida in the passenger seat of the vehicle. The latter Resurreccion, municipality of Umingan, province of Pangasinan, Philippines,
had no idea where they were heading. It was only much later, upon seeing and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused,
several tombs within the vicinity, when she realized that they had taken her to including three (3) Does whose identities have not yet been established, being
the local cemetery. Leonida overheard Josephine and her companions, while a private individual and without any legal justification and simulating public
they were alighting from the vehicle, say that they were "going to kill her at authority, and by means of force, conspiring, confederating and helping one
8:00 (that) evening." Rocky Alberto then showed up, and he was ordered to another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take and
watch Leonida while Josephine and Baltazar said they would go elsewhere to handcuff both hands of one LEONIDA DE LA PEÑA, then load her to a
take something to eat. passenger jeepney and brought her to a public cemetery at Naguillan Road,
Baguio City, thereby depriving her of her liberty by detaining inside a
passenger jeepney and threatening her with death but was able to escape, to
Left alone with Alberto, Leonida begged for mercy. Alberto proved to be a the damage and prejudice of said LEONIDA DELA PEÑA.
good Samaritan and helpfully handed over to her a steel pipe from a narrow
opening in the rear door of the jeepney. Armed with the steel pipe, Leonida hit
the glass front window of the passenger vehicle and made her exit. She and "Contrary to Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code."2
Alberto then flagged down a taxicab, which took them to the Dagupan bus
station where, after relating her harrowing experience to the bus personnel, The accused pled "not guilty" to the offense charged.
she and Alberto were able to hitch a ride on a Manila-bound passenger bus.
Alighting at the Carmen junction, they took a tricycle for the remaining leg of Josephine Santos and Manny Baltazar have vehemently denied the
their journey home. accusation. The defense version is narrated by the Public Attorney's Office in
its brief for accused-appellant Josephine Santos.
"Manny Baltazar, testified that in the early morning of December 10, 1996 he "While they were approaching Twin Peaks at Kennon Road, the man who
together with his co-accused Josie Santos, Ester Dino, Leo Badecao and flagged them down in Binalonan signaled again. He parked the car near the
Sheriff William Baden, left Baguio City on board a Toyota Crown car on their passenger jeepney. Josie, Leonida and the alleged CIS agent took their
way to Caranglaan, Nueva Ecija to pick-up fifty (50) cavans of rice and visit snacks in the canteen while he remained in the car. After 30 minutes, Josie
his 31/2 hectare land. Since they were passing by Umingan, Pangasinan, returned and instructed him to proceed to a police station near the city hall for
accused Josie Santos suggested that they dropped by Resurreccion, she was going to file a complaint for estafa against Leonida. However, a
Umingan, Pangasinan to collect unpaid debts of Leonida dela Peña. Before policeman instructed them to proceed to Precinct No. 1 at Naguillan Road. He
proceeding to the house of Leonida, they sought the help of Resurreccion accompanied Josie to the precinct but the policemen also told them that since
Barangay Captain Henry Salimbay. Captain Salimbay accompanied them to the transaction was consummated in Resurreccion, the case should be filed
the house of Leonida. They reached Leonida's house at around 6:00 o'clock in Pangasinan. Incidentally, when accused-appellants were inside the
in the morning. precinct, Leonida was inside the parked passenger jeepney. When they were
about to go home, Rocky Alberto approached Josie. After few minutes of
"He parked the car near the yard of Kagawad Dumaguing as the vehicle could conversation, they agreed to go home, leaving behind Leonida and the alleged
not get through the alley leading to the house of Leonida because a passenger CIS agent.
jeepney blocked the way, while Josie and Captain Salimbay proceeded to the
house of Leonida. After five (5) minutes Captain Salimbay left the place. "Furthermore, he denied all the allegations made by Leonida and branded
Thereafter, he heard Leonida and Josie quarreling inside the house. He them as pure lies. (TSN pp. 4-12; June 9, 1998; TSN pp. 2-15; July 14, 1998).
immediately proceeded to Leonida's house, pulled Josie and brought her to
the parked car. Then, he returned to Leonida's house and plead to the latter "Josephine `Josie' Santos, testified that in the early morning of December
to settle their differences between themselves to avoid trouble but she 10, 1996, she together with her driver, accused Manny Baltazar, Ester Dino,
(Leonida) denied that she was indebted. Then, the four (4) men inside the Leo Badecao and William Baden were on their way to Caranglaan, Nueva
house handcuffed Nida and left. Ecija. Upon her insistence, they dropped by at Resurreccion, Umingan,
Pangasinan to collect the debt of Leonida `Nida' dela Peña amounting to
"He informed Josie that Leonida could not pay. Thus, they left the place and P87,000.00. Before they proceeded to Leonida's house they sought the
dropped by at Captain Salimbay's place and informed the latter's wife that they assistance of Barangay captain Henry Salimbay who previously summoned
were leaving. Leonida before his office to settle her indebtedness.

"On their way to Carmen, Rosales, Pangasinan, they took the national "Josie Santos and Captain Salimbay entered the house of Leonida while her
highway in Balungao where they saw Leonida's father-in-law, Leoncio dela companions were left in the parked car. When they entered the house, she
Peña. They offered a ride to Leoncio and dropped him at Balungao district jail. noticed the presence of five (5) alleged CIS members, one of whom was
Since it was already late, they cancelled their plan to go to Nueva Ecija and Rocky Alberto talking to Leonida. She informed Leonida that she was
drank tuba at a nearby store. Thereafter, they proceeded to Baguio City. collecting her indebtedness to which the latter replied, `I already paid my
indebtedness on you. Vulva of your mother. I will have a warrant against you'.
"Along the highway at Binalonan, Pangasinan, somebody flagged them down. She also replied, `You did not pay even a cent'. Thereafter, an altercation
He pulled over beside the passenger jeepney which was previously parked in ensued between them. The barangay captain left them arguing. While they
front of Leonida's house. A man from the jeepney approached them and were altercating, Manny Baltazar arrived and pulled her to the parked car.
invited Josie for a conversation in the jeepney. After 20 minutes, Josie When they were leaving, Leonida and the five (5) men also left on board the
returned and told them to go back to Resurreccion because Leonida would passenger jeepney.
give them the palay. They returned to Resurreccion. Unfortunately, they were
not able to get the palay because Leonida's husband was not around, so they "On their way to Nueva Ecija, they dropped by at Captain Salimbay's house
left the place and proceeded to Baguio City via the Kennon Road. informing the latter's wife that they were not able to collect Leonida's debt. The
passenger jeepney overtook them infront of Salimbay's house. While they
were cruising towards the national highway, they chanced upon Leonida's
father-in-law, Leoncio. They offered him a ride and dropped him at the suffer the penalty of DEATH, aside from the accessory penalties imposed
highway going to Balungao. Along the highway, they passed upon a tuba under Article 40 of the Revised Penal Code.
vendor and they drank. After drinking, they decided to cancel their trip to
Nueva Ecija and returned to Baguio City. "Additionally, the subject accused are hereby ordered to indemnify Leonida
de la Peña, her heirs, assigns or successors-in-interest for moral damages in
"In the highway between Urdaneta and Binalonan, one of the CIS companions the sum of P30,000.00 and to pay the costs."4
(Rocky Alberto) of Leonida flagged them down. She alighted and talked to
Rocky Alberto who informed her that Leonida was willing to deliver fifty (50) Hence, the automatic appeal, and central to it is the staunch denial made by
cavans of palay in payment of her obligation. They returned to Resurreccion appellants of any responsibility for the alleged kidnapping incident.
but Leonida's husband refused to give the palay. Unable to get the palay, they
proceeded to Baguio City via Kennon Road. At Twin Peaks along Kennon
Road, Rocky Alberto flagged them down again. Rocky asked why they did not While appellants admitted having gone to the house of Leonida on 10
have the palay to which she replied that Leonida's husband refused to give. December 1996, they, however, strongly denied having abducted her. It was
Rocky suggested that they proceed to his house in Baguio City to settle the true, according to them, that they did chance upon the CIS agents two times
problem, but she insisted that they should instead proceed to the police. Rocky on their way to Baguio - the first at a point between Urdaneta and Binalonan
agreed. While she and Rocky were talking, Leonida was eating inside the and the second time at the Twin Peaks by the Kennon Road – but that these
canteen at Twin Peaks. encounters were "purely accidental."

"From Twin Peaks, they proceeded to the Central Police Station of Baguio The trial court had well-founded reasons to conclude that the so-called
City to file an estafa case against Leonida but they were referred to a sub- "encounters" between the CIS agents and Josephine Santos and company
station in Naguillan Road. They were not able to settle their differences nor were indeed far from being "purely accidental." The time of arrival of the two
filed a complaint for estafa because Nida and the five (5) alleged CIS men groups at the residence of Leonida de la Peña on the early morning of 10
hurriedly left the police sub-station. December 1996 was only a matter of minutes of each other. The CIS agents
evidently knew and, in fact, inquired about Leonida's existing account with
Josephine Santos. At least twice later on the same day, the CIS agents and
"She denied all the criminal imputations made by Leonida against her. The the group of Josephine Santos met at stopovers on the way to Baguio City.
private complainant visited her in jail and made a proposal for her to pay the Appellant Josephine Santos even said that, at a point between Urdaneta City
former P500,000.00 as a settlement. (TSN pp. 3-12; December 7, 1998; pp. and Binalonan, they were flagged down by the CIS agents in order to tell her
3-13; February 22, 1999; p. 11 April 12, 1999)."3 that Leonida de la Peña had finally consented to allow Josephine to get the
palay in payment of Leonida's debt.
The defense failed to convince the court a quo; on 09 July 1999, the court
convicted the accused on the ground that the deprivation of private But that is just about all. Nothing else can be gathered to support the charge
complainant Leonida de la Peña of her liberty, regardless of its purpose and of kidnapping.
although lasting for less than twenty-four hours, was sufficient to support the
charge of kidnapping. Finding then Josephine Santos and Manny Baltazar
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of kidnapping, the trial court That there was an existing debt, and that the same remained unpaid as of 10
imposed the extreme penalty of death – December 1996, would seem certain. Leonida de la Peña herself
acknowledged that no less than Henry Salimbay, the barangay captain,
accompanied appellants to her residence for the purpose of collecting
"WHEREFORE, as mandated by law, and having found the accused payment. The complainant claimed that appellants had dragged and forced
Josephine Santos @ `Josie' of Irisan, Baguio City and the accused Manny her to board the passenger jeepney but, strangely enough, the incident had
Baltazar @ `Candro' of 197 Marcos Highway, Baguio City GUILTY beyond failed to attract the attention of neighbors, among whom was a kagawad, who
reasonable doubt of the crime of kidnapping Leonida de la Peña, a female, on could have somehow lent a helping hand to the hapless hostage. The group
December 10, 1996, attended with a host of aggravating circumstances with was then said to have made a stopover at the house of barangay captain
none to mitigate as above noted, the Court hereby sentences them to each Salimbay and later at the police station at the Baguio City Hall and
subsequently at a police station along Naguillan. It was rather unusual for "Q. What did you do when they told [you] that it was station 1 of Baguio police
would-be kidnappers to request the intervention of the local barangay captain, which has jurisdiction over the case of Josie?
and then, with their hostage in tow, to brazenly stop at a police station not just
once but twice; the first at the police station at the Baguio City Hall and the "A. We went to station 1, sir.
second at a police station by the Naguillan Road. The complainant was neither
bound nor gagged and the jeepney where she allegedly was being held
hostage had been parked just meters away from the police station. "COURT:

The testimony given by Baltazar and Santos would seem to be more plausible "Q. Is this station 1 located beside the cemetery?
than what Leonida asseverated. Josephine Santos and her group, with the
assistance of CIS agents, brought complainant to Baguio City in order to "A. It is far, sir.
surrender her to the custody of Baguio City authorities where Josephine
Santos thought she could rightly seek redress. She was advised, however, "Q. How far, if you know?
that it was in the province of Pangasinan, not Baguio City, where a case could
be lodged. According to Manny Baltazar -
"A. About 200 meters, sir.
"Q. Where in Baguio did you proceed?
"x x x x x x x x x
"A. At the police department of the city hall.
"Q. What happened then at police station no. 1?
"Q. Do you know the reason why you went to the police station of Baguio?
"A. I parked my car in front of the station 1 and I accompanied Josie to the
station, sir.
"A. Josie said that it is better to file an estafa case against Nida.

"Q. What happened when you were inside the station with Josie?
"Q. Did she actually go to the police station against Nida?

"A. When we went inside station 1 a companion of Nida who has an amputated
"A. I accompanied Nida at precinct 7, sir. hand told us that this is the place where you can file your complaint and I will
leave you.
"Q. Is that the police station near the city hall?
"A. Yes, sir.
"Q. Up to now, do you know the name of this man with an amputated arm who
"Q. What happened? told you that [he] will leave you?

"A. When she went to precinct 7 the officer said that the case is in the "A. What I know, sir, is Rocky.
jurisdiction of station 1.
"Q. Do you know this Rocky Alberto?
"Q. Where is this station 1?
"A. Yes, sir.
"A. Naguillan Road, sir.
"Q. Is he one of the men who rode in that jeepney with Nida according to "x x x xxx xxx
"A. Yes, sir.
"Q. What happened next after that?
"Q. How about Nida de la Peña, did you see her while you were in the police
station? "A. We went to the Baguio police station to wait for them.

"A. She was inside the jeep, sir. "Q. Were you able to reach Baguio City?

"x x x x x x x x x "A. Yes, sir.

"Q. What happened when Rocky Alberto left you at precinct no. 1 of the "Q. You said you were supposed to go to the police station were you able to
Baguio police with Josie Santos? reach the police station?

"A. I talked to the police that Josie will be going to file a case. "A. Yes, sir.

"Q. And what happened after that? "Q. Where in Baguio is that police station?

"A. When Josie was about to file a case, they were talking to each other and "A. We first went to the main police headquarters but the main office advised
they found out that the money which was given to Nida was received at us to report to sub-station I which had jurisdiction.
Resurreccion and therefore the station has no jurisdiction.
"Q. Where was this police station?
"Q. What happened after that?
"A. Naguillan Road, sir.
"A. When the station did not accept the complaint, I advised her that we must
have to go home."5
Similarly, Josephine Santos declared thusly:
"Q. Is that near the cemetery?
"A. After that he told me that we will just proceed to my house in Baguio and
we would talk the matter over. "A. Yes, sir.

"Q. What did you do when you were told that you were going to Baguio? "ATTY. GUILLERMO

"A. I questioned him why in my house why not at the police station so that "Q. When you were told to go to the police sub-station, did you go?
things would be legal because my claim consist of her account and I do not
know about your claim, anyway she was with you. "A. Yes, sir.
"Q. Who were your companions? "Q. You did not tell the barangay captain that Rocky Alberto was one of those
who kidnapped you because as a matter of fact Rocky Alberto did not kidnap
"A. Manny, sir."6 you?

Rocky Alberto, in his own sworn statement before the Umingan authorities a "A. I was not able to tell that, sir.
day after the incident, corroborated the version of appellants -
"Q. Answer the question. You did not tell the barangay captain that your
"Q. Ano pa ang sumunod na pangyayari, noong hindi pumayag na pumirma companion Rocky Alberto was one of those who earlier kidnapped you
si De la Peña? because in point of fact you were never kidnapped by Rocky Alberto - that is
the question, do you understand?
"A. Kami po ay nagtuloy sa Baguio City at tumuloy kami sa Precinct I ng PNP
sa Naguillan Road, at noong huminto ang sasakyan nina Josie ay bumaba "A. That is true, sir.
siya (Josie) at si Manny Baltazar at umalis na ang sasakyan nina Josie at
pumasok sina Manny at Josie sa loob ng prisinto kung kaya sumunod ako sa "Q. So it is clear that Rocky Alberto never kidnapped you?
loob at doon ay nalaman ko na gustong mag-file ng estafa case laban kay
Leonida de la Peña at doon ko pa lang nalaman na walang kasong nakafile at "A. No, sir."8
wala ring warrant of arrest laban kay Leonida de la Peña. At dahil ayaw naman
pumayag ang mga pulis doon na gawin ang gusto nina Josie Santos ay
lumabas na kaming tatlo nina Josie, at doon ay kinausap ko sina Josie Santos The circumstances that have surfaced instead warrant a conviction for grave
na ako ay pupunta sa aming opisina at pagkatapos ay babalik ako at iuuwi ko coercion.9 Grave coercion is committed when a person prevents another
si De la Peña dahil wala naman pala siyang kaso, kung kaya umalis na ako at from doing something not prohibited by law or compelling him to do
iniwan ko si Leonida de la Peña sa aming sasakyan." 7 something against his will, whether it be right or wrong, and without any
authority of law, by means of violence, threats or intimidation. Its
elements are - First, that the offender has prevented another from doing
On the witness stand, complainant herself identified Rocky Alberto as being something not prohibited by law, or that he has compelled him to do something
one of the cohorts in her abduction; yet, she categorically denied that Alberto against his will, be it right or wrong; second, that the prevention or compulsion
had kidnapped her. She testified: is effected by violence, either by material force or such display of force as
would produce intimidation and control over the will of the offended party; and,
"Q. Did you also tell the barangay captain that Rocky Alberto was one of the third, that the offender who has restrained the will and liberty of another did so
CIS people who helped kidnap you? without any right or authority of law. Where there is a variance between the
offense charged in the complaint or information and that proved and the
"A. I just told him that he is the one who accompanied me home, sir. offense charged necessarily includes the lesser offense established in
evidence, the accused can be convicted of the offense proved.10 Grave
coercion carries the penalty of prision correccional and a fine not exceeding
"Q. You did not answer my question. My question was did you tell the P6,000.00. There being no aggravating or mitigating circumstance, the
barangay captain that Rocky Alberto your companion was one of those who penalty shall be imposed in its medium term. Applying the Indeterminate
kidnapped you earlier on December 10, 1996, please answer the question. Sentence Law the minimum that can be imposed is anywhere from one (1)
month and one (1) day to six (6) months of arresto mayor, as minimum, and
"A. I did not tell that anymore, sir. from two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day to four (4) years and two
(2) months of prision correccional, as maximum.
"x x x xxx xxx
WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction under review is
"COURT MODIFIED.1âwphi1 Appellants Josephine Santos and Manny Baltazar are
ACQUITTED of the crime of Kidnapping; instead, said appellants are found The accused is further ordered to indemnify the offended party,
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of grave coercion, and sentenced Pelagia Paulino de Chin, by way of civil liability the sum of P5,000.00
to suffer the indeterminate penalty of from six (6) months of arresto mayor, as as moral damages and the sum of P2,000.00 as exemplary
minimum, to three (3) years and six (6) months of prision correccional medium, damages.
as maximum, and to pay a fine of P3,000.00. Costs de oficio.
... (p. 33, Rollo)
The facts as stated by the respondent Court of Appeals are undisputed, thus:
At about 10:00 o'clock in the morning of June 20, 1984, the
LEE v. Court of Appeals complainant Maria Pelagia Paulino de Chin, 23 years old, was
fetched from her house at 112 BLISS Site, 8th Avenue, Caloocan
City by Atanacio Lumba, a bank employee, upon the instruction of
the petitioner Branch Manager Francis Lee of Pacific Banking
Corporation (hereinafter referred to as bank). Upon arriving at the
This is a petition for review on certiorari to set aside the decision of the Court office of Pacific Banking Corporation located at Caloocan City,
of Appeals dated June 29, 1989 which reversed the decision of the Regional petitioner Francis Lee did not attend to her immediately. After an hour
Trial Court (RTC), National Capital Judicial Region, Branch 129 at Caloocan later, the petitioner confronted the complainant about a forged
City, Metro Manila, and reinstated as well as affirmed in toto the decision of Midland National Bank Cashier Check No. 3526794, which the latter
the Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC), Branch 2, same city. The RTC decision allegedly deposited in the account of Honorio Carpio. During the said
found the petitioner guilty of the crime of light coercion, the dispositive portion confrontation, the petitioner Francis Lee was shouting at her with
of which reads: piercing looks and threatened to file charges against her unless and
until she returned all the money equivalent of the subject cashier
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the judgment appealed from is check. Accordingly, the complainant was caused to sign a prepared
hereby modified. The accused Francis Lee is hereby found guilty withdrawal slip, and later, an affidavit prepared by the bank's lawyer,
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of light coercion, as penalized where she was made to admit that she had swindled the bank and
under paragraph 2 of Article 287 of the Revised Penal Code and he had return the money equivalent of the spurious check. During her
is hereby sentenced to suffer a penalty of TWENTY (20) DAYS of stay at the said bank, the complainant, who was five (5) months in
ARRESTO MENOR and to pay one-third (1/3) of the costs. (p. 40, the family way, was watched by the bank's employees and security
Rollo) guards. It was about six o'clock in the afternoon of the same day
when the complainant was able to leave the bank premises.
On the other hand, the MTC decision convicted the petitioner of the offense of
grave coercion, the pertinent portion of the same is hereby quoted as follows: Upon the other hand, the petitioner, 37 years old, presented his
version, basically a denial of the charges, to wit: he was the Branch
Bank Manager of Pacific Banking Corporation. After having been
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court finds the accused
informed that Midland National Bank Cashier Check No. 3526794
Francis Lee, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of Grave
was dishonored for being spurious, he examined the relevant bank
Coercion, as charged, defined and penalized under Art. 286 of the
records and discovered that complainant Maria Pelagia Paulino de
Revised Penal Code, and is hereby sentenced to suffer an
Chin was instrumental in inducing their bank to accept the subject
imprisonment of THREE (3) MONTHS, of arresto mayor, medium,
dollar check and was also the one who withdrew the proceeds
and to pay a fine of P250.00, with cost.
thereof, by utilizing a withdrawal slip purportedly signed by Honorio
Carpio. Petitioner, thru Atanacio Lumba, invited the complainant to
his office. Responding to his invitation, the complainant arrived at the
bank before noon of June 20, 1984, but was not attended to A threat to enforce once's claim through competent authority, if the
immediately as the petitioner had to attend to other bank clients. The claim is just or legal, does not vitiate consent.
complainant was merely informed about the subject fake dollar check
that was deposited with said bank upon her assurance that it was As a general rule, the findings of facts of the Court of Appeals command
genuine. The complainant was not compelled into signing the utmost respect. However, such findings are disregarded if there appears in
withdrawal slip, but she acted freely and voluntarily in executing her the record some fact or circumstance of weight and influence which has been
affidavit and in returning the money equivalent of the subject check. overlooked or the significance of which has been misinterpreted that, if
There was nothing unusual during her lengthy stay in the bank. (pp. considered, would affect the result of the case (see San Sebastian College v.
44-45, Rollo) Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 84401, May 15, 1991).

The sole issue posed in this petition is whether or not the acts of petitioner in While the appellate court emphasized the pregnancy and feminine gender of
simply "shouting at the complainant with piercing looks" and "threats to file the complainant, it overlooked other significant personal circumstances which
charges against her" are sufficient to convict him of the crime of grave coercion are material in determining the presence of coercion in this case.
(p. 6, Rollo).
The records show that complainant is a highly educated person who is familiar
Article 286 of the Revised Penal Code provides: with banking procedures. She is a graduate of Business Administration major
in Banking and Finance from NCBA. She also finished one semester of MA in
ART. 286. Grave coercions. — The penalty of arresto mayor and a graduate school. In 1983, complainant worked with the Insular Bank of Asia
fine not exceeding 500 pesos shall be imposed upon any person and America as a bank teller (TSN, November 20, 1984, pp. 5-7; Records, pp.
who, without authority of law, shall, by means of violence, prevent 96-98).
another from doing something not prohibited by law, or compel him
to do something against his will, whether it be right or wrong. Likewise, it appears that complainant actively participated in the deposit and
withdrawal of the proceeds of the controversial check. We find that she told
If the coercion be committed for the purpose of compelling another Honorio Carpio (Carpio, for short), a relative and payee of the check; to open
to perform any religious act or to prevent him from so doing, the a savings account with the Pacific Banking Corporation (Bank, for short) and
penalty next higher in degree shall be imposed. accompanied him; that subsequently, she presented a Midland National Bank
Cashier's check payable to Carpio in the sum of $5,200.00 to Mr. Lamberto
Considering that the present case does not involve violence but intimidation, R. Cruz (Cruz, for short), PRO Manager, Foreign Department; that she
the provisions of Article 1335 of the New Civil Code on intimidation are claimed that she was requested by her uncle to deposit the check for
relevant. It states: collection; that she was a bank depositor and she "knew somebody
downstairs"; that she assured Cruz that the check would be honored between
banks (TSN, April 15, 1985, pp. 89-92; Records, 180-183); that on June 11,
Art. 1335. ... 1984, the bank, after the usual clearing period, sent out a notice to Carpio that
the proceeds of the check were already credited to his account but the same
There is intimidation when one of the contracting parties is compelled was returned to the bank because the address was false or not true; that the
by a reasonable and well-grounded fear of an imminent and grave total amount of the check in pesos was P92,557.44; that the total deposit of
evil upon his person or property, or upon the person or property of Carpio was P92,607.44, his initial deposit of P50.00 being added to the
his spouse, descendants or ascendants, to give his consent. amount of the check; that on the same day, complainant personally inquired
from the bank whether the proceeds of the check have already been credited
To determine the degree of the intimidation, the age, sex and to Carpio's account (TSN, June 11, 1985, p. 163, records, p. 163); that upon
condition of the person shall be borne in mind. an affirmative answer, the bank records show that on that day, the
complainant withdrew the sum of P12,607.00 thru a withdrawal slip
purportedly signed by Carpio; that in the interim, Carpio allegedly left abroad
(Annex C, p. 17, Records); that on June 13, 1984, she withdrew the sum of the actor. He ceases to exist as an independent entity with faculties
P80,000.44 from Carpio's account by means of a withdrawal slip allegedly and judgment, and in his place is substituted another — the one
signed by Carpio and then, she closed his account; that out of the said exercising the force or making use of the intimidation. While his hand
amount, she redeposited the sum of P50,000.00 to her own savings account signs, the will which moves it is another's. While a contract is made,
and received in cash the remaining balance of P30,000.44; and on June 15 it has, in reality and in law, only one party to it; and, there being only
and 18, 1984, complainant withdrew the amounts of P2,000.00 and one party, the one using the force or the intimidation, it is
P18,000.00, respectively from her savings account (Exh. "3", Records, p. 15, unenforceable for lack of a second party.
in relation to TSN, October 8, 1985, pp. 194-195, Records, pp. 286-287).
From these considerations it is clear that every case of alleged
In the light of the foregoing circumstances, petitioner's demand that the private intimidation must be examined to determine within which class it falls.
respondent return the proceeds of the check accompanied by a threat to file If it is within the first class it is not duress in law, if it falls in the second,
criminal charges was not improper. There is nothing unlawful on the threat to it is.
sue. In the case of Berg v. National City Bank of New York (102 Phil. 309,
316), We ruled that: The circumstances of this case reveal that the complainant, despite her
protestations, indeed voluntarily, albeit reluctantly, consented to do all the
... It is a practice followed not only by banks but even by individuals aforesaid acts.
to demand payment of their accounts with the threat that upon failure
to do so an action would be instituted in court. Such a threat is proper Bearing in mind her involvement in the deposit and encashment of the check,
within the realm of the law as a means to enforce collection. Such a the complainant admitted to being nervous upon being informed that the check
threat cannot constitute duress even if the claim proves to be was spurious (TSN, November 20, 1984, p. 15; Record, p. 106)
unfounded so long as the creditor believes that it was his right to do
We find that complainant's lengthy stay at the bank was not due to the
petitioner's threat. It was rather due to her desire to prove her innocence. Her
The Solicitor General argues that the complainant was intimidated and testimony on this point is a revelation:
compelled into disclosing her time deposit, signing the typewritten withdrawal
slip and the affidavit by the petitioner's threat to detain her at the bank.
Atty. Dizon: (counsel for petitioner)
At this point, there is a need to make a distinction between a case where a
person gives his consent reluctantly and against his good sense and judgment You are always talking of signing the withdrawal slip by force, is it not
and where he gives no consent at all, as where he acts against his will under that earlier you admitted that no actual force was employed upon you
a pressure he cannot resist. Thus, in Vales v. Villa (35 Phil. 769, 789), We in connection with the signing of this document and the force that you
ruled: are claiming was the alleged shouting against you coupled with the
statement that you could not leave?
... It is clear that one acts as voluntarily and independently in the eye
of the law when he acts reluctantly and with hesitation as when he A Yes, sir.
acts spontaneously and joyously. Legally speaking he acts as
voluntarily and freely when he acts wholly against his better sense Q When Mr. Lee was requiring you to sign the withdrawal slip did it
and judgment as when he acts in conformity with them. Between the not occur to you to leave the bank?
two acts there is no difference in law. But when his sense, judgment,
and his will rebel and he refuses absolutely to act as requested, but Atty. Pangilinan:
is nevertheless overcome by force or intimidation to such an extent
that he becomes a mere automaton and acts mechanically only, a
new element enters, namely, a disappearance of the personality of
The question has already been answered she said she cannot leave In her insistence to clear up her name, it is not farfetched for Us to think that
because she is being threatened. the complainant voluntarily but grudgingly returned the money to show good
faith. Thus, it was she who informed the petitioner about the existence of the
Atty. Dizon: RCBC Time Deposit Certificate (Exh. "A", pp. 4-5, Records). The allegation
that she did so because of petitioner's threats came from the complainant
herself. She has not been able to present any other witness to buttress her
That was during the time when she first met Mr. Lee. claim.

Court: Further, We find that contrary to complainant's allegations in her affidavit (ibid,
p. 5) it was not the petitioner who suggested the encashment of the RCBC
Witness may answer. Time Deposit Certificate but her sister; and that again, it was not the petitioner
who agreed to the sister's suggestion but Cruz, the PRO Manager, Foreign
A When I was about to sign the withdrawal slip I inquired from him If Department of the bank (TSN, January 8, 1985, pp. 40-41, Records, pp. 131-
I signed it I can leave already but he insisted that I should not leave, 132).
Moreover, while complainant claimed that her freedom of movement was
Q When he told you that did it not occur to you to stand up and go restrained, she, however, was able to move about freely unguarded from the
out of the bank? office of the petitioner situated at the ground floor to the office of Cruz at the
mezzanine floor where her sister found her (ibid, pp. 39- 40, Records, pp. 130-
131). Undoubtedly, during that time, there were many bank clients who
A No, Sir. transacted business with the bank (TSN, November 20, 1984, p. 21; Records,
p. 112). The bank security guards then were at their posts. Complainant
Q Why? herself admitted that they manifested no overt acts to prevent her from leaving
despite the alleged loud threats of the petitioner (ibid, pp. 20- 21, Records, pp.
111-112) which could be heard considering that the door to petitioner's office
A He was insisting that I return the amount I have withdrawn
was kept open (TSN, October 8, 1985, p. 184, Records, p. 276). Given such
especially on June 18 when I withdrew P18,000.00, Sir.
atmosphere, the complainant still did not leave the bank.

The respondent court cited the prepared typewritten withdrawal slip and the
non-presentation of the complainant's passbook as indicators of her
The question is why did you not leave and disregarded him? involuntary acts.

A Because I cannot just leave him that way, Your Honor. We disagree. The petitioner testified that the general rule was that the bank
requires the presentation of the passbook whenever withdrawals are made.
Atty. Dizon: However, there was an exception to this rule, i.e. when the depositor is a
regular customer in depositing or withdrawing money in the bank (TSN,
October 8, 1985, pp. 189-190, Records, pp. 281-282). The prosecution failed
Why? What was the reason that you cannot leave him?
to submit evidence to rebut his contentions. Besides, the trial court's
conclusion that the withdrawal slip was typewritten was without basis
A Because he is insisting that the responsibility of one person be my considering that the complainant merely averred that the withdrawal slip was
responsibility and at that time I was feeling nervous and he did not already prepared when she signed it (Exh. "A", Records, p. 4).
tell me to stand up and leave, Sir. (ibid, pp. 18-20, Records, pp. 109-
We also take exception to the following ruling of the appellate court:
It must be noted that the position of a bank manager is one of A It is up to our Manager to decide but when it comes to other
prestige and dignity and when the said bank was cheated or swindled transactions I am handling Three Million plus and considering that
it certainly reflects on the capability and efficiency of the manager check I don't think with all modesty it will affect me, Sir.
and one can just imagine the kind of mental attitude and feeling of
anger the latter would have towards the alleged swindler. Shouting, Q But you are called upon to try to recover any money which was in
raising of voice and dagger looks are common characteristics of an your judgment was unlawfully taken from you by anybody
angry man and that was what accused Lee exhibited to a fragile
weaker sex and pregnant offended party. It would be natural to get
angry with someone who had victimized you. Naturalness, however A When it comes to procedure I don't think it was unlawfully taken,
is not always righteous. It is like taking the law into your hands and as a matter of fact it was our bank who credited this account, Sir.
that was what the accused Lee did. (CA Decision, pp. 11-12, Rollo,
pp. 52-53) Q So it is your bounded (sic) duty to recover money which was paid
to someonelse (sic) which payment is not due to him, am I correct?
This pronouncement creates an impression that the petitioner had made a
personal case out of the situation. However, the evidence does not support A It is the duty of our lawyer to recover it, Sir.
this view. We find that at the time the check was deposited and encashed, the
petitioner was then on leave (TSN, June 11, 1985, p. 156; Records, p. 248). Q Is it not a fact that your lawyer is only your agent?
Under this circumstance, it is not fair to consider the bank's mistake in
accepting and paying the check as the petitioner's mistake which could militate
against his efficiency. The petitioner attributed the mistake in the payment of Atty. Dizon:
the forged check to the usual risks in banking business. He stated:
I think we are going too far, it has nothing to do with the particular
Atty. Pangilinan, Private prosecutor (authorized by the Fiscal to incident subject matter of the criminal offense.
prosecute the case in the latter's stead)
Q So you no longer consider him (Carpio) as entitled in (sic) the
proceeds of the chek (sic) and therefore at that point of (sic) time you I see the point of the defense but the witness is very intelligent, I can
will now concede that the payment made by you to him was a big see the point of counsel, because in order not to effect his integrity
mistake? he resorted to this, for example in case of a bank employee who stole
P500.00 and the other one is P200.00, it could have the same
A When we were asking for the respondent and we were locating mistake which is supposed to be admonished by removal. You
Honorio Carpio and we cannot locate him, I consider that a mistake, answer.
A Yes that is the same case whether it is small or big but when it
Q It was a big mistake as a matter of fact? comes to the Manager the Head Office is very understanding when
it comes to bogus checks and of course my work is a supervisory.
Sir. (ibid, pp. 170-171; Records, pp. 263-264)
A When it comes to the falling of the business considering the big
amount I would say big mistake but only a mistake, it was a usual
risk in banking business, Sir. The most telling proof of the absence of intimidation was the fact that the
complainant refused to sign the promissory note in spite of the alleged threats
of the petitioner (TSN, January 8, 1985, p. 48; Records, p. 139). American
Q But of course Mr. Lee, being a mistake that mistake will harm and authorities have declared that "(t)he force which is claimed to have compelled
tense your personality as a Bank Manager? criminal conduct against the will of the actor must be immediate and
continuous and threaten grave danger to his person during all of the time the bank unescorted to eat their snack; that they were required by the petitioner
act is being committed. That is, it must be a dangerous force threatened 'in to come back; and that they decided not to eat but instead went home (TSN,
praesenti.' It must be a force threatening great bodily harm that remains November 20, 1984, pp. 31-32, Records, pp. 122-123 and January 8, 1965,
constant in controlling the will of the unwilling participant while the act is being pp. 49-50, Records, pp. 140-141). With such behavior, We are at a loss to
performed and from which he cannot then withdraw in safety." (State v. Hood, understand how coercion could attach in this case. Obviously, the complainant
165 NE 2d, 28, 31-32, Emphasis ours). has not been cowed into submission.

The complainant proferred excuses for her action. For one, she claimed that Against this backdrop, We hold that coercion did not exist in this case.
her sister's presence helped her recover her composure (TSN, November 20, Consequently, the petitioner should be acquitted.
1984, p. 29, Records, p. 120).
ACCORDINGLY, the decision appealed from is hereby REVERSED and a
We are not persuaded. If indeed she had recovered her composure because new one hereby entered ACQUITTING the accused of the crime of grave
of her sister's presence, she could have just left the premises in a huff without coercion.
encashing the RCBC Time Deposit Certificate or if they (complainant and
sister) were already at the RCBC, they could have desisted from encashing SO ORDERED.
the check and then could have left for home notwithstanding the alleged
presence of Mr. Lumba who was no longer in his own bank but among the
RCBC clients or she could have refused to sign the affidavit which was handed Timoner v. People
to her first before the promissory note. Yet, she did neither of these logical
possibilities. ESCOLIN, J.:

Secondly, she averred that she refused to sign the promissory note because Petition for review of the affirmance in toto by the Court of Appeals, now the
she was able to read its contents unlike the affidavit and she realized that she Intermediate Appellate Court, of the judgment of conviction handed down by
would have a great responsibility to return the amount taken by Carpio (ibid, the then Municipal Court of Daet, Camarines Norte, in Criminal Case No.
pp. 27-28, Records, pp. 118-119). 4281, entitled People of the Philippines vs. Jose Timoner, finding petitioner
guilty of the crime of grave coercion, as follows: têñ.£îhqwâ£
Such an excuse is flimsy and weak. It is strange that complainant's sister, who
was with her, failed to corroborate her statement that she was denied the WHEREFORE this Court finds the accused JOSE 'PEPITO'
opportunity to read the affidavit. Her bare assertion simply confirms the TIMONER guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
voluntariness of her actions. All her disputed acts were geared towards Grave Coercion as penalized under Art. 286 in the Revised
proving her good faith. Complainant was willing to return the sum of Penal Code, and hereby sentences the said accused
P48,000.00 she took since it was only up to this amount where her pursuant to the provision of Rule 64, Par. 3, to suffer SIX
involvement lies. However, as soon as she realized that she would have the MONTHS OF IMPRISONMENT OF ARRESTO MAYOR IN
enormous task of reimbursing the bank the balance of the proceeds of the ITS MAXIMUM PERIOD, to pay a fine of P300.00 and to
forged check allegedly taken by Carpio, she refused to cooperate any further. pay the offended party in the amount of P5,000.00 as
Notwithstanding the alleged threats of petitioner, she did not budge. Thus, We damages, without subsidiary liability in case of insolvency.
find it as a logical consequence that she merely asked for the receipt of the The other accused SAMUEL MORENA and ERNESTO
P18,000.00 she deposited rather than the cancellation of her earlier QUIBRAL are hereby ordered ACQUITTED.
withdrawal. On this point, complainant claimed that after her refusal to sign
the document, she no longer insisted on the return of the money because she The salient facts are not disputed. At about 10:00 in the evening of December
felt that it was the only way she could leave the bank premises (TSN, 13, 1971, petitioner, then Mayor of Daet, Camarines Norte, accompanied by
November 20, 1984, p. 31, Records, p. 120). This pretense, however, was two uniformed policemen, Samuel Morena and Ernesto Quibral, and six
belied by her subsequent actuations. We find that she and her sister left the laborers, arrived in front of the stalls along Maharlika highway, the main
thoroughfare of the same town. Upon orders of petitioner, these laborers (4) Obstructs or interferes with the free passage of any
proceeded to nail together rough lumber slabs to fence off the stalls which public highway or street, or any body of water; or
protruded into the sidewalk of the Maharlika highway. Among the structures
thus barricaded were the barbershop of Pascual Dayaon, the complaining (5) Hinders or impairs the use of property.
witness and the store belonging to one Lourdes Pia-Rebustillos. These
establishments had been recommended for closure by the Municipal Health
Officer, Dra. Alegre, for non-compliance with certain health and sanitation ART. 695. Nuisance is either public or private. A public
requirements. nuisance affects a community or neighborhood or any
considerable number of persons, although the extent of the
annoyance, danger or damage upon individuals may be
Thereafter, petitioner filed a complaint in the Court of First Instance of unequal A private nuisance is one that is not included in the
Camarines Norte against Lourdes Pia-Rebustillos and others for judicial foregoing definition.
abatement of their stalls. The complaint, docketed as Civil Case No. 2257,
alleged that these stalls constituted public nuisances as well as nuisances per
se. Dayaon was never able to reopen his barbershop business. The barbershop occupied a portion of the sidewalk of the poblacion's main
thoroughfare and had been recommended for closure by the Municipal Health
Officer. In fact, the Court of First Instance of Camarines Norte, in its decision
Subsequently, petitioner and the two policemen, Morena and Quibral, were in Civil Case No. 2257, declared said barbershop as a nuisance per-se. Thus:
charged with the offense of grave coercion before the Municipal Court of Daet.
As already noted, the said court exonerated the two policemen, but convicted
petitioner of the crime charged as principal by inducement. Under the facts of the case, as well as the law in point, there
is no semblance of any legality or right that exists in favor
of the defendants to build a stall and conduct their business
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed in full the judgment of the trial court. in a sidewalk, especially in a highway where it does not only
Hence, the present recourse. constitute a menace to the health of the general public
passing through the street and also of the unsanitary
Petitioner contends that the sealing off of complainant Dayaon's barbershop condition that is bred therein as well as the unsightly and
was done in abatement of a public nuisance and, therefore, under lawful ugly structures in the said place. Moreover, even if it is
authority. claimed and pretended that there was a license, permit or
toleration of the defendants' makeshift store and living
We find merit in this contention. Unquestionably, the barbershop in question quarters for a number of years does not lend legality to an
did constitute a public nuisance as defined under Article Nos. 694 and 695 of act which is a nuisance per se. Such nuisance affects the
the Civil Code, to wit: community or neighborhood or any considerable number of
persons and the general public which posed a danger to the
people in general passing and using that place, for in
ART. 694. A nuisance is any act, omission, establishment, addition, this is an annoyance to the public by the invasion
business, condition of property, or anything else which: of its rights — the fact that it is in a public place and
annoying to all who come within its sphere [Baltazar vs.
(1) Injures or endangers the health or safety of others; or Carolina Midland, Ry, Co., 54 S.C. 242, 32 SB 258, cited in
11 Tolentino's Civil Code of the Philippines, p. 375;
(2) Annoys or offends the senses; or Kapisanan Lingkod ng Bayan, Inc. vs. Lacson, CA-G.R. No.
27260R, March 25, 1964; 61 O.G. 2487].

(3) Shocks, defies or disregards decency or morality; or

xxx xxx xxx
... IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Court hereby WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA G.R. No. 19534-
declares that the structures subject of this complaint as well CR, is hereby set aside and petitioner is acquitted of the crime charged. Costs
as those occupied by the impleaded defendants are de oficio.
nuisances per se and therefore orders the defendants to
demolish the stall and vacate the premises immediately ... SO ORDERED.

But even without this judicial pronouncement, petitioner could not have been UNJUST VEXATION
faulted for having fenced off said barbershop. Paragraph 3, Article 699 of the
Civil Code authorizes the abatement of a public nuisance without judicial
proceedings. Ong Chiu Kwan v. Court of Appeals

ART. 699. The remedies against a public nuisance are: PARDO, J.:

[l] A prosecution under the Penal Code or any local What is before the Court for consideration is the decision of the Court of
ordinance; or Appeals affirming the conviction of accused Ong Chiu Kwan, for unjust
[2] A civil action; or
On January 31, 1991, Assistant City Prosecutor Andres M. Bayona of Bacolod
filed with the Municipal Trial Court, Bacolod City an information charging
[3] Abatement, without judicial proceedings.
petitioner with unjust vexation for cutting the electric wires, water pipes and
telephone lines of "Crazy Feet," a business establishment owned and
In the case at bar, petitioner, as mayor of the town, merely implemented the operated by Mildred Ong.2
aforesaid recommendation of the Municipal Health Officer. Having then acted
in good faith in the performance of his duty, petitioner incurred no criminal On April 24, 1990, at around 10:00 in the morning, Ong Chiu Kwan ordered
Wilfredo Infante to "relocate" the telephone, electric and water lines of "Crazy
Feet," because said lines posed as a disturbance.3 However, Ong Chiu Kwan
Grave coercion is committed when "a person who, without authority of law, failed to present a permit from appropriate authorities allowing him to cut the
shall by means of violence, prevent another from doing something not electric wires, water pipe and telephone lines of the business establishment. 4
prohibited by law or compel to do something against his will, either it be right
or wrong." 1 The three elements of grave coercion are: [1] that any person be After due trial, on September 1, 1992, the Municipal Trial Court found Ong
prevented by another from doing something not prohibited by law, or Chiu Kwan guilty of unjust vexation,5 and sentenced him to "imprisonment for
compelled to do something against his will, be it right or wrong; [2] that the
twenty days."6 The court also ordered him to pay moral damages, finding that
prevention or compulsion be effected by violence, either by material force or
the wrongful act of abruptly cutting off the electric, water pipe and telephone
such display of it as would produce intimidation and control the will of the lines of "Crazy Feet" caused the interruption of its business operations during
offended party, and [3] that the person who restrained the will and liberty of peak hours, to the detriment of its owner, Mildred Ong. The trial court also
another had no right to do so, or, in other words, that the restraint was not awarded exemplary damages to complainant "as a deterrent to the accused
made under authority of law or in the exercise of a lawful right. 2
not to follow similar act in the future and to pay attorney’s fees."7 The trial court
disposed of the case as follows:
The third element being absent in the case at bar, petitioner cannot be held
guilty of grave coercion.
"IN VIEW THEREOF, this Court finds the accused guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the offense of unjust vexation provided under Article 287 par. 2 of the
Revised Penal Code and sentences him to suffer a penalty of imprisonment The Constitution requires that "[N]o decision shall be rendered by any court
of twenty (20) days and to pay private complainant the following: without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which
it is based."14 The 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended, provides
P10,000.00 - moral damages that "[T]he judgment must be written in the official language, personally and
directly prepared by the judge and signed by him and shall contain clearly and
distinctly a statement of the facts proved or admitted by the accused and the
P 5,000.00 - exemplary damages law upon which the judgment is based."15

P 5,000.00 - attorney’s fees and to pay the cost of this suit." Although a memorandum decision is permitted under certain conditions, it
cannot merely refer to the findings of fact and the conclusions of law of the
"SO ORDERED. lower court. The court must make a full findings of fact and conclusions of law
of its own.16
"Bacolod City, Philippines, September 1, 1992.
Consequently, the decision of the regional trial court is a nullity. Very recently,
"(SGD.)RAFAEL O. PENUELA speaking of a similarly worded decision of a regional trial court, we said:
"[I]t is starkly hallow, otiosely written, vacuous in its content and trite in its form.
On appeal to the Regional Trial Court, Bacolod City, the latter court in a It achieved nothing and attempted at nothing, not even at a simple summation
decision dated December 8, 1992, simplistically adopted the decision of the of facts which could easily be done. Its inadequacy speaks for itself." 17
lower court in toto, without stating the reasons for doing so.9
Judges similarly disposed to pay lip service to their work must rethink their
On April 22, 1993, by petition for review, Ong Chiu Kwan elevated the case to place in the judiciary or seriously take refresher courses on decision writing.
the Court of Appeals.10 On August 16, 1993, the Court of Appeals promulgated We warn them of stiff sanctions for such lackadaisical performance.
its decision dismissing the appeal,11 agreeing with the lower court’s finding that
petitioner was guilty beyond reasonable doubt of unjust vexation. Consequently, the case may be remanded to the lower court for compliance
with the constitutional requirement of contents of a decision. However,
Hence, this petition for review.12 considering that this case has been pending for sometime, the ends of justice
will be fully served if we review the evidence and decide the case.

The Court notes that in the decision of the Regional Trial Court which the Court
of Appeals affirmed peremptorily without noticing its nullity, the Regional Trial Petitioner admitted having ordered the cutting of the electric, water and
Court merely quoted the decision of the Municipal Trial Court in full and added telephone lines of complainant’s business establishment because these lines
two paragraphs, thus: crossed his property line. He failed, however, to show evidence that he had
the necessary permit or authorization to relocate the lines. Also, he timed the
interruption of electric, water and telephone services during peak hours of the
"This Court, in accordance with the rules, required the parties to submit their operation of business of the complainant. Thus, petitioner’s act unjustly
corresponding memorandum or brief. The prosecution filed its memorandum, annoyed or vexed the complainant. Consequently, petitioner Ong Chiu Kwan
and also with the defense. is liable for unjust vexation.

"After a careful perusal of the record of the case and evaluating the evidence Regarding damages, we find the award of moral and exemplary damages and
thereto and exhibits thereof, this Court finds no ground to modify, reverse or attorney’s fees to be without basis. Moral damages may be recovered if they
alter the above-stated decision and hereby affirms the decision of the lower were the proximate result of defendant’s wrongful act or omission.18 An award
court in toto."13 of exemplary damages is justified if the crime was committed with one or more
aggravating circumstances.19 There is no evidence to support such award. was stipulated, among others, that all of the accused were government
Hence, we delete the award of moral damages, exemplary damages, and officials; Verutiao was physically in possession of one of the stalls in the public
attorney’s fees. market of the Municipality of Caibiran previous to and as of January 27, 1997;
on January 21, 1997, the premises had been padlocked previously by Mayor
WHEREFORE, the decisions of the lower courts are REVERSED and SET Melchor Maderazo, so that her goods were inside the stall, and she was
ASIDE. In lieu thereof, accused Ong Chiu Kwan is hereby sentenced to pay a unable to transact any business; on January 27, 1997, the locks were opened
fine of P200.00, and the costs. The award of moral and exemplary damages by the government upon the authority of the mayor, the goods in the premises
and attorney’s fees is hereby deleted. SO ORDERED. were inventoried and taken to the police station where they have remained up
to the present.6
Maderazo v. People
The Case for the Prosecution7
The prosecution presented Verutiao as sole witness. She testified that she
had been the lessee of a stall in the Biliran public market. She paid a monthly
Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 assailing rental of P200.00.8 She was allowed to finish the construction of the market
the September 3, 2004 Decision1 of the Sandiganbayan convicting petitioners stall with the permission of the Municipal Mayor and the Municipal Treasurer. 9
of unjust vexation in Criminal Case No. 24309. She averred that Municipal Ordinance No. 2, Series of 1984,10 provides that,
to facilitate the development of the public market, in the absence of adequate
On October 22, 1997, an Information2 was filed before the Sandiganbayan government finance, construction by private parties of buildings and other
(First Division), charging the following with grave coercion: Municipal Mayor structures for commercial purposes may be allowed and the expenses thereof
Melchor G. Maderazo; his nephew, Victor Maderazo, Jr., who is a member of shall be reimbursed to the builder by applying 50% to the monthly rentals when
the Sangguniang Bayan; and Seniforo Perido, Caibiran Police Station Chief, occupied for business.11
together with Rodolfo Rico, Orlando Mocorro, Rodolfo Azur, Reynaldo
Oledan, Jordan Gervacio and Jose Cesora. The Information reads: She spent P24,267.00 for the construction of the market stall, as stated in the
itemized statement of expenses12 she submitted to then Municipal Treasurer
That on or about the 27th day of January 1997, at about 2:20 o’clock in the Jose Lee on February 14, 1992. She was not, however, reimbursed by the
afternoon, at Barangay Palanay, Municipality of Caibiran, Biliran, Philippines Municipality of her expenses. After the construction, she then opened the stall
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, above-named accused, all for business. She paid the rent for the whole year of 1992 but did not pay the
public officers, having been duly elected, appointed and qualified to such rentals in 1993.
public positions above-mentioned, in such capacity and committing the
offense in relation to office, conniving and confederating together and mutually On January 13, 1994, Verutiao and the Municipality entered into a one-year
helping with (sic) each other, by means of violence and intimidation, without lease contract,13 renewable every year with a monthly rental of P400.00. It is
any authority of law, with deliberate intent did then and there willfully, also provided that, any violation of the conditions therein agreed shall be
unlawfully, feloniously and forcibly eject one Medaria Verutiao from the market sufficient cause for its cancellation, notwithstanding the fact that the contract
stall she was occupying and leasing from the Municipality of Caibiran, thereby has not yet expired.
compelling her to give up her possession and occupation to said market stall
against her will, to the damage and prejudice of said Medaria Verutiao and
detriment of public service. In 1995, the Municipality partially paid her P10,000.00 of her total expenses
in the construction of the market stall.14 However, considering that she had
not been fully reimbursed of her expenses for the construction of the stall, she
Contrary to law.3 did not pay her rent.15 Almost weekly, she went to the Municipal Treasurer to
request for the reimbursement.16 She was told by then Treasurer Lee and his
On arraignment, all the accused pleaded not guilty to the crime charged.4 The successor, Lorenzo Dadizon, that the Municipality had no money and she had
Sandiganbayan issued a Pre-Trial Order5 signed by all the parties, where it
to wait for another budget hearing.17 The treasurers did not collect her rents which, however, she failed to attend. One of the employees of the Municipality
for they knew that the Municipality still owed her money.18 brought the key to the stall and opened it. Victor Maderazo then conducted an
inventory of the goods, each was described, while someone was listing the
On December 22, 1996 Verutiao closed her stall and proceeded to Mindanao goods. The inventory was orderly.
where she spent the Christmas holidays.19 She returned to Caibiran on
January 15, 1997. On January 17, 1997, she and her husband received a The goods were then brought to the police station where the supplies were
letter-order from Mayor Melchor Maderazo, directing her to vacate the stall kept.
within twenty-four (24) hours because of her failure to pay the rentals for the
stall.20 As of January 1997, Verutiao had an unpaid rental of P2,532.00, after The Ruling of the Sandiganbayan
deducting her expenses for the construction of the stall. The Mayor declared
in his letter that the lease contract had been cancelled.
On September 3, 2004, the Sandiganbayan rendered judgment 28 convicting
the accused Melchor G. Maderazo, Seniforo Perido, and Victor Maderazo, Jr.
On the same day, the spouses Verutiao, through counsel, sent a letter 21 to the of the crime of unjust vexation, but acquitted the other accused. The court
Mayor, stating, among others, that they can only be ejected from the market ruled that Melchor Maderazo had no authority to padlock, open and inventory
stall if the Municipality reimbursed them for what they had advanced for the the contents of the subject stall and take the same to the police station.
construction of the stall and if the Municipality was no longer willing to lease Although, he had the power to cancel the lease contract, as Mayor, he could
the subject premises. They admitted that Verutiao had not paid any rent since not eject the lessee by padlocking the market stall and order the hauling and
1993 but maintained that, under Section 38 of Ordinance No. 2, Series of seizure of the goods contained therein. The remedies of the Municipality in
1984,22 she did not have to pay rental until her expenses were reimbursed, as cases where there is delinquency in the payment of fees and rentals are
the rentals due would be debited from 50% of the amount she advanced for provided in the Local Government Code.
the construction of the market stall, and that she will vacate the stall only after
the municipality shall have reimbursed her expenses in the construction.
The court ruled that the accused cannot, however, be convicted of grave
coercion because they did not use violence, threats or intimidation. Verutiao
On January 21, 1997, Mayor Maderazo padlocked the leased premises. 23
The could not have possibly been intimidated or forced by the accused, as she
locks were opened on the authority of the Mayor on January 27, 1997. The was not at the market stall when the same was padlocked, and its goods
contents of the market stall were inventoried by Victor Maderazo and taken to inventoried and hauled. The court, however, held the said accused criminally
the police station for safekeeping.24 While these were being undertaken, liable for unjust vexation even if the private complainant was not at the stall
Verutiao was in her farm about 4 to 5 kilometers away from the market stall. 25 because the overt acts of the accused caused her annoyance, irritation and
She considered the act of the Mayor as a political harassment, given that her vexation. The court ruled that if the second element of grave coercion under
husband, was then a candidate for councilor under the ticket of the opposition; Article 286, par. 1 of the Revised Penal Code is lacking, the crime committed
and that she was a leader of the opposing party.26 falls under the second paragraph of Article 287 of the same Code. The fallo of
the decision reads:
The Case for the Accused27
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, accused MELCHOR G. MADERAZO,
Except for the accused Victor Maderazo, the other accused opted not to accused SENIFORO PERIDO and VICTOR MADERAZO JR. are hereby
testify. Victor Maderazo declared that as of January 27, 1997, he was a CONVICTED of the crime of Unjust Vexation, in Criminal Case No. 24309 and
member of the Sangguniang Bayan of Caibiran. On said date, he was at the hereby ordered to pay a fine of Two Hundred Pesos (P200.00). Accused
stall of Verutiao at the public market in the company of Seniforo Perido, who RODOLFO RICO, accused ORLANDO MOCORRO, accused RODOLFO
was the Chief of Police of Caibiran, Barangay Captain Rodolfo Rico, Revenue AZUR, accused REYNALDO OLEDAN, accused JORDAN GERVACIO, and
Collector Orlando Mocorro, and Faulio Quizo, and other laborers. All of them accused JOSE CESORA are hereby ACQUITTED of the Crime of Grave
witnessed the inventory of the goods in the stall of Verutiao which Victor Coercion in Criminal Case No. 24309 for failure of the prosecution to prove
Maderazo made upon the request of Mayor Melchor Maderazo. Earlier, their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
Verutiao was informed, by letter, of the inventory of the goods in the stall,
Consequently, the cash bond they have posted for their provisional liberty are Petitioners maintain that they are not criminally liable for unjust vexation
hereby CANCELLED and the Regional Trial Court, Branch 37, Caibiran, because Verutiao was not prevented from doing something not prohibited by
Biliran Cashier is hereby ordered to release the said Cash Bond to accused law. She could not have been possibly intimidated or forced by petitioners,
Rico, accused Mocorro, accused Cesora, accused Azur, accused Oledan, and and could not have been prevented from doing business. In fact, she was not
accused Gervacio. transacting business at the time. Verutiao was not at her stall when it was
opened and her goods inventoried; hence, she could not have been vexed.
The Hold Departure Order issued against accused Rico, accused Mocorro,
accused Cesora, accused Azur, accused Oledan, and accused Gervacio are Under the Information, they were charged with grave coercion for allegedly
set aside and any Hold Departure Order issued by the Bureau of Immigration evicting Verutiao from her stall on January 27, 1997, thereby compelling her
and Deportation pursuant thereto is hereby recalled. However, the Hold to give up her possession, and depriving her of said market stall. However,
Departure Orders issued against accused Maderazo, accused Maderazo, Jr., they were convicted by the trial court of unjust vexation because they allegedly
and accused Perido stand. padlocked the stall, hauled and/or seized the goods contained therein. It was
petitioner Mayor Maderazo who had padlocked the stall earlier on January 21,
SO ORDERED.29 1997. Petitioners Perido and Victor Maderazo, Jr. were not involved in the
padlocking of the stall. For his part, petitioner Melchor Maderazo was not at
the stall on January 27, 1997; he cannot, thus, be guilty of unjust vexation for
The Petition Before the Court the overt acts of his co-petitioners on January 27, 1997.

The accused, now petitioners, filed the instant petition30 and rely on the Verutiao’s refusal to vacate the premises of the subject stall despite proper
following grounds: demand and despite the fact that she was no longer operating the same,
rendered her a deforciant, and liable for violation of Municipal Ordinance No.
I 2, Series of 1994. Consequently, petitioner Mayor Maderazo had every right
to consider the subject stall vacant; and proceed in accordance with Section
THE SANDIGANBAYAN GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING 44 of Ordinance No. 2, Series of 1994, which provides:
Section 44 - Vacancy of Tienda or Stall before expiration of lease.
Should any reason (sic), a tienda, stall or stand holder or leases (sic)
THE SANDIGANBAYAN GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT PETITIONER discontinues or be required to discontinue his business before the expiration
MAYOR MADERAZO HAS NO POWER TO PADLOCK A MARKET STALL of the lease, such tienda, stall or stand shall be considered vacant and its
AND TO HAUL THE GOODS CONTAINED THEREIN. occupancy thereafter shall be disposed of in the manner herein prescribed.

III Petitioners posit that a Municipal Mayor has the duty to enforce all laws and
ordinances relative to the governance of the Municipality and the exercise of
its corporate powers and must ensure that all taxes and revenues of the
THE SACROSANCT RULE IS THAT WHERE THE PROSECUTION FAILS Municipality are collected. He is empowered to issue licenses and permits and
TO DISCHARGE ITS BURDEN OF PROVING BEYOND REASONABLE to suspend or revoke the same for violation of the conditions upon which said
DOUBT EVERY FACT NECESSARY TO CONSTITUTE THE CRIME FOR licenses or permits were issued; to adopt adequate measures to protect the
WHICH THE ACCUSED IS BEING HELD TO ACCOUNT -- AS IN THE CASE funds, credits, rights and other properties of the municipality; and to institute
AT BAR -- THE ACCUSED MUST PERFORCE BE ACQUITTED.31 or cause to be instituted administrative or judicial proceedings for violation of
ordinances in the collection of taxes, fees or charges. Under Sec. 174 of the
The threshold issue is whether or not the People adduced proof beyond Local Government Code, among the civil remedies for the collection of
reasonable doubt of petitioners’ guilt for unjust vexation. delinquent local taxes, fees or charges, and other revenues is "by
administrative action through distraint of goods, chattels or effects, and other He maintains that nowhere in the Local Government Code is the Mayor of a
personal property of whatever character, including stocks and other securities, Municipality authorized to take the law into his own hands. Instead, the Local
debts, credits, bank accounts, and interest in and rights to personal property, Government Code provides specifically for the measures, procedures and
and by levy upon real property and interest in or rights to real property." remedies to be undertaken in cases of delinquency in the payment of fees or
charges due to the local government concerned. Ordering to padlock, and to
Petitioner Mayor Melchor Maderazo had the right to padlock the stall of subsequently cart and haul the goods inside the market stall being rented by
Medaria Verutiao on January 21, 1997, after she refused to vacate the stall Verutiao to the police precinct without any court order or notice of distraint and
despite his demand. Verutiao had no more lease contract and was no longer levy prejudiced the spouses. Petitioner Mayor Maderazo’s duties of protecting
operating the stall for the purpose it was intended, in violation of Municipal the properties of the Municipality and enforcing the law do not include
Ordinance No. 2, Series of 1984. Moreover, she was delinquent in the depriving Verutiao of her means of livelihood. Perido and Maderazo, Jr.
payment of monthly rentals. Under the circumstances, and in view of her cannot escape criminal liability by merely saying that they were following the
violation of Municipal Ordinance No. 2, Series of 1984, petitioner Mayor orders of Melchor Maderazo as only lawful orders deserved to be followed and
Melchor Maderazo was duty-bound to institute the necessary administrative obeyed. The participation of petitioners Perido and Maderazo, Jr. went beyond
proceedings or to take immediate action to correct the violation, protect the just being witnesses because they admitted that "they opened the stall and x
property of the Municipality, and ensure that the delinquent revenues from the x x accounted for the goods and special effects contained inside." Petitioners
subject stall would be collected. Perido and Maderazo, Jr. were invited to be at the vicinity as witnesses but
they acted beyond their participation as mere witnesses; they became
participants to an illegal and unauthorized act.
Petitioners aver that in closing down the stall, Verutiao was not ejected
therefrom but was merely stopped from improperly using it, in the exercise of
petitioner Mayor Maderazo’s power and duty to enforce all laws and Petitioners Seniforo Perido and Victor Maderazo, Jr. occupy the positions of
ordinances relative to the governance of the Municipality and the exercise of Station Commander and Member of the Sangguniang Bayan, respectively.
its corporate powers. They are public servants, and as such, owe the constituents of the Municipality
of Caibiran, including Verutiao, the performance of their official duties and
obligations to a higher degree of commitment and standards, and must
The Special Prosecutor, for his part, avers that, under the Local Government necessarily conform to the norms of conduct set forth by the law.
Code, the local government concerned may avail of the following remedies,
either alternatively or simultaneously, for the collection of fees or charges: 1)
the administrative remedies of distraint of personal properties or levy upon Verutiao was not at the subject stall and could not have possibly been
real properties; and 2) by judicial action. But from the evidence, petitioner intimidated or forced by the accused. She could, likewise, not be prevented
Melchor Maderazo cancelled the lease contract and ordered, which the other from doing business because they were not transacting business at that time.
petitioners obeyed, to padlock and to subsequently cart and haul the goods of By the actuations of the petitioners, Verutiao was tormented and distressed.
spouses Verutiao inside their market stall to the precinct, under the guise that Unjust vexation is a form of light coercion which is broad enough to include
it was done in accordance with the law. He did not avail of the judicial action any human conduct which, although not productive of some physical or
which is specifically provided in the Local Government Code. He failed to avail material harm, would unjustly annoy or irritate an innocent person.
of the administrative remedies of distraint and levy and its procedure as
provided in Section 175 thereof. The Ruling of the Court

Even if Verutiao was delinquent in the payment of their rentals, petitioner On the first issue, we agree with the contention of respondents that indeed,
Melchor Maderazo is mandated to consider and resolve the exemptions being the prosecution adduced proof beyond reasonable doubt to prove the guilt of
claimed by the former and which were properly communicated to him. petitioners Mayor Melchor Maderazo and Sangguniang Bayan Member Victor
Petitioner Melchor Maderazo cannot take the law into his hands, and order Maderazo, Jr. for unjust vexation.
the seizure of the goods of the spouses Verutiao which was implemented by
the other petitioners, in clear violation of the law. Article 287 of the Revised Penal Code reads:
Art. 287. Light coercions. – Any person, who by means of violence, shall seize her. It was petitioner Melchor Maderazo who ordered petitioner Victor
anything belonging to his debtor for the purpose of applying the same to the Maderazo, Jr. to have the stall reopened, to conduct an inventory of the
payment of the debt, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum contents thereof, and to effect the transportation of the goods to the police
period and a fine equivalent to the value of the thing, but in no case less than station. Petitioner Victor Maderazo, who was a Sangguniang Bayan member,
75 pesos. obeyed the order of the Mayor.

Any other coercions or unjust vexations shall be punished by arresto menor Although Verutiao was not at her stall when it was unlocked, and the contents
or a fine ranging from 5 to 200 pesos, or both. thereof taken from the stall and brought to the police station, the crime of
unjust vexation was nevertheless committed. For the crime to exist, it is not
The second paragraph of the Article is broad enough to include any human necessary that the offended party be present when the crime was committed
conduct which, although not productive of some physical or material harm, by said petitioners. It is enough that the private complainant was embarrassed,
could unjustifiably annoy or vex an innocent person. 32 Compulsion or restraint annoyed, irritated or disturbed when she learned of the overt acts of the
need not be alleged in the Information, for the crime of unjust vexation may petitioners. Indeed, by their collective acts, petitioners evicted Verutiao from
exist without compulsion or restraint. However, in unjust vexation, being a her stall and prevented her from selling therein, hence, losing income from the
felony by dolo, malice is an inherent element of the crime. Good faith is a good business. Verutiao was deprived of her possession of the stall from January
defense to a charge for unjust vexation because good faith negates malice. 21, 1997.
The paramount question to be considered is whether the offender’s act
caused annoyance, irritation, torment, distress or disturbance to the mind of Petitioners Mayor Melchor Maderazo and Sangguniang Bayan member Victor
the person to whom it is directed.33 The main purpose of the law penalizing Maderazo, Jr., had no right, without judicial intervention, to oust Verutiao from
coercion and unjust vexation is precisely to enforce the principle that no the stall, and had her merchandise transported to the police station, thereby
person may take the law into his hands and that our government is one of law, preventing her from doing business therein and selling her merchandize.
not of men. It is unlawful for any person to take into his own hands the Petitioner Mayor Maderazo had no right to take the law into his own hands
administration of justice.34 and deprive Verutiao of her possession of the stall and her means of
In the present case, petitioner Melchor Maderazo opted not to testify in his
behalf. The Sandiganbayan convicted the petitioners of unjust vexation on its Admittedly, the lease contract of Verutiao and the Municipality expired on
findings that petitioner Mayor Melchor Maderazo had the stall of Verutiao January 13, 1997 without having been renewed, and petitioner Mayor ordered
padlocked and had it reopened, and had the contents of the stall inventoried Verutiao to vacate the stall, also for her failure to pay the rent amounting to
and taken to the police station. However, the padlocking of the stall of Verutiao P2,532.00. Under Section 44 of Ordinance No. 2, Series of 1999, the stall is
by petitioner Melchor Maderazo took place on January 21, 1997 and not on considered vacant and shall be disposed of. However, petitioner had to file an
January 27, 1997. Petitioners were charged with grave coercion, but were action for unlawful detainer against Verutiao to recover possession of her stall
convicted of unjust vexation for the eviction of Verutiao on January 27, 1997 and cause her eviction from said premises. 35 Verutiao insisted on her right to
and not on January 21, 1997 following the inventory of the contents of the stall remain as lessee of her stall and to do business thereat. Such action is
and the transportation thereof to the police station. The only events that took designed to prevent breaches of the peace and criminal disorder and prevent
place on January 27, 1997 were the unlocking of the padlock of the stall, the those believing themselves entitled to the possession of the property resort to
inventory of its contents by petitioner Victor Maderazo on order of petitioner force to gain possession rather than to secure appropriate action in the court
Melchor Maderazo, and the transportation of the goods to the police station to assert their claims.36 It was incumbent upon petitioner Mayor to institute an
where it was stored. Petitioners Victor Maderazo, Jr. and Seniforo Perido were action for the eviction of Verutiao. He cannot be permitted to invade the
not present when the stall was padlocked on January 21, 1997. property and oust the lessee who is entitled to the actual possession and to
place the burden upon the latter of instituting an action to try the property
We agree with respondent’s contention that based on the evidence on record, right.37
the overt acts of petitioners Mayor Melchor Maderazo and Victor Maderazo,
Jr., on January 27, 1997, annoyed, irritated and caused embarrassment to
An action for forcible entry and unlawful detainer are summary proceedings SO ORDERED.
established for the purpose of providing expeditious means of protecting
actual possession, which is presumed to be lawful until the contrary is proven. Baleros Jr. v. People
As this Court emphasized in Dizon v. Concina:38
Succinctly did this Court explain in one case the nature of the forcible entry
action: "In giving recognition to the action of forcible entry and detainer the
purpose of the law is to protect the person who in fact has actual possession; In this petition for review on certiorari, petitioner Renato Baleros, Jr. assails
and in case of controverted right, it requires the parties to preserve the status and seeks the reversal of the January 13, 1999 decision 1 of the Court of
quo until one or the other of them sees fit to invoke the decision of a court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 17271 as reiterated in its March 31, 1999
competent jurisdiction upon the question of ownership. It is obviously just that resolution2 denying petitioner’s motion for reconsideration.
the person who has first acquired possession should remain in possession
pending this decision; and the parties cannot be permitted meanwhile to The assailed decision affirmed an earlier decision of the Regional Trial Court
engage in a petty warfare over the possession of the property which is the (RTC) of Manila, Branch 2, in Criminal Case No. 91-101642 finding petitioner
subject of dispute.39 Renato Baleros, Jr. y David (CHITO) guilty of attempted rape.3

Undeniably, petitioner Mayor is tasked to enforce all laws and ordinances The accusatory portion of the information4 dated December 17, 1991 charging
relative to the governance of the Municipality and to implement all approved petitioner with attempted rape reads as follow:
programs, projects, services and activities of the Municipality 40 and to ensure
that all taxes and other revenues of the Municipality are collected. 41 He is That about 1:50 in the morning or sometime thereafter of 13 December 1991
obliged to institute or cause to be instituted administrative or judicial in Manila and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
proceedings for the recovery of funds and property. 42 However, in the accused, by forcefully covering the face of Martina Lourdes T. Albano with a
performance of his duties, petitioner Mayor should act within the confines of piece of cloth soaked in chemical with dizzying effects, did then and there
the law and not resort to the commission of a felony. A public officer is willfully, unlawfully and feloniously commenced the commission of rape by
proscribed from resorting to criminal acts in the enforcement of laws and lying on top of her with the intention to have carnal knowledge with her but
ordinances. He must exercise his power and perform his duties in accordance was unable to perform all the acts of execution by reason of some cause or
with law, with strict observance of the rights of the people, and never accident other than his own spontaneous desistance, said acts being
whimsically, arbitrarily and despotically. committed against her will and consent to her damage and prejudice.

Even as we find petitioners Mayor Melchor Maderazo and Victor Maderazo, Upon arraignment on February 5, 1992, petitioner, assisted by counsel,
Jr. guilty of unjust vexation, we find petitioner Seniforo Perido deserving of an pleaded "Not Guilty."5 Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued.
acquittal. The Prosecution failed to prove that he conspired with the other
petitioners. He was at the situs of the stall merely to witness the inventory and
ensure peace and order. He agreed to have the contents of the stall of To prove its case, the prosecution presented thirteen (13) witnesses. Among
Verutiao stored in the police station presumably to protect the property from them were private complainant Martina Lourdes Albano (Malou), and her
the elements and asportation by thieves until after Verutiao shall have claimed classmates, Joseph Bernard Africa, Rommel Montes, Renato Alagadan and
the same or the disposition thereof determined by the authorities concerned. Christian Alcala. Their testimonies, as narrated in some detail in the decision
of the CA, established the following facts:
The Decision of the Sandiganbayan is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that Like most of the tenants of the Celestial Marie Building (hereafter "Building",
petitioner Seniforo Perido is ACQUITTED of the crime charged. The bail bond …) along A.H. Lacson Street, Sampaloc, Manila, MALOU, occupying Room
posted by him for his provisional liberty is cancelled. No costs. 307 with her maid, Marvilou Bebania (Marvilou), was a medical student of the
University of Sto. Tomas [UST] in 1991.
In the evening of December 12, inside Unit 307, MALOU retired at around white t-shirt with “‘…a marking on the front of the T-shirt T M and a Greek letter
10:30. Outside, right in front of her bedroom door, her maid, Marvilou, slept on (sic) ΣΦ’ and below the quoted letters the word ‘1946’ ‘UST Medicine and
a folding bed. Surgery’” (TSN, October 9, 1992, p. 9) and black shorts with the brand name
“Adidas” (TSN, October 16, 1992, p.7) and requested permission to go up to
Early morning of the following day, MALOU was awakened by the smell of Room 306. This Unit was being leased by Ansbert Co and at that time when
chemical on a piece of cloth pressed on her face. She struggled but could not CHITO was asking permission to enter, only Joseph Bernard Africa was in the
move. Somebody was pinning her down on the bed, holding her tightly. She room.
wanted to scream for help but the hands covering her mouth with cloth wet
with chemicals were very tight (TSN, July 5, 1993, p. 33). Still, MALOU He asked CHITO to produce the required written authorization and when
continued fighting off her attacker by kicking him until at last her right hand got CHITO could not, S/G Ferolin initially refused [but later, relented] …. S/G
free. With this …the opportunity presented itself when she was able to grab Ferolin made the following entry in the security guard’s logbook …:
hold of his sex organ which she then squeezed.
"0130H Baleros Renato Jr. is a visitor of Ansbert Co who has not have (sic) a
The man let her go and MALOU went straight to the bedroom door and roused Request letter from our tenant of Unit #-306 Ansbert, but still I let him inter
Marvilou. xxx. Over the intercom, MALOU told S/G Ferolin that: "may pumasok (sic) for the reason that he will be our tenant this coming summer break as he
sa kuarto ko pinagtangkaan ako" (Ibid., p. 8). Who it was she did not, however, said so I let him sign it here
know. The only thing she had made out during their struggle was the feel of
her attacker’s clothes and weight. His upper garment was of cotton material (Sgd.) Baleros Renato Jr."
while that at the lower portion felt smooth and satin-like (Ibid, p. 17). He …
was wearing a t-shirt and shorts … Original Records, p. 355).
(Exhibit "A-2")
To Room 310 of the Building where her classmates Christian Alcala, Bernard
Baptista, Lutgardo Acosta and Rommel Montes were staying, MALOU then That CHITO arrived at Room 306 at 1:30 A.M. of December 13, 1991 was
proceeded to seek help. xxx. corroborated by Joseph Bernard Africa (Joseph), ….

It was then when MALOU saw her bed … topsy-turvy. Her nightdress was xxx xxx xxx
stained with blue … (TSN, July 5, 1993, pp. 13-14). Aside from the window
with grills which she had originally left opened, another window inside her Joseph was already inside Room 306 at 9 o’clock in the evening of December
bedroom was now open. Her attacker had fled from her room going through 12, 1991. xxx by the time CHITO’s knocking on the door woke him up, …. He
the left bedroom window (Ibid, Answers to Question number 5; Id), the one was able to fix the time of CHITO’s arrival at 1:30 A.M. because he glanced at
without iron grills which leads to Room 306 of the Building (TSN, July 5, 1993, the alarm clock beside the bed when he was awakened by the knock at the
p.6). door ….

xxx xxx xxx Joseph noticed that CHITO was wearing dark-colored shorts and white T-shirt
(Ibid., p. 23) when he let the latter in. …. It was at around 3 o’clock in the
Further, MALOU testified that her relation with CHITO, who was her classmate morning of December 13, 1991 when he woke up again later to the sound of
…, was friendly until a week prior to the attack. CHITO confided his feelings knocking at the door, this time, by Bernard Baptista (Bernard), ….
for her, telling her: "Gusto kita, mahal kita" (TSN, July 5, 1993, p. 22) and she
rejected him. …. (TSN, July 5, 1993, p. 22). xxx. With Bernard, Joseph then went to MALOU’s room and thereat was
shown by Bernard the open window through which the intruder supposedly
Meanwhile, according to S/G Ferolin, while he was on duty, CHITO arrived at passed.
the Building at 1:30 in the early morning of December 13, 1991, wearing a
xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx.

Later, at about 6 to 6:30 in the morning of December 13, 1991, Joseph was The colored gray bag had a handle and a strap, was elongated to about 11/4
finally able to talk to CHITO …. He mentioned to the latter that something had feet and appeared to be full but was closed with a zipper when Renato saw it
happened and that they were not being allowed to get out of the building. then (Ibid, pp. 19-20). At that time Christian, Gary, Bernard, and Renato went
Joseph also told CHITO to follow him to Room 310. back to Room 310 at around 3 to 4 o’clock that afternoon along with some CIS
agents, they saw the bag at the same place inside the bedroom where Renato
CHITO did just that. He followed after Joseph to Unit 310, carrying his gray had seen CHITO leave it. Not until later that night at past 9 o’clock in Camp
bag. xxx. None was in Room 310 so Joseph went to their yet another Crame, however, did Renato know what the contents of the bag were.
classmate, Renato Alagadan at Room 401 to see if the others were there. xxx.
xxx xxx xxx.
People from the CIS came by before 8 o’clock that same morning …. They
likewise invited CHITO and Joseph to go with them to Camp Crame where the The forensic Chemist, Leslie Chambers, of the Philippine National Police
two (2) were questioned …. Crime Laboratory in Camp Crame, having acted in response to the written
request of PNP Superintendent Lucas M. Managuelod dated December 13,
An occupant of Room 310 … Christian Alcala (Christian) recalled in Court that 1991, (Exhibit "C"; Original Records, p. 109.) conducted laboratory
in the afternoon of December 13, 1991, after their 3:30 class, he and his examination on the specimen collated and submitted…. Her Chemistry Report
roommates, Bernard Baptista and Lutgardo Acosta (Gary) were called to the No. C-487-91 (Exhibit "E"; Ibid., p. 112) reads in part, thus:
Building and were asked by the CIS people to look for anything not belonging
to them in their Unit. While they were outside Room 310 talking with the "SPECIMEN SUBMITTED:
authorities, Rommel Montes (Loyloy), another roommate of his, went inside to
search the Unit. Loyloy found (TSN, January 12, 1993, p. 6) a gray xxx xxx xxx:
"Khumbella" bag cloth type (Ibid, pp. 44-45) from inside their unit which they
did not know was there and surrender the same to the investigators. When he
saw the gray bag, Christian knew right away that it belonged to CHITO (Ibid, 1) One (1) small white plastic bag marked ‘UNIMART’ with the following:
p. 55) as he had seen the latter usually bringing it to school inside the
classroom (Ibid, p. 45). xxx xxx xxx

In their presence, the CIS opened the bag and pulled out its contents, among Exh ‘C’ – One (1) night dress colored salmon pink.
others, a white t-shirt with a Taunu (sic) Sigma Phi sign (Ibid, p. 7), a Black
Adidas short pants, a handkerchief , three (3) white T-shirts, an underwear, 2) One (1) small white pl astic bag marked ‘JONAS’ with the following:
and socks (Ibid).

Exh. ‘D’ – One (1) printed handkerchief.

Christian recognized the t-shirt (Exhibit "D-4"), the Adidas short pants (Exhibit
"D-5"), and the handkerchief (Exhibit "D-3) to be CHITO’s because CHITO
had lent the very same one to him …. The t-shirt with CHITO’s fraternity Exh. ‘E’ – One (1) white T-shirt marked ‘TMZI’.
symbol, CHITO used to wear on weekends, and the handkerchief he saw
CHITO used at least once in December. Exh. ‘F’ – One (1) black short (sic) marked ‘ADIDAS’.

That CHITO left his bag inside Room 310 in the morning of December 13, PURPOSE OF LABORATORY EXAMINATION:
1991, was what consisted mainly of Renato R. Alagadan’s testimony.
To determine the presence of volatime (sic), non-volatile and/or metallic xxx CHITO had anticipated his turn … and was thus wearing his t-shirt and
poison on the above stated specimens. long pants when he was dunked. Perla Duran, …, offered each … dry clothes
to change into and CHITO put on the white t-shirt with the Fraternity’s symbol
FINDINGS: and a pair of black shorts with stripes. xxx .

Toxicological examination conducted on the above stated specimens gave the Again riding on Alberto’s car and wearing "barong tagalog over a white t-shirt
following results: with the symbol TAU Sigma Phi, black short pants with stripe, socks and
shoes" (TSN, April 25, 1994, p. 15), CHITO left the party with Robert Chan
and Alberto at more or less past 1 A.M. of December 13, 1991 and proceeded
Exhs. ‘C’ and ‘D’ – POSITIVE to the test for chloroform, a volatile poison. to the Building which they reached at about 1:30 A.M. (Ibid., p. 19). He had
left his gray traveling bag containing "white t-shirt, sando, underwear, socks,
Exhs. ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘E’ and ‘F’ are insufficient for further analysis. and toothbrush (Ibid., pp. 17-18) at room 306 in the afternoon of the previous
day ….
At the gate of the Building, CHITO knocked and …, S/G Ferolin, looking at his
Exhs. ‘C’ and ‘D’ contain chloroform, a volatile poison." 6 (Words in bracket watch, approached. Because of this, CHITO also looked at his own watch and
added) saw that the time was 1:30 (Ibid., p. 26). S/G Ferolin initially refused CHITO
entry …. xxx.

For its part, the defense presented, as its main witness, the petitioner himself.
He denied committing the crime imputed to him or making at any time amorous S/G Ferolin called Unit 306 …. xxx. When S/G Ferolin finally let him in, already
advances on Malou. Unfolding a different version of the incident, the defense about ten (10) minutes had lapsed since CHITO first arrived (Ibid., p. 25).
sought to establish the following, as culled from the same decision of the
appellate court: CHITO went up the floor, found the key left for him by Joseph behind the
opened jalousie window and for five (5) minutes vainly tried to open the door
In December of 1991, CHITO was a medical student of … (UST). With Robert until Rommel Montes, … approached him and even commented: "Okey ang
Chan and Alberto Leonardo, he was likewise a member of the Tau Sigma Phi suot mo ha, di mo mabuksan ang pinto (Ibid., pp. 26-29). Rommel tried to
Fraternity …. MALOU, …, was known to him being also a medical student at open the door of Unit 306 … but was likewise unsuccessful. CHITO then
the UST at the time. decided to just call out to Joseph while knocking at the door.

From Room 306 of the Celestial Marie Building …, CHITO, wearing the It took another (5) minutes of calling out and knocking before Joseph, …, at
prescribed barong tagalog over dark pants and leather shoes, arrived at their last answered the door. Telling him, "Ikaw na ang bahala diyan" Joseph
Fraternity house located at … Dos Castillas, Sampaloc, Manila at about 7 immediately turned his back on CHITO and went inside the bedroom. CHITO
o’clock in the evening of December 12, 1991. He was included in the , …changed to a thinner shirt and went to bed. He still had on the same short
entourage of some fifty (50) fraternity members scheduled for a Christmas pants given by Perla Duran from the fraternity party (TSN, June 16, 1994, p.
gathering at the house of their senior fraternity brother, Dr. Jose Duran, at No. 20).
3 John Street, North Greenhills, San Juan. xxx.
At 6 o’clock in the morning of December 13, 1991, CHITO woke up …. He was
The party was conducted at the garden beside [the] swimming pool …. Soon already in his school uniform when, around 6:30 A.M, Joseph came to the
after, … the four (4) presidential nominees of the Fraternity, CHITO included, room not yet dressed up. He asked the latter why this was so and, without
were being dunked one by one into the pool. xxx. elaborating on it, Joseph told him that something had happened and to just go
to Room 310 which CHITO did.
At Room 310, CHITO was told by Rommel Montes that somebody, whom December 13, 1991 (TSN, June 16, 1994, p. 24), nor when he dressed up at
MALOU was not able to identify, went to the room of MALOU and tried to rape about 6 o’clock in the morning to go to school and brought his gray bag to
her (TSN, April 25, 1994, p. 36). xxx. Room 310 (Ibid. 25). In fact, at any time on December 13, 1991, he was not
aware that his gray bag ever contained any black short Adidas pants (Ibid).
Joseph told him that the security guard was not letting anybody out of the He only found out for the first time that the black Adidas short pants was
Building …. When two (2) CIS men came to the unit asking for Renato Baleros, alluded to be among the items inside his gray bag late in the afternoon, when
CHITO presented himself. Congressman Rodolfo B. Albano, father of he was in Camp Crame.
MALOU, then asked him for the key to Room 306….
Also taking the witness stand for the defense were petitioner’s fraternity
xxx xxx xxx brothers, Alberto Leonardo and Robert Chan, who both testified being with
CHITO in the December 12, 1991 party held in Dr. Duran’s place at Greenhills,
riding on the same car going to and coming from the party and dropping the
The CIS men looked inside the bedroom and on the windows. Joseph was petitioner off the Celestial Marie building after the party. Both were one in
told to dress up and the two (2) of them, CHITO and Joseph, were brought to saying that CHITO was wearing a barong tagalog, with t-shirt inside, with short
Camp Crame. pants and leather shoes at the time they parted after the party. 7 Rommel
Montes, a tenant of Room 310 of the said building, also testified seeing CHITO
When they arrived at Camp Crame …, Col. Managuelod asked Joseph inside between the hours of 1:30 and 2:00 A.M. of December 13, 1991 trying to open
his room and talked to him for 30 minutes. xxx. No one interviewed CHITO to the door of Room 306 while clad in dark short pants and white barong tagalog.
ask his side.
On the other hand, Perla Duran confirmed lending the petitioner the pair of
xxx xxx xxx short pants with stripes after the dunking party held in her father’s house. 8
Presented as defense expert witness was Carmelita Vargas, a forensic
Both CHITO and Joseph were taken to Prosecutor Abesamis who later chemistry instructor whose actual demonstration in open court showed that
instructed them to undergo physical examination at the Camp Crame Hospital chloroform, being volatile, evaporates in thirty (30) seconds without tearing
….. At the hospital, … CHITO and Joseph were physically examined by a nor staining the cloth on which it is applied.9
certain Dr. de Guzman who told them to strip ….
On December 14, 1994, the trial court rendered its decision10 convicting
xxx xxx xxx petitioner of attempted rape and accordingly sentencing him, thus:

CHITO had left his gray bag containing, among others, the black striped short WHEREFORE, under cool reflection and prescinding from the foregoing, the
pants lent to him by Perla Duran (Exhibit "8-A", Original Records, p. 345), Court finds the accused Renato D. Baleros, Jr., alias "Chito", guilty beyond
inside Room 310 at more/less 6:30 to 7 o’clock in the morning of December reasonable doubt of the crime of attempted rape as principal and as charged
13, 1991. The next time that he saw it was between 8 to 9 P.M. when he and in the information and hereby sentences him to suffer an imprisonment
Joseph were brought before Fiscal Abesamis for inquest. One of the CIS ranging from FOUR (4) YEARS, TWO (2) MONTHS AND ONE (1) DAY of
agents had taken it there and it was not opened up in his presence but the Prision Correctional, as Minimum to TEN (10) YEARS of Prision Mayor as
contents of the bag were already laid out on the table of Fiscal Abesamis who, Maximum, with all the accessory penalties provided by law, and for the
however, made no effort to ask CHITO if the items thereat were his. accused to pay the offended party Martina Lourdes T. Albano, the sum of
P50,000.00 by way of Moral and exemplary damages, plus reasonable
Attorney’s fees of P30,000.00, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of
The black Adidas short pants purportedly found in the bag, CHITO denied insolvency, and to pay the costs.
putting in his gray bag which he had left at Room 306 in the early evening of
December 12, 1991 before going to the fraternity house. He likewise
disavowed placing said black Adidas short pants in his gray bag when he SO ORDERED.
returned to the apartment at past 1:00 o’clock in the early morning of
Aggrieved, petitioner went to the CA whereat his appellate recourse was Otherwise stated, the basic issue in this case turns on the question on whether
docketed as CA-G.R. CR No. 17271. or not the CA erred in affirming the ruling of the RTC finding petitioner guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of attempted rape.
As stated at the threshold hereof, the CA, in its assailed Decision dated
January 13, 1999, affirmed the trial court’s judgment of conviction, to wit: After a careful review of the facts and evidence on record in the light of
applicable jurisprudence, the Court is disposed to rule for petitioner’s acquittal,
WHEREFORE, finding no basis in fact and in law to deviate from the findings but not necessarily because there is no direct evidence pointing to him as the
of the court a quo, the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. intruder holding a chemical-soaked cloth who pinned Malou down on the bed
Costs against appellant. in the early morning of December 13, 1991.

SO ORDERED.11 Positive identification pertains essentially to proof of identity and not per se to
that of being an eyewitness to the very act of commission of the crime. There
are two types of positive identification. A witness may identify a suspect or
Petitioner moved for reconsideration, but his motion was denied by the CA in accused as the offender as an eyewitness to the very act of the commission
its equally assailed resolution of March 31, 1999. 12 of the crime. This constitutes direct evidence. There may, however, be
instances where, although a witness may not have actually witnessed the very
Petitioner is now with this Court, on the contention that the CA erred - act of commission of a crime, he may still be able to positively identify a
suspect or accused as the perpetrator of a crime as when, for instance, the
1. In not finding that it is improbable for petitioner to have latter is the person or one of the persons last seen with the victim immediately
committed the attempted rape imputed to him, absent sufficient, before and right after the commission of the crime. This is the second type of
competent and convincing evidence to prove the offense charged. positive identification, which forms part of circumstantial evidence. 13 In the
absence of direct evidence, the prosecution may resort to adducing
circumstantial evidence to discharge its burden. Crimes are usually committed
2. In convicting petitioner of attempted rape on the basis merely of in secret and under condition where concealment is highly probable. If direct
circumstantial evidence since the prosecution failed to satisfy all the evidence is insisted under all circumstances, the prosecution of vicious felons
requisites for conviction based thereon. who committed heinous crimes in secret or secluded places will be hard, if not
well-nigh impossible, to prove.14
3. In not finding that the circumstances it relied on to convict the
petitioner are unreliable, inconclusive and contradictory. Section 4 of Rule 133 of the Rules of Court provides the conditions when
circumstantial evidence may be sufficient for conviction. The provision reads:
4. In not finding that proof of motive is miserably wanting in his
case. Sec. 4. Circumstantial evidence, when sufficient – Circumstantial evidence is
sufficient for conviction if –
5. In awarding damages in favor of the complainant despite the fact
that the award was improper and unjustified absent any evidence to a) There is more than one circumstance;
prove the same.
b) The facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and
6. In failing to appreciate in his favor the constitutional presumption
of innocence and that moral certainty has not been met, hence, he
should be acquitted on the ground that the offense charged against c) The combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a
him has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt. conviction beyond reasonable doubt.
In the present case, the positive identification of the petitioner forms part of Under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, rape is committed by a man
circumstantial evidence, which, when taken together with the other pieces of who has carnal knowledge or intercourse with a woman under any of the
evidence constituting an unbroken chain, leads to only fair and reasonable following circumstances: (1) By using force or intimidation; (2) When the
conclusion, which is that petitioner was the intruder in question. woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and (3) When the
woman is under twelve years of age or is demented. Under Article 6, in relation
We quote with approval the CA’s finding of the circumstantial evidence that to the aforementioned article of the same code, rape is attempted when the
led to the identity of the petitioner as such intruder: offender commences the commission of rape directly by overt acts and does
not perform all the acts of execution which should produce the crime of rape
by reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous
Chito was in the Building when the attack on MALOU took place. He had desistance.16
access to the room of MALOU as Room 307 where he slept the night over had
a window which allowed ingress and egress to Room 306 where MALOU
stayed. Not only the Building security guard, S/G Ferolin, but Joseph Bernard Expounding on the nature of an attempted felony, the Court, speaking thru
Africa as well confirmed that CHITO was wearing a black "Adidas" shorts and Justice Claro M. Recto in People vs. Lamahang,17 stated that "the attempt
fraternity T-shirt when he arrived at the Building/Unit 307 at 1:30 in the which the Penal Code punishes is that which has a logical connection to a
morning of December 13, 1991. Though it was dark during their struggle, particular, concrete offense; that which is the beginning of the execution of the
MALOU had made out the feel of her intruder’s apparel to be something made offense by overt acts of the perpetrator, leading directly to its realization and
of cotton material on top and shorts that felt satin-smooth on the bottom. consummation." Absent the unavoidable connection, like the logical and
natural relation of the cause and its effect, as where the purpose of the
offender in performing an act is not certain, meaning the nature of the act in
From CHITO’s bag which was found inside Room 310 at the very spot where relation to its objective is ambiguous, then what obtains is an attempt to
witness Renato Alagadan saw CHITO leave it, were discovered the most commit an indeterminate offense, which is not a juridical fact from the
incriminating evidence: the handkerchief stained with blue and wet with some standpoint of the Penal Code.18
kind of chemicals; a black "Adidas" satin short pants; and a white fraternity T-
shirt, also stained with blue. A different witness, this time, Christian Alcala,
identified these garments as belonging to CHITO. As it turned out, laboratory There is absolutely no dispute about the absence of sexual intercourse or
examination on these items and on the beddings and clothes worn by MALOU carnal knowledge in the present case. The next question that thus comes to
during the incident revealed that the handkerchief and MALOU’s night dress the fore is whether or not the act of the petitioner, i.e., the pressing of a
both contained chloroform, a volatile poison which causes first degree burn chemical-soaked cloth while on top of Malou, constitutes an overt act of
exactly like what MALOU sustained on that part of her face where the rape.1avvphil.net
chemical-soaked cloth had been pressed.
Overt or external act has been defined as some physical activity or deed,
This brings the Court to the issue on whether the evidence adduced by the indicating the intention to commit a particular crime, more than a mere
prosecution has established beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the planning or preparation, which if carried out to its complete termination
petitioner for the crime of attempted rape. following its natural course, without being frustrated by external obstacles nor
by the voluntary desistance of the perpetrator, will logically and necessarily
ripen into a concrete offense.19
The Solicitor General maintained that petitioner, by pressing on Malou’s face
the piece of cloth soaked in chemical while holding her body tightly under the
weight of his own, had commenced the performance of an act indicative of an Harmonizing the above definition to the facts of this case, it would be too
intent or attempt to rape the victim. It is argued that petitioner’s actuation thus strained to construe petitioner's act of pressing a chemical-soaked cloth in the
described is an overt act contemplated under the law, for there can not be any mouth of Malou which would induce her to sleep as an overt act that will
other logical conclusion other than that the petitioner intended to ravish Malou logically and necessarily ripen into rape. As it were, petitioner did not
after he attempted to put her to an induced sleep. The Solicitor General, commence at all the performance of any act indicative of an intent or attempt
echoing what the CA said, adds that if petitioner’s intention was otherwise, he to rape Malou. It cannot be overemphasized that petitioner was fully clothed
would not have lain on top of the victim.15 and that there was no attempt on his part to undress Malou, let alone touch
her private part. For what reason petitioner wanted the complainant Lest it be misunderstood, the Court is not saying that petitioner is innocent,
unconscious, if that was really his immediate intention, is anybody’s guess. under the premises, of any wrongdoing whatsoever. The information filed
The CA maintained that if the petitioner had no intention to rape, he would not against petitioner contained an allegation that he forcefully covered the face
have lain on top of the complainant. Plodding on, the appellate court even of Malou with a piece of cloth soaked in chemical. And during the trial, Malou
anticipated the next step that the petitioner would have taken if the victim had testified about the pressing against her face of the chemical-soaked cloth and
been rendered unconscious. Wrote the CA: having struggled after petitioner held her tightly and pinned her down. Verily,
while the series of acts committed by the petitioner do not determine
The shedding of the clothes, both of the attacker and his victim, will have to attempted rape, as earlier discussed, they constitute unjust vexation
come later. His sexual organ is not yet exposed because his intended victim punishable as light coercion under the second paragraph of Article 287 of the
is still struggling. Where the intended victim is an educated woman already Revised Penal Code. In the context of the constitutional provision assuring an
mature in age, it is very unlikely that a rapist would be in his naked glory before accused of a crime the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the
even starting his attack on her. He has to make her lose her guard first, or as accusation,24 it cannot be said that petitioner was kept in the dark of the
in this case, her unconsciousness.20 inculpatory acts for which he was proceeded against. To be sure, the
information against petitioner contains sufficient details to enable him to make
his defense. As aptly observed by then Justice Ramon C. Aquino, there is no
At bottom then, the appellate court indulges in plain speculation, a practice need to allege malice, restraint or compulsion in an information for unjust
disfavored under the rule on evidence in criminal cases. For, mere vexation. As it were, unjust vexation exists even without the element of
speculations and probabilities cannot substitute for proof required to establish restraint or compulsion for the reason that this term is broad enough to include
the guilt of an accused beyond reasonable doubt.21 any human conduct which, although not productive of some physical or
material harm, would unjustly annoy or irritate an innocent person. 25 The
In Perez vs. Court of Appeals,22 the Court acquitted therein petitioner of the paramount question is whether the offender’s act causes annoyance, irritation,
crime of attempted rape, pointing out that: torment, distress or disturbance to the mind of the person to whom it is
directed.26 That Malou, after the incident in question, cried while relating to her
xxx. In the crime of rape, penetration is an essential act of execution to classmates what she perceived to be a sexual attack and the fact that she
produce the felony. Thus, for there to be an attempted rape, the accused must filed a case for attempted rape proved beyond cavil that she was disturbed, if
have commenced the act of penetrating his sexual organ to the vagina of the not distressed by the acts of petitioner.
victim but for some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous
desistance, the penetration, however, slight, is not completed. The penalty for coercion falling under the second paragraph of Article 287 of
the Revised Penal Code is arresto menor or a fine ranging from ₱5.00 to
xxx xxx xxx ₱200.00 or both.

Petitioner’s act of lying on top of the complainant, embracing and kissing her, WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals affirming that of
mashing her breasts, inserting his hand inside her panty and touching her the Regional Trial Court of Manila, is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and
sexual organ, while admittedly obscene and detestable acts, do not constitute a new one entered ACQUITTING petitioner Renato D. Baleros, Jr. of the
attempted rape absent any showing that petitioner actually commenced to charge for attempted rape. Petitioner, however, is adjudged GUILTY of light
force his penis into the complainant’s sexual organ. xxx. coercion and is accordingly sentenced to 30 days of arresto menor and to pay
a fine of ₱200.00, with the accessory penalties thereof and to pay the costs.
Likewise in People vs. Pancho,23 the Court held:

xxx, appellant was merely holding complainant’s feet when his Tito Onio
arrived at the alleged locus criminis. Thus, it would be stretching to the
extreme our credulity if we were to conclude that mere holding of the feet is
attempted rape.