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G.R. No.

L-2189 November 3, 1906

THE UNITED STATES,Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. FRANCISCO BAUTISTA, ET AL.,Defendants-


Appellants.

Aguedo Velarde and Pineda and Escueta, for appellants.


Office of the Solicitor-General Araneta, for appellee.

CARSON, J.:

The appellants in this case was convicted in the Court of First Instance of Manila of the crime of
conspiracy to overthrow, put down, and destroy by force the Government of the United States
in the Philippine Islands and the Government of the Philippine Islands, as defined and penalized
in section 4 of Act No. 292 of the Philippine Commission.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
virtual law library

The appellant Francisco Bautista was sentenced to four years' imprisonment, with hard labor,
and $3,000 fine, and Aniceto de Guzman and Tomas Puzon, and each of them, to three years'
imprisonment, with hard labor, and a fine of $2,000, and all and each of the said appellants to
pay their proportionate share of the costs of the trial and to undergo subsidiary imprisonment
in the event of insolvency and failure to pay their respective
fines.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

The evidence of record conclusively establishes that during the latter part of the year 1903
a junta was organized and a conspiracy entered into by a number of Filipinos, resident in the
city of Hongkong, for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of the United States in the
Philippine Islands by force of arms and establishing in its stead a government to be known as
the Republica Universal Democratica Filipina; that one Prim Ruiz was recognized as the titular
head of this conspiracy and one Artemio Ricarte as chief of the military forces to the organized
in the Philippines in the furtherance of the plans of the conspirators; that toward the end of
December, 1903 the said Ricarte came to Manila from Hongkong in hidding on board the
steamship Yuensang; that after his arrival in the Philippines he held a number of meetings in
the city of Manila and the adjoining provinces whereat was perfected the above-mentioned
conspiracy hatched in Hongkong that at these meetings new members were taken into the
conspiracy and plans made for the enlistment of an army of revolution and the raising of money
by national and private loans to carry on the campaign; that to this end bonds were issued and
commissions as officers in the revolutionary army were granted to a number of conspirators,
empowering the officers thus appointed to raise troops and take command thereof; and that
the conspirators did in fact take the field and offered armed resistance to the constituted
authorities in the Philippines, only failing in their design of overthrowing the Government
because of their failure to combat successfully with the officers of the law who were sent
against them and of the failure of the people to rise en masse in response to their
propaganda.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

It further appears from the evidence that the appellant Francisco Bautista, a resident of the city
of Manila, was an intimate friend of the said Ricarte; that Ricarte wrote and notified Bautista of
his coming to Manila and that, to aid him in his journey, Bautista forwarded to him secretly 200
pesos; that after the arrival of Ricarte, Bautista was present, taking part in several of the above-
mentioned meetings whereat the plans of the conspirators were discussed and perfected, and
that at one of these meetings Bautista, in answer to a question of Ricarte, assured him that the
necessary preparations had been made and that he "held the people in readiness." chanrobles
virtual law library

It further appears that the appellant, Tomas Puzon, united with the conspirators through the
agency of one Jose R. Muñoz, who was proven to have been a prime leader of the movement,
in the intimate confidence of Ricarte, and by him authorized to distribute bonds and nominate
and appoint certain officials, including a brigadier-general of the signal corps of the proposed
revolutionary forces; that at the time when the conspiracy was being brought to a head in the
city of Manila, Puzon held several conferences with the said Muñoz whereat plans were made
for the coming insurrection; that at one of these conferences Muñoz offered Puzon a
commission as brigadier-general of the signal corps and undertook to do his part in organizing
the troops; and that at a later conference he assured the said Muñoz that he had things in
readiness, meaning thereby that he had duly organized in accordance with the terms of his
commission.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Puzon at the trial declared that he had never united himself with the conspirators; that he had
accepted the appointment as brigadier-general of the signal corps of the revolutionary forces
with no intention of ever taking any further action in the matter, and merely because he did not
wish to vex his friend Muñoz by refusing to do so, and that when Muñoz offered him the
appointment as brigadier-general he did so in "a joking tone," and that he, Puzon, did not know
that Ricarte was in Manila organizing the conspiracy at that
time.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

These statements, however (except in so far as they corroborate the testimony of Muñoz as to
the fact that he had several interviews with Puzon at which plans were entered into for the
advancement of the cause of the conspirators), can not be accepted as true in the light of a
written statement signed by Puzon himself at the time when he was first arrested, part of
which is as follows:

Q. What is your name and what is your age, residence, and occupation? - A. My name is Tomas
Puzon; born in Binondo in the Province of Manila; 37 years of age; married; by profession a
teacher of primary and secondary schools, and residing in Calle Concepcion, No. 195, district of
Quiapo.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Q. Do you know Artemio Ricarte? - A. Personally I do not know him, but by name,
yes.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Q. Did you have any information that Ricarte was in these Islands and with what object he came
here? And if you know it to be true, through whom did you get such information? - A. In the
first place I had notice of his coming to the Islands as well as his object by reading the
newspapers of Manila, and secondly because J. R. Muñoz told me the same on one occasion
when I was in his house to visit him.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Q. Did you acquire this information through any other person? - A. No, sir; I have no more
information than that which I have mentioned.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual
law library

Q. Are you a part of his new revolution presided over by Ricarte? - A. Yes,
sir.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Q. What is the employment ( empleo) which you have in this organization, and who is it who
invited you to join it? - A. J. R. Muñoz, who is general of division of this new organization, spoke
to me with much instance, asking me to accept employment as brigadier-general, chief of signal
corps, to which I, on account of his request and in view of the fact that the said Muñoz is a
friend of mine from my youth, acceded; nevertheless I have organized absolutely nothing in
respect to this matter.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Q. Did you accept the employment and did they give you any commission for it? - A. Yes, sir; I
accepted said employment and although they gave me an order to organize in my brigade I did
not do it, because I had neither the confidence nor the
will.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Q. If you didn't have faith in the said authorization nor the will to carry out what was intrusted
to you, why did you accept employment as general of the brigade? - A. I accepted it on account
of friendship and not to vex a friend, but I never have the intention of fulfilling the obligations.

Puzon, when on the stand in his own behalf, did not deny that he made this statement, but he
attempted to explain it away by saying that when he made it he was so exited that he did not
know just what he was saying. He does not allege that improper means were taken to procure
the confession, and it was proven at the trial that it was freely and voluntarily made and not the
result of violence, intimidation, threat, menace, or promise of reward or leniency. The accused
appears to be an intelligent man and was for eighteen years a school-teacher and later a
telegraph operator under the Spanish Government, and during the insurrection he held a
commission as an officer in the signal corps of the revolutionary army. His confession is clear
and intelligible and in no way supports his pretense that he was so excited as not to know what
he was saying when he made it, and its truth and accuracy in so far it inculpates him is
sustained by other evidence of record in this case.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual
law library

It is contended that the acceptance or possession of an appointment as an officer of the


military forces of the conspiracy should not be considered as evidence against him in the light
of the decisions of this court in the cases of the United States vs. Antonio de los Reyes 1 (2 Off.
Gaz., 364), United States vs. Silverio Nuñez et al. 2 (3 Off. Gaz., 408), the United
States vs. Eusebio de la Serna et al. 3 (3 Off. Gaz., 528), and United States vs. Bernardo Manalo
et al. 4 (4 Off. Gaz., 570). But the case at bar is to be distinguished from these and like cases by
the fact that the record clearly disclose that the accused actually and voluntarily accepted the
apppointment in question and in doing so assumed all the obligations implied by such
acceptance, and that the charge in this case is that of conspiracy, and the fact that the accused
accepted the appointment is taken into consideration merely as evidence of his criminal
relations with the conspirators. In the first of these cases - the United States vs. De los Reyes -
the accused was charged with treason, and the court found that the mere acceptance of a
commission by the defendant, nothing else being done either by himself or by his companions,
was not an "overt act" of treason within the meaning of the law, but the court further expressly
held that -

That state of affairs disclosed body of evidence, . . . the playing of the game of government like
children, the secretaries, colonels, and captains, the pictures of flags and seals and commission,
all on proper, for the purpose of duping and misleading the ignorant and the visionary . . .
should not be dignified by the name of treason.

In the second case - the United States vs. Nuñez et al. -- wherein the accused were charged with
brigandage, the court held that, aside from the possession of commissions in an insurgent
band, there was no evidence to show that it they had committed the crime and, "moreover,
that it appeared that they had never united with any party of brigands and never had been in
any way connected with such parties unless the physical possession of these appointments
proved such relation," and that it appeared that each one of the defendants "were separately
approached at different times by armed men while working in the field and were virtually
compelled to accept the commissions." chanrobles virtual law library

In the case of the United States vs. de la Serna et al. it was contended that de la Serna had
confessed that "he was one of the members of thepulajanes, with a commission as colonel,"
but the court was of opinion that the evidence did not sustain a finding that such confession
had in fact been made, hence the doctrine laid down in that decision, "that the mere
possession of such an appointment, when it is not shown that the possessor executed some
external act by the virtue of the same, does not constitute sufficient proof of the guilt of the
defendant," applies only the case of Enrique Camonas, against whom the only evidence of
record was "the fact that a so-called appointment of sergeant was found at his
house."chanrobles virtual law library

In the case of the United States vs. Bernardo Manalo et al. there was testimony that four
appointments of officials in a revolutionary army were found in a trunk in the house of one
Valentin Colorado, and the court in said case reaffirmed the doctrine that "the mere possession
of the documents of this kind is not sufficient to convict," and held, furthermore, that there was
"evidence in the case that at the time these papers were received by the appellant, Valentin
Colorado, he went to one of the assistant councilmen of the barrio in which lived, a witness for
the Government, showed him the envelope, and stated to him he had received these papers;
that he didn't know what they were and requested this councilman to open them. The
coucilman did not wish to do that but took the envelope and sent it to the councilman Jose
Millora. We are satisfied that this envelope contained the appointments in question and that
the appellant did not act under the appointment but immediately reported the receipt of them
to the authorities." chanrobles virtual law library

It is quite conceivable that a group of conspirators might appoint a person in no wise connected
with them to some high office in the conspiracy, in the hope that such person would afterwards
accept the commission and thus unite himself with them, and it is even possible that such an
appointment might be forwarded in the mail or otherwise, and thus come into the possession
of the person thus nominated, and that such appointment might be found in his possession,
and, notwithstanding all this, the person in whose possession the appointment was found
might be entirely innocent of all intention to join the conspiracy, never having authorized the
conspirators to use his name in this manner nor to send such a commission to him. Indeed,
cases are not unknown in the annals of criminal prosecutions wherein it has been proven that
such appointments have been concealed in the baggage or among the papers of the accused
persons, so that when later discovered by the officers of the law they might be used as
evidence against the accused. But where a genuine conspiracy is shown to have existed as in
this case, and it is proven that the accused voluntarily accepted an appointment as an officer in
that conspiracy, we think that this fact may properly be taken into consideration as evidence of
his relations with the conspirators.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

Counsel for appellants contend that the constitutional provision requiring the testimony of at
least two witnesses to the same overt act, or confession in open court, to support a conviction
for the crime of treason should be applied in this case, but this court has always held, in
conformance with the decisions of the Federal courts of the United States, that the crime of
conspiring to commit treason is a separate and distinct offense from the crime of treason, and
that this constitutional provision is not applicable in such cases. ( In re Bollman, 4 Cranch, 74; U.
S. vs.Mitchell, 2 Dall., 348.)chanrobles virtual law library

The evidence of record does not sustain the conviction of Aniceto de Guzman. The finding of his
guilt rest substantially upon his acceptance of a number of bonds from one of the conspirators,
such bonds having been prepared by the conspirators for the purpose of raising funds for
carrying out the plans of the conspiracy, but it does not affirmatively appear that he knew
anything of the existence of the conspiracy or that, when he received the bonds wrapped in a
bundle, he knew what the contents of the bundle was, nor that ever, on any occasion, assumed
any obligation with respect to these bonds. He, himself, states that when he opened the bundle
and discovered the nature of the contents he destroyed them with fire, and that he never had
any dealings with the conspirators in relation to the conspiracy or the object for which it was
organized.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

We are of opinion, therefore, that the judgment and sentence before us, in so far as it affects
the said Aniceto de Guzman, should be reversed, with his proportionate share of the costs of
both instances de oficio, and that the said Anecito de Guzman should be acquitted of the crime
with which he is charged and set a liberty forthwith, and that the judgment and sentence of the
trial court, in so far as it applies to Francisco Bautista and Tomas Puzon, should be, and is
hereby, affirmed, except so far as it imposes subsidiary imprisonment in the event of insolvency
and failure to pay their respective fines, and, there being no authority in law of such provision,
so much of the sentence as undertakes to impose subsidiary imprisonment is hereby
reversed.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

After ten days let judgment be entered in accordance herewith, when the record will be
returned to the trial court for execution. So ordered.c

[G.R. No. 1352. March 29, 1905. ]

THE UNITED STATES, Complainant-Appellee, v. APOLONIO CABALLEROS, ET AL., Defendants-


Appellants.

Hipolito Magsalin, for Appellants.

Solicitor-General Araneta, for Appellee.


SYLLABUS

1. COERCION. — Held upon the evidence that the defendant Baculi was exempt from
responsibility under article 8, paragraph 9 of the Penal Code.

2. EXTRAJUDICIAL CONFESSION. — Extrajudicial confessions not made voluntarily can not be


received in evidence. (Act No. 619, sec. 4.)

3. FAILURE TO REPORT A CRIME. — Failure to report to the authorities the commission of a


crime is not an offense punished by the Penal Code.

DECISION

MAPA, J. :

The defendants have been sentenced by the Court of First Instance of Cebu to the penalty of
seven years of presidio mayor as accessories after the fact in the crime of assassination or
murder perpetrated on the persons of the American school-teachers Louis A. Thomas, Clyde O.
France, John E. Wells, and Ernest Eger, because, without having taken part in the said crime as
principals or as accomplices, they took part in the burial of the corpses of the victim in order to
conceal the crime.

The evidence does not justify, in our opinion, this sentence. As regards Roberto Baculi, although
he confessed to having assisted in the burial of the corpses, it appears that he did so because
he was compelled to do so by the murderers of the four teachers. And not only does the
defendant affirm this, but he is corroborated by the only eyewitness to the crime, Teodoro
Sabate, who, by the way, is a witness for the prosecution. This witness says he was present
when the Americans were killed; that Roberto Baculi was not a member of the group who killed
the Americans, but that he was in a banana plantation on his property gathering some bananas;
that when he heard the shots he began to run; that he was, however, seen by Damaso and
Isidoro, the leaders of the band; that the latter called to him and striking him the butts of their
guns they forced him to bury the corpses.

The Penal Code exempts from liability any person who performs the act by reason of irresistible
force (par. 9, art. 8). Baculi acted, doubtless, under such circumstances when he executed the
acts which are charged against him.

As regards the other defendant, Apolonio Caballeros, there is no proof that he took any part in
any way in the execution of the crime with which he has been charged; there is conclusive
proof to the contrary, since Baculi, as well as on of the witnesses for the prosecution, Teodoro
Sabate, expressly declare that he, Caballeros, did not take any part in the burial of the aforesaid
corpses, nor was he even in the place of occurrence when the burial took place. The confession
of his supposed liability and guilt, made before an official of the division of information of the
Constabulary, Enrique Calderon, as the latter states when testifying as a witness, can not be
considered as legal proof, because the same witness says that Roberto Baculi was the only one
of the defendants who made a confession to him voluntarily. It appears besides, from the
statements of another witness for the prosecution, Meliton Covarrubias, that the confession of
Apolonio Caballeros was made through the promise made to him and to the other defendants
that nothing would be done to them. Confessions which do not appear to have been made
freely and voluntarily, without force, intimidation, or promise of pardon, can not be accepted as
proof on a trial. (Sec. 4 Act No. 619 of the Philippine Commission.)

The fact of the defendants not reporting to the authorities the perpetration of the crime, which
seems to be one of the motives for the conviction and which the court below takes into
consideration in his judgment, is not punished by the Penal Code and therefore that can not
render the defendants criminally liable according to law.

By virtue, then, of the above considerations, and with a reversal of the judgment appealed
from, we acquit the defendants, appellants, with the costs de oficio in both instances. So
ordered.

G.R. No. L-319 March 28, 1946

GO TIAN SEK SANTOS, petitioner,


vs.
ERIBERTO MISA, Director of Prisons, respondent.

Mariano Trinidad for petitioner.


First Assistant Solicitor General Reyes and Solicitor De los Angeles for respondent.

BENGZON, J.:

The petitioner avers he is a Chinese citizen apprehended in February, 1945, by the Counter
Intelligence Corps of the United States Army, turned over last September, to the
Commonwealth Government, and since then detained by the respondent as a political prisoner.
Such detention, he claims, is illegal, because he has not been charge before, nor convicted by,
the judge of a competent court, and because he may not be confined under Act. No. 682, as he
owes allegiance neither to the United States nor to the Commonwealth of the Philippines.

The Solicitor-General, for the respondent, admits the detention, for active collaboration with
the Japanese, doubts the allegation of citizenship, and maintains that,
conceding arguendo petitioner's alienage, he may be charged for espionage, a crime against
national security wherein allegiance is immaterial, and may, therefore, be held in custody under
Commonwealth Act No. 682.

As the record stands, the petitioner must be deemed a Chinese subject. The commitment order
No. 291 issued by the United States Army authorities describes him as such. But it does not
follow that he is entitled to liberty now. He is included among those contemplated by section
19 of Commonwealth Act No. 682, which reads partly:

Upon delivery the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States in the
Philippines of the persons detained by him as political prisoners, to the Commonwealth
Government, the Office of Special Prosecutors shall receive all records, documents, exhibits and
such other things as the Government of the United States may have turned over in connection
with and/or affecting said political prisoners, examine the aforesaid records, documents,
exhibits, etc., and take, as speedily as possible, such action as may be proper: Provided,
however, . . .. And, provided, further, That, in the interest of public security, the provisions of
article one hundred twenty-five of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, shall be deemed, as
they are hereby suspended, insofar as the aforesaid political prisoners are concerned, until the
filing of the corresponding information with the People's Court, but the period of suspension
shall not be than six (6) months from the formal delivery of said political prisoners by the
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States in the Philippines to the
Commonwealth Government.

His foreign status does not exclude him ipso facto from the scope of the above provisions. As
stated by the Solicitor-General, he might be prosecuted for espionage, (Commonwealth Act No.
616) a crime not conditioned by the citizenship of the offender, and considered as an offense
against national security.

The contentions advanced during the oral argument, challenging the validity of the said section
19, Commonwealth Act. No. 682, upon constitutional grounds must be overruled, in view of our
decision in Laurel vs. Director of Prisons (p. 372, ante), copy of which will be furnished to
petitioner by the clerk of this court. The petition is denied, with costs.

G.R. No. 17958 February 27, 1922


THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
LOL-LO and SARAW, defendants-appellants.

Thos. D. Aitken for appellants.


Acting Attorney-General Tuason for appellee.

MALCOLM, J.:

The days when pirates roamed the seas, when picturesque buccaneers like Captain Avery and
Captain Kidd and Bartholomew Roberts gripped the imagination, when grostesque brutes like
Blackbeard flourished, seem far away in the pages of history and romance. Nevertheless, the
record before us tells a tale of twentieth century piracy in the south seas, but stripped of all
touches of chivalry or of generosity, so as to present a horrible case of rapine and near murder.

On or about June 30, 1920, two boats left matuta, a Dutch possession, for Peta, another Dutch
possession. In one of the boats was one individual, a Dutch subject, and in the other boat
eleven men, women, and children, likewise subjects of Holland. After a number of days of
navigation, at about 7 o'clock in the evening, the second boat arrived between the Islands of
Buang and Bukid in the Dutch East Indies. There the boat was surrounded by six vintas manned
by twenty-four Moros all armed. The Moros first asked for food, but once on the Dutch boat,
too for themselves all of the cargo, attacked some of the men, and brutally violated two of the
women by methods too horrible to the described. All of the persons on the Dutch boat, with
the exception of the two young women, were again placed on it and holes were made in it, the
idea that it would submerge, although as a matter of fact, these people, after eleven days of
hardship and privation, were succored violating them, the Moros finally arrived at Maruro, a
Dutch possession. Two of the Moro marauder were Lol-lo, who also raped one of the women,
and Saraw. At Maruro the two women were able to escape.

Lol-lo and Saraw later returned to their home in South Ubian, Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Philippine
Islands. There they were arrested and were charged in the Court of First Instance of Sulu with
the crime of piracy. A demurrer was interposed by counsel de officio for the Moros, based on
the grounds that the offense charged was not within the jurisdiction of the Court of First
Instance, nor of any court of the Philippine Islands, and that the facts did not constitute a public
offense, under the laws in force in the Philippine Islands. After the demurrer was overruled by
the trial judge, trial was had, and a judgment was rendered finding the two defendants guilty
and sentencing each of them to life imprisonment (cadena perpetua), to return together with
Kinawalang and Maulanis, defendants in another case, to the offended parties, the thirty-nine
sacks of copras which had been robbed, or to indemnify them in the amount of 924 rupees, and
to pay a one-half part of the costs.
A very learned and exhaustive brief has been filed in this court by the attorney de officio. By a
process of elimination, however, certain questions can be quickly disposed of.

The proven facts are not disputed. All of the elements of the crime of piracy are present. Piracy
is robbery or forcible depredation on the high seas, without lawful authority and done animo
furandi, and in the spirit and intention of universal hostility.

It cannot be contended with any degree of force as was done in the lover court and as is again
done in this court, that the Court of First Instance was without jurisdiction of the case. Pirates
are in law hostes humani generis. Piracy is a crime not against any particular state but against
all mankind. It may be punished in the competent tribunal of any country where the offender
may be found or into which he may be carried. The jurisdiction of piracy unlike all other crimes
has no territorial limits. As it is against all so may it be punished by all. Nor does it matter that
the crime was committed within the jurisdictional 3-mile limit of a foreign state, "for those
limits, though neutral to war, are not neutral to crimes." (U.S. vs. Furlong [1820], 5 Wheat.,
184.)

The most serious question which is squarely presented to this court for decision for the first
time is whether or not the provisions of the Penal Code dealing with the crime of piracy are still
in force. Article 153 to 156 of the Penal Code reads as follows:

ART. 153. The crime of piracy committed against Spaniards, or the subjects of another nation
not at war with Spain, shall be punished with a penalty ranging from cadena
temporal to cadena perpetua.

If the crime be committed against nonbelligerent subjects of another nation at war with Spain,
it shall be punished with the penalty of presidio mayor.

ART. 154. Those who commit the crimes referred to in the first paragraph of the next preceding
article shall suffer the penalty of cadena perpetua or death, and those who commit the crimes
referred to in the second paragraph of the same article, from cadena temporal to cadena
perpetua:

1. Whenever they have seized some vessel by boarding or firing upon the same.

2. Whenever the crime is accompanied by murder, homicide, or by any of the physical injuries
specified in articles four hundred and fourteen and four hundred and fifteen and in paragraphs
one and two of article four hundred and sixteen.

3. Whenever it is accompanied by any of the offenses against chastity specified in Chapter II,
Title IX, of this book.
4. Whenever the pirates have abandoned any persons without means of saving themselves.

5. In every case, the captain or skipper of the pirates.

ART. 155. With respect to the provisions of this title, as well as all others of this code, when
Spain is mentioned it shall be understood as including any part of the national territory.

ART. 156. For the purpose of applying the provisions of this code, every person, who, according
to the Constitution of the Monarchy, has the status of a Spaniard shall be considered as such.

The general rules of public law recognized and acted on by the United States relating to the
effect of a transfer of territory from another State to the United States are well-known. The
political law of the former sovereignty is necessarily changed. The municipal law in so far as it is
consistent with the Constitution, the laws of the United States, or the characteristics and
institutions of the government, remains in force. As a corollary to the main rules, laws
subsisting at the time of transfer, designed to secure good order and peace in the community,
which are strictly of a municipal character, continue until by direct action of the new
government they are altered or repealed. (Chicago, Rock Islands, etc., R. Co. vs. McGlinn [1885],
114 U.S., 542.)

These principles of the public law were given specific application to the Philippines by the
Instructions of President McKinley of May 19, 1898, to General Wesley Meritt, the Commanding
General of the Army of Occupation in the Philippines, when he said:

Though the powers of the military occupant are absolute and supreme, and immediately
operate upon the political condition of the inhabitants, the municipal laws of the conquered
territory, such as affect private rights of person and property, and provide for the punishment of
crime, are considered as continuing in force, so far as they are compatible with the new order
of things, until they are suspended or superseded by the occupying belligerent; and practice
they are not usually abrogated, but are allowed to remain in force, and to be administered by
the ordinary tribunals, substantially as they were before the occupations. This enlightened
practice is so far as possible, to be adhered to on the present occasion. (Official Gazette,
Preliminary Number, Jan. 1, 1903, p. 1. See also General Merritt Proclamation of August 14,
1898.)

It cannot admit of doubt that the articles of the Spanish Penal Code dealing with piracy were
meant to include the Philippine Islands. Article 156 of the Penal Code in relation to article 1 of
the Constitution of the Spanish Monarchy, would also make the provisions of the Code
applicable not only to Spaniards but to Filipinos.
The opinion of Grotius was that piracy by the law of nations is the same thing as piracy by the
civil law, and he has never been disputed. The specific provisions of the Penal Code are similar
in tenor to statutory provisions elsewhere and to the concepts of the public law. This must
necessarily be so, considering that the Penal Code finds its inspiration in this respect in
the Novelas, the Partidas, and the Novisima Recopilacion.

The Constitution of the United States declares that the Congress shall have the power to define
and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of
nations. (U.S. Const. Art. I, sec. 8, cl. 10.) The Congress, in putting on the statute books the
necessary ancillary legislation, provided that whoever, on the high seas, commits the crime of
piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or found in the United
States, shall be imprisoned for life. (U.S. Crim. Code, sec. 290; penalty formerly death: U.S. Rev.
Stat., sec. 5368.) The framers of the Constitution and the members of Congress were content to
let a definition of piracy rest on its universal conception under the law of nations.

It is evident that the provisions of the Penal Code now in force in the Philippines relating to
piracy are not inconsistent with the corresponding provisions in force in the United States.

By the Treaty of Paris, Spain ceded the Philippine Islands to the United States. A logical
construction of articles of the Penal Code, like the articles dealing with the crime of piracy,
would be that wherever "Spain" is mentioned, it should be substituted by the words "United
States" and wherever "Spaniards" are mentioned, the word should be substituted by the
expression "citizens of the United States and citizens of the Philippine Islands." somewhat
similar reasoning led this court in the case of United States vs. Smith ([1919], 39 Phil., 533) to
give to the word "authority" as found in the Penal Code a limited meaning, which would no
longer comprehend all religious, military, and civil officers, but only public officers in the
Government of the Philippine Islands.

Under the construction above indicated, article 153 of the Penal Code would read as follows:

The crime of piracy committed against citizens of the United States and citizens of the
Philippine Islands, or the subjects of another nation not at war with the United States, shall be
punished with a penalty ranging from cadena temporal to cadena perpetua.

If the crime be committed against nonbelligerent subjects of another nation at war with the
United States, it shall be punished with the penalty of presidio mayor.

We hold those provisions of the Penal code dealing with the crime of piracy, notably articles
153 and 154, to be still in force in the Philippines.
The crime falls under the first paragraph of article 153 of the Penal Code in relation to article
154. There are present at least two of the circumstances named in the last cited article as
authorizing either cadena perpetua or death. The crime of piracy was accompanied by (1) an
offense against chastity and (2) the abandonment of persons without apparent means of saving
themselves. It is, therefore, only necessary for us to determine as to whether the penalty
of cadena perpetua or death should be imposed. In this connection, the trial court, finding
present the one aggravating circumstance of nocturnity, and compensating the same by the
one mitigating circumstance of lack of instruction provided by article 11, as amended, of the
Penal Code, sentenced the accused to life imprisonment. At least three aggravating
circumstances, that the wrong done in the commission of the crime was deliberately
augmented by causing other wrongs not necessary for its commission, that advantage was
taken of superior strength, and that means were employed which added ignominy to the
natural effects of the act, must also be taken into consideration in fixing the penalty.
Considering, therefore, the number and importance of the qualifying and aggravating
circumstances here present, which cannot be offset by the sole mitigating circumstance of lack
of instruction, and the horrible nature of the crime committed, it becomes our duty to impose
capital punishment.

The vote upon the sentence is unanimous with regard to the propriety of the imposition of the
death penalty upon the defendant and appellant Lo-lo (the accused who raped on of the
women), but is not unanimous with regard to the court, Mr. Justice Romualdez, registers his
nonconformity. In accordance with provisions of Act No. 2726, it results, therefore, that the
judgment of the trial court as to the defendant and appellant Saraw is affirmed, and is reversed
as to the defendant and appellant Lol-lo, who is found guilty of the crime of piracy and is
sentenced therefor to be hung until dead, at such time and place as shall be fixed by the judge
of first instance of the Twenty-sixth Judicial District. The two appellants together with
Kinawalang and Maulanis, defendants in another case, shall indemnify jointly and severally the
offended parties in the equivalent of 924 rupees, and shall pay a one-half part of the costs of
both instances. So ordered.

G.R. No. 118075 September 5, 1997

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
EMILIANO CATANTAN y TAYONG, accused-appellant.

BELLOSILLO, J.:
EMILIANO CATANTAN and JOSE MACVEN URSAL alias "Bimbo" were charged with violation of
PD No. 532 otherwise known as the Anti-Piracy and Highway Robbery Law of 1974 for having on
27 June 1993, while armed with a firearm and a bladed weapon, acting in conspiracy with one
another, by means of violence and intimidation, wilfully and feloniously attacked, assaulted and
inflicted physical injuries on Eugene Pilapil and Juan Pilapil Jr. who were then fishing in the
seawaters of Tabogon, Cebu, and seized their fishing boat, to their damage and prejudice.1

The Regional Trial Court of Cebu, after trial, found both accused Emiliano Catantan y Tayong
and Jose Macven Ursal alias "Bimbo" guilty of the crime charged and sentenced them
to reclusion perpetua.2 Of the duo only Emiliano Catantan appealed.

In his appeal, accused Catantan contends that the trial court erred in convicting him of piracy as
the facts proved only constitute grave coercion defined in Art. 286 of the Revised Penal Code
and not piracy under PD No. 532.

The evidence for the prosecution is that at 3:00 o'clock in the morning of 27 June 1993, the
Pilapil brothers Eugene, 21, and Juan Jr., 18, were fishing in the sea some 3 kilometers away
from the shores of Tabogon, Cebu. Suddenly, another boat caught up with them. One of them,
later identified as the accused Emiliano Catantan, bearded the pump boat of the Pilapils and
leveled his gun at Eugene. With his gun, Catantan struck Eugene on the left cheekbone and
ordered him and Juan Jr. to "dapa."3 Then Catantan told Ursal to follow him to the pumpboat of
the Pilapils. There they hogtied Eugene, forced him to lie down at the bottom of the boat,
covered him with a tarpaulin up to his neck, stepped on him and ordered Juan Jr. to ferry them
to Daan Tabogon. They left behind the other pumpboat which the accused had earlier used
together with its passengers one of whom was visibly tied.

Noting that they were already far out into the sea, Eugene reminded Catantan that they were
now off-course but Catantan told Eugene to keep quiet or he would be killed. Later, the engine
conked out and Juan Jr. was directed to row the boat. Eugene asked to be set free so he could
help but was not allowed; he was threatened with bodily harm instead.

Meanwhile Juan Jr. managed to fix the engine, but as they went farther out into the open sea
the engine stalled again. This time Eugene was allowed to assist his brother. Eugene's hands
were set free but his legs were tied to the outrigger. At the point of a tres cantos4 held by Ursal,
Eugene helped row the boat.

As they passed the shoreline of Nipa, they saw another boat. Catantan asked whose boat that
was and the Pilapils told him that it was operated by a certain Juanito and that its engine was
new. Upon learning this, Catantan ordered the Pilapil brothers to approach the boat cautioning
them however not to move or say anything.
On the pretext that they were buying fish Catantan boarded the "new" pumpboat. Once aboard
he ordered the operator Juanito to take them to Mungaz, another town of Cebu. When Juanito
tried to beg-off by saying that he would still pull up his net and harvest his catch, Catantan drew
his revolver and said, "You choose between the two, or I will kill you."5 Juanito, obviously
terrified, immediately obeyed and Ursal hopped in from the other pumpboat and joined
Catantan.

But, as Ursal was transferring to the "new" pumpboat, its outrigger caught the front part of the
pumpboat of the Pilapils so he kicked hard its prow; it broke. The jolt threw Eugene into the sea
and he landed on the water headlong. Juan Jr. then untied his brother's legs and the two swam
together clinging to their boat. Fortunately another pumpboat passed by and towed them
safely ashore.

Section 2, par. (d), of PD No. 532, defines piracy as "any attack upon or seizure of any vessel, or
the taking away of the whole or part thereof or its cargo, equipment, or the personal belongings
of the complement or passengers, irrespective of the value thereof, by means of violence against
or intimidation of persons or force upon things, committed by any person, including a passenger
or member of the complement of said vessel, in Philippine waters, shall be considered as
piracy. The offenders shall be considered as pirates and punished as hereinafter provided." And
a vessel is construed in Sec. 2, par. (b), of the same decree as "any vessel or watercraft used for
transport of passengers and cargo from one place to another through Philippine waters. It shall
include all kinds and types of vessels or boats used in fishing (emphasis supplied).

On the other hand, grave coercion as defined in Art. 286 of the Revised Penal Code is
committed by "any person who, without authority of law, shall, by means of violence, prevent
another from doing something not prohibited by law, or compel him to do something against
his will, whether it be right or wrong."

Accused-appellant argues that in order that piracy may be committed it is essential that there
be an attack on or seizure of a vessel. He claims that he and his companion did not attack or
seize the fishing boat of the Pilapil brothers by using force or intimidation but merely boarded
the boat, and it was only when they were already on board that they used force to compel the
Pilapils to take them to some other place. Appellant also insists that he and Ursal had no
intention of permanently taking possession or depriving complainants of their boat. As a matter
of fact, when they saw another pumpboat they ordered the brothers right away to approach
that boat so they could leave the Pilapils behind in their boat. Accordingly, appellant claims, he
simply committed grave coercion and not piracy.

We do not agree. Under the definition of piracy in PD No. 532 as well as grave coercion as
penalized in Art. 286 of the Revised Penal Code, this case falls squarely within the purview of
piracy. While it may be true that Eugene and Juan Jr. were compelled to go elsewhere other
than their place of destination, such compulsion was obviously part of the act of seizing their
boat. The testimony of Eugene, one of the victims, shows that the appellant actually seized the
vessel through force and intimidation. The direct testimony of Eugene is significant and
enlightening —

Q: Now, while you and your younger brother were fishing at the seawaters of Tabogon at that
time, was there anything unusual that happened?

A: Yes.

Q: Will you please tell the Court what that was?

A: While we were fishing at Tabogon another pumpboat arrived and the passengers of that
pumpboat boarded our pumpboat.

Q: Now, that pumpboat which you said approached you, how many were riding in that
pumpboat?

A: Four.

Q: When you said the passengers of that pumpboat boarded your pumpboat, how did they do
that?

A: They approached somewhat suddenly and came aboard the pumpboat (emphasis supplied).

Q: How many suddenly came aboard your pumpboat?

A: Only one.

Q: What did that person do when he came aboard your pumpboat?

A: When he boarded our pumpboat he aimed his revolver at us (emphasis supplied).

Q: By the way, when he aimed his revolver to you, did he say anything to you?

xxx xxx xxx

A: He said, "dapa," which means lie down (emphasis supplied).

COURT:

Q: To whom did he aim that revolver?

A: He aimed the revolver on me.


TRIAL PROS. ECHAVEZ:

Q: What else did he do?

A: Then he ordered his companion to come aboard the pumpboat.

Q: What did he do with his revolver?

A: He struck my face with the revolver, hitting the lower portion of my left eye.

Q: Now, after you were struck with the revolver, what did these persons do?

A: We were ordered to take them to a certain place.

Q: To what place did he order you to go?

A: To Daan Tabogon. 6

To sustain the defense and convert this case of piracy into one of grave coercion would be to
ignore the fact that a fishing vessel cruising in Philippine waters was seized by the accused by
means of violence against or intimidation of persons. As Eugene Pilapil testified, the accused
suddenly approached them and boarded their pumpboat and Catantan aimed his revolver at
them as he ordered complaining witness Eugene Pilapil to "dapa" or lie down with face
downwards, and then struck his face with a revolver, hitting the lower portion of his left eye,
after which, Catantan told his victims at gun point to take them to Daan Tabogon.

The incident happened at 3:00 o'clock in the morning. The sudden appearance of another
pumpboat with four passengers, all strangers to them, easily intimidated the Pilapil brothers
that they were impelled to submit in complete surrender to the marauders. The moment
Catantan jumped into the other pumpboat he had full control of his victims. The sight of a
drawn revolver in his hand drove them to submission. Hence the issuance of PD No. 532
designed to avert situations like the case at bar and discourage and prevent piracy in Philippine
waters. Thus we cite the succeeding "whereas" clauses of the decree —

Whereas, reports from law-enforcement agencies reveal that lawless elements are still
committing acts of depredations upon the persons and properties of innocent and defenseless
inhabitants who travel from one place to another, thereby disturbing the peace, order and
tranquility of the nation and stunting the economic and social progress of the people;

Whereas, such acts of depredations constitute either piracy or highway robbery/brigandage


which are among the highest forms of lawlessness condemned by the penal statutes of all
countries; and,
Whereas, it is imperative that said lawless elements be discouraged from perpetrating such acts
of depredations by imposing heavy penalty on the offenders, with the end in view of eliminating
all obstacle to the economic, social, educational and community progress of the people.

The Pilapil brothers are mere fisherfolk whose only means of livelihood is fishing in sea waters.
They brave the natural elements and contend with the unknown forces of the sea to bring
home a bountiful harvest. It is on these small fishermen that the townspeople depend for the
daily bread. To impede their livelihood would be to deprive them of their very subsistence, and
the likes of the accused within the purview of PD No. 532 are the obstacle to the "economic,
social, educational and community progress of the people." Had it not been for the chance
passing of another pumpboat, the fate of the Pilapil brothers, left alone helpless in a
floundering, meandering outrigger with a broken prow and a conked-out engine in open sea,
could not be ascertained.

While appellant insists that he and Ursal had no intention of depriving the Pilapils permanently
of their boat, proof of which they left behind the brothers with their boat, the truth is, Catantan
and Ursal abandoned the Pilapils only because their pumpboat broke down and it was
necessary to transfer to another pumpboat that would take them back to their lair.
Unfortunately for the pirates their "new" pumpboat ran out of gas so they were apprehended
by the police soon after the Pilapils reported the matter to the local authorities.

The fact that the revolver used by the appellant to seize the boat was not produced in evidence
cannot exculpate him from the crime. The fact remains, and we state it again, that Catantan
and his co-accused Ursal seized through force and intimidation the pumpboat of the Pilapils
while the latter were fishing in Philippine waters.

WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the decision appealed from, the conviction of
accused-appellant EMILIANO CATANTAN y TAYONG for the crime of piracy penalized under PD
No. 532 and sentencing him accordingly to reclusion perpetua, is AFFIRMED. Costs against
accused-appellant.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 111709 August 30, 2001

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
ROGER P. TULIN, VIRGILIO I. LOYOLA, CECILIO O. CHANGCO, ANDRES C. INFANTE, CHEONG
SAN HIONG, and JOHN DOES, accused-appellants.

MELO, J.:

This is one of the older cases which unfortunately has remained in docket of the Court for
sometime. It was reassigned, together with other similar cases, to undersigned ponente in
pursuance of A.M. No. 00-9-03-SC dated February 27, 2001.

In the evening of March 2, 1991, "M/T Tabangao," a cargo vessel owned by the PNOC Shipping
and Transport Corporation, loaded with 2,000 barrels of kerosene, 2,600 barrels of regular
gasoline, and 40,000 barrels of diesel oil, with a total value of P40,426,793,87, was sailing off
the coast of Mindoro near Silonay Island.

The vessel, manned by 21 crew members, including Captain Edilberto Libo-on, Second Mate
Christian Torralba, and Operator Isaias Ervas, was suddenly boarded, with the use of an
aluminum ladder, by seven fully armed pirates led by Emilio Changco, older brother of accused-
appellant Cecilio Changco. The pirates, including accused-appellants Tulin, Loyola, and Infante,
Jr. were armed with M-16 rifles, .45 and .38 caliber handguns, and bolos. They detained the
crew and took complete control of the vessel. Thereafter, accused-appellant Loyola ordered
three crew members to paint over, using black paint, the name "M/T Tabangao" on the front
and rear portions of the vessel, as well as the PNOC logo on the chimney of the vessel. The
vessel was then painted with the name "Galilee," with registry at San Lorenzo, Honduras. The
crew was forced to sail to Singapore, all the while sending misleading radio messages to PNOC
that the ship was undergoing repairs.

PNOC, after losing radio contact with the vessel, reported the disappearance of the vessel to
the Philippine Coast Guard and secured the assistance of the Philippine Air Force and the
Philippine Navy. However, search and rescue operations yielded negative results. On March 9,
1991, the ship arrived in the vicinity of Singapore and cruised around the area presumably to
await another vessel which, however, failed to arrive. The pirates were thus forced to return to
the Philippines on March 14, 1991, arriving at Calatagan, Batangas on March 20, 1991 where it
remained at sea.

On March 28, 1991, the "M/T Tabangao" again sailed to and anchored about 10 to 18 nautical
miles from Singapore's shoreline where another vessel called "Navi Pride" anchored beside it.
Emilio Changco ordered the crew of "M/T Tabangao" to transfer the vessel's cargo to the hold
of "Navi Pride". Accused-appellant Cheong San Hiong supervised the crew of "Navi Pride" in
receiving the cargo. The transfer, after an interruption, with both vessels leaving the area, was
completed on March 30, 1991.

On March 30, 1991, "M/T Tabangao" returned to the same area and completed the transfer of
cargo to "Navi Pride."

On April 8, 1991, "M/T Tabangao" arrived at Calatagan, Batangas, but the vessel remained at
sea. On April 10, 1991, the members of the crew were released in three batches with the stern
warning not to report the incident to government authorities for a period of two days or until
April 12, 1991, otherwise they would be killed. The first batch was fetched from the shoreline
by a newly painted passenger jeep driven by accused-appellant Cecilio Changco, brother of
Emilio Changco, who brought them to Imus, Cavite and gave P20,000.00 to Captain Libo-on for
fare of the crew in proceeding to their respective homes. The second batch was fetched by
accused-appellant Changco at midnight of April 10, 1991 and were brought to different places
in Metro Manila.

On April 12, 1991, the Chief Engineer, accompanied by the members of the crew, called the
PNOC Shipping and Transport Corporation office to report the incident. The crew members
were brought to the Coast Guard Office for investigation. The incident was also reported to the
National Bureau of Investigation where the officers and members of the crew executed sworn
statements regarding the incident.

A series of arrests was thereafter effected as follows:

a. On May 19, 1991, the NBI received verified information that the pirates were present at U.K.
Beach, Balibago, Calatagan, Batangas. After three days of surveillance, accused-appellant Tulin
was arrested and brought to the NBI headquarters in Manila.

b. Accused-appellants Infante, Jr. and Loyola were arrested by chance at Aguinaldo Hi-way by
NBI agents as the latter were pursuing the mastermind, who managed to evade arrest.

c. On May 20, 1991, accused-appellants Hiong and Changco were arrested at the lobby of Alpha
Hotel in Batangas City.

On October 24, 1991, an Information charging qualified piracy or violation of Presidential


Decree No. 532 (Piracy in Philippine Waters) was filed against accused-appellants, as follows:

The undersigned State Prosecutor accuses ROGER P. TULIN, VIRGILIO I. LOYOLA, CECILIO O.
CHANGCO, ANDRES C. INFANTE, and CHEONG SAN HIONG, and nine (9) other JOHN DOES of
qualified piracy (Violation of P.D. No. 532), committed as follows:
That on or about and during the period from March 2 to April 10, 1991, both dates inclusive,
and for sometime prior and subsequent thereto, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the said accused, then manning a motor launch and armed with high powered guns,
conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping one another, did then and there,
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously fire upon, board and seize while in the Philippine waters
M/T PNOC TABANGCO loaded with petroleum products, together with the complement and
crew members, employing violence against or intimidation of persons or force upon things,
then direct the vessel to proceed to Singapore where the cargoes were unloaded and
thereafter returned to the Philippines on April 10, 1991, in violation of the aforesaid law.

CONTRARY TO LAW.

(pp. 119-20, Rollo.)

This was docketed as Criminal Case No. 91-94896 before Branch 49 of the Regional Trial Court
of the National Capital Judicial Region stationed in Manila. Upon arraignment, accused-
appellants pleaded not guilty to the charge. Trial thereupon ensued.

Accused-appellants Tulin, Infante, Jr., and Loyola, notwithstanding some inconsistencies in their
testimony as to where they were on March 1, 1991, maintained the defense of denial, and
disputed the charge, as well as the transfer of any cargo from "M/T Tabangao" to the "Navi
Pride." All of them claimed having their own respective sources of livelihood. Their story is to
the effect that on March 2, 1991, while they were conversing by the beach, a red speedboat
with Captain Edilberto Liboon and Second Mate Christian Torralba on board, approached the
seashore. Captain Liboon inquired from the three if they wanted to work in a vessel. They were
told that the work was light and that each worker was to be paid P3,000.00 a month with
additional compensation if they worked beyond that period. They agreed even though they had
no sea-going experience. On board, they cooked, cleaned the vessel, prepared coffee, and ran
errands for the officers. They denied having gone to Singapore, claiming that the vessel only
went to Batangas. Upon arrival thereat in the morning of March 21, 1991, they were paid
P1,000.00 each as salary for nineteen days of work, and were told that the balance would be
remitted to their addresses. There was neither receipt nor contracts of employment signed by
the parties.

Accused-appellant Changco categorically denied the charge, averring that he was at home
sleeping on April 10, 1991. He testified that he is the younger brother of Emilio Changco, Jr.

Accused-appellant Cheong San Hiong, also known as Ramzan Ali, adduced evidence that he
studied in Sydney, Australia, obtaining the "Certificate" as Chief Officer, and later completed
the course as a "Master" of a vessel, working as such for two years on board a vessel. He was
employed at Navi Marine Services, Pte., Ltd. as Port Captain. The company was engaged in the
business of trading petroleum, including shipoil, bunker lube oil, and petroleum to domestic
and international markets. It owned four vessels, one of which was "Navi Pride."

On March 2, 1991, the day before "M/T Tabangao" was seized by Emilio Changco and his
cohorts, Hiong's name was listed in the company's letter to the Mercantile Section of the
Maritime Department of the Singapore government as the radio telephone operator on board
the vessel "Ching Ma."

The company was then dealing for the first time with Paul Gan, a Singaporean broker, who
offered to sell to the former bunker oil for the amount of 300,000.00 Singapore dollars. After
the company paid over one-half of the aforesaid amount to Paul Gan, the latter, together with
Joseph Ng, Operations Superintendent of the firm, proceeded to the high seas on board "Navi
Pride" but failed to locate the contact vessel.

The transaction with Paul Gan finally pushed through on March 27, 1991. Hiong, upon his
return on board the vessel "Ching Ma," was assigned to supervise a ship-to-ship transfer of
diesel oil off the port of Singapore, the contact vessel to be designated by Paul Gan. Hiong was
ordered to ascertain the quantity and quality of the oil and was given the amount of 300,000.00
Singapore Dollars for the purchase. Hiong, together with Paul Gan, and the surveyor William
Yao, on board "Navi Pride" sailed toward a vessel called "M/T Galilee". Hiong was told that
"M/T Galilee" would be making the transfer. Although no inspection of "Navi Pride" was made
by the port authorities before departure, Navi Marine Services, Pte., Ltd. was able to procure a
port clearance upon submission of General Declaration and crew list. Hiong, Paul Gan, and the
brokers were not in the crew list submitted and did not pass through the immigration. The
General Declaration falsely reflected that the vessel carried 11,900 tons.

On March 28, 1991, "Navi Pride" reached the location of "M/T Galilee". The brokers then told
the Captain of the vessel to ship-side with "M/T Galilee" and then transfer of the oil transpired.
Hiong and the surveyor William Yao met the Captain of "M/T Galilee," called "Captain Bobby"
(who later turned out to be Emilio Changco). Hiong claimed that he did not ask for the full name
of Changco nor did he ask for the latter's personal card.

Upon completion of the transfer, Hiong took the soundings of the tanks in the "Navi Pride" and
took samples of the cargo. The surveyor prepared the survey report which "Captain Bobby"
signed under the name "Roberto Castillo." Hiong then handed the payment to Paul Gan and
William Yao. Upon arrival at Singapore in the morning of March 29, 1991, Hiong reported the
quantity and quality of the cargo to the company.

Thereafter, Hiong was again asked to supervise another transfer of oil purchased by the firm "
from "M/T Galilee" to "Navi Pride." The same procedure as in the first transfer was observed.
This time, Hiong was told that that there were food and drinks, including beer, purchased by
the company for the crew of "M/T Galilee. The transfer took ten hours and was completed on
March 30, 1991. Paul Gan was paid in full for the transfer.

On April 29 or 30, 1991, Emilio Changco intimated to Hiong that he had four vessels and wanted
to offer its cargo to cargo operators. Hiong was asked to act as a broker or ship agent for the
sale of the cargo in Singapore. Hiong went to the Philippines to discuss the matter with Emilio
Changco, who laid out the details of the new transfer, this time with "M/T Polaris" as contact
vessel. Hiong was told that the vessel was scheduled to arrive at the port of Batangas that
weekend. After being billeted at Alpha Hotel in Batangas City, where Hiong checked in under
the name "SONNY CSH." A person by the name of "KEVIN OCAMPO," who later turned out to be
Emilio Changco himself, also checked in at Alpha Hotel. From accused-appellant Cecilio
Changco, Hiong found out that the vessel was not arriving. Hiong was thereafter arrested by
NBI agents.

After trial, a 95-page decision was rendered convicting accused-appellants of the crime
charged. The dispositive portion of said decision reads:

WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing considerations, judgment is hereby rendered by this
Court finding the accused Roger Tulin, Virgilio Loyola, Andres Infante, Jr. and Cecilio Changco
guilty beyond reasonable doubt, as principals, of the crime of piracy in Philippine Waters
defined in Section 2(d) of Presidential Decree No. 532 and the accused Cheong San Hiong, as
accomplice, to said crime. Under Section 3(a) of the said law, the penalty for the principals of
said crime is mandatory death. However, considering that, under the 1987 Constitution, the
Court cannot impose the death penalty, the accused Roger Tulin, Virgilio Loyola, Andres
Infante, Jr., and Cecilio Changco are hereby each meted the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA,
with all the accessory penalties of the law. The accused Cheong San Hiong is hereby meted the
penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA, pursuant to Article 52 of the Revised Penal Code in relation
to Section 5 of PD 532. The accused Roger Tulin, Virgilio Loyola, Andres Infante, Jr. and Cecilio
Changco are hereby ordered to return to the PNOC Shipping and Transport Corporation the
"M/T Tabangao" or if the accused can no longer return the same, the said accused are hereby
ordered to remit, jointly and severally, to said corporation the value thereof in the amount of
P11,240,000.00, Philippine Currency, with interests thereon, at the rate of 6% per annum from
March 2, 1991 until the said amount is paid in full. All the accused including Cheong San Hiong
are hereby ordered to return to the Caltex Philippines, Inc. the cargo of the "M/T Tabangao", or
if the accused can no longer return the said cargo to said corporation, all the accused are
hereby condemned to pay, jointly and severally, to the Caltex Refinery, Inc., the value of said
cargo in the amount of P40,426,793.87, Philippine Currency plus interests until said amount is
paid in full. After the accused Cheong San Hiong has served his sentence, he shall be deported
to Singapore.

All the accused shall be credited for the full period of their detention at the National Bureau of
Investigation and the City Jail of Manila during the pendency of this case provided that they
agreed in writing to abide by and comply strictly with the rules and regulations of the City Jail of
Manila and the National Bureau of Investigation. With costs against all the accused.

SO ORDERED.

(pp. 149-150, Rollo.)

The matter was then elevated to this Court. The arguments of accused-appellants may be
summarized as follows:

Roger P. Tulin, Virgilio I. Loyola, Andres C. Infante, Jr., and Cecilio O. Changco

Accused-appellants Tulin, Loyola, Infante, Jr., and Cecilio Changco assert that the trial court
erred in allowing them to adopt the proceedings taken during the time they were being
represented by Mr. Tomas Posadas, a non-lawyer, thereby depriving them of their
constitutional right to procedural due process.

In this regard, said accused-appellants narrate that Mr. Posadas entered his appearance as
counsel for all of them. However, in the course of the proceedings, or on February 11, 1992, the
trial court discovered that Mr. Posadas was not a member of the Philippine Bar. This was after
Mr. Posadas had presented and examined seven witnesses for the accused.

Further, accused-appellants Tulin, Loyola, Infante, Cecilio, Changco uniformly contend that
during the custodial investigation, they were subjected to physical violence; were forced to sign
statements without being given the opportunity to read the contents of the same; were denied
assistance of counsel, and were not informed of their rights, in violation of their constitutional
rights.

Said accused-appellants also argue that the trial court erred in finding that the prosecution
proved beyond reasonable doubt that they committed the crime of qualified piracy. They allege
that the pirates were outnumbered by the crew who totaled 22 and who were not guarded at
all times. The crew, so these accused-appellants conclude, could have overpowered the alleged
pirates.

Cheong San Hiong


In his brief, Cheong argues that: (1) Republic Act No. 7659 in effect obliterated the crime
committed by him; (2) the trial court erred in declaring that the burden is lodged on him to
prove by clear and convincing evidence that he had no knowledge that Emilio Changco and his
cohorts attacked and seized the "M/T Tabangao" and/or that the cargo of the vessel was stolen
or the subject of theft or robbery or piracy; (3) the trial court erred in finding him guilty as an
accomplice to the crime of qualified piracy under Section 4 of Presidential Decree No. 532 (Anti-
Piracy and Anti-Robbery Law of 1974); (4) the trial court erred in convicting and punishing him
as an accomplice when the acts allegedly committed by him were done or executed outside of
Philippine waters and territory, stripping the Philippine courts of jurisdiction to hold him for
trial, to convict, and sentence; (5) the trial court erred in making factual conclusions without
evidence on record to prove the same and which in fact are contrary to the evidence adduced
during trial; (6) the trial court erred in convicting him as an accomplice under Section 4 of
Presidential Decree No. 532 when he was charged as a principal by direct participation under
said decree, thus violating his constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation against him.

Cheong also posits that the evidence against the other accused-appellants do not prove any
participation on his part in the commission of the crime of qualified piracy. He further argues
that he had not in any way participated in the seajacking of "M/T Tabangao" and in committing
the crime of qualified piracy, and that he was not aware that the vessel and its cargo were
pirated.

As legal basis for his appeal, he explains that he was charged under the information with
qualified piracy as principal under Section 2 of Presidential Decree No. 532 which refers to
Philippine waters. In the case at bar, he argues that he was convicted for acts done outside
Philippine waters or territory. For the State to have criminal jurisdiction, the act must have
been committed within its territory.

We affirm the conviction of all the accused-appellants.

The issues of the instant case may be summarized as follows: (1) what are the legal effects and
implications of the fact that a non-lawyer represented accused-appellants during the trial?; (2)
what are the legal effects and implications of the absence of counsel during the custodial
investigation?; (3) did the trial court err in finding that the prosecution was able to prove
beyond reasonable doubt that accused-appellants committed the crime of qualified piracy?; (4)
did Republic Act No. 7659 obliterate the crime committed by accused-appellant Cheong?; and
(5) can accused-appellant Cheong be convicted as accomplice when he was not charged as such
and when the acts allegedly committed by him were done or executed outside Philippine
waters and territory?
On the first issue, the record reveals that a manifestation (Exhibit "20", Record) was executed
by accused-appellants Tulin, Loyola, Changco, and Infante, Jr. on February 11, 1991, stating that
they were adopting the evidence adduced when they were represented by a non-lawyer. Such
waiver of the right to sufficient representation during the trial as covered by the due process
clause shall only be valid if made with the full assistance of a bona fide lawyer. During the trial,
accused-appellants, as represented by Atty. Abdul Basar, made a categorical manifestation that
said accused-appellants were apprised of the nature and legal consequences of the subject
manifestation, and that they voluntarily and intelligently executed the same. They also affirmed
the truthfulness of its contents when asked in open court (tsn, February 11, 1992, pp. 7-59).

It is true that an accused person shall be entitled to be present and to defend himself in person
and by counsel at every stage of the proceedings, from arraignment to promulgation of
judgment (Section 1, Rule 115, Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure). This is hinged on the fact
that a layman is not versed on the technicalities of trial. However, it is also provided by law that
"[r]ights may be waived, unless the waiver is contrary to law, public order, public policy, morals,
or good customs or prejudicial to a third person with right recognized by law." (Article 6, Civil
Code of the Philippines). Thus, the same section of Rule 115 adds that "[u]pon motion, the
accused may be allowed to defend himself in person when it sufficiently appears to the court
that he can properly protect his rights without the assistance of counsel." By analogy, but
without prejudice to the sanctions imposed by law for the illegal practice of law, it is amply
shown that the rights of accused-appellants were sufficiently and properly protected by the
appearance of Mr. Tomas Posadas. An examination of the record will show that he knew the
technical rules of procedure. Hence, we rule that there was a valid waiver of the right to
sufficient representation during the trial, considering that it was unequivocally, knowingly, and
intelligently made and with the full assistance of a bona fidelawyer, Atty. Abdul Basar.
Accordingly, denial of due process cannot be successfully invoked where a valid waiver of rights
has been made (People vs. Serzo, 274 SCRA 553 [1997]; Sayson vs. People, 166 SCRA 680
[1988]).

However, we must quickly add that the right to counsel during custodial investigation may not
be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.

Section 12, Article III of the Constitution reads:

SECTION 12. (1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the
right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent
counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he
must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the
presence of counsel.
(2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiate the free
will shall be used against him. Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other
similar forms of detention are prohibited.

(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall be
inadmissible in evidence against him.

(4) The law shall provide for penal and civil sanctions for violations of this section as well as
compensation to and rehabilitation of victims of torture or similar practices, and their families.

Such rights originated from Miranda v. Arizona (384 U.S. 436 [1966]) which gave birth to the so-
called Miranda doctrine which is to the effect that prior to any questioning during custodial
investigation, the person must be warned that he has a right to remain silent, that any
statement he gives may be used as evidence against him, and that he has the right to the
presence of an attorney, either retained or appointed. The defendant may waive effectuation
of these rights, provided the waiver is made voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently. The
Constitution even adds the more stringent requirement that the waiver must be in writing and
made in the presence of counsel.

Saliently, the absence of counsel during the execution of the so-called confessions of the
accused-appellants make them invalid. In fact, the very basic reading of the Miranda rights was
not even shown in the case at bar. Paragraph [3] of the aforestated Section 12 sets forth the so-
called "fruit from the poisonous tree doctrine," a phrase minted by Mr. Justice Felix Frankfurter
in the celebrated case of Nardone vs. United States (308 U.S. 388 [1939]). According to this rule,
once the primary source (the "tree") is shown to have been unlawfully obtained, any secondary
or derivative evidence (the "fruit") derived from it is also inadmissible. The rule is based on the
principle that evidence illegally obtained by the State should not be used to gain other evidence
because the originally illegally obtained evidence taints all evidence subsequently obtained
(People vs. Alicando, 251 SCRA 293 [1995]). Thus, in this case, the uncounselled extrajudicial
confessions of accused-appellants, without a valid waiver of the right to counsel, are
inadmissible and whatever information is derived therefrom shall be regarded as likewise
inadmissible in evidence against them.

However, regardless of the inadmissibility of the subject confessions, there is sufficient


evidence to convict accused-appellants with moral certainty. We agree with the sound
deduction of the trial court that indeed, Emilio Changco (Exhibits "U" and "UU") and accused-
appellants Tulin, Loyola, and Infante, Jr. did conspire and confederate to commit the crime
charged. In the words of then trial judge, now Justice Romeo J. Callejo of the Court of Appeals

. . . The Prosecution presented to the Court an array of witnesses, officers and members of the
crew of the "M/T Tabangao" no less, who identified and pointed to the said Accused as among
those who attacked and seized, the "M/T Tabangao" on March 2, 1991, at about 6:30 o'clock in
the afternoon, off Lubang Island, Mindoro, with its cargo, and brought the said vessel, with its
cargo, and the officers and crew of the vessel, in the vicinity of Horsebough Lighthouse, about
sixty-six nautical miles off the shoreline of Singapore and sold its cargo to the Accused Cheong
San Hiong upon which the cargo was discharged from the "M/T Tabangao" to the "Navi Pride"
for the price of about $500,000.00 (American Dollars) on March 29, and 30, 1991. . .

xxx xxx xxx

The Master, the officers and members of the crew of the "M/T Tabangao" were on board the
vessel with the Accused and their cohorts from March 2, 1991 up to April 10, 1991 or for more
than one (1) month. There can be no scintilla of doubt in the mind of the Court that the officers
and crew of the vessel could and did see and identify the seajackers and their leader. In fact,
immediately after the Accused were taken into custody by the operatives of the National
Bureau of Investigation, Benjamin Suyo, Norberto Senosa, Christian Torralba and Isaias Wervas
executed their "Joint Affidavit" (Exhibit "B") and pointed to and identified the said Accused as
some of the pirates.

xxx xxx xxx

Indeed, when they testified before this Court on their defense, the three (3) Accused admitted
to the Court that they, in fact, boarded the said vessel in the evening of March 2, 1991 and
remained on board when the vessel sailed to its destination, which turned out to be off the port
of Singapore.

(pp. 106-112, Rollo.)

We also agree with the trial court's finding that accused-appellants' defense of denial is not
supported by any hard evidence but their bare testimony. Greater weight is given to the
categorical identification of the accused by the prosecution witnesses than to the accused's
plain denial of participation in the commission of the crime (People v. Baccay, 284 SCRA 296
[1998]). Instead, accused-appellants Tulin, Loyola, and Infante, Jr. narrated a patently desperate
tale that they were hired by three complete strangers (allegedly Captain Edilberto Liboon,
Second Mate Christian Torralba, and their companion) while said accused-appellants were
conversing with one another along the seashore at Aplaya, Balibago, Calatagan, Batangas, to
work on board the "M/T Tabangao" which was then anchored off-shore. And readily, said
accused-appellants agreed to work as cooks and handymen for an indefinite period of time
without even saying goodbye to their families, without even knowing their destination or the
details of their voyage, without the personal effects needed for a long voyage at sea. Such
evidence is incredible and clearly not in accord with human experience. As pointed out by the
trial court, it is incredible that Captain Liboon, Second Mate Torralba, and their companion "had
to leave the vessel at 9:30 o'clock in the evening and venture in a completely unfamiliar place
merely to recruit five (5) cooks or handymen (p. 113, Rollo)."

Anent accused-appellant Changco's defense of denial with the alibi that on May 14 and 17, he
was at his place of work and that on April 10, 1991, he was in his house in Bacoor, Cavite,
sleeping, suffice it to state that alibi is fundamentally and inherently a weak defense, much
more so when uncorroborated by other witnesses (People v. Adora, 275 SCRA 441 [1997])
considering that it is easy to fabricate and concoct, and difficult to disprove. Accused-appellant
must adduce clear and convincing evidence that, at about midnight on April 10, 1991, it was
physically impossible for him to have been in Calatagan, Batangas. Changco not only failed to
do this, he was likewise unable to prove that he was in his place of work on the dates
aforestated.

It is doctrinal that the trial court's evaluation of the credibility of a testimony is accorded the
highest respect, for trial courts have an untrammeled opportunity to observe directly the
demeanor of witnesses and, thus, to determine whether a certain witness is telling the truth
(People v. Obello, 284 SCRA 79 [1998]).

We likewise uphold the trial court's finding of conspiracy. A conspiracy exists when two or more
persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it
(Article 8, Revised Penal Code). To be a conspirator, one need not participate in every detail of
execution; he need not even take part in every act or need not even know the exact part to be
performed by the others in the execution of the conspiracy. As noted by the trial court, there
are times when conspirators are assigned separate and different tasks which may appear
unrelated to one another, but in fact, constitute a whole and collective effort to achieve a
common criminal design.

We affirm the trial court's finding that Emilio Changco, accused-appellants Tulin, Loyola, and
Infante, Jr. and others, were the ones assigned to attack and seize the "M/T Tabangao" off
Lubang, Mindoro, while accused-appellant Cecilio Changco was to fetch the master and the
members of the crew from the shoreline of Calatagan, Batangas after the transfer, and bring
them to Imus, Cavite, and to provide the crew and the officers of the vessel with money for
their fare and food provisions on their way home. These acts had to be well-coordinated.
Accused-appellant Cecilio Changco need not be present at the time of the attack and seizure of
"M/T Tabangao" since he performed his task in view of an objective common to all other
accused-appellants.
Of notable importance is the connection of accused-appellants to one another. Accused-
appellant Cecilio Changco is the younger brother of Emilio Changco (aka Captain Bobby/Captain
Roberto Castillo/Kevin Ocampo), owner of Phil-Asia Shipping Lines. Cecilio worked for his
brother in said corporation. Their residences are approximately six or seven kilometers away
from each other. Their families are close. Accused-appellant Tulin, on the other hand, has
known Cecilio since their parents were neighbors in Aplaya, Balibago, Calatagan, Batangas.
Accused-appellant Loyola's wife is a relative of the Changco brothers by affinity. Besides, Loyola
and Emilio Changco had both been accused in a seajacking case regarding "M/T Isla Luzon" and
its cargo of steel coils and plates off Cebu and Bohol in 1989. Emilio Changco (aka Kevin
Ocampo) was convicted of the crime while Loyola at that time remained at large.

As for accused-appellant Hiong, he ratiocinates that he can no longer be convicted of piracy in


Philippine waters as defined and penalized in Sections 2[d] and 3[a], respectively of Presidential
Decree No. 532 because Republic Act No. 7659 (effective January 1, 1994), which amended
Article 122 of the Revised Penal Code, has impliedly superseded Presidential Decree No. 532.
He reasons out that Presidential Decree No. 532 has been rendered "superfluous or
duplicitous" because both Article 122 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and Presidential
Decree No. 532 punish piracy committed in Philippine waters. He maintains that in order to
reconcile the two laws, the word "any person" mentioned in Section 1 [d] of Presidential
Decree No. 532 must be omitted such that Presidential Decree No. 532 shall only apply to
offenders who are members of the complement or to passengers of the vessel, whereas
Republic Act No. 7659 shall apply to offenders who are neither members of the complement or
passengers of the vessel, hence, excluding him from the coverage of the law.

Article 122 of the Revised Penal Code, used to provide:

ARTICLE 122. Piracy in general and mutiny on the high seas. — The penalty of reclusion
temporal shall be inflicted upon any person who, on the high seas, shall attack or seize a vessel
or, not being a member of its complement nor a passenger, shall seize the whole or part of the
cargo of said vessel, its equipment, or personal belongings of its complement or passengers.

(Italics supplied.)

Article 122, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659 (January 1, 1994), reads:

ARTICLE 122. Piracy in general and mutiny on the high seas or in Philippine waters. — The
penalty of reclusion perpetua shall be inflicted upon any person who, on the high seas, or in
Philippine waters, shall attack or seize a vessel or, not being a member of its complement nor a
passenger, shall seize the whole or part of the cargo of said vessel, its equipment, or personal
belongings of its complement or passengers.
(Italics ours)

On the other hand, Section 2 of Presidential Decree No. 532 provides:

SECTION 2. Definition of Terms. — The following shall mean and be understood, as follows:

d. Piracy. — Any attack upon or seizure of any vessel or the taking away of the whole or part
thereof or its cargo, equipment, or the personal belongings of its complement or passengers,
irrespective of the value thereof, by means of violence against or intimidation of persons or
force upon things, committed by any person, including a passenger or member of the
complement of said vessel in Philippine waters, shall be considered as piracy. The offenders
shall be considered as pirates and punished as hereinafter provided (Italics supplied).

To summarize, Article 122 of the Revised Penal Code, before its amendment, provided that
piracy must be committed on the high seas by any person not a member of its complement nor
a passenger thereof. Upon its amendment by Republic Act No. 7659, the coverage of the
pertinent provision was widened to include offenses committed "in Philippine waters." On the
other hand, under Presidential Decree No. 532 (issued in 1974), the coverage of the law on
piracy embraces any person including "a passenger or member of the complement of said
vessel in Philippine waters." Hence, passenger or not, a member of the complement or not, any
person is covered by the law.

Republic Act No. 7659 neither superseded nor amended the provisions on piracy under
Presidential Decree No. 532. There is no contradiction between the two laws. There is likewise
no ambiguity and hence, there is no need to construe or interpret the law. All the presidential
decree did was to widen the coverage of the law, in keeping with the intent to protect the
citizenry as well as neighboring states from crimes against the law of nations. As expressed in
one of the "whereas" clauses of Presidential Decree No. 532, piracy is "among the highest
forms of lawlessness condemned by the penal statutes of all countries." For this reason, piracy
under the Article 122, as amended, and piracy under Presidential Decree No. 532 exist
harmoniously as separate laws.

As regards the contention that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of
accused-appellant Hiong since the crime was committed outside Philippine waters, suffice it to
state that unquestionably, the attack on and seizure of "M/T Tabangao" (renamed "M/T
Galilee" by the pirates) and its cargo were committed in Philippine waters, although the captive
vessel was later brought by the pirates to Singapore where its cargo was off-loaded,
transferred, and sold. And such transfer was done under accused-appellant Hiong's direct
supervision. Although Presidential Decree No. 532 requires that the attack and seizure of the
vessel and its cargo be committed in Philippine waters, the disposition by the pirates of the
vessel and its cargo is still deemed part of the act of piracy, hence, the same need not be
committed in Philippine waters.

Moreover, piracy falls under Title One of Book Two of the Revised Penal Code. As such, it is an
exception to the rule on territoriality in criminal law. The same principle applies even if Hiong,
in the instant case, were charged, not with a violation of qualified piracy under the penal code
but under a special law, Presidential Decree No. 532 which penalizes piracy in Philippine waters.
Verily, Presidential Decree No. 532 should be applied with more force here since its purpose is
precisely to discourage and prevent piracy in Philippine waters (People v. Catantan, 278 SCRA
761 [1997]). It is likewise, well-settled that regardless of the law penalizing the same, piracy is a
reprehensible crime against the whole world (People v. Lol-lo, 43 Phil. 19 [1922]).

However, does this constitute a violation of accused-appellant's constitutional right to be


informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him on the ground that he was
convicted as an accomplice under Section 4 of Presidential Decree No. 532 even though he was
charged as a principal by direct participation under Section 2 of said law?

The trial court found that there was insufficiency of evidence showing:

(a) that accused-appellant Hiong directly participated in the attack and seizure of "M/T
Tabangao" and its cargo; (b) that he induced Emilio Changco and his group in the attack and
seizure of "M/T Tabangao" and its cargo; (c) and that his act was indispensable in the attack on
and seizure of "M/T Tabangao" and its cargo. Nevertheless, the trial court found that accused-
appellant Hiong's participation was indisputably one which aided or abetted Emilio Changco
and his band of pirates in the disposition of the stolen cargo under Section 4 of Presidential
Decree No. 532 which provides:

SECTION 4. Aiding pirates or highway robbers/brigands or abetting piracy or highway robbery


brigandage. — Any person who knowingly and in any manner aids or protects pirates or
highway robbers/brigands, such as giving them information about the movement of police or
other peace officers of the government, or acquires or receives property taken by such pirates
or brigands or in any manner derives any benefit therefrom; or any person who directly or
indirectly abets the commission of piracy or highway robbery or brigandage, shall be considered
as an accomplice of the principal officers and be punished in accordance with Rules prescribed
by the Revised Penal Code.

It shall be presumed that any person who does any of the acts provided in this Section has
performed them knowingly, unless the contrary is proven.

The ruling of the trial court is within well-settled jurisprudence that if there is lack of complete
evidence of conspiracy, the liability is that of an accomplice and not as principal (People v.
Tolentino, 40 SCRA 514 [1971]). Any doubt as to the participation of an individual in the
commission of the crime is always resolved in favor of lesser responsibility (People v. Corbes,
270 SCRA 465 [1997]; People vs. Elfano, Jr., 125 SCRA 792 [1983]; People v. Pastores, 40 SCRA
498 [1971]).

Emphasis must also be placed on the last paragraph of Section 4 of Presidential Decree No. 532
which presumes that any person who does any of the acts provided in said section has
performed them knowingly, unless the contrary is proven. In the case at bar, accused-appellant
Hiong had failed to overcome the legal presumption that he knowingly abetted or aided in the
commission of piracy, received property taken by such pirates and derived benefit therefrom.

The record discloses that accused-appellant Hiong aided the pirates in disposing of the stolen
cargo by personally directing its transfer from "M/T Galilee" to "M/T Navi Pride". He profited
therefrom by buying the hijacked cargo for Navi Marine Services, Pte., Ltd. (tsn, June 3, 1992,
pp. 15-23). He even tested the quality and verified the quantity of the petroleum products,
connived with Navi Marine Services personnel in falsifying the General Declarations and Crew
List to ensure that the illegal transfer went through, undetected by Singapore Port Authorities,
and supplied, the pirates with food, beer, and other provisions for their maintenance while in
port (tsn, June 3, 1992, pp. 133-134).

We believe that the falsification of the General Declaration (Arrival and Departure) and Crew
List was accomplished and utilized by accused-appellant Hiong and Navi Marine Services
personnel in the execution of their scheme to avert detection by Singapore Port Authorities.
Hence, had accused-appellant Hiong not falsified said entries, the Singapore Port Authorities
could have easily discovered the illegal activities that took place and this would have resulted in
his arrest and prosecution in Singapore. Moreover, the transfer of the stolen cargo from "M/T
Galilee" to "Navi Pride" could not have been effected.

We completely uphold the factual findings of the trial court showing in detail accused-appellant
Hiong's role in the disposition of the pirated goods summarized as follows: that on March 27,
1991, Hiong with Captain Biddy Santos boarded the "Navi Pride," one of the vessels of the Navi
Marine, to rendezvous with the "M/T Galilee"; that the firm submitted the crew list of the
vessel (Exhibit "8-CSH", Record) to the port authorities, excluding the name of Hiong; that the
"General Declaration" (for departure) of the "Navi Pride" for its voyage off port of Singapore
(Exhibits "HH" and "8-A CSH", Record) falsely stated that the vessel was scheduled to depart at
2200 (10 o'clock in the evening), that there were no passengers on board, and the purpose of
the voyage was for "cargo operation" and that the vessel was to unload and transfer 1,900 tons
of cargo; that after the transfer of the fuel from "M/T Galilee" with Emilio Changco a. k. a.
Captain Bobby a. k. a. Roberto Castillo at the helm, the surveyor prepared the "Quantity
Certificate" (Exhibit "11-C CSH, Record) stating that the cargo transferred to the "Navi Pride"
was 2,406 gross cubic meters; that although Hiong was not the Master of the vessel, he affixed
his signature on the "Certificate" above the word "Master" (Exhibit "11-C-2 CSH", Record); that
he then paid P150,000.00 but did not require any receipt for the amount; that Emilio Changco
also did not issue one; and that in the requisite "General Declaration" upon its arrival at
Singapore on March 29, 1991, at 7 o'clock in the evening, (Exhibits "JJ" and "13-A CSH",
Record), it was made to falsely appear that the "Navi Pride" unloaded 1,700 tons of cargo on
the high seas during said voyage when in fact it acquired from the "M/T Galilee" 2,000 metric
tons of diesel oil. The second transfer transpired with the same irregularities as discussed
above. It was likewise supervised by accused-appellant Cheong from his end while Emilio
Changco supervised the transfer from his end.

Accused-appellant Hiong maintains that he was merely following the orders of his superiors and
that he has no knowledge of the illegality of the source of the cargo.

First and foremost, accused-appellant Hiong cannot deny knowledge of the source and nature
of the cargo since he himself received the same from "M/T Tabangao". Second, considering that
he is a highly educated mariner, he should have avoided any participation in the cargo transfer
given the very suspicious circumstances under which it was acquired. He failed to show a single
piece of deed or bill of sale or even a purchase order or any contract of sale for the purchase by
the firm; he never bothered to ask for and scrutinize the papers and documentation relative to
the "M/T Galilee"; he did not even verify the identity of Captain Robert Castillo whom he met
for the first time nor did he check the source of the cargo; he knew that the transfer took place
66 nautical miles off Singapore in the dead of the night which a marine vessel of his firm did not
ordinarily do; it was also the first time Navi Marine transacted with Paul Gan involving a large
sum of money without any receipt issued therefor; he was not even aware if Paul Gan was a
Singaporean national and thus safe to deal with. It should also be noted that the value of the
cargo was P40,426,793.87 or roughly more than US$1,000,000.00 (computed at P30.00 to $1,
the exchange rate at that time). Manifestly, the cargo was sold for less than one-half of its
value. Accused-appellant Hiong should have been aware of this irregularity. Nobody in his right
mind would go to far away Singapore, spend much time and money for transportation — only
to sell at the aforestated price if it were legitimate sale involved. This, in addition to the act of
falsifying records, clearly shows that accused-appellant Hiong was well aware that the cargo
that his firm was acquiring was purloined.

Lastly, it cannot be correctly said that accused-appellant was "merely following the orders of his
superiors." An individual is justified in performing an act in obedience to an order issued by a
superior if such order, is for some lawful purpose and that the means used by the subordinate
to carry out said order is lawful (Reyes, Revised Penal Code, Vol. 1, 1981 ed., p. 212). Notably,
the alleged order of Hiong's superior Chua Kim Leng Timothy, is a patent violation not only of
Philippine, but of international law. Such violation was committed on board a Philippine-
operated vessel. Moreover, the means used by Hiong in carrying out said order was equally
unlawful. He misled port and immigration authorities, falsified records, using a mere clerk,
Frankie Loh, to consummate said acts. During the trial, Hiong presented himself, and the trial
court was convinced, that he was an intelligent and articulate Port Captain. These
circumstances show that he must have realized the nature and the implications of the order of
Chua Kim Leng Timothy. Thereafter, he could have refused to follow orders to conclude the
deal and to effect the transfer of the cargo to the "Navi Pride." He did not do so, for which
reason, he must now suffer the consequences of his actions.

WHEREFORE, finding the conviction of accused-appellants justified by the evidence on record,


the Court hereby AFFIRMS the judgment of the trial court in toto.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-57292 February 18, 1986

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
JULAIDE SIYOH, OMAR-KAYAM KIRAM, NAMLI INDANAN and ANDAW JAMAHALI, accused-
appellants.

ABAD SANTOS, J.:

This is an automatic review of the decision of the defunct Court of First Instance of Basilan,
Judge Jainal D. Rasul as ponente, imposing the death penalty.

In Criminal Case No. 318 of the aforesaid court, JULAIDE SIYOH, OMARKAYAM KIRAM, NAMLI
INDANAN and ANDAW JAMAHALI were accused of qualified piracy with triple murder and
frustrated murder said to have been committed according to the information as follows:

That on or about the 14th day of July, 1979, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
viz., at Mataja Is., Municipality of Lantawan, Province of Basilan, Philippines, the above named
accused, being strangers and without lawful authority, armed with firearms and taking
advantage of their superior strength, conspiring and confederating together, aiding and
assisting one with the other, with intent to gain and by the use of violence or intimidation
against persons and force upon things, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously,
fire their guns into the air and stop the pumpboat wherein Rodolfo de Castro, Danilo Hiolen,
Anastacio de Guzman and Antonio de Guzman were riding, traveling at that time from the
island of Baluk-Baluk towards Pilas, boarded the said pumpboat and take, steal and carry away
all their cash money, wrist watches, stereo sets, merchandise and other personal belongings
amounting to the total amount of P 18,342.00, Philippine Currency; that the said accused, on
the occasion of the crime herein above-described, taking advantage that the said victims were
at their mercy, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with intent to kill,
ordered them to jump into the water, whereupon, the said accused, fired their guns at them
which caused the death of Rodolfo de Castro, Danilo Hiolen, Anastacio de Guzman and
wounding one Antonio de Guzman; thus the accused have performed all the acts of execution
which would have produced the crime of Qualified Piracy with Quadruple Murder, but which,
nevertheless, did not produce it by reasons of causes in dependent of their will, that is, said
Antonio de Guzman was able to swim to the shore and hid himself, and due to the timely
medical assistance rendered to said victim, Antonio de Guzman which prevented his death.
(Expediente, pp. 1-2.)

An order of arrest was issued against all of the accused but only Julaide Siyoh and Omar-kayam
Kiram were apprehended. (Id, p. 8.)

After trial, the court a quo rendered a decision with the following dispositive portion.

WHEREFORE, in view of the fore going considerations, this Court finds the accused Omar-kayam
Kiram and Julaide Siyoh guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Qualified Piracy with
Triple Murder and Frustrated Murder as defined and penalized under the provision of
Presidential Decree No. 532, and hereby sentences each one of them to suffer the supreme
penalty of DEATH. However, considering the provision of Section 106 of the Code of Mindanao
and Sulu, the illiteracy or ignorance or extreme poverty of the accused who are members of the
cultural minorities, under a regime of so called compassionate society, a commutation to life
imprisonment is recommended. (Id, p. 130.)

In their appeal, Siyoh and Kiram make only one assignment of error:

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS OMAR-
KAYAM KIRAM AND JULAIDE SIYOH HAS BEEN PROVED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. (Brief, p.
8.)

The People's version of the facts is as follows:

Alberto Aurea was a businessman engaged in selling dry goods at the Larmitan Public Market, in
the province of Basilan (pp. 2-3, tsn). On July 7, 1979 and on July 10, 1979, Antonio de Guzman,
Danilo Hiolen, Rodolfo de Castro and Anastacio de Guzman received goods from his store
consisting of mosquito nets, blankets, wrist watch sets and stereophono with total value of
P15,000 more or less (pp. 4-6, tsn). The goods were received under an agreement that they
would be sold by the above-named persons and thereafter they would pay the value of said
goods to Aurea and keep part of the profits for themselves. However these people neither paid
the value of the goods to Aurea nor returned the goods to him (pp. 6-7, tsn). On July 15, 1979,
Aurea was informed by Antonio de Guzman that his group was held up near Baluk- Baluk Island
and that his companions were hacked (p. 8, tsn). On July 16, 1979, the bodies of Rodolfo de
Castro, Danilo Hiolen and Anastacio de Guzman were brought by the PC seaborne patrol to
Isabela, Basilan (pp. 17-18, 29, tsn). Only Antonio de Guzman survived the incident that caused
the death of his companions.

It appears that on July 10, 1979, Antonio de Guzman together with his friends who were also
travelling merchants like him, were on their way to Pilas Island, Province of Basilan, to sell the
goods they received from Alberto Aurea. The goods they brought with them had a total value of
P18,000.00 (pp- 36-37, tsn). They left for Pilas Island at 2:00 p.m. of July 10, 1979 on a
pumpboat. They took their dinner and slept that night in the house of Omar-kayam Kiram at
Pilas Island (pp. 37-38, tsn).

The following day, July 11, 1979, de Guzman's group, together with Kiram and Julaide Siyoh,
started selling their goods, They were able to sell goods worth P 3,500.00. On July 12, 1979, the
group, again accompanied by Kiram and Siyoh, went to sell their goods at another place,
Sangbay, where they sold goods worth P 12,000.00 (pp. 40-42, tsn). They returned to Pilas
Island at 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon and again slept at Kiram's house. However that night
Kiram did not sleep in his house, and upon inquiry the following day when Antonio de Guzman
saw him, Kiram told the former that he slept at the house of Siyoh.

On that day, July 13, 1979, the group of Antonio de Guzman went to Baluk-Baluk, a place
suggested by Kiram. They were able to sell goods worth P3,000.00 (pp. 43-46, tsn). They
returned to Pilas Island for the night but Kiram did not sleep with them (p. 47, tsn).

The following day, July 14, 1979, the group again went to Baluk-Baluk accompanied by Kiram
and Siyoh (pp. 48, 50 t.s.n), They used the pumpboat of Kiram. Kiram and Siyoh were at that
time armed with 'barongs'. They arrived at Baluk-Baluk at about 10:00 o'clock in the morning
and upon arrival at the place Kiram and Siyoh going ahead of the group went to a house about
15 meters away from the place where the group was selling its goods (pp. 50-53, tsn). Kiram
and Siyoh were seen by the group talking with two persons whose faces the group saw but
could not recognize (pp. 53-54, tsn). After selling their goods, the members of the group,
together with Kiram and Siyoh, prepared to return to Pilas Island. They rode on a pumpboat
where Siyoh positioned himself at the front while Kiram operated the engine. On the way to
Pilas Island, Antonio de Guzman saw another pumpboat painted red and green about 200
meters away from their pumpboat (pp. 55, tsn). Shortly after" Kiram turned off the engine of
their pumpboat. Thereafter two shots were fired from the other pumpboat as it moved towards
them (pp. 57-58, tsn). There were two persons on the other pumpboat who were armed with
armantes. De Guzman recognized them to be the same persons he saw Kiram conversing with
in a house at Baluk-Baluk Island. When the boat came close to them, Kiram threw a rope to the
other pumpboat which towed de Guzman's pumpboat towards Mataja Island. On the way to
Mataja Island, Antonio de Guzman and his companions were divested of their money and their
goods by Kiram (pp. 59-61, tsn). Thereafter Kiram and his companions ordered the group of de
Guzman to undress. Taking fancy on the pants of Antonio de Guzman, Kiram put it on. With
everybody undressed, Kiram said 'It was good to kill all of you'. After that remark, Siyoh hacked
Danilo Hiolen while Kiram hacked Rodolfo de Castro. Antonio de Guzman jumped into the
water. As he was swimming away from the pumpboat, the two companions of Kiram fired at
him, injuring his back (pp. 62-65, tsn). But he was able to reach a mangrove where he stayed till
nightfall. When he left the mangrove, he saw the dead bodies of Anastacio de Guzman, Danilo
Hiolen and Rodolfo de Castro. He was picked up by a fishing boat and brought to the Philippine
Army station at Maluso where he received first aid treatment. Later he was brought to the J.S.
Alano Memorial Hospital at Isabela, Basilan province (pp. 66-68, tsn).

On July 15, 1979, while waiting for the dead bodies of his companions at the wharf, de Guzman
saw Siyoh and Kiram. He pointed them out to the PC and the two were arrested before they
could run. When arrested, Kiram was wearing the pants he took from de Guzman and de
Guzman had to ask Pat. Bayabas at the Provincial Jail to get back his pants from Kiram (pp. 69-
72, tsn).

Antonio de Guzman was physically examined at the J.S. Alano Memorial Hospital at Isabela,
Basilan and findings showed: 'gunshot wound, scapular area, bilateral, tangenital' (Exh. C,
prosecution). (pp. 134-136, tsn). Dr. Jaime M. Junio, Provincial Health Officer of Basilan,
examined the dead bodies of Rodolfo de Castro and Danilo Hiolen and issued the corresponding
death certificates (Exhs. D and E, prosecution). (pp. 137-138; 140-141, tsn). (Brief, pp. 5-11.)

As can be seen from the lone assignment of error, the issue is the credibility of witnesses. Who
should be believed Antonio de Guzman who was the lone prosecution eye-witness or Siyoh and
Kiram the accused-appellants who claims that they were also the victims of the crime? The trial
court which had the opportunity of observing the demeanor of the witnesses and how they
testified assigned credibility to the former and an examination of the record does not reveal
any fact or circumstance of weight and influence which was overlooked or the significance of
which was misinterpreted as would justify a reversal of the trial court's determination.
Additionally, the following claims of the appellants are not convincing:

1. That if they were the culprits they could have easily robbed their victims at the Kiram house
or on any of the occasions when they were travelling together. Suffice it to say that robbing the
victims at Kiram's house would make Kiram and his family immediately suspect and robbing the
victims before they had sold all their goods would be premature. However, robbing and killing
the victims while at sea and after they had sold all their goods was both timely and provided
safety from prying eyes.

2. That the accused immediately reported the incident to the PC. The record does not support
this assertion. For as the prosecution stated: "It is of important consequence to mention that
the witness presented by the defense are all from Pilas Island and friends of the accused. They
claimed to be members of retrieving team for the dead bodies but no PC soldiers were ever
presented to attest this fact. The defense may counter why the prosecution also failed to
present the Maluso Police Daily Event book? This matter has been brought by Antonio not to
the attention of the PC or Police but to an army detachment. The Army is known to have no
docket book, so why take the pain in locating the army soldiers with whom the report was
made? (Memorandum, p. 7.) And Judge Rasul also makes this observation: "..., this Court is
puzzled, assuming the version of the defense to be true, why the lone survivor Antonio de
Guzman as having been allegedly helped by the accused testified against them. Indeed, no
evidence was presented and nothing can be inferred from the evidence of the defense so far
presented showing reason why the lone survivor should pervert the truth or fabricate or
manufacture such heinous crime as qualified piracy with triple murders and frustrated murder?
The point which makes us doubt the version of the defense is the role taken by the PC to whom
the report was allegedly made by the accused immediately after the commission of the offense.
Instead of helping the accused, the PC law enforcement agency in Isabela, perhaps not crediting
the report of the accused or believing in the version of the report made by the lone survivor
Antonio de Guzman, acted consistently with the latter's report and placed the accused under
detention for investigation." (Expediente, pp. 127-128.)

3. That the affidavits of Dolores de Guzman, wife of the deceased Anastacio de Guzman, and
Primitiva de Castro, wife of the deceased Rodolfo de Castro, state that Antonio de Guzman
informed them shortly after the incident that their husbands were killed by the companions of
Siyoh and Kiram. The thrust of the appellants' claim, therefore, is that Namli Indanan and
Andaw Jamahali were the killers and not the former. But this claim is baseless in the face of the
proven conspiracy among the accused for as Judge Rasul has stated:

It is believed that conspiracy as alleged in the information is sufficiently proved in this case. In
fact the following facts appear to have been established to show clearly conspiracy: A) On July
14, 1979, while peddling, the survivor-witness Tony de Guzman noticed that near the window
of a dilapidated house, both accused were talking to two (2) armed strange-looking men at
Baluk-Baluk Island; B) When the pumpboat was chased and overtaken, the survivor-witness
Tony de Guzman recognized their captors to be the same two (2) armed strangers to whom the
two accused talked in Baluk- Baluk Island near the dilapidated house; C) The two accused,
without order from the two armed strangers transferred the unsold goods to the captors'
banca; D) That Tony de Guzman and companion peddlers were divested of their jewelries and
cash and undressed while the two accused remained unharmed or not molested. These
concerted actions on their part prove conspiracy and make them equally liable for the same
crime (People vs. Pedro, 16 SCRA 57; People vs. lndic 10 SCRA 130). The convergence of the will
of the conspirators in the scheming and execution of the crime amply justifies the imputation of
all of them the act of any of them (People vs. Peralta, 25 SCRA, 759). (Id., pp. 128-129.)

4. That there is no evidence Anastacio de Guzman was killed together with Rodolfo de Castro
and Danilo Hiolen because his remains were never recovered. There is no reason to suppose
that Anastacio de Guzman is still alive or that he died in a manner different from his
companions. The incident took place on July 14, 1979 and when the trial court decided the case
on June 8, 1981 Anastacio de Guzman was still missing. But the number of persons killed on the
occasion of piracy is not material. P.D. No. 532 considers qualified piracy, i.e. rape, murder or
homicide is committed as a result or on the occasion of piracy, as a special complex crime
punishable by death regardless of the number of victims.

5. That the death certificates are vague as to the nature of the injuries sustained by the victims;
were they hacked wounds or gunshot wounds? The cause of death stated for Rodolfo de Castro
and Danilo Hiolen is: "Hemorrhage due to hacked wounds, possible gunshot wounds." (Exhs. D
and E.) The cause is consistent with the testimony of Antonio de Guzman that the victims were
hacked; that the appellants were armed with "barongs" while Indanan and Jamahali were
armed with armalites.

WHEREFORE, finding the decision under review to be in accord with both the facts and the law,
it is affirmed with the following modifications: (a) for lack of necessary votes the penalty
imposed shall be reclusion perpetua; and (b) each of the appellants shall pay in solidum to the
heirs of each of the deceased indemnity in the amount of P30,000.00. No special
pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 154130 October 1, 2003

BENITO ASTORGA, petitioner,


vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.

DECISION

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, seeking the reversal of a
Decision of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 24986, dated July 5, 2001,1 as well as its
Resolutions dated September 28, 2001 and July 10, 2002.

On October 28, 1998, the Office of the Ombudsman filed the following Information against
Benito Astorga, Mayor of Daram, Samar, as well as a number of his men for Arbitrary
Detention:

That on or about the 1st day of September, 1997, and for sometime subsequent thereto, at the
Municipality of Daram, Province of Samar, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, a public officer, being the Municipal Mayor of
Daram, Samar, in such capacity and committing the offense in relation to office, conniving,
confederating and mutually helping with unidentified persons, who are herein referred to
under fictitious names JOHN DOES, who were armed with firearms of different calibers, with
deliberate intent, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously detain Elpidio Simon,
Moises dela Cruz, Wenifredo Maniscan, Renato Militante and Crisanto Pelias, DENR Employees,
at the Municipality of Daram, by not allowing them to leave the place, without any legal and
valid grounds thereby restraining and depriving them of their personal liberty for nine (9) hours,
but without exceeding three (3) days.

CONTRARY TO LAW.2

On September 1, 1997, Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG) of the Department of


Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Office No. 8, Tacloban City sent a team to the
island of Daram, Western Samar to conduct intelligence gathering and forest protection
operations in line with the government’s campaign against illegal logging. The team was
composed of Forester II Moises dela Cruz, Scaler Wenifredo Maniscan, Forest Ranger Renato
Militante, and Tree Marker Crisanto Pelias, with Elpidio E. Simon, Chief of the Forest Protection
and Law Enforcement Section, as team leader. The team was escorted by SPO3 Andres B. Cinco,
Jr. and SPO1 Rufo Capoquian.3

The team stopped at Brgy. Bagacay, Daram, Western Samar at 2:00 p.m., where they saw two
yacht-like boats being constructed. After consulting with the local barangay officials, the team
learned that the boats belonged to a certain Michael Figueroa. However, since Figueroa was
not around at the time, the team left Brgy. Bagacay.4

En route to Brgy. Manungca, Sta. Rita, Samar, the team spotted two more boats being
constructed in the vicinity of Brgy. Lucob-Lucob, Daram, Samar, between 4:30-5:00 p.m.,
prompting them to stop and investigate. Thus, Maniscan and Militante disembarked from the
DENR’s service pump boat and proceeded to the site of the boat construction. There, they met
Mayor Astorga. After conversing with the mayor, Militante returned to their boat for the
purpose of fetching Simon, at the request of Mayor Astorga.5

When Simon, accompanied by dela Cruz, SPO3 Cinco, and SPO1 Capoquian, approached Mayor
Astorga to try and explain the purpose of their mission, Simon was suddenly slapped hard twice
on the shoulder by Mayor Astorga, who exclaimed, "Puwede ko kamo papaglanguyon pag-uli ha
Tacloban. Ano, di ka maaram nga natupa ako? Natupa baya ako. Diri kamo makauli yana kay
puwede kame e charge ha misencounter." (I can make you swim back to Tacloban. Don’t you
know that I can box? I can box. Don’t you know that I can declare this a misencounter?)6 Mayor
Astorga then ordered someone to fetch "reinforcements," and forty-five (45) minutes later, or
between 5:00-6:00 p.m., a banca arrived bearing ten (10) men, some of them dressed in fatigue
uniforms. The men were armed with M-16 and M14 rifles, and they promptly surrounded the
team, guns pointed at the team members.7At this, Simon tried to explain to Astorga the
purpose of his team’s mission.8 He then took out his handheld ICOM radio, saying that he was
going to contact his people at the DENR in Catbalogan to inform them of the team’s
whereabouts. Suddenly, Mayor Astorga forcibly grabbed Simon’s radio, saying, "Maupay nga
waray kamo radio bis diri somabut an iyo opisina kon hain kamo, bis diri kamo maka aro hin
bulig." (It’s better if you have no radio so that your office would not know your whereabouts
and so that you cannot ask for help).9 Mayor Astorga again slapped the right shoulder of Simon,
adding, "Kong siga kamo ha Leyte ayaw pagdad-a dinhi ha Samar kay diri kamo puwede ha
akon." (If you are tough guys in Leyte, do not bring it to Samar because I will not tolerate it
here.)10Simon then asked Mayor Astorga to allow the team to go home, at which Mayor
Astorga retorted that they would not be allowed to go home and that they would instead be
brought to Daram.11 Mayor Astorga then addressed the team, saying, "Kon magdakop man la
kamo, unahon an mga dagko. Kon madakop niyo an mga dagko, an kan Figueroa dida ha
Bagacay puwede ko liwat ipadakop an akon." (If you really want to confiscate anything, you
start with the big-time. If you confiscate the boats of Figueroa at Brgy. Bagacay, I will surrender
mine.)12 Simon then tried to reiterate his request for permission to leave, which just succeeded
in irking Mayor Astorga, who angrily said, "Diri kamo maka uli yana kay dad on ko kamo ha
Daram, para didto kita mag uro istorya." (You cannot go home now because I will bring you to
Daram. We will have many things to discuss there.)13

The team was brought to a house where they were told that they would be served dinner. The
team had dinner with Mayor Astorga and several others at a long table, and the meal lasted
between 7:00-8:00 p.m.14 After dinner, Militante, Maniscan and SPO1 Capoquian were allowed
to go down from the house, but not to leave the barangay.15On the other hand, SPO3 Cinco and
the rest just sat in the house until 2:00 a.m. when the team was finally allowed to
leave.16 1awphi1.nét
Complainants filed a criminal complaint for arbitrary detention against Mayor Astorga and his
men, which led to the filing of the above-quoted Information.

Mayor Astorga was subsequently arraigned on July 3, 2000, wherein he pleaded not guilty to
the offenses charged.17 At the trial, the prosecution presented the testimonies of SPO1
Capoquian and SPO3 Cinco, as well as their Joint Affidavit.18 However, the presentation of
Simon’s testimony was not completed, and none of his fellow team members came forward to
testify. Instead, the members of the team sent by the DENR RSOG executed a Joint Affidavit of
Desistance.19

On July 5, 2001, the Sandiganbayan promulgated its Decision, disposing of the case as follows:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused BENITO


ASTORGA Y BOCATCAT guilty of Arbitrary Detention, and in the absence of any mitigating or
aggravating circumstances, applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, he is hereby sentenced
to suffer imprisonment of four (4) months of arresto mayor as minimum to one (1) year and
eight (8) months of prision correctional as maximum.

SO ORDERED.20

The accused filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated July 11, 200121 which was denied by the
Sandiganabayan in a Resolution dated September 28, 2001.22 A Second Motion for
Reconsideration dated October 24, 200123 was also filed, and this was similarly denied in a
Resolution dated July 10, 2002.24

Hence, the present petition, wherein the petitioner assigns a sole error for review:

5.1. The trial court grievously erred in finding the accused guilty of Arbitrary Detention as
defined and penalized under Article 124 of the Revised Penal Code, based on mere
speculations, surmises and conjectures and, worse, notwithstanding the Affidavit of Desistance
executed by the five (5) complaining witnesses wherein the latter categorically declared
petitioner’s innocence of the crime charged.25

Petitioner contends that the prosecution failed to establish the required quantum of evidence
to prove the guilt of the accused,26 especially in light of the fact that the private complainants
executed a Joint Affidavit of Desistance.27Petitioner asserts that nowhere in the records of the
case is there any competent evidence that could sufficiently establish the fact that restraint was
employed upon the persons of the team members.28 Furthermore, he claims that the mere
presence of armed men at the scene does not qualify as competent evidence to prove that fear
was in fact instilled in the minds of the team members, to the extent that they would feel
compelled to stay in Brgy. Lucob-Lucob.29
Arbitrary Detention is committed by any public officer or employee who, without legal grounds,
detains a person.30The elements of the crime are:

1. That the offender is a public officer or employee.

2. That he detains a person.

3. That the detention is without legal grounds.31

That petitioner, at the time he committed the acts assailed herein, was then Mayor of Daram,
Samar is not disputed. Hence, the first element of Arbitrary Detention, that the offender is a
public officer or employee, is undeniably present.

Also, the records are bereft of any allegation on the part of petitioner that his acts were
spurred by some legal purpose. On the contrary, he admitted that his acts were motivated by
his "instinct for self-preservation" and the feeling that he was being "singled out."32 The
detention was thus without legal grounds, thereby satisfying the third element enumerated
above.

What remains is the determination of whether or not the team was actually detained.

In the case of People v. Acosta,33 which involved the illegal detention of a child, we found the
accused-appellant therein guilty of kidnapping despite the lack of evidence to show that any
physical restraint was employed upon the victim. However, because the victim was a boy of
tender age and he was warned not to leave until his godmother, the accused-appellant, had
returned, he was practically a captive in the sense that he could not leave because of his fear to
violate such instruction.34

In the case of People v. Cortez,35 we held that, in establishing the intent to deprive the victim of
his liberty, it is not necessary that the offended party be kept within an enclosure to restrict her
freedom of locomotion. At the time of her rescue, the offended party in said case was found
outside talking to the owner of the house where she had been taken. She explained that she
did not attempt to leave the premises for fear that the kidnappers would make good their
threats to kill her should she do so. We ruled therein that her fear was not baseless as the
kidnappers knew where she resided and they had earlier announced that their intention in
looking for her cousin was to kill him on sight. Thus, we concluded that fear has been known to
render people immobile and that appeals to the fears of an individual, such as by threats to kill
or similar threats, are equivalent to the use of actual force or violence.36

The prevailing jurisprudence on kidnapping and illegal detention is that the curtailment of the
victim’s liberty need not involve any physical restraint upon the victim’s person. If the acts and
actuations of the accused can produce such fear in the mind of the victim sufficient to paralyze
the latter, to the extent that the victim is compelled to limit his own actions and movements in
accordance with the wishes of the accused, then the victim is, for all intents and purposes,
detained against his will.

In the case at bar, the restraint resulting from fear is evident. Inspite of their pleas, the
witnesses and the complainants were not allowed by petitioner to go home.37 This refusal was
quickly followed by the call for and arrival of almost a dozen "reinforcements," all armed with
military-issue rifles, who proceeded to encircle the team, weapons pointed at the complainants
and the witnesses.38 Given such circumstances, we give credence to SPO1 Capoquian’s
statement that it was not "safe" to refuse Mayor Astorga’s orders.39 It was not just the presence
of the armed men, but also the evident effect these gunmen had on the actions of the team
which proves that fear was indeed instilled in the minds of the team members, to the extent
that they felt compelled to stay in Brgy. Lucob-Lucob. The intent to prevent the departure of
the complainants and witnesses against their will is thus clear.

Regarding the Joint Affidavit of Desistance executed by the private complainants, suffice it to
say that the principles governing the use of such instruments in the adjudication of other
crimes can be applied here. Thus, in People v. Ballabare, it was held that an affidavit of
desistance is merely an additional ground to buttress the defenses of the accused, not the sole
consideration that can result in acquittal. There must be other circumstances which, when
coupled with the retraction or desistance, create doubts as to the truth of the testimony given
by the witnesses at the trial and accepted by the judge. Here, there are no such
circumstances.40 Indeed, the belated claims made in the Joint Affidavit of Desistance, such as
the allegations that the incident was the result of a misunderstanding and that the team
acceded to Mayor Astorga’s orders "out of respect," are belied by petitioner’s own admissions
to the contrary.41 The Joint Affidavit of Desistance of the private complainants is evidently not a
clear repudiation of the material points alleged in the information and proven at the trial, but a
mere expression of the lack of interest of private complainants to pursue the
case.1awphi1.nét This conclusion is supported by one of its latter paragraphs, which reads:

11. That this affidavit was executed by us if only to prove our sincerity and improving DENR
relations with the local Chiefs Executive and other official of Daram, Islands so that DENR
programs and project can be effectively implemented through the support of the local officials
for the betterment of the residence living conditions who are facing difficulties and are much
dependent on government support.42

Petitioner also assails the weight given by the trial court to the evidence, pointing out that the
Sandiganbayan’s reliance on the testimony of SPO1 Capoquian is misplaced, for the reason that
SPO1 Capoquian is not one of the private complainants in the case. 43 He also makes much of
the fact that prosecution witness SPO1 Capoquian was allegedly "not exactly privy to, and
knowledgeable of, what exactly transpired between herein accused and the DENR team leader
Mr. Elpidio E. Simon, from their alleged ‘confrontation,’ until they left Barangay Lucob-Lucob in
the early morning of 2 September 1997."44

It is a time-honored doctrine that the trial court’s factual findings are conclusive and binding
upon appellate courts unless some facts or circumstances of weight and substance have been
overlooked, misapprehended or misinterpreted.45 Nothing in the case at bar prompts us to
deviate from this doctrine. Indeed, the fact that SPO1 Capoquian is not one of the private
complainants is completely irrelevant. Neither penal law nor the rules of evidence requires
damning testimony to be exclusively supplied by the private complainants in cases of Arbitrary
Detention. Furthermore, Mayor Astorga’s claim that SPO1 Capoquian was "not exactly privy" to
what transpired between Simon and himself is belied by the evidence. SPO1 Capoquian
testified that he accompanied Simon when the latter went to talk to petitioner. 46 He heard all of
Mayor Astorga’s threatening remarks.47 He was with Simon when they were encircled by the
men dressed in fatigues and wielding M-16 and M-14 rifles.48 In sum, SPO1 Capoquian
witnessed all the circumstances which led to the Arbitrary Detention of the team at the hands
of Mayor Astorga.

Petitioner submits that it is unclear whether the team was in fact prevented from leaving Brgy.
Lucob-Lucob or whether they had simply decided to "while away the time" and take advantage
of the purported hospitality of the accused.49 On the contrary, SPO3 Cinco clearly and
categorically denied that they were simply "whiling away the time" between their dinner with
Mayor Astorga and their departure early the following morning.50 SPO1 Capoquian gave similar
testimony, saying that they did not use the time between their dinner with Mayor Astorga and
their departure early the following morning to "enjoy the place" and that, given a choice, they
would have gone home.51

Petitioner argues that he was denied the "cold neutrality of an impartial judge", because the
ponente of the assailed decision acted both as magistrate and advocate when he propounded
"very extensive clarificatory questions" on the witnesses. Surely, the Sandiganbayan, as a trial
court, is not an idle arbiter during a trial. It can propound clarificatory questions to witnesses in
order to ferret out the truth. The impartiality of the court cannot be assailed on the ground that
clarificatory questions were asked during the trial.52

Thus, we affirm the judgment of the Sandiganbayan finding petitioner guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of Arbitrary Detention. Article 124 (1) of the Revised Penal Code provides that, where the
detention has not exceeded three days, the penalty shall be arresto mayor in its maximum
period to prision correccional in its minimum period, which has a range of four (4) months and
one (1) day to two (2) years and four (4) months. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law,
petitioner is entitled to a minimum term to be taken from the penalty next lower in degree, or
arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods, which has a range of one (1) month and
one (1) day to four (4) months. Hence, the Sandiganbayan was correct in imposing the
indeterminate penalty of four (4) months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to one (1) year and
eight (8) months of prision correccional, as maximum.

Before closing, it may not be amiss to quote the words of Justice Perfecto in his concurring
opinion in Lino v. Fugoso, wherein he decried the impunity enjoyed by public officials in
committing arbitrary or illegal detention, and called for the intensification of efforts towards
bringing them to justice:

The provisions of law punishing arbitrary or illegal detention committed by government officers
form part of our statute books even before the advent of American sovereignty in our country.
Those provisions were already in effect during the Spanish regime; they remained in effect
under American rule; continued in effect under the Commonwealth. Even under the Japanese
regime they were not repealed. The same provisions continue in the statute books of the free
and sovereign Republic of the Philippines. This notwithstanding, and the complaints often
heard of violations of said provisions, it is very seldom that prosecutions under them have been
instituted due to the fact that the erring individuals happened to belong to the same
government to which the prosecuting officers belong. It is high time that every one must do his
duty, without fear or favor, and that prosecuting officers should not answer with cold shrugging
of the shoulders the complaints of the victims of arbitrary or illegal detention.

Only by an earnest enforcement of the provisions of articles 124 and 125 of the Revised Penal
Code will it be possible to reduce to its minimum such wanton trampling of personal freedom
as depicted in this case. The responsible officials should be prosecuted, without prejudice to
the detainees’ right to the indemnity to which they may be entitled for the unjustified violation
of their fundamental rights.53

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is hereby DENIED. The Decision of the
Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 24986, dated July 5, 2001 finding petitioner BENITO
ASTORGA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Arbitrary Detention and sentencing
him to suffer the indeterminate penalty of four (4) months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to
one (1) year and eight (8) months of prision correccional, as maximum, is AFFIRMED in toto.

Costs de oficio.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-13484 May 20, 1960


THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
DOMINADOR CAMERINO, MANUEL PAKINGAN, CRISANTO SARATAN, BIENVENIDO OSTERIA,
ET AL.,defendants-appellees.

Actg. Solicitor General Guillermo E. Torres and Solicitor Eriberto D. Ignacio for appellant.
Avelino A. Velasco for appellees.

MONTEMAYOR, J.:

Dominador Camerino and eighty-six others were accused before the Court of First Instance of
Cavite of the crime of sedition, said to have been committed on or about and during the period
comprised by and between the months of October, 1953, to November 15, 1953 and for
sometime prior thereto; under an information charging conspiracy among the said accused in
having allegedly perpetrated for political and social ends, insistent, repeated and continuous
acts of hate, terrorism and revenge against private persons, leaders, members and
sympathizers of the Nacionalista Party in the town of Bacoor, Cavite, and frustrating by force,
threats and violence, and intimidation the free expression of the popular will in the election
held on November 10, 1953. The information described in detail the manner in which the
alleged seditious acts were performed, specifying the dates and the places where they were
committed and the persons who were victims thereof, under fourteen different overt acts of
sedition. Before arraignment, forty-eight of the
eighty-seven accused, headed by Dominador Camerino, filed a motion to quash the information
on the ground of double jeopardy, claiming in support thereof that they had been previously
convicted or been in jeopardy of being convicted and/or acquitted of the offense charged in
other cases of the same nature before the court.

The Assistant Provincial Fiscal filed written opposition to the motion, saying that although it
was alleged in the information that the accused had been charged with various crimes under
different and separate informations, that would not place them in double jeopardy, because
those previous charges were being specified in the information only as a bill of particulars for
the purpose of describing in detail the offense of sedition, but not to hold the defendants liable
for punishment under said separate and different specifications; in other words, the
specifications describing separate crimes were alleged in the information merely to complete
the narration of facts which constitute the crime of sedition.

Later, all the accused filed a supplemental motion to quash, raising as additional grounds that
more than one offense was charged, and that the criminal action or liability of said defendants
had been extinguished.
On March 14, 1956, the trial court issued an order sustaining the reasons of the motion to
quash and dismissing the information on the grounds:(1) that the information charged more
than one offense, (2) that it was vague, ambiguous and uncertain, (3) that it described crimes
for which some of the accused had either been convicted or acquitted, and (4) some violation
of the election law described in the specification had already prescribed. A motion for
reconsideration filed by the Fiscal was denied. The Government is appealing from that order of
dismissal, as well as the order denying the motion for reconsideration.

In determining the present appeal, we deem it necessary to discuss only the first ground of the
dismissal of the information by the trial court, namely, multiplicity of offenses, that is to say,
that the information allegedly charged more than one offense. We agree with the Provincial
Fiscal and the Solicitor General representing the Government that the accused herein were
being charged only with one offense, namely, that of sedition, defined in Article 139 of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended by Commonwealth Act No. 202, and penalized under Article
140 of the same code. the fourteen different acts or specifications charging some or all of the
accused with having committed the offenses charged therein, were included in the information
merely to describe and to narrate the different and specific acts the sum total of which
constitutes the crime of sedition. Different and separate acts constituting different and
separate offenses may serve as a basis for prosecuting the accused to hold them criminally
liable for said different offenses. Yet, those different acts of offenses may serve merely as a
basis for the prosecution of one single offense like that of sedition. For instance, one may be
accused of sedition, and at the same time be prosecuted under another information for murder
or homicide as the case may be, if the killing was done in pursuance of and to carry out the acts
constituting sedition. In case of the People vs. Cabrera, 43 Phil., 64, this Tribunal said:

The nearest analogy to the two crimes of murder and sedition growing out of practically the
same facts, which can be found in the American authorities, relate to the crimes of assault and
riot or unlawful assembly. A majority of the American courts have held that the offense of
unlawful assembly and riot and the offense of assault and battery are distinct offense; and that
conviction or an acquittal for either does not bar a prosecution for other offense, even though
based on the same acts. (Freeland vs. People (1855), 16 Ill., 380; U.S. vs. Peaco (1835), 27 Fed.
Cas., 477; People vs. Vasquez (1905), 9 Puerto Rico, 488; contra, State vs. Lindsay (18868), 61
N.C., 458.)

It is merely stating the obvious to say that sedition is not the same offense as murder. Sedition
is a crime against public order; murder is a crime against persons. Sedition is a crime directed
against the existence of the State, the authority of the government, and the general public
tranquility; murder is a crime directed against the lives of individuals. (U.S. vs. Abad [1902], 1
Phil., 437.) Sedition in its more general sense is the raising of commotions or disturbances in
the state; murder at common law is where a person of sound mind and discretion unlawfully
kills any human being, in the peace of the sovereign, with malice aforethought, express or
implied.

The offenses charged in the two informations for sedition and murder are perfectly distinct in
point of law however nearly they may be connected in point of fact. Not alone are the
offenses eonomine different, but the allegations in the body of the informations are different.
The gist of the information for sedition is the public and tumultuous uprising of the
constabulary in order to attain by force and outside of legal methods the object of inflicting an
act of hate and revenge upon the persons of the police force of the city of Manila by firing at
them in several places in the city of Manila; the gist of the information in the murder case is
that the Constabulary, conspiring together, illegally and criminally killed eight persons and
gravely wounded three others. The crimes of the murder and serious physical injuries were not
necessarily included in the information for sedition; and the defendants could not have been
convicted of these crimes under the first information.

In the case of U.S. vs. Cernias, 10 Phil., 682, this Court held that while it is true that each of
those acts charged against the conspirators was itself a crime, the prosecutor in setting them
out in the information did no more than to furnish the defendants with a bill of particulars of
the facts which it intended to prove at the trial, not only as a basis upon which to be found an
inference of guilt of the crime of conspiracy but also as evidence of the extremely dangerous
and wicked nature of that conspiracy.

The charge is not defective for duplicity when one single crime is set forth in different modes
prescribed by law for its commission, or the felony is set forth under different counts specifying
the way of its perpetuation, or the acts resulted from a single criminal impulse. Neither is there
duplicity when the other offense described is but an ingredient or an essential element of the
real offense charged nor when several acts are related in describing the offense. (Padilla:
Criminal Procedure Annotated, 1959 ed., p. 101).

In the case of People vs. Bacolod, 89 Phil., 621, the defendant therein was convicted on a plea
of guilty of physical injuries through reckless imprudence. Based on the same facts, he was also
accused of having caused public disturbance. The plea of double jeopardy interposed by the
accused was rejected on the ground that the two offenses were not the same, although they
arose from the same act.

Following the reasoning of the trial court that more than one offense was charged, the trial
court should have ordered that the information be amended, or if that was not possible, that a
new information be filed.
Under section 2 of this Rule, the Court may deny or sustain the motion to quash but may not
defer it till the trial of the case on the merits. In sustaining the motion, the court may order the
filing of a new information or may dismiss the case. In the new information, the defects of the
previous information may be cured. For instance, if the motion to quash is sustained on the
ground that more than one offense is charged in the information, the court may order that
another information be filed charging only one offense. But the court may or may not issue
such order in the exercise of its discretion. The order may be made if the defects found in the
first information may be cured in a new information. If the order is made, the accused, if he is
in custody, should not be discharged, unless otherwise, admitted to bail. But if no such order is
made, or, having been made, the prosecuting attorney fails to file another information within
the time specified by the court, the accused, if in custody must be discharged, unless he is also
in custody for another charge, or if is out on bail, the bail must be exonerated. In such event,
however, the fiscal is free to institute another criminal proceeding since such ground of
objection is not a bar to another prosecution for the same offense. (Moran, Comments on the
Rules of Court, 1957 ed., Vol. II, pp. 778-779).

In conclusion, we hold that the information filed in this case did not charged more than one
offense but only that of sedition; that in specifying the separate and different criminal acts
attributed to the defendants, it was not the purpose or intention of the Government to hold
them criminally liable in the present proceedings, but merely to complete the narration of facts,
though specifying different offenses which as a whole, supposedly constitute the crime of
sedition. Consequently, we believe that the information is valid.

We deem it unnecessary to discuss the other points raised in the appeal.

In view of the foregoing, the appealed orders are hereby set aside and the case is hereby
remanded to the trial court of further proceedings, without pronouncement as to costs.

G.R. No. 116488 May 31, 2001

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
AARON FLORES @ "RONITO", SULPECIO SILPAO y ORTEGA @ "SULPING" and EDGAR
VILLERAN y MAGBANUA, accused-appellants.

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

Sgt. Wennie Tampioc, Detachment Commander of the 7th Infantry Brigade detailed at Barangay
Tabu, Ilog, Negros Occidental, and three (3) members of the local Citizen Armed Force
Geographical Unit (CAFGU) under his supervision, namely, Aaron Flores alias "Ronito", Sulpecio
Silpao y Ortega alias "Sulping" and Edgar Villeran y Magbanua, were charged before the
Regional Trial Court of Kabankalan, Negros Occidental, Branch 61, with Kidnapping and Serious
Illegal Detention. The information charged as follows:

That on or about the 29th day of September, 1992, in the Municipality of Ilog, Province of
Negros Occidental, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-
named accused, armed with high powered firearms conspiring, confederating and helping one
another, by means of force, violence and intimidation, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully
and feloniously take, kidnap, detain and keep under guard one SAMSON SAYAM y GEPANAO
from Km 117, Hda. Shangrella (sic), Brgy. Tabu, of the above-named municipality, and bring the
latter to their detachment at Brgy. Tabu, under restraint and against his will, without proper
authority thereof, thereby depriving said victim of his civil liberty since then up to the present.

CONTRARY TO LAW.1

All the four accused pleaded "Not Guilty" when arraigned. Trial ensued and, based on the
testimonial evidence presented, the trial court found the following antecedent facts to be
undisputed.

On the night of September 29, 1992, the victim, Samson Sayam, was drinking beer at the store
owned by Terry Cabrillos located at Barangay Tabu, Ilog, Negros Occidental. Sgt. Wennie
Tampioc, Aaron Flores, Sulpecio Silpao and Edgar Villeran were at the same store drinking beer.
Sayam joined the four accused at their table. Sometime later, all the accused and the victim left
the store and walked towards the direction of the military detachment headquarters. After the
accused left the store with Samson Sayam, witnesses heard a single gunshot followed by rapid
firing coming from the direction of the detachment headquarters.2 That was the last time
Samson Sayam was seen, and despite diligent efforts of Sayam's mother and relatives, he has
not been found.

It was the prosecution's contention that on that fateful evening, all four accused hatched a
conspiracy to kidnap the victim and thereafter detain him at the detachment headquarters.
They allegedly succeeded in their plot and, the prosecution avers, to this day the accused have
not released Samson Sayam. All the accused, however, vehemently denied committing the acts
charged.

The trial court held that the testimonial evidence failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the
existence of a conspiracy among the four accused. More specifically, the prosecution failed to
show an apparent common design by and among the accused to kidnap and detain Samson
Sayam against his will. Thus, the trial court proceeded to determine the individual liabilities of
the four accused based on the degree of their participation in the commission of the offense
charged.
The trial court gave credence to the prosecution's evidence that Samson Sayam was seen being
forcibly dragged out of the store and pulled towards the direction of the detachment
headquarters by accused Aaron Flores, Sulpecio Silpao and Edgar Villeran. Since Samson Sayam
had not been seen nor heard from since then, the trial court held that the three accused were
responsible for the former's disappearance.

As regards Wennie Tampioc, the trial court found that he left the store ahead of the three (3)
co-accused and, thus, had nothing to do with the disappearance of Samson Sayam. Notably,
none of the prosecution witnesses specifically or categorically mentioned Tampioc as among
those who actively participated in bringing Samson Sayam by force to their headquarters.
Unlike his co-accused who are natives of the place of the incident, Wennie Tampioc was newly
assigned as Detachment Commander and did not know Samson Sayam, such that no ill-motive
was attributed to him by the trial court. Likewise, the testimonies of prosecution witnesses
Nelson Golez, on the one hand, and that of Carlos Manlangit, on the other hand, conflict as to
the kind of firearm allegedly carried by Tampioc. While Golez stated that he was armed with an
Armalite rifle,3 Manlangit testified that Tampioc was armed with a short firearm.4

More importantly, the trial court found that the identity of Sgt. Tampioc as one of the
perpetrators of the crime was doubtful, because notwithstanding the fact that Nelson Golez
knew Wennie Tampioc even before September 29, 1992,5 the original complaint filed before
the Municipal Circuit Trial court of Ilog Candoni, dated October 21, 1992, which was based on
the affidavits of Golez and Carlito Manlingit, did not mention Wennie Tampioc as one of the
respondents. The said affidavits merely mentioned an "unidentified member of the 7th IB,
Philippine Army, assigned at Brgy. Tabu, detachment." At the time of the execution of the
affidavits, the witnesses could have known that Wennie Tampioc was a sergeant, and that he
was a commander of the detachment. Finally, the straightforward and emphatic manner in
which Wennie Tampioc testified inspired belief in the trial court's mind.6

On December 8, 1993, the trial court rendered the assailed judgment, the dispositive of which
states:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court finds the accused Aaron Flores, Edgar Villeran
and Sulpecio Silpao GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of kidnapping and serious
illegal detention as defined and penalized in Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code and are each
sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua; and there being no proof that Samson
Sayam is dead, they are ordered to pay him jointly and severally, or in the alternative, his heirs
the sum of Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos as damages, without subsidiary imprisonment in
case of insolvency and to pay the costs of this suit.

The accused Wennie Tampioc is ACQUITTED on grounds of reasonable doubt.


The bail bonds of the said accused are ordered cancelled and the convicted accused ordered
confined pending appeal if they so file an appeal, in accordance with Administrative Circular No.
2-92, dated January 20, 1992 of the Supreme Court.

SO ORDERED.7

Two (2) separate appeals were brought before us. Accused-appellant Sulpecio Silpao raised the
following errors:

I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT SULPECIO SILPAO OF THE


CRIME OF KIDNAPPING AND SERIOUS ILLEGAL DETENTION, UNDER ARTICLE 267, REVISED
PENAL CODE.

II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT CAFGU SULPECIO SILPAO,
AS AMONG THOSE WHO FORCIBLY BROUGHT SAMSON SAYAM TO THEIR HEADQUARTERS IN
THE EVENING OF 29 SEPTEMBER 1992 AND RESPONSIBLE FOR SAMSON SAYAM'S
DISAPPEARANCE.

III. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING ACCUSED-APPELLANT CAFGU SULPECIO SILPAO GUILTY
BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE OFFENSE CHARGED.

On the other hand, accused-appellants Aaron Flores and Edgar Villeran interposed a joint
appeal based on the sole error that:

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING ACCUSED-APPELLANTS AARON FLORES AND EDGAR
VILLERAN GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME OF KIDNAPPING AND SERIOUS
ILLEGAL DETENTION BASED ON CIRCUMSTANTIAL AND INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE.

After a thorough review of the facts and evidence adduced before the trial court, we find that
accused-appellants should be acquitted of the offense charged against them.

The crime of Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention is defined and penalized under Article
267 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659. The elements of the
offense are:

1. That the offender is a private individual.

2. That he kidnaps or detains another, or in any other manner deprives the latter of his liberty.

3. That the act of detention or kidnapping must be illegal.

4. That in the commission of the offense, any of the following circumstances are present:

(a) That the kidnapping or detention lasts for more than 3 days;
(b) That it is committed simulating public authority;

(c) That any serious physical injuries are inflicted upon the person kidnapped or detained or
threats to kill him are made; or

(d) That the person kidnapped is a minor, female or public officer.8

Clearly, accused-appellants cannot be charged with or convicted of the crime of Kidnapping and
Serious Illegal Detention, since the first element of the said crime is that the offender must be a
private individual. In the case at bar, accused-appellants were members of the local CAFGU at
the time the alleged crime was committed.

The CAFGU was created pursuant to Executive Order No. 264 for the purpose of
complementing the operations of the regular force formations in a locality.9 It was composed of
civilian volunteers who were tasked to maintain peace and order in their localities, as well as to
respond to threats to national security. As such, they were provided with weapons, and given
the authority to detain or order detention of individuals.10

The Solicitor General recognizes the error of charging and convicting accused-appellants of
Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention for the reason that the appellants are not private
individuals, but public officers. As such, the Solicitor General submits that, under the facts
alleged, accused-appellants can only be liable for the crime of Arbitrary Detention, defined and
penalized in Article 124 of the Revised Penal Code. The prosecution maintains that inasmuch as
all the other elements of Arbitrary Detention were alleged in the criminal information filed
against the accused-appellants, they may still be convicted of said crime.

Arbitrary detention is committed by any public officer or employee who, without legal grounds,
detains a person.11Since it is settled that accused-appellants are public officers, the question
that remains to be resolved is whether or not the evidence adduced before the trial court
proved that Samson Sayam was arbitrarily detained by accused-appellants.

As far back as the case of U.S. v. Cabanag,12 it was held that in the crime of illegal or arbitrary
detention, it is essential that there is actual confinement or restriction of the person of the
offended party. The deprivation of liberty must be proved,13 just as the intent of the accused to
deprive the victim of his liberty must also be established by indubitable proof. 14 In the more
recent case of People v. Fajardo,15 this Court reiterated the ruling in U.S. v. Cabanag, i.e., there
must be uncontroverted proof of both intent to deprive the victim of his liberty, as well as
actual confinement or restriction.

Detention is defined as the actual confinement of a person in an enclosure, or in any manner


detaining and depriving him of his liberty.16 A careful review of the records of the instant case
shows no evidence sufficient to prove that Samson Sayam was detained arbitrarily by accused-
appellants. While the prosecution witnesses testified that accused-appellants were seen
walking with Samson Sayam toward the direction of the detachment headquarters, there is no
shred of evidence that he was actually confined there or anywhere else. The fact that Samson
Sayam has not been seen or heard from since he was last seen with accused-appellants does
not prove that he was detained and deprived of his liberty. The prosecution, however, argues
that Samson Sayam was deprived of his liberty when accused-appellants forced him to go with
them when they left the store of Jerry Cabrillos and brought him to the detachment
headquarters.

We assayed the testimonies of the prosecution's main witnesses, namely, Carlito Manlangit and
his son Jerry Manlangit. Carlito Manlangit's testimony was offered to prove that Samson Sayam
was forcibly taken from the store and that the latter tried his best to free himself from his
abductors. And yet, all that Carlito testified to was that he saw Samson Sayam crossing the
street alone from the store of a certain Moleng; that the four accused, who were armed,
followed Sayam and asked for his residence certificate; that the four accused apprehended
Samson Sayam and brought him to the detachment headquarters; and that he went home after
he saw Samson Sayam talking to the accused.17

It is readily apparent that Carlito Manlangit's testimony failed to prove the stated purpose
thereof, i.e., that Samson Sayam was taken forcibly to the detachment headquarters. To be
sure, the witness did not state that Samson Sayam was pulled, dragged, or coerced to go with
accused-appellants. Neither did he say that Samson Sayam was taken at gunpoint. There is also
no relevant testimony to the effect that Samson Sayam tried his best to free himself from the
clutches of accused-appellants. For if that were the truth, the reactions of Carlito Manlangit do
not conform to human experience. If he really witnessed Samson Sayam being apprehended,
forcibly taken, and trying to free himself, it cannot be logically explained why Carlito Manlangit
just went home,18 instead of doing anything to help Samson Sayam. He admitted that he did
not immediately report the incident to the authorities.19 More telling is the absence of
testimony to the effect that Samson Sayam was being taken to the detachment headquarters
against his will, that he was protesting his apprehension, or that he was asking for help,
considering that there were other people within hearing and seeing distance. Most damaging is
Carlito Manlangit's statement that he did not see Samson Sayam in the detachment
headquarters with any or all of the accused.20 In fine, Carlito Manlangit's testimony failed to
prove that Samson Sayam was arbitrarily detained or deprived of his liberty.

Jerry Manlangit, son of Carlito, also testified for the prosecution. According to him, he and
Samson Sayam went to Barangay Tabu to have a sack of palay milled on September 29, 1992. At
around six in the evening, while on their way home, they passed by the store of Terry Cabrillos
to buy kerosene. There, he saw the four accused drinking beer. Samson Sayam told him to go
home because he had to show his residence certificate and barangay clearance to accused-
appellant Aaron Flores. Jerry Manlangit then proceeded to his residence in Hacienda Shangrila,
located about half a kilometer away from the center of Barangay Tabu. Later, he told his father
that Samson Sayam stayed behind and asked him to fetch Samson. He also testified that he
heard gunshots coming from the direction of the detachment headquarters.21

The testimony of Jerry Manlangit does not prove any of the elements of the crime of arbitrary
detention. Neither does it support nor corroborate the testimony of his father, Carlito, for they
dealt on a different set of facts. Jerry Manlangit did not see any of accused-appellant
apprehend or detain Samson Sayam. He did not even see if accused-appellant Flores really
inspected the residence certificate and barangay clearance of Samson Sayam. The rest of his
testimony comprised of hearsay evidence,22 which has no probative value.23 In summary, Jerry
Manlangit's testimony failed to establish that accused-appellants were guilty of arbitrary
detention.

The prosecution also presented the testimony of Nelson Golez, who identified the four accused
as the persons with Samson Sayam, drinking inside the store of Terry Cabrillos. He also stated
that following a heated argument, the accused and Samson Sayam left the store and went
towards the direction of the detachment headquarters. He said that the accused were "holding
and pulling" Samson Sayam "towards the road." Ten minutes later, Nelson Golez heard a single
gunshot followed by rapid firing.24

On cross-examination, however, Nelson Golez did not affirm his earlier statement that the
accused and Samson Sayam were engaged in a heated argument. Rather, he said he did not
hear them arguing as they were leaving the store. Although Nelson Golez attested that Samson
Sayam was protesting while the accused were dragging him, he did not do anything to help
Samson Sayam, who happened to be his cousin.25

Again, no conclusion of guilt can be inferred from Nelson Golez's testimony. First of all, he was
unsure of his assertion that there was an argument. The mere fact that Samson Sayam was
being dragged towards the road does not constitute arbitrary detention. There is no showing
that Samson Sayam was completely deprived of his liberty such that he could not free himself
from the grip of the accused, if he was indeed being held against his will. The incident
transpired in a public place, where there were people milling about, many of whom were his
friends. It is puzzling that Samson Sayam did not cry out for help. Nobody bothered to report
the incident, if indeed it happened, to the barangay authorities. No one else came forward to
corroborate the testimony of Nelson Golez.
The testimony of Nelson Golez, by itself, lacks credibility. He wavered on material points, even
as the prosecution failed to substantiate by direct or corroborative evidence the bare testimony
of Nelson Golez.

It is basic and elemental that in criminal prosecutions, before the accused may be convicted of
a crime, his guilt must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Although the findings of fact made
by trial courts are generally not disturbed on appeal, if there are substantial facts which were
overlooked but which may alter the results of the case in favor of the accused, such facts
should be taken into account by the appellate court.26 And where it appears that the trial court
erred in the appreciation of the evidence on record or the lack of it, the factual findings of the
trial court may be reversed.27

After thoroughly reviewing the records of this case and weighing the testimonial evidence on
the scale of creditworthiness and materiality, this Court finds the evidence of the prosecution
grossly insufficient to sustain a conviction. Again, the fact of detention, whether illegal or
arbitrary, was not clearly established by credible evidence. There was no showing that Samson
Sayam was locked up, restrained of his freedom, or prevented from communicating with
anyone. Likewise, there was no proof that there was actual intent on the part of accused-
appellants to arbitrarily deprive Samson Sayam of his liberty. It is necessary that there must be
a purposeful or knowing action by accused-appellants to restrain the victim by or with force,
because taking coupled with intent completes the crime of illegal or arbitrary detention. 28

The prosecution, however, maintains that the evidence, even though circumstantial, sufficiently
establishes the guilt of the accused-appellants. It cites the following circumstances:

1. On September 29, 1992, at about 6:00 o'clock in the evening, accused-appellants, together
with their companions Sergeant Tampioc and fellow CAFGU Sulpecio Silpao, were seen with
Samson at the store of Terry Cabrillos. Accused-appellants were having a drinking spree. Later,
they were seen engaged in a heated argument.

2. Thereafter, Samson was forcibly brought out of the store by accused-appellants by holding
and pulling him towards the road. From another angle, another prosecution witness saw
accused-appellants on the road arresting Samson.

3. Accused-appellants brought Samson towards the direction of the detachment of Brgy. Tabu.

4. Ten (10) minutes later, a gunshot was heard coming from the direction of the detachment
followed by rapid firing.

5. After the incident, Samson was never seen again or heard from.29
As already discussed, the above-enumerated circumstances were not established by clear and
convincing evidence. And even if these acts were proven to be true, the combination of all
these circumstances would still not be able to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.
To our mind, the totality of these circumstantial evidence do not constitute an unbroken chain
pointing to the fair and reasonable conclusion that the accused-appellants are guilty of the
crime charged.

For circumstantial evidence to be sufficient to support a conviction, all the circumstances must
be consistent with the hypothesis that the accused-appellants are guilty, and inconsistent with
the possibility that they are innocent.30Thus:

SECTION 4. Circumstantial evidence, when sufficient. — Circumstantial evidence is sufficient for


conviction if:

a) There is more than one circumstance;

b) The facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and

c) The combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond


reasonable doubt.31

The rule is clear that there must be at least two proven circumstances which in complete
sequence leads to no other logical conclusion than that of the guilt of the accused.32 It is
admitted that Samson Sayam was seen drinking with accused-appellants on that fateful night.
However, the circumstances that there was a heated argument among them, and that the
accused-appellants held and pulled Samson Sayam to the road and brought him towards the
direction of the detachment headquarters was not sufficiently proven by material or relevant
testimony.

Moreover, the circumstance that gunshots were heard on that night have no relevancy to the
case. Even if it were, it cannot be concluded that the gunshots came from the direction of the
detachment headquarters. The witnesses who testified that they heard the gunshots were at
least half a kilometer away from the center of the barangay, while the detachment
headquarters itself was also some distance from the barangay. At night, especially in the rural
areas when all is quiet, loud sounds such as gunshots reverberate and would seem to come
from every direction. An ordinary person a kilometer away cannot, with certainty, point to the
exact location where the gunshots would be coming from. That would otherwise be attributing
expertise on such matters to the prosecution witnesses.

That Samson Sayam was never seen or heard from again cannot be the basis for the trial court
to render judgment convicting the accused-appellants. In fact, it has no bearing in this case
because it is not one of the elements of the crime of arbitrary detention. Consequently, only
one relevant circumstance was proved, i.e., that accused-appellants were the last persons seen
with Samson Sayam. However, said circumstance does not necessarily prove that they
feloniously abducted him, then arbitrarily detained him.33

Moreover, mere suspicion that the disappearance of Samson Sayam was a result of accused-
appellants' alleged criminal acts and intentions is insufficient to convict them. Proof beyond
reasonable doubt is the required quantum of evidence.34 An uncorroborated circumstantial
evidence is certainly not sufficient for conviction when the evidence itself is in serious
doubt.35 The prosecution was not able to prove a possible motive why accused-appellants
would arbitrarily detain Samson Sayam. In sum, there is no unbroken chain of circumstances
leading to the conclusion that accused-appellants are guilty. Since the pieces of circumstantial
evidence do not fulfill the test of moral certainty that is sufficient to support a judgment or
conviction, the Court must acquit the accused.36

In the recent case of People v. Comesario,37 we had occasion to rule that:

Accused-appellant's conviction by the trial court hinged on circumstantial evidence. To validly


invoke circumstantial evidence, it must be shown that there is more than one circumstance and
the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven. The combination of all the
circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. The circumstances
must constitute an unbroken chain of events that can lead reasonably to the conclusion
pointing to the accused to the exclusion of all others as the author of the crime. Logically, it is
where the evidence is purely circumstantial that there should be an even greater need than
usual to apply with vigor the rule that the prosecution cannot depend on the weakness of the
defense and that any conviction must rest on nothing less than a moral certainty of guilt of the
accused. Like a tapestry made of strands which create a pattern when interwoven, a judgment
of conviction based on circumstantial evidence can be upheld only if the circumstances proved
constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and reasonable conclusion pointing to the
accused, to the exclusion of all others, as the guilty person.

Accused-appellants enjoy the presumption of innocence until the contrary is proved. In the case
at bar, the pieces of testimonial evidence relied on by the prosecution and the trial court to
support a conviction have failed to overcome the constitutional precept of the presumed
innocence of accused-appellants. Among other grounds, not only is there a lot of room for
reasonable doubt in regard to their guilt, there is a virtual dearth of convincing evidence to
prove that a crime had been committed.

There is no need even to assess the evidence of the defense, for the prosecution bears the onus
to distinctly and indubitably prove that a crime had been committed by accused-appellants.38 It
is incumbent upon the prosecution to establish its case with that degree of proof which leads to
no other conclusion but conviction in an unprejudiced mind. The evidence for the prosecution
must stand or fall on its own merits for it cannot be allowed to draw strength from the
weakness of the evidence for the defense.39 Clearly, the prosecution in this case has failed to
prove the guilt of accused-appellants beyond reasonable doubt. In similar cases, this Court has
often and consistently ruled that it is better to acquit a guilty person than to convict an
innocent one.40

WHEREFORE, the assailed decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accused-appellants are
ACQUITTED. Unless being held or detained for some lawful reason, accused-appellants are
ORDERED RELEASED immediately. The Director of Prisons is DIRECTED to inform this Court,
within five (5) days from notice, of the date and time when accused-appellants are released
pursuant to this Decision.

SO ORDERED.

Davide, Jr., C .J ., Puno and Pardo, JJ ., concur.


Kapunan, J ., is on leave.

A.M. No. MTJ-93-813 September 15, 1993

FERNANDO CAYAO, Complainant, vs. JUDGE JUSTINIANO A. DEL


MUNDO, Respondent.chanrobles virtual law library

PER CURIAM:

This is an administrative complaint filed by Fernando R. Cayao with the Office of the Court
Administrator charging respondent Judge Justiniano A. Del Mundo, MTC, Indang Cavite with
abuse of authority.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Acting on said complaint, the Office of the Court Administrator directed Judge Enrique M.
Almario, Regional trial Court Branch XV, Naic, Cavite, to conduct an investigation and to submit
his report and recommendation thereon.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library

Based on the records as well as the report submitted by the investigating Judge, it appears that
on or about October 22, 1992 at 9:25 a.m., while traversing the stretch of Mataas na Lupa,
Alulod, Indang, Cavite, complainant, as driver of Donny's Transit Bus with Plate No. DWB 315,
overtook a Sto. Niño Liner with Body No. 5282 driven by one Arnel Ranes Muloy. As a
consequence thereof, the bus driven by complainant almost collided head-on with an oncoming
owner-type jeepney with Plate No. PJT 752. It turned out later that the jeepney was registered
in the name of respondent Judge Del Mundo who, at the time of the incident, was one of the
passengers therein along with his sons Rommel and June and one Edward Rommen.
Respondent's son Rommel was behind the wheel.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual
law library

At 3:30 p.m. of the same day, even before complainant could properly park his bus, he was
picked up by policemen of the Philippine National Police Station of Indang, Cavite at the Indang
Public Plaza and was immediately brought before the sala of respondent judge. There,
complainant was confronted by respondent judge and accused by the latter of nearly causing
an accident that morning. Without giving complainant any opportunity to explain, respondent
judge insisted that complainant be punished for the incident. Whereupon, complainant was
compelled by respondent judge to choose from three (3) alternative punishments none of
which is pleasant, to wit: (a) to face a charge of multiple attempted homicide; (b) revocation of
his driver's license; or (c) to be put in jail for three (3) days. Of the three choices, complainant
chose the third, i.e., confinement for three (3) days, as a consequence of which he was forced
to sign a "waiver of detention" by respondent judge. Thereafter, complainant was immediately
escorted by policemen to the municipal jail. Though not actually incarcerated complainant
remained in the premises of the municipal jail for three (3) days, from October 22 up to
October 25, 1992, by way of serving his "sentence". On the third day, complainant was released
by SPO1 Manolo Dilig to the custody of Geronimo Cayao, complainant's co-driver and
cousin.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The fact of detention of complainant in the premises of the municipal jail for three (3) days was
confirmed and corroborated by the testimony of the jail warden of Indang, Cavite, SP04
Adelaida Nova. The fact of complainant's release therefrom after three (3) days detention was
testified to by SPO1 Manolo Dilig who prepared the corresponding document of release. For his
defense, respondent judge merely made general denials.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library

The actuations of respondent judge herein complained of, constitute abuse of authority. To
begin with, respondent's verbal order for the arrest of complainant at the Indang Public Plaza
without the requisite complaint having been filed and the corresponding warrant of arrest
having been issued in order that complainant may be brought to his sala is characteristic of
personal vengeance and the abusive attitude of respondent. Being a judge, respondent above
all, should be the first to abide by the law and weave an example for others to follow (Ompoc
vs. Torres, 178 SCRA 14 [1989]). Instead, respondent judge opted to avail of his judicial
authority in excess of what is allowed by law to gratify his vindictive
purposes.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

If respondent honestly believes that complainant committed violations of traffic rules and
regulations which nearly caused the accident involving their respective vehicles, respondent
judge should have caused the filing of the appropriate criminal charges against complainant and
left it at that. On the contrary, respondent is not one to let the law run its own course. This is a
classic case where respondent took it upon himself to be the accuser, prosecutor, judge and
executioner at the same time to condemn complainant for his alleged wrongdoing without the
benefit of due process. Without even an opportunity to air his side, complainant was
unceremoniously made to choose his own penalty. Left with no other choice but to face his
predicament and overpowered by the imposing authority of respondent, complainant picked
the lesser evil of the three alternatives given to him. Complainant can hardly be blamed for so
doing. A perusal of the two (2) other choices presented to him will illustrate
why.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The first choice given to complainant was to face a charge of multiple attempted homicide. To
threaten complainant with a criminal case for multiple attempted homicide is indicative of
respondent's gross ignorance of the law. As a judge, he should know very well that such at
charge will not hold water in any court of law considering that no accident per seever occurred
and hence, no life threatening injury was even sustained. To a mere bus driver who is not at all
familiar with the intricacies of the law, such a threat spelled not only the possibility of long-
term imprisonment and all the hardship it entails but also the onus and shame that will forever
attach to his name. Surely, to his mind, a threat of prosecution coming from a municipal trial
court judge is alarming enough.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The second alternative punishment offered to complainant to choose from involves his very
means of livelihood - revocation of his driver's license. This is tantamount to economic death
penalty and just as repulsive as the first alternative.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library

Faced with these grim prospects complainant voluntarily submitted himself to the jail warden
of the Indang Municipal Jail for detention after executing his "waiver of detention,"
complainant felt that he had no other choice but to serve out the "penalty" forcibly and
arbitrarily imposed upon him by respondent.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library

While it is true that complainant was not put behind bare as respondent had intended,
however, complainant was not allowed to leave the premises of the jail house. The idea of
confinement is not synonymous only with incarceration inside a jail cell. It is enough to qualify
as confinement that a man be restrained, either morally or physically, of his personal liberty
(Black's Law Dictionary, 270 [1979]). Under the circumstances, respondent judge was in fact
guilty of arbitrary detention when he, as a public officer, ordered the arrest and detention of
complainant without legal grounds (Article 124, Revised Penal Code; U.S. vs. Battallones 23 Phil.
46 [1912]). In overtaking another vehicle, complainant-driver was not committing or had not
actually committed a crime in the presence of respondent judge (Section 6, Rule 113, Rules of
Court). Such being the case, the warrantless arrest and subsequent detention of complainant
were illegal. In the case at bar, no less than the testimony of the jail warden herself confirmed
that complainant was indeed deprived of his liberty for three (3) days:

xxx xxx xxx

COURT:chanrobles virtual law library

Q Alright, did you or did you not in fact detain Fernando Cayao on that premises? On the
ground of that premises?chanrobles virtual law library

WITNESS (jail warden):chanrobles virtual law library

A I did not put him inside the jail, your Honor, but he was inside the police station.

xxx xxx xxx

COURT:chanrobles virtual law library

Q Alright, as a police officer, I ask you again, did you or did you not detain Fernando Cayao
based on the premises that you said under oath before this Court?chanrobles virtual law library

A Yes, your Honor, inside the police station.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law


library

Q Does it mean that he could not have gone freely of his own volition outside the police station
without your authority or permission?chanrobles virtual law library

A He can move freely.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

COURT:chanrobles virtual law library

Q When you said that, you meant he could have gone home, he could have gone eating in
restaurant, he could have gone to a theatre or in any public place. Is that what you
mean?chanrobles virtual law library

WITNESS:chanrobles virtual law library

A No, your Honor. Only inside the police station.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual


law library

Q Why only in the police station? Inside? What is your order? What did you tell him?chanrobles
virtual law library
A Because he voluntarily went to the police station to be
detained.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Q Alright, so, had he told you that he would have gone to other places, you will have no
objection? You will have no interpolation or you would not feel that you have a right to have
him under your custody. Is that correct?

xxx xxx xxx

WITNESS:chanrobles virtual law library

A I will still prevent him.

(TSN, November 19, 1992, pp. 9-10)

Of equal importance is the perception of complainant himself as to whether his liberty, was
actually restricted or not:

xxx xxx xxx

Q So, summarily speaking, you feel that you were detained in the municipal jail of the station of
Indang, Cavite?chanrobles virtual law library

A Yes, your Honor, because I was not able to get out from the police station from the time that I
was detained.

(TSN, November 19, 1992, p. 16)

It would be well to emphasize at this point that the gravity of the misconduct of respondent is
not alone centered on his order for the detention of complainant. Rather, it is ingrained in the
fact that complainant was so detained without affording him his constitutional
rights.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

As previously mentioned, complainant was condemned by his own accuser without the benefit
of due process. Complainant was not even accorded any of the basic rights to which an accused
is entitled. When respondent insisted on punishing hire without a chance to air his side,
complainant was deprived of the presumption of innocence, the right to be heard by himself
and counsel, the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him as
well as the right to an impartial and public trial. Moreover, complainant was made to execute a
waiver of detention without the assistance of counsel. Worse, the aforesaid waiver was even
subscribed by complainant before the very same judge who was his accuser. Certainly, such
intentional and blatant violations of one's constitutional rights committed by respondent
cannot be tolerated by this Court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
As public servants, judges are appointed to the judiciary to serve as the visible representation
of the law, and more importantly, of justice. From them, the people draw their will and
awareness to obey the law (De la Paz vs. Inutan, 64 SCRA 540 (1975)). If judges, who swore to
obey and uphold the constitution, would conduct themselves in the way that respondent did in
wanton disregard and violation of the rights of complainant, then the people, especially those
with whom they come in direct contact, would lose all their respect and high regard for the
institution of the judiciary itself, not to mention, cause the breakdown of the moral fiber on
which the judiciary is founded.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Undoubtedly, the actuations of respondent judge represent the kind of gross and flaunting
misconduct on the part of those who are charged with the responsibility of administering the
law and rendering justice that so quickly and severely corrodes the respect for law and the
courts without which the government cannot continue and that tears apart the very bonds of
our polity (Ompoc vs. Judge Torres, 178 SCRA 14 [1989]).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library

Furthermore, the reprehensible conduct exhibited by respondent judge in the case at bar
exposed his total disregard of, or indifference to, or even ignorance of the procedure
prescribed by law. His act of intentionally violating the law and disregarding well-known legal
procedures can be characterized as gross misconduct, nay a criminal misconduct on his part
(Babatio vs. Tan, 157 SCRA 277 [1988]). He used and abused his position of authority in
intimidating the complainant as well as the members of the Indang police force into submitting
to his excesses. Likewise, he closed his eyes to the mandates of the Code of Judicial Conduct to
always conduct himself as to be beyond reproach and suspicion not only in the performance of
his duties but also outside his sala and as a private individual. (Castillo vs. Calanog, Jr. 199 SCRA
75 [1991]).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Clearly, there is not, an iota of doubt that respondent, through his oppressive and vindictive
actuations, has committed a disservice to the cause of justice. He has unequivocably
demonstrated his unfitness to continue as a member of the judiciary and should accordingly be
removed from the service.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

WHEREFORE, respondent judge Justiniano A. Del Mundo of the Municipal Trial Court of Indang,
Cavite is hereby DISMISSED from the service with forfeiture of all benefits except accrued leave
credits with prejudice to reinstatement or reappointment to any public office including
government-owned or controlled corporations.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual
law library

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 87429 August 27, 1990

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
REGALADO BATI accused-appellant.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.

Ildefonso B. Malveda for accused-appellant.

PARAS, J.:

Upon being informed by their civilian informer, at around 5:30 o'clock in the afternoon of July
27, 1986, that there would be a transaction involving the buying and selling of marijuana which
would take place on that same day at the Doña Crispina Park Subdivision in Barangay Bagong
Bayan, San Pablo City, Patrolmen Jose Luciano, Angelito Caraan, Nelson Dimatulac and
Democrito Cuenca immediately proceeded to the vicinity where the alleged transaction would
take place. Cuenca and Dimatulac were dispatched by Luciano to the Bolante Section of the
public market near the railroad tracks while Luciano himself together with Caraan riding in a
police jeepney proceeded to the Doña Crispina Park. 1

When Luciano and Caraan reached the place where the alleged transaction would take place
and while positioned at a street corner, they saw appellant Regalado Bati and Warner Marquez
by the side of the street about forty to fifty meters away from them (the police officers). They
saw Marquez giving something to Bati, who, thereafter, handed a wrapped object to Marquez
who then inserted the object inside the front of his pants infront of his abdomen while Bati, on
his part, placed the thing given to him inside his pocket. (pp. 5-7, tsn., Luciano, Aug. 25, 1987; p.
5, tsn., Caraan, Nov. 3, 1987; pp. 1-2, Decision, January 31, 1988)

As soon as the above observed transaction was completed, Bati and Marquez parted ways.
Luciano and Caraan in their jeepney followed Marquez who was riding a bicycle. The police
officers were able to catch up with him (Marquez) along the circular street going toward the
general direction of the national highway. Marquez was questioned by them and, at first,
denied having received anything from Bati However, upon being asked about what he had
inside the front of his pants, he brought out an object wrapped in newspaper. Stripped of the
wrappings, the object turned out to be a pink plastic bag containing marijuana. Marquez then
told the police officers that he had bought marijuana for P190.00 from Bati. Whereupon
Marquez was arrested on the spot and was made to board the police jeep. (pp. 7-8, tsn.,
Luciano, Aug. 25, 1987; p. 6, tsn., Caraan, Nov. 3, 1987; p. 2, Decision, January 31, 1988).
Luciano and Caraan on board the jeep, immediately gave chase and caught up with Bati at the
Bolante section. Luciano went down the vehicle and confronted Bati who admitted to the police
officers present that he sold the marijuana to Marquez for P190,00. Bati then was likewise
arrested and made to board the police jeep. The money in the amount of P190.00 in Bati's
possession was confiscated. Both Bati and Marquez were brought to the Police station where,
again, they admitted they were in the buying and selling of the confiscated marijuana (pp. 8-10,
tsn., Luciano, Aug. 25, 1987, pp. 6-7, tsn., Caraan, Nov. 3, 1987, p. 2, Decision, January 31,
1988).

Before the confiscated money in the amount of P190.00 was turned over to Sgt. Bayani Yte,
Chief of the Intelligence and Investigation Section of the San Pablo City Police Station, Luciano,
one of the arresting officers, affixed his initials "JBL" on the said confiscated peso bills. The
marijuana confiscated was likewise turned over to Sgt. Yte and was personally delivered by
Patrolman Nelson Dimatulac to the PC Came Laboratory in Camp Vicente Lim, Canlubang,
Laguna. The examination conducted by the Forensic Chemist, P/Lt. Rosalinda Royales, revealed
that the confiscated specimen was positive for marijuana. (p. 9, tsn., Royales, July 21, 1987; pp.
10-11, tsn., Luciano, Aug. 25, 1987; pp. 3-9, tsn., Yte, Dec. 8, 1987; p. 2, Decision, Jan. 31, 1988).

In due course, an Information was filed with the Regional Trial Court, Fourth Judicial Region,
Branch 30, San Pablo City and docketed as Criminal Case No. 4760-SP, charging REGALADO BATI
with violation of Section 4, Article II of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, committed as
follows:

That on or about July 27, 1986, in the City of San Pablo, Republic of the Philippines and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named, did then and there wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously distribute and sell dried marijuana leaves, a dangerous drug, without
being authorized by law.

CONTRARY TO LAW. (15, Rollo)

After trial, following a plea of not guilty upon arraignment, the trial court entered a judgment of
conviction, the pertinent portion reading —

The accused took the witness stand denying every damaging testimonies of the prosecution
witnesses. He claimed he was then on his way to buy vegetables for his mother at the time of
his arrest at 5:30 p.m. of July 27, 1986. The accused did not impress the Court as a well behaved
individual who does marketing for his mother and wife. If he were really such a "good boy",
why did Marquez and the police officers fabricate the charge of drug pushing against him?
There was no ill-motive shown by the defense on the part of Marquez and the police officers.
As already mentioned elsewhere, the accused admitted that he did not have any quarrel with
them. He likewise admitted that when he signed the waiver before and in the presence of Atty.
Vivencio H. Reyes, he knew him to be a lawyer and was acting as his lawyer when he explained
to him his constitutional rights. (Hearing of September 20, 1987) It is also a matter of record
that since his arrest, detention and up to the trial of the case, he never executed any written
statement denying the charge against him narrating therein that he was about to do marketing
when arrested by the police officers. Clearly, his alleged marketing is a mere after thought. The
defense was not convincing when it was alleged that he does the marketing every afternoon
buying the same vegetables and quantity since July 27, 1986 up to the present. His mother's
testimony failed to convince the Court of his innocence.

In sum the prosecution overwhelmingly adduced material evidence beyond reasonable doubt
to warrant the conviction of the accused for unlawfully selling and distributing marijuana as
against the lame denials of the accused. His denials are only self serving negative evidence
which cannot outweigh the positive evidence of the prosecution (People vs. Jara, G.R, Nos.
61356-57, September 30, 1986).

As the records show that the accused had violated the terms of his bail for which reason his
arrest was effected when he failed to honor his commitment, the Court believes that he should
no longer be granted bail for his provisional liberty as the chances for his jumping bail are very
strong.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court hereby renders judgment finding the accused
Regalado Bati guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of violation of Sec. 4, Art. II, RA
No. 6425 as amended, without any modifying circumstance to consider, hereby sentences him
to suffer life imprisonment, to pay the fine of P25,000.00 with subsidiary imprisonment in case
of insolvency and to pay the costs.

The bail bond for his provisional liberty is hereby cancelled and the accused be immediately
incarcerated. (pp. 18-19, Rollo)

From the foregoing judgment of conviction, appellant came to this

Court assigning the following errors allegedly committed by the court a quo to wit:

FIRST ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

THAT THE HONORABLE COURT A QUO SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE ARREST
OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT AND THE SEIZURE/TAKING OF THE MONEY FROM HIM BY THE
POLICE OFFICERS WAS ILLEGAL AND UNLAWFUL BEING VIOLATIVE OF ONE'S CONSTITUTIONAL
RIGHT TO BE SECURE IN HIS PERSON AND PROPERTY AND THERETO WHATEVER EVIDENCE
OBTAINED THEREFROM WAS NOT ADMISSIBLE IN EVIDENCE.

SECOND ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR


THAT THE HONORABLE COURT A QUO SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE NON
PRESENTATION OF THE ALLEGED BUYER WARNER MARQUEZ AND THAT OF THE CIVILIAN
INFORMER AMOUNTED TO SUPPRESSION OF EVIDENCE WHOSE TESTIMONIES IF PRESENTED
WOULD PRODUCE ADVERSE EFFECTS TO THE PROSECUTION'S CAUSE.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

THAT THE HONORABLE COURT A QUO ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE TESTIMONIES OF THE
PROSECUTION WITNESSES WERE REPLETE WITH CONTRADICTION AND MATERIAL
INCONSISTENCIES WITH RESPECT TO THE MARIJUANA SPECIMEN ADMITTEDLY TAKEN FROM
THE ALLEGED BUYER WARNER MARQUEZ AND NOT FROM THE HEREIN ACCUSED-APPELLANT
WHICH DEFINITELY WILL NOT WARRANT CONVICTION OF THE ACCUSED BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT. (pp. 2-3, Brief for the Plaintiff-Appellee; p. 50, Rollo)

Appellant first contends that the arrest was not valid as the requirements for a warrantless
arrest were not complied with.

This contention is without merit.

Section 5 Rule 113 of the Rules in Criminal Procedure clearly provides:

Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant, when lawful. — A peace officer or private person may, without
warrant, arrest a person:

(a) When in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is
attempting to commit an offense;

(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts
indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it; . . .

xxx xxx xxx

(emphasis supplied)

As the court a quo correctly ruled —

It is the considered view of the Court that there was no need for Luciano and Caraan to be
armed with a warrant of arrest when they arrested Marquez and the accused since they had
personal knowledge of the actual commission of the crime viz: They were eyewitnesses to the
illegal exchange of marijuana and P190.00 between Marquez and accused who were caught
in flagrante delicto. The facts and circumstances attendant precisely fall under Sec. 5, (a), Rule
113 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure. The subsequent arrest of Marquez and accused were
made under the principle of "hot pursuit". The recovery of the marijuana from Marquez and
the P190.00 from accused by the said police officers were not violative of their constitutional
rights since Marquez and the accused voluntarily surrendered them to the police officers. But
even for the sake of argument that the recovery of the marijuana and peso bills were against
the consent of Marquez and accused, still, the search on their persons was incidental to their
valid warrantless arrest. For, the rule that searches and seizures must be supported by a valid
warrant is not an absolute rule. There are at least three exceptions: (1) search incidental to an
arrest, (2) search of a moving vehicle and (3) seizure of evidence in plain view (Manipon v.
Sandiganbayan, 143 SCRA 267). In the case at bar, the searches made on Marquez and accused
were incidental to their valid arrest. (pp. 8-9, Brief for the Plaintiff-Appellee; p. 50, Rollo)

Having caught the appellant in flagrante as a result of the buy-bust operation, the policemen
were not only authorized but were also under obligation to apprehend the drug pusher even
without a warrant of arrest (People vs. Paco, 170 SCRA 681, 686; People vs. Rodriguez, 172
SCRA 742). And since appellant's arrest was lawful, it follows that the search made incidental to
the arrest was also valid. (Rule 126, Sec. 12, Rules of Court; Alvero vs. Dizon, 76 Phil. 637;
People vs. Claudio G.R. No. 72564, April 15, 1988)

Appellant next contends that the non-presentation of the alleged buyer Warner Marquez and
that of the civilian informer, amounted to suppression of evidence.

This contention is, likewise, without merit. In the case of People vs. Andiza (164 SCRA 642, 647)
this Court held —

The appellant underscores the fact that Pat. Hernandez and the civilian informer were not
made to take the witness stand, and maintains that their non-presentation rendered a fatal
blow to the prosecution's case. We do not agree. Admittedly, Pat. Hernandez and the civilian
informer would be highly competent witnesses, being, themselves, the poseurs-buyers:
however, their testimonies are not indispensable in view of the declarations of not only one, but
two other eyewitnesses. If presented, their testimonies would merely constitute cumulative
evidence, thus, their non-presentation as witnesses does not mean suppression of testimony
that is adverse to the prosecution. (People vs. Extra, No. L-29205, July 30, 1976, 72 SCRA 199,
citing People v. Sigayan, et al., Nos. L-18523-26, April 30, 1966,16 SCRA 844; People v. Cristobal,
No. L-13062, January 28, 1961, 1 SCRA 151; and People v. Escalona No. L-13294, March 29,
1961, 1 SCRA 891). At any rate, the matter of presenting witnesses for the People is a
prerogative of the prosecuting fiscal. In the instant case, there was no need to present Pat.
Hernandez because the testimonies of Sgt. Raquidan and Pat. de la Cruz, together with those of
Cpl. Romeo Consengco and the forensic chemist, Daily Panganiban, were already clear,
sufficient, and convincing. Besides the defense could have requested the court below to issue
subpoenas requiring the said eyewitnesses to testify, but as the defense apparently failed to do
that, they cannot now argue that said eyewitnesses testimonies would have been adverse to
the prosecution. (pp. 16-17, Brief for the Plaintiff-Appellee; p. 50, Rollo)

In the case at bar, there were other prosecution witnesses who testified and positively
Identified appellant as the principal participant in the illegal transaction. Both Patrolmen
Luciano and Caraan actually witnessed the same and their testimonies were based on their
actual and personal knowledge of the events that took place leading to appellant's arrest. They
may not have been within hearing distance, specially since conversation would expectedly be
carried on in hushed tones, but they were certainly near enough to observe the movements of
the appellant and the buyer. Moreover, these prosecution witnesses are an law enforcers and
are, therefore, presumed to have regularly performed their duties in the absence of proof to
the contrary. (People vs. Agapito, G.R. No. 73786, Oct. 12, 1987)

Furthermore, We find the testimonies of the above eyewitnesses, given during the direct as
well as in the cross-examination, to be consistent and compatible on the material points. Both
Luciano and Caraan categorically stated that they saw Marquez who then inserted the object
inside the front of his pants infront of his abdomen while Bati, on his part, placed the thing
given to him inside his pocket. Since the testimonies of Luciano and Caraan were not actuated
by "improper motives" they are entitled to "full faith and credit." (People vs. Patog, 144 SCRA
429; People vs. de Jesus, 145 SCRA 521).

Finally, anent the alleged inconsistencies like.

(a) in the information it is alleged on one hand that he was caught distributing and
selling marijuana leaves and likewise in the latter request sent by Sgt. Bayani Yte to the
Commanding Office of Camp Vicente Lim, Canlubang, Laguna, it was therein mentioned that
the marijuana leaves submitted for examination were confiscated from Marquez, on the other
hand, in the Chemistry Report No. D-112-86, the Forensic Chemist Rosalinda Royales, allegedly
mentioned that the specimen submitted to her for examination consisted of marijuana fruiting
tops. (p. 9, Appellant's Brief)

(b) The "conflicting versions" of Sgt. Yte and P/Lt. Rosalinda Royales taken during cross-
examination. Sgt. Yte testified that he placed his initials both on the pink plastic bag and on the
newspaper used as wrapper. Royales, on the other hand, testified that there were no markings
whatever on the pink plastic bag.

Suffice it to state that these cannot serve to discredit the prosecution's case considering that
the trial court has decisively found that the specimen confiscated from Marquez and submitted
to the PC laboratory for examination consisted of marijuana leaves with fruiting tops wrapped
in newspaper and placed inside a pink plastic bag. (p. 2, Decision) And the fact remains that the
specimen indorsed by Sgt. Yte to the PC laboratory was the very same one taken from Warner
Marquez and that after examination conducted by P/Lt. Royales, was positive for marijuana.

Thus, as aptly pointed out by the trial court —

The defense contended that the specimen tested by the forensic chemist was not the same one
taken in the possession of the accused and that Marquez did not Identify it. This claim is not
worthy of belief since the marijuana leaves with fruiting tops were inside a pink plastic bag
(Exh. 5-B) when brought by Dimatulac to the PC crime laboratory and it was the same pink
plastic bag containing 17.1 grams of marijuana that was the subject matter of the
examination conducted by Sgt. Royales from which Exh. B came into being. (p. 2, Decision;
emphasis supplied)

(pp. 26-27, Brief for the Plaintiff-Appellee; p. 50, Rollo)

The Court, after a careful study of the case finds the evidence presented by the prosecution,
upon which the trial court based its judgment of conviction, to be overwhelmingly against the
pretended innocence of the appellant and has proved to a moral certainty the latter's guilt of
the crime of selling prohibited drugs.

The penalty for the sale of marijuana is life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from
P20,000 to P30,000 (Sec. 4, R.A. 6425, as amended by P.D. 1675)

The law is severe because those who are caught in the strangle hold of prohibited drugs not
only slide into the ranks of the living dead, what is worse, they become a grave menace to the
safety of the law-abiding members of society. (People vs. Lamog, 172 SCRA 342, 349). As this
Court also declared in People vs. Policarpio, 158 SCRA 85, "(P)eddlers of drugs are actually
agents of destruction. They deserve no less than the maximum penalty."

In the instant case, however, the trial court erred in not applying the rule that when the penalty
imposed is higher than prision correccional no subsidiary imprisonment shall be imposed upon
the culprit. (Art. 39 (3) Revised Penal Code; People vs. Andiza, 164 SCRA 642, 650).

WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is AFFIRMED except that there shall be no subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency.

With costs against the appellant.

SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. L-1159. January 30, 1947.]

CECILIO M. LINO, Petitioner, v. VALERIANO E. FUGOSO, LAMBERTO JAVALERA, and JOHN DOE,
in their capacity as Mayor, Chief of Police and Officer in charge of municipal jail, all of the City of
Manila, respectively, Respondents.

Emanuel Peldez, Francisco A. Rodrigo, Enrique M. Fernando, Manuel M. Crudo, Claudio


Teehankee and Jose W. Diokno Fiscal Jose P. Bengzon, for Respondent.

City Fiscal Jose P. Bengzon, for Respondent.

SYLLABUS

1. HABEAS CORPUS; ARREST WITHOUT WARRANT; DETENTION AFTER SIX HOURS WITHOUT
DELIVERY TO JUDICIAL AUTHORITIES; ILLEGALITY OF, NOT CURED BY FILING OF INFORMATION;
CASE AT BAR. — Assuming that P. D. and P. M. were legally arrested without warrant, their
continued detention became illegal upon the expiration of six hours without their having been
delivered to the corresponding judicial authorities. The illegality of their detention was not
cured by the filing of informations against them, since no warrants of arrest or orders of
commitment have been issued by the municipal court up to the hearing of this case before this
Court.

2. ID.; ARREST WHEN INFORMATION IS FOR LIGHT OFFENSE; ARREST WITHOUT WARRANT;
DETENTION THEREUNDER. — The general rule is that when the offense charged is light the
accused should not be arrested except in particular instances when the court expressly so
orders in the exercise of its discretion. While an arrest may be made without warrant when
there are reasonable grounds therefor (Rule 109 section 6 Rules of Court), the prisoner cannot
be retained beyond the period provided by law unless a warrant is procured from a competent
court.

3. ID.; ARREST; CITY FISCAL AUTHORITY OF, TO ISSUE WARRANT OF. — The City Fiscal has no
authority to issue warrants of arrest, and is powerless to validate an illegal detention by merely
filing informations or by any order of his own either express or implied.

4. ID.; CITY FISCAL; POWER OF, TO ORDER COMMITMENT OR RELEASE ON BAIL OF ACCUSED. —
The City Fiscal has no power to order either the commitment or the release on bail of persons
charged with penal offenses.

Per PERFECTO, J., concurring:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library


5. EXPEDITING HABEAS CORPUS PROCEEDING. — Cases of habeas corpus, by their very nature if
the remedy is to be effective and there is an earnest desire to avoid a failure of justice should
be disposed of without any delay, as was done in Tañada v. Quirino (42 Off. Gaz., 934).

6. RESPONDENTS’ ACTIONS NEED BE COUNTERACTED. — Speedy action is necessary to squelch


the tactics of respondents who are bent on exerting all the power and ability that they
command to mock at the action of the courts as exemplified by the case of Villavicencio v.
Lukban (39 Phil. 778-812).

7. OFFICIAL DISREGARD FOR FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS. — Twelve humble peaceful and
law-abiding citizens while in the peaceful exercise of their constitutional rights of freedom of
expression and to peaceably assemble, the right to enlist public support in the pursuit of their
right to a decent living wage, and the right to petition their own government for the redress of
their grievances are abruptly interrupted in the exercise of their rights and violently hauled into
prison as dangerous criminals.

8. IGNORANCE OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL BILL OF RIGHTS. — Ignorance of the constitutional Bill


of Rights by the erring officials is no justification. It only aggravates the situation. It shows
unpardonable dereliction of duty and recklessness of responsible high authorities.

9. PEACE OFFICERS. — Peace officers are duty bound to know the law. They are also known as
law officers, because it is their essential function to enforce the laws. At least, they ought to
know the Constitution and learn by heart the Bill of Rights.

10. OFFER OF PROVISIONAL RELEASE OF BAIL. — That the twelve detainees were offered
provisional release if they should post a bail of P12,000 each, does not make legal their illegal
detention. The required bail only tends to show respondents stubbornness in the exercise of an
illegal power, and the fact that the amount of P12,000 was required of persons who were not
receiving even the miserable pittance, to secure the increase of which they went into strike,
appears to be an unbearable sarcasm.

11. SEDITION. — The allegation that the arresting officers believe that the detainees, are guilty
of sedition holds no water when respondents themselves confess that no such crime was
committed. Sedition is the crime usually resorted to by tyrants as a pretext to silence or
suppress those persons who have the firmness of character to oppose them and expose their
abuses.
12. ONE-FOURTH OF A CENTURY PRONOUNCEMENTS. — The pronouncements made by the
Supreme Court one-fourth of a century ago on fundamental civil rights are quoted in the
opinion.

13. VIRUS OF THE JAPANESE FEUDALISTIC IDEOLOGY. — The wanton disregard by those
responsible for the arrest of the twelve detainees of their fundamental rights as guaranteed by
the Constitution, shows that the Japanese feudalistic ideology, as propagated during enemy
occupation, has left its pernicious virus in our soil.

14. ARBITRARINESS AND ILLEGAL DETENTION. — These Government officers who are
responsible for the detention and confinement of the twelve detainees are liable for
prosecution under articles 124 and 125 of the Revised Penal Code.

15. POOR FACE-SAVING DEVICE. — The filing of information for insignificant misdemeanors
against P. M. and P. D. appears to us as a poor face-saving device to justify, in some way, their
further detention and should not be countenanced as a means to defeat the release of said two
detainees.

16. PERILOUS PATH. — Those who under the pretext of subduing allegedly seditious persons,
committed the arbitrariness complained of in the petition, trod a perilous path that, as shown
by the experience of other countries, usually leads to the implantation of a dictatorship, whose
whole philosophy is built upon the hateful slogan that everything, including the most cherished
possessions and the most blessed ideals of the people, should be sacrificed for the sake of state
supremacy.

17. PRICE OF HUMAN RIGHTS. — Eternal vigilance and constant willingness and readiness to
fight for them are the price of human rights. The existence of liberal elements, always watchful
and ready to defend victims of violations of the Bill of Rights, is necessary to vitalize democracy
and to give tangible reality to the guarantees of the Constitution.

18. CONDITIONS AND QUALITIES REQUIRED. — The attainment of great ideals needs faith,
passionate adherence to them, the militant attitude manifested in the inflicting readiness to
fight and face hardships and sacrifices, unconquerable steadfastness and unbreakable
perseverance in the face of obstacles and setbacks. These are the conditions and qualities
needed by all liberal and progressive spirits to keep lighted the torch of liberty, to squelch the
hydra of reaction, to conserve the moral heritage of advancement and conquests in the
emporium of human rights bequeathed by the champions and martyrs who waged the heroic
battles for real spiritual values and for the dignity if man as the image of God.
DECISION

MORAN, C.J. :

This is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed in behalf of twelve persons alleged to be
unlawfully detained by respondents Valeriano E. Fugoso, Lamberto Javalera and John Doe in
their capacity as mayor, chief of police and officer in charge of the municipal jail of the City of
Manila, respectively. It is alleged in respondents’ return that ten of the petitioners had already
been released, no sufficient evidence having been found to warrant their prosecution for
inciting to sedition, but that the remaining two, Pascual Montaniel and Facifico Deoduco, are
being held in custody because of charges filed against them in the municipal court unjust
vexation and disobedience to police orders, respectively.

After hearing, by minute resolution we dismissed the case with respect to the petitioners
already released and we ordered the release of the remaining two, Montaniel and Deoduco,
without prejudice to a reasoned decision which we now proceed to render.

The case of the ten petitioners has become academic by their release. The purpose of a writ
of habeas corpus is only to set them free. After they are freed, the writ is purposeless. If they
have been the victims of illegal arrest or detention, they can have recourse to criminal actions
in the proper courts.

As regards the remaining two petitioners, the pertinent facts as admitted at the hearing by
respondents, are as follows: Pascual Montaniel was arrested without warrant by the police
officers of Manila on November 8, 1946, for inciting to sedition, and Pacifico Deoduco, on
November 7, 1946, for resisting arrest and disobedience to police orders. On November 11
when this petition for habeas corpus was filed, these two petitioners were still under arrest.
They were thus held in confinement for three and four days, respectively, without warrants and
without charges formally filed in court. The papers of their cases were not transmitted to the
City Fiscal’s office until late in the afternoon of November 11. Upon investigation by that office,
no sufficient evidence was found to warrant the prosecution of Pascual Montaniel for inciting
to sedition and of Pacifico Deoduco for resisting arrest, but both remained under custody
because of informations filed with minuet charging Montaniel with unjust vexation and
Deoduco with disobedience to an agent of a person in authority under the second paragraph of
article 151 of Revised Penal Code. These informations were filed on the same day when this
case was heard before this Court, that is, on November 12, 1946. And so far, no warrants of
arrest or orders of commitment are shown to have been issued by the municipal court pursuant
to the informations thus filed.

Under these facts, the detention of Pacifico Deoduco and Pascual Montaniel is illegal. Even
assuming that they were legally arrested without warrant on November 7 and 8, 1946,
respectively, their continued detention became illegal upon the exploration of six hours without
their having been delivered to the corresponding judicial authorities. (Article 125, Rev. Pen
Code, as amended by Act No. 3940.) Their cases were referred to the City Fiscal late in the
afternoon of November 11, 1946, that is, four and three days, respectively, after they were
arrested. The illegally of their detention was not cured by the filing of information against them,
since no warrants of arrest or orders of commitment have been issued by the municipal court
to the hearing of this case before this Court.

It must be observed, in this connection, that in said informatons, the two petitioners are
charged with light offenses punishable by law with arresto mayor or an fine ranging from 5 to
200 pesos or both, according to the second paragraphs of articles 151 and 287, respectively, of
the Revised Penal Code. Under Rule 108, section 10, when the offense charged is of that
character, "the judge with whom the complaint or information is filled, shall not issue any
warrant for order for the arrest of the defendant, but shall order the letter to appear on the day
and hour fixed in the order to answer to the complaint of information," although in particular
instances he may also "order that a defendant charged with such offense be arrested and not
released except upon furnishing bail." The general rule, therefore, is that when the offense
charged is light the accused should not be arrested, except in particular instances when the
court expressly so orders in the experience of its discretion. In the instant case, the municipal
court has not yet acted on the informations nor exercised its discretion the arrest of the two
petitioners and, therefore, they are still detained not because of the informations filed against
them but as a continuance of their illegal detention by the police officers, While an arrest may
be made without warrant there are reasonable grounds therefor (Rule 109, section 6 Rules of
Court), the prisoner cannot be retained beyond the period provided by law, unless a warrant is
procured from a competent court. (4 Am. Jur., p. 49; Diers v. Mallon, 46 Neb., 121; 50 Am. St.
Rep., 598; Burk v. Howley, 179 Penn., 539; 57 Am. St. Rep., 607; Karner v. Stump, 12 Tex. Civ.
App., 460; 34 S. W., 656; Johnson v. Americus, 46 Ga., 80; Leger v. Warren, L. R. A., 216-281 [Bk.
51. ] It is obvious in the instant case that the City Fiscal had no authority to issue warrants of
arrest (vide authorities cited above, and Hashim v. Boncan and City of Manila, 71 Phil., 216) and
was powerless to validate such illegal detention by merely filing informations or by any order of
his own, either express or implied

It is not necessary now to determine whether the City Fiscal is a judicial authority within the
purview of article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Act No. 3940, for even if he
were, the petitioners’ case was referred to him long after the expiration of the six hours
provided by law. And since the City Fiscal, unlike a judicial authority, has no power to order
either the commitment or the release on bail of persons charged with penal offenses (Adm.
Code, section 2460), the petitioners’ further their confinement after their case had been
referred to the City Fiscal was but a mere continuation of their illegal detention by the police
officers. In the eyes of the law, therefore, these prisoners should have been out of prison long
before the informations were filed with the municipal court, and they should not be retained
therein merely because of the filing of such informations it appearing particularly that the
offenses charged are light and are not, as a general rule, grounds for arrest, under Rule 108,
section 10. Under such circumstances, only an order of commitment could legalize the
prisoner’s continued confinement, and no such order has ever been issued. Indeed, the
municipal court could acquire jurisdiction over said prisoners only by the issuance of a warrant
of arrest, an order of commitment or a writ of summons as provided in the aforementioned
rule.

We reiterate the minute-resolution above mentioned.

Paras, Feria, Pablo and Hilado, JJ., concur.

Moran, C.J., I certify that Mr. Justice Padilla concurred in this decision.

Separate Opinions

PERFECTO, J., concurring:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

The facts in this case can better be gathered from the pleadings. Copies of the petition and of
the return the latter with the annexes, accompany this opinion as appendices A and B. 1

At the hearing of this case, counsel of both parties disclosed the additional fact that the twelve
detainees in whose behalf these proceedings have been initiated after their arrest, were
required to post a bail bond for their provisional release of P12,000 each.
The petition was filed in the morning of November 11, 1946. The case was heard the next
morning, and in the evening of November 12, it was possible for this Court to obtain the
necessary majority for the early disposal of this case, with the result that the two remaining
detainees were then immediately released. The first ten were released by respondents in the
very afternoon of the day when the petition was filed.

If we could ugly have our own way, we would have the case heard and disposed of in the very
day the petition was filed, by expediting the procedure in the same way as we did when we
ordered the release on habeas corpus of Special Prosecutor Liwag, in Tanada v. Quirino (42 Off.
Gaz., 934). The Rules of Court, which provide that the writ of habeas corpus may be issued at
any hour in the day or at night, and the very nature of the writ, make imperative the immediate
disposal of cases like the present one, if the remedy is to be effective and there is an earnest
desire to avoid a failure of justice, especially as respondents are bent on exerting all the power
and ability at their command to mock at the action of the courts, as exemplified by the case of
Villavicencio v. Lukban (39 Phil., 778-812).

At the hearing of this case, our attention was called at the significant fact that petitioner
himself, the ten released detainees, and other persons who came to attend the hearing in this
Court, were refused entrance in the Malacanan compound where the building of the Supreme
Court is located. They were allowed to come in after we asserted that all the people are free to
come to the Supreme Court which is an institution that belongs to them.

The present case offers one of the most shocking examples of official disregard for fundamental
human rights, as guaranteed in our Constitution, and as is intended to be promoted and
encouraged by the Charter of the United Nations.

While Carlos P. Romulo, the eloquent spokesman of the Republic of the Philippines in the
General Assembly of the United Nations, is making world history with his courageous
sponsorship of the independence of all subjugated peoples and countries and is making for our
Republic the proud record as one of the staunchest champions of fundamental human rights,
always placed in the forefront whenever there is a battle for freedom, it seems paradoxical that
here, in Manila, in the very heart of our country, in the nucleus of our national culture, twelve
humble, peaceful and law-abiding citizens, while in the peaceful exercise of their constitutional
rights of freedom of expression and to peaceably assemble, the right to enlist public support in
the pursuit of their right to a decent living wage, and the right to petition their own
Government for the redress of their grievances, are abruptly interrupted in the exercise of their
rights and violently hauled into prison as dangerous criminals.
Counsel for respondents tried to justify the unwarranted official invasion of private civil
liberties by the ignorance of erring officials of the constitutional Bill of Rights. Such ignorance
does not justify anything. It only aggravates the situation. It shows unpardonable dereliction of
duty and recklessness of responsible high authorities.

It is a universal rule that ignorance of the law does not exempt anyone from any responsibility
for violating it. Peace officers are duty bound to know the law. They are also known as law
officers, because it is their essential function to enforce the laws. They form part of the
Executive Department of our Government, the department whose primary function is to
execute the laws. No peace officers should be allowed to enter in the actual performance of his
functions without first acquiring the indispensable knowledge of the laws they are called upon
to enforce. At least they ought to know the Constitution, a copy of which they should always
carry in their pockets for immediate consultation, with the same fidelity as the priests stick to
their breviary of prayers. They should be compelled to learn by heart the Bill of Rights, if
possible, commit to memory all its provisions. Peace officers are supposed, not only to enforce
the laws, but also to protect the citizens in their rights, and in order that they may perform this
duty, they should first know what these rights are. Without that knowledge, they become a
menace to social order. If it is dangerous to let a person drive an automobile when that person
does not know how to drive it, it is no less dangerous to entrust the enforcement of laws to
armed individuals who are ignorant of them.

It has been alleged that the twelve detainees were not deprived of their personal liberty
absolutely, because they were allowed to enjoy provisional release upon a bail of P12,000 each.
If they choose not to post said bail, they cannot complain for having to remain in prison.

If the detention was illegal, and there is no doubt about it, respondents themselves admitting
the illegality as to the ten detainees they released before the hearing of this case, the fact that
respondents required them to post bail does not legalize their illegal detention. The bail
requirement tends only to show respondents’ stubbornness in insisting to enforce an illegal
power to have the detainees under an involuntary control.

But even in the false hypothesis that respondents could require the detainees to post bail for
their provisional release, the fact that respondents fixed the large amount of P12,000 for each,
seems an unbelievable sarcasm.

It is a fact that the twelve detainees joined the workers’ strike in a desperate endeavor to
secure a decent living wage. They went into strike because with what they were being paid for
their daily labor they had not enough to make both ends meet. At the time of their arrest, they
were not even earning the insufficient salary or wage against which they were protesting by
means of strike. If those persons were not earning enough to live as decent human beings, and
at the time of their detention they were not receiving even the miserable pittance they were
complaining of, is it not an insulting joke to require them to raise each P12,000 for bail, an
amount, which even we, the members of the Supreme Court, occupying the highest ranks in
our judicial system, and receiving the highest salary allowed by law to a judicial officer, could
not raise with the urgency required by the situation of a man who is deprived of his personal
freedom?

It is also alleged that the officers who arrested the detainees believe that the latter committed
sedition. Respondents themselves confess that the detainees did not commit such crime.
Sedition is the crime usually resorted to by tyrants as a pretext to silence or suppress those
persons who have the firmness of character to oppose them and expose their abuses. Socrates
was sentenced to drink hemlock for the sedition of giving freedom and wings to the Greek
thought in his painstaking philosophical search for truth. Because he preached the gospel of
human brotherhood, Jesus was crucified for sedition.

The tyrants of one-fourth of a century ago, who controlled the situation in the Philippines —
tyrants are wild animals that may appear in any country — following the foot-steps of their
predecessors in other places, tried to smash the crusade for clean government, which was our
lot to wage in one of the newspapers of Manila, by prosecuting us for the crime of sedition.
(United States v. Perfecto and Mendoza, 43 Phil., 58, 62-64.) The following paragraphs in the
decision of the Supreme Court in that case, seem to us to ring with trenchant
actuality:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"When the citizens of a state become convinced that the administration of the affairs of their
government is not carried on in accordance with the law, or is not conducted for the best
interest of all concerned, they have not only a right but it is their duty to present the cause of
their grievances to the public, and the free press of the state usual]y affords the best avenue for
that purpose. To that end, the organic laws of all modern free states have wisely provided that
no law shall be passed, abridging the freedom of the press and that no person shall be punished
except for an abuse of that freedom. The interest of civilized society and the maintenance of
good government demand a full and free discussion of all affairs of public interest. Complete
liberty to comment upon the administration of the Government, as well as the conduct of
public men, is necessary for free speech. The people are not obliged under modern civilized
governments, to speak of the conduct of their officials, of their servants, in whispers or with
bated breath. (United States v. Bustos, 37 Phil., 731.)
"The right to assemble and petition the Government, and to make requests and demands upon
public officials, is a necessary consequence of republican and democratic institutions, and the
complement of the right of free speech. (United States v. Bustos, supra.)

"The freedom of the press consists in the right to publish the truth, with good motives and for
justifiable ends, although said publication may be offensive to the Government, to the courts,
or to individuals.

"Chief Justice Marshall of the Supreme Court of the United States, in discussing the freedom of
the press, said: The spirit of the constitution and the opinion of the people cannot be curbed by
those who administer the Government. Among those principles which are held most sacred by
the people of America, there is none more deeply rooted in the public mind than that of the
liberty of the press.’

"Mr. Daniel Webster had occasion to discuss the same question. He said: It is important to
safeguard to the utmost the right to free speech and the free press. It is the ancient and
constitutional right of our people to judge public matters and public men. It is such a self-
evident right as the right to breathe the air and to walk on the surface of the earth. I will defend
this high constitutional prerogative in time of war, in time of peace, and all the time. Dead or
alive I shall maintain it.

It is the particular duty of the people of the state to zealously maintain the right to express
freely, either verbally or by publication, their honest convictions regarding the acts of public
officials and the governing class. If the people of a free state should give up the right of free
speech; if they are daunted by fear and threats, and abdicate their convictions; if the governing
body of the state could silence all the voices except those that extol their acts; if nothing
relating to the conduct of the governing class can reach the people except that which will
uphold the men in power, then we may well say Good-bye to our liberties forever. While under
such circumstances free governments may still be maintained, their life, their soul, and their
essentials will be gone. If the publication of the conduct of public officials annoys them, let
them examine their own act and determine the fundamental cause of the complaint. Even
during the time of the illustrious Voltaire, he expressed the upon on that tolerance was never
the cause of internal strife in the state, but, on the contrary, the pursuit of intolerance has
covered the world with blood. The tyrants of our thoughts have caused the greater part of the
misfortunes of the world.’

"Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson in discussing the question before us, said: ’If there were a country
where knowledge could not be spread without incurring the penalty of the law; where there is
no free speech, where correspondence and publicity are violated, that country would not be
civilized, but it would be barbarous.’

"Mr. Henry Ward Beecher on one occasion said: The term "free" is akin to the wind that blows
over the regions infected with malaria and exposes to the light the germs of the disease. When
the freedom of speech is curtailed, infection sets in and death quickly follows."cralaw virtua1aw
library

Our schoolboys are no more compelled to count "Ichi, ni, san, si," to sing "Hamabe No Uta," to
salute "ohayoo," or "kombanwa," or to intersperse their talk with "arigatoo" or "sayoonara." No
more lecturer is teaching us the "tyu no yu" and flower arrangement as the highest expressions
of culture. The political philosophy of "Daitoa Kyoeiken" (Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity
Sphere, under the Japanese hegemony) has banished as unwanted nightmare. The voice of the
Nippon geo-politicians preaching "Hakko Ichiu," the Emperor’s way, the universal brotherhood
under the benevolent guidance of the direct descendant of Amaterasu Omikami, we do not
hear any more. The bowlegged and be worded samurai successors, indoctrinated in the
traditions of Bushido knighthood, ceased to plunder, to rape, and to cut throats in our midst.
Our sleep is no more disturbed by the hobnailed terror stalking in our sidewalks at midnight.
The public bowing to brutal sentries, and by high officials and employees of the government
towards the Imperial Palace at Tokyo, are no more. But it seems, as exemplified in this case,
that the feudalistic ideology behind all occupation facts and acts has left its pernicious virus in
our soil.

The wanton disregard shown by those responsible for the arrest to the rights of the twelve
detainees, those rights being among the fundamental ones guaranteed by the constitution,
cannot be explained otherwise.

There was absolutely no legal ground to disturb or obstruct the twelve detainees in their
absolutely lawful and peaceful activities, and much less to deprive them of their personal
freedom and then keep them in jail for an indefinite period of time, only interrupted upon the
filing of a petition for a writ of habeas corpusin this case.

It is our opinion that those government officers who are responsible for the detention and
confinement of the twelve detainees, depriving them of personal liberty without due process of
law, as guaranteed by the Constitution, are liable for prosecution under article 124 of the
Revised Penal Code which provides as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Arbitrary detention. — Any public officer or employee who, without legal grounds, detains a
person, shall suffer:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"1. The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum
period, if the detention has not exceeded three days;

"2. The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, if the detention has
continued more than three but not more than fifteen days;

"3. The penalty of prision mayor, if the detention has continued for more than fifteen days but
not more than six months; and

"4. That of reclusion temporal, if the detention shall have exceeded six months.

"The commission of a crime, or violent insanity or any other ailment requiring the compulsory
confinement of the patient in a hospital, shall be considered legal grounds for the detention of
any person."cralaw virtua1aw library

But even if the detention in question was made "for some legal ground,’’ a conjecture in
support of which no sufficient ground appears in this case, still those who made the arrest are
liable for prosecution under article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, because they failed to
deliver the twelve detainees to the proper judicial authorities within the period of six hours
after detention. Said article is as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"Delay in the delivery of detained persons to the proper judicial authorities. — The penalties
provided in the next preceding article shall be imposed upon the public officer or employee
who shall detain any person for some legal ground and shall fail to deliver such person to the
proper judicial authorities within the period of six hours." (As amended by Com. Act No. 3940.)

The idea of prosecuting them under the above cited articles of the Revised Penal Code may
appear to be hard, but we must not forget that "dura lex, sed lex" and whatever may be the
consequences the law must be given its way.

We can imagine how the erring officials will feel at the prospective prosecution and how they
might consider unbearable the idea of being sent to jail, but was it sweet or delicious for the
twelve detainees to be illegally deprived of their freedom and confined in prison for so many
days and nights, without any fault on their part at all? If respondents are zealous in keeping
their own personal freedom, they cannot deny the victims of their recklessness the same
legitimate desire.

Everybody can imagine the indescribable physical, mental, and moral sufferings endured by the
twelve detainees and their respective families. The indignation felt by one who is the victim of
an unjustifiable onslaught upon his individual dignity, the paralyzing anguish of the down-
trodden who feels overwhelmed by brutal superior force against which his weakness cannot
offer but the answer of futile despair, the excruciating thought of the alarm their absence will
produce in their humble little homes, where their unprotected wives will try to drown their
worries in bitter tears, while their little ones are trying to understand in infantile amazement
the absence of their father and the tragedy entailed by that absence, are things that can hardly
be attenuated by the thought that, after all, the Nippon kempei has already banished as an
asphyxiating dream, and the unfortunate situation cannot be as bad as the sadistic and bestial
horrors that the very mention of Fort Santiago conjure in our imagination, the linear memory of
which produces thick sweat and blood consolation. There is no treasure in the world that can
adequately compensate such sufferings. The only consolation that the situation may offer is the
bereft hope that such sufferings may have the effect of awakening the conscience of our public
officials so as to induce them to make the firm resolve to avoid the repetition of such abuses as
the ones depicted in this case, that the guilty ones will earnestly repent of their misdeeds and
will henceforth endeavor to accord the proper regard to the rights and liberties of their fellow
human beings, thus contributing to diminish so many rampant manifestations of moral
disorientation, including attempts to degrade the highest tribunal of the country, that now
offend the good sense of the average citizen.

The provisions of law punishing arbitrary or illegal detention committed by government officers
form part of our statute books even before the advent of American sovereignty in our country.
Those provisions were already in effect during the Spanish regime; they remained in effect
under American rule; continued in effect nuclear the Commonwealth. Even under the Japanese
regime they were not repealed. The same provisions continue in the statute books of the free
and sovereign Republic of the Philippines. This notwithstanding, and the complaints often
heard of violations of said provisions, it is very seldom that prosecutions under them have been
instituted due to the fact that the erring individuals happened to belong to the same
government to which the prosecuting officers belong. It is high time that every one must do his
duty, without fear or favor, and that prosecuting officers should not answer with cold shrugging
of the shoulders the complaints of the victims of arbitrary or illegal detention.

Only by an earnest enforcement of the provisions of articles 124 and 125 of the Revised Penal
Code will it be possible to reduce to its minimum such wanton trampling of personal freedom
as depicted in this case. The responsible officials should be prosecuted, without prejudice to
the detainees’ right to the indemnity to which they may be entitled for the unjustified violation
of their fundamental rights.

The question of economic rehabilitation of our country is an everyday topic in the newspapers.
We deem more important still the moral rehabilitation of our people; especially that of the
officialdom. The Constitution requires (section 5, Article 14) that "All schools shall aim to
develop moral character, personal discipline, civic conscience, and vocational efficiency and to
teach the duties of citizenship," and it will be highly desirable that this mandate should be
borne in mind by all officers of the government, and that the qualities the Constitution ordains
to be developed in all citizens should be, with more emphasis, required from officials and
employees of the government, thus correcting the negative tropism shown in this case in
regard to fundamental civil liberties.

The filing of information for insignificant misdemeanors against Pascual Montaniel and Pacifico
Deoduco appears to us as a poor face-saving device to justify, in some way, their further
detention, and should not be countenanced as a means to defeat the release of said two
detainees.

In explaining in this concurring opinion, our position in voting in favor of the resolution of
November 12, 1946, we wish to make it clear that we do not interpret article 126 of the Revised
Penal Code as legalizing detentions not exceeding six hours. Said article does not legalize an
illegal detention. It only offers a justifying circumstance which exempts the erring official from
criminal prosecution, provided that the detention is made upon legal grounds and do not last
more than six hours, but it will, and cannot, defeat a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in
behalf of a person illegally detained although the petition is filed before the termination of the
six hours period mentioned in the article, as the constitutional guarantee of personal freedom
is not subject to any time limit.

We wish to emphasize that it is highly dangerous to make of the fundamental rights of the
citizens a kind of shuttlecock of passing moods or momentary whims of persons wielding some
kind of government power. When the estrous of official intolerance and braggadocio employed
to cow into submission the twelve detainees has subsided, everybody will recognize in the cool
and serene recesses of their conscience, that those who, under the pretext of subduing
allegedly seditious persons; committed the arbitrariness complained of in the petition, trod a
perilous path that, as shown by the experience of other countries, usually lead to the
implantation of a dictatorship, whose whole philosophy is built upon the hateful slogan that
everything, including the most cherished possessions and the most blessed ideals of the people,
should be sacrificed for the sale of the state supremacy.
We are glad that two civic-minded groups of citizens, the Philippine Civil Liberties Union and the
Philippine Lawyers Guild, have taken pains to appear in this Court in behalf of the twelve
detainees, and we congratulate them for the success of their endeavors.

By actual personal experience and upon conclusive evidence, we know that it is not enough
that the civil liberties and fundamental] human rights be guaranteed in express constitutional
provisions in order that they should effectively be protected. Eternal vigilance and constant
willingness and readiness to fight for them are necessary.

When World War I was nearing its end, in the exercise of the freedom of the press, guaranteed
by the Jones Law, as Editor of La Nacion, we made exposures of many unsatisfactory aspects of
public affairs as they were then conducted. We made revelations regarding the scandals of the
Philippine National Bank which caused many millions of losses to our Government. The
powerful wanted us to be silenced. The Governor General, first through his Secretary, Mr. Irwin,
and later through General Crime, Chief of the Philippine Constabulary, tried to intimidate us
with drastic action by the Government if we should not stop the publication of the irregularities
and illegalities we were denouncing then in the columns of our paper. They reminded us that
the war justified any extraordinary measure by the Government, and that our denunciations, by
tending to destroy public confidence in the authorities, were highly seditious. Our invariable
answer to Mr. Irwin and General Crime was that the Governor General and they themselves
were free to do what it would please them, but nothing shall deter us from doing what,
according to our conscience, was our public duty. As we did not allow ourselves to be
intimidated, a series of criminal prosecutions were instituted against us. Although the lower
courts should invariably find us guilty, the Supreme Court had always acquitted us, by
upholding the freedom of the press.

The existence of liberal elements, always watchful and ready to defend the victims of violations
of the Bill of Rights, is necessary to vitalize democracy and to give tangible reality to the
guarantees of the Constitution. The fight for personal freedom must go on, over and over again,
as the forces of reaction are always ready to snatch any opportunity to set at naught the
guarantees of the fundamental law, as happened in the bail incident in People v. Jalandoni (G.R.
No. L-777), and all liberal forces must always be ready to answer the summons of endangered
liberties.

The attainment of great ideals needs faith, passionate adherence to them, the militant attitude
manifested in the unflinching readiness to fight and fact hardships and sacrifices,
unconquerable steadfastness and unbreakable per severance in the face of obstacles and
setbacks. These are the conditions and qualities with which thinkers and philosophers were
able to discover the truth which have guided humanity as beacons in the path of progress; the
founders of great religions, to transmit to millions their message of hope and the gospel of
eternal moral principles: Columbus, to discover the New World, and Magellan to traverse the
two largest oceans and encircle the globe; astronomers, to pierce the immensity of space to
conquer new stars, parsecs away; bacteriologists, to scavenge dangerous micro-organisms;
scientists, to for sick in the mysteries of matter to wrest new revelations which enhance the
intellectual horizon of man and increase his means for enjoyment of life and happiness. The
same conditions and qualities are among those needed by all liberal and progressive spirits to
keep lighted the torch of liberty, to squelch the hydra of reaction, to conserve the moral
heritage of advancement and conquests in the emporium of human rights bequeathed by the
champions and martyrs who waged the heroic battles for real spiritual values and for the
dignity of man as the image of God.

Appendix A

PETITION

Petitioner Cecilio M. Lino, through his undersigned counsel, respectfully alleges:chanrob1es


virtual 1aw library

1. That the petitioner is of legal age and a resident of the City of Manila, Philippines; the
respondent Valeriano E. Fugoso is the Mayor of the City of Manila; the respondent Lamberto T.
Javalera is the Chief of Police of the said City; and the respondent John Doe is the Officer in
Charge of the Municipal Jail of the same City;

2. That the petitioner is the President of the City Employees’ and Workers’ Union, Congress of
Labor Organization (CLO), duly registered as a labor organization under the provisions of
Commonwealth Act No. 213; and he files this petition on behalf of the following persons,
members of the said labor organization, who are imprisoned and deprived of their liberty, to
wit:

1. Ricardo Suarez (Juarez)

2. Gregorio Santiago

3. Ismael de Jesus

4. Serafin Pascual
5. Amado Racanday

6. Antonio Bulagda (Burlagada)

7. Mauro Fernandez

8. Jose Badeo

9. Francisco Nevado (Lebado)

10. Pascual Montaniel

11. Pedro Martinez and

12. Pacifico Deoduco;

3. That, within the time comprised between November 5 and November 8, 1946, the persons
above named were arrested without warrant and without lawful cause, upon order of the
respondent Valeriano E. Fugoso, as Mayor of the City of Manila, by members of the Police
Department of the said City, of which the respondent Lamberto T. Javalera is the Chief, and,
immediately thereafter, were taken to, and detained at, the Municipal Jail of the
aforementioned City, of which the respondent John Doe is the Officer in Charge;

4. That since their arrest all the persons mentioned in paragraph 2 heir of have been detained
and deprived of their liberty by the respondents at the said Municipal Jail, although no charges
have been filed against any of the above mentioned persons in any lawful court, nor has any
judicial or other proper authority issued any order authorizing their continued detention, and
notwithstanding the lapse of the period of six hours from the time of their arrest and/or
commitment;

5. That the aforementioned persons were arrested while in the peaceful exercise of their
constitutional rights of freedom of speech and of the press and peaceably to assemble and
petition the Government for the redress of their grievances, specifically, while performing the
following acts to enlist public support in the pursuit of their right to a living wage, to
wit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

(a) Ricardo Suarez (Juarez), Gregorio Santiago, Ismael de Jesus and Serafin Pascual — arrested
on November 5, 1946 at Pinkian Street, Tondo, Manila, for no apparent reason, but for posting
a distributing handbills explaining the plight of the city laborers on strike, and appealing to and
for the sympathy and lawful support of the public;

(b) Amado Racanday, Antonio Bulgada (Burlagada) and Mauro Fernandez — arrested on
November 6, 1946, while standing at the corner of Gral. Luna and California streets, Paco,
Manila, for no apparent reason, except that they had joined the city laborers’ strike, and for
having in their possession some copies of the handbills above mentioned;

(c) Jose Badeo and Francisso Nevado (Lebado) — arrested on November 6, 1946, while standing
at the corner of Perez and California Streets, Paco, Manila, for no apparent reason except that
they had joined the city laborers’ strike and had in their possession a notice of a meeting of
their labor organization;

(d) Pascual Montaniel — arrested on November 8, 1946, at Cristobal Street, Paco, Manila, for
no apparent reason, except that the made a friendly greeting to a non-striker;

(e) Pedro Martinez — arrested on November 8, 1946, at Juan Luna Street, Gagalangin, Manila,
for no apparent reason, except that he had joined the city laborers’ strike and walked along the
street with a paper band strung diagonally from his shoulder around his body bearing the
following words: "Damayan Kami ! Huag Mageskirol" (Help us! Do not be a scab); and

(f) Pacifico Deoduco — arrested on November 7, 1946, at Cristobal Street, Manila, for no
apparent reason except that he had joined the city laborers’ strike.

Wherefore, petitioner prays that a writ of habeas corpus be directed forthwith to the
respondents commanding them, or any of them, to have the bodies of the above named
persons who are restrained and deprived of their liberty before this Honorable Court at a time
and place to be designated by this Court; and, after due hearing, forthwith to order their
discharge from confinement, with costs against the respondents.

Manila, Philippines, November 11th, 1946.

Emmanuel Pelaez,

Francisco A. Rodrigo

Enrique M. Fernando

Manuel M. Crudo
Claudio Teehankee and

Jose W. Diokno

By: (Sgd.) Emmanuel By: (Sgd.) Claudio Tee

Pelaez Counsel for the Peti hankee Counsel for the Pe-

tioner C/o Philippine Civil titioner C/o Philippine Law-

Liberties Union 503 China yers’ Guild, 319 Lardizabal

Bank Building, Dasmarinas, Street, Manila

Manila

VERIFICATION

Cecilio M. Lino, of legal age, after being duly sworn in accordance with law, deposes and
says:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

1. That he is the petitioner in the foregoing petition for a writ of habeas corpus;

2. That he caused the same to be prepared and presented; and

3. That all the facts therein alleged are true and correct.

Further affiant seethe naught.

Manila, November 11, 1946.

(Sgd.) Cecilio M. Lino

Affiant

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 11th day of November, 1946, at the City of Manila,
Philippines. The affiant exhibited to me his Residence Certificate No. A-20721, issued at the City
of Manila, on January 9, 1946.
(Sgd.) F. A. Rodrigo

Notary Public

Until December 31 1947

Doc. No. 36

Page No. 9

Book No. 1

Series of 1946.

Appendix B

RETURN OF WRIT

Come now the respondents in the above-entitled case, Valeriano E. Fugoso, Lamberto T.
Javalera and John Doe, in their respective capacities as Mayor, Chief of Police and Officer in
Charge of the Municipal Jail, all of the City of Manila, through their counsel, the undersigned
City Fiscal, and in making their return to the petition filed herein, to this Honorable Court
respectfully allege:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

1. That they admit the allegations contained in paragraphs 1 and 2 of said petition.

2. That they admit the fact, stated in paragraph 3 of said petition, regarding the arrest of the
persons whose names are listed in paragraph 2 thereof, without warrant, by members of the
Manila Police Department, and their detention until yesterday, November 11, 1946, at the
Municipal Jail of the City of Manila; but they deny the rest of the allegations, especially that
which states for a fact that said detained persons were arrested without lawful cause upon
order of the respondent Valeriano E. Fugoso, as Mayor of the City of Manila, the truth of the
matter being that the arrest was lawful, it having been made by members of the Manila Police
Department duly appointed and qualified as such who acted in the performance of their official
duties, and acting in the belief that the said detained persons, before or at the time of their
arrest, were committing acts in violation of the laws of the land.

3. That they admit the fact, alleged in paragraph 4 of said petition, that all the arrested persons
have been placed under detention until yesterday, November 11, 1946, at the Municipal Jail of
the City of Manila; but they deny the rest of the allegations, specially that part which says that
no charges have been filed against them notwithstanding the lapse of the period of six hours
from the time of their arrest and commitment, the truth of the matter being that charges for
inciting to sedition, disobedience to police orders and resisting arrest have been filed against
them by the arresting police officers with the Office of the City Fiscal which has conducted the
preliminary investigation of said cases in accordance with law.

4. That they deny the allegations contained in paragraph 5 of said petition, the same being
merely conclusions of facts and/or of law.

As special defenses, respondents hereby allege:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

(a) That all of the twelve detained persons were arrested by police officers for acts which the
arresting officers believed to constitute inciting to sedition, resisting arrest and disobedience to
police orders, filing the corresponding cases against them with the Office of the City Fiscal
immediately thereafter.

(b) That yesterday, November 11, 1946, before and after the receipt by them of their respective
copies of the petition for habeas corpus herein filed, complaints had already been presented
with the Municipal Court of Manila against Pascual Montaniel and Pacifico Deoduco not for
inciting to sedition but for unjust vexation and for disobedience to police orders, respectively,
the same being criminal cases Nos. 6765 and 7666 of the Municipal Court of Manila, copies of
which complaints are being attached hereto and made a part hereof as Annexes 1 and 2.

(c) That likewise, before and after the receipt by them of their respective copies of the petition
for habeas corpus, said respondents Valeriano E. Fugoso and Lamberto T. Javalera had already
been notified of the dismissal by the Office of the City Fiscal of the cases for inciting to sedition
against all the detained persons, for insufficiency of evidence, and of filing in the Municipal
Court of Manila complaints against Pascual Montaniel and Pacifico Deoduco, as aforesaid.

(d) That, similarly, before and after his receipt of a copy of the petition for habeas corpus, the
respondent John Doe, in his capacity as Officer in charge of the Municipal Jail, had received
from the City Fiscal letters bearing date of November 11, 1946, copies of which are hereto
attached as Annexes 3 and 4 of this Return, wherein he was advised that the cases against said
detained persons for inciting to sedition have been dismissed for insufficiency of evidence, but
that complaints were being filed against Pascual Montaniel and Pacifico Deoduco for unjust
vexation and for disobedience to police orders, respectively, and wherein said respondent John
Doe has been ordered by the City Fiscal to forthwith release all of said detained persons with
the exception of Pascual Montaniel and Pacifico Diodoco, an order which has been complied
with by said respondent John Doe as shown by the fact that said detained persons, with the
exception of the latter two, had forthwith been released from custody.

(e) That Pascual Montaniel and Pacifico Deoduco continue to be detained and are being
deprived of their liberty not without lawful cause, for the reason that there are at present
pending against them criminal complaints with the Municipal Court of Manila for unjust
vexation and disobedience to police orders as stated above.

Wherefore, respondents herein pray this Honorable Court to dismiss the petition, with costs
against the petitioner.

Manila, November 12, 1946.

(Sgd.) JOSE P. BENGZON

City Fiscal

Annex 1

INFORMATION

The undersigned accuses Pascual Montaniel y Avelar of the crime unjust vexation, committed
as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

That on or about the 8th of November, 1946, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused
did then and there willfully, unlawfully, feloniously and on justly vex and annoy one Jesus
Cambare, who was then a driver at the City Motor Pool assigned to the Department of En
Fingering and Public Works of the Government of the City of Manila, while in the act of
managing, driving and operating a jeep being used by the Assistant City Engineer of said City in
the latter’s official capacity, by then and there stopping the jeep driven by said Jesus Cambare
without any just cause therefor and telling him to stop driving for the City of Manila while the
strike of city laborers was still going on, all in a threatening attitude, and to the great disgust
and annoyance of the aforementioned Jesus Cambare. Contrary to law.

(Sgd.) JULIO VILLAMOR

Assistant Fiscal
Witnesses:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

Jesus Cambare — 615 Merced, Paco

Dets. Felix T. Pineda and

Victoriano Antonio — Det. Bureau

Chief Clerk — Dept. of Engineering and

Public Works, City Hall (bringing records re

appointment of Jesus Cambare as driver at the

City Motor Pool)

Annex 2

INFORMATION

The undersigned accuses Pacifico Deoduco of a violation of the second paragraph of Art. ell of
the Revised Penal Code, committed as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

That on or about the 7th day of November, 1946, in the City of Manila. Philippines, the said
accused did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously disobey Vicente Cararidad, a
duly appointed and qualified police officer of the City of Manila and, therefore, an agent of a
person in authority, while the latter was acting in the performance of his official duties, to wit:
while he was guarding the premises of the City Motor Pool on Cristobal St., in said City, which
acts of disobedience was in the following manner: That said accused, having entered and was
actually found in the aforesaid premises where he had no right to be, without the knowledge
and consent of the authorities concerned, and having been ordered several times by the
aforesaid police officer to go out of and leave the said premises, defiantly and persistently
refused to do so, but instead he continued to remain therein. Contrary to law.

(Sgd.) JULIO VILLAMOR

Assistant City Fiscal


November 11, 1946

Witnesses:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

Pat. V. Cararidad, Precinct No. 3.

Pat. Pedro Camata, Precinct No. 3.

Chief Clerk, Manila Police Dept., to bring a certified

copy of the latest appointment of Pat. Vicente Cele-

ridad of the Manila Police Dept.

Bail recommended: P200

Annex 3

November 11, 1946

The Prison Officer

City Jail, Manila

Sir:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

With reference to the case of inciting to sedition presented with this Office against (1) Ricardo
Suarez, (2) Gregorio Santiago (3) Ismael de Jesus, (4) Serafin Pascual, (5) Amado Racanday, (6)
Antonio Bulagua (Burlagua), (7) Mauro Fernandez, (8) Jose Radeo, (9) Francisco Navado
(Levado), (10) Pascual Montaniel, and (11) Pedro Martinez, please be informed that after an
investigation has been conducted in the premises, it was found out that there is no sufficient
evidence to warrant the prosecution of said accused in court, it appearing that the leaflets,
posters and other propaganda sheets which said accused distributed to the public and pasted
or posted at different places within the city, did not contain any statement or phrases of
seditious nature or of the nature to incite to the commission of sedition. This Office, however,
is filing a complaint with the Municipal Court against Pascual Montaniel y Avelar for unjust
vexation only, wherein a bail of P100 has been recommended for his temporary release.

In view of the foregoing, all of the said accused, except Pascual Montaniel y Avelar, should be
released from custody or their bonds cancelled, if any have been put up for their temporary
release unless they are held on other charges.

Respectfully,

(Sgd.) JOSE P. BENGZON

City Fiscal

ANNEX

November 11, 1946

Prison Officer

City Jail, Manila

Sir:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

With reference to the cases of disobedience to the Police and resisting arrest presented to this
Office against Pacifico Deoduco y Docio, please be informed that after an investigation has
been conducted in the premises, it was found out that there is no sufficient evidence to
warrant his prosecution in court for the offense of resisting arrest. This Office, however, is filing
today a complaint the Municipal Court against the said accused for disobedience to an agent of
a person in authority, under the second paragraph of Art. 151 of the Revised Penal Code,
wherein a bail of P200.00 has been recommended for his temporary release.

Very respectfully,

(Sgd.) Jose P. Bengzon

City Fiscal

BRIONES, M., conforme:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

El presente caso es un incidente de la famosa huelga decrada y efectuada en Noviembre del


alio pasado (1946) por obreros organizados de la ciudad de Manila en el servicio municipal de
limpieza de calles y en obras publicas tambien municipales. Como fondo historico del caso en
general, y de esta opinion en particular, cabe incluir en la naracion de hechos el de que — como
es acostumbrado en este genero de convulsiones sociales — despues de mucho
apasionamiento por ambos lados, de no poca nerviosidad y de laboriosas negociaciones, la
huelga que duro unas dos semanas quedo satisfactoriamente solucionada, aviniendose los
huelguistas a volver a su trabajo a cambio de ciertas concesiones que hizo el Municipio de
Manila, particularmen te en la cuestion de bonificaciones y salarios. Sin embargo esulta de
autos y de la historia el dia reflejada princi palmente en la prensa (de lo cual podemos
naturalmente tomar conocimiento judicial) que la exaltacion de los animos, la pasion al rojo
vivo produjeron algunos incidentes, unos dramaticos, otros comicos, llegando la tension
nerviosa de algunos a exagerar tremendamente las proporciones del movimiente hasta el
estremo de imaginarse rebeliones y sediciones alli donde no habia sino un espiritu algun tanto
militante de parte de los abreros en la defensa de sus derechos e intereses y en la propaganda
de su causaa con la mira de ganarse la simpatia del publico. Uno de esos incidentes es la cogida
o aprehension por la policia, sin previa orden de arresto, por el especioso pretexto de estaban
incitanto y promoviendo nada menos que una sedicion contra el gobierno constituido, de doce
obreros huelgistas, confinandoseles en la carcel por dicho motivo.

En no, bre de esos doce se ha presentado esta solicitud de mandamiento de habeas corpus por
Cecilio M. Lino, presidente de la Union de Empleados y Obreros de la Ciudad, filial del "Congress
of Labor Organizations" (CLO), defendiendoles como abogados Emmanuel Palaez, Francisco A.
Rodrigo y Enrique M. Fernando, miembros y representantes de la sociedad civia "Philippine Civil
Liberties Union," y Manuel M. Crudo, Claudio Teehankee y Jose W. Diokno, mienbros, y
representantes del "Philippine Lawyers’ Guild." En nombre de los recurridos ha comparecido
ante esta Corte el Fiscal auxiliar Julio Villamor, de la ciudad de Manila.

Alegase en la solicitud que doce obreros de que se trata fueron arretados mientras estaban
ejerciendo pacificamente sus derechos constitucionales, a saber: la libertad de la palabra y de la
prensa, y el de reunion pacifica para pedir del gobierno el alvio de sus agravios. Se detalla
especificamente los actos en que estaban ocupados cuando fueron arretados, a
saber:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

(a) Richard Suarez (Juarez), Gregorio Santiago, Ismael de Jesus y Serafin Pascual fueron
arrestados el 5 de Noviembre, 1946, en la calle de Pinkian, arrabal de Tondo, Manila, Mientras
estaban distribuyendo y pegando en las parades hojas voluntes en que se explicaban las
miserias y tribulaciones de los obreros en huelga se apelaba a la simpatia y sentimientos
humanitarios del publico para que apoyara la causa de los huelguistas.

(b) Amando Racanday, Antonio Bulagada (Burlagada) y Mauro Fernandez fueron arrestados el 6
de Noviembre, 1946, mientras estaban tranquilamente parados en la esquina de las calles de
California y Gral. Luna, Paco, Manila, y sin ningun motivo aparente como no fuese el de que se
habian adherido a la huelga y se hallaron en su posesion copias de las hojas volantes
menciondas en el parrafo anterior.

(c) Jose Badeo y Francisco Nevado (Levado) fueron arrestados el 6 de Noviembre, 1946,
mientras estaban tranquilamente parados en la esquina de las calles de Perez y California, Paco,
Manila, y tambien sin ningun motivo manifiesto como no fuese el de que se habian adherido
igualmente a la huelga y tenian en su poder el aviso de una reunion que la organizacion obrera
a que estaban afiliados iba a celebrar.

(d) Pedro Martinez fue arrestado el 8 de Noviembre, 1946, en la calle de Juan Luna, Gagalangin,
Manila, y sin ninguna razon aparente excepto que el mismo se habia adherido a la huelga y
andaba paseandose a lo largo de dicha calle con una banda llamativa que llevaba
diagonalmente alrededor de su cuerpo y en la cual estaban escritas las siguientes palabras en
tagalo: ¡DAMAYAN KAMI, HUAG MAG-ISKIROL! (Help us! Don’t be a scab. ¡ — Ayudadnos! !No
seais desertores!)

(e) Pascual Montaniel fue arrestado el 8 de Noviembre, 1946, en la calle de Cristobal, Paco,
Manila, sin ningun motivo aparente como no fuese el de que habia saludado amistosamente a
uno que no era huelguista.

(f) Pacifico Deoduco fue arrestado el 7 de Noviembre 1946, en la citada calle de Cristobal
tambien sin razon manifiesta excepto que se habia adherido a la huelga.

Se puso de manifiesto en la audiencia, en los informes orales producidos por las partes, que los
obreros arriba mencionados fueron recluidos en los calabozos desde que fueron arrestados
hasta que, por recomendacion del Promotor Fiscal de la Ciudad, la Policia los puso en libertad,
menos Montaniel y Deoduco, a las tres y media de la tarde del 11 Noviembre, por haberse
hallado, segun la carta de dicho Fiscal al oficial de las prisiones de Manila, "que no hay prueba
suficiente para justificar la prosecucion de dichos acusados ante los tribunales, apareciendo que
las hojas volantes, manifiestos y otras hojas de propaganda que tales acusados distribuyeron
entre el publico y exhibieron o fijaron en diferentes lugares dentro de la ciudad, no contenian
ninguna frase o expresion de caracter sedicioso o de tal naturaleza que incitase la comision del
delito de se dicion" (Carta del Fiscal de la Ciudad de Manila, Jose P. Bengzon, de 11 de
Noviembre de 1946, al oficial de las prisiones de la ciudad, anexo 3). Se ordeno, sin embargo, la
continuacion de la detencion de Montaniel y Deoduco, a pesar de que tampoco habia pruebas
de sedicion contra ellos, porque la Fiscalia decidio a ultima hora presentar querellas, a saber:
(a) contra Montaniel, por supuesta vejacion injusta, alegandose que el 8 de Noviembre,
mientras Jesus Cambare guiaba y manejaba un "jeep" de la oficina del Ingeniero de la ciudad,
Montaniel trato de pararle diciendole que dejase de guiar al servicio de la ciudad de Manila
mientras durase la huelga, "con gran disgusto y molestia de dicho Jesus Cambare" ; (b) contra
Deoduco, por supuesta desobediencia a un policia, alegandose en la querella que el 7 de
Noviembre, 1946, el acusado entro sin permiso en el deposito de vehiculos de motor (motor
pool) de la ciudad situado en la calle de Cristobal, Paco, y que cuando el policia de guardia,
Vicente Caridad, le intimido que saliera del lugar, dicho acusado persistio en quedarse
dsobedeciendo asi al policia.

Al llegar a este punto parece importante, y hasta necesario, fijar especificamente el tiempo en
que tuvieron lugal ciertcs acaecimientos y tramites. Esto nos servira para poner de relieve
ciertos hechos capitales y ciertos puntos en contencion, y evaluarlos en toda su densidad. De
autos e informes resultan los siguientes hechos: (a) que la presente solicitud de habeas
corpus se presento y registro en la escribania de esta Corte el 11 de Noviembre, 1946, a las 9 de
la manana poco mas o menos; (b) que el recurrido Alcalde Valeriano E. Fugoso fue emplazado
de la solicitud en aquella misma manana, a las 11:20; (c) que el recurrido jefe de policia
Lamberto Javalera tambien fue emplazado de la solicitud en aquella misma manana, a las
11:30; (d) que el recurrido oficial de las prisiones de la ciudad John Doe fue asimismo
emplazado en aquella manana, a las 11:30; (e) que a la 1:05 p. m. de aquel dia el Fiscal de la
Ciudad envio su carta ya citada al oficial de las prisiones, dando instrucciones para que se
pusiese inmediatamente en libertad a los detenidos, menos Montaniel y Deoduco; (f) quc la
policia recibio dichas instrucciones a las 2 de la tarde, y a las 3:30 p. m. las cumplimento
soltando a los detenidos, excepto los ya mencionados Montaniel y Deoduco; (g) que, a pesar de
que estos dos ultimos fueron arrestados el 8 y 7 de Noviembre, respectivamente, la policia no
envio a la Fiscalia los papeles acerca de sus casos sino en la tarde del 11 de Noviembre, es decir,
del mismo dia en que se presento la solicitud de habeas corpus; (h) que la querella contra
Montaniel, por vejacion injusta, se presento ante el juzgado municipal de Manila a las 2 de la
tarde del 11 de Noviembre, es decir, algunas horas despues de presentada la solicitud
de habeas corpus; (i) que la querella contra Deoducos por desobe diencia a un policia, se
presento ante el juzgado municipal solamente en la manana del 12 de Noviembre, o sea, al dia
siguiente de interpuesto el recurso de habeas corpus.

Tambien resultan de los autos e informes los siguientes hechos: (1) que respecto de los diez
detenidos que posteriormente fueron puestos en libertad por no haberse hallado ningun cargo
fundado contra ellos, la Fiscalia admite haber recibido a tiempo de la policia los papeles
correspondientes, es decir, dentro de 6 horas despues de verificados los arrestos, pero que si
no pudo presentar ninguna querella durante un periodo de 7 dias — del 5 al 11 de Noviembre
— o decidir que no habia ninguna sedicion como despues decidio, fue porque tenia otros
muchos trabajos y porque, ademas, necesitaba de tiempo para leer y desentranar el significado
de las hojas volantes y manifiestos, y ver si en ellos habia alguna manifestacion sediciosa o
criminal; (2) la Fiscalia admite que las hojas volantes y manifiestos no eran voluminosos sino
que se componia de unas cuantas hojas y que normalmente no se necesitaban dias ni siquiera
horas para leerlos y determinar su significacion y sentido, pues no estaban concebidos y
escritos en jeroglificos, sino en un tagalo sencillo, llano y popular, como es usual en papeles de
propaganda; (3) que durante la detencion de los arrestados se trato de gestionar y obtener su
libertad provisional y la Fiscalia senalo a dicho efecto la prestacion de una fianza de P12,000
para cada uno, basando la Fiscalia su requerimiento en la gravedad del delito supuestamente
cometido — el de sedicion; (4) que asi continuaron las cosas hasta que se presento ante esta
Corte la solicitud de habeas corpus en la manana del dia 11, viniendo luego la rapida sucesion
de acontecimientos de que ya se ha hecho merito.

Habiendo sido puestos en libertad diez de los doce detenidos antes de que se viera la presente
solicitud de habeas corpus ¿es todavia pertinente que examinemos la totalidad de los hechos,
incluso los relativos a los ya liberados? Creemos que si; la cuestion, a nuestro juicio, no ha
venido a ser meramente academica, por las siguientes razones: primera, porque ya esta Corte
habia asumido jurisdiccion sobre el caso mediante la presentacion de la solicitud de habeas
corpus cuando los diez detenidos fueron soltados — de hecho, cabe afirmar que la
interposicion de este recurso fue cl motivo de que se les soltase, pues no podia ser simple
coincidencia casual el que, al cabo de varios dias de extrana inaccion, se diese como de prisa y
corriendo la orden de libertad provisional unas cuantas horas despues de registrada en la
escribania de esta Corte al solicitud de habeas corpus; segunda, porque si bien es cierto que
Montaniel y Deoduco, los dos que no han sido soltados, fueron arresta dos
independientemente de los otros y en diferentes fechas, sus casos, sin embargo, son
perfectamente identicos a los de los otros, pudiendo decirse que la policia arresto y detuvo a
todos ellos como partes de una conspiracion y sedicion organizada; asi que para lograr una
adecuada perspectiva no hay mas remedio que enfocar conjuntamente los casos, o hay que
decirlo mas bien en singular — el caso de los doce; y tercera, porque si bien es verdad que en
los procedimientos de habeas corpus la cuestion principal es la liberacion fisica de la persona
que esta privada de libertad y que cuando se ha obtenido tal resultado parece que los
procedimientos deben darse por terminados y, por lo general, huelga todo comentario o
exposicion de criterio sobre los hechos y la ley o doctrina juridica aplicable o deducible de los
mismos, es evidente, sin embargo, que se dan casos en que los hechos son de tal
transcendencia en relacion con la vida de las instituciones, con la existencia del Estado, con las
libertades publicas, con el orden social, o con la existencia de la misma comunidad civil y
politica, que no porque deliberada o indeliberadamente se logra hurtarlos a la accion y decision
de los tribunales, estos quedan excusados de exponer su criterio o hacer alguin
pronunciamiento, maxime si como en nuestro caso, en el caso de esta Corte Suprema, el
pronunciamiento judicial, la exposicion de criterio puede no ser una cosa Ineramente teorica y
academica, sino que puede irradiar un activo y eficaz influjo de saludable ejemplaridad y
repercusion en la vida juridica sentando normas inequivocas de politica y conducta publica, o
hien condenando y corrigiendo desmanes y abusos si abusos y desmanes se han cometido; y no
cabe duda de que el que tenemos ante Nos es uno de esos casos. Este es un caso en que no hay
mas remedio que hablar claro y fuerte para que lo oigan hasta los sordos, si se quiere que esta
republica pise terreno firme y seguro en su lento caminar hacia el cumplimiento de sus destinos
humanos e historicos; si se quiere que entre nosotros la constitucion, la ley, el orden, la libertad
y la democracia no sean un mito, juguete de tiranuelos y despotillas, sino realidades vivientes y
cotidianas; si se quiere, en una palabra, que este colosal experimento en que estamos
empenados — experimento de democracia politico-economico-social-cristiana en el gran
pielago de la Oceania — resulte un acabado exito y una obra que podamos legar con orgullo a
nuestros descendientes.

Lo primero que salta a la vista es que los doce obreros de que se trata no estaban cometiendo
ningun delito, mucho menos el de sedicion, cuando sin previa orden judicial de arresto fueron
aprehendidos como si hubiesen sido cogidos in fraganti en el preciso momento de perpetrar un
crimen de esos que dan lugar a procedimientos de oficio y captura y detencion inmediatas por
cualquier agente de seguridad publica. Es verdad que eran huelguistas, pero ¿es casc, la huelga
un crimen? Es verdad tambien que algunos de ellos fueron cogidos repartiendo y distribuyendo
en las calles ciertas hojas volantes y pegando en muros y paredes ciertos manifiestos, pero
¿eran criminosos, incendiarios o subversivos estos papeles? Tampoco: la Fiscalia de la ciudad,
despues de examinarlos por varios dias — ¡paciente y minucioso examen! — acabo por
dictaminar a ultima hora que se trataba de literatura inocente, esto es, que no contenia nirguna
manifestacion sediciosa, recomendando en consecuencia que diez de los doce fuesen
inmediatamente soltados despues de una detencion no solo absolutamente injustificada, sino
ademas ilegal porque excedio con mucho las 6 horas que fija el codigo penal como tiempo
maximo de detencion en los casos en que no hay previa orden judicial de arresto y no se
entrega al detenido a la autoridad judicial correspondiente dentro de dichas 6 horas.

Es cierto asimismo que algunos de los mencionados obreros fueron cogidos por la policia
mientras estaban pacificamente parados en una esquina formando pequenos grupos,
hallandose a lo mas en su poder copia del aviso para un mitin de la organizacion obrera a que
estaban afiliados; pero ¿de cuando aca ha sido un crimen el estar pacificamente ]evantados en
una esquina, siquiera fuese eil pequenos grupos, y el tener en el bolsillo la copia de una
convocatoria para un mitin pacifico? Esto jamas habia sido un crimen ni en los dias mas
obscuros de nuestra sujecion a la soberania americana; menos ha de serlo ahora en que somos
una nacion independiente, constituimos una republica, y estamos cobijados bajo la sombra de
nuestra propia bandera, tehida en grana de la sangre de tantos y tantos martires de la libertad
que no, ¡no es posible hayan muerto en vano!

Es cierto igualmente que a uno de dichos obreros se le cogio porque andando por las calles
tenia arrollada al cuerpo — ¡notable experto en el arte de la propaganda! — Una banda en que
se leian siguientes palabras en tagalo:" ¡Damayan kami, huwag mag-eskirol!" (Help us, don’t be
a scab! ¡Ayudadnos, no seais desertores!); parece que la policia hallo esto como algo
subversivo, como una incitacion a cometer sedicion. Resulta patente, sin embargo, que el gesto
de este obrero propagandista no podia ser mas subversivo ni mas incendiario que el de
Diogenes, el cinico, aquel que, metido en una barrica y portando una linterna, rodaba por las
calles de Atenas en pleno dia buscando un hombre. Que sepamos, a ningun policia ateniense se
le ocurrio coger a Diogenes por atentar contra la seguridad de la republica. . . .

Ahora llegamos al caso de Montaniel y Deoduco: el primero fue cogido porque trato de parar a
un chofer de la ciudad mientras guiaba un "jeep" y le invito a que se sumase a la huelga: y el
segundo porque entro sin permiso en un deposito de vehiculos de motor de la ciudad y no
quiso salir de alli desobedeciendo las ordenes del policia de guardia. La policia creia que estos
actos eran sediciosos, y arresto y detuvo a Montaniel y Deoduco por varios dias. Sin embargo,
la Fiscalia, al igual que en los otros casos, dictamino que tampoco habia aqui sedicion, pero
recomendo la continuacion de la detencion querellandoles por faltas que ni siquiera dan lugar a
obligado arresto, segun el codigo penal: contra Montaniel, por supuesta vejacion injusta; y
contra Deoduco, por supuesta desobediencia ligera a unas ordenes policiacas. ¿Verdad que
esto hace recordar el laborioso parto de los montes? Un raton despues de tanto estruendo,
tanta batahola. . . . Pero tambien hace recordar algo mas: la hoja de parra biblica para cubrir
embarazos y verguenzas de ultima hora. . . . Algunos podran incluso decir que para el buen
nombre y prestigio de la autoridad acaso hubiera sido mejor reconocer el error paladinamente,
con gallarda hombradia, soltando a todos los detenidos sin excepciones forzadas y especiosas.
Hay hasta grandeza y respetabilidad en la valiente admision de las propias faltas, yerros y
limitaciones.

Se ha querido atenuar la gravedad de la accion policiaca tomando por sedicion lo que no era
mas que llano ejercicio de derechos elementales de ciudadania, con la excusa de la ignorancia,
alegandose que los aprehensores eran simples patrulleros o reclutas, por lo que no cabia
esperal de ellos que discerniesen bien entre el delito de sedicion y un acto puramente inocente
o una mera falta. Pero ¿es posible tal cuantia de ignorancia en el personal policiaco de este
pais? ¿No se celebran acaso examenes de servicio civil para la calificacion de dicho personal,
fijandose ciertas reglas, normas y requisitos de estudios escolares para poder ser admitidos en
tales examenes? Pero suponiendo ya — lo que es mucho suponer — que cupiera invocar la
ignorancia o falta de instruccion a favor del policia, patrullero o recluta de una aldea, de un
villorrio ¿es posible, es siquiera medianamente decoroso que eso se invoque a favor del policia
metropolitano de la ciudad de Manila, la capital de la republica? Ademas, tratandose de una
huelga obrera de tales proporciones como la que motivo los arrestos que nos ocupan — suceso
dramatico, sensacional que agito y conmovio a todo el vecindario de la ciudad de Manila por
afectar a ciertos servicios municipales indispensables — ¿como se puede concebir que los
patrulleros y reclutas del cuerpo de policia salieran a la calle para cumplir sus deberes en la
custodia y mantenimiento del orden publico sin un plan previamente concertado y preparado
por sus jefes y superiores, y sobre todo, sin recibir antes de estos las necesarias instrucciones
sobre como iban a cumplir tales deberes, sobre que actos debian considerarse delictivos o
sediciosos, sobre que actos y manifestaciones podian permitirse y tolerarse, etc., etc.? Es mas:
suponiendo ya que los aprehensores, en la precipitacion o en el calor del momento, se
equivocaran o se excedieran abusando de sus poderes, haciendo lo que hicieron, esto es,
arrestando sin motivo justificado a los doce huelguistas de que se trata ¿no tenia, no tiene la
policia de Manila un cuerpo o una division legal, compuesta de abogadcs, trabajando
tranquilamente en sus mesas, entre las cuatro paredes de una oficina, rodeados de libros, sin
prisas, sin excitaciones, depurando los hechos de cada caso, de cada arresto, examinando su
fase legal, compulsando y analizando papeles y documentos, evaluando precedentes locales y
extranieros, etc., etc.? Y lno tenia la policia de Manila, con toda su division legal, el periodo de 6
horas que senala la ley para todo ese trabajo de investigacion, de examen, de analisis de los
hechos y de la ley, para ver si se habia cometido o no un crimen, si se habia perpetrado o no el
delito grave de sedicion? Si hubiera habido el debido respeto, la debida consideracion a la
libertad, a los derechos constitucionales del individuo — derechos sagrados, inviolables,
aunque ese individuo fuese un simple obrero, un humilde recogedor de cubetas municipales —
¿por que la policia de Manila, con toda su bateria de abogados, comenzando por el Jefe hasta el
ultimo oficial, no habia de exprimir ese periodo legal de 6 horas, sacar de el todo el partido
posible para estudiar y depurar los arrestos y ver que no estaban justificados a la luz de la ley
de sedicion — conclusion a que despues se llego, pero varios dias despues de tener pisoteada la
libertad en los calabozos municipales, en contravencion de la ley?

Los abusos, arbitrariedades, extralimitaciones y excesos toritarios por parte de la policia o de


cualquier agente de seguridad y orden publico son una cosa que jamas debe ser tomada
ligeramente, frivolamente, con la indiferencia y despreocupacion con que muchas veces se
toman ciertas cosas que se estiman inevitables o rutinarias — "matter of course," como se dice
en ingles — si se quiere que la causa de la democracia y libertad no sufra entre nosotros un
quebranto que puede ser fatal para la existencia misma de la republica. La historia y la
experiencia nos demuestran de consuno que la indiferencia, la dejadez de los pueblos es la que
siempre ha echado a perder la libertad en el mundo. Es harto significativo que en nuestra
misma epoca los gobiernos totalitarios, de sangre y de fuerza, hayan todos tenido que
afianzarse en la policia para consolidar su poder por los cuatro costados y asegurar la
castracion, mejor todavia, la estrangulacion de la voluntad popular, el abatimiento de toda
resistencia ciudadana: el nazismo, en Hitler y su gestapo; el fascismo, en los rufianes de camisa
negra de Mussolini; el despotismo nipon, en su famoso kempetai; y el absolutismo comunista,
en la ogpu. Y el proceso de disolucion ha comenzado siempre por la inercia, la abulia de las
masas. Pocas frases historicas tienen la perenne significacion vital de esta: "La vigilancia es el
eterno precio de la libertad." O de estas otras de nuestro gran Dr. Rizal: "La resignacion no
siempre es virtud; es crimen cuando alienta tiranias" — "No hay tiranos donde no hay
esclavos." O de esta otra: "Cada pueblo tiene el gobierno que se merece.

(Asi que, entre parentesis, merecen placemes las sociedades de caracter civico y profesional y
algunos de sus miembros que romanticamente, desinteresadamente, han comparecido en el
presente caso para romper lanzas por la causa de la libertad. Ellos pertenecen a una orden be
nemerita que puede propiamente llamarse la Orden de los Vigilantes de la Libertad.)

Se arguye en favor de los recurridos que la policia entrego a la Fiscalia de Manila los papeles
correspondientes dentro de las 6 horas que fija el articulo 125 del Codigo Penal Revisado y que,
por tanto, la demora ilegal, si la hubo, no tuvo lugar en los cuarteles de la policia sino en la
oficina del Fiscal. Aunque ello no se trasluce clara e inequivocamente en autos, parece que se
puede admitir que respecto de los 10 que han sido puestos en libertad los papeles se
entregaron a la Fiscalia oportunamente; no asi respecto de Montaniel y Deoduco, los dos cuya
detencion se ha prolongado. Resulta de autos y de los informes producidos en la audiencia que
Deoduco fue arrestado el 7 de Noviembre y Montaniel el 8; que los papele,s en ambos casos se
entregaron por la policia a la Fiscalia en la tarde del 11 de Noviembre, 4 y 3 dias
respectivamente despues del arresto, es decir, mucho despues de la 6 horas fijadas por la ley;
que la querella contra Montaniel se presento, como queda dicho mas arriba, en la misma tarde
del dia 11, y la querella contra Deoduco, por desobediencia, ya en la manana del 12, esto es, en
el mismo dia de la vista de la presente solicitud de habeas eorpus.

La Fiscalia explica la demora diciendo que por aquellos dias estaba sobrecargada de trabajos;
que, ademas de los 12 obreros detenidos de que se trata, habia otros muchos por diferentes
delitos y faltas; que necesitaba de tiempo para examinar bien las hojas volantes y demas
papeles; que tambien necesitaba de tiempo para atar bien los cabos y las circunstancias a fin de
ver si con la huelga estaba relacionado un movimiento coordinado de sedicion, y si los actos de
los 12 arrestados formaban parte de ese movimiento. La Fiscalia admite haber fijado en la
cantidad prohibitiva de P12,000 la fianza que debia prestar cada detenido para su libertad
provisional mientras se estudiaban los casos. Mas tarde, cuando la Fiscalia se convencio de que
no habia sedicion ni nada que se le pareciera, recomendo una fianza de P100 para Montaniel y
de P200 para Deoduco.

Sin discutir la responsabilidad de la Fiscalia por la demora — si esta se puede o no justificar


administrativamente es cuestion que no nos compete considerar ni resolver — vamos a
limitarnos a comentar y discutir la fase juridica, legal. Esta en orden naturalmente el hacer la
siguiente pregunta: ¿es correcta, es acertada la asercion de que el "Promotor Fiscal de Manila
es un funcionario judicial (judicial officer)," y que, por tanto, la entrega al mismo de la persona
de un detenido dentro del periodo de 6 horas equivale a la entrega a las autoridades judiciales
correspondientes (proper judicial authorities) de que habla el articulo 125 del C6digo Penal
Revisado? Creemos que no: ni por su letra ni por su espiritu puede aplicarse por extension la
fraseologia de ese articulo al Fiscal de la ciudad de Manila o a cualquier otro Fiscal; ese articulo
no puede referir se mas que a un tribunal, a un juzgado, sea municipal, sea de primera
instancia. Asi que estoy de perfecto acuerdo con la ponencia cuando positivamente sienta la
doctrina de que "si bien un arresto puede hacerse sin orden cuando hay motivos razonables
para ello (regla 109, articulo 6, Reglamento de los Tribunales), el detenido no puede ser
recluido fuera del periodo prescrito por la ley, a menos que una orden de arresto se obtenga
antes de un tribunal competente" (veanse las autoridades que se citan), y que "en el presente
caso el Fiscal de la ciudad no tenia autoridad para expedir ordenes de arresto y carecia de
facultad para convalidar tal detencion ilegal con solo presentar las que rellas, o con una orden
de su propia cuenta, ora tacita, ora expresa" (veanse asimismo las autoridades que se citan).

De lo dicho se sigue que cuando la policia entrega a la Fiscalia de la ciudad despues del periodo
de 6 horas prescrito por la ley los papeles sobre un detenido arrestado sin previa orden al
efecto, no por ello se cura la ilegalidad del arresto y detencion, sino que dicha ilegalidad
continua y persiste hasta que el Fiscal presenta la querella r obtiene una orden de arresto del
tribunal competente, o que, tratandose de delito, mediante la prestacion de una fianza cuya
cuantia se fijare y recomendare por dicho Fiscal, la policia soltare al detenido, a tenor de lo
previsto en el articulo 2460 del codigo administrativo.

Puede ocurir, sin embargo, que la politica entregue los papeles a la Fiscalia de la ciudad del
periodo de 6 horas, pero que la Fiscalia no solo deja pasar dicho periodo, sino que transcurren
dias, hasta semanas sin actuar sobre el caso en uno u otro sentido. La cuestion en orden
naturalmente es la siguiente: ¿es legal o ilegal la detencin del arrestado en tal caso? En otras
palabras: ¿queda suspendido el periodo de 6 horas durante el tiene que el Fiscla de la ciudad
trada en acruar sobre el case? La contestacion tiene que ser necesarianmente nagativa. La
rigidez, la inflexibilidad del periodo de 6 horas rezo no solo para la policia, sino para cualquier
otra agencia o ramo oficial, sin excluir a la Fiscalia de la ciudad de Manila. Si por cualquier
motivo la Fiscalia dejare de actuar dentro de dicho periodo, el deber de la politica o del que
tenga la custodia del detenido es soltarle, quiera o no quiera el Fiscal, lo recomiendo o no lo
recomiende. De otra manera, la restriccion que estatuye la ley a favor de los detenidos sin
previa orden de arresto — restriccion que implementa las garantias de la libertad establecidas
en la Consitucion — resulta un mito. La filosofia de la ley se, a saber: solamente se verifica un
arresto sin previa orden cunado hay motives razonables para ello, v. gr., cuando un individou es
codigo in franganti cometiendo un delito. La ley presupone, por tanto, que el Estado tiene a
mano todos los elementos necesarios para decidir que accion ha de tomar dentro del periodo
de 6 horas, ya entragando la persona del detenido a las autoridades judiciales correspondientes
mediente la querella procedente, a tenor del articulo 125 del codigo penal revisado; ya
poniendole en libertad provinsional bajo una fianza razonable, de acuerdo con el citado articulo
2460 del codigo administrativo; o ya poniendole completamente en la calle por falta de meritos
en el caso. Si ninguna de estas cosas puede hacer el Estado en 6 horas no puede ser mas que
por dos motivos: o porque se quiere cometer una arbitrariedad, o la maquinaria oficial se halla
en un deplorable estado de confusion, ineptitud o impotencia.

Se arguye con enfasis que bajo esta interpretacion la prosecucion del crimen sufriria un serio
quebranto, sobre todo en la ciudad de Manila; que materialmente la Fiscalia no puede actuar
adecuadamente sobre algunos casos en el plazo perentorio de 6 horas. Si esto es verdad el
remedio no es infringir la ley como cosa inevitable, rutinaria; el remedio seria — o recabar de la
Legislatura que se reforme la ley en la forma que se estime conveniente, o implementar y
perfeccionar la maquinaria de la prosecucion criminal, colocandola a la altura de las
circunstancias. No hay nada mas anarquico, mas subversivo y fatal para el principio de la
autoridad del buen gobierno que el tener leyes que no se cumplen, leyes que se infringen hasta
por los llamados a ponerlas en vigor. "To be or not to be, that is the question." O existe la ley y
hay que cumplirla; o si la ley es mala o impracticable, hay que reformarla o derogarla. Lo que no
se debe permitir es el disolvente espectaculo de la diaria inobservancia de la ley.

Tenemos un precedente recientisimo: la ley sobre el Tribunal del Pueblo (Ley del
Commonwealth. No. 682, articulo 19). Una de las disposiciones mas importantes de esa ley es
precisamente la que reforma el articulo 125 del codigo penal revisado, extendiendo el periodo
de 6 horas a 6 meses a fin de legalizar la detencion de los que, sospechosos de traicion, fueron
arrestados y detenidos por las autoridades del ejercito americano inmediatamente despues de
la liberacion de Filipinas de la conquista japonesa. De paso se puede precisamente decir que
esa reforma es uno de los mejores argumentos contra la tesis de que durante el tiempo en que
la Fiscalia de la ciudad estudia el caso el periodo de 6 horas queda en suspenso y se legaliza la
detencion. Si esto fuese correcto, no hubiera habido necesidad de insertar esa disposicion
reforrnatoria en la ley sobre el Tribunal del Pueblo.

TUASON, J., dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

The writ should have been denied or dismissed as to all the persons on whose behalf the
petition was filed, including Pascual Montaniel and Pacifico Deoduco.

According to the return the last two had been arrested by the police for inciting to sedition on
the occasion of the strike of the City of Manila workers and had been duly charged after their
arrest with unjust vexation and disobedience to public orders, respectively. The complaints had
been filed by the City Fiscal with the municipal court, and the Fiscal had recommended a bail of
P100 for Montaniel and P200 for Deoduco for their temporary release. The fiscal in his return
further stated that these complaints had been docketed on "November 11, 1946, before and
after the receipt by them (respondents) of their respective copies of the petition for habeas
corpus herein filed." The last allegation contradicts the finding in the decision of the majority
that "the complaints were filed on the same day when this case was heard before this Court,
that is, on November 12, 1946."cralaw virtua1aw library

The allegations in the return are presumed to be correct, the same not having been
controverted. The return to the writ, of itself, is not conclusive of the facts alleged therein, but
is prima facie proof of such facts. In the absence of a denial, or appropriate pleading avoiding
their effect, they will be taken as true and conclusive, regardless of the allegations contained in
the petition, and the only question for determination is whether or not the facts stated in their
return, as a matter of law, authorizes the restraint under investigation. (39 C. J. S., 664, 665.)

Here Pascual Montaniel or Pacifico Diaduco entitled to be discharged upon the facts set forth in
the return? The decision of the majority says yes. It reasons that "Even assuming that they (the
prisoners) were legally arrested without warrant on November 7 and 8, 1946, respectively, their
continued detention became illegal upon the expiration of six hours without their having been
delivered to the corresponding judicial authorities. (Article 125, Rev. Pen. Code, as amended by
Act No. 3940.) Their cases were referred to the City Fiscal late in the afternoon of November 11,
1946, that is four and three days, respectively, after they were arrested. The illegality of their
detention was not cured by the filing of the informations against them, since no warrants of
arrest or orders of commitment have been issued by the municipal court up to the hearing of
this case before this Court." The decision goes on to say that "the City Fiscal, who has no
authority to issue warrants of arrest (Hashim v. Boncan and City Fiscal of Manila, 71 Phil., 261)
was powerless to validate such illegal detention by merely filing informations or by any order of
his own, either express or implied."cralaw virtua1aw library
With all modesty and with due respect to the opinion of the majority, I take a different view.
The bringing of the prisoners before the City Fiscal made a whole lot of difference and totally
changed the legal aspects of the detention. The Prosecuting Attorney of the City of Manila is a
judicial officer with powers to make investigations on the same level as a municipal judge or
justice of the peace. (United States v. Rubal, 37 Phil., 677; section 2, Rule 108, of the Rules of
Court.) Section 2, Rule 108 provides that "every justice of the peace, municipal judge or city
fiscal shall have jurisdiction to conduct preliminary investigation of all offenses alleged to have
been committed within his municipality or city, cognizable by the Court of First Instance." And
with particular reference to the Fiscal of the City of Manila, section 2465 of the Revised
Administrative Code ordains that he "shall cause to be investigated all charges of crimes,
misdemeanors, and violations of ordinances, and have the necessary informations or
complaints prepared or made against the persons accused."cralaw virtua1aw library

I conclude from these provisions that when Montaniel’s and Diaduco’s cases were reported to
the City Fiscal, that action put an end to the illegality of their detention, assuming that the
prolonged detention had been unwarranted. In other words, if Montaniel’s and Diaduco’s
detention had become illegal upon the expiration of six hours from the time of their arrest, it re
acquired its lawful character the moment they were taken to the City Fiscal for appropriate
action on their cases; in fact the prisoners could not thereafter the released by the police
except in the manner provided by law. What the law is, I shall endeavor to explain.

There is legal and rational support for the proposition that after the case of an arrested person
has been placed in the hands of a fiscal or municipal judge, it is the right, let alone the duty, of
the police to keep him in custody until he is discharged according to law regardless of the
illegality of his previous detention, which by, law way, is not to be confused with the arrest. This
practice is made necessary, at least in the City of Manila, by the very nature of things as well as
by express enactments. The law, statutory and common, is that on officer or private individual
who has made an arrest of a person without a warrant has authority to detain him in custody
until a preliminary hearing against him can be had (4 Am. Jur., 49) and he may then be
committed to jail of held to bail (William F. Down v. Sherlock Swann, 23 L.R.A., N. S., 739, citing
Brish v. Carten 98 MD., 445, and Edger v. Burke, 96 MDD., 722). Supplementing and confirming
this general rule the Manila Charter specifically vests on the Chief of Police the power to keep
the prisoner in custody of release him on bail, although in cases of violation of any penal law, as
distinguished from violations of municipal ordinances, the bail is fixed by the City Fiscal and the
release must be authorized or recommended by the latter. Section 2460 of the Revised
Administrative Code thus stages that "the of chief police may take good and sufficient bail for
the appearance before the city Court of any person arrested for violation of any city
ordinances: Provided, however, That he shall not exercise this power in case of violations of any
penal law, except when the fiscal of the city shall so recommend and fix the bail to be required
of the person arrested."cralaw virtua1aw library

In consonance with the foregoing rule and provision, the practice followed by the City Fiscal of
Manila, when the person arrested without a warrant is brought before him, has been either to
fix the bond and order the provisional release of the prisoner before filing a complaint or
information or making an investigation, or else to file a complaint or information and leave it to
the appropriate court to admit the detained person to bail. In neither case it is necessary to,
nor does the court, as a matter of fact, issue an order of arrest. This is so simply because the
accused is already under arrest; and the court does not issue a commitment because there is no
final judgment and because the arrest has not been effected by its order. It is to be
remembered that the City Fiscal himself has no authority to order, but only to recommend to
the police, the release of detained persons. Neither is the City Fiscal empowered to order the
continued detention of such persons for the reason already stated, that it is upon the authority
and responsibility of the Chief of Police that this functionary holds the prisoners until the court
commands his discharge.

The previous illegality of the detention of Montaniel and Deoduco has no relevancy to their
petition for habeas corpus and it is a mistake for this Court to allow itself to be influenced
thereby. There can be no serious doubt as to the intent of article 125 of the Revised Penal
Code, as amended by Act No. 3940, which says that "The penalties provided in the next
preceding article shall be imposed upon the public officer or employee who shall detain any
person for some legal ground and shall fail to deliver such person to the proper judicial
authorities within the period of six hours." This provision refers solely to detention by a police
officer prior to the retained person’s delivery to the proper judicial officer. It does not restrict
the time within which the fiscal of the city, a justice of the peace or a municipal judge should
act on the case. lt. seeks to prevent abuses by the police — to prevent them from keeping for
an unreasonable length of time arrested persons who are not properly charged before a
competent judicial officer, or whose detention has no justifiable cause. It does not force the city
fiscal, justice of the peace or municipal judge to release the prisoners at or before the
expiration of six hours from the time of their arrest. Nothing could have been farther from the
thought of the legislature than to tie so tightly the hands of the law, and coddle and pamper
lawlessness to a calamitous extreme. It requires no mental effort to see that it is beyond the
ability of any person to make an investigation of a criminal case, file a complaint or information,
and secure an arrest warrant or commitment in six hours, or worse still what remains, if any, of
that period computed from the time of the arrest. The theory sustained by the majority, if put
into practice, would play havoc on the efforts of law-enforcement agencies and the
administration of criminal law, certain to produce disastrous consequences, not difficult to
imagine, in the maintenance of peace and order. The decision of this Court sets a precedent
which will open the door to evasions of criminal prosecution. The populous conditions of
Manila and other centers of population in the Philippines as they exist today, and the modern
facilities of transportation and rapid transit afford easy means for avoiding re-arrest or fleeing
from justice. Such evasions and such escapes would be the result of the holding that a person
who has been arrested without a warrant and detained beyond the six-hour limit by the police
should be discharged irrespective of the filing of a complaint after the lapse of that period, on
the tendency of an appropriate criminal action against him. The situation which I have pictured
will follow from the ruling that even if a crime has been committed by the person arrested and
a complaint has been filed against him, he nevertheless should be released, without prejudice
to his re-arrest on a formal information or complaint lodged against him.

I do not justify or condemn the arrest or the detention beyond the six hour limit of the
petitioners. This question is not in issue and must be judged in the light of the surrounding
circumstances of the case which are not before us. But I do maintain that the illegal detention,
if there was illegal detention, and the subsequent lawful restraint are separable and must not
be confounded with each other. If a crime was committed as a result of the prolonged
detention of the prisoners, there is the penal law and the proper machinery of justice to take
care of the erring officials. To prosecution and punishment or correction of criminal offenders is
a vital concern of the State, vital to its very existence. The interests of the people should not be
sacrificed or jeopardized by the ignorance, negligence or malicious conduct of the police.

The opinion of the majority stems from the erroneous assumption that the right to the writ
must be determined according to the facts as they appear at the time of the filing of the
petition. Some early cases did hold that valid process obtained after the time of service of the
writ of habeas corpus was not sufficient, and that a person detained unlawfully must be
discharged from the imprisonment under the unlawful proceedings, although he might
thereafter be detained on lawful proceedings. But the better, present-day and preponderant
rule, which is more in keeping with modern conditions and better safeguards against modern
facilities for escape, is that a prisoner has no right to a writ of habeas corpusunless he is entitled
to immediate release, and the writ will not issue unless he is presently in restraint of his liberty
without warrant of law; that the writ of habeas corpus is concerned solely with the legality of
the restraint at the time of the filing of the petition for its issue, or by the conditions existing at
the time of the hearing or final decision thereon, and does not depend on the legality or
illegality of the original caption; and that where the detention is lawful at the time of the
return, it is sufficient to defeat the writ. (39 C. J. S., 443, 444.) The United States Supreme
Court, in an opinion written by Mr. Justice Brandies, declares that "the validity of a detention
questioned by a petitioner for habeas corpus is to be determined by the conditions existing at
the time of the final decision thereon." (United States ex. rel. Mensevich v. Tod, 68 Law. ed.,
591.) Conversely, it has been held, detention which was lawful in its inception may afterwards
become unlawful and the prisoner is then entitled to be discharged on habeas corpus, as, for
example, where a prisoner has been pardoned.

The statement therefore that "the city fiscal who has no authority to issue warrants of arrest
(Hashim v. Boncan and City Fiscal of Manila, 71 Phil., 261) was powerless to validate such illegal
detention by merely filing an information or by any other of his own, either express or implied,
must be qualified. If by validation of the illegal detention is meant wiping out of the penal
offense that has already been consummated and which resulted from the unlawful detention,
there can be no disagreement. But if it means that the detention having become illegal because
it extended beyond six hours nothing short of a warrant of arrest issued by a competent judge
could stop the release of the prisoners under detention, the conclusion is against law and
sound principles of jurisprudence.

[G.R. No. 134503. July 2, 1999]

JASPER AGBAY, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN FOR THE MILITARY,
SPO4 NEMESIO NATIVIDAD, JR. and SPO2 ELEAZAR M. SOLOMON, respondents.

DECISION

GONZAGA-REYES, J.:

This petition for certiorari seeks to nullify the Resolution of the Deputy Ombudsman for the
Military dated 19 January 1998[1] which recommended the dismissal of the criminal complaint
filed by petitioner against herein private respondents for violation of Article 125 of the Revised
Penal Code for delay in the delivery of detained persons, and the Order of April 13
1998[2] which denied his motion for reconsideration.

The pertinent facts leading to the filing of the petition at bar are as follows:

On September 7, 1997, petitioner, together with a certain Sherwin Jugalbot, was arrested and
detained at the Liloan Police Station, Metro Cebu for an alleged violation of R.A. 7610, the
Special Protection of Children Against Child abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.[3] The
following day, or on September 8, 1997, a Complaint for violation of R.A. 7610 was filed against
petitioner and Jugalbot before the 7th Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Liloan, Metro Cebu by
one Joan Gicaraya for and in behalf of her daughter Gayle[4] The complaint, insofar as pertinent,
reads as follows:

That on the 7th day of September 1997 at Sitio Bonbon, Brgy. Catarman, Liloan, Metro Cebu,
Philippines and within the Preliminary Jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, did then and there, willfully, feloniously and unlawfully, conspiring, confederating,
helping with one another, while accused JASPER AGBAY manipulating to finger the vagina of
GAYLE FATIMA AMIGABLE GICAYARA, his companion block the sight of the Private Complainant,
Mrs. JOAN A. GICAYARA, while on board a tricycle going their destinations. Upon initial
investigation of the Bgy, Captain of Bgy. Catarman, accused SHERWIN JUGALBOT was released
and accused JASPER AGBAY is presently detain Liloan Police Station Jail. Medical Certificate
issued from Don Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Cebu City is hereto attached.

On September 10, 1997, counsel for petitioner wrote the Chief of Police of Liloan demanding
the immediate release of petitioner considering that the latter had failed to deliver the
detained Jasper Agbay to the proper judicial authority within thirty-six (36) hours from
September 7, 1997.[5] Private respondents did not act on this letter and continued to detain
petitioner.[6]

On September 12, 1997, the 7th Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Liloan, Metro Cebu issued an
order, denominated as Detention During the Pendency of the Case, committing petitioner to
the jail warden of Cebu City.[7] Five (5) days later, or on September 17, 1997, petitioner was
ordered released by the said court after he had posted bond.[8]

On September 26, 1997, petitioner filed a complaint for delay in the delivery of detained
persons against herein private respondents SPO4 Nemesio Natividad, Jr., SPO2 Eleazar M.
Salomon and other unidentified police officers stationed at the Liloan Police Substation, before
the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas.[9]

Regarding the complaint for violation of R.A. 7610, it is alleged by petitioner that on November
10, 1997, the 7th MCTC of Liloan, Metro Cebu issued a resolution containing the following
dispositive portion:

WHEREFORE, finding probable cause for the crime in Violation of Republic Act 7610, it is hereby
recommended that an INFORMATION be filed against the two aforenamed accused.

Forward the record of this case to the Provincial Fiscals Office for appropriate action.[10]

By virtue of Memorandum Circular No. 14, Series of 1995, dated 10 October 1995 of the Office
of the Ombudsman,[11] the case for delay in delivery filed by petitioner against herein private
respondents before the Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas was transferred to the Deputy
Ombudsman for the Military for its proper disposition. Thus, it was this office which acted on
the complaint, now denominated as OMB-VIS-CRIM-97-0786, and which issued the questioned
Resolution dated January 19, 1998 recommending its dismissal against herein private
respondents. Petitioner moved for reconsideration of this Resolution but this motion was
denied in an Order dated April 13, 1998.

Hence, this petition for certiorari.

The grounds relied upon in the present petition[12] are as follows:

I.

THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN RELYING ON MEMORANDUM


CIRCULAR NO. 14, SERIES OF 1995, DATED 10 OCTOBER 1995, OF THE OFFICE OF THE
OMBUDSMAN IN HOLDING THAT IT HAS COMPETENCE TO ACT ON THE ABOVE-ENTITLED CASE
BEFORE IT, THE SAID CIRCULAR BEING UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND ILLEGAL, HENCE, NULL AND
VOID.

II.

THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN NOT HOLDING THAT IT IS
BEYOND ITS COMPETENCE TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT THE MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL
COURT OF LILOAN-COMPOSTELA HAS IN FACT NO JURISDICTION TO TRY THE CASE FILED
AGAINST HEREIN PETITIONER.

III.

THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE MCTC,
WHILE HAVING AUTHORITY TO CONDUCT A PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION, IS NOT THE PROPER
JUDICIAL AUTHORITY CONTEMPLATED IN ARTICLE 125 OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE AND,
HENCE, THE FILING OF THE COMPLAINT BEFORE IT FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONDUCTING A
PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION DID NOT INTERRUPT THE PERIOD PRESCRIBED BY ART. 125.

IV.

THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN HOLIDING THAT THE ISSUE OF
THE VALIDITY OF THE ORDER OF DETENTION IS IRRELEVANT TO THE ISSUE OF CRIMINAL
LIABILITY OF PRIVATE RESPONDENTS FOR DELAY IN THE DELIVERY OF DETAINED PERSONS.

V.

THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN HOLDING THAT THE DUTY OF
PRIVATE RESPONDENTS TO FILE THE NECESSARY COMPLAINT IN COURT WAS FULFILLED WHEN
THEY FILED A FORMAL COMPLAINT ON 8 SEPTEMBER 1997 WITH THE 7TH MCTC OF LILOAN-
COMPOSTELA.

On the first issue, petitioner argues that due to the civilian character of the Philippine National
Police, the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military, by virtue of the description of the
Office, has no competence or jurisdiction to act on his complaint against private respondents
who are members of the PNP. Petitioner also questions the constitutionality of Memorandum
Circular No. 14 insofar as it purports to vest the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Military
Affairs with jurisdiction to investigate all cases against personnel of the Philippine National
Police.

There is no dispute as to the civilian character of our police force. The 1987 Constitution, in
Section 6, Article XVI, has mandated the establishment of one police force, which shall be
national in scope and civilian in character (underscoring supplied). Likewise, R.A. 6975[13] is
categorical in describing the civilian character of the police force.[14] The only question now is
whether Memorandum Circular No. 14, in vesting the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the
Military with jurisdiction to investigate complaints against members of the PNP, violates the
latters civilian character.

As opined by the Office of the Solicitor General in its Comment dated 7 December 1998 [15], the
issue as to whether the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military has the authority to investigate
civilian personnel of the government was resolved in the affirmative in the case of Acop v.
Office of the Ombudsman.[16] In that case, the petitioners, who were members of the Philippine
National Police questioned the jurisdiction of the Deputy Ombudsman to investigate the
alleged shootout of certain suspected members of the Kuratong Baleleng robbery gang; this
Court held that:

The deliberations on the Deputy for the military establishment do not yield conclusive evidence
that such deputy is prohibited from performing other functions or duties affecting non-military
personnel. On the contrary, a review of the relevant Constitutional provisions reveal otherwise.

As previously established, the Ombudsman `may exercise such other powers or perform such
functions or duties as Congress may prescribe through legislation. Therefore, nothing can
prevent Congress from giving the Ombudsman supervision and control over the Ombudsmans
deputies, one being the deputy for the military establishment. In this light, Section 11 of R.A.
No. 6770 provides:

SEC. 11. Structural Organization.- The authority and responsibility for the exercise of the
mandate of the Office of the Ombudsman and for the discharge of its powers and functions
shall be vested in the Ombudsman, who shall have supervision and control of the said Office.
While Section 31 thereof declares:

SEC, 31. Designation of Investigators and Prosecutors.- The Ombudsman may utilize the
personnel of his office and/or designate or deputize any fiscal, state prosecutor to assist in the
investigation and prosecution of certain cases. Those designated or deputized to assist him
herein shall be under his supervision and control.

Accordingly, the Ombudsman may refer cases involving non-military personnel for investigation
by the Deputy for Military Affairs. In these cases at bench, therefore, no irregularity attended
the referral by the Acting Ombudsman of the Kuratong Baleleng case to respondent Casaclang
who, in turn, created a panel of investigators.[17]

The cited case is determinative of the issue. However, petitioner, in his Reply to Comment
dated February 1, 1999, argues that the ruling in the Acop case is not on all fours with the case
at bar[18].Petitioner states that the doctrine laid down in the said case is simply that the
Ombudsman may refer cases involving non-military personnel for investigation by the Deputy
for Military Affairs. This doctrine, petitioner argues, applies only to isolated or individual cases
involving non-military personnel referred by the Ombudsman to the Deputy for Military Affairs
and does not apply when, as in this case, there is a wholesale or indiscriminate referral of such
cases to the Deputy Ombudsman for Military Affairs in the form of an Office Memorandum
Circular.

Petitioners arguments do not convince as there is no basis for the distinction.

There is no basis in the above-cited decision to limit the referral of cases involving non-military
personnel to the Deputy Ombudsman for Military Affairs to isolated or individual cases.

The Office of the Ombudsman, in issuing Memorandum Circular No. 15, is simply exercising the
power vested in the Ombudsman to utilize the personnel of his office and/or designate or
deputize any fiscal, state prosecutor or lawyer in the government service to act as special
investigator or prosecutor to assist in the investigation and prosecution of certain cases. This
Court, absent any grave abuse of discretion, may not interfere with the exercise by the
Ombudsman of his power of supervision and control over the said Office.

Petitioner further argues that Memorandum Circular No. 14 violates the clear intent and policy
of the Constitution and of R.A. 6975 to maintain the civilian character of the police force and
would render nugatory and meaningless the distinction between cases involving civilian and
military personnel and the creation of separate divisions of the Ombudsman.[19]

Said contentions are misplaced.


The Deputy Ombudsman for the Military, despite his designation as such, is by no means a
member of the military establishment. The said Office was established to extend the Office of
the Ombudsman to the military establishment just as it champions the common people against
bureaucratic indifference. The Office was intended to help the ordinary foot soldiers to obtain
redress for their grievances against higher authorities and the drafters of the Constitution were
aware that the creation of the Office, which is seemingly independent of the President, to
perform functions which constitutionally should be performed by the President, might be in
derogation of the powers of the President as Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces[20]

It must be borne in mind that the Office of the Ombudsman was envisioned by the framers of
the 1987 Constitution as the eyes and ears of the people[21] and a champion of the
citizen.[22] Sec. 12, Art. XI of the 1987 Constitution describes the Ombudsman and his deputies
as protectors of the people. Thus, first and foremost, the Ombudsman and his deputies,
including the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military owe their allegiance to the people and
ordinary citizens; it is clearly not a part of the military. We fail to see how the assumption of
jurisdiction by the said office over the investigation of cases involving the PNP would detract
from or violate the civilian character of the police force when precisely the Office of the
Ombudsman is a civilian office.

The other issues raised by petitioner concerns the application of Art. 125 of the Revised Penal
Code which provides as follows:

Art. 125. Delay in the delivery of detained persons to the proper judicial authorities. - The
penalties provided in the next preceding article shall be imposed upon the public officer or
employee who shall detain any person for some legal ground and shall fail to deliver such
person to the proper judicial authorities within the period of: twelve (12) hours, for crimes or
offenses punishable by light penalties, or their equivalent; eighteen (18) hours, for crimes or
offenses punishable by correctional penalties, or their equivalent; and thirty-six hours (36)
hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by afflictive or capital penalties, or their equivalent.

In every case, the person detained shall be informed of the cause of his detention and shall be
allowed, upon his request, to communicate and confer at any time with his attorney or counsel.

In the case at bar, petitioner was arrested and detained at the Liloan Police Station on 7
September 1997 for an alleged violation of R.A. 7610, specifically section 5(b) thereof[23]. This
crime carries a penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua, an
afflictive penalty. Under these circumstances, a criminal complaint or information should be
filed with the proper judicial authorities within thirty six (36) hours of his arrest.
As borne by the records before us the mother of private complainant, Joan Gicaraya, filed a
complaint on 8 September 1997 against petitioner for violation of R.A. 7610 before the 7th
Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Liloan, Metro Cebu.

Petitioner contends that the act of private complainant in filing the complaint before the MCTC
was for purposes of preliminary investigation as the MCTC has no jurisdiction to try the
offense. This act of private complainant petitioner argues, was unnecessary, a surplusage which
did not interrupt the period prescribed by Art. 125[24] considering that under the Rules it is the
Regional Trial Court which has jurisdiction to try the case against him. As such, upon the lapse
of the thirty-six hours given to the arresting officers to effect his delivery to the proper Regional
Trial Court, private respondents were already guilty of violating Art. 125. Thus, petitioner
argues, when the Judge-Designate of the 7th MCTC issued a Commitment Order on September
12, 1997, he was acting contrary to law since by then there was no basis for the continued
detention of petitioner.[25]

In addressing the issue, the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military in its 13 April
1998 Order, stated that the duty of filing the corresponding complaint in court was fulfilled by
respondent when the formal complaint was filed on September 8, 1997 with the 7th MCTC of
Liloan-Compostela, barely 20 hours after the arrest of herein complainant of September 7,
1997.[26] The Solicitor General, for his part, argues that while a municipal court judge may
conduct preliminary investigations as an exception to his normal judicial duties, he still retains
the authority to issue an order of release or commitment. As such, upon the filing of the
complaint with the MCTC, there was already compliance with the very purpose and intent of
Art. 125[27]

The core issue is whether the filing of the complaint with the Municipal Trial Court constitutes
delivery to a proper judicial authority as contemplated by Art. 125 of the Revised Penal Code.

Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code is intended to prevent any abuse resulting from confining
a person without informing him of his offense and without permitting him to go on
bail[28]. More specifically, it punishes public officials or employees who shall detain any person
for some legal ground and shall fail to deliver such person to the proper judicial authorities
within the periods prescribed by law. The continued detention of the accused becomes illegal
upon the expiration of the periods provided for by Art. 125 without such detainee having been
delivered to the corresponding judicial authorities[29]

The words judicial authority as contemplated by Art. 125 mean the courts of justices or judges
of said courts vested with judicial power to order the temporary detention or confinement of a
person charged with having committed a public offense, that is, the Supreme Court and other
such inferior courts as may be established by law.[30]
Petitioner takes great pains in arguing that when a municipal trial court judge, as in the instant
case, conducts a preliminary investigation, he is not acting as a judge but as a fiscal. In support,
petitioner cites the cases of Sangguniang Bayan ng Batac, Ilocos Norte vs. Albano, 260 SCRA
561, and Castillo vs. Villaluz, 171 SCRA 39, where it was held that when a preliminary
investigation is conducted by a judge, he performs a non-judicial function as an exception to his
usual duties. Thus, petitioner opines, the ruling in Sayo v. Chief of Police of Manila, 80 Phil. 862,
that the city fiscal is not the proper judicial authority referred to in Art. 125 is applicable.

Petitioners reliance on the cited cases is misplaced. The cited cases of Sangguniang
Bayan and Castillo dealt with the issue of whether or not the findings of the Municipal Court
Judge in a preliminary investigation are subject to review by provincial and city fiscals. There
was no pronouncement in these cases as to whether or not a municipal trial court, in the
exercise of its power to conduct preliminary investigations, is a proper judicial authority as
contemplated by Art. 125.

Neither can petitioner rely on the doctrine enunciated in Sayo vs. Chief of Police, supra, since
the facts of this case are different. In Sayo, the complaint was filed with the city fiscal of
Manila who could not issue an order of release or commitment while in the instant case, the
complaint was filed with a judge who had the power to issue such an order. Furthermore, in the
Resolution denying the Motion for Reconsideration of the Sayo case[31], this Court even made a
pronouncement that the delivery of a detained person is a legal one and consists in making a
charge or filing a complaint against the prisoner with the proper justice of the peace or judge of
Court of First Instance in provinces, and in filing by the city fiscal of an information with the
corresponding city courts after an investigation if the evidence against said person warrants.

The power to order the release or confinement of an accused is determinative of the issue. In
contrast with a city fiscal, it is undisputed that a municipal court judge, even in the performance
of his function to conduct preliminary investigations, retains the power to issue an order of
release or commitment[32]. Furthermore, upon the filing of the complaint with the Municipal
Trial Court, the intent behind Art. 125 is satisfied considering that by such act, the detained
person is informed of the crime imputed against him and, upon his application with the court,
he may be released on bail[33]. Petitioner himself acknowledged this power of the MCTC to
order his release when he applied for and was granted his release upon posting bail[34]. Thus,
the very purpose underlying Article 125 has been duly served with the filing of the complaint
with the MCTC. We agree with the position of the Ombudsman that such filing of the complaint
with the MCTC interrupted the period prescribed in said Article.

Finally, we note that it was the mother of private complainant who filed the complaint against
petitioner with the 7th MCTC of Liloan, Metro Cebu. If there was any error in this procedure,
private respondents should not be held liable. In the same manner, petitioners argument that
the controversial orders issued by the MCTC are contrary to law does not give rise to criminal
liability on the part of the respondents. Respondent police officers may have rendered
themselves open to sanctions if they had released petitioners without the order of the court,
knowing fully well that a complaint was already filed with it.

WHEREFORE, finding no grave abuse of discretion in the issuance of the assailed January 19,
1998 Resolution and the April 13, 1998 Order of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the
Military, the Court resolves to DISMISS the petition. No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-2128 May 12, 1948

MELENCIO SAYO and JOAQUIN MOSTERO, petitioners,


vs.
THE CHIEF OF POLICE and THE OFFICER IN CHARGE OF MUNICIPAL JAIL, BOTH OF CITY OF
MANILA,respondents.

Enrique Q. Jabile for petitioners.


Acting City Fiscal A. P. Montesa, Assistant City Fiscal Arsenio Nañawa and D. Guinto Lazaro for
respondents.

FERIA, J.:

Upon complaint of Bernardino Malinao, charging the petitioners with having committed the
crime of robbery, Benjamin Dumlao, a policeman of the City of Manila, arrested the petitioners
on April 2, 1948, and presented a complaint against them with the fiscal's office of Manila. Until
April 7, 1948, when the petition for habeas corpus filed with this Court was heard, the
petitioners were still detained or under arrest, and the city fiscal had not yet released or filed
against them an information with the proper courts justice.

This case has not been decided before this time because there was not a sufficient number of
Justices to form a quorum in Manila, And it had to be transferred to the Supreme Court acting
in division here in Baguio for deliberation and decision. We have not until now an official
information as to the action taken by the office of the city fiscal on the complaint filed by the
Dumlao against the petitioners. But whatever night have been the action taken by said office, if
there was any, we have to decide this case in order to lay down a ruling on the question
involved herein for the information and guidance in the future of the officers concerned.
The principal question to be determined in the present case in order to decide whether or not
the petitioners are being illegally restrained of their liberty, is the following: Is the city fiscal of
manila a judicial authority within the meaning of the provisions of article 125 of the Revised
Penal Code?

Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code provides that "the penalties provided in the next
proceeding article shall be imposed upon the public officer or employee who shall detain any
person for some legal ground and shall fail to deliver such person to the proper judicial
authorities within the period of six hours."

Taking into consideration the history of the provisions of the above quoted article, the precept
of our Constitution guaranteeing individual liberty, and the provisions of Rules of Court
regarding arrest and habeas corpus, we are of the opinion that the words "judicial authority", as
used in said article, mean the courts of justices or judges of said courts vested with judicial
power to order the temporary detention or confinement of a person charged with having
committed a public offense, that is, "the Supreme Court and such inferior courts as may be
established by law". (Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution.)

Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code was substantially taken from article 202 of the old Penal
Code formerly in force of these Islands, which penalized a public officer other than a judicial
officer who, without warrant, "shall arrest a person upon a charge of crime and shall fail to
deliver such person to the judicial authority within twenty four hours after his arrest." There
was no doubt that a judicial authority therein referred to was the judge of a court of justice
empowered by law, after a proper investigation, to order the temporary commitment or
detention of the person arrested; and not the city fiscals or any other officers, who are not
authorized by law to do so. Because article 204, which complements said section 202, of the
same Code provided that "the penalty of suspension in its minimum and medium degrees shall
be imposed upon the following persons: 1. Any judicial officer who, within the period
prescribed by the provisions of the law of criminal procedure in force, shall fail to release any
prisoner under arrest or to commit such prisoner formally by written order containing a
statement of the grounds upon which the same is based."

Although the above quoted provision of article 204 of the old Penal Code has not been
incorporated in the Revised Penal Code the import of said words judicial authority or officer can
not be construed as having been modified by the mere omission of said provision in the Revised
Penal Code.

Besides, section 1 (3), Article III, of our Constitution provides that "the right of the people to be
secure in their persons...against unreasonable seizure shall not be violated, and no warrant [of
arrest, detention or confinement] shall issue but upon probable cause, to be determined by
the judge after the examination under oath or affirmation of the complaint and the witness he
may produce." Under this constitutional precept no person may be deprived of his liberty,
except by warrant of arrest or commitment issued upon probable cause by a judge after
examination of the complainant and his witness. And the judicial authority to whom the person
arrested by a public officers must be surrendered can not be any other but court or judge who
alone is authorized to issue a warrant of commitment or provisional detention of the person
arrested pending the trial of the case against the latter. Without such warrant of commitment,
the detention of the person arrested for than six hours would be illegal and in violation of our
Constitution.

Our conclusion is confirmed by section 17, Rule 109 of the Rules of court, which, referring to
the duty of an officer after arrest without warrant, provides that "a person making arrest for
legal ground shall, without unnecessary delay, and within the time prescribed in the Revised
Penal Code, take the person arrested to the proper court or judge for such action for they may
deem proper to take;" and by section 11 of Rule 108, which reads that "after the arrest by the
defendant and his delivery to the Court, he shall be informed of the complaint or information
filed against him. He shall also informed of the substance of the testimony and evidence
presented against him, and, if he desires to testify or to present witnesses or evidence in his
favor, he may be allowed to do so. The testimony of the witnesses need not be reduced to
writing but that of the defendant shall be taken in writing and subscribed by him.

And it is further corroborated by the provisions of section 1 and 4, Rule 102 of the Rules of
Court. According to the provision of said section, "a writ of habeas corpus shall extend any
person to all cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any person is illegally deprived
of his liberty"; and "if it appears that the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the
custody of an officer under process issued by a court or judge, or by virtue of a judgement or
order of a court of record, and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the process,
render judgment, or make the order, the writ shall not be allowed. "Which a contrario
sensu means that, otherwise, the writ shall be allowed and the person detained shall be
released.

The judicial authority mentioned in section 125 of the Revised Penal Code can not be construed
to include the fiscal of the City of Manila or any other city, because they cannot issue a warrant
of arrest or of commitment or temporary confinement of a person surrendered to legalize the
detention of a person arrested without warrant. (Section 7, Rule 108; Hashim vs. Boncan, 40
Off. Gaz. 13th Supp., p.13; Lino vs. Fugoso, L-1159, promulgated on January 30, 1947, 43 Off.
Gaz., 1214). The investigation which the city of fiscal of Manila makes is not the preliminary
investigation proper provided for in section 11, Rule 108, above quoted, to which all person
charged with offenses cognizable by the Court of First Instance in provinces are entitled, but it
is a mere investigation made by the city fiscal for the purpose of filing the corresponding
information against the defendant with the proper municipal court or Court of First Instance of
Manila if the result of the investigation so warrants, in order to obtain or secure from the court
a warrant of arrest of the defendant. It is provided by a law as a substitute, in a certain sense, of
the preliminary investigation proper to avoid or prevent a hasty or malicious prosecution, since
defendant charged with offenses triable by the courts in the City of Manila are not entitled to a
proper preliminary investigation.

The only executive officers authorized by law to make a proper preliminary investigation in case
of temporary absence of both the justice of the peace and the auxiliary justice of the peace
from the municipality, town or place, are the municipal mayors who are empowered in such
case to issue a warrant of arrest of the caused. (Section 3, Rule 108, in connection with section
6, Rule 108, and section 2 of Rule 109.) The preliminary investigation which a city fiscal may
conduct under section 2, Rule 108, is the investigation referred to in the proceeding paragraph.

Under the law, a complaint charging a person with the commission of an offense cognizable by
the courts of Manila is not filed with municipal court or the Court of First Instance of Manila,
because as above stated, the latter do not make or conduct a preliminary investigation proper.
The complaint must be made or filed with the city fiscal of Manila who, personally or through
one of his assistants, makes the investigation, not for the purpose of ordering the arrest of the
accused, but of filing with the proper court the necessary information against the accused if the
result of the investigation so warrants, and obtaining from the court a warrant of arrest or
commitment of the accused.

When a person is arrested without warrant in cases permitted bylaw, the officer or person
making the arrest should, as abovestated, without unnecessary delay take or surrender the
person arrested, within the period of time prescribed in the Revised Penal Code, to the court or
judge having jurisdiction to try or make a preliminary investigation of the offense (section 17,
Rule 109); and the court or judge shall try and decide the case if the court has original
jurisdiction over the offense charged, or make the preliminary investigation if it is a justice of
the peace court having no original jurisdiction, and then transfer the case to the proper Court of
First Instance in accordance with the provisions of section 13, Rule 108.

In the City of Manila, where complaints are not filed directly with the municipal court or the
Court of First Instance, the officer or person making the arrest without warrant shall surrender
or take the person arrested to the city fiscal, and the latter shall make the investigation above
mentioned and file, if proper, the corresponding information within the time prescribed by
section 125 of the Revised Penal Code, so that the court may issue a warrant of commitment
for the temporary detention of the accused. And the city fiscal or his assistants shall make the
investigation forthwith, unless it is materially impossible for them to do so, because the
testimony of the person or officer making the arrest without warrant is in such cases ready and
available, and shall, immediately after the investigation, either release the person arrested or
file the corresponding information. If the city fiscal has any doubt as to the probability of the
defendant having committed the offense charged, or is not ready to file the information on the
strength of the testimony or evidence presented, he should release and not detain the person
arrested for a longer period than that prescribed in the Penal Code, without prejudice to
making or continuing the investigation and filing afterwards the proper information against him
with the court, in order to obtain or secure a warrant of his arrest. Of course, for the purpose of
determining the criminal liability of an officer detaining a person for more than six hours
prescribed by the Revised Penal Code, the means of communication as well as the hour of
arrested and other circumstances, such as the time of surrender and the material possibility for
the fiscal to make the investigation and file in time the necessary information, must be taken
into consideration.

To consider the city fiscal as the judicial authority referred to in article 125 of the Revised Penal
Code, would be to authorize the detention of a person arrested without warrant for a period
longer than that permitted by law without any process issued by a court of competent
jurisdiction. The city fiscal, may not, after due investigation, find sufficient ground for filing an
information or prosecuting the person arrested and release him, after the latter had been
illegally detained for days or weeks without any process issued by a court or judge.

A peace officer has no power or authority to arrest a person without a warrant upon complaint
of the offended party or any other person, except in those cases expressly authorized by law.
What he or the complainant may do in such case is to file a complaint with the city fiscal of
Manila, or directly with the justice of the peace courts in municipalities and other political
subdivisions. If the City Fiscal has no authority, and he has not, to order the arrest even if he
finds, after due investigation, that there is a probability that a crime has been committed and
the accused is guilty thereof, a fortiori a police officer has no authority to arrest and detain a
person charged with an offense upon complaint of the offended party or other persons even
though, after investigation, he becomes convinced that the accused is guilty of the offense
charged.

In view of all the foregoing, without making any pronouncement as to the responsibility of the
officers who intervened in the detention of the petitioners, for the policeman Dumlao may
have acted in good faith, in the absence of a clear cut ruling on the matter in believing that he
had complied with the mandate of article 125 by delivering the petitioners within six hours to
the office of the city fiscal, and the latter might have ignored the fact that the petitioners were
being actually detained when the said policeman filed a complaint against them with the city
fiscal, we hold that the petitioners are being illegally restrained of their liberty, and their
release is hereby ordered unless they are now detained by virtue of a process issued by a
competent court of justice. So ordered.

.R. No. L-14639 March 25, 1919

ZACARIAS VILLAVICENCIO, ET AL., petitioners,


vs.
JUSTO LUKBAN, ET AL., respondents.

Alfonso Mendoza for petitioners.


City Fiscal Diaz for respondents.

MALCOLM, J.:

The annals of juridical history fail to reveal a case quite as remarkable as the one which this
application for habeas corpus submits for decision. While hardly to be expected to be met with
in this modern epoch of triumphant democracy, yet, after all, the cause presents no great
difficulty if there is kept in the forefront of our minds the basic principles of popular
government, and if we give expression to the paramount purpose for which the courts, as an
independent power of such a government, were constituted. The primary question is — Shall
the judiciary permit a government of the men instead of a government of laws to be set up in
the Philippine Islands?

Omitting much extraneous matter, of no moment to these proceedings, but which might prove
profitable reading for other departments of the government, the facts are these: The Mayor of
the city of Manila, Justo Lukban, for the best of all reasons, to exterminate vice, ordered the
segregated district for women of ill repute, which had been permitted for a number of years in
the city of Manila, closed. Between October 16 and October 25, 1918, the women were kept
confined to their houses in the district by the police. Presumably, during this period, the city
authorities quietly perfected arrangements with the Bureau of Labor for sending the women to
Davao, Mindanao, as laborers; with some government office for the use of the coastguard
cutters Corregidor and Negros, and with the Constabulary for a guard of soldiers. At any rate,
about midnight of October 25, the police, acting pursuant to orders from the chief of police,
Anton Hohmann and the Mayor of the city of Manila, Justo Lukban, descended upon the
houses, hustled some 170 inmates into patrol wagons, and placed them aboard the steamers
that awaited their arrival. The women were given no opportunity to collect their belongings,
and apparently were under the impression that they were being taken to a police station for an
investigation. They had no knowledge that they were destined for a life in Mindanao. They had
not been asked if they wished to depart from that region and had neither directly nor indirectly
given their consent to the deportation. The involuntary guests were received on board the
steamers by a representative of the Bureau of Labor and a detachment of Constabulary
soldiers. The two steamers with their unwilling passengers sailed for Davao during the night of
October 25.

The vessels reached their destination at Davao on October 29. The women were landed and
receipted for as laborers by Francisco Sales, provincial governor of Davao, and by Feliciano
Yñigo and Rafael Castillo. The governor and the hacendero Yñigo, who appear as parties in the
case, had no previous notification that the women were prostitutes who had been expelled
from the city of Manila. The further happenings to these women and the serious charges
growing out of alleged ill-treatment are of public interest, but are not essential to the
disposition of this case. Suffice it to say, generally, that some of the women married, others
assumed more or less clandestine relations with men, others went to work in different
capacities, others assumed a life unknown and disappeared, and a goodly portion found means
to return to Manila.

To turn back in our narrative, just about the time the Corregidor and the Negros were putting in
to Davao, the attorney for the relatives and friends of a considerable number of the deportees
presented an application for habeas corpus to a member of the Supreme Court. Subsequently,
the application, through stipulation of the parties, was made to include all of the women who
were sent away from Manila to Davao and, as the same questions concerned them all, the
application will be considered as including them. The application set forth the salient facts,
which need not be repeated, and alleged that the women were illegally restrained of their
liberty by Justo Lukban, Mayor of the city of Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the city
of Manila, and by certain unknown parties. The writ was made returnable before the full court.
The city fiscal appeared for the respondents, Lukban and Hohmann, admitted certain facts
relative to sequestration and deportation, and prayed that the writ should not be granted
because the petitioners were not proper parties, because the action should have been begun in
the Court of First Instance for Davao, Department of Mindanao and Sulu, because the
respondents did not have any of the women under their custody or control, and because their
jurisdiction did not extend beyond the boundaries of the city of Manila. According to an exhibit
attached to the answer of the fiscal, the 170 women were destined to be laborers, at good
salaries, on the haciendas of Yñigo and Governor Sales. In open court, the fiscal admitted, in
answer to question of a member of the court, that these women had been sent out of Manila
without their consent. The court awarded the writ, in an order of November 4, that directed
Justo Lukban, Mayor of the city of Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the city of Manila,
Francisco Sales, governor of the province of Davao, and Feliciano Yñigo, an hacenderoof Davao,
to bring before the court the persons therein named, alleged to be deprived of their liberty, on
December 2, 1918.
Before the date mentioned, seven of the women had returned to Manila at their own expense.
On motion of counsel for petitioners, their testimony was taken before the clerk of the
Supreme Court sitting as commissioners. On the day named in the order, December 2nd, 1918,
none of the persons in whose behalf the writ was issued were produced in court by the
respondents. It has been shown that three of those who had been able to come back to Manila
through their own efforts, were notified by the police and the secret service to appear before
the court. The fiscal appeared, repeated the facts more comprehensively, reiterated the stand
taken by him when pleading to the original petition copied a telegram from the Mayor of the
city of Manila to the provincial governor of Davao and the answer thereto, and telegrams that
had passed between the Director of Labor and the attorney for that Bureau then in Davao, and
offered certain affidavits showing that the women were contained with their life in Mindanao
and did not wish to return to Manila. Respondents Sales answered alleging that it was not
possible to fulfill the order of the Supreme Court because the women had never been under his
control, because they were at liberty in the Province of Davao, and because they had married
or signed contracts as laborers. Respondent Yñigo answered alleging that he did not have any
of the women under his control and that therefore it was impossible for him to obey the
mandate. The court, after due deliberation, on December 10, 1918, promulgated a second
order, which related that the respondents had not complied with the original order to the
satisfaction of the court nor explained their failure to do so, and therefore directed that those
of the women not in Manila be brought before the court by respondents Lukban, Hohmann,
Sales, and Yñigo on January 13, 1919, unless the women should, in written statements
voluntarily made before the judge of first instance of Davao or the clerk of that court, renounce
the right, or unless the respondents should demonstrate some other legal motives that made
compliance impossible. It was further stated that the question of whether the respondents
were in contempt of court would later be decided and the reasons for the order announced in
the final decision.

Before January 13, 1919, further testimony including that of a number of the women, of certain
detectives and policemen, and of the provincial governor of Davao, was taken before the clerk
of the Supreme Court sitting as commissioner and the clerk of the Court of First Instance of
Davao acting in the same capacity. On January 13, 1919, the respondents technically presented
before the Court the women who had returned to the city through their own efforts and eight
others who had been brought to Manila by the respondents. Attorneys for the respondents, by
their returns, once again recounted the facts and further endeavored to account for all of the
persons involved in the habeas corpus. In substance, it was stated that the respondents,
through their representatives and agents, had succeeded in bringing from Davao with their
consent eight women; that eighty-one women were found in Davao who, on notice that if they
desired they could return to Manila, transportation fee, renounced the right through sworn
statements; that fifty-nine had already returned to Manila by other means, and that despite all
efforts to find them twenty-six could not be located. Both counsel for petitioners and the city
fiscal were permitted to submit memoranda. The first formally asked the court to find Justo
Lukban, Mayor of the city of Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the city of Manila, Jose
Rodriguez and Fernando Ordax, members of the police force of the city of Manila, Feliciano
Yñigo, an hacendero of Davao, Modesto Joaquin, the attorney for the Bureau of Labor, and
Anacleto Diaz, fiscal of the city of Manila, in contempt of court. The city fiscal requested that
the replica al memorandum de los recurridos, (reply to respondents' memorandum) dated
January 25, 1919, be struck from the record.

In the second order, the court promised to give the reasons for granting the writ of habeas
corpus in the final decision. We will now proceed to do so.

One fact, and one fact only, need be recalled — these one hundred and seventy women were
isolated from society, and then at night, without their consent and without any opportunity to
consult with friends or to defend their rights, were forcibly hustled on board steamers for
transportation to regions unknown. Despite the feeble attempt to prove that the women left
voluntarily and gladly, that such was not the case is shown by the mere fact that the presence
of the police and the constabulary was deemed necessary and that these officers of the law
chose the shades of night to cloak their secret and stealthy acts. Indeed, this is a fact impossible
to refute and practically admitted by the respondents.

With this situation, a court would next expect to resolve the question — By authority of what
law did the Mayor and the Chief of Police presume to act in deporting by duress these persons
from Manila to another distant locality within the Philippine Islands? We turn to the statutes
and we find —

Alien prostitutes can be expelled from the Philippine Islands in conformity with an Act of
congress. The Governor-General can order the eviction of undesirable aliens after a hearing
from the Islands. Act No. 519 of the Philippine Commission and section 733 of the Revised
Ordinances of the city of Manila provide for the conviction and punishment by a court of justice
of any person who is a common prostitute. Act No. 899 authorizes the return of any citizen of
the United States, who may have been convicted of vagrancy, to the homeland. New York and
other States have statutes providing for the commitment to the House of Refuge of women
convicted of being common prostitutes. Always a law! Even when the health authorities compel
vaccination, or establish a quarantine, or place a leprous person in the Culion leper colony, it is
done pursuant to some law or order. But one can search in vain for any law, order, or
regulation, which even hints at the right of the Mayor of the city of Manila or the chief of police
of that city to force citizens of the Philippine Islands — and these women despite their being in
a sense lepers of society are nevertheless not chattels but Philippine citizens protected by the
same constitutional guaranties as are other citizens — to change their domicile from Manila to
another locality. On the contrary, Philippine penal law specifically punishes any public officer
who, not being expressly authorized by law or regulation, compels any person to change his
residence.

In other countries, as in Spain and Japan, the privilege of domicile is deemed so important as to
be found in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution. Under the American constitutional system,
liberty of abode is a principle so deeply imbedded in jurisprudence and considered so
elementary in nature as not even to require a constitutional sanction. Even the Governor-
General of the Philippine Islands, even the President of the United States, who has often been
said to exercise more power than any king or potentate, has no such arbitrary prerogative,
either inherent or express. Much less, therefore, has the executive of a municipality, who acts
within a sphere of delegated powers. If the mayor and the chief of police could, at their mere
behest or even for the most praiseworthy of motives, render the liberty of the citizen so
insecure, then the presidents and chiefs of police of one thousand other municipalities of the
Philippines have the same privilege. If these officials can take to themselves such power, then
any other official can do the same. And if any official can exercise the power, then all persons
would have just as much right to do so. And if a prostitute could be sent against her wishes and
under no law from one locality to another within the country, then officialdom can hold the
same club over the head of any citizen.

Law defines power. Centuries ago Magna Charta decreed that — "No freeman shall be taken, or
imprisoned, or be disseized of his freehold, or liberties, or free customs, or be outlawed, or
exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will we pass upon him nor condemn him, but by lawful
judgment of his peers or by the law of the land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or
defer to any man either justice or right." (Magna Charta, 9 Hen., 111, 1225, Cap. 29; 1 eng. stat.
at Large, 7.) No official, no matter how high, is above the law. The courts are the forum which
functionate to safeguard individual liberty and to punish official transgressors. "The law," said
Justice Miller, delivering the opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States, "is the only
supreme power in our system of government, and every man who by accepting office
participates in its functions is only the more strongly bound to submit to that supremacy, and to
observe the limitations which it imposes upon the exercise of the authority which it gives."
(U.S. vs. Lee [1882], 106 U.S., 196, 220.) "The very idea," said Justice Matthews of the same high
tribunal in another case, "that one man may be compelled to hold his life, or the means of
living, or any material right essential to the enjoyment of life, at the mere will of another,
seems to be intolerable in any country where freedom prevails, as being the essence of slavery
itself." (Yick Wo vs. Hopkins [1886], 118 U.S., 356, 370.) All this explains the motive in issuing
the writ of habeas corpus, and makes clear why we said in the very beginning that the primary
question was whether the courts should permit a government of men or a government of laws
to be established in the Philippine Islands.
What are the remedies of the unhappy victims of official oppression? The remedies of the
citizen are three: (1) Civil action; (2) criminal action, and (3) habeas corpus.

The first is an optional but rather slow process by which the aggrieved party may recoup money
damages. It may still rest with the parties in interest to pursue such an action, but it was never
intended effectively and promptly to meet any such situation as that now before us.

As to criminal responsibility, it is true that the Penal Code in force in these Islands provides:

Any public officer not thereunto authorized by law or by regulations of a general character in
force in the Philippines who shall banish any person to a place more than two hundred
kilometers distant from his domicile, except it be by virtue of the judgment of a court, shall be
punished by a fine of not less than three hundred and twenty-five and not more than three
thousand two hundred and fifty pesetas.

Any public officer not thereunto expressly authorized by law or by regulation of a general
character in force in the Philippines who shall compel any person to change his domicile or
residence shall suffer the penalty of destierro and a fine of not less than six hundred and
twenty-five and not more than six thousand two hundred and fifty pesetas. (Art. 211.)

We entertain no doubt but that, if, after due investigation, the proper prosecuting officers find
that any public officer has violated this provision of law, these prosecutors will institute and
press a criminal prosecution just as vigorously as they have defended the same official in this
action. Nevertheless, that the act may be a crime and that the persons guilty thereof can be
proceeded against, is no bar to the instant proceedings. To quote the words of Judge Cooley in
a case which will later be referred to — "It would be a monstrous anomaly in the law if to an
application by one unlawfully confined, ta be restored to his liberty, it could be a sufficient
answer that the confinement was a crime, and therefore might be continued indefinitely until
the guilty party was tried and punished therefor by the slow process of criminal procedure." (In
the matter of Jackson [1867], 15 Mich., 416, 434.) The writ of habeas corpus was devised and
exists as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint, and as the
best and only sufficient defense of personal freedom. Any further rights of the parties are left
untouched by decision on the writ, whose principal purpose is to set the individual at liberty.

Granted that habeas corpus is the proper remedy, respondents have raised three specific
objections to its issuance in this instance. The fiscal has argued (l) that there is a defect in
parties petitioners, (2) that the Supreme Court should not a assume jurisdiction, and (3) that
the person in question are not restrained of their liberty by respondents. It was finally
suggested that the jurisdiction of the Mayor and the chief of police of the city of Manila only
extends to the city limits and that perforce they could not bring the women from Davao.
The first defense was not presented with any vigor by counsel. The petitioners were relatives
and friends of the deportees. The way the expulsion was conducted by the city officials made it
impossible for the women to sign a petition for habeas corpus. It was consequently proper for
the writ to be submitted by persons in their behalf. (Code of Criminal Procedure, sec. 78; Code
of Civil Procedure, sec. 527.) The law, in its zealous regard for personal liberty, even makes it
the duty of a court or judge to grant a writ of habeas corpus if there is evidence that within the
court's jurisdiction a person is unjustly imprisoned or restrained of his liberty, though no
application be made therefor. (Code of Criminal Procedure, sec. 93.) Petitioners had standing in
court.

The fiscal next contended that the writ should have been asked for in the Court of First Instance
of Davao or should have been made returnable before that court. It is a general rule of good
practice that, to avoid unnecessary expense and inconvenience, petitions for habeas
corpus should be presented to the nearest judge of the court of first instance. But this is not a
hard and fast rule. The writ of habeas corpus may be granted by the Supreme Court or any
judge thereof enforcible anywhere in the Philippine Islands. (Code of Criminal Procedure, sec.
79; Code of Civil Procedure, sec. 526.) Whether the writ shall be made returnable before the
Supreme Court or before an inferior court rests in the discretion of the Supreme Court and is
dependent on the particular circumstances. In this instance it was not shown that the Court of
First Instance of Davao was in session, or that the women had any means by which to advance
their plea before that court. On the other hand, it was shown that the petitioners with their
attorneys, and the two original respondents with their attorney, were in Manila; it was shown
that the case involved parties situated in different parts of the Islands; it was shown that the
women might still be imprisoned or restrained of their liberty; and it was shown that if the writ
was to accomplish its purpose, it must be taken cognizance of and decided immediately by the
appellate court. The failure of the superior court to consider the application and then to grant
the writ would have amounted to a denial of the benefits of the writ.

The last argument of the fiscal is more plausible and more difficult to meet. When the writ was
prayed for, says counsel, the parties in whose behalf it was asked were under no restraint; the
women, it is claimed, were free in Davao, and the jurisdiction of the mayor and the chief of
police did not extend beyond the city limits. At first blush, this is a tenable position. On closer
examination, acceptance of such dictum is found to be perversive of the first principles of the
writ of habeas corpus.

A prime specification of an application for a writ of habeas corpus is restraint of liberty. The
essential object and purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into all manner of
involuntary restraint as distinguished from voluntary, and to relieve a person therefrom if such
restraint is illegal. Any restraint which will preclude freedom of action is sufficient. The forcible
taking of these women from Manila by officials of that city, who handed them over to other
parties, who deposited them in a distant region, deprived these women of freedom of
locomotion just as effectively as if they had been imprisoned. Placed in Davao without either
money or personal belongings, they were prevented from exercising the liberty of going when
and where they pleased. The restraint of liberty which began in Manila continued until the
aggrieved parties were returned to Manila and released or until they freely and truly waived his
right.

Consider for a moment what an agreement with such a defense would mean. The chief
executive of any municipality in the Philippines could forcibly and illegally take a private citizen
and place him beyond the boundaries of the municipality, and then, when called upon to
defend his official action, could calmly fold his hands and claim that the person was under no
restraint and that he, the official, had no jurisdiction over this other municipality. We believe
the true principle should be that, if the respondent is within the jurisdiction of the court and
has it in his power to obey the order of the court and thus to undo the wrong that he has
inflicted, he should be compelled to do so. Even if the party to whom the writ is addressed has
illegally parted with the custody of a person before the application for the writ is no reason why
the writ should not issue. If the mayor and the chief of police, acting under no authority of law,
could deport these women from the city of Manila to Davao, the same officials must necessarily
have the same means to return them from Davao to Manila. The respondents, within the reach
of process, may not be permitted to restrain a fellow citizen of her liberty by forcing her to
change her domicile and to avow the act with impunity in the courts, while the person who has
lost her birthright of liberty has no effective recourse. The great writ of liberty may not thus be
easily evaded.

It must be that some such question has heretofore been presented to the courts for decision.
Nevertheless, strange as it may seem, a close examination of the authorities fails to reveal any
analogous case. Certain decisions of respectable courts are however very persuasive in nature.

A question came before the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan at an early date as to
whether or not a writ of habeas corpus would issue from the Supreme Court to a person within
the jurisdiction of the State to bring into the State a minor child under guardianship in the
State, who has been and continues to be detained in another State. The membership of the
Michigan Supreme Court at this time was notable. It was composed of Martin, chief justice, and
Cooley, Campbell, and Christiancy, justices. On the question presented the court was equally
divided. Campbell, J., with whom concurred Martin, C. J., held that the writ should be quashed.
Cooley, J., one of the most distinguished American judges and law-writers, with whom
concurred Christiancy, J., held that the writ should issue. Since the opinion of Justice Campbell
was predicated to a large extent on his conception of the English decisions, and since, as will
hereafter appear, the English courts have taken a contrary view, only the following eloquent
passages from the opinion of Justice Cooley are quoted:

I have not yet seen sufficient reason to doubt the power of this court to issue the present writ
on the petition which was laid before us. . . .

It would be strange indeed if, at this late day, after the eulogiums of six centuries and a half
have been expended upon the Magna Charta, and rivers of blood shed for its establishment;
after its many confirmations, until Coke could declare in his speech on the petition of right that
"Magna Charta was such a fellow that he will have no sovereign," and after the extension of its
benefits and securities by the petition of right, bill of rights and habeas corpus acts, it should
now be discovered that evasion of that great clause for the protection of personal liberty,
which is the life and soul of the whole instrument, is so easy as is claimed here. If it is so, it is
important that it be determined without delay, that the legislature may apply the proper
remedy, as I can not doubt they would, on the subject being brought to their notice. . . .

The second proposition — that the statutory provisions are confined to the case of
imprisonment within the state — seems to me to be based upon a misconception as to the
source of our jurisdiction. It was never the case in England that the court of king's bench
derived its jurisdiction to issue and enforce this writ from the statute. Statutes were not passed
to give the right, but to compel the observance of rights which existed. . . .

The important fact to be observed in regard to the mode of procedure upon this writ is, that it
is directed to and served upon, not the person confined, but his jailor. It does not reach the
former except through the latter. The officer or person who serves it does not unbar the prison
doors, and set the prisoner free, but the court relieves him by compelling the oppressor to
release his constraint. The whole force of the writ is spent upon the respondent, and if he fails
to obey it, the means to be resorted to for the purposes of compulsion are fine and
imprisonment. This is the ordinary mode of affording relief, and if any other means are resorted
to, they are only auxiliary to those which are usual. The place of confinement is, therefore, not
important to the relief, if the guilty party is within reach of process, so that by the power of the
court he can be compelled to release his grasp. The difficulty of affording redress is not
increased by the confinement being beyond the limits of the state, except as greater distance
may affect it. The important question is, where the power of control exercised? And I am aware
of no other remedy. (In the matter of Jackson [1867], 15 Mich., 416.)

The opinion of Judge Cooley has since been accepted as authoritative by other courts.
(Rivers vs. Mitchell [1881], 57 Iowa, 193; Breene vs. People [1911], Colo., 117 Pac. Rep.,
1000; Ex parte Young [1892], 50 Fed., 526.)
The English courts have given careful consideration to the subject. Thus, a child had been taken
out of English by the respondent. A writ of habeas corpus was issued by the Queen's Bench
Division upon the application of the mother and her husband directing the defendant to
produce the child. The judge at chambers gave defendant until a certain date to produce the
child, but he did not do so. His return stated that the child before the issuance of the writ had
been handed over by him to another; that it was no longer in his custody or control, and that it
was impossible for him to obey the writ. He was found in contempt of court. On appeal, the
court, through Lord Esher, M. R., said:

A writ of habeas corpus was ordered to issue, and was issued on January 22. That writ
commanded the defendant to have the body of the child before a judge in chambers at the
Royal Courts of Justice immediately after the receipt of the writ, together with the cause of her
being taken and detained. That is a command to bring the child before the judge and must be
obeyed, unless some lawful reason can be shown to excuse the nonproduction of the child. If it
could be shown that by reason of his having lawfully parted with the possession of the child
before the issuing of the writ, the defendant had no longer power to produce the child, that
might be an answer; but in the absence of any lawful reason he is bound to produce the child,
and, if he does not, he is in contempt of the Court for not obeying the writ without lawful
excuse. Many efforts have been made in argument to shift the question of contempt to some
anterior period for the purpose of showing that what was done at some time prior to the writ
cannot be a contempt. But the question is not as to what was done before the issue of the writ.
The question is whether there has been a contempt in disobeying the writ it was issued by not
producing the child in obedience to its commands. (The Queen vs. Bernardo [1889], 23 Q. B. D.,
305. See also to the same effect the Irish case of In re Matthews, 12 Ir. Com. Law Rep. [N. S.],
233; The Queen vs. Barnardo, Gossage's Case [1890], 24 Q. B. D., 283.)

A decision coming from the Federal Courts is also of interest. A habeas corpus was directed to
the defendant to have before the circuit court of the District of Columbia three colored
persons, with the cause of their detention. Davis, in his return to the writ, stated on oath that
he had purchased the negroes as slaves in the city of Washington; that, as he believed, they
were removed beyond the District of Columbia before the service of the writ of habeas corpus,
and that they were then beyond his control and out of his custody. The evidence tended to
show that Davis had removed the negroes because he suspected they would apply for a writ
of habeas corpus. The court held the return to be evasive and insufficient, and that Davis was
bound to produce the negroes, and Davis being present in court, and refusing to produce them,
ordered that he be committed to the custody of the marshall until he should produce the
negroes, or be otherwise discharged in due course of law. The court afterwards ordered that
Davis be released upon the production of two of the negroes, for one of the negroes had run
away and been lodged in jail in Maryland. Davis produced the two negroes on the last day of
the term. (United States vs. Davis [1839], 5 Cranch C.C., 622, Fed. Cas. No. 14926. See also
Robb vs. Connolly [1883], 111 U.S., 624; Church on Habeas, 2nd ed., p. 170.)

We find, therefore, both on reason and authority, that no one of the defense offered by the
respondents constituted a legitimate bar to the granting of the writ of habeas corpus.

There remains to be considered whether the respondent complied with the two orders of the
Supreme Court awarding the writ of habeas corpus, and if it be found that they did not,
whether the contempt should be punished or be taken as purged.

The first order, it will be recalled, directed Justo Lukban, Anton Hohmann, Francisco Sales, and
Feliciano Yñigo to present the persons named in the writ before the court on December 2,
1918. The order was dated November 4, 1918. The respondents were thus given ample time,
practically one month, to comply with the writ. As far as the record discloses, the Mayor of the
city of Manila waited until the 21st of November before sending a telegram to the provincial
governor of Davao. According to the response of the attorney for the Bureau of Labor to the
telegram of his chief, there were then in Davao women who desired to return to Manila, but
who should not be permitted to do so because of having contracted debts. The half-hearted
effort naturally resulted in none of the parties in question being brought before the court on
the day named.

For the respondents to have fulfilled the court's order, three optional courses were open: (1)
They could have produced the bodies of the persons according to the command of the writ; or
(2) they could have shown by affidavit that on account of sickness or infirmity those persons
could not safely be brought before the court; or (3) they could have presented affidavits to
show that the parties in question or their attorney waived the right to be present. (Code of
Criminal Procedure, sec. 87.) They did not produce the bodies of the persons in whose behalf
the writ was granted; they did not show impossibility of performance; and they did not present
writings that waived the right to be present by those interested. Instead a few stereotyped
affidavits purporting to show that the women were contended with their life in Davao, some of
which have since been repudiated by the signers, were appended to the return. That through
ordinary diligence a considerable number of the women, at least sixty, could have been brought
back to Manila is demonstrated to be found in the municipality of Davao, and that about this
number either returned at their own expense or were produced at the second hearing by the
respondents.

The court, at the time the return to its first order was made, would have been warranted
summarily in finding the respondents guilty of contempt of court, and in sending them to jail
until they obeyed the order. Their excuses for the non-production of the persons were far from
sufficient. The, authorities cited herein pertaining to somewhat similar facts all tend to indicate
with what exactitude a habeas corpus writ must be fulfilled. For example, in Gossage's case,
supra, the Magistrate in referring to an earlier decision of the Court, said: "We thought that,
having brought about that state of things by his own illegal act, he must take the consequences;
and we said that he was bound to use every effort to get the child back; that he must do much
more than write letters for the purpose; that he must advertise in America, and even if
necessary himself go after the child, and do everything that mortal man could do in the matter;
and that the court would only accept clear proof of an absolute impossibility by way of excuse."
In other words, the return did not show that every possible effort to produce the women was
made by the respondents. That the court forebore at this time to take drastic action was
because it did not wish to see presented to the public gaze the spectacle of a clash between
executive officials and the judiciary, and because it desired to give the respondents another
chance to demonstrate their good faith and to mitigate their wrong.

In response to the second order of the court, the respondents appear to have become more
zealous and to have shown a better spirit. Agents were dispatched to Mindanao, placards were
posted, the constabulary and the municipal police joined in rounding up the women, and a
steamer with free transportation to Manila was provided. While charges and counter-charges in
such a bitterly contested case are to be expected, and while a critical reading of the record
might reveal a failure of literal fulfillment with our mandate, we come to conclude that there is
a substantial compliance with it. Our finding to this effect may be influenced somewhat by our
sincere desire to see this unhappy incident finally closed. If any wrong is now being perpetrated
in Davao, it should receive an executive investigation. If any particular individual is still
restrained of her liberty, it can be made the object of separate habeas corpus proceedings.

Since the writ has already been granted, and since we find a substantial compliance with it,
nothing further in this connection remains to be done.

The attorney for the petitioners asks that we find in contempt of court Justo Lukban, Mayor of
the city of Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the city of Manila, Jose Rodriguez, and
Fernando Ordax, members of the police force of the city of Manila, Modesto Joaquin, the
attorney for the Bureau of Labor, Feliciano Yñigo, an hacendero of Davao, and Anacleto Diaz,
Fiscal of the city of Manila.

The power to punish for contempt of court should be exercised on the preservative and not on
the vindictive principle. Only occasionally should the court invoke its inherent power in order to
retain that respect without which the administration of justice must falter or fail. Nevertheless
when one is commanded to produce a certain person and does not do so, and does not offer a
valid excuse, a court must, to vindicate its authority, adjudge the respondent to be guilty of
contempt, and must order him either imprisoned or fined. An officer's failure to produce the
body of a person in obedience to a writ of habeas corpus when he has power to do so, is a
contempt committed in the face of the court. (Ex parte Sterns [1888], 77 Cal., 156; In re
Patterson [1888], 99 N. C., 407.)

With all the facts and circumstances in mind, and with judicial regard for human imperfections,
we cannot say that any of the respondents, with the possible exception of the first named, has
flatly disobeyed the court by acting in opposition to its authority. Respondents Hohmann,
Rodriguez, Ordax, and Joaquin only followed the orders of their chiefs, and while, under the law
of public officers, this does not exonerate them entirely, it is nevertheless a powerful mitigating
circumstance. The hacendero Yñigo appears to have been drawn into the case through a
misconstruction by counsel of telegraphic communications. The city fiscal, Anacleto Diaz, would
seem to have done no more than to fulfill his duty as the legal representative of the city
government. Finding him innocent of any disrespect to the court, his counter-motion to strike
from the record the memorandum of attorney for the petitioners, which brings him into this
undesirable position, must be granted. When all is said and done, as far as this record discloses,
the official who was primarily responsible for the unlawful deportation, who ordered the police
to accomplish the same, who made arrangements for the steamers and the constabulary, who
conducted the negotiations with the Bureau of Labor, and who later, as the head of the city
government, had it within his power to facilitate the return of the unfortunate women to
Manila, was Justo Lukban, the Mayor of the city of Manila. His intention to suppress the social
evil was commendable. His methods were unlawful. His regard for the writ of habeas
corpus issued by the court was only tardily and reluctantly acknowledged.

It would be possible to turn to the provisions of section 546 of the Code of Civil Procedure,
which relates to the penalty for disobeying the writ, and in pursuance thereof to require
respondent Lukban to forfeit to the parties aggrieved as much as P400 each, which would reach
to many thousands of pesos, and in addition to deal with him as for a contempt. Some
members of the court are inclined to this stern view. It would also be possible to find that since
respondent Lukban did comply substantially with the second order of the court, he has purged
his contempt of the first order. Some members of the court are inclined to this merciful view.
Between the two extremes appears to lie the correct finding. The failure of respondent Lukban
to obey the first mandate of the court tended to belittle and embarrass the administration of
justice to such an extent that his later activity may be considered only as extenuating his
conduct. A nominal fine will at once command such respect without being unduly oppressive —
such an amount is P100.

In resume — as before stated, no further action on the writ of habeas corpus is necessary. The
respondents Hohmann, Rodriguez, Ordax, Joaquin, Yñigo, and Diaz are found not to be in
contempt of court. Respondent Lukban is found in contempt of court and shall pay into the
office of the clerk of the Supreme Court within five days the sum of one hundred pesos (P100).
The motion of the fiscal of the city of Manila to strike from the record the Replica al
Memorandum de los Recurridos of January 25, 1919, is granted. Costs shall be taxed against
respondents. So ordered.

In concluding this tedious and disagreeable task, may we not be permitted to express the hope
that this decision may serve to bulwark the fortifications of an orderly government of laws and
to protect individual liberty from illegal encroachment.

Arellano, C.J., Avanceña and Moir, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 141176 May 27, 2004

ELI LUI and LEO ROJAS, petitioners,


vs.
SPOUSES EULOGIO and PAULINA MATILLANO, respondents.

DECISION

CALLEJO, SR., J.:

This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV
No. 44768 which reversed and set aside the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Bansalan,
Davao del Sur, Branch 21.2

The Antecedents

Sometime in September 1987, then seventeen-year-old Elenito Lariosa visited his aunt, his
father’s older sister, Paulina Lariosa Matillano, at Lily Street, Poblacion Bansalan, Davao del Sur.
On May 2, 1988, Lariosawas employed as a laborer at the Davao United Products Enterprise
store, with a monthly salary of ₱800.00. The store was owned by Leong Shiu Ben and King Kiao
and was located at the corner of Monteverde and Gempesaw Streets, Davao City. Lariosa was
tasked to close the store during lunchtime and after store hours in the afternoon. Ben himself
opened the store in the mornings and after lunchtime. Adjacent to the said store was another
store owned by Kiao’s son, Eli Lui, who also happened to be Ben’s nephew. Aside from Lariosa,
Ben and Kiao employed Maximo Pagsa and Rene Malang.

Lariosa chose to live in the house of Kiao. Lariosa fed the dogs of his employer every morning
before going to work and in the afternoon, in exchange for free meals and lodging. There were
occasions when Lariosa stayed in the house of Pagsa and Malang and left some of his things
with them. Lariosa deposited his savings with the Mindanao Savings Bank in Bansalan.
On October 17, 1988, Lariosa was taken ill and was permitted to take the day off. He went to
the house of his aunt, Paulina Matillano, and her husband Eulogio Matillano in Bansalan City,
where he rested until the next day, October 18, 1988. Lariosa reported for work the day after,
or on October 19, 1988, but Kiao told him that his employment was terminated. Lariosa was not
paid his salary for the month of October. Kiao warned Lariosa not to report the matter to the
Department of Labor. Lariosa decided to return to Bansalan without retrieving his things from
Kiao’s house.

On October 27, 1988, Lariosa returned to Davao City and was able to collect his backwages
from Ben in the amount of ₱500.00. Lariosa withdrew his savings from the Mindanao Savings
Bank in Bansalan City and on November 1, 1988, applied for a job at his cousin’s place, at
Quimpo Boulevard, Davao City. He bought a radio cassette for ₱2,500.00 and a pair of Rayban
sunglasses for ₱900.00.

On November 3, 1988, Lariosa went to the house of his fiancee, Nancy, at New Matina, Davao
City, but returned to Bansalan on the same day. On November 4, 1988, he returned to Nancy’s
house and stayed there until the next day, November 5, 1988.

That day, Ben informed his nephew, Eli Lui, that he had lost ₱45,000.00 in cash at the store. Ben
reported the matter to NBI Senior Agent Ruperto Galvez, and forthwith executed an affidavit
wherein he alleged that after Lariosa’s employment was terminated on October 19, 1988, he
discovered that he had lost ₱45,000.00 in cash. He suspected that Lariosa was the culprit
because the latter, as a former employee, had a duplicate key to the side door of the United
Products Enterprise Store.

At 9:00 a.m. on November 6, 1988, a Sunday, Lariosa went to the house of Pagsa and Malang to
retrieve his things. The two invited Lariosa to go with them to the beach, and when Lariosa
agreed, they borrowed Lui’s Ford Fierra for their transportation. The vehicle stopped at the
Almendras Hall where Pagsa alighted on the pretext that he was going to buy fish. Lariosa,
Rene, and his wife remained in the Fierra. Pagsa contacted Lui and informed the latter that
Lariosa was with him.

After about an hour, Lui arrived on board a vehicle. With him were Pagsa and two others, Alan
Mendoza and Henry Tan. Lui told Lariosa that he wanted to talk, and asked the latter to go with
him. Pagsa urged Lariosa to go along with Lui. Lariosa agreed and boarded Lui’s vehicle. The car
stopped in front of Lui’s house, where the latter alighted and went inside, while his companions
and Lariosa remained in the car. When Lui returned, he was armed with a 9 mm. caliber gun
and poked Lariosa with the weapon. He warned Lariosa not to run, otherwise, he would be
killed. The group went to Ben’s house to get the keys to the store. Ben joined them as they
drove towards the store.
Lui mauled Lariosa and tried to force the latter to admit that he had stolen Ben’s money.
Lariosa refused to do so. Lui then brought Lariosa to the comfort room of the store and pushed
his face into the toilet bowl, in an attempt to force him into confessing to the crime. Lariosa still
refused to admit to anything. Lui then made a telephone call to the Metrodiscom (PNP) based
in Davao City.

Sgt. Alberto Genise of the Metrodiscom (PNP) issued Mission Order No. MRF-A-004-88 dated
November 6, 1988, directing Pat. Leo Rojas "to follow up a theft case committed in Davao City
from 12:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m." Rojas was directed to coordinate with the nearest PNP
headquarters and/or stations. He was authorized to carry his firearm for the mission. He then
left the police station on board a police car and proceeded to the corner of Magsaysay and
Gempesaw Streets.

In the meantime, a police car arrived at the store with two policemen on board. One of them
handcuffed Lariosa at gunpoint and ordered him to open the store with the use of the keys. As
Lariosa opened the lock as ordered, one of Lui’s companions took his picture. Another picture
was taken as Lariosa held the door knob to open the door. Lariosa was then boarded in the
police car and brought to the corner of Magsaysay and Gemphesaw Streets where he was
transferred to the police car driven by Rojas. He was brought to the Metrodiscom
headquarters. Lui once more mauled Lariosa, still trying to force the latter to confess that he
stole ₱45,000.00 from his uncle and to reveal what he did with the money. When a policeman
asked him where he slept the night before, Lariosa replied that he spent the night in the house
of his girlfriend’s parents at New Matina, Davao City. The policemen brought Lariosa there,
where they asked Nancy if Lariosa had left anything while he slept thereat. Nancy replied that
Lariosa had left a radio cassette and a pair of sunglasses. The policemen took these and brought
Lariosa back to the Metrodiscom headquarters where Lui and his two companions were
waiting.

Lui asked Lariosa where he stayed when he went to Bansalan, and Lariosa replied that he used
to stay in the house of his aunt and uncle, the Spouses Matillano, in Lily Street, Poblacion
Bansalan. Rojas and Lui then brought Lariosa, with his hands still handcuffed, to a car. Lui’s
companions, Alan Mendoza and Henry Tan boarded another car and proceeded to the
Matillano residence.

Without prior coordination with the Bansalan PNP, Rojas, who was in civilian clothes, Lui, Tan
and Mendoza arrived at the house of the Spouses Matillano at about 3:00 p.m, with the
handcuffed Lariosa in tow. With handguns drawn, they kicked the door to the kitchen and
gained entry into the house. They then proceeded to the sala where they found Lariosa’s aunt,
Paulina Matillano. In the adjacent room were Julieta, Lariosa’s sister, Paulina’s daughter-in-law,
Virginia, the latter’s sister, Erlinda, and a seven-month-old baby. Paulina was shocked. Rojas
told Paulina, "Mrs., we are authorities. We are here to get something." Paulina remonstrated,
"Why are you meddling (manghilabot)?"

Lui poked his gun at Paulina and warned her not to talk anymore because something might
happen. He then said, "All right, where is your aparador because we are getting something."
Paulina told Lui to wait for her husband Eulogio. Lui ignored her protest and told her that they
were in a hurry. Paulina was then impelled to bring Lui and his two companions, Mendoza and
Tan, to the second floor where her aparador was located. Rojas and the handcuffed Lariosa
remained in the sala. Lui and his two companions then took two mats and two pairs of ladies’
shoes belonging to Paulina and Eulogio, two pairs of pants, leather shoes, two t-shirts and two
polo shirts which belonged to the latter’s children. They also ordered Paulina to open a chest
and when she did, Lui and his companions took her old Bulova wristwatch, necklace, ring and
old coins. Lui and his two companions then went down to the ground floor. When Julieta went
out of the room, one of Lui’s companions recognized her as Lariosa’s sister. Lui and his
companions brought her along with them as they left the house.

Paulina was so unnerved by the incident. Her vision blurred, her stomach ached and she was on
the verge of losing consciousness. Concerned, Erlinda massaged Paulina’s stomach. However,
Erlinda had to leave because she was worried about her mother. Paulina then went to the
kitchen, prepared hot water and put a soothing ointment on her stomach to relieve the pain.

In the meantime, Lui and his companions proceeded to the Bansalan Police Station and caused
an entry in the police blotter at 3:20 p.m. that he had recovered the following items from the
Matillano residence -- one pair of colored blue pants valued at ₱89.00; one floor mat costing
₱290.00; a pair of black ladies’ shoes worth ₱126.00; and another pair of ladies’ shoes worth
₱69.00.

At 4:30 p.m., Paulina reported to the barangay captain that persons identifying themselves as
policemen had gained entry into their house and took the following: two polo shirts; two t-
shirts; two pairs of pants; two floor mats; two pairs of ladies shoes; one Bulova wristwatch; one
necklace; one ring; and old coins.3

At 7:35 p.m., Eulogio Matillano made an entry in the Bansalan police blotter that earlier that
day, at 4:00 p.m., Rojas took the following from his house: two polo shirts; two t-shirts; 2 pairs
of pants; two floor mats; two pairs of ladies’ shoes; 1 Bulova wristwatch; 1 necklace; one ring;
and, old coins, without his and his wife’s consent and without a search warrant. 4 In the
meantime, Doroteo Barawan, officer-in-charge of the Office of the Barangay Captain, filed a
complaint against Kim Kiao, et al., based on the complaint of Paulina, docketed as Barangay
Case No. 168.5
On November 8, 1988, Lariosa executed an uncounselled confession where he stated that he
stole ₱40,000.00 on October 15, 1988 from the Davao United Products, and that he used part
of the money to buy appliances, a Sony cassette tape-recorder, two pairs of ladies’ shoes, a
Seiko wristwatch, two pairs of maong pants, Rayban sunglasses and floor mats.6

On November 16, 1988, an Information was filed in the Regional Trial Court of Davao City,
charging Lariosa with robbery with force upon things. The case was docketed as Criminal Case
No. 17,136,88.7 The trial court rendered judgment on June 14, 1989, acquitting Lariosa of the
crime charged on reasonable doubt. The trial court held that Lui procured Lariosa’s confession
through force and intimidation, in connivance with police authorities.8 The trial court, likewise,
found that Lui had an ulterior motive for charging Lariosa of robbery:

What would have been the possible motive of complainant in putting the burden of this
charged against the accused despite want of any appreciable evidence, can be gathered in the
record, as indicating the fear of complainant, that the accused will file a complaint against him
in the Department of Labor for illegally dismissing him in his employment, without any
sufficient legal grounds and basis. This unfounded complaint was intended to support
complainant’s ground against any possible complaint, the accused might file against him with
the Department of Labor by way of anticipation.9

On motion of Lariosa, the trial court ordered the return of the following exhibits:

Accordingly and conformably with the judgment of this court dated June 14, 1989, one Eulogio
Matillano, accused’s uncle, is hereby allowed to get or to retrieve exhibits "H," "I," "J," "K," "L,"
and "M," consisting of Sony Cassette with serial no. W3658; Rayban sunglasses; two (2) bundles
of floor mat; two (2) pairs of pants; two (2) pairs of ladies’ shoes; and Seiko Actus wristwatch. 10

Meanwhile, Paulina Matillano filed a criminal complaint for robbery against Lui, Peter Doe, John
Doe and Alan Mendoza. An Information was, thereafter, filed against them in the Municipal
Circuit Trial Court of Bansalan, Davao del Sur, and the case was docketed as Criminal Case No.
880-B. On December 13, 1988, the court issued a warrant for the arrest of the accused therein.
Upon reinvestigation, however, the Provincial Prosecutor issued a Resolution dated March 31,
1989, recommending that the case be dismissed for insufficiency of evidence, but that the
charges be forwarded to the Judge Advocate General’s Office for possible administrative
sanctions against Rojas.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, it is respectfully recommended that the complaint


against the respondents Eli Lui be dismissed for insufficiency of evidence. Considering that Pat.
Leo Rojas is a member of the Integrated National Police, this office is without jurisdiction to
entertain the complaint against him pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1850. Therefore, let
the complaint against Pat. Leo Rojas, together with its annexes, including a copy of the
resolution of the undersigned, be forwarded to the Judge Advocate General’s Office at Camp
Catitipan, Davao City, for whatever action it may take.11

The complaint was docketed as Administrative Case No. 92-0020. The National Police
Commission, thereafter, rendered a decision exonerating Rojas of administrative liability for the
complainant’s failure to substantiate the charges.12 The Commission held that Rojas was merely
complying with the mission order issued to him when he accompanied Lui and the latter’s two
companions to the Matillano residence.

In a Resolution dated August 25, 1989, then Secretary of Justice Silvestre H. Bello III dismissed
the petition for review of the Provincial Prosecutor’s resolution filed by Paulina Matillano. The
Secretary of Justice, likewise, denied a motion for reconsideration thereon.

In a parallel development, Lariosa’s parents, as well as Paulina Matillano, filed a complaint for
robbery, violation of domicile, unlawful arrest and/or arbitrary detention against Leo Rojas, Eli
Lui, et al., with the Commission of Human Rights docketed as CHR Case No. RFO No. 88-0207-
DS. In a Resolution dated December 4, 1989, the Regional Office of the Commission
recommended, thus:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, we are recommending that there is sufficient prima


facie evidence:

1. to indict Eli Lui for unlawful arrest as defined under Art. 369 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended; and

2. to indict both Eli Lui and Pat. Leo Rojas liable for Violation of Domicile, as defined under Art.
128 of the same code.13

The Proceedings in the Trial Court

On January 11, 1990, the spouses Eulogio and Paulina Matillano filed a civil complaint for
damages in the Regional Trial Court of Davao del Sur against Eli Lui, Leo Rojas, Alan Mendoza
and Henry Tan. The case was docketed as Civil Case No. G-XXI-47(90). The plaintiffs therein
alleged the following:

3. That plaintiffs are merchants by occupation and have been residing in Bansalan, Davao del
Sur, for several years now. They are law-abiding and peaceful citizens in the community;

4. That at about 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon of November 6, 1988, while plaintiff husband was
away from his residential house at Lily St., Bansalan, Davao del Sur, and plaintiff wife was there
tending the house, defendants, without any lawful search warrant, arrived and thru
intimidation succeeded in searching the house owned by the plaintiff after which they brought
with them two floor mats, two pairs of ladies shoes, two pairs of pants, two polo shirts, two T-
shirts, one Relova wrist watch, one necklace (sinubong), one ring (sinubong) and several old
coins, without the consent of the plaintiffs and without even giving any receipt for the items
taken;

5. That the defendants allegedly wanted to recover the items taken by one Elinito Lariosa but
defendants thru the use of naked power and brute force, illegally searched the house of the
herein plaintiffs in gross violation of plaintiffs’ constitutional rights;

6. That what defendants did in conspiring and confederating to illegally search the house of
plaintiffs and then taking with them the items mentioned above without even the benefit of
any receipt is not only violative of Article 19 in relation to Article 21 of the Civil Code but also of
Article 32 of the Civil Code;

7. That because of what defendants did, plaintiffs suffered mental anguishes, wounded feelings,
deprivation of the properties taken, besmirched reputation, and fright for which reason
defendants should be made to jointly and severally pay moral damages in the amount of
₱500,000.00;

8. That in order to deter others similarly bent and minded and by way of example or correction
for the public good, defendants should be made to pay jointly and severally exemplary damages
in the amount of ₱300,000.00;

9. That in the protection of their rights, plaintiffs engaged the services of counsel for an agreed
attorney’s fees equivalent to 25% of the total award plus per diem of ₱1,000.00 per court
appearance;

10. That plaintiffs are bound to incur litigation expenses in an amount not less than
₱10,000.00;14

They prayed that, after due proceedings, judgment be rendered in their favor, viz:

WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed that after hearing judgment issue ordering the
defendants to jointly and severally pay plaintiffs:

1. P500,000.00 as moral damages;

2. P300,000.00 as exemplary damages;

3. Litigation expenses of ₱10,000.00;

4. Attorney’s fees equivalent to 25% of the total award;


5. Per diems to be proved during the trial of this case.

Plaintiffs pray for other reliefs consistent with equity.15

In their Answer to the complaint, the defendants therein alleged, inter alia, that they did not
conduct a search in the house of the plaintiffs and that plaintiff Paulina Matillano allowed them
to enter the house and even brought out pairs of pants. They added that the other items were
brought out by Lariosa’s sister and that they took only one (1) floor mat, two (2) pairs of ladies’
shoes, and one (1) pair of blue pants.16

The defendants adduced evidence that plaintiff Paulina Matillano allowed them to enter their
house, and with Lariosa’s sister, voluntarily turned over the items declared in the complaint.
They testified that no violence, threats or intimidation were even committed by them against
Paulina Matillano. Defendant Rojas further testified that he was merely complying with the
Mission Order issued to him when he entered the house of the plaintiffs in the company of the
other defendants, and that he remained in the ground floor while the other defendants
retrieved the goods from plaintiff Matillano in the second floor of the house.

On August 18, 1993, the RTC rendered judgment, ordering the dismissal of the complaint for
plaintiffs’ failure to prove their claims. The trial court also dismissed the defendants’
counterclaims. The trial court gave credence to the collective testimonies of the defendants,
that plaintiff Paulina Matillano voluntarily allowed them to enter her house, and that the latter
voluntarily turned over the subject items to them. The trial court took into account the findings
of the Provincial Prosecutor, the Secretary of Justice, the National Police Commission, as well as
the order of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Bansalan, dismissing Criminal Case No. 880-B.

The Case on Appeal

The decision of the trial court was elevated to the Court of Appeals where the appellants
contended, thus:

1. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT APPELLANT PAULINA MATILLANO VOLUNTARILY
ALLOWED APPELLEES TO ENTER THE HOUSE BECAUSE OF THE PRESENCE OF HER NEPHEW
ELINITO LARIOSA WHO WAS HANDCUFFED;

2. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT MRS. PAULINA MATILLANO WAS THE ONE WHO
REPORTED THE MATTER TO THE BANSALAN POLICE STATION.

3. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT DESPITE CLEAR PREPONDERANCE
OF EVIDENCE AGAINST THE DEFENDANTS – APPELLEES.17
On April 22, 1999, the Court of Appeals rendered judgment reversing the decision of the RTC.
The decretal portion of the decision reads:

IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the decision appealed from is hereby REVERSED and SET
ASIDE and a new one entered ordering defendants-appellees jointly and severally:

1. To pay plaintiffs-appellants the amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos (₱50,000.00) as moral


damages and Fifteen Thousand Pesos (₱15,000.00) as exemplary damages; and

2. Ten Thousand Pesos (₱10,000.00), as attorney’s fees; and

3. To pay the costs.

SO ORDERED.18

The appellate court denied the appellees’ motion for reconsideration of the said decision. The
appellees Mendoza and Tan no longer appealed the decision.

Petitioners Eli Lui and Leo Rojas now assail the decision of the Court of Appeals contending
that:

I. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS DISREGARDED THE TIME-HONORED DOCTRINE LAID


DOWN BY THIS HONORABLE COURT THAT FINDINGS OF TRIAL COURT ARE BINDING AND
CONCLUSIVE AND DESERVE A HIGH DEGREE OF RESPECT, WHEN IT SET ASIDE THE FINDINGS OF
FACTS AND ASSESSMENT OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT THAT TRIED THE CASE;

II. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRONEOUSLY CONCLUDED THAT AN ILLEGAL SEARCH
WAS CONDUCTED IN MRS. MATILLANO’S RESIDENCE, IN DISREGARD OF THE EXCULPATORY
FINDINGS OF THE TRIAL COURT THAT MRS. MATILLANO HAD VOLUNTARILY ALLOWED
PETITIONERS ENTRY INTO HER HOUSE.19

The Issues

The issues in this case may be synthesized, thus: (a) whether or not respondent Paulina
Matillano consented to the petitioners’ entry into her house, as well as to the taking of the
clothes, shoes and pieces of jewelry owned by her and her family; (b) whether or not the
petitioners are liable for damages to the respondents; and, (c) if so, the extent of the
petitioners’ liability to the respondents.

Considering that the assignments of errors are interrelated, this Court shall delve into and
resolve them simultaneously.

The Court’s Ruling


The petition has no merit.

Admittedly, the issues in the case at bar are factual. Under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, only
questions of law may be raised in this Court in a petition for review on certiorari. However, the
rule admits of some exceptions, such as a case where the findings of facts of the trial court are
substantially different from those of the appellate court, and the resolution of such issues are
determinative of the outcome of the petition.20

The petitioners aver that the Court of Appeals committed a reversible error in discarding the
factual findings of the trial court. Contrary to the disquisitions of the appellate court, the
petitioners assert that the inconsistencies between the testimonies of Rojas and Lui are
peripheral. Lui did not conduct any search in the second floor of the respondent’s house and
even if he did so, respondent Paulina Matillano waived her right against unreasonable search
when she allowed the petitioners to enter. According to the petitioners, the respondents failed
to prove that they forced their way into the house of the respondents, and that the facts and
circumstances which the appellate court found the trial court to have overlooked are not, in
fact, substantial enough to warrant a reversal of the factual findings of the court a quo.
According to the petitioners, the appellate court failed to discern that the action filed by the
respondents with the trial court was merely a leverage to the charge of robbery against Lariosa,
the respondents’ nephew.

On the other hand, the Court of Appeals gave credence and full probative weight to the
evidence of the respondents. It stated in its decision that the trial court erred in giving credence
and probative weight to the testimonies of the petitioners (the appellants therein). Moreover,
the appellate court found that the trial court had overlooked facts and circumstances of
substance, which, if considered, would have altered the court’s decision. The appellate court
gave weight to the findings of the trial court in Criminal Case No. 17,136,88.21

We agree with the Court of Appeals.

The evidence of the respondents show that the petitioners, Tan and Mendoza, guns drawn and
with the handcuffed Lariosa in tow, kicked the kitchen door and barged into the house of the
respondents. They proceeded to the sala where respondent Paulina Matillano was. Over her
vehement protests, and because of petitioner Lui’s warning that she might be harmed,
respondent Paulina Matillano was forced to accompany the petitioner and his cohorts to the
second floor of their house. The foregoing was testified to by respondent Paulina Matillano,
thus:

ATTY. SUARIO:

Q Mrs. Matillano, do you know the person of Eli Lui?


A I know him.

Q Why do you know Eli Lui?

A Because he is from Bansalan.

Q On November 6, 1988, where were you, Mrs. Matillano?

A I was in our house.

Q At about 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon of November 6, 1988, did you notice any unusual
incident that took place in your house?

A There was.

Q What incident was that, Mrs. Matillano?

A There were five (5) persons who suddenly went inside our house.

Q Where did they enter?

A They entered through the kitchen.

Q Now, where were you when they entered suddenly in your house?

A I was in our sala.

Q Now, what did you do when you saw these five (5) persons entered (sic) your house?

A I was afraid.

Q Aside from fear, what did you do?

A One of them suddenly said, "Mrs., we are authorities."

ATTY. TAN:

Not responsive to the question, Your Honor.

ATTY. SUARIO:

She is responding the question because my question is, "Aside from fear, what did you do?" and
according to this witness, she was not able to do anything because one of those who
entered…(not continued)

COURT:
I think the answer is not responsive. Just reform the question.

ATTY. SUARIO:

Q What did these persons do when they entered your house?

A One of them said, "Mrs., we are authorities. We are here to get something from your house."

Q Do you know who this person was, this person who was talking that they were persons in
authority?

A That person when he first went to our house, I do not know him yet, but I know (sic) him later
to be Leo Rojas.

Q Why do you know him later to be Leo Rojas?

A When the case was already being tried, he introduced himself as Leo Rojas.

Q What was Leo Rojas wearing at that time?

A He was in civilian clothes.

Q Aside from Leo Rojas, who were the other persons who entered your house?

A Aside from the two (2) persons whom I do not know, my nephew was also with them in the
name of Elinito Lariosa.

Q Who else, Mrs. Matillano?

A Eli Lui.

ATTY. SUARIO:

At least, may we ask, Your Honor, that the word "manghilabot" be incorporated.

COURT:

So, the word is "interfering" or "meddling." You record the word "manghilabot."

ATTY. SUARIO:

Q When you said "manghilabot," what do you mean, Mrs. Matillano?

A Yes, because they said that they are taking some of our things and I said why are they doing
that (manghilabot)?
Q When you said those remarks, what else happened?

A It was Eli Lui who answered, "Mrs., do not answer anymore because something might
happen." (Basig madisgrasya).

ATTY. SUARIO:

"Madisgrasya," Your Honor, is more than something.

ATTY. SUARIO:

Q When you heard those words from Eli Lui, what else transpired?

A He said, "All right, where is your aparador because we are getting something." And I even told
him that we should wait for my husband but they did not agree because they said they are in a
hurry.

Q And after that, what else happened?

A I accompanied him upstairs.

Q You accompanied him upstairs, who are you referring to that you accompanied upstairs.

A Eli Lui and his other two (2) companions.

Q These two (2) companions whom you said you do not know their names?

A Yes, sir.22

ATTY. TAN:

Q Now, you said on November 6, 1988, five (5) men suddenly entered your house. When you
said suddenly, will you please describe how did they enter the house?

A They passed through the kitchen and suddenly appeared inside the house.

Q You mean to say that they did not knock at the door?

A They did not.

Q Who first entered the house among the five (5)?

A What I first saw was that they immediately converged in the sala and whom I recognized was
Eli Lui and my nephew who was in handcuffs.
Q Was your door opened at that time?

A It was closed but it was not locked. It can be kicked open.

Q But you can open it without kicking the door?

A Yes, sir.

Q Now, you said that you were afraid, why were you afraid?

A Why would you not be afraid when they were armed?

Q Who were armed among the five (5)?

A All of them except the one who was in handcuffs.

Q You are very sure of that?

A I am very sure.23

Respondent Paulina Matillano, likewise, testified that petitioner Lui and his cohorts took her
personal things, and those of her family’s, from the second floor of the house:

Q Now, while you and Eli Lui with two (2) other companions were upstairs, what happened
upstairs?

A Upon reaching upstairs, they immediately rolled the two (2) floor mats, the pair of leather
shoes, 2 pairs of pants, two (2) polo-shirts. They also let me open the chest and when it was
already open they rummaged through it and they got my old Bulova watch, my necklace, my
ring and a coinsita, old gold coins.

Q When you said "coinsita," what is "coinsita"?

A Old coins.

Q After taking all of these things, what else happened?

A They went downstairs.24

Q Now, you mentioned in this affidavit that several properties were taken from your house, do
you confirm that there were two (2) polo-shirts that were taken?

A Yes.
Q And there were also two (2) floor mats?

A Yes, that is true.

Q One (1) Bulova wristwatch?

A Yes.

Q One (1) necklace?

A Yes.

Q Two (2) pairs of lady (sic) shoes?

A Yes.

Q Two (2) pairs of pants?

A Yes.

Q One (1) ring?

A Yes.

Q Who owns these two (2) pairs of lady’s (sic) shoes?

A That was mine.

Q What were the color of the shoes?

A Black and dirty white (referring to the color of the rostrum).

Q Where did you buy that shoes?

A In Davao City.

Q What store in Davao City?

A NCCC.

Q What particular date when you bought that shoes?

A I think it was in the month of November.

Q 1988?

A 1988.
Q And who owns these two (2) polo-shirts?

A My children.

Q What are the names of your children?

A Allan and Danilo.

Q Where is Allan residing?

A During the incident, Allan was still schooling in Tacloban.

Q So, you mean to say, on November 6, 1988, he was no longer residing in Bansalan?

A No more.

Q How about Danilo, where was he residing in November 6, 1988?

A He was living in Sta. Cruz.

Q He has a family of his own at Sta. Cruz?

A He was still single then.

Q But he was residing in Sta. Cruz?

A Yes.

Q How about these two (2) pairs of pants, who owns these pants?

A My children also.

Q You are referring to Allan and Danilo?

A No, because I still have so many children.

Q So, who owns these two (2) pants?

A Also my children, Eulogio, Jr. and Allan.

Q Now, Eulogio, Jr. where is (sic) he residing on November 6, 1988?

A In our house.

Q How about these two (2) t-shirts?

A Also owned by my children.


Q Are you referring to Allan and Danilo?

A They used to wear that.

Q How come that Allan has a polo-shirt in your house when you said he was then residing in
Tacloban?

ATTY. SUARIO:

May we manifest, Your Honor, that he was schooling in Tacloban.

COURT:

All right.

A They used to have a vacation during December and March and usually they left some of their
clothes inside our aparador.

Q These polo shirts were still new?

A Already used.

Q How about the pants?

A The other one is already used and the other one is new.

Q How about the floor mats?

A That is mine.

Q Now, you claimed that these clothes were taken from the cabinet or aparador, is that
correct?

A Yes, that is true.

Q Inside your aparador, how many pieces of clothes were stored therein?

A Many.

Q Could you say one (1) dozen?

A It cannot be counted.

Q Could you say three (3) dozens?

A It is really full of dress.


Q Would you say it is more than three (3) dozens?

A More.

Q And these more than three (3) dozens consists of polo shirts, t-shirts and pants?

A Yes.

Q And inspite (sic) the fact that there were more than three (3) dozens of clothes, pants, polo
shirts and t-shirts only these two (2) pants, two (2) polo shirts and two (2) t-shirts w ere taken?

A Only those things because they only selected the ones which were still usable the good ones.

Q Now, you mentioned also in your affidavit that the group also searched your trunk?

A I was ordered to open the trunk.

Q Who particularly ordered you to open the trunk?

A Eli Lui.25

The respondents immediately reported the matter to the Office of the Barangay Captain 26 and
filed a complaint against petitioner Lui and his cohorts.27

The petitioners’ claim that respondent Paulina Matillano allowed them and their cohorts inside
the house and voluntarily gave their personal belongings is belied by the unshaken testimony of
respondent Paulina Matillano, corroborated by Erlinda Clarin.

The petitioners’ attempt to project themselves to have acted with civility and courtesy to
respondent Paulina Matillano is implausible, taking into account petitioner Lui’s state of mind
before he and petitioner Rojas and their cohorts left the Metrodiscom Headquarters in Davao
City, and proceeded to the house of the respondents in Bansalan. Before they left Davao City,
Lui sadistically mauled Lariosa with the acquiescence of the police authorities, and forced him
to give an uncounselled extrajudicial confession. This was the finding of the RTC in Criminal
Case No. 17,136,88:

Despite being mauled by Eli Lui and drowned in a toilet bowl, accused denied having anything
to do with the lost money of the complainant. Later, he was turned over to the police for
investigation and there without affording accused with his right to counsel, he was interrogated
orally and was forced to admit that out of the money he stole, he bought items which the
police later recovered at Bansalan. They also returned the accused to the complainant’s
establishment and forced to do re-enactment of the act of robbery, without accused again
afforded the right to counsel. Pictures were taken during the re-enactment while accused was
handcuffed, as shown in the pictures taken by the police.

Finally, the accused was forced to admit and sign his extrajudicial statement (Exhibit A), no
longer able to bear the pain of the mauling to him by Eli Lui, who has the temerity of
maltreating the accused even in the presence of the guards in the jail and seriously threatening
accused to admit ownership of the recovered items at Bansalan and at New Matina, SIR, Davao
City, otherwise he will be salvaged, along with the serious threatening words of accused’s
companion in the jail, that if he will refuse to sign his alleged confession, he will be salvaged as
directed by Eli Lui with the police.

Indeed, in the records, it can be deduced with sufficient basis, that Eli Lui seems to have an
open hand in the prosecution of accused. He was the one who called the police to arrest him,
even without a warrant of arrest. Before his statement was obtained, policeman relied on him
in the investigation and the filing of proper charges against accused. They rode in a car of Eli
Lui, in taking accused from the Metrodiscom to the establishment of complainant during the re-
enactment in going to Bansalan, to recover the items allegedly bought by accused out of the
money allegedly stolen; all of these incidents shows (sic) [that] the police despite justification,
that they do not have enough facilities (sic), [had] gone astray in conducting an impartial
investigation, by submitting to any possible indiscretion of Eli Lui of making the scale of justice
bend in his favor, by manifesting control over the police power of investigation highly and
seriously pre-judicial to the rights, and interests of the accused.28

If petitioner Lui was so brazen as to have mauled Lariosa in the presence of police authorities,
he would not have cared a whit in barging into the respondents’ house with petitioner Rojas, a
policeman of Davao City, and his cohorts, and divesting the respondents of their belongings.
The petitioners and their cohorts wanted to insure that their caper would succeed. Hence, they
did not coordinate with the Bansalan Police Station when they went to the respondents’ house
with their intention to divest them of their belongings.

Petitioner Rojas’ reliance on Mission Order No. MRF-A-004-98 issued to him by Sergeant
Alberto Genise is misplaced. It bears stressing that the petitioner was merely tasked in the said
order to "follow up a theft case within the area of responsibility of the Metrodiscom, Davao
City." The petitioner was not authorized, under the said order, to commit or tolerate the
commission of a crime, such as violation of domicile as defined in Article 128 of the Revised
Penal Code, viz:

ART. 128. Violation of domicile— The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum period shall
be imposed upon any public officer or employee who, not being authorized by judicial order,
shall enter any dwelling against the will of the owner thereof, search papers or other effects
found therein without the previous consent of such owner, or, having surreptitiously entered
said dwelling, and being required to leave the premises, shall refuse to do so.

If the offense be committed in the nighttime, or if any papers or effects not constituting
evidence of a crime be not returned immediately after the search made by the offender, the
penalty shall be prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods.

Although petitioner Rojas did not follow petitioner Lui and his cohorts to the second floor of the
respondents’ house and himself conduct a search therein, he allowed them to search the
premises without a warrant. The petitioners and their cohorts were not authorized to conduct a
search in the house of the respondents, much less divest the latter of their personal belongings.
As a police officer, it was petitioner Rojas’ duty to prevent the commission of crimes in his
presence, and to arrest the persons committing such crimes.

The trial court rejected the testimony of respondent Paulina Matillano on the following
grounds: (a) she had known petitioner Lui for ten years as a businessman doing business in
Bansalan; (b) the occupants of the respondents’ house when the petitioners and their cohorts
arrived were all women; (c) the respondents failed to report the incident to the Bansalan police
authorities; and, (d) the provincial prosecutor’s resolution recommending the dismissal of
Criminal Case No. 880-B for robbery against the petitioners, which was sustained by the
Secretary of Justice, and the ruling of the National Police Commission exonerating petitioner
Rojas from any liability.

We find that the Court of Appeals was correct in overruling the trial court.

First. Respondent Paulina Matillano testified that petitioner Lui did not stay permanently in
Bansalan. He went there only to collect money from a certain Matura and other
businessmen.29 She also testified that there were many cases against the petitioner, one of
which was for arson. The case was dismissed, but one of her neighbors was rendered
missing.30 If the petitioner, a businessman for ten years or so, had no qualms in torturing
Lariosa under the very noses of police officers, he would, likewise, have no qualms about
intimidating respondent Paulina Matillano and divesting her of her personal belongings. It must
be stressed that petitioner Lui was in the company of petitioner Rojas, a police officer from
Davao City.

Second. The petitioners and their cohorts had no foreknowledge that the occupants of the
respondents’ house were all women. They must have believed that there were male occupants;
hence, barged into the house with drawn guns.

Third. As shown clearly in respondent Paulina Matillano’s sworn statement before the Bansalan
Police Station, she declared that the petitioners were armed with guns. They threatened her life
and, without any search warrant therefor, divested her and her family of their personal
belongings against their will.31

Fourth. In her complaint before the Office of the Barangay Captain, respondent Paulina
Matillano declared that the petitioners entered their house, that petitioner Lui pointed a gun at
her, and that the petitioners and their cohorts searched the house and carted away their
personal belongings.32 That the report made before the Barangay Captain and petitioner
Paulina Matillano’s sworn statement are not as complete as her testimony before the trial court
is understandable. Affidavits are usually taken ex parte and are almost always incomplete and
inaccurate, but they do not detract from the credibility of the witness.33 An entry in the police
blotter is usually incomplete and inaccurate for want of suggestions or inquiries, without the
aid of which the victim may be unable to recall the connected collateral circumstances
necessary for the correction of the first suggestion of his memory, and for his accurate
recollection of all that pertain to the subject.34 The same principle applies to entries in the
barangay blotter.

Fifth. As correctly held by the trial court, the findings of administrative and quasi-administrative
agencies are not binding on the courts. In the present case, the Office of the Provincial
Prosecutor, as affirmed by the Secretary of Justice,35 found no probable cause for robbery
against the petitioners because they had no intent to rob, but merely to recover the properties
from the house of the respondents which petitioner Lui perceived to have been acquired by
Lariosa with money stolen from his uncle, Ben.36 The decision of the National Police
Commission absolving petitioner Rojas of grave misconduct was anchored on its finding that
the petitioner was merely performing his duty as ordered by his superior officer. 37 It was
inevitable for the City Prosecutor to dismiss the complaint for violation of domicile filed against
petitioner Rojas in I.S. No. 91-1488 because the crime of violation of domicile was committed in
Bansalan and not in Davao City.38 In contrast, the Commission on Human Rights recommended
the indictment of petitioner Lui for unlawful arrest and of petitioner Rojas for violation of
domicile.39

Sixth. Under Articles 19 and 32, in relation to Article 21 of the New Civil Code, the dismissal of
the complaint against the petitioners by the Provincial and City Prosecutors, the Municipal Trial
Court and the National Police Commission are of no relevance to the civil complaint for
damages filed by the respondents against the petitioners. The action of the respondents against
the petitioners may still proceed despite the dismissal of the criminal and administrative
actions against them.

The petitioners’ contention that respondent Paulina Matillano waived her right against
unreasonable search and seizure deserves scant consideration. Under Article III, Section 2 of
the Constitution, "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and
effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose
shall be inviolable." This provision protects not only those who appear to be innocent but also
those who appear to be guilty, who must nevertheless be presumed innocent until the contrary
is proved.40 The general rule is that a search and seizure must be carried through or with
judicial warrant; otherwise, such a search and seizure becomes unconstitutional within the
context of the constitutional provision41 because a warrantless search is in derogation of a
constitutional right. Peace officers who effect a warrantless search cannot invoke regularity in
the performance of official functions.42

The right against unreasonable searches and seizures is a personal right which may be waived
expressly or impliedly. But a waiver by implication cannot be presumed.43 There must be clear
and convincing evidence of an actual intention to relinquish the right to constitute a waiver of a
constitutional right. There must be proof of the following: (a) that the right exists; (b) that the
person involved had knowledge, either actual or constructive, of the existence of such right;
and, (c) that the said person had an actual intention to relinquish the right.44 The waiver must
be made voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently. The Court indulges every reasonable
presumption against any waiver of fundamental constitutional rights.45 The fact that the
aggrieved person did not object to the entry into her house by the police officers does not
amount to a permission to make a search therein.46 A peaceful submission to search and
seizure is not a consent or an invitation thereto, but is merely a demonstration of regard for the
supremacy of the law.47

In this case, the petitioners failed to prove, with clear and convincing evidence, that respondent
Paulina Matillano waived her right against unreasonable search and seizure by consenting
thereto, either expressly or impliedly. Admittedly, respondent Paulina Matillano did not object
to the opening of her wooden closet and the taking of their personal properties. However, such
failure to object or resist did not amount to an implied waiver of her right against unreasonable
search and seizure. The petitioners were armed with handguns; petitioner Lui threatened and
intimidated her. Respondent Eulogio Matillano, her husband, was out of the house when the
petitioner and his cohorts conducted the search and seizure. He could, thus, not have waived
his constitutional right.

Furthermore, the petitioners’ claim that respondent Paulina Matillano voluntarily handed over
the articles to petitioner Lui is incredible. There is no evidence that there was foreknowledge on
the part of the petitioners of the articles they wanted to retrieve from the respondents’ house.
Even if respondent Paulina Matillano did hand over the articles to the petitioner, it was only
because the petitioner and his cohorts had earlier threatened and intimidated her into doing
so.
We agree with the ruling of the Court of Appeals that the petitioners are liable to the
respondents for moral and exemplary damages in the amounts respectively awarded by it.
Petitioner Rojas, a policeman of Davao City, conspired with petitioner Lui and, with drawn guns,
gained entry into the respondents’ house, and threatened and intimidated respondent Paulina
Matillano. Although petitioner Rojas did not himself conduct the search, he assented thereto by
allowing petitioner Lui and his cohorts to go up to the second floor and divest the respondents
of their belongings. The petitioners even left together after the incident.

In MHP Garments, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals,48 we had the occasion to state:

In the case of Lim vs. Ponce de Leon, we ruled for the recovery of damages for violation of
constitutional rights and liberties from public officer or private individual, thus:

"ART. 32. Any public officer or employee, or any private individual, who directly or indirectly
obstructs, defeats, violates or in any manner impedes or impairs any of the following rights and
liberties of another person shall be liable to the latter for damages.

"x x x

"(9) the rights to be secure in one’s persons, house, papers and effects against unreasonable
searches and seizures.

"x x x

"The indemnity shall include moral damages. Exemplary damages may also be adjudged."

"ART 2219. Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous cases:

"x x x

"(6) Illegal search;

"(1) Acts and actions referred to in Articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, and 35.

"Pursuant to the foregoing provisions, a person whose constitutional rights have been violated
or impaired is entitled to actual and moral damages from the public officer or employee
responsible therefor. In addition, exemplary damages may also be awarded."

xxx

"The very nature of Article 32 is that the wrong may be civil or criminal. It is not necessary
therefore that there should be malice or bad faith. To make such a requisite would defeat the
main purpose of Article 32 which is the effective protection of individual rights. Public officials
in the past have abused their powers on the pretext of justifiable motives or good faith in the
performance of their duties. Precisely, the object of the Article is to put an end to official abuse
by plea of the good faith. In the United States this remedy is in the nature of a tort." (emphasis
supplied)

In the subsequent case of Aberca vs. Ver, the Court En Banc explained the liability of persons
indirectly responsible, viz:

"[T]he decisive factor in this case, in our view, is the language of Article 32. The law speaks of an
officer or employee or person ‘directly or indirectly’ responsible for the violation of the
constitutional rights and liberties of another. Thus, it is not the actor alone (i.e., the one directly
responsible) who must answer for damages under Article 32; the person indirectly responsible
has also to answer for the damages or injury caused to the aggrieved party.

xxx

"While it would certainly be too naïve to expect that violators of human rights would easily be
deterred by the prospect of facing damage suits, it should nonetheless be made clear in no
uncertain terms that Article 32 of the Civil Code makes the persons who are directly, as well as
indirectly, responsible for the transgression joint tortfeasors.

xxx

[N]either can it be said that only those shown to have participated ‘directly’ should be held
liable. Article 32 of the Civil Code encompasses within the ambit of its provisions those directly,
as well as indirectly, responsible for its violations." (emphasis supplied)

Applying the aforecited provisions and leading cases, the respondent court correctly granted
damages to private respondents. Petitioners were indirectly involved in transgressing the right
of private respondents against unreasonable search and seizure. Firstly, they instigated the raid
pursuant to their covenant in the Memorandum Agreement to undertake the prosecution in
court of all illegal sources of scouting supplies. As correctly observed by respondent court:

"Indeed, the acts committed by the PC soldiers of unlawfully seizing appellees’ (respondents’)
merchandise and of filing the criminal complaint for unfair competition against appellees
(respondents) were for the protection and benefit of appellant (petitioner) corporation. Such
being the case, it is, thus, reasonably fair to infer from those acts that it was upon appellant
(petitioner) corporation’s instance that the PC soldiers conducted the raid and effected the
illegal seizure. These circumstances should answer the trial court’s query— posed in its decision
now under consideration – as to why the PC soldiers immediately turned over the seized
merchandise to appellant (petitioner) corporation."
The raid was conducted with the active participation of their employee. Larry de Guzman did
not lift a finger to stop the seizure of the boy and girl scout items. By standing by and
apparently assenting thereto, he was liable to the same extent as the officers themselves. So
with the petitioner corporation which even received for safekeeping the goods unreasonable
seized by the PC raiding team and de Guzman, and refused to surrender them for quite a time
despite the dismissal of its complaint for unfair competition.49

IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DISMISSED. The Decision of the Court of
Appeals is AFFIRMED in toto. Costs against the petitioners.

SO ORDERED.