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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 131116

August 27, 1999

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
ANTONIO L. SANCHEZ, ARTEMIO AVERION, LANDRITO "DING" PERADILLAS and LUIS
CORCOLON, accused,
ANTONIO L. SANCHEZ and ARTEMIO AVERION, accused-appellants.
PARDO, J.:
What is before this Court is an appeal from the decision of Regional Trial Court, Branch 160,
Pasig City,1 finding accused Antonio L. Sanchez, Luis Corcolon y Fadialan, Landrito "Ding"
Peradillas and Artemio Averion guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder committed Nelson
Pealosa and Rickson Pealosa, and sentencing each of the accused, as follows:
WHEREFORE, foregoing considered, the Court finds the accused Antonio Sanchez,
Landrito "Ding" Peradillas, Luis Corcolon, and Artemio Averion GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of MURDER punishable under ART. 48 of the
Revised Penal Code and hereby sentences each of said accused to suffer the
penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay jointly and severally, the heirs of the victims
each the sum of P100,000.00 for the death of Nelson Pealosa and Rickson
Pealosa, P50,000.00 as actual damages and moral damages of P50,000.00 and
exemplary damages of P30,000.00 and to pay the costs.1wphi1.nt
SO ORDERED.
City of Pasig.
December 27, 1996.
(s/t) MARIANO M. UMALI
Judge2
On March 1, 1994, Senior State Prosecutor Hernani T. Barrios filed with the Regional Trial
Court, Calamba, Laguna, an information for double murder against accused Antonio L.
Sanchez, Luis Corcolon y Fadialan, Landrito "Ding" Peradillas and Artemio Averion, the
accusatory portion of which reads:
That on or about April 13, 1991, at about 7:45 p.m. more or less, in Barangay Curba,
Municipality of Calauan, Province of Laguna, and within the jurisdiction of the
Honorable Court, the above-named accused conspiring, confederating, and
mutually aiding one another, with treachery and evident premeditation, and with the
use of a motor vehicle, at night time, all the accused then being armed and
committed in consideration of a price, reward or promise and of superior strength,
did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously shoot with the use of
automatic weapons inflicting multiple gunshot wounds upon Nelson Pealosa and
Rickson Pealosa which caused their instantaneous deaths to the damage and
prejudice of their heirs and relatives.

CONTRARY TO LAW.3
On March 16, 1994, the case was raffled to Branch 34, Regional Trial Court, Calamba,
Laguna.4 On March 17, 1994, the court ordered the arrest of accused Antonio L. Sanchez,
Luis Corcolon and Ding Peradillas. On the same date, Artemio Averion voluntarily surrendered
to the court, which ordered Averion's transfer to the provincial jail, Sta. Cruz, Laguna. 5
Thereafter, the trial court committed the accused to the custody of proper authorities. 6
Upon arraignment on April 10, 1995, all the accused pleaded not guilty. 7 The trial of the case
thereby ensued. On December 27, 1996, the trial court convicted all the accused of the
complex crime of double murder, as charged, the dispositive portion of which is set out in the
opening paragraph of this opinion.
On February 27, 1997, all the accused, except Ding Peradillas, were present for the
promulgation of the decision. Peradillas was a member of the Philippine National Police and
was under the custody of his superiors. The trial court ordered his custodian to explain
accused's non-appearance. On March 14, 1997, P/C Supt. Roberto L. Calinisan, Chief, PNPPACC Task Force Habagat, denied any knowledge of the murder case against Peradillas.
Hence, Peradillas was not suspended from the service pending trial. However, at the time that
Peradillas was to be presented to the court for the promulgation of the decision, he had
disappeared and could not be located by his custodian. 8 The promulgation of the decision as
to him was in absentia. Peradillas and Corcolon did not appeal from the decision.
Accused Antonio L. Sanchez and Artemio Averion filed their respective appeals to this Court.
The facts are as follows:
On April 13, 1991, at around 10:00 in the morning, state witness Vivencio Malabanan, team
leader of a group of policemen, went to the Bishop Compound in Calauan, Laguna, as part of
the security force of mayor Antonio L. Sanchez. After a while, accused Ding Peradillas arrived
and asked for mayor Sanchez. Peradillas informed mayor Sanchez that there would be a
birthday party that night at Dr. Virvilio Velecina's house in Lanot, Calauan, Laguna, near the
abode of Peradillas. Peradillas assured mayor Sanchez of Nelson Pealosa's presence
thereat. Dr. Velecina was a political opponent of mayor Sanchez for the mayoralty seat of
Calauan, Laguna, Mayor Sanchez then replied, "Bahala na kayo mga anak. Ayusin lang ninyo
ang trabaho," and left the premises. Peradillas immediately called Corcolon and Averion and
relayed the message "Ayos na ang paguusap at humanap na lang ng sasakyan." All the
accused, including Malabanan, understood it as an order to kill Nelson Pealosa, one of the
political leaders of Dr. Velecina.9
Afterwards, Peradillas, Corcolon and Averion made arrangements to acquire two-way radios
and a vehicle for the operation. At around 2:30 in the afternoon, Malabanan and the three
accused went their separate ways and agreed to meet at mayor Sanchez' house at 6:00 in the
evening. Malabanan returned to his detachment area at Dayap, proceeded to the municipal
hall, then went home where Peradillas fetched him at 6:00 p.m. They proceeded to mayor
Sanchez' house where they met Averion and Corcolon, with the car and two-way radios. 10
At around 7:00 in the evening, Malabanan and the three accused boarded the car and went to
Marpori Poultry Farm in Barangay Lanot, near Dr. Velecina's house. Peradillas alighted and
walked towards his own house, near Dr. Velecina's house, to check whether Nelson Pealosa
was at the party.
Thereafter, using the two-way radio, Peradillas informed the occupants of the car that Nelson
Pealosa's jeep was leaving the Velecina compound. Accused Averion immediately drove the
car to the front of Peradilla's house and the latter hopped in the car's back seat. Corcolon sat

in the front seat beside him; witness Malabanan sat at the left side of the backseat and
Peradillas stayed at the right side of the back seat. The group pursued Pealosa's jeep. When
the accused's car was passing Victoria Farms, located about 100 meters from Pealosa
compound, Corcolon ordered Averion to overtake Pealosa's jeep. As the car overtook the
jeep, Peradillas and Corcolon fired at Pealosa's jeep, using M-16 and baby armalite rifles,
executed in automatic firing mode. There were three bursts of gunfire. Based on the sketch
prepared by Malabanan, illustrating the relative position of their car and Nelson's jeep at the
time of the shooting, the assailants were at the left side of the jeep. 11
Rickson Pealosa, son of Nelson Pealosa, fell from the jeep. The jeep, however, continued
running in a zigzag position until it overturned in front of Irais Farm. After the shooting, the
accused proceeded to the house of mayor Sanchez in Bai, Laguna, and reported to mayor
Sanchez that Pealosa was already dead.12
Together with his superior SPO4 Lanorio and photographer Romeo Alcantara, policeman
Daniel Escares went to the crime scene. There, he saw the body of Nelson Pealosa slumped
at the driver seat of the owner-type jeep. They recovered the body of Rickson Pealosa
slumped on a grassy place not far from where they found Nelson Pealosa. After all the
evidence and photographs were taken, they brought the cadavers to Funeraria Seerez.
Daniel Escares submitted his investigation report of the incident to the Provincial Director,
Laguna PNP Command.13
Dr. Ruben B. Escueta, Rural Health Physician, Rural Health Unit, Calauan, Laguna,
conducted an autopsy on the bodies of Nelson and Rickson Pealosa. Nelson Pealosa
suffered massive intra-cranial hemorrhage and died of cranial injury due to gunshot wounds.
Rickson Pealosa died of massive intra thoracic hemorrhage due to gunshot wounds. 14 Dr.
Escueta, as a defense witness, testified that based on the points of entrance and exit of the
wounds sustained by the Pealosas, it was not possible for the assailants to be at the left side
of the victims.15 It contradicted Malabanan's testimony that they were at the left side of the
victims when the shooting took place. He further stated that based on the wounds inflicted on
the victims, the assailants were either in a sitting or squatting position when they shot the
victims. Some of the wounds indicated an upward trajectory of the bullets.
On September 15, 1993, Janet P. Cortez, PNP ballistician, completed the ballistic tests
conducted on the twelve (12) empty shells found at the crime scene and the M-16 baby
armalite surrendered by Corcolon.16 She concluded that the 12 empty shells were fired using
three (3) different firearms, one of which was the M-16 baby armalite. 17
On August 18, 1995, Adelina Pealosa, common law wife of Nelson Pealosa and mother of
Rickson, testified that the whole family was in mourning and could not eat after what
happened.18 She testified that the family incurred P250,000.00 for funeral expenses, but failed
to present the appropriate receipts. She also stated that Nelson Pealosa was earning one (1)
million pesos per annum from his businesses. However, no income tax return or other proofs
were shown to substantiate the statement.19
The accused interposed the defense of alibi and denial.
Luis Corcolon stated that he spent the whole day of April 13, 1991, until 8:30 in the evening,
supervising the poultry farm of his employers, Edgardo Tanchico and Orlando Dizon. He
denied that he was in the company of Averion and Peradillas that day, and that he participated
in the Pealosa killings. He denied that he was ever assigned as a security guard of mayor
Sanchez. He claimed that the murder charges were concocted against them for his refusal to
testify against mayor Sanchez in the Gomez-Sarmenta case. He alleged that he was

maltreated, tortured, electrocuted and forced to implicate mayor Sanchez in the GomezSarmenta rape-slayings. He denied that he owned the M-16 baby armalite used in killing the
Pealosas.20
Detention prisoner George Medialde corroborated Corcolon's statement that they were
implicated in the Pealosa killing for their refusal to testify against mayor Sanchez. He claimed
that Malabanan confessed to him that the latter had killed the Pealosas, but with the aid of
CAFGU men and not herein accused. He averred that Corcolon and Averion were wrongfully
implicated in the murder charges in deference to the wishes of the investigators. 21 Zoilo Ama,
another detention prisoner, claimed that Malabanan confessed that he killed the Pealosas,
but did not mention the involvement of Corcolon, Averion and mayor Sanchez. 22
Accused Artemio Averion, a godson of mayor Sanchez, denied that he was involved in the
Pealosa slayings. On April 13, 1991, he claimed that he was in Lucena City, attending to his
ailing father. He stayed there until April 15, 1991. He maintained that he was wrongfully
implicated in the Pealosa killings for his refusal to testify against mayor Sanchez regarding
the Gomez-Sarmenta rape-slayings. Malabanan asked for his forgiveness for falsely
incriminating them in the Pealosa case.23
Jesus Versoza, PNP Officer, Camp Crame, denied the allegations of Medialdea and Averion
that they were tortured and forced to testify against mayor Sanchez. 24
Accused mayor Antonio L. Sanchez stated on April 12, 1991, he went to Anilao, Batangas,
with his family. Around 1:00 in the afternoon of April 13, 1991, his family went to Tagaytay City
and stayed overnight at Taal Vista Lodge. Around 10:00 in the morning of April 14, 1991, they
went home to Calauan, Laguna. After reaching his abode in Calauan around 12:00 noon,
mayor Sanchez learned of the ambush-slayings of the Pealosas. He immediately ordered an
investigation of the case. He denied any involvement in the killing of the victims. 25
The trial court ruled that the prosecution's evidence clearly and convincingly established the
participation of the four (4) accused in killing the Pealosas. Malabanan gave a sincere, frank
and trustworthy account of the circumstances surrounding the killing. Furthermore, the trial
court explained the discrepancies between Malabanan's recollection of how the victims were
shot and Dr. Escueta's conclusion on what transpired based on the injuries sustained by the
victims.
The trial court stated that the doctor's conclusion was based on the assumption that the
victims were in a sitting position inside the jeep. However, it was possible that after the first
burst of gunfire, the victims were hit and fell. During the second burst of gunfire, the victims
were lying down or in a crouching position. Thus, the entry-exit points of the bullets did not
entirely correspond to Malabanan's account, which was based on the assumption that the
victims did not change their positions during the shooting incident.
The trial court ruled that the accused conspired in committing the crime. Treachery was
present, thereby qualifying the crime to murder. It appreciated the aggravating circumstances
of evident premeditation, nighttime and use of motor vehicle.
The trial court considered the crime as a complex crime of double murder punishable under
Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code. However, at the time of the commission of the offense
on April 13, 1991, there was a constitutional proscription on the imposition of the death
penalty. Thus, each of the accused was sentenced to reclusion perpetua, and to pay damages
to the heirs of the victims, as earlier quoted.
Accused mayor Antonio L. Sanchez and Artemio Averion jointly appealed from the decision to
the Supreme Court.

In their sole assignment of error, accused mayor Sanchez and Averion contended that the trial
court failed to recognize the material inconsistencies between Malabanan's testimony and the
physical and scientific evidence presented before it. They pointed out the following
inconsistencies, to wit:
1. Malabanan testified that a) when they fired at the victims, they were about the
same elevation;26 b) they used two (2) guns in killing the victims;27 c) they were at
the left side of the victims when the shooting incident occurred. 28 However, Dr.
Escueta's autopsy report revealed that: 1) the assailants were at a lower elevation;
2) three (3) kinds of guns were used; and 3) based on the injuries, assailants were
on the right side of the victims.
2. Malabanan's affidavit "Exhibit V" made on August 16, 1993, and sworn to on
August 17, 1993, bears two (2) signatures of the affiant Malabanan and dated
September 15, 1993. However, during cross-examination, Malabanan stated that he
executed and signed the affidavit on one occasion only, August 15, 1993.
3. Aurelio Centeno testified in the case of Gomez-Sarmenta slayings that
Malabanan only responded to the report that Pealosa had been killed. He averred
that contrary to Malabanan's report, the latter was not at the crime scene.
The two accused further averred that the material inconsistencies between Malabanan's
testimony and the autopsy and laboratory findings and conclusions seriously affect his
credibility. They stressed that Malabanan has sufficient motive to implicate mayor Sanchez
and Corcolon in the Pealosa killings due to threats of mayor Sanchez. They alleged that
although generally alibi is considered a weak defense, there are times when it is worthy of
credence, such as in this case.
The Solicitor General supports the trial court's ruling that the prosecution adequately
established the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. Malabanan positively identified
the accused as the perpetrators. He testified in a categorical, straightforward, spontaneous
and frank manner. The defense failed to satisfactorily show that Malabanan had an ill motive
to testify falsely against the accused. The alleged threat to Malabanan's life was not
adequately established or sufficient for him to falsely implicate the accused. As regards the
supposed inconsistencies between Malabanan's account of the events vis vis the autopsy
and ballistic reports, the Solicitor General pointed out that both vehicles were running at the
time of the ambush. It was a matter of instinct for the victims to shift positions as they were
fired upon. Thus, contrary to Dr. Escueta's conclusion, it was not impossible that the victims
were hit from the right side of their bodies, even if assailants were physically situated at the
victim's left side. Hence, the apparent inconsistencies do not affect witness Malabanan's
credibility.
After a careful scrutiny of the evidence on record, we agree with the trial court that the
prosecution adequately established accused's guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
Malabanan gave a detailed account of the planning, preparation and the shooting incident. He
narrated the participation of each of the accused, to wit: (1) the order given by mayor Sanchez
to execute Pealosa; (2) Averion's acquisition of a vehicle and two-way radios to be used for
the operation and in driving the car; (3) Peradillas' act of relaying the information that Nelson
Pealosa's jeep was leaving the Velecina compound; 4) the way they pursued the victims; and
5) Corcolon and Peradilla's act of firing and killing the Pealosas.
The accused concentrated mainly on the seeming contradiction between the narration of
Malabanan on how the victims were shot, and the physician's report on the location of injuries

sustained by them. However, as the Solicitor General stated, both vehicles were running at
the time of the shootout. It was unlikely that the victims drove in a straight line parallel to that
of the assailants. In fact, Malabanan testified that while being fired at, Pealosa's jeepney was
running in zigzag manner.29 It was a natural reaction for Pealosa to evade the assailants as
much as possible and to try to dodge the bullets. Furthermore, the assailants fired the guns in
automatic firing mode. Thus, the bullets burst out in different directions simultaneously. Hence,
it was not impossible for the victims to be hit in different parts of the body.
"This Court has held time and again that any minor lapses in the testimony of a witness tend
to buttress, rather than weaken, his or her credibility, since they show that he or she was
neither coached nor were his or her answers contrived. Witnesses are not expected to
remember every single detail of an incident with perfect or total recall." 30
Furthermore, the fact that the trial court relied on the testimony of a single witness does not
effect the verdict of conviction. Criminals are convicted, not on the number of witnesses
against them, but on the credibility of the testimony of even one witness, who is able to
convince the court of the guilt of the accused beyond a shadow of doubt. 31 What witness can
be more credible than someone who was in the planning, preparation and execution of the
crime.
The inconsistency between the affidavit and testimony of Malabanan is too minor to affect his
credibility. At any rate, we have held that affidavits are generally subordinate in importance to
open court declarations. Affidavits are not complete reproductions of what the declarant has in
mind because they are generally prepared by the administering officer and the affiant simply
signs them after the same have been read to him. 32
Accused-appellants raised that Malabanan's delay in reporting the involvement of the accused
in the crime casts doubt on his credibility. However, jurisprudence teaches us that delay in
revealing the identity of the perpetrators of a crime does not necessarily impair the credibility
of a witness, especially where such witness gives a sufficient explanation for the delay. 33 It
was natural for Malabanan to keep silent during that time for, aside from being a coconspirator, mayor Sanchez was a powerful opponent.
Consequently, we find that accused-appellant's defenses of alibi and denial are bereft of merit.
The defenses of alibi and denial are worthless in the face of positive testimony of a witness
showing the involvement of each of the accused.
However, we disagree with the trial court that the accused committed a single complex crime
of double murder. Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code provides that when a single act
constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies, or when an offense is a necessary
means of committing the other, the penalty for the more serious crime in its maximum period
shall be imposed.
The question is whether the act of shooting the victims using armalites in automatic firing
mode constitutes a single act and, thus, the felonies resulting therefrom are considered as
complex crimes. We rule in the negative.
In People v. Vargas, Jr., we ruled that "several shots from a Thompson sub-machine, in view
of its special mechanism causing several deaths, although caused by a single act of pressing
the trigger, are considered several acts. Although each burst of shots was caused by one
single act of pressing the trigger of the sub-machinegun, in view of its special mechanism the
person firing it has only to keep pressing the trigger of the sub-machinegun, with his finger
and it would fire continually. Hence, it is not the act of pressing the trigger which should be
considered as producing the several felonies, but the number of bullets which actually

produced them."34 In the instant case, Malabanan testified that he heard three bursts of
gunfire from the two armalites used by accused Corcolon and Peradillas. Thus, the accused
are criminally liable for as many offenses resulting from pressing the trigger of the armalites.
Therefore, accused are liable for two counts of murder committed against the victims, Nelson
and Rickson Pealosa, instead of the complex crime of double murder.
Evidently, treachery was present in the execution of the crimes. The attack against the victims,
who were unarmed, was sudden, catching them unaware and giving them no opportunity to
defend themselves.35 The presence of treachery qualifies the crimes to murder.
Conspiracy is likewise adequately established. Notwithstanding the fact that mayor Sanchez
was not at the crime scene, we are convinced that he was not only a co-conspirator, he was
the mastermind of the ambush slayings or the principal by inducement. 36 Malabanan testified
that Nelson Pealosa was killed upon order of mayor Sanchez. After the commission of the
crime, the assailants reported to mayor Sanchez. In conspiracy, it is not necessary to show
that all the conspirators actually hit and killed the victim. What is important is that the
participants performed specific acts with such closeness and coordination as unmistakably to
indicate a common purpose or design in bringing about the death of the victim. Conspiracy
renders appellants liable as co-principals regardless of the extent and character of their
participation because in contemplation of law, the act of one conspirator is the act of all. 37
The trial court properly appreciated the existence of evident premeditation. The prosecution
clearly showed the presence of the following requisites: a) the time when the accused
determined to commit the crime; b) an act manifestly indicating that the accused had clung to
their determination; and c) sufficient lapse of time between such determination and execution
to allow them to reflect upon the consequences of their acts. 38 As clearly as 10:00 in the
morning, the accused had conspired to kill Nelson Pealosa. They even looked for two-way
radios and a vehicle to be used for the operation. Indeed, sufficient time had lapsed to allow
the accused to reflect upon the consequences of their actions.
Accused specifically used a motor vehicle to execute the crime. Thus, the aggravating
circumstance of use of a motor vehicle must be appreciated.
However, we cannot appreciate the generic aggravating circumstance of nighttime; while the
crime was committed at night, the prosecution failed to show that the malefactors specifically
sought this circumstance to facilitate the criminal design. 39 The fact that the crime happened at
7:00 in the evening does not indicate that accused made use of the darkness to conceal the
crime and their identities.
At the time of the commission of the crime on April 13, 1991, the penalty for murder under
Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code was reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death.
Considering the presence of aggravating circumstances, the accused should be sentenced to
the death penalty for each murder. However, in view of the constitutional proscription of the
death penalty at that time, each of the accused is sentenced to two (2) penalties of reclusion
perpetua.
Regarding the civil liability of the accused, the trial court ordered the accused to pay the heirs
of Nelson and Rickson Pealosa each, the sum of P100,000.00, P50,000.00 as actual
damages, P50,000.00 as moral damages, and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages, and to
pay the costs.
The P50,000.00 award as actual damages should be deemed as indemnity for the untimely
demise of the victims. We have held that only expenses supported by receipts and which

appear to have been actually expended in connection with the death of the victims may be
allowed.40 No proof was presented to sustain the award of actual damages.
Similarly, we can not award damages for loss of earning capacity. All that was presented in
evidence was the testimony of the common law wife, Adelina Pealosa, that Nelson earned
P1,000,000.00 a year. We have held that "for lost income due to death, there must be
unbiased proof of the deceased's average income. Self-serving, hence unreliable statement,
is not enough."41
Considering the attendance of aggravating circumstances, we sustain the award of exemplary
damages of P30,000.00, per victim, in accordance with Article 2230 of the Civil Code. 42
As regards moral damages, we affirm the P50,000.00 awarded to the heirs of Rickson
Pealosa.43 His mother, Adelina Pealosa, testified to the suffering caused by his death. 44 We
also sustain the award of moral damages to the heirs of Nelson Pealosa. His common law
wife testified to the mental anguish suffered by the family due to Nelson's death. 45 Under
Article 2206 of the Civil Code, the spouse, legitimate and illegitimate descendancts and
ascendants of the deceased may demand moral damages for mental anguish by reason of the
death of the deceased. However, the common law wife is not entitled to share in the award of
moral damages.1wphi1.nt
WHEREFORE, the Court MODIFIES the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 160,
Pasig City, and finds accused-appellants Antonio L. Sanchez and Artemio Averion guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of two (2) counts of murder, and sentences each of them to suffer
two (2) penalties of reclusion perpetua, and each to pay jointly and severally the respective
heirs of victims Nelson and Rickson Pealosa, as follows:
1) Indemnity for death -

P50,000.00

2) Moral damages -

50,000.00

3) Exemplary damages -

30,000.00

Total -

P130,000.00
=========

With costs.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Kapunan and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1

In Crim. Case No. 107789-H, presided over by Judge Mariano M. Umali, rendered on
December 27, 1996, Rollo, pp. 37-66.
2
Original Record, pp. 488-517.
3
Original Record, p. 1.
4
Presided over by Judge Francisco M. Guererro. On March 28, 1994, the prosecution filed a
request for change of venue with the Supreme Court. On May 16, 1994, accused filed with the
Executive Judge, Calamba, Laguna, a petition for re-raffle, in view of the impending retirement
of Judge Guerrero. The case was raffled to the sala of Judge Norberto Y. Geraldez, Branch
36, Calamba, Laguna. On February 28, 1995, the Supreme Court granted the request for

change of venue and transferred the case to Regional Trial Court, Branch 70, Pasig City,
presided over by Judge Harriet O. Demetriou. On March 14, 1995, Judge Demetriou
voluntarily inhibited herself from trying the case. The case eventually was raffled to Branch
160, Pasig City, presided over by Judge Mariano M. Umali.
5
Original Record, p. 148.
6
Antonio Sanchez and Luis Corcolon were placed under the custody of PNP Custodial Group,
Camp Crame, Quezon City; Artemio Averion was placed under the custody of the Provincial
Warden, Provincial Jail, Sta. Cruz, Laguna; Ding Peradillas was placed under the custody of
P/Sr. Supt. Panfilo M. Lacson, PACC Task Force, Habagat Headquarters, Camp Crame,
Quezon City. Ibid., pp. 155, 156, 162.
7
Ibid., pp. 196-199.
8
Original Record, pp. 530-531.
9
TSN, June 20, 1995, pp. 8-12, 39-41, 62, 65.
10
Ibid., pp. 13-14, 41-46.
11
Ibid., pp. 17-20, 29-35.
12
Ibid., pp. 21-23.
13
Exhibit AA.
14
Exhibit B, p. 5 and Exhibit H, pp. 13-14.
15
TSN, March 18, 1996, pp. 4-95.
16
Exhibit Q.
17
TSN, May 23, 1995, pp. 5-140.
18
TSN, August 18, 1995, p. 21.
19
TSN, August 18, 1995, pp. 17-20.
20
TSN, October 24, 1995, pp. 11-60.
21
TSN, October 27, 1995, pp. 4-51.
22
TSN, November 14, 1995, pp. 5-27.
23
Ibid., pp. 28-54.
24
TSN, September 17, 1996, pp. 4-50.
25
TSN, March 18, 1991, pp. 98-117.
26
TSN, June 20, 1995, pp. 21, 73.
27
Ibid., pp. 71, 76.
28
Ibid., Exhibit U, pp. 48-50.
29
TSN, June 20, 1995, p. 73.
30
People v. Henry Benito, G.R. No. 128072, February 19, 1999.
31
Bautista v. Court of Appeals, 288 SCRA 171, 178 (1998).
32
People v. Lusa, 288 SCRA 296, 302-303 (1998).
33
People v. Pallorca, 288 SCRA 151, 164-165 (1998).
34
184 SCRA 254, 263 (1990), citing L.B. Reyes, The Revised Penal Code, pp. 559-560, Book
I.
35
People v. Silveriano Botona, G.R. No. 115693, March 17, 1999.
36
Cf. People v. Tabag, 268 SCRA 115 (1997).
37
People v. Cara, 283 SCRA 96, 107 (1997).
38
People v. Romulo Gutierrez, Jr., G.R. No. 116281, February 8, 1999.
39
People v. Oliano, 287 SCRA 158, 178 (1998).
40
People v. Cesar Sanchez, G.R. No. 118423, June 16, 1999.
41
People v. Mario Villanueva, G.R. No. 122746, January 29, 1999.

42

People vs. Alfonso Badon, G.R. No. 126143, June 10, 1999.
People vs. Mariano Verde, G.R. No. 119077, February 10, 1999.
44
TSN, August 18, 1995, p. 21.
45
Ibid.
43

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. L-58886 December 13, 1988
CONSUELO E. MALLARI, petitioner,
vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
Rodrigo E. Mallari for petitioner.
FERNAN, C.J.:
Section 22, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution, reiterated as Section 21, Article III in the 1987
Constitution, provides that "(n)o person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the
same offense." This is the constitutional provision relied upon by petitioner Consuelo E. Mallari
in challenging the decision dated December 10, 1979 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No.
19849-CR, entitled "People of the Philippines versus Consuelo Mallari," as well as the
resolution of November 5, 1981 denying her motion for reconsideration. Petitioner attains her
objective.
The antecedents are as follows:
Petitioner Consuelo E. Mallari, with three (3) others, was accused of the crime of Estafa thru
Falsification of Public Document before the then Court of First Instance of Manila (Criminal
Case No. 9800). As the other accused were at large, the case proceeded only with respect to
Consuelo Mallari, who, upon arraignment, pleaded not guilty. Trial was conducted; after which,
the court rendered judgment finding Consuelo Mallari guilty of the crime charged and
sentencing her to imprisonment of one (1) year and to indemnify the offended party Remegio
Tapawan in the amount of P1,500.00 and to pay the costs.
Petitioner's appeal to the Court of Appeals, docketed as CA G.R. No. 19849-CR, resulted in
the affirmance of the trial court's decision with a modification as to the penalty. In lieu of the
straight penalty of one (1) year, an indeterminate sentence of four (4) months and one (1) day
as minimum, to two (2) years and four (4) months, as maximum, was imposed on petitioner. 1

In her motion for reconsideration, petitioner contended that the decision in CA-G.R. No.
19849-CR placed her twice in jeopardy of being punished for the same offense as she had
previously been convicted, sentenced and probationed for the same offense in CA-G.R. No.
20817-CR entitled "People of the Philippines versus Consuelo Mallari."
Unconvinced, the appellate court denied the motion for reconsideration in the assailed
resolution of November 5, 1981, to wit:
The court will now resolve as to whether the accused might be placed twice in
jeopardy, the Court sustains the position taken by the Solicitor-General that the acts
of the accused in GA C.R. No. 19849-CR are different and distinct from the acts
committed in C.A. G.R. No. 20817-CR. Considering that they were separate acts of
deceit, they are therefore two separate crimes. 2
Hence, the instant petition for review.
By the constitutional guarantee against double jeopardy, it is understood that "when a person
is charged with an offense and the case is terminated either by acquittal or conviction or in any
other manner without the consent of the accused, the latter cannot again be charged with the
same or Identical offense. This principle is founded upon the law of reason, justice and
conscience." 3
To raise the defense of double jeopardy, three (3) requisites must be present: (1) a first
jeopardy must have attached prior to the second; (2) the first jeopardy must have been validly
terminated; and (3) the second jeopardy must be for the same offense as that in the first. 4
With the prior conviction by a final judgment of petitioner for the crime of estafa thru
falsification of public document in CA-G.R. No. 20817-CR, there is no question that the first
and second requisites above enumerated are present in the case at bar. The problem then lies
with the third requisite. Is the crime charged in CA-G.R. No. 20817-CR the same as in this
case (CA-G.R. No. 19849-CR)?
We rule in the affirmative.
The Information in CA-G.R. No. 20817-CR reads:
That on or about December 15,1970 in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said
accused CELESTINO HALLAZGO, a Notary Public for and in the City of Manila and
accused CARLOS SUNGA, DOMINGO ESPINELLI and CONSUELO MALLARI, all
private individuals, conspiring, and confederating together with others whose true
names and whereabouts are still unknown and mutually helping one another, did
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud JULIA S. SACLOLO thru
falsification of a public document in the following manner, to wit- the said accused
having somehow obtained possession of T.C.T. No. 42694, issued by the Register of
Deeds of the Province of Cavite, belonging to Leonora I. Balderas and duly
registered in the latter's name and by means of false manifestations and fraudulent
representations which they made to said Julia S. Saclolo to the effect that said
Leonora I. Balderas was badly in need of money and that she was offering the
aforesaid lot as collateral for a loan of P1,500.00 then executing, forging and
falsifying a Deed of Real Estate Mortgage acknowledged before accused
CELESTINO HALLAZGO, Notary Public for and in the City of Manila and entered in
the latter's notarial register as Doc. No. 3719, Page No. 75, Book No. XII, Series of
1970 and therefore a public document, by then and there signing and/or causing to
be signed the signature "Leonora I. Balderas," thereby making it appear as it did
appear in said document, that said Leonora I. Balderas had participated in the

execution of this Deed of Real Estate Mortgage by signing her name thereon when
in truth and in fact as the said accused or any of them to sign her name thereon and
by means of other deceits of similar import, induced and succeeded in inducing said
Julia Saclolo to give and deliver as in fact the latter gave and delivered to said
accused the said amount of P1,500.00 said accused well knowing that their
manifestations were false and untrue and were made solely for the purpose of
obtaining as in fact they did obtain the said amount of P1,500.00 which, one (sic) in
their possession, they did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously,
misappropriate, misapply and convert to their own personal use and benefit to the
damage and prejudice of said Julia S. Saclolo in said amount of P1,500.00,
Philippine Currency. 5
The Information in CA-G.R. No. 19849-CR, on the other hand, reads:
That on or about the 15th day of December, 1970 in the City of Manila, Philippines,
the accused Celestino Hallazgo, a Notary Public for and in the City of Manila, and
accused Carlos Sunga, Domingo Espineli and Consuelo Mallari, all private
individuals, conspiring and confederating together with others whose true names
and whereabouts are still unknown and mutually helping one another, did then and
there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud Remegio G. Tapawan thru
falsification of a public document, in the following manner, to wit: the accused having
somehow obtained possession of Transfer Certificate of Title No. 42695 issued by
the Register of Deeds of the Province of Cavite, belonging to Leonora 1. Balderas
and duly registered in the latter's name, and by means of false manifestations and
fraudulent representations which they made to said Remigio G. Tapawan to the
effect that said Leonora 1. Balderas was badly in need of money and that she was
offering the aforesaid lot as collateral for a loan of P1,500.00, then executing,
forging and falsifying a Deed of Real Estate Mortgage acknowledged before
accused Celestino Hallazgo, Notary Public for and in the City of Manila and entered
in the latter's Notarial Register as Doc. No. 3718; Page No. 75, Book No. XII, Series
of 1970, and therefore a public document, by then and there signing and/or causing
to be signed the signature "Leonora I. Balderas," over the typewritten name
"LEONORA I. BALDERAS" thereby making it appear, as it did appear in said
document, that said Leonora I. Balderas had participated in the execution of said
Deed of Real Estate Mortgage by signing her name thereon neither had she
authorized said accused or anyone of them to sign her name thereon, and by
means of other deceits of similar import, induced and succeeded in inducing said
Remegio B. Tapawan to give and deliver as in fact the latter gave and delivered to
said accused, the amount of P1,500.00 ... 6
In CA-G.R. No. 20817, the Court of Appeals made the following observations:
... Testifying for the prosecution, witness Remegio Tapawan explained how Julia
Saclolo became the mortgagee of the land in question by declaring that the accused
Consuelo E. Mallari herein after referred to as the appellant, whom he had known
since childhood came to his house in Rosario, Cavite on December 10, 1970,
bringing two (2) land titles both in the name of Leonora Balderas and told him that
she wanted to mortgage the titles for P1,500.00 each because she and her cousin
Leonora Balderas were in great need of money to pay some taxes with the Bureau
of Customs where they have some goods impounded. Not having enough money

Tapawan refused. The appellant, however, returned on December 15, 1970 with two
titles and pleaded anew with Remegio Tapawan and his wife for assistance because
of her and Balderas great need of money. Tapawan gave in but because he had only
P1,500.00 while the accused needed P3,000.00 he took her to his mother-in-law,
Julia Saclolo and was able to secure the amount of P1,500.00. On the information
given by Consuelo Mallari that the deed of mortgage would be prepared in the office
of Atty. Celestino Hallazgo at M.H. del Pilar, Manila where the mortgagor Leonora
Balderas would show up, Tapawan proceeded to the place indicated. Immediately
upon Tapawan's arrival, Atty. Hallazgo phoned someone and within 20 minutes the
person arrived whom Consuelo Mallari and Atty. Hallazgo introduced to Remegio
Tapawan as Leonora Balderas. Thereafter, the mortgage deeds where prepared in
favor of Julia Saclolo and the other in favor of Remegio Tapawan for P1,500.00
each. The mortgage loan of P3,000.00 was accordingly delivered to the person who
posed as Leonora Balderas. Consuelo Mallari and Domingo Espinelli, assigned as
witnesses to the said documents. Later, during the preliminary investigation at the
Fiscal's Office, Tapawan learned that he was tolled (sic) because the person who
posed as Leonora Balderas was a man by the name of Carlos Sunga, who, at the
time the mortgage was constituted, was dressed in a woman's attire. Neither
Remegio Tapawan nor Julia Saclolo were able to recover a portion of the mortgage
loan. 7
Similarly, the findings of facts in CA-G.R. No. 19849 ran thus:
REMEGIO TAPAWAN stated that sometime on December 10, 1970, his townmate
Consuelo E. Mallari saw him at his house, when she begged him and his wife to
lend her cousin Leonora Balderas some amount to pay taxes and customs duties for
imported fruits impounded in the Bureau of Customs offering as a collateral two (2)
Certificates of Title, two deeds of sale, and four (4) tax declarations all in the name
of Leonora Balderas. Consuelo returned on December 15, and reiterated her
request. Since he had only P1,500.00 at that time he convinced his mother-in-law
Julia Saclolo, to shell out additional amount of P1,500.00. Consuelo and he then
proceeded to the Office of Atty. Celestino Hallazgo in Ermita, Manila for the
preparation of the documents. This attorney called up Leonora Balderas who arrived
shortly accompanied by three (3) persons one of whom is the helper of Atty.
Hallazgo, Domingo Espinelli. This Leonora Balderas was introduced to him by Atty.
Hallazgo and Consuelo who claimed her to be a cousin "whom I should help." When
the two (2) deeds prepared by Atty. Hallazgo one for him and the other for Julia
Saclolo were ready, they were signed by him, Mallari, Espinelli, Balderas and the
attorney, after which he delivered the money to the person introduced as Leonora
Balderas. 8
A comparison of the Informations filed in the two cases under consideration as well as the
findings of facts of the appellate court tells us that they refer to the same series of acts. These
series of acts amount to what is known in law as a continued, continuous or continuing
offense.
A continued crime is a single crime consisting of a series of acts but all arising from one
criminal resolution. It is a continuous, unlawful act or series of acts set on foot by a single
impulse and operated by an unintermittent force, however long a time it may occupy. Although

there are series of acts, there is only one crime committed. Hence, only one penalty shall be
imposed.
The crime of estafa thru falsification of public document committed by Consuelo Mallari,
although consummated through a series of acts, was 'set on foot' by the single intent or
impulse to defraud Remegio Tapawan of a total amount of P3,000.00. And contrary to the
appellate court's observation, there was only one deceit practiced by petitioner on the two (2)
victims, i.e. that being in need of money, Leonora Balderas was willing to mortgage two (2)
lots as security for a loan of P3,000.00. It was, in fact, by mere play of fate that the second
victim, Julia Saclolo, should be dragged into the swindle by reason of Tapawan having only
P1,500.00 at that time. That there were two (2) victims, however, did not accordingly convert
the crime into two separate offenses, as the determinative factor is the unity or multiplicity of
the criminal intent or of the transactions for "the fact should not be lost sight of that it is the
injury to the public which a criminal action seeks to redress, and by such redress to prevent its
repetition, and not the injury to individuals." 9
The singularity of the offense committed by petitioner is further demonstrated by the fact that
the falsification of the two (2) public documents as a means of committing estafa were
performed on the same date, in the same place, at the same time and on the same occasion.
This Court has held in the case of People v. de Leon, 10 that the act of taking two or more
roosters in the same place and on the same occasion is dictated by only one criminal design
and therefore, there is only one crime of theft even if the roosters are owned by different
persons.
It has also been ruled that when two informations refer to the same transaction, the second
charge cannot prosper because the accused will thereby be placed in jeopardy for the second
time for the same offense. 11
Petitioner, having already been convicted of the complex crime of estafa thru falsification of
public document in CA-G.R. No. 20817-CR, it stands to reason that she can no longer be held
liable for the same crime in this case. The rule against double jeopardy protects the accused
not against the peril of second punishment but against being tried for the same offense. 12
Without the safeguard this rule establishes in favor of the accused, his fortune, safety and
peace of mind would be entirely at the mercy of the complaining witness who might repeat his
accusation as often as it is dismissed by the court and whenever he might see fit, subject to
no other limitation or restriction than his will and pleasure. 13 The accused would never be free
from the cruel and constant menace of a never ending charge, which the malice of a
complaining witness might hold indefinitely suspended over his head. 14
NEMO BIS PUNITUR PRO EODEM DELICTO. No man is punished twice for the same fault or
offense.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The judgment of conviction in C.A.
G.R. No. 19849-CR is set aside on the ground of double jeopardy. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Gutierrez, Jr., Feliciano, Bidin and Cortes, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1 P. 26, Rollo: Associate Justice Jorge R. Coquia, ponente; Associate Justices Nestor B.
Alampay and Isidro C. Borromeo, concurring.
2 Pp. 28 & 110-111 Rollo.
3 Melo v. People, 85 Phil. 766.

4 People v. Bocar, 138 SCRA 166.


5 P. 61, Rollo.
6 Pp. 2-3, Original Records.
7 Decision in CA-G.R. No. 20817-CR, pp. 76-77, Rollo; Associate Justice Ramon G. Gaviola,
Jr., ponente; Associate Justices Hugo E. Gutierrez, Jr. and Ambrosio M. Geraldez, concurring.
8 P. 22, Rollo.
9 U.S. v. Gustilo, 19 Phil. 208.
10 49 Phil. 437, reiterated in People v. Jaranilla, 55 SCRA 563.
11 People v. Sales, G.R. No. L-8925, May 21,1956.
12 People v. Ylagan, 58 Phil. 851.
13 Martin, Freedom Constitution of the Philippines, lst ed., p. 316.
14 Julia V. Sotto, 2 Phil. 247.

EN BANC
[G.R. Nos. L-6025-26. July 18, 1956.]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,
vs.
AMADO V. HERNANDEZ, ET AL., Defendants-Appellants.
RESOLUTION
CONCEPCION, J.:
This refers to the petition for bail filed by Defendant Appellant Amado Hernandez on June 26,
1954, and renewed on December 22, 1955. A similar petition, filed on December 28, 1953,
had been denied by a resolution of this court dated February 2, 1954. Although not stated in
said resolution, the same was due mainly to these circumstances:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The prosecution maintains that Hernandez is charged with, and has been convicted of,
rebellion complexed with murders, arsons and robberies, for which the capital punishment, it
is claimed, may be imposed, although the lower court sentenced him merely to life
imprisonment. Upon the other hand, the defense contends, among other things, that rebellion
cannot be complexed with murder, arson, or robbery. Inasmuch as the issue thus raised had
not been previously settled squarely, and this court was then unable, as yet, to reach a definite
conclusion thereon, it was deemed best not to disturb, for the time being, the course of action
taken by the lower court, which denied bail to the movant. After mature deliberation, our
considered opinion on said issue is as follows:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The first two paragraphs of the amended information in this case
read:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

The undersigned accuses (1) Amado V. Hernandez alias Victor alias Soliman alias Amado
alias AVH alias Victor Soliman, (2) Guillermo Capadocia alias Huan Bantiling alias Cap alias
G. Capadocia, (3) Mariano P. Balgos alias Bakal alias Tony Collantes alias Bonifacio, (4)
Alfredo Saulo alias Elias alias Fred alias A.B.S. alias A.B., (5) Andres Baisa, Jr. alias Ben alias
Andy (6) Genaro de la Cruz alias Gonzalo alias Gorio alias Arong, (7) Aquilino Bunsol alias
Anong, (8) Adriano Samson alias Danoy, (9) Juan J. Cruz alias Johnny 2, alias Jessie Wilson
alias William, (10) Jacobo Espino, (11) Amado Racanday, (12) Fermin Rodillas, and (13)
Julian Lumanog alias Manue, of the crime of rebellion with multiple murder, arsons and
robberies committed as follows:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
That on or about March 15, 1945, and for some time before the said date and continuously
thereafter until the present time, in the City of Manila, Philippines, and the place which they
had chosen as the nerve center of all their rebellious activities in the different parts of the
Philippines, the said accused, conspiring, confederating, and cooperating with each other, as
well as with the thirty-one (31) Defendants charged in criminal cases Nos. 14071, 14082,
14270, 14315, and 14344 of the Court of First Instance of Manila (decided May 11, 1951) and
also with others whose whereabouts and identities are still unknown, the said accused and
their co-conspirators, being then officers and/or members of, or otherwise associated with the
Congress of Labor Organizations (CLO) formerly known as the Committee on Labor
Organization (CLO), an active agency, organ, and instrumentality of the Communist Party of
the Philippines (P.K.P.), with central offices in Manila and chapters and affiliated or associated
labor unions and other mass organizations in different places in the Philippines, and as such
agency, organ, and instrumentality, fully cooperates in, and synchronizes its activities with the
rebellious activities of the Hukbong Magpalayang Bayan, (H.M.B.) and other organs,
agencies, and instrumentalities of the Communist Party of the Philippines (P.K.P.) to thereby
assure, facilitate, and effect the complete and permanent success of the armed rebellion
against the Republic of the Philippines, as the herein Defendants and their co-conspirators
have in fact synchronized the activities of the CLO with the rebellious activities of the HMB
and other agencies, organs and instrumentalities of the Communist Party of the Philippines
and have otherwise master- minded or promoted the cooperative efforts between the CLO and
HMB and other agencies, organs, and instrumentalities of the P.K.P. in the prosecution of the
rebellion against the Republic of the Philippines, and being then also high ranking officers
and/or members of, or otherwise affiliated with, the Communist Party of the Philippines
(P.K.P.), which is now actively engaged in an armed rebellion against the Government of the
Philippines through acts therefor committed and planned to be further committed in Manila
and other places in the Philippines, and of which party the Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan
(HMB), otherwise or formerly known as the Hukbalahaps (Huks), is the armed force, did then
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously help, support, promote, maintain, cause, direct
and/or command the Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan (HMB) or the Hukbalahaps (Huks) to
rise publicly and take arms against the Republic of the Philippines, or otherwise participate in
such armed public uprising, for the purpose of removing the territory of the Philippines from
the allegiance to the government and laws thereof as in fact the said Hukbong Mapagpalaya
ng Bayan or Hukbalahaps have risen publicly and taken arms to attain the said purpose by
then and there making armed raids, sorties and ambushes, attacks against police,
constabulary and army detachments as well as innocent civilians, and as a necessary means
to commit the crime of rebellion, in connection therewith and in furtherance thereof, have then
and there committed acts of murder, pillage, looting, plunder, arson, and planned destruction

of private and public property to create and spread chaos, disorder, terror, and fear so as to
facilitate the accomplishment of the aforesaid purpose, as follows, to
wit:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Then follows a description of the murders, arsons and robberies allegedly perpetrated by the
accused as a necessary means to commit the crime of rebellion, in connection therewith and
in furtherance thereof.
Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code provides that:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
When a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies, or when an offense is
a necessary means for committing the other, the penalty for the most serious crime shall be
imposed, the same to be applied in its maximum period.
It is obvious, from the language of this article, that the same presupposes the commission of
two (2) or more crimes, and, hence, does not apply when the culprit is guilty of only one crime.
Article 134 of said code reads:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The crime of rebellion or insurrection is committed by rising publicly and taking arms against
the Government for the purpose of removing from the allegiance to said Government or its
laws, the territory of the Philippine Islands or any part thereof, of any body of land, naval or
other armed forces, or of depriving the Chief Executive or the Legislature, wholly or partially, of
any of their powers or prerogatives.
Pursuant to Article 135 of the same code any person, merely participating or executing the
commands of others in a rebellion shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum
period.
The penalty is increased to prision mayor and a fine not to exceed P20,000 for any person
who promotes, maintains or heads a rebellion or insurrection or who, while holding any public
office or employment, takes part therein:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
1. engaging in war against the forces of the government,
2. destroying property, or
3. committing serious violence,
4. exacting contributions or
5. diverting public funds from the lawful purpose for which they have been appropriated.
Whether performed singly or collectively, these five (5) classes of acts constitute only one
offense, and no more, and are, altogether, subject to only one penalty prision mayor and a
fine not to exceed P20,000. Thus for instance, a public officer who assists the rebels by
turning over to them, for use in financing the uprising, the public funds entrusted to his
custody, could neither be prosecuted for malversation of such funds, apart from rebellion, nor
accused and convicted of the complex crime of rebellion with malversation of public funds.
The reason is that such malversation is inherent in the crime of rebellion committed by him. In
fact, he would not be guilty of rebellion had he not so misappropriated said funds. In the
imposition, upon said public officer, of the penalty for rebellion it would even be improper to
consider the aggravating circumstance of advantage taken by the offender of his public
position, this being an essential element of the crime he had perpetrated. Now, then, if the
office held by said offender and the nature of the funds malversed by him cannot aggravate
the penalty for his offense, it is clear that neither may it worsen the very crime committed by
the culprit by giving rise, either to an independent crime, or to a complex crime. Needless to
say, a mere participant in the rebellion, who is not a public officer, should not be placed at a
more disadvantageous position than the promoters, maintainers or leaders of the movement,
or the public officers who join the same, insofar as the application of Article 48 is concerned.

One of the means by which rebellion may be committed, in the words of said Article 135, is by
engaging in war against the forces of the government and committing serious violence in
the prosecution of said war. These expressions imply everything that war connotes, namely;
chan roblesvirtualawlibraryresort to arms, requisition of property and services, collection of
taxes and contributions, restraint of liberty, damage to property, physical injuries and loss of
life, and the hunger, illness and unhappiness that war leaves in its wake except that, very
often, it is worse than war in the international sense, for it involves internal struggle, a fight
between brothers, with a bitterness and passion or ruthlessness seldom found in a contest
between strangers. Being within the purview of engaging in war and committing serious
violence, said resort to arms, with the resulting impairment or destruction of life and property,
constitutes not two or more offense, but only one crime that of rebellion plain and simple.
Thus, for instance, it has been held that the crime of treason may be committed by executing
either a single or similar intentional overt acts, different or similar but distinct, and for that
reason, it may be considered one single continuous offense. (Guinto vs. Veluz, 77 Phil., 801,
44 Off. Gaz., 909.) (People vs. Pacheco, 93 Phil., 521.)
Inasmuch as the acts specified in said Article 135 constitute, we repeat, one single crime, it
follows necessarily that said acts offer no occasion for the application of Article 48, which
requires therefor the commission of, at least, two crimes. Hence, this court has never in the
past, convicted any person of the complex crime of rebellion with murder. What is more, it
appears that in every one of the cases of rebellion published in the Philippine Reports, the
Defendants were convicted of simple rebellion, although they had killed several persons,
sometimes peace officers (U. S. vs. Lagnason, 3 Phil., 472; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryU. S.
vs. Baldello, 3 Phil., 509, U. S. vs. Ayala, 6 Phil., 151; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryLeague vs.
People, 73 Phil., 155).
Following a parallel line are our decisions in the more recent cases of treason, resulting from
collaboration with the Japanese during the war in the Pacific. In fact, said cases went further
than the aforementioned cases of rebellion, in that the theory of the prosecution to the effect
that the accused in said treason cases were guilty of the complex crime of treason with
murder and other crimes was expressly and repeatedly rejected therein. Thus, commenting on
the decision of the Peoples Court finding the accused in People vs. Prieto (80 Phil., 138, 45
Off. Gaz., 3329) guilty of cralaw the crime of treason complexed by murder and physical
injuries and sentencing him to death, and on the contention of the Solicitor General that
Prieto had committed the complex crime of treason with homicide, this court, speaking
through Mr. Justice Tuason, said:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The execution of some of the guerrilla suspects mentioned in these counts and the infliction
of physical injuries on others are not offenses separate from treason. Under the Philippine
treason law and under the United States constitution defining treason, after which the former
was patterned, there must concur both adherence to the enemy and giving him aid and
comfort. One without the other does not make treason.
In the nature of things, the giving of aid and comfort can only be accomplished by some kind
of action. Its very nature partakes, of a deed or physical activity as opposed to a mental
operation. (Cramer vs. U.S., ante.) This deed or physical activity may be, and often is, in itself
a criminal offense under another penal statute or provision. Even so, when the deed is
charged as an element of treason it becomes identified with the latter crime and cannot be the
subject of a separate punishment, or used in combination with treason to increase the penalty
as Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code provides. Just as one cannot be punished for

possessing opium in a prosecution for smoking the identical drug, and a robber cannot be
held guilty of coercion or trespass to a dwelling in a prosecution for robbery, because
possession of opium and force and trespass are inherent in smoking and in robbery
respectively, so may not a Defendant be made liable for murder as a separate crime or in
conjunction with another offense where, as in this case, it is averred as a constitutive
ingredient of treason cralaw . Where murder or physical injuries are charged as overt acts of
treason cralaw they cannot be regarded separately under their general denomination. (Italics
supplied.)
Accordingly, we convicted the accused of simple treason and sentenced him to life
imprisonment.
In People vs. Labra, 81 Phil., 377, 46 Off. Gaz., Supp. No. 1, p. 159, we used the following
language:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The lower court found Appellant guilty not only of treason, but of murder, for the killing of
Tomas Abella, and, following the provisions of Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code sentenced
him to death, the maximum penalty provided by article 114.
The lower court erred in finding Appellant guilty of the murder of Tomas Abella. The arrest
and killing of Tomas Abella for being a guerilla, is alleged in count 3 of the information, as one
of the elements of the crime of treason for which Appellant is prosecuted. Such element
constitute a part of the legal basis upon which Appellant stands convicted of the crime of
treason. The killing of Tomas Abella cannot be considered as legal ground for convicting
Appellant of any crime other than treason. The essential elements of a given crime cannot be
disintegrated in different parts, each one stand as a separate ground to convict the accused of
a different crime or criminal offense. The elements constituting a given crime are integral and
inseparable parts of a whole. In the contemplation of the law, they cannot be used for double
or multiple purposes. They can only be used for the sole purpose of showing the commission
of the crime of which they form part. The factual complexity of the crime of treason does not
endow it with the functional ability of worm multiplication or amoeba reproduction. Otherwise,
the accused will have to face as many prosecutions and convictions as there are elements in
the crime of treason, in open violation of the constitutional prohibition against double
jeopardy. (Italics supplied.)
The same conclusion was reached in People vs. Alibotod 82 Phil., 164, 46 Off. Gaz., 1005,
despite the direct participation of the Defendant therein in the maltreatment and killing of
several persons.
In People vs. Vilo 82 Phil., 524, 46 Off. Gaz., 2517, we held:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The Peoples Court, however, erred in classifying the crime as treason with murder. The
killing of Amado Satorre and one Segundo is charged as an element of treason, and it
therefore becomes identified with the latter crime, and cannot be the subject of a separate
punishment or used in combination with treason to increase the penalty as Article 48 of the
Revised Penal Code provides. (People vs. Prieto, L-399, 45 Off. Gaz. 3329. See, also People
vs. Labra, L-886, 46 Off. Gaz., [Supp. to No. 1], 159.) (Italics supplied.)
To the same effect was our decision in People vs. Roble 83 Phil., 1, 46 Off. Gaz., 4207. We
stated therein:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The court held that the facts alleged in the information is a complex crime of treason with
murders, with the result that the penalty provided for the most serious offense was to be
imposed on its maximum degree. Viewing the case from the standpoint of modifying
circumstances, the court believed that the same result obtained. It opined that the killings

were murders qualified by treachery and aggravated by the circumstances of evident


premeditation, superior strength, cruelty, and an armed band.
We think this is error. The tortures and murders set forth in the information are merged in and
formed part of the treason. They were in this case the overt acts which, besides traitorous
intention supplied a vital ingredient in the crime. (Italics supplied.)
The accused in People vs. Delgado 83 Phil., 9, 46 Off. Gaz., 4213, had been convicted by the
Peoples Court of the crime of treason complexed with the crime of murder and sentenced to
the extreme penalty. In our decision, penned by Mr. Justice Montemayor, we expressed
ourselves as follows:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The Appellant herein was and is a Filipino citizen. His adherence to the Japanese forces of
occupation and giving them aid and comfort by acting as their spy, undercover man,
investigator, and even killer when necessary to cow and compel the inhabitants to surrender
their firearms and disclose information about the guerrillas has been fully established. His
manner of investigation and maltreatment of some of his victims like Tereso Sanchez and
Patricio Suico, was so cruel, brutal and inhuman that it is almost unbelievable that a Filipino
can commit and practice such atrocities especially on his own countrymen. But, evidently, war,
confusion and opportunism can and do produce characters and monster unknown during
peace and normal times.
The Peoples Court found the Appellant guilty of treason complexed with murder. The
Solicitor General, however, maintains that the offense committed is simple treason, citing the
doctrine laid down by this court in the case of People vs. Prieto, (L-399, 45 Off. Gaz., 3329)
but accompanied by the aggravating circumstance under Article 14, paragraph 21, of the
Revised Penal Code, and not compensated by any mitigating circumstance, and he
recommends the imposition of the penalty of death. We agree with the Solicitor General that
on the basis of the ruling of this court in the case of People vs. Prieto, supra, the Appellant
may be convicted only a treason, and that the killing and infliction of physical injuries
committed by him may not be separated from the crime of treason but should be regarded as
acts performed in the commission of treason, although, as stated in said case, the brutality
with which the killing or physical injuries were carried out may be taken as an aggravating
circumstance. (Italics supplied.)
and reduced the penalty from death to life imprisonment and a fine of P20,000.
Identical were the pertinent features of the case of People vs. Adlawan, 83 Phil., 194, 46 Off.
Gaz., 4299, in which, through Mr. Justice Reyes (A), we declared:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
cralaw we find merit in the contention that Appellant should have not been convicted of the
so called Complex crime of treason with murder, robbery, and rape. The killings, robbery, and
raping mentioned in the information are therein alleged not as specific offenses but as mere
elements of the crime of treason for which the accused is being prosecuted. Being merged in
and identified with the general charged they cannot be used in combination with the treason to
increase the penalty under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code. (People vs. Prieto, L-399,
January 29, 1948, 45 Off. Gaz., 3329.) Appellant should, therefore, be held guilty of treason
only. (Italics supplied.)
In People vs. Suralta, 85 Phil., 714, 47 Off. Gaz., 4595, the language used
was:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
cralaw But the Peoples Court erred in finding the Appellant guilty of the complex crime of
treason with murder, because murder was an ingredient of the crime of treason, as we have
heretofore held in several cases. (Italics supplied.)

This was reiterated in People vs. Navea, 87 Phil., 1, 47 Off. Gaz., Supp. No. 12, p.
252:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The Solicitor General recommends that the Appellant be sentenced for the complex crime of
treason with murder. We have already ruled, however, that where, as in the present case, the
killing is charged as an element of treason, it becomes identified with the latter crime and
cannot be the subject of a separate punishment, or used in combination with treason to
increase the penalty as Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code provides. (Italics supplied.)
The question at bar was, also, taken up in the case of Crisologo vs. People and Villalobos (94
Phil., 477), decided on February 26, 1954. The facts and the rule therein laid down are set
forth in our unanimous decision in said case, from which we quote:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The Petitioner Juan D. Crisologo, a captain in the USAFFE during the last world war and at
the time of the filing of the present petition a lieutenant colonel in the Armed Forces of the
Philippines, was on March 12, 1946, accused of treason under Article 114 of the Revised
Penal Code in an information filed in the Peoples Court. But before the accused could be
brought under the jurisdiction of the court, he was on January 13, 1947, indicted for violations
of Commonwealth Act No. 408, otherwise known as the Articles of War, before a military court
created by authority of the Army Chief of Staff, the indictment containing three charges, two of
which, the first and third, were those of treason consisting in giving information and aid to the
enemy leaving to the capture of USAFFE officers and men and other persons with antiJapanese reputation and in urging members of the USAFFE to surrender and cooperate with
the enemy, while the second was that of having certain civilians filled in time of war. Found
innocent of the first and third charges but guilty of the second, he was on May, 8, 1947,
sentenced by the military court to life imprisonment.
With the approval on June 17, 1948, of Republic Act No. 311 abolishing the Peoples Court,
the criminal case in that court against the Petitioner was, pursuant to the provisions of said
Act, transferred to the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga and there the charges of treason
were amplified. Arraigned in that court upon the amended information, Petitioner presented a
motion to quash, challenging the jurisdiction of the court and pleading double jeopardy
because of his previous sentence in the military court. But the court denied the motion and,
after Petitioner had pleaded not guilty, proceeded to trial, whereupon, the present petition for
certiorari and prohibition was filed in this court to have the trial judge desist from proceeding
with the trial and dismiss the case.
It is, however, claimed that the offense charged in the military court different from that
charged in the civil court and that even granting that the offense was identical the military
court had no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the same because the Peoples Court had
previously acquired jurisdiction over the case with the result that the conviction in the court
martial was void. In support of the first point, it is urged that the amended information filed in
the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga contains overt acts distinct from those charged in
the military court. But we note that while certain overt acts specified in the amended
information in the Zamboanga court were not specified in the indictment in the court martial,
they all are embraced in the general charge of treason, which is a continuous offense and one
who commits it is not criminally liable for as many crimes as there are overt acts, because all
overt act he has done or might have done for that purpose constitute but a single offense.
(Guinto vs. Veluz, 44. Off. Gaz., 909; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryPeople vs. Pacheco, L-4750,
promulgated July 31, 1953.) In other words, since the offense charged in the amended
information in the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga is treason, the fact that the said

information contains an enumeration of additional ovart acts not specifically mentioned in the
indictment before the military court is immaterial since the new alleged overt acts do not in
themselves constitute a new and distinct offense from that of treason, and this court has
repeatedly held that a person cannot be found guilty of treason and at the same time also
guilty of overt acts specified in the information for treason even if those overt acts, considered
separately, are punishable by law, for the simple reason that those overt acts are not separate
offenses distinct from that of treason but constitute ingredients thereof. (Italics supplied.)
Thus, insofar as treason is concerned, the opinion of this court, on the question whether said
crime may be complexed with murder, when the former was committed through the latter, and
it is so alleged in the information, had positively and clearly crystalized itself in the negative as
early as January 29, 1948.
We have not overlooked the decision in People vs. Labra (L-1240, decided on May 12, 1949),
the dispositive part of which partly reads:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Wherefore, the verdict of guilty must be affirmed. Articles 48, 114 and 248 of the Revised
Penal Code are applicable to the offense of treason with murder. However for lack of sufficient
votes to impose the extreme penalty, the Appellant will be sentenced to life imprisonment
cralaw ..
Although it mentions Articles 48 and 248 of the Revised Penal Code and the offense of
treason with murder, it should be noted that we affirmed therein the action of the Peoples
Court, which, according to the opening statement of our decision, convicted Labra of treason
aggravated with murder. Besides, the applicability of said articles was not discussed in said
decision. It is obvious, from a mere perusal thereof, that this court had no intention of passing
upon such question. Otherwise, it would have explained why it did not follow the rule laid
down in the previous cases of Prieto, Labra (August 10, 1948), Alibotod, Vilo, Roble, Delgado
and Adlawan (supra), in which the issue was explicitly examined and decided in the negative.
Our continued adherence to this view in the subsequent cases of Suralta, Navea, Pacheco
and Crisologo, without even a passing reference to the second Labra case, shows that we did
not consider the same as reflecting the opinion of the court on said question. At any rate,
insofar as it suggests otherwise, the position taken in the second Labra case must be deemed
reversed by our decisions in said cases of Suralta, Navea, Pacheco and Crisologo.
It is true that treason and rebellion are distinct and different from each other. This does not
detract, however, from the rule that the ingredients of a crime form part and parcel thereof,
and, hence, are absorbed by the same and cannot be punished either separately therefrom or
by the application of Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code. Besides there is more reason to
apply said rule in the crime of rebellion than in that of treason, for the law punishing rebellion
(Article 135, Revised Penal Code) specifically mentions the act of engaging in war and
committing serious violence among its essential elements thus clearly indicating that
everything done in the prosecution of said war, as a means necessary therefor, is embraced
therein unlike the provision on treason (Article 114, Revised Penal Code) which is less
explicit thereon.
It is urged that, if the crime of assault upon a person in authority or an agent of a person in
authority may be committed with physical injuries (U. S. vs. Montiel, 9 Phil., 162), homicide
(People vs. Lojo, 52 Phil., 390) and murder (U. S. vs. Ginosolongo, 23 Phil., 171; chan
roblesvirtualawlibraryU. S. vs. Baluyot, 40 Phil., 385), and rape may be perpetrated with
physical injuries (U. S. vs. Andaya, 34 Phil., 690), then rebellion may, similarly, be complexed
with murder, arson, or robbery. The conclusion does not follow, for engaging in war, serious

violence, physical injuries and destruction of life and property are inherent in rebellion, but not
in assault upon persons in authority or agents of persons in authority or in rape. The word
rebellion evokes, not merely a challenge to the constituted authorities, but, also, civil war, on
a bigger or lesser scale, with all the evils that go with it, whereas, neither rape nor assault
upon persons in authority connotes necessarily, or even generally, either physical injuries, or
murder. 1
In support of the theory that a rebel who kills in furtherance of the insurrection is guilty of the
complex crime of rebellion with murder, our attention has been called to Article 244 of the old
Penal Code of the Philippines, reading:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Los delitos particulares cometidos en una rebelion o sedicion, o con motivo de ellas, seran
castigados respectivamente segun las disposiciones de este Codigo.
Cuando no puedan descubrirse sus autores seran penados como tales los jefes principales
de la rebelion o sedicion.
and to the following observations of Cuello Calon (Derecho Penal, Vol. II, p. 110), in relation
thereto:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Se establece aqui que el en una rebelion o sedicion, o con motivo de ellas, comete otros
delitos (v.g., roba, mata o lesiona), sera responsable de estos ademas de los delitos de
rebelion o sedicion. La dificultad consiste en estos casos en separar los accidentes de la
rebelion o sedicion de los delitos independientes de estas, y como las leyes no contienen en
este punto precepto alguno aplicable, su solucion ha quedado encomendada a los tribunales.
La jurisprudencia que estos han sentado considera como accidentes de la rebelion o sedicion
cuya criminalidad queda embedida en la de estos delitos, y, por tanto, no son punibles
especialmente los hechos de escasa gravedad (v.g., atentados, desacatos, lesiones
menos graves); chan roblesvirtualawlibrarypor el contrario, las infracciones graves, como el
asesinato o las lesiones graves, se consideran como delitos independientes de la rebelion o
de la sedicion.
It should be noted, however, that said Article 244 of the old Penal Code of the Philippines has
not been included in our Revised Penal Code. If the applicability of Article 48 to rebellion was
determined by the existence of said Article 244, then the elimination of the latter would be
indicative of the contrary.
Besides, the crime of rebellion, referred to by Cuello Calon, was that punished in the Spanish
Penal Code, Article 243 of which provides:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Son reos de rebelion los que se alzaren publicamente y en abierta hostilidad contra el
Gobierno para cualquiera de los objetossiguientes:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
1. Destronar al Rey, deponer al Regente o Regencia del Reino, o privarles de su libertad
personal u obligarles a ejecutar un acto contrario a su voluntad.
2. Impedir la celebracion dc las elecciones para Diputados a Cortes o Senadores en todo el
Reino, o la reunion legitima de las mismas.
3. Disolver las Cortes o impedir la deliberacion de alguno de los Cuerpos Colegisladores o
arrancarles alguna resolucion.
4. Ejecutar cualquiera de los delitos previstos en el articulo 165.
5. Sustraer el Reino o parte de el o algun cuerpo de tropa de tierra o de mar, o cualquiera
otra clase de fuerza armada, de la obediencia del Supremo Gobierno.
6. Usar y ejercer por si o despojar a los Ministros de la Corona de sus facultades
constitucionales, o impedirles o coartarles su libre ejercicio. (Articulo 167, Codigo Penal de
1850. Veanse las demas concordancias del articulo 181.)

Thus, the Spanish Penal Code did not specifically declare that rebellion includes the act of
engaging in war against the forces of the Government and of using serious violence for the
purposes stated in Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code. In view of this express statutory
inclusion of the acts of war and serious violence among the ingredients of rebellion in the
Philippines, it is clear that the distinction made by Cuello Calon between grave and less grave
offenses committed in the course of an insurrection cannot be accepted in this jurisdiction.
Again, if both classes of offenses are part and parcel of a rebellion, or means necessary
therefor, neither law nor logic justifies the exclusion of the one and the inclusion of the other.
In fact, Cuello Calon admits that the difficulty lies in separating the accidents of rebellion or
sedition from the offenses independent therefrom. Ergo, offenses that are not independent
therefrom, but constituting an integral part thereof committed, precisely, to carry out the
uprising to its successful conclusion are beyond the purview of Article 244. Indeed, the
above quoted statement of Cuello Calon to the effect that grave felonies committed in the
course of an insurrection are independent therefrom was based upon a decision of the
Supreme Court of Spain of February 5, 1872, which we find reported in the Codigo Penal de
Filipinas, by Jose Perez Rubio, as follows:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
El Tribunal Supremo de Justicia en sentencia de 5 de Febrero de 1872, tiene
declarado:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary Que segun los articulos 184 del Codigo Penal de 1830,
y 259 del reformado (1870), los delitos particulares cometidos en una rebelion o sedicion o
con motivo de ellas se castigan respectivamente segun las disposiciones de los mismos
Codigos; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryy con arreglo al decreto de amnistia de 9 de Agosto de
1876 estan solo comprendidos en aquella gracia las personas sentenciadas, procesadas o
sujatas a responsabilidad por delitos politicos de cualquiera especie -cometidos desde el 29
de Septiembre de 1868; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryQue el asesinato del Gobernador Civil de
Burgos no fue resultado de movimiento alguno politico, sino de un mero tumulto que imprimio
el fanatismo, y cuya unica aparente tendencia era impedir que aquel funcionario inventariase
ciertos objetos artisticos que se decian existentes en la Catedral:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Que esto lo demuestran las salvajes voces de muerte proferidas por los asesinos contra la
persona del Gobernador; chan roblesvirtualawlibrarysin que al ejecutar en el mismo recinto
del templo los horrorosos hechos que aparecen en la causa, alzasen bandera politica alguna
ni dieran otro grito que el, en aquel momento sacrilego e impio, de Viva la
religion:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary Que la apreciar la Sala sentenciadora los hechos
referentes al Gobernador Civil de delito de asesinato, penarlo con arreglo al Codigo y declarar
inaplicable el citado Decreto de Amnistia, no ha cometido el error de derecho sealado en los
casos 1. 3. del articulo 4. de la ley sobre establecimiento de la casacion criminal, ni
infringido los articulos 250 y 259 del Codigo Penal de 1870. (Page 239; chan
roblesvirtualawlibraryItalics supplied.) (See, also, El Codigo Penal, by Hidalgo Garcia, Vol. I,
p. 623.)
It is apparent that said case is not in point. There was no issue therein on whether murder
may be complexed with rebellion or sedition. The question for determination was whether the
killers of the victim were guilty of the common crime of murder, or should have been convicted
only of rebellion or sedition. The court adopted the first alternative, not because of the gravity
of the acts performed by the accused, but because they had no political motivation. Moreover,
the Endnote:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary to said quotation from Cuello Calon
reads:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Los atentados desacatos y lesiones a la autoridad u otros delitos contra el orden publico

cometidos en la sedicion o con motivo de ella, no son delitos distintos de la sedicion, 3


octubre 1903, 19 noviembre 1906; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryla resistencia o acometimiento a
la fuerza publica por los sediciosos es accidente de la rebelion, 23 mayo 1890.
El asesinato de un gobernador cometido en el curso de un tumulto debe penarse como un
delito comun de asesinato, 5 febrero 1872. Sin embargo, la jurisprudencia, tratandose de
ciertos delitos, es vacilante; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryasi, v. g., el acometimiento al teniente
de alcalde se ha declarado en un fallo independiente de la perturbacion tumultuaria
promovida para impedir al alcalde el cumplimiento de sus providencias, 16 marzo 1885,
mientras que un hecho analogo se ha considerado en otra sentenda ya citada como
accidente de la rebelion, 3 Octubre 1903. El acometimiento de los sediciosos a la fuerza
publica es accidente de la sedicion y no uno de los delitos particulares a que se refiere este
articulo, 23 de mayo 1890. Entre estos delitos a que alude el precepto se hallan las lesiones
que puedan causar los sediciosos, 19 noviembre 1906.
(Endnote:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary 21, II Cuelo Calon, Derecho Penal, pp. 110-111.)
(Italics supplied.)
Thus in a decision, dated May 2, 1934, the Supreme Court of Spain
held:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Considerando que la nota deferencial entre los delitos de rebelion y sedicion, de una parte, y
el de atentado, esta constituida por la circunstancia de alzamiento publico que caracteriza a
los primeros, los cuales, por su indole generica, absorben a los de atentado y demas
infracciones que durante su comision y con su motivo se cometan, y afirmandose como
hecho en la sentencia recurrida que el procesado Mariano Esteban Martinez realizo, en union
de otros, el atendado que se le imputa sin alzarse publicamente, cae por su base el recurso
fundado en supuesto distinto. (Jurisprudencia Criminal, Tomo 130, p. 551.) (Italics supplied.)
To the same effect are, likewise, the following:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
La provocacion y el ataque a la Guardia Civil por paisanos alzadoz tumultuariamente para
impedir al Delegado de un Gobernador civil el cumplimiento de sus providencias, no pueden
estimarse constitutivos de un delito distinto del de sedicion, ni ser, por tanto, perseguidos y
penados separadamente.
La resistencia o el acometimiento de los sublevados a la fuerza publica constituye, en su
caso, una circunstancia o accidente de la sedicion y no es delito de los que el Codigo Penal
en este articulo (formerly Article 244, now Article 227) supone que pueden cometerse en ella
o con su motivo, los cuales denomina delitos particulares, y manda que se penen conforme a
las disposiciones del propio Codigo. (S. 23-5-890; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryG. 23-6-890;
chan roblesvirtualawlibraryt. 44; chan roblesvirtualawlibrarypagina 671) (II Doctrina Penal del
Tribunal Supremo, p. 2411.) (Italics supplied.)
La Audiencia condeno como autores de atentado a dos de los amotinados que agredieron al
alcalde, e interpuesto recurso de casacion contra la sentencia, el Tribunal Supremo la casa y
anula, teniendo en cuenta lo dispuesto en el articulo 250 (numero 3.) del Codigo Penal;
Considerando que el acto llevado a cabo por el grupo constituye una verdadera sedicion, sin
que sea licito el dividir este hecho y calificarlo de atentado respecto a las personas que
agredieron a dicho alcalde, porque el acometimiento fue un accidente de la sedicion, de la
cual eran todos responsables, ya se efectuara por los agrupados en conjunto o por uno solo,
por ser comun el objeto que se proponian y no individual; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryy al
calificar y penar este hecho la Audencia de Gerona, de atentado cralaw, ha incurrido en error
de derecho e infringido los articulos 250 y siguientes del Codigo Penal, por no haberlos

aplicado, y el 263, numero 2., en relacion con el 264, numeros 1. y 3., por su aplicacion
cralaw (Sent. 3 octubre 1903. Gac. 12 Diciembre) (Enciclopedia Juridica Espaola, Tomo
xxviii p. 250).
These cases are in accord with the text of said Article 244, which refers, not to all offenses
committed in the course of a rebellion or on the occasion thereof, but only to delitos
particulares or common crimes. Now, what are delitos particulares as the phrase is used in
said article 244? We quote from Viada:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Las disposicion del primer parrafo de este articulo no puede ser mas justa; chan
roblesvirtualawlibrarycon arreglo a ella, los delitos particulares o comunes cometidos en una
rebelion er sedicion no deberan reputarse como accidentes inherentes a estas, sino como
delitos especiales, a dicha rebelion y sedicion ajenos, los que deberan ser respectivamente
castigados con las penas que en este Codigo se las sealan. Pero, que delitos deberan
considerarse como comunes, y cuales como constitutivos de la propia rebelion o sedicion? En
cuanto a la rebelion, no ofrece esta cuestion dificultad alguna, pues todo hecho que no este
comprendido en uno y otro de los objetos especificados en los seis numeros del articulo 243
sera extrao a la rebelion, y si se hallare definido en algun otro articulo del Codigo, con
arreglo a este debera ser castigado como delito particular. Pero tratandose de la sedicion,
comprendiendose como objetos de la misma, en los numeros 3., 4. y 5. del articulo 250,
hechos que constituyen otros tantos ataques a las personas o a la propiedad, cuales se
consideran como accidentes inherentes a la propria sedicion, y cuales deberan reputarse
como delitos particulares o comunes? En cuanto a los casos de los numeros 4. y 5.,
estimanos que el objeto politico y social que se requiera para la realizacion de los actos en
aquellos comprendidos es el que debe servirnos de norma y guia para distinguir lo inherente
a la sedicion de lo que es ajeno o extrao a ella. Cuando no exista ese objeto politico y social,
el acto de odio o venganza ejercido contra los particulares o cualquiera clase del Estado, y el
atentado contra las propiedades de los ciudadanos o corporaciones mentados en el numero
5. del articulo 250, no seran constitutivos del delito de sedicion, sino que deberan ser
apreciados y castigados como delitos comunes, segun las disposiciones respectivas de este
Codigo y por lo que toca a los actos de odio o venganza ejercidos en la persona o bienes
de alguna Autoridad o sus agentes, estimamos que deberan reputarse como delitos comunes
todos aquellos hechos innecesarios 2 para la consecucion del fin particular que se
propusieran los sediciosos y como esenciales, constitutivos de la propia sedicion todos
aquellos actos de odio o venganza que sean medio racionalmente necesario para el logro del
objeto especial a que se encaminaran los esfuerzos de los sublevados. Asi, en el caso de la
Cuestion 1 expuesta en el comentario del articulo 258, es evidente que el fin que se
propusieron los sediciosos fue no pagar el impuesto a cuya cobranza iba a proceder el
comisionado; chan roblesvirtualawlibrarypero para lograr este objeto, como lo lograron, fue
preciso hacer salir del pueblo al ejecutor, y a este efecto, lo amenazaron, lo persiguieron y
llegaron hasta lesionarle. Esas amenazas y lesiones no pudieron apreciarse, ni las aprecio
tampoco la Sala sentenciadora, como delito comun, sino como accidente inherente a la
misma sedicion, por cuanto fueron un medio racionalmente necesario para la consecucion del
fin determinado que se propusieron los culpables.
Pero cuando tal necesidad desaparece, cuando se hiere por herir, cuando se mata por
matar, el hecho ya, no puede ser considerado como un accidente propio de la sedicion, sino
como un delito especial, al que debe aplicarse la pena al mismo correspondiente. (III Viada,
pp. 311-312.) (Italics supplied.)

Cuello Calon is even more illuminating. He says:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary


La doctrina cientifica considera los delitos llamados politicos como infracciones de un
caracter especial distintas de los denominados delitos comunes. De esta apreciacion ha
nacido la division de los delitos, desde el punto de vista de su naturaleza intrinseca, en delitos
politicos y delitos comunes o de derecho comun.
Se reputan delitos comunes aquellos que lesionan bienes juridicos individuales (v. gr., los
delitos contra la vida, contra la honestidad, contra la propiedad, etc.)
La nocion del delito politico no parece tan clara. Desde luego revisten este caracter los que
atentan contra el orden politico del Estado, contra su orden externo (independencia de la
nacion, integridad del territorio, etc.), o contra el interno (delitos contra el Jefe del Estado,
contra la forma de Gobierno, etc.). Pero tambien pueden ser considerados como politicos
todos los delitos, cualesquiera que sean incluso los de derecho comun, cuando fueron
cometidos por moviles politicos. Deben, por tanto, estimarse como infracciones de esta clase,
no solo las que objetivamente tengan tal caracter por el interes politico que lesionan, sino
tambien las que, apreciadas subjetivamente, manifiestan una motivacion de caracter politico.
Asi podria formulares esta definicion:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary es delito politico el cometido
contra el orden politico del Estado, asi como todo delito de cualquiera otra clase determinado
por moviles politicos. (Cuello Calon, Derecho Penal, Tomo I, pp. 247-249.)
In short, political crimes are those directly aimed against the political order, as well as such
common crimes as may be committed to achieve a political purpose. The decisive factor is the
intent or motive. If a crime usually regarded as common like homicide, is perpetrated for the
purpose of removing from the allegiance to the Government the territory of the Philippines
Islands or any part thereof, then said offense becomes stripped of its common complexion,
inasmuch as, being part and parcel of the crime of rebellion, the former acquires the political
character of the latter.
Conformably with the foregoing, the case of murder against the Defendant in U. S. vs.
Lardizabal (1 Phil., 729) an insurgent who killed a prisoner of war because he was too
weak to march with the retreating rebel forces, and could not be left behind without
endangering the safety of the latter was dismissed upon the ground that the execution of
said prisoner of war formed part of, and was included in, the crime of sedition, which, in turn,
was covered by an amnesty, to the benefits of which said Defendant was entitled.
True, in U. S. vs. Alfont (1 Phil., 115), the commander of an unorganized group of insurgents
was, pursuant to Article 244 of our old Penal Code, convicted of homicide for having shot and
killed a woman who was driving a vehicle. But the complex crime of rebellion with homicide
was not considered in that case. Apart from this, the accused failed to established the relation
between her death and the insurrection. What is more, it was neither proved nor alleged that
he had been prompted by political reasons. In other words, his offense was independent from
the rebellion. The latter was merely the occasion for the commission of the former.
It is noteworthy that the aforementioned decisions of this court and the Supreme Court of
Spain in cases of treason, rebellion and sedition, are in line with the trend in other countries,
as well as in the field of international relations. Referring to the question as to what offenses
are political in nature, it was said in In re Ezeta (62 Fed. Rep., 972):chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
What constitutes an offense of a political character has not yet been determined by judicial
authority. Sir James Stephens, in his work, History of the Criminal Law of England (Volume 2,
p. 71), thinks that it should be interpreted to mean that fugitive criminals are not to be
surrendered for extradition crimes if those crimes were incidental to and formed a part of

political disturbances. Mr. John Stuart Mill, in the house of commons, in 1866, while
discussing an amendment to the act of extradition, on which the treaty between England and
France was founded, gave this definition:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary Any offense committed in
the course of or furthering of civil war, insurrection, or political commotion. Hansards Debates
Vol. 184, p. 2115. In the Castioni Case, supra, decided in 1891, the question was discussed
by the most eminent counsel at the English bar, and considered by distinguished judges,
without a definition being framed that would draw a fixed and certain line between a municipal
or common crime and one of political character. I do not think, said Denman, J., it is
necessary or desirable that we should attempt to put into language, in the shape of an
exhaustive definition, exactly the whole state of things, or every state of things, which might
bring a particular case within the description of an offense of a political character. In that case,
Castioni was charged with the murder of one Rossi, by shooting him with a revolver, in the
town of Bellinzona, in the canton of Ticino, in Switzerland. The deceased, Rossi, was a
member of the state council of the canton of Ticino. Castioni was a citizen of the same canton.
For some time previous to the murder, much dissatisfaction had been felt and expressed by a
large number of inhabitants of Ticino at the mode in which the political party then in power
were conducting the government of the canton. A request was presented to the government
for a revision of the constitution of the canton and, the government having declined to take a
popular vote on that question, a number of the citizens of Bellinzona, among whom was
Castioni, seized the arsenal of the town, from which they took rifles and ammunition, disarmed
the gendarmes, arrested and bound or handcuffed several persons connected with the
government, and forced them to march in front of the armed crowd to the municipal palace.
Admission to the palace was demanded in the name of the people, and was refused by Rossi
and another member of the government, who were in the palace. The crowd then broke open
the outer gate of the palace, and rushed in, pushing before them the government officials
whom they had arrested and bound. Castioni, who was armed with a revolver, was among the
first to enter. A second door, which was locked, was broken open, and at this time, or
immediately after, Rossi, who was in the passage, was shot through the body with a revolver,
and died, very soon afterwards. Some other shots were fired, but no one else was injured.
Castioni fled to England. His extradition was requested by the federal council of Switzerland.
He was arrested and taken before a police magistrate, as provided by the statute, who held
him for extradition. Application was made by the accused to the high court of justice of
England for a writ of habeas corpus. He was represented by Sir Charles Russell, now lord
chief justice. The attorney general, Sir Richard Webster, appeared for the crown, and the
solicitor general, Sir Edward Clarke, and Robert Woodfal, for the federal council of
Switzerland. This array of distinguished counsel, and the high character of the court,
commends the case as one of the highest authority. It appeared from an admission by one of
the parties engaged in the disturbances that the death of Rossi was a misfortune, and not
necessary for the rising. The opinions of the judges as to the political character of the crime
charged against Castioni, upon the facts stated, is exceedingly interesting, but I need only
refer to the following passages. Judge Denman says:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The question really is whether, upon the facts, it is clear that the man was acting as one of a
number of persons engaged in acts of violence of a political character with a political object,
and as part of the political movement and rising in which he was taking part.
Judge Hawkins, in commenting upon the character of political offenses,
said:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

I cannot help thinking that everybody knows there are many acts of a political character done
without reason, done against all reason; chan roblesvirtualawlibrarybut at the same time one
cannot look too hardly, and weigh in golden scales the acts of men hot in their political
excitement. We know that in heat, and in heated blood, men often do things which are against
and contrary to reason; chan roblesvirtualawlibrarybut none the less an act of this description
may be done for the purpose of furthering and in furtherance of a political rising, even though
it is an act which may be deplored and lamented, as even cruel and against all reason, by
those who can calmly reflect upon it after the battle is over.
Sir James Stephens, whose definition as an author has already been cited, was one of the
judges, and joined in the views taken as to the political character of the crime charged against
Castioni. The prisoner was discharged. Applying, by analogy, the action of the English court in
that case to the four cases now before me, under consideration, the conclusion follows that
the crimes charged here, associated as they are with the actual conflict of armed forces, are
of a political character.
The draft of a treaty on International Penal Law, adopted by the congress of Montevideo in
1888, and recommended by the International American Conference to the governments of the
Latin-American nations in 1890, contains the following provisions (Article
23):chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Political offenses, offenses subversive of the internal and external safety of a state or
common offenses connected with these, shall not warrant extradition. The determination of the
character of the offense is incumbent upon the nations upon which the demand for extradition
is made; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryand its decision shall be made under and according to the
provisions of the law which shall prove to be most favorable to the
accused:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
I am not aware that any part of this Code has been made the basis of treaty stipulations
between any of the American nations, but the article cited may be at least accepted as
expressing the wisdom of leading jurists and diplomats. The article is important with respect to
two of its features:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary (1) provides that a fugitive shall not be
extradited for an offense connected with a political offense, or with an offense subversive of
the internal or external safety of the state; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryand (2) the decision as
to the character of the offense shall be made under and according to the provisions of the law
which shall prove most favorable to the accused. The first provision is sanctioned by Calvo,
who, speaking of the exemption from extradition of persons charged with political offenses,
says:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The exemption even extends to acts connected with political crimes or offenses, and it is
enough, as says Mr. Fuastin Helio; chan roblesvirtualawlibrarythat a common crime be
connected with a political act, that it be the outcome of or be in the outcome of or be in the
execution of such, to be covered by the privilege which protects the latter Calvo, Droit Int.
(3me ed.) p. 413, section 1262.
The second provision of the article is founded on the broad principles of humanity found
everywhere in the criminal law, distinguishing its administration with respect to even the worst
features of our civilization from the cruelties of barbarism. When this article was under
discussion in the international American conference in Washington, Mr. Silva, of Colombia,
submitted some observations upon the difficulty of drawing a line between an offense of a
political character and a common crime, and incidentally referred to the crime of robbery, in
terms worthy of some consideration here. He said:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

In the revolutions, as we conduct them in our countries, the common offenses are necessarily
mixed up with the political in many cases. A colleague General Caamao (of Ecuador) knows
how we carry on wars. A revolutionist needs horses for moving, beef to feed his troops, etc.;
chan roblesvirtualawlibraryand since he does not go into the public markets to purchase these
horses and that beef, nor the arms and saddles to mount and equip his forces, he takes them
from the first pasture or shop he find at hand. This is called robbery everywhere, and is a
common offense in time of peace, but in time of war it is a circumstance closely allied to the
manner of waging it. International American Conference, Vol. 2, p. 615. (Italics supplied.)
We quote the following from Endnote:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary (23) on pages 249-250,
Vol. I, of Cuello Calons aforesaid work on Derecho Penal.
En algunos Codigo y leyes de fecha proxima ya se halla una definicion de estos delitos. El
Codigo penal ruso, en el articulo 58, define como delitos contra revolucionarios los hechos
encaminados a derrocar o debilitar el poder de los Consejos de trabajadores y campesinos y
de los gobiernos de la Union de Republicas socialistas sovieticas, a destruir o debilitar la
seguridad exterior de la Union de Republicas Sovieticas y las conquistas economicas,
politicas y nacionales fundamentales de la revolucion proletaria. El Codigo Penal italiano de
1930 considera en eu articulo 8. como delito politico todo delito que ofenda un interes
politico del Estado o un derecho politico del ciudadano. Tambien se reputa politico el delito
comun deteminado, en todo o en parte por motivos politicos. En la ley alemana de extradicion
de 25 diciembre 1929 se definen asi:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary Son delitos politicos los
atentados punibles directamente ejecutados contra la existencia o la seguridad del Estado,
contra el jefe o contra un miembro del gobierno del Estado como tal, contra una corporacion
constitucional, contra los derechos politicos las buenas relaciones con el extranjero. parrafo
3., 2.
La 6a. Conferencia para la Unificacion del Derecho penal (Copenhague, 31 agosto 3
septiembre 1935) adopto la siguiente nocion del delito politico:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
1. Por delitos politicos se entienden los dirigidos contra la organizacion y funcionamiento del
Estado o contra los derechos que de esta organizacion y funcionamiento provienen para el
culpable.
2. Tambien se consideran como delitos politicos los delitos de derecho comun que
constituyen hechos conexos con la ejecucion de los delitos previstos en seccion
1.:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary como los hechos dirigidos a favorecer la ejecucion de un delito
politico o a permitir al autor de este delito sustraerse a la aplicacion de la ley penal.
3. No se consideraran delitos politicos aquellos a los que su autor sea inducido por un
motivo egoista y vil.
4. No se consideraran delitos los que creen un peligro para la comunidad o un estado de
terror. (Italics supplied.)
Thus, national, as well as international, laws and jurisprudence overwhelmingly favor the
proposition that common crimes, perpetrated in furtherance of a political offense, are divested
of their character as common offenses and assume the political complexion of the main
crime of which they are mere ingredients, and, consequently, cannot be punished separately
from the principal offense, or complexed with the same, to justify the imposition of a graver
penalty.
There is one other reason and a fundamental one at that why Article 48 of our Penal
Code cannot be applied in the case at bar. If murder were not complexed with rebellion, and
the two crimes were punished separately (assuming that this could be done), the following

penalties would be imposable upon the movant, namely:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary (1) for the
crime of rebellion, a fine not exceeding P20,000 and prision mayor, in the corresponding
period, depending upon the modifying circumstances present, but never exceeding 12 years
of prision mayor; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryand (2) for the crime of murder, reclusion
temporal in its maximum period to death, depending upon the modifying circumstances
present. In other words, in the absence of aggravating circumstances, the extreme penalty
could not be imposed upon him. However, under Article 48, said penalty would have to be
meted out to him, even in the absence of a single aggravating circumstance. Thus, said
provision, if construed in conformity with the theory of the prosecution, would be unfavorable
to the movant.
Upon the other hand, said Article 48 was enacted for the purpose of favoring the culprit, not of
sentencing him to a penalty more severe than that which would be proper if the several acts
performed by him were punished separately. In the word of Rodriguez
Navarro:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
La unificacion de penas en los casos de concurso de delitos a que hace referencia este
articulo (75 del Codigo de 1932), esta basado francamente en el principio pro reo. (II
Doctrina Penal del Tribunal Supremo de Espaa, p. 2168.) 3
We are aware of the fact that this observation refers to Article 71 (later 75) of the Spanish
Penal Code (the counterpart of our Article 48), as amended in 1908 and then in 1932,
reading:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Las disposiciones del articulo anterior no son aplicables en el caso de que un solo hecho
constituya dos o mas delitos, o cuando el uno de ellos sea medio necesario para cometer el
otro.
En estos casos solo se impondra la pena correspondiente al delito mas grave en su grado
maximo, hasta el limite que represente la suma de las que pudieran imponerse, penando
separadamente los delitos.
Cuando la pena asi computada exceda de este limite, se sancionaran los delitos por
separado. (Rodriguez Navarro, Doctrino Penal del Tribunal Supremo, Vol. II, p. 2163.)
and that our Article 48 does not contain the qualification inserted in said amendment,
restricting the imposition of the penalty for the graver offense in its maximum period to the
case when it does not exceed the sum total of the penalties imposable if the acts charged
were dealt with separately. The absence of said limitation in our Penal Code does not, to our
mind, affect substantially the spirit of said Article 48. Indeed, if one act constitutes two or more
offenses, there can be no reason to inflict a punishment graver than that prescribed for each
one of said offenses put together. In directing that the penalty for the graver offense be, in
such case, imposed in its maximum period, Article 48 could have had no other purpose than
to prescribe a penalty lower than the aggregate of the penalties for each offense, if imposed
separately. The reason for this benevolent spirit of Article 48 is readily discernible. When two
or more crimes are the result of a single act, the offender is deemed less perverse than when
he commits said crimes thru separate and distinct acts. Instead of sentencing him for each
crime independently from the other, he must suffer the maximum of the penalty for the more
serious one, on the assumption that it is less grave than the sum total of the separate
penalties for each offense.
Did the framers of Article 48 have a different purpose in dealing therein with an offense which
is a means necessary for the commission of another? To begin with, the culprit cannot, then,
be considered as displaying a greater degree of malice than when the two offenses are

independent of each other. On the contrary, since one offense is a necessary means for the
commission of the other, the evil intent is one, which, at least, quantitatively, is lesser than
when the two offenses are unrelated to each other, because, in such event, he is twice guilty
of having harbored criminal designs and of carrying the same into execution. Furthermore, it
must be presumed that the object of Article 48, in its entirety, is only one. We cannot assume
that the purpose of the lawmaker, at the beginning of the single sentence of which said article
consists, was to favor the accused, and that, before the sentence ended, the former had a
change of heart and turned about face against the latter. If the second part of Article 48 had
been meant to be unfavorable to the accused and, hence, the exact opposite of the first
part each would have been placed in, separate provisions, instead of in one single article. If
the first part sought to impose, upon the culprit, a penalty less grave than that which he would
deserve if the two or more offenses resulting from his single act were punished separately,
then this, also, must be the purpose of the second part, in dealing with an offense which is a
necessary means for the commission of another.
The accuracy of this conclusion is borne out by the fact that, since 1850, when the counterpart
of our Article 48 was inserted in the Penal Code of Spain, or for over a century, it does not
appear to have been applied by the Supreme Court thereof to crimes of murder committed in
furtherance of an insurrection.
Incidentally, we cannot accept the explanation that crimes committed as a means necessary
for the success of a rebellion had to be prosecuted separately under the provisions of Article
259 of the Penal Code of Spain, which is the counterpart of Article 244 of our old Penal Code.
To begin with, these articles are part of a substantive law. They do not govern the manner or
method of prosecution of the culprits. Then again, said precepts ordain that common crimes
committed during a rebellion or sedition, or on the occasion thereof, shall be respectively
punished according to the provisions of this Code. Among such provisions was Article 90
(later Article 71, then Article 75) of the Spanish Penal Code, and Article 89 of our old Penal
Code, of which Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines is a substantial
reproduction. Hence, had the Supreme Court of Spain or the Philippines believed that
murders committed as a means necessary to attain the aims of an uprising were common
crimes, the same would have been complexed with the rebellion or sedition, as the case may
be.
The cases of People vs. Cabrera (43 Phil., 64) and People vs. Cabrera (43 Phil., 82) have not
escaped our attention. Those cases involved members of the constabulary who rose publicly,
for the purpose of performing acts of hate and vengeance upon the police force of Manila, and
in an encounter with the latter, killed some members thereof. Charged with and convicted of
sedition in the first case, they were accused of murder in the second case. They pleaded
double jeopardy in the second case, upon the ground that the facts alleged in the information
were those set forth in the charge in the first case, in which they had been convicted. This plea
was rejected upon the ground that the organic law prohibited double jeopardy for the same
offense, and that the offense of sedition is distinct and different from that of murder, although
both were the result of the same act.
The question whether one offense was inherent in, or identified with, the other was not
discussed or even considered in said cases. Besides, the lower court applied, in the murder
case Article 89 of the old Penal Code which is the counterpart of Article 48 of the Revised
Penal Code but this Court refused to do so. Again, simply because one act may constitute
two or more offenses, it does not follow necessarily that a person may be prosecuted for one

after conviction for the other, without violating the injunction against double jeopardy. For
instance, if a man fires a shotgun at another, who suffers thereby several injuries, one of
which produced his death, may he, after conviction for murder or homicide, based upon said
fatal injury, be accused or convicted, in a separate case, for the non-fatal injuries sustained by
the victim? Or may the former be convicted of the complex crime of murder or homicide with
serious and/or less serious physical injuries? The mere formulation of these questions suffices
to show that the limitation of the rule on double jeopardy to a subsequent prosecution for the
same offense does not constitute a license for the separate prosecution of two offenses
resulting from the same act, if one offense is an essential element of the other. At any rate, as
regards this phase of the issue, which was not touched in the Cabrera cases, the rule therein
laid down must necessarily be considered modified by our decision in the cases of People vs.
Labra (46 Off. Gaz., Supp. No. 1, p. 159) and Crisologo vs. People and Villalobos (supra),
insofar as inconsistent therewith.
The main argument in support of the theory seeking to complex rebellion with murder and
other offenses is that war within the purview of the laws on rebellion and sedition may
be waged or levied without killing. This premise does not warrant, however, the conclusion
drawn therefrom that any killing done in furtherance of a rebellion or sedition is
independent therefrom, and may be complexed therewith, upon the ground that destruction of
human life is not indispensable to the waging or levying of war. A person may kill another
without inflicting physical injuries upon the latter, such, for instance, as by poisoning,
drowning, suffocation or shock. Yet it is admitted that he who fatally stabs another cannot be
convicted of homicide with physical injuries. So too, it is undeniable that treason may be
committed without torturing or murdering anybody. Yet, it is well-settled that a citizen who
gives aid and comfort to the enemy by taking direct part in the maltreatment and assassination
of his (citizens) countrymen, in furtherance of the wishes of said enemy, is guilty of plain
treason, not complexed with murder or physical injuries, the later being as charged and
proven mere ingredients of the former. Now then, if homicide may be an ingredient of
treason, why can it not be an ingredient of rebellion? The proponents of the idea of rebellion
complexed with homicide,. etc., have not even tried to answer this question. Neither have they
assailed the wisdom of our aforementioned decisions in treason cases.
The Court is conscious of the keen interest displayed, and the considerable efforts exerted, by
the Executive Department in the apprehension and prosecution of those believed to be guilty
of crimes against public order, of the lives lost, and the time and money spent in connection
therewith, as well as of the possible implications or repercussions in the security of the State.
The careful consideration given to said policy of a coordinate and co-equal branch of the
Government is reflected in the time consumed, the extensive and intensive research work
undertaken, and the many meetings held by the members of the court for the purpose of
elucidating on the question under discussion and of settling the same.
The role of the judicial department under the Constitution is, however, clear to settle
justiceable controversies by the application of the law. And the latter must be enforced as it is
with all its flaws and defects, not affecting its validity not as the judges would have it. In
other words, the courts must apply the policy of the State as set forth in its laws, regardless of
the wisdom thereof.
It is evident to us that the policy of our statutes on rebellion is to consider all acts committed in
furtherance thereof as specified in Articles 134 and 135 of the
Revised:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary Penal Code as constituting only one crime, punishable

with one single penalty namely, that prescribed in said Article 135. It is interesting to note,
in this connection, that the penalties provided in our old Penal Code (Articles 230 to 232) were
much stiffer, namely:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
1. Life imprisonment to death for the promoters, maintainers and leaders of the rebellion,
and, also, for subordinate officers who held positions of authority, either civil or ecclesiastical,
if the purpose of the movement was to proclaim the independence of any portion of the
Philippine territory;
2. Reclusion temporal in its maximum period for said promoters, maintainers and leaders
of the insurrection, and for its subordinate officers, if the purpose of the rebellion was any of
those enumerated in Article 229, except that mentioned in the preceding paragraph;
3. Reclusion temporal:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary (a) for subordinate officers other than those
already adverted to; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryand (b) for mere participants in the rebellion
falling under the first paragraph of No. 2 of Article 174; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryand
4. Prision mayor in its medium period to reclusion temporal in its minimum period for
participants not falling under No. 3.
After the cession of the Philippines to the United States, the rigors of the old Penal Code were
tempered. Its aforementioned provisions were superseded by section 3 of Act No. 292, which
reduced the penalty to imprisonment for not more than ten (10) years and a fine not exceeding
$10,000, or P20,000, for every person who incites, sets on foot, assists or engages in any
rebellion or insurrection cralaw or who gives aid and comfort to any one so engaging in such
rebellion or insurrection. Such liberal attitude was adhered to by the authors of the Revised
Penal Code. The penalties therein are substantially identical to those prescribed in Act 292.
Although the Revised Penal Code increased slightly the penalty of imprisonment for the
promoters, maintainers and leaders of the uprising, as well as for public officers joining the
same, to a maximum not exceeding twelve (12) years of prision mayor, it reduced the penalty
of imprisonment for mere participants to not more than eight (8) years of prision mayor, and
eliminated the fine.
This benign mood of the Revised Penal Code becomes more significant when we bear in
mind it was approved on December 8, 1930 and became effective on January 1, 1932. At that
time the communists in the Philippines had already given ample proof of their widespread
activities and of their designs and potentialities. Prior thereto, they had been under
surveillance by the agents of the law, who gathered evidence of their subversive movements,
culminating in the prosecution of Evangelista, Manahan (57 Phil., 354; chan
roblesvirtualawlibrary57 Phil., 372), Capadocia (57 Phil., 364), Feleo (57 Phil., 451), Nabong
(57 Phil., 455), and others. In fact, the first information against the first two alleged that they
committed the crime of inciting to sedition on and during the month of November, 1930, and
for sometime prior and subsequent thereto.
As if this were not enough, the very Constitution adopted in 1935, incorporated a formal and
solemn declaration (Article II, section 5) committing the Commonwealth, and, then the
Republic of the Philippines, to the promotion of social justice. Soon later, Commonwealth Act
No. 103, creating the Court of Industrial Relations, was passed. Then followed a number of
other statutes implementing said constitutional mandate. It is not necessary to go into the
details of said legislative enactments. Suffice it to say that the same are predicated upon a
recognition of the fact that a good many of the problems confronting the State are due to
social and economic evils, and that, unless the latter are removed or, least minimized, the
former will keep on harassing the community and affecting the well-being of its members.

Thus, the settled policy of our laws on rebellion, since the beginning of the century, has been
one of decided leniency, in comparison with the laws enforce during the Spanish regime. Such
policy has not suffered the slightest alteration. Although the Government has, for the past five
or six years, adopted a more vigorous course of action in the apprehension of violators of said
law and in their prosecution the established policy of the State, as regards the punishment of
the culprits has remained unchanged since 1932. It is not for us to consider the merits and
demerits of such policy. This falls within the province of the policy-making branch of the
government the Congress of the Philippines. However, the following quotation from Cuello
Calon indicates the schools of thought on this subject and the reason that may have
influenced our lawmakers in making their choice:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Durante muchos siglos, hasta tiempos relativamente cercanos, se reputaban los hechos que
hoy llamamos delitos politicos como mas graves y peligrosos que los crimenes comunes. Se
consideraba que mientras estos solo causan un dao individual, aquellos producen profundas
perturbaciones en la vida collectiva llegando a poner en peligro la misma vida del Estado. En
consonancia con estas ideas fueron reprimidos con extraordinaria severidad y designados
con la denominacion romana de delitos de lesa majestad se catalogaron en las leyes penales
como los crimenes mas temibles.
Pero desde hace poco mas de un siglo se ha realizado en este punto una transformacion
profunda merced a la cual la delincuencia politica dejo de apreciarse con los severos criterios
de antao quedando sometida a un regimen penal, por regla general suave y benevolo.
El origen de este cambio se remonta, segun opinion muy difundida, a la revolucion que tuvo
lugar en Francia en el ao 1830. El gobierno de Luis Felipe establecio una honda separacion
entre los delitos comunes y los politicos, siendo estos sometidos a una penalidad mas suave
y sus autores exceptuados de la extradicion. Irradiando a otros paises tuvieron estas tan gran
difusion que en casi todos los de regimen liberal-individualista se ha llegado a crear un
tratamiento desprovisto de severidad para la represion de estos hechos. No solo las penas
con que se conminaron perdieron gran parte de su antigua dureza, sino qua en algunos
paises se creo un regimen penal mas suave para estos delicuentes, en otros se abolio para
ellos la pena de muerte. Tan profundo contraste entre el antiguo y el actual tratamiento de la
criminalidad politica en la mayoria de los paises solo puede ser explicado por las ideas
nacidas y difundidas bajo los regimenes politicos liberalesacerca de estos delitos y
delincuentes. Por una parte se ha afirmado que la criminalidad da estos hechos no contiene
la misma inmoralidad que la delincuencia comun, que es tan solo relativa, qua depende del
tiempo, del lugar, da las circumstancias, de las instituciones del pais. Otros invocan la
elevacion de los moviles y sentimientos determinantes de estos hechos, el amor a la patria, la
adhesion ferviente a determinadas ideas o principios, el espiritu de sacrificio por el triunfo de
un ideal.
Contra su trato benevolo, del que no pocas veces se han beneficiado peligrosos
malhechores, se ha iniciado hace algun tiempo una fuerte reaccion (vease Cap. XV, 3., b),
que llego a alcanzar considerable severidad en las legislaciones de tipo autoritario, y que
tambien ha hallado eco, en forma mas suave, en las de otros paises de constitucion
democratica en los que, especialmente en los ultimos aos, la frecuencia de agitaciones
politicas y sociales ha originado la publicacion de numerosas leyes encaminadas a la
proteccion penal del Estado. (Cuello Calon, Derecho Penal, Tomo 1, pp. 250-252.)
Such evils as may result from the failure of the policy of the law punishing the offense to
dovetail with the policy of the law enforcing agencies in the apprehension and prosecution of

the offenders are matters which may be brought to the attention of the departments
concerned. The judicial branch cannot amend the former in order to suit the latter. The Court
cannot indulge in judicial legislation without violating the principle of separation of powers,
and, hence, undermining the foundation of our republican system. In, short, we cannot accept
the theory of the prosecution without causing much bigger harm than that which would
allegedly result from the adoption of the opposite view.
In conclusion, we hold that, under the allegations of the amended information against
Defendant-Appellant Amado V. Hernandez, the murders, arsons and robberies described
therein are mere ingredients of the crime of rebellion allegedly committed by said Defendants,
as means necessary 4 for the perpetration of said offense of rebellion; chan
roblesvirtualawlibrarythat the crime charged in the aforementioned amended information is,
therefore, simple rebellion, not the complex crime of rebellion with multiple murder, arsons and
robberies; chan roblesvirtualawlibrarythat the maximum penalty imposable under such charge
cannot exceed twelve (12) years of prision mayor and a fine of P20,000; chan
roblesvirtualawlibraryand that, in conformity with the policy of this court in dealing with
accused persons amenable to a similar punishment, said Defendant may be allowed bail.
It is urged that, in the exercise of its discretion, the Court should deny the motion under
consideration, because the security of the State so requires, and because the judgment of
conviction appealed from indicates that the evidence of guilt of Amado V. Hernandez is strong.
However, as held in a resolution of this court, dated January 29, 1953, in the case of Montano
vs. Ocampo (G.R. L-6352):chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
cralaw to deny bail it is not enough that the evidence of guilt is strong; chan
roblesvirtualawlibraryit must also appear that in case of conviction the Defendants criminal
liability would probably call for a capital punishment. No clear or conclusive showing before
this Court has been made.
In fact, in the case at bar, Defendant Amado V. Hernandez was sentenced by the lower court,
not to the extreme penalty, but to life imprisonment. Furthermore, individual freedom is too
basic, too transcendental and vital in a republican state, like ours, to be denied upon mere
general principles and abstract consideration of public safety. Indeed, the preservation of
liberty is such a major preoccupation of our political system that, not satisfied with
guaranteeing its enjoyment in the very first paragraph of section (1) of the Bill of Rights, the
framers of our Constitution devoted paragraphs (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (11), (12), (13), (14),
(15), (16), (17), (18), and (21) of said section (1) to the protection of several aspects of
freedom. Thus, in line with the letter and spirit of the fundamental law, we said in the
aforementioned case of Montano vs. Ocampo:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Exclusion from bail in capital offenses being an exception to the otherwise absolute right
guaranteed by the constitution, the natural tendency of the courts has been toward a fair and
liberal appreciation, rather than otherwise, of the evidence in the determination of the degree
of proof and presumption of guilt necessary to warrant a deprivation of that right.
xxx
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In the evaluation of the evidence the probability of flight is one other important factor to be
taken into account. The sole purpose of confining accused in jail before conviction, it has been
observed, is to secure his presence at the trial. In other words, if denial of bail is authorized in
capital cases, it is only on the theory that the proof being strong, the Defendant would flee, if
he has the opportunity, rather than face the verdict of the jury. Hence, the exception to the
fundamental right to be bailed should be applied in direct ratio to the extent of the probability

of evasion of prosecution.
The possibility of escape in this case, bearing in mind the Defendants official and social
standing and his other personal circumstances, seem remote if not nil.
This view applies fully to Amado V. Hernandez, with the particularity that there is an additional
circumstance in his favor he has been detained since January 1951, or for more than five
(5) years, and it may still take some time to dispose of the case, for the same has not been,
and is not in a position to be, included, as yet, in our calendar, inasmuch as the briefs for
some Appellants other than Hernandez as well as the brief for the Government, are
pending submission. It should be noted, also, that the decision appealed from the opposition
to the motion in question do not reveal satisfactorily and concrete, positive act of the accused
showing, sufficiently, that his provincial release, during the pendency of the appeal, would
jeopardize the security of the State.
Wherefore, the aforementioned motion for bail of Defendant- Appellant Amado V. Hernandez
is hereby granted and, upon the filing of a bond, with sufficient sureties, in the sum of
P30,000, and its approval by the court, let said Defendant-Appellant be provisionally released.
It is SO ORDERED.
Paras, C.J., Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo and Reyes. J.B.L., JJ., concur.
Bengzon, J., concurs in the result.
Separate Opinions
PADILLA, J., dissenting:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Amado V. Hernandez and others were charged in the Court of First Instance of Manila with the
crime of rebellion with multiple murder, arsons and robberies. The body of the information
charged that he and his co-Defendants conspired and that as a necessary means to commit
the crime of rebellion, in connection therewith and in furtherance thereof, have then and
there committed acts of murder, pillage, looting, plunder, arson, and planned destruction of
private and public property to create and spread chaos, disorder, terror, and fear so as to
facilitate the accomplishment of the aforesaid purpose, and recited the different crimes
committed by the Defendants. After trial Amado V. Hernandez was found guilty and sentenced
to suffer life imprisonment from which judgment and sentence he appealed. The appeal is
pending in this Court.
Upon the ground that there is no complex crime of rebellion with murder, the penalty provided
for to be imposed upon persons found guilty of rebellion being prision mayor and a fine not to
exceed P20,000 only, 1 the majority grants the petition for bail filed by the Appellant.
Section 1, paragraph 16, Article III, of the Constitution provides:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
All persons shall before conviction be bailable by sufficient sureties, except those charged with
capital offenses when evidence of guilt is strong. Excessive bail shall not be required. (Italics
supplied.)
The pertinent sections of Rule 110 provide:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
SEC. 3. Offenses less than capital before conviction by the Court of First Instance. After
judgment by a justice of the peace and before conviction by the Court of First Instance, the
Defendant shall be admitted to bail as of right.
SEC. 4. Noncapital offenses after conviction by the Court of First Instance. After conviction
by the Court of First Instance Defendant may, upon application, be bailed at the discretion of
the court.
SEC. 5. Capital offenses defined. A capital offense, as the term is used in this rule, is an

offense which, under the law existing at the time of its commission, and at the time of the
application to be admitted to bail, may be punished by death.
SEC. 6. Capital offenses not bailable. No person in custody for the commission of a capital
offense shall be admitted to bail if the evidence of his guilt is strong.
SEC. 7. Capital offenses - burden of proof. On the hearing of an application for admission
to bail made by any person who is in custody for the commission of a capital offense, the
burden of showing that evidence of guilt is strong is on the prosecution.
SEC. 13. Bail on appeal. Bail upon appeal must conform in all respects as provided for in
other cases of bail.
According to this Rule, a Defendant in a criminal case after a judgment of conviction by the
Justice of the Peace Court and before conviction by the Court of First Instance is entitled to
bail. After conviction by the Court of First Instance he, upon application, may still be bailed in
non-capital offenses but at the discretion of the court. When the information charges a capital
offense the Defendant is not entitled to bail if the evidence of his guilt is strong. Of course this
means before conviction. After conviction for a capital offense, the Defendant has absolutely
no right to bail, because even before conviction a Defendant charged with capital offense is
not entitled to bail if the evidence of guilt is strong. So that should a Defendant charged with a
capital offense apply for bail before conviction, the prosecution must establish and show that
the evidence of the Defendants guilt is strong if the application for bail be objected to. After
conviction of a Defendant charged with a capital offense there is no stronger evidence of his
guilt than the judgment rendered by the trial court. The judgment is entitled to full faith and
credit. Until after the evidence shall have been reviewed and the reviewing court shall have
found that the trial court committed error in convicting the Defendant of the crime charged, the
judgment and sentence of the trial court in such criminal case must be taken at its face value
and be given full faith and credit by this Court.
Without a review of the evidence presented in the case, the majority has taken up and
discussed the question whether, under and pursuant to the provisions of article 135 of the
Revised Penal Code, the complex crime of rebellion with murder may arise or exist or be
committed and has reached the conclusion that murder as an incident to rebellion, is
integrated, imbibed, incorporated, or absorbed in, or part and parcel of, the last mentioned
crime. For that reason it is of the opinion that, as the information filed against Amado V.
Hernandez does not charge a capital offense, he may be admitted to bail at the discretion of
the Court.
Even if the majority opinion that the crime charged in the information is rebellion only a
non-capital offense be correct, still the granting of bail after conviction is discretionary, and I
see no plausible reason for the reversal of this Courts previous stand, because the security of
the State is at stake.
For these reasons I dissent.
MONTEMAYOR, J., dissenting:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Unable to agree to the resolution of the majority, I am constrained to dissent therefrom, not so
much from the part thereof granting the motion for bail, as where it holds not only that there
can be no complex crime of rebellion with multiple murder, robbery, arson, etc., but that these
crimes when committed during and on the occasion of a rebellion, are absorbed by the latter.
The new doctrine now being laid down besides being, to my mind, quite radical and in open
and clear contravention of public policy, is fundamental and of far-reaching consequences,

and I feel it my duty not only to voice my dissent but also to state the reasons in support
thereof.
The resolution cites and quotes Article 135 of the Revised Penal Code to support its theory
that the five acts enumerated therein particularly those of engaging in war against the forces
of the government, destroying property and committing serious violence, cover all the
murders, robberies, arsons, etc., committed on the occasion of or during a rebellion; chan
roblesvirtualawlibraryand it proceeds to assert that the expressions used in said article, such
as engaging in war against the forces of the government and committing serious violence
imply everything that war connotes such as physical injuries and loss of life. In this
connection, it is of profit and even necessary to refer to Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code
defining and describing how the crime of rebellion is committed.
Art. 134. Rebellion or insurrection How committed. The crime of rebellion or
insurrection is committed by rising publicly and taking arms against the Government for the
purpose of removing from the allegiance to said Government or its laws, the territory of the
Philippine Islands or any part thereof, of any body of land, naval or other armed forces, or of
depriving the Chief Executive or the Legislature, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or
prerogatives.
According to the above article, rebellion is committed by rising publicly and taking arms
against the government for the purpose or purposes enumerated in said article. In other
words, the commission of rebellion is complete and consummated if a group of persons for the
purposes enumerated in the article, rise publicly, take up arms and assemble. It is not
necessary for its consummation that anybody be injured or killed, be it a government soldier or
civilian, or that innocent persons be forcibly deprived of their properties by means of robbery
or that their stores and houses be looted and then burned to the ground. Stated differently,
murders, robberies, arsons, etc., are not necessary or indispensable in the commission of
rebellion and, consequently, are not ingredients or elements of the latter.
Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code providing for Penalty for complex crimes reads
thus:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
ART. 48. Penalty for complex crimes. When a single act constitutes two or more grave or
less grave felonies, or when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other, the
penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its maximum
period. (As amended by Act No. 4000.)
For better understanding, I deem it advisable to ascertain and explain the meaning of the
phrase necessary means used in Article 48. Necessary means as interpreted by
criminologists, jurists and legal commentators, does not mean indispensable means, because
if it did, then the offense as a necessary means to commit another would be an
indispensable element of the latter and would be an ingredient thereof. That would be true in
the offense of trespass to dwelling to commit robbery in an inhabited house, or the infliction of
physical injuries to commit homicide or murder. The phrase necessary means used in Article
48, merely signifies that for instance, a crime such as simple estafa can be and ordinarily is
committed in the manner defined and described in the Penal Code; chan
roblesvirtualawlibrarybut, if the estafador resorts to or employs falsification, merely to
facilitate and insure his committing the estafa, then he is guilty of the complex crime of estafa
thru falsification. So, if one desiring to rape a certain woman, instead of waiting for an
opportunity where she could be alone or helpless, in the fields or some isolated place, abducts
her by force and takes her to a forest to ravish her; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryor he enters her

home through a window at night and rapes her in her room, then he is guilty of the complex
crime of abduction with rape or rape with trespass to dwelling. The reason is that the
commission of abduction of trespass to dwelling are not indispensable means or ingredients of
the crime of rape. They are but means selected by the culprit to facilitate and carry out
perhaps more quickly his evil designs on his victim. Says the eminent Spanish commentator,
Groizard, on this point:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Una cosa analoga acontece respecto de los delitos conexionados con una relacion de medio
a fin. Tambien en ellos la unidad de acto moral, que da vida al delito, hace logica la imposicion
de una sola pena. Preciso es, sin embargo, distinguir el caso en que el delito medio sea
medio necesario de realizar el delito fin, del caso en que sea puramente medio, pero no
medio indispensable. En aquel, el delito medio no es, en realidad, sino una condicion precisa,
una circumstancia sine qua non, un elemento integral de la accion punible concebida como
fin. Sin pasar por uno, seria imposible llegar al otro. La voluntad, libre e inteligente, tiene
entonces por unico objeto llegar al delito fin. Si al recorrer su camino ha de pasar,
indispensablemante, por la comision de otro hecho punible, no dos, sino un delito habra que
castigar, toda ves que uno fue el mal libremente querido, no siendolo el otro por si, sino en
tanto que era necesario para obtener, la realizacion del mal proposito concebido.
xxx
xxx
xxx
Asi, hay que reconocer que es plausible que, cuando un delito es medio de realizar otro, se
imponga al culpable la pena correspondiente al mayor en su grado maximo; chan
roblesvirtualawlibrarypero que no los es si resulta que ha sido medio necesario. Por lo
contrario, para que sea justo el aumento de pena, con arreglo a la doctrina general acerca del
delito y las circunstancia agravantes, es preciso que existan y no se aprovechen otros
procedimientos, otros recursos, mas o menos faciles para consumar el delito. Entonces la
responsibilidad se hace mayor eligiendo un medio que sea un delito en si. El que puede,
haciendo uso de su libertad y de su inteligencia, escoger entre varios procedimientos para
llegar a un fin, y se decide por uno que por si solo constituye delito, de este delito no
necessario para la realizacion del proyectado como fin, debe responder tambien.
xxx
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Ejemplo:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary el allanamiento de domicilio como medio de llegar al
delito de violacion. No es condicion necesaria, para que la violacion pueda realizarse, el
entrar en la morada ajena contra la voluntad de su dueo. Sin esa circunstancia, el delito
puede existir. Ahora bien; chan roblesvirtualawlibrarysi el criminal acepta como medio de
llegar a la violacion el allanamiento de domicilio, este delito y el de violacion deben ser
castigados observandose en la aplicacion del castigo una unidad de penalidad que guarde
cierta analogia con la unidad de pensamiento que llevo en culpable a la ralizacion de ambos
delitos. Para estos y analogos casos, la razon aprueba la imposicion de la mas grave de las
penas en su grado maximo. (Groizard, El Codigo Penal de 1870, Tomo II, pp. 495-496.)
Applying the above observations to the crime of rebellion as defined in Article 134, the same
may be committed by merely rising publicly and taking arms against the government, such as
was done on several occasions as alleged in the information for rebellion in the present case
where a group of Hukbalahaps, entered towns, overpowered the guards at the Presidencia
confiscated firearms and the contents of the municipal treasurers safe, exacted contributions
in the form of money, food-stuffs and clothing from the residents and maintained virtual control
of the town for a few hours. That is simple but consummated rebellion. Murder, robbery, arson,
etc., are not necessary or indispensable to consummate the crime of rebellion.

But in other cases, this group or other groups of dissidents in order to facilitate achieving their
objective to overthrow the government, according to the findings of the trial courts in several
cases of rebellion, resorted to looting and robberies to raise funds to finance their movement,
sometimes killing civilians who refused to contribute or to be recruited to augment the forces
of the rebels or who were suspected of giving information to the government forces of the
movements of the dissidents. Sometimes, homes of town and barrio residents are set on fire
and burned to the ground in reprisal or in order to strike terror into the hearts of the
inhabitants, so that they would be more amenable to the rule and the demands of the rebels.
At other times, civilians were kidnapped for purposes of ransom, and some hostages killed
when the ransom was not paid or was not forthcoming. In the raid on Camp Macabulos in
Tarlac, besides shooting down soldiers and officers, buildings were set on fire, inducing the
hospital, as a result of which, patients including a Red Cross nurse were killed. In another
case, a passenger bus containing about forty civilian passengers in Sta. Cruz, Zambales, was
held up by these armed dissidents; chan roblesvirtualawlibrarythe passengers were robbed of
their money and jewelry and fourteen of them were shot to death. The party of Mrs. Aurora
Quezon while on its way to the town of Baler, was ambushed in Bongabong, Nueva Ecija by
the dissidents and several members of the party, including herself, her daughter, her son-inlaw, Mayor Bernardo of Quezon City, and others were killed, and their persons despoiled of
jewelries and belongings. It is clear that all these acts of murder, vandalism, banditry and
pillage cannot be regarded as ingredients and indispensable elements of the crime of
rebellion. The aforecited acts and cases, the enumeration of which is far from complete, are
not based on mere suspicion or hearsay. They are alleged as facts in the numerous counts
contained in complaints or informations for rebellion with multiple murder, robbery, arson,
kidnapping, etc. in several separate cases in the Courts of First Instance, some still pending
trial-but quite a number already decided and now pending appeal before us. There must be
much truth to these charges and counts because in the case against Huk Supremo Luis Taruc,
William Pomeroy et al., (criminal case No. 19166 C.F.I., Manila) Pomeroy pleaded guilty to all
the thirty counts against him; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryso did Taruc after seven counts had
been eliminated from the thirty contained in the information. Among the twenty three counts
remaining to which Taruc pleaded guilty were the holding up of forty civilians in a passenger
bus in Sta. Cruz, Zambales, and the night raid on Camp Macabulos where hospital patients
and a Red Cross nurse were killed.
Since the above mentioned crimes of multiple murder, robbery, kidnapping, etc., are not
ingredients of rebellion nor indispensable to its commission but only means selected and
employed by the offenders to commit rebellion and achieve their goal, a complex crime is
committed under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code.
Going back to the theory of the majority in the resolution that the phrase engaging in war and
committing serious violence used in Article 134, covers the crimes of murder, robbery, arson,
etc., committed during a rebellion, I emphatically disagree. Engaging in war and levying war,
against the government, are general terms employed in the United States statutes to define
rebellion and treason. They are used interchangeably and have the same meaning in our law
on rebellion and treason, (Articles 114, 134, 135, Revised Penal Code) which are based on
Act 292 of American origin. They do not necessarily mean actual killing of government troops,
much less of innocent civilians.
Levying War. The assembling of a body of men for the purpose of effecting by force a
treasonable object; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryand all who perform any part, however, minute,

or however remote from the scene of action, and who are leagued in the general conspiracy,
are considered as engaged in levying war, within the meaning of the constitution. (Bouviers
Law Dictionary, Vol. 2, p. 1938.)
This Tribunal defines levying war in the case of U.S. vs. Lagnason, 3 Phil., 478-9,
thus:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Whatever differences there may have been among the early judges as to whether an armed
resistance to the enforcement of a public law (see Act No. 292, section 5, 1) constituted a
levying of war or not, and war or was not treason, yet they were all unanimous in holding that
acts of violence committed by an armed body of men with the purpose of overthrowing the
Government was levying war against the United States, and was therefore treason, whether
it was done by ten men or ten thousand. (See United States vs. Hanway, 2 Wall., jr., 139; chan
roblesvirtualawlibrary26 Fed. Cases, 105.)
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As the act of engaging in a rebellion is levying war, and therefore treason, the same act
seems to be punished by both sections and in different ways. (U. S. vs. Lagnason, 3 Phil., 489.)
Just as a citizen can commit treason by adhering to the enemy and committing treasonable
overt acts such as pointing out and helping arrest guerrillas, accompanying enemy soldiers on
patrol and giving valuable information to the enemy, without himself killing anyone of his
countrymen, this although Article 114 uses the phrase levying war to define-treason, so,
although Article 135 uses the phrase engaging in war, a group of individuals may also
commit rebellion by merely rising publicly and taking arms against the government without
firing a single shot or inflicting a single wound.
But the majority says that serious violence mentioned in Article 134 may include murder. To
me, this view is untenable. From serious violence to the capital offense of murder, certainly, is
a far cry. Besides, serious violence can also be on things. In my opinion, the different acts
mentioned in Article 135, among them, destroying property, committing serious violence,
exacting contributions or diverting public funds, instead of giving license and unlimited leave to
rebels and dissidents to engage in mass murder, looting and wholesale destruction of
property, on the contrary, serve to limit and restrict the violations of law that may be included in
and absorbed by rebellion. Article 135 mentions those acts which generally accompany a
public armed uprising. When rebels raid a town or barrio, manhandling of civilians who
obstruct their movements or fail to carry out their orders such as to lend their carabaos and
carts for transportation purposes, or to contribute food, clothes, medicines, money etc., may
be expected. The rebels may employ force to disarm the policeman guarding the Presidencia
and if he offers resistance beat him up or, once inside, break down the door of the treasurers
office, blow up his safe and carry away the money contents thereof. All these acts involve
violence, even serious violence on persons and things, including diversion of public funds. But
knowing that these law violations, relatively not serious, are generally unavoidable in public
armed uprisings involving hastily assembled persons and groups with little discipline the law
tolerates them, considering them as part of the rebellion. But when rebels rob innocent
civilians, kidnap them for purposes of ransom, even kill them merely because they fail to pay
the ransom, and civilian houses are put to the torch, endangering the lives of the inmates;
chan roblesvirtualawlibrarywhen civilians are killed for refusing to contribute, or on mere
suspicion of their giving information to the government, I cannot believe that these brutal act
are condoned by the law and are to be included in the crime of rebellion.

The majority leans heavily on our decisions in several treason cases wherein we refused or
failed to convict of the complex crime of treason with multiple murder. To me, those cases are
neither controlling nor applicable for several reasons. Almost invariably, indictment in those
treason cases alleged the killings committed by the indictees as ingredients and elements of
treason. They are mentioned as the overt acts to establish and prove treason. Naturally, the
court held that being ingredients of the crime of treason they cannot be considered as distinct
and separate offenses for the purpose of applying Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code.
Another reason is that, treason being a capital offense, this court did not see any immediate
necessity for considering and applying the theory of complex crime because the result would
in many cases be practically the same. In other words, treason might yet be said to absorb the
crime of homicide, even of murder, because as regards the penalty, they are of the same
category. Still another reason, not an unimportant one is that at that time, opinion among the
members of this Tribunal on the question of complex crime of treason with homicide, sedition
with murder and rebellion with murder, arson, robbery, etc., had not yet crystalized, one way or
the other. So, we preferred to avoid ruling on the issue, specially since by considering the
commission of murder, robbery, etc., in treason as aggravating the crime, we would achieve
the same result as regards the penalty to be imposed.
But in the case of People vs. Perfecto Labra, G.R. No. 1240, May 12, 1949, this court through
Mr. Justice Bengzon, accepted the view of the Solicitor General that under Article 48 of the
Revised Penal Code, Labra was guilty of the complex crime of treason with murder, as shown
by the dispositive part of our decision in that case, which is quoted
below:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Wherefore, the verdict of guilt must be affirmed. Article 48, 114 and 248 of the Revised Penal
Code are applicable to the offense of treason with murder. However, for lack of sufficient votes
to impose the extreme penalty, the Appellant will be sentenced to life imprisonment.
The only reason why the death penalty was not imposed in said case was because of lack of
sufficient votes but evidently, the Justices were agreed as to the application of Article 48 of the
Penal Code regarding complex crimes.
Then in the treason case of People vs. Barrameda, 85 Phil., 789, 47 Off. Gaz., 5082, on the
strength of our decision in the case of Labra, the Solicitor General recommended that
Barrameda be also convicted of the complex crime of treason with multiple murder and
sentenced to death. This Tribunal accepted the Solicitor Generals recommendation and
imposed the death penalty in the following language:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
We entertain not the least doubt as to the guilt of the Appellant. His very counsel de oficio
who made an analysis of the testimonies of the witnesses for the prosecution and
painstakingly stated them in detail in his brief, agrees that his client is guilty although he prays
that the sentence of life imprisonment be affirmed. The Solicitor General, however,
recommends that the penalty of death be imposed upon the Appellant. Considering that the
treason committed by the Appellant was accompanied not only by the apprehension of
Americans (U. S. citizens) and their delivery to the Japanese forces which evidently later
executed them, but also by killing with his own hands not only one but several Filipinos, his
own countrymen, and that in addition to this, he took part in the mass killing and slaughter of
many other Filipinos, we are constrained to agree to said recommendation. However,
unpleasant, even painful is the compliance with our duty, we hereby impose upon the
Appellant Teodoro Barrameda the penalty of death which will be carried out on a day to be
fixed by the trial court within thirty (30) days after the return of the record of the case to said

court.
With the two aforecited cases, it may not be said that the Supreme Court has always held that
there can be no complex crime of treason with murder.
The theory of the majority is that the crime of rebellion with the maximum penalty of twelve
years and fine, absorbs the other crimes of murder, robbery, arson, kidnapping, etc., as long
as the latter are committed in the course and in furtherance of the former. The idea of one
crime absorbing a more serious one with a more severe penalty does not readily appeal to the
reasonable and logical mind which can only comprehend a thing absorbing another smaller or
less than itself in volume, in importance, in value or in category. That is why Judge Montesa in
the three cases, People vs. Hernandez, People vs. Espiritu, and People vs. Medina, criminal
cases Nos. 15481, 15479 and 1411 respectively, of the Court of First Instance, Manila, in his
decision convicting the accused therein, in disposing of the theory of absorption, urged upon
him by counsel for the defense to the effect that the crime of rebellion absorbs the crime of
murder, robbery, arson, etc., made the following observations:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The theory of absorption tenaciously adhered to by the defense to the effect that rebellion
absorbs all these more serious offenses is preposterous to say the least, considering that it is
both physically and metaphysically imposible for a smaller unit or entity to absorb a bigger
one. (Montesa, J., People vs. Hernandez G.R. No. 15481, P. 78.)
We need not go into an academic discussion of this question because as a matter of law, my
opinion, criminal jurisprudence, expounding the criminal law namely the Penal Code and the
Penal Code of Spain, on which it is based, expressly and clearly declare that the common
crimes of murder, robbery, arson, etc., committed in the course or by reason of rebellion, are
separate crimes, not to be merged in or absorbed by rebellion and should be prosecuted
separately. Article 259 of the Penal Code of Spain, of 1870 on which our Penal Code
promulgated in 1887, was based, provides as follow:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Los delitos particulares cometidos en una rebellion o sedicion o con motivo de ellas, seran
castigados respectivamente, segun las disposiciones de este Codigo.
Cuando no puedan descubrirse sus autores, seran penados como tales los jefes principales
de la rebelion o sedicion. (Groiazrd, El Codigo Penal de 1870, Tomo III, Articulo 259, p. 649.)
In commenting on Article 259 of the Spanish Penal Code, Viada
says:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
La disposicion del primer parrafo de este articulo no puede ser mas justa; chan
roblesvirtualawlibrarycon arreglo a ella, los delitos particulares o comunes cometidos en una
rebellion o sedicion no deberan reputarse como accidentes inherentes a estas, sino como
delitos especiales a dicha rebellion y sedicion ajenos, los que deberan ser respectivamente
castigados con als penas que en este Codigo se les sealan. Pero que delitos deberan
considerarse como comunes, y cuales como constitutivos de la propia rebelion o sedicion? En
cuanto a la rebelion, no ofrece este cuestion dificultad alguna, pues todo hecho que no este
comprendido en uno u otro de los objetos especificados en los seis numeros del Articulo 243
sera extrao a la rebelion, y si se este debera ser castigado como delito particular. (Viada,
Codigo Penal, Tomo II, 198-199.)
Pea, another commentator, referring to Article 259 of the Spanish Penal Gode, has the
following to say:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
La disposicion de este articulo es sobradamente justa, pero cuando se entendera que el
hecho es independiente de la insurgencia? Tratandose de la rebelion no hay problema, pues
todos los fines que se indican en el Articulo 214 se distinguen facilmente de un asesinato, un

robo, una violacion, etc. El problema puede surgir con la sedicion, en cuyos tres ultimos
numeros, dice un autor, se tipifican conductas que muy bien pueden ser subsimidas en otros
lugares del Codigo. El T.S. parece que sigue este principio general:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
las infracciones graves se consideran como delitos independientes, en cambio los hechos de
menor gravedad puedan ser considerados como accidentes de la rebelion. En este sentido, el
T.S. ha declarado que son accidentes de la rebelion, los desacatos y lesiones a la autoridad y
otros delitos contra el orden publico, asi como la resistencia o acometiendo a la fuerza publica
(23 Mayo 1890). El abuso de superioridad tambien es inherente el alzamiento tumultuario (19
noviembre 1906.) (Pea Deredes Penal, Tomo II pp. 89-90.)
Another commentator, A. Quintano Ripolles, says of Article 259 of the Spanish Penal Code,
counterpart of Article 244 of our old Penal Code:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
La concurrencia de delitos consignada en este articulo no puede ser mas justa, bien que la
dificultad persista siempre para determinar cuales han de ser los particulares accidentales y
cuales los integrantes de la propia subversion. Una doctrina demasiado simplista, que ha sido
a menudo seguida por la Jurisprudencia, es la de estimar que, absorbiendo el delito mas
grave al que lo es menos, todo el que por debajo del de rebelion o sedicion sera anulado por
este. Para los del la misma naturaleza, la cosa es incuestionable, pero no para los que la
tengan diversa, entendiendo por la estraa e imprecisa expresion de (particulares) a las
infracciones comunes o no politicas. (A. Quintano Ripolles, Comentarios al Codigo Penal Vol.
II, pp. 101-102; chan roblesvirtualawlibrarycursivas con neustras.)
Another distinguished legal commentator gives his view on the same Article
259:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Se establece aqui que en una rebelion o sedicion, o con motivo de ellas, comente otros
delitos (v. g., roba, mata o lesiona), sera responsable de estos ademas de los delitos de
rebelion o sedicion. La dificultad consiste en estos casos en separar los accidentes de la
rebelion o sedicion de los delitos independientes de estas, y como las leyes no contienen en
este punto precepto alguno aplicable, su solucion ha quedado encomendada a los tribunales.
La jurisprudencia que estos han sentado considera como accidentes de la rebelion o sedicion
cuya criminalidad queda embebida en la de estos delitos, y, por tanto, no son punibles
especialmente los hechos de escasa gravedad (v:chanroblesvirtuallawlibraryg., atentados,
desacatos, lesiones menos graves); chan roblesvirtualawlibrarypor el contrario, las
infracciones graves, como el asesinato o las lesiones graves, se consideran como delitos
independientes de la rebelion o del la sedicion. (Cuello Calon, Vol. 2 Derecho Penal p. 110.)
Finally, Groizard, another eminent commentator of the Penal code of Spain, in commenting on
the same Article 259 of the Spanish Penal Code of 1870, says the
following:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
No necesita ninguno el parrafo primero de este articulo. Aunque no se hubiera escrito en el
Codigo, harian los Tribunales lo que dice. Seria necesario para que asi no sucediera el que
fuera la rebelion un motivo de exencion de responsabilidad criminal para las demas clases de
delitos. (Groizard Tomo 3, 650.)
It will be seen that Spanish jurists and legal commentators are, with reference to Article 259 of
the Spanish Penal Code of 1870, unanimous in the opinion that this provision of the Criminal
Law is just and fair because one should not take advantage of his committing the crime of
rebellion by committing other more serious crime such as murder, robbery, arson, etc., with
impunity. The above much commented Article 259 of the Spanish Penal Code has its
counterpart in Article 244 of our old Penal Code in practically the same wording and

phraseology:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
ART. 24. All other crimes committed in the course of a rebellion of seditious movement, or on
occasion thereof, shall be punished in accordance with the rules of this Code.
If the perpetrators of such crimes cannot be discovered, the principal leaders of the rebellion
or sedition shall be punished therefore as principals.
In this jurisdiction, we have faithfully observed and applied this penal provision. In the cases of
U. S. vs. Cabrera, et al., 43 Phil., page 64 and page 82 for sedition and multiple murder
respectively, wherein members of the Philippine constabulary attacked and killed several
policemen in the City of Manila, this Court convicted said soldiers, first, of sedition and later, of
multiple murder, clear proof that the murders committed in the course of and by reason of the
sedition were not included in and absorbed by sedition, this despite the fact that our law on
sedition then, section 5 of Act No. 292, uses the words rise publicly and tumultuously, in
order to attain by force or outside of legal methods any of the following objects are guilty of
sedition. In the multiple murder case, the sergeants and corporals of the constabulary, who
took part in the killing of the city policemen, were sentenced to death. This court in that case
said:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
It is merely stating the obvious to say that sedition is not the same offense as murder.
Sedition is a crime against public order; chan roblesvirtualawlibrarymurder 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; chan roblesvirtualawlibrarymurder 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; chan
roblesvirtualawlibrarymurder 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 eo nomine 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 indicting 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; chan roblesvirtualawlibrarythe 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 murder and
serious physical injuries were not necessarily included in the information for sedition; chan
roblesvirtualawlibraryand the Defendants could not have been convicted of these crimes
under the first information. (Phil. Vol. 43, pages 99-100.)
There is an insinuation made in the majority resolution, that the American Law on sedition and
rebellion, the origin of our present law on the subject, is more benign and liberal than its
counterpart in the Spanish Penal Code, defining and penalizing sedition and rebellion, and
that under American jurisprudence, rebellion and sedition include crimes like murder, robbery,
arson, etc., committed in the course thereof. But it will be noticed that of the nine Justices who
signed the decision in the case of People vs. Cabrera for multiple murder, five, including Mr.
Justice Malcolm, who penned the decision, were Americans, supposed to be steeped in
American Law and the common law, and yet they all held that sedition where force is
expected to be used, did not, include murder. It is evident that the insinuation made in the

majority resolution is not exactly borne out by the Cabrera case.


The majority asks why in the past, especially up to 1932, when our Revised Penal Code was
promulgated no one had ever been prosecuted, much less convicted of rebellion or sedition
complexed with murder, robbery, etc., if it is true that there is such a complex crime of
rebellion with murder. For that matter, one may even ask why the constabulary soldiers in the
Cabrera case were not charged with the complex crime of sedition with murder. The reason
and the answer are obvious. Until 1932, the year of the promulgation of our Revised Penal
Code, our old Penal Code included Article 244, the counter-part of Article 259 of the Spanish
Penal Code, to the effect that common crimes like murder, robbery, arson, committed on the
occasion or by reason of a rebellion or sedition, are to be prosecuted separately. That was
why insurgents who committed rebellion or insurrection with homicide or murder during the
first days of the American regime in the Philippines, could not be charged with the complex
crime of rebellion with murder; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryand that explains why Cabrera and
his co-accused could not be charged with the complex crime of sedition with multiple murder,
but were prosecuted separately for multiple murder.
The majority also asks why the insurgents in the year 1901 and 1902 were charged only with
rebellion but never with murder despite the fact that there was proof that they also had
committed murder in the course of the rebellion or insurrection. The reason to my mind was
that, shortly thereafter, came the proclamation of amnesty issued by President McKinley of the
United States, which amnesty covered not only the crime of rebellion but also other violations
of the law committed in the course of the rebellion.
Then came our Revised Penal Code promulgated in 1932. It is a revision of our old Penal
Code of 1887. One of the purposes of the revision was simplification, and elimination of
unnecessary provisions. In proof of this, while our Penal Code of 1887 contained 611 articles,
our Revised Penal Code contains only 367 articles. Among the articles of the old Penal Code
not included in the Revised Penal Code, is Article 244. Does the omission or elimination of
Article 244 mean that now, common crimes like murder, robbery, arson, etc., committed in the
course of a rebellion or sedition are absorbed by rebellion or sedition? Hardly. It cannot be that
the committee on revision and our legislators abandoned the idea and the theory contained in
said Article 244, because as I have already explained, all the Spanish commentators and
jurists commenting on this particular provision of the Spanish Penal Code are agreed that it is
a just and reasonable provision, so that sedition and rebellion may not be utilized as a cloak of
immunity in the commission of other serious crimes. To me, the reason for the omission is that
it was really unnecessary. As Groizard said in his commentary already reproduced, even if that
provision were not embodied in the penal code, the court would still apply said
provision:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
No necesita ninguno el parrafo primero de este articulo. Aunque no se hubiera excrito en el
Codigo, harian los Tribunales lo que dice. Seria necesario para que asi no sucediera el que
fuera la rebelion un motivo de exencion de responsabilidad criminal para las demas clases de
delitos. (Groizard Tomo 3, 650.)
The members of the committee on revision of our old Penal Code who must have been
familiar with the opinion and comments of eminent Spanish jurists, particularly the above
comment of Groizard undoubtedly, deemed the provision of Article 244 superfluous and
unnecessary, and so omitted it in the revision. However, this omission of Article 244 of our
Penal Code in the new, has an important effect. No longer shall we be obliged to prosecute
murder, robbery, arson, kidnapping, etc., committed in the course of and by reason of a

sedition or a rebellion, separately. The prosecution is now free to combine these common
crimes with the crimes of sedition or rebellion and charge a complex crime. And that is what
has been done in the prosecution of the numerous cases of rebellion.
This idea, this theory of complex crime of rebellion with multiple murder, etc., is not such a
strange, extravagant or fantastic proposition or idea. We are not the only ones holding this
view. Out of seven separate cases, all involving the complex crime of rebellion with multiple
murder and etc., decided in the Court of First Instance, not long ago, cases No. 14070
People vs. Lava; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryNo. 15841 People vs. Hernandez; chan
roblesvirtualawlibraryNo. 2878 People vs. Capadocia; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryNo.
10400 People vs. Salvador No. 2704 People vs. Nava; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryNo.
19166 People vs. Pomeroy and the same case 19166 People vs. Taruc, only one judge,
Hon. Gregorio Narvasa, of the Court of First Instance of Manila, held that there is no complex
crime of rebellion with murder, and his holding was based mainly if not entirely on the
decisions of this Tribunal in the treason cases which as I have already explained, are not
controlling or applicable. In the other cases, five judges of Courts of First Instance, Judges
Ocampo, Castelo, Barcelona, Gatmaitan, and Montesa, held that there is such a complex
crime of rebellion with murder and actually convicted the accused of said complex crime.
Again, in the case of People vs. Umali, et al., criminal case No. 11037 of the Court of First
Instance of Quezon Province, Judge Gustavo Victoriano, convicted the accused of the
complex crime of rebellion with multiple murder, etc. Recently, in several criminal cases
pending in Pangasinan, involving the complex crimes of rebellion with multiple murder, etc.,
Judge Morfe of the Court of First Instance of that province acting upon motions to quash the
informations on the ground that there was no such complex crime of rebellion with murder and
consequently, the informations were not in accordance with law, for charging more than one
offense, in a well reasoned and considered order, denied the same and held that there is a
complex crime of rebellion with murder. Of course, these opinions of judges of the lower
courts are not binding on this tribunal but surely, they are persuasive and cannot be ignored.
At least, they show that there are others, learned in the law, who subscribe to the theory of
complex crime of rebellion with murder, arson, etc.
Our decision in the case of People vs. Umali, (96 Phil., 185), promulgated on November 29,
1954, is another proof that murders committed in the course of sedition or rebellion are not
absorbed by the latter. In said case, this court in a unanimous decision found the Defendants
therein guilty of sedition, multiple murder, arson, frustrated murder and physical injuries and
sentenced them accordingly. The question may again be asked, if there is such a complex
crime of sedition with murder, arson, etc., why were Umali and his co-accused not convicted
of this complex crime? The answer is found in a portion of our decision in that case which we
quote:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The last point to be determined is the nature of the offense or offenses committed. Appellants
were charged with and convicted of the complex crime of rebellion with multiple murder,
frustrated murder, arson and robbery. Is there such a complex crime of rebellion with multiple
murder, etc.? While the Solicitor General in his brief claims that Appellants are guilty of said
complex crime and in support of his stand asks for leave to incorporate by reference his
previous arguments in opposing Umalis petition for bail, counsel for Appellants considered it
unnecessary to discuss the existence or non- existence of such complex crime, saying that
the nature of the crime committed is of no moment to herein Appellants because they had
absolutely no part in it whatsoever. For the present, and with respect to this particular case,

we deem it unnecessary to decide this important and controversial question, deferring its
consideration and determination to another case or occasion more opportune, when it is more
directly and squarely raised and both parties given an opportunity to discuss and argue the
question more adequately and exhaustively. Considering that, assuming for the moment that
there is no such complex crime of rebellion with murder; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryetc., and
that consequently Appellants could not have been legally charged with it, much less convicted
of said complex crime, and the information should therefore, be regarded as having charged
more than one offense, contrary to Rule 106, section 12 and Rule 113, section 2(e), of the
Rules of Court, but that Appellants having interposed no objection thereto, they were properly
tried for and lawfully convicted if guilty of the several and separate crimes charged therein, we
have decided and we rule that the Appellants may properly be convicted of said several and
separate crimes, as hereinafter specified. We feel particularly supported and justified in this
stand that we take, by the result of the case, namely, that the prison sentence we impose does
not exceed, except perhaps in actual duration, that meted out by the court below, which is life
imprisonment.
The majority resolution invokes and applies the principle of the so called pro reo in connection
with Article 48 of our Revised Penal Code on complex crimes, to the effect that said article
should not be applied when the resulting penalty exceeds the sum total of the several crimes
committed constituting the complex crime. According to the majority, the theory of pro reo is
that the principle of complex crime was adopted for the benefit of the accused and not to his
prejudice; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryso, it is to be applied when the maximum of the penalty
for the more serious crime is less in severity or duration of imprisonment than the sum total of
the several crimes committed, but not otherwise. This is a novel theory in this jurisdiction. To
my knowledge it has never been advanced before. All along and during all these years, the
courts of this country not excluding this august tribunal had been applying the provisions of
Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code, and its source, Article 89 of our Penal Code of 1887,
regardless of whether or not the resulting penalty was prejudicial to the accused. As a matter
of fact, in most cases the resulting penalty imposed by this tribunal in complex crimes was
much more severe and of longer duration (imprisonment) than the sum total of the two or
more crimes committed. In the numerous cases decided by this court involving the complex
crime of estafa through falsification, the maximum of the penalty for the more serious crime of
falsification was imposed although it exceeded the total of the penalties for estafa and for
falsification. In cases of rape with physical injuries the maximum of the penalty for the crime of
rape was imposed although it exceeded in duration and severity the total of the penalty for
rape and that for the relatively light penalty for physical injuries. In the case of People vs.
Parulan (88 Phil., 615), involving the complex crime of kidnapping with murder, this tribunal
applied the provision of Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code and would have sentenced the
accused to death, were it not for one dissenting vote based not on the applicability of Article
48, but on the question of jurisdiction. Said this court:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
La pena que debe imponerse al acusado Parulan es la del delito mas grave de secuestro en
su grado maximo, o sea, pena capital. Pero el Magistrado Sr. Tuason, consecuente con su
opinion disidente en Parulan contra Rodas, supra, no puede confirmar la pena capital
impuesta por el Juzgado de Primera Instancia de Manila que segun el no tenia jurisdiccion
sobre la presente causa. En vista de este voto disidente, el presidente del tribunal Sr. Paras y
tres magistrados aunque creen que el acusado Parulan, por las pruebas presentadas, merece
pena capital, con todo no pueden votar por la comfirmacion porque el delito se cometio antes

de la aprobacion de la Ley de la Republica No. 296, que solo exige ocho votos para la
imposicion de la pena capital. Antomaticamente, por ministerio de la ley debe imponerse a
Parulan la pena inmediatamente inferior a la de muerte, que es la de reclusion perpetua con
las accesorias. (88 Phil., p. 624.)
Then in the case of People vs. Guillen * 47 Off. Gaz., 3433, involving the complex crime of
murder and multiple attempted murder committed by the accused with a single act of hurling a
hand grenade at President Roxas, this tribunal in a per curiam decision, ignoring the
aggravating circumstances that attended the commission of the crime, applied the maximum
of the penalty for the more serious crime of murder in accordance with Article 48 of the
Revised Penal Code and sentenced the accused to death. Other instances and cases may be
cited ad libitum to show that in this jurisdiction and in this tribunal, the principle of pro reo was
never entertained, much less accepted.
Origin of pro reo principle
Up to the year 1908, the Spanish Penal Code had the following provisions for complex
crimes:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Las disposiciones del articulo anterior no son aplicables en el caso de que un solo hecho
constituya dos o mas delitos, o cuando el uno de ellos sea medio necesario para cometer el
otro.
En estos casos solo se impondra la pena correspondiente al delito mas grave, aplicandola en
su grado maximo.
The above provisions were copied in our Penal Code of 1887 under Article 89 which reads
thus:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The provisions of the next preceding article are not applicable to cases in which a single act
constitutes two or more crimes, or when one offense is a necessary means for committing the
other.
In these cases, only the penalty of the more serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be
applied in its maximum degree.
On January 3, 1908, the Spanish Penal Code was amended, particularly paragraph 2 of
Article 90 thereof so as to add to said paragraph the following
clause:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Hasta el limite que represente la suma de las dos que pudieran imponerse, penando
separadamente ambos delitos.
so that since January 1908, Article 90 of the Spanish Penal Code
reads:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Las disposiciones del articulo anterior no son aplicables en el caso de que un solo hecho
constituya dos o mas delitos, o cuando el uno de ellos sea medio necesario para cometer el
otro.
En estos casos solo se impondra la pena correspondiente al delito mas grave, aplicandola en
eu grado maximo hasta el limite que represente la suma de las dos que pudieran imponerse,
penando separadamente ambos delitos.
The amendment is the provision for the so called pro reo rule. But we never accepted much
less followed said innovation in the Philippines. We did not amend Article 89 of our old Penal
Code particularly paragraph 2 thereof so as to add the clause:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Hasta el limite que represente la suma de las dos que pudieran imponerse, penando
separadamente ambos delitos.
inserted by the amending Spanish Law of January 3, 1908 to the second paragraph of Article

90 of the Spanish Penal Code. Furthermore, when we drafted and promulgated our Revised
Penal Code in 1932 (Article No. 3815) we ignored and did not accept the amendment to the
Spanish Penal Code that favored one accused of a complex crime as regards the penalty, so
that now our law on the subject is contained in Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code which as
amended by Act No. 4000, reads as follows:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
ART. 48. Penalty for complex crimes. When a single act constitutes two or more grave or
less felonies, or when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other, the penalty
for the most serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its maximum period.
(As amended by Act No. 4000.)
The majority resolution makes a more or less extensive dissertation and citation of authorities
on the law of extradition, intended to show that common crimes such as murder, etc.,
committed on the occasion of or in the course of the commission of political crimes like
sedition and rebellion, are not subject to extradition. We believe that these citations and these
arguments are neither relevant nor applicable. All we can say is that a murder committed in
the course of a rebellion or sedition may be considered a political crime in contemplation of
the extradition law and that a person accused of said murder is not subject to extradition. But
a crime may be considered political from the standpoint of the extradition law and yet may be
regarded by the country where committed as a common crime separate and distinct from the
rebellion or sedition in the course of which it was committed, and, consequently, subject to
prosecution. Moreover, the fact that a murder committed in the course of a sedition or
rebellion is excluded from the scope of the extradition agreement between nations, is proof
and argument that were it not for its exclusion, the member nations of the extradition
agreement, where murders are committed in the course of a rebellion or sedition may and
would extradite the offenders, on the theory that said murders are separate from and are not
absorbed by the rebellion or sedition; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryotherwise, there would be no
need for excluding such crimes of murder, arson, etc., committed during a rebellion or
sedition, from the scope of the extradition law. And among such nations which consider these
common crimes of murder, etc., as separate from rebellion or sedition during which they were
committed, are Spain, as shown by Article 259 of its Penal Code, and the Philippines as
illustrated in the cases of U.S. vs. Cabrera and People vs. Umali, supra. Groizard lists down
several countries that consider common crimes committed during a rebellion or sedition as
subject to prosecution:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Codigo del Canton de Zurich.
S. 75. Si con motivo de la sedicion o como consecuencia fueren cometidos otros delitos,
estos seraan castigados conforme a las disposiciones penales para los mismos fijadas.
Codigo de Peru.
ART. 145. Los reos de rebelion, sedicion o asonada son responsables de los delitos
especiales que cometen, observandose lo dispuesto en el Articulo 45.
ART. 146. Si no pudiese averiguarse quien de los sublevados cometio el delito especial, se
hara responsable a los autores del tumulto.
Codigo del Chile.
ART. 131. Los delitos particulares cometidos en un sublevacion o con motivo de ella, seran
castigados respectavamente con las penad designadas para ellos, no obstante le dispuesto
en el articulo 129. Si no pueden decubrirse los autores, seran considerados y penados
como complices de tales delitos los jefes principales o subalternos de los sublevados que
hallandose en la posibilidad de impedirlos no lo hubieren hecho.

Codigo del Paraguay.


ART. 380. Los delitos particulares cometidos en la sedicion o con motivo de ella, seran
castigados con la pena que les corresponda por las leyes respectivas.
Codigo de la Republica Argentina.
ART. 231. Los que cometen delitos comunes con motivo de la rebelion motin o asonada o
con ocasion de ella, seran castigados con la pena que corresponde a esos delitos.
Codigo de Honduras.
ART. 224. (Como el nuestro.)
(Groizard, El Codigo Penal de 1870, Vol. 3, Articulo 259, p. 650.)
In justice to the Defendants-Appellants in the present case, I wish to explain and make clear
that in mentioning and describing the serious crimes of murder, robbery, arson, kidnapping,
etc., alleged to have been committed in the course of the rebellion or by reason thereof, I am
not referring particularly to the charge or charges and counts alleged against them. Their case
is now pending appeal in this tribunal and their guilt or innocence of said charges or counts
will be decided in due time. And so, I am not imputing or attributing to them the serious
violations of law I have mentioned in this opinion. Rather, I am making general reference to
the informations filed in other cases, especially in the informations against Luis Taruc and
William Pomeroy which case is not only decided but also is closed.
In conclusion, I hold that under the law and under general principles rebellion punished with a
maximum penalty of twelve (12) years and fine cannot possibly absorb a much more serious
crimes like murder or kidnapping which are capital offenses and carry the maximum penalty of
death. It is hard for the mind to grasp the idea that a person committing one lone murder may
be headed for the electric chair; chan roblesvirtualawlibrarybut if perpetrates several murders,
kidnappings, arsons, and robberies and during their perpetration, was still committing another
crime, that of trying to overthrow his own government by force, then all he gets is twelve years
and fine. Since, the serious crimes like multiple murder, robbery, arson, kidnapping, etc.,
committed during the rebellion are not ingredients of, nor are they indispensable to the
commission of rebellion, and were but means freely selected by the rebels to facilitate their
commission of rebellion or to achieve and speed up their realization of their object, which was
to overthrow the government and implant their own system said to be of communistic ideology,
then under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code, the complex crime of rebellion with murder,
etc., was committed.
Judging by the numerous acts of atrocity contained in the several informations filed against
the rebels in different cases, not only government soldiers and officers, but innocent civilians
by the hundreds were murdered. Stores and homes were looted; chan
roblesvirtualawlibrarynot only public buildings, like presidencias and government hospitals, but
also private buildings and homes were burned to the ground. And as a result of these acts of
terrorism, entire barrios were abandoned and landowners, especially owners of landed
estates, evacuated to the provincial capitals or to the cities for personal security. And it seems
that these acts of banditry and pillage still continue though on a smaller scale.
Settled public policy or the policy of the Government as regards rebellion and the crimes
against persons and property committed by the rebels is clear. With their taxes, the citizens
are maintaining a large army to put down the rebellion. Substantial rewards ranging from P500
to P100,000 are offered for the apprehension of the rebels, specially the leaders. A rebel
leader with a P100,000 price on his head, after a campaign of several years by the army, and
after the loss of lives of many soldiers and civilian guides, is finally captured. The government

pays down the P100,000 to those responsible for the capture and charges him with the
complex crime of rebellion with multiple murder, kidnapping, etc., a capital offense. Pending
trial, he asks to be released on bail and under the doctrine being laid down by us, he is set at
liberty, free to go back to the hills to resume his dissident activities where he left off, by merely
posting a bond corresponding to a maximum imprisonment of twelve years (P12,000) and a
fine the amount of which is left to the discretion of the trial court. If he jumps his bail and
assuming that the full amount of the bond is confiscated, still, the Government which paid
P100,000 for his capture is the loser. It will have to wage another campaign to recapture him
and perhaps offer another reward for his apprehension. This would illustrate the wide
divergence between the policy of the Government and the present ruling of the Court. That is
not as it should be. The three departments of the Government, the Executive, the Legislative
and the Judicial Department, though independent of each other, should function as a team,
harmoniously, and in cooperation, all for the public welfare. They cannot work at cross
purposes. All three should be guided by the settled public policy of the state and this applies to
the courts. In the case of Rubi vs. provincial board of Mindoro, 39 Phil., pp. 718-19, this court
speaking about the relation between interpretation of the law by the courts and public policy,
said:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
As a point which has been left for the end of this decision and which, in case of doubt, would
lead to the determination that section 2145 is valid, is the attitude which the courts should
assume towards the settled policy of the Government. In a late decision with which we are in
full accord, Gamble vs. Vanderbilt University (200 Southwestern Reporter 510) the Chief of
Justice of the Supreme Court of Tennessee writes:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
We can see no objection to the application of public policy as a ratio decidendi. Every really
new question that comes before the courts is, in the last analysis, determined on the theory,
when not determined by differentiation of the principle of a prior case or line of cases, or by
the aid of analogies furnished by such prior cases. In balancing conflicting solutions, that one
is perceived to tip the scales which the court believes will best promote the public welfare in its
probable operation as a general rule or principle.
Justice Holmes, in one of the aphorisms for which he is justly famous, said that constitutional
law, like other mortal contrivances, has to take some chances. (Blinn vs. Nelson [1911] 222
U.S., 1.) If in the final decision of the many grave questions which this case presents, the
court must take a chance, it should be, with a view to upholding the law, with a view to the
effectuation of the general governmental policy, and with a view to the courts performing its
duty in no narrow and bigoted sense, but with that broad conception which will make the
courts as progressive and effective a force as are the other departments of the Government.
Now, by the majority resolution, this Court would spread the mantle of immunity over all these
serious crimes against persons and property on the theory that they are all covered by,
included in, and absorbed by the crime of rebellion. Under this protective mantle extended by
us, instead of curbing and discouraging the commission of these common serious crimes in
accordance with public policy, the commission of said crimes would be encouraged. No longer
would evil-minded men, outlaws, bandits, hesitate to kill and rob and kidnap, because by
pretending to be rebels or to be engaged in rebellion, their acts of atrocity would be covered
by rebellion, for which they would get, at most, twelve (12) years and fine. No longer would the
spectre of the death penalty and the electric chair hang sword of Damocles-like over the
heads of would be kidnappers, murderers and arsonists because by merely claiming to have
committed another additional crime, rebellion, under the doctrine laid down by the majority

resolution, capital punishment for all capital crimes they have committed or may commit, is
automatically reduced to twelve (12) years and fine. It is evident that the effect of the
interpretation by this Court of the law on complex crimes, in relation to rebellion and the
common serious crimes committed during and in the course thereof, runs counter to the
settled public policy on the subject.
Sad, indeed, is the role being played by this Tribunal in laying down a doctrine of such far
reaching consequences and in my opinion of such baneful not to say disastrous effects on
peace and order and personal security, diametrically and utterly opposed to settled public
policy, when after all, we have now the opportunity and the choice of accepting and adopting
another view, another interpretation of the law on complex crimes, to be more reasonable,
more logical and certainly, more in accordance with public policy, and more in keeping with
peace and order, personal security and the public welfare.
For the foregoing reasons, I dissent.
Endencia, JJ., concurs.
LABRADOR, J., dissenting:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
I fully agree with the dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice Montemayor in so far as he holds that
the complex crime of rebellion with murder exists under our law. I also concur with the opinion
of Mr. Justice Padilla in so far as he holds that the petition for bail should be denied because
of the danger that the release of the Petitioner-Appellant may cause to the security of the
State. As the Appellant has been convicted by the Court of First Instance, he may be admitted
to bail in the sound discretion of the court. In the interest of security the discretion should not
be exercised in favor of the granting of bail.
Endnotes:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
1. In the Andaya case the victim was a girl twelve years of age.
2. The information in the case at bar alleges that the acts therein set forth were committed
as a necessary means to commit the crime of rebellion.
3. See, also the comentarios el Codigo Penal, by A. Quintano Ripolles (Vol. I, pp. 396-397)
and Derecho Penal, by Federico Puig Pea (Vol. 1, p. 289).
4. In the language of the information.
1. Article 135, Revised Penal Code.
* 85 Phil., 307.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 92163 June 5, 1990
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS. JUAN PONCE ENRILE,
petitioner
vs.
JUDGE JAIME SALAZAR (Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City
[Br. 103], SENIOR STATE PROSECUTOR AURELIO TRAMPE, PROSECUTOR
FERDINAND R. ABESAMIS, AND CITY ASSISTANT CITY PROSECUTOR EULOGIO
MANANQUIL, NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION DIRECTOR ALFREDO LIM,
BRIG. GEN. EDGAR DULA TORRES (Superintendent of the Northern Police District)
AND/ OR ANY AND ALL PERSONS WHO MAY HAVE ACTUAL CUSTODY OVER THE
PERSON OF JUAN PONCE ENRILE, respondents.
G.R. No. 92164 June 5, 1990
SPS. REBECCO E. PANLILIO AND ERLINDA E. PANLILIO, petitioners,
vs.
PROSECUTORS FERNANDO DE LEON, AURELIO C. TRAMPE, FFRDINAND R.
ABESAMIS, AND EULOGIO C. MANANQUIL, and HON. JAIME W. SALAZAR, JR., in his
capacity as Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Quezon City, Branch 103,
respondents.
NARVASA, J.:
Thirty-four years after it wrote history into our criminal jurisprudence, People vs. Hernandez 1
once more takes center stage as the focus of a confrontation at law that would re-examine, if
not the validity of its doctrine, the limits of its applicability. To be sure, the intervening period
saw a number of similar cases 2 that took issue with the ruling-all with a marked lack of
success-but none, it would Beem, where season and circumstance had more effectively
conspired to attract wide public attention and excite impassioned debate, even among

laymen; none, certainly, which has seen quite the kind and range of arguments that are now
brought to bear on the same question.
The facts are not in dispute. In the afternoon of February 27, 1990, Senate Minority Floor
Leader Juan Ponce Enrile was arrested by law enforcement officers led by Director Alfredo
Lim of the National Bureau of Investigation on the strength of a warrant issued by Hon. Jaime
Salazar of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City Branch 103, in Criminal Case No.
9010941. The warrant had issued on an information signed and earlier that day filed by a
panel of prosecutors composed of Senior State Prosecutor Aurelio C. Trampe, State
Prosecutor Ferdinand R. Abesamis and Assistant City Prosecutor Eulogio Mananquil, Jr.,
charging Senator Enrile, the spouses Rebecco and Erlinda Panlilio, and Gregorio Honasan
with the crime of rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated murder allegedly committed
during the period of the failed coup attempt from November 29 to December 10, 1990.
Senator Enrile was taken to and held overnight at the NBI headquarters on Taft Avenue,
Manila, without bail, none having been recommended in the information and none fixed in the
arrest warrant. The following morning, February 28, 1990, he was brought to Camp Tomas
Karingal in Quezon City where he was given over to the custody of the Superintendent of the
Northern Police District, Brig. Gen. Edgardo Dula Torres. 3
On the same date of February 28, 1990, Senator Enrile, through counsel, filed the petition for
habeas corpus herein (which was followed by a supplemental petition filed on March 2, 1990),
alleging that he was deprived of his constitutional rights in being, or having been:
(a) held to answer for criminal offense which does not exist in the statute books;
(b) charged with a criminal offense in an information for which no complaint was initially filed
or preliminary investigation was conducted, hence was denied due process;
(c) denied his right to bail; and
(d) arrested and detained on the strength of a warrant issued without the judge who issued it
first having personally determined the existence of probable cause. 4
The Court issued the writ prayed for, returnable March 5, 1990 and set the plea for hearing on
March 6, 1990. 5 On March 5, 1990, the Solicitor General filed a consolidated return 6 for the
respondents in this case and in G.R. No. 92164 7 Which had been contemporaneously but
separately filed by two of Senator Enrile's co-accused, the spouses Rebecco and Erlinda
Panlilio, and raised similar questions. Said return urged that the petitioners' case does not fall
within the Hernandez ruling because-and this is putting it very simply-the information in
Hernandez charged murders and other common crimes committed as a necessary means for
the commission of rebellion, whereas the information against Sen. Enrile et al. charged
murder and frustrated murder committed on the occasion, but not in furtherance, of rebellion.
Stated otherwise, the Solicitor General would distinguish between the complex crime ("delito
complejo") arising from an offense being a necessary means for committing another, which is
referred to in the second clause of Article 48, Revised Penal Code, and is the subject of the
Hernandez ruling, and the compound crime ("delito compuesto") arising from a single act
constituting two or more grave or less grave offenses referred to in the first clause of the same
paragraph, with which Hernandez was not concerned and to which, therefore, it should not
apply.
The parties were heard in oral argument, as scheduled, on March 6, 1990, after which the
Court issued its Resolution of the same date 8 granting Senator Enrile and the Panlilio
spouses provisional liberty conditioned upon their filing, within 24 hours from notice, cash or
surety bonds of P100,000.00 (for Senator Enrile) and P200,000.00 (for the Panlilios),

respectively. The Resolution stated that it was issued without prejudice to a more extended
resolution on the matter of the provisional liberty of the petitioners and stressed that it was not
passing upon the legal issues raised in both cases. Four Members of the Court 9 voted against
granting bail to Senator Enrile, and two 10 against granting bail to the Panlilios.
The Court now addresses those issues insofar as they are raised and litigated in Senator
Enrile's petition, G.R. No. 92163.
The parties' oral and written pleas presented the Court with the following options:
(a) abandon Hernandez and adopt the minority view expressed in the main dissent of Justice
Montemayor in said case that rebellion cannot absorb more serious crimes, and that under
Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code rebellion may properly be complexed with common
offenses, so-called; this option was suggested by the Solicitor General in oral argument
although it is not offered in his written pleadings;
(b) hold Hernandez applicable only to offenses committed in furtherance, or as a necessary
means for the commission, of rebellion, but not to acts committed in the course of a rebellion
which also constitute "common" crimes of grave or less grave character;
(c) maintain Hernandez as applying to make rebellion absorb all other offenses committed in
its course, whether or not necessary to its commission or in furtherance thereof.
On the first option, eleven (11) Members of the Court voted against abandoning Hernandez.
Two (2) Members felt that the doctrine should be re-examined. 10-A In the view of the majority,
the ruling remains good law, its substantive and logical bases have withstood all subsequent
challenges and no new ones are presented here persuasive enough to warrant a complete
reversal. This view is reinforced by the fact that not too long ago, the incumbent President,
exercising her powers under the 1986 Freedom Constitution, saw fit to repeal, among others,
Presidential Decree No. 942 of the former regime which precisely sought to nullify or
neutralize Hernandez by enacting a new provision (Art. 142-A) into the Revised Penal Code to
the effect that "(w)hen by reason, or on the occasion, of any of the crimes penalized in this
Chapter (Chapter I of Title 3, which includes rebellion), acts which constitute offenses upon
which graver penalties are imposed by law are committed, the penalty for the most serious
offense in its maximum period shall be imposed upon the offender."' 11 In thus acting, the
President in effect by legislative flat reinstated Hernandez as binding doctrine with the effect of
law. The Court can do no less than accord it the same recognition, absent any sufficiently
powerful reason against so doing.
On the second option, the Court unanimously voted to reject the theory that Hernandez is, or
should be, limited in its application to offenses committed as a necessary means for the
commission of rebellion and that the ruling should not be interpreted as prohibiting the
complexing of rebellion with other common crimes committed on the occasion, but not in
furtherance, thereof. While four Members of the Court felt that the proponents' arguments
were not entirely devoid of merit, the consensus was that they were not sufficient to overcome
what appears to be the real thrust of Hernandez to rule out the complexing of rebellion with
any other offense committed in its course under either of the aforecited clauses of Article 48,
as is made clear by the following excerpt from the majority opinion in that case:
There is one other reason-and a fundamental one at that-why Article 48 of our Penal Code
cannot be applied in the case at bar. If murder were not complexed with rebellion, and the two
crimes were punished separately (assuming that this could be done), the following penalties
would be imposable upon the movant, namely: (1) for the crime of rebellion, a fine not
exceeding P20,000 and prision mayor, in the corresponding period, depending upon the

modifying circumstances present, but never exceeding 12 years of prision mayor, and (2) for
the crime of murder, reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death, depending upon the
modifying circumstances present. in other words, in the absence of aggravating
circumstances, the extreme penalty could not be imposed upon him. However, under Article
48 said penalty would have to be meted out to him, even in the absence of a single
aggravating circumstance. Thus, said provision, if construed in conformity with the theory of
the prosecution, would be unfavorable to the movant.
Upon the other hand, said Article 48 was enacted for the purpose of favoring the culprit, not of
sentencing him to a penalty more severe than that which would be proper if the several acts
performed by him were punished separately. In the words of Rodriguez Navarro:
La unificacion de penas en los casos de concurso de delitos a que hace referencia este
articulo (75 del Codigo de 1932), esta basado francamente en el principio pro reo.' (II Doctrina
Penal del Tribunal Supremo de Espana, p. 2168.)
We are aware of the fact that this observation refers to Article 71 (later 75) of the Spanish
Penal Code (the counterpart of our Article 48), as amended in 1908 and then in 1932, reading:
Las disposiciones del articulo anterior no son aplicables en el caso de que un solo hecho
constituya dos o mas delitos, o cuando el uno de ellos sea medio necesario para cometer el
otro.
En estos casos solo se impondra la pena correspondiente al delito mas grave en su grado
maximo, hasta el limite que represents la suma de las que pudieran imponerse, penando
separadamente los delitos.
Cuando la pena asi computada exceda de este limite, se sancionaran los delitos por
separado. (Rodriguez Navarro, Doctrina Penal del Tribunal Supremo, Vol. II, p. 2163)
and that our Article 48 does not contain the qualification inserted in said amendment,
restricting the imposition of the penalty for the graver offense in its maximum period to the
case when it does not exceed the sum total of the penalties imposable if the acts charged
were dealt with separately. The absence of said limitation in our Penal Code does not, to our
mind, affect substantially the spirit of said Article 48. Indeed, if one act constitutes two or more
offenses, there can be no reason to inflict a punishment graver than that prescribed for each
one of said offenses put together. In directing that the penalty for the graver offense be, in
such case, imposed in its maximum period, Article 48 could have had no other purpose than
to prescribe a penalty lower than the aggregate of the penalties for each offense, if imposed
separately. The reason for this benevolent spirit of article 48 is readily discernible. When two
or more crimes are the result of a single act, the offender is deemed less perverse than when
he commits said crimes thru separate and distinct acts. Instead of sentencing him for each
crime independently from the other, he must suffer the maximum of the penalty for the more
serious one, on the assumption that it is less grave than the sum total of the separate
penalties for each offense. 12
The rejection of both options shapes and determines the primary ruling of the Court, which is
that Hernandez remains binding doctrine operating to prohibit the complexing of rebellion with
any other offense committed on the occasion thereof, either as a means necessary to its
commission or as an unintended effect of an activity that constitutes rebellion.
This, however, does not write finis to the case. Petitioner's guilt or innocence is not here
inquired into, much less adjudged. That is for the trial court to do at the proper time. The
Court's ruling merely provides a take-off point for the disposition of other questions relevant to

the petitioner's complaints about the denial of his rights and to the propriety of the recourse he
has taken.
The Court rules further (by a vote of 11 to 3) that the information filed against the petitioner
does in fact charge an offense. Disregarding the objectionable phrasing that would complex
rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated murder, that indictment is to be read as charging
simple rebellion. Thus, in Hernandez, the Court said:
In conclusion, we hold that, under the allegations of the amended information against
defendant-appellant Amado V. Hernandez, the murders, arsons and robberies described
therein are mere ingredients of the crime of rebellion allegedly committed by said defendants,
as means "necessary" (4) for the perpetration of said offense of rebellion; that the crime
charged in the aforementioned amended information is, therefore, simple rebellion, not the
complex crime of rebellion with multiple murder, arsons and robberies; that the maximum
penalty imposable under such charge cannot exceed twelve (12) years of prision mayor and a
fine of P2H,HHH; and that, in conformity with the policy of this court in dealing with accused
persons amenable to a similar punishment, said defendant may be allowed bail. 13
The plaint of petitioner's counsel that he is charged with a crime that does not exist in the
statute books, while technically correct so far as the Court has ruled that rebellion may not be
complexed with other offenses committed on the occasion thereof, must therefore be
dismissed as a mere flight of rhetoric. Read in the context of Hernandez, the information does
indeed charge the petitioner with a crime defined and punished by the Revised Penal Code:
simple rebellion.
Was the petitioner charged without a complaint having been initially filed and/or preliminary
investigation conducted? The record shows otherwise, that a complaint against petitioner for
simple rebellion was filed by the Director of the National Bureau of Investigation, and that on
the strength of said complaint a preliminary investigation was conducted by the respondent
prosecutors, culminating in the filing of the questioned information. 14 There is nothing
inherently irregular or contrary to law in filing against a respondent an indictment for an
offense different from what is charged in the initiatory complaint, if warranted by the evidence
developed during the preliminary investigation.
It is also contended that the respondent Judge issued the warrant for petitioner's arrest
without first personally determining the existence of probable cause by examining under oath
or affirmation the complainant and his witnesses, in violation of Art. III, sec. 2, of the
Constitution. 15 This Court has already ruled, however, that it is not the unavoidable duty of the
judge to make such a personal examination, it being sufficient that he follows established
procedure by personally evaluating the report and the supporting documents submitted by the
prosecutor. 16 Petitioner claims that the warrant of arrest issued barely one hour and twenty
minutes after the case was raffled off to the respondent Judge, which hardly gave the latter
sufficient time to personally go over the voluminous records of the preliminary investigation. 17
Merely because said respondent had what some might consider only a relatively brief period
within which to comply with that duty, gives no reason to assume that he had not, or could not
have, so complied; nor does that single circumstance suffice to overcome the legal
presumption that official duty has been regularly performed.
Petitioner finally claims that he was denied the right to bail. In the light of the Court's
reaffirmation of Hernandez as applicable to petitioner's case, and of the logical and necessary
corollary that the information against him should be considered as charging only the crime of
simple rebellion, which is bailable before conviction, that must now be accepted as a correct

proposition. But the question remains: Given the facts from which this case arose, was a
petition for habeas corpus in this Court the appropriate vehicle for asserting a right to bail or
vindicating its denial?
The criminal case before the respondent Judge was the normal venue for invoking the
petitioner's right to have provisional liberty pending trial and judgment. The original jurisdiction
to grant or deny bail rested with said respondent. The correct course was for petitioner to
invoke that jurisdiction by filing a petition to be admitted to bail, claiming a right to bail per se
by reason of the weakness of the evidence against him. Only after that remedy was denied by
the trial court should the review jurisdiction of this Court have been invoked, and even then,
not without first applying to the Court of Appeals if appropriate relief was also available there.
Even acceptance of petitioner's premise that going by the Hernandez ruling, the information
charges a non-existent crime or, contrarily, theorizing on the same basis that it charges more
than one offense, would not excuse or justify his improper choice of remedies. Under either
hypothesis, the obvious recourse would have been a motion to quash brought in the criminal
action before the respondent Judge. 18
There thus seems to be no question that All the grounds upon which petitioner has founded
the present petition, whether these went into the substance of what is charged in the
information or imputed error or omission on the part of the prosecuting panel or of the
respondent Judge in dealing with the charges against him, were originally justiciable in the
criminal case before said Judge and should have been brought up there instead of directly to
this Court.
There was and is no reason to assume that the resolution of any of these questions was
beyond the ability or competence of the respondent Judge-indeed such an assumption would
be demeaning and less than fair to our trial courts; none whatever to hold them to be of such
complexity or transcendental importance as to disqualify every court, except this Court, from
deciding them; none, in short that would justify by passing established judicial processes
designed to orderly move litigation through the hierarchy of our courts. Parenthentically, this is
the reason behind the vote of four Members of the Court against the grant of bail to petitioner:
the view that the trial court should not thus be precipitately ousted of its original jurisdiction to
grant or deny bail, and if it erred in that matter, denied an opportunity to correct its error. It
makes no difference that the respondent Judge here issued a warrant of arrest fixing no bail.
Immemorial practice sanctions simply following the prosecutor's recommendation regarding
bail, though it may be perceived as the better course for the judge motu proprio to set a bail
hearing where a capital offense is charged. 19 It is, in any event, incumbent on the accused as
to whom no bail has been recommended or fixed to claim the right to a bail hearing and
thereby put to proof the strength or weakness of the evidence against him.
It is apropos to point out that the present petition has triggered a rush to this Court of other
parties in a similar situation, all apparently taking their cue from it, distrustful or contemptuous
of the efficacy of seeking recourse in the regular manner just outlined. The proliferation of
such pleas has only contributed to the delay that the petitioner may have hoped to avoid by
coming directly to this Court.
Not only because popular interest seems focused on the outcome of the present petition, but
also because to wash the Court's hand off it on jurisdictional grounds would only compound
the delay that it has already gone through, the Court now decides the same on the merits. But
in so doing, the Court cannot express too strongly the view that said petition interdicted the
ordered and orderly progression of proceedings that should have started with the trial court

and reached this Court only if the relief appealed for was denied by the former and, in a
proper case, by the Court of Appeals on review.
Let it be made very clear that hereafter the Court will no longer countenance, but will give
short shrift to, pleas like the present, that clearly short-circuit the judicial process and burden it
with the resolution of issues properly within the original competence of the lower courts. What
has thus far been stated is equally applicable to and decisive of the petition of the Panlilio
spouses (G.R. No. 92164) which is virtually Identical to that of petitioner Enrile in factual
milieu and is therefore determinable on the same principles already set forth. Said spouses
have uncontestedly pleaded 20 that warrants of arrest issued against them as co-accused of
petitioner Enrile in Criminal Case No. 90-10941, that when they appeared before NBI Director
Alfredo Lim in the afternoon of March 1, 1990, they were taken into custody and detained
without bail on the strength of said warrants in violation-they claim-of their constitutional rights.
It may be that in the light of contemporary events, the act of rebellion has lost that
quitessentiany quixotic quality that justifies the relative leniency with which it is regarded and
punished by law, that present-day rebels are less impelled by love of country than by lust for
power and have become no better than mere terrorists to whom nothing, not even the sanctity
of human life, is allowed to stand in the way of their ambitions. Nothing so underscores this
aberration as the rash of seemingly senseless killings, bombings, kidnappings and assorted
mayhem so much in the news these days, as often perpetrated against innocent civilians as
against the military, but by and large attributable to, or even claimed by so-called rebels to be
part of, an ongoing rebellion.
It is enough to give anyone pause-and the Court is no exception-that not even the crowded
streets of our capital City seem safe from such unsettling violence that is disruptive of the
public peace and stymies every effort at national economic recovery. There is an apparent
need to restructure the law on rebellion, either to raise the penalty therefor or to clearly define
and delimit the other offenses to be considered as absorbed thereby, so that it cannot be
conveniently utilized as the umbrella for every sort of illegal activity undertaken in its name.
The Court has no power to effect such change, for it can only interpret the law as it stands at
any given time, and what is needed lies beyond interpretation. Hopefully, Congress will
perceive the need for promptly seizing the initiative in this matter, which is properly within its
province.
WHEREFORE, the Court reiterates that based on the doctrine enunciated in People vs.
Hernandez, the questioned information filed against petitioners Juan Ponce Enrile and the
spouses Rebecco and Erlinda Panlilio must be read as charging simple rebellion only, hence
said petitioners are entitled to bail, before final conviction, as a matter of right. The Court's
earlier grant of bail to petitioners being merely provisional in character, the proceedings in
both cases are ordered REMANDED to the respondent Judge to fix the amount of bail to be
posted by the petitioners. Once bail is fixed by said respondent for any of the petitioners, the
corresponding bail bond flied with this Court shall become functus oficio. No pronouncement
as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Cruz, Gancayco and Regalado, JJ., concur.
Medialdea, J., concurs in G.R. No. 92164 but took no part in G.R. No. 92163.
Cortes and Grio-Aquino, JJ., are on leave.

Separate Opinions
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., concurring:
I join my colleagues in holding that the Hernandez doctrine, which has been with us for the
past three decades, remains good law and, thus, should remain undisturbed, despite periodic
challenges to it that, ironically, have only served to strengthen its pronouncements.
I take exception to the view, however, that habeas corpus was not the proper remedy.
Had the Information filed below charged merely the simple crime of Rebellion, that proposition
could have been plausible. But that Information charged Rebellion complexed with Murder
and Multiple Frustrated Murder, a crime which does not exist in our statute books. The charge
was obviously intended to make the penalty for the most serious offense in its maximum
period imposable upon the offender pursuant to Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code. Thus,
no bail was recommended in the Information nor was any prescribed in the Warrant of Arrest
issued by the Trial Court.
Under the attendant circumstances, therefore, to have filed a Motion to Quash before the
lower Court would not have brought about the speedy relief from unlawful restraint that
petitioner was seeking. During the pendency of said Motion before the lower Court, petitioner
could have continued to languish in detention. Besides, the Writ of Habeas Corpus may still
issue even if another remedy, which is less effective, may be availed of (Chavez vs. Court of
Appeals, 24 SCRA 663).
It is true that habeas corpus would ordinarily not he when a person is under custody by virtue
of a process issued by a Court.
The Court, however, must have jurisdiction to issue the process. In this case, the Court below
must be deemed to have been ousted of jurisdiction when it illegally curtailed petitioner's
liberty. Habeas corpus is thus available.
The writ of habeas corpus is available to relieve persons from unlawful restraint. But where
the detention or confinement is the result of a process issued by the court or judge or by virtue
of a judgment or sentence, the writ ordinarily cannot be availed of. It may still be invoked
though if the process, judgment or sentence proceeded from a court or tribunal the jurisdiction
of which may be assailed. Even if it had authority to act at the outset, it is now the prevailing
doctrine that a deprivation of constitutional right, if shown to exist, would oust it of jurisdiction.
In such a case, habeas corpus could be relied upon to regain one's liberty (Celeste vs.
People, 31 SCRA 391) [Emphasis emphasis].
The Petition for habeas corpus was precisely premised on the violation of petitioner's
constitutional right to bail inasmuch as rebellion, under the present state of the law, is a
bailable offense and the crime for which petitioner stands accused of and for which he was
denied bail is non-existent in law.
While litigants should, as a rule, ascend the steps of the judicial ladder, nothing should stop
this Court from taking cognizance of petitions brought before it raising urgent constitutional
issues, any procedural flaw notwithstanding.
The rules on habeas corpus are to be liberally construed (Ganaway v. Quilen, 42 Phil. 805),
the writ of habeas corpus being the fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual
freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action. The scope and flexibility of the writ-its
capacity to reach all manner of illegal detention-its ability to cut through barriers of form and
procedural mazes-have always been emphasized and jealously guarded by courts and
lawmakers (Gumabon v. Director of Bureau of Prisons, 37 SCRA 420) [emphasis supplied].

The proliferation of cases in this Court, which followed in the wake of this Petition, was
brought about by the insistence of the prosecution to charge the crime of Rebellion complexed
with other common offenses notwithstanding the fact that this Court had not yet ruled on the
validity of that charge and had granted provisional liberty to petitioner.
If, indeed, it is desired to make the crime of Rebellion a capital offense (now punishable by
reclusion perpetua), the remedy lies in legislation. But Article 142-A 1 of the Revised Penal
Code, along with P.D. No. 942, were repealed, for being "repressive," by EO No. 187 on 5
June 1987. EO 187 further explicitly provided that Article 134 (and others enumerated) of the
Revised Penal Code was "restored to its full force and effect as it existed before said
amendatory decrees." Having been so repealed, this Court is bereft of power to legislate into
existence, under the guise of re-examining a settled doctrine, a "creature unknown in law"- the
complex crime of Rebellion with Murder. The remand of the case to the lower Court for further
proceedings is in order. The Writ of Habeas Corpus has served its purpose.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J., concurring:
I join the Court's decision to grant the petition. In reiterating the rule that under existing law
rebellion may not be complexed with murder, the Court emphasizes that it cannot legislate a
new-crime into existence nor prescribe a penalty for its commission. That function is
exclusively for Congress.
I write this separate opinion to make clear how I view certain issues arising from these cases,
especially on how the defective informations filed by the prosecutors should have been
treated.
I agree with the ponente that a petition for habeas corpus is ordinarily not the proper
procedure to assert the right to bail. Under the special circumstances of this case, however,
the petitioners had no other recourse. They had to come to us.
First, the trial court was certainly aware of the decision in People v. Hernandez, 99 Phil. 515
(1956) that there is no such crime in our statute books as rebellion complexed with murder,
that murder committed in connection with a rebellion is absorbed by the crime of rebellion, and
that a resort to arms resulting in the destruction of life or property constitutes neither two or
more offenses nor a complex crime but one crime-rebellion pure and simple.
Second, Hernandez has been the law for 34 years. It has been reiterated in equally
sensational cases. All lawyers and even law students are aware of the doctrine. Attempts to
have the doctrine re-examined have been consistently rejected by this Court.
Third, President Marcos through the use of his then legislative powers, issued Pres. Decree
942, thereby installing the new crime of rebellion complexed with offenses like murder where
graver penalties are imposed by law. However, President Aquino using her then legislative
powers expressly repealed PD 942 by issuing Exec. Order 187. She thereby erased the crime
of rebellion complexed with murder and made it clear that the Hernandez doctrine remains the
controlling rule. The prosecution has not explained why it insists on resurrecting an offense
expressly wiped out by the President. The prosecution, in effect, questions the action of the
President in repealing a repressive decree, a decree which, according to the repeal order, is
violative of human rights.
Fourth, any re-examination of the Hernandez doctrine brings the ex post facto principle into
the picture. Decisions of this Court form part of our legal system. Even if we declare that
rebellion may be complexed with murder, our declaration can not be made retroactive where

the effect is to imprison a person for a crime which did not exist until the Supreme Court
reversed itself.
And fifth, the attempts to distinguish this case from the Hernandez case by stressing that the
killings charged in the information were committed "on the occasion of, but not a necessary
means for, the commission of rebellion" result in outlandish consequences and ignore the
basic nature of rebellion. Thus, under the prosecution theory a bomb dropped on PTV-4 which
kills government troopers results in simple rebellion because the act is a necessary means to
make the rebellion succeed. However, if the same bomb also kills some civilians in the
neighborhood, the dropping of the bomb becomes rebellion complexed with murder because
the killing of civilians is not necessary for the success of a rebellion and, therefore, the killings
are only "on the occasion of but not a 'necessary means for' the commission of rebellion.
This argument is puerile.
The crime of rebellion consists of many acts. The dropping of one bomb cannot be isolated as
a separate crime of rebellion. Neither should the dropping of one hundred bombs or the firing
of thousands of machine gun bullets be broken up into a hundred or thousands of separate
offenses, if each bomb or each bullet happens to result in the destruction of life and property.
The same act cannot be punishable by separate penalties depending on what strikes the
fancy of prosecutors-punishment for the killing of soldiers or retribution for the deaths of
civilians. The prosecution also loses sight of the regrettable fact that in total war and in
rebellion the killing of civilians, the laying waste of civilian economies, the massacre of
innocent people, the blowing up of passenger airplanes, and other acts of terrorism are all
used by those engaged in rebellion. We cannot and should not try to ascertain the intent of
rebels for each single act unless the act is plainly not connected to the rebellion. We cannot
use Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code in lieu of still-to- be-enacted legislation. The killing of
civilians during a rebel attack on military facilities furthers the rebellion and is part of the
rebellion.
The trial court was certainly aware of all the above considerations. I cannot understand why
the trial Judge issued the warrant of arrest which categorically states therein that the accused
was not entitled to bail. The petitioner was compelled to come to us so he would not be
arrested without bail for a nonexistent crime. The trial court forgot to apply an established
doctrine of the Supreme Court. Worse, it issued a warrant which reversed 34 years of
established procedure based on a well-known Supreme Court ruling.
All courts should remember that they form part of an independent judicial system; they do not
belong to the prosecution service. A court should never play into the hands of the prosecution
and blindly comply with its erroneous manifestations. Faced with an information charging a
manifestly non-existent crime, the duty of a trial court is to throw it out. Or, at the very least
and where possible, make it conform to the law.
A lower court cannot re-examine and reverse a decision of the Supreme Court especially a
decision consistently followed for 34 years. Where a Judge disagrees with a Supreme Court
ruling, he is free to express his reservations in the body of his decision, order, or resolution.
However, any judgment he renders, any order he prescribes, and any processes he issues
must follow the Supreme Court precedent. A trial court has no jurisdiction to reverse or ignore
precedents of the Supreme Court. In this particular case, it should have been the Solicitor
General coming to this Court to question the lower court's rejection of the application for a
warrant of arrest without bail. It should have been the Solicitor-General provoking the issue of

re-examination instead of the petitioners asking to be freed from their arrest for a non-existent
crime.
The principle bears repeating:
Respondent Court of Appeals really was devoid of any choice at all. It could not have ruled in
any other way on the legal question raised. This Tribunal having spoken, its duty was to obey.
It is as simple as that. There is relevance to this excerpt from Barrera v. Barrera. (L-31589,
July 31, 1970, 34 SCRA 98) 'The delicate task of ascertaining the significance that attaches to
a constitutional or statutory provision, an executive order, a procedural norm or a municipal
ordinance is committed to the judiciary. It thus discharges a role no less crucial than that
appertaining to the other two departments in the maintenance of the rule of law. To assure
stability in legal relations and avoid confusion, it has to speak with one voice. It does so with
finality, logically and rightly, through the highest judicial organ, this Court. What it says then
should be definitive and authoritative, binding on those occupying the lower ranks in the
judicial hierarchy. They have to defer and to submit.' (Ibid, 107. The opinion of Justice Laurel
in People v. Vera, 65 Phil. 56 [1937] was cited). The ensuing paragraph of the opinion in
Barrera further emphasizes the point: Such a thought was reiterated in an opinion of Justice
J.B.L. Reyes and further emphasized in these words: 'Judge Gaudencio Cloribel need not be
reminded that the Supreme Court, by tradition and in our system of judicial administration, has
the last word on what the law is; it is the final arbiter of any justifiable controversy. There is
only one Supreme Court from whose decisions all other courts should take their bearings.
(Ibid. Justice J.B.L. Reyes spoke thus in Albert v. Court of First Instance of Manila (Br. VI), L26364, May 29, 1968, 23 SCRA 948, 961. (Tugade v. Court of Appeals, 85 SCRA 226 [1978].
See also Albert v. Court of First Instance, 23 SCRA 948 [1968] and Vir-Jen Shipping and
Marine Services, Inc. v. NLRC, 125 SCRA 577 [1983])
I find the situation in Spouses Panlilio v. Prosecutors Fernando de Leon, et al. even more
inexplicable. In the case of the Panlilios, any probable cause to commit the non- existent
crime of rebellion complexed with murder exists only in the minds of the prosecutors, not in
the records of the case.
I have gone over the records and pleadings furnished to the members of the Supreme Court. I
listened intently to the oral arguments during the hearing and it was quite apparent that the
constitutional requirement of probable cause was not satisfied. In fact, in answer to my query
for any other proofs to support the issuance of a warrant of arrest, the answer was that the
evidence would be submitted in due time to the trial court.
The spouses Panlilio and one parent have been in the restaurant business for decades. Under
the records of these petitions, any restaurant owner or hotel manager who serves food to
rebels is a co-conspirator in the rebellion. The absurdity of this proposition is apparent if we
bear in mind that rebels ride in buses and jeepneys, eat meals in rural houses when mealtime
finds them in the vicinity, join weddings, fiestas, and other parties, play basketball with barrio
youths, attend masses and church services and otherwise mix with people in various
gatherings. Even if the hosts recognize them to be rebels and fail to shoo them away, it does
not necessarily follow that the former are co-conspirators in a rebellion.
The only basis for probable cause shown by the records of the Panlilio case is the alleged fact
that the petitioners served food to rebels at the Enrile household and a hotel supervisor asked
two or three of their waiters, without reason, to go on a vacation. Clearly, a much, much
stronger showing of probable cause must be shown.

In Salonga v. Cruz Pao, 134 SCRA 438 (1985), then Senator Salonga was charged as a
conspirator in the heinous bombing of innocent civilians because the man who planted the
bomb had, sometime earlier, appeared in a group photograph taken during a birthday party in
the United States with the Senator and other guests. It was a case of conspiracy proved
through a group picture. Here, it is a case of conspiracy sought to proved through the catering
of food.
The Court in Salonga stressed:
The purpose of a preliminary investigation is to secure the innocent against hasty, malicious
and oppressive prosecution, and to protect him from an open and public accusation of crime,
from the trouble, expense and anxiety of a public trial, and also to protect the state from
useless and expensive trials. (Trocio v. Manta, 118 SCRA 241; citing Hashimn v. Boncan, 71
Phil. 216). The right to a preliminary investigation is a statutory grant, and to withhold it would
be to transgress constitutional due process. (See People v. Oandasa, 25 SCRA 277)
However, in order to satisfy the due process clause it is not enough that the preliminary
investigation is conducted in the sense of making sure that a transgressor shall not escape
with impunity. A preliminary investigation serves not only the purposes of the State. More
important, it is a part of the guarantees of freedom and fair play which are birthrights of all who
live in our country. It is, therefore, imperative upon the fiscal or the judge as the case may be,
to relieve the accused from the pain of going through a trial once it is ascertained that the
evidence is insufficient to sustain a prima facie case or that no probable cause exists to form a
sufficient belief as to the guilt of the accused. Although there is no general formula or fixed
rule for the determination of probable cause since the same must be decided in the light of the
conditions obtaining in given situations and its existence depends to a large degree upon the
finding or opinion of the judge conducting the examination, such a finding should not disregard
the facts before the judge nor run counter to the clear dictates of reason (See La Chemise
Lacoste, S.A. v. Fernandez, 129 SCRA 391). The judge or fiscal, therefore, should not go on
with the prosecution in the hope that some credible evidence might later turn up during trial for
this would be a flagrant violation of a basic right which the courts are created to uphold. It
bears repeating that the judiciary lives up to its mission by vitalizing and not denigrating
constitutional rights. So it has been before. It should continue to be so. (id., pp. 461- 462)
Because of the foregoing, I take exception to that part of the ponencia which will read the
informations as charging simple rebellion. This case did not arise from innocent error. If an
information charges murder but its contents show only the ingredients of homicide, the Judge
may rightly read it as charging homicide. In these cases, however, there is a deliberate
attempt to charge the petitioners for an offense which this Court has ruled as non-existent.
The prosecution wanted Hernandez to be reversed. Since the prosecution has filed
informations for a crime which, under our rulings, does not exist, those informations should be
treated as null and void. New informations charging the correct offense should be filed. And in
G.R. No. 92164, an extra effort should be made to see whether or not the Principle in Salonga
v. Cruz Patio, et al. (supra) has been violated.
The Court is not, in any way, preventing the Government from using more effective weapons
to suppress rebellion. If the Government feels that the current situation calls for the imposition
of more severe penalties like death or the creation of new crimes like rebellion complexed with
murder, the remedy is with Congress, not the courts.
I, therefore, vote to GRANT the petitions and to ORDER the respondent court to DISMISS the
void informations for a non-existent crime.

FELICIANO, J., concurring:


I concur in the result reached by the majority of the Court.
I believe that there are certain aspects of the Hernandez doctrine that, as an abstract question
of law, could stand reexamination or clarification. I have in mind in particular matters such as
the correct or appropriate relationship between Article 134 and Article 135 of the Revised
Penal Code. This is a matter which relates to the legal concept of rebellion in our legal system.
If one examines the actual terms of Article 134 (entitled: "Rebellion or Insurrection-How
Committed"), it would appear that this Article specifies both the overt acts and the criminal
purpose which, when put together, would constitute the offense of rebellion. Thus, Article 134
states that "the crime of rebellion is committed by rising publicly and taking arms against the
Government "(i.e., the overt acts comprising rebellion), "for the purpose of (i.e., the specific
criminal intent or political objective) removing from the allegiance to said government or its
laws the territory of the Republic of the Philippines or any part thereof, or any body of land,
naval or other armed forces, or depriving the Chief Executive or the Legislature, wholly or
partially, of their powers or prerogatives." At the same time, Article 135 (entitled: "Penalty for
Rebellion or Insurrection.") sets out a listing of acts or particular measures which appear to fall
under the rubric of rebellion or insurrection: "engaging in war against the forces of the
Government, destroying property or committing serious violence, exacting contributions or
diverting public funds from the lawful purpose for which they have been appropriated." Are
these modalities of rebellion generally? Or are they particular modes by which those "who
promote [ ], maintain [ ] or head [ ] a rebellion or insurrection" commit rebellion, or particular
modes of participation in a rebellion by public officers or employees? Clearly, the scope of the
legal concept of rebellion relates to the distinction between, on the one hand, the
indispensable acts or ingredients of the crime of rebellion under the Revised Penal Code and,
on the other hand, differing optional modes of seeking to carry out the political or social
objective of the rebellion or insurrection.
The difficulty that is at once raised by any effort to examine once more even the above
threshold questions is that the results of such re-examination may well be that acts which
under the Hernandez doctrine are absorbed into rebellion, may be characterized as separate
or discrete offenses which, as a matter of law, can either be prosecuted separately from
rebellion or prosecuted under the provisions of Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code, which
(both Clause 1 and Clause 2 thereof) clearly envisage the existence of at least two (2) distinct
offenses. To reach such a conclusion in the case at bar, would, as far as I can see, result in
colliding with the fundamental non-retroactivity principle (Article 4, Civil Code; Article 22,
Revised Penal Code; both in relation to Article 8, Civil Code).
The non-retroactivity rule applies to statutes principally. But, statutes do not exist in the
abstract but rather bear upon the lives of people with the specific form given them by judicial
decisions interpreting their norms. Judicial decisions construing statutory norms give specific
shape and content to such norms. In time, the statutory norms become encrusted with the
glosses placed upon them by the courts and the glosses become integral with the norms (Cf
Caltex v. Palomar, 18 SCRA 247 [1966]). Thus, while in legal theory, judicial interpretation of a
statute becomes part of the law as of the date that the law was originally enacted, I believe
this theory is not to be applied rigorously where a new judicial doctrine is announced, in
particular one overruling a previous existing doctrine of long standing (here, 36 years) and
most specially not where the statute construed is criminal in nature and the new doctrine is

more onerous for the accused than the pre-existing one (People v. Jabinal, 55 SCRA 607
[1974]; People v. Licera, 65 SCRA 270 [1975]; Gumabon v. Director of Prisons, 37 SCRA 420
[1971]). Moreover, the non-retroactivity rule whether in respect of legislative acts or judicial
decisions has constitutional implications. The prevailing rule in the United States is that a
judicial decision that retroactively renders an act criminal or enhances the severity of the
penalty prescribed for an offense, is vulnerable to constitutional challenge based upon the rule
against ex post facto laws and the due process clause (Bouie v. City of Columbia, 378 US
347,12 L. Ed. 2d 894 [1964]; Marks v. U.S., 43 US 188, 51 L. Ed. 2d 260 [1977]; Devine v.
New Mexico Department of Corrections, 866 F. 2d 339 [1989]).
It is urged by the Solicitor General that the non-retroactivity principle does not present any real
problem for the reason that the Hernandez doctrine was based upon Article 48, second
clause, of the Revised Penal Code and not upon the first clause thereof, while it is precisely
the first clause of Article 48 that the Government here invokes. It is, however, open to serious
doubt whether Hernandez can reasonably be so simply and sharply characterized. And
assuming the Hernandez could be so characterized, subsequent cases refer to the
Hernandez doctrine in terms which do not distinguish clearly between the first clause and the
second clause of Article 48 (e.g., People v. Geronimo, 100 Phil. 90 [1956]; People v.
Rodriguez, 107 Phil. 659 [1960]). Thus, it appears to me that the critical question would be
whether a man of ordinary intelligence would have necessarily read or understood the
Hernandez doctrine as referring exclusively to Article 48, second clause. Put in slightly
different terms, the important question would be whether the new doctrine here proposed by
the Government could fairly have been derived by a man of average intelligence (or counsel
of average competence in the law) from an examination of Articles 134 and 135 of the
Revised Penal Code as interpreted by the Court in the Hernandez and subsequent cases. To
formulate the question ill these terms would almost be to compel a negative answer,
especially in view of the conclusions reached by the Court and its several Members today.
Finally, there appears to be no question that the new doctrine that the Government would
have us discover for the first time since the promulgation of the Revised Penal Code in 1932,
would be more onerous for the respondent accused than the simple application of the
Hernandez doctrine that murders which have been committed on the occasion of and in
furtherance of the crime of rebellion must be deemed absorbed in the offense of simple
rebellion.
I agree therefore that the information in this case must be viewed as charging only the crime
of simple rebellion.
FERNAN, C.J., concurring and dissenting:
I am constrained to write this separate opinion on what seems to be a rigid adherence to the
1956 ruling of the Court. The numerous challenges to the doctrine enunciated in the case of
People vs. Hernandez, 99 Phil. 515 (1956) should at once demonstrate the need to redefine
the applicability of said doctrine so as to make it conformable with accepted and well-settled
principles of criminal law and jurisprudence.
To my mind, the Hernandez doctrine should not be interpreted as an all-embracing authority
for the rule that all common crimes committed on the occasion, or in furtherance of, or in
connection with, rebellion are absorbed by the latter. To that extent, I cannot go along with the
view of the majority in the instant case that 'Hernandez remains binding doctrine operating to
prohibit the complexing of rebellion with any other offense committed on the occasion thereof,

either as a means necessary to its commission or as an unintended effect of an activity that


constitutes rebellion" (p. 9, Decision).
The Hernandez doctrine has served the purpose for which it was appealed by the Court in
1956 during the communist-inspired rebellion of the Huks. The changes in our society in the
span of 34 years since then have far-reaching effects on the all-embracing applicability of the
doctrine considering the emergence of alternative modes of seizing the powers of the duly
constituted Government not contemplated in Articles 134 and 135 of the Revised Penal Code
and their consequent effects on the lives of our people. The doctrine was good law then, but I
believe that there is a certain aspect of the Hernandez doctrine that needs clarification.
With all due respect to the views of my brethren in the Court, I believe that the Court, in the
instant case, should have further considered that distinction between acts or offenses which
are indispensable in the commission of rebellion, on the one hand, and those acts or offenses
that are merely necessary but not indispensable in the commission of rebellion, on the other.
The majority of the Court is correct in adopting, albeit impliedly, the view in Hernandez case
that when an offense perpetrated as a necessary means of committing another, which is an
element of the latter, the resulting interlocking crimes should be considered as only one simple
offense and must be deemed outside the operation of the complex crime provision (Article 48)
of the Revised Penal Code. As in the case of Hernandez, the Court, however, failed in the
instant case to distinguish what is indispensable from what is merely necessary in the
commission of an offense, resulting thus in the rule that common crimes like murder, arson,
robbery, etc. committed in the course or on the occasion of rebellion are absorbed or included
in the latter as elements thereof.
The relevance of the distinction is significant, more particularly, if applied to contemporaneous
events happening in our country today. Theoretically, a crime which is indispensable in the
commission of another must necessarily be an element of the latter; but a crime that is merely
necessary but not indispensable in the commission of another is not an element of the latter,
and if and when actually committed, brings the interlocking crime within the operation of the
complex crime provision (Art. 48) of the Revised Penal Code. With that distinction, common
crimes committed against Government forces and property in the course of rebellion are
properly considered indispensable overt acts of rebellion and are logically absorbed in it as
virtual ingredients or elements thereof, but common crimes committed against the civilian
population in the course or on the occasion of rebellion and in furtherance thereof, may be
necessary but not indispensable in committing the latter, and may, therefore, not be
considered as elements of the said crime of rebellion. To illustrate, the deaths occurring during
armed confrontation or clashes between government forces and the rebels are absorbed in
the rebellion, and would be those resulting from the bombing of military camps and
installations, as these acts are indispensable in carrying out the rebellion. But deliberately
shooting down an unarmed innocent civilian to instill fear or create chaos among the people,
although done in the furtherance of the rebellion, should not be absorbed in the crime of
rebellion as the felonious act is merely necessary, but not indispensable. In the latter case,
Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code should apply.
The occurrence of a coup d' etat in our country as a mode of seizing the powers of the dulyconstituted government by staging surprise attacks or occupying centers of powers, of which
this Court should take judicial notice, has introduced a new dimension to the interpretation of
the provisions on rebellion and insurrection in the Revised Penal Code. Generally, as a mode
of seizing the powers of the duly constituted government, it falls within the contemplation of

rebellion under the Revised Penal Code, but, strictly construed, a coup d'etat per se is a class
by itself. The manner of its execution and the extent and magnitude of its effects on the lives
of the people distinguish a coup d'etat from the traditional definition and modes of commission
attached by the Revised Penal Code to the crime of rebellion as applied by the Court to the
communist-inspired rebellion of the 1950's. A coup d'etat may be executed successfully
without its perpetrators resorting to the commission of other serious crimes such as murder,
arson, kidnapping, robbery, etc. because of the element of surprise and the precise timing of
its execution. In extreme cases where murder, arson, robbery, and other common crimes are
committed on the occasion of a coup d' etat, the distinction referred to above on what is
necessary and what is indispensable in the commission of the coup d'etat should be
painstakingly considered as the Court should have done in the case of herein petitioners.
I concur in the result insofar as the other issues are resolved by the Court but I take exception
to the vote of the majority on the broad application of the Hernandez doctrine.
BIDIN, J., concurring and dissenting:
I concur with the majority opinion except as regards the dispositive portion thereof which
orders the remand of the case to the respondent judge for further proceedings to fix the
amount of bail to be posted by the petitioner.
I submit that the proceedings need not be remanded to the respondent judge for the purpose
of fixing bail since we have construed the indictment herein as charging simple rebellion, an
offense which is bailable. Consequently, habeas corpus is the proper remedy available to
petitioner as an accused who had been charged with simple rebellion, a bailable offense but
who had been denied his right to bail by the respondent judge in violation of petitioner's
constitutional right to bail. In view thereof, the responsibility of fixing the amount of bail and
approval thereof when filed, devolves upon us, if complete relief is to be accorded to petitioner
in the instant proceedings.
It is indubitable that before conviction, admission to bail is a matter of right to the defendant,
accused before the Regional Trial Court of an offense less than capital (Section 13 Article III,
Constitution and Section 3, Rule 114). Petitioner is, before Us, on a petition for habeas corpus
praying, among others, for his provisional release on bail. Since the offense charged
(construed as simple rebellion) admits of bail, it is incumbent upon us m the exercise of our
jurisdiction over the petition for habeas corpus (Section 5 (1), Article VIII, Constitution; Section
2, Rule 102), to grant petitioner his right to bail and having admitted him to bail, to fix the
amount thereof in such sums as the court deems reasonable. Thereafter, the rules require that
"the proceedings together with the bond" shall forthwith be certified to the respondent trial
court (Section 14, Rule 102).
Accordingly, the cash bond in the amount of P 100,000.00 posted by petitioner for his
provisional release pursuant to our resolution dated March 6, 1990 should now be deemed
and admitted as his bail bond for his provisional release in the case (simple rebellion) pending
before the respondent judge, without necessity of a remand for further proceedings,
conditioned for his (petitioner's) appearance before the trial court to abide its order or
judgment in the said case.
SARMIENTO, J., concurring and dissenting:
I agree that People v. Hernandez 1 should abide. More than three decades after which it was
penned, it has firmly settled in the tomes of our jurisprudence as correct doctrine.

As Hernandez put it, rebellion means "engaging m war against the forces of the government,"
2
which implies "resort to arms, requisition of property and services, collection of taxes and
contributions, restraint of liberty, damage to property, physical injuries and loss of life, and the
hunger, illness and unhappiness that war leaves in its wake. ..." 3 whether committed in
furtherance, of as a necessary means for the commission, or in the course, of rebellion. To say
that rebellion may be complexed with any other offense, in this case murder, is to play into a
contradiction in terms because exactly, rebellion includes murder, among other possible
crimes.
I also agree that the information may stand as an accusation for simple rebellion. Since the
acts complained of as constituting rebellion have been embodied in the information, mention
therein of murder as a complexing offense is a surplusage, because in any case, the crime of
rebellion is left fully described. 4
At any rate, the government need only amend the information by a clerical correction, since an
amendment will not alter its substance.
I dissent, however, insofar as the majority orders the remand of the matter of bail to the lower
court. I take it that when we, in our Resolution of March 6, 1990, granted the petitioner
"provisional liberty" upon the filing of a bond of P100,000.00, we granted him bail. The fact
that we gave him "provisional liberty" is in my view, of no moment, because bail means
provisional liberty. It will serve no useful purpose to have the trial court hear the incident again
when we ourselves have been satisfied that the petitioner is entitled to temporary freedom.
PADILLA, J., dissenting:
I concur in the majority opinion insofar as it holds that the ruling in People vs. Hernandez, 99
Phil. 515 "remains binding doctrine operating to prohibit the complexing of rebellion with any
other offense committed on the occasion thereof, either as a means necessary to its
commission or as an unintended effect of an activity that constitutes rebellion."
I dissent, however, from the majority opinion insofar as it holds that the information in
question, while charging the complex crime of rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated
murder, "is to be read as charging simple rebellion."
The present cases are to be distinguished from the Hernandez case in at least one (1)
material respect. In the Hernandez case, this Court was confronted with an appealed case,
i.e., Hernandez had been convicted by the trial court of the complex crime of rebellion with
murder, arson and robbery, and his plea to be released on bail before the Supreme Court,
pending appeal, gave birth to the now celebrated Hernandez doctrine that the crime of
rebellion complexed with murder, arson and robbery does not exist. In the present cases, on
the other hand, the Court is confronted with an original case, i.e., where an information has
been recently filed in the trial court and the petitioners have not even pleaded thereto.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court, in the Hernandez case, was "ground-breaking" on the issue
of whether rebellion can be complexed with murder, arson, robbery, etc. In the present cases,
on the other hand, the prosecution and the lower court, not only had the Hernandez doctrine
(as case law), but Executive Order No. 187 of President Corazon C. Aquino dated 5 June
1987 (as statutory law) to bind them to the legal proposition that the crime of rebellion
complexed with murder, and multiple frustrated murder does not exist.
And yet, notwithstanding these unmistakable and controlling beacon lights-absent when this
Court laid down the Hernandez doctrine-the prosecution has insisted in filing, and the lower
court has persisted in hearing, an information charging the petitioners with rebellion

complexed with murder an multiple frustrated murder. That information is clearly a nullity and
plainly void ab initio. Its head should not be allowed to surface. As a nullity in substantive law,
it charges nothing; it has given rise to nothing. The warrants of arrest issued pursuant thereto
are as null and void as the information on which they are anchored. And, since the entire
question of the information's validity is before the Court in these habeas corpus cases, I
venture to say that the information is fatally defective, even under procedural law, because it
charges more than one (1) offense (Sec. 13, Rule 110, Rules of Court).
I submit then that it is not for this Court to energize a dead and, at best, fatally decrepit
information by labelling or "baptizing" it differently from what it announces itself to be. The
prosecution must file an entirely new and proper information, for this entire exercise to merit
the serious consideration of the courts.
ACCORDINGLY, I vote to GRANT the petitions, QUASH the warrants of arrest, and ORDER
the information for rebellion complexed with murder and multiple frustrated murder in Criminal
Case Nos. 90-10941, RTC of Quezon City, DISMISSED.
Consequently, the petitioners should be ordered permanently released and their bails
cancelled.
Paras, J., concurs.
Separate Opinions
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., concurring:
I join my colleagues in holding that the Hernandez doctrine, which has been with us for the
past three decades, remains good law and, thus, should remain undisturbed, despite periodic
challenges to it that, ironically, have only served to strengthen its pronouncements.
I take exception to the view, however, that habeas corpus was not the proper remedy.
Had the Information filed below charged merely the simple crime of Rebellion, that proposition
could have been plausible. But that Information charged Rebellion complexed with Murder
and Multiple Frustrated Murder, a crime which does not exist in our statute books. The charge
was obviously intended to make the penalty for the most serious offense in its maximum
period imposable upon the offender pursuant to Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code. Thus,
no bail was recommended in the Information nor was any prescribed in the Warrant of Arrest
issued by the Trial Court.
Under the attendant circumstances, therefore, to have filed a Motion to Quash before the
lower Court would not have brought about the speedy relief from unlawful restraint that
petitioner was seeking. During the pendency of said Motion before the lower Court, petitioner
could have continued to languish in detention. Besides, the Writ of Habeas Corpus may still
issue even if another remedy, which is less effective, may be availed of (Chavez vs. Court of
Appeals, 24 SCRA 663).
It is true that habeas corpus would ordinarily not he when a person is under custody by virtue
of a process issued by a Court.
The Court, however, must have jurisdiction to issue the process. In this case, the Court below
must be deemed to have been ousted of jurisdiction when it illegally curtailed petitioner's
liberty. Habeas corpus is thus available.
The writ of habeas corpus is available to relieve persons from unlawful restraint. But where
the detention or confinement is the result of a process issued by the court or judge or by virtue
of a judgment or sentence, the writ ordinarily cannot be availed of. It may still be invoked

though if the process, judgment or sentence proceeded from a court or tribunal the jurisdiction
of which may be assailed. Even if it had authority to act at the outset, it is now the prevailing
doctrine that a deprivation of constitutional right, if shown to exist, would oust it of jurisdiction.
In such a case, habeas corpus could be relied upon to regain one's liberty (Celeste vs.
People, 31 SCRA 391) [Emphasis emphasis].
The Petition for habeas corpus was precisely premised on the violation of petitioner's
constitutional right to bail inasmuch as rebellion, under the present state of the law, is a
bailable offense and the crime for which petitioner stands accused of and for which he was
denied bail is non-existent in law.
While litigants should, as a rule, ascend the steps of the judicial ladder, nothing should stop
this Court from taking cognizance of petitions brought before it raising urgent constitutional
issues, any procedural flaw notwithstanding.
The rules on habeas corpus are to be liberally construed (Ganaway v. Quilen, 42 Phil. 805),
the writ of habeas corpus being the fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual
freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action. The scope and flexibility of the writ-its
capacity to reach all manner of illegal detention-its ability to cut through barriers of form and
procedural mazes-have always been emphasized and jealously guarded by courts and
lawmakers (Gumabon v. Director of Bureau of Prisons, 37 SCRA 420) [emphasis supplied].
The proliferation of cases in this Court, which followed in the wake of this Petition, was
brought about by the insistence of the prosecution to charge the crime of Rebellion complexed
with other common offenses notwithstanding the fact that this Court had not yet ruled on the
validity of that charge and had granted provisional liberty to petitioner.
If, indeed, it is desired to make the crime of Rebellion a capital offense (now punishable by
reclusion perpetua), the remedy lies in legislation. But Article 142-A 1 of the Revised Penal
Code, along with P.D. No. 942, were repealed, for being "repressive," by EO No. 187 on 5
June 1987. EO 187 further explicitly provided that Article 134 (and others enumerated) of the
Revised Penal Code was "restored to its full force and effect as it existed before said
amendatory decrees." Having been so repealed, this Court is bereft of power to legislate into
existence, under the guise of re-examining a settled doctrine, a "creature unknown in law"- the
complex crime of Rebellion with Murder. The remand of the case to the lower Court for further
proceedings is in order. The Writ of Habeas Corpus has served its purpose.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J., concurring:
I join the Court's decision to grant the petition. In reiterating the rule that under existing law
rebellion may not be complexed with murder, the Court emphasizes that it cannot legislate a
new-crime into existence nor prescribe a penalty for its commission. That function is
exclusively for Congress.
I write this separate opinion to make clear how I view certain issues arising from these cases,
especially on how the defective informations filed by the prosecutors should have been
treated.
I agree with the ponente that a petition for habeas corpus is ordinarily not the proper
procedure to assert the right to bail. Under the special circumstances of this case, however,
the petitioners had no other recourse. They had to come to us.
First, the trial court was certainly aware of the decision in People v. Hernandez, 99 Phil. 515
(1956) that there is no such crime in our statute books as rebellion complexed with murder,
that murder committed in connection with a rebellion is absorbed by the crime of rebellion, and

that a resort to arms resulting in the destruction of life or property constitutes neither two or
more offenses nor a complex crime but one crime-rebellion pure and simple.
Second, Hernandez has been the law for 34 years. It has been reiterated in equally
sensational cases. All lawyers and even law students are aware of the doctrine. Attempts to
have the doctrine re-examined have been consistently rejected by this Court.
Third, President Marcos through the use of his then legislative powers, issued Pres. Decree
942, thereby installing the new crime of rebellion complexed with offenses like murder where
graver penalties are imposed by law. However, President Aquino using her then legislative
powers expressly repealed PD 942 by issuing Exec. Order 187. She thereby erased the crime
of rebellion complexed with murder and made it clear that the Hernandez doctrine remains the
controlling rule. The prosecution has not explained why it insists on resurrecting an offense
expressly wiped out by the President. The prosecution, in effect, questions the action of the
President in repealing a repressive decree, a decree which, according to the repeal order, is
violative of human rights.
Fourth, any re-examination of the Hernandez doctrine brings the ex post facto principle into
the picture. Decisions of this Court form part of our legal system. Even if we declare that
rebellion may be complexed with murder, our declaration can not be made retroactive where
the effect is to imprison a person for a crime which did not exist until the Supreme Court
reversed itself.
And fifth, the attempts to distinguish this case from the Hernandez case by stressing that the
killings charged in the information were committed "on the occasion of, but not a necessary
means for, the commission of rebellion" result in outlandish consequences and ignore the
basic nature of rebellion. Thus, under the prosecution theory a bomb dropped on PTV-4 which
kills government troopers results in simple rebellion because the act is a necessary means to
make the rebellion succeed. However, if the same bomb also kills some civilians in the
neighborhood, the dropping of the bomb becomes rebellion complexed with murder because
the killing of civilians is not necessary for the success of a rebellion and, therefore, the killings
are only "on the occasion of but not a 'necessary means for' the commission of rebellion.
This argument is puerile.
The crime of rebellion consists of many acts. The dropping of one bomb cannot be isolated as
a separate crime of rebellion. Neither should the dropping of one hundred bombs or the firing
of thousands of machine gun bullets be broken up into a hundred or thousands of separate
offenses, if each bomb or each bullet happens to result in the destruction of life and property.
The same act cannot be punishable by separate penalties depending on what strikes the
fancy of prosecutors-punishment for the killing of soldiers or retribution for the deaths of
civilians. The prosecution also loses sight of the regrettable fact that in total war and in
rebellion the killing of civilians, the laying waste of civilian economies, the massacre of
innocent people, the blowing up of passenger airplanes, and other acts of terrorism are all
used by those engaged in rebellion. We cannot and should not try to ascertain the intent of
rebels for each single act unless the act is plainly not connected to the rebellion. We cannot
use Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code in lieu of still-to- be-enacted legislation. The killing of
civilians during a rebel attack on military facilities furthers the rebellion and is part of the
rebellion.
The trial court was certainly aware of all the above considerations. I cannot understand why
the trial Judge issued the warrant of arrest which categorically states therein that the accused
was not entitled to bail. The petitioner was compelled to come to us so he would not be

arrested without bail for a nonexistent crime. The trial court forgot to apply an established
doctrine of the Supreme Court. Worse, it issued a warrant which reversed 34 years of
established procedure based on a well-known Supreme Court ruling.
All courts should remember that they form part of an independent judicial system; they do not
belong to the prosecution service. A court should never play into the hands of the prosecution
and blindly comply with its erroneous manifestations. Faced with an information charging a
manifestly non-existent crime, the duty of a trial court is to throw it out. Or, at the very least
and where possible, make it conform to the law.
A lower court cannot re-examine and reverse a decision of the Supreme Court especially a
decision consistently followed for 34 years. Where a Judge disagrees with a Supreme Court
ruling, he is free to express his reservations in the body of his decision, order, or resolution.
However, any judgment he renders, any order he prescribes, and any processes he issues
must follow the Supreme Court precedent. A trial court has no jurisdiction to reverse or ignore
precedents of the Supreme Court. In this particular case, it should have been the Solicitor
General coming to this Court to question the lower court's rejection of the application for a
warrant of arrest without bail. It should have been the Solicitor-General provoking the issue of
re-examination instead of the petitioners asking to be freed from their arrest for a non-existent
crime.
The principle bears repeating:
Respondent Court of Appeals really was devoid of any choice at all. It could not have ruled in
any other way on the legal question raised. This Tribunal having spoken, its duty was to obey.
It is as simple as that. There is relevance to this excerpt from Barrera v. Barrera. (L-31589,
July 31, 1970, 34 SCRA 98) 'The delicate task of ascertaining the significance that attaches to
a constitutional or statutory provision, an executive order, a procedural norm or a municipal
ordinance is committed to the judiciary. It thus discharges a role no less crucial than that
appertaining to the other two departments in the maintenance of the rule of law. To assure
stability in legal relations and avoid confusion, it has to speak with one voice. It does so with
finality, logically and rightly, through the highest judicial organ, this Court. What it says then
should be definitive and authoritative, binding on those occupying the lower ranks in the
judicial hierarchy. They have to defer and to submit.' (Ibid, 107. The opinion of Justice Laurel
in People v. Vera, 65 Phil. 56 [1937] was cited). The ensuing paragraph of the opinion in
Barrera further emphasizes the point: Such a thought was reiterated in an opinion of Justice
J.B.L. Reyes and further emphasized in these words: 'Judge Gaudencio Cloribel need not be
reminded that the Supreme Court, by tradition and in our system of judicial administration, has
the last word on what the law is; it is the final arbiter of any justifiable controversy. There is
only one Supreme Court from whose decisions all other courts should take their bearings.
(Ibid. Justice J.B.L. Reyes spoke thus in Albert v. Court of First Instance of Manila (Br. VI), L26364, May 29, 1968, 23 SCRA 948, 961. (Tugade v. Court of Appeals, 85 SCRA 226 [1978].
See also Albert v. Court of First Instance, 23 SCRA 948 [1968] and Vir-Jen Shipping and
Marine Services, Inc. v. NLRC, 125 SCRA 577 [1983])
I find the situation in Spouses Panlilio v. Prosecutors Fernando de Leon, et al. even more
inexplicable. In the case of the Panlilios, any probable cause to commit the non- existent
crime of rebellion complexed with murder exists only in the minds of the prosecutors, not in
the records of the case.
I have gone over the records and pleadings furnished to the members of the Supreme Court. I
listened intently to the oral arguments during the hearing and it was quite apparent that the

constitutional requirement of probable cause was not satisfied. In fact, in answer to my query
for any other proofs to support the issuance of a warrant of arrest, the answer was that the
evidence would be submitted in due time to the trial court.
The spouses Panlilio and one parent have been in the restaurant business for decades. Under
the records of these petitions, any restaurant owner or hotel manager who serves food to
rebels is a co-conspirator in the rebellion. The absurdity of this proposition is apparent if we
bear in mind that rebels ride in buses and jeepneys, eat meals in rural houses when mealtime
finds them in the vicinity, join weddings, fiestas, and other parties, play basketball with barrio
youths, attend masses and church services and otherwise mix with people in various
gatherings. Even if the hosts recognize them to be rebels and fail to shoo them away, it does
not necessarily follow that the former are co-conspirators in a rebellion.
The only basis for probable cause shown by the records of the Panlilio case is the alleged fact
that the petitioners served food to rebels at the Enrile household and a hotel supervisor asked
two or three of their waiters, without reason, to go on a vacation. Clearly, a much, much
stronger showing of probable cause must be shown.
In Salonga v. Cruz Pao, 134 SCRA 438 (1985), then Senator Salonga was charged as a
conspirator in the heinous bombing of innocent civilians because the man who planted the
bomb had, sometime earlier, appeared in a group photograph taken during a birthday party in
the United States with the Senator and other guests. It was a case of conspiracy proved
through a group picture. Here, it is a case of conspiracy sought to proved through the catering
of food.
The Court in Salonga stressed:
The purpose of a preliminary investigation is to secure the innocent against hasty, malicious
and oppressive prosecution, and to protect him from an open and public accusation of crime,
from the trouble, expense and anxiety of a public trial, and also to protect the state from
useless and expensive trials. (Trocio v. Manta, 118 SCRA 241; citing Hashimn v. Boncan, 71
Phil. 216). The right to a preliminary investigation is a statutory grant, and to withhold it would
be to transgress constitutional due process. (See People v. Oandasa, 25 SCRA 277)
However, in order to satisfy the due process clause it is not enough that the preliminary
investigation is conducted in the sense of making sure that a transgressor shall not escape
with impunity. A preliminary investigation serves not only the purposes of the State. More
important, it is a part of the guarantees of freedom and fair play which are birthrights of all who
live in our country. It is, therefore, imperative upon the fiscal or the judge as the case may be,
to relieve the accused from the pain of going through a trial once it is ascertained that the
evidence is insufficient to sustain a prima facie case or that no probable cause exists to form a
sufficient belief as to the guilt of the accused. Although there is no general formula or fixed
rule for the determination of probable cause since the same must be decided in the light of the
conditions obtaining in given situations and its existence depends to a large degree upon the
finding or opinion of the judge conducting the examination, such a finding should not disregard
the facts before the judge nor run counter to the clear dictates of reason (See La Chemise
Lacoste, S.A. v. Fernandez, 129 SCRA 391). The judge or fiscal, therefore, should not go on
with the prosecution in the hope that some credible evidence might later turn up during trial for
this would be a flagrant violation of a basic right which the courts are created to uphold. It
bears repeating that the judiciary lives up to its mission by vitalizing and not denigrating
constitutional rights. So it has been before. It should continue to be so. (id., pp. 461- 462)

Because of the foregoing, I take exception to that part of the ponencia which will read the
informations as charging simple rebellion. This case did not arise from innocent error. If an
information charges murder but its contents show only the ingredients of homicide, the Judge
may rightly read it as charging homicide. In these cases, however, there is a deliberate
attempt to charge the petitioners for an offense which this Court has ruled as non-existent.
The prosecution wanted Hernandez to be reversed. Since the prosecution has filed
informations for a crime which, under our rulings, does not exist, those informations should be
treated as null and void. New informations charging the correct offense should be filed. And in
G.R. No. 92164, an extra effort should be made to see whether or not the Principle in Salonga
v. Cruz Patio, et al. (supra) has been violated.
The Court is not, in any way, preventing the Government from using more effective weapons
to suppress rebellion. If the Government feels that the current situation calls for the imposition
of more severe penalties like death or the creation of new crimes like rebellion complexed with
murder, the remedy is with Congress, not the courts.
I, therefore, vote to GRANT the petitions and to ORDER the respondent court to DISMISS the
void informations for a non-existent crime.
FELICIANO, J., concurring:
I concur in the result reached by the majority of the Court.
I believe that there are certain aspects of the Hernandez doctrine that, as an abstract question
of law, could stand reexamination or clarification. I have in mind in particular matters such as
the correct or appropriate relationship between Article 134 and Article 135 of the Revised
Penal Code. This is a matter which relates to the legal concept of rebellion in our legal system.
If one examines the actual terms of Article 134 (entitled: "Rebellion or Insurrection-How
Committed"), it would appear that this Article specifies both the overt acts and the criminal
purpose which, when put together, would constitute the offense of rebellion. Thus, Article 134
states that "the crime of rebellion is committed by rising publicly and taking arms against the
Government "(i.e., the overt acts comprising rebellion), "for the purpose of (i.e., the specific
criminal intent or political objective) removing from the allegiance to said government or its
laws the territory of the Republic of the Philippines or any part thereof, or any body of land,
naval or other armed forces, or depriving the Chief Executive or the Legislature, wholly or
partially, of their powers or prerogatives." At the same time, Article 135 (entitled: "Penalty for
Rebellion or Insurrection.") sets out a listing of acts or particular measures which appear to fall
under the rubric of rebellion or insurrection: "engaging in war against the forces of the
Government, destroying property or committing serious violence, exacting contributions or
diverting public funds from the lawful purpose for which they have been appropriated." Are
these modalities of rebellion generally? Or are they particular modes by which those "who
promote [ ], maintain [ ] or head [ ] a rebellion or insurrection" commit rebellion, or particular
modes of participation in a rebellion by public officers or employees? Clearly, the scope of the
legal concept of rebellion relates to the distinction between, on the one hand, the
indispensable acts or ingredients of the crime of rebellion under the Revised Penal Code and,
on the other hand, differing optional modes of seeking to carry out the political or social
objective of the rebellion or insurrection.
The difficulty that is at once raised by any effort to examine once more even the above
threshold questions is that the results of such re-examination may well be that acts which
under the Hernandez doctrine are absorbed into rebellion, may be characterized as separate

or discrete offenses which, as a matter of law, can either be prosecuted separately from
rebellion or prosecuted under the provisions of Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code, which
(both Clause 1 and Clause 2 thereof) clearly envisage the existence of at least two (2) distinct
offenses. To reach such a conclusion in the case at bar, would, as far as I can see, result in
colliding with the fundamental non-retroactivity principle (Article 4, Civil Code; Article 22,
Revised Penal Code; both in relation to Article 8, Civil Code).
The non-retroactivity rule applies to statutes principally. But, statutes do not exist in the
abstract but rather bear upon the lives of people with the specific form given them by judicial
decisions interpreting their norms. Judicial decisions construing statutory norms give specific
shape and content to such norms. In time, the statutory norms become encrusted with the
glosses placed upon them by the courts and the glosses become integral with the norms (Cf
Caltex v. Palomar, 18 SCRA 247 [1966]). Thus, while in legal theory, judicial interpretation of a
statute becomes part of the law as of the date that the law was originally enacted, I believe
this theory is not to be applied rigorously where a new judicial doctrine is announced, in
particular one overruling a previous existing doctrine of long standing (here, 36 years) and
most specially not where the statute construed is criminal in nature and the new doctrine is
more onerous for the accused than the pre-existing one (People v. Jabinal, 55 SCRA 607
[1974]; People v. Licera, 65 SCRA 270 [1975]; Gumabon v. Director of Prisons, 37 SCRA 420
[1971]). Moreover, the non-retroactivity rule whether in respect of legislative acts or judicial
decisions has constitutional implications. The prevailing rule in the United States is that a
judicial decision that retroactively renders an act criminal or enhances the severity of the
penalty prescribed for an offense, is vulnerable to constitutional challenge based upon the rule
against ex post facto laws and the due process clause (Bouie v. City of Columbia, 378 US
347,12 L. Ed. 2d 894 [1964]; Marks v. U.S., 43 US 188, 51 L. Ed. 2d 260 [1977]; Devine v.
New Mexico Department of Corrections, 866 F. 2d 339 [1989]).
It is urged by the Solicitor General that the non-retroactivity principle does not present any real
problem for the reason that the Hernandez doctrine was based upon Article 48, second
clause, of the Revised Penal Code and not upon the first clause thereof, while it is precisely
the first clause of Article 48 that the Government here invokes. It is, however, open to serious
doubt whether Hernandez can reasonably be so simply and sharply characterized. And
assuming the Hernandez could be so characterized, subsequent cases refer to the
Hernandez doctrine in terms which do not distinguish clearly between the first clause and the
second clause of Article 48 (e.g., People v. Geronimo, 100 Phil. 90 [1956]; People v.
Rodriguez, 107 Phil. 659 [1960]). Thus, it appears to me that the critical question would be
whether a man of ordinary intelligence would have necessarily read or understood the
Hernandez doctrine as referring exclusively to Article 48, second clause. Put in slightly
different terms, the important question would be whether the new doctrine here proposed by
the Government could fairly have been derived by a man of average intelligence (or counsel
of average competence in the law) from an examination of Articles 134 and 135 of the
Revised Penal Code as interpreted by the Court in the Hernandez and subsequent cases. To
formulate the question ill these terms would almost be to compel a negative answer,
especially in view of the conclusions reached by the Court and its several Members today.
Finally, there appears to be no question that the new doctrine that the Government would
have us discover for the first time since the promulgation of the Revised Penal Code in 1932,
would be more onerous for the respondent accused than the simple application of the
Hernandez doctrine that murders which have been committed on the occasion of and in

furtherance of the crime of rebellion must be deemed absorbed in the offense of simple
rebellion.
I agree therefore that the information in this case must be viewed as charging only the crime
of simple rebellion.
FERNAN, C.J., concurring and dissenting:
I am constrained to write this separate opinion on what seems to be a rigid adherence to the
1956 ruling of the Court. The numerous challenges to the doctrine enunciated in the case of
People vs. Hernandez, 99 Phil. 515 (1956) should at once demonstrate the need to redefine
the applicability of said doctrine so as to make it conformable with accepted and well-settled
principles of criminal law and jurisprudence.
To my mind, the Hernandez doctrine should not be interpreted as an all-embracing authority
for the rule that all common crimes committed on the occasion, or in furtherance of, or in
connection with, rebellion are absorbed by the latter. To that extent, I cannot go along with the
view of the majority in the instant case that 'Hernandez remains binding doctrine operating to
prohibit the complexing of rebellion with any other offense committed on the occasion thereof,
either as a means necessary to its commission or as an unintended effect of an activity that
constitutes rebellion" (p. 9, Decision).
The Hernandez doctrine has served the purpose for which it was appealed by the Court in
1956 during the communist-inspired rebellion of the Huks. The changes in our society in the
span of 34 years since then have far-reaching effects on the all-embracing applicability of the
doctrine considering the emergence of alternative modes of seizing the powers of the duly
constituted Government not contemplated in Articles 134 and 135 of the Revised Penal Code
and their consequent effects on the lives of our people. The doctrine was good law then, but I
believe that there is a certain aspect of the Hernandez doctrine that needs clarification.
With all due respect to the views of my brethren in the Court, I believe that the Court, in the
instant case, should have further considered that distinction between acts or offenses which
are indispensable in the commission of rebellion, on the one hand, and those acts or offenses
that are merely necessary but not indispensable in the commission of rebellion, on the other.
The majority of the Court is correct in adopting, albeit impliedly, the view in Hernandez case
that when an offense perpetrated as a necessary means of committing another, which is an
element of the latter, the resulting interlocking crimes should be considered as only one simple
offense and must be deemed outside the operation of the complex crime provision (Article 48)
of the Revised Penal Code. As in the case of Hernandez, the Court, however, failed in the
instant case to distinguish what is indispensable from what is merely necessary in the
commission of an offense, resulting thus in the rule that common crimes like murder, arson,
robbery, etc. committed in the course or on the occasion of rebellion are absorbed or included
in the latter as elements thereof.
The relevance of the distinction is significant, more particularly, if applied to contemporaneous
events happening in our country today. Theoretically, a crime which is indispensable in the
commission of another must necessarily be an element of the latter; but a crime that is merely
necessary but not indispensable in the commission of another is not an element of the latter,
and if and when actually committed, brings the interlocking crime within the operation of the
complex crime provision (Art. 48) of the Revised Penal Code. With that distinction, common
crimes committed against Government forces and property in the course of rebellion are
properly considered indispensable overt acts of rebellion and are logically absorbed in it as

virtual ingredients or elements thereof, but common crimes committed against the civilian
population in the course or on the occasion of rebellion and in furtherance thereof, may be
necessary but not indispensable in committing the latter, and may, therefore, not be
considered as elements of the said crime of rebellion. To illustrate, the deaths occurring during
armed confrontation or clashes between government forces and the rebels are absorbed in
the rebellion, and would be those resulting from the bombing of military camps and
installations, as these acts are indispensable in carrying out the rebellion. But deliberately
shooting down an unarmed innocent civilian to instill fear or create chaos among the people,
although done in the furtherance of the rebellion, should not be absorbed in the crime of
rebellion as the felonious act is merely necessary, but not indispensable. In the latter case,
Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code should apply.
The occurrence of a coup d' etat in our country as a mode of seizing the powers of the dulyconstituted government by staging surprise attacks or occupying centers of powers, of which
this Court should take judicial notice, has introduced a new dimension to the interpretation of
the provisions on rebellion and insurrection in the Revised Penal Code. Generally, as a mode
of seizing the powers of the duly constituted government, it falls within the contemplation of
rebellion under the Revised Penal Code, but, strictly construed, a coup d'etat per se is a class
by itself. The manner of its execution and the extent and magnitude of its effects on the lives
of the people distinguish a coup d'etat from the traditional definition and modes of commission
attached by the Revised Penal Code to the crime of rebellion as applied by the Court to the
communist-inspired rebellion of the 1950's. A coup d'etat may be executed successfully
without its perpetrators resorting to the commission of other serious crimes such as murder,
arson, kidnapping, robbery, etc. because of the element of surprise and the precise timing of
its execution. In extreme cases where murder, arson, robbery, and other common crimes are
committed on the occasion of a coup d' etat, the distinction referred to above on what is
necessary and what is indispensable in the commission of the coup d'etat should be
painstakingly considered as the Court should have done in the case of herein petitioners.
I concur in the result insofar as the other issues are resolved by the Court but I take exception
to the vote of the majority on the broad application of the Hernandez doctrine.
BIDIN, J., concurring and dissenting:
I concur with the majority opinion except as regards the dispositive portion thereof which
orders the remand of the case to the respondent judge for further proceedings to fix the
amount of bail to be posted by the petitioner.
I submit that the proceedings need not be remanded to the respondent judge for the purpose
of fixing bail since we have construed the indictment herein as charging simple rebellion, an
offense which is bailable. Consequently, habeas corpus is the proper remedy available to
petitioner as an accused who had been charged with simple rebellion, a bailable offense but
who had been denied his right to bail by the respondent judge in violation of petitioner's
constitutional right to bail. In view thereof, the responsibility of fixing the amount of bail and
approval thereof when filed, devolves upon us, if complete relief is to be accorded to petitioner
in the instant proceedings.
It is indubitable that before conviction, admission to bail is a matter of right to the defendant,
accused before the Regional Trial Court of an offense less than capital (Section 13 Article III,
Constitution and Section 3, Rule 114). Petitioner is, before Us, on a petition for habeas corpus
praying, among others, for his provisional release on bail. Since the offense charged
(construed as simple rebellion) admits of bail, it is incumbent upon us m the exercise of our

jurisdiction over the petition for habeas corpus (Section 5 (1), Article VIII, Constitution; Section
2, Rule 102), to grant petitioner his right to bail and having admitted him to bail, to fix the
amount thereof in such sums as the court deems reasonable. Thereafter, the rules require that
"the proceedings together with the bond" shall forthwith be certified to the respondent trial
court (Section 14, Rule 102).
Accordingly, the cash bond in the amount of P 100,000.00 posted by petitioner for his
provisional release pursuant to our resolution dated March 6, 1990 should now be deemed
and admitted as his bail bond for his provisional release in the case (simple rebellion) pending
before the respondent judge, without necessity of a remand for further proceedings,
conditioned for his (petitioner's) appearance before the trial court to abide its order or
judgment in the said case.
SARMIENTO, J., concurring and dissenting:
I agree that People v. Hernandez 1 should abide. More than three decades after which it was
penned, it has firmly settled in the tomes of our jurisprudence as correct doctrine.
As Hernandez put it, rebellion means "engaging m war against the forces of the government,"
2
which implies "resort to arms, requisition of property and services, collection of taxes and
contributions, restraint of liberty, damage to property, physical injuries and loss of life, and the
hunger, illness and unhappiness that war leaves in its wake. ..." 3 whether committed in
furtherance, of as a necessary means for the commission, or in the course, of rebellion. To say
that rebellion may be complexed with any other offense, in this case murder, is to play into a
contradiction in terms because exactly, rebellion includes murder, among other possible
crimes.
I also agree that the information may stand as an accusation for simple rebellion. Since the
acts complained of as constituting rebellion have been embodied in the information, mention
therein of murder as a complexing offense is a surplusage, because in any case, the crime of
rebellion is left fully described. 4
At any rate, the government need only amend the information by a clerical correction, since an
amendment will not alter its substance.
I dissent, however, insofar as the majority orders the remand of the matter of bail to the lower
court. I take it that when we, in our Resolution of March 6, 1990, granted the petitioner
"provisional liberty" upon the filing of a bond of P100,000.00, we granted him bail. The fact
that we gave him "provisional liberty" is in my view, of no moment, because bail means
provisional liberty. It will serve no useful purpose to have the trial court hear the incident again
when we ourselves have been satisfied that the petitioner is entitled to temporary freedom.
PADILLA, J., dissenting:
I concur in the majority opinion insofar as it holds that the ruling in People vs. Hernandez, 99
Phil. 515 "remains binding doctrine operating to prohibit the complexing of rebellion with any
other offense committed on the occasion thereof, either as a means necessary to its
commission or as an unintended effect of an activity that constitutes rebellion."
I dissent, however, from the majority opinion insofar as it holds that the information in
question, while charging the complex crime of rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated
murder, "is to be read as charging simple rebellion."
The present cases are to be distinguished from the Hernandez case in at least one (1)
material respect. In the Hernandez case, this Court was confronted with an appealed case,

i.e., Hernandez had been convicted by the trial court of the complex crime of rebellion with
murder, arson and robbery, and his plea to be released on bail before the Supreme Court,
pending appeal, gave birth to the now celebrated Hernandez doctrine that the crime of
rebellion complexed with murder, arson and robbery does not exist. In the present cases, on
the other hand, the Court is confronted with an original case, i.e., where an information has
been recently filed in the trial court and the petitioners have not even pleaded thereto.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court, in the Hernandez case, was "ground-breaking" on the issue
of whether rebellion can be complexed with murder, arson, robbery, etc. In the present cases,
on the other hand, the prosecution and the lower court, not only had the Hernandez doctrine
(as case law), but Executive Order No. 187 of President Corazon C. Aquino dated 5 June
1987 (as statutory law) to bind them to the legal proposition that the crime of rebellion
complexed with murder, and multiple frustrated murder does not exist.
And yet, notwithstanding these unmistakable and controlling beacon lights-absent when this
Court laid down the Hernandez doctrine-the prosecution has insisted in filing, and the lower
court has persisted in hearing, an information charging the petitioners with rebellion
complexed with murder an multiple frustrated murder. That information is clearly a nullity and
plainly void ab initio. Its head should not be allowed to surface. As a nullity in substantive law,
it charges nothing; it has given rise to nothing. The warrants of arrest issued pursuant thereto
are as null and void as the information on which they are anchored. And, since the entire
question of the information's validity is before the Court in these habeas corpus cases, I
venture to say that the information is fatally defective, even under procedural law, because it
charges more than one (1) offense (Sec. 13, Rule 110, Rules of Court).
I submit then that it is not for this Court to energize a dead and, at best, fatally decrepit
information by labelling or "baptizing" it differently from what it announces itself to be. The
prosecution must file an entirely new and proper information, for this entire exercise to merit
the serious consideration of the courts.
ACCORDINGLY, I vote to GRANT the petitions, QUASH the warrants of arrest, and ORDER
the information for rebellion complexed with murder and multiple frustrated murder in Criminal
Case Nos. 90-10941, RTC of Quezon City, DISMISSED.
Consequently, the petitioners should be ordered permanently released and their bails
cancelled.
Paras, J., concurs.
Footnotes
1 99 Phil. 515 (1956).
2 People vs. Lava, 28 SCRA 72 (1956); People vs. Geronimo, 100 Phil. 90 (1956); People vs.
Romagosa, 103 Phil. 20 (1958); and People vs. Rodriguez, 107 Phil. 659 (1960).
3 Rollo, G.R. No. 92163, pp. 32-34.
4 Rollo, G.R. No. 92163, pp. 34 et seq.
5 Rollo, G.R. No. 92163, p. 26.
6 Rollo, G.R. No. 92163, pp. 305-359.
7 Originally a petition for certiorari and prohibition which the Court, upon motion of the
petitioners, resolved to treat as a petition for habeas corpus; Rollo, G.R. No. 92164, pp. 128129.
8 Rollo, G.R. No. 92163, pp. 407-411.
9 Fernan, C.J., and Narvasa, Cortes and Grino-Aquino, JJ.

10 Fernan, C.J. and Narvasa, J.


10-A Two Members a on leave.
11 Executive Order No. 187 issued June 5, 1987.
12 People vs. Hernandez, supra at 541-543.
13 Id., at 551.
14 Rollo, G.R. No. 92163, pp. 78-79 and 73-76.
14 Supra, footnote 4.
15 Soliven vs. Makasiar, 167 SCRA 394.
17 Rollo, G.R. No. 92163, pp. 46-47.
18 Sec. 2, Rule 117, Rules of Court.
19 Ocampo vs. Bernabe, 77 Phil. 55.
20 Rollo, G.R. No. 92164, pp. 124-125.
Melencio-Herrera, J., Opinion
1 "ART. 142-A-Cases where other offenses are committed.-When by reason or on the
occasion of any of the crimes penalized in this Chapter, acts which constitute offenses upon
which graver penalties are imposed by law are committed, the penalty for the most serious
offense in its maximum period shall be imposed upon the offender."
Sarmiento, J., Concurring
1 99 Phil. 515 (1956).
2 Supra, 520.
3 Supra, 521.
4 US v. Santiago, 41 Phil. 793 (1917).

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 172716

November 17, 2010

JASON IVLER y AGUILAR, Petitioner,


vs.
HON. MARIA ROWENA MODESTO-SAN PEDRO, Judge of the Metropolitan Trial Court,
Branch 71, Pasig City, and EVANGELINE PONCE, Respondents.
DECISION
CARPIO, J.:
The Case
The petition seeks the review1 of the Orders2 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City affirming
sub-silencio a lower courts ruling finding inapplicable the Double Jeopardy Clause to bar a
second prosecution for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide and Damage to Property.
This, despite the accuseds previous conviction for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Slight
Physical Injuries arising from the same incident grounding the second prosecution.
The Facts
Following a vehicular collision in August 2004, petitioner Jason Ivler (petitioner) was charged
before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 71 (MeTC), with two separate
offenses: (1) Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Slight Physical Injuries (Criminal Case No.
82367) for injuries sustained by respondent Evangeline L. Ponce (respondent Ponce); and (2)
Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide and Damage to Property (Criminal Case No.
82366) for the death of respondent Ponces husband Nestor C. Ponce and damage to the
spouses Ponces vehicle. Petitioner posted bail for his temporary release in both cases.
On 7 September 2004, petitioner pleaded guilty to the charge in Criminal Case No. 82367 and
was meted out the penalty of public censure. Invoking this conviction, petitioner moved to
quash the Information in Criminal Case No. 82366 for placing him in jeopardy of second
punishment for the same offense of reckless imprudence.
The MeTC refused quashal, finding no identity of offenses in the two cases. 3
After unsuccessfully seeking reconsideration, petitioner elevated the matter to the Regional
Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 157 (RTC), in a petition for certiorari (S.C.A. No. 2803).
Meanwhile, petitioner sought from the MeTC the suspension of proceedings in Criminal Case
No. 82366, including the arraignment on 17 May 2005, invoking S.C.A. No. 2803 as a
prejudicial question. Without acting on petitioners motion, the MeTC proceeded with the
arraignment and, because of petitioners absence, cancelled his bail and ordered his arrest. 4
Seven days later, the MeTC issued a resolution denying petitioners motion to suspend
proceedings and postponing his arraignment until after his arrest. 5 Petitioner sought
reconsideration but as of the filing of this petition, the motion remained unresolved.
Relying on the arrest order against petitioner, respondent Ponce sought in the RTC the
dismissal of S.C.A. No. 2803 for petitioners loss of standing to maintain the suit. Petitioner
contested the motion.
The Ruling of the Trial Court
In an Order dated 2 February 2006, the RTC dismissed S.C.A. No. 2803, narrowly grounding
its ruling on petitioners forfeiture of standing to maintain S.C.A. No. 2803 arising from the
MeTCs order to arrest petitioner for his non-appearance at the arraignment in Criminal Case

No. 82366. Thus, without reaching the merits of S.C.A. No. 2803, the RTC effectively affirmed
the MeTC. Petitioner sought reconsideration but this proved unavailing. 6
Hence, this petition.
Petitioner denies absconding. He explains that his petition in S.C.A. No. 2803 constrained him
to forego participation in the proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366. Petitioner distinguishes
his case from the line of jurisprudence sanctioning dismissal of appeals for absconding
appellants because his appeal before the RTC was a special civil action seeking a pre-trial
relief, not a post-trial appeal of a judgment of conviction. 7
Petitioner laments the RTCs failure to reach the merits of his petition in S.C.A. 2803. Invoking
jurisprudence, petitioner argues that his constitutional right not to be placed twice in jeopardy
of punishment for the same offense bars his prosecution in Criminal Case No. 82366, having
been previously convicted in Criminal Case No. 82367 for the same offense of reckless
imprudence charged in Criminal Case No. 82366. Petitioner submits that the multiple
consequences of such crime are material only to determine his penalty.
Respondent Ponce finds no reason for the Court to disturb the RTCs decision forfeiting
petitioners standing to maintain his petition in S.C.A. 2803. On the merits, respondent Ponce
calls the Courts attention to jurisprudence holding that light offenses (e.g. slight physical
injuries) cannot be complexed under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code with grave or less
grave felonies (e.g. homicide). Hence, the prosecution was obliged to separate the charge in
Criminal Case No. 82366 for the slight physical injuries from Criminal Case No. 82367 for the
homicide and damage to property.
In the Resolution of 6 June 2007, we granted the Office of the Solicitor Generals motion not to
file a comment to the petition as the public respondent judge is merely a nominal party and
private respondent is represented by counsel.
The Issues
Two questions are presented for resolution: (1) whether petitioner forfeited his standing to
seek relief in S.C.A. 2803 when the MeTC ordered his arrest following his non-appearance at
the arraignment in Criminal Case No. 82366; and (2) if in the negative, whether petitioners
constitutional right under the Double Jeopardy Clause bars further proceedings in Criminal
Case No. 82366.
The Ruling of the Court
We hold that (1) petitioners non-appearance at the arraignment in Criminal Case No. 82366
did not divest him of personality to maintain the petition in S.C.A. 2803; and (2) the protection
afforded by the Constitution shielding petitioner from prosecutions placing him in jeopardy of
second punishment for the same offense bars further proceedings in Criminal Case No.
82366.
Petitioners Non-appearance at the Arraignment in
Criminal Case No. 82366 did not Divest him of Standing
to Maintain the Petition in S.C.A. 2803
Dismissals of appeals grounded on the appellants escape from custody or violation of the
terms of his bail bond are governed by the second paragraph of Section 8, Rule 124, 8 in
relation to Section 1, Rule 125, of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure authorizing this
Court or the Court of Appeals to "also, upon motion of the appellee or motu proprio, dismiss
the appeal if the appellant escapes from prison or confinement, jumps bail or flees to a foreign
country during the pendency of the appeal." The "appeal" contemplated in Section 8 of Rule
124 is a suit to review judgments of convictions.

The RTCs dismissal of petitioners special civil action for certiorari to review a prearraignment ancillary question on the applicability of the Due Process Clause to bar
proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366 finds no basis under procedural rules and
jurisprudence. The RTCs reliance on People v. Esparas9 undercuts the cogency of its ruling
because Esparas stands for a proposition contrary to the RTCs ruling. There, the Court
granted review to an appeal by an accused who was sentenced to death for importing
prohibited drugs even though she jumped bail pending trial and was thus tried and convicted
in absentia. The Court in Esparas treated the mandatory review of death sentences under
Republic Act No. 7659 as an exception to Section 8 of Rule 124. 10
The mischief in the RTCs treatment of petitioners non-appearance at his arraignment in
Criminal Case No. 82366 as proof of his loss of standing becomes more evident when one
considers the Rules of Courts treatment of a defendant who absents himself from postarraignment hearings. Under Section 21, Rule 11411 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure, the defendants absence merely renders his bondsman potentially liable on its
bond (subject to cancellation should the bondsman fail to produce the accused within 30
days); the defendant retains his standing and, should he fail to surrender, will be tried in
absentia and could be convicted or acquitted. Indeed, the 30-day period granted to the
bondsman to produce the accused underscores the fact that mere non-appearance does not
ipso facto convert the accuseds status to that of a fugitive without standing.
Further, the RTCs observation that petitioner provided "no explanation why he failed to attend
the scheduled proceeding"12 at the MeTC is belied by the records. Days before the
arraignment, petitioner sought the suspension of the MeTCs proceedings in Criminal Case
No. 82366 in light of his petition with the RTC in S.C.A. No. 2803. Following the MeTCs
refusal to defer arraignment (the order for which was released days after the MeTC ordered
petitioners arrest), petitioner sought reconsideration. His motion remained unresolved as of
the filing of this petition.
Petitioners Conviction in Criminal Case No. 82367
Bars his Prosecution in Criminal Case No. 82366
The accuseds negative constitutional right not to be "twice put in jeopardy of punishment for
the same offense"13 protects him from, among others, post-conviction prosecution for the
same offense, with the prior verdict rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction upon a valid
information.14 It is not disputed that petitioners conviction in Criminal Case No. 82367 was
rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction upon a valid charge. Thus, the case turns on the
question whether Criminal Case No. 82366 and Criminal Case No. 82367 involve the "same
offense." Petitioner adopts the affirmative view, submitting that the two cases concern the
same offense of reckless imprudence. The MeTC ruled otherwise, finding that Reckless
Imprudence Resulting in Slight Physical Injuries is an entirely separate offense from Reckless
Imprudence Resulting in Homicide and Damage to Property "as the [latter] requires proof of
an additional fact which the other does not."15
We find for petitioner.
Reckless Imprudence is a Single Crime,
its Consequences on Persons and
Property are Material Only to Determine
the Penalty

The two charges against petitioner, arising from the same facts, were prosecuted under the
same provision of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, namely, Article 365 defining and
penalizing quasi-offenses. The text of the provision reads:
Imprudence and negligence. Any person who, by reckless imprudence, shall commit any
act which, had it been intentional, would constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of
arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its medium period; if it would
have constituted a less grave felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum and medium
periods shall be imposed; if it would have constituted a light felony, the penalty of arresto
menor in its maximum period shall be imposed.
Any person who, by simple imprudence or negligence, shall commit an act which would
otherwise constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its medium and
maximum periods; if it would have constituted a less serious felony, the penalty of arresto
mayor in its minimum period shall be imposed.
When the execution of the act covered by this article shall have only resulted in damage to the
property of another, the offender shall be punished by a fine ranging from an amount equal to
the value of said damages to three times such value, but which shall in no case be less than
twenty-five pesos.
A fine not exceeding two hundred pesos and censure shall be imposed upon any person who,
by simple imprudence or negligence, shall cause some wrong which, if done maliciously,
would have constituted a light felony.
In the imposition of these penalties, the court shall exercise their sound discretion, without
regard to the rules prescribed in Article sixty-four.
The provisions contained in this article shall not be applicable:
1. When the penalty provided for the offense is equal to or lower than those provided in the
first two paragraphs of this article, in which case the court shall impose the penalty next lower
in degree than that which should be imposed in the period which they may deem proper to
apply.
2. When, by imprudence or negligence and with violation of the Automobile Law, to death of a
person shall be caused, in which case the defendant shall be punished by prision correccional
in its medium and maximum periods.
Reckless imprudence consists in voluntary, but without malice, doing or failing to do an act
from which material damage results by reason of inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of
the person performing or failing to perform such act, taking into consideration his employment
or occupation, degree of intelligence, physical condition and other circumstances regarding
persons, time and place.
Simple imprudence consists in the lack of precaution displayed in those cases in which the
damage impending to be caused is not immediate nor the danger clearly manifest.
The penalty next higher in degree to those provided for in this article shall be imposed upon
the offender who fails to lend on the spot to the injured parties such help as may be in this
hand to give.
Structurally, these nine paragraphs are collapsible into four sub-groupings relating to (1) the
penalties attached to the quasi-offenses of "imprudence" and "negligence" (paragraphs 1-2);
(2) a modified penalty scheme for either or both quasi-offenses (paragraphs 3-4, 6 and 9); (3)
a generic rule for trial courts in imposing penalties (paragraph 5); and (4) the definition of
"reckless imprudence" and "simple imprudence" (paragraphs 7-8). Conceptually, quasioffenses penalize "the mental attitude or condition behind the act, the dangerous

recklessness, lack of care or foresight, the imprudencia punible," 16 unlike willful offenses which
punish the intentional criminal act. These structural and conceptual features of quasi-offenses
set them apart from the mass of intentional crimes under the first 13 Titles of Book II of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended.
Indeed, the notion that quasi-offenses, whether reckless or simple, are distinct species of
crime, separately defined and penalized under the framework of our penal laws, is nothing
new. As early as the middle of the last century, we already sought to bring clarity to this field
by rejecting in Quizon v. Justice of the Peace of Pampanga the proposition that "reckless
imprudence is not a crime in itself but simply a way of committing it x x x" 17 on three points of
analysis: (1) the object of punishment in quasi-crimes (as opposed to intentional crimes); (2)
the legislative intent to treat quasi-crimes as distinct offenses (as opposed to subsuming them
under the mitigating circumstance of minimal intent) and; (3) the different penalty structures for
quasi-crimes and intentional crimes:
The proposition (inferred from Art. 3 of the Revised Penal Code) that "reckless imprudence" is
not a crime in itself but simply a way of committing it and merely determines a lower degree of
criminal liability is too broad to deserve unqualified assent. There are crimes that by their
structure cannot be committed through imprudence: murder, treason, robbery, malicious
mischief, etc. In truth, criminal negligence in our Revised Penal Code is treated as a mere
quasi offense, and dealt with separately from willful offenses. It is not a mere question of
classification or terminology. In intentional crimes, the act itself is punished; in negligence or
imprudence, what is principally penalized is the mental attitude or condition behind the act, the
dangerous recklessness, lack of care or foresight, the imprudencia punible. x x x x
Were criminal negligence but a modality in the commission of felonies, operating only to
reduce the penalty therefor, then it would be absorbed in the mitigating circumstances of Art.
13, specially the lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong as the one actually committed.
Furthermore, the theory would require that the corresponding penalty should be fixed in
proportion to the penalty prescribed for each crime when committed willfully. For each penalty
for the willful offense, there would then be a corresponding penalty for the negligent variety.
But instead, our Revised Penal Code (Art. 365) fixes the penalty for reckless imprudence at
arresto mayor maximum, to prision correccional [medium], if the willful act would constitute a
grave felony, notwithstanding that the penalty for the latter could range all the way from prision
mayor to death, according to the case. It can be seen that the actual penalty for criminal
negligence bears no relation to the individual willful crime, but is set in relation to a whole
class, or series, of crimes.18 (Emphasis supplied)
This explains why the technically correct way to allege quasi-crimes is to state that their
commission results in damage, either to person or property. 19
Accordingly, we found the Justice of the Peace in Quizon without jurisdiction to hear a case for
"Damage to Property through Reckless Imprudence," its jurisdiction being limited to trying
charges for Malicious Mischief, an intentional crime conceptually incompatible with the
element of imprudence obtaining in quasi-crimes.
Quizon, rooted in Spanish law20 (the normative ancestry of our present day penal code) and
since repeatedly reiterated,21 stands on solid conceptual foundation. The contrary doctrinal
pronouncement in People v. Faller22 that "[r]eckless impudence is not a crime in itself x x x
[but] simply a way of committing it x x x,"23 has long been abandoned when the Court en banc
promulgated Quizon in 1955 nearly two decades after the Court decided Faller in 1939.
Quizon rejected Fallers conceptualization of quasi-crimes by holding that quasi-crimes under

Article 365 are distinct species of crimes and not merely methods of committing crimes. Faller
found expression in post-Quizon jurisprudence24 only by dint of lingering doctrinal confusion
arising from an indiscriminate fusion of criminal law rules defining Article 365 crimes and the
complexing of intentional crimes under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code which, as will be
shown shortly, rests on erroneous conception of quasi-crimes. Indeed, the Quizonian
conception of quasi-crimes undergirded a related branch of jurisprudence applying the Double
Jeopardy Clause to quasi-offenses, barring second prosecutions for a quasi-offense alleging
one resulting act after a prior conviction or acquittal of a quasi-offense alleging another
resulting act but arising from the same reckless act or omission upon which the second
prosecution was based.
Prior Conviction or Acquittal of
Reckless Imprudence Bars
Subsequent Prosecution for the Same
Quasi-Offense
The doctrine that reckless imprudence under Article 365 is a single quasi-offense by itself and
not merely a means to commit other crimes such that conviction or acquittal of such quasioffense bars subsequent prosecution for the same quasi-offense, regardless of its various
resulting acts, undergirded this Courts unbroken chain of jurisprudence on double jeopardy as
applied to Article 365 starting with People v. Diaz, 25 decided in 1954. There, a full Court,
speaking through Mr. Justice Montemayor, ordered the dismissal of a case for "damage to
property thru reckless imprudence" because a prior case against the same accused for
"reckless driving," arising from the same act upon which the first prosecution was based, had
been dismissed earlier. Since then, whenever the same legal question was brought before the
Court, that is, whether prior conviction or acquittal of reckless imprudence bars subsequent
prosecution for the same quasi-offense, regardless of the consequences alleged for both
charges, the Court unfailingly and consistently answered in the affirmative in People v. Belga 26
(promulgated in 1957 by the Court en banc, per Reyes, J.), Yap v. Lutero 27 (promulgated in
1959, unreported, per Concepcion, J.), People v. Narvas 28 (promulgated in 1960 by the Court
en banc, per Bengzon J.), People v. Silva29 (promulgated in 1962 by the Court en banc, per
Paredes, J.), People v. Macabuhay30 (promulgated in 1966 by the Court en banc, per
Makalintal, J.), People v. Buan31 (promulgated in 1968 by the Court en banc, per Reyes,
J.B.L., acting C. J.), Buerano v. Court of Appeals 32 (promulgated in 1982 by the Court en banc,
per Relova, J.), and People v. City Court of Manila 33 (promulgated in 1983 by the First
Division, per Relova, J.). These cases uniformly barred the second prosecutions as
constitutionally impermissible under the Double Jeopardy Clause.
The reason for this consistent stance of extending the constitutional protection under the
Double Jeopardy Clause to quasi-offenses was best articulated by Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes in
Buan, where, in barring a subsequent prosecution for "serious physical injuries and damage to
property thru reckless imprudence" because of the accuseds prior acquittal of "slight physical
injuries thru reckless imprudence," with both charges grounded on the same act, the Court
explained:34
Reason and precedent both coincide in that once convicted or acquitted of a specific act of
reckless imprudence, the accused may not be prosecuted again for that same act. For the
essence of the quasi offense of criminal negligence under article 365 of the Revised Penal
Code lies in the execution of an imprudent or negligent act that, if intentionally done, would be
punishable as a felony. The law penalizes thus the negligent or careless act, not the result

thereof. The gravity of the consequence is only taken into account to determine the penalty, it
does not qualify the substance of the offense. And, as the careless act is single, whether the
injurious result should affect one person or several persons, the offense (criminal negligence)
remains one and the same, and can not be split into different crimes and prosecutions.35 x x x
(Emphasis supplied)
Evidently, the Diaz line of jurisprudence on double jeopardy merely extended to its logical
conclusion the reasoning of Quizon.
There is in our jurisprudence only one ruling going against this unbroken line of authority.
Preceding Diaz by more than a decade, El Pueblo de Filipinas v. Estipona, 36 decided by the
pre-war colonial Court in November 1940, allowed the subsequent prosecution of an accused
for reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property despite his previous conviction for
multiple physical injuries arising from the same reckless operation of a motor vehicle upon
which the second prosecution was based. Estiponas inconsistency with the post-war Diaz
chain of jurisprudence suffices to impliedly overrule it. At any rate, all doubts on this matter
were laid to rest in 1982 in Buerano.37 There, we reviewed the Court of Appeals conviction of
an accused for "damage to property for reckless imprudence" despite his prior conviction for
"slight and less serious physical injuries thru reckless imprudence," arising from the same act
upon which the second charge was based. The Court of Appeals had relied on Estipona. We
reversed on the strength of Buan:38
Th[e] view of the Court of Appeals was inspired by the ruling of this Court in the pre-war case
of People vs. Estipona decided on November 14, 1940. However, in the case of People vs.
Buan, 22 SCRA 1383 (March 29, 1968), this Court, speaking thru Justice J. B. L. Reyes, held
that
Reason and precedent both coincide in that once convicted or acquitted of a specific act of
reckless imprudence, the accused may not be prosecuted again for that same act. For the
essence of the quasi offense of criminal negligence under Article 365 of the Revised Penal
Code lies in the execution of an imprudent or negligent act that, if intentionally done, would be
punishable as a felony. The law penalizes thus the negligent or careless act, not the result
thereof. The gravity of the consequence is only taken into account to determine the penalty, it
does not qualify the substance of the offense. And, as the careless act is single, whether the
injurious result should affect one person or several persons, the offense (criminal negligence)
remains one and the same, and can not be split into different crimes and prosecutions.
xxxx
. . . the exoneration of this appellant, Jose Buan, by the Justice of the Peace (now Municipal)
Court of Guiguinto, Bulacan, of the charge of slight physical injuries through reckless
imprudence, prevents his being prosecuted for serious physical injuries through reckless
imprudence in the Court of First Instance of the province, where both charges are derived
from the consequences of one and the same vehicular accident, because the second
accusation places the appellant in second jeopardy for the same offense.39 (Emphasis
supplied)
Thus, for all intents and purposes, Buerano had effectively overruled Estipona.
It is noteworthy that the Solicitor General in Buerano, in a reversal of his earlier stance in
Silva, joined causes with the accused, a fact which did not escape the Courts attention:
Then Solicitor General, now Justice Felix V. Makasiar, in his MANIFESTATION dated
December 12, 1969 (page 82 of the Rollo) admits that the Court of Appeals erred in not
sustaining petitioners plea of double jeopardy and submits that "its affirmatory decision dated

January 28, 1969, in Criminal Case No. 05123-CR finding petitioner guilty of damage to
property through reckless imprudence should be set aside, without costs." He stressed that "if
double jeopardy exists where the reckless act resulted into homicide and physical injuries.
then the same consequence must perforce follow where the same reckless act caused merely
damage to property-not death-and physical injuries. Verily, the value of a human life lost as a
result of a vehicular collision cannot be equated with any amount of damages caused to a
motors vehicle arising from the same mishap."40 (Emphasis supplied)
Hence, we find merit in petitioners submission that the lower courts erred in refusing to
extend in his favor the mantle of protection afforded by the Double Jeopardy Clause. A more
fitting jurisprudence could not be tailored to petitioners case than People v. Silva, 41 a Diaz
progeny. There, the accused, who was also involved in a vehicular collision, was charged in
two separate Informations with "Slight Physical Injuries thru Reckless Imprudence" and
"Homicide with Serious Physical Injuries thru Reckless Imprudence." Following his acquittal of
the former, the accused sought the quashal of the latter, invoking the Double Jeopardy
Clause. The trial court initially denied relief, but, on reconsideration, found merit in the
accuseds claim and dismissed the second case. In affirming the trial court, we quoted with
approval its analysis of the issue following Diaz and its progeny People v. Belga: 42
On June 26, 1959, the lower court reconsidered its Order of May 2, 1959 and dismissed the
case, holding:
[T]he Court believes that the case falls squarely within the doctrine of double jeopardy
enunciated in People v. Belga, x x x In the case cited, Ciriaco Belga and Jose Belga were
charged in the Justice of the Peace Court of Malilipot, Albay, with the crime of physical injuries
through reckless imprudence arising from a collision between the two automobiles driven by
them (Crim. Case No. 88). Without the aforesaid complaint having been dismissed or
otherwise disposed of, two other criminal complaints were filed in the same justice of the
peace court, in connection with the same collision one for damage to property through
reckless imprudence (Crim. Case No. 95) signed by the owner of one of the vehicles involved
in the collision, and another for multiple physical injuries through reckless imprudence (Crim.
Case No. 96) signed by the passengers injured in the accident. Both of these two complaints
were filed against Jose Belga only. After trial, both defendants were acquitted of the charge
against them in Crim. Case No. 88. Following his acquittal, Jose Belga moved to quash the
complaint for multiple physical injuries through reckless imprudence filed against him by the
injured passengers, contending that the case was just a duplication of the one filed by the
Chief of Police wherein he had just been acquitted. The motion to quash was denied and after
trial Jose Belga was convicted, whereupon he appealed to the Court of First Instance of Albay.
In the meantime, the case for damage to property through reckless imprudence filed by one of
the owners of the vehicles involved in the collision had been remanded to the Court of First
Instance of Albay after Jose Belga had waived the second stage of the preliminary
investigation. After such remand, the Provincial Fiscal filed in the Court of First Instance two
informations against Jose Belga, one for physical injuries through reckless imprudence, and
another for damage to property through reckless imprudence. Both cases were dismissed by
the Court of First Instance, upon motion of the defendant Jose Belga who alleged double
jeopardy in a motion to quash. On appeal by the Prov. Fiscal, the order of dismissal was
affirmed by the Supreme Court in the following language: .

The question for determination is whether the acquittal of Jose Belga in the case filed by the
chief of police constitutes a bar to his subsequent prosecution for multiple physical injuries
and damage to property through reckless imprudence.
In the case of Peo[ple] v. F. Diaz, G. R. No. L-6518, prom. March 30, 1954, the accused was
charged in the municipal court of Pasay City with reckless driving under sec. 52 of the
Revised Motor Vehicle Law, for having driven an automobile in a fast and reckless manner ...
thereby causing an accident. After the accused had pleaded not guilty the case was
dismissed in that court for failure of the Government to prosecute. But some time thereafter
the city attorney filed an information in the Court of First Instance of Rizal, charging the same
accused with damage to property thru reckless imprudence. The amount of the damage was
alleged to be P249.50. Pleading double jeopardy, the accused filed a motion, and on appeal
by the Government we affirmed the ruling. Among other things we there said through Mr.
Justice Montemayor
The next question to determine is the relation between the first offense of violation of the
Motor Vehicle Law prosecuted before the Pasay City Municipal Court and the offense of
damage to property thru reckless imprudence charged in the Rizal Court of First Instance.
One of the tests of double jeopardy is whether or not the second offense charged necessarily
includes or is necessarily included in the offense charged in the former complaint or
information (Rule 113, Sec. 9). Another test is whether the evidence which proves one would
prove the other that is to say whether the facts alleged in the first charge if proven, would have
been sufficient to support the second charge and vice versa; or whether one crime is an
ingredient of the other. x x x
xxxx
The foregoing language of the Supreme Court also disposes of the contention of the
prosecuting attorney that the charge for slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence
could not have been joined with the charge for homicide with serious physical injuries through
reckless imprudence in this case, in view of the provisions of Art. 48 of the Revised Penal
Code, as amended. The prosecutions contention might be true. But neither was the
prosecution obliged to first prosecute the accused for slight physical injuries through reckless
imprudence before pressing the more serious charge of homicide with serious physical
injuries through reckless imprudence. Having first prosecuted the defendant for the lesser
offense in the Justice of the Peace Court of Meycauayan, Bulacan, which acquitted the
defendant, the prosecuting attorney is not now in a position to press in this case the more
serious charge of homicide with serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence which
arose out of the same alleged reckless imprudence of which the defendant have been
previously cleared by the inferior court.43
Significantly, the Solicitor General had urged us in Silva to reexamine Belga (and hence, Diaz)
"for the purpose of delimiting or clarifying its application." 44 We declined the invitation, thus:
The State in its appeal claims that the lower court erred in dismissing the case, on the ground
of double jeopardy, upon the basis of the acquittal of the accused in the JP court for Slight
Physical Injuries, thru Reckless Imprudence. In the same breath said State, thru the Solicitor
General, admits that the facts of the case at bar, fall squarely on the ruling of the Belga case x
x x, upon which the order of dismissal of the lower court was anchored. The Solicitor General,
however, urges a re-examination of said ruling, upon certain considerations for the purpose of
delimiting or clarifying its application. We find, nevertheless, that further elucidation or
disquisition on the ruling in the Belga case, the facts of which are analogous or similar to

those in the present case, will yield no practical advantage to the government. On one hand,
there is nothing which would warrant a delimitation or clarification of the applicability of the
Belga case. It was clear. On the other, this Court has reiterated the views expressed in the
Belga case, in the identical case of Yap v. Hon. Lutero, etc., L-12669, April 30, 1959. 45
(Emphasis supplied)
Article 48 Does not Apply to Acts Penalized
Under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code
The confusion bedeviling the question posed in this petition, to which the MeTC succumbed,
stems from persistent but awkward attempts to harmonize conceptually incompatible
substantive and procedural rules in criminal law, namely, Article 365 defining and penalizing
quasi-offenses and Article 48 on complexing of crimes, both under the Revised Penal Code.
Article 48 is a procedural device allowing single prosecution of multiple felonies falling under
either of two categories: (1) when a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave
felonies (thus excluding from its operation light felonies 46); and (2) when an offense is a
necessary means for committing the other. The legislature crafted this procedural tool to
benefit the accused who, in lieu of serving multiple penalties, will only serve the maximum of
the penalty for the most serious crime.
In contrast, Article 365 is a substantive rule penalizing not an act defined as a felony but "the
mental attitude x x x behind the act, the dangerous recklessness, lack of care or foresight x x
x,"47 a single mental attitude regardless of the resulting consequences. Thus, Article 365 was
crafted as one quasi-crime resulting in one or more consequences.
Ordinarily, these two provisions will operate smoothly. Article 48 works to combine in a single
prosecution multiple intentional crimes falling under Titles 1-13, Book II of the Revised Penal
Code, when proper; Article 365 governs the prosecution of imprudent acts and their
consequences. However, the complexities of human interaction can produce a hybrid quasioffense not falling under either models that of a single criminal negligence resulting in
multiple non-crime damages to persons and property with varying penalties corresponding to
light, less grave or grave offenses. The ensuing prosecutorial dilemma is obvious: how should
such a quasi-crime be prosecuted? Should Article 48s framework apply to "complex" the
single quasi-offense with its multiple (non-criminal) consequences (excluding those amounting
to light offenses which will be tried separately)? Or should the prosecution proceed under a
single charge, collectively alleging all the consequences of the single quasi-crime, to be
penalized separately following the scheme of penalties under Article 365?
Jurisprudence adopts both approaches. Thus, one line of rulings (none of which involved the
issue of double jeopardy) applied Article 48 by "complexing" one quasi-crime with its multiple
consequences48 unless one consequence amounts to a light felony, in which case charges
were split by grouping, on the one hand, resulting acts amounting to grave or less grave
felonies and filing the charge with the second level courts and, on the other hand, resulting
acts amounting to light felonies and filing the charge with the first level courts. 49 Expectedly,
this is the approach the MeTC impliedly sanctioned (and respondent Ponce invokes), even
though under Republic Act No. 7691,50 the MeTC has now exclusive original jurisdiction to
impose the most serious penalty under Article 365 which is prision correccional in its medium
period.
Under this approach, the issue of double jeopardy will not arise if the "complexing" of acts
penalized under Article 365 involves only resulting acts penalized as grave or less grave
felonies because there will be a single prosecution of all the resulting acts. The issue of

double jeopardy arises if one of the resulting acts is penalized as a light offense and the other
acts are penalized as grave or less grave offenses, in which case Article 48 is not deemed to
apply and the act penalized as a light offense is tried separately from the resulting acts
penalized as grave or less grave offenses.
The second jurisprudential path nixes Article 48 and sanctions a single prosecution of all the
effects of the quasi-crime collectively alleged in one charge, regardless of their number or
severity,51 penalizing each consequence separately. Thus, in Angeles v. Jose, 52 we interpreted
paragraph three of Article 365, in relation to a charge alleging "reckless imprudence resulting
in damage to property and less serious physical injuries," as follows:
[T]he third paragraph of said article, x x x reads as follows:
When the execution of the act covered by this article shall have only resulted in damage to the
property of another, the offender shall be punished by a fine ranging from an amount equal to
the value of said damage to three times such value, but which shall in no case be less than 25
pesos.
The above-quoted provision simply means that if there is only damage to property the amount
fixed therein shall be imposed, but if there are also physical injuries there should be an
additional penalty for the latter. The information cannot be split into two; one for the physical
injuries, and another for the damage to property, x x x. 53 (Emphasis supplied)
By "additional penalty," the Court meant, logically, the penalty scheme under Article 365.
Evidently, these approaches, while parallel, are irreconcilable. Coherence in this field
demands choosing one framework over the other. Either (1) we allow the "complexing" of a
single quasi-crime by breaking its resulting acts into separate offenses (except for light
felonies), thus re-conceptualize a quasi-crime, abandon its present framing under Article 365,
discard its conception under the Quizon and Diaz lines of cases, and treat the multiple
consequences of a quasi-crime as separate intentional felonies defined under Titles 1-13,
Book II under the penal code; or (2) we forbid the application of Article 48 in the prosecution
and sentencing of quasi-crimes, require single prosecution of all the resulting acts regardless
of their number and severity, separately penalize each as provided in Article 365, and thus
maintain the distinct concept of quasi-crimes as crafted under Article 365, articulated in
Quizon and applied to double jeopardy adjudication in the Diaz line of cases.1avvphi1
A becoming regard of this Courts place in our scheme of government denying it the power to
make laws constrains us to keep inviolate the conceptual distinction between quasi-crimes
and intentional felonies under our penal code. Article 48 is incongruent to the notion of quasicrimes under Article 365. It is conceptually impossible for a quasi-offense to stand for (1) a
single act constituting two or more grave or less grave felonies; or (2) an offense which is a
necessary means for committing another. This is why, way back in 1968 in Buan, we rejected
the Solicitor Generals argument that double jeopardy does not bar a second prosecution for
slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence allegedly because the charge for that
offense could not be joined with the other charge for serious physical injuries through reckless
imprudence following Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code:
The Solicitor General stresses in his brief that the charge for slight physical injuries through
reckless imprudence could not be joined with the accusation for serious physical injuries
through reckless imprudence, because Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code allows only the
complexing of grave or less grave felonies. This same argument was considered and rejected
by this Court in the case of People vs. [Silva] x x x:
DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
Associate Justice

[T]he prosecutions contention might be true. But neither was the prosecution obliged to first
prosecute the accused for slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence before
pressing the more serious charge of homicide with serious physical injuries through reckless
imprudence. Having first prosecuted the defendant for the lesser offense in the Justice of the
Peace Court of Meycauayan, Bulacan, which acquitted the defendant, the prosecuting
attorney is not now in a position to press in this case the more serious charge of homicide with
serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence which arose out of the same alleged
reckless imprudence of which the defendant has been previously cleared by the inferior court.
[W]e must perforce rule that the exoneration of this appellant x x x by the Justice of the Peace
x x x of the charge of slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence, prevents his being
prosecuted for serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence in the Court of First
Instance of the province, where both charges are derived from the consequences of one and
the same vehicular accident, because the second accusation places the appellant in second
jeopardy for the same offense.54 (Emphasis supplied)
Indeed, this is a constitutionally compelled choice. By prohibiting the splitting of charges under
Article 365, irrespective of the number and severity of the resulting acts, rampant occasions of
constitutionally impermissible second prosecutions are avoided, not to mention that scarce
state resources are conserved and diverted to proper use.
Hence, we hold that prosecutions under Article 365 should proceed from a single charge
regardless of the number or severity of the consequences. In imposing penalties, the judge
will do no more than apply the penalties under Article 365 for each consequence alleged and
proven. In short, there shall be no splitting of charges under Article 365, and only one
information shall be filed in the same first level court. 55
Our ruling today secures for the accused facing an Article 365 charge a stronger and simpler
protection of their constitutional right under the Double Jeopardy Clause. True, they are
thereby denied the beneficent effect of the favorable sentencing formula under Article 48, but
any disadvantage thus caused is more than compensated by the certainty of non-prosecution
for quasi-crime effects qualifying as "light offenses" (or, as here, for the more serious
consequence prosecuted belatedly). If it is so minded, Congress can re-craft Article 365 by
extending to quasi-crimes the sentencing formula of Article 48 so that only the most severe
penalty shall be imposed under a single prosecution of all resulting acts, whether penalized as
grave, less grave or light offenses. This will still keep intact the distinct concept of quasioffenses. Meanwhile, the lenient schedule of penalties under Article 365, befitting crimes
occupying a lower rung of culpability, should cushion the effect of this ruling.
WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. We REVERSE the Orders dated 2 February 2006
and 2 May 2006 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 157. We DISMISS the
Information in Criminal Case No. 82366 against petitioner Jason Ivler y Aguilar pending with
the Metropolitan Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 71 on the ground of double jeopardy.
Let a copy of this ruling be served on the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the
House of Representatives.
SO ORDERED.
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES
Associate Justice
ROBERTO A. ABAD
Associate Justice

JOSE C. MENDOZA
Associate Justice
ATT E S TAT I O N
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before
the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
Chairperson
C ERTI F I CATI O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division Chairpersons
Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in
consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice
Footnotes
*
Designated additional member per Raffle dated 22 September 2010.
1
Under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
2
Dated 2 February 2006 and 2 May 2006.
3
In a Resolution dated 4 October 2004.
4
In an Order dated 17 May 2005 (Records, p. 142).
5
In a Resolution dated 24 May 2005.
6
Denied in an Order dated 2 May 2006.
7
Rollo, pp. 30-33.
8
The provision states: "Dismissal of appeal for abandonment or failure to prosecute. x x x x
The Court of Appeals may also, upon motion of the appellee or motu proprio, dismiss the
appeal if the appellant escapes from prison or confinement, jumps bail or flees to a foreign
country during the pendency of the appeal."
9
329 Phil. 339 (1996).
10
Id. at 350.
11
The provision states: "Forfeiture of bail. When the presence of the accused is required by
the court or these Rules, his bondsmen shall be notified to produce him before the court on a
given date and time. If the accused fails to appear in person as required, his bail shall be
declared forfeited and the bondsmen given thirty (30) days within which to produce their
principal and to show why no judgment should be rendered against them for the amount of
their bail. Within the said period, the bondsmen must:
(a) produce the body of their principal or give the reason for his non-production; and
(b) explain why the accused did not appear before the court when first required to do so.
Failing in these two requisites, a judgment shall be rendered against the bondsmen, jointly
and severally, for the amount of the bail. The court shall not reduce or otherwise mitigate the
liability of the bondsmen, unless the accused has been surrendered or is acquitted."
12
Rollo, p. 40.
13
Section 21, Article III, 1987 Constitution.

14

Section 7, Rule 117 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. The right has, of course, broader
scope to cover not only prior guilty pleas but also acquittals and unconsented dismissals to
bar prosecutions for the same, lesser or graver offenses covered in the initial proceedings (id.)
15
Rollo, p. 97.
16
Quizon v. Justice of the Peace of Pampanga, 97 Phil. 342, 345 (1955) (emphasis in the
original).
17
Id.
18
Id. at 345-346.
19
We observed in Quizon: "Much of the confusion has arisen from the common use of such
descriptive phrases as homicide through reckless imprudence, and the like; when the strict
technical offense is, more accurately, reckless imprudence resulting in homicide; or simple
imprudence causing damages to property. (Id. at 345; emphasis supplied)
20
In People v. Buan, 131 Phil. 498, 500-502 (1968), which applied Quizons logic, the Court
canvassed relevant jurisprudence, local and Spanish:
[T]he quasi-offense of criminal negligence under article 365 of the Revised Penal Code lies in
the execution of an imprudent or negligent act that, if intentionally done, would be punishable
as a felony. The law penalizes thus the negligent or careless act, not the result thereof. The
gravity of the consequence is only taken into account to determine the penalty, it does not
qualify the substance of the offense. And, as the careless act is single, whether the injurious
result should affect one person or several persons, the offense (criminal negligence) remains
one and the same, and cannot be split into different crimes and prosecutions. This has been
the constant ruling of the Spanish Supreme Court, and is also that of this Court in its most
recent decisions on the matter.
Thus, in People vs. Silva, L-15974, January 30, 1962, where as a result of the same vehicular
accident one man died, two persons were seriously injured while another three suffered only
slight physical injuries, we ruled that the acquittal on a charge of slight physical injuries
through reckless imprudence, was a bar to another prosecution for homicide through reckless
imprudence. In People vs. Diaz, L-6518, March 30, 1954, the ruling was that the dismissal by
the Municipal Court of a charge of reckless driving barred a second information of damage to
property through reckless imprudence based on the same negligent act of the accused. In
People vs, Belga, 100 Phil. 996, dismissal of an information for physical injuries through
needless imprudence as a result of a collision between two automobiles was declared, to
block two other prosecutions, one for damage to property through reckless imprudence and
another for multiple physical injuries arising from the same collision. The same doctrine was
reasserted in Yap vs. Lutero, et al., L-12669, April 30, 1959. In none of the cases cited did the
Supreme Court regard as material that the various offenses charged for the same occurrence
were triable in Courts of differing category, or that the complainants were not the individuals.
As for the Spanish jurisprudence, Cuello Calon, in his Derecho Penal (12th Ed.), Vol. I, p. 439,
has this to say:
Aun cuando de un solo hecho imprudente se originen males diversos, como el hecho culposo
es uno solo, existe un solo delito de imprudencia. Esta es jurisprudencia constante del
Tribunal Supremo. De acuerdo con esta doctrina el automovilista imprudente que atropella y
causa lesiones a dos personas y ademas daos, no respondera de dos delitos de lesiones y
uno de daos por imprudencia, sino de un solo delito culposo.
The said author cites in support of the text the following decisions of the Supreme Court of
Spain (footnotes 2 and 3).

xxxx
Si con el hecho imprudente se causa la muerte de una persona y ademas se ocasionan
daos, existe un solo hecho punible, pues uno solo fue el acto, aun cuando deben apreciarse
dos enorden a la responsabilidad civil, 14 diciembre 1931 si a consecuencia de un solo acto
imprudente se produjeron tres delitos, dos de homicidio y uno de daos, como todos son
consecuencia de un solo acto culposo, no cabe penarlos por separado, 2 abril 1932.
(Emphasis supplied)
21
E.g. Samson v. Court of Appeals, 103 Phil. 277 (1958); People v. Cano, 123 Phil. 1086
(1966); Pabulario v. Palarca, 129 Phil. 1 (1967); Corpus v. Paje, 139 Phil. 429 (1969).
22
67 Phil. 529 (1939) (affirming a conviction for malicious mischief upon a charge for "damage
[to property] through reckless imprudence"). A logical consequence of a Fallerian
conceptualization of quasi-crimes is the sanctioning of the split prosecution of the
consequences of a single quasi offense such as those allowed in El Pueblo de Filipinas v.
Estipona, 70 Phil. 513 (1940) (finding the separate prosecutions of damage to property and
multiple physical injuries arising from the same recklessness in the accuseds operation of a
motor vehicle not violative of the Double Jeopardy Clause).
23
67 Phil. 529 (1939).
24
E.g. Lontok v. Gorgonio, 178 Phil. 525, 528 (1979) (holding that the "less grave offense" of
"damage to property through reckless imprudence" (for P2,340) cannot be complexed under
Article 48 of the penal code with a prescribed " slight offense" of "lesiones leves through
reckless imprudence," citing Faller); Arcaya v. Teleron, 156 Phil. 354, 362 (1974) (noting, by
way of dicta in a ruling denying relief to an appeal against the splitting of two charges for "less
serious physical injuries and damage to property amounting to P10,000 though reckless
imprudence" and "slight physical injuries though reckless imprudence," that the Quizon
doctrine, as cited in Corpus v. Paje, 139 Phil. 429 (1969) and People v. Buan, 131 Phil. 498
(1968), "may not yet be settled in view of the contrary dictum" in Faller).
25
94 Phil. 715 (1954).
26
100 Phil. 996 (1957) (barring subsequent prosecutions for physical injuries thru reckless
imprudence and damage to property thru reckless imprudence following an acquittal for
"reckless imprudence with physical injury").
27
105 Phil. 1307 (1959) (Unrep.) (barring subsequent prosecution for "serious physical
injuries" following an acquittal for "reckless driving").
28
107 Phil. 737 (1960) (barring subsequent prosecution for "damage to property thru reckless
imprudence" following a conviction for "multiple slight and serious physical injuries thru
reckless imprudence.")
29
No. L-15974, 30 January 1962, 4 SCRA 95 (barring subsequent prosecution for "homicide
thru reckless imprudence" following an acquittal for "slight physical injuries thru reckless
imprudence").
30
123 Phil. 48 (1966) (barring subsequent prosecution for "damage to property thru reckless
imprudence" following an acquittal for two counts of "slight physical injuries thru reckless
imprudence.")
31
131 Phil. 498 (1968) (barring subsequent prosecution for "serious physical injuries and
damage to property thru reckless imprudence" following an acquittal for "slight physical
injuries thru reckless imprudence").

32

200 Phil. 486 (1982) (reversing a subsequent conviction for "damage to property thru
reckless imprudence" following a conviction for "slight and serious physical injuries thru
reckless imprudence").
33
206 Phil. 555 (1983) (barring subsequent prosecution for "homicide thru reckless
imprudence" following a conviction for "serious physical injuries thru reckless imprudence").
34
131 Phil. 498, 500 (1968).
35
Id.
36
70 Phil. 513 (1940), also cited in other sources as People v. Estipona.
37
Supra note 32.
38
Supra note 31.
39
Buerano v. Court of Appeals, 200 Phil. 486, 491 (1982).
40
Id. at 491-492.
41
No. L-15974, 30 January 1962, 4 SCRA 95.
42
Supra note 26.
43
No. L-15974, 30 January 1962, 4 SCRA 95, 97-100 (internal citations omitted).
44
Id. at 100.
45
Id.
46
Defined under Article 9, paragraph 3 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, thus: "Light
felonies are those infractions of law for the commission of which a penalty of arresto menor or
a fine not exceeding 200 pesos or both is provided."
47
Quizon v. Justice of the Peace of Pampanga, 97 Phil. 342, 345 (1955).
48
E.g. People v. Lara, 75 Phil. 786 (1946) (involving "homicidio por imprudencia temeraria"
with several victims [or, roughly, "multiple homicide thru reckless imprudence"]); People v.
Agito, 103 Phil. 526 (1958) (involving "triple homicide and serious physical injuries through
reckless imprudence").
49
E.g. People v. Turla, 50 Phil. 1001 (1927) (sustaining a dismissal on demurrer of a criminal
case for the prosecutors failure to amend a charge for "damage to property and of lesions
leves [slight physical injuries] through negligence and imprudence" to remove the charge for
the slight offense, under Article 89 of the penal code, the precursor of Article 48); Arcaya v.
Teleron, 156 Phil. 354 (1974) (finding no grave abuse of discretion in the filing of separate
charges for "less serious physical injuries and damage to property amounting to P10,000
though reckless imprudence" and "slight physical injuries though reckless imprudence" arising
from the same facts); Lontok v. Gorgonio, 178 Phil. 525 (1979) (granting a petition to split a
single charge for "reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property and multiple [slight]
physical injuries" by limiting the petitioners trial to "reckless imprudence resulting in damage
to property"). See also Reodica v. Court of Appeals, 354 Phil. 90 (1998) (holding that the "less
grave felony of reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property" (for P8,542) cannot be
complexed under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code with "the light felony of reckless
imprudence resulting in physical injuries," citing Lontok); People v. De Los Santos, 407 Phil.
724 (2001) (applying Article 48 of the penal code to hold the accused liable for the "complex
crime of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide with serious physical injuries and
less serious physical injuries" (upon an information charging "multiple murder, multiple
frustrated murder and multiple attempted murder.") In a dicta, the decision stated that
separate informations should have been filed for the slight physical injuries the victims
sustained which cannot be complexed with the more serious crimes under Article 48.)

50

Section 2 of RA 7691 provides: "Section 2. Section 32 of [Batas Pambansa Blg. 129] is


hereby amended to read as follows:
Sec. 32. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit
Trial Courts in Criminal Cases. Except in cases falling within the exclusive original
jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts and of the Sandiganbayan, the Metropolitan Trial Courts,
Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:
xxxx
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with imprisonment not exceeding
six (6) years irrespective of the amount of fine, and regardless of other imposable accessory
or other penalties, including the civil liability arising from such offenses or predicated thereon,
irrespective of kind, nature, value or amount thereof: Provided, however, That in offenses
involving damage to property through criminal negligence, they shall have exclusive original
jurisdiction thereof." (Underlining supplied)
51
E.g. Angeles v. Jose, 96 Phil. 151 (1954) (reversing the ruling of the then Court of First
Instance of Manila which dismissed for lack of jurisdiction a complaint for "damage to property
in the sum of P654.22, and with less serious physical injuries through reckless negligence,"
holding improper the splitting of the charge). We relied on Angeles for our ruling in People v.
Villanueva, 111 Phil. 897 (1962) resolving similar jurisdictional issue and People v. Cano, 123
Phil. 1086, 1090 (1966) (reversing a dismissal order which found the complexing of "damage
to property with multiple [slight] physical injuries through reckless imprudence" improper,
holding that the Information did not and could not have complexed the effect of a single quasioffense per Quizon. The Court noted that "it is merely alleged in the information that, thru
reckless negligence of the defendant, the bus driven by him hit another bus causing upon
some of its passengers serious physical injuries, upon others less serious physical injuries
and upon still others slight physical injuries, in addition to damage to property").
52
Angeles v. Jose, 96 Phil. 151, 152 (1954).
53
Thus, we were careful to label the crime in question as "what may be called a complex
crime of physical injuries and damage to property" (id., emphasis supplied), because our
prescription to impose "additional penalty" for the second consequence of less serious
physical injuries, defies the sentencing formula under Article 48 requiring imposition of "the
penalty for the most serious crime x x x the same to be applied in its maximum period."
54
Supra note 31 at 502 (internal citation omitted). This also explains why in People v. Cano we
described as "not altogether accurate" a trial court and a litigants assumption that a charge for
"damage to property with multiple [slight] physical injuries through reckless imprudence"
involved two crimes corresponding to the two effects of the single quasi-crime albeit
complexed as a single charge:
[A]ppellee and the lower court have seemingly assumed that said information thereby charges
two offenses, namely (1) slight physical injuries thru reckless imprudence; and (2) damage to
property, and serious and less serious physical injuries, thru reckless negligence which are
sought to be complexed. This assumption is, in turn, apparently premised upon the predicate
that the effect or consequence of defendants negligence, not the negligence itself, is the
principal or vital factor in said offenses. Such predicate is not altogether accurate.
As early as July 28, 1955 this Court, speaking thru Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, had the occasion
to state, in Quizon vs. Justice of the Peace of Bacolor, Pampanga x x x, that:
The proposition (inferred from Art. 3 of the Revised Penal Code) that "reckless imprudence is
not a crime in itself but simply a way of committing it and merely determines a lower degree of

criminal liability" is too broad to deserve unqualified assent. There are crimes that by their
structure can not be committed through imprudence: murder, treason, robbery, malicious
mischief, etc. In truth, criminal negligence in our Revised Penal Code is treated as a mere
quasi-offense, and dealt separately from willful offenses. It is not a mere question of
classification or terminology. In intentional crimes, the act itself is punished; in negligence or
imprudence, what is principally penalized is the mental attitude or condition behind the act, the
dangerous recklessness, lack of care or foresight, the "imprudencia punible." Much of the
confusion has arisen from the common use of such descriptive phrases as "homicide through
reckless imprudence", and the like; when the strict technical offense is more accurately,
"reckless imprudence resulting in homicide", or "simple imprudence causing damages to
property." (People v. Cano, 123 Phil. 1086,1090 (1966), (Emphasis supplied), reiterated in
Pabulario v. Palarca, 129 Phil. 1 (1967) (reversing a lower court which quashed a charge
alleging reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property and multiple slight physical
injuries).
55
See Section 32(2), Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended by Republic Act No. 7691.

EN BANC
[G.R. No. 127663. March 11, 1999]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
ROLANDO VALDEZ, accused-appellant.
DECISION
MELO, J.:
Accused-appellant Rolando Valdez seeks reversal of the judgment of conviction promulgated
by Branch 45 of the Regional Trial Court of the First Judicial Region stationed in Urdaneta,
Pangasinan, on October 24, 1996 sentencing him to death for the complex crime of Multiple
Murder with double Frustrated Murder, and likewise separately sentencing him to suffer the
prison term of reclusion perpetua for the crime of Illegal Possession of Firearms and
Ammunitions (Presidential Decree No. 1866).
The information against accused-appellant, Bernard Castro, and one John Doe for the
complex crime of Multiple Murder with Double Frustrated Murder charged:
That on or about 8:30 oclock in the evening of September 17, 1995, at Sitio Cabaoangan,
barangay Nalsian, municipality of Manaoag, province of Pangasinan, and within and
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused conspiring, confederating and mutually
helping one another with intent to kill, and each armed with caliber .30 carbines did then and
there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with evident premeditation, abuse of superior strength
and treachery, simultaneously attacked and fired their caliber .30 carbines at Ramon Garcia,
Jr., Jean Marie Garcia, Willy Acosta, Sandra Montano, William Montano and Randy Tibule
while they were on board a tricycle, on their way to a dance party, hitting them in the different
parts of their bodies which caused the instantaneous death of Ramon Garcia, Jr., Jean Marie
Garcia, Willy Acosta and Sandra Montano, to the damage and prejudice of their respective
heirs, and inflicting fatal injuries to William Montano and Randy Tibule, in the different parts of
their bodies, having thus performed all the acts which would have produced the crime of

murder with respect to both but which did not by reason of causes independent of the will of
the accused, namely, the able and timely medical assistance given the said victims William
Montano and Randy Tibule, which prevented their death.
Contrary to Article 248 in Relation to Article 48 and Article 6 of the RPC.
(pp. 1-2, Record of Crim. Case No. U-8747)
The Information for Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunitions pertinently averred:
That on or about 8:30 oclock in the evening of September 17, 1995 at Sitio Cabaoangan,
Barangay Nalsian, Municipality of Manaoag, province of Pangasinan and within and
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully
and feloniously, have in his possession, custody and control, a firearm, to wit: Caliber .30
carbine without first having secured the proper license thereof from the authorities and which
he used in committing the offense of multiple murder and double frustrated murder.
Contrary to Presidential Decree 1866.
(p. 1, Record of Crim. Case No. U-8749)
The inculpatory facts adduced by the prosecution during trial are succinctly summarized in the
Peoples brief as follows:
On September 17, 1995, at around 8:00 in the evening, William Montano (16 years old),
Randy Tibule (17 years old), Jean Marie Garcia, Willie Acosta, Sandra Montano and Ramon
Garcia, Jr., were at the house of Randy Tibule in Manaoag, Pangasinan. They were
discussing how to go to the wedding party of Jean Maries cousin in Sitio Cabaoangan (TSN
June 11, 1996, pp. 7-8; June 18, 1996, pp. 23-24).
After discussion, they rode in the tricycle driven by Ramon Garcia going to Cabaoangan.
Behind Garcia were Tibule and Willie. Jean was seated inside the side car with Sandra and
William Montano (TSN June 11, 1996, pp. 7-11; TSN June 18,1996, pp. 23-25).
After making a turn along the barangay road leading to Sitio Cabaoangan, they met appellant
Rolando Valdez and his companions who were armed with guns. The tricycles headlight
flashed on their faces. Without warning, they pointed their guns and fired at Montanos group.
Thereafter, after uttering the words, nataydan, mapan tayon (They are already dead. Let us
go), Valdez and companions left (TSN June 11,1996, pp. 11-14).
The shooting incident left Ramon Garcia, Jean Marie Garcia, Sandra Montano and Willie
Acosta dead (TSN June 11, 1996, pp. 14-16). They sustained the following injuries:
Jean Marie Garcia:
- gunshot wound .5 cm. in diameter, 1 inch lateral of the nipple right through and through
trajecting the middle lobe of the lungs, rt ventricle of the heart, middle lobe of the lung, left with
point of exit 1 inch in diameter 1 inch lateral of the nipple, left.
(Exhibit B)
Ramon Garcia:
- gunshot wound, .5 cm. diameter point of entrance ear canal thru and thru trajecting the skull
brain substance with point of exit temporal area right.
- Another gunshot wound .5 cm. in diameter point of entrance anterior axilliary line left at the
lable nipple trajecting the lung (left) heart ventricle and lung (right) with point of exit 1 cm. in
diameter, 1 inch lateral the nipple right.
(Exhibit C)
Sandra Montano:
- gunshot wound .6 cm. in diameter, point of entrance at the temporal area left, penetrating the
skin, skull minigas, brain substance (right) (tempral regis) where the slug lodge.

(Exhibit D)
Willie Acosta:
- gunshot wound, .5 cm. in diameter below coastal arch point of entrance trajecting the upper
3rd of the stomach thru and thru trajecting the upper third of the stomach of thoracic vein with
the point of exit 1 cm. in diameter at the level of the 7 th thorasic vertebrae.
(Exhibit E)
On the other hand, William Montano and Randy Tibule survived the attack. They suffered
serious gunshot injuries that could have caused their death were it not for the timely medical
attention given them (TSN July 3, 1996, p. 6). Montano sustained several gunshot wounds on
the left arm, two on the left upper back, another on the left shoulder and middle right finger
(TSN June 25, 1996, p. 608). Tibule sustained two gunshot wounds, one at the fifth upper
quadrant (stomach) and the other at the left periumbelical (TSN July 3, 1996, pp. 7-8).
(pp. 215-219, Rollo.)
In its decision dated October 24, 1996, the trial court rendered a judgment of conviction in the
two cases, finding and disposing:
IN CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-8747: -the accused ROLANDO VALDEZ y LIPURDA, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
of MULTIPLE MURDER WITH DOUBLE FRUSTRATED MURDER defined and penalized
under Republic Act No. 7659 otherwise known as the Heinous Crime Law, the offense having
been a complex crime the penalty of which is in the maximum, and with the attendant
aggravating circumstances of evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength, hereby
sentences him the ultimum supplicum of DEATH to be executed pursuant to Republic Act No.
8177 known as the Lethal Injection Law, to pay the heirs of the deceased RAMON GARCIA,
JR., WILLIE ACOSTA, JEMARIE GARCIA and SANDRA MONTANO and RANDY TIBULE, as
follows:
1). To the heirs of the deceased Ramon Garcia, jr.:
a) P 50,000 as indemnity
b) P 52,116.00 as actual damages
c) P 500,000.00 as moral damages
2). To the heirs of the deceased WILLIE ACOSTA
a) P 50,000 as indemnity
b) P 26,358.00 as actual damages
c) P 500,000.00 as moral damages
3) To the heirs of the deceased JEMARIE GARCIA:
a) P 50,000 as indemnity
b) P 500,000.00 as moral damages
4) To the heirs of the deceased Sandra Montano:
a) P 50,000 as indemnity
b) P 48,269.80 as actual damages
c) P 500,000.00 as moral damages
5) To the victim WILLIAM MONTANO:
a) P 39,133.92 as actual damages
b) P 100,000.00 as moral damages
6) To the victim RANDY TIBULE:
a) P 36,233.65 as actual damages
b) P 100,000.00 as moral damages

and to pay the costs.


WITH RESPECT TO CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-8749: -the accused ROLANDO VALDEZ y LIPURDA GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
of ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARM AND AMMUNITIONS (Presidential Decree No.
1866) and hereby sentences him to suffer imprisonment of RECLUSION PERPETUA and to
pay the costs.
Finally, it is said: Dura lex, sed lex, translated as: The law is harsh, but that is the law!
SO ORDERED.
(pp. 180-181, Rollo.)
Hence, the instant review, with accused-appellant anchoring his plea for reversal on the
following assigned errors:
I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED FAILING TO CONSIDER THE MATERIAL, SUBSTANTIAL,
IMPORTANT AND SIGNIFICANT, DISCREPANCIES IN THE AFFIDAVITS OF
PROSECUTION WITNESSES AND THEIR TESTIMONIES IN COURT;
II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE RECANTATIONS OF PROSECUTION
WITNESSES;
III. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO CONSIDER THE SERIOUS DOUBTS ON
THE IDENTITY OF ACCUSED, ROLANDO VALDEZ AS THE GUNMAN;
IV. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO CONSIDER MOTIVE ON THE PART OF
BERNARDO CASTRO TO FIRE AT, AS HE ACTUALLY FIRED AT THE OCCUPANTS OF
MOTORIZED TRICYCLE;
V. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO APPRECIATE AGAINST THE PROSECUTION
ITS DELIBERATE FAILURE TO PRESENT THE POLICE INVESTIGATORS WHO
INVESTIGATED THE INCIDENT AND IT WAS THE DEFENSE WHICH PRESENTED SAID
POLICE INVESTIGATORS;
VI. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DECLARING THAT ACCUSED ROLANDO VALDEZ DID
NOT DENY THE ACCUSATION AGAINST HIM FOR VIOLATION OF P.D. 1866 BECAUSE HE
DID NOT ALLEGEDLY TOUCHED IT IN HIS MEMORANDUM.
(pp. 106-107, Rollo)
After a painstaking review of the record and a deliberate consideration of the arguments of
accused-appellant, the Court does not find enough basis to reverse.
Accused-appellant claims that the trial court erred in failing to consider what he says are
material, substantial, important and significant discrepancies between the affidavits of
prosecution witnesses and their testimonies in court. Accused-appellant points to the
Statement of William Montano, taken by SPO1 Mario Suratos on September 20, 1995 (Exhibit
1: p. 238, Record), and the Statement taken on September 24, 1995 (Exhibit 4: p. 291,
Record), both in Villaflor Hospital, Dagupan City where William Montano specifically named
Bernard Castro as the person who flagged down the motorized tricycle he and the other
victims were riding. This, he claims, is inconsistent with his testimony during the trial where he
stated:
ATTY. RANCHEZ:
Q. Now, were you able to reach Sitio Cabauangan, Nalsiam, Manaoag, Pangasinan?
A. No, sir.
Q. Why?
A. When we were entering the road at Sitio Cabauangan at around ten to fifteen meters,
somebody plugged (sic) down the tricycle, sir.

Q. And what happened next after somebody plugged (sic) down your tricycle?
A. Somebody standing was lighted by the headlight of our motorcycle, sir.
Q. Now, what happened next, if any?
A. The one who was standing and was lighted with the headlight was immediately recognized
by me, sir.
Q Who was that person whom you saw and you immediately recognized?
A. That one, sir.
ACTG. INTERPRETER:
Witness pointing to a person wearing white t-shirt seated at the bench for the accused, and
when asked his name, he gave his name as Rolando Valdez.
(pp. 11-12, tsn, June 11, 1996)
We are not persuaded.
In his Statements dated September 20, 1995 (Exhibit 1) and September 24, 1995 (Exhibit 4),
William Montano pointed to Bernard Castro as the person who flagged down the motorized
tricycle ridden by the victims. On November 8, 1995, William and his co-victim/survivor Randy
Tibule executed a Pinagsamang Salaysay sa Pag-uurong ng Demanda where they disclaimed
having seen Bernard Castro at the scene of the crime. They declared that after a more
thorough consideration of what transpired, they have realized that the filing of the complaint
against Bernard Castro was a mistake and the result of misunderstanding or misapprehension
of what actually happened. In his testimony in court, William, however, identified accusedappellant as the person illuminated by the headlight of the tricycle, for which reason William
readily recognized him. We, therefore, find nothing inconsistent between his declarations
during the investigation and his testimony in court. The lack of precision with which he
distinguished between the person who flagged down the tricycle and the other person who he
recognized because of the headlight of the tricycle cannot be considered as inconsistency at
all. The same holds true with claimed discrepancies between the statements of Randy Tibule
during the investigation and his testimony in court.
Accused-appellant stubbornly insists that following the withdrawal or retraction of the
accusation of several witnesses against Bernard Castro, these same witnesses accusation
against accused-appellant becomes doubtful.
We are not convinced.
In all the references by accused-appellant in pages 10-12 of his brief to the sworn declarations
of prosecution witnesses made during the investigation of the case, Bernard Castro may have
indeed been identified and named as one of the gunmen. It may readily be noted in these very
same references, however, that all these prosecution witnesses referred to two other
companions, then unidentified, of Bernard Castro. Even in the Joint Affidavit (Exhibit 7)
referred to in page 11 of the brief, the police investigators categorically referred to Bernard
Castro y Nazareno, alias Toti as one of the suspects or assailants involved in the shooting
incident (p. 112, Rollo). The logical conclusion that may be drawn therefrom is that there is at
least one other assailant in addition to Bernard Castro, and as it developed, accusedappellant was subsequently and positively named as such. Withal, we cannot subscribe to
accused-appellants ratiocination that if the witnesses pointed to Bernard Castro as one of the
perpetrators of the crime, then it follows that accused-appellant cannot be one other and
additional perpetrator anymore. Accused-appellants reasoning on this point is absolutely
flawed. It is totally unacceptable.

Accused-appellant likewise seeks shelter in the mysterious withdrawal of the victims charges
against Bernard Castro. He insinuates that such recantation should not have been given any
consideration. But, this is water under the bridge. Anyway, even in the remotest possibility that
the retraction of the accusation against Bernard Castro may be reversed, it does not get
accused-appellant off the hook. Considering that accused-appellant had himself been
positively identified, together with Bernard Castro, as one of the other perpetrators of the
crime, his conviction may still stand independently and regardless of whether or not Castro is
indicted or remains unprosecuted.
Accused-appellant further argues that it is not he but Castro who had the motive to shoot and
fire at the occupants of the motorized tricycle, mistaking one of the occupants thereof for
Isidro Capistrano, Castros former classmate and with whom he earlier had an altercation. It is
very clear in his brief, however, that accused-appellant predicates this argument on the
mistaken premise that he was not positively identified in the case at bar although he admits
that it is established that he was at the scene of the crime (p. 114, Rollo). This argument will
not hold simply because it is settled that accused-appellant had been positively identified by
eyewitnesses and victims William Montano and Randy Tibule. It is basic and fundamental rule
that proof of motive is necessary for conviction only when there is doubt as to the identity of
the accused, not when accused has been positively identified as in the present case (People
vs. Caggaunan, 94 Phil. 118 [1953]; People vs. Realon, 99 SCRA 422 [1980]; People vs.
Pano, 257 SCRA 274 [1996]). Besides, it is also to be noted that lack of motive for committing
the crime does not preclude conviction, considering that, nowadays, it is a matter of judicial
knowledge that persons have killed or committed serious offense for no reason at all (People
vs. Cabodoc, 263 SCRA 187 [1996]).
Accused-appellant further contends that the prosecutions deliberate and intentional failure to
present the investigating police officers and their Joint Affidavit (Exhibit 7) constitutes culpable
suppression of evidence which, if duly taken into account, will merit his acquittal.
The argument is puerile, simply because the defense itself was able to present the police
officers, and exhibit 7 (p. 116, Rollo). It is to be further noted that as earlier pointed out, the
declaration of SPO1 Suratos and SPO1 Carbonel did not categorically rule out the possibility
of convicting other persons as co-principals of Castro. On the contrary, it is clear from such
affidavit that there was more than just one perpetrator of the crime. It even confirms and
corroborates the eyewitness accounts of William Montano and Randy Tibule pointing to
accused-appellant as one of the other companions of Castro.
After meticulously and carefully going through each and every piece of evidence on record,
the Court finds no reason to depart from the trial courts accord of credence to the eyewitness
accounts of William Montano and Randy Tibule who positively identified accused-appellant as
one of the persons who shot and fired at them and their companions that fateful night. We
agree with the trial court that the evidence points beyond reasonable doubt that accusedappellant was one of those principally responsible for the deaths of the four victims in this
case and the wounding of two others. There is also sufficient evidence that the aggravating
circumstance of treachery attended the killings, thus, qualifying the same to murder.
Under paragraph 16, Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code, the qualifying circumstance of
treachery is present when the offender employs means, methods, or forms in the execution of
the crime which tend directly and especially to ensure its execution without risk to himself
arising from any defensive or retaliatory act which the victim might make (People vs. Santos,
270 SCRA 650 [1997]). The settled rule is that treachery can exist even if the attack is frontal if

it is sudden and unexpected, giving the victim no opportunity to repel it or depend himself
against such attack. What is decisive is that the execution of the attack, without slightest
provocation from the victim who is unarmed, made it impossible for the victim to defend
himself or to retaliate (People vs. Javier, 269 SCRA 181 [1997]).
The trial court ruled that evident premeditation is likewise present. After reviewing the
evidence, however, we do not find any showing of evident premeditation on the part of
accused-appellant. While there may be testimonial evidence pointing to an altercation
between Bernard Castro and a certain Capistrano, it does sufficiently prove the attendance of
the aggravating circumstance of evident premeditation. It is not enough that evident
premeditation is suspected or surmised, but criminal intent must be evidenced by notorious
outward acts evidencing determination to commit the crime. In order to be considered an
aggravation of the offense, the circumstance must not merely be premeditation; it must be
evident premeditation (People vs. Torejas, 43 SCRA 158 [1972]).
To establish the existence of evident premeditation, the following have to be prove: (1) the
time when the offender determined to commit the crime; (2) an act manifestly indicating that
the offender had clung to his determination; and (3) sufficient lapse of time between the
determination and the execution to allow the offender to reflect on the consequences of his act
(People vs. Juan, 254 SCRA 478 [1996]).
Establishing a basis or motive for the commission of the crime does not constitute sufficient
ground to consider the existence of evident premeditation. At best, it may indicate the time
when the offenders determined to commit the crime (the first element). Their act of arming
themselves with caliber .30 carbines and thereafter waiting for their supposed victims at
ambush positions may have also indicated that they clung to their determination to commit the
crime (the second element). More important that these two elements is the proof that a
sufficient period of time had lapsed between the outward act evidencing intent and actual
commission of the offense (the third element). There must have been enough opportunity for
the initial impulse to subside. This element is indispensable for circumstance of evident
premeditation to aggravate the crime. In People vs. Canial, 46 SCRA 134 [1972], this Court
reiterates:
In other words, this circumstance can be taken into account only when there had been a cold
and deep meditation, and a tenacious persistence in the accomplishment of the criminal act.
There must be an opportunity to coolly and serenely think and deliberate on the meaning and
the consequences of what they had planned to do, an interval long enough for the conscience
and better judgment to overcome the evil desire and scheme.
(p. 649)
As early as in People vs. Durante, 53 Phil. 363 [1929], the Court had stressed the importance
of sufficient time between the criminal act and the resolution to carry out the criminal intent,
affording such opportunity for cool thought and reflection to arrive at a calm judgment.
Obviously, this element is wanting in the case at bar. Right after the supposed heated
argument between Bernard Castro and Capistrano, Castro and company went home to get
the firearms and not long thereafter mounted the assault. There was no chance for the anger
to subside. The culprits in the case at bar had no opportunity for cool thought and reflection to
arrive at a calm judgment.
The other aggravating circumstance considered by the trial court is that of abuse of superior
strength. This contravenes the very basic and elementary doctrine in our jurisdiction that the
aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength is absorbed in treachery (People vs.

Mobe, 81 Phil. 58 [1948]; People vs. Nierra, 96 SCRA 1 [1980]; People vs. Torrefiel, 256
SCRA 369 [1996]).
Notwithstanding the absence of any aggravating circumstances, if we were to uphold the trial
courts premises on the complex nature of the crime committed, the death sentence, being the
maximum penalty for murder, would still have been the imposable penalty under Article 48 of
the Revised Penal Code. The Court however, finds compelling reasons to reduce the
sentence from one death penalty (for the complex crime of multiple murder with double
frustrated murder) and one reclusion perpetua (for the complex crime of illegal possession of
firearms and ammunitions) to four counts of reclusion perpetua (for 4 murders) and two
indeterminate sentences of prision mayor to reclusion temporal (for the 2 frustrated murders).
The recommendation of the Solicitor General in the Peoples brief that accused-appellant
should instead be convicted of four counts of murder and two counts of frustrated murder is
well taken.
The trial court erred when it allowed itself to be carried away by the erroneous Information
filed by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Pangasinan charging the complex crime of
multiple murder and double frustrated murder (p. 1, Record: Crim. Case No. U-8747). It may
be noted that in his Resolution dated September 26, 1995, the investigating municipal trial
court judge of Manaoag, Pangasinan, found a prima facie case for four separate counts of
murder (pp. 101- 102, Ibid.) Too, the same investigating judge in his Resolution dated October
31, 1995 found a prima facie case for two counts of frustrated murder (pp. 43-44, Ibid.). It was
upon reinvestigation by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Pangasinan that a case for
the complex crime of murder with double frustrated murder was instead filed per its Joint
Resolution dated November 17, 1995 (pp. 4-6, Ibid.).
The concept of a complex crime is defined in Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code, to wit:
ART. 48. Penalty for complex crimes When a single act constitutes two or more grave or less
grave felonies or when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other, the penalty
for the most serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its maximum period.
(As amended by Act No. 4000.)
The case at bar does not fall under any of the two instances defined above. The Office of the
Provincial Prosecutor of Pangasinan erroneously considered the case as falling under the
first. It is clear from the evidence on record, however, that the four crimes of murder resulted
not from a single act but from several individual and distinct acts. For one thing, the evidence
indicates that there was more than one gunman involved, and the act of each gunman is
distinct from that of the other. It cannot be said therefore, that there is but a single act of firing
a single firearm. There were also several empty bullet shells recovered from the scene of the
crime. This confirms the fact that several shots were fired. Furthermore, considering the
relative positions of the gunmen and their victims, some of whom were riding the motorized
tricycle itself while the others were seated inside the sidecar thereof, it was absolutely
impossible for the four victims to have been hit and killed by a single bullet. Each act by each
gunman pulling the trigger of their respective firearms, aiming each particular moment at
different persons constitute distinct and individual acts which cannot give rise to the complex
crime of multiple murder. We therefore rule that accused-appellant is guilty, not of a complex
crime of multiple murder, but of four counts of murder for the death of the four victims in this
case. In the same manner, accused-appellant is likewise held guilty for two counts of
frustrated murder.

Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, provides the penalty of reclusion
perpetua to death for the crime of murder. Without any mitigating or aggravating circumstance
attendant in the commission of the crime, the medium penalty is the lower indivisible penalty
or reclusion perpetua. In the case at bar, accused-appellant, being guilty of four separate
counts of murder, the proper penalty should be four sentences of reclusion perpetua. In
addition, he being guilty of two counts of frustrated murder, accused-appellant must be meted
out an indeterminate sentence ranging from a minimum of 6 years and 1 day of prision mayor
to a maximum of 12 years and 1 day of reclusion temporal for each offense.
Now, to the matter of accused-appellants conviction for illegal possession of unlicensed
firearm under Presidential Decree No. 1866. It was recently held in the case entitled People
vs. Molina (G.R.No. 115835-36, July 22, 1998), and reiterated in People vs. Feloteo (G.R. No.
124212, September 17, 1998), that there can be no separate conviction of the crime of illegal
possession of firearms under Presidential Decree No. 1866 in view of the amendments
introduced by Republic Act No. 8294.
Instead, illegal possession of firearms is merely to be taken as an aggravating circumstance
per Section 1 of Republic Act No. 8294, which in part, provides:
If homicide or murder is committed with the use of unlicensed firearm, such use of an
unlicensed firearm shall be considered as an aggravating circumstance.
Republic Act No. 8294 took effect on July 6, 1997, fifteen days after its publication on June 21,
1997. The crimes involved in the case at bar were committed on September 17, 1995. As in
the case of any penal law, the provisions of Republic Act No. 8294 will generally have
prospective application. In cases, however, where the new law will be advantageous to the
accused, the law may be given retroactive application (Article 22, Revised Penal Code).
Insofar as it will spare accused-appellant in the case at bar from a separate conviction for the
crime of illegal possession of firearms, Republic Act No. 8294 may be given retroactive
application in Criminal Case No. U-8749 (for Illegal Possession of Firearm) subject of this
present review.
As a word of caution, however, the dismissal of the present case for illegal possession of
firearm should not be misinterpreted as meaning that there can no longer be any prosecution
for the crime of illegal possession of firearm. In general, all pending cases involving illegal
possession of firearm should continue to be prosecuted and tried if no other crimes expressly
indicated in Republic Act No. 8294 are involved (murder or homicide under Section 1, and
rebellion, insurrection, sedition or attempted coup detat under Section 3).
However, the use of an unlicensed firearm in the case at bar cannot be considered as a
special aggravating circumstance in Criminal Case No. U-8747 (for Complex Crime of Multiple
Murder), also under review herein, because it will unduly raise the penalty for the four counts
of murder from four reclusion perpetua to that of four-fold death. Insofar as this particular
provision of Republic Act No. 8294 is not beneficial to accused-appellant because it unduly
aggravates the crime, this new law will not be given retroactive application, lest it might
acquire the character of an ex-post facto law.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision with respect to Criminal Case No. U-8747
is hereby MODIFIED. Accused-appellant is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of four
counts of murder and hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of four sentences of reclusion
perpetua. He is also found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of frustrated murder
and hereby meted two indeterminate sentences, each, ranging from six (6) years and one (1)
day of prision mayor, as minimum, to twelve (12) years and one (1) day of reclusion temporal,

as maximum. The appealed judgment relating to the civil liabilities of accused-appellant


towards the six victims is AFFIRMED.
Criminal Case No. U-8749 involving Presidential Decree No. 1866 is hereby dismissed.
No special pronouncement is made as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Romero, Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Quisumbing, Purisima, Pardo,
Buena, and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur.
Mendoza and Panganiban, JJ., in the result.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-2349

October 22, 1948

FRED M. HARDEN, petitioner,


vs.
THE DIRECTOR OF PRISONS, respondent.
Vicente J. Francisco for petitioner.First Assistant Solicitor General Roberto A. Gianzon and
Solicitor Felix V. Makasiar for respondent.Claro M. Recto for the intervenor.
TUASON, J.:
The petitioner, Fred M. Harden, is being confined in prison for contempt of court by virtue of
an order of the following tenor:
It appearing that the defendant Fred M. Harden has not up to this date complied with the
orders of this court of October 7, 1947 and March 27, 1948;

As prayed for, the court orders the arrest of the defendant Fred M. Harden as well as his
confinement at the New Bilibid Prisons, Muntinlupa, Rizal, until he complies with the
aforementioned orders.
The proceedings for contempt arose in a civil case between Mrs. Harden as plaintiff and the
petitioner and another person as defendants, commenced on July 12, 1941, and involving the
administration of a conjugal partnership, payment of alimony, and accounting. In that case, a
receiver was appointed and a preliminary injunction was issued restraining Fred M. Harden
and his codefendant, Jose Salumbides, from transferring or alienating, except for a valuable
consideration and with the consent of the court first had and obtained, moneys, shares of
stock, and other properties and assets, real or personal, belonging to the aforesaid
partnership, and which might be found in the names of said defendants or either of them.
On various dates in 1946, Fred M. Harden transferred to the Hongkong & Shanghai Banking
Corporation and the Chartered Bank of India, Australia & China, both in Hongkong, over
P1,000,000 in drafts or cash; to Virginia Recreation Center, Long Beach, California,
P20,196.80, and to an unknown person, P50,000.
On September 9, 1947, Mrs. Harden moved the court to order Harden to return all these
amounts and to redeposit them with the Manila branch of the Chartered Bank of India,
Australia & China. On October 7, 1947, Judge Pea granted the motion in an order worded as
follows:
Wherefore, finding the motion of the plaintiff of September 9, 1947, to be well founded, for the
purpose of preserving the status quo and in order that the amounts above referred to may
stand ready to answer for any legitimate claims of the Government in the form of taxes, the
aforementioned motion is hereby ordered to return, within a period of 15 days from the receipt
of a copy hereof, the amount of P1,000,608.66 to the Philippines and to redeposit the same
with the accounts of the Plaza Lunch at the Manila Branch of the Chartered Bank of India,
Australia and China, with the understanding that upon failure to comply with this order he will
be declared in contempt of court.
After a petition for certiorari was instituted by Harden in the Supreme Court and decided, and
after various motions were filed and heard, Judge Pea, on March 27, 1948, entered an order,
which was a modification of that of October 7, 1947, directing Harden "to deposit with the
Manila Branch of the Chartered Bank of India, Australia & China within five days from receipt
of a copy of this order the money and drafts that he has actually in Hongkong, without
prejudice to passing upon later on the different amounts that the defendant has spent
according to his attorney, after he has submitted to the court an itemized account of those
expenses.
In the same order there was this decree:
With respect to the plaintiff's motion filed on March 16, 1948 praying that Fred M. Harden be
ordered to deliver the certificate covering the 368,553 Balatoc Mining Company shares either
to the Clerk of this Court or to the receiver in this case for safekeeping after his compliance
with the order of January 17, 1948, the Court, after considering the different pleadings filed,
denies defendant's motion for extension of time to register the said certificate of stock, thereby
maintaining its order of January 17, 1948. The said defendant is further ordered, after the
registration of the said certificate, to deposit the same with the Manila Branch of the Chartered
Bank of India, Australia and China.
The last part of the order was the culmination of another series of motions with their
corresponding hearings. The facts taken from the pleading were in brief as follows:

In a motion dated May 28, 1947, the receiver appointed in the main case prayed that the
certificates of stock of the conjugal partnership, among them 368,553 shares of the Balatoc
Mining Co., alleged to be in the possession of defendant Harden, be ordered turned over to
him (receiver) so that he might have them registered in pursuance of the provisions of
Republic Act No. 62. On June 7, 1947, the court "authorized" Harden "to register not later than
June 30, 1947 the stock certificates in his possession, notifying the court afterwards of such
action.
On July 28, 1947, Mrs. Harden complained that her husband failed to comply with the above
order and prayed that he be ordered to show cause why he should not be declared in
contempt. On August 1, 1947, Harden filed a perfunctory compliance, and in order dated
August 2, 1947, he was required to "make a detailed report of the stock certificates which
have been duly registered in accordance with Republic Act No. 62." In his "compliance" dated
August 7, 1947, Harden stated that he had been granted an extension until December 31,
1947, within which to register the Balatoc Mining Co. shares under Republic Act No. 62.
In a motion dated January 7, 1948, the receiver informed the court that, notwithstanding the
expiration on December 31, 1947, of Harden's extended time to comply with Republic Act No.
62, the records of the Balatoc Mining Co. showed that the certificate had not been registered
as of January 7, 1948; and upon his request, an order dated January 17, 1948, was issued
giving Harden "an extension until March 31, 1948 within which to comply with the Order dated
June 7, 1947."
In a motion dated March 15, 1948, Mrs. Harden prayed for the reasons therein stated, that
defendant Harden "be ordered to deliver the certificates covering the 368,553 Balatoc Mining
Co. shares either to the Clerk of this Court or to the Receiver herein for safekeeping,
immediately after registering them pursuant to Republic Act No. 62." On March 24, 1948,
Harden filed a motion stating that the registration of shares of stock under Republic Act No. 62
had been extended until June 30, 1948, and prayed that he "be allowed to register the stock
certificates in question within such period as by law or regulations is or may be provided."
It was at this stage of the case that the present petitioner was committed to jail.
Broadly speaking, the grounds for relief by habeas corpus are only (1) deprivation of any
fundamental or constitutional rights, (2) lack of jurisdiction of the court to impose the sentence,
or (3) excessive penalty. (Santiago vs. Director of Prisons, 1 L-1083, Jan. 30, 1947, 44 Off.
Gaz., 1231.)
The fact that the property is in a foreign country is said to deprive the court of jurisdiction, the
remedy in such case being, it is contended, ancillary receivership. We can not agree with this
view.
While a court can not give its receiver authority to act in another state without the assistance
of the courts thereof (53 C. J., 390-391), yet it may act directly upon the parties before it with
respect to property beyond the territorial limits of its jurisdiction, and hold them in contempt if
they resist the court's orders with reference to its custody or disposition (Id. 118)
Whether the property was removed before or after the appointment of the receiver is likewise
immaterial.
In Sercomb vs. Catlin, 21 N. E., 606-608, the Supreme Court of Illinois said:
It is true that the property attached is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts of this state, but the
appellant, who caused it to be attached, is in this state, and within the jurisdiction of its courts.
If the superior court had no power to reach the goods in Newton's hands, it had the power to

reach appellant, who sought to prevent its receiver from getting possession of the goods. It
makes no difference that the property was in a foreign jurisdiction.
The facts of that case as stated in the decision were as follows:
On April 14, 1887, in the case of Ada S. Havens et al. vs. Caleb Clapp et al. then pending in
said superior court, the appellee was appointed receiver of all the property and effects, real
and personal, of the defendants therein, Caleb Clapp and Thomas Davies. Prior to that date
Clapp and Davies had forwarded, on consignment, to Elijah E. Newton, an auctioneer and
commission merchant in Washington city, in the District of Columbia, a lot of jewelry, watches
and silverware, to be by him disposed of for their benefit. So far as appears to the contrary,
the goods so consigned were still in the possession of Newton at Washington when the order
was entered on April 7, 1887, for the commitment of appellant for contempt. Within a week or
10 days after his appointment as receiver, appellee gave notice of such appointment to
Newton, and demanded a return of the goods. On May 18, 1887, the Meriden Britannia
Company, a corporation organized under the laws of the state of Connecticut, being a creditor
of Clapp and Davies, commenced an attachment suit against them for the amount of its claim
in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, and attached the goods in the hands of
Newton.
The penalty complained of is neither cruel, unjust nor excessive. In Ex-parte Kemmler, 136 U.
S., 436, the United States Supreme Court said that "punishments are cruel when they involve
torture or a lingering death, but the punishment of death is not cruel, within the meaning of
that word as used in the constitution. It implies there something inhuman and barbarous,
something more than the mere extinguishment of life.
The punishment meted out to the petitioner is not excessive. It is suitable and adapted to its
objective; and it accords with section 7, Rule 64, of the Rules of Court which provides that
"when the contempt consists in the omission to do an act which is yet in the power of the
accused to perform, he may be imprisoned by order of a superior court until he performs it.
If the term of imprisonment in this case is indefinite and might last through the natural life of
the petitioner, yet by the terms of the sentence the way is left open for him to avoid serving
any part of it by complying with the orders of the court, and in this manner put an end to his
incarceration. In these circumstances, the judgment can not be said to be excessive or unjust.
(Davis vs. Murphy [1947] 188 P., 2nd, 229-231.) As stated in a more recent case (De Wees
[1948], 210 S.W., 2d, 145-147), "to order that one be imprisoned for an indefinite period in civil
contempt is purely a remedial measure. Its purpose is to coerce the contender to do an act
within his or her power to perform. He must have the means by which he may purge himself of
the contempt." The latter decision cites Stanley vs. South Jersey Realty Co., 83 N.J. Eq. 300,
90 A., 1042, 1043, in which the theory is expressed in this language:
In a "civil contempt" the proceeding is remedial, it is a step in the case the object of which is to
coerce one party for the benefit of the other party to do or to refrain from doing some act
specified in the order of the court. Hence, if imprisonment be ordered, it is remedial in purpose
and coercive in character, and to that end must relate to something to be done by the
defendant by the doing of which he many discharge himself. As quaintly expressed, the
imprisoned man "carries the keys to his prison in his own pocket."
The failure of the order of commitment to state that the acts which the contemner fails to do
are still in his power to perform, does not void the order of imprisonment. Section 7 of Rule 64
does not require such finding to appear in the order, unlike section 1219 of the Code of Civil
Procedure of California on which the petitioner's contention is rested. Petitioner is in error in

saying that section 237 of the former Philippine Code of Civil Procedure, from which section 7
of Rule 64, supra, has been copied, was of California origin. Former Justice Fisher is authority
for the statement that section 237 of Act No. 190 was borrowed from section 1456 of the Ohio
Code of Civil Procedure. (Fisher's Code of Civil Procedure, 3rd ed., p. 136.) The exact
similarity in substance though not in language between the two provisions is a confirmation of
this statement.
At any rate, the order of commitment contains the alleged missing element if it is taken, as it
should be taken, in connection with the orders of October 7, 1947, and March 27, 1948, and
with the charges for contempt. It expressly gives non-compliance with the two last mentioned
orders as the grounds for the warrant of commitment, and thus by reference makes them part
of it. The orders of October 7, 1947, and March 27, 1948, in turn clearly specify the acts with
the petitioner was commanded to fulfill. It is equally clear from these orders that in the opinion
of the court the petitioner is in a position to bring back to the Philippines from Hongkong part
of the cash and the Balatoc shares he had remitted to that colony.
Whether or not in truth the court's findings are supported by sufficient evidence is a different
matter; it is a matter of fact which can not be reviewed by habeas corpus.
In a long line of decisions, this Court has steadfastly held that habeas corpus does not lie to
correct errors of fact or law. (Slade Perkins vs. Director of Prisons, 58 Phil., 271; Quintos vs.
Director of Prisons, 55 Phil., 304; Toronto Felipe vs. Director of Prisons, 24 Phil., 121;
Gutierrez Repide vs. Peterson, 3 Phil., 276; Santiago vs. Director of Prisons, L-1083, 1 44 Off.
Gaz., 1231; McMicking vs. Schields, 238 U.S. 99. 41 Phil., 971; Tinsley vs. Anderson, 43 Law.
ed., 91.) When a court has jurisdiction of the offense charged and of the party who is so
charged, its judgment, order or decree is not subject to collateral attack by habeas corpus. the
writ of habeas corpus can not be made to perform the function of a writ of error; and this holds
true even if the judgment, orders or decree was erroneous, provided it is within the jurisdiction
of the court which rendered such judgment or issued such an order or decree. (Slade Perkins
vs. Director of Prisons, supra; Santiago vs. Director of Prisons, supra.) So whether the act
charged has been committed or can still be performed is conclusively determined by the order
or judgment of the trial court in the proceeding wherein the petitioner for habeas corpus is
adjudged in contempt. (Ex-parte Fisher, 206 S.W. 2d. 1000.).
The petition is denied with costs.
Moran, C.J., Ozaeta, Paras, Feria, Pablo, Bengzon, Briones and Montemayor, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions
PERFECTO, J., dissenting:
Since May 4, 1948, Fred M. Harden has been placed under arrest and confined at the Bilibid
Prisons, Muntinglupa, under the charge of the Director of Prisons.
Respondent's authority for confining petitioner is based on the order of Judge Emilio Pena, of
the Court of First Instance of Manila, issued on April 28, 1948, which reads as follows:
It appearing that the defendant Fred M. Harden of the defendant to this date complied with the
orders of this court of October 7, 1947, and March 27, 1948;

As prayed for, the court orders the arrest of the defendant Fred M. Harden as well as his
confinement at the New Bilibid Prisons, Muntinlupa, Rizal, until he complies with the
aforementioned orders.
The order of October 7, 1947, requires Harden to return from abroad within a period of 15
days, the amount of P1,000,608.66 to the Philippines and to redeposit the same with the
accounts of the Plaza Lunch of the Manila branch of the Chartered Bank of India, Australia
and China.
The order of March 27, 1948, requires Harden to deposit with the same bank the money and
drafts that he has actually in Hongkong and the certificate covering 368,553 Balatoc Mining
Company shares, after registering them, as required in the order of January 18, 1948.
The trial court ordered petitioner's confinement of an indefinite period of time which means
that it may last until his death, in virtue of the provisions of section 7 of Rule 64 which reads as
follows:
SEC. 7. Imprisonment until ordered obeyed. When the contempt consists in the omission to
do an act which is yet in the power of the accused to perform, he may be imprisoned by order
of a superior court until he performs it.
The reglementary provision is null and void per se and, therefore, should be denied
compliance. Perhaps, there is no other provision in our statute books more revolting to
conscience, more shocking to the most elemental sense of justice, and most unreasonably
Draconian.
The provision is characterized by such an extreme of arbitrariness that is comprehensible only
under a dictatorial system of government.
Petitioner has been and is claiming that he has no means of complying with the orders for
non-compliance of which he is committed to imprisonment for an indefinite period of time. The
trial court does not believe him, and we presume that said court was justified by evidence.
But our presumption cannot take the place of absolute infallibility. When there are conflicting
claims as to facts, courts decide the issue sometimes on a mere preponderance of evidence
and sometimes, as in criminal cases, on evidence carrying conviction beyond all reasonable
doubt.
A decision based on a preponderance of evidence does not carry absolute certainty. A
decision based on a conclusion of fact beyond all reasonable doubt is stronger, yet no one is
too crazy to believe that it carries absolute certainly or the mark of infallibility. Judicial history is
full of bloody pages about many individuals who have been burned, decapitated by guillotine,
hanged or shot, killed by garrote or electrocuted, because tribunals found them guilty beyond
all reasonable doubt, but later on found to be absolutely innocent. Some of them have been
and are loved and enshrined as martyrs, heroes, and among them are counted the greatest
moral figures humanity has ever produced.
Because in petitioner's case the lower court had to act only and must have acted on a mere
preponderance of evidence, the possibility of error is greater in criminal cases where
conviction beyond all reasonable doubt is required. Therefore, although the preponderance of
evidence may militate against petitioner, such legal situation does not preclude the possibility
that truth, as an absolute, may after all support petitioner's claim. In such case, unless a
miracle should supervene to rescue him from his plight, he will remain confined for the rest of
his days, an imprisonment more perpetual than reclusion perpetua, the longest imprisonment
allowed by law for the worst criminals, kidnapers, robbers, parriciders, traitors.

Should petitioner have embezzled or stolen the money and certificate of shares required of
him to be deposited in a bank he can be punished with years of imprisonment but not nearing
even reclusion perpetua. There is no offense or crime for mere disobedience that is punished
by reclusion perpetua or by many years of imprisonment.
But petitioner, for a mere disobedience, which ultimately may not be disobedience at all, is
exposed to suffer imprisonment for life. This, certainly, is a flagrant violation of the
constitutional inhibition that no cruel and unusual punishment shall be inflicted. (Section 1 [19],
Article III of the Constitution.) This is also a denial to petitioner of the equal protection of the
laws which is the first guarantee in our Bill of Rights. (Section 1 [1], Article III of the
Constitution.)
The authors of the rules could not have conceived or imagined any contempt of court of such
perversity that would require a heavier punishment than a fine of P1,000 and six months
imprisonment, the maximum penalty provided by section 6 of Rule 64. In the present case,
petitioner has already suffered the maximum imprisonment of six months , and is exposed to
remain in prison for many more years. Is there a conscience too callous to fail to see the
unbearable discrimination of the law against petitioner? Punishments are cruel when they
involve torture or a lingering death or when they employ something inhuman or barbarous, as
stated in the Kemmler case (136 U. S. 436), an authority invoked in the majority decision. But
there is anything more inhuman, barbarous, more torturing, giving the feeling of lingering
death, than to compel a person to unjustly endure an indefinite number of years of
imprisonment, when the only offense that he has committed is that of contempt and the most
serious case of contempt cannot be punished with imprisonment longer than six months? We
have to be blind to fail to see this.
The argument that the incarceration is not cruel because the sentence left the doors open for
petitioner to avoid serving any part of it by complying with the orders of the court has
absolutely no merit, because there is absolutely no reasonable ground in the philosophy of
law that would leave to the offender's discretion the length of his imprisonment or the
measures of his punishment. Aside from the unscientific view revealed by the argument, it has
the short-sightedness of failing to see the possibilities of error of judgment on the question as
to whether the accused is yet in a position to actually perform the acts ordered.
The allegation that the imprisonment or an indefinite period is purely a remedial measure
which assumes that the offender must have the means by which he may purge himself with
the contempt is pure rhetoric that has no ground in fact as can be seen by any reasonable
man. It fails to understand the true situation of a simple disobedience punished with
imprisonment that has no possible end except death.
We held that the lower court erred in issuing the order of April 28, 1948, in so far as it orders
that petitioner be confined for an indefinite period of time.
We disagree with the pronouncement in the majority opinion, limiting the scope of the writ of
habeas corpus and issuing in favor of the lower court in patent of infallibility on the factual
question of whether or not the act ordered to be performed is still in the hands of petitioner to
perform. Such pronouncement are not supported by law nor by any principle of substantial
justice. Regardless of the length of the chain of erroneous decisions supporting such
pronouncements, the errors shall continue to be errors. The length of the chain may only
emphasize the amount of injustices perpetrated under such pronouncements.
Assuming that the lower court found petitioner guilty of contempt, it could have punished
petitioner up to the maximum penalties provided by section 6 of Rule 64 but never more.

Considering that petitioner has already undergone the maximum of six months imprisonment,
even on the assumption that he is guilty, he is entitled to be released from confinement.
We vote to grant the petition and to immediately release Fred M. Harden from confinement
and from the custody of respondent Director of Prisons.
Footnotes
1
77 Phil., 927.

CONRADO LUCAS Y BRIONES, accused-appellant.


The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Public Attorney's Office for accused-appellant.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. Nos. 108172-73 May 25, 1994
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.

DAVIDE, JR., J.:


In a sworn statement 1 taken on 16 February 1991, Chanda Lucas y Austria, then seventeen
years old, charged her natural father, accused Jose Conrado Lucas, of attempted rape
committed against her on 12 February 1991. She revealed therein that she was first raped by
him when she was only nine years old, or, as disclosed in a handwritten note at the left-hand
margin of her sworn statement, "noong Nov. 26, 1982 . . . at naulit ng maraming beses."
On 19 February 1991, Chanda, assisted by her mother, Ofelia Austria-Lucas, filed two
separate sworn criminal complaints for rape 2 and for attempted rape 3 against her father with
the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. The complaints, docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. Q91-18465 and Q-91-18466, were subsequently assigned to Branch 104 of the said court.
The accusatory portion of the complaint for rape in Criminal Case
No. Q-91-18465 reads:
That on or about the 26th day of November 1982 and sometime thereafter in Quezon City,
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with
lewd designs and by means of violence and intimidation did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully
and feloniously have sexual intercourse with the undersigned CHANDA LUCAS Y AUSTRIA,
who was then nine (9) years old, now 17 yrs. of age, against her will, to her damage and
prejudice in such amount as may be awarded to her under the provisions of the New Civil
Code.
while that for attempted rape in Criminal Case No. Q-91-18466 reads:
That on or about the 12th day of February 1991, in Quezon City, Philippines and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above named accused, did then and there wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously with lewd design and by means of force and intimidation,
commence the commission of the crime of rape directly by overt acts by then and there taking
advantage of complainant's tender age and innocence, by then and there putting his hand
inside the panty of the undersigned and mashing her vagina while his other hand was
pressing her nipples and at the same time kissing her on the lips, face and neck, thereafter
accused placed himself on top of her but said accused did not perform all the acts of
execution which should produce the said offense of rape by reason of the fact that the brother
and sister of the undersigned was awakened and shouted upon the accused, a cause other
than the spontaneous desistance of the said accused, that the aforesaid act of the said
accused was done against the will of the undersigned, to her damage and prejudice in such
amount as may be awarded to her under the provisions of the New Civil Code.
The cases were jointly tried after the accused had pleaded not guilty upon his arraignment. 4
The prosecution presented as witnesses the complainant herself; her sister, Cynthia; and Dr.
Emmanuel Aranas. The defense presented only the accused.
Complainant Chanda Lucas, who was born on 2 June 1973, 5 testified that their0 house at 23X Daropa Road, Baesa, Quezon City, has only one bedroom. On 26 November 1983, she was
sleeping in the bedroom with her brother and sisters. Their mother did not sleep in their house
at that time. At about 2:00 to 3:00 a.m., she awoke and realized that her father was removing
her panty and shorts. He cautioned her to keep quiet. Then, her father, who was already
naked, went on top of her and placed his sexual organ inside her vagina. She was hurt but did

not resist because her father threatened to kill her. Only her older sister Cynthia witnessed the
incident. Chanda reported the incident to her mother and her aunt but the former did nothing.
When her aunt said that her father should be jailed, her mother did not agree. 6
The 26 November 1983 incident was only the first of many atrocities. Since then, her father
had been repeatedly molesting her, especially when her mother was not around. The last
assault on her womanhood occurred on 12 February 1991 when she was already seventeen
years old. Before he had sex with her at 3:00 a.m. on 12 February 1991, he first moved her
brothers and sisters, who were sleeping in the same room with her, to another place. She did
not resist because he had a balisong with him and told her that he can take her life anytime.
After the sexual assault, he stood up holding his balisong 7 and again said that she has only
one life and that he can take it anytime.
On the morning of 16 February 1992, in the company of her mother and uncle, she reported
the incident to the police in their area. The police investigator questioned her and her sworn
statement (Exhibit "D") was taken. In the afternoon of that day, she submitted to a medical
examination at Camp Crame and a medical certificate was issued. 8
Cynthia Lucas Viado, the elder sister of Chanda, testified that she witnessed the incident of 26
November 1983. She was then thirteen years old while Chanda was only nine years old. She
saw his father on top of Chanda, then she closed her eyes and covered her face with a
blanket. She reported the incident and the fact that she saw blood on the underwear of
Chanda to her aunt Neneng and her mother; the former was very angry upon learning of the
incident but the latter did not believe her; at that time, her mother loved her father
dearly. 9 On cross- examination, Cynthia declared that her father intended to sexually abuse
her on 26 November 1983 but because she resisted, her father instead raped Chanda. She
was not able to help Chanda because she was afraid of her father. Their brother and another
sister were not aware of the incident and they did not wake them up because they were
ashamed of their neighbors. 10
Dr. Emmanuel Aranas testified that he examined the complainant on 16 February 1991 at the
Crime Laboratory Services at Camp Crame pursuant to a letter-request 11 from Capt. Jaime Q.
Peralta of the Central Police district, Quezon City. His examination of her genitalia disclosed
healed lacerations, but he could not determine when the lacerations were inflicted or
sustained. He concluded that the complainant has had several sexual experiences and was
no longer a virgin. 12 He issued a written report of his findings. 13 On cross-examination, he
declared that he found no sperm on the organ of the complainant and that there were no signs
of recent trauma or physical injuries on her. 14
On the witness stand, the accused testified that he and Chanda's mother, Ofelia Austria, are
not married; however, since 1969, they had been living together as husband and wife until
1972, when he was detained for alleged gunrunning and when Ofelia and the children moved
to Cotabato. They were reunited in 1977. He denied having raped his second daughter,
Chanda, and alleged that the brothers and sisters of Ofelia, particularly Leonardo Austria,
were all angry at him and instigated the filing of the fabricated charges against him. He further
declared that Ofelia was angry at him because he intervened in guiding the life of Chanda. He
could not recall anymore where he was on 26 November 1983. However, on 12 February
1991, he and Ofelia quarreled about Chanda's frequent late arrivals from school and, because
of the quarrel, he "physically harmed" both of them. 15

On 28 October 1992, the trial court promulgated its decision 16 in the two cases finding the
accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two crimes of rape. The dispositive portion of the
decision reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered as follows:
In Crim. Case No. Q-91-18465, the prosecution was able to establish the guilt of the accused
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape as charged in the information, he is hereby
sentenced to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA plus all the accessory penalties
provided by law.
In Crim. Case No. Q-91-18466, the prosecution was able to establish the guilt of the accused
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape as charged in the information, he is hereby
sentenced to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA, plus all the accessory penalties
provided by law.
Accused is ordered to pay the victim the sum of P30,000.00 as actual and moral damages
without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. 17
On 4 November 1992, the accused filed a notice of appeal. 18 In his brief submitted to this
Court, he alleges that the trial court erred:
I
. . . IN GIVING UNMERITED VERACITY TO THE INCREDIBLE, UNPERSUASIVE AND
UNRELIABLE TESTIMONIES OF THE PROSECUTION WITNESSES AND IN
DISREGARDING THE EVIDENCE ADDUCED BY THE DEFENSE.
II
. . . IN CONVICTING HIM OF THE CRIME OF RAPE IN CRIMINAL CASE NO. Q-91-18466
INASMUCH AS THE SAME IS MORE SERIOUS THAN THE OFFENSE CHARGED.
III
. . . IN CONVICTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT OF THE CRIME OF RAPE IN CRIMINAL
CASE NO Q-91-18465 DESPITE THE FACT THAT HIS GUILT WAS NOT PROVED BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT. 19
As to the first assigned error, the accused asserts that the conduct of his daughters, Chanda
and Cynthia, after the alleged first sexual abuse casts doubt on their credibility. It is hard to
believe that if Chanda were indeed raped by him when she was only nine years old and
repeatedly thereafter, she would report the abuses only when she was seventeen years old.
Several remedies were available to her and she had relatives who could extend their help. 20
He also contends that the testimony of Cynthia is not convincing; it was contrary to human
experience and conduct for her to simply close her eyes and cover her face with a blanket
upon witnessing the rape of her younger sister by their own father instead of helping Chanda.
If she was afraid of her father at that time, she could have convinced Chanda to temporarily
leave their house and seek shelter with her relatives. It was also unnatural for her to abandon
Chanda when, as she claims, she fully knew the bestial tendencies of her father. 21 As to his
wife, Ofelia, he attributes to her an ulterior motive when she consented to the filing of the
charges against him. Except for the souring of their relationship which ended in their
separation, he finds no possible explanation why Ofelia believed Chanda's report on the 12
February 1991 incident when she, Ofelia, refused to heed Chanda and Cynthia's report
concerning the 26 November 1983 incident.
Anent the second assigned error, he contends that he could not be validly convicted of rape in
Criminal Case No. Q-91-18466 under a complaint for attempted rape only. He cites the rule

that when the offense proved is more serious than that charged, the accused can only be
convicted of the offense charged.
The appellee, through the Office of the Solicitor General, prays that the judgment of conviction
in Criminal Case No. Q-91-18465 be affirmed in toto. However, it submits that the accused
can be convicted only of attempted rape in Criminal Case No. Q-91-18466. The appellee
argues that the trial court correctly gave credence to the testimony of Chanda as it is "positive,
straightforward and clearly revelatory only of the truth of the facts she experienced, without
any dubious motive shown why she would bear false witness against appellant." 22 The
reaction which the accused expected of Chanda after the first rape and which she did not so
manifest does not necessarily lead to a conclusion that she fabricated her story. As Chanda's
father, he exercised absolute authority and moral influence over her. Moreover, at the tender
age of nine, she was totally helpless and defenseless. And regarding the imputed motive of
Chanda's mother, the same is too trivial to prompt her to falsely charged him with a grave
crime.
The first and third assigned errors raise a question of fact which hinges on the credibility of the
prosecution witnesses. The second involves a question of law.
In rape cases, this Court has been guided by three well-entrenched principles: (1) an
accusation for rape can be made with facility; it is difficult to prove but more difficult for the
person accused, though innocent, to disprove; (2) in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime of
rape where only two persons are usually involved, the testimony of the complainant must be
scrutinized with extreme caution; and (3) the evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall
on its own merits and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence
for the defense. 23
Conclusions as to the credibility of witnesses in rape cases lie heavily on the sound judgment
of the trial court. Accordingly, in the appreciation of the evidence, the appellate court accords
due deference to the trial court's views on who should be given credence since the latter is in
a better position to decide the question of the credibility of witnesses, having seen and heard
these witnesses and observed their deportment and manner of testifying during the trial. The
trial court's findings concerning the credibility of witnesses carry great weight and respect and
will be sustained by the appellate court unless the trial court overlooked, misunderstood or
misapplied some facts or circumstances of weight and substance which would have affected
the result of the case. 24
After a careful examination of the records and the evidence, we are unable to find any cogent
reason to disturb the finding of the trial court that the accused raped his daughter, Chanda, on
26 November 1983 and 12 February 1991.
As regards the first charge, there is, however, a variance between the evidence presented and
the allegations of the complaint. The complaint in Criminal Case No. Q-91-18465 charges the
accused with the crime of rape committed on 26 November 1982. Both Chanda and Cynthia,
however, testified that the incident took place on 26 November 1983. 25 The accused offered
no objection to such evidence. Consequently, the variance was not fatal to the prosecution.
In United States vs. Arcos, 26 this Court ruled:
Where time or place or any other fact alleged is not an essential element of the crime
charged, conviction may be had on proof of the commission of the crime, even if it appear that
the crime was not committed at the precise time or placed alleged, or if the proof fails to
sustain the existence of some immaterial fact set out in the complaint, providing it appears
that the specific crime charged was in fact committed prior to the date of the filing of the

complaint or information within the period of the statute of limitations, and at a place within the
jurisdiction of the court. (U.S. vs. Smith, and cases cited, 2 Phil. Rep., 20).
The unobjected testimony of another date of the commission of the crime charged in Criminal
Case No. Q-91-18465 could even be the basis for an amendment of the complaint to make it
conform to the evidence. 27
Section 14, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court also provides:
Sec. 14. Amendment. The information or complaint may be amended, in substance and
form, without leave of court, at any time before the accused pleads; and thereafter and during
the trial as to all matters of form, by leave and at the discretion of the court, when the same
can be done without prejudice to the rights of the accused.
xxx xxx xxx
Chanda was less than twelve years old when she was raped by the accused on 26 November
1983. Since she was born on 2 June 1973, she was then exactly ten years, five months, and
twenty-four days old.
Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code reads:
Art. 335. When and how rape is committed. Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge
of a woman under any of the following circumstances:
1. By using force or intimidation;
2. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and
3. When the woman is under twelve (12) years of age, even though neither of the
circumstances mentioned in the two next preceding paragraphs shall be present.
xxx xxx xxx
The third paragraph is known as statutory rape or the unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman
below 12 years of age. 28 Otherwise stated, carnal knowledge alone is sufficient for conviction
as the presence of any of the circumstances mentioned in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 335 is
not required. 29
As found by the trial court and fully supported by the evidence, the accused had carnal
knowledge of his daughter Chanda then below twelve years old on 26 November 1983.
We are not persuaded by the arguments of the accused that if indeed she were raped on that
date and several times thereafter, she should not have kept her silence until she was
seventeen years old since she had all the available remedies for redress as well as relatives
who could help her. The equanimity or the wisdom of more mature persons cannot be
expected from a young and immature girl like Chanda. We have said before that the workings
of a human mind when placed under emotional stress are unpredictable and that people react
differently to various situations. 30
In addition to her tender age and immaturity, Chanda was, to say the least, a victim of
unfavorable circumstances not of her own making. These prevented her from exposing earlier
the evil deeds of her father. All that she could proudly claim was a beautiful name Chanda.
She had no decent home. Her father and her mother were not married and were untrammeled
by the bonds of lawful wedlock. When she was born, her father was under detention for
gunrunning and it was only when she was four years old (1977) when he rejoined his "family."
Since then, all the members of the family slept in one room. Chanda had no choice of another
home, for it does not appear that another was available to the family or that she was prepared
to leave it because she had the means to face life alone or that a kind soul had offered her
shelter. She was a victim of poverty and a virtual captive in the only "home" her natural
parents could provide, for she was entirely dependent upon them.

Verily, she was completely under the moral ascendancy and control of her father and the fear
alone of a harsher life outside such a "home" and of what her father would do if she would
expose his evil deeds, made her suffer in silence for a long time the excruciating pains his
assaults inflicted upon her. Then too, although she told her mother about the abuse committed
by her father on 26 November 1983, 31 her mother only got angry but did not do anything.
Chanda must have felt despair at such indifference.
Her delay in reporting the sexual assaults to the authorities is thus understandable and does
not affect her credibility. We do not believe that she would fabricate a story of defloration
against her own father, make public her painful and humiliating experiences which are better
kept in secret or forgotten, allow her private parts to be examined, and eventually bring to
shame her own family and jeopardize her chances of marriage unless she was not telling the
truth and was motivated by nothing but the desire to obtain justice for the grievous wrongs
committed against her. 32
There was a consummated rape on 12 February 1991. According to Chanda's testimony, at
3:00 a.m. that day, the accused, who had a balisong with him, laid down beside her,
threatened her that she had only one life which he can take away any time; removed her
shorts and panty and then moved on top of her and inserted "his organ to her organ."
Thereafter, he stood up holding his balisong and reiterated his earlier threat. 33
Considering, however, that the complaint for this incident subject of Criminal Case No. Q-9118466 charges the accused with the crime of attempted rape, then, as correctly pointed out by
the accused in his second assigned error and concurred in by the Office of the Solicitor
General, he cannot be convicted of consummated rape.
Section 4, Rule 120 of the Rules of Court provides that "[w]hen there is variance between the
offense charged in the complaint or information, and that proved or established by the
evidence, and the offense as charged is included in or necessarily includes the offense
proved, the accused shall be convicted of
the offense proved included in that which is charged, or of the offense charged included in that
which is proved." The offense charged in Criminal Case
No. Q-91-18466 (attempted rape) is necessarily included in the offense that was proved
(consummated rape). Accordingly, the accused should be convicted of attempted rape only.
The penalty for attempted rape is prision mayor, which is two degrees lower than that
provided by law for rape. 34 The accused is entitled to the benefits of the Indeterminate
Sentence Law, and for attempted rape he may be sentenced to a penalty whose minimum
should be within the range of prision correccional and whose maximum should be within the
range range of prision mayor, taking into account the modifying circumstances. The alternative
circumstance of relationship provided for in Article 15 of the Revised Penal Code should be
appreciated against the accused considering that the offended party, Chanda, is his
descendant. In crimes against chastity, such as rape, relationship is aggravating. 35
Prior to R.A. No. 7659, 36 the presence of modifying circumstances would not affect the
penalty of reclusion perpetua prescribed for the crime of rape because such a penalty was
then indivisible and under Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code, when the law prescribes a
single indivisible penalty, it shall be applied by the courts regardless of any mitigating or
aggravating circumstances that may have attended the commission of the deed. However,
pursuant to Section 21 of R.A. No. 7659, which amended Article 27 of the Revised Penal
Code, reclusion perpetua has now a defined duration, i.e., from twenty (20) years and one (1)
day to forty (40) years. There is, however, no corresponding amendment to Article 76 of the

same Code for the purpose of converting reclusion perpetua into a divisible penalty with three
specific
period minimum, medium, and maximum and including it in the table provided therein
showing the duration and the time included in each of the periods.
It may thus be said that although the law has now fixed the duration of reclusion perpetua, it
did not make explicit its intention to convert it into a divisible penalty. In any event, Article 65 of
the Code which provides:
Art. 65. Rules in cases in which the penalty is not composed of three periods. In cases in
which the penalty prescribed by law is not composed of three periods, the courts shall apply
the rules contained in the foregoing articles, dividing into three equal portions of time included
in the penalty prescribed, and forming one period of each of the three portions.
may be applied. Accordingly, the time included in the penalty of reclusion perpetua (twenty
[20] years and one [1] days to forty [40] years) can be divided into three equal portions, with
each composing a period. The periods of reclusion perpetua would then be as follows:
minimum 20 years and 1 day to 26 years and 8 months
medium 26 years, 8 months and 1 day to 33 years and 4 months
maximum 34 years, 4 months and 1 day to 40 years
Taking into account the presence of the aggravating circumstance of relationship in Criminal
Case No. Q-91-18465, the accused may finally be sentenced to thirty-four (34) years, four (4)
months and one (1) day of reclusion perpetua.
Considering again such aggravating circumstance, the accused may be sentenced in Criminal
Case No. Q-91-18466 to an indeterminate penalty ranging from four (4) years, two (2) months
and one (1) day of prision correccional maximum as minimum to ten (10) years and one (1)
day of prision mayor maximum as maximum.
There should also be awards for damages in each of the two cases.
WHEREFORE, the challenged Decision of 28 October 1992 of Branch 104 of the Regional
Trial Court of Quezon City in Criminal Case
No. Q-91-18465 and Criminal Case No. Q-91-18466 is hereby AFFIRMED, subject to the
modifications indicated above. As modified:
(1) In Criminal Case No. Q-91-18465, accused JOSE CONRADO LUCAS y BRIONES is
hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of Thirty-four (34) years, Four (4) months and One (1)
day of reclusion perpetua and to pay the offended party the sum of P50,000.00 as civil
indemnity; and
(2) In Criminal Case No. Q-91-18466, said accused is hereby found GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of ATTEMPTED RAPE only and is hereby sentenced to suffer
an indeterminate penalty ranging from Four (4) years, TWO (2) months and One (1) day of
prision correccional maximum as minimum to Ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision mayor
maximum as maximum and to pay the offended party the sum of P30,000.00 as civil
indemnity.
Costs against the accused-appellant.
SO ORDERED
Bellosillo and Quiason, JJ., concur.
Cruz and Kapunan, JJ., are on leave.
# Footnotes
1 Exhibit "D."

2 Original Records (OR), Criminal Case No. Q-91-18465, 1; Rollo, 2.


3 Id., Criminal Case No. Q-91-18466, 1; Id., 4.
4 OR, Criminal Case No. Q-91-18465, 16; Criminal Case No. Q-91-18466, 9.
5 TSN, 4 May 1992, 8.
6 TSN, 27 April 1992, 6-13.
7 Id., 16-19.
8 TSN, 27 April 1992, 21-26.
9 TSN, 4 May 1992, 19-22.
10 Id., 25-28.
11 Exhibit "A."
12 TSN, 17 March 1992, 6-11.
13 Medico-Legal Report No. M-0218-91 (Exhibit "B").
14 TSN, 17 March 1992, op. cit., 12-14.
15 TSN, 3 June 1992, 2-7.
16 OR, 76-83; Rollo, 11-18. Per Judge Maximiano C. Asuncion.
17 OR, 83; Rollo, 18.
18 OR, Criminal Case No. Q-91-18465, 85.
19 Rollo, 31.
20 Appellant's Brief, 7-8; Rollo, 37-38.
21 Id., 9; Id., 39.
22 Rollo, 74; citing People vs. Santito, 201 SCRA 87 [1991].
23 People vs. De los Reyes, 203 SCRA 707 [1991]; People vs. Tismo, 204 SCRA 535 [1991];
People vs. Casinillo, 213 SCRA 777 [1992]; People vs. Matrimonio, 215 SCRA 613 [1992].
24 People vs. Matrimonio, supra.
25 TSN, 27 April 1992, 6-7; 28; TSN, 4 May 1992, 3, 18-19, 25-26.
26 11 Phil. 555, 561-562 [1908]. See also People vs. Puedan, 196 SCRA 388 [1991].
27 People vs. Rivera, 33 SCRA 746, 751 [1970].
28 People vs. Villegas, 127 SCRA 195 [1984]; People vs. Puedan, supra.
29 People vs. Lagrosa, G.R. Nos. 105956-57, 23 February 1994.
30 People vs. Cabradilla, 133 SCRA 413 [1984]; People vs. Grefiel, 215 SCRA 596 [1992].
31 TSN, 27 April 1992, 12-13.
32 People vs. Matrimonio, supra.
33 TSN, 27 April 1992, 16-19.
34 Article 51, in relation to Article 335, Revised Penal Code.
35 People vs. Porras, 58 Phil. 578 [1993]; People vs. Lucas, 181 SCRA 316 [1990]; People
vs. Matrimonio, supra.
36 "An Act To Impose the Death Penalty on Certain Heinous Crimes, Amending for that
Purpose The Revised Penal Code, As Amended, Other Special Penal Laws, and for Other
Purposes." It took effect fifteen days after its publication in two newspapers of general
circulation. It was published in the 16 December 1993 issues of the Manila Bulletin and The
Philippines Times Journal.

Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. Nos. 108172-73 January 9, 1995
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
CONRADO LUCAS Y BRIONES, accused-appellant.
RESOLUTION
DAVIDE, JR., J.:
In the decision in this case, promulgated on 25 May 1994, the First Division touched on the
nature of the penalty of reclusion perpetua in the light of Section 21 of R.A. No. 7659 1 which
amended Article 27 of the Revised Penal Code by specifically fixing the duration of reclusion
perpetua at twenty (20) years and one (1) day to forty (40) years. It opined that since no
corresponding amendment to Article 76 of the Revised Penal Code was made, the said laws
has not made explicit an intention to convert reclusion perpetua into a divisible penalty.
Nevertheless, it applied Article 65 of the Revised Penal Code 2 and stated:
Accordingly, the time included in the penalty of reclusion perpetua (twenty [20] years and one
[1] day to forty [40] years) can be divided into three equal portions with each composing a
period. The periods of reclusion perpetua would then be as follows:
minimum

20 years and 1 day to 26 years and 8 months

medium

26 years, 8 months and 1 day to 33 years and 4 months

maximum

34 years, 4 months and 1 day to 40 years

Taking into account the presence of the aggravating circumstance of relationship in Criminal
Case No. Q-91-18465, the accused may finally be sentenced to thirty-four (34) years, four (4)
months and one (1) day of reclusion perpetua.
It then modified the challenged decision of the trial court by changing the penalty in Criminal
Case No. Q-91-18465 from reclusion perpetua, as imposed by the trial court, to "imprisonment
of 34 years, 4 months and 1 day of reclusion perpetua."
In a motion for clarification seasonably filed by the appellee on 28 June 1994 which was not
opposed by the accused-appellant in his comment, the appellee asks the Court to correct the
duration of the maximum period of reclusion perpetua from thirty-four (34) years, four (4)
months and one (1) day to forty (40) years, as stated in the decision, to thirty-three (33) years,
four (4) months and one (1) day to forty (40) years.
Since the issue of whether the amendment of Article 27 of the Revised Penal Code by Section
21 of R.A. No. 7659 has made reclusion perpetua a divisible penalty is one of first impression
and of sufficient importance, the First Division referred the motion for clarification to the Court
en banc. The latter accepted the referral.
After deliberating on the motion and re-examining the legislative history of R.A. No. 7659, the
Court concludes that although Section 17 of R.A. No. 7659 has fixed the duration of reclusion
perpetua from twenty (20) years and one (1) day to forty (40) years, there was no clear

legislative intent to alter its original classification as an indivisible penalty. It shall then remain
as an indivisible penalty.
R.A. No. 7659 is a consolidation of Senate Bill (SB) No. 891 3 and House Bill (HB) No. 62. 4 SB
No. 891 seeks to amend Article 27 of the Revised Penal Code by inserting therein what are to
be considered heinous crimes and to penalize these not with the death penalty, but which
reclusion perpetua only, with the qualification that "any person sentenced to reclusion
perpetua for . . . [such heinous] crimes under this Code shall be required to serve thirty (30)
years, without entitlement to good conduct time allowance and shall be considered for
executive clemency only after service of said thirty (30) years." HB No. 62 defines and
enumerates the heinous crimes and seeks to penalize them with the death penalty.
An amendment by substitution to SB No. 891 was introduced by the Senate Special
Committee on Death Penalty. The amendment was entitled "An Act to Impose the Death
Penalty on Certain Heinous Crime, Amending for that Purpose some Articles of Act No. 3815,
as Amended, and for other Purposes." The substitute amendment sought to amend (a) Article
25 of the Revised Penal Code by providing in the scale of penalties the following:
CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: DEATH
Afflictive Penalties: LIFE IMPRISONMENT
Reclusion PerpetuaReclusion Temporal
and (b) Article 27 of the same Code by inserting therein the penalty of life imprisonment and
providing a specific duration therefor as well as for reclusion perpetua. The proposed
amended Article 27 pertinently reads as follows:
Art. 27. LIFE IMPRISONMENT. THE PENALTY OF LIFE IMPRISONMENT SHALL BE
FROM THIRTY YEARS AND ONE DAY TO FORTY YEARS.
RECLUSION PERPETUA THE PENALTY OF RECLUSION PERPETUA SHALL BE FROM
TWENTY YEARS AND ONE DAY TO THIRTY YEARS.
Thus, life imprisonment, therefore a penalty imposed by special penal statutes, was sought to
be incorporated as penalty in the revised Penal Code with a specific duration.
In his sponsorship of this substitute bill, Senator Arturo M. Tolentino explained the
incorporation of life imprisonment as follows:
But a very basic amendment was made, and that is, an amendment that will create a new
penalty, known in this bill as life imprisonment. The new penalty was created in order to
enable the committee to provide, in some crimes, a three-grade penalty that would be
composed of reclusion perpetua, as now provided by the Revised Penal Code, as the lowest
grade; on top of that, would be life imprisonment; and the third highest grade would be death
penalty. With this new grade of penalty, it became possible for this bill now under
consideration to impose a penalty ranging from reclusion perpetua to death, composed of
actually three periods or
grades. 5
However the Bicameral Conference Committee eliminated from the proposed amendment of
Article 27 the penalty of life imprisonment but extended the duration of reclusion perpetua
from twenty (2) years and one (1) day to forty (40) years. Thus, in his sponsorship of the
Conference Committee report on both the substitute SB No. 891 and HB No. 62, Senator
Tolentino stated:
By this, Mr. President, we have this new consolidated session that is before the Members of
this Chamber. There is one part or one portion of the Senate version that we have agreed to
be eliminated and that is the creation of the new penalty known as "life imprisonment." Even in

this Chamber, there were some doubts as to the creation of this new penalty of life
imprisonment because reclusion perpetua, which is in the Revised Penal Code and retained in
this bill, also means the same thing. It is a perpetual imprisonment.
So in order to still accommodate the increase of imprisonment by means of life imprisonment
while we eliminated the new penalty of life imprisonment which would last from 30 years
and one day to forty years what we did was simply to extend the period of reclusion
perpetua by adding 30 to 40 years imprisonment to the original 20 to 30 years, making the
reclusion perpetua in this new bill range from 20 years to one day to 40 years. This would be
what we had called one day before a "flexible or divisible penalty." 6
Although Senator Tolentino described reclusion perpetua as a "flexible or divisible" penalty, yet
in the portion of his sponsorship speech immediately succeeding the foregoing description, he
explicitly stated that the said penalty is one of the two indivisible penalties in the Revised
Penal Code. Thus:
Instead of having three penalties in the divisible [sic] penalty, we would have only two
indivisible penalties reclusion perpetua to death; and the principles on aggravating and
mitigating circumstances in the Revised Penal Code will be applicable to this penalty of
reclusion perpetua to death. 7
At first glance, by stating that reclusion perpetua was "flexible and divisible" and then later
referring to it as one of two indivisible penalties, Senator Tolentino might have fallen into an
inconsistency. If we recall, however, what he stated in his sponsorship speech to substitute bill
where, as above adverted to, he mentioned the proposed three-grade penalty ranging from
reclusion perpetua to death, then indeed he could also be correct in the sense that such threegrade concept would in fact be a complex penalty which would be divisible, with each grade
composing a period and which could then be governed by Article 77 8 of the Revised Penal
Code. That Senator Tolentino had this three-grade penalty in mind when he spoke of flexibility
and divisibility and that he stood by his subsequent statement that reclusion perpetua is one of
two indivisible penalties is further borne out by his explanations in relation to the rule in Article
63 of the Revised Penal Code on the application of mitigating circumstance. Thus:
Senator Tolentino.
In general, Mr. President, in all of these heinous crimes, the penalty reclusion perpetua to
death. Unless otherwise provided in the bill itself, this means that the provisions on
aggravating and mitigating circumstances will apply to them. Therefore that means, if there is
no mitigating and no aggravating circumstances, the penalty of death will not be applied
because under the provisions of the revised Penal Code, when there are two indivisible
penalt[ies] such as reclusion perpetua to death, if there is no aggravating circumstance, then
the penalty will be of lesser degree, which means: life imprisonment. But even if there is an
aggravating circumstance, still death penalty will not be applied because it will still be the
lesser penalty. This is how it is going to operate.
But if there is an aggravating circumstance, without any mitigating circumstance, the Revised
Penal Code provisions for the application of the higher penalty or the death penalty. That is
how it is going to operate. . . .
...
Senator Taada.
Mr. President, permit me to clarify the matter further. The Gentleman is saying that the
principle of mitigating and aggravating circumstances is applicable in general to all these
crimes listed in this consolidated version. That means that, first, if there is no aggravating

circumstance and there is no there is no mitigating circumstance, then the crime, although
listed here in the measure, will not be punished by death but by the lesser penalty of reclusion
perpetua.
Senator Tolentino.
Yes, Mr. President.
Senator Taada.
Second, if there is an aggravating circumstance, but there is also a mitigating circumstance,
then generally speaking, that aggravating circumstance is offset by the mitigating
circumstance in which case the lesser penalty which is reclusion perpetua will be the one
imposed.
Senator Tolentino.
That is right, Mr. President. 9
Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code provides that in all cases in which the law prescribes a
single indivisible penalty, it shall be applied regardless of any mitigating or aggravating
circumstance that may have attended the commission of the deed, and if the law prescribes a
penalty composed of two indivisible penalties, then the greater penalty shall be applied if there
is present only one aggravating circumstance, and the lesser penalty shall be applied when
the commission of the act was attended by some mitigating circumstance but without an
aggravating circumstance or when there was neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstance,
and if both mitigating and aggravating circumstances were present, the court shall reasonably
allow them to offset one another taking into account their number and importance and then to
apply preceding rules according to the result of such compensation.
Verily, if reclusion perpetua was reclassified as a divisible penalty, then Article 63 of the
Revised Penal Code would lose its reason and basis for existence. To illustrate, the first
paragraph of Section 20 of the amended R.A. No. 6425 provides for the penalty of reclusion
perpetua to death whenever the dangerous drugs involved are of any of the quantities stated
therein. If Article 63 of the Code were no longer applicable because reclusion perpetua is
supposed to be a divisible penalty, then there would be no statutory rules for determining
when either reclusion perpetua or death should be the imposable penalty. In fine, there would
be no occasion for imposing reclusion perpetua as the penalty in drug cases, regardless of the
attendant modifying circumstances.
This problem revolving around the non-applicability of the rules in Article 63 assumes serious
proportions since it does not involve only drug cases, as aforesaid. Under the amendatory
sections of R.A. No. 7659, the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death is also imposed on
treason by a Filipino (section 2), qualified piracy (Section 3), parricide (Section 5), murder
(Section 6), kidnapping and serious illegal detention (Section 8), robbery with homicide
(Section 9), destructive arson (Section 10), rape committed under certain circumstances
(Section 11), and plunder (Section 12).
Now then, if Congress had intended to reclassify reclusion perpetua as a divisible penalty,
then it should have amended Article 63 and Article 76 of the Revised Penal Code. The latter if
the law on what are considered divisible penalties under the Code and what should be the
duration of the period thereof. There are, as well, other provisions of the Revised Penal Code
involving reclusion perpetua , such as Article 41 on the accessory penalties thereof and
paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 61, which have not been touched by a corresponding
amendment.

What then may be the reason for the amendment fixing the duration of reclusion perpetua?
The deliberations in the Bicameral Conference Committee and in both Chambers of Congress
do not enlighten us on this, except the cryptic statement of Senior Tolentino adverted to above
on the elimination of the "new penalty" of life imprisonment by the Bicameral Conference
Committee. It may, however, be pointed out that although the Revised Penal Code did not
specify the maximum of reclusion perpetua , it is apparent that the maximum period for the
service of this penalty shall not exceed forty (40) years. In People vs.Reyes, 10 this Court,
speaking through Mr. Justice Florenz D. Regalado, stated:
We hold that there is legal basis, both in law and logic, for Presidential Decree No. 818 to
declare that any penalty exceeding twenty (20) years, or the maximum duration of reclusion
temporal, is within the range of reclusion perpetua.
It will be observed that Article 27 of the Code provides for the minimum and maximum ranges
of all the penalties in the Code (except bond to keep the peace which shall be for such period
of time as the court may determine) from arresto menor to reclusion temporal, the latter being
specifically from twelve years and one day to twenty years. For reclusion perpetua, however,
there is no specification as to its minimum and maximum range, as the aforesaid article
merely provides that "(a)ny person sentenced to any of the perpetual penalties shall be
pardoned after undergoing the penalty for thirty years, unless such person by reason of his
conduct or some other serious cause shall be considered by the Chief Executive as unworthy
of pardon."
The other applicable reference to reclusion perpetua is found in Article 70 of the Code which,
in laying down the rule on successive service of sentences where the culprit has to serve
more than three penalties, provides that "the maximum duration of the convict's sentence shall
not be more than three-fold the length of time corresponding to the most severe of the
penalties imposed upon him," and "(i)n applying the provisions of this rule the duration of
perpetual penalties ( pena perpetua) shall be computed at thirty years."
The imputed duration of thirty (30) years for reclusion perpetua, therefore, is only to serve as
the basis for determining the convict's eligibility for pardon or for the application of the threefold rule in the service of multiple penalties. Since, however, in all the graduated scales of
penalties in the Code, as set out in Article 25, 70 and 71, reclusion perpetua is the penalty
immediately next higher to reclusion temporal, it follows by necessary implication that the
minimum of reclusion perpetua is twenty (20) years and one (1) day with duration thereafter to
last for the rest of the convict's natural life although, pursuant to Article 70, it appears that the
maximum period for the service of penalties shall not exceed forty (40) years. It would be
legally absurd and violative of the scales of penalties in the Code to reckon the minimum of
reclusion perpetua at thirty (30) years since there would thereby be a resultant lacuna
whenever the penalty exceeds the maximum twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal but is
less than thirty (30) years. 11
At most then in fixing a specific duration for reclusion perpetua , Section 21 of R.A. No. 7659
merely restated the existing jurisprudence.
WHEREFORE, the Court resolved to MODIFY the decision of 25 May 1994 in this case by
DELETING therefrom the disquisitions on whether reclusion perpetua is a divisible penalty
and SETTING ASIDE its division into three periods and, finally, AMENDING the dispositive
portion thereof to read as follows:

WHEREFORE, the challenged decision of 28 October 1992 of Branch 104 of the Regional
Trial Court of Quezon City in Criminal Case No. Q-91-18465 and Criminal Case No. Q-9118466 is hereby AFFIRMED, subject ot the modifications above indicated. As modified:
(1) In Criminal Case No. Q-91-18465, in addition to the penalty of reclusion perpetua imposed
by the trial court, accused JOSE CONRADO LUCAS Y BRIONES is further ordered to
indemnify the offended party, Chanda Lucas y Austria, in the sum of Fifty Thousand Pesos
(P5,000.00); and
(2) In Criminal Case No. Q-91-18466, accused JOSE CONRADO LUCAS Y BRIONES is
hereby found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the lesser offense of attempted rape and is
hereby sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty ranging from Four (4) Years, Two (2)
Months and One (1) Day of prision correccional as minimum to Ten (10) Years and One (1)
Day of prision mayor maximum, and to indemnify the offended party, Chanda Lucas y Austria,
in the sum of Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00).
Costs against the accused-appellant.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Quiason, Puno, Vitug,
Kapunan and Mendoza, JJ., concur.
Feliciano, J., is on leave.
Footnotes
1 Entitled, "An act to Impose the Death Penalty on Certain Heinous Crimes, Amending for that
Purpose the Revised Penal Code, as Amended, Other Special Penal Laws, and for Other
Purposes."
2 It reads:
"Art. 65. Rule in cases in which the penalty is not composed of three periods. In cases in
which the penalty prescribed by law is not composed of three periods, the courts shall apply
the rules contained in the foregoing articles, dividing into three equal portions the time
included in the penalty prescribed, and forming one period of each of the three portions."
3 Submitted by the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and
Laws, and Justice and Human Rights on 30 October 1992 as a consolidation of various
individual Senate Bills. It is entitled "An Act Defining Heinous Crimes, Imposing the Penalty
Therefor, Amending for that Purpose Article 27 and Adding a New Article 72-A in Act No. 3815,
as Amended, The Revised Penal Code, and for other Purposes."
4 Introduced by Congressman Pablo P. Garcia. It is entitled "An Act to Declare, for Compelling
reasons of Public Policy and in the Interest of national Security, Public order and Safety,
Certain Crimes as Heinous crimes within the Meaning of Section Nineteen, Paragraph One of
Article III of the Constitution, and to Provide Penalties Therefor."
5 Vol. II, CP-Senate, TSP, 100 (Wednesday, 17 March 1993) 9th CRP 1st regular Session, No.
71, 10.
6 Vol. II, CP-Senate, TSP 94 (Thursday, 2 December 1993) 9th CRP, 2nd Regular Session,
No. 39, 32.
7 Id.
8 It provides:
"Art. 77. When the penalty is a complex one composed of three distinct penalties. In cases
in which the law prescribes a penalty composed of three distinct penalties, each one shall

form a period; the lightest of them shall be the minimum, the next the medium, and the most
severe the maximum period."
9 Vol. II, CP-Senate, TSP, 94 9th CRP, Regular Session, No. 39; 44-45.
10 212 SCRA 402 [1992].
11 Id. at 407-408 (footnote omitted).
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. Nos. 112453-56

June 28, 2001

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
GERARDO LATUPAN Y SIBAL, alias JERRY, accused-appellant.
PARDO, J.:
The case is an appeal from the decision1 of the Regional Trial Court, Tuao, Cagayan, Branch
11 convicting Gerardo Latupan y Sibal, alias Jerry of the complex crime of double murder and
sentencing him to "life imprisonment" and to indemnify the heirs of the two victims in the
amount of fifty thousand (P50,000.00) pesos each. The court also convicted accused Gerardo
Latupan of inflicting physical injuries to Jaime Asuncion, and sentenced him to "ten days
imprisonment" and to pay two hundred (P200.00) pesos as indemnity.
On April 13, 1992, Provincial Prosecutor Alejandro A. Pulido of Cagayan filed with the
Regional Trial Court, Tuao, Cagayan four separate informations charging Gerardo Latupan y
Sibal alias Jerry with two counts of frustrated murder and two counts of murder, committed as
follows:
Criminal Case No. 379-T
"That on or about April 29, 1991, in the Municipality of Tuao, Province of Cagayan, and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, Gerardo Latupan alias Jerry, armed
with a pointed knife, with intent to kill, with evident premeditation and with treachery did then
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, box, maul, kick and hit with his
aforesaid arm one Leo Asuncion, inflicting upon him injuries on the different parts of his body.
"That the accused had performed all the acts of execution which would have produced the
crime of Murder as a consequence but which, nevertheless, did not produce it by reason of
causes independent of his own will.
"Contrary to law."2
Criminal Case No. 380-T
"That on or about April 29, 1991, in the Municipality of Tuao, Province of Cagayan, and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, Gerardo Latupan alias Jerry, armed
with a pointed knife, with intent to kill, with evident premeditation and with treachery did then
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, box, maul and kick one, Jaime
Asuncion inflicting upon him injuries on the different parts of his body.

"That the accused had performed all the acts of execution which would have produced the
crime of Murder as a consequence but which, nevertheless, did not produce it by reason of
causes independent of his own will.
"Contrary to law."3
Criminal Case No. 381-T
"That on or about April 29, 1991, in the Municipality of Tuao, Province of Cagayan, and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, Gerardo Latupan alias Jerry, armed
with a pointed knife, with intent to kill, with evident premeditation and with treachery did then
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab one, Jose Asuncion
inflicting upon him stab wound on his body which caused his death.
"Contrary to law."4
Criminal Case No. 382-T
"That on or about April 29, 1991, in the Municipality of Tuao, Province of Cagayan, and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, Gerardo Latupan alias Jerry, armed
with a pointed knife, with intent to kill, with evident premeditation and with treachery did then
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab one, Lilia Asuncion
inflicting upon her stab wounds on her body which caused her death.
"Contrary to law."5
At the arraignment on May 25, 1993, accused pleaded not guilty to the charge of frustrated
murder.6 During the pre-trial conference of the four cases, accused offered to change his plea
of not guilty to guilty of the complex crime of double murder and frustrated murder. The
prosecution did not interpose any objection. Thus, on July 20, 1993, the trial court re-arraigned
the accused. He withdrew his plea of not guilty and instead pleaded guilty to the single offense
of multiple murder with multiple frustrated murder. 7
Thereafter, the trial court ordered the prosecution to present evidence to establish the
culpability of the accused.
The facts are as follows:
On April 29, 1991, at around 4:00 in the afternoon, Ceferino Dagulo (hereafter Ceferino) was
chopping firewood outside his house in Angang, Tuao, Cagayan. Suddenly, he heard the
shouts of a woman and a child coming from the north.
Moments later, Ceferino saw accused Gerardo Latupan y Sibal walking in his direction,
carrying a thin, bloodied knife. Accused Latupan entered the house of Ceferino and started
chasing Ceferino's wife, who was able to run to another house nearby. Unable to catch
Ceferino's wife, accused Latupan turned to Ceferino and said, "I will kill you all." At that time,
accused Latupan's clothes, chest, hands and legs were full of blood. Accused Latupan
attempted to thrust the knife into Ceferino, who was able to parry it. Later on, accused
Latupan told Ceferino to bring him to the authorities and tried to give the knife to Ceferino.
Ceferino refused to touch the knife and told accused to go to the authorities by himself.
Hearing this advice, accused ran away.
The house of Emilio Asuncion (hereafter Emy) was 100 meters from Ceferino's house. At
around 4:00 in the afternoon of the same day, Emy Asuncion was returning to his house from
a store. He reached his house and found his wife, Lilia, dead on the ground with several stab
wounds on her body. His one-year old son, Leo, was lying on top of Lilia Asuncion. Emy
picked up Leo and saw that the left side of Leo's face was lacerated. He saw Jaime, his threeyear old son and asked where Jose, his eldest son, was. At that moment, Emy heard the voice
of Jose from upstairs of the house, asking for medicine. He ran upstairs and saw that Jose

was wounded. He asked Jose who stabbed him. Jose replied, "Uncle Jerry, Tatang." Seeing
that Jose needed immediate medical treatment, Emy brought him to the house of Ceferino
and then returned to his house to get his two other children, Leo and Jaime. They left the
corpse of Lilia Asuncion inside Emy's house.
Lilia Asuncion was the sister of Ceferino's wife.
Meanwhile, Ceferino tried to ask a barangay councilman for assistance. Failing to obtain
assistance, Ceferino went back to his house and found Emy Asuncion and his children there.
Then, Ceferino went to a military camp to borrow a vehicle to bring the children to the hospital.
The military men provided them with a jeep. Thus, the three children were taken to the
Nuestra Seora de Piat Hospital in Cabalansan. Riding in the jeep were five soldiers, the
accused Latupan, Emy Asuncion, Ceferino Dagulo, Ceferino's wife, and the three children,
Leo, Jaime and Jose Asuncion.
During the trip to the hospital, Emy's son, Jose, saw accused Latupan inside the jeep. Jose
pointed to accused Latupan as the one who stabbed him.
At the hospital, the doctors treated the injuries of Leo and Jaime. However, the doctors
advised Emy and Ceferino to bring Jose to another hospital due to the seriousness of his
wounds. So, they proceeded to Cagayan Valley Regional Hospital. Sadly, Jose was dead on
arrival.8 He was only nine years old.
Jaime, 5 year-old son of Emy Asuncion, testified that he was three years old when the incident
occurred. He stated that accused Latupan stabbed his mother, stepped on him, threw his
brother, Leo, outside the window and stabbed his other brother, Jose. 9After presenting
testimonial and documentary evidence, the prosecution rested its case. The defense did not
present any testimonial or documentary evidence, merely relying on accused's plea of guilty.
Thus, the case was considered submitted for decision.
On August 25, 1993, the trial court rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
"WHEREFORE, finding the accused GERARDO LATUPAN alias JERRY GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of the complex offense of Double Murder, the Court hereby sentences him
to suffer life imprisonment and to indemnify the heirs of the two victims in the amount of
P50,000.00 each or a total of P100,000.00.
"For the physical injuries suffered by Jaime Asuncion, the accused is sentenced to suffer ten
(10) days imprisonment. Likewise, for the physical injuries suffered by Leon Asuncion, the
accused is also sentenced to suffer ten (10) days imprisonment, both to be suffered
simultaneously with the more grievous sentence of life imprisonment, plus P200.00 indemnity
to each of the two victims.
"SO ORDERED.
"Given in chambers this 25th day of August, 1993, at Tuao, Cagayan, Philippines."
"(sgd.) ORLANDO D. BELTRAN
"Judge"10
Hence, this appeal.11
Accused-appellant pleaded guilty to the single offense of multiple murder with multiple
frustrated murder.
Although this Court has set aside convictions based on plea of guilty in capital offenses
because of improvidence thereof and when such plea is the sole basis of the condemnatory
judgment, the circumstances of this case merit a different result. "Where the trial court
receives evidence to determine precisely whether or not the accused erred in admitting his
guilt, the manner in which the plea of guilty is made (improvidently or not) loses legal

significance, for the simple reason that the conviction is based on the evidence proving the
commission by the accused of the offense charged."12
Crucial to the prosecution is the testimony of the eyewitness, Jaime Asuncion, who witnessed
the incident and even suffered injuries from the unprovoked attack of accused-appellant. He
was familiar with accused-appellant and categorically related to the court the events that
occurred on the afternoon of April 29, 1991. Jaime narrated how accused-appellant stabbed
his mother, threw his brother out of the window, stepped on him, and stabbed his other
brother.
Moreover, accused-appellant was seen not far from the scene of the crime with a bloodied
knife and clothes, and mumbling threats at onlookers, including Ceferino Dagulo and his wife.
Thus, accused-appellant is liable for the deaths of Lilia and Jose Asuncion, and the physical
injuries of Jaime and Leo Asuncion. From the manner accused attacked the family, he left
them with no means of defense or escape. Considering the treacherous manner by which the
victims were killed, the accused-appellant is liable for murder and physical injuries.
The trial court, however, erred in convicting accused-appellant of the "complex crime of double
murder" and separate offenses of serious physical injuries. Article 48 of the Revised Penal
Code provides: "When a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies or
when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other, the penalty for the most
serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its maximum period." The instant
case does not fall under any of the two mentioned instances when a complex crime is
committed.13 The killing of Lilia Asuncion and Jose Asuncion and the wounding of Jaime and
Leo Asuncion resulted not from a single act but from several and distinct acts of stabbing.
"Where the death of two persons does not result from a single act but from two different shots,
two separate murders, and not a complex crime, are committed." 14
Thus, accused-appellant is liable, not for a complex crime of double murder, but for two
separate counts of murder, and separate counts of physical injuries.
Further, the trial court incorrectly assumed that the aggravating circumstance of evident
premeditation was included in the plea of guilty. Qualifying and aggravating circumstances,
which are taken into consideration for the purpose of increasing the degree of penalty to be
imposed, must be proven with equal certainty as the commission of the act charged as
criminal offense.15
Thus, evident premeditation cannot be presumed against accused-appellant. To warrant a
finding of evident premeditation, it must appear not only that the accused decided to commit
the crime prior to the moment of its execution but also that this decision was the result of
meditation, calculation, reflection, or persistent attempt. 16 In this case, there was no proof,
direct or circumstantial, offered by the prosecution to show when accused-appellant meditated
and reflected upon his decision to kill the victim and the intervening time that elapsed before
this plan was carried out. When it is not shown as to how and when the plan to kill was
hatched or what time had elapsed before it was carried out, evident premeditation cannot be
considered.17
Under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for murder at the time of the
commission of the crime in April 1991 was reclusion temporal maximum to death. The trial
court convicted accused-appellant of murder and sentenced him to "life imprisonment." The
proper imposable penalty is reclusion perpetua, not life imprisonment. Obviously, the trial court
intended to impose reclusion perpetua.

However, the penalty of life imprisonment is not the same as reclusion perpetua. They are
distinct in nature, in duration and in accessory penalties. 18 First, "life imprisonment" is imposed
for serious offenses penalized by special laws, while reclusion perpetua is prescribed under
the Revised Penal Code. Second, "life imprisonment" does not carry with it any accessory
penalty. Reclusion perpetua has accessory penalties. Third, "life imprisonment" does not
appear to have any definite extent or duration, while reclusion perpetua entails imprisonment
for at least thirty (30) years after which the convict becomes eligible for pardon, although the
maximum period thereof shall in no case exceed forty (40) years. 19
We likewise note that the trial court sentenced accused to "ten days of imprisonment" for each
count of slight physical injuries. We reiterate the rule that it is necessary for the courts to
employ the proper legal terminology in the imposition of penalties because of the substantial
difference in their corresponding legal effects and accessory penalties. 20 The appropriate
name of the penalty must be specified inasmuch as under the scheme of penalties in the
Revised Penal Code, the principal penalty for a felony has its own specific duration and
corresponding accessory penalties.21 Thus, the courts must employ the proper nomenclature
specified in the Revised Penal Code, such as "reclusion perpetua," not "life imprisonment" or
"ten days of arresto menor," not "ten days of imprisonment."
Hence, the proper penalty for each murder committed in April 1991, considering the absence
of aggravating and mitigating circumstances, is reclusion perpetua, with its accessory
penalties. Further, accused-appellant is liable for two counts of slight physical injuries and
must be sentenced to twenty (20) days of arresto menor, each, likewise with its accessory
penalties under the Revised Penal Code.22
We sustain the trial court's award of fifty thousand (P50,000.00) pesos as death indemnity for
each of the victims. No further proof is necessary other than the fact of death of the victim and
the accused's responsibility therefor.23 In addition, we award moral damages in the amount of
P50,000.00 pesos for each victim, without need of proof of consequent physical suffering and
mental anguish of the heirs of the victims, in line with recent rulings. 24
WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Tuao, Cagayan,
Branch 11 in Criminal Case Nos. 112453-56 with MODIFICATION. The accused-appellant
Gerardo Latupan y Sibal is convicted of two counts of murder, for the death of Lilia Asuncion
and Jose Asuncion, and is sentenced to reclusion perpetua in each case, and to indemnify the
heirs of Lilia and Jose Asuncion in the amount of P50,000.00 pesos, each case, and in
addition thereto, the amount of P50,000.00 pesos, each case, as moral damages. Accusedappellant is further convicted of two counts of slight physical injuries and is sentenced to
twenty (20) days of arresto menor, in each case, plus P2,000.00 pesos as indemnity to each
of the two victims, Jaime and Leo Asuncion.
Costs against accused-appellant.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J.,(Chairman), Puno, and Kapunan, JJ., concur.
Ynares-Santiago, J., on official business abroad.
Footnotes
1
In Criminal Case Nos. 379-T, 380-T, 381-T, 382-T, Judge Orlando D. Beltran, presiding.
2
Regional Trial Court Record, Book I, p. 31.
3
Regional Trial Court Record, Book II, p. 4.
4
Regional Trial Court Record, Book III, p. 4.

Regional Trial Court Record, Book IV, p. 4.


Certificate of Arraignment, Regional Trial Court Record, Book I, p. 43.
7
Certificate of Arraignment, Regional Trial Court Record, Book I, p. 50.
8
TSN, August 9, 1993, pp. 3-10.
9
TSN, August 9, 1993, pp. 12-13.
10
Decision, Regional Trial Court Record, Book I, pp. 59-65, at p. 65.
11
Notice of Appeal, Regional Trial Court Record, Book I, p. 66.
12
People v. Derilo, 271 SCRA 633, 658-659 [1997].
13
People v. Abubu, 322 SCRA 407, 414 [2000].
14
People v. Tabaco, 270 SCRA 32, 62 [1997].
15
People v. Piamonte, 303 SCRA 577, 588 [1999].
16
People v. Basao, 310 SCRA 743, 780 [1999].
17
People v. Enolva, 323 SCRA 295, 310-311 [2000].
18
People v. Ricafranca, 323 SCRA 652, 665 [2000].
19
People v. Fuertes, 326 SCRA 382, 414 [2000].
20
People v. Literado, 209 SCRA 319, 328 [1992], citing People v. Mobe, 81 Phil. 58 [1948];
People v. Baguio, 196 SCRA 459 [1991].
21
Austria v. Court of Appeals, 339 Phil. 486, 495-496 [1997]; People v. Serdan, 213 SCRA
329, 344 [1992]; People v. Aquino, 186 SCRA 851, 863 [1990].
22
Article 44, Revised Penal Code.
23
People v. Paraiso, 319 SCRA 422, 440 [1999]; People v. Cayago, 312 SCRA 623, 639
[1999].
24
People v. Sullano, 331 SCRA 649, 662 [2000], citing People v. Atrejenio, 310 SCRA 229
[1999]; People v. Salcedo, 340 Phil. 12, 35 [1997].
6

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 188562

August 17, 2011

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs.
RODEL LANUZA y BAGAOISAN, Accused-Appellant.
DECISION
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
On appeal is the Decision1 dated April 27, 2009 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR. No.
31406, which affirmed the Judgment2 dated January 30, 2008 of Branch 14 of the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) of Laoag City in Criminal Case No. 13388-14, finding accused-appellant
Rodel Bagaoisan Lanuza guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of frustrated homicide.
The RTC, taking into consideration the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender and
applying the indeterminate sentence law, sentenced accused-appellant to imprisonment from
four (4) years of prision correccional, as minimum, to seven (7) years of prision mayor, as
maximum.
The criminal information, charging accused-appellant with the crime of frustrated homicide, as
defined and penalized under Article 249 in relation to Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code,
reads:
That on or about the 1st day of April 2007 in the City of Laoag, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, with intent to kill, did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and shoot by the use of a 12 gauge shotgun,
Joel G. Butay, performing all the acts of execution which would produce the crime of homicide
as a consequence, but which nevertheless did not produce it by reason of causes

independent of the will of the accused and that is the timely medical attention extended to said
Joel G. Butay.3
On July 11, 2007, accused-appellant was arraigned and he pleaded not guilty to the criminal
charge.4
During the preliminary conference, the parties admitted, among other facts, that accusedappellant shot private complainant Joel G. Butay; that as a result of the shooting, private
complainant sustained a gunshot wound which caused his confinement at the provincial
hospital for 12 days; that accused-appellant voluntarily surrendered to the Philippine National
Police (PNP), Laoag City, surrendering a shotgun, five live bullets, and one empty shell; and
that private complainant suffered actual damages amounting to P70,000.00. Accusedappellant, however, asserted that the shooting was accidental, as contemplated under Article
12(4) of the Revised Penal Code, which exempts from criminal liability "any person who, while
performing a lawful act with due care, causes injury by mere accident without fault or intention
of causing it." Private complainant, however, insisted that accused-appellant pulled the trigger
of the gun with the intention of killing him.
In view of accused-appellants assertion of an exempting circumstance in his favor, the RTC,
in its Pre-Trial Order5 dated July 26, 2007, ordered a reverse trial of the case.
Thereafter, trial ensued.
Accused-appellant testified on November 21, 2007,6 while private complainant testified on
November 29, 2007.7 The RTC summarized the evidence presented by the parties as follows:
From the defense evidence, it appears that the incident subject of this case took place at the
basement of the BIR office in Laoag City in the morning of April 1, 2007, while the private
complainant as outgoing security guard was handing his shotgun to the accused, the incoming
security guard. Because the accused did not report for duty on the scheduled time, the private
complainant reprimanded him. After the accused had affixed his signature on the pertinent
portion of the logbook enumerating the items turned-over to him by the outgoing security
guard, the private complainant handed to him their service firearm, a shotgun. Allegedly, the
private complainant held it with both hands, with the muzzle pointed at him and the butt
towards the accused. At that moment, the accused gripped the firearm with one hand, with his
pointer finger inside the trigger guard and on top of the trigger itself. In his affidavit which was
adopted as part of his direct testimony, the accused stated that "I immediately held opposite
the muzzle of the gun where the trigger is, I almost slip with it while in the act of gripping and
then immediately the gun went off; the incident happened so fast that I was stunned then
realized that I accidentally shot my fellow guard." The private complainant was hit on the left
side of his waist. With the private complainant bleeding and unconscious, the accused went to
the telephone upstairs to call for an ambulance. There, however, the accused heard the sound
of a motorcycle leaving the BIR premises. He went down and discovered that the private
complainant was no longer at the place where he had left him. The accused, thereafter,
proceeded to the Laoag City police station and surrendered.
The prosecution presented a different scenario. According to the private complainant, he did
not actually hand the shotgun to the accused. Instead, he merely placed it, together with one
bullet, on top of the security guards table. Although he was turning over six bullets to the
accused, the private complainant asserted that the five others were inside a drawer on the
security guards table at their office upstairs. While the private complainant who was about to
go home was asking why the accused did not report on his scheduled shift, the latter got the
shotgun, placed the ammunition inside it, and shot him. The private complainant fell down on

his buttocks. The accused went near the private complainant and pulled the trigger a second
time, but the shotgun did not fire and the private complainant heard only a click. The accused
ran upstairs, and the private complainant crawled to his motorcycle and drove it himself to the
provincial hospital. The medical certificate issued by his attending physician, Dr. Frankie Pete
Albano, shows that the private complainant sustained the following:
"- Gunshot wound 3cm. in diameter left lumbar area thru and thru left paravertebral area
- Fractured spleen / Hemoperitoneum 100 cc thru and thru left kidney (2 points)."
The medical certificate also indicated that exploratory laparotomy was conducted on the
private complainant, his spleen was repaired, and a drain was placed on his left perirenal
area.8
At the end of the trial, the RTC promulgated its Judgment dated January 30, 2008, finding
accused-appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged. The dispositive
portion of the said Judgment reads:
WHEREFORE, the accused RODEL LANUZA y BAGAOISAN is hereby found GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of frustrated homicide under Article 249 in relation to Article 6 of the Revised
Penal Code and, with the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender, is hereby sentenced
to an indeterminate penalty ranging from four years of prision correccional as minimum to
seven years of prision mayor as maximum. He is further ordered to pay the private
complainant P70,000.00 as actual damages and P25,000.00 as moral damages. Costs
against the accused.9
Accused-appellant filed his Appellants Brief10 before the Court of Appeals on July 23, 2008 to
assail the foregoing judgment of conviction rendered against him by the RTC.
In his Brief, accused-appellant maintained that he shot private complainant by mere accident.
In the event the Court of Appeals is not convinced that accused-appellant acted with due care,
one of the elements for the exempting circumstance of accident under Article 12(4) of the
Revised Penal Code, accused-appellant urged the appellate court to impose upon him a
sentence in accord with Article 67 of the same Code, which specifically provided for the
"[p]enalty to be imposed when not all the requisites of exemption of the fourth circumstance of
Article 12 are present."
In the alternative, accused-appellant contended in his Brief that, at the most, he could only be
held accountable for the crime of physical injuries in the absence of proof of his intent to kill
private complainant.
Accused-appellant argued that if he really had the intent to kill, he could have shot private
complainant with precision. Accused-appellant claimed that private complainants version of
events immediately after the latter was shot was incredible. By private complainants own
admission, accused-appellant did not say anything to him, did not hit him with the gun, and did
not kick him while he sat on the floor after being shot. Private complainant even pleaded for
help from accused-appellant after sustaining the gunshot wound.
Accused-appellant further raised doubts as to the credibility of private complainant given the
inconsistencies in the latters testimony. The private complainant allegedly testified that he
placed the shotgun and one bullet on top of the security guards table for turn-over to accusedappellant. The five other bullets for the shotgun were in a drawer in another security guards
table on the upper floor. Private complaint claimed to have seen accused-appellant load one
bullet in the shotgun. However, during cross-examination, private complainant said that all six
bullets for the shotgun could not be seen during the turn-over. Thus, private complainant could
not have seen accused-appellant load any bullet into the shotgun. Private complainant also

initially narrated that he was about to board his motorcycle when he was shot by accusedappellant; yet, when cross-examined, private complainant stated that he had already boarded
his motorcycle at the time he was shot.
In its Brief11 filed on November 27, 2008, plaintiff-appellee People of the Philippines countered
with the following arguments:
I.
ACCUSED-APPELLANT FAILED TO PROVE THAT HE IS ENTITLED TO THE EXEMPTING
CIRCUMSTANCE OF ACCIDENT.
II.
THE PROSECUTION PROVED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT THAT THE OFFENSE
COMMITTED WAS A RESULT OF A DELIBERATE AND INEXCUSABLE ACT.
III.
ACCUSED-APPELLANT WAS CORRECTLY FOUND BY THE TRIAL COURT GUILTY OF
THE CRIME OF FRUSTRATED HOMICIDE.12
Upon review of the evidence presented, the Court of Appeals rendered its assailed Decision
on April 27, 2009, dismissing accused-appellants appeal and affirming his conviction for the
crime of frustrated homicide, as well as the prison sentence handed down against him by the
RTC. The dispositive portion of said Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby DISMISSED and the January 30, 2008 Judgment of the
Regional Trial Court of Laoag City, Branch 14, in Criminal Case No. 13388-14 finding Rodel
Lanuza y Bagaoisan guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of frustrated homicide is
AFFIRMED.13
Instead of seeking reconsideration of the aforementioned Court of Appeals decision, accusedappellant filed a Notice of Appeal.14 The Court then issued a Resolution15 dated August 19,
2009 requiring the parties to submit their respective supplemental briefs, if they so desire. In
response to said Resolution, plaintiff-appellee filed a Manifestation 16 stating that it was
adopting its Brief before the Court of Appeals since there was no new issue raised in accusedappellants appeal before this Court; while accused-appellant did not file any pleading at all.
The Court sustains the verdict of guilt against accused-appellant.
The elements of frustrated homicide are: (1) the accused intended to kill his victim, as
manifested by his use of a deadly weapon in his assault; (2) the victim sustained fatal or
mortal wound/s but did not die because of timely medical assistance; and (3) none of the
qualifying circumstance for murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended,
is present.17 Evidence to prove intent to kill in crimes against persons may consist, inter alia, of
the means used by the malefactors; the nature, location and number of wounds sustained by
the victim; the conduct of the malefactors before, at the time of, or immediately after the killing
of the victim; the circumstances under which the crime was committed; and the motive of the
accused.18 These elements are extant in the case at bar.
The prosecution has satisfactorily proven that accused-appellant intended to kill private
complainant based on the method of attack, the weapon used, and the location of the gunshot
wound. Accused-appellant shot private complainant with a shotgun at close range hitting the
latters abdomen. Resultantly, private complainant sustained a wound that could have caused
his death if not for the timely medical attention given to him. As aptly elaborated by the RTC:
[T]he medical certificate shows that the gunshot hit the body of the private complainant,
causing injuries to his spleen and left kidney. In fact, the hemopentoneum referred to therein
means that there was bleeding inside his abdomen and that 100 cc of blood was taken from it.

As a result, the attending physician had to operate on him, repair his spleen and place a drain
in the vicinity of the kidney. Moreover, the private complainant had to be confined at the
provincial hospital for twelve days, a fact underscoring the gravity of his condition. Clearly, one
does not have to be a physician to realize that a person would die if the said injuries would
remain untreated. Accordingly, the accused must be deemed to have performed the last act
necessary to kill the private complainant.19
As both the RTC and the Court of Appeals observed, the version of events as recounted by
the private complainant was highly credible, while that narrated by accused-appellant strains
human credulity.
The RTC did not give probative weight to accused-appellants testimony that his shooting of
private complainant was completely accidental, for the following reasons:
It is axiomatic that a person who invokes accident must prove that he acted with due care.
This was belied by the conduct of the accused when he allegedly received the shotgun from
the private complainant. As he himself admitted, he received the shotgun by placing his
pointer finger, also known as the trigger finger because it is used to squeeze the trigger, inside
the trigger guard and over the trigger itself. Worse, he did so while the barrel of the gun was
pointed at the private complainant. Worst, he had been a security guard for three years prior
to the incident and had undergone lessons on gun safety. According to him, he knew that it
was not proper for a person to receive a firearm from another by immediately inserting a finger
inside the trigger guard. Likewise, he knew that the hand-over of a firearm with its barrel
pointed towards the giver or any other person was not proper. That he did these improper acts
despite his training and experience as a security guard undermines any notion that he had
acted with due care during the subject incident.
In any case, the version of events narrated by the accused is unworthy of credence. To repeat,
that the accused did the abovementioned acts despite his experience and training as a
security guard is difficult to believe. No one can be a security guard and receive a firearm by
immediately inserting the trigger finger inside the trigger guard. In the same vein, no person
can be a security guard and still point a firearm at himself or herself or any other person while
handing it to another. Clearly, no one who has undergone lessons in gun safety, much less
one who earns a living by providing security, can be capable of the acts admitted by the
accused. Simply put, his claim that he performed those acts is unbelievable.
There are other reasons for withholding credence from the claim of the accused. According to
him, after the private complainant was shot and rendered unconscious, he did not go near
him. For ten seconds before he finally decided to go upstairs, he did nothing. Moreover, he
made no attempt to check if he was still alive or if he could help him in any way. That he
offered no help to the wounded private complainant undermines his claim of accident. As
observed in People v. Reyes, "had [the shooting] really been accidental, then the natural
tendency of the accused would have been to immediately give help to his unfortunate victim
and even to plead and express his regret to the mother of the deceased." 20
In contrast, private complainants testimony passed muster with the RTC, to wit:
Indeed, the version of the private complainant deserves more credence. Contrary to the
strained and unbelievable scenario posited by the defense, the private complainants account
was straightforward and credible; allegedly, he reprimanded the accused that morning for not
reporting on his scheduled shift, but the latter got mad and shot him. It must be stressed that
the accused himself admitted that the private complainant had reprimanded him that morning.

Clearly, there was reason no matter how flimsy for the accused to get angry and to shoot
the private complainant deliberately.
In any event, the Court has carefully examined the testimony of the private complainant as
well as his demeanor at the witness stand, and has found no reason to withhold credence
from him. At the outset, the accused failed to show any motive and the records show none
for the private complainant to concoct a story and to testify falsely against him. Moreover, the
records show the private complainants positive and forthright testimony to be consistent even
under able cross-examination. It has been held that "the best test of credibility is its
compatibility with the common experience of man. A testimony deserves credence if it does
not run counter to human knowledge, observation and experience; whatever is repugnant to
these standards becomes incredible and lies outside of judicial cognizance. Applying that
standard, the Court finds no sufficient reason to withhold credence from the private
complainants testimony.21
Hence, the RTC ultimately concluded:
In that light, credibility leans heavily in favor of the private complainant. The contrary testimony
of the accused does not deserve credence, and his claim of accident must consequently be
rejected. For this reason, his alternative albeit implicit claim that he should be held liable
only for criminal negligence resulting in physical injuries must also be rejected. Thus, the
Court holds that the shooting of the victim took place not because of accident or criminal
negligence; rather, it was the result of a deliberate and inexcusable act, for which the accused
must be held criminally liable.22
The Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the findings of the RTC. The appellate court reasoned
that private complainant simply lacked the motive to concoct a story or falsely testify against
accused-appellant.
There is no cogent reason for the Court to disturb the foregoing findings and conclusions of
both the RTC and the Court of Appeals. Accused-appellants implausible alibi of accident
cannot overcome private complainants positive and forthright testimony that accusedappellant shot private complainant with intent to kill.
It must be emphasized that when the credibility of a witness is in issue, the findings of fact of
the trial court, its calibration of the testimonies of the witnesses and its assessment of the
probative weight thereof, as well as its conclusions anchored on said findings are accorded
high respect if not conclusive effect. This is more true if such findings were affirmed by the
appellate court, since it is settled that when the trial courts findings have been affirmed by the
appellate court, said findings are generally binding upon this Court. 23
The inconsistencies in private complainants testimony are not as serious or damaging as
accused-appellant wants this Court to believe. The Court agrees with the Court of Appeals
that the purported inconsistencies in private complainants testimony pertain to details which
are inconsequential to the credibility of his overall testimony, thus:
While there may be some inconsistencies in private complainants testimony, these
incompatible declarations do not pertain to the essential elements of the crime of which the
accused-appellant was convicted. They refer only to minor matters and are inconsequential as
they do not impair the credibility of the prosecution witness. In fact, inaccuracies may suggest
that the witness is telling the truth and has not been rehearsed. This is because a witness is
not expected to remember every single detail of an incident with perfect or total recall. 24
Questions on whether or not private complainant had actually seen accused-appellant load
the shotgun with a bullet, or whether or not private complainant was already on board his

motorcycle when he was shot by accused-appellant, would have no bearing on the fact that
private complainant was shot by accused-appellant with the service shotgun turned-over by
the former to the latter. The Court stresses that accused-appellant himself admitted the fact of
shooting, and only disputed any intent to kill private complainant. The conclusion of the RTC,
as affirmed by the Court of Appeals and this Court, that accused-appellant intended to kill
private complainant was not based entirely on accused-appellant deliberately loading the
shotgun, but also on the existence of motive on accused-appellants part, the location and
severity of private complainants injury, and accused-appellants behavior immediately after
the shooting.
Finally, the Court likewise sustains the penalty and damages imposed against accusedappellant.
The penalty prescribed by law for the crime of frustrated homicide is one degree lower than
that prescribed by law for the crime of homicide.25 Under the indeterminate sentence law, the
maximum of the sentence shall be that which could be properly imposed in view of the
attending circumstances, and the minimum shall be within the range of the penalty next lower
to that prescribed by the Revised Penal Code.
Considering that the penalty prescribed by law for the crime of homicide is reclusion temporal,
the penalty for the crime of frustrated homicide would be prision mayor. Applying the
indeterminate sentence law, there being the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender
and no aggravating circumstance, the maximum of the sentence should be within the range of
prision mayor in its minimum term which has a duration of six (6) years and one (1) day to
eight (8) years, and that, on the other hand, the minimum should be within the range of prision
correccional which has a duration of six (6) months and one (1) day to six (6) years. Thus, the
imposition of imprisonment from four (4) years of prision correccional, as minimum, to seven
(7) years of prision mayor, as maximum, is in order.1avvphi1
There is similarly no reason for the Court to disturb the award of damages made by the court
a quo. Accused-appellant shall compensate private complainant for actual damages in the
amount of P70,000.00 as the parties voluntarily stipulated during the pre-trial conference that
private complainant incurred actual expenses in said amount because of his injuries. Accusedappellant shall also be liable for moral damages suffered by private complainant in the amount
of P25,000.00, in accordance with jurisprudence. 26
WHEREFORE, the instant appeal of accused-appellant is DENIED for lack of merit and the
Decision dated April 27, 2009 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR. No. 31406 is
AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice
Chairperson
MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.
Associate Justice
C ERTI F I CATI O N

ARTURO D. BRION*
LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
Associate Justice
Associate Justice
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the conclusions in the
above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer
of the opinion of the Courts Division.
RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice
Footnotes
*
Per Raffle dated August 17, 2011.
1
Rollo, pp. 3-13; penned by Associate Justice Mariano C. del Castillo (now a member of this
Court) with Associate Justices Pampio A. Abarintos and Marlene Gonzales-Sison, concurring.
2
CA rollo, pp. 48-55; penned by Judge Francisco R.D. Quilala.
3
Records, p. 1.
4
Id. at 43.
5
Id. at 72-74.
6
TSN, November 21, 2007.
7
TSN, November 29, 2007.
8
CA rollo, pp. 48-50.
9
Id. at 55.
10
Id. at 34-47.
11
Id. at 66-88.
12
Id. at 73-74.
13
Rollo, p. 12.
14
CA rollo, p. 107.
15
Rollo, p. 18.
16
Id. at 19-22.
17
Serrano v. People, G.R. No. 175023, July 5, 2010, 623 SCRA 322, 339.
18
Mahawan v. People, G.R. No. 176609, December 18, 2008, 574 SCRA 737, 752-753.
19
CA rollo, p. 53.
20
Id. at 51.
21
Id. at 51-52.
22
Id. at 52.
23
Decasa v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 172184, July 10, 2007, 527 SCRA 267, 287.
24
Rollo, p. 10.
25
Revised Penal Code, Article 50.
26
People v. Domingo, G.R. No. 184343, March 2, 2009, 580 SCRA 436, 458; Rugas v.
People, 464 Phil. 493, 507 (2004).

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 180219

November 23, 2011

VIRGILIO TALAMPAS y MATIC, Petitioner,


vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
DECISION
BERSAMIN, J.:
By petition for review on certiorari, Virgilio Talampas y Matic (Talampas) seeks the review of
the affirmance of his conviction for homicide (for the killing of the late Ernesto Matic y
Masinloc) by the Court of Appeals (CA) through its decision promulgated on August 16, 2007. 1
The Regional Trial Court, Branch 25, in Bian, Laguna (RTC) had rejected his pleas of selfdefense and accident and had declared him guilty of the felony under the judgment rendered
on June 22, 2004.2
Antecedents
The information filed on November 17, 1995, to which Talampas pleaded not guilty, averred as
follows:3

That on or about July 5, 1995, in the Municipality of Bian, Province of Laguna, Philippines
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused VIRGILIO TALAMPAS, with intent
to kill, while conveniently armed with a short firearm and without any justifiable cause, did then
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and shoot one Ernesto Matic y
Masinloc with the said firearm, thereby inflicting upon him gunshot wound at the back of his
body which directly caused his instantaneous death, to the damage and prejudice of his
surviving heirs.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
The State presented as witnesses Jose Sevillo, Francisco Matic, Jerico Matic, Dr. Valentin
Bernales, and Josephine Matic. The CA summarized their testimonies thuswise: 4
Prosecution witness Jose Sevillo (Jose) who allegedly witnessed the incident in question,
testified that on July 5, 1995 at about 7:00 oclock in the evening, he together with Eduardo
Matic (Eduardo) and Ernesto Matic (Ernesto) were infront of his house, along the road in Zona
Siete (7), Wawa, Malaban, Bian, Laguna, repairing his tricycle when he noticed the appellant
who was riding on a bicycle passed by and stopped. The latter alighted at about three (3)
meters away from him, walked a few steps and brought out a short gun, a revolver, and poked
the same to Eduardo and fired it hitting Eduardo who took refuge behind Ernesto. The
appellant again fired his gun three (3) times, one shot hitting Ernesto at the right portion of his
back causing him (Ernesto) to fall on the ground with his face down. Another shot hit Eduardo
on his nape and fell down on his back (patihaya). Thereafter, the appellant ran away, while he
(Jose) and his neighbors brought the victims to the hospital. On June 6, 1995, Jose executed
a Sworn Statement at the Bian Police Station.
Another witness, Francisco Matic, testified that prior to the death of his brother Ernesto who
was then 44 years old, he (Ernesto) was driving a tricycle on a boundary system and earned
P100.00 daily, although not on a regular basis because sometimes Ernesto played in a band
for P100.00 per night.
Jerico Matic, eldest son of Ernesto, alleged that he loves his father and his death was so
painful to him that he could not quantify his feelings in terms of money. The death of his father
was a great loss to them as they would not be able to pursue their studies and that nobody
would support them financially considering that the money being sent by their mother in the
amount of P2,000.00 to P2,500.00 every three (3) months, would not be enough.
Dr. Valentin Bernales likewise, testified that he was the one who conducted the autopsy on the
body of Ernesto and found one gunshot in the body located at the back of the costal area,
right side, sixteen (16) centimeters from the spinal column. This shot was fatal as it involved
the major organs such as the lungs, liver and the spinal column which caused Ernestos
death.
The last witness, Josephine Matic, wife of Ernesto, testified that her husband was laid to rest
on July 18, 1995 and that his untimely death was so painful and that she could not provide her
children with sustenance. She asked for the amount of P200,000.00 for her to be able to send
her children to school.
On his part, Talampas interposed self-defense and accident. He insisted that his enemy had
been Eduardo Matic (Eduardo), not victim Ernesto Matic (Ernesto); that Eduardo, who was
then with Ernesto at the time of the incident, had had hit him with a monkey wrench, but he
had parried the blow; that he and Eduardo had then grappled for the monkey wrench; that
while they had grappled, he had notice that Eduardo had held a revolver; that he had thus
struggled with Eduardo for control of the revolver, which had accidentally fired and hit Ernesto

during their struggling with each other; that the revolver had again fired, hitting Eduardo in the
thigh; that he had then seized the revolver and shot Eduardo in the head; and that he had
then fled the scene when people had started swarming around.
Ruling of the RTC
On June 22, 2004, the RTC, giving credence to the testimony of eyewitness Jose Sevilla,
found Talampas guilty beyond reasonable doubt of homicide, 5 and disposed:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the court finds the accused guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of Homicide, with one mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender, and
hereby sentences him to suffer an indeterminate penalty of IMPRISONMENT ranging from
TEN (10) years and One (1) day of prision mayor, as minimum, to FOURTEEN (14) years and
EIGHT (8) months of reclusion temporal, as maximum. He is likewise ordered to pay the heirs
of Ernesto Matic y Masinloc the following sums, to wit:
1. P50,000.00 as and for death indemnity;
2. P50,000.00 as and for moral damages;
3. P25,000.00 as and for actual damages; and
4. P30,000.00 as and for temperate damages.
Furnish Public Prosecutor Nofuente, Atty. Navarroza, the private complainant and accused
with a copy of this decision.
SO ORDERED.6
Ruling of the CA
Talampas appealed to the CA, contending that:
I
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSEDAPPELLANT FOR THE CRIME CHARGED HAS BEEN PROVEN BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT.
II
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE DEATH OF ERNESTO
MATIC WAS MERELY ACCIDENTAL.
III
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE ACCUSEDAPPELLANT ACTED IN DEFENSE OF HIMSELF WHEN HE GRAPPLED WITH EDUARDO
MATIC.
Still, the CA affirmed the conviction based on the RTCs factual and legal conclusions, and
ruled that Talampas, having invoked self-defense, had in effect admitted killing Ernesto and
had thereby assumed the burden of proving the elements of self-defense by credible, clear
and convincing evidence, but had miserably failed to discharge his burden. 7
The CA deleted the award of temperate damages in view of the awarding of actual damages,
pointing out that the two kinds of damages were mutually exclusive. 8
Issue
Hence, Talampas is now before the Court, continuing to insist that his guilt was not proven
beyond reasonable doubt, and that the lower courts both erred in rejecting his claim of selfdefense and accidental death.
Ruling
The petition for review is denied for lack of merit.
Firstly, the elements of the plea of self-defense are: (a) unlawful aggression on the part of the
victim; (b) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel the unlawful

aggression; and (c) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the accused in defending
himself.9
In the nature of self-defense, the protagonists should be the accused and the victim. The
established circumstances indicated that such did not happen here, for it was Talampas who
had initiated the attack only against Eduardo; and that Ernesto had not been at any time a
target of Talampas attack, he having only happened to be present at the scene of the attack.
In reality, neither Eduardo nor Ernesto had committed any unlawful aggression against
Talampas. Thus, Talampas was not repelling any unlawful aggression from the victim
(Ernesto), thereby rendering his plea of self-defense unwarranted.
Secondly, Talampas could not relieve himself of criminal liability by invoking accident as a
defense. Article 12(4) of the Revised Penal Code,10 the legal provision pertinent to accident,
contemplates a situation where a person is in fact in the act of doing something legal,
exercising due care, diligence and prudence, but in the process produces harm or injury to
someone or to something not in the least in the mind of the actor an accidental result flowing
out of a legal act.11 Indeed, accident is an event that happens outside the sway of our will, and
although it comes about through some act of our will, it lies beyond the bounds of humanly
foreseeable consequences.12 In short, accident presupposes the lack of intention to commit
the wrong done.
The records eliminate the intervention of accident. Talampas brandished and poked his
revolver at Eduardo and fired it, hitting Eduardo, who quickly rushed to seek refuge behind
Ernesto. At that point, Talampas fired his revolver thrice. One shot hit Ernesto at the right
portion of his back and caused Ernesto to fall face down to the ground. Another shot hit
Eduardo on the nape, causing Eduardo to fall on his back. Certainly, Talampas acts were by
no means lawful, being a criminal assault with his
TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO
revolver against both Eduardo and Ernesto.
Associate Justice
And, thirdly, the fact that the target of Talampas
assault was Eduardo, not Ernesto, did not excuse his
hitting and killing of Ernesto. The fatal hitting of Ernesto was the natural and direct
consequence of Talampas felonious deadly assault against Eduardo. Talampas poor aim
amounted to aberratio ictus, or mistake in the blow, a circumstance that neither exempted him
from criminal responsibility nor mitigated his criminal liability. Lo que es causa de la causa, es
causa del mal causado (what is the cause of the cause is the cause of the evil caused). 13
Under Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code,14 criminal liability is incurred by any person
committing a felony although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended.
Nonetheless, the Court finds the indeterminate sentence of 10 years and one day of prision
mayor, as minimum, to 14 years and eight months, as maximum, legally erroneous.
The penalty for homicide under Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code is reclusion
temporal.1avvphi1 Under Section 1 of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, 15 the court, in
imposing a prison sentence for an offense punished by the Revised Penal Code, or its
amendments, is mandated to prescribe an indeterminate sentence the maximum term of
which shall be that which, in view of the attending circumstances, could be properly imposed
under the rules of the Revised Penal Code, and the minimum term shall be within the range of
the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Revised Penal Code for the offense. With the
absence of aggravating or mitigating circumstances, the imposable penalty is reclusion
temporal in its medium period, or 14 years, eight months, and one day to 17 years and four
months. This is pursuant to Article 64 of the Revised Penal Code. 16 It is such period that the

maximum term of the indeterminate sentence should be reckoned from. Hence, limiting the
maximum term of the indeterminate sentence at only 14 years and eight months contravened
the express provision of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, for such penalty was within the
minimum period of reclusion temporal. Accordingly, the Court must add one day to the
maximum term fixed by the lower courts.
The Court finds to be unnecessary the increment of one day as part of the minimum term of
the indeterminate sentence. It may be true that the increment did not constitute an error,
because the minimum term thus fixed was entirely within the parameters of the Indeterminate
Sentence Law. Yet, the addition of one day to the 10 years as the minimum term of the
indeterminate sentence of Talampas may occasion a degree of inconvenience when it will be
time for the penal administrators concerned to consider and determine whether Talampas is
already qualified to enjoy the benefits of the Indeterminate Sentence Law. Hence, in order to
simplify the computation of the minimum penalty of the indeterminate sentence, the Court
deletes the one-day increment from the minimum term of the indeterminate sentence.
WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the decision promulgated on August 16, 2007 finding
VIRGILIO TALAMPAS y MATIC guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of homicide, and
IMPOSES the indeterminate sentence of 10 years of prision mayor, as minimum, to 14 years,
eight months, and one day of reclusion temporal, as maximum.
The petitioner shall pay the costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.
LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
RENATO C. CORONA
MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO
Chief Justice
Associate Justice
Chairperson
MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.
Associate Justice
C ERTI F I CATI O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the conclusions in the
above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer
of the opinion of the Courts Division.
RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice
Footnotes
1
Rollo, pp. 67-75; penned by Associate Justice Aurora Santiago-Lagman (retired), with
Associate Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes (now a Member of the Court) and Associate Justice
Apolinario D. Bruselas, Jr. concurring.
2
Id., pp. 25-31.
3
Id., p. 24.
4
Id., pp. 68-69.
5
Supra, note 2.
6
Rollo, pp. 30-31.
7
Supra, note 1.
8
Id.

People v. Concepcion, G.R. No. 169060, February 6, 2007 514 SCRA 660, 668.
Article 12. Circumstances which exempt from criminal liability. The following are exempt
from criminal liability:
xxx
4. Any person who, while performing a lawful act with due care, causes an injury by mere
accident without fault or intention of causing it.
xxx
11
Reyes, The Revised Penal Code (Criminal Law), Book 1, 15th Edition (2001), p. 223.
12
Id.
13
Quotation is taken from Feria and Gregorio, Comments on the Revised Penal Code, Volume
I, 1958 First Edition, Central Book Supply, Inc., p. 49.
14
Article 4. Criminal liability. Criminal liability shall be incurred:
1. By any person committing a felony (delito) although the wrongful act done be different from
that which he intended.
2. By any person performing an act which would be an offense against persons or property,
were it not for the inherent impossibility of its accomplishment or an account of the
employment of inadequate or ineffectual means.
15
Section 1. Hereafter, in imposing a prison sentence for an offense punished by the Revised
Penal Code, or its amendments, the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate
sentence the maximum term of which shall be that which, in view of the attending
circumstances, could be properly imposed under the rules of the said Code, and the minimum
which shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Code for the
offense; and if the offense is punished by any other law, the court shall sentence the accused
to an indeterminate sentence, the maximum term of which shall not exceed the maximum
fixed by said law and the minimum shall not be less than the minimum term prescribed by the
same. (As amended by Act No. 4225)
16
Article 64. Rules for the application of penalties which contain three periods. In cases in
which the penalties prescribed by law contain three periods, whether it be a single divisible
penalty or composed of three different penalties, each one of which forms a period in
accordance with the provisions of Articles 76 and 77, the court shall observe for the
application of the penalty the following rules, according to whether there are or are not
mitigating or aggravating circumstances:
1. When there are neither aggravating nor mitigating circumstances, they shall impose the
penalty prescribed by law in its medium period.
Xxx
10

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 173473

December 17, 2008

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee,


vs.
BETH TEMPORADA, appellant.
DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
Before us for review is the February 24, 2006 Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals (CA), affirming
with modification the May 14, 2004 Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila,
Branch 33, convicting accused-appellant Beth Temporada of the crime of large scale illegal
recruitment, or violation of Article 38 of the Labor Code, as amended, and five (5) counts of
estafa under Article 315, par. (2)(a) of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).
The antecedents, as found by the appellate court, are as follows:

From September 2001 to January 2002, accused Rosemarie "Baby" Robles, Bernadette
Miranda, Nenita Catacotan and Jojo Resco and appellant Beth Temporada, all employees of
the Alternative Travel and Tours Corporation (ATTC), recruited and promised overseas
employment, for a fee, to complainants Rogelio Legaspi, Jr. as technician in Singapore, and
Soledad Atle, Luz Minkay, Evelyn Estacio and Dennis Dimaano as factory workers in
Hongkong. The accused and appellant were then holding office at Dela Rosa Street, Makati
City but eventually transferred business to Discovery Plaza, Ermita, Manila. After
complainants had submitted all the requirements consisting of their respective application
forms, passports, NBI clearances and medical certificates, the accused and appellant, on
different dates, collected and received from them placement fees in various amounts, viz: a)
from Rogelio Legaspi, Jr. 57,600.00; b) from Dennis Dimaano P66,520.00; c) from Evelyn
Estacio P88,520.00; d) from Soledad Atle P69,520.00 and e) from Luz Minkay
P69,520.00. As none of them was able to leave nor recover the amounts they had paid,
complainant lodged separate criminal complaints against accused and appellant before the
City Prosecutor of Manila. On November 29, 2002, Assistant City Prosecutor Restituto
Mangalindan, Jr. filed six (6) Informations against the accused and appellant, one for Illegal
Recruitment in Large Scale under Article 38 (a) of the Labor Code as amended, and the rest
for five (5) counts of estafa under Article 315 paragraph 2 (a) of the Revised Penal Code.
The Information for large scale illegal recruitment reads:
Criminal Case No. 02-208371:
"The undersigned accuses ROSEMARIE "BABY" ROBLES, BERNADETTE M. MIRANDA,
BETH TEMPORADA, NENITA CATACOTAN and JOJO RESCO x x x.
That in or about and during the period comprised between the months of September 2001 and
January 2002, inclusive, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, representing
themselves to have the power and capacity to contract, enlist and transport Filipino workers
for employment abroad, did then and there willfully, unlawfully for a fee, recruit and promise
employment to REGELIO A. LEGASPI, JR., DENNIS T. DIMAANO, EVELEYN V. ESTACIO,
SOLEDAD B. ATTE and LUZ MINKAY without first having secured the required license from
the Department of Labor and Employment as required by law, and charge or accept directly or
indirectly from said complainant[s] the amount of PH57,600.00, PH66,520.00, PH88,520.00,
PH69,520.00, PH69,520.00, respectively, as placement fees in consideration for their
overseas employment, which amounts are in excess of or greater than that specified in the
scheduled of allowable fees prescribed of the POEA and without reasons and without fault of
the said complainants, failed to actually deploy them and failed to reimburse them the
expenses they incurred in connection with the documentation and processing of their papers
for purposes of their deployment.
Contrary to law."
Except for the name of private complainant and the amount involved, the five (5) Informations
for estafa contain substantially identical averments as follows:
Criminal Case No. 02-208372:
"The undersigned accuses ROSEMARIE "BABY" ROBLES, BERNADETTE M. MIRANDA,
BETH TEMPORADA, NENITA CATACOTAN and JOJO RESCO x x x.
That in or about and during the period comprised between November 23, 2001 and January
12, 2002, inclusive, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, conspiring and
confederating together and helping one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously defraud ROGELIO A. LEGASPI, JR., in the following manner, to wit: the said

accused, by means of false manifestations and fraudulent representations which they made to
said ROGELIO A. LEGASPI, JR., prior to and even simultaneous with the commission of the
fraud, to the effect that they have the power and capacity to recruit and employ ROGELIO A.
LEGASPI, JR., as technician in Singapore and could facilitate the processing of the pertinent
papers if given the necessary amount to meet the requirements thereof, induced and
succeeded in inducing said ROGELIO A. LEGASPI, JR., to give and deliver, as in fact he gave
and delivered to said accused the amount of P57,600.00 on the strength of said
manifestations and representations said accused well knowing that the same were false and
fraudulent and were made solely for the purpose of obtaining, as in fact they did obtain the
amount of P57,600.00, which amount, once in their possession, with intend to defraud, they
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously misappropriated, misapplied and converted the same to
their own personal use and benefit, to the damage and prejudice of said ROGELIO A.
LEGASPI, JR. in the aforesaid amount of P57,000.00 Philippine Currency.
Contrary to law."
The other four (4) Informations for estafa involve the following complainants and amounts:
1. DENNIS T. DIMAANO

P66,520.00

2. EVELYN V. ESTACIO

P88,520.00

3. SOLEDAD B. ATLE

P69,520.00

4. LUZ T. MINKAY

P69,520.003

Only appellant was apprehended and brought to trial, the other accused remained at large.
Upon arraignment, appellant pleaded not guilty and trial on the merits ensued. After joint trial,
on May 14, 2004, the RTC rendered judgment convicting appellant of all the charges:
WHEREFORE, the prosecution having established the GUILT of accused Beth Temporada
BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT, judgment is hereby rendered CONVICTING the said
accused, as principal of the offenses charged and she is sentenced to suffer the penalty of
LIFE IMPRISONMENT and a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) for illegal
recruitment; and the indeterminate penalty of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision
correctional as minimum, to nine (9) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as maximum for
the estafa committed against complainant Rogelio A. Legaspi, Jr.; the indeterminate penalty of
four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correctional as minimum to ten (10) years and one
day of prision mayor as maximum each for the estafas committed against complainants,
Dennis Dimaano, Soledad B. Atte and Luz T. Minkay; and the indeterminate penalty of four (4)
years and two (2) months of prision correctional as minimum, to eleven (11) years and one (1)
day of prision mayor as maximum for the estafa committed against Evelyn Estacio.
The accused is also ordered to pay jointly and severally the complainants actual damages as
follows:
1. Rogelio A. Legaspi Jr.

P57,600.00

2. Dennis T. Dimaano

66,520.00

3. Evelyn V. Estacio

88,520.00

4. Soledad B. Atte

66,520.00

5. Luz T. Minkay

69,520.00

SO ORDERED.4
In accordance with the Courts ruling in People v. Mateo,5 this case was referred to the CA for
intermediate review. On February 24, 2006, the CA affirmed with modification the Decision of
the RTC:
WHEREFORE, with MODIFICATION to the effect that in Criminal Cases Nos. 02-208373, 02208375, & 02-208376, appellant is sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of six (6)
years of prision correccional maximum, as minimum, to ten (10) years and one (1) day of
prision mayor maximum, as maximum; and in Criminal Case No. 02-208374, she is sentenced
to suffer the indeterminate penalty of eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor medium,
as minimum, to twelve (12) years and one (1) day of reclusion temporal minimum, as
maximum, the appealed decision is AFFIRMED in all other respects. 6
Before this Court, appellant ascribes the lone error that the trial court gravely erred in finding
her guilty of illegal recruitment and five (5) counts of estafa despite the insufficiency of the
evidence for the prosecution.
We affirm the Decision of the CA, except as to the indeterminate penalties imposed for the five
(5) counts of estafa.
Article 13(b) of the Labor Code defines recruitment and placement thusly:
ART. 13. Definitions. x x x
(b) "Recruitment and placement" refers to any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting,
transporting, utilizing, hiring or procuring workers, and includes referrals, contract services,
promising or advertising for employment, locally or abroad, whether for profit or not: Provided,
That any person or entity which, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee, employment to
two or more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and placement.
To constitute illegal recruitment in large scale, three (3) elements must concur: (a) the offender
has no valid license or authority required by law to enable him to lawfully engage in
recruitment and placement of workers; (b) the offender undertakes any of the activities within
the meaning of "recruitment and placement" under Article 13(b) of the Labor Code, or any of
the prohibited practices enumerated under Article 34 of the said Code (now Section 6 of R.A.
No. 8042); and, (c) the offender committed the same against three (3) or more persons,
individually or as a group.7
In the case at bar, the foregoing elements are present. Appellant, in conspiracy with her coaccused, misrepresented to have the power, influence, authority and business to obtain
overseas employment upon payment of a placement fee which was duly collected from
complainants Rogelio Legaspi, Dennis Dimaano, Evelyn Estacio, Soledad Atle and Luz
Minkay. Further, the certification8 issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment
Administration (POEA) and the testimony of Ann Abastra Abas, a representative of said
government agency, established that appellant and her co-accused did not possess any
authority or license to recruit workers for overseas employment. And, since there were five (5)
victims, the trial court correctly found appellant liable for illegal recruitment in large scale.

Appellant insists that she was merely an employee of ATTC and was just "echoing the
requirement of her employer." She further argues that the prosecution failed to prove that she
was aware of the latters illegal activities and that she actively participated therein. In essence,
she controverts the factual findings of the lower courts.
The contention is untenable.
An employee of a company or corporation engaged in illegal recruitment may be held liable as
principal, together with his employer, if it is shown that he actively and consciously participated
in illegal recruitment.9 Appellant actively took part in the illegal recruitment of private
complainants. Rogelio Legaspi testified that after introducing herself as the General Manager
of ATTC, appellant persuaded him to apply as a technician in Singapore and assured him that
there was a job market therefor. In addition to the placement fee of P35,000.00 which he paid
to accused Bernadette Miranda, he also handed the amount of P10,000.00 to appellant who,
in turn, issued him a receipt for the total amount of P45,000.00. Upon the other hand, Soledad
Atle and Luz Minkay, who applied as factory workers in Hongkong through co-accused, Emily
Salagonos, declared that it was appellant who briefed them on the requirements for the
processing of their application, and assured them and Dennis Dimaano of immediate
deployment for jobs abroad. For her part, Evelyn Estacio testified that aside from the
placement fee of P40,000.00 that she paid to co-accused "Baby" Robles in connection with
her purported overseas employment, she also gave appellant P10,000.00 for which she was
issued a receipt for the amount of P5,000.00.
The totality of the evidence, thus, established that appellant acted as an indispensable
participant and effective collaborator of her co-accused in the illegal recruitment of
complainants. As aptly found by the CA:
Without doubt, all the acts of appellant, consisting of introducing herself to complainants as
general manager of ATTC, interviewing and entertaining them, briefing them on the
requirements for deployment and assuring them that they could leave immediately if they paid
the required amounts, unerringly show unity of purpose with those of her co-accused in their
scheme to defraud private complainants through false promises of jobs abroad. There being
conspiracy, appellant shall be equally liable for the acts of her co-accused even if she herself
did not personally reap the fruits of their execution. We quote with approval the trial courts
findings on the matter:
"xxx It is clear that said accused conspired with her co-accused Rosemarie "Baby" Robles,
Bernadette M. Miranda, Nenita Catacotan, and Jojo Resco in convincing complainants xxx to
apply for overseas jobs and giving complainants Soledad Atle, Luz Minkay and Dennis
Dimaano guarantee that they would be hired as factory workers in Hongkong, complainant
Rogelio Legaspi, as Technician in Singapore and Evelyn Estacio as quality controller in a
factory in Hongkong, despite the fact that the accused was not licensed to do so.
It should be noted that all the accused were connected with the Alternative Travel and Tours
Corporation (ATTC). Accused Beth Temporada introduced herself as ATTCs General
Manager. Saod accused was also the one who received the P10,000.00 given by complainant
Rogelio Legaspi, Jr. and the P10,000.00 given by complainant Evelyn Estacio as payment for
their visa and plane ticket, respectively."10
Consequently, the defense of appellant that she was not aware of the illegal nature of the
activities of her co-accused cannot be sustained. Besides, even assuming arguendo that
appellant was indeed unaware of the illegal nature of said activities, the same is hardly a
defense in the prosecution for illegal recruitment. Under The Migrant Workers and Overseas

Filipinos Act of 1995, a special law, the crime of illegal recruitment in large scale is malum
prohibitum and not malum in se.11 Thus, the criminal intent of the accused is not necessary
and the fact alone that the accused violated the law warrants her conviction. 12
In the instant case, we find no reason to depart from the rule that findings of fact of the trial
court on the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies are generally accorded great respect
by an appellate court. The assessment of credibility of witnesses is a matter best left to the
trial court because it is in the position to observe that elusive and incommunicable evidence of
the witnesses deportment on the stand while testifying, which opportunity is denied to the
appellate courts.13 Further, there is no showing of any ill-motive on the part of the prosecution
witnesses in testifying against appellant. Absent such improper motive, the presumption is that
they were not so actuated and their testimony is entitled to full weight and credit.
Section 7(b) of R.A. No. 8042 prescribes the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of not less
than P500,000.00 nor more than P1,000,000.00 for the crime of illegal recruitment in large
scale or by a syndicate. The trial court, therefore, properly meted the penalty of life
imprisonment and a fine of P500,000.00 on the appellant.
Anent the conviction of appellant for five (5) counts of estafa, we, likewise, affirm the same.
Well-settled is the rule that a person convicted for illegal recruitment under the Labor Code
may, for the same acts, be separately convicted for estafa under Article 315, par. 2(a) of the
RPC.14 The elements of estafa are: (1) the accused defrauded another by abuse of confidence
or by means of deceit; and (2) the offended party or a third party suffered damage or prejudice
capable of pecuniary estimation.15 The same evidence proving appellants criminal liability for
illegal recruitment also established her liability for estafa. As previously discussed, appellant
together with her co-accused defrauded complainants into believing that they had the
authority and capability to send complainants for overseas employment. Because of these
assurances, complainants parted with their hard-earned money in exchange for the promise of
future work abroad. However, the promised overseas employment never materialized and
neither were the complainants able to recover their money.
While we affirm the conviction for the five (5) counts of estafa, we find, however, that the CA
erroneously computed the indeterminate penalties therefor. The CA deviated from the doctrine
laid down in People v. Gabres;16 hence its decision should be reversed with respect to the
indeterminate penalties it imposed. The reversal of the appellate courts Decision on this point
does not, however, wholly reinstate the indeterminate penalties imposed by the trial court
because the maximum terms, as determined by the latter, were erroneously computed and
must necessarily be rectified.
The prescribed penalty for estafa under Article 315, par. 2(d) of the RPC, when the amount
defrauded exceeds P22,000.00, is prisin correccional maximum to prisin mayor minimum.
The minimum term is taken from the penalty next lower or anywhere within prisin
correccional minimum and medium (i.e., from 6 months and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months).
Consequently, the RTC correctly fixed the minimum term for the five estafa cases at 4 years
and 2 months of prisin correccional since this is within the range of prisin correccional
minimum and medium.
On the other hand, the maximum term is taken from the prescribed penalty of prisin
correccional maximum to prisin mayor minimum in its maximum period, adding 1 year of
imprisonment for every P10,000.00 in excess of P22,000.00, provided that the total penalty
shall not exceed 20 years. However, the maximum period of the prescribed penalty of prisin
correccional maximum to prisin mayor minimum is not prisin mayor minimum as apparently

assumed by the RTC. To compute the maximum period of the prescribed penalty, prisin
correccional maximum to prisin mayor minimum should be divided into three equal portions
of time each of which portion shall be deemed to form one period in accordance with Article
6517 of the RPC. Following this procedure, the maximum period of prisin correccional
maximum to prisin mayor minimum is from 6 years, 8 months and 21 days to 8 years. 18 The
incremental penalty, when proper, shall thus be added to anywhere from 6 years, 8 months
and 21 days to 8 years, at the discretion of the court. 19
In computing the incremental penalty, the amount defrauded shall be subtracted by
P22,000.00, and the difference shall be divided by P10,000.00. Any fraction of a year shall be
discarded as was done starting with the case of People v. Pabalan20 in consonance with the
settled rule that penal laws shall be construed liberally in favor of the accused. The doctrine
enunciated in People v. Benemerito21 insofar as the fraction of a year was utilized in
computing the total incremental penalty should, thus, be modified. In accordance with the
above procedure, the maximum term of the indeterminate sentences imposed by the RTC
should be as follows:
In Criminal Case No. 02-208372, where the amount defrauded was P57,600.00, the RTC
sentenced the accused to an indeterminate penalty of 4 years and 2 months of prisin
correccional as minimum, to 9 years and 1 day of prisin mayor as maximum. Since the
amount defrauded exceeds P22,000.00 by P35,600.00, 3 years shall be added to the
maximum period of the prescribed penalty (or added to anywhere from 6 years, 8 months and
21 days to 8 years, at the discretion of the court). The lowest maximum term, therefore, that
can be validly imposed is 9 years, 8 months and 21 days of prisin mayor, and not 9 years
and 1 day of prisin mayor.
In Criminal Case Nos. 02-208373, 02-208375, and 02-208376, where the amounts defrauded
were P66,520.00, P69,520.00, and P69,520.00, respectively, the accused was sentenced to
an indeterminate penalty of 4 years and 2 months of prisin correccional as minimum, to 10
years and 1 day of prisin mayor as maximum for each of the aforesaid three estafa cases.
Since the amounts defrauded exceed P22,000.00 by P44,520.00, P47,520.00, and
P47,520.00, respectively, 4 years shall be added to the maximum period of the prescribed
penalty (or added to anywhere from 6 years, 8 months and 21 days to 8 years, at the
discretion of the court). The lowest maximum term, therefore, that can be validly imposed is 10
years, 8 months and 21 days of prisin mayor, and not 10 years and 1 day of prisin mayor.
Finally, in Criminal Case No. 02-208374, where the amount defrauded was P88,520.00, the
accused was sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of 4 years and 2 months of prisin
correccional as minimum, to 11 years and 1 day of prisin mayor as maximum. Since the
amount defrauded exceeds P22,000.00 by P66,520.00, 6 years shall be added to the
maximum period of the prescribed penalty (or added to anywhere from 6 years, 8 months and
21 days to 8 years, at the discretion of the court). The lowest maximum term, therefore, that
can be validly imposed is 12 years, 8 months and 21 days of reclusin temporal, and not 11
years and 1 day of prisin mayor.
Response to the dissent.
In the computation of the indeterminate sentence for estafa under Article 315, par. 2(a) of the
Revised Penal Code (RPC), the Court has consistently followed the doctrine espoused in
Pabalan and more fully explained in Gabres. The dissent argues that Gabres should be
reexamined and abandoned.
We sustain Gabres.

I.
The formula proposed in the Dissenting Opinion of Mr. Justice Ruben T. Reyes, i.e., the
maximum term shall first be computed by applying the incremental penalty rule, and thereafter
the minimum term shall be determined by descending one degree down the scale of penalties
from the maximum term, is a novel but erroneous interpretation of the ISL in relation to Article
315, par. 2(a) of the RPC. Under this interpretation, it is not clear how the maximum and
minimum terms shall be computed. Moreover, the legal justification therefor is not clear
because the meaning of the terms "penalty," "prescribed penalty," "penalty actually imposed,"
"minimum term," "maximum term," "penalty next lower in degree," and "one degree down the
scale of penalties" are not properly set out and are, at times, used interchangeably, loosely
and erroneously.
For purposes of this discussion, it is necessary to first clarify the meaning of certain terms in
the sense that they will be used from here on. Later, these terms shall be aligned to what the
dissent appears to be proposing in order to clearly address the points raised by the dissent.
The RPC provides for an initial penalty as a general prescription for the felonies defined
therein which consists of a range of period of time. This is what is referred to as the
"prescribed penalty." For instance, under Article 24922 of the RPC, the prescribed penalty for
homicide is reclusin temporal which ranges from 12 years and 1 day to 20 years of
imprisonment. Further, the Code provides for attending or modifying circumstances which
when present in the commission of a felony affects the computation of the penalty to be
imposed on a convict. This penalty, as thus modified, is referred to as the "imposable
penalty." In the case of homicide which is committed with one ordinary aggravating
circumstance and no mitigating circumstances, the imposable penalty under the RPC shall be
the prescribed penalty in its maximum period. From this imposable penalty, the court chooses
a single fixed penalty (also called a straight penalty) which is the "penalty actually imposed"
on a convict, i.e., the prison term he has to serve.
Concretely, in U.S. v. Saadlucap,23 a pre-ISL case, the accused was found guilty of homicide
with a prescribed penalty of reclusin temporal. Since there was one ordinary aggravating
circumstance and no mitigating circumstances in this case, the imposable penalty is reclusin
temporal in its maximum period, i.e., from 17 years, 4 months and 1 day to 20 years. The
court then had the discretion to impose any prison term provided it is within said period, so
that the penalty actually imposed on the accused was set at 17 years, 4 months and 1 day of
reclusin temporal,24 which is a single fixed penalty, with no minimum or maximum term.
With the passage of the ISL, the law created a prison term which consists of a minimum and
maximum term called the indeterminate sentence.25 Section 1 of the ISL provides
SECTION 1. Hereafter, in imposing a prison sentence for an offense punished by the Revised
Penal Code, or its amendments, the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate
sentence the maximum term of which shall be that which, in view of the attending
circumstances, could be properly imposed under the rules of said Code, and the minimum
which shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Code for the
offense; x x x.
Thus, the maximum term is that which, in view of the attending circumstances, could be
properly imposed under the RPC. In other words, the penalty actually imposed under the preISL regime became the maximum term under the ISL regime. Upon the other hand, the
minimum term shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to the prescribed penalty. To
illustrate, if the case of Saadlucap was decided under the ISL regime, then the maximum term

would be 17 years, 4 months and 1 day of reclusin temporal and the minimum term could be
anywhere within the range of prisin mayor (6 years and 1 day to 12 years) which is the
penalty next lower to reclusin temporal. Consequently, an indeterminate sentence of 10
years of prisin mayor as minimum to 17 years, 4 months and 1 day of reclusin temporal as
maximum could have possibly been imposed.
If we use the formula as proposed by the dissent, i.e., to compute the minimum term based on
the maximum term after the attending or modifying circumstances are considered, the basis
for computing the minimum term, under this interpretation, is the imposable penalty 26 as
hereinabove defined. This interpretation is at odds with Section 1 of the ISL which clearly
states that the minimum of the indeterminate sentence shall be "within the range of the
penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Code for the offense." Consequently, the basis for
fixing the minimum term is the prescribed penalty,27 and not the imposable penalty.
In People v. Gonzales,28 the Court held that the minimum term must be based on the penalty
prescribed by the Code for the offense "without regard to circumstances modifying criminal
liability."29 The Gonzales ruling that the minimum term must be based on the prescribed
penalty "without regard to circumstances modifying criminal liability" is only a restatement of
Section 1 of the ISL that the minimum term shall be taken from within the range of the penalty
next lower to the prescribed penalty (and from nowhere else). 30
Further, the dissent proceeds from the erroneous premise that its so-called "regular formula"
has generally been followed in applying the ISL. To reiterate, according to the dissent, the
"regular formula" is accomplished by first determining the maximum term after considering all
the attending circumstances; thereafter, the minimum term is arrived at by going one degree
down the scale from the maximum term. As previously discussed, this essentially means,
using the terms as earlier defined, that the minimum term shall be taken from the penalty next
lower to the imposable penalty (and not the prescribed penalty.) In more concrete terms and
using the previous example of homicide with one ordinary aggravating circumstance, this
would mean that the minimum term for homicide will no longer be based on reclusin
temporal (i.e., the prescribed penalty for homicide) but reclusin temporal in its maximum
period (i.e., the imposable penalty for homicide with one ordinary aggravating circumstance)
so much so that the minimum term shall be taken from reclusin temporal in its medium
period (and no longer from prisin mayor) because this is the penalty next lower to reclusin
temporal in its maximum period. The penalty from which the minimum term is taken is, thus,
significantly increased. From this example, it is not difficult to discern why this
interpretation radically departs from how the ISL has generally been applied by this
Court. The dissents "regular formula" is, therefore, anything but regular.
In fine, the "regular formula" espoused by the dissent deviates from the ISL and established
jurisprudence and is, thus, tantamount to judicial legislation.
II.
There is no absurdity or injustice in fixing or "stagnating" the minimum term within the range of
prisin correccional minimum and medium (i.e., from 6 months and 1 day to 4 years and 2
months). Preliminarily, it must be emphasized that the minimum term taken from the
aforementioned range of penalty need not be the same for every case of estafa when the
amount defrauded exceeds P12,000.00. In People v. Ducosin,31 the Court provided some
guidelines in imposing the minimum term from the range of the penalty next lower to the
prescribed penalty:

We come now to determine the "minimum imprisonment period" referred to in Act No. 4103.
Section 1 of said Act provides that this "minimum which shall not be less than the minimum
imprisonment period of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by said Code for the
offense."32 We are here upon new ground. It is in determining the "minimum" penalty that Act
No. 4103 confers upon the courts in the fixing of penalties the widest discretion that the courts
have ever had. The determination of the "minimum" penalty presents two aspects: first, the
more or less mechanical determination of the extreme limits of the minimum imprisonment
period; and second, the broad question of the factors and circumstances that should guide the
discretion of the court in fixing the minimum penalty within the ascertained limits.
xxxx
We come now to the second aspect of the determination of the minimum penalty, namely, the
considerations which should guide the court in fixing the term or duration of the minimum
period of imprisonment. Keeping in mind the basic purpose of the Indeterminate Sentence
Law "to uplift and redeem valuable human material, and prevent unnecessary and excessive
deprivation of personal liberty and economic usefulness" (Message of the Governor-General,
Official Gazette No. 92, vol. XXXI, August 3, 1933), it is necessary to consider the criminal,
first, as an individual and, second, as a member of society. This opens up an almost limitless
field of investigation and study which it is the duty of the court to explore in each case as far
as is humanly possible, with the end in view that penalties shall not be standardized but fitted
as far as is possible to the individual, with due regard to the imperative necessity of protecting
the social order.
Considering the criminal as an individual, some of the factors that should be considered are:
(1) His age, especially with reference to extreme youth or old age; (2) his general health and
physical condition; (3) his mentality, heredity and personal habits; (4) his previous conduct,
environment and mode of life (and criminal record if any); (5) his previous education, both
intellectual and moral; (6) his proclivities and aptitudes for usefulness or injury to society; (7)
his demeanor during trial and his attitude with regard to the crime committed; (8) the manner
and circumstances in which the crime was committed; (9) the gravity of the offense (note that
section 2 of Act No. 4103 excepts certain grave crimes this should be kept in mind in
assessing the minimum penalties for analogous crimes).
In considering the criminal as a member of society, his relationship, first, toward his
dependents, family and associates and their relationship with him, and second, his
relationship towards society at large and the State are important factors. The State is
concerned not only in the imperative necessity of protecting the social organization against the
criminal acts of destructive individuals but also in redeeming the individual for economic
usefulness and other social ends. In a word, the Indeterminate Sentence Law aims to
individualize the administration of our criminal law to a degree not heretofore known in these
Islands. With the foregoing principles in mind as guides, the courts can give full effect to the
beneficent intention of the Legislature.33
Admittedly, it is possible that the court, upon application of the guidelines in Ducosin, will
impose the same minimum term to one who commits an estafa involving P13,000.00 and
another involving P130 million. In fact, to a lesser degree, this is what happened in the instant
case where the trial court sentenced the accused to the same minimum term of 4 years and 2
months of prisin correccional in Criminal Case Nos. 02-208372, 02-208373, 02-208375, 02208376, and 02-208374 where the amounts defrauded were P57,600.00, P66,520.00,

P69,520.00, P69,520.00 and P88,520.00, respectively. However, there is no absurdity and


injustice for two reasons.
One, while it is possible that the minimum term imposed by a court would be the same, the
maximum term would be greater for the convict who committed estafa involving P130 million
(which would be 20 years of reclusion temporal) than the convict who swindled P13,000.00
(which could be anywhere from prisin correccional maximum to prisin mayor minimum or
from 4 years, 2 months and 1 day to 8 years).34 Assuming that both convicts qualify for parole
after serving the same minimum term, the convict sentenced to a higher maximum term would
carry a greater "burden" with respect to the length of parole surveillance which he may be
placed under, and the prison term to be served in case he violates his parole as provided for
in Sections 635 and 836 of the ISL. Under Section 6, the convict shall be placed under a period
of surveillance equivalent to the remaining portion of the maximum sentence imposed upon
him or until final release and discharge by the Board of Pardon and Paroles. Further, the
convict with the higher maximum term would have to serve a longer period upon his recommitment in prison in case he violates his parole because he would have to serve the
remaining portion of the maximum term, unless the Board of Pardon and Paroles shall, in its
discretion, grant a new parole to the said convict as provided for in Section 8.
Although the differences in treatment are in the nature of potential liabilities, to this limited
extent, the ISL still preserves the greater degree of punishment in the RPC for a convict who
commits estafa involving a greater amount as compared to one who commits estafa involving
a lesser amount. Whether these differences in treatment are sufficient in substance and
gravity involves a question of wisdom and expediency of the ISL that this Court cannot
delve into.
Two, the rule which provides that the minimum term is taken from the range of the penalty
next lower to the prescribed penalty is, likewise, applicable to other offenses punishable under
the RPC. For instance, the minimum term for an accused guilty of homicide with one generic
mitigating circumstance vis--vis an accused guilty of homicide with three ordinary
aggravating circumstances would both be taken from prisin mayor the penalty next lower to
eclusion temporal. Evidently, the convict guilty of homicide with three ordinary aggravating
circumstances committed a more perverse form of the felony. Yet it is possible that the court,
after applying the guidelines in Ducosin, will impose upon the latter the same minimum term
as the accused guilty of homicide with one generic mitigating circumstance. This reasoning
can be applied mutatis mutandis to most of the other offenses punishable under the RPC.
Should we then conclude that the ISL creates absurd results for these offenses as well?
In fine, what is perceived as absurd and unjust is actually the intent of the legislature to be
beneficial to the convict in order to "uplift and redeem valuable human material, and prevent
unnecessary and excessive deprivation of personal liberty and economic usefulness." 37 By the
legislatures deliberate design, the range of penalty from which the minimum term is taken
remains fixed and only the range of penalty from which the maximum term is taken changes
depending on the number and nature of the attending circumstances. Again, the reason why
the legislature elected this mode of beneficence to a convict revolves on questions of wisdom
and expediency which this Court has no power to review. The balancing of the States
interests in deterrence and retributive justice vis--vis reformation and reintegration of convicts
to society through penal laws belongs to the exclusive domain of the legislature.
III.

People v. Romero,38 De Carlos v. Court of Appeals,39 Salazar v. People,40 People v.


Dinglasan41 and, by analogy, People v. Dela Cruz42 do not support the formula being proposed
by the dissent.
The instant case involves a violation of Article 315, par. 2(a) of the RPC. 43 The penalty for said
violation is
ARTICLE 315. Swindling (Estafa). Any person who shall defraud another by any of the
means mentioned hereinbelow shall be punished by:
1st. The penalty of prisin correccional in its maximum period to prisin mayor in its minimum
period, if the amount of the fraud is over 12,000 pesos but does not exceed 22,000 pesos,
and if such amount exceeds the latter sum, the penalty provided in this paragraph shall be
imposed in its maximum period, adding one year for each additional 10,000 pesos; but the
total penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty years. In such cases, and in
connection with the accessory penalties which may be imposed and for the purpose of the
other provisions of this Code, the penalty shall be termed prisin mayor or reclusin temporal,
as the case may be. x x x
In contrast, Romero, De Carlos, and Salazar involved violations of Article 315 of the RPC as
amended by Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 168944 because: (1) the funds defrauded were
contributed by stockholders or solicited by corporations/associations from the general public,
(2) the amount defrauded was greater than P100,000.00, and (3) the estafa was not
committed by a syndicate. Section 1 of P.D. No. 1689 provides
Sec. 1. Any person or persons who shall commit estafa or other forms of swindling as defined
in Article 315 and 316 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, shall be punished by life
imprisonment to death if the swindling (estafa) is committed by a syndicate consisting of five
or more persons formed with the intention of carrying out the unlawful or illegal act,
transaction, enterprise or scheme, and the defraudation results in the misappropriation of
money contributed by stockholders, or members of rural banks, cooperative, "samahang
nayon(s)", or farmers association, or of funds solicited by corporations/associations from the
general public.
When not committed by a syndicate as above defined, the penalty imposable shall be
reclusin temporal to reclusin perpetua if the amount of the fraud exceeds 100,000
pesos. (Emphasis supplied)
Since the prescribed penalty is reclusin temporal to reclusin perpetua, the minimum terms
were taken from prisin mayor, which is the penalty next lower to the prescribed penalty. 45 As
can be seen, these cases involved a different penalty structure that does not make use of the
incremental penalty rule due to the amendatory law. Thus, the comparison of these cases with
Gabres is improper.
Meanwhile, in Dinglasan, the felony committed was estafa through bouncing checks which is
punishable under Article 315 par. 2(d) of the RPC as amended by Republic Act (RA) No.
488546
Sec. 1. Section Two, Paragraph (d), Article Three hundred fifteen of Act Numbered Thirty-eight
hundred and fifteen is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Sec. 2. By means of any of the following false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed prior to
or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud:
"(d) By postdating a check, or issuing a check in payment of an obligation when the offender
had no funds in the bank, or his funds deposited therein were not sufficient to cover the
amount of the check. The failure of the drawer of the check to deposit the amount necessary

to cover his check within three (3) days from receipt of notice from the bank and/or the payee
or holder that said check has been dishonored for lack or insufficiency of funds shall be prima
facie evidence of deceit constituting false pretense or fraudulent act."
and P.D. No. 81847
Sec. 1. Any person who shall defraud another by means of false pretenses or fraudulent acts
as defined in paragraph 2(d) of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by
Republic Act No. 4885, shall be punished by:
1st. The penalty of reclusin temporal if the amount of the fraud is over 12,000 pesos but not
exceed 22,000 pesos, and if such amount exceeds the latter sum, the penalty provided in this
paragraph shall be imposed in its maximum period, adding one year for each additional
10,000 pesos but the total penalty which may be imposed shall in no case exceed thirty years.
In such cases, and in connection with the accessory penalties which may be imposed under
the Revised Penal Code, the penalty shall be termed reclusin perpetua; x x x (Emphasis
supplied)
Here, the prescribed penalty of prisin correccional maximum to prisin mayor minimum was
increased to reclusin temporal by the amendatory law. Consequently, the penalty next lower
to reclusin temporal is prisin mayor from which the minimum term was taken. This is the
reason for the higher minimum term in this case as compared to Gabres. In fact, Dinglasan is
consistent with Gabres
Since the face value of Check No. 029021, for which appellant is criminally liable for estafa,
exceeds P22,000, the penalty abovecited must be "imposed in its maximum period, adding 1
year for each additional P10,000." Pursuant to People vs. Hernando, G.R. No. 125214, Oct.
28, 1999, an indeterminate sentence shall be imposed on the accused, computed favorably to
him. In this case, the indeterminate sentence should be computed based on the maximum
period of reclusin temporal as maximum, which is from 17 years, 4 months, and 1 day to 20
years. The minimum period of the sentence should be within the penalty next lower in
degree as provided in the Revised Penal Code, i.e., prisin mayor, which is from 6
years and 1 day to 12 years imprisonment. Considering that the excess of the fraud
committed, counting from the base of P22,000, is only P4,400, which is less than the P10,000
stated in P.D. 818, there is no need to add one year to the maximum penalty abovecited. 48
(Emphasis supplied)
As in Gabres, the penalty next lower (i.e., prisin mayor) was determined without considering
in the meantime the effect of the amount defrauded in excess of P22,000.00 on the prescribed
penalty (i.e., reclusin temporal).
Finally, Dela Cruz involved a case for qualified theft. The prescribed penalty for qualified theft
is two degrees higher than simple theft. Incidentally, the penalty structure for simple theft 49 and
estafa is similar in that both felonies (1) requires that the prescribed penalty be imposed in its
maximum period when the value of the thing stolen or the amount defrauded, as the case may
be, exceeds P22,000.00, and (2) provides for an incremental penalty of 1 year imprisonment
for every P10,000.00 in excess of P22,000.00. It should be pointed out, however, that the
prescribed penalty for simple theft is prisin mayor minimum and medium while in estafa it is
lower at prisin correccional maximum to prisin mayor minimum.
Being two degrees higher, the prescribed penalty for qualified theft is, thus, reclusin temporal
medium and maximum, while the minimum term is taken from the range of prisin mayor
maximum to reclusin temporal minimum, which is the penalty next lower to reclusin
temporal medium and maximum. The penalty next lower to the prescribed penalty is

determined without first considering the amount stolen in excess of P22,000.00 consistent
with Gabres. In fact, Dela Cruz expressly cites Gabres
Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum of the indeterminate penalty shall be
anywhere within the range of the penalty next lower in degree to that prescribed for the
offense, without first considering any modifying circumstance attendant to the
commission of the crime. Since the penalty prescribed by law is reclusin temporal medium
and maximum, the penalty next lower would be prisin mayor in its maximum period to
reclusin temporal in its minimum period. Thus, the minimum of the indeterminate sentence
shall be anywhere within ten (10) years and one (1) day to fourteen (14) years and eight (8)
months.
The maximum of the indeterminate penalty is that which, taking into consideration the
attending circumstances, could be properly imposed under the Revised Penal Code. Since
the amount involved in the present case exceeds P22,000.00, this should be taken as
analogous to modifying circumstances in the imposition of the maximum term of the
full indeterminate sentence, not in the initial determination of the indeterminate penalty.
(citing Gabres) Thus, the maximum term of the indeterminate penalty in this case is the
maximum period of reclusin temporal medium and maximum, which ranges from eighteen
(18) years, two (2) months, and twenty one (21) days to twenty (20) years, as computed
pursuant to Article 65, in relation to Article 64 of the Revised Penal Code. 50 (Emphasis
supplied)
Clearly, none of these cases supports the Dissenting Opinions thesis that the minimum
term should be computed based on the maximum term. Quite the contrary, Dinglasan
and Dela Cruz are consistent with Gabres.
IV.
The argument that the incremental penalty rule should not be considered as analogous to a
modifying circumstance stems from the erroneous interpretation that the "attending
circumstances" mentioned in Section 1 of the ISL are limited to those modifying circumstances
falling within the scope of Articles 13 and 14 of the RPC. Section 1 of the ISL is again quoted
below
SECTION 1. Hereafter, in imposing a prison sentence for an offense punished by the Revised
Penal Code, or its amendments, the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate
sentence the maximum term of which shall be that which, in view of the attending
circumstances, could be properly imposed under the rules of said Code, and the
minimum which shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the
Code for the offense; x x x (Emphasis supplied)
The plain terms of the ISL show that the legislature did not intend to limit "attending
circumstances" as referring to Articles 13 and 14 of the RPC. If the legislature intended that
the "attending circumstances" under the ISL be limited to Articles 13 and 14, then it could have
simply so stated. The wording of the law clearly permits other modifying circumstances
outside of Articles 13 and 14 of the RPC to be treated as "attending circumstances" for
purposes of the application of the ISL, such as quasi-recidivism under Article 160 51 of the
RPC. Under this provision, "any person who shall commit a felony after having been convicted
by final judgment, before beginning to serve such sentence, or while serving the same, shall
be punished by the maximum period of the penalty prescribed by law for the new felony." This
circumstance has been interpreted by the Court as a special aggravating circumstance where
the penalty actually imposed is taken from the prescribed penalty in its maximum period

without regard to any generic mitigating circumstances.52 Since quasi-recidivism is considered


as merely a special aggravating circumstance, the penalty next lower in degree is computed
based on the prescribed penalty without first considering said special aggravating
circumstance as exemplified in People v. Manalo53 and People v. Balictar.54
The question whether the incremental penalty rule is covered within the letter and spirit of
"attending circumstances" under the ISL was answered in the affirmative by the Court in
Gabres when it ruled therein that the incremental penalty rule is analogous to a modifying
circumstance.
Article 315 of the RPC pertinently provides
ARTICLE 315. Swindling (Estafa). Any person who shall defraud another by any of the
means mentioned hereinbelow shall be punished by:
1st. The penalty of prisin correccional in its maximum period to prisin mayor in its minimum
period, if the amount of the fraud is over 12,000 pesos but does not exceed 22,000 pesos,
and if such amount exceeds the latter sum, the penalty provided in this paragraph shall be
imposed in its maximum period, adding one year for each additional 10,000 pesos; but the
total penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty years. In such cases, and in
connection with the accessory penalties which may be imposed and for the purpose of the
other provisions of this Code, the penalty shall be termed prisin mayor or reclusin temporal,
as the case may be. x x x
Under Gabres, prisin correccional maximum to prisin mayor minimum is the prescribed
penalty55 for estafa when the amount defrauded exceeds P22,000.00. An amount defrauded in
excess of P22,000.00 is effectively considered as a special aggravating circumstance in the
sense that the penalty actually imposed shall be taken from the prescribed penalty in its
maximum period without regard to any generic mitigating circumstances. Consequently, the
penalty next lower in degree is still based on the prescribed penalty without in the meantime
considering the effect of the amount defrauded in excess of P22,000.00.
What is unique, however, with the afore-quoted provision is that when the amount defrauded
is P32,000.00 or more, the prescribed penalty is not only imposed in its maximum period but
there is imposed an incremental penalty of 1 year imprisonment for every P10,000.00 in
excess of P22,000.00, provided that the total penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed
20 years. This incremental penalty rule is a special rule applicable to estafa and theft. In the
case of estafa, the incremental penalty is added to the maximum period of the prescribed
penalty (or to anywhere from 6 years, 8 months and 21 days to 8 years) at the discretion of
the court, in order to arrive at the penalty actually imposed (i.e., the maximum term, within the
context of the ISL).
This unique characteristic of the incremental penalty rule does not pose any obstacle to
interpreting it as analogous to a modifying circumstance, and, hence, falling within the letter
and spirit of "attending circumstances" for purposes of the application of the ISL. Under the
wording of the ISL, "attending circumstances" may be reasonably interpreted as referring to
such circumstances that are applied in conjunction with certain rules in the Code in order to
determine the penalty to be actually imposed based on the prescribed penalty of the Code for
the offense. The incremental penalty rule substantially meets this standard. The circumstance
is the amount defrauded in excess of P22,0000.00 and the incremental penalty rule is utilized
to fix the penalty actually imposed. At its core, the incremental penalty rule is merely a
mathematical formula for computing the penalty to be actually imposed using the prescribed
penalty as starting point. Thus, it serves the same function of determining the penalty actually

imposed as the modifying circumstances under Articles 13, 14, and 160 of the RPC, although
the manner by which the former accomplishes this function differs with the latter. For this
reason, the incremental penalty rule may be considered as merely analogous to modifying
circumstances. Besides, in case of doubt as to whether the incremental penalty rule falls
within the scope of "attending circumstances" under the ISL, the doubt should be resolved
in favor of inclusion because this interpretation is more favorable to the accused following
the time-honored principle that penal statutes are construed strictly against the State and
liberally in favor of the accused.56 Thus, even if the Dissenting Opinions interpretation is
gratuitously conceded as plausible, as between Gabres and the dissents interpretation,
Gabres should be sustained since it is the interpretation more favorable to the accused.
V.
The claim that the maximum term should only be one degree away from the minimum term
does not make sense within the meaning of "degrees" under the RPC because the
minimum and maximum terms consist of single fixed penalties. At any rate, the point
seems to be that the penalty from which the minimum term is taken should only be one
degree away from the penalty from which the maximum term is taken.
As a general rule, the application of modifying circumstances, the majority being generic
mitigating and ordinary aggravating circumstances, does not result to a maximum term fixed
beyond the prescribed penalty. At most, the maximum term is taken from the prescribed
penalty in its maximum period. Since the maximum term is taken from the prescribed penalty
and the minimum term is taken from the next lower penalty, then, in this limited sense, the
difference would naturally be only one degree. Concretely, in the case of homicide with one
ordinary aggravating circumstance, the maximum term is taken from reclusin temporal in its
maximum period which is within the prescribed penalty of reclusin temporal, while the
minimum term is taken from prisin mayor which is the penalty next lower to reclusin
temporal; hence, the one-degree difference observed by the dissent.
In comparison, under the incremental penalty rule, the maximum term can exceed the
prescribed penalty. Indeed, at its extreme, the maximum term can be as high as 20 years of
reclusin temporal while the prescribed penalty remains at prisin correccional maximum to
prisin mayor minimum, hence, the penalty next lower to the prescribed penalty from which
the minimum term is taken remains at anywhere within prisin correccional minimum and
medium, or from 6 months and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months. In this sense, the incremental
penalty rule deviates from the afore-stated general rule. 57
However, it is one thing to say that, generally, the penalty from which the minimum term is
taken is only one degree away from the penalty from which the maximum term is taken, and
completely another thing to claim that the penalty from which the minimum term is taken
should only be one degree away from the penalty from which the maximum term is taken.
The one-degree difference is merely the result of a general observation from the application of
generic mitigating and ordinary aggravating circumstances in the RPC in relation to the ISL.
Nowhere does the ISL refer to the one-degree difference as an essential requisite of an
"attending circumstance." If the application of the incremental penalty rule deviates from the
one-degree difference, this only means that the law itself has provided for an exception
thereto. Verily, the one-degree difference is a mere consequence of the generic mitigating and
ordinary aggravating circumstances created by the legislature. The difficulty of the dissent with
the deviation from its so-called one-degree difference rule seems to lie with the inability to
view these "attending circumstances" as mere artifacts or creations of the legislature. It does

not make sense to argue that the legislature cannot formulate "attending circumstances" that
operate differently than these generic mitigating and ordinary aggravating circumstances, and
that, expectedly, leads to a different result from the one-degree differencefor it would be to
say that the creator can only create one specie of creatures. Further, it should be reasonably
assumed that the legislature was aware of these special circumstances, like the incremental
penalty rule or privileged mitigating circumstances, at the time it enacted the ISL as well as the
consequent effects of such special circumstances on the application of said law. Thus, for as
long as the incremental penalty rule is consistent with the letter and spirit of "attending
circumstances" under the ISL, there is no obstacle to its treatment as such.
VI.
Much has been said about the leniency, absurdity and unjustness of the result under Gabres;
the need to adjust the minimum term of the indeterminate penalty to make it commensurate to
the gravity of the estafa committed; the deterrence effect of a stiffer imposition of penalties;
and a host of other similar reasons to justify the reversal of Gabres. However, all these relate
to policy considerations beyond the wording of the ISL in relation to the RPC; considerations
that if given effect essentially seek to rewrite the law in order to conform to one notion (out of
an infinite number of such notions) of wisdom and efficacy, and, ultimately, of justice and
mercy.
This Court is not the proper forum for this sort of debate. The Constitution forbids it, and the
principle of separation of powers abhors it. The Court applies the law as it finds it and not as
how it thinks the law should be. Not too long ago in the case of People v. Veneracion,58 this
Court spoke about the dangers of allowing ones personal beliefs to interfere with the duty to
uphold the Rule of Law which, over a decade later, once again assumes much relevance in
this case:
Obedience to the rule of law forms the bedrock of our system of justice. If judges, under the
guise of religious or political beliefs were allowed to roam unrestricted beyond boundaries
within which they are required by law to exercise the duties of their office, the law becomes
meaningless. A government of laws, not of men excludes the exercise of broad discretionary
powers by those acting under its authority. Under this system, judges are guided by the Rule
of Law, and ought "to protect and enforce it without fear or favor," resist encroachments by
governments, political parties, or even the interference of their own personal beliefs. 59
VII.
Mr. Justice Adolfo S. Azcuna proposes an interpretation of the incremental penalty rule based
on the phrases "shall be termed prisin mayor or reclusin temporal, as the case may be" and
"for the purpose of the other provisions of this Code" found in the last sentence of said rule,
viz:
ARTICLE 315. Swindling (Estafa). Any person who shall defraud another by any of the
means mentioned hereinbelow shall be punished by:
1st. The penalty of prisin correccional in its maximum period to prisin mayor in its minimum
period, if the amount of the fraud is over 12,000 pesos but does not exceed 22,000 pesos,
and if such amount exceeds the latter sum, the penalty provided in this paragraph shall be
imposed in its maximum period, adding one year for each additional 10,000 pesos; but the
total penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty years. In such cases, and in
connection with the accessory penalties which may be imposed and for the purpose of
the other provisions of this Code, the penalty shall be termed prisin mayor or
reclusin temporal, as the case may be. x x x (Emphasis supplied)

While this interpretation is plausible, Gabres should still be sustained because in construing
than one interpretation, it is strictly construed against the state. Courts further rationalize this
penal statutes, as between two reasonable60 but contradictory constructions, the one more
application of the rule of strict construction on the ground that it was not the defendant in the
favorable to the accused should be upheld, which in this case is Gabres. The reason for this
criminal action who caused ambiguity in the statute. Along these same lines, courts also
rule is elucidated in an eminent treatise on statutory construction in this wise:
assert that since the state makes the laws, they should be most strongly construed against it. 61
It is an ancient rule of statutory construction that penal statutes should be strictly construed
(Emphasis supplied; citations omitted)
against the government or parties seeking to enforce statutory penalties and in favor of the
Thus, in one case, where the statute was ambiguous and permitted two reasonable
persons on whom penalties are sought to be imposed. This simply means that words are
interpretations, the construction which would impose a less severe penalty was adopted. 62
given their ordinary meaning and that any reasonable doubt about the meaning is decided
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals is MODIFIED with respect to the
in favor of anyone subjected to a criminal statute. This canon of interpretation has been
indeterminate penalties imposed on appellant for the five (5) counts of estafa, to wit:
accorded the status of a constitutional rule under principles of due process, not subject to
(1) In Criminal Case No. 02-208372, the accused is sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of
abrogation by statute.
4 years and 2 months of prisin correccional as minimum, to 9 years, 8 months and 21 days
The rule that penal statutes should be strictly construed has several justifications based on a
of prisin mayor as maximum.
concern for the rights and freedoms of accused
(2) In Criminal Case Nos. 02-208373, 02-208375,
individuals. Strict construction can assure fairness
and 02-208376, the accused is sentenced to an
REYNATO S. PUNO
when courts understand it to mean that penal
indeterminate penalty of 4 years and 2 months of
Chief Justice
statutes must give a clear and unequivocal
prisin correccional as minimum, to 10 years, 8
warning, in language people generally understand,
months and 21 days of prisin mayor as
LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
about actions that would result in liability and the
maximum for each of the aforesaid three estafa
Associate Justice
Associate Justice
nature of potential penalties. A number of courts
cases.
have said:
(3) In Criminal Case No. 02-208374, the accused
MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ
RENATO C. CORONA
the rule that penal statutes are to be strictly
is sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of 4
Associate Justice
Associate Justice
construed is a fundamental principle which in
years and 2 months of prisin correccional as
our judgment will never be altered. Why? Because
minimum, to 12 years, 8 months and 21 days of
the lawmaking body owes the duty to citizens and
reclusin temporal as maximum.
CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES
ADOLFO S. AZCUNA
subjects of making unmistakably clear those acts
In all other respects, the Decision of the Court of
Associate Justice
Associate Justice
for the commission of which the citizen may lose
Appeals is AFFIRMED.
his life or liberty. Therefore, all the canons of
SO ORDERED.
DANTE O. TINGA
MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO
interpretation which apply to civil statutes apply to
CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO
Associate Justice
Associate Justice
criminal statutes, and in addition there exists the
Associate Justice
canon [of strict construction] . The burden lies on
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA
the lawmakers, and inasmuch as it is within their
WE CONCUR:
Associate
Justice
Associate Justice
power, it is their duty to relieve the situation of all
doubts.
CERTIFICATION
RUBEN T. REYES
TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO
xxxx
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the
Associate Justice
Associate Justice
Additionally, strict construction protects the
Constitution, it is hereby certified that the
individual against arbitrary discretion by officials
conclusions in the above Decision were reached
and judges. As one judge noted: "the courts should
in consultation before the case was assigned to
ARTURO D. BRION
be particularly careful that the bulwarks of liberty
the writer of the opinion of the Court.
Associate Justice
are not overthrown, in order to reach an offender
REYNATO S. PUNO
who is, but perhaps ought not to be, sheltered behind them."
Chief Justice
But also, for a court to enforce a penalty where the legislature has not clearly and
unequivocally prescribed it could result in judicial usurpation of the legislative
Footnotes
1
function. One court has noted that the reason for the rule is "to guard against the creation, by
CA rollo, pp. 121-136. Penned by Associate Justice Rebecca de Guia-Salvador, with
judicial construction, of criminal offenses not within the contemplation of the legislature." Thus
Associate Justices Amelita G. Tolentino and Aurora Santiago-Lagman, concurring.
2
the rule requires that before a person can be punished his case must be plainly and
Penned by Hon. Reynaldo G. Ros.
3
unmistakably within the statute sought to be applied. And, so, where a statute is open to more
CA rollo, pp. 121-124.

Id. at 125-26.
G.R. Nos. 147678-87, July 7, 2004, 433 SCRA 640.
6
CA rollo, p. 135.
7
People v. Gamboa, G.R. No. 135382, September 29, 2000, 341 SCRA 451, 458.
8
Exhibits "A," "L," and "L-1."
9
People v. Cabais, G.R. No. 129070, March 16, 2001, 354 SCRA 553, 561.
10
CA rollo, pp. 9-10.
11
Supra note 7 at 462.
12
Id.
13
People v. Guambor, G.R. No. 152183, January 22, 2004, 420 SCRA 677, 683.
14
People v. Ballesteros, G.R. Nos. 116905-908, August 6, 2002, 386 SCRA 193, 212.
15
Id. at 213.
16
335 Phil. 242 (1997).
17
ARTICLE 65. Rule in Cases in Which the Penalty is Not Composed of Three Periods. In
cases in which the penalty prescribed by law is not composed of three periods, the courts
shall apply the rules contained in the foregoing articles, dividing into three equal portions the
time included in the penalty prescribed, and forming one period of each of the three portions.
18
People v. Saley, G.R. No. 121179, July 2, 1998, 291 SCRA 715, 753-754.
19
Id. at 755.
20
331 Phil. 64 (1996).
21
332 Phil. 710, 730-731 (1996).
22
ARTICLE 249. Homicide. Any person who, not falling within the provisions of article 246
shall kill another without the attendance of any of the circumstances enumerated in the next
preceding article, shall be deemed guilty of homicide and be punished by reclusin temporal.
23
3 Phil. 437 (1904).
24
Id. at 440.
25
The penalty is considered "indeterminate" because after the convict serves the minimum
term, he or she may become eligible for parole under the provisions of Act No. 4103, which
leaves the period between the minimum and maximum term indeterminate in the sense that
he or she may, under the conditions set out in said Act, be released from serving said period in
whole or in part. (People v. Ducosin, 59 Phil. 109, 114 [1933])
26
In the other portions of the dissent though, there is also the impression that the basis is the
penalty actually imposed as hereinabove defined. Whether it is the imposable penalty or
penalty actually imposed, the dissents interpretation contravenes the ISL because the
minimum term should be fixed based on the prescribed penalty.
27
See Aquino and Grio-Aquino, The Revised Penal Code, Vol. 1, 1997 ed., pp. 772-773;
Padilla, Criminal Law: Revised Penal Code Annotated, 1988 ed., pp. 211-214.
28
73 Phil. 549 (1941).
29
Id. at 552.
30
The dissent cites several cases to establish that Gonzales has not been followed in cases
outside of estafa. An examination of these cases reveals that this assertion is inaccurate.
1. Sabang v. People, G.R. No. 168818, March 9, 2007, 518 SCRA 35; People v. Candaza,
G.R. No. 170474, June 16, 2006, 491 SCRA 280; People v. Concepcion, G.R. No. 169060,
February 6, 2007, 514 SCRA 660; People v. Hermocilla, G.R. No. 175830, July 10, 2007, 527
SCRA 296; People v. Abulon, G.R. No. 174473, August 17, 2007, 530 SCRA 675.
Gonzales was applied in these cases.
5

2. People v. Miranda, G.R. No. 169078, March 10, 2006, 484 SCRA 555; Garces v. People,
G.R. No. 173858, July 17, 2007, 527 SCRA 827belongs to the class of cases involving
accessories and accomplices as well as the frustrated and attempted stages of a felony.
Strictly speaking, these cases do not deviate from Gonzales. Here, the prescribed penalty for
the principal and consummated stage, respectively, should be merely viewed as being
lowered by the proper number of degrees in order to arrive at the prescribed penalties for
accomplices and accessories as well as the frustrated and attempted stages of a felony. In
turn, from these prescribed penalties, the minimum term is determined without considering in
the meantime the modifying circumstances, as in Gonzales.
3. Garces v. People, G.R. No. 173858, July 17, 2007, 527 SCRA 827belongs to the class of
cases involving privileged mitigating circumstances.
These cases are, to a certain extent, an exception to the rule enunciated in Gonzales. Here,
the prescribed penalty is first reduced by the proper number of degrees due to the existence
of a privileged mitigating circumstance. As thus reduced, the penalty next lower in degree is
determined from which the minimum term is taken. To the extent that the privileged mitigating
circumstance, as a modifying circumstance, is first applied to the prescribed penalty before
the penalty next lower in degree is determined, these cases deviate from Gonzales. However,
this interpretation is based on the special nature of a privileged mitigating circumstance as
well as the liberal construction of penal laws in favor of the accused. If the privileged mitigating
circumstance is not first applied to the prescribed penalty before determining the penalty next
lower in degree from which the minimum term is taken, it may happen that the maximum term
of the indeterminate sentence would be lower than the minimum term, or that the minimum
and maximum term would both be taken from the same range of penaltyabsurdities that the
law could not have intended. These special considerations which justified a deviation from
Gonzales are not present in the instant case. As will be shown later, Gabres is a reasonable
interpretation of the ISL in relation to Article 315, par. 2(a) of the RPC, and any contrary
interpretation would be unfavorable to the accused.
31
59 Phil. 109 (1933).
32
This wording of Act No. 4103 was later amended to the current wording "minimum which
shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Code for the
offense" by Act No. 4225.
33
Supra note 31 at 116-118.
34
Similarly, in the instant case, the maximum term imposed on the accused increased as the
amount defrauded increased in the various criminal cases filed against her as a consequence
of the incremental penalty rule.
35
Sec. 6. Every prisoner released from confinement on parole by virtue of this Act shall, at
such times and in such manner as may be required by the conditions of his parole, as may be
designated by the said Board for such purpose, report personally to such government officials
or other parole officers hereafter appointed by the Board of Indeterminate Sentence for a
period of surveillance equivalent to the remaining portion of the maximum sentence imposed
upon him or until final release and discharge by the Board of Indeterminate Sentence as
herein provided. The officials so designated shall keep such records and make such reports
and perform such other duties hereunder as may be required by said Board. The limits of
residence of such paroled prisoner during his parole may be fixed and from time to time
changed by the said Board in its discretion. If during the period of surveillance such paroled
prisoner shall show himself to be a law-abiding citizen and shall not violate any of the laws of

the Philippine Islands, the Board of Indeterminate Sentence may issue a final certificate of
release in his favor, which shall entitle him to final release and discharge.
36
Sec. 8. Whenever any prisoner released on parole by virtue of this Act shall, during the
period of surveillance, violate any of the conditions of his parole, the Board of Indeterminate
Sentence may issue an order for his re-arrest which may be served in any part of the
Philippine Islands by any police officer. In such case the prisoner so re-arrested shall serve
the remaining unexpired portion of the maximum sentence for which he was originally
committed to prison, unless the Board of Indeterminate Sentence shall, in its discretion, grant
a new parole to the said prisoner.
37
Supra note 31 at 117.
38
G.R. No. 112985, April 21, 1999, 306 SCRA 90.
39
G.R. No. 103065, August 16, 1999, 312 SCRA 397.
40
G.R. No. 149472, October 15, 2002, 391 SCRA 162.
41
G.R. No. 133645, September 17, 2002, 389 SCRA 71.
42
383 Phil. 213 (2000).
43
Estafa committed by using fictitious name, or falsely pretending to possess power, influence,
qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions, or by means of
other similar deceits.
44
Effective April 6, 1980.
45
See Article 61 of the RPC.
46
Effective June 17, 1967.
47
Effective October 22, 1975.
48
Supra note 41 at 80.
49
ARTICLE 309. Penalties. Any person guilty of theft shall be punished by:
1. The penalty of prisin mayor in its minimum and medium periods, if the value of the thing
stolen is more than 12,000 pesos but does not exceed 22,000 pesos; but if the value of the
thing stolen exceeds the latter amount, the penalty shall be the maximum period of the one
prescribed in this paragraph, and one year for each additional ten thousand pesos, but the
total of the penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty years. In such cases, and
in connection with the accessory penalties which may be imposed and for the purpose of the
other provisions of this Code, the penalty shall be termed prisin mayor or reclusin temporal,
as the case may be. x x x
50
Supra note 42 at 227-228.
51
ARTICLE 160. Commission of Another Crime During Service of Penalty Imposed for
Another Previous Offense Penalty. Besides the provisions of rule 5 of article 62, any
person who shall commit a felony after having been convicted by final judgment, before
beginning to serve such sentence, or while serving the same, shall be punished by the
maximum period of the penalty prescribed by law for the new felony.
Any convict of the class referred to in this article, who is not a habitual criminal, shall be
pardoned at the age of seventy years if he shall have already served out his original sentence,
or when he shall complete it after reaching said age, unless by reason of his conduct or other
circumstances he shall not be worthy of such clemency.
52
See People v. Perete, 111 Phil. 943, 947 (1961).
53
G.R. No. L-55177, February 27, 1987, 148 SCRA 98, 110.
54
G.R. No. L-29994, July 20, 1979, 91 SCRA 500, 511.

The dissent argues that the use of quasi-recidivism as an example of an "attending


circumstance" which is outside the scope of Article 14 of the RPC is inappropriate because
quasi-recidivism is sui generis. The argument is off-tangent. The point is simply that quasirecidivism is not found under Article 14 of the RPC yet it is treated as an "attending
circumstance" for purposes of the application of the ISL in relation to the RPC. Hence, there
are "attending circumstances" outside the scope of Articles 13 and 14 of the RPC. For the
same reason, the incremental penalty rule is a special rule outside of Article 14 which, as will
be discussed later on, serves the same function as modifying circumstances under Articles 13
and 14 of the RPC. See also Reyes, L.B., The Revised Penal Code, 14 th ed., 1998, p. 766.
55
The common thread in the RPC is to fix the prescribed penalty as the starting point for
determining the prison sentence to be finally imposed. From the prescribed penalty, the
attending circumstances are then considered in order to finally fix the penalty actually
imposed. Further, the designation of a prescribed penalty is made in individual articles, or
prescribed penalties are individually designated in separate paragraphs within a single article.
Under Article 315, the penalty for estafa when the amount defrauded is over P12,000.00 but
does not exceed P22,000.00 and when such amount exceeds P22,000.00 is lumped within
the same paragraph. Thus, the penalty of prisin correccional maximum to prisin mayor
minimum may be reasonably considered as the starting point for the computation of the
penalty actually imposed, and hence, the prescribed penalty when the amount defrauded
exceeds P22,000.00. As will be discussed shortly, the amount defrauded in excess of
P22,000.00 may then be treated as a special aggravating circumstance and the incremental
penalty as analogous to a modifying circumstance in order to arrive at the penalty actually
imposed consistent with the letter and spirit of the ISL in relation to the RPC.
56
People v. Ladjaalam, 395 Phil. 1, 35 (2000).
57
Cases involving privileged mitigating circumstances would, likewise, deviate from this
general rule since the maximum term would be taken from a penalty lower than the prescribed
penalty. See note 13.
58
G.R. Nos. 119987-88, October 12, 1995, 249 SCRA 244.
59
Id. at 251.
60
The aforesaid phrases are broad enough to justify Mr. Justice Azcunas interpretation,
however, they are vague enough not to exclude the interpretation under Gabres. The said
phrases may be so construed without being inconsistent with Gabres. (See Articles 90 and 92
of the RPC)
61
3 Sutherland Statutory Construction 59:3 (6 th ed.)
62
Id. citing Buzzard v. Commonwealth, 134 Va. 641, 114 S.E. 664 (1992).

While there is no dispute as to the determination of the maximum of the indeterminate


sentence for the crime of estafa, the ponente puts into issue the computation of the minimum
when the crime committed calls for the computation of additional or incremental penalties.
The penalty prescribed by the Code for the crime of estafa is worded as follows:
Article 315. Swindling (estafa). Any person who shall defraud another by any of the means
mentioned hereinbelow shall be punished by:
1st. The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum
period, if the amount of the fraud is over 12,000 pesos but does not exceed 22,000 pesos,
and if such amount exceeds the latter sum, the penalty provided in this paragraph shall be
imposed in its maximum period, adding one year for each additional 10,000 pesos; but the
total penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty years. In such cases, and in
connection with the accessory penalties which may be imposed and for the purpose of the
other provisions of this Code, the penalty shall be termed prision mayor or reclusion temporal,
as the case may be. (emphasis suppied)
G.R. No. 173473 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. BETH TEMPORADA
Promulgated:
December 17, 2008
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x
DISSENTING OPINION

The problematic portion of Section 1 of the ISL in relation to the above-quoted provision is the
phrase prescribed by the Code, which is essential in determining the range within which the
minimum of the indeterminate sentence can be pegged. As can be observed from Article 315,
the penalty prescribed for estafa in cases involving amounts exceeding P22,000 may be
interpreted in two ways: first, that the term penalty prescribed in Section 1 of the ISL merely
refers to the phrase the penalty provided in this paragraph, which refers to prision correccional
in its maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum period, without as yet considering the
addition of one year for each additional P10,000 involved; or second, that the penalty
prescribed denotes the whole phrase the penalty provided in this paragraph shall be imposed
in its maximum period, adding one year for each additional 10,000 pesos.

PUNO, C.J.:
The Court today basks magnanimous in its application of the rule that penal laws should be
construed in favor of the accused. Although I acknowledge that the application of this rule in
the interpretation of the Indeterminate Sentence Law (ISL) is properly aligned with the
fundamental principle and purpose of the ISL to uplift and redeem human material and to
prevent unnecessary and excessive deprivation of personal liberty and economic usefulness,
[1] I am constrained to disagree with the reasoning of the majority.
In lieu of a straight penalty, the ISL provides for guidelines for the determination of an
indeterminate sentence, which shall be composed of a maximum and a minimum; thus, for
crimes punishable under the Revised Penal Code (RPC), Section 1 of the ISL provides that
the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence the maximum term of
which shall be that which, in view of the attending circumstances, could be properly imposed
under the rules of the said Code, and the minimum of which shall be within the range of the
penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Code for the offense.[2] (emphasis supplied)

In essence, the existing jurisprudence[3] which the ponencia staunchly defended and upheld,
adheres to the first interpretation. Under this view, since the penalty prescribed by the RPC for
estafa is prision correccional maximum to prision mayor minimum, the range of the penalty
within which the minimum of the indeterminate sentence would be determined would be that
degree next lower thereto, or prision correccional in its minimum to medium periods.
Accordingly, the incremental penalty or the additional number of years for the corresponding
increase in the amounts involved in the fraud is merely considered as a modifying
circumstance which is considered in the determination of the maximum-but not the minimumof the indeterminate sentence. Hence, the range within which the minimum of the
indeterminate sentence under the current computation can be pegged is permanently set at
prision correccional in its minimum to medium periods.
On the other hand, the second interpretation provides that the minimum of the indeterminate
sentence should be arrived at by descending one degree down the scale from the principal
penalty, after factoring in the incremental penalty into the same. In other words, for purposes
of determining the minimum of the indeterminate sentence, the so-called prescribed penalty
for frauds involving amounts exceeding P22,000 denotes a penalty which has already been

computed according to the number of years in excess of P22,000. Necessarily, the distance
between the maximum and the minimum shall always be only one degree away.

amounts involved exceeded P22,000.00, plus an additional one (1) year for each additional
P10,000.00. (emphasis supplied)

I find that this second interpretation is more in keeping with the intent and letter of the ISL and
the RPC.
It is a basic rule in statutory construction that care should be taken that every part of a statute
be given effect and a construction that could render a provision inoperative should be avoided,
and inconsistent provisions should be reconciled whenever possible as parts of a harmonious
whole; for taken in solitude, a word or phrase might easily convey a meaning quite different
from the one actually intended and evident when a word or phrase is considered with those
with which it is associated.[4]

To my mind, the rationale in Gabres is flawed. A plain reading of the provision on estafa yields
the conclusion that the law, as in the crime of theft,[7] intended a graduated penalty, viz: for
estafa involving the amount of P200 and below, the penalty shall be arresto mayor in its
medium and maximum periods; for amounts over P200 but not exceeding P6,000, arresto
mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period; for amounts over
P6,000 but not exceeding P12,000, prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods;
and finally, the penalty subject of the controversy herein, prision correccional in its maximum
period to prision mayor in its minimum period, if the amount of the fraud is over P12,000 but
does not exceed 22,000 pesos; and if such amount exceeds the latter sum, the penalty
provided in this paragraph shall be imposed in its maximum period, adding one year for each
additional 10,000 pesos; but the total penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty
years. Verily, the manner in which Article 315 was crafted lends an insight into the intention of
the RPC, which is to ensure that the penalty for the crime committed be commensurate to the
amount of the fraud. Hence, I submit that the so-called incremental penalty is exactly thatan
incremental penaltyand not a modifying circumstance. Short of the RPC enumerating all the
gradations of the penalty for each amount that might be involved, the Code merely provided a
formula in order to arrive at the prescribed penalty. Nonetheless, a prescribed penalty had
been intended, and that prescribed penalty can still be easily derived after a mechanical
application of the given formula. In fact, this is not the first time we treated a modifying
circumstance as separate and distinct from the incremental penalty, thus, in the case of
People v. Hernando[8]:
On the other hand, the minimum of the indeterminate sentence shall be within the range of the
penalty next lower in degree to that prescribed by the Code for the offense, without first
considering any modifying circumstance nor the incremental penalty for the amount in excess
of twenty two thousand (P22,000.00) pesos. Such penalty is prision mayor, with a duration of
six (6) years and one (1) day to twelve (12) years. (emphasis supplied)
This position is boosted by the qualifier at the end of the provision on the penalty for frauds
involving amounts exceeding P22,000. To revisit Article 315:
Article 315. Swindling (estafa). Any person who shall defraud another by any of the means
mentioned hereinbelow shall be punished by:

In our jurisdiction, incremental penalty as used in relation to crimes against property now
refers to the phrase and if such amount exceeds the latter sum, the penalty provided in this
paragraph shall be imposed in its maximum period, adding one year for each additional
10,000 pesos. I submit that for purposes of determining the minimum of the indeterminate
sentence, the penalty prescribed for estafa should include the incremental penalty, since the
penalty for estafa, as that in theft, hinges on the value or amount involved.[5]
People v. Gabres[6] was the first case which expounded on the treatment of the incremental
penalty as a modifying circumstance in the computation of the penalty for estafa involving
amounts exceeding P22,000.00. It explained thus:
Under the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the maximum term of the penalty shall be that which,
in view of the attending circumstances, could be properly imposed under the Revised Penal
Code, and the minimum shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed
for the offense. The penalty next lower should be based on the penalty prescribed by the
Code for the offense, without first considering any modifying circumstance attendant to the
commission of the crime. The determination of the minimum penalty is left by law to the sound
discretion of the court and it can be anywhere within the range of the penalty next lower
without any reference to the periods into which it might be subdivided. The modifying
circumstances are considered only in the imposition of the maximum term of the indeterminate
sentence.
The fact that the amounts involved in the instant case exceed P22,000.00 should not be
considered in the initial determination of the indeterminate penalty; instead, the matter should
be so taken as analogous to modifying circumstances in the imposition of the maximum term
of the full indeterminate sentence. This interpretation of the law accords with the rule that
penal laws should be construed in favor of the accused. Since the penalty prescribed by law
for the estafa charge against accused-appellant is prision correccional maximum to prision
mayor minimum, the penalty next lower would then be prision correccional minimum to
medium. Thus, the minimum term of the indeterminate sentence should be anywhere within
six (6) months and one (1) day to four (4) years and two (2) months while the maximum term
of the indeterminate sentence should at least be six (6) years and one (1) day because the

1st. The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum
period, if the amount of the fraud is over 12,000 pesos but does not exceed 22,000 pesos,
and if such amount exceeds the latter sum, the penalty provided in this paragraph shall be
imposed in its maximum period, adding one year for each additional 10,000 pesos; but the
total penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty years. In such cases, and in
connection with the accessory penalties which may be imposed and for the purpose of the
other provisions of this Code, the penalty shall be termed prision mayor or reclusion temporal,
as the case may be. (emphasis suppied)
As can be seen, the RPC attempts to limit the penalty prescribed, i.e., the computed penalty,
to a maximum of twenty years. Furthermore, the computed penalty is mandated to be termed
prision mayor or reclusion temporal, as the case may be, in keeping with the statement of the

prescribed penalties for frauds of lower amounts. Had the law intended the incremental
penalty to be a modifying circumstance, there would have been no sense in doing so. The
more plausible explanation, therefore, is that the RPC is prescribing a penalty for frauds
exceeding P22,000. On this note, therefore, I am in agreement with the view that the penalty
of prision correccional maximum to prision mayor minimum provided in the Code is merely the
initial prescription or the starting pointbut not the complete penaltywhich should be the basis
for determining the range of the penalty next lower than that prescribed by the Code in order
to determine the minimum of the indeterminate sentence.
The rational backbone and main justification of the first interpretation is founded upon the rule
in statutory construction that penal laws should be construed in favor of the accused. Mindful
as I am of the woes and wails of our prisoners, I cannot bring myself to ignore the error in this
reasoning.

It must be remembered that a statutes clauses and phrases must not be taken separately, but
in relation to the statutes totality. Further, each statute must be construed as to harmonize it
with the pre-existing body of laws. Provisions of statutes must be reconciled, unless clearly
repugnant.[12]
In the present case, it is clear that it could not have been the intention of the RPC to do away
with the gradations of penalty for the crime of estafa. Yet that is precisely what the majority
has decided to do today. To be sure, the existing interpretation disturbs the ladderized penalty
scheme provided in the RPC and grants an undeserved protection to felons convicted of
frauds involving higher amounts. In effect, this puts in the same category those who merely
committed frauds involving lower amounts, thus, defeating the letter and intent of the RPC and
the ISL. For these reasons, I am duty bound to register my dissent.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, I vote to AFFIRM the decision of the Court of Appeals.

It must be recalled that the construction in favor of the accused is rooted in the presumption of
innocence which stems from the constitutional right to due process. Hence, the strict
construction against the government as regards penal laws pertains to cases in which the
accused stands to be deprived of either life, liberty or property.
In the instant case, I find that the application of this rule is somewhat strained. For one, the
threat of losing life, liberty or property without due process of law is more apparent than real,
because the subjects of the ISL are no longer merely accused individuals. On the contrary,
they are already convicted felons whose guilt had already been proven beyond reasonable
doubt. Hence, I do not see how they can still be accorded the presumption of innocence.
Further, I am in doubt as to the characterization of the ISL as a penal law that could warrant a
presumption of innocence for the accused. A penal law is an act of the legislature that
prohibits certain acts and establishes penalties for its violations.[9] A closer look at the ISL,
however, reveals that it does not make any act punishable. Its complete title is telling: An Act
To Provide For An Indeterminate Sentence And Parole For All Persons Convicted Of Certain
Crimes By The Courts Of The Philippine Islands; To Create A Board Of Indeterminate
Sentence And To Provide Funds Therefor; And For Other Purposes. Moreover, the
classification of the ISL as penal was made arbitrarily and without clear legal basis. People v.
Nang Kay,[10] which cited the Corpus Juris Secundum, points to the U.S. case of State v.
Groos[11] as its authority for saying that the ISL is a penal statute. A perusal of the said U.S.
case reveals, however, that the penal character of the ISL was not put into issue in that case,
and that it was merely assumed that the ISL is a penal law. Accordingly, I submit that the
presumption of innocence
could not be used in granting leniency in the computation of the minimum in the ISL.
Finally, even if we concede that the ISL is a legislation akin to an act of grace geared towards
the rehabilitation of criminals, and it being so, the intention of the lawmakers must be given
effect, I still stand firm that the existing interpretation is erroneous and reeks of disrespect to
the sacrosanct principles of justice and fairness.

REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice
[1] People v. Nang Kay, 88 Phil. 515, (1951).
[2] RPC, Section 1.
[3] The First School of Thought, according to the ponencia.
[4] Equatorial Realty Development, Inc. v. Sps. Desiderio & Frogozo, G.R. No. 128563, March
25, 2004, 426 SCRA 271.
[5] People v. Concepcion, G.R. No. 131477, April 20, 2001, 357 SCRA 168, 182.
[6] G.R. Nos. 118950-54, February 6, 1997, 267 SCRA 581.
[7] People v. Concepcion, supra note 5.
[8] G.R. No. 125214, October 28, 1999, 317 SCRA 617.
[9]Yu Oh v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 125287, June 6, 2003, 403 SCRA 300, 308, citing
Lacson v. Executive Secretary, et al., G.R. No. 128096, January 20, 1999, 301 SCRA 298,
323.
[10] No. L-3565, 88 Phil. 515, 520 (1951).
[11] 110 Conn. 403, 148 A. 350, January 6, 1930.
[12] Supra note 4.

The application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law is one of the more complicated and
confusing topics in criminal law. It befuddles not a few students of law, legal scholars and
members of the bench and of the bar.[3] Fortunately, this case presents a great opportunity for
the Court to resolve with finality a controversial aspect of the application and interpretation of
the Indeterminate Sentence Law. It is an occasion for the Court to perform its duty to
formulate guiding and controlling principles, precepts, doctrines or rules.[4] In the process, the
matter can be clarified, the public may be educated and the Court can exercise its symbolic
function of instructing bench and bar on the extent of protection given by statutory and
constitutional guarantees.[5]
The fundamental principle in applying and interpreting criminal laws, including the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, is to resolve all doubts in favor of the accused. In dubio pro reo.
When in doubt, rule for the accused. This is in consonance with the constitutional guarantee
that the accused ought to be presumed innocent until and unless his guilt is established
beyond reasonable doubt.[6]
Intimately intertwined with the in dubio pro reo principle is the rule of lenity. It is the doctrine
that a court, in construing an ambiguous criminal statute that sets out multiple or inconsistent
punishments, should resolve the ambiguity in favor of the more lenient punishment.[7]
Lenity becomes all the more appropriate when this case is viewed through the lens of the
basic purpose of the Indeterminate Sentence Law to uplift and redeem valuable human
material, and prevent unnecessary and excessive deprivation of personal liberty and
economic usefulness.[8] Since the goal of the Indeterminate Sentence Law is to look kindly on
the accused, the Court should adopt an application or interpretation that is more favorable to
the accused.
G.R. No. 173473 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES versus BETH TEMPORADA.
Promulgated: ________________
x------------------------------------------x

SEPARATE OPINION
CORONA, J.:
A man cannot suffer more punishment than the law assigns, but he may suffer less. William
Blackstone[1]

For when lenity and cruelty play for a kingdom, the gentler gamester is the soonest winner.
William Shakespeare[2]

It is on the basis of this basic principle of criminal law that I respectfully submit this opinion.

THE BONE OF CONTENTION

The members of the Court are unanimous that accused-appellant Beth Temporada was
correctly found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes of illegal recruitment and estafa
by the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 33 and the Court of Appeals. However, opinions
differ sharply on the penalty that should be imposed on accused-appellant for estafa. In
particular, there is a debate on how the Indeterminate Sentence Law should be applied in a
case like this where there is an incremental penalty when the amount embezzled exceeds
P22,000 (by at least P10,000).
In this connection, the relevant portion of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code provides:
ART. 315. Swindling (estafa). Any person who shall defraud another by any means mentioned
hereinbelow shall be punished by:

1st. The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its
minimum period, if the amount of the fraud is over 12,000 pesos but does not exceed 22,000
pesos, and if such amount exceeds the latter sum, the penalty provided in this paragraph shall
be imposed in its maximum period, adding one year for each additional 10,000 pesos; but the
total penalty which may be imposed shall in no case exceed twenty years. In such case, and
in connection with the accessory penalties which may be imposed under the Revised Penal
Code, the penalty shall be termed prision mayor to reclusion temporal, as the case may be.

circumstances (such as mitigating, aggravating and other relevant circumstances) that may
modify the imposable penalty applying the rules of the Revised Penal Code is considered in
determining the maximum term. Stated otherwise, the maximum term is arrived at after taking
into consideration the effects of attendant modifying circumstances.
On the other hand, the minimum term shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to
that prescribed by the [Revised Penal] Code for the offense. It is based on the penalty
prescribed by the Revised Penal Code for the offense without considering in the meantime the
modifying circumstances.[18]

xxxxxxxxx
On the other hand, the relevant portion of the Indeterminate Sentence Law provides:
SECTION 1. Hereafter, in imposing a prison sentence for an offense punished by the Revised
Penal Code, or its amendments, the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate
sentence the maximum term of which shall be that which, in view of the attending
circumstances, could be properly imposed under the rules of the said Code, and the minimum
which shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Code for the
offense; x x x

The penalty prescribed by Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code for the felony of estafa
(except estafa under Article 315(2)(d))[19] is prision correccional in its maximum period to
prision mayor in its minimum period if the amount of the fraud is over P12,000 but does not
exceed P22,000. If it exceeds P22,000, the penalty provided in this paragraph shall be
imposed in its maximum period. Moreover, where the amount embezzled is more than
P22,000, an incremental penalty of one year shall be added for every additional P10,000.

Jurisprudence shows that there are two schools of thought on the incremental penalty in
estafa vis--vis the Indeterminate Sentence Law. Under the first school of thought, the
minimum term is fixed at prision correccional while the maximum term can reach up to
reclusion temporal. This is the general interpretation. It was resorted to in People v. Pabalan,
[9] People v. Benemerito,[10] People v. Gabres[11] and in a string of cases.[12]

Thus, the Revised Penal Code imposes prision correccional in its maximum period to prision
mayor in its minimum period (or a period of four years, two months and one day to eight
years) if the amount of the fraud is more than P12,000 but not more than P22,000. If it
exceeds P22,000, the penalty is imposed in its maximum period (or a period of six years, 8
months and 21 days to eight years) with an incremental penalty of one year for each
additional P10,000 subject to the limitation that the total penalty which may be imposed shall
in no case exceed 20 years.

On the other hand, under the second school of thought, the minimum term is one degree
away from the maximum term and therefore varies as the amount of the thing stolen or
embezzled rises or falls. It is the line of jurisprudence that follows People v. De la Cruz.[13]
Among the cases of this genre are People v. Romero,[14] People v. Dinglasan[15] and
Salazar v. People.[16]
The Court is urged in this case to adopt a consistent position by categorically discarding one
school of thought. Hence, our dilemma: which of the two schools of thought should we affirm?

THE FIRST SCHOOL OF THOUGHT IS


MORE FAVORABLE TO THE ACCUSED
Under the Indeterminate Sentence Law, in imposing a sentence, the court must determine two
penalties composed of the maximum and minimum terms, instead of imposing a single fixed
penalty.[17] Hence, the indeterminate sentence is composed of a maximum term taken from
the penalty imposable under the Revised Penal Code and a minimum term taken from the
penalty next lower to that fixed in the said Code.
The maximum term corresponds to that which, in view of the attending circumstances, could
be properly imposed under the rules of the [Revised Penal] Code. Thus, attending

Strictly speaking, the circumstance that the amount misappropriated by the offender is more
than P22,000 is a qualifying circumstance. In People v. Bayot,[20] this Court defined a
qualifying circumstance as a circumstance the effect of which is not only to give the crime
committed its proper and exclusive name but also to place the author thereof in such a
situation as to deserve no other penalty than that especially prescribed for said crime.
Applying the definition to estafa where the amount embezzled is more than P22,000, the
amount involved ipso jure places the offender in such a situation as to deserve no other
penalty than the imposition of the penalty in its maximum period plus incremental penalty, if
warranted.[21] In other words, if the amount involved is more than P22,000, then the offender
shall be sentenced to suffer the maximum period of the prescribed penalty with an incremental
penalty of one year per additional P10,000.
However, People v. Gabres considered the circumstance that more than P22,000 was
involved as a generic modifying circumstance which is material only in the determination of
the maximum term, not of the minimum term:
Under the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the maximum term of the penalty shall be that which,
in view of the attending circumstances, could be properly imposed under the Revised Penal
Code, and the minimum shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed
for the offense. The penalty next lower should be based on the penalty prescribed by the
Code for the offense, without first considering any modifying circumstance attendant to the

commission of the crime. The determination of the minimum penalty is left by law to the sound
discretion of the court and it can be anywhere within the range of the penalty next lower
without any reference to the periods into which into which it might be subdivided. The
modifying circumstances are considered only in the imposition of the maximum term of the
indeterminate sentence.
The fact that the amounts involved in the instant case exceed P22,000.00 should not be
considered in the initial determination of the indeterminate penalty; instead, the matter should
be so taken as analogous to modifying circumstances in the imposition of the maximum term
of the full indeterminate sentence. This interpretation of the law accords with the rule that
penal laws should be construed in favor of the accused. Since the penalty prescribed by law
for the estafa charged against accused-appellant is prision correccional maximum to prision
mayor minimum, the penalty next lower would then be prision correccional minimum to
medium. Thus, the minimum term of the indeterminate sentence should be anywhere within
six (6) months and one (1) day to four (4) years and two months while the maximum term of
the indeterminate sentence should at least be six (6) years and one (1) day because the
amounts involved exceeded P22,000.00, plus an additional one (1) year for each additional
P10,000.00. (emphasis supplied)

If the circumstance that more than P22,000 was involved is considered as a qualifying
circumstance, the penalty prescribed by the Revised Penal Code for it will be the maximum
period of prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum period.
This has a duration of six years, 8 months and 21 days to eight years. The penalty next lower
(which will correspond to the minimum penalty of the indeterminate sentence) is the medium
period of prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum period,
which has a duration of five years, five months and 11 days to six years, eight months and 20
days.[22]
If the circumstance is considered simply as a modifying circumstance (as in Gabres), it will be
disregarded in determining the minimum term of the indeterminate sentence. The starting
point will be prision correccional maximum to prision mayor minimum and the penalty next
lower will then be prision correccional in its minimum to medium periods, which has a duration
of six months and one day to four years and two months.
From the foregoing, it is more favorable to the accused if the circumstance (that more than
P22,000 was involved) is to be considered as a modifying circumstance, not as a qualifying
circumstance. Hence, I submit that the Gabres rule is preferable.
On the contrary, the second school of thought is invariably prejudicial to the accused. By fixing
the minimum term of the indeterminate sentence to one degree away from the maximum term,
the minimum term will always be longer than prision correccional in its minimum to medium
periods.

Worse, the circumstance (that more than P22,000 was embezzled) is not a modifying
circumstance but a part of the penalty, if adopted, will mean that the minimum term of the
indeterminate sentence will never be lower than the medium period of prision correccional in
its maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum period, the penalty next lower to the
maximum period of prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum
period.
THE SECOND SCHOOL OF THOUGHT
AND ITS SHORTCOMINGS
The primary defect of the so-called second school of thought is that it contradicts the in dubio
pro reo principle. It also violates the lenity rule. Instead, it advocates a stricter interpretation
with harsher effects on the accused. In particular, compared to the first school of thought, it
lengthens rather than shortens the penalty that may be imposed on the accused. Seen in its
proper context, the second school of thought is contrary to the avowed purpose of the law that
it purportedly seeks to promote, the Indeterminate Sentence Law.
The second school of thought limits the concept of modifying circumstance to either a
mitigating or aggravating circumstance listed under Articles 13 and 14 of the Revised Penal
Code. It contends that the respective enumerations under the said provisions are exclusive
and all other circumstances not included therein were intentionally omitted by the legislature. It
further asserts that, even assuming that the circumstance that more than P22,000 was
embezzled may be deemed as analogous to aggravating circumstances under Article 14, the
said circumstance cannot be considered as an aggravating circumstance because it is only in
mitigating circumstances that analogous circumstances are allowed and recognized.[23] The
second school of thought then insists that, since the circumstance that more than P22,000
was involved is not among those listed under Article 14, the said circumstance is not a
modifying circumstance for purposes of the Indeterminate Sentence Law.
The second school of thought therefore strictly construes the term attending circumstances
against the accused. It refuses to recognize anything that is not expressed, takes the
language used in its exact meaning and admits no equitable consideration.
To the point of being repetitive, however, where the accused is concerned, penal statutes
should be interpreted liberally, not strictly.
The fact that there are two schools of thought on the matter by itself shows that there is
uncertainty as to the concept of attending or modifying circumstances. Pursuant to the in
dubio pro reo principle, the doubt must be resolved in favor of the accused and not against
him.
Moreover, laws must receive sensible interpretation to promote the ends for which they are
enacted.[24] The meaning of a word or phrase used in a statute may be qualified by the
purpose which induced the legislature to enact the statute. The purpose may indicate whether
to give a word or phrase a restricted or expansive meaning.[25] In construing a word or
phrase, the court should adopt the interpretation that best serves the manifest purpose of the
statute or promotes or realizes its object.[26] Where the language of the statute is fairly

susceptible to two or more constructions, that which will most tend to give effect to the
manifest intent of the lawmaker and promote the object for which the statute was enacted
should be adopted.[27] Taken in conjunction with the lenity rule, a doubtful provision of a law
that seeks to alleviate the effects of incarceration ought to be given an interpretation that
affords lenient treatment to the accused.
The Indeterminate Sentence Law is intended to favor the accused, particularly to shorten his
term of imprisonment.[28] The reduction of his period of incarceration reasonably helps uplift
and redeem valuable human material, and prevent unnecessary and excessive deprivation of
personal liberty and economic usefulness. The law, being penal in character, must receive an
interpretation that benefits the accused.[29] This Court already ruled that in cases where the
application of the law on indeterminate sentence would be unfavorable to the accused,
resulting in the lengthening of his prison sentence, said law on indeterminate sentence should
not be applied.[30] In the same vein, if an interpretation of the Indeterminate Sentence Law is
unfavorable to the accused and will work to increase the term of his imprisonment, that
interpretation should not be adopted. It is also for this reason that the claim that the power of
this Court to lighten the penalty of lesser crimes carries with it the responsibility to impose a
greater penalty for grave penalties is not only wrong but also dangerous.
Nowhere does the Indeterminate Sentence Law prescribe that the minimum term of the
penalty be no farther than one degree away from the maximum term. Thus, while it may be
true that the minimum term of the penalty in an indeterminate sentence is generally one
degree away from the maximum term, the law does not mandate that its application be
rigorously and narrowly limited to that situation.
THE PROPER INDETERMINATE
PENALTIES IN THESE CASES
From the above disquisition, I respectfully submit that the prevailing rule, the so-called first
school of thought, be followed. With respect to the indeterminate sentence that may be
imposed on the accused, I agree with the position taken by Madame Justice Consuelo
Ynares-Santiago.
Accordingly, I vote that the decision of the Court of Appeals be AFFIRMED with the following
modifications:
(1) in Criminal Case No. 02-208372, the accused be sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of
4 years and 2 months of prision correccional as minimum, to 9 years, 8 months and 21 days
of prision mayor as maximum;
(2) in Criminal Case Nos. 02-208373, 02-208375, and 02-208376, the accused be sentenced
to an indeterminate penalty of 4 years and 2 months of prision correccional as minimum, to 10
years, 8 months and 21 days of prision mayor as maximum for each of the aforesaid three
estafa cases and
(3) in Criminal Case No. 02-208374, the accused be sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of
4 years and 2 months of prision correccional as minimum, to 12 years, 8 months and 21 days
of prision mayor as maximum.

RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice
[1] Commentaries on the Laws of England 92.
[2] King Henry The Fifth, Act 3, Scene 6, Line 11.
[3] A survey of criminal law jurisprudence will show that among the portions of the ruling of trial
courts and the appellate court that are most commonly corrected by this Court is the
application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law. In fact, even this Court has grappled with the
matter. (See People v. Moises, [160 Phil. 845 (1975)] overruling People v. Colman [103 Phil. 6
(1958)]; People v. Gonzales [73 Phil. 549 (1942)] overturning People v. Co Pao [58 Phil. 545
(1933)] and People v. Gayrama (60 Phil. 796 (1934)] and People v. Mape [77 Phil. 809 (1947)]
reversing People v. Haloot [64 Phil. 739 (1937)] which followed the Co Pao ruling.)
[4] See Salonga v. Cruz Pao, 219 Phil. 402 (1985).
[5] Id.
[6] See Section 14 (2), Constitution.
[7] Blacks Law Dictionary, Eighth Edition (2004), p. 1359.
[8] People v. Ducosin, 59 Phil. 109 (1933).
[9] 331 Phil. 64 (1996).
[10] 332 Phil. 710 (1996).
[11] 335 Phil. 242 (1997).
[12] These cases include People v. Hernando, 375 Phil. 1078 (1999), People v. Menil, 394
Phil. 433 (2000), People v. Logan, 414 Phil. 113 (2001), People v. Gallardo, 436 Phil. 698
(2002), Garcia v. People, 457 Phil. 713 (2003) and Vasquez v. People, G.R. No. 159255, 28
January 2008, 542 SCRA 520.
[13] 383 Phil. 213 (2000).
[14] 365 Phil. 531 (1999).
[15] 437 Phil. 621 (2002).
[16] 439 Phil. 762 (2002).
[17] People v. Ducosin, supra.
[18] People v. Gonzales, supra note 3.
[19] The penalty for estafa under Article 315(2)(d) is provided under PD 818 (Amending Article
315 of the Revised Penal Code by Increasing the Penalties for Estafa Committed by Means of
Bouncing Checks).
[20] 64 Phil. 269 (1937).
[21] This is similar to the effect of the circumstance that the offender intended to aid the
enemy by giving notice or information that is useful to the enemy in the crime of
correspondence with hostile country under Article 120(3) of the Revised Penal Code (which
necessitates the imposition of reclusion perpetua to death) or of the circumstance that the
offender be a public officer or employee in the crime of espionage under Article 117 of the
Revised Penal Code (which requires the imposition of the penalty next higher in degree than
that generally imposed for the crime).
[22] See Article 61(5) of the Revised Penal Code. If the penalty is any one of the three periods
of a divisible penalty, the penalty next lower in degree shall be that period next following the
given penalty. Thus, the penalty immediately inferior to prision mayor in its maximum period is
prision mayor in its medium period (People v. Co Pao, supra note 3). If the penalty is reclusion

temporal in its medium period, the penalty next lower in degree is reclusion temporal in its
minimum period (People v. Gayrama, supra note 3). The penalty prescribed by the Revised
Penal Code for a felony is a degree. If the penalty prescribed for a felony is one of the three
periods of a divisible penalty, that period becomes a degree, and the period immediately
below is the penalty next lower in degree (Reyes, Luis B., The Revised Penal Code, Book
Two, Fifteenth Edition [2001], p. 700).
[23] In particular, Article 13(10) expressly provides that any other circumstances of a similar
nature and analogous to those above mentioned are treated as mitigating. Article 14, however,
does not have a similar provision.
[24] Lo Cham v. Ocampo, 77 Phil. 636 (1946).
[25] Krivenko v. Register of Deeds, 79 Phil. 461 (1947).
[26] Muoz & Co. v. Hord, 12 Phil. 624 (1909).
[27] Ty Sue v. Hord, 12 Phil. 485 (1909).
[28] People v. Nang Kay, 88 Phil. 515 (1951).
[29] Id.
[30] Id.

Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 147270

August 15, 2001

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF PETE C. LAGRAN, PETE
C. LAGRAN, petitioner.
PUNO,J.:
On April 18, 1994, petitioner Pete C. Lagran was convicted by the Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City of three (3) counts of violation of Batas Pambansa (BP) Blg. 22. He was
sentenced to suffer imprisonment of one (1) year for each count and to pay a fine of
P125,000.00, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. 1 He appealed the decision
of the trial court to the Court of Appeals but the appeal was dismissed on July 11, 1997 for
failure to file appellant's brief. The decision became final and executory on August 6, 1997 and
entry of judgment was made on March 5, 1998.2
By virtue of a Commitment Order issued by Hon. Elsa I. De Guzman, Presiding Judge,
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 93, petitioner was committed to the Quezon City
Jail on February 24, 1999.3 On April 3, 1999, he was transferred to the New Bilibid Prison 4
where he has been serving his sentence until the present.
Petitioner filed the instant petition for habeas corpus on March 19, 2001. He prayed for his
immediate release as he had allegedly completed the service of his sentence. Citing Article 70
of the Revised Penal Code, he argued that if the penalties or sentences imposed on the
accused are identical, and such penalties or sentences emanated from one court and one
complaint, the accused shall serve them simultaneously. He stated that he has been
incarcerated for two (2) years and four (4) days, counted from February 28, 2001, thus, his
detention in the New Bilibid Prison is now without legal basis.
Petitioner's argument deserves scant consideration.
Section 70 of the Revised Penal Code provides:
"ARTICLE 70. Successive service of sentences. When the culprit has to serve two or more
penalties, he shall serve them simultaneously if the nature of the penalties will so permit;
otherwise, the following rules shall be observed:
In the imposition of the penalties, the order of their respective severity shall be followed so
that they may be executed successively or as nearly as may be possible, should a pardon
have been granted as to the penalty or penalties first imposed, or should they have been
served out.
For the purpose of applying the provisions of the next preceding paragraph the respective
severity of the penalties shall be determined in accordance with the following scale:
1. Death,
2. Reclusion perpetua,
3. Reclusion temporal,
4. Prision mayor,
5. Prision correccional,
6. Arresto mayor,

7. Arresto menor,
8. Destierro,
9. Perpetual absolute disqualification,
10. Temporary absolute disqualification,
11. Suspension from public office, the right to vote and be voted for, the right to follow
profession or calling, and
12. Public censure.
Notwithstanding the provisions of the rule next preceding, the maximum duration of the
convict's sentence shall not be more than threefold the length of time corresponding to the
most severe of the penalties imposed upon him. No other penalty to which he may be liable
shall be inflicted after the sum total of those imposed equals the same maximum period.
Such maximum period shall in no case exceed forty years.
In applying the provisions of this rule the duration of perpetual penalties (penal perpetua) shall
be computed at thirty years."
Article 70 of the Revised Penal Code allows simultaneous service of two or more
penaltiesonly if the nature of the penalties so permit.5 The penalties that can be
simultaneously served are: (1) perpetual absolute disqualification, (2) perpetual special
disqualification, (3) temporary absolute disqualification, (4) temporary special disqualification,
(5) suspension, (6)destierro, (7) public censure, (8) fine and bond to keep the peace, (9) civil
interdiction, and (10) confiscation and payment of costs. These penalties, exceptdestierro, can
be served simultaneously with imprisonment. The penalties consisting in deprivation of liberty
cannot be served simultaneously by reason of the nature of such penalties. 6 Where the
accused is sentenced to two or more terms of imprisonment, the terms should be served
successively.7
In the case at bar, petitioner was sentenced to suffer one year imprisonment for every count of
the offense committed. The nature of the sentence does not allow petitioner to serve all the
prison terms simultaneously. Applying the rule on successive service of sentence, we find that
petitioner has not yet completed the service of his sentence as he commenced serving his
sentence only on February 24, 1999. His prayer, therefore, for the issuance of a writ ofhabeas
corpushas no basis.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C .J ., Kapunan, Pardo and Ynares-Santiago, JJ ., concur.
Footnotes
1
Decision, Criminal Case No. Q-92-33212-214, Rollo, pp. 9-15.
2
Rollo, p. 18.
3
Id., p. 21.
4
Id., p. 22.
5
Rodriguez vs. Director of Prisons, 47 SCRA 153 (1972).
6
Reyes, Revised Penal Code Book I, 13th ed. (1993), p. 748.
7
Gordon vs. Wolfe, 6 Phil 76.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 136506

August 23, 2001

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,


vs.
THE HONORABLE ANIANO A. DESIERTO as OMBUDSMAN, EDUARDO COJUANGCO,
JR., JUAN PONCE ENRILE, MARIA CLARA LOBREGAT, ROLANDO DELA CUESTA,
JOSE ELEAZAR, JR., JOSE C. CONCEPCION, DANILO URSUA, NARCISO PINEDA and
AUGUSTO OROSA, respondents.
DE LEON, JR., J.:
Before us is a petition for certiorari1 which seeks to annul the Review and Recommendation 2
dated August 6, 1998 of Graft Investigation Officer I Emora C. Pagunuran, approved by
Ombudsman Aniano A. Desierto, dismissing the petitioner's complaint in OMB-0-90-2808
against private respondents Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr., Juan Ponce Enrile, Maria Clara
Lobregat, Rolando Dela Cuesta, Jose R. Eleazar, Jr., Jose C. Concepcion, Danilo S. Ursua,
Narciso M. Pineda and Augusto Orosa, for violation of Republic Act No. 3019 otherwise known
as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act as well as the Order 3 dated September 25, 1998
denying petitioner's subsequent motion for reconsideration of the said Review and
Recommendation.
It appears that on February 12, 1990 the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) 4 initiated the
complaint for violation of R.A. No. 3019 before the Presidential Commission on Good
Government (PCGG). The complaint was subsequently referred to the Office of the
Ombudsman5 and docketed as OMB-0-90-2808. The referral of the case to the Ombudsman
was in line with our decision in Cojuangco, Jr. v. PCGG,6 promulgated on October 2, 1990,
wherein we declared that while the PCGG has the power to conduct preliminary investigation,
it "cannot possibly conduct the preliminary investigation of said criminal complaints with the
cold neutrality of an impartial judge", after having earlier gathered evidence concerning
alleged ill-gotten wealth against the respondents, and also after having issued a freeze order
against all properties of respondent Cojuangco, Jr. 7
The complaint alleged, inter alia, that respondent Cojuangco, Jr., taking advantage of his
close relationship with then President Marcos, had caused the latter to issue favorable
decrees to advance his personal and business interests, had caused the government through
the National Investment Development Corporation (NIDC) to enter into a contract with him
under terms and conditions grossly disadvantageous to the government, and, in conspiracy
with the aforenamed members of the UCPB Board of Directors, in flagrant breach of the
fiduciary duty as administrator-trustee of the Coconut Industry Development Fund (CIDF),
manipulated the said Fund resulting in the successful siphoning of Eight Hundred Forty Million
Seven Hundred Eighty-Nine Thousand Eight Hundred Fifty-Five Pesos and Fifty-Three
Centavos (P840,789,855.53) of CIDF to his own corporation, the Agricultural Investors, Inc.

(AII); and that respondents were directly or indirectly interested for personal gain or had
material interest in the transactions requiring the approval of a board, panel or group of which
they were members, in violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act to the grave
damage and prejudice of public interest, the Filipino people, the Republic of the Philippines,
and the coconut farmers.
Apparently, during the early stage of the Martial Law rule of the then President Ferdinand E.
Marcos in 1972, respondent Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco, Jr., through AII, a private
corporation owned and controlled by respondent Cojuangco. Jr., started to develop a coconut
seed garden in its property in Bugsuk Island, Palawan. 8
On November 14, 1974, Presidential Decree No. 582 was issued by then President Marcos, 9
which created the Coconut Industry Development Fund (CIDF). The CIDF is one of the four
(4) so-called "Coco-Levy Funds" set-up to revitalize the coconut industry. The CIDF was
envisioned to finance a nationwide coconut-replanting program using "precocious highyielding hybrid seednuts" to be distributed for free b coconut farmers. 10 Its initial capital of One
Hundred Million Pesos (P100,000,000.00) was to be paid from the Coconut Consumers
Stabilization Fund (CCSF), with an additional amount of at least twenty centavos (P0.20) per
kilogram of copra resecada out of the CCSF collected by the Philippine Coconut Authority. 11
Six (6) days after the issuance of P.D. No. 582, or on November 20, 1974, at the instigation of
respondent Cojuangco, Jr., AII, represented by respondent Cojuangco, Jr. as Chairman and
President, and NIDC, represented by its Senior Vice-President, Augusto E. Orosa, entered
into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). Cojuangco had an exclusive contract with Dr. Yann
Fremond of the Research Institute for Oil and Oilseeds, granting the former the exclusive right
to establish and operate a seed garden for the production of Ivory Coast Hybrid Seednuts, a
hybrid developed by Dr. Fremond, and supposedly most suitable for Philippine soil and
climate.12 AII and NIDC stipulated, in fine, that AII shall develop the Bugsuk property for the
growing of hybrid seednuts and sell the entire production to NIDC, which shall in turn pay AII
part of the costs in the development and operation of the seed garden and the support
facilities.13
On June 11, 1978, President Marcos issued P.D. No. 1468, otherwise known as the Revised
Coconut Industry Code, substituting the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) for the NIDC
as administrator-trustee of the CIDF. UCPB is a commercial bank acquired by the government
through the CCSF for the benefit of the coconut farmers. On August 27, 1982, President
Marcos lifted the coconut levy. With the only financial source of the CIDF depleted, UCPB had
no choice but to terminate the agreement with the AII effective December 31, 1982.
Adversely affected by this turn of events, All demanded arbitration. A Board of Arbitrators was
created pursuant to the arbitration clause in the MOA. AII nominated Atty. Esteban Bautista
while UCPB designated Atty. Anacleto Dideles. In turn, the two appointed Atty. Bartolome
Carale, a professor at the UP College of Law, as third member and Chairman of the Board.
On March 29, 1983, the Board of Arbitrators rendered a decision awarding to AII liquidated
damages for Nine Hundred Fifty-Eight Million Six Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos
(P958,650,000.00) from the CIDF. From this award was deducted the Four Hundred TwentySix Million Two Hundred Sixty-One Thousand Six Hundred Forty Pesos (P426,261,640.00)
advanced by the NIDC for the development of the seed garden, leaving a balance due to AII
amounting to Five Hundred Thirty-Two Million Three Hundred Eighty-Eight Thousand Three
Hundred Fifty-Four Pesos (P532,388,354.00). Costs of arbitration and the arbitrator's fee of
One Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos (P150,000.00) were also taken from the CIDF. 14

On April 19, 1983, the UCPB Board of Directors, composed of respondents Cojuangco, Jr., as
President, Enrile as Chairman, Dela Cuesta, Zayco, Ursua and Pineda as members, adopted
Resolution No. 111-83, resolving to "note" the decision of the Board of Arbitrators, allowing the
arbitral award to lapse with finality.
The complaint filed by the Solicitor General alleged that the MOA "is a one-sided contract with
provisions clearly stacked up against the NIDC thereby placing the latter in a no-win situation."
It cited several stipulations in the contract to substantiate its claim, to wit: 15
1. Under Section 9.1 of the MOA, neither party shall be liable for any loss or damage due to
the non-performance of their respective obligations resulting from any cause beyond the
reasonable control of the party concerned. However, under Section 9.3, notwithstanding the
occurrence of such causes, the obligation of the NIDC to pay AII's share of the development
costs amounting to P426,260,000.00 would still remain enforceable.
2. Under Sec. 11.2, if NIDC fails to perform its obligations, for any cause whatsoever, it will be
liable out of the CIDF, not only for the development costs, but also for liquidated damages
equal to the stipulated price of the hybrid seednuts for a period of five (5) years at the rate of
19,173,000 seednuts per annum, totaling P958,650.00. 16
3. Under Section 11.3, while AII was given the right to terminate the contract in case of force
majeure, no such right was given in favor of NIDC. Moreover, AII can do so without incurring
any liability for damages.
4. AII was only required to exert best efforts to produce a projected number of seednuts while
NIDC was required to set aside and reserve from CIDF such amount as would insure full and
prompt payment.
Respondent Cojuangco, Jr. sought the dismissal of the complaint on the ground of
prescription, citing the 1992 cases of People v. Sandiganbayan,17 and Zaldivia v. Hon. Andres
B. Reyes.18
On December 29, 1997, Graft Investigation Officer (GIO) Manuel J. Tablada recommended
the dismissal of the case, which was subsequently assigned to GIO I Emora C. Pagunuran.
GIO I Pagunuran issued the assailed memorandum, denominated "Review and
Recommendation", dated August 6, 1998 wherein she found that the alleged offense had
allegedly prescribed. Following the case of People v. Sandiganbayan, GIO I Pagunuran
reckoned the prescription period from the date the Memorandum of Agreement was entered
into, or on November 20, 1974. As the case was filed only on February 12, 1990, respondent
Ombudsman ruled that the same was filed beyond the prescriptive period of ten (10) years as
fixed under Sec. 11 of R.A. No. 3019. In addition, the "Review and Recommendation" ruled
that the questioned MOA was expressly confirmed and ratified by P.D. No. 961 19 (1976) and
P.D. No. 146820 (1978) and, thus, was given "legislative imprimatur."
The OSG filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated September 11, 1998, arguing that (a) the
offense charged in the complaint falls within the category of an ill-gotten wealth case which
under the Constitution is imprescriptible; and (b) that void contracts are not subject to
ratification and/or confirmation. Inasmuch public respondent Ombudsman denied petitioner's
motion for reconsideration in the Order dated September 25, 1998, petitioner interposed on
December 28, 1998 the instant petition raising two (2) issues for resolution, to wit: 21
I
WHETHER THE OMBUDSMAN ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN
DECLARING THAT THE OFFENSE CHARGED IN THE COMPLAINT FOR VIOLATION OF
RA. NO. 3019 HAD ALREADY PRESCRIBED WHEN THE COMPLAINT WAS FILED.

II
WHETHER THE OMBUDSMAN ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN
DECLARING THAT THERE IS NO BASIS TO INDICT PRIVATE RESPONDENTS FOR
VIOLATION OF THE ANTI-GRAFT LAW BASED ON THE CONTRACT IN QUESTION.
Respondents aver that the instant petition for certiorari is but a mere attempt to substitute for a
lost appeal and was filed out of time. While the petitioner concedes that its petition suffers
from procedural infirmities, it urges this Court to exercise its equity jurisdiction.
At the outset, this Court notes that the petitioner received a copy of the assailed memorandum
dated August 6, 1998 on August 28, 1998. Petitioner interposed a motion for reconsideration
on September 11, 1998. On October 28, 1998, petitioner received a copy of the order denying
its motion for reconsideration. Following Section 4 of Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure, as amended by Circular No. 39-98,22 which took effect on September 1, 1998, the
instant petition should have been filed on December 13, 1998. Thus, since the instant petition
was filed only on December 28, 1998, it was filed fifteen (15) days beyond the sixty (60) day
reglementary period prescribed by the Rules. However, during the pendency of the instant
petition, the Court promulgated A.M. No. 00-2-03-SC, 23 effective on September 1, 2000, which
further amended Section 4 of Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure to read as:
SECTION 4. When and where petition filed. The petition shall be filed not later than sixty
(60) days from notice of judgment, order or resolution. In case a motion for reconsideration or
new trial is timely filed, whether such motion is required or not, the sixty (60) day period shall
be counted from notice of the denial of said motion.
The petition shall be filed in the Supreme Court or, if it relates to the acts or omissions of a
lower court or of a corporation, board, officer or person, in the Regional Trial Court exercising
jurisdiction over the territorial area as defined by the Supreme Court. It may also be filed in the
Court of Appeals whether or not the same is in aid of its appellate jurisdiction, or in the
Sandiganbayan if it is in aid of its appellate jurisdiction. If it involves the acts or omissions of a
quasi-judicial agency, unless otherwise provided by law or these rules, the petition shall be
filed in and cognizable only by the Court of Appeals.
No extension of time to file the petition shall be granted except for compelling reason and in
no case exceeding fifteen (15) days.24
Statutes regulating procedure of the courts will be construed as applicable to actions pending
and undetermined at the time of their passage. In that context and in view of the retroactive
application of procedural laws,25 the instant petition should thus be considered timely filed.
On the matter of prescription, before B.P. Blg. 195, which was approved on March 16, 1982,
the prescription period for violation of the Anti-Graft Practices Act was ten (10) years. The
complaint for violation of R.A. No. 3019 was filed before the PCGG on February 12, 1990 or
more than fifteen (15) years after the birth of the allegedly illegal contract.
The Solicitor General presents a novel theory to advance his view that the prescription period
in R.A. No. 3019 does not apply to respondents. The Solicitor General asserts that the
respondents are public officers within the coverage of the Anti-Graft Law since they are being
prosecuted as members and officers of the Board of Directors of the UCPB, which was
acquired by the government through the coco levy funds. He argues that while the dismissed
complaint is for violation of R.A. No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the
prosecution thereof is actually a suit intended to recover ill-gotten wealth from public officials,
and therefore covered by R.A. No. 1379, entitled "An Act Declaring Forfeited in Favor of the

State Any Property Found to Have been Unlawfully Acquired By Any Public Officer or
Employee and Providing for the Procedure Therefor."
As this is supposedly a suit under R.A. No. 1379, the Solicitor General urges the Court to
follow its ruling in Republic v. Migrino,26 which held that cases falling under the said law are
imprescriptible. According to Migrino, Sec. 2 of R.A. No. 1379 which provides that petition for
forfeiture of unlawfully acquired wealth shall prescribe within four (4) years from the date of
resignation, dismissal or separation or expiration of the officer or employee concerned should
be deemed amended or repealed by Section 15, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution which
provides:
The right of the State to recover properties unlawfully acquired by public officials or
employees, from them or their nominees, shall not be barred by prescription, laches, or
estoppel.
It has already been settled in Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans v.
Desierto27 that Section 15 of Article XI of the Constitution applies only to civil actions for
recovery of ill-gotten wealth, and not to criminal cases such as the complaint against the
respondents in OMB-0-90-2808. Conversely, prescription of criminal cases are governed by
special laws on prescription.
Furthermore, to construe Section 15, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution in order to give it
retroactive application to the private respondents will run counter to another constitutional
provision, that is, Section 22, Article III which provides that "No ex post facto law or bill of
attainder shall be enacted." An ex post facto law is defined, in part, as a law which deprives
persons accused of crime of some lawful protection of a former conviction or acquittal, or of
the proclamation of amnesty; every law which, in relation to the offense or its consequences,
alters the situation of a person to his disadvantage. 28 A construction which raises a conflict
between different parts of the constitution is not permissible when by reasonable construction,
the parts may made to harmonize.29
We now turn to another novel theory of the Solicitor General. He claims that there are "special
circumstances" that would warrant the reckoning of the prescription period, not from the date
of the violation of the penalizing law because "it could not have been known at that time", but
from the EDSA Revolution of February 1986, which is supposedly the only time that the
offense could have been discovered. According to the Solicitor General: 30
It bears emphasizing that the criminal acts complained of against private respondents in this
case were committed during the Marcos regime. Private respondents were closely associated
with Marcos who unquestionably wielded power and influence and/or who, by themselves,
were also highly-placed in government. Thus assuming that the offense charged is deemed to
have been committed upon the execution of the contract in question, who could have known
of the existence of this contract apart from the contracting parties thereto? Being privies to the
contract, would private respondents have initiated criminal suits against themselves?
Assuming that third persons to the contract knew of its existence, was there a reasonable
opportunity, or even political will, to prosecute those involved in the execution of the
questioned contract?
To recall, due to the abnormal situation obtaining at that time, no one dared question the
excesses and abscesses of the officialdom which is eloquently exemplified by subject case.
The applicable provisions of law on prescription of offenses are found in Article 90 and Article
91 of the Revised Penal Code for offenses punishable thereunder and Act No. 3326 for those
penalized by special laws. R.A. No. 3019 being a special law, the commencement of the

period for the prescription for any act violating it is governed by Section 2 of Act No. 3326, 31
which provides:
SECTION 2. Prescription shall begin to run from the day of the commission of the violation of
the law, and if the same be not known at the time, from the discovery thereof and the
institution of judicial proceedings for its investigation and punishment.
The prescription shall be interrupted when proceedings are instituted against the guilty
person, and shall begin to run again if the proceedings are dismissed for reasons not
constituting jeopardy.
As a rule, if the commission of the crime is known, the prescriptive period shall commence to
run on the day it was committed.32 However, in cases where the time of commission is
unknown, prescription shall only run from its discovery and institution of judicial proceedings
for its investigation and punishment. Ordinarily, there is no problem in determining the date
when the crime consists of a series of acts, especially when some or all of these acts are
innocent in themselves.
The Ombudsman and private respondents relied on our ruling in People v. Sandiganbayan,
involving the prosecution of a Provincial Attorney who allegedly influenced officials in the
Bureau of Lands to issue a free patent in his favor. The prosecution advanced the theory that
the prescriptive period should not commence upon the filing of the application because no one
could have known about it except the accused and the Lands Inspector. In rejecting his theory
and ruling that "the date of the violation of the law becomes the operative date of the
commencement of the period of prescription", this Court ratiocinated:
It is not only the Lands Inspector who passes upon the disposability of public land x x x other
public officials pass upon the application for a free patent including the location of the land
and, therefore, the disposable character thereof. Indeed, practically all the department
personnel, who had a hand in processing and approving the application, namely x x x could
not have helped "discovering" that the subject of the application was nondisposable public
agricultural land.
This issue confronted this Court anew, albeit in a larger scale, in Presidential Ad Hoc FactFinding Committee on Behest Loans v. Desierto.33 In the said recent case, the Board of
Directors of the Philippine Seeds, Inc. and Development Bank of the Philippines were charged
with violation of paragraphs (e) and (g) of Section 3 of R.A. No. 3019, by the Presidential Ad
Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans, created by then President Fidel V. Ramos to
investigate and to recover the so-called "Behest Loans", where the Philippine Government
guaranteed several foreign loans to corporations and entities connected with the former
President Marcos. As in the present case, the Ombudsman in that case dismissed the
complaint on the ground of prescription. In holding that the case had not yet prescribed, this
Court ruled that:
In the present case, it was well-nigh impossible for the State, the aggrieved party, to have
known the violations of R.A. No. 3019 at the time the questioned transactions were made
because, as alleged, the public officials concerned connived or conspired with the
"beneficiaries of the loans." Thus, we agree with the COMMITTEE that the prescriptive period
for the offenses with which the respondents in OMB-0-96-0968 were charged should be
computed from the discovery of the commission thereof and not from the day of such
commission.
xxx
xxx
xxx

People v. Duque is more in point, and what was stated there stands reiteration: In the nature
of things, acts made criminal by special laws are frequently not immoral or obviously criminal
in themselves; for this reason, the applicable statute requires that if the violation of the special
law is not known at the time, the prescription begins to run only from the discovery thereof i.e.,
discovery of the unlawful nature of the constitutive act or acts. (Italics supplied)
There are striking parallelisms between the said Behest Loans Case and the present one
which lead us to apply the ruling of the former to the latter. First, both cases arose out of
seemingly innocent business transactions; second, both were "discovered" only after the
government created bodies to investigate these anomalous transactions; third, both involve
prosecutions for violations of R.A. No. 3019; and, fourth, in both cases, it was sufficiently
raised in the pleadings that the respondents conspired and connived with one another in order
to keep the alleged violations hidden from public scrutiny.
This Courts pronouncement in the case of Domingo v. Sandiganbayan34 is quite relevant and
instructive as to the date when the discovery of the offense should be reckoned, thus:
"In the present case, it was well-nigh impossible for the government, the aggrieved party, to
have known the violations committed at the time the questioned transactions were made
because both parties to the transactions were allegedly in conspiracy to perpetrate fraud
against the government. The alleged anomalous transactions could only have been
discovered after the February 1986 Revolution when one of the original respondents, then
President Ferdinand Marcos, was ousted from office. Prior to said date, no person would have
dared to question the legality or propriety of those transactions. Hence, the counting of the
prescriptive period would commence from the date of discovery of the offense, which could
have been between February 1986 after the EDSA Revolution and 26 May 1987 when the
initiatory complaint was filed."35
We do not subscribe to the Ombudsman's view that P.D. Nos. 961 and 1468 ipso facto served
to insulate the private respondents from prosecution. The "legislative imprimatur" allegedly
granted by the then President Marcos to the MOA is not necessarily inconsistent with the
existence of a violation of R.A. No. 3019. Thus, Section t, Article III of P.D. No. 961,
promulgated in 1976, reads:
SECTION 3. Coconut Industry Development Fund. There is hereby created a permanent
fund to be known as Coconut Industry Development Fund which shall be deposited, subject to
the provisions of P.D. No. 755, with, and administered and utilized by the Philippine National
Bank subsidiary, the National Investment and Development Corporation for the following
purposes:
a) To finance the establishment operation and maintenance of a hybrid coconut seednut farm
under such terms and conditions that may be negotiated by the National Investment and
Development Corporation with any private person, corporation, firm or entity as would insure
that the country shall have, at the earliest possible time, a proper, adequate and continuous
supply of high-yielding hybrid seednuts and, for this purpose, the contract entered into by the
NIDC as herein authorized is hereby confirmed and ratified; x x x
A similarly worded provision in P.D. 1468, promulgated in 1978, reads:
SECTION 3. Coconut Industry Development Fund. There is hereby created a permanent
fund to be known as Coconut Industry Development Fund which shall be administered and
utilized by the bank acquired for the benefit of the coconut farmers under P.D. 755 for the
following purposes:

a) To finance the establishment, operation and maintenance of a hybrid coconut seednut farm
under such terms and conditions that may be negotiated by the National Investment and
Development Corporation (NIDC) with any private person, corporation, firm or entity as would
insure that the country shall have, at the earliest possible time, a proper, adequate and
continuous supply of high-yielding hybrid seednuts and, for this purpose, the contract,
including the amendments and supplements thereto as provided for herein, entered into by
NIDC as herein authorized is hereby confirmed and ratified, and the bank acquired for the
benefit of the coconut farmers under P.D. 755 shall administer the said contract, including its
amendments and supplements, and perform all the rights and obligation of NIDC thereunder,
utilizing for that purpose the Coconut Industry Development find; x x x
R.A. No. 3019, as applied to the instant case, covers not only the alleged one-sidedness of
the MOA, but also as to whether the contracts or transactions entered pursuant thereto by
private respondents were manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government 36 ,
whether they caused undue injury to the government, 37 and whether the private respondents
were interested for personal gain or had material interest in the transactions. 38
The task to determine and find whether probable cause to charge the private respondents
exists properly belongs to the Ombudsman. We only rule that the Office of the Ombudsman
should not have dismissed the complaint on the basis of prescription which is erroneous as
hereinabove discussed. The Ombudsman should have given the Solicitor General the
opportunity to present his evidence and then resolve the case for purposes of preliminary
investigation. Failing to do so, the Ombudsman acted with grave abuse of discretion.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The assailed Review and
Recommendation dated August 6, 1998 of Graft Investigation Officer Emora C. Pagunuran,
and approved by Ombudsman Aniano A. Desierto, dismissing the petitioner's complaint in
OMB-0-90-2808, and the Order dated September 25, 1998 denying the petitioner's motion for
reconsideration, are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
The Ombudsman is hereby directed to proceed with the preliminary investigation of the case
OMB-0-90-2808.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, Mendoza, Quisumbing and Buena, JJ ., concur.
Footnotes
1
Under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
2
With Director Angel C. Mayoralgo, Jr., recommending approval, and reviewed by Assistant
Ombudsman Abelardo L. Aportadera, Jr., Rollo, pp. 38-41.
3
Rollo, pp. 42-45.
4
Then headed by Francisco I. Chavez.
5
Rollo, pp. 46-54.
6
190 SCRA 226 [1990].
7
Id., p. 255.
8
Rollo, p. 5.
9
Further amending Presidential Decree No. 232, as amended, the development and planting
of early-breeding and high-yielding hybrid variety of coconut trees."
10
Sec. 3-B, P.D. No. 232, as amended by P.D. No. 582.
11
Ibid.

12

Rollo, p. 119.
Memorandum of Agreement between AII and NIDC, November 20, 1974, Rollo, pp. 55-73.
14
Rollo, p. 51. The assailed Review and Recommendation dated August 6, 1998 provides the
amounts of P978,650,000.00 as liquidated damages and P461,261,640.00 as advanced by
the NIDC, Rollo, p. 38-A.
15
Rollo, pp. 48-50.
16
Should have been P958,600,000.00.
17
211 SCRA 241 [1992].
18
Id., p. 277.
19
"An Act To Codify The Laws Dealing With The Development Of The Coconut And Other
Palm Oil Industry & For Other Purposes".
20
"Revising Presidential Decree Numbered Nine Hundred Sixty One".
21
Rollo, p. 13.
22
Sec. 4. Where and when petition to be filed. The petition may be filed not later than sixty
(60) days from notice of the judgment, order or resolution sought to be assailed in the
Supreme Court or, if it relates to the acts or omissions of a lower court or of a corporation,
board, officer of person, in the Regional Trial Court exercising jurisdiction over the territorial
area as defined by the Supreme Court. It may also be filed in the Court of Appeals whether or
not the same is in aid of its appellate jurisdiction, or in the Sandiganbayan if it is in aid of its
jurisdiction. If it involves the acts or omissions of a quasi-judicial agency, and unless otherwise
provided by the law or these Rules, the petition shall be filed in and cognizable only by the
Court of Appeals.
If the petitioner had filed a motion for new trial or reconsideration in due time after notice of
said judgment, order or resolution the period herein fixed shall be interrupted. If the motion is
denied, the aggrieved party may file the petition within the remaining period, but which shall
not be less than five (5) days in any event, reckoned from notice of such denial. No extension
of time to file the petition shall be granted except for the most compelling reason and in no
case to exceed fifteen (15) days. (Emphasis supplied).
23
"Further Amending Section 4, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules on Civil Procedure".
24
Emphasis supplied.
25
Presidential Commission on Good Government v. Hon. Aniano Desierto, et al., G.R. No.
140232, January 19, 2001, p. 5; Presidential Commission on Good Government v. Hon.
Aniano Desierto, et al., G.R. No. 140358 December 8, 2000, p. 5; Juanita Narzoles, et al. v.
NLRC, et al., G.R. No. 141959, September 29, 2000 pp. 5-6.
26
189 SCRA 289 [1990].
27
317 SCRA 272 [1999].
28
Black's Law Dictionary, Fifth ed. [1979], p. 520, cited in People v. Sandiganbayan, see Note
No. 17, supra.
29
Black on Interpretation of Laws, 2nd ed., pp. 23-25.
30
Rollo, p. 26.
31
"An Act to Establish Periods of Prescriptions for Violations Penalized by Special Acts and
Municipal Ordinances and to Provide When Prescription Shall Begin to Run."
32
People v. Sandiganbayan, see Note No. 17, supra.
33
See Note 27.
34
322 SCRA 655 [2000].
35
Id., pp. 663-664, Emphasis supplied.
13

36
37

Sec. 3 (g), RA. 3019.


Sec. 3 (e), RA. 3019.

38

Sec. 3 (1), RA. 3019.