Sunteți pe pagina 1din 690


[G.R. Nos. 146710-15. April 3, 2001]

JOSEPH E. ESTRADA, petitioner, vs. ANIANO DESIERTO, in his capacity as

FRANCISCO, JR., respondents.

[G.R. No. 146738. April 3, 2001]

ESTRADA, petitioner,
ARROYO, respondent.



For resolution are petitioners Motion for Reconsideration in G.R. Nos. 146710-15
and Omnibus Motion in G.R. No. 146738 of the Courts Decision of March 2, 2001.
In G.R. Nos. 146710-15, petitioner raises the following grounds:


In G.R. No. 146738, petitioner raises and argues the following issues:
We find the contentions of petitioner bereft of merit.
Prejudicial Publicity on the Court

Petitioner insists he is the victim of prejudicial publicity. Among others, he assails

the Decision for adverting to newspaper accounts of the events and occurrences to
reach the conclusion that he has resigned. In our Decision, we used the totality test to
arrive at the conclusion that petitioner has resigned. We referred to and analyzed
events that were prior, contemporaneous and posterior to the oath-taking of respondent
Arroyo as president. All these events are facts which are well-established and
cannot be refuted. Thus, we adverted to prior events that built up the irresistible
pressure for the petitioner to resign. These are: (1) the expose of Governor Luis Chavit
Singson on October 4, 2000; (2) the I accuse speech of then Senator Teofisto Guingona
in the Senate; (3) the joint investigation of the speech of Senator Guingona by the Blue
Ribbon Committee and the Committee on Justice; (4) the investigation of the Singson
expose by the House Committee on Public Order and Security; (5) the move to impeach
the petitioner in the House of Representatives; (6) the Pastoral Letter of Archbishop
Jaime Cardinal Sin demanding petitioners resignation; (7) a similar demand by the
Catholic Bishops conference; (8) the similar demands for petitioners resignation by
former Presidents Corazon C. Aquino and Fidel V. Ramos; (9) the resignation of
respondent Arroyo as Secretary of the DSWD and her call for petitioner to resign; (10)
the resignation of the members of petitioners Council of Senior Economic Advisers and
of Secretary Mar Roxas III from the Department of Trade and Industry; (11) the
defection of then Senate President Franklin Drilon and then Speaker of the House of

Representatives Manuel Villar and forty seven (47) representatives from petitioners
Lapiang Masang Pilipino; (12) the transmission of the Articles of Impeachment by
Speaker Villar to the Senate; (13) the unseating of Senator Drilon as Senate President
and of Representative Villar as Speaker of the House; (14) the impeachment trial of the
petitioner; (15) the testimonies of Clarissa Ocampo and former Finance Secretary
Edgardo Espiritu in the impeachment trial; (16) the 11-10 vote of the senator-judges
denying the prosecutors motion to open the 2nd envelope which allegedly contained
evidence showing that petitioner held a P3.3 billion deposit in a secret bank account
under the name of Jose Velarde; (17) the prosecutors walkout and resignation; (18) the
indefinite postponement of the impeachment proceedings to give a chance to the House
of Representatives to resolve the issue of resignation of their prosecutors; (19) the rally
in the EDSA Shrine and its intensification in various parts of the country; (20) the
withdrawal of support of then Secretary of National Defense Orlando Mercado and the
then Chief of Staff, General Angelo Reyes, together with the chiefs of all the armed
services; (21) the same withdrawal of support made by the then Director General of the
PNP, General Panfilo Lacson, and the major service commanders; (22) the stream of
resignations by Cabinet secretaries, undersecretaries, assistant secretaries and bureau
chiefs; (23) petitioners agreement to hold a snap election and opening of the
controversial second envelope. All these prior events are facts which are within
judicial notice by this Court. There was no need to cite their news accounts. The
reference by the Court to certain newspapers reporting them as they happened
does not make them inadmissible evidence for being hearsay. The news account
only buttressed these facts as facts. For all his loud protestations, petitioner has
not singled out any of these facts as false.
We now come to some events of January 20, 2001 contemporaneous to the oath
taking of respondent Arroyo. We used the Angara Diary to decipher the intent to resign
on the part of the petitioner. Let it be emphasized that it is not unusual for courts to distill
a persons subjective intent from the evidence before them. Everyday, courts ascertain
intent in criminal cases, in civil law cases involving last wills and testaments, in
commercial cases involving contracts and in other similar cases. As will be discussed
below, the use of the Angara Diary is not prohibited by the hearsay rule. Petitioner may
disagree with some of the inferences arrived at by the Court from the facts narrated in
the Diary but that does not make the Diary inadmissible as evidence.
We did not stop with the contemporaneous events but proceeded to examine some
events posterior to the oath-taking of respondent Arroyo. Specifically, we analyzed the
all important press release of the petitioner containing his final statement which was
issued after the oath-taking of respondent Arroyo as president. After analyzing its
content, we ruled that petitioners issuance of the press release and his abandonemnt of
Malacaang Palace confirmed his resignation. [1] These are overt acts which leave no
doubt to the Court that the petitioner has resigned.
In light of this finding that petitioner has resigned before 12 oclock noon of
Janaury 20, 2001, the claim that the office of the President was not vacant when
respondent Arroyo took her oath of office at half past noon of the same day has
no leg to stand on.

We also reject the contention that petitioners resignation was due to duress and
an involuntary resignation is no resignation at all.
x x x [I]t has been said that, in determining whether a given resignation is voluntarily
tendered, the element of voluntariness is vitiated only when the resignation is submitted
under duress brought on by government action. The three-part test for such duress
has been stated as involving the following elements: (1) whether one side involuntarily
accepted the others terms; (2) whether circumstances permitted no other alternative;
and (3) whether such circumstances were the result of coercive acts of the opposite
side. The view has also been expressed that a resignation may be found involuntary if
on the totality of the circumstances it appears that the employers conduct
in requesting resignation effectively deprived the employer of free choice in the
matter. Factors to be considered, under this test, are: (1) whether the employee was
given some alternative to resignation; (2) whether the employee understood the nature
of the choice he or she was given; (3) whether the employewe was given a reasonable
time in which to choose; and (4) whether he or she was permitted to select the effective
date of resignation. In applying this totality of the circumstances test, the assessment
whether real alternatives were offered must be gauged by an objective standard rather
than by the employees purely subjective evaluation; that the employee may perceive
his or her only option to be resignation for example, because of concerns about
his or her reputation is irrelevant. Similarly, the mere fact that the choice is
between comparably unpleasant alternatives for example, resignation or facing
disciplinary charges does not of itself establish that a resignation was induced by
duress or coercion, and was therefore involuntary. This is so even where the only
alternative to resignation is facing possible termination for cause, unless the employer
actually lacked good cause to believe that grounds for termination existed. In this regard
it has also been said that a resignation resulting from a choice between resigning or
facing proceedings for dismissal is not tantamount to discharge by coercion without
procedural view if the employee is given sufficient time and opportunity for deliberation
of the choice posed. Futhermore, a resignation by an officer charged with misconduct is
not given under duress, though the appropriate authority has already determined that
the officers alternative is termination, where such authority has the legal authority to
terminate the officers employment under the particular circumstances, since it is not
duress to threaten to do what one has the legal right to do, or to threaten to take any
measure authorized by law and the circumstances of the case. [2]
In the cases at bar, petitioner had several options available to him other than
resignation. He proposed to the holding of snap elections. He transmitted to the
Congress a written declaration of temporary inability. He could not claim he was forced
to resign because immediately before he left Malacaang, he asked Secretary Angara:
Ed, aalis na ba ako? which implies that he still had a choice of whether or not to leave.
To be sure, pressure was exerted for the petitioner to resign. But it is difficult
to believe that the pressure completely vitiated the voluntariness of the
petitioners resignation. The Malacaang ground was then fully protected by the
Presidential Security Guard armed with tanks and high-powered weapons. The then
Chief of Staff, General Angelo Reyes, and other military officers were in Malacaang to

assure that no harm would befall the petitioner as he left the Palace. Indeed, no harm,
not even a scratch, was suffered by the petitioner, the members of his family and his
Cabinet who stuck it out with him in his last hours. Petitioners entourage was even able
to detour safely to the Municipal Hall of San Juan and bade goodbye to his followers
before finally going to his residence in Polk Street, Greenhills. The only incident before
the petitioner left the Palace was the stone throwing between a small group of pro and
anti Erap rallyists which resulted in minor injuries to a few of them. Certainly, there were
no tanks that rumbled through the Palace, no attack planes that flew over the
presidential residence, no shooting, no large scale violence, except verbal violence, to
justify the conclusion that petitioner was coerced to resign.
Evidentiary Issues

Petitioner devotes a large part of his arguments on the alleged improper use by this
Court of the Angara Diary. It is urged that the use of the Angara Diary to determine the
state of mind of the petitioner on the issue of his resignation violates the rule against the
admission of hearsay evidence.
We are unpersuaded. To begin with, the Angara diary is not an out of court
statement. The Angara Diary is part of the pleadings in the cases at bar. Petitioner
cannot complain he was not furnished a copy of the Angara Diary. Nor can he feign
surprise on its use. To be sure, the said Diary was frequently referred to by the parties in
their pleadings.[3] The three parts of the Diary published in the PDI from February 4-6,
2001 were attached as Annexes A-C, respectively, of the Memorandum of private
respondents Romeo T. Capulong, et al., dated February 20, 2001. The second and third
parts of the Diary were earlier also attached as Annexes 12 and 13 of the Comment of
private respondents Capulong, et al., dated February 12, 2001. In fact, petitioner even
cited in his Second Supplemental Reply Memorandum both the second part of the diary,
published on February 5, 2001, [4] and the third part, published on February 6, 2001. [5] It
was also extensively used by Secretary of Justice Hernando Perez in his oral
arguments. Thus, petitioner had all the opportunity to contest the use of the Diary but
unfortunately failed to do so.
Even assuming arguendo that the Angara Diary was an out of court statement, still
its use is not covered bythe hearsay rule. [6] Evidence is called hearsay when its
probative force depends, in whole or in part, on the competency and credibility of some
persons other than the witness by whom it is sought to produce it. [7] There are three
reasons for excluding hearsay evidence: (1) absence of cross examination; (2) absence
of demeanor evidence, and (3) absence of the oath. [8] Not at all hearsay evidence,
however, is inadmissible as evidence. Over the years, a huge body of hearsay evidence
has been admitted by courts due to their relevance, trustworthiness and necessity.[9] The
emergence of these exceptions and their wide spread acceptance is well-explained by
Weinstein, Mansfield, Abrams and Berger as follows:

On the other hand, we all make decisions in our everyday lives on the basis of other
persons accounts of what happened, and verdicts are usually sustained and affirmed
even if they are based on hearsay erroneously admitted, or admitted because no
objection was made. See Shepp v. Uehlinger, 775 F 2d 452, 454-455 (1st Cir. 1985)
(hearsay evidence alone can support a verdict). Although volumes have been written
suggesting ways to revise the hearsay rule, no one advocates a rule that would bar all
hearsay evidence. Indeed, the decided historical trend has been to exclude
categories of highly probative statements from the definition of hearsay (sections
2 and 3, infra), and to develop more class exceptions to the hearsay rule (sections
4-11, infra). Furthermore, many states have added to their rules the residual, or
catch-all, exceptions first pioneered by the Federal Rules which authorize the
admission of hearsay that does not satisfy a class exception, provided it is
adequately trustworthy and probative (section 12, infra).
Moreover, some commentators believe that the hearsay rule should be abolished
altogether instead of being loosened. See, e.g., Note, The Theoretical Foundation of
the Hearsay Rules, 93 Harv.L.Rev. 1786, 1804-1805, 1815 (1980) (footnotes omitted):
The Federal Rules of Evidence provide that [a]lthough relevant, evidence may be
excluded if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair
prejudice. Under this structure, exclusion is justified by fears of how the jury will be
influenced by the evidence. However, it is not traditional to think of hearsay as merely a
subdivision of this structure, and the Federal Rules do not conceive of hearsay in that
manner. Prejudice refers to the jurys use of evidence for inferences other than those for
which the evidence is legally relevant; by contrast, the rule against hearsay questions
the jurys ability to evaluate the strength of a legitimate inference to be drawn from the
evidence. For example, were a judge to exclude testimony because a witness was
particularly smooth or convincing, there would be no doubt as to the usurpation of the
jurys function. Thus, unlike prejudices recognized by the evidence rules, such as those
stemming from racial or religious biases or from the introduction of photographs of a
victims final state, the exclusion of hearsay on the basis of misperception strikes at the
root of the jurys function by usurping its power to process quite ordinary evidence, the
type of information routinely encountered by jurors in their everyday lives.
Since virtually all criteria seeking to distinguish between good and bad hearsay are
either incoherent, inconsistent, or indeterminate, the only altenative to a general rule of
admission would be an absolute rule of exclusion, which is surely inferior. More
important, the assumptions necessary to justify a rule against hearsay seem
insupportable and, in any event, are inconsistent with accepted notions of the function
of the jury. Therefore, the hearsay rules should be abolished.
Some support for this view can be found in the limited empirical research now available
which is, however, derived from simulations that suggests that admitting hearsay has
little effect on trial outcomes because jurors discount the value of hearsay

evidence. See Rakos & Landsman, Researching the Hearsay Rule: Emerging Findings,
General Issues, and Future Directions, 76 Minn.L.Rev. 655 (1992); Miene, Park, &
Borgidas, Jury Decision Making and the Evaluation of Hearsay Evidence, 76
Minn.L.Rev. 683 (1992); Kovera, Park, & Penrod, Jurors Perceptions of Eyewitness and
Hearsay Evidence, 76 Minn.L.Rev. 703 (1992); Landsman & Rakos, Research Essay: A
Preliminary Empirical Enquiry Concerning the prohibition of Hearsay Evidence in
American Courts, 15 Law & Psychol. Rev. 65 (1991).
Others, even if they concede that restrictions on hearsay have some utility,
question whether the benefits outweigh the cost:
The cost of maintaining the rule is not just a function of its contribution to justice. It also
includes the time spent on litigating the rule. And of course this is not just a cost
voluntarily borne by the parties, for in our system virtually all the cost of the court
salaries, administrative costs, and capital costs are borne by the public. As expensive
as litigation is for the parties, it is supported by an enormous public subsidy. Each time
a hearsay question is litigated, the public pays. The rule imposes other costs as
well. Enormous time is spent teaching and writing about the hearsay rule, which are
both costly enterprises. In some law schools, students spend over half their time in
evidence classes learning the intricacies of the hearsay rule, and enormous academic
resources are expended on the rule.
Allen, Commentary on Professor Friendmans Article: The Evolution of the Hearsay Rule
to a Rule of Admission, 76 Minn.L.Rev. 797, 800 [1992] (but would abolish rule only in
civil cases). See also Friedman, Toward a Partial Economic, Game-Theoretic Analysis
of Hearsay, 76 Minn. L. Rev. 723 (1992).[10]
A complete analysis of any hearsay problem requires that we further
determine whether the hearsay evidence is one exempted from the rules of
exclusion. A more circumspect examination of our rules of exclusion will show
that they do not cover admissions of a party and the Angara Diary belongs to this
class. Section 26 of Rule 130 provides that the act, declaration or omission of a party
as to a relevant fact may be given in evidence against him. [11] It has long been settled
that these admissions are admissible even if they are hearsay. Retired Justice
Oscar Herrera of the Court of Appeals cites the various authorities who explain
why admissions are not covered by the hearsay rule:[12]
Wigmore, after pointing out that the partys declaration has generally the probative
value of any other persons asssertion, argued that it had a special value when offered
against the party. In that circumstance, the admission discredits the partys statement
with the present claim asserted in pleadings and testimony, much like a witness
impeached by contradictory statements. Moreover, he continued,admissions pass the
gauntlet of the hearsay rule, which requires that extrajudicial assertions be excluded if
there was no opportunity for the opponent to cross-examine because it is the opponents
own declaration, and he does not need to cross examine himself. Wigmore then
added that the Hearsay Rule is satisfied since the party now as opponent has the full

opportunity to put himself on the stand and explain his former assertion. (Wigmore on
evidence, Sec. 1048 (Chadbourn Rev. 1972), cited in Sec. 154, McCormick)
According to Morgan: The admissibility of an admission made by the party himself rests
not upon any notion that the circumstances in which it was made furnish the trier means
of evaluating it fairly, but upon the adversary theory of litigation. A party can hardly
object that he had no opportunity to cross-examine himself or that he is unworthy
of credence save when speaking under sanction of an oath.
A mans acts, conduct, and declaration, wherever made, if voluntary, are admissible
against him, for the reason that it is fair to presume that they correspond with the truth,
and it is his fault if they do not.(U.S. vs. Ching Po, 23 Phil. 578, 583).
The Angara Diary contains direct statements of petitioner which can be categorized
as admissions of a party: his proposal for a snap presidential election where he would
not be a candidate; his statement that he only wanted the five-day period promised by
Chief of Staff Angelo Reyes; his statements that he would leave by Monday if the
second envelope would be opened by Monday and Pagod na pagod na ako. Ayoko na,
masyado nang masakit. Pagod na ako sa red tape, bureaucracy, intriga. (I am very
tired. I dont want any more of this its too painful. Im tired of the red tape, the
bureaucracy, the intrigue). I just want to clear my name, then I will go. We noted that
days before, petitioner had repeatedly declared that he would not resign despite the
growing clamor for his resignation. The reason for the meltdown is obvious - - - his will
not to resign has wilted.
It is, however, argued that the Angara Diary is not the diary of the petitioner,
hence, non-binding on him. The argument overlooks the doctrine of adoptive
admission. An adoptive admission is a partys reaction to a statement or action by
another person when it is reasonable to treat the partys reaction as an admission of
something stated or implied by the other person.[13] Jones explains that the basis for
admissibility of admissions made vicariously is that arising from the ratification or
adoption by the party of the statements which the other person had made. [14] To use the
blunt language of Mueller and Kirkpatrick, this process of attribution is not mumbo
jumbo but common sense.[15] In the Angara Diary, the options of the petitioner started
to dwindle when the armed forces withdrew its support from him as President and
commander-in-chief. Thus, Executive Secretary Angara had to ask Senate President
Pimentel to advise petitioner to consider the option of dignified exit or
resignation. Petitioner did not object to the suggested option but simply said he could
never leave the country. Petitioners silence on this and other related suggestions can be
taken as an admission by him.[16]
Petitioner further contends that the use of the Angara diary against him violated the
rule on res inter alios acta. The rule is expressed in section 28 of Rule 130 of the
Rules of Court, viz: The rights of a party cannot be prejudiced by an act, declaration, or
omission of another, except as hereinafter provided.

Again, petitioner errs in his contention. The res inter alios acta rule has several
exceptions. One of them is provided in section 29 of Rule 130 with respect
to admissions by a co-partner or agent.
Executive Secretary Angara as such was an alter ego of the petitioner. He was the
Little President. Indeed, he was authorized by the petitioner to act for him in the
critical hours and days before he abandoned Malacaang Palace. Thus, according to
the Angara Diary, the petitioner told Secretary Angara: Mula umpisa pa lang ng
kampanya, Ed, ikaw na lang pinakikinggan ko. At hanggang sa huli, ikaw pa rin. (Since
the start of the campaign, Ed, you have been the only one Ive listened to. And now at
the end, you still are.)[17] This statement of full trust was made by the petitioner after
Secretary Angara briefed him about the progress of the first negotiation. True to
this trust, the petitioner had to ask Secretary Angara if he would already leave
Malacaang after taking their final lunch on January 20, 2001 at about 1:00
p.m. TheAngara Diary quotes the petitioner as saying to Secretary Angara: ed,
kailangan ko na bang umalis? (Do I have to leave now?) [18] Secretary Angara told him to
go and he did. Petitioner cannot deny that Secretary Angara headed his team of
negotiators that met with the team of the respondent Arroyo to discuss the peaceful and
orderly transfer of power after his relinquishment of the powers of the
presidency.The Diary shows that petitioner was always briefed by Secretary Angara on
the progress of their negotiations. Secretary Angara acted for and in behalf of the
petitioner in the crucial days before respondent Arroyo took her oath as
President. Consequently, petitioner is bound by the acts and declarations of
Secretary Angara.
Under our rules of evidence, admissions of an agent (Secretary Angara) are
binding on the principal (petitioner). [19] Jones very well explains the reasons for the
rule, viz: What is done, by agent, is done by the principal through him, as through a
mere instrument. So, whatever is said by an agent, either in making a contract for his
principal, or at the time and accompanying the performance of any act within the scope
of his authority, having relation to, and connected with, and in the course of the
particular contract or transaction in which he is then engaged, or in the language of the
old writers, dum fervet opus is, in legal effect, said by his principal and admissible in
evidence against such principal.[20]
Moreover, the ban on hearsay evidence does not cover independently relevant
statements. These are statements which are relevant independently of whether they
are true or not. They belong totwo (2) classes: (1) those statements which are the
very facts in issue, and (2) those statements which are circumstantial evidence of the
facts in issue. The second class includes the following:[21]
a. Statement of a person showing his state of mind, that is, his mental
condition, knowledge, belief, intention, ill will and other emotions;
b. Statements of a person which show his physical condition, as illness and the

c. Statements of a person from which an inference may be made as to

the state of mind of another, that is, the knowledge, belief, motive, good or
bad faith, etc. of the latter;
d. Statements which may identify the date, place and person in question; and
e. Statements showing the lack of credibility of a witness.
Again, Jones tells us why these independently relevant statements are not
covered by the prohibition against hearsay evidence: [22]
1088. Mental State or Condition Proof of Knowledge.- There are a number of comon
issues, forming a general class, in proof of which hearsay is so obviously necessary that
it is not customary to refer to its admissibility as by virtue of any exception to the general
exclusionary rule. Admissibility, in such cases, is as of course. For example, where any
mental state or condition is in issue, such as motive, malice, knowledge, intent,
assent or dissent, unless direct testimony of the particular person is to be taken as
conclusive of his state of mind, the only method of proof available is testimony of
others to the acts or statements of such person. Where his acts or statements are
against his interest, they are plainly admissible within the rules hereinabove announced
as to admissions against interest. And even where not against interest, if they are so
closely connected with the event or transaction in issue as to constitute one of the very
facts in controversy, they become admissible of necessity.
As aforediscussed, The Angara Diary contains statements of the petitioner which
reflect his state of mind and are circumstantial evidence of his intent to resign. It also
contains statements of Secretary Angara from which we can reasonably deduce
petitioners intent to resign. They are admissible and they are not covered by the rule on
hearsay. This has long been a quiet area of our law on evidence and petitioners attempt
to foment a belated tempest cannot receive our imprimatur.
Petitioner also contends that the rules on authentication of private writings
and best evidence were violated in our Decision, viz:
The use of the Angara diary palpably breached several hornbook rules of evidence,
such as the rule on authentication of private writings
A. Rule on Proof of Private Writings Violated
The rule governing private documents as evidence was violated. The law provides that
before any private writing offered as authentic is received in evidence, its due execution
and authenticity must be proved either: a) by anyone who saw the document executed
or written, or b) by evidence of the genuineness of the signature or handwriting of the

B. Best Evidence Rule Infringed

Clearly, the newspaper reproduction is not the best evidence of the Angara diary. It is
secondary evidence, of dubious authenticity. It was however used by this Honorable
Court without proof of the unavailability of the original or duplicate original of the
diary. The Best Evidence Rule should have been applied since the contents of the diary
are the subject of inquiry.
The rule is that, except in four (4) specific instances, [w]hen the subject of inquiry is the
contents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible other than the original
document itself.[23]
Petitioners contention is without merit. In regard to the Best Evidence rule, the
Rules of Court provides in sections 2 to 4 of Rule 130, as follows:
Sec. 2. Documentary evidence. Documents as evidence consist of writings or any
material containing letters, words, numbers, figures or other modes of written
expressions offered as proof of their contents.
Sec. 3. Original document must be produced; exceptions. When the subject of inquiry is
the contents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible other than the original
document itself, except in the following cases:
(a) When the original has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced in court,
without bad faith on the part of the offeror;
(b) When the original is in the custody or under the control of the party against whom
the evidence is offered, and the latter fails to produce it after reasonable notice;
(c) When the original consists of numerous accounts or other documents which cannot
be examined in court without great loss of time and the fact sought to be established
from them is only the general result of the whole; and
(d) When the original is a public record in the custody of a public officer or is recorded in
a public office.
Sec. 4. Original of document. (a) The original of a document is one the contents of
which are the subject of inquiry.
(b) When a document is in two or more copies executed at or about the same time, with
identical contents, all such copies are equally regarded as originals.
(c) When an entry is repeated in the regular course of business, one being copied from
another at or near the time of the transaction, all the entries are likewise equally
regarded as originals.

It is true that the Court relied not upon the original but only copy of the Angara
Diary as published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on February 4-6, 2001. In doing
so, the Court, did not, however, violate the best evidence rule. Wigmore, in his
book on evidence, states that:
Production of the original may be dispensed with, in the trial courts discretion, whenever
in the case in hand the opponent does not bona fide dispute the contents of the
document and no other useful purpose will be served by requiring production. [24]
In several Canadian provinces, the principle of unavailability has been abandoned, for
certain documents in which ordinarily no real dispute arised. This measure is a sensible
and progressive one and deserves universal adoption (post, sec. 1233). Its essential
feature is that a copy may be used unconditionally, if the opponent has been given an
opportunity to inspect it. (empahsis supplied)
Franciscos opinion is of the same tenor, viz:
Generally speaking, an objection by the party against whom secondary evidence is
sought to be introduced is essential to bring the best evidence rule into application; and
frequently, where secondary evidence has been admitted, the rule of exclusion might
have successfully been invoked if proper and timely objection had been taken. No
general rule as to the form or mode of objecting to the admission of secondary evidence
is set forth. Suffice it to say here that the objection should be made in proper season
that is, whenever it appears that there is better evidence than that which is
offered and before the secondary evidence has been admitted. The objection itself
should be sufficiently definite to present a tangible question for the courts consideration.

He adds:
Secondary evidence of the content of the writing will be received in evidence if no
objection is made to its reception.[26]
In regard to the authentication of private writings, the Rules of Court provides in
section 20 of Rule 132, viz:
Sec. 20. Proof of private document. Before any private document offered as authentic is
received in evidence, its due execution and authenticity must be proved either:
(a) By anyone who saw the document executed or written; or
(b) By evidence of the genuineness of the signature or handwriting of the maker.
Any other private document need only be identified as that which it is claimed to be.

On the rule of authentication of private writings, Francisco states that:

A proper foundation must be laid for the admission of documentary evidence; that is, the
identity and authenticity of the document must be reasonably established as a prerequisite to its admission. (Rouw v. Arts, 174 Ark. 79, 294 S.W. 993, 52 A.L.R. 1263, and
others) However, a party who does not deny the genuineness of a proffered
instrument may not object that it was not properly identified before it was
admitted in evidence. (Strand v. Halverson, 220 Iowa 1276, 264 N.W. 266, 103 A.L.R.
Petitioner cites the case of State prosecutors v. Muro,[28] which frowned on
reliance by courts on newspaper accounts. In that case, Judge Muro was dismissed
from the service for relying on a newspaper account in dismissing eleven (11) cases
against Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos. There is a significant difference, however,
between the Muro case and the cases at bar. In the Muro case, Judge Muro dismissed
the cases against Mrs. Marcos on the basis of a newspaper account without affording
the prosecution the basic opportunity to be heard on the matter by way of a written
comment or on oral argument. . .(this is) not only a blatant denial of elementary due
process to the Government but is palpably indicative of bad faith and partiality. In the
instant cases, however, the petitioner had an opportunity to object to the
admissibility of the Angara Diary when he filed his Memorandum dated February 20,
2001, Reply Memorandum dated February 22, 2001, Supplemental Memorandum dated
February 23, 2001, and Second Supplemental memorandum dated February 24,
2001. He was therefore not denied due process. In the words of Wigmore, supra,
petitioner had been given an opportunity to inspect the Angara Diary but did not object
to its admissibility. It is already too late in the day to raise his objections in an Omnibus
Motion, after the Angara Diary has been used as evidence and a decision rendered
partly on the basis thereof.
Temporary Inability

Petitioner argues that the Court misinterpreted the meaning of section 11, Article
VII, of the Constitution in that congress can only decide the issue of inability when there
is a variance of opinion between a majority of the Cabinet and the President. The
situation presents itself when majority of the Cabinet determines that the President is
unable to govern; later, the President informs Congress that his inability has ceased but
is contradicted by a majority of the members of the Cabinet. It is also urged that the
presidents judgment that he is unable to govern temporarily which is thereafter
communicated to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate is the
political question which this Court cannot review.
We cannot sustain the petitioner. Lest petitioner forgets, he himself made the
submission in G.R. No. 146738 that Congress has the ultimate authority under the
Constitution to determine whether the President is incapable of performing his

functions in the manner provided for in section 11 of Article VII.[29] We sustained

this submission and held that by its many acts, Congress has already determined and
dismissed the claim of alleged temporary inability to govern proffered by petitioner. If
petitioner now feels aggrieved by the manner Congress exercised its power, it is
incumbent upon him to seek redress from Congress itself. The power is conceded by
the petitioner to be with Congress and its alleged erroneous exercise cannot be
corrected by this Court. The recognition of respondent Arroyo as our de
jure president made by Congress is unquestionably a political judgment. It is
significant that House Resolution No. 176 cited as the bases of its judgment such
factors as thepeoples loss of confidence on the ability of former President Joseph
Ejercito Estrada to effectively govern and the members of the international
community had extended their recognition of Her Excellency, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
as President of the Republic of the Philippines and it has a constitutional duty of fealty
to the supreme will of the people x x x. This political judgment may be right or
wrong but Congress is answerable only to the people for its judgment. Its wisdom
is fit to be debated before the tribunal of the people and not before a court of
justice. Needles to state, the doctrine ofseparation of power constitutes
an inseparable bar against this courts interposition of its power of judicial review to
review the judgment of Congress rejecting petitioners claim that he is still the
President,albeit on leave and that respondent Arroyo is merely an acting President.
Petitioner attempts to extricate himself from his submission that Congress has the
ultimate authority to determine his inability to govern, and whose determination is a
political question by now arguing that whether one is a de jure or de facto President
is a judicial question. Petitioners change of theory, ill disguised as it is, does not at all
impress. The cases at bar do not present the general issue of whether the respondent
Arroyo is the de jure or a de facto President. Specific issues were raised to the Court
for resolution and we ruled on an issue by issue basis. On the issue of resignation
under section 8, Article VII of the Constitution, we held that the issue is legal and ruled
that petitioner has resigned from office before respondent Arroyo took her oath as
President. On the issue of inability to govern under section 11, Article VII of the
Constitution, we held that the Congress has the ultimate authority to determine the
question as opined by the petitioner himself and that the determination of Congress is a
political judgment which this Court cannot review. Petitioner cannot blur these
specific rulings by the generalization that whether one is a de jure or de facto
President is a judicial question.
Petitioner now appears to fault Congress for its various acts expressed thru
resolutions which brushed off his temporary inability to govern and President-onleave argument. He asserts that these acts of Congress should not be accorded any
legal significance because: (1) they are post facto and (2) a declaration of presidential
incapacity cannot be implied.
We disagree. There is nothing in section 11 of Article VII of the Constitution which
states that the declaration by Congress of the Presidents inability must always be a
priori or before the Vice-President assumes the presidency. In the cases at bar, special
consideration should be given to the fact that the events which led to the resignation of
the petitioner happened at express speed and culminated on a Saturday. Congress

was then not in session and had no reasonable opportunity to act a priori on
petitioners letter claiming inability to govern. To be sure, however, the petitioner cannot
strictly maintain that the President of the Senate, the Honorable Aquilino Pimentel, Jr.
and the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Honorable Arnulfo P.
Fuentebella, recognized respondent Arroyo as the constitutional successor to the
presidency post facto. Petitioner himself states that his letter alleging his inability to
govern was received by the Office of the Speaker on January 20, 2001 at 8:30 A.M. and
the Office of the Senate at 9 P.M. of the same day. [30] Respondent took her oath of office
a few minutes past 12 oclock in the afternoon of January 20. Before the oath-taking,
Senate President Pimentel, Jr. and Speaker Fuentebella had prepared a Joint
Statement which states:[31]
Joint Statement of Support
and Recognition from the
Senate President and the Speaker
Of the House of Representatives
We, the elected leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives, are called
upon to address the constitutional crisis affecting the authority of the President to
effectively govern our distressed nation.We understand that the Supreme Court at that
time is issuing an en banc resolution recognizing this political reality. While we may
differ on the means to effect a change of leadership, we however, cannot be indifferent
and must act resolutely. Thus, in line with our sworn duty to represent our people
and in pursuit of our goals for peace and prosperity to all, we, the Senate
President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, hereby declare our
support and recognition to the constitutional successor to the Presidency. We
similarly call on all sectors to close ranks despite our political differences. May God
bless our nation in this period of new beginnings.
Mabuhay and Pilipinas at ang mamamayang Pilipino.
Senate President
Speaker of the House of Representatives
This a priori recognition by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House
of Representatives of respondent Arroyo as the constitutional successor to the
presidency was followed post facto by various resolutions of the Senate and the
House, in effect, confirming this recognition. Thus, Resolution No. 176 expressed x x x
the support of the House of Representatives to the assumption into office by VicePresident Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as President of the Republic of the Philippines,
extending its congratulations and expressing its support for her administration as a
partner in the attainment of the nations goal under the Constitution. [32] Resolution No. 82
of the Senate and Resolution No. 178 of the House of Representatives both confirmed
the nomination of then Senator Teofisto Guingona, Jr., as Vice-President. [33] It also
passed Resolution No. 83 declaring the impeachment court functus officio.[34] Both

Houses sent bills to respondent Arroyo to be signed by her into law as President of the
Philippines.[35] These acts of Congress, a priori and post facto, cannot be
dismissed as merely implied recognitions of respondent Arroyo, as the President
of the Republic. Petitioners insistence that respondent Arroyo is just a de
facto President because said acts of Congress x x x are mere circumstances of
acquiescence calculated to induce people to submit to respondents exercise of the
powers of the presidency[36] is a guesswork far divorced from reality to deserve further
Similarly way off the mark is petitioners point that while the Constitution has made
Congress the national board of canvassers for presidential and vice-presidential
elections, this Honorable Court nonetheless remains the sole judge in presidential and
vice presidential contests.[37] He thus postulates that such constitutional
provision[38] is indicative of the desire of the sovereign people to keep out of the hands
of Congress questions as to the legality of a persons claim to the presidential office.
Suffice to state that the inference is illogical. Indeed, there is no room to resort to
inference. The Constitution clearly sets out the structure on how vacancies and election
contest in the office of the President shall be decided. Thus, section 7 of Article
VII covers the instance when (a) the President-elect fails to qualify, (b) if a President
shall not have been chosen and (c) if at the beginning of the term of the President, the
President-elect shall have died or shall have become permanently disabled. Section 8
of Article VII covers the situation of the death, permanent disability, removal from office
or resignation of the President. Section 11 of Article VII covers the case where the
President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of
Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and
duties of his office. In each case, the Constitution specifies the body that will
resolve the issues that may arise from the contingency. In case of election contest,
section 4, Article VII provides that the contests shall be resolved by this Court sitting en
banc. In case of resignation of the President, it is not disputed that this Court has
jurisdiction to decide the issue. In case of inability to govern, section 11 of Article VII
gives the Congress the power to adjudge the issue and petitioner himself submitted this
thesis which was shared by this Court. In light of these clear provisions of the
Constitution, it is inappropriate, to say the least, for petitioner to make inferences that
simply distort their meanings.

Impeachment and Absolute Immunity

Petitioner contends that this Court disregarded section 3 (7) of Article XI of the
Constitution which provides:
(7) Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than removal from office
and disqualification to hold any office under the Republic of the Philippines, but the

party convicted should nevertheless be liable and subject to prosecution, trial and
punishment according to law.
Petitioner reiterates the argument that he must be first convicted in the impeachment
proceedings before he could be criminally prosecuted. A plain reading of the provision
will not yield this conclusion. The provision conveys two uncomplicated ideas: first, it
tells us that judgment in impeachment cases has a limited reach. . .i.e., it cannot
extend further than removal from office and disqualification to hold any office under the
Republic of the Philippines, and second, it tells us the consequence of the limited
reach of a judgment in impeachment proceedings considering its nature, i.e., that the
party convicted shall still be liable and subject to prosecution, trial and punishment
according to law. No amount of manipulation will justify petitioners non
sequitur submission that the provision requires that his conviction in the impeachment
proceedings is a condition sine qua non to his prosecution, trial and punishment for the
offenses he is now facing before the respondent Ombudsman.
Petitioner contends that the private and public prosecutors walk out from the
impeachment proceedings should be considered failure to prosecute on the part of the
public and private prosecutors, and the termination of the case by the Senate
is equivalent to acquittal.[40] He explains failure to prosecute as the failure of the
prosecution to prove the case, hence dismissal on such grounds is a dismissal on the
merits.[41] He then concludes that dismissal of a case for failure to prosecute amounts
to an acquittal for purposes of applying the rule against double jeopardy.[42]
Without ruling on the nature of impeachment proceedings, we reject
petitioners submission.
The records will show that the prosecutors walked out in the January 16, 2001
hearing of the impeachment cases when by a vote of 11-10, the Senator-judges refused
to open the second envelope allegedly containing the P3.3 billion deposit of the
petitioner in a secret bank account under the name Jose Velarde. The next
day, January 17, the public prosecutors submitted a letter to the Speaker of the House
tendering their resignation. They also filed their Manifestation of Withdrawal of
Appearance with the impeachment tribunal. Senator Raul Roco immediately moved for
the indefinite suspensionof the impeachment proceedings until the House of
Representatives shall have resolved the resignation of the public
prosecutors. The Roco motion was then granted by Chief Justice Davide,
Jr. Beforethe House could resolve the issue of resignation of its prosecutors or
on January 20, 2001, petitioner relinquished the presidency and respondent Arroyo
took her oath as President of the Republic. Thus, onFebruary 7, 2001, the Senate
passed Resolution No. 83 declaring that the impeachment court is functus officio.
Prescinding from these facts, petitioner cannot invoke double
jeopardy. Double jeopardy attaches only: (1) upon a valid complaint; (2) before a
competent court; (3) after arraignment; (4) when a valid plea has been entered; and (5)
when the defendant was acquitted or convicted or the case was dismissed or otherwise
terminated without the express consent of the accused. [43] Assuming arguendo that the
first four requisites of double jeopardy were complied with, petitioner failed to satisfy the

fifth requisite for he was not acquitted nor was the impeachment proceeding
dismissed without his express consent. Petitioners claim of double jeopardy cannot
be predicated on prior conviction for he was not convicted by the impeachment court. At
best, his claim of previous acquittal may be scrutinized in light of a violation of his right
to speedy trial, which amounts to a failure to prosecute. As Bernas points out, a failure
to prosecute, which is what happens when the accused is not given a speedy trial,
means failure of the prosecution to prove the case. Hence, dismissal on such grounds is
a dismissal on the merits.[44]
This Court held in Esmea v. Pogoy[45], viz:
If the defendant wants to exercise his constitutional right to a speedy trial, he should
ask, not for the dismissal, but for the trial of the case. After the prosecutions motion for
postponement of the trial is denied and upon order of the court the fiscal does not or
cannot produce his evidence and, consequently fails to prove the defendants guilt, the
court upon defendants motion shall dismiss the case, such dismissall amounting to an
acquittal of the defendant.
In a more recent case, this Court held:
It is true that in an unbroken line of cases, we have held that the dismissal of cases on
the ground of failure to prosecute is equivalent to an acquittal that would bar further
prosecution of the accused for the same offense. It must be stressed, however, that
these dismissals were predicated on the clear right of the accused to speedy
trial. These cases are not applicable to the petition at bench considering that the right of
the private respondents to speedy trial has not been violated by the State. For this
reason, private respondents cannot invoke their right against double jeopardy.[46]
Petitioner did not move for the dismissal of the impeachment case against
him. Even assuming arguendo that there was a move for its dismissal, not every
invocation of an accuseds right to speedy trial is meritorious. While the Court accords
due importance to an accuseds right to a speedy trial and adheres to a policy of speedy
administration of justice, this right cannot be invoked loosely. Unjustified postponements
which prolong the trial for an unreasonable length of time are what offend the right of
the accused to speedy trial. [47] The following provisions of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure are apropos:
Rule 115, Section 1(h). Rights of accused at the trial. -- In all criminal prosecutions, the
accused shall be entitled to the following rights:
(h) To have speedy, impartial and public trial.
Rule 119, Section 2. Continuous trial until terminated; postponements.-- Trial once
commenced shall continue from day to day as far as practicable until terminated. It may
be postponed for a reasonable length of time for good cause.

The court shall, after consultation with the prosecutor and defense counsel, set the case
for continuous trial on a weekly or other short-term trial calendar at the earliest possible
time so as to ensure speedy trial. In no case shall the entire trial period exceed one
hundred eighty (180) days from the first day of trial, except as otherwise authorized by
the Supreme Court.
Petitioner therefore failed to show that the postponement of the impeachment
proceedings was unjustified, much less that it was for an unreasonable length of
time. Recalling the facts, on January 17, 2001, the impeachment proceeding was
suspended until the House of Representatives shall have resolved the issue on the
resignation of the public prosecutors. This was justified and understandable for an
impeachment proceeding without a panel of prosecutors is a mockery of the
impeachment process. However, three (3) days from the suspension or January 20,
2001, petitioners resignation supervened. With the sudden turn of events, the
impeachment court became functus officio and the proceedings were therefore
terminated. By no stretch of the imagination can the four-day period from the time the
impeachment proceeding was suspended to the day petitioner resigned, constitute an
unreasonable period of delay violative of the right of the accused to speedy trial.
Nor can the claim of double jeopardy be grounded on the dismissal or
termination of the case without the express consent of the accused. We reiterate
that the impeachment proceeding was closed only after the petitioner had resigned from
the presidency, thereby rendering the impeachment court functus officio. By resigning
from the presidency, petitioner more than consented to the termination of the
impeachmment case against him, for he brought about the termination of the
impeachment proceedings. We have consistently ruled that when the dismissal or
termination of the case is made at the instance of the accused, there is no double
Petitioner stubbornly clings to the contention that he is entitled to absolute
immunity from suit. His arguments are merely recycled and we need not prolong the
longevity of the debate on the subject. In our Decision, we exhaustively traced the origin
of executive immunity in our jurisdiction and its bends and turns up to the present
time. We held that given the intent of the 1987 Constitution to breathe life to the policy
that a public office is a public trust, the petitioner, as a non-sitting President, cannot
claim executive immunity for his alleged criminal acts committed while a sitting
President. Petitioners rehashed arguments including their thinly disguised new spins
are based on the rejected contention that he is still President, albeit, a President on
leave. His stance that his immunity covers his entire term of office or until June 30, 2004
disregards the reality that he has relinquished the presidency and there is now a
new de jure President.
Petitioner goes a step further and avers that even a non-sitting President enjoys
immunity from suit during his term of office. He buttresses his position with the
deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, viz:
Mr. Suarez. Thank you.

The last question is with reference to the Committees omitting in the draft proposal the
immunity provision for the President. I agree with Commissioner Nolledo that the
Committee did very well in striking out this second sentence, at the very least, of the
original provision on immunity from suit under the 1973 Constitution. But would the
Committee members not agree to a restoration of at least the first sentence that the
President shall be immune from suit during his tenure, considering that if we do not
provide him that kind of an immunity, he might be spending all his time facing litigations,
as the President-in-exile in Hawaii is now facing litigations almost daily?
Fr. Bernas: The reason for the omission is that we consider it understood in present
jurisprudence that during his tenure he is immune from suit.
Mr. Suarez: So there is no need to express it here.
Fr. Bernas: There is no need. It was that way before. The only innovation made by
the 1973 Constitution was to make that explicit and to add other things.
Mr. Suarez; On the understanding, I will not press for any more query, madam
I thank the Commissioner for the clarification. [49]
tenure. The term means the time during which the officer may claim to hold the office
as of right, and fixes the interval after which the several incumbents shall succeed one
another. The tenure represents the term during which the incumbent actually holds
office. The tenure may be shorter than the term for reasons within or beyond the power
of the incumbent.[50] From the deliberations, the intent of the framers is clear that
the immunity of the president from suit is concurrent only with his tenure and not
his term.
Indeed, petitioners stubborn stance cannot but bolster the belief that the cases at
bar were filed not really for petitioner to reclaim the presidency but just to take
advantage of the immunity attached to the presidency and thus, derail the investigation
of the criminal cases pending against him in the Office of the Ombudsman.

Prejudicial Publicity on the Ombudsman

Petitioner hangs tough on his submission that his due process rights to a fair trial
have been prejudiced by pre-trial publicity. In our Decision, we held that there is not
enough evidence to sustain petitioners claim of prejudicial publicity. Unconvinced,
petitioner alleges that the vivid narration of events in our Decision itself proves the
pervasiveness of the prejudicial publicity. He then posits the thesis that doubtless, the
national fixation with the probable guilt of petitioner fueled by the hate campaign

launched by some high circulation newspaper and by the bully pulpit of priests and
bishops left indelible impression on all sectors of the citizenry and all regions, so harsh
and so pervasive that the prosecution and the judiciary can no longer assure petitioner
a sporting chance.[51] To be sure, petitioner engages inexageration when he alleges
that all sectors of the citizenry and all regions have been irrevocably influenced by this
barrage of prejudicial publicity. This exaggeration collides with petitioners claim that
he still enjoys the support of the majority of our people, especially the masses.
Petitioner pleads that we apply the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur (the thing or the
transaction speaks for itself) to support his argument. Under the res ipsa loquitur rule
in its broad sense, the fact of the occurrence of an injury, taken with the surrounding
circumstances, may permit an inference or raise a presumption of negligence, or make
out a plaintiffs prima facie case, and present a question of fact for defendant to meet
with an explanation.[52] It is not a rule of substantive law but more a procedural rule. Its
mere invocation does not exempt the plaintiff with the requirement of proof to prove
negligence. It merely allows the plaintiff to present along with the proof of the accident,
enough of the attending circumstances to invoke the doctrine, creating an inference or
presumption of negligence and to thereby place on the defendant the burden of going
forward with the proof.[53]
We hold that it is inappropriate to apply the rule on res ipsa loquitur, a rule
usually applied only in tort cases, to the cases at bar. Indeed, there is no court in the
whole world that has applied the res ipsa loquitur rule to resolve the issue of
prejudicial publicity. We again stress that the issue before us is whether the alleged
pervasive publicity of the cases against the petitioner has prejudiced the minds of the
members of the panel of investigators. We reiterate the test we laid down in People v.
Teehankee,[54] to resolve this issue, viz:
We cannot sustain appellants claim that he was denied the right to impartial trial due to
prejudicial publicity. It is true that the print and broadcast media gave the case at bar
pervasive publicity, just like all high profile and high stake criminal trials. Then and now,
we rule that the right of an accused to a fair trial is not incompatible to a free press. To
be sure, responsible reporting enhances an accuseds right to a fair trial for, as well
pointed out , a responsible press has always been regarded as the handmaiden of
effective judicial administration, especially in the criminal field x x x. The press does not
simply publish information about trials but guards against the miscarriage of justice by
subjecting the police, prosecutors, and judicial processes to extensive public scrutiny
and criticism.
Pervasive publicity is not per se prejudicial to the right of an accused to fair trial. The
mere fact that the trial of appellant was given a day-to-day, gavel-to-gavel coverage
does not by itself prove that the publicity so permeated the mind of the trial judge and
impaired his impartiality. For one, it is impossible to seal the minds of members of the
bench from pre-trial and other off-court publicity of sensational criminal cases. The state
of the art of our communication system brings news as hey happen straight to our
breakfast tables and right to our bedrooms. These news form part of our everyday menu
of the facts and fictions of life. For another, our idea of a fair and impartial judge is not

that of a hermit who is out of touch with the world. We have not installed the jury system
whose members are overly protected from publicity lest they lost their impartiality. x x
x x x x x x x. Our judges are learned in the law and trained to disregard off-court
evidence and on-camera performances of parties to a litigation. Their mere exposure to
publications and publicity stunts does not per se fatally infect their impartiality.
At best, appellant can only conjure possibility of prejudice on the part of the trial judge
due to the barrage of publicity that characterized the investigation and trial of the
case. In Martelino, et al. v. Alejandro, et al., we rejected this standard of possibility of
prejudice and adopted the test of actual prejudice as we ruled that to warrant a finding
of prejudicial publicity, there must be allegation and proof that the judges have been
unduly influenced, not simply that they might be, by the barrage of publicity. In the case
at bar, the records do not show that the trial judge developed actual bias against
appellant as a consequence of the extensive media coverage of the pre-trial and trial of
his case. The totality of circumstances of the case does not prove that the trial judge
acquired a fixed opinion as a result of prejudicial publicity which is incapable of change
even by evidence presented during the trial. Appellant has the burden to prove this
actual bias and he has not discharged the burden.
Petitioner keeps on pounding on the adverse publicity against him but fails to
prove how the impartiality of the panel of investigators from the Office of the
Ombudsman has been infected by it. As we held before and we hold it
again, petitioner has completely failed to adduce any proof of actual
prejudice developed by the members of the Panel of Investigators. This fact must be
established by clear and convincing evidence and cannot be left to loose surmises and
conjectures. In fact, petitioner did not even identify the members of the Panel of
Investigators. We cannot replace this test of actual prejudice with the rule of res ipsa
loquitur as suggested by the petitioner. The latter rule assumes that an injury (i.e.,
prejudicial publicity) has been suffered and then shifts the burden to the panel of
investigators to prove that the impartiality of its members has been affected by said
publicity. Such a rule will overturn our case law that pervasive publicity is not per
se prejudicial to the right of an accused to fair trial. The cases are not wanting where an
accused has been acquitted despite pervasive publicity.[55] For this reason, we continue
to hold that it is not enough for petitioner to conjure possibility of prejudicebut
must prove actual prejudice on the part of his investigators for the Court to sustain his
plea. It is plain that petitioner has failed to do so.
Petitioner agains suggests that the Court should order a 2-month cooling
off period to allow passions to subside and hopefully the alleged prejudicial publicity
against him would die down. We regret not to acquiesce to the proposal. There is no
assurance that the so called 2-month cooling off period will achieve its purpose. The
investigation of the petitioner is a natural media event. It is the first time in our history
that a President will be investigated by the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged
commission of heinous crimes while a sitting President. His investigation will even be
monitored by the foreign press all over the world in view of its legal and historic
significance. In other words, petitioner cannot avoid the kleiglight of publicity. But what
is important for the petitioner is that his constitutional rights are not violated in

the process of investigation. For this reason, we have warned the respondent
Ombudsman in our Decision to conduct petitioners preliminary investigation in a circusfree atmosphere.Petitioner is represented by brilliant legal minds who can protect his
right as an accused.


Finally, petitioner prays that the members of this Honorable Court who went to
EDSA put on record who they were and consider recusing or inhibiting themselves,
particularly those who had ex-parte contacts with those exerting pressure on this
Honorable Court, as mentioned in our Motion of March 9, 2001, given the need for the
cold neutrality of impartial judges.[56]
We hold that the prayer lacks merit. There is no ground to inhibit the twelve (12)
members of the Court who merely accepted the invitation of the respondent Arroyo to
attend her oath taking. As mere spectators of a historic event, said members of the
Court did not prejudge the legal basis of the claim of respondent Arroyo to the
presidency at the time she took her oath. Indeed, the Court in its en banc resolution on
January 22, 2001, the first working day after respondent Arroyo took her oath as
President, held in Administrative Matter No. 01-1-05 SC, to wit:
A.M. No. 01-1-05-SC In re: Request for Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to Take
Her Oath of Office as President of the Republic of the Philippines before the Chief
Justice Acting on the urgent request of Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to be
sworn in as President of the Republic of the Philippines, addressed to the Chief Justice
and confirmed by a letter to the Court, dated January 20, 2001, which request was
treated as an administrative matter, the court Resolved unanimously to confirm the
authority given by the twelve (12) members of the Court then present to the Chief
Justice on January 20, 2001 to administer the oath of office to Vice President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo as President of the Philippines, at noon of January 20, 2001.
This resolution is without prejudice to the disposition of any justiciable case that may be
filed by a proper party.
The above resolution was unanimously passed by the 15 members of the Court. It
should be clear from the resolution that the Court did not treat the letter of respondent
Arroyo to be administered the oath by Chief Justice Davide, Jr., as a case but as an
administrative matter. If it were considered as a case, then petitioner has reason to
fear that the Court has predetermined the legitimacy of the claim of respondent
Arroyo to the presidency. To dispel the erroneous notion, the Court precisely
treated the letter as an administrative matter and emphasized that it was without
prejudice to the disposition of any justiciable case that may be filed by a proper

party. In further clarification, the Court on February 20, 2001 issued another
resolution to inform the parties and the public that it xxx did not issue a resolution on
January 20, 2001 declaring the office of the President vacant and that neither did the
Chief Justice issue a press statement justifying the alleged resolution. Thus, there is
no reason for petitioner to request for the said twelve (12) justices to recuse
themselves. To be sure, a motion to inhibit filed by a party after losing his case is
suspect and is regarded with general disfavor.
Moreover, to disqualify any of the members of the Court, particularly a majority of
them, is nothing short of pro tanto depriving the Court itself of its jurisdiction as
established by the fundamental law.Disqualification of a judge is a deprivation of his
judicial power. And if that judge is the one designated by the Constitution to exercise the
jurisdiction of his court, as is the case with the Justices of this Court, the deprivation of
his or their judicial power is equivalent to the deprivation of the judicial power of the
court itself. It affects the very heart of judicial independence. [57] The proposed mass
disqualification, if sanctioned and ordered, would leave the Court no alternative but to
abandon a duty which it cannot lawfully discharge if shorn of the participation of its
entire membership of Justices.[58]
IN VIEW WHEREOF, petitioners Motion for Reconsideration in G.R. Nos. 14671015 and his Omnibus Motion in G.R. No. 146738 are DENIED for lack of merit.





G.R. Nos. 115908-09 December 6, 1995

DANNY GODOY, * accused-appellant.

PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,

Often glossed over in the emotional arguments against capital punishment is the
amplitude of legal protection accorded to the offender. Ignored by the polemicist are the
safeguards designed to minimally reduce, if not altogether eliminate, the grain of human
fault. Indeed, there is no critique on the plethora of rights enjoyed by the accused
regardless of how ruthlessly he committed the crime. Any margin of judicial error is

further addressed by the grace of executive clemency. But, even before that, all
convictions imposing the penalty of death are automatically reviewed by this Court. The
cases at bar, involving two death sentences, apostrophize for the condemned the role of
this ultimate judicial intervention.
Accused-appellant Danny Godoy was charged in two separate informations filed before
the Regional Trial Court, for Palawan and Puerto Princesa City, Branch 47, with rape
and kidnapping with serious illegal detention, respectively punished under Articles 335
and 267 of the Revised Penal Code, to wit:
In Criminal Case No. 11640 for Rape:
That on or about the evening of the 21st day of January, 1994, at
Barangay Pulot Center, Municipality of Brooke's Point, Province of
Palawan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
the said accused by means of force, threat and intimidation, by using a
knife and by means of deceit, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously have carnal knowledge with one Mia Taha to her damage and
prejudice. 1
In Criminal Case No. 11641 for Kidnapping with Serious Illegal Detention:
That on or about the 22nd day of January, 1994, at Barangay Ipilan,
Municipality of Brooke's Point, Province of Palawan, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, a private
individual, and being a teacher of the victim, Mia Taha, and by means of
deceit did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously kidnap or
detained (sic) said Mia Taha, a girl of 17 years old (sic), for a period of five
(5) days thus thereby depriving said Mia Taha of her liberty against her will
and consent and without legal justification, to the damage and prejudice of
said Mia Taha. 2
During the arraignment on both indictments, appellant pleaded not guilty to said charges
and, after the pre-trial was terminated, a joint trial of the two cases was conducted by
the trial court. 3
According to complainant Mia Taha, at around 7:00 P.M. of January 21, 1994, she went
to the boarding house of her cousin, Merlylyn Casantosan, at Pulot Center, Brooke's
Point which is near the Palawan National School (PNS), Pulot Branch, where she was
studying. When she saw that the house was dark, she decided to pass through the
kitchen door at the back because she knew that there was nobody inside. As soon as
she opened the door, somebody suddenly grabbed her, poked a knife on her neck,
dragged her by the hand and told her not to shout. She was then forced to lie down on

the floor. Although it was dark, complainant was able to recognize her assailant, by the
light coming from the moon and through his voice, as accused-appellant Danny Godoy
who was her Physics teacher at PNS.
When she was already on the floor, appellant removed her panty with one hand while
holding the knife with the other hand, opened the zipper of his pants, and then inserted
his private organ inside her private parts against her will. She felt pain because it was
her first experience and she cried. Throughout her ordeal, she could not utter a word.
She was very frightened because a knife was continually pointed at her. She also could
not fight back nor plead with appellant not to rape her because he was her teacher and
she was afraid of him. She was threatened not to report the incident to anyone or else
she and her family would be killed.
Thereafter, while she was putting on her panty, she noticed that her skirt was stained
with blood. Appellant walked with her to the gate of the house and she then proceeded
alone to the boarding house where she lived. She did not see where appellant went
after she left him at the gate. When she arrived at her boarding house, she saw her
landlady but she did not mention anything about the incident.
The following morning, January 22, 1994, complainant went home to her parents' house
at Ipilan, Brooke's Point. She likewise did not tell her parents about the incident for fear
that appellant might make good his threat. At around 3:00 P.M. of that same day,
appellant arrived at the house of her parents and asked permission from the latter if
complainant could accompany him to solicit funds because she was a candidate for
"Miss PNS Pulot." When her parents agreed, she was constrained to go with appellant
because she did not want her parents to get into trouble.
Appellant and complainant then left the house and they walked in silence, with Mia
following behind appellant, towards the highway where appellant hailed a passenger
jeep which was empty except for the driver and the conductor. She was forced to ride
the jeep because appellant threatened to kill her if she would not board the vehicle. The
jeep proceeded to the Sunset Garden at the poblacion, Brooke's Point where they
At the Sunset Garden, appellant checked in and brought her to a room where they staye
d for three days. During the entire duration of their stay at the Sunset Garden,
complainant was not allowed to leave the room which was always kept locked. She was
continuously guarded and constantly raped by appellant. She was, however, never
drunk or unconscious. Nonetheless, she was forced to have sex with appellant because
the latter was always carrying a knife with him.
In the early morning of January 25, 1994, appellant brought her to the house of his
friend at Edward's Subdivision where she was raped by him three times. She was

likewise detained and locked inside the room and tightly guarded by appellant. After two
days, or on January 27, 1994, they left the place because appellant came to know that
complainant had been reported and indicated as a missing person in the police blotter.
They went to see a certain Naem ** from whom appellant sought help. On that same
day, she was released but only after her parents agreed to settle the case with
Immediately thereafter, Mia's parents brought her to the District Hospital at Brooke's
Point where she was examined by Dr. Rogelio Divinagracia who made the following
medical findings:
GENERAL: Well developed, nourished, cooperative, walking, conscious,
coherent Filipina.
BREAST: Slightly globular with brown colored areola and nipple.
EXTERNAL EXAM.: Numerous pubic hair, fairly developed labia majora
and minora, hymenal opening stellate in shape, presence of laceration
superficial, longitudinal at the fossa navicularis, approximately 1/2 cm.
INTERNAL EXAM.: Hymenal opening, stellate in shape, laceration noted,
hymenal opening admits 2 fingers with slight resistance, prominent vaginal
rugae, cervix closed.
CONCLUSION: Hymenal opening admits easily 2 fingers with slight
resistance, presence of laceration, longitudinal at the fossa navicularis
approximately 1/2 cm. length. Hymenal opening can admit an average
size penis in erection with laceration. 4
Dr. Divinagracia further testified that the hymenal opening was in stellate shape and that
there was a laceration, which shows that complainant had participated in sexual
intercourse. On the basis of the inflicted laceration which was downward at 6 o'clock
position, he could not say that there was force applied because there were no scratches
or bruises, but only a week-old laceration. He also examined the patient bodily but
found no sign of bruises or injuries. The patient told him that she was raped.
During the cross-examination, complainant denied that she wrote the letters marked as
Exhibits "1" and "2"; that she never loved appellant but, on the contrary, she hated him
because of what he did to her; and that she did not notice if there were people near the
boarding house of her cousin. She narrated that when appellant started to remove her
panty, she was already lying down, and that even as appellant was doing this she could
not shout because she was afraid. She could not remember with which hand appellant

held the knife. She was completely silent from the time she was made to lie down, while
her panty was being removed, and even until appellant was able to rape her.
When appellant went to their house the following day, she did not know if he was armed
but there was no threat made on her or her parents. On the contrary, appellant even
courteously asked permission from them in her behalf and so they left the house with
appellant walking ahead of her. When she was brought to the Sunset Garden, she could
not refuse because she was afraid. However, she admitted that at that time, appellant
was not pointing a knife at her. She only saw the cashier of the Sunset Garden but she
did not notice if there were other people inside. She likewise did not ask the appellant
why he brought her there.
Complainant described the lock in their room as an ordinary doorknob, similar to that on
the door of the courtroom which, even if locked, could still be opened from the inside,
and she added that there was a sliding lock inside the room. According to her, they
stayed at Sunset Garden for three days and three nights but she never noticed if
appellant ever slept because everytime she woke up, appellant was always beside her.
She never saw him close his eyes.
Helen Taha, the mother of complainant, testified that when the latter arrived at their
house in the morning of January 22, 1994, she noticed that Mia appeared weak and her
eyes were swollen. When she asked her daughter if there was anything wrong, the
latter merely kept silent. That afternoon, she allowed Mia to go with appellant because
she knew he was her teacher. However, when Mia and appellant failed to come home at
the expected time, she and her husband, Adjeril, went to look for them at Ipilan. When
they could not find them there, she went to the house of appellant because she was
already suspecting that something was wrong, but appellant's wife told her that he did
not come home.
Early the next morning, she and her husband went to the Philippine National Police
(PNP) station at Pulot, Brooke's Point and had the incident recorded in the police blotter.
The following day, they went to the office of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) at
Puerto Princess City, then to the police station near the NBI, and finally to the radio
station airing the Radyo ng Bayan program where she made an appeal to appellant to
return her daughter. When she returned home, a certain Naem was waiting there and
he informed her that Mia was at Brooke's Point. He further conveyed appellant's
willingness to become a Muslim so he could marry Mia and thus settle the case. Helen
Taha readily acceded because she wanted to see her daughter.
In the morning of January 27, 1994, she went to the house of Naem who sent
somebody to fetch complainant. She testified that when Mia arrived, she was crying as
she reported that she was raped by appellant, and that the latter threatened to kill her if
she did not return within an hour. Because of this, she immediately brought Mia to the

hospital where the latter was examined and then they proceeded to the municipal hall to
file a complaint for rape and kidnapping. Both Mia and Helen Taha executed separate
sworn statements before the PNP at Brooke's Point.
Later, Fruit Godoy, the wife of appellant, went to their house and offered P50,000.00 for
the settlement of the case. On their part, her husband insisted that they just settle,
hence all three of them, Adjeril, Helen and Mia Taha, went to the Office of the Provincial
Prosecutor where they met with the mother of appellant who gave them P30,000.00.
Adjeril and Helen Taha subsequently executed an affidavit of desistance in Criminal
Case No. 7687 for kidnapping pending in the prosecutor's office, which was sworn to
before Prosecutor II Chito S. Meregillano. Helen Taha testified that she agreed to the
settlement because that was what her husband wanted. Mia Taha was dropped from the
school and was not allowed to graduate. Her father died two months later, supposedly
because of what happened.
The defense presented a different version of what actually transpired.
According to appellant, he first met Mia Taha sometime in August, 1993 at the Palawan
National School (PNS). Although he did not court her, he fell in love with her because
she often told him "Sir, I love you." What started as a joke later developed into a serious
relationship which was kept a secret from everybody else. It was on December 20, 1993
when they first had sexual intercourse as lovers. Appellant was then assigned at the
Narra Pilot Elementary School at the poblacion because he was the coach of the
Palawan delegation for chess. At around 5:00 P.M. of that day, complainant arrived at
his quarters allegedly because she missed him, and she then decided to spend the
night there with him.
Exactly a month thereafter, specifically in the evening of January 20, 1994, Erna
Baradero, a teacher at the PNS, was looking inside the school building for her husband,
who was a security guard of PNS, when she heard voices apparently coming from the
Orchids Room. She went closer to listen and she heard a girl's voice saying "Mahal na
mahal kita, Sir, iwanan mo ang iyong asawa at tatakas tayo." Upon hearing this, she
immediately opened the door and was startled to see Mia Taha and Danny Godoy
holding hands. She asked them what they were doing there at such an unholy hour but
the two, who were obviously caught by surprise, could not answer. She then hurriedly
closed the door and left. According to this witness, complainant admitted to her that she
was having an affair with appellant. Desirous that such illicit relationship must be
stopped, Erna Baradero informed appellant's wife about it when the latter arrived from
Manila around the first week of February, 1994.
Upon the request of appellant's wife, Erna Baradero executed an affidavit in connection
with the present case, but the same was not filed then because of the affidavit of
desistance which was executed and submitted by the parents of complainant. In her

sworn statement, later marked in evidence as Exhibit "7", Erna Baradero alleged that on
January 21, 1994, she confronted Mia Taha about the latter's indiscretion and reminded
her that appellant is a married man, but complainant retorted, "Ano ang pakialam mo,"
adding that she loves appellant very much.
Appellant testified that on January 21, 1994, at around 7:00 P.M., Mia Taha went to his
office asking for help with the monologue that she would be presenting for the Miss PNS
contest. He agreed to meet her at the house of her cousin, Merlylyn Casantosan.
However, when he reached the place, the house was dark and he saw Mia waiting for
him outside. Accordingly, they just sat on a bench near the road where there was a
lighted electric post and they talked about the matter she had earlier asked him about.
They stayed there for fifteen minutes, after which complainant returned to her boarding
house just across the street while appellant headed for home some fifteen meters away.
It appears that while complainant was then waiting for appellant, Filomena Pielago, a
former teacher of Mia at PNS and who was then on her way to a nearby store, saw her
sitting on a bench and asked what she was doing there at such a late hour. Complainant
merely replied that she was waiting for somebody. Filomena proceeded to the store
and, along the way, she saw Inday Zapanta watering the plants outside the porch of her
house. When Filomena Pielago returned, she saw complainant talking with appellant
and she noticed that they were quite intimate because they were holding hands. This
made her suspect that the two could be having a relationship. She, therefore, told
appellant that his wife had finished her aerobics class and was already waiting for him.
She also advised Mia to go home.
Prior to this incident, Filomena Pielago already used to see them seated on the same
bench. Filomena further testified that she had tried to talk appellant out of the
relationship because his wife had a heart ailment. She also warned Mia Taha, but to no
avail. She had likewise told complainant's grandmother about her activities. At the trial,
she identified the handwriting of complainant appearing on the letters marked as
Exhibits "1" and "2", claiming that she is familiar with the same because Mia was her
former student. On cross-examination, Filomena clarified that when she saw the couple
on the night of January 21, 1994, the two were talking naturally, she did not see Mia
crying, nor did it appear as if appellant was pleading with her.
In the afternoon of the following day, January 22, 1994, appellant met Mia's mother on
the road near their house and she invited him to come up and eat "buko," which
invitation he accepted. Thirty minutes thereafter, complainant told him to ask permission
from her mother for them to go and solicit funds at the poblacion, and he did so. Before
they left, he noticed that Mia was carrying a plastic bag and when he asked her about it,
she said that it contained her things which she was bringing to her cousin's house.
Appellant and Mia went to the poblacion where they solicited funds until 6:30 P.M. and
then had snacks at the Vic Tan Store.

Thereafter, complainant told appellant that it was already late and there was no more
available transportation, so she suggested that they just stay at Sunset Garden.
Convinced that there was nothing wrong in that because they already had intimate
relations, aside from the fact that Mia had repeatedly told him she would commit suicide
should he leave her, appellant was prevailed upon to stay at the hotel. Parenthetically, it
was complainant who arranged their registration and subsequently paid P400.00 for
their bill from the funds they had solicited. That evening, however, appellant told
complainant at around 9:00 P.M. that he was going out to see a certain Bert Dalojo at
the latter's residence. In truth, he borrowed a motorcycle from Fernando Rubio and went
home to Pulot. He did not bring complainant along because she had refused to go
The following morning, January 23, 1994, appellant went to the house of complainant's
parents and informed them that Mia spent the night at the Sunset Garden. Mia's parents
said that they would just fetch her there, so he went back to Sunset Garden and waited
for them outside the hotel until 5:00 P.M. When they did not arrive, he decided to go with
one Isagani Virey, whom he saw while waiting near the road, and they had a drinking
session with Virey's friends. Thereafter, Virey accompanied him back to Sunset Garden
where they proceeded to Mia's room. Since the room was locked from the inside, Virey
had to knock on the door until it was opened by her.
Once inside, he talked to complainant and asked her what they were doing, but she
merely answered that what she was doing was of her own free will and that at that
moment her father was not supposed to know about it for, otherwise, he would kill her.
What complainant did not know, however, was that appellant had already reported the
matter to her parents, although he opted not to tell her because he did not want to add
to her apprehensions. Isagani Virey further testified that when he saw appellant and
complainant on January 23 and 24, 1994, the couple looked very happy.
Appellant denied that they had sexual intercourse during their entire stay at Sunset
Garden, that is, from January 22 to 24, 1994, because he did not have any idea as to
what she really wanted to prove to him. Appellant knew that what they were doing was
wrong but he allegedly could not avoid Mia because of her threat that she would commit
suicide if he left her. Thus, according to appellant, on January 24, 1994 he asked
Isagani Virey to accompany him to the house of Romy Vallan, a policeman, to report the
Additionally, Virey testified that appellant and Mia went to see him at his aunt's house to
ask for assistance in procuring transportation because, according to appellant, the
relatives of Mia were already looking for them and so they intend to go to Puerto
Princesa City. Virey accompanied them to the house of Romy Vallan, whose wife was a
co-teacher of appellant's wife, but the latter refused to help because of the complicated
situation appellant was in.

Nevertheless, Vallan verified from the police station whether a complaint had been filed
against appellant and after finding out that there was none, he told appellant to just
consult a certain Naem who is an "imam." Appellant was able to talk to Naem at Vallan's
house that same day and bared everything about him and Mia. Naem suggested that
appellant marry complainant in Muslim rites but appellant refused because he was
already married. It was eventually agreed that Naem would just mediate in behalf of
appellant and make arrangements for a settlement with Mia's parents. Later that day,
Naem went to see the parents of complainant at the latter's house.
The following day, January 25, 1994, allegedly because complainant could no longer
afford to pay their hotel bills, the couple were constrained to transfer to the house of
appellant's friend, Fernando Rubio, at Edward's Subdivision where they stayed for two
days. They just walked along the national highway from Sunset Garden to Edward's
Subdivision which was only five hundred to seven hundred meters away. The owner of
the house, Fernando Rubio, as well as his brother Benedicto Rubio, testified that the
couple were very happy, they were intimate and sweet to each other, they always ate
together, and it was very obvious that they were having a relationship.
In fact, Fernando Rubio recalled that complainant even called appellant "Papa." While
they were there, she would buy food at the market, help in the cooking, wash clothes,
and sometimes watch television. When Fernando Rubio once asked her why she chose
to go with appellant despite the fact the he was a married man, Mia told him that she
really loved appellant. She never told him, and Fernando Rubio never had the slightest
suspicion, that she was supposed to have been kidnapped as it was later claimed. He
also testified that several police officers lived within their neighborhood and if
complainant had really been kidnapped and detained, she could have easily reported
that fact to them. Mia was free to come and go as she pleased, and the room where
they stayed was never locked because the lock had been destroyed.
On cross-examination, Fernando Rubio declared that appellant was merely an
acquaintance of his; that it was Naem who went to the lodging house to arrange for Mia
to go home; that complainant's mother never went to his house; and that it was Chief of
Police Eliseo Crespo who fetched appellant from the lodging house and brought him to
the municipal hall.
Shortly before noon of January 26, 1994, Naem again met with appellant at Edward's
Subdivision and informed him that complainant's parents were willing to talk to him at
Naem's house the next day. The following morning, or on January 27, 1994, appellant
was not able to talk to complainant's parents because they merely sent a child to fetch
Mia at Edward's Subdivision and to tell her that her mother, who was at Naem's house,
wanted to see her. Appellant permitted complainant to go but he told her that within one
hour he was be going to the police station at the municipal hall so that they could settle
everything there.

After an hour, while appellant was already on his way out of Edward's Subdivision, he
was met by Chief of Police Eliseo Crespo who invited him to the police station.
Appellant waited at the police station the whole afternoon but when complainant, her
parents and relatives arrived at around 5:00 P.M., he was not given the chance to talk to
any one of them. That afternoon of January 27, 1994, appellant was no longer allowed
to leave and he was detained at the police station after Mia and her parents lodged a
complaint for rape and kidnapping against him.
During his detention, Mia's cousin, Lorna Casantosan, delivered to appellant on different
occasions two letters from complainant dated February 27, 1994 and March 1, 1994,
respectively. As Mia's teacher, appellant is familiar with and was, therefore, able to
identify the handwriting in said letters as that of Mia Taha. After a time, he came to
know, through his mother, that an affidavit of desistance was reportedly executed by
complainants. However, he claims that he never knew and it was never mentioned to
him, not until the day he testified in court, that his mother paid P30,000.00 to Mia's
father because, although he did not dissuade them, neither did he request his mother to
talk to complainants in order to settle the case.
Under cross-examination, appellant denied that he poked a knife at and raped Mia Taha
on January 21, 1994. However, he admitted that he had sex with Mia at the Sunset
Garden but that was already on January 24, 1994. While they were at Edward's
Subdivision, they never had sexual relations. Appellant was told, when complainant
visited him in jail, that her father would kill her if she refused to testify against him,
although by the time she testified in court, her father had already died.
Appellant further testified that complainant has had several illicit relations in the
boarding house of her cousin, Merlylyn Casantosan, which was a well-known fact in
Pulot. However, he decided to have a relationship with her because he wanted to
change her and that was what they had agreed upon. Appellant denied that, during the
time when they were staying together, Mia had allegedly asked permission to leave
several times but that he refused. On the contrary, he claimed that on January 27, 1994
when she told him that her parents wanted to see her, he readily gave her permission to
He also identified the clothes that Mia brought with her when they left her parents'
house on January 22, 1994, but which she left behind at the Rubios' lodging house after
she failed to return on January 27, 1994. The bag of clothes was brought to him at the
provincial jail by Benedicto Rubio.
Appellant likewise declared that he had been detained at the provincial jail since
January 27, 1994 but the warrant for his arrest was issued only on January 28, 1994;
and that he did not submit a counter-affidavit because according to his former counsel,
Atty. Paredes, it was no longer necessary since the complainants had already executed

an affidavit of desistance. He admits having signed a "Waiver of Right to Preliminary

Investigation" in connection with these cases.
On rebuttal, Lorna Casantosan, the cousin of Mia Taha, denied that she delivered any
letter to appellant when the latter was still detained at the provincial jail. She admitted,
on cross-examination, that she was requested by Mia Taha to testify for her, although
she clarified that she does not have any quarrel or misunderstanding with appellant.
Mia Taha was again presented on rebuttal and she denied the testimony of Erna
Baradero regarding the incident at the Orchids Room because, according to her, the
truth was that she was at the boarding house of Toto Zapanta on that date and time.
She likewise negated the claim that Erna Baradero confronted her on January 21, 1994
about her alleged relationship with appellant contending that she did not see her former
teacher on that day. Similarly, she disclaimed having seen and talked to Filemona
Pielago on the night of January 21, 1994. She vehemently disavowed that she and
appellant were lovers, much less with intimate relations, since there never was a time
that they became sweethearts.
She sought to rebut, likewise through bare denials, the following testimonies of the
defense witnesses: that she told appellant "iwanan mo ang iyong asawa at tatakas
tayo;" that she answered "wala kang pakialam" when Erna Baradero confronted her
about her relationship with appellant; that she was the one who registered them at
Sunset Garden and paid for their bill; that appellant left her at Sunset Garden to go to
Ipil on January 22, 1994; that Isagani Virey came to their room and stayed there for five
minutes, because the only other person who went there was the room boy who served
their food; that they went to the house of Virey's aunt requesting help for transportation;
and that she was free to roam around or to go out of the lodging house at Edward's
Mia Taha also rejected as false the testimony of appellant that she went to see him at
Narra, Palawan to have sex with him and claims that the last time she went to Narra
was when she was still in Grade VI; that she ever told him "I love you, sabik no sabik
ako sa iyo" when she allegedly went to Narra; that she wrote to him, since the letters
marked as Exhibits "1" and "2" are not hers; that she threatened to commit suicide if
appellant would leave her since she never brought a blade with her; and that at Sunset
Garden and at Edward's Subdivison, she was not being guarded by appellant.
However, on cross-examination, complainant identified her signature on her test paper
marked as Exhibit "4" and admitted that the signature thereon is exactly the same as
that appearing on Exhibits "1" and "2". Then, contradicting her previous disclaimers, she
also admitted that the handwriting on Exhibits "1" and "2" all belong to her.

On sur-rebuttal, Armando Pasion, a provincial guard of the Provincial Jail, Palawan who
volunteered to testify in these cases, identified Lorna Casantosan as the person who
visited appellant in jail on February 27, 1994 at around 4:00 P.M. Since he was on duty
at that time, he asked her what she wanted and she said she would just visit appellant.
Pasion then called appellant and told him he had a visitor. Lorna Casantosan and
appellant talked at the visiting area which is around ten meters away from his post, and
then he saw her hand over to appellant a letter which the latter immediately read. This
witness declared that appellant never requested him to testify.
Another sur-rebuttal witness, Desmond Selga, a jeepney driver, testified that in the
afternoon of January 22, 1994, he was plying his regular route in going to Brooke's
Point and, when he passed by Ipilan, he picked up appellant and Mia Taha. At that time,
there were already several passengers inside his jeepney. The two got off at the
poblacion market. He denied that he brought them to the Sunset Garden.
On May 20, 1994, the court a quo rendered judgment 5 finding appellant guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crimes of rape and kidnapping with serious illegal detention,
and sentencing him to the maximum penalty of death in both cases. 6By reason of the
nature of the penalty imposed, these cases were elevated to this Court on automatic
The records show that, on the basis of the complaints for rape 7 and kidnapping with
serious illegal detention 8 filed by Mia Taha and Helen Taha, respectively, the Municipal
Trial Court of Brooke's Point issued a resolution 9 on February 4, 1994 finding the
existence of a prima facie case against appellant. On February 10, 1994, the spouses
Adjeril Taha and Helen Taha executed an affidavit of desistance withdrawing the charge
of kidnapping with serious illegal detention. 10However, pursuant to a joint
resolution 11 issued on March 11, 1994 by Prosecutor II Reynaldo R. Guayco of the
Office of the Provincial Prosecutor, two separate informations for rape and for
kidnapping with serious illegal detention were nevertheless filed against appellant
Danny Godoy with no bail recommended in both charges.
Appellant is now before us seeking the reversal of the judgment of the court below, on
the following assignment of errors:
I. The trial court erred in convicting the accused-appellant (of) the crime of
rape despite the fact that the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond
reasonable doubt.
II. The trial court erred by failing to adhere to the doctrine/principle in
reviewing the evidence adduced in a prosecution for the crime of rape as
cited in its decision reiterating the case of People vs. Calixto (193 SCRA

III. The trial court erred in concluding that the accused-appellant had
consummated the crime of rape against private complainant.
IV. The trial court erred by its failure to give any credence to Exhibits "1"
and "2" as evidence of the defense.
V. The trial court erred in convicting the accused-appellant of the crime of
kidnapping with serious illegal detention as the prosecution failed to prove
his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
VI. The trial court erred in giving full faith and credence to the testimonies
of prosecution witnesses and completely ignoring the testimonies of the
defense witnesses.
VII. The trial court erred in concluding that there was implied admission of
guilt on the part of the accused-appellant in view of the offer to
VIII. The trial court erred in ordering that the complainant be indemnified in
the sum of one hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) for each of the
alleged crimes committed.
IX. The trial court gravely erred by imposing the death penalty for each of
the crimes charged on the accused-appellant despite the fact that the
crimes were allegedly committed prior to the effectivity of Republic Act No.
7659. 12
A. The Rape Case
A rape charge is a serious matter with pernicious consequences. It exposes both the
accused and the accuser to humiliation, fear and anxieties, not to mention the stigma of
lives. By the very nature of the crime of rape, conviction or acquittal depends almost
entirely on the credibility of the complainant's testimony because of the fact that usually
only the participants can testify as to its occurrence. 14 This notwithstanding, the basic
rule remains that in all criminal prosecutions without regard to the nature of the defense
which the accused may raise, the burden of proof remains at all times upon the
prosecution to establish his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the accused raises a
sufficient doubt as to any material element, and the prosecution is then unable to
overcome this evidence, the prosecution has failed to carry its burden of proof of the
guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt and the accused must be acquitted. 15
The rationale for the rule is that, confronted by the full panoply of State authority, the
accused is accorded the presumption of innocence to lighten and even reverse the

heavy odds against him. Mere accusation is not enough to convict him, and neither is
the weakness of his defense. The evidence for the prosecution must be strong per se,
strong enough to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. 16 In other
words, the accused may be convicted on the basis of the lone uncorroborated testimony
of the offended woman, provided such testimony is clear, positive, convincing and
otherwise consistent with human nature and the normal course of things.
There are three well-known principles that guide an appellate court in reviewing the
evidence presented in a prosecution for the crime of rape. These are: (1) while rape is a
most detestable crime, and ought to be severely and impartially punished, it must be
borne in mind that it is an accusation easy to be made, hard to be proved, but harder to
be defended by the party accused, though innocent; 17 (2) that 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; 18 and (3) that 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. 19
In the case at bar, several circumstances exist which amply demonstrate and
ineluctably convince this Court that there was no rape committed on the alleged date
and place, and that the charge of rape was the contrivance of an afterthought, rather
than a truthful plaint for redress of an actual wrong.
I. Two principal facts indispensably to be proven beyond reasonable doubt for conviction
of the crime of rape under paragraph (1), Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code are,
first, that the accused had carnal knowledge of the complainant; and, second, that the
same was accomplished through force or intimidation.
1. The prosecution has palpably failed to prove beyond peradventure of doubt that
appellant had sexual congress with complainant against her will. Complainant avers that
on the night of January 21, 1994, she was sexually assaulted by appellant in the
boarding house of her cousin, Merlelyn Casantosan. Appellant, on the other hand,
denied such a serious imputation and contends that on said date and time, he merely
talked with complainant outside that house. We find appellant's version more credible
and sustained by the evidence presented and of record.
According to complainant, when she entered the kitchen of the boarding house,
appellant was already inside apparently waiting for her. If so, it is quite perplexing how
appellant could have known that she was going there on that particular day and at that
time, considering that she does not even live there, unless of course it was appellant's
intention to satisfy his lustful desires on anybody who happened to come along. But
then this would be stretching the imagination too far, aside from the fact that such a
generic intent with an indeterminate victim was never established nor even intimated by
the prosecution.

Moreover, any accord of credit to the complainant's story is precluded by the

implausibility that plagues it as regards the setting of the supposed sexual assault. 20 It
will be noted that the place where the alleged crime was committed is not an ordinary
residence but a boarding house where several persons live and where people are
expected to come and go. The prosecution did not even bother to elucidate on whether
it was the semestral break or that the boarding house had remained closed for some
time, in order that it could be safely assumed that nobody was expected to arrive at any
given time.
Appellant, on the other hand, testified that on that fateful day, he went to the boarding
house upon the invitation of complainant because the latter requested him to help her
with her monologue for the Miss PNS contest. However, they were not able to go inside
the house because it was locked and there was no light, so they just sat on a bench
outside the house and talked. This testimony of appellant was substantially
corroborated by defense witness Filomena Pielago. She affirmed that in the evening of
January 21, 1994, she saw both appellant and complainant seated on a bench outside
the boarding house, and that she even advised them to go home because it was
already late and appellant's wife, who was the head teacher of witness Pielago, was
waiting for him at the school building. On rebuttal, complainant could only deny that she
saw Pielago that night. Doctrinally, where the inculpatory facts and circumstances are
capable of two or more explanations one of which is consistent with the innocence of
the accused and the other consistent with his guilt, then the evidence does not fulfill the
test of moral certainty and is not sufficient to support a conviction. 21
It was further alleged by complainant that after her alleged ravishment, she put on her
panty and then appellant openly accompanied her all the way to the gate of the house
where they eventually parted ways. This is inconceivable. It is not the natural tendency
of a man to remain for long by the side of the woman he had raped, 22 and in public in a
highly populated area at that. Given the stealth that accompanies it and the anxiety to
end further exposure at the scene, the logical post-incident impulse of the felon is to
distance himself from his victim as far and as soon as practicable, to avoid discovery
and apprehension. It is to be expected that one who is guilty of a crime would want to
dissociate himself from the person of his victim, the scene of the crime, and from all
other things and circumstances related to the offense which could possibly implicate
him or give rise to even the slightest suspicion as to his guilt. Verily, the guilty flee where
no man pursueth.
It is of common knowledge that facts which prove or tend to prove that the accused was
at the scene of the crime are admissible as relevant, on the theory that such presence
can be appreciated as a circumstance tending to identify the appellant. 23 Consequently,
it is not in accord with human experience for appellant to have let himself be seen with
the complainant immediately after he had allegedly raped her. 24 It thus behooves this
Court to reject the notion that appellant would be so foolhardy as to accompany

complainant up to the gate of the house, considering its strategic locationvis-avis complainant's boarding house which is just across the street, 25 and the PNS
schoolbuilding which is only around thirty meters away. 26
Complainant mentioned in her narration that right after the incident she went directly to
her boarding house where she saw her landlady. Yet, the landlady was never presented
as a witness to corroborate the story of complainant, despite the fact that the former
was the very first person she came in contact with from the time appellant allegedly left
her at the gate of the Casantosan boarding house after her alleged traumatic ordeal.
Even though they supposedly did not talk, the landlady could at least have testified on
complainant's physical appearance and to attest to the theorized fact that indeed she
saw complainant on said date and hour, possibly with dishevelled hair, bloody skirt and
We are, therefore, justifiedly inclined to believe appellant's version that it was Mia Taha
who invited him to the boarding house to help her with the monologue she was
preparing for the school contest. This is even consonant with her testimony that
appellant fetched her the following day in order to solicit funds for her candidacy in that
same school affair.
In contrast, complainant's professed reason for going to the boarding house is vague
and tenuous. At first, she asserted that she was at the boarding house talking with a
friend and then, later, she said it was her cousin. Subsequently, she again wavered and
said that she was not able to talk to her cousin. Furthermore, she initially stated that on
January 21, 1994 at around 7:00 P.M., she was at the boarding house conversing with
her cousin. Then in the course of her narration, she gave another version and said that
when she reached the boarding house it was dark and there was nobody inside.
The apparent ease with which she changed or adjusted her answers in order to cover
up or realign the same with her prior inconsistent statements is readily apparent from
her testimony even on this single episode, thus:
Q Sometime on January 21, 1994, at about 7:00 o'clock in
the evening, do you remember where you were?
A Yes, sir.
Q Where were you?
A I was in the boarding house of Merlylyn Casantosan, Sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q Why were you there?

A I was conversing with my friend there, Sir.

Q Conversing with whom?
A With my cousin, Your Honor.
Q Your cousin's name?
A Merlylyn Casantosan, Your Honor.
xxx xxx xxx
Q You said that this Dane or Danny Godoy raped you, will
you please relate to this Honorable Court how that rape
A On Friday and it was 7:00 o'clock in the evening.
Q Of what date?
A January 21, 1994, Your Honor.
xxx xxx xxx
Q Then what happened?
A I went to the boarding house of my cousin Merlylyn
Casantosan. I passed (through) the kitchen and then when I
opened the door somebody grabbed me suddenly.
xxx xxx xxx
Q During that time were there other people present in that
boarding house where you said Danny Godoy raped you?
A None, Sir.

Q So, the house was empty?
A Yes, Your Honor.
Q I thought your cousin was there and you were conversing?
A When I went there she was not there,
Honor. 27 (Corrections and emphasis supplied.)


2. Complainant testified that appellant raped her through the use of force and
intimidation, specifically by holding a knife to her neck. However, the element of force
was not sufficiently established. The physical facts adverted to by the lower court as
corroborative of the prosecution's theory on the use of force are undoubtedly the
medico-legal findings of Dr. Rogelio Divinagracia. Upon closer scrutiny, however, we
find that said findings neither support nor confirm the charge that rape was so
committed through forcible means by appellant against complainant on January 21,
The reported hymenal laceration which, according to Dr. Divinagracia, was a week old
and already healed, and the conclusion therefrom that complainant had sexual
intercourse with a man on the date which she alleged, do not establish the supposed
rape since the same findings and conclusion are likewise consistent with appellant's
admission that coitus took place with the consent of complainant at Sunset Garden on
January 24, 1994. 28Further, rather than substantiating the prosecution's aforesaid
theory and the supposed date of commission of rape, the finding that there were no
evident signs of extra-genital injuries tends, instead, to lend more credence to
appellant's claim of voluntary coition on a later date and the absence of a struggle or the
lack of employment of physical force. 29 In rape of the nature alleged in this case, we
repeat, the testimony of the complainant must be corroborated by physical evidence
showing use of force. 30
Thus, on the basis of the laceration inflicted, which is superficial at 6 o'clock position,
the aforesaid medico-legal expert opined that it could not be categorically stated that
there was force involved. On further questioning, he gave a straightforward answer that
force was not applied. 31 He also added that when he examined the patient bodily, he did
not see any sign of bruises. 32 The absence of any sign of physical violence on the
complainant's body is an indication of complainant's consent to the act. 33 While the
absence in the medical certificate of external signs of physical injuries on the victim
does not necessarily negate the commission of rape, 34 the instant case is clearly an
exception to this rule since appellant has successfully cast doubt on the veracity of that
charge against him.

Even granting ex gratia argumenti that the medical report and the laceration
corroborated complainant's assertion that there was sexual intercourse, of course the
same cannot be said as to the alleged use of force. It has been held that such
corroborative evidence is not considered sufficient, since proof of facts constituting one
principal element of the crime is not corroborative proof of facts necessary to constitute
another equally important element of the crime. 35
Complainant testified that she struggled a little but it was not really strong because she
was afraid of appellant. Again assuming that a sexual assault did take place as she
claims, we nevertheless strongly believe that her supposed fear is more imaginary than
real. It is evident that complainant did not use the manifest resistance expected of a
woman defending her honor and chastity. 36 She failed to make any outcry when
appellant allegedly grabbed her and dragged her inside the house. There is likewise no
evidence on record that she put up a struggle when appellant forced her to lie on the
floor, removed her panty, opened the zipper of his trousers, and inserted his organ
inside her genitals. Neither did she demonstrate that appellant, in committing the
heinous act, subjected her to any force of whatever nature or form.
Complainant's explanation for her failure to shout or struggle is too conveniently general
and ruefully unconvincing to make this Court believe that she tenaciously resisted the
alleged sexual attack on her by appellant. And, if ever she did put up any struggle or
objected at all to the involuntary intercourse, such was not enough to show the kind of
resistance expected of a woman defending her virtue and honor. 37 Her failure to do
anything while allegedly being raped renders doubtful her charge of rape, 38 especially
when we consider the actual mise-en-scene in the context of her asseverations.
There is a rule that the rape victim's panty and blood-stained dress are not essential,
and need not be presented, as they are not indispensable evidence to prove rape. 39 We
incline to the view, however, that this general rule holds true only if there exist other
corroborative evidence sufficiently and convincingly proving the rape charge beyond
reasonable doubt. The rule should go the other way where, as in the present case, the
testimony of complainant is inherently weak and no other physical evidence has been
presented to bolster the charge of sexual abuse except for the medical report which, as
earlier discussed, even negated the existence of one of the essential elements of the
crime. We cannot, therefore, escape the irresistible conclusion that the deliberate nonpresentation of complainant's blood-stained skirt, if it did exist, should vigorously militate
against the prosecution's cause.
II. The conduct of the outraged woman immediately following the alleged assault is of
the utmost importance as tending to establish the truth or falsity of the charge. It may
well be doubted whether a conviction for the offense of rape should even be sustained
from the uncorroborated testimony of the woman unless the court is satisfied beyond
doubt that her conduct at the time when the alleged rape was committed and

immediately thereafter was such as might be reasonably expected from her under all
Complainant said that on the day following the supposed rape, appellant went to her
parents' house and asked permission from them to allow her to go with him to solicit
funds for her candidacy. Nowhere throughout her entire testimony did she aver or imply
that appellant was armed and that by reason thereof she was forced to leave with him.
In brief, she was neither threatened nor intimidated by appellant. Her pretense that she
was afraid of the supposed threat previously made by appellant does not inspire belief
since appellant was alone and unarmed on that occasion and there was no showing of
any opportunity for him to make good his threat, even assuming that he had really
voiced any. On the contrary, complainant even admitted that appellant respectfully
asked permission from her parents for her to accompany him.
Complainant's enigmatic behavior after her alleged ravishment can only be described as
paradoxical: it was so strangely normal as to be abnormal. 41 It seems odd, if not
incredible, that upon seeing the person who had allegedly raped her only the day
before, she did not accuse, revile or denounce him, or show rage, revulsion, and
disgust. 42 Instead, she meekly went with appellant despite the presence of her parents
and the proximity of neighbors which, if only for such facts, would naturally have
deterred appellant from pursuing any evil design. From her deportment, it does not
appear that the alleged threat made by appellant had instilled any fear in the mind of
complainant. Such a nonchalant, unconcerned attitude is totally at odds with the
demeanor that would naturally be expected of a person who had just suffered the
ultimate invasion of her womanhood. 43
III. Rape is a very emotional word, and the natural human reactions to it are categorical:
admiration and sympathy for the courageous female publicly seeking retribution for her
outrageous violation, and condemnation of the rapist. However, being interpreters of the
law and dispensers of justice, judges must look at a rape charge without those
proclivities, and deal with it with extreme caution and circumspection. Judges must free
themselves of the natural tendency to be overprotective of every woman decrying her
having been sexually abused, and demanding punishment for the abuser. While they
ought to be cognizant of the anguish and humiliation the rape victim goes through as
she demands justice, judges should equally bear in mind that their responsibility is to
render justice based on the law. 44
The rule, therefore, that this Court generally desists from disturbing the conclusions of
the trial court on the credibility of witnesses 45 will not apply where the evidence of
record fails to support or substantiate the lower court's findings of fact and conclusions;
or where the lower court overlooked certain facts of substance and value that, if

considered, would affect the outcome of the case; or where the disputed decision is
based on a misapprehension of facts.46
The trial court here unfortunately relied solely on the lone testimony of complainant
regarding the January 21, 1994 incident. Indeed, it is easy to allege that one was raped
by a man. All that the victim had to testify to was that appellant poked a knife at her,
threatened to kill her if she shouted and under these threats, undressed her and had
sexual intercourse with her. The question then that confronts the trial court is whether or
not complainant's testimony is credible. 47 The technique in deciphering testimony is not
to solely concentrate on isolated parts of that testimony. The correct meaning of the
testimony can often be ascertained only upon a perusal of the entire testimony.
Everything stated by the witness has to be considered in relation to what else has been
stated. 48
In the case at bar, the challenged decision definitely leaves much to be desired. The
court below made no serious effort to dispassionately or impartially consider the totality
of the evidence for the prosecution in spite of the teaching in various rulings that in rape
cases, the testimony of the offended party must not be accepted with precipitate
credulity. 49 In finding that the crime of rape was committed, the lower court took into
account only that portion of the testimony of complainant regarding the January 21,
1994 incident and conveniently deleted the rest. Taken singly, there would be reason to
believe that she was indeed raped. But if we are to consider the other portions of her
testimony concerning the events which transpired thereafter, which unfortunately the
court a quo wittingly or unwittingly failed or declined to appreciate, the actual truth could
have been readily exposed.
There are easily perceived or discernible defects in complainant's testimony which
inveigh against its being accorded the full credit it was given by the trial court.
Considered independently of any other, the defects might not suffice to overturn the trial
court's judgment of conviction; but assessed and weighed conjointly, as logic and
fairness dictate, they exert a powerful compulsion towards reversal of said
judgment. 50 Thus:
1. Complainant said that she was continuously raped by herein appellant at the Sunset
Garden and around three times at Edward's Subdivision. In her sworn statement she
made the same allegations. If this were true, it is inconceivable how the investigating
prosecutor could have overlooked these facts with their obvious legal implications and,
instead, filed an information charging appellant with only one count of rape. The
incredibility of complainant's representations is further magnified by the fact that even
the trial court did not believe it, as may be inferred from its failure to consider this aspect
of her testimony, unless we were to uncharitably assume that it was similarly befuddled.

2. She claims that appellant always carried a knife, but it was never explained how she
was threatened with the same in such a manner that she was allegedly always cowed
into giving in to his innumerable sexual demands. We are not unaware that in rape
cases, this claim that complainant now advances appears to be a common testimonial
expedient and face-saving subterfuge.
3. According to her, they stayed at Sunset Garden for three days and three nights and
that she never noticed if appellant slept because she never saw him close his eyes. Yet,
when asked if she slept side by side with appellant, complainant admitted that everytime
she woke up, appellant was invariably in bed beside her. 51
4. She alleged that she could never go out of the room because it was always locked
and it could not be opened from the inside. But, this was refuted by complainant's own
testimony, as follows:
Q And yet the door could be opened by you from the inside?
A No, Sir, it was locked.
Q Can you describe the lock of that room?
A It's like that of the door where there is a doorknob.
Let it be recorded that the lock is a doorknob and may I ask
that the door be locked and opened from the inside.
Alright (sic) you go down the witness stand and find out for
yourself if you can open that door from the inside.
Witness holding the doorknob.
The key is made to open if you are outside, but as you're
were (sic) inside you can open it?
A Yes, sir.

Q Is there no other lock aside from that doorknob that you

A There was, Your Honor.
Q What is that?
A The one that slides, Your Honor.
Q And that is used when you are already inside?
A Yes, Your Honor. 52 (Emphases ours.)
5. During their entire stay at the Sunset Garden or even at Edward's Subdivision,
beyond supposedly offering token or futile resistance to the latter's sexual advances,
she made no outcry, no attempt to flee or attract attention to her plight. 53 In her own
declaration, complainant mentioned that when they checked in at Sunset Garden, she
saw the cashier at the information counter where appellant registered. She did not do
anything, despite the fact that appellant at that time was admittedly not armed. She
likewise stated that a room boy usually went to their room and brought them food. If
indeed she was bent on fleeing from appellant, she could have grabbed every possible
opportunity to escape. Inexplicably, she did not. What likewise appears puzzling is the
prosecution's failure to present these two people she mentioned and whose testimonies
could have bolstered or corroborated complainant's story.
6. When appellant fetched complainant in the afternoon of January 22, 1994, they left
the house together and walked in going to the highway. In her own testimony,
complainant stated that appellant went ahead of her. It is highly improbable, if appellant
really had evil motives, that he would be that careless. It is likewise beyond
comprehension that appellant was capable of instilling such fear in complainant that she
could not dare take advantage of the situation, in spite of the laxity of appellant, and run
as far away from him as possible despite all the chances therefor.
7. Helen Taha, the mother of Mia, testified that as a result of the filing of the rape case,
complainant was dropped from school and was not allowed to graduate. This is absurd.
Rather than support and commiserate with the ill-fated victim of rape, it would appear
that the school authorities were heartless people who turned their backs on her and
considered her an outcast. That would be adding insult to injury. But what is more
abstruse yet significant is that Mia and her parents were never heard to complain about
this apparent injustice. Such complacency cannot but make one think and conclude that
there must necessarily have been a valid justification for the drastic action taken by the
school and the docile submission thereto by the Taha family.

On the other hand, in evaluating appellant's testimony, the trial court's decision was
replete with sweeping statements and generalizations. It chose to focus on certain
portions of appellant's testimony, declared them to be preposterous and abnormal, and
then hastened to conclude that appellant is indeed guilty. The court in effect rendered a
judgment of conviction based, not on the strength of the prosecution's evidence, but on
the weakness of that of the defense, which is totally repugnant to the elementary and
time-honored rule that conviction should be made on the basis of strong, clear and
compelling evidence of the prosecution. 54
IV. The main defense proffered by appellant is that he and complainant were
sweethearts. While the "sweetheart theory" does not often gain favor with this Court,
such is not always the case if the hard fact is that the accused and the supposed victim
are, in truth, intimately related except that, as is usual in most cases, either the
relationship is illicit or the victim's parents are against it. It is not improbable that in some
instances, when the relationship is uncovered, the alleged victim or her parents for that
matter would rather take the risk of instituting a criminal action in the hope that the court
would take the cudgels for them than for the woman to admit to her own acts of
indiscretion. And this, as the records reveal, is precisely what happened to appellant.
Appellant's claim that he and complainant were lovers is fortified by the highly credible
testimonies of several witnesses for the defense, viz.:
1. Filomena Pielago testified that on the night of January 21, 1994, she saw appellant
and complainant sitting on a bench in front of the house where the sexual attack
allegedly took place, and the couple were talking intimately. She had warned Mia about
the latter's illicit affair with appellant.
2. Fernando Rubio, an acquaintance of appellant and owner of the house at Edward's
Subdivision, testified that he asked Mia why she decided to have an affair with appellant
who is a married man. Mia answered that she really loves him. 55 He heard her call
appellant "Papa". 56 The couple looked happy and were sweet to each other. 57
3. Benedicto Rubio, the younger brother of Fernando, testified on redirect examination
that he asked Mia if she knew what she getting into and she answered, "Yes;" then he
asked her if she really loved Sir Godoy, and she again answered in the affirmative.
When he was trying to give counsel to appellant, complainant announced that if
appellant left her, she would commit suicide. 58 He could see that the couple were happy
together. 59
4. Isagani Virey, who knew appellant because the Municipal Engineering Office where
he worked was located within the premises of PNS, attested that he was able to talk to
the couple and that when he was advising appellant that what he was doing is wrong
because he is married and Mia is his student, complainant reacted by saying that no

matter what happened she would not leave Godoy, and that if she went home her father
would kill her. 60 He also observed that they were happy. 61
5. Erna Baradero, a co-teacher of appellant, saw the couple the day before the alleged
rape incident, inside one of the classrooms and they were holding hands, and she heard
Mia tell appellant, "Mahal na mahal kita Sir, iwanan mo ang iyong asawa at tatakas
tayo." 62 She tried to dissuade complainant from continuing with her relationship with
appellant. 63
The positive allegations of appellant that he was having an intimate relationship with
complainant, which were substantially corroborated by several witnesses, were never
successfully confuted. The rebuttal testimony of complainant merely consisted of bare,
unexplained denials of the positive, definite, consistent and detailed assertions of
appellant. 64 Mere denials are self-serving negative evidence. They cannot obtain
evidentiary weight greater than the declarations of credible disinterested witnesses. 65
Besides, appellant recounted certain facts that only he could have supplied. They were
replete with details which could have been known only to him, thereby lending credence
and reliability thereto. 66 His assertions are more logical, probable and bear the
earmarks of truth. This is not to say that the testimony of appellant should be accorded
full credence. His self-interest must have colored his account, even on the assumption
that he could be trusted to stick to the literal truth. Nonetheless, there is much in his
version that does not strain the limits of credulity. More to the point, there is enough to
raise doubts that do appear to have some basis in reality. 67
Thus, the trial court's hasty pontification that appellant's testimony is improbable,
ridiculous, nonsensical and incredible is highly uncalled for. The rule of falsus in uno,
falsus in omnibus is not mandatory. It is not a positive rule of law and is not an inflexible
one. 68 It does not apply where there is sufficient corroboration on many grounds of the
testimony and the supposed inconsistencies arise merely from a desire of the witness to
exculpate himself although not completely. 69
Complainant's denial that she and appellant were lovers is belied by the evidence
presented by the defense, the most telling of which are her two handwritten letters,
Exhibits "1" and "2", which she sent to the latter while he was detained at the provincial
jail. For analysis and emphasis, said letters are herein quoted in full:
27 Feb. 94
Kumusta kana? Kong ako hito hindi na makatiis sa sakit.

Sir, sumulat ako sa inyo dahil gusto kong malaman mo ang situation ko.
Sir, kong mahal mo ako gagawa kang paraan na mailayo ako dito sa
bahay. nalaman ng nanay at tatay ko na delayed ang mens ko ng one
week. pinapainom nila ako ng pampalaglag pero ayaw ko. pagnalaman
nila na hindi ko ininom ang gamot sinasaktan nila ako.
Sir, kong maari ay huwag ng maabutan ng Martes. dahil naabutan nila
akong maglayas sana ako. kaya ngayon hindi ako makalabas ng bahay
kong wala akong kasama, kong gaano sila kahigpit noon doble pa
ngayon. ang mga gamit ko ngayon ay wala sa lalagyan ko. tinago nila
hindi ko makita, ang narito lang ay ang bihisan kong luma. Sir kong
manghiram ka kaya ng motor na gagamitin sa pagkuha sa akin. Sa lunes
ng gabi manonood kami Ng Veta eksakto alas 9:00 ay dapat dito ka sa
lugar na may Veta. tanungin mo lang kay Lorna kong saan ang Veta nila
Navoor Lozot. Mag busina ka lang ng tatlo bilang senyas na lalabas na
ako at huwag kang tatapat ng bahay dahil nandoon ang kuya ko. kong
ano ang disisyon mo maari bang magsulat ka at ipahatid kay Lorna.
alang-alang sa bata. Baka makainon ako ng gamot dahil baka pagkain ko
hahaluan nila.
Please sir . . .
Taha 70
I'm sorry kong problem ang ipinadala o sinulat sa iyo sa halip sa
kasiyahan. oo nag usap na tayo nagawa ko lang naman ang sumulat sa
iyo dahil naiinis na ako sa pagmumukha ng mga magulang kong
suwapang. Ang paglayas ko sana ay dahil sa narinig ko. Sir narinig ko na
magreklamo si nanay kay Arquero yong superentende sa Palawan high
tapos ang sabi ay magreklamo itong si Arquero sa DECS para matanggal
ka sa pagtuturo yan ang dahilan kong bakit naisipan kong lumayas ng
wala sa oras at wala akong tensyon na masama laban so iyo. hindi ko
sinabi sa kanila na delayed ako ay sinabi sa iyo ni Eden na sa harap niya
mismo binigyan ako ng gamot samantalang noong Sabado ng gabi lang
nalaman dahil gusto kong masuka. Oo aaminin ko nagkasala ako sa iyo,
pinabilanggo kita dahil nagpanig ako sa mga magulang ko nadala nila ako

sa sulsul nila. hindi ko naipaglaban ang dapat kong ipaglaban ngunit kong
iniisip mong minahal lang kita dahil sa may kailangan lang ako sa iyo
nagkakamali ka. alam ng Diyos na hindi ganon ang hangarin ko sa iyo.
higit pa sa binilanggo ang kalagayan ko kong alam mo. kinukunsinsiya,
nagtitiis na saktan at pagsasakripisyo ng damdamin ko na gusto kang
makita at yakapin ka pero ano ang magagawa ko kong ang paglabas ko
ng bahay ay hindi ako makalabas ng mag isa may guardiya pa. tanungin
mo si Lorna kong ano ginagawa nilang pagbantay sa akin para akong
puganti. hindi ito ayon sa kagustuhan ng mga magulang ko sarili kong
plano ito. Magtitiis pa ba akong hindi makakain maghapon tubig lang ang
laman ng tiyan, kong may masama akong hangarin sa iyo.
Oo, magtiis ako para maipakita kong mahal rin kita. March 2 darating ako
sa bahay na sinasabi mo. hindi ko matiyak kong anong oras dahil kukuha
pa ako ng tiyempo na wala rito ang tatay ko. Alam mo bang pati ang
kapatid kong si Rowena ay inuutusan akong lumayas dahil naawa no siya
sa situation ko. siya lang ang kakampi ko rito sa bahay malaki ang pagasa kong makalabas ako ng bahay sa tulong niya.
Taha 71
There is absolutely nothing left to the imagination. The letters eloquently speak for
themselves. It was complainant's handwriting which spilled the beans, so to speak.
Aside from appellant, two other defense witnesses identified the handwriting on the
letters as belonging to Mia Taha. They are Filomena Pielago and Erna Baradero who
were admittedly the former teachers of complainant and highly familiar with her
handwriting. The greatest blunder committed by the trial court was in ignoring the
testimonies of these qualified witnesses and refusing to give any probative value to
these two vital pieces of evidence, on the dubious and lame pretext that no handwriting
expert was presented to analyze and evaluate the same.
Well-entrenched by now is the rule that resort to questioned document examiners, more
familiarly called handwriting experts, is not mandatory. Handwriting experts, while
probably useful, are not indispensable in examining or comparing handwriting. 72 This is
so since under Section 22, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, the handwriting of a person
may be proved by any witness who believes it to be the handwriting of such person,
because he has seen the person write, or has seen writing purporting to be his upon
which the witness has acted or been charged, and has thus acquired knowledge of the

handwriting of such person. The said section further provides that evidence respecting
the handwriting may also be given by a comparison, made by the witness or the court,
with writings admitted or treated as genuine by the party against whom the evidence is
offered or proved to be genuine to the satisfaction of the judge. 73
The defense witnesses were able to identify complainant's handwriting on the basis of
the examination papers submitted to them by her in their respective subjects. This Court
has likewise carefully examined and compared the handwriting on the letters with the
standard writing appearing on the test papers as specimens for comparison and,
contrary to the observations and conclusions of the lower court, we are convinced
beyond doubt that they were written by one and the same person. More importantly,
complainant herself categorically admitted that the handwriting on the questioned letters
belongs to her.
It is, therefore, extremely disconcerting, to say the least, why the trial court again chose
to turn a deaf ear to this conclusive portion of complainant's testimony:
Q Did I get you right on rebuttal that Mrs. Erna Baradero and
Filomena Pielago were your teachers?
A Yes, sir.
Q And they have been your teachers for several months
before this incident of January 21, 1994, am I not correct?
A That is true, sir.
Q And you have (sic) during these past months that they
have been your teachers you took examinations in their
classes in their particular subject(s)?
A Yes, sir.
Q And some of those test papers are in the possession of
your teachers, am I correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q I will show you Exhibit "4" previously marked as Exhibit
"4", it appears to be your test paper and with your signature
and the alphabet appears in this exhibit appears to be that of

Mia Taha, please examine this and tell the Honorable Court
if that is your test paper?
A Yes, sir.
Q That signature Mia Taha I understand is also your
A Yes, sir.
Q I will show you Exhibit "4-A", will you please examine this
Exhibit "4-A" and tell this Honorable Court if you are familiar
with that.
A What subject is that?
Q I am just asking you whether you are familiar with that.
A I cannot remember if I have this kind of subject, sir.
Q How about this signature Mia Taha, are you not familiar
with that signature?
A That is min(e), sir.
Q I will show you Exhibit "4-C" which appears to be that in
Math, are you familiar with that signature?
A Yes, sir.
Q That is your signature?
A Yes, sir.
Q In fact, these letters in alphabet here are in your own
A Yes, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q You will deny this Exhibit "1" your signature?
xxx xxx xxx

Q You will deny that this is your handwriting?

A That is my handwriting, sir.
Q Also Exhibit "2"?
A Yes, sir. 74
While rebuttal witness Lorna Casantosan insisted that she never delivered any letter of
complainant to herein appellant, the witness presented by the defense on sur-rebuttal,
Armando Pasion, who was the guard on duty at the provincial jail at that time, testified
of his own accord because he knew that what Casantosan said was a blatant lie.
Appellant never talked to Amando Pasion nor requested him to testify for the defense,
as related by the witness himself. Hence, there exists no reason whatsoever to
disbelieve the testimony of witness Pasion to the effect that Lorna Casantosan actually
went to visit appellant in jail and in truth handed to him what turned out to be the letters
marked as Exhibits "1" and "2" for the defense.
V. The prosecution insists that the offer of compromise made by appellant is deemed to
be an admission of guilt. This inference does not arise in the instant case. In criminal
cases, an offer of compromise is generally admissible as evidence against the party
making it. It is a legal maxim, which assuredly constitutes one of the bases of the right
to penalize, that in the matter of public crimes which directly affect the public interest, no
compromise whatever may be entered into as regards the penal action. It has long been
held, however, that in such cases the accused is permitted to show that the offer was
not made under a consciousness of guilt, but merely to avoid the inconvenience of
imprisonment or for some other reason which would justify a claim by the accused that
the offer to compromise was not in truth an admission of his guilt or an attempt to avoid
the legal consequences which would ordinarily ensue therefrom. 75
A primary consideration here is that the evidence for the defense overwhelmingly
proves appellant's innocence of the offense charged. Further, the supposed offer of
marriage did not come from appellant but was actually suggested by a certain Naem,
who is an imam or Muslim leader and who likewise informed appellant that he could be
converted into a Muslim so he could marry complainant. As a matter of fact, when said
offer was first made to appellant, he declined because of the fact that he was already
married. On top of these, appellant did not know, not until the trial proper, that his
mother actually paid P30,000.00 for the settlement of these cases. Complainant's own
mother, Helen Taha, testified that present during the negotiations were herself, her
husband, Mia, and appellant's mother. Appellant himself was never present in any of
said meetings. 76

It has been held that where the accused was not present at the time the offer for
monetary consideration was made, such offer of compromise would not save the day for
the prosecution. 77 In another case, this Court ruled that no implied admission can be
drawn from the efforts to arrive at a settlement outside the court, where the accused did
not take part in any of the negotiations and the effort to settle the case was in
accordance with the established tribal customs, that is, Muslim practices and traditions,
in an effort to prevent further deterioration of the relations between the parties. 78
VI. Generally, an affidavit of desistance by the complainant is not looked upon with
favor. It may, however, create serious doubts as to the liability of appellant, especially if
it corroborates appellant's explanation about the filing of criminal charges. 79
In the cases at bar, the letters written by complainant to appellant are very revealing.
Most probably written out of desperation and exasperation with the way she was being
treated by her parents, complainant threw all caution to the winds when she wrote: "Oo,
aaminin ko nagkasala ako sa iyo, pinabilanggo kita dahil nagpanig ako sa mga
magulang ko nadala nila ako sa sulsul nila, hindi ko naipaglaban ang dapat kong
ipaglaban," obviously referring to her ineptitude and impotence in helping appellant out
of his predicament. It could, therefore, be safely presumed that the rape charge was
merely an offshoot of the discovery by her parents of the intimate relationship between
her and appellant. In order to avoid retribution from her parents, together with the moral
pressure exerted upon her by her mother, she was forced to concoct her account of the
alleged rape.
The Court takes judicial cognizance of the fact that in rural areas in the Philippines,
young ladies are strictly required to act with circumspection and prudence. Great
caution is observed so that their reputations shall remain untainted. Any breath of
scandal which brings dishonor to their character humiliates their entire families. 80 It
could precisely be that complainant's mother wanted to save face in the community
where everybody knows everybody else, and in an effort to conceal her daughter's
indiscretion and escape the wagging tongues of their small rural community, she had to
weave the scenario of this rape drama.
Although the trial court did observe that a mother would not sacrifice her daughter to tell
a story of defloration, that is not always the case as this Court has noted a long time
ago. The books disclose too many instances of false charges of rape. 81 While this Court
has, in numerous cases, affirmed the judgments of conviction rendered by trial courts in
rape charges, especially where the offended parties were very young and presumptively
had no ill motives to concoct a story just to secure indictments for a crime as grave as
rape, the Court has likewise reversed judgments of conviction and acquitted the
accused when there are strong indications pointing to the possibility that the rape
charges were merely motivated by some factors except the truth as to their
commission. 82 This is a case in point. The Court, therefore, cannot abdicate its duty to

declare that the prosecution has failed to meet the exacting test of moral certainty and
proof of guilt of appellant beyond reasonable doubt.
This is not to say that the Court approves of the conduct of appellant. Indisputably, he
took advantage of complainant's feelings for him and breached his vow of fidelity to his
wife. As her teacher, he should have acted as adviser and counselor to complainant and
helped her develop in manners and virtue instead of corrupting her. 83 Hence, even as he
is freed from physical detention in a prison as an instrument of human justice, he
remains in the spiritual confinement of his conscience as a measure of divine
retribution. Additionally, these ruminations do not rule out such other legal options
against him as may be available in the arsenal of statutory law.
VII. The trial court, in holding for conviction, relied on the presumptio hominis that a
young Filipina will not charge a person with rape if it is not true. In the process, however,
it totally disregarded the more paramount constitutional presumption that an accused is
deemed innocent until proven otherwise.
It frequently happens that in a particular case two or more presumptions are involved.
Sometimes the presumptions conflict, one tending to demonstrate the guilt of the
accused and the other his innocence. In such case, it is necessary to examine the basis
for each presumption and determine what logical or social basis exists for each
presumption, and then determine which should be regarded as the more important and
entitled to prevail over the other. It must, however, be remembered that the existence of
a presumption indicating guilt does not in itself destroy the presumption against
innocence unless the inculpating presumption, together with all of the evidence, or the
lack of any evidence or explanation, is sufficient to overcome the presumption of
innocence by proving the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Until the
defendant's guilt is shown in this manner, the presumption of innocence continues. 84
The rationale for the presumption of guilt in rape cases has been explained in this wise:
In rape cases especially, much credence is accorded the testimony of the
complaining witness, on the theory that she will not choose to accuse her
attacker at all and subject herself to the stigma and indignities her
accusation will entail unless she is telling the truth. The rape victim who
decides to speak up exposes herself as a woman whose virtue has been
not only violated but also irreparably sullied. In the eyes of a narrowminded society, she becomes a cheapened woman, never mind that she
did not submit to her humiliation and has in fact denounced her assailant.
At the trial, she will be the object of lascivious curiosity. People will want to
be titillated by the intimate details of her violation. She will squirm through
her testimony as she describes how her honor was defiled, relating every
embarrassing movement of the intrusion upon the most private parts of

her body. Most frequently, the defense will argue that she was not forced
to submit but freely conjoined in the sexual act. Her motives will be
impugned. Her chastity will be challenged and maligned. Whatever the
outcome of the case, she will remain a tainted woman, a pariah because
her purity has been lost, albeit through no fault of hers. This is why many a
rape victim chooses instead to keep quiet, suppressing her helpless
indignation rather than denouncing her attacker. This is also the reason
why, if a woman decides instead to come out openly and point to her
are prone to believe that she is telling the truth regardless of its
consequences. . . . 85
The presumption of innocence, on the other hand, is founded upon the first principles of
justice, and is not a mere form but a substantial part of the law. It is not overcome by
mere suspicion or conjecture; a probability that the defendant committed the crime; nor
by the fact that he had the opportunity to do so. 86 Its purpose is to balance the scales in
what would otherwise be an uneven contest between the lone individual pitted against
the People and all the resources at their command. Its inexorable mandate is that, for all
the authority and influence of the prosecution, the accused must be acquitted and set
free if his guilt cannot be proved beyond the whisper of a doubt. 87 This is in consonance
with the rule that conflicts in evidence must be resolved upon the theory of innocence
rather than upon a theory of guilt when it is possible to do so. 88
On the basis of the foregoing doctrinal tenets and principles, and in conjunction with the
overwhelming evidence in favor of herein appellant, we do not encounter any difficulty in
concluding that the constitutional presumption on the innocence of an accused must
prevail in this particular indictment.
B. The Kidnapping/Illegal Detention Case
It is basic that for kidnapping to exist, there must be indubitable proof that the actual
intent of the malefactor was to deprive the offended party of her liberty. 89 In the present
charge for that crime, such intent has not at all been established by the prosecution.
Prescinding from the fact that the Taha spouses desisted from pursuing this charge
which they themselves instituted, several grave and irreconcilable inconsistencies
bedevil the prosecution's evidence thereon and cast serious doubts on the guilt of
appellant, as hereunder explained:
To recall, complainant testified that appellant by himself went to fetch her at her parents'
house the day after the alleged rape incident. In her own words, appellant courteously
asked her parents to permit her to help him solicit contributions for her candidacy. When
they left the house, appellant walked ahead of her, obviously with her parents and their
neighbors witnessing their departure. It is difficult to comprehend how one could deduce

from these normal and innocuous arrangement any felonious intent of appellant to
deprive complainant of her liberty. One will look in vain for a case where a kidnapping
was committed under such inauspicious circumstances as described by complainant.
Appellant declared that when they left the house of the Taha family, complainant was
bringing with her a plastic bag which later turned out to contain her clothes. This bag
was left behind by Mia at Edward's Subdivision, as hereinbefore noted, and was later
delivered to appellant by Benedicto Rubio. Again, we cannot conceive of a ridiculous
situation where the kidnap victim was first allowed to prepare and pack her clothes, as if
she was merely leaving for a pleasant sojourn with the criminal, all these with the
knowledge and consent of her parents who passively looked on without comment.
Complainant alleged that appellant always kept her locked inside the room which they
occupied, whether at Sunset Garden or at Edward's Subdivision, and that she could not
unlock the door from the inside. We must, however, recall that when she was asked on
cross-examination about the kind of lock that was used, she pointed to the doorknob of
the courtroom. The court then ordered that the door of the courtroom be locked and
then asked complainant to open it from the inside. She was easily able to do so and, in
fact, she admitted that the two locks in the room at Sunset Garden could also be
opened from the inside in the same manner. This demonstrably undeniable fact was
never assailed by the prosecution. It also failed to rebut the testimony of Fernando
Rubio that the room which was occupied by the couple at Edward's Subdivision could
not even be locked because the lock thereof was broken.
When the couple transferred to Edward's Subdivision, they walked along the national
highway in broad daylight. Complainant, therefore, had more than ample opportunity to
seek the help of other people and free herself from appellant if it were true that she was
forcibly kidnapped and abused by the latter. 90 In fact, several opportunities to do so had
presented themselves from the time they left complainant's home and during their
extended stay in the hotel and in the lodging house.
According to appellant, he went to see the parents of complainant the day after they
went to Sunset Garden to inform them that Mia spent the night in said place. This was
neither denied nor impugned by Helen Taha, her husband, or any other person. On the
other hand, the allegation of Helen Taha that she made a report to the police about her
missing daughter was not supported by any corroborative evidence, such as the police
blotter, nor was the police officer to whom she allegedly reported the incident ever
identified or presented in court.
We agree with appellant's contention that the prosecution failed to prove any motive on
his part for the commission of the crime charged. In one case, this Court rejected the
kidnapping charge where there was not the slightest hint of a motive for the crime. 91 It is
true that, as a rule, the motive of the accused in a criminal case is immaterial and, not

being an element of a crime, it does not have to be proved. 92 Where, however, the
evidence is weak, without any motive being disclosed by the evidence, the guilt of the
accused becomes open to a reasonable doubt and, hence, an acquittal is in
order. 93 Nowhere in the testimony of either the complainant or her mother can any ill
motive of a criminal nature be reasonably drawn. What actually transpired was an
elopement or a lovers' tryst, immoral though it may be.
As a closing note, we are bewildered by the trial court's refusal to admit in evidence the
bag of clothes belonging to complainant which was presented and duly identified by the
defense, on its announced supposition that the clothes could have easily been bought
from a department store. Such preposterous reasoning founded on a mere surmise or
speculation, aside from the fact that on rebuttal the prosecution did not even seek to
elicit an explanation or clarification from complainant about said clothes, strengthens
and reinforces our impression of an apparently whimsical exercise of discretion by the
court below. Matters which could have been easily verified were thus cavalierly
dismissed and supplanted by a conjecture, and on such inferential basis a conclusion
was then drawn by said court.
We accordingly deem it necessary to reiterate an early and highly regarded disquisition
of this Court against the practice of excluding evidence in the erroneous manner
adopted by the trial court:
It has been observed that justice is most effectively and expeditiously
administered where trivial objections to the admission of proof are
received with least favor. The practice of excluding evidence on doubtful
objections to its materiality or technical objections to the form of the
questions should be avoided. In a case of any intricacy it is impossible for
a judge of first instance, in the early stages of the development of the
proof, to know with any certainty whether the testimony is relevant or not;
and where there is no indication of bad faith on the part of the attorney
offering the evidence, the court may as a rule safely accept the testimony
upon the statement of the attorney that the proof offered will be connected
later. Moreover, it must be remembered that in the heat of the battle over
which he presides, a judge of first instance may possibly fall into error in
judging the relevancy of proof where a fair and logical connection is in fact
shown. When such a mistake is made and the proof is erroneously ruled
out, the Supreme Court, upon appeal, often finds itself embarrassed and
possibly unable to correct the effects of the error without returning the
case for a new trial, a step which this court is always very loath to take. On
the other hand, the admission of proof in a court of first instance, even if
the question as to its form, materiality, or relevancy is doubtful, can never
result in much harm to either litigant, because the trial judge is supposed
to know the law and it is its duty, upon final consideration of the case, to

distinguish the relevant and material from the irrelevant and immaterial. If
this course is followed and the cause is prosecuted to the Supreme Court
upon appeal, this court then has all the materials before it necessary to
make a correct judgment. 94
At any rate, despite that procedural lapse, we find in the records of these cases
sufficient and substantial evidence which warrant and demand the acquittal of
appellant. Apropos thereto, we take this opportunity to repeat this age-old observation
and experience of mankind on the penological and societal effect of capital punishment:
If it is justified, it serves as a deterrent; if injudiciously imposed, it generates resentment.
Finally, we are constrained to reiterate here that Republic Act No. 7659 which
reimposed the death penalty on certain heinous crimes took effect on December 31,
1993, that is, fifteen days after its publication in the December 16, 1993 issues of the
Manila Bulletin, Philippine Star, Malaya and Philippine Times Journal, 95 and not on
January 1, 1994 as is sometimes misinterpreted.
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE,
and accused-appellant Danny Godoy is hereby ACQUITTED of the crimes of rape and
kidnapping with serious illegal detention charged in Criminal Cases Nos. 11640 and
11641 of the Regional Trial Court for Palawan and Puerto Princesa City, Branch 49. It is
hereby ORDERED that he be released forthwith, unless he is otherwise detained for
any other valid cause.
[G.R. No. 117217. December 2, 1996]
SICO, accused-appellant.
On 1 April 1992, complainant Gilda Ambray filed with the Municipal Trial Court (MTC)
of Bacoor, Cavite, a complaint[1] charging accused Gener de Guzman y Sico with the
crime of rape allegedly committed at 9:00 p.m. of 31 March 1992 in Meadow
Wood, Executive Village, Barangay Panapaan, Bacoor, Cavite. On even date, Gener de
Guzman was arrested and detained at the Municipal Jail of Bacoor, Cavite, but was
released on 14 April 1992 upon the filing and approval of his bail bond. [2]

Gener de Guzman did not submit any counter-affidavit as required in

the subpoena[3] issued by the MTC on 14 April 1992. Finding a prima facie case against
him on the basis of the evidence for the prosecution, the MTC forwarded the record of
the case to the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor for the filing of the necessary
information with the appropriate court.[4]
On 14 July 1992, the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Cavite filed with the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bacoor, Cavite, Branch 19, an information[5] charging
accused Gener de Guzman with the crime of rape, allegedly committed as follows:
That on or about the 31st day of March 1992 at around 9:00 oclock in the evening at
Meadow Wood Subd., Executive Village, Barangay Panapaan, Municipality of Bacoor,
Province of Cavite, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-named accused, with lewd design, by means of force, violence and intimidation,
did, then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, have carnal knowledge of one
Gilda B. Ambray, against her will and consent, to the damage and prejudice of said
Gilda B. Ambray.
Contrary to law.
The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. B-92-216.
Upon arraignment on 10 August 1992, accused Gener de Guzman entered a plea of
not guilty.[6] Trial on the merits thereafter ensued and the prosecution moved for the
cancellation of the bail bond.
On 9 December 1992, after complainant Gilda Ambray, Police Officer Efren Bautista,
and Dr. Valentin Bernales of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), completed their
testimony as witnesses for the prosecution, the trial court cancelled the bail bond of
Gener de Guzman on the ground that the evidence of his guilt was strong. [7] He was rearrested, and on 22 January 1993, his motion for reconsideration [8] of the order
cancelling his bail bond was denied by the trial court for lack of merit as he was charged
with a capital offense punishable by reclusion perpetua and the evidence of his guilt
was strong.[9]
Two other witnesses were presented by the prosecution, namely: Resurreccion Talub
Quiocho, a kumadre of the accused, and Aquilino Flores Ambray, the husband of the
The testimonies of the witnesses for the prosecution established the following facts:
Homeward bound on 31 March 1992 from Anson Department Store where
she worked as a sales clerk, complainant Gilda Ambray, the 32-year old wife of
Aquilino Flores Ambray and a mother of two children, was at the gate of
Meadow Wood Subdivision, Panapaan, Bacoor, Cavite, at about 8:45 p.m.
waiting for a tricycle ride toward her residence. She waited for about ten

minutes. When she noticed the accused, then wearing army pants, sitting at the
guardhouse, she approached him and asked him some questions. He
answered in a stammering manner. The complainant recognized the accused
very well because it was summertime and the gate of the subdivision was welllit.[10]
After Gilda started to walk, the accused mounted his tricycle, followed her and offered
her a ride, to which she agreed. While on board the tricycle, Gilda noticed that the
accused took a different route. She got scared but managed not to show it. The
accused would once in a while stop the tricycle and tell her that it was not in good
condition.[11] When they reached Phase II of the same subdivision near an unfinished
house, the accused stopped and told Gilda to push the tricycle. She alighted from the
tricycle and paid him P5.00, which he did not accept. Gilda then walked away, but after
she had taken about ten steps, the accused embraced her from behind, covered her
mouth and held her neck tightly. She tried to shout but the accused threatened her. The
accused then dragged her to a vacant lot ten meters away from the unfinished
house. She attempted to shout again, but he threatened to kill her if she made
noise. She fought to free herself from his hold, but the accused pushed and slapped
her. He tried to raise her T-shirt while holding her neck tightly. He shouted and
commanded her to raise her T-shirt, which she obligingly followed because of fear. He
removed her bra and kissed her breast. She shouted Saklolo! Tulungan ninyo ako, but
the accused covered her mouth and again held her neck that she could hardly
breathe. He held her hand tightly and positioned himself on top of her. He unzipped her
pants and pulled it down her knees. She struggled to liberate herself, but to no
avail. The accused then tried to insert his penis into her, but failed to do so because she
struggled and fought back, then slapped him while covering her vagina with her hand.
When she tried to stand, he pushed her down and, in the process, was able to
completely pull down her pants and underwear. She pleaded to him to have mercy on
her and told him that she had two children. He warned her: Huwag kang sisigaw,
papatayin kita. The accused again tried to insert his penis into her, but she prevented
him from doing so. The accused took her hand and let her hold his penis to make it
stiff. As Gilda became too weak to struggle against the accuseds sexual advances, the
accused was able to finally consummate his dastardly desire. He then pulled out his
penis and fingered her private organ for a short while. The accused then warned Gilda
not to tell anybody, otherwise, he would kill her and all members of her family. [12] He told
her that she was his third victim but the two did not complain. He then dressed up. Gilda
picked up her pants and underwear and hurriedly ran toward her home, without looking
When Gilda arrived home, she told her mother and her husband, Aquilino Flores
Ambray, that she was raped by the accused. Aquilino got angry and wanted to retaliate
but was prevailed upon not to by Gildas mother.[14]

At almost midnight of 31 March 1992, Gilda and her mother reported the incident to one
Tony Antonio, the President of the Homeowners Association and President of the
National Press Club. Antonio radioed the Bacoor Police Station to send an
investigator. PO3 Efren Bautista and Sgt. Saguisame responded to the alarm
immediately. Upon their arrival at the house of Antonio, PO3 Bautista saw Gilda with her
mother. Gilda, who was crying, related to PO3 Bautista that she was raped and
described to him her assailant as a tricycle driver, tall, strong, with curly hair and in army
cut.[15] Gilda also gave PO3 Bautista a vivid description of the accuseds tricycle, viz.,
blue in color with the name Dimple at the back. [16] The policemen left and went to the
house of the accused. PO3 Bautista invited the accused to go with him because the
Mayor wanted to talk to him. The accused, together with P03 Bautista, went to the
residence of Antonio. When the accused entered the house of Antonio, Gilda Ambray
cried hysterically while pointing to the accused as her rapist. The accused was then
brought to the municipal jail.[17]
Gilda Ambray was medically examined at the Las Pias Hospital and issued a medical
certificate.[18] She then proceeded to the NBI for a medico-legal examination. Dr.
Valentin Bernales, a medico-legal officer of the NBI, conducted the examination on
Gilda. His findings, contained in his medico-legal report, [19] were as follows:
I. Physical Injuries:
Abrasion, brownish; lips, upper, left side, mucosal, 2.0 x 1.5 cm.; elbow, right, posterolateral aspect, 2.0 x 1.5 cm. and postero-medial aspect, multi-linear, with brown scab
formation, 3.0 x 1.0 cm. Contusion, reddish; back, right, scapular area, 7.0 x 5 .0 cm.
and left, 15.0 x 8.0 cm. Contused abrasion, reddish black, scapular area, left, medial
aspect, 3.0 x 2.0 cm.
II. Genital Examination:
Pubic hair, fully grown, moderate. Labia majora, gaping. Labia minora, coaptated.
Fourchette, lax. Vestibulae, pinkish, smooth. Hymen, reduced to carunculae myrtiformis.
Vaginal orifice, admits a tube, 3.0 cm. in diameter. Vaginal wall, lax. Rugosities,
III. Conclusions:
1. The above physical injuries were noted on the body of the subject at the time
of the examination.
2. Medical evidence indicative of recent sexual intercourse with man on or
about the alleged date of examination.
IV. Remarks:

Laboratory Report S-92-94 [20] shows positive result for the presence of human
Dr. Bernales opined that the physical injuries sustained by Gilda Ambray resulted
from force applied to her,[21] while the presence of human spermatozoa in Gildas
genitals indicated recent sexual intercourse.[22]
On 3 April 1992, Bebey and Linda de Guzman, the parents of the accused, asked the
help of Resurreccion Talub Quiocho, the accuseds kumadre, to beg for Gildas
forgiveness for the accuseds sake. The following day, Resurreccion accompanied the
accuseds parents, wife, children and sister-in-law to Gildas house. [23] Gilda met them,
but to their plea for forgiveness, she told them that should not be tolerated. [24]
Gilda further testified that she suffered moral damages, had to resign from her job
due to shame, and had spent P28,500.00 for attorneys fees.[25]
Gener de Guzman interposed the defense of alibi and presented Alfredo Fernandez
and Teotimo Camagong as his witnesses.
According to Gener de Guzman, on 31 March 1992 at around 9:00 p.m., he was
about to go home and was at the corner of Meadow Wood Subdivision coming from
Justineville Subdivision. On his way home on his tricycle, he saw Gilda Ambray, who
flagged him down and boarded his tricycle. After traveling about half a kilometer, his
tricycle malfunctioned. He told her that she better walk home because her house was
already near. He pushed his tricycle home, and on his way, one Alfredo Fernandez
approached him and inquired what was wrong with his tricycle. Alfredo helped him push
the tricycle towards his (accuseds) home, and upon arrival thereat, he told Alfredo not to
leave at once. At around 9:10 p.m., they started to drink liquor until 11:00 p.m., and after
their drinking spree, he cleaned their mess and slept. Then at around 12:50 a.m. of 1
April 1992, PO3 Efren Bautista fetched and apprised him that he was accused of rape
by a certain Gilda Ambray. Thereafter, an investigation was conducted and he was
brought to the Bacoor Police Station.
Alfredo L. Fernandez, 37 years old, jobless, and a resident of Justineville Subdivision,
corroborated Geners story about the malfunctioning tricycle and the drinking session. [26]
Teotimo Camagong testified that he was present when the accused was investigated
at the residence of Tony Antonio and that the complainant did not pinpoint and identify
the accused as her alleged molester.[27]
In its Decision[28] dated 30 June 1994 and promulgated on 25 July 1994, the trial court
found the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape as charged, and
rendered judgment as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered herein accused GENER SICO DE GUZMAN is
hereby found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape punishable by Art.

335 of the Revised Penal Code.He should suffer the prison term of reclusion
perpetua and indemnify herein private complainant Gilda Ambray the following: actual
damages representing her lost monthly salary when she resigned from her office due to
shame for being a rape victim, in the sum of P30,000.00, moral damages in the sum
of P30,000.00, exemplary damages of P10,000.00, litigation expenses of P5,000.00,
and attorneys fee[s] including appearance fees for the private prosecutor in the sum
of P28,500.00.
It gave full gave weight to the testimony of Gilda Ambray because [w]ithout doubt, the
complainant had endured the rigors of recalling her harrowing ordeal and had vividly,
credibly and candidly portrayed in detail how she was raped by the accused. [29]
As to whether sexual intercourse was consummated against the will or consent of the
offended party, the trial court said:
No less than NBI Medico Legal Officer Dr. Valentin Bernales had corroborated
the stance of herein private complainant that she was raped by the accused.
The victim had sustained contusions and abrasions at her body that indicated
that she struggled against the sexual advances of the accused. As a result of
the doctors examination on the victim, he confirmed the occurrence of a recent
sexual intercourse and presence in her private part of human spermatozoa as
denoted in his Medico Legal Report (Exh. F) and Laboratory Report (Exh. D). [30]
Likewise it ruled that since the accused was drunk, he was more aggressive and
sexually capable.[31] Finally, it considered as evidence of the accuseds guilt the plea of
his parents, wife and relatives for forgiveness and compromise. [32]
The accused seasonably appealed from the trial courts judgment of conviction, and in
urging us to acquit him, interposes the following assignment of errors in his Appellants
In the Brief for the Appellee, the Office of the Solicitor General disagrees with the
accused and prays that we affirm in toto the appealed decision.
The first and second assigned errors may be taken up together. The upshot of the
accuseds stance in these alleged errors is that he was not positively identified and that

neither force nor intimidation was proven. As to the latter he cites these facts: (a) Gildas
assailant had three acts of sexual intercourse with her; (b) the physical examination
showed that she suffered injuries on the dorsal portion only, and none was found on her
neck; (c) her personal belongings -- bra, pants, T-shirt and underwear -- were
completely intact; and (d) no signs of physical violence were discernible on both the
persons of the accused and Gilda Ambray.
Rape is essentially an offense of secrecy, not generally attempted except in dark or
deserted and secluded places away from prying eyes, and the crime usually
commences solely upon the word of the offended woman herself and conviction
invariably turns upon her credibility, as the Peoples single witness of the actual
In the review of rape cases, therefore, this Court is guided by the following 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 it; (2) in view of the
intrinsic nature of the crime of rape where 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 on merits, and cannot be allowed
to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense. [34]
The resolution then of the first two assigned errors and the determination of the guilt
of the accused depend primarily on the credibility of the complainant Gilda Ambray,
since only she and the accused witnessed the incident when it happened. Her testimony
alone, if credible, would render the accuseds conviction inevitable.
A meticulous assessment of Gildas testimony demonstrates beyond doubt the
truthfulness of her story, which she narrated in a categorical, straightforward and candid
manner. Further strengthening her credibility in recounting her ordeal at the hands of the
accused was her conduct immediately after the sexual assault. She ran home without
looking back, and upon her arrival she reported the rape to her husband and her mother
at once. Immediately thereafter, she reported it to Tony Antonio, the President of the
Homeowners Association and President of the National Press Club, who then sought
police assistance. When the policemen arrived at Antonios residence in response to the
latters call, Gilda narrated the rape to the policemen and gave them the description of
the assailant. When the policemen brought the accused to the residence of Antonio,
Gilda forthwith pointed to the accused as the person who raped her. Gilda voluntarily
submitted herself to a medical examination at the Las Pias Hospital and then to an
examination of her private parts by Dr. Bernales of the NBI. The following day she
submitted herself to an investigation [35] by the PNP of Bacoor, Cavite, and filed on the
same day a complaint for rape against the accused with the MTC of Bacoor, Cavite.
All the foregoing acts of Gilda were done within twenty-four hours after the
commission of the crime. The quickness and spontaneity of these deeds manifested the
natural reactions of a virtuous woman who had just undergone sexual molestation
against herself,[36] and evinced nothing more than her instant resolve to denounce the

beast who criminally abused and ravished her, and to protect her honor. Moreover, she
rejected the plea for forgiveness sought by the accuseds parents, wife, and children,
then suffered the travails of a public trial which necessarily exposed her to humiliation
and embarrassment by unraveling the details of the rape and enduring a crossexamination which sought to discredit her.
What Gilda endured could only come from one whose obsession was to bring to
justice the person who had abused her and vindicate her honor, even if such vindication
would never erase from her memory that excruciatingly painful chapter in her life which
left her psychologically and emotionally scarred forever. This Court has repeatedly held
that no complainant would admit that she has been raped, make public the offense,
allow the examination of her private parts, undergo the troubles and humiliation of public
trial and endure the ordeal of testifying to all its gory details if she had not in fact been
We likewise agree with the trial court that the accused used force and intimidation
upon Gilda.
Another established rule in rape cases is that the force need not be irresistible; all that
is necessary is that the force used by the accused is sufficient to consummate his evil
purpose, or that it was successfully used. It need not be so great or of such character
that it could not be repelled. [38] Intimidation, on the other hand, must be viewed in light of
the victims perception and judgment at the time of the commission of the crime and not
by any hard and fast rule; it is enough that it produces fear -- fear that if the victim does
not yield to the bestial demands of the accused, something would happen to her at that
moment, or even thereafter as when she is threatened with death if she would report the
In this case, the accused embraced Gilda from behind, held her neck tightly, and
covered her mouth. As she struggled to free herself, she sustained her injuries. Dr.
Bernales confirmed the use of force, and according to him, the abrasions and
contusions on Gildas body were due to force applied on her. Moreover, the accused
also threatened Gilda with death if she would not yield to his bestial desires. The threat
certainly constituted intimidation.
The accuseds contention that it was highly incredible that there was force or
intimidation since the assailant committed three acts of sexual intercourse with Gilda in
three hours, deserves scant consideration. In the first place, Gilda explained in her redirect examination that the three hours mentioned in her cross-examination referred to
the time which elapsed from the moment she was at the gate of Meadow Wood
Subdivision and until she reported the incident to Tony Antonio. [40] The principal object of
re-direct examination is to prevent injustice to the witness and the party who has called
him by affording an opportunity to the witness to explain the testimony given on crossexamination, and to explain any apparent contradiction or inconsistency in his
statements, an opportunity which is ordinarily afforded to him during crossexamination. The re-direct examination serves the purpose of completing the answer of

a witness, or of adding a new matter which has been omitted, or of correcting a possible
misinterpretation of testimony.[41] In the second place, on direct examination, Gilda
categorically declared that the accused tried to thrice insert his penis into her vagina. He
failed in the first and second attempts because she struggled, but succeeded on the
third because she was already weak. While it may be true that on cross-examination
she testified that she was raped once, yet on re-direct examination she said that she
was raped three times, no inconsistency at all may be deduced therefrom. There was
merely confusion as to the legal qualifications of the three separate acts, i.e., Gildas
answers were conclusions of law. A witness is not permitted to testify as to a conclusion
of law, among which, legal responsibility is one of the most conspicuous. A witness, no
matter how skillful, is not to be asked or permitted to testify as to whether or not a party
is responsible to the law. Law in the sense here used embraces whatever conclusions
belonging properly to the court.[42]
What is clear to us is that there were, at least, two acts of attempted rape and one
consummated rape, committed in light of the testimony of Gilda. The information,
however, charged the accused with only one act of rape; hence, consistent with the
constitutional right of the accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation against him,[43] he cannot be held liable for more than what he was
charged. There can only be one conviction for rape if the information charges only one
offense, even if the evidence shows three separate acts of sexual intercourse. [44]
Neither are we persuaded by the claim that Gilda was not able to positively identify
the accused. He was familiar to Gilda one or two weeks before the incident because
she saw him driving a tricycle and had, in fact, been once a passenger of his. She saw
him clearly at the guardhouse before the incident because the guardhouse was well-lit;
she was his passenger that evening until he stopped his tricycle near the unfinished
house; and she had ample opportunity to see and recognize him during the
assault. Then, Gilda did not hesitate to point to and identify the accused as her rapist
when the latter was brought by the policemen to the house of Tony Antonio.
The accuseds defense of alibi, which is the weakest of all defenses for it is easy to
concoct and fabricate, cannot prevail over his positive identification by Gilda. [45]
Moreover, any scintilla of doubt both as to the identification of the accused and as to
his guilt was dissolved by the overtures of his parents, wife, children and sister-in-law on
pleading for forgiveness from Gilda. The accused did not disown their acts, which were
testified to by his kumadre, Resurreccion Talub Quiocho, and Gilda herself. He chose
not to deny their testimony. Finally, despite the unequivocal pronouncement by the trial
court that his guilt was strongly established by the acts of his parents, wife and relatives,
who had gone to the house of the victim to ask her forgiveness and to seek a
compromise, the accused dared not assign that finding and conclusion as an error and
his Appellants Brief is conspicuously silent thereon. Indubitably then, the accused was a
party to the decision to seek for forgiveness, or had prior knowledge of the plan to seek
for it and consented to pursue it, or confirmed and ratified the act of his parents, wife,
children and sister-in-law. A plea for forgiveness may be considered as analogous to an

attempt to compromise. In criminal cases, except those involving quasi-offense (criminal

negligence) or those allowed by law to be compromised, an offer of compromise by the
accused may be received in evidence as an implied admission of guilt. [46] No one would
ask for forgiveness unless he had committed some wrong, for to forgive means to
absolve, to pardon, to cease to feel resentment against on account of wrong committed;
give up claim to requital from or retribution upon (an offender). [47] In People vs.
Calimquim,[48] we stated:
The fact that appellants mother sought forgiveness for her son from Corazons father
is an indication of guilt. (See People vs. Olmedillo, L-42660, August 30, 1982, 116
SCRA 193).
The accused may be correct in the third assigned error because no testimony of a
witness established that the accused was in a state of drunkenness when he sexually
assaulted Gilda.The trial court may have formed its conclusion that the accused was
drunk from his testimony that he and Alfredo Fernandez were drinking liquor in his
house from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. of 31 March 1992. In any event, that erroneous
conclusion is innocuous.
We do not then hesitate to conclude that the accused, having had carnal knowledge
of complainant Gilda Ambray through the use of force and intimidation, committed the
crime of rape as defined and penalized in Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, the
prescribed penalty being reclusion perpetua.
The damages awarded by the trial court stand modification. No damage for loss of
income due to Gildas resignation from her employment should have been awarded, the
resignation being unnecessary. Conformably however with the current jurisprudence,
she is entitled to indemnity of P50,000.00. For her shame, as well as mental anguish,
fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, moral shock and social humiliation which
rape necessarily brings to the offended party,[49] she is entitled to recover moral
damages under Article 2219 in relation to Article 2217 of the Civil Code. However, since
no aggravating circumstance had been proved, exemplary damages may not be
awarded. In Article 2230 of the Civil Code, such damages may be awarded in criminal
cases when the crime was committed with one or more aggravating circumstances.
WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is DISMISSED and the challenged decision of 30
June 1994 of Branch 19 of the Regional Trial Court of Bacoor, Cavite, in Criminal Case
No. B-92-216 is AFFIRMED, subject to the modification on the civil liabilities, and as so
modified, the awards of P30,000.00 as actual damages for loss of monthly salary
and P10,000.00 as exemplary damages are deleted, and accused-appellant Gener de
Guzman y Sico is further ordered to pay the complainant Gilda Ambray the sum
of P50,000.00 as indemnity. The awards for moral damages, litigation expenses and
attorneys fees stand.
Costs against the accused-appellant.


[G.R. No. 1284. November 10, 1905. ]

THE CITY OF MANILA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JACINTO DEL ROSARIO, DefendantAppellant.

Francisco Rodriguez, for Appellant.

Modesto Reyes, for Appellee.


1. ACTION; DISMISSAL; ERROR. The defendant is entitled to have the case

dismissed where the plaintiff fails to establish the allegations in the complaint; and an
order overruling such motion is erroneous.

2. REALTY; POSSESSION; EVIDENCE. Where one derives title to real estate from
another, the declaration act, or omission of the latter to the property is evidence against
the former only when made while the latter holds the title. (Sec. 278, Code of Civil


information recorded in the property register is prima facie evidence of the fact that the
person who instituted the proceedings holds the property as owner; and the
presumption, under article 448 of the Civil Code, is that his title is good unless the
contrary is shown.


MAPA, J. :

This is an action to recover the possession of the two lots describe in the complaint,
located in Calles Clavel and Barcelona, district of Tondo, at present occupied by the

The court below entered judgment in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant for
possession and damages in the sum of $2,500, United States currency, and costs.

At the trial, after the plaintiff rested, the defendant moved for the dismissal of the case
upon the ground that the plaintiff had failed to establish the allegations in the complaint.
This motion was overruled by the court, to which ruling the defendant duly excepted.
The question thus raised puts in issue the trial courts finding that the plaintiff was
entitled to the ownership and possession of the land in question. We accordingly hold
that this point is impliedly involved in the third and fourth assignments of error.

Plaintiff introduced both documentary and oral evidence. The latter consisted of the
testimony of John R. Lorenzo del Rosario, and Modesto Reyes, the city attorney. The
first witness testified that he did not know of his own knowledge if the land in question
belonged to the city (p. 11 of the bill of exceptions). The next witness testified that the
land included in Calles Clavel and Barcelona was formerly part of Plaza Divisoria, which
belonged to the Central Government (not the city), and that he did not know to whom it
now belongs (pp. 12 and 13 of the bill of exceptions)). It must be borne in mind that this
witness referred to the land included in Calles Clavel and Barcelona, and not to the lots
described in the complaint. These lots abut upon the streets referred to, but do not form
a part of either. According to the complaint, they are building lots.

The third witness, Juan Villegas, testified that the land in question was formerly included
in the Gran Divisoria, and that all the land included in it belonged to the city. In this
particular his testimony is at variance with that of the precediing witness, who testified
that the land belonged to the Central Government. Villegas testimony was merely
hearsay. It consisted of what he had learned from some of the oldest residents in that
section of the city. His testimony was introduced by the plaintiff apparently for the

purpose of proving that the city was generally considered the owner of the land, drawing
from this fact the presumption of actual ownership under paragraph 11, section 334, of
the Code of Civil Procedure. Such testimony, however, does not constitute the "common
reputation" referred to in the section mentioned. "common reputation," as used in that
section, is equivalent to universal reputation. The testimony of this witness is not
sufficient to establish the presumption referred to.

Furthermore, this witness stated that the land in Calle Azcarraga had been partitioned
between the municipality and the Central Government, share and share alike, and that
the Central Government (not the city) retained Calles Gabriel de Rivera and Barcelona,
which are precisely the streets on which the property abuts (bill of exceptions, pp. 15
and 16).

The fourth witness (Sotera Roco) testified merely that Lorenzo del Rosario had paid 100
pesos to her brother Cipriano Roco for the purpose of instituting a possessory
information as to the property abutting on Calle Clavel. It appears that Lorenzo del
Rosario acquired the land from Cipriano Roco and sold it to his brother Jacinto del
Rosario, the defendant in this case. Notwithstanding this, and assuming that the
hearsay testimony of Sotera Roco is admissible, we do not see how it can be inferred
from her testimony that the plaintiff is the real owner of the property.

The witness Modesto Reyes and Lorenzo del Rosario said nothing as to the ownership
of the land. They simply testified as to the authenticity of some of the documentary
evidence introduced by the plaintiff.

Of these documents the most important of all is the petition presented by Lorenzo del
Rosario to the "mayor of the city of manila" on the 26th of September, 1891, and the
letter written by him on the 9th of October, 1901, to the Municipal Board of Manila.
Lorenzo del Rosario in his testimony, admitted the authenticity of both documents which
contain an offer to the municipality of Manila to purchase the land on Calle Clavel.
Lorenzo del Rosario admitted also that he signed the first document under the
misapprehension that the land belonged to the city, but that he had been subsequently
informed by some of the city officials that the land did not belong to the municipality, but
to Cipriano Roco y Vera. He stated that he signed the second document because the
President of the Municipal Board, Seor Herrera, advised him to do so in order to avoid
litigation with the city. His testimony in this respect was not contradicted. We accordingly
hold that the provisions of section 346 of the Code of Civil Procedure are applicable to
the case at bar in so far as they declare that an offer of compromise is not admissible in

Again, Lorenzo del Rosario signed the first document before he acquired from Cipriano
Roco y Vera the ownership of the land referred to therein, the second document being
signed after he had transferred the land to the defendant Jacinto del Rosario, who took
possession of the same and had it registered, as the plaintiff admits (par. 2 of the
complaint), on the 23d of February, 1893. If this is so, whatever statements Lorenzo del
Rosario might have made in the documents mentioned, they are not binding upon the
defendant, because, under section 278 of the Code of Civil Procedure, "where one
derives title to real property from another, the declaration, act, or omission of the latter,
in relation to the property, is evidence against the former only when made while the
latter holds the title."cralaw virtua1aw library

The plaintiff also introduced in evidence a map of the city of Manila. This map is not
before us. It is sufficient to say, in order to show that it has no value as evidence, that
the reliability of the map was not proven at the trial. The only witness examined with
regard to it was the city attorney. He was unable to say who made it or who caused it to
be made, or when it was made. He said only that he believed the map had been drawn
in the month of July, 1880, or prior to May, 1893. Neither this nor his statement that the
map was found among the archives of the city of Manila is of itself sufficient to show
that the map is authentic. No one appears to certify as to its correctness.

The map identified by the witness John R. Wilson was introduced by the plaintiff for the
sole purpose of showing the location of the land in question. It has, therefore, no value
in establishing the right of possession claimed by the plaintiff.

On the other hand, the two public instruments executed on March 7, 1900, between the
defendant and Telesfora Apostol y Perea, also introduced in evidence by the plaintiff,
show that the defendant was in possession of the land under a good title and with the
status of owner of the land. In the first instrument if is stated so many words that the
defendant is the owner in fee simple of the land, he having repurchased it from Liberio
de Aurteneche y Menchacatorre, whose title had been recorded in the property register.

From the foregoing it appears that the evidence introduced by the plaintiff does not
prove its claim of title to the land in question. Neither the testimony of the witnesses
presented by the plaintiff nor the documentary evidence introduced show that the city of
Manila is the owner of the land, or that it has a right to its possession as claimed in the
complaint. Some of the documents introduced, as well as the two public instruments
referred to as having been executed in 1900, tended to support the contentions of the

defendant rather than those of the plaintiff. Furthermore, the plaintiff itself admits in the
complaint that the defendants possession of the land in Calle Barcelona was recorded
since March, 1901, and his possession of that in Calle Clavel since February, 1893. This
shows that the defendant had been in the adverse possession of the land. According to
article 448 of the Civil Code he must be presumed to hold under a just title, unless the
contrary is shown.

In view of the foregoing, we hold that the defendant had a perfect right to ask for the
dismissal of the case on the ground that the plaintiff had failed to establish the
allegations in the complaint, and the court erred in overruling his motion to dismiss.

The order of the trial court overruling the motion of the defendant to dismiss and the
judgment appealed from are hereby reversed. Let the case be remanded to the court of
its origin for action in accordance herewith. The plaintiff shall pay the costs of the Court
of First Instance. No special order is made as to the costs on appeal. After the
expiration of twenty days from the date hereof let judgment be entered in conformity
herewith. So ordered.





G.R. No. 77029 August 30, 1990
CORPORATION, respondents.
Carlito B. Somido for petitioners.
Benjamin N. Tabios for private respondent.


This is a petition for review on certiorari of the March 20, 1988 decision 1 of the then
Intermediate Appellate Court (now Court of Appeals) in AC-GR CV No. 69264, entitled
Del Monte Development Corporation vs. Enrique Ababa, et al., etc. affirming the
decision 2 of the then Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of Misamis
Oriental declaring the plaintiff corporation as the true and absolute owner of that portion
of Lot 476 of the Cagayan Cadastre, particularly Lot No. 2476-D of the subdivision plan
(LRC) Psd-80450, containing an area of Seven Thousand Eight Hundred Seventy Eight
(7,878) square meters more or less.
As found by the Appellate Court, the facts are as follows:
The parcel of land under litigation is Lot No. 2476 of the Subdivision Plan
Psd-37365 containing an area of 20,119 square meters and situated at
Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City. Said lot was acquired by purchase from the
late Luis Lancero on September 15, 1964 as per Deed of Absolute Sale
executed in favor of plaintiff and by virtue of which Transfer Certificate of
Title No. 4320 was issued to plaintiff (DELCOR for brevity). Luis Lancero,
in turn acquired the same parcel from Ricardo Gevero on February 5,
1952 per deed of sale executed by Ricardo Gevero which was duly
annotated as entry No. 1128 at the back of Original Certificate of Title No.
7610 covering the mother lot identified as Lot No. 2476 in the names of
Teodorica Babangha 1/2 share and her children: Maria; Restituto,
Elena, Ricardo, Eustaquio and Ursula, all surnamed surnamed Gevero,
1/2 undivided share of the whole area containing 48,122 square meters.
Teodorica Babangha died long before World War II and was survived by
her six children aforementioned. The heirs of Teodorica Babangha on
October 17,1966 executed an Extra-Judicial Settlement and Partition of
the estate of Teodorica Babangha, consisting of two lots, among them was
lot 2476. By virtue of the extra-judicial settlement and partition executed
by the said heirs of Teodorica Babangha, Lot 2476-A to Lot 2476-I,
inclusive, under subdivision plan (LRC) Psd-80450 duly approved by the
Land Registration Commission, Lot 2476-D, among others, was
adjudicated to Ricardo Gevero who was then alive at the time of extrajudicial settlement and partition in 1966. Plaintiff (private respondent
herein) filed an action with the CFI (now RTC) of Misamis Oriental to quiet
title and/or annul the partition made by the heirs of Teodorica Babangha
insofar as the same prejudices the land which it acquired a portion of lot
Plaintiff now seeks to quiet title and/or annul the partition made by the
heirs of Teodorica Babangha insofar as the same prejudices the land
which it acquired, a portion of Lot 2476. Plaintiff proved that before

purchasing Lot 2476-A it first investigated and checked the title of Luis
Lancero and found the same to be intact in the office of the Register of
Deeds of Cagayan de Oro City. The same with the subdivision plan (Exh.
"B"), the corresponding technical description (Exh. "P") and the Deed of
Sale executed by Ricardo Gevero all of which were found to be
unquestionable. By reason of all these, plaintiff claims to have bought the
land in good faith and for value, occupying the land since the sale and
taking over from Lancero's possession until May 1969, when the
defendants Abadas forcibly entered the property. (Rollo, p. 23)
After trial the court a quo on July 18, 1977 rendered judgment, the dispositive portion of
which reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered
declaring the plaintiff corporation as the true and absolute owner of that
portion of Lot No. 2476 of the Cagayan Cadastre, particularly Lot No.
2476-D of the subdivision plan (LRC) Psd-80450, containing an area of
meters, more or less. The other portions of Lot No. 2476 are hereby
adjudicated as follows:
Lot No. 2476 B to the heirs of Elena Gevero;
Lot No. 2476 C to the heirs of Restituto Gevero;
Lot No. 2476 E to the defendant spouses Enrique C. Torres and
Francisca Aquino;
Lot No. 2476 F to the defendant spouses Eduard Rumohr and Emilia
Merida Rumohf ;
Lot Nos. 2476-H, 2476-I and 2476 G to defendant spouses Enrique
Abada and Lilia Alvarez Abada.
No adjudication can be made with respect to Lot No. 2476-A considering
that the said lot is the subject of a civil case between the Heirs of Maria
Gevero on one hand and the spouses Daniel Borkingkito and Ursula
Gevero on the other hand, which case is now pending appeal before the
Court of Appeals. No pronouncement as to costs,
SO ORDERED. (Decision, Record on Appeal, p. 203; Rollo, pp. 21-22)

From said decision, defendant heirs of Ricardo Gevero (petitioners herein) appealed to
the IAC (now Court of Appeals) which subsequently, on March 20, 1986, affirmed the
decision appealed from.
Petitioners, on March 31, 1986, filed a motion for reconsideration (Rollo, p. 28) but was
denied on April 21, 1986.
Hence, the present petition.
This petition is devoid of merit.
Basically, the issues to be resolved in the instant case are: 1) whether or not the
deed of sale executed by Ricardo Gevero to Luis Lancero is valid; 2) in the
affirmative, whether or not the 1/2 share of interest of Teodorica Babangha in one
of the litigated lots, lot no. 2476 under OCT No. 7610 is included in the deed of
sale; and 3) whether or not the private respondents' action is barred by laches.
Petitioners maintain that the deed of sale is entirely invalid citing alleged flaws thereto,
such as that: 1) the signature of Ricardo was forged without his knowledge of such fact;
2) Lancero had recognized the fatal defect of the 1952 deed of sale when he signed the
document in 1968 entitled "Settlement to Avoid the Litigation"; 3) Ricardo's children
remained in the property notwithstanding the sale to Lancero; 4) the designated Lot No.
is 2470 instead of the correct number being Lot No. 2476; 5) the deed of sale included
the share of Eustaquio Gevero without his authority; 6) T.C.T. No. 1183 of Lancero
segregated the area of 20,119 square meters from the bigger area (OCT No. 7616)
without the consent of the other co-owners; 7) Lancero caused the 1952 Subdivision
survey without the consent of the Geveros' to bring about the segregation of the 20,119
square meters lot from the mother lot 2476 which brought about the issuance of his title
T-1183 and to DELCOR's title T4320, both of which were illegally issued; and 8) the
area sold as per document is 20,649 square meters whereas the segregated area
covered by TCT No. T-1183 of Lancero turned out to be 20,119 square meters
(Petitioners Memorandum, pp. 62-78).
As to petitioners' claim that the signature of Ricardo in the 1952 deed of sale in favor of
Lancero was forged without Ricardo's knowledge of such fact (Rollo, p. 71) it will be
observed that the deed of sale in question was executed with all the legal formalities of
a public document. The 1952 deed was duly acknowledged by both parties before the
notary public, yet petitioners did not bother to rebut the legal presumption of the
regularity of the notarized document (Dy v. Sacay, 165 SCRA 473 [1988]); Nuguid v.
C.A., G.R. No. 77423, March 13, 1989). In fact it has long been settled that a public
document executed and attested through the intervention of the notary public is
evidence of the facts in clear, unequivocal manner therein expressed. It has the
presumption of regularity and to contradict all these, evidence must be clear, convincing

and more than merely preponderant (Rebuleda v. I.A.C., 155 SCRA 520-521 [1987]).
Forgery cannot be presumed, it must be proven (Siasat v. IAC, No. 67889, October 10,
1985). Likewise, petitioners allegation of absence of consideration of the deed was not
substantiated. Under Art. 1354 of the Civil Code, consideration is presumed unless the
contrary is proven.
As to petitioners' contention that Lancero had recognized the fatal defect of the 1952
deed when he signed the document in 1968 entitled "Settlement to Avoid Litigation"
(Rollo, p. 71), it is a basic rule of evidence that the right of a party cannot be prejudiced
by an act, declaration, or omission of another (Sec. 28. Rule 130, Rules of Court). This
particular rule is embodied in the maxim "res inter alios acta alteri nocere non debet."
Under Section 31, Rule 130, Rules of Court "where one derives title to property from
another, the act, declaration, or omission of the latter, while holding the title, in relation
to the property is evidence against the former." It is however stressed that the admission
of the former owner of a property must have been made while he was the owner thereof
in order that such admission may be binding upon the present owner (City of Manila v.
del Rosario, 5 Phil. 227 [1905]; Medel v. Avecilla, 15 Phil. 465 [1910]). Hence, Lanceros'
declaration or acts of executing the 1968 document have no binding effect on DELCOR,
the ownership of the land having passed to DELCOR in 1964.
Petitioners' claim that they remained in the property, notwithstanding the alleged sale by
Ricardo to Lancero (Rollo, p. 71) involves a question of fact already raised and passed
upon by both the trial and appellate courts. Said the Court of Appeals:
Contrary to the allegations of the appellants, the trial court found that Luis
Lancero had taken possession of the land upon proper investigation by
plaintiff the latter learned that it was indeed Luis Lancero who was the
owner and possessor of Lot 2476 D. . . . (Decision, C.A., p. 6).
As a finding of fact, it is binding upon this Court (De Gola-Sison v. Manalo, 8 SCRA 595
[1963]; Gaduco vs. C.A., 14 SCRA 282 [1965]; Ramos v. Pepsi-Cola, 19 SCRA 289
[1967]; Tan v. C.A., 20 SCRA 54 [1967]; Ramirez Tel. Co. v. Bank of America, 33 SCRA
737 [1970]; Lucero v. Loot, 25 SCRA 687 [1968]; Guerrero v. C.A., 142 SCRA 130
Suffice it to say that the other flaws claimed by the petitioners which allegedly
invalidated the 1952 deed of sale have not been raised before the trial court nor before
the appellate court. It is settled jurisprudence that an issue which was neither averred in
the complaint nor raised during the trial in the court below cannot be raised for the first
time on appeal as it would be offensive to the basic rules of fair play, justice and due
process. (Matienzo v. Servidad, 107 SCRA 276 [1981]; Dela Santa v. C.A., 140 SCRA
44 [1985]; Dihiansan v. C.A., 157 SCRA 434 [1987]; Anchuelo v. IAC, 147 SCRA 434

[1987]; Dulos Realty and Development Corporation v. C.A., 157 SCRA [1988]; Kamos v.
IAC, G.R. No. 78282, July 5, 1989).
Petitioners aver that the 1/2 share of interest of Teodorica (mother of Ricardo) in Lot
2476 under OCT No. 7610 was not included in the deed of sale as it was intended to
limit solely to Ricardos' proportionate share out of the undivided 1/2 of the area
pertaining to the six (6) brothers and sisters listed in the Title and that the Deed did not
include the share of Ricardo, as inheritance from Teodorica, because the Deed did not
recite that she was deceased at the time it was executed (Rollo, pp. 67-68).
The hereditary share in a decedents' estate is transmitted or vested immediately from
the moment of the death of the "causante" or predecessor in interest (Civil Code of the
Philippines, Art. 777), and there is no legal bar to a successor (with requisite contracting
capacity) disposing of his hereditary share immediately after such death, even if the
actual extent of such share is not determined until the subsequent liquidation of the
estate (De Borja v. Vda. de Borja, 46 SCRA 577 [1972]).
Teodorica Babangha died long before World War II, hence, the rights to the succession
were transmitted from the moment of her death. It is therefore incorrect to state that it
was only in 1966, the date of extrajudicial partition, when Ricardo received his share in
the lot as inheritance from his mother Teodorica. Thus, when Ricardo sold his share
over lot 2476 that share which he inherited from Teodorica was also included unless
expressly excluded in the deed of sale.
Petitioners contend that Ricardo's share from Teodorica was excluded in the sale
considering that a paragraph of the aforementioned deed refers merely to the shares of
Ricardo and Eustaquio (Rollo, p. 67-68).
It is well settled that laws and contracts shall be so construed as to harmonize and give
effect to the different provisions thereof (Reparations Commission v. Northern Lines,
Inc., 34 SCRA 203 [1970]), to ascertain the meaning of the provisions of a contract, its
entirety must be taken into account (Ruiz v. Sheriff of Manila, 34 SCRA 83 [1970]). The
interpretation insisted upon by the petitioners, by citing only one paragraph of the deed
of sale, would not only create contradictions but also, render meaningless and set at
naught the entire provisions thereof.
Petitioners claim that DELCOR's action is barred by laches considering that the
petitioners have remained in the actual, open, uninterrupted and adverse possession
thereof until at present (Rollo, p. 17).
An instrument notarized by a notary public as in the case at bar is a public instrument
(Eacnio v. Baens, 5 Phil. 742). The execution of a public instrument is equivalent to the
delivery of the thing (Art. 1498, 1st Par., Civil Code) and is deemed legal delivery.

Hence, its execution was considered a sufficient delivery of the property (Buencamino v.
Viceo, 13 Phil. 97; [1906]; Puato v. Mendoza, 64 Phil. 457 [1937]; Vda. de Sarmiento v.
Lesaca, 108 Phil. 900 [1960]; Phil. Suburban Development Corp. v. Auditor Gen., 63
SCRA 397 (1975]).
Besides, the property sold is a registered land. It is the act of registration that transfers
the ownership of the land sold. (GSIS v. C.A., G.R. No. 42278, January 20, 1989). If the
property is a registered land, the purchaser in good, faith has a right to rely on the
certificate of title and is under no duty to go behind it to look for flaws (Mallorca v. De
Ocampo, No. L-26852, March 25, 1970; Unchuan v. C.A., 161 SCRA 710 [1988];
Nuguid v. CA-G.R. No. 77427, March 13, 1989).
Under the established principles of land registration law, the person dealing with
registered land may generally rely on the correctness of its certificate of title and the law
will in no way oblige him to go behind the certificate to determine the condition of the
property (Tiongco v. de la Merced, L-2446, July 25, 1974; Lopez vs. CA., G.R. No.
49739, January 20, 1989; Davao Grains Inc. vs. IAC, 171 SCRA 612 [1989]). This
notwithstanding, DELCOR did more than that. It did not only rely on the certificate of
title. The Court of Appeals found that it had first investigated and checked the title
(T.C.T. No. T-1183) in the name of Luis Lancero. It likewise inquired into the Subdivision
Plan, the corresponding technical description and the deed of sale executed by Ricardo
Gevero in favor of Luis Lancero and found everything in order. It even went to the
premises and found Luis Lancero to be in possession of the land to the exclusion of any
other person. DELCOR had therefore acted in good faith in purchasing the land in
Consequently, DELCOR's action is not barred by laches.
The main issues having been disposed of, discussion of the other issues appear
PREMISES CONSIDERED, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED and the decision
of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED.


G.R. No. L-12858

January 22, 1918



SANTIAGO PINEDA, defendant-appellant.
Acting Attorney-General Paredes for appellee.

STATES, plaintiff-appellee,



This appeal requires a construction and an application, for the first time, of the penal
provisions of the Pharmacy Law.
Santiago Pineda, the defendant, is a registered pharmacist of long standing and the
owner of a drug store located at Nos. 442, 444, Calle Santo Cristo, city of Manila. One
Feliciano Santos, having some sick horses, presented a copy of a prescription obtained
from Dr. Richardson, and which on other occasions Santos had given to his horses with
good results, at Pineda's drug store for filling. The prescription read "clorato de
potasa 120 gramos en seis papelitos de 20 gramos, para caballo." Under the
supervision of Pineda, the prescription was prepared and returned to Santos in the form
of six papers marked, "Botica Pineda Clorato potasa 120.00 en seis papeles
para caballo Sto. Cristo 442, 444, Binondo, Manila." Santos, under the belief that he
had purchased the potassium chlorate which he had asked for, put two of the packages
in water the doses to two of his sick horses. Another package was mixed with water for
another horse, but was not used. The two horses, to which had been given the
preparation, died shortly afterwards. Santos, thereupon, took the three remaining
packages to the Bureau of Science for examination. Drs. Pea and Darjuan, of the
Bureau of Science, on analysis found that the packages contained not potassium
chlorate but barium chlorate. At the instance of Santos, the two chemists also went to
the drug store of the defendant and bought potassium chlorate, which when analyzed
was found to be barium chlorate. (Barium chlorate, it should be noted, is a poison;
potassium chlorate is not.) Dr. Buencamino, a veterinarian, performed an autopsy on
the horses, and found that death was the result of poisoning.
Four assignments of error are made. The first is that the lower court erred in admitting
the testimony of the chemist Pena and Darjuan as to their purchase of potassium
chlorate at the drug store of the accused, which substance proved on analysis to be
barium chlorate. What the appellant is here relying on is the maxim res inter alios acta.
As a general rule, the evidence of other offenses committed by a defendant is
inadmissible. But appellant has confused this maxim and this rule with certain
exceptions thereto. The effort is not to convict the accused of a second offense. Nor is
there an attempt to draw the mind away from the point at issue and thus to prejudice
defendant's case. The purpose is to ascertain defendant's knowledge and intent, and to
fix his negligence. If the defendant has on more than one occasion performed similar

acts, accident in good faith is possibly excluded, negligence is intensified, and

fraudulent intent may even be established. It has been said that there is no better
evidence of negligence than the frequency of accidents. (See 10 R. C. L., pp. 938, 940.)
The United States Supreme Court has held that:
On the trial of a criminal case the question relates to the tendency of certain
testimony to throw light upon a particular fact, or to explain the conduct of a
particular person, there is a certain discretion on the part of the trial judge which
a court of errors will not interfere with, unless it manifestly appear that the
testimony has no legitimate bearing upon the question at issue, and is calculated
to prejudice the accused.
Whenever the necessity arises for a resort to circumstantial evidence, either from
the nature of the inquiry or the failure of direct proof, objections to the testimony
on the ground of irrelevancy are not favored.
Evidence is admissible in a criminal action which tends to show motive, although
it tends to prove the commission of another offense by the defendant. (Moore vs.
U. S. [1893], 150 U. S., 57.)
The second assignment of error is that the lower court erred in finding that the
substance sold by the accused to Feliciano Santos on the 22d of June, 1916, was
barium chlorate and not potassium chlorate. The proof demonstrates the contrary.
The third and fourth assignments of error that the lower court erred in finding that the
accused has been proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of an infraction of Act No.
597, section 17, as amended. The third assignment contains the points we should
consider, including, we may remark, a somewhat difficult question concerning which the
briefs have given little assistance.
The Pharmacy Law was first enacted as Act No. 597, was later amended by Act Nos.
1921, 2236, and 2382, and is now found as Chapter 30 of the Administrative Code. The
law provides for a board of pharmaceutical examiners, and the examination and
registration of pharmacists, and finally contains sundry provisions relative to the practice
of pharmacy. High qualification for applicants for the pharmaceutical; examination are
established. The program of subjects for the examination is wide. Responsibility for the
quality of drugs is fixed by section 17 of the Pharmacy Law, as amended (now
Administrative Code [1917], section 751), in the following term:
Every pharmacist shall be responsible for the quality of all drugs, chemicals,
medicines, and poisons he may sell or keep for sale; and it shall be unlawful for
any person whomsoever to manufacture, prepare, sell, or administer any
prescription, drug, chemical, medicine, or poison under any fraudulent name,

direction, or pretense, or to adulterate any drug, chemical, medicine, or poison so

used, sold or offered for sale. Any drug, chemical, medicine, or poison shall be
held to be adulterated or deteriorated within the meaning of this section if it
differs from the standard of quality or purity given in the United States
The same section of the Pharmacy Law also contains the following penal provision:
"Any person violating the provisions of this Act shall, upon conviction, be punished by a
fine of not more than five hundred dollar." The Administrative Code, section 2676,
changes the penalty somewhat by providing that:
Any person engaging in the practice of pharmacy in the Philippine Islands
contrary to any provision of the Pharmacy Law or violating any provisions of said
law for which no specific penalty s provided shall, for each offense, be punished
by a fine not to exceed two hundred pesos, or by imprisonment for not more than
ninety days, or both, in the discretion of the court.
These are the provisions of law, pursuant to which prosecution has been initiated and
which it is now incumbent upon us to construe.
Turning to the law, certain points therein as bearing on our present facts must be
admitted. Thus, defendant is a pharmacist. As a pharmacist, he is made responsible for
the quality of all drugs and poisons which he sells. And finally it is provided that it shall
be unlawful for him to sell any drug or poison under any "fraudulent name." It is the one
word "fraudulent" which has given the court trouble. What did the Legislature intend to
convey by this restrictive adjective?
Were we to adhere to the technical definition of fraud, which the appellant vigorously
insists upon, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to convict any druggist of a violation
of the law. The prosecution would have to prove to a reasonable degree of certainty that
the druggist made a material representation; that it was false; that when he made it he
knew that it was false or made it recklessly without any knowledge of its truth and as
positive assertion; that he made it with the intention that it should be acted upon by the
purchaser; that the purchaser acted in reliance upon it, and that the purchased thereby
suffered injury. Such a construction with a literal following of well-known principles on
the subject of fraud would strip the law of at least much of its force. It would leave the
innocent purchaser of drugs, who must blindly trust in the good faith and vigilance of the
pharmacist, at the mercy of any unscrupulous vendor. We should not, therefore, without
good reason so devitalize the law.
The profession of pharmacy, it has been said again and again, is one demanding care
and skill. The responsibility of the druggist to use care has been variously qualified as
"ordinary care," "care of a special high degree," "the highest degree of care known to

practical men." Even under the first conservative expression, "ordinary care" with
reference to the business of a druggist, the Supreme Court of Connecticut has said
must be held to signify "the highest practicable degree of prudence, thoughtfulness, and
vigilance, and most exact and reliable safeguards consistent with the reasonable
conduct of the business, in order that human life may not be constantly be exposed to
the danger flowing from the substitution of deadly poisons for harmless medicine."
(Tombari vs. Connors [1912], 85 Conn., 235. See also Willson vs. Faxon, Williams and
Faxon [1913], 208 N. Y., 108; Knoefel vs. Atkins [1907], 81 N. E., 600.) The "skill"
required of a druggist is denominated as "high" or "ample." (Peters vs. Jackson [1902],
50 W. Va., 644; 57 L. R. A., 428.) In other words, the care required must be
commensurate with the danger involved, and the skill employed must correspond with
the superior knowledge of the business which the law demands.
Under one conception, and it should not be forgotten that the case we consider are civil
in nature, the question of negligence or ignorance is irrelevant. The druggist is
responsible as an absolute guarantor of what he sells. In a decision which stands alone,
the Supreme Court of Kentucky said:
As applicable to the owners of drug stores, or persons engaged in vending drugs
and medicines by retail, the legal maxim should be reversed. Instead of caveat
emptor, it should be caveat venditor. That is to say, let him be certain that he
does not sell to a purchaser or send to a patient one drug for another, as arsenic
for calomel, cantharides for or mixed with snakeroot and Peruvian bark, or even
one innocent drug, calculated to produce a certain effect, in place of another sent
for and designed to produce a different effect. If he does these things, he cannot
escape civil responsibility, upon the alleged pretext that it was an accidental or an
innocent mistake; that he had been very careful and particular, and had used
extraordinary care and diligence in preparing or compounding the medicines as
required, etc. Such excuses will not avail him. (Fleet vs. Hollenkemp [1852], 56
Am. Dec., 563.)
Under the other conception, in which the proof of negligence is considered as material,
where a customer calls upon a druggist for a harmless remedy, delivery of a poisonous
drug by mistake by the druggist is prima facienegligence, placing the burden on him to
show that the mistake was under the circumstances consistent with the exercise of due
care. (See Knoefel vs. Atkins, supra,) The druggist cannot, for example in filling a
prescription calling for potassium chlorate give instead to the customer barium chlorate,
a poison, place this poison in a package labeled "potassium chlorate," and expect to
escape responsibility on plea of mistake. His mistake, under the most favorable aspect
for himself, was negligence. So in a case where a druggist filled an order for calomel
tablets with morphine and placed the morphine in a box labeled calomel, it was said:

It is not suggested, nor can we apprehend that it is in any wise probable, that the
act of furnishing the wrong drug in this case was willful. If it was furnished by the
clerk, it was undoubtedly a mistake and unintentional. However, it was a mistake
of the gravest kind, and of the most disastrous effect. We cannot say that one
holding himself out as competent to handle such drugs, and who does so, having
rightful access to them, and relied upon by those dealing with him to exercise
that high degree of caution and care called for by the peculiarly dangerous nature
of this business, can be heard to say that his mistakes by which he furnishes a
customer the most deadly of drugs for those comparatively harmless is not, in
and of itself, gross negligence, and that of an aggravated form. (Smith's Admrx.
vs. Middleton [1902], 56 L. R. A., 484.)
The rule of caveat emptor cannot apply to the purchase and sale of drugs. The vendor
and the vendee do not stand at arms length as in ordinary transactions. An imperative
duty is on the druggist to take precautions to prevent death or serious injury to anyone
who relies on his absolute honesty and peculiar leaning. The nature of drugs is such
that examination would not avail the purchaser anything. It would be idle mockery for
the customer to make an examination of a compound of which he can know nothing.
Consequently, it must be that the druggist warrants that he will deliver the drug called
In civil cases, the druggist is made liable for any injury approximately resulting from his
negligence. If B negligently sells poison under the guise of a beneficial drug to A, he is
liable for the injury done to A. In a case, which has repeatedly been termed the leading
case on the subject and which has been followed by the United States Supreme Court,
it was said, "Pharmacists or apothecaries who compound or sell medicines, if they
carelessly label a poison as a harmless medicine, and sent it so labeled into the market,
are liable to all persons who, without fault on their part, are injured by using it as such
medicine, in consequence of the false label; the rule being that the liability in such a
case arises not out of any contract or direct privity between the wrong-doer and the
person injured, but out of the duty which the law imposes on him to avoid acts in their
nature dangerous to the lives of others." (Nat. Savings Bank vs. Ward [1879], 100 U. S.,
195, following Thomas vs. Winchester [1852], 2 Seld. [N. Y.], 387.) In reality, for the
druggist, mistake is negligence and care is no defense. Throughout the criminal law, run
the same rigorous rules. For example, apothecaries or apothecary clerks, who are guilty
of negligence in the sale of medicine when death ensues in consequence, have been
held guilty of manslaughter. (See Tessymond's Case [1828], 1 Lewin, C. C., 169.)
Bearing these general principles in mind, and remembering particularly the care and
skill which are expected of druggist, that in some jurisdictions they are liable even for
their mistake and in others have the burden placed upon them to establish that they
were not negligent, it cannot be that the Philippine Legislature intended to use the word
"fraudulent" in all its strictness. A plea of accident and mistake cannot excuse for they

cannot take place unless there be wanton and criminal carelessness and neglect. How
the misfortune occurs is unimportant, if under all the circumstances the fact of
occurrence is attributed to the druggist as a legal fault. Rather considering the
responsibility for the quality of drugs which the law imposes on druggists and the
position of the word "fraudulent" in juxtaposition to "name," what is made unlawful is the
giving of a false name to the drug asked for. This view is borne out by Spanish
translation, which we are permitted to consult to explain the English text. In the Spanish
"supuesto" is used, and this word is certainly not synonymous with "fraudulent." The
usual badges of fraud, falsify, deception, and injury must be present-but not scienter.
In view of the tremendous an imminent danger to the public from the careless sale of
poisons and medicines, we do not deem it too rigid a rule to hold that the law penalizes
any druggist who shall sell one drug for another whether it be through negligence or
The judgment of the lower court, sentencing the defendant to pay a fine of P100, with
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs, is affirmed with the
cost of this instance against the appellant, without prejudice to any civil action which
may be instituted. So ordered.




G.R. No. L-45685

November 16, 1937


JOSE O. VERA, Judge . of the Court of First Instance of Manila, and MARIANO CU
UNJIENG, respondents.
Office of the Solicitor General Tuason and City Fiscal Diaz for the Government.
De Witt, Perkins and Ponce Enrile for the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking
Vicente J. Francisco, Feria and La O, Orense and Belmonte, and Gibbs and
No appearance for respondent Judge.


This is an original action instituted in this court on August 19, 1937, for the issuance of
the writ of certiorari and of prohibition to the Court of First Instance of Manila so that this
court may review the actuations of the aforesaid Court of First Instance in criminal case
No. 42649 entitled "The People of the Philippine Islands vs. Mariano Cu Unjieng, et al.",
more particularly the application of the defendant Mariano Cu Unjieng therein for
probation under the provisions of Act No. 4221, and thereafter prohibit the said Court of
First Instance from taking any further action or entertaining further the aforementioned
application for probation, to the end that the defendant Mariano Cu Unjieng may be
forthwith committed to prison in accordance with the final judgment of conviction
rendered by this court in said case (G. R. No. 41200). 1
Petitioners herein, the People of the Philippine and the Hongkong and Shanghai
Banking Corporation, are respectively the plaintiff and the offended party, and the
respondent herein Mariano Cu Unjieng is one of the defendants, in the criminal case
entitled "The People of the Philippine Islands vs. Mariano Cu Unjieng, et al.", criminal
case No. 42649 of the Court of First Instance of Manila and G.R. No. 41200 of this
court. Respondent herein, Hon. Jose O. Vera, is the Judge ad interim of the seventh
branch of the Court of First Instance of Manila, who heard the application of the
defendant Mariano Cu Unjieng for probation in the aforesaid criminal case.
The information in the aforesaid criminal case was filed with the Court of First Instance
of Manila on October 15, 1931, petitioner herein Hongkong and Shanghai Banking
Corporation intervening in the case as private prosecutor. After a protracted trial
unparalleled in the annals of Philippine jurisprudence both in the length of time spent by
the court as well as in the volume in the testimony and the bulk of the exhibits
presented, the Court of First Instance of Manila, on January 8, 1934, rendered a
judgment of conviction sentencing the defendant Mariano Cu Unjieng to indeterminate
penalty ranging from four years and two months of prision correccional to eight years of
prision mayor, to pay the costs and with reservation of civil action to the offended party,
the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. Upon appeal, the court, on March
26, 1935, modified the sentence to an indeterminate penalty of from five years and six
months of prision correccional to seven years, six months and twenty-seven days
of prision mayor, but affirmed the judgment in all other respects. Mariano Cu Unjieng
filed a motion for reconsideration and four successive motions for new trial which were
denied on December 17, 1935, and final judgment was accordingly entered on
December 18, 1935. The defendant thereupon sought to have the case elevated
on certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States but the latter denied the petition
forcertiorari in
November, 1936. This court, on
November 24, 1936,
denied the petition subsequently filed by the defendant for leave to file a second
alternative motion for reconsideration or new trial and thereafter remanded the case to
the court of origin for execution of the judgment.

The instant proceedings have to do with the application for probation filed by the herein
respondent Mariano Cu Unjieng on
November 27, 1936, before the trial court,
under the provisions of Act No. 4221 of the defunct Philippine Legislature. Herein
respondent Mariano Cu Unjieng states in his petition, inter alia, that he is innocent of the
crime of which he was convicted, that he has no criminal record and that he would
observe good conduct in the future. The Court of First Instance of Manila, Judge Pedro
Tuason presiding, referred the application for probation of the Insular Probation Office
which recommended denial of the same June 18, 1937. Thereafter, the Court of First
Instance of Manila, seventh branch, Judge Jose O. Vera presiding, set the petition for
hearing on April 5, 1937.
On April 2, 1937, the Fiscal of the City of Manila filed an opposition to the granting of
probation to the herein respondent Mariano Cu Unjieng. The private prosecution also
filed an opposition on April 5, 1937, alleging, among other things, that Act No. 4221,
assuming that it has not been repealed by section 2 of Article XV of the Constitution, is
nevertheless violative of section 1, subsection (1), Article III of the Constitution
guaranteeing equal protection of the laws for the reason that its applicability is not
uniform throughout the Islands and because section 11 of the said Act endows the
provincial boards with the power to make said law effective or otherwise in their
respective or otherwise in their respective provinces. The private prosecution also filed
a supplementary opposition on April 19, 1937, elaborating on the alleged
unconstitutionality on Act No. 4221, as an undue delegation of legislative power to the
provincial boards of several provinces (sec. 1, Art. VI, Constitution). The City Fiscal
concurred in the opposition of the private prosecution except with respect to the
questions raised concerning the constitutionality of Act No. 4221.
On June 28, 1937, herein respondent Judge Jose O. Vera promulgated a resolution with
a finding that "las pruebas no han establecido de unamanera concluyente la
culpabilidad del peticionario y que todos los hechos probados no son inconsistentes o
incongrentes con su inocencia" and concludes that the herein respondent Mariano Cu
Unjieng "es inocente por duda racional" of the crime of which he stands convicted by
this court in G.R. No. 41200, but denying the latter's petition for probation for the reason
. . . Si este Juzgado concediera la poblacion solicitada por las circunstancias y la
historia social que se han expuesto en el cuerpo de esta resolucion, que hacen
al peticionario acreedor de la misma, una parte de la opinion publica, atizada por
los recelos y las suspicacias, podria levantarse indignada contra un sistema de
probacion que permite atisbar en los procedimientos ordinarios de una causa
criminal perturbando la quietud y la eficacia de las decisiones ya recaidas al traer
a la superficie conclusiones enteramente differentes, en menoscabo del interes
publico que demanda el respeto de las leyes y del veredicto judicial.

On July 3, 1937, counsel for the herein respondent Mariano Cu Unjieng filed an
exception to the resolution denying probation and a notice of intention to file a motion
for reconsideration. An alternative motion for reconsideration or new trial was filed by
counsel on July 13, 1937. This was supplemented by an additional motion for
reconsideration submitted on July 14, 1937. The aforesaid motions were set for hearing
on July 31, 1937, but said hearing was postponed at the petition of counsel for the
respondent Mariano Cu Unjieng because a motion for leave to intervene in the case
as amici curiae signed by thirty-three (thirty-four) attorneys had just been filed with the
trial court. Attorney Eulalio Chaves whose signature appears in the aforesaid motion
subsequently filed a petition for leave to withdraw his appearance as amicus curiae on
the ground that the motion for leave to intervene as amici curiae was circulated at a
banquet given by counsel for Mariano Cu Unjieng on the evening of July 30, 1937, and
that he signed the same "without mature deliberation and purely as a matter of courtesy
to the person who invited me (him)."
On August 6, 1937, the Fiscal of the City of Manila filed a motion with the trial court for
the issuance of an order of execution of the judgment of this court in said case and
forthwith to commit the herein respondent Mariano Cu Unjieng to jail in obedience to
said judgment.
On August 7, 1937, the private prosecution filed its opposition to the motion for leave to
intervene as amici curiaeaforementioned, asking that a date be set for a hearing of the
same and that, at all events, said motion should be denied with respect to certain
attorneys signing the same who were members of the legal staff of the several counsel
for Mariano Cu Unjieng. On August 10, 1937, herein respondent Judge Jose O. Vera
issued an order requiring all parties including the movants for intervention as amici
curiae to appear before the court on August 14, 1937. On the last-mentioned date, the
Fiscal of the City of Manila moved for the hearing of his motion for execution of
judgment in preference to the motion for leave to intervene as amici curiae but, upon
objection of counsel for Mariano Cu Unjieng, he moved for the postponement of the
hearing of both motions. The respondent judge thereupon set the hearing of the motion
for execution on August 21, 1937, but proceeded to consider the motion for leave to
intervene as amici curiae as in order. Evidence as to the circumstances under which
said motion for leave to intervene as amici curiae was signed and submitted to court
was to have been heard on August 19, 1937. But at this juncture, herein petitioners
came to this court on extraordinary legal process to put an end to what they alleged was
an interminable proceeding in the Court of First Instance of Manila which fostered "the
campaign of the defendant Mariano Cu Unjieng for delay in the execution of the
sentence imposed by this Honorable Court on him, exposing the courts to criticism and
ridicule because of the apparent inability of the judicial machinery to make effective a
final judgment of this court imposed on the defendant Mariano Cu Unjieng."

The scheduled hearing before the trial court was accordingly suspended upon the
issuance of a temporary restraining order by this court on August 21, 1937.
To support their petition for the issuance of the extraordinary writs of certiorari and
prohibition, herein petitioners allege that the respondent judge has acted without
jurisdiction or in excess of his jurisdiction:
I. Because said respondent judge lacks the power to place respondent Mariano Cu
Unjieng under probation for the following reason:
(1) Under section 11 of Act No. 4221, the said of the Philippine Legislature is
made to apply only to the provinces of the Philippines; it nowhere states that it is
to be made applicable to chartered cities like the City of Manila.
(2) While section 37 of the Administrative Code contains a proviso to the effect
that in the absence of a special provision, the term "province" may be construed
to include the City of Manila for the purpose of giving effect to laws of general
application, it is also true that Act No. 4221 is not a law of general application
because it is made to apply only to those provinces in which the respective
provincial boards shall have provided for the salary of a probation officer.
(3) Even if the City of Manila were considered to be a province, still, Act No. 4221
would not be applicable to it because it has provided for the salary of a probation
officer as required by section 11 thereof; it being immaterial that there is an
Insular Probation Officer willing to act for the City of Manila, said Probation
Officer provided for in section 10 of Act No. 4221 being different and distinct from
the Probation Officer provided for in section 11 of the same Act.
II. Because even if the respondent judge originally had jurisdiction to entertain the
application for probation of the respondent Mariano Cu Unjieng, he nevertheless acted
without jurisdiction or in excess thereof in continuing to entertain the motion for
reconsideration and by failing to commit Mariano Cu Unjieng to prison after he had
promulgated his resolution of June 28, 1937, denying Mariano Cu Unjieng's application
for probation, for the reason that:
(1) His jurisdiction and power in probation proceedings is limited by Act No. 4221
to the granting or denying of applications for probation.
(2) After he had issued the order denying Mariano Cu Unjieng's petition for
probation on June 28, 1937, it became final and executory at the moment of its
(3) No right on appeal exists in such cases.

(4) The respondent judge lacks the power to grant a rehearing of said order or to
modify or change the same.
III. Because the respondent judge made a finding that Mariano Cu Unjieng is innocent
of the crime for which he was convicted by final judgment of this court, which finding is
not only presumptuous but without foundation in fact and in law, and is furthermore in
contempt of this court and a violation of the respondent's oath of office as ad
interim judge of first instance.
IV. Because the respondent judge has violated and continues to violate his duty, which
became imperative when he issued his order of June 28, 1937, denying the application
for probation, to commit his co-respondent to jail.
Petitioners also avers that they have no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the
ordinary course of law.
In a supplementary petition filed on September 9, 1937, the petitioner Hongkong and
Shanghai Banking Corporation further contends that Act No. 4221 of the Philippine
Legislature providing for a system of probation for persons eighteen years of age or
over who are convicted of crime, is unconstitutional because it is violative of section 1,
subsection (1), Article III, of the Constitution of the Philippines guaranteeing equal
protection of the laws because it confers upon the provincial board of its province the
absolute discretion to make said law operative or otherwise in their respective
provinces, because it constitutes an unlawful and improper delegation to the provincial
boards of the several provinces of the legislative power lodged by the Jones Law
(section 8) in the Philippine Legislature and by the Constitution (section 1, Art. VI) in the
National Assembly; and for the further reason that it gives the provincial boards, in
contravention of the Constitution (section 2, Art. VIII) and the Jones Law (section 28),
the authority to enlarge the powers of the Court of First Instance of different provinces
without uniformity. In another supplementary petition dated September 14, 1937, the
Fiscal of the City of Manila, in behalf of one of the petitioners, the People of the
Philippine Islands, concurs for the first time with the issues raised by other petitioner
regarding the constitutionality of Act No. 4221, and on the oral argument held on
October 6, 1937, further elaborated on the theory that probation is a form of reprieve
and therefore Act. No. 4221 is an encroachment on the exclusive power of the Chief
Executive to grant pardons and reprieves. On October 7, 1937, the City Fiscal filed two
memorandums in which he contended that Act No. 4221 not only encroaches upon the
pardoning power to the executive, but also constitute an unwarranted delegation of
legislative power and a denial of the equal protection of the laws. On October 9, 1937,
two memorandums, signed jointly by the City Fiscal and the Solicitor-General, acting in
behalf of the People of the Philippine Islands, and by counsel for the petitioner, the
Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, one sustaining the power of the state to
impugn the validity of its own laws and the other contending that Act No. 4221

constitutes an unwarranted delegation of legislative power, were presented. Another

joint memorandum was filed by the same persons on the same day, October 9, 1937,
alleging that Act No. 4221 is unconstitutional because it denies the equal protection of
the laws and constitutes an unlawful delegation of legislative power and, further, that the
whole Act is void: that the Commonwealth is not estopped from questioning the validity
of its laws; that the private prosecution may intervene in probation proceedings and may
attack the probation law as unconstitutional; and that this court may pass upon the
constitutional question in prohibition proceedings.
Respondents in their answer dated August 31, 1937, as well as in their oral argument
and memorandums, challenge each and every one of the foregoing proposition raised
by the petitioners.
As special defenses, respondents allege:
(1) That the present petition does not state facts sufficient in law to warrant the
issuance of the writ of certiorari or of prohibition.
(2) That the aforesaid petition is premature because the remedy sought by the
petitioners is the very same remedy prayed for by them before the trial court and
was still pending resolution before the trial court when the present petition was
filed with this court.
(3) That the petitioners having themselves raised the question as to the
execution of judgment before the trial court, said trial court has acquired
exclusive jurisdiction to resolve the same under the theory that its resolution
denying probation is unappealable.
(4) That upon the hypothesis that this court has concurrent jurisdiction with the
Court of First Instance to decide the question as to whether or not the execution
will lie, this court nevertheless cannot exercise said jurisdiction while the Court of
First Instance has assumed jurisdiction over the same upon motion of herein
petitioners themselves.
(5) That upon the procedure followed by the herein petitioners in seeking to
deprive the trial court of its jurisdiction over the case and elevate the proceedings
to this court, should not be tolerated because it impairs the authority and dignity
of the trial court which court while sitting in the probation cases is "a court of
limited jurisdiction but of great dignity."
(6) That under the supposition that this court has jurisdiction to resolve the
question submitted to and pending resolution by the trial court, the present action
would not lie because the resolution of the trial court denying probation is
appealable; for although the Probation Law does not specifically provide that an

applicant for probation may appeal from a resolution of the Court of First Instance
denying probation, still it is a general rule in this jurisdiction that a final order,
resolution or decision of an inferior court is appealable to the superior court.
(7) That the resolution of the trial court denying probation of herein respondent
Mariano Cu Unjieng being appealable, the same had not become final and
executory for the reason that the said respondent had filed an alternative motion
for reconsideration and new trial within the requisite period of fifteen days, which
motion the trial court was able to resolve in view of the restraining order
improvidently and erroneously issued by this
(8) That the Fiscal of the City of Manila had by implication admitted that the
resolution of the trial court denying probation is not final and unappealable when
he presented his answer to the motion for reconsideration and agreed to the
postponement of the hearing of the said motion.
(9) That under the supposition that the order of the trial court denying probation is
not appealable, it is incumbent upon the accused to file an action for the
issuance of the writ ofcertiorari with mandamus, it appearing that the trial court,
although it believed that the accused was entitled to probation, nevertheless
denied probation for fear of criticism because the accused is a rich man; and
that, before a petition for certiorari grounded on an irregular exercise of
jurisdiction by the trial court could lie, it is incumbent upon the petitioner to file a
motion for reconsideration specifying the error committed so that the trial court
could have an opportunity to correct or cure the same.
(10) That on hypothesis that the resolution of this court is not appealable, the trial
court retains its jurisdiction within a reasonable time to correct or modify it in
accordance with law and justice; that this power to alter or modify an order or
resolution is inherent in the courts and may be exercise either motu proprio or
upon petition of the proper party, the petition in the latter case taking the form of
a motion for reconsideration.
(11) That on the hypothesis that the resolution of the trial court is appealable as
respondent allege, said court cannot order execution of the same while it is on
appeal, for then the appeal would not be availing because the doors of probation
will be closed from the moment the accused commences to serve his sentence
(Act No. 4221, sec. 1; U.S. vs. Cook, 19 Fed. [2d], 827).
In their memorandums filed on October 23, 1937, counsel for the respondents maintain
that Act No. 4221 is constitutional because, contrary to the allegations of the petitioners,
it does not constitute an undue delegation of legislative power, does not infringe the
equal protection clause of the Constitution, and does not encroach upon the pardoning

power of the Executive. In an additional memorandum filed on the same date, counsel
for the respondents reiterate the view that section 11 of Act No. 4221 is free from
constitutional objections and contend, in addition, that the private prosecution may not
intervene in probation proceedings, much less question the validity of Act No. 4221; that
both the City Fiscal and the Solicitor-General are estopped from questioning the validity
of the Act; that the validity of Act cannot be attacked for the first time before this court;
that probation in unavailable; and that, in any event, section 11 of the Act No. 4221 is
separable from the rest of the Act. The last memorandum for the respondent Mariano
Cu Unjieng was denied for having been filed out of time but was admitted by resolution
of this court and filed anew on
November 5, 1937. This memorandum elaborates
on some of the points raised by the respondents and refutes those brought up by the
In the scrutiny of the pleadings and examination of the various aspects of the present
case, we noted that the court below, in passing upon the merits of the application of the
respondent Mariano Cu Unjieng and in denying said application assumed the task not
only of considering the merits of the application, but of passing upon the culpability of
the applicant, notwithstanding the final pronouncement of guilt by this court. (G.R. No.
41200.) Probation implies guilt be final judgment. While a probation case may look into
the circumstances attending the commission of the offense, this does not authorize it to
reverse the findings and conclusive of this court, either directly or indirectly, especially
wherefrom its own admission reliance was merely had on the printed briefs, averments,
and pleadings of the parties. As already observed by this court in Shioji vs.
Harvey ([1922], 43 Phil., 333, 337), and reiterated in subsequent cases, "if each and
every Court of First Instance could enjoy the privilege of overruling decisions of the
Supreme Court, there would be no end to litigation, and judicial chaos would result." A
becoming modesty of inferior courts demands conscious realization of the position that
they occupy in the interrelation and operation of the intergrated judicial system of the
After threshing carefully the multifarious issues raised by both counsel for the petitioners
and the respondents, this court prefers to cut the Gordian knot and take up at once the
two fundamental questions presented, namely, (1) whether or not the constitutionality of
Act No. 4221 has been properly raised in these proceedings; and (2) in the affirmative,
whether or not said Act is constitutional. Considerations of these issues will involve a
discussion of certain incidental questions raised by the parties.
To arrive at a correct conclusion on the first question, resort to certain guiding principles
is necessary. It is a well-settled rule that the constitutionality of an act of the legislature
will not be determined by the courts unless that question is properly raised and
presented inappropriate cases and is necessary to a determination of the case; i.e., the
issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota presented. (McGirr vs. Hamilton and
Abreu [1915], 30 Phil., 563, 568; 6 R. C. L., pp. 76, 77; 12 C. J., pp. 780-782, 783.)

The question of the constitutionality of an act of the legislature is frequently raised in

ordinary actions. Nevertheless, resort may be made to extraordinary legal remedies,
particularly where the remedies in the ordinary course of law even if available, are not
plain, speedy and adequate. Thus, in Cu Unjieng vs. Patstone([1922]), 42 Phil., 818),
this court held that the question of the constitutionality of a statute may be raised by the
petitioner in mandamus proceedings (see, also, 12 C. J., p. 783); and in Government of
the Philippine Islands vs. Springer ([1927], 50 Phil., 259 [affirmed in Springer vs.
Government of the Philippine Islands (1928), 277 U. S., 189; 72 Law. ed., 845]), this
court declared an act of the legislature unconstitutional in an action of quo
warrantobrought in the name of the Government of the Philippines. It has also been
held that the constitutionality of a statute may be questioned in habeas
corpus proceedings (12 C. J., p. 783; Bailey on Habeas Corpus, Vol. I, pp. 97, 117),
although there are authorities to the contrary; on an application for injunction to restrain
action under the challenged statute (mandatory, see Cruz vs. Youngberg [1931], 56
Phil., 234); and even on an application for preliminary injunction where the
determination of the constitutional question is necessary to a decision of the case. (12
C. J., p. 783.) The same may be said as regards prohibition and certiorari.(Yu Cong Eng
vs. Trinidad [1925], 47 Phil., 385; [1926], 271 U. S., 500; 70 Law. ed., 1059; Bell vs.
First Judicial District Court [1905], 28 Nev., 280; 81 Pac., 875; 113 A. S. R., 854; 6 Ann.
Cas., 982; 1 L. R. A. [N. S], 843, and cases cited). The case of Yu Cong Eng vs.
Trinidad, supra, decided by this court twelve years ago was, like the present one, an
original action for certiorari and prohibition. The constitutionality of Act No. 2972,
popularly known as the Chinese Bookkeeping Law, was there challenged by the
petitioners, and the constitutional issue was not met squarely by the respondent in a
demurrer. A point was raised "relating to the propriety of the constitutional question
being decided in original proceedings in prohibition." This court decided to take up the
constitutional question and, with two justices dissenting, held that Act No. 2972 was
constitutional. The case was elevated on writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of the
United States which reversed the judgment of this court and held that the Act was
invalid. (271 U. S., 500; 70 Law. ed., 1059.) On the question of jurisdiction, however, the
Federal Supreme Court, though its Chief Justice, said:
By the Code of Civil Procedure of the Philippine Islands, section 516, the
Philippine supreme court is granted concurrent jurisdiction in prohibition with
courts of first instance over inferior tribunals or persons, and original jurisdiction
over courts of first instance, when such courts are exercising functions without or
in excess of their jurisdiction. It has been held by that court that the question of
the validity of the criminal statute must usually be raised by a defendant in the
trial court and be carried regularly in review to the Supreme Court. (CadwalladerGibson Lumber Co. vs. Del Rosario, 26 Phil., 192). But in this case where a new
act seriously affected numerous persons and extensive property rights, and was
likely to cause a multiplicity of actions, the Supreme Court exercised its discretion
to bring the issue to the act's validity promptly before it and decide in the interest

of the orderly administration of justice. The court relied by analogy upon the
cases of Ex parte Young (209 U. S., 123;52 Law ed., 714; 13 L. R. A. [N. S.] 932;
28 Sup. Ct. Rep., 441; 14 Ann. Ca., 764; Traux vs. Raich, 239 U. S., 33; 60 Law.
ed., 131; L. R. A. 1916D, 545; 36 Sup. Ct. Rep., 7; Ann. Cas., 1917B, 283; and
Wilson vs. New, 243 U. S., 332; 61 Law. ed., 755; L. R. A. 1917E, 938; 37 Sup.
Ct. Rep., 298; Ann. Cas. 1918A, 1024). Although objection to the jurisdiction was
raise by demurrer to the petition, this is now disclaimed on behalf of the
respondents, and both parties ask a decision on the merits. In view of the broad
powers in prohibition granted to that court under the Island Code, we acquiesce
in the desire of the parties.
The writ of prohibition is an extraordinary judicial writ issuing out of a court of superior
jurisdiction and directed to an inferior court, for the purpose of preventing the inferior
tribunal from usurping a jurisdiction with which it is not legally vested. (High,
Extraordinary Legal Remedies, p. 705.) The general rule, although there is a conflict in
the cases, is that the merit of prohibition will not lie whether the inferior court has
jurisdiction independent of the statute the constitutionality of which is questioned,
because in such cases the interior court having jurisdiction may itself determine the
constitutionality of the statute, and its decision may be subject to review, and
consequently the complainant in such cases ordinarily has adequate remedy by appeal
without resort to the writ of prohibition. But where the inferior court or tribunal derives its
jurisdiction exclusively from an unconstitutional statute, it may be prevented by the writ
of prohibition from enforcing that statute. (50 C. J., 670; Ex parte Round tree [1874, 51
Ala., 42; In re Macfarland, 30 App. [D. C.], 365; Curtis vs. Cornish [1912], 109 Me., 384;
84 A., 799; Pennington vs. Woolfolk [1880], 79 Ky., 13; State vs. Godfrey [1903], 54 W.
Va., 54; 46 S. E., 185; Arnold vs. Shields [1837], 5 Dana, 19; 30 Am. Dec., 669.)
Courts of First Instance sitting in probation proceedings derived their jurisdiction solely
from Act No. 4221 which prescribes in detailed manner the procedure for granting
probation to accused persons after their conviction has become final and before they
have served their sentence. It is true that at common law the authority of the courts to
suspend temporarily the execution of the sentence is recognized and, according to a
number of state courts, including those of Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and
Ohio, the power is inherent in the courts (Commonwealth vs. Dowdican's Bail [1874],
115 Mass., 133; People vs. Stickel [1909], 156 Mich., 557; 121 N. W., 497; People ex
rel. Forsyth vs. Court of Session [1894], 141 N. Y., 288; Weber vs. State [1898], 58 Ohio
St., 616). But, in the leading case of Ex parte United States ([1916], 242 U. S., 27; 61
Law. ed., 129; L. R. A., 1917E, 1178; 37 Sup. Ct. Rep., 72; Ann. Cas. 1917B, 355), the
Supreme Court of the United States expressed the opinion that under the common law
the power of the court was limited to temporary suspension, and brushed aside the
contention as to inherent judicial power saying, through Chief Justice White:

Indisputably under our constitutional system the right to try offenses against the
criminal laws and upon conviction to impose the punishment provided by law is
judicial, and it is equally to be conceded that, in exerting the powers vested in
them on such subject, courts inherently possess ample right to exercise
reasonable, that is, judicial, discretion to enable them to wisely exert their
authority. But these concessions afford no ground for the contention as to power
here made, since it must rest upon the proposition that the power to enforce
begets inherently a discretion to permanently refuse to do so. And the effect of
the proposition urged upon the distribution of powers made by the Constitution
will become apparent when it is observed that indisputable also is it that the
authority to define and fix the punishment for crime is legislative and includes the
right in advance to bring within judicial discretion, for the purpose of executing
the statute, elements of consideration which would be otherwise beyond the
scope of judicial authority, and that the right to relieve from the punishment, fixed
by law and ascertained according to the methods by it provided belongs to the
executive department.
Justice Carson, in his illuminating concurring opinion in the case of Director of Prisons
vs. Judge of First Instance of Cavite (29 Phil., 265), decided by this court in 1915, also
reached the conclusion that the power to suspend the execution of sentences
pronounced in criminal cases is not inherent in the judicial function. "All are agreed", he
said, "that in the absence of statutory authority, it does not lie within the power of the
courts to grant such suspensions." (at p. 278.) Both petitioner and respondents are
correct, therefore, when they argue that a Court of First Instance sitting in probation
proceedings is a court of limited jurisdiction. Its jurisdiction in such proceedings is
conferred exclusively by Act No. 4221 of the Philippine Legislature.
It is, of course, true that the constitutionality of a statute will not be considered on
application for prohibition where the question has not been properly brought to the
attention of the court by objection of some kind (Hill vs. Tarver [1901], 130 Ala., 592; 30
S., 499; State ex rel. Kelly vs. Kirby [1914], 260 Mo., 120; 168 S. W., 746). In the case
at bar, it is unquestionable that the constitutional issue has been squarely presented not
only before this court by the petitioners but also before the trial court by the private
prosecution. The respondent, Hon. Jose O Vera, however, acting as judge of the court
below, declined to pass upon the question on the ground that the private prosecutor, not
being a party whose rights are affected by the statute, may not raise said question. The
respondent judge cited Cooley on Constitutional Limitations (Vol. I, p. 339; 12 C. J., sec.
177, pp. 760 and 762), and McGlue vs. Essex County ([1916], 225 Mass., 59; 113 N. E.,
742, 743), as authority for the proposition that a court will not consider any attack made
on the constitutionality of a statute by one who has no interest in defeating it because
his rights are not affected by its operation. The respondent judge further stated that it
may not motu proprio take up the constitutional question and, agreeing with Cooley that
"the power to declare a legislative enactment void is one which the judge, conscious of

the fallibility of the human judgment, will shrink from exercising in any case where he
can conscientiously and with due regard to duty and official oath decline the
responsibility" (Constitutional Limitations, 8th ed., Vol. I, p. 332), proceeded on the
assumption that Act No. 4221 is constitutional. While therefore, the court a quo admits
that the constitutional question was raised before it, it refused to consider the question
solely because it was not raised by a proper party. Respondents herein reiterates this
view. The argument is advanced that the private prosecution has no personality to
appear in the hearing of the application for probation of defendant Mariano Cu Unjieng
in criminal case No. 42648 of the Court of First Instance of Manila, and hence the issue
of constitutionality was not properly raised in the lower court. Although, as a general
rule, only those who are parties to a suit may question the constitutionality of a statute
involved in a judicial decision, it has been held that since the decree pronounced by a
court without jurisdiction is void, where the jurisdiction of the court depends on the
validity of the statute in question, the issue of the constitutionality will be considered on
its being brought to the attention of the court by persons interested in the effect to be
given the statute.(12 C. J., sec. 184, p. 766.) And, even if we were to concede that the
issue was not properly raised in the court below by the proper party, it does not follow
that the issue may not be here raised in an original action of certiorari and prohibitions.
It is true that, as a general rule, the question of constitutionality must be raised at the
earliest opportunity, so that if not raised by the pleadings, ordinarily it may not be raised
at the trial, and if not raised in the trial court, it will not considered on appeal. (12 C. J.,
p. 786. See, also,Cadwallader-Gibson Lumber Co. vs. Del Rosario, 26 Phil., 192, 193195.) But we must state that the general rule admits of exceptions. Courts, in the
exercise of sounds discretion, may determine the time when a question affecting the
constitutionality of a statute should be presented. (In re Woolsey [1884], 95 N. Y., 135,
144.) Thus, in criminal cases, although there is a very sharp conflict of authorities, it is
said that the question may be raised for the first time at any stage of the proceedings,
either in the trial court or on appeal. (12 C. J., p. 786.) Even in civil cases, it has been
held that it is the duty of a court to pass on the constitutional question, though raised for
the first time on appeal, if it appears that a determination of the question is necessary to
a decision of the case. (McCabe's Adm'x vs. Maysville & B. S. R. Co., [1910], 136 ky.,
674; 124 S. W., 892; Lohmeyer vs. St. Louis Cordage Co. [1908], 214 Mo., 685; 113 S.
W. 1108; Carmody vs. St. Louis Transit Co., [1905], 188 Mo., 572; 87 S. W., 913.) And it
has been held that a constitutional question will be considered by an appellate court at
any time, where it involves the jurisdiction of the court below (State vs. Burke [1911],
175 Ala., 561; 57 S., 870.) As to the power of this court to consider the constitutional
question raised for the first time before this court in these proceedings, we turn again
and point with emphasis to the case of Yu Cong Eng vs. Trinidad, supra. And on the
hypotheses that the Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation, represented by the
private prosecution, is not the proper party to raise the constitutional question here a
point we do not now have to decide we are of the opinion that the People of the
Philippines, represented by the Solicitor-General and the Fiscal of the City of Manila, is
such a proper party in the present proceedings. The unchallenged rule is that the

person who impugns the validity of a statute must have a personal and substantial
interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustained, direct injury as a result
of its enforcement. It goes without saying that if Act No. 4221 really violates the
constitution, the People of the Philippines, in whose name the present action is brought,
has a substantial interest in having it set aside. Of grater import than the damage
caused by the illegal expenditure of public funds is the mortal wound inflicted upon the
fundamental law by the enforcement of an invalid statute. Hence, the well-settled rule
that the state can challenge the validity of its own laws. In Government of the Philippine
Islands vs. Springer ([1927]), 50 Phil., 259 (affirmed in Springer vs. Government of the
Philippine Islands [1928], 277 U.S., 189; 72 Law. ed., 845), this court declared an act of
the legislature unconstitutional in an action instituted in behalf of the Government of the
Philippines. In Attorney General vs. Perkins ([1889], 73 Mich., 303, 311, 312; 41 N. W.
426, 428, 429), the State of Michigan, through its Attorney General, instituted quo
warranto proceedings to test the right of the respondents to renew a mining corporation,
alleging that the statute under which the respondents base their right was
unconstitutional because it impaired the obligation of contracts. The capacity of the chief
law officer of the state to question the constitutionality of the statute was though, as a
general rule, only those who are parties to a suit may question the constitutionality of a
statute involved in a judicial decision, it has been held that since the decree pronounced
by a court without jurisdiction in void, where the jurisdiction of the court depends on the
validity of the statute in question, the issue of constitutionality will be considered on its
being brought to the attention of the court by persons interested in the effect to begin
the statute. (12 C.J., sec. 184, p. 766.) And, even if we were to concede that the issue
was not properly raised in the court below by the proper party, it does not follow that the
issue may not be here raised in an original action of certiorari and prohibition. It is true
that, as a general rule, the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest
opportunity, so that if not raised by the pleadings, ordinarily it may not be raised a the
trial, and if not raised in the trial court, it will not be considered on appeal. (12 C.J., p.
786. See, also, Cadwallader-Gibson Lumber Co. vs. Del Rosario, 26 Phil., 192, 193195.) But we must state that the general rule admits of exceptions. Courts, in the
exercise of sound discretion, may determine the time when a question affecting the
constitutionality of a statute should be presented. (In re Woolsey [19884], 95 N.Y., 135,
144.) Thus, in criminal cases, although there is a very sharp conflict of authorities, it is
said that the question may be raised for the first time at any state of the proceedings,
either in the trial court or on appeal. (12 C.J., p. 786.) Even in civil cases, it has been
held that it is the duty of a court to pass on the constitutional question, though raised for
first time on appeal, if it appears that a determination of the question is necessary to a
decision of the case. (McCabe's Adm'x vs. Maysville & B. S. R. Co. [1910], 136 Ky., 674;
124 S. W., 892; Lohmeyer vs. St. Louis, Cordage Co. [1908], 214 Mo. 685; 113 S. W.,
1108; Carmody vs. St. Louis Transit Co. [1905], 188 Mo., 572; 87 S. W., 913.) And it has
been held that a constitutional question will be considered by an appellate court at any
time, where it involves the jurisdiction of the court below (State vs. Burke [1911], 175
Ala., 561; 57 S., 870.) As to the power of this court to consider the constitutional

question raised for the first time before this court in these proceedings, we turn again
and point with emphasis to the case of Yu Cong Eng. vs. Trinidad, supra. And on the
hypothesis that the Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation, represented by the
private prosecution, is not the proper party to raise the constitutional question here a
point we do not now have to decide we are of the opinion that the People of the
Philippines, represented by the Solicitor-General and the Fiscal of the City of Manila, is
such a proper party in the present proceedings. The unchallenged rule is that the
person who impugns the validity of a statute must have a personal and substantial
interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of
its enforcement. It goes without saying that if Act No. 4221 really violates the
Constitution, the People of the Philippines, in whose name the present action is brought,
has a substantial interest in having it set aside. Of greater import than the damage
caused by the illegal expenditure of public funds is the mortal wound inflicted upon the
fundamental law by the enforcement of an invalid statute. Hence, the well-settled rule
that the state can challenge the validity of its own laws. In Government of the Philippine
Islands vs. Springer ([1927]), 50 Phil., 259 (affirmed in Springer vs. Government of the
Philippine Islands [1928], 277 U.S., 189; 72 Law. ed., 845), this court declared an act of
the legislature unconstitutional in an action instituted in behalf of the Government of the
Philippines. In Attorney General vs. Perkings([1889], 73 Mich., 303, 311, 312; 41 N.W.,
426, 428, 429), the State of Michigan, through its Attorney General, instituted quo
warranto proceedings to test the right of the respondents to renew a mining corporation,
alleging that the statute under which the respondents base their right was
unconstitutional because it impaired the obligation of contracts. The capacity of the chief
law officer of the state to question the constitutionality of the statute was itself
questioned. Said the Supreme Court of Michigan, through Champlin, J.:
. . . The idea seems to be that the people are estopped from questioning the
validity of a law enacted by their representatives; that to an accusation by the
people of Michigan of usurpation their government, a statute enacted by the
people of Michigan is an adequate answer. The last proposition is true, but, if the
statute relied on in justification is unconstitutional, it is statute only in form, and
lacks the force of law, and is of no more saving effect to justify action under it
than if it had never been enacted. The constitution is the supreme law, and to its
behests the courts, the legislature, and the people must bow . . . The legislature
and the respondents are not the only parties in interest upon such constitutional
questions. As was remarked by Mr. Justice Story, in speaking of an acquiescence
by a party affected by an unconstitutional act of the legislature: "The people have
a deep and vested interest in maintaining all the constitutional limitations upon
the exercise of legislative powers." (Allen vs. Mckeen, 1 Sum., 314.)
In State vs. Doane ([1916], 98 Kan., 435; 158 Pac., 38, 40), an original action
(mandamus) was brought by the Attorney-General of Kansas to test the constitutionality

of a statute of the state. In disposing of the question whether or not the state may bring
the action, the Supreme Court of Kansas said:
. . . the state is a proper party indeed, the proper party to bring this action.
The state is always interested where the integrity of its Constitution or statutes is
"It has an interest in seeing that the will of the Legislature is not
disregarded, and need not, as an individual plaintiff must, show
grounds of fearing more specific injury. (State vs. Kansas City 60
Kan., 518 [57 Pac., 118])." (State vs. Lawrence, 80 Kan., 707; 103
Pac., 839.)
Where the constitutionality of a statute is in doubt the state's law officer, its
Attorney-General, or county attorney, may exercise his bet judgment as to what
sort of action he will bring to have the matter determined, either by quo warranto
to challenge its validity (State vs. Johnson, 61 Kan., 803; 60 Pac., 1068; 49
L.R.A., 662), by mandamus to compel obedience to its terms (State vs. Dolley,
82 Kan., 533; 108 Pac., 846), or by injunction to restrain proceedings under its
questionable provisions (State ex rel. vs. City of Neodesha, 3 Kan. App., 319; 45
Pac., 122).
Other courts have reached the same conclusion (See State vs. St. Louis S. W. Ry. Co.
[1917], 197 S. W., 1006; State vs. S.H. Kress & Co. [1934], 155 S., 823; State vs.
Walmsley [1935], 181 La., 597; 160 S., 91; State vs. Board of County Comr's [1934], 39
Pac. [2d], 286; First Const. Co. of Brooklyn vs. State [1917], 211 N.Y., 295; 116 N.E.,
1020; Bush vs. State {1918], 187 Ind., 339; 119 N.E., 417; State vs. Watkins [1933], 176
La., 837; 147 S., 8, 10, 11). In the case last cited, the Supreme Court of Luisiana said:
It is contended by counsel for Herbert Watkins that a district attorney, being
charged with the duty of enforcing the laws, has no right to plead that a law is
unconstitutional. In support of the argument three decisions are cited, viz.:
State ex rel. Hall, District Attorney, vs. Judge of Tenth Judicial District (33 La.
Ann., 1222); State ex rel. Nicholls, Governor vs. Shakespeare, Mayor of New
Orleans (41 Ann., 156; 6 So., 592); and State ex rel., Banking Co., etc. vs.
Heard, Auditor (47 La. Ann., 1679; 18 So., 746; 47 L. R. A., 512). These
decisions do not forbid a district attorney to plead that a statute is
unconstitutional if he finds if in conflict with one which it is his duty to enforce. In
State ex rel. Hall, District Attorney, vs. Judge, etc., the ruling was the judge
should not, merely because he believed a certain statute to be unconstitutional
forbid the district attorney to file a bill of information charging a person with a
violation of the statute. In other words, a judge should not judicially declare a
statute unconstitutional until the question of constitutionality is tendered for

decision, and unless it must be decided in order to determine the right of a party
litigant. Stateex rel. Nicholls, Governor, etc., is authority for the proposition
merely that an officer on whom a statute imposes the duty of enforcing its
provisions cannot avoid the duty upon the ground that he considers the statute
unconstitutional, and hence in enforcing the statute he is immune from
responsibility if the statute be unconstitutional. State ex rel. Banking Co., etc., is
authority for the proposition merely that executive officers, e.g., the state auditor
and state treasurer, should not decline to perform ministerial duties imposed
upon them by a statute, on the ground that they believe the statute is
It is the duty of a district attorney to enforce the criminal laws of the state, and,
above all, to support the Constitution of the state. If, in the performance of his
duty he finds two statutes in conflict with each other, or one which repeals
another, and if, in his judgment, one of the two statutes is unconstitutional, it is
his duty to enforce the other; and, in order to do so, he is compelled to submit to
the court, by way of a plea, that one of the statutes is unconstitutional. If it were
not so, the power of the Legislature would be free from constitutional limitations
in the enactment of criminal laws.
The respondents do not seem to doubt seriously the correctness of the general
proposition that the state may impugn the validity of its laws. They have not cited any
authority running clearly in the opposite direction. In fact, they appear to have
proceeded on the assumption that the rule as stated is sound but that it has no
application in the present case, nor may it be invoked by the City Fiscal in behalf of the
People of the Philippines, one of the petitioners herein, the principal reasons being that
the validity before this court, that the City Fiscal is estopped from attacking the validity
of the Act and, not authorized challenge the validity of the Act in its application outside
said city. (Additional memorandum of respondents, October 23, 1937, pp. 8,. 10, 17 and
The mere fact that the Probation Act has been repeatedly relied upon the past and all
that time has not been attacked as unconstitutional by the Fiscal of Manila but, on the
contrary, has been impliedly regarded by him as constitutional, is no reason for
considering the People of the Philippines estopped from nor assailing its validity. For
courts will pass upon a constitutional questions only when presented before it in bona
fide cases for determination, and the fact that the question has not been raised before is
not a valid reason for refusing to allow it to be raised later. The fiscal and all others are
justified in relying upon the statute and treating it as valid until it is held void by the
courts in proper cases.
It remains to consider whether the determination of the constitutionality of Act No. 4221
is necessary to the resolution of the instant case. For, ". . . while the court will meet the

question with firmness, where its decision is indispensable, it is the part of wisdom, and
just respect for the legislature, renders it proper, to waive it, if the case in which it arises,
can be decided on other points." (Ex parte Randolph [1833], 20 F. Cas. No. 11, 558; 2
Brock., 447. Vide, also Hoover vs. wood [1857], 9 Ind., 286, 287.) It has been held that
the determination of a constitutional question is necessary whenever it is essential to
the decision of the case (12 C. J., p. 782, citing Long Sault Dev. Co. vs. Kennedy
[1913], 158 App. Div., 398; 143 N. Y. Supp., 454 [aff. 212 N.Y., 1: 105 N. E., 849; Ann.
Cas. 1915D, 56; and app dism 242 U.S., 272]; Hesse vs. Ledesma, 7 Porto Rico Fed.,
520; Cowan vs. Doddridge, 22 Gratt [63 Va.], 458; Union Line Co., vs. Wisconsin R.
Commn., 146 Wis., 523; 129 N. W., 605), as where the right of a party is founded solely
on a statute the validity of which is attacked. (12 C.J., p. 782, citing Central Glass Co.
vs. Niagrara F. Ins. Co., 131 La., 513; 59 S., 972; Cheney vs. Beverly, 188 Mass., 81;
74 N.E., 306). There is no doubt that the respondent Cu Unjieng draws his privilege to
probation solely from Act No. 4221 now being assailed.
Apart from the foregoing considerations, that court will also take cognizance of the fact
that the Probation Act is a new addition to our statute books and its validity has never
before been passed upon by the courts; that may persons accused and convicted of
crime in the City of Manila have applied for probation; that some of them are already on
probation; that more people will likely take advantage of the Probation Act in the future;
and that the respondent Mariano Cu Unjieng has been at large for a period of about four
years since his first conviction. All wait the decision of this court on the constitutional
question. Considering, therefore, the importance which the instant case has assumed
and to prevent multiplicity of suits, strong reasons of public policy demand that the
constitutionality of Act No. 4221 be now resolved. (Yu Cong Eng vs. Trinidad [1925], 47
Phil., 385; [1926], 271 U.S., 500; 70 Law. ed., 1059. See 6 R.C.L., pp. 77, 78; People
vs. Kennedy [1913], 207 N.Y., 533; 101 N.E., 442, 444; Ann. Cas. 1914C, 616; Borginis
vs. Falk Co. [1911], 147 Wis., 327; 133 N.W., 209, 211; 37 L.R.A. [N.S.] 489; Dimayuga
and Fajardo vs. Fernandez [1922], 43 Phil., 304.) In Yu Cong Eng vs. Trinidad, supra,
an analogous situation confronted us. We said: "Inasmuch as the property and personal
rights of nearly twelve thousand merchants are affected by these proceedings, and
inasmuch as Act No. 2972 is a new law not yet interpreted by the courts, in the interest
of the public welfare and for the advancement of public policy, we have determined to
overrule the defense of want of jurisdiction in order that we may decide the main issue.
We have here an extraordinary situation which calls for a relaxation of the general rule."
Our ruling on this point was sustained by the Supreme Court of the United States. A
more binding authority in support of the view we have taken can not be found.
We have reached the conclusion that the question of the constitutionality of Act No.
4221 has been properly raised. Now for the main inquiry: Is the Act unconstitutional?
Under a doctrine peculiarly American, it is the office and duty of the judiciary to enforce
the Constitution. This court, by clear implication from the provisions of section 2,

subsection 1, and section 10, of Article VIII of the Constitution, may declare an act of the
national legislature invalid because in conflict with the fundamental lay. It will not shirk
from its sworn duty to enforce the Constitution. And, in clear cases, it will not hesitate to
give effect to the supreme law by setting aside a statute in conflict therewith. This is of
the essence of judicial duty.
This court is not unmindful of the fundamental criteria in cases of this nature that all
reasonable doubts should be resolved in favor of the constitutionality of a statute. An act
of the legislature approved by the executive, is presumed to be within constitutional
limitations. The responsibility of upholding the Constitution rests not on the courts alone
but on the legislature as well. "The question of the validity of every statute is first
determined by the legislative department of the government itself." (U.S. vs. Ten Yu
[1912], 24 Phil., 1, 10; Case vs. Board of Health and Heiser [1913], 24 Phil., 250, 276;
U.S. vs. Joson [1913], 26 Phil., 1.) And a statute finally comes before the courts
sustained by the sanction of the executive. The members of the Legislature and the
Chief Executive have taken an oath to support the Constitution and it must be presumed
that they have been true to this oath and that in enacting and sanctioning a particular
law they did not intend to violate the Constitution. The courts cannot but cautiously
exercise its power to overturn the solemn declarations of two of the three grand
departments of the governments. (6 R.C.L., p. 101.) Then, there is that peculiar political
philosophy which bids the judiciary to reflect the wisdom of the people as expressed
through an elective Legislature and an elective Chief Executive. It follows, therefore,
that the courts will not set aside a law as violative of the Constitution except in a clear
case. This is a proposition too plain to require a citation of authorities.
One of the counsel for respondents, in the course of his impassioned argument, called
attention to the fact that the President of the Philippines had already expressed his
opinion against the constitutionality of the Probation Act, adverting that as to the
Executive the resolution of this question was a foregone conclusion. Counsel, however,
reiterated his confidence in the integrity and independence of this court. We take notice
of the fact that the President in his message dated September 1, 1937, recommended
to the National Assembly the immediate repeal of the Probation Act (No. 4221); that this
message resulted in the approval of Bill No. 2417 of the Nationality Assembly repealing
the probation Act, subject to certain conditions therein mentioned; but that said bill was
vetoed by the President on September 13, 1937, much against his wish, "to have
stricken out from the statute books of the Commonwealth a law . . . unfair and very likely
unconstitutional." It is sufficient to observe in this connection that, in vetoing the bill
referred to, the President exercised his constitutional prerogative. He may express the
reasons which he may deem proper for taking such a step, but his reasons are not
binding upon us in the determination of actual controversies submitted for our
determination. Whether or not the Executive should express or in any manner insinuate
his opinion on a matter encompassed within his broad constitutional power of veto but
which happens to be at the same time pending determination in this court is a question

of propriety for him exclusively to decide or determine. Whatever opinion is expressed

by him under these circumstances, however, cannot sway our judgment on way or
another and prevent us from taking what in our opinion is the proper course of action to
take in a given case. It if is ever necessary for us to make any vehement affirmance
during this formative period of our political history, it is that we are independent of the
Executive no less than of the Legislative department of our government independent
in the performance of our functions, undeterred by any consideration, free from politics,
indifferent to popularity, and unafraid of criticism in the accomplishment of our sworn
duty as we see it and as we understand it.
The constitutionality of Act No. 4221 is challenged on three principal grounds: (1) That
said Act encroaches upon the pardoning power of the Executive; (2) that its constitutes
an undue delegation of legislative power and (3) that it denies the equal protection of
the laws.
1. Section 21 of the Act of Congress of August 29, 1916, commonly known as the Jones
Law, in force at the time of the approval of Act No. 4221, otherwise known as the
Probation Act, vests in the Governor-General of the Philippines "the exclusive power to
grant pardons and reprieves and remit fines and forfeitures". This power is now vested
in the President of the Philippines. (Art. VII, sec. 11, subsec. 6.) The provisions of the
Jones Law and the Constitution differ in some respects. The adjective "exclusive" found
in the Jones Law has been omitted from the Constitution. Under the Jones Law, as at
common law, pardon could be granted any time after the commission of the offense,
either before or after conviction (Vide Constitution of the United States, Art. II, sec. 2;In
re Lontok [1922], 43 Phil., 293). The Governor-General of the Philippines was thus
empowered, like the President of the United States, to pardon a person before the facts
of the case were fully brought to light. The framers of our Constitution thought this
undesirable and, following most of the state constitutions, provided that the pardoning
power can only be exercised "after conviction". So, too, under the new Constitution, the
pardoning power does not extend to "cases of impeachment". This is also the rule
generally followed in the United States (Vide Constitution of the United States, Art. II,
sec. 2). The rule in England is different. There, a royal pardon can not be pleaded in bar
of an impeachment; "but," says Blackstone, "after the impeachment has been solemnly
heard and determined, it is not understood that the king's royal grace is further
restrained or abridged." (Vide, Ex parte Wells [1856], 18 How., 307; 15 Law. ed., 421;
Com. vs. Lockwood [1872], 109 Mass., 323; 12 Am. Rep., 699; Sterling vs. Drake
[1876], 29 Ohio St., 457; 23 am. Rep., 762.) The reason for the distinction is obvious. In
England, Judgment on impeachment is not confined to mere "removal from office and
disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the
Government" (Art. IX, sec. 4, Constitution of the Philippines) but extends to the whole
punishment attached by law to the offense committed. The House of Lords, on a
conviction may, by its sentence, inflict capital punishment, perpetual banishment,
perpetual banishment, fine or imprisonment, depending upon the gravity of the offense

committed, together with removal from office and incapacity to hold office. (Com. vs.
Lockwood, supra.) Our Constitution also makes specific mention of "commutation" and
of the power of the executive to impose, in the pardons he may grant, such conditions,
restrictions and limitations as he may deem proper. Amnesty may be granted by the
President under the Constitution but only with the concurrence of the National
Assembly. We need not dwell at length on the significance of these fundamental
changes. It is sufficient for our purposes to state that the pardoning power has remained
essentially the same. The question is: Has the pardoning power of the Chief Executive
under the Jones Law been impaired by the Probation Act?
As already stated, the Jones Law vests the pardoning power exclusively in the Chief
Executive. The exercise of the power may not, therefore, be vested in anyone else.
". . . The benign prerogative of mercy reposed in the executive cannot be taken away
nor fettered by any legislative restrictions, nor can like power be given by the legislature
to any other officer or authority. The coordinate departments of government have
nothing to do with the pardoning power, since no person properly belonging to one of
the departments can exercise any powers appertaining to either of the others except in
cases expressly provided for by the constitution." (20 R.C.L., pp., , and cases cited.) " . .
. where the pardoning power is conferred on the executive without express or implied
limitations, the grant is exclusive, and the legislature can neither exercise such power
itself nor delegate it elsewhere, nor interfere with or control the proper exercise
thereof, . . ." (12 C.J., pp. 838, 839, and cases cited.) If Act No. 4221, then, confers any
pardoning power upon the courts it is for that reason unconstitutional and void. But does
In the famous Killitts decision involving an embezzlement case, the Supreme Court of
the United States ruled in 1916 that an order indefinitely suspending sentenced was
void. (Ex parte United States [1916], 242 U.S., 27; 61 Law. ed., 129; L.R.A. 1917E,
1178; 37 Sup. Ct. Rep., 72; Ann. Cas. 1917B, 355.) Chief Justice White, after an
exhaustive review of the authorities, expressed the opinion of the court that under the
common law the power of the court was limited to temporary suspension and that the
right to suspend sentenced absolutely and permanently was vested in the executive
branch of the government and not in the judiciary. But, the right of Congress to establish
probation by statute was conceded. Said the court through its Chief Justice: ". . . and so
far as the future is concerned, that is, the causing of the imposition of penalties as fixed
to be subject, by probation legislation or such other means as the legislative mind may
devise, to such judicial discretion as may be adequate to enable courts to meet by the
exercise of an enlarged but wise discretion the infinite variations which may be
presented to them for judgment, recourse must be had Congress whose legislative
power on the subject is in the very nature of things adequately complete." (Quoted in
Riggs vs. United States [1926], 14 F. [2d], 5, 6.) This decision led the National Probation
Association and others to agitate for the enactment by Congress of a federal probation
law. Such action was finally taken on March 4, 1925 (chap. 521, 43 Stat. L. 159, U.S.C.

title 18, sec. 724). This was followed by an appropriation to defray the salaries and
expenses of a certain number of probation officers chosen by civil service. (Johnson,
Probation for Juveniles and Adults, p. 14.)
In United States vs. Murray ([1925], 275 U.S., 347; 48 Sup. Ct. Rep., 146; 72 Law. ed.,
309), the Supreme Court of the United States, through Chief Justice Taft, held that when
a person sentenced to imprisonment by a district court has begun to serve his sentence,
that court has no power under the Probation Act of March 4, 1925 to grant him probation
even though the term at which sentence was imposed had not yet expired. In this case
of Murray, the constitutionality of the probation Act was not considered but was
assumed. The court traced the history of the Act and quoted from the report of the
Committee on the Judiciary of the United States House of Representatives (Report No.
1377, 68th Congress, 2 Session) the following statement:
Prior to the so-called Killitts case, rendered in December, 1916, the district courts
exercised a form of probation either, by suspending sentence or by placing the
defendants under state probation officers or volunteers. In this case, however (Ex
parte United States, 242 U.S., 27; 61 L. Ed., 129; L.R.A., 1917E, 1178; 37 Sup.
Ct. Rep., 72 Ann. Cas. 1917B, 355), the Supreme Court denied the right of the
district courts to suspend sentenced. In the same opinion the court pointed out
the necessity for action by Congress if the courts were to exercise probation
powers in the future . . .
Since this decision was rendered, two attempts have been made to enact
probation legislation. In 1917, a bill was favorably reported by the Judiciary
Committee and passed the House. In 1920, the judiciary Committee again
favorably reported a probation bill to the House, but it was never reached for
definite action.
If this bill is enacted into law, it will bring the policy of the Federal government
with reference to its treatment of those convicted of violations of its criminal laws
in harmony with that of the states of the Union. At the present time every state
has a probation law, and in all but twelve states the law applies both to adult and
juvenile offenders. (see, also, Johnson, Probation for Juveniles and Adults
[1928], Chap. I.)
The constitutionality of the federal probation law has been sustained by inferior federal
courts. In Riggs vs. United States supra, the Circuit Court of Appeals of the Fourth
Circuit said:
Since the passage of the Probation Act of March 4, 1925, the questions under
consideration have been reviewed by the Circuit Court of Appeals of the Ninth
Circuit (7 F. [2d], 590), and the constitutionality of the act fully sustained, and the

same held in no manner to encroach upon the pardoning power of the President.
This case will be found to contain an able and comprehensive review of the law
applicable here. It arose under the act we have to consider, and to it and the
authorities cited therein special reference is made (Nix vs. James, 7 F. [2d], 590,
594), as is also to a decision of the Circuit Court of Appeals of the Seventh
Circuit (Kriebel vs. U.S., 10 F. [2d], 762), likewise construing the Probation Act.
We have seen that in 1916 the Supreme Court of the United States; in plain and
unequivocal language, pointed to Congress as possessing the requisite power to enact
probation laws, that a federal probation law as actually enacted in 1925, and that the
constitutionality of the Act has been assumed by the Supreme Court of the United
States in 1928 and consistently sustained by the inferior federal courts in a number of
earlier cases.
We are fully convinced that the Philippine Legislature, like the Congress of the United
States, may legally enact a probation law under its broad power to fix the punishment of
any and all penal offenses. This conclusion is supported by other authorities. In Ex
parte Bates ([1915], 20 N. M., 542; L.R.A. 1916A, 1285; 151 Pac., 698, the court said:
"It is clearly within the province of the Legislature to denominate and define all classes
of crime, and to prescribe for each a minimum and maximum punishment." And in State
vs. Abbott ([1910], 87 S.C., 466; 33 L.R.A. [N. S.], 112; 70 S. E., 6; Ann. Cas. 1912B,
1189), the court said: "The legislative power to set punishment for crime is very broad,
and in the exercise of this power the general assembly may confer on trial judges, if it
sees fit, the largest discretion as to the sentence to be imposed, as to the beginning and
end of the punishment and whether it should be certain or indeterminate or conditional."
(Quoted in State vs. Teal [1918], 108 S. C., 455; 95 S. E., 69.) Indeed, the Philippine
Legislature has defined all crimes and fixed the penalties for their violation. Invariably,
the legislature has demonstrated the desire to vest in the courts particularly the trial
courts large discretion in imposing the penalties which the law prescribes in particular
cases. It is believed that justice can best be served by vesting this power in the courts,
they being in a position to best determine the penalties which an individual convict,
peculiarly circumstanced, should suffer. Thus, while courts are not allowed to refrain
from imposing a sentence merely because, taking into consideration the degree of
malice and the injury caused by the offense, the penalty provided by law is clearly
excessive, the courts being allowed in such case to submit to the Chief Executive,
through the Department of Justice, such statement as it may deem proper (see art. 5,
Revised Penal Code), in cases where both mitigating and aggravating circumstances
are attendant in the commission of a crime and the law provides for a penalty composed
of two indivisible penalties, the courts may allow such circumstances to offset one
another in consideration of their number and importance, and to apply the penalty
according to the result of such compensation. (Art. 63, rule 4, Revised Penal Code; U.S.
vs. Reguera and Asuategui [1921], 41 Phil., 506.) Again, article 64, paragraph 7, of the
Revised Penal Code empowers the courts to determine, within the limits of each

periods, in case the penalty prescribed by law contains three periods, the extent of the
evil produced by the crime. In the imposition of fines, the courts are allowed to fix any
amount within the limits established by law, considering not only the mitigating and
aggravating circumstances, but more particularly the wealth or means of the culprit. (Art.
66, Revised Penal Code.) Article 68, paragraph 1, of the same Code provides that "a
discretionary penalty shall be imposed" upon a person under fifteen but over nine years
of age, who has not acted without discernment, but always lower by two degrees at
least than that prescribed by law for the crime which he has committed. Article 69 of the
same Code provides that in case of "incomplete self-defense", i.e., when the crime
committed is not wholly excusable by reason of the lack of some of the conditions
required to justify the same or to exempt from criminal liability in the several cases
mentioned in article 11 and 12 of the Code, "the courts shall impose the penalty in the
period which may be deemed proper, in view of the number and nature of the conditions
of exemption present or lacking." And, in case the commission of what are known as
"impossible" crimes, "the court, having in mind the social danger and the degree of
criminality shown by the offender," shall impose upon him either arresto mayor or a fine
ranging from 200 to 500 pesos. (Art. 59, Revised Penal Code.)
Under our Revised Penal Code, also, one-half of the period of preventive imprisonment
is deducted form the entire term of imprisonment, except in certain cases expressly
mentioned (art. 29); the death penalty is not imposed when the guilty person is more
than seventy years of age, or where upon appeal or revision of the case by the
Supreme Court, all the members thereof are not unanimous in their voting as to the
propriety of the imposition of the death penalty (art. 47, see also, sec. 133, Revised
Administrative Code, as amended by Commonwealth Act No. 3); the death sentence is
not to be inflicted upon a woman within the three years next following the date of the
sentence or while she is pregnant, or upon any person over seventy years of age (art.
83); and when a convict shall become insane or an imbecile after final sentence has
been pronounced, or while he is serving his sentenced, the execution of said sentence
shall be suspended with regard to the personal penalty during the period of such
insanity or imbecility (art. 79).
But the desire of the legislature to relax what might result in the undue harshness of the
penal laws is more clearly demonstrated in various other enactments, including the
probation Act. There is the Indeterminate Sentence Law enacted in 1933 as Act No.
4103 and subsequently amended by Act No. 4225, establishing a system of parole
(secs. 5 to 100 and granting the courts large discretion in imposing the penalties of the
law. Section 1 of the law as amended provides; "hereafter, in imposing a prison
sentence for an offenses 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 to a 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." Certain classes of convicts are, by section 2 of the law, excluded from the
operation thereof. The Legislature has also enacted the Juvenile Delinquency Law (Act
No. 3203) which was subsequently amended by Act No. 3559. Section 7 of the original
Act and section 1 of the amendatory Act have become article 80 of the Revised Penal
Code, amended by Act No. 4117 of the Philippine Legislature and recently reamended
by Commonwealth Act No. 99 of the National Assembly. In this Act is again manifested
the intention of the legislature to "humanize" the penal laws. It allows, in effect, the
modification in particular cases of the penalties prescribed by law by permitting the
suspension of the execution of the judgment in the discretion of the trial court, after due
hearing and after investigation of the particular circumstances of the offenses, the
criminal record, if any, of the convict, and his social history. The Legislature has in reality
decreed that in certain cases no punishment at all shall be suffered by the convict as
long as the conditions of probation are faithfully observed. It this be so, then, it cannot
be said that the Probation Act comes in conflict with the power of the Chief Executive to
grant pardons and reprieves, because, to use the language of the Supreme Court of
New Mexico, "the element of punishment or the penalty for the commission of a wrong,
while to be declared by the courts as a judicial function under and within the limits of law
as announced by legislative acts, concerns solely the procedure and conduct of criminal
causes, with which the executive can have nothing to do." (Ex parte Bates, supra.) In
Williams vs. State ([1926], 162 Ga., 327; 133 S.E., 843), the court upheld the
constitutionality of the Georgia probation statute against the contention that it attempted
to delegate to the courts the pardoning power lodged by the constitution in the governor
alone is vested with the power to pardon after final sentence has been imposed by the
courts, the power of the courts to imposed any penalty which may be from time to time
prescribed by law and in such manner as may be defined cannot be questioned."
We realize, of course, the conflict which the American cases disclose. Some cases hold
it unlawful for the legislature to vest in the courts the power to suspend the operation of
a sentenced, by probation or otherwise, as to do so would encroach upon the pardoning
power of the executive. (In re Webb [1895], 89 Wis., 354; 27 L.R.A., 356; 46 Am. St.
Rep., 846; 62 N.W., 177; 9 Am. Crim., Rep., 702; State ex rel. Summerfield vs. Moran
[1919], 43 Nev., 150; 182 Pac., 927; Ex parte Clendenning [1908], 22 Okla., 108; 1
Okla. Crim. Rep., 227; 19 L.R.A. [N.S.], 1041; 132 Am. St. Rep., 628; 97 Pac., 650;
People vs. Barrett [1903], 202 Ill, 287; 67 N.E., 23; 63 L.R.A., 82; 95 Am. St. Rep., 230;
Snodgrass vs. State [1912], 67 Tex. Crim. Rep., 615; 41 L. R. A. [N. S.], 1144; 150 S.
W., 162;Ex parte Shelor [1910], 33 Nev., 361;111 Pac., 291; Neal vs. State [1898], 104
Ga., 509; 42 L. R. A., 190; 69 Am. St. Rep., 175; 30 S. E. 858; State ex rel. Payne vs.
Anderson [1921], 43 S. D., 630; 181 N. W., 839; People vs. Brown, 54 Mich., 15; 19 N.
W., 571; States vs. Dalton [1903], 109 Tenn., 544; 72 S. W., 456.)

Other cases, however, hold contra. (Nix vs. James [1925; C. C. A., 9th], 7 F. [2d], 590;
Archer vs. Snook [1926; D. C.], 10 F. [2d], 567; Riggs. vs. United States [1926; C. C. A.
4th], 14]) [2d], 5; Murphy vs. States [1926], 171 Ark., 620; 286 S. W., 871; 48 A. L. R.,
1189; Re Giannini [1912], 18 Cal. App., 166; 122 Pac., 831; Re Nachnaber [1928], 89
Cal. App., 530; 265 Pac., 392; Ex parte De Voe [1931], 114 Cal. App., 730; 300 Pac.,
874; People vs. Patrick [1897], 118 Cal., 332; 50 Pac., 425; Martin vs. People [1917], 69
Colo., 60; 168 Pac., 1171; Belden vs. Hugo [1914], 88 Conn., 50; 91 A., 369, 370, 371;
Williams vs. State [1926], 162 Ga., 327; 133 S. E., 843; People vs. Heise [1913], 257
Ill., 443; 100 N. E., 1000; Parker vs. State [1893], 135 Ind., 534; 35 N. E., 179; 23 L. R.
A., 859; St. Hillarie, Petitioner [1906], 101 Me., 522; 64 Atl., 882; People vs. Stickle
[1909], 156 Mich., 557; 121 N. W., 497; State vs. Fjolander [1914], 125 Minn., 529;
State ex rel. Bottomnly vs. District Court [1925], 73 Mont., 541; 237 Pac., 525; State vs.
Everitt [1913], 164 N. C., 399; 79 S. E., 274; 47 L. R. A. [N. S.], 848; State ex rel.
Buckley vs. Drew [1909], 75 N. H., 402; 74 Atl., 875; State vs. Osborne [1911], 79 N. J.
Eq., 430; 82 Atl. 424; Ex parteBates [1915], 20 N. M., 542; L. R. A., 1916 A. 1285; 151
Pac., 698; People vs. ex rel. Forsyth vs. Court of Session [1894], 141 N. Y., 288; 23 L.
R. A., 856; 36 N. E., 386; 15 Am. Crim. Rep., 675; People ex rel. Sullivan vs. Flynn
[1907], 55 Misc., 639; 106 N. Y. Supp., 928; People vs. Goodrich [1914], 149 N. Y.
Supp., 406; Moore vs. Thorn [1935], 245 App. Div., 180; 281 N. Y. Supp., 49; Re
Hart [1914], 29 N. D., 38; L. R. A., 1915C, 1169; 149 N. W., 568; Ex parte Eaton [1925],
29 Okla., Crim. Rep., 275; 233 P., 781; State vs. Teal [1918], 108 S. C., 455; 95 S. E.,
69; State vs. Abbot [1910], 87 S. C., 466; 33 L.R.A., [N. S.], 112; 70 S. E., 6; Ann. Cas.,
1912B, 1189; Fults vs. States [1854],34 Tenn., 232; Woods vs. State [1814], 130 Tenn.,
100; 169 S. W., 558; Baker vs. State [1814], 130 Tenn., 100; 169 S. W., 558; Baker vs.
State [1913],70 Tex., Crim. Rep., 618; 158 S. W., 998; Cook vs. State [1914], 73 Tex.
Crim. Rep., 548; 165 S. W., 573; King vs. State [1914], 72 Tex. Crim. Rep., 394; 162 S.
W., 890; Clare vs. State [1932], 122 Tex. Crim. Rep., 394; 162 S. W., 890; Clare vs.
State [1932], 122 Tex. Crim. Rep., 211; 54 S. W. [2d], 127; Re Hall [1927], 100 Vt., 197;
136 A., 24; Richardson vs. Com. [1921], 131 Va., 802; 109 S.E., 460; State vs. Mallahan
[1911], 65 Wash., 287; 118 Pac., 42; State ex rel. Tingstand vs. Starwich [1922], 119
Wash., 561; 206 Pac., 29; 26 A. L. R., 393; 396.) We elect to follow this long catena of
authorities holding that the courts may be legally authorized by the legislature to
suspend sentence by the establishment of a system of probation however
characterized. State ex rel. Tingstand vs. Starwich ([1922], 119 Wash., 561; 206 Pac.,
29; 26 A. L. R., 393), deserved particular mention. In that case, a statute enacted in
1921 which provided for the suspension of the execution of a sentence until otherwise
ordered by the court, and required that the convicted person be placed under the
charge of a parole or peace officer during the term of such suspension, on such terms
as the court may determine, was held constitutional and as not giving the court a power
in violation of the constitutional provision vesting the pardoning power in the chief
executive of the state. (Vide, also, Re Giannini [1912], 18 Cal App., 166; 122 Pac., 831.)

Probation and pardon are not coterminous; nor are they the same. They are actually
district and different from each other, both in origin and in nature. In People ex rel.
Forsyth vs. Court of Sessions ([1894], 141 N. Y., 288, 294; 36 N. E., 386, 388; 23 L. R.
A., 856; 15 Am. Crim. Rep., 675), the Court of Appeals of New York said:
. . . The power to suspend sentence and the power to grant reprieves and
pardons, as understood when the constitution was adopted, are totally distinct
and different in their nature. The former was always a part of the judicial power;
the latter was always a part of the executive power. The suspension of the
sentence simply postpones the judgment of the court temporarily or indefinitely,
but the conviction and liability following it, and the civil disabilities, remain and
become operative when judgment is rendered. A pardon reaches both the
punishment prescribed for the offense and the guilt of the offender. It releases the
punishment, and blots out of existence the guilt, so that in the eye of the law, the
offender is as innocent as if he had never committed the offense. It removes the
penalties and disabilities, and restores him to all his civil rights. It makes him, as
it were, a new man, and gives him a new credit and capacity. (Ex parteGarland,
71 U. S., 4 Wall., 333; 18 Law. ed., 366; U. S. vs. Klein, 80 U. S., 13 Wall., 128;
20 Law. ed., 519; Knote vs. U. S., 95 U. S., 149; 24 Law. ed., 442.)
The framers of the federal and the state constitutions were perfectly familiar with
the principles governing the power to grant pardons, and it was conferred by
these instruments upon the executive with full knowledge of the law upon the
subject, and the words of the constitution were used to express the authority
formerly exercised by the English crown, or by its representatives in the colonies.
(Ex parte Wells, 59 U. S., 18 How., 307; 15 Law. ed., 421.) As this power was
understood, it did not comprehend any part of the judicial functions to suspend
sentence, and it was never intended that the authority to grant reprieves and
pardons should abrogate, or in any degree restrict, the exercise of that power in
regard to its own judgments, that criminal courts has so long maintained. The two
powers, so distinct and different in their nature and character, were still left
separate and distinct, the one to be exercised by the executive, and the other by
the judicial department. We therefore conclude that a statute which, in terms,
authorizes courts of criminal jurisdiction to suspend sentence in certain cases
after conviction, a power inherent in such courts at common law, which was
understood when the constitution was adopted to be an ordinary judicial function,
and which, ever since its adoption, has been exercised of legislative power under
the constitution. It does not encroach, in any just sense, upon the powers of the
executive, as they have been understood and practiced from the earliest times.
(Quoted with approval in Directors of Prisons vs. Judge of First Instance of
Cavite [1915], 29 Phil., 265, Carson, J., concurring, at pp. 294, 295.)

In probation, the probationer is in no true sense, as in pardon, a free man. He is not

finally and completely exonerated. He is not exempt from the entire punishment which
the law inflicts. Under the Probation Act, the probationer's case is not terminated by the
mere fact that he is placed on probation. Section 4 of the Act provides that the probation
may be definitely terminated and the probationer finally discharged from supervision
only after the period of probation shall have been terminated and the probation officer
shall have submitted a report, and the court shall have found that the probationer has
complied with the conditions of probation. The probationer, then, during the period of
probation, remains in legal custody subject to the control of the probation officer and
of the court; and, he may be rearrested upon the non-fulfillment of the conditions of
probation and, when rearrested, may be committed to prison to serve the sentence
originally imposed upon him. (Secs. 2, 3, 5 and 6, Act No. 4221.)
The probation described in the act is not pardon. It is not complete liberty, and
may be far from it. It is really a new mode of punishment, to be applied by the
judge in a proper case, in substitution of the imprisonment and find prescribed by
the criminal laws. For this reason its application is as purely a judicial act as any
other sentence carrying out the law deemed applicable to the offense. The
executive act of pardon, on the contrary, is against the criminal law, which binds
and directs the judges, or rather is outside of and above it. There is thus no
conflict with the pardoning power, and no possible unconstitutionality of the
Probation Act for this cause. (Archer vs. Snook [1926], 10 F. [2d], 567, 569.)
Probation should also be distinguished from reprieve and from commutation of the
sentence. Snodgrass vs. State ([1912], 67 Tex. Crim. Rep., 615;41 L. R. A. [N. S.], 1144;
150 S. W., 162), is relied upon most strongly by the petitioners as authority in support of
their contention that the power to grant pardons and reprieves, having been vested
exclusively upon the Chief Executive by the Jones Law, may not be conferred by the
legislature upon the courts by means of probation law authorizing the indefinite judicial
suspension of sentence. We have examined that case and found that although the
Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas held that the probation statute of the state in terms
conferred on the district courts the power to grant pardons to persons convicted of
crime, it also distinguished between suspensions sentence on the one hand, and
reprieve and commutation of sentence on the other. Said the court, through Harper, J.:
That the power to suspend the sentence does not conflict with the power of the
Governor to grant reprieves is settled by the decisions of the various courts; it
being held that the distinction between a "reprieve" and a suspension of
sentence is that a reprieve postpones the execution of the sentence to a day
certain, whereas a suspension is for an indefinite time. (Carnal vs. People, 1
Parker, Cr. R., 262; In re Buchanan, 146 N. Y., 264; 40 N. E., 883), and cases
cited in 7 Words & Phrases, pp. 6115, 6116. This law cannot be hold in conflict
with the power confiding in the Governor to grant commutations of punishment,

for a commutations is not but to change the punishment assessed to a less

In State ex rel. Bottomnly vs. District Court ([1925], 73 Mont., 541; 237 Pac., 525), the
Supreme Court of Montana had under consideration the validity of the adult probation
law of the state enacted in 1913, now found in sections 12078-12086, Revised Codes of
1921. The court held the law valid as not impinging upon the pardoning power of the
executive. In a unanimous decision penned by Justice Holloway, the court said:
. . . . the term "pardon", "commutation", and "respite" each had a well understood
meaning at the time our Constitution was adopted, and no one of them was
intended to comprehend the suspension of the execution of the judgment as that
phrase is employed in sections 12078-12086. A "pardon" is an act of grace,
proceeding from the power intrusted with the execution of the laws which
exempts the individual on whom it is bestowed from the punishment the law
inflicts for a crime he has committed (United States vs. Wilson, 7 Pet., 150; 8
Law. ed., 640); It is a remission of guilt (State vs. Lewis, 111 La., 693; 35 So.,
816), a forgiveness of the offense (Cook vs. Middlesex County, 26 N. J. Law,
326; Ex parte Powell, 73 Ala., 517; 49 Am. Rep., 71). "Commutation" is a
remission of a part of the punishment; a substitution of a less penalty for the one
originally imposed (Lee vs. Murphy, 22 Grat. [Va.] 789; 12 Am. Rep., 563; Rich
vs. Chamberlain, 107 Mich., 381; 65 N. W., 235). A "reprieve" or "respite" is the
withholding of the sentence for an interval of time (4 Blackstone's Commentaries,
394), a postponement of execution (Carnal vs. People, 1 Parker, Cr. R. [N. Y.],
272), a temporary suspension of execution (Butler vs. State, 97 Ind., 373).
Few adjudicated cases are to be found in which the validity of a statute similar to
our section 12078 has been determined; but the same objections have been
urged against parole statutes which vest the power to parole in persons other
than those to whom the power of pardon is granted, and these statutes have
been upheld quite uniformly, as a reference to the numerous cases cited in the
notes to Woods vs. State (130 Tenn., 100; 169 S. W.,558, reported in L. R. A.,
1915F, 531), will disclose. (See, also, 20 R. C. L., 524.)
We conclude that the Probation Act does not conflict with the pardoning power of the
Executive. The pardoning power, in respect to those serving their probationary
sentences, remains as full and complete as if the Probation Law had never been
enacted. The President may yet pardon the probationer and thus place it beyond the
power of the court to order his rearrest and imprisonment. (Riggs vs. United States
14 F. [2d], 5, 7.)

2. But while the Probation Law does not encroach upon the pardoning power of the
executive and is not for that reason void, does section 11 thereof constitute, as
contended, an undue delegation of legislative power?
Under the constitutional system, the powers of government are distributed among three
coordinate and substantially independent organs: the legislative, the executive and the
judicial. Each of these departments of the government derives its authority from the
Constitution which, in turn, is the highest expression of popular will. Each has exclusive
cognizance of the matters within its jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own sphere.
The power to make laws the legislative power is vested in a bicameral Legislature
by the Jones Law (sec. 12) and in a unicamiral National Assembly by the Constitution
(Act. VI, sec. 1, Constitution of the Philippines). The Philippine Legislature or the
National Assembly may not escape its duties and responsibilities by delegating that
power to any other body or authority. Any attempt to abdicate the power is
unconstitutional and void, on the principle that potestas delegata non delegare potest.
This principle is said to have originated with the glossators, was introduced into English
law through a misreading of Bracton, there developed as a principle of agency, was
established by Lord Coke in the English public law in decisions forbidding the delegation
of judicial power, and found its way into America as an enlightened principle of free
government. It has since become an accepted corollary of the principle of separation of
powers. (5 Encyc. of the Social Sciences, p. 66.) The classic statement of the rule is
that of Locke, namely: "The legislative neither must nor can transfer the power of
making laws to anybody else, or place it anywhere but where the people have." (Locke
on Civil Government, sec. 142.) Judge Cooley enunciates the doctrine in the following
oft-quoted language: "One of the settled maxims in constitutional law is, that the power
conferred upon the legislature to make laws cannot be delegated by that department to
any other body or authority. Where the sovereign power of the state has located the
authority, there it must remain; and by the constitutional agency alone the laws must be
made until the Constitution itself is charged. The power to whose judgment, wisdom,
and patriotism this high prerogative has been intrusted cannot relieve itself of the
responsibilities by choosing other agencies upon which the power shall be devolved,
nor can it substitute the judgment, wisdom, and patriotism of any other body for those to
which alone the people have seen fit to confide this sovereign trust." (Cooley on
Constitutional Limitations, 8th ed., Vol. I, p. 224. Quoted with approval in U. S. vs.
Barrias [1908], 11 Phil., 327.) This court posits the doctrine "on the ethical principle that
such a delegated power constitutes not only a right but a duty to be performed by the
delegate by the instrumentality of his own judgment acting immediately upon the matter
of legislation and not through the intervening mind of another. (U. S. vs. Barrias, supra,
at p. 330.)
The rule, however, which forbids the delegation of legislative power is not absolute and
inflexible. It admits of exceptions. An exceptions sanctioned by immemorial practice

permits the central legislative body to delegate legislative powers to local authorities.
(Rubi vs. Provincial Board of Mindoro [1919], 39 Phil., 660; U. S. vs. Salaveria [1918],
39 Phil., 102; Stoutenburgh vs. Hennick [1889], 129 U. S., 141; 32 Law. ed., 637; 9 Sup.
Ct. Rep., 256; State vs. Noyes [1855], 30 N. H., 279.) "It is a cardinal principle of our
system of government, that local affairs shall be managed by local authorities, and
general affairs by the central authorities; and hence while the rule is also fundamental
that the power to make laws cannot be delegated, the creation of the municipalities
exercising local self government has never been held to trench upon that rule. Such
legislation is not regarded as a transfer of general legislative power, but rather as the
grant of the authority to prescribed local regulations, according to immemorial practice,
subject of course to the interposition of the superior in cases of necessity."
(Stoutenburgh vs. Hennick, supra.) On quite the same principle, Congress is powered to
delegate legislative power to such agencies in the territories of the United States as it
may select. A territory stands in the same relation to Congress as a municipality or city
to the state government. (United States vs. Heinszen [1907], 206 U. S., 370; 27 Sup. Ct.
Rep., 742; 51 L. ed., 1098; 11 Ann. Cas., 688; Dorr vs. United States [1904], 195 U.S.,
138; 24 Sup. Ct. Rep., 808; 49 Law. ed., 128; 1 Ann. Cas., 697.) Courts have also
sustained the delegation of legislative power to the people at large. Some authorities
maintain that this may not be done (12 C. J., pp. 841, 842; 6 R. C. L., p. 164, citing
People vs. Kennedy [1913], 207 N. Y., 533; 101 N. E., 442; Ann. Cas., 1914C, 616).
However, the question of whether or not a state has ceased to be republican in form
because of its adoption of the initiative and referendum has been held not to be a
judicial but a political question (Pacific States Tel. & Tel. Co. vs. Oregon [1912], 223 U.
S., 118; 56 Law. ed., 377; 32 Sup. Cet. Rep., 224), and as the constitutionality of such
laws has been looked upon with favor by certain progressive courts, the sting of the
decisions of the more conservative courts has been pretty well drawn. (Opinions of the
Justices [1894], 160 Mass., 586; 36 N. E., 488; 23 L. R. A., 113; Kiernan vs. Portland
[1910], 57 Ore., 454; 111 Pac., 379; 1132 Pac., 402; 37 L. R. A. [N. S.], 332; Pacific
States Tel. & Tel. Co. vs. Oregon, supra.) Doubtless, also, legislative power may be
delegated by the Constitution itself. Section 14, paragraph 2, of article VI of the
Constitution of the Philippines provides that "The National Assembly may by law
authorize the President, subject to such limitations and restrictions as it may impose, to
fix within specified limits, tariff rates, import or export quotas, and tonnage and wharfage
dues." And section 16 of the same article of the Constitution provides that "In times of
war or other national emergency, the National Assembly may by law authorize the
President, for a limited period and subject to such restrictions as it may prescribed, to
promulgate rules and regulations to carry out a declared national policy." It is beyond
the scope of this decision to determine whether or not, in the absence of the foregoing
constitutional provisions, the President could be authorized to exercise the powers
thereby vested in him. Upon the other hand, whatever doubt may have existed has
been removed by the Constitution itself.
The case before us does not fall under any of the exceptions hereinabove mentioned.

The challenged section of Act No. 4221 in section 11 which reads as follows:
This Act shall apply only in those provinces in which the respective provincial
boards have provided for the salary of a probation officer at rates not lower than
those now provided for provincial fiscals. Said probation officer shall be
appointed by the Secretary of Justice and shall be subject to the direction of the
Probation Office. (Emphasis ours.)
In testing whether a statute constitute an undue delegation of legislative power or not, it
is usual to inquire whether the statute was complete in all its terms and provisions when
it left the hands of the legislature so that nothing was left to the judgment of any other
appointee or delegate of the legislature. (6 R. C. L., p. 165.) In the United States vs. Ang
Tang Ho ([1922], 43 Phil., 1), this court adhered to the foregoing rule when it held an act
of the legislature void in so far as it undertook to authorize the Governor-General, in his
discretion, to issue a proclamation fixing the price of rice and to make the sale of it in
violation of the proclamation a crime. (See and cf. Compaia General de Tabacos vs.
Board of Public Utility Commissioners [1916], 34 Phil., 136.) The general rule, however,
is limited by another rule that to a certain extent matters of detail may be left to be filled
in by rules and regulations to be adopted or promulgated by executive officers and
administrative boards. (6 R. C. L., pp. 177-179.)
For the purpose of Probation Act, the provincial boards may be regarded as
administrative bodies endowed with power to determine when the Act should take effect
in their respective provinces. They are the agents or delegates of the legislature in this
respect. The rules governing delegation of legislative power to administrative and
executive officers are applicable or are at least indicative of the rule which should be
here adopted. An examination of a variety of cases on delegation of power to
administrative bodies will show that the ratio decidendiis at variance but, it can be
broadly asserted that the rationale revolves around the presence or absence of a
standard or rule of action or the sufficiency thereof in the statute, to aid the
delegate in exercising the granted discretion. In some cases, it is held that the standard
is sufficient; in others that is insufficient; and in still others that it is entirely lacking. As a
rule, an act of the legislature is incomplete and hence invalid if it does not lay down any
rule or definite standard by which the administrative officer or board may be guided in
the exercise of the discretionary powers delegated to it. (See Schecter vs. United States
[1925], 295 U. S., 495; 79 L. ed., 1570; 55 Sup. Ct. Rep., 837; 97 A.L.R., 947;
People ex rel. Rice vs. Wilson Oil Co. [1936], 364 Ill., 406; 4 N. E. [2d], 847; 107 A.L.R.,
1500 and cases cited. See also R. C. L., title "Constitutional Law", sec 174.) In the case
at bar, what rules are to guide the provincial boards in the exercise of their discretionary
power to determine whether or not the Probation Act shall apply in their respective
provinces? What standards are fixed by the Act? We do not find any and none has been
pointed to us by the respondents. The probation Act does not, by the force of any of its
provisions, fix and impose upon the provincial boards any standard or guide in the

exercise of their discretionary power. What is granted, if we may use the language of
Justice Cardozo in the recent case of Schecter, supra, is a "roving commission" which
enables the provincial boards to exercise arbitrary discretion. By section 11 if the Act,
the legislature does not seemingly on its own authority extend the benefits of the
Probation Act to the provinces but in reality leaves the entire matter for the various
provincial boards to determine. In other words, the provincial boards of the various
provinces are to determine for themselves, whether the Probation Law shall apply to
their provinces or not at all. The applicability and application of the Probation Act are
entirely placed in the hands of the provincial boards. If the provincial board does not
wish to have the Act applied in its province, all that it has to do is to decline to
appropriate the needed amount for the salary of a probation officer. The plain language
of the Act is not susceptible of any other interpretation. This, to our minds, is a virtual
surrender of legislative power to the provincial boards.
"The true distinction", says Judge Ranney, "is between the delegation of power to make
the law, which necessarily involves a discretion as to what it shall be, and conferring an
authority or discretion as to its execution, to be exercised under and in pursuance of the
law. The first cannot be done; to the latter no valid objection can be made." (Cincinnati,
W. & Z. R. Co. vs. Clinton County Comrs. [1852]; 1 Ohio St., 77, 88. See also,
Sutherland on Statutory Construction, sec 68.) To the same effect are the decision of
this court in Municipality of Cardona vs. Municipality of Binangonan ([1917], 36 Phil.,
547); Rubi vs. Provincial Board of Mindoro ([1919],39 Phil., 660) andCruz vs.
Youngberg ([1931], 56 Phil., 234). In the first of these cases, this court sustained the
validity of the law conferring upon the Governor-General authority to adjust provincial
and municipal boundaries. In the second case, this court held it lawful for the legislature
to direct non-Christian inhabitants to take up their habitation on unoccupied lands to be
selected by the provincial governor and approved by the provincial board. In the third
case, it was held proper for the legislature to vest in the Governor-General authority to
suspend or not, at his discretion, the prohibition of the importation of the foreign cattle,
such prohibition to be raised "if the conditions of the country make this advisable or if
deceased among foreign cattle has ceased to be a menace to the agriculture and
livestock of the lands."
It should be observed that in the case at bar we are not concerned with the simple
transference of details of execution or the promulgation by executive or administrative
officials of rules and regulations to carry into effect the provisions of a law. If we were,
recurrence to our own decisions would be sufficient. (U. S. vs. Barrias [1908], 11 Phil.,
327; U.S. vs. Molina [1914], 29 Phil., 119; Alegre vs. Collector of Customs [1929], 53
Phil., 394; Cebu Autobus Co. vs. De Jesus [1931], 56 Phil., 446; U. S. vs. Gomez
[1915], 31 Phil., 218; Rubi vs. Provincial Board of Mindoro [1919], 39 Phil., 660.)
It is connected, however, that a legislative act may be made to the effect as law after it
leaves the hands of the legislature. It is true that laws may be made effective on certain

contingencies, as by proclamation of the executive or the adoption by the people of a

particular community (6 R. C. L., 116, 170-172; Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, 8th
ed., Vol. I, p. 227). In Wayman vs. Southard ([1825], 10 Wheat. 1; 6 Law. ed., 253), the
Supreme Court of the United State ruled that the legislature may delegate a power not
legislative which it may itself rightfully exercise.(Vide, also, Dowling vs. Lancashire Ins.
Co. [1896], 92 Wis., 63; 65 N. W., 738; 31 L. R. A., 112.) The power to ascertain facts is
such a power which may be delegated. There is nothing essentially legislative in
ascertaining the existence of facts or conditions as the basis of the taking into effect of a
law. That is a mental process common to all branches of the government. (Dowling vs.
Lancashire Ins. Co., supra; In reVillage of North Milwaukee [1896], 93 Wis., 616; 97
N.W., 1033; 33 L.R.A., 938; Nash vs. Fries [1906], 129 Wis., 120; 108 N.W., 210; Field
vs. Clark [1892], 143 U.S., 649; 12 Sup. Ct., 495; 36 Law. ed., 294.) Notwithstanding the
apparent tendency, however, to relax the rule prohibiting delegation of legislative
authority on account of the complexity arising from social and economic forces at work
in this modern industrial age (Pfiffner, Public Administration [1936] ch. XX; Laski, "The
Mother of Parliaments", foreign Affairs, July, 1931, Vol. IX, No. 4, pp. 569-579; Beard,
"Squirt-Gun Politics", in Harper's Monthly Magazine, July, 1930, Vol. CLXI, pp. 147,
152), the orthodox pronouncement of Judge Cooley in his work on Constitutional
Limitations finds restatement in Prof. Willoughby's treatise on the Constitution of the
United States in the following language speaking of declaration of legislative power
to administrative agencies: "The principle which permits the legislature to provide that
the administrative agent may determine when the circumstances are such as require
the application of a law is defended upon the ground that at the time this authority is
granted, the rule of public policy, which is the essence of the legislative act, is
determined by the legislature. In other words, the legislature, as it its duty to do,
determines that, under given circumstances, certain executive or administrative action is
to be taken, and that, under other circumstances, different of no action at all is to be
taken. What is thus left to the administrative official is not the legislative determination of
what public policy demands, but simply the ascertainment of what the facts of the case
require to be done according to the terms of the law by which he is governed."
(Willoughby on the Constitution of the United States, 2nd ed., Vol. II, p. 1637.) In Miller
vs. Mayer, etc., of New York [1883], 109 U.S., 3 Sup. Ct. Rep., 228; 27 Law. ed., 971,
974), it was said: "The efficiency of an Act as a declaration of legislative will must, of
course, come from Congress, but the ascertainment of the contingency upon which the
Act shall take effect may be left to such agencies as it may designate." (See, also, 12
C.J., p. 864; State vs. Parker [1854], 26 Vt., 357; Blanding vs. Burr [1859], 13 Cal., 343,
258.) The legislature, then may provide that a contingencies leaving to some other
person or body the power to determine when the specified contingencies has arisen.
But, in the case at bar, the legislature has not made the operation of the Prohibition Act
contingent upon specified facts or conditions to be ascertained by the provincial board.
It leaves, as we have already said, the entire operation or non-operation of the law upon
the provincial board. the discretion vested is arbitrary because it is absolute and
unlimited. A provincial board need not investigate conditions or find any fact, or await

the happening of any specified contingency. It is bound by no rule, limited by no

principle of expendiency announced by the legislature. It may take into consideration
certain facts or conditions; and, again, it may not. It may have any purpose or no
purpose at all. It need not give any reason whatsoever for refusing or failing to
appropriate any funds for the salary of a probation officer. This is a matter which rest
entirely at its pleasure. The fact that at some future time we cannot say when the
provincial boards may appropriate funds for the salaries of probation officers and thus
put the law into operation in the various provinces will not save the statute. The time of
its taking into effect, we reiterate, would yet be based solely upon the will of the
provincial boards and not upon the happening of a certain specified contingency, or
upon the ascertainment of certain facts or conditions by a person or body other than
legislature itself.
The various provincial boards are, in practical effect, endowed with the power of
suspending the operation of the Probation Law in their respective provinces. In some
jurisdiction, constitutions provided that laws may be suspended only by the legislature
or by its authority. Thus, section 28, article I of the Constitution of Texas provides that
"No power of suspending laws in this state shall be exercised except by the legislature";
and section 26, article I of the Constitution of Indiana provides "That the operation of the
laws shall never be suspended, except by authority of the General Assembly." Yet, even
provisions of this sort do not confer absolute power of suspension upon the legislature.
While it may be undoubted that the legislature may suspend a law, or the execution or
operation of a law, a law may not be suspended as to certain individuals only, leaving
the law to be enjoyed by others. The suspension must be general, and cannot be made
for individual cases or for particular localities. In Holden vs. James ([1814], 11 Mass.,
396; 6 Am. Dec., 174, 177, 178), it was said:
By the twentieth article of the declaration of rights in the constitution of this
commonwealth, it is declared that the power of suspending the laws, or the
execution of the laws, ought never to be exercised but by the legislature, or by
authority derived from it, to be exercised in such particular cases only as the
legislature shall expressly provide for. Many of the articles in that declaration of
rights were adopted from the Magna Charta of England, and from the bill of rights
passed in the reign of William and Mary. The bill of rights contains an
enumeration of the oppressive acts of James II, tending to subvert and extirpate
the protestant religion, and the laws and liberties of the kingdom; and the first of
them is the assuming and exercising a power of dispensing with and suspending
the laws, and the execution of the laws without consent of parliament. The first
article in the claim or declaration of rights contained in the statute is, that the
exercise of such power, by legal authority without consent of parliament, is illegal.
In the tenth section of the same statute it is further declared and enacted, that
"No dispensation by non obstante of or to any statute, or part thereof, should be
allowed; but the same should be held void and of no effect, except a

dispensation be allowed of in such statute." There is an implied reservation of

authority in the parliament to exercise the power here mentioned; because,
according to the theory of the English Constitution, "that absolute despotic power,
which must in all governments reside somewhere," is intrusted to the parliament:
1 Bl. Com., 160.
The principles of our government are widely different in this particular. Here the
sovereign and absolute power resides in the people; and the legislature can only
exercise what is delegated to them according to the constitution. It is obvious that
the exercise of the power in question would be equally oppressive to the subject,
and subversive of his right to protection, "according to standing laws," whether
exercised by one man or by a number of men. It cannot be supposed that the
people when adopting this general principle from the English bill of rights and
inserting it in our constitution, intended to bestow by implication on the general
court one of the most odious and oppressive prerogatives of the ancient kings of
England. It is manifestly contrary to the first principles of civil liberty and natural
justice, and to the spirit of our constitution and laws, that any one citizen should
enjoy privileges and advantages which are denied to all others under like
circumstances; or that ant one should be subject to losses, damages, suits, or
actions from which all others under like circumstances are exempted.
To illustrate the principle: A section of a statute relative to dogs made the owner of any
dog liable to the owner of domestic animals wounded by it for the damages without
proving a knowledge of it vicious disposition. By a provision of the act, power was given
to the board of supervisors to determine whether or not during the current year their
county should be governed by the provisions of the act of which that section constituted
a part. It was held that the legislature could not confer that power. The court observed
that it could no more confer such a power than to authorize the board of supervisors of
a county to abolish in such county the days of grace on commercial paper, or to
suspend the statute of limitations. (Slinger vs. Henneman [1875], 38 Wis., 504.) A
similar statute in Missouri was held void for the same reason in State vs. Field ([1853,
17 Mo., 529;59 Am. Dec., 275.) In that case a general statute formulating a road system
contained a provision that "if the county court of any county should be of opinion that the
provisions of the act should not be enforced, they might, in their discretion, suspend the
operation of the same for any specified length of time, and thereupon the act should
become inoperative in such county for the period specified in such order; and thereupon
order the roads to be opened and kept in good repair, under the laws theretofore in
force." Said the court: ". . . this act, by its own provisions, repeals the inconsistent
provisions of a former act, and yet it is left to the county court to say which act shall be
enforce in their county. The act does not submit the question to the county court as an
original question, to be decided by that tribunal, whether the act shall commence its
operation within the county; but it became by its own terms a law in every county not
excepted by name in the act. It did not, then, require the county court to do any act in

order to give it effect. But being the law in the county, and having by its provisions
superseded and abrogated the inconsistent provisions of previous laws, the county
court is . . . empowered, to suspend this act and revive the repealed provisions of the
former act. When the question is before the county court for that tribunal to determine
which law shall be in force, it is urge before us that the power then to be exercised by
the court is strictly legislative power, which under our constitution, cannot be delegated
to that tribunal or to any other body of men in the state. In the present case, the
question is not presented in the abstract; for the county court of Saline county, after the
act had been for several months in force in that county, did by order suspend its
operation; and during that suspension the offense was committed which is the subject of
the present indictment . . . ." (See Mitchell vs. State [1901], 134 Ala., 392; 32 S., 687.)
True, the legislature may enact laws for a particular locality different from those
applicable to other localities and, while recognizing the force of the principle
hereinabove expressed, courts in may jurisdiction have sustained the constitutionality of
the submission of option laws to the vote of the people. (6 R.C.L., p. 171.) But option
laws thus sustained treat of subjects purely local in character which should receive
different treatment in different localities placed under different circumstances. "They
relate to subjects which, like the retailing of intoxicating drinks, or the running at large of
cattle in the highways, may be differently regarded in different localities, and they are
sustained on what seems to us the impregnable ground, that the subject, though not
embraced within the ordinary powers of municipalities to make by-laws and ordinances,
is nevertheless within the class of public regulations, in respect to which it is proper that
the local judgment should control." (Cooley on Constitutional Limitations, 5th ed., p.
148.) So that, while we do not deny the right of local self-government and the propriety
of leaving matters of purely local concern in the hands of local authorities or for the
people of small communities to pass upon, we believe that in matters of general of
general legislation like that which treats of criminals in general, and as regards the
general subject of probation, discretion may not be vested in a manner so unqualified
and absolute as provided in Act No. 4221. True, the statute does not expressly state
that the provincial boards may suspend the operation of the Probation Act in particular
provinces but, considering that, in being vested with the authority to appropriate or not
the necessary funds for the salaries of probation officers, they thereby are given
absolute discretion to determine whether or not the law should take effect or operate in
their respective provinces, the provincial boards are in reality empowered by the
legislature to suspend the operation of the Probation Act in particular provinces, the Act
to be held in abeyance until the provincial boards should decide otherwise by
appropriating the necessary funds. The validity of a law is not tested by what has been
done but by what may be done under its provisions. (Walter E. Olsen & Co. vs.
Aldanese and Trinidad [1922], 43 Phil., 259; 12 C. J., p. 786.)
It in conceded that a great deal of latitude should be granted to the legislature not only
in the expression of what may be termed legislative policy but in the elaboration and

execution thereof. "Without this power, legislation would become oppressive and yet
imbecile." (People vs. Reynolds, 5 Gilman, 1.) It has been said that popular government
lives because of the inexhaustible reservoir of power behind it. It is unquestionable that
the mass of powers of government is vested in the representatives of the people and
that these representatives are no further restrained under our system than by the
express language of the instrument imposing the restraint, or by particular provisions
which by clear intendment, have that effect. (Angara vs. Electoral Commission [1936],
35 Off. Ga., 23; Schneckenburger vs. Moran [1936], 35 Off. Gaz., 1317.) But, it should
be borne in mind that a constitution is both a grant and a limitation of power and one of
these time-honored limitations is that, subject to certain exceptions, legislative power
shall not be delegated.
We conclude that section 11 of Act No. 4221 constitutes an improper and unlawful
delegation of legislative authority to the provincial boards and is, for this reason,
unconstitutional and void.
3. It is also contended that the Probation Act violates the provisions of our Bill of Rights
which prohibits the denial to any person of the equal protection of the laws (Act. III, sec.
1 subsec. 1. Constitution of the Philippines.)
This basic individual right sheltered by the Constitution is a restraint on all the tree
grand departments of our government and on the subordinate instrumentalities and
subdivision thereof, and on many constitutional power, like the police power, taxation
and eminent domain. The equal protection of laws, sententiously observes the Supreme
Court of the United States, "is a pledge of the protection of equal laws." (Yick Wo vs.
Hopkins [1886], 118 U. S., 356; 30 Law. ed., 220; 6 Sup. Ct. Rep., 10464; Perley vs.
North Carolina, 249 U. S., 510; 39 Sup. Ct. Rep., 357; 63 Law. ed., 735.) Of course,
what may be regarded as a denial of the equal protection of the laws in a question not
always easily determined. No rule that will cover every case can be formulated.
(Connolly vs. Union Sewer Pipe Co. [1902], 184, U. S., 540; 22 Sup. Ct., Rep., 431; 46
Law. ed., 679.) Class legislation discriminating against some and favoring others in
prohibited. But classification on a reasonable basis, and nor made arbitrarily or
capriciously, is permitted. (Finely vs. California [1911], 222 U. S., 28; 56 Law. ed., 75; 32
Sup. Ct. Rep., 13; Gulf. C. & S. F. Ry Co. vs. Ellis [1897], 165 U. S., 150; 41 Law. ed.,
666; 17 Sup. Ct. Rep., 255; Smith, Bell & Co. vs. Natividad [1919], 40 Phil., 136.) The
classification, however, to be reasonable must be based on substantial distinctions
which make real differences; it must be germane to the purposes of the law; it must not
be limited to existing conditions only, and must apply equally to each member of the
class. (Borgnis vs. Falk. Co. [1911], 147 Wis., 327, 353; 133 N. W., 209; 3 N. C. C. A.,
649; 37 L. R. A. [N. S.], 489; State vs. Cooley, 56 Minn., 540; 530-552; 58 N. W., 150;
Lindsley vs. Natural Carbonic Gas Co.[1911], 220 U. S., 61, 79, 55 Law. ed., 369, 377;
31 Sup. Ct. Rep., 337; Ann. Cas., 1912C, 160; Lake Shore & M. S. R. Co. vs. Clough
[1917], 242 U.S., 375; 37 Sup. Ct. Rep., 144; 61 Law. ed., 374; Southern Ry. Co. vs.

Greene [1910], 216 U. S., 400; 30 Sup. Ct. Rep., 287; 54 Law. ed., 536; 17 Ann. Cas.,
1247; Truax vs. Corrigan [1921], 257 U. S., 312; 12 C. J., pp. 1148, 1149.)
In the case at bar, however, the resultant inequality may be said to flow from the
unwarranted delegation of legislative power, although perhaps this is not necessarily the
result in every case. Adopting the example given by one of the counsel for the
petitioners in the course of his oral argument, one province may appropriate the
necessary fund to defray the salary of a probation officer, while another province may
refuse or fail to do so. In such a case, the Probation Act would be in operation in the
former province but not in the latter. This means that a person otherwise coming within
the purview of the law would be liable to enjoy the benefits of probation in one province
while another person similarly situated in another province would be denied those same
benefits. This is obnoxious discrimination. Contrariwise, it is also possible for all the
provincial boards to appropriate the necessary funds for the salaries of the probation
officers in their respective provinces, in which case no inequality would result for the
obvious reason that probation would be in operation in each and every province by the
affirmative action of appropriation by all the provincial boards. On that hypothesis, every
person coming within the purview of the Probation Act would be entitled to avail of the
benefits of the Act. Neither will there be any resulting inequality if no province, through
its provincial board, should appropriate any amount for the salary of the probation officer
which is the situation now and, also, if we accept the contention that, for the
purpose of the Probation Act, the City of Manila should be considered as a province and
that the municipal board of said city has not made any appropriation for the salary of the
probation officer. These different situations suggested show, indeed, that while
inequality may result in the application of the law and in the conferment of the benefits
therein provided, inequality is not in all cases the necessary result. But whatever may
be the case, it is clear that in section 11 of the Probation Act creates a situation in which
discrimination and inequality are permitted or allowed. There are, to be sure, abundant
authorities requiring actual denial of the equal protection of the law before court should
assume the task of setting aside a law vulnerable on that score, but premises and
circumstances considered, we are of the opinion that section 11 of Act No. 4221 permits
of the denial of the equal protection of the law and is on that account bad. We see no
difference between a law which permits of such denial. A law may appear to be fair on
its face and impartial in appearance, yet, if it permits of unjust and illegal discrimination,
it is within the constitutional prohibitions. (By analogy, Chy Lung vs. Freeman [1876],
292 U. S., 275; 23 Law. ed., 550; Henderson vs. Mayor [1876], 92 U. S., 259; 23 Law.
ed., 543; Ex parte Virginia [1880], 100 U. S., 339; 25 Law. ed., 676; Neal vs. Delaware
[1881], 103 U. S., 370; 26 Law. ed., 567; Soon Hing vs. Crowley [1885], 113 U. S., 703;
28 Law. ed., 1145, Yick Wo vs. Hopkins [1886],118 U. S., 356; 30 Law. ed., 220;
Williams vs. Mississippi [1897], 170 U. S., 218; 18 Sup. Ct. Rep., 583; 42 Law. ed.,
1012; Bailey vs. Alabama [1911], 219 U. S., 219; 31 Sup. Ct. Rep. 145; 55 Law. ed.,
Sunday Lake Iron Co. vs. Wakefield [1918], 247 U. S., 450; 38 Sup. Ct. Rep., 495; 62
Law. ed., 1154.) In other words, statutes may be adjudged unconstitutional because of

their effect in operation (General Oil Co. vs. Clain [1907], 209 U. S., 211; 28 Sup. Ct.
Rep., 475; 52 Law. ed., 754; State vs. Clement Nat. Bank [1911], 84 Vt., 167; 78 Atl.,
944; Ann. Cas., 1912D, 22). If the law has the effect of denying the equal protection of
the law it is unconstitutional. (6 R. C. L. p. 372; Civil Rights Cases, 109 U. S., 3; 3 Sup.
Ct. Rep., 18; 27 Law. ed., 835; Yick Wo vs. Hopkins, supra; State vs. Montgomery, 94
Me., 192; 47 Atl., 165; 80 A. S. R., 386; State vs. Dering, 84 Wis., 585; 54 N. W., 1104;
36 A. S. R., 948; 19 L. R. A., 858.) Under section 11 of the Probation Act, not only may
said Act be in force in one or several provinces and not be in force in other provinces,
but one province may appropriate for the salary of the probation officer of a given year
and have probation during that year and thereafter decline to make further
appropriation, and have no probation is subsequent years. While this situation goes
rather to the abuse of discretion which delegation implies, it is here indicated to show
that the Probation Act sanctions a situation which is intolerable in a government of laws,
and to prove how easy it is, under the Act, to make the guaranty of the equality clause
but "a rope of sand". (Brewer, J. Gulf C. & S. F. Ry. Co. vs. Ellis [1897], 165 U. S., 150
154; 41 Law. ed., 666; 17 Sup. Ct. Rep., 255.)lawph!
Great reliance is placed by counsel for the respondents on the case of Ocampo vs.
United States ([1914], 234 U. S., 91; 58 Law. ed., 1231). In that case, the Supreme
Court of the United States affirmed the decision of this court (18 Phil., 1) by declining to
uphold the contention that there was a denial of the equal protection of the laws
because, as held in Missouri vs. Lewis (Bowman vs. Lewis) decided in 1880 (101 U. S.,
220; 25 Law. ed., 991), the guaranty of the equality clause does not require territorial
uniformity. It should be observed, however, that this case concerns the right to
preliminary investigations in criminal cases originally granted by General Orders No. 58.
No question of legislative authority was involved and the alleged denial of the equal
protection of the laws was the result of the subsequent enactment of Act No. 612,
amending the charter of the City of Manila (Act No. 813) and providing in section 2
thereof that "in cases triable only in the court of first instance of the City of Manila, the
defendant . . . shall not be entitled as of right to a preliminary examination in any case
where the prosecuting attorney, after a due investigation of the facts . . . shall have
presented an information against him in proper form . . . ." Upon the other hand, an
analysis of the arguments and the decision indicates that the investigation by the
prosecuting attorney although not in the form had in the provinces was considered
a reasonable substitute for the City of Manila, considering the peculiar conditions of the
city as found and taken into account by the legislature itself.
Reliance is also placed on the case of Missouri vs. Lewis, supra. That case has
reference to a situation where the constitution of Missouri permits appeals to the
Supreme Court of the state from final judgments of any circuit court, except those in
certain counties for which counties the constitution establishes a separate court of
appeals called St. Louis Court of Appeals. The provision complained of, then, is found in

the constitution itself and it is the constitution that makes the apportionment of territorial
We are of the opinion that section 11 of the Probation Act is unconstitutional and void
because it is also repugnant to equal-protection clause of our Constitution.
Section 11 of the Probation Act being unconstitutional and void for the reasons already
stated, the next inquiry is whether or not the entire Act should be avoided.
In seeking the legislative intent, the presumption is against any mutilation of a
statute, and the courts will resort to elimination only where an unconstitutional
provision is interjected into a statute otherwise valid, and is so independent and
separable that its removal will leave the constitutional features and purposes of
the act substantially unaffected by the process. (Riccio vs. Hoboken, 69 N. J.
Law., 649, 662; 63 L. R. A., 485; 55 Atl., 1109, quoted in Williams vs. Standard
Oil Co. [1929], 278 U.S., 235, 240; 73 Law. ed., 287, 309; 49 Sup. Ct. Rep., 115;
60 A. L. R., 596.) In Barrameda vs. Moir ([1913], 25 Phil., 44, 47), this court
stated the well-established rule concerning partial invalidity of statutes in the
following language:
. . . where part of the a statute is void, as repugnant to the Organic Law, while
another part is valid, the valid portion, if separable from the valid, may stand and
be enforced. But in order to do this, the valid portion must be in so far
independent of the invalid portion that it is fair to presume that the Legislative
would have enacted it by itself if they had supposed that they could not
constitutionally enact the other. (Mutual Loan Co. vs. Martell, 200 Mass., 482; 86
N. E., 916; 128 A. S. R., 446; Supervisors of Holmes Co. vs. Black Creek
Drainage District, 99 Miss., 739; 55 Sou., 963.) Enough must remain to make a
complete, intelligible, and valid statute, which carries out the legislative intent.
(Pearson vs. Bass. 132 Ga., 117; 63 S. E., 798.) The void provisions must be
eliminated without causing results affecting the main purpose of the Act, in a
manner contrary to the intention of the Legislature. (State vs. A. C. L. R., Co., 56
Fla., 617, 642; 47 Sou., 969; Harper vs. Galloway, 58 Fla., 255; 51 Sou., 226; 26
L. R. A., N. S., 794; Connolly vs. Union Sewer Pipe Co., 184 U. S., 540, 565;
People vs. Strassheim, 240 Ill., 279, 300; 88 N. E., 821; 22 L. R. A., N. S., 1135;
State vs. Cognevich, 124 La., 414; 50 Sou., 439.) The language used in the
invalid part of a statute can have no legal force or efficacy for any purpose
whatever, and what remains must express the legislative will, independently of
the void part, since the court has no power to legislate. (State vs. Junkin, 85
Neb., 1; 122 N. W., 473; 23 L. R. A., N. S., 839; Vide, also,. U. S., vs. Rodriguez
[1918], 38 Phil., 759; Pollock vs. Farmers' Loan and Trust Co. [1895], 158 U. S.,
601, 635; 39 Law. ed., 1108, 1125; 15 Sup. Ct. Rep., 912; 6 R.C.L., 121.)

It is contended that even if section 11, which makes the Probation Act applicable only in
those provinces in which the respective provincial boards provided for the salaries of
probation officers were inoperative on constitutional grounds, the remainder of the Act
would still be valid and may be enforced. We should be inclined to accept the
suggestions but for the fact that said section is, in our opinion, is inseparably linked with
the other portions of the Act that with the elimination of the section what would be left is
the bare idealism of the system, devoid of any practical benefit to a large number of
people who may be deserving of the intended beneficial result of that system. The clear
policy of the law, as may be gleaned from a careful examination of the whole context, is
to make the application of the system dependent entirely upon the affirmative action of
the different provincial boards through appropriation of the salaries for probation officers
at rates not lower than those provided for provincial fiscals. Without such action on the
part of the various boards, no probation officers would be appointed by the Secretary of
Justice to act in the provinces. The Philippines is divided or subdivided into provinces
and it needs no argument to show that if not one of the provinces and this is the
actual situation now appropriate the necessary fund for the salary of a probation
officer, probation under Act No. 4221 would be illusory. There can be no probation
without a probation officer. Neither can there be a probation officer without the probation
Section 2 of the Acts provides that the probation officer shall supervise and visit the
probationer. Every probation officer is given, as to the person placed in probation under
his care, the powers of the police officer. It is the duty of the probation officer to see that
the conditions which are imposed by the court upon the probationer under his care are
complied with. Among those conditions, the following are enumerated in section 3 of the
That the probationer (a) shall indulge in no injurious or vicious habits;
(b) Shall avoid places or persons of disreputable or harmful character;
(c) Shall report to the probation officer as directed by the court or probation
(d) Shall permit the probation officer to visit him at reasonable times at his place
of abode or elsewhere;
(e) Shall truthfully answer any reasonable inquiries on the part of the probation
officer concerning his conduct or condition; "(f) Shall endeavor to be employed
regularly; "(g) Shall remain or reside within a specified place or locality;
(f) Shall make reparation or restitution to the aggrieved parties for actual
damages or losses caused by his offense;

(g) Shall comply with such orders as the court may from time to time make; and
(h) Shall refrain from violating any law, statute, ordinance, or any by-law or
regulation, promulgated in accordance with law.
The court is required to notify the probation officer in writing of the period and terms of
probation. Under section 4, it is only after the period of probation, the submission of a
report of the probation officer and appropriate finding of the court that the probationer
has complied with the conditions of probation that probation may be definitely
terminated and the probationer finally discharged from supervision. Under section 5, if
the court finds that there is non-compliance with said conditions, as reported by the
probation officer, it may issue a warrant for the arrest of the probationer and said
probationer may be committed with or without bail. Upon arraignment and after an
opportunity to be heard, the court may revoke, continue or modify the probation, and if
revoked, the court shall order the execution of the sentence originally imposed. Section
6 prescribes the duties of probation officers: "It shall be the duty of every probation
officer to furnish to all persons placed on probation under his supervision a statement of
the period and conditions of their probation, and to instruct them concerning the same;
to keep informed concerning their conduct and condition; to aid and encourage them by
friendly advice and admonition, and by such other measures, not inconsistent with the
conditions imposed by court as may seem most suitable, to bring about improvement in
their conduct and condition; to report in writing to the court having jurisdiction over said
probationers at least once every two months concerning their conduct and condition; to
keep records of their work; make such report as are necessary for the information of the
Secretary of Justice and as the latter may require; and to perform such other duties as
are consistent with the functions of the probation officer and as the court or judge may
direct. The probation officers provided for in this Act may act as parole officers for any
penal or reformatory institution for adults when so requested by the authorities thereof,
and, when designated by the Secretary of Justice shall act as parole officer of persons
released on parole under Act Number Forty-one Hundred and Three, without additional
It is argued, however, that even without section 11 probation officers maybe appointed
in the provinces under section 10 of Act which provides as follows:
There is hereby created in the Department of Justice and subject to its
supervision and control, a Probation Office under the direction of a Chief
Probation Officer to be appointed by the Governor-General with the advise and
consent of the Senate who shall receive a salary of four eight hundred pesos per
annum. To carry out this Act there is hereby appropriated out of any funds in the
Insular Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of fifty thousand pesos to
be disbursed by the Secretary of Justice, who is hereby authorized to appoint
probation officers and the administrative personnel of the probation officer under

civil service regulations from among those who possess the qualifications,
training and experience prescribed by the Bureau of Civil Service, and shall fix
the compensation of such probation officers and administrative personnel until
such positions shall have been included in the Appropriation Act.
But the probation officers and the administrative personnel referred to in the foregoing
section are clearly not those probation officers required to be appointed for the
provinces under section 11. It may be said, reddendo singula singulis, that the probation
officers referred to in section 10 above-quoted are to act as such, not in the various
provinces, but in the central office known as the Probation Office established in the
Department of Justice, under the supervision of the Chief Probation Officer. When the
law provides that "the probation officer" shall investigate and make reports to the court
(secs. 1 and 4); that "the probation officer" shall supervise and visit the probationer (sec.
2; sec. 6, par. d); that the probationer shall report to the "probationer officer" (sec. 3, par.
c.), shall allow "the probationer officer" to visit him (sec. 3, par. d), shall truthfully answer
any reasonable inquiries on the part of "the probation officer" concerning his conduct or
condition (sec. 3, par. 4); that the court shall notify "the probation officer" in writing of the
period and terms of probation (sec. 3, last par.), it means the probation officer who is in
charge of a particular probationer in a particular province. It never could have been
intention of the legislature, for instance, to require the probationer in Batanes, to report
to a probationer officer in the City of Manila, or to require a probation officer in Manila to
visit the probationer in the said province of Batanes, to place him under his care, to
supervise his conduct, to instruct him concerning the conditions of his probation or to
perform such other functions as are assigned to him by law.
That under section 10 the Secretary of Justice may appoint as many probation officers
as there are provinces or groups of provinces is, of course possible. But this would be
arguing on what the law may be or should be and not on what the law is. Between is
and ought there is a far cry. The wisdom and propriety of legislation is not for us to pass
upon. We may think a law better otherwise than it is. But much as has been said
regarding progressive interpretation and judicial legislation we decline to amend the law.
We are not permitted to read into the law matters and provisions which are not there.
Not for any purpose not even to save a statute from the doom of invalidity.
Upon the other hand, the clear intention and policy of the law is not to make the Insular
Government defray the salaries of probation officers in the provinces but to make the
provinces defray them should they desire to have the Probation Act apply thereto. The
sum of P50,000, appropriated "to carry out the purposes of this Act", is to be applied,
among other things, for the salaries of probation officers in the central office at Manila.
These probation officers are to receive such compensations as the Secretary of Justice
may fix "until such positions shall have been included in the Appropriation Act". It was
the intention of the legislature to empower the Secretary of Justice to fix the salaries of
the probation officers in the provinces or later on to include said salaries in an

appropriation act. Considering, further, that the sum of P50,000 appropriated in section
10 is to cover, among other things, the salaries of the administrative personnel of the
Probation Office, what would be left of the amount can hardly be said to be sufficient to
pay even nominal salaries to probation officers in the provinces. We take judicial notice
of the fact that there are 48 provinces in the Philippines and we do not think it is
seriously contended that, with the fifty thousand pesos appropriated for the central
office, there can be in each province, as intended, a probation officer with a salary not
lower than that of a provincial fiscal. If this a correct, the contention that without section
11 of Act No. 4221 said act is complete is an impracticable thing under the remainder of
the Act, unless it is conceded that in our case there can be a system of probation in the
provinces without probation officers.
Probation as a development of a modern penology is a commendable system.
Probation laws have been enacted, here and in other countries, to permit what modern
criminologist call the "individualization of the punishment", the adjustment of the penalty
to the character of the criminal and the circumstances of his particular case. It provides
a period of grace in order to aid in the rehabilitation of a penitent offender. It is believed
that, in any cases, convicts may be reformed and their development into hardened
criminals aborted. It, therefore, takes advantage of an opportunity for reformation and
avoids imprisonment so long as the convicts gives promise of reform. (United States vs.
Murray [1925], 275 U. S., 347 357, 358; 72 Law. ed., 309; 312, 313; 48 Sup. Ct. Rep.,
146; Kaplan vs. Hecht, 24 F. [2d], 664, 665.) The Welfare of society is its chief end and
aim. The benefit to the individual convict is merely incidental. But while we believe that
probation is commendable as a system and its implantation into the Philippines should
be welcomed, we are forced by our inescapable duty to set the law aside because of
the repugnancy to our fundamental law.
In arriving at this conclusion, we have endeavored to consider the different aspects
presented by able counsel for both parties, as well in their memorandums as in their
oral argument. We have examined the cases brought to our attention, and others we
have been able to reach in the short time at our command for the study and deliberation
of this case. In the examination of the cases and in then analysis of the legal principles
involved we have inclined to adopt the line of action which in our opinion, is supported
better reasoned authorities and is more conducive to the general welfare. (Smith, Bell &
Co. vs. Natividad [1919], 40 Phil., 136.) Realizing the conflict of authorities, we have
declined to be bound by certain adjudicated cases brought to our attention, except
where the point or principle is settled directly or by clear implication by the more
authoritative pronouncements of the Supreme Court of the United States. This line of
approach is justified because:
(a) The constitutional relations between the Federal and the State governments
of the United States and the dual character of the American Government is a
situation which does not obtain in the Philippines;

(b) The situation of s state of the American Union of the District of Columbia with
reference to the Federal Government of the United States is not the situation of
the province with respect to the Insular Government (Art. I, sec. 8 cl. 17 and 10th
Amendment, Constitution of the United States; Sims vs. Rives, 84 Fed. [2d],
(c) The distinct federal and the state judicial organizations of the United States do
not embrace the integrated judicial system of the Philippines (Schneckenburger
vs. Moran [1936], 35 Off. Gaz., p. 1317);
(d) "General propositions do not decide concrete cases" (Justice Holmes in
Lochner vs. New York [1904], 198 U. S., 45, 76; 49 Law. ed., 937, 949) and, "to
keep pace with . . . new developments of times and circumstances" (Chief
Justice Waite in Pensacola Tel. Co. vs. Western Union Tel. Co. [1899], 96 U. S.,
1, 9; 24 Law. ed., 708; Yale Law Journal, Vol. XXIX, No. 2, Dec. 1919, 141, 142),
fundamental principles should be interpreted having in view existing local
conditions and environment.
Act No. 4221 is hereby declared unconstitutional and void and the writ of prohibition is,
accordingly, granted. Without any pronouncement regarding costs. So ordered.
[G.R. No. 132164. October 19, 2004]
When the credibility of a witness is sought to be impeached by proof of his
reputation, it is necessary that the reputation shown should be that which existed before
the occurrence of the circumstances out of which the litigation arose, [1] or at the time of
the trial and prior thereto, but not at a period remote from the commencement of the
suit.[2] This is because a person of derogatory character or reputation can still change or
reform himself.
For our resolution is the petition for review on certiorari of the Court of Appeals
Decision[3] dated January 8, 1998, in CA-G.R. SP. No. 44180, the dispositive portion of
which reads:
WHEREFORE, Resolution No. 966213 dated September 23, 1996 and Resolution No.
972423 dated April 11, 1997 of the respondent Civil Service Commission are hereby set

aside. The complaint against petitioner Allyson Belagan filed by Magdalena Gapuz is
The dismissal of petitioner Belagan is lifted and he is hereby ordered to be immediately
reinstated to his position without loss of seniority, retirement, backwages and other
rights and benefits.
The instant case stemmed from two (2) separate complaints filed respectively by
Magdalena Gapuz, founder/directress of the Mother and Child Learning Center, and
Ligaya Annawi, a public school teacher at Fort Del Pilar Elementary School, against
respondent Dr. Allyson Belagan, Superintendent of the Department of Education,
Culture and Sports (DECS), all from Baguio City. Magdalena charged respondent with
sexual indignities and harassment, while Ligaya accused him of sexual harassment and
various malfeasances.
Magdalenas sworn complaint alleges that sometime in March 1994, she filed an
application with the DECS Office in Baguio City for a permit to operate a pre-school.
One of the requisites for the issuance of the permit was the inspection of the school
premises by the DECS Division Office. Since the officer assigned to conduct the
inspection was not present, respondent volunteered his services. Sometime in June
1994, respondent and complainant visited the school. In the course of the inspection,
while both were descending the stairs of the second floor, respondent suddenly placed
his arms around her shoulders and kissed her cheek. Dumbfounded, she muttered, Sir,
is this part of the inspection? Pati ba naman kayo sa DECS wala ng values?
Respondent merely sheepishly smiled. At that time, there were no other people in the
Fearful that her application might be jeopardized and that her husband might harm
respondent, Magdalena just kept quiet.
Several days later, Magdalena went to the DECS Division Office and asked
respondent, Sir, kumusta yung application ko? His reply was Mag-date muna tayo. She
declined, explaining that she is married. She then left and reported the matter to DECS
Assistant Superintendent Peter Ngabit.
Magdalena never returned to the DECS Division Office to follow up her application.
However, she was forced to reveal the incidents to her husband when he asked why the
permit has not yet been released. Thereupon, they went to the office of the respondent.
He merely denied having a personal relationship with Magdalena.

Thereafter, respondent forwarded to the DECS Regional Director his

recommendation to approve Magdalenas application for a permit to operate a preschool.
Sometime in September 1994, Magdalena read from a local newspaper that certain
female employees of the DECS in Baguio City were charging a high-ranking DECS
official with sexual harassment. Upon inquiry, she learned that the official being
complained of was respondent. She then wrote a letter-complaint for sexual indignities
and harassment to former DECS Secretary Ricardo Gloria.
On October 4, 1994, respondent was placed under suspension.
On the part of Ligaya Annawi, she alleged in her complaint that on four separate
occasions, respondent touched her breasts, kissed her cheek, touched her groins,
embraced her from behind and pulled her close to him, his organ pressing the lower
part of her back.
Ligaya also charged respondent with: (1) delaying the payment of the teachers
salaries; (2) failing to release the pay differentials of substitute teachers; (3) willfully
refusing to release the teachers uniforms, proportionate allowances and productivity
pay; and (4) failing to constitute the Selection and Promotion Board, as required by the
DECS rules and regulations.
The DECS conducted a joint investigation of the complaints of Magdalena and
Ligaya. In his defense, respondent denied their charge of sexual harassment. However,
he presented evidence to disprove Ligayas imputation of dereliction of duty.
On January 9, 1995, the DECS Secretary rendered a Joint Decision [4] finding
respondent guilty of four (4) counts of sexual indignities or harassments committed
against Ligaya; and two (2) counts of sexual advances or indignities against Magdalena.
He was ordered dismissed from the service. The dispositive portion of the Joint
Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, foregoing disquisitions duly considered, decision is hereby rendered in
the two above-entitled cases, finding:
a) Respondent Dr. Allyson Belagan, Superintendent of the DECS Baguio City
Schools Division GUILTY of the four counts of sexual indignities or
harassments committed against the person and honor of complainant Miss
Ligaya Annawi, a Baguio City public school teacher, while in the performance
of his official duties and taking advantage of his office. He is,
however, ABSOLVED of all the other charges of administrative
malfeasance or dereliction of duty.


Respondent Baguio City Superintendent Allyson Belagan likewise

GUILTY of the two counts of sexual advances or indignities committed
against the person and honor of complainant Mrs. Magdalena Gapuz, a
private school teacher of Baguio City, while in the performance of his official
duties and taking advantage of his office.

Consequently, respondent Allyson Belagan is HEREBY ORDERED DISMISSED from

the government service, with prejudice to reinstatement and all his retirement benefits
and other remunerations due him are HEREBY DECLARED FORFEITED in favor of
the government.
Upon appeal, the Civil Service Commission (CSC), on September 23, 1996,
promulgated Resolution No. 966213[6] affirming the Decision of the DECS Secretary in
the case filed by Magdalena but dismissing the complaint of Ligaya. The CSC ruled that
respondents transgression against Magdalena constitutes grave misconduct. Thus:
The acts of Belagan are serious breach of good conduct since he was holding a position
which requires the incumbent thereof to maintain a high degree of moral uprightness. As
Division Superintendent, Belagan represents an institution tasked to mold the character
of children. Furthermore, one of his duties is to ensure that teachers in his division
conduct themselves properly and observe the proper discipline. Any improper behavior
on his part will seriously impair his moral ascendancy over the teachers and students
which can not be tolerated. Therefore, his misconduct towards an applicant for a
permit to operate a private pre-school cannot be treated lightly and constitutes
the offense of grave misconduct.
WHEREFORE, respondent Allyson Belagan is hereby found guilty of grave
misconduct and imposed the penalty of DISMISSAL from the service with all the
accessory penalties. The decision of the DECS Secretary is modified accordingly.[7]
On October 29, 1996, respondent seasonably filed a motion for reconsideration,
contending that he has never been charged of any offense in his thirty-seven (37) years
of service. By contrast, Magdalena was charged with several offenses before the
Trial Court (MTC) of Baguio City, thus:
1. Criminal Case No. 43416 for LIGHT ORAL DEFAMATION (December 3,
2. Criminal Case No. 45629 for SLIGHT PHYSICAL INJURIES (May 13, 1982)

3. Criminal Case No. 45630 for GRAVE THREATS (May 13, 1982)
4. Criminal Case No. 45914 for GRAVE THREATS (June 24, 1982)
5. Criminal Case No. 51532 for MALICIOUS MISCHIEF (January 25, 1985)
6. Criminal Case No. 51533 for LIGHT THREATS (January 25, 1985)
7. Criminal Case No. 51556 for GRAVE ORAL DEFAMATION (January 30,
8. Criminal Case No. 51818 for LIGHT ORAL DEFAMATION (March 18, 1985)
9. Criminal Case No. 51819 for GRAVE ORAL DEFAMATION (March 18, 1985)
10. Criminal Case No. 51820 for MALICIOUS MISCHIEF (March 18, 1985)
11. Criminal Case No. 51821 for UNJUST VEXATION (March 18, 1985)
12. Criminal Case No. 62173 for UNJUST VEXATION (May 29, 1991)
13. Criminal Case No. 62172 for GRAVE ORAL DEFAMATION (May 29, 1991)
14. Criminal Case No. 62754 for GRAVE ORAL DEFAMATION (December 2,
15. Criminal Case No. 55642 for GRAVE ORAL DEFAMATION (December 2,
16. Criminal Case No. 55423 for GRAVE ORAL DEFAMATION (October 24,
17. Criminal Case No. 55846 for GRAVE ORAL DEFAMATION (November 4,
18. Criminal Case No. 55800 for GRAVE ORAL DEFAMATION (January 7,
19. Criminal Case No. 57312 for UNJUST VEXATION (November 29, 1987)
20. Criminal Case No. 55643 for SLIGHT PHYSICAL INJURIES (December 13,
21. Criminal Case No. 53404 for UNJUST VEXATION (December 13, 1985)

22. Criminal Case No. 55422 for UNJUST VEXATION (October 24, 1986) [8]
In addition, the following complaints against Magdalena were filed with the
Barangay Chairmen of Barangay Gabriela Silang and Barangay Hillside, both in Baguio
1. Ordana vs. Gapuz (Brgy. Case No. 11-19-02-A) for GRAVE THREATS,
2. Teresita De Los Santos vs. Gapuz (Brgy. Case No. 86-8-26-8) for GRAVE
3. Mrs. Conchita Ballesteros vs. Gapuz (Brgy. Case No. 029) for ORAL
4. Mrs. Clara Baoas vs. Gapuz (Brgy. Case No. 030) for HARASSMENT and
5. GABRIELA SILANG TANOD FORCES vs. Gapuz (Case No. 031) for
6. Pablo Ortiz vs. Gapuz (November 1, 1979) for ORAL DEFAMATION
7. C. Ballesteros vs. Gapuz (September 11, 1978) for ORAL DEFAMATION
8. Mrs. Liza Ancheta vs. Gapuz (September 27, 1978) for RUMOR
9. Mr. Pananin (Beneco Personnel) (October 8, 1978) for ORAL DEFAMATION
10. Mrs. Minda Valdez vs. Gapuz (November 6, 1978) for ORAL DEFAMATION
11. WOMENS CLUB vs. GAPUZ (February 9, 1979) for ORAL DEFAMATION
12. Vistro Salcedo case (May 8, 1979)
Where Mrs. Gapuz was spreading rumors against Barangay Captain
and Police Chief
13. Demolition Scandal (May 10, 1979)
Where she called all the residents of their Barangay for an emergency
meeting and where she shouted invectives against the residents

14. Incident of June 13, 1979

Mrs. Gapuz shouted invectives against the Barangay Sanitary
15. Incident of August 25, 1979
Mrs. Gapuz shouted invectives against the servants of Mr. De Leon
16. Incident of August 26, 1979
Mrs. Gapuz terrorized the council meeting
17. Incident of September 2, 1978
Mrs. Clara Baoas was harassed by Mrs. Gapuz
18. Incident of September 9, 1979
Mrs. Gapuz quarreled with Mrs. C. Ballesteros during the council
19. Incident of September 10, 1979
Mrs. Gapuz was hurling invectives along her alley in the early morning
20. Incident of September 13, 1979
Mrs. Gapuz tapped electric wire from Mrs. Tessie de los Santos with
the latters consent
21. Incident of September 21, 1979
Mrs. Gapuz was shouting and hurling invectives scandalously around
her residence
22. Incident of September 21, 1979
Mrs. Gapuz was shouting, complaining about alleged poisoned
sardines near the premises of her residence which killed her hen.
23. Incident of September 23, 1979

Mrs. Gapuz was shouting unpleasant words around the neighborhood.

She did not like the actuations of a bayanihan group near the waiting
Respondent claimed that the numerous cases filed against Magdalena cast doubt
on her character, integrity, and credibility.
In its Resolution No. 972423 [10] dated April 11, 1997, the CSC denied respondents
motion for reconsideration, holding that:
The character of a woman who was the subject of a sexual assault is of minor
significance in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the person accused
of having committed the offense. This is so because even a prostitute or a woman
of ill repute may become a victim of said offense.
As such, the fact that complainant Magdalena Gapuz is shown to have had cases
before the regular courts for various offenses and was condemned by her community
for wrongful behavior does not discount the possibility that she was in fact telling the
truth when she cried about the lecherous advances made to her by the respondent. x x
Respondent then filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for review. As stated
earlier, it reversed the CSC Resolutions and dismissed Magdalenas complaint.
The Appellate Court held that Magdalena is an unreliable witness, her character
being questionable. Given her aggressiveness and propensity for trouble, she is not one
whom any male would attempt to steal a kiss. In fact, her record immediately raises an
alarm in any one who may cross her path. [11] In absolving respondent from the charges,
the Appellate Court considered his unblemished service record for 37 years.
Unsatisfied, the CSC, through the Solicitor General, filed the instant petition raising
the following assignments of error:
I. The Supreme Court may rule on factual issues raised on appeal where
the Court of Appeals misappreciated the facts. Furthermore, where the
findings of the Court of Appeals and the trial court are contrary to each
other, the Supreme Court may review the record and evidence. The
Court of Appeals erred in not giving credence to the testimony of
complainant Magdalena Gapuz despite convincing and overwhelming
signs of its truthfulness.
II. The Court of Appeals committed reversible error when it failed to give
due weight to the findings of the DECS, which conducted the

administrative investigation, specifically with respect to the credibility

of the witnesses presented.
III. The Court of Appeals erred in ruling that respondent should be
penalized under Sec. 22 (o) of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V
and not Sec. 22 (e) of said rules.[12]
In his comment, respondent maintains that Magdalenas derogatory record
undermines the verity of her charge and that the Court of Appeals is correct in
dismissing it.
The petition is impressed with merit.
The pivotal issue before us is whether complaining witness, Magdalena Gapuz, is
credible. This is a question of fact which, as a general rule, is not subject to this Courts
It is a rule of long standing that factual findings of the Court of Appeals, if supported
by substantial evidence, are conclusive and binding on the parties and are not
reviewable by this Court.[13] This Court is, after all, not a trier of facts. One of the
exceptions, however, is when the findings of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those
of the trial court or a quasi-judicialbody, like petitioner herein.[14]
Here, the Court of Appeals and the CSC are poles apart in their appreciation of
Magdalenas derogatory record. While the former considered it of vital and paramount
importance in determining the truth of her charge, the latter dismissed it as of minor
significance. This contrariety propels us to the elusive area of character and reputation
Generally, the character of a party is regarded as legally irrelevant in determining a
controversy.[15] One statutory exception is that relied upon by respondent, i.e., Section
51 (a) 3, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules on Evidence, which we quote here:
SEC. 51. Character evidence not generally admissible; exceptions.
(a) In Criminal Cases:
(3) The good or bad moral character of the offended party may be
proved if it tends to establish in any reasonable degree the probability
or improbability of the offense charged.

It will be readily observed that the above provision pertains only to criminal cases,
not to administrative offenses. And even assuming that this technical rule of evidence
can be applied here, still, we cannot sustain respondents posture.
Not every good or bad moral character of the offended party may be proved under
this provision. Only those which would establish the probability or improbability of the
offense charged. This means that the character evidence must be limited to the traits
and characteristics involved in the type of offense charged. [16] Thus, on a charge of rape
- character for chastity, on a charge of assault - character for peaceableness or
violence, and on a charge of embezzlement - character for honesty. [17] In one rape case,
where it was established that the alleged victim was morally loose and apparently
uncaring about her chastity, we found the conviction of the accused doubtful. [18]
In the present administrative case for sexual harassment, respondent did not offer
evidence that has a bearing on Magdalenas chastity. What he presented are charges
for grave oral defamation, grave threats, unjust vexation, physical injuries, malicious
mischief, etc. filed against her. Certainly, these pieces of evidence are inadmissible
under the above provision because they do not establish the probability or improbability
of the offense charged.
Obviously, in invoking the above provision, what respondent was trying to establish
is Magdalenas lack of credibility and not the probability or the improbability of the
charge. In this regard, a different provision applies.
Credibility means the disposition and intention to tell the truth in the testimony given.
It refers to a persons integrity, and to the fact that he is worthy of belief. [19] A witness
may be discredited by evidence attacking his general reputation for truth,
honesty[21] or integrity.[22] Section 11, Rule 132 of the same Revised Rules on
Evidence reads:
SEC. 11. Impeachment of adverse partys witness. A witness may be impeached by the
party against whom he was called, by contradictory evidence, by evidence that his
general reputation for truth, honesty, or integrity is bad, or by evidence that he has
made at other times statements inconsistent with his present testimony, but not by
evidence of particular wrongful acts, except that it may be shown by the examination
of the witness, or the record of the judgment, that he has been convicted of an
Although she is the offended party, Magdalena, by testifying in her own behalf,
opened herself to character or reputation attack pursuant to the principle that a party
who becomes a witness in his own behalf places himself in the same position as
any other witness, and may be impeached by an attack on his character or

With the foregoing disquisition, the Court of Appeals is correct in holding that the
character or reputation of a complaining witness in a sexual charge is a proper subject
of inquiry. This leads us to the ultimate question is Magdalenas derogatory record
sufficient to discredit her credibility?
A careful review of the record yields a negative answer.
First, most of the twenty-two (22) cases filed with the MTC of Baguio City relate to
acts committed in the 80s, particularly, 1985 and 1986. With respect to the complaints
filed with the Chairmen of Barangay Gabriela Silang and Barangay Hillside, the acts
complained of took place in 1978 to 1979. In the instant administrative case, the offense
was committed in 1994. Surely, those cases and complaints are no longer reliable
proofs of Magdalenas character or reputation. The Court of Appeals, therefore, erred in
according much weight to such evidence.Settled is the principle that evidence of
ones character or reputation must be confined to a time not too remote from the
time in question.[24] In other words, what is to be determined is the character or
reputation of the person at the time of the trial and prior thereto, but not at a
period remote from the commencement of the suit. [25] Hence, to say that
Magdalenas credibility is diminished by proofs of tarnished reputation existing almost a
decade ago is unreasonable. It is unfair to presume that a person who has wandered
from the path of moral righteousness can never retrace his steps again. Certainly, every
person is capable to change or reform.
Second, respondent failed to prove that Magdalena was convicted in any of the
criminal cases specified by respondent. The general rule prevailing in a great majority of
jurisdictions is that it is not permissible to show that a witness has been arrested or
that he has been charged with or prosecuted for a criminal offense, or confined in
jail for the purpose of impairing his credibility.[26] This view has usually been based upon
one or more of the following grounds or theories: (a) that a mere unproven charge
against the witness does not logically tend to affect his credibility, (b) that innocent
persons are often arrested or accused of a crime, (c) that one accused of a crime is
presumed to be innocent until his guilt is legally established, and (d) that a witness may
not be impeached or discredited by evidence of particular acts of misconduct.
Significantly, the same Section 11, Rule 132 of our Revised Rules on Evidence
provides that a witness may not be impeached by evidence of particular wrongful acts.
Such evidence is rejected because of the confusion of issues and the waste of time that
would be involved, and because the witness may not be prepared to expose the falsity
of such wrongful acts.[28] As it happened in this case, Magdalena was not able to explain
or rebuteach of the charges against her listed by respondent.
But more than anything else, what convinces us to sustain the Resolution of the
CSC is the fact that it is supported by substantial evidence. As aptly pointed out by the
Solicitor General, Magdalena testified in a straightforward, candid and spontaneous

manner. Her testimony is replete with details, such as the number of times she and
respondent inspected the pre-school, the specific part of the stairs where respondent
kissed her, and the matter about her transient boarders during summer. Magdalena
would not have normally thought about these details if she were not telling the truth. We
quote her testimony during the cross-examination conducted by DECS Assistant
Secretary Romeo Capinpin and Undersecretary Antonio Nachura, thus:
Q Was there any conversation between you and Dr. Belagan during the
inspection on the first floor and the second floor?
A There was, sir. It was a casual conversation that we had with regard to my
family, background, how the school came about, how I started with the
project. That was all, sir.
Q Nothing about any form of sexual harassment, in words or in deeds?
A Sir, because he inspected the second floor twice, sir. We went up to the stairs
twice, sir.
Q Why?
A I really dont know what was the reason behind, sir. But on the second
inspection, sir, I told him that as of that time I had some transients with me. I
was making use of the premises for transients because that was summer
then, sir. And I already started paying the place so I said, Sir, I have some
transients with me in the evening and he said, You know Mrs. Gapuz, I am
interested to stay in one of the rooms as one your boarders. But I
respectfully declined saying, Sir, I think for delicadeza I cannot accept you.
Not that I dont want you to be here but people might think that I am keeping
you here and that would prejudice my permit, sir.
Q When did the alleged kissing occur? Was it during the first time that
you went up with him or the second time?
A No, sir, on the second time, sir.
Q Second time?
A Yes, sir. We were going down, sir.
Q And you were going down?

A Yes, sir.
Q Do you recall what portion of the stairs where you were during the
alleged kissing?
A Sir, on the topmost of the stairs.
Q Before you went down?
A Yes, sir. At the topmost because there is a base floor going up to the
stairs and it has 16 steps.
Q So, it was not on the 16th step but still on the topmost?
A Yes sir.
Q Part of the floor of the building?
A Yes, sir. Topmost, sir?
Q Will you kindly tell us your relative position at that time?
A Sir, on the second time that we went up and I mentioned about these
transients that I had then and he wanted to stay in the place in one of
the rooms and then I declined and I was still showing the rooms
simultaneously. On the last, the biggest room that I had, he said, No.
Never mind, I am not going to see that anymore. So he waited for me
there and upon reaching the place, as I was to step down on the first
step going down, he placed his arm and held me tightly and planted
the kiss on my cheek, sir.
Q You said that he wanted to stay in one of the rooms?
A Yes, sir, as a boarder.
Q Is that room used for transients?
A During that time, sir, during the summertime, I made use of the time to get
some transients.
Q And he was telling you that he wanted to occupy one of the rooms?

A Yes, but I declined, sir for delicadeza.

Q At that time, there were no transients yet.
A When he came over for the inspection sir, nobody was there. [29]
The above testimony does not stand in isolation. It is corroborated by Peter Ngabit,
DECS Assistant Division Superintendent. Ngabit testified that Magdalena reported to
him that respondent kissed her and asked her for a date.
Q I would like to call your attention to Exhibit A which is the affidavit of Mrs.
Magdalena B. Gapuz, particularly item no. 8, and may I read for your
information That the Monday after the incident, I went to the DECS Division
Office expecting to get favorable recommendation from the DECS Regional
Office for the issuance of my permit. That I proceeded to the
Superintendent and asked him, Sir, kumusta yung application ko and he
said, mag date muna tayo but I refused and explained that I am married,
after which I proceeded to the Office of Asst. Superintendent Peter Ngabit
to relate the incident and then left the Division Office. Do you remember if
Mrs. Gapuz went to your Office on the particular day?
A Yes, sir.
Q What time was that?
A I cannot remember, sir.
Q Was it morning, afternoon?
A I think it was in the morning, sir.
Q Morning.
A Yes, sir.
Q Early morning?
A About noon, sir.
Q What transpired between you and Mrs. Gapuz in your office?
A When she came to my Office, she was relating about that and she was even
insulting me saying among others that I was a useless fixture in that Office

because I cannot do anything with the processing of her paper or

Q It says here that she would relate the incident to you. Did she relate any
A Yes, she did sir.
Q What was that incident all about?
A She was saying that when Mr. Belagan went to visit her school, he stole
a kiss from her and that she was saying that when she asked Supt.
Belagan for her papers, she was asked for a date before the
Indorsement. After that, she left.[30]
With Magdalenas positive testimony and that of Ngabit, how can we disregard the
findings of the DECS and the CSC? Surely, we cannot debunk it simply because of the
Court of Appeals outdated characterization of Magdalena as a woman of bad reputation.
There are a number of cases where the triers of fact believe the testimony of a witness
of bad character[31]and refuse to believe one of good character.[32] As a matter of fact,
even a witness who has been convicted a number of times is worthy of belief, when he
testified in a straightforward and convincing manner.[33]
At this juncture, it bears stressing that more than anybody else, it is the DECS
investigating officials who are in a better position to determine whether Magdalena is
telling the truth considering that they were able to hear and observe her deportment and
manner of testifying.[34]
In reversing the CSCs Resolutions, the Court of Appeals ruled that there is ample
evidence to show that Magdalena had a motive in accusing respondent, i.e., to pressure
him to issue a permit. This is unconvincing. The record shows that respondent had
already issued the permit when Magdalena filed her letter-complaint. Indeed, she had
no more reason to charge respondent administratively, except of course to vindicate her
Petitioner prays that we sustain its ruling penalizing respondent for grave
misconduct and not merely for disgraceful or immoral conduct which is punishable by
suspension for six (6) months and one (1) day to one (1) year for the first offense.
Misconduct means intentional wrongdoing or deliberate violation of a rule of law or
standard of behavior, especially by a government official. [36] To constitute an
administrative offense, misconduct should relate to or be connected with the
performance of the official functions and duties of a public officer. [37]In grave misconduct
as distinguished from simple misconduct, the elements of corruption, clear intent to
violate the law or flagrant disregard of established rule, must be manifest. [38]Corruption

as an element of grave misconduct consists in the act of an official or fiduciary person

who unlawfully and wrongfully uses his station or character to procure some benefit for
himself or for another person, contrary to duty and the rights of others. [39] This is
apparently present in respondents case as it concerns not only a stolen kiss but also a
demand for a date, an unlawful consideration for the issuance of a permit to operate a
pre-school. Respondents act clearly constitutes grave misconduct, punishable by
We are, however, not inclined to impose the penalty of dismissal from the service.
Respondent has served the government for a period of 37 years, during which, he made
a steady ascent from an Elementary Grade School Teacher to Schools Division
Superintendent. In devoting the best years of his life to the education department, he
received numerous awards.[41]This is the first time he is being administratively charged.
He is in the edge of retirement. In fact, he had filed his application for retirement when
Magdalena filed her complaint. Section 16, Rule XIV, of the Rules Implementing Book V
of Executive Order No. 292 provides:
SEC. 16. In the determination of penalties to be imposed, mitigating and
aggravating circumstances may be considered. x x x.
The mitigating circumstances are enumerated in Section 53, Rule IV, of the Uniform
Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, [42] which reads in part:
SEC. 53. Extenuating, Mitigating, Aggravating, or Alternative Circumstances. In the
determination of the penalties to be imposed, mitigating, aggravating and alternative
circumstances attendant to the commission of the offense shall be considered.
The following circumstances shall be appreciated:
j. length of service
l. and other analogous cases.
Conformably with our ruling in a similar case of sexual harassment, [43] and
respondents length of service, unblemished record in the past and numerous awards,
the penalty of suspension from office without pay for one (1) year is in order.
While we will not condone the wrongdoing of public officers and employees,
however, neither will we negate any move to recognize and remunerate their lengthy
service in the government.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals

dated January 8, 1998 in CA-G.R. SP No. 44180 is REVERSED. The CSC Resolution
Nos. 966213 and 972423 are AFFIRMED, subject to the modification that respondent
ALLYSON BELAGAN is SUSPENDED from office without pay for ONE (1) YEAR, with
full credit of his preventive suspension.




G.R. Nos. 172532 172544-45

November 20, 2013

PRIMO C. MIRO, in his capacity as Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas, Petitioner,
I. MENDOZA,Respondents.
We resolve the petition for review on certiorari 1 assailing the decision2 dated November
22 2005 and the resolution3 dated April 21 2006 of the Court of Appeals CA) in CA-G.R.
SP Nos. 83149 83150 and 83576.
The CA decision reversed and set aside the joint decision 4 dated January 9 2004 of the
Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas (Deputy Ombudsman), Primo C. Miro in OMB-V-A02-0414-H finding respondents Marilyn Mendoza Vda. de Erederos Catalina Alingasa
and Porferio I Mendoza guilty of the administrative charge of Grave Misconduct. The
Deputy Ombudsman also found Oscar Peque guilty of Simple Misconduct.
The Factual Antecedents
As culled from the records, the antecedents of the present case are as follows:
Mendoza, Director of the Regional Office VII of the Land Transportation Office, Cebu
City (LTO Cebu), Erederos, Mendoza's niece and secretary, Alingasa, LTO clerk, and
Peque, Officer-in-Charge, Operation Division of LTO Cebu, were administratively
charged with Grave Misconduct before the Deputy Ombudsman by private
complainants, namely: Maricar G Huete (Liaison Officer of GCY Parts), Ernesto R

Cantillas (Liaison Officer of Isuzu Cebu, Inc.), Leonardo Villaraso (General Manager of
TBS Trading), and Romeo C. Climaco (Corporate Secretary of Penta Star). 5 They were
likewise charged with criminal complaints for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act
No. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act."
The administrative and criminal charges arose from the alleged anomalies in the
distribution at the LTO Cebu of confirmation certificates, an indispensable requirement
in the processing of documents for the registration of motor vehicle with the LTO.
Specifically, the private complainants accused Alingasa of selling the confirmation
certificates, supposed to be issued by the LTO free of charge. This scheme allegedly
existed upon Mendoza's assumption in office as Regional Director of LTO Cebu. They
observed that:
(1) Confirmation certificates were sold for the amount of P2,500.00 per pad
without official receipt;
(2) Alingasa would usually remit the collections to Erederos who would, in turn,
remit all the collections to Mendoza;6
(3) The official receipt for the processing of the confirmation certificates issued to
the private complainants acknowledged only the amount of P40.00 which they
paid for each engine, chassis or new vehicle, as MR. (Miscellaneous ReceiptLTO Form 67);
(4) Said amount was separate and distinct from the P2,500.00 required to be
paid for each pad;
(5) The official receipt also served as the basis for the individual stock/sales
reports evaluation of Erederos;7 and
(6) The confirmation certificates processed during the previous administration
were no longer honored; thus, the private complainants were constrained to
reprocess the same by purchasing new ones.
The NBI/Progress report submitted to the LTO Manila also revealed that the
confirmation certificates were given to the representatives of car dealers, who were
authorized to supply the needed data therein. In the Requisition and Issue Voucher, it
was Roque who received the forms. On August 19, 2002, Cantillas executed an Affidavit
of Desi stance on the ground that he was no longer interested in prosecuting the case.
On September 25, 2002, the Deputy Ombudsman ordered the respondents to file their
respective counter-affidavits. The respondents complied with the order and made the
required submission.

On December 12, 2002, the case was called for preliminary conference. At the
conference, the respondents, thru their counsels, manifested their intention to submit
the case for decision on the basis of the evidence on record after the submission of their
memoranda/position papers.
In the interim, additional administrative and criminal complaints for the same charges
were filed by Rova Carmelotes (Liaison Officer of ZC Trading Center), Mildred Regidor
(Liaison Officer of Grand Ace Commercial), Estrella dela Cerna (Liaison Officer of JRK
Automotive Supply), and Vevencia Pedroza (Liaison Officer of Winstar Motor Sales)
against the respondents. These new complaints were consolidated with the complaints
already then pending.
In their complaints, the new complainants commonly alleged that they had to
pay P2,500.00 per pad to Alingasa before they could be issued confirmation certificates
by the LTO Cebu. Alingasa would give her collections to Erederos and to Mendoza.
When they protested, Erederos and Alingasa pointed to Mendoza as the source of the
instructions. They were also told that the confirmation certificates processed during the
previous administration would no longer be honored under Mendoza s administration;
hence, they had to buy new sets of confirmation certificates to process the registration
of their motor vehicles with the LTO.
In his counter-affidavit, Mendoza vehemently denied the accusations. He alleged that
the confirmation certificates actual distribution and processing were assigned to
Alingasa; the processing entails the payment of P40.00 per confirmation certificate, as
administrative fee; payment is only made when the confirmation certificates are filled up
and submitted for processing with the LTO, not upon issuance; and he did not give any
instructions to impose additional fees for their distribution.
He also alleged that the case against him was instigated by Assistant Secretary Roberto
T. Lastimosa of the LTO Head Office so that a certain Atty. Manuel I way could replace
him as Regional Director of the L TO Cebu.8
Mendoza additionally submitted the affidavits of desistance of Carmelotes and Dela
Cerna. Carmelotes testified that she has no evidence to support her allegations against
Mendoza. Dela Cerna, on the other hand, stated that she was merely told to sign a
document which turned out to be an affidavit-complaint against the respondents.
Subsequently, however, Dela Cerna executed a second affidavit, retracting her previous
statements and narrating how she was threatened by Peque to sign an affidavit of
desistance (1st affidavit).
Erederos and Alingasa commonly contended that they did not collect, demand and
receive any money from the complainants as payment for the confirmation certificates.

Erederos stated that the case against her was initiated by Huete because she found
several discrepancies in the documents she had processed. According to her, the
present case was Huete s ploy to avoid any liability.
For their part, Alingasa stressed that her act of maintaining a control book for the
releases of the confirmation certificate pads negates her liability, while Peque denied
any participation in the distribution and sale of the confirmation certificates.
On January 9, 2004, the Deputy Ombudsman rendered a joint decision on the
administrative aspect of the cases filed against the respondents, and a joint resolution
on the criminal aspect of the cases.
The Deputy Ombudsman s Ruling
In its joint decision, the Deputy Ombudsman found Mendoza, Erederos and Alingasa
guilty of grave misconduct and imposed the penalty of dismissal from the service.
Peque, on the other hand, was only found guilty of simple misconduct and was meted
the penalty of reprimand.
The Deputy Ombudsman believed the complainants allegations that Alingasa
collected P2,500.00 for the issuance of confirmation certificates and, thereafter, remitted
the collections to Erederos and to Mendoza. He relied largely on the affidavits
supporting the respondents guilt. He found the affidavits and the NBI/Progress report
strong enough to establish the respondents guilt. The Deputy Ombudsman also
explained that while the distribution of confirmation certificates to authorized car dealers
is not prohibited, the demand and the collection of payment during their distribution are
The respondents separately moved for reconsideration, but the Deputy Ombudsman
denied their motions on March 5, 2004.9
The respondents separately appealed to the CA to challenge the rulings against them.
The CAs Ruling
On November 22, 2005, the CA granted the respondents petition and reversed the
Deputy Ombudsman s joint decision in the administrative aspect. The CA ruled that the
Deputy Ombudsman s finding of grave misconduct was not supported by substantial
evidence because the affidavits, on which the decision was mainly anchored, were not
corroborated by any other documentary evidence. Additionally, the affiants did not
appear during the scheduled hearings. The CA also found that the affiants failed to
categorically specify that the respondents personally demanded from them the payment
of P2,500.00 -an allegation that the appellate court deemed material in establishing their
personal knowledge. Without this allegation of personal knowledge, the CA held that the

statements in the affidavits were hearsay and, thus, should not be given any evidentiary
weight. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing premises, the consolidated petitions are
GRANTED and accordingly the assailed Joint Decision dated January 9, 2004
(administrative aspect of the cases filed by the private respondents) is REVERSED and
Consequently, the administrative charges against petitioners are DISMISSED for lack of
With respect to the assailed Joint Resolution also dated January 9, 2004 (criminal
aspect) issued by the public respondent, this Court has no jurisdiction to review the
The Deputy Ombudsman moved for the reconsideration of the decision, but the CA
denied the motion in its resolution of April 21, 2006. The denial led to the filing of the
present petition.
The Petitioners Arguments
The Deputy Ombudsman posits that the evidence adduced by the complainants
satisfied the requisite quantum of proof. He argues that the complainants personal
knowledge can be gleaned from the preface of their narration; hence, their affidavits
could not have been hearsay. Their affidavits read:
3. That in doing my job, I have noticed and witnessed the following anomalies
concerning the processing of vehicle registration, x x x, as follows:
a. That in order to secure the forms of Confirmation of Certificates, you have to
buy the same at the present price of P2,500.00 per pad from Catalina Alingasa,
an L TO personnel, who will remit her collections to a certain Marilyn Mendoza
Vda. de Erederos, a niece and the Secretary of the Regional Director, Porferio
b. That Confirmation Certificates processed during previous administration would
not be honored and under such situations, they would require that the same be
reprocessed which means that we have to buy and use the new forms supplied
by the present administration.11
The Deputy Ombudsman also argues that his joint decision was not solely based on the
complainants affidavits since he also took into account the NBI/Progress report, which
uncovered the alleged anomalies. He posits that these pieces of evidence, taken

together, more than satisfy the required quantum of proof to hold the respondents
administratively liable for grave misconduct.
The Case for the Respondents
In their respective comments, the respondents separately argue that the complainants
statements in their affidavits lack material details and particulars, particularly on the
time, the date, and the specific transactions.
They commonly alleged that the affidavits, which contained general averments, and the
NBI/Progress report that was based on the same affidavits, failed to meet the quantum
of proof required to hold them administratively liable.
For his part, Mendoza argues that since the affidavits failed to categorically state that
the complainants personally witnessed the transfer of money from Alingasa to Erederos
and eventually to him, his participation in the anomalous scheme has not been
sufficiently shown; hence, he should not have been found liable.
The Issue
The case presents to us the issue of whether the CA committed a reversible error in
dismissing the administrative charge against the respondents.
The Court's Ruling
We deny the petition. The CA committed no reversible error in setting aside the findings
and conclusions of the Deputy Ombudsman on the ground that they were not supported
by substantial evidence.
Doctrine of conclusiveness of administrative findings of fact is not absolute
It is well settled that findings of fact by the Office of the Ombudsman are conclusive
when supported by substantial evidence. 12 Their factual findings are generally accorded
with great weight and respect, if not finality by the courts, by reason of their special
knowledge and expertise over matters falling under their jurisdiction.
This rule was reiterated in Cabalit v. Commission on Audit-Region VII, 13 where we held
that: When the findings of fact of the Ombudsman are supported by substantial
evidence, it should be considered as conclusive. This Court recognizes the expertise
and independence of the Ombudsman and will avoid interfering with its findings absent
a finding of grave abuse of discretion. Hence, being supported by substantial evidence,
we find no reason to disturb the factual findings of the Ombudsman which are affirmed
by the CA.

This rule on conclusiveness of factual findings, however, is not an absolute one. Despite
the respect given to administrative findings of fact, the CA may resolve factual issues,
review and re-evaluate the evidence on record and reverse the administrative agency s
findings if not supported by substantial evidence. Thus, when the findings of fact by the
administrative or quasi-judicial agencies (like the Office of the Ombudsman/Deputy
Ombudsman) are not adequately supported by substantial evidence, they shall not be
binding upon the courts.14
In the present case, the CA found no substantial evidence to support the conclusion that
the respondents are guilty of the administrative charges against them. Mere allegation
and speculation is not evidence, and is not equivalent to proof. 15 Since the Deputy
Ombudsmans findings were found wanting by the CA of substantial evidence, the same
shall not bind this Court.
Parameters of a judicial review under a Rule 45 petition
a. Rule 45 petition is limited to questions of law
Before proceeding to the merits of the case, this Court deems it necessary to
emphasize that a petition for review under Rule 45 is limited only to questions of law.
Factual questions are not the proper subject of an appeal by certiorari. This Court will
not review facts, as it is not our function to analyze or weigh all over again evidence
already considered in the proceedings below. As held in Diokno v. Hon. Cacdac, 16 a reexamination of factual findings is outside the province of a petition for review on
certiorari to wit:
It is aphoristic that a re-examination of factual findings cannot be done through a
petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court because as earlier
stated, this Court is not a trier of facts. xxx The Supreme Court is not duty-bound to
analyze and weigh again the evidence considered in the proceedings below. This is
already outside the province of the instant Petition for Certiorari.
There is a question of law when the doubt or difference arises as to what the law is on a
certain set of facts; a question of fact, on the other hand, exists when the doubt or
difference arises as to the truth or falsehood of the alleged facts. 17 Unless the case falls
under any of the recognized exceptions, we are limited solely to the review of legal
b. Rule 45 petition is limited to errors of the appellate court
Furthermore, the "errors" which we may review in a petition for review on certiorari are
those of the CA, and not directly those of the trial court or the quasi-judicial agency,
tribunal, or officer which rendered the decision in the first instance. 19 It is imperative that
we refrain from conducting further scrutiny of the findings of fact made by trial courts,

lest we convert this Court into a trier of facts. As held in Reman Recio v. Heirs of the
Spouses Agueda and Maria Altamirano etc. et al. 20 our review is limited only to the
errors of law committed by the appellate court, to wit:
Under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, jurisdiction is generally limited to the review of
errors of law committed by the appellate court. The Supreme Court is not obliged to
review all over again the evidence which the parties adduced in the court a quo. Of
course, the general rule admits of exceptions, such as where the factual findings of the
CA and the trial court are conflicting or contradictory.
In Montemayor v. Bundalian,21 this Court laid down the guidelines for the judicial review
of decisions rendered by administrative agencies in the exercise of their quasi-judicial
powers, as follows:
First, the burden is on the complainant to prove by substantial evidence the allegations
in his complaint. Substantial evidence is more than a mere scintilla of evidence. It
means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion, even if other minds equally reasonable might conceivably opine
otherwise. Second, in reviewing administrative decisions of the executive branch of the
government, the findings of facts made therein are to be respected so long as they are
supported by substantial evidence. Hence, it is not for the reviewing court to weigh the
conflicting evidence, determine the credibility of witnesses, or otherwise substitute its
judgment for that of the administrative agency with respect to the sufficiency of
Third, administrative decisions in matters within the executive jurisdiction can only be
set aside on proof of gross abuse of discretion, fraud, or error of law. These principles
negate the power of the reviewing court to re-examine the sufficiency of the evidence in
an administrative case as if originally instituted therein, and do not authorize the court to
receive additional evidence that was not submitted to the administrative agency
concerned. [emphases ours]
The present petition directly raises, as issue, the propriety of the CA s reversal of the
Deputy Ombudsman s decision that found the respondents guilty of grave misconduct.
While this issue may be one of law, its resolution also requires us to resolve the
underlying issue of whether or not substantial evidence exists to hold the respondents
liable for the charge of grave misconduct. The latter question is one of fact, but a review
is warranted considering the conflicting findings of fact of the Deputy Ombudsman and
of the CA. Accordingly, we now focus on and assess the findings of fact of the Deputy
Ombudsman and of the CA for their merits.
The Deputy Ombudsmans appreciation of evidence

The Deputy Ombudsman found the respondents guilty of grave misconduct based on
the affidavits submitted by the complainants and the NBI/Progress report. In giving
credence to the affidavits, the Deputy Ombudsman ruled that the complainants have
amply established their accusations by substantial evidence.
The CAs appreciation of evidence
The CA, on the other hand, reversed the Deputy Ombudsman s findings and ruled that
no substantial evidence exists to support the latters decision as the affidavits upon
which said decision was based are hearsay evidence. It found that the affidavits lack the
important element of personal knowledge and were not supported by corroborating
We agree with the CA. The findings of fact of the Deputy Ombudsman are not
supported by substantial evidence on record.
Substantial evidence, quantum of proof in administrative cases
Substantial evidence is defined as such amount of relevant evidence which a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. It is more than a
mere scintilla of evidence.22 The standard of substantial evidence is satisfied when there
is reasonable ground to believe, based on the evidence submitted, that the respondent
is responsible for the misconduct complained of. It need not be overwhelming or
preponderant, as is required in an ordinary civil case, 23 or evidence beyond reasonable
doubt, as is required in criminal cases, but the evidence must be enough for a
reasonable mind to support a conclusion.
Section 27 of The Ombudsman Act of 198924 provides that:
Findings of fact by the Officer of the Ombudsman when supported by substantial
evidence are conclusive. Any order, directive or decision imposing the penalty of public
censure or reprimand, suspension of not more than one (1) month's salary shall be final
and unappealable. [emphasis ours]
The only pieces of evidence presented by the complainants to establish the
respondents' guilt of the act charged are: (1) their complaint-affidavits and the (2)
NBl/Progress report. As correctly found by the CA, these pieces of evidence do not
meet the quantum of proof required in administrative cases.
The Evidence Against Mendoza, Erederos and Alingasa
i. Private complainants affidavits

The affidavits show that the complainants lack personal knowledge of the participation
of Mendoza and Erederos in the allegedly anomalous act. These affidavits indicate that
the complainants have commonly noticed and witnessed the anomalous sale
transaction concerning the confirmation certificates. Without going into details, they
uniformly allege that to secure the confirmation certificates, an amount of P2,500.00
would be paid to Alingasa, an L TO personnel, "who will remit her collections to a certain
Marilyn Mendoza vda. Erederos, a niece and the Secretary of the Regional Director,
Porferio Mendoza."25 While the payment to Alingasa might be considered based on
personal knowledge, the alleged remittance to Erederos and Mendoza -on its face - is
Any evidence, whether oral or documentary, is hearsay if its probative value is not
based on the personal knowledge of he witness
It is a basic rule in evidence that a witness can testify only on the facts that he knows of
his own Rersonal knowledge, i.e. those which are derived from his own perception. 26 A
witness may not testify on what he merely learned, read or heard from others because
such testimony is considered hearsay and may not be received as proof of the truth of
what he has learned, read or heard. 27 Hearsay evidence is evidence, not of what the
witness knows himself but, of what he has heard from others; it is not only limited to oral
testimony or statements but likewise applies to written statements, such as affidavits. 28
The records show that not one of the complainants actually witnessed the transfer of
money from Alingasa to Erederos and Mendoza. Nowhere in their affidavits did they
specifically allege that they saw Alingasa remit the collections to Erederos. In fact, there
is no specific allegation that they saw or witnessed Erederos or Mendoza receive
money. That the complainants alleged in the preface of their affidavits that they "noticed
and witnessed" the anomalous act complained of does not take their statements out of
the coverage of the hearsay evidence rule. Their testimonies are still "evidence not of
what the witness knows himself but of what he has heard from others." 29 Mere
uncorroborated hearsay or rumor does not constitute substantial evidence. 30
The affidavits also show that the complainants did not allege any specific act of the
respondents. All that the affidavits allege is a description of the allegedly anomalous
scheme and the arrangement whereby payments were to be made to Alingasa. There is
no averment relating to any "personal demand" for the amount ofP2,500.00.
Based on these considerations, we cannot conclude that the complainants have
personal knowledge of Erederos' and Mendoza's participation in the anomalous act. At
most, their personal knowledge only extends to the acts of Alingasa who is the recipient
of all payments for the processing of confirmation certificates. This situation, however, is
affected by the complainants' failure to specify Alingasa's act of personally

demanding P2,500.00 -a crucial element in determining her guilt or innocence of the

grave misconduct charged.
With respect to Pedroza's allegation in her affidavit 31 that Alingasa and Erederos
categorically told them that it was Mendoza who instructed them to collect
the P2,500.00 for the confirmation certificates, we once again draw a distinction
between utterances or testimonies that are merely hearsay in character or "nonhearsay," and those that are considered as legal hearsay.
Non-hearsay v. legal hearsay, distinction
To the former belongs the fact that utterances or statements were made; this class of
extrajudicial utterances or statements is offered not s an assertion to prove the truth of
the matter asserted, but only as to the fact of the utterance made. The latter class, on
the other hand, consists of the truth of the facts asserted in the statement; this kind
pertains to extrajudicial utterances and statements that are offered as evidence of the
truth of the fact asserted.
The difference between these two classes of utterances lies in the applicability of the
rule on exclusion of hearsay evidence. The first class, i.e. the fact that the statement
was made, is not covered by the hearsay rule, while the second class, i.e. the truth of
the facts asserted in the statement, is covered by the hearsay rule. Pedroza's allegation
belongs to the first class; hence, it is inadmissible to prove the truth of the facts asserted
in the statement. The following discussion, made m Patula v. People of the
Philippines32 is particularly instructive:
Moreover, the theory of the hearsay rule is that when a human utterance is offered as
evidence of the truth of the fact asserted, the credit of the assertor becomes the basis of
inference, and, therefore, the assertion can be received s evidence only when made on
the witness stand, subject to the test of cross-examination. However, if an extrajudicial
utterance is offered, not as an assertion to prove the matter asserted but without
reference to the truth of the matter asserted, the hearsay rule does not apply. For
example, in a slander case, if a prosecution witness testifies that he heard the accused
say that the complainant was a thief, this testimony is admissible not to prove that the
complainant was really a thief, but merely to show that the accused uttered those
words. This kind of utterance is hearsay in character but is not legal hearsay. The
distinction is, therefore, between (a) the fact that the statement was made, to which the
hearsay rule does not apply, and (b) the truth of the facts asserted in the statement, to
which the hearsay rule applies. [citations omitted]
Failure to identify the affidavits renders them inadmissible under the hearsay evidence

We additionally note that the affidavits were never identified by the complainants. All the
allegations contained therein were likewise uncorroborated by evidence, other than the
NBI/Progress report.
In Tapiador v. Office of the Ombudsman,33 we had the occasion to rule on the
implications of the affiants' failure to appear during the preliminary investigation and to
identify their respective sworn statements, to wit:
Notably, the instant administrative complaint was resolved by the Ombudsman merely
on the basis of the evidence extant in the record of OMB-ADM-0-94-0983. The
preliminary conference required under Republic Act No. 6770 was dispensed with after
the nominal complainant, then BID Resident Ombudsman Ronaldo P. Ledesma,
manifested on July 29, 1996 that he was submitting the case for resolution on the basis
of the documents on record while the petitioner agreed to simply file his memorandum.
Consequently, the only basis for the questioned resolution of the Ombudsman
dismissing the petitioner from the government service was the unverified complaintaffidavit of Walter H. Beck and that of his alleged witness, Purisima Terencio.
A thorough review of the records, however, showed that the subject affidavits of Beck
and Terencio were not even identified by the respective affiants during the fact-finding
investigation conducted by the BID Resident Ombudsman at the BID office in Manila.
Neither did they appear during the preliminary investigation to identify their respective
sworn statements despite prior notice before the investigating officer who subsequently
dismissed the criminal aspect of the case upon finding that the charge against the
petitioner "was not supported by any evidence." Hence, Beck's affidavit is hearsay and
inadmissible in evidence. On this basis alone, the Administrative Adjudication Bureau of
the Office of the Ombudsman should have dismissed the administrative complaint
against the petitioner in the first instance. (emphasis supplied)
For the affiants' failure to identify their sworn statements, and considering the
seriousness of the charges filed, their affidavits must not be accepted at face value and
should be treated as inadmissible under the hearsay evidence rule.
ii. NBI/Progress report
With regard to the NBI/Progress report submitted by the complainants as corroborating
evidence, the same should not be given any weight. Contrary to the Ombudsman's
assertions, the report cannot help its case under the circumstances of this case as it is
insufficient to serve as substantial basis. The pertinent portion of this report reads:
District Office at Jagna, Bohol wherein they were able to conduct interview with MR.
RODOLFO SANTOS, Officer-In-Charge who has assumed his new post only in

February 2002. During the conduct of the interview, Mr. SANTOS revealed that the
anomalous Dos-por-Dos transactions have been prevented and eliminated when the
previous District Manager in the person of Mr. LEONARDO G. OLAIVAR, who was
transferred to Tagbilaran District Office allegedly on a floating status and under the
direct control and supervision of its District Manager, Mr. GA VINO PADEN, Mr.
SANTOS allegations of the existence of "Dos-por-Dos" transactions were supported by
the records/documents gathered of which the signatures of Mr. OLAIVAR affixed
thereof. Copies are hereto attached marked as Annexes D-D-6.
06. Submitted Affidavits of Ms. MARICAR G. HUETE, a resident of Lahug, Cebu City
and liaison Officer of GCY Parts, Kabancalan Mandaue City and Mr. ERNESTO R.
CARTILLAS a resident of Basak, Mandaue City and liaison Officer of Isuzu Cebu, Inc. in
Jagobiao, Mandaue City stated among others and both attested that: Annexes "E-E-1."
In order to secure the forms of Confirmation of Certificates, you have to buy the same at
the present cost ofP2,500.00 per pad from CATALINA ALINGASA, an LTO Personnel,
who will remit her collections to a certain MARILYN MENDOZA V da De EREDEROS, a
niece and secretary of the Regional Director, PORFERIO MENDOZA. 34
This quoted portion shows that it was based on complainant Huete's and Cantillas'
affidavits. It constitutes double hearsay because the material facts recited were not
within the personal knowledge of the officers who conducted the investigation. As held
in Africa, et al. v. Caltex Phil.) Inc., et al., 35 reports of investigations made by law
enforcement officers or other public officials are hearsay unless they fall within the
scope of Section 44, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, to wit: The first question before Us
refers to the admissibility of certain reports on the fire prepared by the Manila Police and
Fire Departments and by a certain Captain Tinio of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
There are three requisites for admissibility under the rule just mentioned: (a) that the
entry was made by a public officer, or by another person specially enjoined by law to do
so; (b) that it was made by the public officer in the performance of his duties, or by such
other person in the performance of a duty specially enjoined by law; and (c) that the
public officer or other person had sufficient knowledge of the facts by him stated, which
must have been acquired by him personally or through official information. (Moran,
Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. 3 [1957] p. 383.)
Of the three requisites just stated, only the last need be considered here. Obviously the
material facts recited in the reports as to the cause and circumstances of the fire were

not within the personal knowledge of the officers who conducted the investigation. Was
knowledge of such facts, however, acquired by them through official information? xxx.
The reports in question do not constitute an exception to the hearsay rule; the facts
stated therein were not acquired by the reporting officers through official information, not
having been given by the informants pursuant to any duty to do so. [emphases ours]
The NBI/Progress report, having been submitted by the officials in the performance of
their duties not on the basis of their own personal observation of the facts reported but
merely on the basis of the complainants affidavits, is hearsay. Thus, the Deputy
Ombudsman cannot rely on it.
Non-applicability of strict technical rules of procedure in administrative or quasi-judicial
bodies is not a license to disregard certain fundamental evidentiary rules
While administrative or quasi-judicial bodies, such as the Office of the Ombudsman, are
not bound by the technical rules of procedure, this rule cannot be taken as a license to
disregard fundamental evidentiary rules; the decision of the administrative agencies and
the evidence it relies upon must, at the very least, be substantial. that:
In Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company v. Dumapis, 36 we ruled that:
While it is true that administrative or quasi-judicial bodies like the NLRC are not bound
by the technical rules of procedure in the adjudication of cases, this procedural rule
should not be construed as a license to disregard certain fundamental evidentiary rules.
The evidence presented must at least have a modicum of admissibility for it to have
probative value. Not only must there be some evidence to support a finding or
conclusion, but the evidence must be substantial. Substantial evidence is more than a
mere scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion.
With a portion of the complainants affidavits and the NBI/Progress report being hearsay
evidence, the only question that remains is whether the respondents conduct, based on
the evidence on record, amounted to grave misconduct, warranting their dismissal in
Misconduct is a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, more
particularly, unlawful behavior or gross negligence by a public officer. 37 The misconduct
is considered as grave if it involves additional elements such as corruption or willful
intent to violate the law or to disregard established rules, which must be proven by
substantial evidence; otherwise, the misconduct is only simple. Corruption, as an
element of grave misconduct, consists in the act of an official or fiduciary person who

unlawfully and wrongfully uses his station or character to procure some benefit for
himself or for another person, contrary to duty and the rights of others. 38
Based on these rulings, the Deputy Ombudsman failed to establish the elements of
grave misconduct.1wphi1 To reiterate, no substantial evidence exists to show that
Erederos and Mendoza received collected payments from Alingasa Their involvement or
complicity in the allegedly anomalous scheme cannot be justified under the affidavits of
the complainants and the NBI/Progress report, which are both hearsay.
With respect to Alingasa, in view of the lack of substantial evidence showing that she
personally demanded the payment of P2,500.00 a crucial factor in the wrongdoing
alleged we find that the elements of misconduct, simple or grave, to be wanting and
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, we hereby AFFIRM the assailed decision dated
November 22, 2005 and the resolution dated April 21, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. SP Nos. 83149, 83150 and 83576.
Appellee, [Formerly G.R. No. 147313]
- versus - CARPIO,**
TINGA, and
November 28, 2007
For automatic review is the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals[2] dated 26 October
2006 in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 00032 which affirmed with modification the Decision [3] of
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Iloilo City, Branch 23 dated 15 August 2000 in Criminal

Case No. 496502 finding appellant Joemarie Cerilla guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
the crime of murder and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
On 6 July 1998, an Information was filed against appellant charging him of the
crime of murder committed as follows:
That on or about April 24, 1998, in the Municipality of Leganes,
Province of Iloilo, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused, armed with a firearm with deliberate
intent and decided purpose to kill and by means of treachery, did then and
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously shoot Alexander Parreo with the
firearm which the accused was then provided, hitting and inflicting pellet
wound at the right back portion of his body which caused his death.
The prosecutions evidence shows that at around 6:00 pm on 24 April 1998, the victim,
Alexander Parreo (Alexander), his 14-year old daughter, Michelle, and neighbor,
Phoebe Sendin (Sendin), went to the house of appellant. They were cordially welcomed
and entertained by appellant and his wife. [5] An hour later, a blackout occurred. At this
time, Alexander sought permission from the couple to leave, which the latter
acknowledged.[6] On their way home, Michelle was walking ahead of Alexander with the
latter closely following his daughter. Suddenly, after walking for about 100 meters

from appellants house, Michelle heard an explosion. Michelle immediately turned her
back and saw appellant pointing a gun at Alexander who, at that moment, was
staggering towards her.[7] Sendin, who was also with Alexander and Michelle, did not
look back but instead ran away and proceeded to the house of Mrs. Parreo.
Meanwhile, Michelle was cuddling Alexander beside the road when the latter
repeatedly told her that it was appellant who shot him. [9] Twenty minutes later,
Alexanders other daughter, Novie Mae, arrived; she was also told by Alexander at that
moment that it was appellant who shot him.[10]
SPO3 Frederick Dequito (SPO3 Dequito) and other police officers rushed to the crime
scene and helped carry Alexander to an ambulance. SPO3 Dequito was able to ask
Alexander who shot him to which he answered Pato. Pato is an alias by which appellant
is known.[11]
Alexanders wife, Susan, who rushed to the hospital was also told by Alexander that it
was appellant who shot him.[12] Alexander died the following day.[13]

Dr. Tito D. Doromal, Philippine National Police medico-legal officer, performed an

autopsy on the body of Alexander. The autopsy report stated the cause of death to be
hemorrhage secondary to pellet wounds. [14] Testifying on his report, Dr. Doromal
explained that Alexander died from a gunshot wound which penetrated the ribs and
lacerated the right lobe of the liver, colon, stomach, duodenum, and right kidney. The
entrance wound was located at the middle-back portion of the body. Seven (7) pellets
were recovered on the muscle of the upper and middle abdominal wall. [15]
The defenses evidence consists of the testimonies of appellant himself and of his wife,
Madoline, his stepdaughter, Franlin, PO1 Manolito Javelora, PO3 Alberto Sarmiento,
and PO3 Wilson Allona. Appellant interposed alibi as his main defense. He claimed that
Alexander, together with his daughter and Sendin, had gone to his house on 24 April
1998 at around 6:00 p.m. where they were welcomed and offered snacks.[16] They were
having a conversation when a blackout occurred. Alexander then asked permission to
leave.After the visitors had left, appellant ordered his stepdaughter Franlin to buy candle
at the store across their house. Appellant and Madoline posted themselves at their

doorway holding a flashlight to light Franlins path. Upon Franlins return to the house,
appellant heard an explosion and he immediately closed the door. Later, the policemen

went to his house and told him that he was a suspect in the shooting of Alexander and
was then brought to the police station. [17] The following day, he was subjected to paraffin
test the result of which turned out to be negative. [18]
Appellants testimony was corroborated by Madoline and Franlin. PO1 Javelora
declared that when he asked Alexander who shot him, the latter did not answer.
Likewise, PO3 Sarmiento and Allona stated that when they went to the hospital to
interrogate Alexander, the latter could not give a definite answer as to who shot him. [20]
On 15 August 2000, the RTC found appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder
and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The dispositive portion of
the decision read:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, and in the light of the facts
obtaining and the jurisprudence aforecited, judgement is hereby rendered
finding the accused GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
MURDER, hereby sentencing the said accused to the penalty
of RECLUSION PERPETUA pursuant to Sec. 6 of Republic Act No.
7659[,] amending Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. The said
accused is further condemned to indemnify the surviving heirs of the
deceased, Alexander Parreo, the sum of P257,774.75 by way of actual
damages; the amount of P30,000.00 by way of moral damages and the
sum of P50,000.00 by way of death compensation. The accused who is
detained is entitled to be credited in full with the entire period of his
preventive detention. The Jail Warden, Iloilo Rehabilitation Center is
ordered to remit the said accused to the National Penitentiary at the
earliest opportunity.
The trial court regarded the victims dying declaration as the most telling evidence
pointing to appellant as the assailant. [22] It appreciated the presence of treachery in
qualifying the crime to murder because the victim was unarmed and walking on his way
home when he was suddenly and unexpectedly shot from behind by appellant. [23] The
trial court ruled that appellants alibi and denial could not prevail over the positive
testimonies of credible witnesses.[24] Moreover, it observed that appellant was not able
to prove the impossibility of his presence at the crime scene which could have proven
his alibi.[25]

In view of the penalty of reclusion perpetua imposed on appellant, the case was
initially elevated to this Court for review. However, pursuant to our ruling in People v.
Mateo,[26] the case was referred to the Court of Appeals.
The appellate court affirmed the trial courts ruling but modified the award of moral
damages from Thirty Thousand Pesos to Fifty Thousand Pesos. [27] Hence, the instant
In a Resolution dated 16 July 2007, the Court required the parties to
simultaneously submit their respective supplemental briefs if they so desired. [28] Both
parties manifested that they would adopt their briefs filed before the appellate court.
Thereafter, the case was deemed submitted for decision.
Appellant argues that the trial court erred in giving full credence to the testimony of the
prosecution's eyewitness, Michelle, as well as the dying declaration of Alexander
considering that the circumstances under which the crime was committed rendered the
identification of the gunman impossible.
This argument essentially challenges the credibility of the witnesses, including the
eyewitness, whose testimonies were relied upon by the trial court in convicting
appellant.Basic is the principle that the findings of fact of a 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 because the

trial court has the unique opportunity to observe the demeanor of a witness and is in the
best position to discern whether they are telling the truth. This rule holds true especially
when the trial court's findings have been affirmed by the appellate court. [30]
Appellants authorship of the crime was proven by the positive identification of an
eyewitness and the victims dying declaration.
The prosecution presented Michelle, who categorically identified appellant as the one
who shot Alexander, viz:
Q: While you and your father were walking towards home, did you
remember anything unusual that happened?
A: Yes, Maam.
Q: What was that?
A: I heard an explosion.
Q: Where were you in relation to your father when you heard that shot?
A: I was in front of my Daddy and he was at my back.
Q: You said you heard a shot, what did you do when you heard a shot?
A: When I heard the shot, I turned back and I saw Joemarie pointing to my
Q: What did he point towards your Dad?
A: Firearm.

Q: You said Joemarie was pointing a firearm to your father. Was it [a] long
or short firearm?
A: About 11 inches.
Q: After you saw Joemarie pointing a firearm to your father, what
happened next?
A: I saw my father staggering towards me and I saw Joemarie Cerilla ran.
Q: Where was he going?
A: Maybe towards his house.[31]
Q: If this Joemarie Cerilla is inside the Courtroom, can you identify him?
A: Yes, Maam.
Q: Please point to him. (Witness pointing to the accused Joemarie Cerilla).

Michelles account of how her father was shot by appellant was corroborated by the
post-mortem examination which reveals that the entrance wound is located at the back
of the victim.[33] In the same vein, the medico-legal expert concluded that the gunshot
was fired at a close range, as evidenced by the presence of a power burn measuring
four (4) centimeters in diameter surrounding the periphery of the wound [34] and
penetrating his internal organs.[35]

Significantly, the eyewitnesss positive identification of appellant as the

perpetrator of the crime is fully supported the victims dying declaration.
A dying declaration is a statement made by the victim of homicide, referring to
the material facts which concern the cause and circumstances of the killing and which is
uttered under a fixed belief that death is impending and is certain to follow immediately,
or in a very short time, without an opportunity of retraction and in the absence of all
hopes of recovery. In other words, it is a statement made by a person after a mortal

wound has been inflicted, under a belief that death is certain, stating the facts
concerning the cause and circumstances surrounding his/her death. [36]
As an exception to the rule against hearsay evidence, a dying declaration or ante
mortem statement is evidence of the highest order and is entitled to utmost credence
since no person aware of his impending death would make a careless and false
accusation.[37] It
is thus admissible to provide the identity of the accused and the deceased,
to show thecause of death of the deceased,
the circumstances under which the assault was made upon him. The reasons
for its admissibility is necessity and

trustworthiness. Necessity, because the declarants death renders it impossible his

taking the witness stand, and it often happens that there is no other equally satisfactory
proof of the crime; allowing it, therefore, prevents a failure of justice. And
trustworthiness, because the declaration is made in extremity, when the party is at the
point of death and when every motive to falsehood is silenced and the mind is induced
by the most powerful considerations to speak the truth. The law considers the point of
death as a situation so solemn and awful as creating an obligation equal to that which is
imposed by an oath administered in court. [38]
Of the doctrines that authorize the admission of special classes of hearsay, the
doctrine relating to dying declarations is the most mystical in its theory and, traditionally,
among the most arbitrary in its limitations. In the United States, the notion of the special
likelihood of truthfulness of deathbed statements was widespread long before the
recognition of a general rule against hearsay in the early 1700s. Not surprisingly, nearly
as soon as we find a hearsay rule, we also find an exception for dying declarations. [39]
Four requisites must concur in order that a dying declaration may be admissible,
thus: first, the declaration must concern the cause and surrounding circumstances of
the declarant's death. This refers not only to the facts of the assault itself, but also to
matters both before and after the assault having a direct causal connection with
it. Statements involving the nature of the declarants injury or the cause of death; those
imparting deliberation and willfulness in the attack, indicating the reason or motive for
the killing; justifying or accusing the accused; or indicating the absence of cause for the
act are admissible.[40] Second, at the time the declaration was made, the declarant must
be under the consciousness of an impending death. The rule is that, in order to make a
dying declaration admissible, a fixed belief in inevitable and imminent death must be
entered by the declarant. It is the belief in impending death and not the rapid succession
of death in point of fact that renders the dying declaration admissible. It is not necessary
that the approaching death be presaged by the personal feelings of the deceased. The
test is whether the declarant has abandoned all hopes of survival and looked on death
as certainly impending.[41] Third, the declarant is competent as a witness. The rule is that
where the declarant would not have been a competent witness had he survived, the
proffered declarations will not be admissible. Accordingly, declarations made by a child
too young to be a competent witness or by a person who was insane or incapable of
understanding his own statements by reason of partial unconsciousness are not
admissible in evidence.[42] Thus, in the absence of evidence showing that the declarant

could not have been competent to be a witness had he survived, the presumption must
be sustained that he would have been competent. [43] Fourth, the declaration must be
offered in a criminal case for homicide, murder, or parricide, in which the declarant is the
victim.[44] Anent this requisite, the same deserves no further elaboration as, in fact, the
prosecution had caused its witnesses to take the stand and testify in open court on the
substance of Alexanders ante mortem statement in the present criminal case for
The victim communicated his ante-mortem statement to three persons who
testified with unanimity that they had been told by the victim himself that it was appellant
who shot him. Michelle recounted:
Q: You said your father moved towards you, what happened next?
A: I approached my father and cuddled him.
Q: What happened next?
A: While I was cuddling my father he said, Day, it was Joemarie who shot
Q: How many time he said he was shot?
A: Not once but about 10 times.[45]

Shortly thereafter, Novie Mae arrived and was told by Alexander that it was
appellant who opened fire at him:
Q: When you reached Confessor Street, what happened?
A: I saw that my elder sister was assisting my father.

Q: Whats the name of your sister?
A: Michelle.

Q: When you saw your sister Michelle assisting your father, what [sic]
happened next?
A: And I immediately went near my father and asked him who shot him
and he answered it was Joemarie Cerilla who shot him.
Q: Before you reached your father, did you observe his physical
appearance of what happened to him?
A: Yes, Maam, he was supporting with his arm and when I asked him he
still made a response.
Q: You said [that] before you approached your father[,] you saw him
supporting his body, what was his position at that time?
A: He was in a position of lying with his hand on the road and my sister
was assisting him.
Q: Were you able to observe why your father was sitting on the ground
and supporting himself not to fall.
A: Yes, Maam.
Q: Why, [sic] what did you observe?
A: My father was supporting himself in order that blood will not [ooze] from
his body and his body will not fall down. [46]
SPO3 Dequito, who responded immediately to the crime scene, corroborated the
testimonies of the Alexanders children, to wit:

Q: So, what did you do when you arrived at the crime scene?
A: We advised the group to carry Mr. Parreo to the ambulance because
the ambulance was on the way and after our mobile arrived, the
ambulance arrived also [sic] so we carried Mr. Parreo to be brought
to the hospital.
Q: Meaning you loaded the victim into the ambulance?
A: Yes, Your Honor.
Q: And after he was loaded, what did you do?
A: Before the ambulance left the area, I questioned the victim who shot
him and he answered Alias Pato. I am referring to Joemarie Cerilla,
the accused.

Q: The accused Cerilla, Alias Pato?

A: Yes, Your Honor.
Q: Can you remember the exact words uttered by the victim when you
asked him who shot him?
A: He answered me that: I questioned him, Who shot you? and he
answered that it was Cerilla and I further asked him The husband of
Madoline and he answered Yes, Alias Pato, the husband of
Likewise, Alexanders wife, Sonia, testified:
Q: You said from your house when you were told by the girls that your
husband was shot, what did you do?
A: I looked for a taxi and proceeded to the hospital.
Q: When you arrived at the hospital, where did you go first?
A: To my husband.

Q: When you reached that hospital and your own mother led you to where
Alexander was, in what part of the hospital did you first see him.
A: Outside the operating room.
Q: What was the situation of your husband when you first saw him?
A: He was leaning on his side and many nurses attending to him and
saying araguy.
Q: Between you and your husband who spoke first?
A: My husband.
Q: What were the exact words stated by your husband?
A: He told me that it was Joemarie who shot him.[48]
These statements comply with all the requisites of a dying declaration. First,
Alexanders declaration pertains to the identity of the person who shot him. Second, the
fatal quality and extent of the injuries [49] he suffered underscore the imminence of his
death as his condition was so serious that his demise occurred the following morning
after a thirteen (13)-hour operation. Third, he would have been competent to testify had
he survived. Fourth, his dying declaration is offered in a criminal prosecution for murder
where he was the victim.

Other police officers were presented by the defense to refute the dying
declaration. PO1 Javelora alleged that he happened to pass by the crime scene and
saw a young girl crying. The girl led him to her father who was sitting on the
roadside. He asked the victim who shot him but he did not get any reply. [50] PO3 Allona
and Sarmiento arrived at the hospital and questioned Alexander as to who shot him but
the latter told them, I am not sure because it was dark. [51] These statements cannot be
construed as a categorical statement of the victim denying knowledge as to the identity
of his assailant. It can be recalled that at the time Alexander was being questioned, he
was already being readied for surgery. At that point, he was understandably no longer fit
to respond to questions. Between these two seemingly conflicting testimonies, it is the
positive identification made by Alexander in his dying declaration which must be

Appellant insists that there was an inherent impossibility in identifying the

assailant with clarity since there was a power blackout at the time of the commission of
the crime and was then a moonless night.
The fact that the crime was committed during a blackout does not cast doubt on
Alexanders and Michelles positive identification of appellant. While the place of
occurrence was dark, this did not prevent the Alexander or Michelle from identifying the
assailant, especially since the shot was delivered at close range.
In dismissing appellants contention, the trial court rationalized:
x x x This argument deserves scant consideration. In the case
of People v. Hillado, G.R. No. 122838[,] promulgated on May 24, 1999[,]
citing the case of People v. Oliano, visibility at nighttime is possible not
only at the exact minute and date when the moon is full as indicated in the
calendar. Thus, a persons nocturnal eyesight, is not necessarily
diminished just because there is no illumination from the moon, because it
is a fact that our eyes can actually adjust to the darkness so that we can
still see objects clearly even without sufficient lighting. In the case at bar, it
would not be so hard for Michelle to identify a persons fact especially if the
latter as in the present case was barely two (2) arms length away from
them which is confirmed by the presence of gunpowder nitrates on the
body of the victim. We stress, that the normal reaction of the person is to
direct his sight towards the source of a startling [shot] or occurrence. As
held in People v. Dolar, the most natural reaction of the victims in criminal
violence is to strive to see the looks and faces of their assailants and to
observe the manner in which the crime is committed. Added to this is the
fact that the accused Joemarie Cerilla and the victim Alexander Parreo
have known each other quite well before the incident so that
they became familiar with each others face and physical features. x x x [52]

Moreover, the prosecution witnesses were not shown to be impelled by ill motive
to testify falsely against appellant. Besides, Susan, Michelle and Novie Mae, being
immediate relatives of the deceased, would naturally be interested in having the real
culprit punished.[53]
The positive identification of appellant must necessarily prevail over his alibi. [54] It
was not physically impossible for appellant to have been present at the scene of the

crime at the time of its commission. The distance of his house, where he supposedly
was, from the locus criminis is only 120-150 meters, more or less.[55]
Appellant counters that there was absence of any motive on his part to kill the
victim; that it was not clearly proven that he fired a gun, based on the paraffin test; and
that he appeared calm and composed and showed no indication of guilt when he was
invited by the police officers shortly after the commission of the crime.
Time and again, we have ruled that a negative finding on paraffin test is not a
conclusive proof that one has not fired a gun because it is possible for a person to fire a
gun and yet bear no traces of nitrates or gunpowder, as when the culprit washes his
hands or wears gloves.[56] The trial court correctly rejected the result of the paraffin test
in light of the positive identification of appellant.
The trial court held that the killing was qualified by treachery because Alexander,
who was unarmed, was suddenly and unexpectedly shot from behind by appellant
without any risk to the latter from any defense which the former might make. There was
no opportunity given to Alexander to repel the assault or offer any defense of his
person.There was not the slightest provocation on his part. [57] We agree with the findings
of the trial court. The presence of treachery was evident in the execution of the crime.
Appellant suddenly, and without warning, shot Alexander from his back.
Under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No.
7659, murder is punishable with reclusion perpetua to death. Because the killing of
Alexander, although qualified by treachery, was not attended by any other aggravating
circumstance, the proper imposable penalty is reclusion perpetua.
We deem it proper to further impose exemplary damages in the amount
of P25,000.00 which is recoverable in the presence of an aggravating circumstance,
whether qualifying or ordinary, in the commission of the crime. [58]
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 26 October 2006,
affirming with modification the Regional Trial Court Judgment dated 15 August
2000 finding appellant, Joemari Cerilla, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder, is
AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that appellant is further ordered to pay the heirs of
Alexander Parreo P25,000.00 as exemplary damages.




G.R. No. 173608

QUISUMBING, J., Chairperson,

- versus -

November 20, 2008
Petitioners Jesus Geraldo and Amado Ariate were, by Information
dated December 23, 2002 filed on December 27, 2002 before the Regional Trial Court
of Surigao del Sur, charged with Homicide allegedly committed as follows:
x x x [O]n the 1st day of July, 2002 at about 3:00 oclock early
morning, more or less, at Sitio Tinago, Barangay Bunga, municipality of
Lanuza, province of Surigao del Sur, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction
of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and
mutually helping one another, armed with xxx handguns and with intent to
kill, did, then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sho[o]t one
ARTHUR U.[1] RONQUILLO, thereby hitting and inflicting upon the latter
wounds described hereunder:
Right lumbar area
Right iliac area
Left lateral area of abdomen
Right hypogastric area

which wounds have caused the instantaneous death of said ARTHUR U.

RONQUILLO, to the damage and prejudice of his heirs in the following
P50,000.00 as life indemnity of the victim;
10,000.00 as moral damages;
10,000.00 as exemplary damages; and
40,000.00 as actual damages.

At 3:00 a.m. of July 1, 2002, his wife, daughter Mirasol, and son Arnel, among
other persons, on being informed of the shooting of Arthur Ronquillo (the victim),
repaired to where he was, not far from his residence, and found him lying on his side
and wounded. Although gasping for breath, he was able to utter to Mirasol, within the
hearing distance of Arnel, that he was shot by Badjing [3] and Amado.
Petitioners who were suspected to be the Badjing and Amado responsible for the
shooting of the victim were subjected to paraffin tests at the Philippine National Police
(PNP) Crime Laboratory in Butuan City. In the PNP Chemistry Report No. C-002-2002SDS,[4] the following data are reflected:
TIME AND DATE RECEIVED : 1105H 03 July 2002
Lanuza Police Station
Lanuza, Surigao del Sur
Paraffin casts taken from the left and the right hands of the following
named living persons:
A = Jesus Geraldo Jr. alias Bajing
B = Amado Ariate
/x/x/x/ /x/x/x/
To determine the presence of gunpowder residue, Nitrates. /x/x/x/

Qualitative examination conducted on specimens A and B gave
NEGATIVE results for powder residue, Nitrates. /x/x/x/
Specimens A and B do not reveal the presence of gunpowder residue,
Nitrates. /x/x/x/
The original copy of this report is retained in this laboratory for future
1700H 03 July 2002
x x x x (Underscoring supplied)
In a document dated July 1, 2002 and denominated as Affidavit[5] which was
subscribed and sworn to before Clerk of Court II Manuel A. Balasa, Sr. on July 26, 2002,
the victims son Arnel gave a statement in a question and answer style that herein
petitioners Jesus Geraldo and Amado Ariate were the ones who shot his father.
In another document dated July 4, 2002 also denominated as Affidavit [6] which
was subscribed and sworn to also before the same Clerk of Court II Balasa on July 26,
2002, Mirasol also gave a statement in a question and answer style that her father
uttered that herein petitioners shot him.
At the witness stand, Mirasol echoed her fathers declaration that Badjing and
Amado shot him. Arnel substantially corroborated Mirasols statement. [7]
Upon the other hand, petitioners gave their side of the case as follows:
Petitioner Ariate, a barangay tanod of Bunga, declared that Barangay
Kagawad Omboy Roz (Roz) woke him up at 3:00 a.m. of July 1, 2002 and informed him
that the victim was shot. He and Roz thus borrowed a tricycle, proceeded to the crime

scene and, along with others, brought the victim to the hospital where he was
pronounced dead on arrival. Ariate submitted himself to a paraffin test and tested
negative for gunpowder residue/nitrates. [8]
Petitioner Geraldo declared that he slept in his house located also in Barangay
Bunga, Lanuza at 9:30 p.m. of June 30, 2002 and woke up at 4:00 a.m. the following
day. At6:30 a.m., on seeing many people in the vicinity of the 45-meter away house of
one Josita Bongabong where the victims body was found, he inquired and learned that
the victim was shot. Policemen subsequently went to his house and advised him to take
a paraffin test. He obliged and was tested at the PNP Crime Laboratory and was found
negative for gunpowder residue/nitrates. [9]
In the course of the testimony of Ariate, his counsel presented
the PNP Chemistry Report reflecting the negative results of the paraffin test on him and
Geraldo. The trial court restrained the presentation of the document, however, as
reflected in the following transcript of stenographic notes taken on March 21, 2003:
Q I am showing to you [Ariate] a copy of the result of the paraffin
test attached to the record of this case.
Is it covered in the Pre-trial Order? You cannot do that. That is why I told
you; lay your cards on the table.
May I ask for the courts reconsideration.
Denied. I am warning you, all of you.
With the denial of our motion for reconsideration, I move to tender
exclusive evidence. He would have identified this result. The
paraffin test, which [forms] part of the affidavit of this witness
attached to the record of this case on page 29. May I ask that this
will be marked as Exhibit 3 for the defense.
Mark it. (Marked).[10] (Underscoring supplied)

As shown from the above-quoted transcript of the proceedings, the trial court restrained
the presentation of the result of the paraffin tests because the same was not covered in
the Pre-trial Order. In the Pre-trial Order,[11] the trial court noted the parties agreement
that witnesses not listed in this Pre-trial Order shall not be allowed to testify as
additional witnesses. Significantly, there was no agreement to disallow the presentation
of documents which were not reflected in the Pre-trial Orders. At all events, oddly, the
trial court allowed the marking of the PNP Chemistry Report as Exhibit 3.[12]
When petitioner Geraldos turn to present the same PNP Chemistry Report came,
the trial court ruled:

That is the problem in the Pre-Trial Brief if the exhibits are not stated. I will
set aside that Order and in the interest of justice I will allow the accused to
submit, next time I will not any more consider exhibits not listed in the Pretrial Order.[13] (Underscoring supplied)

The version of the defense was in part corroborated by witnesses.

The trial court, passing on the demeanor of prosecution witness-the victims eightyear old daughter Mirasol, observed:
. . . She talks straightforward, coherent and clear, very intelligent, with
child mannerism[s]. While testifying she was criss-crossing her hands,
touching anything within her reach, innocent and simple, pressing of[f] and
on her stomach but she talks with correct grammar. No doubt, this Court
was convinced of her testimony which was corroborated by her brother
Arnel Ronquillo.[14]

On the nature and weight of the dying declaration of the victim, the trial court

A dying declaration may be xxx oral or in writing. As a general rule,

a dying declaration to be admissible must be made by the declarant while
he is conscious of his impending death.However, even if a declarant did
not make a statement that he was on the brink of death, the degree and
seriousness of the wound and the fact that death supervened shortly
afterwards may be considered as substantial evidence that the declaration
was made by the victim with full realization that he was in a dying
condition; People vs. Ebrada, 296 SCRA 353.
Even assuming that the declaration is not admissible as a dying
declaration, it is still admissible as part of the res gestae since it was made
shortly after the startling occurrence and under the influence thereof,
hence, under the circumstances, the victim evidently had no opportunity to
contrive.[15] (Underscoring supplied)

Finding for the prosecution, the trial court convicted petitioners, disposing as
and AMADO ARIATE y DIONALDO guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of Homicide penalized under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code
and with the presence of one (1) aggravating circumstance of night
time and applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the maximum term of
which 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
prescribe[d] by the code for the offense, hereby sentences each to suffer
the penalty of TEN (10) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of Prision
Mayor minimum to SEVENTEEN (17) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS and
ONE (1) DAY of Reclusion Temporal maximum as maximum, with all the
accessory penalties provided for by law. To pay the heirs of the victim the
amount of P50,000.00 as life indemnity, P100,000.00 as moral damages
and P20,000.00 as exemplary damages. The claim for actual damages is
denied, there being no evidence to support the same.
The bail bond put up by the accused Jesus Geraldo and Amado
Ariate are ordered cancelled and to pay the cost.
SO ORDERED.[16] (Underscoring supplied)

The Court of Appeals, by Decision of June 30, 2006,[17] affirmed with modification
the trial courts decision. It found that the trial court erred in appreciating nocturnity as an
aggravating circumstance. And it reduced the award of moral damages [18] to P50,000,
and deleted the award of exemplary damages. Thus the Court of Appeals disposed:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the appealed decision is

hereby AFFIRMED save for the modification of the penalty
imposed. Accordingly, accused-appellants are each hereby sentenced to
suffer an indeterminate penalty of Eight (8) years, Five (5) Months and
One (1) Day of prision mayor medium as minimum, to Seventeen (17)
Years and Four (4) Months ofreclusion temporal medium as maximum,
with all accessory penalties provided by law, and to jointly and solidarily
pay the heirs of the victim the amount of P50,000.00 as indemnity and
P50,000.00 as moral damages.
SO ORDERED.[19] (Italics in the original)

Hence, the present Petition[20] raising the following issues:

REASONABLE DOUBT?[21] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Petitioners argue:
With due respect, herein petitioners disagree with the holding of the
Honorable Court of Appeals that It is not necessary that the victim further
identify that Badjing was in fact Jesus Geraldo or that Amado was Amado
Ariate because, [so petitioners contend], it is the obligation of the
prosecution to establish with moral certainty that indeed the persons they
identified as the as the assailant of Arthur O. Ronquillo were really the
ones who perpetrated the crime.
Admittedly, prosecution witnesses were able to identify positively
herein petitioners as the alleged assailant[s] of Arthur O. Ronquillo. But
said identification is based on the assumption that they were the very
same BADJING AMADO and/or BADJING AND AMADO referred to by
their deceased father in his dying declaration.

What the Honorable Court of Appeals failed to consider is that, just

because the victim declared that it was BADJING AMADO and/or
BADJING AND AMADO who shot him does not necessarily follow that
herein petitioners were really the perpetrators in the absence of proof that
the BADJING referred to by him is Jesus Geraldo and that the AMADO is
Amado Ariate.It would have been a different story had the prosecution
witnesses [been] eyewitnesses because proof that the BADJING AMADO
and/or BADJING AND AMADO referred to by the victim and the persons
identified by the prosecution witnesses are the same is unnecessary.
Herein petitioners believe, that even assuming that there are no
other BADJING or AMADO in the barangay, still it does not follow that the
person[s] referred to by the dying declarant as his assailant were Jesus
Geraldo alias BADJING and Amado Ariate alias AMADO. Although, it is
inconceivable how the Honorable Court of Appeals arrived at the said
conclusion that there are no other BADJING AMADO and/or BADJING
AND AMADO in the barangay absent any proof to that effect from the
prosecution.[22] (Underscoring in the original)

The petition is impressed with merit.

The trial court relied on the dying declaration of the victim as recounted by his
daughter Mirasol and corroborated by his son Arnel.
A dying declaration is admissible as evidence if the following circumstances are
present: (a) it concerns the cause and the surrounding circumstances of the declarants
death; (b) it is made when death appears to be imminent and the declarant is under a
consciousness of impending death; (c) the declarant would have been competent to
testify had he or she survived; and (d) the dying declaration is offered in a case in which
the subject of inquiry involves the declarants death. [23]
There is no dispute that the victims utterance to his children related to the
identities of his assailants. As for the victims consciousness of impending death, it is not
necessary to prove that he stated that he was at the brink of death; it suffices that,
judging from the nature and extent of his injuries, the seriousness of his condition was
so apparent to him that it may safely be inferred that such ante mortem declaration was
made under consciousness of an impending death. [24] The location of the victims two
gunshot wounds, his gasping for breath, and his eventual death before arriving at the
hospital meet this requirement.[25]

It has not been established, however, that the victim would have been competent
to testify had he survived the attack. There is no showing that he had the opportunity to
see his assailant. Among other things, there is no indication whether he was shot in
front, the post-mortem examination report having merely stated that the points of entry
of the wounds were at the right lumbar area and the right iliac area. [26] Lumbar may refer
to the loins or the group of vertebrae lying between the thoracic vertebrae and the
sacrum,[27]or to the region of the abdomen lying on either side of the umbilical region
and above the corresponding iguinal. [28] Iliac relates to the ilium, which is one of the
three bones composing either lateral half of the pelvis being in man broad and
expanded above and narrower below where it joins with the ischium and pubis to form
part of the actabulum.[29]
At all events, even if the victims dying declaration were admissible in evidence, it
must identify the assailant with certainty; otherwise it loses its significance.[30]
In convicting petitioners, the trial court, as stated earlier, relied on the testimony
of the victims daughter Mirasol, which was corroborated by her brother Arnel, that the
Badjing and Amado mentioned by the victim as his assailants are herein petitioners
whom they claimed to know because they live in the same barangay. [31] The Court of
Appeals believed too the siblings testimonies, holding that
It is not necessary that the victim further identify that Badjing was in
fact Jesus Geraldo or that Amado was Amado Ariate. There was never an
issue as to the identity of the accused.There was no other person known
as Badjing or Amado in their neighborhood or in their barangay. Accusedappellants never presented any proof that a person in their
locality had the same aliases or names as they. It is not uncommon that
even an eight-year-old child can identify that Jesus Geraldo was known as
Badjing and that Amado Ariate was Amado.[32](Underscoring supplied)

Contrary, however, to the immediately-quoted ruling of the appellate court, it is

the prosecution, not petitioners, which had the burden of proving that petitioners were,
at the material time, the only ones in the barangay who bore such nicknames or
aliases. This, the prosecution failed to discharge.
When there is doubt on the identity of the malefactors, motive is essential for
their conviction.[33] The Court notes that in their affidavits supporting the criminal
complaint, the victims wife and children Mirasol and Arnel proffered not knowing any

possible motive for petitioners to shoot the victim. [34] At the trial, no evidence of any
motive was presented by the prosecution. Petitioners defense of denial and alibi thus
assumes importance.
Specifically with respect to petitioner Ariate, the victims wife admitted that Ariate
accompanied her family in bringing the victim to the hospital. [35] While non-flight does not
necessarily indicate innocence, under the circumstances obtaining in the present case,
Ariates spontaneous gesture of immediately extending assistance to the victim after he
was advised by the Barangay Kagawad of the victims fate raises reasonable doubt as to
his guilt of the crime charged.[36]
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals
dated June 30, 2006 affirming with modification the Decision of Branch 41 of the
Surigao del Sur Regional Trial Court is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioners Jesus
Geraldo and Amado Ariate are ACQUITTED of the charge of Homicide for failure of the
prosecution to establish their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Director of the Bureau of
Corrections, Muntinlupa City who is directed to cause the immediate release

of petitioners unless they are being lawfully held for another cause, and to inform this
Court of action taken within ten (10) days from notice hereof.




G.R. No. 75028 November 8, 1991
PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
PIOQUINTO DE JOYA y CRUZ, defendant-appellant.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.

Rodolfo P. Liwanag for accused-appellant.

In an Information dated 5 May 1978, appellant Pioquinto de Joya y Cruz was charged
before the Regional Trial Court, 3rd Judicial Region, Branch 14, Malolos, Bulacan with
the crime of robbery with homicide committed as follows:
That on or about the 31st day of January, 1978, in the municipality of
Baliuag, province of Bulacan, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the said accused Pioquinto de Joya y Cruz, did then and
there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with intent of (sic) gain and
without the knowledge and consent of the owner and, by means of
violence and intimidation, take, carry and cart away two (2) rings, one (1)
necklace, one (1) piece of earring, belonging to Arnedo Valencia y Angeles
and Eulalia Diamse Vda. de Salac, to their damage and prejudice in the
sum of FIVE HUNDRED FIFTY PESOS (P550.00); and that on the
occasion of the said robbery and for the purpose of enabling him to take
the said properties, the accused did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously with treachery, evident premeditation and great advantage of
superior strength, with intent to kill, attack, assault and use personal
violence upon the person of Eulalia Diamse Vda. de Salac by stabbing
and hitting the latter on her neck and other parts of her body with pointed
instrument causing injuries which directly caused the death of the said
Eulalia Diamse Vda. de Salac.
That in the commission of the offense, the following aggravating
circumstances were present (1) abuse of superior strength; (2) committed
in the dwelling of the offended party; (3) disregard of age and sex; (4)
abuse of confidence.
Contrary to law. 1
At arraignment, appellant De Joya pleaded not guilty. After trial, the court a
quo rendered a decision dated 16 May 1986 convicting De Joya of the crime charged.
The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered, finding the accused guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Robbery with Homicide,
committed with the aggravating circumstances of: abuse of superior

strength, old age, disregard of sex the victim a woman 88 years old, the
crime was committed in the dwelling of the victim. The accused being 72
years old death penalty cannot be imposed against him as provided in
Article 47 of the Revised Penal Code.
The Court therefore, sentences the accused to LIFE IMPRISONMENT; to
indemnify the heirs of the victim in the amount of P20,000.00 and to pay
damages in the amount of P550.00.
The bond of the accused is ordered cancelled and the accused to be
confined immediately in the National Penitentiary pending review of his
case by the Supreme Court.
The Clerk of Court is ordered to immediately forward the record of this
case to the Supreme Court for review.
In this appeal, appellant raises a number of issues all of which, however, amount to one
basic assertion: that the lower court erred in concluding that appellant was guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime charged.
The facts have been summarized in the brief of the Solicitor General in the following
The spouses Arnedo Valencia and Herminia Salac-Valencia, together with
their ten (10) year old son Alvin Valencia and Herminia Valencia's 88-year
old mother, Eulalia Diamse, are residents of Balagtas St., Baliuag,
Bulacan. (TSN, June 11, 1981, p. 2). Both spouses are teachers by
Arnedo Valencia teaches at the Tiaong Elementary School at Barrio
Tiaong, Baliuag, Bulacan whereas Herminia Valencia teaches in an
intermediate school at Baliuag, Bulacan. (TSN, March 11, 1980, p. 7).
In the afternoon of January 31, 1978, Herminia Salac-Valencia left for
school to teach. Her mother Eulalia Diamse was then [sitting] at their sofa
watching the television set. (TSN, October 12, 1978, p. 3).
Her Son Alvin likewise left for school at 1:00 o'clock. And at 3:00 o'clock in
the afternoon, his classes were dismissed and he proceeded home. (TSN,
March 11, 1980, p. 8).

At around 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon of that same day, the spouses
Valencia's neighbor by the name of Gloria Capulong, together with a
friend, went out of the former's house to visit a friend. While at her yard,
Gloria Capulong looked back to the direction of the Valencia's house. She
noticed appellant Pioquinto de Joya standing and holding a bicycle at the
yard of the Valencia's. (TSN, June 11, 1981, pp. 2-4).
When Alvin reached home, he saw his grandmother Eulalia Diamse lying
down prostrate and drenched with her own blood. He immediately threw
his bag and ran towards her. He then held her hands and asked her: "Apo,
Apo, what happened?". (TSN, March 11, 1980, p. 10).
. . . [Eulalia Diamse held his hand and after which said: "Si Paqui". After
saying these words, she let go of Alvin's hand and passed away.
(TSN, Ibid., pp. 14 and 17).
Alvin then called for his Nana Edeng and told her to see his lola because
she was drenched with her own blood. His Nana Edeng told him to
immediately see his mother Herminia Salac-Valencia to inform her of what
happened. (TSN, Id).
Upon seeing her mother, Alvin told her: "Mommy, Mommy, apo is
drenched in her own blood." (TSN, March 11, 1980, p. 20).
Herminia immediately ran outside the school, flagged down a tricycle and
went home. Alvin followed, riding his bicycle (TSN, Id., p. 21). When she
reached their house, she found her mother lying prostrate in her own
blood at their sala in front of the television. Her mother's hands were
stretched open and her feet were wide apart. Blood was oozing out of her
mother's ears. She then embraced her mother and placed her on the sofa.
She asked Alvin and the tricycle driver to call Dr. Delfin Tolentino. (TSN,
October 12,1978, pp. 25-26).
Dr. Tolentino arrived at around 4:00 o'clock that same afternoon and
examined the body of Eulalia Diamse. Said doctor declared that said
Eulalia Diamse had a heart attack which caused her death. When asked
by Herminia Valencia why her mother's ears were punctured, no reply was
given by said doctor. Herminia requested for a death certificate, but Dr.
Tolentino did not issue one and instead immediately left. (TSN, Ibid., pp.

Herminia found out that the two (2) gold rings worn by her mother were
missing. The right earring of her mother was likewise missing. All of these
were valued [at] P300.00 (TSN, Id., p. 15).
That same afternoon, Herminia saw the room of the groundfloor
ransacked. The contents of the wardrobe closet (aparador) were taken
out. Its secret compartment/box was missing. And the lock of the aparador
was destroyed. (TSN, October 12, 1978, pp. 15-17).
When she went upstairs after putting her mother on a bed at the ground
floor, she found the two (2) rooms thereat in disarray. She then caused the
rooms and things photographed by a certain Ricardo Ileto (Exhibits "A" to
"A-11"; TSN, October 12, 1978, p. 17).
Later, Herminia went to Dr. Adela Cruz and pleaded [with] said doctor to
issue a death certificate so that her mother could be embalmed. (TSN, Id.,
pp. 33-34).
On the same night, Herminia found a beach walk step-in (Exhibit "B") by
the side of the cabinet near the door of their room downstairs, more or
less one meter from where the victim was lying prostrate. (TSN, October
12,1978, pp. 24-25).
Herminia was able to recognize the said step-in because of its color and
size, as the other half of the pair she bought for her husband Arnedo but
which she gave to Socorro de Joya, the wife of herein appellant, before
Christmas of 1977 when she saw the old and wornout pair of slippers of
the latter. (TSN, Ibid.).
Appellant Pioquinto de Joya visited the wake only once. During the
second day of the four-day wake, Herminia saw herein appellant Pioquinto
de Joya enter the kitchen and peep under the cabinet of the (Valencia's)
house. (TSN, Id.).
On February 3, 1978, a post-mortem examination was conducted by Dr.
Romulo Madrid, a medico-legal officer of the National Bureau of
Investigation. Per examination, the cause of the death arrived by Dr.
Madrid was "shock, secondary to punctured wound neck" (Exhibit "D-1")
situated at the right side of the neck, just below the right ear wherein it
went out thru and thru, opposite, almost in the same location, from one
side of the neck to the opposite side. (Exhibit "D-2").

In its decision, the trial court became quite clear as to the factors which led to the
judgment of conviction against appellant. These factors, as set out in the decision of the
trial court, were the following:
In the case at bar, the prosecution relied heavily on the circumstances
surrounding the death of the victim as testified to by the witnesses and
proven during the trial, also the dying statement of the deceased, which
are: Herminia testified that two weeks before the incident the accused and
the deceased quarreled over a bicycle which the former took from their
house without the consent of the latter; that Exhibit "B" (step-in beach walk
type) which was found near the cabinet one meter away from the body of
the victim was identified by Herminia as the step-in that she gave to the
wife of the accused and which she saw accused wearing on January 29,
1978 when she visited them in their house; the testimony of Gloria
Capulong that she saw the accused in the afternoon of January 31, 1978
at around 3:00 p.m. in the yard of Herminia standing and holding a bicycle;
the accused admitted, although his wife is the sister of the husband of
Herminia he never visited the deceased during the four days that it was
lying in state without any justifiable reason and contrary to the ordinary
experience of man; last but most convincing is the dying statement of the
deceased when her grandson Alvin asked her "Apo, Apo, what
happened?" and she answered, "Si Paki", then she expired. When Alvin
was asked during his testimony who is this Paki, he identified the accused.
The accused during his testimony never denied that he is called Paki.
The foregoing circumstances established during the trial plus the dying
statement of the deceased leads only to one fair and reasonable
conclusion, that the accused is the author of the crime.
Analyzing the above portion of the decision, the elements taken into account by the
court in convicting appellant De Joya of robbery with homicide may be listed as follows:
1. The dying statement made by the deceased victim to her grandson
Alvin Valencia a 10-year old boy: "Si Paqui";
2. The quarrel, which, according to Herminia Valencia, daughter of the
deceased victim, took place two weeks before the robbery and homicide,
between the appellant and the deceased over the use of a bicycle which
appellant allegedly took from the Valencia's house without the consent of
the victim;
3. The rubber slipper, one of a pair, ("step-in beach walk type") which
according to Herminia, she found near a cabinet in their house one (1)

meter away from the body of the victim, and which Herminia identified as
one of the pair that she had given to the wife of the accused the previous
Christmas Season;
4. Accused was seen by one Gloria Capulong around 3:00 p.m. in the
afternoon of 31 January 1978 in the yard of the Valencias, standing and
holding a bicycle and doing nothing;
5. The statement of appellant that he did not visit the deceased during the
four-day wake.
We turn first to the dying statement made by the victim when the 10-year old Alvin
Valencia asked his grandmother who was sprawled on the floor of their house drenched
with blood: "Apo, Apo, what happened?" The deceased victim said: "Si Paqui". After
uttering those two words, she expired. It is not disputed that "Paqui" is the nickname of
appellant Pioquinto de Joya. It must be noted at once, however, that the words
"Si Paqui" do not constitute by themselves a sensible sentence. Those two words could
have been intended to designate either (a) the subject of a sentence or (b) the object of
a verb. If they had been intended to designate the subject, we must note that no
predicate was uttered by the deceased. If they were designed to designate the object of
a verb, we must note once more that no verb was used by the deceased. The phrase
"Si Paqui" must, moreover, be related to the question asked by Alvin: "Apo, Apo,
what happened?" Alvin's question was not: "Apo, Apo, who did this to you?"
It has been held that a dying declaration to be admissible must be complete in itself. To
be complete in itself does not mean that the declarant must recite everything that
constituted the res gestae of the subject of his statement, but that his statement of any
given fact should be a full expression of all that he intended to say as conveying his
meaning in respect of such fact. 3 The doctrine of completeness has also been
expressed in the following terms in Prof. Wigmore's classic work:
The application of the doctrine of completeness is here peculiar. The
statement as offered must not be merely apart of the whole as it was
expressed by the declarant; it must be complete as far it goes.But it is
immaterial how much of the whole affair of the death is related, provided
the statement includes all that the declarant wished or intended to include
in it. Thus, if an interruption (by death or by an intruder) cuts short a
statement which thus remains clearly less than that which the dying
person wished to make, the fragmentary statement is not receivable,
because the intended whole is not there, and the whole might be of a very
different effect from that of the fragment; yet if the dying person finishes
the statement he wishes to make, it is no objection that he has told only a
portion of what he might have been able to tell. 4 (Emphasis supplied)

The reason upon which incomplete declarations are generally excluded, or if admitted,
accorded little or no weight, is that since the declarant was prevented (by death or other
circumstance) from saying all that he wished to say, what he did say might have been
qualified by the statements which he was prevented from making. That incomplete
declaration is not therefore entitled to the presumption of truthfulness which constitutes
the basis upon which dying declarations are received. 5
It is clear to the Court that the dying declaration of the deceased victim here was
incomplete. In other words, the deceased was cut off by death before she could convey
a complete or sensible communication to Alvin. The trial court simply assumed that by
uttering the words "Si Paqui", the deceased had intended to name the person who had
thrust some sharp instrument through and through her neck just below her ears. But
Eulalia herself did not say so and we cannot speculate what the rest of her
communication might have been had death not interrupted her. We are unable to regard
the dying statement as a dying declaration naming the appellant as the doer of the
bloody deed.
The other elements taken into account by the trial court are purely circumstantial in
nature. When these circumstances are examined one by one, none of them can be said
to lead clearly and necessarily to the conclusion that appellant had robbed and killed the
deceased Eulalia Diamse. The quarrel over the use of the bicycle which was supposed
to have taken place two weeks before Eulalia's death does not, in our view, constitute
adequate proof of a motive capable of moving a person to slay another in such a violent
and gory manner. Failure to prove a credible motive where no identification was shown
at all, certainly weakens the case of the prosecution.
The testimony of Herminia Valencia about the single slipper that she found near or
under the cabinet in the living room where Eulalia Diamse was slain, can scarcely be
regarded as conclusive evidence that such slipper was indeed one of the very same
pair of slippers that she had given to appellant's wife, who was also the sister of
Herminia's husband. Rubber or beach, walk slippers are made in such quantities by
multiple manufacturers that there must have been dozens if not hundreds of slippers of
the same color, shape and size as the pair that Herminia gave to appellant's wife. And
even if conclusive identification of the slippers had been offered, and it is assumed that
appellant (rather than his wife) had worn those very slippers on that fatal afternoon, still
the presence of that singular slipper did not clearly and directly connect the appellant to
the robbery or the slaying. At most, under that assumption, the presence of that slipper
in the house of the Valencias showed that the accused had gone to the house of the
Valencias and there mislaid that slipper. We note in this connection, that appellant
himself had testified that he did enter the house of the Valencias that afternoon,
but after the killing of Eulalia Diamse had been perpetrated, and there had found many
persons in the house viewing the body.

The testimony of Gloria Capulong that she saw the accused in the afternoon of 31
January 1978 around 3:00 p.m. in the yard of the Valencias, standing and holding a
bicycle and doing nothing is, by itself, not proof of any act or circumstance that would
show that appellant had perpetrated the slaying or the robbery. The behaviour of the
appellant, as testified to by Gloria Capulong, offers no basis for supposing that
appellant, himself 72 years of age, had just slain an 88-year old woman by skewering
her through the neck and had ransacked both floors of the Valencia house.
Appellant's failure to present himself to pay his respects to the deceased or her
immediate family during the four-day wake, does not give rise to any inference that
appellant was the slayer of Eulalia Diamse. Appellant had explained that he had been
busily at work, sewing and carrying on his trade as a tailor. Appellant, as already noted,
had dropped in the Valencias' house in the afternoon Eulalia Diamse was killed and had
viewed the body (before it was lying in state) along with several other persons. His
reluctance or inability to participate in the formal wake is not necessarily a sign of guilt.
We are unable to agree with the trial judge that such behaviour was "contrary to the
ordinary experience of man" although respect for the dead is a common cultural trait of
the Filipinos.
In the Solicitor-General's brief, it is casually contended that the circumstantial evidence
against appellant included: "the attempt on the part of appellant Pioquinto de Joya
through his counsel to settle the case amicably." 6 We have examined the testimony
that the Solicitor General pointed to in referring to a supposed attempt to settle the
criminal charge amicably. That testimony, given by Arnedo Valencia, son-in-law of the
deceased Eulalia Diamse and brother-in-law of appellant Pioquinto de Joya, was as
Q You also testified that before the release of the accused
from the municipal jail, you had a conversation with him, is
that right?
A Yes, air.
Q What was this conversation about?
A He called for me and took me to his counsel Atty. Aguilar
and according to him if only Atty. Aguilar can talk with me,
everything will be settled.
Q Have you seen and talked to this Atty. Aguilar?
A Yes, I went with him to Manila, sir.
Q When was this?

A The time he was fetched out of jail.

Q You are referring to the municipal jail?
A Yes, sir.
Q What did you and Atty. Aguilar discuss when you finally
was able to see Atty. Aguilar?
A When I went there, I was introduced to Atty. Aguilar and
Atty. Aguilar asked me as to what I liked to happen.
Q What did you say?
A I said if it will be settled, well and good.
Q Anything else that transpired?
A He even told me if I might be able to convince both my
wife and her sisters.
Q Did he tell you he can settle this?
A He was very certain that he can settle this, the very reason
why he told me because I was very certain as to what
Q Was the accused Pioquinto de Joya present when you
were discussing this with his lawyer?
A Yes, sir
Q He heard what his, lawyer was telling you?
A It is possible because he is only one or two meters
distance away.
Q Did the accused say anything?
A None, sir. (Emphasis supplied)
We find the above testimony quite impalpable and inconclusive so far as a supposed
attempt of appellant, through his counsel, to offer a compromise on the criminal charge

is concerned. We are aware of the provision of Section 24 of Rule 130 of the Rules of
Court which provides that
Sec. 24. Offer to compromise not admission. An offer of compromise is not
an admission that anything is due, and is not admissible in evidence
against the person making the offer. However, in criminal cases which are
not allowed by law to be compromised, an offer of compromise by the
accused may be received in evidence as an implied admission of guilt.
(Emphasis supplied)
We do not, however, feel justified in concluding from the above testimony from a
member of the (extended) family of the deceased victim that "an offer of compromise"
had been made "by the accused" nor that "an implied admission of guilt" on the part of
the appellant may be reasonably inferred in the instant case. The trial court itself made
no mention of any attempt on the part of appellant to settle the criminal case amicably
through the defense counsel; we must assume that the trial court either did not believe
that appellant had tried to compromise the criminal case or considered that appellant
could not fairly be deemed to have impliedly admitted that he had indeed robbed and
killed Eulalia Diamse. A much higher level of explicitness and specific detail is
necessary to justify a conclusion that an accused had impliedly admitted his guilt of a
crime as serious as robbery with homicide.
The totality of the case made out against appellant De Joya thus consists of an
incomplete, aborted, dying declaration and a number of circumstances which, singly or
collectively, do not necessarily give rise to a compelling inference that appellant had
indeed robbed and slain Eulalia Diamse. We consider, after prolonged scrutiny, that the
sum total of the evidence in the instant case is insufficient to induce that moral certainty
of guilt which characterizes proof beyond reasonable doubt. The conscience of the
Court remains uneasy and unsettled after considering the nature and speculative
character of the evidence supporting the judgment of conviction.
The Court must, accordingly, hold as it hereby holds that appellant's guilt of the crime of
robbery and homicide was not shown beyond reasonable doubt.
ACCORDINGLY, the decision of the trial court dated 16 May 1986 is hereby
REVERSED and appellant Pioquinto de Joya is hereby ACQUITTED on grounds of
reasonable doubt.
It is so ordered.




G.R. No. 28871

September 19, 1928

ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee,
Office of the Solicitor-General Reyes for appellee.




This is an appeal taken by Clemente Babiera, Justo Babiera and Dominga Bores from
the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo finding them guilty of the crime of
murder, the first as principal, and the last two as accomplices, sentencing the former to
life imprisonment with the accessories of article 54 of the Penal Code, and each of the
latter to fourteen years, eight months and one day cadena temporal, with the
accessories of article 54 and 59 of the Penal Code, respectively, and all three to
indemnify the family of the deceased Severino Haro in the sum of P1,000 jointly and
severally, and each of them to pay one-third of the costs of the action in the justice of
the peace court and the Court of First Instance.
The six alleged errors assigned by the accused as committed by the trial court in its
judgment may be shifted down to the following propositions:
1. That the evidence adduced at the trial by the prosecution has not established the guilt
of the defendants-appellants beyond a reasonable doubt.
2. The Exhibit I of the prosecution is not an ante-mortem declaration and is therefore
inadmissible as evidence.
3. That the offended party's quarrelsome disposition can be proved in the trial to
determine who began the attack.
Before discussing the evidence adduced by both parties and determining its weight and
probatory value, it is well to decide the questions raised by the appellants on the
admissibility of evidence.
The first question of this nature refers to the character of the document Exhibit I, which
is a statement made by Severino Haro in Saint Paul's Hospital of Iloilo on the morning
after the crime was committed.

Although said statement in itself is inadmissible as an ante-mortem declaration,

inasmuch as there is nothing to show that at the time he made it Severino Haro knew or
firmly believed that he was at the point of death, nevertheless, having ratified its
contents a week later when he was near death as a result of his wounds, said
declaration is admissible as a part of that which he made ante-mortem "A statement
made under circumstances which would not render it admissible as a dying declaration
becomes admissible as such, it is held, if approved or repeated by the declarant after he
had abandoned all hope of recovery." (30 Corpus Juris, 257.)
Passing now to a consideration of the evidence, the prosecution tried to proved the
following facts:
Justo Babiera was the owner of two parcels of land situated in the municipality of Oton,
Province of Iloilo, Philippine Islands. On October 19, 1922 Justo Babiera executed a
contract of sale with the right of repurchase in favor of Basilio Copreros whereby he sold
the two parcels of land to the latter for the sum of P124 with the condition that if the
vendor did not repurchase them on or before August 1, 1923, the sale would become
absolute and irrevocable (Exhibit F). The period for repurchase having expired, Basilio
Copreros took possession of said two parcels of land, and on March 24, 1927, made
application to the registrar of deeds for the Province of Iloilo for the registration of the
consolidation of his title to said parcels. On the 26th of the said month, Basilio Copreros
leased said parcels to Severino Haro, municipal president of Oton (Exhibit G and G-1).
In view of this, on March 31, 1927, Justo Babiera filed a complaint against Basilio
Copreros in the justice of the peace court of Oton for the recovery of the possession of
said two parcels of land. The complaint having been dismissed on April 19, 1927 on the
ground that it did not allege facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action, Justo Babiera
appealed to the Court of First Instance of Iloilo (Exhibit M). Later on, said Justo Babiera
asked for the dismissal of the complaint for unlawful detainer and filed another one for
the recovery of property (Exhibit F). Inasmuch as Severino Haro was already in
possession of the aforesaid two parcels of land as lessee, he bore all the expenses in
the case of unlawful detainer as well as in that for recovery of the property.
Fermin Bruces was Severino Haro's copartner on shares in said lands. About the month
of May, 1927, Justo Babiera accompanied by his copartner on shares, Rosendo Paycol,
went to where Fermin Bruces was plowing and asked the latter: "Who told you to plow
here?" Fermin Bruces replied: "Severino Haro." Then Justo Babiera asked him: "If this
Severino tells you to kill yourself, will you do it?" "Of course not," answered Fermin
Bruces. After this interchange of words Justo Babiera told Fermin Bruces to stop
plowing and to tell his master, Severino Haro, to come and plow himself. Fermin Bruces
informed Severino Haro of the incident, and in answer the latter only told him not to
mind it, but to go on plowing.

On another occasion while Fermin Bruces was transplanting rice on the same lands,
Clemente Babiera and Rosendo Paycol arrived and told him that if he continued
working they would pull out someone's intestines. Fermin Bruces also informed
Severino Haro of these threats, who as before, told him not to mind them, but to go on
On July 23, 1927, Jose Haro, brother of Severino Haro, visited his land in the barrio of
Bita, which was under the care of Victoriano Randoquile. He was told by the latter that
he lacked palay seeds. At that time, Rosendo Paycol was in his field, Jose Haro and
Victoriano Randoquile approached him and asked him to give them some seeds.
Rosendo Paycol answered that he could not do so because he needed what he had for
his own farms. Haro and Randoquile then asked him: "Which fields do you mean?" "The
fields over which Copreros and Babiera are in litigation," answered Rosendo Paycol.
Surprised at this answer, Jose Haro told Rosendo Paycol that what he said could not be
because the lot in dispute was leased to his brother Severino Haro. Rosendo Paycol
replied that attorney Buenaventura Cordova had told Clemente Babiera and Justo
Babiera that Severino Haro would never be able to reap or enjoy the fruits of the land,
because if they did not win the suit by fair means they would win it by foul.
Ever since he had leased said land Severino Haro visited it rather often, especially
during the months of June and July, which is the sowing season, trying always to return
to town early. To go to the land, which was in the barrio called Bita, there was but a
beaten path that passed by the house of Rosendo Paycol, copartner on shares of Justo
Babiera, where the latter and his family lived.
On August 21, 1927, Severino Haro, as usual, went to visit his land in the barrio of Bita,
accompanied by Gregorio Torrija, Benito Carreon and Pedro Tauro. On arriving there
Fermin Bruces, his copartner on shares, told him that the day before he had found
Clemente Babiera's cow grazing on that land. It happened at that moment Clemente
Babiera and Dominga Bores were passing by. Severino Haro then informed Clemente
Babiera of what his cow had done on the former's land and told him to take better care
of his cow in future and not to let it run loose. He then ordered Fermin Bruces to take
the animal to where the Babiera family lived. Severino Haro was not able to return to
town until almost 7 o'clock in the evening. As it was already dark, he and his
companions had to make use of a torch made out of split bamboo to light them on their
way. Severino Haro went ahead, followed by Pedro Tauro, who carried the torch, some
8 brazas behind, with Gregorio Torrija and Benito Carreon following. On Coming to a
place in the road near Rosendo Paycol's house, Clemente Babiera suddenly sprang
from the cogon grass, went after Severino Haro and struck him with his bolo in the back.
On turning his head to see who had attacked him Severino Haro received another bolo
blow in the forehead near the right eyebrow. In trying to defend himself with his hand he
was wounded between the index finger and the thumb. He then tried to grasp his
assailant but did not succeed and he fell to the ground. Then Justo Babiera appeared

and placing himself upon Severino Haro's stomach, held the latter's hands. Later,
Dominga Bores appeared on the scene and held both knees of the wounded man.
When Justo Babiera arrived, a voice was heard saying: "Hold him, papa," and at the
same time, Severino Haro's voice was heard saying: "Help! help!" Pedro Tauro wished
to come near in order to help Severino Haro, but Clemente Babiera raised his bolo in
the air and kept on brandishing it to warn everybody off. Pedro Tauro, in fear, stepped
back, dropping the torch he carried. Not far from there were also Buenaventura Gabalfin
and Gregorio Paycol, who threatened to kill Severino Haro's companions if they helped
him. After the torch had been extinguished they heard a voice which they recognized as
Severino Haro's saying: "Uncle Justo, have patience with me, for I have done no
wrong." Then they heard another voice, that of Dominga Bores, which said: "Here is the
revolver; let us return." Before the assailants left two or three revolver shots were heard.
When Severino Haro's companions saw that their assailants had already departed, they
drew near to where Severino lay stretched out to see what had happened to him.
Severino Haro told them not to fear for he did not feel as if he were going to die, and
calling his copartner on shares, Fermin Bruces, directed him to bring a cot and take him
to town. Pedro Tauro and Gregorio Torrija did as Severino Haro wished, and on arriving
at the barrio of Santa Monica, they by chance came upon a truck in which were some
policemen. They place the wounded man in the same truck and took him to Saint Paul's
Hospital in the City of Iloilo. When Severino Haro was taken to the town he did not have
his revolver and the cartridge belt, without the holster, was found by Gregorio Torrija
near where the incident took place.
When Severino Haro was already in Saint Paul's Hospital he was examined by Dr.
Mariano Arroy, who issued a certificate stating that he found the following wounds:
Three on the right frontal regions; one on the right forehead taking in the soft parts up to
the auditory arch; on the right palmar arch; another on the left arm; a deep one reaching
down to the spinal column on the four slight wounds on the right thigh; the ones on the
forehead and the dorsal region being mortal of necessity. All the wounds were caused,
in the doctor's opinion, by a sharp-edged and pointed weapon, and while the
combatants were on the same plane, except the wounds on the middle of the calf which
must have been caused while the assaulted party was on a lower plane than his
assailant, and the wounds on the right thigh, which must have been inflicted while the
assailant was on a horizontal plane.
On the same morning, August 22, 1927, and in the same hospital, Severino Haro made
a sworn statement before the deputy fiscal, Edmundo S. Piccio (Exhibit I), relating the
occurrence and mentioning the persons who were present. This sworn statement was
ratified by him before the same deputy fiscal on the 27th of the said month and year
when he had given up all hope of recovery.
In this statement, Exhibit I, Severino Haro, among other things, said the following:

"Without warning, I received a slash on the left shoulder. On turning back my face, I saw
Clemente Babiera, and he then gave me another slash on the forehead just above the
right eyebrow. At that moment I also received a cut on the right hand, because on
receiving the blow on the forehead I defended myself with that hand. I then grasped him
because I could no longer support myself due to my two wounds. Then I fell. When I fell,
Clemente Babiera's father placed himself upon my stomach, while his (Clemente's) wife
sat on my feet, while Justo Babiera, Clemente's father, grasped my two hands and said
to me, "There, now draw your revolver" addressing me. I shouted to my companion for
help, for I felt I would die and while they approached, Clemente Babiera turned upon
them, and said: "Do not approach for you have nothing to do with this. Whoever comes
near gets a slash from this bolo." I shammed death and when they left me, and upon
seeing that neither Clemente, nor his father, nor his wife remained, my three
companions came up to me from their hiding places. One Aunario, copartner on shares
of Jose Abada, who lived near there, also came up to me, and later, Fermin."
In his ante-mortem declaration made on the 27th of August, 1927 before the same
deputy fiscal, Severino Haro, among other things, said the following:
"They repeatedly passed their fingers over my upper lip and at the same time see if I
still breathed; they felt and opened my eyelids and then inserted a finger in my pupil,
because they believed that if I was insensible, I was already dead. They knelt on my
stomach and one knelt on my lower limbs, and made a pass with something, which
seems to me was bamboo or a bolo, over the anterior surface of my calf, and Dominga
then took the revolver from me. I got up because I was afraid Dominga would shoot me
and when I attempted to escape Clemente Babiera pursued me and gave me another
cut on the left side of the waist, and I think the blow struck the ammunition belt, and if it
had not been for the belt it would have severed my waist."
The defense tried to prove the following facts:
On the afternoon of August 21, 1927 Clemente Babiera went to a place called
Caboloan, passing by the house of one Oper, located in the barrio of Bita, Oton, Iloilo.
While he was in Oper's house, his father Justo Babiera arrived, and some moments
later Severino Haro also arrived, and at once said to him: "Clemente, why do you leave
your cow loose?" Clemente denied the imputation and said that his cow was tied.
Severino Haro insisted, and added that said animal had damaged his sugar-cane
plantation, and therefore, Fermin Bruces, his copartner on shares caught and tied it, by
his order, to a mango tree. Clemente Babiera answered that he left the case in his
hands and that he could charge him what he would, for the damages occasioned by his
cow. As Severino Haro charged him P2 for the damage, Clemente told him that at the
moment he had no money, but that on the following day he would get money from the
town market and pay him. Severino Haro accepted the promise and left. Clemente
Babiera in turn retired to his house, together with Dominga Bores and his father, and

upon reaching a coconut palm they met Fermin Bruces, copartner on shares with
Severino Haro, who told them that he had already tied up the cow as per his master's
order. At about 7 o'clock in the evening while Clemente Babiera was in his house
conversing with his father about the land which they had in Caboloan, which was
attached by the Government, he suddenly heard a commotion; he went to the porch of
the house to see what had happened and saw a number of persons coming one
carrying a light and another leading his cow by rope. Clemente Babiera told his father
what he saw and went out to meet said persons, and saw Buenaventura Cabalfin
leading his cow by the rope and Severino Haro followed by his companions Pedro
Tauro, Gregorio Torrija, Benito Carreon, Margarito Mediavilla and Fermin Bruces.
Clemente Babiera then asked Severino Haro: "Why are you taking my cow away?
Haven't I promised to pay you tomorrow the loss caused by the animal? If you have no
confidence in me, then prepare a receipt showing that tomorrow without fail, I will pay
you." In reply, Severino Haro only said to Buenaventura Cabalfin: "Get on, proceed."
Clemente Babiera took hold of the rope by which the cow was led, and said:
"Buenaventura, stop!" Severino Haro then grasped Clemente Babiera by the hand and
pulled him to one side. Clemente Babiera disengaged himself from Severino Haro's
grasp, but Margarito Mediavilla struck him with a bolo at the base of his little finger.
Feeling himself wounded, Clemente Babiera tried to unsheathe his bolo intending to
return the blow to Margarito Mediavilla but failed to do so, because he heard someone
say: "Shoot him!" Immediately thereafter he saw Severino Haro with revolver
unholstered, and without any loss of time he went up to the latter and at that moment
shots were heard. Clemente Babiera then began to slash blindly right and left without
considering what he was at, catching Severino Haro in the back, as a result of which the
latter fell to the ground on his back. Clemente Babiera threw himself upon him, held him
down so he could not get up, and asked him: "Where is your revolver?" Severino Haro
answered that he did not have it. Then Clemente Babiera raised Severino Haro's hands
and felt his back, but did not find the revolver. Justo Babiera, Clemente's father, then
appeared, and was told by his son: "Papa, hold him, while I search for his revolver."
When Clemente Babiera saw Fermin Bruces he thought that the latter meant to attack
him because he had one hand behind, where he carried his bolo, so Severino turned on
him, but his wife, Dominga Bores, restrained him telling him not to approach. One Nario
also wanted to approach in order to defend Severino Haro but dared not do so in view
of Clemente Babiera's threats. After having made fruitless search for Severino Haro's
revolver, Clemente Babiera, his father, and his wife went back to their house.
After charging Rosendo Paycol with the care of the children, the three went to town and
passed the night in Florencio Mayordomo's house. On the following morning Dominga
Bores went to attorney Buenaventura Cordova's house and informed him of what had
happened. Buenaventura Cordova then went to Florencio Mayordomo's house and told
Dominga Bores to return to the place of the incident in order to look for the revolver and
deliver it to the Constabulary if she found it. Then he accompanied Clemente Babiera to
the office of Captain Gatuslao of the Constabulary at Fort San Pedro, to whom they

delivered the holster of the revolver and the three shells they had picked up on the night
of the incident. Dominga Bores having found the revolver in a furrow near the place of
the crime took it to Iloilo and delivered it to Captain Gatuslao of the Constabulary
between 9 and 10 o'clock in the morning.
Dr. Jose Gonzales Roxas, Constabulary physician, treated Clemente Babiera's wound
and certified that the same was 2 centimeters long and half a centimeter deep and was
situated at the base of the little finger of the right hand, taking in the cellular tissue of the
skin and the exterior ligament of the wrist.
In rebuttal, the prosecution tried to prove that at about half past five in the morning of
August 22, 1927, Dominga Bores was seen in the ground floor of the provincial
government building of Iloilo, carrying a package under her arm and from there she
went to the public market of Iloilo.
There is no question that Severino Haro had leased from Basilio Copreros two parcels
of land the ownership of which had passed to him due to Justo Babiera's failure to
repurchase them within the stipulated period. Nor is there any question that the latter
tried to recover them, first, by an accion publiciana (action for unlawful detainer), and
then by an action for the recovery of possession. There is likewise no question that
Severino Haro paid the expenses of the defendant Basilio Copreros for the reason that
he was already in possession of said lands as lessee. There is also no question that
Clemente Babiera's cow damaged the plantings of Fermin Bruce, for which reason the
letter caught said cow, tied it, and notified his master of the matter when the latter went
to visit the lands leased by him. Neither is there any question that there was an
agreement between Clemente Babiera and Severino Haro whereby the latter ordered
his copartner on shares Fermin Bruces, to take the cow near Clemente Babiera's house
and tie it up there. In like manner there is no question that at about 7 o'clock in the
evening of August 21, 1927, when Severino Haro and his companions were returning to
the town of Oton, and upon their coming near Rosendo Paycol's house, in which were
Clemente Babiera, his father Justo Babiera, and his mistress Dominga Bores, said
Severino Haro had an encounter with Clemente Babiera in which Severino Haro
received several wounds in consequence of which he died a week later in Saint Paul's
Hospital of Iloilo.
The only question to determine in the present appeal is whether, as the prosecution
contends, Severino Haro was suddenly and treacherously attacked by Clemente
Babiera, aided by his father and his mistress Dominga Bores; or, as the defense
contends, Severino Haro notwithstanding the agreement between himself and Clemente
Babiera by which the latter was to indemnify him for the damages caused by his cow,
wanted to take the animal to town; that in trying to prevent it, Clemente Babiera was
grasped by the hand by Severino Haro and pulled to one side; that in disengaging
himself Clemente Babiera received a bolo cut from Margarito Mediavilla that wounded

the little finger of his right hand; and that Severino Haro then unsheathed his revolver
and fired several shots, in view of which Clemente Babiera struck right and left with his
bolo, thus causing the former's wounds.
In order to decide the question thus raised, it is necessary to take into account all the
circumstances, previous, coetaneous and subsequently to the incident in question, and
to determine who had, or could have had, motives to assault the other.
We have seen that Justo Babiera sold two parcels of land to Basilio Copreros with the
right of repurchase, and that, having failed to repurchase them within the period
stipulated, the title thereto was consolidated, in the purchaser, who leased them to
Severino Haro, the latter taking possession of them. Justo Babiera restored to every
lawful means to regain possession of said parcels of land, first by an accion publiciana,
which failed, and then by an action for the recovery of possession. Severino Haro paid
the expenses of Basilio Copreros in order to carry on the suits. Such interested
intervention on Severino Haro's part without doubt must have vexed Justo Babiera, for
in the month of May 1927, he went with his copartner on shares, Rosendo Paycol, to
where Fermin Bruces, Severino Haro's copartner, was plowing, and asked him who had
ordered him there, and when Fermin Bruces answered that it was Severino Haro, Justo
asked him whether he would commit suicide if told to do so by said Severino Haro, and
then told him to tell his master to go and plow himself. Later on, Clemente Babiera,
Justo Babiera's son, accompanied by his copartner Rosendo Paycol, seeing that Fermin
Bruces went on working the land, told him that if he continued plowing, Clemente would
pull out someone's intestines. If all these threats are true, as we believe they are, then
Justo Babiera and Clemente Babiera must have borne Severino Haro deep resentment,
doubtless believing that it was due to him that they could not recover their two parcels of
land, and this was sufficient and adequate to move them, upon the failure of lawful
means, to resort to violence.
It has been contended by the defense that the defendant-appellant, Clemente Babiera,
only acted in defense of his life and property, having been obliged to resort to arms on
seeing his life endangered, contending that the provocation consisted in that after
Severino Haro had agreed to an indemnity of P2 for the damage caused, the latter
wanted to take Clemente Babiera's cow to the town, and that the attack consisted in that
Margarito Mediavilla gave him a bolo blow on the little finger of the right hand, and that
Severino Haro threatened him with his revolver and fired several shots at him.
Examined in the light of the ordinary conduct of men, Severino Haro's alleged attitude,
in having tried to take Clemente Babiera's cow after having agreed to accept P2 for the
damages, and having ordered that the animal be returned to its owner, is highly illogical,
and not a scintilla of evidence has been presented to explain this change of
determination, as unexpected as it is unreasonable.

With respect to the allegation that Margarito Mediavilla and Severino Haro began the
attack, inasmuch as it has not been proved that they were the instigators, it cannot be
conceived that they committed said unlawful aggression, for he who has no reason to
provoke, has no reason to attack unlawfully.
The defense also attempted to prove that Severino Haro was of a quarrelsome
disposition, provoking, irascible, and fond of starting quarrels in the municipality of Oton,
but the trial judge would not permit it.
While it is true that when the defense of the accused is that he acted in self-defense, he
may prove the deceased to have been of a quarrelsome, provoking and irascible
disposition, the proof must be of his general reputation in the community and not of
isolated and specific acts (Underhill Criminal Evidence, par. 325, p.570), such as the
accused Clemente Babiera tried to prove, and hence the lower court did not err in not
admitting such proof. But even if it had been proved by competent evidence that the
deceased was of such a disposition, nevertheless, it would not have been sufficient to
overthrow the conclusive proof that it was the said accused who treacherously attacked
the deceased.
Another circumstance which shows the falsity of the theory of the defense is that of
having made Buenaventura Cabalfin take part as the person whom Severino Haro
employed to lead Clemente Babiera's cow. If Severino Haro's copartner, Fermin Bruces,
whom he had told to return said cow to Clemente Babiera was with his master on that
night, together with other companions, what need was there of said Severino Haro's
employing the services of another person and one not belonging to his group? The plan
of the defense necessitated a provocation and to that end they conceived the idea of
the breach of the supposed agreement on the return of the animal through the payment
of an indemnity of P2, making use as an instrument of one on whom the defense could
depend to serve as witness, and there was no one better suited for such a purpose than
Buenaventura Cabalfin who according to the witnesses for the prosecution, was at the
place of the crime with Gregorio Paycol threatening the deceased's friends if they
offered to help him.
To rebut the evidence of the prosecution that Dominga Bores was the one who by order
of Clemente Babiera took Severino Haro's revolver from him on the night in question,
the defense tried to prove that on the following morning attorney Buenaventura
Cordova, a relative of the Babieras, told Dominga Bores to return to the place of the
incident and look for said weapon, and that she found it in a furrow near the place and
took it to the office of the Constabulary in Iloilo between 9 and 10 o'clock in the morning.
But the rebuttal evidence of the prosecution disproved this contention and showed that
Dominga Bores did not have to look for the revolver in the field, since at half past five in
the morning she was already in the provincial building of Iloilo carrying a package under
her arm.

With regard to the small wound at the base of the little finger of the right hand which
Clemente Babiera showed to the Constabulary physician as having been caused by
Margarito Mediavilla, we are convinced that the latter was not in the company of
Severino Haro on the night in question and could not have inflicted such a wound.
Bearing in mind the plan of the defense, it may safely be said that in order to cast an
appearance of reality on the concocted plea of an unlawful attack and self-defense,
Clemente Babiera inflicted on himself the slight wound; since, if in order to escape
military service there were men who mutilated themselves, who would not wound
himself slightly in order to escape a life penalty?
The facts related above have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt and constitute
the crime of murder defined in article 403 of the Penal Code, there being present at the
commission of the crime, the qualifying circumstance of treachery, consisting in the
accused Clemente Babiera having attacked Severino Haro suddenly while the latter had
his back turned, inflicting various wounds on his body as a result of which he died a
week later, said Clemente Babiera being criminally liable as principal by direct
Justo Babiera and Dominga Bores are also liable but as accomplices, because, while
they did not take a direct part in the infliction of the wounds that caused Severino Haro's
death, or cooperated by acts without which they could not have been inflicted, or
induced Clemente Babiera to inflict them, yet they took part in the commission of the
crime by simultaneous acts consisting in the former having mounted Severino Haro's
body and held down his hands, while the latter sat on his knees while he lay stretched
out on the ground in order to allow Clemente Babiera to search the body for his
revolver, Justo Babiera and Dominga Bores cannot be held as accomplices of the crime
of murder, inasmuch as it does not appear to have been proven that they knew the
manner in which Clemente Babiera was going to assault Severino Haro, in accordance
with the provision of article 79 of the Penal Code, to the effect that the circumstances
which consist in the material execution of the act, or in the means employed to
accomplish it, shall serve to aggravate or mitigate the liability of those persons only who
had knowledge of them at the time of the act or their cooperation therein. Although in
the instant case the treachery is not considered a generic aggravating, but a qualifying
circumstance, nevertheless, it does not fail to produce a special aggravation.
To graduate the penalty, we are not to consider any modifying circumstance of the
criminal liability, for while it is true that Clemente Babiera took advantage of the
darkness of nighttime, this circumstance is included in treachery, inasmuch as,
considering the fact that Severino Haro was followed by several companions, the
accused would not have been able to conceal himself in the cogon grass nor attack the
deceased from behind without being seen in time and prevented from executing his
criminal purpose had not been for the darkness of the night.

The penalty provided by law for the crime of murder namely, that of cadena temporal in
its maximum degree to death must therefore be imposed upon Clemente Babiera in its
medium degree, that is, life imprisonment.
The penalty provided for in article 404 of the Penal Code for the crime of homicide
is reclusion temporal in its full extent, and the one next lower is prision mayor in its full
extent, which is the penalty that must be imposed on Justo Babiera and Dominga Bores
as accomplices in the crime of homicide (art. 67, Penal Code). In graduating the
penalty, the aggravating circumstances of nocturnity must be taken into consideration,
without any extenuating circumstances to offset it, and therefore said penalty of prision
mayor must be imposed in its maximum degree, that is, ten years and 1 day.
As there are three persons civilly liable, one as principal in the crime of murder and two
as accomplices in that of homicide, we must fix the share, for which each must answer,
of the P1,000 fixed by the trial court, in accordance with the provision of article 124 of
the Penal Code, that is, P600 for Clemente Babiera and P400 for Justo Babiera and
Dominga Bores, each of the latter being liable solidarily between themselves for their
share, and subsidiarily liable for the share of the former and the former for the share of
the latter, according to the provision of article 125 of the same Code.
By virtue whereof, the appealed judgment is hereby modified, and it is held that Justo
Babiera and Dominga Bores are guilty of the crime of homicide as accomplices and
each sentenced to ten years and 1 day prision mayor, and to pay the sum of P400
jointly and severally, and Clemente Babiera to pay the sum of P600, the former to be
subsidiarily liable for the latter's share, and the latter for the former's share, payment to
be made to the heirs of the deceased Severino Haro, the appealed judgment being
affirmed in all other respects with the proportional costs against each. So ordered.
[G.R. No. 111692. February 9, 1996]
THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
Still professing innocence and insisting that he is a victim of mistaken identity,
petitioner Alejandro Fuentes, Jr., seeks reversal of the decision of the Court of Appeals
affirming his conviction for murder.[1]

At four o clock in the morning of 24 June 1989 Julieto Malaspina together with
Godofredo Llames, Honorio Osok and Alberto Toling, was at a benefit dance at Dump
Site, Tudela, Trento, Agusan del Sur. Petitioner called Malaspina and placed his right
arm on the shoulder of the latter saying, Before, I saw you with a long hair but now you
have a short hair.[2]Suddenly petitioner stabbed Malaspina in the abdomen with a
hunting knife. Malaspina fell to the ground and his companions rushed to his side.
Petitioner fled. Before the victim succumbed to the gaping wound on his abdomen he
muttered that Alejandro Fuentes, Jr., stabbed him. [3]
Dr. Porfirio L. Salubre, the Rural Health Physician who autopsied the cadaver of
Julieto Malaspina on 24 July 1989, reported that death was due to stab wound at left
lumbar region I V2in. in length with extracavitation of the small and large intestines. [4]
Petitioner claims on the other hand that it was his cousin Zoilo Fuentes, Jr., alias
Jonie who knifed Malaspina; that when the victim was killed he was conversing with
him; that he was compelled to run away when he heard that somebody with a bolo and
spear would kill all those from San Isidro because Jonie, the killer, was from that place;
that since he was also from San Isidro he sought refuge in his brothers house where he
met Jonie; that Jonie admitted spontaneously that he stabbed Malaspina because after
a boxing match before the latter untied his gloves and punched him; that as there were
many persons milling around the house Jonie jumped out and escaped through the
window; that he was arrested at eight oclock in the morning of 24 June 1989 while he
was in a store in the barangay.[5]
The Regional Trial Court of Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, found petitioner guilty of
murder qualified by treachery and imposed on him an indeterminate prison term of ten
(10) years and one (1) day of prision mayor as minimum to seventeen (17) years and
four (4) months of reclusion temporal as maximum, to indemnify the heirs of the victim
Julieto Malaspina the amount of P50,000.00 and to pay P8,300.00 as actual damages
plus costs.[6]
The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court; hence, this petition for
Petitioner contends that the appellate court erred when it held that petitioner was
positively and categorically identified as the killer of Malaspina, in affirming the judgment
of conviction and in holding petitioner liable for damages to the heirs of the victim.
Petitioner points to an alleged inconsistency between the testimonies of prosecution
witnesses Alberto Toling and Honorio Osok to the effect that they saw petitioner stab
Malaspina on the right lumbar region, and the testimony of the attending physician that
the victim was stabbed on the left lumbar region.

This discrepancy is inconsequential. What is material is that Malaspina was stabbed

to death and that three (3) prosecution witnesses positively identified petitioner as the
knife wielder. It must be stressed that these witnesses had known petitioner for quite
some time and never had any personal misunderstanding nor altercation with the latter
as to create any suspicion that they were impelled by ill motives to falsely implicate him.
That it was another person who committed the offense is too incredible. No less
than petitioners own witness, Nerio Biscocho who claimed he also saw the killing,
testified that Alejandro Fuentes, Jr., the petitioner, and Jonie Fuentes are one and the
same person. Thus COURT:
Q. Who is this Joni Fuentes and Alejandro Fuentes?
A. That Joni Fuentes is the same of that or the accused Alejandro Fuentes. I do
not know his real name but he is called as Joni, sir, x x x [7]
On cross-examination witness Biscocho further admitted that he himself would call
petitioner Alejandro Fuentes, Jr., as Joni or Jonie Fuentes, as some of his friends did,
but victim Malaspina occasionally called petitioner Junior.[8]
Petitioner would make much of the alleged confession of Zoilo Fuentes, Jr., since it
is a declaration against penal interest and therefore an exception to the hearsay rule.
The so-called confession of Zoilo was allegedly given to Felicisimo Fuentes, the uncle
of petitioner and Zoilo, who in turn relayed the matter to P/Sgt. Benjamin Conde, Jr.
Felicisimo testified that on 24 June 1989 while he was at Barangay San Isidro, Zoilo
Fuentes, Jr., confessed that he killed Malaspina in retaliation; that he even showed him
the knife he used and asked his help in finding a lawyer, in securing bail and, if possible,
in working out a settlement with the relatives of the deceased. The following day
however he learned that the self-confessed killer was gone and that petitioner had been
arrested for a crime he did not commit.[9]
For his part, Station Commander P/Sgt. Conde, Jr., testified that after the criminal
information for murder was filed on 26 July 1989, petitioner met Felicisimo who informed
him of the disclosure by Zoilo. Conde then advised Felicisimo that if it was true that it
was Zoilo who fatally stabbed Malaspina Felicisimo must persuade Zoilo to surrender.
Conde then personally went to Barangay San Isidro to investigate. There he was told by
the townsfolk that Zoilo had already fled).[10]
One of the recognized exceptions to the hearsay rule is that pertaining to
declarations made against interest. Sec. 38 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court provides
that (t)he declaration made by a person deceased, or unable to testify, against the
interest of the declarant, if the fact asserted in the declaration was at the time it was

made so far contrary to declarants own interest, that a reasonable man in his position
would not have made the declaration unless he believed it to be true, may be received
in evidence against himself or his successors in interest and against third persons. The
admissibility in evidence of such declaration is grounded on necessity and
There are three (3) essential requisites for the admissibility of a declaration against
interest: (a) the declarant must not be available to testify; (b) the declaration must
concern a fact cognizable by the declarant; and (c) the circumstances must render it
improbable that a motive to falsify existed.
In the instant case, we find that the declaration particularly against penal interest
attributed to Zoilo Fuentes Jr. is not admissible in evidence as an exception to the
hearsay rule. We are not unaware of People Toledo,[12] a 1928 case, where Justice
Malcolm writing for the Court endeavored to reexamine the declaration of third parties
made contrary to their penal interest. In that case, the protagonists Holgado and
Morales engaged in a bob duel. Morales was killed almost instantly. Holgado who was
seriously wounded gave a sworn statement (Exh. 1) before the municipal president
declaring that when he and Morales fought there was nobody else present. One (1)
month later Holgado died from his wounds. While the Court was agreed thatToledo, who
reportedly intervened in the fight and dealt the mortal blow, should be exonerated on
reasonable doubt, the members did not reach an accord on the admissibility of Exh. 1.
One group would totally disregard Exh. 1 since there was ample testimonial evidence to
support an acquittal. The second group considered Exh. 1 as part of the res gestae as it
was made on the same morning when the fight occurred. A third group, to which Justice
Malcolm belonged, opined that the court below erred in not admitting Exh. 1 as the
statement of a fact against penal interest.
For all its attempt to demonstrate the arbitrariness behind the rejection in certain
cases of declarations against penal interest, the Toledo case cannot be applied in the
instant case which is remarkably different. Consider this factual scenario: the alleged
declarant Zoilo Fuentes Jr., a cousin of accused-appellant, verbally admitted to the
latter, and later to their common uncle Felicisimo Fuentes, that he (Zoilo) killed the
victim because of a grudge, after which he disappeared. One striking feature that
militates against the acceptance of such a statement is its patent untrustworthiness.
Zoilo who is related to accused-appellant had every motive to prevaricate. The same
can be said of accused-appellant and his uncle Felicisimo. Secondly, we need not resort
to legal rhetorics to find that the admission of such a statement may likewise be,
according to Wigmore, shocking to the sense of justice. [13] Let us assume that the trial
court did admit the statement of Zoilo and on that basis acquitted accused-appellant.
Let us assume further that Zoilo was subsequently captured and upon being confronted
with his admission of guilt readily repudiated the same. There is nothing, absolutely
nothing, that can bind Zoilo legally to that statement.

But more importantly, the far weightier reason why the admission against penal
interest cannot be accepted in the instant case is that the declarant is not unable to
testify. There is no showing that Zoilo is either dead, mentally incapacitated or physically
incompetent which Sec. 38 obviously contemplates. His mere absence from the
jurisdiction does not make him ipso facto unavailable under this rule.[14] For it is
incumbent upon the defense to produce each and every piece of evidence that can
break the prosecution and assure the acquittal of the accused. Other than the gratuitous
statements of accused-appellant and his uncle to the effect that Zoilo admitted having
killed Malaspina, the records show that the defense did not exert any serious effort to
produce Zoilo as a witness. Lest we be misunderstood, the Court is always for the
admission of evidence that would let an innocent declaration of guilt by the real culprit.
But this can be open to abuse, as when the extrajudicial statement is not even
authenticated thus increasing the probability of its fabrication; it is made to persons who
have every reason to lie and falsify; and it is not altogether clear that the declarant
himself is unable to testify. Thus, for this case at least, exclusion is the prudent recourse
as explained in Toledo -The purpose of all evidence is to get at the truth. The reason for
the hearsay rule is that the extrajudicial and unsworn statement of another is not the
best method of serving this purpose. In other words, the great possibility of the
fabrication of falsehoods, and the inability to prove their untruth, requires that the doors
be closed to such evidence.[15]
The Court of Appeals as well as the trial court correctly determined the crime to be
murder qualified by treachery. The suddenness of the attack, without any provocation
from the unsuspecting victim, made the stabbing of Malaspina treacherous. [16] However,
the court a quo erred in imposing an indeterminate prison term of ten (10) years and
one (1) day of prision mayor as minimum to seventeen (17) years and four (4) months
of reclusion temporal as maximum. Murder under Art. 248 of The Revised Penal Code
is punishable by reclusion temporalin its maximum period to death. Since aside from
treachery qualifying the crime to murder there is no other modifying circumstance
proved, the medium period of the penalty, i.e. reclusion perpetua, should have been
imposed on petitioner.[17]
Petitioner maintains that assuming that he committed the crime it is error to hold
him answerable for P8,300.00 as actual damages on the basis of the mere testimony of
the victims sister, Angelina Serrano, without any tangible document to support such
claim. This is a valid point. In crimes and quasi-delicts, the defendant is liable for all
damages which are the natural and probable consequences of the act or omission
complained of.[18] To seek recovery for actual damages it is essential that the injured
party proves the actual amount of loss with reasonable degree of certainty premised
upon competent proof and on the best evidence available. [19] Courts cannot simply rely
on speculation, conjecture or guesswork in determining the fact and amount of

The award by the court a quo of P8,300.00 as actual damages is not supported by
the evidence on record. We have only the testimony of the victims elder sister stating
that she incurred expenses of P8,300.00 in connection with the death of Malaspina.
However, no proof of the actual damages was ever presented in court. Of the
expenses alleged to have been incurred, the Court can only give credence to those
supported by receipts and which appear to have been genuinely expended in
connection with the death of the victim. Since the actual amount was not substantiated,
the same cannot be granted.[22]
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from finding petitioner ALEJANDRO
FUENTES JR. guilty of MURDER and directing him to indemnify the heirs of Julieto
Malaspina in the amount of P50,000.00 plus costs is AFFIRMED with the modification
that the penalty imposed should be as it is corrected to reclusion perpetua, and the
award of actual damages is deleted.
Baguio City




G.R. NO. 146556

April 19, 2006


PAREL, Petitioner,

Before us is a petition for review on certiorari filed by Danilo Parel (petitioner) which
seeks to set aside the Decision1 dated March 31, 2000 of the Court of Appeals (CA)
which reversed the Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 60, Baguio, in
Civil Case No. 2493-R, a case for recovery of possession and damages. Also assailed
is CA Resolution2 dated November 28, 2000.
On February 27, 1992, Simeon Prudencio (respondent) filed a complaint for recovery of
possession and damages against petitioner with the RTC Baguio alleging that: he is the
owner of a two-storey residential house located at No. 61 Forbes Park National
Reservation near Department of Public Service (DPS) compound, Baguio City; such
property was constructed solely from his own funds and declared in his name under Tax

Declaration No. 47048; he commenced the construction of said house in 1972 until its
completion three years later; when the second floor of said house became habitable in
1973, he allowed petitioners parents, Florentino (now deceased) and Susan Parel, to
move therein and occupy the second floor while the construction of the ground floor was
on-going to supervise the construction and to safeguard the materials; when the
construction of the second floor was finished in 1975, respondent allowed petitioners
parents and children to transfer and temporarily reside thereat; it was done out of sheer
magnanimity as petitioners parents have no house of their own and since respondents
wife is the older sister of Florentino, petitioners father; in November 1985, respondent
wrote Florentino a notice for them to vacate the said house as the former was due for
retirement and he needed the place to which petitioners parents heeded when they
migrated to U.S. in 1986; however, without respondents knowledge, petitioner and his
family unlawfully entered and took possession of the ground floor of respondents
house; petitioners refusal to vacate the house despite repeated demands prompted
respondent to file the instant action for recovery of possession. Respondent also asked
petitioner for a monthly rental of P3,000.00 from April 1988 and every month thereafter
until the latter vacates the said premises and surrender possession thereof; and for
moral and exemplary damages, attorneys fees and cost of suit.
Petitioner filed his Answer with Counterclaim alleging that: his parents are the coowners of the said residential house, i.e., the upper story belongs to respondent while
the ground floor pertains to petitioners parents; he is occupying the ground floor upon
the instruction of his father, Florentino, with respondents full knowledge; his parents
spent their own resources in improving and constructing the said two-storey house as
co-owners thereof; the late Florentino was an awardee of the land on which the house
stands and as a co-owner of the house, he occupied the ground floor thereof; the
demand to vacate was respondents attempt to deprive petitioners parents of their
rights as co-owner of the said house; that respondent had filed ejectment case as well
as criminal cases against them involving the subject house which were all dismissed.
Petitioner asked for the dismissal of the complaint and prayed for damages and
attorneys fees.
After trial on the merits, the RTC rendered a Decision 3 dated December 15, 1993, the
dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court hereby declares that the house erected
at No. 61 DPS Compound, Baguio City is owned in common by the late Florentino Parel
and herein plaintiff Simeon Prudencio and as such the plaintiff cannot evict the
defendant as heirs of the deceased Florentino Parel from said property, nor to recover
said premises from herein defendant.
Likewise, the plaintiff is ordered to:

(a) pay the defendant in the total sum of P20,000.00 for moral and actual
(b) pay the defendant P20,000.00 in Attorneys fees and P3,300.00 in
appearance fees;
(c) pay the costs of this suit.4
The RTC found the following matters as conclusive: that petitioners father was an
allocatee of the land on which the subject house was erected, as one of the lowly-paid
government employees at that time when then Mayor Luis Lardizabal gave them the
chance to construct their own house on said reservation; that respondent failed to show
proof of any contract, written or oral, express or implied, that the late Florentino and his
family stayed on the house not as co-owners but as mere lessees, nor any other proof
that would clearly establish his sole ownership of the house; and, that the late Florentino
was the one who gathered the laborers for the construction of the house and paid their
salaries. Thus, the RTC ruled that co-ownership existed between respondent and
petitioners father, Florentino.
The RTC concluded that respondent and petitioners father agreed to contribute their
money to complete the house; that since the land on which said house was erected has
been allocated to petitioners father, the parties had the understanding that once the
house is completed, petitioners father could keep the ground floor while respondent the
second floor; the trial court questioned the fact that it was only after 15 years that
respondent asserted his claim of sole ownership of the subject house; respondent failed
to disprove that petitioners father contributed his own funds to finance the construction
of the house; that respondent did not question (1) the fact that it was the deceased
Florentino who administered the construction of the house as well as the one who
supplied the materials; and (2) the fact that the land was in Florentinos possession
created the impression that the house indeed is jointly owned by respondent and
The RTC did not give credence to the tax declaration as well as the several documents
showing the City Assessors assessment of the property all in respondents name since
tax declarations are not conclusive proof of ownership. It rejected the affidavit executed
by Florentino declaring the house as owned by respondent saying that the affidavit
should be read in its entirety to determine the purpose of its execution; that it was
executed because of an advisement addressed to the late Florentino by the City
Treasurer concerning the propertys tax assessment and Florentino, thought then that it
should be the respondent who should pay the taxes; and that the affidavit cannot be
accepted for being hearsay.

Aggrieved by such decision, respondent appealed to the CA. In a Decision dated March
31, 2000, the CA reversed the trial court and declared respondent as the sole owner of
the subject house and ordered petitioner to surrender possession of the ground floor
thereof to respondent immediately. It also ordered petitioner to pay respondent a
monthly rental of P2,000.00 for use or occupancy thereof from April 1988 until the
former actually vacates the same and the sum of P50,000.00 as attorneys fees and
cost of suit.
The CA found as meritorious respondents contention that since petitioner failed to
formally offer in evidence any documentary evidence, there is nothing to refute the
evidence offered by respondent. It ruled that the trial courts statement that "defendants
occupancy of the house is due to a special power of attorney executed by his parents
most specially the deceased Florentino Parel who is in fact a co-owner of said building"
is wanting of any concrete evidence on record; that said power of attorney was never
offered, hence, could not be referred to as petitioners evidence to support his claim;
that except for the bare testimonies of Candelario Regua, the carpenter-foreman, that it
was Florentino who constructed the house and Corazon Garcia, the former barangay
captain, who testified that the lot was allocated to petitioners father, there was no
supporting document which would sufficiently establish factual bases for the trial courts
conclusion; and that the rule on offer of evidence is mandatory.
The CA found the affidavit dated September 24, 1973 of Florentino, petitioners father,
stating that he is not the owner of the subject house but respondent, as conclusive proof
of respondents sole ownership of the subject house as it is a declaration made by
Florentino against his interest. It also found the tax declarations and official receipts
representing payments of real estate taxes of the questioned property covering the
period 1974 to 1992 sufficient to establish respondents case which constitute at least
proof that the holder has a claim of title over the property.
Petitioners motion for reconsideration was denied in a Resolution dated November 28,
Hence, the instant petition for review on certiorari with the following Assignment of


Petitioner concedes that while his former counsel failed to make a formal offer of his
documentary evidence before the trial court and that the court shall consider no
evidence which has not been formally offered, he maintains that the said rule is not
absolute, citing the case of Bravo, Jr. v. Borja; 6 that his documentary evidence which
were not formally offered in evidence were marked during the presentation of the
testimony of petitioners witnesses and were part of their testimonies; that these
evidence were part of the memorandum filed by him before the trial court on July 12,
Petitioner insists that even in the absence of the documentary evidence, his testimony
as well as that of his witnesses substantiated his claim of co-ownership of the subject
house between his late father and respondent as found by the trial court.
Petitioner argues that the CA erred in finding the affidavit of petitioners father declaring
respondent as owner of the subject house as conclusive proof that respondent is the
true and only owner of the house since the affidavit should be read in its entirety to
determine the purpose for which it was executed.
Petitioner further contends that since he had established his fathers co-ownership of
the subject house, respondent has no legal right to eject him from the property; that he
could not be compelled to pay rentals for residing in the ground floor of the subject
house; that respondent should bear his own expenses and be adjudged liable for
damages which petitioner sustained for being constrained to litigate.
The principal issue for resolution is whether petitioner was able to prove by
preponderance of evidence that his father was a co-owner of the subject two-storey
residential house.

The issue raised by petitioner is mainly factual in nature. In general, only questions of
law are appealable to this Court under Rule 45. However, considering that the findings
of the RTC and CA are contradictory, the review of the case is in order.7
We agree with the CA that respondent had shown sufficient evidence to support his
complaint for recovery of possession of the ground floor of the subject house as the
exclusive owner thereof. Respondent presented the affidavit dated September 24, 1973
executed by Florentino and sworn to before the Assistant City Assessor of Baguio City,
G.F. Lagasca, which reads:
I, FLORENTINO PAREL, 42 years of age, employee, and residing at Forbes Park,
Reservation No. 1, after having been sworn to according to law depose and say:
That he is the occupant of a residential building located at Forbes Park, Reservation No.
1, Baguio City which is the subject of an advicement addressed to him emanating from
the Office of the City Assessor, Baguio City, for assessment and declaration for taxation
That I am not the owner of the building in question;
That the building in question is owned by Mr. Simeon B. Prudencio who is presently
residing at 55 Hyacinth, Roxas District, Quezon City.
Further, affiant say not.8 (Underscoring supplied)
Section 38 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court provides:
SEC. 38. Declaration against interest. The declaration made by a person deceased,
or unable to testify, against the interest of the declarant, if the fact asserted in the
declaration was at the time it was made so far contrary to the declarant's own interest,
that a reasonable man in his position would not have made the declaration unless he
believed it to be true, may be received in evidence against himself or his successors-ininterest and against third persons.
The theory under which declarations against interest are received in evidence
notwithstanding they are hearsay is that the necessity of the occasion renders the
reception of such evidence advisable and, further that the reliability of such declaration
asserts facts which are against his own pecuniary or moral interest. 9
The affiant, Florentino, who died in 1989 was petitioners father and had adequate
knowledge with respect to the subject covered by his statement. In said affidavit,
Florentino categorically declared that while he is the occupant of the residential building,
he is not the owner of the same as it is owned by respondent who is residing in Quezon
City. It is safe to presume that he would not have made such declaration unless he

believed it to be true, as it is prejudicial to himself as well as to his childrens interests as

his heirs.10 A declaration against interest is the best evidence which affords the greatest
certainty of the facts in dispute.11 Notably, during Florentinos lifetime, from 1973, the
year he executed said affidavit until 1989, the year of his death, there is no showing that
he had revoked such affidavit even when a criminal complaint for trespass to dwelling
had been filed by respondent against him (Florentino) and petitioner in 1988 regarding
the subject house which the trial court dismissed due to the absence of evidence
showing that petitioner entered the house against the latters will and held that the
remedy of respondent was to file an action for ejectment; 12 and even when a complaint
for unlawful detainer was filed against petitioner and his wife also in 1988 which was
subsequently dismissed on the ground that respondents action should be an accion
publiciana which is beyond the jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Court. 13
Moreover, the building plan of the residential house dated January 16, 1973 was in the
name of respondent and his wife. It was established during petitioners crossexamination that the existing structure of the two-storey house was in accordance with
said building plan.14
Notably, respondent has been religiously paying the real estate property taxes on the
house declared under his name since 1974. 15 In fact, petitioner during his crossexamination admitted that there was no occasion that they paid the real estate taxes nor
declared any portion of the house in their name. 16
We agree with the CA that while tax receipts and declarations are not incontrovertible
evidence of ownership, they constitute at least proof that the holder has a claim of title
over the property.17 The house which petitioner claims to be co-owned by his late father
had been consistently declared for taxation purposes in the name of respondent, and
this fact, taken with the other circumstances above-mentioned, inexorably lead to the
conclusion that respondent is the sole owner of the house subject matter of the
Respondent having established his claim of exclusive ownership of the subject property,
it was incumbent upon petitioner to contravene respondents claim. The burden of
evidence shifted to petitioner to prove that his father was a co-owner of the subject
We held in Jison v. Court of Appeals, to wit:18
xxx Simply put, he who alleges the affirmative of the issue has the burden of proof, and
upon the plaintiff in a civil case, the burden of proof never parts. However, in the course
of trial in a civil case, once plaintiff makes out a prima facie case in his favor, the duty or
the burden of evidence shifts to defendant to controvert plaintiff's prima facie case,
otherwise, a verdict must be returned in favor of plaintiff. Moreover, in civil cases, the

party having the burden of proof must produce a preponderance of evidence thereon,
with plaintiff having to rely on the strength of his own evidence and not upon the
weakness of the defendants. The concept of "preponderance of evidence" refers to
evidence which is of greater weight, or more convincing, that which is offered in
opposition to it; at bottom, it means probability of truth. 19
In this case, the records show that although petitioners counsel asked that he be
allowed to offer his documentary evidence in writing, he, however, did not file the
same.20 Thus, the CA did not consider the documentary evidence presented by
petitioner. Section 34 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court provides:
Section 34. Offer of evidence. The court shall consider no evidence which has not
been formally offered. The purpose for which the evidence is offered must be specified.
A formal offer is necessary because it is the duty of a judge to rest his findings of facts
and his judgment only and strictly upon the evidence offered by the parties to the
suit.21 It is a settled rule that the mere fact that a particular document is identified and
marked as an exhibit does not mean that it has thereby already been offered as part of
the evidence of a party.22
Petitioner insists that although his documentary evidence were not formally offered, the
same were marked during the presentation of the testimonial evidence, thus it can
properly be taken cognizance of relying in Bravo, Jr. v. Borja.23
Such reliance is misplaced. In Bravo Jr., we allowed evidence on minority by admitting
the certified true copy of the birth certificate attached to a motion for bail even if it was
not formally offered in evidence. This was due to the fact that the birth certificate was
properly filed in support of a motion for bail to prove petitioners minority which was
never challenged by the prosecution and it already formed part of the records of the
case. The rule referred to in the Bravo case was Section 7 of Rule 133 of the Rules of
Court which provides:
Section 7. Evidence on motion.- When a motion is based on facts not appearing of
record, the court may hear the matter on affidavits or depositions presented by the
respective parties, but the court may direct that the matter be heard wholly or partly on
oral testimony or depositions.
and not Section 34 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court which is the one applicable to the
present case.
Even assuming arguendo that the documentary evidence of petitioner should be
considered in his favor, the evidence showing that respondent had filed civil and
criminal cases against petitioner which were dismissed as well as the alleged Special
Power of Attorney of petitioners parents whereby they authorized petitioner to stay in

the ground floor of the house, did not establish co-ownership of Florentino and
respondent of the subject house.
The testimonies of petitioner and his witnesses failed to show that the subject house is
co-owned by petitioners father and respondent.
Candelario Regua merely testified that he was hired by petitioners father, Florentino, to
construct the residential building in 1972; 24 that he listed the materials to be used for the
construction which was purchased by Florentino; 25 that he and his men received their
salaries every Saturday and Wednesday from Florentino or his wife, respectively; 26 that
he had not met nor seen respondent during the whole time the construction was ongoing.27 On cross-examination, however, he admitted that he cannot tell where the
money to buy the materials used in the construction came from. 28
Corazon Garcia merely testified that Florentino started building the house when he was
allocated a lot at DPS compound, that she knew Florentino constructed the subject
house29 and never knew respondent. 30 The bare allegation that Florentino was
allocated a lot is not sufficient to overcome Florentinos own affidavit naming respondent
as the owner of the subject house.
Petitioner himself testified that it was his father who saw the progress of the
construction and purchased the materials to be used; 31 and as a young boy he would
follow-up some deliveries upon order of his father 32 and never saw respondent in the
construction site. The fact that not one of the witnesses saw respondent during the
construction of the said house does not establish that petitioners father and respondent
co-owned the house.
We also find that the CA did not err in ordering petitioner to pay respondent being the
sole owner of the subject house a monthly rental of P2,000.00 from April 1988, the date
of the extra-judicial demand, until petitioner actually vacates the subject house.
Although the CA made no ratiocination as to how it arrived at the amount of P2,000.00
for the monthly rental, we find the same to be a reasonable compensation for the use of
the ground floor of the subject house which consists of a living room, a dining room, a
kitchen and three bedrooms. The rental value refers to the value as ascertained by
proof of what the property would rent or by evidence of other facts from which the fair
rental value may be determined. 33
We likewise affirm the CAs award of attorneys fees in favor of respondent. Article 2208
of the Civil Code allows the recovery of attorneys fees in cases when the defendants
act or omission has compelled the plaintiff to litigate with third persons or to incur
expenses to protect his interest 34 and in any other case where the court deems it just
and equitable that attorneys fees and expenses of litigation should be
recovered 35 which are both shown in the instant case.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 31, 2000 and its
Resolution dated November 28, 2000 are AFFIRMED.
Costs against petitioner.




G.R. No. L-24989

July 21, 1967

GRAVADOR, petitioner-appellee,
sued in their official and personal capacities),respondents-appellants.
Office of the Solicitor Genero Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General I. C.
Newton E. Serion for petitioner-appellee.
The petitioner Pedro Gravador was the principal of the Sta. Catalina Elementary School
in Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental on August 15, 1964 when he was advised by the then,
Superintendent of Schools Angel Salazar, Jr., through the respondent Supervisor
Teodulfo E. Dayao, of his separation from the service on the ground that he had
reached the compulsory retirement age of 65. The advice reads:
According to your pre-war records as a teacher in the public schools, including
your Employee's Record Card, which has just been found in connection with the
verification of the services of all school officials including elementary school
principals in this division, you were born on November 26, 1897. As of this date,
therefore, you are now 66 years, 8 months, and 22 days old.
In view of the above, you are hereby advised of your separation from the service
effective immediately unless you can show valid proof in the form of a baptismal
or birth certificate that you are below sixty-five years of age today.

A few days later the respondent Eutiquio Mamigo was designated teacher-in-charge of
the said elementary school.
On August 31, 1964 the petitioner wrote the Director of Public Schools, protesting his
forced retirement on the ground that the date of his birth is not November 26, 1897 but
December 11, 1901. Attached to his letter was the affidavit, executed on July 26, 1962,
of Lazaro Bandoquillo and Pedro A. Sienes both of Amlan Negros Oriental, in which
these two affiants declared that they knew that the petitioner "was born on December
11, 1901, in the Municipality of Amlan formerly known as New Ayuquitan Province of
Negros Oriental, Philippines" because, "we were the neighbors of the late spouses,
NEPOMUCENO GRAVADOR and AGUEDA REGOROSA [petitioner's parents], and we
were present when said PEDRO GRAVADOR was born; furthermore,we were also
invited during the baptismal party a few weeks after the birth of said PEDRO
On October 19, 1964 the petitioner wrote to the Division Superintendents of Schools,
reiterating his claim that he had not reached the age of 65 and enclosing some papers
in support thereof.
On April 13, 1965 he filed this suit for quo warranto, mandamus and damages in the
Court of First Instance of Negros Oriental. He asked the court to adjudge him entitled to
the office of principal of the Sta. Catalina Elementary School and to order payment to
him of not only his back salaries but also damages in the total amount of P52,400.
Named as respondents were Eutiquio Mamigo, the District Supervisor, the
Superintendent of Schools, the Director of Public Schools and the Secretary of
The respondents filed their answer, entered into a stipulation of facts with the petitioner,
and thereafter the case was submitted for decision. The trial court concluded that the
petitioner was born on December 11, 1901 accordingly granted his petition. Immediate
execution was ordered, as a result of which the petitioner was reinstated.
The respondents appealed directly to this Court.
On July 6, 1967 the petitioner asked for the dismissal of the appeal on the ground that
the issues posed thereby had become moot with his retirement from the service on
December 11, 1966 and the payment to him of the corresponding retirement benefits.
We deem it necessary, however, to review the trial court's decision on the merits,
considering that the computation of retirement annuities is based among other things,
on the number of years of service of a retiree, 1 and that payment of benefits already
made to the petitioner on the basis of December 11, 1901 as the date of his birth would
not exempt him from the obligation to make a refund should this Court ultimately rule
that he was actually born November 26, 1897, as the respondents claim.

The controversy on the petitioner's date of birth arose as a result of the conflicting
records of the Division of Schools of Negros Oriental. On the one hand the pre-war
records show his date of birth to be November 26, 1897. These records consist of two
Insular Teachers Cards2 and one Employee's Record Card. 3 It is on the basis of these
records that the Superintendent of Schools determined the petitioner's age to be 66
years, 8 months and 22 days on August 15, 1964.
On the other hand, the post-war records, consisting of an Elementary Teacher's Report
Card,4 an Employee's Record Card,5 and an Employee's Record of Qualifications, 6 state
that the petitioner was born on Dec. 11, 1901. These are the records on which the
petitioner bases his claim.
The problem is aggravated by two uncontroverted facts, namely, that the records of the
church where the petitioner was baptized were destroyed by fire, and that the municipal
civil register contains no record. of the petitioner's birth.
According to the trial court, the post-war records were intended to replace the pre-war
records and therefore the correct date of birth of the petitioner is December 11, 1901.
The court also took into account the verified answer in a cadastral proceeding in the
Court of First Instance of Negros Oriental, dated March 15, 1924, filed by the petitioner's
brother, Romulo Gravador, now deceased. It is therein stated that the petitioner, said to
be one of the co-owners of a piece of land, was at the time 23 years old.
The respondents now contend that the trial court erred in placing full reliance on the
post-war records to establish the date of birth (December 11, 1901) of the petitioner.
They argue that these records were made only because it was thought that the pre-war
records had been lost or destroyed, but as some pre-war records had since been
located, the date contained in the pre-war records should be regarded as controlling
and that the finding of the Superintendent of Schools that the petitioner was born on
November 26, 1897 is an administrative finding that should not be disturbed by the
That the findings of fact of administrative officials are binding on the courts if supported
by substantial evidence, is a settled rule of administrative law, But whether there is
substantial evidence supporting the finding of the Superintendent of Schools is precisely
the issue in this case. The school official based his determination of the petitioner's age
on the pre-war records in the preparation of which the petitioner does not appear to
have taken a part.7 On the other hand, the petitioner post-war records which he
personally accomplished to prove the date of his birth. 8
It is our considered view that the lower court correctly relied upon the post-war records,
for three cogent reasons.

In the first place, as Moran states, although a person can have no personal knowledge
of the date of his birth, he may testify as to his age as he had learned it from his parents
and relatives and his testimony in such case is an assertion of a family
tradition.9 Indeed, even in is application for back pay which he filed with the Department
of Finance, through the Office of the Superintendent of Schools, on October 7, 1948,
the petitioner stated that the date of his birth is December 11, 1901. He repeated the
same assertion in 1956 and again in 1960 when he asked the Government Service
Insurance System and the Civil Service Commission to correct the date of his birth to
December 11, 1901.
In the second place, the import of the declaration of the petitioner's brother, contained in
a verified pleading in a cadastral case way back in 1924, to the effect that the petitioner
was then 23 years old, can not be ignored. Madeante litem motam by a deceased
relative, this statement is at once a declaration regarding pedigree within the intendment
and meaning of section 33 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.
Thus, December 11, 1901 is established as the date of birth of the petitioner not only by
evidence of family tradition but also by the declaration ante litem motam of a deceased
Finally, the patties are agreed that the petitioner has a brother, Constantino, who was
born on June 10, 1898 and who retired on June 10, 1963 with full retirement pay. The
petitioner then could not have been born earlier than Constantino, say in 1897 as prewar records indicate, because Constantino is admittedly older than he. 10
Still it is argued that the petitioner's action was prematurely brought because he had not
availed of all administrative remedies. This argument is without merit. Suit for quo
warranto to recover a public office must be brought within one year. 11 Before filing this
case the petitioner waited for eight months for the school officials to act on his protest.
To require him to tarry a little more would obviously be unfair to him since on April 13,
1965, when this case was filed, he had only four months left within which to bring the
case to court. There was neither manner nor form of assurance that the decision of the
Director of Public Schools would be forthcoming. The rule on exhaustion of
administrative remedies does not apply where insistence on its observance would result
in the nullification of the claim being asserted. 12
Accordingly, the judgment a quo is affirmed. No pronouncement as to costs.
[G.R. No. 121027. July 31, 1997]

The present appeal by certiorari seeks the reversal of the judgment rendered by
respondent Court of Appeals on June 30, 1995 [1] which affirmed the Order of December
3, 1992 issued by the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 98, granting herein
private respondents Demurrer to Plaintiffs Evidence filed in Civil Case No. Q-88-1054
pending therein.
The present appellate review involves an action for reconveyance filed by herein
petitioners against herein private respondent before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City, Branch 98, docketed as the aforesaid Civil Case No. Q-88-1054, over a parcel of
land with a house and apartment thereon located at San Francisco del Monte, Quezon
City and which was originally owned by the spouses Martin Guerrero and Teodora
Dezoller Guerrero. It appears that petitioners Corazon Tison and Rene Dezoller are the
niece and nephew, respectively, of the deceased Teodora Dezoller Guerrero who is the
sister of petitioners father, Hermogenes Dezoller. Teodora Dezoller Guerrero died on
March 5, 1983 without any ascendant or descendant, and was survived only by her
husband, Martin Guerrero, and herein petitioners. Petitioners father, Hermogenes, died
on October 3, 1973, hence they seek to inherit from Teodora Dezoller Guerrero by right
of representation.
The records reveal that upon the death of Teodora Dezoller Guerrero, her surviving
spouse, Martin, executed on September 15, 1986 an Affidavit of Extrajudicial
Settlement[2]adjudicating unto himself, allegedly as sole heir, the land in dispute which is
covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 66886, as a consequence of which Transfer
Certificate of Title No. 358074 was issued in the name of Martin Guerrero. On January
2, 1988, Martin Guerrero sold the lot to herein private respondent Teodora Domingo and
thereafter, Transfer Certificate of Title No. 374012 was issued in the latters name.
Martin Guerrero died on October 25, 1988. Subsequently, herein petitioners filed an
action for reconveyance on November 2, 1988, claiming that they are entitled to inherit
one-half of the property in question by right of representation.
At the pre-trial conference, the following issues were presented by both parties for
(1) whether or not the plaintiffs (herein petitioners) are the nephew and niece of
the late Teodora Dezoller;
(2) whether or not the plaintiffs are entitled to inherit by right of representation
from the estate of the late Teodora Dezoller;

(3) whether or not defendant (herein private respondent) must reconvey the
reserved participation of the plaintiffs to the estate of the late Teodora
Dezoller under Section 4, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court which was duly
annotated on the title of the defendant;
(4) whether or not the plaintiffs are entitled to damages, moral and exemplary,
plus attorneys fees for the willful and malicious refusal of defendant to
reconvey the participation of plaintiffs in the estate of Teodora Dezoller,
despite demands and knowing fully well that plaintiffs are the niece and
nephew of said deceased; and
(5) whether or not the subject property now in litigation can be considered as
conjugal property of the spouses Martin Guerrero and Teodora Dezoller
During the hearing, petitioner Corazon Dezoller Tison was presented as the lone
witness, with the following documentary evidence offered to prove petitioners filiation to
their father and their aunt, to wit: a family picture; baptismal certificates of Teodora and
Hermogenes Dezoller; certificates of destroyed records of birth of Teodora Dezoller and
Hermogenes Dezoller; death certificates of Hermogenes Dezoller and Teodora Dezoller
Guerrero; certification of destroyed records of live birth of Corazon and Rene Dezoller;
joint affidavits of Pablo Verzosa and Meliton Sitjar attesting to the parents, date and
place of birth of Corazon and Rene Dezoller; joint affidavit of Juliana Cariaga and
Manuela Cariaga attesting to the fact of marriage between Martin Guerrero and Teodora
Dezoller; and the marriage certificate of Martin and Teodora Guerrero. [4] Petitioners
thereafter rested their case and submitted a written offer of these exhibits to which a
Comment[5] was filed by herein private respondent.
Subsequently, private respondent filed a Demurrer to Plaintiffs Evidence on the
ground that petitioners failed to prove their legitimate filiation with the deceased Teodora
Guerrero in accordance with Article 172 of the Family Code. It is further averred that the
testimony of petitioner Corazon Dezoller Tison regarding her relationship with her
alleged father and aunt is self-serving, uncorroborated and incompetent, and that it falls
short of the quantum of proof required under Article 172 of the Family Code to establish
filiation. Also, the certification issued by the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of
Himamaylan, Negros Occidental is merely proof of the alleged destruction of the
records referred to therein, and the joint affidavit executed by Pablo Verzosa and
Meliton Sitjar certifying to the date, place of birth and parentage of herein petitioners is
inadmissible for being hearsay since the affiants were never presented for crossexamination.[6]
On December 3, 1992, the trial court issued an order granting the demurrer to
evidence and dismissing the complaint for reconveyance . [7]

In upholding the dismissal, respondent Court of Appeals declared that the

documentary evidence presented by herein petitioners, such as the baptismal
certificates, family picture, and joint affidavits are all inadmissible and insufficient to
prove and establish filiation. Hence, this appeal.
We find for petitioners.
The bone of contention in private respondents demurrer to evidence is whether or
not herein petitioners failed to meet the quantum of proof required by Article 172 of the
Family Code to establish legitimacy and filiation. There are two points for consideration
before us: first is the issue on petitioners legitimacy, and second is the question
regarding their filiation with Teodora Dezoller Guerrero.
I. It is not debatable that the documentary evidence adduced by petitioners, taken
separately and independently of each other, are not per se sufficient proof of legitimacy
nor even of pedigree. It is important to note, however, that the rulings of both lower
courts in the case are basically premised on the erroneous assumption that, in the first
place, the issue of legitimacy may be validly controverted in an action for reconveyance,
and, in the second place, that herein petitioners have the onus probandi to prove their
legitimacy and, corollarily, their filiation.We disagree on both counts.
It seems that both the court a quo and respondent appellate court have regrettably
overlooked the universally recognized presumption on legitimacy. There is no
presumption of the law more firmly established and founded on sounder morality and
more convincing reason than the presumption that children born in wedlock are
legitimate.[8] And well settled is the rule that the issue of legitimacy cannot be attacked
The rationale for these rules has been explained in this wise:
The presumption of legitimacy in the Family Code x x x actually fixes a civil status for
the child born in wedlock, and that civil status cannot be attacked collaterally. The
legitimacy of the child can be impugned only in a direct action brought for that purpose,
by the proper parties, and within the period limited by law.
The legitimacy of the child cannot be contested by way of defense or as a collateral
issue in another action for a different purpose. The necessity of an independent action
directly impugning the legitimacy is more clearly expressed in the Mexican Code (Article
335) which provides: The contest of the legitimacy of a child by the husband or his heirs
must be made by proper complaint before the competent court; any contest made in
any other way is void. This principle applies under our Family Code. Articles 170 and
171 of the code confirm this view, because they refer to the action to impugn the

legitimacy. This action can be brought only by the husband or his heirs and within the
periods fixed in the present articles.
Upon the expiration of the periods provided in Article 170, the action to impugn the
legitimacy of a child can no longer be brought. The status conferred by the presumption,
therefore, becomes fixed, and can no longer be questioned. The obvious intention of the
law is to prevent the status of a child born in wedlock from being in a state of uncertainty
for a long time. It also aims to force early action to settle any doubt as to the paternity of
such child, so that the evidence material to the matter, which must necessarily be facts
occurring during the period of the conception of the child, may still be easily available.
Only the husband can contest the legitimacy of a child born to his wife. He is the
one directly confronted with the scandal and ridicule which the infidelity of his wife
produces; and he should decide whether to conceal that infidelity or expose it, in view of
the moral and economic interest involved. It is only in exceptional cases that his heirs
are allowed to contest such legitimacy. Outside of these cases, none - even his heirs can impugn legitimacy; that would amount to an insult to his memory.[9]
The issue, therefore, as to whether petitioners are the legitimate children of
Hermogenes Dezoller cannot be properly controverted in the present action for
reconveyance. This is aside, of course, from the further consideration that private
respondent is not the proper party to impugn the legitimacy of herein petitioners. The
presumption consequently continues to operate in favor of petitioners unless and until it
is rebutted.
Even assuming that the issue is allowed to be resolved in this case, the burden of
proof rests not on herein petitioners who have the benefit of the presumption in their
favor, but on private respondent who is disputing the same. This fact alone should have
been sufficient cause for the trial court to exercise appropriate caution before acting, as
it did, on the demurrer to evidence. It would have delimited the issues for resolution, as
well as the time and effort necessitated thereby.
Ordinarily, when a fact is presumed, it implies that the party in whose favor the
presumption exists does not have to introduce evidence to establish that fact, and in
any litigation where that fact is put in issue, the party denying it must bear the burden of
proof to overthrow the presumption.[10] The presumption of legitimacy is so strong that it
is clear that its effect is to shift the burden of persuasion to the party claiming
illegitimacy.[11] And in order to destroy the presumption, the party against whom it
operates must adduce substantial and credible evidence to the contrary.[12]

Where there is an entire lack of competent evidence to the contrary,[13] and unless or
until it is rebutted, it has been held that a presumption may stand in lieu of evidence and
support a finding or decision.[14] Perforce, a presumption must be followed if it is
uncontroverted. This is based on the theory that a presumption is prima facie proof of
the fact presumed, and unless the fact thus established prima facie by the legal
presumption of its truth is disproved, it must stand as proved. [15]
Indubitably, when private respondent opted not to present countervailing evidence
to overcome the presumption, by merely filing a demurrer to evidence instead, she in
effect impliedly admitted the truth of such fact. Indeed, she overlooked or disregarded
the evidential rule that presumptions like judicial notice and admissions, relieve the
proponent from presenting evidence on the facts he alleged and such facts are thereby
considered as duly proved.
II. The weight and sufficiency of the evidence regarding petitioners relationship with
Teodora Dezoller Guerrero, whose estate is the subject of the present controversy,
requires a more intensive and extensive examination.
Petitioners evidence, as earlier explained, consists mainly of the testimony of
Corazon Dezoller Tison, the baptismal, death and marriage certificates, the various
certifications from the civil registrar, a family picture, and several joint affidavits
executed by third persons all of which she identified and explained in the course and as
part of her testimony.
The primary proof to be considered in ascertaining the relationship between the
parties concerned is the testimony of Corazon Dezoller Tison to the effect that Teodora
Dezoller Guerrero in her lifetime, or sometime in 1946, categorically declared that the
former is Teodoras niece.[16] Such a statement is considered a declaration about
pedigree which is admissible, as an exception to the hearsay rule, under Section 39,
Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, subject to the following conditions: (1) that the declarant
is dead or unable to testify; (2) that the declarant be related to the person whose
pedigree is the subject of inquiry; (3) that such relationship be shown by evidence other
than the declaration; and (4) that the declaration was made ante litem motam, that is,
not only before the commencement of the suit involving the subject matter of the
declaration, but before any controversy has arisen thereon.
There is no dispute with respect to the first, second and fourth elements. What
remains for analysis is the third element, that is, whether or not the other documents
offered in evidence sufficiently corroborate the declaration made by Teodora Dezoller
Guerrero in her lifetime regarding the pedigree of petitioner Corazon Dezoller Tison or, if
at all, it is necessary to present evidence other than such declaration.

American jurisprudence has it that a distinction must be made as to when the

relationship of the declarant may be proved by the very declaration itself, or by other
declarations of said declarant, and when it must be supported by evidence aliunde. The
rule is stated thus:
One situation to be noted is that where one seeks to set up a claim through, but not
from, the declarant and to establish the admissibility of a declaration regarding
claimants pedigree, he may not do so by declarants own statements as to declarants
relationship to the particular family. The reason is that declarants declaration of his own
relationship is of a self-serving nature. Accordingly there must be precedent proof from
other sources that declarant is what he claimed to be, namely, a member of the
particular family; otherwise the requirement to admissibility that declarants relationship
to the common family must appear is not met. But when the party claiming seeks to
establish relationship in order to claim directly from the declarant or the declarants
estate, the situation and the policy of the law applicable are quite different. In such case
the declaration of the decedent, whose estate is in controversy, that he was related to
the one who claims his estate, is admissible without other proof of the fact of
relationship. While the nature of the declaration is then disserving, that is not the real
ground for its admission. Such declarations do not derive their evidential value from that
consideration, although it is a useful, if not an artificial, aid in determining the class to
which the declarations belong. The distinction we have noted is sufficiently apparent; in
the one case the declarations are self-serving, in the other they are competent from
reasons of necessity.[17] (Italics ours.)
The general rule, therefore, is that where the party claiming seeks recovery against
a relative common to both claimant and declarant, but not from the declarant himself or
the declarants estate, the relationship of the declarant to the common relative may not
be proved by the declaration itself. There must be some independent proof of this fact.
As an exception, the requirement that there be other proof than the declarations of
the declarant as to the relationship, does not apply where it is sought to reach the estate
of the declarant himself and not merely to establish a right through his declarations to
the property of some other member of the family. [19]
We are sufficiently convinced, and so hold, that the present case is one instance
where the general requirement on evidence aliunde may be relaxed. Petitioners are
claiming a right to part of the estate of the declarant herself. Conformably, the
declaration made by Teodora Dezoller Guerrero that petitioner Corazon is her niece, is
admissible and constitutes sufficient proof of such relationship, notwithstanding the fact
that there was no other preliminary evidence thereof, the reason being that such
declaration is rendered competent by virtue of the necessity of receiving such evidence
to avoid a failure of justice.[20] More importantly, there is in the present case an absolute
failure by all and sundry to refute that declaration made by the decedent.

From the foregoing disquisitions, it may thus be safely concluded, on the sole basis
of the decedents declaration and without need for further proof thereof, that petitioners
are the niece and nephew of Teodora Dezoller Guerrero. As held in one case, [21] where
the subject of the declaration is the declarants own relationship to another person, it
seems absurd to require, as a foundation for the admission of the declaration, proof of
the very fact which the declaration is offered to establish. The preliminary proof would
render the main evidence unnecessary.
Applying the general rule in the present case would nonetheless produce the same
result. For while the documentary evidence submitted by petitioners do not strictly
conform to the rules on their admissibility, we are however of the considered opinion
that the same may be admitted by reason of private respondents failure to interpose any
timely objection thereto at the time they were being offered in evidence. [22] It is
elementary that an objection shall be made at the time when an alleged inadmissible
document is offered in evidence,[23] otherwise, the objection shall be treated as waived,
since the right to object is merely a privilege which the party may waive. [25]
As explained in Abrenica vs. Gonda, et al.,[26] it has been repeatedly laid down as a
rule of evidence that a protest or objection against the admission of any evidence must
be made at the proper time, otherwise it will be deemed to have been waived. The
proper time is when from the question addressed to the witness, or from the answer
thereto, or from the presentation of the proof, the inadmissibility of the evidence is, or
may be inferred.
Thus, a failure to except to the evidence because it does not conform with the
statute is a waiver of the provisions of the law. That objection to a question put to a
witness must be made at the time the question is asked. An objection to the admission
of evidence on the ground of incompetency, taken after the testimony has been given, is
too late.[27] Thus, for instance, failure to object to parol evidence given on the stand,
where the party is in a position to object, is a waiver of any objections thereto. [28]
The situation is aggravated by the fact that counsel for private respondent
unreservedly cross-examined petitioners, as the lone witness, on the documentary
evidence that were offered. At no time was the issue of the supposed inadmissibility
thereof, or the possible basis for objection thereto, ever raised. Instead, private
respondents counsel elicited answers from the witness on the circumstances and
regularity of her obtention of said documents: The observations later made by private
respondent in her comment to petitioners offer of exhibits, although the grounds therefor
were already apparent at the time these documents were being adduced in evidence
during the testimony of Corazon Dezoller Tison but which objections were not timely
raised therein, may no longer serve to rectify the legal consequences which resulted
therefrom. Hence, even assuming ex gratia argumenti that these documents are
inadmissible for being hearsay, but on account of herein private respondents failure to

object thereto, the same may be admitted and considered as sufficient to prove the
facts therein asserted.[29]
Accordingly, the Certificate of Marriage (Exhibit S) wherein it is indicated that the
parents of Teodora Dezoller are Isabelo Dezoller and Cecilia Calpo, as well as the
Certificates of Baptism of Teodora Dezoller [30] (Exhibit H) and Hermogenes Dezoller
(Exhibit J) which both reflect the names of their parents as Isabelo Dezoller and Cecilia
Calpo, to show that Hermogenes Dezoller is the brother of Teodora Dezoller Guerrero;
and the Death Certificate of Hermogenes Dezoller (Exhibit K) the entries wherein were
made by petitioner Corazon Dezoller Tison as his daughter, together with the Joint
Affidavits of Pablo Verzosa and Meliton Sitjar (Exhibits N and P), to prove that herein
petitioners are the children of Hermogenes Dezoller -- these can be deemed to have
sufficiently established the relationship between the declarant and herein
petitioners. This is in consonance with the rule that a prima facie showing is sufficient
and that only slight proof of the relationship is required. [31] Finally, it may not be amiss to
consider as in the nature of circumstantial evidence the fact that both the declarant and
the claimants, who are the subject of the declaration, bear the surname Dezoller.[32]
III. The following provisions of the Civil Code provide for the manner by which the
estate of the decedent shall be divided in this case, to wit:
Art. 975. When children of one or more brothers or sisters of the deceased survive, they
shall inherit from the latter by representation, if they survive with their uncles or
aunts. But if they alone survive, they shall inherit in equal portions.
Art. 995. In the absence of legitimate descendants and ascendants, and illegitimate
children and their descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate, the surviving spouse
shall inherit the entire estate, without prejudice to the rights of brothers and sisters,
nephews and nieces, should there be any, under Article 1001.
Art. 1001. Should brothers and sisters or their children survive with the widow or
widower, the latter shall be entitled to one-half of the inheritance and the brothers and
sisters or their children to the other half.
Upon the death of Teodora Dezoller Guerrero, one-half of the subject property was
automatically reserved to the surviving spouse, Martin Guerrero, as his share in the
conjugal partnership. Applying the aforequoted statutory provisions, the remaining half
shall be equally divided between the widower and herein petitioners who are entitled to
jointly inherit in their own right. Hence, Martin Guerrero could only validly alienate his
total undivided three-fourths (3/4) share in the entire property to herein private
respondent. Resultantly, petitioners and private respondent are deemed co-owners of
the property covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 374012 in the proportion of an
undivided one-fourth (1/4) and three-fourths (3/4) share thereof, respectively.

All told, on the basis of the foregoing considerations, the demurrer to plaintiffs
evidence should have been, as it is hereby, denied. Nonetheless, private respondent
may no longer be allowed to present evidence by reason of the mandate under Section
1 of revised Rule 3 of the Rules of Court which provides that if the motion is granted but
on appeal the order of dismissal is reversed he shall be deemed to have waived the
right to present evidence.[33]
WHEREFORE, the questioned judgment of respondent Court of Appeals is hereby
REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and herein petitioners and private respondent are
declared co-owners of the subject property with an undivided one-fourth (1/4) and threefourths (3/4) share therein, respectively.




G.R. No. 86302 September 24, 1991
MENDOZA, petitioner,
Bienvenido R. Saniel, Jr. for petitioner.
Domingo Antigua & Associates for private respondent.

CRUZ, J.:p
The private respondent claimed she was the illegitimate daughter of Casimiro Mendoza,
but the latter denied her claim. He denied it to his dying day. The trial court believed him
and dismissed her complaint for compulsory recognition. The appellate court did not
and reversed the judgment of the court below. Now the issue is before us on certiorari.
The complaint was filed on August 21, 1981, in the Regional Trial Court in Cebu City.
Teopista Toring Tufiacao, the herein private respondent, alleged that she was born on
August 20, 1930, to Brigida Toring, who was then single, and defendant Casimiro
Mendoza, married at that time to Emiliana Barrientos. She averred that Mendoza

recognized her as an illegitimate child by treating her as such and according her the
rights and privileges of a recognized illegitimate child.
Casimiro Mendoza, then already 91 years old, specifically denied the plaintiffs
allegations and set up a counterclaim for damages and attorney's fees.
Amplifying on her complaint, Teopista testified that it was her mother who told her that
her father was Casimiro. She called him Papa Miroy. She lived with her mother because
Casimiro was married but she used to visit him at his house. When she married Valentin
Tufiacao, Casimiro bought a passenger truck and engaged him to drive it so he could
have a livelihood. Casimiro later sold the truck but gave the proceeds of the sale to her
and her husband. In 1977, Casimiro allowed her son, Lolito Tufiacao, to build a house
on his lot and later he gave her money to buy her own lot from her brother, Vicente
Toring. On February 14, 1977, Casimiro opened a joint savings account with her as a
co-depositor at the Mandaue City branch of the Philippine Commercial and Industrial
Bank. Two years later, Margarita Bate, Casimiro's adopted daughter, took the passbook
from her, but Casimiro ordered it returned to her after admonishing Margarita. 1
Lolito Tufiacao corroborated his mother and said he considered Casimiro his
grandfather because Teopista said so. He would kiss his hand whenever they saw each
other and Casimiro would give him money. Casimiro used to invite him to his house and
give him jackfruits. when his grandfather learned that he was living on a rented lot, the
old man allowed him to build a house on the former's land. 2
Two other witnesses testified for Teopista, namely, Gaudencio Mendoza and Isaac
Mendoza, both relatives of Casimiro.
Gaudencio said he was a cousin of Casimiro and knew Brigida Toring because she
used to work with him in a saltbed in Opao. Casimiro himself told him she was his
sweetheart. Later, Gaudencio acted as a go-between for their liaison, which eventually
resulted in Brigida becoming pregnant in 1930 and giving birth to Teopista. Casimiro
handed him P20.00 to be given to Brigida at Teopista's baptism. Casimiro also gave him
P5.00 every so often to be delivered to Brigida. 3
Isaac testified that his uncle Casimiro was the father of Teopista because his father
Hipolito, Casimiro's brother, and his grandmother, Brigida Mendoza, so informed him.
He worked on Casimiro's boat and whenever Casimiro paid him his salary, he would
also give him various amounts from P2.00 to P10.00 to be delivered to Teopista. Isaac
also declared that Casimiro intended to give certain properties to Teopista. 4
Casimiro himself did not testify because of his advanced age, but Vicente Toring took
the stand to resist Teopista's claim.

Vicente, who professed to be Casimiro's only illegitimate child by Brigida Toring,

declared that Teopista's father was not Casimiro but a carpenter named Ondoy, who
later abandoned her. Vicente said that it was he who sold a lot to Teopista, and for a low
price because she was his half sister. It was also he who permitted Lolito to build a
house on Casimiro's lot. This witness stressed that when Casimiro was hospitalized,
Teopista never once visited her alleged father. 5
The last statement was shared by the other defense witness, Julieta Ouano, Casimiro's
niece, who also affirmed that Vicente Toring used to work as a cook in Casimiro's boat.
She flatly declared she had never met Teopista but she knew her husband, who was a
mechanic. 6
The rules on compulsory recognition are embodied in Article 283 of the Civil Code,
which has been held to be applicable not only to natural children but also to spurious
children. 7 The said article provides:
Art. 283. In any of the following cases, the father is obliged to recognize
the child as his natural child:
(1) In cases of rape, abduction or seduction, when the period of the
offense coincides more or less with that of the conception;
(2) When the child is in continuous possession of status of a child of the
alleged father by the direct acts of the latter or of his family;
(3) when the child was conceived during the time when the mother
cohabited with the supposed father.
(4) When the child has in his favor any evidence or proof that the
defendant is his father.
This article has been substantially reproduced in the Family Code as follows:
Art. 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of the
(1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment; or
(2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private
handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned.
In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation shall be proved by:

(1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child;
(2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws.
Art. 175. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the
same way and on the same evidence as legitimate children.
In his remarkably well-written decision, Judge Leoncio P. Abarquez rejected the plaintiff'
s claim that she was in continuous possession of the status of a child of the alleged
father by the direct acts of the latter or of his family. His Honor declared:
In this particular case the established evidence is that plaintiff continuously
lived with her mother, together with her sister Paulina. Neither the plaintiff
nor her husband had come to live with the defendant. At most, only their
son, Lolito Tufiacao was allowed to construct a small house in the land of
the defendant, either by the defendant himself, as claimed by the plaintiff,
or by Vicente Toring, as claimed by the witnesses of the defendant. The
defendant never spent for the support and education of the plaintiff. He did
not allow the plaintiff to carry his surname. The instances when the
defendant gave money to the plaintiff were, more or less, off-and-on or
rather isolatedly periodic. They were made at considerable intervals and
were not given directly to the plaintiff but through a third person. Thus,
while it may be conceded that: a) the defendant's parents, as well as the
plaintiff himself told Gaudencio Mendoza and Isaac Mendoza that Teopista
is the daughter of the defendant; b) that Teopista calls the defendant
as "Papa Miroy"; c) that Teopista would kiss defendant's hand when she
met him; d) that the defendant gave to her and her husband the income of
the passenger truck as well as the proceeds of the sale thereof, all these
acts, taken altogether, are not sufficient to show that the plaintiff had
possessed continuously the status of a recognized illegitimate child.
On appeal, however, the respondent courts 8 disagreed and arrived at its own
conclusion as follows:
Contrary to the conclusion of the court a quo, We find that appellant has
sufficiently proven her continuous possession of such status. Although the
court a quo did not pass on the credibility of the various witnesses
presented, We consider the witnesses for the plaintiff as credible and
unbiased. No proof was shown to render them otherwise. There is no
showing that Isaac and Gaudencio testified falsely. They were
disinterested parties with no axe to grind against the appellee or the

people actively acting in his behalf. In fact even the court a quo conceded
to the truthfulness of some of their testimonies.
By contrast, it continued, Vicente Toring was an interested party who was claiming to be
the sole recognized natural child of Casimiro and stood to lose much inheritance if
Teopista's claim were recognized. He had earlier filed theft charges against his own
sister and libel charges against her husband. As for Julieta Ouano, the respondent court
found it difficult to believe that she had never met Teopista although both of them have
been living in the same barangay since birth.
The decision of the Court of Appeals was promulgated on August 11, 1988. A motion for
reconsideration was filed, and it was only from the opposition thereto of the private
respondent that Casimiro's counsel learned that his client had died on May 1986. He
immediately informed the respondent court build the motion for reconsideration was
denied without any substitution of parties having been effected. The said counsel, now
acting for Vicente Toring, then asked this Court to substitute the latter for the deceased
Casimiro Mendoza in the present petition.
The applicable provisions of the Rules of Court are Sections 16 and 17 of Rule 3,
reading as follows:
Sec. 16. Duty of attorney upon death, incapacity or incompetency of party.
Whenever a party to a pending case dies, becomes incapacitated or
incompetent, it shall be the duty of his attorney to inform the court
promptly of such death, incapacity or incompetency, and to give the name
and residence of his executor, guardian or other legal representative.
Sec. 17. Death of party. After a party dies and the claim is not thereby
extinguished, the court shall order, upon proper notice, the legal
representative of the deceased to appear and to be substituted for the
deceased, within a period of thirty (30) days, or within such time as may
be granted. If the legal representative fails to appear within said time the
court may order the opposing party to procure the appointment of a legal
representative of the deceased within a time to be specified by the court,
and the representative shall immediately appear for and on behalf of the
interest of the deceased. The court charges involved in procuring such
appointment, if defrayed by the opposing party, may be recovered as
costs. The heirs of the deceased may be allowed to be substituted for the
deceased, without requiring the appointment of an executor or
administrator and the court may appoint guardian ad litem for the minor
In the early case of Masecampo vs. Masecampo, 9 it was settled that:

The subsequent death of the father is not a bar to the action commenced
during Ms lifetime by one who pretended to be his natural son. It may
survive against the executor, administrator, or any other legal
representative of the testate or intestate succession.
Pursuant to the above rules and jurisprudence, we hereby allow the substitution of
Casimiro Mendoza pro haec vice and nunc pro tunc by Vicente Toring, who appears to
be the former's illegitimate son. This disposes of the private respondent's contention
that the lawyer-client relationship terminated with Casimiro's death and that Vicente has
no personality now to substitute him.
Now to the merits.
We note that both the trial court and the respondent court, in arriving at their respective
conclusions, focused on the question of whether or not Teopista was in continuous
possession of her claimed status of an illegitimate child of Casimiro Mendoza. This was
understandable because Teopista herself had apparently based her claim on this
particular ground as proof of filiation allowed under Article 283 of the Civil Code.
To establish "the open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child,"
it is necessary to comply with certain jurisprudential requirements. "Continuous" does
not mean that the concession of status shall continue forever but only that it shall not be
of an intermittent character while it continues. 10 The possession of such status means
that the father has treated the child as his own, directly and not through others,
spontaneously and without concealment though without publicity (since the relation is
illegitimate). 11 There must be a showing of the permanent intention of the supposed
father to consider the child as his own, by continuous and clear manifestation of
paternal affection and care. 12
With these guidelines in mind, we agree with the trial court that Teopista has not been in
continuous possession of the status of a recognized illegitimate child of Casimiro
Mendoza, under both Article 283 of the Civil Code and Article 172 of the Family Code.
The plaintiff lived with her mother and not with the defendant although they were both
residents of Omapad, Mandaue City. It is true, as the respondent court observed, that
this could have been because defendant had a legitimate wife. However, it is not
unusual for a father to take his illegitimate child into his house to live with him and his
legitimate wife, especially if the couple is childless, as in this case. In fact, Vicente
Toring, who also claimed to be an illegitimate child of Casimiro, lived with the latter and
his wife, apparently without objection from the latter. We also note that Teopista did not
use the surname of Casimiro although this is, of course, not decisive of one's status. No
less significantly, the regularity of defendant's act of giving money to the plaintiff through
Gaudencio Mendoza and Isaac Mendoza has not been sufficiently established. The trial

court correctly concluded that such instances were "off-and-on," not continuous and
intermittent. Indeed, the plaintiff s testimony on this point is tenuous as in one breath
she said that her mother solely spent for her education and in another that Casimiro
helped in supporting her. 13
But although Teopista has failed to show that she was in open and continuous
possession of the status of an illegitimate child of Casimiro, we find that she has
nevertheless established that status by another method.
What both the trial court and the respondent court did not take into account is that an
illegitimate child is allowed to establish his claimed filiation by "any other means allowed
by the Rules of Court and special laws," according to the Civil Code, or "by evidence or
proof in his favor that the defendant is her father," according to the Family Code. Such
evidence may consist of his baptismal certificate, a judicial admission, a family Bible in
which his name has been entered, common reputation respecting his pedigree,
admission by silence, the testimonies of witnesses, and other kinds of proof admissible
under Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. 14
The trial court conceded that "the defendant's parents, as well as the plaintiff himself,
told Gaudencio Mendoza and Isaac Mendoza, that Teopista was the daughter of the
defendant." It should have probed this matter further in light of Rule 130, Section 39, of
the Rules of Court, providing as follows:
Sec. 39. Act or declarations about pedigree. The act or declaration
of a person deceased, or unable to testify, in respect to the pedigree of
another person related to him by birth or marriage, may be received in
evidence where it occurred before the controversy, and the relationship
between the two persons is shown by evidence other than such act or
declaration. The word "pedigree" includes relationship, family genealogy,
birth, marriage, death, the dates when and the places where these facts
occurred, and the names of the relatives. It embraces also facts of family
history intimately connected with pedigree.
The statement of the trial court regarding Teopista's parentage is not entirely accurate.
To set the record straight, we will stress that it was only Isaac Mendoza who testified on
this question of pedigree, and he did not cite Casimiro's father. His testimony was that
he was informed by his father Hipolito, who was Casimiro's brother, and Brigida
Mendoza, Casimiro's own mother, that Teopista was Casimiro's illegitimate daughter. 15
Such acts or declarations may be received in evidence as an exception to the hearsay
rule because "it is the best the nature of the case admits and because greater evils are
apprehended from the rejection of such proof than from its admission. 16 Nevertheless,
precisely because of its nature as hearsay evidence, there are certain safeguards

against its abuse. Commenting on this provision, Francisco enumerates the following
requisites that have to be complied with before the act or declaration regarding pedigree
may be admitted in evidence:
1. The declarant is dead or unable to testify.
2. The pedigree must be in issue.
3. The declarant must be a relative of the person whose pedigree is in
4. The declaration must be made before the controversy arose.
5. The relationship between the declarant and the person whose pedigree
is in question must be shown by evidence other than such declaration. 17
All the above requisites are present in the case at bar. The persons who made the
declarations about the pedigree of Teopista, namely, the mother of Casimiro, Brigida
Mendoza, and his brother, Hipolito, were both dead at the time of Isaac's testimony. The
declarations referred to the filiation of Teopista and the paternity of Casimiro, which
were the very issues involved in the complaint for compulsory recognition. The
declarations were made before the complaint was filed by Teopista or before the
controversy arose between her and Casimiro. Finally, the relationship between the
declarants and Casimiro has been established by evidence other than such declaration,
consisting of the extrajudicial partition of the estate of Florencio Mendoza, in which
Casimiro was mentioned as one of his heirs. 18
The said declarations have not been refuted. Casimiro could have done this by
deposition if he was too old and weak to testify at the trial of the case.
If we consider the other circumstances narrated under oath by the private respondent
and her witnesses, such as the financial doles made by Casimiro to Brigida Toring, the
hiring of Teopista's husband to drive the passenger truck of Casimiro, who later sold the
vehicle and gave the proceeds of the sale to Teopista and her husband, the permission
he gave Lolito Tufiacao to build a house on his land after he found that the latter was
living on a rented lot, and, no less remarkably, the joint savings account Casimiro
opened with Teopista, we can reasonably conclude that Teopista was the illegitimate
daughter of Casimiro Mendoza.
We hold that by virtue of the above-discussed declarations, and in view of the other
circumstances of this case, 'reopista Toring Tufiacao has proved that she is the
illegitimate daughter of Casimiro Mendoza and is entitled to be recognized as such. In
so holding, we give effect to the policy of the Civil Code and the Family Code to
liberalize the rule on the investigation of "the paternity of illegitimate children, without

prejudice to the right of the alleged parent to resist the claimed status with his own
defenses, including evidence now obtainable through the facilities of modern medicine
and technology
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. Judgment is hereby rendered DECLARING
Teopista Toring Tuacao to be the illegitimate child of the late Casimiro Mendoza and
entitled to all the rights appurtenant to such status. Costs against the petitioner.
[G.R. No. 146737. December 10, 2001]
In the matter of the intestate estate of the late JUAN "JHONNY" LOCSIN, SR.,
LUCY A. SOLINAP (Daughter of the late Maria Locsin Araneta), the
successors of the late LOURDES C. LOCSIN, MANUEL C. LOCSIN, ESTER
LOCSIN JARANTILLA and the intestate estate of the late JOSE C. LOCSIN,
JR., petitioners, vs. JUAN C. LOCSIN, JR., respondent.
A Certificate of Live Birth duly recorded in the Local Civil Registry, a copy of which is
transmitted to the Civil Registry General pursuant to the Civil Registry Law, is prima
facie evidence of the facts therein stated. However, if there are material discrepancies
between them, the one entered in the Civil Registry General prevails.
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure, as amended, seeking the reversal of the September 13, 2000 Decision of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 57708 which affirmed in toto the September 13,
1996 order of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 30, of Iloilo City in Special Proceeding
No. 4742. The September 13 order of the trial court appointed Juan E. Locsin, Jr.,
respondent, as the sole administrator of the Intestate Estate of the late Juan "Jhonny"
Locsin, Sr.
Records show that on November 11, 1991, or eleven (11) months after Juan
"Jhonny" Locsin, Sr.[1] died intestate on December 11, 1990, respondent Juan E. Locsin,
Jr. filed with the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City, Branch 30, a "Petition for Letters of
Administration" (docketed as Special Proceeding No. 4742) praying that he be
appointed Administrator of the Intestate Estate of the deceased. He alleged, among
others, (a) that he is an acknowledged natural child of the late Juan C. Locsin; (b) that
during his lifetime, the deceased owned personal properties which include

undetermined savings, current and time deposits with various banks, and 1/6 portion of
the undivided mass of real properties owned by him and his siblings, namely: Jose
Locsin, Jr., Manuel Locsin, Maria Locsin Yulo, Lourdes Locsin and Ester Locsin; and (c)
that he is the only surviving legal heir of the decedent.
On November 13, 1991, the trial court issued an order setting the petition for
hearing on January 13, 1992, which order was duly published, [2] thereby giving notice to
all persons who may have opposition to the said petition.
Before the scheduled hearing, or on January 10, 1992, the heirs of Jose Locsin, Jr.,
the heirs of Maria Locsin, Manuel Locsin and Ester Jarantilla, claiming to be the lawful
heirs of the deceased, filed an opposition to respondents petition for letters of
administration. They averred that respondent is not a child or an acknowledged natural
child of the late Juan C. Locsin, who during his lifetime, never affixed "Sr." in his name .
On January 5, 1993, another opposition to the petition was filed by Lucy Salinop
(sole heir of the late Maria Locsin Vda. De Araneta, sister of the deceased), Manuel
Locsin and the successors of the late Lourdes C. Locsin alleging that respondent's
claim as a natural child is barred by prescription or the statute of limitations.
The Intestate Estate of the late Jose Locsin, Jr. (brother of the deceased) also
entered its appearance in the estate proceedings, joining the earlier oppositors. This
was followed by an appearance and opposition dated January 26, 1993 of Ester Locsin
Jarantilla (another sister of Juan C. Locsin), likewise stating that there is no filial
relationship between herein respondent and the deceased.
Thereupon, the trial court conducted hearings.
To support his claim that he is an acknowledged natural child of the deceased and,
therefore, entitled to be appointed administrator of the intestate estate, respondent
submitted a machine copy (marked as Exhibit "D") [3] of his Certificate of Live Birth No.
477 found in the bound volume of birth records in the Office of the Local Civil Registrar
of Iloilo City. Exhibit "D" contains the information that respondent's father is Juan C.
Locsin, Sr. and that he was the informant of the facts stated therein, as evidenced by his
signatures (Exhibit "D-2" and "D-3"). To prove the existence and authenticity of
Certificate of Live Birth No. 477 from which Exhibit "D" was machine copied, respondent
presented Rosita J. Vencer, the Local Civil Registrar of Iloilo City. She produced and
identified in court the bound volume of 1957 records of birth where the alleged original
of Certificate of Live Birth No. 477 is included.
Respondent also offered in evidence a photograph (Exhibit "C") [4] showing him and
his mother, Amparo Escamilla, in front of a coffin bearing Juan C. Locsin's dead

body. The photograph, respondent claims, shows that he and his mother have been
recognized as family members of the deceased.
In their oppositions, petitioners claimed that Certificate of Live Birth No. 477 (Exhibit
"D") is spurious. They submitted a certified true copy of Certificate of Live Birth No. 477
found in the Civil Registrar General, Metro Manila, marked as Exhibit "8", [5] indicating
that the birth of respondent was reported by his mother, Amparo Escamilla, and that the
same does not contain the signature of the late Juan C. Locsin. They observed as
anomalous the fact that while respondent was born on October 22, 1956 and his birth
was recorded on January 30, 1957, however, his Certificate of Live Birth No. 447
(Exhibit "D") was recorded on a December 1, 1958 revised form. Upon the other hand,
Exhibit "8" appears on a July, 1956 form, already used before respondent's birth. This
scenario clearly suggests that Exhibit "D" was falsified. Petitioners presented as
witness, Col. Pedro L. Elvas, a handwriting expert. He testified that the signatures of
Juan C. Locsin and Emilio G. Tomesa (then Civil Registrar of Iloilo City) appearing in
Certificate of Live Birth No. 477 (Exhibit "D") are forgeries. He thus concluded that the
said Certificate is a spurious document surreptitiously inserted into the bound volume of
birth records of the Local Civil Registrar of Iloilo City.
After hearing, th trial court, finding that Certificate of Live Birth No. 477 (Exhibit "D")
and the photograph (Exhibit "C") are sufficient proofs of respondent's illegitimate filiation
with the deceased, issued on September 13, 1996 an order, the dispositive portion of
which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, this PETITION is hereby GRANTED and the
petitioner Juan E. Locsin, Jr. is hereby appointed Administrator of the Intestate Estate of
the late Juan Johnny Locsin, Sr.
"Let Letters of Administration be issued in his favor, upon his filing of a bond in the sum
of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) to be approved by this Court.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals rendered the challenged Decision affirming in
toto the order of the trial court dated September 13, 1996. Petitioners moved for a
reconsideration, while respondent filed a motion for execution pending appeal. Both
motions were, however, denied by the Appellate Court in its Resolution dated January
10, 2001.
Hence, the instant petition for review on certiorari by petitioners.
The focal issue for our resolution is which of the two documents - Certificate of Live
Birth No. 477 (Exhibit "D") and Certificate of Live Birth No. 477 (Exhibit "8") is genuine.

The rule that factual findings of the trial court, adopted and confirmed by the Court
of Appeals, are final and conclusive and may not be reviewed on appeal [7] does not
apply when there appears in the record of the case some facts or circumstances of
weight and influence which have been overlooked, or the significance of which have
been misinterpreted, that if considered, would affect the result of the case. [8] Here, the
trial court failed to appreciate facts and circumstances that would have altered its
Section 6, Rule 78 of the Revised Rules of Court lays down the persons preferred
who are entitled to the issuance of letters of administration, thus:
Section 6. When and to whom letters of administration granted. If no executor is
named in the will, or the executor or executors are incompetent, refuse the trust, or fail
to give bond, or a person dies intestate, administration shall be granted:
(a) To the surviving husband or wife, as the case may be, or next of kin, or both, in the
discretion of the court, or to such person as such surviving husband or wife, or next of
kin, requests to have appointed, if competent and willing to serve;
(b) If such surviving husband or wife, as the case may be, or next of kin, or the person
selected by them, be incompetent or unwilling, or if the husband or widow, or next of kin,
neglects for thirty (30) days after the death of a person to apply for administration or to
request that administration be granted to some other person, it may be granted to one
or more of the principal creditors, if competent and willing to serve;
(c) If there is no such creditor competent and willing to serve, it may be granted to such
other person as the court may select. (Emphasis ours)
Upon the other hand, Section 2 of Rule 79 provides that a petition for letters of
administration must be filed by an interested person, thus:
Sec.2 Contents of petition for letters of administration. A petition for letters of
administration must be filed by an interested person and must show, so far as known
to the petitioner:
(a) The jurisdictional facts; x x x" (Emphasis ours)
An "interested party", in estate proceedings, is one who would be benefited in the
estate, such as an heir, or one who has a claim against the estate, such as a creditor.
Also, in estate proceedings, the phrase "next of kin" refers to those whose relationship
with the decedent is such that they are entitled to share in the estate as distributees.
In Gabriel v. Court of Appeals,[11] this Court held that in the appointment of the
administrator of the estate of a deceased person, the principal consideration reckoned
with is the interest in said estate of the one to be appointed administrator.

Here, undisputed is the fact that the deceased, Juan C. Locsin, was not survived by
a spouse. In his petition for issuance of letters of administration, respondent alleged that
he is an acknowledged natural son of the deceased, implying that he is an interested
person in the estate and is considered as next of kin. But has respondent established
that he is an acknowledged natural son of the deceased? On this point, this Court,
through Mr. Justice Jose C. Vitug, held:
"The filiation of illegitimate children, like legitimate children, is established by (1) the
record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgement; or (2) an admission of
legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed
by the parent concerned. In the absence thereof, filiation shall be proved by (1) the
open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child; or (2) any other
means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. The due recognition of an
illegitimate child in a record of birth, a will, a statement before a court of record, or in
any authentic writing is, in itself, a consummated act of acknowledgement of the child,
and no further court action is required. In fact, any authentic writing is treated not just a
ground for compulsory recognition; it is in itself a voluntary recognition that does not
require a separate action for judicial approval. Where, instead, a claim for recognition is
predicated on other evidence merely tending to prove paternity, i.e., outside of a record
of birth, a will, a statement before a court of record or an authentic writing, judicial action
within the applicable statute of limitations is essential in order to establish the child's
acknowledgment."[12](Emphasis ours)
Here, respondent, in order to establish his filiation with the deceased, presented to
the trial court his Certificate of Live Birth No. 477 (Exhibit "D") and a photograph (Exhibit
"C") taken during the burial of the deceased.
Regarding the genuineness and probative value of Exhibit "D", the trial court made
the following findings, affirmed by the Appellate Court:
"It was duly established in Court that the Certificate of Live Birth No. 477 in the name of
Juan E. Locsin, Jr., the original having been testified to by Rosita Vencer, exists in the
files of the Local Civil Registrar of Iloilo. Petitioner since birth enjoyed the open and
continuous status of an acknowledged natural child of Juan C. Locsin, Sr., he together
with his mother was summoned to attend to the burial as evidenced by a picture of
relatives facing the coffin of the deceased with petitioner and his mother in the picture. x
x x. It was duly proven at the trial that the standard signatures presented by oppositors
were not in public document and may also be called questioned document whereas in
the certificate of live birth No. 477, the signature of Juan C. Locsin, Sr. was the original
or primary evidence. The anomalous and suspicious characteristic of the bound volume
where the certificate of live birth as alleged by oppositors was found was testified to and
explained by Rosita Vencer of the Office of the Local Civil Registrar that they run out of
forms in 1957 and requisitioned forms. However, the forms sent to them was the 1958

revised form and that she said their office usually paste the pages of the bound volume
if destroyed. All the doubts regarding the authenticity and genuineness of the signatures
of Juan C. Locsin, Sr. and Emilio Tomesa, and the suspicious circumstances of the
bound volume were erased due to the explanation of Rosita Vencer."
This Court cannot subscribe to the above findings.
Pursuant to Section 12 of Act 3753 (An Act to Establish a Civil Register), the
records of births from all cities and municipalities in the Philippines are officially and
regularly forwarded to the Civil Registrar General in Metro Manila by the Local Civil
Registrars. Since the records of births cover several decades and come from all parts of
the country, to merely access them in the Civil Registry General requires expertise. To
locate one single birth record from the mass, a regular employee, if not more, has to be
engaged. It is highly unlikely that any of these employees in Metro Manila would have
reason to falsify a particular 1957 birth record originating from the Local Civil Registry of
Iloilo City.
With respect to Local Civil Registries, access thereto by interested parties is
obviously easier. Thus, in proving the authenticity of Exhibit "D," more convincing
evidence than those considered by the trial court should have been presented by
The trial court held that the doubts respecting the genuine nature of Exhibit "D" are
dispelled by the testimony of Rosita Vencer, Local Civil Registrar of Iloilo City.
The event about which she testified on March 7, 1994 was the record of
respondent's birth which took place on October 22, 1956, on 37 or 38 years ago. The
Local Civil Registrar of Iloilo City at that time was Emilio G. Tomesa. Necessarily,
Vencer's knowledge of respondent's birth record allegedly made and entered in the
Local Civil Registry in January, 1957 was based merely on her general impressions of
the existing records in that Office.
When entries in the Certificate of Live Birth recorded in the Local Civil Registry vary
from those appearing in the copy transmitted to the Civil Registry General, pursuant to
the Civil Registry Law, the variance has to be clarified in more persuasive and rational
manner. In this regard, we find Vencer's explanation not convincing.
Respondent's Certificate of Live Birth No. 477 (Exhibit "D") was recorded in a
December 1, 1958 revised form. Asked how a 1958 form could be used in 1957 when
respondent's birth was recorded, Vencer answered that "xxx during that
time, maybe the forms in 1956 were already exhausted so the former Civil Registrar
had requested for a new form and they sent us the 1958 Revised Form." [13]

The answer is a "maybe", a mere supposition of an event. It does not satisfactorily

explain how a Revised Form dated December 1, 1958 could have been used on
January 30, 1957 or almost (2) years earlier.
Upon the other hand, Exhibit "8" of the petitioners found in the Civil Registrar
General in Metro Manila is on Municipal Form No. 102, revised in July, 1956. We find
no irregularity here. Indeed, it is logical to assume that the 1956 forms would continue to
be used several years thereafter. But for a 1958 form to be used in 1957 is unlikely.
There are other indications of irregularity relative to Exhibit "D." The back cover of
the 1957 bound volume in the Local Civil Registry of Iloilo is torn. Exhibit "D" is merely
pasted with the bound volume, not sewn like the other entries.
The documents bound into one volume are original copies. Exhibit "D" is a carbon
copy of the alleged original and sticks out like a sore thumb because the entries therein
are typewritten, while the records of all other certificates are handwritten. Unlike the
contents of those other certificates, Exhibit "D" does not indicate important particulars,
such as the alleged father's religion, race, occupation, address and business. The
space which calls for an entry of the legitimacy of the child is blank. On the back page of
Exhibit "D", there is a purported signature of the alleged father, but the blanks calling for
the date and other details of his Residence Certificate were not filled up.
When asked to explain the torn back cover of the bound volume, Vencer had no
answer except to state, "I am not aware of this because I am not a bookbinder." As to
why Exhibit "D" was not sewn or bound into the volume, she explained as follows:
I will butt in. Are these instances where your employees would only paste a document
like this Certificate of Live Birth?
Yes, Your Honor, we are pasting some of the leaves just to replace the
record. Sometimes we just have it pasted in the record when the leaves were taken.
You mean to say you allow the leaves of the bound volume to be taken out?
A: No sir. It is because sometimes the leaves are detached so we have to paste
them."[14] (Emphasis ours)

There is no explanation why out of so many certificates, this vital document, Exhibit
"D", was merely pasted with the volume.
Vencer's testimony suffers from infirmities. Far from explaining the anomalous
circumstances surrounding Exhibit "D", she actually highlighted the suspicious
circumstances surrounding its existence.
The records of the instant case adequately support a finding that Exhibit "8" for the
petitioners, not respondent's Exhibit "D", should have been given more faith and
credence by the courts below.
The Civil Registry Law requires, inter alia, the Local Civil Registrar to send copies of
registrable certificates and documents presented to them for entry to the Civil Registrar
General, thus:
Duties of Local Civil Registrar. Local civil registrars shall (a) file registrable certificates
and documents presented to them for entry; (b) compile the same monthly and prepare
and send any information required of them by the Civil-Registrar; (c) issue certified
transcripts or copies of any document registered upon payment of proper fees; (d) order
the binding, properly classified, of all certificates or documents registered during the
year; (e) send to the Civil Registrar-General, during the first ten days of each
month, a copy of the entries made during the preceding month, for filing; (f) index
the same to facilitate search and identification in case any information is required; and
(g) administer oaths, free of charge, for civil register purposes" [15] (Emphasis ours)
In light of the above provisions, a copy of the document sent by the Local Civil
Registrar to the Civil Registrar General should be identical in form and in substance with
the copy being kept by the latter.In the instant case, Exhibit "8", as transmitted to the
Civil Registrar General is not identical with Exhibit "D" as appearing in the records of the
Local Civil Registrar of Iloilo City. Such circumstance should have aroused the suspicion
of both the trial court and the Court of Appeals and should have impelled them to
declare Exhibit "D" a spurious document.
Exhibit "8" shows that respondent's record of birth was made by his mother. In the
same Exhibit "8", the signature and name of Juan C. Locsin listed as respondent's
father and the entry that he and Amparo Escamilla were married in Oton, Iloilo on
November 28, 1954 do not appear.
In this connection, we echo this Court's pronouncement in Roces vs. Local Civil
Registrar[16] that:
Section 5 of Act No. 3753 and Article 280 of the Civil Code of the Philippines x x x
explicitly prohibit, not only the naming of the father of the child born out of
wedlock, when the birth certificate, or the recognition, is not filed or made by him,

but also, the statement of any information or circumstances by which he could be

identified. Accordingly, the Local Civil Registrar had no authority to make or record the
paternity of an illegitimate child upon the information of a third person and the
certificate of birth of an illegitimate child, when signed only by the mother of the
latter, is incompetent evidence of fathership of said child. (Emphasis ours)
The Roces ruling regarding illegitimate filiation is further elucidated in Fernandez
vs. Court of Appeals [17] where this Court said that "a birth certificate not signed by the
alleged father (who had no hand in its preparation) is not competent evidence of
A birth certificate is a formidable piece of evidence prescribed by both the Civil
Code and Article 172 of the Family Code for purposes of recognition and
filiation. However, birth certificate offers onlyprima facie evidence of filiation and may be
refuted by contrary evidence.[18] Its evidentiary worth cannot be sustained where there
exists strong, complete and conclusive proof of its falsity or nullity. In this case,
respondent's Certificate of Live Birth No. 477 entered in the records of the Local Civil
Registry (from which Exhibit "D" was machine copied) has all the badges of
nullity. Without doubt, the authentic copy on file in that office was removed and
substituted with a falsified Certificate of Live Birth.
At this point, it bears stressing the provision of Section 23, Rule 132 of the Revised
Rules of Court that "(d)ocuments consisting of entries in public records made in the
performance of a duty by a public officer are prima facie evidence of the facts therein
stated." In this case, the glaring discrepancies between the two Certificates of Live Birth
(Exhibits "D" and "8") have overturned the genuineness of Exhibit "D" entered in the
Local Civil Registry. What is authentic is Exhibit "8" recorded in the Civil Registry
Incidentally, respondent's photograph with his mother near the coffin of the late
Juan C. Locsin cannot and will not constitute proof of filiation, [19] lest we recklessly set a
very dangerous precedent that would encourage and sanction fraudulent
claims. Anybody can have a picture taken while standing before a coffin with others and
thereafter utilize it in claiming the estate of the deceased.
Respondent Juan E. Locsin, Jr. failed to prove his filiation with the late Juan C.
Locsin, Sr.. His Certificate of Live Birth No. 477 (Exhibit "D") is spurious. Indeed,
respondent is not an interested personwithin the meaning of Section 2, Rule 79 of the
Revised Rules of Court entitled to the issuance of letters of administration.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The challenged Decision and
Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 57708 are REVERSED and SET

ASIDE. Respondent's petition for issuance of letters of administration is ORDERED


[G.R. No. 124853. February 24, 1998]


JISON, respondent.
This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court of the 27 April 1995
decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 32860 [1] which reversed the
decision of Branch 24 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Iloilo City in Civil Case No.
16373.[2] The latter dismissed the complaint of private respondent Monina Jison
(hereafter MONINA) for recognition as an illegitimate child of petitioner Francisco Jison
(hereafter FRANCISCO).
In issue is whether or not public respondent Court of Appeals committed reversible
error, which, in this instance, necessitates an inquiry into the facts. While as a general
rule, factual issues are not within the province of this Court, nevertheless, in light of the
conflicting findings of facts of the trial court and the Court of Appeals, this case falls
under an exception to this rule.[3]
In her complaint[4] filed with the RTC on 13 March 1985, MONINA alleged that
FRANCISCO had been married to a certain Lilia Lopez Jison since 1940. At the end of
1945 or the start of 1946, however, FRANCISCO impregnated Esperanza F. Amolar
(who was then employed as the nanny of FRANCISCO's daughter, Lourdes). As a
result, MONINA was born on 6 August 1946, in Dingle, Iloilo, and since childhood, had
enjoyed the continuous, implied recognition as an illegitimate child of FRANCISCO by
his acts and that of his family. MONINA further alleged that FRANCISCO gave her
support and spent for her education, such that she obtained a Master's degree, became
a certified public accountant (CPA) and eventually, a Central Bank examiner. In view of
FRANCISCO's refusal to expressly recognize her, MONINA prayed for a judicial
declaration of her illegitimate status and that FRANCISCO support and treat her as
In his answer,[5] FRANCISCO alleged that he could not have had sexual relations
with Esperanza Amolar during the period specified in the complaint as she had ceased
to be in his employ as early as 1944, and did not know of her whereabouts since

then; further, he never recognized MONINA, expressly or impliedly, as his illegitimate

child. As affirmative and special defenses, FRANCISCO contended that MONINA had
no right or cause of action against him and that her action was barred by estoppel,
laches and/or prescription. He thus prayed for dismissal of the complaint and an award
of damages due to the malicious filing of the complaint.
After MONINA filed her reply,[6] pre-trial was conducted where the parties stipulated
on the following issues:
1. Did Francisco Jison have any sexual relation[s] with Esperanza Am[o]lar
about the end of 1945 or the start of 1946?
2. Is Monina Jison the recognized illegitimate daughter of Francisco Jison by
the latters own acts and those of his family?
3. Is Monina Jison barred from instituting or prosecuting the present action by
estoppel, laches and/or prescription?
4. Damages.[7]
At trial on the merits, MONINA presented a total of eleven (11) witnesses,
namely: herself, Ruben Castellanes, Sr., Adela Casabuena, Arsenio Duatin, Zafiro
Ledesma, Danthea Lopez, Romeo Bilbao, Rudy Tingson, Alfredo Baylosis, Dominador
Zavariz and Lope Amolar.
Ruben Castellanes, Sr., a 63-year old resident of Iloilo City, testified that he had
worked for FRANCISCO for a total of six (6) years at Nelly Garden, FRANCISCO's Iloilo
residence.Towards the end of the Japanese occupation, FRANCISCOs wife suffered a
miscarriage or abortion, thereby depriving FRANCISCO of consortium; thereafter,
FRANCISCOs wife managed a nightclub on the ground floor of Nelly Garden which
operated daily from 6:00 p.m. till 3:00 a.m. of the following day, thereby allowing
FRANCISCO free access to MONINAs mother, Esperanza Amolar, who was
nicknamed Pansay.
Adela Casabuena, a 61-year old farmer, testified that she served as
the yaya (nanny) of Lourdes from July 1946 up to February 1947. Although Pansay had
left Nelly Garden two (2) weeks before Adela started working for the
Jisons, Pansay returned sometime in September 1946, or about one month after she
gave birth to MONINA, to ask FRANCISCO for support. As a result, Pansay and Lilia
Jison, FRANCISCO's wife, quarreled in the living room, and in the course
thereof, Pansay claimed that FRANCISCO was the father of her baby. To which, Lilia
replied: I did not tell you to make that baby so it is your fault. During the quarrel which
lasted from 10:30 till 11:00 a.m., FRANCISCO was supposedly inside the house
Arsenio Duatin, a 77-year old retired laborer, testified that from 1947 until 1977, he
worked as FRANCISCOs houseboy at the latters house on 12th Street, Capitol
Subdivision, Bacolod City. Arsenio met MONINA in 1967, when Felipe Lagarto, the
bookkeeper at Nelly Garden, informed Arsenio that MONINA, FRANCISCOs daughter,
would arrive at Bacolod City with a letter of introduction from Lagarto.

Initially, Arsenio identified seven (7) black-and-white photographs (Exhs. X-5 to X11) of MONINA,[8] and as he paid for the telephone bills, he likewise identified six (6)
telephone cards (Exhs. G to L). Arsenio then declared that when MONINA arrived in
Bacolod City, she introduced herself to him as FRANCISCOs daughter. She stayed at
FRANCISCOs house, but when the latter and his wife would come over, Arsenio would
conceal the presence of MONINA because Mrs. Jison did not like to see her face. Once,
Arsenio hid MONINA in the house of FRANCISCOs sister, Mrs. Luisa Jison Alano, in
Silay City; another time, at the residence of FRANCISCOs cousin, Mrs. Concha Lopez
Cuaycong. Finally, Arsenio declared that the last time he saw MONINA was when she
left for Manila, after having finished her schooling at La Salle College in Bacolod City.
On re-direct and upon questions by the court, Arsenio disclosed that it was
FRANCISCO who instructed that MONINA be hidden whenever FRANCISCO and his
wife were around; that although FRANCISCO and MONINA saw each other at the
Bacolod house only once, they called each other through long distance; and that
MONINA addressed FRANCISCO as Daddy during their lone meeting at the Bacolod
house and were affectionate to each other. Arsenio likewise declared that MONINA
stayed at FRANCISCO's Bacolod house twice: first for a month, then for about a week
the second time. On both occasions, however, FRANCISCO and his wife were
abroad. Finally, Arsenio recalled that FRANCISCO likewise bade Arsenio to treat
MONINA like his (FRANCISCOs) other daughters.
The testimony of Zafiro Ledesma, a 74-year old banker and former mayor of Iloilo
City, initially touched on how he and his wife were related to FRANCISCO,
FRANCISCO's wife and MONINA. Zafiro first identified Exhibit R, a diagram of the
family trees of the Jison and Lopez families, which showed that former Vice-President
Fernando Lopez was the first cousin of FRANCISCOs wife, then told the court that the
family of Vice-President Lopez treated MONINA very well because she is considered a
relative xxx by reputation, by actual perception. Zafiro likewise identified Exhibits X-13
to X-18, photographs taken at the 14 April 1985 birthday celebration of Mrs. Fernando
Lopez, which showed MONINA with the former Vice-President and other members of
the Lopez family.
Zafiro further testified that while MONINA lived with Mrs. Cuaycong, the latter paid
for some of MONINAs school needs and even asked MONINA to work in a hospital
owned by Mrs. Cuaycong; and that another first cousin of FRANCISCOs wife, a certain
Remedios Lopez Franco, likewise helped MONINA with her studies and problems, and
even attended MONINAs graduation in 1978 when she obtained a masteral degree in
Business Administration, as evidenced by another photograph (Exh. X-12). Moreover,
upon Remedios recommendation, MONINA was employed as a secretary at Merchant
Financing Company, which was managed by a certain Danthea Lopez, the wife of
another first cousin of FRANCISCOs wife, and among whose directors were Zafiro
himself, his wife and Dantheas husband. In closing, Zafiro identified MONINAs Social
Security Record (Exh. W), which was signed by Danthea as employer and where
MONINA designated Remedios as the beneficiary.
Danthea Lopez, a 58-year old housekeeper, declared that FRANCISCO was the
first cousin of her husband, Eusebio D. Lopez; and that she came to know MONINA in

the latter part of 1965 when Remedios Franco recommended MONINA for employment
at Merchant Financing Co., which Danthea managed at that time. Remedios introduced
MONINA to Danthea as being reputedly the daughter of Mr. Frank Jison; and on several
occasions thereafter, Remedios made Danthea and the latters husband understand that
MONINA was reputedly the daughter of [FRANCISCO]. While MONINA worked at
Merchant Financing, Danthea knew that MONINA lived with Remedios; however, in the
latter part of 1966, as Remedios left for Manila and MONINA was still studying at San
Agustin University, Danthea and her husband invited MONINA to live with them. During
MONINAs 6-month stay with them, she was not charged for board and lodging and was
treated as a relative, not a mere employee, all owing to what Remedios had said
regarding MONINAs filiation. As Danthea understood, MONINA resigned from Merchant
Financing as she was called by Mrs. Cuaycong, a first cousin of Dantheas husband who
lived in Bacolod City.
Romeo Bilbao, a 43-year old seaman, testified that he had worked for FRANCISCO
from 1969 up to 1980 at Nelly Garden in various capacities: as a procurement officer,
hacienda overseer and, later, as hacienda administrator. Sometime in May, 1971,
Romeo saw and heard MONINA ask her Daddy (meaning FRANCISCO) for the money
he promised to give her, but FRANCISCO answered that he did not have the money to
give, then told MONINA to go see Mr. Jose Cruz in Bacolod City. Then in the middle of
September that year, FRANCISCO told Romeo to pick up Mr. Cruz at the Iloilo pier and
bring him to the office of Atty. Benjamin Tirol. At said office, Atty. Tirol, Mr. Cruz and
MONINA entered a room while Romeo waited outside.When they came out, Atty. Tirol
had papers for MONINA to sign, but she refused. Atty. Tirol said that a check would be
released to MONINA if she signed the papers, so MONINA acceded, although Atty. Tirol
intended not to give MONINA a copy of the document she signed. Thereafter, Mr. Cruz
gave MONINA a check (Exh. Q), then MONINA grabbed a copy of the document she
signed and ran outside. Romeo then brought Mr. Cruz to Nelly Garden. As to his motive
for testifying, Romeo stated that he wanted to help MONINA be recognized as
FRANCISCOS daughter.
Rudy Tingson, a 45-year old antique dealer, testified that in 1963-1964, he was
employed by FRANCISCOs wife at the Baguio Military Institute in Baguio City; then in
1965, Rudy worked at FRANCISCOs office at Nelly Garden recording hacienda
expenses, typing vouchers and office papers, and, at times, acting as paymaster for the
haciendas. From the nature of his work, Rudy knew the persons receiving money from
FRANCISCOs office, and clearly remembered that in 1965, as part of his job, Rudy
gave MONINA her allowance from FRANCISCO four (4) times, upon instructions of a
certain Mr. Lagarto to give MONINA P15.00 a month. Rudy likewise recalled that he first
met MONINA in 1965, and that she would go to Nelly Garden whenever FRANCISCOs
wife was not around. On some of these occasions, MONINA would speak with and
address FRANCISCO as Daddy, without objection from FRANCISCO. In fact, in 1965,
Rudy saw FRANCISCO give MONINA money thrice. Rudy further declared that in April
1965, FRANCISCOs office paid P250.00 to Funeraria Bernal for the funeral expenses of
MONINAs mother. Finally, as to Rudy's motives for testifying, he told the court that he
simply wanted to help bring out the truth and nothing but the truth, and that MONINAs
filiation was common knowledge among the people in the office at Nelly Garden.

On re-direct, Rudy declared that the moneys given by FRANCISCOs office to

MONINA were not reflected in the books of the office, but were kept in a separate book,
as Mr. Lagarto explained that FRANCISCOs wife and children should not know [of]
this. Rudy further revealed that as to the garden meetings between FRANCISCO and
MONINA, Rudy saw MONINA kiss FRANCISCO on the cheek both upon arriving and
before leaving, and FRANCISCOs reaction upon seeing her was to smile and say in the
Visayan dialect: Kamusta ka iha? (How are you, daughter?); and that MONINA was free
to go inside the house as the household staff knew of her filiation, and that, sometimes,
MONINA would join them for lunch.
Alfredo Baylosis, a 62-year old retired accountant, testified that he worked for
FRANCISCO at Central Santos-Lopez in Iloilo from 1951 up to 1961, then at Nelly
Garden from 1961 until 1972. Alfredo first served FRANCISCO as a bookkeeper, then
when Mr. Lagarto died in 1967 or 1969, Alfredo replaced Mr. Lagarto as office manager.
Alfredo knew MONINA since 1961 as she used to go to Nelly Garden to claim
her P15.00 monthly allowance given upon FRANCISCOs standing order. Alfredo further
declared thatMONINAs filiation was pretty well-known in the office; that he had seen
MONINA and FRANCISCO go from the main building to the office, with FRANCISCOs
arm on MONINAs shoulder;and that the office paid for the burial expenses of Pansay,
but this was not recorded in the books in order to hide it from FRANCISCOs
wife. Alfredo also disclosed that the disbursements for MONINAs allowance started in
1961 and were recorded in a separate cash book. In 1967, the allowances ceased when
MONINA stopped schooling and was employed in Bacolod City with Miller, Cruz & Co.,
which served as FRANCISCOs accountant-auditor. Once, when Alfredo went to the
offices of Miller, Cruz & Co. to see the manager, Mr. Atienza, and arrange for the
preparation of FRANCISCOs income tax return, Alfredo chanced upon MONINA. When
Alfredo asked her how she came to work there, she answered that her Daddy,
FRANCISCO,recommended her, a fact confirmed by Mr. Atienza. Alfredo then claimed
that Mr. Jose Cruz, a partner at Miller, Cruz & Co., was the most trusted man of
Dominador Savariz, a 55-year old caretaker, testified that he worked as
FRANCISCOs houseboy at Nelly Garden from November 1953 up to 1965. One
morning in April 1954, MONINA and her mother Pansay went to Nelly Garden and
spoke with FRANCISCO for about an hour, during which time, Dominador was
vacuuming the carpet about six (6) to seven (7) meters away. Due to the noise of the
vacuum cleaner, FRANCISCO and MONINA spoke in loud voices, thus Dominador
conversation. As
asked Pansay why
came, Pansay answered that they came to ask for the sustenance of his child
MONINA. FRANCISCO then touched MONINA's head and asked: How are you Hija?, to
which MONINA answered: Good morning, Daddy. After FRANCISCO told Pansay and
MONINA to wait, he pulled something from his wallet and said to Pansay: I am giving
this for the child.
In May 1954, Dominador saw MONINA at Mr. Lagartos office where Dominador was
to get the days expenses, while MONINA was claiming her allowance from Mr.
Diasnes. The next month, Dominador saw MONINA at Nelly Garden and heard in the

office that MONINA was there to get her allowance from her Daddy. In December 1960,
Dominador saw MONINA at Nelly Garden, in the room of Don Vicente (father of
FRANCISCOs wife), where she asked for a Christmas gift and she was calling Don
Vicente, Lolo (grandfather). At that time, FRANCISCO and his wife were not
around. Then sometime in 1961, when Dominador went to Mr. Lagartos office to get the
marketing expenses, Dominador saw MONINA once more claiming her allowance.
Dominador further testified that in February 1966, after he had stopped working for
FRANCISCO, Dominador was at Mrs. Francos residence as she recommended him for
employment with her sister, Mrs. Concha Cuaycong. There, he saw MONINA, who was
then about 15 years old, together with Mrs. Francos daughter and son. Mrs. Franco
pointed at MONINA and asked Dominador if he knew who MONINA was. Dominador
answered that MONINA was FRANCISCOs daughter with Pansay, and then Mrs.
Franco remarked that MONINA was staying with her (Mrs. Franco) and that she was
sending MONINA to school at the University of San Agustin.
Lope Amolar, a 50-year old resident of Dingle, Iloilo, and the younger brother of
Esperanza Amolar (Pansay), testified that he worked for FRANCISCO as a houseboy
from March to November 1945 at Nelly Garden. Thereafter, FRANCISCO sent Lope to
work at Elena Apartments in Manila. By November 1945, Pansay was also working at
Elena Apartments, where she revealed to Lope that FRANCISCO impregnated
her. Lope then confronted FRANCISCO, who told Lope dont get hurt and dont cause
any trouble, because I am willing to support yourInday Pansay and my child. Three (3)
days after this confrontation, Lope asked for and received permission from
FRANCISCO to resign because he (Lope) was hurt.
On 21 October 1986, MONINA herself took the witness stand. At that time, she was
40 years old and a Central Bank Examiner. She affirmed that as evidenced by
certifications from the Office of the Local Civil Registrar (Exhs. E and F) and baptismal
certificates (Exhs. C and D), she was born on 6 August 1946 in Barangay Tabugon,
Dingle, Iloilo, to Esperanza Amolar (who passed away on 20 April 1965) and
FRANCISCO.[9] MONINA first studied at Sagrado where she stayed as a boarder. While
at Sagrado from 1952 until 1955 (up to Grade 4), her father, FRANCISCO, paid for her
tuition fees and other school expenses. She either received the money from
FRANCISCO or from Mr. Lagarto, or saw FRANCISCO give money to her mother, or
Mr. Lagarto would pay Sagrado directly. After Sagrado, MONINA studied in different
schools,[10] but FRANCISCO continuously answered for her schooling.
For her college education, MONINA enrolled at the University of Iloilo, but she later
dropped due to an accident which required a week's hospitalization. Although
FRANCISCO paid for part of the hospitalization expenses, her mother shouldered most
of them. In 1963, she enrolled at the University of San Agustin, where she stayed with
Mrs. Franco who paid for MONINA's tuition fees. However, expenses for books, school
supplies, uniforms and the like were shouldered by FRANCISCO. At the start of each
semester, MONINA would show FRANCISCO that she was enrolled, then he would ask
her to canvass prices, then give her the money she needed. After finishing two (2)
semesters at University of San Agustin, as evidenced by her transcript of records (Exh.
Z showing that FRANCISCO was listed as Parent/Guardian [Exh. Z-1]), she transferred

to De Paul College, just in front of Mrs. Francos house, and studied there for a
year. Thereafter, MONINA enrolled at Western Institute of Technology (WIT), where she
obtained a bachelors degree in Commerce in April 1967. During her senior year, she
stayed with Eusebio and Danthea Lopez at Hotel Kahirup, owned by said couple. She
passed the CPA board exams in 1974, and took up an M.B.A. at De La Salle University
as evidenced by her transcript (Exh. AA), wherein FRANCISCO was likewise listed as
Guardian (Exhs. AA-1 and AA-2).
MONINA enumerated the different members of the household staff at Nelly Garden,
to wit: Luz, the household cook; the houseboys Silvestre and Doming; the housemaid
Natang; theyaya of the adopted triplets, Deling; the yaya of Lolo Vicente, Adelina; and
others. MONINA likewise enumerated the members of the office staff (Messrs. Baylosis,
Lagarto, Tingson, Diasnes, Jalandoni, Supertisioso, Doroy, and others), and identified
them from a photograph marked as Exhibit X-2. She then corroborated the prior
testimony regarding her employment at Merchant Financing Co., and her having lived at
Hotel Kahirup and at Mrs. Cuaycongs residence in Bacolod City, while working at the
hospital owned by Mrs. Cuaycong.
MONINA further testified that in March 1968, she went to Manila and met
FRANCISCO at Elena Apartments at the corner of Romero and Salas Streets,
Ermita. She told FRANCISCO that she was going for a vacation in Baguio City with Mrs.
Francos mother, with whom she stayed up to June 1968. Upon her return from Baguio
City, MONINA told FRANCISCO that she wanted to work, so the latter arranged for her
employment at Miller & Cruz in Bacolod City. MONINA went to Bacolod City, was
interviewed by Mr. Jose Cruz, a partner at Miller & Cruz, who told her she would start
working first week of September, sans examination. She resigned from Miller & Cruz in
1971 and lived with Mrs. Cuaycong at her Forbes Park residence in Makati.MONINA
went to see FRANCISCO, told him that she resigned and asked him for money to go to
Spain, but FRANCISCO refused as she could not speak Spanish and would not be able
find a job. The two quarreled and FRANCISCO ordered a helper to send MONINA out of
the house. In the process, MONINA broke many glasses at the pantry and cut her hand,
after which, FRANCISCO hugged her, gave her medicine, calmed her down, asked her
to return to Bacolod City and promised that he would give her the money.
MONINA returned to Bacolod City by plane, using a Filipinas Orient Airways plane
ticket (Exh. M) which FRANCISCO gave. She called Mr. Cruz, then Atty. Tirol, as
instructed by Mr. Cruz. These calls were evidenced by PLDT long distance toll cards
(Exhs. G to L), with annotations at the back reading: charged and paid under the name
of Frank L. Jison and were signed by Arsenio Duatin (Exhs. G-1 to L-1). PLDT issued a
certification as to the veracity of the contents of the toll cards (Exh. BB). Likewise
introduced in evidence was a letter of introduction prepared by Mr. Cruz addressed to
Atty. Tirol, on MONINA's behalf (Exh. N).
MONINA also declared that Atty. Tirol then told her that she would have to go to
Iloilo and sign a certain affidavit, before Mr. Cruz would turn over the money promised
by FRANCISCO.She went to Atty. Tirols office in Iloilo, but after going over the draft of
the affidavit, refused to sign it as it stated that she was not FRANCISCOs daughter. She
explained that all she had agreed with FRANCISCO was that he would pay for her fare

to go abroad, and that since she was a little girl, she knew about her illegitimacy. She
started crying, begged Atty. Tirol to change the affidavit, to which Atty. Tirol responded
that he was also a father and did not want this to happen to his children as they could
not be blamed for being brought into the world.She then wrote a letter (Exh. O) to
FRANCISCO and sent it to the latters Forbes Park residence (Bauhinia Place) by JRS
courier service (Exhs. O-5 to O-7). MONINA subsequently met FRANCISCO in Bacolod
City where they discussed the affidavit which she refused to sign. FRANCISCO told her
that the affidavit was for his wife, that in case she heard about MONINA going abroad,
the affidavit would keep her peace.
MONINA then narrated that the first time she went to Atty. Tirols office, she was
accompanied by one Atty. Fernando Divinagracia, who advised her that the affidavit
(Exh. P)[11] would boomerang against FRANCISCO as it is contrary to law. MONINA
returned to Bacolod City, then met with Atty. Tirol once more to reiterate her plea, but
Atty. Tirol did not relent. Thus, on the morning of 20 or 21 September 1971, she signed
the affidavit as she was jobless and needed the money to support herself and finish her
studies. In exchange for signing the document, MONINA received a Bank of Asia check
for P15,000.00 (Exh. Q), which was less than the P25,000.00 which FRANCISCO
allegedly promised to give. As Atty. Tirol seemed hesitant to give her a copy of the
affidavit after notarizing it, MONINA merely grabbed a copy and immediately left.
MONINA then prepared to travel abroad, for which purpose, she procured letters of
introduction (Exhs. S and T) from a cousin, Mike Alano (son of FRANCISCOs elder
sister Luisa);and an uncle, Emilio Jison (FRANCISCOs elder brother), addressed to
another cousin, Beth Jison (Emilios daughter), for Beth to assist MONINA. Exhibit S
contained a statement (Exh. S-1) expressly recognizing that MONINA was
FRANCISCOs daughter. Ultimately though, MONINA decided not to go abroad, opting
instead to spend the proceeds of the P15,000.00 check for her CPA review, board exam
and graduate studies. After finishing her graduate studies, she again planned to travel
abroad, for which reason, she obtained a letter of introduction from former Vice
President Fernando Lopez addressed to then United States Consul Vernon McAnnich
(Exh. V).
As to other acts tending to show her filiation, MONINA related that on one occasion,
as FRANCISCOs wife was going to arrive at the latters Bacolod City residence,
FRANCISCO called Arsenio Duatin and instructed Arsenio to hide MONINA. Thus,
MONINA stayed with Mrs. Luisa Jison for the duration of the stay of FRANCISCOs
wife. MONINA also claimed that she knew Vice President Fernando Lopez and his wife,
Mariquit, even before starting to go to school. Thus, MONINA asked for a
recommendation letter (Exh. U) from Mrs. Mariquit Lopez for possible employment with
Mrs. Rosario Lopez Cooper, another second cousin of FRANCISCO. In Exhibit U, Mrs.
Lopez expressly recognized MONINA as FRANCISCOs daughter. As additional proof of
her close relationship with the family of Vice President Lopez, MONINA identified
photographs taken at a birthday celebration on 14 April 1985.
MONINA finally claimed that she knew the three (3) children of FRANCISCO by
wife, namely, Lourdes, Francisco, Jr. (Junior) and Elena, but MONINA had met only
Lourdes and Junior.MONINA's testimony dealt lengthily on her dealings with Junior and

the two (2) occasions when she met with Lourdes. The last time MONINA saw
FRANCISCO was in March 1979, when she sought his blessings to get married.
In his defense, FRANCISCO offered his deposition taken before then Judge Romeo
Callejo of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 48. As additional witnesses,
FRANCISCO presented Nonito Jalandoni, Teodoro Zulla, Iigo Supertisioso, Lourdes
Ledesma, Jose Cruz and Dolores Argenal.
FRANCISCO declared that Pansays employment ceased as of October, 1944, and
that while employed by him, Pansay would sleep with the other female helpers on the
first floor of his residence, while he, his wife and daughter slept in a room on the second
floor. At that time, his household staff was composed of three (3) female workers and
two (2) male workers. AfterPansay left in October 1944, she never communicated with
him again, neither did he know of her whereabouts. FRANCISCO staunchly denied
having had sexual relations with Pansay and disavowed any knowledge about
MONINAs birth. In the same vein, he denied having paid for MONINAs tuition fees, in
person or otherwise, and asserted that he never knew that Mr. Lagarto paid for these
fees. Moreover, FRANCISCO could not believe that Lagarto would pay for these fees
despite absence of instructions or approval from FRANCISCO. He likewise categorically
denied that he told anyone, be it Danthea Lopez, Zafiro Ledesma, Concha Cuaycong or
Remedios Franco, that MONINA was his daughter.
FRANCISCO also disclosed that upon his return from the United States in 1971, he
fired Alfredo Baylosis upon discovering that Alfredo had taken advantage of his position
during the formers absence. FRANCISCO likewise fired Rudy Tingson and Romeo
Bilbao, but did not give the reasons therefor.
Finally, FRANCISCO denied knowledge of MONINAs long distance calls from his
Bacolod residence; nevertheless, when he subsequently discovered this, he fired
certain people in his office for their failure to report this anomaly. As regards the
caretaker of his Bacolod residence, FRANCISCO explained that since MONINA lived at
Mrs. Cuaycongs residence, the caretaker thought that he could allow people who lived
at the Cuaycong residence to use the facilities at his (FRANCISCOs) house.
Nonito Jalandoni, bookkeeper and paymaster at Nellys Garden from 1963 up to
1974, then from 1980 up to 1986, the assistant overseer of Hacienda Lopez, testified
that he did not know MONINA; that he learned of her only in June 1988, when he was
informed by FRANCISCO that MONINA had sued him; and that he never saw MONINA
at Nellys Garden, neither did he know of any instructions for anyone at Nellys Garden to
give money to MONINA.
Teodoro Zulla, FRANCISCOs bookkeeper and paymaster from 1951 up to 1986,
testified that FRANCISCO dismissed Alfredo Baylosis due to certain unspecified
discrepancies; and that he never saw MONINA receive funds from either Mr. Lagarto or
Mr. Baylosis. Upon questions from the trial court, however, Teodoro admitted that he
prepared vouchers for only one of FRANCISCOs haciendas, and not vouchers
pertaining to the latters personal expenses.
Iigo Supertisioso testified that he worked for FRANCISCO at Nellys Garden from
1964 up to 1984 as a field inspector, paymaster, cashier and, eventually, officer-in-

charge (OIC). He confirmed Alfredo Baylosis dismissal due to these unspecified

irregularities, then denied that FRANCISCO ever ordered that MONINA be given her
allowance. Likewise, Iigo never heard FRANCISCO mention that MONINA was his
(FRANCISCOs) daughter.
Lourdes Ledesma, FRANCISCOs daughter, testified that she saw (but did not
know) MONINA at the Our Lady of Mercy Hospital, on the occasion of the birth of
Lourdes first son, Mark.Over lunch one day, Lourdes aunt casually introduced Lourdes
and MONINA to each other, but they were referred to only by their first names. Then
sometime in 1983 or 1984, MONINA allegedly went to Lourdes house in Sta. Clara
Subdivision requesting for a letter of introduction or referral as MONINA was then jobhunting. However, Lourdes did not comply with the request.
Jose Cruz, a partner at Miller, Cruz & Co., testified that MONINA worked at Miller &
Cruz from 1968 up to 1971, however, he did not personally interview her before she was
accepted for employment. Moreover, MONINA underwent the usual screening
procedure before being hired. Jose recalled that one of the accountants, a certain Mr.
Atienza, reported that MONINA claimed to be FRANCISCOs daughter. Jose then told
Mr. Atienza to speak with MONINA and see if he (Mr. Atienza) could stop her from
spreading this rumor. Mr. Atienza reported that he spoke with MONINA, who told him
that she planned to leave for the United States and needed P20,000.00 for that
purpose, and in exchange, she would sign a document disclaiming filiation with
FRANCISCO. Thus, Jose instructed Mr. Atienza to request that MONINA meet with
Jose, and at that meeting, MONINA confirmed Mr. Atienzas report. Jose then informed
Atty. Tirol, FRANCISCOs personal lawyer, about the matter.
Atty. Tirol told Jose to send MONINA and her lawyer to his (Atty. Tirols) office in
Iloilo. Jose then wrote out a letter of introduction for MONINA addressed to Atty.
Tirol. Jose relayed Atty. Tirols message to MONINA through Mr. Atienza, then later, Atty.
Tirol told Jose to go to Iloilo with a check for P15,000.00. Jose complied, and at Atty.
Tirols office, Jose saw MONINA, Atty. Tirol and his secretary reading some
documents. MONINA
document, sans revisions. Jose alleged that he drew the P15,000.00 from his personal
funds, subject to reimbursement from and due to an understanding with FRANCISCO.
Dolores Argenal, a househelper at Nelly Garden from May 1944 up to May 1946,
testified that she knew that Pansay was Lourdes nanny; that Lourdes slept in her
parents room; that she had not seen FRANCISCO give special treatment
to Pansay; that there was no unusual relationship between FRANCISCO
and Pansay, and if there was any, Dolores would have easily detected it since she slept
in the same room as Pansay. Dolores further declared that whenever FRANCISCOs
wife was out of town, Pansay would bring Lourdes downstairs at nighttime, and
that Pansay would not sleep in the room where FRANCISCO slept. Finally, Dolores
declared that Pansay stopped working for FRANCISCO and his wife in October, 1944.
The reception of evidence having been concluded, the parties filed their respective

It need be recalled that Judge Catalino Castaeda, Jr. presided over trial up to 21
October 1986, thereby hearing only the testimonies of MONINAs witnesses and about
half of MONINAs testimony on direct examination. Judge Norberto E. Devera, Jr. heard
the rest of MONINA's testimony and those of FRANCISCOs witnesses.
In its decision of 12 November 1990[12] the trial court, through Judge Devera,
dismissed the complaint with costs against MONINA. In the opening paragraph thereof,
it observed:
This is a complaint for recognition of an illegitimate child instituted by plaintiff Monina
Jison against defendant Francisco Jison. This complaint was filed on March 13, 1985 at
the time when plaintiff, reckoned from her death of birth, was already thirty-nine years
old. Noteworthy also is the fact that it was instituted twenty years after the death of
plaintiffs mother, Esperanza Amolar. For the years between plaintiffs birth and
Esperanzas death, no action of any kind was instituted against defendant either by
plaintiff, her mother Esperanza or the latters parents.Neither had plaintiff brought such
an action against defendant immediately upon her mothers death on April 20, 1965,
considering that she was then already nineteen years old or, within a reasonable time
thereafter. Twenty years more had to supervene before this complaint was eventually
The trial court then proceeded to discuss the four issues stipulated at pre-trial,
without, however, summarizing the testimonies of the witnesses nor referring to the
testimonies of the witnesses other than those mentioned in the discussion of the issues.
The trial court resolved the first issue in the negative, holding that it was improbable
for witness Lope Amolar to have noticed that Pansay was pregnant upon seeing her at
the Elena Apartments in November 1945, since Pansay was then only in her first month
of pregnancy; that there was no positive assertion that copulation did indeed take place
between Francisco and Esperanza; and that MONINAs attempt to show opportunity on
the part of FRANCISCO failed to consider that there was also the opportunity for
copulation between Esperanza and one of the several domestic helpers admittedly also
residing at Nellys Garden at that time. The RTC also ruled that the probative value of
the birth and baptismal certificates of MONINA paled in light of jurisprudence, especially
when the misspellings therein were considered.
The trial court likewise resolved the second issue in the negative, finding that
MONINAs evidence thereon may either be one of three categories, namely: hearsay
evidence, incredulous evidence, or self-serving evidence." To the first category
belonged the testimonies of Adela Casabuena and Alfredo Baylosis, whose knowledge
of MONINAs filiation was based, as to the former, on utterances of defendants wife Lilia
and Esperanza allegedly during the heat of their quarrel, while as to the latter, Alfredo's
conclusion was based from the rumors going [around] that plaintiff is defendants
daughter, from his personal observation of plaintiffs facial appearance which he
compared with that of defendants and from the way the two (plaintiff and defendant)
acted and treated each other on one occasion that he had then opportunity to closely
observe them together. To the second category belonged that of Dominador Savariz, as:

At each precise time that Esperanza allegedly visited Nellys Garden and allegedly on
those occasions when defendants wife, Lilia was in Manila, this witness was there and
allegedly heard pieces of conversation between defendant and Esperanza related to the
paternity of the latters child. xxx
The RTC then placed MONINAs testimony regarding the acts of recognition
accorded her by FRANCISCOs relatives under the third category, since the latter were
never presented as witnesses, for which reason the trial court excluded the letters from
FRANCISCOs relatives (Exhs. S to V).
As to the third issue, the trial court held that MONINA was not barred by prescription
for it was of the perception that the benefits of Article 268 accorded to legitimate
children may be availed of or extended to illegitimate children in the same manner as
the Family Code has so provided; or by laches, which is [a] creation of equity applied
only to bring equitable results, and addressed to the sound discretion of the court [and]
the circumstances [here] would show that whether plaintiff filed this case immediately
upon the death of her mother Esperanza in 1965 or twenty years thereafter in 1985, xxx
there seems to be no inequitable result to defendant as related to the situation of
The RTC ruled, however, that MONINA was barred by estoppel by deed because of
the affidavit (Exh. P/Exh. 2) which she signed when she was already twenty-five years,
a professional and under the able guidance of counsel.
Finally, the RTC denied FRANCISCOs claim for damages, finding that MONINA did
not file the complaint with malice, she having been propelled by an honest belief,
founded on probable cause.
MONINA seasonably appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. CV No. 32860)
and sought reversal of the trial courts decision on the grounds that:


Expectedly, FRANCISCO refuted these alleged errors in his Appellees Brief. [14]
In its decision of 27 April 1995, [15] the Court of Appeals initially declared that as no
vested or acquired rights were affected, the instant case was governed by Article 175, in
relation to Articles 172 and 173, of the Family Code. [16] While the Court of Appeals
rejected the certifications issued by the Local Civil Registrar of Dingle, Iloilo (Exhs. E
and F) as FRANCISCO did not sign them, said court focused its discussion on the other
means by which illegitimate filiation could be proved, i.e., the open and continuous
possession of the status of an illegitimate child or, by any other means allowed by the
Rules of Court and special laws, such as the baptismal certificate of the child, a judicial
admission, a family bible wherein the name of the child is entered, common reputation
respecting pedigree, admission by silence, testimonies of witnesses xxx. [17] To the Court
of Appeals, the bottom line issue was whether or not MONINA established her filiation
as FRANCISCOs illegitimate daughter by preponderance of evidence, as to which issue
said court found:
[N]ot just preponderant but overwhelming evidence on record to prove that [MONINA] is
the illegitimate daughter of [FRANCISCO] and that she had continuously enjoyed such
status by direct acts of [FRANCISCO] and/or his relatives.
In so ruling, the Court of Appeals observed that the testimonies of Lope Amolar,
Adela Casabuena and Dominador Savariz were already sufficient to establish
MONINAs filiation:
As adverted to earlier, the trial court discredited Lope Amolars testimony by saying that
Lope could not have detected Esperanzas pregnant state in November, 1945 since at
that point in time [sic] she was still in the initial stage of pregnancy. Apparently, the trial
court paid more emphasis on the date mentioned by Lope Amolar than on the tenor and
import of his testimony.As xxx Lope xxx was asked about an incident that transpired
more than 41 years back, [u]nder the circumstances, it is unreasonable to expect that
Lope could still be dead right on the specific month in 1945 that [he] met and confronted
his sister. At any rate, what is important is not the month that they met but the essence

of his testimony that his sister pointed to their employer [FRANCISCO] as the one
responsible for her pregnancy, and that upon being confronted, [FRANCISCO] assured
him of support for Esperanza and their child. It would appear then that in an attempt to
find fault with Lopes testimony, the trial court has fallen oblivious to the fact that even
[FRANCISCO], in his deposition, did not deny that he was confronted by Lope about
what he had done to Esperanza, during which he unequivocally acknowledged paternity
by assuring Lope of support for both Esperanza and their child.
The Court of Appelas further noted that Casabuena and Savariz testified on
something that they personally observed or witnessed, which matters FRANCISCO did
not deny or refute.Finally, said court aptly held:
Taking into account all the foregoing uncontroverted testimonies xxx let alone such
circumstantial evidence as [MONINAs] Birth Certificates xxx and Baptismal Certificates
which invariably bear the name of [FRANCISCO] as her father, We cannot go along with
the trial courts theory that [MONINAs] illegitimate filiation has not been satisfactorily
Significantly, [MONINAs] testimony finds ample corroboration from [FRANCISCOs]
former employees, Arsenio Duatin, Rudy Tingson and Alfredo Baylosis. xxx
Carefully evaluating appellants evidence on her enjoyment of the status of an
illegitimate daughter of [FRANCISCO] vis-a-vis [FRANCISCOs] controversion thereof,
We find more weight in the former. The positive testimonies of [MONINA] and [her]
witnesses xxx all bearing on [FRANCISCOs] acts and/or conduct indubitably showing
that he had continuously acknowledged [MONINA] as his illegitimate daughter have not
been succeessfully [sic] refuted. In fact, [FRANCISCO] himself, in his deposition, only
casually dismissed [MONINAs] exhaustive and detailed testimony as untrue, and with
respect to those given by [MONINAs] witnesses, he merely explained that he had fired
[them] from their employment. Needless to state, [FRANCISCOs] vague denial is
grossly inadequate to overcome the probative weight of [MONINAs] testimonial
Even the affidavit (Exh 2) which [FRANCISCO] had foisted on the trial court xxx does
not hold sway in the face of [MONINAs] logical explanation that she at first did agree to
sign the affidavit which contained untruthful statements. In fact, she promptly
complained to [FRANCISCO] who, however explained to her that the affidavit was only
for the consumption of his spouse xxx. Further, the testimony of Jose Cruz concerning
the events that led to the execution of the affidavit xxx could not have been true, for as
pointed out by [MONINA], she signed the affidavit xxx almost five months after she had
resigned from the Miller, Cruz & Co. xxx

At any rate, if [MONINA] were not his illegitimate daughter, it would have been uncalled
for, if not absurd, for [FRANCISCO] or his lawyer to have secured [MONINAs] sworn
statement xxxOn the contrary, in asking [MONINA] to sign the said affidavit at the cost
of P15,000, [FRANCISCO] clearly betrayed his intention to conceal or suppress his
paternity of [MONINA]. xxx
In fine, We hold that [MONINAs] filiation as [FRANCISCOs] illegitimate daughter has
been conclusively established by the uncontroverted testimonies of Lope Amolar, Adela
Casabuena and Dominador Savariz to the effect that appellee himself had admitted his
paternity of the appellee, and also by the testimonies of appellant, Arsenio Duatin,
Romeo Bilbao, Rudy Tingson and Alfredo Baylosis unerringly demonstrating that by his
own conduct or overt acts like sending appellant to school, paying for her tuition fees,
school uniforms, books, board and lodging at the Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de
Jesus, defraying appellants hospitalization expenses, providing her with [a] monthly
allowance, paying for the funeral expenses of appellants mother, acknowledging
appellants paternal greetings and calling appellant his Hija or child, instructing his office
personnel to give appellants monthly allowance, recommending appellant for
employment at the Miller, Cruz & Co., allowing appellant to use his house in Bacolod
and paying for her long distance telephone calls, having appellant spend her vacation in
his apartment in Manila and also at his Forbes residence, allowing appellant to use his
surname in her scholastic and other records (Exhs Z, AA, AA-1 to AA-5, W & W-5),
appellee had continuously recognized appellant as his illegitimate daughter. Added to
these are the acts of [FRANCISCOs] relatives acknowledging or treating [MONINA] as
[FRANCISCOs] daughter (Exh U) or as their relative (Exhs T & V). On this point,
witness Zafiro Ledesma, former Mayor of Iloilo City, whose spouse belongs to the Lopez
clan just like [FRANCISCO], testified that [MONINA] has been considered by the
Lopezes as a relative. He identified pictures of the appellee in the company of the
Lopezes (Exhs X-16 & X-17). Another witness, Danthea H. Lopez, whose husband
Eusebio Lopez is appellees first cousin, testified that appellant was introduced to her by
appellees cousin, Remedios Lopez Franco, as the daughter of appellee Francisco
Jison, for which reason, she took her in as [a] secretary in the Merchants Financing
Corporation of which she was the manager, and further allowed her to stay with her
family free of board and lodging. Still on this aspect, Dominador Savariz declared that
sometime in February, 1966 appellees relative, Ms. Remedios Lopez Franco pointed to
appellant as the daughter of appellee Francisco Jison.
Finally, the Certifications of the Local Civil Registrar of Dingle (Exhs E and F) as well as
[MONINAs] Baptismal Certificates (Exhs C & D) which the trial ocurt admitted in
evidence as part of [MONINAs] testimony, may serve as circumstantial evidence to
further reinforce [MONINAs] claim that she is [FRANCISCOs] illegitimate daughter by
Esperanza Amolar.
True it is that a trial judges assessment of the credibility of witnesses is accorded great
respect on appeal. But the rule admits of certain exceptions. One such exception is
where the judge who rendered the judgment was not the one who heard the witnesses
testify. [citations omitted] The other is where the trial court had overlooked,

misunderstood or misappreciated some facts or circumstances of weight and substance

which, if properly considered, might affect the result of the case. [citations omitted] In
the present case, both exceptions obtain. All of [MONINAs] witnesses xxx whose
testimonies were not given credence did not testify before the judge who rendered the
disputed judgment. xxx
The Court of Appeals then decreed:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the judgment of the trial court is SET ASIDE and
another one is hereby entered for appellant Monina Jison, declaring her as the
illegitimate daughter of appellee Francisco Jison, and entitled to all rights and privileges
granted by law.
Costs against appellee.
His motion for reconsideration having been denied by the Court of Appeals in its
resolution of 29 March 1996,[18] FRANCISCO filed the instant petition. He urges us to
reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals, alleging that said court committed errors
of law:


As regards the first error, FRANCISCO insists that taking into account the second
paragraph of MONINAs complaint wherein she claimed that he and Pansay had sexual
relations by about the end of 1945 or the start of 1946, it was physically impossible for
him and Pansay to have had sexual contact which resulted in MONINAs birth,
considering that:
The normal period of human pregnancy is nine (9) months. If as claimed by private
respondent in her complaint that her mother was impregnated by FRANCISCO at the
end of 1945 or the start of 1946, she would have been born sometime in late September
or early October and not August 6, 1946 xxx. The instant case finds factual and legal
parallels in Constantino vs. Mendez,[19] thus: xxx
FRANCISCO further claims that his testimony that Pansay was no longer employed
by him at the time in question was unrebutted, moreover, other men had access
to Pansay during the time of or even after her employment by him.
As to the second error, FRANCISCO submits that MONINAs testimonial evidence is
shaky, contradictory and unreliable, and proceeds to attack the credibility of her
witnesses by claiming, in the main, that: (a) Lope Amolar could not have
detected Pansays pregnancy in November 1945 when they met since she would have
been only one (1) month pregnant then; (b) Dominador Savariz did not in fact witness
the meeting between FRANCISCO, Pansay and MONINA; (c) Zafiro Ledesma had an
ulterior motive in testifying for MONINA as he owned a bank in Iloilo which was then
under Central Bank supervision and MONINA was the Bank Examiner assigned to Iloilo;
and (d) Danthea Lopez was not related to him by blood and whatever favorable
treatment MONINA received from Danthea was due to the formers employment at
Merchants Financing Company and additional services rendered at Kahirup Hotel;
besides, Danthea admitted that she had no personal knowledge as to the issue of
paternity and filiation of the contending parties, hence Sections 39 and 40 [20] of Rule 130
of the Rules of Court did not come into play. FRANCISCO likewise re-echoes the view
of the trial court as regards the testimonies of Adela Casabuena and Alfredo Baylosis.
FRANCISCO further asserts that MONINAs testimony that he answered for her
schooling was self-serving and uncorroborated by any receipt or other documentary
evidence; and assuming he did, such should be interpreted as a manifestation of
kindness shown towards the family of a former household helper.
Anent the treatment given by his relatives to MONINA as his daughter, FRANCISCO
points to the fact that Pansay was the former laundrywoman of Mrs. Franco; MONINA
resided with the families of Eusebio Lopez and Concha Cuaycong because she was in
their employ at Kahirup Hotel and Our Lady of Mercy Hospital, respectively; MONINA
failed to present Mrs. Franco, Eusebio Lopez and Mrs. Cuaycong; and MONINAs
employment at the accounting firm of Miller, Cruz & Co. was attributable to her
educational attainment, there being absolutely no evidence to prove that FRANCISCO

ever facilitated her employment thereat. Hence, in light of Baluyot v. Baluyot, [21] the
quantum of evidence to prove paternity by clear and convincing evidence, not merely a
preponderance thereof, was not met.
With respect to the third assigned error, FRANCISCO argues that the Court of
Appeals reliance on the certifications of the Local Civil Registrar (Exhs. E and F) and
Baptismal Certificates (Exhs. C and D) as circumstantial evidence is misplaced. First,
their genuineness could not be ascertained as the persons who issued them did not
testify. Second, in light ofReyes v. Court of Appeals,[22] the contents of the baptismal
certificates were hearsay, as the data was based only on what was told to the priest
who solemnized the baptism, who likewise was not presented as a witness. Additionally,
the name of the father appearing therein was Franque Jison, which was not
FRANCISCOs name. Third, in both Exhibits E and F, the names of the childs parents
were listed as Frank Heson and Esperanza Amador (not Amolar). FRANCISCO further
points out that in Exhibit F, the status of the child is listed as legitimate, while the fathers
occupation as laborer. Most importantly, there was no showing that FRANCISCO signed
Exhibits E and F or that he was the one who reported the childs birth to the Office of the
Local Civil Registrar. As to MONINAs educational records, FRANCISCO invokes Baas
v. Baas[23] which recognized that school records are prepared by school authorities, not
by putative parents, thus incompetent to prove paternity. And, as to the photographs
presented by MONINA, FRANCISCO cites Colorado v. Court of Appeals, [24] and further
asserts that MONINA did not present any of the persons with whom she is seen in the
pictures to testify thereon; besides these persons were, at best, mere second cousins of
FRANCISCO. He likewise assails the various notes and letters written by his relatives
(Exhs. S to V) as they were not identified by the authors. Finally, he stresses that
MONINA did not testify as to the telephone cards (Exhs. G to L) nor did these reveal the
circumstances surrounding the calls she made from his residence.
Anent the fourth assigned error, FRANCISCO contends that the Court of Appeals
interpretation of MONINAs affidavit of 21 September 1971 ran counter to Dequito v.
Llamas,[25] and overlooked that at the time of execution, MONINA was more than 25
years old and assisted by counsel.
As to the last assigned error, FRANCISCO bewails the Court of Appeals failure to
consider the long and unexplained delay in the filing of the case.
In her comment, MONINA forcefully refuted FRANCISCOs arguments, leading
FRANCISCO to file his reply thereto.
On 20 November 1996, we gave due course to this petition and required the parties
to submit their respective memoranda, which they subsequently did.
A painstaking review of the evidence and arguments fails to support petitioner.
Before addressing the merits of the controversy, we first dispose of preliminary
matters relating to the applicable law and the guiding principles in paternity suits. As to
the former, plainly, the Family Code of the Philippines (Executive Order No. 209)
governs the present controversy. As correctly cited by the Court of Appeals,
Uyguangco[26] served as a judicial confirmation of Article 256 of the Family
Code[27] regarding its retroactive effect unless there be impairment of vested rights,

which does not hold true here, it appearing that neither the putative parent nor the child
has passed away and the former having actually resisted the latters claim below.
Under Article 175 of the Family Code, illegitimate filiation, such as MONINA's, may
be established in the same way and on the same evidence as that of legitimate
children. Article 172 thereof provides the various forms of evidence by which legitimate
filiation is established, thus:
ART. 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of the following:
(1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment; or
(2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private
handwritten instrument signed by the parent concerned.
In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation shall be proved by:
(1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child; or
(2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws.
This Article reproduces, with amendments, Articles 265, 266 and 267 of the Civil
For the success of an action to establish illegitimate filiation under the second
paragraph, which MONINA relies upon given that she has none of the evidence
mentioned in the first paragraph, a high standard of proof [28] is required. Specifically, to
prove open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child, there must
be evidence of the manifestation of the permanent intention of the supposed father to
consider the child as his, by continuous and clear manifestations of parental affection
and care, which cannot be attributed to pure charity.Such acts must be of such a nature
that they reveal not only the conviction of paternity, but also the apparent desire to have
and treat the child as such in all relations in society and in life, not accidentally, but
By continuous is meant uninterrupted and consistent, but does not require any
particular length of time.[30]
The foregoing standard of proof required to establish ones filiation is founded on the
principle that an order for recognition and support may create an unwholesome
atmosphere or may be an irritant in the family or lives of the parties, so that it must be
issued only if paternity or filiation is established by clear and convincing evidence. [31]
The foregoing discussion, however, must be situated within the general rules on
evidence, in light of the burden of proof in civil cases, i.e., preponderance of evidence,
and the shifting of the burden of evidence in such cases. Simply put, he who alleges the
affirmative of the issue has the burden of proof, and upon the plaintiff in a civil case, the
burden of proof never parts.However, in the course of trial in a civil case, once plaintiff
makes out a prima facie case in his favor, the duty or the burden of evidence shifts to

defendant to controvert plaintiffs prima faciecase, otherwise, a verdict must be returned

in favor of plaintiff. Moreover, in civil cases, the party having the burden of proof must
produce a preponderance of evidence thereon, with plaintiff having to rely on the
strength of his own evidence and not upon the weakness of the defendants. The
concept of preponderance of evidence refers to evidence which is of greater weight, or
more convincing, that which is offered in opposition to it; at bottom, it means probability
of truth.[32]
With these in mind, we now proceed to resolve the merits of the instant controversy.
FRANCISCOs arguments in support of his first assigned error deserve scant
consideration. While it has been observed that unlawful intercourse will not be
presumed merely from proof of an opportunity for such indulgence, [33] this does not favor
FRANCISCO. Akin to the crime of rape where, in most instances, the only witnesses to
the felony are the participants in the sexual act themselves, in deciding paternity suits,
the issue of whether sexual intercourse actually occurred inevitably redounds to the
victims or mothers word, as against the accuseds or putative fathers protestations. In
the instant case, MONINAs mother could no longer testify as to the fact of intercourse,
as she had, unfortunately, passed away long before the institution of the complaint for
recognition. But this did not mean that MONINA could no longer prove her filiation. The
fact of her birth and her parentage may be established by evidence other than the
testimony of her mother. The paramount question then is whether MONINAs evidence is
coherent, logical and natural.[34]
The complaint stated that FRANCISCO had carnal knowledge of Pansay by about
the end of 1945. We agree with MONINA that this was broad enough to cover the fourth
quarter of said year, hence her birth on 6 August 1946 could still be attributed to sexual
relations between FRANCISCO and MONINAs mother. In any event, since it was
established that her mother was still in the employ of FRANCISCO at the time MONINA
was conceived as determined by the date of her birth, sexual contact between
FRANCISCO and MONINAs mother was not at all impossible, especially in light of the
overwhelming evidence, as hereafter shown, that FRANCISCO fathered MONINA, has
recognized her as his daughter and that MONINA has been enjoying the open and
continuous possession of the status as FRANCISCOs illegitimate daughter.
We readily conclude that the testimonial evidence offered by MONINA, woven by
her narration of circumstances and events that occurred through the years, concerning
her relationship with FRANCISCO, coupled with the testimonies of her witnesses,
overwhelmingly established the following facts:
1) FRANCISCO is MONINAs father and she was conceived at the time when her
mother was in the employ of the former;
2) FRANCISCO recognized MONINA as his child through his overt acts and
conduct which the Court of Appeals took pains to enumerate, thus:
[L]ike sending appellant to school, paying for her tuition fees, school uniforms,
books, board and lodging at the Colegio del Sagrado de Jesus, defraying

appellants hospitalization expenses, providing her with [a] monthly allowance,

paying for the funeral expenses of appellants mother, acknowledging appellants
paternal greetings and calling appellant his Hija or child, instructing his office
personnel to give appellants monthly allowance, recommending appellant for
employment at the Miller, Cruz & Co., allowing appellant to use his house in
Bacolod and paying for her long distance telephone calls, having appellant
spend her vacation in his apartment in Manila and also at his Forbes residence,
allowing appellant to use his surname in her scholastic and other records (Exhs
Z, AA, AA-1 to AA-5, W & W-5)
3) Such recognition has been consistently shown and manifested throughout the
years publicly,[35] spontaneously, continuously and in an uninterrupted manner.[36]
Accordingly, in light of the totality of the evidence on record, the second assigned
error must fail.
There is some merit, however, in the third assigned error against the probative
value of some of MONINAs documentary evidence.
MONINAs reliance on the certification issued by the Local Civil Registrar concerning
her birth (Exhs. E and F) is clearly misplaced. It is settled that a certificate of live birth
purportedly identifying the putative father is not competent evidence as to the issue of
paternity, when there is no showing that the putative father had a hand in the
preparation of said certificates, and the Local Civil Registrar is devoid of authority to
record the paternity of an illegitimate child upon the information of a third person.
Simply put, if the alleged father did not intervene in the birth certificate, e.g.,
supplying the information himself, the inscription of his name by the mother or doctor or
registrar is null and void; the mere certificate by the registrar without the signature of the
father is not proof of voluntary acknowledgment on the latters part. [38] In like manner,
FRANCISCOs lack of participation in the preparation of the baptismal certificates (Exhs.
C and D) and school records (Exhs. Z and AA) renders these documents incompetent to
prove paternity, the former being competent merely to prove the administration of the
sacrament of baptism on the date so specified. [39] However, despite the inadmissibility of
the school records per se to prove paternity, they may be admitted as part of MONINAs
testimony to corroborate her claim that FRANCISCO spent for her education.
We likewise disagree with the ruling of the Court of Appeals that the certificates
issued by the Local Civil Registrar and the baptismal certificates may be taken as
circumstantial evidence to prove MONINAs filiation. Since they are per se inadmissible
in evidence as proof of such filiation, they cannot be admitted indirectly as
circumstantial evidence to prove the same.
As to Exhibits S, T, U and V, the various notes and letters written by FRANCISCOs
relatives, namely Mike Alano, Emilio Jison, Mariquit Lopez and Fernando Lopez,
respectively, allegedly attesting to MONINAs filiation, while their due execution and
authenticity are not in issue,[40] as MONINA witnessed the authors signing the
documents, nevertheless, under Rule 130, Section 39, the contents of these documents
may not be admitted, there being no showing that the declarants-authors were dead or

unable to testify, neither was the relationship between the declarants and MONINA
shown by evidence other than the documents in question. [41] As to the admissibility of
these documents under Rule 130, Section 40, however, this requires further elaboration.
Rule 130, Section 40, provides:
Section 40. Family reputation or tradition regarding pedigree. -- The reputation or
tradition existing in a family previous to the controversy, in respect to the pedigree of
any one of its members, may be received in evidence if the witness testifying thereon be
also a member of the family, either by consanguinity or affinity. Entries in family bibles or
other family books or charts, engravings on rings, family portraits and the like, may be
received as evidence of pedigree. (underscoring supplied)
It is evident that this provision may be divided into two (2) parts: the portion
containing the first underscored clause which pertains to testimonial evidence, under
which the documents in question may not be admitted as the authors thereof did not
take the witness stand; and the section containing the second underscored
phrase. What must then be ascertained is whether Exhibits S to V, as private
documents, fall within the scope of the clause and the like as qualified by the preceding
phrase [e]ntries in family bibles or other family books or charts, engravings on rights
[and] family portraits.
We hold that the scope of the enumeration contained in the second portion of this
provision, in light of the rule of ejusdem generis, is limited to objects which are
commonly known as family possessions, or those articles which represent, in effect, a
familys joint statement of its belief as to the pedigree of a person. [42] These have been
described as objects openly exhibited and well known to the family, [43] or those which, if
preserved in a family, may be regarded as giving a family tradition. [44] Other examples of
these objects which are regarded as reflective of a familys reputation or tradition
regarding pedigree are inscriptions on tombstones, [45] monuments or coffin plates.[46]
Plainly then, Exhibits S to V, as private documents not constituting "family
possessions" as discussed above, may not be admitted on the basis of Rule 130,
Section 40. Neither may these exhibits be admitted on the basis of Rule 130, Section 41
regarding common reputation,[47] it having been observed that:
[T]he weight of authority appears to be in favor of the theory that it is the general
repute, the common reputation in the family, and not the common reputation in
community, that is a material element of evidence going to establish pedigree. xxx
[Thus] matters of pedigree may be proved by reputation in the family, and not by
reputation in the neighborhood or vicinity, except where the pedigree in question is
marriage which may be proved by common reputation in the community.[48]
Their inadmissibility notwithstanding, Exhibits S to V, inclusive, may, in like manner
as MONINA's school records, properly be admitted as part of her testimony to
strengthen her claim that, indeed, relatives of FRANCISCO recognized her as his

We now direct our attention to MONINAs 21 September 1971 affidavit (Exh. P/Exh.
2), subject of the fourth assigned error, where she attests that FRANCISCO is not her
father.MONINA contends that she signed it under duress, i.e., she was jobless, had no
savings and needed the money to support herself and finish her studies. Moreover, she
signed Exhibit P upon the advice of Atty. Divinagracia that filiation could not be waived
and that FRANCISCOs ploy would boomerang upon him. On the other hand,
FRANCISCO asserts that full credence should be afforded Exhibit P as MONINA was
already 25 years old at the time of its execution and was advised by counsel; further,
being a notarized document, its genuineness and due execution could not be
questioned. He relies on the testimony of Jose Cruz, a partner at the accounting firm of
Miller & Cruz, who declared that he intervened in the matter as MONINA was spreading
rumors about her filiation within the firm, which might have had deleterious effects upon
the relationship between the firm and FRANCISCO.
On this issue, we find for MONINA and agree with the following observations of the
Court of Appeals:
Even the affidavit (Exh 2) which [FRANCISCO] had foisted on the trial court xxx does
not hold sway in the face of [MONINAs] logical explanation that she at first did agree to
sign the affidavit which contained untruthful statements. In fact, she promptly
complained to [FRANCISCO] who, however explained to her that the affidavit was only
for the consumption of his spouse xxx.
At any rate, if [MONINA] were not his illegitimate daughter, it would have been uncalled
for, if not absurd, for [FRANCISCO] or his lawyer to have secured [MONINAs] sworn
statement xxxOn the contrary, in asking [MONINA] to sign the said affidavit at the cost
of P15,000, [FRANCISCO] clearly betrayed his intention to conceal or suppress his
paternity of [MONINA]. xxx
Indeed, if MONINA were truly not FRANCISCOs illegitimate daughter, it would have
been unnecessary for him to have gone to such great lengths in order that MONINA
denounce her filiation. For as clearly established before the trial court and properly
appreciated by the Court of Appeals, MONINA had resigned from Miller & Cruz five (5)
months prior to the execution of the sworn statement in question, hence negating
FRANCISCOs theory of the need to quash rumors circulating within Miller & Cruz
regarding the identity of MONINAs father. Hence, coupled with the assessment of the
credibility of the testimonial evidence of the parties discussed above, it is evident that
the standard to contradict a notarial document, i.e., clear and convincing evidence and
more than merely preponderant,[49] has been met by MONINA.
Plainly then, the burden of evidence fully shifted to FRANCISCO.
Two (2) glaring points in FRANCISCOs defense beg to be addressed: First, that his
testimony was comprised of mere denials, rife with bare, unsubstantiated responses
such as That is not true, I do not believe that, or None that I know. In declining then to
lend credence to FRANCISCOs testimony, we resort to a guiding principle in adjudging
the credibility of a witness and the truthfulness of his statements, laid down as early as

The experience of courts and the general observation of humanity teach us that the
natural limitations of our inventive faculties are such that if a witness undertakes to
fabricate and deliver in court a false narrative containing numerous details, he is almost
certain to fall into fatal inconsistencies, to make statements which can be readily
refuted, or to expose in his demeanor the falsity of his message.
For this reason it will be found that perjurers usually confine themselves to the incidents
immediately related to the principal fact about which they testify, and when asked about
collateral facts by which their truthfulness could be tested, their answers not infrequently
take the stereotyped form of such expressions as I dont know or I dont remember. xxx [50]
Second, the reasons for the dismissals of Tingson, Baylosis and Savariz were
unspecified or likewise unsubstantiated, hence FRANCISCOs attempt to prove illmotive on their part to falsely testify in MONINAs favor may not succeed. As may be
gleaned, the only detail which FRANCISCO could furnish as to the circumstances
surrounding the dismissals of his former employees was that Baylosis allegedly took
advantage of his position while FRANCISCO was in the United States. But aside from
this bare claim, FRANCISCOs account is barren, hence unable to provide the basis for
a finding of bias against FRANCISCO on the part of his former employees.
As to FRANCISCOs other witnesses, nothing substantial could be obtained
either. Nonito Jalandoni avowed that he only came to know of MONINA in June 1988;
that during his employment at Nelly Garden from 1963 up to 1974, he did not recall
ever having seen MONINA there, neither did he know of any instructions from
FRANCISCO nor Mr. Lagarto (FRANCISCOs office manager before passing away)
regarding the disbursement of MONINAs allowance. [52] Teodoro Zulla corroborated
Jalandonis testimony regarding not having seen MONINA at Nelly Garden and
MONINAs allowance; declared that Alfredo Baylosis was dismissed due to
discrepancies discovered after an audit, without any further elaboration, however;but
admitted that he never prepared the vouchers pertaining to FRANCISCOs personal
expenses, merely those intended for one of FRANCISCOs haciendas. [53] Then, Iigo
Superticioso confirmed that according to the report of a certain Mr. Atienza, Baylosis
was dismissed by Mr. Jison for irregularities, while Superticioso was informed by
FRANCISCO that Tingson was dismissed for loss of confidence. Superticioso likewise
denied that MONINA received money from FRANCISCOs office, neither was there a
standing order from FRANCISCO to release funds to her.[54]
It is at once obvious that the testimonies of these witnesses for FRANCISCO are
likewise insufficient to overcome MONINAs evidence. The former merely consist of
denials as regards the latters having gone to Nelly Garden or having received her
allowance from FRANCISCOs office, which, being in the form of negative testimony,
necessarily stand infirm as against positive testimony; [55] bare assertions as regards the
dismissal of Baylosis; ignorance of FRANCISCOs personal expenses incapable of
evincing that FRANCISCO did not provide MONINA with an allowance; or hearsay
evidence as regards the cause for the dismissals of Baylosis and Tingson. But what
then serves as the coup de grce is that despite Superticiosos claim that he did not know
MONINA,[56] when confronted with Exhibit H, a telephone toll ticket indicating that on 18

May 1971, MONINA called a certain Eing at FRANCISCOs office, Superticioso admitted
that his nickname was Iing and that there was no other person named Iing in
FRANCISCOs office.[57]
All told, MONINAs evidence hurdled the high standard of proof required for the
success of an action to establish ones illegitimate filiation when relying upon the
provisions regarding open and continuous possession or any other means allowed by
the Rules of Court and special laws; moreover, MONINA proved her filiation by more
than mere preponderance of evidence.
The last assigned error concerning laches likewise fails to convince. The essential
elements of laches are: (1) conduct on the part of the defendant, or of one under whom
he claims, giving rise to the situation of which the complaint seeks a remedy; (2) delay
in asserting the complainants rights, the complainant having had knowledge or notice of
the defendants conduct as having been afforded an opportunity to institute a suit; (3)
lack of knowledge or notice on the part of the defendant that the complaint would assert
the right in which he bases his suit; and (4) injury or prejudice to the defendant in the
event relief is accorded to the complainant, or the suit is not held barred. [58] The last
element is the origin of the doctrine that stale demands apply only where by reason of
the lapse of time it would be inequitable to allow a party to enforce his legal rights. [59]
As FRANCISCO set up laches as an affirmative defense, it was incumbent upon
him to prove the existence of its elements. However, he only succeeded in showing
MONINAs delay in asserting her claim, but miserably failed to prove the last element. In
any event, it must be stressed that laches is based upon grounds of public policy which
requires, for the peace of society, the discouragement of stale claims, and is principally
a question of the inequity or unfairness of permitting a right or claim to be enforced or
asserted. There is no absolute rule as to what constitutes laches; each case is to be
determined according to its particular circumstances. The question of laches is
addressed to the sound discretion of the court, and since it is an equitable doctrine, its
application is controlled by equitable considerations. It cannot be worked to defeat
justice or to perpetuate fraud and injustice. [60] Since the instant case involves paternity
and filiation, even if illegitimate, MONINA filed her action well within the period granted
her by a positive provision of law. A denial then of her action on ground of laches would
clearly be inequitable and unjust.
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is hereby DENIED and
the challenged decision of the Court of Appeals of 27 April 1995 in CA-G.R. CV No.
32860 is AFFIRMED.
Costs against petitioner.




G.R. No. L-12993

October 28, 1918

JOAQUIN J. DE INCHAUSTI, ET AL., defendants-appellees.
Araneta & Zaragoza and Cohn & Fisher


AL., plaintiff-appellants,


This appeal was taken through bill of exceptions by counsel for the plaintiffs from the
judgment of February 12, 1917, whereby the judge of the Court of First Instance held
that Rosa Viademonte, mother of the plaintiffs, could not have been legitimate daughter
of the deceased Isabel Gonzalez, who, on her death, left some legitimate children. The
court did not deem it necessary to discuss whether the said Rosa Viademonte could be
a daughter of the said Isabel Gonzalez for reason, given in his decision, and held that
the plaintiffs should not be entitled to what they have demanded, and that they should
pay the costs.
Under date of May 12, 1916, the attorney of Rafael J. Ferrer y Viademonte and Maria
Angelina Ferrer y Viademonte with her husband Ricardo Hernandez y Aracil filed a
complaint in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila, praying for the rendition of
a final judgment declaring that Rosa Matilde Viademonte y Gonzalez had the right to
succeed to the inheritance left by Isabel Gonzalez in the same proportion and capacity
as the other four children of the latter, namely, Ramon Viademonte, Rafael C. de
Inchausti, Joaquin C. de Inchausti, and Clotilde de Inchausti de Vidal; that the plaintiffs
Rafael and Maria Angelina Ferrer are the only and legitimate heirs of the deceased
Rosa Viademonte and the only ones entitled to receive her share of the inheritance left
by Isabel Gonzalez, that is, the on-fifth part of the latter's estate; that the defendants
render to the plaintiffs an account of the fruits and administration of all the property from
the moment the said community of property from the moment the said community of
property was constituted among them, and to deliver to the plaintiffs that part which
corresponds to them in their capacity as sole heirs of Rosa Viademonte y Gonzalez,
that is, the one-fifth part of the inheritance with all its accession, fruits, and interests;
and , finally, that the defendants pay the costs. In fact, it is alleged that the plaintiffs are
the legitimate children of Rosa Matilde Viademonte , who in turn died on November 20,
1898, leaving the two plaintiffs as surviving legitimate children that the said Isabel
Gonzalez was married, first to Ramon Martinez Viademonte, and from his marriage two
children, named Roman and Rosa Matilde, and surnamed Viademonte y Gonzalez
survived; that after the death of her husband Ramon Martinez Viademonte, Sr., the

widow, Isabel Gonzalez, contracted a second marriage with Don Jose Joaquin de
Inchausti with whom she had three children named Clotilde, Rafael and Joaquin, all
surnamed Inchausti y Gonzalez, that Ramon Viademonte y Gonzalez Jr., died on
January 1, 1905, without leaving any forced heir, and by a will dated May 216, 1900, he
left his property to the son or sons which Rafael C. de Inchausti might have, and in
default or such child or children, to the same Rafael C. de Inchausti, by a will, left as his
heirs and successors in interest his legitimate son Jose R. de Inchausti, his recognized
natural daughter Maria Consolacion de Inchausti de Ortigas, and his widow Maria
Consolacion Rico y Medina; that on her death, Isabel Gonzalez left a certain property in
her marriage with Jose de Joaquin de Inchausti, which would amount approximately to
P1,000,000 with its accessions, according to present valuation, as shown by the
inventory of said property which makes up Exhibit A, that on January 14, 188, Jose
Joaquin Inchausti y Gonzalez and Clotilde de Inchausti y Gonzalez de Vidal, each of
whom received on-fourth of the estate left by the deceased Isabel Gonzalez, excluding
therefrom Rosa Viademonte, the mother of the plaintiffs., notwithstanding the fact that
she had an equal rights to inherit from Isabel Gonzalez; that since January 188 till his
death, Ramon Viademonte, Jr. had been the possessor and administrator of the fourth
part of the inheritance which he received from his deceased mother Isabel Gonzalez
which portion of the property later came to the possession and control of Rafael C. de
Inchausti, and on the death of the latter, this fourth part of the inheritance came to the
possession of Maria Consolacion Rico de Inchausti, widow of said Rafael C. de
Inchausti, in her capacity as guardian of her son Jose Rafael de Inchausti, and part of it,
to the possession of Maric Consolacion de Inchausti de Ortigas; and that a great part of
the property which the defendants actual possess, came from the young children, who
received from Isabel Gonzalez with the earnings and accessions thereof; these children
have been possessing it pro indiviso or in coownership, in their lifetime, with Rosa
Viademonte while living, and upon the death of the latter, with her heirs, but that, in spite
of the demands made by the plaintiffs for the delivery to them by the defendants of their
corresponding share in the inheritance the latter have always refused to do so.
In his answers, for Clotilde Inchausti de Vial admitted that the plaintiffs are the children
of Rosa viademonte and Benigno Ferrer; that Isabel Gonzalez was married first o
Ramon Martinez de Viademonte, and afterwards to Jose Joaquin de Inchausti; that on
the death of her mother Isabel Gonzalez, on December 13, 1886, her share in the
conjugal partnership amounted to P191, 248.81, and on January 14, 1888, Jose
Joaquin de Inchausti, as executor of his wife, after paying the legacies mentioned in the
testament, paid to this defendant in cash the sum of P46,295.70 as her hereditary
portion in the liquidated property of her mother, and likewise delivered to the other three
sons of said Isabel Gonzalez similar amounts; that, after receiving her share of the
inheritance from her mother, she spent it all, and she no longer has any part of it, nor
has she left any portion of it during the last thirty years, and that neither the plaintiffs nor
their deceased mother had ever possessed or enjoyed the said sum; and denies
generally all the allegations of the complaint which are not admitted, and denies

specially the allegation that the mother of the plaintiffs had ever married with their father
Benigno Ferre, that they and their mother ever had the surname of Viademonte or
Viademonte y Gonzalez and that the mother of the plaintiffs was a daughter of Isabel
As a special defense, she alleged that her possession of the money derived from the
inheritance of her mother had been public, adverse, pacific, continuous and under a
claim of ownership, in good faith and with just title, since January 14, 1888; that never
during the lifetime of the plaintiff's mother did she make any claim or assert any right in
the amount received by this defendant form the inheritance of her deceased mother;
that more than thirty years had elapsed since she received by this defendant inheritance
of her deceased mother; and that the action for the plaintiffs has already prescribed in
accordance with the provisions of article 1955 of the Civil Code and section 38 of the
Code of Civil Procedure they (the plaintiffs) and their mother ever had the surname of
"Viademonte" or Viademonte y Gonzalez," and that the mother of the plaintiffs was a
daughter of Isabel Gonzalez.
As a special defense, she alleged that her possession of the money derived from the
inheritance of her mother had been public, adverse, pacific, continuous, and under a
claim of ownership, in good faith and with just title, since January 14, 1888; that never
during the lifetime of the plaintiffs' mother did she (plaintiff's mother) make any claim or
assert any right in the amount received by this defendant from the inheritance of her
deceased mother; that more than thirty years had elapsed since she received said
amount to the date of the presentation of the complaint; and that the action of the
plaintiff has already prescribed in accordance with the provisions of article 1955 of the
Civil Code and section 38 of the Code of Civil procedure.
Counsel for Maria de la Consolacion de Inchausti, in turn, set up a special defense
similar to that of Clotilde, and alleged that Ramon Martinez Viademonte, son of Isabel
Gonzalez, died in the city of Manila on January 1, 1905, without leaving any heirs, and
bequeathed by will to his brother Rafael C. de Inchausti, father of this defendant, all of
his property, with the exception of some property of little importance which he had
bequeathed to others; but denied that any part of his (Ramon Maritnez Viademonte's)
property thas ever been bequeathed to the children of said Rafael C. de Inchausti; that,
on the death of said Ramon Martinez de Viademonte, his will was allowed to probate in
the Court of First Instance of Manila, and all his remaining property delivered to Rafael
C. de Inchausti with Martinez Viademonte's property received by her father Rafael C. de
Inchausti was a small piece of land situated in Santa Ana and known by the name of
Hacienda de Lamayan; that the title of Rafael C. De Inchausti to said land was
registered by virtue of a decree of the Court of Land Registration, in accordance with
the provisions of the Land Registration Ac; that said land was in turn inherited by this
defendant from her father upon the death of the latter, and that she appears in the
registry of property as owner of the same; that, upon the allowance of said will in the

Court of First Instance of this city, the plaintiffs did not present any claim to the
commissioners appointed to appraise the property, and that the period allowed for the
presentation of such claims expired on October 20, 1914, and that, therefor, the action
now filed by the plaintiffs has prescribed, in accordance with the provisions of section
695 of the Code of Civil Procedure. In similar terms, counsel for Joaquin C. de Inchausti
worded his defense in a written answer as amended under date of September 19,
Counsel for Maria de la Consolacion Rico y Medina in her personal capacity an das a
widow of Rafael Inchausti and also as guardian of her son Jose Rafael de Inchausti y
Rico, in his answer to the foregoing complaint, admits that Ramon Martinez and Isabel
Gonzalez Ferrer, both now deceased, were in their lifetime husband and wife, and were
survived by a child named Ramon Martinez Viademonte y Gonzalez, but denied that the
said Rosa Matilde was a daughter of that marriage or of any of the said spouses; he
also admits that the deceased Ramon Martinez Viademonte, Jr., died in this city on
January 1, 1905, without leaving any forced heir, and by a will dated May 16, 1900, he
left to his maternal brother Rafael C. de Inchausti husband of this defendant, all his
property with the exception of some small legacies, denying at the same time that any
portion of the inheritance of said Ramon Viademonte, Jr., had been left to the children of
the defendant's husband; that Isabel Gonzalez Ferrer, the mother of her husband, who
died on December 13, 1886, executed a will on April 29 of the said year, wherein she
declared that she had a son with her first husband Ramon Martinez Viademonte, and
the name of said on son was also Ramon, and that with her second husband Jose
Joaquin de Inchausti. She Counsel for Maria de la Consolacion Rico y Medina in her
personal capacity and a widow of Rafael Inchausti and also as guardian of her son Jose
Rafael de Inchausti y Rico, in his answer to the foregoing complaint, admits that Ramon
Martinez and Isabel Gonzalez Ferre, both now deceased were in their lifetime husband
and wife, and were survived by a child named Ramon Martinez Viademonte y Gonzalez
but denied that the said Rosa Matilde was a daughter of that marriage or of any of the
said spouses; he also admits that the deceased Ramon Martinez Viademonte, Jr., died
in this city on January 1905, without leaving any forced heir, and by a will dated May
165, 1900, he left to his maternal brother Rafael C. de Inchausti, husband of this
defendant, all his property with the exception of some small legacies, denying at the
same time that any portion of the inheritance of said Ramon Viademonte, Jr., had been
left to the children of the defendant's husband, who died on December 13, 1886,
executed a will on April 29 of the said year, wherein she declared that she had some
with her first husband Ramon Martinez Viademonte and the name of said son was also
Ramon, and that with her second husband Jose Joaquin de Inchausti, she had three
children, and he instituted the said four children as the sole and universal heirs to the
remainder of her property in equal parts, her property being the one half of the conjugal
property had during her marriage with her second husband Inchausti who had survived
her; that no portion of the inheritance from the deceased Isabel Gonzalez y Ferrer was
adjudicated to the mother of the plaintiffs; that the deceased Rafael C. de Inchausti

inherited from the said Ramon Martinez Viademonte, Jr., a parcel of land known by the
name of Hacienda de Lamayan, registered in the name of the deceased Rafael de
Inchausti, which property was, in turn, inherited by the defendant Maria Consolacion de
Inchausti de Ortigas. As a special defense, she alleged that in the said will wherein the
testatrix Isabel Gonzalez name d her sole and universal heirs, Rosa Matilde, the mother
of the plaintiffs, was not designated a heiress or legatee, but on the contrary, was
omitted therefrom, that from the death of the testratrix of this compliant neither Rosa
Matilde nor the plaintiffs presented any claim whatsoever against the omission of Rosa
Matilde from the will of said Isabel Gonzalez for the plaintiffs could have availed
themselves of any right which Rosa Matilde could have had in the property inherited by
the defendant and her son Jose Rafael de Inchausti, derived by law for contesting the
will of Isabel Gonzalez on the ground of prejudicial omission therefrom of Rosa Matilde
expired long before the date on which this compliant was filed; and consequently, said
action has prescribed; that, after the death of Ramon Viademonte, Jr., in February 1905,
probate proceedings were had in the Court of First Instance of Manila, an administrator
of the decedent's estate was appointed, on July 21 of said year the commissioners to
appraise the estate of the deceased were appointed, and after the lapse of the period
fixed for allowing claims against the state, the property of the deceased was adjudicated
to his heir Rafael C. de Inchausti and to the legatees, the plaintiffs not having presented
to the commissioners, any claim against the estate of said deceased has thus
prescribed by the lapse of the period for its presentation, that after the death of Rafael
C. de Inchausti, on October 5, 1913, probate proceedings were had regarding his will in
the Court of First Instance of the city, an executor was appointed, as well as the
commissioners to appraise the estate, and the period within which claims against he
estate might be received has expired, and the plaitniffs have not presented any claim
whatsoever against he estate of said Rafael C. de Inchausti, and finally, she alleged that
he period fixed by law for presenting claims against he estate of said Rafael C. de
Inchausti expired long before the date of the filing of this complaint, and consequently,
the action to assert the claim has already prescribed, and that therefore the defendant
should be absolved from the complaint with the costs against the plaintiffs.
Counsel for the plaintiffs, in his written reply amending his replies of September 20 and
21, 1916, denied generally and specifically each and all of the new facts alleged in the
answers of the defendants, and added that the will of Isabel Gonzalez, dated October
12, 1886, is null and void, inasmuch as Rosa Viademonte Gonzalez and having equal
rights as her other children; that he defendants are estopped form denying that the
surname of Rosa Matilde was a daughter of Isabel Gonzalez with Ramon Martinez
Viademonte; that the plaintiffs are legitimate children of said Rosa Matilde with Benigno
Ferre inasmuch as both their predecessors in interest as well as the present defendants
have previously made declarations and formal affirmations, written and oral, recognizing
that the surname of Rosa Matilde was Viademonte y Gonzalez, that the same was
legitimate daughter of Isabel Gonzalez and Ramon Martinez Viademonte and that the
plaintiffs are legitimate children of Rosa Viademonte y Gonzalez with Benigno Ferrer.

The trial having been held and the evidence of both parties adduced, the trial judge, on
February 12, 1917, rendered a judgment declaring that the plaintiffs receive nothing in
this action and pay the costs. To this decision the plaintiffs excepted and moved for a
new trial, which motion was denied by order of the court on the 27th day of the same
month and year. An exception was taken to the order denying the motion for a new trial,
and the corresponding bill of exception was presented, approved, certified, and
forwarded to the office of the clerk of this court.
The parties are agreed as regard the allegations that the plaintiffs Rafael J. Ferrer and
Maria Angelina Ferrer are children of the deceased Rosa Matilde Viademonte, although
the defendants deny that they (plaintiffs) were legitimate children of their mother
contrary to the affirmation of the plaintiffs to this effect. The evidence of record
concerning this point is of such a character that it is difficult to deduce therefrom a
certain and definite conclusion, because, while it appears that Rosa Matilde Viademonte
has, on various occasions, stated that she was unmarried and never contracted a
marriage, she has made entirely different statements on other occassions. In the
proceedings (Exhibit 8) instituted by the said Rosa Matilde against Rafael C. de
Inchausti, it was disclosed that she had never been married and that if her children with
Benigno Ferrer were baptized as legitimate children, it was so done in order to conceal
her dishonor, such statement being found in a document drawn in 1892 and signed by
her (Exhibit 8, pp. 3-4). On page 159 of the records of the said proceedings (Exhibit 8) it
appears that said Rosa Matilde stated under oath before a judge, on January 21. 1893,
that she had never married, and the same declaration was made by her on April 15th of
the same year in another case. (Exhibit 7, pp. 17-26.)
In a document found on page 166 of said Exhibit 8, executed in 1890, Rosa Matilde
stated that she was a widow; but, in a document executed in 1893, found on page 257
of Exhibit 8, and in a document (Exhibit 1, page 136 of the first document executed in
1894) she made the statement that she was unmarried. Rosa Matilde might have made
these contradictions due perhaps to her extreme poverty, which had prompted her to tell
a lie before the courts of justice, with the sole purpose of recovering the amount claimed
by her as her legacy, while, on the hand, it is undeniable that she could not duly justify
the marriage contracted by her with Benigno Ferrer.
Even if the plaintiffs be considered as legitimate children of Rosa Matilde, Viademonte
in her marriage with Benigno Ferrer, still this action filed by them will not prosper,
inasmuch as the evidence adduced at the trial to prove the origin of the cause of action
referred to shows, in a manner which leaves no room for doubt that Rosa Matilde was
not a legitimate daughter of Isabel Gonzalez, and it follows that her children as well as
her privies have no right to a part of the hereditary property of said Isabel Gonzalez.
Counsel for plaintiffs pretend to establish that Rosa Matilde Viademonte had been
treated and considered as a daughter by Isabel Gonzalez, and as a sister the children

of the latter; that, on one occasion, said Gonzalez remarked that the father of Rosa
Matilde was Ramon Martinez de Viademonte; that Joaquin Matilde in the following
manner: "To my dear and unforgettable sister Rosa." that when Rosa Matilde entered
the College de la Compania de Jesus, her name as recorded in the registry of that
college was Rosa Matilde Viademonte, and her expenses were defrayed by Rafael de
Inchausti and in the same registry said Rafael de Inchausti appears as brother of Rosa;
that when Rosa entered the Colegio de Santa Isabel, she used the same name and
surname; that Ramon Martinez de Viademonte, Jr., presented Rosa Matilde also sister,
saying that the father of the same was also his father named Ramon Martinez de
Viademonte, while Rosa Matilde has always been known by the same name and
surname during the time she was studying in the Colegio de Luisa Oda de Birgi; that
Clotilde de Inchausti called Rosa Matilde her sister in her letters to Rafael Ripol, and
that Joaquin de Inchausti himself in the codicil of his testament designates Rosa Matilde
with the surname of Viademonte.
From all the evidence adduced, the slightest indication cannot be inferred that Rosa
Matilde was born during the marriage of Ramon Martinez de Viademonte, Sr., with
Isabel Gonzalez or within the 300 days after the dissolution of their marriage by the
death of the husband, nor has the said Ramon Martinez de Viademonte, Sr., in his
lifetime recognized said Rosa Matilde as his daughter. If Rosa Matilde is a legitimate
daughter of Isabel Gonzalez, it follows that she was also a daughter of Isabel's
husband, Ramon Martinez de Viademonte, under the assumption that she was born in
the marriage of both or at a time prior or subsequent to that of the celebration of the
marriage, as fixed by law. (Arts. 119, 120, 121, and 122 of the Civil Code.)
Legitimate filiation presupposes the existence of marriage contracted by the presumed
parents in accordance with law, and therefore a person can not be declared to be a
legitimate daughter of her mother, without presuming at the same time that she was
born in the marriage of this mother with the presumed father, who, in his lifetime, and
without his consent, could not have been considered as father of a child that was not
conceived by his own wife, because the mere fact of having used his surname after his
death, without his assent or consent, does not constitute a proof of filiation of parternity.
In this decision it is to be determined whether Rosa Matilde was born in the lifetime of
Ramon Martinez de viademonte to decide on the truth of the assertion made by the
plaintiffs that their predecessor in interest was a legitimate daughter of the said spouses
Viademonte and Gonzalez.
At the trial, the death certificate of Ramon Martinez de Viademonte, first husband of
Isabel Gonzalez, was not presented in evidence; but it is uncontroverted that he died on
September 30, 1836; as corroborated by the accountant of the naval division of Puerto
Galkera in charge of the Leiutenant of the Spanish Navy, Jose Atienza, saying that the
Lieutenant, who had the rank of captain in the navy, Ramon Viademonte, died on

September 30, 1836, as appears in the list of officers found in the payroll under his
custody, having paid till the date of the death of said Viademonte all his salaries
corresponding to him as such officer, and further saying that, by request of the widow of
the deceased, he issued the proper certificate on December 31, 1836.
So certain is the death of said Ramon Martinez de Viademonte that his widow Isabel
Gonzalez on January 31, 1837, applied to the Government for a pension sufficient to
cover her widowhood expenses, alleging that she was a widow with children of the
deceased. The application was made in a paper stamped as of the years 1836 and
1837, a fact which proves the authenticity of the document written in a stamped paper,
and the presentation of said application by the widow demonstrates the fact that her
husband really died, wherefore she asked for a pension, because she would have been
held responsible if, in truth and in fact, her husband had been living and not dead as
she claimed.
The said documents, as constituting a supplementary proof of the death of the
deceased Ramon Martinez, de Viademonte, appear to be corroborated by an entry in a
notebook belonging to Ramon Viademonte, Jr. wherein it is stated that his mother was
married in 1833 to Ramon Martinez de Viademonte who died on September 30, 1836,
at the age of 33 years, being then a major in the naval division assigned at Puerto
Galera, Mindoro.
Notwithstanding the fact that the death certificate of said Ramon Martinez de
Viademonte, first husband of Isabel Gonzalez was not presented in evidence, still the
documentary and circumstantial evidence of record, especially the fact of the marriage
of his widow Isabel Gonzalez with Jose Joaquin de Inchausti, some years after the
death of Viademonte died before that marriage or on September 30. 1836. If this be
true, let us see on what day Rosa Matilde was born,, and in this way it will be shown
that she did not have the status of a legitimate child of those spouses, even after the
dissolution of their marriage by the death of the husband.
It appears in the certificate that on September 1, 1852, a child three days old, born of
unknown parents, was baptized in the Cathedral Church of this city, and given the name
of Rosa Matilde Robles. In view of the fact that the plaintiffs have not shown that such
baptismal certificate was not that of their mother Rosa Matilde, it remains proven
therefore that said certificate was presented as exhibit by Rafael C. de Inchausti in a
case concerning the delivery of a legacy instituted against Rosa Matilde, who, instead of
denying that such a baptismal certificate referred to her, admitted that such certificate
might have been hers.
On Page 9 of the day-book which Ramon Martinez de Viademonte, Jr., kept during his
lifetime, appears a memorandum which says: On September 1, 1862, seven o'clock in
the evening a children three days old named Rosa Matilde Robles, according to the

baptismal certificate issued by the acting rector Don Ramon Fernandez of the Cathedral
Church of Manila, was delivered to my mother; this child was baptized by the priest Don
Remegio Rodriguez with the authority of said rector, and according to the baptismal
certificate, it was a child of unknown parents." This memorandum agrees with the
above-mentioned baptismal certificate of Rosa Matilde Robles.
Notwithstanding the argument of counsel for the appellants Joaquin de Inchausti stated
that one day he was assured by his half-brother Ramon Martinez Viademonte that Rosa
Matilde was not his sister, but that she was only a mere protegee and that her true
name was Rosa Matilde Robles, and that on that occasion the said brother showed him
the certificate of birth of which Exhibit 6 is a copy, which he took from the parochial
In view of the fact that Ramon Martinez Viademonte is now dead, the testimony of
Joaquin Jose de Inchausti referring to the said deceased is admissible, for they are
members of the same family, in accordance with the provisions of section 281 of Act No.
190, and consequently, the conclusion is that Rosa Matilde is the same Rosa Matilde
Robels which is mentioned in Exhibit 6 and because she was born in 1852, in no
manner could her be legitimate daughter of Ramon Viademonte and Isabel Gonzalez
whose marriage was dissolved in 18365 by the death of the husband. Moreover, the
witness Pilar Abarca presented by the plaintiffs testified that she had known Rosa
Matilde in the Colegio de Santa Isabel in 1863, she being then 20 years old and Rosa, 9
years. If the witness Abarca was 73 years old on the date of giving this testimony in
1916, it follows that Rosa Matilde was born in 1854, and that therefore she could not be
a daughter of Ramon Martinez de Viademonte who died in 1836.
Notwithstanding the attempt of the plaintiffs to impugn the testimony of said witness,
said testimony is admissible according to section 263 of the Code of civil Procedure
which provides the when part of an act, declaration conservation, or writing is given in
evidence by one party, the whole of the same subject may be inquired into by the other.
It is true that the said witness was not presented to prove that the date of Rosa Matildes
birth but the fact is that the age of the child is 9 years old as well as that of a youth 19 or
22 years of age can be known from the appearance of the child, and even if, in fixing
the age of Rosa Matilde, as mistake has been made, said mistake could not be such as
to reduce her true age by 10 years; but even then and even supposing still that Rosa
Matilde was 20 years old in 1863, the fact remains that she must have been born in
1843, and so she could not have been a daughter of Ramon Martinez de Viademonte,
Sr. that the age of a child 9 years old as well as that of a youth 19 or 22 years of age
can be known from the appearance of the child, and even if, in fixing the age of Rosa
Matilde, a mistake has been made, said mistake could not be such as to reduce her true
age by 10 years; but even then and even supposing still that Rosa Matilde was 20 years
old in 1863, the fact remains that she must have been born in 1843, and so could not
have been a daugther of Ramon Martinez de Viademonte, Sr.

Juan Ferrer, another witness for the plaintiffs, testified that Benigno Ferrer and Rosa
Matilde married in 1872, that Rosa Matilde must have been then between 22 and 30
years of age. It is inferred from this testimony that, if Rosa Matilde could no be over 30
years old in 1872, she could not have been born before 1842, and much less in 1836 or
The document No. 663, page 257 of Exhibit 8, appears to have been executed by Rosa
Matilde in 1893, wherein she declared to the notary public before whom the document
was executed that she was then 39 years of age. If she was 39 years old in 1893, she
could not have been born in 1854 and much less in 1836 and 1837.
In Exhibit 1, page 135, which is a certified copy of a discharge in full executed by Rosa
Matilde in 1894 in favor of Joaquin Jose de Inchausti, it is said that the maker of the
deed was 40 years old, thus corroborating ina convincing manner wha