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Republic of the Philippines



G.R. Nos. 108135-36 September 30, 1999




Before us is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the decision

of the Sandiganbayan dated September 11, 1992 in Criminal Case
Nos. 14208-14209 finding petitioner Potenciana M. Evangelista
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section 268,
paragraph 4 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) and
Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft
and Corrupt Practices Act.

Tanduay Distillery Inc., is a company engaged in the manufacture

and sale of rum, gin, vodka and other spirits. On September 17,
1987, Tanduay filed with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) an
application for tax credit in the sum of P180,701,682.00
representing alleged erroneous payments for ad valorem taxes
covering the period January 1, 1986 to August 31, 1987. Attached
to the application was a schedule of ad valorem taxes 1 allegedly
paid by Tanduay with supporting confirmation receipts. The
application was filed with the Specific Tax Office of the BIR headed
by Aquilino T. Larin.

Tanduay anchored its claim for tax credit on the ground that it is a
rectifier which is liable for specific taxes and not ad valorem taxes,
citing a BIR ruling in a case involving Distilleria Limtuaco and Co.
Inc. The ruling states that rectifiers are considered as extensions of
distillers inasmuch as they purchase alcohol from distillers without
prepayment of the specific tax. Since specific tax should be paid by
the distiller before its removal from the place of production, the
burden of payment therefor is shifted to and assumed by the
In its application for tax credit, Tanduay stated that it is a rectifier
with Assessment No. A-1-8 and a compounder with Assessment No.
A-1-8-A, although compounding is only incidental to rectification of
its products. Consequently, before the tax credit being sought by
Tanduay could be granted, the BIR's Tax and Alcohol Division,
headed by Teodoro D. Pareño, had to verify first whether Tanduay's
products are distilled spirits or compounded liquor based on how
they are manufactured. To do this, Justino Galban, Head of the
Compounders, Rectifiers and Repackers Section under the Alcohol
and Tax Division, had to look into the technical process for the
manufacture of rum, gin, vodka and other intoxicating beverages of
Tanduay. If it is determined that the products can be properly
classified as distilled spirits based on how they are manufactured,
then Tanduay could properly claim for a tax credit on its payments
of ad valorem taxes in accordance with Section 121 of the NIRC and
the Limtuaco ruling that rectifiers, as an extension of distillers, are
subject to specific and not ad valorem taxes. Finally, it had to be
verified by the Revenue Accounting Division (RAD) headed by
petitioner Potenciana M. Evangelista whether Tanduay actually paid
the P180,701,682.00 as ad valorem taxes to the BIR which it claims
it paid.1âwphi1.nêt

On September 23, 1987, Larin, in a marginal handwritten note,

directed Pareño to prepare a request to the Revenue Accounting
Division (RAD) for the authentication of the confirmation receipts
covering the tax payments sought to be credited. Accordingly, a
memorandum, signed by Larin, was sent to the RAD headed by
petitioner Evangelista requesting verification and authentication
whether the amounts reflected in the confirmation receipts
submitted by Tanduay were actually paid to the BIR as ad
valorem taxes.

Larin's a Memorandum was received by the Records and

Administrative Section (RAS), a unit under RAD, on September 24,
1987. In due course, RAS made the necessary verification on the
basis of its records and prepared the corresponding verification 2 in
the form of a 1st Indorsement to the Specific Tax Office on
September 25, 1987. The indorsement, which was signed by
petitioner Evangelista, contained a listing of two hundred thirty
seven (237) confirmation receipts in various amounts under two
categories designated with Tax Numeric Code (TNC) 3011-0011 and
TNC 0000-0000. A total of 149 confirmation receipts covering
P102,519,100.00 were listed as tax payments under TNC 3011-
0011 and a total of 88 confirmation receipts covering
P78,182,582.00 were listed as tax receipts under TNC 0000-0000.

A memorandum was thereafter prepared by Galban as Chief of the

Compounders and Rectifier's Section addressed to Pareño describing
the technical aspects of Tanduay's manufacturing process. Galban
made no recommendation, however, as to the validity of Tanduay's
claim. On October 13, 1987, Pareño sent a memorandum to Larin
recommending that the request for tax credit of Tanduay Distillery,
Inc. be given due course on the ground that Tanduay as a rectifier
is an extension of the distiller and its products are subject of the
payment of specific tax and not ad valorem tax. On same date,
Larin signed a memorandum for the Deputy Commissioner of the
BIR recommending that the claim of Tanduay Distillery Inc., for the
alleged erroneous payment of ad valorem taxes in the amount of
P180,701,682.00 be tax credited as in the case of Distilleria
Limtuaco and Co. Inc.

On October 13, 1987, Eufracio D. Santos, Deputy Commissioner of

the BIR, approved the recommendation made by Larin in his
memorandum and thereafter signed Tax Credit Memo No. 5177 in
the amount of P180,701,682.00 in favor of Tanduay Distillery, Inc.
The approval was based on the following:

1. The memorandum of the Assistant

Commissioner for Specific Tax Office, Aquilino
T. Larin;

2. The memorandum of the Chief of Alcohol

Division, Teodoro D. Pareño; and

3. The 1st indorsement/certification issued by

Chief of Revenue Accounting Division, herein
petitioner Potenciano M. Evangelista.3

Immediately after the approval of Tax Credit Memo No. 5177,

Tanduay availed of the tax credit on various dates covering the
period from October 19, 1987 to June 20, 1988. 4 However, on June
22, 1988, a certain Ruperto Lim wrote a letter-complaint to BIR
Commissioner Bienvenido Tan, Jr. alleging that the grant of Tax
Credit Memo No. 5177 in favor of Tanduay was irregular and
anomalous. More specifically, Lim pointed out that Tanduay had
paid only P73,614,287.20 5 by way of ad valorem taxes to the BIR
from January 1, 1986 to August 31, 1987 and not P180,701,682.00
as claimed. Deputy Commissioner Santos, in approving TCM No.
5177, failed to notice that petitioner's 1st indorsement contained a
listing of TNC indicating tax payments received from Tanduay under
two categories, i.e., TNC 3011-0011 and TNC 0000-0000. As earlier
mentioned, a total of 149 confirmation receipts were listed as tax
payments under TNC 3011-0011 while a total of 88 confirmation
receipts were listed as tax payments under TNC 0000-0000. Deputy
Commissioner Santos admitted that while he knew that there was a
tax numeric code for the kind of tax paid, he did not know which
particular numbers corresponded to a particular tax revenue. These
codes are contained in the "Handbook of Tax Numeric Code of the
Revenue Sources," wherein it is stated that TNC No. 3011-0011
stands for specific tax on domestic and distilled spirits, TNC No.
3023-2001 for ad valorem on compounded liquors and TNC No.
0000-0000 for unclassified taxes. Had Deputy Commissioner Santos
looked these up in the Handbook, he would have known that
Tanduay was not entitled to the whole sum of P180,701,682.00.
Santos, however, contended that the practice of using numeric tax
codes is for the purpose of checking remittances of payments by the
banks which properly falls under the jurisdiction of the RAD. He
claimed that he merely relied on the certification of his
subordinates, inasmuch as his work was merely confirmational.

On January 3, 1990, two informations were filed with the

Sandiganbayan against Aquilino T. Larin, Teodoro D. Pareño, Justino
E. Galban, Jr. and petitioner Potenciana M. Evangelista for violation
of Section 268, Par. 4 of the National Internal Revenue Code
(NIRC), docketed as Criminal Case No. 14208, and for violation of
Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act, docketed as Criminal Case No. 14209.

Sec. 268, par. 4 of the NIRC reads:

Sec. 268. Violations committed by government

enforcement officers — Every official agent or employee
of the Bureau of Internal Revenue or any other agency of
the government charged with the enforcement of the
provisions of this Code, who is guilty of any of the
offenses herein below specified, shall upon conviction for
each act or omission, be fined in the sum of not less than
five thousand pesos but not more than fifty thousand
pesos or imprisoned for a term of not less than one year
but not more than ten years or both;

xxx xxx xxx

4. Those who conspire or collude with one another or

others to defraud the revenues or otherwise violate the
provisions of this Code.

On the other hand, Section 3 (e) of R.A. No. 3019 of the Anti-Graft
and Corrupt Practices Act states:

Sec. 3. Corrupt Practices of Public Officers — in addition

to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized
by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt
practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to
be unlawful;
xxx xxx xxx

e. Causing any undue injury to any party including the

government, or giving any private party any unwarranted
benefit, advantage or preference in the discharge of his
official administrative or judicial functions through
manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable

Upon arraignment, all the accused including petitioner Evangelista

pleaded not guilty. They raised the defense that no undue injury
had been caused to the government and no unwarranted benefits
had been accorded to Tanduay inasmuch as Tanduay had already
fully reimbursed the BIR of the availments found to have been
unjustified or improper in the amount of P73,000,000.00 and had,
additionally paid P11,000,000.00 by way of penalties, or a total of

Petitioner Evangelista, for her part, did not deny having issued the
1st indorsement. However, instead of taking the witness stand, she,
like her three co-accused, refused to testify and opted to present as
evidence in her behalf the following paragraphs from her letter of
explanation dated November 21, 1988 to BIR Commissioner
Bienvenido Tan which read as follows:

Confirmation receipts do not contain any information as

to the kind of tax or TNC. Thus, there can never be any
verification and certification as to kind of tax. What can
only be verified/certified by this Division as required in
existing orders is the fact that the total amount of each
CR were remitted to the BIR by the collecting bank on the
given date.

xxx xxx xxx

In the case of Tanduay Distillery. I did not know at the

time I signed the indorsement what the TNC therein
stand for because I was informing (sic) was that
payments were received by BIR. I just became curious to
know its meaning and verify the same from the
Handbook of Tax Numeric Codes of Revenue Sources,
1985 when a certain Atty. Villavicencio called me up to
his Office at the Internal Security Division some two
weeks ago to ask questions on the subject indorsement.

In her letter, petitioner also categorically stated that, "Upon signing

of this indorsement/certification I or whoever is head of this
Division, for that matter, do not know what TNC stands for." 6
On September 18, 1992, Aquilino T. Larin, Teodoro D. Pareño and
petitioner Potenciana M. Evangelista were convicted and sentenced
to suffer the penalty of imprisonment for an indeterminate period of
4 years, 8 months and 1 day by way of minimum to 6 years and 8
months by way of maximum, and a fine of Twenty Thousand Pesos
(P20,000.00) each in Criminal Case No. 14208; while in Criminal
Case No. 124209, Aquilino T. Larin, Teodoro D. Pareño and
petitioner Potenciana M. Evangelista were convicted and sentenced
to suffer imprisonment for an indeterminate period ranging from a
minimum of 9 years and 1 month to a maximum of 12 years. The
penalty of perpetual disqualification from public office was likewise
imposed upon the three accused. Justino Galban was acquitted
inasmuch as his only participation was the preparation of the
memorandum describing Tanduay's manufacturing process as
rectifier and compounder of liquors.

Petitioner Evangelista was convicted on the basis of the 1st

indorsement issued by her which the Sandiganbayan condemned as
a "studied non-response" to Larin's query as to how much the BIR
actually received as payment for ad valorem taxes from Tanduay.
The Sandiganbayan held that Evangelista's indorsement could have
been explicitly and directly responsive because Larin's memo was
clear and the purpose for his query was specific: How much was
paid by Tanduay to the BIR by way of ad valorem taxes for the
purpose of computing the amount properly creditable to Tanduay
for refund? However, Evangelista's response merely enumerated a
set of confirmation receipts with the corresponding TNC numbers
despite the fact that several employees of the Bureau were not well
acquainted with the use and meaning of TNCs. Petitioner's
ambiguous reply, according to the Sandiganbayan, permitted her
superiors to equivocate as to its meaning which resulted in the
improper grant of tax credits to Tanduay. The Sandiganbayan thus
concluded that the gross negligence of the petitioner and its
confluence with the acts of accused Larin and Pareño in
recommending the approval of Tanduay's application for tax credit
adequately proved conspiracy among them.

Her motion for reconsideration having been denied by the

Sandiganbayan, Evangelista filed the instant petition contending
that the 1st indorsement was issued after proper verification of the
data given to the RAD against available records of the division.
Petitioner claims the certification issued was patterned after the
prescribed format as a routine response to an official request of the
Assistant Commissioner for Excise Tax Office. Petitioner insists that
she could not be held liable because there was no mention in the
1st indorsement that the payments made by Tanduay Distillery Inc.
were actually for ad valorem taxes for which it could claim tax credit
in the sum of P180,701,682.00.
On November 29, 1993, the Office of the Solicitor General filed a
manifestation and motion in lieu of comment recommending the
acquittal of petitioner. The Manifestation stated that: "Although
petitioner herself may not have known the exact kind of taxes
covered by the TNC reflected in her 1st Indorsement, this does not
in any way make her guilty of gross negligence. Her duty was purely
ministerial in nature, that is, to report all data pertinent to
Tanduay's tax payments on file with RAD. She was not duty-bound
to report her personal perception, understanding or conclusion
regarding the significance or meaning of the data she had reported.
It was Larin and Pareño's duty to do so." 7

In view of the position taken by the Office of the Solicitor General,

the Ombudsman and the Office of the Special Prosecutor filed a
motion for leave of court to file comment which was granted. In its
comment, the Office of the Ombudsman and the Office of the
Special Prosecutor sought petitioner's conviction on the ground that
the decision of the Sandiganbayan on the two cases filed against
her is in accord with applicable jurisprudence and supported by
factual evidence.

We find no reason to overturn petitioner's conviction for gross


Before 1969, internal revenue taxes were designated by descriptive

words. This, however, proved to be unsatisfactory inasmuch as tax
data could not easily be stored and processed by the computer,
resulting in delayed compilation and retrieval of the data.

To facilitate the preparation of statistical and other management

reports, the BIR adopted the Tax Numeric Code System under which
a numeric code stands for kinds or classes of tax and their
applicable rate. For this purpose, a "Handbook on Tax Numeric
Codes of the Revenue Sources," was issued for BIR use. 8 Under
this system, TNC No. 3011-0011 was made to stand for "specific tax
on domestic distilled spirits," 9 TNC No. 3023-2001 for ad
valorem on compounded liquors, 10 and TNC No. 0000-0000 for
unclassified taxes. Under various BIR Revenue Memorandum Orders
and Circulars, the use of TNC instead of word descriptions to
identify and record tax payments was made mandatory. 11 It may
not be amiss to note at this point however that despite the fact that
the use of TNC to identify and record tax payments was made
mandatory, it had become obvious during trial that not all
employees of the BIR were well acquainted with the meanings of
the TNC. Even Deputy Commissioner Santos who approved the Tax
Credit Memo and the BIR Commissioner himself, Bienvenido Tan,
were not familiar with the corresponding TNC numbers for a
particular revenue. Not surprisingly, petitioner and the three other
accused claimed they too were unaware of the meaning of TNC.

In the case at bar, petitioner is the head of the Revenue Accounting

Division (RAD). Under Revenue Administrative Order No. 5-84, one
of the functions of the said division is to "Confirm and certify as to
the correctness of payment and other informations verified from
accounting records and documents." As head of the RAD, petitioner
holds an extremely sensitive position, whose certification to the
payments received by the Bureau from taxpayers determines
whether the taxpayer is entitled to a refund or a tax credit. Despite
her sensitive position, however, and despite her own admission
from the pleadings that the use of TNC instead of word descriptions
to identify and record tax payments were made mandatory since
1969, petitioner claims that she practically had no idea what the
TNC meant until a year after having issued the 1st indorsement,
when investigation regarding the tax credits given to Tanduay was
well under way. Petitioner further claims that there was no way she
could have verified whether the payments made by Tanduay were
for ad valorem taxes because the confirmation receipts do not
contain any information as to the kind of tax paid by the taxpayer
nor the requisite TNC.

We are not impressed.

A payment order, which contains the particular kind of tax to be

paid and the corresponding TNC, is issued to a taxpayer to be
presented by him to the bank where he pays his taxes. When the
payment order is presented, a confirmation receipt is issued by the
bank evidencing payment of the tax. Although it is not stated in the
confirmation receipts what kind of tax is being paid by the taxpayer
nor the TNC, the BIR's copy of the confirmation receipt is usually
attached to the original copy of the Payment Order (PO) which in
turn specifies the kind of tax paid and the TNC. Since petitioner's
division is the repository of all accounting records of the Bureau, it
should have copies of the payment orders for the corresponding
confirmation receipts and therefore petitioner could have easily
verified what kind of taxes were covered by the payments made by
Tanduay from January 1, 1986 to August 31, 1987. Moreover,
petitioner's claim that there were no pertinent records, codes and
references that could be used to distinguish the confirmation
receipts as either for ad valorem or specific tax is belied by the
denial of her immediate superior, Melchor Ramos, who stated that
the RAD has in its possession the monthly Alpha List of Taxpayers
issued in 1986 as well as the collection report by agent banks
(Abstract of Collection thru Banks) for the same year which were
prepared by the Revenue Information System Service, Inc. (RISSI)
based on the confirmation receipts transmitted to them by the field
offices and the PO/CR Monitoring Division. Petitioner's immediate
superior added that these records contain the TNC of every receipt
listed therein and thus it would be very easy to identify the kind of
tax paid by the taxpayer by simply referring to the Handbook on
Numeric Tax Code. 12

Clearly, petitioner's alleged lack of knowledge as to what TNC

meant was grossly inexcusable if not improbable considering that
the use of TNC to record tax payments received by the Bureau is
directly connected with the duties of her office. If there is anyone in
the. Bureau who was expected to have a working knowledge of the
TNC, it should have been petitioner because the use of TNC was
precisely meant to facilitate the recording of the tax payments
received by the Bureau for verification purposes. Petitioner as head
of the Revenue Accounting Division was called upon to verify
whether the schedule of payments submitted by Tanduay in support
of its application for tax credit were payments for ad valorem taxes.
Petitioner had submitted a list of payments made by Tanduay with
the corresponding bank account nos., amounts and TNC Nos., as
required by the Memorandum Circular. But, as admitted by
petitioner herself, she had not the slightest idea what TNC meant,
despite the fact that they are mandated by the Bureau to use it
accordingly in identifying and recording tax payments.

We have a situation where the Head of the Division, which is in

charge of recording tax payments received by the Bureau and
whose certification is relied upon by the Bureau in the granting of
tax credits, does not even know or care to know what are the kind
of tax payments received by the Bureau. For all intents and
purposes, petitioner issued an indorsement certifying a whole
schedule of payments made by the taxpayer without a specification
of the kinds of taxes since she did not have any idea what TNC
meant. It could not even be said that petitioner made an error of
judgment in answering Larin's query with an enumeration of TNCs
instead of opting for a more explicit response since petitioner, not
having any idea as to what the TNCs meant, could not have
couched the statement of her 1st Indorsement in any other way.
She could not have made a more explicit answer to the query of
Larin inasmuch as she did not even know or care to find out
whether the BIR actually received payments for ad valoremtaxes
from Tanduay. Clearly, there is no doubt that petitioner was grossly
negligent in discharging her duties. As defined in the case
of Alejandro v. People, 13 gross negligence is "negligence
characterized by want of even slight care, acting or omitting to act
in a situation where there is a duty to act, not inadvertently but
willfully and intentionally with a conscious indifference to
consequences insofar as other persons may be affected. It is the
omission of that care which even inattentive and thoughtless men
never fail to take on their own property." The test to determine the
existence of negligence in a particular case may be stated in this
wise: "Did the defendant in doing the negligent act use that
reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily prudent person
would have used in the same situation? If not, then he is guilty of
negligence. The law here in effect adopts the standard supposed to
be exercised by the discreet paterfamilias of Roman Law. The
existence of negligence in a given case is not determined by
reference to the personal judgment of the actor in the situation
before him. The law considers what would be reckless, blameworthy
or negligent in the man of ordinary intelligence and prudence and
determines liability by that." 14

Petitioner asserts that there was nothing untruthful in the

certification she issued regarding the tax payments received by the
BIR from Tanduay. Petitioner further claims that the first
endorsement was patterned after the standard format used by the
division whenever a request is made for verification of payments
and she could not be faulted for adhering to the mandate of the
various memoranda issued regarding the use of TNCs.

Admittedly, the use of TNCs to record tax payments is mandated by

various memoranda issued by the Bureau. Petitioner, however, as
previously stated, never exerted any effort to find out what the
TNCs meant. Had she been more circumspect, she would have
appreciated the significance of her certification. She would have
known that Tanduay was not entitled to the whole amount of
P180,701,682.00 it was claiming as tax credit. She would have been
forewarned of the implied consequences of her certification and
could have accordingly informed her superiors and her co-accused
whether Tanduay was really entitled to a tax credit at all or not.
That her co-accused were mandated to know what TNC meant is
beside the point. Petitioner, by the position she occupies, is
mandated to know the kind of taxes for which payment is made by
the taxpayer claiming a refund before she issues a certification
because it is on the basis of this certification that it is determined
whether tax credits should be granted at all. Certainly, the
petitioner held a sensitive position with a function that could hardly
be classified as ministerial. As head of the division which is
supposedly in charge of encoding payment received by the Bureau
from taxpayers and who is supposedly expected more than anyone
to know the meaning of the TNC, petitioner issued an indorsement
containing cryptic codes which she admittedly did not know the
meaning of and expecting her superiors, who were not even in
charge of recording tax payments and who relied on her
certification, to be familiar with.
Petitioner cannot take refuge in the claim that the 1st indorsement
was issued in the usual format as a routine response to an official
request of the Commissioner of Excise Tax after it has verified the
data given to them against available records of the division. We fully
concur with the observation of the Sandiganbayan that —

to begin with, nobody has demonstrated that the text of

the first indorsement of the Tanduay matter and on the
Limtuaco matter were the correct responses to the query
made by Larin. As aforesaid, nobody, whether for or from
the accused, testified.

And since nobody actually testified on any of the

documents of the accused — not even her boss, Assistant
Commissioner Melchor S. Ramos — so that a full
clarification could be had thereon, this court cannot be
deemed to accept his written statements unqualifiedly.

While petitioner was grossly negligent in her duties for which she
could be held liable under R.A. No. 3019 (e), petitioner may not be
held liable for violation of Section 268(4) of the National Internal
Revenue Code inasmuch as it has not been proven that there was
an actual agreement between her and her co-accused to grant
unwarranted tax credits to Tanduay. What is punished in said Sec.
268(4) is the act of conspiring and colluding to defraud the
government of revenues. It is well entrenched in our jurisprudence
that conspiracy must be shown to exist as clearly and as
convincingly as the commission of the offense itself. Absent any act
or circumstance from which may be logically inferred the existence
of a common design among the accused to commit the crime, the
theory of conspiracy remains a speculation not a fact. 15

Significantly, in the separate appeal of petitioner's two other co-

accused to this Court, entitled Pareño vs. Sandiganbayan and the
People of the Philippines, 16 we ruled that "the acts of petitioners
and that of Evangelista may be considered concerted only because
they performed interrelated functions but there is no actual proof
that conspiracy existed between the parties."

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case

No. 14208 convicting petitioner Potenciana M. Evangelista of
violation of Section 268 (4) of the National Internal Revenue Code is
REVERSED and petitioner is accordingly ACQUITTED. The decision of
the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 14209 convicting petitioner
of violation of R.A. 3019 (e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices
Act is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that petitioner is
sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of six
(6) years and one month as minimum to twelve (12) years as
maximum. The penalty of perpetual disqualification from public
office is likewise imposed on her. No costs.1âwphi1.nêt


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


1 Exh. "E-2."

2 Exh. "D".

3 TSN, January 9, 1991, pp. 12 and 15.

4 Exh. "AA"; "AA-1" to "AA-31-1-1".

5 The exact amount of ad valorem taxes paid by Tanduay for

said period is disputed.

6 Exh. "19".

7 Rollo, pp. 298-299.

8 Exh. "33".

9 Revenue Memo Order 19-83 marked as Exh. "17".

10 Revenue Memo Circular 15-86 marked as Exh. "33".

11 RMO 19-83 marked as Exhibit "17".

12 Exh. "32-B".

13 170 SCRA 400 [1989].

14 Layugan vs. IAC, 167 SCRA 363 [1988] citing Picart vs.
Smith, 37 Phil. 809 [1918].

15 People vs. Viernes, 262 SCRA 641 [1996].

16 256 SCRA 242 [1996].