Saturday, January 27, 2007

2006 Bar Operations Commission Team Research

Sheila Panganiban

Political Law: Lei Almero, Flaj Gregorio, Kat Dilao
Criminal Law: Bing Torrecampo
Labor Law: Selch Sancho, Mhe Sangalang, Shei Panganiban
Legal Ethics: Gerlie Admana
Mercantile Law: Bunny Santayana, Shei Panganiban, Selch Sancho
Remedial Law: Mhe Sangalang, Shei Panganiban
Taxation Law: Gerlie Admana
Civil Law: Shie Labro, Bing Torrecampo, Bernice Catherine Santayana, Shei Panganiban, Gerlie Admana

2006 Taxation Case Digests


GR. No. 155541. January 27, 2004

Facts: During the lifetime of the decedent Juliana vda. De Gabriel, her business affairs were managed by the Philippine Trust Company (PhilTrust). The decedent died on April 3, 1979 but two days after her death, PhilTrust filed her income tax return for 1978 not indicating that the decedent had died. The BIR conducted an administrative investigation of the decedent’s tax liability and found a deficiency income tax for the year 1997 in the amount of P318,233.93. Thus, in November 18, 1982, the BIR sent by registered mail a demand letter and assessment notice addressed to the decedent “c/o PhilTrust, Sta. Cruz, Manila, which was the address stated in her 1978 income tax return. On June 18, 1984, respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue issued warrants of distraint and levy to enforce the collection of decedent’s deficiency income tax liability and serve the same upon her heir, Francisco Gabriel. On November 22, 1984, Commissioner filed a motion to allow his claim with probate court for the deficiency tax. The Court denied BIR’s claim against the estate on the ground that no proper notice of the tax assessment was made on the proper party. On appeal, the CA held that BIR’s service on PhilTrust of the notice of assessment was binding on the estate as PhilTrust failed in its legal duty to inform the respondent of antecedent’s death. Consequently, as the estate failed to question the assessment within the statutory period of thirty days, the assessment became final, executory, and incontestable.

Issue: (1) Whether or not the CA erred in holding that the service of deficiency tax assessment on Juliana through PhilTrust was a valid service as to bind the estate.
(2) Whether or not the CA erred in holding that the tax assessment had become final, executory, and incontestable.

Held: (1) Since the relationship between PhilTrust and the decedent was automatically severed the moment of the taxpayer’s death, none of the PhilTrust’s acts or omissions could bind the estate of the taxpayer. Although the administrator of the estate may have been remiss in his legal obligation to inform respondent of the decedent’s death, the consequence thereof merely refer to the imposition of certain penal sanction on the administrator. These do not include the indefinite tolling of the prescriptive period for making deficiency tax assessment or waiver of the notice requirement for such assessment.
(2) The assessment was served not even on an heir or the estate but on a completely disinterested party. This improper service was clearly not binding on the petitioner. The most crucial point to be remembered is that PhilTust had absolutely no legal relationship with the deceased or to her Estate. There was therefore no assessment served on the estate as to the alleged underpayment of tax. Absent this assessment, no proceeding could be initiated in court for collection of said tax; therefore, it could not have become final, executory and incontestable. Respondent’s claim for collection filed with the court only on November 22, 1984 was barred for having been made beyond the five-year prescriptive period set by law.


GR. No. 143076. June 10, 2003

Facts: On May 23, 2003, a class suit was filed by petitioners in their own behalf and in behalf of other electric cooperatives organized and existing under PD 269 which are members of petitioner Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, Inc. (PHILRECA). The other petitioners, electric cooperatives of Agusan del Norte (ANECO), Iloilo 1 (ILECO 1) and Isabela 1 (ISELCO 1) are non-stock, non-profit electric cooperatives organized and existing under PD 269, as amended, and registered with the National Electrification Administration (NEA).
Under Sec. 39 of PD 269 electric cooperatives shall be exempt from the payment of all National Government, local government, and municipal taxes and fee, including franchise, fling recordation, license or permit fees or taxes and any fees, charges, or costs involved in any court or administrative proceedings in which it may be party.
From 1971to 1978, in order to finance the electrification projects envisioned by PD 269, as amended, the Philippine Government, acting through the National Economic council (now National Economic Development Authority) and the NEA, entered into six loan agreements with the government of the United States of America, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with electric cooperatives as beneficiaries. The loan agreements contain similarly worded provisions on the tax application of the loan and any property or commodity acquired through the proceeds of the loan.
Petitioners allege that with the passage of the Local Government Code their tax exemptions have been validly withdrawn. Particularly, petitioners assail the validity of Sec. 193 and 234 of the said code. Sec. 193 provides for the withdrawal of tax exemption privileges granted to all persons, whether natural or juridical, except cooperatives duly registered under RA 6938, while Sec. 234 exempts the same cooperatives from payment of real property tax.

Issue: (1) Does the Local Government Code (under Sec. 193 and 234) violate the equal protection clause since the provisions unduly discriminate against petitioners who are duly registered cooperatives under PD 269, as amended, and no under RA 6938 or the Cooperatives Code of the Philippines?
(2) Is there an impairment of the obligations of contract under the loan entered into between the Philippine and the US Governments?

Held: (1) No. The guaranty of the equal protection clause is not violated by a law based on a reasonable classification. Classification, to be reasonable must (a) rest on substantial classifications; (b) germane to the purpose of the law; (c) not limited to the existing conditions only; and (d) apply equally to all members of the same class. We hold that there is reasonable classification under the Local Government Code to justify the different tax treatment between electric cooperatives covered by PD 269 and electric cooperatives under RA 6938.
First, substantial distinctions exist between cooperatives under PD 269 and those under RA 6938. In the former, the government is the one that funds those so-called electric cooperatives, while in the latter, the members make equitable contribution as source of funds.
a. Capital Contributions by Members – Nowhere in PD 269 doe sit require cooperatives to make equitable contributions to capital. Petitioners themselves admit that to qualify as a member of an electric cooperative under PD 269, only the payment of a P5.00 membership fee is required which is even refundable the moment the member is no longer interested in getting electric service from the cooperative or will transfer to another place outside the area covered by the cooperative. However, under the Cooperative Code, the articles of cooperation of a cooperative applying for registration must be accompanied with the bonds of the accountable officers and a sworn statement of the treasurer elected by the subscribers showing that at least 25% of the authorized share capital has been subscribed and at least 25% of the total subscription has been paid and in no case shall the paid-up share capital be less than P2,000.00.
b. Extent of Government Control over Cooperatives – The extent of government control over electric cooperatives covered by PD 269 is largely a function of the role of the NEA as a primary source of funds of these electric cooperatives. It is crystal clear that NEA incurred loans from various sources to finance the development and operations of these electric cooperatives. Consequently, amendments were primarily geared to expand the powers of NEA over the electric cooperatives o ensure that loans granted to them would be repaid to the government. In contrast, cooperatives under RA 6938 are envisioned to be self-sufficient and independent organizations with minimal government intervention or regulation.
Second, the classification of tax-exempt entities in the Local Government Code is germane to the purpose of the law. The Constitutional mandate that “every local government unit shall enjoy local autonomy,” does not mean that the exercise of the power by the local governments is beyond the regulation of Congress. Sec. 193 of the LGC is indicative of the legislative intent to vet broad taxing powers upon the local government units and to limit exemptions from local taxation to entities specifically provided therein.
Finally, Sec. 193 and 234 of the LGC permit reasonable classification as these exemptions are not limited to existing conditions and apply equally to all members of the same class.

(2) No. It is ingrained in jurisprudence that the constitutional prohibition on the impairment of the obligations of contracts does not prohibit every change in existing laws. To fall within the prohibition, the change must not only impair the obligation of the existing contract, but the impairment must be substantial. Moreover, to constitute impairment, the law must affect a change in the rights of the parties with reference to each other and not with respect to non-parties.
The quoted provision under the loan agreement does not purport to grant any tax exemption in favor of any party to the contract, including the beneficiaries thereof. The provisions simply shift the tax burden, if any, on the transactions under the loan agreements to the borrower and/or beneficiary of the loan. Thus, the withdrawal by the Local Government Code under Sec. 193 and 234 of the tax exemptions previously enjoyed by petitioners does not impair the obligation of the borrower, the lender or the beneficiary under the loan agreements as, in fact, no tax exemption is granted therein.


Chief State Prosecutor JOVENCITO R. ZUÑO, ATTY. CLEMENTE P. HERALDO, Chief of the Internal Inquiry and Prosecution Division-customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (IIPD-CIIS), and LEONITO A. SANTIAGO, Special Investigator of the IIPD-CIIS vs. JUDGE ARNULFO G. CABREDO, Regional Trial Court, Branch 15, Tabaco City, Albay
AM. No. RTJ-03-1779, April 30, 2003

Facts: Atty. Winston Florin, the Deputy Collector of Customs of the Sub-Port of Tabaco, Albay, issued on September 3, 2001 Warrant of Seizure and Detention (WSD) No. 06-2001against a shipment of 35, 000 bags of rice aboard the vessel M/V Criston for violation of Sec. 2530 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP).
A few days, after the issuance of the warrant of seizure and detention, Antonio Chua, Jr. and Carlos Carillo, claiming to be consignees of the subject goods, filed before the Regional Trial Court of Tabaco City, Albay a Petition with Prayer for the Issuance of Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). The said petition sought to enjoin the Bureau of Customs and its officials from detaining the subject shipment.
By virtue of said TRO, the 35,000 bags of rice were released from customs to Antonio Chua, Jr. and Carlos Carillo.
In his complaint, Chief State Prosecutor Zuño alleged that respondent Judge violated Administrative Circular No. 7-99, which cautions trial court judges in their issuance of TROs and writs of preliminary injunctions. Said circular reminds judges of the principle, enunciated in Mison vs. Natividad, that the Collector of Customs has exclusive jurisdiction over seizure and forfeiture proceedings, and regular courts cannot interfere with his exercise thereof or stifle or put it to naught.

Issue: Whether or not the issuance of the TRO was illegal and beyond the jurisdiction of the RTC.

Held: The collection of duties and taxes due on the seized goods is not the only reason why trial courts are enjoined from issuing orders releasing imported articles under seizure and forfeiture proceedings by the Bureau of Customs. Administrative Circular No. 7-99 takes into account the fact that the issuance of TROs and the granting of writs of preliminary injunction in seizure and forfeiture proceedings before the Bureau of Customs may arouse suspicion that the issuance or grant was fro considerations other than the strict merits of the case. Furthermore, respondent Judge’s actuation goes against settled jurisprudence that the Collector of Customs has exclusive jurisdiction over seizure and forfeiture proceedings, and regular courts cannot interfere with his exercise thereof or stifle and put it to naught.
Respondent Judge cannot claim that he issued the questioned TRO because he honestly believed tat the Bureau of Customs was effectively divested of its jurisdiction over the seized shipment.
Even if it be assumed that in the exercise of the Collector of Customs of its exclusive jurisdiction over seizure and forfeiture cases, a taint of illegality is correctly imputed, the most that can be said is that under these circumstance, grave abuse of discretion may oust it of its jurisdiction. This does mean, however, that the trial court is vested with competence to acquire jurisdiction over these seizure and forfeiture cases. The proceedings before the Collector of Customs are not final. An appeal lies to the Commissioner of Customs and, thereafter, to the Court of Tax Appeals. It may even reach this Court through an appropriate petition for review. Certainly, the RTC is not included therein. Hence, it is devoid of jurisdiction.
Clearly, therefore, respondent Judge had no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the petition and issue the questioned TRO.
It is a basic principle that the Collector of Customs has exclusive jurisdiction over seizure and forfeiture proceedings of dutiable goods. A studious and conscientious judge can easily be conversant with such an elementary rule.


GR. No. 149110, April 9, 2003

Facts: NAPOCOR, the petitioner, is a government-owed and controlled corporation created under Commonwealth Act 120. It is tasked to undertake the “development of hydroelectric generations of power and the production of electricity from nuclear, geothermal, and other sources, as well as, the transmission of electric power on a nationwide basis.”
For many years now, NAPOCOR sells electric power to the resident Cabanatuan City, posting a gross income of P107,814,187.96 in 1992. Pursuant to Sec. 37 of Ordinance No. 165-92, the respondent assessed the petitioner a franchise tax amounting to P808,606.41, representing 75% of 1% of the former’s gross receipts for the preceding year.
Petitioner, whose capital stock was subscribed and wholly paid by the Philippine Government, refused to pay the tax assessment. It argued that the respondent has no authority to impose tax on government entities. Petitioner also contend that as a non-profit organization, it is exempted from the payment of all forms of taxes, charges, duties or fees in accordance with Sec. 13 of RA 6395, as amended.
The respondent filed a collection suit in the RTC of Cabanatuan City, demanding that petitioner pay the assessed tax, plus surcharge equivalent to 25% of the amount of tax and 2% monthly interest. Respondent alleged that petitioner’s exemption from local taxes has been repealed by Sec. 193 of RA 7160 (Local Government Code). The trial court issued an order dismissing the case. On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the RTC and ordered the petitioner to pay the city government the tax assessment.

Issues: (1) Is the NAPOCOR excluded from the coverage of the franchise tax simply because its stocks are wholly owned by the National Government and its charter characterized is as a ‘non-profit organization’?
(2) Is the NAPOCOR’s exemption from all forms of taxes repealed by the provisions of the Local Government Code (LGC)?

Held: (1) NO. To stress, a franchise tax is imposed based not on the ownership but on the exercise by the corporation of a privilege to do business. The taxable entity is the corporation which exercises the franchise, and not the individual stockholders. By virtue of its charter, petitioner was created as a separate and distinct entity from the National Government. It can sue and be sued under its own name, and can exercise all the powers of a corporation under the Corporation Code.
To be sure, the ownership by the National Government of its entire capital stock does not necessarily imply that petitioner is no engage din business.
(2) YES. One of the most significant provisions of the LGC is the removal of the blanket exclusion of instrumentalities and agencies of the National Government from the coverage of local taxation. Although as a general rule, LGUs cannot impose taxes, fees, or charges of any kind on the National Government, its agencies and instrumentalities, this rule now admits an exception, i.e. when specific provisions of the LGC authorize the LGUs to impose taxes, fees, or charges on the aforementioned entities. The legislative purpose to withdraw tax privileges enjoyed under existing laws or charter is clearly manifested by the language used on Sec. 137 and 193 categorically withdrawing such exemption subject only to the exceptions enumerated. Since it would be tedious and impractical to attempt to enumerate all the existing statutes providing for special tax exemptions or privileges, the LGC provided for an express, albeit general, withdrawal of such exemptions or privileges. No more unequivocal language could have been used.


GR. No. 143867, March 25, 2003

Facts: PLDT paid a franchise tax equal to three percent (3%) of its gross receipts. The franchise tax was paid “in lieu of all taxes on this franchise or earnings thereof” pursuant to RA 7082. The exemption from “all taxes on this franchise or earnings thereof” was subsequently withdrawn by RA 7160 (LGC), which at the same time gave local government units the power to tax businesses enjoying a franchise on the basis of income received or earned by them within their territorial jurisdiction. The LGC took effect on January 1, 1992.
The City of Davao enacted Ordinance No. 519, Series of 1992, which in pertinent part provides: Notwithstanding any exemption granted by law or other special laws, there is hereby imposed a tax on businesses enjoying a franchise, a rate of seventy-five percent (75%) of one percent (1%) of the gross annual receipts for the preceding calendar year based on the income receipts realized within the territorial jurisdiction of Davao City.
Subsequently, Congress granted in favor of Globe Mackay Cable and Radio Corporation (Globe) and Smart Information Technologies, Inc. (Smart) franchises which contained “in leiu of all taxes” provisos.
In 1995, it enacted RA 7925, or the Public Telecommunication Policy of the Philippines, Sec. 23 of which provides that any advantage, favor, privilege, exemption, or immunity granted under existing franchises, or may hereafter be granted, shall ipso facto become part of previously granted telecommunications franchises and shall be accorded immediately and unconditionally to the grantees of such franchises. The law took effect on March 16, 1995.
In January 1999, when PLDT applied for a mayor’s permit to operate its Davao Metro exchange, it was required to pay the local franchise tax which then had amounted to P3,681,985.72. PLDT challenged the power of the city government to collect the local franchise tax and demanded a refund of what had been paid as a local franchise tax for the year 1997 and for the first to the third quarters of 1998.

Issue: Whether or not by virtue of RA 7925, Sec. 23, PLDT is again entitled to the exemption from payment of the local franchise tax in view of the grant of tax exemption to Globe and Smart.

Held: Petitioner contends that because their existing franchises contain “in lieu of all taxes” clauses, the same grant of tax exemption must be deemed to have become ipso facto part of its previously granted telecommunications franchise. But the rule is that tax exemptions should be granted only by a clear and unequivocal provision of law “expressed in a language too plain to be mistaken” and assuming for the nonce that the charters of Globe and of Smart grant tax exemptions, then this runabout way of granting tax exemption to PLDT is not a direct, “clear and unequivocal” way of communicating the legislative intent.
Nor does the term “exemption” in Sec. 23 of RA 7925 mean tax exemption. The term refers to exemption from regulations and requirements imposed by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). For instance, RA 7925, Sec. 17 provides: The Commission shall exempt any specific telecommunications service from its rate or tariff regulations if the service has sufficient competition to ensure fair and reasonable rates of tariffs. Another exemption granted by the law in line with its policy of deregulation is the exemption from the requirement of securing permits from the NTC every time a telecommunications company imports equipment.
Tax exemptions should be granted only by clear and unequivocal provision of law on the basis of language too plain to be mistaken.


GR. No. 113459, November 18, 2002

Facts: Pursuant to Sec. 116 of the Tax Code which imposes percentage tax on dealers in securities and lending investors, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue issued Memorandum Order (RMO) No. 15-91 dated March 11, 1991, imposing five percent (5%) lending investor’s tax on pawnshops based on their gross income and requiring all investigating units of the Bureau to investigate and assess the lending investor’s tax due from them. The issuance of RMO No. 15-91 was an offshoot of petitioner’s evaluation that the nature of pawnshop business is akin to that of lending investors.
Subsequently, petitioner issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 43-91 dated May 27, 1992, subjecting the pawn ticket to the documentary stamp tax as prescribed in Title VII of the Tax Code.
Adversely affected by those revenue orders, herein respondent Josefina Leal, owner and operator of Josefina Pawnshop in San Mateo, Rizal, asked for a reconsideration of both RMO No. 15-91 and RMC No. 43-91 but the same was denied with finality by petitioner in October 30, 1991.
Consequently, on March 18, 1992, respondent filed with the RTC a petition for prohibition seeking to prohibit petitioner from implementing the revenue orders.
Petitioner, through the Office of the Solicitor-General, filed a motion to dismiss the petition on the ground that the RTC has no jurisdiction to review the questioned revenue orders and to enjoin their implementation. Petitioner contends that the subject revenue orders were issued pursuant to his power “to make rulings or opinions in connection with the Implementation of the provisions of internal revenue laws.” Thus, the case falls within the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Tax Appeals, citing Sec. 7(1) of RA 1125.
The RTC issued an order denying the motion to dismiss holding that the revenue orders are not assessments to implement a Tax Code provision, but are “in effect new taxes (against pawnshops) which are not provided for under the Code,” and which only Congress is empowered to impose. The Court of Appeals affirmed the order issued by the RTC.

Issue: Whether or not the Court of Tax Appeals has jurisdiction to review rulings of the Commissioner implementing the Tax Code.

Held: The jurisdiction to review rulings of the Commissioner pertains to the Court of Tax Appeals and NOT to the RTC. The questioned RMO and RMC are actually rulings or opinions of the Commissioner implementing the Tax Code on the taxability of the Pawnshops.
Under RA 1125, An Act Creating the Court of Tax Appeals, such rulings of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue are appealable to that court:
Sec. 7 Jurisdiction – The Court of Tax Appeals shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction to review by appeal, as herein provided—
1. Decisions of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue in cases involving disputed assessments, refunds of internal revenue taxes, fees or other charges, penalties imposed in relation thereto, or other matters arising under the National Revenue Code or other laws or part of law administered by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

tax remedies; section 220; who should institute appeal in tax cases

GR. No. 144942, July 4, 2002

Facts: In its resolution, dated 15 November 2000, the Supreme Court denied the Petition for Review on Certiorari submitted by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue for non-compliance with the procedural requirement of verification explicit in Sec. 4, Rule 7 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure and, furthermore, because the appeal was not pursued by the Solicitor-General. When the motion for reconsideration filed by the petitioner was likewise denied, petitioner filed the instant motion seeking an elucidation on the supposed discrepancy between the pronouncement of this Court, on the one hand that would require the participation of the Office of the Solicitor-General and pertinent provisions of the Tax Code, on the other hand, that allow legal officers of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to institute and conduct judicial action in behalf of the Government under Sec, 220 of the Tax Reform Act of 1997.

Issue: Are the legal officer of the BIR authorized to institute appeal proceedings (as distinguished from commencement of proceeding) without the participation of the Solicitor-General?

Held: NO. The institution or commencement before a proper court of civil and criminal actions and proceedings arising under the Tax Reform Act which “shall be conducted y legal officers of the Bureau of Internal Revenue” is not in dispute. An appeal from such court, however, is not a matter of right. Sec. 220 of the Tax Reform Act must not be understood as overturning the long-established procedure before this Court in requiring the Solicitor-General to represent the interest of the Republic. This court continues to maintain that it is the Solicitor-General who has the primary responsibility to appear for the government in appellate proceedings. This pronouncement finds justification in the various laws defining the Office of the Solicitor-General, beginning with Act No. 135, which took effect on 16 June 1901, up to the present Administrative Code of 1987. Sec. 35, Chapter 12, Title III, Book IV of the said code outlines the powers and functions of the Office of the Solicitor General which includes, but not limited to, its duty to—
1. Represent the Government in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals in all criminal proceedings; represent the Government and its officers in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and all other courts or tribunals in all civil actions and special proceedings in which the Government or any officer thereof in his official capacity is a party.
2. Appear in any court in any action involving the validity of any treaty, law, executive order, or proclamation, rule or regulation when in his judgment his intervention is necessary or when requested by the Court.


COCONUT OIL REFINERS ASSOCIATION, INC. et al vs. RUBEN TORRES, as Executive Secretary, et al
G.R. No. 132527. July 29, 2005

Facts: On March 13, 1992, RA No. 7227 was enacted, providing for, among other things, the sound and balanced conversion of the Clark and Subic military reservations and their extensions into alternative productive uses in the form of special economic zones in order to promote the economic and social development of Central Luzon in particular and the country in general. The law contains provisions on tax exemptions for importations of raw materials, capital and equipment. After which the President issued several Executive Orders as mandated by the law for the implementation of RA 7227. Herein petitioners contend the validity of the tax exemption provided for in the law.

Issue: Whether or not the Executive Orders issued by President for the implementation of the tax exemptions constitutes executive legislation.

Held: To limit the tax-free importation privilege of enterprises located inside the special economic zone only to raw materials, capital and equipment clearly runs counter to the intention of the Legislature to create a free port where the “free flow of goods or capital within, into, and out of the zones” is insured.
The phrase “tax and duty-free importations of raw materials, capital and equipment” was merely cited as an example of incentives that may be given to entities operating within the zone. Public respondent SBMA correctly argued that the maxim expressio unius est exclusio alterius, on which petitioners impliedly rely to support their restrictive interpretation, does not apply when words are mentioned by way of example. It is obvious from the wording of RA No. 7227, particularly the use of the phrase “such as,” that the enumeration only meant to illustrate incentives that the SSEZ is authorized to grant, in line with its being a free port zone.
The Court finds that the setting up of such commercial establishments which are the only ones duly authorized to sell consumer items tax and duty-free is still well within the policy enunciated in Section 12 of RA No. 7227 that “. . .the Subic Special Economic Zone shall be developed into a self-sustaining, industrial, commercial, financial and investment center to generate employment opportunities in and around the zone and to attract and promote productive foreign investments.” However, the Court reiterates that the second sentences of paragraphs 1.2 and 1.3 of Executive Order No. 97-A, allowing tax and duty-free removal of goods to certain individuals, even in a limited amount, from the Secured Area of the SSEZ, are null and void for being contrary to Section 12 of RA No. 7227. Said Section clearly provides that “exportation or removal of goods from the territory of the Subic Special Economic Zone to the other parts of the Philippine territory shall be subject to customs duties and taxes under the Customs and Tariff Code and other relevant tax laws of the Philippines.”


G.R. No. 144486. April 13, 2005

Facts: RCPI was granted a franchise under RA 2036, the law provides tax exemption for several properties of the company. Section 14 of RA 2036 reads: “In consideration of the franchise and rights hereby granted and any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the grantee shall pay the same taxes as are now or may hereafter be required by law from other individuals, co partnerships, private, public or quasi-public associations, corporations or joint stock companies, on real estate, buildings and other personal property except radio equipment, machinery and spare parts needed in connection with the business of the grantee, which shall be exempt from customs duties, tariffs and other taxes, as well as those properties declared exempt in this section. In consideration of the franchise, a tax equal to one and one-half per centum of all gross receipts from the business transacted under this franchise by the grantee shall be paid to the Treasurer of the Philippines each year, within ten days after the audit and approval of the accounts as prescribed in this Act. Said tax shall be in lieu of any and all taxes of any kind, nature or description levied, established or collected by any authority whatsoever, municipal, provincial or national, from which taxes the grantee is hereby expressly exempted.” Thereafter, the municipal treasurer of Tupi, South Cotabato assessed RCPI real property taxes from 1981 to 1985. The municipal treasurer demanded that RCPI pay P166,810 as real property tax on its radio station building in Barangay Kablon, as well as on its machinery shed, radio relay station tower and its accessories, and generating sets. The Local Board of Assessment Appeals affirmed the assessment of the municipal treasurer. When the case reach the C A, it ruled that, petitioner is exempt from paying the real property taxes assessed upon its machinery and radio equipment mounted as accessories to its relay tower. However, the decision assessing taxes upon petitioner’s radio station building, machinery shed, and relay station tower is valid.

Issue: (1) Whether or not appellate court erred when it excluded RCPI’s tower, relay station building and machinery shed from tax exemption.
(2) Whether or not appellate court erred when it did not resolve the issue of nullity of the tax declarations and assessments due to non-inclusion of depreciation allowance.

Held: (1) RCPI’s radio relay station tower, radio station building, and machinery shed are real properties and are thus subject to the real property tax. Section 14 of RA 2036, as amended by RA 4054, states that “in consideration of the franchise and rights hereby granted and any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the grantee shall pay the same taxes as are now or may hereafter be required by law from other individuals, co partnerships, private, public or quasi-public associations, corporations or joint stock companies, on real estate, buildings and other personal property.” The clear language of Section 14 states that RCPI shall pay the real estate tax.
(2) The court held the assessment valid. The court ruled that, records of the case shows that RCPI raised before the LBAA and the CBAA the nullity of the assessments due to the non-inclusion of depreciation allowance. Therefore, RCPI did not raise this issue for the first time. However, even if we consider this issue, under the Real Property Tax Code depreciation allowance applies only to machinery and not to real property.


The Honorable Secretary of Finance vs. THE HONORABLE RICARDO M. ILARDE, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, 6th Judicial Region, Branch 26, Iloilo City, and CIPRIANO P. CABALUNA, JR
G.R. No. 121782. May 9, 2005

Facts: Cabaluna with his wife owns several real property located in Iloilo City. Cabaluana is the Regional Director of Regional Office No. VI of the Department of Finance in Iloilo City. After his retirement, there are tax delinquencies on his properties; he paid the amount under protest contending that the penalties imposed to him are in excess than that provided by law. After exhausting all administrative remedies, he filed a suit before the RTC which found that Section 4(c) of Joint Assessment Regulation No. 1-85 and Local Treasury Regulation No. 2-85 issued on August 1, 1985 by respondent Secretary (formerly Minister) of Finance is null and void; (2) declaring that the penalty that should be imposed for delinquency in the payment of real property taxes should be two per centum on the amount of the delinquent tax for each month of delinquency or fraction thereof, until the delinquent tax is fully paid but in no case shall the total penalty exceed twenty-four per centum of the delinquent tax as provided for in Section 66 of P.D. 464 otherwise known as the Real Property Tax Code.

Issue: Whether or not the then Ministry of Finance could legally promulgate Regulations prescribing a rate of penalty on delinquent taxes other than that provided for under Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 464, also known as the Real Property Tax Code.

Held: The Ministry of Finance now Secretary of Finance cannot promulgate regulations prescribing a rate of penalty on delinquent taxes. The Court ruled that despite the promulgation of E.O. No. 73, P.D. No. 464 in general and Section 66 in particular, remained to be good law. To accept the Secretary’s premise that E.O. No. 73 had accorded the Ministry of Finance the authority to alter, increase, or modify the tax structure would be tantamount to saying that E.O. No. 73 has repealed or amended P.D. No. 464. Repeal of laws should be made clear and expressed. Repeals by implication are not favored as laws are presumed to be passed with deliberation and full knowledge of all laws existing on the subject. Such repeals are not favored for a law cannot be deemed repealed unless it is clearly manifest that the legislature so intended it. Assuming argumenti that E.O. No. 73 has authorized the petitioner to issue the objected Regulations, such conferment of powers is void for being repugnant to the well-encrusted doctrine in political law that the power of taxation is generally vested with the legislature. Thus, for purposes of computation of the real property taxes due from private respondent for the years 1986 to 1991, including the penalties and interests, is still Section 66 of the Real Property Tax Code of 1974 or P.D. No. 464. The penalty that ought to be imposed for delinquency in the payment of real property taxes should, therefore, be that provided for in Section 66 of P.D. No. 464, i.e., two per centum on the amount of the delinquent tax for each month of delinquency or fraction thereof but “in no case shall the total penalty exceed twenty-four per centum of the delinquent tax.”


G.R. No. 136975. March 31, 2005

Facts: Hantex Trading Co is a company organized under the Philippines. It is engaged in the sale of plastic products, it imports synthetic resin and other chemicals for the manufacture of its products. For this purpose, it is required to file an Import Entry and Internal Revenue Declaration (Consumption Entry) with the Bureau of Customs under Section 1301 of the Tariff and Customs Code. Sometime in October 1989, Lt. Vicente Amoto, Acting Chief of Counter-Intelligence Division of the Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau (EIIB), received confidential information that the respondent had imported synthetic resin amounting to P115,599,018.00 but only declared P45,538,694.57. Thus, Hentex receive a subpoena to present its books of account which it failed to do. The bureau cannot find any original copies of the products Hentex imported since the originals were eaten by termites. Thus, the Bureau relied on the certified copies of the respondent’s Profit and Loss Statement for 1987 and 1988 on file with the SEC, the machine copies of the Consumption Entries, Series of 1987, submitted by the informer, as well as excerpts from the entries certified by Tomas and Danganan. The case was submitted to the CTA which ruled that Hentex have tax deficiency and is ordered to pay, per investigation of the Bureau. The CA ruled that the income and sales tax deficiency assessments issued by the petitioner were unlawful and baseless since the copies of the import entries relied upon in computing the deficiency tax of the respondent were not duly authenticated by the public officer charged with their custody, nor verified under oath by the EIIB and the BIR investigators.

Issue: Whether or not the final assessment of the petitioner against the respondent for deficiency income tax and sales tax for the latter’s 1987 importation of resins and calcium bicarbonate is based on competent evidence and the law.

Held: Central to the second issue is Section 16 of the NIRC of 1977, as amended which provides that the Commissioner of Internal Revenue has the power to make assessments and prescribe additional requirements for tax administration and enforcement. Among such powers are those provided in paragraph (b), which provides that “Failure to submit required returns, statements, reports and other documents. – When a report required by law as a basis for the assessment of any national internal revenue tax shall not be forthcoming within the time fixed by law or regulation or when there is reason to believe that any such report is false, incomplete or erroneous, the Commissioner shall assess the proper tax on the best evidence obtainable.” This provision applies when the Commissioner of Internal Revenue undertakes to perform her administrative duty of assessing the proper tax against a taxpayer, to make a return in case of a taxpayer’s failure to file one, or to amend a return already filed in the BIR. The “best evidence” envisaged in Section 16 of the 1977 NIRC, as amended, includes the corporate and accounting records of the taxpayer who is the subject of the assessment process, the accounting records of other taxpayers engaged in the same line of business, including their gross profit and net profit sales. Such evidence also includes data, record, paper, document or any evidence gathered by internal revenue officers from other taxpayers who had personal transactions or from whom the subject taxpayer received any income; and record, data, document and information secured from government offices or agencies, such as the SEC, the Central Bank of the Philippines, the Bureau of Customs, and the Tariff and Customs Commission. However, the best evidence obtainable under Section 16 of the 1977 NIRC, as amended, does not include mere photocopies of records/documents. The petitioner, in making a preliminary and final tax deficiency assessment against a taxpayer, cannot anchor the said assessment on mere machine copies of records/documents. Mere photocopies of the Consumption Entries have no probative weight if offered as proof of the contents thereof. The reason for this is that such copies are mere scraps of paper and are of no probative value as basis for any deficiency income or business taxes against a taxpayer.

Companies exempt from zero-rate tax

G.R.No. 152609. June 29, 2005

Facts: American Express international is a foreign corporation operating in the Philippines, it is a registered taxpayer. On April 13, 1999, [respondent] filed with the BIR a letter-request for the refund of its 1997 excess input taxes in the amount of P3,751,067.04, which amount was arrived at after deducting from its total input VAT paid of P3,763,060.43 its applied output VAT liabilities only for the third and fourth quarters of 1997 amounting to P5,193.66 and P6,799.43, respectively. The CTA ruled in favor of the herein respondent holding that its services are subject to zero-rate pursuant to Section 108(b) of the Tax Reform Act of 1997 and Section 4.102-2 (b)(2) of Revenue Regulations 5-96. The CA affirmed the decision of the CTA.

Issue: Whether or not the company is subject to zero-rate tax pursuant to the Tax Reform Act of 1997.

Held: Services performed by VAT-registered persons in the Philippines (other than the processing, manufacturing or repacking of goods for persons doing business outside the Philippines), when paid in acceptable foreign currency and accounted for in accordance with the rules and regulations of the BSP, are zero-rated. Respondent is a VAT-registered person that facilitates the collection and payment of receivables belonging to its non-resident foreign client, for which it gets paid in acceptable foreign currency inwardly remitted and accounted for in conformity with BSP rules and regulations. Certainly, the service it renders in the Philippines is not in the same category as “processing, manufacturing or repacking of goods” and should, therefore, be zero-rated. In reply to a query of respondent, the BIR opined in VAT Ruling No. 080-89 that the income respondent earned from its parent company’s regional operating centers (ROCs) was automatically zero-rated effective January 1, 1988. Service has been defined as “the art of doing something useful for a person or company for a fee” or “useful labor or work rendered or to be rendered by one person to another.” For facilitating in the Philippines the collection and payment of receivables belonging to its Hong Kong-based foreign client, and getting paid for it in duly accounted acceptable foreign currency, respondent renders service falling under the category of zero rating. Pursuant to the Tax Code, a VAT of zero percent should, therefore, be levied upon the supply of that service.
As a general rule, the VAT system uses the destination principle as a basis for the jurisdictional reach of the tax. Goods and services are taxed only in the country where they are consumed. Thus, exports are zero-rated, while imports are taxed. VAT rate for services that are performed in the Philippines, “paid for in acceptable foreign currency and accounted for in accordance with the rules and regulations of the BSP.” Thus, for the supply of service to be zero-rated as an exception, the law merely requires that first, the service be performed in the Philippines; second, the service fall under any of the However, the law clearly provides for an exception to the destination principle; that is, for a zero percent categories in Section 102(b) of the Tax Code; and, third, it be paid in acceptable foreign currency accounted for in accordance with BSP rules and regulations. Indeed, these three requirements for exemption from the destination principle are met by respondent. Its facilitation service is performed in the Philippines. It falls under the second category found in Section 102(b) of the Tax Code, because it is a service other than “processing, manufacturing or repacking of goods” as mentioned in the provision. Undisputed is the fact that such service meets the statutory condition that it be paid in acceptable foreign currency duly accounted for in accordance with BSP rules. Thus, it should be zero-rated.

2006 Remedial Law Case Digests


G.R. No. 158245. June 30, 2005

Facts: Petitioners are the registered owners of three parcels of agricultural land. They entered into a Contract of Sale with respondent and agreed that "in the event that the parties herein are unable to effect the transfer and sale of the said properties in whole or in part in favor of the vendees, all the paid-in amounts shall be applied to another similar property also owned by the vendors in substitution of the above-described properties."
Pursuant to the contract, respondent corporation paid the down payment however; it refused to remit any monthly installment due to petitioners' failure to obtain a clearance and/or approval of the sale of the subject land from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). Respondent demanded that petitioners either solve the problem with the land tenants or substitute the lots with another acceptable, suitable and untenanted land, pursuant to their agreement.
Petitioners informed respondent that they were ready to finalize the transaction in accordance with the legal opinion of the DAR. In a letter, respondent informed petitioners that the scheme proposed in the DAR Opinion was "far from acceptable." Respondent offered to purchase the property on a direct sale basis. Petitioners did not respond to respondent hence, the latter, through counsel, requested the return of its down payment. As petitioners did not acquiesce, respondent filed a complaint for rescission with damages with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati. As a countermove, petitioners filed the instant case for specific performance with the RTC of Laguna.
Respondent filed a motion to dismiss on the ground of litis pendentia. Petitioners opposed contending that the instant complaint for specific performance was served on respondent ahead of the service of the complaint for rescission on petitioners. Later, however, respondent withdrew its motion to dismiss in view of the order of the RTC of Makati dismissing the complaint for rescission. In its Answer with Counterclaim, respondent alleged by way of affirmative defense that "specific performance is not possible because the respondent had already bought another property which is untenanted, devoid of any legal complications and now converted from agricultural to non-agricultural purpose in accordance with DAR Administrative Order.
Thereafter, petitioners filed a Motion to Withdraw Complaint considering respondent's special defense that specific performance was no longer possible. They prayed that their complaint and respondent's counterclaim be ordered withdrawn or dismissed, arguing that respondent's counterclaim would have no leg to stand on as it was compulsory in nature.

Issue: Whether respondent's counterclaim should be dismissed.

Held: There are two ways by which an action may be dismissed upon the instance of the plaintiff. First, dismissal is a matter of right when a notice of dismissal is filed by the plaintiff before an answer or a motion for summary judgment has been served on him by the defendant. Second, dismissal is discretionary on the court when the motion for the dismissal of the action is filed by the plaintiff at any stage of the proceedings other than before service of an answer or a motion for summary judgment. While the dismissal in the first mode takes effect upon the mere notice of plaintiff without need of a judicial order, the second mode requires the authority of the court before dismissal of the case may be effected. This is so because in the dismissal of an action, the effect of the dismissal upon the rights of the defendant should always be taken into consideration.
In the case at bar, it is undisputed that petitioners filed a Motion to Withdraw Complaint after respondent already filed its answer with counterclaim. In fact, the reason for their motion for withdrawal was the special defense of respondent in its answer that substitution was no longer possible as it already bought another property in lieu of the subject lots under the contract. It is, therefore, inexplicable how petitioners could argue that their complaint was successfully withdrawn upon the mere filing of a Motion to Withdraw Complaint when they themselves alleged in this petition that "private respondent objected to the withdrawal and the Trial Court sustained the objection."

G.R. No. 141255. June 21, 2005

Facts: Respondent Springfield Development Corporation is the owner and actual possessor of a lot covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-92571, while respondent Constantino Jaraula is the owner and actual possessor of a covered by TCT No. T-63088, both situated at Cagayan de Oro City. The two lots adjoin each other and were originally parts of a 12-hectare lot which has been developed by respondents as the Mega Heights Subdivision. Sometime in 1996, petitioner spouses Luciano and Gaudiosa Ello and their hired personnel surreptitiously and stealthily occupied respondents’ lots, built a make-shift shed under the trees, and fenced the area they occupied. Respondents then demanded that petitioners and their hired personnel vacate the area but they refused. Instead, they threatened and prevented respondents from developing their lots into a subdivision. Thus, respondent Springfield Development Corporation and Constantino G. Jaraula, filed a complaint against them for forcible entry with application for preliminary mandatory injunction.
Issue: Whether the Court of Appeals gravely abused its discretion when it dismissed outright petitioners’ petition for review on the sole technical ground that it does not contain the affidavit of service as required by Section 11 in relation to Section 13, Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
Held: Sections 3 and 5, Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, prescribe two modes of filing and service of pleadings, motions, notices, orders, judgments and other papers. These are: (a) by personal delivery, governed by Section 6 of the same Rule; and (b) by mail, under Section 7 thereof.
However, Section 11 of Rule 13 requires that “whenever practicable,” the filing of pleadings and other papers in court, as well as the service of said papers on the adverse party or his counsel, must be done “personally.” But if such filing and service were through a different mode, the party concerned must submit a “written explanation” why they were not done personally.
There is no question that petitioners violated Section 11 of Rule 13 by failing to append the affidavit of service to their petition for review filed with the Court of Appeals. Petitioners, upon receipt of the Court of Appeals’ challenged Resolution dismissing outright their petition due to such omission, promptly filed a motion for reconsideration, readily acknowledging their procedural lapse and attaching therewith the required affidavit of service. Rules of procedure must be faithfully followed except only when for persuasive reasons, they may be relaxed to relieve a litigant of an injustice not commensurate with his failure to comply with the prescribed procedure.


G.R. No. 147349. February 13, 2004

Facts: The contract for the structural repair and waterproofing of the IPT and ICT building of the NAIA airport was awarded, after a public bidding, to respondent ALA. Respondent made the necessary repair and waterproofing.
After submission of its progress billings to the petitioner, respondent received partial payments. Progress billing remained unpaid despite repeated demands by the respondent. Meanwhile petitioner unilaterally rescinded the contract on the ground that respondent failed to complete the project within the agreed completion date.
Respondent objected to the rescission made by the petitioner and reiterated its claims. The trial court directed the parties to proceed to arbitration. Both parties executed a compromise agreement and jointly filed in court a motion for judgment based on the compromise agreement. The Court a quo rendered judgment approving the compromise agreement.
For petitioner’s failure to pay within the period stipulated, respondent filed a motion for execution to enforce its claim. Petitioner filed a comment and attributed the delays to its being a government agency. The trial court denied the respondent’s motion. Reversing the trial court, the CA ordered it to issue a writ of execution to enforce respondent’s claim. The appellate court ratiocinated that a judgment rendered in accordance with a compromise agreement was immediately executory, and that a delay was not substantial compliance therewith.

Issues: 1) Whether or not decision based on compromise agreement is final and executory.

2) Whether or not delay by one party on a compromise justifies execution.

Held: 1) A compromise once approved by final orders of the court has the force of res judicata between the parties and should not be disturbed except for vices of consent or forgery. Hence, a decision on a compromise agreement is final and executory. Such agreement has the force of law and is conclusive between the parties. It transcends its identity as a mere contract binding only upon the parties thereto, as it becomes a judgment that is subject to execution in accordance with the Rules. Judges therefore have the ministerial and mandatory duty to implement and enforce it.
2. The failure to pay on the date stipulated was clearly a violation of the Agreement. Thus, non-fulfillment of the terms of the compromise justified execution. It is the height of absurdity for petitioner to attribute to a fortuitous event its delayed payment. Petitioner’s explanation is clearly a gratuitous assertion that borders callousness.


G.R. No. RTJ-02-1674. January 22, 2004

Facts: Complainant Marohombsar was the defendant in the civil case for injunction. The case was filed by Yasmira Pangadapun questioning the legality of Marohombsar’s appointment as Provincial Social Welfare Officer of the DSWD-ARMM. Prior to his appointment, Pangadapun used to occupy said position.
Upon the filing of the said complaint, respondent judge issued a TRO and set the hearing on the application for the issuance of the preliminary injunction. Summons, together with a copy of the complaint and a notice, was also served on both parties. Marohombsar filed an ex parte urgent motion to dissolve the TRO. Pangadapun was given the time to comment. Respondent judge issued an order stating that a preliminary conference had been held and that both parties had waived the raffle of the case and reset the hearing on the application for the issuance of a writ of injunction. The judge gave another time to file her comment again.
During the hearing on the application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction, none of the lawyers appeared. Hence, respondent judge considered it submitted for resolution and issued the preliminary injunction. Hence, this complaint for gross ignorance of law, abuse of discretion and conduct unbecoming a judge.

Issues: 1) Whether or not TRO ex parte is allowed in the instant case.

2) Whether or not trial-type hearing is essential to due process.

3) Whether or not respondent judge erred in ordering the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction.

Held: 1) A TRO is generally granted without notice to the opposite party and is intended only as a restraint on him until the propriety of granting a temporary injunction can be determined. It goes no further than to preserve the status quo until that determination. Respondent judge was justified in issuing the TRO ex parte due to his assessment of the urgency of the relief sought.
2) In applications for preliminary injunction, the dual requirement of prior notice and hearing before injunction may issue has been relaxed to the point that not all petitions for preliminary injunction need undergo a trial-type hearing, it being doctrinal that a formal or trial-type hearing is not, at all times and in all instances, essential to due process. The essence of due process is that a party is afforded a reasonable opportunity to be heard and to present any evidence he may have in support of his defense. It is a rule that a party cannot claim that he has been denied due process when he was given the opportunity to present his position.
3) As a matter of public policy, the acts of a judge in his official capacity are not subject to disciplinary action even though such acts are erroneous, provided he acts in good faith and without malice. Respondent judge, or any other member of the bench for that matter, is presumed to have acted regularly and in the manner that preserves the ideal of the cold neutrality of an impartial judge implicit in the guarantee of due process.


G.R. No. 147369. October 23, 2003

Facts: Petitioners lodged a complaint for specific performance against respondents to compel them to facilitate the transfer of ownership of a parcel of land subject of a controverted sale. The RTC issued a summons to respondents. As per return of the summons, substituted service was resorted to by the process server allegedly because efforts to serve personally to re respondents failed. Meanwhile, petitioners filed before the RTC an ex parte motion for leave of court to effect summons by publication and the judge issued an order granting the same. The respondents were declared in default and as a consequence of the declaration of default, petitioners were allowed to submit their evidence ex parte.
Helen Boyon, who was then in United Sates, was surprised to learn from her sister of the resolution issued by the court. Respondents filed an Ad Cautelam motion questioning, among others, the validity of the service of summons effected by the court a quo. The court issued an order denying the said motion on the basis of the defaulted respondent supposed loss of standing in court. Once again, the respondents raised the issue of the jurisdiction of the trial court via a motion for reconsideration and the same was denied. The petitioners moved for the execution of the controverted judgment which the judge granted.
Thereafter, respondents filed before the CA a petition for certiorari which held that the trial court had no authority to issue the questioned resolution and orders.

Issue: Whether or not summons by publication can validly serve in the instant case.

Held: In general, courts acquire jurisdiction over the person of the defendant by the service of summons, such service may be done personal or substituted service, where the action is in personam and the defendant is in the Philippines. However, extraterritorial service of summons or summons by publication applies only when the action is in rem or quasi in rem. That is, the action against the thing itself instead of against the defendant’s person if the action is in rem or an individual is named as defendant and the purpose is to subject the individual’s interest in a piece of property to the obligation or loan burdening it if quasi in rem.
In the instant case, what was filed before the trial court was an action for specific performance directed against respondents. While the suit incidentally involved a piece of land, the ownership or possession thereof was not put in issue. Moreover, court has consistently declared that an action for specific performance is an action in personam. Hence, summons by publication cannot be validly served.


386 SCRA 67. August 1, 2002

Facts: Private respondent Manuel Dulawon filed with the Regional Trial Court a complaint for breach of contract of lease with damages against petitioner Radio Communications of the Philippines, Inc. (RCPI). Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction contending that it is the Municipal Trial Court which has jurisdiction as the complaint is basically one for collection of unpaid rentals.

Issue: Whether or not the RTC has jurisdiction over the complaint filed by private respondent.

Held: RTC has jurisdiction over the complaint. The averments in the complaint reveal that the suit filed by private respondent was primarily one for specific performance as it was aimed to enforce their three-year lease contract which would incidentally entitle him to monetary awards if the court should find that the subject contract of lease was breached. As alleged therein, petitioner’s failure to pay rentals due for the period from January to March 1997, constituted a violation of their contract which had the effect of accelerating the payment of monthly rentals for the years 1997 and 1998. Clearly, the action for specific performance, irrespective of the amount of the rentals and damages sought to be recovered, is incapable of pecuniary estimation, hence, cognizable exclusively by the RTC.


SPO4 EDUARDO ALONZO VS. JUDGE CRISANTO C. CONCEPCION, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court of Malolos City, Branch 12, Province of Bulacan
A.M. No. RTJ-04-1879. January 17, 2005

Facts: In a wedding party, SPO4 Eduardo Alonzo, Jun Rances, Zoilo Salamat and Rey Santos were drinking together at the same table. While waiting to be seated, Pedrito Alonzo was introduced by SPO4 Alonzo to Rances as his nephew and as the son of ex-Captain Alonzo. SPO4 Alonzo then introduced him to Salamat. Pedrito and his companions took their seats and started drinking at the table across SPO4 Alonzo’s table. After some time, Pedrito stood up to urinate at the back of the house. Santos passed a bag to Salamat, and they followed Pedrito. Rances likewise followed them. A shot rang out. Salamat was seen placing a gun inside the bag as he hurriedly left. The wedding guests ran after Salamat. They saw him and Rances board a vehicle being driven by Santos. Pedrito’s uncle, Jose Alonzo, sought the help of SPO4 Alonzo to chase the culprits. He refused and even disavowed any knowledge as to their identity.
Jose Alonzo filed a complaint for murder against Salamat, Rances, Santos, SPO4 Alonzo and a certain Isidro Atienza. A preliminary investigation1 was conducted by the Assistant Provincial Prosecutor where Jose Alonzo and his four witnesses testified. Upon review of the records of the case by the 3rd Assistant Provincial Prosecutor, it was recommended that Salamat be charged with murder as principal, and Santos and Rances as accessories. With regard to SPO4 Alonzo and Isidro Atienza, the prosecutor found that no sufficient evidence was adduced to establish their conspiracy with Salamat. Judge Concepcion of the RTC issued an Order directing the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor to amend the information, so as to include all the aforenamed persons as accused in this case, all as principals.

Issue: Whether or not the court has authority to review and reverse the resolution of the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor or to find probable cause against a respondent for the purpose of amending the Information.

Held: The function of a preliminary investigation is to determine whether there is sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and the respondent is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial. It is through the conduct of a preliminary investigation that the prosecutor determines the existence of a prima facie case that would warrant the prosecution of a case. As a rule, courts cannot interfere with the prosecutor's discretion and control of the criminal prosecution. The reason for placing the criminal prosecution under the direction and control of the fiscal is to prevent malicious or unfounded prosecution by private persons. However, while prosecuting officers have the authority to prosecute persons shown to be guilty of a crime they have equally the legal duty not to prosecute when after an investigation, the evidence adduced is not sufficient to establish a prima facie case.
In a clash of views between the judge who did not investigate and the prosecutor who did, or between the fiscal and the offended party or the accused, that of the prosecutor's should normally prevail.

G.R. No. 155791. March 16, 2005

Facts: An Information was filed with the Regional Trial Court that the accused Dante Andres and Randyver Pacheco, conspiring, confederating, and helping one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously attack, assault, and maul Wilson Quinto inside a culvert where the three were fishing, causing Wilson Quinto to drown and die. The respondents filed a demurer to evidence which the trial court granted on the ground of insufficiency of evidence. It also held that it could not hold the respondents liable for damages because of the absence of preponderant evidence to prove their liability for Wilson’s death. The petitioner appealed the order to the Court of Appeals insofar as the civil aspect of the case was concerned. The CA ruled that the acquittal in this case is not merely based on reasonable doubt but rather on a finding that the accused-appellees did not commit the criminal acts complained of. Thus, pursuant to the above rule and settled jurisprudence, any civil action ex delicto cannot prosper. Acquittal in a criminal action bars the civil action arising therefrom where the judgment of acquittal holds that the accused did not commit the criminal acts imputed to them.

Issue: Whether or not the extinction of respondent’s criminal liability carries with it the extinction of their civil liability.

Held: When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall be deemed instituted with the criminal action unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action.
The prime purpose of the criminal action is to punish the offender in order to deter him and others from committing the same or similar offense, to isolate him from society, to reform and rehabilitate him or, in general, to maintain social order. The sole purpose of the civil action is the restitution, reparation or indemnification of the private offended party for the damage or injury he sustained by reason of the delictual or felonious act of the accused.
The extinction of the penal action does not carry with it the extinction of the civil action. However, the civil action based on delict shall be deemed extinguished if there is a finding in a final judgment in the criminal action that the act or omission from where the civil liability may arise does not exist. In this case, the petitioner failed to adduce proof of any ill-motive on the part of either respondent to kill the deceased and as held by the the trial court and the CA, the prosecution failed to adduce preponderant evidence to prove the facts on which the civil liability of the respondents rest, i.e., that the petitioner has a cause of action against the respondents for damages.


G.R. No. 147607. January 22, 2004

Facts: SPO2 Chito Esmenda applied before the RTC for a search warrant authorizing the search for marijuana at the family residence of appellant Benhur. During the search operation, the searching team confiscated sachets of suspected marijuana leaves. Police officers took pictures of the confiscated items and prepared a receipt of the property seized and certified that the house was properly searched which was signed by the appellant and the barangay officials who witnessed the search.
After the search, the police officers brought appellant and the confiscated articles to the PNP station. After weighing the specimens and testing the same, the PNP Crime Laboratory issued a report finding the specimens to be positive to the test for the presence of marijuana. Moreover, the person who conducted the examination on the urine sample of appellant affirmed that it was positive for the same.
Appellant denied that he was residing at his parent’s house since he has been residing at a rented house and declared that it was his brother and the latter’s family who were residing with his mother, but on said search operation, his brother and family were out. He testified that he was at his parent’s house because he visited his mother, that he saw the Receipt of Property Seized for the first time during the trial and admitted that the signature on the certification that the house was properly search was his.

Issues: 1) Whether or not the trial court erred in issuing a search warrant.

2) Whether or not the accused-appellant waived his right to question the legality of the search.

3) Whether or not evidence seized pursuant to an illegal search be used as evidence against the accused.

Held: 1) The issuance of a search warrant is justified only upon a finding of probable cause. Probable cause for a search has been defined as such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched. In determining the existence of probable cause, it is required that: 1) The judge must examine the complaint and his witnesses personally; 2) the examination must be under oath; 3) the examination must be reduced in writing in the form of searching questions and answers. The prosecution failed to prove that the judge who issued the warrant put into writing his examination of the applicant and his witnesses on the form of searching questions and answers before issuance of the search warrant. Mere affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses are not sufficient. Such written examination is necessary in order that the judge may be able to properly determine the existence and non-existence of probable cause. Therefore, the search warrant is tainted with illegality by failure of the judge to conform with the essential requisites of taking the examination in writing and attaching to the record, rendering the search warrant invalid.
2) At that time the police officers presented the search warrant, appellant could not determine if the search warrant was issued in accordance with law. It was only during the trial that appellant, through his counsel, had reason to believe that the search warrant was illegally issued. Moreover, appellant seasonably objected on constitutional grounds to the admissibility of the evidence seized pursuant to said warrant during the trial, after the prosecution formally offered its evidence. Under the circumstances, no intent to waive his rights can reasonably be inferred from his conduct before or during the trial.
3) No matter how incriminating the articles taken from the appellant may be, their seizure cannot validate an invalid warrant. The requirement mandated by the law that the examination of the complaint and his witnesses must be under oath and reduced to writing in the form of searching questions and answers was not complied with, rendering the search warrant invalid. Consequently, the evidence seized pursuant to illegal search warrant cannot be used in evidence against appellant in accordance with Section 3 (2) Article III of the Constitution.


G.R. No. 114967-68. January 26, 2004

Facts: Private complainant Elizabeth Genteroy was introduced to accused Crispin Billaber by her friends. The accused told Genteroy that he could help her acquire the necessary papers and find her a job abroad. Genteroy introduced the accused to Raul Durano. The accused offered Durano a job as his personal driver in the U.S. Durano and Genteroy paid the accused and asked for receipt, but the accused said that it was not necessary since they will leave together.
Meanwhile, Genteroy introduced the accused to Tersina Onza and offered a job abroad. Thereafter, the accused instructed the three private complainants, Genteroy, Durano and Onza to meet him at the airport on the agreed date, however, the accused failed to show up.
Durano chanced upon the accused at the canteen. A commotion ensued when Durano tried to stop the accused from leaving. A police officer brought both Durano and the accused to the PNP station. The prosecution offered in evidence a certificate from the POEA stating that the accused was not licensed or authorized to recruit workers for employment abroad. The accused denied receiving money from private complainants and interposed a defense of frame-up and extortion against Durano.

Issues: 1) Whether or not the trial court erred in not considering that the accused arrested without warrant.

2) Whether or not the court acquired jurisdiction over the person of the accused.

Held: 1) It appears that accused-appellant was brought to the police station, together with the complainant Durano, not because of the present charges but because of the commotion that ensued between the two at the canteen. At the police station, Durano and the other complainants then executed statements charging appellant with illegal recruitment and estafa. As to whether there was an actual arrest or whether, in the commotion, the appellant committed, was actually committing, or was attempting to commit an offense, have been rendered moot.
2) Appellant did not allege any irregularity in a motion to quash before entering his plea, and is therefore deemed to have waived any question of the trial court’s jurisdiction over his person.


G.R. No. 144037, Sept.ember 26, 2003

Facts: Solier informed the police that Tudtud would come back with new stocks of marijuana. Policemen saw two men alighted from the bus, helping each other carry a carton/ box, one of them fitted the description of Tudtud. They approached the two and Tudtud denied that he carried any drugs. The latter opened the box, beneath dried fish where two bundles, one wrapped in a plastic bag and another in newspapers. Policemen asked Tudtud to unwrap the packages and contained what seemed to the police as marijuana leaves. The two did not resist the arrest. Charged with illegal possession of prohibited drugs, they pleaded not guilty and interposed the defense that they were framed up. The trial court convicted them with the crime charged and sentenced them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

Issue: Whether or not searches and seizures without warrant may be validly obtained.

Held: The rule is that a search and seizure must be carried out through or with a judicial warrant; otherwise such “search and seizure” becomes reasonable within the meaning of the constitutional provision, and any evidence secured thereby will be inadmissible in evidence for any purpose in any proceeding. Except with the following instances even in the absence of a warrant: 1) Warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest, 2) Search in evidence in plain view, 3) Search of a moving vehicle, 4) Consented warrantless search, 5) Customs search, 6) Stop and frisk and 7) Exigent and emergency circumstances.
The long –standing rule in this jurisdiction, applied with a degree of consistency, is that, a reliable information alone is not sufficient to justify a warrantless arrest. Hence, the items seized were held inadmissible, having been obtained in violation of the accused’s constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.


G.R. No. 151931, September 23, 2003

Facts: Petitioner Anamer Salazar purchased 300 cavans of rice from J.Y. Brothers Marketing. As payment for these, she gave a check drawn against the Prudential Bank by one Nena Timario. J.Y. accepted the check upon the petitioner’s assurance that it was good check. Upon presentment, the check was dishonored because it was drawn under a closed account. Upon being informed of such dishonor, petitioner replaced the check drawn against the Solid Bank, which, however, was returned with the word “DAUD” (Drawn against uncollected deposit).
After the prosecution rested its case, the petitioner filed a Demurrer to Evidence with Leave of Court. The trial court rendered judgment acquitting the petitioner of the crime charged but ordering her to pay, as payment of her purchase. The petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration on the civil aspect of the decision with a plea that she be allowed to present evidence pursuant to Rule 33 of the Rules of Court, but the court denied the motion.

Issues: 1) Does the acquittal of the accused in the criminal offense prevent a judgment against her on the civil aspect of the case?
2) Was the denial of the motion for reconsideration proper?

Held: 1) The rule on the Criminal Procedure provides that the extension of the penal action does not carry with it the extension of the civil action. Hence, the acquittal of the accused does not prevent a judgment against him on the civil aspect of the case where a) the acquittal is based on reasonable doubt as only preponderance of evidence is required; b) where the court declared that the liability of the accused is only civil; c) where the civil liability of the accused does not arise from or is not based upon the crime of which the accused was acquitted.
2) No, because after an acquittal or grant of the demurrer, the trial shall proceed for the presentation of evidence on the civil aspect of the case. This is so because when the accused files a demurrer to evidence, the accused has not yet adduced evidence both on the criminal and civil aspect of the case. The only evidence on record is the evidence for the prosecution. What the trial court should do is to set the case for continuation of the trail for the petitioner to adduce evidence on the civil aspect and for the private offended party adduce evidence by way of rebuttal as provided for in Sec.11, Rule 119 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure. Otherwise, it would be a nullity for the reason that the constitutional right of the accused to due process is thereby violated.

G.R. No. 147678-87, July 7, 2004

Facts: Appellant Efren Mateo was charged with ten counts of rape by his step-daughter Imelda Mateo. During the trial, Imelda’s testimonies regarding the rape incident were inconsistent. She said in one occasion that incident of rape happened inside her bedroom, but other times, she told the court that it happened in their sala. She also told the court that the appellant would cover her mouth but when asked again, she said that he did not. Despite the irreconcilable testimony of the victim, the trial court found the accused guilty of the crime of rape and sentenced him the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The Solicitor General assails the factual findings of the trial and recommends an acquittal of the appellant.
Issue: Whether or not this case is directly appeallable to the Supreme Court.
Held: While the Fundamental Law requires a mandatory review by the Supreme Court of cases where the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua, life imprisonment, or death, nowhere, however, has it proscribed an intermediate review. If only to ensure utmost circumspection before the penalty of death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment is imposed, the Court now deems it wise and compelling to provide in these cases a review by the Court of Appeals before the case is elevated to the Supreme Court. Where life and liberty are at stake, all possible avenues to determine his guilt or innocence must be accorded an accused, and no case in the evaluation of the facts can ever be overdone. A prior determination by the Court of Appeals on, particularly, the factual issues, would minimize the possibility of an error of judgment. If the Court of Appeals should affirm the penalty of death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, it could then render judgment imposing the corresponding penalty as the circumstances so warrant, refrain from entering judgment and elevate the entire records of the case to the Supreme Court for its final disposition.
Under the Constitution, the power to amend rules of procedure is constitutionally vested in the Supreme Court –
Article VIII, Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
“(5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts.”
Procedural matters, first and foremost, fall more squarely within the rule-making prerogative of the Supreme Court than the law-making power of Congress. The rule here announced additionally allowing an intermediate review by the Court of Appeals, a subordinate appellate court, before the case is elevated to the Supreme Court on automatic review is such a procedural matter.
Pertinent provisions of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, more particularly Section 3 and Section 10 of Rule 122, Section 13 of Rule 124, Section of Rule 125, and any other rule insofar as they provide for direct appeals from the Regional Trial Courts to the Supreme Court in cases where the penalty imposed is death reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, as well as the resolution of the Supreme Court en banc, dated 19 September 1995, in “Internal Rules of the Supreme Court” in cases similarly involving the death penalty, are to be deemed modified accordingly.
A.M. No. 00-5-03-SC


Acting on the recommendation of the Committee on Revision of the Rules of Court submitting for this Court’s consideration and approval the Proposed Amendments to the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure to Govern Death Penalty Cases, the Court Resolved to APPROVE the same.
The amendment shall take effect on October 15, 2004 following its publication in a newspaper of general circulation not later than September 30, 2004
September 28, 2004
Rule 122, Sections 3 and 10, and Rule 124, Sections 12 and 13, of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, are amended as follows:
RULE 122
Sec. 3. How appeal taken – (a) The appeal to the Regional Trial Court, or to the Court of Appeals in cases decided by the Regional Trial Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction, shall be by notice of appeal filed with the court which rendered the judgment or final order appealed from and by serving a copy thereof upon the adverse party.
(b) The appeal to the Court of Appeals in cases decided by the Regional Trial Court in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction shall be by petition for review under Rule 42.
(c) The appeal in cases whereby the penalty imposed by the Regional Trial Court is reclusion perpetua, life imprisonment or where a lesser penalty is imposed for offenses committed on the same occasion on the or which arose out of the same occurrence that gave rise to the more serious offense for which the penalty of death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment is imposed, shall be by notice of appeal to the Court of Appeals in accordance with paragraph (a) of this Rule.
(d) No notice of appeal is necessary in cases where the Regional Trial Court imposed the death penalty. The Court of Appeals shall automatically review the judgment as provided in Section 10 of this Rule. (3a)
RULE 124
Sec. 12. Power to receive evidence. – The Court of Appeals shall have the power to try cases and conduct hearings, receive evidence and perform all acts necessary to resolve the factual issues raised in cases falling within its original and appellate jurisdiction, including the power to grant and conduct new trials or further proceedings. Trials or hearing in the Court of Appeals must be continuous and must be completed within three months, unless extended by the Chief Justice. (12a)
Sec. 13. Certification or appeal of case to the Supreme Court. – (a) Whenever the Court of Appeals finds that the penalty of death should be imposed, the court shall render judgment but refrain from making an entry of judgment and forthwith certify the case and elevate its entire record to the Supreme Court for review.
(b) Where the judgment also imposes a lesser penalty for offenses committed on the same occasion or which arose out of the same occurrence that gave rise to the more severe offense for which the penalty is imposed, and the accused appeals, the appeal shall be included in the case certified for review to the Supreme Court.
(c) In cases where the Court of Appeals imposes reclusion perpetua, life imprisonment or a lesser penalty, it shall render and enter judgment imposing such penalty. The judgment may be appealed to the Supreme Court by notice of appeal file with the Court of Appeals. (13a)


G.R. No. 152752. January 19, 2005

Facts: City Administrator Rodel M. Mañara lodged a complaint against petitioner Inocelia S. Autencio with the Office of the City Mayor for dishonesty and misconduct in office. The complaint alleged that Riza Bravo, an employee of the City Assessor’s Office charged with the preparation of the payroll of casual employees, changed the September 1996 payroll prepared by her upon the order of petitioner. After hearing, the Office for Legal Services issued a resolution/decision, declaring the petitioner guilty of misconduct in office for allowing irregularities to happen which led to illegal payment of salaries to casuals. However, as regards to the charge of dishonesty, the same was found wanting due to insufficiency of evidence. A penalty of forced resignation with forfeiture of retirement benefits except for earned leave accumulated before the filing of the complaint was imposed. In return, petitioner alleged that she had waived her right to present her evidence at a formal hearing and agreed to submit the case for resolution, only because of the manifestation of the complainant and the hearing officer that she could be held liable only for the lesser offense of simple negligence.

Issue: Was the petitioner deprived of substantial due process?”

Held: Petitioner was afforded due process. On the formal charge against her, she had received sufficient information which, in fact, enabled her to prepare her defense. She filed her Answer controverting the charges against her and submitted Affidavits of personnel in the Assessor’s Office to support her claim of innocence. A pre-hearing conference was conducted by the legal officer, during which she -- assisted by her counsel -- had participated. Finally, she was able to appeal the ruling of City Mayor Badoy to the CSC, and then to the CA.
Finally, settled is the rule in our jurisdiction that the findings of fact of an administrative agency must be respected, so long as they are supported by substantial evidence. It is not the task of this Court to weigh once more the evidence submitted before the administrative body and to substitute its own judgment for that of the latter in respect of the sufficiency of evidence. In any event, the Decisions of the CSC and the Court of Appeals finding petitioner guilty of the administrative charge prepared against her are supported by substantial evidence.

G.R. No. 150897. April 11, 2005

Facts: Petitioner Turadio Domingo is the oldest of the five children of the late Bruno B. Domingo, formerly the registered owner of the properties subject of this dispute. Private respondents Leonora Domingo-Castro, Nuncia Domingo-Balabis, Abella Domingo, and Jose Domingo are petitioner’s siblings. A family quarrel arose over the validity of the purported sale of the house and lot by their father to private respondents. Sometime in 1981 petitioner, who by then was residing on the disputed property, received a notice, declaring him a squatter. Petitioner learned of the existence of the assailed Deed of Absolute Sale when an ejectment suit was filed against him. Subsequently, he had the then Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police (PC-INP, now Philippine National Police or PNP) Crime Laboratory compare the signature of Bruno on the said deed against specimen signatures of his father. As a result, the police issued him Questioned Document Report to the effect that the questioned signature and the standard signatures were written by two different persons Thus; petitioner filed a complaint for forgery, falsification by notary public, and falsification by private individuals against his siblings. But after it conducted an examination of the questioned documents, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) came up with the conclusion that the questioned signature and the specimen signatures were written by one and the same person, Bruno B. Domingo. Consequently, petitioner instituted a case for the declaration of the nullity of the Deed of Sale, reconveyance of the disputed property, and cancellation of TCT.

Issue: Whether or not the court errs when it held that the trial court correctly applied the rules of evidence in disregarding the conflicting PC-INP and NBI questioned document reports.

Held: Petitioner has shown no reason why the ruling made by the trial court on the credibility of the respondent’s witnesses below should be disturbed. Findings by the trial court as to the credibility of witnesses are accorded the greatest respect, and even finality by appellate courts, since the former is in a better position to observe their demeanor as well as their deportment and manner of testifying during the trial.
Finally, the questioned Deed of Absolute Sale in the present case is a notarized document. Being a public document, it is prima facie evidence of the facts therein expressed. It has the presumption of regularity in its favor and to contradict all these, evidence must be clear, convincing, and more than merely preponderant. Petitioner has failed to show that such contradictory evidence exists in this case.

2006 Criminal Law Case Digests

G.R. No. 141066. February 17, 2005

Facts: In 1989, spouses Adronico and Evangeline Ladonga became Alfredo Oculam’s regular customers in his pawnshop business. Sometime in May 1990, the Ladonga spouses obtained a P9,075.55 loan from him, guaranteed by United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) Check No. 284743, post dated to July 7, 1990 issued by Adronico; sometime in the last week of April 1990 and during the first week of May 1990, the Ladonga spouses obtained an additional loan of P12,730.00, guaranteed by UCPB Check No. 284744, post dated to July 26, 1990 issued by Adronico; between May and June 1990, the Ladonga spouses obtained a third loan in the amount of P8,496.55, guaranteed by UCPB Check No. 106136, post dated to July 22, 1990 issued by Adronico; the three checks bounced upon presentment for the reason “CLOSED ACCOUNT”; when the Ladonga spouses failed to redeem the check, despite repeated demands, he filed a criminal complaint against them. While admitting that the checks issued by Adronico bounced because there was no sufficient deposit or the account was closed, the Ladonga spouses claimed that the checks were issued only to guarantee the obligation, with an agreement that Oculam should not encash the checks when they mature; and, that petitioner is not a signatory of the checks and had no participation in the issuance thereof. The RTC rendered a joint decision finding the Ladonga spouses guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating B.P. Blg. 22. Petitioner brought the case to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction of petitioner.

Issue: Whether or not the petitioner who was not the drawer or issuer of the three checks that bounced but her co-accused husband under the latter’s account could be held liable for violations of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 as conspirator.

Held: The conviction must be set aside. Article 8 of the RPC provides that “a conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it.” To be held guilty as a co-principal by reason of conspiracy, the accused must be shown to have performed an overt act in pursuance or furtherance of the complicity. The overt act or acts of the accused may consist of active participation in the actual commission of the crime itself or may consist of moral assistance to his co-conspirators by moving them to execute or implement the criminal plan. In the present case, the prosecution failed to prove that petitioner performed any overt act in furtherance of the alleged conspiracy. Apparently, the only semblance of overt act that may be attributed to petitioner is that she was present when the first check was issued. However, this inference cannot be stretched to mean concurrence with the criminal design. Conspiracy must be established, not by conjectures, but by positive and conclusive evidence. Conspiracy transcends mere companionship and mere presence at the scene of the crime does not in itself amount to conspiracy.
Even knowledge, acquiescence in or agreement to cooperate, is not enough to constitute one as a party to a conspiracy, absent any active participation in the commission of the crime with a view to the furtherance of the common design and purpose

G.R. No. 152589 & 152758. January 31, 2005

Facts: Before us is the Motion for Reconsideration filed by herein accused-appellant of our Decision dated 24 October 2003 in G.R. No. 152589 and No. 152758. In said decision, we modified the ruling of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 61, Gumaca, Quezon, in Crim. Case No. 6636-G finding accused-appellant guilty of rape under Articles 266-A and 266-B of the Revised Penal Code and instead, we adjudged him guilty only of attempted rape. We, however, upheld the ruling of the court a quo with regard to Crim. Case No. 6637-G finding accused-appellant guilty of incestuous rape of a minor under Art. 266-B of the Revised Penal Code as amended by Republic Act No. 8353 and for this, we sentenced accused-appellant to suffer the ultimate penalty of death.

Issue: Whether or not the accused committed attempted rape or acts of lasciviousness.

Held: After a thorough review and evaluation of the records of this case, we find no sufficient basis to modify our earlier decision convicting accused-appellant of attempted rape in Crim. Case No. 6636-G.There is an attempt to commit rape when the offender commences its commission directly by overt acts but does not perform all the acts of execution which should produce the felony by reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance. Upon the other hand, Article 366 of the Revised Penal Code states: “(a)ny person who shall commit any act of lasciviousness upon the other person of either sex, under any of the circumstances mentioned in the preceding article, shall be punished by prision correccional.” As explained by an eminent author of criminal law, rape and acts of lasciviousness have the same nature. There is, however, a fundamental difference between the two. In rape, there is the intent to lie with a woman whereas this element is absent in acts of lasciviousness. In this case, the series of appalling events which took place on the night of 18 March 1998 inside the humble home of private complainant and of accused-appellant, establish beyond doubt that the latter intended to ravish his very own flesh and blood. As vividly narrated by private complainant before the trial court, accused-appellant, taking advantage of the cover of darkness and of the absence of his wife, removed her (private complainant’s) clothing and thereafter placed himself on top of her. Accused-appellant, who was similarly naked as private complainant, then proceeded to kiss the latter and he likewise touched her breasts until finally, he rendered private complainant unconscious by boxing her in the stomach. These dastardly acts of accused-appellant constitute “the first or some subsequent step in a direct movement towards the commission of the offense after the preparations are made.” Far from being mere obscenity or lewdness, they are indisputably overt acts executed in order to consummate the crime of rape against the person of private complainant.

G.R. No. 139987. March 31, 2005

Facts: Information for libel was filed before the RTC, Branch 20, Naga City, against the petitioner and Ramos who were then the managing editor and correspondent, respectively, of the Bicol Forum, a local weekly newspaper circulated in the Bicol Region. It states: On or about the 18th day up to the 24th day of August, 1986, in the Bicol Region comprised by the Provinces of Albay, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Masbate, Camarines Sur, and Camarines Norte, and the Cities of Iriga and Naga, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court under R.A. No. 4363, and B.P. Blg. 129, the above-named accused who are the news correspondent and the managing editor, respectively, of the local weekly newspaper Bicol Forum, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, without justifiable motive and with malicious intent of impeaching, discrediting and destroying the honor, integrity, good name and reputation of the complainant as Minister of the Presidential Commission on Government Reorganization and concurrently Governor of the Province of Camarines Sur, and to expose him to public hatred, ridicule and contempt, write, edit, publish and circulate an issue of the local weekly newspaper BICOL FORUM throughout the Bicol Region, with banner headline and front page news item read by the public throughout the Bicol Region “VILLAFUERTE’S DENIAL CONVINCES NO ONE”. The trial court found the petitioner guilty. The Court of Appeals likewise upheld the decision of the trial court.

Issue: Whether or not the questioned news item is libelous.

Held: No. Libel is defined as “a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural person or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.” The law recognizes two kinds of privileged matters. First are those which are classified as absolutely privileged which enjoy immunity from libel suits regardless of the existence of malice in fact. The other kind of privileged matters are the qualifiedly or conditionally privileged communications which, unlike the first classification, may be susceptible to a finding of libel provided the prosecution establishes the presence of malice in fact. The exceptions provided for in Article 354 of the Revised Penal Code fall into this category. The interest of society and the maintenance of good government demand a full discussion of public affairs. Complete liberty to comment on the conduct of public men is a scalpel in the case of free speech. The sharp incision of its probe relieves the abscesses of officialdom. Men in public life may suffer under a hostile and an unjust accusation; the wound can be assuaged with the balm of a clear conscience. Rising superior to any official, or set of officials, to the Chief Executive, to the Legislature, to the Judiciary – to any or all the agencies of Government – public opinion should be the constant source of liberty and democracy.

G.R. NO. 150129 April 6, 2005

Facts: Convicted by the Sandiganbayan in its Crim. Case No. 23261 of the crime of illegal use of public funds defined and penalized under Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code, or more commonly known as technical malversation, appellant Norma A. Abdulla is now before this Court on petition for review under Rule 45. Along with Nenita Aguil and Mahmud Darkis, appellant was charged under an Information which pertinently reads: That on or about November, 1989 or sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in Jolo, Sulu, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused: NORMA A. ABDULLA and NENITA P. AGUIL, both public officers, being then the President and cashier, respectively, of the Sulu State College, and as such by reason of their positions and duties are accountable for public funds under their administration, while in the performance of their functions, conspiring and confederating with MAHMUD I. DARKIS, also a public officer, being then the Administrative Officer V of the said school, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, without lawful authority, apply for the payment of wages of casuals, the amount of FORTY THOUSAND PESOS (P40,000.00), Philippine Currency, which amount was appropriated for the payment of the salary differentials of secondary school teachers of the said school, to the damage and prejudice of public service .Appellant’s co-accused, Nenita Aguil and Mahmud Darkis, were both acquitted. Only appellant was found guilty and sentenced by the Sandiganbayan in its decision. Upon motion for reconsideration, the Sandiganbayan amended appellant’s sentence by deleting the temporary special disqualification imposed upon her. Still dissatisfied, appellant, now before this Court, persistently pleas innocence of the crime charged.
Issue: 1) Whether or not there was unlawful intent on the appellant’s part.

2) Whether or not the essential elements of the crime of technical malversation is present.

Held: The Court must have to part ways with the Sandiganbayan in its reliance on Section 5 (b) of Rule 131 as basis for its imputation of criminal intent upon appellant. The presumption of criminal intent will not automatically apply to all charges of technical malversation because disbursement of public funds for public use is per se not an unlawful act. Here, appellant cannot be said to have committed an unlawful act when she paid the obligation of the Sulu State College to its employees in the form of terminal leave benefits such employees were entitled to under existing civil service laws. There is no dispute that the money was spent for a public purpose – payment of the wages of laborers working on various projects in the municipality. It is pertinent to note the high priority which laborers’ wages enjoy as claims against the employers’ funds and resources. Settled is the rule that conviction should rest on the strength of evidence of the prosecution and not on the weakness of the defense. Absent this required quantum of evidence would mean exoneration for accused-appellant. The Sandiganbayan’s improper reliance on Sec. 5(b) of Rule 131 does not save the day for the prosecution’s deficiency in proving the existence of criminal intent nor could it ever tilt the scale from the constitutional presumption of innocence to that of guilt. In the absence of criminal intent, this Court has no basis to affirm appellant’s conviction. 2. The Court notes that there is no particular appropriation for salary differentials of secondary school teachers of the Sulu State College in RA 6688. The third element of the crime of technical malversation which requires that the public fund used should have been appropriated by law, is therefore absent. The authorization given by the Department of Budget and Management for the use of the forty thousand pesos (P40,000.00) allotment for payment of salary differentials of 34 secondary school teachers is not an ordinance or law contemplated in Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code. Appellant herein, who used the remainder of the forty thousand pesos (P40,000.00) released by the DBM for salary differentials, for the payment of the terminal leave benefits of other school teachers of the Sulu State College, cannot be held guilty of technical malversation in the absence, as here, of any provision in RA 6688 specifically appropriating said amount for payment of salary differentials only. In fine, the third and fourth elements of the crime defined in Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code are lacking in this case. Acquittal is thus in order.

G.R. No. 138553. June 30, 2005

Facts: On May 6, 1993, in the Regional Trial Court at La Trinidad, Benguet an information for direct assault was filed against petitioner, allegedly committed, as follows: That on or about the 20th day of March, 1993, at Tomay, Shilan, Municipality of La Trinidad, Province of Benguet, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, employ force and seriously resist one Lt. EDWARD M. LEYGO, knowing him to be a policeman, by then and there challenging the latter to a fistfight and thereafter grappling and hitting the said policeman on his face, thus injuring him in the process while the latter was actually engaged in the performance of his official duties. The trial court convicted petitioner of the crime of direct assault. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court.
Issue: Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the judgment of conviction rendered by the trial court.

Held: Direct assault, a crime against public order, may be committed in two ways: first, by any person or persons who, without a public uprising, shall employ force or intimidation for the attainment of any of the purposes enumerated in defining the crimes of rebellion and sedition; and second, by any person or persons who, without a public uprising, shall attack, employ force, or seriously intimidate or resist any person in authority or any of his agents, while engaged in the performance of official duties, or on occasion of such performance. Unquestionably, petitioner’s case falls under the second mode, which is the more common form of assault and is aggravated when: (a) the assault is committed with a weapon; or (b) when the offender is a public officer or employee; or (c) when the offender lays hand upon a person in authority. In any event, this Court has said time and again that the assessment of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies is best undertaken by the trial court, what with reality that it has the opportunity to observe the witnesses first-hand and to note their demeanor, conduct, and attitude while testifying. Its findings on such matters, absent, as here, of any arbitrariness or oversight of facts or circumstances of weight and substance, are final and conclusive upon this Court and will not to be disturbed on appeal.


G.R. No.152358, February 5, 2004

Facts: Early in the morning of August 25, 1994, Romeo C. Boringot was awakened by his wife Aida, the latter having heard somebody shouting invectives at her husband, viz: “You ought to be killed, you devil.” So Romeo stood up and peeped to see who was outside. When he did not see anybody, he proceeded towards the road.
Upon passing by a coconut tree, he was suddenly hacked at the back with bolo which was more that 1 foot long. He looked back at his assailant and he recognized him to be appellant Conrado whom he knew since the 1970’s and whose face he clearly saw as light from the moon illuminated the place. Appellant went on hacking him, hitting him in different parts of the body, including ears and the head. While hitting him, appellant was shouting invectives at him. Appellant also hit him with a guitar causing Romeo to sustain an injury on his forehead. All in all, he sustained 11 wounds.
Petitioner invoked self-defense. The trial court rejected petitioner’s plea of self-defense and convicted him of frustrated homicide.

Issue: Whether or not petitioner acted in self-defense.

Held: The petitioner was burdened to prove, with clear and convincing evidence, the confluence of the three essential requisites for complete self-defense: (a) unlawful aggression on the part of the victim; (b) reasonable means used by the person defending himself to repel or prevent the unlawful to repel or prevent the unlawful aggression; (c) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself. By invoking self-defense, the petitioner thereby submitted having deliberately caused the victim’s injuries. The burden of proof is shifted to him to prove with clear and convincing all the requisites of his affirmative defense. He must rely on the strength of his own evidence and not the weakness of that of the disbelieved after the petitioner admitted inflicting the mortal injuries on the victim. In this case, the petitioner failed to prove his affirmative defense.
The number, nature and location of the victim’s wounds belie the petitioner’s claim that the said wounds or the victim were inflicted as they duel with each other.
Witness for the petitioner testified that the wounds sustained by petitioner could not have been caused by bolo.
Petitioner never surrendered voluntarily to the police and admitted that he had injured the victim. This would have bolstered his claim that he hacked the victim to defend himself. The petitioner did not do so.


G.R. No. 150758, February 18, 2004

Facts: Veronico Tenebro contracted marriage with Leticia Ancajas on April 10, 1990. The two were wed by a judge at Lapu-Lapu City. The two lived together continuously and without interruption until the later part of 1991, when Tenebro informed Ancajas that he had been previously married to a certain Hilda Villareyes on Nov. 10, 1986. Tenebro showed Ancajas a photocopy of a marriage contract between him and Villareyes. Invoking this previous marriage, petitioner thereafter left the conjugal dwelling which he shared with Ancajas, stating that he was going to cohabit with Villareyes.
On January 25, 1993, petitioner contracted yet another marriage, this one with a certain Nilda Villegas. When Ancajas learned of this third marriage, she verified from Villareyes whether the latter was indeed married to the petitioner. Villareyes confirmed in handwritten letter that indeed Tenebro was her husband.
Ancajas thereafter filed a complaint for bigamy against petitioner. During trial, Tenebro admitted having married to Villareyes and produced two children. However, he denied that he and Villareyes were validly married to each other, claiming that no marriage ceremony took place. He alleged that he signed a marriage contract merely to enable her to get the allotment from his office in connection with his work as a seaman. The trial court found him guilty of bigamy.

Issues: (1) Whether or not the petitioner is guilty of the crime of bigamy.
(2) What is the effect of declaration of nullity of the second marriage of the petitioner on the ground of psychological incapacity?

Held: (1) Yes, petitioner is guilty of the crime of bigamy. Under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code, the elements of the crime of bigamy are: (1) that the offender has been legally married; (2) that the first marriage has not been legally dissolved or, in case his or her spouse is absent, the absent spouse could not yet be presumed dead according to the Civil Code; (3) that he contracts a second or subsequent marriage; and (4) that the second or subsequent marriage has all the essential requisites for validity. The prosecution sufficient evidence, both documentary and oral, proved the existence of the marriage between petitioner and Villareyes.
(2) A second or subsequent marriage contracted during subsistence of petitioner’s valid marriage to Villareyes, petitioner’s marriage to Ancajas would be null and void ab initio completely regardless of petitioner’s psychological capacity or incapacity. Since a marriage contracted during the subsistence of a valid marriage is automatically void, the nullity of this second marriage is not per se an argument for the avoidance of criminal liability for bigamy. Pertinently, Article 349 of the RPC criminalizes “any person who shall contract a second or subsequent marriage before the former marriage has been legally dissolved, or before the absent spouse has been declared presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proper proceedings”. A plain reading of the law, therefore, would indicate that the provision penalizes the mere act of contracting a second or subsequent marriage during the subsistence of a valid marriage.


G.R. No. 137182, Apirl 24, 2003

Facts: On March 16, 1996, businessman Alexander Saldaña went to Sultan Kudarat with three other men to meet a certain Macapagal Silongan alias Commander Lambada. They arrived in the morning and were able to talk to Macapagal concerning the gold nuggets that purportedly being sold by the latter. The business transaction was postponed and continued in the afternoon due to the death of Macapagal’s relative and that he has to pick his brother in Cotabato City.
Then at around 8:30 PM, as they headed to the highway, Macapagal ordered the driver to stop. Suddenly, 15 armed men appeared. Alexander and his three companions were ordered to go out of the vehicle, they were tied up, and blindfolded. Macapagal and Teddy were also tied and blindfolded, but nothing more was done to them. Alexander identified all the abductors including the brothers of Macapagal.
The four victims were taken to the mountain hideout in Maguindanao. The kidnappers demanded P15, 000,000 from Alexander’s wife for his release, but the amount was reduced to twelve million. The victims were then transferred from one place to another. They made Alexander write a letter to his wife for his ransom. But on several occasions, a person named Mayangkang himself would write to Alexander’s wife. The two other victims managed to escape but Alexander was released after payment of ransom. The trial court convicted Macapagal and his companions of the crime of Kidnapping for Ransom with Serious Illegal Detention.

Issue: Whether it is necessary that there is actual payment of ransom in the crime of Kidnapping.

Held: No, it is necessary that there is actual payment of ransom in the crime of Kidnapping. For the crime to be committed, at least one overt act of demanding ransom must be made. It is not necessary that there be actual payment of ransom because what the law requires is merely the existence of the purpose of demanding ransom. In this case, the records are replete with instances when the kidnappers demanded ransom from the victim. At the mountain hideout where Alexander was first taken, he was made a letter to his wife asking her to pay ransom of twelve million. Also Mayangkang himself wrote more letters to his family threatened the family to kill Alexander if the ransom was not paid.


G.R. No. 119858, April 29, 2003

Facts: Petitioner Edward Ong, representing ARMAGRI International Corporation (ARMAGRI), executed two trust receipts acknowledging receipt from the Solid Bank Corp. of goods valued at P 2,532,500 and P 2, 050,000. In addition, he bounded himself to any increase or decrease of interest rate in case Central Bank floated rates and to pay any additional penalty until the trust receipts are fully paid.
When the trust receipts became due and demandable, ARMAGRI failed to pay or deliver the goods to the Bank despite several demand letters. The trial court convicted Ong of two counts of estafa for violation of the Trust Receipts Law.

Issue: Whether the appellant is guilty of two counts estafa for violation of the Trust Receipts Law.

Held: Yes, he is guilty for failure by the entrustee to account for the goods received in trust constitutes estafa. The Trust Receipts Law is violated whenever the entrustee fails to: (1) turn over the proceeds of the sale of goods, or (2) return the goods covered by the trust receipts if the good are not sold. The mere failure to account or return gives rise to the crime which is malum prohibitum. There is no requirement to prove intent to defraud.
The Bank released the goods to ARMAGRI upon execution of the trust receipts and as part of the loan transactions of ARMAGRI. The Bank had a right to demand from ARMAGRI payment or at least a return of the goods. ARMAGRI failed tom pay or return the goods despite repeated demands by the Bank.
It is well-settled doctrine long before the enactment of the Trust Receipts Law, that the failure to account, upon demand, for funds or property held in trust is evidence of conversion or misappropriation. Under the law, mere failure by the entrustee to account for the goods received in trust constitutes estafa. The Trust Receipts Law punishes dishonesty and abuse of confidence in the handling of money or goods to prejudice the public order. The mere failure to deliver proceeds of the sale or the goods if not sold constitutes a criminal offense that causes prejudice not only to the creditor, but also to the public interest. Evidently, the Bank suffered prejudice for neither money nor the goods were turned over the Bank.


G.R. No. 129895, April 30, 2003

Facts: Armando Dalag, a member of the Philippine National Police, was lawfully married to Leah Nolido Dalag. They had three children. Their marriage was far from idyllic. Their covertures were marred by violent quarrels, with Leah always at the losing end. Each time the couple had a quarrel, she sustained contusions, bruises and lumps on different parts of her body.
On August 15, 1996, Armando was drinking when Leah admonished him not to do so. Leah was then banged on the wall by Armando. Then he pushed and kicked Leah on the left side of her body which caused her to fall on the ground. Even as Leah was already lying prostrate, Armando continued to beat her up, punching her on the different parts of her body. Leah then fled to the house of Felia Horilla but Armando ran after her and herded her back to their house. Leah fell again to the ground and lost her consciousness. The trial court convicted Armando of parricide.

Issue: Whether the trial court correctly convicted the accused.

Held: Yes, the trial court correctly concluded that the injuries sustained by Leah that caused her death were the consequence of the appellant’s deliberate and intentional acts.
The crime of parricide is defined by Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code thus: Any person who shall kill his father, mother, or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate, or any of his ascendants, or descendants, or his spouse, shall be guilty of parricide and shall be punished by the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death.
The prosecution is mandated to prove the following essential elements: (1) a person is killed; (2) the deceased is killed by the accused; and (3) the deceased is the father, mother or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate, or a legitimate other ascendant or other descendant, or the legitimate spouse of the accused. The prescribed penalty for the crime is reclusion perpetua to death. The key element in parricide of a spouse, the best proof of the relationship between the accused and the deceased would be the marriage certificate.


G.R. No. 146685-86, April 30, 2003

Facts: Sometime in 1998, ten-year old Richelle Cosada was told by appellant Benjamin Hilet, the common law husband of her mother not to go to school and watch the house. At about 10 AM, while her mother was out selling fish, Richelle saw appellant sharpening his bolo. Moments later, appellant dragged her towards the room and raped her. She kept the afternoon of March 17, 1999. Richelle finally confided to her mother. The latter asked their neighbor to report the incident to the police. The trial court convicted the appellant guilty of two counts of statutory rape.

Issue: Whether time is an essential element of statutory rape.

Held: No, time is not an essential element of statutory rape. An information is valid as long as it distinctly states the elements of the offense and the acts or omission constitutive thereof. The exact date of the commission of a crime is not an essential element of rape. Thus, in a prosecution of rape, the material fact or circumstance to be considered is the occurrence of rape, not the time of its commission.
It is not necessary to state the precise time when the offense was committed except when time is a material ingredient of the offense. In statutory rape, time is not an essential element. What is important is the information alleges that the victim is a minor under twelve years of age and the accused had carnal knowledge of her, even if no force or intimidation was used or she was not otherwise deprived of reason.



Facts: Reynaldo Diaz, a tricycle driver, went to a coffee shop to meet Ronnie Sanchez and this Sanchez disclosed to Diaz his plan to rob Rosita Sy. Thereafter Belleza Lozada arrived. They planned to wait Rosita Sy as she would normally leave her drugstore between 10:30 and 11 PM. They have also planned to kill Rosita Sy, upon realizing that Sy would be killed, Diaz excused himself on the pretext that he would get a weapon but he delayed himself and the plan was not implemented that night because of the delay. They have agreed to pursue it the next day. Diaz deliberately stayed away from their meeting place the next day. The following day, he learned over the radio that a lifeless body of Rosita was found in a remote area.

Issue: Whether or not all elements of a Robbery with Homicide are present to constitute a penalty of death.

Held: The SC ruled that all the elements were present. The taking with animo lurid or personal property belonging to another person by means of violence against or intimidation of person or using force upon thing constitutes robbery, and the complex crime of robbery with homicide arises when by reason or on the occasion of robbery, someone is killed. All these elements have satisfactorily been shown by the prosecution.


G.R. No. 135981. September 29, 2000

Facts: On or about the 15th day of November 1995, at Barangay Bilwang, Municipality of Isabel, province of Leyte, accused Marivic Genosa, with intent to kill, with treachery and evident premeditation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, hit and wound BEN GENOSA, her legitimate husband, with the use of a hard deadly weapon, which the accused had provided herself for the purpose, inflicting several wounds which caused his death.
The lower court found the accused, Marivic Genosa y Isidro, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of parricide and sentenced the accused with the penalty of DEATH.
On appeal, the appellant alleged that despite the evidence on record of repeated and severe beatings she had suffered at the hands of her husband, the lower court failed to appreciate her self-defense theory. She claimed that under the surrounding circumstances, her act of killing her husband was equivalent to self-defense.
Issue: Whether or not the “battered woman syndrome” as a viable plea within the concept of self-defense is applicable in this case.
Held: No. The court, however, is not discounting the possibility of self-defense arising from the battered woman syndrome. We now sum up our main points. First, each of the phases of the cycle of violence must be proven to have characterized at least two battering episodes between the appellant and her intimate partner. Second, the final acute battering episode preceding the killing of the batterer must have produced in the battered person’s mind an actual fear of an imminent harm, from her batterer and an honest belief that she needed to use force in order to save her life. Third, at the time of the killing, the batterer must have posed probable—not necessarily immediate and actual—grave harm to the accused, based on the history of violence perpetrated by the former against the latter. Taken altogether, these circumstances could satisfy the requisites of self-defense. Under the existing facts of the present case, however, not all of these elements were duly established.


G.R. No. 140873-77, February 6, 2004

Facts: The spouses Vivencio and Teodora Brigole had four children. Two of them were girls and named- Norelyn and Doneza. Teodora left Vivencio and kept custody of their fpur children. Then, Teodora and Levi started living together as husband and wife.
Sometime in 1995, Norelyn, who was barely ten years old, was gathering firewood with the appellant Levi in his farm. While they were nearing a guava tree, the appellant suddenly boxed her on the stomach. Norelyn lost consciousness. She had her clothes when she woke up. She had a terrible headache and felt pain in her vagina. She also had a bruise in the middle portion of her right leg. The appellant warned not to tell her mother about it, otherwise he would kill her.
The sexual assaults were repeated several times so she decided to tell her sister and eventually her mother. The trial court found the accused guilty of the crime rape and sentenced him to death.

Issue: Whether or not the accused is guilty of the crime charged.

Held: Yes, the accused is guilty of the crime charged. For the accused to held guilty of consummated rape, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that: 1) there had been carnal knowledge of the victim by the accused; 20 the accused achieves the act through force or intimidation upon the victim because the latter is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious. Carnal knowledge of the victim by the accused may be proved either by direct evidence or by circumstantial evidence that rape had been committed and that the accused is the perpetrator thereof. A finding of guilt of the accused for rape may be based solely on the victim’s testimony if such testimony meets the test of credibility. Corroborating testimony frequently unavailable in rape cases is not indispensable to warrant a conviction of the accused for the crime. This Court has ruled that when a woman states that she has been raped, she says in effect all that would necessary to show rape did take place. However, the testimony of the victim must be scrutinized with extreme caution. The prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits.
The credibility of Norelyn and the probative weight of her testimony cannot be assailed simply because her admission that it took the appellant only short time to insert his penis into her vagina and to satiate his lust. The mere entry of his penis into the labia of the pudendum, even if only for a short while, is enough insofar as the consummation of the crime of rape is concerned, the brevity of time that the appellant inserted penis into the victim’s vagina is of no particular importance.