Friday, October 30, 2009

Criminal Law I Cases Digests: Part 2

Chester Cabalza recommends his visitors to please read the original & full texts of the cases cited. Xie xie!

Enrile vs Salazar
G.R. No. 92163
June 5, 1990


In the afternoon of February 27, 1990, Senate Minority Floor Leader Juan Ponce Enrile was arrested by law enforcement officers led by Director Alfredo Lim of the National Bureau of Investigation on the strength of a warrant issued by Hon. Jaime Salazar of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City Branch 103, in Criminal Case No. 9010941.

The warrant had issued on an information signed and earlier that day filed by a panel of prosecutors composed of Senior State Prosecutor Aurelio C. Trampe, State Prosecutor Ferdinand R. Abesamis and Assistant City Prosecutor Eulogio Mananquil, Jr., charging Senator Enrile, the spouses Rebecco and Erlinda Panlilio, and Gregorio Honasan with the crime of rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated murder allegedly committed during the period of the failed coup attempt from November 29 to December 10, 1990.

Senator Enrile was taken to and held overnight at the NBI headquarters on Taft Avenue, Manila, without bail, none having been recommended in the information and none fixed in the arrest warrant. The following morning, February 28, 1990, he was brought to Camp Tomas Karingal in Quezon City where he was given over to the custody of the Superintendent of the Northern Police District, Brig. Gen. Edgardo Dula Torres.

On the same date of February 28, 1990, Senator Enrile, through counsel, filed the petition for habeas corpus herein (which was followed by a supplemental petition filed on March 2, 1990), alleging that he was deprived of his constitutional rights.


(a) Whether the petitioner has committed complex crimes (delito compleio) arising from an offense being a necessary means for committing another, which is referred to in the second clause of Article 48, Revised Penal Code?


There is one other reason and a fundamental one at that why Article 48 of the Penal Code cannot be applied in the case at bar. If murder were not complexed with rebellion, and the two crimes were punished separately (assuming that this could be done), the following penalties would be imposable upon the movant, namely: (1) for the crime of rebellion, a fine not exceeding P20,000 and prision mayor, in the corresponding period, depending upon the modifying circumstances present, but never exceeding 12 years of prision mayor, and (2) for the crime of murder, reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death, depending upon the modifying circumstances present. In other words, in the absence of aggravating circumstances, the extreme penalty could not be imposed upon him. However, under Article 48 said penalty would have to be meted out to him, even in the absence of a single aggravating circumstance. Thus, said provision, if construed in conformity with the theory of the prosecution, would be unfavorable to the movant.

The plaint of petitioner's counsel that he is charged with a crime that does not exist in the statute books, while technically correct so far as the Court has ruled that rebellion may not be complexed with other offenses committed on the occasion thereof, must therefore be dismissed as a mere flight of rhetoric. Read in the context of Hernandez, the information does indeed charge the petitioner with a crime defined and punished by the Revised Penal Code: simple rebellion.

Petitioner finally claims that he was denied the right to bail. In the light of the Court's reaffirmation of Hernandez as applicable to petitioner's case, and of the logical and necessary corollary that the information against him should be considered as charging only the crime of simple rebellion, which is bailable before conviction, that must now be accepted as a correct proposition. But the question remains: Given the facts from which this case arose, was a petition for habeas corpus in this Court the appropriate vehicle for asserting a right to bail or vindicating its denial? The criminal case before the respondent Judge was the normal venue for invoking the petitioner's right to have provisional liberty pending trial and judgment. The original jurisdiction to grant or deny bail rested with said respondent. The correct course was for petitioner to invoke that jurisdiction by filing a petition to be admitted to bail, claiming a right to bail per se by reason of the weakness of the evidence against him. Only after that remedy was denied by the trial court should the review jurisdiction of this Court have been invoked, and even then, not without first applying to the Court of Appeals if appropriate relief was also available there.

The Court reiterates that based on the doctrine enunciated in People vs. Hernandez, the questioned information filed against petitioners Juan Ponce Enrile and the spouses Rebecco and Erlinda Panlilio must be read as charging simple rebellion only, hence said petitioners are entitled to bail, before final conviction, as a matter of right. The Court's earlier grant of bail to petitioners being merely provisional in character, the proceedings in both cases are ordered remanded to the respondent Judge to fix the amount of bail to be posted by the petitioners. Once bail is fixed by said respondent for any of the petitioners, the corresponding bail bond flied with this Court shall become functus oficio. No pronouncement as to costs.

Case Digest by: cbcabalza2009


Santiago vs Garchitorena
G.R. No. 109266
December, 2 1993

Narvasa, C.J., Cruz, Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Nocon, Bellosillo, Melo and Puno, JJ., concur.


On May 1, 1991, petitioner Santiago was charged by the Sandiganbayan with violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, allegedly committed by her favoring "unqualified" aliens with the benefits of the Alien Legalization Program.

On May 24, 1991, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition to enjoin the Sandiganbayan from proceeding with criminal case on the ground that said case was intended solely to harass her as she was then a presidential candidate. She alleged that this was in violation of Section 10, Article IX-C of the Constitution which provides that "(b)ona fide candidates for any public office shall be free from any form of harassment and discrimination." The petition was dismissed on January 13, 1992.

On October 16, 1992, petitioner filed a motion for inhibition of Presiding Justice Garchitorena, which motion was set for hearing on November 13, 1992. ten days after, the Sandiganbayan (First Division), of which Presiding Justice Garchitorena is a member, set the criminal case for arraignment on November 13, 1992. On November 6, 1992, petitioner moved to defer the arraignment on the grounds that there was a pending motion for inhibition, and that petitioner intended to file a motion for a bill of particulars. However, on November 9, 1992, the Sandiganbayan (First Division) denied the motion to defer the arraignment.

More so, the petitioner cannot accept the legal morality of Sandiganbayan Justice Francis Garchitorena who would her from going abroad for a Harvard scholarship because of graft charges against her. It appears that petitioner tried to leave the country without first securing the permission of the Sandiganbayan, prompting it to issue the hold-departure order which. The letter of Presiding Justice Garchitorena, written in defense of the dignity and integrity of the Sandiganbayan, merely stated that all persons facing criminal charges in court, with no exception, have to secure permission to leave the country.

The court issued the Resolution dated March 25, 1993, ordering Presiding Justice Garchitorena "to CEASE and DESIST from sitting in the case until the question of his disqualification is finally resolved by this Court and from enforcing the resolution dated March 11, 1993, ordering petitioner to post bail bonds for the 32 Amended Informations and from proceeding with the arraignment on
April 12, 1993.


(a) Whether the petitioner is charged with continued crime (delito continuado) under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code?


The 32 Amended Informations charged to the petitioner is known as delito continuado or "continued crime" and sometimes referred to as "continuous crime." In fairness to the Ombudsman's Office of the Special Prosecutor, it should be borne in mind that the concept of delito continuado has been a vexing problem in Criminal Law — difficult as it is to define and more difficult to apply.

The concept of delito continuado, although an outcry of the Spanish Penal Code, has been applied to crimes penalized under special laws, e.g. violation of R.A. No. 145 penalizing the charging of fees for services rendered following up claims for war veteran's benefits (People v. Sabbun, 10 SCRA 156 [1964] ). Under Article 10 of the Revised Penal Code, the Code shall be supplementary to special laws, unless the latter provide the contrary. Hence, legal principles developed from the Penal Code may be applied in a supplementary capacity to crimes punished under special laws.

In the case at bench, the original information charged petitioner with performing a single criminal act that of her approving the application for legalization of aliens not qualified under the law to enjoy such privilege. The original information also averred that the criminal act : (i) committed by petitioner was in violation of a law - Executive Order No. 324 dated April 13, 1988, (ii) caused an undue injury to one offended party, the Government, and (iii) was done on a single day, i.e., on or about October 17, 1988.

The Resolution dated March 3, 1993 in Criminal Case No. 16698 of the Sandiganbayan (First Division) is affirmed and its Resolution dated March 11, 1993 in Criminal Case No. 16698 is modified in the sense that the Office of the Special Prosecutor of the Office of the Ombudsman is directed to consolidate the 32 Amended Informations (Criminal Cases Nos. 18371 to 18402) into one information charging only one offense under the original case number, i.e., No. 16698. The temporary restraining order issued by this Court on March 25, 1993 is lifted insofar as to the disqualification of Presiding Justice Francis Garchitorena is concerned.

Case Digest by: cbcabalza2009


Francisco vs Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 108747
April 6, 1995

Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin and Regalado, JJ., concur.


Petitioner Pablo C. Francisco, upon humiliating his employees, was accused of multiple grave oral defamation in five (5) separate Informations instituted by five of his employees, each Information charging him with gravely maligning them on four different days, i.e., from 9 to 12 April 1980.

On 2 January 1990, after nearly ten (10) years, the Metropolitan Trial Court of Makati, Br. 61, found petitioner Pablo C. Francisco, guilty of grave oral defamation, in four (4) of the five (5) cases filed against him, and sentenced him to a prison term of one (1) year and one (l) day to one (1) year and eight (8) months of prision correccional "in each crime committed on each date of each case, as alleged in the information(s)," ordered him to indemnify each of the offended parties, Victoria Gatchalian, Rowena Ruiz, Linda Marie Ayala Pigar and Marie Solis, P10,000.00 as exemplary damages, and P5,000.00 for attorney's fees, plus costs of suit. However, he was acquitted in for persistent failure of the offended party, Edgar Colindres, to appear and testify.


(a) Whether petitioner is still qualified to avail of probation even after appealing his conviction to the RTC which affirmed the MeTC except with regard to the duration of the penalties imposed.


Fixing the cut-off point at a maximum term of six (6) years imprisonment for probation is based on the assumption that those sentenced to higher penalties pose too great a risk to society, not just because of their demonstrated capability for serious wrong doing but because of the gravity and serious consequences of the offense they might further commit.

The Probation Law, as amended, disqualifies only those who have been convicted of grave felonies as defined in Art. 9 in relation to Art. 25 of the Revised Penal Code, and not necessarily those who have been convicted of multiple offenses in a single proceeding who are deemed to be less perverse.

Hence, the basis of the disqualification of the petitioner is principally on the gravity of the offense committed and the concomitant degree of penalty imposed. Those sentenced to a maximum term not exceeding six (6) years are not generally considered callous, hard core criminals, and thus may avail of probation.

The Court hereby finds the accused Pablo C. Francisco GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt in each of the above entitled cases and appreciating in his favor the mitigating circumstance which is analogous to passion or obfuscation, the Court hereby sentences the said accused in each case to a straight penalty of eight months imprisonment, with the accessory penalties prescribed by law; and to pay the costs.

The argument that petitioner had to await the remand of the case to the MeTC, which necessarily must be after the decision of the RTC had become final, for him to file the application for probation with the trial court, is to stretch the law beyond comprehension. The law, simply, does not allow probation after an appeal has been perfected.

Accordingly, considering that prevailing jurisprudence treats appeal and probation as mutually exclusive remedies, and petitioner appealed from his conviction by the MeTC although the imposed penalties were already probationable, and in his appeal, he asserted only his innocence and did not even raise the issue of the propriety of the penalties imposed on him, and finally, he filed an application for probation outside the period for perfecting an appeal granting he was otherwise eligible for probation, the instant petition for review should be as it is hereby DENIED.

Case Digest by: cbcabalza2009


People vs Ranin
G.R. No. 173023
June 25, 2008


Based on the antecedent facts culled from the records, in the morning of February 18, 1999, Lina de Castro, a lady guard detailed at Palma Hall in the University of the Philippines (UP), Diliman Campus, noticed appellant Ranin pacing the pathway. Appellant Ranin intermittently glanced at a photo which he kept in his pocket while his three companions sat on a bench. Sensing that the four were outsiders, de Castro asked them to leave.

Yet again, at around 3:30 p.m. the following day, de Castro saw appellant Ranin walking by the CASAA canteen as his companions rested on a bench. De Castro accosted appellant Ranin and demanded that he leave. Without responding, the latter headed towards the photocopying machine at the Arts and Sciences Building and then back. He did this routine four times while constantly checking a photo hidden in his pocket.

Meanwhile, Nino Calinao was seated on a bench with other UP students. When appellant Ranin neared their bench, he suddenly fired two successive shots at Calinao. The other students ran away as Calinao fell to the ground. While the latter was crawling on the ground holding his stomach, appellant Ranin shot him a third time. Then, appellant Ranin fired a fourth time at the fallen body of Calinao. De Castro tugged on appellant Ranin's shirt and told him, "Dodong, Dodong, tama na yan, patay na yang bata." Appellant Ranin pointed the gun at her but put it down right away. After that, appellant Ranin and his companions fled.

On September 21, 1999, Resurreccion Ranin, Jr. y Jamali, Besmart Al-Baddar Lauppah y Umparah, Rizal Sarri Lamsani y Jamang and Ommar Hadjula y Kainong were charged with murder in an Information which reads as follows:

On or about February 19, 1999, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, while confederating, conniving, conspiring and mutually helping and aiding one another, with evident premeditation and treachery, taking advantage of superior strength and employing means to weaken the defense of the victim, did then and there, with criminal and malicious intent to kill, wilfully, unlawfully, feloniously, shoot Nino Calinao with a .45 caliber pistol which caused his instantaneous death, to the damage and prejudice of his heirs.


(a) Whether appellant Ranin be punished of death penalty against the provision of RA No. 9346 on the prohibition of the imposition of death penalty.


The Court likewise agrees with the trial court that treachery and evident premeditation attended the killing which qualified the offense to murder. There is treachery when the means, methods and forms of execution employed gave the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate; and such means, methods and forms of execution were deliberately and consciously adopted by the accused without danger to his person. The essence of evident premeditation, for its part, is that the execution of the criminal act was preceded by cool thought and reflection upon the resolution to carry out the criminal intent during a space of time sufficient to arrive at a calm judgment.

Evidently, Calinao was unaware of the impending danger as appellant Ranin suddenly fired two successive shots at him.

Now, as to the imposable penalty on appellant Ranin, we take into account the passage of Republic Act No. 9346, which was signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on June 24, 2006. The pertinent provisions of said law states that:

Section 1. The imposition of the penalty of death is hereby prohibited. Accordingly, R.A. No. 8177, otherwise known as the Act Designating Death by Lethal Injection, is hereby repealed. Republic Act No. R.A. No. 7659, otherwise known as the Death Penalty Law, and all other laws, executive orders and decrees, insofar as they impose the death penalty are hereby repealed or amended accordingly.

Section 2. In lieu of the death penalty, the following shall be imposed: (a) the penalty of reclusion perpetua, when the law violated makes use of the nomenclature of the penalties of the Revised Penal Code; or

Section 3. Persons convicted of offenses punished with reclusion perpetua, or whose sentences will be reduced to reclusion perpetua, by reason of this Act, shall not be eligible for parole under Act No. 4103, otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended.

The assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals are hereby affirmed with modification. In view of Rep. Act No. 9346 prohibiting the imposition of the death penalty, appellant Ranin is hereby sentenced to reclusion perpetua without possibility of parole. The award of actual damages is reduced to P42,000, while that of moral damages is also reduced to P50,000. The appellant is further ordered to pay the heirs of Nino Calinao P75, 000 as civil indemnity and P25, 000 as exemplary damages. No pronouncement as to costs.

Case Digest by: cbcabalza2009


People vs Dela Torre
G.R. No. 137953-58
April 11, 2002


Appellee WILFREDO DELA TORRE had three (3) children with his common-law wife Melinda Torre, namely: M1, M2 and M3. Melinda left her family when M1 was about seven (7) years old bringing with her M3. The victim lived with her father and brother M2 in Sta. Cruz, Zambales.

In January of 1997, Felita Sobrevilla, teacher of M1, noticed sudden changes in her behavior and when confronted, the latter admitted that she was sexually abused by her father. Her head teacher informed her Aunt Elpidia Balindo about the sexual abuses. They referred the case to the DSWD who took her under its custody.

M1 testified that her father committed sexual abuses on her on the following dates: September 30, 1996, October 10, 1996, October 18, 1996, November 01, 1996, November 12, 1996 and December 23, 1996.

A medical examination conducted by Dr. Milagrina Mayor, Rural Health Physician of Sta. Cruz, Zambales, on Mary Rose revealed that her hymen was broken with healed lacerations at the 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 nine o’clock positions. The girl also suffered from urinary tract infection.


(a) Whether appellee should be penalized with reclusion perpetua in each of the four indictments for rape, instead of imposing the supreme penalty of death as mandated by R.A. No. 7659.

(b) Whether an increase in the penalty imposed by the lower court will violate the right of the accused against double jeopardy.


The RTC ruled that "it was duly established that accused Wilfredo committed acts of lasciviousness against M1 on 30 September 1996 and 10 October 1996, and had carnal knowledge [of] M1 on 18 October 1996, 01 November 1996, 12 November 1996 and 23 December 1996." Further, the trial court added that the moral ascendancy of appellee over the victim was equivalent to intimidation. It did not give any probative value to his uncorroborated and unsubstantiated defenses of denial and alibi.

However, the court refused to impose the supreme penalty of death on appellee. It maintained that there were circumstances that mitigated the gravity of the offenses.

The prosecution asks this Court to modify the RTC Decision by imposing the supreme penalty of death on the accused. It argues that it has proven that the victim is the daughter of the accused, and that she was below eighteen (18) years old when the rapes took place. As a consequence, the trial court should have imposed the penalty of death pursuant to Section 11 of RA 7659.

Under Section 1, Rule 122 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure, any party may appeal from a judgment or final order, unless the accused will be placed in double jeopardy. This provision is substantially the same as that provided by the 1985 Rules.

In several cases, this Court has already definitively ruled on this issue. Recently, in People v. Leones, it unmistakably declared that "[w]hile it is true that this Court is the Court of last resort, there are allegations of error committed by a lower court which we ought not to look into to uphold the right of the accused. Such is the case in an appeal by the prosecution seeking to increase the penalty imposed upon the accused for this runs afoul of the right of the accused against double jeopardy."

The ban on double jeopardy is deeply rooted in jurisprudence. The doctrine has several avowed purposes. Primarily, it prevents the State from using its criminal processes as an instrument of harassment to wear out the accused by a multitude of cases with accumulated trials. It also serves the additional purpose of precluding the State, following an acquittal, from successively retrying the defendant in the hope of securing a conviction. And finally, it prevents the State, following conviction, from retrying the defendant again in the hope of securing a greater penalty.

"While certiorari may be used to correct an abusive acquittal, the petitioner in such extraordinary proceeding must clearly demonstrate that the lower court blatantly abused its authority to a point so grave as to deprive it of its very power to dispense justice. On the other hand, if the petition, regardless of its nomenclature, merely calls for an ordinary review of the findings of the court a quo, the constitutional right against double jeopardy would be violated. Such recourse is tantamount to converting the petition for certiorari into an appeal, contrary to the express injunction of the Constitution, the Rules of Court and prevailing jurisprudence on double jeopardy."

Case Digest by: cbcabalza2009

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