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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