Case Digest: Rule 113 – Teodosio v. CA (G.R. No. 124346, June 8, 2004)

[CRIMINAL PROCEDURE]

Topic: RULE 113

Case Digest: Teodosio v. CA (G.R. No. 124346, June 8, 2004)

FACTS:

Teodosio was charged with selling and delivering drugs (shabu). The police conducted a buy-bust operation after the four-days surveillance on his house because he was suspected of peddling shabu. A team of police officers and the informer went to Teodosio’s house. The informer introduced SPO1 Inciong to Teodosio as shabu buyer while the rest of the team waited outside the house. Teodosio told them that a gram of shabu costs ₱600. He gave SPO1 Inciong one plastic packet and, in turn, Inciong handed six pieces of ₱100 bills treated with ultraviolet powder to Teodosio. After verifying the contents of the packet as shabu, Inciong gave the signal to the other police officers who witnessed the transaction. After introducing himself as a police officer, Inciong, together with his companions, arrested Teodosio. The marked money bills and other packet of shabu were recovered from Teodosio and the presence of ultraviolet powder on his hands was also positive.

Teodosio argued that the police officers raided his house without a search or arrest warrant and claimed that when they found no drugs, they took a bag containing a large sum of money.

RTC found Teodosio guilty relying on the prosecution’s witnesses (police officers). The CA then affirmed the RTC’s decision but modified the penalty. Teodosio insists that the police officers forcibly entered and searched his house without a warrant.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the trial court and CA overlooked certain material and undisputed facts erroneously concluding that the alleged buy-bust operation conducted without a search warrant or warrant of arrest took place outside the residence of the petitioner.

HELD:

Teodosio failed to show any motive why the police officers would illegally raid his house. There was strong evidence gathered from the entrapment certainly beyond reasonable doubt that appellant was engaged in drug-dealing. No warrant was needed considering that the mission was not a search but an entrapment. An arrest made after an entrapment does not require a warrant inasmuch as it is considered a valid warrantless arrest pursuant to Rule 113, Section 5(a) of the Rules of Court. Any search resulting from a lawful warrantless arrest is valid because the accused committed a crime in flagrante delicto, that is, the person arrested (Teodosio) committed a crime in the presence of the arresting officers.

Case Digest: Rule 117 – Los Baños vs. Pedro (G.R. No. 173588, April 22, 2009)

[CRIMINAL PROCEDURE]

Topic: Rule 117

Case Digest: Los Baños vs. Pedro (G.R. No. 173588, April 22, 2009)

FACTS:

Joel Pedro was charged in court for carrying a loaded firearm at a checkpoint in Boac, Marinduque without authorization from the COMELEC, a day before the national and local elections. Pedro filed a Motion for Preliminary Investigation, which the RTC granted. The preliminary investigation, however, did not materialize. Pedro then filed with the RTC a Motion to Quash, arguing that the Information contains facts that do not constitute an offense. Pedro attached to his motion a Comelec Certification stating that he was “exempted” from the gun ban. The RTC granted the motion to quash.

The petitioner alleged that the certificate was falsified and that the prosecution was denied of due process when the judge quashed the information without hearing. The RTC reopened the case for further proceedings in which Pedro objected to citing Rule 117, Sec. 8 on provisional dismissal, arguing that the dismissal had become permanent. The RTC, thus, set Pedro’s arraignment date.

Pedro filed with the CA a petition for certiorari and prohibition to nullify the RTC’s mandated reopening.

The CA, at first granted the reopening of the case but through Pedro’s Motion for Reconsideration, his argument that a year has passed by from the receipt of the quashal order, the CA’s decision was reversed.

Los Baños prays in his petition that the case be remanded to the RTC for arraignment and trial, or that a new charge sheet be filed against Pedro, or that the old information be re-filed with the RTC.

ISSUE:

Whether the rule on provision dismissal (Sec. 8, Rule 117) is applicable.

RULING:

No. The SC granted the petition and remanded the case to the RTC.

The SC differentiated Motion to Quash and Provisional Dismissal. Primarily, they are two separate concepts. In Motion to Quash, the Information itself has deficiency while in Provisional Dismissal, the Information has no deficiencies. It does not follow that a motion to quash results in a provisional dismissal to which Section 8, Rule 117 applies.

In this case, the SC finds that the RTC erred in its initial ruling that a quashal of the Information was in order. Pedro also misappreciated the true nature, functionality, and utility of a motion to quash and provisional dismissal. As a consequence, a valid Information still stands, on the basis of which Pedro should now be arraigned and stand trial.

Case Digest: People vs. Domantay (G.R. No. 130612, May 11, 1999)

[CRIMINAL LAW]

Case Digest: People vs. Domantay [G.R. No. 130612, May 11, 1999]

Crime: Rape WITH Homicide

FACTS:

At around 4pm on October 17, 1996, the body of Jennifer Domantay, a 6-year-old, was found sprawled in a bamboo grove with 38 stab wounds at the back and whose hymen had been completely lacerated on the right side. Bernandino Domantay, a cousin of the victim’s grandfather, confessed to SPO1 Antonio Espinoza that he killed Jennifer and disclosed the whereabouts of the fatal weapon (bayonet) he used in the crime. He was convicted of Rape with Homicide sentencing Domantay to death and to indemnify the heirs of the victim in the amount P480,000.00, and to pay the costs.

However, it is noteworthy that the deceased was fully clothed in blue shorts and white shirt when her body was brought to her parent’s house immediately after it was found.

There is no circumstantial evidence from which to infer that Domantay sexually abused the victim. The only circumstance from which such inference might be made is that Domantay was seen with the victim walking toward the place where the girl’s body was found. Maybe he raped the girl. Maybe he did not. Maybe he simply inserted a blunt object into her organ, thus causing the lacerations in the hymen. Otherwise, there is no circumstance from which it might reasonably be inferred that he abused her, e.g., that he was zipping up his pants, that there was spermatozoa in the girl’s vaginal canal. The very autopsy report of Dr. Bandonill militates against the finding of rape.

Even assuming that Jennifer had been raped, there is no sufficient proof that it was Bernardino who had raped her. He confessed to the victim’s murder but not on the matter of rape.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the death penalty shall be imposed

HELD:

We cannot find that accused also committed rape. In the special complex crime of rape with homicide, both the rape and the homicide must be established beyond reasonable doubt.

The judgment of the trial court is SET ASIDE and another one is rendered FINDING accused guilty of homicide with the aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength and sentencing him to a prison term of 12 years of prision mayor, as minimum, to 20 years of reclusion temporal, as maximum, and ORDERING him to pay the heirs of Jennifer Domantay the amounts of P50,000.00, as indemnity, P50,000.00, as moral damages, P25,000.00, as exemplary damages, and P12,000.00, as actual damages, and the costs.

Case Digest: Rigor vs. Superintendent (G.R. No. 156983, September 23, 2003)

[CRIMINAL LAW]

Case Digest: Rigor vs. Superintendent (G.R. No. 156983. September 23, 2003

FACTS:

Jose Victor Rigor was convicted of illegal sale and possession of methampethamine hydrochloride (shabu). He was sentenced, as follows:

in Criminal Case No. MC-99-1235-D: to SIX (6) MONTHS AND ONE (1) DAY OF arresto mayor maximum to FOUR (4) YEARS AND FOUR (4) MONTHS AND ONE (1) DAY OF prision correccional and a fine of P5,000.00 and,

in Criminal Case No. MC-99-1236-D: SIX (6) MONTHS AND ONE (1) DAY OF arresto mayor maximum to FOUR (4) YEARS AND ONE (1) DAY OF prision correccional and a fine of P5,000.00.

As of the filing of the petition, Rigor had already served one year and five months of imprisonment.

Contention of the Accused: Rigor states that he should be entitled to the retroactive application of RA 7659 and asks for the reduction of his penalty to only six months and one day of prision correccional in each of his convictions so that he may be deemed to have served the maximum penalty in both instances, and should now be released.

Contention of the State: The Court noted an error in the joint decision of the trial court and consequently rectified it, taking into consideration RA 7659. Rigor’s penalty of imprisonment in each of Criminal Case No. MC-99-1235-D and Criminal Case No. MC-99-1236-D, should have been from six months of arresto mayor as minimum, to four years and two months of prision correccional, as maximum.

The penalties imposed by the trial court, as duly corrected, are within the ambit of RA 7659, and there is nothing more to reduce.

RULING: Under Article 70 of the Revised Penal Code, when an offender has to serve two or more penalties, he should serve them simultaneously if the nature of the penalties will so permit. Otherwise said penalties shall be executed successively, following the order of their respective severity, in such case, the second sentence will not commence to run until the expiration of the first.

The nature of petitioner’s sentences does not allow its simultaneous service; hence he must serve it successively. Not only that he must serve it successively, he must also serve it up to its maximum term.

Petitioner must therefore first serve the penalty in Crim. Case No. MC-99-1235-D up to its maximum term, before service of the penalty in Crim. Case No. MC-99-1236-D also up to its maximum term, or a total maximum period of eight years and four months.

Case Digest: Union Bank of the Philippines and Tomas v. People (G.R. No. 192565, February 28, 2012)

[CRIMINAL PROCEDURE]

Topic: Proper Venue

Case Digest: Union Bank of the Philippines and Tomas v. People (G.R. No. 192565, February 28, 2012)

FACTS:

Tomas was charged in court for perjury under Article 183 of the RPC for making a false narration in a Certificate against Forum Shopping. Two complaints were filed against petitioners. The first complaint was filed before the RTC, Branch 109, Pasay City on April 3, 1998. The second complaint was filed on March 15, 2000 and raffled to the MeTC, Branch 47, Pasay City. The Certification was notarized in Makati City but was submitted and used in Pasay City. The Information against Union Bank and Tomas was filed in Makati City.

Tomas then filed a Motion to Quash citing that the venue was improperly laid and that the facts do not constitute an offense. Since it is the Pasay City court where the Certificate against Forum Shopping was submitted and used, it should have jurisdiction over the case and not the MeTC–Makati City.

The MeTC-Makati City denied the motion. The case was then elevated to RTC-Makati City with petitioners praying for the MeTC-Makati City ruling be annulled and set aside on the ground of grave abuse of discretion. They also cited cases United States v. Canet and Ilusorio v. Bildner which ruled that venue and jurisdiction should be in the place where the false document was presented.

RTC-Makati City found the petition to have no merit as a recent jurisprudence. The RTC-Makati City cited the case of Sy Tiong Shiou v. Sy as a more recent case that reaffirms the long-standing view on the venue with respect to perjury cases. In this case, the high court ruled that the criminal action shall be instituted and tried in the court of the municipality where the perjury was committed, or where any of its essential ingredients occurred.

ISSUE:

Whether the proper venue of the case should be – Makati City, where the Certificate against Forum Shopping was notarized, or Pasay City, where the Certification was presented to the trial court.

HELD:

The court held that MeTC-Makati City is the proper venue and the proper court to take cognizance of the perjury case against the petitioners.

In determining the venue where the criminal action is to be instituted and the court which has jurisdiction over it, Section 15(a), Rule 110 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides:

(a) Subject to existing laws, the criminal action shall be instituted and tried in the court or municipality or territory where the offense was committed or where any of its essential ingredients occurred.

The above provision should be read in light of Section 10, Rule 110 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure which states:

Place of commission of the offense. – The complaint or information is sufficient if it can be understood from its allegations that the offense was committed or some of its essential ingredients occurred at some place within the jurisdiction of the court, unless the particular place where it was committed constitutes an essential element of the offense charged or is necessary for its identification.

In other words, the venue of action and of jurisdiction are deemed sufficiently alleged where the Information states that the offense was committed or some of its essential ingredients occurred at a place within the territorial jurisdiction of the court.

Case Digest: Roxas v. CTA (G.R. No. L-25043, April 26, 1968)

[TAXATION 1]

Case Digest: Roxas v. CTA (G.R. No. L-25043, April 26, 1968)

FACTS:

The brothers Antonio, Eduardo and Jose Roxas inherited from their grandparents the following:

(1) Agricultural lands with a total area of 19,000 hectares, situated in the municipality of Nasugbu, Batangas;
(2) A residential house and lot located at Malate, Manila; and
(3) Shares of stocks in different corporations

In order to manage their properties, they entered into a partnership with Roxas Company. The Roxas brothers lived in the residential house, however, after both Antonio and Eduardo got married, they resided somewhere else leaving only Jose in the old house. To be fair with his brothers, Jose paid to Roxas Company rentals for the house in the sum of P8,000.00 a year.

On 1958, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue demanded from Roxas Company the payment of real estate dealer’s tax for 1952 which was based on the fact that the company received house rentals from Jose Roxas.

Pursuant to Sec. 194 of the Tax Code, an owner of a real estate who derives a yearly rental income therefrom in the amount of P3,000.00 or more is considered a real estate dealer and is liable to pay the corresponding fixed tax. In the same assessment, the Commissioner assessed deficiency income taxes against the Roxas Brothers for the years 1953 and 1955.

When Roxas company subdivided its Nasugbu farm lands and sold them to the farmers on installment, the Commissioner considered the partnership as engaged in the business of real estate, hence, 100% of the profits derived from the sale should be taxed instead of only 50% which was initially reported.

Roxas Company and the Roxas brothers protested the assessment. Roxas Company also questioned the imposition of the real estate dealer’s fixed tax upon it, because although the company earned a rental income of P8,000.00 per year in 1952, said rental income came from Jose Roxas, who is one of their partners.

ISSUE:

Whether or not Roxas Company is liable for the payment of the fixed tax on real estate dealers.

RULING

On the issue of  the real estate dealer’s fixed tax upon the rental income paid by Jose Roxas, the SC reiterated Sec.194 of the Tax Code. In considering as real estate dealers, owners of real estate receiving rentals of at least P3,000.00 a year, Sec. 194 does not provide any qualification as to the persons paying the rentals. Hence, Roxas company is subject to the fixed tax for that rental income paid by Jose Roxas.

On the issue of the real estate dealer’s fixed tax upon the sale of Nasugbu farmlands, the SC ruled that Roxas Company cannot be considered a real estate dealer for the sale in question. Hence, pursuant to Section 34 of the Tax Code the lands sold to the farmers are capital assets, and the gain derived from the sale thereof is capital gain which is taxable only to the extent of 50% not 100%.

The SC held that the sale of the Nasugbu farm lands to the farmers was not only in consonance with, but more in obedience to the request and pursuant to the policy of the Government to allocate lands to the landless.

It was the duty of the Government to pay the agreed compensation after it had persuaded Roxas Company to sell its agricultural lands, and to subsequently subdivide them among the farmers at very reasonable terms and prices.  However, the Government could not comply with its duty due to lack of funds. Still, Roxas Company shouldered the Government’s burden and sold lands directly to the farmers on installment.

It does not conform with the SC’s sense of justice in the instant case for the Government to persuade the taxpayer to lend it a helping hand and later on to penalize him for duly answering the urgent call.

Case Digest: Secretary of DENR v. Yap, et al. (G.R. No. 167707, October 8, 2008)

[Land, Titles, and Deeds]

Case Digest: Secretary of DENR v. Yap, et al. (G.R. No. 167707, October 8, 2008)

FACTS:

The CA affirmed RTC Kalibo’s decision to grant the petition for declaratory relief filed by Boracay Mayor Jose Yap et al. and ordered the survey of Boracay for titling purposes.

On Nov. 10, 1978, President Marcos issued Proclamation No. 1801 declaring Boracay Island as a tourist zone and marine reserve. Respondents claimed that Proc. No. 1801 precluded them from filing an application for a judicial confirmation of imperfect title or survey of land for titling purposes.

RTC Kalibo’s granted the petition for declaratory relief filed by Boracay Mayor Jose Yap et al. and ordered the survey of Boracay for titling purposes.

The Republic, through the OSG, opposed the petition countering that Boracay Island was an unclassified land of the public domain. It formed part of the mass of lands classified as “public forest,” which was not available for disposition pursuant to section 3(a) of PD No. 705 or the Revised Forestry Code.

Respondents claimed that they themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest had been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation in Boracay since June 12, 1945 or earlier and have been paying realty taxes.

The OSG maintained that respondents’ right to judicial confirmation of title was governed by CA No. 141 (Public Land Act) and PD No. 705 and not PD No. 1801 and PTA Circular No. 3-82. Since Boracay Island had not been classified as alienable and disposable, whatever possession they had cannot ripen into ownership.

The CA affirmed respondents’ right to have their occupied lands titled in their name. It ruled that neither Proclamation No. 1801 nor PTA Circular No. 3-82 mentioned that lands in Boracay were inalienable or could not be the subject of disposition and that the Circular itself recognized private ownership of lands.

ISSUE:

Whether unclassified lands of the public domain are automatically deemed agricultural land, therefore alienable and disposable.

HELD:

No. Private claimants are not entitled to apply for judicial confirmation of imperfect title under CA No. 141 to which they are governed (not PD 1801). Neither do they have vested rights over the occupied lands under the said law. A positive act declaring land as alienable and disposable is required.

2 requisites for judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete title under CA No. 141, namely:

(1) CONE of the subject land by himself or through his predecessors-in-interest under a bona fide claim of ownership since time immemorial or from June 12, 1945 (absent); and

(2) the classification of the land as alienable and disposable land of the public domain. (absent)

Regarding the 1st requisite, the tax declarations are insufficient as the earliest tax declarations under the name of Yap et al. were issued in 1993.

In the case at bar, no such proclamation, executive order, administrative action, report, statute, or certification was presented to the Court. Proclamation No. 1801 convert portions of Boracay Island into an agricultural land. Private claimants’ continued possession under Act No. 926 (now Public Land Act) does not create a presumption that the land is alienable. The island remained an unclassified land of the public domain and, applying the Regalian doctrine, is considered State property.

Case Digest: Luz Farms v. Secretary of DAR (G.R No. 86889, December 4, 1990)

[AGRA LAW]

Case Digest: Luz Farms v. Secretary of DAR (G.R No. 86889, December 4, 1990)

FACTS:

In 1988, RA 6657 was approved by the Pres. of the Philippines. It includes the raising of livestock, poultry, and swine in its coverage. Luz Farms is a corporation engaged in the livestock and poultry business allegedly stands to be adversely affected by the enforcement of some provisions of CARP. Luz Farms questions the following provisions of RA 6657, insofar as they are made to apply to it:

(a)     Section 3(b) which includes the “raising of livestock (and poultry)” in the definition of “Agricultural, Agricultural Enterprise or Agricultural Activity.

(b)     Section 11 which defines “commercial farms” as “private agricultural lands devoted to commercial, livestock, poultry and swine raising . . .”

(c)     Section 13 which calls upon petitioner to execute a production-sharing plan.

(d)     Section 16(d) and 17 which vest on the Department of Agrarian Reform the authority to summarily determine the just compensation to be paid for lands covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law

(e)     Section 32 which spells out the production-sharing plan mentioned in Section 13

“. . . (W)hereby three percent (3%) of the gross sales from the production of such lands are distributed within sixty (60) days of the end of the fiscal year as compensation to regular and other farmworkers in such lands over and above the compensation they currently receive xxx

Luz Farms: argued that livestock or poultry raising is not similar to crop or tree farming. Land is not the primary resource in this undertaking and represents no more than five percent (5%) of the total investment of commercial livestock and poultry raisers.

DAR: argued that livestock and poultry raising is embraced in the term “agriculture” and the inclusion of such enterprise under Section 3(b) of R.A. 6657 is proper. He cited that Webster’s International Dictionary, Second Edition (1954), defines the following words:

“Agriculture — the art or science of cultivating the ground and raising and harvesting crops, often, including also, feeding, breeding and management of livestock, tillage, husbandry, farming.

It includes farming, horticulture, forestry, dairying, sugarmaking . . .

Livestock — domestic animals used or raised on a farm, especially for profit.

Farm — a plot or tract of land devoted to the raising of domestic or other animals.” (Rollo, pp. 82-83).

Hence, this petition praying that aforesaid laws, guidelines and rules be declared unconstitutional. It is also prayed that a writ of preliminary injunction or restraining order be issued enjoining public respondents from enforcing the same, insofar as they are made to apply to Luz Farms and other livestock and poultry raisers.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the Sections 3(b), 11, 13 and 32 of R.A. No. 6657 are constitutional.

HELD:

Sections 3(b), 11, 13 and 32 of R.A. No. 6657 insofar as the inclusion of the raising of livestock, poultry and swine in its coverage as well as the Implementing Rules and Guidelines promulgated in accordance therewith, are DECLARED null and void for being unconstitutional and the writ of preliminary injunction issued is hereby MADE permanent.

Section II of R.A. 6657 which includes “private agricultural lands devoted to commercial livestock, poultry and swine raising” in the definition of “commercial farms” is invalid, to the extent that the aforecited agro-industrial activities are made to be covered by the agrarian reform program of the State. There is simply no reason to include livestock and poultry lands in the coverage of agrarian reform.

The transcripts of the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission of 1986 on the meaning of the word “agricultural,” clearly show that it was never the intention of the framers of the Constitution to include livestock and poultry industry in the coverage of the constitutionally-mandated agrarian reform program of the Government.