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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
July-1997 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 96649-50 July 1, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LYNDON V. MACOY

  • G.R. No. 109660 July 1, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO NELL

  • G.R. No. 124914 July 2, 1997 - JESUS UGADDAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123074 July 4, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO M. FERNANDEZ

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-94-1017 July 7, 1997 - OSCAR B. LAMBINO v. AMADO A. DE VERA

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1245 July 7, 1997 - BENIGNO G. GAVIOLA v. NOEL NAVARETTE

  • G.R. No. 105760 July 7, 1997 - PNB v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107193 July 7, 1997 - EUGENIO TENEBRO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112006 July 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERTO S. DE VERA

  • G.R. No. 114275 July 7, 1997 - IÑIGO F. CARLET v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116962 July 7, 1997 - MARIA SOCORRO CACA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 118940-41 & 119407 July 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO MEJIA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119872 July 7, 1997 - REMEDIOS NAVOA RAMOS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122206 July 7, 1997 - RAFAEL ARCEGA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 105284 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. IGNACIO ZUMIL

  • G.R. No. 106099 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AGUSTIN SOTTO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109814 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO MAALAT

  • G.R. No. 112797 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NIDA ALEGRO

  • G.R. No. 114265 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO MAGALLANES

  • G.R. No. 115307 July 8, 1997 - MANUEL LAO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115703 July 8, 1997 - EPIFANIO L. CASOLITA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117501 July 8, 1997 - SOLID HOMES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122308 July 8, 1997 - PURITA S. MAPA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. SC-96-1 July 10, 1997 - DAMASO S. FLORES v. BERNARDO P. ABESAMIS

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1236 July 11, 1997 - MADONNA MACALUA v. DOMINGO TIU, JR.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1249 July 11, 1997 - PACITA SY TORRES v. FROILAN S. CABLING

  • G.R. No. 104865 July 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICTORIANO PONTILAR, JR.

  • G.R. Nos. 113511-12 July 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO SINOC

  • G.R. No. 115033 July 11, 1997 - PONCIANO T. MATANGUIHAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123204 July 11, 1997 - NATIONWIDE SECURITY AND ALLIED SERVICES, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-95-1158 July 14, 1997 - EUFEMIA BERCASIO v. HERBERTO BENITO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106153 July 14, 1997 - FLORENCIO G. BERNARDO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108838 July 14, 1997 - PAGCOR v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 116528-31 July 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIETO ADORA

  • G.R. No. 108492 July 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NOEL BANIEL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118078 July 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. OSCAR VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 123379 July 15, 1997 - BAROTAC SUGAR MILLS, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 115439-41 July 16, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 120437-41 July 16, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARMANDO ALVARIO

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-97-1382 July 17, 1997 - REXEL M. PACURIBOT v. RODRIGO F. LIM, JR.

  • G.R. No. 105002 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIARANGAN DANSAL

  • G.R. No. 108634 July 17, 1997 - ANTONIO P. TAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111165 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGELIO MERCADO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113257 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHNNY LASCOTA

  • G.R. No. 114742 July 17, 1997 - CARLITOS E. SILVA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118860 July 17, 1997 - ROLINDA B. PONO v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120262 July 17, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125195 July 17, 1997 - SAMAHAN NG MGA MANGGAGAWA SA BANDOLINO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1362 July 18, 1997 - DSWD, ET AL. v. ANTONIO M. BELEN, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-95-1283 July 21, 1997 - DAVID C. NAVAL, ET AL. v. JOSE R. PANDAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108488 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODENCIO NARCA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111002 July 21, 1997 - PACIFIC MARITIME SERVICES, INC., ET AL. v. NICANOR RANAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117402 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLLIE L. ALVARADO

  • G.R. No. 119184 July 21, 1997 - HEIRS OF FELICIDAD CANQUE v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121768 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOMINGO CASTILLO, JR.

  • G.R. Nos. 122250 & 122258 July 21, 1997 - EDGARDO C. NOLASCO v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124347 July 21, 1997 - CMS STOCK BROKERAGE, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125510 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENATO LISING

  • G.R. No. 111933 July 23, 1997 - PLDT v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112429-30 July 23, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO P. CAYETANO

  • G.R. Nos. 118736-37 July 23, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TANG WAI LAN

  • Adm. Matter No. P-96-1205 July 24, 1997 - OSCAR P. DE LOS REYES v. ESTEBAN H. ERISPE, JR.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-97-1383 July 24, 1997 - JOSE LAGATIC v. JOSE PEÑAS, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 104663 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DAVID SALVATIERRA

  • G.R. No. 105004 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIONISIO MAROLLANO

  • G.R. No. 107723 July 24, 1997 - EMS MANPOWER & PLACEMENT SERVICES v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111211 July 24, 1997 - ABS-CBN EMPLOYEES UNION, ET AL., v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113235 July 24, 1997 - VICTORINA MEDINA, ET AL. v. CITY SHERIFF, MANILA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 113366-68 July 24, 1997 - GREGORIO ISABELO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116635 July 24, 1997 - CONCHITA NOOL, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116736 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENJAMIN ORTEGA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118458 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RICKY DELA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 120276 July 24, 1997 - SINGA SHIP MANAGEMENT PHILS., INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121075 July 24, 1997 - DELTA MOTORS CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121867 July 24, 1997 - SMITH KLINE & FRENCH LAB., LTD. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127262 July 24, 1997 - HUBERT WEBB, ET AL. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL., ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter Nos. 95-6-55-MTC & P-96-1173 July 28, 1997 - REPORT ON AUDIT IN THE MTC OF PEÑARANDA, NUEVA ECIJA

  • G.R. No. 102858 July 28, 1997 - DIRECTOR OF LANDS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 103209 July 28, 1997 - APOLONIO BONDOC, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110823 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROCHEL TRAVERO

  • G.R. No. 112323 July 28, 1997 - HELPMATE, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113344 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ATANACIO LUTO

  • G.R. No. 116668 July 28, 1997 - ERLINDA A. AGAPAY v. CARLINA V. PALANG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116726 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEONARDO P. DE LA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 118822 July 28, 1997 - G.O.A.L., INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119000 July 28, 1997 - ROSA UY v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119649 July 28, 1997 - RICKY GALICIA, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119868 July 28, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120072 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORENTINO I. MESA

  • G.R. No. 123361 July 28, 1997 - TEOFILO CACHO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126556 July 28, 1997 - NELSON C. DAVID v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117742 July 29, 1997 - GEORGE M. TABERRAH v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • SBC Case No. 519 July 31, 1997 - PATRICIA FIGUEROA v. SIMEON BARRANCO, JR.

  • G.R. No. 97369 July 31, 1997 - P.I. MANPOWER PLACEMENTS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99030 July 31, 1997 - PLDT v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106582 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUPERTO BALDERAS

  • G.R. No. 107802 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JASON NAREDO

  • G.R. No. 108399 July 31, 1997 - RAFAEL M. ALUNAN III, ET AL. v. ROBERT MIRASOL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108619 July 31, 1997 - EPIFANIO LALICAN v. FILOMENO A. VERGARA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113689 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE SANGIL, SR.

  • G.R. No. 113958 July 31, 1997 - BANANA GROWERS COLLECTIVE, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116060 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CLEMENTE DE LA PEÑA

  • G.R. No. 116292 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JIMMY PEÑERO

  • G.R. No. 119068 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANTE CASTRO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121027 July 31, 1997 - CORAZON DEZOLLER TISON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121157 July 31, 1997 - HEIRS OF SEGUNDA MANINGDING, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123561 July 31, 1997 - DELIA R. NERVES v. CSC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124678 July 31, 1997 - DELIA BANGALISAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 118078   July 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. OSCAR VILLANUEVA

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    THIRD DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 118078. July 15, 1997.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. OSCAR VILLANUEVA, Accused-Appellant.

    The Solicitor General for Plaintiff-Appellee.

    Public Attorney’s Office for Accused-Appellant.

    SYNOPSIS


    Reynaldo Bartolata alias "Tilo", Oscar Villanueva, Johnny Sola alias "Tangane", Dagoy Sola and Bobong Sola were charged with illegal possession of firearms. Of the five accused, only Reynaldo Bartolata and Oscar Villanueva were apprehended by the police authorities while the three Sola brothers are at large up to the present. Bartolata and Villanueva pleaded not guilty to the crime charged against them. In their defense, they denied the charges against them and pleaded their respective alibis.

    The trial court found Bartola and Villanueva guilty. It relied on the doctrine that positive identification of the accused prevails over the latter’s alibi and denials, since greater weight is accorded to the positive testimony of the prosecution witnesses than the accused’s denial.

    Bartolata died after the promulgation of the decision, hence only Villanueva appealed to the Supreme Court and raised the lone assignment of error that the testimony of the prosecution witnesses against him was incredible, and the evidence against him inadmissible, being the fruit of illegal search and seizure.

    The Supreme Court found the prosecution evidence to be insufficient to convict accused-appellant Villanueva of illegal possession of firearm.

    In illegal possession of firearm, the prosecution has the burden of proving (a) the existence of the subject firearm and (b) the fact that the accused who owned or possessed it does not have the corresponding license or permit to possess the same. The latter is a negative fact which the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt. the prosecution miserably failed to do this. There was nothing in the records that would prove the non-possession by the accused-appellant of the requisite license or permit. The prosecution omitted presenting this vital piece of evidence, and the trial court, inadvertence or ignorance, gave it no attention and forthwith convicted the accused.

    The appealed decision is reversed.


    SYLLABUS


    CRIMINAL LAW; ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARM; ELEMENTS; NOT ESTABLISHED IN CASE AT BAR. — In crimes involving illegal possession of firearm, the prosecution has the burden of proving the elements, thereof, viz: (a) the existence of the subject firearm and (b) the fact that the accused who owned or possessed it does not have the corresponding license or permit to possess the same. The latter is a negative fact which constitutes an essential ingredient of the offense of illegal possession, and it is the duty of the prosecution not only to allege it but also to prove it beyond reasonable doubt. It is this duty that the prosecution has miserably failed to discharge in the case at branch. As we have previously held, the testimony of a representative of, or a certification from the PNP Firearms and Explosives Unit that the accused-appellant was not a licensee of the said firearm would have suffered to prove beyond reasonable doubt the second element of the crime of illegal possession. The foregoing cannot be dispensed with and its absence renders the accused-appellant’s conviction erroneous.


    D E C I S I O N


    FRANCISCO, J.:


    The five (5) accused namely Reynaldo Bartolata alias "Tilo", Oscar Villanueva, Johnny Sola alias "Tangane", Dagoy Sola and Bobong Sola 1 were charged with the crime of illegal possession of firearms allegedly committed as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "That on or about April 13, 1993, in the afternoon thereof, at Sitio Toquip, Barangay Jagnaan, Municipality of San Jacinto, Province of Masbate, Philippines, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring together and mutually helping one another, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in their possession and control three (3) lantakas and one (1) sumpak, without first having obtained the necessary permit and license from the competent authority." 2

    Of the five accused mentioned above, only Reynaldo Bartolata and Oscar Villanueva were apprehended by the police authorities while the Sola brothers, Johnny, Dagoy and Bobong are at large up to the present. 3 At the arraignment, Bartolata and Villanueva pleaded not guilty to the crime charged against them. Trial ensued during which the prosecution presented SPO4 Pascual Delavin, Bgy. Captain Jose Nuñez, and Bgy. Tanod Chief Gomez Samson as witnesses. From their testimonies may be culled the following factual antecedents of the instant case:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Sometime in March of 1993, Jose Nuñez, the Barangay Captain of Danao, San Jacinto, Masbate made a report to the Chief/Station Commander of the Philippine National Police (PNP) of San Jacinto, Masbate regarding the presence of persons who were seen carrying arms and roaming around the vicinity of Danao. 4 On April 13, 1993, the Station Commander of the PNP ordered a team of six (6) policemen headed by SPO4 Pascual Delavin to proceed to Barangay Danao to verify the said report. 5 When they reached Barangay Danao, SPO4 Delavin requested Barangay Tanod Gomez Samson to guide them around the area as the Barangay Captain was then in Masbate. 6 Not finding the malefactors in Danao, they moved on to Sitio Toquip in the neighboring Barangay of Jagna-an. Along the trail to Sitio Toquip, they encountered the five (5) accused who were all armed. Bartolata, Villanueva and Johnny Sola were each carrying a homemade gun, locally known as "lantaka" 7 while Dagoy Sola was armed with a shorter homemade gun locally known as "sumpak", 8 and recovered from Bobong Sola was a "bolo." When asked to surrender, Accused Bartolata and Villanueva laid down their arms and surrendered to the team of SPO4 Delavin, but the other accused immediately fled the scene of the crime and were able to evade apprehension. 9

    In their defense, Accused Villanueva and Bartolata denied the charges against them and pleaded their respective alibis. According to Villanueva, he was at their farm in Sitio Toquip on April 13, 1993, at around 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon when a certain Toti Almoradie arrived and asked him of the whereabouts of the Sola brothers. 10 Later, seven (7) policemen also arrived and inquired about the location of the house of Bartolata. He informed the policemen that the house of Bartolata was situated in Danao, San Jacinto, Masbate. The policemen then requested him to accompany them to the house of Bartolata in Danao. Upon reaching the house of Bartolata, the policemen started firing their guns, and from a distance of about eight (8) arm’s length, Villanueva saw that the policemen had tied Bartolata’s hands behind his back and that one of them, later identified as Patrolman Relente boxed Bartolata. Thereafter, the policemen ordered both Villanueva and Bartolata to go with them to San Jacinto. On the way to San Jacinto, the group passed by a house and one of the policemen asked Villanueva who the owner of the said house was. When Villanueva replied that it is his house, the policemen showed him three (3) "lantakas" and a "sumpak" 11 and told him: "Maybe you own these guns because we took them from your house." 12 Villanueva persistently denied ownership of the guns. However, during cross-examination, he pointed out that the homemade guns could have been left in his house by Johnny Sola without his knowledge as his house was often left unoccupied. 13

    For his part, Accused Bartolata claimed that on the said date and time of the incident he was with his wife, Josefa Villanueva, in their house in Sitio Toquip in Barangay Jagna-an, San Jacinto, Masbate. He was roofing their house when Toti Almoradie and Patrolman Relente arrived. The two went upstairs and Relente allegedly tied Bartolata’s hands behind his back then boxed and even kicked him. On the other hand, Toti took the bolo which Bartolata was using in roofing the house and gave the same to Relente. The mauling of Bartolata continued despite Josefa’s pleas for Relente to stop beating her husband. 14 The latter lost consciousness and when he came to, he was already in the house of Oscar Villanueva who was also picked up by the police. 15

    On July 27, 1994, Branch 50 of the Regional Trial Court of San Jacinto, Masbate rendered a decision finding both accused Reynaldo Bartolata and Oscar Villanueva guilty of Illegal Possession of Firearms penalized under Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866. 16 In convicting the accused, the trial court relied on the time honored doctrine that "positive identification of the accused and positive testimonies as in the instant case should prevail over the former’s alibi and denials of the commission of the crime for which they are charged since great weight is generally accorded to the positive testimony of the prosecution witnesses than the accused’s denial." 17 Giving full faith and credit to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, the trial court likewise cited the failure of the defense to ascribe to the former any improper or ulterior motive for testifying against the accused. 18 Furthermore, while the trial court found the prosecution witnesses to be consistent and credible in their testimonies that the accused were caught in flagrante delicto, 19 it noted that the testimonies of the defense witnesses are inconsistent, incredible and not worthy of belief. 20

    Accused Bartolata died after the promulgation of the decision in the trial court, hence only accused Villanueva was able to interpose this appeal before us raising the following lone assignment of error:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS (VIOL. OF PD. 1866) DESPITE THE INCREDIBLE TESTIMONIES OF THE PROSECUTION WITNESSES AND THE INADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE AGAINST HIM, BEING THE FRUIT OF ILLEGAL SEARCH AND SEIZURE." 21

    In seeking to uphold the conviction of Villanueva, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) countered with its arguments that: (1) Findings of the trial court on credibility of witnesses are given great weight by appellate courts, 22 and (2) The arrest of the appellant in flagrante delicto was lawful under Section 5 [a] of Rule 113 of the Rules of Court. 23

    After a careful review of the records of this case, we find the evidence presented by the prosecution to be insufficient to convict accused-appellant Oscar Villanueva of the crime of illegal possession of firearm.

    In crimes involving illegal possession of firearm, the prosecution has the burden of proving the elements thereof, viz: (a) the existence of the subject firearm and (b) the fact that the accused who owned or possessed it does not have the corresponding license or permit to possess the same. 24 The latter is a negative fact which constitutes an essential ingredient of the offense of illegal possession, and it is the duty of the prosecution not only to allege it but also to prove it beyond reasonable doubt. 25 It is this duty that the prosecution has miserably failed to discharge in the case at bench. We searched the records for any evidence, either testimonial or documentary, to prove the non-possession by the accused-appellant of the requisite license or permit and found none. The prosecution had apparently omitted presenting this very vital piece of evidence, and the trial court, either by inadvertence or ignorance, gave it nary a thought and proceeded to convict the accused. It is this very same fatal flaw that led us to reverse the conviction of Nilo Solayao for possession of a 49-inch long homemade firearm, locally known as "latong", in the case of People v. Solayao. 26 We said there that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "‘while the prosecution was able to establish the fact that the subject firearm was seized by the police from the possession of appellant, without the latter being able to present any license or permit to possess the same, such fact alone is not conclusive proof that he was not lawfully authorized to carry such firearm. In other words, such fact does not relieve the prosecution from its duty to establish the lack of a license or permit to carry the firearm by clear and convincing evidence, like a certification from the government agency concerned.’chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

    "Putting it differently, ‘when a negative is averred in a pleading, or a plaintiff’s case depends upon the establishment of a negative, and the means of proving the fact are equally within the control of each party, then the burden of proof is upon the party averring the negative.’" 27

    As we have previously held, the testimony of a representative of, or a certification from the PNP Firearms and Explosives Unit that the accused-appellant was not a licensee of the said firearm would have sufficed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the second element of the crime of illegal possession. The foregoing cannot be dispensed with and its absence renders the accused-appellant’s conviction erroneous. 28

    In view of the foregoing, we deem it unnecessary to delve into the merits of the accused-appellant’s assignment of error and the OSG’s arguments in rebuttal of the same.

    WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of the court a quo is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accused-appellant Oscar Villanueva is hereby ACQUITTED for insufficiency of evidence and ordered immediately released unless there are other legal grounds for his continued detention.

    SO ORDERED.

    Narvasa, C.J., Davide, Jr., Melo and Panganiban, JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. The name "Bobong Sola" was inadvertently omitted from the information.

    2. INFORMATION, June 14, 1993; Rollo, p. 4.

    3. DECISION in Criminal Case No. 521 promulgated on July 27, 1994, p. 1; Rollo, p. 13.

    4. TSN, Nuñez, August 26, 1993, pp. 3-4.

    5. TSN, Delavin, August 18, 1993, p. 6.

    6. Ibid., pp. 7-8; TSN, Samson, October 12, 1993, p. 4.

    7. Exhibit "A" for the prosecution is the homemade gun recovered from Reynaldo Bartolata measuring about one (1) meter in length; Exhibit "B" for the prosecution is the homemade gun recovered from Oscar Villanueva measuring one (1) foot in length; and Exhibit "C" is the homemade gun recovered from Johnny Sola measuring about one and one-half meters (1 1/2) in length.

    8. Exhibit "D" for the prosecution.

    9. TSN, supra, pp. 9-12.

    10. TSN, Villanueva, February 18, 1994, p. 4.

    11. Ibid., pp. 6-9.

    12. Ibid., p. 9.

    13. Ibid., p. 20.

    14. TSN, Bartolata, March 17, 1994, pp. 3-6.

    15. Ibid., pp. 7-8.

    16. DECISION, supra, p. 7; Rollo, p. 19. They were each sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Temporal in its maximum period or seventeen (17) years, four (4) months and one (1) day to Reclusion Perpetua.

    17. Ibid., pp. 5-6 citing People v. Edwin Belibet, Et Al., G.R. No. 91260, July 25, 1991; Rollo, pp. 17-18.

    18. Ibid., p. 5; Rollo, p. 17.

    19. Ibid.

    20. Ibid., p. 6; Rollo, p. 18.

    21. APPELLANT’S BRIEF, p. 1; Rollo, p. 38.

    22. BRIEF FOR THE APPELLEE, p. 6; Rollo, p. 84b.

    23. Ibid., p. 8; Rollo, p. 85b.

    24. People v. Mallari, G.R. No. 110569, December 9, 1996; People v. Lualhati, 234 SCRA 325 [1994]; People v. Ramos, 222 SCRA 557 [1993]; People v. Damaso, 212 SCRA 547 [1992].

    25. People v. Mallari, ibid.; People v. Tiozon, 198 SCRA 368 [1991].

    26. G.R. No. 119220, September 20, 1996.

    27. Ibid.

    28. Ibid.; People v. Mallari, supra.

    G.R. No. 118078   July 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. OSCAR VILLANUEVA


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