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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
 

   
March-1997 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 51765 March 3, 1997 - REPUBLIC PLANTERS BANK v. ENRIQUE A. AGANA, SR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 93397 March 3, 1997 - TRADERS ROYAL BANK v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99425 March 3, 1997 - ANTONIO RAMOS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 100487 & 100607 March 3, 1997 - ARTURO JULIANO v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106581 March 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENATO FLORES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110419 March 3, 1997 - UERM-MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114383 March 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOEL COREA

  • G.R. No. 116437 March 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PABLITO ANDAN

  • G.R. No. 117161 March 3, 1997 - RAMON INGLES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120704 March 3, 1997 - BARTOLOME C. CARALE, ET AL. v. PAMPIO A. ABARINTOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123321 March 3, 1997 - ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123361 March 3, 1997 - TEOFILO CACHO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125198 March 3, 1997 - MSCI-NACUSIP v. NWPC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 84449 March 4, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENEDICTO JAVIER, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 102876 March 4, 1997 - BATAAN SHIPYARD AND ENG’G CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118607 March 4, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JULITO FRANCO

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1335 March 5, 1997 - INOCENCIO BASCO v. LEO H. RAPATALO

  • G.R. No. 126576 March 5, 1997 - RICARDO M. ANGOBUNG v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 83598 March 7, 1997 - LEONCIA BALOGBOG, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 94994-95 March 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LILIBETH CACO

  • G.R. No. 106212 March 7, 1997 - PROGRESS HOMES, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108395 March 7, 1997 - HEIRS OF TEODORO GUARING, JR. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 108604-10 March 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FEDERICO A. BURCE

  • G.R. No. 113420 March 7, 1997 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113905 March 7, 1997 - LEOPOLDO ALICBUSAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116211 March 7, 1997 - MEYNARDO POLICARPIO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116512 March 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILLIAM O. CASIDO, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1353 March 11, 1997 - DANILO B. PARADA v. LORENZO B. VENERACION

  • G.R. No. 127066 March 11, 1997 - REYNALDO O. MALONZO v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117169 March 12, 1997 - PHILTREAD WORKERS UNION, ET AL. v. NIEVES R. CONFESOR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121917 March 12, 1997 - ROBIN CARIÑO PADILLA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 99301 & 99343 March 13, 1997 - VICTOR KIERULF, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 100333 March 13, 1997 - HILARIO MAGCALAS, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 103611 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CESAR HERBIETO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107131 March 13, 1997 - NFD INT’L. MANNING AGENTS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108454 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TEDDY QUINAO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109779 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NESTOR MAÑOZCA

  • G.R. No. 110067 March 13, 1997 - LINDA T. ALMENDRAS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111478 March 13, 1997 - GEORGE F. SALONGA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111567 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TEODORICO AVILLANO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116123 March 13, 1997 - SERGIO NAGUIAT, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116228 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EPIFANIO GAYON, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116352 March 13, 1997 - J. & D.O. AGUILAR CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 116596-98 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LORENZO TOPAGUEN

  • G.R. No. 117266 March 13, 1997 - CONTEMPT PROCEEDINGS AGAINST VENTURA O. DUCAT, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 117955-58 March 13, 1997 - HERMINIGILDO TOMARONG, ET AL. v. ANTONIO C. LUBGUBAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119058 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ERLINDA VILLARAN

  • G.R. No. 120853 March 13, 1997 - RUDY ALMEDA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122427 March 13, 1997 - BENJAMIN LAZA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123881 March 13, 1997 - VIVA PRODUCTIONS, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 91694 March 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SABAS CALVO, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 97626 March 14, 1997 - PHIL. BANK OF COMMERCE, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114387 March 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALEJANDRO DEVILLERES

  • G.R. No. 120592 March 14, 1997 - TRADERS ROYAL BANK EMPLOYEES UNION v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121765 March 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RANDOLF B. MONTEALTO

  • G.R. No. 122646 March 14, 1997 - ADELIA C. MENDOZA v. ANGELITO C. TEH, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112229 March 18, 1997 - RAYMOND PE LIM v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 114924-27 March 18, 1997 - DANTE NACURAY, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119321 March 18, 1997 - CATALINO F. BAÑEZ, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Bar Matter No. 712 March 19, 1997 - PETITION OF AL ARGOSINO TO TAKE THE LAWYER’S OATH

  • G.R. Nos. 100382-100385 March 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO TABACO

  • G.R. No. 111157 March 19, 1997 - ITOGON-SUYOC MINES, INC. v. OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117029 March 19, 1997 - PELTAN DEVELOPMENT, INC., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121112 March 19, 1997 - FELICIDAD MIRANO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127325 March 19, 1997 - MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-95-1159 March 20, 1997 - COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. WILLIAM C. SEVILLO

  • G.R. No. 88684 March 20, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CESAR LACBANES

  • G.R. No. 95551 March 20, 1997 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. CONCEPCION S. ALARCON VERGARA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107019 March 20, 1997 - FRANKLIN M. DRILON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116404 March 20, 1997 - FRANCISCO LUNA, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117218 March 20, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GERRY NALANGAN

  • G.R. No. 119599 March 20, 1997 - MALAYAN INSURANCE CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127456 March 20, 1997 - JESUS A. JARIOL, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-96-1091 March 21, 1997 - WILFREDO NAVARRO v. DEOGRACIAS K. DEL ROSARIO

  • G.R. No. 107699 March 21, 1997 - ALEX JACOBO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116692 March 21, 1997 - SAMAR II ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117097 March 21, 1997 - SAMAHAN NG OPTOMETRISTS SA PILIPINAS, ET AL. v. ACEBEDO INTL. CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118436 March 21, 1997 - HEIRS OF MANUEL A. ROXAS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118836 March 21, 1997 - FEDERICO DORDAS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122728 March 21, 1997 - CASIANO A. ANGCHANGCO, JR. v. OMBUDSMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123037 March 21, 1997 - TEODORO Q. PEÑA v. HRET, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-96-1184 March 24, 1997 - NBI, ET AL. v. RODOLFO TULIAO

  • G.R. No. 106588 March 24, 1997 - RAUL H. SESBREÑO v. CENTRAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-89-318 March 25, 1997 - LUCIANA Vda. DE ARAGO v. PATERNO T. ALVAREZ

  • G.R. No. 96229 March 25, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GLORIOSA S. NAVARRO

  • G.R. No. 124137 March 25, 1997 - ROY M. LOYOLA v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126298 March 25, 1997 - PATRIA C. GUTIERREZ v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99032 March 26, 1997 - RICARDO A. LLAMADO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 101817 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE IMMACULATA

  • G.R. No. 107801 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROSARIA V. IGNACIO

  • G.R. No. 110613 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDGAR VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 113470 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO CORBES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115951 March 26, 1997 - ZEBRA SECURITY AGENCY, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117378 March 26, 1997 - GIL CAPILI, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117408 March 26, 1997 - NATIONAL INVESTMENT AND DEV. CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117604 March 26, 1997 - CHINA BANKING CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118332 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. IRENEO PEREZ

  • G.R. No. 119528 March 26, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121031 March 26, 1997 - ROSAURO I. TORRES v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122013 March 26, 1997 - JOSE C. RAMIREZ v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124333 March 26, 1997 - NATIVIDAD P. ARAGON v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119877 March 31, 1997 - BIENVENIDO ONGKINGCO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  •  




     
     

    G.R. No. 106581   March 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENATO FLORES, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    THIRD DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 106581. March 3, 1997.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. RENATO FLORES alias "JOHNNY" and ROLANDO MACALINTAL, Accused-Appellants.

    The Solicitor General for Plaintiff-Appellee.

    Public Attorney’s Office for Accused-Appellants.


    SYLLABUS


    1. REMEDIAL LAW; RULES OF COURT; PURPOSE. — Taking into consideration the factual circumstances of this case and to avert any possible miscarriage of justice, we are remanding this case to the lower court. Rules on procedure are promulgated so that the power of the court to administer justice may be efficiently and effectively exercised. The Rules are not made in restraint of its power but to make it completely and fully available for justice. In the words of Justice Moreland: The purpose of procedure is not to thwart justice. Its proper aim is to facilitate the application of justice to the rival claims of contending parties. It was created not to hinder and delay but to facilitate and promote the administration of justice. It does not constitute the thing itself which courts are always striving to secure to litigants. It is designed as the means best adapted to obtain that thing. In other words, it is a means to an end. It is the means by which the powers of the court are made effective in just judgments. When it loses the character of the one and takes on that of the other the administration of justice becomes incomplete and unsatisfactory and lays itself open to grave criticism.

    2. ID.; ID.; IF THE APPLICATION AND OPERATION OF THE RULES TEND TO SUBVERT AND DEFEAT, INSTEAD OF PROMOTING AND ENHANCING JUSTICE, THEIR SUSPENSION IS JUSTIFIED. — The Rules on procedure are merely tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice. When they are rigid and strict in application, resulting in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote justice, the Court is empowered to suspend the rules. For if the application and operation of the Rules tend to subvert and defeat, instead of promoting and enhancing justice, their suspension is justified.

    3. ID.; ID.; THE SUPREME COURT HAS THE POWER TO REVIEW THE ENTIRE CASE TO CORRECT ANY ERROR, EVEN IF UNASSIGNED. — Accused-appellants in the case at bench were charged with the crime of murder. After the prosecution had rested, Accused-appellants’ counsel waived their principals’ right to present evidence and, with leave of court, filed their demurrer to evidence. The lower court then seemingly deemed the case submitted for decision, thus, its subsequent judgment of conviction. In their appeal now before us, Accused-appellants assail the findings of fact of the lower court without seeking relief from the effect of their waiver. Be that as it may, this Court having been constitutionally mandated to directly review cases where the imposable penalty is reclusion perpetua, has the power to review the entire case to correct any error, even if unassigned. The adjudication of cases involving the transcendental matter of life and liberty of a person, requires our utmost consideration. Thus, though there was not even the slightest protestation by counsel regarding the issue of accused-appellants’ waiver, we shall consider the same in the interest of justice.

    4. ID.; ID.; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; DEMURRER TO EVIDENCE; WAIVER OF THE RIGHT TO PRESENT EVIDENCE; PRUDENCE REQUIRES THE TRIAL COURT TO ASCERTAIN THE VOLUNTARINESS AND FULL KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE WAIVER TO AVOID ANY GRAVE MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE. — The lower court, in view of the severity of the imposable penalty, ought to have inquired into the voluntariness and full knowledge of the consequences of accused-appellants’ waiver. Though the Rules require no such inquiry to be undertaken by the court for the validity of such waiver or any judgment made as a result of the waiver, prudence, however, requires the Court to ascertain the same to avoid any grave miscarriage of justice. Although accused-appellants’ waiver amazed the lower court, nevertheless, the record is devoid of any facts which would indicate that the lower court took steps to assure itself of accused-appellants’ voluntariness and full knowledge of the consequences of their waiver. Besides, counsels’ waiver should have put the court on guard. Any lawyer worth his salt ought to know that the filing of a demurrer to evidence with leave of court as was done below, has the beneficial effect of reserving the movant’s right to present evidence if the demurrer is denied by the court. Thus, a counsel who files a demurrer with leave of court, but at the same time expressly waives his right to present evidence should put a judge on guard that said counsel may not entirely comprehend the consequences of the waiver. The trial court should have exercised prudence by warning counsel about the prejudicial effects of their waiver, that with such a waiver, the case would be deemed submitted for decision, and their leave to file motion for demurrer to evidence will have no effect.


    R E S O L U T I O N


    MELO, J.:


    This has reference to an appeal interposed by accused-appellants Renato Flores and Rolando Macalintal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of the Fourth Judicial Region (Branch 5, Lemery, Batangas), finding them guilty of the crime of murder and sentencing each of them to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua and to indemnify jointly and severally the heirs of the deceased Edoviguez Adelantar in the sum of P50,000.00.

    The gravamen of the charge as recited in the Information reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    That on or about the 6th day of March, 1989, at about 4:30 o’clock in the afternoon, in Barangay Pingas, Municipality of Alitagtag, Province of Batangas, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, armed with a kitchen knife and iron pipe, conspiring and confederating together, acting in common accord and mutually helping each other, with intent to kill, and without any justifiable cause, with treachery and evident premeditation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab with the said weapon, one Edoviguez Adelantar, suddenly and without warning, thereby inflicting upon the latter multiple stab wounds on the different parts of his body, which directly cause his death.

    (p. 3, Rollo.)

    Upon arraignment, both accused pleaded not guilty and trial on the merits was thereupon undertaken, with the prosecution presenting three witnesses, namely, Juanito Aninao, the lone eyewitness to the incident; Patrolman Esguerra, the investigator of the case; and Dr. Herminigildo de Claro, the Municipal Health Officer of Lemery, Batangas who conducted the post-mortem examination on the victim’s cadaver.

    After the prosecution rested its case and on the date scheduled for the accused to present their evidence, counsel for accused Renato Flores made an oral manifestation that Flores is waiving his right to present evidence and requested time to file a demurrer to evidence. The same manifestation and motion were adopted by accused Rolando Makalintal’s counsel. The court acceded and ordered both accused to file their demurrer to evidence within 20 days from the date of hearing, while the prosecution was ordered to file its opposition thereto within 10 days from receipt of the aforementioned motion.

    After considering the issues and arguments raised by the accused in their demurrer, the trial court promulgated on April 7, 1992, a decision on the merits, sentencing the accused to reclusion perpetua, aside from ordering them to pay civil indemnity to the heirs of the victim.

    Both accused now seek the reversal of their conviction on the ground of insufficiency of the evidence for the prosecution to establish their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

    Taking into consideration the factual circumstances of this case and to avert any possible miscarriage of justice, we are remanding this case to the lower court.

    Rules on procedure are promulgated so that the power of the court to administer justice may be efficiently and effectively exercised. The Rules are not made in restraint of its power but to make it completely and fully available for justice. In the words of Justice Moreland:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    The purpose of procedure is not to thwart justice. Its proper aim is to facilitate the application of justice to the rival claims of contending parties. It was created not to hinder and delay but to facilitate and promote the administration of justice. It does not constitute the thing itself which courts are always striving to secure to litigants. It is designed as the means best adapted to obtain that thing. In other words, it is a means to an end. It is the means by which the powers of the court are made effective in just judgments. When it loses the character of the one and takes on that of the other the administration of justice becomes incomplete and unsatisfactory and lays itself open to grave criticism.

    (Manila Railroad Co. v. Attorney General, 20 Phil 523 [1911])

    The Rules on procedure are merely tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice. When they are rigid and strict in application, resulting in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote justice, the Court is empowered to suspend the rules. For if the application and operation of the Rules tend to subvert and defeat, instead of promoting and enhancing justice, their suspension is justified. Justice Jose Abad Santos in Viuda de Ordoveza v. Raymundo (63 Phil 275; 278 [1936]) quoted an American case, thus: ". . . it is always within the power of the court to suspend its own rules or except a particular case from its operation, whenever, the purposes of justice require ."cralaw virtua1aw library

    In Olacao v. NLRC (177 SCRA 38 [1989]) Legasto v. Court of Appeals (172 SCRA 722 [1989]), City Fair Corporation v. NLRC (243 SCRA 572 [1995]), Republic v. Court of Appeals (83 SCRA 453 [1973]), Bank of America, NT & SA vs Gerochi Jr. (230 SCRA 9 [1994]), we suspended the Rules to allow the filing of appeals beyond the reglementary period in the interest of substantial justice.

    In a resolution in Domingo de Guzman v. Sandiganbayan, (G.R. 103276, April 11, 1996), the Court En Banc set aside its previous decision affirming de Guzman’s conviction and the denial with finality of his subsequent motion for reconsideration, and instead remanded the case to the trial court for the reception of de Guzman’s evidence. In said case, de Guzman’s counsel filed with the trial court a demurrer to evidence which was denied. Undaunted by the denial, counsel filed ,another demurrer. This time, the trial court not only denied the same but convicted the accused, which conviction was elevated to this Court. In an En Banc resolution promulgated on June 16, 1994. the Court affirmed the conviction and, as earlier stated, subsequently denied with finality a motion for reconsideration. In view of his looming imprisonment, de Guzman hired a new counsel who .filed an "Omnibus Motion For Leave To Vacate First Motion For Reconsideration In The Light Of The Present Development And To Consider Evidence Presented Herein And To Set Aside Conviction." Taking into consideration the plight of the petitioner and keeping in mind that substantial justice must prevail, the Court, per Justice Francisco, resolved to remand the case to the Sandiganbayan for reception of petitioner’s evidence. Indeed, when there is a strong showing that grave miscarriage of justice would result from the strict application of the Rules, this Court will not hesitate to relax the same in the interest of substantial justice. Thus, we said in de Guzman:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    . . . The Rules of Court were conceived and promulgated to set forth guidelines in the dispensation of justice but not to bind and chain the hand that dispenses it, for otherwise, courts will be mere slaves to or robots of technical rules, shorn of judicial discretion. That is precisely why courts in rendering real justice have always been, as they in fact ought to be, conscientiously guided by the norm that when on the balance, technicalities take a backseat against substantive rights, and not the other way around. Truly then, technicalities, in the appropriate language of Justice Makalintal, "Should give way to the realities of the situation."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Accused-appellants in the case at bench were charged with the crime of murder. After the prosecution had rested, Accused-appellants’ counsel waived their principals’ right to present evidence and, with leave of court, filed their demurrer to evidence. The lower court then seemingly deemed the case submitted for decision, thus, its subsequent judgment of conviction. In their appeal now before us, Accused-appellants assail the findings of fact of the lower court without seeking relief from the effect of their waiver.

    Be that as it may, this Court having been constitutionally mandated to directly review cases where the imposable penalty is reclusion perpetua, has the power to review the entire case to correct any error, even if unassigned. The adjudication of: cases involving the transcendental matter of life and liberty of a person, requires our utmost consideration. Thus, though there was not even the slightest protestation by counsel regarding the issue of accused-appellants’ waiver, we shall consider the same in the interest of justice.

    The lower court, in view of the severity of the imposable penalty, ought to have inquired into the voluntariness and full knowledge of the consequences of accused-appellants’ waiver. Though the Rules require no such inquiry to be undertaken by the court for the validity of such waiver or any judgment made as result of the waiver, prudence, however requires the Court to ascertain the same to avoid any grave miscarriage of justice. Although accused-appellants’ waiver amazed the lower court, nevertheless, the record is devoid of any facts which would indicate that the lower court took steps to assure itself of accused-appellants’ voluntariness and full knowledge of the consequences of their waiver.

    Besides, counsels’ waiver should have put the court on guard. Any lawyer worth his salt ought to know that the filing of a demurrer to evidence with leave of court as was done below, has the beneficial effect of reserving the movant’s right to present evidence if the demurrer is denied by the court. Thus, a counsel who files a demurrer with leave of court, but at the same time expressly waives his right to present evidence should put a judge on guard that said counsel may not entirely comprehend the consequences of the waiver. The trial court should have exercised prudence by warning counsel about the prejudicial effects of their waiver, that with such a waiver, the case would be deemed submitted for decision, and their leave to file motion for demurrer to evidence will have no effect.

    We have searched the records for some indications which would clarify counsels’ ambiguous actions, but sadly, the records are bereft of the same. The transcript of stenographic notes fail to account for what had transpired at that pivotal moment when counsel for accused-appellants waived their right to present evidence. Whether counsel really intended to waive their clients’ right to present evidence, or just to file a demurrer to evidence without waiving appellants’ right to present evidence is something which we must determine with certainty in the interest of substantial justice.chanrobles.com : virtual lawlibrary

    There being grave doubts in our minds as to the voluntariness of the waiver and whether the same was done with full comprehension, we feel uneasy to bring this case to a conclusion without exercising ‘utmost prudence. We are left no better option than to remand this case to the trial court to ascertain accused-appellants’ volition to such a waiver, their knowledge of its consequences, and to receive accused-appellants’ evidence if the contrary is found, so that justice may be properly administered .

    WHEREFORE, the decision herein appealed from is hereby SET ASIDE. Accordingly, let this case be remanded to the trial court for its proper disposition as above indicated.

    SO ORDERED.

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

    G.R. No. 106581   March 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENATO FLORES, ET AL.




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